Age of Despair

Session #17
Working for the Bindermittel

March 27th
After resting for the night we go back to the other staircase to check it out. It curves up and around onto a landing and a room that opens up and out. The exit we come up to is flanked on both sides by two stone statues, much like the shattered ones below the trolls broke through. The room is filled with deflected light. The room is not large with a ceiling of only about 12 feet. There are 4 doors, one at each corner of the room.

We enter the room, one of the far doors is cracked, letting light into the room. The door is slightly off its hinges and easy to pull open. Opening the door shows us to be in the base of a tower with stairs up. This tower is one of four, only three are still intact, that form a fortified keep. We see a cliff and a road down below, we appear to have come out on the far side of the mountains.

We make our way to the road. Traveling along the road we pass several towns off in the distance. These towns seem serene and peaceful, strife has not reached this far, it looks like we’ve come in time. We are looking to find the order of the star and the guild, we continue on to see what we can see and find what we are able.

The sun is warm on our backs and the open sky above is a huge relief after the oppressiveness inside the mountains. We reach a town (Traun) by early afternoon its gates are open, welcoming and seemingly naïve to the danger we bring tidings of. The inn smells of fresh stew, we are welcomed in taking our sup and making arrangements for this night and the next.

News is there is war coming, word was brought by riders about a week back. They are making some preparations, though we have seen little evidence of this. Daily life does not seem to have disrupted yet.

We spend the night in comfort, sleeping soundly with little worry of dragons and monsters. It is a blissful evening. The next day Coy and Cilka go to sell some of our loot. Dom and Jensen go looking for churches.

We decide to head on toward Passau, we stop partway there and camp for the night. The temperature is dropping fast, we decide there is not much risk in having a fire to stave off the cold. Coy treats us to a hot breakfast when we wake, I think to make up for convincing us to leave late enough in the day that we were forced to camp outdoors overnight in the blistering cold.

Passau is at the junction of three rivers, which segregate the richer parts of town and the keep. We take the ferry into the richer section. Cilka makes her way to her guild and we secure accommodations. We go SHOPPING! New horses, armor and weapons abound! It will take 2 weeks for my new armor to be ready. Oh, and we get some clothes and stuff.

We go to meet Master Albertus, high up in the guild that Cilka is a member of. We are offered a pleasant repast of wine and cheese. Coy is on guard as madness abounds within these walls. Albertus inquires about the dragons and magic we’ve encountered. He seems genuinely interested in our adventures and shows proper sympathy for the rough times.

He speaks of dragons, that they represent some of the largest manifestations of magic known. He believes this may be a sign of the gods returning. Coy and he speak of the nature of the gods leaving and what it all might mean. There are items in Achau that should not fall into enemy hands. We assume Achau is under siege at this point. While we discuss these weighty matters, Gertie asks Master Albertus if he is familiar with The Order of the Star. They are not active in this area, but he has heard they are active in the east (?) and are recruiting to help against the enemies of man.

We decide to go rescue the books from besieged Achau. Master Albertus has a student of his that he would like us to bring along. Coy and he know each other? They are of the same race, he is tall and thin, with ink stained fingers and does not appear overly hearty or tough. Coy does not seem to like him, Keth (as he says he will permit us to address him) is more haughty than even we have gotten used to having been around Coy for so long. This is proving… Interesting.

Coy enlightens us that his own name is actually Tursidhion Glandur, that Coy is the name his people go by. Keth is of the Drave. Master Albertus offers us a few items to help us on our quest.

Potion- Cat’s Grace and 1 Invisibility (both 6th level)
Healing- Cure Moderate (2d8+4)

We party that night- probably too hard. Though Coy helps a rude young noble apologize for jostling my elbow and spilling my drink! I wake after a restless night of intense dreams. Kuni helps me with my headache and we leave to gather up the new horses.

April 1st
We stop at a small town along the way to Achau, they are nervous and have been seeing people fleeing. As we approach the hills around Achau we use caution so we don’t surprise a scouting party of the army. Cilka sees manticore flying over the hills around Achua a few hundred yards away. We decide to take cover from them as we are pretty sure they are wise enough to report back our location. They circle a little ways off, then head away. We do not know if we were seen.

Once we reach the hills around Achau, we cut off the road and into the woods. Several of us hear stomping off deeper in the woods to the north. We remain hidden through the night.

At the end of last watch, I wake to Coy’s urgent warning, we are found. Gertie and I have enough time to properly arm ourselves and I immediately drop to my knee holding the rod in supplication. We run toward the flying monsters while their spines fly thick through the air. Keth is murmuring and waiving his hands, I can see why Coy keeps speaking of madness. A huge glowing batlike creature appears out of nowhere and streaks toward the manticores. I see a hail of arrows and crackling streaks fly sizzling through the air, they hammer into the manticore I am facing- dropping it like a stone.

The other one screeches in anger and strafes Cilka, the source of the attack that felled it’s brethren. She falls to the ground. The bat swerves and smashes into the flying manticore, ripping into it, they flap around ungainly but manage to stay in the air, at least until Jensen’s arrows slam into it finishing it off.

Coy and I hear more coming through the woods, we move up and brace ourselves for their appearance. Coy is becoming his alternate self, this time he seems to struggle against it even more than normal. Two huge beasts come out of the woods toward us, they are massive, matching Coy eye to eye(s?), they are abominations, each having an extra head. Several smaller grunts move up, they are heavily armed and menacing. We are vulnerable here until the rest of our group can move up and join us. The two headed monsters are tough, their blows heavy. They seem almost angered by Coy’s increase in size, they smash at him almost ignoring me, small and seemingly unimpressive at his side. I once again am in my element, surrounded by enough of the enemy to be truly effective as long as my sword swings true. Providence or Peoni smiles upon me and lends strength to my arm. I cleave through many of their number. Unfortunately I open a perfect path for a mystical attack from the back of their lines. An acrid smell permeates the air, all I hear is a crackling sounds as I feel a hot piercing punch smash into my chest. I stagger back, pausing to clear my head. I hear Cilka cry out behind us as the same electric bolt hits her too.

Arrows are flying, the bat Keth called forth streaks toward the source of the lightning. An arrow punches through my armor, I feel it but pay it no mind as I struggle to bring my sword back up recovering from the momentary weakness caused by the lightening. Cilka must be OK, actually she must be pretty angry, I see a flaming ball of fire come flying through our lines, smashing into the caster that threw the lightning at us and the unlucky few next to him. They all go down. Never piss off someone that can throw fire around as casually as tossing out the wash water.

Coy goes down, there are only a few left, we just have to off the last remaining, then I can help him. Out of nowhere I feel claws dig into my back. I have no idea where this pointy little red cretin came from that is now latched onto me. I can only watch as the two headed beast turns and wails on Dom. Dom is hit hard, as he goes down he lashes out, stabbing the monster in the foot, pinning him in place. Gertie steps in to finish him off. Suddenly it’s over, they are all laying prostrate at our feet, dead or dying while we scramble to heal our fallen.

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Session #16
The Hold of Calucones

The doorway opens into a room with a bridge directly across.

We decide to exercise caution here, checking all areas as we proceed so we will not be taken by surprise from behind. Jenson carefully scans the ground looking for any signs of recent passage. It looks like nobody has travelled through here in quite some time. We speculate that possibly whatever it was that silenced this dwarven enclave must have come in from another avenue. There is a small room that appears to have been a panning station of sorts, with a fast flowing stream and sifting pans.

