Gyruff (Grand Duchy of Geoff)

Deals with Dieties – Ready’reat 617

Benton, Tunottoo,Thia, Osaris and Kosef brought the Heart of Caitlyn from Regent Eridan before we finished speaking. Dandelion bravely crushed the skull and summoned Nerull. Nerull was not willing to trade Grellyn/Caitlyn’s soul for anything Dandelion could offer. Beory motioned that Time had opened a portal to the past. Nerull offered to exchange Grellyn/Caitlyn’s soul, which he had long desired, for that of the Witch Queen Mazzel. As collateral, he would take Dandelion and Morrick back to his realm of Agathys. Then they disappeared, leaving only a film of ice behind.

I took a deep breath and started to enter the portal to the past when suddenly I was very cold and with Dandelion, Morrick and Tunotttoo. We were extremely cold, but not hungry or thirsty (which was good as the food and drink was not wholesome). Eventually I realized we were dead also. I roamed around Agathys, speaking to people here and there. Ffiona and Rhian continue their feud even in death. I doubt they realize they are dead. Tunottoo is working to free some souls from the consuming ice and has met some success.

Now and then the other deities come to make a deal to get some souls of the very faithful back for reincarnation. The halfling Death comes often with more souls. And Time is here occasionally also. He advises that we read to pass the time.

Nerull is preparing a special room in his citadel for Mazzel. He is even preparing a great library as it is said that she likes to read. Dandelion and I decided to peruse the tomes in an effort to gain some knowledge that would help us leave this place.

After what must be years or centuries, Mazzel arrives. The four of us are given to her as servants. Nerull is showering her with presents and attention, trying to win her affection. We are still not released and neither is the soul of Grellyn/Caitlyn. We will need to find another way out. Mazzel confides in us that Nerull has not intention of letting us or Llewlyn/Grellyn/Caitlyn go. Mazzel asks our help to overthrow the Winter King. At my urging, Dandelion made a formal agreement with Mazzel that she would release us and Llewlyn/Grellyn/Caitlyn in exchange for our help. She agreed, so the plan is to elevate her to the Queen of Death and dispose Nerull.

Many more years pass. We continue to see the deities visit Nerull. One surprise visitor is King Karackus of the Rushmoors Lizardfolk. He is making a deal with Nerull for hero deity status. He has dangerous ambitions. I am able to speak with Ehlonna and Obad Hai, but only succeeded in upsetting Obad Hai and causing him to refuse to die this year. Obad Hai is angered that people of Gyruff no longer respect nature and despoil the land and the forests. Morrick spoke with Berronar Truesilver, who gives him encouragement. Tunottoo continues freeing souls, who begin to worship Mazzel, or the Raven Queen, as they call her. Each soul he frees diminishes Nerull’s power slightly and increases hers.
Ehlonna let us know that the other gods are wary of Nerull’s lust for power and have used Mazzel to bait a trap for him. They have helped all they can to make her a match for Nerull in the hope that she can defeat him, including giving her some key books in her library.

After many more years of research with the aid of Maga Eldoran, Mazzel asks Nerull for permission to travel. We go to many times and places. Mazzel gathered the remaining Tears of Beory from Dagda, which she used to raise some Primordials to fight Nerull. She and Maga Eldoran managed to raise a few more titans also.

On our return, we worked harder to find a way to release more souls from the ice of despair. Dandelion and I tried playing inspirational tunes, but that did not work. Morrick tried to use flame to melt the ice. Dandelion, Tunottoo and I then tried giving them a speech of hope. I told them of our plan to overthrow Nerull and raise up the Raven Queen to bring them to a better place. Tunottoo and Dandelion stirred their hope and anger. As Nerull was fighting the Primordial army and drawing on the souls for strength, we were slowly taking away the souls and giving them to Mazzel. The heat of the anger of the freed souls melted more ice to free more. Mazzel took Nerull’s weapon, Lifecutter, and gathered the power of the souls to her.

As Nerull noticed the drain of his power, he turned to Mazzel to stop. She quickly struck him down with Lifecutter and absorbed his divine power. The other deities then arrived to take control of the dead. Obad Hai tried to take Lifecutter from Mazzel and she struck him down also that winter might come. Then she made a deal with the other deities to become the Queen of Death and Winter. Fearing another tyrant, they would not give her power over the dead, but would require that the dead go to the plane of their respective deities. She took the name Raven Queen and demanded that all other names be forgotten.

And then she kept her promise and let us go. I don’t know if I will every feel warm again.

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Excerpts Bothan Rodric the dwarf's Journal #4
Ravonnar returned to the Marchioness and a new mystery

Day 190
Spent time at Mazer’s and Jagr’s holdings in Arweth. Since Argylwythes Briallen has been freed Gareth his lost his position and Arweth has been annexed by Gyruff. Mazer’s and Jagr’s militia are a pitiful military force. They barely know the front end of a horse or the pointy end of a weapon. I spent some time with them trying to make them into a cohesive force. These Gyri seem to have a difficult time maintaining discipline. I got some blacksmithing in making horseshoes, repairing weapons and metal armor.

Day 200
Same old …. Same old ….

Day 203
BORING

Day 205
Well this boy or I should say Argylwyth named Emyr Cadwaler is getting married and I got an invitation. This should be fun. One things that the Gyri know how to do is party. If a Gyri noble get together is anything like how the commoner’s then I’ll have a grand time. If I’m lucky their will be a nice fight to cap off the nuptials. And if not, well at least I can blow off some steam.

Day 206
I fell asleep during the wedding. It was a right boring ceremony with these thee’s and thou’s. Now the reception was more my style. All you can drink and eat. The “Mad Duke of the Neheli” went crazy and started casting fireballs at random. I threw a flagon (after emptying it down my throat first) and hit him right in the noggin’. He didn’t even notice. My friends started trying to herd people to safety. This was turning into the best party I’ve been to in Gyruff so far. My friends seem to take offense at the risk to the other attendees by Duke Luschan and kept hustling other attendee’s out of the hall and away from the funnest part. I mean what’s a little blood and guts when balanced with all the excitement. Eventually some other nobles grappled the Duke and things settled down to allow some serious drinking.

