Paths of Gaeda

Session 31
Plots and Intruige

The party returns to Lyssa’s Port with Eldred and his military expedition, making a quick stopover in the Blasted Heath, where Iolar discovers that some tenants (refugees from the conflict int he south) have moved in. He accepts their presence and wishes them luck before pressing on. A few of Eldred’s Alfaen elves are left behind to help organize the place.

Savren and an Alfaen mage (who was accompanying Eldred) named Zil both try to lift the curse on Zarunal, resulting in comedic failure and a number of different changes for him. Once the party arrives back in Lyssa’s port, however, a scroll found in the sanctum of Lord Mittlemetz restores him to his true form.

Strange things are afoot: The Bishop of the Adastrican Temple has gone south to help with the war effort: Anthec is on the march in Lyssandria. Many nobles have gone to join the fight. Eldred intends to go to Guildport to help defend it with his remaining troops, while a few engineers and advisers go north to help secure the border.

One of Avron’s shipmates is being held in jail, he is accused of committing a horrendous murder on another crewman, and will be hanged. Avron visits him, and he avows his innocence, claiming that they were trying to find Avron to exact justice for stealing the map to Tsojcanth. There was death and torture involved, and it seems news of that map has leaked out to some dangerous person of unknown identity.

Meanwhile, one of the Acolytes from the Adastrican temple has also gone missing. Savren soon learns that recently the tenple’s Prelate absconded on a secret journey with Sarah Jane, and no one knows where they are either. He is concerned by this, and the party investigates the missing acolyte and the murdered seaman as best they can.

They receive unexpected help from an old friend when they accidentally run into Victor, who points them in the direction of a clue or two. Savren starts spending the night at the Adastrican temple, fearful of another Acolyte going missing.

At the end of the week, most of the party attends the Hanging. Avron’s old shipmate swings from the gallows without incident. However, back at the Temple, there is a disturbance in the street: a fight between some drunk men. Several local guards try to break up the fight, and Savren wades in to help them. However, suddenly all of the miscreants turn on the guards, killing them all then turning on Savren…

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Session 30
Wicked Witch

The party descends into a cursed ravine and finds the strange, emaciated witch that has been haunting them for several sessions in the Fey Path waiting for them. She has some mephits, some animated trees, and an annoying familiar with her, and is apparently guarding… something.

The battle is joined reluctantly. The Party wants to draw her out- and she wants to draw them in. As usual, Ishma takes the initiative and fearlessly charges forward into battle. Things go back and forth quite a bit. People are hurt, people are healed. Liath is almost brought low by a Phantasmal Killer spell. Iolar is hit by a vampiric touch. Avron is whacked about the head by a dead tree.

The battle turns when Zarunal manages to kill the witch’s familiar. For this, she flits to his side and casts Baleful Polymorph on him, turning him into a weasel. Liath then fills her full of arrows, critting her and killing her.

In a frozen pool at the other end of the raving, the party finds what appears to be a frozen Nymph, and the frosted sphere that Lady Athryn desperately wants back. They retrieve the orb, noting that there appears to be something moving inside it. The Nymph – the true queen of the wood – thaws out and is grateful. She wants the orb removed immediately, though. SHe has Liath stay with her while the rest return to Lady Athryn to give her the orb. She is overjoyed, and plans to reward Iolar – but the party is not yet in their proper time period, and must return ot the wood at least one more time.

Savren tries to remove the polymorph from Zarunal, but only succeeds in changing his form – now he is a duck.

The party returns to the wood and finishes up with the Fey Queen. Magical rewards are passed around. The Fey path will be open to Alfaen on the equinoxes, and the Alfaen elves may then pass through. Iolar’s uncle Edlred arrives with a military contingent. Lady Athryn will allow them passage south into Iolar’s new lands so long as they do not tarry. Iolar is given a special suit of armor by Lady Athryn. Zarunal, in duck form catches a glimpse of a huge White Dragon in Lady Athryn’s treasure room, but he cannot tell the others.

Lady Athryn also introduces Iolar to a small White Dragon wyrmling – newly hatched – named Kizarvexius and declares that Iolar will be his godfather. She informs Iolar that she may call on him again sometime.

