Serathis: The Storm of Memory

Game Notes 2010 Jun 19
In which the Stormfront conducts research, and waits for word from the Slassan.

Genn goes to the library, and finds the following:

Regarding the Chorrim excavation of the giant tomb: there were also two lieutenants—the giant Co-Rahman, and a Sebbaci, Nappic the Streadfast

Re: Miriana, nothing

Golems—iron golems, itself is mostly hollow (a base skeleton with armor wrapped around, powered by trapped elemental inside (often air); rust is bad, electricity is good for them some kind of control device is created, but golem will go berserk if not given an order for too long

Max’s character looks for info from his past party, and comes up empty.

Miriana looks for Rat, using her scrying abilities, and finds his location. She also looks for the Steelclaw brothers

As we are doing this, we hear rumors of children being abducted in the city. The giants are investigating. Meanwhile, an adventuring party known for being braggarts and throwing a lot of money around was destroyed. Otherwise, a quiet week; nobody tries to kill us. Three remains with us.

Seven days later, there’s a knock at the door; a Mojh is there, wearing academic garb, looking for the Stormfront. He hands us a parchment sealed with wax, and walks away. Udyr casts Detect Magic; it seems mundane. Miriana breaks the seal (a spider motif), and in an elegant hand it says, “Rat’s. Dusk. Come alone.” It is “signed” with a smear of ooze. We prepare, in so much as we can, and around sunset we head out. Three stays behind to guard the house.

We head through the gate uneventfully, and towards Rat’s old place. There are some sort of guards, who open the doors as we approach. They let us in without a word. Nobody jumps us; it’s dimly lit. We see Rat behind the counter, polishing glassware that wasn’t there the last time we were there. When he speaks to us, it’s obvious that he’s barely keeping his fear in check. “Your friends are waiting for us,” he says. “Go on up. I’ll send drinks in a few.” Miriana pats him on the shoulder, in an attempt to comfort him. He flinches, but seems grateful for the contact. “It’s nice of you to come down to the swamp to meet us!” she says. “I’m Arkith’s daughter.”

We continue upstairs, per Rat’s suggestion. We see a large table, with two beings behind it. One is Selsarras; the other is a Mojh in a cloak Miriana recognizes him as Kisonraaliisar, heavily armored. “Liis! It’s good to see you!” says Arkith’s daughter, cheerily.

We sit, uneasily, at the slassan’s bidding. “I’ve been looking into your . . . work history. I have to say, you’re effective. We could do business; but I’ve run into a bit of snag. Kisonraaliisar has been in my employ for some time, but has recently failed on a job. I need you to finish it. Liis, why don’t you show them what they need, and the item that you’d like to retrieve for you. Oh, wait, let me help you.” At that, Selsarras lifts him up—the mojh stops at the waist. Selsarras says that the item he wants was in a bag of holding on Liis’ belt; the mojh himself wants his legs back and the armor. In exchange, he will “give” us his magical boots. (It’s clear he doesn’t want to.)

“This is a waste of time,” Udyr stands and says. “This isn’t getting us closer to Xarthran!” “I have a plan,’ Slsarras says. “But it requires several items. You are in a position to gather these items, at which time we’ll be able to put the plan into motion.” Udyr sits back down.

We question further, in a somewhat hostile tone. We find that Liis encountered a “slaughter-fiend”; his legs were apparently swallowed by the beast. The slaughter-fiend lives in a range near Brightstone Keep. We question further; the slassan is unwilling to tell us the details of his plan, lest we be dominated or otherwise give up the details to Xarthran. Lacking options, we agree to this plan; also, we find that Selsarras is holding Rat by poison; he also offers to send Liis with us in a backpack, but we refuse. When we agree, Rat is cured. Selsarras also tells us that there is a tunnel under Rat’s that connects to the same series of tunnels that lead under our house; the existence of the latter comes as quite a surprise to most of the group (save Genn, who knew, and Miriana, who apparently has some of Arkith’s memories).