Day 207
Most of these Gyri and even the foreign guests are party poopers. Only a handful of people hadn’t retired and were still drinking come morning light when a servant pulled me out of the party to speak to Arglwyth Cadwaler. The servant was lucky I didn’t cuff him for coming between a dwarf and his drink.
Well this young’n Arglwyth brought me and my fellows to him to discuss a mission he wanted to send us on. And let me tell you, this boy has some growing up to do. He’s all spit and vinegar. Which is generally a good thing. But when you are a leader of men, you need to have a little balance and know when to fight and when to negotiate. Seems Emyr wanted us to go to Ravonnar and secure the light of Lydia so the followers of Lydia couldn’t use it against the army that Emyr would be bringing up behind us. So Emyr’s plan would pretty much slaughter a bunch of peace loving, religious people just to get what used to be the March of Mandismoor returned to his mother in law and a part of what used to be in his cantrev returned to him that they lost through no fault of the Lydians some 20 years ago.
In his asking us to perform this service for him he misrepresented these Lydian’s quite severely. I spoke up pretty as you please to poke holes in his misrepresentations. I could tell that Arglwyth Emyr didn’t appreciate my comments but he stayed polite like as he still wanted our help.
These Gyri are a queer folk. Emyr asked us to do this mission. But none of us are beholden to Emyr and he offered nothing in return for our service. Yet my friends took the job on without out a peep regarding recompense. I mean even when I served in the army I got paid for it. Well I suppose that is neither here nor there. I went along to protect my friends and to do the same for the Lydian’s and Emyr’s “soldiers” who were coming regardless.
Well, some of my friends own a ship that they call the Illustrious and we headed up to Ravonnar with other ships that were returning from the wedding to points north. There were a lot of other ships in port but one stood out. One had seen battle recently. They were washing blood off the decks and kept a heavy watch most looking upstream but some looking in town as well. They were flying the Rhola colors and lying low in the water. Their behavior had me curious.
On our trip up we made what little plans we could while not seeing the current status in Ravonnar. As we knew the Lydians to be god fearing and peace-loving people, many of us wanted to take a straight forward approach and go speak with the Lydian’s leader and succeed through negotiation instead of conflict. I thought this was the best course. Even though I’m still trying to use my strength of arm in an honest to goodness fight against evildoers. I just can’t seem to find these evildoers to do battle against. Some of our stealthy folks wanted to get into the castle secretly and secure this light of Lydia in case our negotiations failed. In the end we decided that this would be a bad idea. For if they were discovered it would likely ruin any negotiations from being successful.
Everyone seemed to want to go up to the castle straight away without doing any reconnoiter of the current situation in Ravonnar first. I mean what was going on with that Rhola ship and was there anything we should know about the town and castle folk before we talked to their leader. For Ehlonna’s sake we didn’t even know the Leaders name or title. While I thought we shouldn’t spend too much time scouting I thought at least a minimal amount should be done. I convinced Gelwen that we should talk with some of the townsfolk and she convinced the others, more or less.
We started in a nearby sailor’s tavern. We were hoping to get some intelligence on the Rhola flagged ship. I started by buying a drink for everyone in the tavern. This got a warm response right off. I then picked a drinking contest with the biggest man in the place. Let me tell you, the alcohol served in this place is the most powerful I have ever had. I never expected that from a human source of drink. As you would expect I won the contest. Myself and my compatriots were not able to learn very much. Those of my group who talked to the staff found them friendly but they had not seen or heard anything about the Neheli ship in the harbor. The sailors, while they got along well with me, pretty much ignored those others in my party. I can’t say I blame them, they didn’t fit in with the sailors, firing off questions and not even drinking a drop themselves. Every sailor (and Dwarf) knows not to trust someone who doesn’t drink. So even though I got some of the sailors to befriend me I could learn only slightly more then that the sailors on that ship had not left the ship since they made port. The one piece I did learn was that this ship was called The Revenge and it joined a southbound convoy. The convoy had come the the marsh and The Revenge met them where the river splits coming from the direction of HochHoch. That is strange behavior as it’s difficult to keep sailors in your crew if you don’t allow shore leave. I mean my compatriots who owned the Illustrious wouldn’t allow its crew to take shore leave either. That’s a sure sign that someone is up to something.
After leaving the tavern we continued on through town. One of my compatriots wished to visit an apothecary but seemed a little reticent to speak to a nearby townie. Having a nice fuzzy feeling from the drinking contest I was more then willing to ask directions for him. We were led to said apothecary where I learned the name of the Lydian’s leader was the High Priestess Lumina. All the townsfolk were so friendly and kept asking us if they could put us up for the night. I politely declined and told them we had an important mission and needed to speak with their leader in the castle.
Halfway between the town and the castle, I found myself unable to move. Gelwen tried to snap me out of it by hitting me but it had no affect. I was able to mumble something about that being a stupid idea when the new cleric hit me and I was able to move again. For fun I still pretended I couldn’t move. When the cleric tried to hit me again I caught his hand in mine telling him that there was no need. The others told me that my not being able to move was due to the light of Lydia. They had learned with their encounter of another positive energy source that when you got close enough to it then it would cause healing and once fully healed could stun and even make one explode.
At the castle we found the drawbridge up and the inner and outer portcullises down. Calling out brought no response from the castle. It was eerily quiet. One of my eagle eye friends saw that the guards stationed on the battlement were not moving, in fact they were propped up by spears embedded into the backs of their heads. Finally, it looked like I would get some righteous combat in. The Dasut crossed the moat, climbed the walls and lowered the drawbridge for us. Gelwen decided to cross the moat as well. Only she didn’t take her armor off and dropped like a rock. We had to fish her out. I managed to suppress any laughter as I could see she did not find the situation humorous. The group started to argue about what to do next as we were blocked by the portcullises. With the castle already invaded and the Light of Lydia threatened by an unknown force, I thought quick action should be taken. Rather then engage in the argument I simply went over and lifted the outer portcullis. Oh the cleric that Emyr sent to babysit us unnecessarily aided me. As I held the portcullis the rest of the party except the cleric continued to argue. This portcullis was heavy so I shouted in or out. All but two of the group entered the portcullis. The Dasut and Jagr felt it best not to cross as once I lowered it those inside would be trapped between portcullises. A prudent choice even if it showed a lack of confidence in my strength. With contemptuous ease (tm Brenin Rhys rip) I raised the inner portcullis and let my fellows through. With two members caught outside Gelwen and I went to find the mechanism to raise the portcullises. Even though we needed to move quickly I thought it important that our group stay together so that I could protect them. Unfortunately they had their own ideas. Note to self, next time explicitly tell them to wait for my return. Anyhow, by the time Gelwen and I got back outside overlooking the courtyard, the new cleric and Mazer were no longer in sight, some other members of the party were looking through a doorway and the Dasut had climbed up the wall of the castle up to the third floor and appeared frozen onto the wall. So much for keeping the party together.
We expected that the remaining party in the courtyard would head into the castle on the first floor where we suspected the cleric and Mazer to have gone. Having studied the castle’s floorplan at Aberglain, Gelwen and I decided we should continue into the castle, meeting them on the second floor, anticipating that those in the courtyard would enter the castle from below where we suspected Mazer and the cleric were.
As Gelwen moved to enter the castle from the second floor battlements she became paralyzed. Suspecting that this was caused by the Light of Lydia I caused damage to myself as I reached her. I could have used my action surge to hit her and see if I could bring her out of it too but I wanted to save it for the upcoming battle. So the next round I was able to damage myself again while grabbing Gelwen’s spiked sandals and putting one on. On the third round I was then able to inflict damage by walking which allowed me to hit Gelwen and wake her up. In the mean time someone from the courtyard shot an arrow into the Dasut which released him from his stupor. He evidently saw something in the third floor window as he went crashing through it. I made it into the main hall of the second floor passing a corpse on the way. No one else was apparent but I heard noises including some humanoid language coming from the garderobe. Upon entering the garderobe I could tell that they were coming from below the first floor. I planned on telling Gelwen to head down to warn the party on the first floor about the enemy below while I would go up to make sure the Dasut was not in trouble. However Mazer reached the second floor on the opposite stairway before Gelwen reached me so I told him instead. Mazer continued upstairs instead of warning those still below. I figured or at least hoped he knew what he was doing and wasn’t leaving the party below in trouble, so I climbed the top of the stairs.
The Dasut met me at the top and whispered that enemy were in the next room, pointing to an open door, and that we should make a stand at the door where we could limit their numbers in melee. That sounded like a sound plan. So I stepped into the doorway, blooded a mutated lizardman that was within range and stepped back to allow the Dasut to attack from that vacated spot. In the room there were a few lizardfolk, a couple of kobolds and a clay golem. The clay golem was carrying a lead chest. Most likely containing the Light of Lydia. Evidently the Dasut is a little addled as he instead goes into the room to attack the least dangerous combatants, the kobolds, leaving the doorway vacant.
Since the Dasut didn’t block the doorway the golem decides to squeeze around me and makes it to between me and the stairs. In so doing he got in range of the Dasut who attacked him and while hitting him did no damage showing that a magic item was required.
Gelwen then abruptly appears on the stairs next to the golem. I quickly analyzed the situation. Mazer was blocking the other exit to the room the Dasut and enemy were in. The Dasut had as yet not been blooded. Gelwen is in danger by the golem and the golem was in danger of escaping with the light of Lydia. The action I should take was clear. I needed to stop the golem. So knowing that my nonmagical battleaxe would have no affect I tried to grapple him to prevent his escape and limit his ability to do damage. Unfortunately even holding the chest in both hands he was able to escape my grasp.
With the stairway blocked the golem heads towards another room. Meanwhile one of the lizardfolk has turned into a crocodile and the enemy have surrounded the Dasut. The enemy have severely injure my friend Dasut and he is tottering. So I return to the fray and with my help and the rest of the party who has just shown up are able to injure the crocodile lizard who changes back into a lizardman, healing as it does so. Meanwhile the golem jumps out the third story window.
Gelwen runs to the window, casts a spell at the departing golem and yells to the party that the golem needs magic to damage and is escaping. With the rest of the party having shown up the danger tide has turned and the danger to the Dasut has been considerably reduced. So I decide to chase after the golem. I ran to window and made a courageous leap, hoping to land on the golem to break my fall and his neck. Unfortunately, I fall just short of the golem but my athletic ability allows me to take less damage. Still the fall bloodies me. Mazer and Garbanzo show up at the window above and damage the golem further with magic and the golem is blooded. The golem runs around the corner just out of view of the window.
One of the most heroic things I have seen the cleric do is to jump out the window herself taking massive damage. And then after doing that she casts a spell to heal me and not herself.
I move as far as I can which places me 10 feet in front of the golem and blocking his path. It also invokes an attack from the golem. But he decides not to take it as he would have had to drop the chest to do so. My attempts to hinder the golem have met little success so far. But then the golem does something foolish. In his attempt to escape instead of leaving room going by me he tries to pass closely by which allowed me one more chance to strike. I am successful in grappling him. Three times he tries to break free and fails to do so.
It seemed strange that the golem headed past me south in the direction of town. Dasut had seen lizardfolk to the east that appeared stunned. I would have thought he would make his way in that direction instead. Perhaps he wanted to make sure he was out of range of the window first or perhaps it was for some other reason. In any case his movement is baffling.
I then dragged the golem back within site of the window, which allowed the magic of my brave compatriots to dispatch it.
We have won the day. However, all but two of the castle’s occupants are dead. The high priestess Lumina was one of those who survived. We were able to negotiate with her. She gave up her claim on the territory and the castle. In return she and her followers could stay in Ravonnar and were given the church in town. She was also allowed access to the Light of Lydia although it was to stay secured underground and shielded except for the times that she would be allowed to pray in its presence.
I say we were successful in our negotiations. The Marchioness and Emyr got their inherited land back but the Lydians got to stay, access to their relic, and the right to their religion. And the Lydians and Emyr’s people did not draw blood on each other.
I wonder what happened to that ship The Revenge. It arrived in port, the crew stayed on board well armed and armored, Dasut said they were loosely tied to the dock allowing for quick escape. They left before Emyr reached the town. I don’t like coincidences. Were in league with the lizardfolk in some manner? Did the lizardfolk hire them to help them escape with the Light of Lydia for them? Wouldn’t it be easier for the lizardfolk to try to disappear back into the swamp? Or did the Rholas hire the Liazrdfolk to steal the Light of Lydia and bring it back to the Revenge? That is if the ship was truly Rholan and not flagged illegally. If the ship and the lizardfolk were in cahoots it seems to me that the lizardfolk were the ones hired. And where did this golem come from? Lizardman controlling a golem? Doesn’t seem likely. A mystery that might prove useful to solve.

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Return to Ravonar – Ready’reat 617

I have not managed to return to Newbridge yet. But my trainees and I have kept training. I heard that Regent Eridan has granted Arweth to Prince Rhys. Hopefully he can get the cantrev back in order. He has had some training in leadership, so that should help considerably.

I marched my trainees down to Aberglain for the wedding of Arglwyth Emyr to Lady Nichelle. It was a lovely wedding and reception. Two Lutes for Love played at the wedding and added unity to the feast. People were spread out into many halls for the feast, based on political views. This cut down on the disagreements. After the bride and groom retired, one of the Neheli guests started shooting fire balls. It looked like Queen Aisling’s spell plague about which I had heard. His brother managed to restrain him and take him back to Keoland before too many were injured. Jagr cast silence, reducing casualties.

The next morning, Arglwyth Emyr asked a few heroes for aid. Bothan, Mazer, Jagr, Dentrak, Dasut, Gabonzo, a tiefling rogue named Spector and a wool elf cleric of Corellon Larethian named Peren Oakenheel and I gathered to hear his request. Emyr wanted to present his new mother-in-law, Marchioness Chantel Brodelyn with Ravonar and the March of Mandismoor as a wedding gift to his new bride. Ravonar and all within 30 miles as touched by the Light of Lydia, including Aberglain and much of Daden Bryd are claimed by the Cult of Lydia. Tenwalls was a commune touched by the Light. But now that it is shuttered much of the time, the humans have gone to Ravonar and humanoids have overtaken Tenwalls. Emyr told us that a lead chest was sent to Ravonar several months ago, presumably to contain the Light. Our mission is to capture the Light so Emyr can take back Ravonar and Mandismoor.

Emyr sees the church of Lydia as a cult, but what I and others have heard is that they are for knowledge, women and song. This should be right up Mazer’s interests. Chantel wants Ravonar and all of Mandismoor returned. She also wants the Light of Lydia and knowledge of its uses. The Lydians can stay as law abiding citizens. The Lydians claim Ravonar by squatters’ rights as it was abandoned. The Light of Lydia is sacred to them. I can see both sides of the argument and am torn on who has the greater claim. If we speak with the Lydians in Ravonar, maybe we can come to some agreement which is fair for everyone.

Emyr will send us on the Illustrious and pay our tribute of 500 person days of food and drink to land in Ravonar. We asked for a letter of representation from Marchioness Chantel to negotiate on her behalf. We also requested a Quall’s Feather token from Emyr to communicate on the status of negotiations. We were granted both.

We sailed with a convoy of 5 other ships going north to Ravonar and were the last to arrive. There were 6 southbound ships already in port when we arrived as well as the 5 northbound ships we sailed with. One of the ships, the Revenge flagged from Shell Springs, looked as if it has seen battle. Dasut investigated the Revenge. None of the sailors from that ship were allowed leave and it sat low in the water. It was also lightly tied and ready to sail. Something is wrong about the Revenge, but we have a pressing mission to attend to first.