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Session 29
Growing Horror

After the encounter with the Vegepygmies, both Iolar and Savren are in no condition to proceed without rest. Liath seems to be developing a feel for this Fey place, as though remembering something from his youth. He successfully guides the party out of the woods once more.

The Cottage outside the wood is still there, although it is evident that several years have passed while they were in the fey realm – the current time is roughly 1843. The party recuperates, and Lady Athryn once more makes an appearance, demanding progress reports from Iolar. He informs her that they first met in 1902 and he had not yet retrieved her orb then. This seems to crush her spirit, and she is visibly upset. Iolar successfully lifts her mood with a story, and she spends some time with him sitting on the porch and listening. They part on good terms, and she seems to have taken a liking to him.

Zarunal meanwhile makes a request for Cold Iron, in light of the fey that have been thus far encountered. Iron is brought, though very little of it will do. Still, he manages via alchemy to concoct a salve which, when applied to some of the party’s weapons, should effect the Fey.

After some rest, the party re-enters the woods and tries one of the paths they have not yet traveled. It leads to a dismal swampy area, where they encounter a Forlarren, weeping and reading a disturbing nonsense rhyme out of an old book – apparently to a small child she holds in her arms. The party approaches and tries to reason with her, but she is mad. Something is wrong with her child. When the party approaches closer, the child is revealed to be a mandragora, which lashes out at the heroes. A confused melee erupts, with Liath becoming entangled by the marshy morass and Zarunal almost being swallowed up in a muddy hole. Eventually, the foul creatures are dispatched, and the Forlarren is released from its misery. The Book she has is ancient and falling apart.

The party returns to the standing stones at the center of the wood and tries the last path they have yet to take. At its end is a Colossal willow tree, and from the branches hangs a silver pitcher. Liath approaches with intent to take the pitcher, bus spies a huge Tendriculous wrapped around the willow, which attacks as he approaches. Iolar and Ishma are grabbed, and Ishma is nearly swallowed. Iolar uses a scroll of “Produce Flame” to work himself free, and Zarunal summons a fire elemental to burn it. Avron is also grabbed and ends up in the thing’s mouth, but just in time it is brought down, oozing Ichor all over the place. In order to stop it regenerating, Iolar orders it burned and hacked up.

At this point, the party consults the book and learns that they need Ichor from the tendriculous to complete a ritual. Although the corpse of the plant has been disposed of, Ishma and Avron are thankfully still covered in the goop, and wring out their clothes into the pitcher. Once the ritual is complete, a great bole in the willow opens up to reveal a descending stair. The party, wishing to attain their quest as soon as possible, begins their descent immediately.

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Session 28
The Laughing Flood

After the battle with the Mephits, Liath recognizes the statue over the fountain as being an eidolon of Sri Syadaasti, the Laughing Flood, and the patron water-spirit of his home temple in Undra. He cajoles the party into cleaning out the pool and the fountain, eventually restoring it to a pristine condition.

The statue then comes to life and Sri Syadaasti offers his thanks to Liath. He implies that Liaths wanderings have brought him to this place just for this purpose, and he offers Liath the chance to return home. Liath decides not to take him up on his offer, however. Sti Syadaasti tells Liath that he is now doomed to wander, and will not return home until he has walked beyond the horizon and danced with a demon on the Spindle of the World.

Sri Syadaasti’s presence allows the party to take rest, but he soon departs. Afterward, the party continues following the path until it descends into a gloomy cave that is crawling with Vegepygmies. In the center of the cave is a magic candle with markings similar to those on the bell, so the heroes do battle in an attempt to secure it. Savren and Iolar are exposed to Russet Mold in the process, and are gravely poisoned. They return to the fountain victorious, but much the worse for wear.

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Session 27
Totally Sick

After the consultation with Lady Athryn, the party takes rest in the cabin. Savren, with a modicum of difficulty, removes the curse affecting Ishma, and the party once more enters the fey woods.

The come once more to the circle of stones, and Iolar is once more stumped by their meaning. Liath feels that he’s been somewhere like this before, however – the stones remind him of something he’s seen back in Undra. He manages to pick what he thinks is the path that goes on to Alfaen.

