Tales of Lusionia

S2: Episode 10 - Getting Mangled
Unnatural forms are borne of unnatural means...

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Borjalai

Forsake/Month VII, 933 HKV

Standing at the doors of the Old Hallows Crypt, the party noticed numerous graves nearby that had been seemingly opened from the inside. Steeling their nerves, they used the key to unlock the thick chains across the crypt doors, pulled them to the side, and opened the large, stone doors.

By torchlight, the party discovered the dusty tombs of The Blood Guard, each emblazoned with the symbol of a cross with two horizontal bars, twenty-four tombs in all. On the far wall was was painted a well-preserved mural, depicting a great battle between The Blood Guard and some kind of large, menacing demon.

Stepping forward to inspect further, the doors suddenly sealed themselves, shrouding the tomb in darkness as an undead creature leaped from the ceiling. It was a twisting mass of stitched-together human limbs and bodies, with multiple arms and legs, and set upon the party with roiling fury.

With surprising fortitude, the party proved triumphant in dispatching the creature, and found two unique swords within identical tombs in the crypt’s back corners, each emblazoned with a name – Sir Owen of Caliphas and Lady Vastra of Eurn. The two swords looked identical.

Inside the secret compartment of a stone table at the center of the room, Baergub discovered and promptly sipped from a bottle of liquid, which resulted in a belch of fire. He kept the bottle, filled with Dragonswill.

Continuing their investigation of the room, the party found a small stone indentation at the base of the mural, which looked glaringly familiar to the symbol that the mayor was wearing.

Taking their spoils and leaving the crypt, the party met the sheriff, and explained what they had found. The group made their way to the mayor, and upon confronting him, learned that he had been feeding townsfolk to “the creature below” so as to satisfy it. But until the adventurers had arrived a month ago, everything had been going fine.

The sheriff was all business, and tore the emblem from the mayor’s neck. She arrested the mayor, and told the adventurers they should go in and handle this, while she maintained the town. Vorlos in particular expressed appreciation for the sheriff’s decisive actions.

The party returned to Bart, and showed him the swords, which he explained were The Corona Blades, blades forged in the power of Eiosol for the purpose of defeating Samhain, a powerful underworld demon. He cautioned that their use would be necessary to destroy creature below, but he would need them returned afterwards, in order to seal the crypt for good, according to his research.

The party begrudgingly agreed to return the weapons after completing their assignment. But spent time in Bart’s tower, familiarizing themselves with the new weapons, and preparing themselves for the further dangers deep within the depths of The Blood Guard crypt.

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S2: Episode 9 - The Blood Guard Sleeps
No good deed goes unpunished...

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Borjalai

Forsake/Month VII, 933 HKV

Borjalai – the city headquarters of The Whiteflame Adventurers Guild, with a large building in the center of town, and a exaggerated torch with an everburning white flame upon it. The city bustled with activity as the party entered inside, some obviously much more familiar with the place than others. They entered into the headquarters.

In the front of the room, the party met with Rook, the man whom had originally hired several of them. The stocky man was barking at a group of new hires, in a strange echo of what they party members had originally gone through themselves. Taking note of them, he told them to go and speak with Nikodemus in the back.

The tall, thin Nikodemus, cloaked in a simple black robe, graciously accepted the Artifact, but more interesting was how different Bathsheba seemed to act around the man. Unlike the comparative disdain that she seemed to hold for most everyone she met, she actually seemed to like Nikodemus, and the others took note.

Ensuring that the adventurers would be paid for their effort, Nikodemus asked if the party would be willing to look into something for him.

He explained that a group of adventurers had been sent to Old Hallows Town just over a month ago, to look into some rumors of undead rising in the area. The task should have taken only a few days, but the group had never returned, causing some alarm.

The party agreed to look into the disappearance, and went off to resupply for the journey and to rest for the night. Guin spoke to the Whiteflame Runners, specifically a young man named Tanner, convincing him to run to Tirime’s Sundries in Teloth to see about the investment she had made months ago.

