When Last We Left Our Intrepid Adventurers…

Our heroes spun the wheel again, this time aligning the strange 3 tentacled symbol, the letter G, and a shape that they hoped was the structure of the Mage College. 

 The portal activated and our heroes stepped through into an alpine glade to begin their reconnaissance.

Their arrival had been anticipated.  It wouldn’t be long before they came across a peddler and his dog.  Azrael obtained a small vial from the seemingly harmless old merchant and learned of the town in the valley below. Union.  

As they made their way into Union, they found a boom town, hastily constructed and flush with foreign tongues and trade.  It wouldn’t take long to find their contact, the estranged Knight Garrick, undercover and waiting at the Spotted Pig. They found him and they found him much changed.

Once ensconced in the safety of his Tree Blind, Garrick explained the quest he had taken at Ao’s behest and its tragic ending.  The ordeal had left him broken mentally and physically. He recounted his tale through tears. He had received word that a small Marakeenian boy, important to Ao, was to be retrieved and brought to the Faithful in Arabar.  Finding and rescuing the boy from the cultists, who had captured him, had been easy. However, he could not have anticipated the power of the Dark Angel that set upon him afterward in the deserts of Marakeen. During the surprise attack the boy’s mother was killed, the child recaptured, and Garrick was left badly burned and bleeding out into the sand. Garrick would live, but saving the boy and killing Gahdreel was now the scourge that drove him onward.  He had sent messages to our adventurers for weeks, but all had been intercepted. He had almost hope.

Unfortunately for our party though, their arrival was definitely noticed and the seemingly innocuous vial they had purchased from the peddler became a beacon for their enemies. 

 Our adventurers’ planning was interrupted by a powerful meteor strike that left Azrael badly wounded, Garrick thrown and unconscious, and the hideout destroyed. Minutes later, a force of soldiers and fire giants crashed through the woods to subdue them. Fortunately, the majority of the party had escaped the brunt of the arcane strike and were ready to unleash their full wrath upon their enemies. 

Selena entangled one of the Fire Giants and Tarren engaged the other.  Kremzeek divided the human forces with a wall of light and then attacked with a devastating fireball.  Meanwhile, Andolin and Mara worked to take down the woman in robes levitating above the fray. The party’s abilities wove together to form a potent defense. The enemy’s defeat was complete as Tarrin called upon his ancestral horde.   As Selena bound the only surviving combatant, the woman’s eyes rolled back in her head and her features became animated with an uncanny presence. It was the Dark Angel Gahdreel. He rejoiced that the war had begun and invited Selena to join the winning side as his Queen. Selena’s response was a strong cross punch to the woman’s face, breaking the host’s jaw and silencing her permanently.

Our party gathered at the cliff edge to see that Gahdreel’s declaration was correct and the forces below were coalescing.  They barely had a moment to reflect before a thick cloud of gas enveloped  and incapacitated them all.

Our adventurers’ unconscious bodies were gathered by Nephlim and taken to be imprisoned in the depths of the Mage College.  However, the Nephlim had not realized that Garrick’s broken body was clinging on by a thread and that a goblin girl, who was invisible, terrified, and hidden well away from the fray, would save him.  

Meanwhile, each of our heroes would awake to their own personal temptation proffered by the Dark Lord.  When each refused they were sent to “rethink” their decision as some of their friends “had already done.”  The party refused to fall for the bait. Rather, they realized something deeply important. Gahdreel needed them and together, they presented a force that could thwart his ascension.  They only had one problem, they were trapped and naked. The magic dampening sands of Unis Mythris below their feet and a Dwarven Ironwood door blocking their escape, they grew desperate.  Fortunately, the barred windows to the tower weren’t made to keep out small goblin girls, and Blink and Garrick had seized the perfect opportunity to spring the prisoners. The Dwarven forces had arrived and aassault on the College was underway.  

The time was ripe for a prison break.

Making their way through the levels of the College, our adventurers managed to regain most of their equipment with Kremzeek’s help.  Andolin succeeded in rescuing his father and a little Marakeenian boy. While on another level, Tarrin ripped out the unholy bloodmage baby that gestated in his dead sister-in-law’s belly and ended its life.  Spencer and her shadows made short work of the guards that remained, while Selena and Mara continued to explore and secure the party’s path to freedom. Through her familiar Veriliegh confirmed the arrival of several opposing forces and that the siege had begun.  Azrael found Gahdreel’s throne room and the unearthly chains that had bound and incapacitated him.

