Okknos

Session 32: Battle at the Edge
Wherein Voren turns Galendan into a vampire (sorta).

At Jars & Dust. Post-Sinking Sun battle. Looking for an antidote to spider venom.
Eldarion: We need to draw out Yellowspine.
Kitten asks Shon about “The Edge”. Slum district under the shadow of the city walls.
Voren asks Shon about minotaurs, concerned that they know about Inaulia. Minotaur ship was spotted off the coast of Mocklyn. Rescued a human slave, who has a claim to the throne of Akari.

Kitten buys out a bakery, starts handing out bread in the Edge. Eldarion pumps up the crowd. Kitten gives rides to children.

There have been grisly killings and disappearances. No bodies. “It’s ‘cuz the thing eats them. Ain’t nothin’ to find.”

Galendan: horned beast wrapped in chains == some kind of demon, sometimes has the ability to corrupt minds. May have followers.

Arrive at an intersection where several people have disappeared. Galendan finds blood near the center of the intersection, leading towards a manhole. Eldarion starts to lift the cover; an arrow whistles by…

Defeat the assassins, capture their leader.

Interrogate the leader; he’s very compliant, no intimidation needed. Was mentored by Yellowspine (supposedly). Eldarion: “Where’s the antidote?” Damakos was killed by Yellowspine because he bought the antidote, refused to hand it over or reveal where he hid it.

Late at night, at Damakos’ residence. Sean is there, collecting whatever was left behind. Damakos had armor/boots with hidden compartments. Damakos is buried outside the city.
Head to cemetery, leading assassins’ leader with other guards. Dig up Damakos’ casket. Jaw is broken; large stone placed in mouth, legs staked to ground. Ritual to prevent person to prevent vampires from rising again. Voren senses a ritual was cast.

A ritual to turn someone into a vampire would have to be performed by something very powerful.

Find the vial of antidote in the sole of a boot.

A corpse emerges from a nearby burial plot. “How touching…come to pay last respects?”

“I bring a message from Lord Fyrus…generous proposal: tell us where the wormlings are.”

Defeat zombies+skeletons.

Voren looked down at Damakos’ decomposing body. He had never met the tiefling, though some in the party seemed to hold him in great regard; Shon, in particular, appeared horrified at what had become of his friend. Voren ignored the stench—it was hardly as bad as some of the crypts he had explored in the past—and focused on the details: the tiefling’s jaw was badly broken, perhaps at the hands of Yellowspine and the Sinking Sun, or perhaps when the large stone was wedged into his mouth; and two heavy wooden stakes pinned him to the ground, through the base of the casket.

He had heard of such rituals, often remarked upon in the texts of darker ages; rituals to bind an entity of great evil, to imprison it and prevent it from feeding upon the living.
Murmurs rose in the back of Voren’s mind, speaking of death, and of undeath; memories of spells and rituals to bind, to control, even to bring forth such a creature. Memories that Voren knew were not his, though he did not doubt their accuracy.

It was a useless babble, and he paid it no heed. He preferred the voices when they were as unintelligible as this; they were easier to ignore.

Another memory, unbidden, of the power held in the blood of a Vampire, and of its uses. Voren did not question the source of the memory, but looked from Damakos in his casket, to the recently expired Galendan, whose body lay only a few steps away in a pool of blood. Voren was sickened by what he was thinking, but another part of his mind drove him forward, making his next steps inevitable.

“I think I can help Galendan.” Dumping out a flask of the dwarven ale he had procured in Kullengaard—there were only a few drops left—Voren stepped down into the hole, balancing on the edges of the casket. With sure movements, he pulled the stone out of Damakos’ mouth, and drew the stakes from his legs, tossing them to the side of the grave, and waited as the tiefling’s badly decayed cadaver began to knit itself back together.

Voren: The blood of a freshly made vampire has an amazing effect on the recently dead. Prepares to complete the ritual that was being performed on Damakos. Pull away stone and stakes.

Damacos begins to regenerate. Take a blood sample. Put stone+stakes back in. Tells others to seal up casket, goes to Galendan and gives vial of vampire blood. Galendan’s body starts to regenerate. He now has a vampiric hunger.

Restrain Damacos, wait for him to awake.