Tanner explained that it would take some time, but he would make a run to Teloth, and have news of Guin’s business upon their return.

Preparing for their journey south, the party deposited funds into the Whiteflame Guild bank, so as to not put them at risk on their newest assignment, and set off the next morning with a caravan for a week’s journey to Eastpointe. The trip was rather uneventful, but long, and after resupplying in Eastpointe, they entered into the swampy lands of Old Hollows.

On the muddy road into the city, the party was set upon by undead, freshly risen corpses who began to attack them on the road towards the town, and bit Bathsheba’s horse. Despite the danger, she continued to utilize the animal, and they continued into the town.

Upon Old Hollows Town, they found they weren’t exactly welcomed by the townsfolk, who seemed resistant upon finding more “adventurers” amongst them. The sheriff, a half-elf named Osiri, was particularly pointed in her disdain for them, and ordered them to either speak with the mayor to obtain permission to stay, or to leave.

The party made their way to the mayor’s home, being guarded over by the goliath, Bask, who rang a bell and summoned a servant to take the party to the mayor.

Mayor Ethan Burke seemed quite unhelpful, but eventually offered them a key and a deal – if the party wished to enter the crypt to deal with the undead, they could, but the town would seal the doors behind them. And, there was only the one key.

Declining at first, the party did obtain permission to stay in the town, and made their way to the Bygghon temple, where they were met by an elven druid, Aska. She directed them to the stacks in the back of the building, where they found Bartholomew, or “Old Bart,” studying through numerous books. He was pleased to find that Nikodemus had sent someone.

Bart was an old scholar, without any real magical skill, but posessing vast knowledge of magical information.

He explained what he understood of the undead situation, as well as that the previous party, led by a fighter named Griff, had not been seen since they entered the crypt nearly a month ago, but that people were continually disappearing from the town, the townsfolk were getting scared, and something needed to be done.

Bart offered them the same deal as he had to the other adventurers, 1000 GP for successfully stopping the undead.

Accepting the assignment, the party made their way back to the mayor, and took his deal, taking the key. They they promptly made their way to the smithing quarter, finding two smiths, Torm and Ronk, bickering back and forth with one another. Guin wanted to copy the key, and offered pay to make the attempt. The two smiths argued over who was more qualified, before finally, Ronk took the job, saying it would take at least a day.

Stymied, but curious, the party made their way to the crypt entrance in the graveyard, and prepared to enter.

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S2: Episode 8 - Back from the Future
The future hasn't been written yet...

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Thokk

Forsake/Month VII, 933 HKV

Through the swirling of time, the party finally stepped through the portal and onto the solid ground of a familiar location – The now-quiet cavern beneath the Temple of Thokk.

In a quick investigation, the party realized that the aged man whom Guin had spoken with inside the device, and the young woman inside the sphere were both gone, the device laying dormant. Making their way across one of the cavern bridges, they noted that the center bridge was still scorched and broken, but seemed to have been left for some time.

In the upper floor, they noted that Parish Aimes was also gone. Somewhat confused, they made their way back to the surface, and to the Ivory Torch, surprising Ruland with their return. He’s shocked to discover that the party has been successful in retrieving the Artifact, and marvels that they are even here, months after they had left him before.

Worn and tired, the party rested until morning, then leaving for the coastal city of Templeport at dawn.

Templeport looked to have once been a rather prosperous town, but fell into disrepair with more traders preferring to sail to Portertown or Lansing, and then further devastated by the invading goblin forces. Still, a hardy few residents stubbornly stayed, and so the party looked into finding a ship to gain passage back to Borjalai.

The party spoke with the owner of the Hope and Anchor inn, Westley, who explained that the next ship to come in would arrive in just over a week.

Disgruntled, but realizing that a trip by land would take easily a month, the party settled in for a wait, spending their time repairing their weaponry, practicing skills, and even helping to repair the town in return for food and board.

