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Tokiwong's Story Hour... aka Big trouble in little Cormyr

Aust Meliamne

First Post
Finnally Session THREE!!!!!
Quell in the early afternoon, in the midst of winter:

Not more then a month ago, Thev was just a squire on a mission of peace to end a simple trade dispute and resume the flow of turquoise. Simple and without too much peril, beyond the lengthy journey involved. Of course Tymora has smiled on the young paladin, he lost his comrades in a bloody ambush by goblins. He alone survived by wit and strength alone, his stubbornness carrying him when he felt all life nearly leaving him. It seems so long ago, and yet as he looked around at the quaint cell he was currently in, he could recall the moments vividly. The blood and the chaos, the screams as his comrades fell one by one, their desperate commands for him to take flight and get word to the chapter. Did he make the right decision to avenge them on his own, what could he do alone? Thev brooded as he awaited his eventual release. He glanced at his partner in crime, Xenon, a wild card to be sure but his talents in magic could not be denied. Despite his abilities, Thev didn't like the mage; his manner was too unctuous and too politically minded. Thev sighed and let his mind wander to the treatment Rhea was most likely enduring at the moment.

Rhea was roughly tossed into the small dank cell, stripped of her weapons and possessions. Despite her claims of innocence, his birthright spoke louder then her words. Rhea paced slowly in the cell; there was little else to do. The nights work was barely underway before the situation exploded out of control. Hours passed it seemed and the door suddenly flew open, three large guards sneered at her.
The eldest spoke, "This way drow..."

Rhea nodded and followed her demeanor dignified and noble despite her situation. She was brought to a small circular room, the guards shoved her in roughly and she looked about the room dimly lit by torches on the wall. A table dominated the center of the room with four seats, three already filled. The first had the head constable, to his left sat a young woman of noble affluence, and to his right Agis Beltaine. Agis gave her a curt smile and Rhea took a seat, silently.

"Tell me witch, what is your name?" the constable scowls.

"Rhea Twiceborn," Rhea replied evenly, "why am I here, have I been charged with a crime?"

"Espionage, murder," the constable scowls rattling off claims.

Rhea interrupts him, "Or am I being punished for birthright and not my actions."

"There is still the matter of a dead body, Miss Twiceborn."

Rhea eyes the constable, "We found the body dead, and you may want to know he was poisoned before his throat was slashed. But I have already explained this, why do we keep going over facts you already know."

"Calm yourself constable she is at least speaking truth, at least as far as I have surmised," the woman speaks quieting the constable.

"Truth is all I speak, I have yet to lie, and I have not broken any law in this city," Rhea responds calmly.

"Silence spy, I don't care frankly," the constable stands and circles the table standing next to Rhea, "someone killed Lord Beltaine and if I cannot find the real killer a drow will serve just fine. I doubt you would be missed."

Rhea scowls at the constable as he turns and exits the room the noble woman following him giving Rhea a wayward glance as she exits. With a sigh Rhea relaxes slightly and then turns to Agis, confused.

"I apologize Miss Twiceborn, for all the trouble I have cause you," he says solemnly.

"What is to happen to me?" Rhea retorts concerned.

"Most likely you will be found guilty of being a spy, and the penalty is the death of the undying. Your soul will be crushed yet trapped to suffer torment for eternity."

Rhea winces, "But I have done nothing wrong."

"I know but the people will demand justice, even if there is no justice to be done. I am trying to help you as best as I can, there may be a way to avoid that fate, but I suspect you will not like the alternative."

Rhea nods for him continue.

Agis stands, "You can seek bondage, you would need a patron but you would escape death and serve in bondage for one years time, either this or death."

Rhea shakes her head, "Death or slavery."
Agis nods, "I am sorry I wish I could do more."

Rhea thinks for a moment, "I want to speak with a Crown Representative, there must be justice somewhere. Agis I appreciate your help but I wish to speak with a representative of the crown. Let me put my case in front of them."

Agis nods, "I will see what I can do. Be well till we meet again Rhea."

As he leaves the guards enter and escort Rhea to her cell to languish till her eventual trial. Rhea is placed roughly back in her cell and the door is slammed shut. Rhea sighs and decides to pray to her goddess, she dances and twirls in the small space, spinning faster and faster. Her senses drift as she feels the soft wind upon her skin, the sounds of the night haunting her ears. She can feel her senses hovering between two realities, as she opens her eyes, silent trees of great age brood over her. The grand trees twist upward high into the sky, the stars obscured by the green canopy hundreds of fee above her. The sight bewilders her, but the low feral growl of a war cat brings her back to her senses.
Her eyes follow the sound to a large white tiger with two long tusk-like front teeth; the creature leaps down and slowly circles her. Rhea instinctively reaches for her blade unconsciously, grasping only air. The smells and sounds seem too vivid to be a dream as she stares into the eyes of the creature. The great cat crouches as if to pounce before a high pitched whistle sounds throughout the woods. Rhea glances quickly as a figure leaps down from a low-lying branch, the figure smiles cheerfully. The figure kneels next to the great cat, and nuzzles cheerfully then looks at Rhea quizzically.

The individual has a charming smile, which contrasts with his very drow appearance. His skin is darkest ebony, and his eyes a strong violet, with wild stark white hair framing his face. Rhea notices a monkey-like tail swishing back and forth, and the figure stands and greets Rhea.

"Jaku mali basi reto ma?"

Rhea blinks quizzically, "I am Rhea Twiceborn."

The figure nods, "Rhea Ticiwbornu?"

Rhea nods, "close enough, where am I?"

"Taki mahu, Jarula yahi, naki moku," the figure shrugs and points at the large cat.
Rhea shakes her head and begins to use a variety of languages; the figure recognizes the elven tongue and nods appreciatively.

"You speak the tongue of the outworlders, stranger," the figure smiles.

"Outworlders," shakes her head, "where am I?"
"You do not know, you are here, and we are here what more do you need. Oh I am sorry that Jarula scared you, he is not always that menacing," he glances at the great cat that is now slumbering.

"I see, but where am I."

"You are near Sivael my home."

Rhea nods, "I am not sure where that is, are you familiar with Cormyr?"

The man shakes his head, "No, but I do not know much about the outworlders, the elders may know," he smiles winsomely and continues, "my name is Kalas Filos Dalar and that is my companion Jarula," as he points to the snoring war-cat.

Rhea nods confused not quite sure how or why she is here in this place. She decides to follow the stranger back to his city of Sivael to find some possible answers. The journey is not far as they breach the edge of the forest to reveal a city made of towers of glowing crystal. The city is alive with light and energy as brilliant lights zip about the majestic towers, amidst flying crystalline craft. Rhea is awed by the sight as they approach a circular platform made of the crystal structure. Kalas makes a gesture and the platform lifts off the ground and zips through the glowing crystalline towers with ease. They approach a glowing purple tower and the platform hovers at a balcony entrance; Kalas assists Rhea off the platform and leads her into the inner sanctum of the structure. A motley of rugs and pillows is strewn about the room in the center is a woman, of the same race as Kalas sitting in a lotus position. Kalas nods Rhea forward, and takes his leave once she has entered.

Rhea approaches the elder, who looks to be not much older then Rhea in appearance, the elder swishes her tail and slowly looks up at Rhea, "Welcome outlander," the woman speaks.

Rhea sits in front of the woman, "I am pleased to meet you, where am I."

The woman smiles, "As am I outsider, how is that you have come here?"

Rhea shakes her head confused, "I do not know why the Dancer would bring me here, nor how I am to get back from whence I came."

"The Dancer?"

"Eilestraee, my goddess, I believe she has brought me here for what reason I do not know."

"Ahh you speak of the name given to our Mistress of the Moon, Serael, that is name I have heard you outsiders call her. Hmm, from what I can see you are not truly here, but like a dream, child. You have only to awaken and you shall return from whence you came," the woman replies.

"I see," Rhea closes her eyes and tries to will herself awake. Slowly her eyes open returning to the dank and cold cell of the Quell jailhouse. She rises slowly from the floor, exhausted, batting away a rat that was chewing on her hair. She sighs confused at the vision and her current situation.

The morning came all too soon for Thev as he awoke in his bed, the first night in a long while that he had risen with the light of the sun already in the sky. He had been released late into the night after it was found that he and Xenon had nothing to do with the murder of Lord Beltaine. It was his hope that Rhea would be found innocent, but it seemed her case and only deepened as she was to be tried as a drow spy, and most likely executed. Thev was happy for one thing, to be rid of the company of the political whore, Xenon. The mage was talented but cared too much of his own status and not enough for the people who have suffered thus far. Thev sighed and cleaned himself up to get ready for a long day, the courts of Quell work quickly; Rhea's trial was today. It seemed the people did not want to waste time and wanted to have justice done, quickly.

The day of the trial passed quickly enough for Rhea perhaps too quickly as the time neared she was taken from her cell and placed roughly into a wagon with bars along the side, and then was paraded from the jailhouse to the courthouse amidst the populace of Quell. Rotten vegetables, rocks, and other objects were thrown in her general direction. The rest of the troupe gathered at the Beltaine manse and departed from there for the courthouse. The group arrived just as they were hauling Rhea inside, and they all quickly followed. Making their way through the throngs of people, Thev decides he needs to see Rhea before the trial and departs for her holding cell. The rest of the troupe stands around trying to figure a good place to sit and watch the trial.

While they are standing gawking, Aust notices a dark robed figure following Thev and heading towards where Rhea is being held. But before he can act, his alert eyes spot Turlus, the dirty scoundrel amidst the throng of people. The group decides to follow the thug and tail him towards an off branching hallway just in time to see him slip into a room. The troupe opens the door, revealing a small library and sees no sign of the scoundrel, until Aust once again spots the Turlus' feet from behind a curtain. The group moves forward, and Turlus reveals himself spouting off curses and appropriate rhetoric. Kyoko and Turlus share an enraged communication before the heroes charge into battle, at the same time Thev and Rhea are speaking of the impending trial.

Thev is standing in the doorway his large frame dwarfing the small lithe form of Rhea, seated before him. He was not at all pleased with the turn of events and the prospect of Rhea's execution incensed him even more. He was at a loss of what to do, was the law fair, no, but it was the law, should he takes the law into his own hands. Who was he to make such a decision, the thoughts raced through his embattled mind.
Rhea smiled weakly, "Things are not looking too well friend, but I have my faith, and it will sustain me."

Thev shakes his head, "I am sorry Rhea, I feel that I have failed you, and yet I am powerless to do anything about these chain of events," his eyes flickering red with anger at himself.

"Do not be sorry, Thev, it is not your fault, I can only hope that my innocence will sustain me and that true justice is done here on this day."

Thev folds his arms, "I understand how you feel, but if they do not, I do not think I can sit by and watch my shield-mate executed without attempting to you free you."

Rhea gives him a worried glance; "You can't risk your oaths for me friend that is even too much for me to ask of you."

Thev places a hand on her shoulder, "I am prepared to face the consequences to bring you safe from harm, I will let the judgement of the Dancer be as it must," he nearly smiled.

Rhea shakes her head, "No that is too..." her words are broken off by the explosion of the door as both her and Thev dive for cover. In the brief ensuing moments after the thunderous blast, a dark robed figure rushes into the room and pounces on Thev wielding a knife. The two combatants struggle on the ground vying for an opening, well mainly Thev trying not to get stabbed. Rhea attempts to help out while screams of panic ring out through the courthouse, chaos quickly following.

During the vicious combat with Turlus, the rest of the troupe is faring quite well even as the explosion rocks the courthouse. Aust once more showing his usefulness plunges his blade deep into Turlus gullet only to see the thug kneel and laugh madly. With a bright flash the thug is gone, and nary scrap of evidence to betray the fact he was even present. The troupe wisely decides to check on the explosion and make their way towards Rhea and stumble their way through the smoke, just as Thev kicks the thug off of him with some help from Rhea.

The assassin looks about the room seeing just how outnumbered he is and crouches preparing for an attack. Rhea and Thev both brace for attack, but then the robed assailant cries out, "For FREEDOM!" and then stabs the blade into his heart, killing himself. Rhea quickly rushes up and checks the thug over and finds that the knife was poisoned, and the virulent poison has already snuffed the assassin's life, she is surprised at how strong the poison is.
The group has little to puzzle this quandary before the Inquisitor arrives, and quickly takes stock of the situation. She is not amused and neither are her Purple Dragon Knight escorts. Kyoko seems very suspicious of the inquisitor, and is prepared for the worse.

The inquisitor shakes her head at the scene; "This is madness, I cannot believe that anyone would be foolish enough to attack the courthouse and yet before my eyes, I cannot deny the truth. I am no at all pleased with these events but they have only reinforced my belief that you, Rhea Twiceborn may not be the guilty party in this situation."

Kyoko blinks dumbfounded by the Royal Inquisitor's demeanor.

"Furthermore, you are as of now absolved of the crimes against you, but until further proof presents itself, you are hereby restricted to the confines of Quell under the custody of the Beltaine household, until a further inquiry into this matter can be resolved. Your belongings have been placed in the care of House Beltaine, you are all dismissed."

The group stands in utter shock of the pronouncement, but all equally elated that good and justice triumphed on the day. But mysteries still persisted, and it was obvious that the dark web entangling Quell was only growing stronger. But at least there was a feast to honor what good had been wrought.

