It's War!

The Road to Balkenport
...a distraction?

owl.jpeg Before leaving the Hamlet of Ebon Stone, Belamdil had a dream…

Belamdil, “You come upon a tree. Sitting in a nest in the tree is a large owl eating baby sparrows. Three adult sparrows lay dead on the ground under the tree.”

While on the road traveling, Belamdil shared his dream with his companions. With his interpretation and input from his friends, Belamdil concluded that the sparrows represented the Orwain family, relatives of Sir Arduin Orwain, because of the message in the tomb that referenced leaving a key to “Darkheart’s Black Spire of Sorrows” in the “sparrow’s nest.” It is assumed that the nest refers to Sir Arduin’s home. The owl is the sigil of and may represent the deity, Nok’rosh, god of the veil. His followers are devoted to seeking knowledge to horde for themselves to gain profit and power. No other insight was gleaned from the dream at this time.

After reaching Mortham Tower, the party secured lodging and hit the market that evening. In an effort to maximize time since it was approaching nightfall, the party divided. Reeve, Tansy, and Ethrias took the evil artifacts to a local shrine of Glo’ir where they met Tavion Shieldreaver, the Paladin keeper of the shrine. Stories were exchanged and the artifacts left in his care.

Meanwhile, Belamdil and the rest began selling the gear taken from the Anti-Paladin and her crew. After selling the horses, Blane was shouldered by an armored man walking by. The man then accused Blane of being a moron that should watch where he was going. Belamdil and Liathis both saw the man purposefully walk into Blane. Praxith attempted to intervene and cool tempers. The armored man told Blane to get his whore under control and apologize or he would be taught a lesson. Before Blane could respond, the man pulled his sword and issued a challenge by the count of three. A crowd then formed a circle around the two men.

While the crowd was forming, Belamdil was pushed out of the forming circle, away from his friends. Belamdil yelled to alert his companions. Although Blane heard Belamdil’s alarm, he was also aware that the armored man was about to strike. Blane pushed Praxith from between them and the armored man delivered a massive strike on Blane, this was going to be lethal.

Liathis was unable to push through the crowd to reach Belamdil, so she began throwing magic missiles to assist Blane while Praxith delivered healings to Blane. The armored man struck down Praxith in one blow before turning his attentions back to Blane.

Belamdil then felt a hand on his shoulder and a blade in his back. A man’s voice whispered in his ear to “remain calm and quiet.” Then, a portion of the crowd encircled Belamdil and his assailant. They moved Belamdil away from the street and into an alley.

Remaining behind Belamdil, the man said “Listen priest, you need to stop following me. This is my find. Leave it alone. This is your only warning. Next time will be lethal.” Then the cloaked man fled down the alley. Once he was out of sight, the thugs encircling Belamdil simply backed away and melded into the streets. Belamdil then returned to the crowd around the fight.

Belamdil was able to push his way back in to the circle and assist in the fight. At one point the armored man had dropped all except Belamdil and he was about to strike. Belamdil then channeled energy and all his companions rose back to the fight. Blane finally struck the armored man down after a long and mostly one-sided battle. Liathis then screamed obscenities at the fallen man and kicked him in the crotch while he was down. This drew a mostly negative reaction from the crowd. The companions quickly vacated the area as voices where heard among the crowd requesting the city watch.

When they returned to their inn to meet with Reeve and Tansy, men were already inside telling the story of the fight in the street. They also easily identified Belamdil, Blane, and Liathis as the folks who “beat the man and then kicked him while he was down.” The party decided to take their meeting upstairs and away from the common area.

They discussed the encounter, an obvious set up, but by who and why? Who was the cloaked man and what was his “find”? Which of their many quests was crossing this man’s path? The only clear message was the dream indicating that the Orwain family was in trouble. The group believed Sir Arduin was from Thiama, but without some research, they have no idea where in Thiama.

The next day, the group sailed across the lake, then traveled another three days to Balkenport. They arrived on January 23rd, sought out a shrine to Glo’ir and met Terresa Frostband who directed them to get rooms at “The Regal Gardens” Inn near the university. She will then take them to the university in hopes of finding a sage to assist with Black Pearls.

