Mordallend Story Hour

Galfridus

First Post
While everyone is weakened by the gas, it passes quickly, and the party springs into action. Jonetello, Tiesa, and Alamar rush the priest, landing blows that seem to affect only slightly. Thorald attempts Control Body, but the priest easily resists the spell. Magnimiliar turns Invisible and readies his crossbow, waiting for a clear shot.

A few moments later, he has plenty of targets to choose from. A slim figure dressed in black robes appears about twenty feet away, his arm outstretched as if he had just threw something. A tiny metal globe gleams as it flies through the air…then impacts and blossoms into a Fireball. Most of the party is singed, though the damage is not as bad as they were expecting. A third figure appears: a woman in a chain shirt of black metal, wielding a scythe glowing faintly with magical powers. She wounds Alamar with her first strike, sweeping the long dark blade in a circle above her head as she awaits his response.

Jonetello rushes toward the mage, and is struck in the neck by a crossbow bolt. Blood spurts from the wound as he turns to spot the sniper…but he remains unseen. Meanwhile, the priest steps back from the fight, produces a wand, and points it at Tiesa, who suddenly stands motionless and helpless, Held. Alamar and Thorald turn to the woman warrior, with Magnimiliar lending a hand with Magic Missiles and his crossbow. The priest moves away, casting a series of Blindness and Hold Person spells which, luckily, are all resisted. The wizard manages only one more spell, Magic Missile, before Jonetello delivers a flashing series of strikes. The wizard is about to collapse, when the invisible sniper shoots again, connecting to Jonetello's temple. The world flashes red before him, and he falls to the ground, near death. Alamar and Magnimiliar see him fall and take swift action. While Alamar dashes to heal Jonetello, Magnimiliar ends the wizard's life with a quick crossbow bolt. Jonetello awakens to see the wizard dead before him. "Got him," he mutters.

Thorald has nearly defeated the fighter when Tiesa is released from the Hold spell. She rushes to Thorald's side; together, they finish the job. Only the priest and the sniper are left standing. Working together, the party surrounds the priest and in moments deals him a fatal blow. "You will all fall…before the Master of Lies…" he gasps, before collapsing in a pool of his own blood. The sniper takes one last wild shot before retreating, his footsteps fading quickly into the forest.

After looting the bodies, the party opens the trap door and heads cautiously down. Alamar maintains a Detect Undead in case any more surprises wait below. They find a series of small, smoke-filled rooms, obviously living quarters, with symbols of Nerull on each wall. There is a larger altar to Nerull in one room, which Alamar destroys with Stone Shape. They find some gold and several scrolls and books, all in a foul-looking tongue which no one can comprehend. They soon discover the now-infamous door-with-peephole which figured so centrally in the ghast/reaper fight. Beyond it lie a few trapped ghouls, which are quickly dispatched. Another passage, protected by a holy-water spraying trap, leads to a larger room which clearly served as the ghast's lair. That room connects to the secret door in the tower pit. Magnimiliar shudders to think what would have happened had there been ghasts, not zombies, at the bottom of the pit when he fell in. The party collects everything that looks valuable and heads back to the surface.

A Detect Magic reveals several items of interest: the scythe, a suit of studded leather, and several potions. Alamar wants to cast Speak with Dead on the priest, but does not have the spell prepared, so they bundle up the body and take it with them. They travel for several hours to the nearest village, arriving at the outskirts well after dark. Jonetello conceals the corpse just outside the village to avoid inconvenient questions, then the party finds the inn and gets some much needed rest.

The next day, they collect the body and Alamar casts his spell. The dead priest stirs, his mouth gurgling and hissing as lifeless breath passes its lips. "Three questions," it mumbles. Alamar prepares to ask...
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Galfridus

First Post
"Were Nerull worshippers involved in Count Loxham's death?" Alamar asks.

"The traitor opened the way; the followers of the Master of Lies provided the means."

"Where are other outposts of Nerull's worshippers?"