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Aust Meliamne

First Post
I just wanted to post some thoughtts from a DM's perspective, overall so far the story has progressed rather well. Although I am sure the group is feeling abit treasure light right now, but that will change in the near future.
Overall the campaign has progressed well and the characters are each interesting and each have a story to build off of, which is good for me less work. yeah some of the stuff in the game is abit wierd, but I have never been a conventional player or DM, and the story is twisted and wicked with plenty of twists, serious and humorous.

Oh and just an afterthough the night after Rhea is freed from jail and execution, Aust has a run-in with the incorrigible Melinda, Mel for short. The meeting results in umm... some bedroom gymnastics and well... Lets just say it actually does play a role later on, if a slightly humorous one.

Aust Meliamne

First Post
Session 4
Almost caught up...

Quell in the Early Evening, during Midwinter:

With the recent acquittal of Rhea the troupe of heroes began to once again focus on the business of rooting out the goblins in the sewers, and to solve the mysteries they have inadvertently involved themselves in. So far the heroes have succeeded in not getting killed, and it seems that the enemies they face do not see them as too much of a threat yet. Though the assassin sent after Rhea has them all up in arms. With the outcome of the trial, or lack thereof, House Dorbal came under investigation when evidence was brought up that they were in league with the goblins. Three members of the family had been sequestered and were being questioned extensively by the inquisitor.

Kyoko had picked up some interesting information while doing research in the Library of Quell, about a legend of a hero named Lathos. Her interest in history was sparked by an encounter with the strange urchin, Kilv and his talk about “shadowy men” roaming the streets. Lathos was a hero in an ancient empire that grew corrupt; he rose up to destroy the empire with the aide of his band of heroic rebels, the Shadow Crusade. He eventually scattered the old empire to the four winds and established a new kingdom, marked by peace and benevolence. His reign was not to last as he had passed on without heirs and his kingdom fell apart, or so the story goes. But interesting enough, his symbol a crescent moon with a blood red tear emblazoned on the shield has resurfaced upon the shields of these “shadowy men” Kilv observed.

For the most part the rest of the troupe made little headway into the mysteries of Quell, but had come to the decision to meet in the evening and search out the sewers once more. Thev of course spent the day with Rhea as her constant companion and in ways bodyguard. His heart was warmed that she was once again free, at least of the jail, and able to worship her goddess under the moon. He was also beginning to learn to enjoy the teachings of Eilistraee and enjoyed any story Rhea could provide.

The moment arrived when the entire troupe arrived at the appointed hour outside the Beltaine manse; each prepared to face danger. All except Kyoko, who was out with Agis doing research at the Magister’s Library. The troupe was resolved and set out across Quell on foot to the Lower Ward where there was an entrance to the sewers accessible via the frigid cold waters of a low-lying canal.

The troupe sloshed their way into the sewers led by Thev at the point with Xenon bring up the rear. The sewers were dank and fetid, as all sewers should be, with frozen chunks floating in the putrid waters adding to the severe chill. The darkness was overwhelming for Xenon, the only member to not possess natural darkvision or infravision. The troupe pressed on and paused at the room where they found the body of Lord Beltaine the elder dead. Xenon happily grabbed the torch present and the group pressed on. The sewer line began to bend to the right and the group slowly pressed on warily, small ducts of water pipes about two to three feet across jutted out from the walls pouring sewer water into the line.

Rhea paused, “Thev perhaps it would be wiser if someone more subtle took the lead.”

Thev turned, “what do you mean by more subtle, I am very subtle,” he said sternly his hands tightly gripped about greatsword.

Rhea shook her head, “I meant someone slightly more stealthy, as to not alert our enemies,” she whispered.

Xenon shrugged, “well who do you suggest?”

The troupe took a brief moment to conference and eventually elected Talindra as the victim to blunder forward and scout ahead. Talindra shrugged winsomely and was about to step off when the troupe noticed a flaming bottle, i.e. molotov cocktail, fly from one of the sewer pipes into their midst, centering on poor Aust. Thev dove for cover as did much of the rest of the group, but the firestorm from the exploding bottle caught everyone else except Thev who was lucky enough to reach safety. A stubby goblin hobbled out of the pipe and splashed in the water as the flames cleared quickly, Aust reacted quickly and was able to skewer the little thug before he got far. The troupe spent a few moments administering healing, with Rhea and Aust receiving the bulk of the treatments. After recovering from the little ambush, the group pressed on with Talindra taking the lead.

Talindra scouted ahead as the bend continued and found apart of the wall knocked out and an incline with makeshift stairs leading downward into darkness. It was obvious this was not part of the original construction plan. She rushed back and alerted the others about what she saw, the group moved forward and then headed down the incline with Talindra once again taking point. She slipped though on the slick incline and alerted the denizens of the sewers, before long she was staring down a charging giant frog, along with its goblin rider. Behind the frog-rider was a small group of goblin warriors, Talindra wisely retreated.

Talindra shouted, “Help guys, there is a giant frog chasing me!”

The troupe wasted no time to act and rushed headlong into combat, Talindra taking up a position with her bow alongside Xenon. Rhea, Thev and Aust moved into melee with the goblins. The forces clashed and the first rounds were bloody indeed for the goblins, as their numbers were reduced by half in mere seconds by Thev and Aust, in vicious bloody melee. Thev chopped the frog-rider in half as the frog careened forward towards Talindra. Xenon fired a shot into the melee dropping a goblin, while Talindra focused her efforts on the giant charging frog. The goblins did little to damage the heroes and were eventually cut down in a beautiful display of skill and heroism.

The gentle clapping and laughter of a robed figure awarded their efforts, further down the incline with more goblin reinforcements. The troupe focused their attention on the figure, not sure quite yet what to make of him, besides his obvious relationship with the subservient goblins. Rhea took this time to slip into the shadows and hide creeping forward. The figure made a gesture and the dancing flames of faerie fire highlighted the group, only heightening the tension.

“Good show, I was expecting the Harpers or at least real assassins, but amateurs, I almost feel insulted, almost,” the figure said gingerly, with a strange accent.

Xenon smirked, “Hmm another player presents themselves.”

Thev gripped his sword tightly, “You must be mistaken,” he said with rage in his eyes.

The figure continued, “It is understandable with your recent troubles and all, I am not surprised at the attempt, just your choice in assassin. But it makes little difference on this day, for you will regret the day you accepted this mission.”

Rhea shook her head, “Who are you?” as she revealed herself from her hiding spot.

The figure glanced at Rhea and only grinned, “hmm and a traitor to the cause, that is most unforgivable, but it is has been long since I have killed, so let us end this!” With that, the figure charged forward his hood falling back to reveal that he too was a drow like Rhea. The goblins charged forward towards the group as Rhea faced the drow head on, the drow brandishing a rapier and a dagger.

Rhea faced off against the drow warrior with almost supernatural skill taking advantage of many openings and doing severe amounts of damage to him, while the drow's attacks missed their mark, albeit, barely. The two faced off in the brutal melee dancing amidst the incline each vying for position, Rhea having the advantage despite the drow’s superior skill. But in the end the drow made a single superb strike with rapier, a lightning quick thrust into her gut. The attack came much too fast for her to react and the blow too much for her health. She fell clutching the blade before he kicked her off the blade grinning madly. He then turned and fled satisfied and very much wounded.

In the meanwhile Thev fought brilliantly in the battle his greatsword cleaving many a goblin in two. His sword mastery unequaled among his miniscule foes, frog and goblin alike tasted his steel as it sang in the dank corridor. When Rhea fell he quickly moved to her side, and attended to her wounds, stabilizing her. Aust showed his worth many times over, until he faced his equal among the goblins and the two dueled viciously, until Aust slipped and fell. The goblin warrior dove on top of him and swung madly but Aust avoided the blows and kicked the little thug off of him. The two engaged each other once more, Aust and the goblin matching each swing for swing, until the goblin took advantage of an opening and gave Aust a good scar across the stomach, which followed by Aust taking the goblins head off his shoulders.

In the meanwhile Xenon focused his magic on the drow his power breaching the magic resistance of the warrior, allowing him to pummel the drow with magic missiles. He then took his bow and fired at he goblins and also at the fleeing drow. His efforts led to the deaths of a few goblins but he was unable to put an arrow in the drow’s back. Talindra too focused her shots against the drow but was also unable to put the fleeing villain down but she did drop a few goblins and even killed a charging giant frog, after Thev cleaved the rider in half. The giant frog crashed into her, she quickly dropped her bow and drew her longsword and shortsword. She tore into the giant frog with a mighty blow that took the frog’s lower jaw completely off, the frog crashed into the wall dead.

As the melee subsided, the group took stock of their wounds and surmised that it was best to cut their losses and flee with Rhea. The group retreated quickly, and returned to the Beltaine manse. Xenon returned to the Reave Manse. Thev placed Rhea upstairs on her bed, while Talindra tended to her. Aust decided it was high time he goes to the Temple of Tyr, the only temple in the city and seek some healing.

Aust arrived at the temple and bumped into a jovial fellow with a cane on his way in, “Whoa there fellow, I apologize for that,” the man glanced Aust over, “by the gods, what has happened to you sir?”

Aust replied, “my friends and I faced goblins in the sewers I seek healing from a priest.”

The man nodded, ”Well come in, come in,” he called for the elderly priestess who in turn placed Aust on a table and began to heal the poor youth. The stranger paid for the healing and then asked Aust to lead him to his friends, in case they too needed healing, he was more then happy to oblige.

The stranger Aust had ran into was Owen Silverlyre a famous bard from Silverymoon, and also the secret companion of Talindra. Owen is also Rhea’s birth father. Though he is unaware of the fact that Rhea is now a drow, and thinks that most likely she is dead. Owen and Aust made it to the Beltaine household with the elderly priestess in tow.

Aust was lead upstairs and the priestess was shocked to see a drow laying on the bed unconscious, and replied, “Oh by Tyr, is it still alive?”

Talindra bristled, “It is our friend, and she is alive, barely.”

Thev nodded, “Please if there is anything you can do we would be greatly appreciative madam.”

The priestess nodded, “I will do what I can,” she proceeded to use her divine powers to heal Rhea, overcoming her magic resistance. Rhea opened her eyes slowly and looked around the room curiously not quite sure where she is.

Thev smiled slightly, greatly relieved. Owen gently approached Rhea and smiled, “Welcome back your friends were very worried about you,” he turned to the others, “do not worry about the cost, it is the least an old man can do for people of your caliber. You have done this city a great service.”

Talindra smirked as she recognized Owen, as he left whistling to himself leaning heavily on his cane. Rhea was confused but decided the best thing to do was to get some rest and tackle the problems first thing in the morning. Another harrowing night Quell had come to an end, and luckily the heroes were still alive to see another sunrise. But just who was the drow, and how does House Dorbal fit into the puzzle?

Aust Meliamne

First Post
Before we get to the Fifth Session I am going to post two solos, one for Kyoko and the other for Xenon both absent at the session. So without further ado, Kyoko's solo...
The Magister's Library in the afternoon:

Kyoko sighed as she poured over the various volumes on the table before her. Agis was sitting next to her studiously pouring over any clues they could decipher about Lathos or these shadowy men. Her eyes were drooping as she glanced over a particularly dry tome concerning Ancient Artifacts and stumbled over a bit of text concerning Lathos and his shield, Aegis of Lathos.

"Uhh Agis I think I found something here," kyoko said surprised, "something about a shield of Lathos."

"What does it say Kyoko?" he replied in a hushed tone.

"Hmm, well here it says that the shield bore the symbol of Lathos and was considered invulnerable and extremely light, but unlike Lathos it does mention the last location of the shield."

Agis nodded, "Where?"

"It says here in a lost citadel called Honin Tau. Do you know where that is?"

Agis thinks for a moment, "hmm well..." he so consults a tome, "hmm yes to the north of here, in the mountains, but the actual location is sketchy at best."

Kyoko sighed, "I guess I need to look into that too, every time we solve one more mystery, another opens and presents itself."

Agis nods, "I know, but I thank you for your assistance, this is much easier with two minds on the task."

Kyoko smirked, "Think nothing of it it is the least I can do."

Agis shrugged mirthfully and returned to looking at the various tomes, while kyoko decided to take a slight break and relax. In the next row over she spied the Royal Cormyrian Inquisitor, Lady Falhan. Kyoko sneered, she still does not trust the inquisitor one bit.

She turned to Agis, "what is the inquisitor doing here," she whispered.

"I am not quite sure most likely studying one thing or another why?" he asked.

"I just..." she sighed, "just wondering. Agis don't you think the inquisitor arrived fairly quickly to interrogate Rhea?"

"Well of course, but from my understanding she was already on her way to for one reason or another."

"Really what for," Kyoko perked up, "I thought she was here because of Rhea."

"Well now that I think about it," he furrowed his brow, "she must have another agenda, I suppose."

At that moment a well dressed gentleman with a slim build politely tapped Kyoko on the shoulder. She turned to look at him and smiled warily. He was an older man with soft dark eyes and a pencil thin mustache, he smiled as he pointed at a tome on their table.

"Excuse ma'am, are you finished with that?" he said politely.

Kyoko nodded, "Oh I am sorry of course please help yourself."