On the far side of the bridge, deep into the caverns we see a greenish glowing light, reminiscent of the glow the mushroom creatures cast. We decide to send those that see best in the dark to investigate, the rest of us hang back impatiently waiting at the beginning of the bridge. We nervously scan the dark, our lights reaching only so far as the end of the bridge.

Faint sounds of impact and gurgling whispers to us across the dark, we grip our weapons tighter. Coy emerges from the gloom with the head of a beast, dripping gore behind him. They have taken out a scout, we expect more to come, attracted like moths by the light. We extinguish all light but the small glow from a partially covered light stone. Using only that faint glow, Coy leads us back to where Dom is keeping watch ahead.

Stalactites line the ceiling and we hear water dripping in the back ground. We hope the soft sounds will help mask the noise our passage makes. Sadly traveling silently seems to be beyond our capacity, no matter how often we try. Coy and Dom pause, and comment on the faint sound of chanting echoing from the walls, we are found.

Coy steps up beside me in his alter form, his looming size making me feel a little more secure. I grin with anticipation, one if only fully alive at these moments.

A huge troll lumbers up to us, moving much more quickly than his lurching steps would seem to allow. He is followed by a handful of smaller brethren. Coy lashes out, his fists blur with the speed of his attack. I ignore the flurry of activity around me as I pray over the Bellatorian Rod, my heart aching anew with the loss of Ha’manu. I hear Kuni’s clear voice ringing out from behind me, and my spirit is lifted.

We descend upon the huge troll as his companions fall into place beside him, completing the enemy’s line. Acid arrows fly and our weapons flash dealing considerable damage to the lumbering beast. Gneaus impresses us with the strength of his attack, and as the troll’s great fist comes hurtling directly at Coy, Gneaus further earns our admiration by throwing his shield up in Coy’s defense and deflecting the blow onto himself. Our efforts pay off as the troll crashes to the ground. We concentrate on the Troll’s smaller companions making quick work of them as well.

We breathe a sigh of relief after the last one goes down, we’ve come through this relatively unscathed. Then Dom says, “The chanting has stopped”. We all look around apprehensively, maybe that was a little too easy… “more are coming”.

We move up and brace ourselves for the next wave.

The scaly green thugs crash into us, those that come within reach of our readied weapons are reprimanded smartly for their impertinence. Jenson’s arrows fly from behind the cover of the rubbled statue, one of them perfectly timed, chocking off the chanted spell coming from behind their line. His next attack is not quite as well executed, excited by his earlier success, he strains his bow a bit too much. We hear a resounding crack as the wood of his weapon snaps under the strain. Cilka peppers them with fire, while Dom maneuvers into place to get them from the back. Coy and I maneuver strategically, having fought together often enough to complement each other’s strengths. His positioning allows for the perfect set-up for me, with one mighty swing I am able to hit all of the beasts within my considerable range, fire blazing from my blade as it cleaves through our enemies. Gertie holds the left flank while Coy hammers at them from above. Again Coy and I work in perfect synchronicity, he steps back allowing me to slide in front of him, setting me up for another powerful fiery swing, once again I cleave through their front ranks.

Their numbers have reduced and while we’ve cut many of them down, they have dealt their share of damage to us as well. Coy is knocked back by the big guy and goes down, Kuni steps to his aide. I swing at the huge monster that hit Coy, knocking him back and out. Their castor has had enough and starts to disengage, moving away. Jenson is having none of that, he pursues him and stops his flight. Gertie handily dispatches the ones facing her as the rest of us move quickly to surround the remaining few that are left standing. There is a final flurry of blows as we all muster and take the last of them out. We take the time needed to make sure they are no longer healing themselves.

We notice they all have a distinctive talisman; a small chunk of what once was worked metal that has been warped and twisted. They are dressed in typical troll style, cobbled together outfits and armor. Their weapons are a different matter, usually trolls carry a hodge-podge of roughly crafted old clubs or something of the like, these are much nicer, incorporating salvaged dwarven metals.

We continue toward the green glow, as we get closer, we see several destroyed doors along the wall. We also see troll nests scattered around and we find the source of the glow. There is a mounding clump of glowing fungus circled by what looks like sitting mats. Jenson studies the mushroom pile critically but is unsure if it’s inherently unsafe. Kuni looks at it and determines it has been cultivated into this specific pattern, carefully tended and pruned into a mounding circle.

Jenson notices a clawed footprint, and knows of no creature that could have made such a mark.

There is a pile of rubble on that same area that looks to have once been a circling staircase leading up to a huge hole in the ceiling about 50 feet in the air.

We search the doors that line the walls on both sides, one has another of the elevator type lifts like we’ve seen in other areas, the next room over looks to have once been a kitchen and has a small shaft rising up, maybe a way of transporting food and dishes from level to level. The other side looks to have been apartments and dormitories.

Cilka calls out to us, saying there is metal embedded in the walls of the shaft that might make scaling that possible- Dom goes to check it out with her, the metal creates a ladder effect and we all go up it quite easily. The shaft opens up into a small furnished room, with moldering carpets and decaying furniture. The room does not appear to have been occupied in a very long time. The room is bordered along the ceiling with colored glass. There are 2 intact doors leading out of the room, one leads to an old study with an armoire, Cilka pulls the latch while Dom looks on and is immediately blasted by a burst of fire that flashes free as she opens them. Once the fire dies away, Cilka finds a jar of metallic powder she says is called dust of appearance (the other contents were destroyed). Coy opens another door to an outer room with smashed furniture and a smashed in doorway leading out. More tracks similar to those found below as well as a circle? Or nest? In the middle of the floor.

Past that and down a corridor we find where the staircase used to lead to. We see the spiral stair case hole from topside that leads down to the cavern below. The floor around it is blackened and all of the far side looks fragile, not something you would want to try to walk on.

We explore the two rooms opposite the old staircase, one is a stockroom the other an old blacksmithy. There is also a more modest staircase leading up.

The corridor continues on past the spiral stairwell and has tracks of the same beast that look to be no more than a week old. We surmise the beast breaking free may have been what caused the dwarves to abandon their home. We have seen no evidence of bodies or fighting- which tells us they left voluntarily. Maybe the trolls and lizard folk came later and worshiped the monster they found.

The corridor opens up into a smaller area with rooms off each wall and another small stairway leading up off toward the left. One of the rooms has a mosaic on the floor, we think it may have been a room of sanctity for the dwarves. All the doors have been broken into and look to have been more luxurious living quarters, and another kitchen area.

We form up and take the stairs. They split like the ones below did, branching off to both sides. We take a few moments to ready ourselves before venturing up the stairs, we heal up and I pray over the Bellatorian Rod. As we start up the stairs a wave of fear comes crashing down upon us, Gertie stands taller in the face of the fear and we all take courage from her confidence. At the top of the stairs we come face to face with a large lizard type creature, its wings spread out above it as it rears back and hisses at us angrily. Not as large as the dragon we faced, but menacing none the less.

I come out the stairs and am immediately hit with a massive spray of acid as it sidles to the side, rears back and spits its stream of liquid. I hear screams from behind me as I lose my grip on consciousness and fall to the ground.

