Tales of the Bloodstone Lands

The Monastery addresses the Council of Damara

Trumpets blare, and the dignitaries are escorted into the Damaran Council Chambers. The Barons of Polten, Ostel and Morov are seated first, with their entourages behind them, the Duke Tranth of Bloodstone follows, though Arcata and (surprisingly) Carmathan are not in attendance. Then all stand (even somewhat reluctantly) as King Gareth Dragonsbane and Queen Christina Dragonsbane enter.

The representatives from the Monastery of the Yellow Rose enter, and King Dragonsbane asks, “Why have you asked for this special council, monks?”

A monk steps up and speaks, “I am Revered Brother Uther, head of the Circle of Chroniclers. We have recently received and verified information which proves beyond a reasonable doubt that Theodorus, who claims to be Duke Helmont the 15th of Carmathan, is not of House Devlin, and is an imposter, pretending to be of the Ducal House.”

Several of the brothers distribute packets which include the Monastery’s investigation, findings, and conclusions. The Council dismisses the monks and each member reads the reports.

“The findings are incontrovertible”, Baron Ree of Morov says, “The Macceln family is next in line to House Devlin, and we should support their ascension to the Ducal Seat.” This is quickly seconded by Baroness Sylvia Praka of Ostel."

Bloodstone and Polten vote not to appoint the Maccelns, mush to the visible disappointment of Polten’s advisor, former regent Zorth. Since the ancient charter of Damara leaves ties in the hands of the King, Dragonsbane chooses not to raise House Macceln, saying, “But the Vailere family, which heads the Carmathan Guard, has as much right to the Ducal seat, being a long-standing family in the Duchy in service of House Bloodfeathers and proud defenders of Carmathan and Damara.”

Morov and Ostel quickly vote against the proposal, Bloodstone votes in favor and King Gareth feels the tides turning towards him, until Donlevy the Younger of Polten, votes no.

Baron Donlevy, who voted against both sides, then says, “I know that the next Duke of Carmathan is important to both Baron Ree and King Dragonsbane, but it is more important to the people of Carmathan. While we need to remove Theodorus immediately, let’s give the people of Carmathan the choice in their new Duke. We give the Duchy six-months to choose and appoint a new Duke.”

Both the Dragonsbane faction and the Ree factions raise their voices against the idea, to which Donvely replies, “It’s the only plan I will support, and neither of you can pass anything without me. Further, this should be a unanimous decision by the council. It gives both of you time to plot and plan against the other and to make the Houses you support the winners of the Duchy, so you each have a chance to ‘win’. I will support whichever House wins the support of the Duchy, which means that the House which wins gets the nod of the council, since I happen to be the deciding vote.”

After much wrangling and attempts to make Polten change their vote (including advisor Zorth’s vehement support of Ree’s claims), the council agrees to the resolution giving the Carmathan counties six months to choose a new Ducal House.

Baron Ree then asks, “So Polten, what does Carmathan do in the meantime? Who handles affairs?”

Donvely replies, “There is a count who is not in the running. From all reports, he doesn’t want the Duchy, he’s more interested in feasting and relying on his subordinates to host him. He’s been the Duchy’s Exchequer, and is capable of keeping the Duchy afloat for six month. His name is Count Giles Rosby. Further, Rosby isn’t going to want to alienate either side who could be his Duke before a year ends, so he will be impartial to the contest. The council needs to name him regent in its declaration.”

Riordan Parnell, advisor to King Dragonsbane and known as the King’s spymaster, whisper something in King Gareth’s ear. The king smiles and says, “Certainly you and your advisor have thought of everything, Baron Donlevy. I could use that kind of forethought in my court. I would ask that you lend me Advisor Zorth for the foreseeable future so that I may rely on his wisdom.”

To Zorth’s utter horror, Donlevy replies, “Certainly, my king. I will arrange his transfer as soon as we return to Trailsend.”

“No need Baron, I will have Zorth moved to the royal wing immediately, he may send for his belongings once you return to Trailsend. Riordan, would you please find a place for the advisor suitable for his importance to the crown.”

“Yes Sire.”, as Riordan escorts Advisor Zorth from the council. When Parnell finally returns, the council is deep in discussion about the wording of the unanimous declaration, how they intend to remove Theodorus from the ducal seat. Several hours later, the proclamations have been drafted, troops have been assigned (wearing all the colors of the provinces of Damara), and the players head to their embassies in Bloodstone City to plot and plan for the next six months.

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So where in the Hells did they go?

Riordan was in the midst of preparing for this emergency meeting of the Damaran Council, requested by the Monastery of the Yellow Rose, when Ash walked in.

“Well, where in the hells did they disappear to?”

To which, Ash replied, "I relayed the information about the package they were interested in during Coyl’s party on Kythorn the 30th. More than a few days later, the package began its journey to Ironspur. The Seven were on top of it, and traced the package to Dourstone’s stall in the Trade Center.

