Age of Despair

Bandit Pre-Run

Koi- Weaponless elf that randomly heals injured bandits. He is learning common, but does not yet communicate well at all. He keeps to himself outside the camp, but is welcoming and will share fish stew and a cup of tea. He is tall and muscular for an elf at 5’8” with blue eyes and is clothed in what once looked to be good quality silken materials, but is now ragged with wear.

Hamanu- Is a refugee that has temporarily come to rest at the bandit camp, much to his dismay. He carries a Greataxe and tends to be a loner. Dark skin, dark hair.

Right now it is winter, approaching larger new moon.

Vinko is leader of the bandits Carlo was his right hand man until he was killed last year.

Lord Othmar is a person of note in the area. Vinko has lined up a job for the bandits, this could set us up to go through the rest of the winter comfortably.

Ribneeka is the town the lord is from and where we are headed.

In place of Carlo, Vinko has asked us to accompany him on a side trip to his healing spring, he has been ailing with a wasting cough that has been getting progressively worse. Vinko is attempting to keep his affliction hidden from the rest of the bandits.

Once on the road Vinko confesses it is not a spring that heals him, we are heading to an old Crone in a Dell. He is worsening and gives us directions: Follow game trails toward the east, stunted oak with 7 trunks, turn to the south. After further questioning, he says to follow the ridge line to a stream bed to reach the game trail, stay on that stream bed it will lead to the right game trail and watch for the oak, going right there will lead us straight to the Dell.

Booted tracks are along the trail, this looks like a more visited area than we had imagined.

On the way into the Dell the small group runs into four orcs and a wolf.

Callie is severely wounded, but the party prevails. The orc tracks cris-crossed the area, they appeared to be searchig for something. A search of the corpses revealed a small catch of coins, a cheap tin horn, and some ragged armor. The group fashions a litter for Callie and continues on the journey. After several exhausting hours they come upon a clearing with a small comfortable cottage. An old woman answers the door and becomes them in offering help and succour.

The old woman expertly tends their wounds with poultices, while she does this a soothing blue light touches the wounds through her hands and seems to draw the wounds closed. Her home is comfortable and well appointed, with a small artfully created statue of a wrapped wheat bundle. The statue is warm to the touch, the old woman says it knows when it is needed and responds to that need.

A horn sounds in the distance, the orcs have found their trail and will soon be upon them. The old woman hands Koi the statue and asks him to take it to a holy place, the statue must be saved.

Facing hopeless odds Koi turns to his companions and with apologies he confesses to them that he is cursed. He asks for their forgiveness, to trust him and fall into place by his side as he turns away, moving toward the enemy he changes, his body expanding painfully to twice its normal size.

A glowing blue light springs up, blinding the oncoming orcs. The group holds steady and prevails against the initial wave, but more appear at the edge of the clearing. A hidden archer sends an arrow racing toward the old woman, striking her and reducing her to ashes. The arrow is made of a white wood and marked with runes, we recover the arrow and run to escape the oncoming orcs.

Fleeing the orcs we head toward the edge of the snow line to try to hide our trail. Deciding to head toward the city to attempt to puzzle out the mystery the arrow and statue present we wander lost for a few hours before we find our way. The distant sounds of horns pursue us
toward our goal.

After resting we enter the city by the main gate. Making our way to the church we enter it’s old burnt out halls. The center table has holes as if something was once mounted on it’s surface. There is a trap door in the floor behind the alter, hidden under debris. The hinges squeal with protest but grudgingly give way. A dark passageway leads down a short set of stone stairs to a dark dank chamber. We decide to find the Fox and Glove and get some supplies before we explore it any further. We hide the opening and go in search of the tavern.

I head out to market while the rest of the group rests and Koi works on healing Ha’manu. Picking up a few supplies and selling the Falchion we took off the orc.

The next day we explore the church catacomb. The stairs spiral down to a dark corridor that leads to an empty room. There is art on the walls that appears burnt in patches, almost like what was represented burned away leaving the background images intact. Along the base of one of the images there is a line of wheat still visible in the background. This is interesting given the design of the statue we have been entrusted with. The hallway continues on with arches on either side, there are walled up crypts filling the archways. At the end of the hallways is a room with an alter. Then the undead appear. Joy.

