The Scales of War

Strange Days
Something is amiss in Overlook

After taking a much needed rest atop the steps of Fortress Graystone, the party began the long journey back to Overlook. On the way, however, they first stopped at Brindol to rest, resupply and to resurrect their fallen ally, Dunedin.

While the ritual to bring Dunedin back from the Raven Queens grasp was being performed, the party enjoyed a night of celebration as Eoffram Troyas’ guests. When they awoke to the smell of hot breakdast at noon the next day, they found Dunedin sitting at the breakfast table awaiting them. To their surprise, they received word that Amyria had left Brindol for Overlook at dawn. In her note, she thanked the group for escorting her to Brindol but could not wait to continue to Overlook. She had caught a ride on a caravan to Overlook and hoped the see them there.
After a large breakfast the party resupplied before heading out on the road once again for Overlook. Other than the unusually large number of families packing up and moving out of the Vale, the 8 day journey to Overlook was uneventful. Perhaps the hard work of the Heroes was paying off?

As Overlook slowly came into view, it was clear that all was not as they have left. The walls around Overlook were buzzing with activity as defenses where strengthened – Overlook was preparing for war.

After passing through the main gates, Dunedin broke off from the party to seek out some Ritual components. Sink, Boreas, Sam and Gothe made their way to their de facto base; The Mountain Hearth in. Kort, set out to the Nine Bells district in search of Amyria.

Kort entered the Nine Bells district and immediately noticed that the old temple to Moradin located there was a virtual ant hill of activity. Scaffolding covered much of the exterior of the Temple as hundreds of Dwarves worked stone and wood with their hammers. Kort asked one of the workers what was going on and he said that High Ancestor Durkik had ordered the old temple to reconstructed. Making his way through the destitute streets of Nine Bells, Kort eventually came to the Temple of Bahamut where he suspected Amyria to be. He was right. Kneeling at the alter was Amyria. She was deep in prayer and did not respond to any of Kort’s attempted to speak to her. He left a note letting her know they were in town and where she could find them.

Kort then made his way to the Stone Anvil where High Ancestor Durkik, the head of Moradin Clergy in Overlook, resided. Despite having been there before Kort found the massive stone temple to be no less awe inspiring than the first time he laid eyes on it. Ascending the stairs, Kort made his way into the temple where a service was being held for a few hundred Dwarves. Nothing looked out of place at the temple other than the fact that the temple looked as if it has not been cleaned for a while. The floors were not swept, braziers had been left to burn out and spider webs clung to the corners – apparently the priests were too busy with the reconstruction of the old temple to keep up with the chores at this one. Kort moved deeper into the temple, seeking out Durkik when Durkik found Kort. From around the next corner in the hallway came Durkik, flanked by several guards.
“You are not welcome in this Dwarven house of worship! You must leave immediately!” he commanded Kort. The guards clearly recognized Kort as one of the Heroes of Overlook and gave him a sheepish look that said ‘Sorry, Kort. We don’t want to, but we have to follow is orders.’ Kort complied and left the temple.
Kort then headed to the Ministry of War to look for their friend Kalad and to report what he had seen and how he had been treated. Kort was led into the building and met with Captain Aerun. Captain Aerun was very happy to be in the presence of one of the Heroes of Overlook and listened intently to what Kort told him. When Kort was done, Aerun gave Kort a quick ‘Okay, thanks. We’ll look into it’ before dismissing Kort. Kort sensed that Aerun was really not interested in what Kort had to say and furthermore, it appeared that while he was listening to Kort, he seems vaguely distant. Something about his behavior was not right.
Perplexed, Kort headed back to the Mountain Hearth Inn. He found Dunedin had returned from his shopping trip but did not stay for long. He got up from the table without saying so much of a word and exited the Mountain’s Hearth. Somewhat concerned by Dunedin’s recent behavior, Boreas elected to tail Dunedin as Dunedin made his way through Overlook to the Nine Bells district and to the Temple of Moradin.

As with Kort, Dunedin found the temple to be a hive of activity as the reconstruction effort continued. As Dunedin attempted to enter the temple, a Dwarf rammed Dunedin with a wheel borrow and confronted Dunedin: “You and your Heroes friends are not welcome around here. You’ve gone and sullied the name of our clan make, Bram Ironfell and our clan! Now get out before we have some trouble!"
Dunedin was take back by all of this and even more surprised when Boreas stood next to him. Heated words were exchanged and it was clear that most of the Dwarves working on the temple were from clan Ironfell and none of them thought much of the Heroes. Just as things were about to erupt in violence, a red bearded Dwarf stepped in: “Get back to work. All of you!” With a grumble, the Dwarves slowly began to return to work. “May I escort you out of here?” he said with a smile. As the Dwarf led them back to the street, Dunedin silently cast a spell of the Dwarf, making him very friendly to the pair. Dunedin and Boreas questioned the man and found the High Ancestor Durkik had ordered the temple reconstructed out of blue about a week ago. He has assigned nearly all of the dwarves from the Stone Anvil to the reconstruction effort. He also solicited the help of other Dwarves and the Ironfell clan stepped up with money and workers to aid the effort. They also learned that Durkik has not been himself as of late and that the dwarf was worried about the High Ancestor.

While Boreas and Dunedin were out and about, the rest of the party enjoyed a little relaxation at the Mountain’s Hearth. Reggan delivered a glorious meal to the table, as well as several flagons of ale. With the food delivered, she leaned in to the group.
“Do you know the name Lavinya?” she asked. When the group said that they were not familiar with that name, she continued. “She’s a priestess at the temple of Erathis, over in the Divine Knot. She’s been leaving messages all over town—says she desperately needs to speak with you. She begs you to come see her at the temple, just as soon as you can get there.” After finishing their meal, the party headed out to the Divine Knot to see what this priestess wanted.

Arriving at the temple the party made their way in to the dilapidated structure and found a woman, aged before her time, in gold robes praying at the altar. She turns when they enter and recognizes them immediately. Looking up towards the heavens she says “Thank you.” She gestures towards the pews at the front of the church: “Please sit. I knew Erathis would guide you to me.” She offers the party some wine then says:
“My name is Lavinya,” she tells you. “I’m the last priestess here; the others all departed years ago, when the Nine Bells went all to seed, and the temples with it. I keep it open and functioning as best I can on my own, but . . ”
She shakes her head, as though reminding herself to stay on topic. “Do you know Haelyn?” she asks. The party tells her that they are not familiar with that name.

“Haelyn is a wonderful old woman. She’s the caretaker of the shrine to Erathis, over in Tradetown.” “I’m sure you know,” she continues, “that most worship of Erathis in Overlook takes place there, rather than here. I must admit, I haven’t always been a friend to Haelyn. I was . . . bitter, very bitter, at what happened to my temple. But after a time, we got to know each other, and we’ve become great friends.

And that’s why I need you!” Lavinya looks up, her eyes suddenly narrowed. “Something is wrong! Something’s happened to Haelyn, I know it, and maybe not just to her!”
Lavinya took a sip of her drink, and then said:
“A few weeks ago, Haelyn just disappeared. I went by the shrine to speak with her and she was gone. There’s a man named Grovald maintaining the shrine now. I don’t know him; I’ve never met him before, and nobody I talk to knows him, either. He told me that Haelyn left on a spiritual retreat and would be back in a few months.”
“But I know better! Haelyn needed no ‘spiritual retreat.’ Her faith was strong, and it was centered on that shrine! And even if she had, she wouldn’t have up and left—not without telling me.”
Now Lavinya shook her head and gauged the reactions of the party, then continued:
“I must confess, I went back at night and snooped around a bit, not just in the shrine, but peering through the windows of the groundskeeper’s cottage. I’ve offered penance to Erathis for my trespass, but I had to know what happened!
I didn’t . . . I found no trace of Haelyn, but I did catch a glimpse of a letter through the cracks in the shutters. I couldn’t read much of it, and I dared not stay long, but I’m certain it was addressed to ‘G’—that must be Grovald, right?—and it began with ‘I am commanded to ask if you’ve had any further problems with the worshipers of . . .’ That’s all I saw, but it sounds sinister enough!
“And that,” she says morosely, “is where things got even worse. I went to the authorities, but they told me there was nothing to look into, that Haelyn—or any citizen—can travel as they please. I spoke to some of the other priests—Aelys of Bahamut, Durkik of Moradin at the Stone Anvil, Kyrrist of Avandra, even Matron Volorvyn of the Raven Queen. Some of these have long been my friends, and even those who were not have at least been respected colleagues. And all of them brushed me off! They were distant, uncaring, even cold, as though my worries were of no moment! Volorvyn appeared barely to recognize me, and while we’ve never been close, we’ve known one another on and off for years.”
Lavinya looks at each of the Heroes before continuing.
“And that’s when I thought of you, Overlook’s new heroes. I’m terrified that something has happened to my friend and that something is wrong with my fellow priests. I should, we all should, be showering you with gifts and thanks, not heaping even more cares onto your shoulders—but I’ve little influence left in this city, and I have nobody else to whom I can turn.”

