Stamus Contra Malum: 1013 YE

The Long Journey Part I
Juselen, 2nd-3rd , 1014 YE

The Long Journey Part I

The party rose early in the morning and made their way down to the docks. They had a hired a number of barges to take them and their horses up river to the Dragon Falls.

The boats left the docks and the party was on their way. They first travel north up the coast to the mouth of the Krysivor River in the Viamar Marshes. The weather was cool with a steady wind blowing and light clouds.Once in the marshes the party came across a large herd of antelope feeding on the fresh green shoots in the marshes. They soon exited the marshes and were entering the Lusaun Forest.

By mid day the party had reach a point where they could go no further with barges. They offloaded and rode north following the river. Sometime later the party had a chance encounter with a pack of hellhounds that quickly overcame.

The Dragon Falls (Base)

By the afternoon they reached the base of the great Dragon Falls to their surprise they discovered a small clan of gnomes had built a settlement at the base of the falls. The gnome had built a lift to the top of the falls and were charging for its use.

The party came to terms with the gnomes and the party made it to the top without incident. Garrick however decided he wanted to go back down to drink with the Gnomes. On his way down, a wyvern attacked the elevator and flew off with the cage with Garrick still in it. The party came to his rescue and killed the Wyvern.

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The party decided to make camp at the top of the fall as it had grown dark already.

The Dragon Falls (Top)

The party woke to the sound of thunder and the crash of lighting, a massive storm had blown in. The party struggled to break camp and get under way. They traveled west to Türos Tem in order to use the ford their to cross the river. The going was tough, the storm was getting fiercer, finally the Oberron suggested they stop off at his hidden cave to take shelter from the storm. As they got close to the cave, Garrick was struck by a bolt of lighting. Then another bolt split a tree which then fell on Garrick.

The Cave That Oberron Built

The party took shelter in the cave and waited for the storm to subside.

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Waking the Dead
Genelen, 27th-Juselen, 1st , 1014 YE

After the party bid farewell to Dmitri, Avery turned to the grim task of getting answers. He grabbed one of the dead assassin and used the power of Calefa to compel the spirit of dead man to answer his questions.

“Where is your base of operation?”

The Temple of the Hooded Serpent in the City of the Crystal Flame

“What are its defenses?”

The temple is an fortress made from stone and crystal and is protected by an army of brethren.

“What was your next operation (target)?”

_We were to take the captives to the Citadel of Fulgrim and turn them over to General Zorn."

The party recognized that the temple was located in the city of Zahara and out of their reach. The Citadel of Fulgrim was a place they never heard of before, the same with General Zorn.

With the funeral for Dmitry and the servants completed the party decided to head to the Black Eagle Fortress, the Hastinov’s have a villa in the city that they could use until they could decide on their next steps.

The 100 Horse Tree

Damien had been spent the better part of a month traveling across the province of Traladar. Along the way he had gotten into a fair number of scrapes with people who were less than pleased with him shining the light of Ammonar on their dark activities. After a scuffle with the guards of a corrupt nobleman ended in bloodshed, he was forced to head west. The stories circulating around the taverns and caravans were that a great deal of trouble had taken place in the northwestern borderlands and a civil war had broken out in the former province of Cappadocia.

On his way towards the borderlands, Damien stopped off at the strangest tree he had ever seen. It was a massive chestnut tree whose boughs spread out so far a 20 wagon caravan could easily rest beneath its branches. Tied to the branches of the tree were hundreds and hundreds of trinkets. When the wind blew, the tree made a magical tinkling sound like a giant wind chime. Damien could see that travelers had made camp under many, many times. There was even a small shrine of the god Naurivus that someone had built.
Damien decided to stop and rest, the sun was soon to set and it was time for evening prayer. After setting up, Damien knelt down upon his old frayed prayer rug and faced west looking to the waning light of the setting sun. Damien prayed and asked for guidance.

What was the will of Ammonar? What did the fiery god of the sun wish of his most humble servant?
A stiff breeze caused the great tree to twinkle and chime filling the air with music. It was when he felt something hit him the head and fall to the ground next to him. Picking up the object, Damien could see it was a crudely hand carved bird, maybe a duck or a swan, that had been tied to the tree with white ribbon. A sign from Ammonar himself!

After a funny but tense exchange, Damien convinced the party he was harmless and would make a great addition to their party.

Black Eagle Fortress, Alpha District, Hastinov Villa

The party sets up shop in the Villa with the latest addition Damien. Vilhelmus bids his comrades adieu and leaves on his ship, his destiny now lay at sea. The rest of party spent the day going through all of the intelligence they gathered over the past several months.

They formulated a plan. They knew the Demon and his compatriots were looking for the lost dwarven vault. They needed to get their first and locate the secret weapons the dwarves had crafted. They would travel north deep in the Alan Tepes Mountains and raid the vault before the demon could. The party had an advantage, Oberron has made copies of all of the maps and the Demon only acquired the one that showed the general location of the vault. The party had another map that showed the location of the vault and in which valley.

