The Destiny of Kord

Fairs, Feasts and Being Feted
Interlude 2 - "A Visit to the Trade Fair"

17th & 19th-24th Flamerule, 472KR, Various Locations.

Downtime Story: Arranged as a roughly chronological account of the minor events that can lead to greater upheavals and adventures.

A Clandestine Meeting.

Night of the 17th of Flamerule, 472KR, Dockside District, Kordova.

Vim Nander of the Twists is a man that many claim should be working permanently on Actors Row. A 

Delivered Goods.

Night of the 19th Flamerule, 472KR, Warrens District, Kordova.

Old Feldohan, or so he was know to the locals, hummed his way happily about his small, modestly furnished home in the depths of the Warrens…

'Family Matters'.

Midnight 20th Flamerule, 472KR, Beneath Kordova.

"If the walls of one of the most secret office rooms in Kordova could talk… well, they'd probably be silenced swiftly by a blade or dart."

However, in the interests of conjecture, picture a room lit by fine-beeswax candles, immaculate woodwork and neatly arrayed scrolls in wooden 'pigeon-holes'. Picture the urbane, yet dangerous looking man seated behind the polished mahogany desk, rubbing his jaw as he looks across at his subordinates. An immensely fat, pale human with a twisted madness in his eyes. A southerner, lean and hardened by outdoor travel. The looming presence of a huge Chultan with shaven head and scars white against his rich black skin. The slightly built woman, deep eyes glossy black and her hair arranged artfully around her onyx horns laden with jewellery and totems.

Slightly apart we would recall seeing (if we survived the clandestine observance) a young half-elven lass, all black leather and cascading red hair. And beyond, as if an afterthought to the room, though watching everything with an emotionless gaze, a nondescript Kordovan man of youngish years but calm demeanour.

Imagine if you will, the instructions from the 'Father' to his 'Children', the exchange of briefs and the updating of finished contracts, signed red with blood. Perhaps you can hear the directions to increase training protocols for the 'Fingers', an enquiry into exotic poisons of the curiously attired Tiefling, or the curt instructions to the young Kordovan man present to move his timetable for a certain job forward.

"Such things we would have seen and heard, if the walls of this place of dealing and death were alive and not silent solid stone."

The Festival of the Red Sisters.

Day of the 20th Flamerule, 472KR, Bel-Sydana District, Kordova.

Sun streaming down on the sacred enclosure…

A New Parish.

Morning 21st Flamerule, 472KR, village of Salva.

Salva is a large village attached to the estates of the Family of the same name, the Salva's of current favour in court and conclave….

The Unlamented Demise of Toldrin Medar.

Mid-Morning 21st Flamerule, 472KR, Altana District, Kordova.

Toldrin Medar was a fat man, with a fat mans appetites. His primary

Intellectual Connections.

Day of the 21st of Flamerule, 472KR, University and Carmino Districts, Kordova.

The Sorores Scientia et Magia were formed…

Strange Tunnels.

Night of the 22nd Flamerule, 472KR, Water Gardens District, Kordova.

During the course of one of the Sunset Wanderers more frenetic evenings (Adventure Log – The Rumble in the Square) they discovered a network of small tunnels beneath the Warrens, Twists and Water Gardens Districts, used by criminals, the indigent and other denizens of Kordova's underbelly as refuges and swift unnoticed transit across the southern part of the city. One of these had been concealed by a weak illusion spell, and now with some downtime to explore the city fully Calaith resolved to discover the secrets of the network. This first involved a trip Dockside into seamy barge-man and dock-worker establishments in search of a 'knowledgeable gnome'. After finding his mark and enjoying the diverse sights, and smells, of the Dockside area he returned to the guildhall with a plan that was only short one element; the presence of some solid backup in case of unexpected problems.

Dinner and a Show.

Late Afternoon, 24th Flamerule 472KR, Circus District, Kordova.

Reverse the order and that is how we left Sharah Bloodcast, headed to the Twisted Ring to take in the sights and marvels of the permanent circus run by the fantastically attired and strangely spoken Mallan Bolg, known to all as the Ringmaster. 

 

The Circus, the Trade Fair and the Guildhall.

16th Flamerule Onwards, The Circus District, Kordova.

Additionally much of the activity of the Sunset Wanderers revolved around the exploration and integration into their still fresh environment. Only Kosef, local of the city as he is, paid seemingly little attention to the…

Downtime Features:

Calaith – Returns from an extended excursion with Gaukin in tow, bearing a strange wooden box, inlaid with Mother-of-Pearl and intricately carved. It is large enough that the young elf carries it with some effort, and appears to be made of many different woods.

Cathrykan – Inspects her future 'parish' in Salva, incidentally the site of her first religious observances in the Kordovan region. Her recent elevation to nascent-Mother of a small church and exotic background earn her a seat within hailing distance of the Royal party at the Festival of the Red Sisters. 

Gaukin - 

Kosef -

Sunset Wanderers - Increase in numbers yet again, with the arrival of a young Paladin of Helm. Describing himself as a Wandering Knight,  Andario is a competent looking young man, with closed cropped hair and a lean hawkish face. Deeply tanned from travels under the sun he has offered his services in exchange for a place to stay, companionship and guild-privileges. (RP to Follow for Intro.)

Expedition B - Upon rising early on the 22nd of Flamerule in Sherra, Sharah discovered the following note addressed to the Party, Gone into the Moonshadow. Erro was nowhere to be seen. Shortly afterwards they were interrupted by Silifrey, who had completed her observances at Erruggarr's Shrine and caught up with them on the Palfrey that Cathrykan had previously lent to Erro. 

Downtime Characters:

Calaith Loreweaver, Cathrykan Shintar, Gaukin Lumberbearer, Kosef Mara.

NPC's: 

Ruath'ana Nua, Winch Winder Ratchet.

Rumours:

*(21st of Flamerule) A small section of the area surrounding the High House of the Morning in Altana District has been fenced off by the Iron Fist pending an investigation. It appears that a high ranking functionary (The High Dawn Greeter's Bath Attendant) has died inside an adjacent complex under somewhat suspicious circumstances. Soldiers of the Legion have been posted and three members of the Iron Fist have already been seen in the vicinity. 

Experience:

0 - ACTIVE CHARACTERS (None – See Previous Log for time-overlap).

923 - OFF CHARACTERS (Concurrent with Previous Log, do not add twice!)

Story Goal Revealed:

Refitting the Hall Part 2 Initiated.

Items:

Eastern Puzzle Box.

Post-Game:

None. Next Session – Sherra to Kordova (21st Onwards) & Trade Fair (20 – 23rd Flamerule Onwards).

GROUP TREASURE BREAKDOWN FROM EXPEDITION B.

500pp + 1069gp + 690sp + 144cp = 6,152.4 GP.

6 Fire Agates (60gp), 4 Bales High Quality Cloth (100gp), 8 Sunstones (74gp), 34 Inferior Topazs (1912gp), 4 Uncut Tourmalines (85gp). (Note – Evnarra's alterations upwards for two prices, also, cloth prices still low in Kordia). = 1997 GP.

Total – 8149.4 – Less Tithe – 7334.46.

Divided Evenly (9) – 814.94 GP for each Player Character.

Miscellaneous / Unclaimed Items:

1 Undamaged Flawless Ruby (6,650gp) – Perhaps for Enchanting?

Hammer of the Forge – large Warhammer from Hyradraea.

Tattered Red Scroll Case.

2 Common Healing Potions

Suit of Sturdy Magical Studded Leather Armour (+ 1 AC).

Smiths Hammer, 2 x Ritual Knife, 1 x Chainmail, Cult Flag.

View
The Abundance of Sherra
Session 7 - "Forget Me Not"

Early Morning - 21st Flamerule, 472KR, Firesteap Mountains, Erruggar's Shrine.

Story: Expedition B had finally managed to traverse the short but difficult path back from the entrance to the Trogdolyte Caverns (Hyradraea's current "back-door") and returned on the night of the 20th to Errudrakkennath, Erruggar's Shrine to the Morndinsamman. A sombre mood greeted our Party as the dwarves laid the broken body of Thorfan Inkpen upon a richly decorated bier before the shrine of Moradin in the chapel's central fane. The dwarves present gave up remembrances, uttered in low tones, to the gods of the world's bones, sending Thorfan on his journey to their glittering halls with formulaic tales of his life.

Not all could have known the dwarf so well, or so long, but the ritualistic words of return and finality gave a hallowed air to the chamber that affected at first Silifrey (no doubt remembering her mentor and friend, Tornar) and then most of our band of companions. Candles and sticks of pungent incense were reverently lit before the dwarf's corpse, resting atop perfumed cloth and wood, and the more lengthy portion of dwarven funeral took over the room. It was during this time, when the more private dwarven rituals began, that the Party drew off towards the furthermost corner of the main fane seeking out their fellow outsiders, Quailyth and Barro.

Erro, being least affected by the sad turn of events, engaged Barro in a coversation that attempted to take in the merchant’s history and knowledge of the local area. Whilst forthcoming on his (supposed) wide-spread knowledge and travels, Barro was reticent to discuss details of the closest trade-appropriate community, Sherra. Suspicion amongst the Party grew with the numbers of their ranks as gradually the merchant, Quailyth and a dwarven observer became the subjects of detailed questioning by our heroes.

This resulted in a hasty decision to finally penetrate the walls of Sherra, leaving Silifrey to observe proprieties and ‘socialise’ with some of their new acquaintances at the shrine. Following the muscled form of Erro, and the somewhat comical forms of Barro and his mules, the remainder of ‘Expedition B’ ventured north and dwon through the Fire-Steap Foothills toward the lush and more than slightly fetid fields surrounding Sherra. Assuring the Party that he would be well-received, and yet unable to recall why or indeed whether he had spent one night or one week in the town, Barro led them to the rough stone and wooden walls that they had spied whilst heading from Kordova some four days earlier. As before they took note of the extra three to four feet of newly constructed wall and the stout oaken gates. Barro called out for entry and shelter, with confident voice, and after a brief exchange was answered in the affirmative by the brusque yet rolling tones of the eastern Kordian commons.

As the reinforced gates of the Sherra drew open Master Hammander was received, as were our own heroes, with open arms and the sight of broached barrels, fresh bread and cheese. Armed and armoured the guard might have been, however the ’mayor’s-reeve’, the ‘town-welcoming-council’ and ‘brandy-wenches’ soon eased their guests trepidation by distributing flowers, drinks and welcomes in equal measure. Not unused to hedonism as a cover for more nefarious deeds, Sharah imbibed her drinks with gusto whilst still watering local flora and grasses surreptitiously. Similarly Evnarra, given her unfamiliarity with surface-folk, imbibed in (pun not intended) small-measure.

Despite imbibing deeply, Erro maintained ‘his-frame’ and a hardened Lando kept his feet. Their companion Barro meanwhile was bemused, befuddled and beyond-recall, happily following the jubilant and now oblivious ‘welcome-council’ toward the centre of town. Gates re-secured behind them, and an absence of the typical traffic associated with such a regional hub, the Party decided to reluctantly investigate what was now very noticeable noise from a large central stone ‘hall’ some two-hundred metres to the south and east. Aside from this central ‘fest-hall / council-hall’ there was a noticeable set of ancient buildings atop a small knoll south and west, a decorated shrine of a local deity and well dressed houses, with overgrown gardens all along very, very overgrown streets.

Entering what they found to be a Feast-Hall, shortly after their erstwhile ‘welcoming-commitee’ Erro, Sharah, Lando and Evnarra found a scene that baffled some and made others blush.

 

The revel inside the Feasthall near the centre of the town of Sherra.

Features:

Erro – Proves that fists are not his only weapons, finding the right angle with Barro Hammander to ensure an invitation to accompany him to Sherra and the promise that he would obtain entry for the Party.

Evnarra - 

Lando – Tries to outwit the doppelganger Crigemnos (masquerading as the avatar of Illanre the Spring Maiden) by playing up his 'charms' and formal politeness toward the ladies. A battle of wills ensues during which he is able to mentally conceal his friends presence, but not his intentions…

Sharah – Gets super-stealthy, leaping from concealment on multiple occasions to "gank" injured dopplegangers and hill giants alike.

The Party -

Active Characters:

Erro Moonshadow, Evnarra Rockcutter, Lando CalraesaSharah Bloodcast.

Off Characters:

Calaith Loreweaver, Cathrykan Shintar, Gaukin Lumberbearer, Kosef Mara, Silifrey Dotsk.

NPC's: 

Orsekk Strakkhelm, Trigarios, Crigemnos.

Rumours:

Since the outset of the covert 'take-over' of Sherra, their Horn of Plenty has been missing. Immediately following the 'normalisation' of daily life in Sherra (thanks to the Sunset Wanderers) Dahlia, the Sherran Lady of the Dance, was quite concerned that it was not found on the bodies or in the belongings of Crigemnos or Trigarios. Nor was it on top of the rise upon which the grove of Yjanre sat and the "Hungry Twins" gorged themselves.

Experience:

1420 XP for each ACTIVE CHARACTER.

923 XP for each OFF CHARACTER.

Story Goals Achieved:

Refitting the Hall Goal 1 Reached and Stretch Goal completed.

Great Southern Blight? from The Local Area # 2 Completed.

Items:

Sherran Horn of Plenty – purloined by Erro.

Post-Game:

View
The Brothers of Ash and Flame
Session 6 - "The Elements Will Destroy You"

Evening – 19th Flamerule, Firesteap Mountains.

Story: Morain collected his allotted bowl of beany pork stew and rude wooden cup of beer then hastened to an empty bench seat alongside his 'brothers'. His holiness, Tarvald, had instituted a strict rotation of training and prayer since he arrived some weeks ago. Morain's body complained loudly with every step, bruises and scrapes from training staves and cudgel blows brushed painfully against the hair shirt underclothes beneath his robe. All about him the robed figures of his brethren were bent over their own meager meals, conversation a low hum, in contravention of their orders for complete silence and contemplation during personal time. Morain sniffed, people were the same everywhere, no orders could change a mans need for gossip, stories and the companionship of his fellows.

The young cultist barely raised his head as another group of their fellows entered. But when he noticed the swish of hip beneath ashen robes and slimmer lithe forms of two of the group he began to pay more careful attention. The Brothers of Ash and Flame did not count many women amongst their number, most serving with Her Holiness in Hylaea. Things were looking up. At least he might have someone more interesting to talk to, or at least watch, down here under the earth. That was what Morain missed really, the clear voices of his sisters, and their friend Jenna, especially Jenna.