With the smell of smoke growing, the battering of the towers by Dwarven Artillery, and the ever-looming threat of discovery, our party were thankful when their allies the storm giants blasted through the walls and offered them a means to escape.  Badly beaten and bruised the party must recover quickly and join the fight against the Gahdreel, his monsters, and his unwitting allies.

When Last We Left Our Intrepid Adventurers…

Returning from the ancient oak grove and saving the Avendesoras, our heroes faced the city of Feng with a healthy list of tasks to accomplish.  First, they would visit the Arch Druid Cedric, to attempt to clear his enfeebled mind.  Once accomplished, the party started to get a more accurate picture of the extent of the College’s meddling among the Elves.  With Cedric as a character witness, the group returned to meet with the Elders on the steps of Heritage Hall.  Cedric was reestablished as a trusted elder and Verileigh, Mara, and Selena were able to revive Lady Finwe’s granddaughter. 

The grateful elves demanded that the College’s Registrar, Alishba Raitheborn, be brought to the “Sands” to answer the charges against her, a request with which  our adventurers were happy to comply.

An inspection of the Registrar’s abandoned apartments quickly revealed that Alishba didn’t actually dwell there.  Mara’s diligent work to check for traps discovered a blood lock that opened for her.  Our adventurers found her real home, a magically constructed mansion in a pocket dimension between the planes.

After coming to an understanding of the arcane nature of the space, thanks to the knowledge Kremzeek and Veriliegh provided, the party set about meticulously exploring the various chambers for clues to the Registrar’s dealings.

Selena found a laboratory with some disturbing necromantic and alchemial items, establishing physical proof of the attacks on the Druid and the Tree of life.

Deeper into the space they discovered a weakened and incarcerated King Durmuck Ironbreaker, whom Kremzeek freed and Mara restored.  Andolin helped the King come up to speed on the coup in progress in Tyr and the treachery of his own family.

As our heroes dug deeper into the strange series of rooms, Spencer made easy work of the complicated locks.   One such room was an aboretum that housed a statue of Mara in nephlim form.  Azrael discovered that the room was marked with prayers written in celestial runes to Gahdreel!  To his horror, as Mara entered the room he watched her black nephlim wings appear and felt her connection to the Silent Sister sever.  Her friends pulled her quickly from the room, and they continued their explorations.

Tarrin was the first to find the largest chamber.  This room contained a wheel built of three concentric circles each containing markings.  The party quickly set to solving the uncanny puzzle before them, with Azrael figuring out the last piece, the initials of the Registrars!  Despite the portal before them, they were distracted by the appearance of a lost little girl.

Tarrin and Veriliegh’s attempts to aid the child led them to a graveyard of sorts.  Here, the ephemeral being unleashed her true power and pulled them deep into the dirt.  Spencer and Andolin took carefully placed shots to defeat the apparition without injuring  their grappled friends.  The magic users, Selena and Veriliegh, worked to cast a series of spells to free the child’s victims from being buried alived!  The ghostly onslaught was over in mere seconds, but it left the party shaken and wondering what other horrors were in store.

Kremzeek could not resist the mystery of the strange room and stayed to unearth the girl’s friends and their shared fates.  The tortured bodies and  the injuries the children had endured revealed to Kremzeek the true depths the Registrar was willing to sink to in order to conduct her experiments.

Meanwhile, the party gained access to a chapel devoted to Gahdreel by admitting to each other their deepest regrets.  The temple revealed little about their nemesis or his followers but revealed much about what haunts our heroes’ souls.

The final chambers of the dimensional domain housed an enormous bedroom fitted with shackles, a smaller bedroom with a  portrait of the Registrar, and packed storage rooms.   Tarrin’s ability to feel the difference between the dimensional constructs and real materials helped the party to ascertain exactly what they could take with them.

The party returned to the teleportation chamber, and after Andolin had a lengthy consultation with King Durmuck, they decided to align the wheels to return to Feng to finish what they set out to do.

