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Escape from Caertan, Keddick is Risen, Defenders of Tairn

Play date: 7/7/09

1533.2.7
Arch Magister Adrone addresses you all: “I will make a portal within the Temple to transport everyone  from here to the Temple of Andreja in Lysoria. It will take me some time to complete the portal, and then some time to move everyone through the portal to safety. Keep the giants from breaching the wall while I work. High Priest Calum and Right Hand Andre will stay with you as well as Magister Brens. Varende, I can enchant some arrows for you that will burst into flame when you fire them.” Serk says if a longbow can be provided for him, he too could fire arrows at the giants. Monwyn leaves with Adrone and returns shortly with two quivers of arrows and a long bow. The gate chain is disabled and people mount the wall. Everyone sees a hill giant who appears better dressed than the others. He is clearly a leader. Calum and Brens are discussing a plan to magically assault him when Malperder breaks in to their conversation with the same idea. They tell Malperder to let Varende, Banic, Serk and everyone else to await their coordinated attack and then assault the leader at range. The area in front of the Keep is filling with ogres, little giants, and hill giants. Six hill giants are carrying a huge piece of the outer wooden wall thirty feet long and twenty five feet tall. Columns of fire erupt on the leader. Banic tosses a sound lance and arrows arch towards him. He begins casting spells. Brens is struck with a ray and stands listless next to Malperder. The hill giants rush the wall and plant the piece of wooden wall as Calum conjures a Blade Barrier. Hill giants rush up the wooden wall but are heavily hurt by the barrier. Calum leads Brens to safety in the courtyard while everyone else is repelling the giant attack. Calum eventually shouts to step back and creates another barrier near the top of the wall. The ogres and little giants move west towards the end of the barrier and Andre leads a charge down the wall towards them. People stream from the refectory and storeroom towards the temple ushered by Gwyn and Gregor.  As everyone moves west to head off any ogre intrusion, Varende spots four hill giants gather around the leader; the leader casts a spell and appears with the four giants within the walls of the keep. The embiggened Banic jumps down as does Malperder. Andre jumps down in a corner while Calum creates a third blade barrier on the other side. Calum begins mass healing people near him. Monwyn comes out the gatehouse door to join the battle. Hill giant clubs wreak a terrible toll, but Calum’s magic keeps all but Banic from falling. The leader has turned invisible, but he doesn’t seem to be involved in the fight. Adrone appears in the sky as lightning arcs between the four hill giants in the courtyard. The giants felled many people before they were assaulted. Adrone flies west as the battle with the giants carries on. As the last of the giants fall, Calum gathers everyone by the well for healing. Banic is brought back to consciousness by Varende’s potion. Adrone returns and tells everyone to get inside the Temple. Once everyone is in, he places a wall of stone across the door. People are still moving through the portal at the far end of the room one at a time. While still outside, Varende saw no sign of the hill giant leader. Varende warns Adrone and he casts a spell to see invisible things. He sees none within the room. Eventually everyone moves through into the Temple of Andreja in Lysoria. Adrone remains behind to close the gate. He then appears in the Temple. Calum confirms that Keddick would want to be brought back to life. Varende says he will arrange the five thousand crowns worth of unguents for the spell. Malperder gives him a thousand crowns. Calum says he should be able to do it tomorrow.
Malperder and Banic report to Thorgar about what has transpired.

1533.2.8 - Six bells in the evening
Each person receives a sending to come to The Temple of Andreja at six bells to greet the newly risen Keddick over supper. When all five have arrived, you are escorted to Calum. He ushers you into a room where Keddick sits in a simple shift eating and drinking tentatively. Calum says he will return shortly with Arch Magister Adrone. A short discussion ensues before the High Priest and Arch Magister return. Adrone says he wishes you to all come with him. Part of the party links hands and disappears with him. He returns and brings the others including Calum.
You are standing in a large circular room. The walls are cut stone. <Malperder and Banic didn’t ask, but they sensed they were deep underground – ½ a mile or more>. There are no exits from the room. Fifty chairs sit in a wide circle and twenty-five to thirty people are standing or sitting. You see other luminaries of the Kingdom including Amelanril, High Druid  Aglandar, King William, and some wizards Keddick recognizes as Magisters of the Guild. Adrone says, these are the Defenders of Tairn. We ask you to join our number. You will swear an oath to the Arch Magister, High Priest, and King of Tairn.  Will you join?
Varende steps forward as well as Banic and Malperder. Serk follows the Dwarven lead. Keddick thinks a bit and questions the oath a little concerned for his family allegiance. Adrone reassures him, but says the oath would transcend family alliance in times of need. Keddick agrees. Jack demurs. He says something diplomatic about being honored but feels he is unable to join without personal gain. Adrone says he understands. He touches Jack and disappears. 

1533.2.5 to 1533.2.7 - The Fall of Caertan

Play dates: 6/23/09 & 6/30/09
1533.2.5 - Dusk

As the last of the sunlight fades, Keddick springs into action. He goes to Monwyn and demands a copy of the indictment against Dorian. Gregor seems sympathetic or at least not hostile, but Monwyn is angered and cast Detect Evil at Keddick. Keddick is outraged and says so but allows the examination. Monwyn studies him and then calls some Hands in. He takes the hobgoblin fetish Keddick has been wearing for over a year and smashes it with a hammer. He says the fetish was evil and wonders if Keddick was under some dark enchantment thus explaining his recent behavior questioning Monwyn. He finally jots down fifty words or so swearing against Dorian, Kel and Pelin and says he can provide the evidence again if necessary since the majority came from his companions. Keddick asks Gregor about magical inks and is steered to the house of the local guild representative. He and Jack find a dead wizard called Macon Shuns, the guild representative, dead in his home when Keddick goes there to try to buy magical inks for scribing a scroll. He and Jack search around the house and Keddick appropriates a small supply of ink for his own use. Clearly Macon won’t be using it. The remains of Macon’s potions lab lie in shambles as if it has been intentionally smashed. Jack finds a case of unbroken potion vials all etched with M.P. Shuns. More evidence against Dorian and her cohorts; she was in possession of 11 vials labeled M.P. Shuns. Keddick and Jack find Magistrate Orin has fled the city to all appearances; surely the Magistrate will not be giving Keddick the demanded assessment of the city’s population’s desire to stay or go. Keddick studies a piece of alley 200 feet from Southgate for easy teleportation. Keddick identifies the potions Dorian had on her but is not allowed to take them. Monwyn keeps them and a clergy labels them according to what Keddick says. They are all first level effects including several endure elements, a mage armor, and a few others.  Keddick asks Serk, Jack and Varende to come with him to Lysoria in the morning. He promises to be back before nightfall. Varende refuses on the grounds that someone useful might be brought back. 

1533.2.6 - Dawn
Keddick studies a few spells. Meanwhile, others notice the snow has stopped falling, it is noticeably warmer outside, and piles of snow in the streets are starting to melt. Keddick finds everyone in the common room and teleports away with Jack and Serk. The Welcome Guest seems at about half capacity. Many have fled in the past 18 hours. The three appear in The Lucky Silver and strike out for the palace. Back in Caertan, Monwyn assigns the dwarves and Varende to watch at Southgate as they will. Many are on the wall. A system of bells is but in place between Southgate and the deeper bell at the Temple. Three clangs for the enemy is sighted. Repeated clanging at Southgate to mean the wall is breached. Repeated clanging at the Temple to mean retreat to the Temple.