A week later, a ship arrived in the town, a caravel called Wishful Thinking. The Captain, Preston Marbury, bartered with them for passage for a little more than normal, but the party paid anyway and climbed aboard. The few days of sailing went relatively smoothly, aside from a minor incident with Baergub scaring the crew by sleepily stepping out onto the deck in the guise of a tiger.

Arriving in the massive city of Portertown, the party said farewell to the crew of the Thinking, and separated to get supplies.

Bathsheba attempted to procure armor from a smith named Rellon, the best armorer in the area, but was turned off by the man’s unlikable attitude, and instead makes her way back to an inn.

Vorlos set off to find some female companionship, and succeeded, spending the night away from the party with a woman named Rexia.

In the night, a small boy attemped to rob from the Baergub, but was chased away before retrieving anything.

The next day, the party meets with Morden Bottle, a halfling cousin of Karoma and Tira who was headed for Borjalai, but was much less hospitable than his relatives. He almost begrudgingly allows the party to come along with him as guards on the way back to the Whiteflame Guild headquarters.

Outside of the city, while passing a forested area, the party was accosted by a squad of bandits, veteran elves who seem to have no compassion for doing what they are doing. They are fought off quickly, and Baergub turns the last into a frog, saving him for interrogation.

The man states simply that “this is our land,” but seems to have no remorse for his actions. Deciding that it would be better not to leave survivors, Vorlos executed the man with a sword through the heart. They buried the man, and along with their charge, made their way into the city of Borjalai.

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S2: Episode 7 - Reversing the Sun
One should not know too much of their destiny...

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The Red Desert

Approximately 965 HKV

As the sun rose over the sands of The Red Desert, the party was called to a brief meeting with Shyael Woodenhawk, mother of Keyleth. Vorlos and she met gaze and recognized each other immediately, as the elven wizard looked the same as she had over thirty years before.

Vorlos asked her about Keyleth, and how the sword she was not carrying seemed to mean little to her. Shyael smirked, and responded that the sword would need to go to the eldest child of Ohas, and that in his youth, the leader of the Sabertooth had been very well traveled.

Annoyed at her misguidance, Vorlos asked Keyleth for his family’s sword, which the half-elf accomodated.

Shyael explained to the party that they would need knowledge of the Artifact in order to enter the portal, primarily from a poem that she was well aware of, that was considered a prophecy of exactly this situation:

“Eiosol herself must reverse her course,
Be raised from slumber by blood-soaked force.
That which is last must now become first,
As the light by which day comes is now been reversed.”

With this poem, she showed that, in Bathsheba’s hands, the Artifact could produce what looked like a glowing shield, a vibrant sphere of yellow light, that quickly disappeared. She explained that the sphere would only continue to glow if the Artifact continued to siphon souls.

Still confused, but otherwise prepared, the party met with the resistance leaders for a final battle plan. Each group would take a sector of the city, occupying defending forces long enough to get Bathsheba, the party, and the Artifact into the center of the town, and allow them the chance to enter through the portal.

To go along with them, a warlock named Kurann offers to provide his services, and the party agrees – if the man wishes to risk himself in what looks to be a suicide attempt, who are they to disagree?

The attack commenced, and the party quickly battled their way to the center of town, cutting down minor resistance, including a token guard force directly in front of two massive doors. Having found their goal, the party opened the doors and shut them behind, finding themselves in a large cavern with three large pillars.

Within, a massive thri-kreen monstrosity stood before them, pulsing with powerful magic energy and sending surges through the cavern. Vorlos rushed forward, axe in hand, attempting to hack his way through the creature’s thick carapace, but the monster never attacked directly, instead bowing down and then sending psychic energy through the air.

The party was forced to quickly discover how to “reverse the sun,” moving the Artifact’s glowing sphere from west to east, Bathsheba siphoning the energy from rushing demons in order to maintain the shield.