The gentleman picked up the tome and turned to continue his studies. Something about the man did not sit right with Kyoko though, something felt out of place with him. Finally it dawned on her, he was one of the gentlemen that was conversing with Turlus, the scoundrel.

As the gentleman sauntered away she turned to Agis and whispered, "Agis, I know that man, I saw him talking with Turlus about some type of deal. Who is he?"

Agis glanced over his shoulder, "Oh him, he is a wealthy merchant and a member of the Magisters. I have worked with him on occasion as has Houses Dorbal and Reave. His name is Samuel Hillock, he seems an honest enough fellow."

Kyoko shook her head, "I don't think so, not if he was talking to Turlus, and not what with I heard. He is involved Agis. Hmm he wasn't alone though, what do you know of a dour yet welldressed portly fellow with dark balding hair?"

Agis smirks, "That sounds like a freind of Samuel's, the local justice Halden Froster. He was to be the judge for Rhea's case, hmm it seems this conspiracy is running very deep."

Kyoko shook her head, "Rhea's judge, yes I bet that would have been a fair trial. Hmm we may need to look into these two individuals."

Agis nodded, "Of course."

Kyoko stretched, and settled back to reading and sifting through the texts. At some point her eyelids drooped and she was out fast. She roused herself and looked around Agis was still at work, she stretched gently, "I think we should call it a night Agis."

Agis yawned, "Oh yes... I am sleepy myself." He began to pile up the books and placed some back, then escorted Kyoko outside. The two of them worked their way back down the cold streets of Quell the moon high in the night sky.

Agis smirked, "Oh i should tell you in 6 days Quell will be the site of the Festival of Apples, thrown by the halflings of House Oakfoot. The festival is a great time, I think you would enjoy it. My sister Velana should be arriving for the festival and I am sure she would like to meet you and the others."

Kyoko smiled, "Really I look forward to it."

Agis glanced over at Kyoko, "It is a beautiful evening to be sure."

Kyoko nodded, "It is fine..."

Agis placed a hand gently on her shoulder, "Well the night is much more enchanting with good company," he smiled.

Kyoko blushed lightly, "Please don't flatter me, are you interesetd in the pleasent company or something more?" with a coy knowing smile.

Agis smiled, trapped by her words, "I cannot beleive I am that transparent, but yes I am in a word attracted to your presence."

Kyoko smirked, "Just like how you are attracted to Rhea?"

Agis shook his head, "No that is different, I mean, I care for Rhea because she is a strong woman. She faces persecution head on and is not afraid of anything it seems. I admire that in her, very much so. But you Kyoko, you are something else, and the way i feel about you, it is scary how that makes me feel."

Kyoko looked into his eyes and then bit her lip and turned and started walking, "we should be getting back."

Agis nodded, slightly crestfallen and the two returned to the manse in silence. Agis turned to kyoko after they were inside out of the cold, "Good evening Kyoko, please sleep well." He then turned and went to his personal chambers.

Kyoko nodded, "Good night," she sighed not quite sure why she rebuffed him. She felt the attraction as well, but decided against it. With that she returned to her room to rest.

Aust Meliamne

First Post
Xenon's Second Solo

The morning came soon after the night in the sewers; Xenon sighed as he rose up out of his comfortable bed. The air was warm the gentle fire in the firepit glowed slightly, crackling softly. Xenon smirekd as a servant entered and left him soft bread and warm soup for breakfast. Just after eating and cleaning himself up, there was a knocking at his door.
"Xenon, are you dressed?" it was the voice of Hadrian Reave, his patron and friend.

"Yes, please come in Hadrian."

Hadrian entered and smirked, "There were a few things I have been able to learn from our goblin friend, Yik," he turned, "Yik come in here please."

The little goblin prisoner stepped into the room cautiously dressed in young boys clothing, Yik proceeded to Xenon's soup bowl and played with his utensils.

Xenon shook his head, "And what have you learned, master?"

Hadrian folded his arms, "That for the most part the scions of House Dorbal are involved with these creatures, but it seems the deal may have soured. The drow you mentioned, his name is Sevak, and is a loathsome member of his species unlike Rhea."

Xenon nodded, "Hmmph, and what of the rest of his kind, are there more in the sewers?"
Hadrian shook his head, "The constabulary have investigated the sewers and word is the place is clean any further goblin menace and no mentioning of the drow. It is safe to assume that he is in hiding, I would believe."

Xenon sighed, "Well it would have been good to kill that one, but we can rest assured that the pact between them and House Dorbal and has fallen apart."

Hadrian nodded, "Well the arrest of Lord Dorbal and his two sons, it is safe to assume that soon the house will ripe for the picking. I have been pondering just how much wealth their farmlands bring in," with a coy smile.

Xenon smirked, "Hmm how about their encampment, where are the rest of the goblins if there are more?"

Hadrian turned, "I have an answer for that as well, just follow me," he walked towards the main study in the manse.

Xenon followed with Yik in tow, which was carrying spoon and licking it happily. He entered the study and saw a map displayed on the table, of the region surrounding Quell.
Hadrian pointed a finger at a red recently scrawled 'X', "There is the site of a citadel, that from Yik's own words is where the shadow men dwell, or some such. I think it is there that you will find some possible answers to this riddle."

Xenon nodded, "So here is where the rest of the encampment is?"

"Not exactly, according to Yik, the goblins were hired through Sevak by these 'shadow men' to work as muscle and fodder. It is my belief that here are actual agents of this group we are dealing with, and not their goblin cronies," he shrugs.

"Hmm, this should be our next target I would believe, but" Xenon paused, thinking, "I think I need to speak with House Dorbal first, would you excuse me master while I attend to this."

Hadrian nodded, "Of course, I trust you will do all that is required. Just one thing before you go."

Xenon stopped, "Yes Hadrian?"

"Back at the Courthouse, during the attack, are you sure they were after Rhea?"

"Well I am sure, that is what it seemed like."

Hadrian paused, "I understand, but it puzzles me, what would our enemies have to gain from that, it would have been to their advantage to let the drow be executed."

Xenon thought for a moment, "Well then do you think they were after Thev?"

Hadrian nodded, "Well we already know that Thev's companions were also Knights of the Black Horn and were slaughtered in that ambush, it seems to me that they wanted to silence him, in case he knows something they don't want public. Just a thought I suppose."

Xenon nodded, "That makes sense, but who is 'they'?"

"Well, they would be patrons of this goblin and his tribe, and possibly the group House Dorbal was allied with, a League. A League of Shadows, as best I can put it," Hadrian spoke solemnly.

Xenon echoed, "The League of Shadows, hmm now I have to speak with House Dorbal."

With that Xenon took haste and headed for the courthouse, where the House Dorbal captives were being held. The building was under repairs from the damage done during the attempted assassination of Rhea Twiceborn. Thankfully it had been foiled but the damage to the courthouse was done. It would be weeks before the repairs would be completed. The aide at the entrance was helpful but would not allow Xenon to see the prisoners without first speaking with the inquisitor.

Xenon was led to the inquisitor's chamber and stood before the matron's desk. To her right was a stern Purple Dragon Knight, with a wary demeanor upon his scowling face.

Xenon bowed politely, "Good morning madam, I have come with a request to speak with the Dorbal prisoners."

She gave him a curious look, "For what reason Master Xenon?"

"Well madam I am not sure if this is the place to speaking of such things?"

She nodded, "Speak quickly."

Xenon complied, "Well I have reason to believe that I may have information that can assist your investigation, but it is imperative that I speak with a member of House Dorbal to know for sure."

She gave a puzzled look, "Hmm, I am intrigued. And just what is the information, you have Master Xenon."

"I would rather not say yet, but if I am able to speak with a member of House Dorbal I will reveal all I know," he smiled politely.

The inquisitor glanced at the Purple Dragon Knight, "Lead him to the prisoner," she sat back, "maybe you can shed some light on this particular mystery."

The Purple Dragon Knight led Xenon to the holding cells of the prisoners, the guards politely gave them access and the two arrived at the cell of Arthen Dorbal, the youngest son of the Dorbal family.
The knight opened the door, and Xenon entered with the knight following. He closed the door behind him and folded his arms. Sitting in a chair dressed in purple noble finery was a young man in his late teens, with wild black hair and hard green eyes. The youth spat as the two entered.

"Who are you?" Xenon said sternly.
The youth looked up at Xenon disdainfully, "What is this, hmm, another interrogation, tell your dogs in the capitol that Arthen Dorbal has spoke his piece."

"Well Arthen, I have come to speak to you about the League..." Xenon said with a coy smile.

Arthen's eyes lit up with fear, "Who are you stranger, are you, it must be. The end is nigh I see, they have come for me, and so it ends."

Xenon was puzzled, "What are you talking about?"

Arthen cringed slightly, "The shadow has found me, you are the blade, the sword that will end my pitiful life. But I can say that we are not the ones, we have not betrayed you, and it was the usurper that tipped our hands. We are no the fools..." the man sneered madly, "for you are fools, we know the price. The eye is lost but we did not lose it, but we know what you do not. We know the key... and it is the Eye, don't you see it is right there so close yet, the Usurper he has it now. For certain, he does. It was the Usurper's hand that killed the scion Beltaine, we played no part, his death was his work."

"The Eye, what is the Eye?" Xenon continued to press the crazed youth.

"The Eye is the key, the key mind you assassin... it is the key, it can open the path, but we don't have it. The unaged one told us thus, and he knows the cost, and the path. But we betrayed him and in turn, he has turned against us in our arrogance, we shall die... but come quick and bring the death, for I shall not suffer longer."

Xenon smirked and began preparing a spell, "Then tell me who is this unaged one?"

The purple dragon knight shook his head, "That is not wise Xenon, even a prisoner has rights."

Xenon stopped his magic, and sighed, "Answer me wretch?"

"He is... the unagaed one, and he knows what we cannot know... what we do not know... but please why spare me the blade, end it." Arthen cringed pathetically, his eyes betraying the madness swelling in his fevered mind.

"Then speak the name of my master before you die, who is that I work for?" Xenon continued unabated.

Arthen shook his head wildly, "I cannot, I must not mention the name, for fear, the shadow will take me, and I will be swallowed by the abyss. There is death in that name, the word it is the death, and I am the lamb, please end it assassin."

Xenon sneered, "Say it worm!"

"I cannot, but..." he paused searching for semblance of his sanity, "why must I say this, why must the Shadis Masin taunt me so, do the wish to damn me eternally." Arthen curled up pathetically and babbled in tongues, his sanity finally cracked.

Xenon turned to the shocked purple dragon knight; "I am finished here." The knight opened the door and led Xenon back to the inquisitor.

The inquisitor looked up as he entered, "What have you learned, Master Xenon?"

Xenon paused, "With all due respect madam, I would much prefer, that my Patron Lord Reave be present before I divulge all I have learned."

The inquisitor looked at him coldly then motioned for the knight to fetch Lord Reave. She sat back in her chair, "Hopefully you were able to gather something useful, the other two members of the house went mad."

Xenon nodded, "Well to be blunt madam, this Arthen Dorbal has lost his mind as well, but he has illuminated a few things for me."

She nodded and waited patiently for Lord Reave to arrive. After a few moments of silence he entered, confused and shaken.
He bowed respectfully, "Good afternoon madam."

The inquisitor nodded to him, "Now speak your piece Xenon."

Xenon smiled, "Of course madam, it is as I believed, the scions of House Dorbal are very much afraid of their allies, more so then the law. This League of Shadows as it were seems to have a grip on them, that not even I can fathom."

"Continue," the inquisitor spoke evenly.

"Well from what I could decipher from his babbling it seems that there is a schism at this point within their ranks, he mentioned an Usurper, and I believe it is this Usurper that is responsible for the death of Lord Beltaine. But I do not know the identity of this individual, and it is safe to say that this League does not either," he paused to think for a moment.

Hadrian spoke, "So this usurper was responsible for the death of Lord Beltaine, hmm, anything else?"

Xenon smiled, "It seems that House Dorbal was searching for something called the Eye, I am not sure what it is, but they seem to believe it is a key or some such. Told to them by a person that they call the Unaged One, again his true identity is unknown to me. But they seem to put great stock in his words."

The inquisitor nodded, "This is most disturbing. I can see that my journey here was not wasted."

Xenon folded his arms, "It seems this is much bigger then a wayward drow, I would presume."

The inquisitor smiled, "The drow is an afterthought her presence has no bearing on my being here in this city, this League of Shadows is a much larger and pervasive threat, to be sure. Have you at least come up with a name of the masters of this league?"

Xenon nodded, "They seem to fear and follow something or someone called the Shadis Masin. In any case, Hadrian and myself have determined a possible location of their agents in the area, and I have devised a plan, if you would allow me to make such a presumption?"

The Inquisitor nodded, "Please continue."

"This location is a citadel to the north of here and it would be prudent to dispatch a small group of individuals to investigate it. So as to not alert our enemies en masse, I believe that my allies may be able to do this with the utmost subtlety."

The inquisitor mulled over the idea and finally spoke, "It seems that is prudent, take that drow with you, she is released from her bond, on the condition to assists in this endeavor. You have done a good service on this day Master Xenon Morieth, do not think the Crown does not recognize this. I look forward to see how well your investigation turns out, you are both dismissed."