Back in Lysoria
After some time, Keddick, Serk and Jack get to see King William. He is dressed for battle. Others are in the room. Keddick explains the situation, asks about the area south of Malverin, and asks for someone to return with them. King William sends someone to muster an army to move to Caertan. After conversing with a man there, he says Andre will return with them. Monwyn is a good tactician, but he will be in good stead with Andre over him. Andre suggests they go now and King William wishes good speed. Keddick declines and says they must go to Malverin. King William says he won’t command him in this, but thinks he should return to Caertan now. Andre declines the trip to Malverin. Keddick, Serk and Jack return to The Lucky Silver and get some equipment of Keddick’s before going to Malverin. They wander southwest of the city and see a large wood. They follow its edge east until it turns south. They comb through the woods for hours finding nothing (lots of failed spot checks). At about 4:30 in the afternoon they return to the Palace and discover Andre is nowhere to be found. They discuss going to the Temple of Andreja, but decide to teleport to Caertan instead.

Ogres in the Afternoon
Meanwhile, back in Caertan, early in the afternoon a small group of farmer’s is spotted being harried by three ogres and eight orcs. The farmers are running for Southgate but look exhausted. The ogres and orcs seem to be playing with them. It appears they could easily take them. Monwyn and Gregor come to the wall and organize a group to move outside the wall. They meet the ogres about six hundred feet from the wall with Banic and Malperder trailing behind. As they come close to engage, four of the farmers are shot down by the orcs blinking in the bright light. The ogres are dispatched without too much trouble, but Monwyn and Gregor both are wounded. The orcs flee but are run down by six Hands under Monwyn’s command. Everyone returns to Southgate. Two farmers made it in alive. The other four were very dead.

Back in Caertan
At dusk Keddick, Serk and Jack come to the wall. About an hour after dusk, clouds suddenly gather blocking out what little moonlight there was (a waning crescent). Twelve hill giants appear from the dark and toss the little giants onto the wall. The little giants attempt to make it into the gatehouse and raise the portcullis, but they are successfully destroyed. The wall guards were little match for them, and Southgate would surely be open to a flood of giants without the efforts of the heroes. The bell has been rung by a soldier alerting the Temple to the enemy. Rocks killed a few militia flying at the torchlit men on the wall including two rocks hitting Keddick before he became invisible. Keddick alerted the gatehouse to the giants in the street who start running fast north towards The Welcome Guest. Keddick uses his second Haste on all but Jack and Varende, and everyone gives chase. Serk catches up to them and the one in the rear turns on him with a savage blow. They move to engage Serk while Keddick stands by invisible. Malperder drinks a potion of Draconic might and Varende fires arrows. Serk is close to death. Keddick shoots a color spray at the giants making himself visible. He then tries to move back and too giant clubs slam his lifeless body to the street. Banic is too far away to help him. An arrow from Varende finishes the giant in front of Serk and Malperder and Jack arrive to help dispatch the other. Both lie dead in the street and Serk is fatigued from his rage. He is near dead and Banic heals him partially. All but Serk race back to the gate to find only darkness and blood. Serk carries Keddick’s body to The Temple for safe-keeping. Gwyn, favored of Andreja, heals him and he returns to the wall. Word is received that Eastgate and Westgate are breached by ogres, but the gates still hold. Monwyn gives Serk a bell code for Eastgate and Westgate are under heavy attack.

Demands and Six Human Missiles
After an hour or so, six hill giants emerge from the darkness each holding a struggling human. The voice from the darkness commands again that the city should be given over. Anyone who wishes to can leave now by the main gate and they will be allowed to leave. He counts from ten down and then says “Do it!” in Giant. The six hill giants hurl the humans against the front wall of Caertan smashing them to death and retreating to the darkness. The night is quiet again.

Thunderbolts & Lightning
People attempt to sleep here and there. At about three bells, a rain of hours falls on the wall. Hundreds of shafts fall. Again, another rain of shafts. Suddenly, a dark, ominous cloud gathers low over the city dancing with lighting. Deafening thunder claps deafen all of the group and almost everyone on the wall. Varende draws his wand of light and attempts to enchant a rock. A deluge of rain falls burning everyone’s skin with acid. Varende causes the rock to glow with light and throws it out in front of the gate. No figures are visible. They must be more than 120 feet back. Malperder and a few others throw torches to better light the area in front of the wall. Someone is sent to warn Monwyn. Lightning smashes down on a section of wall sixty feet west of Southgate turning it to rubble and the vibrations are felt by all. Jack starts ringing the bell. Serk runs into the gatehouse. Hail falls from the sky killing all the militia and hurting all save Serk safe inside the gatehouse. Serk goes to the bell but leaves once he sees Jack is handling it. Serk opens the door as the dwarves move into position. A downpour of rain and gusting winds obscures all vision. It continues for a bit over 30 seconds. There is no visibility. Varende launches a rock of light into the distance and can see a seething mass of ogres waiting in front of the breech just before the rain obscures his vision. As the rain abates, he sees the ogres run forward. Jack rings the bell for one more round and is tapped on the shoulder by a man who he is just able to make out by reading his lips that he is to retreat to The Temple. The word spreads along to the other members of the group with Malperder getting the word last. He jumps down into the street and falls flat hurting his legs. He stands as to ogres rush the gap and exchange some momentary blows before the thatched roof collapses beneath them. Everyone flees for the keep as ogres flood through the gap. The humans and elf make the Keep quickly, and the dwarves sneak through the streets to eventually arrive seven or eight minutes later. Banic casts Panacea on Malperder to remove his deafness, and then casts telepathic bond with his cousin. They relate the events to Monwyn. The courtyard, refectory and Temple are crowded with people. Monwyn says they have about 140 fighting men and perhaps a similar number of non-combatants.  After another 20 minutes or so the deafness abates for everyone.

1533.2.7 - Nervous in the Keep - What Help May Come
People try to rest. At about 4:30, a mass of milling giant flesh can be seen gathering outside the Keep. People on the wall look nervous.
A bit later, four men pop into existing near the wall. All but Serk recognize Brens, Magister of the Mage’s Guild and High Evoker. Serk and Jack recognize Andre, the man who had agreed to return with them. Monwyn is summoned, speaks with Andre, and Gregor speaks with the man in the vestments and armor of Andreja. The last man is dressed in regalia of the wizard’s guild. He has a commanding presence and asks where Keddick Tzabel is. He is given the news of his demise. The five of you are called over and introduced briefly to Arch Magister Adrone, head of the Wizard’s Guild; High Priest Calum, head of the Temple of Andreja; Right Hand Andre of the Temple of Andreja; and Magister Brens, High Evoker of the Wizard’s Guild.

1533.2.5 – What to do with the miscreants & News of a Giant Army!

Play date: June 16th, 2009 

1533.2.5 – What to do with the miscreants

While none of you would have access to this information, I don’t have any other way to convey this: Caertan is a small hilltop town that grew up around a small keep built on the hilltop. The small keep is still in the central part of Caertan and is now occupied by the Priests and Hands of Andreja. The keep hosts maybe a dozen Hands, a few Priests, and a few dozen Initiates of Andreja who are capable of Orisons but no better. The total population of Caertan is around 1500 though swelled a bit by trappers a few locals who are sleeping in any empty space in The Welcome Guest. The city is divided into three parts with the middle part, about 60% of the city including the keep, ringed by a stout stone wall about twenty feet high and eight feet thick. Eastgate and Westgate are two of the three original entrances to the city, but they now open into the areas of the town known as Eastgate and Westgate. Westgate is where you found Dorian and Eastgate is where Magistrate Orin’s home is. Eastgate and Westgate are surrounded by a timber wall only approximately fifteen feet high. The entire town is surrounded by a ten foot deep ditch that is currently heaped with snow. A stone bridge crosses it at Southgate (where you have all entered and exited the city). Southgate is guarded by two men at all time who log the comings and goings of travelers in and out of the city.