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Session 31: Mocklyn and the Dying King
Can our heroes save a poisoned King Akli?
  • The adventurers leave the waste and good friend Arygno behind. They along with Governor Ulfus Faragor are heading to Mocklyn for various purposes. Ulfus wishes to inform the King about what the Serei-Shava told him in regards to the King’s declining health. Eldarion and his companions hunt the third remnant of Bolvagon. Eldarion is more than aware that his visit to Mocklyn may bring him into contact with the King, who summoned him weeks ago. A summons he ignored.
  • En route to the capital city, the party is ambushed by bandits of the Sinking Sun. Ulfus had told the heroes that those who were in the King’s inner circle were disappearing or being found killed. He feared for his own life and now it seemed that fear was well-placed. The bandits told the heroes that if they handed over the governor, they would be left unharmed. These adventurers had never responded kindly to threats or ultimatums and they weren’t about to start now.
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Session 30: Rise of Arygno
Waste needs a hero
  • Arygno was right. The party was being watched and before long they were intercepted by the Lepo-Shava a nomadic tribe of the Waste. Their chieftain Kane Bodorr peppered the party with questions about their journey. When he didn’t get all the information he wanted, he invited the group to camp with them. That evening he offered them drinks, potent drinks, and all of the party except for the alcohol-loving Voren, soon found themselves spilling secrets.
  • Fortunately Kane had no desire to harm the group. In fact he offered his help. He seemed to believe that something important was about to happen and that Arygno, the party’s healer, would play a pivotal role. Kane wanted to be there to witness.
  • That night, the Lepo-Shava’s camp was attacked by a group of bloodthirsty thri-kreen. The mantis warriors were drunk with bloodlust, but thanks to the help of the adventurers, the attackers were subdued. Kane commented that something very strange was happening with the thri-kreen. Though the Shava and mantis warriors were never friends, the level of aggression from the thri-kreen seemed very out of place.
  • In the morning, Kane accompanied the party to Rakhmah, the home of the wise Serei-Shava. Narullian was sure a remnant of Bolvagon was near the village. Arygno was growing more nervous with each step. There was a reason he left this place…and he was pretty sure the Serei-Shava would not welcome him.
  • When the group arrived at Rahkmah, they wasted not time in making the local goat-herder very anxious. Kitten was reminded of the time when he threw a goat at Galendan and he wanted to relive the memory, much to the worry of Galendan, the goat-herder and the goat. Cooler heads prevailed and the goat remained unthrown.
  • There was an empty carriage in town hinting that visitors from afar had come to seek the Serei-Shava’s counsel. Kane pointed out that the group would have to wait in line if they wanted to speak with the wise ones. So to the line they went. There they met the Governor of Garby, Ulfus Faragor and his guards.
  • While making small talk, Ulfus noticed Quantis was dressed as a member of the Akari army and he asked why he was here. Quantis told his story and it seemed Ulfus was about to have him condemned as a deserter, but the man’s honesty and good character convinced him to only issue a warning.
  • Kitten was growing restless and issued an open challenge to Ulfus’ guards to wrestle him. Ulfus refused to let his men engage in such an activity, but Kitten pressed the issue. Eventually the younger guard asked Ulfus to let him wrestle Kitten and put the shifter in his place. Ulfus sighed and agreed and was pleased when the youngster, Vex Stormrend defeated the giant shifter. Kitten was shocked to lose, but felt like he made a new friend.
  • The group also learned from Ulfus that a minotaur ship was captured off the coast of Mocklyn. The minotaurs were killed, but what was intriguing was the discovery of human slaves on board. One slave was found to have ties to Akari noblemen taken when the minotaurs attacked Haven centuries ago. This human has a claim to the Akari throne, though he has publicly said he has no desire to wear the crown. He’s just happy to be home and wants his fellow slaves to be freed.
  • When it was Ulfus’ turn to speak with the Serei-Shava, Galendan sneaked in so that he could overhear the conversation. He learned that King Akli Langriff was dying and no one was sure why. The Serei-Shava were convinced it was poison and told Ulfus what to look for.
  • When it was the adventurers’ turn to see the Serei-Shava, Arygno started to get second thoughts. He said it may be better if he wasn’t seen. Kane encouraged him to stay as it seemed the council already noticed him. Arygno was clearly flustered, but agreed to stay.
  • The Serei-Shava greeted the adventurers and seemed polite to Arygno, welcoming him back to the waste, but it was clear to all that there was some tension in the room. The adventurers explained they were looking for a remnant of Bolvagon and what such a thing might look like. A few of the Council did not take them seriously, and with a dismissive tone said they knew of no such entity in Rahkmah. The other Council members seemed uncomfortable but remained silent. Kane Bodorr, impatient with the silliness, said “What about the laughing dragon?”
  • The Shava said there was nothing strange about those old bones, but Kane countered saying there were many who have heard its whispers. He then turned to the adventurers and said Arygno’s father is one of those who heard the voices. That was enough for the heroes. They knew their next step would be to seek out Arygno’s father and then the “laughing dragon”.
  • Arygno reunites with father
  • Heroes do battle with the great ruinous skeletal dragon after dragon explains that Menzo is consort to the Raven Queen. The heroes also learn that the waste was created by the dragon’s death.
  • After dragon is defeated, Narullian explains that it wasn’t the remnant. With the Shava cheering the defeat of the dragon, a band of Thri-Kreen led by a monstrous general attack. Narullian says the general is the remnant.
  • The heroes enter battle though already tired from the dragon encounter. Some are injured but, the heroes are victorious and another remnant is down.
  • The Shava cheer the heroes and two of the counsel approach and explain the other two have been banished for they now knew they were serving the dragon. They ask Arygno to join them and rule the Shava together and possibly united the tribes. Arygno is unsure, but Kane, chieftain of the Lepo-Shava, says he would support him. With that Arygno agrees to stay and the companions are forced to say good bye to one of their own.
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Session 29: Caribou...It's what's for dinner
Troll Business and a Voyage to the Waste
  • Niklaus the Red greeted the adventurers and showed them a trail left by the trolls that raided his pasture and stole his enchanted caribou
  • The adventurers once more noticed a pocket of land tainted by Shadow, this time a large tree that has turned ashen and dark.
  • The tracks led to a cave and instead of entering, Kitten attempted to draw the trolls out by making yeti calls.
  • Six trolls did emerge to see what all the fuss was about. Upon seeing the party, they hungrily attacked. The heroes dispatched them.
  • Kitten explored further into the cave while his companions looted the troll bodies. He found a shadow-warped troll enjoying a bloody shank of caribou. The troll grinned and made a comment in giant language (which Kitten can understand) that there was one in Shadow who would richly reward the troll for killing Kitten and his companions, but for disturbing his meal, he would do it for free. When pushed for more information, the troll remarked that soon the whole world would be covered in Shadow and then the Hunter would walk the land and reign supreme.
  • The troll was done talking and attacked the shifter paladin. Kitten’s companions came to his aide, but were hindered by the troll’s ability to summon shade versions of itself. Once the party had the upper hand, the troll spitefully retreated to where he kept the caribou and heartlessly killed another. The heroes were able to finish the troll before he killed any more of the animals.
  • The troll’s lair was rich in magical items, which the companions eagerly pilfered.
  • Niklaus was happy to see the majority of his caribou survived and Rolf gave the party a reward, though secretly deducting from the agreed upon amount because not all of the caribou were rescued.
  • The party decided to seek out the next remnant of Bolvagon in the Shavaran Waste. Having been born and raised there, Arygno prepared his companions for the trip.
  • Once in the waste, the party was ambushed by “shellys”, a term the Shava use for large scarabs. The beetles were eager to feed upon the heroes, but fell upon their blades.
  • Narullian, the imp, told the heroes that the remnant’s signal had come from deeper within the waste, further to the north and west. The companions continued on but found they were being watched by someone on a far away ridge. Arygno knew that no one traveled the waste alone. Where there was one , there were undoubtedly more. Things were about to get hairy.
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Session 28B - Santa and the Succubus
Part Deux