Xenon and Hadrian left the courthouse, with many questions answered, but with many of those answers leading to only more questions.


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Aust Meliamne

First Post
This is story by Rhea's character about her character, I think it is pretty good and shows off her personality well.
“Rhea tell us a story!” the youngsters yelled as they beset the hooded priestess from all sides, knocking her hood off to reveal her features. A long flowing mane of hair the color of silver and eyes of lavender contrasted her dark skin. Her features were striking as benefits on of the elven races, even on of the Drow, the dark elves of legend.

Not so long ago, the children would have hidden at her passage, but her many deed in the defense of the city of Quall had shown that her heart was very much that of a being of light. The Priestess chuckled as she sat down by a grand oak in the middle of the square and put one child on her lap.

“Tis a story ye be wanting?” she asked with a chuckle as teased the little one’s hair with a wild smile on her face.

The chorus of replies left very little doubt in their desires. Rhea chuckled again as she leaned back and thought for a moment on what story to tell the children.

“Ah, I got just the story.” She reached into her cloak and pulled a dagger from her belt, still wrapped in the peace ties that all blades of Cormyr were supposed to be set with. “See this?”

The little ones gazed at it with interest, and one finally spoke up. “It looks like a dagger to me.”

“Aye tis a dagger at that, wee one. An it be a lesson as well. This was once the dagger of a warrior of my kind, a drow called Sevak. He was quick, fast and skillful in the use of blade and dagger, moving like lightning in battle, but his heart was dark and fell, given to pain and dark deeds. For he was a follower of Vhaeaun, god of shadows and dark deeds.”

“The first time we met, I was with many of my friends, looking into the rumors of goblins below the city. I slipped into the shadows as he approached, unseen by him and the goblins that were with him. He had cast magics to make my companions blaze with magic, like so.” With a gesture she lined the group of children with lavender flame. “Naught but a little trick of magic, but it was enough to make them stand out.” She assured them as they gasped, first in shock and then quickly glee. More than a few of them were disappointed when the fires faded. “Now ye did ask for a story, not magics.”

“So, I leapt from the shadows with Dancer here.” She patted the blade under her arm. “He was quite surprised to find one of his kin willing to stand against him. More so as my first stroke cut his cloak While the others fought the goblins and their giant frogs, I danced with him, it was a very surprising fight.”

“Did you kill him Rhea?” the child in her lap pipped up, “Sliced ‘em down da middle didn’t ye?”

“No, little one.” Smiles gently, “I was quick and strong to be sure, but he was quicker and faster, his sword and dagger weaving a deadly dance of steel that I couldn’t match with dancer, and finally he stabbed me with his long blade and I fell into darkness, nearly dead. Thev’s quick ministrations, keep me alive for the return to the surface and other healers could be sent for.” She lifted her shirt to show the scar. “Some injuries never quite fade, even with the strongest magics of the gods. For a variety of reasons.”

The children ooh’ed and ahh’ed as she let them touch the long scar above her waist. “I awoke many hours later to the concerned looks of my friends and allies, to learn that my foeman was long gone. I was needless to say, quite upset at this turn of events.”

“Days later, during the celebration here in this very square, I would encounter him again. This time he got the drop on me, attacking me while shrouded in magic, invisible to the eye. Quickly, the fight turned against me, and he nearly dropped me again, this time with a savage cut from this very dagger, and it was only with a little luck that a bluff worked.”

“How did you bluff him?”

“See this gesture?” she motioned with her hands, “The drow speak with their hands as often as they do their mouths.” She repeated the motions more slowly. “This means, Archers stand ready to cast off cover and move in. He saw motions and for a moment, feared that there were more than just the few of us that their seemed to be.” She grinned wickedly. “And with that seed of doubt planted, we were able to move back out of the alley and into the hustle of the carnival.”

“So how did ye get the dagger Rhea?”

“Now don’t go spoiling the story, it will be told at it’s own pace.” She said as she ruffled the child’s hair. “Many weeks later, clues led us high into the mountains to a lost keep, and there we found Sevak and his allies, camped looking for a way in the ruins.”

“With the aid of some elf folk, we swept away half of the warriors in a hail of snow and arrows, while the other half was attacked by magic and blade up close. As we charged them, I spotted him off to one side and made to attack him, calling to my goddess for the strength to strike sure and hard.”

“This time, things went differently, Talindra was on one side of him, meeting his two blades with her own, while Dancer came from the other side. Even together, Savak was a hard foe to fight, cutting us both with dagger and sword, meeting our blows with his own.
But together we were able to wear him down, Talindra’s sword cutting him deeply and leaving him open for Dancer’s savage cut. That night, our battle was hard and furious, but like my fight with the drow, we as a company won. When the battle was done, all but one of the enemy were dead and we were quite victorious with no losses to our company.”

“So, what lesson does this dagger teach you?” another said.

“Aye, little one, it should be quite obvious. Alone, I always failed in my battle with Sevak, my pride left me open for his better skill, and only with the aid of my friends did I truly have a chance in my fight to win against him. Without Talindra’s help I would have most likely fallen against his blade once again. So, I keep this dagger with me to remind me that sometimes teamwork is needed to be victorious against evil.” Rhea took the dagger from the children and rummaged in her pout. “And it is useful for so many things, like.. oh.. slicing up this nice treat here.” She said as she pulled out a trio of candied apples for her audience.

Aust Meliamne

First Post
Well another post another session, and uhh well I am just soooo behind it will take forever to catch up. Ahh well have fun with this story. Next session things begin to heat up and finally Badger Tom revealed, no really he is. And of Course Buttkicking for Goodness...
Quell in the early Morning… winter snow is on the ground…

Nearly a ten-day has passed since the encounters in the sewers and the city of Quell is now swept up in the Festival of Apples held by the hafling noble house, Oakfoot. Our intrepid heroes are at the moment resting at the home of Agis Beltaine, enjoying themselves.

Currently in the household at the moment are Thev Blackmoon, Rhea Twiceborn, Aust Meliamne, and Talindra Braegen enjoying a rare moment of rest and relaxation. Aust and Talindra are engaging in a friendly spar on the back patio while both Thev and Rhea watch them.

Thev turns to Rhea, “Humph, Aust best be careful, never underestimate a woman, that is one thing I have learned.”

Rhea laughed, “And why do you say that?”

At that moment Aust stepped forward and made a quick slash at Talindra. She evaded the slash and came replied with a low thrust from her shortsword, followed by a high slash with her longsword. Aust parried the longsword and barely evaded the shortsword. Aust in turn answered with a quick slash that took Talindra by surprise.

“It looks like Aust has the advantage,” Rhea spoke smoothly, sharpening Dancer, her bastard sword.

“This fight is far from over, Rhea, “Thev replied folding his arms. His eyes flash only a slight red, with mild amusement.

Talindra whirled from the blow spinning her longsword in a wide circle, landing a smashing blow against Aust. Aust gritted his teeth and dipped to his left and moved quickly to disarm Talindra, he succeeded in sending her shortsword skidding away. Talindra gripped her blade with both hands and leapt into a vicious attack slamming the pommel of her sword into Aust’s skull, the blow too much for him to bear. The friendly match ended with Talindra breathing hard, yet victorious.

As the battle drew to a close, there was the soft sound of clapping, feminine and soft. The heroes turned to see a lovely young human woman with long black hair. Her face was pale, with luscious red lips and emerald like green eyes, she smiled ever so softly.

“That was quite entertaining, very entertaining, I have not seen such a display of martial ability since I was last in Suzail,” she brushes her hair back from her face, effortlessly.

Talindra looked confused, “Umm thank you madam,” she smiled weakly.

Aust stood up rubbing his head, “That almost hurt Talindra,” not really in the moment.

Thev turned to the stranger, “Oh good morning madam,” he too was confused.

“You must be the group of heroes my brother, Agis, has been telling me about. I am glad to make your acquaintance; I am Velana Vanten Beltaine. Please just call me Velana, it is so rare that I get to meet and deal with the common folk. This is a pleasure, to be sure,” Velana flashed a practiced smile.

Thev nodded, “I am pleased to meet you Lady Beltaine, I am Thev Blackmoon, fourth scion of the Knights of the Black Horn.”

Each of the heroes in turn replied with their own greetings and titles. The group convened inside the manor proper and chatted with Velana on a variety of subjects. Velana was excited to be in Quell, because tonight was the first night of the Festival of Apples, a weeklong celebration of drinking, dancing and social competition. The heroes were a bit confused about the whole thing but decided that they should check out the festival and enjoy themselves. Thev and Aust decided to find a tailor for clothing, while Talindra and Rhea would stay behind with Velana and get cleaned up for the festival.

The morning was chilly with frost, but the sky over head was for the most part clear. The streets were lined with people making preparations for the coming night. Banners and decorations hung from every building, with stands and stages being erected wherever there was room. Thev and Aust picked their way through the streets only to run into the young lad, Kilv. Kilv was very curious at what the two of them were doing out so early. When he heard they were going to find a tailor he decided to tag along, since Badger Tom told them that he needed some pants. Thev and Aust gave the boy a wary look but decided to follow him anyway.

The trio found a gnomish tailor who was willing to sell them outfits for the night. He proceeded to fit Thev in the back while Kilv and Aust waited in the front. Kilv looked over some pants and Aust gave the boy a curious look, he was a strange boy.

Kilv turned holding some trousers in his hands, “These look just about right?”

Aust smirked, the pants were a few sizes too big, “Yes just your size, Kilv.”

“I wouldn’t need any new pants, but these,” he tugged on his tattered pants, “were ruined after I saw the shadow men.”

“The who?” Aust replied, slightly unnerved.

“The shadow men, you don’t see them?”

“Umm no I do not see them, Kilv, where do you see them?”

“I see them all the time at night, but last time I saw them out in the orchards, they were all together, and talking. It was hairy-scary.”

“The orchards?”

“Yeah, they were all arguing and then I saw one a darky elf, like Rhea he get all angry and then hit someone and then I ran I was scared. Badger Tom said it was really bad place.”

Aust nodded, not wanting to press the young lad anymore. He purchased the pants for Kilv and an outfit for himself. Then as they were leaving he discussed with Thev, everything Kilv had told them. It was obvious, that the dark elf was most likely the same one they had encountered in the sewers. Somehow it was all connected.

Back at the manor Talindra and Rhea rested and took well-deserved baths. Velana spared no expense, she dressed them in the finest gowns she could provide and had them done up like queens. Both were impressed with the amount of attention and style the lady lavished upon them. All the while Velana spoke about how she felt happy to do something for the common folk.

The night finally came for our intrepid heroes; the festival was in full swing when they had all arrived. Thev was accompanying Lady Beltaine, sadly to say he was not enjoying himself at all. Talindra and Aust paired off to see the sights and dance the night away. But not before Aust had an encounter with a woman he would have rather avoided, Melinda. Melinda was all smiles and was quite happy to see Aust in good spirits, the two had shared a one night tryst, of course Melinda also tried to rob him blind but that is besides the point. While Rhea kept a low profile and took what sights she could, without raising too much of a ruckus. The night flitted away with song and dance; minstrels from across Cormyr had congregated to entertain with song and story, for the drunken revelers.

As the night passed, Thev slipped away from Velana to check and see how Rhea was doing. At that same moment, Talindra and Aust were dancing when they noticed Melinda being dragged through the crowd by Turlus, towards an alleyway. Aust called the group together and they followed after the two, the group stopped when they heard voices, from deep within the alleyway.

Melinda spoke up, “Well now that you have my attention, what do you want to do, sir?”

Turlus replied gruffly, “Enough of your tongue your feminine charms mean little to me, I only want what is mine.”

Melinda replied, “What…” she was caught off suddenly, choking.

“Don’t play coy, wench, I know you have the Eye now hand it over and you may just live to see another sunrise.”

Melinda choked, “I don’t know…”

“Strange then I guess I have no use for you,” he replied with a threatening undertone.

Talindra and Rhea began to sneak up to get a closer look when; Rhea made a misstep and snapped a frozen twig lying on the ground. The conversation became quiet very quickly; both Rhea and Talindra rushed forward to see if Melinda was all right. Thankfully she was, but there was no sign of Turlus anywhere.

Melinda looked hysterical, “He was going to kill me, I just know it.”

Rhea placed a calming hand on her shoulder, “Calm yourself, where did he go?”

“He just disappeared.”

Talindra at that moment noticed a pair of footsteps in the snow, which shifted slightly, even though the space was empty. She became nervous as the footsteps began to move towards them. She turned to Rhea, “I see footsteps in the snow and they are moving towards us!”

Rhea turned but it was too late she was slashed violently by a rapier as the assailant came into view, it was the drow they had faced in the sewers earlier in the week. After the commotion the rest of the group arrived and took stock of the scene, ready to fight even though they were unarmed and at a distinct advantage.

Before the drow could continue the melee, Turlus stepped into view cloaked by magic. “Sevak desist your attack, this instant,” the tone was demanding and stern. The drow did as instructed.

Turlus looked over the heroes with a calculating eye, “Well we seem to be at a quandary here, and I do hate to cause bloodshed on holidays. It is bad for the soul.”

Aust clenched his fists, “You had best leave, Turlus.”