As the final platform was reached with the Artifact, the creature finally collapsed, disintegrating to dust as the swirling red portal lay before them.

Unsure of just what would wait them on the other side, the party entered the portal, leaving the future on their journey into the unknown.

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S2: Episode 6 - Reunited
The seeds of distrust sprout quickly...

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The Red Desert

Approximately 965 HKV

With Bathsheba watching in an observation box over the arena, a dispassionate expression on her face, Vorlos, Guin, Keyleth and Shade stood back to back, unsure of what to expect. The middle platform raised, and the party looked into Bathsheba’s eyes, with but a cold expression on her face. It seemed as if she did not care whether they lived or died.

In her tightly-gripped hand was the silver Artifact.

The announcer called for the beginning of the match, and the middle platform lowered in time with the gates rising, the horrors behind them freed from captivity.

Suddenly seven great hyenas sprung from the tunnels, attacking with speed as their companions, four lumbering half-ogres, followed behind with heavy weapons in hand. The party fought hard, the crowd gasping and cheering as they cut through the dangers before them.

Midway through the battle, the middle platform dropped out, the party luckily not upon it. One ogre attempted to tackle Guin and Shade, but the two rogues leapt out of the way, causing the ogre to topple over the edge to his death, far, far below.

With Bathsheba’s attention focused on the arena, one of the guards behind her snatched the Artifact from her grasp, throwing it into the arena, the silver rod landing on top of one of the stone pillars within, twenty-feet tall. The guard rushed from the box and leapt into the arena, moving with an unnatural grace for someone in heavy plate.

As she lands, her appearance changes to that of a changeling which the party had never seen before

Bathsheba herself leaped from the box after the Artifact, landing expertly, but unable to get to the pillar. The middle platform raised back, now carrying two wargs pulling a wagon, driven by none other than Dakka and Rayleesh, who call to the party to leap on.

As the party climbs hastily into the open wagon, Dakka prods the wargs, and Rayleesh leaps quickly onto the pillar, grasping the artifact before leaping back into the wagon bed. The crowd roared as Dakka pointed the wagon directly towards the open gate, and Bathsheba grabbed onto the side, still trying to get at the Artifact.

The wagon made its way to the open desert, but the party was still being pursued by Thri-Kreen riding strange-looking locust mounts, firing poison spines. Guin’s crossbow was drawn, firing back at the pursuers, and as the insect creatures leaped into the wagon to battle hand to hand, Vorlos, Shade, Bathsheba and the changeling were able to dispatch them handily.

The final thri-kreen mount fell, and the party rushed into the dust.

The changeling introduced herself as Sooth, an ally of Dakka, Rayleesh, and Shade, who had been necessary to get the party into the arena, and to get a chance at obtaining the Artifact.

The wagon finally stopped at a small camp just north of the Thri-Kreen settlement, and the party unloaded, still unsure of what was going on, and still watching Bathsheba warily. Two aged shifters approached them, each rather familiar, but much older than the last time the group had seen them.

Bonebreaker, the former sheriff of Lansing, greeted them as he tended to the Wargs, and Captain Drift of Tetradias invited them into the camp’s main tent to explain the situation to the bewildered adventurers.

Drift explained that bringing the Artifact through the red portal had created a magical storm of some kind, a red storm which slowly began to grow larger and larger, decimating first the city of Thokk, and then Tetradias, and then further and further south as it continued to consume Lusionia for the past thirty years.

The party incredulously acknowledge the passage of time.

With the storm continuing, the survivors that could ventured further and further south, down to the Red Desert to escape destruction, but many had lost hope, simply wandering into the storm instead of attempting to barely survive.

Nine months ago, however, Shade arrived, providing some insight into the possible cause of the storm itself, and a possibility of resolving it.

Shade had explained Bathsheba’s presence, with the necromancer gaining great reknown in the arena for the past year, her ability to pull the very souls from victims regarded as a great talent of interest to the Thri-Kreen, offering her a method of survival in the desert wasteland.

