Gyruff (Grand Duchy of Geoff)

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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Excerpts Bolthan Rodric the dwarf's Journal #1
New in town

617 CY Day 1 in Gyruff

I finally made it to my destination, Gyruff. Though it is far away from my home, what I see matches the picture I had of it as it was described to me. It is as rural and calming as I was told. There is so much green and nature can be seen everywhere. I think I will travel a bit, get the lay of the land. I’ll get the ring to Gorna as my friend requested in due time.

Day 2

Gyruff is made up of political regions called cantrevs. These cantrevs in the west are called the downlands they once were part of Keoland but were given to Gyruff when I was but a young ‘un.
Things seem to grow well here. This land must truly be blessed by Ehlonna. I find I can’t stop smiling for the peace and quiet and the Green.

Day 3

Well, someone picked my pocket today. I guess despite Gyruff’s rural setting they still have some of the crimes that you can see in Havenhill. Guess it’s not just a plague found in my big city.

Day 6

Well I am ready to start my walkabout. Got supplies for a month or more. They raise sturdy mountain ponies in these parts. I also picked up a pack horse. Since the thievery incident I decided to talk to some local folks and find out how safe it is to travel alone. A nice old man who still travels all over was nice enough to tell me that one can travel the roads in Gyruff alone and be perfectly safe. Evidently it took a while after the giant war but once peace was declared all the humanoids have learned to live together real friendly like.

Day 7
I headed out of Aberglain into the downlands to the NW. Made it to a set of hills they call the Stark mounds and found a nice quiet spot with running water. Saw hardly a sole the whole day. Being out in nature, this is the life I have been missing.

Day 8
Well guess that old man must be senile, cause Daisy woke me out of a sound sleep this morning. It was a good thing. Thank you Daisy. Seems there are actually bandits in these hills. I took care of 3 of the 4 before the other one ran. Either this was an unusual occurrence or that old man wasn’t very trustworthy. Well time will tell.

Day 15
I say these elves in the Otywood are a cantankerous lot. I mean city elves can get all uppity an not but these country elves they are impossible to get along with. I thought these woods were part of Gyruff and ruled by a Brenin. They softened a little when they learned I worshipped Ehlonna. But they warned me about what I could and could not do in “their” woods. I feel like I’m being watched all the time here. Still the surroundings couldn’t be prettier and it’s not very hard to find food. Even for us former city folk. Once they see I mean no harm I’m sure I can get them to warm to me.

Day 17
I met some more elves who were even more hostile to me. They insulted and threatened me. They tried to provoke me into attacking them. But there way to many of them to fight so I tried to get them to be friendlier. All that got me was pushed around and have my supplies destroyed. They kicked me out of “their” Oytwood and told me not to come back.

Day 19
Made it to Gorna. Went to look up my friends family to drop off the ring but they had moved back to Urtcheck. Seems all the dwarves in Gyruff have moved out to their ancestral homes. That seems odd. I wonder what is going on?

Day 20
Heard that giants have settled West of Gorna and Orcs and goblins beyond them. Never seen a true giant so I think I’ll take a gander. If that works out ok then I’ll check out the Orcs and goblins. I really don’t like Orcs and Goblins but they say they have settled down and follow the Brenin’s laws. I can’t really believe this so I’ll just have to see for myself.

Day 23
Well the giants are an interesting lot. Seems they have some sort of hierarchy depending on what type of giant you are. The bigger and stronger the better. I was able to get along with them well enough. Though some of them wondered what I would taste like. They were joking … I think.

Day 28
I can hardly believe it these Orc’s and Goblins are practically civilized. How to describe it. Closest I can get is that they are “almost” housebroken.

Day 30
Got jumped On my way out of Melgorn. But it wasn’t Orcs or goblins. Some humans ambushed me. My poor daisy died. Lost everything except what was on me. Dumped all of my coins out of my pouch. That caused ‘em to stop and pick them up and argue among themselves. Well I can make it to a giant’s stedding tomorrow. I’m sure they can help me out with some food and supplies. I can pay for it with work. I’m an excellent fighter and skilled blacksmith.

Day 31
The giants laughed in my face. Said their fire giants could work metal faster then me. And as to hiring as a guard or some such they just laughed and laughed. Don’t even have a coin to try to earn something dicing. Best I hoof it to Gorna and find a job. Small town like that is bound to need a first rate dwarven blacksmith. One of the giants offered me some food to get back to Gorna, but I’m not accepting charity, I’ll work for my supper or go hungry.

Day 34
Made it back to Gorna. I didn’t find much to eat on the way here. That’s alright though. I’m sure I can find a job here. Shouldn’t take me hardly any time to set myself up a blacksmith shop or hired out as a guard. I’ll have a full belly and a roof over my head in no time.

Day 35
No job. No food. I’m sure something will turn up tomorrow.

Day 36
No job but I got a nice leg of lamb. Well truth be told it was a little old and I had to take it from a dog but it stopped my stomach grumbling.

Day 40
Thought I would try a bit of gaming to see if I could earn some scratch. Went to the two lutes for love. A strange lady agreed to stake me a fair price for my hand carved masterwork dice set. I could buy them back at the same price at the end of the night if I won. I agreed. She prefers playing cards. So we decided that we would switch of betting on one game of cards then one game of dice. She won every card game and half the dice games. I swear she was cheating but I couldn’t catch her at it. Needless to say I lost my dice. I was glad to leave. She was most un-nerving talking to that stuffed bear of hers.

Day 45
Things are looking up. I knew things would turn around if I just stuck to it. I talked to Liam. He just left his job as a blacksmith’s apprentice in New Midwood. He wanted to move to Gorna “the big city”. More like a big hamlet. Still it has its charms. Anyhow he said if I got up to New Midwood quick I might be able to get a job their.

Day 48
Well the blacksmith after seeing my skills hired me on the spot. He even gave me an advance to get settled although it was a loan and he charged me interest against my wages. I work hard shouldn’t be not time til I pay him back. New Midwood seems a nice quiet out of the way hamlet. I could spend some time here.

Day 49
Spent 18 hours making nails. It’s repetitive work but I’ve got meat on the table now.

Day 50
Blacksmith spent all day making just one pitchfork. And it’s flawed, won’t last a season of work. I tried to politely tell him the problem and suggested that if he had kept the iron in the forge just a little longer it could have been a fine piece. He said keeping it in that long was a waste of time that he couldn’t afford. Time? I told him I could make a couple a dozen in a day. He told me to prove it so I did. I bought him a drink that evening.

Day 51
Blacksmith said my work would be satisfactory if I could pick up the pace. I handled the forge today. He checked my work.

Day 52
Blacksmith said he was too busy taking orders and checking my work to do any smithing himself.

Day 56
Payday was today. I was sure looking forward to adding a little more coin to my coffers. I was disappointed. I should have negotiated my wages but he said he pays the going rate. Turns out his going rate is lower then any body elses. It is going to take me forever to pay off his advance. I need to downsize right away. I’ll look for a second part time job. I can get by on two hours of sleep for a little while anyway.

Day 70
Barely scraping by. But at least it is a living, barely.

Day 80
Heard the Brenin died.

Day 110
That cloud giant castle is an awesome sight to behold.