There is a quick but furious battle against the skeletons that come upon us. Once they are dealt with we placed the statue on the alter. The muted glow increases to a burning orange and the heat from the statue intensifies. Koi touches the statue and is immediately healed, much more quickly and completely than before. The bones left from the skeletons have turned to dust. Hamanu receives healing from the statue as well. We explore the hall, trying to see if the skeletons came from the crypts that were walled up. It looks like any skeletons that were here have turned to dust.

We explore the church looking for anything else that may have changed since placing the statue on the alter. Koi and Hamuna spend time in the alter room below and are filled with a sense of peace and well being. They heal, and the time I spend near the statue improves my condition as well.

We return to the tavern to speak with Venko and see if we can find my cousin to get some answers about the arrow.

We will search for my cousin and see if she can help us find answers to the questions the arrow leaves us.

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Session #1
Goblins & Mushrooms

it is January 16th:

Kuni is my cousin, we meet up with her in town and I explain all of our adventures to date.

Samo is the Duke

Klemen is the Lord

Gertrude, Gertie (Kathy)

Silca is Jen’s Character

Silca holds the arrow and her eyes go a little distant, she says she can now read the word Peoni on the arrow. She says she might be able to learn more about it when she has more time.

Gertie talks about “the order of the star” they may be able to protect the statue. They are an order that had fallen into disorganization as so many did after the gods left. They are an order of warriors that defend the helpless and the weak. Henric was the leader when they were in service to the gods, they fell apart when the gods abondened the world. There is now a new leader that is arising, Gertie had been planning to find them.

(Jeffo) Dom- (half orc) Says the arrow was not made by orcs, could have been made for orcs.

Silca casts identify item:
The Arrow is an arrow of slaying specifically targeted to one person or group of people and is defined by the runes on it.

The statue does not radiate magic in a way that Silca is used to, it is not an arcane device, but it is magic.

Paulina was the old crone that gave us the statue.

We camp overnight in the woods, on the way to visit the cave Gertie and her brother used when they were children. Her brother was recently slain.

1/17/11

The night passes uneventfully, we wake and continue on. The cave is about 3.5 ours away, as we get closer we smell a campfire.

We come to the mouth of the cave, there is a stench coming from the right inner corner. We proceed into the cave, meeting resistance along the way. We handily dispatch the monsters, Hamanu is fierce in battle and is the most wounded.

The caverns in the cave look to have been store rooms that have been ransacked. This area does not look like it’s been inhabited by the little creeps for long. There is a door that looks to have been wedged shut. Against the advice of Silca, we kick it open and are faced with huge spongy fungus monsters. Our weapons seem to have little effect on them. Silca steps forward and spouts fire from her hands sending searing flames over the three mushrooms. 2 of them are very hurt, the other seems to be a different kind of mushroom, tentacles whip out of the top. This last fungi is viscous and very hard to kill. We manage to overpower it taking many wounds in the process.

Loot from the room with a desk:
A couple of scrolls, some pages from a book, wax tablets, an old ledger book and a tarnished wine chalice with gems on it. 40 GP 60 Silver and 4 carnelians. Hamanu is carrying them for us.