“The trail went cold when the Dourstone’s took the package inside. Ulfgar must have persuaded his clan, Hammerfall, to bring the Seven into Ironspur. The problem is, we just don’t have any reliable agents in the dwarven holds. That was weeks ago, and they haven’t emerged.

“But we know that the dwarves have other exits, and Ulfgar was a mountain guide for his clan. If anyone could get them out without our knowledge, Ulfgar could.”

“What about that disruption in the Dourstone mines in Virdin two weeks ago?”, Riordan asked.

Ash replied, “There’s nothing on that yet, Sir, the mines have been shuttered, all the miners reported to work to find the mine collapsed, and no trace of the Dourstones.”

“So, agent, your telling me that I have a powerful group of adventurers known to cause chaos wherever they travel, who could, or could not, be in Ironspur, and could, or could not, have had something to do with the Dourstone mine collapse, only because they were pursuing clues linked to the Dourstones, and we don’t know have the foggiest idea where they are.”

“Yes Sir”

“Fine, something to figure out later. Help me with these buckles. Why he insists that I wear formal mail to these events is beyond me. Everyone knows I don’t do armor, he’s not fooling anyone.”

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Letter from Tai to Asheron Coyl

Salutations Asheron Coyl,

The gala proved an interesting evening and it proved a much-needed distraction from daily affairs. Your displayed Elvin collection was interesting and your estate provides a unique backdrop allowing conversation to stir in almost any direction. I will look forward to receiving any personal invitation you wish to extend in the future.

Normally, I would extend apologies for the behaviors such as you outlined; However, I did warn you, and more than once if I recall. Most of our group and especially the individuals you have concerns with, are companions of circumstance. Actually, Mr. Goodbarrel and Mr. Hammerfall would be the only individuals of our motely, that I would personally vouch for, the others are newly acquired or creatures of their nature. This is the first social function the motely has ever attended together. Your desire for a living display was granted. Take a creature out of it’s element and “see” what happens… I will admit it was instructional.

Mr. Halorin Poorleaf, the aspiring pickpocket, is what your people call a “Carnie”. You would enjoy his company in a tavern, rather than a gala and he is an accomplished combat medic. As to Mister Xenos, it was curious behavior for a Brother of the Yellow Rose. Logic would dictate that either he isn’t a Brother or you been selected as a personage of interest for the Monastery. Who knows what curio you may have collected that may stabilize or destabilize the current political structure. It is good you have increased your security, I’m sure the Baron’s curiosity would be peeked by this Brothers’ behavior if it got out and the thieves of this city are like fleas, prolific and pesky. It is also possible he is just an idiot. Now you have peeked my curiosity, let us see how this unfolds.

The Rageborn, simply known as Pagu, now here is a specimen of his ‘nature’. A cloistered rebellious female in heat, was introduced to a Rageborn of Palischuk. Two different cultures and norms, mix in alcohol and surprise, they mated. I find this highly amusing and I’m sure you would never admit to such feelings, but I appreciate the predicament it places you in. I hold no ill will towards your logical decision.

In regards to our motely settling down or leaving the city. I find myself pressed to explain in a simple letter, beyond the term ‘Adventuring Party’. Members have come and go as the mood or situation call for and each is driven by his unique goals. Mr. Goodbarrel has purchased a manor in The Hill, Jinx is a creature of this city and I am a Mage of the Granmalkin Academy. There is no leader of the Magnificent Seven, just a consensus of which direction to head next. A horrible business partner, too be sure.

I do propose a more individual relationship. Couch it however you need to protect your investments, but I believe no one would be surprised that you have dealings with the Mage Guild. My studies have taken me to the point where distance doesn’t mean quiet what it used to. If you wish to discuss this further, I invite you to meet with me at Granmalkin Academy where we can ensure our privacy. Please find enclosed my invitation to the Academy, as I’m sure your curiosity to see beyond the doors alone will cause you to at least come and turn me down personally.

Normally this would go without saying, but one is often judged by the company he keeps. I personally extend hospitality beyond the doors of the Granmalkin Academy for yourself. Any escort is welcomed to wait in the Grand Hall.

Respectfully,

Tai
Mage of the Magician Guild

P.S. Please recall your messenger from the Yellow Rose Monastery. A Dragon or two is currently trying to dig them out and is having the most troublesome time of it. Please don’t feed the wildlife.

P.S.S. Ensure your escort knows not to wander beyond the waiting area of the Great Hall. Curiosity has made sheep of men. As you may be coming to learn, my humor is usually quiet literal.

