One of Cassia's best friends, Gratia Vulso Vinmark, of House Jullio, is getting married to Jensil Vinmark of House Vinmark. Jensil’s Parents, Ranniviaand Finner Vinmarkare happy to be gaining a daughter in law from a noble family in the capital. While House Jullio is not a major family, it is still one of significance, and Gratia’s father, Liber sits in the Senate with Finner.
Liber and |Luccia Vulso are not as sure about their daughter’s choice in mate. While she is marrying into a major household, it is the one most on the outside of normal Opparan norms. Liber dotes on his only daughter and wants her happiness more than anything. Luccia has enjoyed helping to plan the wedding but is worried about her daughter’s future with this family.
As Gratia’s closest friends are attending. Stephana Zespire, as the leader of the circle of friends it the Maid of Honor. Cassia Karthis is in the wedding party. Victor Rufinus is not in the wedding but is attending. All four will perform the night before the wedding and afterwards as “Fruit of the Vine”
The freed slave, Elsa Vike, who has been a part of the Vinmark household for a few years is present. While, Rannivia freed you her the hopes of increasing the Ulfen blood in her son’s bloodline, he instead fell for the very Talden Graita. Elsa remains a new addition to the family, and is now like a sister to Jensil.
Dame Martella Lotheed is has arranged for Mikhael Constantinus to attend. Luccia is on good terms with Mikhael’s mother, Lady |Meristiel Elluvidnir, ambassador from the elven lands of Kyonin, and as such, is there in his mother’s stead, as she is “unable to attend in person”. Elluvidnir has warned Lady Lotheed of suspected plot by Cult of Menxyr kidnapping young women. Their last victim was an Elf, who was, admittedly, in a bad part of town, but a citizen of Kyonin nonetheless. She gives her son a broach and says, “Be my eyes. Keep this where it can be seen, and it can see. If something beyond you and your companion happens, say my name three times. Do not be facing a wall when you do this.” Kavian Silanus has been living with his Uncle Pollinus, learning from the monk. Pollinus, retired after years of service knows his son of his younger sister wants to restore his family name after his father was framed by High Strategos, Maxillar Pythareus. He asks his friend, Lady Elluvidnir for help, knowing she owes him a favor from long ago, and elves do not forget. The Lady agrees and sends Kavian as a “bodyguard” for her son.
The night before the wedding, there is a party with light food and mingling. Here, Mikhael and Kavian do their jobs of monitoring the party. Elsa and Cassia mingle with the party members. In the process of the evening, they convince the senators to support Eutropia in the coming vote, get Luccia to agree her daughter has made a good choice, and secure a safehouse if they ever need it, from Rannivia Vinmark.
After the young Stavian upsets the bride, Mikhael gets him upset in turn, getting him to leave, while Kavian calms the groom. This sets up the secret cultist, Stavian to return later in the night, with a band of cultist. As the cultists come in through the windows, Mikhael says his mother’s name three times. As the room falls into chaos, the party and Kathan Zalar move to intercept the foes. Lady Meristiel Elluvidnir steps into the room in a cone of light emitted from Mikhael’s broach, along with two Elven warriors. The cultists are no match for Kavian, who begins to cut through them. Zalar fights a defensive action, taking hits, but blocking cultists. Mikhael, having summoned his eidolon, also fights. Elsa, living up to her northern heritage moves towards the biggest numbers while Cassia also moved into place. The Cultists are dangerous and the situation is dire.
Caius is being driven by the Cult of Menxyr, who have recruited him as a member of House Stavian. He is a former classmate of “Fruit of the Vine”, who had a deeper interest in Gratia, the bride, than any of the group has realized. His anger and hurt at being rejected has been fueled and fed by the leaders of the Cult to draw him in.
The Cult thrives on the abuse and murder of young women for the “Coffin Groom”. Having someone from House Stavian expands their local power. The cult targets second, third and lower sons, who stand to inherit little, and who often do not have the prestige of first born sons.
As the cultists move forward, Lady Elluvidnir casts Web, which catches all but one in the largest group, and unfortunately, includes Elsa. Kavian continues his fighting as does Mikhael. On the next round, as the cultist are held off, a mass suggestion from the Lady using her staff, stops most of the struggle of the webbed enemies. The elven warriors wade into the fight to protect the nobles present. Quickly there is only a line of cultists left, which Lady Elluvidnir eliminates with a lighting bolt. While one of the cultists dives for cover, it does not matter. All three char and die.
Arminius Seno Talbot, Earl of Whitecliffe of the House Talbot is holding a coming of age party for his son, Narsus. The Hunt will focus on Narsus and three of his close friends, all around the age of 18. It will happen at Whitecliffe, the Earl’s ancestral home in the country north of Oppera.
The Earl is a supporter of Princess Eutropia and is planning to vote for the change in Primogeniture. He has received anonymous threats to change his vote but has no idea from where. His former Stable Master recently retired after serving the family for 50 years. He does not yet have a replacement he can trust. He has asked Tremerus Mancinus to run he Hunt as part of the two-day celebration since he is in a family related to the Talbots from outside the Capital city.
Lady Lotheed is interested in making sure nothing untoward happens. After observing Iona des Vaux preaching at a local shrine, she has hired her to go to the Hunt and observe. Iona is under a specific mission to investigate the Huntsmen.
Corwyn Nethair is attending at the behest of his parents. They were invited to the celebration, but have other parties inside the city and have vollentold Corwen to attend in their stead as he is closer in age to Narsus anyway. His recent companion, Detash Rood, joins him. Both recently met researching a cult kidnapping women. The group is at an afternoon party before the hunt of the next day. Senator Talbot is happy and relaxed and finally considering engaging in romance again. Over the course of the gathering, socially, Iona and Tremerus guide the young Lady Cassennia Cera Kastner to approach Talbot, and dissuade Didia Petroni Varima, despite the actions of Detash, who fells aligning the gold-digging Didia is the right move for future gain. This action would intrigue to beautiful and scheming young lady.
More serious is the plot afoot against the hunt. Michael Stavin and Charx Velus arouse the suspicions of the group. When they both leave the party, Termerus and Corwen follow them to the stables. Termerus is close enough to overhear their plot. Based on his good relationship with the Majordomo, Pollus Salinus, Termerus is believed and the four focus on this plot. Watching the room and the outside, they are able to follow Stavin back to the stables and stop him from poisoning the horses. Captured, it becomes clear that Charx Velus and Michael Stavin were plotting to drug horses to cause an accident. All four of the youth horses were to be fed a drug mixture of a delay poison and hallucinogen. 4 hours later, during the Hunt, the mounts will become very difficult to control for 1d4 hours each.
This was to be used to send a message to the Earl on how he should vote.
Thanks to the work of the party, the Hunt went off without a hitch.
Every year, the empire of Taldor celebrates the Grand Day of Exaltation. On this prestigious day, the Grand Prince is empowered to elevate a commoner to the ranks of nobility. The event itself is the embodiment of formality, with the elevated commoner selected months or years in advance. What makes the day truly special is that the preceding week is a holiday throughout the empire. Nobles, senators, and hopeful petitioners fill the capital city of Oppara for galas, performances, and parades. This flood of visitors swells Oppara to almost double its size, and many view the lead-up to the Grand Day of Exaltation as harking back to the glory days of the empire. To the nobility, the week before the Grand Day of Exaltation is a time to conduct important business deals, issue noble proclamations, and hold private parties. With so many prominent politicians arriving from across the empire, the Taldan senate uses Exaltation Week to vote on matters of nationwide importance. Today, the young artist, young Kalbio of Breezy Creek is to be elevated.
This year’s Grand Day of Exaltation is poised to mark a historic shift in the governance of the empire. Princess Eutropia, daughter of Grand Prince Stavian III, has forged a powerful coalition of noble bastard children, reformers, and—perhaps, most importantly—senators to vote down the ancient law of primogeniture. The law states that royal power can pass only to a male heir—a succession that cannot be enacted due to Eutropia’s status as the current Grand Prince’s sole heir. Rumors have circulated about the princess’s quest to strike down primogeniture for years, and the nation remains divided on the vote, with several nobles viewing it as a shameless power grab by Princess Eutropia. Others see Eutropia as a stabilizing force that could unify the empire and usher in a new golden age for Taldor.
Princess Eutropia is the firstborn child of Grand Prince Stavian III. She stepped forth into the political arena only following the death of her younger brother 20 years ago. Prince Carrius II, like Eutropia, was beloved by the people of Taldor, and many hoped the boy would succeed his ineffective father and usher in an era of change. When the prince died in what was reported as a riding accident, Eutropia’s grief uncovered a deep well of empathy. More understanding of death and suffering, she became a crusader for the poor and for the basic rights of every Taldan citizen. As her work repeatedly ran up against the old-fashioned values of Taldor, Eutropia became a crusader for women’s rights as well.
Lady Martella Lotheed meets with the party in a local coffee house, several blocks from the senate, to discuss the Grand Exaltation and give the two groups a chance to meet each other. She works with the group to assign mission for them. She promises each agent a payment of 150 gp the next day for completion of their missions, in addition to the extraordinary access and prestige granted by attending one of Taldor’s most exclusive and high-profile political events. In addition to asking them to complete their respective missions, Martella encourages the PCs to use this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make connections, make an impression on prominent guests, and otherwise try to kick-start their own political careers. From her perspective, any growth in the PCs’ skills and reputation makes them more valuable agents in the future.
She gives each one a Senate badge, allowing entry into the gala, and acting as communication devices for her to send messages using her master badge. Once the wearer of the senate aide badge receives a message, she has 1 minute to send a telepathic reply of up to 25 words. Sending a reply requires a full-round action of concentration. The wearer of the master senator badge can send up to 10 telepathic messages per day, targeting either a specific badge or broadcasting to all badge wearers, and knows the approximate direction and distance to all wearers of senate aid badges attuned to the master badge.
The group gathers in the long line wating to get into the Arcade of Triumphs. Kathann Zalar approaches the party and asks them to come with her for inspection. Cassia, Elsa, Kavian and Mikihal remember her from the wedding and tell the rest of their new companions to follow. Zalar quickly glances over the group and provides them with tips on how to properly conceal the equipment, granting a +2 circumstance bonus on Sleight of Hand checks to hide such things for the remainder of the night. She then ushers them inside ahead of the line over some harsh looks.
The party splits up and roams the senate halls, in order to begin their missions and influence rooms. Almost immediately, Corwyn and Detesh charm the curator of the Arcade of Triumphs, seeing the items they are to steal in the tour, and learning about ancient artifacts. Corwyn is startled to see replicas of noble blades that are identical to the ones he was given by his parents. Could they be the real thing? The other party members begin influence of other rooms. They gather to listen to Eutropia’s speech. Elsa notices a man with a wafer headed to the bees that she knows will excite the bees and make them angry. She and Kavian intercept the man and while they cause a small scene, there is no disruption of the speech. Upon interrogation, the staffer can report only that one of the Taldan Phalanx guards approached him to place the wafer near the beehives, telling him the scent would keep the bees calm for the evening and prevent any incidents. The staffer can’t tell which guard gave him the order and seems entirely unnerved by the affair
The various party members carry out their assigned tasks over the course of the evening.
After another hour, Lady Lotheed uses the badges to check in and asks the group to join her in the gallery. She sends Kavian on page missions and asks the group to monitor Lady Malphene Trant. It is not long before the Lady corners Senator Dou, shoving him into the Beldam II Waiting Room. The group monitoring him leap into action and follow into the room. Lady Trant and her toadies are there to shake the Senator down. The party members who arrive have little trouble in quickly disarming slightly drunk Lady Trant and her sycophants without resorting to weapons (we did not play this out) The grateful Senator Dou eagerly thanks his rescuers, asking them to drop by his office in the morning for a reward.
Stavian arrives and disappears into a meeting with General Pythareus. Princess Eutropia recuses herself to partake in several meetings before her father’s expected speech. Supper is served. The group, their assignments completed, are able to relax and enjoy dinner and socialization with the great peoples of the Empire.
Finally the Senate Convenes and important votes are held. At last the vote on male primogeniture takes place:
“The political ruling body of Taldor spreads out twenty feet below the observation deck of the gallery. Dozens of senators and their immediate aides scurry below. The cacophony of voices is almost deafening, and it seems like the ceaseless chatter will continue endlessly. Suddenly, the magically amplified voice of the senate speaker interrupts the noise. “Thank you all. I would ask that our observers please be silent and seat themselves. We will now begin voting on addendum number twenty-two thousand eighty-seven: the repeal of the ancient law of primogeniture, the issuance of inheritance and aristocratic title solely through male heirs.”
Following this proclamation, the speaker begins calling on individual senators one at a time to support or oppose the repeal. Early declarations split evenly between the options, with many senators abstaining entirely, and only halfway through the process do votes begin to favor Princess Eutropia’s bid to end primogeniture. By the end of the tabulations, the repeal passes with roughly 60 percent of the senate’s backing. The speaker takes a moment to compose himself, seemingly shocked by the results, before continuing to formally announce the initial results in a distant monotone.
“And so, the final tally for addendum twenty-two thousand eighty-seven, the repeal of primogeniture, with thirty-six abstentions, the final tally stands at one hundred and seven for, seventy-nine against. The addendum passes. Among other business tonight, the senate recognizes Princess Eutropia Stavian I as the new heir to the Primogen Crown, and the first heir the empire has seen in twenty years”
Following this celebration, Lady Lotheed summons the group to recap. She congratulates the PCs on a job well done and promises additional rewards after the festivities. Before letting the PCs find their seats, Lady Lotheed hands them a letter, neatly folded and sealed with wax embossed with a simple heart. She explains that it is a message for Kalbio of Breezy Creek—the peasant about to be exalted—from his parents who couldn’t afford to travel into Oppara for the ceremony. She understands that the letter is “of a personal and emotional nature,” and so Kalbio’s parents asked that it not be delivered until after the big day
The group mill about and await the great speech. Grand Prince Stavian III ennobles Kalbio to great cheers. However, his speech begins to grow dark, and being scared for Kalbio, Kavian and Corwyn twist their way through the crowd while Stavian is still speaking, much to the consternation of nobles with more president. Lady Lotheed begins to use her badge to tell them to stop, when Stavian says
“But unlike you, Lord Kalbio, these Taldans—my children, truly—are not grateful. They scheme and plot, dream of hanging their dutiful father and placing a woman—a woman, sir!—on the Lion Throne! And they have seen fit this very day to induct you into their conspiratorial ranks. And that is why here, now, you, Lord Kalbio, will be the first among them to die.”And with that, the Emperor of Taldor takes out a jeweled dagger. Both Corwyn and Kavian leap forward, vaulting over the guards and stunned guests. Kavian was more accurate in his aim, and as he shoved Kalbio aside, he tackled Grand Prince Stavian III. Corwyn landed next to the two, prone. The Ulfen guards drew their swords and brought them down. They missed Kavian, for fear of hitting their liege. Tremerus, who also had moved forward, hit the entire area with a flare, blinding everyone in a flash, but it was too late for Corwyn. A great blow fell against his neck to decapitate him in one blow as the spell went off.
And Darkness. Darkness not just for Corwyn, but for the entire party. Corwyn was alive, and they were someplace else.
8/20/20 All characters found themselves in darkness. Corwyn rubbed his neck and felt the wound, but we delighted he was not dead. Soon they discovered they were with each other. Termerus was the fist to cast light and the group found themselves in what was clearly some sort of escape chamber. They moved around the series of bedrooms, finding various room that had not been used in ages. There was a clear magical portal in the floor of one room, but it was not clear how to activate it. Eventually, they found keys to a cabinet and found a power crystal to a viewer. Looking through into a room with a great Fresco, they saw random parts light up and were able to open a secret compartment with magical coins. These coins opened the passwall spell in the floor.
Venturing into the next area, they found a mauled body. While investigating the body for Lord Develin Manshum, several Walconfinds, undead of bodies locked up into walls to preserve secrets, attacked. Over the next three rounds, more of the undead emerged. Corwyn too the brunt of the hits. At one moment, the claws of the creatures rent his chest and things grew dark. Tremerus heroically lept to Corwyn's aid and healed him before Corwyn could even fall. For the second time in a few hours, Corwyn was pulled from death. Finally, they killed all 6 creatures that emerged and were then greeted by others also whisked away by the extinct family senate badges.
Lord Wilfen Botoles, Sir Gryphus Plastion, and Lady Gael Urbaen, members of the now dead lord Manshum. The halfling Imistos Gulbend a confused attendant dressed as serving staff. They also encounter Lady Malphene Trent yet again, though now much subdued. The party notes the halfling servant has magic items on his person.
After much chatter, the group finishes search all the rooms for people. Not yet sure what to do with the frightened nobles and halfling servant, the group moves out of the secure rooms. They note the door they open is secret from the other side. They enter the Museum of Conquests.
Pristine glass display cases stand along the walls and in the center of this immense rectangular display room. The area is more than sixty feet wide and forty feet long, with the outer walls covered in glass displays of armor, save near the two northern doors and along the southern wall. Four rusted and decayed suits of armor stand separate, protected in glass cases. Tarnished and discolored weaponry fills the cases in the center of the room. Circles of various sizes have been scratched into the glass and drawn on the walls with chalk and paint. There are some tantalizing items, radiating magic in this room, including One obvious case holds a finely crafted light crossbow whose brass fittings still glint like new. A simple brass plaque inside the case labels it “Dignity’s Barb.” Another case has less than pristine looking nine-ringed sword labeled “Ying Jie Blade”.
The Nobles and Imistos mill about on the other side of the door, starting to move forward. Kaivan touches the case with the Ying Jie Blade only to find the glass shatters. Suddenly, the four suits of armor burst from their cases. They are Phantom Armor, undead sprits of long dead Talden soldiers. They move to attack!
The suits of armor move first, attacking the players. Ancient, pitted armor creaks as old longswords. The group fought back, damaging two in short order. Detash, complaining that his teammates were not waiting for him to act, used his negative energy to take command of one of the suites. The other three continued to fight but were struck down by the party.
The party went through the treasures in the room: Among the display cases are a +1 handaxe +1 heavy steel shield +1 Longspear +1 Ring of Protection Another case contains the alchemical lab of famed natural philosopher Dumos Fatomax, including a portable alchemist’s labUE, three potions of cure light wounds, and a musty-tasting potion of bull’s strength.
Most importantly, the Talden Relics the Dignity’s Barb and Ying Jie Blade are present. Mikahel asks if the group should be looting this archive, with Kavian giving a stinging response based on the way Taldor has treated him. The rest of the party agrees that these artifacts are long forgotten and fair game.
After the fight, Iona was sent with the other nobles who were freaking out back to the waiting area for the moment. The goal was to get out. The halfing servant continues to follow them, insisting he wants to serve them for helping. The group is deeply suspicious, but cannot catch him in any lie. During their time they received messages from Lady Lotheed:
“Stavian’s forces retreating, military is divided. Maxillar Pythareus seen moving with impunity through Stavian’s assassins.”
“Out of the senate building. Guiding a dozen or so of the servants to a safe haven…”
Moving north, they encounter a room of was figures. This rectangular room appears to host a celebration frozen in time. Gaudy nobles crowd the corners of this room, all of which are dressed in ostentatious and pretentious fashions. Tremendous wigs soar toward the ceiling, each covered in thick layers of dust. A larger gaggle fills the center of the chamber, each aristocrat presenting a jovial or mocking leer as it stares out blankly. One of the figures is sprawled on the floor; overlapping circles cut into its waxen chest and face.
Searching the old figures, the party finds a wig which is a Hat of Disguise. Cassia notes that the hat has some sort of ooze in it that will need prestidigitation to remove. Detash can do that easily enough, but they will have to wait. They also find 900 gp worth of jewelry.
Continuing to search the rooms, the group found a room of old retired banners, again with odd circles drawn. Termerus notes this must be the work of a mathematical, though untrained mined. In another room the party discovers more relics forgotten to time, including a Silver Raven figurine and various Trophies weighing 10 pounds and worth 500 gp Entering a taxidermy room, the group sees great beasts of many types hanging and mounted griffon ferociously in the southeastern corner of this square room. Two wolves stand in similar poses in the northern corners, while an immense coiled serpent poises itself in the southwestern corner, ready to strike. A small elephant stands in the center of the room, its head drooping far too low, and the top of its neck torn open. Thick cords of rope hoist avian creatures of every size along the ceiling, with an impressive eagle taking up the most space.
After a few moments, the wolves animate. They rise on clicking mechanisms, their bodies straining to stand on two legs. During this movement, however, one of the wolves’ hind legs collapses, while the fur on the other wolf ’s back splits open, rendering them both inert. Following this horrific display, the griffon’s wings begin to beat, only for one wing to tear off entirely. Moments later, it rips off the front foot attaching it to its display and moves to attack any living creatures in the chamber, as a spark of insight pushes it to inflict pain on others.
The Griffon attacks and the party fights back. While it is large and has reach, the party is quickly able to flank it and defeat the malfunctioning mechanism. Searching the room of decaying creatures, they find two collars of the wolves that are +1 amulets of mighty fists and a magical belt of some sort on a monkey, apparently made of monkey’s fur. There is some discussion that Kavian should take the belt as it seems likely to operate on dexterity.
The group finds a long hallway and chooses to head east. Here they find the Historical Archives. Thick wooden bookshelves jut out from the eastern and western walls. Bundles of paper, scroll tubes, and thick tomes cram these shelves nearly to bursting. Layers of dust coat some areas of the chamber, but others remain suspiciously clean. Books and papers crowd one of the worktables in the corners, smeared with ink. Use of search and magic finds two scroll cases. Detesh and Iona open the cases and each contains a Guardian Scroll, placed by a senator in ages past, intended to attack a fellow, but they were misguided. Now the old trap springs on the players. Detesh’s head is promptly engulphed by the construct, though Mikhael avoids it. Tremerus strides to Detesh and rips it off his head. After a fight, including a disgusted Detesh using burning hands on his scroll, the trap is put to rest. The scroll cases were full. One with several scrolls and the other with pages of script.
scroll of dispel magic scroll of invisibility, scroll of mirror image,, scroll of mount, page of spell knowledge: Shield of Faith, page of spell knowledge: Rejuvenate Eidolon, Lesser
The group took stock of the situation. They contemplated resting, but decided to press on!
09/04/2020 Kavian goes to relieve Iona with the nobles, and Iona joins the part.
The group moves down through the archives to find moldering and crumbling books. The same entity who has been leaving circles everywhere has been here, with opened books to mathematics and geometry. Of note, is also the self-aggrandizing memoir of one Eros Glendower, a noble who lived 300 years ago and seems to have been obsessed with finding a way to live forever.
Moving into the Artifact Archives, the group encounters what Mikhael recognizes as Arbiters, Lawful Neutral Outsiders. One speaks, and introduces itself as Factor 12, and its companion is Factor 13. They are the archives curators. They sepll out the rules. Only one item may be withdrawn from the area (it used to be two, the construct grumbles, but it has decided to “crack down” after recent thefts by a large rat).
The items in question are:
.. * Bell of Returning Spirits recovered
Mikhael asked to check out the Key and Iona suggests he use the Vortias family name from their pins in the form to be filled out. The check out the key take some time look at the magical treasures they have found and decide who can use them. Cassia confront Imistos, suggesting he go back with the others. Imistos is quite clear he wants to stay with the party, claiming it is much safer here, especially based on what they can do!
The group decides to head back to the opposite side. As Corwyn runs ahead, he suddenly stops and starts to wander around the inside of a chalk circle. Tremerus, who is 20’ behind him halts the party and observes. Reaching out with his foot, he erases part of the Circle. Corwyn is startled at his orientation and to see the rest of the party so close. It is clear he was under some mind-effect type of disorientation.
Expecting another vault, they instead find an overrun garden, where the old plants have burst from their old confines and spread under the constant light of the continual light torches.
At the end is a chapel, clearly to Aroden, the dead god, as his winged eye symbol is clearly above the door. Inside they are confronted with Three rows of pews stand before a stone altar. A human statue stands atop the altar, its face and right arm broken off and shattered at the floor around it. Two smaller statues of women—each wielding a sword and shield—stand in raised alcoves in the southeast and southwest corners. Clearly, they are the heralds of Aroden, Arazni and Iomedae.
The statue lights up with a very poor illusion, demanding a tithe. When the party rebukes the false good, the voice threatens them and a glitterdust spell blinds Mikhael and Corwyn. Cassia spies a gremlin in the rafters and sends her dancing lights to it. Iona grabs an arm and throws it at the creature, while Cassia taunts it and demands return of what it has stolen. The gremlin beds for mercy, saying his name is Viecar, and he is the “High Priest” of this underworld. He tells them he will return what he stole, and drops several bags of gems and coins totaling around 700 gp in value. He also drops the other key to get out and throws two potions of bear’s endurance that Iona catches. He scampers back to his lair.
The group searches the old chapel, and finds a dusty, dirty mantel, with the symbol of Aeroden on each shoulder. It speaks to Iona who puts it on and can feel the wisdom of the ages settling into her. Mikhael is able to identify it as a relic worn by a great warrior priest. The Talden members of the party see Iona with more awe, not something that effects Elsa.
Mimips greets the PCs enthusiastically, first speaking gnome, then trying draconic when no one responds. Detesh pushed forward to translate for the Kobold. Mimips offers to sell to the group doing s his best to highlight his numerous wares. The kobold is eager to trade for unique surface items, and is especially interested in the Spyglass they offer. He knows he came in through the sink hole, that leads to a tertiary tunnel of the Underdark, and of the gremlin to the south, and the great rat who is the circle maker to the north.