There is a pause, as if the dead body were capable of resisting the power of Ehlonna. "Bluemount. Darkridge. Doom, Despair, Dusk, Deathwater, Darkness."

Alamar ponders, then speaks his final question: "What part did you play in the death of the Count?"

"I merely followed; Kutumno led."

The party has more questions but no more spells: so again they gather up the body and take it with them, this time to the Rebellion camp. Kel is glad to see them, although the news they bring is somewhat sobering. "Too bad about Lewis," he repeats, shaking his head. "Too bad." He seems somewhat taken aback by the dead priest, even after they explain their plan. "But he'll stink!" he protests, until Alamar explains Gentle Repose.

While they wait out the five days before Alamar can re-cast the spell, Alamar takes a quick trip to Leston to purchase components for a few magical items. He also tries to procure some scrolls for Magnimiliar, but they would take too long to scribe. He returns just in time to rest and re-cast Speak with Dead. Jonetello asks Kel if there's anything he would like to know.

"Sure…what is Malefice planning this spring?"

Jonetello shakes his head. "This priest didn't follow Malefice; he belonged to a faction led by someone named Selve." He continues, but Kel cuts him off. "Never mind - you know a lot more about this stuff than I do. Ask what you were going to ask." The party debates for over an hour before coming up with a set of questions. Alamar casts the spell… "Three questions."

"What is the true name of the traitor, who betrayed Count Loxham?"

The corpse answers quickly. "Kutumno knows his name."

Alamar asks his second question immediately. "Is the Count alive?"

"His soul writhes in torment, in the halls of the Master of Lies."

Alamar thinks for a long while, until the spell is about to dissipate, before asking his final question. "Where is Kutumno?"

Kutumno sits at the right hand of Nerull, Master of Lies."

With those words, a final sigh of air escapes the pale body, and it grows still once more. Alamar curses softly.
 

Galfridus

First Post
Episode 22: "B.A.D.D. to the Bone"

Rebellion camp, March 15, LE 654

The party decides to take some "down time". Alamar, as the only man among them who is not wanted by the authorities for something, is elected to travel to Leston for magical components and supplies. While he is gone, Thorald meditates upon a new power: the ability to see people faraway, merely by thinking about them. The power takes a long time to manifest, and he has little experience with this kind of remote viewing. When Alamar returns he crafts a mask which amplifies the image in his mind. For his part, Alamar crafts a figurine of a creature of elemental air known as an arrowhawk: with this token, he hopes to be able to summon such a creature for an extended period of time.

Jonetello takes the opportunity to read Lewis' journal, which spans the five years from the Count's execution to Lewis' death. Soon after the Count's arrest, Lewis snuck into the cave where he was found, searching for evidence of the Count's innocence. "But there was nothing," he wrote, "no scrap of paper, no footprint or sign of blood. Then I realized: if by all signs the Count is guilty, this must not have been the real Count!" He left Loxham for Greymount Isle, seat of the Blaumeres. He spent a year seeking evidence of Blaumere involvement. "The Blaumeres are devious and uncouth schemers," he concluded, "but if they masterminded this assassination, they concealed their plans exceedingly well." In particular, he noted the absence of any sign of the enchantment and illusion magic that he is sure would have been needed for such a deception. He did discover several oddities about the Count's trial, chief among them the fact that the court asked him his name before truth magic was cast. "They knew it was an impostor," he wrote, but that along was not proof.

Frustrated, he returned to Leston and was nearly captured sneaking into Leston Keep to search for clues. He fled Loxham to the distant county of Highvale. He lingered there through the winter, until he heard the tale that would lead him to his death. One of the victims sacrificed in the cave, a farmer named Jack Frellens, had come from Highvale seeking a farm that belonged to his late uncle, Joseph Lonnenham. He was seeking this farm when he was killed; however, he was travelling on the Bog Road, south of Leston and several days from the cave where the sacrifices were made. It was this discrepancy which brought him back to Leston, to investigate the Lonnenham farm. "I find it strange should it come to pass that the farm lies so close to the cave yet have nothing to do with the affair. It is involved, somehow - I am sure of it." After exploring the farm, Lewis planned to travel south to Alban Keep, where legal records for the area are kept, and where Jack Frellens had been heading when he was abducted.

