Half, Half and Half

Seriously Delayed Post- Part 3
Session XXVIII to Present (XXXII)

After nearly two weeks of long travel, Half, Half, & Half sighted the old city atop the rock. Rising from the bank of The Roan, Fortune’s Telling sat as if watching everything in the valley and on the river. The small port just outside the city gate was busy with activity as ships docked and shoved off, sea bound. After miles of farm country, the sight of the city taking up the southern horizon was a welcome sight.

A great wall surrounded the city buildings and only one gate controlled the traffic into and out of the city. One great road, properly paved after the bridge over the river, led into the city as if a tribute to the great river flowing below. Once inside the walls, the group found an inn, The Stag, which had a stable for their horses. They had a few days to kill before the night detailed on the note arrived and they would have to face the Cult of Vecna, so they sought work. One the road to Fortune’s Telling, the group had found themselves lacking money for Thelen’s night with a succubus had come back to haunt him. They were camped along a drop-off to a river far below in the pass between the two halves of the Irix Mountains when he seemed to appear from nowhere. A man with horns and a tail, possibly a tielfing, came into camp one morning, asking after Thelen. He produced a receipt for the time spent with the succubus which totaled to 800 gold and reported that in a few days time he would return to collect the debt, one way or another, then departed. The group scraped together what they had which fell short, potentially putting Thelen’s life, if not the group’s lives, in danger. In a moment of clarity and perhaps divine intervention, Niorah recalled a map that Gertrude had left for her several months ago when they parted. On it, Gertrude had written that she left something for Niorah at a hidden location that would be revealed at dawn in a particular spot. Niorah was able to find the spot, not too far from where they had camped and apparently found an inheritance or nest egg of sorts. Luckily for the group, this amounted to 600 gold pieces, more than half what was asked by the succubus’ pimp. Therefore, when they reached Fortune’s Telling, the group was interested in a time-killer rather than a payday.

The inn-keep, a half-orc known as Amaraetha, pointed them into the direction of The Adventurer’s Guild where she knew a few of the members. As the group explored the city, they took in all the sights and sounds: the white alabaster buildings with red roofs that was the theme of the city, the stone paved roads, the guards wearing shining armor and black cloth, and of course the castle at the top of the cliff. Eventually, the group made it to the Adventurer’s Guildhouse and was granted an audience with the Guildmaster Ferrius, a huge fat man with greying hair and a bushy beard.

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Seriously Delayed Post- Part 2
Session XXVIII to Present (XXXII)

It took the better part of two weeks to catch up to the group of cultists transporting the Ebon Suit. And when they saw the large party of black robed people escorting several wooden carts, Half, Half, & Half knew that a showdown was coming. Taking a day, the group stayed just out of notice of the cultists, watching and waiting for nightfall while they devised a plan. When night fell, the three adventurers-come-mercenaries attacked. They counted over a dozen cultists and fought over a dozen cultists. That slimy “priest of the Raven Queen” Sellennen was, as they suspected, the leader of this branch of the cult. He created a wall of fire around the iron box containing the Ebon Suit and fought. It was a long and bloody fight. There were no clean deaths for any of the cultists as the group let all hell loose upon them. After many rounds, seventeen cultists were dead, Sellennen among them. No survivors remained and the wall of fire was extinguished.

The group searched for any correspondence or useful item. In the folds of Sellennen’s black robes, they found a letter from The Heart of Vecna. It detailed that the Ebon Suit was to be a gift, a prize, for the Heart for the completion of some important work. Sellennen’s faction was in charge of delivering the box and was due to give the suit over at a place called The Grove in Fortune’s Telling on the 15th of Rys at midnight. While the others searched the bodies of the slain cultists, Thelen wandered to the iron box. He could feel necrotic energy pulsing away from the box, as if being softly repelled. Not sure what to do with the box, Thelen touched the ironwork. As if in response to his touch, the lid on the box opened and fell to the ground with a loud crack like thunder. Thelen thought he heard a sigh escape from the box. Unsure of what may or may not have just happened, the group wrapped the beautiful black chainmail in animal skin. Then, just outside the ring of carnage, the group made camp for the night.

Niorah woke to the sight of the chainmail sitting up, propped against the side of her tent as if someone were there waiting for her. The animal hide that the mail was wrapped in the night before was strewn along the ground as if the mail had shed it during the night. Feeling entirely creeped out, the group packed up and moved on, tying the suit in a ball wrapped in the hide. When they stopped for camp the next night, Thelen and Tiaria tied the suit to a tree. In the morning, it had not moved. Ultimately, as the group drew closer and closer to Fortune’s Telling, Thelen and Tiaria convinced Niorah to don the armor. Reluctantly, Niorah did. Almost immediately she felt a field or a bubble of anti-necrotic energy surround her. Thelen saw this bubble form, like a magical field of protection.

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Seriously Delayed Post- Part 1
Session XXVIII to Present (XXXII)

The group struck east, following a road that many travelers for a great portion of Olmean history had followed. The Mirsha’an Road stretches from Fortune’s Telling to Amoria through the steppes and grassland, past the Irix Mountains and over The Roan of which Fortune’s Telling overlooks. Along the road, the group calculated that a large group of people moving through the heat would move slowly and that in about a week could be caught. With this is mind, Half, Half, & Half started the 500+ mile trek.

