Paths of Gaeda

Session 41
Research & Development

The party spends a week recuperating at Tor Embric, as the main group of the expedition is brought up to occupy the site and make a new base camp there. During the days there, Zarunal and Mio spend some time examining the Embric Spellbook, which proves to be a dangerous occupation. Ultimately, its secrets are all revealed, although at the cost of setting off a symbol of blindness which proves troublesome for a time.

Zarunal also spends time researching some new magic, and Halverd the cleric works on improving the company’s arms and armor. Andors the cavalier trains the party’s horses as well, in order to make them more useful in combat.

Some excitement is had when the party discovers that one of the porters is missing. When the Embric spellbook also goes missing, a search ensues. Liath catches up to the fellow first, only to discover that he has become a zombie and is dragging the book off to a clearing with a well preserved and unique memorial of some kind. Mako recognizes it as a meeting place that he has been to before. There is evidence of a recent teleport spell, and clues that point to the presence of the bespectacled necromancer that the party last encountered during the Night of the Bloody Eye at Castle Chatapiet. Is he somehow following them?

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Session 40
Tor Embirc

Mako returns to the party, but Liath does not – he is overdue from his scouting mission. The Mercenary Captain, concerned over the number of his men who have been killed, dispatches his lieutenant Andros the Cavalier to attempt to aid the party and see what exactly is going on.

Mako scouts out the ruins of Tor Embric and realizes that Liath has been captured and is being tortured. The party quickly mounts a rescue mission, and a huge fight breaks out. There are two giants in residence, several orcs, and a pair of dire wolves, along with many goblin slaves (who do not actually fight). Iolar orchestrates a massive illusion to cause confusion and fear, while the others ride directly into the fight. The Giantess is some kind of spellcaster, and she uses both magic and might while organizing her minions to pin down the party in the middle of the ruined hall. Andros kills many orcs and wounds one of the giants, before being unhorsed and thrown into a collapsed room (where Zarunal accidentally drops a bookcase on him). Mio (enlarged by Zarunal) eventually delivers the death blow to one giant and helps take down the Giantess as she desperately tries to escape.

Several treasures are found in the hall, and Mio finds some evidence of her former family, as well as personal memento: an old porcelain doll that she remembers having as a child.

Exhausted from their busy schedule, the party decides to secure the ruins for the expedition and rest for some time.

Among the treasures recovered from the ruin was the Embric Spellbook.

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Session 39
Wild Hunt

North of the Swamp, the party is very close to the ruins of Tor Embric. There have been signs of activity about and the sound of signal horns in the distance. Scouts are dispatched to find out what’s going on, but one of them is spotted and chased by a Giant hunting party: A giant, some Ogres, and a pack of Dire Wolves. Liath and the scouts lead the hunters away from the expedition while the party moves to support him.

Mako bows out momentarily, while one of the expedition’s Kashwa guides, Raze the Barbarian, takes his place.

The result is a confused meeting engagement. The Scouts are nearly done in by the wolves, and the heroes arrive just as the giant and ogres are coming on the scene as well. One ogre falls at range to Liath’s bow, and Raze takes on the other one after being magically enlarged by Zarunal. Halved the cleric manages to hold the Hill Giant temporarily while Zarunal zaps it with a Lightning Bolt, but not before yet ANOTHER mercenary who was standing too close to the action gets pounded into mulch by the giant.

Eventually the foes are defeated, but the party is still too close to the Tor, and Liath is sent ahead to scout himself. He arrives at the ruins of Tor Embric, but is seen by a Giantess, who casts some sort of spell on him.

In the aftermath of the battle, the party decides that the Mercenary mortality rate is getting too high, and from now on the Mercenaries will be relegated solely to guarding the expeditionary camp.

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Session 38
Old Ghosts

In the aftermath of the previous battle, the party decides that they need to find a way north for the Expedition to travel that doesn’t lead right into large bands of evil creatures. Mako and Liath both decide to scout to the North: Mako goes up the shore of the lake while Liath follows the trail left by Yark’s Boys to the northeast. This old road eventually leads to the ruins of what was once a stone circle, near some rock formations and a small frozen lake. The Ogres had apparently left some kind of tribute there, including some treasure and a carcass. Eventually Liath spots Old Greyfang, a decrepit and half crippled while dragon with terrible scars. The tribute is apparently left for him. Mako finds that the north end of the lake devolves into a morass of swamp, and amid the mud lie the rotting hulks of old ships.