Once the planning was done the group headed to a popular local watering hole called The Blue Cauldron located in the market ward, surrounded by shadowed alleys and active marketplaces. The street outside the tavern was filled with the scent of incense and exotic spices. The inn is a two-story timber and brick building, with several leaded glass windows and dwarf-wrought iron tables and chairs. A small dragon’s skull hangs over the hearth. Accommodations consist of a mezzanine with several wooden cots. The inn is unusually noisy, with a band of aggressive rakes chasing wenches.

The group quickly descended into drunken debauchery and much fun was had.

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The next day, the party split up to gather the supplies they needed on the trip. Ivanova and Damien were jumped by a team of Imperial Talons looking to kill Ivanova. A fiery battle ensued that saw the killers defeated and a good portion of the market set a blaze. The party returned to the villa and made preparations to get out of the city.

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The Feast of Valentinus
Genelen, 26th , 1014 YE

The Feast of Valentinus aka The Red Feast

Genelen, 26th , 1014 YE

The Light-Bringers (PC)

The Light-Bringers (NPC)

  • Mornya Morning Star, Spellblade
  • Noelia Nightsong, Nightblade
  • Robyn, Man-At-Arms
  • Sparrow, Man-At-Arms
  • Martin, Man-At-Arms
  • Mock, Man-At-Arms
  • Fred, Porter

The Light-Bringers (Animals)

  • Tycho, Dwarven War Dog
  • Huginn & Muninn, Avery & Garrick’s Familiar’s
  • Titania & Puck, Ivanova Trained Owls

Rendevous at the Hastinov Estate

After spending six months scattered across the Known World pursuing specific goals, the Light-bringers returned to the Hastinov Estate. They had arrived in time to celebrate the Feast of Valentinus together. The celebration was grand as the party members regaled each other and the rest of the Hastinov clan with the tales of their travels. Everyone feasted, drank and danced as minstrels hired by the family played until both moons were high in the sky. During the feast it become clear to many that the family patriarch, Dmitry, was beginning to show signs of his advancing age. He forgot or confused people’s names, and at one point, the aging warrior called for his wife who had passed away several years ago.

After the Feast

After all of the guests had left, everyone retired to their beds to sleep off the copious amounts of wine that had been drunk. It was well after second moonfall when Ivanova was awakened by one of her owls. Getting out of bed, she looked around the villa and did not see anything amiss. However, when she went to look out over the courtyard, she saw a flying carpet swoop down out of the sky and deposit a squad of men dressed in black. She turned to alert the household when she saw ropes drop out of the atrium skylight and more men rappelled down to the ground floor.

Ivanova’s cry alerted many in the household, but the wine was still heavy upon them. A great melee ensued as the intruders beat and dragged everyone out of their beds, binding them. The Light-Bringers were able to eventually fight them off, killing several. As the skirmish continued, a tall dark man cloaked in black and wearing a lion’s mask watched the melee dispassionately.

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After showing that he was still seasoned in combat by killing several of the assailants, Dmitry was trapped in the garden by a four-sided wall of force. Ivanova tried to attack the lion-masked man, but he wielded inhuman speed and strength. The Paladin was literally kicked out of the villa and landed in the courtyard. The rest of the party had killed off the remaining attackers and had gotten the rest of the Hastinovs to safety.

The Demon and the Lion

The party had gathered together in the courtyard to face off with the masked warrior. Ivanova was sure this man was named Leonious, once the leader of the Imperial Zodiac, formerly the emperor’s secret Praetorian Guard. They had been outlawed and supposedly wiped out over a decade ago. A deep booming voice stopped the fighting as another masked man cloaked in crimson floated into the courtyard.

The man was known as The Demon, but once upon a time he had been a mortal man named Brother Selya, a priest of Ammonar, and a member of Dmitry’s old adventuring group, the Crimson Blades. Decades ago he had absorbed the power of a demon that had possessed another Crimson Blade, Fidelias. The demon power had granted Selya unnatural power and life, which had corrupted him into a full demon as years went by.

The Demon and Leonious had come to the Hastinov Estate for two things- the map that Avery had stolen from Silar Silverhand and the scion of Ashlar, a fellow Crimson Blade, who had died during an assault on a Hill Giant Steading. Leonious had already taken the map from Avery and Garrick’s room.

The Demon tried to convince Dmitry to reveal to him the identity of a child he had hidden years ago. He revealed that for the last thirty years he had been secretly killing off the Immortals one by one. He had killed the Great Crone, The Prince, The Forge Father, The Lord of Horses and several lesser-known ones. He also revealed that it was he and not Dmitry who was responsible for killing Zartan Wave Thunder. There were only two immortals left- the Arch Lich and Liliana, the Queen of Thorns.

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The Demon had found the means to strike down the Queen of Thorns; he needed a sacrifice who was a blood relative of the queen. However, all of her living progeny was safely guarded in her forest kingdom behind the powerful barrier known as the Thornwall. The Demon had discovered that Ashlar had been a member of Clan Camran and was also a scion of Liliana. When the Demon had discovered that Ashlar had fathered an illegitimate child with a gypsy woman, who had herself married an elf and had sired a child, he began hunting that child. His search had led him back to his old comrade Dmitry, who had been secretly hiding Ashlar’s grandchild for 20 years.