A few days in, rain began which turned the now dirt road into a quagmire. As the group routinely stopped for the night, several unknown and strangely dressed people stepped into view from the heavy rain. These two men appeared not to speak common but instead lead the groups horses a ways away from the road and into the brush. Soon, a tent came into view and the two men escorted the group to the entrance. The tent was grand, larger than any the group had seen before. Incense burned on several tables, plush pillows lay in one corner around a low table, the only source of light was a few candles burning on a central table where a strange woman sat. She beckoned them to come closer and introduced herself as Astarix Starseer. She told them that they were now in the moving city of Angor Th’o and that she would divulge to them their fortunes. Producing a well-used deck of tarot cards, Astarix bid them sit at the table and told their fortunes. When she was finished she gave each member a charm. Each was unique, depicting a different symbol and each was made of a different material. The group left the tent, looking back to see nothing but extinguished candles and burning incense.

Upon exiting, the charms began to sense an energy of some sort. Each charm was lifted from the palms of the adventurers and pointed in a different direction. Deciding to pursue what this meant, the group split up. Niorah followed her charm through a maze of darkened tents to find her long time friend Trenk of the Steel working his forge. It was the exact forge that he worked back at Fort Summit. Something was off about him however and before long Niorah noticed that something was not right. As she watched, Trenk’s mouth grew wider and wider until the shell that was Trenk’s body fell to pieces. What was left was a darkness, a void of sorts that wanted nothing more than to see Niorah dead. As they battled, Niorah fought for her life against this creature of darkness and though deeply shaken, was able to kill the shadow monster. It was one of the only times in her life that Niorah felt herself shaking from fear instead of adrenaline after a fight.

In the meantime, Tiaria followed her charm to the outskirts of the tent city where there stood a large tree. A beautiful woman stood at the tree smiling at Tiaria. Though she said no word, Tiaria felt that she was in the presence of Sehanine, her quasi-patron goddess. As Tiaria drew closer to the woman, the tree began to creak and crack until a dryad ripped itself from the tree and slashed at Tiaria, dissipating the illusion of the beautiful woman. Her confidence shaken and her perception shattered, Tiaria battled the dryad, a piece of the forest come to kill her. The battle was long and tough but Tiaria managed to put a little distance between herself and the dryad to effectively gather her senses and attack with the weapon she knew best- her bow. Tiaria Shortcloak felled the dryad before long and left the broken tree to contemplate what this meant.

While Niorah and Tiaria were fighting for their lives, Thelen Vos had other issues on hand. His charm led him to a place they had just left- The Bull’s Balls back in Amoria. When Thelen entered, he expected to see robust and bushy-bearded Manny standing behind the bar. Instead, his replacement, Gethana was waiting for him. They talked for a moment before the young woman led him upstairs to a room and dropped her clothes and her form. Standing before him was a succubus, naked and leering. In a moment of pragmatism and perhaps an emergence of the strengthening wild soul, Thelen decided that instead of falling prey to this succubus, he would make her submit to him. And he succeeded. For the better part of an hour, the succubus and Thelen battled in bed, fighting for dominance and inflicting wounds deeper than they knew on one another. In the end, Thelen literally came out on top and the succubus returned to wherever she came from. Perhaps the most scarred of all, Niorah effectively watched this struggle (which I’m sure would have been highly arousing to anyone besides an asexual) for a few minutes. She never looked at Thelen quite the same again.

Contemplating what each one of them just went through quietly to themselves (except Thelen who had a smirk on his face) the group walked back towards the central tent they had entered first. When they entered the tent again, all was cold and dark. Only incense was burning in the tent. The group stumbled and Tiaria was the first to succumb to sleep in the plush cushions of the tent. Afraid but exhausted, Niorah and Thelen eventually followed suit.

In the morning they woke to a slowly drying world in their camp (supplied by their Instant Campsite). The horses were grazing not far from the road and the only remaining proof that the traveling city of Angor Th’o had actually been there was the charms that each member was wearing.

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Quick Update from Session XXVI to XXVIII
General Information

The group cleared out the Catacombs of Amoria located under the Church of the Raven Queen in their search for Sellennan. At the end of the catacombs they found a leader of some sort of the Cult of Vecna who had a Black Book on his person. Notably, they captured, questioned and let a lesser member go. They reported back to Zanfalcon that they could not find Sellennan and returned to The Bull’s Balls. Then things turned into a sort of waiting game while Captain Rashiim searched the city for the priest-impersonator.

A few days later, the group received a summons from Zanfalcon and he gave them instruction to check out a farm to the south. Recently, the farmer and his family had been found murdered and skinless in the home and a large hole was dug outside. Zanfalcon asked the group to investigate what the cultists took. As they arrived, the guard watching the house was found hanged from the large tree outside. Before the rain came, the group was able to discern that a large suit of armor called the Ebon Suit, was taken from the property. A baroness used to live on the property many many years ago and collected suits of armor. They returned to Zanfalcon with this information who said that he would see what his friend at the Library of Fairburn knew about the suit. In the meantime, he said that a new library was opening in Amoria and that the tournament had been postponed for a night to celebrate. At the party, Thelen showed off his fire skills and Niorah gave her axe to an eladrin who promised to sharpen it essentially. Thelen also had an odd run in with an eladrin who said some cryptic things to him and then disappeared.