I come to with my cousin kneeling beside me; her magic has done its work. I hear the sounds of fighting; the dragon is still raging in the corner. From my prone position I see Dom catch a stray arrow from Jenson’s bow, I see the look of shock and horror on Jenson’s face as Dom falls to the floor. I hear a cheer go up as the dragon crashes to the ground. Does anyone else know Dom is hurt so badly? I crawl over to him and force the foul smelling potion I carry down his throat, apologizing the whole time for the horrible after taste he will wake to. I have to admit to some sense of relief that I didn’t have to be the one to quaff that awful concoction.

There is a glint of gold sparkling out from under the webbing that was cast against the dragon. We search the area while we wait for the magical webbing to dissipate. The rooms are fancy and well appointed, there is a balcony to the outside, overlooking the mountain. We decide to rest here for the night.

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Session #15
Death in the Mines

We find several worthy items in this room, the bronzed bracers appear to those in the know to be of arcane origins. The small idol is enchanted, and looks to be associated with a lock, possibly the key we need. The sword has an enchantment upon it, its name is Fulgo and it bursts into flame when invoked by its name, I am privileged to carry this weapon. We continue to search for many more hours without finding much of anything worthwhile, seriously, it’s time to move on, I’d like to test out my new sword.

Today is March 23th

In the morning we test out our new key. The door is opened by a super-sized dwarven statue, we take the key through the doorway with us and the statue slowly closes the door as we pass. Fulgo provides light for me, though it will take a while to get used to the awkwardness of carrying such a large flaming sword.

The path we take shows definite signs of wear from water and neglect. There is a set of rails running alongside the edge of the tunnel. After a few hours we stop for lunch, and then press on. We eventually emerge into a widened space, a cross roads of sorts. The walls have carved runes that we assume are directional along the sides. We decide to push on and try to get a little more distance before we stop for the night.

Suddenly we hear a guttural yell and a horrendous crash from up ahead, followed by sounds of fighting. We rush to give what aide we can. Running forward we come out into an open space where the tracks stay level spanning the cavern like a raised bridge as the floor falls away below us. The crash we heard was obviously a portion of the tracks collapsing; there is a huge gap with debris and rubble cluttering the cavern floor. A swarm of large green scaly monsters are pouring over the remains of a small dwarven party, there are only a few dwarves that remain standing, hard pressed by the lizardmen. At least 2 of them rival Coy’s size when he is embiggened. One of the ones in the back appears to be a leader of some sort; he carries a flaming sword as well. These swords must have been a popular theme back in the day. Another dwarf goes down, we scramble toward them futilely as one of the larger green monster tears his arm from his body.

Coy swings down to the ground taking on his larger persona as he goes. The rest of us scramble down to help the dwarves as quickly as we can some more gracefully than others. The dwarves are not faring well, we have arrived moments too late to save most of them, we must try to save who we can. Jenson pegs one of the big guys with three arrows while the rest of us continue to make our way down to the ground level. The big guy seems unfazed by the arrows, one arrow springs free and its flesh closes over the wound before our eyes, we may be in for more than we bargained for.

The lizardman leader with the flaming sword releasing a blood curtling scream drops the sword and doubles over in agony as a huge bony monster seems to tear its way out of him. The only dwarf left standing, realizing allies have arrived, runs toward us, pointing at the lizardmen yelling, “incindia! Incindia!”.

I deal with the two lizardmen that follow our new dwarven friend toward me, then I hear my friends cry out Ha’manu’s name in anguish, with dread in my heart I turn and charge toward them. I see my worst fear realized, Ha’manu and Gertie are both down, a quick glance and I know with a sense of hopeless despair that Ha’manu is lost to us.

In a blind rage, I turn to the lizards and quickly dispatch the smaller foe, eyes only for the one that cut down my friend. Screaming my rage and anguish I lash out a mighty blow with my flaming sword striking my enemy’s head from his body. This does little to cool my heartbroken rage, looking for the next foe I can take vengeance upon, I pursue the last remaining lizards, with Cilka’s flame streaming spheres and my fiery sword, we take what little solace their pitiful lives provide.

Finding nothing left to kill I rush back to Ha’manu, falling to my knees at his side the tears begin to flow.

Eventually I rise, helping to prepare to move Ha’manu to a more fitting location.

Cilka makes use of the scroll to gain the temporary ability to understand the dwarf we rescued’s strange tongue. The dwarf (Gnaeus) speaks of his people, the Uberry and asks what brings us to this place. We explain our purpose. Gnaeus thanks us for our assistance, stating that none would have survived without our aide, this is small comfort to us. They were returning from a trading mission and were only about a half a day’s journey from their clan home. He offers to speak on our behalf to gain us admittance to his clan holdings. I ask Cilka to inquire of their custom for their dead.

Gnaeus speaks of his father’s time when a great disaster fell outside, and a great battle came that included both man and dwarf and many died. He refers to himself as a Pontis (a true dwarf) and the others we’ve met he refers to as the Belatore (slaves and servants). The Pontis went to ground after the great battle, he says the Bellatore have been rare among them since those times.

It is a sad, somber group that passes through the great sliding door and into the Uberry holdings. Our dwarven friend faces many questions from his people, and while we don’t know the words, we understand the urgency of their meaning.

We are asked to follow them through their main holding and while there is much activity, there seems to be many fewer of them than one would expect for a space of this size. We are invited into a hall and asked to be seated. A dwarven lady offers us food while another brings a strong drink that I can only hope will calm the turmoil in my heart. Their food is pungent and strong, the drink is helpful to cut the flavor, and I make use of it liberally.

Gnaeus brings to us one we can only assume to be a leader among them, he is venerable and imposing. Gertie and he talk as leaders do. After our repast, we all adjourn following their leader up countless spiraling stairs to a room that is well lit with lanterns. The leader takes something up from his desk and turns, and to our surprise, addresses us in our own tongue.

His name is Sullus, clan leader of the Uberry, he welcome us into his home. We learn what they call the beast that walks through walls – the Barghast. We speak of the path we might take and of a final resting place for our fallen brother. It is decided that Ha’manu would prefer his final resting place to be beneath the open sky, not under these oppressive mines. Sullus offers to allow us access to a rarely used tower within their holdings that leads out to the mountain peaks. This is fitting.

We climb yet another set of countless stairs while Ha’manu’s body rides up in a contraption of the dwarven people. We come out into the blinding sun to see the horizon majestically spread out all around us. We are almost at the peak of one of the tallest mountains; it is humbling, and fitting for Ha’manu’s final place of rest. We face him south toward his home and bury him with his weapons. Returning to the dark depressing underground, we drink in his honor.

One token we keep, Ha’manu’s rod, an old Bellatorian piece, about 1.5 feet long, iron with inscriptions up and down its length. It is capped at both ends with copper and has an XX of amethyst inlayed at one end. When prayed over it imbues anyone within 40 feet with extra accuracy and effectiveness in battle.