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Ebon Stone
Village held hostage?

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While traveling the road to Mortham Tower on the lake, the group spies smoke rising in the distance. They discover a hamlet with a burning storage building. Mr. Brooks, the town spokesman assures the PCs everything is fine. After attempting to inquire more about the circumstances of the burning building, the hamlet’s constable, at direction from a mysterious cloaked figure, orders the PCs to move on, “You have disrupted the hamlet long enough!”

Suspicious, the PCs leave by the road, then circle around behind the hamlet. Tansy uses stealth to approach a barn and discovers villagers, mostly children, being held hostage. With some scrying, Belamdil is able to see Mr. Brooks being threatened by an armored woman with a wolf on her shield. Reeve recognizes the wold sigil described as that of T’lath, a despicable deity and direct enemy to Glo’ir. He determines the woman must be and Anti-Paladin.

A plan is thrown together and the group attempts to sneak up on the barn as Reeve hovers overhead on Kealani. The main group is spotted and 5 orcs rush out to meet them. Reeve, initially wishing to help his friends is redirected by Kealani to the barn and to face the Anti-Paladin.

Reeve encounters the cloaked figure, a half-orc spell caster and the Anti-Paladin. The battle is fierce and deadly, but Reeve triumphs over the Anti-Paladin and skewers her unconscious form on the ground. Kealani is satisfied with this.

The cloaked half-orc is bound and unconscious. Two orcs are allowed to leave by Tansy and Belamdil as Tansy finishes off two of their fallen comrades. The hostages are reunited with their families and all thank the group for the rescue, but stay clear of Kealani as he has retained his bipedal form and is somewhat intimidating to the villagers.

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End of an Epoch
Catching Up ...

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Transition 28 – The party entered the tomb of Sir Arduin Orwain in the ruined village of Strathmore in the Nemora Wald. The tomb had already been unsealed and entered. Evidence found included an open sarcophagus, a busted statue with the wall behind knocked in exposing a hidden tunnel, and a dead halfling. As the group began to search the small tomb, they were attacked by Wraith Wolves. During the battle, Tansy was slain, but Reeve prayed for Glo’ir to intervene.

As Tansy walked down a dark city alley, heading toward a door with light emanating around its edges, a golden hawk dropped from the sky, clutched her, and carried her into the air. Her next memory was waking on the ground in the tomb, listening to Reeve’s prayers of gratitude.

The party finished scouting the tomb, they found skeletal remains, formerly chained in front of a large stone, but carelessly thrown to the side. Charcoal and parchment were found at the site as if someone had made a rubbing of the carvings on the stone. After some time of study, Trevor and Belamdil were able to decipher the writings and discovered that part of them were a map, but with no frame of reference, they were unable to determine where.

I have hidden this map to Darkheart’s lair in the tomb of my master and friend, Sir Arduin Orwain. He ordered me to destroy the map and Torband’s key, but I couldn’t, knowledge is too valuable a tool to be destroyed, and yet, dangerous in the hands of one like Darkheart. So I have hidden the key in the Sparrow’s nest and the map within these patterns in hopes that Faeramriel will guide someone worthy to find them and bring to light whatever knowledge may be hidden in Darkheart’s “Black Spire of Sorrows”. I myself am too afraid to even attempt to enter his lair; I leave it to you, whom ever may be reading this message, and pray that you will not misuse whatever you may find. Faeramriel guide and bless you in your search for those secrets.

Along with the rubbings, the party did find a black, adamantine ring, with an inscription in the band written in Thiamish, “For my one and only love.” This is assumed to be the anti-magic ring they came for. The party quickly returned to Rumex to await the return of “The Greymoon”.

RUMEX

While waiting in Rumex, the group decided to clean up and rest. During her spa day, Tansy discovered that she had acquired a new tattoo. Upon her back are outlined hawk wings in a golden ink that seems to glow. When she finally revealed her new tattoo to Belamdil and Reeve, Reeve became excited and informed Tansy that she has been blessed and chosen by Glo’ir. Belamdil, slightly more reserved about the discovery, suspects that “used” may be the more apt term than “chosen”. Reeve has begun educating Tansy about Glo’ir in an effort to convert her to his religion. Tansy is listening, but still scared and confused by the discovery.