We went to the Fisherman’s Home Tavern to collect intel before we went to the castle to negotiate. Other sailors told us that the Revenge had come from the direction of Tenwalls, not down the river with the rest of them. The staff at the tavern also told us that Adria Lumina was the High Priestess of Lydia in town and we could see her at the castle.

We headed north of town to the castle. The portcullises were down and the guards were dead, hit by needles. Dasut swam the moat and let us in through the outer gate. He then scaled the inner walls. Between Dasut and Bothan, we got through the inner gates. Bothan closed the gates behind us and we investigated the castle. Some of us were stunned and had to be revived by our companions to continue the search. The castle had been ransacked and many of the Lydians were dead. In one of the rooms on the third floor, Dasut and Bothan ran into a group of lizard folk and kabolds and a clay golem. The clay golem had a lead chest which radiated positive energy. The golem was immune to non-magical damage, so Dasut and Bothan could not damage it. I am glad I had studied Fire Bolt and was able to do some damage. Mazer and Gabonzo also damaged it. The golem ran and jumped out the third story window to the ground with the chest. Bothan and I followed the golem, sustaining some damage. Bothan was able to grapple the golem and keep it in range of Mazer and Garbonzo’s Scorching Rays until it finally went down. Bothan recovered the chest with the Light of Lydia.

On further search, we found the high priestess and the captain of the guard alive. Everyone else had been killed by the lizardfolk in their search for the Light. This attack, which was at least the second attempt by the lizardfolk to get the Light, changed my views somewhat. The Lydians could not keep the Light safe. Mazer convinced the high priestess that she could not protect the Light. She agreed to give Ravonar and Mandismoor back to the Marchioness. She also agreed that the Light could be better protected by the Marchioness. The Lydians had taken over a temple in Ravonar, so they would stay there and continue to worship Lydia.

We sent a message to Arglywth Emyr. He and the Marchioness rode into town on an elephant leading their army and retook Ravonar. I think this is for the best. The Light of Lydia is a powerful artifact. It scares me in anyone’s hands, but King Karacus terrifies me. Hopefully working together, the Marchioness and the High Priestess can keep it safe from him and all others who would misuse its power.

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Incants of Ischabele - Patchwall 617

Aurora, Aoth, Tornado, Dandelion, Morrick, Evendur and I knew we had to return to Krell’s keep to recover the ninth key. Each key is a foot long and sparingly bejeweled. Three are silver, three gold and two iron. Krell must have the third iron key. We decided to go in disguise, since Carruthers would not remember us fondly. Aoth decided to go in as a rat or something and look around while we went in the front. I let Tornado borrow my hat of disguise so he could appear as a Flan man. Dandelion used his to appear as a Knight of the Watch. He had the mannerisms down to perfection. He presented himself as the Most Watchful Troll representing Darian Mathus. He gained us entry to speak with Lord Krell. Somehow Dandelion negotiated hiring Lord Krell’s army for a month to attack the earth guard in Trehalwyn and the ninth key for 3000 gp. Presenting Lord Krell with the heads of the Hextorites who had cheated him helped the argument. The Most Watchful Troll even offered a bonus of 900 gp for the cauldron. Carruthers came and told Krell that we had visited before, but it did not seem to matter to Krell as long as we paid gold. We paid Krell and went on our way. Aoth reported later that he found a wizard’s laboratory. I wonder if Carruthers is the wizard and thus saw through disguises, or if the wizard is another.

We also needed other items of Llywellyn’s, which Emera, bard at Klukwan, had told us the bugbears might have. They had just fished an ancient chest out of the river and were selling the contents. She warned us that they cheat, but we need the items. We journeyed down the Damogl River to the caves of the Bludnut clan. We got some of their fishermen to ferry us across the river to their caves and got vague directions to the chief. We wandered around a little inside the cave before a bugbear found us and brought us to Chief Klorn Bludnut. Dandelion could not resist insulting the chief on the way in, so he did not like us. To be fair, he would not have liked us “pinkies” anyway. I was somewhat surprised to see the chief was wearing the baldric of Llewellyn. He offered to sell it to us for the measly sum of 15,000 gp, which we did not have. The shaman also mentioned that they had a chest of scrolls, which on examination were the scrolls of Ischabele that we needed to get in the tomb. These were priced at another 15,000 gp. Since we did not have the money for the baldric, we could wager on arm wrestling. If we won, we could have the baldric. If we lost, we had to find a set of ancient keys which Krell’s men had taken from them. I decided to look for magic and the baldric was magic as was something on the shaman’s head.

Aoth, Dandelion and Morrick gave Evendur what help they could, then he arm wrestled Chief Klorn Bludnt. Much to the chief’s chagrin, Evendur won the match and the baldric. The chief offered to take me in exchange for the scrolls, or he would play a guessing game. We got the scrolls if Dandelion won. The chief got me if he won to replace the cook. I was not happy to say the least, but Dandelion assured me we would fight if he lost. The chief and Dandelion each wrote a number on a slip of paper. Each guessed and was wrong. Dandelion had trouble reading the chief’s mind and the bugbears could not read Dandelion’s mind either. For the second round, Aoth turned into a spider and read the chief’s number. The chief was outraged that Dandelion had won.

We quickly took our prizes and tried to find our way out. Aoth was confident in the path and led us toward the exit. As we rounded one of the final corners, we saw an otyugh in our path. Aoth and I were convinced it was real, even though we could not damage it, but Tornado discovered it was just an illusion. Dandelion and Morrick realized we were being followed by a group of bugbears. Dandelion used his silvery tongue to convince the second bugbear that we were friends and that we should not be attacked. This kept most of the group bottled up in the passage behind him. Just as we were about to escape, we were attacked by the previous “cook” and the shaman. Tornado raced around the corner after the cook and found another otyugh. Unfortunately for Tornado, this one was real. The damage from the otyugh and the magical damage from the cook and shaman kept Morrick busy healing the rest of us. We finally managed to defeat enough of them to make our escape. We even managed to grab the scepter and crown that the shaman carried. The cook turned out to be a fair haired human. I don’t know what he was doing among the bugbears, but I am sure it was no good for the rest of us.

Once we were away, we found that the baldric was a girdle of hill giant strength, the crown was a helm of telepathy and the scepter was a scepter of rulership. The scrolls told us how to get past the wards in Llewellyn’s tomb. The ancient keys were consumed with our entry into the tomb. It was good we had the scrolls, because the pitfalls were many. We journeyed down a staircase to find a chamber with a dais. On the dais was a smooth marble coffin with a crossed sword and eagle insignia. We removed the lid from the coffin to reveal a skeleton. We dressed the skeleton in Llewellyn’s accoutrements, but nothing happened. I then applied Beory’s Tears to the skeleton. When he came to life, we heard a cry for help from beneath the coffin. Once we removed the coffin, we found a second man, who looked similar to the first. Then a woman emerged from under the stair, barefoot and bleeding. We came to understand that she was Beory. She took the accoutrements from the first man and gave them to the second, as she caressed his cheek. Beory demanded to know why we disturbed the bodies, who had earned their rest. We explained the great need in the land and that Caswallon had risen to power and needed to be stopped. We came to understand that the first man was Grellyn, Llewellyn’s co-ruler. Beory knew of Caswallon and called him Caswallon the fallen.

Before we had completely absorbed this, a tall thin humanoid appeared in the chamber, Time. Time and Beory explained that we needed to repair 3 rifts in time, which were caused by mortals. Dacuiri, the witch king had done some time traveling and interfered at Grellyn’s birth, causing Llewellyn and Grellyn to share a soul. When Grellyn sacrificed Llewellyn in the green man ritual, both died. Llewellyn’s soul was last used by one whose body resides in Eagle’s Peak, Caitlyn. The soul is still in the gem. Beory gave us a skull to crush to summon Nerull to barter for the soul. This would allow Llewellyn and Grellyn to come back fully, as one soul shared between them is not enough. Time also opened a portal to a jungle land for us. Dacquiri sent his daughter Ardel the witch to another time until she could come back and rule. We can not take her back to her time or leave her in the time she is in. Time gave us a coin to open the portal once we were ready to come back. We will have to decide what to do with Ardel. Does she deserve to die or can she come back to our time?

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Brotherhood of Blood – Patchwall 617
Re-Coup in Arweth

Bolthan and I returned to New Midwood to collect my trainees. We headed down to Gorna, where we met Thai, Osiris, Kosef, Mazer, Jagr, Prince Rhys, Dentrak, Dasut, and Gabonzo. They were headed to Hochoch to continue the vampire hunt. We all boarded the Illustrious and sailed to Hochoch. Count Gareth had summoned his baronets to Hochoch, so Jagr, Mazer and I needed to report to him.

Things had gone downhill in Hochoch during my 4 month absence. Sanitation was non-existent, leaving the water scummy and smelling bad. There were very few town guard about, just enough to demand a toll on the gate. The sailors on the ships were armed . The wealthy had many personal guard around as protection from the numerous unsavory people about. We had all heard rumors that the town had lots of corruption and that Count Gareth’s magic items were cursed. We also heard a rumor that Count Gareth was holding Arglwythes Briallen captive. Mazer stated that the vampires had moved from Gorna to Hochoch.

Osaris, Kossef and I left our trainees on the boat to help guard it. Then we headed to the castle and found the town guard. The bulk of the forces were guarding Count Gareth. We also met his advisor Rhyzzat the wizard. Gareth greeted us and informed us he had joined Caswallon and pledged his support to Pellham. He said he was in negotiations with Arglwythes Briallen to obtain a swath of Rhwng yr Coed to link Arweth with Gwyrth Bryn and thus unite Pellham. He had orders prepared for each of us to send to our towns to call up 75 troops to fight under Arweth’s banner. Mazer got the most pressure and pled the need to rest first. He asked to meet Arglwythes Briallen and talked Count Gareth into a soiree later that evening. Osaris tried to speak with Count Gareth about Caswallon and the Path of Purity, but Count Gareth was not open to reason or logic. He had taken a dip in the cauldron and was convinced that Caswallon and the Path of Purity were the answer. Bolthan offered to inspect the castle and suggest improvements to Count Gareth, which Gareth accepted. Then Count Gareth sent us to his estate to rest, accompanied by most of his guards.

Kossef, Bolthan and I went to the temple of Ehlonna to worship and speak with the cleric. Everywhere we went we were accompanied by many guards, but they gave us some privacy. The cleric sold Kossef a scroll of Remove Curse, so maybe we can remove the cursed item or items from Gareth. Emyr had given him a nymph’s cloak of charisma, a periapt of wisdom and a headband of intellect. The cleric confirmed that things were bad in Hochoch.