After hearing Lavinya’s tale, the party decided it best to head straight to the Shrine of Erathis in Tradetown to see what was going on.

They found the shrine to be little more than an altar littered with remnants of candles and scraps of paper. Wood benches offered worshipers a crude place to sit while they prayed. The altar and pews where surrounded by a tent like structure supported by wooden poles to keep the rain away.
Behind the tent was a broken fountain sporting a statue of Erathis in the middle of it. Two grounds keeper huts sat off to the side of the tent and fountain.
Pacing back and fourth behind the altar was a bald man with sharp, hawkish features wearing a black robe. He would occasionally reply to a worshipers prays with a “So may it be” but it was abundantly clear that this man did not want to be there. The party surmised that this was Grovald. Not wanting to cause a scene during the day, the party decided to come back and night and have a word with Grovald.

Once darkness settled over Overlook, the party returned to the Shrine. Gothe, Samhain and Dunedin elected to sneak up to the groundskeeper shacks while the rest of the party waited down the road a bit. The trio snuck up to the shack and found it to be empty. Just as they were about to move on, a voiced called out from the dark: “I’m just as glad you chose to come here at night. It makes things so much neater when we need not involve the authorities, don’t you think?”
They turned to see a bald, sharp-faced man in dark clothes all but fading into the shadows, and movement came from several other individuals in the night around him. The battle was on.

Isolated from their more sturdy companions, Sam, Gothe and Dunedin bore the brunt of the initial assault. Assassin’s daggers tore into Samhain, gravely wounding him. Boreas, Kort and Sink rushed in and engaged the enemy. While the battle was tough, the party made short work of their assailants once they were able to regroup. As they searched their enemy they watched, to their horror, as the human assassin’s skin turned pale and they eyes grew wide and dark! They were doppelgangers!

The Sam, Gothe and Dunedin searched the cottages while Boreas, Sink and Kort search the rest of the grounds. In the cottage, Sam found the remnants of a partially burned note in the fireplace. It read:
“….unreachable for a time, as I must . . . the priests’ orders as you would my own, for he . . . s always, be certain you destroy this mis . . .
. . . eneral Zi . . .”

Under the bed, Gothe found a small pouch that contained 4 polished stores of alexandrite, worth 500gp each and 100gp.

A shout from behind the fountain brought Sam, Dunedin and Gothe outside – Sink had found something. Buried in a shallow grave behind the fountain was the body of Haelyn.

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Amyria's Ritual
Den of the Destroyer - RP Email 3

With the deactivated portal shimmering in the background, you collect Dunedin’s body and lay it on the floor near the center of the chamber. Gothe searches the bodies and returns with several bags of gold pieces, a valuable statue depicting a Githzerai warrior, a valuable gem and a set of magic bracers. As he piles the valuables on the floor, he unfolds a bloody piece of paper he retrieved off of Fengren. He reads it before handing it to the group. It reads:
Fengren,
I cannot stress the importance of holding Fortress Graystone. Among the assignments I have given you, this should be your top priority. I have armed you well enough that you should be able to repel all invaders.
Do what you will with your prisoners, but continue taking them. Focus your efforts on those who seem to be of some importance; do not waste your time with farmers and commoners.
I am sending someone to train your recruits in the use of our weapons, at your request. However, I expect you to leave this one alone. The witch I sent to you was one of my personal advisors, and now she is ruined. Do not treat my people as callously as you do your own.
-Sarshan
As you sit, taking in this revelation, a familiar, yet very faint voice is heard: “Heroes…… the portal must…. still be permanently sealed….. as it is a bridge between this realm….the Astral Sea and the Elemental Chaos. This temple was built here…. for a reason. It was built to…… protect….. this bridge from those who…..would seek to use it for evil.“ Amyria says. It is evident that she is very weak and has very little power left to communicate with you. “Samhain….you unsheathe me and…… complete…… the ritual to seal the portal and restore me to my rightful form. Take the ritual….from your Eladrin friend…… and I will guide you.”
Taking the scroll off Dunedin, Sam follows Amyria’s instructions and begins to perform the ritual. After tem minutes a vortex of brilliant energy opens up in the air as the platinum sword is gently tugged from your hands. It rises to hover in the air before the newly formed conduit, tendrils of silver light reaching out to touch it. You are blinded by a brilliant flash, then an instant later, the ritual chamber falls silent.
Standing before you is a young human female of unearthly beauty and grace. Her silver hair hangs down her back, a band of chalk-white pigment stretching from one temple to the other across her eyes. She is garbed in armor made of slender, overlapping plates. In one hand, she holds a leather-bound tome; in the other, the platinum longsword.
“I am Amyria,” she says. “Who are you, and why am I here?”

[Khort]
Khort sheathes his war hammer behind his back and steps forward. “We came here to hopefully free you and stop this sanctum from being used to bring in… rather unfortunate evil demigods. Please… our friend is dead. Do you have any powers that can help us heal him? Restore his life?”

[Boreas]
Boreas stands slack-jawed, heaving huge gulps of air. The injuries of the battle ring through his body (ooc: seriously my back is killing me. No more WWE gaming moves)and he stares blankly at Dunedin’s body. A sadness welling up, at the loss of his brother in arms, that only a warden could feel as deep. The glowing portal and presence of this spectral beauty barely register to this massive, hulking beast.

[Samhain]
Sam addresses the Keeper of Chaos: “My lady, we are known as the Brindol Brigade. I am Samhain Foamfollower, and these are my blood-brothers in arms (he introduces the group). Our fallen friend there is Dunedin, a wizard of no small skill. You are in an ancient Githzerai Temple, oddly enough located on the Material Plane. I must confess, I know but a small part of your story, but what do you remember? Perhaps I can fill in some of the gaps of your memory. Do you not recall being trapped in the sword?”

[Sink]
Sink furrows his brow and whispers, “The wrong do-gooder died today.”

[DM]
Amyria looks to Dunedin, then back to the group: “I am sorry for the loss of your friend but there is nothing I can do for him now.”
“I am afraid that I remember very little” she says, looking down in thought, searching her mind. After a few moments she looks back up.
“I remember that I am Amyria,” she says softly, “I was in the sword. I remember you freed me. The ritual you performed transformed the planar breach in this place, allowing it to channel the energy of the Astral Sea. Energy necessary for my transformation.” She looks to you, eyes bright. “I have been reborn with purpose, even if that purpose is yet unclear to me.”

[Khort]
“Does this mean you have become the demi-god that we sought to keep Fengrin from becoming?” Khort reaches behind his back cautiously.

[DM]
Amyria shakes her head: “No friend. I am no exarch… in fact” she looks down at her body “I don’t know what I am. I will need to pray and speak to the gods to see why they have put me here… what my purpose is.”
She stares, lost in thought, then lifts her head and speaks: “Overlook? Does that mean anything to you? I have a strong pull or imprinted memory telling me I must go to Overlook”

[Boreas]
Boreas snaps to, regarding Amyria with thinly veiled skepticism, “We will gladly escort you to Overlook, but we might rest here until we all feel ourselves again. I do not know much of this magic, but I do know how to fight. All will know that I shall fight to the death to protect my traveling allies”
His hulking body flexes as he looks over his brothers.

[Sink]
Sink smiles. “Please, put those pecs away, Big B. We’ve seen more than enough of yer rippling girth today.”

[Boreas]
….Well, fight to the death for almost everyone."