At the temple of Mytris, the group is disappointed to find that the temple has no solution for the black pearls and removal of the trapped souls. Vicar Victoria suggests seeking the lost library of Ulikras “the Harvester”. An infamous necromancer rumored to have extensive research in all things necromantic. Perhaps his notes may reveal a solution. He was rumored to live around Balkenport. Tansy feels compelled to accept this quest and the pearls are returned to the group. However, the temple of Mytris did confiscate the Black Axe from Reeve siting it would be better kept under guard than wandering with him. Reluctantly, Reeve agrees.

Reeve also receives a message from Alcinous Grivas. This name is unknown, but Reeve agrees to meet with him. Turns out, Alcinous represents a small group of men who seek to join Reeve in his quests. They all had friends and family at Chalex Tower and were told by Greathelm how Reeve defeated the demon and freed all the residents from torturous unlife. They pledged themselves to his cause that night.

January 3rd, the group decided to send Trevor and Reeve’s new found followers into Arda disguised as a spice merchant. Trevor is supposed to gather any intelligence on the situation and on a way to gain audience with the king so they can deliver the ring in hopes of dispelling whatever hold the Baroness has over him.

January 8th, “the Greymoon” arrives in port. Repairs are finished and tales are told. January 10th, they set sail for Drobetta to deliver a package. Grieving Persius, Tansy orders they ship out without cargo. Much is discussed about the future of “The Greymoon” during the voyage. And although the decision is clear, Tansy is reluctant to make it, and so the discussion is tabled.

In Drobetta, all sorts of things go wrong. The package turned out to be a magical assassination attempt and Blane was held as the guilty party for a short while. The group found the guilty party and presented evidence satisfactory to the Constable. Then, Lysandra was kidnapped out of a tavern and had to be rescued off a fleeing ship. It was a deadly battle for the group, Reeve came very near death, but ultimately, the group prevailed. And finally, Tansy had to face the truth, she could no longer Captain a ship she was never on. Tansy sadly relinquished “The Greymoon” to Persius with the understanding that he would use it to smuggle for the rebellion against the Baroness. Persius assured her he would, cut the current crew loose, and began recruiting sailors more suited to his new course. A few of the old crew joined the group in their land journey across Thiama to reach Balkenport.

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The Nemora Wold
To lift a curse?

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On December 7th, “The Greymoon” set sail with cargo for Dorminia. A few hours out from the port of Rumex, the PCs and party were dropped off on the coast a the southern most edge of the Nemora Wold. “The Greymoon” sailed on.

With no real direction, the group heads for the center. Along the way, the feeling of the forest closing in on them becomes very apparent. A times, foliage and limbs seem to fall directly at them. The party is ambushed by goblins, attacked by dire wolves, giant spiders, and encountered a strange animated tree that allowed them to pass on since their goal was to lift the curse on the forest.

During their travels through the forest, Typhon was slain during a dire wolf attack. His companion, Ajax, seemed un-phased by Typhon’s passing and insisted that the group press forward. Rydan collected Typhon’s backpack, but his weapons and armor were left behind.

The party found some ruined structures and began investigating. Tansy stirred up a wasp nest and became their target. She was chased to a river, followed by Reeve, Rydan, Belamdil, and Trevor. Once she was in the water, the wasps changed targets and began attacking anyone within sight. During the chaos, Rydan was surprised by a giant crayfish that dragged him back into the water. Reeve dove in to search for Rydan while Belamdil dove in to escape the wasp attacks. The crayfish attacked Reeve and they exchanged blows. The crayfish gave up after taking a couple of massive hits from Reeve and swam away.

After emerging, the party learned that Reeve had no luck and the Trevor had been attacked by the wasps. Belamdil was able to revive Trevor, but, even after finding the crayfish’s probable lair, no sign of Rydan was evident. The party decided they may have better luck if they lifted the curse on the forest and tracked back to the ruins. Ajax was not waiting when they returned.

The party found a central wall and gate, managed to climb the gate, and entered a central grove containing a giant oak tree surrounded by a high, thick wall of thorns. Ajax was found inside the wall and rejoined the group. Four structures were found at compass points around the tree, but no clue as how to enter through the thorns.