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Letter from Asheron Coyl to Magus Tai

Greeting Magus Tai,

I thank you for attending my gala, you and your friends certainly made an impression. Your knowledge of elven lore and artifacts captivated many of my guests, and while Mister Hammerfall’s knowledge of dwarven construction was fascinating, my guests are still talking of the arm-wrestling contest – the event of the night. Jedrin certainly had it coming to him. Mister Goodbarrel also gathered a large amount of praise for his commitment to his special brews and somewhat over-the-top style. Although I confess to thinking that brewing was more a dwarven passion more than a Hin one.

Unfortunately, some concerning information was revealed to me after the event which makes our partnership unlikely. One of your team was seen repeatedly attempting to get into the locked portions of my manor. In fact, it was the Brother from the Yellow Rose Monastery. You may let Mister Xenos know that a letter of concern has been sent to the monastery concerning his behavior and actions. In addition, the other Hin was overheard asking Mister Goodbarrel about pickpocketing my guests. Fortunately Mr. Goodbarrel had the good sense to say no, such an event may have ended with the lot of you turned over to the guardsmen.

My last concern is of a more permanent type. While the Rageborn seemed somewhat intoxicated, it does not excuse his conduct with young Miss Evelaine, and while Miss Evelaine has not issued a complaint, the Deridians are most certainly not pleased. In fact, they have bluntly stated that I would have a choice between doing business with your team or them, not both. Considering the resources I have tied up with the Deridians, unfortunately my choice is clear.

I actually don’t consider this a poor decision due to another tidbit overheard from the Rageborn. He clearly stated that your team had no intention of staying in this – ahem – city. I had thought your group was in the process of settling down, which was why I reached out to you. If your plan was to leave the city shortly, our partnership would not have worked out. The leads I get on discovered antiquities are often valuable for only a limited time span, and would require a city-based team to be useful.

No hard feelings, Master Tai, and be assured that Misters Goodbarrel, Hammerfall and yourself will have a place of honor on the guest list for my next gala as long as you leave your more larcenous companions home for the evening. I wish you well in your endeavors.

Sincerely,
Asheron Coyl

P.S. In case your more larcenous companions have ideas, please note that I have asked the Hill Guard to keep a special eye on my manor house for the foreseeable future at some expense, and I have increased expenditures on my own internal security as well.

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Missive to Palischuck

Greetings Uncle Justinian. I hope this letter finds you healthy and seeped in Tempus’s glory. I send it from the Shrine of St Kruspin, the Foehammer’s house in Helioglabulus. Battleguard Ezekiel Hekrit leads the Temple here with honor and has welcomed me. He has continued my training and finished my rites, elevating me to Battleguard in our faith. I have spoken to him about possibly setting up an exchange program with the Holdfast so the young ininiates of our faith can have a richer and diverse experience of how we honor the Foehammer.

I remember the stories you told me of your youth in Melvaunt and how majestic that city was compared to Palischuck. I can only say the size and scale of Helioglabulus was mind blowing at first. There is much intrigue here and while enjoyable for a vacation I don’t think I would be willing to set roots here. I prefer a home where the enemy is in the field or at the gates instead of in the halls of power and sneaking about behind your back. The largest thieves guild hides openly and it takes me every ounce of restraint from marching in the front door and laying waste to them. I cannot wait to get back to the road.

That leads me to the real reason for this missive. Palischuck and Vassa are in grave danger. Remnants of the Witch King’s forces are setting plans in motion to rise again. An organization known as the Adepts of the Black Flame seeks a new Demon Lord to replace Orcus and provide fiendish might to thier cause. Even worse I feel this new organization seeks evil worse than Zengi. I feel they want to tear the barrier between the Abyss and Vassa apart and merge the two lands. They are led by the vile witch Arleu ’Vorlesh. I beg you to consult and brief the High Steward and the Chief Defender on the documents I have included. Convince them to quietly set the eyes and ears of our people to search out clues to these villians and work against them. I am traveling to Ironspur with my new companions to deal with some enemies they ran afoul of earlier. Hopefully I will be able to stop home on the return.

Until then, Glory and Honor,
Pagu Haraadar

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The Restoration of the Knight's of Virden

Kythorn 25, Year of Rogue Dragons
The Magnificent Seven stand admist the ruined lair of the Bonelord… A magical silence still encompasses most of the Desecrated Temple to Tempus, Helm, and the Triad making communication in the battle’s aftermath confusing… The companions regroup and search the knee deep bone filled room as best as they can using Pagu’s Divine Sense to pinpoint the remains of the Deathlock admist the more mundane bones… The Hin martial artist keeps the bone staff of the vile undead separate from the remains in a fools dream of somehow divesting the evil from the staff using it afterwards…

After not finding treasure, intel, or hidden doors in the ruined temple the Seven fall back to the Shrine of the 5 Gods of the Order that still kept it’s holy nature intact… In this sanctuary Pagu and Tai deduce that it’s holiness will keep the undead from reforming… Timely indeed as the companions hear both a wail and barks confirmation that the banshee and hound master had returned to undeath… The group, heavily wounded and short on resources, decides to head back…

