Ancient Blood

The Road to Zerburre

Belim: Unless the party feels otherwise, I think we should stay away from prying eyes: no insignia, no group name, no confirm/deny on our activities. That said, confirming rumors about a nameless party of unknowns, and exaggerating their exploits somewhat, can’t hurt (for now at least.) The completely unknown is a hell of a lot scarier than everyone knowing it’s just us schlubs. We’ll stick to our mundane cover stories for now.

Not claiming credit for the freeing of Serdof – its a big deal… it means the group may go without the means to recoup some losses, but its better for accomplishing their mission – everyone agrees.

Hayden mentions that we would rather take a longer way – the priestess mentioned that to get to know the people, the best way was to go through the heartlands and through Pellan and Spanlet rather than direct to Zerburre City. This also coincides with Belim’s plan – as they will not arrive on the road from Serdof then. On their march, they hear about possible troubles between 2 religious factions. In Pellan, they notice there seem to be more women and children then there should be – but there have been no wars to decimate the population of men.

Zerburre City

One of the first things you notice is the strong Lightbringer presence. A well wishing from Aerna stands above a gatehouse to the city. It is also the first walled city you have seen. It was obviously once a majestic city… and although it would be highly defensible, only 2 guards stand at the gate and none seem to man the walls themselves. They stop you and asked the business of armed strangers. Seeking the Burren clan family, you are pointed to the obvious castle at the highest point in the city. The soldiers pay proper respects to those proper followers of faith – even those not their own. The guards make sure you understand that there is a rule of law. Keep your bows unstrung and weapons sheathed at all times – no bare blades under order of the marshall except to defend your life under similar attack. Violence is unwelcome here.

Zerburre Castle

The guards at the gate tense as you draw near and form up. You are asked to present some sort of credentials – official notice as to who you are and your business – commoners dont just get to demand audiences with the lord’s family!

<h3audience>
“I am Sir Anthony Zerburre, Lord Marshall here, under my brother Lord Julian Zerburre. The affairs of state keep my family quite busy, especially these days as we chaff under the yoke of the Twin River powers. If you are seeking a business arrangement, perhaps it is something i may be able to arrange more readily – i can provide escorts, i know the land and areas better than brother… "

After discovering what the party is about…

“Ahhhh, i see. Well, i have some good news and bad news. My family has no qualms about the information you seek. In fact, we take great pride in being able to trace our lineage back to such days as the settle of Dunstrand Vale. However, our records are merely paper records – as you are well aware, the river did much damage when it changed course. To truly get verification… you would need to seek the ancient family crypts in the ruins of Barclayne. Those ruins are covered now by the Grebell forest and guarded by the Saivelaugh elves… it would be suicide and folley to attempt to gain entry there.

Sir Anthony asks for Aid

“There is a small matter i would like you to consider doing for my family. You seem as though you are quite capable – and so i ask that you consider this matter in detail. Two religious factions are on the brink of violence in one of our most prosperous towns. We cannot step in to settle because our family has clear affiliations with one faction – the majority in this town, but the minority in our fiefdom and it may start a wholsale revolt if things were to go the wrong way. There can be no bias here – it must be a third party who settles this dispute. It began is one over religious matters, now… it simply is men and power. Settle this, and you will be rewarded with money, fine leather armor, fine arrows.”

The party is wounded still, not being able to heal much on the road.
- Samedi has half his reserves depleted.

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Hunting the Fay Elf

After Serdof

Finding Belia and elves, the party tells them they have returned with the Blue Gris
> “By the cleansing rains of Pthyia, you have done it. Our people and the lands of humans also thank you. Even now, the priestess in the Briarwood can feel the shadow lifting… you have done a good thing here today. The Blue Gris will go back to its place and the Callyberg family’s trust is restored; our pledge is kept. Too long have we spent outside of the cool shade of the boughs – we must return to the place you call Grebell Forest… but know that you may call upon Belia and the elves there if you ever have need. Simply whisper my name three times at the edge of the woods and wait – one of the people will find you. And after all this, i have one last task to ask of you. There is still one of those of our kind, one who has strayed and who whispers to his ancestors now and desecrates their memory. You have returned to us 2 of the 3 Fay of our kind but i must ask that you seek the last. He has gone into the woods and is using his corruption to make himself unseen to us. He is not far – of that we are sure. His condition is advanced and he is weak. I must ask this last culling of you – can you do this for us?”

The elves heal three of the group, but cannot repair gear. Time is of the essence.

Belia says “The people will not impede your way, nor will the woods. He tnered the Grebell there” – and she points to a spot between 2 large trees. “We will not see each other again until you choose to call in your favor. When you have put our Fay brother to rest, leave him and what he carries in the woods – we will come later to collect it. I wish you well, elf-friends.” The elves file past you in single file, touching you gently as they march past. A breeze carries a flowery scent, you feel rested and dizzy – smiling elven faces of the opposite sex remain in your visions as you try and ground yourself and you realize they have literally vanished into the forest in an instant.

