Personality: Amused, curious
Physical Description: 5’6" (tall for elves; medium in world), deep blue complexion with dark hair, silver eyes
Languages: Elven, Common, Draconic
Weapon: Medium Longsword
Although raised with traditional Elven values, Sadron Galanodel at a young age learned of his god Obad-Hai; associating his gut instinct and natural curiosity as tools used directly by Obad-Hai to direct him toward favorable, sometimes humorous, results – much to his amusement. To this end, Sadron never developed a true respect for authority, and lacked trust in society as a whole, as he has always been certain his god is the supreme deity who has chosen him as a unique follower. Sadron would regularly retreat into the less-populous areas of the woodlands, lulled into security by the winds whispering through the canopy. There in the rustling trees Sadron would warm chilled hands over a small flame as he thought; daydreaming that he could hold the fire without consequence – how sly that would be!
He has rarely been thought of as unkind, however his general neutrality has led many to question if his kindness and light-hearted mentality is often a façade for personal gain or to further his own agenda. This uncertainty stems from an ultimate preference of Sadron for his own company (and that of Obad-Hai with him) mixed with a nearly carefree demeanor that finds him smiling to himself; making others unsure of what may actually be processing in his mind at any given time. Due to his confidence in his own free lifestyle, and self-assuredness as a cleric with Obad-Hai at his back at all times, Sadron makes a point protecting others following a will of their own, even if it may not align with his.
Waiting until exactly his 100th name day, Sadron Galondel deems himself an Elven adult. No longer bound as a child in his woodland culture, he sets off to follow his wanderlust as he so feels compelled by Obad-Hai. Sadron dons his cleric’s vestments, throws over it his armor, and straps on his sword. As he packs his brilliant silver symbol of Obad-Hai, he feels a fireball explode in his stomach. “Obad.” Our hero grins and pulls up his hood, sauntering into the midnight breeze.
Leaving the Fort
I write as we ride north. After this latest ordeal, I’ve decided it’s time I keep a journal of my adventures alongside Obad-Hai.
A week or so ago I happened upon a group of travelers near a mysterious cave mouth in the woods. They seemed capable enough, aside from the Elven bard who continually boasted of becoming a living legend and offers to sing our accolades to the world in the form of limericks that would outlive our gods. As a collective whole, the group seemed to possess intriguing knowledge and were intently on some trail that led us to explore the cave together with a mutual yearning for answers. We encountered an unfriendly force and it became apparent that the weakling straggler had led the travelling group into a supernatural trap. Within the chaotic darkness we found our only sanity in the dwarf’s shield-banging until a bright flash brought the room back to life. I wasn’t going to waste this opportunity – I slayed the creature in one quick motion. The back-stabber was next slain after an evil little girl vanished in wild laughter. I was hooked.
I returned to an inn at Keen Crag with this group, feeling a bond not only from the encounter but also in my gut telling me this team could uncover vast secrets I alone may not. A short time after arriving, the most beautiful woman caught my eye. She was smiling my way. I felt compelled to learn all of her secrets. Conversation seemed to go wonderfully as we toasted to adventure. Just as I wanted to ask her to join our group, or more preferably allow me to join her alone, she quickly set to retire for the evening. I would see her on the morrow to follow up, surely. She was amazing from everything I could tell.
As I returned to the large table of new-found adventurers, I asked for a room for the night. Reaching for my coin purse – it was gone! I must have carelessly tied it and lost from my belt. That…wonderful woman… likely picked it up thinking it was left behind by another. Unfortunately, she was nowhere to be seen by this time and the waitress denied that the woman had a room here. I did not even get her name! How will I find her again? I’m certain our paths will cross once more, and I pray to Obad-Hai he allows me to recognize her when we do. I hope she’s not a werewolf.
It would be difficult to peel myself away from this group to search for her, particularly without dispelling that evil cult of Nhilos which attempted to take us all. The innkeeper here has been friendly and seems trusted by these travelers I’ve joined – may as well play nice, and I sense he’s rather knowledgeable regarding secrets of this world; he may certainly be a werewolf. The man’s name is Stanick Osborn. Stanick told us of a friend named Kirin who may help make sense of the rantings. We set off in search.
We found Kirin’s home recently torn apart. It looked like quite the struggle. A ranger we came across in the woodlands used his tracking abilities to determine the path on which she was taken. Still alive. The path wasn’t easy but we all made it through and to Fort Gallant, where we heard the bandits we were after may be found. A fort of thieves. We were interrogated to gain entry, and it cost some pretty coin as well. There were no other options at that point.
The Fort is a grim place, and not one for a lone or weary traveler. We posted up in an old ale house and rented the entire cellar of rotting cots as a means of feigned security. Shifty eyes and prying ears were prevalent. Not always practicing the upmost caution, we attempted to learn of our surroundings and rumors to chase. Jericho, King of Thieves, caught our scent and not-so-kindly requested we give him audience. He knew of Kirin.
In exchange for information on Kirin, we had little choice but to accept an errand on behalf of the King. He wanted a gem. We had little opportunity to ask questions and found ourselves through a labyrinth back in the middle of the Fort. This trail took us to a sturdy building with one door. A rogue we met with the night prior stealthily scaled the structure and peered through the thatched roof. The gnome changed his appearance and negotiated entry. As with our adventures to this point, the scenario quickly turned to outright battle for life. With no choice other than continue, we entered a basement throne whereupon sat a smirking fool that could only be our target. He sent rank after rank but it could not stop us from gutting him and finding a giant emerald inside. In searching the area, I found some loot I traded for the ranger’s masterworks artisan’s tools, and also discovered a full plate suit of armor that was my size! Begrudgingly, I spent my remaining gold to have the local armorer custom-fit the piece and proceeded unadorned to return the jewel to Jericho.
Jericho knocked-out and jailed us for murder without a writ! We should have expected a catch to the deal with a self-proclaimed King of Thieves. Upon waking, I cursed the name of said ‘King’ then I prayed; I felt powerless in my cell with none of my belongings. A cell which I shared with the damn bard. Luckily he wasn’t in much of a mood to sing. That evening, the two of us were dragged out of our cells into a gauntlet with instructions to fight.
The loud-mouth that has few words but to beg for my divine, healing touch.
Maybe if he had a god of his own he wouldn’t be so needy.
Maybe if he had any intelligence he wouldn’t always be so wounded.
Maybe he had a chance to beat me if I was blindfolded with my hands tied. Alas, I was not.
I was taking in the environment while the foolish warden yapped about this or that. Was there any way to escape? Even if I successfully could use magic out here I would have no chance along against this number with no armor or weapons. Fireworks went off in my mind as my eyes instinctively flashed closed and a bolt of lightning shot through my jaw.
The bastard sucker punched me!
No more time to think, I focused on the foolish elf and dropped him to his ass. The warden no sooner congratulated me for the show than bludgeoned me in the face with a sap. I awoke again back in my cell with shit-for-brains. He must assuredly have learned his lesson so I was not inclined to watch for retribution. Maybe he’ll think twice before jawing more. I doubt he’ll ever stop getting himself beat.
We remained for a few days, all the while hearing vaguely recognizable screams from within the prison distant. The next fight for the guards’ pleasure was between the dwarf and gnome during which it seems the dwarf unsuccessfully tried to be a hero for all of us. After that, it was the ranger and Kirin. There were shouts of excitement sporadically echoing through the halls from the crowd of guards who must have been watching. Next thing I know the pair return and broke us out after downing their guards outside the cells.
There was one direction to go. We found chests that contained our unprocessed belongings. It looks like we just made it out in time to be able to retrieve. We continue along and suddenly came across the warden with a group of guards and a famished man handing from chains. A heartbeat later and our entire group was encompassed in bloodlust. Half a dozen more heartbeats and the sorcery slowly evaporated to reveal the bodies of all on the ground aside from our unscathed group. As the adrenaline settled, we were able to make out that this famished man was the scallywag rogue and I was able to match his face in my mind to the shouts we had been hearing for days. What did they think he knew?
Kirin picked a safe as I retraced our steps to retrieve Son’s gear. Inside she found a map of the world! How valuable this could be to us. It was so much more detailed than anything I’ve previously made, or seen for that matter!