Lewis' last entry was dated September 67, 653. "A narrow road leads north to the Lonnenham farm. I cannot be more than a hour or two's walk from the cave where the impostor Count was captured. I pray I will discover more now than was revealed to me in the cave, or indeed through long, dark hours on Greymount. Without proof of the Count's innocence, all the efforts of our rebellion will be meaningless."

Jonetello relates this account to the party, as they debate their next destination. They are in agreement that they are not yet ready to face the forces of the necromancer, Malefice. Despite Lewis' journal, they do not feel they have enough information to take them in any particular direction. Their plans to travel to Thelden are meaningless, now that Mystarion is dead. The Shadow Lord Rasilar had tasked them to find the woman Dara, but they have no inkling as to where she might be. In the end, two goals present themselves: further research into Ardinor, and gathering of materials to construct magical items. Both goals would be well served in Merelin, the capital of Rellenor, so the party decides to head there. The usual route is by water, over Lake Drelmist; but that is Blaumere territory, and the party fears capture. This leaves a long, overland route, through the land of Sygwerdan.

Sygwerdan is a green dragon of great age who rules the lands south of Rellenor, along the great river that bears his name. Many centuries ago, the rulers of surrounding realms made a treaty with the dragon to bring peace to their lands. The treaty was long and complex, negotiated between the dragon and elvish, human, gnome, and dwarvish ambassadors for nearly a decade before it was signed, creating the League of Sygwerdan. All subjects of nations under the League are required to acknowledge the dragon's sovereignty over his lands, and to act in a peaceful and respectful manner while within his lands. Attacking the dragon, or even conspiring to do so, is a capital offense: the treaty gives the dragon right of retribution for all treaty violations.

(An example from earlier in the campaign: while the party was traveling this same road, they encountered a black bear. Entia, the party's druid, cast Animal Friendship and took the bear as her companion. No one thought anything of it at the time, but as Sygwerdan himself later informed them, removing the bear from his lands was a treaty violation. He took Entia in retribution, and she hasn't been heard from since...)
 

Galfridus

First Post
County Wassan, March 20, LE 654

The party says their goodbyes to Kel and departs the Rebellion camp, travelling the snow-covered hills of western Wassan toward Sygwerdan's land. The air holds a hint of spring, and bare patchs, some blooming with early green, are visible as they ride along. After two uneventful days, they sight the banners of the Road Warden of the Dragon, marking the Rellenor boundary. A wooden barrier is set across the road, and a patrol of soldiers in the Warden's colors is waiting.

"Heading south?" the commander asks, looking a bit puzzled. He tosses a pouch to one of his men, who hands a small greenish token to each person in the party. The tokens are copper cast in the shape of dragon, tinged green by some corrosive process, and with a tiny emerald in one eye. The commander produces a battered scroll and reads. "These tokens guarantee your safety in Sygwerdan's land until you have answered the puzzle posed by his sentinels." He looks each person in the eye. "You can turn back if you want; just make sure you return the tokens here. If you don't return the tokens, you'll be in violation of the treaty." He nods his head toward a small stone tower beside the road. "And don't lose your token, or you'll end up like the poor merchant in there."

"What's the puzzle?" asks Magnimiliar.

"No one who's come back wants to talk about it, not that I blame them," says the commander. "Most people have come back - the smarter ones." He hands a quill and second scroll to the party. "Sign this to affirm that you have received the token and understand the conditions. You all know the terms of the treaty? Don't attack anything unless it attacks you first. Don't take anything other than food, water, fuel. You travel as a group, you answer for the actions of your fellows. When you cross the river, declare aloud Sygwerdan's lordship over his lands. Got it?" Everyone nods. "Best of luck to you."

"And see you in a day or two," he adds under his breath, as the party rides around the barrier and toward Sygwerdan's land.