Round three continued as normal a day later (after Niorah found her axe in her room). On the second day of the round a body was found staked to the street. He was a halfelf who had a magical tattoo. Just a few days later Tiaria and Thelen had found the magical tattoo parlor. People were gathered around the body including Priestess Enna who was the new priestess of the Raven Queen. The next day, a decree was issued stating that guards were going to be posted around the city and Niorah fought a large human man named Rehdar Hoofsmith. Day four of round three yielded a new body, this one a halfling who turned out to be mummified of sorts. Moreover, the two guards who were posted by where she was found were missing. The fifth day of round three was a day of panic for the city. The two guards who were missing turned up floating face-down in The Ditch with their throats slit. The group knew Kriss, one of the guards.

Manny was missing on day five and a young girl named Gethana was in his place. Thelen suspects that she is Manny’s bastard. It turned out that he was conversing with Zanfalcon the whole time. The group recieved a letter from Requa as well but some pages seemed to be missing and the letter was beaten up. Not to mention Kiwi who was shot through with an arrow that nearly killed her. Zanfalcon decided that finding the Ebon Suit was of the utmost importance and urged the group to find it. He gave them some information about where the group of cultists were and he also gave Niorah a broach/pin of the crest of Amoria. After that, rain began to pour down and the group made their way through the night on the muddy road. Thank god someone had left three horses for them…

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Session XXV
The Amorian Catacombs Pt. 1

Half, Half, and Half was touched by the dedication of the old warrior, pausing for a moment as the echo of the raven faded into silence. Niorah was the first to move, remembering the large key she held in her hand. It was made of pure ivory, and the bottom of the handle held a black pearl with the letter “P” engraved into it in calligraphy style text and painted red. The top of the key had birds carved into it, spiraling down, growing bigger as it joined the handle. The handle itself had a strange pattern of lines cut into it. After thoroughly examining the key, they gathered at the back of the temple to plan their next move when the doors of the temple burst open and what looked like the whole town guard swarmed into the building in military fashion. Rashiim strode in afterward roaring.
“Where is that mangy priest?” For such a small man he certainly had quite the voice. “Have you seen that bastard around here?” He asked the group, commanding authority with every step.
“We were looking for him as well actually.” Niorah replied. Rashiim grunted.
“No luck I suppose?”
“No, none. We haven’t seen him for at least a day,” Thelen put in. Rashiim sighed.
“Why are you looking for him?” Niorah asked.
“He is wanted for murder, among other things. Impersonating a priest of the Raven Queen for example. He must answer for his crimes.” A pause ensued, in which the group exchanged looks that said that all their suspicions had been confirmed.
“Well, you three were the last to see him then? How long ago was that?”
Niorah proceeded to tell Rashiim about the “errands” they had been doing for Sellennen as Thelen input a detail every now and then. Tiaria just listened to the story, trying to puzzle out what the key was for. When Niorah finished, Rashiim sighed.
“It seems-” the doors of the temple burst open once more as Zanfalcon strode in. Rashiim saluted him immediately.
“Sir.”
“Now is not the time friend,” Zanfalcon’s deep voice resonated as he placed a hand on the gnome’s shoulder.
“Sellennen isn’t here, as we feared.” Zanfalcon nodded.
“Indeed not, but these three are. I think it is best we have a chat,” he said turning to the three. “It seems as though the Raven Queen herself has appointed you a task. That is her key and that was her disciple. I think you ought to head down into the catacombs and see what she has in store for you. Any duty that a god appoints you is more important than any business I have for you. When you have finished your task here, I ask that you return to me as I have an important issue to discuss with you. The Raven Queen is waiting though I do not expect she will wait forever. Oh, and I know that you are a contender in the tournament, I shall suspend your match until you have finished here. Fare thee well.” Zanfalcon hastily turned, motioned for his men to follow. In a stream of boots and heavy breathing the temple again was quiet. For a moment, the group just stood there taking in all that had been said.
“Where d-”