The group buys much of what he has to sell and sells off several of the items they have acquired since finding themselves here. They push on, passing circles in blood on the wall. Corwyn studies them and is almost weakened by them. He yells for the rest to avert their eyes. They have the Undead pet along with them turn the keys to open the doors.
Finally, they enter into the center of the complex, a large circular lecture hall. Wide stairs descend into this tiered, circular chamber. Chairs stand in odd positions throughout the room, collected into circular patterns, even outside of the greater circular patterns of the hall itself. Circular gouges mar the surface of the wooden walls and floor here, some left to stand alone, while others are multiple circular scratches overlaying one another, joined by lines and scrawlings. The greatest concentration of circles gathers on the ceiling, some forty feet above, where multicolored circles inscribed with artistic fanaticism surround a five-foot-wide hole in the ceiling. The other door out is also locked with the same dual key lock.
The party is taunted by an invisible voice, claiming to be “Dagio The Great”. Dagio condemns the PCs for intruding in his kingdom and interrupting his important research into the “will of the circles.” He goes on to provide a long list of selfaggrandizing titles—Hierophant of the Arc, Archduke of Tangencies, the Beginning and the End, Lord of the Circles. The party taunts him back, declaring him a fraud and king of nothing. It is then that Dagio summons four rat swarms to attack the party, while the dire rat himself uses magic missile and acid arrow to attack the party from above.
The swarms move across the floor coming to the scattered party. One attacks the Phantom Armor, damaging but being unable to infect the undead. Lysanthir tears through one swarm after another, while Corwyn and Tremerus deal with the once closest to them. Cassia is just unable to even strike a single rat, and Elsa blesses and aid her companions. Frustruated with the lack of success of his swarms, Dagio comes down with his wand of shocking graps and does some significant damage. But, he is overwhelmed by the party and killed.
Corwyn searched his crèche in the ceiling and managed not to throw up at the strong smells. They find the stolen treasure of:
The group moved to the next set of doors needing the keys. As the group stands back the armor is damaged by a fan of blades in a trap. Moving forward they pass through a lounge and into a security room with four halfling servants. The party is not surprised to see Imistos move to near the halflings. No one buys the hafling’s story and it is clear a fight is about to ensue.
09/09/20 Imistos opens with a dash ahead, yelling “These are Lotheed’s lackies, get them” and throws a fistful of Dust of Disappearance upon himself. The halfling cultist killers win the initiative and go first, followed by their leader and then the party. The four descend on Corwyn and Lysanthir, striking many blows. While Lysanthir is able to shake off the poisoned blade, Corwyn succumbs to one of the blades and begins to lose his strength as his muscles are attacked. The attacks cut deep into Corwyn.
Imistos uses his invisibility to stab Iona, almost killing her in a single blow with the sneak attack, but she shakes off the poison on that blade. Then the rest of the party moves. Tremerus comes to defend Iona, and use his hunter scent ability to try to find the invisible foe. The other combatants begin moving to deal with the four visible killers. Imistos, knowing what Tremerus is able to do, retreats to circle his intended victim. At first, things look dark for the heroes, as Corwyn absorbs damage that Iona is no longer able to heal, due to her lack of spells. Both Elsa and Cassia are in similar states, with little magic left. Kavian and Tremerus work to aid Corwyn, and Imistos closes and takes Corwyn down, while Lysanthir falls. However, the damage being delt begins to turn the tide. Detesh uses his pearl of power to cast Burning Hands once again to hurt the invisible Imistos. Tremerus, able to smell him, also engages.
Finally, after Crowyn is revived, and the invisible leader can again be seen, the group kills the last of the Cultists. They find holy symbols to the evil demon Thamr Gixx on all of the bodies. They also discover proof that Lady Lotheed is being held in the Dignified Repository by the halfing entertainer, Wyssilka the Fantaboulous.
Corwyn goes to get the nobles and is able to genuinely effects Lady Trant to take up the responsibility for her family. The party staggers out into a Senate building to discover the grounds of a charnel house: the bodies of civilians, Lion Blades, military personnel, and even the Ulfen Guard still lie where they fell. A few combat-fatigued soldiers wander the halls taking records of the dead, posing no real danger to the group and their allies. The soldiers calmly direct them to leave the senate building, which is currently on lockdown due to the recent “political turmoil.”
Official reports remain unclear; some insist foreign assassins struck out at Taldor, while others claim the infamous Pathfinder Society attempted a coup, and still others claim the grand prince himself attempted to execute the entire senate. From what the party can gather further information of what happened from the soldiers or from passersby on the street, surviving senators have fled to their respective strongholds, while the Ulfen Guard has secured the imperial palace and refuses to admit anyone until the matter of succession is cleared. Both Grand Prince Stavian III and Princess Eutropia are missing in the aftermath of Stavian’s attempted slaughter. The city remains in a tenuous state of peace, but the issue of succession is already beginning the divide the aristocracy into a dozen different camps, each insisting its candidate alone has a right to the throne
The group attempts to head to Corwyn’s home, but it is blocked by a riot. Elsa leads them all to her adoptive family’s home. There, they are welcomed and treated, along side Finner Vinmark, who raged across the floor to protect his family. His wife Rannivia tends to the party, while Gratia informs Cassia that their friends Victor and Stephana are missing. Her parents are safe, but only just made it home. Mikael mourns his fallen comrade, drinking and staring out the window. A raven flies to him and gives him a message in elvish from his mother. He gives a return message he is safe “but lost a part of me”.
The next morning, Lady Morilla comes to the home and speaks to Corwyn. After some carful probing, Corwyn admits they know where Lady Lotheed is being held. Morilla offers the aid of the Pathfinder Society members still in the city. The group scouts the site across the city and plans their attack.
Wanting no more delay in rescue of their employer, the party uses Lady Morilla’s team to distract and defeat guards to the north of the Dignified Repository. Using their two scrolls of invisiblity, Tremerus and Corwyn attempted to pick the lock. After two fails, and the spell fading, Tremerus managed to force the door open, only alerting two of the people in the building. Corwyn and Tremerus hide among boxes while the two Cultist Initiates came to investigate.
Meanwhile, the rest of the party sneaks one by one up to the bushes near the building, including Silver. Poor Cassia stumbles, as the rest of the team leaves her behind with their various 20+ rolls. Two guards come to confront her. Spending a hero point, Cassia is barley able to bluff about looking to play at a party and told in no uncertain terms to get lost. She slinks away and waits for an opening.
Tremerus and Crowyn both sneak attack the cultists at the door. With a critical hit, Tremerus kills his opponent in one blow. Unfortunately, Corwyn’s take an additional attack and sounds the alarm. The rest of the party except Cassia starts in through the door, while Cassia races to join them, this time succeeding well.
Once the party is all in, the door is shut as the heroes engage the Cultists. At first, the local guards are no match for the party, who being to take them down. Kavian and Corwyn joined the Eildon in dispatching four, though a poison sword does its worst to Lythsnthir, and he begins to lose strength. Tremerus and Silver engaged two more cultists, to be assisted by Kavian when he was done.
Mikahel saw some movement and threw a grease spell, which diverted the new enemies. The party heard fiddle music, and looking to Cassia who was not playing, they grew concerned. The fetchling bard, dressed as a clown, named Mr. Smiles III encouraged his allies. With him, the wayang alchemist, the Fair Minded Efrani, threw a stink bomb into the group. Poor Cassia was rendered sick, and she was forced to retreat, though the effect also caught a cultist. The battle raised in pitch, as this time, Efrani threw another stink bomb, creating a small passage clear of effects. Smiles used mirror image to avoid being easily attacked. Dealing with the stink, Mikahel summoned an Earth Elemental, sending home his friend, and it lumbered along with the Degenerate Guardian, immune to the smell attacking cultists as they went. Kavain heroically closed to Smiles, but the bard took a step back and cast Hideous Laughter on Kavian, rendering him helpless.
Finally, the tide started to turn for the heroes. Cassia was able to overcome her illness. As the stink bomb cleared, the Efrani threw his own grease spell. The armor stumbled, but the earth elemental just tunneled to come out on top of the startled alchemist. Using Dignity’s Barb, Mikahel managed to strike through the illusion and hit the true Smiles. Both Efrani and Smiles were now vulnerable in the face of the concentrated group. Efrani tried a last ditch stink bomb, but it hurt him as much as anyone, and within a round, they were both down.
The group quickly searched the warehouse for clues, finding the stash Smiles had in the desk, and the loot on the bodies of the 12 Cultist Initiates present, all humans. The group found the stairs from the office descending into the dark. This must be the pathway to their employer.
Descending down, the stairs end in an old tunnel an excavated chamber links the warehouse above with the safe house below. The walls are embedded with several artifacts of a long-gone iteration of Oppara: bare scroll rods, broken pots, cobblestones, and various other bits of street garbage. The southwestern door is clearly a secret door of some sort that has been left open.
Moving into the safehouse, the party moved down a long hallway north, with the Armor opening the door. They found a room of four cultists of the Silent Blade. The cultists used the narrow hallway to their advantage, preventing the party from concentrating power, including the use of a smoke stick. The Amor was in front. Mikahel sent the earth elemental through the earth to attack the cultists, while Corwyn threw a dagger. Iona sent a spectral blade, and Detesh sent his raven with a shocking grasp spell. The first cultist had fallen and the armor moved up, but then, one of the cultists unleashed a negative energy burst. The Raven fell to 0 hit points, and the earth elemental was damaged.
Tremerus and Cassia guarded the doors while Kavian and Corwyn moved up. Detesh rescued his raven with mage hand, and Cassia stabilized the bird. As the cultists in the room fell Corwyn and Kavian moved into the hallway behind them, taking down the four others advancing. Kavian was significantly hurt, but healing was on the way. He avoided any position on the blades, but yet again Corwyn felt the effects of spider venom.
Two children came running up asking about their daddies. These were not children but fantionettes. The party was suspicious but could not be sure. Tremerus put them into a bedroom and told them to hide. The team then moved south to explore the rest of the building. As Elsa and Kavian watched the top hallway, the fantionettes emerged and attacked. Kavian stood his ground against one, while the other moved on Elsa. She fended it off with her spear, until the elemental and Tremerus moved to defend her. Both evil outsiders were swiftly defeated, and Kavian again needed healing. The group moves ahead to their foe. Corwyn missed the trip line which alerted Wyssilka the Fantabulous. She and her the three cultist in the room were able to raise their shield’s of faith. As the group poured into the room the fight was on.
Tremerus and Silver engaged the halfing and Silver was able to bite and trip her. Three Silent Cultist vaulted into action, one getting cut by Kavian on the way in. They viciously attacked him, but the party closed on the people holding their employer. Kavian was the center of “love” getting heals and buffs, while Silver kept tripping the assassin and mauling her. The cultists and their leader were soon dispatched.
With Wyssilka defeated and Martella Lotheed saved, the group is finally in a position to rest and take stock of the new political scene in Taldor. Martella offers to pay for accommodations at the Silent Horse—one of Oppara’s more lavish inns—for any member of the party without a respectable home in the city. It takes another 2 days to take a final accounting of the dead: a total of 78 senators slain, alongside 102 aides, defenders, family members, and staff, as well as Grand Prince Stavian III himself, in what many Taldans are already beginning to call the Exaltation Massacre. The attackers appear to have been an assortment of mercenaries and killers from Andoran, Cheliax, and Galt—though arguments rage over who brought these assassins into the heart of Taldor’s government. While the Lion Blades believe Stavian himself hired these agents, much of the Taldan citizenry is less convinced, given the emperor’s own death in the violence. Many suspect Princess Eutropia or High Strategos Pythareus. With the empire’s central government in shambles, local governments are doing the best they can to fill the void.
Eleven major claims have been made for the throne by various nobles claiming relations to the Stavian line. Two candidates in particular—Princess Eutropia and High Strategos Maxillar Pythareus—stand above the rest, and various nobles and polities have already begun arguing that their chosen scion is the true inheritor of the Primogen Crown.
After taking 3 days to rest, Martella comes to the Silent Horse to invite the party to a private meeting. A short carriage ride brings them to a tidy townhouse in the Aroden’s View district. Inside, a cozy fire and the scent of tea warm a small library. A friendly catch-dog trots over to investigate, wagging its tail, and returns satisfied to its owner’s side as she rises from the chair—Princess Eutropia. She addresses the team who saved her friend and invites them into her service. She symbolically knights them all, and hereafter refers to them as “Sir” or “Dame”. She does her best to answer any questions the group may have.
The party has a week to recovery, make purchases and otherwise settled their accounts and then can expect to be summoned again. Oppara itself never truly falls into chaos, despite the political violence and sudden lack of a strong government. Much of Taldor runs on routine, without the need for direct oversight, and while an eerie quiet falls over the city, the citizens maintain their daily lives with little disruption for now. Talk in the street focuses heavily on the Exaltation Massacre and the War for the Crown, with everything from accurate news to wild speculation making the rounds. For now, at least, all of Taldor seems to be holding its breath, waiting to see if civil war is inevitable.
Were you behind Martella’s activities at the Gala? “Martella has been assisting me for quite some time, and yes, she recruited your help to ensure the night ran smoothly. Thank you for your services.”
Why should we support you? “I’ve spent a lifetime studying Taldor and her people’s needs. All her people. And I know they need internal improvements, education, new opportunities. Not war and empty promises of long gone glories.”
What will you do with the crown/throne? “I hadn’t thought I’d be inheriting the throne for a decade or more, and I find myself embarrassingly unprepared. For now, I suppose my goals are to hold a wounded nation together and begin repairing centuries of neglect. My focus has been very narrow until now; I’ll need some time to make these decisions.”
Do you know who attacked the senate? “It seems my father reached out to his peers in other nations to recruit his… special forces. I understand the Lion Guards found evidence of Andoren, Chelish, and Galtan nationality among the dead; the old colonies where my father might still have loyal friends. Had. The Lion Blades heard rumors of father recruiting foreign agents and feared for my safety, but we vastly underestimated the numbers, or his true targets. This is why I clearly need new eyes in this endeavor.”
Did you kill your father? Eutropia is taken aback at such a crass question, but eventually manages to say, “Certainly not! Father and I may have grown apart since Carrius’s passing, but he remains my father, and the only true family I have left! Had left. He… My father may not have been what was best for Taldor, but he was my father, and for some of us, blood ties are still stronger than political ones.”
Where is Maxillar Pythareus now? “He’s retreated to the fortress city of Zimar, in the south, and has been refusing my requests for council. Rumors suggest he’s already begun gathering a network of supporters calling themselves the Imperialists.”
Where do we fit into all of this? “You would work as my loyal agents to secure resources and allies, ideally without raising too much of a fuss when it can be avoided. Martella will direct you toward more specific goals; I have a great deal of work to accomplish myself in the meantime.”
Why select us to help you? “I haven’t. I’m afraid you’re still unknown factors to me. But Martella seem impressed with your abilities and I respect her judgment. You’ve obviously left her with quite the positive opinion of your skills and character, and I hope you’ll honor me with the same impression.”
What do we gain by supporting you? “I would hope the value of an empress’s gratitude would be plainly obvious, but you will be paid, of course. I may be locked out of the treasury, but the Stavian family holdings are considerable. In the meantime, the opportunity for profits will abound: new allies and contacts, travel to the far-flung corners of the empire, favors from who knows how many nobles. The task before us is the sort that births legends, and legends, if nothing else, benefit from warm beds and full bellies.”
What happens now? “Now we rally our resources and allies. This is not a war we can win by swords; Pythareus commands the entirety of the Phalanx, and much of the rest of the military is fiercely loyal to him. This is a war we must win with words and guile and allies. We need the people of Taldor to unite behind a single monarch to dispel the military’s desire to settle this with force of arms. I don’t want the blood of common Taldans spilled to slake some petty squabble between nobles.”
What’s your dog’s name? “His name is Taldogis. Father hates it… Hated it.”
Relics of Taldor
The wielders of the relics discover they are less tarnished and more able than before. The triumph of rescuing the right hand of the Princesses has given them renewed energy to awaken their ancient power.
Now the character have a bigger challenge than they ever thought possible. Much of the ruler Eutropia will eventually become will be shaped by the actions she and her agents must take to assume the throne. How the characters act will chart the course of history.
Each member of the party takes their week to get ready, both preparing their local affairs and engaging in acts which support their various intrigues.
|Cassia||Spent time undermining Eliasis Starborn who hid under a table at the Gala Massacre||+1 Subterfuge|
|Tremerus||Gave a lecture on the hunt where he outlines the intrigue and dangers||+1 Sagacity|
|Iona||Filtered local rumors||+1 Sagacity|
|Corwyn||Arranged secret meetings with Dame Trant and others||+1 Charm|
|Detash||Changed his familiar from a raven to an undead, and discussed with his peers||+1 Genius|
|Elsa||Had a party to celebrate her adoption into the Vinmark Family, and used that to tell her story||+1 Sacrifice|
|Kavian||Told his tale to his uncle and family||+1 Heroism|
|Mikhael||Gave a Lecture on the Forgotten Wonders Under the Senate||+1 Genius|
Each member of the party takes their week to get ready.
After the party has a week to rest and attend to their own matters, Martella sends word to meet her at the Porthmos Club—an exclusive teahouse in Oppara’s Aroden’s View district. She instructs them to pack for a long trip through the country, and to bring at least one fine outfit, a suitable hunting outfit (Explorer’s), and at least one respectable mask or costume.
“I wish I could say this little gift didn’t come with strings attached, but these are tangled times. As you may have heard, the Ulfen Guard—the emperor’s personal bodyguards— have locked down the imperial palace, and they won’t allow access to anyone until Taldor has an official Grand Prince once again. Keeps unreasonable sorts from looting the palace, I suppose, but it has also sealed away Eutropia’s personal wealth. The Stavian family has another estate, though—the Palace of Birdsong—but the Stavians entrusted its care and maintenance to stewards two centuries ago. These stewards now refuse to leave and, I’m told, are courting Maxillar Pythareus’s favor. It doesn’t help matters that these squatters are my family, or that my half brother Bartelby has been squandering the estate’s fortunes.
“While we technically have the authority to demand the estate’s return, we lack the power. If we could weaken Bartelby’s power base and woo some of his subordinates to support us, we could reclaim the Palace of Birdsong. That’s where you and your lovely new homes come in.
“The Lady Allis Betony died nearly a decade ago, leaving no heirs. We purchased her estate at auction last week, and I have taken the liberty of drawing up a few documents listing Kavian and Elsa as Betony family scions. You’ll be arriving just in time to make your debut at the annual Tanager Jubilee. I have arranged for two carriages and horses to take you. The carriages and horses are yours to keep, as you can’t very well be seen walking to the jubilee; I’ll be riding on to Cassomir once we near the county border. Make friends, learn the lay of the land, and afterward do what you can to win the nobles’ and citizens’ loyalty. Undermine Bartelby, and wherever you can, try to improve peoples’ lives and engender loyalty. For any overt actions you take, you’ll likely want to hide your identity to keep Bartelby from cracking down on you.
“I feel I must stress the importance of your task. The princess has sold her townhouse to fund this plan, and at this point her resources are perilously thin. If we’re to stand any chance in this bid for the throne, we need a suitable base of operations and steady income.”
“I want you to go to the Jubilee, use your charms to ensure an easy fit into local society, and then use your skills and alliances to subtly change the county for the better. Only then, once you are sure to have won over the hearts of the locals, are you to take the Palace of Birdsong back from the Lotheed family on behalf of Princess Eutropia. With secure alliances, we can then openly show our true allegiances and invite the new neighbors you make to join us, using Meratt as a template for what positive changes may await Taldor under Princess Eutropia”
“Kavian and Elsa your new titles also makes you tribunes of the neighboring town of Stachys—essentially investing you with the power and responsibility to act as the community’s mayor and judge.“
Martella briefly details the Betony family history dating back to the Shining Crusade, and reminding the characters that they have rights as stewards to the Lotheeds, most notably the right to request audiences with Bartelby, but that their rule extends solely to their lands; openly taking any action outside their own demesne is dangerous and foolish unless done covertly. “You should not try to use magic to try to influence their new neighbors; the Lotheeds are a particularly magically aware family, even if that is a talent I like. They are likely to spot such tampering (even if it weren’t already considered grotesque)”
The ride to the county of Meratt takes 5 days. In that time you get the following answers, however, if you have more questions let me know:
What is the Palace of Birdsong? “It’s one of the Stavian estates, but the Stavians haven’t visited it in centuries. Fairly humble, as palaces go. A century ago, they appointed the Lotheeds as regents to oversee it and the county.”
What is the Tanager Jubilee? “It’s an annual sort of founders’ day celebration. Local tradition claims that when Count Markolian Stavian broke ground for the palace some eight centuries ago, a scarlet tanager landed on his shovel and sang his praises. It’s a day off for the lower classes, but the aristocracy celebrates with two days of feasting, games, dancing, tournaments, and a hunt. Making a good showing at the jubilee is an excellent way to win influence.”
What is the county of Meratt like? “I’ve not seen it in over a decade, but it’s quite the pastoral wonderland: olive orchards and vineyards, and hills and ample woods to hunt game. The largest town you’ll find is Lotheedar, near the Palace of Birdsong, but there’s a village the Betony estate is expected to oversee as well: Stachys. Overall, the county is perhaps not as well maintained as the locals would prefer, but Father was a competent administrator if nothing else.”
What is Bartelby/the Lotheed family like? “We’re an old-blood noble family, with genealogies tracing back to Azlanti settlers, and my siblings will rarely let you forget it. Bartelby himself is charming, graceful, intelligent, but arrogant and casually cruel. He excelled in his arcane studies as a child, and I have no doubt he’s only improved since then.”
They’re your family. Can’t you talk to them? Why aren’t you joining us? “I am… unwelcome among my family; the result of Father’s indiscretions with a Qadiran woman. More scandalously, I lack the family affinity for magic. After Father’s death, Bartelby explained in no uncertain terms what fates he would visit upon me if I ever returned to the estate. You are far safer without my presence.”
Will we know anyone there? “Baron Nicolaus Okerra’s lands stand at the edge of the county. I believe you met him during the senate festivities before the… unpleasantness. He’s generally a fair-minded and compassionate man and would be a good ally. Hopefully you made a good impression on him.”
Is there any news from the county of Meratt?/Do we have any potential allies? “My news is spotty, but I understand some shadowy figure calling themself ‘Night Swan’ has been stirring up trouble—robbery and vandalism, but also some violence against Lotheed soldiers. They could be a valuable ally if they have some feud with my brother.”
Is there anyone we should watch out for? “Besides my half brother? My sister Cateline is quite shrewd, if she still lives there, and cousin Titus is little more than a bully. Beyond the family, Sir Gul Gusairne is a suspicious sort—he was father’s seneschal and I imagine Bartelby has kept him on in some fashion or another. And I suppose Sepsinia’s mother, Dame Crabbe, is a touch overbearing.”
What do we do with your half brother? “I am not certain. There’s little love lost between Bartelby and myself, but he is still my brother. If you can talk sense into him—and I very much doubt you can—or capture him alive, please do so. But if it becomes a question of his life or your own, do not hesitate to protect yourselves.”
Where will Princess Eutropia be? “Princess Eutropia is currently making a show of rallying support in Golsifar. Given the city’s military leanings, it is almost certain to support Strategos Pythareus in his bid for the crown, but more importantly, it keeps curious eyes far from you.”
“As part of their rewards, you can take what portable valuables the Lotheeds have at the palace—coins, jewelry, magical trinkets, and so forth—but the furniture, libraries, portraits, and other family items should remain where they are (and relatively intact) for future generations.”
“I have been experimenting with a memory-erasing poison I call Styx oil, which should provide you a second chance to correct a social faux pas or escape notice. However, the drug is expensive and time-consuming to produce, and I can offer them only 3 doses for now.”
The paperwork Martella provides establishes Kavian and Elsa as the second cousins, once removed, of the late Lady Allis, Betony (implying their great-grandfather was grandfather to Allis ). The documents are excellent reproductions, requiring a successful DC 30 Linguistics check to identify as forgeries. Kavian and Elsa need not assume false names, given the distant relationship to “dear departed cousin Allis,” nor will they be expected to know many details of the family, and therefore they can slip readily into local society, something that will prove far easier for Elsa than the monastery raise Kavian.
The group travels with Martella Lotheed in two carriages towards Merret County.
Shortly after crossing into the county of Meratt, the group’s carriage is waylaid by desperate beggars and traders offering them a variety of wares and asking for spare coins. This makeshift roadblock and market are opportunists from the nearby Beggarwood, which the characters note provides an example of how dire things are becoming for the common folk of the county. The hodgepodge traders offer most common goods at a 10% increase over market value but will lower their prices to 10% below market value paid in common clothing, food, tools, and other daily necessities.
The group has immediate sympathy for the group and makes several purchases. Kavian introduces himself as the new Tribune and spreads 50 silver around the group. As the beggars cum traders see the group is friendly, they offer some “luxury” items, including a potion which Corwyn buys. Cassia startles the group, asking for carvings, and walks away having paid too much for several bits of whittled wood. The party has left a good impression on the denizens of Beggar Wood.