We couldn’t leave the rogue like this. He was one of us now. After re-fitting the gear on his near-lifeless body, Thrash and Garil carried his dead weight between them. We continued our escape.
We hardly had time to realize it was the King of Thieves sleeping in the room ahead of us before Kirin was atop the man slicing his throat while his eyes stirred to reality. I can’t say that I would have done any different had she not had a step on me. Probably nothing more than pretty trinkets, Jericho was a king no more, so I relieved him of his crown and rings. There was an apparent double-agent in the tiefling, and he requested the gem for the church. We relinquished our once-again-found emerald reluctantly, for the good of the land. We will find our way to Aleford to follow up on that evolving mystery soon enough. For now, we have to get out of here before we’re caught!
Running through to the edge of town, it was just before dawn and the city was quiet. Kirin was with us and the group agreed to stop on the way past the armorer. To my best fortune thank you, Obad-Hai the light was on in Griffon’s and Riffolk scurried us inside. His armor fit me perfectly, and the kind Halfling refused any more coin than our previously agreed service fee, although I was late for the pickup. Wonderful!
We still have to get out of here. The Fort was awakening as we approached the gate and the dwarf threw a bribe to ensure rapid exit. We ride now to let Fort Gallant come to terms with itself as news of Jericho’s demise spreads. There was a time where I did not expect to taste free air again and I thought my holy relic was lost. There was a time when I thought my story is meaningless to any aside from myself. Now it occurs to me that perhaps there is more to this journey of mine than a stroll through the woods with Obad-Hai, and it falls to me to tell the story he has scripted before me.
To the North
We ride for a long while without looking back. Everyone in the party who’s conscious seems just barely so. As we’re trotting through the woods, my horse rears up before I could react and I tumble to the ground in a loud CLANK. I gather myself to my feet and the dwarf was already coming to me with an extra horse that was intended for the unconscious Son. I mount up and we all proceed as normal once more.
It didn’t take long for all the horses to get spooked again. I guess the silver lining is this time I wasn’t the only one tossed.
Said silver lining vanishes as I realize we are down to one horse for our large party.
I use this time to pray while Thrash makeshifts a stretcher from our available supplies. Once set, we load Son onto the stretcher and four of us carry as we continue toward a rest area Kirin had mentioned.
We arrive in a clearing. Still exhausted and beat-up, we certainly had our survival instincts in a fog. I try to take in the situation. Kirin takes some initiative and sends Garil for wood as she sets an area for the fire.
My wrist hurts. I can’t tell of anything going on – I probably need rest.
We nestle in around the fire and I look over to see a grey wolf confidently approach Thrash with what appear to be fresh kills. The ranger introduces his companion to the group. I think everyone is more content to be eating than nervous about the beast. Suits me fine.
Twigs snap and I swing around the other way to see a figure in tattered clothes fall through the bushes and onto the ground near the fire. I just stare; speechless.
Some chatter picks up and it seems that a few in the group recognize the figure. A moment later I’m being told about Safeir, a respectable cleric the adventurers met prior to crossing my path.
He’s simply delirious. He keeps shouting like a man given in to addiction with no comprehension of the day or, more importantly, his state. Rattled, the group slowly tends to him and gets him a blanket by the fire. He put down some food and it came back up black, but he’s getting the nutrients he’s desperately been needing.
Brotrillisk gave me the decency of helping me take of my armor for rest. Maybe we are becoming friends, not that it makes a particular difference. He has a direction of his own. I respect his reservations.
I felt as though I had just fallen asleep when I was startled awake. In all the commotion I attempted to don my own armor. Safeir was making agonizing sounds as hair was raising from beneath his skin.
He was growing! I couldn’t get my armor on fast enough. Are you kidding me?? This group already KNEW a werewolf??
Thrash somehow cast a large net of one shrubbery over the area, entangling the werewolf and ourselves. Fortunately for us, Safeir appeared just as confused as we were. In attempts to knock him out, the beast seemed unaffected.
I’m still trying to get my armor on and my body moving freely from this bush.
A cloud passes over the moonlight. Safeir collapses in exhaustion as he returns to normal. Kirin made a swift move to blindfold him.
My armor is finally on.
We use our formidable stretcher now to carry Safeir instead of Son. He seems more far-gone than Son ever was. I’m uncertain about the trust and faith this group has put in the confused cler-wolf, however they are set in their ways of helping him.
Back on the path for a while, Thrash’s wolf returns and I can see unease in the ranger’s eyes. He looks around cautiously and warns us to get ready for something big.
Son advises we all take cover in strategic positions. We hardly have time to hide when we feel the earth trembling and a troll comes into view. It knows we’re here.
I summoned a celestial dog and threw fireballs from a distance just as fast as I could. He didn’t like the fire. The melee fighters got in close while my celestial dog flanked. Thrash and Son were attacking from the treetops. Fortunately, the troll had an arrow in one eye and was blinded by Glim in the other. After a minute of chaos, the troll was twitching on the ground. I throw one last fireball at it then collect some loots.
It’s about time to pray, and rest. I heal those I can with the divine power left coursing through me before I pray.
We set off again at a strong pace and covered a sizable chunk of ground. Another warning.
A two-headed creature was having a self-conversation until it stumbled upon us. Garil went in first for a headlock and was immediately struggling for air as the creature countered and began crushing him into the ground. I don’t know what’s happening. What is this thing?!
I throw fireballs. Another sudden eruption of battle as Safeir is attempting to speak his language to the creature. The creature seems unphased, so I throw more fire. I’m not about to get killed here.
After finishing off the two-headed being, I begin to wonder whether we could benefit more from avoiding – or even trying to understand – the creatures that cross our path. The thought quickly passes as I reflect on my own mortality. Really, I just want to know what it was talking to itself about. Intriguing…
The rest was much needed, that I’m sure of. I’m less certain anyone actually reflected on our most recent encounters. Oh well; I’m happy for some good meat to fill my belly for what I hope will be the last leg to Aelford .
Reaching near the edge of the woods, I can see something far in the distance near the shoreline. Gagging. I don’t want to look in that direction or get any closer. Obad bless me! I feel like a choir boy. Fortunately, the group collectively forgoes the opportunity for a new accolade of shitting our pants, and we forge our path a long way around that B.
Aelford towers YUGE on the horizon! Bigly.
The dwarf had been exposed to nature for far too long and doesn’t hesitate to bribe the first guard he sees to allow passage through the gates. Raising his eyebrows, the guard accepts without a word. The rest of the party nods curtly we stroll passed without providing a charity ‘toll’ for entry.
Kirin is obviously familiar with this place, but she’s not not much help when I inquire for services. There’s a festival of some sort and giant parade. Kirin, in her special silent way, urges us to follow or get lost, and we all manage to keep up to enter The Hearth and The Harlot.
I saunter through the establishment with an ear open for rumor. “…feud will be amazing…” “…good odds on new contenders…” "…Lady Grey‘s probably usual thing…" There’s a big boar being finalized for tonight’s feast.
Back at the table, I ask Claire about the gentlemen discussing bets. They are legit, however they’re possibly desperate. She adds that they like their perry.
As some party members are attempting to flaunt their drinking aptitude, I see half the bar ignoring the ruckus caused by this; instead peering at a man enter and walk to a table in the corner. A waitress is providing service before he’s finished seating himself.
I motion for Lynn, an exclusive barmaid. “Who is he?” Ivar is a local master-works armorer. I’ll have to acquaint myself. Continuing with Lynn, “Alder is eight-time champion of the feud.” “How might one match with him?” “Nobody can influence matchups.” “How does one enter the feud?” Newcomers lacking notoriety in the event require a writ from Deacon Orrin.The Stone." I overhear from the game that a man named
My attention is drawn to Mezla taking the stage with a performance. He didn’t hold it for long. I ask Lynn about Lady Grey. She is anticipated to be at her estate, Nightingale Flat, 30 minutes after the show.
Music ceases, and there is a brief hesitation before a burst of applause from the crowd. I see Alder leading this charge with a standing ovation. He must be dull. Once Mezla finds his way back to the table, I tell the foolish danger-seeker of the information I gleaned off Lynn, as well as Alder’s appreciate for the bard’s finer arts. As Mezla decides to approach the big oaf, I take the halfling and ranger into my company on a mission seeking Lady Grey.