There Can Only Be One

Dmitry thought about this for a moment and looked at his family, who were outside of the cube of force. He turned to the Demon “After to taking a moment to consider what you have said, I can only tell you this Selya.” The old soldier stood straight and looked his old comrade in the eye. “Fuck You!”

Dmitry held his sword at the ready, standing tall and resembling the warrior he had been 40 years ago. The Demon revealed that he too had a sword of his own. The weapon was of an ancient design and the very air around it seemed to warp and wither. It was Avaritia, one of the seven swords of chaos. Ivanova could feel the power of chaos emitting from it, even through the walls of the magical barrier.

The two former comrades faced off against each other and for a moment all was still. The two then stepped towards each other. Dmitry’s skillfull hand swung his sword at the Demon but the Demon’s blade crashed down as well. Dmitry’s sword shattered into a hundred pieces as the sword of chaos magic tore through it with a howl.

The Demon than reversed his stroke with a flourish and drove it through Dmitry’s chest. Coughing up blood and looking at the sword he was impaled upon, Dmitry smiled at his enemy. “You get nothing.”

The Demon glared at Dmitry. “Death will not protect you,” he snarled as he pulled his sword out of the old man’s chest, intending to rip his ethereal soul out of his body. “I will tear your soul apart and I will find the child”. The Demon pulled forth a crystal orb and Dmitry’s soul was sucked into it. Vilhelmus and Ivanova screamed with grief and rage.

The Cat Who Walked Through Shadows

The black cat who had been quietly watching all of the events in the courtyard moved out of the shadows. As the Lightbringers beat fruitlessly at the cube of force screaming for Dmitry, the cat simply walked through the magical barrier. The Demon sensed its presence immediately.

The cat then surprised everyone when it spoke. “You know Selya, you were an insufferable ass when you were human and becoming a demon has done nothing to improve your disposition.”

“You have no authority here, Shadowcat,” hissed the Demon. “Dmitry is mine and you lack the power to stop me. Not without breaking the covenant. Go back to your shadows.”

“You are both right and wrong, you disgraced excuse for a priest. Under the rules of the covenant, gods may not directly interfere with the life of mortals and yes, you are quite powerful, especially wielding that sword. But you made two mistakes.”

“Your first mistake was killing Dmitry. Souls fall within my domain.”

The cat’s body began to blur and change, and once where a cat stood there was now a beautiful woman wearing a cloak that seemed to be made from the starry sky.

The woman, who had once been a mortal named Nazli and a former Crimson Blade, spoke with a hard edge. “Your second mistake was underestimating me, for I wield a weapon you have failed to account for.”

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The Demon seemed both troubled and bemused. “This sword was forged to kill gods, what could you have that could compare, Shadowcat?”

The Shadowcat smiled wickedly. “I have a pissed-off dwarf with a grudge.” With a flourish of her silken cloak, an old battle-scarred dwarf appeared. He was Oberron Troll-Nose, father of Oberron Bale Eye, former Vault Lord of High Forge, Clan Lord of the Brass Bear Clan, and last surviving member of the Crimson Blades.

A ferocious bellow erupted from the Dwarf as he leveled a strange weapon at the Demon, which discharged a fiery cloud of smoke. “Take that, ya bastard!” Oberron laughed as the Demon howled in agony as his left arm was ripped asunder by the blast. The crystal ball with Dmitry’s soul was flung into the air, from which Shadowcat plucked it and disappeared in a blink. The Demon roared and charged towards the dwarf. Oberron turned his head and could see his son outside the Barrier.

Oberron bellowed to his son, “Ah love you boy, you does me proud and never forget it.” The old dwarf swung his weapon at the Demon once more. “Come on! Have at me!”

Avaritia sliced through the night air and sent forth a blurry wave of hell fire that incinerated the old dwarf, melting his armor and turning his body to ash. The wave of hell fire shattered the magical barrier, knocking everyone down and setting the villa ablaze. The Demon howled and disappeared in a shower of fireflies.

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Ivanova and Vilhelmus scrambled over to their grandfather’s body. Ivanova cradled the old man in her arms and cried as Vilhelmus looked around to see where the enemy had gone. Oberron Bale-Eye crawled over to the pile of dust that had been his father, tears running from all three of his eyes. The sounds of people and shouting could be heard as people from all across the estate came to the villa to see what was happening. Avery and Garrick were clenching their fists, while Lozen looked on the scene with a stricken expression.

The Crimson Blades’ Final Bow

The party took Dmitry’s body and the remains of Oberron outside of the burning villa. The residents of the estate had come out and were doing their best to put out the fire before it consumed the entire villa. The elven brothers had dragged one of the dead assassins out of the villa; Avery and Garrick planned to get some answers. The party was in shock and grief. Their patron and the patriarch of the Hastinov family was dead. Oberron Bale-Eye was deep in dwarven grief as his sire was now gone, and hate entered his heart, hatred for the Demon.