The dwarven captive was groaning…perhaps growling. Kitten looked up from the troglodyte he had just dispatched to see the squat dwarf flex, pull, and rip the chains from the wall. He did not expect that. And he certainly didn’t expect her to sprout wings and take on the form of a beautiful woman. Quite odd indeed. And then she approached him, whispering about her desire just to be free, play all day, and make friends. Kitten thought that most admirable.

“But,” she whispered. “Your friends don’t want me to play. They want to hurt me. If you don’t help me they’ll kill me!”

Kitten looked across the battle and saw Eldarion talking to Narullian. The imp was pointing at his new friend and Eldarion approached, swords drawn, with a look he knew all too well. He couldn’t let him hurt her. He raised his own weapon and took up a defensive position.

“Get out of the way Kitten,” the half-elf said. “She’s the remnant.”

“She just wants to be friends,” Kitten replied. “We don’t kill friends.”

Eldarion groaned. “She’s bewitched you. You’re not thinking clearly, but I’m sure once I cut her head off, you’ll be right as rain.”

Kittens eyes widened. Eldarion was usually such an even-tempered fellow. It had been weeks since he last beheaded someone. He didn’t want to hurt Eldarion, but he wasn’t about to let him hurt his new friend.

Eldarion engaged the succubus, feigning a lunge with his left sword and then following up with a slash from his right. It was one of his favorite maneuvers that few foes ever saw coming. But his friends had seen it many times, and he found his blade striking the shield of Kitten, who quickly got between them, instead.

“What are you doing?” Eldarion demanded.

“This is not how we play nice.” Kitten responded with a maddening sincerity.

“This isn’t a game Kitten. She’s wants us dead.”

Kitten’s head hurt. This was turning out to be one of those “thinky” type of fights. In the shifter’s experience, thinking was best done in a secluded place with no distractions. He looked at Eldarion, and then the succubus, and said, “I’ll be right back.”

With that he went to the corner of the chamber, rubbed his chin and repetitively said, “hmm”.

The succubus stared after him, seemingly very perplexed. Eldarion, however, was used to this behavior and turned his attention back to dispatching Bolvagon’s remnant.

Kitten found that as he got further away from the succubus, he was able to think more clearly. She said they were friends, but now as he looked at her, with wings and horns, he realized she was in fact a terrible monster. Terrible monsters never want to be friends, and that’s what makes them so monstrous. He knew how to handle monsters. He unsheathed his sword and charged in to help his true friends.

With a renewed effort from Kitten, the succubus and her troglodyte followers were slain. Narullian confirmed that the remnant was indeed dead and told the group that as she died, he caught a glimpse of the network that connected him to the remaining remnants. He was sure one of them could be found in the Shavaran Waste.

Eldarion was anxious to continue the quest, but the dwarves of Kullengaard presented the heroes with another job…and a lucrative one at that. All they had to do was rescue flying caribou from the clutches of hungry trolls. That couldn’t take too long could it?

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Session 28A - Santa and the Succubus
Troglodytes, trolls, and ... flying caribou?? Must be a Christmas Adventure

The slimes lay in puddles at the heroes’ feet.

“Are they dead?” Galendan asked.

Quantis poked a blue puddle with his sword. “I’m not sure there’s an easy way to tell.”

“Doesn’t matter,” said Eldarion, his mind focused on the mission. “They’re not trying to kill us anymore so let’s move on.”