As the group approaches the palace in the morning, they meet with an astonishing array of guests, nearly 40 altogether, all being fussed over by an army of servants sporting bird masks. Bartelby has hired additional staff, and the normally quiet palace throngs with chatter and laughter. Numerous entertainers—ferret-jugglers, fire-breathers, stilt-walkers, and other amusements— keep guests occupied as they arrive. Upon seeing new guests, Count Bartelby Lotheed approaches the two carriage caravan and introduces himself warmly while a servant unloads the PCs’ baggage.
“Well met, newcomers. I am Count Bartelby Lotheed, steward of the county of Meratt, landgrave of the Hyden Marches, and tribune of Lotheedar. We understand you are the new heirs to the Betony lands. It is quite the honor to be our new neighbors, we’re sure.”
Elsa wows Count Lotheed with her presentation, very much making an impression as a lady of noble bearing. Count Lotheed immediately directs the baggage to the guest quarters of the Birdsong Palace instead of the cottages on the grounds because of this. Unfortunately, Kavian is not as impressive. Tremerus offeres an antique ring of over 300gp in value. Both Tremerus and Elsa were able to briefly engage the Count and Termerus managed to learn something about influencing him. He then turned to his duties and the group was pounced upon by Dame Crabbe.
The group settled into visiting and introduction to their guide, “Purple Finch” aka Alista Cragus, who tries to be both informative and funny. She outlines the events for the two days and gives the group any information they need.
As the group mingles, partaking of white wines, various cheeses, and pickled calves feet, Mikhael makes a beeline away from Dame Crabbe who is clearly looking for a husband for her daughter a helped himself to the wines.
Elsa quickly finds herself being greeted by Nicolaus Okerra, whom she get to know at the Exaltation Gala. She and Cassia start chatting up the Barron and are soon deep in conversation, making solid inroads into moving him from friendly to helpful in his attitude. The widower shows a bit of a flush conversing with two lovely women.
Tremerus wanders the grounds and meets the Arminius Seno Talbot, Earl of Whitecliffe and his date, the Lady Kastner. The Earl greets Tremerus and tells him that he will provide materials and support as he hears the Brentony Estate is fallen into disrepair. Tremerus thanks him, and moves to mingle with the other guests. He finds the Honorary Tribune,Onora Piscum and strikes up an easy conversation with her based on their mutual love of the outdoors and rural backgrounds. He is able to quickly get her to warm to him and they are deep in conversation when the Tourney begins.
Corwyn struck up a conversation with the regal and the older Adella Voinum He was able to size up her interest in history almost by accident, and began to engage her in a discussion, slowly working to impress her. Mikhael joined them after listening at a distance and was able to engage her with his own understanding and take on history. Iona also joins them to help the discussion.
All this time, Dame Crabbe held court, with Iona and Detash. Seeing the state of Sepsinia Crabbe, Detash wooed her mother with discussions of how he might help. Kavian, having already impressed Dame Crabbe upon introduction, decided to work hard to woo the daughter, with Detash playing wingman. Sepsemia seemes immune to Kavian’s charm, even if her mother is encouraged by the new local Tribune. Kavian manages to extract a token from the sickly young lady, her handkerchief as a token.
Three of the party decided to enter the competitions. Tremerus made a fine showing in the Joust, making it to the finals with four victories showing off his prowess handling his horse and lance. It was only in the final round that he lost to Barron Okerra. The Barron takes the hyacinth laurel and gives it to Elsa. In the Fencing competition, Corwyn makes suburb use of his foil, even though he struggled getting used to the weapon in his first round. He easily won his second two bouts but lost to the sneering Titus Lotheed-Casava. Swaggering over, he awards his laurel to the stunning redhead, Cassia.
However, the honor of the Bentony household would be enhanced greatly as one of its new Tribunes was able to shine. While Kavian was not the most polished, his years in a monastery training his body showed. Kavian was able to best his opponents swiftly, winning the Wrestling competition. He awarded his laurel to the trembling and sickly Sepsimia with a flourish, obtaining the first smile anyone had seen from her.
Away form the stands and the contests, the others are engaged in 5 rounds of the game Trucco. Mikhael, perhaps due to his wine consumption does not do well, even in his attempts to do poorly with a flourish. Iona and Detash presented formidable competition, but the master of the game, Dame Crabbe was able to win as usual.
Running 3 social rounds during the game of Trucco, the group works to advance their influence. They are quickly learning to read and monitor each other. Prior to dinner, Count Bartelby summons his guests back to the palace gardens for a short musical performance, accompanied by drinks and a short speech about the palace’s history and the meaning of the Tanager Jubilee. The harpers play at the bottom of the veranda stairs, while Count Bartelby traditionally delivers his speech from the top of the stairs—a tradition being exploited by a would-be assassin!
After the afternoon’s events the Count ascends the stairs a tripwire is in his path, leading to a concealed crossbow. Kavian notices and leaps to tackle Bartelby as the trap triggers and is struck by the poisoned bolt. The Count is shaken but very grateful, and immediately orders Kavian given an antitoxin and offers to pay for a Lessor Restoration spell, though Iona, now prepared with all the poison going around, casts it immediately. Count Bartelby insists only his own people investigate, but Senator Talbot suggest that Tremerus is able and the Count agrees to his involvement. The crossbow is rigged beneath a window ledge from the observatory and the only clue accompanying the crossbow is a single black feather.
The evening of the first night, the ballroom is laid out for feasting, the formal dining room being too small to accommodate 40 guests.
During seating, Titus Lotheed-Casava loudly chastises the PC’s jester, Purple Finch, for obviously not providing them a room with washing facilities or clean clothes. Corwyn loudly retorts ”I am surprised a Lotheed does not understand the uses of prestidigitation.”
After seating the meat for the feast is first paraded live before the hungry guests by servants dressed as sheep, and Tremerus and Detash note Baroness Voinum’s well-disguised revulsion at the spectacle, which is automatically shared by Elsa and Iona, but the rest of the group makes a point of similar expressions of distaste.
The meal is excellent, with several course. Over dinner, the group continues to work the room and their fellow diners. The Baroness finally starts to soften with the wine she is consuming.
After the feast, servants clear away the tables and chairs and—to a fanfare of trumpets—six halflings dressed as Taldan heroes of lore enter, riding in gaudily painted miniature chariots each pulled by dogs. Servants rush to lay out a race course as the drivers perform japes and buffoonery for the wildly laughing aristocrats. The rules for the chariot race are very simple: the halflings race about the ballroom three times, dodging a series of obstacles on the way, while the guests look on and cheer their champions. To spice things up, each guest is given three silken sachets filled with brightly colored powder to hurl at racers in an attempt to blind them.
None of the party is particularly happy with this event, especially trying to blind the drivers in a room full of people. Cassia seems the most at ease with this treatment of the halflings, with her Katharis upbringing, and throws a sachet under a wheel to explode. Already interested in the red head, Titus began a conversation after this, allowing Corywn to able walk by and pluck the sachet’s out of Titus’s hands. Titus rolls a 2 to notice and is startled his hands are empty. His head whips around the room to see Corwyn walking away juggling his bags.
The evening concludes with dancing and several rounds of a card game known as last Azlant. None of the party particularly stands out in play. As the dancing begins and dizzying music commences, partners are selected. For the first dance, Kavian moves to coax Sepsinia to dance and she agrees, half-heartedly. Corwyn, playing wingman, dances with Dame Crabbe. Count Lotheed asks to dance with the lovely new Tribune of the Bentony Estate, Elsa, while the Barron Okarra dances with Cassia. Tremerus invites Onora Piscum, and Sir Gul asks Iona to dance. Detash broods in a corner.
Mikhael goes for Dame Carood. She is reluctant but does not have a good reason to insult the half-elf, who proceeds to fill her mind with various talks of magic (as he rolls a 27 to impress her, and she rolls a 1 to defend). This goes from the first, to the second, to the third dance. Titus attempts to intervene but is unsuccessful with the smitten Carood. After the first dance, Duchess Veleto Lotheed enters the ballroom to the surprise of the guests, and the seething anger of Count Lotheed. Detash immediately asks her to dance, and they spend the next two dances together, with the Duchess asking for all sorts of updates on the goings on in Oppera. The Count manages to shoo his Aunt away, saying that she is not well, leaving Detash to dance with Dame Crabbe later in the evening.
The highlight of the dancing comes from an unexpected corner. Titus attempts to show up Corwyn and Mikhael by asking Cassia to Dance. He has been relying on his natural athletics to dance well. Cassia agrees and the two begin dancing in an ever increasing and complex pace. Cassia (rolling a 29 on her perform) is clearly the expert, leading Titus through steps he does not expect with the grace of a master. Titus, for his part, keeps up (rolling a natural 20, with a 9 in acrobatics to match Cassia in score, if not in grace). As the two become more and more noticed, the musicians are caught up in dance and increase their pace. By the end, the entire room is in a circle watching to two dance a storm, until they finish in a flourish to applause. Both sweating and breathing hard, Cassia courtesies and thanks Titus for the dance in her most sincere voice. Titus thanks her with a bow through gritted teeth.
As the party winds down, guests retire to rooms or cottages. The party are shown to their rooms by Purple Finch. Dame Carood joins Mikhael for the evening. During the night, both Cassia and Tremerus have horrible nightmares of failure. Cassia dreams of a performance in Oppera that is a disaster where she cannot play. Tremerus dreams of a hunt gone wrong, where a child dies. Both wake up fatigued, an Iona uses her two prepared lessor restorations to prepare them for the day.
Breakfast is spitchcock served in the garden; a large bowl of water filled with live eels is set before each guest, along with a miniature harpoon for them to spear their choice of fish. Once an eel is harpooned, servants split its belly and grill it beside the table. The head is left intact, mouth still gaping when the meal is placed before the diners, ready to be eaten.
During breakfast, the assembled nobles brag of their hunting or tracking prowess, and money changes hands as they bet who among those assembled will be the first to bring in an eel.
The main event for the second day is a mock hunt: peasants are dressed as animals and released from the estate to hide within nearby territories to which they have been assigned, and then the assembled hunters are allowed to track their quarries and bring them back to the palace. The use of fake quarries helps prevent accidental injuries (at least to the nobles) that might otherwise mar the grand event.
Lots are drawn and the Bentony characters are assigned the Brashen Deeps about an hour from the palace on food or 45 minutes on horseback. t’s a hilly pine forest run through with rocky creeks and shallow caves, and covered in low-lying ferns, chicory, and wild asparagus—a challenging environment in which to ride, let alone hunt.
After hunt areas are assigned, Titus and his cronies gibe the PCs to “beware the vicious beast, I hope all 8 of you can manage” they must hunt. Carrod, looking fatigued herself for some reason, is less into it than she was the previous night. Mikhael retorts ”Yes, 8 of us may well trip over each other’s feet” derisively, earning a smile from his paramour.
After assignments, the quarry is brought out—four local “volunteers” who are gashed across the cheek to give the hounds their scent before being sent on their way. Bartelby promises the captives that if they can evade capture until nightfall, they will be absolved and granted a handsome reward of 50 gp. In actuality, the peasants have been pressured to take part after various minor crimes.
The players assigned quarry, Moffis, who is dressed as a wild ox. For the next hour or so, the hunters sit around drinking warmed brandy, eating, and talking, while their quarry is given “a sporting chance.” During this time, the players are assigned Purple Finch as a guide as well as a pair of Taldan bloodhounds. The bloodhounds whimper and quail in the face of the noble wolf, Silver.
The group has much discussion about if they want to all go on the Hunt, as the entire spectacle seems horrible to them. They discuss during their hour talking, but finally decide to head out as a group. After an hour or so ride, they are forced to dismount and enter into the brambles.
Some 30 minutes after the group enter this thicker undergrowth, they hear a deafening roar, followed immediately by a scream for help. Some 150 feet ahead, they can see a man dressed as an ox bleeding and desperately dodging the swipes of a massive manticore. It is poor Moffis, who is now a prey for real against the Iron Lash of Meratt. Iron Lash is a manticore of great size and uncommon brutality that has preyed upon the area every season for years before retreating to its mating grounds in the Verduran Forest. The characters charge into battle and confront the beast who takes a half-hearted swipe at Moffis, not seeing the real threat. Corwyn charges into battle to strike, followed by Termerus and Silver and Kavian. They immediately start their attacks. The Iron Lash attacked Corwyn with claws and bite, and took a slash at Moffis as he ran. Corwyn staggered under the blow losing blood, while Moffis slide to a stop, his back slashed open. Iona moves up and her brilliant energy heals Corwyn and restores the stunned Moffis. The attack continues, and as the party works to defeat the monster, it launches another attack at Kavian, brining him almost to the point of death. Iona worked to heal, and Elsa, alarmed, fired a sonic attack, stunning the monster, even though the edge of caught Silver, who shook off the effects. An earth elemental appeared at Mikhael’s behest and knocked the beast into unconscious. They party quickly killed it. While Tremerus skinned the beast and Detash collected it spikes, Iona and Corwyn talked to Moffis. Moffis, was a dairy farmer arrested and placed in the stocks for selling the count sour butter. He is a peasant of Baroness Voinum. The group decides he will go free, escorting him to a horse and sending him home on the animal worth more than Moffis (75 gold). He thanks them for saving him and offers free butter and cream when next they visit.
The group comes back, with Elsa and Cassia sharing a horse, and the manticore’s body under cover. They are the last to return to find that Titus won the hunt by capturing his own quarry and a neighbor’s as well, each hobbled by an arrow to the thigh. He receives a jade bear for his victory. At first Titus is derisive and basks in the attention, but Kavian, acting as Tribune, melodramatically uncovers the body of the Iron Lash, with several in the group making biting remarks, as well as suggesting the beast killed the missing light horse.
Kavian takes Baroness Voinum aside to tell her that Moffis was her citizen whom they rescued after healing, and she is immediately grateful.
The party learns that Bartelby knew of the problem but has heard little of the beast lately. He took the easy path and assumed it moved on; in reality, peasants have been sacrificing their sheep to keep the cruel beast sated after begging the count to do something about it for months with no response from the Count. The Baroness makes known her disapproval of the Count.
The evening’s repast is a heartier fare suitable for mighty hunters. As before, all food is paraded before the guests before preparation. A small orchestra plays during dinner, performing a variety of popular symphonies from great Taldan composers like Richilo Sampolo, Gwenavive of Mut, (“Overrated,” mutters Mikhael) and Nalapp
After dinner, guests are dismissed for an hour to retire to their rooms so they can rest and change. The remainder of the jubilee is a masquerade, consisting of dancing, drinking, shows, and the count’s favorite party game: coppers from heaven. Much of the entertainment is simple fare, consisting of talented local musicians hired to play background music. Count Lotheed opens the evening’s festivities with a fireworks display, created himself with a combination of the prestidigitation and pyrotechnics spells. A production of the popular Taldor by Right follows the opening ceremonies, a dramatic retelling of Taldor’s founding by the legendary First Emperor Taldaris, performed entirely by halflings. After a few drinks, Dame Crabbe works up the nerve to contribute a surprisingly graceful Qadiran khaleegi dance popular in her youth.
Cassia steps forward to perform, and delivers a stunning impromptu fiddle recital, based on the Qadrian music already played. This delights the gathered nobles how reward her with a rousing applause.
The group spends the evening using their sharpening social skills like they are organized for combat. Throughout the events, the group comes and goes with different guests, focused on the Baroness and Tribune Piscum. With precision, they are able to get both to look favorably upon the new Tribunes, which will be necessary to help the beleaguered people of Stachys.
During the evening, Mikhael continues his wooing of Dame Carood, much to the dismay of Titus. He does have some missteps, but recovers with a discussion on elven magic, that intrigues the fellow half-elf.
Midway through the evening, Count Lotheed announces that the ballroom has been invaded, and all guests must rush to its defense—the classic opening to a popular dance called the Dance of the Phalanx. Equal parts strategy game and formal waltz, the dance is performed on a gridded floor, and partners are allowed to select the next dance steps from a predefined list related to the music played. Each pair of dancers cannot move into a square occupied by other dancers, and the object of the game is to force every other pair of dancers off the grid, leaving your “phalanx” in control of the “battlefield.”
Thinking quickly, Corwyn swoops in to dance with Cassia, blocking Titus, who then turns to the Archbanker Lady Paril. Count Lotheed dances with a comely young courtier and the rest of the room pairs up for the dance. The characters end up as follows, making it through each round before being forced off the floor:
|Major Character||Partner||Round Eliminated|
Mikhael and Carood did not seem much into the dance, and slipped out the door after the first round, not to be seen again over the evening. Detash, using his wits and ruthless nature was more than willing to dance his fellow party members off the floor. Titus and the Lady Paril were equally formidable, but no one could hold a candle to Corywn and Cassia. In the last round, only those three couples remained. In two deft moves, the master couple managed to force Detash and dame Crabbe from the floor, while tricking Titus to lead Lady Paril into a close off spot. The couple then drove them from the floor in the last moves of the dance, leaving them alone, to dance one song together. As the winners of the dance they are awarded a pair of magnificent silver-and-rosewood masks depicting smiling faces (each worth 1,250 gp).
Bowing to the applause, Corwyn notes that their prey, Moffis, was not caught and should be owned commutation of his sentence and 50 gold. Bartleby was fast to offer the commutation but said ”As he is not here, there is no way to give him the gold.”. The Baroness however demanded the payment ”As he is my responsibility, I will make sure he receives his just reward”.
As the party wound down, Corwyn suggested to Iona to go heal the wounded “prey”, who were still locked up under guard. Iona marched, imperiously up to the guards announcing ”I am going to heal them.” and proceeded to do just that. After a long day and night, the group was happy to turn in.
Breakfast the next morning—soft-boiled eggs, toast, and white wine—is delivered the guests’ rooms. The servants ask Elsa where her servant, the half-elf is, and Elsa notes that Mikhael is probably fine. Meanwhile in Dame Carood’s room, servants scramble to add a breakfast for Mikhael. Carood admits she cannot get away to visit Mikhael, but hopes he will come to see her. Mikhael says he will stay in touch, touching the silver raven, and slips out during breakfast to rejoin his group. Count Lotheed personally sees the new Tribunes off, inviting them to return any time. He again thanks Kavian for taking the bolt meant for him. Kavain nods, but uses the opportunity to make a comment on the manticore which had been killing his people.
The remainder of the guests say their goodbyes politely, entreating the PCs to visit their estates in the future for more personal chats. The exception is Dame Crabbe, who insists the group visit her for tea 1 week hence and won’t take no for an answer. Kavian personally says goodbye to Sepsemia, who unfortunately seems back into her disinterested state.
The group leaves in their two carriages, headed down the 22 miles to the Betony Estate.
|Cassia||Charm +1 with arranging secret Meeting|
|Tremerus||Used Spies to look in on Titus +1 Subterfuge|
|Iona||Perform Charitable Acts +1 Sacrifice|
|Detash||Ask Around success: Leed on operation - Pump House|
|Mikhael||Genius +1, Lecture on Magic|
|Elsa||Throwing a Welcome part for the locals +1 Charm|
|Kavian||Heroism +1, Saved Lotheed|
11/12/20 The party arrives at their new home. The Betony Estate stands atop a low hill overlooking the nearby hamlet of Stachys. A cobblestone road that switchbacks down the hill connects the estate to the settlement. Atop this low hill stands a fine, if faded, estate. Brambles and thick undergrowth crowd the gardens, while ivy creeps up the three-story marble facade. The building’s windows are shuttered, and its main doorway barred and gripped by a great iron padlock. A tower—clearly far older than the main house—rises from the structure.
Locals have gathered to meet the new Tribunes and listen to their reading of their papers giving them right to occupy the house. The locals are distant and clearly not impressed. They are quick to gleefully inform the party that s everyone in the area knows that the restless spirit of Lady Allis Betony still haunts her former home. The locals are happy to tell anyone who will listen about the ghost, and the haunting is a favorite topic of discussion in the tavern. As a child, young Allis was never entirely reliable. While she was sweet, she often spoke to people who weren’t there, and this pattern continued as she aged. She never married, and in her last decade she became a recluse, living alone in the house. Locals still hear noises and see lights in the windows some nights, and the few people who tried to loot the house have been battered and beaten by unseen hands
Deciding that ghosts are present, Kavian suggest a formal entrance and both he and Elsa enter and read off their papers again, announcing they are coming home because of the death of their long lost relative. Kavian is quick to note that the structure seems to be well kept. Its chambers are all generally empty. The characters note they will be using bedrolls for a while. Fine features such as frescoes and statues in remarkably good shape adorn each room. Even after a decade sitting empty, the manor’s roof doesn’t leak, the interior paint hasn’t peeled, and even the remaining furniture is fairly dust-free thanks to being draped in canvas. A single table of roses continues to prosper in the conservatory. Kavian concludes that the house is clearly being maintained, though it is unclear by whom. Corywn is quick to point out the house does appear to have two or more mangy cats in residence.
The group breaks up to search the house and inspect it. Everyone is quick to notice rooms changing behind them. They never see things moving but do hear chairs and things moving. It is clear something is seeking to spook them. Elsa and Kavian stay in the main hall discussing what to do with these spirits, while the rest of the group goes top to bottom. As the sun is setting, Mikahel discovers a secret door under the tower in the basement. Cassia and Corwyn come down to investigate. Corwyn does not see any traps, but Cassia smiles and points out a magical charm trap to Crowyn, who sheepishly disarms it.
Elsa, with her history of growing up outside civilization comes to the realization that these acts seem like house fey. She suggests gifts or snacks. Kavian speaks to the fey out loud offering gifts, and finds all three cats in a perfect triangle around him, looking skeptical. Both Tribunes make a plea and the cats transform into three domovoi—Blunk, Nodd, and Wink who have dwelled in the building since the original watchtower was constructed over a thousand years ago. Allis befriended the notably reclusive, cantankerous creatures while just a child, and they remained her lifelong friends, insulating her from the worst influences of Taldan high society. After Allis passed and no one inherited the house, they felt it their duty to protect their departed friend’s home and even maintain it (as best they can with no raw materials). They dwell in the secret room under the tower, accessible by a hidden door in the cellar.
The three are happy to have a new family to work with, especially if left regular offerings like cream, porridge, or sweet rolls. They don’t gossip or interact with strangers at all, but they can help the PCs get the manor back in shape in a month, requiring only 500 gp worth of supplies. Without the domovoi, restoring the estate to its former glory requires 3 months and costs 1,000 gp.
The domovi also present their new friends with two items they report were ”Stolen from those horrible Lotheeds”. These are an fine crafted jeweled masquerade Mask and the magical garb Scipio's Coat. These are long lost Relics of Taldor.
The group then spends the night in bedrolls and engages the town the next day. Talking to the town they hear the following rumors:
“Apparently Baronet Vort’s gone native with a band of peasants southeast of Baron Telus’s land; even destroyed the Gold Canyon bridge to keep outsiders away. I hear a witch got into his brain and stirred things up a bit. Positively scandalous!”
“The Night Swan struck a trade convoy from Cassomir! They say he robs from the rich and gives to the poor, but that sounds more like Galtan propaganda than reality. Can you imagine anyone giving away money?”
“Dame Crabbe’s girl hasn’t been the same since her beloved Opilio passed last year. Poor girl just won’t let herself move on, and her overbearing mother isn’t helping.” “Baron Telus has stopped tending to his duties and lets his townsfolk loot as they please; it’s disgraceful! Count Lotheed should’ve stepped in to put a stop to this years ago, but I guess he doesn’t care so long as Telus’s little bandit army leaves his lands alone.”
“The riffraff out in the Beggarwood are getting pretty aggressive in accosting travelers. Last spring they carried off everything but the wheels in a visiting viscount’s caravan! Hopefully now that someone has claimed the Betony lands, they’ll do something about these parasites before we lose all our visitors.”
“You kids today are too young to remember, but the Night Swan is clearly the spirit of Lauchlein Lake! Count Lotheed stopped sacrificing virgins to appease it like his father did, and now it’s hunting in the county again.”
On Thursday, a messenger arrives to formally invite them to Tea with Dame Crabbe. Kavian, Detash, Cassia, and Iona accept. The rest of the group decides to go in disguise to the Beggarwood and check out what is going on there.
The night before leaving for the Crabbe Estate, Onora tells them to enjoy the Crabbe estate’s hedge maze, which a fun experience.
The group leaves before dawn and spends the morning in the village of Moost talking with the locals. The village of Moost grew up around the Crabbe estate, largely to serve the family’s needs and tend their extensive cranberry bogs, but it has matured considerably into a thriving little community only partially dependent on the noble family for support. Like Dame Crabbe, the town lives for gossip. The citizens’ favorite topic is the young Lady Crabbe, Sepsinia, and her potential romantic futures. With so much of the town’s fortune’s tied to the nobles, they are keen to see her marry soon and continue the line and avoid the atrophic fate Stachys suffered. Dame Crabbe is elated to host the players for tea and goes out of her way to make them feel at home, in particular sharing the various desserts, tinctures, and wines the family’s cranberry bogs produce. She shares local news and developments regarding her family in Cassomir and Yanmass and offers a variety of parlor games. Parthena goes above and beyond to welcome her visitors—especially interested in talking with Detash about helping restore Sepsinia from her gloom.