CAW. CAW.” The raven from earlier had landed on the podium and was staring at them with its head cocked and beady black eyes. Everyone turned to look at it. It simply looked back.
“Where do you think the catacombs are anyway?” Niorah resumed.
“Well, we went back into the embalming room a few days ago, do you think there was a door back there?” Tiaria offered.
“Maybe” Niorah narrowed her eyes and walked to the door leading to the embalming room. The door was locked but the Ivory Key the old warrior had given her didn’t fit into the lock.
CAW” said the raven again from the podium.
“Do you think you could pick this open Tiaria?” Niorah called back. Tiaria approached the door and picked the lock clean open. The door creaked open to a very dim, very empty room. They saw no door besides the one they had just opened.
CAW. CAW. CAW.” Came from the podium.
“Oh my gods, what,” said Tiaria as she joined the bird. She looked at it and it looked at her. Thelen was perplexed by the little creature.
“What a strange little bird…” he mused aloud as he watched it. It turned towards him and cawed again. And that’s when Thelen saw it. There on the podium was an iron emblem. The letter “R” was encircled in wiry thread, one end sticking out. Without thinking much about it, Thelen pulled on the end. A series of metallic clicks filled the air around them until a loud scraping like stone against stone revealed a staircase leading down.
“Huh,” Thelen chuckled, looking from the bird to the emblem to the hole in the floor where the staircase now was. As soon as the chuckle escaped him however, his smile faded and a dark look took its place. He felt it. A presence like a low groaning or the rattling of chains. Something was down there. Something magically created but wrong. An abomination and a poorly made abomination that despised its own existence. Whoever constructed it was not skilled, probably just learning in fact. Thelen’s voice was low when he spoke.
“We need to be careful down here. There’s something…undead in these catacombs. But it’s not smart. It’s badly made but that doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous. We need to be careful.”
“Duly noted,” Niorah said as she took a step down the stairs, on hand clutching the hilt of her battleaxe. Carefully they picked their way down the stairs, staring the darkness down, waiting for anything to happen. When they reached the bottom, two large braziers blazed to life in the corners of the room. The room wasn’t very big, the floor was made of flagstone and coffins were on shelves from floor to ceiling. Several coffins lie on the ground instead with the ancient names of the bones they used to hold carved into a stone plaque at their feet. At the far end of the room, the ground was raised a step and two larger coffins sat upon it. There was a dark archway to either side of the step.
“Thelen, what more do you feel?” Niorah asked, feeling a little more relaxed from the light in the room.
“Mmmm, nothing much different” Thelen said slowly, his eyes closed. His aura pulsed from his body, searching for something, anything to latch onto.
Tiaria grew bored of the caution. She approached the nearest coffin and pulled at the lid. The ancient nails held fast against her small fingers. She hopped up on top of the coffin to test it’s old wood. She counted to three under her breath then jumped, smashing into the lid as hard as she could. The boards under her feet cracked but did not open. Feeling as though she made some progress, she jumped again, this time breaking through to the dusty old remains of the poor soul who rest there.In the meantime, Niorah had ventured onto the platform to look at the two coffins there and Thelen had wandered over to Tiaria, interested in her little game.
As the sound of the cracking boards filled the chamber, Niorah heard something dragging on the ground towards them from the dark archway. She barely had time to spin around and find the sound before one rheumy, pale eye met her own. The mummy, clad in yellow, sometimes brown, bandages swiped its massive hand at her. He connected to her neck, somehow slicing the flesh there, though not very deeply. Niorah swiped back with the metal extension of her arm that was her axe, hacking at the mummy’s midsection. No blood flowed but the mummy roared. Thelen sprang to action as he realized what was happening. Letting some of his wild blood loose, he sprang at the monster, allowing it to try and hit him while simultaneously bursting into flame. The ribbon of once soft cloth, now putrid rot caught fire instantly. Tiaria stopped searching through the coffin long enough to launch an arrow into the eyesocket of the monster before Niorah dealt the finishing blow, exploding the back of its skull out and the mummy fell to the ground still smoldering.