- Beedel is left with a wicked bone dagger – an elven weapon; his connection to the spirit of the land allows him to wield it without it withering.

Beedel tracks for 12 hours…

The fay elf tries a lasso, spike and deadfall trap. All the while, we hear him laughing in front of us, drawing us onward…

As the rest of the group is caught in a deadfall trap behind Beedel, he swings down from the trees and tries to kill the one person who can pursue him further. He strikes a terrible blow (81 points!) which Deedel barely survives (if not for Hayden’s Pumice Shield spell protecting him), stays on his feet, and grabs the elf. Everyone melees and throws what they can and Belim strikes the critical final blow once again.

The group leaves the body and sword behind… the woods part and lead them the quickest way out, exiting near Serdof again.

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Incident at Serdof

The Town of the Dead

9142, Month 8, Day 15

Taken by Elves

Pegren Whitehall is held captive by them, in return for the party’s good behavior and help.

Return to Serdof

The group decides it would be best to burn the candles of favor they had. Beedle and Belim buide a short wall around the candles as a wind break and Jiles burns one of his for Ace. With the favor of the gods, the enter the dead town – and the favor they quickly use!

The body turns to grey ooze as the party steps over it and pseudo pods stretch out and burn the flesh they touch!

Attack of the Minor Spirit of Wrath! It seems as if only Grumwell’s searing darts can damage the creature. Afterwards, Jiles remembers his religious studies and says that often such spirits are used in the armies of demon lords! They come from hate, fear and anger. Jiles is overcome by one of them.

*Searching the Graveyard > * Beedle and Ace search for signs of recent disturbance on the mausoleums. The rest of the group waits at its edge, behind the short protective fence.
Zombie Attack! Two of the shambling nightmares – moving faster than normal – come from the area where the group was originally searching when taken by the elves. They come across the road but Grumwell makes short work of one, with his searing dart – it collapses right in front of him with Grumwell not taking one step backwards!

Exploring the ruins, Belim leads the group from the graveyard back to the Church of Gaia. At the corner of a home a few meters from the church Jiles is attacked by a yellow blossomed creeper from above – it tries to haul him up and strangle him.

Jiles’ armor is finally ruined, leaving him only with his buckler.

The Priestess of Gaia

She says her pwers have been limited by the curse, and she can heal the group seven more times before her energies are exhausted. The grove will be safe as long as she is alive – and there is enough natural foods and water for weeks for a single person here.

The Final Stand of Jiles and Grumwell

The group attempts to make its way north towards the well. A crowd of zombies pushes them into a trap to the east – back towards the graveyard. Beedel gets part of the group safely into a mausoleum they explored earlier but Grumwell and Jiles are overwhelmed and killed by the horde of zombies and skeletons. The group drags their bodies back to teh sacred Briarwood and Willema ensures they will not rise to fight their own companions. They will be buried as heroes.

Arrival of Hayden and Samedi

Samedi is caught by the elves just wandering around, and simply given a choice – fight or be locked up. Hayden Matheson, caught by the elves trying to deliver the parcel to Vraxen. He is sent to deliver messages from the elves that time is running out; in addition they deliver fresh armor, weapons, clothes food and water they had collected from scouting the town. Amidst the heap on three mules is something everyone can use. Hayden also brings word from your masters, Pekki Netherwood and his servant Grak. Your efforts are being followed closely and are well applauded. His own hand-written note reads “Hayden himself has been sent directly by those above me. Know that he is more than he appears – his skills are those of none other than a wizard, though he covers himself as a superstitious warrior. The Organization has sent him to learn the ways of the world here with you – though he is to remain hidden from the prying eyes of the crimson colors of House Malor in Dunstrand – his visit here is unsanctioned. Guard him well and he will look over you in return.”

Investigate the Well and Open Market

The well turns out to be shallow and the market is more of just a cheap market and gathering area. There are bodies in the real market to the north it appears as if the gris may have attempted to go down the well as some bodies died – all trying to get away from the direction fo the well.

The market area is a mess – obviously a panic started here because stalls are tipped, blood is in a few places and signs of combat are obvious. Then the group moved to the mercantile area north of the well – shops and homes: Stepping cautiously between the homes, you are not surprised when a single corpse, dripping brown slime, shuffles out from a shadowed alley. While everyone was occupied, Samedi (screaming) is attacked by a gelatinous zombie “thing” in a rain barrel. The zombies tries to absorb him, but the barrel is finally broken and the thing oozes out, unable to hold its shape.