We all got ready and went to the Count’s soiree. We were the only guests besides Arglwythes Briallen and Generalissimo Asoth ap Brundil, Ben and Aurora’s choice for commander of the army. The townguard lined the room, even blocking the door to the kitchen so the servants had to move the guard aside to bring food and drink. I danced with Count Gareth and managed to cast Remove Curse from the scroll. Thia then danced with Count Gareth and removed his headband of intellect. Apparently it was not cursed, although the difference in intellect was readily apparent. Thia complained to Gareth that it was a little crowded with all the guard, so Gareth moved the party to the rooftop so we could have air. The guard still followed us and lined the roof. Bolthan soon complained that he did not feel well and returned to the estate, with 5 guards. A black cat sat on the fountain and watched the party. Osaris tried making friends with the cat, but it did not respond as a normal cat. Mazer danced with Arglwythes Briallen, who appeared weak and needing support to stand. In a brilliant plan, Garbonzo became the Arglwythes with his hat of disguise, Mazer cast invisibility on the Arglwythes and Dasut went over the wall with her to take her to the Illustrious. Suddenly the cat leapt into Count Gareth’s arms and had a conversion with him. The cat told him that some of our party were missing, namely the monk and the tall elf. I tried to cast Calm Emotion on the Count, but it failed.

Things went bad quickly then. We decided getting the baronets and Prince out were most important diplomatically. Mazer cast invisibility on himself and me. I tried to open the trap door to get out, but the guards saw it and closed it again. Jagr cast fog cloud and feather fell with Prince Rhys off the back of the castle. Mazer and I went over the front of the castle to the roof below, taking minor damage. That left Garbonzo, Dentrak, Thia, Osaris and Kossef on the roof with 50 or so guards, Count Gareth, Generalissimo Asoth, Rhyzzat and the cat. Garbonzo turned into a guard, causing some confusion. Thia, Osaris and Kossef tried to attack the cat, but it escaped. The guards near Count Gareth attacked Thia, Osaris and Kossef, taking Thia down. Rhyzzat moved into the corner, where flashes of firebolt could be seen. Then Kossef managed to grapple Count Gareth, holding him hostage until everyone got to the ship. Thia managed to grab the periapt of wisdom and Kossef the cloak of charisma as we were boarding the boat. I don’t think they were cursed either. But maybe the items gave Count Gareth an inflated sense of self-importance. He needed more guidance than Rhyzzat could provide and had no experience as a ruler. Prince Rhys declared Arweth reclaimed for Gyruff.

Bolthan had returned, freeing the prisoners in the dungeon. The prisoners included Alglwythes Briallen’s men and the 95 Gran March soldiers and craftsmen from Newbridge and a knight of the 62nd Bull calvary regiment. Mazer and Jagr made a deal with the knight and took the group down to Fort Resolve.

As we were leaving on the boat, we saw thousands of Gran March troops approaching the city of Hochoch. A dwarven voice called for Xilvyre. Mazer said that Xilvyre had charmed the dwarven Knight Commander with a love potion during the coup in Arweth 4 months before. And now he is looking for her. Fortunately or unfortunately, she is not here.

We sailed on down to Fort Resolve and then took Arglwythes Briallen back to New Midwood. I would like to get back to Newbridge to check on the village. Hopefully the trainees and I can manage the trip.

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Excerpts Bothan Rodric the dwarf's Journal #3
Saving a kidnapped Argylwythes

Day 169
I can’t get that poor dwarf with the Fey queen holding his beating heart out of my head. I have to do something about it.

Day 175
Heard about the abduction of Arglwythes Briallen merch Luther of Rhwng yr Coed by count Gareth of HochHoch. He has allied with Caswallon. Which is just plain crazy. Me and my friend Gelwen joined up with some folks she knows on a mission to free the Argywythes. Prince Rhys and his wife were among the group. Their were even three of Count Gareth’s nobles in the group. I guess they couldn’t Besides Gelwen their were Mazer and Jagr. The Count had sent for his nobles so we used that as the reason to enter the castle.
We entered HochHoch and I haven’t seen a more ramshackle pigsty of a small city. Anyone that looked respectable had a hoard of bodyguards for protection. Their seemed a minimal number or city guard out and about. The ones we saw were “posted” on the streets and charging “tolls” to allow people through. With the nobles present we were able to convince them that the tolls did not apply to us. A more corrupt, disorganized, ill-kept, inattentive group of supposedly trained constabulary I have never seen before. Even my time visiting the giants, orcs and goblins to the west was not as bad.
Once in HochHoch we wasted no time and went right to the castle. It’s good to have compatriots that take action. We were shown to the great hall to meet the count. He requested that his nobles meet their lieges demands and send 75 troops each to HochHoch. The count wished to use them to create a corridor in Rhwyng Yr Coed so he could link up with Caswallon’s land in the west. Mazer, Gelwen and Jagr were barely able to put him off claiming fatigue from traveling. He said he was “negotiating” with Briallen regarding this corridor. It was clear by his manner and words that these negotiations were occurring with Briallen under duress. Mazer suggested that his ability in diplomacy could be useful in convincing Briallen and asked to speak with her. Count Gareth set a party for the evening gave Gelwen, Jagr and Mazer some casino chips to gamble with in town and dismissed them. He sent over 50 guards for their “protection”. Instead of going with my compatriots I though it would be useful to do a little reconnoiter to get the lay of the land and learn where the Argywythes was being held. So in my “gratefulness” to the Count I offered to look over his castles physical defenses to make suggestions on how they could be improved. Since dwarves are known to be excellent builders in stone he agreed.
From my tour of his castle I learned its layout. He let me see almost the whole place even his private quarters. However, their was one small section of the dungeon that I was not allowed to visit. Since I had not run into the Arglwythes I correctly surmised that she was being held in this area. The dungeon in general was in pitiful shape. Foundations are badly deteriorated and other walls are crumbling. If his 100 or so prisoners were in any decent shape they would have been able to escape on their own. Prisoners that I saw included some former Gran Marchers of Arweth from before the coup. Others looked like townsfolk that incurred the counts wrath or poor ne’er do wells who couldn’t afford to gain freedom by bribing the guards. I returned to the counts estate where he was putting all of us up for the night with the intent of telling them what I learned. Unfortunately the guards did not leave us any privacy so only the bare minimum in quiet talk could be conveyed. Based on my tour of the place and the troop force in town I determined that the number of guards (50+) he had watching us were the bulk of his force in HochHoch. They normally were guarding his person which explained the lack of law enforcement in the town proper. It was rumored that count Gareth was cursed and his friendly and carefree attitude towards Caswallon appeared to bear this out. Gelwen wanted to get a scroll of remove curse and the barbarian volunteered to purchase one. So they went to the temple of Ehlonna. I accompanied them in case there was any trouble which there was not.
We were escorted back to the party. The party guests included ourselves, Brianna, Gareth and his Generalissimo Azov. In addition the 50+ guards stood against all the wall space. The first thing we did to attempt to set things right was done by Gelwen. She asked the count to dance and while dancing cast the scroll of remove curse. If the curse was making Gareth do Caswallon’s bidding then getting rid of it would solve the problem. The count seemed to think it a little odd for her to take out a piece of parchment but otherwise discounted it. The remove curse appeared to have no affect on him whatsoever. That was 1000 gp down the privy. The thief of the party danced with him next. She used her impressive skills to slip the band he was wearing off his head without anyone the wiser. The counts speech and countenance changed. He showed himself to be a stupid oaf. I surmised that the item taken was a band of intellect. As the night wore on a plan was hatched that went from simple to more and more intricate. With the help of a distraction Mazer would cast an invisibility spell on Briallen who would go through the kitchens and walk out of the castle undetected. Hoping to get the count to remove some of his guards from the room members of our group suggested that it was way to crowded to dance. But the count decided instead that all that was needed was to go up onto the roof garden into the fresh air. Of course he brought all of his troops up with us. The monk has the ability to spider climb so the new plan became that someone would cause a distraction Mazer would cast invisibility on Briallen and escape down the castle wall with Briallen holding on to him. I suggested that I should use garderobe and be down below to further help in the escape if needed. I figured the count would send a few troops with me. If he sent a lot I could draw them away if the sent to few I would find a way to get rid of them.
So as the party continued I went to use facilities with only 5 guards in tow. Instead of returning to the party I feigned illness and asked to return to the estate. While outside I was able to spy the monk had made it to the ground and was heading back to our boat. My thoughts were to stop at a nearby tavern to get some drink to settle my stomach. After all what better way to “settle” a dwarves stomach then with alcohol? At the tavern I would cause a bar fight to ensue causing the guard to be preoccupied. Meanwhile I would slip out to the docks and help the monk in protecting Briallen. Unfortunately before we got far from the castle the guards and I heard fighting going on on the castle roof.
I learned later that the plan which had been modified even further had worked flawlessly. You see one of our group cast minor illusion to look like Briallen. Mazer cast illusion on Briallen and our “bean-pole” cast minor illusion to look like her took her shape with no-one the wiser. Well at least that’s what initially happened. Their was what looked like a house cat present that jumped into Gareth’s arms and the two started conversing. It seems the cat noticed that the dwarf, the monk and the bean-pole were missing. Since Gareth was getting agitated Gelwen tried to calm him using the spell calm emotions. Unfortunately our luck could not hold forever. Gareth finally noticed a failed spell cast against him and ordered his guards to attack the group.
So as I said a ruckus broke out on the roof and two of our best fighters myself and the monk were not there to fight. That left only the barbarian as the muscle upstairs. The monk had escaped, I assumed with Briallen so I was trying to figure out how to best help my friends on the roof. At first I was thinking of fighting my way back into the castle. But with the number of troops there I figured I would never make it to the roof in time to save my companions without a little help.
I was trying to figure out what to do about my guards when one of them helped solve things for me. Even though the guards heard the fighting they had no interest in it. In fact he suggested that if I was interested we all could go and do some gambling alas the guards didn’t have any money. I suggested that some drink would be just the thing to settle my stomach and I would be happy to buy them all some rounds. They all seemed interested in this. I offered the 5 of the a gold which would buy each of them a gallon of ale. We ended up settling on a gold for each and I would meet up with them shortly. I gained entrance back into the castle with more bribes. Instead of heading to roof I went down to the dungeons bribed the guards their and was able to release all the prisoners.
A knight of the watch and Briallen’s guards were among them and they offered to help me save my friends. But before we made it to the roof I found my group heading down. It seems my new barbarian friend took care of everything. She had captured Gareth and was holding him hostage. We made it back to the docks. Gareth’s magical necklace and his magical cloak were removed before the barbarian released the count. After letting the count go the immediately start shooting arrows at us. With the use of a cloud of fog and the timely arrival of an army of knights of the watch we were able to escape with only a few wounds.
It was strange someone in that army was asking if someone named Xilvyre was in HochHoch. I wonder who this Xilvyre person is. Maybe he or she was kidnapped like Briallen and the KOW have come to the rescue just like we did. Well regardless, they were told that no Xilvyre was “here” and then Gareth had his men start firing at the troops across the ford. The army pulled back out of arrow range and began setting up their siege engines. I have a feeling Gareth will not be around much longer.

Day 176
I was sure I was going to get into a fight while in HochHoch. But alas I missed all the fun. I NEED to break something. The next tavern I come across is going to get the biggest wing-ding of a brawl it has ever seen. If there is even one tankard left intact then I will have failed in my goal. Of course I will pay for the damages.