The room fell into a genuine quiet as another group made their way inside the crowded refectory and proceeded to the trestles assigned as food benches and dish holders. Morain bent his head and attempted to look suitably pious as Tarvald's lieutenant Kashar made his way through the small group containing the women, delivering silent benedictions with his right hand as they deferred to his standing, allowing the priest of Ash to take his repast before them. Young Soltan, son of the miller family from Sherra, stumbled his way out of Kashar's path, earning a brief scowl and the silent mirth of his brethren.

"He'd probably be feeding the Trog's for weeks," thought Morain with a quick stubbly grin.

He shuffled across to allow one of the women from the group of four to sit to his left on the bench. She was pretty. Remarkably so, and Morain realised he was looking at sharpened elven features; delicate sea-shell ears without the ponderous human lobes. He frowned briefly. With so many newcomers it was impossible to meet everyone, between watches, prayer routine and training. But he was sure they'd not enlisted any elves, they generally didn't believe that the Lords were actually gods, heathens that they were.

"And come to think it…," mused Morain. "Should there really be this many 'brothers' off duty at once?" He couldn't remember there being this many at the late meal, between the deepening and the extinguishing, since he'd come to this place.

The world turned into a chaotic morass, shouts and the breaking of furniture suddenly replacing the light banging of wooden dishes and many hungry mouths. The last thing Morain heard was a heavily accented female voice, mirth in its tone, and an explosion as if the very stones had cracked beneath his feet. Brief, intense pain, and then darkness swallowed the young cultist in its death grip…

______________

Rewinding some two hours, we find the members of Expedition B (and Orsekk) in a reopened shrine to the gods of Ash and Flame, specifically Gargaash the Elder. They had managed to find a brief respite in a side chamber, which led them to discover the potential of yet another 'secret' pivot door, molded into the rock. Sharah had volunteered (impatient and with a view to push the Party along) ducked around the corner and began to look for the chamber or corridor's entrance point, based on the previously discovered panel door in the room the had fallen into to arrive here. Before a full investigation had taken place the Party were alerted to future company by the sound of drums, cymbals and a low resonant chanting.

Spotting a significant group of cultists, including some armed with genuine kit and a priestly figure mounted on a dais being carried by small creatures of living ash, Sharah quickly returned to the group stressing silence and the size of the approaching procession. The inevitable discovery of the cultist's dead comrades provoked an immediate response, guards on alert and cultists searching both the close and further access corridors to what the Party now realised was a central shrine chamber with no easy alternate exit.

An ambush was set, our 'heroes' once again deciding to use their stealth abilities and rely on the questionable value of surprise (given the alert state of the 'enemy'). Lando and Sharah took up positions alongside the doorway closest to the approaching entourage, whilst Silifrey charged her guns behind a solid central pillar and Evnarra melted into the rear stonework using her race's natural affinity for the underground environment. Orsekk placed himself near one of the further entrances in anticipation of a smaller group attempting an approach from a different corridor.

Despite the Cultists knowledge that someone had penetrated their lair the initial stages of the trap were sprung without a hitch. At least until the completion of a ritual from the leading priestly figure, where-upon the emergence of a Fire Elemental, glowing with primordial fury, began to rapidly complicate the situation. With smaller elemental Mephits (the dais carriers) exploding and showering the Party in darkened ash or steam, the Fire Elemental pushing forward through the main corridor entrance and a group of halberd armed cultists invading from the north, our 'heroes' found themselves completely surrounded. Orsekk was severely scalded and clawed by a group of Mephits and it looked grim for the older dwarf. In the following moments adrenaline must have had a lot to do with the Party's swift, deadly and clever response.

The Cultists and Mephits who had made their way into the chamber were treated to a hail of gun-fire, arrows, dagger thrusts and rapier strikes that thinned their ranks rapidly leaving bloodied corpses and small explosions of ash and steam. Lando and Sharah sprang backwards and forwards trying to avoid the puffs of elemental force as much as position for their next strikes. Silifrey dedicated herself to aiding the downed Orsekk and holding to the north, whilst Evnarra took on the problem of the Fire Elemental. The small svirfneblin wizard was (and still is) no physical match for any Elemental, however the image of an enraged Ice Elemental surely was. Illusionary hoar-frost and motes of swirling snow surrounded the image, completely fooling the Fire Elemental and several of the remaining cult members who immediately focused on this new and surprising threat.

The 'round-up' and subsequent slaughter of the other cultists, Fire Elemental and Priest went smoothly from there. Including a devastating stealthy attack by Sharah with her glowing magical dagger to the rear of the Fire Elemental, finishing the creature off and banishing its essence again to the Plane of Fire that birthed it. Bandaging wounds and offering comfort and magical healing to Orsekk (who was covered in small scalds and burns) was how an eye-brow raised and travel stained Erro found the Party, after he followed their trail of combat and bodies to the chamber which had taken on the aspect of a charnel-house.

Erro Moonshadow had ridden his borrowed palfrey as hard as he dared along the highway to the south-east of Kordova and passed the still barred gates of Sherra earlier that day. He couldn't say exactly why he hurried, just a feeling ever since the minor tremors he'd felt through his bedroll the previous evening and a general feeling of disquiet. After meeting with the very active dwarven occupants of the shrine and a viewing of the damaged chamber with the hardened lava tube Erro's perspective did not appreciably become any sunnier. Assuming the worst he hastened into the diagonal shaft, using the already safe, and rapidly lengthening stair being constructed on-the-fly by the dwarves. Moving into darkness he crept along the path of Party, disturbances and dead cultists until, relieved and a little confused he found the rest of the expedition amidst the results of their latest encounter with the denizens of Hyradraea.

After greetings and introductions (Erro had yet to meet Lando) a quick debrief ensued, with Erro updating the Party with regards to other current 'Sunset-Missions' and everyone taking stock of the present situation. The opening and concealed tunnel were recalled and resolving to move away from the main complex the Party ascended a small set of stairs that placed them in an unadorned and light-less corridor extending east in a straight line through the rock. Masking their entrance to this stairwell and corridor the group moved forward for several hundred feet before descending a further stair and (after a quick check) exiting in an ante-chamber filled with cult paraphernalia and equipment. Noises from both of the exits could be clearly heard, the sounds of humanoid passage and work.

Side corridors revealed several larger spaces across which the Party observed cultists wearing bloodied aprons bearing cut portions of meat toward an upward sloping passageway. Of more immediate interest though were the sounds of a larger number of people that could be heard from a side chamber in an adjacent corridor. Leaving Evnarra and Orsekk near the entrance to the secret corridor the others donned the purloined robes of cult members and hatched a quick plan based on subterfuge and what can only be described as a little wishful thinking. With a boldness that belied their isolated state Silifrey, Lando, Erro and Sharah entered a long chamber, set with many trestle tables and bench seats. Food preparation and serving equipment placed to one long side of the chamber, with large cauldrons and trenchers of communal style food laid across another series of tables. Many of the wooden seats were occupied by cult members observing a grim silence as they chewed through a less than appetising looking meal. Some were still serving themselves to the left side of the chamber and it was to the end of this line of cultists that our 'heroes' joined, attempting to imitate the enforced silence of the room.

It was at this moment that an entourage of cultists (some four or five) and a priest entered the room. A lean and hard looking southerner his entry obtained an instant repect as cultists sat up straighter, murmurs ceased and the cultists clustered to the left side of the chamber made way for their superior. He frowned slightly at the scene, but when the disguised Party members followed suit and made gracious way for him he attended to his own meal, then seating himself with his small coterie at a central trestle table. Some mirth was had at the expense of one dimwitted youth who did not quite manage to make way and observe the proper obsequience(s). And so without arousing suspicion, Sharah, Erro, Silifrey and Lando seated themselves about the room, Erro choosing to sit as close to the Under-Priest as he could, and began a repast consisting mostly of beany stew, flavoured with the distant memories of bacon and garlic.

Now it must be noted that Erro had a myriad of experiences with which to draw upon and fell into 'refectory' character immediately. Even able to slip a medium sized emerald from his robes and casually toss it beneath the Under-Priest whilst adjusting a sandal. Lando's Dragonmere tan and hair could fit any number of regional areas and Silifrey's slightly boyish stance and mannerisms made identification of either difficult in the heavy cult robes. A little more difficult to conceal are the finely shaped elven features and delicate flowing movements of Sharah Bloodcast, who it must be said had attracted the attention of more than one young 'chancer' on the streets of Baldur's Gate in her time. It was at the moment that a young man became too interested in Sharah and the Under-Priest (observed by Erro) had perked up his attention that our 'heroes' sprang their (for want of a better word) trap.

Silifrey slipped the slim-line shotgun of which she'd become inordinately fond of from her robes, calling down dwarven 'blessings' on the unfortunate group of cult members opposite, before deafening the room with a hail of shot. This could be heard throughout the complex, alerting Orsekk and Evnarra who rushed toward the central chamber, as did a number of cultists not at the evening meal. Erro immediately took this as his queue to try out his new toy (a magical emerald taken from the coffers of The Old Firm), issuing a word of command and throwing the centre of the refectory into chaos as a hulking Earth Elemental responded to the primordial spells of binding contained within the magical Emerald.

The rest of the melee quickly became a slaughter, as the bewildered cultists reacted to the presence of the Party and the rampaging elemental with a feverish though ultimately futile defense. Splintered tables and other furniture hampered their efforts, and the roguish bent of the Party 'lapped-up' the opportunity to excel at close-quarter fighting. Despite reinforcements our 'heroes' defeated wave upon wave, turning the refectory chamber and adjacent rooms into a scene of death, reeking with the spilled blood of the unfortunate and poorly trained cult fighters.

Scouring the remainder of the living areas of the complex a number of interesting items and equipment were found, though no further clue as to the ultimate goals of the strange group. Upon investigating the tunnel entrance sloping upward (where earlier they had observed the 'meat-bearing' cultists) the Party found an end to the shaped and worked passage-ways; a rough cut, winding tunnel, from which emanated the first breath of a breeze they had felt since crawling through the secret tunnel earlier.

A curious and slightly rancid odour greeted the Party as they entered a twisting natural section of cave, the walls and floor damaged by the movements of the faults deep beneath the Firesteaps. Moving cautiously forwards and upwards they very soon encountered the source of the peculiar smell. Greyish brown, lizard featured humanoids began to flit about the periphery of the Party, crawling and scrambling from the many cave openings and fissures in the tunnel. These creatures were quickly identified by Evnarra as being Troglodytes and an alarming number of them were now extended in a rough circle around our 'heroes'.

Despite Troglodytes less than savoury reputation the Cultists had managed to find some equilibrium with the creatures and inherit free guards into the bargain by regularly feeding the creatures to keep them torpid and docile. Approaching the situation with caution the Party came to much the same conclusion and used food as a lure and 'trade-off' to move hastily to the upper tunnels where a breeze, scented with pine needles greeted them like a breath of ambrosia after their time underground.

Just as the beginnings of a dim light could be seen around the corners of the last stretch of tunnels a hideous stench took over the previously sweet air. Investigating a side chamber the Party found themselves face-to-face with the top line of the cults 'natural' defences at their 'back-door'. A large and well-fed Troll confronted our group in a chamber littered with bones and refuse from countless unhappy creatures. A struggle ensued with the Troll very keen to add yet another meal to its never-ending need to gorge. Overcoming this last challenge, with fire and acid putting paid to the creature's uncanny regenerative abilities, the PArty could at last turn their faces toward the twisting deer-tracks and mountain streams that would lead them back north to Erruggarr's Shrine.

Features:

The Cult - Sharah attempts to subdue the leader of this cult cell, trying to strike his temple with the pommel of her dagger blade. Unfortunately the strike misses, and a resigned Tarvald, seeing the destruction of his followers and ineffectiveness of his summoned pet, smashes his "homing ruby" and perishes in the conflagration.

The cult fights with a passion and feverish purpose, gladly sacrificing themselves for whatever strange purpose they represent. Some are less committed than others, though these cultists interested in self preservation have been a minority and only break when forced to hopeless situations.

Active Characters:

Erro Moonshadow, Evnarra Rockcutter, Lando Calraesa, Silifrey Dotsk, Sharah Bloodcast.

Off Characters:

Cathrykan arrives at the Hall of the Sunset one afternoon, escorted by her new attendant Treava, temple guardsmen (dressed in impractical leather harness) and a small carriage from which is lifted (with much grunting and sweating) many large, lead sealed leather sacks. Shortly afterward a beaming Silvio was seen rushing about the bottom level of the Hall to find Arantes and the sound of clinking trade bars could be clearly heard by Gaukin and the Chef across the way in the kitchens.

Calaith Loreweaver, Cathrykan Shintar, Gaukin Lumberbearer, Kosef Mara.

NPC's: 

Orsekk Strakkhelm, Tarvald, Doomsayer of Torsch, The Brothers of Ash and Flame.

Morain (Torsch), Soltan (Sherra), Kashar (Foreign) – deceased members of the Brothers of Flame & Ash. Most bodies of the 'regular' cultists are of Kordian extraction or bear features of the different Lake of Steam nations/city states. Kashar is from further away, perhaps the Shining Sea States to the south and west.

Rumours:

#4. "The End is Coming!"

Experience:

1325 XP for each ACTIVE CHARACTER.

861 XP for each OFF CHARACTER.

(1650 accumulated XP for each NPC SUNSET CHARACTER).

Story Goal Achieved:

Refitting the Hall #1. and "Stretch Goal" Achieved.

Rewards – The Indecipherable Map. 250gp each.

From Silvio upon return. Sharah in custody of Map.

Items:

Hammer of the Forge, Diverse Wealth; Potions, Weapons, Raw Gemstones and Processed Metals, Sets of Armour and other Trade Goods. (Chainmail + 1, Studded Leather + 1, 3 Common Healing Potions, Potion of Comprehend Languages).

Cult Texts – For Calaith, Cathrykan, Erro and Evnarra to peruse.

Post-Game:

Reunited in the Errudrakenath our Party and their friends made some decisions about the immediate future of Expedition B.

