The adventurers wake in a cold sweat, with several women from the tribe overseeing their recovery. Qupodo and Matamala are summoned, and advise the party to rest. Quapodo tells them that a departing ritual is being prepared for the party, a sacred festivity held when war bands travel from the tribe. This is the first time such a ceremony has been held for outsiders, and is a great honor.
After another day, a great feast was prepared, massive pyres lit, and much dancing and singing was enjoyed. Chief Matamala warded the party with protection spells and blessings. The said their farewells to Quapodo and continued their journey west.
Though they couldn’t see The Cascade Mountains yet, several days of travel brought the great giants into view, as they slowly grew above the horizon.
One afternoon they were assaulted by a great quilled dragon, who’s barbs injected poison into its victims, but the party won the battle.
Later that day, the party spotted humans on the horizon, and sought a hiding place from them. Izrael and Beliden snuck up to get a closer look and were shocked to see that these were no people from the steppes, but rather barbarians from beyond the cascades. They approached in a peaceful manner but struggled to converse with the barbarians until one joined who spoke the common tongue. All were shocked when Milana rode forward to greet them.
Much was discussed in the matters of the uprising. Including an apparent leader emerging within the ranks of the savage army, known only as The Golden Goblin.
“Swim in its tranquility Fly through its freedom Stand with its resolve Burn with its fury.”
The bounty hunter dead at their feet, the party healed up and prepared for the long trek west. Orden offered the family some gold for reparations, and for their troubles. On their way from the farm, the youngest of the farmers children caught up to the party and offered them a bag full of rations for the road, packed by his mother the night before.
Wanting to avoid detection, the adventurers set off through the forests and foothills of the mighty Bulwark. After two days travel, they neared the town of Stodden, and heard jovial music in the distance.
Making their way to the road as to appear as conspicuous as possible, the party approached a great tent, the music coming from inside. Several people stood outside, one man stumbled out, obviously drunk. Smiles were worn by all.
Stepping into the tent revealed the source of the ruckus. A group of traveling gypsies performed song and dance for a harvest festival. Joining the party, the group moved to the bar and ordered a round of ale for all within earshot. The generous newcomers were welcomed warmly, one gypsy woman danced provocatively around Izkrael.
At the far side of the room, linens were lowered revealing two bears in cages. Izkrael would later notice their emaciated states. Next, the cages were opened, as a bard played a tune to which the bears bounced and gyrated.
Where it the booze, the atmosphere, or the music; something held them in awe, as each member of the group fell fascinated with the performance. Beliden noticed a gypsy woman picking an unsuspecting patron’s pocket, snapping him from his trance. Soon after, the entrancing woman reached for one of Izkrael’s blades. The room exploded into movement, as the party soon became a brawl, drunken patrons joining in the violence.
In the end, the party survived the combat. Izkrael freed the caged bares, who in turn mauled the Bard who’d controlled them. The adventurers left soon thereafter, not wanting authorities or unwanted eyes following them.
Finally the warrior lead them to his tribe, a migrating village of dark skinned warriors. Quapodo’s own father Matamala was the chief of the tribe, and their eldest shaman. Having heard the stories of his son’s capture and brave rescue, Chief Matamala agrees to help the party on their own quest.
The adventurers ingested various herbs and roots, and soon drifted into a deep sleep. The three shared a dream, a dark misty world grew before them. Izkrael spotted his owl, though it seemed more a spirit of the bird than its material self. It lead them to a deep pool, but before they could peer into it’s waters, a great three-faced spirit appeared behind them. Each face appeared a twisted form of the dreamer’s own. The dreamers battled their own image, and won out in the end.
Looking into the scrying pool, each member sought a glimpse at the world beyond, and the state of Ferron’s Gauntlet and the orcish uprising.
Orden checked on the state of Tinser Point, and peering into the water, saw his beloved town destroyed and over-run with orcs. The savages seemed to be preparing for war.
Beliden closed his eyes over the pool, and concentrated his mind on the Thieves Guild safe-house at Crossroads.