A few weeks ago the half-elf learned his parents, whom he thought long dead, were alive, but cursed by the Book of Years. To free them, he and his companions needed to locate and destroy the four remnants of Bolvagon, an ancient beholder imprisoned in the Abyss.

One of the remnants was supposed to be somewhere in this abandoned Dwarven mine shaft but so far all they found were a few hungry slimes.

“Narullian,” Eldarion called to the small imp. “Are we on the right track? Do you still sense the remnant?”

The small pink imp furrowed its brow and closed its eyes. “Yes indeed. We are quite close.”

“No time to rest then,” grumbled Arygno following his companions along the shaft.

Valez called back to the group from where he scouted ahead. “We may have a problem,” the assassin said. “There’s a chasm in our way and I don’t trust the bridge one bit.”

“Are there any other ways across?” asked Eldarion.

“No. Too far even to teleport,” he replied.

“Well then, we’ll try the bridge.”

“Hold on a moment,” said Kitten upon reaching the chasm. “This is a long way down. I don’t think crossing this bridge is a good idea.”

“I didn’t come this far to turn around now,” Eldarion replied tersely.

Kitten and the companions exchanged glances. This quest was consuming the half-elf, but none had the heart to stop him. They followed him into too many impossible scenarios to quit on him now.

Galendan stepped in front of Eldarion. “Let me go first,” the Eladrin rogue said. “Hopefully, I’ll be able to find a safe way to cross.”

Eldarion nodded. “Good idea, but take this rope. I’ll tie it around my waist. In case you fall, I should be able to keep you from plummeting into the darkness.”

Galendan looked over the edge and gulped. “Excellent idea,” he said.

“Well you guys have fun with that,” said Kitten. “I’m not as spry as some of you and don’t fancy a death plunge. So I’ll be climbing down and finding another way. I hope I don’t see you at the bottom.”

Galendan stepped upon the bridge, taking careful steps that showed off his incredible balance. He was about to get cocky when a slat on the bridge gave way beneath him. He attempted to grab hold of something, but could find no handhold and fell below the bridge. Eldarion grabbed the rope and tried to anchor himself, but the rogue’s dive was too much and the half-elf found himself being dragged to the same hole in the bridge. That’s when Kitten caught the rope, adding his considerable strength. Together, he and Eldarion were able to pull Galendan back upon the bridge. Kitten smiled and then dropped his own rope down into the blackness and slowly descended.

Arygno examined the slats in the bridge and was able to ascertain which parts of the bridge were likely to hold their weight. Armed with this knowledge, the group, minus Kitten, continued across the bridge, as careful as they could manage.

Slowly and with a few near fatal slips, the group had made it halfway across the bridge, when disaster struck. Quantis, trying to follow Galendan’s steps slipped and as he started to fall he managed to grab hold of the rope that kept the bridge suspended over the chasm. The sudden jerk on the old rope was too much, and the fibers tore rocking the bridge and sending it, and the heroes, plummeting into the depths of the chasm.

Kitten had just made it to the bottom, keeping his mind occupied with memories of playing with his fox friends in the Fey Wild. It sure was fun pelting Galendan with blueberries. His joyful reminiscing was interrupted by falling rocks and then a scream. Kitten looked up to see Quantis falling directly toward him, and right behind him the whole bridge and his companions. He instinctively raised his shield over his head and was rewarded by a heavy impact and a groan, heralding the uncomfortable arrival of Quantis. Then came the shattering of the bridge and more screams. A great dust cloud was kicked up, and once subsided Kitten was surprised to see that all had lived. Some were hurt, but they certainly couldn’t complain after a fall like that. They should have just climbed down the rope he thought, frowning at how the dust smudged his armor.

The chasm floor was covered in debris. While Eldarion planned to find another way up, Voren and Quantis took a look around. They discovered fresh tracks, belonging to some type of humanoid, and a hidden door in the rock wall. The door was covered in tiles with strange symbols. With a little help from their Dwarven escort, Gunner, they identified the symbols as an older Dwarven language. Each tile represented a type of stone. Eldarion figured the tiles were meant to be placed in a way that reflected the layers each was found in the earth. Once the tiles were slid into their appropriate positions, the heavy rock door swung open.

“What is that terrible stench?” Voren asked covering his nose and mouth with his arm.

Gunner sniffed the air and his hand went to his axe. “Troglodytes,” he said. “And nearby. Prepare yourselves.”

The adventurers readied their weapons. The room they were entering was very large and cut out of the rock. Gunner quickly explained that when dwarves fixated mining operations in a certain area it was common practice to mine out a temporary center of operations. Here miners would sleep when tired, eat when hungry, and generally spend all of their non-mining hours. This room hadn’t been used in years…not by dwarves anyway.

Once inside the room, the adventurers were ambushed by nearly a dozen troglodytes. Their stench was so overpowering that those who got too close found it difficult to engage in combat. The foul reptilian beasts proved quite capable in combat, but in the end they were vanquished.

Galendan found a door leading deeper into the rock. Narullian confirmed that the shard of Bolvagon was very close, and possibly watching them right now.

“Well I’m warmed up,” said Kitten heading to the door. “Let’s have another round.”

