Saturday, 1509-09-24* Edit

The cultist curses party as Malakai lights the web he cast on fire, however the man survives and ducks below. Van puts a Waterwalking spell on everyone and runs across the shallow lake to the island, readying an attack against anyone who might pop out. While Kain is still struggling with the attacking plans Malakai joins Van’s side as well, seeing steps that lead downwards just behind the parapet he casts Shadow monsters and summons a troll into the entrance which then promptly falls for a trap and is left hanging from a tree. Kain attempts to disbelieve the troll, but fails meaning that as his favored enemy he probably is going to attack it when he gets free.

Voice comes from deeper in the entryway, urging the party to go set the world on its true path and leave. Van spends his turn cutting the shadow troll free. On Malakai’s turn the trolls goes down into the hole and attacks the defending cultists followed close after by the two casters coming behind. Spells are exchanged between the party and the cultists with another one falling. Finally Kain gets out of the entangle and starts moving towards the entrance. Party advances deeper, a Fireball kills 4 of the remaining clerics. Kain finally joins them inside as they push into what appears to be the main dining hall. Some troll slaughter later only the man who appears to be the leader and two others of this group are left, however leaving the two others to die he disappears.

Once party mops up the regular cultists, sparing one to be taken back to Shirebrook, they set out to block the entrance and search for the invisible leader which they cannot seem to find him. They note that the building once upon time used to be a fortress, but has apparently sunken below earth.

For the life of them they can’t figure out what spell it might have been that allowed the Malkis cleric to fade out of existence. Unlike Malakai’s Invisibility and Dimension door which make him instantly disappear the cultists spell was gradual and Van has no knowledge of such spell. Deciding that Reflecting pool should be enough to locate the escaped cleric party goes to explore the floor below this one and find the room they scried on before.

They identify the blond haired woman that was seen in the village and Malakai starts dragging down the corpses to lower floor. They find 50 steel coins, 49 gold coins, 58 silver coins and some nice silks in one of the rooms. They also find 13 Malkis holy symbols and a statuette in their chapel which unbeknownst to other two Kain defiles with a Relkor symbol and leaves in the dark.

Van naps for an hour while other two keep watch and Kain gives Malakai a somewhat intense warning against summoning any more trolls. Eventually Van wakes up, goes below to where a well is and casts Reflecting pool on the escaped cleric. He sees the man picking his way through a forest that doesn’t seem to be near Black Pine Marsh anymore, quickly though the man notices the scrying spell and begins running instead of walking. Before they leave Van quickly Detects magic, but finds nothing so they pick up their stuff, execute the single cultist they took prisoner and go on their way into the Thornwood forest.

Kain tracks the footprints to the river and a very slow, very complex ferrying of people ensues. Kain has to help both Malakai and Van across as well as swim Van’s armor to the other side, this costs the party another half an hour after which they continue on, just after sharing some brotherly hate.

Soon though night begins to set and party is left to track their quarry into dusk. They come across the road that leads from Shirebrook to Thornwood where they lose the tracks, sometime later they meet up with peasants hauling a wagon of grain. They tell the party of hard times in Shirebrook, that thievery is up because of a large influx of refugees that left their villages in the south to flee from danger. The peasants also mentions a lone rider going towards Shirebrook, but description of his clothes don't match that of the cleric. Van describes the cultist and warns to be on the lookout for him.

A little bit later they manage to spot lone tracks and continue on after them. Little while later they veer off the road, but Kain soon spots a campfire in the distance. Van charges in guns blazing and jumps on the dazed Malkis cleric who he proceeds to grapple and choke. Kain and Malakai stand around the struggling cultist in case he breaks out while he begins turning blue. Eventually they subdue the man.

Malakai is Napped and by time he wakes up light begins to start showing on the horizon. Malakai Detect magic's him, but finds nothing so he memorizes Stoneskin, casts it on Kain and they on on their way towards Shirebrook.

While on their way, Malakai asks the man what it is that he could do for him to be let go. The cultist just gives a creepy chuckle and doesn’t really offer anything so Malakai re-gags him.

While on their way they also spot about 8 leather armor wearing people laying about on the side of the road. Van asks if they have any food to sell, but they deny. They ask a few questions, but stay in their spots and don’t act aggressive, one of them seemingly recognizing Van’s name.

Sunday, 1509-09-25 Edit

A day later they finally arrive in Shirebrook only to see it as crowded as they have ever seen it. A random peasant confirms that they are fleeing because of the disappearances and the monster that takes people away, though apparently still no one has ever seen it. Van and Kain share some food to them and are immediately swamped by more hungry peasants so they escape to Rohana’s.

They inform her that they’ve cough the perpetrators to the murders so she packs up and goes with them to the keep. While dealing with gate guard, Vernon Corwell, they extend the greetings they were given by Hanes. He acknowledges them, but doesn’t speak of anything else.

Party is lead to a parlor where they await Baroness Stella accompanied by her captain of the guard. Van tells her of their investigation and what the cultist said to them about stirring the world up. She expresses her disbelief and calls the man mad, then after some advice tells her subjects to cut his tongue and leave him in the dungeons. Malakai mentions sending out information to the other towns that the assassins have been dealt with.

They keep an eye on the cultist just in case, but his sentence is carried out without problems. Malakai makes a point of enjoying it.

Outside of the keep Van reminds everyone that they ought to go to Stromheim themselves since they’ve single handedly killed all the cultists that have been murdering nobles around Eridon. First though they have some business to take care of.

When inquiring about the chimera tracking spell though Rohana says it’s going to be beyond her, but she is willing to give Malaka her notes on it. Before they part Malakai invites Rohana for a drink at Halfpint later that day after all of their business is done.