The adventurers realized that thirty years had passed since they stepped through the portal, and that this was the future that had been created since. In order to return to their present, and to stop this nightmare future from occuring, they would need to pass the artifact back through a portal located in the heart of the changeling slave camp they had passed the day before.

Right through the hundreds of thri-kreen guards.

But, the camp had several warriors of their own, and a plan was forged to make a desperate battle, with the party entering into the portal chamber to turn back the clock and save the future.

As the others left, Vorlos and Guin spoke with one another, unsure of Bathsheba’s allegiance. Would she be able to be trusted? Could she be trusted?

Questions in their minds, they settled into rest, with a great challenge close on the horizon.

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S2: Episode 5 - Scorpion in the Bed
Trust can be a brittle bond...

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Location Unknown

Date Unknown

As the morning rose, the party noticed that the oppressive red mist had faded off to a clear blue sky, almost as if it had been caused by some kind of reddish fog. Emerging from the cave, they were surprised to find both Shade and Bathsheba surrounded by numerous Thri-Kreen, pointed spears threatening.

With only the barest of hestitation, the party leaped into the fray, noticing that Bathsheba seemed to be able to actually communicate with the creatures telepathically. With the extra danger, the creatures called upon some heavy reinforcements, bursting from the sand, with Shade able to carefully dodge his way up and over, seeming to dance with his deadly blades, backflipping over a creature and cutting it down with expert grace.

Bathsheba, surprisingly grateful to see them, insisted that they make their way towards the nearby city, where far off, they saw a massive number of slaves, and realized that these were the remnants of the lost changeling nation of Kopul-Vul, now enslaved by the Thri-Kreen.

Upon approaching the city, they were surrounded, but strangely, Bathsheba was able to communicate with them, and explained that these were new warriors for “the arena.”

The group were escorted to the massive arena, which seemed to dwarf the surrounding area. As they entered, they were guided underneath the structure, where they were accepted into the lower holdings, though the guards and trainers were very intimidated and confused by Bathsheba’s presence, and she was carefully escorted away from the others.

Confused, the party entered, and were confronted with the truth – they were to fight in the arena, and here is where they would rest and prepare for it. WIth little choice and many questions, the party agreed, stepping into the fray. Deep in the back shadows, Vorlos noticed a warrior in the corner of the “lobby,” whom he eventually recognized as Tamond Ward, a skilled gladiator that the barbarian had faced in the Festival of Sand.

The gladiator looked several years older than the last time Vorlos had seen him, with several wrinkles upon his face. When pressed about why he was there, Ward said simply, “to fight in the Arena, same as you.” The aged warrior explained that they were now in the Red Desert, acting as if these were things that the barbarian should know.

Vorlos noted that traveling from the north of Lusionia to the far south in such a short amount of time should not have been possible, and the implications of his conversation with Tamond stuck with him.

After eating and resting, the party were scheduled the first fight of the morning, and were released into the arena, which Keyleth was not keen about. Still, the party kept close to one another and approached the center, with the shouts of the humanoids and thri-kreen twitches of the crowd nearly overpowering.

But as the arena’s announcement rang out, in loud voice, the speaker proclaimed that this fight would be overseen by the great champion of the arena.

The party looked up, and saw Bathsheba standing high above them as the gates raised.

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S2: Episode 4 - Treachery
Allies shift like the swirling winds...

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Temple of Thokk – Western Tetradias

Drakeforce/Month V, 933 HKV

With chasm, bridges, and distance between them, the members of the Whiteflame Guild faced off against the Faux-Paladins of Kotavasus, as the paladins threatened the party in order to convince them to leave The Artifact. The previously affable Spin pulled a glowing blue cube from his robe, and began to approach.

Bathsheba, seeing an opportunity, reached up and gripped the silver Artifact, which immediately caused the creation of a swirling vortex of red energy behind the party, and slowly began to build a small storm within the chamber. With barely a glance, Bathsheba took the Artifact, and leaped into the portal, followed immediately by Shade as he jumped in after her.

