The Scales of War

Den of the Destroyer
Den of the Destroyer

Upon returning to Overlook, the Heroes learned that while they were gone, Kalad and the Overlook Watch had been investigating the information the group found regarding the Elsir Consortium, the Warehouses Sarshan used and the attempt on their life.
It was discovered that:
• A member of the Elsir Consortium, Brahm Ironfell was indeed working with Sarshan in some capacity.
• He was who rented the warehouses out on Sarshan’s behalf.
• Furthermore, it was discovered that he was the one that paid the assassins to attack the heroes at the award ceremony. Whether he was paying for the hit himself or acting as a go between for Sarshan, is not clear.
• Brahm gave some sort of map to someone as a Thank You for allowing Brahm to be his liaison in Overlook. Could this have been the map to the Lost Mines that was supposedly discovered when Sarshan’s warehouses were raided?
• No one else in the Elsir Consortium has been implicated.

The players also learned that a young woman from Brindol was looking for them. After some investigation they found that Alys has been kidnapped by the Lost Ones as a means to ambush the players and get some revenge on them for past insults and beatings. The poor messenger girl was being help in an abandon temple of Pelor

As lighting bisected dark, bloated rain clouds, the players made their way into the Nine Bells district to the abandoned temple of Pelor where Alys was being held by The Lost Ones. It somehow seems fitting that on this dark, rainy day they would be investigating the rotten husk of what was once a tribute to the Sun God, Pelor.

With all of the subtlety of a Minotaur in an apothecary (no offense Kort), Boreas kicked open the door to the temple and bound through the doors; prepared to level any that stood before him. What he found was a large abandoned. A massive hole was torn into the roof, allowing a torrent of rain water to pour into the center of the room. Laying in the puddle created by the incessant rain, was a bound and gagged woman. With eyes filled with panic, she looked to Boreas and the others and then back to the shadows that rimmed the room. Dark forms moved in the shadows. Without hesitation, Boreas hefted his mighty pick and, with the fury of an avalanche, plowed into the awaiting attackers. Kort lowered his massive head and charged right behind Boreas; skewering a hapless fellow with one of his massive horns. Samhain circled the perimeter of the room and picked out targets with devastating effect while Sink moved to Alys and protected her and his allies from the onslaught of attacks from the Lost Ones. Just as it seemed the heroes would rout the Lost One ambushers, a new group of enemies moved into the foray from their hiding places in the shadows. These attackers, however, were not lost ones. With efficiency possessed only by assassins, these new foes maneuvered the battle field and stuck at the part with deadly accuracy. It was clear that these new attackers were not members of the Lost Ones and had to be a hit squad that the group had attracted the attention of while looking for Alys. Sorely pressed, Sink regrouped the party and bolstered their attacks and soon the tide was back in the favor of the Heroes. Though badly injured, the group coordinated their attacks and finished off the last of the assassins. Gravely wounded but able to move, they quickly searched the bodies and freed Alys before fleeing the temple for someplace more safe.

Once back at the Mountain Hearth in, the party set about making sure Alys was okay. With wounds bandaged and mugs full of ale, Alys thanked all of them for coming to her rescue. She confirmed that she had been sent here from Brindol by Sertanian to seek out the Heroes that had saved not only Brindol from attacked but had rescued her from imprisonment at the hands of Sinruth and his newly formed “Red Hand” band of Orcs.
“I’ve been sent to ask you return to Brindol” she timidly said to the party. She then steadied herself then began to recite a memorized tale: “Greetings from Sertanian, castellan of the Hall of Great Valor. I beseech you to return to Brindol with all haste, as your presence is needed here. The matter concerns one of the relics that you recovered while saving myself and our town’s other captives in Rivenroar, and is most urgent.”
Alys knows nothing more than what she has been told, though she confides to the heroes that she has never seen old Sertanian as fearful as when he sent her forth.
As he sat at the table, Gothe rummaged through the items they found on the assassins that attacked them at the Temple of Pelor.
“Ehhh, it was time to leave this Dwarven dung hole anyways,” he said as he slid a piece of paper across the table for the others to read. “Looks like someone is looking to rid the town of all adventures that might sick their noses in this or that”

The group picked up the slip of paper and found a list of names. The names of the heroes were on this list, including that of Runtwold and Artin, whose name had been crossed out. The group immediately noticed their names on the list as well as the names of several other adventures the players had meet when a call to arms was made by Overlook (the gathering at the Siege of Bordin’s Watch)

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Once Again, Back to Overlook
The Lost Mines of Karak

After a long night of celebration, the party of adventurers dons their freshly laundered clothes and once again, set out on the road back to Overlook.

The Thornwaste is no less unforgiving the second time through it. The harsh sun bears down on you, while iron like thorns tear at your clothes and equipment. After a few short hours, your clothes are once again soaked in sweat and sand rasps your skin raw. If you never have to set foot in this forsaken land again, it will be too soon. After two grueling days, you emerge from the sand and brambles of the Thornwaste dehydrated, sunburned and exhausted but alive.
A day long journey on The Dawn Way will take you to Drellin’s Ferry where the party resupplies and takes a much needed break from travel. After taking a day or two to rest and mend torn clothing, the party turns north on The Dawn Way.