March 25th

We break our fast with an interesting and flavorful porridge and are lead to Sullus. Sullus offers us bread, which we count as a great honor as we have seen the scarcity of grain among these people. We discuss our travel plans; Sullus tells us the name of the clan decide to approach toward the northeast, Calucones who sequestered themselves after the great battle of which he spoke yesterday. He explains that the dwarven people were not always in such a state, they have fallen far from what they once were and their numbers now are few. Some also yearned for more, for faster progress and greater riches, they took their leave and called themselves the Bellatore. Eventually trade between the Bellatore and the Pontis resumed and there was great prosperity for all. Then there was a great schism between their people when those that answered their prayers fell quiet and difficult to commune with. The Bellatore turned toward the gods of men while the Pontis retained their faith in their goddess, the Wright of the World, this deepened the rift between the Bellatore and the Pontis. Once the great cataclysm came and the gods of men turned away from their followers as well, some of the Pontis took this to vindicate their belief in their own ways over those the Bellatore chose to follow.

Sullus speaks of our plans to travel to the Calucones and send back word of possible accessible avenue of trade to man. He offers us a guide as a gesture to repay the debt incurred by our offering his countrymen succor in their time of need. Once this task is complete, the debt will be paid and future dealings will be negotiated on their own merit. Our assigned guide will be Gneaus, which meets with approval all around.

With heavy hearts we embark on the next leg of our journey, the weight of the money chest is a constant reminder of the loss of my brother in arms.

I distract myself by teaching our new companion as much of our tongue as I can.

March 26th

After a long, hard days march we come to another vast cavern blocked with a bricked up wall. There is a statue much like the one at the gate we passed, this one is holding an axe and standing guard. We fumble through many attempts to gain passage past the statue, finally Cilka is able to convince it that she is part of a returning party, it slides aside and the wall disappears.

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Session #14
Goblins and Goblin-Bears

The first goblin to enter the door goes down quickly, we hold our positions, waiting for more to come through into the kill zone.

Sadly, they are smarter than we expect, one steps forward and tosses a cracked barrel through the door. A foul smelling liquid come spilling out of the broken cask, spreading in an oily sheet around our feet. Gertie swings at the monster that tossed the barrel and prudently steps back, out of the smelly puddle.

Dom stabs the same offending monster Gertie did then steps back and away, he finally falls after Jenson hits him with an arrow. The next one in line steps up, and with an evil grin, tosses the lit torch he is holding into the foul smelling puddle igniting it in a burst of noxious billowing flames. Black, foul smoke begins to fill the room , one more comes out of the gloom. I see a hazy flurry of movement as Coy grabs him and he ends up on his back on the floor, grimacing against the pain of the fire I take a swing at him as he goes down and them jump back out of the flames. I hear some cries coming through the door, I can only assume more arrows are being shot by my companions at the monsters that have not yet come through.

I fall back another step, trying to clear my eyes of the harsh smoke, I hold my sword ready for the next enemy that dares get close enough. The beast’s plan is a success, they cleared the doors enough to allow a few of their larger bearlike denizens through. Coy bravely storms the door, skillfully drawing attacks from the two that just entered, trying to give Dom the opportunity to flank them. They prove more learned at arms than we assumed, Dom is hit hard going down as he tries to maneuver past them. I step forward slashing at the one in front, he just barely turns the blow to the side so it misses his throat, but continues on through to his companions. Eyes streaming, I see Kuni racing to help Dom as Gertie steps up beside me. These two will not last long, if Coy can just hold the door while we finish them off we may survive this.

I see Cilka’s signature balls of light streaking through the gloom smashing into the more gravely injured one, causing him to fall. The monster on the left desperately steps to the side, swinging at Ha’manu as he goes. I wind up from behind dealing him a massive blow that splits him almost in half, he hits the ground before his weapon I sent spinning from his hand lands across the room. I hear a call from Ha’amanu, “Good hit kitten!” Grinning wickedly, I flourish my sword in a solute, flicking the enemies blood from my blade as I spin to face the door.

Gertie charges past to aid Coy at the door, as she moves through the doorway, we see a lurid red glow flash through the air and Gertie’s challenging shout is cut abruptly short. Missiles whistle through the air, now all focused on the one that cut Gertie down. Dom flashes past, word swinging, doing his best to reach Gertie. I follow him through the door, breaking left to face the line next to Coy. It is good to be clear of some of the noxious smoke.

At a word from their leader with the red sword, they start to fall back, I manage to engage the one in front of me, forcing him to hold closer to his position. Coy takes takes out another straggler and moves forward. Their cowardly leader takes off at a run, leaving him companions behind. Ha’manu lunges forward, downing another as I strike at the spearman in front of me. Ha’manu is caught between the last two remaining enemy, he goes down under their blows. Gertie rushes to his aid, I am greatly relieved to see her at his side ready to defend him while he lays prostrate on the ground at the mercy of our foes. It is good to have friends there to protect you in your hour of need, when you lack even the strength of a kitten and cannot regain your own two feet.

We keep the last two remaining engaged enough that they cannot flee, with Dom moving behind the one in front of me, we manage to take him out. Gertie follows the one that took down Ha’manu, relentlessly refusing to let him escape. Under Kuni’s tender ministrations Ha’manu comes to, really pissed off, he jumps up and charges the monster that laid him low. The coward tries to move off, but I am able to keep him pinned so instead he takes a shot at Dom landing a lucky blow that knocks him off his feet. Coy punches the beast solid double blows catching him by surprise as he recovers from the swing on Dom, he reels around and drops like a stone.

We take a few moments to recover, healing what we can and picking over the dead of anything useful they might carry. We decide to move on from this place and continue our search of the mines.

We find an interesting, oddly pretty room, if it weren’t for all the smelly sludge on the floor. The ceiling is what truly makes this a beautiful space, with stalactites and crystals peppering the entire expanse. The room has a grand, almost theatrical feel to it, the floor angles down in a series of steps that ring around the 80 foot breadth, down to a recessed circular stage like space at the bottom. The sludge hides an amazingly intricate design worked in differing colored marble. We are inspired to spend some time cleaning this abused space. We uncover a geometric design, diamond shapes evenly spaced around the circle with an inlaid ring of gold in the middle. Jenson steps into the circle, gets an odd look on his face and steps quickly clear. He says he could not feel his connection to Peoni while standing within its circumference.

We climb the large stair case, back up to the level we first entered on, with the board that spanned the shaft we fell into. There is a raised dais at the far end, to our left, that has a pair of thrones beautifully crafted of carved marble.

We continue upward, searching for where the monsters have made their home. We toss caution aside as we hear the scamper of small feet pattering away, we move quickly assuming their spies have found us and more fighting is imminent.

Enterring into a vast hall with pillars evenly spaced in two rows, we hear movement from the left. Coy takes off in almost entirely the opposite direction, flushing out archers that had been attempting to catch us unawares.

Kuni and Jenson take up positions behind the pillar closest to us and start firing at the enemy archers across the way. Ha’manu, Dom and I move to intercept those coming toward the door on the left. We see another hoard pour through the far door, Coy is lost from our sight buried behind them. Cilka steps out and is immediately peppered with arrows, they must have been lying in wait for one of us to show ourselves. She absorbs the minor blows and raises her hands sending sticky strings of webs springing up to entangle them.

Gertie and Dom help Coy, who takes down two himself before they can even get there. Jenson’s arrows account for another. Ha’manu can reach two of the ones entrapped in the tangled web, I can’t be of any help here, so I move to assist Coy.

We are surprised by our old friend the red sword guy and some of his cronies running up at us from our right. Dom maneuvers around sandwiching him up against Gertie and swings a mighty blow. I am able to take advantage of the daze Dom has left him in, he is wide open, I step right in and deal him a fatal blow. His companions are either brave, or too stupid to run, we continue to press them.