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Mazer's Journal: Hunting the Night Hunter-Sacks of Gorna

I was really excited to get back to Gorna again to visit, stay, and perform at D’s & my original Two Lutes for Love Tavern™. Please contact one of us for any franchising opportunities in your area! It had been a long trip over in the Gran March, with my many new Marcher ladies. I was looking forward with meeting with all my original Gyruff ladies who just couldn’t stand to be away from Mazer this long. Expect long lines and wait times baby! Our adventuring group was going to meet at Two Lutes Tavern and plan for a most important task here in Gorna, after some music, drinks, and fun of course. The City was practically being held hostage at night by a rash of attacks, disappearances, abductions, deaths, and pretty much any other bad thing that could go wrong like a mysterious thick fog, spiders & webs, and frick’in bats flying around all over. There has also been vampire-sack talk all around town lately including rumors and sightings of none other than my own Super-Buddy Prince Rhys. What the#&%*!!! Mazer found this really confusing because I had given clear instructions to everyone that Prince Rhys had to keep a low-pro and remain hidden until that evil well taint-effect wore off or a cure was found for him. Needless to say upon my return I find out that not only has my private love-shack apartment where my unintentional-undead effected buddy Prince was to stay happened to be all trashed with blood and dirt…Grrrrr…but my other friends paraded him around town, attacked a good High Priest of Elhona , AND Jagr married him! What…the…hell!? You guys (minus my super-buddy Prince) are teetering on the line for my famous “sack” addition to your name. Arragh! Well the only thing that saved you from that demeaning naming fate is that he apparently has been cured somehow of that evil vampire taint and is mostly his old self again. Well, other than the pudgy-Fey boy Cupid Arrow effect problem and that D’s & my old party buddy has been vanquished…by…by…marriage! OMG. I’m tempted to down a serving of my Stone Giant Magic Mushrooms to deal with this stress.

Kosef, Osiris, Dasut, G-Bean, D-Track, Jagr, Super Buddy Prince Rhys, and I finally got together and plotted all the known attacks, disappearances, abductions, and deaths on a map of Gorna to see if a pattern or concentration could be seen. Well we determined that a greater occurrence of this night-dread seemed to occur in the North Village of Gorna. We had a couple of specific areas located by Taverns where some unfortunate Gorna citizens were found dead just recently. Mazer’s no alchemist, book reader, umm deep-thinker, and well come to think of it I don’t write all that much either (other than these damn Journals) but that seemed like a good place to start our official hunt of the night hunter-sacks of Gorna! (Motivating musical interlude on the lute…)

Well our group is starting to look really impressive and important now the more helping of Gyruff we are involved with. Mazer has always looked impressive and important so I can deal with the fame a lot easier than the rest of the group. They are learning, slowly. After purchasing some holy water and wooden stakes because of the Vamp-Sack gossip we made our way across Gorna to the North Village and decided to stop at the Cold Tree Tavern where a body was discovered just a couple nights ago in the common yard space behind the tavern and question the owner, staff, and patrons if they noticed anything unusual. There was mainly a rough looking crowd-type in this tavern with the additional always drunk patron, a mysterious elderly gypsy woman with cards, and the Owner and Barkeep. We all split up to mingle and ask questions. Ole Mazer here made a direct B-line shot right to the attractive bar server who also happened to be the owner of the tavern. Of course before I could even say anything she immediately recognized me as Mazer Warmheart (my stage name) of the famous Two Lutes for Love. Yes, yes I am! “By Popular Demand” Baby. (Side look shot at the camera with a wink and sparkling smile. Bing!) Hey…it’s ME! She was more than happy to answer our questions especially after I agreed to perform a few of my songs for the place. She did take us off to an empty side area of the tavern to hear our questions. I guess she was also really concerned with too much “negative press” of missing abducted people and dead bodies turning up near her business. I guess I get that. While in conversation I noticed some others of our group Osiris, G-Bean, and D-Track, talking with some of those rough looking clientele types. That was not probably going to end well and you could feel the tension start to elevate. Mazer will have to go over there and smooth talk that down before it gets out of hand, right after this. As it turns out she was not very helpful and neither was the bartender for that matter. They were too worried about business and money to give us anything useful. On the way over to smooth-talk the ruffians and prevent the impending bar fight I looked the joint over with my magic detecting glasses. That old mysterious elderly gypsy woman with cards was radiating magical. She WAS magic for crying out loud! Never seen that before, huh. I sat down at her table to talk with Madam Eva a bit and right away she asked if I wanted my fortune told. Sure I guess mysterious old gypsy woman…let’s do it. She mixed the cards and put them into piles then flipped cards face up one by one. Luckily for Mazer these were those really cool-type of cards because they just had nice pictures on them instead of all those confusing numbers. Since I didn’t see any scary, deathly, decaying, or evil looking cards turned up I figured my fortune came out just fine. I knew it baby, I’m golden! She gave me a great review of a fortune. This old gypsy woman seemed pretty harmless and said she visits all the taverns in Gorna so I’ll have to look her up some other time. Let’s go smooth talk my other adventuring party buddies out of their conversation that will soon escalate into that bar fight. (Mazer-on-a-mission musical interlude on the lute…)

Mazer got over there just in time before any punch-volleys could be started. The table with these rough looking crowd-types were in mid-threatening mode on my adventuring buddies. Sometimes I find it useful to let people ramble on because you might be surprised what they will say. Well, the rough guys claimed that if Osiris, G-Bean, and D-Track didn’t watch out, they would end up like one of the recent victims found in the field out back. Said that guy (recent victim) couldn’t keep his mouth shut either about something regarding the fighting area and now he is no longer with us. Lived right across the street too, now there are two abandoned homes there. Well, I couldn’t resist and somewhat implied with these boisterous rough patrons that we were new to town and Osiris, G-Bean, and D-Track here actually just bought those homes across the street so he will know where to find them. Hee Hee! Got some angry disbelieved looks from my three adventuring buddies there but if nothing panned out today…at least we have some great live bait for tonight. Sorry guys, Mazer don’t like being the bait. The rough crowd acknowledged where they could find them and we parted ways peacefully, for now. We thought it a good idea to go and investigate the now abandoned homes across the street to look for clues. (Investigational musical interlude on the lute…)

The homes were in rough shape and abandoned like Osiris, G-Bean, and D-Track’s new thug-friends indicated. Some minor personal belongings were still inside the home which brought no additional clues. We searched the area outside the homes and our great tracking members found a bunch of more recent and concentrated footprints located at the side windows of the home where apparently the baddies entered. These windows were still unlatched and open. Hmmm… Our trackers were unable to determine direction any further out from the home due to the heavy foot traffic in the area so we were at a dead end. Unfortunately for us all we had to stop and think which is really not my strong suit or is very fun. Everyone was just kind of kicked back and silent so I guess ole Mazer has to do the thinking…again…for us…geez. Thinking is so hard. (Deep thoughts musical interlude on the lute…)

Umm, well, err…the only, only thing I had left to go on was the comment by the Tavern Thug of “he couldn’t keep his mouth shut either about something regarding the fighting area.” Let’s go on over to the damn Fighting Area! Honestly I was just grasping at straws plus I have never been there before. I’m a lover, not a fighter. Besides I prefer to burn down Evil Whomever-sacks with my MazerBeams™ at range. I heard that this fighting area place is quite well attended and busy at night with wagered battles and such. Since we were out in the daytime I expected it to be pretty much abandoned. We arrived and yup…nothing going on. A sole guard was walking around the arena and when he noticed us, came on over. He seemed to be a good fellow. He stated what we knew already, no one here, busy at night. I asked him if we could just look around for a bit and he hesitated…Mazer grabbed some coin and suggested he go get an early lunch or something. It must be really boring around here in the A.M. because he grabbed the coin and left. Okay, gang let’s have a look around.

The arena was kind-of sunk down into the ground (like an old quarry) and was totally empty. Great. We walked around a bit and then dropped down about 10’ from the seating to the arena floor. We observed four sets of closed doors, single doors on the short side and big double doors at the long ends of the arena. The “big-doubles” reminded Mazer about certain things that I would rather be doing right now, ahem, so we went for those doors. They were open and we decided to send in D-Track our rogue to scout it up before we all went in. I cast invisibility on him for extra-super stealth mode. After a while D-Track came back and said there was a group of 15-20 fighter like people in an area further away playing cards at a table and stuff and didn’t see anyone else. Well okay. He said it would be easy to avoid them and explore the under-arena area. Let’s do it! Leaving the door somewhat cracked provided good daylight and a reference point to return to we went in. There were a crap-ton of hallways, rooms, and doors all over the place. All of these appeared to be storage areas, cells, etc. for when the area held monsters and props and such for more grand arena performances back in the day. Now they were mostly empty. There were some bigger doors that were locked but for some reason D-Track couldn’t open them, or any other locked door for that matter. D-Track my man, better get more practice on opening locks my burglar friend as we wanted to remain quiet and not loudly force doors open. We skipped all the locked doors we couldn’t open, which were many and went into the very very back of the underground area outer ring of barred cells. We looked inside one of the cells and saw a 4’x7’ wooden box set on a raised platform. We all suddenly stopped and looked at each other with wide eyes and slowly drew our weapons as the hair on the back of our collective neck’s suddenly stood up on end. Gulp, Yikes, and Zoinks…a damn coffin!!? (We’re Screwed musical interlude on the lute…)

Well, we just had to know for sure. D-Track my man must have been suddenly crap-scared inspired because he opened this locked cell just fine. Of all the locks to be successful at, am I right? Our more beefy fighter types got out their stakes and cautiously approached the wooden box/coffin while the more magic using and Prince Rhys people types hung back a bit by the cell door. They opened up the box and by the look on their faces I knew for sure it was a frick’in coffin and a vampire-sack was at home sleeping. Holy $^#!!! All of us by the cell door nodded our heads and encouraged the fighters to stake it! Man, just STAKE IT! They got the silent motivational idea and drove & pounded a stake into the sleeping vampire-sack’s chest. Almost immediately we heard a very loud hissing like scream and thrashing from the recipient of the stake. Since this started to get pretty loud Prince Rhys went over to help pound another one. When I saw Prince Rhys look inside the coffin he suddenly froze and then backed slowly away saying “No…No…it can’t be…” Mazer here is pretty good Buds with Prince Rhys and I have never seen that type of expression on his face before so I immediately went up to look inside the coffin too while another stake was successfully being chest pounded. Okay…what…the…hell…??! I knew right away why the Prince reacted the way he did and have to admit the same thing happened to me. Inside the coffin was a now dead-dead and multi-staked vampire-sack but this vampire happened to be Ifan, a member of the assumed long dead Brat Pack that perished at the Keep of Storm Mountain by the rotting headless DEAD green scale-sack of a looser dragon. How hell did he get here and in vampire-sack form?!! Oh no…Oh $^#!!! There were four more members of the Brat Pack besides Prince Rhys, D, Multi-Staked-Ifan, and myself. Yup not good. We soon heard the creaking of wooden coffin lids around us coming from other cells and knew we were going to be in a battle for our lives. (We’re Really Screwed musical interlude on the lute…and broke a string…)