While those two scout ahead, a new Party member emerges from the woods – Mio Jo-Joli, the descendant of the Storm Elves of Tor Embric. Having heard about the expedition in New Delos, she has made her way upriver and has been shadowing the party for some time. The new arrival isn’t well trusted by the human members of the expedition, and some nascent friction between Mio and Iolar begins to develop.

The party opts to avoid the dragon and try instead to find a way through the swamp. There are unquiet spirits there, though – undead sailors rise up to defend their ships, and eventually the party becomes involved in a confused, ghostly re-enactment as they battle the Ghost of a dragon that appears on the scene. Another mercenary is killed in the fracas.

Eventually, the spirits are temporarily put to rest. A few small treasures are found among the boats, and the party moves to the north side of the swamp.

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Session 37
Lake of Woe

After several more days of scouting up the river, the party reaches the southern shores of the Lake of Woe, which is dominated by the crumbling remains of a huge Dam which once held back an even larger lake. The scouts find signs of Orcs and Trolls about, so the party decides to leave the bulk of the expedition camped away to the south while they investigate the lake personally.

Moving around the eastern short of the lake, they find the remains of an old road. Liath and Mako encounter a party of scouting orcs, which they dispatch. However, in doing so they accidentally alert a nearby encampment of Orcs, trolls, and Ogres – a sizable force! The party decides to lay an ambush while the forces of evil close in. Most of the heroes are spread out around the road, but Ishma is left exposed in the middle of the field of battle, to draw in the enemy.

The battle is long and intense. Many orcs are slain, but the presence of a troll, several orc berzerkers, an orc chieftain, an ogre, and an ogre chieftain, all make for a huge challenge. The party have found “Yark’s Boys” mentioned by the trolls they slew in the previous session.

All of the party contributes, trying to do damage at range before the tide of enemies overwhelms them. However, Ishma gets the brunt of it, having to face off two orc berzerkers, a handful of orc mooks, and Yark the Ogre Chief himself. She acquits herself well, inflicting many wounds on all her opponents. Still, she is cut off from her comrades, and eventually a well placd blow by Yark lays her low. Ishma perishes that her comrades might live.

Zarunal goes mad with rage, and unleashes the lightning bolt that he had been saving (which does close to maximum damage). Yark, already badly wounded by Ishma, succumbs, as do all of the others she was fighting. With their chief dead, the others flee, but they are eventually run down by the party and none of the enemy escape.

Ishma is avenged, and she shall be buried on the shores of the Lake of Woe.

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Session 36
Lord of Wolves

The Party leads the expedition across the River Lahn and follows it north from Troll Fist Hill. Savren, meanwhile, decides to go south and see that Sara Jane is placed in a more secure location. A new party member, Mako, joins in his place. Mako has a signed request from the Steward of Lyssandria, and Iolar admits him to the party on that basis. (Despite the document’s dubious origins.)

Liath encounters signs of more Trolls in the path of the expedition. He and Mako scout ahead and discover another troll lair – slightly larger this time. Mako overhears talk among the trolls of an upcoming tribute of some kind – the trolls have captured what appears to be a large dire wolf and have it penned up.

After reporting to the party, Mako decides to sneak into the troll camp and cause havoc by setting the giant wolf free. It turns out to be a Worg – a winter wolf! The Worg agrees not to eat Mako if it is freed, and Mako proceeds to let it out. There is a breif melee with the trolls, and Mako flees back towards camp. The Worg follows, however, wanting to eat the horses it smells on Mako’s clothing.

Eventually, the worg, Mako, and some pursuing trolls all end up back at the camp. The trolls and the worg cause havoc, but Ishma prevents the Worg from being killed. In the confusion it takes a riding horse and drags it off into the forest. The trolls are all dispatched, but at a cost: 2 of the mercenaries accompanying the party have perished in the fight.