[Samhain]
Sam rubs the ache in his right shoulder and asks, “There are many questions to be addressed, Amyria, but obviously our first goal must be to leave this place, and return to Brindol. From there, we can heal and regroup, perhaps even get Dunedin brought back before his soul strays too far into the Raven Queen’s domain. After that, we know Overlook rather well, and there will plenty of time on that journey for questions of purpose and identity.
So, brothers: do we rest here, or make haste to Brindol? I’m uncertain of how long before Dunedin is beyond any aid, but I fear we would be sorely pressed by any remnants of Fengren’s forces, or anything at all, we encounter.”

[DM]
“Whatever you and your companions decide, please do it quickly so we can get on our way with haste” Amyria said.

[Khort]
“If she is called to Overlook, perhaps our worst fears are realized, and the very city may be in peril. Tell me, Amyria, are your feelings of a warning nature, or is the draw a compulsion? If it is a warning, a psychic plea, perhaps it would be wise to not tarry in Brindol for too long, though it is of the utmost importance to save friend Dunedin. Perhaps, I might suggest, there is better aid for him in Overlook, and we might smash two birds with one hammer.”
He looks at her in a thoughtful way. “Either way, a life for a life. This is a fair trade. Let’s seek to better it.”

[Samhain]
Sam looks at his battered and gore-spattered friends. “Not all of that is the blood of gnolls, Khort. We wouldn’t survive another ambush in the shape we’re in, be it by Rix or a pack of stray dogs. No, I’m afraid we have to rest here if we are to have any chance of saving Dunedin without falling ourselves.”
He looks around the huge altar chamber, briefly passing his gaze over the corpses of gnolls and villagers alike. “Although, perhaps not in this exact spot. Come, let’s find a more suitable area. Maybe the antechamber or the steps?”
Samhain winces as he shoulders his pack, and slowly, painfully makes for the main exit, casting an odd, unreadable glance at Amyria as he passes her.

[Boreas]
Boreas slaps his hand down on Khort’s broad shoulder,
“I admire your urgency and bravery brother, but this girth is a barkin’. Patience, my friend, and we will fight again”.

[DM]
The party, with Amyria in tow, exits Fortress Graystone via the two massive stone doors to stand atop the stone staircase. The sun is beginning to set on this warm summer evening as the party settles in for a much needed rest. From their campsite atop the stairs of this mountain fortress, the group is afforded a spectacular view of the entire Elsir Vale as it is painted with the hues of a sunset.
Amyria sits with you at the camp, legs crossed, deep in meditation or prayer.

[Samhain]
As the sun breaks through the morning clouds, Sam crawls from his tent and rummages through the group’s rations for a meal. Taking a rasher of salt pork and dry biscuits to Amyris he sits next to her. “It’s not much, but it’s food. Lady Amyria, I’m sure you have questions, as do we, but first, let me tell you a story. A tale of a dream, of visions and nightmares that perchance may spark some memories for you, and lead us all to the answers we all seek.”
Sam then begins to relate his dreams of the dark, hooded figure and the amorphous beasts that serve him, of the killing of Amyria in his dreams, of the vision of the motes of light and his mother. Finally, he tells her of the connection between the beast and Boreas’ weapon, but finishes with, “yet I should leave that tale for my brother, as it goes beyond what I can say, and ties his people to you and I as well. So, what does this mean to you, my Lady, Keeper of Chaos?”

[DM]
“My little friend, I do not know why you keep calling me The Keeper of Chaos but I prefer you call ey Amyria." she begins. “That is an amazing take you’ve told me. Surely they have some meaning – some message – but what I would not know. In fact, I know next to nothing. It is as if I’ve been reborn for I have no memories of anything before I found myself in the Temple room surrounded by you all. I have vague recollections of being in the sword and of the ritual, but that is all. I am being pulled towards Overlook for some reason. Perhaps destiny guides me in the same way it appears to be guiding you.”

[Khort]
Khort considers her words and watches the fire.
“I can’t help but feel a sense of foreboding, as if by the time we get back to Overlook it will be destroyed. How can you be sure the force calling you back to Overlook is benign? You were just captured, in a sword, controlled. Maybe this is more evil magic.”

[DM]
“I do not share your sense of foreboding, Khort” Amyria said. “I do not have any sense, good or bad, other than Overlook is where I will discover the purpose behind my rebirth. In Overlook I can pray. As I prayed and meditated last night, a vision of the temple of Bahamut in Overlook came to me. I suspect it is there I will find answers or at least guidance. Bahamut is a good and just deity so we have little to fear with regard to my guidance.”

[Khort]
“Is Bahamut who calls to you?”

[DM]
Amyria takes a bite of the salted pork Samhain gave her and chews it thoughtfully before continuing: "I cannot say for certain that it is he who guides me. Much like my need to get to Overlook, I am getting impressions of Bahamut in my body, my soul. I see visions of his temple when I meditate. "

[Khort]
Khort nods. “Is this temple in one piece? Is it under siege?”

[Sink]
“Alright… Rise and shine, kiddos.” Sink mumbles while nudging Boreas’ slumbering bulk with his foot. “We can drop Amy and her tiny new boyfriend off at The Bahamut Shrine in Brindol while we tend to our fried fey friend. They can continue their praying and k-i-s-s-i-n-g while we prep to continue our journey on to Overlook and their Dragon Lord’s holy place.”

[DM]
Looking to Khort: “In my visions, it is in one piece.” Finishing her rations, she turns to Sink: " I am ready to go when you all are, however, the temple I seek is in Overlook."

[Sink]
Sink snorts, “No shit. That’s what I meant by their (meaning “Overlook’s”) Dragon Lord’s(meaning “Bahumet’s”) holy place (meaning Shrine). Fuck it. Let’s get on with this."

[DM]
“Indeed” Amyria says to Sink with an indifferent glare that boarders on distain, “Let’s get on with it.” With that, she stands and dusts herself off before moving to the top of the stairs: “After you. Lead on to Brindol.”
The group packs up and heads back to Brindol. The journey takes a day or two but the path they forged before is easy enough to follow. The traps and misdirection’s set up by Rix on the journey here remain disarmed. It would appear that Rix has given up the hunt…… at least for now.
The trip passes uneventfully. While she seems somewhat distant at times, you find Amyria to be an enjoyable traveling companion, if not a talkative one. When not asking questions about their journey and adventures, she engages the party in casual conversation.
At the end of the second day, the party passes between the guard towers that flank Brindol’s north road. The guards wave and smile as you come into sight, however, their happiness turns to sorrow when they see that you are carrying a fallen comrade. They rush up to the party: “By Ioun’s Grace! What happened to your brave friend? This is a terrible day for all.” The guard turns to one of the watch runners. “Topher, hurry and find Mr. Troyas. Tell him the Heroes have returned and one of them has fallen in battle.”

[Khort]
Khort watches and waits for the return of Troyas. As he does, he calls for a few of the guards to help carry Dunedin and spell his companions.

[DM]
Within a few moments, Eoffram Troyas can be seen hustling down the street from his home at the Council House towards Market Square where the party waits with the guards.
“Curse the Raven Queen” he says as he approaches and sees Dunedin’s lifeless form. “Guards, quickly, take one of the carts and horses from the guard tower and make haste to the Shrine of the Sun!”
The guards do as they are instructed while Eoffram moves towards to group. “My friends,” he says with concern “what has happened? I trust the rest of you are okay?” Looking over the group and then to Amyria: “And who is this you’ve brought back? You know what…. save it for supper.” He quickly turns and shouts to his conscript: “Topher, make haste to my manor and tell Ms. Caswell to prepare a feast for the Heroes have returned. Make sure His Holiness Martin joins us so he can consult with the Heroes regarding their friend.”
Turning back to the group, he gestures with his hand towards his home: “After you, please.” Extending his hand to Amyria: “My lady, follow me.” You make your way to his home.

[Khort]
Accompanying Troyas, Khort walks alongside him. "We must make haste. The lady informs us of peril at Overlook. Have there been any developments in Brindol?

[Samhain]
Sam speaks up, having been rather silent and thoughtful for the last few miles of the journey. “Fengren and his minions are dead, or dispersed. As far as I can figure, Eoffram, there is still danger in the Vale. We found these notes on the gnolls, and a shadar-kai weapons master sent to train them. We still don’t know who is pulling the strings, though. I still doubt that Sarshan is anything more than what he is, a mercenary and arms dealer.”