1). Silifrey would remain at the shrine for the period of mourning being held for Thorfan Inkpen, learning more about dwarven culture and incidentally allowing herself a sneaky chance at some 'personal-business' with regards to the bookishly attractive artist Quailyth.

2). They would attempt to discover the true nature of the 'Blight' affecting the lands about Sherra and filtering up and down the river Malravan. This would entail the remaining memebrs of Expedition B, plus Erro, entering the nearby township as quickly as possible.

 

View
The End of the Old Firm
Catch-Up Vignette 1 - "Erro's Big Score"

Morning, 18th Flamerule, 472KR. Northgate District.

Story: On the 14th of Flamerule, most of the newer members of the Sunset Wanderers found themselves in the middle of a turf war between two gangs in the Warrens. Rather than take sides, Erro and Kosef met with one group (the weaker Etto Parade Boys) and tipped them off to the move being made by their rivals (the Old Firm). This was done with a view to arriving on the scene and making a play for the elimination of both gang's that were operating in or around Fletcher's Square and Etto Parade (the Warrens 'neatest' trade street). The resulting street battle spelt the end for the Etto Parade Boys and their leadership group, whilst the Old Firm were left 'headless' after Kosef Mara skewered 'Daddy' Thanrus with a well timed thrust of his blade. The leaderless remains of the Old Firm fled the scene, and at least one or two members survived the voracious 'zombie-children' created by Mykala in the Water Gardens.

The now depleted Old Firm quit the Warrens district soon after, and Erro used contacts from the Twists and the Warrens to find a disused warehouse in Northgate that the gang had ear-marked as a bolt-hole. Indeed the remainder of their stash, personnel and equipment were taken there on the evening of the 16th of Flamerule. With the bulk of the Sunset Wanderers engaged in expeditions to areas outside of Kordova, Erro Moonshadow resolved to use his 'credit' within Waukeen's Church to eliminate the lingering Old Firm once and for all. During the process of obtaining assistance and consulting with Vergano at the church; She Has Risen in Profit, Erro became the head of small sub-sect of Waukeen, The Many Hands of Waukeen and was given the church's blessing in his endeavors to bring the religion back to the fore south of Kordova's Grand Canal.

On the morning of the 18th, whilst many in Kordova slept off hangovers or headed for the markets spreading from the Colosseum outwards into the Circus, Northgate and Bel-Tevalya, Erro and a small group of determined Waukeenites met in the back alleys of Northgate District. The disused warehouse that they placed under a quick observation was boarded up, although both the front door and the rear exit (into a small fenced yard) were accessible and appeared to have been used recently. At the outset Brother Opius placed an Arcane Lock on the double front doors, so as prevent any obvious routes to escape. The small group of Waukeenite attackers then distributed themselves to the rear of the premises and not being challenged prepared to give the Old Firm a breakfast in bed to remember.

Smashing through the rear doors the Many Hands of Waukeen found a largely empty warehouse room, with offices and sub-rooms to the west. On the far eastern wall one bulky, scarred Old Firm member was feeding their 'pet', a shaggy and malodorous Quaggoth, sometimes used by gangs, guilds or individuals as semi-intelligent guard beasts. Their ferocious aspect and insatiable hunger make them ideally suited for this role. The remainder of the Old Firm immediately scattered, drawing or looking for weapons, whilst the Kennel Keeper' began to free the still hungry Quaggoth.

A brisk and swirling melee ensued, with Erro taking on the role of a point distraction, drawing as many members of the Old Firm towards him, whilst Bilvyn, Opius and his acolytes hammered open hand and spell attacks into the confused ranks of the gang. Many telling blows were struck by both sides, including a well placed calming spell that focused the leader and his backup on Erro rather than the lesser experienced members of the Hands. During this initial flurry, two of the young Hands faced off against the Quaggoth, bravely holding the left flank to protect Bilvyn and Opius near the doorway.

Derneal, a young traders son from Bordonna, had only recently joined the Monastery of the Refilled Urn, and being young still had a streak of the impetuous about him. His attacks confused the Quaggoth briefly as side-by-side he and another acolyte forced the creature to stand and fight. Unfortunately for young Derneal a well placed swipe of the Quaggoth's claws all but removed his head from his shoulders. A new soul feasts in Waukeen's endless Guildhall, and the Many Hands vowed to remember their first sacrifice along the road to influence in Kordova.

It was Erro himself who, without regard to the stray swings of blade and axe, sprinted to the assistance of his young charges, felling the Quaggoth with a series of well placed punches that finished with a devastating uppercut that snapped the creature's powerful, corded neck. The remaining pair of gang members, including their new leader, attempted to flee, but were cut down after finding the front doors barred to their egress.

The Many Hands of Waukeen cleaned the area very quickly, perhaps more concerned with the remainder of the Old Firm's stash. The bodies were placed behind crates and boxes, and the doors closed on the way out, but the Waukeenites made no further efforts to disguise the carnage (see Arrival and Commencement #10). They were able to return to the Warrens and begin the process of cleaning and preparing the old shrine in Fletcher's Square for regular use. The abandoned house in the North-East of the Square has been appropriated (and dedicated to Derneal), whilst several traders have begun to repaint and refit their shop fronts. A suburb within a suburb has been born…

Features:

Erro - breaks jaws and bones left and right as he rampages through the disoriented Old Firm. Even their 'pet' eventually succumbs to a powerful uppercut from the elf as he grows into his martial abilities with gusto.

The Many Hands of Waukeen follow Erro's instructions to the letter, selflessly placing themselves in danger to aid a beleaguered comrade or block an enemy's route of attack. Only one of their members is killed in the fight, a young trader's son named Derneal. Derneal's Rest.

Bilvyn Corkhand soothes the aggravated minds of many of the Old Firm, drawing their attention from the weaker acolytes and towards the capable fists of Erro Moonshadow.

Brother Opius 'Arcane Locks' the front doors of the warehouse well before the eventual altercation, preventing any escape for the desperate members of the Old Firm.

Active Characters:

Erro Moonshadow.

Off Characters:

None. All accounted for in Downtime or Expeditions A & B.

NPC's: 

Bilvyn Corkhand, Brother Opius.

Rumours:

First emergence of The Many Hands of Waukeen. Sections for Old Firm, Etto Parade Boys and some other gangs to be updated (or finalised in the case of the two unfortunate gangs who tangled with our 'heroes').

Arrival and Commencement #10. Butchered in Northgate.

Experience:

0 ALL CHARACTERS – XP accounted for in previous Logs.

Items:

Emerald Summoning Stone.

Reward / Bounty Claimed – Sunset Wanderers – 200gp. Investigation of the source of the Wailing Waif in the Water Gardens District (see [[:mykala | Mykala]] or The Madness of the Moon).

10 sets of irregular armour and weaponry contributed to Sunset Vault.

Post-Game:

No Downtime. Erro speeds from the city toward Expedition B, riding one of the two Palfreys gifted to Cathrykan. The priestess is herself more concerned with the preparations for the Festival of the Red Sisters.

"Fallout and Secrets from this section (and indeed the last three logs, heading for compilation pages, will be done hopefully post Saturday Session)."

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The Shrine in the Firesteaps
Session 5 - The Earth Shakes, Banter Ensues

Morning – Lavrana District, 16th Flamerule, 472KR.

"To be fair, the Banter had started well before the Earthquake. However I'm getting ahead of the story; so…"

Story:

16th Flamerule. Lavrana District, Home of Baldrin and Baldrin Junior.

Baldrin Torona strode into the kitchen of the well appointed townhouse with a skip in his step and a smile upon his young, slightly petulant face. With the heat from the summer sun already warming the cobbles and tree lined streets of Lavrana he should have been awake hours ago, already trapped in his father's stiflingly hot workroom; peering endlessly at stones, fastenings and other meticulous concerns of the jewellers' art. 

"Hah, not today old man," thought Baldrin as he reached for a the best of a sorry bunch of apples.

Even the poor quality of his breakfast couldn't dampen the smile and jaunty mood that Baldrin found himself in. Today was a fight day, sanctioned and organised by his father's own Guild. Even that dry old work-horse had to concede the benefit of a 'local' representative in the competition. And Baldrin thought, well knew, that he was the best going around on the Hill. Other young men played at 'bravo's' swishing a blade from time to time, but Baldrin practiced every night by the old cherry tree, and he knew he was better.

"Just please Tymora, not some expert from the Citadel, just a group of unwashed toughs and local kids", then he'd be sure to win that amulet and Elissa would be his for certain.

Her eyes, her hair, the way she laughed at his attempts at humour. It set his blood to boiling and visions of himself rescuing her from some nefarious enemy raced through his mind. Perhaps some ringleader of the poor districts, a kidnapper, evil and depraved; and him carving his way through to her side, snapping out strikes to win the day and her heart. Only the other day Elissa had spent an inordinate time mooning over that idiot Haldar, just because he went and got promoted and had a shiny new officers small-sword and badges of rank. Well, he'd show her. And Haldar. Why march in a rank like a well trained dog, when one could reach for the skies on the point of a blade?

16th Flamerule, later that day. Shady Lane Hospice, Lavrana District.

Baldrin awoke later, disoriented and his left thigh throbbing and on fire with a sharp, raw pain. He groaned and tried to rotate his body on the pallet on which he lay, glimpsing symbols of healing and calm through his encrusted, still unfocused eyes. He'd been taken to a Hospice it seemed, the air thick with the smell of drying herbs and wafting incense to mask the smells of sickness and congealed blood.

His youthful face twisted in pain again and then flushed as he remembered more clearly the events of that morning. It had all been going so perfectly, he easily outmatched and put paid to each opponent in turn, and was certain that he'd claim the prize, and Elissa's good graces; if not her heart. And then the "Mysterious Challenger" had put up his hand like a vengeful spirit watching from the sidelines to snatch Baldrin's victory from him in the very moment he was relishing his impending glory. 

And those idiots, those un-parochial morons who lived and worked around the Hill. They'd cheered for the Stranger, all quips and flashing blade. It wasn't fair. He'd obviously had training and moved with a fluid grace that Baldrin knew he could not match. And then the strike. He'd passed out, the pain had been too great. By now it would be all over the Hill. However could he show his face? And his father. 

Baldrin groaned as he pictured the 'know-it-all' lecture he was sure to receive. In his pain laden state he lashed out feebly at the adjacent wall, causing more damage to his hand than the unyielding uncaring stone. It was all the fault of that "Mysterious Challenger". Lando, from some poncy little city to the north. Through the red-rim of pain, Baldrin swore revenge, still blinking back tears of shame…

____________________________________________________________

Travelling with Silvio to the temple of the Fortunate Coin at the base of the Lavranan Hill our Party were in relatively high spirits. Rewards and congratulations were in the air and Silvio was in a buoyant mood, happily describing the sights and smells of the Grand Canal as they crossed the bridge heading north. On the way they chanced upon an impromtu duelling ring, combatants testing blades and warming up with stretches, or ales. Silvio being an old hand at Kordova's duelling rings insisted that they stop awhile and watch the competition, non-lethal and refereed by a Guilder of the Jewellers Co-Operative, the sponsors of the event.

The average quality of the combatants was leavened out by some deft work from a young local guilder (Baldrin Torona Jnr), a brutal docksider (well into his tankards) and a competent looking soldier type wielding a longer and heavier Epee. Towards the knock-out stages of the fights, a well spoken foreigner also entered the lists, possessed of a spry demeanour, light step and a polished rapier that glittered where his attire did not. The "Mysterious Challenger" greeted his opponents courteously and with sincerity, before ably destroying their strikes and counters with lashing ripostes and equally cutting remarks. Kordova had been introduced to the deft moves, Dragonmere stylings and the swift blade 'Falcon' of Lando Calraesa.

During the final fight with Baldrin Torona, the Sunset Wanderers had bet on and assiduously supported Lando. Evnarra even going as far as unobtrusively creating an audible illusion of many different voices of encouragement for the "Mysterious Challenger". Silvio and Sharah had exchanged knowing glances and following the fight Silvio wasted no time in congratulating this able foreigner with an angle to securing a further member for the Sunset Wanderers growing roster. Lando, at somewhat of a loose end, quickly agreed to become a sworn guild-member, particularly as there was an immediate chance at adventure and coin with the Party now pressed for time to make a start on the journey East to Erruggar's Shrine and the farmlands of Kordia's rich south-east.

There was some brief conjecture over rewards, temple arrangements and personal matters, before the members of what would become Expedition B began a hasty series of preparations that saw them through the city and on the road by mid-afternoon.

Whilst travelling along the first section of the highway, just south and east of Kordova, it was immediately obvious that the denizens of the Orc Encampments, hired as mercenary irregulars to support the Burning Spear Legion, had increased in number, their tents and outbuildings now flowing some hundreds of feet beyond the initial camp boundaries. The two tribal differences have been maintained by the Burning Spear, with the road still delineating the boundary between the usually fractious sub-groups of Orc.

The rest of the mid-day and afternoon passed by with our Party seeing various traders and wagons heading toward Kordova, some regular consignments, others obviously special deliveries for the Trade Fair. These included a group of friendly dwarven merchants out of Three-Swords, who (chuffed by the Dwarven reception; all ACTIVE PC's speak dwarven) made an impromptu break of their chance meeting, sharing nips of Skullsmasher Spirits  and tales of the road ahead with Expedition B. Lando and Silifrey in particular seem much taken with the heady liquor, though little Evnarra was a trifle unsteady on her feet until rest and a hot meal.

Towards afternoon on the second day of their journey (17th) the members of Expedition B came upon the turn off from the highway to the township of Sherra and the Firesteap Mountains beyond. Local geography placed a series of mine works throughout the Firesteaps, and besides vegetables and grain (the staple produce of the region) the Moro family is known to produce a superior clip of goats wool and related products to the east of the town. The intersection itself was found to be befouled with a large pile of rotting grain sacks, vegetable matter and spoiled beer. Discarded piles like this had been a feature of the past few miles, yet this was the largets one seen by Expedition B to date. Rotting and over-ripe foodstuffs seem to be the order of the day, with merchants changing their cargos or opting for items not tainted by the 'blight' that is all pervading in the region. At least the badger-mice and birds are happy.