As the sun began to peak above the horizon to the east, a shower of shooting stars could be seen in the pre-dawn sky. A shimmering curtain of stars appeared before the party and out stepped the Shadowcat with two ethereal forms in tow- the souls of Dmitry and Oberron Troll-Nose. Dmitry looked like he did when he had been a young and hale adventurer.

My children, my time here is short and there is much I have to say, so listen carefully. Twenty years ago my brother Borris came across a gypsy caravan that had been attacked; the only survivors were a mother and her baby. The mother was dying and begged Borris to save her daughter, who was the granddaughter to a legendary elven hero named Ashlar. Borris took one look at the red-headed, green-eyed child and knew this to be true. He would take that child and raise her as his own daughter. When my brother died, Lemunda and I took her as our own.

Ivanova, I knew Ashlar well, and I wanted to protect you, allow you to have a normal life. I knew there were people out there who want to use you for their own benefit, people like the Demon or the elven separatists. That is why I never told you who your blood family was. In my mind you are and always will be a Hastinov. Now that you know the truth, you will need to decide what path you will take. The Demon has not figured out who you are yet, but he will eventually. When he does he will come for you and you must be prepared.

Oberron III stepped forth and spoke to his son.

Boy, I meant what I said back there. Weep for me no more. I knew this day would come and I have been ready for it for many years. I ask that you be true to yourself and stand by Ivanova’s side. The Hastinovs and our family have a special bond, one forged in blood and iron.

Oberron III turned to Dmitry and winked. “There could only be one, and it was me, ha!” With that the old dwarf turned and walked back into the shimmering curtain and for a moment the party could see the deck of a ship at sea. The dwarf was greeted by a group on the ship: a male high elf, a female wood elf, and several humans- including a man wearing a crown.

Dmitry bid them all farewell and turned towards the shimmering curtain which parted for him. It revealed a field of golden grain with a villa off in the distance. Running towards Dmitry through the fields was a woman. Her golden hair shined in the sunlight. She was Lemunda, and she had been waiting for day that the man she loved would join her. As the curtain began to close they could see her leaping into Dmitry’s arms. Tears of joy filled both of their eyes as they embraced, finally at peace.

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The Shadowcat turned towards the party.

The winds of fate are blowing with the strength of a gale now. May you find glory and success in the days and months to come, for you will be challenged like you have never been before.

The demi-goddess turned and disappeared, taking the night with her as the first rays of dawn swept over the estate. “Why, why, Great-Uncle?” Ivanova sobbed as she lay over Dmitry’s body. “Why did you not just tell me? Why did you let me hate you? I never knew…” As her words ended in more laments, Vilhelmus turned away bitterly. “I knew you would always be the death of him, Ivanova.” She looked up wordlessly at him, sorrow in her eyes. “I will always be a Hastinov, wherever my path leads me,” she said resolutely, and an understanding passed between them.

That same look resonated around the courtyard, as the Light-bringers realized that their lives would never be the same. Choices were going to have to be made, and not all of them would be easy. But they knew that after all their trials thus far, they would somehow find the strength to go on. For Dmitry, and for the Known World.

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Aftermath
Innelen, 16th (Aug 18) - Nethelen 1st

Aftermath

Innelen, 16th (Aug 18)

The heroes, battered, bloodied, exhausted and had been awake for over 36 hours. Grabbing the three glowing shards that were once the Heart of Sakkara, they holed up in the chamber that used to be the Lady Below’s.

Innelen, 17th – 18th (Aug 19-20)

After a long rest, the party took stock of their situation. They looted the Lady Below’s chamber and learned a great deal about her and the fact she use to follow the orders of someone known as the Master of Secrets. They also discovered where the location of the Black Hare’s Hideout was and where the Ogres came from, the ruins of the Watchtower at Eammon Mór.

The party returned to the Inner Fane and had to fight off a swarm of Abominations. The combined arcane power of Avery and his Henchman, Mornya injured or killed most of them. The rest of the group finished them off.

The party spent the next two days liberating all of the prisoners and stripping everything of value in the temple. The party had discovered that the Lady had ordered all of her Beastmen to aid the Ogre Warlord in his attempt to break Türos Tem.

Innelen, 19th (Aug 21)

The heroes led the freed prisoners out of the hidden temple. The closest settlements was Türos Tem and The Midway Tavern. After a brief discussion the decision was made to head to the fort to see if it still stood or if it had fallen.

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Türos Tem

The party arrived at Türos Tem and saw the aftermath of the Battle of the Red Ford. Mounds of dead beastmen were burning; the town outside of the fort was little more than rubble. The party’s villa was now a smoking ruin.

The Imperial Legion Banners on the fort had been replaced by the banners of the Silver Sword Mercenary Company. There were a number of legionnaires making ready for a march.The Centurion was seen directing everyone.