Finding the First Elf Corpse
Continuing to explore, the group finds the first Fay elf corpse… from which they pull the sword and heart stone gem to return to the elves when they see them next
> Ahead, glinting in the sun is a spidery web of crystallin thread. Around this strange covering is an area littered with pieces of corpses which are mouldering. Fungi and mould of various types creep over splotches of the area. Lines, like veins, lead away from what appears to be a skeletal body trapped in the crystallline structure. Inside, a pale elven face in a rictus of death agony can be seen. Above the elf is a glass like spider, impaled by a silver slim blade from below. It is from this corpse that springs the crystalline webbing – covering the elf, encasing it like ice.

Visit from the Elves
Ahead, the air shimmers and an elf seems to spring from nowhere. He… or possible she, makes a sweeping gesture and bows slightly. “Lady Belia prays that you take heed of this warning humans. We know that one of our kind, of the three which she spoke to you about who have gone Fay has met there end here. Another has gotten away, back into the Grebell Forest…” (the elf hangs its head in obvious despir) “Yet one remains. Beware, for one of these creatures is a match for all of you combined. IF this creature has drawn any power for the horrid spirit yet trapped in this cursed town you must kill it as swiftly as possible. This is the only way the spirit can escape – to have this twisted creature carry it forth!”

From there they investigate the richer area of town and discover the exotic gardens of the rich overgrown. Its impossible to tell exotic from poisonous without a botanist expert.. the priestess Willema is needed here.

The group spies some sort of cyclone of dirt rising in the distance on the NE of town and goes to investigate. From the treeline they see one of the Fay Elves…
> Ahead, in the street, a lone figure stands. The wind howls around him yet no breeze stirs near you. A cyclone weaves a wall of branches, dust, and debris around him. He holds a staff, dragging it with slumped, defeated shoulders. His mouth moves but you cannot hear the words he speaks. His eyes flash, darting left and right, up and down. He glares at the sun and hunker away from it for a moment before noticing you again – starting on his lone trek and dragging his staff towards your group.
- Its a brutal fight with elf and his elemental allies. Bodies are flung through the air, Belim is knocked unconscious from a staff blow straight to the chest. Samedi and Hayden are both knocked away repeatedly. It takes everything the group has to take out the elf, who beats them all to hear death. Afterward, they return again to the Briarwood and deplete Willema of healing.

Exploring the Richer Homes

Over the course of 2 days, all 6 of the rich homes are searched and the last one, with unknwo violet creepers has fire used to burn back the vines and hacking used to gain entrance. Willema was able to tell the group which homes have only exotic plants and which were mystical mutations. In the cellar is a sub-cellar.. connecting a set of smuggler tunnels going under the town to various places – but in this case leading to the Blue Gris.

Fighting the Blue Gris

Burning candles of favor, spending blessings and drawing upon all their power the group attacks the malignant spirit! It takes everything the group has in a battle against despair, wails of doom, lashes of pain and misery and insanity. At the end, the group is disoriented and near to coming to blows with each other when Belim finally strikes the critical killing blow.

Leaving Town

The group leaves town and avoids all contact with anyone they see, seeing only the elves gathered on the edge of the Grebel Forest south of town.

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Kidnapping of the Flanders

The Flight From Elancil’s Revenge

The rain is puring, creating a slippery field. The group decides to simply run through the ring of skeleton warriors and take their lumps. Beedel falls once, and Horace twice – but eventually all the group wins free. Cold and hungry, with Grumwell sorely wounded, they make their way back to the horse picket guarded by Pegren Whitehall, saddle up, and begin a 2 day journey home. Elancil pours cold rain upon them the entire time, slows their progress. During this, they are attacked by what seem to be brigands. Horace is tumbled from his saddle in last place in line, and beaten with shouts telling him to leave Horpan! The ‘brigands’ escape in the semi-dark, cold and brush.

Return to Broken Spear Ford

+2 days; Vraxen falls ill. Jiles tries to pray over him but Vraxen will have none of it. “I aint REAL sick yet, boy!” he says. He gets worse, incapacitated from the soaking rain and cold.

The Kidnapping

+1 day

Checking the Facts

Turns out the victim (Sira Sebastion) has a bad reputation locally, and may be linked to Harper Knap. He wants “justice” and offers 100 silvers each to kill the kidnapers – notable is his lack of comment on the fate of his wife and son.

Parley with the Kidnappers

+1 day
One of the Jennings borthers agrees to a parley. Belim strikes a cord though, and he offers his family fortune’s location if the party goes and gets Sebastion (or kills him). They will not release the hostages, but dont seem to have a plan other than to make Sebastion suffer. Belim tells them that Sira Sebastion does not seem to care too much about his family and more about revenge. No agreement is reached.

Contemplating The Situation

There is a long debate over the fate of all groups involved. Jiles is swayed by his local sentiments. After much discussion, the group decides to leave the local situation to sort itself out. Belim notes that there is no good option here without breaking either the law or their own conscience.

Leaving The Fief of Horpan

+2 days
Finally, at the crossroads to the west, the group takes the south road into the fief of Bondeu, towards to town of Serdof.

