Paths of Gaeda

Session 11
Awkward Social Situations

The party spends a new day shopping, working, and exploring around Exenor. Zarunal spends the day making potions. Liath continues working on his new bow.

Iolar trades rumors with a local merchant and buys some interesting books in the market.
None of the citizens in town appears to be upset with their rulers, and there is a definite pitying attitude towards the poor folks up in Lyssandria who can’t seem to maintain law and order.

Savren investigates the local spiritual centers and finds an old Adastrican temple to The Starbinder, a shrine to an agricultural god, and mysterious courtyard shrine that was gated and locked up.

At the end of the day, Zarunal receives a summons from Lord Alban, and he is instructed to “bring the artifact” with him, by which he understands that he must bring the mysterious gem which was taken off of the Doppelganger. He goes to Alban’s tower accompanied by Iolar where Alban examines the gem, and it appears to disturb him greatly. He instructs Zarunal and his companions to remove the gem from his town immediately. In compensation for the inconvenience, he gives Zarunal an alchemical cookbook.

The party is hustled out of the town gates that night and makes camp at the far edge of the Cozahrs camp, intending to proceed north back towards Blackwall Station the next day. A barbarian woman takes a liking to Karnack’s shield and challenges him to combat, but he puts up a good fight and manages to defeat her, earning a nice short sword for his trouble.

After a couple of more days of travel north, the party arrives in Blackwall, which is now a heavily armed and fortified camp. As in Adricsdorf, there is a lot of new construction going on. The party is examined by an army captain, and the presence of the Elves causes them to be brought before Lord Anthec. Anthec invites Iolar and Liath to dinner that night, but spares little attention for the others. At the Coaching Inn and Trading post, the party meets Tanya Rentsch, daughter-in-law of Wilhelm Rentsch, the town founder. Her teen-aged children Sophie and Pitor are also helping out, but both seem preoccupied and disturbed by something.

At dinner, Iolar and Liath meet Lord Blackwall and his son Horace. It is apparent that Anthec has taken over the province and that Blackwall is little more than a prisoner in his own keep, though that is never spoken of directly. Anthec reveals over dinner that the theft of Blackwall’s Prophares tribute, along with the subsequent spate of banditry along the north road, is what instigated the occupation of the town. Anthec is determined to march into Lyssandria and establish a series of outposts to make the north road safe, incidentally carving out a small fifedom for himself, of course.

Horace shows up at the Inn later on, and it is apparent that Sophie and he have feelings for each other. It is also apparent that Pitor resents this. There is some talk of the harvest festival happening on the 31st of October. Horace is overheard making plans to slip away from the festival so that he can search out the bandits and recover the stolen tribute.

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Session 10
Catching up, moving on.

Liath awakes in a sewer in Guildport. He is heavily wounded an apparently had been left there to die. Eventually he is rescued by the town guards, and taken to a cell somewhere. He is attended by a Gnomish healer, and hears him mutter the phrase " Kadeth bat kad, Fireth bat fir, Urreth mekt urr, khal holash " during his ministrations, but he does not press the gnome for an explanation.

Eventually Liath determines that on the night of the card game, he was seen drinking with a man named Hans Garkin. Garkin’s body was found about the same time as Liath, but it appeared that he had been dead several days, with similar wounds as Liath had endured. Liath also leanrs that his friends have already left town in the company of someone pretending to be him.

Liath tracks the party for a couple of days, and eventually catches up with them the day after their battle against the doppleganger and the dark creepers. There is some suspicion and a lot of confusion at first, but eventually they sort out the sequence of events. Liath has never before seen the mysterious rosewood box recovered from the doppleganger.

The party is poisoned and wounded, and so elect to spend another night in the woods, but once again the dark creepers attack, and in greater numbers – however, the party reunited proves more than a match for them. In the morning, the company presses south with all speed rather than risk another night in the woods. By that evening they are well into Prophares territory, and spend the night at a farmhouse. The farmer is unfamiliar with elves, and mistakes Iolar for Anthec, the Lord Martial of Prophares and commander of its armies, apparently also an elf of some kind. By this the party learns that Anthec has something of a fearsome reputation.