Keddick begins ordering the unwounded guard about:

Guards wake these scumbags and find out what you can about that escaped criminal - I want to know where he was staying, who he is, where he was from, and what the hell he had to do with this weather - I suspect he is heavily involved. We are still at risk so long as he is free.
Tell that one that if he answers then he is on the hook only for the kidnapping - I won’t press his attempted murder of me if he helps me find Elder. It may be enough to save his neck.

Guard:

<Slappity slap slap slap>
“They are out cold m’lord. Out cold.”

Keddick:

What is the punishment if these people are found guilty? How long will it take the Magistrate to have them tried, sentenced and executed?

Guard:Well, I don’t rightly know. Accused of kidnapping you say? Roughed up the boy? They did resist arrest, but not too well. I reckon they’ll get a hefty fine m’lord. Pay damages to the boy I expect. If they can’t pay, it will be the workhouse for them. Always hard labor no one wants to do. That’s what I reckon. No doubt the Magistrate will figure them out quite quickly with young Jason’s testimony.Keddick:

Not good enough - do you want this city to be walked over by every cheap vagabond who walks in here! You’ve got to stamp this rubbish out when it turns up.  There’s more to this than kidnapping - this other one tried to kill me - shot me twice with poisoned bolts earlier today. This one killed two people we know of around Lake Catherine. I want them questioned properly under a truth spell. And be bloody careful - even unarmed, these people are not to be underestimated. That might have looked easy, but my friends here are some of the most
dangerous fighters in the kingdom - don’t try that alone. That one can turn herself invisible, for a start…keep a hold on her.
We need to search this house carefully for evidence then get these prisoners to their cells. Don’t let them talk to one another either.

Guard:Poison? Well if you have some evidence of that, it certainly might go bad for him. You should give your evidence to Magistrate Orin. He’ll want written statements m’lord. As for truth spells, I can’t rightly say I’ve heard of such. You can do such my lord? You’ve done mighty magics this day. Or maybe the dwarf. Can he do such? I suppose you could appeal at the Temple lord, but I don’t know if any of the Hands or Priests can do what you say. Gregor is the chief priest of the town. Monwyn is the Right Hand hereabouts. 

Varende asks the guards if there is somewhere they should take the prisoners or anything that can be done. They says they can take them to the Temple and turn them over to Monwyn. There is a dungeon there. Keddick casts Detect Magic as the dwarves heft Dorian and lug her into the snow. He says she has auras and wants them to wait. They stolidly slog through the snow with their burden. Jack and Varende help the guards carry Kel and Pelin. They turn the prisoners over to the guards at the Keep turned Temple and head towards Magistrate Orin’s home to swear out statements. Varende suggests the Southgate be notified of Elder’s escape, and one of the guards heads south to do so. Everyone swears out statements at the Magistrate’s house and Keddick stays to talk with him as the others leave for The Welcome Guest. After a bit of talk, Varende and Banic decide to go back to search the house in Broad Street. When they arrive, there are four watchmen there. They let Banic search for auras with Varende following behind looking passively for secret doors. They find nothing. The guards reveal the owners of the house have been discovered dead and covered with snow in the back of the house by the wood pile. They could not have been there more than a day or two based on the snow on them. It was by chance they were found. The snow looked “lumped” and a guard checked. The two grown sons of the couple had been killed by wounds consistent with sword and flail while the couple had both been run through with a single sword thrust to the heart consistent with a rapier. The guards say this probably seals the fate of the three prisoners.

giantarmy.JPG

All but Keddick sit down to eat at The Welcome Guest a bit before noon. In bursts Serk and eight men. He sees the group and approaches. He tells a tale of following a giant with some other men lead by a former companion of the group, Traver. They followed the tracks into the mountains pushing hard and discovered an encampment of giants about 20 miles from Caertan. The encampment boasted around half a thousand orcs, a couple of hundred ogres, at least a hundred hill giants, perhaps fifty of the “little giants” and a few of giants that were even larger. In the center of the the camp was a large tent (not sure Serk mentioned this last night, but I don’t think he was trying to conceal it either). Serk councils abandoning the town against the overwhelming force. He says Traver sent six men running for Lysoria to warn King William. After some discussion, they talk to Monwyn again who says he will muster the town, evacuate Eastgate and Southgate of residents and man the walls. There are 10 Hands, 40 Clergy, and 4 priests plus 14 guardsmen and many able-bodied men in the town who can fight for their homes. He describes the outer wall as twenty feet tall and with a ten foot ditch around it. He feels it can be held if all are brave. He thinks sending out the women and children is foolhardy. Men would have to go with them to protect them thus weakening the towns defenses. He plans to hold the giants at bay until help arrives from the King.

Back at The Welcome Guest, a loud bell can be heard from the front gate. Everyone moves the two hundred yards south and hears a gravely, booming voice shout “Abandon the town! We claim it. You have until tomorrow night or all will be slain!” Then a guard on the wall shouts “They disappeared!” Varnede speaks with the guard and is told that there were four orcs, four ogres, four hill giants, and the speaker, another hill giant with a huge hammer. After speaking, they clustered to him and disappeared. They were about forty feet from the gate. Varende convinces the guard to let them outside to look around. He raises the portcullis a small amount and everyone slips under. Footprints in the snow confirm the presence of the giants. They were not simply illusion. Varende says he wanted to rule out a trick of some kind by Elder. Keddick leaves his watch over the unconscious prisoners and heads towards the gate after the bell. He sees the others and all are reunited. Serk fills him in.

Keddick and Jack decide to go to speak to Monwyn. Keddick asks Monwyn several times who he wants on his side and Monwyn is stolid in saying “Andreja!” Keddick thought he could bring someone more physical, like the Right Hand of Andreja from Lysoria or the High Priest of Lysoria or a Wizard. Monwyn believes in Andreja (unlike Keddick the proven non-devout drinker of the Font of Andreja). Jack steps in and smooths things over after Monwyn tells Keddick to get out, calling him a coward as he leaves. Jack gets permission to look at the things stripped from the prisoners with a clergy in attendance. The clergy leads them to Storeroom B on Level 12. In one chest, they find a chainshirt, a greatsword, a crossbow and a pouch of coins. In another, they find a chainshirt, a flail, and a pouch of coins. In the final one, they find a chainshirt, a rapier and dagger with Barnim’s mark, a small silver ring, 13 vials of liquid, 11 of which are etched with the letters “M.P. Shuns” a larger quantity of coin, and a small pouch with a smaller version of the holy symbol  seen on the woman’s chest in The Long Road (the symbol of Talinoman, half-dragon demi-goddess necromancer) as well as a small piece of parchment that might be a map.  It depicts two colors and a small X. There is great discussion of what it means. Keddick signs the ring out as well as the holy symbol and the parchment. They show the holy symbol to Monwyn and Gregor, the chief priest, but neither of them recognize it. It has been centuries since followers of Talinoman were last heard of.

Keddick, dissatisfied with Monwyn’s response, goes to speak with Orin again. Orin is packing. He says his household of fifteen will leave now that Monwyn has ordered the abandonment of Eastgate and Westgate. Keddick threatens him if he doesn’t comply with demands of estimates of how many people will leave because of the giants. Monwyn said two to five hundred men could stand the walls of the town. Orin placates Keddick telling him to return in the evening for his estimate (both Jack and Keddick fail to Sense any guile in the man, but Larry and Jacob were skeptical). They leave and meet back up with the others. Keddick was unable to make the ring do anything. He ask Varende to try to activate its power. Varende tries but nothing happens. He returns the ring to Keddick. Banic confirms it is magical and has a moderate aura, but he knows nothing of spellcraft. [Varende may have forgotten he carries a wand of detect magic and could perhaps easily discern the aura – I just remembered it] Varende looks at the little map and recognize the shape of the coastline as that of Lake Catherine by Malverin. No one knows that area well though, so they aren’t sure what the green and X could be. Serk argues more for running. Keddick considers teleporting in the morning with hopes of bringing back help from the Wizard’s Isles. It would use both of his teleports to do this though leaving the group stuck if things go badly. There is much concern over the fact that some of the giants could “teleport.” What if they teleport inside the walls? Monwyn is sure “some of the most dangerous fighters in the kingdom” could handle a few giants on the inside of the wall. The day has wasted away. It is cold. Many have left The Welcome Guest. Varnede and Banic look in the rooms occupied there by Dorian and her gang. They find empty rooms, unmade beds, and nothing of significance, however the rooms are not thoroughly searched other than perhaps a quick detect magic.