Day 140
Met Ben, Tunotoo and Gelwen. They were sent on a mission by the new regent to cure the black scourge. They asked me join them. By hocking everything but my battleaxe and shield I was just able to pay back my loans to the blacksmith. I swear that Glorandaal pawn broker new exactly how much my loan was for. He paid me exactly that amount and wouldn’t go any higher. I may have lost my holy symbol, my war hammer, my great axe, my bow, my oil, my last drop of Keoish brandy and had to trade in my plate mail for splint, but it was still worth it. I am out from under that no good thieving coward of a man that calls himself a blacksmith.

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Shadow Prince

Shadow Prince – Goodmonth 617
We reacquired my trainees and Benton’s in Hocholve and sailed the Illustrious back to New Midwood. Mazer and Aurora departed to attend to other obligations. Jagr desired to see her beloved Prince in Gorna again. Dentrak, Dasut, Gabonzo, Benton and Benton’s friend Tunottoo and I decided to accompany her. Jagr hired a captain and a first mate and we sailed on down stream. The boat was a little crowded, but I trained my people every day in the teachings of Ehlonna and the use of the longsword and shortbow. It will still be some months before the soldier trainees are comfortable with their armor.

We reached Gorna about midday on the 7th of Goodmonth. We were hailed by three separate longboats on the way upriver, but they let us pass. Apparently troops are moving from various cantrevs all over Gyruff and a state of almost war exists. I left my trainees at the temple of Ehlonna and we all went to the Two Lutes for Love tavern, the establishment owned by Mazer and Dandelion. The manager of the tavern, Catherine, drew Tunottoo’s portrait and put it on the wall. We heard much news of the town. The Urtcheck dwarves shut down the Deeplager Brewery not long after most of the dwarves left Gorna and went back to their home. This was not long after the gnomes suddenly left town a few months ago. Hoards of orcs, goblins and then hobgoblins marched around Gorna in the direction of Oytmeet. A dozen hill giants or so proceeded toward the northeast. We also heard a disturbing rumor that animals and lately people just outside the city walls of Gorna have been dying, with bite marks on their necks and drained of blood. The people had all been found outside the city limits and had each left a tavern alone late in the evening. Various taverns were targeted, a total of half a dozen or so.

Someone told me, I am not sure who, that the prince was garrisoned at the Keep of Storm Mountain. When Sssarung attacked the Keep, the Griffon Guard locked Prince Rhys in the vault, thinking to release him after they defeated Sssarung. Unfortunately, Sssarung defeated all at the Keep, leaving the Prince in the vault for months until he was rescued by a group of heroes. Since then he doesn’t like sunlight and needs the dirt from the Keep to sleep. Jagr insists fervently that he is getting better.

Jagr then took us to the castle and got admittance. The guards were surprised to see her engagement ring, as it was stolen from the treasury several months ago. Jagr got Regent Eridan to give us a tour of the castle and went to pray in the chapel. Soon thereafter the Prince appeared. The Prince and the Regent had a conference and the Regent seemed satisfied.

We decided to set a trap for the killer. The victims had been killed late at night after leaving a tavern outside the city walls. After some discussion, we picked one of the half a dozen or so taverns at which the victims had last been seen. At that point, the Prince asked me to go with him to see the High Priestess of Ehlonna, as he and Jagr wanted to get married the next evening and wanted her to officiate. The next thing I remember, I woke up in the Prince’s room in the 2 Lutes for Love tavern. Prince Rhys told me we were attacked by a vampire and he drove it off. My wounds were consistent with a vampire attack, but I never saw my attacker. I am not sure what to believe.

When the others returned early in the morning, they had fought a group of thugs, but no vampire. Luckily for them, Tunottoo had asked the town guard to be alert in case they found trouble, so the town guard came and apprehended the thugs before too much damage was done.

Prince Rhys and Jagr still wanted to get married immediately, so we went to the temple of Ehlonna, waking up the high priestess. After High Priestess Selisee Goldenflame had agreed to marry them that evening, I spoke to her in private. I was hoping she could help us, but when I told her I thought the Prince was a vampire, she reacted quickly and negatively. She turned him and then marched to the castle to see the regent. I followed her to the castle, protesting that the prince just needed help. It was to no avail. Regent Eridan quickly dismissed me and went into conference with the High Priestess Selisee. Before the door closed, I heard talk of hunting the Prince, so I went to find the Prince and the others and recommend that we leave immediately. We gathered what we needed and I went back to the temple of Ehlonna to muster my squad. The captain and the first mate had the Illustrious was ready to sail, so we left as soon as the Prince got his chest on board. The patrol boats did not stop us on the way out, presumably as they recognized that we had just arrived the night before.

The next evening, the 8th, we stopped at Oytmeet. Prince Rhys arranged a grand wedding. Jagr had a beautiful dress and lovely flowers. One of my trainees, Nicola, served as maid of honor. Garbonzo was best man and Dentrack was best dragonborn. Dasut, Tunottoo, Benton and I did some research in lieu of attending the wedding. We could not find a way to cure a vampire short of a wish spell and we don’t know any friendly wizards.

We sailed the Illustrious back up to the lake in the Dim. Prince Rhys and Jagr spent the trip in their cabin. We cured the Prince and then returned to New Midwood.

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Mazer's Journal: Girlfriends, Mystery, and Changing Hearts & Minds in Gran March (Volume 2)

Where was I? Man, I just got done with a 2 Lutes set and all the fun activities after. The ladies just left so I want to get this writing stuff done…Volume 2… mystery and violence…here we go.

It all started with an encounter at the Mead & Miel Tavern. Buddy Morrik was at his table when he observed a couple half-orcs minding their own business and being harassed by some of the Townies. Let’s just say…Gran March and anything other than human are viewed minimally with suspicion and distrust and now make them Half-Orcs…yeah. Well from what Morrik told me there was some verbal unpleasantries, sudden standing, more verbal unpleasantries, and the GM Townie threw the first punch and started a bar fight. Morrik tried to intervene and stop the fight before it grew and…did I mention anything other than human is not typically good, right? Well Morrik the dwarf was also on the receiving end of a punch from a GM Townie-sack. Before the barfight escalated into a brawl…a bunch of GM Guards came into break it up. You see, being overly orderly and anally disciplined has its advantages because of all the organized roaming patrols happen to be almost everywhere and seemingly when you need one. The Guard Corporal was going to arrest the half orcs until Morrik told them that Townie-sacks started the whole thing and the Half-Orcs were simply defending themselves. The Sergeant must have realized buddy Morrik was a cleric of good reputation because he took his word for it and hauled off the loser townies that started it. That’s surprising. The half-orcs were appreciative of his help and bought Morrik a drink. D & I finally were done visiting with our lady friends, again, in the afternoon and met up with Morrik at the Mead & Miel Tavern. Insta-Headache and Pookie showed up too. We had a good time pounding a few drinks, some food, etc. Our half orc buds said they were witch-hunters and are here in Hookhill following up on rumors of some important Gran March figure blah, blah, blah, really long name ending in Ocedrius of House Dorth who recently lost his son and has begun worshiping the Whispered One. Hey…Mazer heard this one already from those gossipy GM towns on the way here. Hmmm. Well it was starting to get late and we thought we better head back to The Royal Dragon Inn. Our new half orc friends said that’s where they were staying too so we ended up walking there together. On our way to the Inn our adventure in Hookhill just shifted out of pleasant and into sucky-sack mode! (Suspenseful musical interlude on the lute…)