Izkrael looked into the pool and to the west of Shoel’Idar, seeking those troops the elf-king Drigaar sent to aid the humans of the north. His mind’s eye saw Camp Carroway over-run with a flood of refugees from Ferron’s Gauntlet. There, he saw groups of elves overseeing the escort efforts.
Though the party survived the hard-fought battle, a horseman managed to flee mid-combat. Quapodo warned that he was sure to reach Driscol’s Climb in a days time, and that it would only be another day from there, for a bird to reach the capitol.
The adventurers decided to race the news to Ashindol, taking multiple horses and switching off when the first tired. The group rode hard through the night to reach Wayguarde. There, they set up camp a ways from the city. Izkrael’s owl kept watch, as the party caught up on some much needed sleep.
In the morning, Orden did his best to disguise himself as a commoner, and rode into the town to trade their worn out horses for fresh ones. He startled the stable-keep into a deal without any questions, even threw down five gold-pieces to speed the transaction. Beliden used his thieving knowledge to disguise he and Izkrael as humans, using a mixture of clay and water to paint on subtle beards.
Now with a pair of fresh horses each, the party hit the road and headed east to Ashindol. The slow descent from the highlands afforded the party an awesome view of Lower Therenan blotted with lakes and fertile grasslands. Beyond it, an eastern sea shone on the horizon.
Along the largest of these lakes, and tucked within the folds of a great mountain, Ashindol stood like a jewel of man’s perseverance. None in the party had ever seen a city so large. Sir Remil told them it had stood for as long as any therenian could remember, and was one of the oldest cities in the known world.
Upon reaching the capitol, the party presented Cesel’s document to the guards, who startled the party by revealing the parchment to be blank. Having a good laugh, the guards then informed them that royal documents such as this were often masked in magic, one which the king-regents diviners knew how to unlock.
The group was then escorted to the throne-room, where to their chagrin, Cesel’s warning had reached only an hour before. Still, King-Regent Leronald heard their claim. Despite their pleas, he denied their request. It was then that Prince Timmen stepped in, arguing against the man his late father had assigned as steward of Therenan. The throne would be his in less than a year, he reminded the steward, and he would not see his country driven to more unnecessary war. The king-regent reluctantly agreed.
Timmen swore to see the cease-fire through, but could not offer the men protection, even within his own borders, as he hinted that both Davin and Cesel would want their heads.
Some time into their ride, the party came across a commoner named Kenson who’s cow had fallen into a stream and died. The rotting cow was tainting his families drinking water. The party offered their help and successfully aided the farmer, who then offered them a place in his stable to sleep, and warm food in their bellies. They could hardly turn down such an offer after nearly three days of non-stop riding, and accepted.
The group woke to a knock at the farmers door. A bounty hunter by the name of Emmit had come in search of fugitives. The farmer tried to lie for the party, but the bounty hunter easily saw through his ruse. Emmit drew something from his back and offered a smell to his tracking hound Riley, a huge bull mastiff. Riley picked up the scent, and made his way to the stable behind the house. This prompted Izkrael to reveal himself to the ranger. Seeing an opportunity, the farmer swong at the bounty hunter, who dodged and stabbed Kenson. Battle erupted and Emmit and Riley proved difficult foes to overcome. In the end however, the party persevered.
MORE TO COME
Race to Ashindol
Roleplay with King-Regent Leronald and Prince Timmen
Following the defeat of the white dragon Goatsbane, the party beheaded the beast and to Driscol’s Climb for their reward.
Reaching the throne room, Orden threw down the head of the dragon, falling in a bloody mess before Lord Leronald.
Leronald was red with rage, but maintained that he would keep his promise and see to it that the plea for cease-fire be heard by the king-regent, his older brother Davin Leronald. Cesel then had a scroll drafted and enclosed with the royal seal of his house.
Sir Remil escorted the party and the newly freed Quapodo to his house, offered them food and beds, and information on the state of Therenan. He also told them of his family in Wayguarde, who they would be welcome to stay with in their journey to Ashindol.
Beliden sought an alchemist from whom to buy several potions of invisibility from. He soon found a potion shoppe, but tough bartering lead to a near scuffle with the purveyor. Beliden got his potions in the end, paying 500gp each, a price the shop owner was less than happy about.