<finished at dark on the 5th. 24 hours until Caertan must be evacuated!>

1533.2.3 to 1533.2.5 - Dorian in Caertan?!?

Play date: June 9th, 2009 

1533.2.3 – About 6 bells
Keddick surreptitiously teleports from a store room in Caertan to his room in The Lucky Silver. He heads right for The Long Road to find everyone. He relays a story of an associate of Dorian’s seen in The Welcome Guest. The man followed him and then drew a greatsword when Keddick approached him in the street. The man’s name is Kel according to Marc, the owner of The Welcome Guest. Kel and 3 others arrived in Caertan right before the blizzards began. They are staying at The Welcome Guest. Everyone agrees to go to Caertan. Varende has requested research into the symbol he saw on the woman’s chest from The Order of Darius. He says he would like to get the results tomorrow evening before leaving for Caertan.

1533.2.4 – About 9 bells
Keddick teleports Banic, Malperder and Jack to Caertan in the morning as well as heaps of supplies he hopes will get them a place to stay including the beer from the Order of Camin divided into two half barrels. (Party expenditure: 100 crowns on food to take to Caertan) Keddick goes into The Welcome Guest by himself. Marc sees him, comes over and punches him in the face yelling something about him killing Jason, “what have you done with him?” etc; he calms down a little but blames Keddick for the boys disappearance that coincides with Keddick saying he was going to keep Marc in the dark and then going into a storage area and teleporting back to Lysoria. Keddick asks if they can stay there and Marc tells him “Hell no! Get out!” Keddick leaves intending to ride a Phantom Horse back to Thistledown and teleport back with Varende. Keddick leaves by the south gate (only choice) and gives a false name “John Doe.” The guards have him sign the log book. Keddick heads a long way out of town hoping to be secluded from sight for conjuring the phantom horse. As he is walking along, suddenly a blast of energy rips into him; he is so stunned that he reacts slowly and it hits him again. In desperation, he teleports home, finds Varende and tells his tale. He says they must wait til morning to go because he expended his last teleport getting himself here.

Meanwhile, Jack goes in and mollifies Marc. He gets them a place by the fire when he offers the supplies that they brought. They talk to the gate guards and find out only some half-orc trappers left yesterday and someone named John Doe today, but there has been little traffic in and out of town with the storms. The gates remain closed all the time right now. They inquire at a tavern by Westgate, and hear that Kel and Pelin have been in that day for lunch. They muse on the fact that the central portion of Caertan has a stone wall all the way around it, and that Eastgate and Westgate still stand allowing traffic into expansion areas to the east and west that are warded on the outer edge by only a timber wall.

Varende goes to get his information about the symbol. He discovers it is associated with a half-dragon demi-goddess named Talinoman that has strong ties to Necromancy. She has only Priestesses in her orders, but there has not been a rising of the Talinoman for many centuries. Varende asks for additional research and pays for five more days at two crowns per day.

Jack, Malperder and Banic spend the night by the fire keeping watch in turns against danger. It is hot and smelly in the cramped room.

1533.2.5 - Early morning
Come morning, Keddick scrys Jason. He sees him bound, gagged, and blind-folded. He looks beaten and bruised. Keddick teleports himself and Varende to his location. They untie the boy and hear noises so they dimension door outside. Keddick is shot with two crossbow bolts from a nearby rooftop and he teleports the three of them to the courtyard of The Welcome Guest. The bolts were poisoned and Keddick feels weak. Banic heals him. Marc is ecstatic to see Jason. He hugs him and seems to soften somewhat towards Keddick. It is decided to go to Magistrate Orin’s home to swear out a statement against the people. Jason describes the houses as those of Broad Street in Westgate. Varende stays at The Welcome Guest to guard Jason in case any ruffians come after them. Keddick and Jack take the dwarves to the Magistrate’s home and the humans are admitted. They speak to Orin and two guards are summoned to accompany them. They pick up Varende and head through Westgate and up Broad Street. They start knocking on doors and when answered ask Keddick “Is this him?” They finally get to one that looks more familiar. Varende spots a rope hanging off the house across the street and scales it. Keddick finds the place he thinks he bleed and finds some pinkish snow in the area after a little digging. He says this is it. Varende finds a flattened place of snow on the roof, but no sign of anyone. The guards pound on the door, wait, and then open it as Keddick hastes everyone. A fight ensues with Keddick being hit with more energy and getting called a “Filthy wizard!” by an older man from the second floor. Both Dorian and “Elder” have turned invisible throughout the fight, and eventually Elder escapes out the front door. His footprints go outside the door and then the tracks stop. Dorian, Kel and Pelin are unconscious. There are caltrops placed in two areas of the floor inside the house.

Keddick moves to search and question the unconscious people.

Perhaps two hours have passed since Keddick first teleported.

Keddick’s report from Caertan

I arrived in Caertan about 4 bells in the afternoon and went into the Inn. I talked to Marc the inn-keeper, he remembered me from the last time we were all there. Apparently the snow only extends a couple of miles beyond the city. I suspect sorcery of some description but couldn’t work out who might be responsible. I was going to go outside to take a closer look at the weather to see if I could tell if it was caused by magic when I noticed one of Ithran’s friends lounging in the common room. Marc said his name was Kel. He was going to introduce the two of us, but Kel slipped out into another room.

I figured there would be plenty of time that evening to talk to him so I asked Marc if there was someone who could show me to a city representative and he asked a boy to show me. We left and after a while I noticed that Kel was following me - I went back to him and asked why he was following me, and he pulled a huge sword and stepped toward me with it. I didn’t fancy getting in a fight with him so I mage jumped out of there and when I got back to the inn, I found a quiet spot and came back here with my stronger mage jump spell.

I believe there are three others with Kel - I’d like to go back there to work out what they are up to.

1533.1.11 to 1533.2.3 - Training, Malperder loses his sight, and a Formorian is felled

Play date: 6/2/09
1533.1.11
Keddick converses with Attalus:
“Attalus, I’ll go over our findings in a minute. There is something else that I have not had a chance to discuss with you. A friend of Malperder was killed some time ago and my friends and I have been investigating for some time. We have a suspect, but we can prove nothing right now. (I’ll go into more detail as required). I do not mean to do anything blatant, but I would appreciate if you were able to provide us with some cover for our investigation if we transgress the law in our investigation -Perhaps you could see to our secret deputization. I believe there is either enchantment or  necromantic involvement. I hope you know that you can rely on me to be restrained.”
 