The party approached him and learned that the empire had won the Battle of the Red Ford, the Beastmen were repulsed. Legate Valerian was wounded and later died from his injuries. Malyn the Misshapen had also passed away, when the party presented the truth about Lady Valerian, the Centurion was shocked until the party showed him her head. The doppelganger had already left heading southwest to Siadanos. A message was sent to arrest it at once.

The party discovered that the entirety of the borderlands was now to be garrisoned by mercenaries in the employ of the Silver Scale Trading Company and Silar Silverhand had been promoted to Legate. The Silver Scale Company was now responsible for the defense of the Border Lands, in return all farming, lumber and mining rights in the borderlands were exclusively owned by the trading company.

A meeting was had later that week as the heroes had to make a decision on what to do with the three shards of the Tablet of Destiny they had acquired. After a lengthy discussion, it was decided that they would be split up and taken to three safe locations.

One shard would be taken by Lozen to the island of Themyscira, where the High Temple of Ianna was located. Ivanova would be joining her as would Vilhelmus who would sail them as close as he could.

One shard would be taken by the Avery and Garrick. Using contacts within the New Hellions, they arranged to be escorted into the Kingdom of Canolbrath by Owen the Courtier. They would present the fragment to Illiana, the Queen of Thorns, Immortal Ruler of the Wood Elves.

The last shard would be taken by Oberron to High Forge to be presented to the Vault Lords.

Innelen, 19th – 24th (Aug 21)

The Breaking of the Fellowship

The party left Türos Tem and made their way south to return to the Hastinov Estate. They did not travel this road alone. Many of the villagers who were rescued by the heroes accompanied them. Ivanova had made sure that many of these folks received a portion of the treasure hauled from the temple. With her kindness and the fact that she had personally slain the Lady Below, she had become something of a celebrity, as was the rest of the party.

As they entered the gate of the estate, they were greeted by the Hastinovs and the heroes had come full circle. They had left here five months ago on a quest to discover the source of troubles on the Borderlands. They had overcome many challenges and defeated terrible evil. It was not without a cost. Priestess Genelan, Malyn the Imperial Mage, Atticus the Bard and Brother Merrin had paid for it with their lives, Lukos had given up, and a number of other had died. The Stone of Sakkara had been destroyed forever, but now the Borderlands where in the hands of the Silver Scale Company.

The following day, a great feast was had. The heroes related everything to D’mitri Hastinov. He thankful they had destroyed the evil, but was concerned with the how much power that Silar Silverhand was acquiring.

Nethelen 1st

The party leaves the Hastinov Estate and part ways, promising to meet again in six months at the Hastinov Estate for the Feast of Valentinus.

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The Final Battle
Innelen, 15th-19th

The Black Ziggurat

The party having resupplied, headed out to launch their final attack on the Hidden Temple. Their resolve to stop the Lady Below was strong and they would not be stopped. They reached the temple at the same time as a group of bugbears leading a coffle of prisoners from Türos Astor. A short fight ensued and the prisoners were liberated. The prisoners left heading towards the safety of the Midway Inn. The party entered the crack in the stone hill.

The party entered the temple without any resistance, but instead of fighting their way through the halls and rooms they climbed on the roof of the temple and quickly spotted a black ziggurat. Stealthily approaching, they soon found themselves gazing down into a courtyard. A group of gnolls and kobolds were leading another coffle of prisoners down into the ziggurat. The party quickly devised a plan and launched an attack on the gnolls.

The plan was a success, the beastmen were caught off guard and killed quickly. However the fighting alerted the master of the ziggurat, Idimmu the Demonic. The black dragon quickly cast mirror image on himself and the party witnessed three dragons come roaring out of the ziggurat. Idimmu unleashed his breath weapon killing all of the prisoners and gravely injuring Vilhelmus. Brother Merrin quickly used a prayer to remove the rotting disease that threatened to kill Vilhelmus,

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Ivanova and Garrick fired arrows and bolts at the dragon, shattering two of the mirror images. Lozan pulled out a green potion she had acquired from the treasure hoard of Agrippa. Swallowing the potion, Lozan grew to twice her height. As the dragon moved to attack, she ran up the ziggurat and sprang off of it. She slammed into the dragon mid-air and threw him to the ground. Vilhelmus ran forward and drove his sword into its heart, killing the dragon.

The party took some time to recover, it was during this time they discovered another ancient treasure room. Taking stock they grabbed a few choice items and they all decided to press on. Stopping at the top of the temple, they smashed the evil altar. They quickly found Idimmu’s treasure hoard and picked through it. They discovered an enchanted blade that once belongs to one of Lozan’s Blade Dancer Sisters, the one that was recently murdered. Lozan took the blade named Death Drinker and promised to use it to destroy her sister’s murderers.

The Blood Lake

Thanks to Oberron previous scouting trip of the catacombs, the heroes knew where the Outer Fane was. Oberron led them down from the ziggurat into the catacombs. The party quickly noticed that there was a lack of beastmen or undead activity, as if the temple had been emptied.