Turning toward the Firesteap Mountains and pushing toward dusk on the 17th of Flamerule, our 'heroes' heard a high, clear voice, singing of green and its many hues. This captivating performance was coming from an ancient stone circle, just visible from the path leading south. Prepared for anything our group startled a young half-elven woman, intent on her song and the sketch she was making of the ash and yew groves adjacent to the weathered stones. With relief at the friendly nature of the travellers, the young half-elf gushed her immediate story, eager to befriend a group of people with a passion for discovery and adventure. Quailyth later (around camp) agreed to travel with them in the hopes of finding suitable drawing subjects, due partly to her disappointment in not being allowed into Sherra to see the local mask museum.

Quailyth's first startled reaction and fears of bandits were later proven to be the down side to the next morning, when whilst the stars still danced overhead, the Party awoke to Sharah's insistent whisper and hand over mouth routine. She had spotted and heard several medium sized creatures moving toward their campsite and in a matter of seconds the Party readied themselves to face a possible threat. Wide missile coverage and stealthy movements surprised the ragged band of bandits (or possibly deserters) that had thought to take an easy prey. Their surprise was compounded by the abrupt demise of their 'leadership' as Lando hurtled into his first real encounter with gusto. The addition of magic, bow-shots and gunfire quickly put all thought of profit and indeed anything else from the minds of all of their ill-equiped group. The remaining survivor having thoughts of his own (escape and a warm, safe place) was also disappointed when pursued and easily cornered by the Party's considerable movement speed.

He revealed, under some duress, the location and composition of the remainder of their outlaw group, eagerly buying his life (or so he thought) with the information. Leaving him tied to a convenient tree and uncertain fate, the Party resolved to eliminate the bandit presence in the hopes of a favourable introduction to Sherra's local militia. Tracking the route to their hideout following the additional information proved no great a challenge and come sunrise our group of adventurers turned posse approached the derelict farm building where the remaining bandits were located. With Quailyth hidden nearby, the Party formed a plan of attack that would take advantage of their stealth capabilities and hopefully surprise the outlaws with the sun just above the treetops directly behind our 'heroes'.

With one urinating out of a ruined doorway, two clearly moving around performing their morning routine and a fourth on guard, the stealthier approach seemed like a fantastic idea, especially with Silifrey and Evnarra to back up the initial rush of Lando and Sharah. Unfortunately a misplaced step by Sharah resulted in the triggering of a trip-wire, which dumped a handful of pebbles onto an old rusted buckler with a pitted metal face. The guard alerted and the others quickly searching for weapons or drawstrings of breeches the Party wasted no time in turning a bungled stealth run into a blitz attack.

Stunned, groggy and none too skilled the remaining outlaws of Sherra's western hinterland were overpowered and slain with the disregard their predatory type (probably) deserves. A fifth member of their group was found in a small half-ruined chamber of the farmstead, and was given a wide berth after the Party ascertained that the bandit was deceased, most likely from an unknown malady or disease. Almost as expected the yield of loot from these encounters was scant and the Party resolved to make do with any future kudos for their public spirited slaughter of the outlaw band.

Deciding to continue with as much haste as possible toward the Shrine in the now very looming mountains the group turned their faces south, heading back across country to rejoin the main trail. Passing within sight of Sherra in the distance they wound their way steadily upward through copses of yew and oak which gave way to coniferous pines that oozed sap and lay their needles in a brown carpet across the rocky ground. Outcrops of stone became more common as the way grew steeper, causing occasional breaks in what could only be described as lively conversation. Between Silifrey getting to know Quailyth better, Lando's attempts at stilted charm, Sharah sifting the poor girl for local information and Evnarra's still ever present amazement at nearly all things 'surface-world', the final two hours travel to the shrine of Errudrakkenath passed quickly and in high spirits. The only disquieting portent to a fine Kordian morning was the vague suggestion from Evnarra of the rocks of the Firesteaps being in some sort of flux.

With the elegantly carved facade of the Shrine some two hundred feet above them, the Party came to a small hewn alcove, piled with crates, materials and tools. Hitched here were several mules and one packhorse, guarded by two doughty looking dwarven warriors in well made chain and plate armour. Beyond a narrow carven stair twisted its way back and forth, ascending to the entrance to the shrine. Most of the stone work looked to be relatively new, with very little evidence of moss, wear or verdigris.  Using their contracted invitation and dwarven language skills, the Party quickly and politely negotiated an expedited audience with Thorfan Inkpen, the Master of Records and temporal head of the Shrine's operations.

The group found Thorfan within the lower reaches of the Shrine, but not before first being treated to some of the finest examples of dwarven craftsmanship and artistic embellishment. The first ante-chambers of Errudrakkenath were elaborately carved with finished friezes and geometric patterns displaying the power of the Morndinsamman over the productive, religious and family life of their mortal followers. These well painted and expertly cut images were visible in the dark underground by way of an obviously magical line of paint, twinkling with crushed gemstone dust, that ran about the base of the rooms and by well wrought braziers of brass, filled with a smoke free and scented oil.

If the ante-chambers were opulent, then the work done by dwarven craftsmen on the main hall during the six year 'construction' of the shrine could only be described as staggering. A series of niched recesses contained elaborately decorated depictions of the deities of the Morndinsamman, leading the eye with effortless ease to the greater shrine of Moradin. Through carven archways there continued straight and decorated corridors, sloping slightly into the mountainside. In the distance sounds of steel on rock, occasional snatches of song and the bustle of handcarts, ropes and pulleys could be heard. Into this small network of tunnels and stairs the Party was led, discovering as they did so the large amount of work still to be completed and the shaft entrances, bunkrooms and storage areas that formed the bulk of the complex.

Thorfan was found in a relatively small and crowded room two levels down and surrounded books, scrolls and writing materials. After a cordial greeting including a special acknowledgment for his 'little-sister-of-stone" Evnarra, he became very businesslike insisting that time was of the essence and conveying the Party swiftly to the source of their predicament. As his desk was so conveniently covered with interesting documents Sharah attempted to peruse their contents surreptitiously. When nothing appeared of notice she moved swiftly behind the others, unaware until later that little Evnarra, unnoticed by the others had taken a good long look at a trade ledger predicting futures of ogliocase (Sunstone) and the quantities expected from the mines.

Deeper they were led into the unfinished lower level of the complex, along the way experiencing (via Thorfan, Evnara and a growing group sense of foreboding) minor vibrations and movements of the earth's bones beneath their feet. Arriving at a dead end the group found a smallish irregular stone chamber, some 40 feet in diameter, that contained a barricade of wooden planks, two dwarven warriors, a priestly looking dwarf and a roughly 6 foot diameter hole with charred and burnt edges. The rock itself inside the hole and about its lip appeared fused, as if by great heat, with pockmarks and pitts in its otherwise smooth surface. The dwarven warriors departed to a respectful distance in the corridor allowing their leaders to converse with our 'heroes' in private(the later being Orsekk Strakkhelm, the religious leader of the shrine and in charge of services, dedications and the wellbeing of the dwarven expedition crew).

The dwarves began to describe the attempted entry to the complex and subsequent slaying of a Salamander and two younger fire-snakes. This had occurred shortly after this chamber had been discovered, and immediately after the breach in the floor had connected to the hole leading downward. Due to instabilities in the rock the hole had widened and a barrier was put in place by the workers to ensure no-one accidentally fell in. It was during the following deliberations regarding the warmth of the chamber in comparison to the surrounding corridors, and the depth of the hole when tested with knotted ropes, that the mountains themselves took a hand in our story. The small movements and rumblings of the earth became a minor tremor, throwing some to the ground and shaking everyone with their intensity. Quailyth, hanging back from the group, staggered into the corridor and fell beside the warriors struggling to hold their halberds upright whilst bracing against the walls. 

For the unfortunate group in the chamber the tremor turned into a quake, the earth heaving and tossing them from side to side. With cracks appearing in the floor and a dangerous amount of loose scree beginning to add its noise to the din of the earthquake as it slid downward the Party made the unanimous decision to run for the questionable safety of the corridor. Perhaps if the floor had not then collapsed around the dramatically widening hole, or perhaps if a swifter move had been made toward the entrance the resulting carnage may not have occurred. Lando was left hanging at an almost vertical angle from the top of the now ruined chamber, stretching forward to the dwarves and Quailyth in the corridor. The remainder of the Party, including Orsekk and Thorfan were plunged into a mass of small bouncing rocks and sharp splinters of obsidian, down the winding smooth hole in the floor. 

The smooth passage was (fortunately for most) not vertical after its initial drop and the group of struggling humanoids were abruptly slammed into the floor of a small room, some 45-50 feet below the level they had been on. Due to the diagonal nature of the fall, most were bruised, cut, but otherwise whole. It was only after the dust and gravel had settled that they found poor Thorfan, skull crushed, amongst the largest pile of debris. The strewn chamber twinkled in an eerie half red glow, small fire agates embedded in the stone giving off a disturbing, yet adequet amount of light. Understandably Orsekk spent the first few minutes below mourning the loss of his friend and comrade, whilst the Party began to orient themselves in their new surrounds and inspect the hole in the ceiling some 12 feet above.

They found Orsekk to be a taciturn and knowledgeable cleric, devoted to Moradin, prepared to assist his impromtu companions in exploring the chambers they found themselves in. After laying Thorfan's body out respectfully they resolved to continue with their unexpectedly accelerated mission, confident that assistance from above would arrive. Indeed, moments later a rope (tied with knots every few feet) slithered out of the hole, followed by Lando, half climbing, half dropping into the room with a flourish that was unfortunately a little inappropriate for the sombre mood below. In the dim light our 'heroes' began to fully assimilate the nature of their current location.

Carved sheets of obsidian formed rectangular frames for friezes depicting a variety of religious events, obvious from the elaborate head-gear and poses of the figures. Evidence of flames, depictions of ash clouds, mountains and roaring fires all supported their suspicions that the complex was older than Kordia and was from the time of the Thalasian Changeling 'kingdom' that had previously existed in the area. Indeed after further investigation of adjacent corridors and rooms there was found to be damage from some upheaval of earth and fire, extensive sections of hardened lava, and more friezes that all pointed to a date some 650-850 years ago. The Party had unwittingly fallen into the religious complex of Hyradraea, one of the three power centres of Thalasian religious rule that were destroyed during the final months of the Ash Wars.

A small secret chamber was discovered, scrapings in the floor stone and fresh disturbances leading them to a concealed pivot door that opened into a hastily laid out storage area. Here they found newly made robes, hoods and sashes emblazoned with an emblem of dark flame rising, reminiscent of some of the carvings on the walls. Also here the Party discovered newly made and well kept weapons, bucklers, equipment and a cache of amulets, all identical and made in the same stylised flame shape as the emblazons on the afore-mentioned items of clothing. Unaware of Expedition A's discovery of similar objects beneath the Carmino Estate in Lake's Edge, they rounded up some needed items and Sharah added to her collection of disguises whilst also helping herself to a fine polished longbow of good springy yellow wood.

It did not take our group long to discover the owners of the materials they had found, as moving through dimly lit corridors and chambers they found firstly a refuse pile, with recently rotted food-stuffs, and also clear signs of humanoid movements via scuff marks and drag marks on the stone floors. Their explorations were finally halted by the discovery of a small group of robed humans worshipping or meditating before a particularly large set of wall carvings in a vaulted chamber supported by many large rounded columns of worked stone. In the same robes as were found earlier, and with little else to go on the Party made the precipitous decision to ambush the ritual and ask questions later. 

In the Chamber of Ashen Memory we discovered that our 'heroes' are experts at surprising and overcoming a poorly armed, fanatical and ultimately suicidal group of unskilled fighters (defining heroic at this point may have been an interesting digression). Silifrey spared no time in finding solid groups of cultists with which to cover in a hail of shot, before effectively eliminating reinforcements arriving around a blind corner. Evnarra dashed about the columns of the chamber, stopping occasionally to fling a globe of acid or two at stray figures. And on one 'flank' with assistance arriving from further within the complex a wall of knife and club wielding cultists attempted to defeat a tandem effort from Sharah and Lando. This worked as well as can be expected with the two Rogues carving a swathe of destruction through the slow and ill-trained cultists. Orsekk provided a solid base and back-up which was certainly not required in the end.

Mopping up the last resistance the Party were relieved to find that the nature of the deities in question was somewhat disquieting (lords of Flame, Ash and Magma) and felt a little more vindicated in their unprovoked attack. In a final shrine they found evidence that confirmed the identity of the complex as the old Thalasian centre of Hyradraea and that the primary deity in question was Gaargash, the Elemental Lord of Ash, a god with a none too savoury reputation in the region following certain historical events. Exhausted from their efforts they decided to set a guard and indulge in an hours or so's rest out of sight of the main chamber areas they had discovered.

Features:

Geography – The Party 'encounter' their first real indication that the region surrounding Greater Kordia is unstable and in a state of flux. A significant Earthquake occurred on the 18th of Flamerule, towards afternoon. This placed the Party in an inconvenient position and unfortunately killed Thorfan Inkpen in the resulting destruction.

Evnarra - Begins to have a real financial effect on the state of Party treasure acquisition, her skills in the identification of gemstones being of special use in Kordova. Her illusions during the Duel in Lavrana and at the complex of Hyradraea are becoming more complex and potentially devastating to an unprepared opponent.

LandoIntroduces himself with the end of Falcon, his beloved rapier, and a politeness toward the 'fairer-sex' that is charming in its own way. He is seldom short of a biting quip for his opponents as they taste the pointy end of Falcon's well balanced blade. Already there is a growing list of maimed or deceased bandits, acolytes and 'want-to-be' duellists in his wake.

SharahPushes through distraction and disorientation as she learns to cope with the outdoors again. After years of being 'fused to the cobblestones" of both Baldur's Gate and now Kordova the young elf would appear to have misplaced her race's natural abilities and affinity for the outdoors. Fortunately she makes up for any minor discomforts and 'bungles' by repeatedly eviscerating the fanatic cultists found beneath Erruggar's shrine.

SilifreyWith a laugh and a grin blackens the chamber and near deafens the Party with a double blast of her new "Shotgun" that showers the bulk of the first group of cultists (worshipping near an old wall frieze) with a hail of deadly shot. Those that survive the first blast are soon with their gods as she reloads and fires weapons with a slick ease that is frightening to watch.