We make some preparations; the next morning Miriana receives a strange message attached to the door . . .

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Game Notes 2010 May 28
In which the Stormfront atteppts to use words in place of swords

The group discusses several ways of getting the statue. We decide on a two-fold approach; Kurmal will attempt to lead the negotiation and buy the statue outright, while Jason’s character casts several stealth spells and attempts to scout out the camp.

The Chorrim ride up, well organized and with a retainer of rhodin.

“The illustrious commanders wishes to know if you would be willing to negotiate.”

“Uh, yes,” Kurmal says. The Chorrim then offer us tea, using a magic standard that creates a table with a full tea service. We sit down (Kurmal first, so the Chorrim continue to see her as our commander).

“I am squadron leader Ukino—mine is the squad that found this crypt.”

“There’s a statue we want; I am Kurmal.” We describe the statue, and tell the

“We would be willing to let it go for . . . 10.” We negotiate. They offer one possibility; a Ritual of Binding, so they could call in a favor at a later date.

We offer to give them some gold, in addition to one of our spare Lenses of Analysis. 4000 GP + the Lens. (Everyone kicked in 300, the rest coming from the group fund.)

Cyclops in swamp, smarter than it should be—caster?

Rob and Max hear a hustle—something from the encampment, and some sort of low wail.

Max’s character questions the Chorrim: “What’s going on? You’re not planning anything, are you?” They assure us that they will honor their agreement. Another 20-30 minutes go by. We start to hear groaning and straining noises coming up the path; a large cart with the statue on it, being pulled by rhodin slaves. The statue is just as described; the artist was clearly skilled. There’s one small problem; the statue may not fit in the hole intact; only one side or the other will fit. (The hole, unrolled, is about 3’x3’). We discuss how to get in both. We break some of the pieces off, and it just barely fits. As it’s in the hole, Ukino says, “And now the payment, if you would.” We give him the agreed upon sum. “Thank you,” he says. “And now, I believe we should agree that we didn’t see each other here—you didn’t see a squad of Chorrim, and we didn’t see the Stormfront.” Odd that they knew our name, since we didn’t tell them. We agree, and the Chorrim leave.

The Chorrim still seem occupied with something in the excavation. Miriana casts clairvoyance at the hole, but gets . . . nothing.

We make our way back to Serathis; two days after we leave the Chorrim, we’re approaching the city at about dusk. We hear some commotion; something is coming up the path, from Serathis toward us. Miriana casts, and sees a party of giants coming toward us. We decide to ride off the path, and hide our tracks (thanks to Orad). Miriana sees Tor-Irlan in her clairvoyance, apparently leading the party. They ride past without seeing us.

We roll in to Serathis in the evening, and let Jolojelja know we’re back. We discuss repairing the giant part of the statue; we take the statue pieces from the giant half in the basement and discuss how to rebuild it. We rebuild the statue with magic, and tell Threeto contact Del-Dorran and let him know we have something for him. The group goes to meet Jolo again the next morning.

We get to the entrance of the cave structure again; the guards give us the colored torches again (today’s color is orange). “Were you successful?” Jolo asks in his odd, high-pitched voice. We present the portable hole to him, and he seems pleased. They roll up and take away the portable hole. Jolo asks us to step forward; “To Udyr and companions, I present . . . Selsarras.”

“Why do you seek me?” Selsarras hisses in a deep, grating voice. We discuss, and Selsarras seems to know much. He wants to research us, and Brightstone Keep bodes well for us. Miriana seems to know more than she should about the Stormfront’s past, particularly details of Kaezhar. Xartharn turned himself undead to curry favor with the Dragons, but they consider him an abomination. He craves power over all else, and is looking for ways to do get it. Xartharn was responsible for kidnapping Kaezhar and turning him into a mojh.