Traveling on foot the party finds few merchant caravans to hitch a ride with as they travel north past Vrath Keep towards the intersection of The Dawn Way and The Dwarf Road. The ones they do encounter are heavily guarded and seem to be hyper vigilant. Rumor and tales of Gnoll attacks are shared by the few travelers the party does encounter. Many of these travelers are families who have packed up all of their possessions and decided to leave the Elsir Vale all together. With all that is going on and now with the gnoll attacks, it is all too much for them. The Vale just does not seem safe.

This fear is punctuated by screams of terror and panic shortly after the players cross the Old Skull Bridge. From somewhere not far off the road, a woman and children can be heard screaming for their lives. With haste the players rush down a small side road to a homestead where they find a woman and her children being abducted by a group of Gnolls. Further down the road, the father is being led off in a separate direction by another group of Gnolls.

With little time to react, the group set about freeing the women and her children from their captors. The battle was viscous yet swift, however, the group could not save the man before he was loaded onto a river boat and taken away. Traumatized, the woman told the group that her husband was a notable councilman in the area and that the Gnolls appeared to be lying in wait as the family prepared to set out on a picnic. Through tears, she politely asks if the part would escort the children and her to Overlook where she has a sister who can take them in.
With the woman and children in tow, the brave adventurers make their way to Overlook. The journey takes several days, which is spent continually telling stories of your exploits to the children as a means to take their minds off the loss of their father.

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Welcome Back to Dunesand
The Lost Mines of Karak - RP Email 3

As Queen Shephatiah’s tail disappears over the edge of the chasm and into the Elemental Chaos, you are all left alone deep within the once great Karak Lode. Amid the pulsating light of the chaos infused ore, the group sets about searching the queen’s chamber for other clues and valuables left behind by the wicked serpent. Back among her skull pile you find a coffer containing what is left of the payments she has been receiving from her mysterious benefactor. All told, there is 600 GP in the small chest. In addition to the gold, you notice that piked Dwarven skull near the queen’s pile of skulls. Upon closer inspection, you notice that the pike is in fact a finely crafted Dwarven javelin. Intricate carvings and inlaid materials wrap the haft of the weapon which radiates arcane power.

Picking up the weapon and the gold, the party makes their way back up to the main building of the Karak Lode and rest up for the night. While the group dines on trail rations and rests on their bedrolls, Samhain inspects the magnificent javelin and realizes this weapon is one of the legendary Javelins used by the finest Dwarven warriors to lay waste to enemies with its thunderous blasts. (+2 Thundering Javelin)

After a somewhat restful night sleep, you all set out on the dangerous trek across the desert to the frontier town of Dunsand. With little water left in your water skins, you trudge through the inhospitable land. The sun and wind blasts your skin as you walk for three days though the ever shifting sands before you spot the serpentine wall that protects Dunesand. As you enter the town, you are met with stares of disbelief and excited chatter.
“Well met, friends!” calls out the defacto leader of the town. “We had thought for sure you had perished out there. What news have you of the mines you sought?”

[Khort]
The Minotaur snorts and slams the hilt of his weapon into the sand. “We almost did, but we came through. We faced a great many dangers. The Halfling had a great fall. Any accommodations you could provide would be greatly appreciated.”

[DM]
“Of course, of course, friends” says Lotho Elbersek, defacto leader of Dunesand and owner of the Dunesand Caravansary. He gestures towards the Caravansary where you stayed the night before leaving for the mines nearly ten days ago. As he ushers you towards the building, he calls out “Maria! Maria, get some hot water going. Our friend here will most certainly want a bath.”
He then shouts across the street to Bebe’s Bakery: “Bede, can you get a meal prepared? The Heroes have returned. We shall have a town celebration tonight and hear their tale!” he voice gets louder and he finishes the sentence to announce the celebration to the whole town.
You enter the small general store and caravansary: “Did you find the mines? What of the queen? Please, tell me all that happened while Maria fetches water to bathe in.”

[Khort]
After a long dousing and de-lousing, Khort settles in and tells the story to surrounding townsfolk, then, after many a mead and many more hanks of meat, he turns to his companions and asks, “Well, what now? We know that Sarshan’s power is stretched farther than we’d imagined before, and there was the issue of the marching legions. This is obviously bigger than the lot of us put together.”

[Samhain]
Samhain has been staring distractedly into his pint. With a start, he looks up at Khort. "Wha..? Sorry my friends, but I am tired, and many questions weighing on my soul. Nevermind. Here’s what I think; Sarshan may be the link between our recent adversaries, but I believe he is merely a tool of someone we need fear more, much more. Sarshan may be providing an army, but he and his legions are just that: mercenaries, hired swords for the highest bidder. We must find out who that bidder is… No, something is missing, some vital piece we aren’t seeing. Who has the power and resources to hire Sarshan’s entire army, to force this naga “Queen of Kardak” to heel, to persuade the orc tribes to undertake an attack on Overlook? And, yes, I do think the orcs’ assault was orchestrated, through Modra, Sarshan’s wayward minion, by the same entity who is conducting the other activities. Conducting an orchestra… Yes, that is what is going on. But whom, and to what end…?" Sam’s voice trails off once more as he stares into the the distance, pondering memories and visions he can’t quite connect.
Shaking his shaggy head to rid it of visions and dreams, he grins at the gathered townsfolk. “Ha! I am a bit into my cups, ’twould seem! Ah, but my hirsute brother speaks truth, for our quest to the legendary Karak Lode was indeed successful. Over the course of our many battles against monsters most foul, and our awe upon sights most inspiring, even the freeing from his prison an avatar of the god Bahamut, no less, we have much cause to celebrate! Yet we also bring words of warning, for Karak may well be as lost now as it has been in legend. For the mines are corrupted by rifts between the planes, and the Plane Below seeps into the very stones, air, and ores of the place. Yes, the ancient dwarves delved too deeply, and the consequence was their downfall into madness.”
He chugs the contents of the wooden jack of ale, which looks huge in his small hands, and waves for another. “Yea, Karak may be lost, but we are here, my brothers, the good folk of this town, and tonight… Tonight is a night to drink and sing and dance! Yes, music! WHO HERE PLAYS!? Hahaha!” Sam slams down the mug and jumps up, looking for a pretty girl to dance with…