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Into the Fief of Horpan

Broken-Spear Ford

9142, Month 8, Day 2

You travel into the next fief seeking the lineages of the ancient families. Broken Spear Ford is the next stop… you cut overland trying to shave some time off. The city, (Pop. 2000) is the ancient capital of the fief, though it now mostly lies in disrepair. Your sources have told you that the current family squeezes the populace for all they can, and has made the old steading at the village of Bluewhal into a fortified town. At the capital, there is still a town hall and a large populace, as all the trade routes still come through this town. Broken Spear Ford is the seat of municipal power for a loose collection of territories which include:

  • Hamlet of Osmich
  • Village of Dayool
  • Manse Jonesh

The ruins of Oxbridge Tower at Broken-Spear Ford serve as the town hall and jail. The mayor’s office is there, and he directs the party to seek out Charles Quirellmyn, owner of White River Dairy on the southern edge of town.

Charles Quirellmyn – He is the cousin of Flaumen Quirellmyn , who rules from Bluewhal Keep. Charles is the family representative in the old capital. He puts on a good front, and tells the party the records are safe, but that they are sealed in the vaults of the famly tombs to the north, in the hills outside of Dartmith’s Point. Unsealing these is possible, but its a lot of pomp, a big affair, very costly. He could be persauded to talk to the family if the group would help him. He wants the group to steal cattle from county Faer! The initial reaction is none too friendly to that prospect. After several minutes of exchanging inuendo, he tells them that it will cost 5000 silvers for the right ceremonies and signs to be observed. There is a final way though… for 1000 silvers and no ‘whispers in the dark’, he could tell them of an old entrance known only to him and a few of the family – they could then sneak in and verify themselves. He does warn the party, there are a few restless spirits that may bar the way, but they are slow or dim-witted and most can simply be ran away from.

Hiring Karl Herzog and Scouting the Raid

9142, Month 8, Day 3

Karl: Local huntsman (hand axe/dagger) can lead the party to the old town where the crypts are. His tracking skills are easily twice Beedels, and Beedel asks to follow him in all things to learn to improve his own tracking skills. Karl negotiates an equal portion of loot for his role in where the party goes.

9142, Month 8, Day 4

Disucuss Options:

Plan a raid: Karl says that there has not been a raid in 4 years when the party asks to help them scout a drive trail back from Faer. The party learns this is a “common” incident, though not as frequent in the last few decades. The track a place across the creek north of town and a path that leads another 15 miles, 9 of it into Faer, to a small valley where some 40+ head of cattle are grazing. On foot, the party makes its way back. As they are crossing into Horpan again, Horace and Beedel are pulling covering guard. Horace spots a cowboy on horse back apparently tracking the group… he ambushes the cowboy and takes him hostage. With little torture and a promise to return his gear and let him leave Faer and go north, the cowboy finally gives up the info. Theres a small camp with a cook, a teamster, and 4 more cowboys. Usually they go 2 in day, 2 in night and 1 at mid-day. There are 4 dogs as well – herders not much of fighters. Each cowboy has a self bow and hand axe. Horace has a plan that he will pose as the wounded cowboy, coming in at morning when 2 riders are out, take the camp by surprise and the rest of the group will use that distraction to deal with the others.

9142, Month 8, Day 5

Execute Cattle Raid: The plan goes off completely without a hitch, other than the cook attacked Ace and he was hit in his collarbone with a big frying pan. Only 1 cowboy was killed. All their horses were taken as the group came on foot to reduce the chance of being seen.
The non drovers manage to get over half the cattle heard back across the border. Arrangements are made with Sira Charles and he takes the extra head, paying out to the local tanner to purchase and fit a suit of boiled leather armor for Beedel.

Armor for Beedel + Follow-Up Plan: Fitted boiled leather is made for Beedel. Its pretty nice, but its expensive – over 800 due to availability issues out in the small towns. Sira Charles Quirrelmyn tells them of a secret passage that leads from under the old Shrine not Gaia in Tunwelsh to the lower catacombs of the family crypts. He makes the group promise not to disturb the dead! Swear on their honor! Once they are in, the path to follow is ‘right, then left, then right again’.

Belim goes to the town records with Grumwell and they research whats happened in the area. Tunwelsh was a simple site for a family shrine and crypts until a rock slide in the gulley leading to the crypts exposed a vein of silver. With the flood and drowning of the miners and subsequent deaths, few have been so bold. Twice legitimate companies have tried to claim and re-open the mine and superstition and bad luck has followed. Once some independent squatters tried to mine it. For a few weeks their luck held out, then they vanished and were never heard from again, Such is the fate of all adventurers, the last 17 years ago. Always seeking silver, hidden gold or temple treasure, or to wrest the dead of their buried treasure. None are ever heard of again.

Path to Tunwelsh

9142, Month 8, Day 7

Its only a few days – Horpan has some measure of roads left, but Karl is going slow, making sure he stops to talk to locals and get any important news as he goes.