What we know: - Xartharn wants to be a power in Serathis, has nothing to do with the Master or Lifekeeper - Dragon, Giants, Master, Lifekeeper, Phargaryn - The leader of the Pyramid cult is just a pawn; Xarthran has promised to turn the leader into an undead. The pyramid itself is a huge source of negative energy, and will level drain and eventually kill you. - Udyr asks about his previous group, Nature’s Grasp, Xarthran commissioned the attack; but doesn’t - Rumor: Master is the most powerful Akashic on the planet. He’s been in Serathis for a long time, and may be able to even change the Memory or change the bubble that kept Serathis from the Memory. - Slassan doesn’t know anything about Stompy, save to stay out of its way. - The Master may have been responsible for resurrecting the leader of the Hooks. - The Slassan may look into destroying the phylactery of Xarthran

The group returns

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Game notes: 2010 Apr 17
The Stormfront starts the journey to the giant tomb, hoping to get to the ruins before anyone else.

We prepare for the current adventure, renting horses and acquiring provisions for the trip. This comes out of the group fund.

Current group fund: 1000 GP

We ride out of the city; the first day passes uneventfully. Jolo has provided us a rough map, so we know basically where we’re going. At the end of the first day, we’re at the edge of the valley of Serathis. We decide to make camp, and get an early start tomorrow morning. Genn decides to do watch with Arkith’s daughter. The night passes uneventfully, though middle watch hears a loud crash in the forest, some distance away, in the direction we’re headed. No smoke, no screams, but notable.

We leave early, and push hard, but the terrain is starting to become difficult, and we don’t make as much time as we’d like. We try, but the horses become increasingly tired and uncooperative. (Skill checks failed.) Riding, Genn and Udyr notice some signs of a recent party coming through; possibly a mounted party of Giants. Genn flies up to try and catch a glimpse of the other party; they might be a day or so ahead of us. Udyr, feeling the need to go faster, attempts to use Canny Effort to better handle his horse; this seems to go well. Unfortunately, he still holds us back. (Max not doing well with his ride checks.) We come into a narrow hollow, that might even contains some small shacks or similar habitations. We head down into the valley, and see old, abandoned farmsteads; at least 50 years old. As it’s getting late, we decide to make camp. Genn flies up again, and while he sees another clearing for another homestead, no definite signs of another party. He also mentions to the party that, given the chance, we may want to sabotage the movement of this assumed giant party—cutting saddle straps, punching holes in water skins, that sort of thing.

We set up camp in the trees, a bit away from the clearing, an Styr’s suggestion. Arkith’s daughter suggests that if she had something of theirs, she could tell us exactly where the other party is. We decide not to light a fire, hoping to not draw attention to ourselves. We set the same watches as before. It rains over the night.

The first watch (Genn and Arkith’s daughter) think we might have heard something behind us, but can’t be sure. The second watch (Kurmal and Styre) here a creaking noise; something long and pronounced enough to be noticeable, like something being pulled from the earth. A tree being uprooted, perhaps? Third watch (Udyr) has the benefit of darkvision, thanks to magic. He thinks he might see something, and begins to search. He finds a line of footprints that clearly stop and look toward the camp; the footprints are barefoot, and appear to be about three feet long. In the morning, he points out the tracks to everyone. We suspect that it might be a giant humanoid; probably 20’ or better.

We continue on our way at first light; we make good time today. (Max finally gets a good roll.) Styre attempts to track the footprints, and does so expertly. He figures there are at least 20 people in the party, and they camped ahead of us. They cleaned up well after themselves; whoever was here knows what they are doing. One of the houses appears to have blood stains on it; a boulder appears to have crashed through the house recently. As we start to investigate, something jumps on the roof of the building and heaves a boulder at us, roaring a challenge. It’s a huge size, glaring at us with a single eye—a cyclops.

Combat!