Turlus smiled, “Or you will what, I believe I have the advantage in this situation. And I do intend to exploit, or at least I would if I did not have more pressing matters. You are lucky this eve, or I would kill you all where you stand. Such is the vagaries of life, enjoy it while you have what little you possess left.”

Talindra shook her head, “I don’t know what you are talking about, but you can’t just bully us and think we will accept it.”

Turlus smiled, “Whatever, come let us go Sevak.” With that the two dastardly villains turned and left the heroes to their own devices. Sevak snarled a drow curse to Rhea, and smiled as he left.

The group turned to Melinda or Mel, as she prefers to be called, and asked her just what was going on. She replied that she didn’t know at first but when pressed she revealed that she did have the object that Turlus was looking for, the Eye. The Eye was a fist sized ruby with sparkling swirling colors in the center and it radiated mystic power, the group took the Eye from Mel, she protested but when threatened with being turned over to the guards she went silent.

It turns out that Mel had stolen the Eye quite by accident from Turlus’ brother. She had no idea what it was but thought it would be worth a bundle if she could find the right buyer, of course she never expected to be hounded by forces far outside her scope of power, but that is besides the point. Before the group could make stock of the situation, Talindra’s patron Lucas arrived. He had been searching for Mel earlier and was glad to see that the Eye was in their hands, at their behest he took possession of the Eye and left the scene. The normal night of partying ended with strangeness for our heroes, but as usual they still had no clue what was really going on. Perhaps next time.

Aust Meliamne

First Post
Yay!!! An update for goodness, now we are getting to the good stuff. Strangeness will abound from hear on out, oh I just love this game. And next session will definitely have some buttkicking for goodness.
Quell, the next morning after the first night of the Festival of Apples:

The time of revelations was at hand, for our intrepid group of heroes. The list of enemies against them steadily grew, and their knowledge was painfully small, and non-existent in some places. Agis had decided to call a meeting to decipher all the details, which they had available, and piece together, the next plan of action. This would definitely be interesting.

„h The Eye was a key, that much they knew and their enemies obviously were seeking it for some foul purpose, but to what end they did not know. But it was decided that they should retrieve the Eye, from Lucas, and discern its use.

„h Behind this veil of secrecy and villains was the Shadis Masin, an unknown dark entity hinted at in stories and tales across Faerun. The heroes are not quite sure who or what this Shadis Masin is, but it is a good bet they stand first and foremost among their shadowy enemies.

„h Their enemies are currently involved in some type of internal schism, due to some unknown player known only as the Usurper, again their knowledge is limited here but the role he plays in this scheme may prove to be both a curse and a blessing. This inner schism is also tying up precious resources, which has allowed the heroes to survive thus far.

„h The heroes have also found the site of an important location called the Citadel of Honin Tau, in the mountains about a tendays travel into the rugged mountains. The citadel is supposedly the location of a fallen hero, called Lathos. His tie into this is that the forces of the Shadis Masin have used his symbol on their shields and finery. The symbol being a crescent moon with a red teardrop, it is suspected they are using his story, that of a valiant hero fighting a tyrannous government, to fuel their ambitions and propaganda. This will be their next target, in their investigation.

„h The citadel is also tied to an ancient race of beings that predate the elves, their names are lost to history, but it stands as an item of discussion. The characters are not quite sure what to expect, but are hopefully prepared for anything.

At the end of the meeting, the characters were resolved to venture to the north and find this citadel. They would leave on the morrow, but first they needed supplies and they needed to find Lucas to retrieve the Eye just in case it was needed. The party decided to do some shopping picking up various supplies that would be needed for the journey.

Xenon was out and about looking for magic supplies to scribe some scrolls when he ran into a strange woman, a dark swarthy skinned half-elf with a familiar accent. Xenon was intrigued by her demeanor and struck up a conversation with her. It seems that she too was from Chessentia and was a traveler, an outcast for her ancestry. She was pleased to meet another Chessentan, but was even more surprised when Xenon invited her to stay at the Reave Manse as a guest. Though Xenon had his own scheme up his sleeve, always the paranoid and pragmatic individual, he suspected she might be an assassin sent from Luthcheq, he was obviously wary.

Rhea was having a hard time of it though being drow and all, a Moon Elf merchant outright refused to sell her any healing supplies. Though with Talindra¡¦s help she was able to gather the needed supplies. Of course Talindra threw in the fact that the goods were for the drow, which incensed the moon elf to no end. During this time Talindra also used her ring given to her by Owen to try and contact Lucas, in hopes of finding him and retrieving the Eye.

¡§Lucas are you there?¡¨ Talindra asked nervously via mindspeak.

¡§Yes, Talindra, I knew it would be a matter of time before you came looking for me. That meeting was highly informative, I must say,¡¨ Lucas paused, ¡§I am in the park awaiting you.¡¨

¡§You heard all of that?¡¨

¡§I created these rings for more then just mindspeak, they are quite versatile.¡¨

¡§You amaze me Lucas, I will meet as soon as I am able,¡¨ she replied nervously, glancing at the plain silver ring.

Talindra turned to the group announcing she knew where Lucas was, and led them through the city to the park in question. The snow painted the park with downy white powder. The trees were bear and the small pond and creek was iced over. Near the pond stood Lucas, wearing a light blue cloak, looking spry for an older man. His chiseled thin features creased in his familiar enigmatic smile. Talindra stopped looking relieved, and introduced the party to Lucas.

Lucas smiled, ¡§It seems that time has come full circle,¡¨ he paused, ¡§but despite the changes the dangers are still the same.¡¨

Talindra looked puzzled, ¡§What do you mean?¡¨

¡§You have come for the Eye, it was only a matter of time, before it would be needed,¡¨ he leaned lightly against his staff.

Xenon smiled, ¡§It seems you are one step ahead of us old man, but yes we are here for the Eye, please hand it over.¡¨

Lucas nearly laughed, ¡§Do you know the secret of the Eye? You don¡¦t do you, it is magnificent in its simplicity, and I have searched for this for countless years. Time is growing short, we are involved in a race, we cannot lose.¡¨

Kyoko was about to speak but kept silent, various thoughts rushing through her mind. Thev was silent simply watching the conversation with interest, while Aust waited to see just what all this fuss was about. Talindra spoke up; ¡§I am not quite sure what you are saying Lucas, but do you think it is wise to speak so openly in such a place?¡¨

Lucas nodded, ¡§I agree give me a moment,¡¨ with that he concentrated holding out his free hand. The hand shimmered with scintillating colors then an outward pulse of energy exploded harmlessly enshrouding the group in a bubble. The outside world looked murky and distorted. Lucas smiled, ¡§There we may continue with absolute secrecy.¡¨

Xenon was taken back by the display of mastery in the Art, he smiled inwardly, Lucas was not a man to trifle with, not by any means. Xenon tried to decipher the magic but found that the workings of it were far too complex to fathom in such a brief time.

Lucas continued, ¡§The Eye is a key, and like any key it must have a door to be used correctly. It is a key that will open a path between worlds, if I am correct. This is what the Shadis Masin seek so fervently, and what we shall deny them.¡¨

Xenon nodded, ¡§What world will this Eye lead to?¡¨

¡§That I do not know, I know only the purpose, the how and why are beyond my knowledge young mage,¡¨ he replied.

Kyoko spoke up, ¡§And I suppose you think this doorway is at the Citadel of Honin Tau?¡¨

Lucas nodded, ¡§It is a distinct possibility, we can infer that somehow this Lathos legend has become mixed into this dark business.¡¨

Kyoko nodded, ¡§Then this is all possibly connected.¡¨

Xenon spoke up, ¡§Well where is this Eye now?¡¨

Lucas pulled it from his robes, ¡§Here¡K waiting for you take on the destiny. But I warn you once you take it, you will be drawn along its path, and you will become players in something far larger then you can possibly imagine.¡¨

Xenon looked at the Eye for a moment then grasped it in his hands, ¡§I see.¡¨
Lucas simply smirked, ¡§Then take it Xenon, and guard it well,¡¨ he sighed as if a weight had been taken off his shoulders, ¡§my time here is growing short. Talindra before I go, I wish to give you something, a gift I mean to give to your father before he passed.¡¨

Talindra stepped forward looking puzzled, ¡§A gift, but, I couldn¡¦t accept such a thing, you have done so much for me already Lucas.¡¨

Lucas reached into his cloak and withdrew a longsword hewn of a clack metal with an ebony hilt, the black blade twinkled with starry light, ¡§This was to be for your father, but with his untimely demise I have held it until I felt it was fitting to pass the blade on to you Talindra.¡¨

Talindra blinked looking at the sword, ¡§It is beautiful.¡¨ The rest of the party looked on at the wonderful blade, most with awe some with a small amount of jealousy.

¡§Here take it, it is your birthright.¡¨

Talindra accepted the blade, ¡§I will call it Midnight¡K¡¨ admiring the sheer beauty of the magical blade.

¡§I hope it will serve you well Talindra, to the rest, be well on your journey, forces are allying against you as we speak. The path you now take will be wrought with danger, but stay true to the course and you will prevail,¡¨ with that he waved his hand and the bubble vanished, and he too faded from sight.

The group was left to their devices and decided to meet in the morning to set out on their journey. The group parted ways, Xenon to the Reave Manse and the rest of the party to the Beltaine Manse. Xenon spent the night in careful preparation, working on spells and scribing scrolls. Aust and Talindra engaged in another duel while Thev watched, and Aust redeemed himself this time. Rhea was in prayer seeking the right path, and to find solace in her goddess.

As Rhea prayed and tried to clear her mind she heard a faint cry in her mind, ¡§Can you hear me?¡¨

Rhea looked around shaken from her revelry, ¡§What, where are you?¡¨

¡§I do not know,¡¨ the voice called, feminine and soft, ¡§but my time is growing short, you must help us. You must retrieve the Titan; it is our only hope. You are the one, the one chosen by Serael, and my time¡K¡¨ the voice faded off.

Rhea looked around confused; the voice had come and gone so quickly. She couldn¡¦t make heads or tails of what it was talking about, or what it meant by the cryptic words. She shook off the feeling and returned to her prayer, troubled.

Kyoko was upstairs cooling off; her and Xenon had been bumping heads since they met each other. The two were fast on the way to being rivals, and worse. She had just taken a seat when she sensed another presence in the room.

¡§Well how yah doing toots?¡¨ a sly deep voice rang out.

Kyoko looked around searching for the source of the voice, ¡§Who is that, who is there?¡¨

¡§Hey down here babe,¡¨ the voice called.

Kyoko looked down and to her astonished eyes was staring at a badger, ¡§What the?!?¡¨

¡§Hey what you never seen a talking badger before?¡¨

Kyoko nearly fell over in shock, ¡§What in the seven hells¡¨ she paused, ¡§Badger Tom!¡¨

¡§In the flesh, so how you doing?¡¨ his deep voice oozing cheap sexuality.

¡§What in the hell are you doing, and how come you can talk?¡¨ Kyoko kept her hand tight on rapier¡¦s hilt.

¡§Well from what I hear you are headed to the Citadel of Honin Tau, and I think I should accompany you,¡¨ he said making himself comfortable on the bed.

¡§Okay, first off you are a talking badger and now you think you can help us?¡¨

¡§Well yes, but I have several skills.¡¨

¡§You are a demon, you must be.¡¨

¡§No I am not a demon, you mortals can be so droll, demon this and demon that, ¡§ he shifted, ¡§I can help you, besides I want to see for myself this citadel, and where the Eye leads.¡¨

¡§How do you know about the Eye?¡¨ she said warily.

¡§I know many things, Kyoko Monroe,¡¨ he laughed, ¡§but enough talk lets just get physical babe.¡¨

¡§With a badger, that is just too weird for me.¡¨

¡§What you think I am too much for you?¡¨ He rolled over, ¡§I know just about any way to please a woman and then some. 50,000 years of experience can teach you a thing or two.¡¨

Kyoko shook her head, things were already weird, but now they just took an even stranger turn. Tom s he liked to be called was an immortal, and he seemed to know things that a badger rightfully shouldn¡¦t. Course he also displayed an ability to shapeshift, why he chose the form of a badger she could not fathom. He was determined though to go with them, and said he could be useful, how useful remained to be seen, and which Kyoko doubted but decided to ask the others before she refused the little guy. Surprisingly the others were of course shocked, but decided to let the badger join along.

The group rested the night away, and set out in the morning on their journey. The group proceeded up into the hills, then into the mountains north of Quell into the freezing cold. Kyoko found a note from Agis Beltaine, stating that he hoped she came back safe and sound. She pocketed the letter with a smile, and continued to entertain the group with stories as they passed into evergreen forests of white and green. The group was moving at a brisk pace when Talindra spotted smoke, not from a campfire but from something far larger looming over the tree line. The group decided to check it out, sending Talindra and Kyoko to investigate.

Talindra and Kyoko crept closer to get a better view, Talindra a bit more noise then Kyoko cared to hear as they moved forward silently. As they broke through the brush and snow, a burning cabin was brought into view, two dead bodies lay in the snow their blood pooling. Talindra shushed the shocked Kyoko, as a large brutish humanoid came into view hefting a greatsword in one hand and a strange looking longsword in the other. Talindra drew her bow slowly, only to hear a feral growl to her right. She turned just in time to see a charging bear come roaring down through the brush line.