After an eve’s rest, the party headed south for the capitol. Several hours into the trek, they broke from the road to cut across the wilderness in a more direct route to their goal.
Travel was uneventful until near nightfall, when the group was overtaken by a troop of cavalry riding from Driscol’s Climb to intercept them. Chavin Jiln apologized for the circumstances that would lead to the party’s demise, they did after all fight so bravely against the white dragon. He’d been sent by Leronald to see the party slain returned in chains or slain.
Despite his confidence, Jiln was wrong, and he and his band were defeated by the adventurers!
After defeating the rag-tag group of savages within the Dhoran Dale, the party continued down the far-side of the pass.
A large group of armed cavalry rode to meet with the party. One introduced himself as Sir Remil, and proceeded to interrogate the party. Upon hearing their intent, he escorted the party to Driscol’s Climb, where his Lord Leronald ruled from. Orden cast detect evil on the group and did detect one evil presence, and identified it as a mysterious cloaked figure.
Once within the city, the party was lead into the great hall, where Leronald was tending to lordly concerns. Among them, an elderly farmer, Mano, complained of herds of goats being eaten. Leronald reminded the farmer that he’d dealt with it once already by sending out trackers who returned empty handed and with certainty that the only man had gone senile.
Next up, the party plead their case to the lord but were mocked for their attempt. Leronald then offered to see the cease-fire through if the adventurers can return with the head of whatever was killing farmer Mano’s goats… a notion that had the entire room reeling in laughter.
The party is begrudgingly escorted from the throne room, but not before a foreigner, Quapodo of Nor is offered for their assistance. If they find the goat-slayer, not only will the cease-fire be upheld, but Quapodo will earn his freedom.
There, the party searched, eventually uncovering what appeared to be a frozen animal limb. Odd Izkrael thought, the weather hadn’t been so cold recently to freeze such things on its own.
The group roasted some goat, setting up as bait for the mystery beast. Some ways away, animal screams could be heard. Coming over a hill, the party beheld a truly fearsome sight. Wings spread in a terrible display, an adult white dragon froze several fleeing goats with its breath!
A hard-fought combat ensued, and our adventurers with the aid of Quapodo prevailed!
“Yond jagged pass and mountain’s slope
there lies a place of lore.
where wind does swirl ’tween rock and crag
to blow forever more.
Where plants took root in fertile loam,
Despite the constant gale.
and grew to become named and known:
The Kings of Dhordan Dale”
Royal message in hand, the party continued south, making their way up the steep valley that cut into the northern most reaches of the The Cascades.
Nearing a split in the path, the party was taken by the sound of music along the road. A cautious approach revealed a squat gnome, perched on a low lying log, pony grazing in the dale beyond.
Upon their reveal, the bard introduced himself as Dolgo Dori. The gnome made claim of his fame, though none in the party had heard his name or songs before. Still, the minstrel was quite skilled, and he sang a song of the high mountain pass the party made for.
Known as the Dhoran Dale, it was claimed to hold incredible twisted giants of trees, whos trunks have bent under the strong mountain winds.
Before they would see such arboreal marvels, the party was overcome by the sound of a massive rumble, as the earth began to shake beneath their greaves. The group rushed up a steep slope, even climbing a rock wall to escape the approaching landslide. The avalanche nearly took them out, but their swift actions proved to match the slides intensity, and none were lost. None save for Dolgo who was never seen again.
Our adventurers carried on, eventually making the pass, and the Kings of Dhoran Dale. Crowned with frost and standing taller than any tower, the trees were well named indeed.
Beneath the kings, the party spotted a fire in the distance. Upon further inspection, they’d stumbled on a mixed party of orcs, gnolls, hobgoblins, and goblins. Having no love for such vile creatures, the party attacked, and won a hard fought battle against the group of seasoned savages.
“Rise, and be known Elf-friend” – Elf-King Tailahn Drigaar
Shortly after their departure, and dissatisfied with the Elf King’s response, the party backtracked to Eruilshir and sought further aid from their new friends. Having recruited Soniel to aid in their diplomatic attempt, they headed south to Ithiindor, throne of Shoel’Idar.