Styre moves for better position; Mirana casts Distraction, causing the giant to become disinterested in attacking us. Genn and Kurmal ride out toward it; Udyr casts a natural armor spell on himself, with a sarcastic comment about how he’s fine, thank you. Genn flies up to the roof, and Kurmal also climbs up; we now have the flank. We drop the hammer on it; Genn and Kurmal hit it hard, and Styre gets a critical hit on one of his arrows, again proving his ability to rain death from afar. Udyr casts as well, doing enormous damage.

The cyclops pulls out a dire club, and proceeds to hit Genn for 83 points of damage—he burns a hero point to avoid death. Kurmal attempts to hack through the wooden beam the cyclops is standing on. Styre gets another critical hit, causing con damage. Miratha heals Genn 11 points, and he tosses a fireball at the cyclops. Spells from the casters continue to harass the cyclops; sonic damage drops it to its knees, which also breaks the beam Kurmal’s been chopping at; she is knocked prone, but the cyclops does not get up, having been killed by the fall.

We find 1800 GP in coins, a bag of old, but probably edible rice, and what appears to be a potion of Flight. We agree to drop the coins into the group fund. Searching about, we don’t find any other survivors.

We continue at a normal pace; toward evening we are heading out of the valley. We camp for the night before going into the mountains; again, same watch as before. Second watch hears some sort of metal on stone, but it’s not clear. Third watch (Udyr) sees something trying to creep into the camp; raccoons. We appear to still be on the same path as the party ahead of us. In the morning, Udyr suggests to our Magister that she cast Location Loresight on the path, but we learn nothing of note.

We hear what seems to be a rider coming up hard behind us; we turn to see who it might be, preparing a makeshift ambush just in case. Waiting, we see three rhodin, on foot, exhausted, and obviously running from something. “Who goes there?” bellows Kurmal, stepping out from cover. “Where are you going and why?” “We just want to -” one starts, and then a Giant arrow goes through his head, killing him. We see three Giants behind, mounted; all of them are bald, and have lime green skin - Chorrim. “Stop, you still work for us!” one says, dripping with sarcasm. Genn rushes forward, not sure what to do. “What’s going on here?” Genn demands. The Chorrim in command blurts out something; commands in common, but in code of some sort. His two companions immediately turn their horses and gallop away. The leader starts to back his horse away as well. Meanwhile, the rhodin we let by attempt to steal the horses left by Genn. “We’re only seeking the return of our workforce; we have no quarrel with you,” the lead Chorrim says. Meanwhile, Styr attempts to shoot the rhodin would-be horse thieves, killing one. “What are you and your platoon doing in the area?” Genn asks. “That is none of your concern!” the Chorrim bellows. “Well, we have no quarrel with you,” Genn says. “Unless our paths cross again, I take my leave.” Meanwhile, Udyr has lit up the second rhodin, killing him.

“Looks like your workforce tried to steal our horses. Sorry.” Kurmal smirks. “Very well; we shall withdraw,” replies the Chorrim, and canters down the mountain, without glancing back. Udyr chases down the horses; Genn flies up to see what’s going on. Nearby, there’s an encampment of Chorrim on a hill, along with rhodin slaves, apparently excavating a ruin or tomb half a mile away. “Dammit,” Genn swears to himself. As he comes down, he sees two riders come into the Chorrim camp; we can safely assume our presence in the area has been reported. The encampment and excavation are 2-3 miles distant from us. 30 rhodin slaves, maybe 10-11 more serving as guards. Probably 12-15 chorrim total as well.

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Game notes: 2010 Apr 10
After the death of Arkith, the faen leave on a personal quest; the rest of the Stormfront is joined by odd companions, and takes a job raiding a Giant tomb.

After Arkith’s death, we go back to Phargaryn’s, in relative shame, along with Emma, the creepy little girl. As we get to his chamber, he beckons, the little girl goes limp and shuffles to him. Phargaryn pats her on the head, oddly, and then she moves behind him and waits. She clasps her hands—or rather, she would if there were a second hand. The hand that is there is held as though it were intertwined with the other; the effect is disquieting.