Kyoko screamed loudly, as Talindra braced for attack. The rest of the group charged to join the fray. But the tale of that battle will be for another day.

Aust Meliamne

First Post
Well here we go another session posted, I feel like I accomplished something here. Maybe not but I feel good anyways. Well enjoy.

North of Quell in the Mountains… in search of the Citadel of Honin Tau:

Talindra braced for the attack drawing her bow and preparing an arrow, while Kyoko screamed for her dear life. Talindra let an arrow fly, stinging the brown bear as it roared charging forward. Kyoko drew her rapier and prepared to do battle as the large humanoid stalked forward both blades ready to draw blood.

The brown bear was within striking range as Talindra dropped her bow and drew her shortsword and Midnight, her magical longsword. Kyoko kept her attention on the bear, the ogre just in sight out of the corner of her eye. Talindra struck first her blades singing as she missed with her shortsword, but hit home with Midnight. The bear roared as it tried to paw Talindra, she evaded the blow, though Kyoko was not so lucky. The bear struck her with an offhand blow, ripping into her shoulder.

In the meanwhile the rest of the group was preparing to move forward when Rhea spotted another brown bear charging towards her, trying to flank her on the right side. She turned drawing Dancer, her masterwork bastard-sword and began preparing True Strike spell. Thev charged on ahead to aid Kyoko and Talindra, while Aust stayed back with Rhea to face the second bear.

Aust was the quickest and struck a vicious blow with his blade ripping into the bear with a gusto, blood spraying across the snow, steaming. Rhea was busy chanting her spell, and the brown bear turned on Aust but was unable to connect with any of natural weaponry. Aust followed up with another smashing blow and Rhea struck home easily her hand guided by divine power. The bear ripped into Rhea with a fury and mauled the poor drow into unconsciousness, her blood warming the cold snow.

Xenon prepared a spell and cast a Flaming Sphere at the ogre as it moved into melee with Kyoko, luckily Thev had arrived just in time. The ogre was too slow to avoid the flaming sphere and roared with pain. Talindra focused her assault on the brown bear ripping into it with both blades amazingly, the roars becoming yelps of pain. Kyoko confused at whom to attack struck at the bear clumsily, her attack missing the mark. Thev swung his greatsword at the ogre and cut a swath of blood across the brute’s chest. The ogre growled nonsensical curses at the heroes.

Talindra continued her assault against the brown bear, amidst pain from an errant paw slash she was able to bring the bear down and turn her attentions to the ogre. Kyoko focused her rapier against the ogre keeping it off guard, while it tried to cleave Thev in half. Thev evaded the blow and prepared his own strike. Xenon used his arcane skills to launch a flurry of Magic Missiles at the brute, combining the effect with the still present flaming sphere. The combined effect as able to drop the ogre just as Aust finished off the bear he was facing. The group slowly recovered from the vicious melee and started licking their wounds. Thev quickly moved to Rhea’s side and tried to stabilize her by laying his hands upon her. Xenon and Kyoko checked the ogre over and searched the scene for any clues about the attack.

Tom, the talking badger, came out from his hiding spot and proceeded over to Rhea. He gently nudged Thev aside and laid his head on Rhea’s chest. He looked surprised and then proceeded to lay his paws on her heart, a light glow covered her and she opened her eyes, surprised. Her vicious wounds were gone and she was whole once more.

Tom sat up, “Well, well, I was surprised to find that you carry two souls inside you Rhea, very interesting.”

Rhea sat up, “Two souls,” she shook her head, “I don’t understand what you are talking about.”

Tom shrugged, “When I felt your spirit, I felt two intertwined spirits, where there should only be one.”

Tom turned and waddled off to lay down and rest, he was done with the conversation it seemed. Rhea stood slowly, with Thev’s help. The rest of the party searched the scene and found a few items of note. The ogre carried a satchel of gold and silver coins; he also carried a masterwork greatsword and a well-crafted longsword with a black hilt and a sharp edge. Kyoko was intrigued by the blade and began to look it over quizzically.

She muttered aloud, “I wonder if this blade is magical?”

“Well of course I am, miss, and I thank you for freeing me from the hands of that beast,” the blade replied with a sharp male voice.

Kyoko nearly dropped the longsword; “You can talk?”

“Of course I can, and I thank you for your assistance, how may I be of service?” the blade replied.

Kyoko turned to Aust, “Yes I think it is magical, and I think you can benefit more then I can, Aust,” she handed the blade off to Aust.

Aust held the blade with wonderment, “A talking sword, this is amazing. Do you have a name?”

“I am Blak-Fang, and what is your name lord?”

“I am Aust Melliamne, pleased to meet you Blak-Fang,” Aust felt quite strange to be speaking with an inanimate object.

Kyoko perked up at the name, “Did you say Blak-Fang,” she paused, thinking upon her extensive bardic knowledge, “I have heard that name before. A knight named Jander Hansil once used a blade called Blak-Fang against a dragon, but the name escapes me. It is said Jander was never heard from again though.”

“Vorgrimm, a shadow dragon dwelling in deepest Aunarauch. I was created to best him, but Jander failed. I will not fail a second time. When do we leave for the Dragon, Aust?” Blak-Fang replied with earnest.

Aust blinked, “Well I am currently involved in a quest as it is, Blak-Fang to find a citadel occupied by forces of shadow.”

“I see, well that sounds like an honorable quest, I will aid you as best as I can Lord Meliamne, but hopefully we may return to destroy Vorgrimm once and for all.”

Aust nodded to the blade and carefully placed it in his sheath. The rest of the group gathered their things and returned to their horses. The bodies were buried, with much protest by Xenon. He wanted to leave them as a symbol to any pursuers, but Thev vehemently declined. The group continued along the trail through the snowy mountains for the next two days without any event and arrived at the small village of Cormonth, finally a warm bed and a home cooked meal could be had if they could find hospice.

The party decided to rest their laurels at the Sleeping Bear inn, a quaint little inn, with a small staff and one large community sleeping room. Thev, Rhea, and Aust decided to take a rest in the back while the others stayed up front in the ‘lobby’ and rested by the fire.

Kyoko decided to go to the back room to rest, the long days of travel were bothersome and had done a number on her hair. She proceeded to prune herself in the back and make herself presentable while Thev sat silently thinking. Rhea looked over at him curiously, “Thev are you well?”

Thev sighed, “I am fine,” although he obviously wasn’t.

Kyoko perked up, “Listen Stone-face, it is obvious you have a problem, might as well spill the beans.”

Rhea nodded in agreement; “I am listening Thev if you want to speak.”

Thev nodded, “I have just been thinking about the events that have been happening, from that first time we met till now. All this time I have searched for those men that ambushed my companions and I. It seems that every closer I get, the farther away my goal seems. I just get the feeling I have not made a difference in making peace with the spirits of my fallen comrades.”
Rhea sighed, “Thev you have been a stalwart companion and a good friend, do not doubt yourself, we will see this through to the end. I am sure your allies and friends are proud of the path you have chosen.”

“It isn’t like you are a failure Stone-face, just need to lighten up some, smile every century or so, “ Kyoko added.

Thev shook his head, “I understand that, but I have been thinking about other things, the attack on the courthouse, the assassin. Things in my mind, some of the pieces do not fit right. It just seemed like maybe the assassin was sent to kill me.”

Rhea shook her head, “Why would they want you dead? I mean it was pretty obvious that I was an easy scapegoat.”

Kyoko blinked, “Well think about it Rhea, you were most likely to be sentenced to death, why kill you. If you were a scapegoat then why even bother, I have to agree with Thev in that happenstance. Thev you said something about an ambush, can you tell me about it?”

Thev nodded, “I do not remember much, it all happened so fast. I was travelling with my sword-brothers on our way to Quell to assist with the goblin raids and put an end to their depredations, and hopefully get the turquoise trade flowing once more. We were about a day’s ride north of Franick, where I met Rhea, when the ambush hit us. It was fast, the goblins moved quickly, backed by magic. Magical webbing entangled my brethren arrows flew quickly, it was madness.”

Rhea nodded, “Yes the scene was quite grisly when I went to inspect it several hours later.”

Kyoko nodded, “Do you remember anything else?”

“There was so much going on, I took an arrow in the chest and tried to aid Sir Lanholm, my mentor but he bade me to get to safety and to seek help. It is our code not to abandon our brothers, unless ordered, but it was a tough command to comply with,” he pauses thinking, “there were men as well, I fled at that point. They were dark men, well armed but I remember something, a crescent moon, a blood tear…” he growled trying to draw out the repressed memories.

Kyoko was startled, “The symbol of Lathos, the Crescent moon with the Blood teardrop. Rhea I think the assassin was after Thev, but why, why would they kill your comrades and try to finish you off as well?”

Rhea could only shake her head and comfort her distraught friend; the night would be long indeed.

Meanwhile out in the lobby the rest of the heroes rested enjoying quiet conversation with the innkeeper and amongst themselves. The night was passing along slowly when a stranger entered the inn, covered in snow and grime from travel. From his bearing he appeared to be a knight, a warrior. He was an older man, yet his hair had not yet grayed. He wore a black cloak over black chainmail, with a white shirt over the chest. The white shirt bore the symbol of the Black Horn, the same knightly order as that of Thev.

Talindra blinked curiously at the knight as his careful gaze swept the room. She turned to Aust and whispered in his ear, “Isn’t that the same symbol that Thev has, for the Knights f the Black Horn.”

Aust nodded in agreement not sure what to make of this stranger; he glanced warily at Xenon who was busying himself with some research by the fire. Aust glanced back at the knight and decided to excuse himself to go speak with Thev.

The knight gave a curt nod to Talindra, “Tis a bad evening to be out and about, the snow has come early this year, milady.”

Talindra replied, “I can agree,” slightly nervous, “but that is a traveler’s lot to brave the elements.”
The man nodded, “Well met milady, I am Josiah second scion of the Knights of the Black Horn. I apologize for my appearance, but I have been traveling many long days and nights in search of my wayward brethren.”

Talindra nodded, “Pleased to meet you sir, I am Talindra,” she waved to Xenon, “and that is my companion Xenon.”

Xenon perked up at the mention of his name, but only sighed settling back into his research.

“I am pleased to meet both of you, I am hoping you have crossed paths with any my brethren, the Knights of the Black Horn? We had sent an envoy to Quell quite some time ago and they have yet to return or send word of the whereabouts,” he took a seat with a welcome sigh of relief.

Talindra looked curious, “Well one of our companions is a Knight of the Black Horn, by the name of Thev, maybe he can assist you?”

Josiah sat up with surprise, “Thev, Thev Blackmoon, is he here?”

Talindra nodded, “Yes he is, just a moment and we should be able to get him for you,” she took a seat as well slightly relieved.

Aust returned with Thev, followed by both Kyoko and Rhea. Thev was shocked to see Josiah and immediately fell to one knee; “Lord, Sir Thev Blackmoon fourth scion of the Black Horn, I am at your service milord.”

Josiah stood languidly, “I am pleased to have found you Thev, what is the word from your mentor Sir Lanholm?”

Thev looked up slowly, “Sir Lanholm is dead milord, killed in an ambush, I have taken it upon my self to avenge my sword-brethren. And bring their murderers to justice, as in accordance with the Code milord.”

Josiah nodded, “You have done well, but the Order has pressing need of us, you are to proceed with me at once Sir Blackmoon. The times are dark and I grieve for Sir Lanholm, but we must focus on the moment.”

Thev nodded, “Yes milord, but my task at hand, must I break my oath to my fallen comrades, is it so pressing that I may not investigate the purpose of the ambush, and to bring the murderers to justice.”

“I understand your concern, squire, but you do not need to concern yourself with that triviality, the order will see to making good on your oath, for Sir Lanholm. Were there any other survivors of the ambush, Thev?”

Thev shook his head, “No milord, I am the only one, regretfully.”

Josiah nodded, “I see, well I grieve for them as well. Sir Lanholm was a good friend and a stalwart supporter of the Code, he will be missed along with the others.”

Kyoko piped up, “Yes Sir Thanwick and Sir Galtan will both be missed, I suspect, sir knight, I trust they will be given the proper respect for their passing,” a distrustful look in her eye. The names startled Thev; he was confused and was about to speak when Josiah cut him off.

Josiah replied, “Yes of course, and they too will be given the proper respect, they will not have died in vain I suppose. Thev gather your things we must be going, now,” his tone demanding.

Thev looked up and shook his head slowly, “Sir with all due respect I must demand that I stay and by right of the Code avenge the spirits of my allies, of which Sir Thanwick and Sir Galtan were not among.” He stood, “And now I must wonder just what you intend for me, milord.”

Kyoko smiled inwardly, her woman’s intuition had seen a chink in the honest knight’s armor. She was not sure why but she did not trust him, not one bit. She watched as Thev took a step away from Josiah, as everyone else began to focus on the conversation even more intently.

Josiah grimaced, seeing his mistake; he gave Kyoko a dirty look before composing himself, “I see that you are all quite bothersome enemies. It seems there is no stopping you, and why? For good, for a better tomorrow, you have no idea how deluded you are.”

Thev growled, “Traitor! You have spoken nothing but venomous lies! Why, how have you become so corrupt?”

Rhea placed a restraining hand on Thev, “You best speak quickly,” towards Josiah.