As the sun sunk into western horizon, the party returned to Heritage Hall and the Chamber of Sands.  Here, with Cedric and the Dwarven King’s testimonies, Andolin and the rest of our heroes were able to prove the College’s evil intentions and clear their names.

Now, the Guardians of the Scales face the true enemy of  the Realms…The Dark Lord Gahdreel.  Will their tactics, their powers, and their newly forged alliances be enough to battle the entrenched forces that darken the heart of the Pillars?  The Mage College awaits!

 

 

 

 

When Last We Left Our Intrepid Adventurers…

The elven city of Feng had witnessed the humiliation of the annoying and haughty Lanell of the House of Finwe.  Now that our heroes had the public on their side, Princess Airethiel asked if they would return with her to their seat of government, Heritage Hall, to secure the support of the elders of the Triumvirate.   The party would have to convince the head of the three noble houses that they should not accept the miracles offered by the Mage College and that Karafey should stay an engaged part of the Realms.

Hall of Sands

Andolin and Veriliegh agreed to present themselves and make the case. 

 

Standing stripped of weapons, magic, and most of their clothes,  the witch and the archer explained the dark angel’s manipulations to the Lord Gadreith, Lady Finwe, and Lord Finvain.  It was a protracted and difficult debate, but they were victorious.The party reunited to celebrate with the Princess and Prince

Valinor

Validorn in his Offices. However, our adventurers would get no respite as a messenger arrived with dark tidings.  Elven newborns were dying in the border cities of Karafey.   It didn’t take the party long to piece together that the Elven Tree of Life was under attack by Gah’Dreel’s minions and that they would soon be blamed. 

Stricken, Airethiel left them to see what she could do to stop the madness and attempt some damage control for their newly forged alliance.  And, our heroes went to find the High Elven druid who tended the Tree.

Cedric

The High Druid, Cedric Caldorn, lived at the very northern border of Feng.  He seemed friendly to the party but very addled.  Piece by piece, the party was able to patiently extract the general location of the mystical Tree.  They also learned that the reclusive Cedric had dealings with another visitor, a Registrar from the Mage College.

With a new sense of urgency, our heroes headed to find the threatened Tree of Life.  Hidden in plain sight, they found the sickened oak, but also walked into a deadly trap!  A humanoid mass of vegetation dropped from the dense canopy, along with his tendrils and puppets, to attack the party.   Selena and Mara, who had been attempting to tend to the Tree took the brunt of the attack.  Andolin and Azrael hacked and slashed their way through vicious thorn and vine in order to free their companions, while Kremzeek discerned that his magical fire was the best way to deal with the Vine Lord and his mindless underlings.  However, the creature seemed to renew and revitalize himself after each blow dealt.   Veriliegh, who had plane shifted, came back with a vengeance and finally vanquished

the monster once and for all with a magical blight.   A spell, which in the aftermath, Kremzeek ascertained was similar to what was being used on the Tree of Life.  Using a combination of powerful incantations, the party was able to wipe away the arcane affliction.

 

Despite another victory, there is still so much to be done…

When Last We Left Our Intrepid Adventurers…

Angels abound! Time stopped in the prayer tent of the cultists who now simply call themselves  “The Children.”  Azrael’s choice to appear in his true celestial form prompted a visit from his brother Miz’iel.

His tidings were not as dire as our heroes feared, but rather he brought a message of approval from Ao and gifts.  The gifts came in the form of powerful magical boons for the party.  However, when dealing with the God of Balance, power does not come without great responsibility.  Our adventurers each accepted their tasks and the Guardians of the Scales were born.

Not only did the event yield new powers, but it also brought Azrael new friends.  These eight humans are a  hodge-podge group of ages, backgrounds and abilities that quickly bonded into a party of devoted disciples.  Azrael must now assist them in finding their purpose while keeping them from harm, which may prove difficult.

Azrael's Eight
Kevel Prenter
Bella Hearthjoy
Svetka Veldfar
Far-shid bin-Sabar

 

 

 

Marcus Cull
Holder Joyce
Aela of Tareque
Natalia Darkhand

 

 

 

 

 

Upon returning to the Chimera, a response came from the Royal Court of Tyr regarding the noseless prince our adventurers held as  prisoner.   An exchange would be made in the elven city of Feng.