We formed up in the hall back to back with half the group facing one way and the other half the opposite direction. Suddenly arms reached out from the cells on either side of Multi-Staked-Ifan’s with a keys and opened the locks. Two more of the old Brat Pack were suddenly before us Dietrich and Dholas. Both now vampire-sacks too. I was facing Dholas and he actually said “Hi Mazer! How it going?” Locked an arrow and shot it right over my shoulder at someone else. He intentionally tried to NOT hit me. Oh crap…when Once Friend Baddie-Sacks are not trying to kill you, they have a plan. Mazer here did not want to be involved with that vampire plan at all. I would not make a very good undead-sack Mazer. Well after saying “Sorry” to my Once Friend Baddie-Sack Dholas, MazerBeams™ made an appearance and we all started to really unload because if we didn’t, either we end up as vamp-food or Undead Vamp-Sacks ourselves. These were Vampire-Spawn…which were still hard to kill because they regenerate so fast but we eventually took down Dietrich, Dholas, and Evie…oh Evie I’ll always remember the kiss followed by the punch. While the battle was going on Khaleed appeared then slipped away for a while and we heard the big double doors where we entered close and then being barred. We finished our battle and some of us took some pretty good damage so we didn’t want to hang around here any longer! We made a quick run for the door to outside and the safety of sunlight. Yup, it was barred shut and it took us numerous tries by groups of us to get it off. We eventually did and got outside just in time because we heard many others heading toward us. I looked briefly inside again on the way out and saw some of the Keep of Storm Mountain’s Griffon Guards fully plate-mailed up now Vamp-Sacks. Not sure if they were all here or not but the original Guard included Braichdyn Ser Koru ap Melwyn, Ban Cantdyn Ser Logan Highhelm, Athrodwrthdyn Ser Bardin Tongar, Dwrthdyn Dame Emolde Foebane, Ser Oliver the Green, Ser Cedwyn the Plain, and Ser Ankur. Note to all future vampire-sack hunting: ALWAYS do so in the daytime hours as it is much safer.

Well, this cart-wrecked day still wasn’t over because soon those 16-20 Day Helper Card Playing Fighter-Sacks started to run outside to attack us. We climbed up the wall to the arena seating area. I knew that Regent Eridan was looking for a Vamp-Sack hive or whatever and I told my Buddies to hold these guys off and I will go convince my great friend Regent Eridan we hit Vamp-jackpot! They agreed and I made out with all due haste to have an audience with the Regent at the castle. Good thing it was ole Mazer too because I had to like do the best smooth and schmooze talking ever combined with dropping my Baronet title just to get in and see Regent Eridan. I explained what had happened and all and he believed me. We returned to the fighting area with the most high powered group of Gyruff’s heroes EVER including the Regent, Alena, Harrison, myself, many high-level Clerics, and lots of troops. (Sound the Cavalry musical interlude on the lute…repaired the string…)

When I had departed for the castle it turned out that since our Group had superior elevated position and ranged weapons the 16-20 Day Helper Card Playing Fighter-Sacks decided to run back into the underground arena area and lock the doors. No movement was seen until I returned with the High-Powered Crew. Some time passed until we were all organized and ready to go in. They knocked the doors open and proceed to search the underground arena area. Evidence was found of a major Vamp-hive but everyone and coffins were gone. What the $^*#!! How?!!! Upon a more thorough and detailed search 3 to 4 secret escape tunnels were found. One actually led to the main Castle in Gorna…that’s not good. Regent Eridan and the Town Guard expressed their thanks for what we have done for the City. The Vamp-Sacks were on the run now and these tunnels would be followed and people tracked. Everyone was still concerned because there is apparently some kind a Super Leader Vampire-Sack that even the High-Powered Crew seemed reluctant to face. Even though we did some good helping for Gyruff again, Prince Rhys and I were left saddened and with more unanswered questions on how our thought dead Brat Pack Buddies ended up as vamp-sacks in Gorna? Well, we still have one Brat Pack Vamp-Sack left (Khaleed) and a bunch Griffon Vamp-Sacks left that we can still perhaps question for some answers before we have to stake pound them. I for one will be sleeping with garlic and holy water for a while, and many more ladies too because I’m still a bit freaked out about a potential undead visit. But Madam Eva did say my fortune was golden, right? What could go wrong? Later, Mazer

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To Find a King

We spent the rest of the month in the town of Klukwan, waiting for Grigor’s floodwaters to recede. I had lots of time to train Uthaine. Osaris, Thia and Kosef left to go somewhere east. We were discussing what to do with Grigor, as he is Caswallon’s spy, when he disappeared one night. I did not feel safe with him around, but we could not just kill him. And at the moment, it is not a crime to be Caswallon’s friend.

Lord Krell’s men came to the village again and took some people. Klukwan is a town of women and children and weak men, the others have been taken by Krell. Krell is a harsh ruler for this land and I would like to get rid of him, but we would have to be careful. We cannot just remove Krell, we would need to make sure he is replaced with someone who would be a good ruler. Otherwise someone will just fill the void.

Dandelion, Morrick and Evendur came into town this morning. Apparently Evendur was taken to Queen Aisling of the fey and she removed the ring and turned him from stone back to flesh. If Evendur can find gifts sufficient to please her, she will remove one of her creations (or plagues) for each gift. This is a great opportunity, but I unfortunately do not have have anything valuable enough for a fey queen. He is also cursed to want to give away his most valuable possession each day. Usually he resists, but he still bemoans the curse. Queen Aisling wants another gift to remove that.

Emera merch Beswin, the local bard, told us that some men including a cleric with a symbol of a bunch of arrows had been looking for us and had questions about Caswallon and the ancient legends. They were headed to see Krell. Dandelion told us that the symbol was Hextor’s symbol and the Hextor was an evil god and that his people were behind the troubles in Gyruff.

With questioning, we found that Llywellen and Owen and others who were sacrificed to the greenman are not in the Voice of the Dead. Only those who have died and gone to the Winter King (Nerull) are part of the Voice of the Dead, so those who follow the Old Faith. The Greenman was summoned at Greenrise Ridge by a druid, but is diminished by each summoning. We concluded that we do not want to try to get Llywellen by summoning the Greenman.

As a way to block the route between Krell and Klukwan, Aoth planted the seedling Dandelion received at Emyr’s party on the Isle of Rhun. Aoth then asked the Mad Druid to help it grow. Hopefully that will keep Krell’s men away from Klukwan.

We again borrowed some climbing gear and left Uaithne in Klukwan. We climbed up to Dolmen Moor, which is quite high and snow covered. We found a central triangular tomb surrounded by three rings of tombs. The central tomb was an equilateral triangle 150 feet on each side. The doors were guarded by 8 ft stocky statues that remind one of dwarves. When we approached the doors, the statues stepped in front of the doors. They informed us when asked that Blaine had placed protections on the tomb. He was a dwarven king of the fourth and final dynasty. Apparently each dynasty had moved the previous dynasty out and taken the central tomb for themselves. Dandelion determined that Llywellen would be in the 3rd tomb of the third circle. We investigated the tombs to verify his theory. The last tomb in the 3rd circle was empty, but we found a set of 7 footprints near many of the tombs. Our investigation of the tombs proved Dandelion’s hypothesis. The inner circle had the first dynasty, the second circle had the second dynasty and the third had the third dynasty. The fourth dynasty was in the inner tomb. Some of the tombs had been opened, some from the inside, and some were still sealed. We found hoof prints which had melted the snow and foot prints of skeletons following the 7.

The tomb which we had determined was Llywellen’s was guarded with lots of magic. The pink cairn stones of one of the other kings had been rolled over to his tomb. What looked like boulders were intelligent rock creatures called galeb duhr. Fortunately Tornado could speak with them. They warned him to beware the wards of Ishcabeble. While Tornado was speaking with the Galeb Duhr, Aoth saw a headless warrior on a nightmare approaching, followed by 25 skeletal warriors. We managed to defeat the nightmare and the rider. Aoth destroyed the skeletons with spiked growth, but he noticed that the skeletons were reforming. This must be what is meant by the dead do not rest easy here.

We had some time before the skeletons would reform, so we investigated Llywellen’s tomb. In druidic, Aoth read something about beware the wards of Ishcabeble. He also read about needing 9 keys and Llewellen’s baldric was mentioned. We also learned that the king would be companionless on the lower level.

We remembered that Lord Krell’s men had taken some ancient keys from Garth’s hall. We set out for the village. Aoth talked the tree ent into helping us cross the river. A decrypted bard wearing a purple robe and a blue cap with a yellow feather was sitting in the middle of the river playing the mandolin. A tiny hand was accompanying him with a tambourine. We had found Loring the Lost. Dandelion challenged Loring to a bard duel, but Loring was incredibly good. Loring sang the song of the lines of the kings of Pelham. The third time he reached his name, an interplanar gateway opened and many imps poured out. Dandelion even joined the battle, using his rapier to bloody an imp. We managed to defeat them, but I can see why people don’t return from listening to Loring play. Hum, I wonder if Loring’s mandolin would be an appropriate gift for Queen Aisling and what the consequences of taking it would be.

Aoth was able to bypass the cave bears, so we returned to Klukwan without further incident. Then we made the short journey to Krell’s gate. His guards wanted a toll to enter the castle, but Dandelion jumped on the idea that we came from the regent and they let us in. We were escorted to the manor house, passing a temple to Obad Hai on the way in. Obad Hai is too many places and too popular. Maybe if we stop Caswallon, that will hinder Obad Hai also. Once we reached the manor house, we were handed over to an older servant named Kruthers. Krell offered the regent the ancient keys for 5000 gp. We were sent to the garden to await an answer. When Kruthers went to tell Krell that we were here, we heard the sounds of arguing and a slap. Dandelion asked questions of one of the servants, who had recently come from Klukwan. She told us that the keys had already been sold. When Kruthers returned, he bore the mark of a slap on one cheek. He also told us we needed to follow him to the cellar to retrieve the keys. Dandelion read his thoughts and discovered that Kruthers was stalling us. Dandelion persuaded him to tell us what was happening. The keys had been sold to the Hextorites and they were just leaving. We left Kruthers tied and gagged in the cellar and started after the Hextorites.

Dandelion persuaded the guards to let us out of the gate. We exited to find a narrow passage with a bright glowing bead in the middle. We ran past the bead quickly and it detonated just as the dwarf cleared the blast radius. We would have been seriously injured if we had not avoided the trap. A robed individual had been watching the gate and apparently detonated the fireball. We caught up to him and his five armored friends, four half orcs and an Oeridian cleric of Hextor. During the fighting the invisible rogue became apparent. We managed to defeat them all. Aoth turned into a dire wolf, startling Morrick. The rogue tried to jump off the cliff, but Dandelion levitated him back to the trail. The cleric of Hextor had 8 ancient keys and we also found the 5000 gold pieces. Apparently both sides cheated the deal. We will need to recover the 9th key from Krell.