While she refused to discuss the matter at the Tanager Jubilee, Dame Crabbe is very worried about her withdrawn daughter. She reltates that Sepsinia’s suitor, Opilio, took his own life last year, and while the girl seemed to handle the shock well enough at first, the joy and passion eventually drained from the younger Crabbe and has yet to return. Instead, Sepsinia simply wanders the house, staring out windows and occasionally reading random books for hours on end. Once a promising painter, she no longer takes any interest in art or beauty, and if asked about any topic, she simply sighs and asks to be left alone.
While Sepsinia is polite enough to join her mother in entertaining guests, she remains withdrawn. However, when the discussion covers her late fiancé she shows some interest. During a tour of the house, the group mentions the hedge maze, which Dame Crabbe notes has fallen into a poor state after Opilio took his life there. When Sepsinia seems to respond, the Kavian presses her on the maze, which she seems both fascinated by and frightened of. From the description of the condition of the maze, and Sepsinia’s behavior, the necromancer in the party begins to suspect the bite of a lovelorn.
That evening, the group gathers in the dining room to discuss their concerns. They agree they need to check out the hedge maze but Kavian notes that going into an area with a possible undead is a task best left for morning. Cassia proposes they take shifts to watch Sepsinia, and the group agrees. Kavian takes first shift.
As Iona emerges from her room to relieve Kavian, they see Sepsinia leave her room. Iona sprints past Kavian following Sepsinia leaving Kavian to get Cassia and Detash. They head downstairs and hear Iona yell, ”She went into the maze!” as Iona dove in after her. Getting to the entrance of the Maze, Detash notes that the maze is clearly enchanted and sends his familiar aloft of help them navigate. The three enter to find Iona, already disoriented. Cassia performs to make the team more alert and they advance through the maze cautiously, its hedge walls enshrouded in mist and seeming to shift. The hedge maze behind the Crabbe estate was once a local wonder, but it has been left neglected for a year now—the gardeners never seem to have time for it. The center contains a picturesque gazebo, overgrown with roses, from when Dame Crabbe used to love entertaining. Today, however, the maze is riddled with brambles, weeds, and a cold mist that never seems to lift and anyone entering the maze must face animated vines and shifting illusions if they hope to reach the center.
Kavian takes the led at first, using his skill at survival to chart a path. Then, as a hedge moves to block them, he slipped past to find the real opening. Iona led the group past an illusion she was able to see through, and with her eye for detail, Cassia was able to note Sepsinia’s foot prints to cover another path. Finally, Detash used his spellcraft to read the threads of magic and find the final way into the center of the maze. Sepsinia has navigated it easily to find the picnic of rotting food and dead bodies. The group sees a ghastly parody of a romantic picnic, as the scuttling remnant of Opilio offers Sepsinia cold tea and moldering biscuits, surrounded by three of bodies of gardeners who tried to clean out the lovelorn’s gloomy lair.
Opilio sees the party emerge and suddenly casts animate dead and the three corpses tear open as skeletons arise from them. Iona spends a hero point to move before Kavian, and immediately moves forward to surge out holy energy, killing to of the skeletons and hurting the lovelorn. Kavian closes with the undead to attack. Detash attempts to command the remaining skeleton but is unable. Cassia closes to heal anyone needed. Kavian and Iona attack the creature, as Iona spends hero points to take extra actions to attack or heal. The undead focuses on the holy cleric, biting her, but Iona resists the non-damage parts of the bite. Detash uses his magic missiles and the group defeats the creature.
Among the treasure found, is a love potion, which Detash notes can cure Sepsinia. The group agrees that Kavian should give it to her, and once she drinks it, the color returns to her face and she comes too. After a brief explanation, they return to the Crabbe estate’s parlor and discuss what happened with Dame Crabbe and Sepsinia.
The young lady relates that While Opilio—a talented, confident student at the Moost conservatory—loved her deeply, she couldn’t stand the arrogant, spoiled young man. His love turned to loathing at the rejection, even as their parents kept pushing them together, and after several weeks, he attacked Sepsinia in the garden. Certain his reputation and future would be tarnished when Sepsinia reported the attack, Opilio took his own life, and the younger Crabbe never quite figured out how to reveal the boy’s crimes to his mourning parents. But, Opilio’s secrets weren’t the only thing to haunt Sepsinia. Detash surmises the young man’s seething, quiet hatred at his rejection tied his spirit to the living world, and his heart eventually animated into the lovelorn. Opilio returned to the garden where he attacked Sepsinia and slowly transformed the Crabbes’ hedge maze into a gloomy labyrinth to hide within. He then would call Sepsinia to him every night, drawing her into the garden and using his cursed bite to drain her passion for life, hoping to destroy her future just as he destroyed his own, and perhaps drive her to suicide as well, binding them together forever as hateful, undead abomination
Dame Crabbe is appalled to learn the whole story of what transpired right under her nose and is infinitely grateful to the party for saving her daughter. She very specifically stops offering her daughter’s hand in marriage in light of recent events.
The next morning, Sepsinia is a different person. She is engaged at breakfast and animated in her conversations. It is clear she remembers her time under the influence (other than the trips to the maze), and now shows some response to the interest Kavian has shown in her. She asks if the young Tribune if he will visit again. Kavian, in typical fashion, is somewhat tongue tied but manages to agree.
Upon leaving, Dame Crabbe offers to dispatch a small team of her gardeners, servants, and woodworkers to Stachys next week to help the group fix up their town, providing 5,000 gp worth of town improvements.
Corywn approaches Mikhael about monkey fur now growing around his waist. Mikhael is able to identify the belt Corwyn has been wearing is defective, and that its magic has started some sort of transformation. Corwyn plans to link up with Iona to see if she can help him with her divine magic.
The four head to Beggerwood on Thursday the 4th of Rova. Officially known as “Bugbear Wood” for the creatures that used to infest it, most locals refer to this old oak forest as “Beggarwood”, as it offers reasonable shelter and food for the poor, as well as easy access to the nearby Oppara highway so the desperate can ply trade goods to whoever passes by. Local nobility consider the forest and its occupants a blight, but not a big enough embarrassment to waste the resources trying to wipe it out (especially since the inhabitants are adept at hiding and have few permanent possessions or homes to destroy). Sir Gul Gusairne sends a few soldiers out to accost the roadside market the beggars establish from time to time, taking whatever goods or coin they like, but anything more thorough would require committed support from Barons Telus and Okerra, and neither cares to aid.
This community effectively operates as a village marketplace. They sell most common goods—but not luxury goods—at a 10% increase over market value, but lower their prices to 10% below market value if people can pay in common clothing, food, tools, and other daily necessities. Most of their supplies come from scavenged goods, trading directions and repairs to travelers, and retrieving cargo abandoned due to bad weather, breakdowns, or low profit margins. They rarely resort to open banditry, knowing that it draws the attention of the normally neutral Baron Okerra.
The group goes in disguise, with Elsa as ”Esme”and Corwyn as Lars. Corwyn uses the Hat of disguise to help Temerus conceal himself and rolls a natural 20 to disguise Mikhael. The four travel to Beggarwood to investigate, choosing to meet them at a roadside market set up, the beggars do on most days. After asking about, it becomes clear that the Beggarwood has about 25 permanent residents living in caves, tents, and tree houses mostly gathered around Bear Pond at its north end, with another 25 transients present at any given time. They move carts by hand to the main highway to set up their humble market. Most of these residents are commoners and experts who flee at the first sign of trouble.
The community’s leaders are the Four Hoods, exiles from Andoran who have banded together to live simply in the Taldan wilderness. Gurta Thresh was an apothecary in Triela whose secretive faith in Norgorber eventually came to light amid accusations of murder. She fled with her adopted sister, the troublemaking rouge, Ginnit, and as they crossed the border, they made fast friends with the sibling archers Malifort and Nani Truebow, border guards who had grown weary of their assignment. None of the Four intended to become leaders, but neither are they willing to let hungry refugees die on the road. When the characters encountered this group on the way into the county, they did not see interact with any of these four as they are standoffish and suspicious of well-dressed strangers, especially Gurta, watching traders from a distance rather than approaching. The Four Hoods are firmly anti-authoritarian and see not just Count Lotheed as an enemy, but any nobles at all.
The group trades good with the beggars for basic materials to refurbish their town, gaining 100 gold pieces of supplies and making some friends with the locals. They move north, and explore ambushing Sir Gul, who has not been by in some time. Tremerus notes his contacts may have some information, and using Mikhael’s raven, they send for it. The group finds a good place for an ambush and hopes to get Sir Gul. The raven returns with information that the next raid may be next week. They decide to move on to town of Pensaris.
The productive little village of Pensaris gets by mostly from processing goats, fishing the adjoining Lake Pensaris, and manufacturing salt from a mineral spring 3 miles southwest, ultimately providing salted fish and meat to the rest of the county and beyond for winter. Their relative wealth has allowed the community to develop a number of specialty artisans as well, especially shipwrights and woodcarvers to support the anglers. It is also the closest neighbor to Stachys and the Bentony estate, making Baron Okerra the easiest neighbor to visit and influence. Baron Nicolaus Okerra’s estate is a small but cozy citadel overlooking the village.
There, the group of four meets with locals and discuss local rumors and activity in the area. At 12 miles long and almost 2 miles wide, Lake Pensaris is the largest lake in the county; it’s also unusually deep for the area—almost 200 feet at the center. Bass, perch, and trout are all abundant, as well as catfish that have migrated to the lake. Steep stone walls make most of the lake’s eastern shore inaccessible. Like any lake of reasonable size, Lake Pensaris is home to countless “fish stories,” though the most frequent are tall tales of the General, a sizable catfish that locals claim has eluded them for a century; the occasional disappearance of local anglers is usually attributed to the General “conscripting” men. One popular myth even claims it scuttled a visiting duchess’s pleasure barge one summer 50 years back (alternative tales claim the fish was a drunkard, ambling up to steal the wine or was mesmerized by the young duchess’s beauty). Anyone who could actually bring this beast to shore would become a local legend.
Fishing the lake requires Baron Okerra’s permission, which Tremerus, as himself, heads up to get. Baron Okerra is generous with his permission to anyone not looking for industrial-scale fishing. He is less willing to give permission to trap or hunt the lake’s otters, which he has a secret fondness for. Tremerus engages in a Handle Animal check to begin tracking the creature down
Tracking the General requires a total of five successes using any combination of the following skills, though any given skill can be attempted only once each week: Handle Animal (DC 22), Knowledge (local; DC 17), Knowledge (nature; DC 15), Perception (DC 25), Profession (fisherman; DC 13), Survival (DC 20), or Swim (DC 20).
While Tremerus is seeking permission and looking for the General, the rest of the group continues to gather information.
A local myth claims a long-dead duke drowned his young wife in Lauchlein Lake after marrying her at the circle of stones. The maiden’s angry spirit returned a year later as a swan who could walk as a woman under the moonlight to take revenge on her husband. The duke kept her sated and bound by pouring 6 vials of holy water into the lake on the anniversary of her death each summer—a tradition that continued until Count Bartelby Lotheed took control of the county—and now the restless drowned maiden of Lauchlein has begun exacting her vengeance as the fearsome Night Swan. The group dismisses this as the explanation but decides to explore the lake to the north the next day. They take lodging in Pensaris for the night.
The next day, they head north to explore Lake Lauchlein. The Lake is shallow and choked with frogs and water plants, making it an ideal home to all sorts of aquatic birds. Of note, a mysterious stone circle stands by the water’s edge. Over the years, locals have alternately romanticized and feared the circle, using it for proposals and weddings as well as terrible rites. Nowadays, the lake is generally known to be haunted by an unquiet spirit many locals think is the Night Swan. The group notices that parts of the lake seem polluted. Tremerus is able to see the effects are coming from the north. A survival roll with a natural 20 lets him immediately track the effect to the “hook” at the north of the lake. They arrive in the afternoon to see an extra-large Ochre Jelly. It has been gorging itself on birds and fish while turning that portion of the once-resplendent waterway into a polluted mess. If not destroyed soon, it is likely to render the rest of the lake similarly barren in a year.
They move to attack the creature, quickly finding it is immune to anything but blunt damage. Corwyn moves in with dual hammers to engage, while Tremerus uses Haste. Elsa opts for magical cold to damage the beast, while the group’s summoner calls up a water elemental to attack the monster jelly in the water. The jelly continues to grab at Corwyn and finally grabs him with acid tentacles. Tremerus heals Corwyn while the elemental and Elsa kill the monster.
As the party rests and recovers, wondering how to preserve part of the acid covered corpse, they are approached by a swan maiden fey. ”I am Atratus. This lakeshore was once home to the Seelie Court Niada, long ago when the border of the Verduran Forest stood a hundred miles south of where it does now, before the coming of Taldor. I remained to keep this lake wild. I find the highway an affront, but I had an understanding with the Counts. Each year, on Midsummer’s Night, the Count would leave gifts for me, to help feed the wild lake. There are precious birds here I care for.”
“You killed the beast fouling the waterways, something I was unable to do. Count Lotheed not only refused to pay tribute, but summoned that foul thing into my lake. For resorting my lake, I can give you these gifts.”
Atratus, she rewards the heroes with a treasure she seized from poachers several years ago: a curious assortment of gears, mechanisms, oils, and tools. These supplies can be sold in Lotheedar for 1,000 gp or used for various town improvements, in which case they are worth 3,000 gp.
“I also found this old sword, perhaps part of an older group. I have no use for it, but I give it to you in thanks.”
The group then decides to return to Bentony and plan their ambush of Sir Gul.
|Iona||Used Community Organization to add 230 Gold|
|Mikhael||Tried to set up an assignation with Dame Carrod, but was not successful|
|Detash||Rolled a 20 looking for the Next Lead|
|Cassia||Failed at an attempt to infiltrate Birdsong}|
The original Stachys spur of the canal was constructed 1,200 years ago and outfitted with a groundwater pump to help transform the local marshes into useful farmland. The design helped maintain local fortunes for over a millennium. The original magically driven engine broke over a century ago, and the locals replaced it with a simpler mechanism pulled by oxen. Eventually the pump itself broke down, and by that time, the county lacked anyone with the know-how to repair it. Over the last 20 years, the marsh has returned, driving locals off their land and reclaiming a cemetery that had once occupied a nearby knoll. The people of Stachys know some monster claims their old pump house and prevents them from attempting even rudimentary repairs, but thanks to the ghouls’ reclusive nature, no one is exactly sure what
Marshland and shallow, stagnant ponds surround the pump house for 2 miles in every direction, ringed with festering carcasses of livestock that wandered off only to become stuck and drown. Locals have a few flat-bottomed, 10-foot-by-15-foot barges they use to travel or fish, but are unwilling to loan them to party as they are still suspicious of the newcomers. The party then goes by foot, reaching the pump house from Stachys by foot takes 7 hours, and the land is unsuitable for horses and other mounts. Along the way, Detash pauses to bring a dead cow back to life as a pack skeleton, much to the disgust of some of the party. He offers to have anyone use it as a pack animal as Detash is doing, but none take him up on it.
A sturdy stone building straddles the berm separating an algae-cloaked marsh from the stagnant canal waters. A long sluice looks as though it might have once accommodated a mill, while a stone walkway wraps around the southern portion of the building. Moss almost completely obscures the slate roof. The marsh waters surrounding the pump house’s southern half are only about 4 feet deep, with a strip of wetland (indicated on the map). The canal waters north of the berm are 10 feet deep. The pump house doors rotted away years ago
As the group moves up to the pumphouse, Iona in the lead, a otyugh erupts from the marsh and attacks her. Detash is the only on to see it coming, and as he yells a warning he orders his skeleton to attack. The party spreads out and quickly attacks the monster. Mikhael summons an Earth Elemental to help kill the monster. Despite it spew of filth, the characters are able to defeat it. Detash conducts an autopsy on the dead monster and finds two magic items in its stomach, eyes of deathwatch, and a hand of glory, both of which Detash is happy to take. Mikhael has the elemental explore the pump house, but it does not set off the tortured soul within.
Inside is the well room. This large room once contained supplies and machinery for repairing the pump and cleaning the well, but these have long since rotted into mulch. he pump mechanism has clearly been modified to accommodate a rope that once passed through a small slot carved into the wall; Mikhael is able to use his engineering expertise recognizes that the pump was modified to accommodate an animal-drawn power source
The small office to the north was once used by the local canal maintenance official, whose responsibilities included logging the passage of ships, performing minor maintenance, and requesting larger-scale repairs. It now serves as the den for the Queen Without a Face, and she has lined most of it with rotting vegetation and the waterlogged remnants of her coffin. Holy symbols of the long-dead goddess Arazni are painted on the walls. Cursed with ghoul fever in the Shining Crusades and succumbing to the disease before returning home, Marjorine Sandaris arose as a ravenous undead at her funeral and attempted to devour her family before a cousin and cleric of Aroden laid her to rest with a burst of divine light that burned the face from the dead woman’s skull. The cursed strain of ghoul fever that afflicted Lady Sandaris would not let her rest for long, however, and she rose again under the next new moon. Eventually her family bound her coffin with wards and blessings from several good-aligned gods to keep the war hero in a blessed oblivion. This peace lasted for a thousand years until flooding washed and rotted away those protections, and Marjorine, now calling herself the Queen Without a Face, rose again to prowl the moors.
Enough of her former faith remains that Marjorine chooses to live in exile rather than hunt the good people of Stachys, but she cannot control her ravenous hunger when flesh presents itself to her. She longs for true death, but so far the touch of the Whispering Tyrant has proven far stronger than the comforting pull of the River of Souls.
When Iona enters into the office, The Queen attacks her, catching her flatfooted but does not connect. The fight is on, and the others come to Iona’s defense. Mikhael summons a new elemental into the old office the Queen has been using as her lair. During the fight, both Iona and Cassia become infected with ghoul fever, and Cassia is paralyzed. The sounds of the fight cause 6 more ghouls to erupt from the water, but Detash takes out four with a blaze of burning hands, while the other two are easily dispatched. Detash notes that the poor Queen will rise again with the next moon unless cremated and laid to rest. Mikhael summons a fire elemental to burn the body. They take the ashes and the holy symbol to bury here in Stacheys. The well itself has fouled water, but magic at the bottom. Again, Mikhael summons a servant, this time an elemental of water, to explore bottom of the well. When Marjorine Sandaris first roused from her warded crypt, she carried her blessed spear, Godspike a +1 holy spear, with her for months even though its touch charred her flesh. In a fit of misery and pain, she finally cast the spear into the well here, where it remains to this day, 60 feet below the water’s surface and half-buried in muck. The Elemental also finds The Obsidian Aloof, an ancient relic of Taldor, from the days before Taldor, which Mikhael excitedly explains. It works best for balanced individuals, and Detash takes it for his own.
Amid the muck, the party also finds the gathered treasure of the otyugh: 17 pp, 33 gp, an engraved silver compact (worth 250 gp), a platinum-and-diamond necklace (worth 850 gp), a trident +1, a +1 arrow-catching buckler, a ring of jumping, two oils of obscure object, and a wand of protection from evil (10 charges).
As the party leaves the marsh, Detash decides to tarry, and the next day, raises four more skeletons, bringing his total cows to three and adding two skeletal horses.
|Tremerus||Secure Secrets on the County Nobles for +1 to Subterfuge|
|Kavian||Kavain hosts and engages in acrobatics competion +1 Heroism|
|Elsa||As Esme', she organizes a rally of the people in Beggarwood about a new regime. +1 Sacrafice|
|Corwyn||Working to build information network Charm +1|
Kavian takes Monday to conduct his acrobatics competition with several locals and even some nobility. Lady Lucretzia Marthane, Parthena and Sepsinia Crabbe all take an interest in the proceedings. Kavian is able to easily win the competition.
Corywn takes Iona aside to attempt to remove curse on the fur now growing on his body from his broken belt. She is unable to take apart the spell.
The group then heads out in one direction, only to stop and change into their alternate identities:
Their goal is to ambush Sir Gul Gusairne, the enforce of Lotheed. They pause at the Beggarwood market, and “Esme’” organizes a rally, encouraging the gather lost souls that there might be a better way to live, not just on the fringes if the land was available.
The group then moves north. Tremerus is more than able to fine a great spot for an ambush. Kavian, devises a murder trap for the coming party and directs Corwyn on how to build it. Corwyn rolls really well and the trees are readied to fall. Two days go by, but on Friday, Tremerus’s owl sees the approaching party and alerts the team to hide. As Sir Gul and his group ride into the trap, it is sprung, and the fight it on. In back, one man is struck by the tree and with insane horsemanship (nat 20) manages to get free. One man is left outside. Immediately, Elsa stuns most of the men and horses, while Tremerus dazzles them. Corwyn and Kavian move in. Elsa stuns again, keeping the man in back from acting, and taking out the one struck by the tree. Finally, as the blows fall from the party, the rest of the forces of Lotheed come too and fight back. Corwyn and Tremerus take the brunt of the attacks, with several ganging up on Tremerus. He fights defensively and using the power of his relic adsorbs the attention of the soldiers. Kavian deftly disarms Sir Gul of his weapon, and Corwyn saps him into unconsciousness. It is only moments and everyone in the trap is down or going down. Corwyn calls for their surrender, but the suddenly menacing Kavian makes a strong intimidate and gets those standing to give up. Kavian and Tremerus take off after the man in back who fled and catch him.
Now, the vigilantes strip the forces of their weapons and one boot each and tell them to walk home. The Humiliated Sir Gul promises this is not over.
The party shoos the horses away, so they will return to their stables, and they head back to Betony.
Of the 6 Soldiers each Has:
Masterwork halberd, Masterwork heavy crossbow, oil of magic weapon (2), potion of barkskin, potions of cure moderate wounds (2), antiplague, oil (3), Masterwork chain shirt, backpack, bullseye lantern, flint and steel, set of manacles, signal whistle, trail rations (10)
wand of cure light wounds (34 charges), antitoxins (2), +1 breastplate, +1 light crossbow with 25 bolts, Masterwork light mace, cloak of resistance +1, golden holy symbol of AbadarUE, Set of Masterwork manacles, seneschal’s badge, signet ring, 193 gp, trail rations (10)
|Persona Phase Actions|
|Tremerus||Helped with animal control at lake Lachien Sagacity +1|
|Kavian||Attempts to work as a blacksmith in Beggarwood to increase sacrifice, but failed|
|Elsa||Working to get ruling favaorable for Stachys from Count Lotheed using her connection to her adopted Father Sagacity +1|
|Corwyn||Throwing a small party during the upcoming festival and invites the Archbanker Charm +1|
|Iona||Gives a Sermon with wide area invite to increase Sagacity +1|
|Mikhael||Spends time working on the Pump and getting it running. Cassia helps|
|Detash||Secret Meeting with Didia Subterfuge +2|
|Cassia||Locate Sympathisers who want to help clear the area for settlers but fails|
The group finds wanted posters put up, which are in response to their attack. When Kavian goes to Beggarwood to assist them in blacksmithing, he finds the Four Hoods are quite upset and worried what will happen now. Rumors are that the Barron Okerra will now join Lotheed in taking a hand. Mikhael reports a letter from Dame Carrod which explains that Titus is being forced into action to Sir Gul in looking for the bandits. This is far beyond anything the Night Swan has done. Finally, Tremeus says he received a letter that on Thursday, Pollus Remus Salinus Majordomo for Senator Talbot, Earl of Whitetcliffe, will be delivering 3000 supplies worth 300 gold and suggests they meet him at the border.
Onora Piscum brings a criminals, Lucinia Mag to the Tribunes’ attention. She hold her in her “jail” which is in the back room of her pub. The Tribunes hold a trial for Lucinia on Monday
Prosecution Local drunk and troublemaker Lucinia Mag has been causing problems for years. Most recently she started a brawl in Piscum’s pub, punched the sheriff, and ran off with the night’s take—22 sp—and a bottle of oldlaw whiskey worth 20 gp. Sheriff Piscum found her passed out drunk in Jo Sini’s barn the next morning.
Defense Lucinia has little to say in her own defense, aside from her opinion on the PCs parentage.
Investigation The Tribunes call locals to testify, which reveals a long history of harassment, minor violence, and petty theft from Mag extending back to her childhood. She’s been run out of town twice in the last 10 years.
The group decides to spend a gold a week to hire a deputy for three weeks to guard Mag and watch her for government service, not allowing her any alcohol. Iona makes sure she does not pass the first day with her healing magic.
The party also reviews the use of money for the town. Thanks to Mikhael’s work, the costs of fully fixing the pump is reduced. Corwyn takes the lead. He notes the work on the estate is about complete. The group decides to build on Mikhael’s work and complete the Pumphouse fully including a magic pump again. They direct work to the Mill and repaving the village square to restore an outdoor market. Finally, they help the locals repair their farms. To celebrate the town coming back to like, they commission a statue in the new village square to commemorate the local history of Stacheys
Following on Detash’s lead from last week, the group takes the two-day journey to Jambis to call on Baron Tellus and discover what is going on in Jambis. Once a prosperous trading town, Jambis has been all but abandoned since Baron Telus’s curse claimed their leader and destroyed their economy. Some of the population traveled north to Moost or Voinum, while others resettled to the south to form New Towne. What remains now are leaning wooden buildings and bleached bones—some animal, some not—gathered in corners like autumn leaves.
Once a border fort, the Telus estate is a historical artifact unto itself, having stood almost as long as Taldor itself. Endless renovations have left the stonework underneath untouched, but over time the walls were covered in expensive paneling, gilding, and silk, rendering it an opulent home ideal for extravagant parties… at least, until Baron Araig Telus’s retreat into his isolation.