The next day the party presses on and finds the north-south road, but decides to turn south towards the town of Exenor before going North to Blackwall Station. In Exenor, they meet innkeeper Roan McIdees who impresses them with his ability to serve beer cold. They make plans to do some trading in town and get some much needed rest.

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Session 09
Deceit and Treachery

Mid October. The party leaves Guildport heading south, with the intention of heading overland into the Prophares Protectorate before approaching Blackwall Station from within Prohares in order to ally any suspicion that they’ve come from Lyssandria. To the south Guildport is a great marsh, and the border is heavily wooded and studded with hills, but Liath declares that he can find a path for Zarunal’s wagon through the hills if the party gives him a day or so to scout ahead. They make camp and await his return.

A day later, he arrives and informs them that there is a small Thorpe to the west, and a rough trail that he thinks will serves them south of there. The party enters the tiny village – no more than a collection of farms, really. Upon leaving the next day, Savren is accused of dallying with one of the farmers’ daughters. This confuses him mightily, as he merely spoke a few words to the girl the previous night. The travelers brush aside the Farmers’ concerns and continue on.

Halfway through the forest, Liath calls a halt and indicates that he’s found some mysterious tracks that he wishes to investigate. Karnack stays with the cart while the others follwo the tracks to a small cave. Liath convinces Zarunal to slip inside to investigate briefly (the hole is too bulky for Savren’s armor, and Iolar decides to remain with the cleric), however, once inside, Liath traps Zarunal in a blind alley by means of a rockfall.

Emerging from the cave, Liath tells the others to wait while he fetches Karnack, but instead he catches Karnack unawares and incapacitates him with a blow to the back of the head. While Liath is doing this, Iolar slips into the cave and tries unsuccessfully to free Zarunal. Liath then returns to the cave and begins taking potshots at Savren from the cover of a tree.

Iolar returns and he and Savren battle Liath for some time, while Zarunal manages to use his magic to eventually free himself. Savren is knocked unconscious and nearly killed, but Liath is defeated as Ioalr and Zarunal realize that he has been replaced by some kind of shape-shifting entity. With two comrades unconscious and wounded and one missing, the remaining two drag Savren back to the wagon and try to rest for the evening.

That night, however, they are attacked by dark creepers – hideous little things that are supposedly the stuff of legend and story. Karnack is roused by the battle, though very disoriented from his wound, and the attack is repulsed. Apparently the little things were searching for Liath’s effects, and among them the party finds a small rosewood box containing some parchment inscribed in an unknown language, a pair of Goggles of Minute Seeing, and a fist-sized red gem of some kind. Zarunal tries using the goggles to look into the gem, but the experience is frightening and unpleasant and he learns nothing by it.

The party once again attempts to get some rest.

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Iolar's Log 9

October 15, 3509 (1901 Dwarven) My halfling Zarunal vanished for some period of time; I learned later that he had been attempting to increase his finances through some local tournament. And failed. Well, poor luck for him… I gathered my party and set out west overland towards Blackwall in the morning. We passed through a small village and stayed for the evening. It would have been a thoroughly unremarkable stay, not counting the…agricultural accomodations (I’m still picking bits of it out of my hair), except for a curious encounter with the locals who accused cousin Laith of soiling a local girl’s honor…She wasn’t unattractive (if young), but I can attest that he spent the entire night sleeping in the same barn as I. I was to discover the reason for this later. After some travel, I passed some curious, halfling-sized bandaged feet. Leaving Karnack with the cart and investigating, they led to a cave. Zarunal entered the cave, then somehow got trapped within. Laith investigated then headed back to the cart. I entered the cave to investigate for myself…and became suspicious when it became evident that Zarunal had been trapped behind a boulder. There were only two of them who went into the cave, and Zarunal was ambushed from behind. I was hardly surprised when I left the cave to discover Laith lofting arrows at Savren. Regretfully, repeated attempts to daze or stun Laith had little effect, but Savren and Zarunal together were able to supress the creature which (as I suspected) was some sort of shapechanger or doppleganger. A short time before then I had surmised by Laith’s unusual behavior that something was very wrong with him. Returning to the cart, we found Karnack, knocked out cold. With Karnack unresponsive, Savren beaten near to death and Laith entirely missing, it was only Zarunal and myself still hale, we made camp. During the night, we were set upon by some small creatures from the woods: by Bueel’s veil, they looked like dark creepers! What a mystery, to find these mythical gremlins in such a common place? One attempted to distract me while another invaded Zarunal’s cart. Karnack eventually came around during the battle, but we drove them off. I learned later that they seemed unusually intent on stealing a rosewood box amongst Laith’s posessions. The box contained a large ruby, two crystal gazing lenses and a piece of parchment. Zarunal donned the glasses while examining the ruby and reported seeing something dark, foreboding and fearful within. Having had enough adventure for one evening, I wisely decided to hold off further investigation until we had more time (and vitality).