The party made their way silently on foot to the drop spot, a bridge over a river that is the city’s eastern border.  A small party of elves made the drop.  Some clever casting and skill use allowed the party to penetrate their adversaries’ plans, and our heroes saved the real Malmiir, killed the dwarven prince, and routed the elves.

The party discovered they had an observer though.  Andolin noticed a hawk paying close attention to their discussion after the skirmish.  The hawk engaged Andolin and drew them into the shelter of the woods.  Before Tarrin could unleash his ancestral barbarian horde upon the city, the hawk transformed into an elven girl and asked himto hold his attack.

Our heroes would learn the girl was Princess Airethel, first of the House Gaidreith.  She entreated our adventurers to come to her aid.  The Princess revealed that she was betrothed to Tarrin’s brother Visgoff.  However, the two could not wed because of a newly risen political force from the House of Finwe- LaNell!   

LaNell was an old adversary that the party had humiliated and sent packing back in Unis Mythris.  He had returned to Feng to sew dissension amongst the Triumvirate of Houses that ruled the elves of Karafey.  He had pushed for a separatist and isolationist agenda.  His platform relied on the Mage College’s magic to keep the elves clean and racially pure.  Thus, he was creating hostility for The Princess’ plans to wed her human Skaldic lover Visgof and giving Gah’Dreel another ally. In addition to this, LaNell had painted our adventurers as villains who wreaked havoc in the Realms and must be stopped at all costs.  He was also brokering alliances between the wretched dwarven queen, Lady Ironbreaker and the elves as part of his growing plot.  

The Princess promised the party that if they could skillfully eliminate LaNell, without implicating her or furthering the public’s negative perception of the party, she would bring the elves to their aid in the coming battle against the College.  Our adventurer’s agreed and before long had entered Feng and began their stealthy reconnaissance.

Our adventurers wasted no time.  Goblin shenanigans, rooftop surveillance, and a wild carriage chase culminated in the capture and public shaming of the scheming LaNell.  Mara forced the truth from him with the help of some divine magic and the growing crowd got to hear about all his machinations from his own mouth.

Our adventurers may now have the chance to solidify new allies in their battle against the forces of evil and perhaps attend a wedding!

Feng at night

 

When Last We Left Our Intrepid Adventurers…

The Besotted Chimera offered only a short respite for our heroes, as Alessia told the party that apparently their Dwarven friend Malmiir waited for them behind the Inn.  Spencer used her shadows to check out the situation, sliding up unbeknownst to the Dwarf and slipping a dagger to his throat.  After a few tense moments, Malmiir was able to get Spencer, and then the rest of the party, to hear him out.  He informed the party that he had a Dwarven Regiment camped in the woods and they would be marching in the morning.  Azrael shared with him some of the Mage College’s nefarious plans, and Malmiir invited them back to the camp to meet with his commanders and share what was known of the enemy.  Leery of a trap, our heroes chose to meet back with him in a moment more of their choosing, and when Malmiir headed back his encampment,  Azrael followed.

 

While the monk did his reconnaissance, the party found they 

had some time to themselves.  Kremzeek, amazed to find another of his kind, stayed holed up in the Chimera’s backroom getting to know the young goblin, Blink, and her sad story.  Tarrin got to know a large stein of ale, while Veriliegh got to know the tavern staff.  She even offered an extra pair of hands to lighten their workload.  Spencer, still reeling from Andolin’s walk in the realms of the dead, found some much need comfort upstairs, in the arms of her lover. The night had faded into early morning by the time Azrael returned.  

 

As the party reconvened and discussed their next moves in the now empty bar, a bruised and bloody dwarf appeared at the door.  It seemed that Malmiir’s regiment had been set upon by the “Children,” and Malmiir and his warriors were fighting for their lives.  The party followed in their various stealthy ways, with only Tarrin visible to the naked eye.

Our heros came upon a deserted camp and a fallen Malmiir.  However, as Tarrin went to investigate, the trap was sprung and what the party really faced was an imposter and a squad of mercenary Duergar.  Our adventurers fought bravely, despite taking heavy arcane damage from a slippery spell caster who seemed to blink in and out of sight.  Veriliegh and Kremzeek fired off spell after spell at  seven highly trained and enlarged fighters, as Azrael dodged their blows and attempted to protect his friends.  Tarrin, having been the one to wade into the scene first, found himself stuck in a tangle of netting and web.  However, it wouldn’t be long before the barbarian had broken free and in a full rage began turning his would-be captors into a bloody mess of limbs and entrails.  

