Swords of Valor

Twentieth Game Session
The HELL you say!

Dreams for Warrick. Consultation with Wryde and Grom. Conclusions drawn and preparations made. Travel to Cattail by way of Exeter and Easton. Feasted along the way. A suspicious man in Cattail. Grom talked to Mama Ilardo. Falling Water. Escorted by scouts towards the silver mine. Evasion of an Orc patrol. Into the crevasse. Hellhounds don’t like swimming. Into HELL.

Hellish landscapes. Fear and despair. A river of skulls. “What is your toll?” Wryde, then Warrick crossed. “A reasonable service to be performed.” Grom chased by a torment demon, a splash of Holy Water and flung across the river by whip. More grim and despair-ridden hellscapes.

Grom spoke with Zeke’s shade.

A ruined church. Blood writing on the walls. Shadows, shadows, shadows.

The Death Knight beckoned…

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Nineteenth Game Session

Wryde tended to the four elderly peasants transformed back from the twisted tree that had formed the harpy nest. They told him that their village Wisdom had led the young and stout members of the community to the valley to put an end to the foulness of the witches within. As Wryde’s divine magic faded, these four unfortunates returned to tree-form.

Meanwhile, the others had followed the fleeing harpy hag to an underground entrance where two streams joined and cascaded underground. They saw signs that the harpy had gone underground, as well as a footprint of an enormous manshaped barefoot creature. They estimated the giant at about twelve feet in height. Rejoined by Wryde and Brother Stephen, the group ventured underground.

Proceeding with well-founded caution, they expertly avoided several traps, from which Grom armed himself with a poison-tipped javelin. They found several sets of traps along with a warren of underground side-tunnels. In one of these warrens, they found some bushes underground which were wearing a suit of studded leather armor and a shield. Leaving these undisturbed, they sought another way towards their goal, from which they heard the occasional bull-like bellow.

Seeing firelight flickering in the distance, Grom slipped up the passageway, but a hidden trap dropped a gallon of oil upon the clever rogue’s head. Just then, they heard the giant approaching. Grom slipped into a darkened alcove as the others prepared to meet the giant’s attack. In the dim light of Warrick’s magic, Grom saw the giant approaching more cautiously, seemingly sniffing for him. Suddenly, the horned giant ignited a fire upon his axeblade and lunged towards Grom, who retreated into the narrow confines of the passage. Grom noted that the beast’s face was a mass of scars without eyes. The minotaur beast flung a sack of rattlesnakes into the entrance of the side tunnel and slowly advanced upon Sir Childris and Pastor Wryde, who awaited him with weapons at the ready. The minotaur advanced and attacked in the narrow passage, but was bested. It retreated and then fled past Grom, who had consumed a potion of levitation to float above the rattlesnakes. His flung javelin struck true as the minotaur retreated, leaving a trail of splashed blood. The minotaur dropped his fiery axe as it ran. Quickly dispatching the rattlesnakes, Warrick incited the crew to pursue the giant after removing the oil from Grom.

They did so, finding a large cavern into which many underground streams splashed. They saw the firelight coming from a ruined ancient temple on the far side of a large underground lake. Deep resonant humming and drumming was noted to be emanating from several thickets of twisty sickly shrubs on either side of the temple. As the crew descended and crossed the underground lake on a shallow causeway, the stunted bushes started to move. Drawing them into a trap, Warrick incinerated these malevolent plants with magic. Then the group approached the temple doors.

Within, they saw the minotaur, healed and hefting a stout club that had been torn from one of the bushes outside. They also saw the harpy hag, another shrouded woman and a cauldron atop the dais at the far end of the ruined temple. Baroness Alyson Warde was also seen next to the cauldron. Brother Stephen uttered a quick prayer through clenched teeth and then drew his sword to charge the unrighteous. Shrugging off Grom’s words of caution, he charged into the temple. The rest of the heroes followed suit. Wryde transformed himself into his celestial mountain lion form and sprang for the harpy hag. The others closed with the minotaur and gave battle. The witch next to the baroness called forth a cloud of smoky fog, where Wryde-lion skittered to a stop having torn out the throat of the harpy hag. The fog-calling witch was outlined by Wryde’s divine magic, but he wasn’t heard again in the fog. The witch retreated from Warrick’s magic. As the minotaur was being bested, Alyson Warde emerged from the fogbank and walked calmly up the temple. Turning to Warrick, she said “You pledged yourself to my cause. Is that still the case?” Something in her demeanor was unsettling to the young wizard, who demurred. “Then bring me Henry of Exeter!” she commanded. Uncomfortable with how the baroness was acting, the heroes moved to stop her, but when the mighty Sir Childris tried to grab her arm, foul sorcery flared and injured him. He recoiled and the baroness left the temple. Warrick, thinking quickly, dispatched Brother Stephen to follow her.

As the fog cloud dissipated, a twisted briar bush in the shape of a springing mountain lion was seen. The crew surmised this to be Wryde, and used much magical power to transform him back to his mountain lion form. Wryde told the others that the witch had separated Alyson’s good and evil halves, and imprisoned the good into her cat, which was thrown into the cauldron. This cauldron served as a gateway to some shadowy nether realm, where the baroness’ good side would be imprisoned forever. Determined to rescue her better nature, the crew prepared themselves and ventured into the shadowy witch realm.

In the witch realm, they encountered strange vistas, uncanny skies and gurgling rock formations. Things were real and unreal and the experience was unsettling even to the hardy adventurers. Ultimately they found a version of the baroness’ room from when she was a child, but found that they had been shrunk to the size of toys, or possibly cats. Emerging from the Closet of Childhood Monsters, they spoke with one enormous cat on Alyson’s bed. Bargaining for Alyson, the cat told Wryde that he would protect her from the closet monsters despite their claims to be acting in her interest. At his instruction, twelve other cats in the room sprang at the heroes. During the brief pitched battle, Grom approached Alyson’s good nature hiding under her pillow. Soothingly speaking to her, he quietly escorted her from the room and into the closet. Having not been alarmed, the large cat remained sitting quietly as the other twelve cats were dispatched into puffs of childish smoke. The crew then retreated through the closet and back through the witch realm to the cauldron. Emerging from the cauldron, they saw Alyson Warde’s good nature return to her just before she plunged a poisoned dagger into Henry of Exeter’s helpless back. Horrified by what she was almost did, Alyson dropped the dagger and released Henry from his ensorcellment.

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Eighteenth Game Session

The scene opened with a confused and naked Childress asking the rest of the party how he came to be on the stairs of the tower.  Warwick quickly explained the situation and the battle with the witch and her Orc henchman.   Childress in turn related how the three witches transforming him into a cat but was unable to recall what transpired during the time he was a cat.  He quickly got dressed and inquired about his arms and armor.  He was relieved that his equipment was not buried in the collapsed tunnel but was eager to retrieve it so as to be ready for the encounter with Sir Henry’s troops that was likely to follow.  There was, however, no time to retrieve the items so Childress borrowed some equipment from his cousin and made ready to confront Sir Henry.  Grom took a concealed position in the bottom of the tower and made ready to aid Childress should combat occur.
Seeking to avoid confrontation; the party implored Sir Stephen to convince Sir Henry not to come up the stairs to see the Baroness.  Sir Henry, ever impulsive, decided not to wait and ascended the stairs making a confrontation inevitable.  Childress confronted Sir Henry near the top of the stairs and made it clear that Sir Henry was to advance no further.  Sir Henry inquired as to the Baroness’ well being and confirmed through Sir Stephen that she was safe.   The confrontation did not end in bloodshed because Sir Henry made a face-saving exit to rejoin his troops with the knowledge that the Baroness was in good health.
19 – Leitermont 6pm
Sir Henry rejoined his troops and retreated through the tunnel.  The party discussed spending the night at the tower and decided that it could be the best course of action despite the fact that two witches could reappear at the tower to avenge their slain sister.  In the midst of the discussion one of Henry’s scouts comes running from the tunnel and called for Sir Stephen.  Apparently, there was yet another Troll under the bridge that needed to be dispatched.  Wryde went with Sir Stephen to see if he could gather any information while with Sir Henry and his men.  Grom did not like the evil feel of the place but he made sure to investigate it for any hidden treasures that might lie in some obscure corner of the tower.     
While on the way to confront the troll, Wryde noticed soldiers and a man in black picking through the ruins of the house near the foot of the tower.  The Man in Black turned out to be one Kontavious of Drosen (what is he a noble?  Why is he important?)  There were also a large number of peasant women and children huddled in blankets.  These were the same women and children that party had saved from the burning house.  Henry, his personal bodyguard, Sir Stephen the Crusader and Bramble departed to dispatch the troll.  The other half of the troops stayed to comfort the women and children.  The troops quickly ran into the troll which rose from the water at base of the new bridge.  
Sir Stephen, surprisingly, declared it not to be evil as he called upon the Trinity for aid against this new foe.  Wryde instantly became suspicious as trolls, by their nature, tend to be evil and vicious creatures. The troll did not attack and it retreated back into the water which seemed plausible given a host of well armed men that confronted it.  Nonetheless; Wryde investigated the troll to see whether or not it was real.  He was convinced that it wasn’t possible for both Trolls to be identical.  Kontavious of Drosen conferred with Wyrde and they discussed the possibility that the Troll was somehow an illusion cast by Rossick.  Wryde gathered his courage and walked across the bridge.  The troll rose from the water, as expected and attempted to stop Wryde.  The troll attacked and missed.  Wryde walked on across the bridge and Wryde noticed that this Troll was exactly the same as the troll that had been slain by Sir Henry’s men in the tunnel.  Wryde was now convinced that the troll was an illusion and he took no defensive actions as the troll attacked him again.  The troll illusion sank back into the water and all saw that it was not real.  The Exeter troops cheered Wryde and he explained to Kontavious about Rossick and told him to beware of other illusions that might be encountered in the area with Rossick afoot.
Wyrde, Sir Henry, Sir Stephen and half of the Exeter host returned through the tunnel.  They nearly encountered Childress who went to retrieve his items left in the tunnel.  Childress evaded them and got back to the tower before them.  A fully equipped Childress again met them at the top of the stairs.  Sir Henry, his personal body guard and Sir Stephen again confronted Childress and Grom.  Henry decried treachery and declares that everyone needed to leave the tower.  There was a tense moment at the top of the stairs.  Henry was rebuffed and for a moment, all were sure that violence was inevitable.  Again, Henry backed down and rejoined his troops.  Kontavious then came to the tower and attempted to act as the voice of reason in the Exeter host.  Not only were there women and children to escort back to a new home, but there was the safety of the Baroness for which all parties were concerned. A discussion ensued.  After much discussion it was agreed that the safety of the Baroness was most important and that she needed to go to Suddler.   Both sides wanted the glory of rescuing the Baroness but there was also the important hunt for the remaining witches.  It is agreed that the party would escort the baroness and the Exeter troop would escort the women and children back to Suddler and go and hunt the witches.
Dusk of 19th Leitermont
The party, Sir Stephen and the Baroness then headed for Suddler.  The party makes camp.  At midnight the Baroness got up and started sleep walking.  She reached the edge of the fire light and disappeared.  The party quickly rallies and notices the baroness on the top of a hill where she is grabbed by a large winged creature.  Wryde rallied the party but the creature made off with the baroness before the party could react.  Wryde noticed that the Crusader has a symbol of the Burned House on his mess kit and asked him of his relationship to the doomed house.  The Crusader seemed quite troubled and did not immediately answer.
20th Leitermont
At first light, the party tracked the winged fiend to a nearby valley.  The party first encountered a destroyed standing stone.  It had obviously been there a long time.  The party noticed a dreadful pall fell over the woods and the very light of the sun seemed somewhat dim in it’s environs.  The party also noticed that all of the animals encountered in the woods had no eyes in their skulls, though some had remnants of what had been their eyes hanging from their heads.  First the party encountered a group of three blind squirrels.  Grom was unnerved at the sight and promptly shot one.  It died easily and that convinced Grom that it was not some evil fiend but a victim of whatever ruled the woods.
The party then encountered a garden gnome atop a rock near an old barn.  Wryde noticed the foundation stone also had the symbol of the burned house.  Warwick asked Sir Stephen for the tale of his family and Sir Stephen revealed that this area had belonged to the Stanhope family.  The party was then attacked by a blind wolf.  Childress killed it with a mighty swing and brought the beast’s suffering to an end.  The party noticed that there was a harpy in the distance that she seemed to be summoning these creatures to observe and attack the party.  Once the wolf was dispatched, the harpy flew away.  
A few minutes later the party encountered another broken standing stone.  The party then was attacked by a blind bear.  The party slew it and as before and the party again noticed that a harpy was near.  The party quickly pursued the harpy and they came to an area of twisted trees which was obviously a harpy lair.  No sooner had the party come to the copse of trees than the harpies began to sing.  Grom and Childress became entranced and wandered towards an uncertain fate.  Wryde slapped Grom to shake him out of it and Grom was temporarily free of the harpies’ charm.  Childress also fought free of the charm and his sword answered the foul creatures’ song with a funeral dirge for the harpies.  
Unfortunately, Grom lost his will yet again to the harpies’ song and he wandered aimlessly towards the harpies’ eager talons.  Warwick took control of the situation and cleverly cast a web in Groom’s way that prevented him from going too far astray.  Wryde summoned a bat swarm and called lightning which overcame the harpies’ swooping attacks on the earth bound party.  In the end the party dispatched two of the harpies and the third harpy fled. Grom then regained his senses and the party went towards the harpies’ nest intending to rescue the Baroness and slay the final harpy.
The party traveled a short distance and saw the craggy area that was likely the harpies nest.  They also notice a gnarled, evil looking tree.  Grom was about to advance upon the tree with flaming sword in hand when Wryde motioned to him to stop.  He smote the ground with his staff and commanded the tree to assume it’s true form.  4 old people fell from the branches.  Wryde and Sir Stephen stayed with the old people to protect them and Wryde began preparations to use the nearby hinge as a means of transport back to Hanoverian territory.  The rest of the party made for the crag and the Baroness. 