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Excerpts Bolthan Rodric the dwarf's Journal #2
Plagues, the Fey, and Evendur

Day 141
Seems a different group was also trying to reproduce the cure for black scour and left their notes here in New Midwood. Evidently they went to get fresh mushrooms for the cure but never finished the job. We headed to a small village with a well that has been sealed up to prevent the flow contaminating the river. We determined that to eliminate the black scour from the well area the spring would have to be diverted. That way water that the black scour needs to thrive and the healing shrine that is boosting its growth rate could be eliminated from the equation and then a proper “cleaning” of the well could be done. Since the flow was stopped the well itself wasn’t contaminating any other areas. So I figured whoever was spreading the Black Scour intentionally would have gone down to retrieve it. But then I learned to my surprise that since the outlet for the water from the well was blocked the water level rises up the well head. The locals periodically tap this water to prevent it from overflowing. They take this water and dump it across the border in Arweth. The site at Arweth has become a marshy contaminated mess. The site is in the middle of nowhere so anyone with any nasty ideas would have no trouble secretly getting their hands on the Black Scour. It seems to me this where the evildoers got their sample of Black Scour nice and secret like. The clay soil has so far prevented the contamination from spreading. But when it hits the aquifer then then who knows how far the contamination will reach.
We decided that trying to eliminate the identified contaminated sources were beyond our limited resources. Somebody needs to tell this new regent that two engineering and cleanup processes need to be done. It will require a lot of manpower and funding. We know of at least one Argywyth still alive who has contracted the Black Scour. So we decided that we would go after all the ingredients and make some doses of the cure. We had already gathered what ingredients we could find and equipment needed to make the cure in New Midwood. But for some of the ingredients we would have to go to where they can be found. One ingredient is a moss that can only be found growing on oldest tree that is the heart of the forest. We decide to go to Preston to find out where this tree in the Oytwood can be found.

Day 142
I’m getting kind of hungry. My last meal was before I quit my blacksmith job. I tried to use my survival skill which is actually pretty good. But I guess I still don’t know enough about these parts cause I didn’t find a thing to east.

Day 143
We found a fisherman to ferry us across the river but I didn’t have a copper piece to pay. So I asked if he would be interested in a game of dice. If I win I get passage across. I asked what the fisherman would want in return. I was thinking I could do him a favour or a task or some manual labor or something. He wanted me to put up a copper piece. I told him that if I had a copper piece I wouldn’t need to dice with him I could just pay the fare. We went around and around about this. My new friends were getting tired of this so they offered to pay my fare. I’m not one to mooch off of others so I politely declined. The fisherman and I finely agreed on putting up my pouch. It is worth 5 sp but I didn’t have anything to put in it anyway. The long and the short of it is I won the dice game got to keep my pouch and got passage across.

Day ?
I’m not quite sure what day it is and it’s all my fault. We ran into some strange events. So we get to Preston and Gelwen finds somebody to hire to take us to this heartwood tree to gather the moss. I couldn’t contribute to his fee and I feel bad about that. Anyhow he starts taking us to the center of the forest.
It’s easy to find food in the Oytwood, so I was thinking that once we took a midday break I can finally have a meal and stop my grumbling stomach. Things didn’t work out that way. We came to the edge of a meadow with all sorts of beautiful flowers. I was able to identify four types on my own and was asking our guide about some of the others. That’s when Benton says that there are fairies living in those flowers. I say where and he points them out. I don’t see nothing and start to wonder if he is pulling my leg. So Benton sets some cider in acorn shells out as a gift to them. That started me thinking about drinking which started me thinking about food which made my stomach growl louder. Those fairies start singing. They are singing about going to sleep. But I still can’t see them sneaky little devils. We decided to go around the meadow. As we traveled I kept hearing something wizzing by. Gelwen thinking they were fairies told me not to swat at them. Turns out that they were tiny arrows. None of them hit us though.
As we continue to circle around the meadow we find a bouquet of nettles with a yellow ribbon tied around them. I’m thinking they are a gift for the cider we gave the fairies. We all try to come up with what nettles can be used for. Tunotoo starts talking about their uses. And then he mentions that they are edible. Well when he said that my hunger sort of overcame me. I snatched the bouquet up and took a big bite out of them before he had finished the “when properly prepared” part.
All of a sudden we got transported to the fey lands. Some of the fey that were near us got sent their as well. And that’s the reason I don’t know what day this is. Well as we commence to discuss what we should do next. I tell of the rumor I heard that it was the fey that caused the Black Scour and three other “plagues” so as long as we are hear maybe we can attack this plague problem from a different angle.
Benton sees a group of humanoids running towards us. Eventually we can see that there are fey chasing them. Some of the fey are cheering them on while others are threatening them and poking at them. A human is in the lead with an orc close behind. We let them pass through us on the path. But the orc starts pushing my friends into the nettles off the path. So when he gets across from me I push him into the nettles. I ain’t going to let no flea bitten orc push my friends around. Well the last person in this strange race is a dwarf. Everyone knows that dwarves are natural sprinters so this must be a long cross country race. Anyhow the fey were threatening to kill him and poking at him. So I interpose myself and tell them to leave the poor dwarf alone. They still verbally harass him but at least they aren’t poking him. I offer him some water as he looks all but done in. As I follow along with him we reach a ruined fortress with no roofs. Tunotoo, Benton and Gelwen are waiting at the gates. This is Queen Aisling’s home and she has some strange plant guardians at the gates. They want to know what we want. I boldly tell them that we seek an audience with Queen Aisling and they allow us through. Gelwen and I both know that the fey want gifts for just about anything you receive a gift in return. That includes coming and leaving fey lands, seeking an audience, asking a question or a boon.
While we are waiting in the receiving line to see the queen the barbarian who one the race comes up and thanks me for slowing the Orc down. He tells us that he got a sword and passage back home for winning the race. He also tells us about Queen Aisling, that we should shamelessly flatter her and give her gifts. Tunotoo is unhappy with me because I got us this audience with the queen without giving us much time to figure out what “gifts” we can present her. What I don’t think he realized is that we don’t really have time. Time is strange in the fey lands so you want to get out as soon as you can.
Tunotoo says he is thinking about maybe brewing something as a gift. I tell him yeah I was thinking about using my blacksmithing skills. But decided against it as making something takes time which would be bad. I suggest giving her one of his own brewing recipes. We finally get up to the queen and she is using that poor dwarf as a footstool. She has also somehow taken out his heart yet he is still alive. My blood starts to boil but I know there is nothing I can do for now so I play nice. Gelwen gives the queen a song. I can’t remember what Benton gave her. Tunotoo gives her his staff which he used to vanquish someone. Gelwen gets the queen talking about the plagues by complimenting her on how nasty they are. We learn from the queen that she sent the plagues because a thief stole a magic ring that was going to the winner of an earlier race like the one we just saw. The queen has been sending a plague every decade and will continue to do so until she gets the ring back. Evidently Benton and Gelwen know who has the ring. Some guy named Evendur who was turned to stone by the medusa wife of Gyruff’s archmage. We try to negotiate with her as to returning her ring to her. The gift exchange involves giving Gelwen a way to get us back home (Turns out it is another bouquet of nettles) and she will stop sending more plagues for which we will bring back the ring to her. In fact she puts a geas on us requiring Gelwen and Benton to be working towards getting her the ring back every day for the next year. Tunotoo and my geas require us to assist them in this quest. However Tunotoo and our elven guide were not affected by the geas.
With that the plant guardians demonstrates how to properly use the nettles as transport to and from the fey lands. He cuts open Tunotoos wrist and has the blood fall on the nettles. 1 damage per person being transported. So this sends us back to our world. Unfortunately Tunotoo didn’t have a specific place in mind.
Gelwen is great at picking out landmarks to figures out where we are which is in the Stark mounds not far from where a dwarf mine that was taken over by goblins and orcs during the giant war. I suggest that we stop at the mine and see if there are any of the mushrooms we will need to make the black scour cure. They won’t keep so we need the other ingredients first but it would be useful to know if we could get some from here as we still need the moss from the Oytwood. Gelwen wants to proceed straight to Gorna which is where Evendur is. She is afraid of the geas kicking in. Benton convinces her that going to the mines would be working towards getting the ring back. You see the archmage has Evendur and us working on the Black Scour cure would provide us to the archmage and hence to Evendur the stature. This is an iron mine, I’m sure their should be some of the mushrooms here. Unfortunately none of us can find any. Ah well, there are iron mines near Gorna perhaps they can be found their.
Gelwen will no allow any further delay from getting to Gorna so we head west. Before we rest for the night we encounter several goblins riding spiders. They don’t appear particularly friendly. But since I learned that humanoids I would typically attack on site at home have become “civilized” in Gyruff I figure we would hail them and find out what they wanted. Well Gelwen must of thought they were hostile from the get go so she shoots and kills one at range. I’m still getting to know these new friends so I wasn’t sure if she knew something about them or just can’t stand goblins. I try to change the situation by moving forward and yelling at the dwarves. I tell them “Hey friends, since you obviously have hostile intentions I suggest you retire from this field of battle or my battleaxe will feel the taste of your blood. I guess this wasn’t one my better speeches as they kept coming. But funny thing was while I stepped out front to meet them they went around me instead of engaging me. It became clear that they had a hatred for elves. They focused on Gelwen and Tunottoo. Well the battle took a lot longer then I expected. Gelwen and Tunottoo kept going unconscious. Once they were unconcious the goblins turned their attacks on Benton and me, mostly Benton though. Benton kept healing Tunotoo and Gelwen. So they would gain consciousness but had almost no hitpoints. Then the goblins would refocus their attacks and knock those two unconscious again in short order. I’m thinking to myself healing them is a rather futile gesture as it’s wasting spells and they get knocked out right away. Meanwhile, I’m attacking the goblins and missing them much more then I am accustomed to. I am a little bit rusty or maybe its those spider mounts helping the goblins dodge out of reach. Any how on almost any other day I could have taken care of them all by myself. Of course I did have to gift my shield to Queen Aisling when my compliments and prostrating and abasing myself was not a sufficient gift. I made sure that the attacks I did connect with were subdual damage only. The goblins responded by only doing subdual damage to me. So that seemed to be in the goblins being civilized camp and Gelwen’s attack may have been premature. Well eventually we took down enough goblins that the rest turned tail and ran. Benton was able to save one of the wounded goblins. So that made the two I subdued and the patched up goblin as prisoners.
After talking to them I learned that they were going to attack us because of the elves in our party because elves attacked them as they went through the Stark mounds. The goblins were headed to Rhad Derwyth which is besieged by Melgorn. So the goblins were going to attack our party which means Gelwen rightly judged this and her attacking first does not bring her dishonor. Well we couldn’t kill the goblins as that wouldn’t be right. So I figured we would turn them over to the next Breyhr and let him decide what to do with them.