The PartyRecovers their composure quickly not once but twice. Seeing off the bandit group at the ancient stones, and then having the foresight to eliminate their base before the remainder realised their friends weren't coming home. The second speedy recovery followed the unexpected trip down the old lava tube, resulting in injuries to all and the death of Thorfan Inkpen. Despite the shock and reality of the dwarf's untimely demise the Party quickly reformed into "under-ground" mode and ventured into the ancient complex, prepared for the worst.

Active Characters:

Evnarra Rockcutter, Lando Calraesa, Sharah Bloodcast, Silifrey Dotsk.

Off Characters:

Calaith, GaukinKosef, Cathrykan.

Erro, completed a shorter downtime period by borrowing a newly aquired Palfrey (courtesy of Cathrykan's temple endeavours) and riding after the members of Expedition B. He arrived shortly after the works began on a 'rescue-stair' by the dwarves. Erro found Quailyth, Barro Hammander and a group of dwarven clergy/engineers in the bowels of the complex around the widened hole created by the Earthquake, quickly offering to scout for the Party via use of Lando's rope 'ladder'.

After the 19th (roughly early morning) we are once again on concurrent timelines for ON and OFF CHARACTERS. XP, Downtime, etc… will now proceed as per normal Home-Brew Rules.

NPC's: 

Quailyth Half-Elven, Orsekk Strakkhelm, Thorfan Inkpen, Silvio VerbosaBaldrin of Jewellers Hill.

Rumours:

Updated in Multiple Sections of Gossip and Employment.

Experience:

(First 60 hours, 16th-19th of Flamerule).

376 for each ACTIVE CHARACTER.

0 for each OFF CHARACTER of Present Players.

94 for each OFF CHARACTER of Downtime Players,

(Currently Cathrykan Shintar, Erro Moonshadow).

(Subsequent Timeline - 19th Flamerule Onward).

0 (as yet) for each ACTIVE CHARACTER (currently Expedition B).

0 (as yet) for each OFF CHARACTER (completed Expedition A).

0 (as yet) for each 'Medvedev' OFF CHARACTER.

0 (as yet) for each NPC in the Sunset Wanderers (currently Expedition C and various Kordova based Activities).

Our timelines for the purposes of Experience are once again concurrent and as such XP will be awarded when a period of 'reflection', camp routine, downtime, etc… is reached as per normal. 

Items:

Night Eye Hood, Night Eye Leathers, Tattered Red Scroll Case, Bandolier of Readiness, Skullsmasher Spirits, A Recycled Book, Wondrous Geography.

Post-Game:

Downtime Re-Initiated (6 Hours for Current OFF CHARACTERS – to be determined at beginning of Session 6).

During the travel back to Kordova from Lake's Edge, Calaith found a curious ending to a ledger that otherwise served as a simple record. Of interest to himself and the Sunset Wanderers may be the tome Wondrous Geography also discovered in this collection.

View
Beneath the Manor at Lake's Edge
Session 4 - Peeking behind the Curtain.

Morning – Westgate District,16th Flamerule.

Story: After the past couple of very active, yet not entirely adventurous, days, the city-bound members of the Adventurer's Guild (the Sunset Wanderers) were again gathered in the expanse of the banner hung main hall in Westgate, Kordova. The faint smell of bat guano and cat feces mingling with the stronger and already unpleasant odours of rotten fruit and vegetables that penetrated from outside; threatening to over-ride even the delicious wafting smells that emanated from the Chef's kitchen annex.

 Taking stock of recent events and the temporary absences of some members, the remainder of our heroes began to look seriously at stretching their legs. Both Calaith and Silifrey had obtained separate leads on very similar sounding endeavours. Calaith via his growing scholarly relationship with Lord Balthas Carmino, who requested his aid to transport scientific instruments, a portion of his library (which Calaith is also interested in) and investigate some disturbing stories emanating from his estate. (This is Expedition A).

As the various talents of our group and their inclinations are as diverse as their origins a decision was reached to try to achieve a resolution (and payment) for both of these requests. Calaith would head west with Gaukin and Kosef to retrieve the items from the Carmino Manor at Lake's Edge; whilst Silifrey, accompanied by Sharah and Evnarra would make the longer journey east to the northern fringes of the Firesteap Mountains and the newly consecrated Shrine of the Morndinsamman. (This is Expedition B).

So packing up their rucksacks and backpacks for the first time in over a ten-day (for many) our Expedition A team of Gaukin, Kosef and Calaith made their way towards the west along the unfinished highway dubbed the Way of Conquest. Near to the intersection north, shortly before noon our travellers chanced upon a group of merchants headed from the Border Kingdoms (Yallasch) to Kordova. After a brief conversation Kosef took a private moment to direct them (with a coin inducement) to the 'offices' of Mirreth Vo, a merchant from foreign climes who is trying to gain an entry to the lucrative fabric and fashion industries.

The northward journey passed without incident and it was almost dusk before the houses and docks of Lake's Edge could been seen in the distance. The Manor of House Carmino, sitting astride its rocky islet, dominated the foreground, its welcome lights already visible in the gathering misty gloom across the ancient causeway. A warm welcome from Steward Gondario (expecting a friend of Lord Balthas), Alykina and a pompous Urnan led the Party inside the modestly sized yet well-appointed family hall. Dinner was being served (a fact not lost on our Goliath friend Gaukin) and a conversation ensued which despite its already serious nature (the odd chamber discovered beneath the manor) took an even darker turn, with Kosef managing to convince Alykina to speak of the Consecration of Selune's Tear and the Prophecy of the Crying Oracle.

(Entries for these to be updated).

Consecration of Selune's Tear, Prophecy of the Crying Oracle.

On more immediate matters the Party began the next morning with Alykina and Urnan (pointing out the various preventions he had put in place) leading the way to the depths of the manor and the curious chamber stained with soot. A hole opened up in the floor (reinforced by estate workers) led directly into the porous rock of the sea caves underneath the manor and ubiquitous to this part of the Lake of Steam.

The first few chambers were relatively dry, though the high tide line could clearly be seen as well as water weeds and small molluscs along the walls, indicating that the time spent here would be limited by the elements themselves. Evidence of humanoid activity was almost immediately found with a collection of barrels and crates placed above the tide line on a rocky shelf revealing shoes, basic weaponry, cloaks and holy symbols of a distinctive black flame on russet design. Also the Party found a small leather pouch containing a damaged but clearly legible draft of a letter. (Cult Correspondence).

The Firesnakes and Salamander expected had as yet not raised their heads, but as the Party progressed they found a small concentration of Steam and Magma elemental spirits (Mephits) and further evidence of a strange group of fire oriented cultists, origins unknown. Patrolling the areas already covered by the rising tide or permanent waterline the Party found small groups of Sauhagin, apparently aware off and oddly unconcerned by the humanoid activity in their native environment. More were found to be guarding a Sauhagin priestess as she apparently fed, whilst blessing in a strange language (Aquan), a group of baby sharks in a shallow cave pool.

Another quick struggle ensued, the sounds of the booming surf masking the desperate noise of the vicious combat. Moving to a tactically sound position, Calaith was treated to a first hand experience of a Sauhagin Priestess' powers when the baby sharks about his ankles responded to her call by mauling the elf's lower legs. Urnan finally managed to get over his early incompetence and kept his footing long enough to contribute his first telling blows of the exploration.

The Party pushed through the rest of the caves interior until daylight, and a rising tide, could be seen through openings in the cliff faces of the islet. Here they found a private meditation chamber, and after eliminating one guard noiselessly unfortunately hip-shot the second, causing screams that rose above the sound of the surf. The occupant of the chamber, a charcoal robed figure, chose discretion against the darkened (and in Gaukin's case hulking) figures in the rough corridor and immediately threw a small red gem to the rocky floor. This exploded in a brief conflagration that obviously injured the strange man, but also transported him magically from the scene.

Our last major encounter saw the Party excel again at the sneaky, 'talky' style of adventuring that is becoming their hallmark. A plan was hatched and in short order a group of disguised explorers (in cloaks, although Gaukin's appeared more like a misshapen poncho) rounded the corner of a larger chamber (now hip deep in water) to Kosef's cry of "attack the fish-men" and crossbow shot. Unfortunately for the small group of cultists stranded with equipment half way across the chamber the Sauhagin they were conversing with reacted much faster in the rising water and made short work of the first three, the last choosing a far worse fate and attempting to swim away. He was taken by a large shark waiting just outside the opening to the Lake proper. The remaining 'cultists', being Party members, made short work of the confused Sauhagin and began the less onerous task of toting up booty and information secured on this trip.

The final cave visible, way beyond the tide line, was slated for investigation on the morrow, rather than risk the jaws of the previously mentioned shark. Once investigated, the cave proved to have the bodies of a Salamander and Two Fire-Snakes, hacked with what Gaukin assured everyone were primitive jagged weapons. It appears that the initial occupation of the cave complex may have been accidental on the parts of all three parties, and some sort of compromise was reached shortly before the Party arrived. Whatever the actual facts it remains that the Party must now look to the Firesteap Mountains for evidence of a further cult influence. It would also be advantageous for them to address the obvious nationality of the stamped barrels and leader of the cultists (Hylaean), however as an independent state with its own resources should not be approached flippantly.

After collecting the equipment and saying a fond (with presents and silver for her shrine) goodbye to Alykina, and a less exuberant goodbye to Urnan, the Party of Expedition A turned their faces eastward to Kordova and the comforts of home.

The City of Kordova:

The following developments have publicly occurred within the city of Kordova as a direct result of actions from Player Characters, concerned NPC's or other agencies:

  • (16th Flamerule). The remaining Tassa slaves (a pitiful lot) from the temporary camps outside Westgate District have been rounded up and placed into detail squads. These have been immediatelt issued with barrows and shovels, then accompanied by a Burning Spear Escort (the worst legionaries) are beginning the daunting task of removing as much tainted vegetable refuse from the streets as possible. It may be that they face an almost impossible task as fruit and vegetables from the west continue to arrive by barge. At least the summer apples and wheat harvest from Sherra are late, the sheer volume of these usually stored items would likely overwhelm the city in rotten humus.
  • (17th Flamerule). The shrine of Cyric, the Sanctum of the Dark Sun has been boarded up and temporarily closed. The five attendant priests and acolytes have been taken into custody by members of the Iron Fist and Burning Spear Legion and were last seen passing beneath the Western Gates of the New Legion District accompanied by their captors.
  • (18th Flamerule). Fletcher's Square in the Warrens was recently the site of a major turf war between two opposed Kordovan gangs. The square was singed but otherwise undamaged and has begun to show signs of a minor economic recovery. Both Mistress Cheeva's (Brothel) and Sallysta (bar) are open and not currently paying protection monies to a gang. And Aardwyn's Arrows also finds itself the unconscious recipient of a remission from racket debt. It is uncertain how long this will continue, or indeed the catalyst for this change, however it is known that the Sunset Wanderer, Erro Moonshadow has been seen twice in the company of Mistress Cheeva, and also in the taproom of Sallysta's.

Features:

Gaukin - Strides bodily through scalding steam, rising tides and the bodies of defeated sauhagin, cultists and those annoying mephits that just don't seem to know when to quit. His presence buoys (pun intended) his companions and provides a solid wall of defence or assault.

Calaith – Becomes more and more an elf of artifice, slinging wands and scrolls rather than the inner power he fears to use. Knowledge and research are this adventurer's forte and he has displayed already the breadth of his Arcane, Historical and Religious studies. He may however now wish to begin some research into the habits of infant sharks and their propensity to nibble on the ankles of unsuspecting elven sorcerers.

Kosef - Becomes the 'Man with the Plan' submerging most of his body and donning the robes of a Cult member. The subsequent crossbow shot and accented orders to 'attack the fish-men' resulted in a chaotic "three-way" struggle between the out-classed cultists, disoriented Sauhagin and a smug, but time pressed party.

The Party – Again manages to complete their objectives with skill and relative aplomb. Severe injuries to Urnan, Gaukin, and minor ones to everyone else resulted in some tense moments, including a cascade of Mephit explosions near the entry to the Sea Caves. The intelligent (but fortunately obvious) decision to not swim during high tide to the furthermost outcrop / cave after seeing a cultist devoured alive by a large shark is also worth mention.

Active Characters:

Calaith, GaukinKosef.

Part of Expedition A.

Off Characters (Present):

Evnarra, Sharah, Silifrey.

Currently part of Expedition B.

Off Characters (Downtime):

Cathrykan Shintar, Erro Moonshadow.

To cover Downtime for Expeditions A & B.

Guild Characters (NPC Monitoring):

Kithri Yellowbriar – Absent visiting relatives in hills and dales.

Kennard, Arkaela, Kenjii, Flick & Istvaan – Make up the composition of Expedition C (Duskwood Forest). (See persistent problem Strange Geography).

Rhoskhobar Mossgrower – Unsighted (rumoured in Duskwood).

Alaena de Witte – Unsighted (rumoured in Rishadan).

NPC's: 

Alykina Dertoa, Urnan Keata, Steward Gondario, Svyrr.

Rumours:

Update – Party Exotica and the "Fallout".

Update – The Estate on the Lake.

Update – The Shrine of the Morndinsamman.

Emergent Narratives Activated:

The Darker Path – Erro.

Of Vivid Scarlet and Velvet Black – Sharah.

Southern Connections – Cathrykan.

Spoiled Leftovers – Gaukin & The Chef.

Emergent Narratives Updated:

The Estate on the Lake – Calaith & Party.

Experimental Medicine – Evnarra & Arantes.

Fragments from the Past – Party.

Under Observation – Kosef.

The Shrine of the Morndinsamman – Silifrey & Party.

Experience:

498 for each ACTIVE CHARACTER.

0 for each OFF CHARACTER of Present Players.

324 for each OFF CHARACTER of Downtime Players,

(Currently Cathrykan Shintar, Erro Moonshadow).

Loyalty, Piety and Renown: Current Statistics.

Items:

Mace of the Tides, Quiver of Replenishment, Bag of Holding, Wand of Secrets, Potion of Greater Healing (2), Potion of Water Breathing (1), Scroll of Sleep (1).

The Guildhall:

Silvio, Arantes and the Chef have been left as the sole occupants of the Hall of the Sunset, with three seperate expeditions currently underway. In a mere ten-day the fortunes of the guild have turned around, and once again the clinking of coins and rustling of maps can be heard from the open door of Silvio's study.

67 Gold Pieces automatically Tithed to Guild.

50 used for Refitting the Hall.