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Seventeenth Game Session
"......I got better."

19th of Lytormont

Just as they were about to depart, Wryde noticed 20 to 30 horseman on approach. After some careful study, Warrick determined that the riders were flying the banners of Exeter and the Crusaders. In order to slow their advance, Childris and Wryde disabled bridge and sent it crashing into the watery depths below. Grom hogtied the wounded, unconscious rogue and put him out of earshot from where the bridge had been located. The group then began its ascents towards the home used as a bandit hideout. As they approached, the party got the strange feeling that they were being watched; they also began to catch the scent of smoke from further up the valley.

The party arrived to find the house ablaze. Immediately near the area where the house came into view, the party found the bodies of the archers who had fled the battle at the bridge; they had been murdered by stabs to the back. The house was situated on an area of higher ground inside the encircling walls of the canyon. A a winding paved path led to the house. Nearby was a water well. Suddenly, the party heard screams from women and children emanating from inside the burning house. They also noticed dozens of cats on a nearby rocky ledge paying them and the house an uncomfortable amount of attention.

After hearing the screams of the women and children, the party jumped into action. Warrick, Wryde, and Childris approached the house using the path, while Grom took the direct approach over open ground. He was momentarily slowed by a nasty pit trap, but managed to arrive at the front door at roughly the same time. On the way up the path, Wryde noticed a tunnel leading through the rock toward the tower, where the party believed the Baroness was being held. The tunnel was being guarded at its far end by a giant of some sort, but its form was indistinct with the distance and the lighting. While the party paused a few moments to catch their breath and determine the best way to enter the house and navigate the perilous flames, a roguish character burst forth from the door aflame screaming and quickly died in front of the group. The party heard a disturbing cackle echo inside the building.

Warrick noticed that the house was burning quickly and looking as though it may soon collapse. The party decided to brave the dangers and rescue the stranded women and children. While inside, Warrick and Grom separately encountered what both described as a fire devil. First it found Warrick; he managed to injure it using his magic. It later found Grom, who claimed to have killed it. With some teamwork the party managed to rescue all the villagers that had been trapped inside. Unfortunately, Childris became separated from the party and was nowhere to be found. The party continued to hear cackling and discerned that it was coming from the basement. Wryde found some stairs leading to it only moments before Grom located it after crashing through a portion of the weakened floor. Grom shrugged off the impact as he crashed into an old bed in the servant’s quarters.

In addition to the bed, the servant’s quarters also contained a cauldron and a mushroom garden. The party quickly located Childris, whose body was seen lying in the corner near a door. Standing above the body was a witch, who promptly departed through the door. A conglomerate mass of animated stew, which Wryde named a Dinty Moore, arose from the cauldron and lurched toward the party. During the combat, another fire devil emerged from the flames to engage the party and assist the Dinty Moore. The Dinty Moore used magic to call fire down upon the party. Though it was defeated, Wryde noticed that it returned to the cauldron where it seemed to be regenerating. He decided that the source of its power must be disturbed. Using magical strength from Warrick, Wryde pushed the cauldron over, killing the stew monster. In the midst of the melee, Warrick ran over to his cousin’s body only to discover that what appeared to be a body was only armor and clothing – Childris had been turned into a cat. Warrick scooped up cat Childris into his arms and put him into his pack. Wryde and Grom quickly dispatched the fire devil, clearing the way for the group to pursue the witch through the door.

The door appeared to be locked and barred. With some effort, Grom was able to wiggle the bar out of place since the witch had failed to properly secure it in her haste to escape. The door led into a tunnel. Wryde entered first and narrowly dodged a pit trap just behind the door. The group decided that Grom should go first and that the party should move cautiously. Taking up the rear, Warrick dragged Childris’ equipment into the tunnel to protect it from the collapsing building.

The group squeezed through the narrow tunnel for what felt like a long while. They found themselves at a three-way intersection with the tunnel continuing ahead and also running to the right. The party stayed the course and forged straight ahead, assessing that the tunnel to the right would not lead them to the location of the Baroness.

The party emerged from the tunnel near a small lake surrounded by reeds and cattails. They immediately noticed from the sounds that the Exeter and Crusader men were stalled in the tunnel, none too eager to face its large humanoid guardian. They also noticed Urukuhag standing on a balcony halfway up the face of the tower in an overwatch position. Grom decided to move out of the reeds for a better view of the tunnel but he was detected by Arward and confronted. Arward ordered Grom to emerge from the weeds and surrender. Fearing another battle, Wryde polymorphed into a celestial mountain lion and waited for a sign from Warrick. Instead of complying with Arword, Grom bolted into the weeds to rejoin Warrick and Wryde.

Understanding that the weeds offered little in the way of tactical advantage, Warrick led the party out from their hiding; Arword was nowhere to be found. In the Orcish tongue, Warrick challenged Urukuhag, demanding to know why he had joined Exeter’s payroll, threatening the fragile peace between Men and Orc. Urukuhag claimed that he wanted power and that nothing was more important. Warrick then took his staff, which had been given to him by Urukuhag as a sign of friendship and good will, and shattered it over his knee, symbolizing the broken trust between Urukuhag and Warrick. Warrick then drew his father’s longsword. The party moved toward the tower to engage Urukuhag.

Warrick gave the party magical speed, while Grom quickly ascended the tower stairs to engage Urukuhag. Wryde, in mountain lion form, used his magical haste to conduct a great leap onto the stairs behind Urukuhag. Warrick saw the Exeter and Crusader men moving toward the tower so he casted a carefully placed web into their path, delaying them from reaching the tower.

On the balcony, Grom and Wryde battled the fearsome Urukuhag, exchanging damaging blows. Suddenly the witch reemerged on a flying broom and began to assist Urukuhag. Warrick moved into position and unleashed a deadly lightning bolt against her; however, some protective magics reflected the lightning bolt at Warrick, damaging him severely. After tangling with Wryde in mountain lion form, the final blow against Urukuhag was finally struck. Wryde then turned his attention to the witch. He leapt at her from the height of the tower and dragged he down to the ground, mauling her along the way. When they reached the ground, he delivered a killing bite. Warrick rushed up the tower in search of the Baroness. While ascending the stairs, with the witch’s curse broken, Childris returned to human form, though unconscious. Warrick set Childris down at the top of the tower stairs and proceeded into the tower’s highest chamber.

As Warrick entered the chamber, the Baroness, who was wearing a flowing silk gown, awakened confused and hungry. She kindly asked Warrick for food. Having little to give, Warrick provided the Baroness with a trail ration from his pack. Concurrently, Exeter men accompanied by a Crusader had cleared the web and began to approach the tower. With a warning from Grom, Warrick exited the chamber and watched them approach. He requested that Grom not let them ascend the stairs. As they approached, the Crusader caught sight of Wryde in celestial mountain lion form standing over the slain witch. He approached Wryde confidently, with a shit eating grin, and immediately knelt before him and began to pray. The Exeter men continued toward the tower; Warrick and Grom immediately recognized the lead Exeter man to be Henry Thorton, Exeter’s heir.