Before anyone could stop him, he pushed the door open…

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Session 27
Side effects may include...

The party ignores King Akli’s summoning, choosing to continue on to Kullengaard to hunt down one of the fragments of Bolvagon that Narullian has sensed in that direction. The road takes them north, to Silver Hill, where Valez and Galendan both encounter some old friends, though what news they obtain is not shared with the rest of the party. Eldarion and Galendan find an alchemist named Wanjack who promises to cure their Lockjaw, though his incantation leaves them both with more than they bargained for. They all rendezvous at the Twisted Thistle, an inn and tavern, and rest for the night.

Early the following morning, the party joins a wagon train headed towards Brettona to continue their journey. The trek is at first peaceful, but the serenity is soon interrupted by a pack of Gnolls with a human captive attacking from over a nearby rise. The adventurers successfully dispatch the gnolls, with the help of their captive Quintas Oaktree, who turns out to be a capable Swordmage once no longer manacled and surrounded.

When they arrive at Brettona, the party asks around to determine whether entry into Kullengaard, will be difficult, and learns that while the dwarves can be distrusting of outsiders, the city itself is not off limits.

Kullengaard itself is close to Brettona; once at its gates, Eldarion is able to convince the gatekeepers to allow the party’s entry, with the condition that they report to the mining overseer, Rolf Goldforge.

Upon hearing of the party’s quest, Rolf informs them of a mining shaft, Shaft 5, that had been sealed after a mysterious incident left many dwarves dead. He grants the party permission to enter the shaft, and sends one of his guards with them to open the passage.

The passage leads to a small chamber littered with loose rocks and cobwebs; the walls show marks of quarrying, though very old.

There is movement in the far side of the chamber; two oozing masses seep towards them across the floor, their intentions clearly malicious. The party prepares for combat.

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Session 26
A quiet and restful evening in Featherwood.

The adventurers step through the portal and out into Featherwood, only to find the village burning, with terrifying howls filling the air. Elves and Eladrin, many well armed, run through the streets in chaos, as a mysterious figure wearing an iron mask tears through them with vigor, hurling them bodily into walls and buildings with inhuman strength. “I shall tear apart your tapestry thread by thread!” he shouts, as he lifts a trembling elven warrior into the air with one gauntleted hand.

This is the Feystalker, and the party recognizes him as the man who had sent them to Kimath’s estate to steal the Fomorian Fury. If the howls are any indication, his yetis have the entire village surrounded.

“Need any help?” Arygno asks, unimpressed and unconcerned by the pandemonium. The Feystalker turns towards the adventurers and raises a quizzical eyebrow (his mask being magically enchanted to allow this).

“Arygno?” he says, surprised to find him here. He sees the corpse that Eldarion is dragging. “What is this?”

“Vilus Garmen. We brought his body here so it wouldn’t be found,” Eldarion answers. “We’re here to kill Kimath.”

The Feystalker brightens at this (it’s an incredibly expressive iron mask). Pausing briefly in his slaughter, he steps over to Warman and Eldarions parents and peers at them closely. “Could this be…Nilmetion Telchontar?” Eldarion’s father looks back at the Faystalker without understanding or interest. Warman moves closer, protectively. “But…what has happened to him?” he demands of Eldarion.

After hearing the party’s story, the Feystalker tells them more of his own past. He was once himself a prisoner of the Tapestry of Stolen Tears, but had been rescued by Eldarion’s father. He has sworn vengeance against the Tapestry for his imprisonment; a vengeance that the Fomorian Fury has finally given him the ability to carry out. Featherwood is in fact a training center for the Tapestry; its destruction, and the capture (or death) of one of the Tapestry’s most vital trainers, would be a mortal blow to them.

Eldarion offers the party’s help to the Feystalker, on the condition that somewhere safe be found for his helpless parents. The Feystalker directs Warman to take them to the western side of Featherwood, which has already been emptied of resistance, where the yetis will keep them safe. The party heads to the southern side of the village to hunt for more of the Tapestry’s resistance.

They do not have to search long. At the first house that the party approaches, Galendan(?) startles an elven soldier, who immediately sounds the horn he was carrying. He is quickly dispatched, but his alarm attracts additional guards, including a strange, reptilian were-creature of immense strength. The werecrocodile proves a tough opponent, but with concerted effort, the party is able to beat him into submission. In desperation, the creature reveals that he is the instructor that the Feystalker is hunting, and promises treasure as a ransom for his life.

The party does not accept his offer.

With the field cleared, the party continues searching the nearby houses. Eldarion and Voren find papers bearing Vilus’ signature, which they recognize from other documents at the late portal-master’s estate, detailing a training regimen intended to focus on subterfuge, sabotage and infiltration. (In another house, Valez finds a jug of Dwarven liquor—rich, aromatic and potent—that he is gracious enough to give to Voren.)

The party returns to the Feystalker, who is pleased to learn that the werecrocodile was killed. They then go to check on Eldarion’s parents and Warman to the west, where they set up camp in one of the unburnt houses.

The party heads to Winterspeak the following morning, led most of the way by the Feystalker. At Kimath’s estate, they find several patrols and a well-guarded gate, which they devise to circumvent as they did at Vilus’ compound, by scaling the walls. Eldarion times the patrols, then signals the adventurers to run for the wall.