The party soon found themselves on the shores of the lake of blood and saw for the first time, the great tree made of flesh. As a paladin of Fionnghuala the Fair Shouldered, a goddess of sisterhood, sacred pools, water birds and deep and hidden magic, Ivanova saw it as abomination against nature itself and moved to cut down the tree. As she stepped into the blood, it recoiled from her as if touch her would be anathema. She strode towards the tree parting the waters of the lake.

Abominations lurking within the lake moved to attack her but where repealed by the faith of Brother Merrin. The tree attempted to defend itself but the party fought off its tendrils. Ivanova with aid from the party destroyed the tree.

The Outer Fane

The party pressed on and entered the Outer Fane, they were confronted by Ur-Namu, High Priest of Sakkara and his catechists reinforced with deathless minions. Avery let forth with his burning hands and incinerated many of the minions while Brother Merrin cast silence to stop the catechists from casting spells. The party made short work of the catechists. Ur-Namu escaped out the back, running towards the Inner Fane and the Lady Below.

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After dispatching all of the enemies, the heroes defiled the altar and icons of Sakkara. They left the Inner Fane and heading down the passageway that the High Priest had ran down.

The Inner Fane

The party strode into the Inner Fane and quickly realized they had walked into a trap. A horde of skeletons and zombies filled the room. The Stone of Sakkara sat atop an altar of bone that rises from an image of a massive serpent eating its own tail carved onto a dais in the center of the 70’ wide, egg-shaped cavern. Veins and fleshy “roots” grew around and through the bones of this altar, knitting them together in a blasphemous whole. The tendrils spread across the floor, past a ring of burning braziers stationed around the altar, and grow up into the ceiling 25’ overhead.

Standing on the altar was Ur-Namu, High Priest of Sakkara and two more of his catechists. Also standing on the altar was a female warrior wearing plate armor and a masked helm, The Lady below herself. Brother Merrin’s spell of silence rendered everyone mute, so he charged towards the altar before anyone could stop him. The undead stepped aside and allowed him. As he approached, The Lady Below took a step forward and decapitated the cleric with one blow from her great ax; this broke the spell of silence.

Most of party was shocked by the sudden charge and equally quick death of Brother Merrin. With the spell gone, The Lady Below took off her helm and addressed the remaining heroes. To the shock of all, the heroes had met her before. The Lady Below was actually the Lady Celena Valerian and she was a Ruinguard, a Fell Paladin of Sakkara!

She took delight in the shock of surprise on their faces. She told them how she had been manipulating them to get to this moment using her doppleganger agent posing as herself in the fort. She needed them to be sacrifices to the Heart of Sakkara, as the blood of heroes made the heart even stronger. And with that battle was joined.

Avery once again let forth with his flames incinerating the undead. Lozan drove back a group of skeletons using her holy symbol. The Lady Below charged the heroes and was soon locked in combat with Ivanova. The battle was bloody as the combat turned into was swirling melee.

Ivanova and Celena exchanged a flurry of ringing blows, each doing damage to other. The two warriors were equally matched. CelenA sacrificed some of her arcane energy and prepared an arcane strike, seeking to end the stalemate with a decisive blow. Ivanova at the same time dropped her shield to take a two handed grip on her sword. Both warriors struck mighty blows, Celena’s great axe ripped through Ivanova’s armor and dealt the paladin a mortal wound. Ivanova sword struck true (Natural 20) and cut off Celena’s head.

Ur-Namu seeing that his mistress was down broke away from the fighting and attempted to seize the heart for himself. Lozan lept forward and drove her sword clear through the priest chest and pierce the Heart of Sakkara while speaking the words that activated the swords dread power. The Heart of Sakkara exploded into a red mist that turned Ur-Namu into protoplasmic goo.

The remaining undead collapsed as the power that once animated was gone. The heroes looked around and quickly tended to the wounded. On the altar, where the stone was stood was not three glowing diamond like shards.

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Smoke Rising
Innelen, 15th-19th

July 29th Game Session

Arrival Black Eagle Fortress – Innelen, 13th (Aug 15)

The Wing Lion sailed into the harbor of the Black Eagle Fortress carrying its cargo and passengers. Waiting at the pier was a welcoming party of officials from the fortress and D’mitri Hastinov. The elven emissary Owen Kenabe was greeted and escorted to the Fortress. The rest of the party was put under military guard and also escorted to the fortress.

The party ended up cooling their heels in a well -appointed meeting room for several hours. Servants brought food and drink to them and Vilhelmus was able to write orders for the crew of his ship. Eventually the elderly Hastinov entered the room. After admonishing them for leaving the borderlands, he informs them that all magical communication has stopped with Türos Tem. He informs them that horses have been made ready for them.

The Midway Inn – Innelen, 14th (Aug 16)

The next morning the party gathered supplies including many healing scrolls from the local temples and head towards Türos Tem. By late evening of the first day they reached the Midway Inn. During the night, the party was afflicted by terrible dreams which made them restless.