It takes two days to get to Jambis, and once through the ruined town, they will arrive at the Tellus estate in the evening. They dismount when they approach the town and slowing make their way through the main road, amid burned out buildings. Kavian moves forward and suddenly, a giant trapdoor spider emerges from its hole and spears Kavian with its fangs, dragging it down into its hole. The rest of the party stares, stunned. Shaking themselves into motion, they rush the lid. Tremerus yells to the team what is going on, and tries to open the lid, but he cannot. Mikhael summons an Earth elemental to go dig out Kavian, who has manages to wrest himself from the fangs, but is trapped in the hole. He is startled when the elemental grabs him and drags him away. He breaks free and finds he is trapped in dirt. Relaxing a moment, Kavian realizes what is going on (wisdom roll), and he lets Mikhael’s servant get him free. The elemental collapses the tunnel around the spider, keeping it busy. Mikhael then uses it reaming time to find and mark other locations of spiders. There are five more for six total. The group vows to clear the spiders and spends a half hour to clear. First they try to trigger and attack, but the spider returned before dying. They switch to using fire elementals to burn away the webbing of the tops and then attacking the exposed spider.
With all the spiders dead, and the party fully healed, they press forward, very cautiously. Cassia notices a large net of webbing covering the ground as they turn up towards the Telus estate. They light the webbing on fire, which attracts the attention of at least four giant black widow spiders. The party prepares for another arachnid fight!
12/17/20 The fight opens with Mikhael’s earth elemental attacking. Tremerus and Kavian rush forward to engaged the two spiders moving down. A third large spider and a swarm emerge as well, threatening them. Corwyn also moves up, but when the spiders lash out, he is poisoned, forcing him to stagger back.
With a grease spell, Mikhael cuts the spider swarm in half, but does not manage to inhibt the third spider. Tremerus and Kavin continued the fight with the two spiders, while the third goes after Iona. She summons a spiritual weapon to aid in her fight, but it misses repeatedly. With his earth elemental destroyed in an early attack, the evolved Lysanthir appears to support the cleric. Detash and Elsa throw spells, weaking the two spiders. Heavily hurt, Tremerus goes full defensive, while giving his relic’s bonus to Kavian. Kavian continues to attack.
Corywn is meanwhile recovering using an antivenom, and Cassia moves to heal. Lysanthir and Iona continued to attack their foe. Suddenly, another spider emerges from the nearby building and attacks Detash, poisoning him and almost killing him. Elsa and Detash move away from the spider, and Elsa casts another attack. Then another spider erupts below them, trapping the two casters between them.
A renewed Corwyn charges to the first two spiders assisting in their deaths. Cassia moves up to be ready to help heal Tremerus. Meanwhile, Iona and Lysanthir have ended their foe, and they rush to help protect the other casters. Detash goes full defensive, while Elsa uses her spear to attack the spider further from her. Their foes now down to two, the part converges to quickly take out the remaining beasts.
Resting to recover, Iona restores the con damage to Corwyn. With the aid of antitoxin from the rouge, Detash is able to shake off the remaining effects of the poison, but still remains somewhat weakened.
The group moves north up the hill, to find the Telus estate. They find a fortress of sturdy stone, crumbling white plaster, and ragged banners overlooks the valley and town below. The once-sturdy wooden doors now lie on the overgrown lawn, half-rotted, while a tree has collapsed into the eastern bastion, partially caving in the wall. Once a border fort, the Telus estate is a historical artifact unto itself, having stood almost as long as Taldor itself. Endless renovations have left the stonework underneath untouched, but over time the walls were covered in expensive paneling, gilding, and silk, rendering it an opulent home ideal for extravagant parties.
The party fears what they will find next, but vow to press on as the sun sets.
The Party scoped out the ruined estate. Kavian and Corwyn move forward towards the main entrance, both missing the pit trap at the front. It triggers, dropping Kavian 60’, while Corwyn jumps out of the way. The group lowers ropes to Kavian who climbs out and take several hits from a cure wand. The group decides that going in through the shattered wall may make some sense. They enter the kitchen and notice a rank smell or rotting flesh. When they open a door, they are swarmed by centipedes, attacking Kavian and Corwyn. After the party engages in frantic smashing, the swarm is dispersed.
Moving west, they open the door into a vast hall, with a clear web nest in the front, and webs on the ceiling. A voice calls to them from around the room, taunting them and asking who is here to face the Spider King. When enough of the party is in the room, a fireball races from the concealment of the web at the ceiling and catches half the party. Kavian is unable to avoid any damage and is almost killed outright. Corwyn, managing to dive away, moves towards the nest.
A fight ensues, with the Baron of Telus firing off his magic, including a spectral hand threatening a touch of idiocy to Detash! Finally, the web nest is lighted aflame and the Baron drops to the floor. Baron Araig Telus has spent almost a decade sealed within this room, escaping on occasion only to be tracked down by his former servants and sealed away once more. Once a decent—if out of touch—man, he now hungers constantly for flesh and finds human thoughts harder and harder to form. While he once felt guilt for the lives he took and the people he devoured, he now feels only hunger and a need to hunt and outwit his prey.
Already a powerful sorcerer, Araig has effectively been transformed into an ettercap by a hag ritual that functions as a major curse spell, requiring a break enchantment spell to overcome, something outside the party’s power, and not something they are inclined to help with in any respect.
Once down, Araig Telus is quickly dispatched by the group, though not after biting Corwyn, who fortunately still has antivenom in his blood. Resting and healing, the party searches the rest of the building to find Frater Mosel and four other former household staff who were now bandits. They explain what happened:
Three old women knocked on the estate’s grand doors one stormy night a decade ago and asked for shelter from the driving rain. Araig ordered them to find an inn before slamming the door, unaware that the trio was the Sisters of Indulgent Dreams—a coven of night hags in service to Duke Lotheed and the Immaculate Circle— on their way to the Palace of Birdsong. The coven burst through the doors and declared that Baron Telus should have a form to match his verminous, lowly soul before disappearing back into the night. Araig thought little of the incident, unaware that the old women were anything but what they appeared, but over the coming weeks he grew increasingly disturbed: hiding in corners, chewing at insects, and becoming obsessed with weaving. Those servants who could left, and those who could not did everything they could to appease their increasingly eccentric master. After a year, Araig’s skin began to slough off, revealing, bruised, stubbly flesh and claws beneath, beginning his transformation from handsome human baron into a prince of spiders
With the largely modular, independent nature of local rules and the death of Allis Betony—Araig’s only attending lord—no one in the county beyond his servants realize what Baron Telus has become. Even the citizens of Jambis know only that their lord became some sort of monster after crossing a witch—and having heard the tale second- or thirdhand, most of them believe it to be but an allegory describing a man losing his sanity. The remainder of Baron Telus’s servants have become bandits, robbing traffic on the nearby Cassomir and Ridonport highways to find enough gold and flesh to sate their lord’s dual hungers. Despite his transformation—or perhaps more so because of it—they remain loyal to the monstrous baron. They see themselves as the keepers of a terrible secret and throw captives to Araig with a mingled sense of dread and obligation.
The party takes them all into custody, searching them and their rooms. They will be taken before the Count.
8,052 cp, 1,514 sp, 17 pp 886 gp and a figurine of wondrous power (serpentine owl), a suit of +1 full plate, a scroll of restoration, a (slightly chewed) wand of color spray (42 charges), wand of spectral hand (25 charges) two amethysts (worth 50 gp each), a glass eye carved from moonstone (worth 65 gp), and a set of cold cutlery bearing stylized griffon talons (worth 500 gp as a set). minor crown of blasting a cloak of resistance +1, Telus signet ring
The group takes their four prisoners back to Stachys to be locked up pending being turned over to Count Lotheed. Sheriff Onora Piscum meets them and apologetically says that Duchess Veleto Lotheed showed up after they left and has taken over organizing the Festival in heir absence. She has done a good job and has also invited nobles to attend. Baron Nicolaus Okerra and Lady Sepsinia Crabbe are already arranged to stay at the House the Baron having escorted her to the event. His retainers are in the housing over the stables. Onora winces as she tells Detash that she sold them on the skeletons in the stables as a form of taxidermy, not undead to keep them happy.
The Duchess then invades their meeting to drop off her festavial_schedule.pdfagenda The market is expanded with several set up shops from outside the village as well as inside, the Duchess has already set up a sales tax to pay off the County taxes.
Iona decides to insert a prayer to open, angry with this woman who has decided to plan her festival, however the Duchess is delighted with the suggestion. Corwyn spends the day scouring the area for any traps. Elsa gets to work on an ice sculpture with a general bird theme. Kavian helps to prepare the square for the festival. Detash, selected to give the historical remarks, works on his pending speech. Corwyn finds a warning note from the Night Swan!
The other three spend the rest of the day and evening headed south and reach the caravan from Senator Talbot carrying 3000gp worth of goods south of the border shortly after dawn. Talbot’s Majordomo, Pollus Remus Salinus, heads up the caravan. Together they ride back to Merrat County, only to be meet at the boarder by Syras Cockleburr Esq. and Lotheed soldiers. They are searching caravans to inventory and charging a percentage for protection from the bandits. Cassia demurs and convinces the petty crony that they do not need an escort. They group still takes inventory under the watchful eye of the party. Tremerus uses his presence to stop any general theft by the soldiers. Cassia stops Syras at swordpoint as he tries to steal valuable masterwork tools. The toadie blanches and puts the item back, sending them along their way.
As they pass north, Gurta Thresh, one of the Four Hoods, approaches the group and asks if they can set up legitimate tents at the festival to sell their wares. Mikhael questions her and decides it will be OK, with Gurta’s promise that no theft will occur. She agrees and says they will go get to get set up.
The good arrive, but Salinus says he cannot do more than stay the night, and he and his crew leave first thing in the morning. The escort crew get an early night to sleep and be ready for the festival the next day.
Elsa gives a small speech and Kavian unveils the new statue to a local hero of the 3rd Army of Exploration, Dugas of Stachys. Detash gives a rousing history of the village Stachys and the County and talk about the important place the soon to be town has had in the past. After the speeches, there is morning beer along with extra-large eggs from the hatcheries of Birdsong (which the Baroness actually managed to steal) and fresh baked local bread. The group begins to mingle with the crowds as the merchants open their shops and the festival is truly underway.
There are mostly local commoners present, but some minor nobles in addition to Lady Crabbe and the Baron are in attendance. Notably, Titus Lotheed-Casava, already in the area with his new duties to hunt the Four Hoods, is there with both Syras Cockleburr and Carodd Hellebore.
After making discrete eye contact with Carodd, Mikhael goes around the local stalls and helps to uptalk the wares to the passing nobles much to the delight of the vendors. Kavian spends time following him around to learn more about the craft of manipulation of people. Kavian pauses to get refreshment when he is approached by a young lady named Felsha who demands that since the Tribune and his friends liked to help people, why were they doing nothing about New Towne? Kavian gaped and did not have a chance to get much out before Sepsinia comes to his rescue, placing her arm in his and telling the young lady that this was not the time and to see the Sheriff to make an appointment for tomorrow. Felsha stomps off, and Sepsinia stays with Kavian as he walks about, aiding him in his conversations with other nobility.
Corwyn spends the morning finalizing his small party guests, including Archbanker Lady Paril, his true quarry. Detash asks to come along to that event. Tremerus focuses on Baron Okerra and others to discuss land and wildlife management that evening. Wanting to gather people to listen to an evening sermon, Iona approaches Lady Mona Sittas, a minor noble attending. A noble scion, Lady Sittas is the worse of the type, haughty and disdainful of the common peasants. Iona attempts to engage her but fails. She does invite the noble to her service later, and the woman weakly says she might. However, the pull of the Mantel of Aroden seems to have some effect. Iona then talks to Lucretzia Marthane, another idle noble like Titus, who seems more bored than anything. Not as haughty as Sittas, Lucretzia does at least feign some tired interest in the plight of the people, but doubts anyone or anything can really be done for them. She agrees to come to services if she is not too tired that evening.
Before the morning progress., Barron Okerra approaches Elsa and brings a bouquet of Desna’s Looking Glass to Elsa. He compliments her, and with uncharacteristic lack of confidence, ask permission to call on her in courtship. Adroit and able, Elsa agrees and the Barron bows and heads away, embarrassed by happy.
Cassia spends the morning joining in various singing and musical playing around the festival. She begins to introduce the tale of the defeat of monster that used to be Baron Telus, amazing the crowds at the accomplishments of the new nobles. As she dances, Titus approaches her intent on conquest, offering her a single rose. However, the lovely Cassia charms the noble fop with an outstanding roll, placing the rose at the end of her fiddle “So I can see it”, and Titus finds that he is the one at the end of an emotional string. The afternoon is centered on the Tournaments, all happening around the outskirts of the festival. Kavian enters Wrestling, while Tremerus enters Jousting. Cassia and Corwyn enter fencing. As he has already down twice before, Kavian easily bests all opponents and wins his competition. Tremerus manages to defeat Barron Okerra, the first time he has lost a jousting tourney is some time. The Baron is gracious in his loss, and congratulates the young man. In Fencing, Cassia and Corwyn win their first rounds, only to find they are randomly selected against each other in round 2!. Cassia managed to defeat Corwyn in the final moment and moves on to face Titus. While she opens well, Titus is able to catch up and defeat her to win the prize. However, he is unusually subdued in his victory, and offers the winning laurel to Cassia.
As day wears on, two brothers get into a fight over a calf they want to purchase. Iona and Kavain intervene and settle the dispute. This impresses the citizens seeing it.
In the evening, the nobles segregate into their various meetings. Mikhael escorts Carrod back to the mansion for a liaison. Corwyn is anxious to probe the Archbanker for any financial dealings that are sketchy for the Count. Detash also attends this party. While they meet, the Archbanker reports she has two missing acolytes, She dispatched Acolytes Mise and Maladus to investigate the silence in Jambis almost 2 weeks earlier and has heard nothing back, but she knows they took the southern highway to deliver several books to Stachys along the way. Asking about the acolytes in Stachys reveals only that they stopped overnight at Onora’s tavern, delivering their books and paying for two meals before traveling west toward the old bridge at Gold Canyon. Lady Paril promises to give Corywn information if they can be found.
Iona notes that Lady Sittas does attend her sermon, as do several commoners and nobles, and she preaches a good one.
Tremerus engaged the Baron and other nobles in ways to maintain and repair the wilderness areas, with an emphasis on keeping the Lake Lachien wild.
Meanwhile, while the two Tribunes mingle with the crowd (much to the delight of their townsfolk) Cassia leads the folk dancing, playing, singing, and joining in even the more ribald songs, to the delight of the people. It is a joyous fall evening, with the heat of the activity offsetting the cold. It is during this time that a burst of light and smoke appears on top of one of the buildings, and the Night Swan Appears!
She calls out the nobles and tells the people that this festival is a sham to keep them satisfied at being poor. Elsa and Kavian call back, challenging the vigilante, who can only respond with a gesture which causes the statue to explode. Cassia dodges the effect, but three citizens are caught in the blast. Cassia and Elsa rush to aid them with magic, while the Night Swan swirls her cloak and vanishes in a puff of smoke.
Elsa suggests the fireworks be canceled, but Kavian disagrees, saying in effect, that the show must go on. Cassia agrees. The fireworks is a great display. The party continues, and having left Carrod sleeping, Mikhael returns to the square to ask various questions of the vendors and commoners to get the real scoop. Iona decides to say up all night and watch the goings on.
Titus fishes for heading back with Cassia, who, with another amazing role, manages to leave him behind, but not upset. The Barron escorts Elsa back, as Kavian does the same with Sepsinia. The night passes, and the festival finally winds down.
|Persona Phase Actions|
|Kavian||Sets up his school for martial training and finds Sepsimia is a student Heroism +1|
|Elsa||Organizes a Rally “Day of Purpose” about helping the people in the countryside for Sacrifice +1|
|Corwyn||Increase Knowledge about the Night Swan using his Charm +1 Charm|
|Iona||Try to locate others to the Cause against Count Lotheed but fails Sagacity|
|Mikhael||Drafting a Declaration against the Night Swan Genius +1|
|Detash||Increase Knowledge about the Night Swan using his professional skills +1 Genius|
|Cassia||Secure Secrets using her disguise to plant information to support alibies for character vigilantes Subterfuge +1|
Detesh and Termerus both head into the County working to gather information, and Termerus to work on finding the General.
Corywn and Cassia head out to the Gold Canyon, which is a day’s journey away. Wanting to arrive in the morning, they camp a mile from the Canyon and arrive the next day shortly after sunrise. There is still a significant chill in the air as the fall weather continues to take hold of the land.
They approach the canyon and survey it. Gold Canyon not a natural canyon but rather the remains of a strip mine that followed a winding vein of gold and quartz for miles through rugged, rocky terrain some 4,000 years ago. For a few centuries after the veins played out, the canyon still served as a quarry, providing much of the granite used in local fortifications. All that remains today is a staircase-style ditch some 30 feet deep, 80 feet wide, and nearly 10 miles long. A stone bridge, left over from the quarry days, once crossed the canyon, providing the only easy travel between east and west portions of southern Meratt, but a small earthquake collapsed the long-neglected bridge decades ago, leaving only the watchtowers on either escarpment.
Locals can cross the canyon fairly easily on foot. Since steep stairs are carved into the rock next to the old bridge, all one has to do is descend; wade through the shallow, stagnant water in the canyon’s bottom; and climb the opposite side. The path is completely inaccessible to livestock and wagons, however, and this isolation has only contributed to nearby Stachys’s economic woes.
The Archbanker told Corwyn that because most of the gold mined here was used to mint Taldan coin, the site is a minor, unofficial pilgrimage destination for local worshipers of Abadar, who read their god’s approval in finding flakes or even nuggets of gold in the water.
They both see a dead body dressed in gold and silver robe lying facedown in the water and half-buried in the mud on the western shore. It seems clear that one of the acolytes is no longer alive. They tie up their horses and move cautiously down the carved stairs. Cassia notes some ripples in a deep part of the stagnant water. Both draw their weapons and ease forward. Corwyn leaps across the water, and it is then that a giant snake erupts from the water. The best that killed the acolyte is alive. Despite Cassia’s song of encouragement, the goldpebblesnake strikes first, attempting to tail slap Cassia and bite Corywn. It misses the lady, but strikes the lord, poisoning him with a slow acting venom, and then grabbing him it its coils. Cassia steps back to begin shooting with her bow. Corywn struggles to get free as the snake continues to bite at him. Cassia hurts it with arrows, and it moves to bite her, but she is able to shrug off the poison. However, now distracted by Cassia, Corwyn uses a freed arm to strike it in a vital place. The fight continues as the two hack at the snake. Bleeding, it drops Corwyn and tries to run, only to have Cassia pierce its heart, killing it.
Corwyn quaffs a potion and injects antitoxin while Cassia heals herself. Cassia explores the creatures underwater lair and discovers 58 gold pieces the serpent had collected. They hear faint yelling and find Festo Mise in the cave, shivering and oo weak from exposure and goldpebble snake venom to climb out of the canyon. Corwyn administers an antitoxin for him and they get him out of the cave and up to the horses. Corwyn and Cassia also wap the body of Dradi Maladus. She was carrying a +2 Rapier of Frost and a and scabbard that is a fine example of Taldanleatherwork set with a grinning wolf face worth 100 gp. Festo exhorts them to keep the items for saving him.
With the body on one horse and Festo on the other, Cassia and Corwyn are walking. After about three hours, Corwyn starts to feel ill and takes an antivenom. Unable to ride the 22 miles back, the two nobles know it will take a two full days to return so they stop after 13 miles to camp. During second watch, four galluvix, a puckish magical creature that resembles a cross between a fox and a flamboyant rooster. Cunning, stealthy, and a bit slothful, galluvixes see no reason to hunt wild game when they can simply infiltrate nearby chicken coops and eat their fill. These particular 4 are two mated pairs from the west near the farms of Stachys. They are curious about the nobles and the wounded and dead of the party and immediately start asking questions, sure of the their ability to get away if the humans pose a real threat.
As they talk, Corwyn wakes up to one staring him in the face, its head cocking back and forth like both a bird and canine. The four magical beasts are Foxclove (M) and Fernwing(F), and Swiftmello (M) and Meadowhopper (F). Cassia stands and plays music that echoes into the night to the delight of the galluvix. As the conversation goes on, the galluvix offer to bring two eggs of which will have the effect of lessor restoration for the two poisoned men in exchange for two weeks of getting chickens. Their love of gossip leads them to tell them that the Night Swan is looking to contact the four vigilantes who attack Sir Gul. Corwyn and Cassia quickly hit upon the idea to use them for information in exchange for food. They agree to meet at the outskirts of Boller’s farm in a few days time. Foxclove and Fernwing disappear and in an hour return with the eggs, one of which they use with Festo immediately.
The next evening, as twilight has settled, the trio arrive back in Stachys. They take Festo to their mannor and use the other egg for him. He is grateful and promises to help rebuild the temple (5000 gp worth of free labor).
The next day, a missive and a prisoner arrive form Count Lotheed. Portimer was caught by several guards poaching the count’s deer in the Abbeywood just north of the Stachys Spur, and after a severe beating has been returned to Stachys for trial. Local law demands execution for such a crime. Count Lotheed also commended the Tribunes on capture of the Telus bandits and instructs the party to conduct the trial on his behalf, partially frustrating Corwyn’s manipulations.
After meeting with Felsha, Kavian and Else decide to go to New Towne the next morning. This is of urgency to Iona as well, as she has taken an interest in the Telus Barony. Mikhael, wanting a break from drafting a Declaration and come excitement tags along as well. Corwyn and Cassia left to investigate the missing acolytes for the Archbanker. Felsha returned with the crew on a borrowed horse.
As this was another the long trip around to New Towne, just south of Jambis, they were noting they “have got to fix the bridge”, but that Corwyn and Cassia can get a good lay of the land on bridge repair. They made good time, reaching the Void Wood quickly. As they moved through a narrow path on the road, they were attacked by a psychepore as it flung its spores into Kavian and his horse. Kavian was able to shrug off the poison, but his horse was left confused with visions. Mikhael immediately summoned Lysanthir and Kavian vaulted from his disturbed horse to land next to the strange beast attacking it. Iona and Cassia moved forward to engage as well. Felsha wisely fled with her horse, knowing this was not something she could engage in. The monster lashed out at the only person standing next to it, Kavian, and dropped him to the ground. Cassia made it to him and dragged him back a step while healing him. Lysanthir now engaged and bite into the beast. Iona ran to them and let go a burst of healing energy. Kavian stepped to flank and slashed deeply into the monster. It again attacked, this time at the two enemies on it. Kavian and Lysanthir both staggered at the damage. Iona closed in and added her hammer to the fight. All three were hit by the creature’s final attack before Lysanthir critted and almost killed it, with Kavian finishing it off with a final slash.
The group gathered and Iona cast restorations and healing. They moved on their journey to arrive the next day in New Towne. There they met with s Baronet Caphridius Vort, formerly an assistant to Baron Telus and a man far more interested in acting and opera than frontier living. It is quite clear in meeting with him that he is miserable, but feels honor bound to work hard to lead his community, while quietly nursing a self-loathing for leading them to this miserable valley to begin with.
The group discusses with the that Jambis is now safe for return and offers 1000 gold worth of supplies to help them with the move. The citizens of New Towne are overjoyed and pledge their support to the new Tribunes.
When the Tribunes return, Corwyn and Cassia update them on the letter from the Count to conduct the trail themselves, and the arrival of the poacher to the now quite full back room of Onara’s bar. The group meets into the night, even though they are all tired. Corywn led the group through projects needing action, and the Tribunes decided on the spending upgrades. The group felt the trials could wait a couple of days, and decided to take the trek to Sotto immediately to investigate the wolf issue. The group leaves the next day, Corwyn having left Onara instructions, having become the Bentony Estates de facto Seneschal. The group rides out, sans Temerus, who instead headed out the day before to investigate the area the accused poacher was caught.
Taking two days, they camped on the road without incident arriving in Sotto mid-morning. The settlement is a couple dozen homes and barns built around a common well, with a dirt road winding south to Voinaris. Residents are stubbornly independent, paying their taxes but otherwise not having much to do with the rest of the county. From the outside, the hamlet of Sotto seems like a quaint little community on the woods’ edge, its residents surviving through a combination of farming, herding goats, and timber. The community has always fought against wolves from the Verduran Forest, and almost every family home features a few wolf trophies and every winter coat a wolf pelt.
Under this veneer, however, Sotto is a town under quiet siege. It was immediately apparent to the team that the goats were all super skittish, and the townsfolk were hiding something. Cassia was able to immediately put a young man at ease to find out what was going on. The stubborn villagers admit to their horrible plight.
Sotto’s tradition of wolf-hunting apparently offended Halmash, a worg who moved into the region last spring. Rather than feed on the arrogant villagers, it instead decided to teach them respect. The worg tore the heart from their greatest hunter and spent 3 days slowly devouring the woman’s flesh and bones by Sotto’s only well. Now, once a month, Halmash dispatches three of his wolves to retrieve one goat apiece as “payment” for the valuable lesson he taught them, and for every goat not offered up willingly, the wolves take a child instead. The next wolves are due tonight.