Battleguard Hekrit greets the party and let’s them clean from the sewage in the secluded courtyard at the Shrine of St Kruskien while he debriefs them… He agrees that they should return the next day and clear the undead and bring the remains to the Shrine to prevent reanimation… In theory without all the undead to support to the desecration a team of priest could get down there and consecrate the redoubt… He also convinces Reed that bone staff is beyond recovery and must be destroyed… The companions head back to the various places they stay and prepare for the next night…

Kythorn 25, Year of Rogue Dragons
The Seven gather back at the Tempurian shrine to head back into the sewers… They re-enter the hidden redoubt of the Knight’s of Virden with aggressive purpose… The Seven silence the Banshee before her wail can kill anyone and the Rageborn paladin of vengeance uses his mighty blows to cleave the hound master while the rest of the team kites his hounds around the complex preventing the mighty gut ripping blows they inflicted previously… Following the defeat of each menace they collect the remains and deposit them in the Shrine’s sanctuary…

Pushing on to new parts of the redoubt reveals new undead menaces… Thought in the make up and circumstances of each undead is different and particular to the being they were in life… Pagu realized the punsishment of the undeath was done with great nuance and power…

The next fiend was revenant… A might bear of a man whose gear bore the livery of the knight Alexi we were looking for… There was something about Jinx that triggered an advanced rage from the beast… Most of my companions felt it was the magic breastplate Jinx wore but I knew it was his blood… Jinx was the lovechild of the betraying Knight the revenant wanted vengeance on…

One after another the undead knights of the defeated order were laid to dust… After each victory the Seven carefully gathered the remains and sequestered them in the sanctuary… Finally the paladin was able to detect a diminishment of the desecration but the Seven were unable to find a focus for the desecration or any hidden rooms but several letters and journals provided a record of those last, lost days…

We gathered all the knighly remains and brought them back to the Tempurian shrine… Battleguard Hekrit performed the rights on Alexi as he was of the Foehammer’s faith but suggested we outreach to the newer congregation of the Triad in the wealthy Hill section of town to see if the other Knights’ remains could be properly disposed of and to help in the un-desecrating of the redoubt… Magus Tai takes the elven Knight’s remains back to his congregation at the Seldrinar

Kythorn 26, Year of Rogue Dragons
The next day the Rageborn paladin, Brother Xenos, and the dwarf warrior head to the affluent part of town to seek the Sanctum of the Stainless Soul… Barely moments into the neighborhood the trio are stopped by guardsman demanding paperwork for the arms and armor on them. Pagu shows his credentials and keeps calm while the human guards test his great sword’s peace strings despite him being liveried in the garb of TempusUlfgar is not so lucky, not having the credentials to bear his arms and armor costs him a sizeable gold penalty and is escorted home… Pagu and Xenos head to the new temple of the Triad and present themselves… A senior cleric is brought out to hear our story and it is quickly believed and we are brought before the Knight Commander Jaida Aldane… She hears my story and agrees to receive the remains of the Knight’s who follow the Triad and will approach the main congregation of the Triad for help in re-hallowing the redoubt… Maybe the will be some ecumenical Goodwill in the future for the martial Faith’s of the city… Hopefully that would lead to a reckoning with the detestable Baron of the city and a return of the rightful king to his capital… One can only dream…

Several days past uneventful as Reed gets Goodbarrel Manor up and running as a home and artisnal brewery… Gotta hand it to the little bastard his staff of valet, cook, and courtesan get it all done well…

Kythorn 30, Year of Rogue Dragons
Tai drops of a copy of the notes and Intel we received over the course of our adventures including a review on all things Slaughtergarde… It is all a very interesting read that provides several avenues to follow up on… Also on the agenda for evening is a ball at one of Tai’s contacts manor… I decided to dress the part of the Tempurian warrior… My finest ceremonially robes over my arms and armor… Women dig uniforms and there has to be some bored lady or maiden looking to see if it’s true about what us greyskins have hanging beneath our kilts….

Ulfgar adds the following note
Don’t forget Pagu, during the party, this guy approached me with a coin like the coin Parnell gave us at the Monastery of the Yellow Rose. He said that a shipment was heading to Ironspur in a few days we might be very interested in. Time to hammer those Dourstones, after we figure out what their up to.

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Defeating the Desecration!