“Necromancy?  Most disturbing. Give me more details of the situation. I don’t have any powers to give you special authority, but I have the ear of the King. He can certainly authorize such investigation if He believes it warranted. What sort of transgressions are you considering? The King’s Law demands you bring the perpetrator to justice. You cannot murder. You understand that? It would not be tolerated. You are some of your associates have certainly caught the attention of King William. Being persons of some notoriety, your actions may be scrutinized harder than the average citizen were you to cause mayhem within the town borders. I urge you to be careful for your sake, the Guild’s sake, and the sake of your family. Would you personally vouch for the actions of these other men?”Thank you, Attalus, I wanted to make sure that you would not be surprised by any reports, we are not planning any mayhem at this time - we are not sure of the situation. In investigating the matter, I scried Ithran and observed her sitting motionless starting out of a window beside a clearly dead body. If we could have worked out where she was, we would likely have broken and entered the premises, and it would be difficult in such circumstances to explain our actions to the authorities. I would look for your intercession in such an instance… The reason I suspect magical trickery, is that Ithran at a later stage accosted one of our party and apparently was most disturbed that she was been stalked. Given what I had seen through magiks that makes me think that there is a possibility that she is not entirely under her own control. More likely Enchantment perhaps, but I can’t ignore the fact that we have encountered aggressive Necromancy lately. To sum up - we will be careful, and I vouch that my companions are well intentioned, but I can’t be sure we’ll be able to stick to the letter of the law if we are to solve this crime.A word of caution  young Tzabel. If you have sufficient evidence, find the town guard and have them go with you. I believe the King would be hard pressed to grant you a free hand to break into people’s homes based on your visions. Of course, were you to catch this woman next to the dead body, that might be another story. I fail to see your reasoning for enchantment or necromancy though. She accosted one of you and that leads you to believe she is in some way under the will of another? Might someone not say the same of you if you accost her? Be careful. Thank you for your advice, Attalus.  My lack of clarity is due to the many missing pieces in the puzzle that this sets for us - I will consider your words carefully before taking any action.

Now as for the previous question, our investigation was most interesting. I would be very interested in accompanying you back to the tomb or in following your advice in further investigation, I believe that it is sufficiently interesting for you to become involved, and also that I and my companions can be of assistance. We entered the cave and found a door…. (Keddick will supply an accurate picture of the entrances and the forbidding, and the actions taken to try to gain entry. My description of the combat though will be restricted to “she easily vanquished me with slashes from her rapier” and I’ll continue with waking up with my companions.

1533.1.11
Malperder gives a report to Thorgar:

Great Thorgar,

Four days ago, my cousin Banic and I were asked by King William to lead our comrades Keddick, Varende, Jack, and Serk in a expedition to the lands of Lord Plythe, not too far to the north. Apparently some strange creatures had been stealing livestock and killing anyone who tried to stop them. When we arrived Lord Plythe’s land we were told that a scout would guide us to the cave where the creatures dwelled. 

Once we got close to the cave we noticed the strong stench of decay and corruption; Those creatures, whatever they were, lived among their own filth and the rotten remains of their prey!  We quickly entered the cave and were attacked by the filthy little creatures. Despite their size they possessed enormous strength. And their claws were sharp as a blade. To my great surprise, Giant Bane reacted to these creatures just as if they were giants, and after the fight started I couldn’t help but notice that the way they fought was very similar to  the way trolls fight. Banic noticed that too. We also noticed that, like trolls, these creatures seemed to have some regenerative abilities. However they ended up being no match to the strength of Giant Bane and the power of Moradin. Fortunately, their regeneration was not as strong as that of trolls, and we didn’t have to burn their bodies once we killed them.

I really don’t know what to think of these monsters. They looked and behaved like beasts; they were naked and carried no weapons, other than their claws and teeth. They were, however, smart enough to try to ambush us as we entered the cave. Their naked body was completely androgynous and Banic detected that they were somewhat resistant to magic. That to me indicates some magical origin. I have never heard of anything related to trolls that fits this description. I wonder if whatever evil is bringing the giants to these lands is somehow creating new kinds of abominations.

One thing I believe. This is just the beginning of something bigger. This has been the first battle in the upcoming war, and the war is going to end the same way that this battle did.

Malperder Malahostia, son of Malrollo.

1533.1.11 – Varende returns home to a note from the Watch
Varende finds a note on his door when he returns home asking him to see the guard. He speaks with them on the 12th and learns that Thomas the Merchant, his neighbor across the street on Talon Street was found murdered on the morning of the 7th (the day you all left for the north). He is able to ally their suspicions of his own involvement since he disappeared for four days after they confirm he was on the King’s Business.  He learns the merchant was stabbed to death and his house war burgled.

1533.1.11 – Training and business around town

1533.2.1 – Rumors surface about the snows in Caertan – an unprecedented amount of snow in blizzard like fashion has fallen on the town. It started on the 11th and abated for a short while the next day before starting again. The companions send messages to each other and agree to meet at The Long Road on the outskirts of Thistledown the next day for lunch.
1533.2.2 – Lunch at The Long Road – I’m Blind!
The dwarves, Varende and Jack sit down at a table, order drinks and food, and discuss the snows in Caertan and the death of Thomas the Merchant. Keddick is running late. Varende notices a tall woman in a chain shirt pass behind Malperder’s chair heading for the door. Just then Malperder’s vision goes cloudy and he shouts “I’m blind!” Varende shouts “Stop that woman and gives chase to the door.” Banic heals Malperder’s blindness and soon everyone has surrounded the woman outside. Varende noted her casting Sanctuary and Shield of Faith. He threatens her with his sword if she tries to leave. She calls for the town guard. She is soon surrounded and people accuse her of blinding Malperder. Jack is certain she is lying when she says she did nothing, but her divine casting abilities are apparent. A small crowd gathers and two city watchmen arrive from the nearby gate. They speak to everyone but seem skeptical of Malperder’s “She blinded me, but my cousin healed me.” and the remainder of the group’s protests that she must have blinded him because she was nearby when he supposedly lost his vision. The guard smells Malperder’s breath and asks if he has been drinking. Varende notes a symbol on the woman’s chest on a chain. It is a outline square of metal with small chain links running from the center of each side to a central ring of metal. He doesn’t recognize the symbol (and is sure it is not the triangle, circle and quarterstaff symbol of Andreja). The guard release the woman. She turns towards Jack and smirks as she leaves down the avenue. Everyone goes back inside. Keddick arrives about 20 minutes later.

Discussions ensue of the snows. Serk has not come to lunch, but people have seen him around the past couple of days.

The beer flows free and then a plaintive call for “Help! Help! Help!” shatters the silence. As everyone piles outside to see what is causing the disturbance, two watchmen are approaching from the gate. A boy of 15 is huffing and puffing from a long run. He gasps out that a giant is at his parents’ farm. Varende asks if he can lead them there and how far it is. He says yes and that it is just a mile or two north of here. Malperder asks a guard to alert Thorgar. The other guard is coming with the group headed north. The seven people set off north at a quick pace. The boy runs ahead and turns impatiently waiting for the dwarves. “This way my lords. Please hurry.” After a bit over half an hour of hustling, the group approaches a farmhouse. Varende hears something from the other side of the house and sees the end of a large club being lifted. Jack hears something as well and reacts quickly to the sight of a misshapen head poking above the farmhouse.  Varende moves right as Jack moves left. The guard moves up to the back of the house prepared to cut the thing with his sword if it comes past the house. The boy runs to the back of the house as well, but the opposite corner near the stone chimney. Jack asks where the cellar entrance is. Keddicks hastes all but Varende and tells the dwarves he will teleport them in close. The huge misshapen creature lumbers around the house, and the guard attacks. The giant slams his club into him smashing him into the side of the house. Banic reacts with Close Wounds most likely saving the man’s life. Banic tosses off a sound lance and then Keddick moves them in as Varende fires an arrow. Battle ensues. Keddick gets walloped as he moves away from the giant after placing the dwarves where they will do lots of harm. He then uses a fireball and magic missile as everyone else surrounds the creature.  The creature can be seen healing, and its’ tough hide absorbs some of the power of the blows against it (damage reduction). Malperder is reduced to a bloody pulp and Banic saves him. Varende slides his sword into a vital spot crippling the creature. Malperder, desperate but unwilling to yield, slashes three more times with his axe to fell the giant. It topples towards Banic and falls dead on the ground. Banic heals his cousin and then the watchman. He eventually heals Keddick as well who is sorely wounded. Varende and the boy pound on the cellar door and a woman and her husband emerge. They thank Jack and Varende profusely. The woman clouts her son on the back of the head callinghim a fool for running off. Someone suggests they come to town until it is certain another of the beasts is not around. They resist, but Jack charms them and offers them two crowns to stay at an Inn. Keddick remarks that the whole countryside cannot move into the fortified town. The path headed off north of the giant is obvious. Everyone returns to town. No contingent of angry, battle-hardened dwarves is evident. Malperder  is bewildered. He sends a runner to take a written message to Thorgar. Eventually, a dwarf returns and speaks with Malperder saying he should come to see Thorgar. Jack explains that perhaps Thorgar is too important to jump to the beck and call of Malperder’s summons. Malperder seems bewildered. Everyone walks back out to the farm to see if they can follow the trail in the moonlight. The moon is nearly full and waning. Jack does well at following the obvious tracks for a couple of miles. Everyone decides to head home. Varende strikes off south towards Thistledown while the other four follow Jack’s “shortcut” to Lysoria to speak with Thorgar. Eventually, Banic says he thinks they are lost. Keddick teleports the four of them to his room in The Lucky Silver. Keddick stays at his Inn and the other three head off to see Thorgar. They go out to the camp north of Lysoria and admitted to speak to Thorgar. The camp is being broken and the guard they speak to says they are being moved to the palace grounds to better guard King William. Upon being admitted to see Thorgar, Malperder tells what he can of the giant. Thorgar reports it is a Formorian, a race of huge giants that tend to live in groups no larger than five and often singularly.  He says they are moving closer to King William. Malperder et al return to The Long Road and sleep. Keddick attempts to scry Ithran, but she resists.