Lady Grey was endearing, and very generous once she saw my holy symbol for Obad Hai. As a devout follower herself, she was happy to offer up her flat complete with 8 private rooms and servant named Jeeves. We pay 100gp on the spot for the duration of our stay – seven days following the feud; 10 in total. Feud starts in 3 days. As part of our price, we will receive timely meals from Jeeves, the faithful estate servant of 15 years.
Useful amenities are that the Nightingale Flat resides in the Foreign Quarter, which leads to the Merchant District. The temple district can provide specialized goods and services.
Myself still in awe for the immediate and great hospitality shown by Lady Grey, she recommends that this is a time for giving and charity. Although she is not fond of the games herself, she does understand and respect the tradition they carry in town.
Returning to the Hearth and Harlot, we share our news of good fortune to the remainder of the party. As it turns out, Alder defeated Hextor’s Chosen to initially take his crown. He has faced up to three warriors in one day, however none have been worthy to take his seat.
We decide to head back to the estate to drop our things and settle in. Jeeves answers my knock. We are notified that all doors have a lock, and Jeeves provided an estate key which Glim rapidly snatched for himself. Standard eating times are 8am for breakfast and 6pm for dinner, with options for lunch.
I perused the library and some books on Obad-Hai. No immediate enlightenment.
In the safety of this estate, I deem it safe to sleep without my armor on. In the morning I don it as best as I can manage, head to breakfast, and have Glim hop on a step-stool to snug the straps. We have two days until the feud. Nine days left in our stay at the estate.
We head to the Temple of Pelor. A thick, barred door is well-guarded. We request audience with the Deacon, wait, and are escorted inside to catch the Deacon with his few free minutes.
Garil doesn’t waste a breath before asking about Nhilos. I like this gut-instinct approach, and I feel compelled to side with the dwarf when he acts with such bold assertiveness. I stifle a laugh at the thought of the Deacon being nonplussed by this bombardment. Good thing too, as the conversation immediately takes a grave tone.
Reviewing the notes in our possession, the Deacon gets a distant look. This is serious business. He tells us that Nhilos was a man in search of omnipotence. These scribblings…they appear as though his soul has lingered and now found a vessel. Lol. He thinks he’s Obad.
The Deacon calls in Rynn and Kirin. They were in cahoots this whole time. The eye was the missing Eye of Pelor, which left a gaping hole for 20 years in the giant gold statue. There is a prophecy which speaks of eight to dismember the soul of the Dark One (Nhilos). Unfortunately, the Deacon only sees seven of us and he loses the optimistic glint in his eyes. We grab Son from outside.
Softness returning to his emotions, the Deacon asks us to meet at midnight to perform a test. This can grant us the writ to fight, which we have also sought after.
Before our departure from the Deacon‘s office, he notices that Safeir’s tattoo has faded. The Deacon tells us the cycle may not be tied to the moon, and the star will point to the victim who’s heart MUST be devoured; a faded tattoo means we may be able to remove it before the next turning. Whatever works. We leave the hardly-coherent elf in someone else’s hands; ridding ourselves of the problem.
An acolyte walks us out through the cathedral, where we see an immense, gilded statue of Pelor with large gems for eyes. I recall my knowledge of this religion – Pelor’s warriors carry the mace, and this god is known for good, healing, strength, and the Order of the Sun.
Outside the temple, I’m ready to head for Merchant’s Row and Craftsman District to check out local crafts when a new stranger stumbles into our path shouting familiarity toward our little Glim. It seems we’ve already lost the untoward dragon man again. This new weasly-looking fella has an air of secrecy although he’s particularly adamant in regards to his past with the gnome.
The Deacon makes haste passed us to meet the stranger, greeting him as “Leo’nel”.
It seems we are on related business. Leo’nel has the same midnight appointment, and has just shown up to the city himself, so he decides to kill the day acquainting with the crew. Awesome. Another one.
I found Ivar at the Dragon’s Arse(nal) – a place filled with elf-wrought wooden shelves and floating moats of prismatic light. Ivan trains everyone that is working in the place, however he doesn’t really work during the festival. The worst items in the place seem to still be masterworks. I haven’t decided on a new weapon just yet, however he asked me to return after the festival regarding a potential apprenticeship to learn the ways on my own.
With my errand to meet Ivan complete, I decide to stick with Leo’nel and head back to the Temple District for my daily prayer while he meets with the Deacon.
After my prayer, I hopped over to the Temple of Baccob to inquire about this bracelet which is still strangling my left wrist. The thing is cursed! Seriously. It’s a constriction bracelet that can be removed for 10gp. I throw him 15. Ohhhhhhh my! The smell is worse than look of that ring it left! Fortunately, I’m given a salve to heal the festering skin. It’ll certainly leave a mark.
I bump back into Leo’nel and we go meet the group in a large square in the foreign quarter. This might be simply termed “The Square”. As we discuss our next move, we hear a shout and peer over to see a naked woman hanging from the second floor of a nearby building. I’m watching curiously as Glim enters an immediate panic demanding we help the damsel. Suddenly Leo’nel is stepping toward the building as his entire figure grows at scale.
The woman drops down. Leo’nel is clumsy and basically throws her onto me. Tittays…on ma face!… As I’m wrapping my mind around these supple breasts, Lady Grey rolls up in a carriage – horror-stricken – and plays through. She pissed, and I’m about to black out I’m so rattled.
Thrash gives the naked woman a cloak to wrap up in while Lady Grey goes on some tirade about decency. Awkward situation short, Glim grudgingly returns the estate key so that the stubborn Lady Grey does not have to admit association with our improprieties. Homeless again. I bet Jeeves knows some interesting ish
The fine (no longer) naked woman offers to answer all of our questions over a drink and a meal at the Fat Minstrel, as thanks.
Some chatter around the bar swirled rumors toward our table. Arlor, the owner of the Fat Minstrel, stops by and I order up some warm deer. Son tells us about a daily job board in The Squarem and I warned the party to be wary of wearing accessories without knowing their potential effects first.
Dion, the now-dressed woman, sits with us and provides her name. Her half-orc suitor apparently doesn’t know when to quit with her mm.. titties and she had to flee out the window until he calmed. Now seemingly calmed, a half-orc approaches Dion with a kiss; whispering in her ear. The man’s name is Tusk.
Grateful, Tusk pulls out a deck of cards – calling it a Deck of Many Things, which he discovered in an apothecary shop. He says the owner can say the number they wish to take, and the deck will abide; providing cards one at a time to be returned prior to the next being taken. All are to be taken within an hour. The owner only receives one opportunity to draw, per deck.
Tusk claims he has already drawn from the deck and taken a new direction in his life. He used to be a terrible man, and is now a gentle, potentially over-intimate, musician.
Still uncertain as to what exactly this deck claims to provide, I see Mezla dart out his hand to the deck and shout that he wants five. Right then and there. FIVE!
1) Sun – a book appears. Manual of Gainful Exercise. The bard seems beefy and confident.
2) Visier – divine answer to any query
3) Strength – will saves +4
4) Ruin – everything on the bard vanishes, with exception to a few magical instruments. Naked as the day he was born. Wtf is happening.
5) Visier, again.
Mezla hastily covers himself with Glim’s bear cloak, begs for a handful of coin, and sprints off toward Merchant Row.
With all of the commotion, we set off for the Crimson Pipe as we watch Mezla disappear into the distance, still drawing looks. Just then we notice the job board. Being near day’s end, only remnants of parchment remain.
The Crimson Pipe has four rooms; a nominal increase from the two luxurious rooms available at the Fat Minstrel, at a cost in quality. I went back to the Fat Minstrel to book my 2gp/night stay, where things felt more homely to me.
The rest of the crew reconvene downstairs in time for Tusk’s performance. The event sold out, however he asked us personally to attend. It was a short, somewhat strange show put on by the talented half-orc. The music… it resonated with me.
As the show ends I’m in a stupor. Mind calmed and spirit at ease, I didn’t even think to detect magic in his words.
We put back a few more rounds to kill time until our midnight rendezvous. Mild impairment shouldn’t stop us from passing this ‘test’.