Kythorn 24, Year of Rogue Dragons
The stench… Oh the stench… The substructure of the city is a series of reinforced arches with channeled floors leading rainwater and sewage to separate (hopefully) cisterns and run outs… We are blessed to have a guide like Jinx with us… If I was impressed with his woodcraft his ability to track down here is down right amazing… Like I don’t know how he doesn’t vomit when he touches something then licks and sniffs his goo encrusted digits… I always thought elves had a slight Constitution but maybe the man blood mixed in his veins gives him the chops to handle this sewer…

After an hour or so avoiding dangerous oozes and slimes and possible monstrous sewer denizens, the Magnificent Seven follow the barely perceptible trail of armor scrapes and obfuscated trail sign to a boarded up section of sewer… We determine the new construction fits our timeline and the large grey skinned warrior takes a crowbar to the wall and quickly demolished a portion he can get through and the rest follow in… This portion of the sewer clearly has seen little to no traffic in long time and presents a clear trail… After a short travel, one section of wall seems to give the impression of a concealed door and a brief investigation yields a hidden niche that accepts the Knight’s ring…

The wall slides away and reveals a small corridor behind it… Almost instantly several phantasmal warriors appeared and the leading apparition threatens the wrath of the Lich-King Zhengyi… Combat ensures… The ghostly nature of the warriors present a unique strategy problem but luckily the rain of radiant bolts from the hands of our mighty Hin martial artist Reed Goodbarrel never wained… Coupled with Reed’s bombardment the eldritch blastings of Brother Xenos whittled away the phantasmal warriors while Jinx, Pagu, and Tai harried them in melee…

The large Rageborn staggers for second and shakes his head groggily and informs his companions the revealed hallway and chambers ahead have a unhallowed desecration that tingles the divine oath of vengeance at the heart of Pagu’s power… Tingling in a way that normally requires concentration and line of sight… Overbearing almost… With the greatest evil pulsing from a bearing beyond the walls and door’s of this hallway…

Maybe not in the smartest way Pagu breaches the first door in the direction of the great evil… The room reveals an old bedroom… Upon the light shining in from the light spell on Reed several shadows coalesce into demonic forms and race off through the walls… In a vain attempt the Rageborn sprints down the hallway in an attempt to cut off the shadowy demons flight… The Seven spread haphazardly as a few follow Pagu past the other doors in the hallway in an attempt to get around the corner while others stay back near the first room to investigate…

Rounding the corner reveals a larger complex with other hallways and stairs… Thinking the demons got away the Seven regroup and start clearing rooms… The first one reveals s small shrine of penance decided to the Triad, Helm, and Tempus… It feels unspoiled and a speared from the desecration around… The next chamber reveals the the ruined bedroom of a female elven knight… Not being wary enough in the room, Pagu is mere feet away from the sudden manifestation of an ghostly form and the banshee’s wail crumples the warrior and he falls dying… After her surprise wail the fragile elf spirit falls under the barrage of attacks from the Magnificent Seven… Brother Xenos rushes in to magically heal and administer some first aid to Pagu and gets the massive warrior back on his feet… Treating this redoubt like one of our dungeon crawls we continue to clear rooms, though in hindsight we might be making a mistake to treat this like one… The next chamber is breached and reveals another menace… Some nightmarish wight of a knight with foul undead hounds launches to the attack… Pagu, Reed, and Jinx counterattack and battle is joined… The large Rageborn warrior goes right at the wight hound master and lands several mighty blows that would have savaged most mortal men but the evil wight shook off those blows and hammered home viscous hacks of its own… The hounds delivered viscous gut ripping bites into Reed and Jinx doing so much damage it forces the heroes out of the fight and into a fighting retreat… The bad turns to the good as once into the hallways the ranged attacks of Halorin, Tai, Xenos, Jinx, and Reed are brought to bear on the hounds and they are destroyed one by one… The fight between Pagu and the hound master rages… The hound master lands a thrust that pierced Pagu’s plate armor and lances trough him coming out the back… The wights eyes flares with anticipation of draining the soul of this warrior slain in combat but with a mighty yell the Rageborn is not ready to die this day and pulls himself off the blade and delivers two mighty divine smites of his own both crackling with radiant energy that destroys the wight…

In dire shape the Magnificent Seven fall back to the Shrine that remains unspoiled in this desecration… The company debate their next move while they tend to wounds, catch their breathe, and regenerate any magical powers that can be… The idea that the shadow demons went to warn others outside this complex and some haste in exploration carries the debate… Thinking we should use the resources we have on the greatest for we decided to attack what seems to be the source of this desecration…

We avoided the temptation to open every door and search every hallway and make our way to the part of the complex Pagu’s divine senses located the heart of the evil hear…