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Iolar's Log 8

October 14, 3509 (1901 Dwarven) When I finally returned to Adricksdorf, I discovered it unusually busy, with soldiers and merchants bustling to and fro. It became quickly evident that the town was fortifying itself against attack. As requested, I made a brief stop to visit Lord Gruun: After exchanging pleasantries with Flinchley, I met with Gruun, Colwin, Enfield, a sour older human I correctly guessed was Lord Moraz, and Gruun’s younger son Theo who looked thoroughly disinterested. After giving them a breif report of our findings before Bergen arrived (it is not my responsibility to play partial in these petit human politics!), Bergen made his way to the meeting and I reported to him as well. At first opposed to the idea of the Cashwa continuing on “his lands”, he seemed to be very interested in the idea that his lands may already come with knowledgeabe vassals. If the Cashwa are wise, they will find Bergen easily manipulated to their needs. Bergen paid us for our services and left, satisfied with our findings and seemingly unconcerned with the impending war on his border. After Bergen departed, I added additional information I had not the time for earlier. They seemed particularly interested in the cryptic message, and Moraz commented that there was “A leak.” and left, disgruntled. Gruun dismissed my supposition it came from the Heathlands and insisted it had originated with the trading company. I then left the nobles to their planning and set out about properly resupplying the group. After getting my garments (in such a sorry shape!) mended, I aided our halfling in negotiationg good prices for our spoils, then finally to take a chance to relax at an inn. The drink was mediocre, but the horrid retelling of Ulsh Woods by some local human song-spinner quite nearly spoiled my evening. I countered with one of the stories of Sholla that would have even stolen Cuishi’s words. After some more of this competition, we traded stories privately and I learned more of the secretive Heathlands, and a haunted forest near the capital wherein lies a holy shrine of the storm elves, where the rules of tha natural world are weak. Could it be? It sounds very much to be one of the old Imperial portals! For this news alone, the trip through these human lands has been worthwhile. The following day I spoke with Colwin again, who requested aid in either reconnoitering the lands to the south, as well as any progress regarding my missive to Alfaen. Of course, I had not been near a seaport since before I was originally asked, and if I were to travel south exploring, that would also have to wait. However…During the journey into the wilds, we found a magical token which could transfer a message over the sea, and Colwin was all too eager to compensate us for its use. Having written the message and sent its on its way, I decided to head downriver to follow up on the guildsman’s contract, then to explore Blackwall Station from an oblique (and less suspicious direction). I shortly arrived in Guildport, gave them notice of Jonson’s death, and negotiated a price for our trade goods. In the morrow, I set off again on my journey.