The party decides to search Typhon’s body for a clue past the thorn wall. After tracking back through the woods, the group finds a wand tucked into Typhon’s belt. Upon returning to the ruins, Belamdil is able to use the wand to open an archway through the thorn wall.

Upon entering the presence of the Great Oak, the presence of evil is palpable. A large black axe can be seen buried into the trunk of the tree, a sound sizzling sound can be heard as a small stream of smoke rises from the entry point. Dark, black ichor oozes from the wound in the tree’s trunk.

Immediately, Ajax moves and wrenches the axe free from the tree. Reeve advances calling for Ajax to release the axe. With a look of glee, Ajax swings on Reeve, and the battle begins. Calling upon the power of Glo’ir, Reeve attempts to “smite” Ajax. But Reeve quickly learns the evil nature of the axe as he is wounded several times.

After Tansy moves to flank and with spell support from Belamdil, Reeve finally dispatches Ajax, narrowly avoiding death himself. The axe is recognized by both Reeve and Belamdil as the axe from Reeve’s vision. The evil nature of the axe causes Reeve pain when he attempts to retrieve it. The party wraps it in blankets, but the axe blade eats through with acid. Reeve is careful to carry it by the wrapped handle.

Tansy, hoping that the curse is now lifted, leads the group back to Crayfish den. They do dive and find a sunken alcove and the body of Rydan, long dead. His body is retrieved and buried on the beach. The party then begins a solemn journey out of the Wold toward the coast, evil axe in hand.

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Time Passes
I fell behind on log posts.

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The party has saved the young Corban Siderian!

Belamdil used his priestly magic to cure the poison killing the boy. However, the would-be assassin escaped. Tansy had Persius put a bounty on her, but nothing has turned up yet. The assassin stole the letter from Magister Siderian, so young Corban refused to join the PCs, he was having trust issues at the time. But he did release Cristian Radford to Belamdil. The PCs sent a letter explaining the situation to Magister Siderian. He was none to impressed.

The party survived Chalex Tower!

The tower was found abandoned, the occupants slaughtered and rising as zombies. Reeve had visions of quests to come. He delegated one to the party’s new companion, Garin Greathelm, a paladin of Glo’ir. He will undertake the rescue of captives taken into the Drow realms under the mountain. The PCs returned to Rumex turned over the “evil artifacts” taken off Matxal (the outsider) to the church of Mytris. The church has promised to see to the reoccupation of Chalex Tower.

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Port of Dorminia
Safe Harbor?

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Upon arrival to Dorminia, Persius and his men went ahead to secure safe docking for the former pirate ship. However, due to not fully trusting Persius, Captain Tansy sent Blane along to keep an eye on him. Blane’s upstanding nature got the better of him and he was unable to ignore the things happening in the unscrupulous surroundings of the meeting Persius arranged. The deputy harbor master was insulted and required a larger bribe than normal to let the ship enter port unsearched for pirates.

As the group approached the city gates, a man inserted himself among them. Before inquiries could be made, the group was surrounded by a gang of thugs demanding that Atrino come with them. The man, Alex Atrino, told them to be gone, he was with friends. A fight then commenced. The group defeated the gang, but was assured that their boss would hear about this. Alex thanked the group and left, but did pay their gate entry fees.

Captain Tansy delivers Ulpius to his mother. The meeting was cold and conducted quickly, paying a reward of 5pp and escorted the party out.

The group then met with Magister Siderian only to learn the Cristian Radford was taken to by his son on a gladiator tour. The guards are released to them as promised. Belamdil interprets the Magister’s nightmares as a warning of his sons impending doom. The Magister writes a letter to his son and insists that Belamdil and his friends find his son, save him, and escort him home. Cristian will be released to them with delivery of the letter. Belamdil agrees and the Magister states that he will owe him. Tarsius escorts the group back to their ship to see them off.

Once they return to the ship, Captain Tansy learns of three sailors who have bailed and a rescue mission in progress for Liathas. She can’t leave until crew returns and she recruits new sailors, they are just too short handed. Tarsius seems quite perturbed and leaves to report this delay in the rescue of his son.