Post-Game:

Early Morning 19th Flamerule.

(Downtime) – Cathrykan Shintar, Erro Moonshadow (72 hours).

(Downtime) - Evnarra, Sharah, Silifrey (60 hours travel to the Shrine of the Morndinsamman).

12 hours to become Active Time Session 5. 

Secret Update to Come.

View
The Social Event of the Year
First Interlude (Downtime Resolutions).

Evening – All Districts, 14th Flamerule, 472KR.

Morning – Westgate District, 16th Flamerule, 472KR.

Story: The fellowship of the Sunset Wanderers has begun to settle into a more orderly routine. Meals served at common times, and members still in the city going about those small, but important, errands and jaunts that make up their 'non-adventuring' lives. The only significant disruption to the operation of the guild is that the duties of serving meals have now fallen to Gaukin. The young Goliath has had to take over helping the Chef run the hall and kitchens in the absence of Kithri Yellowbriar.

The Halfling has temporarily left the guild, leaving her belongings in her locked bedroom. She told Silvio (early on the 14th) to say a cheerio to everyone and expect to se her in a few weeks. She has gone to 'visit relations in the dales around Kordova'. Strangely the Party definitely remembers Kennard introducing Kithri as hailing from Lurien, the Land of the Halfings, far to the south-west near Dambrath.

 

Break…._________________________________

 

A lot of activity for the period centered around Research, Investigation and attending to a few items that each Character had been intending to. Silifrey managed to get her audience with Erruggar Deepshaft at the Temple of Marthammor Duin, Erro disappeared into the stews of the Dockside and Warrens Districts and Cathrykan was either out and about, or at the Temple of Eviscerated Joy.  

Kosef and Sharah  pursued their aims throughout both rich and poor districts of the city, whilst Evnarra and Calaith fell to cataloging the books and scrolls of the Wanderers, with the elf leaving regularly to head for the University and Library of Balthas Carmino. And of course the nobles of the city quivered in anticipation of the Party Exotica, rumoured to be one of Halifax Quinto's most extravagant concepts yet.

The City of Kordova:

The following developments have publicly occurred within the city of Kordova as a direct result of actions from Player Characters, concerned NPC's or other agencies:

  • (14th Flamerule, evening). The young scion of House Salva, Adriano, has been publicly humiliated in front of most of Kordova's high society. It appears that his "gift" to Halifax for the Party Exotica, the attentions of a young Lovitaran Priestess from far away Dambrath, may have 'back-fired'. The carriage that was supposed to contain his 'accompaniment' for the night instead contained a vociferous note and cheap bottle of liqueur. The subtlety of the insult was enjoyed in lurid and public detail by his friends and peers. These included his sister, who it is said had to be seated after winding herself laughing at her younger brother's misfortune.
  • (15th Flamerule). The Estate of House Quinto has been visited by Lord Darvan Muertollia and attendant Iron Fist representatives following the disappearance of a highly illegal Tiefling from the Party Exotica of the evening before. Speculation is rife and given that it was under the prosecutor's (Darvan) own seal that the Tiefling was originally allowed entry as an 'exotic gift' he has taken a personal interest in the events surrounding her.

 

Features:

Silifrey -  Is feted by a pleasantly surprised Erruggar, who looks upon her personal mission to return the remains and belongings of her dead master to his kin in Earth-Heart. He explains that he is aware of the need for the Sunset Wanderers to raise their profile and suggests that Silifrey (and the others) could well be the people he is looking for to unravel a mystery developing at the recently dedicated The Shrine of the Morndinsamman.

Gaukin - Begins to watch the workmen about the Hall closely and finds the tasks much to his liking. In a matter of days he is able to do the work of several men, hauling blocks of stone, brick and beams, hammering happily and humming too himself between snacks. Gaukin's contributions over time will make a significant difference to the length of time, and cost of labour, required to refurbish the Hall.

Training Regime Started: Artisan's Tools (Masonry).

Evnarra - Finds a short travelling spellbook penned by a wizard from long ago. It was found beneath a cabinet in the Reading Room of the Hall of the Sunset being used as a makeshift leg. The orderly svirfneblin wizard has begun categorizing the collection of books and scrolls in the Guild Hall in the hopes of discovering forgotten knowledge of herb lore and medicines. In addition her search turns up an old, very damaged text that appears to be the Diary of an ill-fated expedition long ago.

Calaith

 

Kosef - 

 

Cathrykan - 

 

Sharah - 

 

Erro - 

 

Lando -

 

The Party – Begins to notice the following creatures and people congregating near or in the Hall of the Sunset at different times.

1. Cats, cats and more cats. The population of the animals has, if not exploded, significantly increased. There are more rodents in the area due to the presence of growing piles of diseased vegetable matter (See: 2. Great Southern Blight? in Gossip Section) but why then are so many of the felines ignoring the rodents and sitting in advantageous places in the streets around the guild?

2. In the past few days several teenaged Kordovan ruffians have been sighted loitering opposite the main doors of the Hall. Poorly dressed, and poor at concealment, these obvious spies are haphazard and appear in between meal times, suggesting they are leaving and returning around a normal work-day's timetable.

3. Two large fruit bats have taken up residence in the rafters of the Main Hall of the Hall of the Sunset. These creatures nightly feed on the excess of rotten fruit and vegetables throughout Kordova. They return and stay within the Hall during daylight hours and their only real impact so far is to watch with beady little eyes and muss the floors with purplish brown guano.

4. A small green creature has popped into existence from a puff of black smoke several times on the edges of various Wanderers vision. It watches from corners and flees toward the nearest wall, disappearing again, whenever approached. After some discussion, the trio of Sharah, Kosef and Calaith were able to figure out that the creature was a 'young' developing Banderhobb.

These insidious creatures are used first as spies, then kidnappers of humanoids by cults, evil wizards and strange forbidden societies shunned by the rest of the world. They go through an observation 'larval' stage before transforming into full sized Banderhobbs, all teeth, gullet and stomach. Their spindly legs seemingly barely able to hold them upright and their useless arms dangling by their sides. These creatures do not stop in their quest for prey and more usually follow when one fails to kidnap its target.

Faction Changes / Discoveries:

The Moon Ladies - Being the outlawed followers of Selune.

The Mistwalkers - Thalasian spoilers and Changelings 'ahoy'.

The Township of Sherra – What is going on there?

Westgate Authorities – Lando's home city on the Dragonmere, a den of thieves and mercenaries.

The Duskwood – The Benevolent powers of the Duskwood forest.

Narratives:

Player Emergent Activated - Under ObservationKosef Mara.

Player Emergent Activated -

Active Characters:

None.

Off Characters:

GaukinErroSharahKosefEvnarraCalaithCathrykanKosefSilifrey.

NPC's: 

Balthas Carmino / Danmara Whitelock / Hollandea Vaela / Mykala (The mad-woman) / Kithri Yellowbriar / Silvio Verbosa / Arantes HermolliaThe Obrakhan / Erruggar Deepshaft / Vergano of Londas / Jellira the Tiefling

Rumours:

Updated.

Player Secret. Personal Mission Discovered – Calaith Loreweaver.

The Estate on the Lake -  Balthas Carmino.

Player Secret. Personal Mission Discovered – Silifrey Dotsk.

The Shrine of the MorndinsammanErruggar Deepshaft.

Player Secret. Party Mission Discovered – Evnarra Rockcutter.

Fragments from the PastThe Diary of Sergeant Guargo.

Player Secret. Correspondence Received – A Letter for Cathrykan

Player Secrets – New Player Section (All in one place…).

Emergent Narratives Activated – A Woman Scorned / Experimental Medicine / No Rights For the "Wicked" / The Madness of the Moon / The Trouble with Kenjii

Experience:

75 Experience Points for ALL CHARACTERS. (So much story and secret stuff being done, discovered and opened up that a Reward is appropriate).

Loyalty, Piety and Renown: Current Statistics.

Items:

Scroll(s) – Ivory Tooled Leather Case.

Green Jacketed Tome – The Spellbook of Gynwiir the Younger.

The Guildhall:

Gaukin's efforts in construction have contributed 25gp worth of effort towards Silvio's ultimate goal of Refitting the Hall.

Sunset Wanderers Rooms - Kithri Yellowbriar.

Post-Game:

Early Morning 16th Flamerule. (No Downtime).

(Session Interlude conducted as Downtime. Next Up – Session 4).

View
Rumble in the Square
3rd Session - Taking it to the Streets.

Mid-Morning, 13th Flamerule, Lavrana District, 1379DR / 472KR.

Story: The morning mists of Kordova had receded by the time the members of the Sunset Wanderers sent to collect the bounty for the Sons of the Ashwood emerged from the Guild Office. Bags of new minted coins tucked away as payment for their service, they made their way south out of the Guilder district, to skirt the Circus, before turning round the boulevards lining the rocky base of the Lavranan Hill. In tiered rings the leafy streets of Lavrana cascaded round and down, each level a different trade or service. Some of the richest shops in Kordova, and richest guilds, mainatined their presence here and the smell of perfumes, costly spices and temple incense cut across the wetter, swampy odour of the nearby Grand Canal.

Rounding the last major turn before the Lion Bridge that led directly to their 'home-district' of Westgate, the group of adventurers were greeted by the sight of the Temple of the Fortunate Coin, its cylindrical tower protrusions basking in the morning sun. Verdigris shingles of green and slate shone brightly in the light which filtered in pleasing patches of shade through the canopies of broad limbed trees placed about the temple facade…

The morning visit to the Temple of Tymora allowed Sharah to introduce herself and converse privately with the High Priestess,  Fenella. The Temple of the Fortunate Coin would prove to be a repository of useful information, maintaining its own Notice Board and having already 'contracted' The Sunset Wanderers for another job. The down-payment for this was collected by Sharah, adding to the bags of coin already being taken home for counting and distribution.

Returning to the Hall of the Sunset our group found that in their absence a decision had been reached by Istvaan, Silvio and Kennard to investigate the strange rumours connected to the glades and pools of The Duskwood (see Suspicious Statues, below). This was the mission of which Fenella had provided a down-payment for on behalf of the Association of Benevolent Churches. A noon repast was served, and the remaining members of The Sunset Wanderers went their own ways for the afternoon, agreeing to meet back at the Hall in the evening before heading to The Warrens to investigate a local turf war that both Erro and Kosef had been 'sticking-their-noses" in.

Cathrykan headed to the district of Lavrana to do some shopping for her party invitation and rendezvous with Adriano Salva.

"And I've heard that only the most exotic of gifts from far off lands are being bought by all of the best-people. Halifax's parties are legendary my dear, and I'd give anything to go…"

The shop attendant rambled on happily to the young guilder's daughter eyeing the costly silks and perfumes with a wistful gaze. Behind them, further into the emporium of dresses, fabrics and gew-gaws for the minor nobility, a figure dressed in red and black, metallic ornaments flashing moved away with a quick imperious turn of her long-legs.

Cathrykan pursed her lips in thought and irritation. About her the fluttering of ladies and silks receded as a red mist threatened to descend over her eyes. The room became instantly frostier, palpable and uncomfortable, the young patrons of the shop quietening and drawing back from the vision of an infuriated priestess.

"Far-Distant and Exotic was it? A Present for his Lordship? Well, Adriano, handsome and strong you may be my boy, but you're about to find out what happens to those that make mock of the servants of the Goddess." Cathrykan ground her teeth, willing the anger down and made clenching motions with her right hand.

This was the third shop in which she had enquired about or heard rumour of the upcoming party. Indeed, it seemed that little else was being discussed by the idle nouveau riche of the guilder families. Whilst not from Kordova, Cathrykan was well educated and used to the machinations of court and throne room. She could practically smell an insult when one had been intended, subtle or not. Now, the only remaining question was how to deal with the stupid boy. Contact his sister and make him pay from within? Set him up to embarrass himself publicly? Or something else, something with a tinge of mental torture and the drawn out qualities of private pain… yes that was definitely what was called for here 

Erro and Kosef went to Fletcher's Square with a view to alerting the Etto Parade Boys of the potential move on their turf, and to obtain some advantage from the situation.

Sharah was last sighted and presumably continued to engage in chasing cats, although in reality her trip to another location in The Warrens was far more fruitful than an afternoon solely spent with felines.

Calaith and Evnarra spent more time becoming acquainted with the library and study of the Hall of the Sunset. In time they will have read all of the documents within, many written by members of the guild in past days.

Silifrey pursued another of her favourite voyages into the refreshing qualities of dwarven ale, and suitably addled made the long climb up to the Citadel, only to find that her destination, the Guildhall of Marvels is only open to the public on certain days.

Gaukin had a tasty and somewhat revealing conversation with the Chef of the Hall of the Sunset. Apparently the orc responsible for victuals at the guild was in his youth an active Cleric of Talona. Fortunately he has renounced this, and his former name, Uggluk the Poisoner.

With the group all back together it was found that Kosef, Erro and Sharah were all very much of a mind to intefere in the incipient turf war in The Warrens. In particular Sharah (based of who knows what information) was adamant that they find a way to eliminate the blight of both gangs from the people of The Warrens and surrounding districts. Kosef and Erro, planning to turn a pretend alliance with the Etto Parade Boys into a double-slaughter anyway quickly agreed. With the entire Party along for muscle (Erro and Kosef indicated as many as 30-40 members of both gangs may be involved) they made their way towards Fletcher's Square in the heart of the Warrens.

Silifrey Dotsk sped along the twisting way of Etto Parade, panting with exertion and sweating hard. Sure that she'd just heard the rapport of a firearm in the immediate distance, she put her head down and redoubled her efforts.

"Don't be Sharah and the others," she thought through the pounding of head and heart.

Rounding another corner, a scene of chaos and death greeted the young girl from the north. Wiping back sweaty strands of hair from her brow, Silifrey quickly glanced right to the group of brawling thugs, left to the brutish Half-Orc reloading a squat Blunderbuss and beyond to the struggling group of Old Firm boys trapped by her companions magic.

"Hah. Everything in hand. Time for a little fun." A lopsided smirk broke across Silifrey's smoke and sweat stained face.