Voren’s general clumsiness notwithstanding, they are able to surmount the wall unnoticed, and enter the estate through an upstairs window, where they find themselves in a library that some of the party members recognize as the place that the Book of Years had been found. Voren finds the collection quite impressive, and takes the time to grab a pair of notable-looking tomes.

In a small room attached to the library, they blank tapestry that Voren recognizes as having been woven with magical thread. Several of the party members scrutinize the tapestry, which seems to provide visions of the (a?) future, though none of them share what they have seen with the others. Eldarion scoffs at whatever vision it had granted him, and Galendan cuts the tapestry itself down, rolls it up, and stores it in his bag of holding. Voren senses the tapestry’s power somehow distorting as he does this.

They are taken by surprise by the approach of a dignified and elderly servant: “Hear me, guests: The lord of Winterspeak shall see you now.” The party follows the servant, cautiously keeping blades close at hand.

Kimath himself greets them from a chair in a downstairs sitting room. While he does not seem pleased to see them, he is certainly not surprised. Eldarion demands to know what was done to his parents, at which Kimath reveals that he is not in control of the book; the book is a living being, that has enslaved the It-Arist family for generations. Kimath tells them that four pieces of Bolvegon, the creature that created the book, can be found in Haven, and if they are destroyed, the book will regain its original (human) form.

One of the pieces is already near at hand: Nerullian, Petrin’s imp, who he had received from the beholder itself. Upon questioning, Nerullian tells them that one of his brethren had similarly been sent to the dwarves.

Kimath gives the party another shell like the one they procured at the Moonwell, that he says will take them to Kavindair. He also gives them the Crown of Leaves, which he tells them enhances the wearer’s connection with nature and their ability to perceive the world around them.

On their way out of the estate, Galendan helps himself to the library.

The party returns to Haven to fetch Warman and Eldarion’s parents, then activates the portal to Kavindair. They appear in the middle of the city surrounded by passersby, who seem unperturbed by the interruption. Warman says that he has some friends nearby, and leads them to a tenement where he is greeted as a long-lost friend.

They head out to visit the Vulpes, and find the foxes in a tizzy. Amphibious creatures from the nearby river had emerged and attacked them, taking Alopex captive. The adventurers head to the river to rescue their vulpine friend from the menacing fins of their slippery and scaled adversaries.

The fight is sloppy, wet and exhausting, but the heroes emerge victorious, and release the ecstatic Alopex from his cage. After ensuring his safe return, they journey on through the stone circle to Fernwall, from where they will adventure out towards the Dwarven lands to the west.

But before they can leave, Eldarion sees King Akli’s summoning stone begin to glow…

To be continued…

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Session 25 - Vilus Must Pay
"Valez is Not Holding Hands"

Just after sunset.

Galendan activates the shell teleportation device, and the adventurers travel through the portal. When they arrive on the other side they find a walled compound. A quick scouting trip around the perimeter, reveals one gated entrance, and the gate is locked. Through the gate the heroes can make out several building set against the walls’ interior and a separate structure occupying the center of the compound.

Several guards are posted at the center building, and others patrol the grounds.

Galendan notices the northwest corner of the compound receives little attention from the guards and advises they use a climbers kit to scale the wall there. He leads the way and is the first to scale the wall and lower himself into the compound’s grounds. There is a building at this corner, and Galendan enters it, discovering it to be a servants quarters. After a few minutes the others join him.

The servants seem not to care at all about the intrusion, until Jin-Feyn Talvanae recognizes one of the servants to be her long-lost sister Magna-Lun. The sisters embrace, overcome with joy. A glimmer of hope is seen in the eyes of the other servants, and one bedraggled fellow asks if the party is here to kill Vilus Garmen. The adventurers state that is indeed their mission.

The servants are eager to help, but most are ill-suited for combat. One of the servants tells the heroes that when he was abducted, the soldiers confiscate a magical sword of his. They don’t know how powerful it is. In appreciation for his deliverance, he tells the heroes that they can have the blade, and that it’s looped into a heavy saddlebag in the stable across the compound. The heroes decide to use the shell and teleport the servants away to Kavindair. Jin-Feyn, says she will lead them back. After the shell is activated, it changes color to a deep red. Voren believes the shell is running out of uses and at best has two charges left.

With the servants gone, the adventurers focus on getting into the center building and confronting Vilus. They decide to have Galendan and Valez go to the stable, grab the magic blade, and set up a distraction to attract the patrolling guards. To clear the way to the stable, the group first has to clear out the barracks next to the servants quarters. Fortunately, only a small crew of guards are in the room, and the heroes manage to defeat them without drawing much notice.

With the path clear, Galendan and Valez heads to the stable. Things become complicated when they sees a large drake sleeping in the stable, between him and the magic blade. Galendan sneaks in, grabs the blade, and manages to make it back toward the barracks without awaking the drake. Unfortunately, he forgot to set up the distraction. He notices a hay bale near the drake, and decides to light it on fire. As he bangs his flint and tinder together, the drake awakens and attacks. The good news is the attack is loud enough to serve as a distraction, the bad news is the drake is very large and Galendan was going to need help. Valez rushes in to join in the fight against the drake.