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At Sea
Captain Tansy?

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On November 13th, at 4 am, the party has sailed out of the port of “Crag-Haven” on the stolen ship, “The Pillager”. After sailing aimlessly for several hours, a mob of 9 crowds around Tansy and Belamdil to ask what the plans are now. Tansy informs them that they are going to head for “Dorminia” in Reglosia. Many of the small group are opposed to this idea.

After the brief meeting, an inventory of the ship is conducted by Belamdil. Tansy and Chief Cob consult maps in the captain’s cabin. There, the chief asks Tansy what her intentions are as far as leadership on this boat. Tansy decides to declare herself captain.

A public forum is called at which Tansy asserts herself as captain and takes a vote on their destination of Reglosia. The decision is for Reglosia by almost 2/3. Belamdil successfully smooths things over with the dissenters. At this point, there is no imminent threat of mutiny. But a handful of former slaves and former pirates are not excited about their destination. The chief navigates a course, poorly, and Tansy successfully pilots the ship to get them on their way.

That night, a derelict ship drifts up on “The Pillager”. Tansy is awoken by the night watch. She sends one for Belamdil in the hold, who, along with Belamdil, brings the rest of the crew to see the “ghost ship”. After rounding up volunteers, Tansy leads a boarding party. They are quickly set upon by ghouls. The fight begins to go poorly for the party, but Belamdil unleashes the energy of Faramriel, and the ghouls drop. The fight is over, but the loss of one crewman weighs heavily upon the rest and murmurs among the crew circulate questioning the fitness of Captain Tansy to lead.

The next day the Captain orders rest after the long night. During this time, Reeve comes forward to the Captain with the Chief and reveals himself as a Paladin from Antares and his encounter with the former Baroness’s armies and tactics. He also pledges himself to the cause of rescuing their friends from slavery. Reeve also spends the day speaking to the crew on the Captain’s behalf, attempting to smooth over the grumblings after the death of Apius. Typhon, another crew member rescued from the Pits, pledges his support to Belamdil in the cause of rescuing friends. Reeve encourages caution when dealing with Typhon, he remembers him from the Pits as angry and out of control.

The following day, a drifting tender with 4 men is spotted and rescued. Persius, a smuggler until recent events removed him from his ship, introduces two of his fellow crew and one Ulpius Flaco, a nobleman from Reglosia. Ulpius assures Captain Tansy that if he is safely returned to Reglosia, his mother will give her whatever reward is asked. Although the circumstances are sad, Persius and his men are a needed addition to the Pillager’s crew as they have been functioning below the minimum required compliment of sailors. They seem to fit in easily with the existing crew.

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Crag-Haven
Refuge?

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Tannin follows Captain Toland with her prisoners from “The Night Rose” to “The Cellar”. By listening through some low grated windows in the alley, Tannin learns that Daman has a key that will be needed to retrieve the prisoners.

Tannin and Tarsius then follow Daman to a large theater called “The Pits”. Inside they learn that it is a slave pit fighting arena. Daman is seen with Captain Toland ascending stairs to a second level booth. Tannin also notes a pickpocket take Daman’s pouch and move into the crowds. They opt to follow the pickpocket.

They tail the thief out into the streets and into an alley where they corner him. They discover that the thief, Rydan, has the key. Rydan, a young street orphan, is reluctant to give up his hard earned bounty. Tarsius suggests that they kill the boy and move on, but Tannin is adamant they not kill him. Instead, Tannin hires the boy as an informant and sets him to the task of scouring the docks for “The Breeze Skimmer” and who currently captains her. He accepts and they agree to meet latter that night.

NOTE: It has been too long since I updated this story arc, I will skip a bit brother…


1) The PCs attempt a break out witch is executed poorly, but ultimately succeeds in freeing Magister Siderian, Nicolas an arbiter, one arbiter is killed, and the third is re-captured.


2) The group takes up residence in cavern tunnels between the two wings of the city with Rydan as their guide.


3) During the search for a way out of port, Tarsius discovers an opportunity for the group. After performing a few assassinations, passage will be booked for them. The PCs refuse to take part in such activities.