When they had come close enough, Warrick issued them a warning that they would not ascend the tower. Upon hearing the challenge, the Crusader rose and came to the front of the group. Wryde told the Crusader that some foul evil plot was afoot and that the Crusader should speak with the group away from the men of Exeter. The Crusader agreed and asked Henry to standby; Henry agreed. The Crusader ascend the tower stairs and after brief introductions, during which the party learned his name was Brother Stephen, Warrick began to explain the plot in a manner that the party’s evidence read. During this dialogue, Childris awoke and Henry Thorton must have believed that he had waited long enough; he left his men and approached the tower.

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Sixteenth Game Session
The Skein of Madness

27 Sirrimont
“Should I be on my guard on a night such as this? I hear ye been lookin’ for me…" Wryde stood in the living space of his sister’s small home. Warrick d’Montford, Sir Childris Osteman and Narthairian Brentar introduced themselves and explained the reason they had sought out the Pastor of Caer Cllydn. Upon hearing their quest, Pastor Wryde agreed that it was a worthwhile endeavor and decided to throw in his lot with the three travelers. They made preparations to leave the Highlands the following day.

27 Sirrimont to 13 Lytormont
With such a knowledgeable guide, the group was able to travel back to Hanover City in two weeks. They experienced no difficulties along the way. Back in Hanover City, Narthairian Brentar took his leave of the other travelers to check in at the Cathedral. Upon returning to the offices of Hightower Security, the others were greeted with several pieces of news. First, Grom had tracked down some additional information about the recently fenced Glenside cavalry saddles. Secondly, a Moravian knight had sought a meeting with Warrick at the offices of the Hightower Company. Finally, a rude knight of Exeter had presented himself to Hightower and demanded a meeting with Warrick as soon as possible. This rude Knight had seemed very put off that Warrick was not immediately available.

14 Lytormont
The heroes gathered in the private quarters of Gromdon Hindalfsen to make plans. Grom had discovered that a consignment of saddles belonging to the Baroness’ guards had been fenced through a warehouse in the seedy dock area along the Hanover River, outside of the City itself. This dilapidated warehouse was some sort of front for a group of thieves calling themselves The Night Panthers. A working girl known to Grom named Maria had divulged to him that a recent party at the warehouse had been broken up by a ruffian with a thick scar on his face. Also, she had tripped over a trapdoor on her way out of the building. The group decided to approach the warehouse the following night and gather clues.

15 Lytormont
The following day, Warrick met up again with Sir Huro, a retainer of Sir Kabik of Moravia. Warrick was presented with his father’s longsword, a masterwork blade with grey-blue handle entwined with silver wire. Then, after depositing some items of power at the White Tower of the Society of the Golden Bough, Warrick and his companions headed for the Garden District and Exeter House.

Several soldiers in livery stood quard outside of the stone house that was hung with the banners of Exeter. After a few tense moments, Warrick was ushered into the house and into the presence of Sir Jusal who he recognized from William Fitzhugh’s home. Since Warrick was known as an engineer and entrepreneur, and additionally was a native of Crystal Lake, the Exeter man had an offer of employment by way of the Equerry. He would be given a generous commission to return to Easton and design and construct the Exeter castle there. Additionally, there would be gainful employment for Sir Childris with the cavalry contingent that would be quartered in Easton. However, the job was contingent upon leaving immediately. Warrick thanked the man for the gracious offer, but politely declined as he would not be able to leave immediately. While this offer was being made, an Exeter soldier made several outbursts in protest to the offer. He was ultimately cowed by the heroes and left the room in disgrace.

Back at his lodgings, Sir Childris was performing routing grooming upon Spartan when the man working in the next stall over struck up a conversation. “Magnificent animal,” he said. “It would be a shame for anything to happen to a fine beast like that.” He then left, leaving Sir Childris somewhat uneasy in his wake. The group repaired to Sir Childris’ quarters and made preparations to reconnoiter the warehouse. They also briefly discussed commissioning a playwright to construct a mockery of Exeter. While they were doing so, a commotion was heard in the street. Watching from the window, Grom spotted smoke coming from the stable across the way. This was not the stable housing Spartan, however.

Sir Childris, Warrick and Wryde rushed into action to battle the blaze and to rescue the horses across the way. Fearing that the fire might be a distraction, Sir Childris asked Grom to keep a quiet eye upon Spartan, which the intrepid rogue did. As Wryde turned into an elemental being of water to quench the flames and Childris used his knowledge of horse psychology to guide the beasts within the stable to safety, Grom noticed a man fitting the description of the earlier conversationalist approach Spartan. This newcomer fed half a carrot to the mighty steed. Under Groms watchful steely gaze, Warrick approached the man, having spotted him from the street. They spoke briefly, with the stranger making somewhat veiled threats about leaving town. The man then departed, shadowed by Grom, who followed him though a circuitous route back to Exeter House.

Having extinguished the flames and rescued all of the horses, the crew left for the docks along the Hanover River. It was a dark and friendless night. The scent of low tide clung to the scene. The heroes borrowed a rowboat and made their way quetly and efficiently underneath the warehouse pier, aided by the magic of Warrick, which allowed them to see in the dark. Short work was made of the trapdoor, and Grom slipped inside the warehouse. He was followed by Warrick, who also climbed the ladder and slipped inside. In the room, three men were playing cards. One of these three noticed Warrick and rose to confront him, striding forward threateningly. Two blades, one on fire, flashed in the lantern light and crimson splashed the table and chairs. Two rogues lay gushing out thier life’s blood upon the warehouse floor. The third rogue dropped his cudgel as he felt the heat of Grom’s sword press to his back. A short interrogation followed, in which Warrick used his magic to discomfit and intimidate the hapless rogue. He discovered that the scarred man was named Lew, who had gotten the saddles from his brother Stew in a village called Graham located in the hills to the west of Hanover City. Warrick d’Montford instructed Grom to clean up his mess, which Grom did by disposing of the two bodies. The group departed the charnel house as the hapless rogue got out a mop to begin to clean up the puddles of blood.

15-18 Lytormont
The next day, the group departed Hanover City for Graham, a journey which took four uneventful days. Arriving at Graham, they noticed that the quaint village was situated on the pebbly shore of a large lake. Grom approached Stew’s house and spoke to Stew’s woman. He discovered that Stew was part of a gang led by a man who fancied cats. Also in the gang were a pair of brother warriors of no mean skill who favored large shields. The gang of highwaymen made their encampment on an island on the other end of the lake. Hiring a fishing boat, the crew made their way cautiously towards the island. On the island, they found a long-abandoned camp. They also found a hedge maze. Wryde calculated the the Skein of Madness likely fell through the center of the maze. He also noted that the island had scarce wildlife, and that the animals in evidence were acting strangely.

Making their way cautiously through the hedge maze, the group was attacked by a section of hedge that seemed to come to life. While dealing with this, they were also beset by a Minotaur of largish size. After a brief scuffle, the living hedge and the minotaur were defeated. After several false turns, the heroes found the center of the maze. The sun was sinking to the west, casting its light through the ring stone and onto the standing stone of Warrick’s scrying vision. Pausing momentarily, the heroes noticed a dead body in the near distance. Upon investigation, they found that the highwayman had been stabbed to death in the back, then looted. With a few moments to spare, the group approached the menhir and prepared to traverse it’s gateway. The group was whisked away along the Skein of Madness to an unknown destination, during which the madness tried unsuccessfully to pry into their minds. They arrived exhausted, Warrick most of all. They were in a glade next to another menhir and seemed to be at a much higher elevation. It was fully dark.

As Warrick slumbered, a cat was noted to approach the encampment. It slunk away when it saw the bear-form of Wryde. A while later, a man approached the camp. He too saw the bear, and turned to run. Wryde-bear ran him down and dragged him back to the camp. Grom slunk out into the darkness and recovered a porcelain mask that the running man had dropped. The man told Sir Childris that he had been sent by his leader, Reginald, to communicate with the group by way of the mask. Placing the mask upon his face, Grom became paralyzed. Rossik the Artist’s face peered out from where Grom’s face used to be. He asked for Warrick, then spoke with Childris when told Warrick was not to be disturbed. He asked Childris what Warrick was up to, but seemed dissatisfied with the answers he got. “The Baroness is to be rescued, but not by you!” he snapped. Getting testy, he demanded Warrick rudely. Childris responded by removing the mask from Grom, restoring the rogue’s ability to move. Around midnight, Pastor Wryde on watch called a contingent of animals to join in the blessings of the Trinity. This night, he was joined by an unusually large number of housecats.

19 Lytormont
The next day, Sir Childris reported the conversation to his cousin, who expressed puzzlement over the reference to Easton. Interrogating the captured rogue, they discovered that the dead man was in fact Stew and that he had been dealt with for defying instructions and stealing the saddles from the rest of the gang. The heroes were also told that the path in front of them led into a small valley over a wooden bridge. In the valley was the house where the gang was staying. Through a tunnel on the far side of the house was a tower where “The Lady” was being held. “Only the Goblin goes there.” On further questioning, he revealed that the goblin was Urukuhag himself, Warrick’s friend from the Red Claw Orc tribe and the original subject of Rossik’s painting. When asked how the bandits would return to Graham, the thug was unclear, but he indicated that Reginald had operated the portal. This fact made Wryde very angry because Reginald was messing with ancient magics that could backfire.

The group prepared themselves and made their way cautiously up the path. The air was crisp and chill. They followed the path along a cliff to their left and a precipitous drop to their right. A waterfall was heard in the distance, which slowly came into view. A slippery looking wooden bridge perched atop a fast moving and treacherous appearing stream where the waterfall plummeted from the left hand cliff. The heroes stopped and surveyed the bridge. Four men were waiting on the far side of the bridge with weapons ready. Also evident were a half dozen archers.

The group of miscreants on the bridge called out to the heroes, bidding Warrick to advance and parley. After some discussion, Warrick and Sir Childris Osteman advanced towards the bridge. When they were halfway to the bridge, the cowards sprung their trap. At a pre-arranged signal, which they tried to pretend was a response to the heroic Wryde casting spells, the villains sprung. Bowfire and treachery reached out towards Warrick and Childris. Warrick of the cunning mind sought to incinerate the bridge defenders, but some foul sorcery stopped his just action. Another spell of his was countered before Warrick was able to enhance his comrades. Meanwhile, Grom unleashed a flask of magical monkeys on the bridge defenders. Childris also advanced upon the bridge defenders, whose cowardly actions deprived him of his fine sword. After falling back, Sir Childris re-armed himself with Warren d’Montford’s sword while Warrick cast an enlarging spell upon him. Thus readied, Sir Childris waded into the pitched battle. The miscreants tried to use subterfuge, guile and a Lightning Bolt Wand against the heroes, but were ultimately undone. Gromdom Hindalfsen used subterfuge of his own to distract the enemy archers, six strong. Pastor Wryde called upon the powers of the Allmighty to strike down his foes while Warrick employed his powers arcane to enhance his comrades and to clear the bridge. Ultimately, the enemy spearman ran for his life, having been deeply cut by the unseen blade of Gromdon. Warrick gave pursuit, stopping the enemy before he could gain the valley house. Having rendered his opponent unconscious, Warrick carried his body back to the bridge where the others had finished dispatching the remaining defenders. Of these, only the spearman still breathed.