[DM]
“The people of Brindol are forever in your debt for putting an end to the gnoll menace that has plagued the Vale of late.” Eoffram says. “We are very lucky that Lady Amyria, though she does not remember doing so, and Sertanian were able to summon you in time to stop him.”
He raises his glass of fine wine: “A toast: To the Heroes of Brindol. May the gods favor forever grace them!”
As you drink to the toast, an elderly man enters the room. “Welcome back heroes, I am Martin, humble servant of Pelor. I am so terribly sorry to see that one of you fell in battle against the gnolls. Do you wish to have a service for him or…..” he trails of, looking to the group.

[Sink]
Sink says, “We wish to resurrect our friend.”

[DM]
High Cleric Martin’s face turns visibly white at Sink’s request: " Ressure…. uhhhh.. I’ve never… " Martin stumbles over the words coming from his mouth. He is visible shaken and looks to Eoffram Troyas.
With a reassuring nod to Martin, Eoffram says, “It’s okay, Martin. Please begin to make any necessary preparations needed. We can deal with the cost later.”

“Yes, sir.” Martin said with a little more confidence. “I’ve never brought the dead back to life. I’ll…. have to research what is needed. The clerics and I will get to work immediately.” Martin turned and began to leave the room.
“Martin,” Eoffram called to him.
“Yes?”
“Select only the clerics who have seen the elf’s corpse. Tell the others that the elf is close to death, and you are working to heal him. I’d like to keep this as quiet as possible.” Eoffram said.
“Understood, sir.” Martin said with a nod before he exited the room.
Eoffram turned back to the group: “I hope you understand the need for discretion in this matter. Returning the dead back to life is not something many are accustomed to and comfortable with, especially with all the troubles in the Vale as of late. Necromancy, being normally associated with dark magics and foul creations, is looked upon with distain and distrust by many. If word gets out that High Cleric Martin brought the dead back to life within the walls of Brindol, it could ruin his reputation and standing, as well as mine and yours. Your friend, Dunedin, could potentially be run out of town if word spread that he has returned from the realm of the Raven Queen. The guards would protect him, of course, but I can only do so much before the people would begin to mistrust me. It’s a very delicate subject, as you can see.” Eoffram lets out a sigh. “Let’s hope it does not come to that, though.”
A grand meal is ushered in by wait staff and set on the table. Once they leave, he continues: “I instructed Martin to employ only the clerics who have seen Dunedin’s corpse to help with the ritual. Their faith will prevent them from speaking of the matter. The guards who helped you at the gate are another matter, though. It would be best to buy their silence to ensure our secret remains safe. Is this something you’d be agreeable to?”
[Out of Character: It should be noted that I do not want this to sound like extortion. I am just trying to come up with a creative way of having you guys pay the 500gp since Brindol would most likely cover the cost for their Heroes. I also want to instill a sense that resurrections are not commonplace and are often frowned upon. That is all, not get to posting.]

[Samhain]
Absolutely, Eoffram. I understand the need for discretion, as I am well familiar with prejudice against magic. It is too bad that so many don’t see that magic is itself neither good nor evil, it’s what the user does with that power that matters.
More important, though, is this issue of your guards. It’s been my observation that no matter the bribe, it’s the integrity of the person that seals their lips. What I’m trying to say is, if a guard would talk, he will do so regardless of what we pay him.

[DM]
“I understand your concern, Sam.” Eoffram said. “We won’t present it as a bribe, as much as it will be a reward for hard service in the name of Brindol and for helping to carry the injured elf to the temple to be healed.”

[Boreas]
Boreas discretely puts his share of the ritual on the table, grabs a small cask of ale, and walks outside. As much as he would like to see his brother in arms reanimated, he has seen this type of magic before, and is wary of it.

[Khort]
Khort puts out his share. “It is our pleasure, and we are grateful for your willingness to stretch your belief systems to save our friend.”
He sips thoughtfully at his mug of beer. “Do you know of any reason why our new friend Amyria may have no memory?”

[Samhain]
Sam turns his attention from Boreas’ retreating back, consternation on his small face. Leaving his barely sipped wine, he rummages through the party’s packs; he finds what he seeks and turns to Eoffram. Placing a large, exquisite gem on the table in front of the councilor [OOC: the 500Gp gem], he says "such magics are neither easy, nor inexpensive. This should cover the material cost for the ritual. As for rewarding the guards, I meant not to disparage their honor, but these are times of conflict. Forgive my doubts. What amount would suffice? "

[DM]
Eoffram holds his hand up to the part in a gesture saying ‘no more’: “You all are too generous. The gem will be more than enough to return Dunedin to life and to keep any rumors of necromancy quiet. No please, let’s eat and enjoy the evening.” Eoffram takes a long drink off of his wine and takes a few bits of food.
Turning to Khort: “I know little regarding the details of magic, my friend. Based on what you have told me, perhaps her memory loss is part the rebirth she experience. Perhaps she is not the same Amyria or is only a fragment of the Amyria in the sword. I have no idea, to be honest.”
Amyria listens into the conversation quietly before pushing her chair back and standing: “If you’ll all excuse me. I’d like to stop by the temple before turning in for the night. Good night.” She leaves the room.
After a long night of festivities, the group awakens in the plush bedrooms of Eoffram’s estate. The smell of bacon and tea rouses you from your alcohol induced slumbers.
Once you all get dressed and make your way downstairs it is just before noon. Much to your surprise, you find a familiar face sitting at the dining table, staring at the variety of breakfast foods spread before him on the table. Dunedin looks up to you all as you enter.
Before words of greeting can be exchanged, Eoffram’s squire, Topher, enters the room and hands you a note: “You’re lady friend left this on the door this morning. It was addressed to you.”
The note reads:
Brave Heroes,
Thank you for all you have done and for escorting me to Brindol. My journey leads me to Overlook and I cannot tarry here any longer. I have secured passage to Overlook with a trading company.
Samhain, I will find you when you arrive in Overlook for I feel we will have much to discuss.
Sincerely,
Amyria

[Khort]
Khort snorts. (Sorry couldn’t help myself.) “She has no idea how dangerous these roads are. We must make haste to catch up with her! How long will the resurrection take? We can do double time to make up the distance, but I fear we will find nothing but a wrecked caravan!”

[Dunedin]
Dunedin, weary, staring at his food with little interest says quietly, “It is bleeding.”

[Samhain]
Dunedin? You ok?