1533.2.3
Varende spends the morning talking to neighbors about Thomas. He eventually concludes that perhaps Thomas was killed by Ithran. Keddick scryed on her at 4pm on the 6th and Thomas was found dead the next day. He goes to the Long Road to find everyone else at a table around 11 bells. Meanwhile Keddick goes to the Dwarven Camp and finds a trampled waste where it was. He returns to the Lysorian Gate and discovers they moved to the palace. He goes to the palace gate and asks to be admitted dropping Thorgar and Attalus’ names. The guard sends a message for Keddick and tells Keddick he can wait in the park.  Keddick waits in the park and eventually is rewarded with a terse message that does not satisfy him regarding Thorgar’s spare time for him. He heads to the Long Road to beat Varende there by a short while. After some discussion, Varende arrives, all dine as they will, and it is decided to try to track the giant without any tracking ability. Malperder asks the gate guard if a contingent of men as gone to deal with the giant. He says he knows Clay, the guard that went with them, and that he is sure that the watch will take care of it. He doesn’t know if anyone would be at the farmstead.
Everyone tramps out to the farmstead and finds the giant turned on to its back, but nothing else is disturbed. Varende unlocks the poor lock on the front door to discover no one within. He re-locks the door. Jack leads them north along the giant’s trail, but he eventually looses it as time allows the overt signs of passage to disappear. Everyone returns to Thistledown. Keddick decides to teleport to Caertan after leaving his fellows. He appears in the courtyard in front of The Welcome Guest standing in a foot of snow. Snow falls heavily out of the sky and he is immediately cold. He casts Endure Elements on himself to ward off the chill and moves towards the inns front door…

Guardian of the Temple of the Old Gods — News from Caertan: Snows!

Play date: 5/26/2009

1533.1.9 - The Round Room - Guardian of the Temple of the Old Gods?
Keddick realizes he has no idea what spell was taking effect on him and presumably Malperder. After some deliberation and searching of the room, Malperder takes crowbar in hand and tries to pry at the base of the bier. He slumps to the floor seemingly dead. Varende drags his body away from the bier. Banic pronounces him dead, and Varende reluctantly agrees. After about 60 seconds, Malperder gasps and starts breathing normally again, but he seems to be in a coma of some sort. Everyone decides to rest in a rope trick. Keddick tosses the rope in the air as he speaks the words of power. The rope falls back to the floor; the spell failed. Everyone beds down on the floor for an uncomfortable night taking watches over Malperder and the group in turn.

1533.1.10
After the best estimation of a full day of boredom and restlessness, Keddick attempts to study spells as Banic prays to Moradin. Malperder is still unconscious. Keddick attempts an area dispel magic on the bier three times. He feels one spell fall under his onslaught. With no additional spells, there is talk of burrowing beneath the bier. Banic stone shapes a hole into the floor the size of a mouse. It goes down at an angle through a foot of stone but stops at a dirt bed. He uses another stone shape to open the whole larger. Keddick becomes a dire badger and tunnels into the ground. His body is wracked with pain as he starts leaving the forbiddance, but he continues on. He tunnels up under the bier, but resists a pull on his mind. He comes back and waits as a badger hoping to be healed. Banic heals him with a ranged spell and Keddick is hurt again quite badly by the forbiddance. Banic heals him more.  As discussion ensues, Malperder awakes. He still feels bad, but he is functional (he has a negative level). He tells his story:
“I appeared in a gray landscape surrounded by a gray mist. The woman from the bier stood before me. She asked why I was seeking entrance to the Temple of the Old Gods. I said giants were coming and we needed help. She said if I bested her she would stand aside. It was obvious from the beginning of the combat that she was not trying to hit me in earnest using her blade to turn aside my blows. Giant-Bane struck true though and I opened a terrible wound in her side. She started fighting in earnest and as she cut me multiple times, I landed a few more blows. At the end, she knocked me unconscious and I awoke here.”
Keddick and Jack decide to try to talk to her. They touch the bier at the same moment (nearly so) and both slump to the floor seemingly dead. First Jack and then Keddick gasp for breath but are unconscious. After discussion, everyone wants to leave. With Moradin’s healing, everyone leaves the Forbiddance and crosses the plane of fire with no incident. When they reach the bottom of the stairs, a howling wind can be heard above. Varende slips up the stairs to discover a wind rushing from the doors towards him. He moves back down. Eventually Malperder discovers that the wind rushes back along the walls in the enclosed chamber and he can creep along the wall. He and Banic move back to the still open door with four rods in hand. The close the double doors and then re-open them with the rods suppressing the wind. Everyone gets out. Fouls smells abound, but everyone is equal to getting out of the cave. The bodies of the “trolls” or “giants” are gone. Serk leads everyone back to Plythe’s Border Keep. The heads of the creatures are on pikes at the entrance. The smell of decay is thick in the air. A chatelaine welcomes everyone, takes charge of the two unconscious men, and offers baths for all else. Eventually the group is reunited in a chamber with Lord Plythe. Lord Plythe thanks them, relays that Andrew returned with men to get the bodies, and found the door open and a rushing wind within. He chose not to investigate. He waited throughout the day for your return, but eventually left to return home by nightfall. Malperder tells a little of what was found beyond the door, but leaves the details sketchy. Plythe thanks everyone for taking care of the evil creatures and offers hospitality for as long as they need it. He also offers to send for a healer. Malperder says his cousin is a healer, but they expect the men to be better by tomorrow.

1533.1.11
Keddick and Jack awake (each has a negative level) and the group decides to return south to Lake Catherine. Keddick and Jack relay stories similar to Malperder’s story: they both met the “guardian” of the bier who offered entrance to the Temple of the Old Gods if they could best her. Jack fought briefly before tumbling into the gray mist and falling unconscious. Keddick was less forthcoming about his time with the woman but reveals she was not interested in talking. They bid Lord Plythe farewell. He offers his hospitality if they ever have need of it, and suggests his scout can lead them to the river. He gives a writ that he says to give to the captain of one of his boats at the docks. He also says to see his steward on the way out for a small reward. The steward turns over a coffer of one thousand crowns. The trip to the river is uneventful, and the trip to Lake Catherine is swift. By nightfall, the dwarves are headed to see Thorgar to report their findings of the giant-kin and Keddick is meeting with Attalus to report the death of the creatures to the King. Attalus is already aware of the success and asks about the door and wind.