Day 166
When we got into town and I tried to turn them over to the Brehyr he declined to take them. He said he wouldn’t take responsibility for them even to let them go but suggested we should let them go. In the end I decided that the Brehyr wasn’t an outright coward he was just afraid of what might happen to his town when the Melgorners besieging Rhad Derwyth passed through on their way home. We spent the night in the towns tavern their being no inn. I even bought the goblin prisoners some drinks. Just cause we got them as prisoners don’t meant we can’t be friendly like. I had finally gotten some coin in that empty pouch of mine. Course it used to be the goblins coin. Spoils of war don’t ya know. Heh Heh.

Day 166
We made it to Gorna and the first thing I did was turn the goblins over to the guards. We explained what happened. Only the goblins told a different story and said that we were to blame. I couldn’t convince the guards that we were in the right. Gelwen tried to name drop and tell the guard we were on a mission from the regent himself to cure the Black Scour. The guard just looked at her. I could tell he was thinking “yeah right, pull the other one.” The guard decided he would lock us all up and let a judge sort it out. Of course there is no judge in Gorna at the moment. I personally protested that I only attacked the goblins after they attacked my friends and then I only used subdual damage. And surprisingly the goblins verified what I said so the guards let me go. I hope the goblins sentence isn’t too harsh. They seemed not half bad. Wow I never thought I would think of goblins in a positive light. Maybe I can testify at their trial and ask for leniency. Anywayn as they were hauling my friends to jail I asked them whether their was someone I could contact in Gorna that could help them out. Gelwen asked me to go to he mentor the high priestess of Ehlonna in Gorna. I told the hight priestess of Gelwen and friends predicament and she interceded on their behalf. We told the high priestess of our visit to Queen Aisling, her having created the plagues. That the queen wanted her ring back. The queen had given us a riddle explaining how remove the ring. With the help of the high priestess contacting an elder bard on Kindlers Isle we learned that we had a set of notes that could be obtained from certain stones in druid circles that could transfer the not to a tuning fork. Since this seemed a lot of workthe high priestess suggested that we just take Evendur the statue to Queen Aisling. At first I protested. I saw what the Queen did to the dwarf. And while I don’t know Evendur I didn’t think he deserved that. However, when Gelwen told me that Evendur actually wanted to talk to the fey I conceded. I mean, I hope he is good at diplomacy. If he isn’t that bad things will happen. But if it is really what he wants I’m not going to stand in his way.

Day 168
The high priestess was able to get Evendur the statues. The queen was happy to get her ring back. We returned him to Queen Aisling. Our geas was lifted. We left Evendur the man negotiating with the queen and took a quick exit. I do hope a gift exchange between the queen and Evendur will result in the elimination of the plagues she has already set loose on our world.

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Flower and Stone
How we sorta saved Evendur

I met a dwarven fighter named Bolthan Rodiac at one of the services to Ehlonna in New Midwood. He seems very honest, almost rigidly so. He appeared quite poor, but clean and a worshipper of Ehlonna. He must be a good traveling companion.

There was talk in town that a group of adventurers had been going to cure the black scour taint and had left town two months ago and not been heard of since. Ben, Tunottoo, Bolthan and I decided to finish their quest. I quartered my trainees in New Midwood and set off on our adventure. The first stop was the castle at New Midwood, where regent Eridan had set up a lab. We found the notes of the first group, they had needed fresh ironbloom mushrooms and headed west to find some. We used their notes to assemble a list of items needed. We acquired frog eggs (kept moist in a glass bottle), grave dust and witch hazel. Bolthan took us to some Dwarven brewers, where I purchased 20 flasks of dwarven brandy and Ben purchased some cider. We packed up the lab equipment to take with us.

Our next stop was Prenffrwyth to investigate the well which is the source of the taint. Talking to townsfolk, we found out that they had been dumping the excess water in Arweth in a now festering, marshy area lined with clay. I collected a sample of the water in a glass bottle and carefully marked it with skull and cross bones. Briallen had brought a 55 gallon barrel of the cure during the giant war and the well had been cured and then cleansed with fireballs. Dwarves had been hired to wall off the underground spring and well from the River. Bolthan admired the construction and said it was holding. Someone needs to divert the spring water from the well, which would be a major task. Also, there is a desecrated shrine to Allitur near the spring, which turns the well into a healing shrine and probably stops the cure from cleansing the well. We decided the cleansing the well was a task beyond us, but we need a cure for those affected. We are not sure who is affected, although there are rumors that most of the leadership of Gyruff was affected and many have now died.

The next ingredient we needed was Elderwood Moss. I had heard that it came from the heart of the Oytwood, the oldest tree in the forest and near the center. I did not know how to find it, however, so we went to Preston for help. We hired Parin Oakenheel as a guide into the forest. Bolthan found out Parin is a cleric of Ehlonna, so he should be good in the forest. About 4 hours from Preston, we came on a strange group of flowers, which Parin said had not been there before. Ben noticed the flowers were fairies, so we decided to go around the patch. Bolthan had been living of the land unsuccessfully, so when we found a bundle of stinging nettles tied in a pink ribbon, Bolthan put them in his mouth and took a bite. No….

The next instant we were in a land of autumn. Behind us was an ash desert. To the right was a forest of decaying trees, some on the path with ribbons. To the left was a fetid marsh. Ahead was a field of stinging nettles, also with ribbons on the path leading to a ruined fortress. The fairies had come with us and raced ahead through the nettles. Coming along the path through the forest was a mixed group of humanoids running chaotically. A number of races were represented, including some I did not recognize, with some male and some female. The lead runners were a flan male, a male orc and a female wood elf. The orc was pushing the others off the path so he could get ahead. We moved to the path to the fortress, as we did not want to be left behind. The orc pushed Tunottoo out of the way into the nettles. Bolthan took offense to this on Tunottoo’s behalf and pushed the orc into the nettles. He quickly pushed back to the path and ran on. A group of fey followed behind the last runner, a dwarf, the unseelie fey poking him and the seelie fey encouraging the runners. Bolthan imposed himself between the dwarf and the fey. They then started throwing rocks at him, but did not touch Bolthan.

We continued on with the racers to the fortress. The racers and the fey were allowed to pass freely, but the twisted trees who were acting as guards stopped us from passing. We told them we had business with the queen and they grudgingly let us pass.

The winning racer, the Flan male, had won the prize of permission to leave from the Queen and a bow from the King. He thanked us for our help is slowing down the orc, even though it was some what accidental on our part. He also gave us some information on his way out of the fey lands. We were in the lands of Queen Aisling of the Bloodied Wood and the Field of Stinging Nettles, queen of bright summer. Her husband is King Aodhon of Fiddler’s Green. He told us the fey expect gifts for everything, including the gift of an audience with them and the gift of passage home. He also told us that the Queen periodically holds these races. At one race long ago, the Queen had set as a prize a magical ring. One of the racers cheated and stole the ring before the presenting of the prizes to the winner. Queen Aisling reacted by cursing the ring and none of its bearers had lived for long. I remembered that Evendur had the legendary fey ring of mastery over magic and was now a stone statue in Gorna. As the queen of Bright Summer, Queen Aisling’s rival is Queen Maeve, queen of Dark Winter. Then he was gone, taking his passage home before it expired.

When we got in to see the Queen, she was holding a heart in her hand and her spiked heels were digging into the kneeling body of the dwarf who had lost the race. His punishment for losing was to be her plaything until she grew tired of him. I bowed before the queen and gave her the gift of the torch of continual flame I had made. Tunottoo bowed and gave her the gift of his quarter staff. Ben bowed and gave her the gift of the knowledge of the location of her ring. By her leave, we would go and retrieve her ring for her. We also chatted about the plagues. She reveled in the thousands of plagues she had created to torment our world as long as we had her ring. Bolthan tried to give her the gift of prostrating himself before her, but she expected that as just her due. When Bolthan pointed out the no one else was prostrated, she commanded her guards to remedy the situation. The Parin presented his gift of his alchemy set. She gave us a bundle of stinging nettle tied with a white ribbon stained with blood and said her guards would explain how to leave and return. Then she set upon us a geas to retrieve the ring for her. Ben replied that the current bearer of the ring was currently stone and the ring could not be retrieved separately. She then gave us the riddle to the escape clause for the ring, which was a song played with notes I did not recognize.

The guards then explained the cost to come and go from the land was blood on the nettles and slashed Tunottoo’s arm to demonstrate. His injury bought passage for us all. We reappeared in the Stark Mounds only a few days from Gorna. Judging by the stars and the moon, the brief stay in the land of fey had cost us 10 days. We traveled to Torinvale, a dwarven mine despoiled by the goblins in the war. We tried searching for ironbloom mushrooms, but we could not identify any.

The next day we set out again for Gorna. We saw 10 goblins riding spiders at a distance. They also spied us and approached with what I deemed hostile intent. I shot a goblin and downed it. Bolthan tried to get the goblins to leave, but they continued to advance. Ben, Tunottoo and I continued to attack. Bolthan did not attack until we were attacked and then only non-lethal damage. The goblins target Tunottoo and myself, riding around Bolthan to reach us. Tunottoo and I went down several times, but with Ben’s healing and Bolthan’s attacks, we managed to defeat them, although I came close to death and Tunottoo as well. Bolthan questioned the three surviving goblins. They were from Melgorn and on their way to attack Rhad Dwyr in retaliation for some merchants being killed there last year. They hated the elves because some of their comrades had been slaughtered by elves from the Oytwood.

We took the goblins with us and continued on to the small village of Alvein. We were allowed to stay, although the local brehyr wanted nothing to do with the goblins. Bolthan bought the goblins food and drink with their coin, since he had none of his own. The next morning, we made the short trek to Gorna. When we brought the goblins to the town guard, we were all arrested for the fight. Bolthan convinced the goblins to testify that he had not attacked until the goblins had attacked us first, so he was released. I yelled at him to go to the temple and ask the high priestess to help us. I tried protesting that we were on a mission to cure the black scour taint and that the regent would want to see us, to no avail.

He returned after a time with Priestess Selisee Goldenflame, who got us released. We told her our tale, including the geas from Queen Aisling. Priestess Selisee told us the story of the adventurers who had collected notes from the stone circles with planar tuning forks. We researched in the library and that is what the names in the riddle seemed to be. Selisee advised us that we would need to go to Kindler’s Isle to speak with the bards to remove the effect of the ring from Evendur or we could take the statue to Queen Aisling. She helped us get the statue and we ended up taking the statue of Evendur to the fey Queen Aisling.

Queen Aisling was delighted to receive her ring back and gave us passage from her realm. She played a primal song and Evendur was turned back to flesh. We gave him some parting words of advice and quickly left, before Queen Aisling lost her joy in the return of her ring and required new gifts from us to leave.

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