Josiah smirked and took a seat, “What does it matter, what you think, you have been laboring a false pretense that you are capable of stopping us. It is laughable, but I commend you, each and every one of you. But you all show promise.”

Thev growled, “You traitor to the Black Horn! Death is the crime for treachery to the Code, you have befouled the name of the Black Horn, your very presence sickens me.”

“Traitor, hardly squire. The Black Horn serves a greater good, now. Though were some that were abit too defiant to the internal changes, and of course they were educated or removed. Sir Lanholm was among those too resistant to change and I sense you are as well, like him. It is a pity, you could have served well, and the Shadis Masin will bring a New World of which we cannot fathom. An age of Beautiful Sorrow, the Age of Twilight. He was too resistant to the Golden Path and was dealt with, a pity that you survived, because you have become a vicious liability. I do not pity your fate,” Josiah sat content in his words.

Thev blinked in shock, he had no words with which to retort. He simply turned and went to the common room, before his rage overcame him.

Rhea gripped Dancer in her hands, “Now ye listen here coward, I am not quite sure what to believe but ye have stepped into something that ye will not walk away from.”

Josiah, “I am a man of honor, if you see it as an honest trade I can provide you with information for my life.”

Aust looked to Talindra, as the whole group exchanged glances quizzically. They finally agreed to allow him to live if he provided answers to their question.

Kyoko spoke first, “What is the Shadis Masin?” her hand on her rapier’s hilt.

“The Shadis Masin is the focus, the source of enlightenment, they are one and many, it is the Shadis Masin that leads the Golden Path, “ he paused, “the Shadis Masin is greater then you.”

Kyoko sneered, “Greater, but not much smarter.”

Xenon added, “Tell us about the Eye?”

“Humph, so it is true you have the Eye. The Eye is the key; it will open the first steps of the Golden Path, to paradise. The Golden Path will burn the evil of the world, and there will be only oneness. Surely you have no qualms with such a noble goal.”

Xenon shrugged, “A religious fanatic, I am not quite sure how much of this rubbish to believe.”

“What reason do I have to lie?” Josiah smiled, “the Golden Path will not be stopped.”
Aust glanced at the rest of the party and decided to go check on Thev while they continued this interrogation. Rhea was at her boiling point, her rage just scarcely beneath the surface of her dark skin. Josiah shifted in his chair and sat quietly, waiting.

Rhea growled, “Enough of ye double talk zealot, ye deserve to die for yer treachery to your order and the Code,” her hand clenching around Dancer.

Josiah nodded, “I have given you information, I only wish to keep my life, surely you have enough honor to do that.”

Rhea shook her head no, “I am not quite sure if we should let you go, you would simply return to kill us.”

“Well that is a funny though, but honestly do you think I came here alone, like I said before your reputations have made you all out to be quite dangerous. I would be foolish to come here alone, wouldn’t I?” he said with a gentle smile.

Rhea looked wary and took a peak through the window, her dark-vision revealing nothing of the ordinary. She motioned for Talindra to look out of another window while she looked out the door. As Rhea opened the door and peeked outside, she was hit quickly with an arrow in her shoulder. The wound was slight but she quickly slammed the door shut as more arrows pounded into the door.

In the meanwhile Thev and Aust were discussing Thev’s growing lack of faith. His world had been smashed everything he had believed in, was becoming a lie. The Black Horn Code had become nothing, what was his purpose then? If not for the careful words of Aust, Thev may have done something rash, but he decided to cling onto that little bit of faith left in his heart.

Just as they had finished their chatting, Aust noticed a figure creeping by the window, then a second. He turned to Thev, who in turn moved to the window and grabbed the second thug through the window. Thev turned to Aust, “Get to the others, quickly!”

Aust arrived just as Rhea slammed the door shut. She ripped the arrow from her shoulder and snarled at Josiah, who could not help but expose a smile. Kyoko and Talindra both drew their weapons, while Xenon prepared some spells.

Rhea yelled at Josiah, “You had best git now, lest I choose to finish ye here and now!”

Josiah stood, “I hope you all,” he never finished as Rhea opened the door and shoved him out the door, quickly shutting it. In the briefest moments after the door closed, the sound of arrows hitting flesh and a loud thump outside was heard. Soon arrows began to smash through the windows and slam into the door. Rhea grabbed a table and put it up to the door. The poor little inn was under attack.

Thev arrived and dropped the lifeless thug on the ground; “We need to get out of here fast!”

Kyoko turned to the innkeeper, first asking about a back entrance then an axe when the first question was not answered satisfactorily. She handed the axe off to Thev whom in turn used to cut and smash away out of the back as the arrow flurry continued. Aust ran to the back room to grab what supplies he could. Rhea continued to hold up the table until she heard a thump then smelled smoke and burning wood. She dropped the table, as it lit up in flames, more flaming arrows punched through the windows and into the wooden walls.

Thev cleared an entrance; “We need to go now!”

Kyoko followed him, while both Talindra and Rhea went to grab the rest of their supplies and to check on Aust. The smoke was heavy and fire was growing. They entered the room just in time to see Aust engaged in combat with one of their assailants. Before the others could react Aust took the thug’s head with Blak-Fang and quickly grabbed their remaining items. The trio raced through the burning inn and leapt out the back as it began to collapse in on itself. Rhea turned to the stunned innkeeper and handed him 100 gold pieces then raced off to the stable to get their horses.

In the meanwhile, just as Thev and Kyoko had arrived they saw three thugs fleeing from the stables screaming about a monster. Once they were inside they saw two mangled and crushed bodies with the plucky, lecherous badger Tom sitting by innocently. Before they had a chance to react, Kyoko was struck with two arrows, both minor wounds thanks to her armor, but hurtful none the less. Thev growled as an arrow slipped through his chainmail, piercing his right arm. He pointed a hand at the stable entrance and created a globe of inky darkness, using his inherent tiefling abilities. The rest of the party made it into the stable, and after some quick words, made haste into the night, away from Cormonthor into the surrounding mountains. The night had certainly been eventful.


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Aust Meliamne

First Post
Well another post, and then after this things well get very interesting. Interesting indeed it would seem. I hope you all enjoy this little post, have fun, and of course there will be more Buttkicking for Goodness in the future.

North of Quell, somewhere in the mountains:

Thev pulled his horse to a stop as the heroes gently slowed their gallop to a trot. Everyone was alive and accounted, that at least they were sure of. The party proceeded through the snowy mountains, and evergreen forests and made camp in a clearing. Rhea tended to the wounds of her comrades, while Thev and Aust stood guard. The night was chilly, another chance to sleep in a warm bed missed. The party began to settle in, Tom taking a nice warm spot near the rudimentary fire started by Talindra. Kyoko contemplated kicking Tom into the fire, but thought better of it. He may have been a badger, but he seemed to have a few tricks up his sleeve.

She laid back and played her flute while Thev thought over the words that Josiah spoke earlier. The corruption of the Knights of the Black Horn, the dealings with the Shadis Masin, why was all of this centering on himself and his allies, boiled in his mind. Was it fate, which brought him into contact? His companions, they had stayed true even in the face of adversity, all of this brought on them because of himself, it was a heavy burden to carry. Even for a paladin, Thev sighed, not sure which path to follow. He glanced at Rhea, and smiled inwardly. These past few months she had become his closest friend, not that he ever showed it, he had his oaths to abide by, of course. He couldn’t admit how he felt about the enigmatic drow, maybe it was better that way, seeing he was a hunted man. His other companions were close to him as well, even if their faults brought them short of the code of the Black Horn, they were all good people. Even Xenon, in his own arrogance showed some, albeit tiny, amounts of compassion and seemed to work in their best interests. For how long remained to be seen.

Aust gently cleaned his blade and conversed with Blak-Fang on a number of various matters from combat to past opponents. They seemed perfect for each other; they both enjoyed fighting and combat. Kyoko continued to play her flute and relax, still contemplating whether to kick Tom into the fire or not. Talindra once satisfied with the fire decided to go and clear their tracks, Rhea followed wanting to be useful and to hopefully avoid the forces that attacked them in the village.

Talindra and Rhea walked through the forest covering their tracks in the snow, noticing Tom trotting up behind them to join them. The incorrigible had a smirk on his face, that seemed to only hint at the strange twisted sense of humor in that furry skull of his.

Talindra sighed, “This has been quite an adventure, and we have not even arrived at the citadel yet.”

Rhea chuckled, “Aye, never a dull moment for us. Not that I would have minded sleeping on a soft bed and having a warm blanket about me. Sleeping on the snow is quite bothersome.”

“I have to agree with you there, I enjoy the outdoors as much as the next ranger, but this cold is just a bit much for me,” Talindra spoke shivering.

Tom laughed, “You mortals, always complaining, it isn’t like you can’t make it through.”

Rhea sighed, “Not everyone can be as saintly as you are Tom,” she replied sarcastically.

Talindra gave Tom a not quite so trustful glance, “So why is it that you can talk Tom? I mean, are you a mage?”

Tom laughed, “No I am a badger.”

“I mean really, badger’s do not talk,” she continued, “not unless they have been enchanted.”

Tom snorted, “Have you ever spoken with a badger before?”

Talindra paused, “No.”

Tom smiled still following, “Then how do you know.”

Talindra hissed, “Why am I arguing with a badger, and why did you follow us anyway?”

Tom smiled, “I wanted to talk to Rhea about the second soul in her body. When I channeled my powers through her, to heal her I could feel two very distinct souls in her body. Although the second is dormant, not sure why though.”

Rhea shook her head; “I do not understand what you are saying? A second soul, inside me, why me? How could something like this happen?”

Tom shrugged as much as a badger could shrug, “I don’t fathom the ways of gods and man I just know what I felt. It was a Mauroth Tausoth soul, a lost race. Strange to find one of those in this day and age.”

Rhea blinked and stuttered in her steps, “I am not quite sure what you are talking about Tom. How could you possibly know all this? I mean you may be a talking badger, but…” she trailed off confused.

“So you are saying, there is this Mauroth Tausoth soul inside of Rhea? What is a Mauroth Tausoth?” Talindra countered.

Tom thought for a moment, sitting on his hind legs tapping his head with his furry paws. He smiled with a wink and there was a bright flash as Tom changed shape right before their eyes. His size growing tall and slender about Rhea’s stature in size and build. His fur disappeared into dark black smooth skin and his face became feminine and enchanting. His hair long and silvery, he looked every bit a drow except for a long black monkey like tail swishing about slowly. Tom’s new form smiled, dressed in a long diaphanous gown; “This is a Mauroth Tausoth, the lost ones.”

Both Rhea and Talindra stared in amazement, unable to utter a word at the display of sorcery. What kind of creature was Tom, a playful wizard, a demon, or a demigod as he has so playfully mentioned at times? His knowledge and power were far beyond a badger to be sure.

Rhea was still in disbelief, “Impossible it was a dream, wasn’t it?”

“So you have seen them, I thought you had,” Tom replied, “this has become very interesting indeed.”

Rhea nodded, “In a dream I visited their world, a city of crystal. The crystal glowed, and they had ships that flew in the sky. It was a place like nothing I had ever seen. And the people there, they looked like you, Tom. I was not sure how I had arrived there; it was a strange vision. But I could not believe it would be real. What does it mean?”

Tom smiled, “That is what we intend to find out yes?” His form reverted back to his badger self, and the trio continued on in silence. Rhea thinking of the ramifications of the events and Talindra trying to soak in the elements of the conversation. They returned to the camp and decided to get rest, Thev took the first watch, while the rest went off to sleep. Xenon and Talindra stayed up to talk and go over a few details from the night’s events.

Xenon sat and poured over his spell-book barely acknowledging Talindra’s presence. Talindra sat for a moment in silence waiting for Xenon to show a sign that he noticed her before simply speaking aloud, “Xenon could we talk?”

Xenon thumbed to a page to study a spell, “What do you want to talk about Talindra?” he sighed, slightly annoyed.

Talindra tossed some tinder into the fire, “I have been thinking about some things, about the Eye, about our current mission, and about Rhea,” glancing nervously towards Rhea, as she slept.

Xenon sighed, “Will this take long,” he turned the page, “I do have spells to prepare in case our enemies decide to come hunting us in the night.”

Talindra scowled, “This is serious, I just learned that Rhea has some kind of second soul in her body, not sure what it is, besides the name. The mauroth tausoth, you ever heard that name before?”

Xenon sighed, “If I said yes would you go away and sleep and leave me be?”

Talindra hissed, “I am being serious, do you think this is something we should talk to Owen about?”

“Fine, I can see you are being earnest. As much as it pains me, I will humor your request. He gave you a ring yes, one that allows mental communication over any distance?”

Talindra nodded, fingering the plain silver ring on her left hand. She touched it lightly then began to concentrate, “Owen, Owen can you hear me?” she thought.

There was silence for a moment, “Ah, Talindra, was not expecting to hear from you so soon, is everything well?” Owen’s mental voice replied. “Ah and Xenon as well, good evening to both of you, well morning now I must say.”

Talindra looked surprised concentrating on the ring and her own mental voice, “The same to you Owen, I have a few questions, if you have time?”

Owen replied, “Why of course, what can I help you with?”