As they crest the hill that marks the boundary between the two realms, the air grows sharply colder. Ahead, the gentle rolling plains that lead down to the Great River are blanketed in several inches of snow. "This is not natural," mutters Alamar, looking at the grey sky above them. They ride on.

Several hours later, they top a shallow hill and see what must be Sygwerdan's sentinels: ten or so ogres loitering alongside the road. Two huts stand nearby, and a long oak table has been set across the road. Behind the table stand two barrels: one painted red, the other blue. Similarly painted canvas covers the top of each. The party approaches cautiously.

One of the ogres starts shouting commands to the others. By the time the party arrives, he and one other are seated at the table. The others form a loose semi-circle around the party. "Can we bash 'em now?" one asks. "Shut up!" says the leader, who produces a scroll and performs a minor miracle: he reads from it.

"One of these barrels holds yer doom. The other holds a pass that will see you safely through the lands of the High and Mighty Sygwerdan. One of your group must choose for all of you. Before you choose, you may ask myself or my partner Kralks one question. (But we'll only answer Yes or No.) But beware: one of us will always lie, and the other will always tell the truth."

"Before you choose, you must tether your horses over there, are everyone has to stand before the table while the choice is made." He puts down the scroll and glares at the party. "So choose!"

The party immediately begins a fierce conference. Magnimiliar and Thorald recognize the puzzle as one they have heard before and begin reasoning it out. Alamar thinks for a moment, then casts Augury: "What will happen if we pick the blue barrel?"

Without a moment's hesitation, Ehlonna's response rings in his mind: "Woe." "Pick the red one," he insists. Minutes later, Thorald smiles and looks at the others. "I have it!" he proclaims, and shares his findings in a whisper.

One of the ogres chuckles. "We'll be eating good tonight!"

Jonetello steps forward. "I have our question," he says. "Well, ask it!" yells the ogre…
 


Galfridus

First Post
Jonetello addresses the ogre who read the scroll. "If I were to ask the other ogre which barrel was the safe one, which one would he say?"

The ogre's brow furrows, and his finger instinctively seeks his left nostril. "Um," he proclaims, and proceeds to think for a long several minutes. His eyes move back and forth several times as he ponders. "The blue one!" he says at last, with a tooth-baring smile. All around, the ogres ready their clubs.

Jonetello strolls casually to the barrels, examining each one. Other than the color, no differences can be seen. He walks behind the blue barrel, then the red - and in a swift motion, kicks the red barrel over, toward the seated ogres. The canvas flies off, and a charred human skull rolls out, coming to rest at the ogre's feet. "Wrong choice!" he yells. "Eatin' time!" yells another, and they all leap to the attack.

Before the ogres can strike, the party draws together, gathering around the wooden table. Unfortunately, this only makes it easier for the ogres to surround them. Huge clubs begin swinging down, smashing into Thorald, Jonetello, and Tiesa. The leader takes a step back, pauses, then casts a spell with no visible effect. Jonetello steps over to the blue barrel and kicks it over - another charred skull falls out, identical to the first. "Some puzzle," he mutters, before engaging one of the ogres. Just then, Thorald gets into position to loose a Mind Blast that leaves half the ogres reeling and off balance, and lets the party lay into the other half with at least a fighting chance. Alamar does his best to cast a spell, but avoiding the massive clubs takes a higher priority, and time after time his concentration is disrupted. Tiesa speaks the command word for Lewis' Frost Blade, and the long sword glistens with ice as magical power flows through it. She lands a series of strikes to devastating effect.

Jonetello attempts to attack the ogre leader as he casts another spell, but an invisible force prevents his rapier from landing. Now, the ogre steps forward, raising his club with a huge backswing and sweeping down in a mighty strike whose power is only matched by its lack of finesse. Jonetello steps back, easily dodging the blow - except that somehow, the ogre has anticipated this evasion. The club slams into Jonetello's head, nearly knocking him unconscious. "That's it," he mutters, and steps forward to engage the grinning ogre.