Spencer and her shadowselves did numerous rounds of missile damage, before taking a fireball, full on.  Badly burned and within an inch of her life, she retreated to the woods before continuing to fight.

When the battle was done, the party had managed to kill or run off all the Dark Dwarves, and Azrael had captured the imposter.  He turned out to be Malmiir’s stepbrother, Prince Thron Ironbreaker, third in line to the Throne of Tyr.  Veriliegh’s bone dagger was able to weedle a great of information from the young dwarven prince.  The party learned of the Dwarven queen’s capture of Malmiir and her plot to use her sons to impersonate him.  Prince Yimriick was in disguise in Tyr attempting to break up the revolution his Bastard brother had begun.  Prince Gald and Thron had been sent  as “Malmiir” to various locations to try and capture or kill our heroes to cull favor with the Mage’s College.  Kremzeek, frightened by the party’s tactics headed back to the Chimera, to check on his new protege and investigate his latest procured shiny object.

In the end, the party decided to heal and use the Prince, now missing a nose, as a bargaining chip.  Back at the Chimera, the party, exhausted, fell into a long rest to heal and replenish their powers.   Azrael penned a letter to Lady Ironbreaker, and a messenger was sent in the morning.

However, there wouldn’t be much rest for the weary, as our heroes had a church meeting to attend.

In the evening, Veriliegh and Tarrin headed to the tent service hosted by the “Children.”   Flanked and protected by their stealthy companions, the two did their best to blend in as the Faithful did their meet and greet.  Our adventurers watched the theatrics as the cultists attempted to amaze, astonish and engender the support of assembly.  A priestess named Engrile stepped forward with  a voice much larger than her diminutive frame.  Azrael felt his blood begin to burn as she delivered the Children’s latest message:

 

Arach has Risen, He has risen anew

The great Remaking is upon us, and the World is a fallow field awaiting His great Works

For what the Tyrant  tried to smother like weeds

Is strong and only needs the warm spring sun to renew and unleash its seed

The Oak, The Ash, The Pine, The Fig, the Alder: mighty trees, all spring forth again by His grace

And the Realms grow strong

As the Tyrant grows weak and his Diminishment begins

For in this great Era, Man will prosper in the warmth of Arach’s Good Will

Baptized by his flame, generation upon generation will thrive

Great Leaders Rise

Arcane Mysteries Reveal Themselves

Exceptional Life Abounds

And Man will enjoy the pleasures of this bounty

For He protects the Bullied and Unbelong-ed

For He works the great miracles of the Blood

For He leads the meek to safety

And Lo, the Ascendancy of the Realms will begin anew

Man will rise and strive

And it will be Known as the Time of Accretion

 

And as the Mighty Arach rises anew on this Earth, He lays bare His Truth

To the Faithful, he will show his True Form

To the Faithful, he will share his True Power

To the Faithful, he will reveal his True Name

The final days are here, The Children have found the Five Lost Sages of Skaldia

The final days are here,  The Children have gathered  the Five Lost Seeds of the Kingdoms

And From the Blood, The Faithful have seen the Bones of Arach rise to form his Host on Earth

And Lo, As Arach walks among us as Man and Dragon, together we will vanquish the Tyrant and the forces that seek to neuter and reduce us in the guise of equality and peace!

Faith is our Succor!

 

And as her voice rang through the tent, a growing number of followers answered her call and response:

Eluithol fras es ore mamas

O Lleisgar tenamol, Arach Lleisgar

Brotherhood fras es ore caex

O Lleisgar tenamol, Arach Lleisgar

Nokglaur fras es ore Urk

O Lleisgar tenamol, Arach Lleisgar

 

And as two of Inner Circle belched forth a climatic spray of flame, Azrael found he could take no more!  Wroth with the smearing of the Ao’s name by these charlatans he snuffed out all the firelight in the tent, plunging the audience into darkness.  The tent held their collective breaths, then gasped as firelight, re-lit, revealed a sight truly awesome to behold.  