“I just had an encounter with a strange badger named Tom, he talks you know. Well he seemed to say that Rhea, the drow female, had a second soul in her body, a mauroth tausoth, do you have any idea what he could have been talking about?” Talindra questioned, nervously rubbing her hands.

“I am not quite sure what this Tom means by that, but possibly Lucas may have an idea his knowledge is abit more thorough then my own. How is the drow doing, has she had any ill effects from this second soul, as this Tom claims, inside her, “ Owen replied quizzically.

“Not that I can see,” she replied.

“Hmm, Talindra,” a second voice replied, Lucas’ voice, “you said the mauroth tausoth, that is interesting.”

Xenon smirked inwardly, “I take it you are aware of them old man?”

“Well I have done study in various areas of arcane study, I have stumbled across this name a few times in my work. From what I have gathered, the mauroth tausoth were an ancient race of what can be best called proto-elves, they are not true elves, but a very distant and distinct off-shoot, a progenitor species possibly. Though I suspect they were something else all together. Not much else is written about them and few, if any of their structures or artifacts have survived, which leads me to believe that they were wiped out in a cataclysm. I am not certain, though I have come to the conclusion that the Eye is connected to this race of beings, and may open up some clues to their existence and possibly insight into Rhea’s condition,” Lucas sighed slightly.

Talindra nervously nodded, “What should we do then Lucas?”

Xenon sighed, “Isn’t it obvious my half-elven friend, we should make haste to this citadel. The Citadel of Honin Tau I would believe as Lucas does is connected to the Eye, which in turn is connected to the mauroth tausoth. I am sure this all boggles your mind, so simply leave these pursuits of higher thought to more astute minds, and focus on tracking and setting fires,” he turned smiling to Talindra.

Talindra hissed, then continued her mental speech, “Lucas I have a quick question, how does Rhea know you, she seemed to know exactly who you were back in Quell at the festival have you two met before?”

Lucas paused for a moment, “Not that I am aware of, I have never seen her before though her manner seemed very familiar, don’t you think Owen?”

Owen replied, “I know what you are thinking Lucas, and that is an absurd thought, I am not even going to humor it.”

Talindra furrowed her brow, “Well it just seemed odd and now that I think about it, there is a picture in the Beltaine manse that resembles you Owen, and well on one occasion I think I heard Thev say that you were Rhea’s father. I didn’t think she wanted that to get out though, and Thev quickly went silent.”

Xenon sighed, “Ha! It seems that Owen your wayward daughter has been found though a half-elf she is no more, but a drow, such a delicious irony. Amusing to say the least.”

Lucas laughed, “I told you Owen, the clues are insurmountable, I could tell that mischievous girl anywhere, it seems after all these years she has been found.”

Owen replied, “Well I am glad she is found, although how she came to be a drow is beyond me, but if what you say is true then I am pleased. Though alarmed that I had not a moment to properly introduce myself, I am happy she is alive,” his mental voice full of emotion, “she is all I have left, of my family. Keep her safe Talindra, and you as well Xenon.”

Talindra replied, “That shall not be a problem Owen, I think Thev has kept her safe for some time now. He wouldn’t dare let anyone harm her; they seem to have a firm bond of friendship. Though that does not explain your picture in the Beltaine manse Owen.”

Owen replied with a fatherly tone, “And who might this Thev be, hmm?”

Talindra laughed, “He is a paladin and a tiefling and a firm stout friend, you need not be worried.”

Xenon echoed her statement, “Yes stout and strong, what he lacks in the mental disciplines he makes up in brawn and,” a belabored sigh, “goodness.”

Owen sighed, “As far as the Beltaine family is concerned I was born Owen Vanten Beltaine, but left the family in my youth. I was not one for staying in a single place; my heart belongs on the roads of travel. But in the intervening years I have learned that my family has had less then scrupulous dealings with dark forces, among them these elusive Shadis Masin. I have no need to bring my presence to the fore, although I am by birth and blood Beltaine, I do not claim the name.”

Talindra nodded, “That would make Rhea a rightful heir to the name then wouldn’t it?”

“That is correct Talindra,” Owen replied.

Talindra smiled, and relaxed, her curiosity for the most part satiated. Xenon laid back as the two of them shared a blanket for warmth. The snow fell softly upon the heroes as they drifted to sleep, the mental conversation had been draining for both Talindra and Xenon, before he feel to sleep he kissed Talindra lightly on her forehead and let the morning come. At least they had survived another night.

Over the next two intervening days the party took a wide circuitous route to avoid any enemy patrols, as they blazed a trail through the mountains towards the citadel of Honin Tau. The party had nary an encounter besides the occasional wild animal. The group was cold and miserable though, winter travel, in the mountains was not especially fun, nor glamorous. By the third day from the map Xenon had received from Hadrian, his patron, the party was about a day’s travel at most.

The group had come to a small clearing in the snowy evergreen forest and decided to rest before pressing on in the morning, in search of the citadel. The party was weary and frozen, and some quite miserable. Tom entertained the group as best as he could with his lowbrow humor while Rhea and Thev went to scout around their camp to make sure it was safe. The forest was old and the trees grand, untouched by the grandeur of civilization.

Rhea and Thev stalked through the forest, until they reached a ridge, about a mile north from their camp. The ridge was actually the edge of a large crater though smoothed out over the centuries with pillow-like white snow filling the interior. Inside the crater towards the northernmost side was a structure, a fortress or citadel of some type. The walls were forty or so feet high, but on its four massive walls had collapsed. There was smoke wafting out from three different fires, which lit the structure up like a beacon.

Rhea turned to Thev, “I think we found it, and a not a moment too soon.”

Thev nodded, “I agree let’s get back to the others and quickly.” The duo quickly made their way back to the camp, planning a possible assault since it seemed that the forgotten citadel, was not so quite forgotten. They arrived back at the camp and explained what hey had seen, the party was elated, and their mission was nearly over. They all sighed a breath of relief when Aust noticed shadows moving in the woods; he turned to Talindra who also noticed the movement.

Aust grimaced, “We are not alone, I see movement lots of movement.”

The party began grabbing their weapons and preparing for conflict as the shadows and figures slowly stopped. One of the figures approached the camp, a tall willowy figure dressed in a drab white cloak, and he withdrew the hood to reveal an elven face. He smiled as he approached his palms up, a sign of peace. The group was still wary, and kept their weapons close to them, not wanting to let their guard down. The Elf had wild black hair about shoulder length, his eyes a pale silver, and his skin was swarthy, but not overly dark.

He smiled and spoke in lyrical Elven towards Aust, “Welcome brother, we of the Li’nai’ken mean you no harm. Unless you claim allegiance to the miscreants who have taken residence in the citadel to the north.”

Aust shook his head no, “We do not, brother,” he replied in Elven, “they are our enemy, we claim no allegiance to them or their ilk.”

The elf nodded, “I see, I am Ki’nida, leader of this band, we claim these mountain forests as our domain, you passed into them a few days back. We have followed your progress and I have yet to see anything that alarms me as out of the ordinary with your troop.”

“Thank you, I am Aust, we meant no disrespect, but we were not aware that you claimed this land,” Aust replied, “we seek only to find the Citadel of Honin Tau, and then we shall be on our way.”

Ki’nida thought the words over for a moment, “Well, then we should be friends and not enemies” he waved his hands and twenty of his elven companions moved into view from the surrounding shadows and trees. “My men, we are on a hunt this night, to hopefully remove the humans from our holy place once and for all this night. You seem to have quite a few warriors at the ready if you could assist us; we would be in your debt. You aid us; good brother Aust and your companions will have safe passage in our lands. A bond I shall not break upon pain of death.”

Aust smiled, “Then our aid you can have, hopefully we can be of assistance.”

Before Ki’nida could reply Rhea spoke up, “Yes it would be a show of good fortune and brotherhood to work together, despite our differences,” as she drew back her hood, revealing her drow visage. “We will assist in anyway we can brother Ki’nida.”

Ki’nida leapt back drawing his longsword, the other elves in his band mimicking his actions. Plenty of murmurs of hatred and curses were uttered. Ki’nida glared, “A drow, curse you witch, you will not stand for long in this place. Aust, have you willingly traveled with such a foul creature, or has she bewitched you,” he said warily to Aust.

Aust glanced at Rhea, “She… she is a worthy ally and friend. Despite her drow features she is of good heart and a worthy companion, I trust her implicitly. She has proven herself a hundred times over a worthy ally, that any of my companions can attest to.”

Ki’nida glared at Rhea but sheathed his blade, “I will trust your judgement, brother Aust, hopefully she holds true to your words.” His men followed his motion, sheathing their blades, though many are not happy with doing so. And most eye her with hateful suspicion. Rhea simply sighs and draws her hood up, but stays silent.

After those few tense moments, Ki’nida begins to explain his plan of attack, hoping for suggestions from the party. After a brief overview of the terrain, the party devises a plan. Kyoko has the brilliant idea of causing an avalanche on the north side, which will hopefully smother most if not all of the warriors. The group is pleased and decides to split their forces with half of the Li’nai’ken forces staying on the northern ridge to rain down death on the men in the citadel while the party and the remaining elven warriors assault the citadel via the collapsed wall. Hopefully everything goes off without a hitch.

The war party, the elves and our intrepid heroes, move into position. The party along with the Li’nai’ken stalk slowly across the snowy crater floor towards the citadel, they approach within sixty feet of the citadel and wait patiently for the second half of the war party to make their move. They do not wait long as thunderous horn is sounded, then a rumbling, a great rumbling of snow crashes down the side of the northern ridge and washes over the northernmost wall. Screams are heard before the avalanche plows through the walls crushing any its path. The party and elves rise up and move to attack. So far so good, it seems.

Rhea kept her eyes open before spotting Sevak standing on a large statue; he leapt down to face the invading war party. The elves fanned out to attack as arrows from heaven poured down on the frantic warriors inside the citadel. It was brutally ugly, but very efficient; this would not be a good night for Sevak and his allies. Aust waded into the fray, Blak-Fang in hand parrying and slicing pitiful warriors left and right. Xenon stood back and prepared his favorite spells, Mage Armor and Cat’s Grace. Rhea charged towards Sevak once more to best the drow in battle, Talindra following Rhea’s lead. Kyoko drew her rapier and stalked into the fray her blade dancing not as well as Thev or Aust but enough to keep the enemy warriors at bay.

Rhea engaged Sevak in battle the two meeting in a clash of swords and fury, while Talindra flanked the vicious drow. Sevak struck first stabbing his rapier into Rhea’s chest, missing with his dagger though. Rhea reeled and spun her bastard sword finding its mark, but the blow being slight as Talindra flanked Sevak dealing a vicious slash with Midnight, her magical longsword. Sevak growled and dipped low he slashed Rhea once again evading her swings with a flurry of rolls prepared to take on both Talindra and Rhea. Talindra swung her blades while Rhea stepped back to prepare True Strike, uttering prayers to the Dancer. Talindra struck her mark twice dealing serious wounds to Sevak. Sevak was torn but tried to finish Talindra off, then Rhea. He slashed Talindra but the wound was slight. It was too late, Rhea dove into the fray her blade guided by divine forces, and she slashed through Sevak sending him screaming to the afterlife.

In the meanwhile Aust and Thev were chopping their way through the warriors with ease, Aust putting his Cleave abilities to good use. As the two warriors overpowered the men, two Knights of the Black Horn charged over the snow from the avalanche followed by a cloaked figure. Aust and Thev finished their respective opponents and clashed with the knights. The battle was vicious neither giving quarter, nor asking for any either. Xenon finished preparing a shield spell after unleashing magic missiles on an unsuspecting warrior. Aust was the first to raw blood, slashing across the Knights chest drawing blood. While Thev was having a tough time trying to fight one of his own, a Knight of the Black Horn, despite the deathly serious nature of the battle, he was torn. The cloaked figure unleashed magic bolts at Talindra pounding her, but she still stood. Kyoko moved to engage another nameless warrior dueling for life.

Aust sustained a quick slash across his left arm as he slashed the knight again across the chest, evading a clumsy strike. He impaled the Knight with a roar as went into a frenzied rage, the Knight screamed as he died. Thev struck a powerful blow on the knight attacking him, hoping he would yield. While the cloaked mage launched magic bolts at the Xenon, which were deflected by his Shield spell, Xenon grinned arrogantly. The lone corrupted Knight of Black Horn yielded to Thev’s demands and dropped his greatsword. The cloaked mage turned to flee, but was struck down by arrows from the Li’nai’ken as the battle came to an end. The battle went better then expected, much better.

The party cleaned up their wounded as the Li’nai’ken gathered there own, with a curt nod and salutation they departed into the snowy night. The heroes had once again carried the day. Of course the looting of the bodies began as well. Xenon gathered a warded spellbook and a ring of protection from the mage, while Rhea kept Sevak’s dagger and handed Kyoko Sevak’s enchanted drow-made rapier. Talindra took his Sevak’s chainmail, of even manufacture and the group sat down to heal and prepare their next step.

The interior of the Citadel courtyard was at the moment littered with dead bodies and snow. Towards the main structure along the eastern side there were two large statues of elven warrior, each statue about twenty feet tall. They flanked a raised dais that leads up to massive ten-foot high double doors with a red eye painted on them. What lays within they can only fathom. A story for another winter eve I suppose.

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