4) Magister Siderian assigns the PCs and Rydan to scouting the tunnels while Tarsius “gathers” intel in the city. Captain Toland remains in port and has placed bounties on the PCs and group.


5) Belamdil finally remembers he can remove curse, Tannin is now Tansy again! During “tunnel scouting” missions, Tansy actually investigates the city. She discovers some of the crew of the “Breeze Skimmer” fighting in “The Pits”.


6) November 11th, the tunnel scouts find a man captured by bugbears. He is rescued and identifies himself as Blane, and escapee of “The Pits”. Tansy hatches a rescue scheme for her old crew. When the scouts return to base camp, the find that the others are gone with their gear. (SHOCKER*** Tarsius was doing assassinations and booked passage from him, Siderian, Nicolas, and Voleta)


7) Wee hours of the 13th, Tansy enacts her scheme with Blane’s guidance on how to sneak back into “The Pits”. The PCs manage to free some of the prisoners from the cells, escape through the tunnels, hijack a pirate vessel, and sail out from port.

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The Night Rose
Rescued?

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October 27
That night, on the beach of the island, while the nobles feast and celebrate a game well played, Tansy sulks and grieves, but Belamdil dreams…,


“You walk on the deck of a ship, you are traveling toward the morning sun; the crew is working diligently. Then darkness falls, as if night has suddenly enveloped the ship, a single 4 pointed purple star has replaced the sun in the sky. The ships main sail, with the emblem of an eagle’s talon clutching a skull begins to smolder and catch fire. It burns quickly like rice paper. Looking about, skeletal bodies of the crew litter the deck; as the ashes of the sail fall, the purple star flickers and fades.”

That morning, Belamdil discusses his dream with Tannin and decides to tell the Magister. During the meeting with the Magister, before Belamdil can tell him of the dream, pirate ships are spotted approaching the Reglosian ships. The Magister goes above deck to monitor the situation and talk strategy with the captain.

One of the pirate ships is identified as “The Night Rose”, pirate notorious for hating Reglosians and slavery. Magister Siderian quickly proposes a plan to Belamdil to save himself and the arbiters from the hunt. He suggests that Belamdil and Tannin join Tarsius, disguise themselves as his slaves, and wait for “rescue”. Upon being captured by the pirates, Belamdil will then convince the captain of “The Night Rose” to keep Siderian and his arbiters alive for ransom. After agreeing, Tarsius leads the PCs to the slave deck where they change clothes and discard their gear.

The ship is indeed overtaken by the pirates. After some time, Belamdil is able to convince Captain Toland of “The Night Rose” to take the Magister and his arbiters as her prisoners. This infuriates the other pirate captain who claims that he had rights to prisoners according to their deal. Captain Toland dismisses the other captain telling him to get over it.

After four days of sailing, and a tense, quasi love triangle between Captain Toland, Tannin, and the 1st Mate, the ship pulls into port at Crag-Haven on November 3rd. The slaves are escorted off the ship and left on the docks, free and helpless.

Tarsius, Tannin, Belamdil, and Voleta set-up surveillance on “The Night Rose”. Tannin takes the first shift while Tarsius takes some of Tannin’s money to go get the group new clothes to help blend in at this pirate port.

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The Hunt
A Most Dangerous Game

island.jpeg October 18th
After landing on the Island, the party sees a beach set up with tables and preparations being made for a feast. Two ships have already arrived ahead of “the Rapture”, and the fourth arrives shortly after. Many slaves are going about the preparations, some people seem to be visiting with one another. Magister Siderian excuses himself to go greet other noble looking guests. The party is escorted to a large tent erected on the beach for them and introduced to Quintus, their attendant.

That night, the party is invited to join Magister Siderian at the feast, it seems all groups have their own tables. One additional feature is noticed, a man tied to a pole close to the forest, outside the ring of torches illuminating the night. Dante recognizes the man as Urian Lasko, the thief who stole Magister Siderian’s signet ring. They are informed by the Magister that Lasko will be joining their team. He also makes it clear that he would not be upset if Lasko did not survive the hunt, even suggesting he be used as a decoy for the hunters so the party can escape any close encounters. After the feast, Tannin and Dante approach the bound man, the guards are alert, but allow them access. Tannin slaps Lasko, “That’s for nearly getting my brother killed!” Dante then explains to Lasko his best chance of survival is to follow their instructions and not attempt any double crosses.