[Boreas]
Boreas smiles at his little friend and mutters in dwarven, “Damn right, little buddies. I need to go get my heavy war pick polished, if you know what I mean.”

[Khort]
Watching Samhain make merriment, Khort considers the situation, and tries to find solutions outside of an unseen, nameless enemy.
“Brothers, who do we know that might have such finances? More to the point, is there a kingdom nearby we might be able to appeal to, in order to raise enough funds to potentially turn a conquering army of mercenaries into an army to sue for peace? Forgive my sarcasm, but as the goblins that imprisoned me taught me, a creature who may seem your ally may become a nemesis for gold, greed, or simple malice. I am positive it can work in reverse.”

[DM]
Just to set the scene a little: you are all on the outdoor patio of Bebe’s bakery. There are large overstuffed pillows and chairs for everyone to lounge on. It is past dusks in the desert town of Dunesand and a pleasant breeze is blowing through the town and across the patio. A spread of braised lamb, fresh pitas and various dried fruits and goat cheeses has been spread out for all to enjoy. Many of the townsfolk are here with you, singing and dancing.

[Samhain]
Samhain takes a break from dancing with the barmaid. “Allies should not be too hard to find. The dwarves of Overlook will assuredly stand fast if we can but show a link. And I am sure they can call upon others. First, we need more information and hurriedly for we know not who our enemy is, nor when he may set the endgame in motion. When we return to the city, I must consult with the sages. Mayhap they can educate me, or direct us to those who would know more. Whatever we do, we must cease this chasing of leads, and discover how we can become the ones forcing our foe’s reactions. We have to turn the tables!”

[Khort]
“Perhaps the secret lies in provoking the anger of those responsible. We must have, already, caught their attention with our actions. Perhaps we can get closer to our enemy by craft, skill, or cunning. Pretend to wish to ally ourselves with them, and get closer to the heart to strike at it. Beyond that, as Samhain has made clear, it appears we chase many ends, but we seem not to be slowing the overall progress of our larger enemy.”

[Sink]
Breaking the silence, Sink drunkenly deadpans, “Wait. I remember now…”
(belch)
“Sorry, guys. I’ve been distracted by all the hospitality and the killer suite Sister May Elbersek has provided us with.”
(hiccup)
“On the other hand, I’ve been waiting for 22 moons for somebody to refill my goddamn stein…”
((urp))
“Where was I? Oh yeah. The electric requiem of the fallen at the Karak Lode still rings in my skull.… The madness of that place. Anarchy-eXuded from the very walls! Even as we speak, there is revolution calling. The mission ahead of us is to dig through this haystack of deceit and discover where the needle lies. And if it lies as well, for that matter.”
(((urrhhhmpfh)))
“Oh, and Boreas? See there? That wench? The flirtatious eyes of a stranger? While I don’t believe in love, per se… be sure to wrap that wyvern, lest you help with spreading the disease that I assume these Cooze-sand ladies are plagued.
((((the room begins to sway))))
“Would someone please help me to my empty room…”
Sink vomits all over the table.
He trails off muttering, “Operation: Mindcrime…”

[Khort]
Khort looks over, nods approvingly, and snorts. “Pass that.”

[DM]
With Sink passed out face first in the sand outside Bebe’s Bakery and Gothe off doing who knows what, Samhain, Boreas and Kort are a left sitting comfortably among the over-stuffed pillows that adorn the outdoor patio of the bakery. With cups full of the local moonshine ( the only ale this poor town had ran out early in the evening) the friends sit back and enjoy the peaceful desert night. With the towns folk shuffling home and the party dying down, the Halfling baker Bebe and Lotho sit down with you. Carrying a glass bottle Lotho offers to fill your mugs.
“Sorry for only having moonshine left” he says. “We don’t get much trade out here and the celebration tapped our resources.”
“Don’t bother them with our troubles” Bede says between puffs on his pipe. “Now that the Queen and the Warden are not around to burden us, we’ll get back on our feet.”
“Yeah. I suppose your right” Lotho responds, sitting down and putting his feet up. "Oh! Say, that reminds me…. I have something I’d like to give you all as a little ‘Thank You’ from the good folks of Dunesand. He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a finely crafted necklace consisting of a beautiful ruby carved into the shape of an eye and set on a silver chain. “Please, take this” he says, holding it out. “It’s been something I used to wear when I was a young explorer. It will sharpen your senses and help you to spot the minutest detail.” (This is a +2 Ornament of Alertness)

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Into the Mines
The Lost Mines of Karak