Beyond the door lay a small temple to the Triad, Helm, and Tempus… The temple is befouled and filled with bones over half a foot deep… Rising from the bones in the back of the temple is a Deathlock of some sort… Striking is the fact it has three faces… Also rising from the layer of bone first are several skeletons warriors skittering to the front and secondly a bone colossal lumbering to back them up with fell fire burning in it’s ribs… The Seven waste no time and move into battle! Brother Xenos blessed the warriors, Magnus Tai magically hastes Pagu, and Pagu abjures himself with protection wards from evil… While that part of the Seven prepares to fight the evil the two Hin dart to the front… Reed flies into the middle of the skeletons and lashes out with staff, fist, and foot… Halorin conjures a globe of magical silence in most of the temple forcing the Deathlock to have to come to the doorway to cast its normal magic… The tiny monk holds the line against the skeletal onslaught… Giving out much more than he was taking from the many foes… The Deathlock is briefly able to get out of the silence and cast a wall of fire down the hallway scorching the party members lurking in the back… The giant skeletal colossus pulls the bale fire from it’s chest and hurls it down the corridor and detonates it into the party’s rear again… Pagu is eventually able to get into the fray in the bone filled room… He ignores the few skeletons in the front and channels a divine oath of enmity to this Lord of Bones and lays down two mighty smites and many other vicious blows into the Deathlock… Wrecked by the attacks The Deathlock defensively melds into the bone floor retreating for a moment… Fear maybe creeping into the undead monsters psyche for the first time in it’s existence… Unfortunately Reed falls to the combined blows of the remaining skeletons and freshly risen bone colossal with a new balefire growing in it’s ribcage… The companions in the rear maintain the magical augments and pop out with spells and arrows when they are able… Pagu smashes a path to Reed and lays his hands and channels divine healing into Reed bringing him back from deaths door… The Deathlock rises from the bones in anticipation of striking Pagu from behind but the foul beast didn’t realize Tai’s magical haste allowed Pagu to spring back and deliver a blow… The strike was a critical blow of smiting radiant damage that disintegrates the Bone Lord and spread throughout the temple blasting all the bones into dust… The mighty Rageborn paladin roars so loud that the citizens would hear it in the city above if not were it for the magical silence it all happens in…

The Magnificent Seven stand wearily triumphant in and around the desecrated temple as the desecration seems palpably less with the destruction of the Deathlock Bone Lord…

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Bright Lights, Big City

Ugh the smell… The large Rageborn warrior chuckles to himself… I thought the city above stunk once we entered it… Never did I think I would be entering the catacombs and sewers beneath it to experience a while new meaning of stench… How did a simple country boy from Vassa end up like this ruminates Pagu, as he thinks back to how he ended up here…

Mirtul 27 – Kythorn 3, Year of Rogue Dragons
The trip from the Vaasan Gate to Heliogabalus was uneventful… The well traveled roads of Damara were far safer than any of the trail I was used to in Vaasa… I am truly stunned as the Walls, Spires, and sights of the capital crested the horizon… I have never seen a community on this scale… Even on the road here we avoided the cities along the way for but we saw them from a distance and I wasn’t that impressed… But this, this is a whole new matter… From the road the size and scope of Heliogabalus is astounding…

Yet once we entered the southern gates (into “Good ole Southie” as Jinx calls it) the smells started… Maybe it’s the preponderance of human industry and commerce that creates it but a distinct reek permeates the city… Or it does to an outsider like me…

Kythorn 3, Year of Rogue Dragons
The Magnificent Seven (as I am now counted amongst them) settle into accommodations near Magnus Tai’s guildhall… A fine low-key establishment meant to hide us from this nefarious thieves guild called Tightpurse that has bad blood with several members of our band… Tai, my companion whose judgement I trust the most, is quickly taken from us because of upheaval within his guild and we are left to out own devices… I don’t need to see Omens to tell me this is bad…

Tai is unable to research our information on Slaughtergarde during his guilds upheaval so our band has time to kill… I decided to present myself to the Tempurian establishment here in Heliogabalus… I figured in such a mighty city the Foe Hammer would have a majestic temple with it’s martial presence being the backbone for security here in civilization… Boy was I wrong…

First of all my travels take me through the oldest and smelliest of the “quarters” (of which there is more than 4, which makes no sense as well) to a small compound, at least in a neighborhood of the Old Quarter that has the least stench to it… This is the Monastery of Saint Kruskien… Home to the Tempurian faith here in the capital… I am fairly unimpressed… Cromm’s Holdfast back home in Palischuk is a mighty fortress that is an integral part of the town’s defense… This looks more like a fortified nobles manor house…

I have an startled acolyte announce my intention to present myself the faithful here… Battle Guard Ezekiel Hekrit meets me… I announce I am a sworn Battle Brother of Cromm’s Holdfast in Palischuk, raised in and by the Tempurian faith, and that my sword is his sword as long as I remain here… Ezekiel questions me and takes notes on my story, I answer him truthfully and after an hour or so of conversation he takes me to a small training yard… We take up training swords and he takes measure of me as a warrior as do I of him… After an hour of sparring we retire to his study and have some more conversation over some drinks and a modest meal of cheese, meats, and bread… Ezekiel is impressed with my skill but says in order to engender the full trust of this chapter of the Tempurian faith I need to return and put it my duty over some time… It is a reasonable request and for the rest of that week I return daily to help about the business of the faith…