Ambush at Gellards Pond: Where the Old North Fork road branches of at Gellards Pond is where an ambush awaits the group. Once all have passed, a hidden cultist of Elancil summons for a column of water and it attacks Horace from behind. Horse grabs his sadlle for dearlife and he is entangled. A few in the group are stunned, but Belim rides in and severs the limb holding Ace. After a few fruitless attacks on it, the group manages to get it to maul Ace’s horse while they try and figure out what weapons to use to harm it. Jiles and Beedel both spot movement amonst some scrub and wait for a few round before they confirm its a head and fire as it shoots up, Beedel nails the cultist of Elancil right through the head while Jiles’s goes wide. The column of stagnant pond water drops to the ground and the crew investigates. They discover the Holy Symbol and surmise that the cult of Elancil – once thought to be driven from the area, is back.

Haunted Ruins: Little was left of Tunwelsh. The group could find no evidence of trail use and watched nothing move for about an hour on the ouskirts of town. The old shrine was easily spotted once Jiles singled out the burned Beastwoord (though still standing) and the old foundation snext to it must be the shrine to Gaia. The thatch roof looked old and in disrepair, but as Beedel notes there should be no roof at all given the decay of the rest of the town. The party goes through the scrub (not town) to approach the shrine from behind. There is no back door but long overgrown trails reveal passage only a path back to the road between it and shrine – there must be other dwellers in the shrine, perhaps once again of Elancil. Beedel finds no way inside after sneaking around front. The gang assembles, Jiles and Beedel holding a trip rope and counting down for a rush – then they see 4 zombies shuffle from the ruins of the town and attack the party. Jiles coordinated the ranged weapons. Ace climbs up on the roof but cannot find purchase enough the shoot. After 2 volleys of various weapons, one zombie is killed. The group makes a defense on the edge of the burned Beastwood, and Ace joins the fight as they cut down the zombies with minimal lose to themselves.. in time to notice Timor, the priest of Elancil, adjuring something at them. The branches of the Beastwood animate and grab Jiles. The rest of the crew gets free and charges. Lightning splits the sky and rain begins to pour. The wrath of Elancil strike Jiles and Ace, an Onus hanging about them. The priest is quickly taken care of, though the wrath of Elancil is felt by those that strike him. Jiles suggests cutting his head off – which is done.

Shrine to Elancil: Grumwell find his family crest buried amidst symbolism on the altar and it slides aside, revealing a way down as Sira Quirrelmyn said. The group enters the cold, rough cut passage leading under the hill in which the gullet and crypt entrace is housed. It leads to a portcullis with the mechanism on their side. IT is raised, making a lot of noise in the proocess. Horace drops the body, feeling any need for it may have passed once in. Belim lights a favor candle to help them in the crypt.

Tunnel to Loer Catecombs

Follow directions: The group follows the directions explicitly, neither searching in other room sor even wondering. The group enters the offering room, as ecpected. Old relief sculpting, offering altars, a few sarcohagi and old tapestry remnants create a mouldering smell, and then the right wall a carved family tree into the wall of the crypt. Vraxen gets to work and takes a rubbing of the entire thing, not sure what is what. A half hour later they leave – touching nothing.

Ghoul encounter: As they reach the portcullis area, a ghoul is found munching on the headless priest’s corpse. The feral ghoul attacks, striking Vraxen and driving a few of the others catatonic in dread. The feral claws and bite inflict several wounds on the group, buts its attacks are random. Slowly it diminishes its physical presence to survive the constant blows raining down on it. When only Vraxen is fighting, Jiles takes a huge chance and attempts to use his gift of abeyance – calling upon the courage of Rstur. It works! The ghoul slinks off into the darkness… with Belim seeking a parting shot as the torn up thing.

Grumwell poisoned: It turns out that Grumwell caught a random swipe from the ghoul when he came down to check on the party after waiting in the church – though the ghoul got distracted and tore at the fresh dead body of the priest of Elancil. He is growing feverish by the time the group grabs him and returns to the shrine above. Jiles gets the wound under control, but cannot say for the infection. The group loots the church of valuables, totaling near 500 all together.

Elancil’s Revenge

Trapped in the church: Ace looks out the peephole and asks Belim to come over. They are looking out the peep hole at a village washed clean by the rain – including the graveyard. Ten skeletons have animated at the will of Elancil to get revenge for her priest’s death. Belim slowly turns and tells the group “we may have a problem”…

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Revelations and Next Steps

The Burning Memory of Reibar
[After seeing Harpher Knap and accusing him, Reibar is tracked down and his tale told.]
“I saw him and i will never forget him. That old man, the one stading in the retinue of Sir Carlin, he was Jon Kaplan – whatever he calls himself now i don’t know, but that is him. Did you see his left hand? No? Thats because it was burned in a fire. The townsfolk tried to kill him by burning his villa – a body was found but it was not recognizable. I watched my own parents executed – ridden down in the streets. He was there – right there when it happened. He ordered his men in the city square to make an example of the protesters outside his friends house. After that the riots started and the town became a living hell for three days. I always thought he was dead – everyone did, but he must have gotten away… and now he is still causing death and mayhem, under a different name, in a different place, but still him.”