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Iolar's Log 7

October 7, 3509 (1901 Dwarven) After disposing of some of our spoils and resupplying, traveled north towards the hamlet of Hernsward. A rather small and unexciting place, but Zarunal insisted on visiting a halfling named Otto, the proprietor of a certain “Full Mug Tavern” who apparently was instrumental in his recovery from the vermin-borne disease he had contracted. That is a fair reason, I suppose, although the desire for such urgency still mystifies me. Before heading back to Oak Haven, I overheard a rumors regarding a Delos army lurking on Lyssandria’s southern border (rather predictable, really), and a curious story about a town in the Heathlands that vanished following an argument between its elders. On the journey back south, I happened upon some wounded human natives who had a tale of woe of an ogre afflicting their tribe. Favored by Ge’an is he who aids a traveller, so I healed the poor folk and followed them back to their tribe.After hearing more of their terrible story of the ogre, I could but take pity upon them and my companions and I set out to resolve the issue. The beast was accompanied by wolves which we dispatched quickly enough once I broke into another inspiring rendition of Ulsh Woods. The ogre, however, was a rather more difficult opponent, and quite nearly killed my cleric companion. Finally I was able to get a joke through to the giant savage; while it was doubled over in laughter, my companions set upon it and quickly ended it. An ignominious end, for sure, but I will not be the one to complain. Following, released its native captives (which ones still lived, at least) and healed the natives’ shaman. The poor mystic was rather put out that he was unable to save his own people, but I implied publically that it must have been his entreaties to the spirits which brought us. With the news of Lord Bergens’ new deed, the tribe was intent on leaving their home for other lands; I was fortunately able to convince them that they might well find it possible to live in harmony with Bergen. Given their knowledge of the lands and native magics, they may have more to offer the “men from the east” than they think, to say nothing of a possible alliance for a nation that seems desperate for all they can find. The chief and shaman agreed and bid me return to Bergen with a message: That they have seen the honor the men from the east are capable of, and wish to form a fair and just treaty, offering their skills and knowledge in return for the magic of working iron (which they seemed quite eager to obtain). As a gesture of goodwill, they gave us supplies and assisted us in completing our survey using their extensive knowledge of the area. They also gave us some useful information regarding the mithril dagger we found some weeks earlier, noting that such things are objects from the ‘Children of the Moon” to the west, over the mountains. Of course, the obligatory warnings of bad omens and that we should return it as soon as possible. I would most certainly like to visit these “Children of the Moon”! After a week of rest and recooperation with the Cashwa, finally set out again on my journey.

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Iolar's Log 6

September 25, 3509 (1901 Dwarven)

Oh, cursed Huiri! What have I done to garner your attention? Rarely have I had such a ill-favored journey as I did when travelling to visit Sir Colwin. I arrived in a state entirely unsuited to meet even this liutennant of a small militia. Fortunately, his butler Flinchley (an elderly gnome) was able to at least provide cleaned clothes and good food before Colwin arrived. As awful as my travel was, Flinchley is a superb steward; I wonder if Colwin truly understands what a treasure his man is. When finally we spoke, Colwin and I discussed the survey. Upon his inquiry, I was able to give a brief overview of the great Alfaen house of Tuaysheartahmore. He gave me a brief on the military actions happening to the south at Blackwall Station, and that Prophares seems to have invaded. Colwin suspects the hand of New Delos and Aquilonia, and rather too casually mentioned that Lyssandria is looking for allies in the brewing storm. Obviously, (and with understandable reason) he desires an alliance between Lyssandria and Alfaen, and offered an invitation to visit with the high nobility of Lyssandria when I next visited Lyssa’s Port. This offers a great potential…Of what yet, I cannot say, but there is certainly an opportunity for the Empire to take a greater step onto the world stage; even covertly, perhaps even preferably covert. This situation definitely requires further investigation before I can make a recommendation or perhaps even broker an alliance myself to further the fortunes of my illustrious empire. In the meantime, apparently the halfling in my party has taken quite ill, having contracted some kind of illness from the vermin back in the tower. As a favor and gesture of goodwill, Lieutennant Colwin offered some healing magics to help out. Already, this potential alliance has begun to pay off. Our empire is certainly in a position of power in this realm.