Drawing one of her prized mechanical pistols Silifrey took a quick breath, exhaled and fired at the oblivious gang member with his own firearm at the rear of the melee. Sure and straight the bullet caught the half-orc in the back of the head, spinning him in place and dumping his corpse into the adjacent gutter. Not finished by any means, Silifrey sprinted towards the figure and, holstering her own weapon, scooped up the reloaded Blunderbuss and pointed its deadly mouth toward the group of now desperately fighting gang members in the street outside Mistress Cheeva's.

"Uhn Drakk, uhn Duin, doin hrulluk…you bastards," called Silifrey to the group, using ancient Dwarven words of victory and finality, as she pulled the ornate trigger on the device.

Hrrraaaa-Boom. Smoke belched forth and a hail of deadly shot tore into the packed mob of fighting thugs, winnowing their ranks and near deafening those closest to the blast. Silifrey's smirk grew wider as she looked down at her new gun, taking in the sight of the second 'shot' now loaded and ready in its circular mechanical chamber…

With Erro ensconced in Sallysta's Bar conversing with the dregs of the Etto Boys, and Kosef, Silifrey, Cathrykan and Gaukin nearby, the rest of the Party hid in the ruined temple of Illmater near the north of Fletcher's Square. fletch_1.jpg Sure enough The Old Firm turned up in force, quickly surrounding the streets around Sallyta's, Mistress Cheeva's and the Square itself. When they fired two of the poorer hovels in the square, citizens began to erupt onto the streets, and memebrs of both gangs closed quickly with one-another.

The ensuing combat was miraculous in its brevity and lack of injury to either innocent or Party Member. Erro and Gaukin led the charge outside, whilst Kosef, Silifrey and Cathrykan edged in and out, sniping and striking at the Old Firm, whilst not yet alerting the Etto Boys to their intended betrayal. After a melee was well engaged in the south, a quick hop, jump and strike by Kosef, put paid to the leader of the Old Firm, Daddy Thanrus. This, coupled with the unexpected resistance collapsed their southern attack as the thugs remaining beat a hasty retreat for an abandoned building. 

To the north of Fletcher's Square, two separate groups of Old Firm toughs made their way toward Mistress Cheeva's and the leadership of the Etto Parade Boys. After the initial rush had passed, Calaith, Evnarra and Sharah opened up with a magical and missile barrage that resulted in the snaring, and subsequent burning of a majority of the Old Firm north eastern group bey Calaith. It appears that although he is greatly reticent to call on his own powers, the crackling death of a cold metal device is too hard to resist.

Suffice to say that the fight went very badly for the members of the Etto Boys after the destruction of most of the Old Firm. Injured and bewildered by the fires, noise and chaos, the leading thug barely saw the flurry of punches that Erro launched at him. The Party promptly went into 'clean-up' mode until the only surviving gang-members were those of the Old Firm who had fled into the buildings to the south, and the Etto Boys pursuing them.

The Party found the stash and underground cache of the Etto Boys in Mistress Cheeva's and also discovered the reason for the rest of the thugs continued absence. In the southern abandoned building, Erro and the others found a tunnel heading down and then sharply north away from Fletcher's Square. Distant sounds of pursuit and combat could be heard from down the depths of the tunnel and the group resolved to track down and eliminate any remaining toughs from either gang.

Running quickly in pursuit down the tunnels, more of Kordova's underside was revealed as the Party discovered multiple tunnels, though not all of their entrances, beneath The Warrens. Following the fight and trail of bodies though they emerged into The Water Gardens, Kordova's unfinished relaxation district. Amidst the construction materials, overgrown greenery and pools of stagnant water, the remaining Etto Boys had met their deaths, the Old Firm survivours melting into the evening mists. 

From the direction of their escape, the Party heard a chilling cry, echoed a second later, the sound of human lives ending in agony. The group then observed (from behind a small pile of rubble) the horrifying sight of two of the Old Firmer's being eaten by misshapen, white figures, bloated and rank with the smell of stale water and rot. As the figures turned their faces this way and that, gorging on the flesh of their kills, the Party observed that both had had their eyes ripped from their sockets and they stared sightlessly as mouths drooled and gnawed their way through their grisly repast.

Action again as the Party destroys the two abominations, which responded to telling blows by standing again and again in the rancid shallows that they fallen into moments before. Finally Cathrykan produced her symbol of Loviatar, causing the creatures to shrink away, and allowing them to be dealt 'killing' blows to the back of their hairless white skulls. A scream sounded from a nearby rise, and the distraught figure of a Kordovan woman, scratches and bruises on her face, staggered toward the scene of death. Ignoring the dead men lying in the water she wailed in genuine grief for her 'children', pawing at the still white forms and their folds of rotten, bloated flesh.

After a calming conversation from Sharah, and unwelcome input from Cathrykan, the identity of this woman was determined to be an ex-Priestess of Selune. Almost certainly a survivour of the Consecration of Selunes Tear some years earlier, the bedraggled woman Mykala made little sense, blathering madly about eyes, people being thrown in a river and shrinking from Cathrykan in genuine fear.

Even more disturbing was the scene at her 'home' in a ramshackle hut deep in the Water Gardens. Two 'zombies' without eyes, sitting down to dinner, feasting on plates of eye-balls, served solicitously and chattily by Mykala. The walls of the rude dwelling were lined with shattered glass jars, also filled with eyeballs of all sizes and colours. Mykala muttered continuously about "not being able to get her darling's eyes right…" and the Party began to suspect that lasting care, and not their involvement, would be an intelligent course of action.

Mykala was taken to the University Sanatorium, where hopefully she will be able to obtain the peace, if not the clarity, she needs. The unfortunate down-side to this event will be that as soon as she is deemed fit for trial she will be tried, found guilty and executed by the Office of the Royal Prosecutor for being a cleric of an illegal and proscribed faith.

Features:

Silifrey - (see above) clears an "entire street" of brawling thugs and stand-over men with a barrage of bullets and shot, destroying the backbone of the remaining members of both gangs.

Gaukin - Strikes up a casual conversation with The Chef and due to a shared 'interest' in food Gaukin becomes the first to hear the Chef's real name, Uggluk the Poisoner. This gives the young Goliath pause (in the act of finishing a bowl of stew), but only for a brief moment, before asking for seconds.

Evnarra - Finds another useful tome on the shelves of the library in the Hall of the Sunset. Of a more personal nature, this book catalogues many different herb and plant species of the Overground (specifically the Western Shaar) that Evnarra and her Svirfneblin companions would be unaware of. Perhaps a clue to finding a cure for their peoples' mysterious malady may lie within its pages or in similar texts.

Calaith – Discovers the power of an activated item, wielding Wand and Rod with deadly efficacy against the poor, bewildered gang members in Fletcher's Square. Calaith's unwillingness to use his own magic can be a drawback for him in rough situations, however with 'safe' power at his fingertips the bookish elf for a moment imitated the Sorcerers he must have read about in books or met on the road.

Kosef - Dances with ease around an obstructing gang-member to engage the over-extended and isolated Daddy Stoutfist. Time slows as their eyes met and Kosef glances toward the small but deadly opening beneath the shoulder joint of Thanrus' Chainmail. Pushing off the clumsy minion in the way, Kosef launches his rapier like a striking viper at the weak spot in Thanrus' defence. The leader of The Old Firm dies, impaled on Kosef's blade, a through-and-through that destroys the morale of the secondary Old Firm 'strike-team'.

Cathrykan - Shows her intelligence and vicious side by putting together a couple of facts that led her to the (correct) assumption that the 'Exotic Gift' that Adriano Salva intended to present to Halifax Quinto would be his date, namely her. A tasteless and rather crude attempt at humour and penny-pinching by the young noble scion. Cathrykan's reaction was suitably earth-shattering…(see A Letter for Adriano).

Sharah - Inches her way deeper and deeper into Kordova's web of Politics, Intrigue and inter-faith / inter-guild rivalry. During the course of two days Sharah has been seen engaged in such diverse activities as; a private and friendly conversation with Fenella Bregan the ranking priestess of Tymora, heading into The Warrens on numerous occasions, chasing vagrant cats in the streets around the Hall of the Sunset and wandering the upper level of the Hall with a length measuring string and a sketch of what looks like furniture and bedding. She is a very busy lady indeed.

Erro - Toughens up his act considerably, facing down Gavlar Hrun in his own 'hang-out' in Mistress Cheeva's Pillow House. The Elven Monk, assisted by the equally urban savvy Kosef, bearded the Half-Orc with the information that their gang was heading for a fall, laid out the bald facts and negotiated a favourable bit of coin. All with a view to using this to his own, and the Party's advantage later that evening.

The Party – Suffers a single solitary wound (of a very minor nature, Erro accidentally punched a wall), in their entire engagement in Fletcher's Square. The Sunset Wanderers are to be commended for their fore-bearance in not injuring bystanders, property or themselves in the pursuit of what may well have been a rather noble action (time will tell).

Active Characters:

Midmorning – Noon (13th): Gaukin, Erro, Sharah, Kosef.

Noon – Midnight (13th): Gaukin, Erro, Sharah, Kosef, Evnarra, Calaith, Cathrykan, Kosef, Silifrey.

Off Characters:

Midmorning – Noon (13th): Evnarra, CalaithCathrykanSilifrey Dotsk.

NPC's: 

Mother Phae Gann, Gavlar Hrun, Thanrus Stoutfist, Luck-Mistress Fenella, Mykala.

Almost a full cast of The Sunset Wanderers.

Player Secrets:

Sharah Bloodcast, Silifrey Dotsk, Evnarra Rockcutter, Kosef Mara, Calaith Loreweaver, Cathrykan Shintar, Erro Moonshadow. (Players Check Below).

Rumours Resolved:

White Walkers and a Wailing Waif.

(Told across Kordova by craftsmen and labourers working around the Water Gardens and the residents of the adjoing districts).

"Have you heard the noises…pitiful and horrifying at the same time. I tell you I cannot stand it every single night. Brother mine, if the Spear don't go in one night and fix whatever makes that keening wail I'll move to the Flats. And I'll prosecute in Guild-Court for compensation…"

* After a brief fight with the products of Mykala's grief and maddness, the Party were able to coax her to leave with them and deposited her, bewildered at the Sanatorium attached to the University's medical wing. She was identified as one of the followers of Selune who had somehow survived the Consecration of Selunes Tear and the intervening years to make her ramshackle home in the unfinished sections of the The Water Gardens. When informed, both Kithri and Silvio were immediately concerned for the well-being, and ultimate fate (execution) of Mykala. They are grateful however that this person was deposited under their own Guild Signature and that visitors and a payment for food and care have been made. It seems the University staff wish to study persons of a deluded nature, even if those persons have a later date with the Office of The Royal Prosecutor.

Turf Rumblings.

(Inside taverns or bars connected to Kordova's seamy underside a boast may easily land a person in hot water. Unusual then that the following is being trumpeted loudly {after a few ales} by members of The Old Firm, a known criminal gang out of The Warrens.)

The Old Firm seem convinced that they are going to take a significant prize off of the rival Etto Parade Boys. The streets surrounding Fletcher's Square in the Warrens pay protection to the Etto Boys. Their namesake street being adjacent to the square. A turf war looks imminent, and the Legion will most likely ignore the result, regardless of it they hear of it or not.

* It turned out to be a very dismal 13th of Flamerule for the Gangs of Kordova's southern slums. The Etto Parade Boys are effectively no-more, killed by members of The Old Firm or The Sunset Wanderers. Not showing any favouritism, the resulting attack on The Old Firm's members by The Sunset Wanderers has also severley dented the manpower of this gang, and left them leaderless. Additionally the folk of Fletcher's Square, Etto Parade and patrons of Sallysta now know that they have the Adventurers Guild to thank for relieving them of their 'obligations' to the Racketeering practiced by the Etto Parade Boys.

Suspicious Statues.

(The notice-board of the Temple of the Fortunate Coin, Tymora – Lavrana District).

Stout Adventurers Wanted. Reconnaissance of The Duskwood mid-Glades required as a Private Matter of Urgency. Enquire Within. Guild Chartered Applicants Only.

* Silvio, far from relying solely on his newest recruits has for a short while been liaising with the Temple of the Fortunate Coin, Istvaan and by proxy the Elven clans of The Duskwood. Noon on the 13th found Hirada Kenjii, Flick, Istvaan, Arkaela and Kennard headed into the forest to investigate the elves' reports of strange, overgrown statues appearing near various sacred pools in the deeper Duskwood. Apparently these statues appear and then after a short while, disappear again with no trace left that the permanent looking stones had ever been there. They are hoping to find remnants of a civilisation, 'treasure' or simply a new angle into raising the profile of the Guild.

Rumours Revealed:

Aerial Battles. Yhep

Recently, fishermen from Yhep caused an enormous stir along the north coast of the Lake of Steam, announcing that far out on the waters they had witnessed a fight between two Dragons. The creatures were far off and lightning played about the air. One an aquamarine colour and the other bronze slashed with luminescent green. The fishermen quickly retreated and despite the communities of the northern shore being vigilant in the coming days no further sighting of the Dragons has been made.

Experience:

All Characters – 206 Experience Points.

Items:

Magical Leather Armour (+ 1), Magical Chainmail (+ 1).

Diverse scavenged coins, stashed trade bars and ill-gotten funds, a cache of simple weaponry and stolen objet des artes.

Post Game:

(Approximate Downtime 56hrs – Until Morning 16th Flamerule).

Will be the subject of a separate Adventure Log Entry. This will be Session 3.5 and cover some of the Secrets, Updates and Movements we've mapped out and what the characters will be doing until or in preparation for The Trade Fair, The Circus Open, the Festival of the Red Sisters, etc…

 

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Hunting the Hunters
2nd Full Session / Commence On & Off Characters

Morning – 12th Flamerule, 1379DR, 472KR.

Story: A very late night back for many of our 'Wanderers' meant that the first opportunity to discuss future plans became breakfast on the morning of the twelfth. Some had explored parts of Kordova, whilst others passed the time chasing up necessary equipment, contacts or establishing their personal spaces in the Hall of the Sunset.

The depleted Sunset Wanderers had already begun to look like a 'real-guild' again, extra tables laid in the centre of the main hall, whilst Kithri and The Chef bustled between kitchen and board distributing hearty sausages and egg dishes. The smell of fresh baked rolls, intoxicating and eye-opening, permeated the already warmish early-morning air.