Pegren Whitehall puts himself forward at the groups service. He is sufficiently impressed with their efforts and wishes to join the group.

Jiles Swone’s knowledge: The Darrow Brothers – Harpher Knap has been a constant thorne. He’s always trying to move in on their business. He has connections in Tadeus – he’s a farrier is all they really know.

Reibar is slightly mad…. the party should know he has not been the most stable. Prone to making strange sounds, and he’s become more nocturnal than diurnal… he is constantly hearing sounds that are not there. In short, he would be a terrible witness for any formal accusation – though there is nothing to say he is not right any he should not be believed.

Though there is no proof, the party asks to see Harpher. Reluctantly, and with a retinue, he comes to the group’s camp. There is a general apology for the way Reibar behaved and a sideways question about Harpher’s origins… He will deny everything and claims to be from East River Run
and have a verifiable history with witnesses to prove it. His reply has tension in it, and you can tell he just borders on asking for a formal apology… but a scene is avoided and he leaves – no love lost between the two camps.

The next morning, Reibar is found dead! Nothing seems disturbed, and the doctor/vet which is summoned says that it seems he died of a bad heart. The look on his face was shear terror. The doctor surmises that whatever he saw yesterday haunted his dreams and caused his heart to stop.

Foxgrove Stables – One Last Offer

Beating at Foxgrove Stables

Swone House Attack

The group is just in time. There is 4 (well armed) men on horseback that are setting fire to the house. These men are dressed as ‘bandits’, but once they are taken care of and examined, all their stuff is new – just like Steele Eyed Pete’s crew…

These men are posing as bandits – but they have horses. The PC’s find out they were local ruffians and go to their usual haunts to track down more info. They were also hired by a stranger whose face was masked, though a connection they know only as “The Fiddler”. The brand on the horses is from Cerran’s Grant – the only one doing business there directly is Wes.

Confronting Wes

9142, Month 7, Day 27

The group does some research before confronting him. Wes keeps 2 horses at the Goats Blood Inn. He poses as a mail and parcel deliveryman. He operates between Cerran’s Grant and Belmain. Wes seems very ordinary and has never caused any trouble. His job gives him leave to be seen coming and going at all hours. Locales know him as a quiet man and practical – they know he goes to Cerran’s Grant but Wes makes sure to never be political and to appear to just stick to the job.

The party is delayed long enough for whoever controls Wes to tie up the loose ends. They find Wes dead – his short sword and dagger still in their sheaths (whoever it was did it by surprise or he trusted them). The party investigates and one person stands out, a man who called himself Mr. Glassman was asking about Wes and the party that night in the Goats Blood Inn. The group takes the few remaining items from Wes’s room but there is little in the way of clues – he must have been poisoned, but its technically ruled as a weak heart… it all seems suspiciously like Reibar’s circumstances.

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Duel at Osic Bridge

Fallout From the Battle of Deniros Glade

The agenst of East River Run will claim that the two men were murdered by the party while they were pursuing the bandits. There is the threat of reprisal and the PC’s will be targeted with a smear campaign and family forced to pay fines and threats of higher taxes. Everyone knows that they were aiding the bandits, but there will be no way to prove it that will not be crushed in either political or economic means.

Balban of Ikribu

The meeting will be overseen by the Church of Light, priest Balban of Ikribu. If the PC’s can bribe them with 1000 silver crowns, they will force the baron to back off. Balban will take a dislike to the group, as he will sense their Wyld faith influence and the poiwer of Dunstrand.

The Baron Grus Sherwald, agent of Count Griswold accuses them of disturbing the peace. The penalty is either 3 months in jail and a hefty fine, or to be declared outlaw. The church of Ikribu and Balban will intervene for roughly half the party’s silver – to ‘support’ the legal system and as a fine. The party pays the fine, saving face for all, the Oighnan family is very pleased.

The group will be challenged in a travesty of justice. A minor knight from the north will be brought in and claim to represent East River Run, who feels wronged. They will challenge Sir Robert Carlin of East River Run; knight errant.

Beedel Feels Dunstrand Calling

You feel an overwhelming draw to the water, the river under the bridge – there is power there, power that can be given to Vraxen.

You feel the power of the land rush through you as you drop your companion’s body beneath the surface. His eyes go wide as he hears singing while under the surface! He struggles and then calms, staring at you through the rushing water and you both feel a charge. As you hold his chest with one hand, you plunge the other into the water, grasping his other hand and pull him upright, while he gasps and sputters. You stare at each other, sensing some subtle power at work which used Beedel as a conduit – though involved neither of you overtly. The Priest of Balthazaar stares hard at you, and though he tries to challenge the ceremony, he can find no mystic power at work.