See there was this loud Preacher-speaker guy along the side of the street standing on a crate frothing up a small crowd gathered around him about the evil growing within Hookhill. We stopped to listen a bit. Normally Mazer don’t give people like this any attention unless they are hot chicks. Then I pretend to be interested. Well we were about to move on when the Town Guard patrol that broke up the bar fight came over to question this preacher guy because of the crowd that was forming. As soon as the patrol Corporal approached the preacher introduced himself and asked for the Corporal’s name….Corporal Darys. This speaker guy exclaims that he is glad a patrol is here because he knows of a Whispered One cult sacrifice that was happening that we needed to see and put a stop to. That was kind of out of nowhere and now we were very interested, even without a hot chick present. The Preacher-speaker lead us to some nondescript house in the city. The crowd followed and hung back a bit with the witch hunters and our group and some of the Town Guard patrol started by going inside after much verbal encouragement by Mr. Preacher-speaker who also accompanied us…ole Mazer’s distrust tickle meter was starting to go off on that guy and I was mentally preparing to add “sack” to his name if it was warranted. It was eerily quiet in this part of the house, no people, and with a lone draped doorway separating another room with candles flickering in there. Buddy Morrik volunteered to approach and pull the drape aside followed by Corporal Darys. What we saw next was quite disturbing and sick. There were 12-15 cultists in robes standing over the body of a female sacrifice. We soon heard a loud bang…like a door closing. The cultists suddenly all drew out their fancy…clubs…what!!? They started to attack Morrik in the doorway. Corporal Darys suddenly froze and got a sick shock-like expression on his face. Okay, he was out of the fray for some reason. I yelled out to the other Town Patrol guards and the half orc witch hunters to cover the back door and I soon could hear them running around the house to the back. Buddy Morrik is fully armored, stout, and practically unmovable when he decides to be, plugged up that doorway just fine while we launched spells and arrows at those loser cult-sacks in the other room. Our group took turns standing in front of the doorway where we entered as a precaution…good thing to because Mr. Preacher Speaker-SACK tried to quickly exit the building. Oh no loser, you are not going anywhere. We quickly started dropping these loser cult-sacks. They were tough but with only with robes and clubs…didn’t take long and they surrendered to us.

A handful of things soon because clear. The “bang” we heard was the back door slamming which was then locked from outside and trapped the loser cult-sacks in the room. Hung out to dry I’d say! The other was that poor Corporal Darys froze and was very distraught because that was his kid sister that was just recently sacrificed on the table. Ouch…I quickly got that door drape down and respectfully covered the poor girl up and consoled Corporal Darys. The cultist robes were not quite right either…Morrik examined and said the unholy symbol was not designed correctly and these were some knock-off robes. After some aggressive verbal interrogation techniques those cultists were really mercenaries hired to play the part and they claimed that the poor girl was already dead when they showed up but the person that brought them here quickly left and slammed and locked the door when we came in the room. By this time another Town Patrol lead by Corporal Ceynlis showed up. We briefed him on what happened and that this seemed to be some kind of set-up although a poor girl was really murdered as part of it. We also tried questioning Mr. Preacher Speaker-SACK but he was tough as nails and did not say anything. D tried even detecting thoughts to no avail. He must have some kind of spell protection up and running and just grinned back at us. Well we suggested that Corporal Ceynlis detain Mr. Preacher Speaker-SACK until whatever spell he had up wore off. He thought that was a good idea and had Corporal Darys and his patrol take the Preacher-sack and his kid sister back to HQ. Mazer then had a great idea! Were there any tracks to follow out of the back door of the person that locked the fake cultist-sacks in the room? Our new half orc friends were on that awesome request and started tracking away. Corporal Ceynlis agreed and told us to lead on. I kind of like this guy.

Our trackers headed for the wealthier part of Hookhill and right up to the estate of none other than…blah, blah, blah, really long name ending in Ocedrius of House Dorth. The guy who recently lost his son and was rumored to worshiping the Whispered One and was one of the GM candidate elects. This is getting very interesting now. They headed right to the front door and stopped and looked back at us. We stopped and looked back at Corporal Ceynlis. He thought about it for a moment and was concerned enough that he told us to go on in. Okay, this Corporal guy is pretty professional and reasonable. We burst into a quiet house once again…not a good sign. Corporal Ceynlis ordered his men to secure all doorways and search the first floor. We headed upstairs to search. We heard some movement and found a hooded, plump, scarred-face house maid named Rivanda packing up a bag. She kept sweating and insisting she had to leave…not so fast baby, we got some questions for you. I also used my magic detection glasses and saw that she had something radiating magic in her apron pocket. I whispered that hint to D and he somehow picked her pocket (with contemptuous ease) and obtained the object like a pro! I guess D has been hanging out with Pookie too much. A potion vile. Hmmmm.

She kept sweating and insisting to leave so we turned on our aggressive verbal interrogation techniques again. After some pressure knowing that we knew ,she knew something she caved and admitted to drugging blah, blah, blah, really long name ending in Ocedrius of House Dorth who’s bedroom was just down the hall and the rest of the house staff. Apparently a new charming Man in her life has been putting the smooth moves on this hooded, plump, scarred-face house maid and wanted to run away with her if she would do just do this one thing for him…he convinced her to do this then would meet her at a predetermined location so they could run away together to start their new life. Gag me…Mazer here knew this was going to be a four horse cart-wreck disaster! She also said he even gave her an invisibility potion to make her escape from the house. She stared fumbling for it in her apron while D held it up with a smile on his face. It was then the really bad news hit Corporal Ceynlis and our group. One of his town guard from the first floor came up to inform him that all the servants were dead, a lot of servants…apparently poisoned. Ouch…you have been had really bad Rivanda. But she still didn’t get it and wanted her “invisibility potion”. D & I looked at each other and gave a real hard and thoughtful guess that that “potion” was really poison. Baby hooded housemaid…I think we just prevented you from drinking poison! Sure enough…after some examination, poison. We had to finally break it to her, because she still couldn’t figure it out, that she was wrapped up in some sort of elaborate smearing, set-up, murderous, cult-sack mercenary worshiping, drugging and poisoning plot to either mega-slander or kill Mr. blah, blah, blah, really long name ending in Ocedrius of House Dorth. Speaking of him, we asked the played hooded housemaid-sack to show us to his room. We went in and there he was in the bed…drugged and passed out but alive. Being drugged and incapacitated happens to D and I occasionally so we knew what to do, first you grab…but before we could do anything Buddy Morrik sprang into action and cast some kind of restoration spell on him and brought this Ocedrius of House Dorth out of his drugged state like that. Bam! Buddy Morrik…you’ll have to teach D & I that one, we could use that edge and sweet recovery time pretty frequently my friend! Corporal Ceynlis and our group filled him in on everything that happened, our suspicions, and our plan to go introduce ourselves to Mr. Smooth Charmer-Sack at the predetermined played hooded housemaid-sack meeting place. The way I had it figured, he or someone would still be there in case she didn’t drink the poison invisibility potion…to tie up that loose end. Let’s just say Mr. Ocedrius of House Dorth was really, REALLY, R-E-A-L-L-Y pissed and I could tell that Mazer here should not be tweaking that guy any farther than where he was right now. He got all armored and weaponed up and also expressed interest to meet Mr. Smooth Charmer-Sack. But first he did graciously thank us for helping him, his honor, and his House name. Sweet! That’s House number three we have influence on in case you lost count. BAM!!!