The heroes ride a shaky wooden platform secured with ropes and pulleys – an elevator if you will – down into the inky black below. After several hundred feet they arrive in a worked stone room with one exit. Exiting the room they encounter more troglodyte guards, affirming that they are on the correct path. In one of the guard rooms they discover a rotting journal buried under a pile of refuse. The journal tells the tale of the Karak Lode and most interestingly, what brought about its demise. Contrary to Bram Ironfell’s version of the story, the mines were destroyed from within by the very dwarves who lived here. When a new tunnel was opened, it was found to contain ore that was imbued with pure elemental chaos. The power of chaos radiated from the ore and eventually drove the dwarves mad. The dwarves turned on themselves until none of them remained.
Pressing on, the entered the mines and found that much of the ore here, pulsed with energy from the elemental chaos. The red, glowing veins of ore caused the walls and floors glow with a pulsating red light. As they ventured deeper into the mines, they began to encounter troglodyte slaves who were mining the ore and collecting it into large drams, which were then lugged down a rail system to somewhere deeper in the complex. The slaves wanted nothing to do with the heroes and cowered when approached by them.

Following the rail cars deeper into the mines, the Brindol Brigade found themselves in a large cavern which was divided by a chasm that opened directly into the Elemental Chaos. They watched as large beings of pure elemental energy picked up the cards of ore, and transported them into the elemental chaos and beyond. Behind them, are piled hundreds of dwarven skulls, a gruesome bier on which coils a serpentine creature with a human face – a vile naga.
“Who dares enter the domain of Queen Shephatiah!” hisses the Naga. “Mortal scum, you will pay dearly for your intrusion! Kill them!”

The battle is dynamic and fierce. The heroes leap across the chasm between planes and attack the queen and her minions. With precise, coordinated attacks, the heroes focus their attacks on the queen’s minions and tear them both into pieces in a few short moments. With all of their might now directed towards the queen, she quickly realizes that she is not match for this dangerous group. She barters for her life – she will tell them all she knows if the heroes will let her live. Reluctantly, they agree.

Shephatiah details how she was hired to discover the portal leading to the Karak Lode from the Elemental Chaos by an unknown benefactor. This benefactor is also financing the reopening of these mines. These unknown masters have claimed the wealth of the Karak Lode for themselves, and are having that wealth shipped to them by way of the elemental rift. She explains that lately, she has been instructed to ramp up production in the mines in response to an increasing need for the ore. What the ore is being used for, she does not know. Who is paying her, she does not know. Based on what they say of Sarshan’s foundry and operation in the Shadowfell, they can only assume that he is behind this. With their questions answered, the heroes allow Shephatiah to escape back to the elemental chaos.

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In Search of the Mines and the Birdman
The Lost Mines of Karak

After tending to their wounds and resting, the heroes explored the rest of Ironfell Fortress and were unable to find little else in the Fortress – of most concern was no evidence at all of mines or a way to access any mines. In fact, once the few remaining enemies were taken care of the entire fortress was deserted save for a strange little man they discovered locked in a cell by the Trogs. The curious old man, was quickly dubbed ‘The Birdman’ because of the seven yellow canaries that perpetually flew around him and seemed to communicate with him. The Birdman never spoke to the heroes and simply smiled and nodded to any questions they had. Befuddled, they returned searching the Fortress any evidence of the lost mines and soon found that the birdman was gone. Frustrated, they prepared to leave the fortress and return to Overlook empty handed when they noticed a single set of human footprints leading out of the Fortress and into the desert beyond. More troubling, though, was the ferocious sandstorm that bore down on the fortress. Surely the little old man would perish if caught out in that storm so the adventurers searched in vain for him but were forced to retreat back into the fortress by the increasingly angry storm.

Content to spend another night inside the fortress instead of being ripped apart by the violent sand storm rampaging outside, the players settled in for another night of rest.
Several hours into the night, Samhain detected the faint rattling of a portcullis being raised. He stood to investigate when, suddenly, the silence is shattered by a frantic chirping. The Birdman’s canaries are nowhere to be seen, yet their shrill warnings echo from the stones. The heroes took up their weapons and readied themselves. They spotted sudden movement at the arrow slits along the south wall. Three gray-skinned creatures with long, spindly arms squeezed themselves through the narrow gaps. To the east, a hulking Troglodyte with a skull mask and staff bursts into the room, another gray-skinned choker behind him. Assessing the situation, the Brindol Brigade spread out and pressed an attack on the would-be ambushers. While the troglodyte hexer was able to do some heavy damage initially, he was soon closed on by Khort and neutralized. The battle was over in just minutes.

Searching the bodies of their attackers, they heroes discovered a trail of yellow canary feathers that head from the site of the battle down towards the dungeon area. Following the feathers, the group found a perfectly circle hole in the floor of one of the cells that was not visible or present when they searched the area before. Who was this mysterious Birdman? Drawing on his knowledge of religion, Khort recalled stories that told of similar figure with yellow birds being an aspect of Bahamutt. Could it be true? Did the heroes just encounter the god of metallic dragons? Regardless of who has been helping the, the heroes pressed on and investigated the vertical passage that lay beyond the perfectly hidden passageway.