The Magnificent Seven meet at breakfast and dinner at The Dimension Door Inn during the first week of our stay in Heliogabalus… I notice that staying low-key and out of troubles is hard for some members of our group but trouble does find a way to find us… Even Tai and I, one afternoon head out to try to sell some arms and armor we won during our adventures… A few city toughs recognize Tai and try to give us the business… Tai quickly defeats most of them with a sleep charm and I knock out the last one… After we manacle the lot of them and wait for the Watch to come Tai wakes one and warns them the next time they accost us it will be a fireball and not a sleep spell that will end the fight…

Kythorn 13, Year of Rogue Dragons
The week turns to the next as we wait for more information on Slaughtergarde….

During my chores at the Monastery, Battleguard Hekrit does reward my service with a Writ of License to wear armor. He tells me to be careful in it’s use as it is on his honor and reputation that the written is issued… I swear to bring no dishonor to his name in the use… He also asks me if my company would be interested in a trade for him… I agreed to host a meeting and bring it up…

We move our residence from The Dimension Door Inn into to the newly named Goodbarrel Manor! Reed purchased a manor in a splendid part of the city that actually doesn’t stink! By Tempus’s grace, there is no stink and we are surrounded by Hin establishments that have the most tremendously fine foods!

Kythorn 23, Year of Rogue Dragons
We host Battleguard Hekrit as he presents his task… He informs us that after the defeat of King Bloodfeather at Goliad some of his surviving knights and confidants tried to start an underground resistance… One member of those knights was a close friend of his who would clandestinely visit him at the Monastery. Ezekiel believed that resistance had a hidden redoubt somewhere here in the sewers of the Old Quarter. It is curious that Baron Ree, the Lich King’s puppet, curiously closed off much of the sewers therein… Ezekiel asked us to enter and explore the sewers and try to find the hideout… We agreed…

We take several days to recon and research our mission… Clandestinely a few nights later we entered the sewers from a entrance near the monastery… As we get acclimated to the foul stench of the sewers I swear to never again complain of the stench above… I say a quick prayer to the Foehammer and our band sets of in search of adventure!

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Plugging the Dark Elves' Hole

Mirtul 21, Year of Rogue Dragons
The Magnificent Seven rouse themselves from the brief rest they took after battling through the main drow host holding this “Temple” piece of the Abyssal ruin know as Slaughtergarde

It appears Magus Tai has divined some way of manipulating the demonic arches with the flames and purple mist barriers dividing the complex…

We continue to explore into a corner of the complex infested with nightmarish spider like creatures culminating with full fledged driders of which I have only heard of in myths of the Underdark… The beast’s lair is the main shrine to this Abyssal Prince Mu-Tahn Laa… It is somewhat comforting to see the visage of the defeated monstrosity that attempted to destroy the world you love and know. Reassurance that the trials ahead can be victorious!

During the recovery from the battles against the arachnid foes, the complex shakes and twists as if a minor earthquake hits it. The band sets out to clear the other chambers in the complex… Giving the elemental guardians a wide berth… A section of the complex containing natural chimneys contain the lairs of yetis and giant bats but our strength of steel and spell easily defeats the beasts…

Plunging deeper into the complex we come across the remaining drow forces… Some male warriors and arcanists with some wererat mercenary scum… Luckily we were able to fight each group separately… but by the end of fighting with this rearguard of the drow host our group is spent of strength, spellpower, and endurance… To our good cheer we find evidence that the drow priestesses collapsed their tunnel from the Underdark to cover their retreat…

Selecting a highly defensible spot to rest, Magus Tai erects a magical dome to provide security while we take turns resting and recovering our strengths…

Mirtul 22, Year of Rogue Dragons
Hardy and hale after a good rest we plan a intricate attack on the magma elementals… As soon as the first arrow flies my companions throw away the plan and surprisingly it wasn’t Jinx or Reed it was Ulfgar, strange indeed… The elementals could not withstand our full strength power and they were defeated… Exploring the areas beyond them yielded a room of angry restless spectral undead spirits that we defeat and hopefully set to peace… And lastly we find It….

