Light Inheritors

Atasaya!
Part One Finale

atasayatall.pngRestenford, now liberated, was in shambles. A quick investigation of the Castle Restenford’s dungeons revealed some prisoners, who were eager to escape their cells and help rebuild the town. That task completed, Ser Hectre suggested that the adventurers retire to Fletcher’s Peak while they consider their options for dealing with the orcs that invaded Brei. However, Hectre had another plan.

In the old town of Fletcher’s Peak, Lucio the bard heard Elm, Hectre’s adopted sister, play her songs. Eldrad helped lift barrels of fine summer cordial up from the wine cellars, and Althaea helped the town prepare for the feast Hectre was throwing. At the feast, however, a sleeping draught was slipped into Eldrad’s drink, and he fell unconscious. He was taken to the town’s Temple of Ulir, where Hectre and Althaea hoped the demon within him could be exorcised.

The exorcism did not go as planned. Instead of Eldrad being freed of Atasaya’s grip, the demon bear took over completely. The monstrous form of Atasaya was constrained by the limits of Eldrad’s mortal form, but his great and terrible body burst forth from the water of the temple’s reflecting pool, his eyes red as flame, his claws sharp as swords. Althaea pleaded with Eldrad to calm himself, to remain in control, but the lord of Ursina could not overpower Atasaya’s influence for long. Atasaya struck down Ser Hectre, rending a bloody gash across his chest, and the knight fell unconscious on the temple’s grassy floor. With a deft thrust, Althaea plunged Thunderbreath, her gleaming short sword, through Atasaya’s black heart.

Althaea, heartbroken, left a brief message and fled Fletcher’s Peak, departing for Ardennes alone. The kind and dutiful Althaea now had only tears in her eyes and vengeance in her heart. Hectre was awakened in the houses of healing, his wounds mended shut by the priests’ healing magic. He traveled alone to the Ulirian temple and knelt by Eldrad’s body, a tearful apology on his lips as he drew his sword and destroyed his cousin’s body, hoping that Atasaya would never again take his body. Lucio, shocked and appalled by the entire affair, vowed to find Althaea and protect her, and he too departed for Ardennes, hoping to meet the sapphire dragonborn on the westward roads. The wood elf Naiadé disappeared without a trace in the confusion.

And so, three months passed, and the hands of fate beckoned four young warriors towards Ardennes…

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Retaking Restenford

immolith.pngIt was early morning when the warriors left the keep on Bone Hill. Trada, Gistro, and Juni of the Oak Ring of Fletcher traveled to the south in order to scout out the surrounding area. Two warriors of Fletcher’s Peak, Spint and Pheezer, accompanied Lucio, Althaea, Hectre, and Eldrad on the journey towards Restenford. The two groups agreed to rendezvous at Bald Hill, a stony outcropping about an hour east of the town. The main party encountered some resistance on the journey east, but through skill and numbers, overcame the orc war bands patrolling the countryside. An honorable orc warrior who confronted the party on the banks of the River Restin declared, with his dying words, that this war was not an orc’s war, and that it was instigated by the new advisor to the War-King of Ardennes, a man named Baneous, the same man whose agents murdered Althaea’s father.

Neither party suffered any casualties, and reunited at the top of Bald Hill. Resting for the night would allow the warriors to regain their strength for the morning’s assault, but would put the surviving citizens of Restenford in danger. Juni fretted that the orcs might be using Restenford as a base to attack the wood elf refugees that fled Ardennes for the safety of Brei’s southern forests. They chose to rest for the night, and their watch would alert them if they saw any movement in the night.

No orcs left Restenford under the cover of night, and the adventurers began their attack at dawn. As they approached the city walls, though, the orc patrols seemed to vanish. They met no resistance in entering the town, and upon their arrival, found the village square deserted and eerily silent. The silence was soon broken by the sound of the castle gate grinding open, revealing another of the menacing, crimson-robed sorcerers that stood guard over Ser Hectre in the Bone Hill prison. Flanked by two orcs, he strode from the castle gates, clutching a raggedly-dressed peasant by the neck.