A couple of Corporal Ceynlis’s Town Guard stayed at the House Dorth estate to detain played hooded housemaid-sack and to organize for more help and clean-up. The rest of us started our walk to the famous predetermined meeting place where Mr. Smooth Charmer-Sack was to be. We were all pretty proud of ourselves on how we were figuring this all out, helping people, and just doing some good-good all-around stuff. It was late and we were just about to headed through one of the wall-gates when…Mazer learned some valuable life lessons this night – One: Just when you think you have it all figured out and are strutting around all cocky like…if someone or some people put this much effort, time, coin, and planning into mega-smearing of a high ranking GM House individual…they might be a little pissed and WAIT FOR YOU as you go to find them. Yep, a reverse ambush with a lot of baddies. This was really going to hurt! Two: Sometimes conveniently timed and placed “friends” don’t turn out to be friends…yeah. Our Half-Orc buddies were really baddies and one was actually in disguise the whole time! He was really human Mr. Smooth Charmer-Sack! We got played too! SOB. That’s even more on the side of the reverse ambush Baddies! I started to think of all the beautiful women that were blessed with my companionship…but I didn’t even have enough time for that! I need like several days Man! Three: Just when things are looking really bad, desperate, and like the end is near…make sure you have a frick’in super high level R-E-A-L-L-Y pissed off armored and weaponed-up pretty near invulnerable Gran March House Dorth guy named Mr. Ocedrius on your side! Whoa…to make a long battle and story short…this guy swept the floor (in honor of his dead servants) with the baddies ambush personnel. We were more than happy to provide minor support services for what we witnessed! I lost track of heads being detached from their bodies. Bye bye Reverse Ambush-Sacks! (Battle-mode musical interlude on the lute…)

Well, this is a story to pass down. More town guard eventually showed up and started cleaning the scene. Got to have a detailed, clean, and organized city remember. We made our statements back at the Town Guard HQ. Since Corporal Ceynlis was actually along and saw everything, it made the scroll work a lot easier. D actually went in to talk with Corporal Ceynlis’s superior officer and praised him up & down for his professionalism and perspective to do what’s right to solve the problem. After D’s glowing account of Corporal Ceynlis’s actions, he ended up getting promoted to 3rd Watch Sergeant. Way to go Ceynlis! He graciously thanked us as well. What a guy. Well that ended our interesting night in Hookhill. The guard were going to question Mr. Preacher Speaker-SACK further and his little mind shielding spell wore off so some good intel was revealed there too. I hope tomorrow night will be a little less exciting…with a lot more hot women! Buddy Morrik, next time D and I get to pick the tavern! Later – Mazer

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Mazer's Journal: Girlfriends, Mystery, and Changing Hearts & Minds in Gran March (Volume 1)

I was looking forward to our next adventure because I got to hang with my old super-buddies after a really long break from them. The good Dwarf Cleric-Brewmaster Morrik and Dandelion “D” the Bard who happens to be my talented counterpart in the famous 2 Lutes for Love. Insta-Headache & Pookie were there too…ahem.

So everyone knows by now that most of us helped Arweth (formerly of Gyruff) pull away from Gran March control and now is considered independent under the rule of our Buddy Gareth. I was one of many friends appointed to Baronet status in Arweth to rule a particular area to secure & financially stabilize Arweth. So far all has been running smooth and good for me at Fort Resolve.

That’s when life usually sends harsh remainders, sometimes without warning, that things can get pretty rough and ugly if you don’t watch out. Yeah…so the Gran March is going through kind of a political thing which is hard for me to explain because it’s real boring. Their existing ruler blah blah blah really long name ending in Neholin has not been doing anything about Arweth. Just letting us alone which is the way it should be Man! Some in the Gran March don’t like that stance which to them appears weak and want to “No Confidence” vote him out and get a new ruler in there. Perhaps one that will come back to Arweth and flatten us silly and maybe Gyruff too if they feel like it with their strong military might. Apparently he is just not as hot as I am because I would be in that position indefinitely. I mean come on…just look at me, right? I ooze confidence Baby! Okay, so our goal was to travel to the Gran March’s capital city and change hearts & minds to favor the existing ruler or those candidates with a more…non-destructive attitude towards Arweth and Gyruff. We also had some research on where the Houses of Gran March stood on that topic. I was really pumped too because we had our best social, talking, convincing, motivating personnel on this one. And if any of these Marchers were hot chicks…well let’s just say D and I will also will be “improving relations” between our two Kingdoms as well! Oh yeah, Bam!!!

We began our journey at New Midwood and started the journey East. Unlike the boating life, traveling by land tends to lead to encounters, which it did. Figures. We stumbled onto a couple of Gran March or Knights of the Watch mounted knights…fully armored and ready to skewer the barbarians of Arweth. Some of these loser knight-sacks didn’t leave Arweth and don’t recognize the transfer of power that took place. What the $@*^!? Well these guys were really hurting because I guess they have slaves do everything for them: cook, clean, take care of the horse, probably wipe their @$$, etc. and without that forced labor support network…big helpless losers! But they can still fight which makes them dangerous. Since the knight-sacks couldn’t hear or see anything in those plume-ridden thick helmets, they did not notice us. We thought about just leaving them be but knew they would cause trouble for someone else. D approached to talk with them while we stayed out of sight. It turns out they were sick too with God knows what and hunting for barbarian ruffians to vanquish! D commenced verbally tearing them a new one on their appearance, condition of equipment, wellbeing of their horses, etc. I almost…almost felt sorry for them due to the verbal lashing. Well, after they had enough of a tear-down by D they decided to move on. That is when Insta-Headache stood up and announced herself as a ruffian. Let the games begin! They charged and we attacked. At least before the end of these knight-sacks they got to witness and experience the full force and glory of MazerBeams™. I did take a bit of damage for once but Mazer can take a hit or two just fine. Just don’t touch the face. Ended up with a newly acquired and fully armored war horse too. Sweet!

We arrived in Hochoch where our buddy Gareth resided. I was a bit surprised to find the town turning a bit more to the shady side. Crime, gambling, drinking, paid companionship were the main activities now with really competitive prices for almost anything else. As people of high important status we found the classiest establishment to stay at for the night which was very crowded. After we were all set-up and the night-life started, D and I played our 2 Lutes for Love set for all to enjoy, which they did. As always…nailed it! After, we did what we do equally as best…mingle and schmooze. Turns out a lot of big family names from Keoland are hanging out in Hochoch investing in businesses and real estate. Soon after commencing the mingle & schmooze activities of course D & I both land very hot and very rich girlfriends for the night. Bam…survey says…Blondes! Bing! D had some hot Rhola chick infatuated with him…Domitianus I think. A real looker. Ole Mazer here landed a very hot Neheli chick with a real kick ‘in figure! Nasicai was her name. Even Insta-Headache found suitable female companionship and Pookie was just going to rob someone I guess. She needs a new hobby. Buddy Morrik pounded the endless drinks. Didn’t take long for us all to be invited upstairs. D & I retired for the night with our hot and exotic ladies not to be seen until morning. Morrik hit the private bar lounge upstairs. Turns out Insta-Headache rolled a big bad snake-eyes because a scream soon lashed out from their room. Her female companion turned out to be a real frick’in vampire and it got in a couple nasty bloody melee hits on her too. There was quite a commotion when Morrik…even without spilling his drink (impressive) did his cleric thing and turned the undead vamp-sack and it hatefully went out through a window. Bad karmas a bitch, isn’t it Insta-Headache? It’s good that I don’t know anything about vampires through, umm, yeah…nothing at all.