Vraxen Tilts with Sir Robert Carlin

9142, Month 7, Day 21

Sir Stuart loans Vraxen his horse – cutting it up as collateral in case he loses. He also loans him a shield of the family – a metal jousting shield, well made and beautiful. Sir Robert wears ring mail, a helm, a shield and carried a nicely worked broadsword – a small fortune’s worth. The combatants saddle up. Vraxen is using all his concentration and does not fight in his normally boisterous way. After a couple passes, Vraxen is nearly killed. A massive wound in his side gaps from a lance. He barely hangs on to wheel and make what seemed to be his last charge. Instead, Vraxen unhorses Sir Robert! He falls from his horse, does not fall into the river, but scrambles up, staggering, drawing his sword. Vraxen stops for amoments and everyone can see him contemplate riding his enemy down. Belim motions to do the noble thing and Vraxen dismounts. On foot and in his element, he begins his usual swagger and trash talk. The combants clash for a few rounds, Both staggering and bordering on death. Sir Robert makes a mis-step, one which everyone can see. Vraxen takes advantage – having not the “knightly” scruples of his opponent and delivers a viscous upper cut as he moves past. Sir Robert’s head flied back, his helm spinning and his throat gushing blood. Gurgling, he staggers, falls, and crawls a couple feet away, towards Balban… finally dieing messily in the dirt.

The entire crowd was holding its breath, and now shouts in unison. Balban scowls, knowing his faith has been showed up as well as his allies. Vraxen is carried on the shoulders of the smallfolk, the party quickly get him away from the crowd – afraid of a knife between the ribs in the press.

The Camps Meet to Pay Respect

The body of Sir Robert, fallen in battle, is picked up and delivered to his retinue. A group consisting of a few servants, his squire, Balban – Priest of Ikribu, the man Harpher Knap, and a pair of attendant acolytes of the Lightbringer faith. One, a woman, confirms Sir Robert’s Death. Balban does not look happy – he knows he has lost the challenge of faith. For him, its now become personal and you realize you probably lost any goodwill the bribe to the church once bought you. Seeing Harpher in the retinue, Vraxen grumbles, and has to be calmed as he shouts for his death and chastises the group for not killing Harpher sooner.

Riebar, the haggard thief trailing in the background suddenly perks up as he nears the retinue of Sir Robert. He points at Harpher Knap and shouts "You! You! I know you! I was there, i saw it! Gods have mercy on you! You were dead, now the ghost returns! "

After a few moments of stunned silence, Vraxen throws out a crude comment about weak willed thieves to break the ice. Balban tells Vraxen his spoils will be sent – the sword, the shield, pavillion and and the horse. The armor is ruined, but is his to keep too. Mostly in silence the 2 groups part and the body of Sir Robert is taken away for cleansing and burial.

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Escalating Banditry in Belmain

Attack on the Darrow Bros. Farm

Attack on Swone Family and Neighbors

Meeting Sir Stuart

Over the next few weeks, the baron will put together a force and make forays into Belmain – in the name of subduing the ‘bandit scourge’ and enforcing the peace along trade routes using the authority that the Nanford Accord of 8710 gives him.

“I fear for Belmain. The Twin River powers for years have been looking for a way into our fiefdom. From the looting of our ruins, to the institution of their Lightbringer faith, their reasons pile up into mounting aggression. Our old familes – few of them have the means to stave off. Without the aid of outsiders, even now we would not be able to hold against them. The injustice of the Nanford Accord sends a stench across these lands and the Duke’s desire to change it is embroiled in politics. The money flows from the north and the blood flows across the river in the south. This escalation must stop or it wil result in occupation. I must ask you to aid us – not just me, but all of the folk here, in stopping this so-called banditry. My people know that land better than any others – it is still theirs by that much. They say that a force of several dozen is gathering at Deniros Glade. Can you ride there, with my soldiers and what volunteers we can raise, and meet them in battle? We have little to offer in way of reward, but our gratitude is a long memory and always a safe hearth.”

Battle at Deniros Glade

Oighnan family is told they must not intervene directly (by order of Baron Sherwald), but bands of armed men roaming their land is hurting trade and scaring he smallfolk. Yjr family and crafters have put together a small force of 30 men and have decided that they are going to confront the ‘bandits’. A couple that die are wearing the colors of East River Run -

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Terrovare and the Return to Tadeus
Stealing back their gear, its r & r time

9142, Month 7, Day 12; The party returns to the surface lands of Belmain only to find that all their mounts and any equipment has vanished. The ruins of Gnedfort City stand in the distance, and the party decides to put as much distance between themselves and the dead city as they can. The village of Terrovere is the closest locale – where they were threatened before and likely where the hunters followed them from.