Van goes to speak with mother Ellyse about the large number of refugees in town and possible relief effort to be organize between all the clerics in town. He mentions creating Goodberries and water, though she says fresh water isn’t an issue. When Van expresses his thoughts on them needing to be resettled she agrees without doubt, but says that it needs to be done in batches over large areas and even into different counties if needed. Her concern is that winter is approaching and new fields take time to be created so food is going to be a huge issue while the fields they left are rotting away. Kain proposes settling them near shore, but she refutes the idea because only very few know how to fish and others will just proceed to starve. Van proposes a spell called Plant growth asking whether it might be enough, but it doesn’t seem like during winter it would help much.

Finally Ellyse says that it is not their domain to resettle people, it is to comfort them. But when she says it’s the Baronesses duty Kain pipes up that the Baroness is young and probably won’t be able to handle this. Ellyse retorts that even in difficult times, times of chaos there needs to be order and that everything needs to be approved by The Baroness. She says that people can’t just be shipped out to random villages where they might not have anywhere to sleep or where they could be attacked by monsters on their way there. Kain questions what of the nobles that had been overseeing the villages, but she says that they have mostly stayed behind, she also mentions that frankly most of the peasants have illegally left their homes since they’re tied to their lands, but they cannot lock up thousands of people.

Bullywug 2e

Bullywug from 2nd Edition Monstrous Manual

Malakai goes to find Tyrus whose in middle of breaking up a fight. They shuffle into the sheriff station and Malakai begins telling of the village that Randy came from, that it was attacked by bullywugs. He asks Tyrus information about the original attack on Shirebrook, if he knows where they came from and how many were there. Tyrus tells him that they never managed to track down the bullywug base, but there had been around 20 in the attack. Malakai goes on to ask his opinion on whether a force of 50 of them could slaughter a whole village and Tyrus sort of nods mentioning that a bullywug is about even to the average human fighter. He explains that if they surrounded a village and scared the peasants into surrendering and then disarmed them they might be able to kill all of them without much of a fight, and it takes only 1 good leader to employ this tactic even if the average bullywug isn’t that bright.

Next he asks Tyrus if he knows anything more about the curse of the Shadow mountains, but besides being of the opinion it’s probably some wizards fault and that the 3 disappeared villages are a coincidence he doesn’t really have anything on it.

After that Malakai asks him of Georg, he tells how he came over the Shadow mountains with group of slaves only 1 of which survived. That he seems to deal with dark things and has now established himself snugly into government making himself almost untouchable. When asked about what it was that Rohana saw in his mind, the thing that seemed similar to what Van saw in murdered villagers mind he excuses himself as just being a simple fighter and not knowing such details.

When Malakai asks if he knows whether there are any dragons out there, but Tyrus just slaps his naga armor saying that they are the closest to a dragon around these parts. When Malakai tells him of the cave with the bones he proposes all sorts of monsters, but not a dragon. Once Malakai is about to leave Tyrus leans in tells him that just maybe it’s the poking around that’s causing all this trouble, that perhaps it’s better to just leave the issue alone. Malakai shrugs and departs in direction of Aldrics tower.

Meanwhile Kain and Van are talking as they poke around local refuse pile, Van expresses his doubt in their ability to kill this beast that has been abducting entire villages and says that they need to go to Stromheim instead of attempting to deal with it themselves. Kain also reminds Van to send for Jeeves whose still in Pinecone.

Malakai visits Aldric in his tower asking whether he has heard about the heroes slaying those noble murdering cultists, after Aldric spits out an “ about time” he gives him a wry pat on the back, but continues on about the influx of peasants. He asks if Aldric knows anything more about the curse of the Shadow mountains and gets out of him that he does believe there is something more to it than just dangerous woods citing the fact humans have pretty much settled everywhere except in the Hidden Valley. Malakai goes on to share their investigation and scrying into the Shadow Mountains asking the question, what could kill 300 people and hoard gold in a hidden cave. Aldric grows thoughtful and ponders about it until Malakai prompts the idea that it is a dragon that’s actually the curse. Aldric mentions that they’re usually aggressive, arrogant and make their dominion known instead of being sneaky. He goes over the list of known types of dragons the chromatics, the metallics, Hydroxis which is a mist dragon north of Hillsborough, the brown one in Akuban territory and a yellow one north of Akuba.

Going on Malakai proposes the possible existence of a shadow dragon since there’s no known creature that are both sneaky and strong enough to kill so many people without anyone ever seeing it. Aldric countrer-proposes that it might be a collection of things instead of a single one, but Malakai disagrees because of the lack of evidence in the villages. When asked why doesn’t he keep scrying on the said cave he explains that stumbling on the dragon might not end well for anyone involved. Aldric then levels with him and asks what would he even do if there is a dragon so Malakai first mentions going to Nixum, the gold dragon of Stromheim, for help. Alrick expresses his doubt that she would assist them since she’s taken a definite role of a counselor and not that of a fighter, for example she never has batted an eye at Scoria ruling over Mistrya with fire and death. When asked about books on dragons Aldric writes off his collection as being but scribbles, though he does apparently know the wizard Keldin in Stromheim. Malakai mentions that since they’ve done a great service to the queen they might be let in to talk to him, particularly now that the threat is over, he also gifts Aldric one of the Malkis symbols. They part on a surprisingly good note, though Malakai doesn’t get the note of introduction since Aldric doesn’t actually know the Stromheim wizard in person, but by name only.

Van seeks to get an excellent quality lock, but there’s none sold in town.

Everyone meets up at Halfpint for a drink with Rohana.

Experience and changes Edit

*Dates are extrapolated from a previous mention of an exact date.

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