The party manages to slay several ogres, until the only ones left standing are the leader and those stunned by Thorald's mental attack. Swords, Magic Missiles, beams of force from an arrowhawk Conjured by Alamar, and even Magnimiliar's morning star strike the leader, but appropriately, it's Jonetello's rapier that brings him down. The ogre staggers as the narrow blade pierces his chest. "You got it wrong," he burbles, blood streaming from his grinning mouth. "I was the one who always lied!" He collapses to the ground. The remaining ogres, stunned, are quickly dispatched. Much healing magic follows.

The party makes a quick search of the ogre encampment, finding some gold, a lot of filth, and some human-looking bones. Although winded and low on magical power, they decide to move on rather than spend a night here. By sunset, they have found a small grove of trees which looks like a good, defensive campsite.

The air grows even colder as the night deepens. A bitter wind from the east blows wisps of snow over the campsite. Only Tiesa is oblivious, pacing in bare feet as she keeps watch through the midnight hour with Magnimiliar.

"What's that?" Tiesa pauses at the south end of the grove, looking out into the darkness. Magnimiliar comes forward, carrying his lantern (still hooded). "I can't see anything," he says, his human eyes all but worthless. He smiles at Tiesa. "Don't worry, I'll check it out." He ventures slowly out into the darkness, looking intently for any signs of movement. "There's nothing out here!" he calls…just as a long, black tentacle reaches out and slams into his chest. "Aaaaaaahhhhhhhh!!!!!" he screeches in a high pitched voice, dropping his lantern and fleeing back toward camp. The hood swings open, casting a beam of light off to one side. In the shadows, a large, feline creature can barely be seen.

Inside his tent, Jonetello awakens at the shout. "Tiesa's in trouble," he realizes, and leaps out of the tent just as Magnimiliar, still screaming, runs past. The rest of the party wakes up and readies weapons as best they can. Tiesa draws the Frost Blade and flies up and toward the creature, waiting for the others before attacking. Alamar dons his shield and ponders the few spells he has remaining. "Thorald, use a Mind Blast!" calls Jonetello. "With what?" Thorald replies, all but drained of psionic power from the battle with the ogres.

Magnimiliar continues running to the far side of camp, gasping for breath. As he turns back to observe the fight, another tentacle snakes out of the darkness and strikes him across the temple. "Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!!!!" he cries again, and flees once more.

Alamar calls upon the power of Ehlonna, pointing past the shadowy outline of the first beast. From beneath the snow emerge thorny vines and weeds which grasp at the beast; from above, the branches of the trees grow thorns and reach down, engulfing a wide area in a web of brambles which completely blocks the beast from sight. "Ow!" cries Tiesa, caught at the very edge of the spell. "Sorry!" yells Alamar. "Try turning invisible!" Tiesa tries to concentrate, but the thorns tear at her, ruining her focus and drawing blood along her arms and legs. "Phena tass!" swears Tiesa, making a rude gesture in Alamar's direction. Alamar glances at Thorald. "What does phena tass mean?" Thorald shrugs.

The rest of the party turns to face the other beast. The light from Jonetello's rapier reveals a nine-foot long cat-like creature, with two tentacles growing from its shoulders. He strikes at it, but although his blade appears to strike true, it merely passes through empty air. The beast's eyes shine with greater than animal intelligence, and as the others advance, it backs away into the darkness, its black fur blending in quickly with the night.

With one of the beasts gone and the other trapped in brambles, the party can do little but wait. They arrange themselves in a circle around the trapped beast and prepare for action. Above, Tiesa holds off the writhing branches, casting several dire looks in Alamar's direction. As the minutes pass, Magnimiliar thinks he sees the second creature, lurking at the edge of their light sources, waiting. Then Alamar's spell ends, and the tree branches return to normal. In an instant, Jonetello charges in and strikes with short sword and rapier, wounding it badly. With a roar, the other creature charges in, striking at Magnimiliar. Thorald rushes in to help, and between them they slay the beast before it can do more damage. Freed from the tree at last, Tiesa swoops down to help Jonetello - and nearly has her skull cracked open by a vicious blow from the beast. As Jonetello finishes the beast, she sinks to the ground.