Türos Tem – Innelen, 15th (Aug 17)

The next morning they awoke to the acrid smell of smoke in the air and a haze had enveloped the inn and the surround countryside. An imperial messenger rode into the caravanesi and his horse promptly died on him. He immediately ordered a fresh mount and rode off again to the Siadanos.
Before he left, the party pressed him for information. He informed them that beastmen had attacked many of the forts, including Türos Tem. The party quickly mounted their horse and rode north. As the party approached the fort, they passed by burning farms and settlements. Columns of smoke could be seen rising from miles away.

The forum was in shambles, stalls destroyed, many buildings showed fire damage or were burned to the ground. A makeshift hospital had been set-up in the forum and many wounded could be seen. Sister Lozan jumped into help with the wounded, when she inquired as to where was Priestess Genelen was out she was meet with silence, one of the healers informed her that the priestess has been killed by infiltrators.

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Avery and Garrick split-off from the party and went look for Lynara to get more information. Ivanova, Vilhelmus, Lankeister and Oberron went to check on their villa. The villa was still standing but the servants were all gone and there were signs of a struggle. Ivanova went looking for her friend Koinas the Quartermaster. Vilhelmus and Brother Merrin went looking for other contacts in the fort. Meanwhile, Lozan was busy using her staff of healing to heal as many people as she could. Vilhelmus was able to find the Centurion out on the marshalling field. Piles of dead beastmen were being stacked on pyres.

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Siadanos IV – Rocks and Lizards
Innelen, 10th-13th (Aug 12-16)

Siadanos IV – Rocks and Lizards

The group was huddled in the elven quarter waiting for Winged Lion to make port. The Treasury Fleet arrived on the morning of the 12th. Not too far behind it the Winged Lion arrived carrying on board Brother Merrin, Sister Lozan, and Oberron, who had joined the ship in Turos Luln. After the party was united, Vilhelmus spoke with his crew and made arrangements to load the illicit cargo and the party so they could depart for The Black Eagle Fortress. It was during this time the party was approached by two groups. One was the dock master, who the party quickly got rid of using Tycho’s flatulence. The second was the priestess from the New Hellions accompanying an elder elf and entourage. The party now had some VIPs that they needed to get to Black Eagle.

The party set sail down the river to the Gulf of Halag. Along the way, the Black Bull Mercenary Company made one final attempt on the VIP the party was escorting. Using archers and catapults, they tried to sink the ship, but thanks to Vilhelmus’s seamanship and Avery’s magic they were able to escape.

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The ship had taken some serious damage during the ambush. The crew did the best they could, but the ships movement was slowed. Vilhelmus decided to anchor near the Viamar Marshes in the evening to waiting out a storm that had swept over the gulf.

During the night, the ship was attacked by a raiding party of Lizardmen. With the help of the crew, the party was able to repeal the attackers. The next morning they set sail and made the trek down the coast and finally arrived at the port of Black Eagle.

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Siadanos III - Shadows Over Siadanos
Innelen, 9th-10th (Aug 11-12)

Shadows Over Siadanos

The twin informed the cousins that an important envoy from the Kingdom of Canolbarth was heading to Siadanos and they found out a team of assassin had been dispatched to intercept them. The cousins informed the twin they the Imperial Talons were operating in the town and they were going to kidnap one of them. The four of them devised a plan to stop the assassin and kidnap a talon. It was a good plan and could have worked but no plan survives contact with the enemy, which is why they are the enemy.

The elves set to searching the Third Ward looking for the killer. The elves were looking out for dwarven female mercenary known as Manda. She was reputed to be a member of the Black Bull Company and was staying at the company’s garrison. Meanwhile the cousins had acquired some imperial naval uniforms and were staking out the brothel.

After several hours, the brothers finally spotted her, a busty raven haired dwarven lass armed with an arbalest. She was not alone however as she had three other members of her mercenary guild with her. The group headed south to the Fourth Ward and the West Gate. The elves followed closely behind. The cousin also spotted Muso around this time and he also was not alone, his team was with him, a full Claw. Muso and his men headed down through the Third Ward and into the Fourth Ward also.

Both teams of killers left Siadanos and were heading north, weaving their way through and around the sprawling refugee camp that was there. Manda had spotted the brothers trailing her and used the camp to lose them. The elves in their effort to stop her sparked a riot. As the fighting consumed the camp, the two teams of killers ran into each other and standoff was at hand. It seemed they were both there to kill the same person. The heroes deiced to use this to launch an attack on the killers.

Vilhelmus focused on Muso, attempting to subdue him quickly, while his cousin tore through the other Talons with a terrible ferocity. Manda used the confusion to escape, but Garrick was hot on her heels. Avery killed all of the other members of her team. The fight was shortly over, but the riot was spreading. Vilhelmus and Ivanova secured the unconscious Muso while Avery went to help his brother. Manda had Garrick pinned down, but Avery soon flushed her out. Manda ended up escaping but she was in no position to complete her mission.

The group took Muso north away from the riot and found an empty barn. Ivanova was able to find out that Muso has thought her dead, and that if an Imperial Talon had tried to kill her, where was the rest of his claw and why did they not try to kill her. Ivanova eventually ended Muso’s life. The group then tried to re-enter the city but the gate were closed and no one was being allowed in or out. The party then too the long walk to the Lake District and sought shelter with the elves.