Turns out there is a real kept-quiet secret here in Hochoch…they have a vampire problem. Wonderful. Add that to the enormous to-do list but we had to get moving. Down the road we went and into Gran March territory. Traveled through a bunch of smaller towns on the way to the capital named Hookhill, City of the Lance. Turns out the closer you get to Hookhill…the more politically gossipy…and I mean gossipy the towns get and more information you can pick up. Whether its accurate information or not remains to be seen. One reoccurring gossipy story we heard was about blah blah blah really long name ending in Asterran Ocedrius of House Dorth who is also a candidate is devastated by the recent lost his son and wants to bring him back from the dead soooo bad that he has begun worshiping the Whispered One, drinking, keeps to himself, etc. Yikes, that’s not good! Well we rode on, listened, and arrived safely at Hookhill.

The City of the Lance is a pretty cool place with many people, very detailed, and organized. We rode around to assess the outskirts of the city first and then inside the walls to the different Wards. We decided to find a place to stay and found The Royal Dragon Inn was great establishment that suited our wealthy tastes. Morrik suggested a tavern we could go visit, the Mead & Miel Tavern. D & I usually let him pick the tavern since there usually is an absence of dwarven women around. Well D and I decided to repeat and give this Gran March city a real show for a change! 2 Lutes for Love was ALL NEW for them and nailed it…again. They loved us! How can you not, right? We could barely get off the stage when we were both grabbed by hot attractive women! Time to double-down on our Girlfriend tour. Schwing! Okay…sometimes Mazer gets a bit jealous when D lands a better prospect than I do. This was one of those times. The daughter of the current leader of Gran March was in attendance and picked up D! Tallia Neholin had it all. Looks, wealth, looks, power, looks, tough as nails, looks, etc. and D got an instant “IN” and possible influence with the current rulers family. Wow. They soon disappeared into the night and were not see until morning. Way to go D! Ole’ Mazer here did well for himself too but it turns out I was the “prey” this time and caught the eye of Lady Ogiva Valon, wife of blah blah blah really long name ending in Valon. Winner! Another house we can possibly influence. Well I got a quick invitation back to her place because her hubby only cares about money and does not pay attention to her. Quite a pity because she is real hot and intelligent! Never had that combo before, huh? She is middle aged but…Mazer don’t discriminate like that because in addition to her being rich, hot, and smart, an experienced woman can sometimes teach a young Mazer here a thing or two. I was great as always, she was too, I learned stuff, repeated improved performance, and in the morning was invited back WHENEVER the hell I wanted to! Hey, it’s Me! She let me know that she has great influence over her husband because she is the one with the money. We only just arrived and already could possibly influence two Gran March houses. I wonder if tomorrow night was going to be this enjoyable and fun?

No…no it wasn’t. That’s when the mystery and violence started up in Hookhill. (Suspenseful musical interlude on the Lute…) Working on Volume 2. Mazer

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Light for the Dim

Light for the Dim – Reaping 617
I brought my trainees to New Midwood as I heard that Aurora and Benton were looking for companions to find a cure for the shadows in the Dim. The cantrev leaders had just finished a council meeting to discuss the government of Gyruff in the wake of the death of the Brenin. Benton also brought his trainees and we were joined by Mazer, Jagr, Dentrak, Dasut, and Gabonzo. Mazer asked Aurora to arrange a meeting with Eridan, as he had some news for the new Regent. Mazer then gave him the crown of wizards with 4 gems and told him about finding it in Sssarung’s hoard.

Jagr was sporting a huge blue diamond ring. She is all aflutter about her engagement to Prince Rhys. She said she fell instantly in love the prince when she gazed into his eyes.

Yuldra had been telling people that another source of positive energy exists upriver from Hocholve which could be used to help with the shadows in the Dim Forest. Aurora verified that the shadows are not known to cross the river and that there are flakes of radiant energy in the Javan.

We decided to head to Hocholve and then upriver until we found the source of the radiant energy. Aurora purchased a lead lined chest in preparation and we set off. We met some elves who questioned our sanity, but they allowed us to pass. We spent the first night in the Elvish town of Enderyn. I met Adwen merch Lyneth of Order of the Shining Beacons. I also stocked up on some things for our journey upriver, including a rowboat. Several others purchased a keel boat, so we could all ride.

We saw many things on the banks of the river, including friendly elves and unfriendly, dark-skinned elves. We also were attacked by what Aurora said were darklings from the plane of shadow. They blew up when killed. If we stayed in the middle of the river, we were out of range of most things. We saw some old boats on the west bank near the abandoned town of Mithrond. Shadows followed us along the bank on both sides, but did not come into the water. We also saw schools of illustran, a fey creature which looked like fish swimming through the air. The shadows and illustran fought. It took about 8 bites from illustran for a shadow to die, but only one hit from a shadow for an illustran to die. The illustran also turned into shadows when they died, as Aurora said that most things do.

We found a spot with spider webs across the river. When Gabonzo and Mazer started burning the webs, several large spiders and some swarms of small spiders approached. Jagr was able to calm them down and we were able to pass without incident. After many days, we began to feel slightly drunk and the animals and plants became deformed.

Just as the river split, we saw three ruins of huts on the west bank. The skeletons we found looked like they had died many years ago from bludgeoning or puncturing wounds. Two of the huts had six gallon sized jars each. Benton threw a rock at one and they all exploded in flames. That would explain the wounds we saw on the skeletons. Mazer had a portable hole, so he and Gabonzo put the jars in the hole using mage hand. In the third hut we found a chest with three spellbooks. Mazer also put these into the hole.

The radiant flakes were on the east fork of the river, so we took that direction. Once we tried to leave the boat and continue on the path, but attacks by assassin vines and palms dropping stink bombs forces us back to the boat. We had to leave the boat at the bottom of the waterfall. At the top we came to a clearing with a pool of mud, a pool of water, a pool of fire and a pool of air. Benton decided to try walking through. When he got close to the pool of water, a water weird apparated and tried to attack him. He retreated and it gradually receded. We then walked a path between the pools and were fine.

The drunk feeling disappeared, along with most of the animals. Aurora explained how to survive exposure to the radiant energy, so we took precautions.

Soon we reached a large mountain lake. Mazer determined that the radiant energy was coming from the middle of the lake. Dasut, Aurora, Mazer and I rowed toward the middle of the lake, but we could not get to the center. Being underwater seemed to help, but not enough. Most of the lake seems to be about 180 feet deep, but the object seems to be only 30 feet down on a raised part in the center.