White wings outstretched, golden skin gleaming, a twelve foot angel appeared before the astonished crowd, blotting out all else. Azrael had taken true form and the assembly fell to their knees.

 

When Last We Left Our Intrepid Adventurers…

The Skaldian town of Ruske became a hotbed of arcane activity.  In the early hours of the morning, the party awoke to the creaking wings of a skeletal dragon and its gas attack.  As they leapt into action, they soon realized that the attack came from three fronts: a skeletal dragon, an undead horde, and Gah-Dreel’s spawn…the Nephilim.  Our heroes successfully split their strength and dispatched the foes.   Mara banished the dragon’s lifeforce back to its plane, Veriliegh and Azrael fought off the Horde, and the rest of the group destroyed Gah-Dreel’s children.  

In the aftermath, the true scope of the devastation wrought upon the settlement was realized.  Tarrin rallied and reassured his people, while the rest of the party helped rebuild and investigate.  Andolin and Azrael followed tracks from the graveyard to an area of teleportation, while Veriliegh settled in the graveyard to begin her rituals to contact the realm of the dead.  When the trackers returned they were horrified to find her dead, but with no wounds.

Veriliegh’s body was carried back and kept alive by the combined talents of Mara and Selena, but the group could not bring back the witch’s consciousness.  Appealing to the The Völur proved fruitful.  Azrael had to much to explain, but in the end the coven was sympathetic and even offered to help them bring her back.  Unfortunately, bringing Veriliegh back meant people would have to die.

Andolin and a young witch, named Simone Windcaller, stepped forward to sacrifice themselves.  Azrael and Kremzeek gave them both a quick death, and the party waited the tense 60 seconds that marked the longest they could wait before the cleric and monk  resurrected the bodies.  Andolin came back with Veriliegh, but the Simone’s sacrifice was final.  The Völur now number seven.

Fearing that the dark forces gathering against them were unchecked and growing, the party decided to use their magical latch to head to the borders of Karafey to gain the assistance of the Dwarves and Elves.  Thus, Andolin opened a portal to his

childhood home, The Besotted Chimera.

The Inn was packed.   Alessia Drinkstall’s clientele of elves, halflings, dwarves, humans, and even a goblin or two created a boisterous stew of activity.  Our adventurers must now contend with a host of attractive distractions and dangerous diversions.  Will they be able to break the hold the Children and their Master have over this area?   We shall see…

 

 

 

When Last We Left Our Intrepid Adventurers..

The party found themselves sandwiched between Balder’s men and Gorham’s defenders.  Kramzeek successfully de-escalated and befriended the now free Storm Giants.   After few tense negotiations between Tarrin and Gorham’s right-hand man, Azrael decided it was in everybody’s best interest to bring the traitor back to life.  The Eske clansmen turned referential and the party was able to carry on a bit of investigation.

Kramzeek found out that the Giants had yet another child to rescue.

Veriliegh and Andolin spoke with the dead Registrar and relived his last memory.  This vision revealed the Dark “Savior” Gah-Dreel’s growing displeasure with his followers’ ability to bring in his lost children.   It also revealed much of the College’s plan to demoralize our heroes.

Andolin and Kramzeek used the dead body parts collected by Veriliegh to bring back the chests that the Registrar’s had secreted away.  This revealed research and notes that spoke of damage done, and yet to be done, to our heroes’ loved ones.

Mara cast an augury spell to her Goddess and ascertained important reassurances of the wisdom of our adventurers next steps.

The group returned to Tarrin’s home settlement of Ruske.   Here, Tarrin uncovered painful truths.  His investigations yielded information on his lost Selkie love, Ondine, who had given birth to their son and then had been shunned and ostracized by both her Selkie father and Tarrin’s clan.  He learned of the Clan’s war on the Selkie pod that lived off their coastline. And, he and Kramzeek further discovered that his son is truly selkie and can take seal or human form at will.

That evening, the party paid their respects at the funeral pyre of Balder.  Many lamentations were sung as the great warrior’s bones turned to ash.  In addition, many flasks of mead were consumed in his honor.  Our heroes did not imbibe, however, they returned to the longhouse to discuss the impending meeting with the D’Jinn.