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The Steep Price of Valor

Despite having snuck up on the party, Rix and his companions were not able to gain any sort of advantage against the battle hardened heroes. Gothe wheeled about and peppered all of the enemies with bolts from his crossbow, while Boreas hurled his mighty javelin into one of the Falcons. A thunderous explosion erupted from the javelin on impact – critically hitting one of the hounds and the other falcon and wounding Rix and the other hound. Dunedin and Samhain blasted into the enemy with powerful magic – killing a hound and a falcon. Kort followed their barrage with a charge attack that killed the remaining falcon and allowed Kort to position himself for an attack on Rix. Sink moved in and killed the last hound. All four of Rix’s hunting companions were killed before they even got a chance to attack.
Rix retaliated with a deadly barrage of crossbow bolts that viciously wounded most of the group but it was all of an offensive he could muster. The party set upon him quickly and beat him into submission.
“I yield!” he pleaded, throwing down his weapons and raising his hands in the air. “I’ll tell you everything I know in exchange for my life”
He told the group what he knew about eh Githzerai Fortress they were in, including the locations of the secret passages through the complex. He also told them that it was Sarshan, not the Lost Ones, who has placed a bounty on their heads. While the party bickered about what to do with him, Rix fled for his life.
Wounded and low on resources, the party attempted to rest again in the room but it was not to be. The sounds of gnolls moving through the complex told them that it would not be safe to rest in the Fortress and if they rested outside, they would surely return to gnolls lying in wait for them. The hard decision was made to bandage the wounds they had and to stop Fengren once and for all.
Using the secret passage, they group entered the temple where Fengren was in the midst of performing the ritual that would make him an exarch of Yeenoghu – The Beast of Butchery.
A deep thrumming noise echoes throughout this high-domed ritual chamber, the air crackling with energy. Three large cauldrons burned furiously along walls that rose 10 feet to a wide balcony fronted by crimson curtains. An altar sat atop a stepped dais in the center of the room, a group of hooded gnolls around it. A short distance away, the air ripples in a shifting haze of energy where a portal takes form.
Scattered around the chamber are a number of hunched humanoid creatures—the helpless captives of Elsir Vale, transformed into horrid abyssal wretches.
The secret passage has put them up on the raised balcony – allowing them to stay hidden behind the crimson curtain and survey the scene and plan an attack. The group snuck around the balcony to get into position as they knew that not only would they have foes to battle, they would also have to work to shut down the portal Fengren was attempting to open.
Dunedin, Samhain and Gothe circled the balcony to get closer to Fengren while Kort, Sink and Boreas stayed put – planning to jump right down into the midst of the enemy. With everyone in position, Dunedin launched his assault – targeting Fengren with a hypnotism spell that thrust him off the edge of the ziggurat he stood atop of. He tumbled to the floor on the floor below Gothe’s position and Gothe took advantage of this and leapt down to sink his sword deep into Fengren’s side. Enraged by the sudden attack on him, Fengren lashed out at Gothe with a bolt of pure Elemental Energy. With a wicked grin, Fengren channeled the energy of the portal to the Elemental Chaos to do his bidding. A terrible, clawed hand of elemental energy reached from the portal and grabbed at Gothe. To everyone’s horror, the claw seized Gothe and burned the life from his body. Gothe fell to the floor, unconscious.
Kort, Boreas and Sink sprang into action, leaping from the balcony and charging the enemy. The Abyssal Wretches were mowed down under the furry of their attacks – when they were done, only a few of the original 8 remained. The disciples atop the ziggurat blasted at Boreas and Kort with dark magic and in response, Samhain unleashed chaos bolts at the enemy.
With Gothe down, Fengren used the elemental claw to attack Dunedin while he unleashed powerful raged attacks at Boreas, Sink and Kort. Seeing a need to close the portal and shut down the claw that was attacking through it, Boreas broke ranks with his allies and sprinted to the top of the ziggurat as Samhain cleared the way by blasting one of the disciples with a Chaos bolt – killing him. Boreas slammed into the remaining disciple and used his Goliath born strength to rip the alter that was fueling the portal ritual apart. In the meantime, Fengren stood at the bottom of the ziggurat blasting away at Kort and Sink while he directed the elemental claw to rend Dunedin. Dunedin fell to the ground unconscious and dying.
Samhain leapt to the aid of his fallen friends while Boreas, filled with rage, lifted with all of his might and tore the massive stone alter free from its base. He hefted it above his head and left off the top of the ziggurat at Fengren. Propelled by Boreas, the stone slab swung down in a terrible arc before smashing down atop Fengren – turning him into little more than a mass of gore. Boreas rolled to his feet and charged over to aid Kort and Sink who were hard pressed by the two Crocattas.
Despite being hard pressed by the Crocattas, Sink saw the badly wounded disciple raise to his feet and begin to target Boreas for another blast of dark magic. Sink spun out of battle and raised his crossbow. The bolt sailed through the air and slammed into the chest of the disciple. His lifeless corpse tumbled down the steps of the ziggurat.
Sam sprinted across the room and slide to the side of Gothe. He poured a potion in to Gothe’s mouth, bringing him back from the brink of death, and then moved on to help Dunedin. He was just about to reach his fallen comrade when the elemental claw seized him and hefted him high into the air. Fire and necrotic damage burned Samhain as he struggled to free himself from its deadly grip.
Gothe, revitalized by the potion, climbed the ziggurat and was finally able to stop the ritual Fengren has started and shut down the portal to the Elemental Chaos. At the same time, Boreas, Sink and Kort finished off the Crocattas and the group rushed to the aid of their fallen friends. When they rounded the back side of the ziggurat, they found that they were too late. There, crumpled on the floor was an unconscious Samhain lying next to the lifeless body of Dunedin. Despite all of their efforts their friend and companion was dead.

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Rix Attacks!
Through blood and sweat, the party clears the fortress, only to be ambushed by Rix

After defeating the Wicked Fang Gnolls and their Hyena mounts, the party took a moment to rest and bandaged their wounds before continuing to explore Fortress Graystone. In addition to the door they used to enter this room, there was one other door leading out of this room. Cautiously approaching it, they noticed a message scrawled across the door in a language they did not understand. Despite not being able to read the writing, it was obvious that this addition was made by the Gnolls who now inhabit the fortress.
Listening at the door, the party hears nothing save for the soft rhythm of their own breathing. Cautiously opening the door, they find a curious room spread out before them. The room runs North to South and is divided by a wall the stretches floor to ceiling. In the middle of this wall is an opening set atop a raised platform. Stairs lead up from both sides of the platform to connect the two halves of the room. It was not the division of this room or the platform that made the room a curious site – it was how the two designs of each half stood in stark contrast to each other.
The south side of the room – where the players currently stood – was a picture of peace and order. The gently curving walls glowed with a soft blue light. The floor was tiled with symmetric, neatly aligned stones.
On the other side of the raised platform, the north side of the room was a picture of utter chaos. Clashing hues of color were splashed across the oddly angled walls. The floor was a mess of jutting stone and deep holes.
As the part stood taking in the room, a chilled filled the air as Githzerai spirits materialized and began to attack. At the same time, chaotic bursts of color tore from the walls of the north room and coalesced into three floating masses before joining the attack.
As the Githzerai Monks tore into Boreas and Kort, the Mind Scramblers blasted away at Boreas with blasts of chaotic energy that clouded his thoughts and forced him to attack his allies. Sink, Kort and Boreas held the line while Gothe skirted the battlefield and tore into their flanks. With a few well-placed backstabs, all three of the Mind Scramblers were dispatched. The party refocused their efforts and soon the Githzerai Monks were also slain.
Low on resources and wounded, the party searched the room and found a secret door built into the wall that separated the north and south portions of the room. A quick investigation revealed that the secret passage led to arrow slits that looked into a room where several Gnolls were training. In the middle of the room, a large Gnoll commander was sparing with numerous recruits. A Shadar-kai bristling with weapons instructed the Gnoll Commander on the use of a wicked looking Shadar-kai short sword. Across the room, two shadowy figures were spotted behind a set of arrow slits similar to the ones the party was peering through. A quick investigation discovered that the passage they were in travelled under the training room (with two trap doors in the ceiling to enter the training room) and over to the other side of the room to another passage where the other arrow slits were.
After a quick deliberation, it was decided that Sink and Kort would travel to the main hallway and wait on the other side of the main doors entering this room. Boreas and Gothe would use the secret passage to spring up, into the room from the trap doors, while Sam and Dunedin would cast spells from the arrow slits. Dunedin’s first spell was meant to confuse one of the recruits into attacking the Gnoll Commander. The spell worked like a charm and the room was soon set into chaos as the gnoll commander, enraged, slew the recruit with one slash of his sword. Dunedin’s second attempt at the same spell did not work as well and the Gnolls soon realized they were under attack – the battle was on.
Dunedin threw down an area of attack spell, killing most of the recruits, while Samhain buried an acid orb into the face of other recruit. When one of the archers explored the tunnel under the room, Gothe stealthily pierced his heard with his short sword, ending his life without the other archer even knowing. Boreas, Kort and Sink sprang into the room and while the battle was initially fierce, the element of surprise worked so well that the enemies had no chance of winning the day. The battle was quickly over and the party was minimally injured.
After searching the room and finding a set of Magic Scale Armor and a finely crafted short sword, the part returned to the oddly crafted Meditation Chamber to rest before pressing on with their mission of stopping Fengren.
Just as the party was settling in for a good rest, Gothe detected the soft sound of boots approaching the party. He alerted the group and they turned just in time to see Rix – flanked by two war hounds and with two falcons on his shoulders – attempting to ambush the party via the secret door they had discovered. With a short whistle, the dogs and falcons rush in to attack the party!