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Session XXI- XXIV Part 3
Details of the Quasi-Summer Hiatus

Apparently people had sent letters to each other once they arrived in Amoria. Tiaria sent one to her lover Aradin and Niorah sensibly sent one back to Requa. Both replied and even Thelen got mail from an unpracticed hand. Literally it looked like a child had written it. But, such is the work of medieval literacy.
Niorah had advanced to the second round of the tournament which is good because who doesn’t need 25, 370 gold pieces to their name? Not to mention that everyone is making bets on who will win left and right. The flow of gold in Amoria is quite like the ocean, ebbing in and out with the contestants, the day Zanfalcon fights it seems like everyone is willing to bet their whole inheritance, yet when unknown half-orcs from estranged families fight, a few hundred gold can be found on a good day. And Tiaria probably would say that the moon watches all things, pulling the tides into the shores and the gold from unsuspecting citizen’s pockets. Don’t worry though, she’s a ranger.
So it came to be that Niorah fought on the second day of round two but we will get there in a moment. First, we must travel to the shores of Old Blood Basin also known as the lake to the west of Amoria. Upon arriving at the sun baked, mud caked, storm-shaked dock, they were attacked. The cultists wore black in the blistering heat (probably already suffering from the effects of heat stroke) seemingly waiting for something. The group hid in the hastily constructed shrubbery that wasn’t supposed to be there and which eventually let them down. A fight broke out and much blood was spilled. There were over a dozen people there, milling about, waiting, waiting, waiting. All of them slaughtered soon enough if not from the mental torture of chaos bolt then from the cleaving head of Niorah’s nasty axe and the piercing, penetrating, desecrating shot from Tiaria’s tightly strung bow. Eventually they found a regular looking though quite old quarter staff hanging out right where Sellennen vaguely explained it would be. Under water. In a chest. Under a decaying dock.
But Half, Half, and Half are no fools. They suspected the sleezy “Raven Queen priest” and decided to test his sincerity. They marched back to Amoria and thrust the staff into the priest’s hands demanding “show us that you actually know what you’re talking about” (and presumably not trying to get us killed but we don’t want to offend you just in case you’re the real deal). Sellennen took the staff and the scrap of paper he probably randomly pulled out of that crate and invoked the Raven Queen to reveal to her faithful servant something relevant. (DM sweats profusely and rolls a bluff check that magically passes everyone’s passive insight and then thanks the Raven Queen and every other god). The page doesn’t glow or anything cool, hell the staff doesn’t even do anything but Sellennen uses his little noodle and tells the group that the page is broken text, speaking of an emperor from three centuries past, to which Niorah says “Favan? Favan V?” and (the DM relaxes a little) Sellennen looks amazed, “How did you know that’s what the text said?” Grimly Niorah details that they’ve dealt with this old dead white guy before. This seems to be enough for the group, enough to satiate their appetite for betrayal and they leave.
The next day of the fight though is really interesting. A dwarf by the name Vistra Ironfist is in the tournament (and no one has seen a dwarf in…ages, literally). She fights a different, smaller dragonborn who she promptly beats into the ground. Zanfalcon on the other hand fights a tiny halfelf who probably pissed himself outright when he saw the lists for the day. He was also probably drunk during the match as he tried to drown his fear and sorrow in a tavern while his friends told him that it could be worse…..
Niorah has an interesting match also. For the second time in her life (assumes the humble author) she fought a teifling named Misery. She was a sad little woman with not a whole lot to live for, which is why she probably named herself Misery in the first place. She fought to the end though, suffering terrible injuries including but not limited to a dislocated shoulder then actually breaking that shoulder, a smashed nose, and probably a ton of torn ligaments and stuff. Ouch.
After the day of fighting, the group took to the hills. They still had one more piece of the puzzle to find and nothing was going to stop them. Not even like fifteen cultists. They slaughtered all of them then searched the abandoned mine for ANYTHING that could possibly be related to ANYTHING helpful and literally find one scroll which details the sale of Querry Hill Mine. It doesn’t even say who to but it lists 402 (yeah that’s like 15 years ago) SEM as the sell date. Assuming this is the thing they just killed twenty people for, the group returned to Amoria to hand it over to Sellennen. They head straight to the Temple of the Raven Queen but Sellennen wasn’t there. Trusting Manny to have some knowledge of the town and its happenings, they returned to the Bull’s Balls. Manny says that Sellennen returned his key and has been gone for a while now. Said he went quietly, just left. Manny assumed he went back to the Temple but this is not the case obviously as the group had just been there and found no trace of him. Thelen and Tiaria move upstairs to lockpick their way into Sellennen’s room while Niorah presumably drank. After some hassle, Tiaria is a ranger after all, they got the door open and examined the room. Inside, they found nothing super amiss though the humble author cannot be sure, as these events took place many years ago…..After that this author thinks they drank and fell asleep.
In the morning, the group returned to the Temple of the Raven Queen, again looking for Sellennen. They did not find him but instead found one of the Raven Queen’s disciples. He said that he was an old warrior, and surely his body was proof enough of that. He was marred with scars across his face and arms and was blind, whether from old age or combat we can never know. He said that he was a devoted follower of the Raven Queen though would not give his name. They asked about the missing priest (whom they had grown evermore suspicious about over their tankards) and the man seemed to confirm these suspicions. He was blind, this much is true, but he sensed that Sellennen wasn’t who he said he was. The old man rarely sensed another person in the temple. He would assume that a person who dedicated their life to a god would serve that god but this was apparently not the case. As the group talked about rechecking the rooms of the temple, the old man smiled and stood up. “Ah, there she is, it seems my time is finally done and the Dark Mistress calls me. Take this,” he said as he held out his hand, a large white key resting in his palm. As Niorah took the object, the old man shuffled away to the steps leading to the podium. “At last” he breathed, collapsing to the floor as overhead a raven cawed once, twice.

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Session XXI- XXIV Part 2
Details of the Quasi-Summer Hiatus