Hectre ordered the attack, and the party sprung into action. More orcs leapt from the shadows, and the Oak Ring immediately took arms to hold the attackers back. The party drove the sorcerer into a corner as orc after orc fell by their blades. Shaking with mad laughter, the silver-masked sorcerer took his knife and tore open his captive’s throat, relishing in the gore that spilled over his arms. He took a small ruby marble from a pouch at his side and slipped it into the crude incision. Within moments, flames had engulfed the corpse and transformed it into a towering, elemental monstrosity. Its infernal power threatened to overpower the warriors, but through powerful magic and cunning strategy, the elemental evil was destroyed.

With his last breath, the mad sorcerer turned to Hectre and rasped, “We know.”

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Reinforcements

oozes_banner.png With Ser Hectre rescued and Marco deceased, dissolved inside a gelatinous cube, the adventurers were back at full strength. The decision was made to stay within the keep on Bone Hill and wait for reinforcements from Fletcher’s Peak to arrive. They could only hope that some in Restenford were still alive when the cavalry came.

As the party of warriors searched through the keep, they found that the guard tower had been blasted apart by some explosive force. On the second floor of the tower, they were confronted by one of the red-cloaked sorcerers who had imprisoned Hectre. He claimed his master had decided to kill them after all. The sorcerer, once struck, dissolved into a viscous ooze—an ochre jelly—and began to fight in earnest. The fight was won without serious injury, and Hectre discovered the captain of the watch’s corpse in the upper level. He was a blue-scaled dragonborn like Althaea. In his hand was a short sword, its hilt burnished silver wrapped in strips of black leather, and a shimmering blue sapphire glinted in its pommel. Inscribed in draconic runes on its polished blade was its name: Thunderbreath.

Before the party slept that night, Naiadé prevented a fight between Eldrad and Hectre, after the former insulted the latter, calling him a coward.

The next morning, there was a knock on the keep’s oaken doors. Lucio, a traveling skald, had fled Restenford after the orcish invasion, and made his way towards the small fortress. Lucio was once a companion of Marco’s, but wanted to get back at his old partner after Marco accepted Gravitus’ offer to kidnap Hectre. Lucio agreed to help the party retake Restenford; perhaps it had the makings of a valiant song? Not long afterward, Coldsweat appeared at the doors of the keep with five of House Fletcher’s sworn knights. Hectre forcefully tossed Coldsweat from the keep, telling him to return to Fletcher’s Peak, but amiably greeted the knights.

The Battle for Restenford was about to begin…

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Mano-a-Oso

owlbear_transparent.pngThe attack on Remulus’ hideaway was divided into two fronts: a main force, made up of Eldrad, Nevara, and Coldsweat, would attack the base head-on while Althaea used a secret passage to confront Remulus one-on-one. She surprised the thief lord and managed to beat him into submission. She learned that both he and Brigand Baneous were working for a man named Gravitus, an enigmatic figure who concealed his face with a silver mask. Gravitus had apparently elected Baneous to be the right hand of Ardennes’ usurper-king. Ardennes is currently a military dictatorship, ruled by a legion of orcs that massacred its native elves.

Meanwhile, the main force rushed the underground base, eliminating Remulus’ guards with ease. However, they soon learned that the thief lord had one last trick waiting for them in the mess hall. His last remaining thugs unleashed a rabid owlbear upon the invaders as they rained arrows down upon them from a defensive battlement. Eldrad transformed into the form of a massive bear to fight his monstrous foe, but was unable to match its strength and fury. Three powerful swipes of the owlbear’s talons rent apart Eldrad’s flesh and skin, killing the elf.

Althaea and Nevara’s quick thinking, however, allowed the party to escape with both Remulus’ loot and Eldrad’s corpse. They could only pray that a cleric in town had the power to bring him back from the jaws of death.

They requested that the High Priest of Baldur at the temple restore Eldrad’s life to him. In a grand ceremony, their elven companion was returned to life. The party then made all haste to Restenford, where Hectre was imprisoned. Marco told them he was being held in a small fortress on Bone Hill, near town. They hoped Marco could persuade Hectre’s captors to release him, but Marco was devoured by a gelatinous cube, an acidic monster that was imprisoned on the bottom floor of the fortress. Upon ascending to the top of the fortress, they found Hectre in chains and overseen by three sinister beings, dressed in red robes and silver masks.

The three figures say that they captured Hectre and hoped to retrieve Naiadé for their master, Gravitus, but were disappointed to learn that Baldur’s blood did not flow in Hectre’s veins. They released Hectre and vanished in a cloud of black smoke, warning that “danger would be on their heels.” Mere moments later, a war horn sounded from the west, in the direction of Restenford.