Maybe it’s the comfort of fighting in the near dark again, or maybe Peoni is looking upon us favorably, our foes are falling fast and hard. There are only a few remaining archers, they take off in two groups both going in opposite directions. Kuni, Jenson, Gertie and Cilka head off after one while Coy, Ha’manu, Dom and I chase after the two that have fled up the stairs. Coy takes lead as he is one of the fastest of us, speeding out of sight in pursuit. We hear a horrible clash of arms, Coy cries out and is silenced. We rush to his aid, coming around the corner we see Coy sprawled across the flagstones with one of the ugly beasts like the one we saw back in the goblin caves slobbering over him. Ha’manu contemptuously cuts down the straggling archer who led us here and we three form up, side by side, preparing to face the horrific monsters that are beleaguering our elven friend.

I stumble back as a sense of overwhelming despair crushes down upon me. Ha’manu looks at me, quizzically, “gonna cry now kitten?”. I can’t seem to help myself, a tear rolls down my cheek.

We must be desperately worried for our fallen friend, our weapons are not swinging true. I cannot shake the sense of dread and desperation, it is hard to even lift my sword. In a flash that makes this desperate situation worse, the foes facing us suddenly double in size, much like Coy sometimes does in the heat of battle. In the confusion of their transformation we are able to land a couple of solid blows, knocking one of the out of the battle. My sword feels so much heavier and I can’t seem to shake this dread I feel. It’s all I can do to power through it, but I have to, the puppy behind me needs my protection now more than ever.

We press them hard, Ha’manu hides behind me wielding his weapon from the shelter my body provides. I take blows meant for others, it’s the least I can do, I am worthy of nothing more. The Bear beasty turns on me, clamping his jaws down upon my arm, my sword flies from my hands and I real back as his claws come around. I feel an impact like I’ve been struck by a boulder, fiery lines of pain from his claws raking across my body chase me down into unconsciousness. The puppy will have to fend for himself.

I come to, on my back, dizzy and hazy as all heck. I raise my head and fall back, trying to gather my strength. Hearing my companions around me, I know they are in desperate straits. Gertie hits it a stunning blow while it is distracted, it turns and cuts the air as the last one did and leaps through, making it’s escape.

This room is much like the other lair we found, there are nests with egg sacks- we destroy them all.

The floor of the room is decorated in a color tile mosaic, it looks like portions of a world map, Kuni is able to determine roughly where we are in relation to the landmarks. In all of our travels we have covered barely any of the vast lands shown, it is hard not to feel insignificant in this revelation.

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Session #13
A Dwarven Killbox

Today is March 17th.
Early spring, the mountain hills are cold and travel is muddy, we are thankful for our horses.

The small moon is waning and the large moon is low.

It’s raining as we set out to Celke, it’s bracing, invigorating traveling weather. Mid afternoon brings the top of a tower to view, we assume we’ve reached Celke. The dwarves come out to greet us and offer us shelter from the rain. There are around a dozen dwarves and another dozen humans, probably farmers.

Coy speaks to the dwarves of the news of Prebold and inquires of the road to Aachau. Our conversations are less than energetic as the group is tired from travel. The dwarves speak of the troubles in Aachau, their Lady has recently received an ultimatum- surrender or die. We offer to help if we can.

An old, toothless and almost unbelievably wrinkled female human enters, the hall falls silent. We are introduced to Calisto. She is small in stature, even for the dwarven people. They defer to her with almost a sense of reverence.

Calisto speaks of the enemies strength increasing to such a level that they are now demanding tribute. Calisto speaks of a possible alternate course we could take, a tunnel that could lead us past Aachau. This tunnel was sealed many years ago, but there have recently been tracks seen around the mouth of the tunnel, goblin tracks. Not surprising as they seem to covet those deep, dark holes.

Calisto makes of us a request, she would like to know if we are successful in making use of the tunnel. She comes across as genuinely curious, almost avariciously so, but not in a malicious way. We agree to come back this way, assuming we survive our adventures and share the story of our travels through the tunnel in exchange for a food and lodging.

Kuni and see get to talking, and as happens often with the old, a story comes out.

She tells of her early days, when she was a servant to the emperor and handmaid to the empress. She warned to the empress of a plot against the empire. The empress sought counsel in the first son, named for his beauty, after light itself. The men plotting against the empire turned the Emperor against his own son and the empress. The emperor in a fit of rage slaughtered his own son, the empress upon hearing of this tragedy took her own life. Calisto had her eyes struck out as punishment for her involvement. The plot was to secure an artifact.

After sharing this tale, Calisto tired and was led back to her rooms. As she moved away, we were struck again by her frailty, and could not help but imagine what a long and colorful life she must have lived.

Cilka wakes in the middle of the night, muttering something strange about, middle and earth. None of it makes much sense. She said Calisto spoke to her in her dreams, asking if she was seeking middle earth, or the underground. Then she warned. “Beware the conclave”. We debated a bit on the meaning of conclave, they seem to think it’s a group of mages or something, I still think it’s a kind of weapon. Cilka’s details seem a little fuzzy, we are beginning to wonder if Coy’s warnings of madness may have merit after all.

Kuni is able to draw a little more out of her, my cousin has always worked well with the more colorful folks in life. Something about Quintescent Regia, in Umbria. Gertie speculates that it might be some kind of crown or something, she would know being more royal than the rest of us. Anyway, it’s some kind of artifact or something.

March 18th

The next day dawns clear and warmer. We break our fast on reheated porridge and take stock of our provisions. We decide to sell the horses here and procure some extra food and supplies for the journey.

Gertie gets to checking out the tower ruins and notices that the door at the base of the tower is bricked up, there are ruins at the base of the tower that look like they may have once been a church. Kuni searches the area for secret doors, but she does not turn up anything. Upon closer inspection the outline of the ruin does not appear to have the same shape or size that we are familiar with in the churches we’ve seen. The ruins would have stood about a story and a half going by the discoloration on the tower. Smoke looks to be coming from the top of the tower, when Kuni asks about it she is told the Lady lives there. I think she’s a dragon, how else would she get up there if she didn’t have wings? The others don’t share my conviction.

Frederick leads us north. He will show us as far as the tunnel mouth, then ride back to Celke.

March 20th
By the second day of travel we are into the mountains and walking through around 6 inches of snow. Toward the evening of the second day we see almost a ramp leading up to what looks like it used to be some kind of open gallery. We’ve reached to tunnel opening.

The small moon is low, the large moon is waxing.

At the top of the ramp there appears to be about a 30 foot gap between the ramp and the gallery. At the base of the cliff face there is a pile of rocks that look like they could be scaled through a stream, Coy checks it out. He scales the cliff, with a little less than his usual grace, and is able to string a rope for the rest of us to easily climb up.

The entrance of the tunnel appears to have been bricked up, then broken out from the inside. Several sections look like they’ve been broken more recently and by something larger than a goblin (and stronger than a kitten).

Coy goes ahead into the darkness as his eyes are best in the murk of the tunnel. After a bit Dom goes forward as well. He gestures to Jenson to come forward and walks out into the darkness.

Jenson see the first obstacle that Coy and Dom have crossed, it is a foul smelling deep square chasm with slits spaced evenly along the sides. There is a plank spanning the 30 foot or so distance and a rope strung along side. Ha’manu walks the plank with his usual agility.