“We have returned Emma to you; we request the ring that was given, so we can bury our dead.”

Phargaryn shakes out a handful of gold dust; “He has already claimed it.” Genn requests the dust, and casts Object Loresight; its age is consistent with Arkith getting the ring from Fraalsch—whatever is in the cup is the exact same age. Casting again, Genn gets the creature’s name; Phargaryn, along with something else he finds hard to define.

“This was not the condition we gave this ring to you; what happened?” Phargaryn responds, “You’ll have to ask him when you see him next.” Genn protests, but doesn’t get anywhere. Lacking anything else, we leave and return to the house.

When we get to the house, we find that the door was blown inward, completely off its hinges. We don’t see Three, and prepare for combat.

Genn pops he head around the door, and sees Three sitting at the table with Loremaster Trunk. “You take two sugars with your tea?” he says. Genn relaxes. Meanwhile, Teodoire Wynne looks quickly at the neighbor’s, and sees that all is well. Natalia, also seeing Trunk, tells the group.

“I found your door like this, and your friend unconscious. I woke her up, and we’ve been having a fine time since,” Trunk says. Three nods, confirming this. “How long have you been here?” says Teiorore. “Oh, three, four hours. I popped in to speak to you, and since you weren’t here . . . the house has been tossed; I’m not sure what was missing, but the money and items seem to still be here. Three says the figure who came in was holding the staff Kavasarit, given the description. They left an enchanted orchid to spy on you, but I tossed that out.” Hearing this, we notice something; Kaezhar’s old trunk is missing. Nothing else was taken, after a search. Three tried to stop the intruder, but was quickly tossed aside. “Do you think he was undead?” Teodoire asks Three, to confirm the intruder’s identity. She shrugs; possibly.

Trunk continues, “The reason I’m here is because the Faen in your group are being stalked; if you’ve been in the forest lately, you might have noticed—it’s Naever’s Curse.” Teodoire and Natalia looked somber before, but upon hearing this, they now have a look of terror and dread. Trunk offers to talk to them in private, and the three of them go off.

We spend the rest of the evening repairing the house (400 GP for new lock, labor, better door); Genn trots off to the Library to look up Naever’s Curse. This is a phenomena entirely in the Harrowdeep, until now; the faen’s grief became an animate monstrosity; faen going alone into the Harrowdeep will inevitably encounter them. They are not exceptionally powerful, but they are a threat. They can be killed, but never stop hunting.

That night, they bring back a bottle of good brandy, and we celebrate Arkith’s demise. In the morning, the faen have left, leaving a note. In brief, it says, “We’ll be back; family business. Protect yourselves against Xarthran. We will return.” When we wake up, we also find a female Sebbaci wearing Arkith’s wedding band, as well as a Verrik we don’t know.

The Verrik (Udyr) claims to have information that will lead to the Slassan; he has heard of the Stormfront, and wishes to work with us to seek vengeance on the Xarthan for killing most of his group, a party of undead hunters. The Sebbaci bears the same fur pattern as Arkith, and introduces herself as Miriana, the daughter of Arkith. Casting Object Loresight on the wedding ring she bears (the same as Arkith’s), Genn finds that it appears to only be 4.5 hours old. Genn grills her harshly, but the girl offers to tell him Arkith’s truename; hearing this, Genn relaxes somewhat. The girl clams to have dreamed about Arkith’s death.

The Verrik tells his story; he tracked Xarthran to Serathis after killing an undead runethane. The leader had met with the local giant, and then said he had to lead the area. Finding nobody willing to help, they started doing jobs for Del-Dorran. Eventually, the verrik was separated from his group; when he returned, he found his party missing—perhaps taken by the undead.

Udyr (part of Nature’s Grasp) goes off to see his contacts; the rest of the Stormfront spits up and goes in search of information about Udyr. Styr and Erin’s character visit Boren and Grom’s Pit, to ask about Arkith’s daughter. Boren is surprised at Arkith’s death, and suggests that either the daughter is some sort of magic user, or something is very wrong with her. They also ask about Arkith’s ring—Boren can’t say much without seeing it, or the dust that Genn carries now.

