Battle worn paladin Orden Ulfgar offers his help in this, also wishing to return to Tinser Point and his forge, where he might continue to craft weapons to help the locals.
Hired to help the rogue and paladin on their trip to the mine, Izkrael the ranger and Milana the horse-master are asked to play guide to the unlikely duo. They are given 500gp up front, and are promised another 500 for seeing the rogue through the mine, and back to Ferron’s Reach.
The four adventurers meet and head off through the hills toward Tinser Point.
After a half-day’s ride, our adventurers encounter two barbarian horsemen watching them from a distance. Their apparent reverence for Milana and her massive horse Arias’Tama keeps the savages at a distance, and the adventurers move on without conflict.
At the end of the second day, and nearing their destination, the group spots several men along the road south of Tinser Point.
Orden approaches and casts Detect Evil. Sensing their evil nature, the paladin draws his weapon and tells the men to step aside.
The highwaymen attack but are quickly dispatched by the battle tested adventurers.
“I seen their eyes, whatever they were ain’t no men” -Rynang Brawnbelt
Having dispatched the bandits on the south-side of town, the adventurers made their way into Tinser Point and to the inn, where they encountered a troupe of displaced dwarves, workers of Thunderlode Mine.
Orden struck up conversation with Laud and Rynang Brawnbelt cousins who worked in the mine, and victims of the underground assault. Rynang revealed an arrow that had been drawn from his side after the attack, one that was clearly of barbarian make. The dwarves also described the attack, that their assailants doused the torches of the mine, and seemed to focus their attacks on dwarves first, then humans.
When asked if anyone saw the attackers, the dwarves mentioned Ruun Horissy, a drunkard human, and pointed to his table across the room, on which he’d unceremoniously passed-out.
Taking lead of the investigation, Orden roughly woke the drunken human and drilled him with questions. Ruun seemed certain that what he’d seen weren’t humans. He described their eyes, similar to humans, but ravenous and terrifying.
Milana and Izkrael turned down the room and board offered to the travelers, and instead chose to sleep several minutes outside of town.
Retiring to his smithy, Orden worked through the night, while Bel snuck around town to see if he could glean any more pertinent information. The rogue overheard a conversation between locals, saying, " Farmer Jansen’s seen barbarians traveling across his fields, carrying supplies as if they were migrating." Jansen suspected that they were either moving to war, or away from it.
The next morning the four met up, and took off toward the mine. After several hours, Izkrael noticed a strange bird that had been following them. The bird was strange indeed for it then turned into a human, a savage female.
The woman, who called herself Aemu, seemed to be warning the travelers to flee over the mountains. She then led Milana and Izkrael to a grove not far from the road, in which stood an ancient stone carved with hieroglyphs. The images seemed to portray humanoids in their every day life, until another group of humanoids showed up and drove them beyond the mountains, much as Aemu seemed to be warning the party. The barbarian then shifted back into the form of a bird and flew away.
The party carried on to the mine, and after a struggle with the lift, they got down to the second floor of the mine.
Remnants of weapon and armor racks were found, clearly gone-through. Small bugs skittered about, and eventually led the party to a massive Cave Ravager picking at corpses strewn about the room. Though the ravager fought hard, the heroes persevered, and defeated the insect-beast.
All that’s left of a barbarian village, sacked by orcs.
Continuing on their hunt for orcs, Izkrael tracked through the day, but soon noticed the signs of a massive storm approaching. His years in these parts told him to hunker down, and thus the party found a shallow cave in which to wait out the storm.
In the morning, two figures approached the campsite and hailed our adventurers. The two introduced themselves as Cietel and Garld, a human and a dwarf on a mission to take down the thieves guild of which Bel is a ranking member.
Though Orden appealed with the dwarf, showing him his badge of honor representing the dwarven god, Garld pressed on with his questioning. With the aid of magic, Cietel was able to discern the paladin’s half-truths.
The Inquisitor’s gave an ultimatum, one which out party was unwilling to accomidate. Battle ensued and the human and dwarf fell.
Looting their bodies revealed a Holy Symbol of the North Church, a force of opposition against the thieves guild.
Continuing onward, our adventurers reached a barbarian settlement which lay in waste. Amongst the rubble, two massive vultures attacked the party.
Slaying the giant avians, the party found weapons of human make among the barbarian corpses. Suspicions grew of the orcs attempt to pit the humans and barbarians against eachother.
Pressing though the night in a forced march, our adventurers made Ferron’s Reach and quickly moved to the thieves guild to relay what they had learned.
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.
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.
“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.
“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!
“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.