We hear the muffled sound of voices, one growly and loud, the others respond. Coy makes motions that look to try to be warning us of something up ahead. We see arrows start to poke through the arrow slits, the crossing has suddenly become much more hazardous!

Coy, Dom and Ha’manu move around the corner trying to find the way into where the cowardly archers are hiding. Several of us take a poke or two, nothing serious, more like splinters than anything damaging. I eye the plank warily and ultimately decide to let wisdom prevail and pull out my Xbow. Cilka for some reasons decides to tempt fate and try to cross. She seems irritated that the aromored people were in front thanklessly absorbing the arrows. Sadly fate does not resist her temptation and Cilka, taking an arrow falls with an impressive splash. Coy, ever the chivalrous one leaps in to save her while Jenson tries to cross. As I shoot at the goblins something big and gross rushes out of the water and tries to eat Coy. Jensen summons a big bug which attacks the goblins and Cilka splits the big gross thing into two smaller gross things… not sure if that was a good thing or not. Cilka does her flaming hands things and the gross slimy things finally go down loosing a somewhat worse for wear Ha’manu as they fall.

We spend a fair amount of time flailing around attempting to get across the beam and climbing up from below. We have enough challenges and enough of us end up in the water, that we decide to explore the area off of the ledge.

It opens up into a vast space with 3 more pits ending in foul smelling water like the one I fell into. These do not rise up above like the one we came down. All of the water filled openings are connected with roughly hewn passages. There are some broken rotting pieces of wood that used to be furniture and doors evenly spaced around the outer wall, some of the doors have gone the way of the furniture, rotting away and only half attached. One of the doorways we checked led into a room that looks to have been an old workshop.

At the far end of the room there is a stairway leading spiraling down to another room. Three huge iron kettles hang above soot covered pits, they must have been melting pots for ore that have dregs of solidified metal in the bottom. We think we must have come across an ancient mine, tunnels lead off into the darkness. Coy critiques the workmanship as we pass through these halls.

I don’t see much of interest or anything that might help. Others find a shaft that goes straight up into the ceiling, a massive chain of rusted metal, links as large as my forearm lies corroding in a heap at the bottom of the opening. There is no telling how far up that shaft goes.

We start to discuss our next steps as it is very late and we are all tired. I suggest we sleep in the cauldrons, they wouldn’t think to check those. Dom makes a crack about Ha’manu’s snoring making it possible for them to find us anywhere, Kuni defends him and we all tease them both. We must have struck a nerve because Ha’manu hauls off and punches Dom in a good natured fit of rage.

We set up our watches and find as secure a place to hole up as we can.

I wake to the sound of scurrying as all my companions are rushing around, making as little noise as possible. Of course nobody bothered to wake me, I scramble to my feet and stumble out of the room leaving my armor behind as I take my place to defend the door.

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Session #12
Fall of Laibach

Run Notes 10/30/2011

I wake to Kuni’s gentle healing touch.

It is chaotic around us, but not quite as much as when I went down. Taking a few moments to orient myself I see the Laibach forces gathering together and forming up in the center of the intersection over by the gate. As we fall back toward the church we see a fearsome red dragon sweeping down over the gathering troops spraying them with fire. The rider is the female leader, after her devastating pass by the troops, she angle her scaly mount toward the castle.

We move quickly to get to the church before the evil dragon duo and take our last few minutes to arrange the debris and our remaining defenses in the church to favor us as much as possible.

An arrow arcs across the church embedding itself in the wall beside Ha’manu and I, Coy alerts us to our enemies approach. We brace ourselves against their attack.

The first of our enemies come through the door, Cilka causes another of those webby traps to spring up as they move toward us, neatly dividing their number and trapping two in it’s clutches. The door behind us caves in and three mangy beasts pour through spouting fire at Gertie and her crew as they step into the attack. Cilka joins us facing off with the orcs who have moved up toward us, sparks fly as she throws a ball of electric light at them. Dom springs from behind the rubble where he was concealing himself and attacks the group facing us from behind, taking the straggler out before they even know he’s there. Ha’manu and I slice through two more of their number leaving just one of them up and active. I turn to aid Gertie charging at the evil scaly red woman.

Evil red woman is harder to hit than I expected, she manages to land a blow on me that leaves me reeling and feeling inexplicably weak. Gertie is struck hard and falls senseless to the ground. An arrow comes flying through and hammers the red woman in the chest, it must have been some kind of special arrow, the blood flowing from her wound starts to flame. She pulls back and casts her hands down, a resounding crash echoes through the church, dust flies everywhere, blinding us in a caustic haze.

I fumble in the darkness for Gertie, my last site of her broken form causing me to fear for her life. I manage to find her in the darkness and pour the potion that Cilka had given me down her throat. I can’t tell if it’s had any effect, she’s still not moving. I drag her backwards desperately searching for an edge to the darkness. We spill into the light only to be attacked by the evil dogs as soon as we get clear.

I see flashing lights off to the side and hope my companions are faring better then we. With Jenson’s help the dogs are finally put our of our misery. I run to my companion’s assistance providing distraction while they deal with the rest of the orcs.

On the Fallen
Locket on a silver chain – claw of the demon
Dagger
Book – Divinations
2 suites of half plate, I take one with me on my horse, Ha’manu takes the other
2 long spears
2 shields
250 gold

We take the horses remaining, including the larger war beasts. Ha’manu threatens his into submission.

We go to see the dwarves before we make good our escape of the doomed city. We camp with the dwarves overnight, just past the farmland outside Laibach.

We rest with the refugee/dwarven encampment overnight. I am still feeling weak, but not quite as weak as a kitten anymore.

We decide to ride on toward Prebold to check in with Gertie’s family, then head north.

We reach Prebold, taking refreshments in the main hall while Gertie speaks with her father. Jenson and I take this opportunity to refill the group’s food pouches. We stay the night and make haste in the early morning.

Winding our way through the mountains, on the fourth day see a body off to the side. Ha’manu, Gerti and Coy go to investigate. The body appears to have had its chest ripped open and his heart looks like it’s been eaten. Swooping down from the sky come fantastical monsters, with the horns of a stag, the wings and bodies of eagles, their front feet are hooven and they have evil menacing teeth. They attack the group as it prays over the body of the unfortunate victim. A few of them fly over head out of reach of our weapons. I run toward those being attacked on the ground. Gertie goes all righteous on one while Ha’manu barrels through another. Jenson for some strange reason decides to put away his bow and get out his axe. Coy transforms into his alter self to try to catch the ones still in the sky. We ultimately prevail against the winged demons, even taking an antler as trophy. When the monsters passed overhead their shadows appeared human in shape, but only after they had touched our shadows. This may have something to do with their magic or madness.

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Session #11
Holding the Wall

March 12

We are continuing our battle along the wall defending Laibach. We have successfully smitten the first wave including the manticores and are hammering through the last of those to approach. Gertie’s command is sorely pressed, Dom and I hop the wall to attack them from behind.
Four waves of creatures come at us in this manner we hammer them all away taking casualties only among the militia. Bolstered by the ease with which we’ve dispatched an entire section of the enemy we gather for some healing and head toward the main gate to aid in their defense. On our way there, we hear a horrendous crash as the gates are breached.