That night, the party discusses what should be done with Lasko. Dante does not believe he will be allowed to live if he survives the hunt. Almaric asks how far is the party going to go to protect Lasko during the hunt and, assuming they return victorious, from the Magister. Belamdil uncomfortable with the thought of allowing Magister Siderian simply murder Lasko upon their return. No definite plan is reached, just disturbing feelings. Early that morning, before sunrise, the group is awoke by Quintus, “It’s time to go.” The group gears up, retrieves Lasko from his pole, shares what little extra gear they have with him, and take off into the forest.

During their head start run, Dante informs Lasko of what Dante believes to be Siderian’s intentions. He suggest that he Lasko not return with them, that if he sees another opportunity to get off this island, Lasko should take it.

The next day, as Molly guides the group toward the center of the island, the sounds of battle can be heard in the distance behind the group. It’s believed by Dante that this is two of the hunter groups fighting among themselves. The party continues deeper into the forest when Tannin calls for a halt, something is in the bushes ahead of them. Seconds later, a large tiger leaps out of hiding and latches onto Molly’s neck, raking her with its rear claws. The party jumps to action, slaying the beast just as it begins its retreat with Molly. After a couple of castings of healing magics, the party realizes that Molly is dead. It is decided that there is no time to bury her nor carry her along. At Almaric’s suggestion, Dante takes her head to prevent it from being claimed by a hunters as a trophy. The party sullenly moves on.

That night, Dante is attacked by a giant constrictor snake from the trees. After a short battle, the snake is defeated and no one is lost. The next day the party comes upon some ruins in a clearing that the forest is quickly growing over. As Tannin scouts the area and Dante watches her back from the forest edge, Almaric, Urian, and Belamdil are attacked by crazy eyed warrior leaping from the brush. He is dispatched, but the noise alerted a hunter team hiding in the ruins. The party quickly circle around the clearing through the trees as the hunting party converges on their previous position. More scouting reveals sewer drains and a trapdoor in the floor of a mostly collapsed structure. The party opts for the trapdoor and descend into tunnels beneath the ruins. As they search the tunnels, they discover that the tunnels connect to the sewer drains and the area has been trapped. Tannin is hit by a poisoned blade that weakens him to the point of collapse and Dante is heat by a spear trap. As the party rests in the tunnels, Dante decides to continue scouting ahead. After rounding a corner, he is set upon by four, large, bat-winged insects that attach to him and begin to drain his blood. Dante attempts to defend himself and yell for help, by the time Almaric arrives, Dante has fallen, drained to death. The party agrees that Dante would not want to be a trophy for hunters, so after a few words from Belamdil, Almaric takes his head and places it in the sack with Molly’s head. His gear is collected and the party rests for the night in the tunnels.