An acolyte lets us in the Temple of Pelor as the clock strikes twleve.
Trial of the Century
We are brought to wait in the Cathedral for Deacon Orrin. Is this the test? It’s so quiet…
A glowing in the distance, and two sets of feet, approach. It’s an acolyte at the side of Safeir. The cure attempt cannot be administered until another turning occurs.
The Deacon shows up in what must be his most grandiose vestments. Where did he come from? He describes the power of Nhilos as being drawn from souls; the first of which was his own.
I notice a hand motion and quiet utterance from the holy figure right before a stairway suddenly appeared at the base of Pelor’s statue. We enter.
The staircase is deep. It’s getting rather balmy as we continue along. I can feel magical sources pinging all around us.
We enter a giant circular space off the final step. The place seems huge, with a faint glow appearing to come from far above the rising steam. A pedestal sits surrounded by nine seats.
A bright red, folded cloth is brought in encompassing a small pipe. An acolyte opens a black leather pouch. With a puzzled look, the Deacon turns to Leo’nel and asks him about Griffon Feather.
Leo’nel confidently notes that the herb is instead Sphinx Feather, with it’s pristine white coloring. It is said to provide mental clarity, although it may carry negative consequences. Maybe to those weak of mind It’s to be smoked for effects, and the Deacon expects all of us to partake on this spiritual journey.
I hardly know what’s happening, but that’s nothing new. This… herb… is clearly not prevalent. I start thinking of sphinxes. I don’t know what sphinx feather is, this is an herb. Sphinxes are wise and enigmatic creatures, so that must be how this herb derived such a name. I may never meet another being who has even seen, let alone experienced, this stuff…
The group is asked to disrobe and sit. The stone chair is warm. This whole place has seemed to be warming up. What magic and works are at play here? How many have known of the existence of this place? Of this ritual? What a wondrous secret this must be!
The smoke is concentrated and hot as it flows through my system. Garil blow smoke rings off his exhale from the pipe. Ha! No conceit there… As the pipe is handed to Safeir, the acolyte at his side is visibly uncomfortable with the idea. Protesting was cut off by an immediate backhand from the Deacon. It’s getting so hot…
My heart rate is increasing. I listen more intently. I hear breathing. Dripping.
Dripping… what is that??? What is this feeling I’m trying to embrace?…
Breathing. Around me. Where around me? It envelopes me.
I know what this is – it’s Obad-Hai. I knew he was with me
Obad tells me that trust can only be received from those to whom it has been given. He made me feel more secure that these adventurers I am with are greater than normal beings; whether divine in their own right or additional tools of Obad. They warrant my trust. Obad wishes for me to be such a tool, a proposition with which I am overly willing to cooperate. I must stay inquisitive and trust in my ultimate divine purpose.
A burning in my chest. It feels like hot, then cold, iron pressing through from the inside. I can see a scar forming in that place on my skin.
Coming out of my daze, Garil is weeping at my side. Weeping?! I tilt my attention passed him toward Mezla‘s feeble figure announcing that the muses told him he’s the man. Of course they did. A spiritual journey into his ego. What else could he have experienced?
Looking to create a trust bond with the group, I told them that I have the ability to assist with sealed doorways that may cross our path.
Thrash helps me cinch up my armor straps while the others are making final adjustments to their gear. I ask the Deacon what he knows of the experiences we just had – he knows not what we are to do, but he is quick to confirm the divinity surrounding this event. Trial success
Providing me a writ to enter the feud, with a few of the others, the Deacon informed us that strong magical barriers are generated for the feud arena, and unsuccessful bouts will not result in any participants perishing.
In the fight against Nhilos, the Deacon will provide any support he is able from his position in the Temple of Pelor. Messages will be sent via Citadel Sendings; we will hear his voice to know the message is from him personally.
Leaving the Temple of Pelor, we swing by the Temple of Baccob to find that elders will be available after the festival when events aren’t so busy. I went back to Ivar’s and purchased a beautiful masterworks longsword from his collection; trading in my old iron.
After a prayer, I returned with the group to the job board. A posting about nightmares and demons stuck out to us, so we went to inquire at The Crimson Pipe. Next I know, Thrash has struck a deal with a witch and took a bag of coin. Tossing me some coin, he explained that we are going to kill a vampire queen after the festival and receive more coin upon completion. Okay.
Glim learned of ‘the brothers’ at the wharf who take feud bets. We do have this wonderful new coin, after all.
At the docks, I overheard a mention of brothers so I ask if they may be the same we are searching for. The guy takes us to a shop with a very ornate sign, and enters. We stand outside but I’m sure this is the place. I feel right about it. Glim entered.
It feels like the next moment and we were at the docks once more to pick up cargo from a quarantined ship to gain the brothers’ trust. I guess that was them I gaze about as the ranger goes throwing dice with a guard. Sounds like they’re having quite the time.
A few minutes later, I’m being pulled down a dock and the guard is walking the other direction. I didn’t bother looking for any prying eyes; simply gathered up a keg and walked in the straightest line back to the brothers’ shop. Naturally, a couple others struggled doing the same.
At this point the brothers are willing to take any action from us. I use 110GP to place a 100GP 1:1 bet on Garil to win the first round, then decide to retire for the evening.
I go to grab the journal from my pack and pull out this book. I don’t understand why so many pages are skipped. Paper is a precious resource and there are only so many pages in here. Chaos. Perhaps my entry will set things right in this journal once more.
The sun is up. It’s around 7am on feud day!
I’ve never been in a melee fight, except that time I dropped Mezla for sucker-punching me. That was too easy though.
The Colosseum should be a sight to see. Possibly the only thing worthwhile beyond the temples in this prison called a city. I’ll have to find a place to drop my first message… maybe with Jeeves if the Colosseum doesn’t pan out.
I join Mezla heading down the stairs. Arlor is playing with his rapier cutlass in a manner that strikes me as odd. I ask him of the steel’s name, and why he put it down. “Steel never lets you down.” He says it’s named Hruntink.
Mezla asks where the entrance to the Colosseum is, and I hear it’s behind the temple of Pelor.
As I finish my beer, I set the folded note under my mug and walk out. Nobody seems to have noticed.
Walking through the square toward the job board, I hear a shout , bordering on a shriek, coming from the Crimson Pipe. Mezla joins as I head that way.
Glim says Son was totally fine this morning. We went to check on him.
At his room, Son tells Glim he tried to pee again. He clearly wasn’t okay when Glim spoke to him before. Why lie about that??
Son sounds to have contracted a slow clap from Beata. I tell him, “Son, I will pray for your penis.”
We head to the Colosseum.
Once we arrive, we grab any seat we can. This place is YUGE; filled with diverse peoples. I may have underestimated this event.
Deacon Orange raises and asks all competitors to walk to the sands. All sorts of movement. I wonder who are champions and who are simply pompous like our bard.
The Deacon announces a man named Fullbort Bloodwart. A halfling steps out and the crowd raises in cheers with him. When our time has come, we will be called upon by the guard. We walk to a preparation/training/holding area.
A guy I somewhat recognize is practicing with his longsword. To cinch up my armor, I ask Garil for help. He wants gems and asks for my squire to do it. I don’t have gems.
I ask Leo’nel. He doesn’t trust me, so I offer him Jericho’s platinum crown in exchange if I tell him where to cinch. It’s sad that’s what it takes for a person to pull some straps tight.
We see a dead body hauled from the arena. Mezla’s name is called. Are those cheers for him or his death?
Noise from the crowd was a succession of ups and downs, then a sudden hush.
Mezla comes back, boisterous as ever. He won. I guess I should have bet on him. Apparently the Halfling was throwing smoke bombs, although I’m not sure what I can believe from Mezla’s mouth.
Another eruption. The hero must have been revived. My name is called, so I move to the gate.
I shove a note into the guard’s belt loop. It may not have been my most graceful move, so I hurry along before anything can come of that.
I walk toward Fullbort with my sword raised. He throws smoke. No jest. Alright. I see a blade come toward my face; just missing.
He steps beside me. I reach for him and grab tight. Somewhere around my torso I hear my armor tink. I try to throw him down and lose my grip. As he stands, I slash his chest. He returns a stab. I step to the side and slash again. He’s still here.