Unfortunately, the path has been blocked off by a massive growth of twigs and vines, which are infested with Twigjacks and Quicklings. The party dispatches the infestation, and Ishma tries to hack through the vegetation, but to no avail. After some debate, Savren tries ringing the bell from the Satyr’s grove. It attracts the attention of the friendly Leprechaun again, who explains to them that the path has been blocked off by the fairie queen, who has been imprisoned and usurped by the witch of the woods.

The party returns to the circle of stones and tries a new path. Eventually they come to a stream, but there’s something wrong with it – it’s been polluted somehow. The party follows the stream to fountain which has been fouled with filth, and the party is beset by a gaggle of ooze mephits. They spew sick all over the party and pop large stinking clouds, causing most of the party to spend numerous rounds either sickened or nauseated. Eventually, after a long struggle, the mephits are killed and the party collapses on the riverbank.

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Session 26
Dazed and Confused

The party gives battle in the Satyr’s grove, but the combat is very confused. Ishma and Avron are stunned momentarily by the presence of a gloomwing, and then are very mixed up in their actions by the charm effects of the Satyrs. The strange witch makes an appearance after Iolar chases off the gloomwing with a spell, and She rises into the air, laying down hexes. Ishma hurls her axe at the nameless foe, only to have it land on Iolar instead. Zarunal summons a flight of hawks to harry the witch, and Iolar momentarily disables her with hideous laughter, but she manages to vanish herself, and after that the satyrs give up their games and are eventually slaughtered.

The party retreats and finds itself once more among the circle of standing stones, where they encounter a leprechaun. He offers some information and advice – apparently the evil witch has defeated or imprisoned the rightful faerie queen, and the woods are grown dark and dangerous because of it. He helpfully points the party towards a path that takes them back to the heathlands, only they arrive at yet another point in time. The cabin near the woods has been built (and is new) and a group of Lady Athryn’s soldiers vacate it and allow the party to rest there. Athryn appears during the night, demanding an update from Iolar on the status of the quest.

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Session 25
Strange Journeys

After squaring away some more old business dealing with Sarah Jane’s installation at an Adastrican nunnery in Lyssa’s Port, we return to the party, holed up in Copperhill Station.

The group heads north into the Ramoth Heathlands, where they immediately fall afoul of the locals. A military captain of some kind named Franken takes charge of them – they will need to come to the White Citadel, where Lady Athryn dwells. The spellcasters are adjured to refrain from using their abilities, lest is cause trouble, but no-one will say why. Everyone is being cryptic. Liath determines that the locals have a practice of drugging their animals, to protect them from “going mad”, but again, no details are forthcoming. When their own horses start to get skittish, most of the party reluctantly agrees to the practice. There are empty cattle-corrals everywhere, but surprisingly little cattle. Also it is much snowier in the Heathlands, and the weather becomes colder as they journey north.

Eventually they arrive at the White Citadel – a huge structure of white stone, built on a very large scale – possibly originally as a home for Giants. It has obviously been refurbished several times. There they meet Lady Athryn herself – tall, beautiful, obviously powerful, but cryptic and apparently enjoying some secret joke. She seems to know all about Iolar somehow, and knows that the party will be attempting the Fey Path. She intends to insure they proceed to their goal quickly, but has them spend the night in the citadel first.

She informs Iolar that she has lost something in the woods where the path is – a white, cold orb. It needs to be returned to her. She also makes Iolar swear not to defy her. She is obviously hiding something, but what?

The party is delivered to the strange woods near the citadel where the Fey Path begins, and they set out. Things quickly take a turn for the bizarre, as they are accosted by a huge throng of small blue Mites, some riding large spiders. During the combat, Liath briefly spots a bizarre, intimidating figure, some kind of emaciated elf woman, and she hexes him with an evil eye before disappearing again. The combat does not last much longer, but the party is now confused somehow, and no longer sure of their direction.

Marching on, they find themselves once more approaching the entrance to the path, and they hear a ruckus – just beyond the trees, they can see Lady Athryn pursuing an emaciated elven figure, who flees into the woods carrying a large sack. This foreboding personage makes another appearance within the wood, but from a different direction – and lays a heavy wasting curse upon Ishma.