1533.1.12 to 1533.2.2 - Time passes quickly as people train and take care of minor business via e-mail

1533.2.2 - News from Caertan - Rumors in the Taproom
The town of Caertan has fallen on hard times. While snow there is not unknown, on 1533.1.11, the town was hit by a terrible blizzard that lasted from dusk until nearly noon the next day. Snow and ice covered the streets and all hid within their homes waiting out the storm. But even as the storm abated, another one began just past dusk again piling more snow and ice on the frozen town. The snow has continued unabated with only brief respites.

1533.1.7

Play date: 5-19-2009

1533.1.7

With the last of the creatures dead, Varende reenters the cave and examines the door. He discovers that the ten foot wide iron doors have a tight seem down the middle. Four holes an inch in diameter enter the door at a downward angle. He starts searching the room and eventually comes up with four eighteen inch long metal poles with a rounded end and an end cut at 45 degrees. The metal poles fit neatly into the holes on the doors. Serk hears a noise, constant in nature with slight variations, from the other side of the door. He can’t place it. Malperder listens and hears the same noise but can’t place it either. Meanwhile, Andrew has left with the head of one of the creatures to go back to report the mission’s success. Keddick casts knock on the door but it won’t open. Varende inserts a rod into the door part way and then retrieves it. He then pushes it all the way in using another rod and the flat end becomes flush with the door. Varende feels a slight click. Eventually he inserts all four rods. Each clicks only on the initial insertion, and as the fourth is pushed home, a louder click can be heard. Banic tires of waiting and tries stone-shaping a small shaft through the stone to behind the door. Nothing of interest can be seen through the hole. Keddick becomes gaseous and enters. Keddick is caught up in a whirlwind of sorts and eventually dispels the gaseous form. He cannot move against the wind but is able to move with its swirling pattern slowly. He casts some divinations. The only thing he finds is a well concealed stone in the floor at the far end. He makes his way back to the hole, turns into a ferret and comes out. Someone suggests trying the four rods in turns, pushing the doors each time. The twenty-four combinations are tracked by Keddick and the door is opened. As the heavy doors swing inward on internal hinges, the wind dies down inside.

Crowbars are use to lever up the stone at the far end of the forty foot wide room. A small staircase leading down is revealed. Malperder heads down the stairs. He notices and odd bit on the wall that turns out to be a square of stone that depresses slightly when pressure is applied. It pops back out when released. With no imminent danger, Malperder proceeds down the stairs. As he moves off the last steps into the five foot wide corridor beyond, a huge blades scythes out of the wall and cuts him deeply. He raises his shield and shouts for everyone to “Stay back!” or “Move back!” In the confusion, he continues to stand on the landing and is sliced twice more before retreating. Varende moves down and disarms the trap. Looking down the hall, an archway can be seen one hundred feet away dancing with the light of flames beyond it. Everyone moves down the hall. The arch leads onto a space that appears to be burning. Keddick thinks it is a fire-dominant plane and that the arch is a gate. A similar arch thirty feet through the fire plane leads to a large room filled with coins and gems. Varende draws Thasti-Kes, says “The blade will protect me!” Everyone decides to rest the night in a rope trick.

1533.1.8

In the morning, Varende draws Thasti-Kes again, says “The blade will protect me!” and steps through the arch. He is absolutely right! He moves in and then back out of the arch with a hair singed. He says he will move across and through the opposite arch. He moves quickly and disappears into the far arch. He is gone from sight. Keddick polymorphs into a red dragon thinking it will protect him. (Grant missed the ruling – the fire did indeed burn Keddick). Keddick moved through the far arch, spoke with Varende, returned, said everyone should come, and then returned to Varende. Each time someone enters the far arch, they disappear. Everyone moves through the flames with varying degrees of burns. Banic heals everyone who needs it. The arch seemed to harbor an illusion. Beyond it was only more five foot wide corridor running out of vision. Malperder notices he is now deeper underground that before moving through the arch. About four hundred feet down he thinks. Continuing down the hall, the group comes to an arch. Forty feet into the room beyond is a low bier with a body on it. The room is circular. The arch has script above it. Keddick spends a minute or two studying it and says it reads:

“Those who Uphold the Law and be of Good heart, enter freely.All others are Forbidden.”

There is some shuffling of feet and equivocation. Eventually Varende grasps the problem firmly and enters the room. He doubles over in pain but does not die. Everyone else follows. Keddick and Jack are hurt the worst, but everyone is hurt somewhat. Keddick realizes it is a forbiddance and that leaving it will have the same effect. As Banic heals Keddick who is near unconsciousness, Keddick spots a huge shimmering blob of protoplasm moving towards everyone. He shouts a warning and skeedadles. A gelantinous cube harries the group nearly engulfing Serk and Varende, but they skitter away. A haste, three arrows, a fireball, a deific vengeance, several healing spells, a magic missile, and lots of “run away” sees the massive blob stop moving and droop nearby the bier.

Several people examine the bier to see a pretty woman lying on it wearing a silvery chainshirt with links of a different metal depicting the monolith on her chest. A heavy steel shield occupies her right arm with the same emblem, and a rapier grasped in her left hand across her chest. Carvings on the bottom of the bier depict this woman fighting all manner of creatures that might generally be classified as evil: dragons, orcs, giants, bugbears and a variety of abominations. Keddick looks about with divinations and says she covers a secret door. He also says she is covered by several strong abjurations and another aura he cannot discern. Malperder tries to push her off the bier because Keddick says there is a way to open the bier under her. Malperder’s hands stop short of her blocked by some invisible force. He feels his natural 20 Will Save fall into place and withdraws. Keddick tries to poke at her with a ten foot pole and also makes his natural 20 Will Save. He stops to contemplate the magic that tried to take him (Spellcraft next time first thing).

Scrying on Ithran, a new companion, and a ride north

Play date: 5/12/2009 

1533.1.5

Keddick and Varende head to The Dwarven Camp in search of Banic to heal Keddick from the raw blast of energy that struck him in the street. Failing to find him there, they return to The Long Road and find Jack, Malperder and Banic drinking at a table. Keddick requests healing and Banic lays hands on him. All save Malperder notice a tall, thin, muscular man with dark hair and a two-handed sword watching them from across the common room. Keddick approaches the bar under cover of more drinks and inquires with Geoffrey as to the man’s name. The barkeep reveals his name is Serk and he has been staying at The Long Road for quite some time. Keddick returns with drinks for the table and after a minute or two  Jack calls out an invitation for the man to join them. He seems excited to be asked. He introduces himself and seems to know everyone else’s name already (dragon slaying is full of notoriety). He says he is from the border of the Grey Marshes. When asked about Lizardmen, he replies in Draconic to Keddick that he has met a few in passing in the marshes. He also knows of a black dragon deep in the swamp. After hours, Serk moves off with promises of sparring with Banic in the morning. After Serk leaves, Varende asks if he intends to scry on the dark-haired woman. Keddick says he will do so tomorrow.