The situation was manageable at first, but Sotto’s herds are quickly being depleted. Regardless of this, locals refuse to ask for help—in part from stubbornness, but mostly out of fear that Halmash’s entire pack will retaliate. The elders all agree that if they are obedient, Halmash will simply move on once the goats are gone, though they aren’t sure how they’ll survive the winter without their herds.
Resolving to help the town, the team took advantage of the very strong winds from the east to mask their scents and ambush the wolves coming for the goat. They were able to easily engage the wolves, though both Iona and Corwyn took damage from the monsters. None of the wolves even had an opportunity to escape. Kavian was easily able to track the wolves back into the forest, through winding paths. As they approached one area, Cassia noted that the animals were quiet. Kavian noted increased prints, and both warned the party. When Kavian found the wolves, he was able to act! While his horse was spooked, Kavian was able to flip off from it and land, to attack a wolf. The fight was on. The fighting was fierce, with Lythsanthir tearing into wolves and worg alike. Kavian and Iona also engaged, while Mikahel and Cassia used crossbows. Elsa used her sonic blast to stun three, and was attacked and missed by the fourth. Detash engaged his undead steed, but was ambushed by four wolves. He used fear on one, but the other three pounced. As the Worg was rendered unconscious, most of the wolves fled, Corwyn moved to support Detash who has summoned his steed to act as a block. Within moments, all the wolves were dead or running. The party turned to the Worg.
Casting Zone of Truth Iona brought the Worg around and Kavian used intimidate to learn its secrets. The Worg, xxxxx, spoke of a undying mistress, Varnia, who was part of a “Circle” who had empowered the wolves and his bites. It was clear she was a lover as well as a leader. He could not say where she was, only that she would arrive when it suited her. The Worg died then, no longer willing to live. A search of the area reveled the treasure of the village’s great wolf hunter.
The team set up trays to drag the wolf bodies back to Sotto, where they were met with less sullen villagers. They gave the hunter’s things back to the village, who thanked them, and asked them to return in a month’s time. The group saddles up and returns home, again without incident. Detash notes that the only Varnia he knows that is at all noteworthy was a noblewoman from over 200 years ago. She died after being poisoned.
They arrive back at Bentony to deal with their trials, and to face Sir Gul, who has arrived to pay them a visit.
|Campaign Dates||Rova 30, 4719|
The group arrives in the morning, traveling through the village on their way to the estate. They note an old unused store house has changed significantly, with workers already busy on finishing chimneys. Windows have been cut into the sides. This was not expected and the group was puzzled. They made their way to Onora’s Tavern to get updated on events.
Onora was clearly relieved to see them. She opened that Sir Gul Gusairne has been here for two days wanting to question them and he has been in a room in the estate. His presence clearly has her agitated. She also almost begs the Tribunes to conduct the trial, as she needs her back room restored, instead of it being a jail. She notes Lucinia Mag has been a good warden, but her time of service is up at the start of next week. Finally, she notes to Kavian he needs to spend some days at his new fighting school and says that Sepsinia is staying at the manor at Onora’s insistence. When Cassia asked about the building, Onora says it is a surprise form Baron Okerra. He wanted there to be a good inn for people to stay at. He has named it Vike’s Rest, and the crew have even worked to give it a northern fell. It is three stories, with an outside kitchen. The bottom level is single rooms and office. The second level has four suites, more design for nobles, while the third floor is a penthouse designed for somebody like the Baron with several retainers.
The group leaves for the manner, saying they will meet Onora at the house that night for a proper meeting. When they arrive, it is clear someone came to tell Sir Gul they were in town, and he meets them outside with someone to stable their horses. Detash, of course, orders his undead steed to park itself.
Sil Gul grilled the party hard about why there were doing nothing against the bandit attacks. Kavian stumbled at first, increasing Gul’s suspicious, but Corwyn stepped in and was quite smoothed tongued in soothing the Count’s enforcer. Iona also raised his suspicions, but not enough for him to act against them. As Corwyn was escorting him out, Gurta Thresh, one of the four hoods, was approaching the manor. Corwyn adroitly engaged Sir Gul in a conversation about the unusual wolf bites, and how they might find out more. Sir Gul was distracted, and suggested Court Lotheed, or even the Duke himself might be consulted. Kavain did not want his trophy taken away so he demurred. Meanwhile, Mikhael slide out to intercept Gurta and sneak her in the back. She is there to ask for help against Sir Gul and his raids. Mikhael discuss with her and says they will talk to her more after the trial, opening the possibility of their charges working farms. The anti-authoritarian Gurta is not sure she and the other three “hoods” will want that, but it might free them of their charges.
During the Day Corwyn is given a notice from the Arch Banker, that needs Feston to open without erasing the contents. In it is a note of thanks and public records that Eutropia can use to show how that the Lotheeds have not been good stewards in a financial sense. None of this is proprietary, but it is gathered from known sources in a way that would only be easy for someone who had proprietary knowledge. She also included a Wand of Cure Moderate Wounds with a blessing form Abadar.
Tremerus reports that Portimer of Stachys appears to have hunted on the Count’s land. After investigating the area Portimer claims he was hunting in, The Hunter concluded there is no sign of Portimer hunting—nor even any signs of deer—south of the canal. Portimer clearly shot one of the count’s deer on the count’s land and indeed is guilty of poaching. Cassia and Mikhael both go into town to gather information on the accused, and Cassia finds that he is miller with no work and was trying to feed his wife and three children (12. 10, & 4). Using his established credit as supporter of the working man, Mikhael is able to gage the pulse of the village and returns with the news that a Portimer was justified and a conviction is going to go down very poorly with the subjects.
Cassia is approached by Felsha of Cassomir , who declares she will stand for the commoners, all four, as their representative. She is strident and notes that everyone, even the lowly deserve representation. Cassia assents and says she will tell the others.
That evening at a dinner meeting, Onara updates the group on the goings on in their absence. As they start their meeting, the Duchess Lotheed enters from upstairs to greet everyone and tell them she is excited for another festival. Detash escorts her back upstairs to a room, as the party wonders what to do about her. Corwyn notes to the group, while Onara is out of the room, that Sir Gul clearly knowns what the Duchess really is. The meeting continues:
The group engages in lively discussion about what they will be able to do about the issues facing the village. They spend a good deal of time on what to do with Portimer, knowing that they stand to upset either the Count or the Village. Kavian is adamant he is not going to have the man put to death, and Elsa agrees. They then wonder how to thread the needle. After much discussion, Iona notes that they plan to overthrow Lotheed and the group should “stand with the people”. Mikhael notes that the law is the law, and the man broke it. They decide to table any further discussion until after the trial.
After the meeting breaks, Kavian makes sure that Sepsimia is comfortable and well treated. Crowyn dresses as Lars and heads into town. Mikhael meets up with Carrod, and she explains that while Titus has his own room, she and Syrus are sharing, and it would be best if she found someplace else. She and Mikhael end up crashing a the Manor, he too tired for anything other than sleep.
Cassia heads to Onora’s tavern and sneaks up on Titus, throwing her arm over his shoulder. They flirt for a bit as Cassia pumps him for information. Titus is quick to be open that if the poacher is not executed, then the Count will be most unhappy. Cassia keeps him tied up most of the evening then heads home, thus saving several women the pleasure of his company. While they talk, Lars walks into the tavern, and performs various magic tricks and investigates the feel.
It is clear there are more out of town folks coming in, and the trial has increased that. The general feel is that the local thieves will be active the next couple of nights and Corwyn aims to be ready. He gets no specific names from his investigation but plans to watch things the next night.
|Game Dates||03/04/21, 03/10/21, 03/11/21|
|Campaign Dates||Lamashan 01, 4719|
|Persona Phase Actions|
|Tremerus||Engages in Community Service in Stachys around the flooded area to help clean up the damaged areas Sagacity +1|
|Kavian||Kavain hosts and Tournament for his students in completion +1 Heroism|
|Elsa||Attempts to provide for the community to increase sacrifice but is unable to raise it|
|Corwyn||Working to Generate a Rally of Support by the Locals around the Trial +1 Heroism|
|Iona||Iona's group looks for supporters and she interviews and increases Sagacity +1|
|Mikhael||Assist with Bridge Construction using Engineering and Genius, which helps but does not end up increasing Genius|
|Detash||Performs Research Operation on the Law and gets a 12|
|Cassia||Organizes land claims and starting with the people who are displaced as well as with Beggarwood +1 to Charm|
The trial opens with Onora’s tavern configured with chairs instead of tables. The two tribunes take front and center. Cassia assumes the role of presentation of the evidence, while Felsha of Cassomir presents for the defense. Tremerus is called to testify that there all evidence pointed to the hunting taking place above the canal. Portimer himself agreed he lied, and that he was poaching. The case presented by Felsha, mostly aimed at the audience, was that the man was trying to feed his family since he had no work as a miller and poor land to farm. Elsa, Iona, and Corwyn did most of the questioning, while Kavian sat silent. Once the information was in, Kavian rose, and the room fell silent. He adjourned the court for discussion. Mikahel, knowing his feelings were not those of the Tribunes, choose to monitor the crowd. He could not get a feel for the nobles but was able to report it was clear the people of the village wanted Portimer to live, and they expected the Tribunes to “do the right by him”.
The players engaged in a significant, mature, philosophical discussion about what should happen. Kavian led the way with a proposal for a fine, that he himself would pay, less one copper, the value of the deer. Portimer would then be free. Iona argued for some sort of greater punishment, and Corwyn noted the fall out from all the positions. Kavian’s view stood, as Elsa agreed with him. They called the court back into session, and Kavian gave the verdict to a silent room. As he cited the fine, he drops coins from his own pouch onto the table before him. He closes with a statement that poaching is not to be allowed and further infractions will not be tolerated. He then dismisses the court to a stunned audience. Then cheers erupted form the commoners in the back of the room, while Portimer broke down in tears as his family rushed up. Felsha looks quite smug with her verdict.
The Baron’s advocate, Quintus, tells Corwyn the Baron will not be happy. Corwyn and Elsa decide on immediate trips to the Barron and the Count to try to settle the situation. Meanwhile, the group decides something must be done about the Duchess and the potential thievery in the night.
Game Date: 03/10/21
Lamashan 01 Kavian, Corwyn and Cassia all assume their alternate guises of Benedictus, Lars, and The Black Pearl. Leaving the estate, they talk about next steps, and decide to enter Onara’s tavern separately. As the Black Pearl, Cassia goes in disguise, using her ring, and while in the pub is not masked or in her vigilante costume. Both Lars and Benedictus blend into the crowd as is.
Benedictus moves to sit at the bar, complaining loudly of being out of money and looking for easy gains. He has managed to sit next to Paval, one of the rather shift looking locals. Benedictus is more engaging and talkative than the normally taciturn Kavian, and is soon in conversation about the unfairness of life and the hording of riches with Paval.
Lars enters to run is normal gambit of magic tricks, much to the delight of people in the tavern. He impresses Sims of Stachys, a large, if somewhat limited man almost immediately. While he works the room, he notices a man moving about with purpose, talking to different men around the tavern and decides to get a closer listen. Meanwhile, the Black Perl, in disguise, has entered into Onara’s and pops down at a table with playing cards, and asks for a game. The stakes are rounds of drinks, and one of the men the stranger talked too also sits down for a couple of hands. The Pearl loses the first hand and buys a round but wins the next. The games go back and forth, until the man who sat down gets up to leave shortly after one of the others did.
Lars is trying to overhear the conversations, but fails. However, Benedictus has managed to win the confidence of Paval, who introduces him to Cantu of Cassomir, his contact and the mysterious man Lars has been watching. As Benedictus, Kavain shows he cannot bluff at all, and it is this very utter failure which leads Cantu to trust him. He is invited to the rendezvous outside, behind the stables. Cantu, Paval, and the other men have all left. The three heroes meet outside at the square to plot their next moves. Lars hides upon the stable roof to wait. Benedictus will go to the meeting, and the Black Pearl will linger in the stables. The trap is set.
Cantu meets with the four locals and Benedictus, giving a speech about the rights of the oppressed. Once he has heard enough, Lars drops down with his saps out, stunning Cantu. Benedictus shouts they are being attacked and to get him, brining the Pearl running. In short order, everyone is subdued. Lars takes Cantu into the woods to interrogate him, while Benedictus and the Black Pearl leave the other four tied and suspended where they can be found in the morning as an example.
Taking Cantu into the woods, Lars roughs him up and finds out the truth. Cantu of Cassomir is an agent of The Night Swan, sent to get locals turned against the nobles. Lars comes across as fearsome, and tells the hapless agent to run away and not look back. The man flees into the darken countryside.
The three meet back up head home, wondering how the others did with the Duchess.
Game Date: 03/11/21
Lamashan 01, 4719
Mikhael, Detash and Iona decide to confront the Duchess about her true nature. They discover she is planning a party, which they find suspicious. After some time discussing what she might be, what sort of threat she may pose, and what her motives may be, they decide to enter the party and not confront her directly there, but ask around.
When they get to the site of the party, what they find is she has converted an unused barn into a makeshift dance hall. Temporary wooden slats cover the dirt floor, while makeshift tables have been put into place. Old stalls are now private coves with a curtain. There is even a place for food and a bar. It is all quite rustic and appeals to the “slumming” vibe that sometimes takes the aristocracy. Elsa is already there, with Sepsimia at her side, deep in conversation with Dame Caesia.
Duchess Leto greets them warmly, and apologizes from running off from Detash last time, saying she was just tired and worn out. She has someone bring them drinks and they move to circulate.
|In Attendance Are:|
|Lucretzia Marthane||Was at Jubilee, Festival, and sat in on Trials|
|Titus Lotheed-Casava||Known jerk|
|Syras Cockleburr||Known Jerk’s Crony|
|Carodd Hellebore||Former crony, now lover of Mikhael|
|Sepsinia Crabbe||Local and Attended Trials|
|Felsha of Cassomir||Advocate for the defense|
|Dame Michelle Caius||Merratt Nobility, Attended the Trials, Wife of Michael|
|Lord Michael Caius||Husband of Michelle|
|Lady Belle Venturi||Local Noble Scion, Attended the Trials|
|Sir Selwen Carrisu||Local returned from Military, Attended Trials|
|Dame Caesia Sarimarca||Advocate for Baroness Voinum|
|Sir Quintus Okerra||Advocate for Baron Okerra|
|Lord Gias Aminon||3rd Son of Oppera Nobility, out for adventure and headed to Void Wood|
|Grandmother||Came with Felsha and attended Trials in back|
|Baronet Candiru Cordona||Visitor to the County from Oppera – Trading|
|Lord Semvera Bellus||Trader from Cassomir , Husband of Caesera|
|Lady Caesera Bellus||Wife of Semvera|
|Mr Portimer Of Stachys||Tried for Poaching|
Three go to mingle with the party members, asking questions about the Duchess. Iona starts with Lady Mona Sittas and works the room. She meets with several nobles, all of whom find they are pulled to the Cleric with her ancient mantel. After managing to interrupt Sir Selwen and Lady Belle’s intimate conversation, Iona retreats to the bar for a drink. Leaving, she engages an old woman sitting at a table. She has a brief visit with the old woman, who says she was here with Felsha. She is friendly and thankful for the help of Iona and her friends in saving Jambis. It is like talking to one’s grandmother. Iona feels at ease emotionally while rationally wondering about who she was. Detash goes to talk to the group around Elsa, who throws him a dirty look because of the undead raven on his shoulder. Detash engages people with an odd story of a stolen painting he is trying to rocover and offers a reward. Lord Gias Aminon, here for adventure and headed to the Void Wood, sounds enthusiastic. Dame Caesia leaves early, stating to Elsa that she has paperwork for the Baroness. Detash openly wonders at her paperwork as the comley blond leaves the party. Contiuning to work the room, he eventually ends up at the table with Semvera and Caesera, who just were freed of Felsha’s speeches. Mikahel moves boldly to the group around Titus. Carrod seems him coming and moves to stand next to Mikahel, her arm in his. As Titus drinks heavily and the summoner just sips, Mikahel probes the annoying brat about details for the Duchess. As Titus leaves, Mikahel takes Carrod and pays some attention to other conversation, including Felsha going on about how the rights of the oppressed commoners need to be respected, sounding almost Galtish in her speech. After hearing all she can take, Carrod asks to speak to him in private and they take a side room. Sitting a room that used to be a stall, Carrod confesses she knows the group is aiming against Count Lotheed and that she does not want to be in the way. She asks to stay with Mikahel, to which he agrees.
All three heroes come away with the same information, that the Duchess is a recluse and is often not seen. When she does come out, it is clear she misses her husband, Duke Panivar Lotheed IV. Several people seem happy for her, that she seems to have found something to engage her time while he is away. None of them seem to know her true nature, not even Lord Titus. Meanwhile, while Carrod and her lover are still in private, Titus attempts to woo Sepsimia. Elsa sternly blocks him with a none to subtle comment about freezing certain parts of Titus and he retreats to down another drink. He then moves Felsha. As Iona returns from Grandmother, she sees Titus grab Felsha as she turns form him. In a moment, the party is shocked to see Titus on the ground, having been tripped by Felsha. Titus splutters and makes threats, but Elsa’s voice cuts through the room saying that he laid hands on her and he is no longer welcome. Felsha announces she is leaving, and goes with Grandmother. Elsa tells Iona to help escort Titus home, and she and Syrus do so, with Titus being dazed enough to keep calling Iona “Carrod”.
The band restarts and the party resumes after this excitement. Detash talks with the Duchess about normal affairs, but Detash is able to probe her on her feelings for her husband. Amazingly, Detash is able to figure out the truth: The Duchess was created as a companion for the Duke. The reason she has latched on to Detash is that he showed her some kindness and she is created to be a companion.
After a while, Iona returns to the party as Mikhael and Carrod emerge from their lovers meeting. Mikhael scans the room just in time for the next bit of excitement. Form the old hay storage on the second floor comes the voice of the Night Swan.
”You are to be commended for your verdict in the trial of Portimer! Justice has been served!”
Elsa’s reply is most sarcastic, ”Oh, we are so pleased to know that you approve,”
”I understand your tone, but it is true nonetheless. But! For all nobles who are parasites and predators, beware! Your day of justice is coming!”
With that the Night Swan jumps out the window to the amazement of the stunned room. Sensing the need to gain the upper hand, Elsa quipped:
”Why does everyone around here always use the windows?”
That event is enough to break the party up, and people leave in groups for safety. Carrod and Sepsimia relax in a side room, while Elsa organizes the workers away from the other three and their hostess. In a dual of words with double meaning, finally resulting in Detash being clumsy and being slapped. Elsa’s laugh is heard from across the room. The Duchess presents terms, noting she knows what the characters are up too, and that she could tell her nephew the Count. Knowing that would result in their arrest, the group is willing to talk to her and discuss a deal. Detash knows that killing her will start a clock until she can re-form in 2-4 days. Further, he feels she is quite dangerous as it is. The four reach an agreement, that Iona feels they can trust, that the Duchess will not give away their secrets, if, in exchange, they help to fund this dance hall and they let her have some fun. She suggests the players explore the ruins of Ralthorn Manor, because she is sure there is treasure buried under the rubble.
Everyone returns to Betony. The three spellcasters, now joined by the fourth, Carrod stay up the night looking at every painting they can find. Detash moves on after a long look, but Carrod notices something is up with it. It is a painting of the county, with stylized homes for each manor. The ones for Ralthorn Manor and Telus estate are blurry, like they were rubbed off. The group assumes that this is how she can move about the County so easily. Tired, they all go to bed, promising themselves to sleep immediately after tomorrow’s trial.
Game Date: 03/04/21
Lamashan 02, 4719
The next day, the trial of the men of Jambis is up. Tullus, Sestius, Cossus, all of Jambis, and Master Frater Mosle. Again, Felsha makes an impassioned defense against that the men were caught in a horrible situation and that they worked to protect the citizens of Jambis against their former master. Cassia is quite strident in her anger, aghast that any life is considered less than another, until Felsha objects and Elsa intervenes. Again, Kavain calls the proceedings closed and they move into deliberation. While the party is sympathetic to the problem them men were in, they cannot overlook the actions of these men.
Elsa addresses the room this time, expressing their understanding of the men’s actions but that the feeding live humans to their master was something that could not stand. All four are thereby sentenced to be hanged until dead. The nobles and room seem mixed on the outcome, but there is no sense of displeasure, only understanding that it was a horrible situation with a horrible outcome.
Game Date: 03/10/21
Lamashan 02, 4719 Mikhael, Detash, and Iona all head back to Betony for rest, since they were up until nearly dawn this morning looking for odd paintings. Tremerus heads back to the Lake to try to catch the General.
The old lady from the trial approaches Corwyn and askes to speak to him. She says everyone calls her “Grandmother”. She was sorry to miss the group who came to New Towne, and wanted to thank the kind people who helped her. She says she approached Corwyn specifically, because she knows a thing or two about magical effects, and she feels like he could use her help. Corwyn is unsure of what to make of the offer, but tells her when they get past today that maybe they can meet. The woman is quite pleasant and notes that she came with Felsha from Jambis. Not sure how to take the meeting with the lady calling herself “Grandmother”, Corwyn decides to invite Felsha to a business dinner to ask her some more questions. Corwyn comes away with Felsha’s sincerity. She is an adventure from Cassomir who was attacked by winter wolves. Grandmother nursed her back to health. She is not a Galtish as she may have seemed in trail, noting that was in fact her job, and maybe she would be better suited for Andoran. Dinner goes well and they end late, around 10 in the evening and Corwin turns in.
Having defeated the thieves’ plot, Kavian decides to spend the evening after the second trial being a strong presence as Kavian among the people. He does this into the evening, retiring shortly after midnight.
Cassia continued to prowl the streets in the guise of the Black Pearl. It was getting into the morning, and she heard a cry of alarm. She snuck to the ally, to see the Night Swan standing over a clearly tripped Lord Titus. The Night Swan did not notice the Pearl, who charged and struck the vigilante unawares. The Night Swan managed to recovery and tripped the Pearl. Standing over her, she demanded why anyone, especially another masked bandit would help someone like Titus. The Pearl growls and responds that all people deserve protection. With a laugh, the Night Swan steps away and swirls in her cap, vanishing in a puff of smoke. As Titus stands and stumbles out a thanks, the Black Pearl haughtily retreats into the darkness.
|Campaign Dates||Lamashan 03, 4719|
Waking early, The Tribunes, Corwyn, and Mikhael meet with Dame Caesia, Baroness Vonium’s representative to discuss her findings. Iona joins Onara, Felsha, Sepsimia, and Lady Lucretzia for a game of , Marches a game of random maps based on cards with tokens for armies and dice for random effects. Sepsimia is surprisingly good at it. Cassia is fast asleep after her late night as is Detash who does not like mornings in the first place. Tremeus is up at the lake, sure he has tracked down “The General” catfish, and is leading a local expedition to catch it.
At the meeting, Dame Caesia mildly scolds the group for not yet meeting with the Baroness and invites them to come meet with her. There is some mild banter and promise of a visit once they have settled things in the village. Elsa alludes to the scolding they received from Sir Gul recently, and the need to make peace with the Count. During the meeting, Blod, in the guise of a cat, jumps up on the table to get Kavian’s attention. Kavian follows the cat out suddenly, while Mikhael makes a bow and excuse and follows.
Blod leads them to two men approaching the manor, one holding the other, who is clearly injured. Kavian rushes them inside while Mikhael retrieves Iona. As Iona tends to the wounds of the man, she can do nothing for his missing left eye. The men tell their story. There was an Attack was by invisible flying creatures to farm southwest of town, towards the small wood. This is the farm of Agrippa and his extended family. His wife, Maria, younger son, Sempronius and daughter, Ovida, and wife’s mother, Evita, hid in a basement. Outside Agrippa, his adult son (Sextius), and his father in law Manlius fought the enemy. They described them as evil fey and said their arrows put them to sleep. The three adult males, thus incapacitated, all woke up missing their left eyes. They ran with their family to the nearby farm of Plancus, who is the other man with them.
Farmer Plancus, and his wife, Pansa, live closer to town. Plancus noted that lights went out near them, and fears that the creatures have followed to his farm. He already plans to send Pansa and the four daughters, Procula, Pulchra, Helva and Labeo, to family on the other side of Stachys, but for the moment, they are sheltering the other two injured men and Agrippa’s family. Kavian is insensed and goes to give his regrets to Dame Caesia and goes to leave. He and Iona immediately had to the Plancus farm to give aid.
With this information, Dame Caesia notes she will stay to see how things turn out. Corwyn asks for her discretion, but Onara notes that it is most likely widely known through the grapevine. Felsha, Dame Caesia and Lady Lucretzia head into town with Onara, while Sepsimia heads to Kavian’s school.
Cassia staggers downstairs as the house erupts into commotion, looking unkept but quite fetching. Sipping her tea she proposes to Corwyn they go talk to the galluvix, whom they have an appointment with today, anyway. Mikhael joins them and they head off, a groggy Detash in tow to speak to the magical beasts. Corwyn makes sure to bring freshly slain chickens as payment. The creatures say that sounds like Lamp Blighters, foul creatures who are like dark pixies who steal eyes for fun. They are clearly unhappy. Corwyn and Mikhael head to the farm, while Detash and Cassia say they will join the rest at the farm after dinner and head back for more sleep.