Moving toward us in a haze of pounding dust raised by its ponderous, heavy passage comes one of the great tusked monsters with four archers riding high on its broad swaying back. The elephant is preceded by a double line of our now familiar orcish adversaries. Adding to the nightmare facing us, one of the scaly winged terrors we’ve faced before comes rising up over the roofs of the buildings lining the street. Screeching, it shoots its spiny missiles into our midst cutting us to ribbons.

We face off with this ominous line of foes. Webbing springs up across the way catching half their numbers in its sticky grasp. This allows us to handily dispatch their agile frontline as they make their way through the trap. Coy makes a daring attempt at catching the Manticore in midair, unfortunately it evades his grasp, swooping low to rake me with its talons. I spin as it passes, barely managing to catch the beast as it tries to maneuver in the tight space. Fate smiles upon me as I deal it a savage blow, knocking it from the sky. I turn to see the webbing break loose in the fires their second line has kindled to clear their way. The tusked monster crashes through its smoldering remains charging through half our number trampling my friends to the ground. Seeing my companions torn beneath its monstrous feet, I charge to their rescue and the world explodes into darkness…

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Session #10
Reclaiming the Cathedral

February 23
We head out to track the villagers that have been herded off by the orcs. We find them encamped only a few miles away. It is heavily defended, we scout to get an idea of their numbers. On the way back we encounter a campsite. It is a small bump on the road on our way back to Laibach to report our news to the duke.

February 24
The duke allows us use of the church. We decide our best course of action is to work on rebuilding the church. We offer fish stew, bread and wine to anyone in the city that would like to come help us during our day of work. The church is close to the city wall, as part of our rebuilding we fortify the steeple and add a platform to allow an archer to take position and help defend the city.

Over the next several days we work on the church and laying the groundwork for the people to accept the gods back into their hearts and lives. Kuni makes small tokens to give away to a few folks, she gives a short blessing along a small bunch of seeds in a pouch on a cord.

March 9
The war council commences.
On hand:
200 Militia
80 more experienced ground troops
30 Heavy Calvary
40 Light Cavalry

Lords are all bickering about best course of action, dwarves are markedly silent, Coy goes over to talk to one of them. The dwarves were intrigued by our adventures and returned to the church to hear more.

Gertie was able to talk the duke out of holding her and Alexander hostage against their fathers abiding by their duties and sending troops to help in Laibach’s defense. She convinced him they would be well protected by being given small troop to lead in the battle.

March 12-
Coy positions us strategically along the wall, he asks for input, but really he’s thought it out so well our unschooled military advice is not helpful.

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Session #9
A Giant Fight

February 19 -

after dawn, most of the party has hiked back to the landing where the longboat was pulled ashore, but Coy and Kunigunde are stuck meeting with the Duke. He asks the party to investigate if Aachau has been attacked already, or if their couriers are being intercepted in some other way. Coy strikes a deal with him to get use or guardianship of the ruined cathedral if you complete this task.

It takes until dark to rendezvous with the rest of the party, pay off the blood price for the guard Dom killed, row upstream to Breza, find the farmer who sold you the boat and sell it back to him, and finally get back to Fenenga. The party gratefully collapses for the night in the empty manor house.

February 20 -

the party sets off for Zalec, which seems like the most likely place for couriers to come through if they’re traveling quickly southwest from Aachau. Travel is slow, because the party is paranoid about the lack of game animals in the area. The party makes camp on the south side of the river a few miles from Zalec, then Dom and Coy scout on the hills south of the valley where Zalec sits. They spot some fires and a guardpost (probably orcish) and decide it would be best to try and sneak around to the northside of the river and approach the fort at Zalec itself.

February 21 -

the party backtracks several miles to a good ford and rides through the icy river without serious problems. They spend most of the rest of the day tending to themselves and the horses so that no one stays wet and cold for too long.

February 22 -

The party takes a less direct path through wooded hills and around one of the rough peaks north of the river to get a few miles from Zalec just before dusk. Finding a well-sheltered dale to leave the horses tied up, the party sets off for Zalec. Coy leads them to Zalec and there are several tough fights at the fort itself.

Our next game will start just after midnight on February 23.

========

Ha’manu’s recollections:

Coy and Cunagunda had an audience with the Duke at dawn. The rest of us, unaware that they had been detained, snuck back to the boats and waited for them. They explained to the Duke all that we learned from the hired killers that came after Gertrude’s father, and told him again that the Chalcedonians were a threat. He gave greater weight to our words than he did when we see him the first time, now that we had proof his captain of the guard was a traitor. Still, they did not mention anything about Dragons or Gods. He charged them with a task, to scout the areas east of Libach to learn why the couriers had been delayed, and see what danger the towns there might be facing. Rather than ask for payment for this service, Coy asked if it would be ok if we stayed at the cathdral ruin when we came back. The Duke said “…Sure.” And charged us 50 gold for killing his guard. Which we paid. We took the boat back to the dock where we bought it and sold it back to the old owner. We got enough to cover Dom’s blood price with some left over. We recovered the horses from the stables and set off to the east. We traveled slower than we could have, with Coy and I on foot and off the road sweeping for Orcs that might be lying in wait for travelers. We approached a place that had a Z in the name, and we were to go north from there, but Coy and Dom saw signs of orcs. There were bonfires that looked like the camps of two orc tribes, and there were watch camps around them with orcs, and something bigger than orcs, but not the size of an Ogre.

We followed our scouts to a manor house that the orcs had occupied and made ready to sneak in and/or assault the place. Coy and Dom snuck up to the wall while the rest of us readied our bows. As they got to the bottom of the wall, they were seen by the guard at the top. Coy started climbing the wall and we started shooting, and the orc was dead by the time the nimble elf reached the top. But not before he had time to shout a warning. The rest of us ran to the wall and started climbing as well, but Coy was the only one who could see the manticore that had been awakened by the guard’s warning. He loosed an arrow at the creature as it rose from its nest and then another that took the creature in the chest and burst out its back in a fountain of blood. By this time, Dom and I had gained the top of the guard tower, just as the manticore, injured but by no means defeated, whipped a hail of spikes at us all from its tail. The manticore was flying and too far away for me to hit, even with my glaive, so I tore open the hatch in the tower floor and dove down the stairs. There was a stair and two hallways, and one of the hallways had a set of double doors that looked like they would be important, so I went to those and opened them. Up above, the combined punishment of Cilka’s magical missiles and Coy’s mundane ones proved too much for the manticore and it crashed to the ground. Cunagunda managed to climb the wall and they all moved down the hatch.

Downstairs, I had found the orc lord awakening from his bed. Unfortunately, he was not one of those orc lords that likes to fight in heavy armor that you can’t sleep in. No, he was more of a sorcerer lord. He hit me with a spell and I felt as weak as a kitten or a normal person like Kallie. So I hit him with my glaive. Clearly, his magic was powerful because I didn’t cut him in half. Then he made a lightning bolt at me, which sent me diving to the side a cost me my chance to gut him. Then he pulled a wand and started shooting little missiles at me. Cilka ducked into the room to return fire on him and together we finished him off. Out in the hall, Dom, Coy and Cunagunda cleaned up the lord’s guards without trouble until the minotaur showed up. He gutted Dom, but then Cilka and I turned our attention to him. We hit him hard and he hit back, hurting me badly with horns and axe. After another pass between us, he fell with his chest cut open and I was only still on my feet thanks to raw rage. Cunagunda tended to our injuries as we heard a ruckus being raised outside.