Along their way, Soniel revealed to Orden, her once-marriage to his deceased master, Kraddich. The two, one elf and one human, had a son together, Deraziir , whom the paladins inherited blade was named after. The lad had died years ago in a boating accident. His death had been the catalyst that forced Kraddich back to the forge, and to the Northern Colonies.
Their journey was abruptly halted my a vicious Ahuizotl, who’s lashing tail nearly blinded Beliden in the fight. Many victims had fallen to the man-eater, but the beast met it’s end at the hands of the brave adventurers.
Continuing on, the party reached Ithiindor and were granted parlay with the King of the Elves.
Again King Drigaar sympathized with the party, and further explained the war in the south, and their need for troops. Unswayed, the party asked for even a small force, which eventually the good king granted. Drigaar also agreed to terms of a ceasefire, should Therenan accept their proposal, and had a scroll with the message and royal seal drafted immediately.
Along with it, the king provided each in the party with ornate badges, symbols of respected standing within the elven community. They were evermore named “elf-friend” to any Shoeli Elf.
After the parlay with King Drigaar, Bel sought a messenger to carry word to The Crossroads to those who remained of the Thieves Guild. It reported of the orc invasion, of Nysm’s last known location and likely demise, and of the parties location and intentions. He seemed to have found the perfect courier in Naltore, and the message was carried away at once!
“The beauty of this place belies its danger.” – Meliar Nyvuul
Following the Lorash attack, our party found themselves stranded at open sea. Having ridden out the storm, they drifted for days at sea, until they finally awoke, washed up on unknown shores.
Izkrael, with all his years of ranging quickly realized he’d never been here before, and though he had a sense for his bearings, all landmarks were unfamiliar to him. The ranger caught and killed a wild boar, and later cooked it on a spit. It was the first food the group had in five days.
The next morning, Izkrael woke to the distant sound of a woman crying. He woke his companions, and as Orden strapped on his plate armor, the ranger and rogue moved down to the beach to investigate. Coming over a rock outcropping, they saw a woman pinned beneath an injured horse, the waves closing on her as the tide began to rise. Iz moved closer, but his mind was immediately assaulted, as he lost all control over his body. He moved slowly toward the pinned woman, now revealed to be a twisted kelpie.
Beliden’s quick thinking saved the ranger, as he sent a dark into the rangers rear, snapping him out of his trance.
Both the keplie woman and horse rose, fully taking their true forms. Long horselike faces peered at the party, malice in their eyes. Orden made his way to the fight, and a tough fought battle ensued, ending with the kelpie’s demise.
After the battle, the party decided to move on, hoping to find a river and work their way upstream to a settlement in these uncharted lands.
Moving through the forest, a voice called out to them ordering their halt. Meliar Nyvuul, Ranger of Shoel’Idar and his troop surrounded the party, questioning how they got their, and what their motives were. Meliar ordered they put down their weapons, a prospect Orden didn’t find so easy to swallow. However, revealing the blade to Meliar, the scout revealed that he knew the maker of Deraziir. Realizing they shared common allies, Meliar offered to escord the party to Eruilshir, the coastal elven city of Shoel’Idar, the elven territory the party now found themselves in.
Finally arriving at the city, the group met with the great elven smith Soniel Nyvuul, and Eldoenar, Wayguarde of Eruilshir. Much was discussed, the elves hospitality was gracious. Soniel and Orden reforged Deraziir, infusing strong elven magics into the blade.
Orden gave a detailed report of the orc invasion to Eldoenar, a message was promptly sent to Tailahn Drigaar, Lord of Shoel’Idar. A week later a message was returned. The king expressed his gratitude but could not march on the orcs. The elves had their own war to wage against The Kingdom of Therenad to the south.
Having regained their strength, and with their course now known, the party marched from Eruilshir to the west, making for Camp Carroway and the pass beyond.
The Bilge Rat braces to battle a leviathan of the sea.
Following the defeat of the terrible black pudding, the crew of the Bilge Rat hastily worked to repair their damaged vessel. A storm was fast approaching.