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Battered, Bloodied and Whole Again
The Lost Mines of Karak - RP Email 2

With the Dryad and her minions defeated, you and your companions searched the lair she had made for herself in what was once the Main Hall of this Dwarven Stronghold. Along with Samhain’s belongings, you discovered 4 finely cut gems and set of robes worn by the Dryad that radiate with magical energy. While exploring the rest of the area before settling in for a rest, you are able to discern that this complex is most certainly of Dwarven construction, however, you find little to indicate that this area houses a mining operation. Perhaps the stairs leading downward will yield more clues? After ensuring that the upper areas are cleared on enemies, you find an easily defended hallway with adjoining rooms on the second floor to hunker down in for the night.
The moan of wind passing over the collapsed roof of the once great entry hall in the Karak Lode has steadily increased to a wail since you and your companions settled in for a rest; a storm appears to be coming.
The floor is hard stone and the furniture has rotted to the point of making it unusable. Over the wail of the wind outside, little can be heard in the eerily silent stronghold as you sit and eat a meal of dried fruits, nuts and cured meat.

[Samhain]
Sam faces his companions, a contrite and troubled look on his face. “Thank you, my brothers, for the timely rescue…” He trails off, grimacing, then seems to find his voice again.
“I’m afraid your association with me has drawn you into something I don’t fully understand. I think I’m being… hunted. By whom, or for what purpose, I don’t know. He haunts my dreams, lurks in my nightmares. Always pursuing, always backed these beasts. Black, amorphous things of claws and teeth. Claws… just like that.” He points at Borneas’ weapon. “Do the legends of your people make any mention of a black-hooded figure tied to those monsters? Have any of you ever heard of a woman by name of Amyria?”

[Kort]
He gives a sheepish look to Samhain (odd, considering he’s a giant cow), and elbows him gently. “Next time, my friend, you should simply hold on to my back and let me take you up! Then, if we fall, you can land on me!” Then he gets serious. “I am, however, glad you survived. Now what is this woman named Amyria, and who does she represent?”

[Boreas]
Boreas looks down at his War Pick for what seems like an eternity to those around him. Right before anyone could say anything further, Boreas slowly turns up from his pick with a smile and playfully slaps Samhain on the back. His massive hand covering the whole of Samhain’s battered posterior. With that Boreas offers to Samhain, “My baby brother, Boreas is so weary from battle, I can’t even remember how spell name. It very tough for to remember much. Boreas take many hits from a club OK, but don’t know much of the world. Whatever these things, they go through me before they touch you. Never, I let you be taken again.”

Boreas shook his head confidently and reclined back. He said still smiling, “I will rest, my little friend, and maybe remember tomorrow.”

[DM]
[OOC] Ken, with regard to your pick: Boreas’ tribe was attacked by a group of monsters that seemed wrought from pure chaos. You defending your tribe single handedly after most warriors were killed. From one of these beasts you tore one of its mandibles and turned it into the pick you wield now.
The beasts in Sam’s dreams are the same beasts as the ones that attacked you village. Furthermore, in the monastery you guys trie to save (this is in the write up) you saw all saw a fresco that depicted a time long ago and the beasts were shown in the fresco. When you were in Sarshan’s foundry, you saw massive vats where Sarshan was using vile magic and energy from the elemental chaos to transform normal beasts into twisted monsters. In one of the vats, you saw, again, one of these chaos beasts. You struck at the vat, destroying the creature and ended up imbuing you pick with the power it has today.

[Samhain]
“No, Khort, you don’t understand. These dreams aren’t normal. They are visions, images of the past, perhaps of the future as well. Amyria doesn’t represent anything; she is, or was, real. The hooded man killed her… I think…” His voice trails off in thought, muttering more to himself than the others. “She said, ’I’m sorry.’ Too me? But, he said she would no longer have to shoulder the burden of being the ‘Keeper of Chaos…’ I don’t understand. Is that why he wants me… ?”
Sam looks up again. "The dryad said that ‘He’ wasn’t interested in any of you, although she did ask if we were the Heroes of Overlook, and what we were doing here, I think just to confirm my identity. Whoever this ‘he’ is, he wants me specifically; for what, I can’t be certain. Perhaps for the same reason he hunted Amyria. I have too many questions, however, and too few answers, and I don’t even know where to begin asking them. From what the tree-witch said, and the events in Overlook after we went to the Shadowfell, I’m beginning to think that maybe Sarshan’s operation is being used as part of this. Why else would his warehouses there lead us here, into this trap? The dryad was definitely an agent of the Hooded Man, though. This is her base of operations. I need to know what is going on, and that means I need to find out whatever may be in the lower levels of this complex.
“Khort, and Sink, I know this is something personal, so I’m asking for your help. What say you?”

[Khort]
“I am definitely ready to charge down those stairs and fight, though I admit, I am unaccustomed to this cloak and dagger lifestyle. The last time I faced such a situation, people turned on me, and I found myself crafting my own web to be stuck in. If I can end that peril for others, I am certainly eager. This keeper of chaos baffles me.”
(I’ll apply that knowledge check to arcane, if that’s cool. Sorry I forgot to specify).
“They nearly took us apart, with their tree magic and their fortifications. It is obvious they are very powerful. If they’re associated with the armies of Sarshan you described, even with my great strength, I fear we may not be able to stop so many. One at a time, my friends, we will work our way through to whoever is behind this.”

[Boreas]
……Boreas, trying to rest and remember starts to stir. His comrades, locked in conversation, don’t notice his sleeplessness until he jumps out of of his rest. He bellows, “I know these enemies. I fought them before, and will fight again. These enemies, very dangerous, but we defeat them. I protect my brothers to the death.” Now tapping his War Pick. “We go explore, and find what we need to take fight to them.”