Dawn came early; the smell of smoke from the burning refugee camp could be smelled even in the Lake District. The four heroes broke fast with Arerwel the priestess. She informed them the town was now on lock down. The riot had been put down by the legion, but tensions were running high. With the Imperial Tax fleet soon to arrive, the Prefect was taking no chances and locked down the town.

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Siadanos II - Sightseeing in Siadanos
Agitelen, 27th– Innelen, 8th (Aug 1-10)

Over the passing week, the Avery trained with Elwegon the Drake, a senior Spellblade and second in command of the local New Hellion cell. Garrick trained with Oppius the Pious, a veteran Nightblade. Oppius was known for praying and making sacrifices to the gods in the name of whom ever he assassinated. The training was intense and bruising, but the brothers worked hard to master their new skills.

While the elves were training, Ivanova and Vilhelmus explored the town. Ivanova was on the lookout for any potential Talon activity. Vilhelmus made a trip to the Imperial fortress and sent a magical missive to Tǘros Luln via Imperial Mage. He sent orders for the ship to be made ready and to set sail for Siadanos. It would take four or five days for the ship to arrive, so Vilhelmus decided to aid his cousin in her search for Talons.

Ivanova wanted to check out the First Ward also known as the Imperial Ward. Many of the imperial military and civil servants called this ward home. In order to not reveal her true identity, Ivanova disguised herself. She even managed to talk Vilhelmus into wearing a disguise.

It was during this time they visited Vasyli’s Emporium, a strange and wondrous place run by an equally strange little man named Vasyli. After a failed attempt to purchase a set of enchanted bracers, the cousins left. A short time later, Vilhelmus discovered his new left hand had a bad case of sticky fingers. It had stolen a ring from the emporium. The ring was unique looking and Vilhelmus decided to keep it.

Eventually the cousins found themselves at the House of Blue Orchids, the best brothel in town located in the Imperial Ward. It was here that Ivanova finally found evidence of Talon activity when she was almost spotted by a former college, a talon named Muso Gellusius. He was leaving the brothel and the cousins decided to tail him to see where he went. Muso ended up heading straight into the fortress.

The cousins hurried back to the Inn they were staying at. They needed to come up with a plan to kidnap Muso so that Ivanova could interrogate him. It was during this time the twins showed up and revealed that the New Hellions had a job for them, an important one.

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Siadanos I - A Long Respite
Agitelen, 3rd – 25th (Jul 8-30)

Agitelen, 3rd – 25th (Jul 8-30) – A Long Respite

The party decides to take a long break while they wait for Vilhelmus to recover. They had acquired quite a bit of wealth from Agrippa’s lair and from the Hidden Temple. Lozan had found a new paramour in the form of Roberto the Blade, a Cinnbarii duelist. Brother Merrin had not yet returned from the Black Eagle Fortress where he was gathering clues. Oberron took his share of treasure, some digging tool and disappeared into the hills.

Agitelen, 26th– Innelen, 10th (Jul 31-Aug 10) – Siadanos I

Once Vilhelmus was able to travel again, Ivanova, Avery, Garrick and he all decided to travel to the seat of the prefecture and border fortress Siadanos. The elves were looking for new magicks and additional training in their respective crafts. Ivanova and Vilhelmus wanted to see the town. Oberron and Brother Merrin had yet to return and Lozan decided to take her dead sisters headdress to the Shrine of Ianna at the Black Eagle Fortress.

The foursomes took two days to reach the border town and were taken aback by the size and wealth of the town. Siadanos was a bastion of civilization out on the western edge of the empire and had much to offer. Ivanova quickly began to ply the locals for information about the town, recent news, and people of importance and locations to be wary off. Vilhelmus and the twin left the walls of the town and headed over to the Lake District where most the of elven populace called home. They soon found their New Hellions contact and got to know each other. The leader of the local cell was a female elven priestess of Mityara named Arerwel.

The twin’s tutors were not in town, but were expected to return the following day. The threesome inquired if the New Hellions had any tasks for them. Arerwel paused to think for a moment before telling them no, but their services might be needed in the very near future. The three men soon left the Lake District and returned to the 9th Ward to reunite with Ivanova.

The heroes were soon sitting at a table in the Cracked Mug, a local watering hole popular with travelers. The soon shared everything they had learned. Once of the more interesting bits of news they learned was that a squadron of Imperial war galleries would soon be arriving. The annual collection of the fortresses taxes and tariffs was soon and all of the monies were to be moved to the Imperial Capital.

Vilhelmus after several bowl of wine had become quite loud and had begun to expound upon the virtues of several kinds of ships. A gentleman named* Julius Prasiuso* took notice of this and approached Vilhelmus. Julius was a trader who had cargo coming from the west and he did not want to pay the imperial tariff on his goods. Vilhelmus had a ship and knew how Imperial Custom Patrols operated. A deal was made.

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