The group approaches, tired and sore under the cover of darkness. It is easy to steal back their supplies and mounts form the unsuspecting villagers who believe they are dead. The locales have not even made much of an effort to hide them – they must have believed the party to be dead. Beeddel remarks that the theft of the horses and gear seem more of an act of opportunism than outright hostility. There’s no evidence to connect the locals with the quality and organization of Steel Eyed Pete.

Having found the proof they needed from the crypt of the Crithomyssis family on Rom’s Mount, they wearily head back towards Tadeus, hoping to report back to Sir Stuart on their success, and to get healing and replacement supplies from the Darrow Brothers Crofters – agents of the Shady Rock Merchant Coster… Tadeus lies only a few slow hours travel in the dark away. The group can probably make the Darrow Brothers farm before sun up, before anyone can see them.

False dawn breaks in the east as the group sends Beedel to rouse a couple hands on the farm. Two teamsters and the groomsman – a man named Jiles Swone – aid the party in unpacking and stowing their gear. No one asks questions, despite the wounded nature of the party… Jiles takes Belim aside and says that he wishes to speak to him of a serious matter later. He shows Belim his holy symbol – the lord of beasts – and says that Daruphet the father and Rastur, lord of lions wishes his servant to assist their party. Belim looks grimly and nods…”Later though – there is much to discuss”...

As Vraxen files past, Jiles steps out and offers his hand. “Its an honor sir… to meet the famous Vraxen! Your duel with Dolgrath Pritchard is legendary in these parts. Well, sir, its just amazing that you are here… i hope to talk to Belim about joining you group and it would be my pleasure to serve in your company.” Vraxen just sort of stares and grins… everyone has stopped, the exuberance overwhelming all else momentarily. “Gosh kid, maybe after i get some ale and shut-eye we can talk…” He shambles off to throw himself down on a pile of hay, kick his boots off and shout for ale.

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Caverns of the Bolg Morda

9142, Month 7, Day 9; Belim, Vraxen, Ace, Grumwell, Beeddel, and Bill Clay

Initially Beeddel and Belim are both knocked unconscious. The group tries to hush the screaming hunters that fell with them, but it is too late – they can hear in the distance sounds of movement. After getting their bearings, out of the darkness comes a man dress in rags – Riebar.

Story of Riebar

Riebar the thief has survived for years in the caverns. He is mad now, but continues to lurk and skulk and survive. The denizens are aware of his presence, but because he does not try to hurt them, and they cannot seem to find him easily, the consensus is that he should be left to his own design – he killed three hunters that tried to capture him. He came down with his friends, having been in the caverns before and fought their way out. He and his companions – The Strayhearts (out of Eliek-Sa; but journeyed far and wide, hence the name) were following the lead of the magus Birman Orc-Bane, searching for buried treasure in the forgotten Riverdans and came under the effect of The Suffering Tread. Half the band was lost in the initial battle with the giant half troll, half beast that dwells int he cavern – the Bolg Morda; and the rest vowed revenge. Birman was able to use his items to escape being exiled forever into The Deeping. They returned to kill the Bolg Morda, armed with Neerciss – the Spear of Rage. This artifact from their travels is an old Orrish weapon that they found in a burial cavern deep under the Tolkisson range, before Riebar came to the group. He and Bordlen retrieved it from an old pond it had been sunk in. Encased in an iron prison, the spear was transported to Gnedford City environs. The group was being pursued by local rangers, and they were trying to avoid being located and upsetting the locals. They were brought under the Suffering Tread, the effect landed them nearly right on top of a settlement, they were overcome and all but him slain. The spear lies in a pond of water – a pond sacred to some foul dark god worshipped by the under-dwellers. Riebar has witnessed the Bolg Morda slay a few dozen adventurers over the last few years.

Exploring the Caverns

[]

The Bolg Morda is lured by the hunters who fell and Bill Clay. They stand heroically, but are completely and utterly wiped out (Bill Clay DIES) – the rest of the group attacks tactically while the expendables go down – the Bolg Morda is nearly killed. He is driven off.

The scouts find a Supply Room: This is where the skins, dyes, tools, and few supplies of this modest clergy are stored. All the sacred rites for the larger ceremony at the pool – bowls, tallow, etc. are stored here. Together the group jokingly assembles a plan to dupe the inhabitants that they have seen venerating the rough statue next to a reliquary filled with debris.

With Grumwell posing as Everdark, the group fools the goblins into attacking the Bolg Morda! The caverns are turned into a nightmare of savegery as the multitudes of goblins and humanoids one time servants of the half troll turn against it. Wounded and in fury, the caves run red with blood. The Orrish leaders, convinced their god was directing them, all die in the fight. The group slinks the the blood spatered caversn, searching for the giant’s lair where the their they caught told them was a magical device that could get them out.

9142, Month 7, Day 11; The group gets into his chambers, and Grumwell uses his limited knowledge of the items to transport them group back to the surface!

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