Warrick examined the fallen, and found four enchanted rings and one healing potion. Using his knowledge and guile, he was able to discern the purpose of three of the four rings were to counter magics cast at the wearer. He surmised that the fourth ring might have had the same property. Breathing a sigh of relief at carrying the field during the short violent battle, the heroes gathered themselves and made ready to press on.

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Fifteenth Game Session
There Can Be Only One

The South Highlands of Glenside
 
Preface
 
Day 1: Warrick’s offices, Hanover City. Warrick, prepared with some personal items pilfered by Grom, attempted to divine the location and condition of Baroness. He saw in his mirror a vivid image of her alive and bound in a rocky place when a powerful force confounded his efforts. Something dark and alien tugged at his consciousness but he pulled himself free. Visions of a tall standing stone viewed through another large rough stone ring remain etched into Warrick’s mind.
 
Day 2-3: Hanover City. Armed with this new information, Warrick, Grom, Childris and Nartharian spread out to seek the location of the mysterious ring-shaped stone.

 
Warrick discovered that standing stones were once common in Hanover and elsewhere,  erected by the ancients for reasons
lost in time. In civilized places most have been taken for more useful purposes in walls and roads. In the wilds they remain. They hold little interest for Hanoverian wizards.
 
Grom focused his efforts on Orc and bandit activities near the site of the Baroness’ abduction. A fence claims to have acquired a dozen Glenside cavalry saddles a few weeks ago. Grom spends the rest of the adventure tracking down this lead.
 
Nartharian found that ancient standing were, and possibly still are, used by worshipers of a primitive faith known as “The Circle” as holy sites. The Trinity has no official doctrine regarding these people as long as there is no sorcerous influence. No records of this particular stone exists in church records here, but long ago a missionary named Father Donnegal had a keen interest in them. His chapel and manuscripts are in the remote highlands south of Glenside in a town called Caer Clldyn.
 
Childris
spoke to some of the King’s emissaries and heard of some troop movements near the Glenside Highlands last winter and spring. Rebels had destroyed the town of Clay Mill and its Exeter garrison in a sudden raid. In response, Exeter hired the Drammerstein Cavalry, a crusader troop known for their bravery in the face of sorcerous foes, to quell the rebellion. Captain Duros Matos will likely be recalled to the crusades next spring. Childris agreed to deliver a packet of orders bearing the seals of the King and the Trinity to him.
 
Day 4-18: Hanover City to Glenside. Warrick, Childris and Nartharian left Hanover City bound for Clay Mill in the south of Glenside. Upon reaching the Glenside border the crew was met by an escort of a dozen Exeter troops. They made the rest of the journey through the troubled land dull.
 
Day 19: Barnaby. Barnaby, the last town before Clay Mill yielded little information. The occupying Exeter forces
don’t appreciate questions and the population knows it. There were, however, rumors of magic, powerful and ancient, being used in the destruction of
Clay Mill.
 
Day 20: Clay Mill and the Horsecamp. The town was not only abandoned, but destroyed and overgrown with remarkable speed. Evidence indicates that fire and considerable force were used to topple the palisade and a stone wall nearby. 3 deep ruts carved in the earth lead the crew through a wood, past 2 flower strewn graves to 3 large menhir on a hilltop clearing. Slumped against the largest stone is the corpse of an Exeter officer strangely undisturbed by animals. By the body’s condition and dried blood tracing the spirals carved in the stone Nartharian feels that he may have been sacrificed. He senses no evil though. There was some discussion over burying the man. Several men were watching from a blind on the other side of the clearing.
 
The wary crew hailed the
watchers. They were Drammerstein regulars lead by Lt. Louise Gig (cute crusader chick lightly armored, Longsword and shield). Upon seeing Childris’ sealed letter she invited them into the crusaders’ camp. She offered to lead them to the Captain in Caer Clldyn in the morning.
 
That evening Warrick, Nartharian and Childris spoke to Lt. Gig and the crusaders. They had seen little action since they arrived in Glenside. Clay Mill was already abandoned. There was a brief engagement at Caer Clldyn with few casualties and no fatalities. A few men were lost when they tried to pursue some rebels into the wood beyond the town. Captain Matos and Father LeSioux have set up headquarters in Caer Clldyn and intend to stay there through winter.
 
One of the crusaders had served as Father LeSioux assistant. The Drammerstein priest had taken up residence in the chapel and spent much of his time in its library. He had become less zealous as
the summer passed. His sermons, once filled with fire and brimstone had become more focused on the highlanders’ ways. The assistant asked for a transfer a month ago and has served at this camp since then.
 
Day 21-25: Clay Mill to Caer Clldyn. The crusaders had begun to improve and fortify a road through the trackless highlands. Each night Lt. Gig lead the crew to a guarded checkpoint or campsite. The road is not fit for horses but a mule train could pass.
 
The last night of the journey the campsite was in an ancient ogre-sized longhouse deep in a hemlock forest. runes. A dead tree carved in the form of a swimming bear marks the entrance. A highland hunter named Aylems Clldyn (tall highlander, strong looking. lightly armored, great axe) is in command of the tiny garrison here. After a meal and more than a few drinks Ayelms said that he has lived here all his life. He knows these woods better than any man. He knows everyone in
his clan. None are rebels. The Pastor of Chapel Donnegal brought the people of Clay Mill to Caer Clldyn once the passes opened as a mercy. He would not let them pay for his actions. The Pastor had restored the Holy Stones at Clay Mill after they were stolen to build a wall, or some such nonsense. The Pastor takes his work very seriously. The Pastor moves freely about the highlands. If he doesn’t want to be found he’ll not be found. He has visited this this summer twice. Ayelms knows more but will not be pushed to tell.
 
The last checkpoint before Caer Clldyn is a ruined tower on a ridge. There is a mixed garrison of Drammerstein cavalrymen and highlanders here. The commander is Col. Craig Lordshammer (aging crusader, tough looking. Chain and med shield, lance and broadsword.) He already knows about the crew, their letter and their interest in the destruction of Clay Mill. He invites them to a meal, somewhat more civilized than the
last few days and warns them about meddling too much around here. The people responsible for the atrocities at Cly Myl are deep in the highlands. If they mean trouble it will come before winter or not at all. The Captain is planning on spending the winter here then declaring victory over the rebellion in the name of Exeter. Too much is at stake here for you to go wandering about the highlands making enemies where there are none. The highlanders are tough and set in their ways. They honor the Trinity but their ancient blood rituals are an affront to God. Father LeSioux will guide them away from their heresy.
 
The crew arrives in Caer Clldyn by afternoon.
 
Day 25-27: Caer Clldyn. The buildings in this small town are impossibly old, dome-shaped stone houses made of stacked slabs of slate and clay to seal the cracks. The roofs are thatch so old and thick that moss has replaces most of what once was barleystraw. Most of the houses
have a fold for sheep and goats with a small wooden barn. Perhaps 50 such homesteads cluster to form the town with another 70 or so spread over the glen.
 
The town itself, apart from the collection of homesteads, features 3 larger buildings, the Kingshouse, the Longhouse and the Chapel Donnegal. These 3 buildings and a large boulder as big as a house (Clldynstone) surround what once was a village green. A mix of tents and new wooden barracks house over 100 Drammerstein Cavalry and several dozen support troops and camp followers.
 
The highland men, tough-looking people who tend to light brown or red hair, wear tunics and thick woolen kilts. They are seldom unarmed, favoring axes, hammers and other weapons that can double as a tool. The few who wear armor seem to work for the mercenaries.
 
The highland women are tall and beautiful. Their hair is long and the younger ones tie it back with heather sprigs to show that they
are not married. Most wear simple woolen dresses with elaborate spirals embroidered in the hems.
 
Everyone here is working at something. Carrying water, driving sheep, building the road,  carrying wood, there is little room for conversation but everyone seems to be content in their labor.
 
Lt  Gig recommended that the crew check in at The Longhouse. The ancient looking stone and thatch building. A fence that acts as a pen for animals to be traded and boundaries for a market defines the Longhouse from the crowded commons. A few stalls offer local goods at fair prices. The red and gold pennant of the Drammerstein Cavalry hangs over the doorway. A tent of lances and a few kite shields are near the open fence gate. There are 6 Elites here. 2 at attention at the longhouse door and 2 patrols of 2.
 
The inside of the Longhouse is part barracks, part inn, part court-room. Captain Matos carries out all town and troop
business here. There’s plenty of activity.
 
Captain Duros Matos, (Squat 40ish crusader, missing left arm. Breastplate, lg shield, Bastard Sword) Captain of the remains of a once mighty crusader regiment, he had been reduced to quelling a minor uprising in this secluded corner of Glenside. His left arm little more than a stump usually bears a shield with his crusader emblem: a red field with a gold and white cross. His massive right arm wields a bastard sword. The letter Childris bears has no problem getting audience. He receives the letter with veiled excitement. He seems pleased but shares no details. The Captain invites the crew to a feast this evening where they discuss matters in the Highlands.
 
• Capt. Matos is a busy man. There are numerous interruptions by minor officers. Usually minor town management issues. He seems to care.
• He wants no trouble from the natives. They really don’t care who runs Glenside
as long as the highlands are left alone.
• Some heretic priest is the cause of all the trouble. The natives look up to him so the catching him would make a rebellion, not end one.
• He has powers that look like sorcery but Father LeSioux says they’re from God. I’ve never seen the likes of them before and I’ve seen a lot. Neither has Father LeSioux.
• The Clay Mill rebels have dispersed to more remote glens. Too much trouble to chase.
• The forest at the far end of the glen has not been secured. There is no intention to do so. This seems to be a sore subject.
• That’s the way the elders and rebels fled. Some are still there but they’ve caused no trouble.
• The plan is to sit out the winter here. In the spring declare victory over the rebels and hand the glen over to Exeter.
 
Warrick and Nartharian spent some time introducing themselves to Father LeSioux at Chapel Donnegal. An
old-style stone church that would be ancient by Hanover standards looks to be one of the newer buildings in Caer Clldyn. It is well kept and well used. A modest graveyard in the rear has a number of plain stone markers carved with spirals. The door is always open.
 