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The Battle Against Fengren Begins

Standing in a small room with a single door, the Brindol Brigade prepared themselves to delve deeper into the gnoll infested Fortress Graystone. Samhain stopped everyone with a sharp “Shhhhh. Quiet”. On the other side of the door, he could make out to sounds of a heated conversation in a language he did not understand. Kort took a deep breath – drawing in arcane energy – and traced a glowing rune in the air in front of him. When the rune was complete, Kort could clearly understand the conversation that was taking place from somewhere on the other side of the door..
“I’ve told you several times, Snarl. The prisoners are not for eating. Those are Fengren’s prisoners and are not to be touched!” shouted a gnoll.
The group opened the door of the small room and found themselves at the junction of a hallway. Directly across from them was another door. To the left, the hall continued for another 30ft before making a turn to the left. To the right, the hall ended at a small set of stairs that head down a short distance then made a turn to the left. It was from down those stairs that the sounds of the gnoll argument echoed.
Kort entered the hallway an immediately drew the attention of the gnolls below. He attempted to bluff the gnolls but they were too battle hardened to fall for such tricks. The battle was on.
Sink and Kort launched an attack on the gnolls just as one of the gnolls threw a bag of caltrops and filled the area with sharp, foot biting spikes. The gnoll guards engaged Kort and Sink with their wicked, Shadar-ki Greatswords. Sink was badly wounded and in danger of falling to the gnoll blades when something streaked through the air between Sink and Kort and smashed into the head of the nearest gnoll. Both heroes turned to see the gnoll’s twitching corpse pinned to the wall – skewered through the head by Boreas javelin. With a guttural roar, Boreas joined the foray.
Samhain listened at the door across the hall and heard the sounds of more gnolls and of something much larger. Not wanting to fight two battles, Samhain took a piton from his pack and hammered it into the door frame in an attempt to block the door. Unfortunately the enemies on the other side of the door hear the commotion and began attempting to batter down the door. Working feverishly, Sam continued to hammer pitons into the door as tremendous blows threatened to knock the door off the hinges. With four pitons in place, the door held, but for how much longer, no one knew.
Samhain and Dunedin unleashed their arcane energy on the enemies who where inflicting serious damage on their allies. Roiling balls od acid and razor sharp ice-lances tore into the enemy and soon the tide of battle was turning in the favor of our heroes…… that is, until the door Sam had worked to seal exploded from it’s hinges and skittered across the floor. Dunedin turned to see a massive hyena standing in the doorway. Upon it’s back was a gnoll, the likes of which none of the group had ever seen. His skin and fur were torn away in seveal places and it’s place were horrible scars that pules with red, arcane energy. It’s eyes flared red with power and hate. Behind him, stood two other similarly scared gnolls riding hyenas.
Thinking quickly, Dunedin threw a noxious cloud of gas at the doorway that filled the area with a corrosive gas that blocked vision. While Dunedin could not see the gnoll any longer, he knew that this attack had been effective for he heard the beast howl in pain.
Dunedin focused his arcane might on maintaining the stinking cloud that separated the heroes from more enemies while the rest of the party finished off the gnolls they were currently battling. Once the battle was won, they searched the area the gnolls had come from and found several cells containing three humans. The humans told the party that there were as many of nine of them but every few days someone was lead off – never to return. Through further conversation, they learned that all of the prisoners were notable citizens in the areas – whether they be powerful merchants, head of clergy, etc.
The heroes released the prisoners, provided them with food and water and instructed them on how to flee the Fortress.
Bandages were applied and the group gathered just outside Dunedins stinking cloud. When they were ready, he pushed the cloud into the room, opening the doorway for the heroes to engage the enemy.
In this room they found a waterfall descending from an opening in the ceiling to a pool set within a raised platform. Two stone gutters carry water down from the pool into channels in the floor, creating small rivers that flow through circuitous paths in the ground with great speed. Every few seconds, the noise of stone on stone sounds out as these aqueducts in the floor shift to follow a new path. Awaiting them were the three gnolls and their hyena mounts. Kort charged the nearest gnoll and it’s mount and inflicted serious damage. From around the side the stinking cloud stepped the gnoll Dunedin had injured. His eyes and scars flared red as he tilted his head back and let loose with a haunting scream. He flung open his robes and out of them poured a murderous flock of ravens that flooded over Boreas, Sink, Dunedin and Sam. The birds tore at their eyes and flesh, blinding Boreas, Sink and Dunedin. Sam, used his size to his advantage and tumbled out of the way and into the room. He launched an acid orb at the foul gnoll. The gnoll had just finished his primal scream when the acid orb caught him square in the mouth. He grasped frantically at his throat as acid ate away at this soft insides. Blood and acid poured through his fingers as the acid did its terrible work. He fell to the floor dead.
Seething with rage, the hyena rider behind him urged his mount forward in a charge. Both rider and beast tore into Samhain and dropped him to the floor in a pool of blood. Boreas and Sink fought off the attacking ravens and rushed in to Sam’s aid. Sink tended to Sam’s wounds while Boreas set his pick to work against the hyena and rider. It was a tense battle but it was over in a matter of moments. All hyenas and their riders lay dead on the floor – their pooling blood quickly swept away by the channels of swift moving water that now ran red.

Covered in blood and gore, the heroes stood among the dead and contemplated their next move

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Fortress Greystone

The heroes set off from Bindol in search of Fortress Graystone. The way to the ancient fortress was not know so they had to use all of their wits, recollection of history and physical endurance to find their way towards the long forgotten stronghold. As they traveled it became clear that someone or something was working against them. Dead falls and traps had been set along the way in an effort to injure or kill anyone attempting to find the fortress. They pressed on through and after several days of travel, found themselves high in the hills of the Giantshield Mountains , looking at massive store stairway leading into a set of double doors set flush with a cliff face. Spaced out equally on the stairs stood 4 massive statues depicting Gizthzerai warriors in full battle regalia.
Leveraging his small stature and nimble feet, Samhain snuck of to the stairs and noticed Gnolls laying in wait behind the statues. He crept back to the group and informed them of the ambush ahead. Deciding it best to try and fool the gnolls, the group sauntered up to the stairs and attempted to egg the gnolls into combat. The plan worked and the gnolls attacked. Little did the party know, however, that a Stone Spirit was allied with the gnolls. As the gnolls attacked, the spirit jumped into the closes statue and attacked the group in it’s new form. The battle was a dangerous affair but Sam and Dunedin separated from the group and sniped away at their attackers. The gnolls and their spirit ally soon lay dead at the base of the stairs.

With bandages applied, the party ascended the stairs and flung open the double doors at he top. They found themselves in a room containing several portals on the walls and with arcane runes on the floor. They also found themselves face to face with more gnolls. The battle was a terrible affair where gnoll lashers used their spiked chains to fling players through portals, into other rooms so they could focus on fewer enemies. It looked bad for the party when Sink became separated in another room and Kort was struck down and nearly dead. With heroic effort, Sink dove through a portal and was able to revive Kort, who was seconds away from death, and turn the tide of the battle. In the end, the heroes prevailed. Dunedin studied the arcane runes on the floor and was able to control the portals – allowing the group to use them to teleport to a small room with a lone door leading out of it.