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Iolar's Log 5

September 19, 3509 (1901 Dwarven) Before exploring the bowels of mysterious tower, I decided to spend a day recovering from my harrowing travels through this accursed wood. By Muiri’s blessing, the night passed without the disturbances. The following day, my companions desired a closer look at the numerous mounds clustered in the plaza. I dug into one of the fresher-looking ones with some unidentifiable footprints in them; with little surprise, I found some putrefying corpses within, one apparently being the blacksmith’s apprentice which I noted earlier. Odd that the local scavenger vermin have not taken more of an interest in these shallow graves… But back to the task at hand, the dark dungeon of the tower. Aor protect them, I found the corridors paved with brittle bones! And rats, so many rats. Of course, I thought that at the time. That was before a swarm of them rushed over us like a flood. Damn vermin were nearly impossible to hit, even for a skilled duelist as myself! With the aid of magic and my companions they were finally driven back. Delving deeper into the catacombs (for we soon discovered that they were, in fact, catacombs), it became apparent that the mounds of earth above were little more than a larder for the foul undead ghous below! We all dispatched them gloriously, as deserves such abominations of the natural order of things. After the victory, I had the chance to more closely examine these ruins. Based on the geometric patterning of the construction, this is certainly an ancient gnomish outpost of some kind, and I presume the unusual glowing orb which illuminated this room also of gnomish work. I discovered a flooded room below the main catacombs chamber, containing the remains of some ancient astonomical device with carvings on the walls and a corroded mechanism in the center of the room. I was able to dislodge some of the device and take it with me for future research. I also discovered a back room to the catacombs which showed evidence of recent necromantic arts; a collection of recently handled alchemical supplies, arcane drawings of a necromantic nature, and two recently deceased humans showing evidence of proper preparation and burial (so says my human companions). The “Nail in the coffin”, as the humans say (what a morbid, depressing language they have…Must be related to their breif lifespans) was the evidence of coins with dates of less than three years. Despite my discomfort, my travelling companions searched the deceased for valuables and finally departed this place, to track down the practicioners of these dark arts. Again, I had a blessedly quiet night, one of several to follow as we spent several days recovering from our wounds and resupplying off the local resources. In my exploration, we discovered booted tracks to the north. Following them led us to the Konnash river and a boat; crossing the river I followed the tracks further north to a road leading east to a tiny hamlet clustered in the shadow of a keep. The locals call it “Oak Haven”.We stayed briefly at a tavern. It was quite base by comparison even to the sailors’ hostels in Theashadah, but after so long in the wilds its mean comforts were welcome. During my stay I received an invitaion from a local Sir Colwin to visit him at a nearby hunting lodge owned by a Lord Groon. The tavernkeep, Shaun, stated that Colwin is Groon’s firstborn son and an officer of some renown in the Lyssandrian guards. Furthermore, Lord Groon is not the local noble, but it is Lord Garrett. I have little more to note at the time, except to mention of two additional visitors to the tavern during my stay: a nubile young human woman named “Elsbeth”, who seemed quite put out that Colwin was not around. Also, a mysterious human named “Pete” who came calling on Shaun, but fled before offering more information. Lastly, Shaun earlier mentioned a “wandering elf” from the north named Indred. He may be one of our lost brothers from the north, and should my travels allow it, I would like very much to speak with him.

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Session 08
War is Good for Business

The party returns to Adricsdorf on October 7th to find the town swarming with activity. Soldiers and workers have been brought in from all over the surrounding area to build earthworks and other defenses around the town before the arrival of winter. Per Sir Colwyn’s instructions, the group stops at the estate of Lord Gruun before delivering their survey to Lord Birgen. There is brief but tense meeting involving the local lords and Sir Colwyn and arguments about the strategic value of the new lands. Lord Birgen eventually harrumphs into the room to receive the results of the survey himself, and after paying off the party he is hustled away by Lord Endfield. Sir Colwyn consults with Iolar, and they two of them agree to meet later.

In town, loot is sold off and the party finally reap the reward for a month spent traipsing around the frontier. Zarunal bickers with Gaeseric the Alchemist over the price of Ankheg guts. Liath continues work on his new bow. Savren offers his services to the local temple. Karnack finds gainful employment with the town’s very busy armorers. Iolar meets a pretty human harper named Phoebe and the two of them take turns entertaining the crowd at the Traveller’s Rest Inn. From her, Iolar picks up rumors of a “haunted” forest in the Ramoth Heathlands which may actually hide an old Elven gate between the New World and old Alfaen. Karnack overhears a story of a caravan on the south road that was sacked and destroyed, the people killed, and bloody handprints left everywhere.