Birdbelly, stoic as ever, steered the galley into the storm. As the gale hit, all on board knew their preparation to have been warranted, as the ship was rocked by massive waves, heavy winds, and blinding sheets of rain. Yet unknown to them, their greatest enemy lay bellow.
From the vast indigo depths rose a titan of the sea. Had Old Bonesy still been alive, he would have finally had his vindication, as the Lorash of the North proved its undeniable existence in terrifying fashion. The great creature grappled the with the Bilge Rat, its massive tentacles tearing through sails and ropes, splintering masts with ease. Arms with suction cups the size of shields grabbed at the crew, ripping men from the rigging and deck. Some were simply crushed by the constricting limbs, others were thrashed about, their bodies becoming like small clubs, the Lorash their wielder.
Izkrael and Beliden too grappled with the mighty leviathan, both being thrown into the cold sea with ease. Even Orden Ulfgar in his heavy plate mail was knocked overboard.
Rising from the surf, his focus singular, Izkrael drew his flaming bow and let fire an arrow. The shot would be one of legend, as it threaded between the beasts waving tentacles like a needle and blasted through its scaley exterior. Surely the Lorash had never known such pain!
On the deck of the ship, Nysm proved his nickname true, as he dodged about the Lorash’s swinging arms and began to cut free a life-boat for the armored paladin and elven archer. Just as he cut the boat free, a tentacle smashed into his back, sending him flying overboard into the sea, the prince lost in the great storm.
Beliden climbed his way up the side of the Bilge Rat, using his daggers as pitons.
Izkrael and Orden Ulfgar climbed aboard the life-boat and watched on as the rogue disappeared through a window into the captains quarters. Seconds passed, and the ship continued its course, pulling away from the stranded row-boat.
Diving from the window, his pockets filled with loot, Bel once again fell into the North Sea. With coordinated efforts, Beliden climbed aboard the dingy. The Bilge Rat, Birdbelly at her helm disappeared into the storm, the Lorash of the North never relenting its attack against against the maritime trespasser.
After being alerted of the orc attack, Merchant Prince Nysm lead the group to a tower to see the assault for themselves. The hillsides surrounding Ferron’s Reach burned with a thousand flames, as all living things and their possessions burned beneath the fury of the orcish tide.
Hurrying to the guild’s armory, Nysm offered each party member a magical item. To Beliden he gifted a perfect thieves tool, a scabbard that would turn itself and any blade within it invisible to onlookers. To Orden Ulfgar he gave a pair of leather boots. Though simple in appearance, the footwear would grant uncanny speed and jumping abilities to any who should don them. Finally, to Izkrael he offered the horn of a great huntsman. “Sound it’s call, and grant your allies the knowledge of the hunter”, he’d said.
Coming into the streets, the party faced a team of orcish swordsmen, goblin archers, and a crafty goblin warcaster, all of whom were bent on murder. Save for the wizard who’d fled in flight, all were slain beneath the vengeance of the adventurers, who’s bravery saved many a townfolk in the skirmish.
Again the party’s courage saved lives, as they defeated a group of orcs and ogres who’d taken to chopping down the masts of docked ships.
Looking back on the city, now in flames, they recognized the futility of their resistance, and fled to the’Bilge Rat’, galleon of the thieves guild. With them, many helpless civilians boarded the boat.
Finally free of the city, and after much deliberation, the party and crew decided to travel north toward World’s Edge through a storm that looked to be brewing on the horizon. On the way, they would hug the coast and learn the fate of the coastal city of Northview.
Old Bonsey, weathered crewman of the ‘Bilge Rat’ warned of “The Great Lorash of the North”, a massive sea monster that could crush a ship with it’s grasp, and who was often spotted in gales. Much to Bonsey’s chagrin, none of his crew-mates shared the sentiment.
Reaching a narrow strait, the ship suddenly came under siege. At first, only rocks flew their way, until a giant amorphous ooze hit the deck of the galleon, launched by a massive catapult manned by Hill Giants. Acid ate away at the ship, eventually falling through the top deck into the belly below. Finally our adventurers won the day, but not without loosing Bonesy and several other crewmen in the battle against the black blob.