We went down the stairs to the room below and saw the bodies of the former owners of this place, and perhaps the bodies of couriers as well, all looted and piled in a corner. Outside, a mob of more than a half dozen orcs gathered around a hill giant, who began heaving boulders at the main door of the house. Coy rushed out into the courtyard and drew the attention of most of the enemy, and the rest of us followed. We made short work of the orcs and I charged the hill giant. I didn’t hit him, but he hit me. I swung at him again as Coy and Dom moved to join me, but again missed. Moments later I was on the ground, ribs crushed, neck broken, breathing my last breaths. Cunagunda rushed forward to save me as the combined attacks of Coy, Dom and Cilka brought the giant low.

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Session #8
Defending Laibach from Itself

With a piece of chalk on the surface of the altar, Jenson draws out the constellations we saw on the ceiling of the chamber where we left the idol. We don’t notice any obvious effect from his endeavors.

Jenson heads out to go check on the family of the sergeant of the watch whose son disappeared.
We explain our delay to Gertie’s father, Coy describes the undead we fought. Hamanu also brings up the dragon we saw evidence of. Gertie’s father attempts to explain these things away, rationalizing what we may have “really” encountered. We explain that we did not speak of these things in front of the duke because we did not want him to discount the dire threats we were bringing tidings of. Coy offers to bring Lord Henrick to the church to show him evidence of the undead we slew.

Lord Henrick asks our advice, if we think he should head home now and ride in the dark or stay the night in the town. He is unsure what course of action would be the safest. Coy tells him he does not think either course is safe for him, but that whatever he chooses he should let the Duke know where he is, so his wife is not endangered.

I go to find Venko, as I had planned to do before being distracted by the zombies.
Coy is escorting Lord Henrick to the church to show him the catacombs with the remains of the undead to help prove to him our stories are true.
We secure lodgings at the Fox and Glove for the night and all plan to return from their various errands by midnight.

The necromancer was the one that contacted the captain of the guard just before Cilka and the rest left town the first time. Lord Henrick feels that we should have more evidence before we try to bring this to the duke, especially if we are accusing his captain of betraying him.
Coy leaves a pattern of debris on the trapdoor so he will know if others have been down there when we come back.

I am woefully unsuccessful in locating Venko, nobody will talk to me and I end up having to dodge foul liquids thrown from a balcony. I give it up in disgust and return to the tavern, sorely in need of a drink. At least I didn’t end up in a dungeon this time. I need to stick to hitting things, that at least I understand and am fairly good at.

Earlier in the evening Dom noticed that there is a person watching the tavern from an alley across the way. He checks back later on and see that he is still there.

We plan to flush him out, sadly our timing is a little off and uncharacteristically alerts him by splashing in a puddle. The guy moves out of the alley, away from Coy who gives chase, catching up with him easily, Coy grapples him. Kuni notices that there is a scuffle outside, earlier than we expected and we all pile out of the inn to help our beleaguered pal. Cilka decides to stay in the inn with Lord Henrick, good thing too, some thugs comes in through the back.

Three decently armored thugs come in through the back door of the inn. Cilka dives through the window calling to Lord Henrick to follow her. One of the thugs exits the inn through the front door following Cilka and Lord Henrick. Jenson notices their plight and starts pin-cushioning the bad guy. The other two follow Cilka and Lord Henrick out the already broken window. Lord Henrick handles himself well, Coy and Cilka are hard pressed, they both go down. We cut through most of the thugs, the lead bad guy takes off back through the tavern. Ha’manu, Jenson, Dom and I give chase to him through the tavern and into the kitchen. He’s a fast little bugger, I take a swing at him, missing as he steps away from me, and pauses to swig a potion. I manage to catch up to him and finally land a solid blow taking him down as he slowly fades from view in front of me.

The lead bad guy has a money belt that can hold around 500 coin, it currently has 200 gold. He also has a blackened iron dagger that radiates magic, it’s name is blackblade, it is a +1 dagger that does an additional 2 points of damage when backstabbing. There is also a potion of cure moderate wounds.

The scout has 24 gold. Kuni talks to him, trying to persuade him to tell us who set him in the ally to watch us. The scout was a hired thug from the street.

His name is Cyrus, he does not want to tell us the name of his boss, we don’t have much leverage to use against him. He asks what kind of deal can we make, we say we want information. Cyrus says his boss is Elsabetha (the dragon lady). Elsabetha will be coming sometime within the next two weeks. Cyrus’s contact within the dukes people is named Eric (who is the captain of the guard). Cyrus was supposed to send word when we were dealt with. Cyrus will flee if we free him, Elsabetha does not hold well with failure.

Dom speaks with the innkeep, he gives him the smaller pouch we took from the scout for his troubles and to help him escape.

(Jeff note taking while I put kids to bed)
talking about next steps. get out of town and come back in a few days to expose Cpt Erik?
time frame, puts Ellisabeta attacking Siscia anytime and then a couple weeks to Laibach.
debating best course, escort heinrich back (possible ambush), then come back and attempt to expose Erik. left city same way we did last time and then picked up horses.
return to heinrichs very early dawn (feb 17th)\…group fatigued (not me or Kuni) and crash out.
that evening we are helping to get them packed and ready to leave, Kuni mass heals everyone and we let the cat out of the bag to Heinrich about the gods being back.

Gerti gets 23hp back
heinrich tells stories that night about his home and talks about the Order of the Star being tied to the gods and an order of good. heinrich has potential family (no contact) in achau.
discussing options for after Laibach. possibly get to Achau and alert them as well. find the order of the star

next morning (feb 18th) heinrich and family leave for Prebold, we plan our attack.
We take acquire a boat and take that up the river to Laibach, planning to be at the base of the hill at the foot of the keep just around 1 AM or so. Dom and Cilka will go ahead and create a mist to hide our approach. Dom will lower a rope for us to scale the wall. We ascend with our typical grace and stealth.

We start searching the keep for the captain’s quarters. With little to go on we start quietly opening doors looking for the captain’s room. The first room we go in is not Eric’s, we leave a knocked out person cleverly disguised as a sleeping person in his own bed. We send Jenson in to check the next captain’s quarters as he knows what Eric looks like. Again we are so coordinated and stealthy we manage to allow Eric to raise an alarm.

Cilka casts an illusion to misdirect the guards alerted by Eric’s yell while we silence Eric. We find Chelcadonian coin in his mattress and documents hidden on the bottom of a drawer. The documents detail the timing of the attack, around the 12th of March. Coy and Kuni will stay in the keep and charm one of the more loyal captains to bring them to the duke to turn in Captain Eric.

We escape out the balcony and down the wall, circling around the keep to wait for Kuni and Coy. Kuni and Coy convince Captain Joseph to go to the duke with the evidence against Eric. Joseph takes off to the duke telling Kuni and Coy to stay there and watch Eric. Coy and Kuni promptly take off trying to make good their escape. Their timing leaves something to be desired; they run into Joseph and the duke on the stairs on their way up to Eric’s room. Kuni and Coy speak frankly with the duke, apologizing for their methods, yet emphasizing the dire need for the traitor to be revealed. The duke asks for a blood price for the guard that was killed and demands a full accounting of all that they know of the peril that faces Laibach. Kuni and Coy are led away while the duke settles his house.

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