Falenas approached slowly as the groups continue talking, in an attempt at peaceable resolution, but Biter and Roxley step back as Spin rushes to the chain statue puzzle and moves the dagger from one slot to another, triggering a rumble through the cavern. The three ran for the bridges.

Baergub, in response, created a ball of fire that scorches Biter, but Roxley and Spin make it across the bridge to the stairwell as four Helmed Horrors appear from the shadows to engage the trespassing party, who leaps to engage them with the help of the dextrous fighter, Falenus.

The storm above began to crackle with energy as Baergub utilized it, sending a bolt of lightning directly at Biter, who barely grabbed onto the disintegrating bridge, able to pull himself away and follow his companions.

During the battle, Falenus was knocked unconscious, and as she fell, her image faded away, revealing a slightly different face, more familiar to Vorlos, and a birthmark on her arm which seemed to match Vorlos’ own. With the whipping winds growing stronger, and the bridges swaying to and fro violently, the party leaped into the unknown by entering the portal behind them, the faux-paladin leader in tow.

The party found themselves in a land of desolate red sands and mists, with no discernible landmarks in sight. The half-elf explained that her name was Keyleth, the daughter of Shyael Woodenhawk, only recently reunited with her mother, having been orphaned at birth, and for most of her life.

She detailed that she and her former companions were members of the Arjunian Ravens, a well-known mercenary band in far eastern Lusionia, and we tasked with the retrieval of The Artifact for an unknown benefactor who was willing to pay an exorbitant sum for the trinket. She utilized stealth and the ruse of a group of paladins as a way to not attract attention on the way to the Temple, the group believing that paladins on pilgrimage from the south would pass unnoticed.

However, their plans were hindered by the goblin army’s arrival, which slowed their progress significantly as they navigated to southern Tetradias’ wilderness.

Satisfied in her history, Vorlos presented Keyleth with the Sabertooth blade, but Keyleth explained she has no interest in it, knowing exactly who The Direfist was, and what the blade represents. Vorlos was quite displeased, though Keyleth took the weapon anyway.

Finding tracks that they believe to be Bathsheba’s the party made their way through a settlement which looked to have once been a city, the buildings seemingly carved out of the red earth itself. They investigated through several, but only found debris and refuse, as if the town had been abandoned rather suddenly.

With no other information, and the light beginning to fade, the party followed the tracks to a cave, where a cold firepit sat waiting. Inside, they set up camp, lit the fire, and weathered the night.

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S2: Episode 3 - Winds and Wails
Danger howls. Darkness smiles.

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Temple of Thokk – Western Tetradias

Drakeforce/Month V, 933 HKV

Decending the stairs, the party discovered what looked to be a small study, lined with books on all walls with a small desk in the center. The room was occupied by an attentive man named Parish Aimes, who introduced himself.

He explained that he had been studying in this little library for nearly three-hundred years, the result of a plea to The Old One to “learn the mysteries of the universe.” As a result, he had been granted immortality here in this room, with every book in existence at his fingertips, and an eternity to pore over them.

Subtly, Andre picked up one of his books, but it was in a language he did not understand. At the base of one of the pages, however, was drawn a numeric pattern which he didn’t recognize, but copied for later.

Bidding Parish farewell, the party continued forward, taking stairs deeper into the temple, and found a room filled with spike-covered pillars.

Within the various chests in the room were large sums of gold, silver, and gems, which they eagerly stowed away. In one of the first rooms, the party found a room filled with familiar-looking blue cubes, though it seemed as if the small items weren’t active. Bathsheba took several of the cubes for later study.

Guin came across what looked to be a small closet of clothing, yet each seemed a little strange, almost as if these articles were unique in some way.

She quickly shoved all of them into her pack.