With that, Boreas grabs Sink by the horn, who was huddled over a hollowed out stone (ha), and all the adventures head toward the stairs to search for answers……..

[Sink]
Sink mentions in passing, “You guys talk funny.”

[Khort]
::turns to Samhain::
“It’s nothing to me, this name, Amyria, alas.” He looks around. “But rest assured, we are in my element. Even if we are overwhelmed, I am at my best trying to find my way out of a situation like this. It reminds me of the maze. I made my way out of that; I will make my way into this place, fighting to its heart for what we need. Samhain, can you walk? Is there any lasting damage from your fall?”

[DM]
The rest of the evening passes with little excitement. While the storm outside seems to be picking up, the interior of the ancient ruins is silent; DEAD SILENT. Soon, the first rays of dawn can be seen peeking through the arrow slits that line the corridor our side of the room you rested in. Belongings are gathered and armor is secured into place as your hearty group of hero’s sets out to examine the last place left to explore in the Karak Lode: the barricaded stairs leading down

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The Lost Mines of Karak
The Lost Mines of Karak

Several days later Kalad approached the players again and informed them that member of the Elsir Consortium, Brahm Ironfell, would like to meet with the players to discuss these egregious allegations and other business.

The group agreed to the meeting and was escorted to a high end establishment where they were greeted by a lavishly adorned Dwarf who introduced himself as Brahm Ironfell. He explained that the Elsir Consortium took these allegations very seriously and if there as a corrupt member in their fold, they would find the person and bring them to justice. He also had some business he wanted to discuss with the players. A map showing the location of a long lost mine belonging to the Ironfell clan had been discovered and he wanted the players to investigate and see is the map did in fact point to the Karak Lode as it’s reopening would be able to aid Overlook in the finding of any preparations needed if Sarshan was orchestrating some sort of attack. After some questioning, the players agreed and set out to find the Karak Lode.

After several grueling weeks on the road, the exhausted heroes finally made it to the desert wasteland town of Dunesand. As they approached the remote, desert outpost they were shocked to find a cruel gnoll and his Blue Benhir mount beating to death a man while the rest of the town’s folk cowered in fear. The adventurers sprang into action and defeated the gnoll and his wicked pet. Afterwards, they learned that the gnoll was a beast named The Warden and he worked from some Queen that had taken up residence in a place called the Karak Lode. Every few weeks the gnoll would come to the town and demand tithe for the queen in the form of food and goods.

Despite sand infiltrating nearly every nook and cranny of Dunesand, the Brindol Brigade found the town to be quaint and inhabited by honest, hardworking folks who, despite having very little, were very hospitable and inviting. The heroes stayed in town for a few days while they resupplied and rested up for the long journey into the desert in search of the Karak Lode.
Following the map provided to them by Bram Ironfell, the adventurers traveled for several excruciating days through the scorching, barren expanse that is the Thornwaste until they found themselves standing at the base of massive basalt bluff. At the base they can see two guard towers of hewn stone set into the face of the bluff. Narrow gouges that might be arrow slits flanked a narrow track leading directly into the rock. Though worn by long years of sand and wind, the towers were clearly of dwarven construction, standing as strong as the day they were built.

Thinking it best to take a less direct approach that would not take them through the clearly visible gauntlet of arrow slots, the adventurers decided to scale the bluff and look for an alternate way into the ancient mine. Gothe scampered to the top to secure a line and the rest followed began to climb the hundred feet to the top to join Gothe. While he waited, Gothe explored the area at the top of the bluff and found a hole that appeared to be collapsed section of the Lode’s roof, providing the heroes a way in, as long as they could rappel down into the Lode. While Samhain struggled on the rope, the group up top was attacked by a coven of harpies that had taken roost in the area around the hole into the Lode. The battle was a fierce and dangerous affair as the harpies continually attempted to lure to heroes off the ledge with their hypnotic songs, but in the end, the heroes won the day. When the dust settled, the heroes were shocked to see that Samhain was nowhere to be found. Looking over the edge of the bluff, they could make out an area where it appeared Samhain had impacted the earth after falling from the rope and could also make out clear drag marks where his body was dragged inside the Lode by creatures unknown.

Acting fast, the remaining heroes rappelled into the hole and found themselves in the middle of a large room that appeared to be a reception room eons ago when the Lode was active. A large portion of the floor in this room was covered in the rubble from the roof collapse that caused the hole above. Several doors could also be seen through the dusty, torch-lit haze. As they prepared to venture forth, they were set upon by a Carrion Crawler and several Trogs who funneled in from several of the doors ringing the room. The battle was bloody and vicious, but lead by the great Boreas and determination to find their friend, the Brindol Brigade lived up to their reputation as formidable foes and laid low the beasts that attacked them. Wasting little time, the heroes pressed on and soon found themselves standing face to face with dryad who called herself ‘The Queen’ and her minions. To their relief, they also saw Samhain who was bound, gagged and terribly wounded but alive. Despite their previous injuries, the valiant heroes dove headlong into battle to rescue their fallen companion, Samhain. Their wounds accumulated and their spilled to the floor in rivulets but they fought on and defeated the Queen and her minions. With the battle won, and Samhain rescued, the reunited Brindol Brigade took a much needed rest.