The walk was as normal, the group had followed the eastern road out of the small town of Silverclaw once before. This time, they were heading father than just Stretching Lake and Galu Rock Stronghold where Niorah had reconnected with her mother and discovered her father’s body missing. It could be seen as bittersweet for her, passing the somewhat familiar trees and knowing that she had even fewer answer and many more questions walking down the road a second time. Though she and the group had little time to contemplate such matters when, out of sleep, they were awoken by their magical chime to a group of mismatched goblins who were dispatched easily for disrupting their rest.
Upon revisiting Galu Rock, the group contemplated delving back into Morbash’s Tomb if only to check that the state of affairs had not changed since last they visited. This proved too much for Niorah who directed the group away from that thought. Niorah’s mother Gertrude was no longer at the stronghold, having departed with Niorah’s half sister Shareg and leaving only a shred of a piece of paper with a poorly drawn map on it. Gorgo the Fearless relays that lately the road has been dangerous and trade has been slow.
Without much hesitation, the group followed the road south, suffering from the heat of the summer. The southern road that stretches between Stretching Lake and Old Blood Basin is a desolate one often filled with abandoned homesteads, bandit clans, and intense thirst. And as the group neared Amoria they came across a handful of people that fit all three bills. The group was made up of teiflings, one of which was wounded badly, the others who claimed to have lost a member of their party. The group agreed to help them find their lost member, having the memory of man-eating crocodiles fresh in their minds from their last trip south. Unfortunately for Half, Half, and Half, the whole thing was a set up. They lead the group into the tall and dangerous hills north of Amoria where they ambushed them. Two of the teiflings turned out not to even be teiflings but actually doppelgangers hired by Bladecarver himself to lure and kill the party. It was a tough scrap but the party emerged victorious and a few locks of silver doppelganger hair ahead. The group found a note on one of the doppelgangers that not only detailed that they were to be killed, but that an assassination plan to kill Zanfalcon Stormtooth, the current leader of Amoria.
Finally, the party arrived in Amoria where the city was alive and bustling with the year’s festival just about underway. They entered the first tavern they found called The Bull’s Balls. Thelen heard the crowd around the outside talking (bullshitting really) about luck that is bestowed onto anyone who can scale the building and actually touch the brass balls that hung from a steeple-esque fixture above the tavern. Thelen took that as a challenge and not only scaled the building, but did it in such a skilled and entertaining fashion that it caught the attention of the owner of the tavern; a massive man so thick with muscle he hardly fit out the door with flaming red hair and a matching beard. Manny, as he was called, promptly gave Thelen and his companions as much food and drink as they could handle for the feat.
After their time drinking, the group learns a few basic things about Amoria. 1. Magic has been outlawed in the city for various reasons 2. the festival going on is the Battle Royal whose winner becomes the leader (dictator, sage, president, king, despot, head magistrate etc.) of Amoria in addition to winning the prize money 3. the tournament was fist only- essentially two people would box bare-fisted until one of them yielded or was beaten unconscious. Niorah was promptly pushed into standing in a two hour line to sign up during which time she convinced two younger twins to drop out with the promise that they would make money off of betting on her brawls in the arena. Eventually she was signed up, and not at all happy about it. Later that night they also met a priest of the Raven Queen named Sellennen who would later become a large player in their time in Amoria.
The next morning, Niorah tried really really hard to keep her composure as she checked the match listings for the day and learns that she fights a young human named Dax. In the ring she pretty much obliterated him, knocking him out fairly quickly.
After her round for the day, the group returns to the task at hand and ends up finding Zanfalcon’s house to warn him of the danger they uncovered. Zanfalcon is not home but his Captain of the Guard Rashiim is and assures the group that nothing bad will come to Zanfalcon. The guard is watchful, Rashiim himself was trained by Zanfalcon and Zanfalcon has won the tournament for the last six years. Rashiim agrees to keep an eye out for this threat however. Next, they return to the Bull’s Balls where Sellennen greets them and speaks of death and dying, as he is a priest of the Raven Queen. The group tells him a little about their cult tracking quest and he remembers an artifact, or rather a written account of an artifact that might possibly help them in their quest. He details three things that they need to fetch for him; two pieces of paper and a magical staff. He says that with these things he would be able to pinpoint the location of a powerful artifact but is hella vague about what the artifact even is.
The three items are located in three different places. One is in an abandoned mine in the dangerous and tall hills in the north. Another is located at an old dock by the lake to the west. And the third is here in town, where an old magic shop once existed in the time before magic was illegal. The group wastes some time but eventually gets to the repurposed magic shop in town. Turns out, the shop now sells random junk and is owned by the father of the twins that Niorah convinced to get out of line at the tournament the day before. He doesn’t really like Thelen or Niorah (Tiaria decided to stay outside of the shop facing the street so that she could come in and create a distraction if the other two needed help…which she would see….as she faced the street…..). Niorah’s menacing tusks and deep gruff voice helped change his ideas about her so that they could at least go down and search the basement of the shop where he claimed the useless items from the previous magic shop were kept now. After walking past the barrel at least twice (because the most observant of the three was left outside….facing the street….) they found a stack of old useless papers. Not wanting to stay in this guy’s shop’s basement forever, they grabbed a crate full of papers and left. (The DM would like to add that these papers seemed to be receipts).

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Session XXI- XXIV Part 1
Details of the Quasi-Summer Hiatus