"Are you alright?" asks Jonetello.

Tiesa smiles sweetly. "Get that priest over here to heal me...so I can kill him."
 

Galfridus

First Post
Episode 23: "All Signs Point to Yes"

Tiesa smiles sweetly. "Get that priest over here to heal me…so I can kill him."

Alamar hurries over and casts a series of Cure spells on Tiesa. She leans forward and kisses him once on the cheek. "Thank you!" she cries, and bounds off. Alamar looks puzzled, but shakes it off and heals the rest of the wounded.

The rest of the night passes without incident. Travel the next day is made difficult by the unseasonable snow drifts which block the roads, but by noontime the party has reached the crossroads, where the Leston trade road crosses the ancient East-West road, built by the long-dead Tataiafar Empire and now all but abandoned. Jonetello and Thorald have traveled this road before, and shudder as they recall the menagerie of creatures which they encountered along it.

But this time, the first thing they encounter is a sign, attached to a post pounded into the ground by the side of the road. The wind has kept the snow off the sign, but the language is not known by anyone in the party. "Looks Gnomish," declares Jonetello, thinking he recognizes some of the letters. After a long debate, the party decides to stop for the day, until Alamar can prepare a spell that will reveal the sign's meaning. It may be nothing, but in Sygwerdan's land, one does best not to take any chances.

The countryside is open here: rolling hills slope gently down toward the Great River, out of sight to the south. Just east of the sign, a light copse of brush and small trees shield the rest of the road from view; but the creatures who approach some hours later are large enough to loom over the growth. "Ogres?" wonders Thorald. Then the trees part, revealing a dozen figures easily ten feet tall. "Giants," mutters Jonetello.

"Oy! What've we got here?" rumbles one of the giants as he spots the party. A dozen tree-sized clubs come to the ready, but then the leader squints. "Aww…got the tokens, they do. How'd you lot get past the ogres?" Everyone shrugs. "Guess we better get up there and see what they're up to," the leader concludes. "Come on!"

But one giant remains, scowling down at the party. "Let's eat'em!" he suggests. "They look tasty, especially that one," pointing at Tiesa. The leader is not pleased. "They've got tokens, idiot?" he retorts, pointing a large finger in the party's direction. "Get in trouble with You-Know-Who if we mess with 'em. Got it?"

Apparently he does not. "I'm hungry…bollocks walking all the way out to see them ogres. Ogres don't taste good anyway." He readies his club, but the leader speaks first. "You want 'em, you got 'em - but not as part of my gang. You're out!" With an oath in Giantish, he turns and gestures to the others, who quickly follow him along the road and out of sight. The party watches them go, then, as one, turn back to the remaining giant, who snarls and readies his club. "Right!" he declares, and charges the party.

Unfortunately for the giant, this is no pansy band of traveling merchant. Despite several vicious blows landed on Jonetello and Thorald, the party makes quick work of their ten-foot tall foe. They wait out the rest of the day with some anxiety, but no one (or nothing) else comes into sight.
 

Galfridus

First Post
The following morning, Alamar casts Comprehend Languages on the sign, and reads:

"Beware of sharks!"

While only Magnimiliar has ever seen a shark, the party is nevertheless certain that sharks are not often found in riverside meadows, and move on. After an hour or so, they come across a second sign. Fortunately, Alamar's spell has not yet expired, so he reads:

"I mean it!"

"Gnomes," mutters Thorald. The party travels onward, until they see a two-foot long "fin" churning up the snow ahead of them. They stand, puzzled, for a quarter hour, watching the fin circle back and forth within an oval-shaped territory directly astride the road. After some consultation, they decide to leave the road and circle around the fin, which seems to take no notice of them. A little while later the party is back on the road, confused but safe.