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Session 35
Troll Fist Hill

Savren regains consciousness in an abandoned crypt in the bowels of Chatapiet. Sara Jane is there as well, with her recently born baby boy. Savren has suffered a knock on the head and so has profound amnesia covering the last few weeks (while Alex was away). The pair find a secret door leading out of the castle. Nearby is a black horse whose saddlebags contain some curious clues as to the identity of the Necromancer who appeared in Session 34. Savren and Sara eventually rejoin the party in the inn at Chatapiet.

The party decides to gather their expedition together and push north as soon as possible. Once the arrangements are finalized, the mule train heads north and eventually reaches the last outpost of civilization: the mining camp at Troll Fist Hill. However, the camp has been attacked recently by troll (always a problem in this part of the world) and several captives taken. The party mounts a rescue mission.

Three large trolls and a monstrous troll boss are tracked to their lair and terrific struggle ensues. The trolls throw crates and barrels until the party closes range, and there is much blood spilled on both sides. The captives are eventually rescued and the villains dispatched, and the party finds a treasure horde. An auspicious beginning to the expedition!

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Session 34
Night of the Bloody Eye

Chaos in the great hall of castle Chatapiet as Remy’s men, dressed in Black, and Frohman’s men, dressed in White, begin a gruesome battle, with all of the guests in danger of getting hurt in the middle. Lady Jeanette Fouret seems rather oblivious and distracted amidst all of this. Iolar attempts to find a way to get the party out of the hall, but Liath stops to lend aid to the wife and daughter of the New Delos Regency Steward, as they are innocent guests amid the slaughter. There is danger on all sides.

Out in the barracks, Avron manages to barely keep himself from dying, and seeks some way to get into the castle to warn the others. The town guard batters valiantly at the doors, but their task is hopeless. Avron, retching up his guts, is taken to the nearest inn where the Innkeep pours a potion down his throat to make him feel somewhat better. She insists that they go back to the barracks to see what can be done for the others, however it is too late when they arrive – the soldiers and henchmen are all dead. Yet, during the examinations, they stir: the dead begin to rise as Zombies! The innkeeper begs for Avron to protect her, but he instead flees, and leaves her behind to be killed. Eventually, he is able to scale a wall to get inside the castle, but not before noting that the Zombie horde is marching around the back of the castle to some unknown destination.

Inside, there is chaos as the two factions clash, with the Party and a number of frightened civilians caught in the middle. Lane Frohman proves especially dangerous, despite his lack of weapons or armor. Iolar tries shouting at Jeanette, who does not seem to hear him. Frantically, Zarunal attempts to remove one of the leaders of the Fracas: he directs a lightning bolt at Remy, killing him outright and partially singing Jeanette.

This rouses Jeanette from her torpor and proves dangerous for Zarunal – for once in action it becomes obvious that she is a vampire. She attempts to chase Zarunal, who uses his wand to Diension Door himself outside the castle.

Ishma trades blows with Lane Frohman. He seems rather taken with her, but she rejects his advances with an axe to the chest and he falls unconscious. Iolar uses the cover of the melee to sneak into a chamber within the castle’s main tower – he hears disturbance somewhere in the masonry, and suspects the location of a secret door. Meanwhile, Avron arrives and joins in the fray.

A warning gong sounds in the castle, and Jeanette immediately removes herself from the great hall, alerted to something. The Party sees to the safety of the civilians, locking them in a bedroom, and then proceed to the secret door that Iolar has found. The passage leads deep into the crypts of the castle, where they find a chamber containing some interesting sarcophagi and some kind of shrine. The place is filled with zombies (the zombie horde from the barracks) and they are trying to bring down or otherwise delay Jeanette.

Iolar decides to side (at least temporarily) with Jeanette, and theparty attacks the Zombies. They see that this is indeed another distraction: the Bespectacled man from Session 32 is attempting to steal something – what might be a vial of blood – from a ceremonial cabinet. Liath and Avron stop him from taking the item, but he uses a teleport scroll to get away.

Jeanette thanks the party by ending the hostilities in her hall and having all the hostages removed to safety. Soldiers arrive with a warrant for the arrest of Lane Frohman. Ishma goes to show them his body, but Lane has disappeared – perhaps he survived?

Also, the Prelate from the Temple at Lyssa’s Port is dead, found among the zombie horde. However, Savren and Sarah Jane are nowhere to be found.

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Session 33
What's the deal?