Contining to explore the various rooms, Andre accidentally stepped on a plate at the south of the room, which caused the center pillar to open up, as a galeward within it began to blow wind in all directions at hurricane speeds. While Andre was blown into a room filled with mimics, Guin was tossed into a room filled with ghouls, as each member of the party was tossed into a wall as if gravity itself had shifted.

Vorlos, Bathsheba, and Baergub were able to make their way to the entrance stairwell as Guin and Andre tried to fight off their enemies. Desperate to close the Galeward, Vorlos noticed a small switch at the base of the stairwall, and pulled out his bow. Taking careful aim, he fired at a wide arc, and with impressive skill, arced the arrow in the wind and hit the switch on the first shot.

The Galeward closed, and the party rushed out to help their companions. For much of the battle, Andre was chased about by a single mimic, as the others cut down the ghouls. Their steps more careful, they investigated the rest of the hall, with Andre finding a small silver ring.

Guin, however, found herself caught in a crazy flaying pit, and felt that she may almost be killed, before finally being released. Satisfied in their search, the party made their way down the stairs, and found a large room with numerous wooden bridges across a large chasm, and a mountain of gold and treasure with a strange device on a platform in the middle of it.

The party crossed the bridges, and Guin got herself stuck on the sand, able to pull herself free, but losing her boots in the process as they tore from her feet, stuck to the magical sand.

Stymied, they noticed the large statue at the center of the room, of a cloaked man. It had a unique inscripted poem at its base and a small metal dagger at the end of a long chain gripped in the statue’s hand. Pondering over the puzzle for some time, the party eventually made a decision, and took the dagger, inserting it into one of the twelve indentations.

A bridge extended to the device.

The device seemed to be a a large orb with a female inside, seemingly absorbing magical energy from pipes behind it. Guin moved around the device, and noticed an old man below the pipes who weakly insisted that Guin did not “belong here.”

Puzzled, Guin turned to speak to the others, but noticed that the group of “paladins” had just arrived at the base of the stairs, and the two groups were now on either side of the bridged canyon.

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S2: Episode 2 - So Close, Yet So Far
Things are never as easy as they seem...

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City of Thokk – Western Tetradias

Drakeforce/Month V, 933 HKV

In the night, Bathsheba received a dream from one whom she could only assume was Wondial herself. The others, however, seemed not to notice, themselves asleep.

After waking, the party made their way to the market, and found the muscle-bound Biter and the ever-affable Spin smiling upon their approach. Just after they’d greeted one another, three others began to approach, and Vorlos quickly spun around, drawing his sword. A cry of surprise went up as the other backed away, the display clearly unexpected.

Calming words were said, and the barbarian sheathed his blade, though there were numerous worried glances from around the market.

The three newcomers introduced themselves – Roxley, the brusk dwarven woman, Shade, a hooded human with dark features and marks on his face, and finally, Falenas, the female half-elf and leader of the group. Bathsheba noticed that the shrouded tattoos on Shade’s face were those of a Nahkrim Ghost, but said nothing to her companions about this.

Vorlos was hopeful that this may be his sister, and inquired of her history, but was disappointed when there was no birthmark upon her arm as he had, and that she claimed to have no idea what he was talking about.

Falenas explained that they were Paladins of Kotavasus on a pilgrimmage, but forewarned by Lam, the party was rather unbelieving. Still, they parted on amiable terms, The Whiteflame Guild making their way northward through the market.

The party took some time looking at the outside of the temple as they continued north, and noticed a prominant symbol of the god Vindur, seemingly floating in the air before the stone. Impressed, but unsure of the meaning, the party continued their investigation of the city, finally arriving at a small tavern, the Ivory Torch.

They entered, and providing a symbol of the guild, the barkeep, Ruland, invited them inside, into the safehouse located beneath the barren bar room. There the party resupplied, and found weapons, bunks, and other necessities as they explained their mission to the barkeep. He explained that this was a very common “first mission” of members of the guild but that none had yet succeeded.

Incredulously, one of the group asked, “You mean we’re not the first to be sent here?”