Inside is a warm, inviting chapel. Enough pews for most of the town are set into the dressed stone floor. The altar is unremarkable except for its age and the spirals etched deep into all it’s surfaces. Pine sprigs and heather lay on it as offerings. A few natives are in silent prayer in the pews. Father LeSioux. (gaunt 40ish crusader priest, unarmed for now) Capt. Matos’ right hand and the Drammerstein spiritual advisor.
 
• He is careworn and preoccupied by something. It looks like he has not slept well lately.
• The troops are in good order and attend his services regularly. So do the natives, but they lack the same zeal they had some months ago.
• The church library is unique. Brother Donnegal, the founder, had some astounding insights into the Trinity and God’s purposes. Some would call it heresy.
• The natives occasionally go into the wood at odd times. The last gathering was quite large on Midsummers’ eve at midnight. The next day the natives attended service all day. It was quite refreshing.
• We confronted the Pastor the day we took Caer Clldyn.
• Pastor has great power. Mistakenly I advised the Captain to take him to Exeter in chains but when we tried to capture him he assumed the form of a celestial angel and warned us against harming this town. No sorcerer could do such a thing.
• The native rituals are centered around strong emotion. Without true feeling true faith is impossible. This intrigues Father LeSioux.
• He’s leaving something out. Something that causes him a great deal of stress.
 
Over the next few days Warrick
spent most of his time studying Father Donnegal’s manuscripts, specifically regarding ancient stone monuments. His earlier works describe the Highlanders’ odd notion that everything can be described as a mass of interwoven threads that form a pattern, or Skein. Threads from outsider realms are part of the skein of this world. Where they cross, influence from those other realms contaminates our world resulting in sorcerers, tainted beasts and other abominations. The ancient stones mark such places and reinforce our world against these influences. Donnegal reconciles this model with the Trinity writing about God being the creator of the Skein of our world. The efforts of the Circle to prevent outsider influence are well aligned with Trinity doctrine.
 
Donnegal’s later works, which include a number of sketches of sacred sites, are written in a cryptic runic language favored by the Circle initiates. Deciphering the texts required
Warrick to expend most of his magic. He discovered a sketch that matched his memory of the stone from his visions. It is called the Skein of Madness and it marks the intersection of Fey and Chaos. According to Donnegal’s research the site is somewhere in Hanover along a line that passes through this glen. That narrows it down, but an expert in Circle dogma and ancient stones would be a big help..
 

While Warrick was busy with his books, Childris and Nartharian visited The Kingshouse, an old, expansive, barn-like structure. 2 huge barn doors are barred from the inside and a smaller arched office door between them are the only chinks in the massive stone walls. A pair of highland warriors guarding the only unbarred entrance will fetch Owyn (elderly highlander with a limp, frail looking. He has an Easy charm about him. He’s definitely been drinking) if asked.
 
• He tends the Kingshouse, a common store kept by order
of a treaty that goes back to the origins of Hanover.
• Caer Clldyn sends 20 hogsheads of whiskey to the King as taxes every 5 years. It’s due this fall.
• He used to deliver them himself but he doesn’t think he’ll be able to make it this time.
• The Captain has offered to take it for him but he’s not sure it’ll make it through Glenside. Exeter’s troops tried to stop him 5 years ago.
• He is the only Elder of Caer Clldyn who didn’t flee into the other glens. His work is here.
• He has several small items (broach, pin, charm) that indicate he is a follower of the Circle.
• He knows the Pastor and will not speak any more about the subject if pressed.
 
Owyn is quite a character. Once Childris agreed to drink with him he talked a lot.
• Pastor Wryde is a friend of mine. I woo’na speak of him to strangers.
• The Pastor gave sermons, married couples, christened
babies, blessed the crops and animals…
• … Tended the stones, held wild mass for the bears in the grove, howled hymns in the hills with wolves…
• You seem to be good blokes. The Pastor took the people to Cly Myl and the other elders to Caer Slough or Caer Brannagh. He gives the Beaded Brooch and says to show this to Ayelms or any of the Elders and they’ll help find the Pastor. But he won’t be found if he doesn’t want to be.
 
Day 28: Caer Clldyn to Woodcamp. The crew set out for the last camp in the hemlock wood to see Aylmes. Upon seeing Owyn’s beaded brooch he agreed to show them the hidden path leading to Glen Slough and Glen Brannagh.
 
Day 29-31: Woodcamp to Glen Slough. An ancient highland path that winds its unlikely course through nearly impassable terrain. Waystones marked with Druidic runes make those who can read them know the encounters ahead.
 
The first night was spent in
a well tended campsite. Firewood had been gathered and stored, a stone pit was clean and ready and several beds of dried moss lay under a lean-to. Odd movements of animal and strange sounds the darkness troubled the watch but proved to be no danger. Sever hours before dawn a man appeared suddenly in camp. Lwell Clldyn (short 25ish highland man in ritual paint, MW staff. A bear lurks in the darkness beyond) calmly steps into the campsite. Nartharian, on watch, is creeped out. The stranger seems a little edgy.
• Ye ere new to the greenwood. Welcome to my camp. I am Lwell of Caer Clldyn.
• The beasts of the wood are restless. They’ve seen too many lowlanders. They seek solace.
• Caer Slough up ahead has seen dark times. A sorcerer and his perverse creations were defeated some years ago at a great cost. They are rebuilding more than their numbers. They have to rebuild their trust. Take great care.
• The Pastor is not there
but he visits often.
• The moors there are very dangerous. Tainted beasts and men are drawn to them.
• A menhir stood there long ago.
 
The road passes through a pair of tall standing stones, unworked and ancient. Dense hemlocks abruptly give way to a cold, grey stone landscape strewn with huge boulders entirely devoid of life. The only way is up. Most of the day is spent trudging through an unforgiving land, a cold mist further dampens spirits. The next 2 nights were spent on a broad, rocky ridge. Hard travel and little opportunity for rest make the path even more dangerous. Midway through the trek a side path winds around a steep stone spire. A pool bearing a cryptic poem provides a miraculous weed with healing powers.
 
Late in the third day the trail splits. One path winds further along the ridge while another plunges precariously down into a canyon. The crew took the downward path
 
Day 31-35: Glen
Slough. The trail makes a sharp bend around a rock spire halfway down the gorge. A violent river thunders a thousand feet below in the mist. A green glen appears just ahead, it’s stream joining the river after a majestic falls. The Path enters the glen at the top of this falls.  
 
A ruined tower crowns a bald hill on the far end of the glen. Another, somewhat closer bald hill hosts a number of tall monoliths. Unlike Caer Clddyn this glen does not have scattered farms. The inhabitants of Caer Slough live within a cyclopean walled town between the hills.
 
Nearer to the trail a small group of tents and hastily built wooden homesteads looks way more inviting. A stream of sheep and goats floods the trail entering from a side path from behind. A boy of perhaps 12 gives a sharp whistle. Several large dogs guide the animals away toward the makeshift town. Rud the Shepherd Boy eyes the crew suspiciously.
 
• This is Caer
Slough. They’re not friendly in the walled town. They never come out. Best not to go there.
• Are you from Glenside? Exeter? Are you a crusader?
• We’re from Clay Mill, or at least we were. The Pastor lead us here after we had to kill the Exeter soldiers.
• The Pastor was here a few weeks ago. He did something with the townsmen up at the stone hill. He brought me these goats. He’s probably past the town ‘cause he didn’t leave the way you came.
• I know the hills around here. I drive my flock past that town all the time. I can take you whenever you want…
 
The next few days were spent with the beleaguered refugees of Clay Mill helping them to lay foundations for shelters that will be useful when winter comes. Warrick paced out the structures and helped to excavate. Childris organized and directed work crews. Nartharian tended to the sick and wounded. These efforts will reap great rewards for
these people in the months and years to come.
 
The refugees recounted the tale that lead to their plight.
 
• Pastor Wryde Cllydn came to Cly Myl from the highlands to persuade the garrison to restore the 3 stones and atone for the destruction of the grove.
• Captain Harnic Graves of Exeter scoffed and ordered Wryde’s arrest.
• Wryde warned the Captain that there would be 3 curses over 3 nights, each would require blood to erase. On the fourth night the sacred stones would restore themselves. The price in blood will be paid in full by Exeter at midnight that night. He went peacefully to his cell
• The cell was empty within the hour with no trace of that Wryde was ever there.
• The first night an owl as black as night with stars for eyes screeched over the fields. The crops withered.
• That day the Elders of Cly Myl asked Captain Graves to restore the stones. He sent them away.
• The
second night a fox as red as blood with burning embers for eyes walked calmly through the pastures. The sheep and kind panicked and fled.  
• That day the Mayor of Cly Myl asked Captain Graves again to restore the stones. He sent him away.
• The third night a gentle breeze blew through the town waking the children. They quietly followed the breeze disappearing into the hills. The 3 adults who followed were rebuffed when the wind rose and carried them back to town.
• That day the people of Cly Myl asked Captain Graves to restore the stones. He sent them away imprisoning the elders and beating the mayor as a warning to them. The people were on the verge of revolt.
• The fourth night the garrison was tense. Shortly before midnight the villagers went to the place the sacred stones once stood and prayed for their children, crops and animals. This enraged Captain Graves who took 10 strong men to break up the rabble.
• As
the Captain approached the villagers he heard a cry from the garrison. The 3 sacred stones stones had pulled themselves loose from the walls and were moving toward their rightful place borne by the earth itself. The palisade burst into living flame silhouetting the erie scene in dancing light.
• The Captain stood shaken for a moment then ordered his men to kill the praying villagers. The earth rose to to meet the oncoming men who froze with fear at the sight. Captain Graves took the lead. The pillar of earth let him pass but rose again to stop his men. By then the sacred stones had come to rest in their familiar circle.
• The Captain, enraged by the villagers’ defiance, struck one of them spraying a stone with her life’s blood. The fields thrived again.
• He lashed out at another. As the dying villager slumped over a stone the animals returned.
• The pillar of earth turned from Graves’ men and rushed the Captain
pinning him to the third stone. The villagers turned on him with their bare hands. Graves’ men fled into the night as their captain fell, his blood sanctifying the last stone. The children returned.
• The living earth and fire subsided. The frenzied villagers fell silent in the midnight calm. They felt all at once awe for what they had seen, remorse for what they had done, sorrow for what they had lost, joy for it now being found, hope for the life returning to their fields, terror at the reprisals Exeter would surely exact, and a deep sense that all is now as it should be.
• In the midst of this storm of emotion Wryde Cllydn appeared. No witness outside the village heard his words that night but what was said convinced them all, to a man, to leave Cly Myl for the harsh highlands beyond that very night  
 
Some time was left over to explore the rest of Glen Slough.
 