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Return from the Shadowfell and the Loss of Friends
The Shadowrift of Umbraforge

Upon returning to Overlook, the Brindol Brigade sought out their friend Kalad, who was not one of the Captains of Watch in Overlook. They relayed all that they had discovered with regard to Sarshan’s weapons smuggling operation in Overlook as well as Modra’s involvement in the attack on Bordin’s Watch. Kalad thanked the players and set to inform the Council of Overlook and begin an investigation into who in Overlook was facilitating Sarshan’s operation.
The weary group made their way back to the Mountain Hearth Inn where they had been making their home while in Overlook and got some much needed rest. The next day, Kalad approached the group while they ate their morning meal at the Mountain Hearth Inn. He informed them that a full investigation had begun into Sarshan’s operation in Overlook and all of the warehoused the party had seen were in the process of being raided and searched. He told them that he would report to them as soon as he had more information but in the meantime he had a personal request for the group. A close friend of his in Overlook had a problem that she needed the players help with and he asked that they go and talk to her in Trade Town.
The group set out and found Ms. Roseyln Green who was a baker in Trade Town. She sat the players down and told them that her daughter Tes had gone missing yesterday and had not returned. She begged the players to help her. Being the heroes they were, the group immediately began to investigate and found that Tes and her friend had snuck out to a play called Dusk that was very popular with teen aged kids. Tes was last seen at the play, which was being held at the AMC Farm outside of Overlook, waiting in line to meet the star of the play.
The heroes immediately set out for the AMC farm and after some investigating found the cast members of the play to be a ridiculous cast of characters but they seemed innocent enough. The crew, however, seemed very suspicious and the heroes had some hard questions for them when they awoke that evening.
As the theater grounds filled up with kids for the next showing, the adventurers confronted the crew members who turned out to be vampires. The crew dominated a large portion of the teenage crowd, which attacked, and then attempted to flee in several of the troupe’s wagons.
While holding off the mob of savage teenage girls, the heroes jumped into a wagon themselves and chased after the vampires. An epic battle on top of speeding wagon ensued and the party was badly pressed as the vampires savagely attacked the party. Gothe and Runtwold went down atop the wagon, leaving Samhain and Boreas alone. Near death, Gothe and Boreas decided they were not match for the vampires and jumped off the wagons. Samhain made a valiant attempt to rescue Runtwold, however, he was struck badly in the attempt and he too fell of the wagon unconscious leaving poor Runtwold at the mercy of the vampires as the wagons sped off into the darkening night.
Mourning the loss of their friend, the wounded adventurers returned to Overlook and broke the bad news to Roselyn who was devastated at the loss of her daughter. She thanked the players for their efforts and offered her condolences for the loss of their friend.
Shell shocked by the loss of their stalwart Dwarven shaman, the players shuffled back to the Mountain Hearth Inn and in doing so, barely noticed the fliers that plastered the town announcing an awards ceremony for the Heroes of Overlook: The Brindol Brigade!
The next day, the group was approached by Kalad once again who was sent to get the party and return them to Caer Overlook, the fortress where the Council of Overlook conducts its business and resides. After cleaning up a bit, the players followed Kalad and met with the Council who informed the players that they would like to award each of them with a medal of honor in recognition of all they have done for Overlook. They were given guest rooms to say in and were provided with a very fine set of clothing for the ceremony which was to take place on the stairs of Caer Overlook the following morning.
During the ceremony, the group was ambushed. In the ensuing battle, Artin was killed but the attackers were subdued and interrogated. It was at this time, the group met up with Kort and Sink, who were there to watch the ceremony and whose companions were also slain. They teamed up to find out who was responsible for the attack.
Interrogation of the attackers revealed that they had a base of operations in the Nine Bells district. The newly formed group assaulted the compound and followed up on more leads that revealed that someone in Elsir Consortium responsible for leasing the warehouses to Sarshan and orchestrated the ambush on the players.
With this information the group immediately informed Kalad that someone in the Consortium was corrupt and had put a price on the player’s heads. Kalad and the council informed the group that an investigation would proceed with all haste and that the players should lay low for a bit.

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Into Sarshan's Tower
The Shadowrift of Umbraforge