We encountered Yuldra and Pookie in the Magic Glade on our way back to the keel boat and stopped to chat. Yuldra wanted the radiant energy source for the cult of Lydia, so we left her to her quest.

We decided to experiment with the flakes of radiant energy. They were difficult to collect and lost their power quickly when removed from the water. But the shadows did not like them.

Ben had an idea on how to retrieve the radiant energy source and it worked. We put the source in the lead chest and then took the Illustrious back downriver.

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Tempest of Seasons

Tempest of Seasons – Goodmonth 617
I returned to Trehalwyn to meet up with Aoth again. We both agree that Caswallon needs to be stopped, although we are not sure how. Grigor has been dipped in the cauldron by Caswallon and is now his friend, so can not be trusted.

Most of the town of Trehalwyn was sitting near the cauldron. Andras and his entourage was there as well. Caswallon was dipping most of the people in the cauldron as a ritual baptism. Aurora convinced Andras Dryadson to not use physician’s cauldron, thankfully. He would have lost his fey half, which seems a shame.

I heard that the druids were congregating in Avon Fyn and that Caswallon had challenged the entire circle. I think we need to find another way to stop Caswallon, so I went with Uaithne, Aurora, Aoth, Grigor, Tornado, Osaris, Thia and Kosef to find Cavern of Echos. Ivan had told me that Caswallon had gotten the tenets of Llewellyn there and how to find it. Aoth and Aurora agreed that we should go.

After a 5 day hike across country, we left Gyruff’s borders and traveled to Loring Wood in the next valley in search of the Cavern of Echoes. The rangers kept us on course and kept us feed. Grigor was killing many animals and saving teeth or other parts, including a lynx and a deer. No one wanted the lynx for food, so his wolf ate it.

We found a cairn with a small basin-like depression at the top, filled with water. The cairn had some weathered druidic runes on it. The three runes that Aoth could read said danger, memory and immortality, so we decided not to drink the water. Someone also found a double-wide right glove with the monogram L and a lyre in the leaves, which I determined were magical. Tornado tried to play the lyre, but broke the string instead. It later mended on its own after I played it. Tornado did take the glove. When I play a Flan tune on the lyre, Aoth noticed flitting movements in the trees around us. Osaris put out treats, including brandy, fresh fish and cat toys. Grigor’s wolf snapped up the fish, even though she had just hunted and eaten. Soon a psuedodragon appeared. The rest of us backed off while Osaris called it by name. Soon Osaris had a new friend who would follow, although the pseudodragon was shy with the rest of us.

The next morning we continued on and soon found the small town of Klukwan. The townsfolk were Flan with bright, gaudy clothes, mostly plaids. Everyone was welcome, although Tornado received some strange glances.
The village elder, Garth Strongarm, was quite friendly and willing to talk. The cairn we found the previous day is called the forbidden pool because drinking from it makes you immortal, but you go mad and lose your memory. Garth knew Caswallon during the war, as they survived the giants together, but he won’t talk about him much. He did tell us that Caswallon was a reasonable man and a druid of Obad Hai and learned the tenets of Llewellyn from the Voice of the Dead. Mikana Farsighted is the village witch, who we could visit at our own risk. Eveyd the Mad Druid is consulted for his wisdom and healing skills and can be found by following his voice in the marsh. I made offerings in the Old Faith Temple. I also made arrangements to leave Uaithne here as we continued. Garth gave us directions to the Cavern of Echoes, but warned us away from Llewellyn’s tomb in Dolmen Moor, saying the dead do not rest well.

While we were talking to Garth, 11 men in red and black livery with a panther rode up and started taking what they wanted. They tried to exact a toll from us also, but Aoth and Aurora persuaded them that it was in their best interest to leave us alone. Thia had given them a bottle of perfume, but that is all they got.

We left Klukwan and continued to Goat Hallow and the Cavern of Echoes. The path between the river and the mountain was narrow, but we pressed on. We soon heard a chant and saw an old half-elf. He spoke a spell and the trees attacked and picked up Osaris and Grigor. Aoth spoke to Eveyd in druidic and he agreed to let us go, as long as we were not seeking the wheel of time. Eveyd was upset the Loring was still searching for the wheel. Aoth assured him we were not and we continued on our way.

The climb grew quite sheer. We were glad of the climbing gear lent to us by Garth Strongarm. Then Aoth turned to a giant spider and helped us up into the cavern. Deeper inside the cavern was a shimmering barrier, which was a barrier to some creatures. All of us were allowed through except Tornado. Aoth found a tall harp of darkwood with intricate ivory inlays yellowed by the passage of centuries.

When we talked with the harp, it told us it was the Voice of the Dead and knew what those who have died knew. There are more than three tenets of Llewellyn. Purity of Body, Purity of Tradition and Purity of Vision; these were the guiding stars of a great leader of men and ruler beloved of the Oerth-Mother at the height of his glory. Patience of Hand, Patience of Heart and Patience of Thought; these were the wisdom of a great man in his elder years, as he watched all that he had built wither and die under the folly of lesser men. Those who followed, and who became Voices in the darkness in their turn, did not heed his words, and Beory turned Her face away from Her children. The voice also told us of the kings of Pellham and of Vecna. Aoth asked to bring the Voice to Gyruff and it agreed as this was a time of great need.

The Voice also told us of a prophecy, of the wheel of time and Bazel and the Seven Daughters (stars) and a dead king rising and the sundered earth spewing forth its dregs. Grigor said Vecna three times, causing a torrential rain. We had to find another way across the river. While searching for another path, we stumbled upon and woke the titan wizard Dagda. He offered us the tears of Beory if we answered three riddles. I answered the first riddle incorrectly and was sucked into the rock called Dagda. Luckily for me, Aurora had the correct answer to that riddle and the other two as well. As soon as she gave the correct answer, Dagda spit me back out. Dagda then wept the tears of Beory and we each collected a vial. The dose can bring back one willing soul, no matter how long dead. Maybe I can get Princess Caitlynn back.

We next crossed a field of fey flowers and an awakened willow, both of which granted passage for a song. I really like this lyre. My playing so far has been good with it. We saw a group of 9 humonoids on mountain ponies a ways off. When we got to their tracks, Grigor determined that it was a group of humans and half orcs. They weren’t wearing the livery of Lord Krell. We might need to speak with him before we leave this area to determine if he is a tyrant or a protector of the people.

We reached a stone circle in the woods. Some of the circles had lintels across them and it looked like all had at one time. A stone obelisk stood in the center of the circle, topped by a crystal. Aoth could read the crystals and the moonbeams from the two moons pointed at Bazel and the seven daughters. The beams were six widths of the glove, which was the glove of Loring the Lost, one of the kings of Pellham. He had drunk from the forbidden pool and was roaming the land, looking for the wheel of time. So now is one of the possible times of the prophesy, but the constellations are in this position every 40 years. I am not sure what is the next step of our quest to stop Caswallon. We need to persevere.

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Light of the Dim

Our group met in Hocholve. Benton, Dasut, Garbonzo (G-Bean), Aurora, Jagr, Dentrak, Gelwen, and most importantly…ahem, myself all met to assist the Dim Forest and all friendlies contained within by getting rid of some pesky undead shadow-sacks that thought it was okay to contaminate the entire forest like roaches. That’s what we do. We help people.