Sure enough, the patrolling guards head toward the commotion in the stable, leaving the other heroes an avenue to approach the center building unseen. Eldarion uses a grappling hook to gain access to an upper floor window. The others follow him up. Eldarion enters through the window and finds himself in a spacious storage area. An older elf, who was giving instructions to two servants regarding box placement, is startled at their arrival and quickly says, “Please don’t kill me. I am a servant too, charged with taking care of these two since they can’t do anything on their own.”

Eldarion looks to the other two and is surprised to find they are his mother and father. He tries to communicate with them, but they appear to have little cognitive function and neither communicate nor show any sign that they recognize his presence. Eldarion is greatly saddened and then becomes angry demanding to know what happened to them.

The servant, Warman Srindel, explains that the Book of Years is to blame. The use of the book on their minds was too much and left them as the husks Eldarion now saw. Warman says Vilus fears the book so much, he tore out his own eyes so that he would never fall under its curse. The portal master has also hinted before that if the book was destroyed, the minds of its victims could return. Warman says the portal master is still here, just a few doors down.

Eldarion doesn’t need to hear any more. He draws his swords, and heads toward Vilus, intent on doling out justice and vengeance. Kitten, Arygno and Voren follow him. From behind, they hear Warman shout, “Beware his dog. It is far more dangerous than it appears!”

Eldarion bursts through the door to Vilus’ master chamber and sees the portal master sitting in a chair facing him, a hideous dog-sized aberration at his side. A deep brown bandage covers the Eladrin’s eyes but he seems to know exactly where the heroes are.

“Well,” he says, “I suppose we can dispense with the pleasantries, since you are here to kill me. Just know, whether I live or die Akari will soon be in the hands of the Minotaurs.”

Eldarion charges in. Vilus commands his dog to intercept them while he flees to the back of the room and begins a mysterious ritual. Eldarion dodges the dog and makes for the portal master, but a blue force field blocks him. Vilus laughs and continues his incantation. Runes scrawled upon the wooden floor begin to glow a faint blue. Eldarion strikes the force field and finds he can damage it. Kitten notices, and joins Eldarion in striking the wall.

Voren attempts to keep the dog busy, but the beast is able to cover much ground and is very powerful, managing to strike each of them within minutes. Arygno, too weakened from the fight at the Moonwell to take on the dog, looks around the room for anything that might help. His eyes rest on a shelf with various flasks and books. Two flasks contain a bright blue liquid, and in desperation he downs one of them. A burst of energy and vitality flow through his being and he feels completely restored. He rejoins the fight.

Meanwhile down at the stable, Valez and Galendan manage to kill the drake but are now dealing with several Eladrin archers. The archers’ accuracy is amazing and Galendan is forced to seek cover near the barracks. Once in close quarters, the thief regains the advantage and the guards are vanquished. The duo notice the rope descending from the upper window and decide to join their companions.

They enter Vilus’ chambers in time to notice that the group is in trouble. The dog is a powerhouse and it seems it would outlast all of them. But then Eldarion breaks through the force field just as the runes on the floor started to ignite in a brilliant blue flame. He engages the portal master, and in the end Vilus is dealt a fatal blow. As he dies, the dogs appears to dissipate, and soon vanishes entirely.

The group discover that Vilus’ ritual was meant to be an escape plan. His runes opened three portals, one to Kavindair, one to Winterspeak, and one to Featherwood. Eldarion longs to confront Kimath It-Arist in Winterspeak, but acknowledges they need to rest first. Voren finds a map of the Frozen Lands of the Fey Wild and notices Featherwood is a small village not too far from Winterspeak. The heroes decide to go to Featherwood first to rest up, and then hike to Winterspeak to take on Kimath.

Eldarion decides to have Warman and his parents accompany them for the time being and expresses appreciation to Warman for his care. He then grabs Vilus’ corpse and takes it with him as he enters the portal to Featherwood.

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Session 24 - Your Axe is Mine...

The heroes continued their pursuit of Vilus Garmen, the portal master for the Winter Court. Lady Darriph was clear that Vilus needed to be eliminated before he opened a portal to Akari for the waiting Minotaur legions.

The adventurers picked up on a lead that they hoped would point them to the portal master. It was rumored that he would be secretly meeting with a minotaur contingent at the mysterious Moonwell. The heroes had to wait until sunset before they could spy on the meeting, but as usual, the waiting game would prove more exciting than they expected.

Initially the group spent time camping with the Vulpes Clan. But a few would grow restless waiting.

Galendan had taken a small amount of water from the Moonwell, and he was curious about what powers it may have. He sought out the wizard of Kavindair, Rythian Orami. Rythian told the rogue about the legend of the Moonwell and its ties to the wild elves who sought power from the stars. The water, he told Galendan, was chaotic and formed from elements not of this world. Because of its unpredictability, Rythian couldn’t guess what would happen if someone drank it. You could turn invisible or just as likely grow a third arm or turn into a pine cone. The one thing that seemed certain is that the effect would be temporary.

Stabbington and Valez decided to spend some time in Kavindair and snoop around a bit. There were a few more minotaurs than usual and the pair got the sense that the bull-men were waiting for something. The minotaurs that were suspected to be at the Moonwell Meeting were in a nearby tavern. Stabbington and Valez hatched a plan to burn down the hotel with the minotaurs (and anyone else) inside.