By the time night falls, the farm has been evacuated. The group spreads out after Cassia plays and dances a song of encouragement. They wait for the attack. Cassia hears the faint buzz of wings, like large wasps to the south and shouts out ”They are down there!”. The party readies with spells of defense, and then the attack comes. Firing arrows which unmasks them, the three Lamp Blighters all miss their targets with their arrows. They are hovering in the air, making them hard for the party to engage. Their natural immunity to weapons makes the attacks of the party difficult. An arrow in the next round does strike Corwyn and the magical effect blinds him and sends him fleeing in a panic. A magic missile attack fails due to the creature using shield. Mikhael struggles with his crossbow.
At this point, the Notorious Night Swan leaps from the shadows, her winged boots allowing her to close. She knocks one of the Fey to the ground, blinding it with poison. Kavian charges but misses the creature prone creature with a 1. Targeting her spell, Elsa stuns the two in the air and they drop their weapons. The Nightswan moves to engage one in hand to hand, while the other suffers the focus of the rest of the party, including having Iona dispel its shield. Meanwhile, Kavian hacks at the creature in front of him, the newly acquired frost effect doing most of the damage. Twice the monster reaches for Kavian’s eye, but the brawler is made of stern stuff and avoided the attack. As Kavian drops his, the rest of the group kills the other one in the air. The Nightswan sends her foe dropping, and she lands on a roof. Kavian thanks her for her help and invites her to visit the Manor in safety. Cassia has some sarcastic remarks. The Night Swan bows and says she will consider the offer. As she retreats into the darkness, Iona says ”Good bye, Felsha”.
The group gathers the bodies up. Detash is clear he wants them burned. They retrieve the three +1 short bows. The creatures also have among them:
|+1 short bow||3||2,180 each|
|Various Coins||Varies||1,124 gp|
|tiger eye turquoise||1||9gp|
|Potion, 1st level Enlarge Person||1||50gp|
|Ring of Arcane Signets, for House Montrus (can be reset with Dispel Magic)||1||,1000gp|
|Bag of Holding II||1||5,000gp|
|Campaign Dates||Lamashan 4-5, 4719|
Everyone is up early to go on their assigned runs. Iona and Mikhael head to help with the construction on the Gold Canyon bridge. Tremerus is still working on his fishing expedition. Elsa and Corwyn are headed to talk with Baron Okerra, while Kavian, Cassia, and Detash are headed to speak with Count Lotheed. The goal is to help settled what the group knows will be their clear unhappiness with the actions of the party.
Grandmother is preparing to leave with Felsha. She approaches Corwyn and asks if he wants her help. He demurs for the moment, but says he will contact her. She tells him he is free to come to Jambis or to send a message and she will have Flesha bring her back to Stachys. Corwyn appreciates her flexibility.
Nicolaus Okerra is the baron of a stretch of villages in the eastern portion of the county of Meratt, and he is a local hero of the people. Popular as much for his good looks as for his fair policies, he has slain several terrible beasts and helped organize community improvement projects like irrigation, roadwork, and wells, often rolling up his sleeves and chipping in with the manual labor.
Nicolaus is a man of action; he cares little for fine words and prefers fine wines. He is still readjusting to civilian life, having retired from the Taldan Horse to assume control of his barony and raise his daughter, Selli, after Nirvenna died confronting a troll. Nicolaus still prefers riding, sparring, and physical labor to elaborate balls and fine dinners, but he is beginning to learn the quiet joys of good company and a well-placed joke—though his own sense of humor remains appropriately blunt for a man of the people. His dress is a simple tunic instead of the more common noble finery. Elsa and Corwyn arrive mid-day at the Baron’s manor. He is expecting them, of course, as both groups sent word they were coming for visits the day after the trial. They are greeted by the Baron and Sir Quintus who invite them to the mid-day meal. During lunch, the Baron grills the two over their seditious activities around the County, and their clear violation of the law in the trial. Elsa makes broad points, while Corwyn gets into fine detail. Most importantly, they reveal they are working for the Princess, who is the legal owner of Birdsong. At the end of lunch, Okerra says he will think on things and they would talk no more of it until morning. Elsa chooses to use his interest in her, and does “the chick thing” with a turn of her head and a piercing question as she leaves to clean up after lunch.
The Baron and Elsa spend the afternoon with him showing her around his estate. Corywn takes the fey shortbow they obtained from the Lamp Blighters yesterday and demonstrates it to Sir. Quintus. As the Baron and Elsa return from the grounds, they find Tremerus, Silver, and the Baron’s daughter, Selli, in the entrance hall.
Nicolaus’s greatest weakness and blind spot is his highspirited daughter, Selli. The child inherited her father’s zeal for adventure and grew up on tales of his heroism from Nicolaus himself as well as villagers and servants. She wants to be a great hero and warrior like her father, but at only 10 years old she still has a lot of learning to do before she can join the military.
After she is gone, the Baron confides in Elsa and Tremerus that before Nirvenna’s death, he assured his child she could join the military after coming of age, but having felt the pang of loss, he now regrets that promise and has been quietly trying to kindle an interest in academia in her heart before she dies on a battlefield far from home. He admits that few of her studies have taken root and Selli has become increasingly rebellious, often sneaking out of the estate into Pensaris or to explore the surrounding countryside. Her personal adventures occasionally end in disaster—most recently losing two fingers to a fox—but Selli has been telling anyone who will listen that the fox won the fingers off her in a crooked game of cards. Tremeus declines the offer to stay for dinner, and after Selli gives silver a big hug, they head out.
During this time, Corwyn and Sir Quintus have returned and he hears much of the conversation. Elsa promises to talk to Selli and suggests that perhaps a tutor would be of help. Corwyn supports this idea and the two offer to suggest one. The Baron is most delighted at this offer and hopes they can help.
Later, at dinner, it is clear Selli believes her story about the fox, even if her father does not, saying it is another, dramatic, larger-than-life tale his past seems to inspire in her. Elsa suggests a tutor to the delight of the girl, and she spends the evening grinning and chatting with the elegant woman with the exotic northern features.
The next morning, the Baron meets with the two, alone, and promises to support them “when the time comes.” They accept his support and invite him to come visit them soon. They head out, promising to help find a tutor for Selli. It is an easy ride back to return at mid-day at the estate.
Despite leaving earlier, as Birdsong is further away, Kavian, Cassia, and Detash arrive in late afternoon at Birdsong. Lady Marthane accompanies them, citing the dangers of the road. They are met by the Count and Sir Gul who are clearly none to pleased. The Count invites them into to grill them. Thanks to the open air setting, Titus and his remaining crony are lounging and can overhear. Lady Marthane decides to sit away from the leering Titus, but within earshot. The Count grills the group on all counts, including letting Portimer go and the song making him look bad that is filling the land. Kavian contemptuously slides the fine for the poaching across the table to the Count. As the Count declares that is not the penalty, Detash steps in and cites three different legal precedents in the past. Cassia appeals to the Count’s mercy, giving details about Portimer’s family. It is a tense situation, but between Cassia’s smooth speech, and Detash’s knowledge, the two settle the Count. As Kavian moves to interject, he finds both feet stomped by his companions, and he concentrates on looking stern. Dinner, with all the participants is a stilted affair. Any time the Count talks law, Detash is able to launch into a history of local events and rulings, which is more than anyone at the table can follow. Cassia is able to appear raptly attentive, even as she is laughing inside. Kavain assumes an air of disinterest, which is easy as it is how he is really feeling. At one point. Detash launches into the problems of his craft, in far more graphic detail than the dinner table supports, to the amusement of his companions. Lady Marthane swoons and heads to bed.
After dinner, Kavian calls it a night. Cassia and Detash wonder the house, casing the place. Cassia finds Caryatid Columns are in the central hallway, and there are two Living Topiaries outside, both sets of creatures acting as guards. She is able to also locate what is clearly some sort of vault near the kitchen. The house is well stocked with expensive items, including artifacts, paintings, and even a metamagic rod with the pool cues. Detash is able to locate the same sort of painting of Merret County as they found in Bentony in one of the entertainment rooms and makes note of it. He also notes that there number of guards seems less than before. Cassia stops a member of the staff and asks her subtle questions. As she is quite charming, the maid looks around and tells Cassia in a low voice that she thinks guards are leaving because of the actions of the Tribunes. Cassia rewards her with a few silver coins. The two retire to bed.
The next morning, all three report to each other having horrible nightmares, and they wake up not refreshed at all. Cassia notes this is the second time in three nights of staying at Birdsong this has happened, and she does not like staying in this house . Lady Marthane appears to have been unaffected and looks well rested and lovely as she heads into Lotheeder. The Count is not on hand to big them off, but delegates that task to Titus, who is still healing from his bruises. They mount up and head home. Harvest is coming. They arrive home in the evening, having moved slower due to being worn out. Shortly after, Iona and Mikhael return, also exhausted from their day’s labor. Tomorrow is Harvest.
|Campaign Dates||Lamashan 6-7, 4719|
|Cassia||Works to build information network +1 Subterfutge|
|Tremerus||Engages in Mentoring for the Baron's Daughter, Sagacity +1|
|Iona||Gives a Sermon with wide area invite to increase Sagacity +1|
|Corwyn||Built a fun contraption to entertain the people for Charm +1|
|Detash||Drafts new Legislation around Poaching Genuis +1|
|Mikhael||Assist with Bridge Construction using Engineering and +1 Genius|
|Elsa||Lecture on Spellcraft to increase Sagacity +1|
|Kavian||Donates 500 gold to set up a scholarship fund for his School +1 to Heroism|
The night of the 5th is filled with torrents of rain as a large cold front moves through the region. Those on the third floor or with outside bedrooms hear the rain pounding on Bentony estate. The group awakens to cooked breakfast and warm drinks on this cold, dark morning, as the new staff have settled in. It is clear harvest is not going to happen today. After breakfast the group gives orders to their various agents about activities for the week.
Tremerus is not with the group, as he is north with the Baron. Iona is called away because a local is having a difficult birth, and she charges into the rain to attend. The rest of the group discusses events in the county. Corwyn is concerned that something is going on in Birdsong, with several people having bad dreams when they were there. They decide to put that aside and focus on Ralthorn Manor. Since they are not going to harvest, the group saddles up in rain gear and trudges down the paths towards the Manor.
It is a dark day, and as they cross into the afternoon, the group is tired and wet. The path they are taking is muddy and sometimes hard to find. As the group heads down, they hear four voices calling to them, to come and rest and relax. Kavian, in front, turns to ask if anyone else heard that, only to see all his companions headed in four different directions, taking the advice of the mysterious voices. Acting quickly, Kavain races his horse towards Corwyn and tackles him from it. Corwyn contiunes his moves towards settling. Dragging the rouge along, Kavian throws a rock at Cassia, bringing her to her senses as four Leucrottas bound into view. As they attack, Kavian bounces Corwyn onto the ground, finally shaking him loose of the magical suggestion and moved to attack. The beasts attacked biting Kavian deeply. Corwyn ran and vanished, startling two of the monsters who ran in fright, but still leaving two others to savage them both.
Cassia stepped back to draw her sword and screamed in elvish for Mikhael to help. Hearing a woman yelling in elvish was like hearing from his mother, and he immediately came too and summoned his eidolon. Elsa and Detash continued their settling down as directed. Lysanthir, Cassia and Kavian engage the monster on Kavian, while Corwyn charged and faces the other. Both men are gravely hurt, forcing Corwyn to step back and drink a potion as the beast stalks him. With their beast dead, Kavian runs to Elsa and Mikhael runs to Detash. Detash seems unable to shake things off, but Elsa looks up at the bloody Kavian and promptly heals him. Cassia, Corwyn and Lysanthir finish of the other leucrota. The ones scared off do not return, though now the group knows at least two of the beasts are in the area.
The group heals up and continue on to the ruins of the manor. Scouting the outside, they find two areas blocked off from the inside used as shelters. Around to the north, they find another entrance that allows deeper penetration. There they find the remains of a fire pit using a hole in the ceiling as a makeshift chimney. Further in is blood on the floor, two bed rolls and packs, and a Rope of Climbing running up into the ceiling. Stunningly to the game master, the group ignores the rope and further explores the downstairs. The trigger a nest of dire rats who swarm the party but are easily defeated. They decide to save searching their filthy nest for later and decide to head downstairs to the basement.
On the stairs down, there is a skeleton sprawled. Detash is sure it has been here a long time. It does have some magical items, including studded leather armor, with faded painting of the symbol of High Strategos Pytharus personal guard. Detash takes a moment to animate the skeleton and command it. It stands, armored, with its magic daggers in hand. Further down the stairs they find spoiled food and ruined supplies over 20 years old. The wine cellar does have some barrels of spirits and wine, as well as some expensive bottles that Mikhael and Detash recognize. They open doors and enter into a hall. There is a chill in the air and suddenly a cry of “GET OUT!” rings through. Following his series of perfect Will saves, Kavian is unmoved and still joined by Mikhael. The others in the group however, run screaming in terror, Elsa limping behind the others.
Immediately, Mikhael beings to talk with the ghost, who shows herself as an old woman. Remembering his history, Mikhael assumes this is lady Berlan Ralthorn the matriarch of the family. He calls to her and asks what she wants, and she talks about keeping “Him” from getting “The Wheel”. After several attacks at Kavian, the two retreat to collect their friends, who have run outside. Once everyone is in and dry, Kavain ascends the rope of climbing and searches the crushed bedroom. Inside he finds the remains of Lady Ralthorn’s Journal, water damaged, but with some key entries. Amazingly, the Journal mentions Kavian’s father, still in the good graces of Pytharus at the time. It becomes clear that she wants to keep the Arminian Wheel out of the hands of Pytharus. Mikael recognizes this as a refence to the famous Admiral Arminus Pytharus and muses this might be a relic of Taldor. They regroup and Kavian marches along into the area with the ghost. He proclaims that he is Kavian Silanius, son of Protius Silanius, and he swore to keep the Wheel safe from the man who betrayed and murdered his father. She lets them pass but says she cannot help on the locks. It is a two-key system, and the keys are buried under stone. Corwyn studies the lock and gives Cassia a spare set of picks. Coaching her, the two unlock the doors together, avoiding the sonic trap, and are the first people in over two decades to enter into the Ralthron vaults. Mikhael warns the group to only let Kavian touch the Wheel. It is a full ship’s wheel. As he grabs it, he sees the future weather, that the rain will taper off the next day. As he takes the Wheel the ghost sighs and rests.
The group spends the night upstairs and heads home in the morning.
|Campaign Dates||Lamashan 8-10, 4719|
The group awakes to a glorious morning and after a hearty breakfast they go into the fields with the peasants. Cassia makes a fantastic pitch for the people to understand that the undead animals can help speed up the harvest and the people agree, though they keep a close eye on the elf mage, and ask the skeletons are used to haul materials more than things they will eat.
It is painfully clear to the common folk that the characters are not farmers. Kavian earns their respect with his knowledge of gardening from his time as a Monk. Cassia is also a hit with her group, as she learns their local songs and adds some bawdy verses, to the delight of the folk, even if it is clear the Noble Scion has no idea about farming. For three days, the group ends exhausted and satisfied. On day three, the majority of the harvest is done, and the grateful farmers tell the fatigued characters they have done enough.
The whole town relaxes in the town square in what amounts to a mini festival. Fresh food and animals have been provided from this year’s good harvest. Normally, this would be all that passed for a festival, but the whole town is excited, looking forward to the festival the Tribunes are paying for in two days. While the characters have been working on the farms, the Duchess has been planning what she says will be an even bigger celebration.
Late that afternoon, Giado Eta arrives with his wagon and guards. He is one of Count Lotheed’s licensed tax collectors, but the citizens of Stachys see Eta as little more than a privateer, buying a license in advance from Count Lotheed each year, then carrying off with whatever he likes from local farms. Giado rides the wagon along with one of his Superstitious Mercenaries, while two more of the shady looking men are in front and six bring up the rear. He dismounts the wagon and imperiously demands to see the Tribunes and Seneschal. A brief conversation reveals he wants to assess “The recent harvest and all the treasure recovered from the County of Merrat.”. The group muses about the law and Detash notes that assessments are not on a table but let up to the tax collector. He is invited to the Manor, and the tired group heads up the hill to their home, while the tax collector and his hired goons slowly bring the wagon up the hill.
While Giado is headed up, the group discusses a plan. Kavian, trying to be even-handed argues to hear what he wants and then decide. Kavian greets the guests and talks Giado to taking just one guard to meet with him to review the papers, and the rest are fed and entertained by Cassia in another room. Carrod and Sepsimia listen in from an adjacent room, while the rest of the group sits in with Giado. Both rooms have the Manor’s “cats” in corners, curious about these visitors who have caused so much pain for their former mistress. The Duchess, unwilling to face anyone linked to Count Lotheed retreats upstairs. Kavian has Onara bring the preliminary assessment of the harvest figures, and Giado pours over them for an hour. He then says they are in order and demands the rest of the books from Corwyn. Kavain steps in and tells Giado he wants to know what the taxes on the harvest will be, and Giado tells Kavian that he will make an assessment when he has access to all the information. There is a growing standoff with Kavian angrily refusing any further help and telling Giado he can leave. Giado launches to his feet and haughtily announces his right, and his hands glow with arcane energy. Kavian smiles inwardly while his face is a mask of anger. This is what he wanted, for the tax collectors to attack them. A bleary-eyed Mikhael is able to perceive that the glow is just prestidigitation, but the show is convincing to Iona who hits Giado with hold person. Giado is stuck fast, hands still energized. His guard cries for help and draws his sword, ready to advance. Corywn, in his most intimidating, tells everyone to “STOP” and the guard hesitates while his master is held. Kavian demands Iona release Giado, but she hesitates.
Meanwhile, the shout is heard across the house. The guards leap up, and Cassia tries to slow walk them to investigate, but they push past her. Mikhael slips out the door to the entrance hall to see the other guards headed their way. As tensions mount, Kavian repeats his order to Iona who frees Giado. His response is that the Tribunes will pay for this assault. Kavian tells him to leave, and they whole group is escorted out of the Manor. With a wagon they can cover 16 miles a day and Birdsong is 22 miles away. It will take them a day and a half to get back. Agents report they have moved up the road in the dying light 6 miles to camp for the evening. They will reach Birdsong by sundown tomorrow.
The group knows that this will show their outright rebellion against the Count. Their servants cannot help but overhear what is going on. They tell the Tribunes that they are heroes of the County and the people are with them, and that word of them driving off the hated Giado will be met with cheers and jeers. No one will stand against them overthrowing the Count, though there is no army to be had – no one wants to die if the group fails. The group muses on a way to quickly tell the other nobles they are about to launch an attack on Birdsong. Cassia, Mikhael, and Corwyn look at each other and think of the Duchess. They find her and ask her to help. She agrees on the condition that they secure her painting, as destroying that will kill her, and she is not sure she even has a soul. Kavian swears that they will secure it, and that night, while the group sleeps, she alerts the noble families. Before bed, Cassia puts her Noble Scion to use, and writes the proclamation on what they are doing and why. Specifically, that Grand Princess Eutropia Stavian is taking her rightful place in the County of Merrat. Carrod promises to take Sepsimia home, and the Duchess agrees to go with them. ”I am good with my sword, and I can be back here immediately after she is safely in her mother’s care.”
For the morning, Corwyn plans to pay for the proclamation to be copied and distributed. Riders will be sent to carry the message to key people within the county.
|Campaign Dates||Lamashan 11, 4719|
The crew awakes after a full night, while the sun is not yet over the horizon. They find the Duchess has also communicated to the people of the town, and there is a contingent of men with various farm tools and minor weapons assembling outside. Leading them is Portimer of Stachys. He offers to defend the Manor. The Duchess and Carrod leave with Sepsimia. The group mounts up and soon overtakes the tax collector they repudiated and charge around him. He remains defiant as they ride by. It is a fast ride to Birdsong, and the group dismounts in the drive to the place. 6 guards stand outside and the two chained living topiaries. Kavian demands to see the Count, and is told to wait outside while a guard goes to get instructions. Unwilling to wait, Kavian strides forcefully towards the guards who sense his intentions to breach the palace. One shouts a command word and the chains holding the topiaries back drop and the fight is on.
It is a short and brutal fight, with Detash’s opening fireball seriously hurting the living plants and soldiers. As the group moves in, the soldiers fall quickly as they are clearly reluctant to enter into Birdsong itself. Even Detash’s skeleton horse engages in the action. Using her stabilizeorison, Iona is able to make sure none of the guards die.
Once the way was clear, the party charges the front doors to confront the four magic caryatid columns which came to life to attack them. This was clearly why the soldiers would not enter. Faced with this foe, the party is hard pressed. Immune to magical attacks and dangerous to weapons which hit them, the group was unsure how to win. Mikhael comes to the rescue with a magical pit opened below three of them. Kavian grabbed the fourth and tossed it down the hole. The constructs temporarily delt with, the group moves towards the sleeping areas they knew, intent on going to the royal tower.
Here they run into into Titus and his remaining crony as well as several guards. The party was not much interested in any byplay, and immediately engaged in combat. Cassia takes the opportunity to go out back, avoiding the living topiaries there and coming around to enter the back towards the area with the painting.
As the fight progresses, the group is able to knock out Titus and most of the surrounding soldiers, just in time for Count Lotheed himself to show up at the far end of the hall. He opens with a fireball devastating the party and most likely killing he distant family member and soldiers, all of whom are down. In front of the Count are several soldiers who march forward to engage the party.
Meanwhile, Cassia stumbles into a trap and is struck by a bolt of lightning from cherubs in the ceiling. Taking more caution, she checks for traps on the door to the study and on the painting itself. Finding a poison trap, she disables it and secures the painting. While she has heard the roar of fireballs and fighting, Cassia assumes her friends can manage the fight and grabs the painting.
Back in the long hallway, Elsa unleashes a sonic attack. Detash launches his other prepared fireball in kind against the troops, and then readies to counterspell. Corwyn moves to engage, while Kavian and the skeleton warrior fight a remaining soldier. Mikhael calls Lysanthir to his side, seeing Kavian has matters well in hand, and sends the winged beast over the heads of the soldiers to fight the Count, who has thrown up Mirror Image. Mikhael deftly uses his detect thoughts to telepathically guide his Eildon to the right target, but both struggle to hit the other. Meanwhile, Elsa summons an archon, and Iona heals everyone. Now, the whole party in the fight is at full health. Kavian is about to kill the soldier next to him and the party is on the verge of cutting through the remaining soldiers to get to their prey.
Count Lotheed engages in a two handed attack, hurting Lysanthir and one casting a spell. Lysanthir is unable to disrupt the casting. The count yells, “Get our of my home!” and gestures down the hall. Detash yells “fireball” and ducks behind a wall. Flames explode in the hallway, instantly burning up fuel. Iona falls burned and dying. Mikhael, Elsa and Kavian manage to avoid the full impact, but Elsa’s archon is purged from this plane in a ball of fire. Corwyn would drop, but uses a hero point to reroll and avoids damage. Only the skeleton and Lysanthir are not affected.
Now the soldiers move Corwyn gets a stab at one, but he cannot stop them all. Lotheed calls for their surrender and gives the soldiers orders to kill the cleric if the group does no surrender. The party says nothing. Elsa goes to ask Kavian, but the wait is too long. The soldiers both stab Iona, bringing her to the verge of death. The other two pull their crossbows and fire at Elsa, one dropping her.
Corwyn leaps over Lotheed to block his way and demands his surrender. Lotheed, strikes back with full force, casting a vampiric touch. Corwyn is unable to strike the Count as he casts, and instead hits the last mirror image. Blood flows from Corywn’s wounds and life is sucked from him to Lotheed.
Kavian moves up to engage render aid to Elsa and Iona, heroically ignoring the danger of the soilders. Detash used Animate Dead to raise a skeleton and take command of it with his dark energies. The other skeleton kills the far solider and then will move with its new brother forward. Mikhael retreats after being attacked by the soldier, and the skeletons move in. Using his safe space, he forms another pit and separating Lotheed from the party and dropping one solider 30 feet. Detash uses his magic missiles to strike at the enemy. Meanwhile, Cassia has is trying to find a place to safely secure the painting, unaware of her comrades dire hour. She opens a door to what she thinks might be a bedroom and finds it is a nursery. A creature composed of a rat skull and rages leaps upon her calling her mommy and asking for her love. Cassia tries to play it a lullaby to fascinate it, but the undead thing is immune. It leaps upon her asking for her love, even as it tries to suck her very voice out of her. Cassia avoids significant damage and flees through the door, slamming it behind her. She goes to find another place to hide the painting.
Corwyn, Lysanthir and Lotheed continue their deadly dance. Corwyn and Lysanthir are able to heavily hurt the magus, but his rage turns on Corwyn, and using his wand ability, he strikes Corwyn for a near critical hit, and coupled with the shocking grasp Corwyn goes down, bloodied and burned. In a moment, Count Lotheed steps over the body and then vanishes using invisiblity. Lysanthir hears him headed up the stairs.
Cassia exits the building and returns the way she came. She is excited to have secured the painting and moves down the hallway, only to see Corwyn dying on the ground. Cassia rushes to him and plays a healing song, rousing him.
As the soldiers engaged with the party fall, the skeleton takes the wand from Iona’s no longer breathing body, and Detash and Mikhael attempt to use the wand to heal. The start with Iona who needs its most, hoping to restore. Kavian charges after the Count, leaping over the pit and Lysanthir follows on his heels.