Flick, the last member to join on the 10th of Flamerule introduced Evnarra and Gaukin to the growing ranks of the 'Wanderers' and a discussion began about the best way forward, in other words, how to obtain 'easy' money to begin rebuilding the guild. Sharah mentioned that she had been able to track a lead on a specific Bounty Notice posted by the Office of Bounties and Warrants. (See; Proscriptions Item #5 or Toss and Fetch Item #2. Don't Default the Bank). After a brief discussion, and a reminder from Silvio that Chartered Bounties were exactly the sort of thing to increase their profile, a 'hunting-party' was formed to go to the town of Salva which consisted of Silifrey, Gaukin, Cathrykan and Sharah (it had been her idea after all).

Enroute to the town of Salva our group wound their way through field sand then vinyards as the land rose slightly toward the Firesteap Mountains. Peasants worked diligently in the fields, affiliated with the village of Salva, and therefore its' resident nobleman Iras Salva. The walled estate grounds of the Salva mansion dominated the further end of the village, whilst the small eastern section of the Duskwood could be seen nestling against the mountaiins beyond the settlement. Near the centre of the village, down a simple main street lined with shops, could be seen the construction site of what Cathrykan identified as a new temple of Loviatar.

Sharah strode confidently into the small Grocer shop off the muddy main street, trying to avoid the over-ripe melons that had spilled from an opened sack near the door. Putrid odours of sweet rot rose from the fruit, attracting flies and other insects, although Gaukin seemed happy to investigate the equally over-ripe peaches on display further down the small verandah. Silifrey lent casually against a railing, ostensibly watching the entrance, yet keeping an eye on the street and their over-sized and perpetually hungry companion.

The interior of the shop was dark and smelled of mildew and vegetables. The faint dusty air of potatoes permeating throughout the other more exotic odours of stone fruit and strange south-land vegetables. The attendant, a bored looking lass of about eighteen years, freckles across her nose and the callused hands of the common-born, looked up from the box of plums on the counter, fixing Sharah with the hopeful look of one who has lived their entire life in one place.

Sharah meets Leanora and manages to get her into a conversation about life in the village, which leads her (Leanora) to invite her 'new-friend' Sharah to a little party by the river, perhaps in the hopes of hearing exciting tales, or showing off her 'beau', Silvar Ninefingers. Cathrykan enters the shop, and the invitation is complete, Leanora being quite overwhelmed by an attractive, cosmopolitan priestess and her interesting traveling companion. An arrangement to meet by a stand of trees, with "wines and some food" sees our ladies back onto the streets of Salva with some time to 'kill'. Cathrykan, with Gaukin in tow for muscle, heads toward the construction site, whilst Silifrey and Sharah make for the only obvious 'tavern'.

A short while later, and following some injudicious comments from Sharah to Sorchak Dungmere (drinking his midday meal) it becomes obvious that the outlaw half-orc would have to be dealt with immediately. Silifrey knocks back her ale quickly with regret (learning drinking from a dwarf gives one a solid head for alcohol and a ferocious thirst), and the two begin tracking Sorchak through the small holdings behind Salva as he headed toward the woods. This lead to a short running fight that finished in Ashwin Grove with Sharah decapitating the hapless Sorchak within sight of two of his companions. Despite this sighting, both Silifrey and Sharah manage to avoid identification by the new arrivals and then lose them in the woods.

Back at the construction site in Salva, Cathrykan spots a well set out young man, female temple acolyte and 'grey-robed' man directing labourers in the building of the new chapel. She starts a conversation, the acolyte deferential to her rank, and focuses on the handsome young man, stripped to his waist and sweating, scars working their way up and down his right side. Cathrykan finds that this is Adriano Salva and he is was only  too keen to make the acquaintance of this exotic young half-elf who shares his sisters', if not wholly his own, passion for the Mistress of Pain.

During the resulting conversation Cathrykan found herself invited to the Party Exotica of Halifax Quinto that Adriano would be attending on the night of the 14th of Flamerule. Meanwhile, Gaukin was being typically useful and living up to his clan name of Lumberbearer. The local workmen stood by and admired the young Goliath's prodigious strength as he munched on snacks whilst supporting huge beams with a single muscled arm. The invitation to the Party was extended to include Cathrykan's "bodyguard" if she so chose. Before matters could get a little more personal Adriano and the other officials departed, leaving Cathrykan to bless the site whilst Gaukin worked. The young northerner received yet a further insight into new his companions' demeanor, watching a trifle askance as Cathrykan blessed the stones of the new chapel with her own blood following a short prayer and extended ritual flagellation.

The party reconvenes near the construction site, but not before Sharah and Silifrey make good on an earlier promise; making Gaukin happy with a small selection of bread rolls. A plan is formulated and the group purchase strong dwarven ales and some other liquor from the nicer wine shop near the Salva estate. Meeting up with Leanora in the evening Silifrey proceeds to begin the process of ensuring that the young farm-girl is too inebriated to 'smell-a-rat' and they head to a small copse of trees by the creek. Here we find a group of young revelers, two groups of 'bravos' itching to display their dueling skill, and the rest of the Sons of the Ash Wood, minus Flynn and Glynn Abbott, and the recently deceased Sorchak.

Silvar Ninefingers (Leanora's lover) easily 'stiches-up' his opponent from Kordova's Dockside district and his two friends lead the disgruntled and injured fellow away. The party begins with music and dancing, only Syndell (their cleric) and Gregor the Mute do not participate in the fun, or importantly the consumption of strong dwarven ale. During an energetic peasant dance, wherin Silifrey isolates Silvar Ninefingers and Sharah endures the lascivious attentions of 'the Cleftchin', our 'heroes' make ready to attack the outlawed group.

Silfrey Dotsk missed another step of the stupid farm-dance as she twirled to yet another partner. Despite the seriousness of their motives she couldn't help but grin as she recovered her footing and laughed breathlessly in the square chiseled face of Silvar Ninefingers, his pallor flushed from exertion and dwarven ale. Over his shoulder Silifrey could see her companion Sharah enduring the pinches and wandering hands of Dorvan Cleftchin as he dribbled and belched the words to the popular farm ditty into her barely civil visage.

"Time to move," thought Silifrey, this had gone on long enough. Most of the young village folk were either on the edges or already too drunk to dance. It was now or never.

Twirling away from Silvar, Silifrey rounded on her left heel and drew her pistol with one smooth motion, thumb cocking the dwarven made mechanical hammer as she leveled it toward the shocked, and rapidly sobering young rake….

The resulting combat ended badly for the Sons of the Ash Wood. Poor Gregor was seized by Cathrykan in a one-handed caress from Loviatar herself. The crackling red flames of energy tracing his face and making his veins bulge huge and distended, before mercifully his brain overloaded from the onrush of blood. Syndell of Tymora futilely tried to distract the exultant young priestess of Loviatar and was cut down by a massive swing of Gaukin's hammer. Dorvan felt the pointed results of annoying Sharah and the hapless Silvar, inadvertently betrayed by his lover Leanora, was shot repeatedly at close range by Silifrey Dotsk. 

The young-folk had all absconded by this time, meaning no innocents were harmed. Burying the remains, and then tracing their route back to Ashwin Grove, Sharah and Gaukin unearthed the hidden stash of the Sons', small trinkets and ill-gotten antiques from tombs and ruined settlements. The 'mission' complete, thoughts turned to the collection of their fee and perhaps the comforts of hall and hearth.

Returning to Kordova quite late the party takes a brief moment to assess before turning in. The next morning they are introduced to Kordova's Office of Bounties and Warrants in the Old Burning Spear Legion HQ. The Bounty for the Sons of the Ash Wood is collected and the new adventurers find themselves with their first taste of 'riches'. Mid-morning sees Kosef, Erro, Sharah and Gaukin walking along the adjoing outskirts of the Circus headed for the Temple of the Fortunate Coin and then Westgate.

Features:

The friendship between Sharah and Silifrey continues to delight as a whole slew of hilarious banter ensues in Tavern, Dance and Fight.

Cathrykan begins to use her charms, bloodline and religious position to advantage, quickly making Kordova's elite aware of her presence in the city.

Gaukin proves to be an incredibly useful young goliath, keen to help, keen to fight and yet not devoid of thought process and subtlety like some others of his kind.

The Party brings their first 'group-plan' to fruition with a minimum of fuss, no collateral damage and a positive influence on the standing of their newly replenished guild within the city.

Active Characters:

Cathrykan Shintar, Gaukin Lumberbearer, Sharah Bloodcast, Silifrey Dotsk

Off Characters:

Calaith Loreweaver, Erro Moonshadow, Evnarra Rockcutter, Kosef Mara

NPC's: 

Adriano Salva, Leanora, Silvio Verbosa

Rumours:

A new church, dedicated to Loviatar is being constructed in the centre of Salva, this will be completed in a matter of two months (confirmed).

Experience:

Active: 146 Experience Points. Off: 95 Experience Points.

Items:

Barbed Wand of Thorns, Dagger of Illumination, Elias Protective Amulet

Post Game: Ending Mid-Morning 13th Flamerule. (No Downtime).

Sharah Bloodcast has been observed by other 'Wanderers' leaving out a saucer of milk, perhaps for a stray she has taken a shine to.

Calaith feeling a little sick, and Evnarra spent the day reading and finding new texts in the Hall's depleted bookcases. They found one very interesting, recently written, history tome with a note in the margins.

Player Secret – Calaith LoreweaverEvnarra Rockcutter.

Player Secret – Erro Moonshadow, Kosef Mara.

Quarters: (Map to follow soon & an update on Refitting the Hall).

Sharah BloodcastUpper Floor North.

Evnarra RockcutterBasement Floor North.

Gaukin LumberbearerGround Floor South.

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From Far Off Lands
Introductions - Evnarra and Gaukin

Evening – 11th Flamerule, 1379DR, 472KR.

Story: Being the "fish-out-of-water" can be tough in any environment, even more so in the big city. And Evnarra was about as far out of 'water' as she could be. The little svirfneblin and her two companions, Wanderra and Magretor, had travelled further than anyone had ever thought possible in their far off home city of Blidgenstone. And now after months of sojourn through the often empty caverns of the Under and Upper-Darks, they had 'surfaced' in what was easily the strangest of places in a long line of interesting, dangerous and queer places.

All about the deep-gnomes the big folk of the city of Kordova bustled, pushed, shouted and pressed their way through the cacophony of sound, colour and life that made up the steaming metropolis. The evening mists were already creeping into the lower streets and deeper alleys, creating an ethereal mood amongst the crowded denizens of The Warrens. Exhausted by the unusual type of heat, and drained by the 'Yellow-Face' and its' harsh light, the small band of travellers were in dire need of a rest, or at the very least a Mushroom-Ale like granny used to brew.

*

 Gaukin Lumberbearer Katho-Kakane, Goliath of the far-flung Icerim Mountains, many moons travel to the north, chomped noisily into his third skewered pigeon with undisguised gusto. His massive seven-foot-three-quarter frame shadowing the vendor and his small stall of cooked meats. The strange spices and peppery taste of the scented charcoal danced and sang on his rough northern palette. This strange, crowded city of Kordova might be a trifle hot, but the food was magnificent.

Gaukin sauntered along a winding thoroughfare, munching absent-mindedly on his prize, and drawing the scents and sights of Kordova at dusk into his wide nostrils and keen, amber-green eyes. He reached a crossroads, smaller streets leading toward the docks and north toward the canals. With no real purpose or direction, except a mild desire to see the waterfront in the evening mists, Gaukin turned his ground-eating stride southward toward the smells of river-mud, fish and the faint briny presence of the nearby Lake of Steam.

*

Now in trying to find a place to get out of the sun, Evnarra and her companions had stumbled into one of the worst areas of Kordova's Warrens District. Bad news for a group of weary svirfneblin. They were quickly isolated and targeted by one of the many gangs that exist in Kordova's crowded southern districts. Set upon by a group of armed thugs intent on relieving them of their valuables our little band of travellers looked to be in a tight and very uncomfortable situation. Unused to physical fighting, the svirfneblin were surrounded, against a wall and in a situation that might well have been where our 'Deep-Gnome Connection' in Kordova sadly ended.

Enter Gaukin, the good-natured and heavily muscled Goliath lad, on his own rambles around the strange 'human-city'. Quickly identifying the aggressors in the fight, and never a supporter of unfair odds, the young Goliath weighed into the struggle, making broad two-handed sweeps of his heavy Warhammer. Even with Gaukin's already prodigious combat talents, the fight seemed destined to end with a tragic and untimely finish for our newest characters. Fortunately help arrived yet again, this time in the form of the agile Flick scurrying about the district of her birth on some errand or other.

Flick quickly recognised one or two thugs with whom she had a personal score to settle, and sent knife after knife into the fray. This turn of events precipitated an early departure for the remaining toughs assailing our heroes, and they melted back into the many alleys around this less than salubrious area. Suggesting that The Warrens were not the best place for conversation, Flick led our newest characters to the Hall of the Sunset in Westgate regaling them with snatches of rumour, knowledge or sheer fantasy, as is her wont.

Needless to say, this resulted in two freshly chartered members of The Sunset Wanderers and a need for yet more introductions around the growing row of trestle tables in the Main Hall.

Features:

Gaukin's personality evolves rapidly as a good-natured, naive young Goliath with a sense of fair-play. Despite his beliefs concerning strong survivors, it seems he none-the-less has a keen interest in the 'fitness' of a contest.

Evnarra keenly feels the responsibility toward her two companions, and the important mission they represent. She suggests they angle toward an Inn and the University, whilst she pursues their Quest from inside this guild of Adventurers that Flick has breathlessly told them about.

Flick antes up, and illustrates her nickname, as knives flash through the deepening shadows to strike at the Thugs left and right.

Active Characters:

Evnarra Rockcutter, Gaukin Lumberbearer Katho-Kakane

Off Characters:

None.

NPC's: 

Flick, Magretor Homeforger, Wanderra Lightouch

Rumours:

Flick mentions on the walk that she is very excited by the prospect of the upcoming Circus District open event. (See: The GossipmongerArrival and Commencement #5. A District Wide Event or Flamerule Events under Chronology and Calendar). Not surprisingly she fountains a slew of information upon Evnarra and Gaukin, none of which it seems is particularly based on fact, rather a hopeful kind of speculation.

Experience:

180 Experience Points: Evnarra & Gaukin.

Items:

None.

Post Game:

Quarters Assigned: Hall of the Sunset

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