Caer Slough. The town of Caer Slough is hidden
behind massive stone walls the likes of which could not have been made by man. They are as ancient as they are impenetrable. No openings, nor gates, nor signs of any passage in or out can be found. It’s an enigma.
 
Childris climbed to the top of the wall to see a bleak stone-walled town inhabited entirely by shuffling, grey-robed figures. The scent of death is in the air. Upon joining him, Nartharian immediately identifies them as having Leprosy. It’s a Sorcerous affliction. Better not go in there.
 
The Circle of Caer Slough. A steep, bald hill near the town walls holds a wide circle of huge, jagged stone monoliths. They border a ring of partially elevated stone. The construction is new in comparison to the massive town walls.
 
Two upright monoliths some distance from the circle flank an imposing iron hatch in the earth. Don’t even think of trying to open it. Beneath is likely a tunnel to Caer Slough.
 
The Ruins of Claud Cargoth. A tower atop a nearby hill is split in two by a mighty oak tree. A sense of lingering evil hangs all around. The tree, however, seems to lighten the tension. One day the tower will be rubble in a majestic wood. On closer inspection there is no sign of who once lived here. Warrick and Childris examined the ruin.
• The damage is maybe 10 years old.
• There was quite a bit of fire here. That tree is really, really big. Too big.
• Probably lightning. There was quite a battle out here judging by the arrowheads and large stones littering the ground. The plants here are phenomenally healthy. An unused trail leads to a misty moor beyond.
• Lightning, fire, big chunks were dragged out of the tower, clearly magic. The tree’s roots have split an enormous iron cauldron embossed with mystic runes. Nartharian sensed a fading taint of evil from the shards of the cauldron.
 
With their
work done and a new home for the refugees from Clay Mill well under way the crew went on along the path to Glen Brannagh.
 
Day 32-34 Glen Slough to Glen Brannagh. Up and out of Glen Slough the trail weaves between two tall peaks and onto a flat, lichen-covered plateau. Little more than a string of markers through a broken land this path looks more fit for goats than man. A multicolored carpet of lichen blankets the grey boulders as far as the eye can see. the path is difficult to follow and no good campsite can be found. As night falls a chill covers the land. The crew beds down near a boulder for shelter. Something dark and silent stalks in the night.
 
By midday the trail narrows and twists downward through tall, grey stone cliffs. Much of this part of the path is carved through the rock by ancient tools. The high walls are painted with primitive pictures of flying birds and bird-like men. Slippery, well worn stairs aid the deep
descent to the ledge floor. The narrow path’s walls become more shallow and enormous majestic eagles soar far overhead. Staying within the trench-like trail will keep the eagles from snatching you from the bonds of the earth.
 
The trench ends abruptly at the edge of the broad ledge revealing a green glen with tall stone spires and a wide loch in the distance. The trail turns to steep stairs that cling to the wall of a 1000’ cliff. Wind buffets the crew making the way dangerous under the best of conditions. They rope off and begin the harrowing descent.
 
After some time on the cliff Warrick loses grip and tumbles down the ledge. Nartharian braces to hold the rope but the loose stone crumbles beneath his feet. Childris gripped the rope with both hands to prevent both of his companions from falling to their doom. He lost footing and all three slipped over the steep cliffside falling toward the jagged rocks below. Warrick
gathered his wits as the 3 fall. As he was timing a Featherfall spell a sharp wave of pain struck like daggers digging into his back. The wind rushed and the world reeled below. He realized that he was no longer falling, but flying toward a grassy meadow below. After a bumpy landing all 3 lay sprawled before enormous Highland Eagles. The fearsome raptors withdraw to a safe distance and assess the crew. Once assured that they were safe and well the eagles flew off with a triumphant shriek.
 
Days 34-40 Glen Brannagh. This broad glen is largely untouched wilderness. Shepherds’ trails wind along the grassy slopes and gather at a tiny village. Beyond the village a wide loch fills the lower reaches of the glen.
 
Caer Brannagh. A dozen or so stone structures so tightly packed that they form a single hodge-podge building lay poised between the steep hills and the dark loch. Several coracles are on the shore while several more are out
on the loch, their pilots casting nets. Racks of fish are drying over slow fires while children play on the rocky strand.
 
4 tough-looking Highland Warriors lead by Carse Brannagh (35ish looking Highland Hunter with wild red hair and a distracted look about him) met the intruders 200’ out.
• Lay your sword aside and be welcome. This is Caer Brannagh.
• We have seen no lowlanders here in a lifetime and ten. The hunters from Caer Clldyn bring news but nothing “interesting”. What have you to trade?
• (inside the great hall) Fine whiskey, spiced fish, carved horn figurines, jewelry and cloth embroidered with silver and gold are available for trade. Any metal item (especially weapons and tools) can buy twice it’s book value in these goods.
• The Pastor is not here (suspicion). Carse brings out a vibrant green gemstone and begins to haggle. After considerable haggling Childris offered Owyn’s beaded brooch
and some small weapons and tools for the stone…
Carse and Ayn’s Home. Carse offers to take you to someone you might want to talk to. Warrick and Nartharian sense that he’s worried that he’s not doing the right thing. The narrow, winding halls of the hamlet are somewhat confounding. A dome-shaped door opens to a modest round room. Furs and trophies line the walls and a warm fire lights the room. Ayn Clddyn (a worried looking highland woman 35ish. A brand of a cross with 3 interlocking rings is on her forehead. She is VERY pregnant) lay on a bed of furs.  
• “Gentlemen, this is my wife, Ayn. Honey, they’ve come to see the Pastor”
• She’s trying to hide that she’s scared and maybe angry at Carse too
• What do you want from my brother? (better tell the truth)
• He will come soon to deliver my son. Perhaps a week. Perhaps less.
• His labor has been to cleanse Glen Slough of the sorcerer
Cargoth’s influence. He spends much of his time in Ardy Moor just beyond Cargoth’s tower raising the Menhir there from the marsh.
• About that Brand…
• It is a mark of shame for my family.
• Our parents, curse their name, profaned the stones and poisoned their own blood with sorcerous infusion. They paid for their deeds by their death. We pay by staying alive. (she cries)
• My baby brother was an abomination. He was killed along with my parents. My younger sister withered like a seedling in October after receiving the brand. Wryde thrived. He grew into his brand to become the Pastor of Chapel Donnegal. I could not stay in a home with such memories. Carse took me away from my painful past and now he brings it back. (awkward. Time to go)
• She is hiding something. She really isn’t looking forward to seeing her brother.
 
The crew decides to wait, not wishing to take on the climb that nearly
killed them before.  Caer Brannagh is a beautiful place. Life is simple and the people friendly.
 
Day 41 Caer Brannagh. Ayn goes into labor. The women hurry to her while the men bolster Carse’s spirits. The hours pass and there’s still no sign of the Pastor. There is a flurry of activity then a hearty cry from behind the closed door. The men drink and slap Carse’s back. A minute later the door opens and the room goes silent. A figure in a grey-green robe strides out. “Should I be on my guard on a night such as this?”…

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Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.

One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.

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Fourteenth Game Session
Trial by Combat

Buranmont 2.
Having dispersed the bandit camp and bestowed the Blessings of the Trinity upon the camp followers, the crew camped in reasonable comfort.

Buranmont 3.
The party proceeded through the hardy Moravian countryside, following a well-worn track. At about two o’clock in the afternoon, the walls of Ohmsford Castle became visible in the distance. After a brief discussion, the decision was made to proceed no further at that time. Rather, they would wait and make an appropriate entrance to Ohmsford the following day. Varanis approached a homesteading reminiscent of his homeland. With a gift of some silver to a teenaged farmer, the brave orator was able to secure lodgings for the night. At about sundown, the homestead family brought a raspberry pie to the encampment. In interacting with these good solid people of the earth, Varanis was able to gather some information. The Lord of Ohmsford was to be reinvested in his charge by the Margraf of Moravia, who was in attendance at Ohmsford Castle. This man, named Lord Warcher, had been the subject of some sort of disagreement with the Margraf, such that he was supposed to be removed from his post. The farmers had a strong positive impression of Leiden, Margraf of Moravia for his military successes and his fair rule.

Buranmont 4.
The teenaged boy sheepishly approached the heroes camp to return Varanis’ bag of silvers on the instructions of his father. Varanis accepted the silver back, but found out that the family would have used it to purchase a new plough. Narthairian pronounced the blessings of the Trinity upon the homestead, which was well recieved by the family.
As the seasoned adventurers proceeded towards Ohmsford Castle, a group of tabard wearing cavalry approached them. They discerned that this was the same troop that had brought the summons to Castle Montford a few days previously. Under Varanis’ steely gaze, Sir Kabik seemed to be genuinely hostile towards Warrick and the rest of the crew. However, he also seemd to genuinely have no knowledge of the bandit ambush. The brave orator used the power of his voice to suggest to Sir Kabik that it would be in Kabik’s best interest to be honest to his master. The cavalry escorted the party through the main gate of Ohmsford Town and up to the Castle. Unseen by the escorting horsemen, Grom slipped off his saddle and into a convenient alley. In the castle courtyard, their horses were led off towards the finely appointed stables while the party collected themselves and spruced up somewhat. The double doors to the Great Hall of Ohmsford towered menacingly over them.

Warrick confidently and with purpose approached the doors, which were opened before him by guards. A hush fell upon the hall as all eyes turned to the young wiazard and his companions. Summoning all that he had studied of courtly protocol, Warrick was able to deduce that the nobleman directly ahead of him at the far end of the hall was Lord Warcher of Ohmsford, and not the Margraf of Moravia. “Political trap,” he mused. Instead of approaching the dais at the far end of the hall, Warrick stopped instead in front of a well dressed nobleman standing amongst others at the side of the hall. "Your Lordship, " he said. “I am Warrick d’Montford. I am here from my familial holdings… Montford Castle.”

The Margraf of Moravia laughed good naturedly at his ruse having been discovered. Conversation returned to the hall. Leiden asked why the adventurers were in his lands, so far from Crystal Lake. During this exchange, Warrick discovered that his father, Warren d’Montford had been removed of his post by the previous Margraf. With so much information to be sorted through, the Margraf told them he preferred that they make a full accounting to his advisor, a man by the name of Zardin. A look of unease passed through the party when the Margrave next spoke. “Sergeant Monchak, take these men to Lord Zardin.”