Casting doubt to the winds, Spencer took the Prava Phylactery and dumped its mystical contents into the Skaldian Sea.  Andolin followed suit and buried the Nadur’s Phylactery beneath the rocky sands.  Thus, when the D’Jinn arrived the next morning the party could meet the terms of their agreement, without putting power back into the hands of their enemies.  Much to the D’Jinn’s chagrin, he would have to return to his Empress empty-handed.  the trickster had been bested.

The party knows now that their loved ones are in grave danger.  They know they must gather their forces to stop the Dark Angel Gah-Dreel’s plans.  And what of the others, Malmiir the Half-Dwarf Bastard and Garrick, the Knight of Justice?  What part do they play in this unfolding drama?

Some knots unravel and others tighten, as the stakes are raised and our heroes race headlong into grave danger

 

 

When last we left our intrepid adventurers…

The party settled into their longhouse in Ruske. Their unusual arrival did not go unnoticed, and an odd fox found its way to Veriliegh.  Intrigued, Veriliegh followed the creature

I remember giants born before time:
Those who in the olden days had me fostered!
Nine worlds I remember; Nine witches within wood!
The Mead-Tree like a thorn in the ground.
(from the Völuspá)

to the northern edge of the encampment where eight dark hooded figures beckoned.   The Völur, a long-standing coven of witches, assisted Verileigh in bonding with her new wolf spider familiar.  They also asked her to join them and be their missing ninth sister.   In the end, a deal was struck, but not the deal the witches had hoped for.  Andolin offered up his true sight for the coven’s use, and in return, they would do what they could to contain the d’jinn that had followed the party from Marakeen.

Balder, Tarrin’s eldest brother, returned to discuss the March on the Mage College.  The party learned of Balder’s intention to rescue his beloved and barren wife Silga.  Unfortunately, the land bordering their territory, Eske, had not granted the High Chieftain’s son leave to bring the army through.  This was unusual and a great affront.  Balder feared that perhaps the Mage College had befriended other chieftains with promises of their own miracles.  He asked the party to set out in the morning with him to help convince Chief Gorhim Bryn of the Mage College’s true nature.  The party agreed to help, but they had the evening to enjoy the Skaldic revelries of naked water wrestling and getting “horny.”  Tarrin won his games, but poor Kramzeek did not fare so well and had a rough morning.

Our adventurers trekked to Eske and discovered they had unwanted guests.  Gorhim had sent spies but our heroes discovered them and dealt with them easily.  The party’s situation became more alarming as they approached Chief Bryn’s Hold and discovered a family of Storm Giants!  These rare magical beings had been ensorcelled by the Mage College and been given to Gorhim as thralls.  The Giants were ill-kept and the party immediately planned to try and save, rather than battle, these guardians of the fort.

The battle was glorious as our adventurers worked together to use all of their various abilities.  Selena and Veriliegh used a combination of powers to free the Giant Father and Son from the magical enslavement.  The Skaldic brothers charged in to find the traitorous Chieftan, while Spencer and Azrael used their stealthy skills to locate and reveal the location of the Registrar monitoring the battle.  Andolin stung with his deadly arrows from his saddle, living up to his Marakeenian roots and nickname “the Wasp.”  Kremzeek and Mara got in close to attempt to help the raging Giantess, who battled her own family with tears streaming down her face.

The Skaldic traitor

The party won the day, but with a cost.  Andolin’s arrow pinned the registrar’s skull to the parapet, ending the spell’s control.  The Giants were now free, but only after Tarrin’s brother had been killed by a deadly lightning bolt.  Tarrin, enraged, tore the armor from his body, grabbed the disloyal Chieftan, and killed him with his bare hands.   The Skaldic forces arrived, and Kremzeek was able to claim the Giantess’ ear.

 

Now, Tarrin faces a complicated stew of personal and political pulls and pushes that could effect the entire group.  Will our adventurers turn back or forge ahead to confront the dark forces that have gathered to remake the world?

 

 

 

When last we left our intrepid adventurers…

The party was arguing into the evening when their uneaten dinner and a warning from the Empress arrived.  Feeling they were on the brink of capture, the party decided it was past time to make their escape.  The group decided that there was a pattern to the Magic College’s actions and that each of the powers of the realms had been promised some great Blood Magic boon.  To confirm this, they decided that the last realm should be visited and they were Skaldia bound.