An army of orcs, nearly two hundred strong, marched for Restenford.

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Hunt in the Capital

The party followed Marco and Naiadé to Brei on a boat from Orybdor Isle and followed him in secret. Their secret pursuit was interrupted by a rooftop assailant. Nevara, a halfling vigilante they had met in Ursina, was also in pursuit of a masked thief who had escaped across the roofs of shops in the market district. Althaea chose not to get entangled with the chase, but continued shadowing Marco and Naiadé. Nevara lost the thief she was pursuing, but along with Eldrad and Coldsweat, Hectre’s orcish minstrel, was able to capture some of his thugs.

One of the captured ruffians, an orc named Krug, told them that the thief Nevara was hunting was a Breian crime lord named Remulus, and his hideout was located beneath a local pub named the Boar’s Head. Althaea trailed Marco to the very same bar, and managed to overhear that Marco offered Naiadé and Hectre their freedom if they could match his employer’s offer: one thousand gold pieces.

The entire party gathered in the bar and agreed to storm Remulus’ hideout and hopefully acquire enough gold to pay off Marco from the thief’s hoard. Althaea learned from her orcish captive that Remulus is in league with Brigand Baneous, a dark figure from Althaea’s past. Before the attack, Coldsweat visited Hectre’s father, Lord Oaké, in the Breian palace. Their reunion was happy, but brief. Oaké refused to negotiate with his son’s kidnapper, placing his trust in Coldsweat and his companions to save Hectre.

That night, Coldsweat, Eldrad, Nevara, and Althaea descended into Remulus’ hideaway…

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Hectre's Caprice/Marco's Plot
Played on 3/7 and 3/10/14.

The blazing forest behind them, the party continued on the road to Brei. The closest shipping port was the small, but vital Port Argent. All trade goods that pass between the capital and the west make a stop in Argent. In town, they pawned the jewelry they received from Ilse in Orstrum and Althaea discovered that her ring can draw arcane marks.

They booked passage on the Erudite, a sailing ship commanded by the elvish Captain Quit (“Kit”). The cost of passage was an outrageous fifty gold pieces per passenger, but Naiadé’s presence lowered the price to a mere ten gold per person. A small peasant family, fearing that they would be killed by the fiends in the forest, begged Althaea to buy them passage across Lake Fletcher. Althaea initially agreed, but Eldrad convinced her that the peasants would be safer in town than traveling with them. Althaea reluctantly left the peasant family in town.

Isle Orybdor, an island between Port Argent and Brei, is home to the mining town of Silverton. The party stops there for the night, hoping to catch a boat to Brei in the morning. Quit advises them not to trust anyone in Silverton, advising them to instead meet with a friend of his named Marco, a traveling actor. Marco, known by his stage name, the Million-Faced Man, was in a solo production of The Tragedy of the Mystletainn. His technical crew, comprised of four sorcerers, and Marco’s talent as a shapeshifter, allowed for Marco to effortlessly play every role.

After the performance, they met with Marco in his room at the Wind and the Rain, the local inn. He seemed agreeable, if arrogant, and agreed to see any friends of Quit’s safely to Brei. Ser Hectre drank an astounding amount that night and readily passed out. When he awoke the next morning, Hectre was behaving oddly. He spoke with a different inflection, treated his minstrel Coldsweat with uncommon kindness, and seemed to have forgotten many past events. Marco had already left to rehearse for his matinee performance by the time the party awoke. Despite this strangeness, the party departed for the island’s eastern port. They were ambushed by a group of thugs on the way, but they were dispatched with ease.

Eldrad forced a return to town, needing to confirm his suspicions. They returned to the theatre only to find Marco’s bloody corpse on the stage, surrounded by the bodies of his four sorcerers. Upon further investigation, though, all four corpses were sandbags glamered using illusion magic to appear human. After a length and tedious investigation, Marco dramatically revealed that he had been masquerading as Ser Hectre and attacked the party. Naiadé, however, made clever use of her druidic magic and charmed Marco into cordially revealing his plot. He had been paid a king’s ransom by an anonymous contractor to deliver Naiadé to the town of Restenford, a small village in east of the capital. Ser Hectre was captured during the night, and is apparently already there.