1533.1.6 – Scrying on Ithran and Training

The next day, sparring occurs in the morning. Serk proves himself to both Banic and Malperder. Eventually Jack wants a piece of him too. Serk is happy to oblige one and all. At four in the afternoon, Varende arrives at The Lucky Silver to call on Keddick. Keddick is preparing to scry. Varende enjoys some refreshment while Keddick  spies on the dark-haired woman. He watches her sitting in a chair by a shuttered window watching out it. She is quite relaxed. A man lies face-down on the floor behind the chair. A pool of dark liquid spreads out around her body and a smear of something dark is across his back. The man is fortyish, but Keddick can’t see his face. The house appears to be “middle class”, perhaps similar to Varende’s house, but there are no distinguishing architectural features that point out the location of the house she is in. Keddick relays it all to Varende and voices his intention to go to Malverin to ask if there are any missing older men. Varende convinces him it might be a sticky situation.

Back at The Long Road, the four there are met by a messenger of the Crown who asks them to come meet with the King. He even has a drawing of Serk. On the way to the palace, Varende sees his friends and the messenger says he is asked to come as well. Keddick has received a Sending from Attalus asking him to come to the palace.

All arrive at the palace and are conducted by Enon, a Lower Chatelaine, into a room with a polished oak table. Clove-studded citrus sent the room; bowls of apples and flagons of drink line the table. Enon says the King will come shortly. Enon leaves and returns a bit later with King William. Everyone wisely shows proper deference to His Majesty. He seats himself in the big chair and Enon pours wine for him. He tells you that Lord Plythe has sent his second son Andrew to request help of the Crown. Some creatures have slaughtered sheep, recently two shepherds, and finally a contingent of ten common soldiers sent to deal with the beasts once a tracker had followed their trail back to a cave. The soldiers were killed to a man. A surviving shepherd saw them by dim moonlight and described them as the size of children (four feet tall), but stunningly muscular. They carried off the two shepherds and entire ewes. The tracker made his escape once he realized all the soldiers were dead. Andrew Plythe, a young man perhaps 20 to 24 enters, and supports what the King has said. The King says his advisors believe you are equal to the job. He tells you he wants you to take care of it. He says Serk has been chosen for his wilderness skills. He also reveals Kordis is busy training warmages at the Wizards Guild. William says horses will be provided for you for the ride north, and he wishes you to leave in the early morning. Everyone seems to agree, and Varende checks with Enon if there will be reward. Enon replies that they will do as the King asks out of generousity.

Everyone scatters home. After Varende arrives home, within a few minutes a knock comes at the door. He asks who it is. “Ithran” (the dark-haired woman). He finally opens the door and she asks to enter. She tells him in no uncertain terms to quit following her and asking questions about her. Varende tries to bluff his way out saying he has not done so. She does not believe him and asks if she should list the people he has talked to. She leaves with a final “Leave me alone.”

1533.1.7 – Headed to the Northern Border

Everyone meets at the palace early in the morning and mounts up to head north. Andrew has a group of four soldier with him also mounted. The eleven of you ride north hard and arrive at Plythe’s northern castle before lunch. Andrew conducts you inside as the soldiers take the horses. You briefly meet his father who thanks you for coming. He offers you refreshment and a meal, and he suggests you head north with the trackers as soon as possible. It took some convincing to get the tracker to take you back, but he has agree, though he will go no further than he has to. After a meal, Andrew says something about getting going. Keddick questions him and says he didn’t realize he was coming. Andrew boastfully says of course. There is talk of making him spar with Serk; apparently sparring is the new hazing ritual. He finally says yes after pleading to Keddick about the plight of the second son of a noble and how Kehln gets all the glory. He returns girded in full plate and with a spiked heavy shield. He draws his longsword and circles with Serk. He can clearly handle the blade, but not as well as Serk. His armor is much better than Serk’s though. After they finish, Serk apologizes for having subjected him to such a test.

The group heads north for a couple of hours into the edge of the foothills. Eventually the guide says “Just over this rise, a few hundred feet,  you’ll see it.” Keddick makes Varende invisible as Banic forges a telepathic link with him. Varende moves ahead to scout. He see the low wide entrance to the cave and approaches quietly. As he gets within thirty feet, he can smell a foul stench. Within five, his stomach lurches but he keeps himself in control. He enters the cave and can see one wee beast, naked and completely androgynous, looking at the cave entrance seemingly alert. Five others are scattered about the approximately twenty-five foot wide cave. The roof slants up a bit to make walking not quite so uncomfortable. Varende again fights off the effects of the stench of decaying flesh. Bones and offal are scattered across the floor. Varende leaves the cave and moves back to his companion. Everyone hopes to draw the creatures out by marching loudly up to the cave. Even as they approach the actual entrance, nothing sallies forth. Banic and Malperder enter, neither getting sick. As the battle ensues, some become sickened, but only Varende is fully laid low with nausea. He backs out of the cave and gets control of himself in 20 or 30 seconds while a fierce battle rages in the cave. Banic and Serk both get terrible wounds when the things strike with both claws. There are eight in all. They have a nasty bite as well. Keddick and  Banic both discover that they are resistant to their spells, but only mildly. Giant Bane screams out to Malperder to swear as he first attacks. Surprised, Malperder does. Banic and Malperder notice that despite their diminutive size, they move and fight very similar to giants. Everyone eventually notices their wounds closing as they fight. They are ferocious and inflict many wounds with only Keddick and Varende going unscathed. Keddick teleports himself, Serk and Andrew into the cave. When he does so, he notices an imposing 10 foot wide metal door across the back of the cave before continuing the fight. Eventually all the creatures fall, but blood flowed freely on both sides.

Seeking Barnim’s Killer

Over the next couple of days, Varende joins the Adventurer’s Guild run by Kaln Hannon. He inquires after the dark-haried Elven featured woman who may have been involved in Barnim’s death. He believes Kaln is holding something back. On the 2nd, Jack fights in the first part of the light weapons competition. Malperder and Banic spot a woman fitting the description of Barnim’s possible killer. They see her name is listed as Ithran. Eventually Varende goes to the Inn in Malverin pursuing information about her. He believes her name to be Dorian. He finds out little. Meanwhile Keddick has the door of his room at The Lucky Silver explode in fire. He magically protects himself and when Kendall comes running dismisses the spells. Kendall tells him there is a small box downstairs for him. It isn’t remarkable, and Keddick opens it to again be blown up. Del’s body is within, well-preserved but obviously dead. Keddick and Varende ride to the estate of Lord Kendall to inquire after goblins with a green dragon emblem. They offer a tracker Kendall brings in 100 crowns for a live goblin and more than that (300 I believe) for a live goblin with the green dragon emblem tattoed on his body.

On the 3rd, Jack meets Ithran in the finals of the light weapons competition. She is carrying a rapier and Malperder suggests he try to look for Barnim’s mark on the blade. As the beginning of the event, Jack approaches her and they switch blades in an honorable gesture. She fights extremely well, but Jack is getting the better of her. She eventually faints and sends Jack’s own blade through his thigh. She stops immediately and apologizes, but it appears it was a purposeful move to some of the party. Varende sits with Kaln in one of the four sets of bleachers set up for the well-heeled to watch the tournaement. Varende probes about Ithran. He admits she is part of the Guild. Jack prevails and is declared winner. Ithran is joined by two warriors (by appearances) and they leave the field. Varende follows on to the Malverin tavern eventually and tries to find information about her. Eventually she leaves quite drunk. He follows her home, marks the house, and then goes to the alley. He climbs up to the 3rd story and looks in the window. He enters carefully and starts rummaging through a chest next to the sleeping Ithran. He hears footsteps coming up the stairs and skeedadles out the window and away. In later discussions, Keddick suggests returning for a personal garment to spy on Dorian with. The next day Varende does just that while invisible. When he opens the chest, webs cover the room. He sees a man across the attic attacking him. He runs for the window and escapes with only a little damage. Outside on the street, he stops by Keddick. Keddicks asks if he should make him visible and Varende says no. Keddick receives a blast of magic hurting him badly. He yells for Varende to touch him and teleports them away.