With the information provided by Leena, the group snuck up to Sarshan’s Dark Foundry and entered through a broken and jagged hole in the wall. Inside the foundry the red glow of a lava trench was shrouded by shifting clouds of shadow and steam. Huge stone vats with steel doors lined both sides of this massive chamber, where great arrangements of pipes and vents connected them. Among the great foundry where Sarshan worked his dark magic, they saw Modra and a squad of Dark Creepers working to sabotage the Sarshan’s operation. The moment they were spotted, the battle was on and the group of adventurers fought an epic battle against Modra’s forces. After the battle, the players surveyed what Modra and his men were up to and determined that the damage they had done to the foundry was too great and its destruction was inevitable. A quick search of the area revealed a secret tunnel leading to Sarshan’s tower. While the group could care little for what happened to Sarshan’s operation, they had questions that needed to be answered so they made hast through the secret tunnel.
At the end of the tunnel they found themselves at another secret door that lead to the library of the tower. Inside they found some of Sarshan’s researchers and more importantly, guards who welcomed the party with blades drawn. After dispatching the guards quietly, the party investigated the adjoining rooms. Most of the part listened at the one door where they could hear a conversation going on between what sounded like Gnolls and one of Sarshan’s men. The gnolls mentioned something about the forging of a weapon called ‘Wicked Fang’ and also complained that the weapon provided could not be used and they needed training. Gothe set off on his own and in an adjoining room found a pair of tower servants who cowered in fear. Gothe began to question one of the servants but when he became frustrated by his lack of answers, he fired a crossbow bolt into the helpless man; killing him. The second servant began screaming in terror and fled up a nearby set of stairs to alert the guards. The battle was on.
In an epic battle the players fought against all of Sarshan’s guards and some of his guests in a battle that spanned several levels of the tower as the tower began to crumble around them as a result of Modra’s sabotage of the foundry. Soon, though, they found themselves surrounded and Sarshan himself approached the group. He was impressed with their abilities and gave them a choice, join him or die. The players hefted their weapons and readied spells as they spat on the ground and said they would rather die than join him. The tower shook violently again and seemed on the verge of collapse. “Kill them” Sarshan said to his most trusted lieutenant as he made haste to escape the doomed tower.
The group held off the enemies while Gothe worked to activate a portal set in the wall. It was their only chance to escape. With nimble fingers, he activated the magic portal and the players dove through it just as the tower came down around them.
When their senses came to, they found themselves back in the portal room under the happy beggar. With haste, they returned to the streets of Overlook and informed the Elders of what they had found:
• Sarshan is powerful figure from the Shadowfell who brokers in weapon and mercenaries.
o He has been using the portal room under the Happy Beggar to facilitate his arms dealing via warehouses in Overlook.
• Large numbers of mercenaries are moving into and out of Sarshan’s base in the Shadowfell. To where the mercenaries are going is unclear, but all of the mercenaries the players talked to told them that the word was out that all swords for hire should head to Sarshan’s base for work.

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Meanwhile, in the Tavern....
The Shadowrift of Umbraforge - RP Email 2b

Samhain and Runtwold decide to turn in for the night and head back to their tent. Boreas, Gothe and Artin, not ones to let good drink pass them by, decide to stay for one more round.
Just as you are about to order one more round, a tall troll wearing finely crafted armor approaches the table carrying another round of drinks.
“You’re the group that shut those Bonecrusher ruffians up, right?” he says in common. “They’ve been pulverizing some of our best soldiers for a month now, so this round is on me” He sets the cups on the table, then motions to an empty chair: “May I?”

[Boreas]
Boreas drunkly barks. “Ha! Maybe you stand for a moment longer. Fame comes easy to those that lay on praise and then sit at the table of recent champions. Tell us the names of these men. Tell us so that we can know the names of those that we have also bested and those that we have avenged. Then you may sit with us.”

His arm extends out over the table, his hand moving to the back of the open chair. He waits and stares.

[DM]
The troll stares back at the massive Goliath for a moment, then lets out a approving laugh.
“Very well, friend.” he says. “All of the names I cannot remember, but the Black Rock Clan was killed no more than 5 days ago. The Savage Bade mercenary troop was laid to waste before them. Your work at the training grounds was very impressive.”
He moves to sit in the empty chair: “So what brings you to Umbraforge?”

[Artin]
Artin mutters, “Mead.”

[Boreas]
“Mead? Hah! I expect more from you my stout friend. Maybe you’ve been petting the dog too much go join the skinny elves in the trees.”

Turning to the troll: “We come for sport. For killing and conquest. For me it is the fame. For others it is for payback. Arrrrrrrtin, here, he fights for pussy because he can’t find ways to pay for it. Hahahah!”

He slaps Artin’s back, driving his face into the mead. Artin’s arm comes back across to Boreas, caught in mid laugh, throwing him to the floor. The bar stops for a moment to stare at the table. Boreas raises himself from the floor. Lumbering forward he drives himself into Artin with what seems at first like vigorous takedown but instead turns into a massive bear hug.

“Hahaha! You’re a good sport their Artin!”

[Artin]
“Bah! Le’h me down, ye runt of an Ogre!” Artin bellows with a chuckle. One his feet are firmly back on the dingy floor of the tavern tent, Artin sternly points up to Boreas, scolding him: “And if you ever waste me’ Mead again like that, it’ll be more than the blade of me axe you feel.”
Grumbling under his breath about his companion, Artin returns to his seat at the table and hoists his mead to his lips and takes a long draw off of it.
“I had come looking for someone.” Artin said to the troll, “Someone who sought to lay waste to my home. We tracked him here and I intend to bring him to justice back in the World.” Looking to Boreas, then back to the troll: “And if I can sell this lout into slavery while I here, all the better. Perhaps you know someone looking for a nurse maid?” Taking another long pull from his mead, Artin chuckles and shakes his head.

[DM]
The troll smirks at the exchange between the two oddly paired friends. “So you’ve ….” he begins before Artin cuts him short. No longer interested in the troll and with a head full of mead, Artin puts his forearm on the table and leans in towards Boreas, talking softly: “Back at the Monastery, we talked about the fresco high up on the walls depicting a long forgotten battle against an ancient evil. I saw a hint of familiarity in your eyes as you took in the battle. What did you see? What brought you to Brindol?”
No sooner had the words escaped Artin’s lips than Runtwold and Samhain burst into the tavern.
“Quickly, we’ve found Modra!” Sam said Artin as he pulled him off of his stool.

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