Naiadé has decided to willingly become Marco’s captive and travel to Restenford, while the party follows him in secret. They have boarded the ship to Brei…

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The Nightmare

malebolge.jpg

The party returned to Orstrum and received a small reward from Ilse for clearing out the temple. Ser Hectre claimed an oaken walking stick with a golden ram’s head grip. Naiadé claimed a pair of diamond earrings, while Althaea chose a gold ring inlaid with a sapphire. A strange rune was carved into the sapphire, but no one is sure of its meaning. Eldrad finally took a golden necklace adorned with sparkling rubies. They may fetch a fine price in town. That night, Tordek returned bearing strange news: there was no great evil in the temple’s inner sanctum. It was completely empty. Tordek completed the reconsecration as planned, however, and returned to Orstrum without further harm.

The party departed Orstrum at daybreak, but left in the direction of Brei, the duchy’s capital city. Eldrad and his cousin, Ser Hectre, both have retainers in Ursina looking over the town in their absence. On the trip, they took directions from a plains orc named Urrumar, and took a shortcut through a pleasant forest. That night, Naiadé had a troubling dream in her trance-state. The Ghoul appeared, threatening to hurt Naiadé as she hurt him. She was awoken by a fiery, sulfurous explosion in the distance and by the blaze that engulfed the forest. A Malebolge.

A Spined Devil and a group of lemures quickly surrounded the party and attempted to subdue them, but they were able to rout the devils and escape to the northeast. The burning forest almost consumed Eldrad and Hectre when a burning pine collapsed on top of them, but Althaea and Hectre’s combined strength was enough to toss the heavy trunk. Finally free of the blazing forest, the party now looks on towards Lake Fletcher, the Isle Orybdoir, and finally, Brei.

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A Temple Desecrated

The party returns to Ursina after having rescued the citizens of Overlake and routing the hobgoblin forces. A week passes. Eldrad is once again requested to aid a nearby village. A dwarf named Ilse leads a small troupe of dwarves from the nearby village of Orstrum, claiming that a temple to Io in her village has been desecrated by evil forces. A dwarf named Tordek accompanies the party to clear out the temple.

A mysterious wood elf named Quric approaches the party in secret and requests that they reconsecrate the temple not in the name of Io, but in the name of Ulir, goddess of the elves. Naiadé and Ser Hectre, who believe that Tordek will not allow them to consecrate it in Ulir’s name, conspire to eliminate the dwarf.

Inside the temple are hordes of the undead, and dark magic pervades the site. Naiadé and Hectre hatch their plan, but Althaea and Eldrad are outraged at their actions. Eventually, Eldrad negotiates with Tordek and the party, reaching an agreement that will placate both parties. Tordek is allowed to reconsecrate the temple, and the party leaves unpunished for their treachery.

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The Siege of Overlake

Upon return to Ursina, the adventurers are congratulated by Abbott Renwick for destroying the ghoul. They suggest in unison that they never actually saw its body. Their celebration is interrupted when a Scythian dragon knight crashes outside the abbey. The knight says that his platoon was hired by a town named Overlake to defend them from an encroaching hobgoblin army. The party rushes to Overlake to defend the town.

The Fire Beetles were first discovered in the caves beneath Fort Phrygia in Overlake.

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The Ghoul of Castle Blacklance

blacklance.jpgFebruary, Y843 of the Norn calendar.

Six intrepid adventurers gathered at the Frostmonth Festival in the small village of Ursina in northwest Brei. Ser Hectre the Root arrived first, eager to see his cousin, Eldrad, the lord of Ursina. Eldrad was accompanied by his loyal aide, Althaea, a dragonborn with dull blue scales. Naiadé, a wood elf refugee from the forest of Ardennes found her way to the festival. The halfling Nevara and the dragonborn Cade no longer accompany this group, but attended the festival.

The festivities were interrupted by a gruesome murder, perpetrated by a being the townsfolk known only as the Ghoul of Blacklance, an undead monstrosity that has plagued the village since last year’s harvest.

The adventurers traveled to Castle Blacklance, an ancient Du’un keep atop the treacherous Fallow Peak and discovered a mysterious sorcerer commanding the ghoul. Naiadé shot the ghoul and it was knocked out the window and disappeared from sight while Ser Hectre slew the sorcerer.

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