The party emerges from the wood, but it seems to be a different time than when they entered it – a different season – things are out of joint. Lady Athryn appears and accosts them, not recognizing Iolar. She is brandishing a deadly blade and nearly kills him in the course of interrogating him, and is obviously distraught. Iolar assures her that he has come to retrieve what was stolen from her, and she urges the party once more into the woods.

Now the party comes upon a stone circle, with many paths branching from it. They try to rest, but Zarunal feels that something is wrong – time itself is out of joint here, in this place where no feels hunger or fatigue or the passing of moments. The party cannot rest and recover nor find their way. They stumble on down another path.

Now they come to large clearing containing some kind of shrine. There are two Satyrs here, and what looks like a bloody corpse, and perched upon the shrine a shadowy, gloomy presence. One of the Satyrs laughs madly while the other plays his pipes in a bizarre, cacophonous way – the music places an enchantment upon Ishma, compelling her to come closer…

What will happen next session?

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Session 24
The Blasted Heath

A short session. The Party spends roughly six weeks in Lyssa’s Port while Iolar negotiates a treaty between Alfaen and Lyssandria and the rest of the party keeps themselves busy with crafting and shopping and training. The upshot of all this is:

-Alfaen will get it’s shipyard adjoining Guildport. It’s rather close to the Prophares border, but the location seems appropriate because there is a good harbor there, and guildport as it turns out is actually built on the site of an ancient elven outpost from pre-adastrican times.

-Alfaen gets a consulate in Lyssa’s Port, and a trade agreement guaranteeing monopoly rights on certain imports.

-Permanent ambassadors will be assigned on both sides.

-Lyssandria gets the money it needs to bolster it’s army. We won’t need to bother with the details for the game, but the interest and repayment will probably be a sore point between the nations at some point. For the moment, both parties are happy.

-A handful of officers and siege engineers as well as a mage will be sent to help organize and bolster Lyssandria’s Northern defenses against any potential threat from New Delos.

-A fleet of a twenty warships will be dispatched to Delos Bay. This is the largest naval mobilization that Alfaen has made in some time, so it’s a big deal and will cause a great deal of argument in the Alfaen High Council. It will take these warships 8 weeks to make the journey, plus prep time. They will not arrive before the end of April, and probably in early May. This is likely to be about the time Anthec will attack. The Lyssandrian aid package arrives with the fleet, unless the Fey Path can be opened sooner. The High Council doesn’t seem too concerned about the amount of time it will take to deploy the ships, but for some reason Iolar’s uncle Eldred seems very eager for you to find the fey path and get it open.

Iolar is awarded a landed title in Lyssandria:

-the landed title is basically a transparent bribe to secure Iolar’s friendship with Lyssandria. At the moment, there is nothing there to administer – it’s just empty, uninhabited (as far as anyone knows) land, currently known to the locals as the “Blasted Heath”. All that’s there are the ruins of the town which disappeared in the spat with Ramoth 20 years ago.

Regarding throwing money at Zarunal’s problem:

-If Iolar has secured Zarunal a loan from Lord Reginald Von Hunter in the amount of 2700 Gp, which will cover the remaining interest and principal which Galen is claiming as his right. If Zarunal agrees to help tutor Clarissa Von Hunter in her magical studies during your stay, Lord Von Hunter will reduce the annual interest on the loan from 20% to 5%. Zarunal will still need to take the money to Galen and present it in person, and he’ll still have an outstanding debt, but his creditor will be much less antagonistic.

-Lord Von Hunter is also willing to hold some of the party’s assets in trust if you want to “bank” some items/money with him.

Also- Something I forgot about in the previous responses:

While reading “The testament of Toril”, there is reference made to a neutral meeting place where the various houses of the Storm Elves gathered. The description seems to match what the party found in the Kashwa valley of the Ancestors. There is mention of a house of elves that seems related to the unknown house that Iolar found evidence of: apparently a very mysterious and secretive house, they are referred to often as “The House of Shadows” and there seems to be some reference to a dark tree that is associated with them. They were involved in some kind of incident over an artifact of great power, which eventually caused the split between the Storm Elves and their draconic allies, leading to the downfall of the kingdom.