“The first?” chuckled Ruland. “You’re not the tenth!”

Later that night, the party made their way back to the temple, unlit in the center of the now barren market. There in the darkness, the party snuck their way up, and discovered the party of “paladins” were attempting to break their way into the door. Annoyed at being in the way, the party decided to back away and check back in the morning, though Bathsheba decided to stay behind.

Without warning, the hooded man from earlier, Shade, seemed to materialize near her, and the two squared off suddenly. He explained that he had noticed her subtle recognition of his tattoos, and suspected that she was one of the Daughters of Nahkrim.

He admitted that he had once been one of the Nahkrim Ghosts, but had left that life behind, looking to make penance now for his deadly mistakes. He explained that he would not explain the necromancer’s visit to the temple this night if Bathsheba would, in turn, do him the same courtesy. She agreed, and the two parted ways..

In the morning, the party made their way to the temple again, and noticed a circular indentation in the inner door. On a whim, Bathsheba slipped the Wondial Amulet into the indentation, which fit beautifully. With an audible click, the door slid upwards, allowing entrance into the temple itself, taking the amulet with it.

Resigned, the party entered.

The first floor of the temple proved to be a trap-laden maze of locked doors, monsters and passageways, almost as if the temple had been randomly filled with creatures and sealed to prevent entry. Still, the party was able to navigate through, despite some injuries, and finally discovered a single staircase leading deeper into the temple itself.

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S2: Episode 1 - Ante Up
Anything worth doing requires taking a chance...

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Outside of the City of Thokk – Western Tetradias

Drakeforce/Month V, 933 HKV

After travelling through the war-decimated lands of midland Tetradias, dealing with the occasional wolves or other predators, the party eventually made their way nearer and nearer to the city of Thokk. A few days out, Vorlos recognized the tracks of another group, a small group that had been travelling a nearly identical path as the Whiteflame Guild.

They followed these tracks to the door of a cabin. They discovered discarded leather pieces, stitching and patches, all of which seemed awfully out of place. After hesitating and some cursory investigation, they party was greeted by the somewhat affable welcome of the cabin’s resident, who introduced himself as Lam.

Lam invited them inside, and when they inquired about the things they’d found outside, he offered them a chance to win their information through a game of Three-Dragon Ante.

Upon winning the game, Lam explained that a group of paladins, let by a female half-elf, had recently made their way through the area, using some of his tools to repair their equipment. He noted, however, that the group didn’t necessarily act like paladins should, and that he half-suspected that they were not who they were attempting to portray themselves to be.

Vorlos pressed him for more information, but the man explained he had no more to give.

The party left soon after, with the last of the sunset on the horizon, but the city of Thokk within an eye’s distance, about two hours journey. They discussed how they believed Lam himself might be something of a changeling hermit, but were unable to discern it for certain.

As they approached the town, they noted that it looked to be slowly recovering from the recent invasion of the Vghotan, with buildings in various states of repair, including, it seemed, the Temple of Thokk itself, directly in the center of town.

The busiest section, however, was near the southern edges of downtown, where a raucous tavern party was underway at The Salutate Inn. They entered.

Dancing and celebration was in the air as the party approached the barkeep, Melvin, for information about the half elf and the paladins, but their attention was drawn to an arm-wrestling contest at a corner table, with numerous people about. The impromptu herald, a man named Spin, goads the crowd into making the attempt against a burly man named Biter, just as he had handily trounced his last challenger.

Vorlos took the charge, and the two locked hands over the table. It was a massive show of strength as the barbarian put all of his might into the contest, but Biter proved stronger, pressing Vorlos’ hand into the table and claiming his winnings.

Later at the bar, however, Biter approached the barbarian, and insisted that the barbarian and his friends should meet him tomorrow in the market about the half-elf that he was asking about, as he and Spin left the raucous tavern.

Tired from their journey, and with food in their bellies, the party finally retired to purchased rooms for the night, and drifted off to sleep.

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