As they quitted the hall, sharp eyed Varanis deduced that an ambush lay in wait. Thus forewarned, the heroes sprang into action when Sergeant Monchak tried to hand off the crew to Corporal Will of the watch. During the brief scuffle that ensued, Sergeant Monchak was restrained, Narthairian sprinted back to the great hall for assistance and magical spiderwebs kept anyone from being injured. Having identified Monchak as an possible enemy, the party made their way carefully to Zardin’s tower. On the steep curved stairs, they noted a probable ambush location.

Zardin proved to be an impressive nobleman of some advanced years. His office was the top floor of a corner tower. The well appointed room seemed to Warrick reminiscent of the quarters of William Fitzhugh, Equerry of Exeter and also a wizard. Varanis, with some help from the others, recounted to Zardin the tales of their adventures, culminating in the assault upon the Cult of Death at Castle Montford upon the night of the Second Conjunction. The sun hung low in the West by the time the tale was told. Zardin, who took no notes, thanked them for their tale. The party was then led, without ambush, to guest quarters along one of the inner walls of the castle. There, they each made preparations for the evening.

As evening fell upon the castle, a ceremonious banquet was held in the Great Hall. During this ceremony, Leiden, Margraf of Moravia reinvested Warcher with lordship over Ohmsford and the surrounding district. During the banquet, Narthairian Brentar kept mostly to himself until he saw another knight bearing the symbology of the Crusade. The two of them were obviously uncomfortable with the crowd and spoke quietly about religious matters. Childris joined a conversation circle with a group of Moravian knights and had a boisterous time talking about horses and chivalry.

Warrick was approached by an older soldier who gave his name as Sir Fenic. Fenic stated that he had been a comrade of Warren d’Montford. The two men slipped quietly outside for some private words. They discussed Warrick’s father, who had been relieved of his lordship over Montford Castle for insubordination. According to Fenic, Warren had broken the jaw of the previous Margraf’s chief advisor regarding the strategic value of capturing some castle to the far east on the Parthian border.

Meanwhile, Varanis noted Sergeant Monchak at the banquet, but not wearing the livery of the guard. The skilled orator struck up a conversation with their earlier opponent which left Monchak visibly uneasy after a small duel of words. “This isn’t over,” Varanis warned.

Also noticed at the banquet were an older nobleman and his much younger wife. Parvis and Larisella, Lord and Lady Norco, who lived not far from Montford Castle. Lady Norco piqued Narthairian’s interest when he was not able to scan her for the presence of Evil.

Towards the end of the banquet and reception, Warrick was summoned to speak with the Margraf of Moravia. During this exchange, Warrick declared his intention to reclaim the Montford estates. This pronouncement drew forth a snort of derision from Monchak, who had positioned himself closeby. Warrick turned on the villainous Monchak and words led to words. Lord Norco interjected and Monchak demanded that his guilt or innocence be established by ancient Moravian right to Trial By Combat. This fight was to take place the following noon between Warrick and Monchak. Weapons of choice were to be sword and shield. After this, Lord and Lady Norco left, accompanied by Sergeant Monchak.

Later that night, quite late in fact, Narthairian glanced up while returning from checking on Spartan and Thunder and saw a figure in white descending to a familiar balcony from the roof above. Meanwhile, Warrick and Childris were engaged in some light training with armor, sword and shield. Sprinting back to Warrick’s room, Narthairian arrived just after Warrick opened his balcony door to Larisella, clad in revealing white. Resisting her attempt to kiss him, Warrick retreated towards his bonded staff. In the ensuing scuffle, Varanis was awakened next door. After receiving the might of the Trinity focused through the Crusader’s Sword wielded by Narthairian, Larisella fled through the window. Narthairian rushed from the room to safeguard the mighty horses. Hauling off his chainmail shirt, Warrick was less encumbered when Larisella reappeared. She used foul magic upon brave Sir Childris, urging him to attack his brother in arms, Crusader Narthairian. Hearing this, Varanis quickly created an illusion of Narthairian in the same location at Larisella. After several sword swings in her direction from Sir Childris, Larisella fled the scene while Varanis used his oratory to remove the compulsion from Childris’ mind. Unsettled, the crew settled down for what remained of the night.

Buranmont 5.
The sun was upon the field of honor, as Warrick d’Montford and Sergeant Monchak prepared to settle the matter of his guilt or innocence.

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Thirteenth Game Session
Loose Ends...

Draymont 22.
After the party prevented the summoning of the Demon Lord and defeated the combined forces of evil; the three surviving Parthian soldiers were taken captive. These men quickly laid down their arms and began to help the castle staff pile the fallen bodies on a pyre in the central courtyard. During this time, Warrick announced that he wished to claim the castle and surrounding lands. Varanis responded with a concern that Falling Water and the Crystal Lake regions were in growing peril and he needed to return soon to provide aid in their defense. Next, the party decided to free the slaves in the iron mines below the castle, and Varanis saw to that task. One of the captive Parthians mentioned that there was a “master’s vault” in those mines that was protected by a magically enchanted door. Meanwhile, Warrick entered the castle’s gatehouse to speak with the trapped fire breathing dragon. He tried speaking several languages but got no response. As clean up finished for the night, Varanis lead Narthairian and the three Partians through the mines to the vault’s door before they escorted the prisoners out of the mines and granted them freedom to return to Parthia. The whole process took hours and afterward the party members collapsed in Castle d’Montfort’s comfortable beds to rest for the night.

Draymont 23.
Townsfolk had arrived outside the raised drawbridge, plus the dragon in the gatehouse was making quite a commotion. The party, minus Narthairian, who was putting on armor, and Childris, who was sleeping like a baby, went to the top of the gatehouse and Warrick addressed the half-dozen townsfolk. He declared that LeMoges, the former ruler of the castle was slain and that he would be assuming leadership of the castle. Warrick then told them to return to the town for now and he would visit them later in the day. As the short conversation with the townsfolk completed, sounds of chains being tested could be heard below where the dragon was kept. Then the distinctive sound of a chain snapping was heard and the party prepared for the inevitable battle with the beast. The ensuing conflict went relatively quickly. The dragon was able to deliver a few breath weapon attacks and then an enlarged, strengthened Narthairian smote to the beast and the battle ended. As Narthairian dragged the lizard out of its prison; it was almost twelve feet long with a tail equally long. A set of small wings was attached to the red scaled monster believed by the party to be a dragon, though actually a drake. Following the battle, the castle portcullis was raised and the drawbridge lowered. The large “dragon” was placed on display outside the castle’s entrance for all to see. The next part of the morning was taken up with Warrick reviewing the castle’s staff. The steward of the castle was a man named Albert and there were a dozen other servants. As this was not sufficient to protect the castle, Warrick asked Childris to head down the town and recruit a score of capable men to be trained by Childris to become the castle’s guards.

As the sun rose to mid-day, the party descended into the mines to explore the vault. As the party examined the door, Warrick announced that eight magical traps were permanently placed on the door. Additionally, Varanis used his Sift spell to examine the “mouths” of the demon faces carved into the door. He deduced which demon face contained the latch to open the door, though it was guarded by a sharp needle-like trap. Grom worked on disabling a spear or metal rod trap that surrounded the entrance to the door. Next the party worked together to suppress the magical traps, bypass the needle trap and open the door. Everything went well, except the metal rod trap triggered when the door was opened and created a web-like mesh of metal, trapping Grom in the vault’s entrance. Since time was critical, Warrick cast Ice Storm to damage and weaken the iron rods, and then Narthairian stepped up and bashed the frozen metal creating a squeezable entrance for the party. Grom used one of his non-magical short swords to jam in the door’s hinge to slow its closing, but the metal sword was giving way. The party was able to join Grom in the hallway beyond the door just as the short sword snapped and the door closed. Unfortunately for the party, the magical suppression ended at that moment and the magical traps discharged, leaving everyone except Grom in the dark. The party worked their way through the magical darkness to the vault’s chamber at the end of the hallway while an earthen creature attacked them from within the walls. The earth elemental was defeated and the party investigated the room. They were surprised to find all the furniture from the manor house down by the river and near Warrick’s mother’s crypt carefully stored in one corner. They also found a d’Montfort family banner. As the party waited for the trapped spells to end, they pillaged the vault, leaving only the furniture and an alchemist’s workstation. Once the darkness in the hall subsided, the party ventured out learning that opening the door from the inside does not trigger the traps on the outside. They returned to the main keep and Warrick raised the d’Montfort banner over the castle. A distant sound of cheering could be heard from the village nearby. That evening, Warrick purchased food and drink for a feast at the village and the townsfolk partied in honor of their release from Parthian cruelty and the return of the d’Montfort family. When Warrick spotted the old couple who had been tending to the manor house near his mother’s crypt, he asked if they would be willing to move in to the house and continue its care. The wife fainted when hearing the offer and when she recovered, they both readily agreed. Next on Warrick’s list was to investigate where Childris’ mother was buried and ask Childris where he would like her remains moved to, if at all. Finally, Warrick asked Narthairian to return to the Crusader’s chapel and see that is met the standards of the Crusaders. Then Warrick would open the chapel to the townsfolk to visit and pray.

Draymont 24.
Warrick sent a runner to Moravia’s ruler, the Margrave in Ohmsford Castle, asking for permission to be granted the title and position to rule over his family’s castle.

Draymont 25 to 26.
Warrick began having nightmares that left him with the sensation of searing heat, the sound of cackling laughter, and the horrible smell of brimstone. Varanis examined the horn he acquired in the battle in the castle’s great hall.

Buranmont 1.
Around mid-day; a well-dressed man in dark clothes giving his name as “Sir Kabik”, along with a well outfitted lieutenant and four men-at-arms arrived at Castle Montford to speak with Warrick. The man in the dark clothes came across as very condescending and informed Warrick that the Margrave commanded his audience at Ohmsford Castle within a forte night. Varanis brought up the pressing need to return to Crystal Lake again, but was willing to travel with the party since Ohmsford Castle was not a major detour from his route home.