Misc. Stuff:

-Iolar can sponge 100 GP off the Lyssandrian nobility during the party’s stay.

-Savren will arrange for Sarah Jane to be sequestered in the Adastrican temple for the remainder of her pregnancy.

After negotiations are finalized, the party decides to work on re-opening the Fey Path to Alfaen. On the way they will stop by Iolar’s new property. They travel for a few days and end up at Copperhill Station, a mining town with a large Dwarven population. While there, Iolar, Avron, Ishma, and Liath scout out the remains of the town which once stood on the border of the Heathlands. They find only ruins and empty land – and a handful of Orc squatters!

There is a brief but interesting battle with the band of orcs. Once the foul beasts are dispatched, the party discovers a prisoner – a wolf-like humanoid of some kind. They release it and it flees to teh west, but it leaves behind a handful of mithril bits.

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Session 23
Attempted Murder

After insuring that the Otto Goodbarley and his wife will live, the party tries to help clean up the Full Mug Inn, which has been thoroughly trashed during the altercation in the night. Zarunal finds the body of one of the young halfling servants in the storeroom.

Iolar uses the magic mirror that he obtained from Indrid Cold, and speaks with his older sister Ialah back in Alfaen. She informs him that an ambassador was been dispatched to Lyssandria, but he has been held up in the Island Kingdoms on the island of Beninnshan. The Aquilonian navy has closed the port at Beninnshan, ostensibly on account of piracy in the area. She informs Iolar that although many of the Alfaen nobles are still indifferent to these developments, their uncle Eldred (who was always a bit militant) smells a plot and wants to do SOMETHING other than debate and discuss. He knows of an old mystical pathway between the old world and the new, a path that travels through the Fey. However the path is blocked. If Iolar can find the other end of the path and open the way, Alfaen can send help to Lyssandria. Since the official ambassador is detained, Iolar should consider himself appointed in the interim, and he should find out what Lyssandria needs.

Lord Hearne arrives, and he is troubled by the news of the attack on the Inn. The party does not inform him of what the Dark Folk were seeking. It is decided that the best thing to do is push on to the emergency council meeting in Lyssa’s Port which Iolar has been invited to, as quickly as possible. The party departs Hearnsward in the company of Lord Hearn, Lord Garret and his daughter, and a number of guards and servants. Sarah Jane comes as well, not wishing to be left behind in Hearnsward.

The journey to Lyssa’s port is largely uneventful. Zarunal once more comes down with Filth Fever on account of his run-in with the rats in the inn, but this time he recovers quickly. THe party arrives around Jan. 12th.

In Lyssa’s port several things happen:

The party is treated in high style. Iolar is gifted with a masterwork dagger bearing his heraldry. It is obvious that the nobles want Iolar to present a favorable case to Alfaen for them. Iolar gets an audience with the Steward of Lyssandria, who makes the case that Lyssandria needs help, and that if Aquilonia establishes some kind of hegemony in the New World, Alfaen may be next on Aquilonia’s hit list.

The Aquilonian ambassador is also in town, and dropping hints among the nobles that if Lyssandria accepts Aqiulonia’s “protection”, then the imminent war with Prophares migh end before it begins.

The party is invited to a grand ball at the palace of state. They buy new clothes in preparation. Iolar’s new dagger goes missing.

The party reunites with Lord Birgen, who the party did that survey for all those months ago. He has developed a close relationship with the Eagle tribe of the Kashwa, and has been made an honorary member of the tribe – although he’s still a bit of an obnoxious blowhard. Wishing to show off his new found position as “Lord of the Kashwa” he invites Ishma to be his date to the ball.

In the grand stables near the Palace of State, Liath spends some time with the younger noblemen, who are all ardent knights and cavalrymen. While there, he overhears gossip that the Aquilonian ambassador has it in for Birgen, who apparently fled to the New World after getting in some kind of trouble back in Aquilonia.