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A Plea for Help

We started this session with the heroes leaving Nimon Gap and continuing their journey to Brindol. Late in the evening of their 8th day of travel, they arrived in Brindol.
They made their way to the Hall of Great Valor only to find that it was closed and Sertanian, most likely, was at him home asleep for the night. While they pondered what to do next, a villager recognized them and called out to the Heroes of Brindol. He was the father of one of the captives they rescued from the ruins of Rivenroar. He insisted that the brave heroes join he and his family for an evening meal.
The party obliged and spent the evening telling the family takes of their exploits while Dunedin performed minor magic tricks for the young children. The tired group spent the night comfortably with the family in their farm house.
After eating breakfast the next morning, the group made their way to the Hall of Great Valor.
The Hall of Great Valor is as they last saw it, its glass cases lining the walls with relics of Elsir Vale’s past. Three freestanding displays show off artifacts of the vanquished Red Hand of Doom, a large map of the surrounding lands updated with details of the Hand’s most recent forays against Elsir Vale and its people.
Where he dusts relics in a display case across the room, a familiar grey-haired figure rises. Sertanian smoothes out his stained smock as he bows.
My friends, he says. Welcome back to Brindol.
Sertanian thanked the group for their quick response to his call. Sink can tell that Sertanian is quite nervous. As he talks, he walks to the front door and locks it before continuing:
You recall the platinum blade that was one of the treasures taken by Sinruth and his hobgoblin horde. Upon its return to the hall, it seemed none the worse for its ordeal. It is a relic of some worth and sentimental value, but holds no magic that I or any of my predecessors here have noted. But then a week ago, while working late at night, I heard a voice, calling me. From its case, the sword spoke to me, beseeching me to summon heroes to its aid. It asked for all of you by name.
Sertanian explains that after the sword began speak¬ing, he removed it from its display case and hid it in the hall’s back room. He leads the group to a clut¬tered workspace, where the platinum longsword lies beneath a cloth on a table. When the cloth was removed the small workroom was filled with a woman’s weak voice: You have come, my heroes, but my thanks must be brief. I am Amyria, and I have summoned you here from great need. I know it must seem strange to hear me speak, but I assure you that this form is only temporary. It is for that reason that I beseech you for your aid.
Decades ago, a race of monastics born of the Elemental Chaos established a fortress in Elsir Vale. These were the githzerai, who lived secretly in their remote outpost before suddenly vanishing. Their Fortress of Graystone was well hidden, and remained uninhabited for long years.
Some months ago, Fortress Graystone was invaded and claimed by a pack of gnoll mercenaries calling themselves the Wicked Fang. Their leader, a sadistic follower of the demon lord Yeenoghu, has begun to send his raiders out into Elsir Vale and beyond. In recent weeks, this gnoll chieftain Fangren has managed to open a conduit of power to Yeenoghu’s realm in the Elemental Chaos. He plans to claim some small fragment of the demon lord’s power, transforming himself into an exarch of the Beast of Butchery. It was the creation of this conduit that awoke me from my age-long slumber.
If Fangren completes his ritual, demonic forces will have gained a foothold in the mortal realm. More importantly, that conduit to the Elemental Chaos can be manipulated through a ritual that I will provide to you. This is the boon that I pray you grant me. Bring me to Fortress Graystone and free me from this prison.
When asked about the ritual, Amyria said: The ritual will free me from my current form, restoring me to my rightful body. I can say no more than that. Though I am granted the power to speak to you, my memory has been fractured by long years of sleep.
She elaborated on the ritual, saying: In opening the conduit to the Elemental Chaos, Fangren unwittingly set the stage for my restoration. The ritual will alter the conduit such that it can channel energy from other planes to fuel my transformation.
Samhain took all of this in with a blank stare on his face. He face paled a bit. When asked why he looked so concerned, he said that Amyria seemed to be connected to the dreams and visions he had been having. As he told the tale of Amyria and the power she ones possessed, the breaking of glass followed by an explosion of flame interrupted Sam’s story. The locked front door was kicked in as 4 menacing looking humans burst into the room with malice in their eyes.

The battle that ensued saw Dunedin and Kort fall, grievously wounded but not dead. The remaining heroes fought hard, though, and killed 3 of the 4 men. With his companions dead, the last man attempted to feel but was cut down by an unseen person. The person who aided them stepped into view. It was none other than Rix, the half elf who warned them about a bounty on their heads as they were looking for Alys in Overlook.

Bloodied and gravely wounded, the party stands in the smoke filled Hall of Valor staring at the open front door to where Rix is cleaning the blade he extracted from the last of the men to attack you.
“Well fancy seeing you all here” he says, wiping this bloody blade clean on the garments of the dead attacker. He rifles through the dead man’s belonging briefly before extracting a folded piece of paper from the man’s tunic. Opening the paper, he glances at its contents before holding it up for all of you to see: “It would appear I was correct in warning you about the bounty on your heads.” On the paper is all of your names as descriptions of each of you.
He scans the carnage in the room: “Although, it would appear anyone looking to cash in on that bounty will have their hands full.”
Shells shocked by the sudden turn of events, the heroes stare blankly at Rix.

“Well, then…. Right” Rix says somewhat confused. “I’ll be going then.” With that, he departs.

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A Difficult Decision
Den of the Destroyer

The party sets out for Brindol

Making their way into the Westdeep, the first day of travel goes without much worry, though the night watch gets the feeling they are being watched.

The next day, they camp in the Wyrmsmoke mountains, where disaster nearly strikes when a massive wyrm flies over the campsite at night. Fortunately, the beast moves on without striking the party down, though nerves are rattled as they proceed toward the Witchwood.

Another day’s travel brings the company of heroes to the Skull Gorge Bridge, where they camp near the water, recalling previous dangers in other adventures. Again, the watch is cautious, but uneventful.

Entering Nimon Gap, the party is surprised when a young woman appears, being chased by a man with an axe… he is quickly subdued, but rants and raves about the fact that the young girl is a demon walking the Earth, killing villagers.

The girl explains (after the assailant is tied up) that she and another group of children are not monsters, they are simply being blamed for the work of a vile local wizard. She is reluctant to lead the party to where the children are hiding, but with the promise of food and aid, she changes her mind. They leave the man tied to a tree, but he escapes by the following morning.

The party discovers the children in a lodge, huddled and afraid. Many of the children are terribly sick, and the party realizes, through combined knowledge, that the children who are sick can only be cured by the source of the illness, the host, being killed.

One young man steps forward, offering stories to the infected of how the wizard is doing this to them. Through investigation, the team learns the boy is lying. They disregard this momentarily, however, waiting until the following morning to verify their suspicions.

The following morning, they lead the children into the sun, where they are fine, ruling out vampirism.

They explore the Wizard’s tower, and find that he is, in fact, dead, and that the boy’s story is false.

The team heads into town to explore the possibility of the town’s involvement, given the strange behavior of the man with the axe. The townsfolk seem honest, if misguided, and they even send the man with the axe with them as an emissary to find out what’s really going on with the children.

Once at the lodge, the team reaches an impasse. It seems the boy is the host, but they are torn, as they cannot hurt a child, surely.

Samhain, in an act of bravery that could end terribly, launches an acid orb at the lying boy. The boy shows his true colors, reverting to form, and, with the young girl, turns into a ferocious beast that attacks the party.

In a long and treacherous battle, the team manages to defeat the pair without killing any children. The sickness fades, and even the man with the axe (turned in the battle) recovers.

The team huddles with the frightened children, distributes what little food they have remaining, and rests.

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Strange Bed Fellows
Den of the Destroyer - RP Email 2

After several hours, Samhain returns to the Mountain’s Hearth where the rest of you are enjoying a last meal before heading out to Brindol. You gather your belongings and set out down the Dwarfroad towards the eastern gates of Overlook.
You’ve travelled no more than two blocks when someone calls out from behind you: “Heroes! Wait!” a gruff voice calls from behind. “Boreas, Sink, Samhain…. Wait a moment”
Turning, you see Kalad coming down the street behind you at a jog. He stops in front of you and catches his breath before continuing: “Elder Cadric would like to have a word with you before you depart. Please, follow me to Caer Overlook.”
Turning to follow Kalad, you twist and turn through the streets of Overlook before arriving at Caer Overlook. The massive stone structure is no less impressive today than when you first laid eyes on it. Kalad leads you inside and to a small conference chamber where Elder Cadric, the youngest of the Council of Elders, and an Eladrin await your arrival.
“Welcome, Heroes and thank you for coming on such short notice. I know you are due to leave for Brindol on a pressing task so I will do my best to keep this short.”
Gesturing towards the Eladrin: “This is Dunedin. He was sent here by his mentors in the Fey Wild. He has some work to do in the Vale, near Brindol and I would like him to accompany your group as you travel the Vale so that he can safely go about his investigations. Will you allow him to accompany you on your journey?”

[Samhain]
Sam eyes the eladrin. “Another set of eyes would be welcome on the road, Dunedin, what with all the rumors of gnoll raiders. What kind of work do you do?”

[Dunedin]
“Ah, Halfling friend. As Captain Kalad hinted, I have been sent by my elders to investigate the disruption of planar energy in the Vale. The Eladrin have been keeping a watchful eye on the portals within the Elsir Vale for many years. Suspicion has lingered since the time of the Red Hand that this area was vulnerable to another incursion of evil. I am here to gather information, do what I can to forestall a major recurrence of the Vale’s fate of a decade ago, and control as best I can the comings and goings of beings through the portals.
“Word has spread widely of your heroic efforts of recent. Your valor has impressed my elders. They have been following your adventures and have determined that our aims overlap and that we can be of assistance to each other. I am concerned though, as one can travel more easily unnoticed by the forces of evil. It is not only the Eldarin who have noticed your recent efforts.”