Buranmont 2.
The party headed out, leaving Childris to continue training the castle’s defenders. Four soldiers were selected to join the party as guards for Warrick. Mid-afternoon, the party followed the main road to Ohmsford Castle and encountered three men trying to repair a broken wheel on a covered wagon. Suspicion arose, and Varanis rode ahead to investigate while the remainder of the party held back. It turned out to be a trap. Bandits rode into the open and tried to align their horses for a charge, but Warrick unleashed a ball of fire that engulfed and incinerated five of the six riders and their mounts thereby breaking the morale of the remaining ambushers. Grom and Narthairian chased off some archers that were trying to position themselves in the nearby tree line while Varanis rode down the last mounted attacker. Warrick ordered the four d’Montfort soldiers to ride forward and capture one of the “peasants” that were working on the wagon. Varanis’ foe turned and attacked and in the fight, Varanis landed a powerful blow that knocked the man off his horse. The man’s neck snapped when he fell under the horse’s hooves, killing him outright. The four guards captured the man who led the wheel repair on the wagon. Narthairian, on Thunder, looked down at the man and firmly demanded that he identify who was behind this attack. The prisoner collapsed to his knees and began begging for mercy and pleading innocence. Not buying the act, Varanis stepped forth and began to interrogate the suspected bandit. But, the man only continued to cry and cower. Frustrated, Varanis returned to his mount to get some rope to tie up the man. Seeing an opportunity, Grom moved in close to the man and tried to intimidate him with threats. It was then that Grom noticed the sobbing captive reaching for Grom’s short sword. Reacting quickly, Grom drew his magical blade and placed it at the man’s throat. This must have been the straw that broke the bandit’s resolve, because he began sputtering how he was hired to help ambush a traveler on this road. And that their leader was immolated in the fiery burst from Warrick’s magic. Answers began to flow from this bandit and he identified a citizen who frequents the court of Castle Ohmsford, named Monchak, as the one who hired the bandits. He went on to say that the twenty bandits had a camp near the next village, a few miles down the road.

With this information the party set out for the bandit camp with haste. The bandit was tied up and draped him over the extra horse that Varanis brought back. As the party approached the campsite, two archers were spotted climbing down from the trees; several wagons were in the camp with women and children about. The archers made their way to the horses, but began arguing with each other about who should ride. Narthairian rode swiftly into the center of the camp and demanded everyone stop what they were doing. Varanis, circled around to where the two archers were and made sure neither escaped. After some dialog with the bandit leader’s companion and then another woman, the story from the first bandit was confirmed. Additionally it was learned that one of the archer bandit witnessed the exchange of orders and coin between Monchak and the deceased bandit leader. The party made a bargain with the bandits; that none shall be put to justice, but that the archer bandit would be taken in to custody while the captured bandit shall be freed. Narthairian closed with offering the faith in the Church of the Trinity to help straighten their lives from the ways of crime.

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Twelfth Game Session
Visions From the Past

Inside the family tomb behind the house near Westernice, the party continued burning the enchanted candle containing memories of Jesse Osteman. The first vision that greeted them was that of Jesse as an older man, shaking hands with Arnac Brewmaster in Falling Water.

At that point, Gromdom Hindalfsen, stationed by the entrance to the crypt noticed that something was amiss outside. Torches were seen to flare inside the castle overlooking the valley and horsemen were heard departing. A troop of four horsemen rode towards the house, accompanied by several large wolves. Upon their approach, the heroes noted them to be dressed in the Parthian style, with sabers and fur hats. Galloping across the darkened terrain, the horsemen approached the house and crypt.

(A fight happened. The horsemen were killed and provided the disguises for Grom and Varanis to use later on. Does anyone recall any details of this encounter?)

After vanquishing the horsemen, the crew returned to the crypt. The candle was relit. More visions from the past greeted the party. The candle would gutter briefly between memories as the scene changed.

They saw an uninjured Jesse Osteman as a young cavalryman. He was galloping through a fogbank with a troop of horsemen. On one side of him was Wolf. On the other was the wizard they had seen in the vision from the silver mine in Crystal Lake. Then fogbank parted in the vision and they saw that the cavalry horses were actually galloping over grey water towards a stony beach. A battle was already in progress on the beach and the newly arriving cavalry troop charged into the fray, catching the defenders in the flank and by surprise.

The next memory was that of Jesse meeting Mama Illardo along a road, somewhere in Hanover. Her wagon was part of an encampment. Jesse spoke to her briefly, and then he tousled the hair of a dark child standing at Mama Illardo’s skirt.

After that, they saw uninjured Jesse sword-fighting Wolf inside a house, perhaps that very house. The fight was vicious, with neither combatant holding back. Wolf landed a cut to Jesse’s right arm, just as Jesse plunged his sword through Wolf’s chest, apparently killing him.

Next was a vision of uninjured Jesse and Wolf approaching a nobleman in a great castle hall and getting orders. Jesse looked very uncomfortable with the orders, glancing sidelong at Wolf. Varanis noticed that the nobleman was the one from the picture in the library, Limoges.

Then they saw a memory of injured Jesse arriving in Falling Water with two small children and establishing a household.

They next witnessed a scene of Jesse speaking to the woman from the portrait, Willith. The conversation took place in her bed chamber. Jesse seemed to have been reassuring her, and it appeared that she had been crying. A baby was in the basinet at the side of the bed. There was no intimacy between Jesse and Willith, however. It seemed clear that this was not his bedroom.

A happy memory followed this one, wherein the crew saw Jesse and the wizard from the silver mine Willith and an unknown woman having a picnic. The two women were both pregnant, about to the same degree. The castle was seen in the distance. The unknown woman bore a familial resemblance to Willith.

Then, as the candle neared its end, the lights dimmed even further. The air was thick with doom and portent. The candle sputtered, then revealed its darkest secret. Jesse and Wolf were seen to leave the castle hall walking briskly. They had swords at their hips. The benighted castle was lit by guttering torches. The pair descended some stairs and mounted their horses in the courtyard. As they passed through the gatehouse, Jesse looked to his right, catching a glimpse of a beast with smoldering red eyes which was kept in a caged enclosure inside the gatehouse. They crossed a drawbridge onto a moonlit mountain road, but the horses seemed to have no difficulty finding their way. They were looking out over the valley. They descended the road to the valley floor, riding past the darkened village of Westernice. The air was cold and brisk. They approached the house, which had lanterns hanging from the lintel posts in front of the double doors. Dismounting a distance from the house, they approached quietly. Wolf bent in front of the double doors and quickly opened the lock. The two men slipped inside. The house was furnished well. In the front room showed a place on the wall where the painting of Willith had gone missing. Moving slowly and menacingly, they worked their way upstairs, Jesse ahead of Wolf. Jesse proceeded towards the main bedroom while Wolf slipped down a side hall. Outside the door, Jesse paused and drew his sword heavily, reluctantly. He slowly opened the door. Light from the window splashed across the sleeping woman and the child in its basinet. Jesse hefted his sword and hesitated. In the vision, time slowed to a standstill.

Jesse then made his decision, stepping forward and murdering the sleeping woman.

Blood from the dying mother splashed upon the shoulder of the sleeping infant, landing in the form of a winged bird. The baby started to cry. Just then, Jesse heard a commotion from down the hall, the death scream of his own wife. He ran out of the room. When he turned the corner to the guest suite, he saw Wolf poised over another basinet. Wolf turned when Jesse threw a blade. The two snarled their hatred and battle seen previously began.

Exhausted by these revealed memories, the party left the crypt with heavy hearts. They returned to the house to rest as best they could and to prepare for the trials to face them that day. Shortly after sunrise, Warrick emerged from the house looking grim and determined. He conjured a Phantom Steed and spoke aloud. The rest of the party bore silent witness to this oath. He declared "Astride my Phantom Steed, I do hereby swear the following oath freely and without reservation. By God the Father, I swear to be loyal to my king, my lord and my followers. By God the Son, I swear to strive always for what is right and true. By God the Holy Spirit, I swear to use my magic only to further the good of the land and the people. I eschew power for power’s sake, I eschew the darkness for the light, I eschew personal gain for the gain of all. As I strive to further the light against the darkness, may I be judged worthy. I do hereby swear.”

Taking the damaged Parthian uniforms from the four horsemen, Varanis and Grom constructed a pair of passable disguises. While they were doing this, the party sketched out hasty plans to disrupt the summoning set for that evening. Grom and Varanis would infiltrate the castle by way of the iron mines disclosed to them by Henry and Henrietta. (This might also have been information from one of the captive Parthians. Not sure which.)

Having made a desperate plan, Grom and Varanis slipped off towards the iron mines. The other three made what preparations they could. Then, as the appointed hour approached, they mounted their trusted steeds and approached the castle in the gathering dark.

(This is the point where the point of view follows Childris, Narthairian and Warrick in their assault on the castle. Anyone with any recollection of details, please feel free to provide them.

Here are Mike’s notes on the matter:

The party faces the riders from the castle. Form a plan to infiltrate the castle and stop the summoning. Grom and Varanis go through the mines, Grom is captured but fakes being under a charm spell. Varanis disguises himself as one of the sentries and goes to the main chamber. Narthairian, Childris, Warrick ride into the main courtyard with a protection from normal arrows spell in effect to protect the riders and their mounts. Also have a resist energy: Fire just in case the dragon breathes on them. The three riders enter the courtyard unopposed and the archers on the walls stand up and begin launching arrows down on the party of 3.

Warrick moves to the nearest stairwell up and launches a fireball up to the top to clear an area to ascend to. Childris and Narthairian follow to support any melee that happens. Once on top, Warrick uses a Lightning Bolt to kill the archers on the wall. Narthairian remains engaged with a lieutenant on the wall while Childris and Warrick move to the other wall. There Warrick unleashes another Lightning Bolt and Childris beats down a lieutenant there, I believe.

Next Warrick enlarges Narthairian, probably bull’s strength on Childris and hastes the three of them. Then Warrick goes up to the top level and enters the main chamber that way. Narthairian and Childris rush the main chamber from the ground floor. Childris slows to fight the men-at-arms along the way. Narthairian just dashes past them to the raised portion at the back of the chamber. Soldiers with crossbows shoot at Narthairian as he goes past. A lieutenant steps in front of Narthairian and struggles against the enlarged paladin. Childris notices the fire sorcerer hurling fire in his direction and rushes toward him to beat him down. I believe, a second lieutenant engages Childris while the Lycanthrope engages Narthairian. Narthairian smites the werewolf rogue and knocks him out of the battle. Somewhere in this timeframe, the other party members engage as well. Warrick showering the enemy below with low level damage spells. Grom moving to a flank position with Childris to help kill mobs there and Varanis launching the all important arrow of slaying at the summoning wizard.

While the Wizard is being absorbed into the arrow, Narthairian rushes past him to the succubus and smites her as well, but not before she summons a frog demon to aid her cause. Childris and Grom deal with the frog demon while Narthairian puts down the succubus. The room is mostly cleared, except for the crossbow bearing men-at-arms who try to run to the exit with one of the injured lieutenants. Warrick and Varanis cast spells to prevent their escape, mostly illusions, and Warrick demands their surrender. The lieutenant refuses and the men begin to turn to fight. Warrick unleashes a damage spell killing the lieutenant and a few men. The remaining 3 men-at-arms surrender at that point.

Not trusting the wolf man to rise again, Narthairian returns to his body and slices off his head with one clean swing. Hoping that ends the threat from him.

Thus ends the battle and the gaming night.)

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