Requa Rosewater opened the door on the old inn room. She was tattered and extremely tired. She passed by the group without saying a word and collapsed onto the bed. The group exchanged worried looks before they attempted to administer as much aid as they could and then went to bed themselves. In the morning, Requa was awake and well, looking much better than the night before. She detailed to them what she had seen while she was gone.
Requa had been off investigating the Cult of Vecna which she pinpointed to a cave between two stones. The locals called the place The Narrow Walk. While she was watching the activity of the cult, a funeral-esque procession arrived at the cave. By the luck of some god, bugbears attacked the party, seemingly for no reason. Three of the cultists were killed, two were hauled off with the retreating bugbears. Hardly even glancing at their dead companion, the living members of the cult entered the crack in the stone and Requa, against her better judgement, followed them. Unfortunately, the band of cultists noticed her and attacked outright. There was no room for negotiation or even to yell the word “wait”. Before she was harmed much, she was able to get away by casting a doppelganger illusion spell. In a moment of pure sobriety, almost uncharacteristic of Requa, she described them nearly perfectly; they all wore black robes like those used in mourning and each member had some sort of marking detailing how they belonged to Vecna on their hands.
“That coffin can only mean trouble. You three should clean out that crag. No dead deserve to walk the earth again.”
Before the group set out the group hit the Noisy Bottle Tap Room to talk to the barkeep and have a night for themselves. Outside, a young man stood pacing and nervously ringing his hands. Niorah approached him, wondering what was wrong. The young man expressed that his crops were all dead from the drought and that he was moving to Port Ash to pursue his dream of being a sailor. The only problem was, he didn’t know how to tell the girl he loved that he was leaving. Niorah told him to grow a pair and just go talk to her but that only upset the young man further. Eventually, Niorah told the girl to run away with the boy but she couldn’t. Her father was the merchant in town and he needed her help as not many visitors came to town to buy his wares, plus he was getting old. The boy ended up leaving town in a huff, forsaking his home and his love. Niorah capitalized on this and the group came into possession of the young man’s house. Meanwhile, Tiaria investigated the huge tree. It was so large that it seemed to be made up of at least six other trees. There was a section of the trunk of each tree dedicated to each of the major gods. Tiaria left a gift for Sehanine and was entranced to sit at the tree all day and all night. Sehanine came in the form of moonlight to converse with Tiaria, dictating that she was the truest protector of Sehanine’s forest. As such, Sehanine charged her with destroying the decaying filth that was spreading through the forest. Tiaria faithfully agreed.
The next morning, Half Half and Half set off to find this Narrow Walk. As the group approached the cave opening, they realized that the cultists had put up a watchman. Four cultists stood around the entrance, watching the surrounding forest for hostility. The group attacked them outright, wasting little time on strategy or stealth. One of the cultists slipped back into the cave, presumably to warn the others of the dangerous intruders.
After waiting a moment to see if any cultists would come out to meet the threat, the group ventured inside. A dozen cultists waited for them there, but it was no contest. Between Niorah’s heavy axe, Thelen’s wicked magic and Tiaria’s swift arrows they felled the group in a bloodbath. They continued into the next part of the cave. Half a dozen more cultists, including the strange orc they saw earlier came at them. This skirmish was a little harder for the group but nonetheless they overcame the evil bending-of-wills of the cultists. On the way back out, Thelen stopped at a bloody chest filled with detached appendages. He dug down to the bottom of the chest where he found a black bound book soaked through and through with blood. Mysteriously, none of the pages were so much as smeared with a drop of blood.
The group returned to Requa in hopes that she would have an explanation or an idea of what the black book was. Requa refused to touch the book and advised Thelen to leave it behind, just in case it was a heavily cursed item. Requa then detailed the next bit of their quest to destroy the Cult of Vecna. An uprising of sorts had been noticed around the city of Amoria. The group needed to go and investigate to see if the cult was there and if so, to stop whatever they were doing. After a few minutes of preperation, in which the group left a rather large chunk of their money in the safes in the backroom of the house, they set out for the city of fists and ale.

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Session XX: Farewells All Around