He runs to a distance. I run at him with a stab; no connection. boom A bomb goes off. Where is he?? I step forward and slash blindly. Nothing.
My vision is clearing up. I look over my back shoulder and see Fullbort Bloodwart right behind me. I quickly stab backward, and the Halfling falls. I raise my arms to cheers.
As I’m returning to the prep area, Glim pulls out the Deck of Many Things. Two cards.
1) Ruin – all non-magic items lost
2) Moon – 1 wish to be made within 1 minute (dope +4 staff)
Glim is suddenly naked, however a bright light appears when he asks his god for help. Some aura seems to be emanating from a new weapon in his grasp. Glim turns to me and throws the deck; hitting me squarely in the chest.
He turns, still nude, and walks to the arena. This fight has got to be a spectacle to behold
The cheers sound… awkward.
Glim returns on his two feet.
Leo’nel goes next. He survives as well.
Garil’s turn. The place is going wild; erupting in cheers. The dwarf quickly returns.
Our fellow adventurers all advancing, the Deacon asks us to get our rest for the next day’s festivities. As we leave the arena, I take some time to pray.
Returning to the square, Mezla approaches with a page of the Brothers’ whom has my winnings. I’m satisfied on that front. Mezla and the page tell us that feud rules have changed.
We go to the Deacon to hear about the new rules. Apparently, our party are the only competitors to have advanced through the first day. How droll this “city” is. No gumption… The people and the council have decided to slightly alter the rules accordingly.
For the remainder of the feud, only one competitor will take on the hero each day. If the competitor loses, the group advances to the next day, however that competitor may no longer compete. If the competitor wins, the whole group advances to the next day, however that winning competitor cannot compete again for two days.
I head to the Crimson Pipe to check on Son. He opens his door looking pale and rough. On my request, he allows me into his room so that I may close the door behind me. I cast Remove (slow clap) Disease.
His cheeks instantly regain rosy color, and he turns/sprints to the corner where he pees like a firehose, in obvious relief. I retire for the night.
I hate to admit that Garil is clearly the dominant fighter for this competition within our group. He will try his hand at days 2, 5, and 8 in order to get the champion Alder in the event we make it that far.
At 2:1 odds, I give five plat to win four. We head to the arena.
A monk stands ready.
Garil hits the monk with his hammer. The monk misses. Garil sunders the monk’s quarterstaff with his hammer, and it bows.
The monk swings his staff and wildly misses. Garil steps passed and swings his shield into the opponent. The monk misses again and steps back. Garil brings his hammer around into the monk’s skull. The monk cripples to the ground.
Garil raises his hammer and waits.
Robed figures come out to instantly revive the monk.
We collect our winnings.
Garil cinches my armor and the party pushes me into the arena. I bet on myself before the gate closes behind me.
Concentrating, I call for fire in my palm. I’m rewarded with naught but a small fizzle.
I hold up my silver holy symbol and yell to the crowd. Preaching free will, I assure any listeners that a defeat for one’s own cause is always worth more than victory serving the cause of another.
An old man shouts above the crowd, “HE’S JUST A CHOIR BOY!”
I put away my symbol and pull my sword.
The spearman approaches, sticks at me with his pole arm. I close and swing into his spear with no luck. He misses after stepping back. I close again and miss.
We repeat our dance once more, both missing successive opportunities.
He strikes as I close. I hit him this time, but not as well as he got me. We repeat, and the light fades behind my eyes.
I wake with a coin on my chest. I’m out, but the group still advances. There goes that bet. I was mismatched from the start with no magic against superior speed and reach.
Mezla takes a turn. Nobody takes the Brothers on the 2:1 bet excepting the bard himself.
The crowd chants, “Tristan! Tristan!” The hero draws a circle in the sand around himself with his sword. Mezla takes a defensive stance.
Tristan misses his first swing. Mezla attacks. Tristan strikes.
Mezla misses, and dodges from Tristan’s counter. Mezla once again does not connect.
Tristan hits him good, bloodying the bard. The crowd is getting into it.
Mezla connects a valiant strike. Tristan clutches his arm to chest as he swings a miss.
Mezla finds comfort with his rapier, sending it straight through Tristan’s throat.
Tristan is revived. Mezla walks out proud. And boy is he celebrating tough tonight…
Glim enters instead of Garil. 6:1 odds, but no takers.
The crowd is surprised at the gnome. Glim slams his staff into the ground in an attempt at intimidation. The dwarf hero visibly trembles, swinging his two-sided Morningstar.
Glim advances, swings. The dwarf trips Glim. Glim stands from his prone position, connecting with the dwarf.
Glim avoids the next trip attempt and swings his staff in a counter-trip maneuver. No dice. One more staff swing at the meat of the dwarf again falls short.
The dwarf catches Glim’s ankles with the chained weapon, tripping him prone. Glim rises, swings, hits.
Tripped again. This time Glim is hit during his attempt to raise. Lather, rinse, repeat.
As the spry gnome finds his feet for the hundredth time, he swings for a critical hit.
Another trip. Glim tries to get up as the chain comes smashing back down on his face, putting him down for good.
In reflection of the tourney to this point, I pull out the Deck of Many Things in the privacy of my room. I pull three.
1) Sun – 50k exp + wondrous item (small marble elephant figurine named Donald Trunk)
2) Sun – 50k exp + wondrous item (ioun stone – incandescent blue sphere, hovering 2 feet over me)
3) Fates – Can’t stop something from happening, but can return myself to a state as if a certain passed event did not happen. Does not return others to same state.
Leo’nel. 13:1. The odds aren’t a good sign, assuredly. Mezla takes the bet.
This hero wields a rapier, rushing into Leo’nel. Leo’nel stabs with his dagger and misses.
The hero tries to pig-stick with both hands and skewers Leo’nel, who proceeds to pull himself off the weapons while taking a slash of his own.
The skewer comes again, connecting on one side.
Leo’nel is bleeding out.
On his way out of the arena, I hand Leo’nel the Deck as a consolation prize.
Mezla makes a 4:1 bet on himself. Surprise
The crowd is so silent that crickets echo through the Colosseum.
Mezla picks up sand, rubbing it between his palms, and pockets a handful. The hero probably saw that.
Mezla closes the distance and swings, connecting.
The hero misses. Mezla swings twice, hitting once.
Screaming in pain, the hero tries to cut Mezla in half. Firm hit.
Mezla comes back to connect with two raging slashes.
The hero strikes back.
One more critical hit from Mezla finishes the hero off. _What. In. The. Fuck. How did the bard – who can’t take a chained fist – manhandle THREE heroes of the feud?
Garil requests and takes the two rings remaining in my pack. His desperation for gems has me a bit confused, but I tried them on once and couldn’t see them through my gauntlets, so I don’t foresee a need to hang on to them. They haven’t felt magical.
No sooner do I hand the rings over than Garil is donating them to his god. Hrmph. It better work.
Garil is ready to go.
Things are different in the arena.
Earth-shattering cheers at the sight of the dwarf across from Alder. My ears ache from the noise. I make a 10:1 bet in Garil’s favor.
Garil drops his shield.
Alder reciprocates by dropping his helmet into the sand. This place is going bonkers
Garil throws something, but misses. Alder glides in for a hit.
Garil power-attacks; misses. Alder returns the favor, also misses.
Garil tries again. Crater in the sand, not in Alder. Alder, an apparent copy cat, tries again unsuccessfully.
The dwarf finally lands a blow. Alder hits back.
Another hammer swing from Garil caves Alder’s skull, but the hero remains standing.
Alder sprints backward to the wall. In the process, Garil smacks Alder’s ankles. Alder rolls the rest of the way to the wall, all the while Garil boasts.
Alder charges in and grapples Garil. Garil shifts his weight and gains control in a power-top position. Alder is pinned.
Garil punches. Miss. Alder takes control of the grapple. Garil takes it back. Alder again.
Alder releases the grapple, swinging his Morningstar. Miss.
Garil powers his hammer toward Alder and misses. Alder connects with the Morningstar.
Both miss a few times.
As the competitors stand face to face, Garil throws an acid flask at their feet. Both are splashed.
Alder pulls a shield off his back and bashes Garil critically. Garil is hit again while trying to grapple.