Genn and Arkith’s daughter hit the Nail, and the merchant’s quarter; Nature’s Grasp didn’t frequent the Nail, but several importers/exporters of larger goods speak highly of them. Genn also sneaks a touch of Arkith’s daughter’s staff; it also seems to be only a few hours old. On the way back, we all go back to Boren’s; Arkith’s daughter knows several things she should not, such as the identity of Senka and that Boren is a runechild. We give Boren the gold dust, and he promises to see what he can do. In the meantime, he says, we should be safe with her.

We go to Udyr’s meeting; we end up going well outside the city (see map); the guards give us colored torches. “Color of the day,” they say—apparently they use colors in the caverns to mark friend from foe.

We get to Jolojelja, Udyr’s contact; he’s some sort of worm that lives in a gelatinous blob of water. (5’ snake creature, with one red eye). His voice, oddly, is very high-pitched, but appears very intelligent. “Greetings,” he says. “You had a meeting?”

“Favors don’t come cheap,” he says, after Udyr asks about a meeting with Selsarras. “What are you doing . . . tomorrow?” He asks what we know about the Giant hero Hau-Torgel – a famous hero from the Dramojh war. Genn mentions he knows of this; “A cookie for the Akashic!” Jolojelja says. Tel-Torgel’s crypt has often been looked for; recently, the protective field obscuring Serathis has allowed the tomb to be discovered. Jolo wants the statue of a giant fighting a Crawlerling – Jolo wants the latter half. He is willing to loan us a portable hole to help us transport this one ton statue—he doesn’t care about who knows about the tomb, as long as he gets the statue and nobody knows that he has it.

We hatch a plan to travel to the tomb, recover the statue for Jolo and recover the artifacts of [[Hau-Torgel]] – the latter we’ll give to Del-Dorran so he can play hero to the giants, and the Stromfront can go up in his esteem. Jolo will give us a meeting with Selsarras in exchange for the statue. We receive a map of the location from Jolo, as well as the portable hole. It’s a four day ride into the mountains outside of Serathis; we’ll need horses, as well as healing until Teodoire Wynne and Natalia come back.

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Game Notes: 2/5/2010

Genn takes the template offered by Boren and Senka—Elemental Psion. It takes eight days, after which he comes back . . . different. (Description to follow, when I get a moment.)

The adventurers Arkith had paid to scout come back; he pays them an extra 25 GP plus what was agreed upon. (Details sketchy, here.) We spend some time discussing our options; infiltrate the cult? Attempt to contact Selsarras, who probably isn’t too happy that Xarthran took over? How might we disguise ourselves? Should we go after the Hooks?

The cults believe that the mojh is a sort of high priest, helping the hopeless transcend the fortune (or lack thereof) that Serathis brings them; cultists tend to be down-on-their-luck adventurers, the sick, the dying.

We decide to go to the Black Pyramid, looking for more information on the cult. As we get closer, a feeling of dread comes over most members of the party (Natalia excepted). Arkith moves himself into the cultists, a group of downtrodden people. He sits down, expressing hopelessness—this may or may not be faked. He goes on about his wife and how he is lost in the world, lacking any purpose. A mojh “priest” speaks to him, asking how he can be without hope when he is so wealthy. “What good is wealth if you have no purpose?” he says. While he’s doing that, we start hearing a a low thud, getting slowly louder; Stompy.

Stompy passes without incident; after a while, Arkith gets himself back together, telling the priest he might have a way to help get the helpless out of the city. We come across the remains of a fight; akthars and Hooks apparently had a large skirmish, with both sides retreating with heavy casualties.