Packing up their belongings, the group headed north along the road to Silverclaw. With the arrival of Kiwi with no note and only a golden band around her leg telling her to return her to Requa if she was found, they traveled in the intense heat of the summer days. There is no river or any hint of water between Fairburn and the great river that runs east to west to Port Ash. Thelen Vos took the worst of the heat during the journey, coming extremely close to exposing his cannibalism to the group. Niorah and Tiaria were able to stave off the heat and the grueling walk northward.
First, the group made good on their promise to return The Wyrmlings Three to their volcanic mountain before heading to Silverclaw. Making their way along the main road, or close enough to it, a house that had been set on fire and the only mark of any previous tenets were shallow pools of blood came into view. As the group cautiously snuck up to the house, yelping, howling and yowling could be heard in the distance and drawing nearer. As the pack came into view, Tiaria prepared for battle against fiendish hyena creatures. Their fur was matted with old blood and general filth, their leather armor was rank and rotting in places and one gnoll in particular had carved a pair of eyes into his chest. Some of them wielded bows and rusted handaxes, one had a cruel spear that bit deep into the flesh of Thelen’s neck, nearly killing him, and the rest used none but their claws, sharp and somewhat jagged caked in the blood of old kills and some fresh morsels still clung to the bladelike talons. Thelen felt the brunt of these crude but nastily effective weapons raked across his back. Before the encounter had ended, Thelen was knocked heavily unconscious, already weak from his lack of human flesh, that insatiable thirst and the hunger to drive a lesser mortal mad. Tiaria was able to take down the gnolls with the bows with several well placed arrows while Niorah narrowly avoided being flanked several times, getting close enough to smell the rotting of their fur and the putrid stench of their powerful jaws. Thelen, thanks to Niroah’s quick thinking and speed, was saved at the last possible moment from the maw of death that loomed over him. It was an incredibly close call for Thelen especially as he continued to grow weaker and weaker from the denial of his cannibal tastes.
Eventually, the group survived a few more nights in the increasingly dangerous world, enough to leave the east to west road and forge their own path in the forest wilds to the volcano named Skyfire Mountain. The volcanic dragon wyrmlings were home, safe at last in the vast lava lakes and tunnel labyrinths of the mountain. They quickly said their good-byes, mostly to Tiaria who had been the only friend they had known and, aside from their brothers, would likely ever know. How fortunate to know the ancient language of the primordials. In any case, they left with a promise that should she ever need their help again, they need to build a huge, white hot, heavily smoking fire and roar “Dragon” in primordial. Then, with a last nudge, the three took off for the cloud-obstructed peak of the mountain.
After this, the group made their way back to the fork in the river, narrowly avoiding a confrontation by a construct mage traveling with his “pet” ghoul and summoned spine devils, conjured from one of the Nine Hells. Thelen talked the mage into not setting his monstrosities onto the group and they continued, seeing no one on the road until they had almost reached Fort Summit. Ahead of them a funeral procession was making its way north along the road, a party of nine, four carrying the dusty, worn-looking wooden casket. An orc missing an eye traveled with them but would not talk to the group. The group did not trust them but did not engage them in combat, choosing instead to continue on well ahead of the procession to the Fort. Dinner was just being served when they arrived, Thelen near the point of passing out from his failing strength, the others tired from the journey. Niorah visited the burnt remains of the small house she grew up in, finding a strongbox under one of the beds and a golden ring on the mantle with the symbol of an eye engraved/pressed into it. Eventually she was able to have Tiaria open the strongbox to reveal a dagger of pristine quality and three scrolls, one of a military campaign map and the other two were letters written in elvish to Gertrude by an unknown person.
After trading with Trenk of the Steel, the group headed to Silverclaw where they found the Noisy Bottle Tap House with a few patrons, serving port. Requa had not been heard of recently and they found her room still with her things in it. A note was addressed to the group stating that she had gone off to investigate nearby cultist activity and would be back (hopefully) in a few days. In the meantime she left several potions and package of food for Thelen to eat to regain his strength (they were bottles of blood and a package of fresh human meat). She also left small tasks for the group to attend to while she was away; Niorah was to visit Trenk (check) and “ponder her father”, Thelen was to do some alchemical experimentation, and Tiaria was to investigate “an odd tree” out east of the Tap House.
Note: As soon as Tiaria and Thelen entered the tavern, they requested drinks and while Niorah was busy actually doing and investigating, got smashed. Then everyone passed out…after Niorah experimented with an Instant Campsite satchel…on accident.

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Sessions XVI- XIX: Let's Get the Hell Out of Here

After completely exploring the second floor of the damned castle, the group made their way back down the ladder and over to the southeast corner of the castle. The notable rooms here included one with three columns of fire burning in center and one that was trapped all down the west side of the room with arrow dispensers. Notable injuries here include Niorah rolling her ankle and Tiaria being shot in the neck by a poisoned needle. Traps are hard. Moving northward, the group almost decided to explore the northeast corner of the castle when Niorah spoke up about getting the hell out of this hell. Thelen Vos, who was drawing the map of the place, found that given their location and the location of the entrance, it would be easier to go through an unexplored room. This room was quite interesting, floating stone platforms dotting the area and tar slicks ran in the area between the platforms. The group was ambushed by some deathjump spiders from above as well. Finally, after the endurance of this room, the group made it out alive (all arms intact) to watch the sun rise in the east.
The two day journey to the nearest lake was perilous as no one really had any water left on the second day. It was towards the end of summer though not quite fall and the days were even hotter than they had been on the journey down to this castle. Plains stretched out before them as far as they could see. Where hills were expected, only flat land met their gazes. The grass was long and green speckled with golden brown. Which was perhaps a fire hazard when traveling with three small dragons who emulate volcano. The lake though was cool and a shade of green. No trees grew near its sandy banks, not even taller shrubs grew here and shade was made possible only by the pitching of a tent, which no one did. Thelen, the budding fire mage, was able to hand fish dinner out of the lake while Tiaria and Niorah prepared camp.
After this it was a trek to Fairburn. They passed the unnamed stony mountains that rose above the plains quite abruptly on the west. Niorah remembered how the fort used to get iron from those hills before the mines ran dry. Now they were just stony relics of civilization passed. Fairburn on the other hand was thriving. It was a mining town than sprang up during the initial boom of the iron mines and somehow retained its people it had collected over the short years of mining. Now it had become an immense city, even rivaling Sandy Grotto in population. At the sight of its walls, stone masonry that was both effective and stylistic, Thelen offered to wait outside with the wyrmlings while Niorah and Tiaria did the shopping. They sold many a thing in the city, from seven crowns found in the castle to a rabbit fur sash to perfumed candles. They even managed to find a buyer for the ceramic pony that Niorah had found and become a little attached to, though they guy who bought it was a total creep asking after Thelen (cut scene to Thelen lying naked in the field with three volcanic dragon wyrmlings lying around him, a handaxe in one hand). Tiaria even got to spend the night with her budding romance Aradin the Fletcher.
In the morning Tiaria returned to the group with the last of their supplies, just in time for Kiwi, Requa’s drake to join them- without any word from Requa.

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