It is a portal to the Abyss… Frozen in place like an image in a mirror stepping out of it and into the world were several demons stuck out of time and dimension… My divine senses ringing like an alarm I felt like I was underneath a rock slide frozen above me waiting for it to fall… Magus Tai issues a magic assault of thunder to shatter the glass like portal and for an instance the connection to the Abyss springs to life and the sounds, sights, and smells of that abyssal landscape fills the chamber and the demons in the portal fall through into our world while the portal’s glassy gate shatter to a thousand pieces…

Our company and the Demons clash… I channel the divine might of the Foehammer and smite blow after blow… All my companions give their all and after a mighty battle we stand triumphant…

Recovered from the bloodletting battle with the fiends we explore the last bits of the complex… The last enemy is some sort of clockwork construct possessed by some Devilish Fiend… Swarms of animated clockwork beetles issue out from it and lay waste… Our blows killed a few each swing but what good was that against the magnitude of the swarm… Luckily main construct was vulnerable to sword blows and the radiant anger of Tempus channeled trough me… Eventually the constructs fall and we discover the room it inhabits is some type of scrying room that observes other parts of Slaughtergarde

Two dark visages are evident but one has an image… An image of a construct that my companions know… They met this “pentadrone” in an earlier piece of Slaughterguarde… It is polite but condescending and my tact takes control of my pride during the conversation…

The Slaughtergarde Temple is secured… We spend the rest of the day exploring the nooks and crannies looking for hidden rooms and cataloging the treasure we take…

Deciding to spend the night before leaving we set camp… We notice something observing us from the hills around… We send our scout supreme Jinx out into the wild to find out what’s out there… Returning he thinks it’s a disguised human… We send him and Tai out stealthily then I approach the stranger’s position and demand the surrender… Well surprisingly he gets the drop on Tai but fails in his tackle and ends up falling down the ridge laying prone at my feet…

Putting my armored boot firmly on its chest to hold it in place, I looked down to see a human primarily clad in a dated Damaran uniform repaired with various what I assume to be Underdark clothing with dark soot and charcoal rubbed on exposed skin… a clever camouflage for the Underdark…

I say, “we can do this the easy way or the hard way. What say you stranger?”
And so the interrogation begins….

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The Omens were right indeed...

The large Rageborn covered in blood and ichor splattered half plate armor carries the last of the drow bodies into the center of this ritual chamber then staggers to the wall and sits down… Finally catching his breath he uncorks his wineskin and takes a healthy swig of fermented goat milk; the bitter alcohol helps numb the soreness around Xeno’s salve soaked bandages and stitches… Looking around Pagu smiles…. Ah my new companions… The Omens were right… They are drawn to the darkness I see threatening Vassa… The darkness I must fight… At least it seems these Magnificent Seven will be worthy allies in the battles to come… Pagu reflects on the past few days leading up to his current state of affairs…

The overland trail traveling south from the Vassan Gate to Dharmshall was quick and booring, an ideal journey whenever in Vassa… Our half elf ranger Jynx’s woodcraft is quite impressive and plays a major part in our good travels…

Our travels put our trail across that of a wandering hill giant band… We decided this menace was worth putting down… We tracked and defeated the giants… I see my companions general battle strategy is follow no strategy… Interesting…

Our travel puts us camping outside the halls of Hillafar Hold, a dwarven fortification in the foothills of the Galenas… After setting out from the dwarf hold we are into the wilds of Vassa…

We found this part of “Slaughtergaurd,” a destroyed demonic domain strewn in pieces across the Bloodstone lands after some mystical catastrophe centuries ago… We find it’s entrance amongst the ruins of some Damaran noble’s hunting lodge… As we descend into the dark depts of the complex we are assaulted by foul dark elves… I know what a surprise… In the region known as the Dark Holes of Sunderland where every deep pit is rumored to connect to the Underdark we find demon worshipping drown infesting a demonic ruin… How did we not see this coming…

We battle from room to room… Strange portals of obfuscating purple mist and roaring flames act as door’s through out the complex, that coupled with Vile drow darkness and warriors with poison covered weapons provide unique hazards that dangerously spread our group apart and make the combat incredibly deadly… In the exchange of blades and spells several companions fall and are only narrowly brought from the brink before they bleed out…

The last burst of combat features the lead Priestess calling some Abyssal fiend of Lolth… While my companions battle around us I engage the fiend in mortal combat… Tempus guides my strike as I channel my wrath in a blow of radiant vengeance that critically strikes the fiend, destroying it… The lead Priestess is felled and Most of the Drow host is defeated… A newly positioned priestess leads a retreat of the remaining drow force to link up with some minions on the other side of the complex while a room guarded by magma elementals stands between our two groups…

And here we are… camped up in this room with weird status of crone’s in various poses… The Magnificent Seven indeed… Me resting by the corridor on guard for the approach of enemies… Adept Tai exploring the arcane significance of the room… Xeno’s tending to wounded… Ulfgar and Reed going through the bodies of the drow… Hallorin still unwilling to come through the flame wall and advising a tactical retreat… And Jynx, well Jynx just being Jynx…

Ah yes… This is my new company… Yes the Omens will be proved right… This group’s chaos will be the strength our Homeland needs… Maybe not the heroes we want but definitely the ones we need…

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