We discuss this, and on the way back to the market Natalia gets pickpocketed; however, Styr easily catches the would-be thief and discovers that something wasn’t stolen, but rather given. He was hired by a Litoran in plate mail at Grom’s Pit. The pouch contains nine coins, each with a date on it. One is today, the others are the nine days in the future. We quickly go to Grom’s Pit to see if we can catch the Litoran in question, but no luck.

The group decided to ask around and try to locate the Steelclaw Brothers, bringing the fight to them. They headed over to Tarashkar the Pursuer’s band of outriders for info. Tarashkar said that the Hooks were keeping the Outriders largely contained to the area south of the lake, and based on their tactics and attacks he assumed they were holed up in the one place with a superior, all-encompassing view of the Slums – Tower Rock. [on the map, it’s in the upper-right edge of the map. It looks all mountain-y.]

The group decided to talk to Phargaryn, as a direct approach over-ground was unlikely to go over well. Phargaryn now had some sort of…secretary?....that screened the group before letting them ‘in’ to see Phargaryn. Also – there was a fee for the ‘oxygen goo’ that had normally been provided to the group free of charge. Teodoir and Natalia elected to spend an hour relearning the spell to breathe underwater, and eventually the group was allowed into Phargaryn’s antechamber.

Phargaryn seemed oddly distant and distracted, and was more cryptic than usual. Eventually, he struck a bargain – he would provide a guide (which couldn’t be an Inshon, as he ‘would control’ if they traveled that far away) to the waterways under Tower Rock in exchange for an item the group valued. Arkith offered up his wedding band, and Phargaryn (after several rather strange comments to Arkith) accepted. He slowly toddled away, and returned a few minutes later with a small human child in tow. He introduced her as “Emma” (though he appeared to have difficulty with the double-em: “Emmmmmmmah”) and patted her lightly on the head as he talked about how much he valued her. The child was, quite clearly, traumatized – her eyes were wide and dilated in fear, she was missing her left arm entirely (with bone protruding!), and appeared to have had gills surgically attached. The group asked if they ought not heal her,and Phargaryn seemed surprised before doing it himself and sealing the wound on her side over.

Disquieted by this, the group accepted responsibility for “Emma” and headed off toward the waterways.

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Game Notes 1/15/2010

Present: everyone but Jason, Rob Game: Nick’s Serathis


Previously . . .

The group headed to “Null Lake” to rescue Senka, and were intercepted by 3 bullettes. After quickly dispatching them, Teodoir scouted ahead and discovered that the way was still guarded – Hooks around the lake proper, sure, but the path to the lake seemed to be blocked by….Faradians?


Genn plumbs the Memory, but doesn’t find any mention of the Hooks vs. the Faradians, or any recent tales of Faradians in the area. The path up to the Lake is blocked by Faradians; the group considers other options.

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Teodoir continues to scout closer to the Lake, to see what might become of Senka. He sees that she has a staff, but has been stripped of other gear. There are eight Hooks, along with three ballista that appear to be able to spray water from the lake. There’s also a Mojh, and a woman that appears to be a Magister.

Genn and Natalia set to work thinking of a plan; the Memory shows Genn they have some telekinetic powers, and generating blinding light (in addition to innate blind fighting).

Lacking any other ideas, we decide to walk up the path and try our luck with the Faradians. Arkith leads. As we approach, they raise their great axes. They do not respond to any of our attempts at conversation, and as Arkith approaches they clearly seem ready to strike. We consider climbing around them, and after some discussion, settle on casting Flight rather than trying our luck with fighting these guys.

As soon as we’re in the air, the Faradian above us leaps into the air, taking Arkith down to the ground. The rest of us are unharmed, as is Arkith - they aren’t harming him, just restraining him; it’s almost as though they know what he’s about to do. “Go on without me - leave me!” Arkith calls out. As he stops struggling, they tie him up and keep him restrained with them. We, reluctantly, go on.