[Sink]
Sink scoffs, “The lonely one offers his hand too quickly to whomever he encounters. Dunedin, we have no need for an elven secretary with a fowl fetish. What advantages will you bring to The Brigade?”

[Boreas]
Please excuse our friend here, Dunedin, he is prone to the libations, but is an excellent healer. As long as we can keep him dodging the clubs of our enemies, and away from the spirits, you shall get along fine. We have been through much, and are battle tested. What scars do you have to show? We will take you, but you must prove your mettle. I will fight to the death to protect my brothers, but if you cross us you will feel the mountain’s thunder.

[Khort]
At the words “mountain thunder,” Khort slams the handle of his weapon on the ground and snorts.
“Any help is welcome, as our enemies have been great in both number and strength. Information is a better weapon to use, at times, and if we can help you gather some, that would be my pleasure. Speaking of which… I have some new information that I gathered, while seeking a worthy informant. There is not only evil brewing in the heart of this city, but danger aimed squarely at us. Someone has set a price on all of our heads in the amount of one thousand gold pieces. Who has done this, not one is sure but the odds are on Sarshan. Are you sure you wish to travel with us, Eladrin?"

[Samhain]
Sam grins at his brothers Boreas and Khort, then turns to the eladrin. “Yes, we have a price on our heads, and The Lost Ones have their own grievances against us. In short, traveling with us is inherently dangerous, but then, in these times, traveling alone is arguably suicidal. I say Dunedin travels with us. One with his skills could be invaluable, and besides, we’re burning daylight.”
With that, Sam snaps the reins and gets the wagon moving again.

[Dunedin]
“I was told by my elders that traveling with you was not without it’s perils. They seem to have withheld some information regarding the degree of danger I would be putting myself in by accepting you as my escorts.” Dunedin takes a slow scan of the party, smiles and says, “Though every time that I’ve been in mixed company such as the sort of yours, I must admit trouble found a way of escalating. Little ones traveling with giants. What is the world coming to?”
A scent is in the air. It catches Dunedin’s attention. “Ah, is that pig bellies? A delightful aroma. However, if you do not mind my recommending it, we should be on our way. Let us put perils before swine and make haste.”
Licking his lips and then focusing his attention back to Sink, Dunedin says, “Ah, yes. What advantages will I bring to the Brigade? Everywhere I go, friends travel with me. I am one with nature.”

[Khort]
At “one with nature”, Khort scratches behind his ear, glances around nervously, then looks straight ahead as the wagon bumps along

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Loose Ends and Leads
Den of the Destroyer - RP Email 1

[DM]
Feel free to pick this up as an RP email. You guys can do as you wish. Options include but are not limited to the following:
• Chat with Alys more
• Investigate the hit list
• Investigate any of the other clues the party as received
• Resupply
• Reach out to contacts in Overlook
• Etc.

[Kort]
“There are so many potential leads we could follow. This hit list is most disturbing, but we’ve been on hit lists before. We are low on rest, some of us are surely low in supply, and there is much that needs to be uncovered in Overlook, but I can’t help but feel concern for Brindol. Overlook is a large place, with many who might defend it, while Brindol <ooc> is a smaller town, in need of defense that perhaps a large city with a major security force might lack.

However, that said, I am extraordinarily concerned with these gnoll attacks. It seems to be causing a mass exodus, and perhaps the needs of the many outweigh the need of the few. If Gnolls are decimating the countryside, and there is something we can do about it, I propose we do.

What say you, gents?"

[Samhain]
Sam downs the last of his ale, and waves the bar wench over. “Another round, lass, if you please.” He lays some coins on the table to pay for the drinks.

“Sertanian sent this girl to find us, something to do with that damn relic. Alys says he’s frightened. That’s good enough for me. Besides, I’ve just about had enough of Overlook, the Hell’s cursed Lost Ones, and whoever else wants our heads. I say we get a good night’s rest, grab some supplies early, and head out. The more we delay, the more likely we’ll be ambushed yet again, and I’ve had enough of that, too.” He takes a large gulp from his tankard, wipes his mouth with his sleeve.

“Gothe is right. Kalad and the Watch can deal with the problems in town for a while. Let’s go home. I’m sure,” he says, grinning at Khord, “there will be lots of gnolls to meet along the way. That’s just how our luck goes, sometimes!”

[Kort]
“Perhaps we should pay someone to look into our… dilemmas while we are away. That way, if we must depart completely, we can at least be kept abreast of what went on while we are away. Or maybe have someone try to infiltrate, as we are known faces and names.”

[Gothe]
“Should we stay, or should we go away now? If we stay there will be trouble. Shall we away there will be double. This grog has soaked me to the scales. I could not, would not be able to leap if I tried. Did we purchase a domicile here in overlook? We should quickly be rejoined with Sertanian. This said, I agree we must remain aware of goings on here in Overlook. I sense that we have not seen the last of this forsaken city. I would be willing to contribute to hiring trusted agents to monitor this hell hole. Let’s rest then make haste to Brindol.”

With this Gothe starts to slur his speech and smoke rises from his nostrils. He starts to make semi-controlled snorts. Finally when he has achieved three consecutive successful attempts to blow smoke rings, Gothe smiles and tries to leap from his stool without standing. He chortles.

[Samhain]
Sam pipes up, “I think we can probably rely on Kalad to keep us abreast of things here. He certainly has recently, and with his contacts as a captain of the Watch… On the other hand, it may not be a bad idea to employ other avenues of inquiry, assuming we can find someone trustworthy, and not a spy for the Lost Ones.”

Oh, and yes, cuz wool doesn’t burn? Heheheh. Let’s soak it first! A dragonborn with a sneezing head cold could be funny, and keep us on our toes (reflex saves all around!).

[Sink]
Sink looks up from his grog and mutters, “And what’s with The Powers That Be always tearing our sweaty clothes off. What’s up with that?” (glug-glug-glug)
“Anyhoo, I concur. There’s no gnolls like dead gnolls.”

He leaps up on his stool, steadying himself with his foot on Gothe’s shoulder.
“Here’s a little diddy my old bard friend, Emo taught me…”

(more shouting than singing)

If you can play on the fiddle…
How’s about a Dwarven jig and reel?
Speaking with Deep Speech in quotation…
As Overlook feels,
The Karak Lode rusts.
Water froze
In the generation
Clear as Winter ice.
This is your paradise.

There ain’t no need for ya!
There ain’t no need for ya.
Go straight to hell, boys!
Go straight to hell, boys.

Wanna join in a chorus?

[Boreas]
Boreas, sitting alone in the corner, with a half-cocked, enormous cask of ale, starts to loudly mutter, “See what I like about this place here…what I like about it is….”

[Trails and nods off for 5 minutes]

…“they have really long comfortable beds. And the thing you see [talking to know one in particular] is that that’s real, I mean real”….
[nods off for another minute]

…."important when you are a goliath. And I think it would behoove us….our whole party….if we should take up resideseses..
[Nods off]

….“In this nice neck of the woods………so to speak. I was just talking to this guy here, and he was telling me about this…..”
[nods off for a full 10 minutes]

….“and the wheel fell of the cart. I mean a goliath ain’t a goliath, if he can’t call a place home….with long, comfortable beds.”
[dozing again]

Agent?!? Who’s an agent?!? All I know is I’m ready to fight, after I lay down in that nice long, comfortable bed.

Boreas falls face-first out of his chair, knocking over a table on his way to the floor.

[Gothe]
Gothe leaps to his feet and says, “Forgive us, fair ”/campaigns/exploits-of-the-brindol-brigade/characters/reggan" class=“wiki-content-link”>Reggan. We have been through many days of adventuring and seem to have forgotten about the ways of civilization. Well, except for bits and pieces of some gentler companionship that we may have been fortunate to come across. Speaking of which, could you please let me know if the beautiful lass who tucked me into bed last night is still at the inn? I would very much like to, uh, show her my appreciation for her consideration. I remember her looks not, but her backside felt scalier than a horned toad’s crest."

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