Both attempt power attacks, each missing in succession.
Garil hits once more. The last hit Alder could take. The hero and feud champion has fallen! The crowd goes wild.
I wake on the first day after the festival. The feel within Aelford has changed as a whole. At the Crimson Pipe, I meet up with the squad.
Son walks in and gives Glim a piece of his mind; announcing his good health to the rest of us. I’m not certain whether he actually learned or not from Beata.
We inform Son about the festival’s feud results. He had heard about the changes himself and learned more – although the festival has concluded, there is still more to do with Deacon Orrin.
Some of our best fighters may be offered spots as hero next year, or the new champion Garil.
The barkeep, Churri, tells us that he believes the Halfling hero from this year is retiring. He goes on to inform us that the new champion, Garil, has the duty of publicly executing Alder.
Garil wishes to get details from the Deacon. If he wants to follow through, I’m all for it.
Son accompanies us, but still no sign of Thrash or Bro throughout the feud or since.
At the temple of Pelor, four robed acolytes approach and say they were just on their way to retrieve us. They lead Garil to an outside stage area in the temple district.
As we enter the staging area from another location, we speak with Garil once more. He tells us that the Deacon looked uncomfortable AF while saying to Garil that he does not wish for this tradition to continue, however the council and decision-makers of the city believe in the old ways to appease the gods. Garil says the Deacon continued on to confirm his duty to behead Alder with a rather ornate-looking sword.
Does Garil even know how to swing one of those? I only ever see him bashing things.
Garil finishes by saying he was informed by the Deacon that the council will execute him and, likely, the rest of us (as accomplices) if he does not follow through with the execution.
The dwarf refuses to shirk his responsibilities, however he assures us that he does not intend to stand as champion once the task is completed.
Glim is writing away in a new book of his. The crowd is gathering in and packing close.
As I hone in on some chatter, one woman is very excited for the execution and optimistic regarding the city’s success to follow this sacrifice to the gods. A son perched on his father’s shoulders asks uneasily why a man is being killed, to which the father responds, “This city remains full of draconic tradition, unfortunately.”
I bow my head in prayer, and for a moment, all of the commotion around me quiets in my mind.
The crowd is parting. Glim and I are two steps from the execution seat. I lost Mezla and Leo’nel.
A hush comes over the crowd.
Footsteps behind me. It’s Alder. Not in his armor. Very clean, simple clothes.
I brush my shoulder against his. As he turns, I pass him one final message to do with as he will. He reads my note, passes it back to me, and walks on to his seat. He sits silently.
Garil approaches the seat and looks around.
Moving behind the chair, Garil pulls the sword back, ceremoniously points the blade at the temple of Moradin, and strokes.
He hits the throat, cutting halfway before the blade halts. Alder’s eyes go huge.
Blood sprays across my face.
Garil pulls the blade from Alder’s spinal column and swipes back the other direction. The head falls.
The sight catches me very much by surprise. It’s so ghastly! He’s just staring at me…
I vomit. I’m concerned about how this will affect my psyche, but I don’t think I’ll have night terrors. Glim seems unphased. What the heck is this little guy’s deal?
Garil stands there.
As the crowd begins to thin, an acolyte takes the sword back from Garil’s hand, wraps it, and heads back toward the temple of Pelor.
The area is nearly clear. One man with a bucket and rag begins scrubbing the once-white, bloody stones at our feet. I consider my religious knowledge of Pelor for honoring a fallen soldier, and we decide to move along.
As we turn to go, a group of seven others approach. They are the first seven heroes of the feud. Moving quietly passed us, they pick up Alder’s remains and carry him toward the temple.
We still have this vampire queen thing. We proceed toward the square.
On the walk back, Son rejoins us and asks if we want a drink.
The Fat Minstrel is fortuitous for me. We go there.
Arlor, the owner, is standing at the front entry, looking chipper, as though he anticipates good business. Arlor stops Garil at the threshold and encouragingly offers him a bath in order to stay. Barbra guides Garil away with a bucket and washcloth.
Arlor appears to be armed as he was before. I order up some grub and a flagon of ale.
Everything in this place seems to hit the spot
Arlor accepts my order for the dwarf’s meal, and winks. Was that with his left eye?? I ask if that matters. Mezla tells us that a left-eye wink kinda means ‘fuck off’ and/or ‘die soon’. I don’t remember which eye he used, although the action felt intentional.
On his return, Garil tells us that the Deacon was not in attendance for the execution, and may be upset with Garil. I’m ready to get out of this city.
Mezla thinks Nhilos will find us, with our growing reputation, thus there is no need for us to hunt him (or her) down.
Garil recalls the vampire queen bounty. The provider of said bounty has requested we meet with her after the festival for more details. We stop by Ivar von Ivan’s, then to the Crimson Pipe to find her.
Ivar is willing to teach me a trick or two when time allows, however this may be somewhat difficult to find ample time around adventuring. I’m not real keen on this city business, anyway. He tosses me a warn book, called “Armoring: Simple repair of Faults and Cracks”. There is some good material in there, I’m sure. Ivar tells me that I may find a squire with wide eyes in the stable who will wish to adventure with us. I offer a gold piece for the information, which he graciously declines.
At the Crimson Pipe, I hear guys talking about a place haunted by dragons. A female elf merchant looks similar to the one Thrash previously spoke to.
Glim approaches the men, and later tells us their talk of Ghostlight Woods, where Lord Greywolf lives.
I walk with Mezla up to Inderdas.
He asks her about details regarding the side-action. She feared the Ranger ran off with the coin. Yet here we are.
She says a small city near Llino Forest, called Redhawk, is where we should start. She’s heard rumors, but cannot verify exact whereabouts of the queen because none of her caravans return. Inderdas does not think highly of Thrash – he seems lazy – much like her, she says.
Although she cannot prove the existence of the vampire queen, she trusts we will report back to her as our findings progress.
Time to ketchup with our whole party and prepare to blow this popsicle stand. This particular recounting may prove useful down the road, so I ought to copy it over to mine own journal for safe keeping. Too much writing. I’ll leave this other book in someone else’s gear.
Thrash stumbles into a seat next to us.
Inderdas wants us to meet her in the square at sun-up, per a note she dropped to Thrash on her way out. We’ve already received 100gp of the 300gp for this bounty up-front.
I decide to grab a room here at The Crimson Pipe for some coppers.
Mezla’s voice comes into my head. It stirs me awake. I’m late! We dip out to the square.
Clopping horse hooves echo through the quiet cityscape. Naught but a wagon approaches. He’s looking for the guards to protect his journey – I guess that’s us. Thanks, Inderdas, for the details… The wagon driver’s name is Drognan; he is taking us to the stables.
Once astride our mounts, we find 12 soldiers outside the gate – four of which are mounted as well. There’s an apparent, ranking leader among them; his name is Barbus. These soldiers are on their way to the recently vacated Fort Gallant – heh! and will accompany us that far.
I pick up a pebble and Refuge it. I pray.
Around 6pm we set camp. Thrash went squirrel hunting for the party. I get my armor off and pass out in exhaustion.
When I wake, I summon a Hero’s Feast. Mezla helps cinch my armor.We have a clear ride all day. We make camp. In the morning, I summon a Hero’s Feast and Mezla helps me cinch my armor.
Around 4pm we hit Fort Gallant. I purchase some rations. The Cloak and Stagger is now owned by Granger (a former ranger). We rent cots in the basement again, and Thrash agrees to assist with my armor in the eve and morn.
We ride out in the morning. Shortly after my prayer, a huge yellow bitch approaches our path. It screeches. Mezla cowers. ¬_hehe_ Everyone swings at it. I cast Destruction, but he doesn’t take the full amount of potential damage.
I start reaching into my arsenal to throw more flames at it. As I cast Flame Strike, the lifts into flight; grabbing Drognan. I watch the body dropping back to ground from 60ft up as the column of fire consumes both.
Thrash corrals one of the lost horses and returns it to Leo’nel. Mezla gives his horse to Son so that he may direct the wagon. We ride on.
Everyone begins to bustle about. I’m told two winged creatures are approaching.
I pull my sword and begin a Prayer spell.
As the creatures get into range, I cast. They fly across us as they land on either side. I walk toward one, preparing Searing Light.