We fly up toward the lake; suddenly Teodoir gets hit by something, and stops—then is engulfed in a flaming sphere. Combat insues, vs. some invisible opponent. He goes down; a sprite appears, catching Teodoir as he falls, and says, “Your friend is about to die; I suggest you stand down.” Natalia asks, “Who are you?” She replies, “I am a member of the Circle; what is it to you?”

Genn talks to her emphasizing that we are only here for Senka as a personal friend, nothing more, and reveals that the group is the Stormfront; she muses at this, noting that we are the ones that killed D’khanir. She proposes a deal; we get the Circle out of their contract with the Hooks (by any means needed, including killing a bunch of Hooks), they will pass info to us from the Slums as it suits them. She goes so far as to say if we attack the device w/o a caster around, they will aid us in freeing Senka. As she leaves, she says, “You may already be too late; the Mojh that wants the Amulet is already on the Lake.”

We land, tend to Teodoir, and reassess our options.

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The undergrowth is fairly thick; movement would be at half speed. We are still flying, however.

A plan slowly comes together; Genn will try to cut the hoses that lead to the devices; Stye will attempt to pick off the Hooks at range, Erin’s character will charge in for distraction and general blood spilling, and the faen will support us all with spells/arrows as they can.

As we get closer, we see the Mojh from the library—still holding the Council Staff of Unravelling, Kavisaret. Undaunted, we set the plan (such as it is) in motion.

Combat!

Styr takes out one, our warmain charges in, and then Genn jumps on the ballista and takes out another (crit, confirmed w/ 20, crit again!) before falling to the ground at the hands of another Hook. Natalia also takes a bad hit. “Did you bring my little friend?” says the Mojh at one point. The members of the Circle (finally!) join in combat. Teodoir heals Genn, and Natalia heals herself while jumping onto the ballista to prevent anyone else from using it. Styr drops another one with three arrows. We kill several more Hooks; the Mojh sighs and says, “I should have known the Master would turn against me.” Then he flies off.

We find Senka in some sort of magic-induced coma (“Coma” spell, it will wear off in a few days); looking at the crafting tables around her, the work on the Amulet she was being forced to create was started by someone else. We retrieve her and what she was working on. We speak to Fenora Drake; leader of the Shadow Circle. They were set into service after falling into a trap set for them by the Hooks, led by the Steelclaw brothers—they were the ones who abducted Senka. The Mojh was behind it was once referred to as by one of the Hooks as “Xarthran”. Fenora Drake introduces us to the rest of the Circle: Nerislyassa was the mojh caster part of the Circle, as well as Ashe Bitterslice (the rogue sprite almost-killer of Teodoir). They have a safe house in Serathis. As for the Faradians, the Circle doesn’t know much; the Faradians killed the watch, but then didn’t do anything else other than guard the cliff side. The Circle has heard of us; our reputation among the Slums is that we can be trusted to keep our mouths shut in dealings, and that we are not not people to be messed with.

Natalia attempts to gather some of the magical water from the lake, and succeeds. As we fly (literally) away, we see the Steelclaw brothers leading the rest of the Hooks; they had the final member of the Circle, and seeing us escape, they kill her instantly. The Hooks, knowing they can’t catch us, watch us go.

As we get to the cliff face, Arkith joins us. We part ways with the Circle, promising to catch up with them at Grom’s Pit sometime in the future. We get Senka back to Boren’s; he’s ecstatic to see that she’s alive, less ecstatic to see Senka in a coma and that we know her identity. The Hooks still have the majority items, save for her staff. Senka does wake up in time; “Hi,” she says in a voice we’ve never heard. “Thank you for saving me.” She explains how she was abducted, and forced to cast the Evolution spell into the amulet that Xarthran now has. Boren and Senka offer to perform a ceremony on one of us in payment for our deeds, that would grant us considerable elemental benefits; Nick has the details (hint, hint).

The Circle now owes us one, as do Boren and Senka. We promise to meet with the Circle in the future to discuss the Master, and otherwise swap information (and in Teodoir’s case, possibly other things with Bitterslice).

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