The next day, Iolar and Sir Colwyn meet once more. Iolar resists Colwyn’s entreaties to act as a personal ambassador. However, he does offer to send a message to a cousin of his in Alfaen via Liath’s magic Feather Token. Iolar also agrees that he and his band will help Sir Colwyn by going south to Blackwall Station in order to see what’s really going on down there. They will not go directly south, but will head downriver to Guildport first in an effort to find a representative of the Affable New World Pipeweed and Furrier Mercantile so that they may find a way to “cash in” on the late Frederick Jonsun’s letter of credit.

During the barge trip south, Zarunal learns how to play the card game “Sleeping Queens” from the crew. He learns of a high-stakes game taking place at the Golden Whale tavern in Guildport, and somehow gets himself roped into joining the competition.

In Guildport, the group reports Frederick Jonsun’s death to an officer of the Affable Mercantile and presents his letter of Trade. After some more negotiations, it is agreed that the the Affable Mercantile will pay on those goods whose delivery they can arrange before the Spring Equinox.

The next day at the Golden Whale, Zarunal tries his hand at Sleeping Queens, but sadly ends up losing most of his stake and goes to bed disappointed. The session ends on the night of October 14th.

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Session 07
Meet the Neighbors

On the 24th of September, Zarunal is starting to feel better. Anxious to clear his debt to Otto Goodbarley in Hearnsward, he convinces his companions to take a brief, restful trip north so that he can thank his benefactor in person. The trip north is uneventful, and during the ride, Iolar (returned from Oak Falls) relates the content of his meeting with Sir Colwyn.

Sir Colwyn, it turns out, is adjutant to the Lord Marshall of Lyssandria. He is very concerned about the presence of the Prophares Army in Blackwall Station, and fear it may lead to war. During the meeting, he outlined a brief history of the town for Iolar, and told how Lord Prophares is using the theft of a recent tribute payment (part of a recent rise in banditry in the region) as an excuse to exert his prerogatives in the region. Colwyn is equally concerned about troop movements in the realm of New Delos to the north: truly Lyssandria is beset on two fronts.

During the meeting, Colwyn made plain that Lyssandria is short on allies, and he asked Iolar if there was any chance that he might help to open an official diplomatic relationship between Lyssandria and Alfaen. Iolar demurred, but offered to consider what he could do and said that he would be making a report back to his homeland in which he would be sure to outline the situation.

In Hearnsward, Zarunal squared his debt with Otto, and the troupe turned once more south, intending to finally finish their survey for Lord Birgen. Just north of Oakhaven, however, they spied a pair of young Kashwa warriors, both heavily wounded. They tell a tale of how their clan was attacked by an Ogre who lives in the hills to the west. Many are dead and wounded, and a number of the clan are captured, including their shaman. The heroes agree to help.

They travel to the Kashwa camp, where Savren tends to the wounded and they gather information about the Ogre. The next day, accompanied by one of the young warriors as a guide, they assault the Ogre’s camp, drawing the beast from its lair. The Ogre is accompanied by a number of large wolves, and the battle is fierce – the Ogre very nearly kills Savren. However, Iolar applies a Hideous Laughter spell which renders the monster helpless. The wolves dispatched, the party swarms over the Ogre and he dies laughing.

The captives (those still living) are freed, and the party has earned the gratitude of the Eagle Clan, a proud but impoverished people. Over the next day, Iolar determines that the nomadic clan’s territory includes Lord Birgen’s lands, and Iolar negotiates with them for information in return for his promise to attempt a reconciliation with the men of the East, and instruction from Zarunal on the working of Iron into Steel. Details for a trade of Iron Ore for firs and pelts is also struck.

The Survey is completed as Karnack (uncermoniously) reaches 18 years of age on September 30th. Once additional trading details are worked out, the party heads back towards Adricsdorf, passing through Oak falls on October 7th.

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