In the wake of Zarunal’s humiliation at the hands of Galen, Iolar makes some inquiries. He finds out that the imprisoned Lord Hugo Fouret was the former Lord Arcane of New Delos before Galen, and may have some kind of grudge against him. Arrangements are made to visit Lord Fouret in the prison at Fang Rock.

Lord Fouret is obviously more than human, and a powerful mage in his own right. Though branded a traitor by the Regency Steward of New Delos, he seems unconcerned over his imprisonment, and appears to be in control of his situation. Iolar learns that Galen was once HIS apprentice, until he turned on him. However, Lord Fouret does not appear too concerned. He agrees to restore Zarunal to his true form is Iolar does a favor for him, and a deal is struck.

Iolar will deliver a message to Lord Fouret’s daughter Jeanette, at castle Chatapiet to the north. Apparently there is some kind of gala planned there, where Jeanette is supposed to make an entreaty on her father’s behalf. He asks her to remember his wishes, and not to let others take unwanted actions in his name.

The group makes arrangements for their trip north and for their expedition into the Storm Reaches. Since Chatapiet is the northernmost settlement of any size, the expedition will muster there and leave at the end of June. The group travels north up the River Lahn, but the journey is largely uneventful.

Chatapiet is buzzing with many nobles and their representatives. Iolar delivers his message, but Lady Jeanette seems to be curiously melancholy and apathetic. Her Chamberlain Remy seems to be much more in charge of the whole affair. There are also rumors in town of the arrival of Lane Frohman, a man of supposedly volatile temper and violent disposition. Savren discovers that there are other familiar faces staying at the castle: the Prelate from the temple at Lyssa’s Port has brought Sarah Jane to Chatapiet to give birth to her child, because of the presence of an old Adastrican shrine and the fact that the five-towered castle is also knows as the “Five Watchers” or the “Five Guardians”. He seems concerned with fulfilling the Prophecy.

The gala takes place on a warm night in June, but it is an inauspicious occasion: The night of The Ferric Eye is underway, as the lesser moon partially eclipses the greater. Iolar, Liath, Ishma, and Zarunal attend the banquet, though they are not allowed to carry their weapons inside the castle. Savren goes to be with Sarah Jane. Avron retains his arms and stays in the barracks outside the castle, where the various men-at-arms and henchment of the nobility are having their own raucous gathering.

In the barracks, the mead and food is plentiful, but then something goes horribly amiss: the soldiers begin to drop, bleeding from their eyes and mouths – all of them, including Avron, have been poisoned!!

Inside the castle, at the height of the ball, Remy orders the doors closed and declares a hostage situation until Lord Fouret is released. However, one of the guests is indeed Lane Frohman, who has entered the ball with an entourage of like-minded homicidal maniacs in tow, and he declares his intent to kill all the guests in honor of the “Night of the Bloody Eye”. Panic erupts within the great hall.

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Session 32
Random Acts of Violence

Savren is accosted by the hooligans raiding the temple in Lyssa’s Port. He wades in bravely, but is quickly overwhelmed. Luckily for him an old friend comes to his aid: Karnack happens to be walking up the street, and he rushes in to help, but he is also hard pressed by the assailants. Before too long, the other characters happen by, having just come from the public hanging at the city prison. They try to lend their weight to the fracas, but it is largely over as the marauders make their way into the temple and lock the door behind them.

Karnack and Savren and given aid, and the party makes their way into the temple, only to find that the acolyte who Savren left in charge has been taken down. The interlopers are tracked to the crypt basement, where the party finds that they are being aided by a pack of zombies! The the party dispatches the undead and defeats their living antagonists as well, it has all been a diversion. A strange, bespectacled man is seen fleeing into the sewers, having stolen a sacred relic from the tomb of a saint.

Unable to pursue the investigation further, the party makes plans to go north, following the path laid before them by Avron’s treasure map to the Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth. Their first stop is the city of Akandra, where they meet some of the local nobility, obtain some official standing, and begin to plan their journey. Iolar designs his new heraldry and livery in Orange, much to the consternation of his companions.

Zarunal goes to confront his master and attempts once more to pay off his debt, but he is thwarted. Galen levies new charges upon him, and a half-hearted magical argument ensues during which Zarunal attempts some indirect defiance and is turned into a rabbit for his troubles. Clearly, things are not going well for him.

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