Elsa rises and bends over Iona, her hands glowing with icy blue healing energy. Iona suddenly gasps as she inhales. She looks around at the worried faces of her companions. Moments before, Iona was face to face with Iomedae. The goddess told her faithful servant that her time was not done, and she was going back to her friends.
Upstairs, Kavian recognizes two clockwork automatons used for training. One is blocking these stairs, and Sir Gul is readied with a Crossbow. Lotheed is nowhere to be seen. Knowing he cannot take the construct, Kavian descends, leaving Lysanthir to cover the stairs. The enemies remain in their fortified spot, though Sir Gul takes some shots at the eidolon. Kavian joins the rest of the group as they huddle around Iona. The cleric grimly heals the party. The one solider not in the pit flees to a bedroom and they dispatch the other.
Corwyn and Kavian lead the way upstairs, while Cassia looks to find a bedroom to stash the painting safely. Only limited people can even see their foes. Detash sends forth his spectral hand and tells his skeletons to be ready. Corwyn engages the clockwork creature while also taking fire from Sir Gul and Lotheed. Corwyn and Kavian both use acrobatics to break past the constructs and attack them. The winged Lysanthir has no such issues and is able to fly out and engage. In moments, what was a horrible bottleneck is open as the first of the clockworks falls under physical and magical attacks. The skeleton races in and the fight moves forward. The inquisitor Sir Gul falls into the arcane spell of Mikhael again uses his pit spell. While Lotheed manages to avoid falling by leaping back, he is still clearly in danger. Human guards at the other stairs watch in horror as he fires of a fireball that hits the party and one of their own. The skeleton is destroyed, but everyone else survives. Cassia and Elsa move up. Lotheed is on the other side of the pit and planning to use invisibility. However, Cassia strikes him with hideous laughter. Fatigued by the fighting, the magus succumbs to the spell (with a natural 1) and cannot act. He is in horror as Corwyn and Kavian leap over the pit to flank him. Corwyn calls for the soldiers to surrender, and two flee while one moves to engage Kavian. Elsa also leaps over using her new boots to prepare to heal Corwyn, but Corwyn knocks the Count out. Seeing this the remaining soldiers run. Kavian deftly leaps down into the pit and dispatches Sir Gul but does not quite kill him. The leaders are quickly shackled and Lotheed is gagged as well.
Mikhael grabs a guard and demands information about the palace. Beyond the command words for the constructs, they guards do not know what is in the royal tower. The group assumes that must be where the circle is and maybe the charter is in the vault. They are on a clock, with maybe a week until word reaches the Duke and he returns.
|Campaign Dates||Lamashan 12, 4719|
After the fall of Lotheed, Detash races outside to recontrol the undead skeleton before it causes problems. With the defeat of their master, and the party healing them, the Lotheed soldiers are willing to take direction from the agents of Princes Eutropia. They take their captives to the guest cottages and place them under guard of the skeletons and soldiers. The heroes decide to rest outside the Palace, due to the past nightmares. Everyone is healed and rests.
The next morning, the final search of Birdsong Palace begins. They group goes immediately to secure the royal tower. Corwyn uses the ioun stone to be hidden to undead, with the hope to sneak up on the attic whisperer, but it is hiding. Iona calls to check under the bed, and Corwyn does and is attacked. The creature barely hurts the rogue, but it steal his voice for an hour. Sensing something is wrong, Kavian charges in followed by Iona. They easily deal with the poor creature, releasing its tortured spirit.
Upstairs, a quick search revels an arcane laboratory that has been used for foul experiments. As they search it, Ehlers, Duke Panivar’s most trusted servant, a despicable sahkil ichkolh materializes and attacks. This is the monster who has tormented the nightmares of people staying. Its knowledge means that Cassia, Detash, and Kavian struggle against it mind effects worse than the rest. The evil outsider begins a horrible dance with the party, striking Kavian blind with its power. Corwyn is quick to corner it, but it is still dangerous. It shakes off even Elsa’s mystic bolt tuned against evil outsiders. Before it can unleash a worse attack, Cassia strikes it with a spell and renders it ill. Unable to attack or cast any spell, Corwyn and the blind Kavian finish it off.
Searching the room, the group easily finds the secret door to the summoning circle. Detash uses the wand of lightning recovered from the trap Cassia sprung to scorch the silver circle. Other treasures are in the lab that the group takes and moves forward. Turning to the rest of the palace, the group goes to Lotheed’s study. There Elsa notes the Martella Lotheed was crudely painted over in the family portrait and starts to remove the paint. It is at this moment they have their only other encounter, Mercater Lotheed’s ghost. Mercater Lotheed, father of Bartelby and Martella, was the former Count Lotheed and steward of Meratt. While arrogant and greedy, he was also a dutiful aristocrat of Taldor and competent administrator who resented his family’s long history of abusing the county and their power. His many years spent correcting longstanding issues with county infrastructure. His wail causes everyone in the room but Kavian and Iona to flee. Kavain tries to talk to the ghost, but it only wails and hovers. Iona notes it looks like he is trying to turn a combination. Kavain stumbles to the corner where he floats and uncovers a safe by feel. The ghost goes silent and watches. Corwyn, having recovered from his fright, returns to open the safe and they find the a variety of birth certificates, death certificates, newspapers, royal announcements, and travel documents dating back 300 years. Mikhael checks the the birth certificates for men named Panivar Lotheed II–VI and ascertains they are forgeries, while the other papers all feature announcements and sketches related to six men bearing the same name and very similar description. It is clear to the party that Panivar Lotheed never died but has assumed the status of his descendants. With that realization, the ghost sighs and fades. The office also contains three perches for figurines of wonderous power two garnet gotwits and a gold eagle. One of the gotwits is missing, meaning the group did not have a week at all, but only a day to get the teleportation circle destroyed.
The county archive is guarded by a chair golem that the group can deactivate thanks to their capture of Lotheed. The shelves and files of the archive room contain a record of every major birth, death, contract, and financial transaction dating back centuries, with spillover shipped to Cassomir’s provincial library for long-term storage. Most importantly, the archives that are found in this room contain a copy of the original charter granting stewardship of the county of Meratt to the Lotheed family, which the group can provide to allow Princess Eutropia to reclaim the land without civil unrest.
Finally able to rest, Kavian sends runners to tell the County what happened and summon the local nobility to Birdsong. Detash sends his undead Raven to take the news to the Princess.
|Campaign Dates||Lamashan 13-20, 4719|
|Cassia||Information Network with local Guards +1 Subterfuge|
|Tremerus||Teaches Baron's Daughter arts of stealth and shadow, using his team. Subterfuge +1|
|Iona||Locate Loyalists on way back to increase Sagacity +1|
|Corwyn||Engages in a Daring Traversal to announce the coming of the Princess Hero +1|
|Detash||Experimention on Zombies with voice and not Magic Genuis +1|
|Mikhael||Tinkering with his equipment Genius +1|
|Elsa||Help the people through the Tranisiton Sacrafice +1|
|Kavian||Contest for person to be his Right Hand Heroism +1|
On the 13th, the day after the securing of Birdsong, Corwyn awakes to discover he has grown a full prehinsle tail. It appears this time, instead of a fur ring around his waist, he now has a furred tail. While it is out, he has better balance, but while it is constrained, even a magical belt of dexterity will not help him. He keeps this to himself.
Corwyn, Iona and Kavian proceed back to Bentony. Iona is anxious to get the Harvest festival planned for the weekend, and Kavian wants to set up a competition to decide who is his right hand in Merret, knowing he will be leaving. Along the way Iona has her agents work on identification of the Loyalist faction Lotheedar. Corwyn makes a daring traversal to announce the coming of the Princess. That afternoon, the brothers Tabo and Tumnus Brothers show up with proposal to ally with Galluvixes. Corwyn talks to these allies and arranges for them to guard the various farms in exchange for payment in chickens. That same afternoon, the package arrives from the people of Sotto. It is a Worg Cloak, allowing the wearer to turn into a dire wolf once a day. Kavain is enthusiastic, and immediately revels in his new look. Felsha also shows up, saying she has gifts from the people of Jambis. It seems that they are now harvesting silk from the giant spiders. They have presented the heroes with Spider Silk Underclothes that will help protect them from poison.
At Birdsong, the missing Gotwit returns with begin letter from Lotheed-Casava asking about his son’s welfare. Detash suspects the spell secret page has been used but does not have the means to uncover the real message. Messengers from nobles start to arrive, with people saying they will arrive at the Palace on the 15th.
Over the night of the 13th, Iona and Kavian both have disturbing dreams. For Kavian, Sepsimia seductively came to him, in diaphanous clothing, talking to him about a chance for immortality. Somehow, Kavian knows that things are not right and resists the dream, awakening aroused but feeling intact. Iona dreams of being led out by a black fox outside. She is asked questions about what the group has been doing and why. She has the impression she was following the fox on all fours. Iona awakes in the garden, just before first light, her night clothes shredded.
At breakfast with Corwyn, both relate their dreams. Corwyn takes the gotwit and sends an immediate message to Cassia (not Elsa, interestingly) that Iona might have been compromised and their actions might be known to someone. Corwyn tries to sense magic, but of course, Iona shows her normal magical effects.
Later in the day, Grandmother arrives and Corwyn talks to her privately. Grandmother scolds Corwyn, even striking him with her cane, which Corwyn accepts. She tells him this curse is now beyond her and even beyond a remove curse as it is part of him. Cutting the tail off might cause it just to grow back, or worse, cripple Corwyn. She suggests a miracle from a priest or a wizard bending reality. Corwyn thanks her and rejoins his friends.
Kavian tells Corwyn he has been having and old would itch, but cannot remember when get got it. Corwyn drags Kavian to Grandmother with Iona tagging along. The wise old woman identifies it as a wolf bite, and says it must have been enhanced with magic, because the wound is still scarred despite healing magic being used on it. Corwyn pulls out a silver mace and touches it to Kavian to no effect. Corwyn does note the moon was full last night. After both people relate their dreams, Grandmother offers a cream to stop the itching, and with access to the kitchen, brew up sleeping draughts. She crafts enough for two weeks for both people, though only Iona uses hers.
Later in the week, Corwyn meets with the Four Hoods of Beggarwood and they agree to let the Tribunes present their cases to the Princess. Two deserted the army and one was implicated in support for a murderer. While just resettling is an option, they will abide by what the decision is. The remainder of Beggarwood residents are resettled in the reclaimed areas of Stachys that are not already surveyed for existing families in Cassia’s survey.
On the 14th, Detash’s raven returns with news that the Princess will arrive on the 20th. This news is sent to Bentony so the harvest festival can be moved up a day. Elsa and Cassia make preparations for the other nobility to arrive. Detash continues his fevered transcription of spells into his newly purchased spell books. Mikhael is working with his agents and his tool to increase their abilities. The 15th comes and so does the nobility. The first to arrive is the closest, Barron Okerra. Before he has cleared the steps he asks Elsa to see their legal documentation. Elsa attempts to put him off, but fails. Cassia is able to sweet talk him into the building. Mikhael, who is overseeing the deployment of the day’s wine for the arrival, pulls them both aside. He tells the women that sitting on the documents is not a good idea. If they are worried about them being stolen, he offers an Archon Hound to guard them. The summoner is persuasive, and they agree and set up a display. Elsa goes to the Barron to apologize and they create a viewing area in the library, the humanoid outsider with a greatsword standing by. Mikhael, goes back to supervising the wine and champagne.
The harvest festival goes off without a hitch with a massive celebration. It is clear the next day will be written off as well. Kavian holds his contest for a number two. There are several entries from the school he established, including a brilliant masked dualist who wins the day. To everyone’s shock, she revels herself to be Sepsimia. The grinning noble bowed before Kavain then popped up for a fast kiss, which the stunned Kavain had the presence of mind to extend. The people of Stachys laughed and cheered. After the festival, the three in Bentony depart for Birdsong and they prepare for the arrival of the Princess with a receiving line of the nobility.
Princes Eutropia arrives with Martella Lottheed and her entourage. After a day of meetings and getting settled in, Eutropia invites the heroes into her new sitting room for presentations. She thanks them for their service, in what is most likely the most important step towards her gaining her rightful place at as Grand Princess. She notes that the Tribunes may keep birdsong, and she give each of them 100 platinum pieces. She then has Martella help her with gifts for the group.
She first presents Elsa with a weapon from her native home. A +1 Long Spear of Spell Storing from Ulfen, complete with several runes, fashioned with a narwhal horn. Elsa tearfully accepts this gift, clutching it to her as a treasure.
She turns to Iona, and Martella unwraps and presents her with a +1 Impervious, Deific CallingLongsword with Iomede symbol in hilt. This magic sword will come at the name Iomede being spoken into Iona’s hands.
For Mikhael and Tremerus, she notes they took collars from the archive, and these were actually used in the Third Expedition. Martella produces two emerald plates that can be attached to those collars making them +1 Collars of Defending Mighty Fangs
To Kavian, she notes that she understands his quest to clear his family name, and offers him a Signet Ring of Protection +1 for his true family name.
Next the Princess grins and pulls a small pouch out from her pockets. She tosses it to Corwyn, saying she understands he is a secretive type. It is a small coin pouch, that is in fact a type I Folding Pouch of Concealment
Noting Detash’s haggard look from his study, she has Martella give him a Sustaining Scholar’s Ring to help him stay awake and study.
Finally, she notes that Cassia is quite the performer, and understands she was noted at her school. She has Martella present Cassia with a +1 Fiddle. Cassia, amazed, recognizes it from the study of one of her teachers and takes it with delight.
Before they leave, Corwyn makes a case for the Four Hoods and fails. Cassia adroitly steps in, however, and easily wins pardons for the four.
The group leaves and heads for Bentony, to rest and enjoy some time off before the next mission!
|Campaign Dates||Lamashan 21 – Neth 31 4719|
|Game Dates||06/03/21, 0610/21|
|Cassia||Works to undermine Nightswan +1 Subterfuge||Studies the signs and figures the group is headed next to Yanmass||Organize a Party of Abjurant Day Charm +1 Princess Attended||Meet with the Princess to help her draft rules for Merrat County to better protections for the commoners +1 Charm|
|Corwyn||Selling Items for 75% market Value||Commission a belt||Organized Protest Against Pytharius but it is rebuffed||As Lars Organized Protest Againt Pytharius +1 Heroism|
|Detash||Lecture Supporting Eutropia Genius +1||Lecture Noblity Fear of Gout and ways to manage it, but it does not go over as well as he would suspect||Investigation into Duke Lotheed VI Subterfuge +1||Lecture Raising the Dead to use as Guards Genius which results in his lecture being booed|
|Elsa||Performs community acts with the Baron's people Sacrifice +1||Organize A Rally Against Slavery Sacrifice +1||Oppera Operation to try to find out where her family was sold||Works to locate Anti slavery sympathizers, but is unable to build a coalition.|
|Iona||Half of unit in Oppera to Follow Felsha to see if she is Nightswan||Selling Items||Drive Legislation to help Eutropia to get access to more money Sagacity +1||Used Agents to Purchase Items|
|Kavian||Organized Protest Againt Pytharius Heroism +1||Organized Protest Againt Pytharius Heroism +1||Publicly Posts his thoughts on Noble-Commoner Relations +1 Sagacity||Lectures on his thoughts on Noble-Commoner Relations +1 Sagacity|
|Mikhael||Looks to build his information Network Genius +1||Tinkering with his equipment Genius +1||Lecture on Magic at Birdsong Palace Genus +1||Looks to build his information Network but fails|
|Tremerus||Attempts to Undermine Night Swan in Pensaris but Fails||Successfully Undermines Night Swan in Penseris Subterfuge +1||Attempts to Undermine Night Swan in Voinum but Fails||Successfully Undermines Night Swan in Voinum Subterfuge +1|
Martella Lotheed tells the group not to expect to be needed before the 16th of Neth (November) almost a full four weeks away. As some of the group leave for Bentony on the 21st of Lamashan (October), Corwyn announces his plans to return to Oppera. Iona and Detash plan to go with him. The three ride with Kavian and Tremerus back to Stachys, while Mikhael stays to give a full report to their spymaster. Elsa and Cassia opt to stay at the Capitol of Merret County and plan to ride out with Mikhael in a couple of days. The next day, Mikhael works with Carrod with securing his information network, while Cassia recruits Birdsong soldiers to spread a message against the Nightswan, making two of them into her local agents. Elsa prepares supplies to work with the people of Baron Okerra. The three then head out in the morning of the following day, the summoner heading back to Stachys, while the ladies travel to Pensaris.
The hunter returuns to his tutoring duties with the Baron’s daughter before Mikhael even gets back to Bentony. Tremerus also spends time deploying his agents over the next four weeks to stir up the populations of Pensaris and Voinum against the Night Swan.
Upon return to Bentony, Cassia organizes against the Night Swan, which if timely as the Night Swan leaves a message for outside of Birdsong on Saturday the 25th: ”THERE IS A NEW MISTRESS IN THE HOUSE? WILL SHE BE ANY BETTER THAN THE LAST? THE PEOPLE ARE WATCHING!”
Cassia also sends operatives to Oppera to check on rumors, and after a week’s work, they advise Cassia that their next most likely deployment is Yanmass.
The centerpiece of her work is a party to celebrate Abjurant Day (any excuse for a party), with its focus on shoring up mutual defenses and magic. The Princess attends and it is a smashing success. However, unknown to the party at the time, the Night Swan approaches Kavian and Sepsimia who are outside for a walk in the gardens at night.
After the party, Cassia meets with the Princess to help her draft rules for Merrat County to better protections for the commoners.
Elsa works with the community in Pensaris, acting the part of a noble neighbor. Over the course of the couple of days she is there, she lets the Baron down gently, that he is not what she is looking for, and she is not yet ready to settle into one place. This breaks off their courtship, but they remain friends. She spends the period of time organizing a rally against slavery, and dispatches agents to try to find out in Oppera where her family was sold.
Kavian works to hone his organization around his own heroic persona and along with Sepsimia, organizes back to back protests against Pytharius in Stachys and Lotheedar to much success. He is able to help cement the area to support the Princess. He then sets up a pamphlet on his thoughts on Commoner – Noble relations and publishes it. At the Abjurant day party The night of 11/8, Kavain grows tired of the social interaction and takes a breather along with Sepsimia behind the manor. While there they encounter the Night Swan. The two confront the Night Swan, and together blunt her Galtish zeal. The Night Swan agrees watch and not act against Kavian’s interests without warning. This appearance seems to rule our Felsha definitely as she was still in the party when this encounter happened. Kavian takes the time the next week to give a lecture on his topic of Commoner – Noble relations.
After his return to Birdsong, Mikhael again worked with his magical equipment to improve his understanding of arcane lore. He also worked with Cassia to prepare a lecture on magic on Abjurant day, before the party that night. His lecture ends up attended by not only local nobility, but politicians who have come because of the proximity to the Princess. He continues to work on his information network with Carrod.
The group who went to Oppera were also busy Corwyn and company head out to Oppera, arriving late on the 24th. They also order several agents to redeploy to Oppera. Corwyn leads the group across the three-day trip, and the party immediately gets to work.
Corwyn immediately empties most of the bag of holding and uses his agents to get 75% the market value for their unused magic items. He sets about looking for anyone who might be able to remove his curse but is unsuccessful. He still commissions a belt enchanted to hide is affliction. Corwyn also attempts to organize a protest against Pytharius and succeeds in his second week of trying.
The necromancer first spends his time checking on his business and then moves to giving two lectures. One on supporting the Princess which goes over well, but the other on Gout and ways to manage it not so much. As part of abjurant day, he has his two skeletons join a parade. He then directs his agents into an investigation of the activities of Duke Lotheed VI, whom the party now suspects is really Panivar Lotheed I. He next tries a lecture on using the undead as guards to save lives but gets booed.
Detash also uses the time to continue to copy spell books browed from Birdsong and upgrade and modify his equipment. Corwyn gives him a wand of scorching ray they had recovered for the magical wand wrist sheath obtained from Count Lotheed.
Before leaving Merrat County, Iona leaves orders for her agents to follow Felsha of Jambis, sure that she is the Night Swan. After two weeks of monitoring, it becomes clear she is not the notorious vigilante.
Upon reaching the Capitol, first and foremost on Iona’s agenda is a visit to her parents, especially her mother. Iona’s father is a stanch supporter of Maxillar Pythareus, and Iona has not yet told her parents who she is working for. Iona receives the normal lectures from her father, but Iona does get to have the time she wants with her mother. She is able to have a private heart to heart with her mother, acknowledging the truth of her employer. Iona’s Ulfen mother is more understanding of than her Talden father, and drawing on that, gives Iona her blessing, and notes that Iona seems “blessed by the nature spirits”, a comment Iona does not fully understand.
Iona also spends time selling some items and builds on her new contacts in the city to help draft legislation that if passed will help the Princess gain access to more resources. This public act does mean that Iona is further estranged from her father. Iona then works with her agents to purchase some magical gear for the future.
The group in Oppera head north back to Merrat County. On the first night of the three day trip, Corwyn is on watch and is startled to see Iona emerge from her tent, stripping off restrictive clothing. Corywn tries to restrain her but misses. Iona, turns to Corwyn, her eyes glowing red, and she snarls and lopes off into the woods as Detash comes out of his tent. Detash sends his undead Raven to follow while he puts on shoes and the two follow their companion. It is easy to see tracks under the light of the first full moon of the month. In that light, the tracks go from naked human to four large wolf paws. While the men can track, and the raven never loses sight, they are unable to keep up with the now four footed Iona. They find her, asleep, naked, with the blood of a rabbit on her hands and face. Iona awakes with vague dreams of what happened, and is startled to see the men looking down on her. They give her a hat of disguise to be decent and spend a third of a day getting back to their campsite with the help of the raven. Fortunately, two skeleton guards were more than enough to keep any passersby at bay.
The group sends off an immediate message back to Merrat for Kavian and works to get Iona back to her Order. Because of lost time getting to their horses, they spend one more night outside, with Iona in chains, but blessedly she does not transform. In Oppera, her Order can tell she is under an enchantment and maybe a curse, but it is unlike anything they have seen and not normal lycanthropy. However, Iona’s mother’s statement now makes sense as the Ulfen do not see lycanthropy as curse. Iona and the group head back to Stachys the next day.
Receiving the message, Kavian goes to the temple in Lotheedar to seek help. After two days, the Arch Banker is not sure she can help him, but is able to say he is under and enchantment which she tries to dispel. Kavain returns to Stachys to intercept Grandmother who is packing to return to Jamibs. She examines him in manor and tells him she thinks this enchantment is effecting him like an illness or disease. She is able to treat him with a foul draught that knocks him out for almost 24 hours and leaves him feeling ill. She says this should help his body fight off the effects.
The group who went to Oppera arrives late in the evening of the 15th, having used lessor restoration spells to keep them and their horses running. Iona headed to Jambis the next day, while the rest of the group headed up to meet with Martella. In a small home on the outskirts of Jambis, Iona was seen and treated by Grandmother, but she was concerned to much less effect. Grandmother gave Iona a magical rabbit’s foot which she said would vibrate and jump in the presence of enchantments or someone trying to use mind magic on Iona. The next day, after her long medicine induced sleep, Iona headed back to collapse in her bed at Bentony Manner to link up with her friends.
|Campaign Dates||Lamashan 16, 4719|
The group responds to the summons at Birdsong, absent Tremerus and Iona. he Palace of Birdsong is now bustling with activity as artisans work to restore its faded glory and visiting diplomats elbow one another in the halls. Martella Lotheed is waiting in her office, (the Bartelby’s old office) with a platter of honey cakes and a steaming teapot on her desk of which she invites the party to partake.
Martella immediately notices the absence of the two members and Corwyn speaks for them, explaining that Tremerus is working with the Baron and that Iona is being treated for a curse or enchantment, giving her details of the whole situation. Martella is concerned about possible information breaches, but is willing to let the party decide what is best.
Yanmass has been neutral up until now but commands considerable wealth and access to exclusive trade goods; its support would be invaluable. Both The Princess and Pythareus have bth sent delegations to win an alliance with the Mercantile Council that runs the city. She relates that her agent, Sir Meir Dratavis, has gone missing. More of a diplomat than a spy, he refused to go with any protection. His last correspondence mentioned troubling recent events: bandit raids, cult activity, missing soldiers. In theory, he was working alongside Pythareus’s representative, Earl Yander Merkondus, to resolve the problems, but Martella notes she suspects foul play. Her mission for the group is to find Meir, or else continue his work of convincing Yanmass to formally back Eutropia.
The group asks questions about what is going on which Martella answers as best as she is able. A whole regiment of the Taldan Horse has vanished—it normally works out of Yanmass to patrol the Whistling Plains and guard trade caravans. While Martella says the Mercantile Council blames bandits, she finds it unusual for an entire military force of two dozen or so soldiers to vanish without a trace. As far as the cult, very little is known except that its members seem friendly and it is popular with many locals. Meir claims the so-called Twilight Child has been healing the sick and injured with a touch, but ”That would hardly be the first self-proclaimed god I’ve seen claim the same.”
Martella finishes with giving them a scroll of sending to use if they get word from the Night Swan. She asks them to depart as quickly as possible, ). preferably the 17th, noting it will take the trip to Yanmass takes 9 days by carriage, 5 days by Horseback, followed by 5 days via river and canal (or an additional 8 days by carriage or 6 by horseback. However, Corwyn says he needs until the 18th to put affairs in order to which Martella assents. The group heads back to Stachys in the afternoon to prepare to leave.