Zarunal meets the Lord Arcane of Lyssandria, Lord Mittlemetz, who is responsible for the magical defense of the state. Unfortunately, someone has been poisoning him slowly with Id Moss, and this has proved mentally debilitating, leaving the old man in a rather doddering and confused condition.

A new PC, a sailor named Avron, appears. He has arrived in Lyssa’s Port with a treasure map that purports to hint at the location of the Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth, a former stronghold of the Storm Elves. He meets a bard named Phoebe who knows Iolar from a meeting back in Adricsdorf. Phoebe makes an introduction, and it is agreed that they shall discuss a possible expedition. Phoebe will also sneak him into the Ball.

The night of the ball arrives. During the event, an attempt is made on Lord Birgen’s life using Iolar’s dagger (in an obvious attempt to frame him). The party manages to thwart the attempt, and and the assassins flee. After a rollicking chase across the city, they are captured alive. It turns out that the whole thing was a plot by the Aquilonian ambassador, who has disappeared.

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Session 22
The Perils of Sarah Jane

Zarunal takes a quick trip to visit his old master Galen in Akandra, hoping to pay off his indenture. Galen has some important visitors, but Zarunal does not know who they are. Galen claims that Zarunal owes him interest on the debt as well, and is not inclined to accept Zarunal’s magical goggles as part of the payment – the negotiations do not go well. However, Galen has received a letter from Lord Alban of Exenor – apparently a very rare thing – which references the Evil Red Gem that the party found. Galen offers to erase Zarunal’s debt should he bring him the gem. Zarunal is reluctant, to say the least. He stays one afternoon with his mentor, during which time he discovers some obscure lore in a book in Galen’s Library. He then returns with all speed to Hearnsward to meet up with the party.

The party returns to Hearnsward in time for the New Year’s Eve Celebration- and something more. Sarah Jane has arranged a surprise wedding for her and Savren, with the whole town in attendance. Savren is a mightily surprised and a bit shocked – he has no desire for this marriage. Lord Hearne speaks with him and explains that a warrant was issued for Savren’s arrest on charges of kidnapping, but since he has had a chance to speak with Sarah and knows she followed Savren willingly, he sees no need to be bound by it, especially since Sarah is 18 now and a free woman in her own right.

Savren confronts Sarah and finally reveals that he was not the man who seduced her back in October, and explains about the Doppleganger. Sarah confirms this story with Iolar, then retires to her room in the inn, obviously distraught. It’s an awkward situation, and Savren has obviously not done his reputation any favors on this day.

There are some other notables present: Lord Ian Garret and his daughter Elsbeth are on their way (with Lord Hearne) to Lyssa’s Port to attend a conclave of Lyssandria’s nobles. Otto Goodbarley delivers a letter to Iolar from Sir Colwyn, asking that Iolar also be in attendance – he has been invited by the Regent of Lyssandria personally. Iolar also runs into Indrid Cold, the wandering Storm Elf. Indrid loans Iolar a magic mirror of some kind, saying that he has done so in response to a request from a third party, but that he expects the item returned soon. Lord Garret tries to corner Savren to ask about the Mithril Dagger that Savren mentioned to him back in September, but Savren stonewalls him.

The celebration winds down, and the heroes take rooms in the inn for the night. However, in the darkest hours the inn is invaded by Dark Creepers, led by a Dark Stalker of some kind. They have brought along a Giant Ettercap and a Choker as well. It is a well-coordinated attack, and they are obviously looking for the strange Red Gem that the party found in October. The fight is difficult in the confines of the Inn: The choker nearly throttles Iolar, Ishma is thrown over a balcony by the ettercap before she manages to bury her axe in it’s head, and a horde of summoned rats infects Zarunal with Filth Fever once more. Several people are poisoned, the Otto Goodbarley and his wife are almost killed, and something unspeakable is done to Sarah before the party can get in to rescue her. Everyone is hindered by the Stalker’s ability to create magical darkness.

Eventually, just as the Dark Stalker manages to get his hands on the evil Gem, he is dispatched by the party. The Choker is killed, along with numerous Creepers and the Ettercap as well. The remaining Creepers flee into the night. The session ends with the party trying to regroup and recover.

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