My party takes hits. I blast the close one with my ray.
I close in and miss one swing, but connect on the backswing to finish one beast. The other roars!
I look around in stunned confusion.
The second beast is now in front of me, so I swing frantically. I hit once and lose grip on my sword; it flies.
As I prepare Heal, I hop over the wagon’s fearless stallion in a dash to the sword. Thrash finishes off the second beast.
I loot the bods for some shiny goods.
Nearing about 4pm, we are reaching the edge of Llino Forest. We make camp. Thrash hunts with his wolf (Wolfy) while I tend to the horses. The ranger returns with my first taste of possum.
I get my armor off and sleep early. Thrash’s shouts wake me.
There’s no time to don my armor. I prepare and throw Fire Storm at two lumbering bear-ish creatures. One jumps on me.
It’s hard to tell what’s going on. I barely avoid a mauling as I continue to wrestle. I suddenly hear Mezla… with words of.. encouragement?!
I try to determine what’s on me. It’s like a bear, but huge! Red eyes! Dire bear?!
I can’t break the grapple. I feel a paw around my asshole – my pride is certainly damaged. I throw the beast off me in protective alarm, and stumble to my feet.
I take a step-through between both bears to flank. I prepare Righteous Might. The second bear smacks me and grapples me; all I have in my mind is the spell.
My size increases two-fold, but I remain pinned.
The bear goes limp on top of me. I take a moment to squirm out. The first bear is also killed. No loot.
As my armor is already off, I curl back into a slumber.
Mezla helps me don my armor in the morning. We reach Redhawk – a well-engineered hamlet. ..but a hamlet nonetheless. We arrive as the sun is rising and the town awakening.
Gregran greets us; happy to see Inderdas’s shipment. We take the wagon to the merchant master. This nervous half-elf is suspicious of missing menace vials, however Mezla and Son convince him they were simply casualties of transit. The half-elf invites us to dinner at the Chaste Maiden.
First things first, I get some onions and eggs for breakfast. I ask the bartender (Paul) about the local stories, rumors, or myths surrounding Marceline. He says she founded Redhawk as former nobility. She had a home built deep in the woods. Over time, Marceline became more removed from the community after she was blamed by many in the community for the disappearance of her children.
Nobody seems to recall where exactly Marceline lives, as nobody had ever actually been there or seen it. Speculation is that she resides nearer the coast.
Searching for History: No Rime nor reason
Around the quaint Chaste Maiden, I overhear conversation of wizards. Thrash is able to more clearly ascertain that Allafis is conducting weird experiments, and that Pere the Enlightened is actually a dragon from another realm. The ranger inquires with our bard about an elf over my shoulder.
I hear a rising volume of high winds rushing through the trees outside. Thrash runs to the window. I spot at the frantic elf of whom Thrash was inquiring. He didn’t seem too perturbed by this noise, so I curiously approach.
Almor, a priest of Pelor, is also recently brought to town seeking answers to strange rumors and weird happenings. He asks me if we saw the fresh graves when entering town, and says he delivered last rites to all of the four bodies – each one with bite wounds. Others in town (the prominent warrior Suede and the aristocrat Faston) have also died or vanished of late. He speaks of a woman that disappeared whom some particularly sinister rumors involve, as well as the old settlement site nearer a lake to the south.
This priest seems to be honest and forthcoming with his information. He’s from Hominster Keep, where brothers are at war for the land of their late-king-father, so he does not believe anyone will even notice his absence. The regional-king did not leave a clear successor behind, and an entire chunk of the Tambo Jungle is in dispute. Fighting continues over gems and jewels in the area.
Almor believes he might be able to better help the people in this area than his homeland, to take a step back from the precipice of evil upon which they all stand. When I mention to the priest that we intend to find and destroy Marceline, he scoffs. No living person in history has killed a vampire.
He is very impatiently trying to get back to his frantic scribbles, so I ask what he’s working on thinks if someone has musings or thoughts, one may as well write them down so as to not be lost in the process. This ‘diary’ of his could be an intriguing read.
I want to ask to see these notes sometime, and just then a small hand reaches toward them on the table. Glim is retreating his hand to Almor’s surprise outburst. Where did he come from?! Almor has had it; he closes his notes and rushes off as he tells me that I know where to find him (here).
As I’m catching up with Glim, Son sits with the party and tells us of a beautiful woman who has smitten him. Apparently he told her everything; she pulled it right out of him. She told him her name. He says he said it, but it’s gone. He can’t quite recall it.
His mind clearly trailing off, he says he needs to find her and bring her to dinner.
I toss Son a refuge stone, telling him if he gets into a precarious situation to throw the stone and say “ey-yo Trunk Butt” to return to us.
Recounting what I found from Almor with the party, we hear someone enter. It’s the dragon-man Brotrillisk approaching us.
Thrash introduces Bro to Leo’nel, although they did briefly meet during the ritual. Brotrillisk likely needed the reminder anyway. We all catch up.
Melza learns from Pual that the original settlement was south of here, near a lake. Thrash says we could make it by nightfall (~8 hours). Due to our dinner plans, we will depart on the morrow.
As I meet back with the party, we decide to split and gather info. Four dead bodies and only three graves? Is that right? I go with Thrash and Bro to the graveyard for some sleuthing.
There are only three graves.
Thrash approaches the gravedigger, whom Leo’nel spoke with prior. I follow. Sigil confirms there were four deaths and only three graves. The fourth body disappeared. I ask who it was; the fourth. He says he may have already said too much.
As I diplomatically press on the topic, Sigil nervously maintains that he doesn’t know. Bro’s foot drops and voice raises. The gravedigger is so intimidated he pisses himself, “If the find out…I bury their secrets…” The disappeared body is a young halfling named Rime; a commoner recently came to build a home. Rime was fond of the eastern side of the hamlet.
There is no mayor or ruling body here; all nobles. Rich people escaping laws they didn’t like.
We roll back to the Chaste Maiden around 6pm. Orim has yet to arrive. We ask Pual if he’s seen Orim about, and we are led to begin drinks at a table set for eight.
We all catch up on our findings, and what the other three found regarding the manor.
Orim arrives. I order roasted pheasant.
Garil surprisingly arrives, and is invited to take the last seat at the table. I introduce the dwarf as one of our usual guard, and Orim as receiver of Inderdas’s goods. Garil strikes interest by introducing himself as champion of the feud.
Orim says Rime is the most recent to move in, then he denies the name altogether.
A halfling walks into the establishment. He looks to his right. The whole place is hushed. I look to the halfling’s right to see he’s looking into a hand-carved, ornate, golden-framed mirror.
The halfling freaks out and dashes back the way he came. I’m petrified. The stories… I faint.
Immediately I come back to. Orim has been clearly affected by this disturbance as well. Thrash sits Orim in a chair until we decide to lay him down. Thrash then goes to speak with Almor, while Bro speaks with Orim.
We rest to set out at dawn.
An hour outside of town, I prepare a Heroes’ Feast. We walk until noon, and I pray.
As we proceed south, Brotrillisk provides everyone with a clove of garlic, which he purchased from Pual.
We reach the lake, and Glim’s raven sends us a few hundred feet westward to stones in the midst of overgrowth. This must be the graveyard.
A headstone of Marceline is spotted with a tattoo on each arm.
‘I cover cities and I destroy mountains. I make men blind but help them see’ with a cupped hand.
‘Two bodies have I, though both still in one. The more still I stand, the quicker I run’ with a flat hand.
Garil hammers the ground, and starts digging. Leo’nel dives to catch an hourglass tossed carelessly by the dwarf. Leo’nel places the hourglass in the flat, open palm.
Mezla calls on a card for the other riddle. It’s sand. He places sand in the other hand. The entire headstone animates.
‘No use to one, but bliss to two. A small boy gets it for nothing, a young man has to lie for it, and an old man has to buy it.’ I say it’s a kiss.
Mezla jumps to kiss the statue. She steps back and smiles. She leans down, sets down the hourglass, and takes off her blindfold.
‘He who makes me doesn’t want me. He who buys me doesn’t need me. He who uses me doesn’t care.’
It’s a coffin!
Sand stops running. The headstone returns to her pose. Garil hammers the ground again on top of her grave. A nice coffin, with no body in it.