The first order of business was for me to get rid of this PRICELESS Crown of Wizards that I have been hanging onto since our trip to the Keep of Storm Mountain. Let me tell ya, want to know what makes one start looking over their shoulder? Try being the keeper of a super-magic priceless crown with the souls of four of Gyruff’s Super Mages! I have to admit that my attention started to deviate from gawking at beautiful women that wanted a piece of ole Mazer here for who the heck was going to club, stab, rip, slash, etc. me and take this thing. I also started holding it up in front of my head to see what I would look like in a mirror. By the way…I looked damn impressive without even messing up my hair! So eventually Mazer comes around and will normally do the right thing. See, Gyruff’s new Regent, Arglwyth Eridan was here in town so he agreed to meet with us and I presented the Wizard Crown to him. If anyone can figure how to get those four Super Mages out of there its him. Regent Eridan accepted the Crown…target now off of me…and more importantly he got to meet Baronet Mazer Raxxam. I could tell Regent Eridan was most impressed.

So onto the official business of helping people. Normally our adventures are filled with danger, suspense, puzzles, and the such to a very excessive degree. Well this one had some of that but all within normal levels which was a relief for a change. From Hocholve we started the hike up to Enderyn, an Elven city within the Dim. There were rumors of a possible energy source up here somewhere similar to what is going on around Tenwalls and Ravonnar. The undead don’t like that magical tickle-finger effect from that energy and stay clear, way clear. That sounded like a good thing to investigate. There was a rather wide trail within the forest, absent of trees on each side for a really good distance as to make travel safe from those shadow-sack roaches. It really worked well and a Elven patrol from Enderyn met up with us and questioned our business here in the Dim. After we told them what we were planning to do, they decided to play nice and escort us safely up the trail to Enderyn. Got there without incident…sweet!

Elves are good people but pretty much behave themselves so no one got into trouble here. We had a good time that night and I played some music for all. There were also these glowing Fey flying fish called Illusern that came out at night to help light things up around the city to keep the shadow-sacks at bay. Those were really cool to watch. They inspired me and I started roughing out a new song about them. We were warned that the path to Derelion was very dangerous and that we should not make the hike. Also, there have been magic emitting specks of “stuff” flowing down the Javan river for a while now thus leading us to believe there was something up river. Well, the next moring we bought some supplies including a big lead-lined chest, holy water, and some marbles with continual light cast on them. We also decided to forgo the dangerous path to Derelion and head up the Javan River. For that we need a boat. We needed to also upgrade the boat to a ship so we could fit all of our group and cargo too…so ended up with a Elven keel ship. The five of us that found the headless dead green scale-sack of a loser’s dragon hoard had some extra coin so we split an expensive price for that keel ship by 1/5 each. Everyone else mooched off of us. At least Gelwen bought a rowboat for emergency purposes that we pulled along. When one buys a big ship it should be named properly so we dedicated it to those famous friendly flying Fey fish and called her the Illustrious. Most appropriate. We never broke anything to christen her due to time constraints so we will have to have a grand ship party later.

Ok, I am starting to like this boating life. It really limits the amount of loser freaks that can wait behind a tree, rock, and hill to try and rob and/or kill you. This was very smooth sailing, pardon the pun. We had a few navigational errors and ran aground once but this was a new skillset to us all and we did our best. Too bad Moonbeam was not on this voyage but he would have been disappointed because no need for moonbeams to carve a new-one for peg-leg pirate sacks on this trip. We posted night watch shifts with our keen-eyed members. We did notice many sets of glowing eyes in the forest following our boat up river. One thing that happened during the night we observed a school of glowing flying Fey Illusern attacked those shadow-sack roaches that were mirroring us. They ripped the shadows to shreds like piranha. Once in a while an Illusern fell to shadow attacks. Then we saw the dead Illusern eventually arise as flying shadow-sack Illusern. The good glowing Fey Illusern had the strength in numbers though. I wonder if some of the Illusern would agree to fly around the Two Lutes for Love Tavern while D and I play our set? I can only imagine the possibilities with those Fey friends, but I heard the Fey can be tricky and cause problems too, not that know about any recent Fey problems…or anything…How are you? We did set out little bits of food and drink on the boat for any other Fey that remained hidden to us.

Up around Derelion there was a bunch of webs from giant spiders woven across the river. Me and G-Bean acted like firebolt shooting machines and cleared a path for us to travel by. Some of those bid-daddy spiders came out but Jagr talked them down somehow with her ranger-beast talk voodoo. Or perhaps the spiders were just memorized by her oversized very expensive blue-diamond of an engagement ring she waves around for all to see! But that’s another story for a later date. Well, needless to say we traveled a really, really long time and safely too. Actually went up into the Valley of the Mage! Investigated a blown-up burnt village and found some containers filled with strange material that…blows-up of course. I guess it’s a bit hazardous. Following the magic emitting specks of “stuff” in the water directed us through a couple turn choices…also the vegetation started to be very thick and we had that good feeling again like you do getting near Tenwalls. Sweet! There WAS another source up here too! Eventually we had to stop the Illustrious by a waterfall. We observed at night where an unnatural glowing was emanating from, got our bearings, and decided to head out by foot in the morning. So it was then Aurora let Mazer and the others who did not know in on a well-kept secret on how to survive the positive energy once we started getting closer to it. Let’s just say I had a hard time believing it at first but Aurora was a straight shooter most of the time so I complied with the plan. Mazer does like to have fun and party, act a bit silly…but I do keep my word and my mouth will remain closed on this topic.

On the hike to the source some mean-greenie vines attacked us and there were these trees that would drop fruit when vibrations were near that blew-up into some nauseous sickening gas. Nasty! After taking out the vines, we swung around those trees at the water’s edge. Some weird rock men-things formed in the distance and were grumbling, growling, like talking I guess but none of us had the means to understand what they were saying. Sorry hard-rock men, later. We then passed through an area of elemental pools which was really weird. Creatures would slowly form in the pool if you got to close and would eventually attack. So we waited for our water test pool subject to un-form then we just hatefully walked single file through the area with no incident. Then the moment had arrived! We came to a big lake that was glowing, and lakes don’t normally do that. The source of the energy was of course right in the middle of the darn lake. We thought it would be a good idea to use the rowboat & lead chest to get out to the center of the lake and assess the situation. Sounding great so far! Three of us started rowing out. The energy effects started to get greater and greater and soon realized that we couldn’t get any closer unless we put ourselves at great risk! We could see that the source was approximately 10-12’ under water on top of underwater mound. We then realized we were missing a key item which was some kind of water breathing spell. The energy effects would be much less under water too. Arragh! So close to completing our goal BUT we did navigate and locate a possible cure for the Dim Forest’s shadow-sack roach problem as well as a means to grow back a bunch of trees very quickly. Some of us will have to return and re-equip properly to complete this quest and obtain the positive energy source to help the Dim. After the frustration of being so close to success went away, we all realized that we did complete a giant leap forward to a problem that has been plaguing the Dim Forest for 30+ years. Almost there Elf friends! Another month or two and hopefully your troubles are over and Two Lutes for Love will book a tour coming soon to a tavern near you! Later – Mazer

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Learning to Cook the Cure
A.K.A. Traditional Frying Pan, Progressive Fire

A.K.A. Traditional Frying Pan, Progressive Fire
A.K.A. It’s the Ways of the World and you know it…

There was still this little problem of the Blackscour taint. A few of us had talked to Lord Eridan and he promised the use of a fully stocked laboratory to perform research and we had a copy of Rhodri’s notes from the last time the Blackscour was cured. Those notes were a little confusing but we figured with a little experimentation we could figure something out.