The latch was given to Tarrin and the powerful arcane item from Unis Mythris opened a portal to his heart’s home, the Skaldic coast and the town of Ruske. They would not make their escape unnoticed however.  The Empress had an unusual and powerful spy, a genie!

Andolin and Azrael attempted to hold off the D’Jinn and his air elemental, but the powerful entities followed them through the portal and they were forced to confront the creatures on the Skaldic Coastline.  The party changed tactics and attempted to deal with the elemental trickster.

They gained a five-day reprieve and the D’Jinn disappeared to enjoy what the North Eastern Realm had to offer.

Our adventurers then headed to the Skaldic village to the mead-hall of the Lor Family.  Inside they met Tarrin’s eldest brother, Balder, and his retainers.  The Longhouse was a welcome respite from the chilling northern weather and surf.

Balder welcomed them and provided the travelers with clothing and lodgings.   The enjoyed a breakfast and some startling entertainment from a bard.

The Bard explained that a new ballad had been making its way up the coast from Ferthe, The Ballad of Gah-Dreel.  The original songwriter was a Lady who was the sole survivor of a terrible fire that burned down her entire estate and killed all the inhabitants including many children.  The Lady was the Mistress of Brightwater, who was Mara’s mentor into the secret faith of D’Dwynn.  Lady Brightwater is now described as crazed and will not stop singing the haunting song to anyone who will give ear.  Mara was devasted and the party worked to decipher the strange lyrics for its hidden message

The Ballad Of Gah-Dreel

As the party drew upon all their knowledge and lore, the fallen Dark Angel’s Gah-Dreel’s taunting message became clear.  The fiend now had Balder’s

Lady-Wife Silga in his clutches and he was attempting to somehow restart the Blood Magic heritage within her womb. Selena, the only True living Blood Mage, was clear that The Dark Angel was attempting to change the intended order of Ao’s magical gift to Humans, in effect becoming their new “Father.”

Balder, frantic and furious, has promised his army to the party, and now they are left with difficult plans to make.

 

 

When last we left our intrepid adventurers…

The Prava Phylactery was finally extracted by Mara’s undead minion which, as expected, immediately brought the temple guardians to life, all of them.  The blood golem that emerged from the Pool of Lamentations was a mighty foe that left a trail of contagion and madness in its wake. However, in the end, our heroes were victorious and emerged from the miles of Goblin tunnels with the Phylactery and themselves intact.  

A few miles away, a great rumbling shook the ground as the Children of Arach raised the other end of the Sunken Temple.  It was wondrous to see Ao’s stone visage wrested from the desert depths, and Kremzeek knew immediately this formidable task could only be accomplished with Blood Magic.

Unfortunately for the cultist, they had no idea they just spent their precious ichor fruitlessly.  Feeling satisfied that the balance had shifted now in their favor, the party left the scene and traveled at a more leisurely pace through the scrabble and sands back to DarJeel.

Our adventurers entered through Sinners Gate where they where met by a messenger and honor guard of the Empress bearing an invitation.

Esteemed Councilors and Attaches of The Blind Isle and the
formerly Free City of Arabar:

The Empress of the Marakeen Territories, 5th of Her Line,
Twin Blessed, and Defender of the Sands, The Steppes, 
The Cities and the Seas, Fatimah bint-Prava requests the
honor of your presence at Her Majesty's Winter Palace, the
Kudu of DarJeel.
The Empress Fatimah bint-Prava

Our group felt little choice but to accept the escort.  Once inside the walls that surrounded the Kudu, they witnessed the Empress descend on Gryphon-back and address her troops to prepare for war.  Disregarding normal courtly decorum, the Empress then approached the group and gave them an informal welcome and invitation to rest and relax.  Selena couldn’t help notice the Empress’ tattoos had been applied in the style of her own, that of a Blood Mage, which she wore unabashedly.

Dinner began with introductions of her the councilors General Asadeen, High Priestess Safana, and Kaseem the Master of Coin.   However, before the meal began the Empress laid bare her expectation that the Prava Phylactery would be returned.  The dinner then turned into a heated negotiation that the party found neither restful nor relaxing.  After much discussion, our heroes headed back to their rooms to contemplate their next move.

Master Of Coins
The General
High Priestess of The Twins