Later in the day, the party comes across a group of pale-skinned, hairless humanoid creatures hunched over something in the middle of the road. They flee into nearby woods, leaving behind a half-eaten deer carcass. Alamar recalls hearing a tale of such creatures before. "Demons," he says darkly. The party shudders, and decides not to pursue.

Two days later, the party reaches the Merelin Road, running north from Kinfeld toward the capital of Rellenor. They turn north and travel for a couple hours, climbing the low hillsides that lead away from the Great River. Cresting one, they see below them a familiar scene: two long huts, with a wooden table and two barrels (one red and one blue) nearby. A score of ogres are lounging about. As the party approaches, they ready themselves for battle, two sitting down behind the table. One pulls out a crumpled scroll.

"One of these barrels holds yer doom…" one of the ogres begins, but the party barely listens. As soon as he is finished, they walk past the tables and up the road.

"Er…can we bash 'em now?" one confused ogre asks.

Another answers. "Hey…they figured it out!" A series of unpleasant Giantish words follows as the party hastens toward the Rellenor border. Soon, they see the banners of the Marquis of the Dragon before them, and a patrol of soldiers welcomes them.

The watch commander is not sure what to do. "Er…you're the first to come across this winter." He looks nervously at their tokens, then pulls out a scroll and writes on it hastily. "Sign here, and hand over your tokens." He passes the scroll around: it's similar to the one they signed back in Leston, but with "These people have returned tokens" scrawled at the bottom. The party complies, then rides on.

As soon as they cross the border, the air warmed, and the snow that had plagued them through Sygwerdan's land is nowhere to be seen. The day and a half ride to Merelin is a pleasant promise of the spring that is soon to come.
 

Galfridus

First Post
Before entering the city, the party takes time to disguise themselves. They approach the main gate in three separate groups, giving fake names and reasons for entry to the guards, who dutifully record the information (and tax those pretending to be merchants) before allowing entry. The party regroups at the Black Oak, a small inn catering to mercenaries and less than well-to-do merchants. They decide to split up for the next couple days, so everyone can accomplish their own goals: Alamar wants to fashion a few magical items, Thorald is keen to do some research, and Magnimiliar and Jonetello want to check the grapevine for interesting tales, and Tiesa is just excited to be in a real city. "So many people…and buildings…and everything!" she breathes.

Over the next day or two, Jonetello and Magnimiliar hear several interesting rumors:

-- A plague of tavern brawls has prompted the Dukes to post acolytes from the Order of the Lily in the city's seedier taverns (including the Black Oak). While the monks have done a good job of watching for trouble, their overzealous enforcement of kingdom law has caused at least as many fights as they have prevented.

-- A group of adventurers in Highvale, northeast of here, found some sort of ancient temple or cavern containing a flock (gaggle?) of gargoyles, which were released. Peasants and travelers around the town of Orden have been attacked by packs of gargoyles, and the Count of Highvale has placed a high bounty on each gargoyle corpse brought to his castle.

-- In Leston, Count Blaumere has just appointed a new Knight Commander to take charge of the wars against Malefice and the Loxham insurgents. The new commander, Gerald Detuenne, is an aging knight who has served the Blaumere family faithfully for many long years. He is an accomplished knight, but is known for being overly cautious on the battlefield. This appointment seems to put to rest the hope that Count Blaumere would start using his own forces more actively against Malefice.

Jonetello and Magnimiliar also set out to sell some of the extra magical gear the party has acquired. Looking for adventurers eager to fight the gargoyle infestation, they find a "Lord John" who is about to journey to Highvale. Despite the warnings of his men-at-arms, John pays a dear price for a magical weapon and armor.

Thorald spends some time researching, but finds little new information. Tiesa and Alamar spend a pleasant couple of days strolling the city, purchasing magical components and enjoying the sights of Merelin. Alamar notices that Tiesa seems to be watching him a lot, as if waiting for something. He is about to begin a ten-day long ceremony to construct a Luckstone, but thinks that perhaps he should spend some time with Tiesa first…
 


Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads

Top