So off we were to try to cook the cure.

We had all of the ingredients needed from various locations but some were not as fresh as others. Still, we had some time and equipment so we went to work.

There were several variables and we weren’t sure of the amount of some of the ingredients, so we decided that we’d do several various mixtures concurrently to see what variables were most important. Morrick did most of the cooking since he seemed to have the best skill in Medicine but we all pitched in.

Morrick was very precise on the first batch, managing to determine what some of the key points were. We even had a semi-viable (but inconsistent) cure on the first batch.

One thing we determined was that the mushrooms weren’t fresh and that had a big impact on potency. The mushrooms, found underground, were only good for a couple days, so we’d have to head toward the mountains and the dwarven holds.

As we were preparing to leave we came across a sight in the market. A mage was yelling crazy things and randomly casting spells! At first it seemed harmless until he cast a couple powerful evocations. I tried charming him and reading his mind, but neither yielded any results.

Finally we decided to let the barbarian just tackle the mage, and that worked well. He was quickly restrained and moved to a secure location. Seems that he had contracted the madness that was said to be infecting mages in Keoland. But the Keolish Wizard school was miles away, so why was he here?

Talking to guards and townsfolk indicated he was the apprentice of a powerful mage who came from Keoland supposedly to study the Blackscour taint. Seeing as both Blackscour and this madness seemed to be Fey-based diseases we expected that he was probably really trying to find out about the madness disease.

We were told that the Wizard went south to do more research at the source. So south we went and found the town somewhat scorched. Apparently the Wizard had gone crazy and started casting spells everywhere and was eventually put down. The room he had rented had a lot of damage but we found some notes. Not much there and it seemed to get more confused as it went, becoming completely incomprehensible at the end.

Too bad, it would have been nice to have some additional research to help us out.

So it was off to the Dwarves and possibly the Isle of Rhun to get more information and gather some mushrooms.

Westward ho!

Travel was fairly easy here and we made quick time toward the town of Groesffordd. But before arriving we came across Llannerch; a monastery now dedicated to Rao, a good of peace and tranquility. Though not one of the classic Old Faith gods, it was within the Gyri pantheon.

What we found was disturbing.

All of the monks that we found were dead. Slaughtered by weapons. The footprints and other evidence in the area revealed 20-25 horses and armored men. The number nearly exactly matched the guard of Caswallon and Lord Dryadson, who had just passed through the area. Seeing as they had just declared their independence from Gyruff and their rather extremist views, we definitely felt we knew who the murderers were. But this was in Rhwyng yr Coed, not Dryadson’s cantrev of Gwyrth Bryn.

In Groesffordd they knew nothing about the killings. They had seen Dryadson and Caswallon with their guards pass through, but they did not stop. We warned the town that Gwyrth Bryn had separated from Gyruff and was taking a very harsh stance. And being the settlement closest to that border they may face a very unfriendly neighbor.

We cautiously headed in the Gwyrth Bryn and soon came upon Trehalwyn. The town was walled with a wooden palisade and not very inviting.

They challenged us at the gate, asking what deeds we had performed that warranted entry into their town.

Naturally I gave them some half-truth about being on a pilgrimage to the Isle of Rhun to get in closer touch with the Old Faith. They bought it and eventually we all got in.

We had heard that there was a new priest of Pelor in town so thought that we might visit. There was also a wasting disease afflicting the town (the priest of Pelor had come to help with that). The town blamed this on all of the non-Flan that had come through the area on their way to the Isle of Rhun during various noble confirmations.

The disease seemed to be affecting mostly those that were of non-Flan origin or at least part-non-Flan.

Before we could look around or try to talk to anyone a large woman wearing furs came and asked us to follow her. She was apparently Caswallon’s daughter. She and some guards escorted us to the Breyr’s mansion and seated us at a table with Caswallon.

It seemed there was no choice in the matter.

Caswallon greeted us and we ate with him as he explained what he needed from us. He had heard that some magical Cauldron that had not been seen for 1000 years was now hidden in the Ways of the World. And we were going to go get it for him.

Hmmm, ok…last I’d heard the Ways of the World were the interdimensional travel paths that had been corrupted and were now inhabited by all sorts of nasty things. Not really in my comfort zone really.

But off we went to find some magic Cauldron for the crazy Druid.

As we stepped out of the magical portal into the Ways of the World things were much different than I’d heard. But then again, apparently the Ways can be different every time they are accessed. And with the corruption of the ways and various creatures within, they have changed even more.

We were on what appeared to be the top of a round tower that was buried to our level in snow and ice. The entire landscape seemed to be similarly covered and visibility was limited by a cold fog.

We hiked down the path with our Ranger keeping watch of where we were going. After a short while we came upon a widening. To one side was a gigantic skeleton, pinned to the mountainous wall with an equally gigantic spear. In the center of the area was a large ice block that showed a frozen battle scene. We also noted some human-sized skeletons near the block of ice, each seemingly killed by a bunch of small arrows.

Expecting trouble we spread out and approached cautiously.

Suddenly a large number of blue-skinned goblins jumped up out of the snow with shortbows in hand and the battle began.

We were quickly cutting down there number but there were a lot of them, and the small arrows were starting to take their toll. A couple of us had to back down the path to get cover in order to be less inviting targets.

We were able to overwhelm them eventually and even managed to capture their leader.

Upon interrogation we found that he was the “king” of the cold-type goblins that had moved into the Ways and were living here. They had a “magical” cookpot that they used that sounded suspiciously like the cauldron we were looking for. Since the “king” was sufficiently cowed, we decided that rather than fighting all of the rest of the goblins we’d use him as a hostage.

However, I don’t trust goblins as far as I can throw them (which isn’t very far even though they’re small) and I expected that as soon as we go to their base he would run away and tell his people to attack. So I came up with a clever bluff. I took my ink and pen and wrote a fancy-looking glyph on his neck. I told him that one word from me would make it explode, killing him.

He bought into it and was now terrified. He definitely wasn’t going to run off and tell his people to attack.

We followed him to their cavern lair and he commanded his people to bring out the cauldron. We quickly packaged it up in our portable hole and headed to the exit. Fortunately we were quick enough that the ways of the world had not changed and we could easily find our way back.

We were transported back, and presented the cauldron to Caswellon. He proceeded to do some mumbo-jumbo for a while (I think he was attuning to the magical cauldron) and then called forth for the people with the wasting disease.

The first was a young girl, barely breathing and too weak to approach on her own. She was a rare sight in this town; blond hair and blue eyes tagged her as more likely a Seloise.

Caswellon took her, and submerged in to the cauldron (that had heated water in it now). After an uncomfortably long time he re-emerged. The young girl seemed completely cured and in perfect health. She was also now brown-haired and clearly of Flan descent.

Not only did the cauldron cure any disease – including the recent spate of difficult to cure ailments – but it forced the cured to change race to Flan. This fed into Caswellon’s racist views and would give him further ability to sway people to his way.

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