Thrash runs off to make stakes. Bro looks around the coffin, then swings his sword at it. The sword bounces right off. I try to burn the inside – my fire hand sinks in, I pull it back.
Garil gets in the coffin. I try my fire hands around him. Same thing with my hand; not going passed the wrist. Bro slips and falls on the lid. It closes. I open it.
Bro gets in and I close then open it. No Bro. I shout that I’m going, and we all proceed.
I can’t see a thing. Gravity is pulling me onto my back, so I sit up. I can’t see anything. A torch is lit. I pull myself from the coffin and light the remaining three within this small room. I take one torch with me as we continue along.
Flaming heads appear, but Bro makes quick work of them while I weave some magics.
Garil notices something weird in the wall, so I use my Knock ability and the wall opens up. Thrash runs in,
I follow to see a chest in the middle of the room – empty – with a mirror at the wall. I look at the chest through the mirror and it’s full. An old man is hunched over, filling bags from the full chest.
He sees us, laughs, and walks away with his bag, I go to shatter the mirror, but Leo’nel stops me.
I move the mirror and see the man laughing, once again, whilst digging his hands through the treasure. I see his door.
Glim wouldn’t go through the chest the same way he did the coffin. I move the mirror around the room while looking into the reflection. I naturally lose my footing at some point, and stumble. The chest wobbled when the mirror did.
I flip the mirror over its rotating axis and the chest flips upside down; spilling out loots. The potions and oil I attained better be as valuable as the coin now lining the ranger’s coffers.
Once we’ve grabbed the last, we catch up to Garil and Mezla, then through a hallway to stairs and a stone door. Brotrillisk puts his weight into the door.
We exit a stone mausoleum into twilight. Mezla is sick from frenching another one of those burning skulls.
Across an open expanse lies a nice home; albeit eerie.
A shadowy figure pounces into the party. With minimal attempts to deescalate the situation, we find ourselves back in full-on battle mode. We kill the hag, but not before taking some damage. I heal those hurt. My daily spells are diminishing rapidly…
I handed Mezla some periapt I pulled from the hag, which he casually identifies LIKE HE COULD HAVE DONE FOR ME AHEAD OF TIME! it seems to have done the trick.
Ain’t no party like a vampire party
It’s about 8pm. A party inside the manor – about 200 yards ahead of us – lights the evening ambiance, along with the moon.
I use divine knowledge to discern that we have not left the earthly plain, however some form of arcana is at work here. As we have discovered, the mansion is not always visible, and the climate is quite temperate in this vicinity.
Leo’nel points out that it’s a spell of False Image coming from the other side of the lake.
There’s a scampering sound in the direction of the mansion, so we naturally walk searchingly toward the disturbance. Garil falls to the ground in front of me and I hear something run off.
There are clearly some dogs out here somewhere…
The dragon man jumps from his giant skin; dropping his sword and bolting. I stop him as quickly as I’m able with Hold Person.
Three figures approach us before we can move to Brotrillisk. I cast a spiritual quarter staff as I shift toward his position.
A dog-like creature tries to bite me.
My spiritual weapon moves in to strike that dog – it whimpers and snaps back but misses me. My quarterstaff strikes again. The dog remains standing, however it moves back to attack Garil.
As this dog dies, I send my spiritual quarterstaff toward Bro. The last dog is killed before my weapon reaches it.
No loot from any of the shadowy mastiffs.
We approach the house. Garil confirms the party is lit.
Mezla knocks four times. No answer. The door is locked.
He knocks again and a young man, well-dressed, opens the door. “Yes?”
The bard spouts some shit (as usual) about our business here and us dancing for Marceline as tonight’s entertainment. …Did he just buy that?
We enter to a grand staircase which leads to the second floor. This is over-the-top classy af.
The houseman leads us into the dance hall; filled lavishly with food, music, and dance.
It’s a masquerade. We don’t have masks.
As we are taking the whole place in, the houseman stops the music and garners the attention of all attendees to the dance floor. He asks Mezla, our apparent sponsor and fearless leader, to announce himself and our dance.
“I am Sadron Galadriel!” he exclaims. He can’t even get my name right…
We do the Hokey Pokey…
The crowd seems to love it!
Mezla – preening with conceit – goes around the party circles, emceeing the dance for each group. We continue to hear outbursts regarding ‘Sadron’s Great Dance’ – it’s such a hit! They love me. Thanks, bard
Garil wants to do the dance for Marceline. The doorman says she will be down and would certainly be requesting an intimate dance.
Marceline enters, looking FINE. All in our party, myself excluded, drop their jaws at the sight of her in her gems, jewelry and grandeur. These heathens… at the mercy of their baser desires… The crowd gives her space as she walks through.
Mezla has been speaking in close quarters with Marceline, presumably to solicit our dance and determine how we may isolate her.
I take a look around. When my sights return to the place of their conversing, they are both gone. She must have seen through him and, in his shame, he bailed on us all!
Marceline walks back out and ends the party. Oh shit…
I have no clean means of escape before she begins approaching me. She tells me to come with her.
At this point, I notice it’s actually Glim. He’s up to some of his classic hijinx, so I quietly follow.
We go upstairs looking for Mezla and Marceline. A few bystanders remain in the hallway, so Glim (fashioned like Marceline in a ninja turtle mask) pretends to be drunk and asks for directions to her quarters.
A halfling leads us to Marceline’s room.
As we all enter, Son is hung on the wall and bleeding like a butcher’s next subject. Marceline and Mezla are in the midst of intercourse. How did he manage?..
There’s no time to think, as the halfling immediately looks between both Marcelines saying, “What, wat?”
Glim panickily swings at him while I cast Hold Person on the real Marceline. The spell dissolves, as does she.
She’s gone. Blast!
Inefficiently battling, I’m slow to draw my sword as Glim gets bit.
I run over to help Leo’nel with other attackers, however my attack seems ineffective.
In exasperation, I decide to clear this guy out with a full attack. My first two swings miss SO wildly that my sword flies from my hands across the room.
I raise my holy symbol over my head and shout in agitation. All three vampire attackers turn to dust at our feet.
We loot and I grab my sword.
As we collectively gather our thoughts and devise our next move, another enemy appears at the door. I hurl fire at him to no effect.
I turn him. Garil goes down to the main entry and I follow him out. As he opens the door, an acolyte is entering the motion of knocking from the other side. With Safeir on a chain leash, she’s looking for Marceline.
After a short round of bargaining and intimidation, Garil pays the acolyte 200gp for Safeir, as her intention was to sell the now-cured werewolf to the vampire queen. With the sale complete, the acolyte turns and runs off.
Leo’nel shoots the acolyte dead from behind. He plunders her for the key and Garil’s gold, which he does not return to the dwarf. Trust issues, it seems…
Before her untimely decision-making and demise, the acolyte had mentioned Marceline living in the basement, so we turn back into the house and head there next.
I open a door below the stairs – unlocked – and get splashed with acid in ma face!
We are on a stone stairwell leading into a deep darkness. I heal Glim as Leo’nel lights Garil’s hammer.
Mezla opens a huge, ornate coffin. Nothing inside.
Garil, in his usual fashion, hits at the coffin; knocking it over. The ruckus tips a candelabra off-balance, accidentally igniting a tapestry.
A scream, and suddenly Marceline materializes in front of us. I waste no time in casting Destruction on her, and she’s immediately consumed utterly in holy fire.
We put her ashes in the casket for proof, and carry the package outside.
There’s a horse and wagon now in the stables, sporting iconography of Pelor. This must have been the acolyte’s transportation. Leo’nel checks it out – all clear.
Where has our ranger been? He apparently is the most skilled with handling animals. Oh well…
We put the casket in the wagon and set off, with Glim at the reins. The road looks to simply end, but we press through a black curtain of darkness.
It’s suddenly cold again. No more temperate weather. I think we’re back to the ‘normal’ world.
We ride through the night. Glim smells something emanating from the coffin.
I open it to throw in garlic, but something more is happening in there. Quickly closing the lid, I inform the party. We re-open and Leo’nel stabs the re-coalescing Marceline. The stench abruptly stops.
We eat, rest, and make it back to Aelford peacefully.