Valez purchased a barrel of oil, rolled it into the bar and shouted “Garvus!” (not fully remembering the name of the villain they were pursuing). As the minotaurs and others looked up confusedly, Stabbington had his bear block the front door while he monitored the back. It was mid-day, and their activities did not go unnoticed. Eventually, a fire did indeed break out but the authorities were already on the premises due to their suspicious activity. Valez managed to escape, but Stabbington was beaten, burned, arrested, and taken to the Trobador, the city’s prison complex.

Valez didn’t run too far away. He was determined to rescue his companion. He needed a disguise and found one in a nearby guard. The guard didn’t put up much of a fight, and soon the assassin was moving among the citizens in the armor of the Kavindair watch.

Meanwhile, Kitten was growing restless as well. He had fun playing with his fox friends, but he was feeling mischevious. He plotted with the foxes to harass Galendan a bit. The rogue was lost in his own thoughts and reacted much too late when Foxy Roxy ran between his legs with a length of rope. Soon he was on the ground, bound by rope with Kitten and the foxes pelting him with blueberries. Thankfully the Eladrin would soon escape his ropes.

The playfulness came to an abrupt halt when Semien announced that he smelled smoke from the city. Something was going on.

“It probably has nothing to do with Valez and Stabbington,” remarked Arygno.

Eldarion looked unconvinced. “Let’s check it out.”

In town, Eldarion and Galendan need only hear the chatter on the street to discover that Valez and Stabbington had gotten into trouble. They discuss their next moves, weighing whether it may be best just to leave the two in the mess they made. In the end, they decide the right thing to do is attempt a rescue of Stabbington and let Valez worry about himself.

Meanwhile, inside the prison, Stabbington awakens with lungs full of smoke. He regrets his impulsive actions, and while mindlessly kicking the wall, finds a loose stone. He removes it and discovers the stone to be fake, as it is in fact a container holding a mysterious spyglass with the engraved initials, I.E. The spyglass allows him to see a far distance and hear whatever sounds occur within that vision. He uses it to look through the stone hole in the wall he created to listen to the conversations on the street, including those of his companions.

Meanwhile, Valez comes up with his own rescue plan for Stabbington. He incapacitates a guard, and takes his uniform. He then sneaks about, making his way to the Trobador.

The other adventurers head to a hole in the wall pub known as the Whispering Willow. There they find Jin-Feyn Talvanae who doesn’t seem pleased with the current series of events. Voren buys a round of drinks which seems to ease the tension. Jin-Feyn, offers to help rescue Stabbington, saying she knows a guard who owes her a favor. The group decides to move forward with the plan, not knowing that Valez was about to settle matters himself.

The revenant, dressed as a guard, summoned his shadow assassin and then took off towards the guards at the front entrance of the Trobador. While running, he yelled that he was being attacked and pointed over his shoulder at the shadow assassin which was trailing him. The guards immediately left their post to engage the assassin, granting Valez the opportunity to slip into the prison.

Valez finds the prison mostly empty. He frees Stabbington from his cell, and on their way out is interrupted by another prisoner. A big man with long black hair and a gravelly voice says, “Hey, how about letting me out too.” Valez ponders this for a moment, shrugs his shoulders and frees the man, who lets out a hearty laugh and joins the other two.

Once outside they find the shadow assassin gone and the two guards scratching their heads. The big prisoner approaches them from behind, grabs their heads and knocks them together incapacitating both. He laughs again. The people on the street witness this, but no one approaches. Instead they murmur in feared tones, that Urrutia has escaped. Urrutia gives a nod of thanks to Valez and casually walks off down the street.

Valez and Stabbington depart for the Moonwell.

Eldarion here’s a commotion outside the Whispering Willow and after listening in discovers that Valez succeeded in rescuing Stabbington. He tells the others, and all head to the Moonwell, where they prepare to ambush the clandestine meeting of minotaurs and the Winter Court.

As the sun sets, the minotaurs, with a bound human arrive, joined shortly there after by five Eladrin. Stabbington uses his new spyglass to listen in on the conversation and discovers the minotaurs are agitated that Vilus Garmen did not himself join the meeting. An exchange is about to be made: the minotaurs are to hand over the bound human who is a loremaster, and the Eladrin are to hand over a Scroll of Shaping.

As Stabbington relays this information, Jin-Feyn tells them that the exchange must be stopped. She says it’s in Akari’s best interest that the minotaurs not possess a Scroll of Shaping.

Eldarion and Kitten ignite the log they had placed at the top of the rise and roll it down the hill toward the meeting. Several Eladrin are knocked to the ground. Galendan sneaks in to free the loremaster. Valez confronts the Eladrin who seemed to be in charge, but is knocked into the mystical Moonwell, and is transformed into a small sack of marbles.

The battle is fierce and quick. The heroes come out victorious, and Valez returns to his proper form. The minotaur captain and Eladrin leader are subdued and interrogated. The group uncovers a teleportation device and surmise it leads to the home of Vilus Garmen. They discuss what to do with the two captives, and decide it best to have them executed, a sentence that is carried out by Eldarion.

They then open the portal, and travel through.

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