Continuing the next day, the party is swarmed by giant rats with relatively little harm. Some magical trinkets are found among the rat nests and while investigating them, Urian reveals he has some sorcerous abilities. Using a ring they found that grants Darkvision, Urian takes the lead as scout through a secret door into sewer drains. After the a small lead, the group gets ready to follow, but hears screams from Urian. As Tannin begins to run for him, he is hit with burning pain from green slime clinging to him from the sewer. The party uses a torch to burn the remaining slime away and discover Urian dead in the sewer, his flesh burned as if by acid. Without much ceremony, the party leaves Urian in his sewer grave and continues on through secret doors and tunnels, searching for the “trophy.” The party discovers two doors, one with the sounds of sheep, chickens, and men on the other side. The other door secured with bars and padlocks, blood stains the floor before it. The party bust through the sheep door to discover two men who surrender without a fight. The men don’t have much information, just that they use the animals to feed the beast through the other door. The party takes the key from the men, unlock the barred door as stealthily as possible, and enter. From the darkness charges a large minotaur. Almaric faces off with it supported by Belamdils magic while Tannin flanks it. The party makes short work of the creature and discover the “trophy” caged in the room. A beautiful woman, purchased to be given as the prize in this hunt. Tannin makes a face at the statement of “being purchased”, but says nothing. As the party tries to head back out, Tannin is caught by surprise as he rounds a corner. Warriors attack from either side of him and more can be seen behind them. Bottled-necked in the tunnels, the fight becomes desperate for Tannin. He is able to swap places with Almaric and get healed by Belamdil. As Almaric dispatches one and moves forward, Dog and Tannin enter the fight, facing the foes from the other direction. Tannin makes progress into the sewers where he falls, Dog fights on. Belamdil is able to pull Tannin out and heal him, then enters the fight with Dog, quarters are tight. Belamdil advances on a bowman at the entrance to the sewer before he can fire. Belamdil then discovers more men waiting there, one a sorcerer. Belamdil and Dog face off with the man in the entrance, and, after many wounds, Belamdil is forced to channel healing energies. Unfortunately, this revives fallen foes and puts Tannin back in a fight where he is flanked. Eventually Almaric makes it to Tannin as Belamdil falls, Dog fights on. Almaric charges to the entrance as Tannin continues to fight enemies in the sewer. Almaric grabs Belamdil and retreats back into a room, Tannin follows and uses his rogue skills to lock the door. Tannin uses those same skills to activate Belamdil’s wand and revive him. As the party rests in the locked room, Belamdil wonders how the fight goes for Dog.

After resting and healing up, the party again attempts to escape the sewers. Tannin attempts to sneak out the door, but a string of bells alerts all that the door has been opened. Tannin uses the ring and makes her way through the darkness. She is able to locate the hiding places of their enemies. As she attempts to sneak up on one, magical light fills the hall cast by a sorcerer. Tannin takes advantage of the confusion and takes out one enemy, then advances on the sorcerer. Another warrior charges to flank Tannin before Almaric can race into the hall followed by Belamdil. Tannin quickly dispatches the sorcerer, Almaric engages the warrior, and a bowman fires on Almaric. Once Tannin and Almaric take out the warrior, the bowman flees.

The party gives chase, only to find the bowman stopped at the entrance of the sewer, a woman’s scream is heard along with multiple other voices. The bowman begins to back toward the party. The party decides it is probably another hunting group and flees back into the sewers to make their way to the ladder. Almari, bringing up the rear, alerts Belamdil that the bowman is following. After Tannin leads Voleta up the ladder, Belamdil decides they have to take out the bowman. Almaric charges the bowman who quickly pulls a long sword to engage. Almaric is outmatched, but manages to stay in the fight with aid from Belamdil’s magic.

Hearing the sounds of battle, Tannin climbs back into the sewers to investigate. She moves in to switch out with Almaric while Belamdil climbs up to check on Voleta. After a desperate battle, Tannin falls. Alaric immediately jumps back in, yelling an alarm to Belamdil. Almaric, already injured, coupled with fighting over Tannin’s unconscious body, falls to the enemies blade. As Belamdil descends the ladder, he witnesses the enemy slice Almaric’s throat. Belamdil charges in and manages to defeat the man who has already defeated two of his comrades. Belamdil revives Tannin and they weep for Almaric. Tannin takes Almaric’s head adding it to the sack with Dante and Molly. Then what’s left of the party flees the ruins into the forest.

After a two day trek through the forest and one encounter with a giant spider, the party nears the beach. However, Tannin spots men hiding at the tree line. A plan is made for Tannin to ambush one and draw the others in hopes of escaping around them. The plan falls apart when the party is heard tromping in the forest. Tannin hides, Belamdil and Voleta fall back against trees, and the hunters approach.

As the hunters rush in, Tannin catches one by surprise and he is forced to engage. The others surround Belamdil and Voleta. The battle rages for many rounds with party members being flanked, defensively cast spells from Belamdil, Voleta never running but helping where she could, and enemies falling. Finally, Tannin has fallen leaving Belamdil and Voleta to face off with the lead hunter, but, after calling on his faith to aid him, Belamdil is victorious, the enemy falls, and the party makes their way to the beach. They are met by Magister Siderian, congratulated, and invited to rest, wash, and eat. The magister does acknowledge the lost party members but happily declares this hunt a success for his team. He then leaves the group to gloat to his fellow nobles.

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