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Session #2

Run Date 5-29-11

We are currently in the cave after having defeated the mushrooms, most of us have some injuries.
Scrolls Identified – Comprehend Language, Spider Climb, Flaming Sphere
We hear sounds coming up the hallway, Coy takes watch while we try to regroup. Coy signals Jensen that enemies are incoming. We move to defend ourselves against a few orcs and a hobgoblin. After a tight fight at the mouth of the corridor we come away with a master work short sword and a small bag of gold.
We continue down the corridor determining it’s better to push on even though we are all badly wounded than wait and try to recover here without knowing what might come at us. Coy is in the lead as his eyes work best in this dank light. We fight our way through a couple of archers and a spearman to a cavern. The cavern has a few rudimentary huts set up almost like a smallish village. These huts are a mishmash of material and are built up on tree trunk stilts, the cavern has a ledge that runs around the side wall to the right and drops off steeply down about 40 feet to the floor below.
As we circle around the ledge toward the huts, archers appear in holes torn in the hut walls and fire upon us, and spearman move toward us along the ledge. Coy does his growy thing and leads the way into the fray. With great effort and skill (plus 2 crits!) we dispatch the enemy.
Searching the huts turns up nothing but a few silver and gold in the dirty nests left behind by the goblins. Coy takes the most direly injured to the smaller hut down the way, unwraps the statue and starts his healing. This hut is in better shape than the first three, there are a couple of bottles with colored liquid in them and a chest full of gold. The bottle with the muddy colored liquid is a potion of lesser restoration, the nature of the remaining potions eludes us.
Coy works on healing all of us overnight. Jensen seems to have some kind of rapport with the statue, when he is near or touching it the statue behaves like it did when it was on the alter at the old church. By the next day we are all greatly improved, much more than can be attributed to even Coy’s impressive healing skills.
January 18th:
After we rest we continue past the last hut, up a steep rope net ladder to an upper ledge. There are nesting piles and trash scattered around. The smell is repulsive, fetid with a carrion-like rankness. A beast rears up out of one of the trash heaps; it has the head and hands of a goblin, but appears to move on all fours and has the body of a bear. It casts some kind of spell that overcomes my cousin, Jensen, Hamanu and I with a crushing sense of despair. Fighting to overcome the feeling of helplessness and despair I move forward and try to attack it. The monster seems to be shifting, playing tricks with our eyes. Kuni tries to counter the despair, inspiring us with her song and verse.
The Bear Goblin is extremely tough and hard to kill. We finally wound it badly enough that it tries to escape by tearing what looks like a hole in the air creating a slice-like door in nothing leading elsewhere. As it moves to go through the portal it created, we are able to take our last hits upon it, our attacks and another fire attack from Cilka are finally enough to bring the beast down.
One of the other 2 nests in the room starts to move; Jensen, fearing the worst, immediately fires an arrow into it and dispatches what appears to have been a goblin in a living sack. It’s in some kind of horrific in-between phase of goblin/bear monster. This looks like how the bear-like goblins come to be. We destroy the remaining bear goblin sack in horror, almost feeling pity for the poor creature inside.
Searching the rooms turns up nothing else. On the way out of the cavern we search the Hobgoblin and other bodies of the monster we slew the day before. There is nothing much worth taking, the weapon and armor is mostly rusted and worthless. We do find a couple of weapons we might be able to sell.
Once we leave the caves we head east to find a safe place to camp for the rest of the day and overnight. We all need time to recover from our injuries and some of us would like to take the time to read the papers we found in the caves. Coy cautions us against the corrupting dangers of the written word. Cilka offers to dare those dangers and using the comprehend languages scroll, she deciphers the torn pages.
The papers tell of the time of the great war when the Umbrian Empire almost fell. Forming an alliance they turned defeat into victory against Byrsa. They were so successful they took the war across the sea to the capital of Byrsa. Over time they expanded into Illian lands through commerce rather than by arms. Spreading law across the lands they overtook most if not all of the east. The papers continue to detail out the lives and achievements of future Emperors and what impacts they had on the spread of the Umbrian rule. (detailed info available on the website)
The book looks like a log book, it is handwritten by many authors. It looks to be of newer origin based on the language used using newer words. Legio 14 is what it is called, the last timeframe mentioned is about 250-300 years ago, around the time the gods left and it mentions the town of Leiboch, Teirgesta, Siskia and Solona. It contains notes of catastrophic events, earthquakes and talks of being forsaken. It is mostly a log book containing lists of items of worth.
January 19th
After much discussion we decide to divide with Jensen, Coy and Hamanu going to scout the orc camp and the rest of us heading back into town to get supplies and try to spread the word of an imminent orc attack.
We head into town getting the supplies we need first, we pick up a medical kit for Coy and travel rations and sell the weapons we took off the goblins in the cave. Then we head to the tavern, where Kuni spreads word of the orc attack on Cilka in her very special way.
Next game June 12th.

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Session #4
Storming the Palace

It is January 29th, Large moon is low, small moon is high. There is some light, but not a lot.

We are attacking the town.

Trying to get in to find the captain and the item that Cilka was supposed to get.

We are able to scale the wall without too much difficulty mostly avoiding the guards, except for that one guy Coy took care of for us.

There are footprints, barefoot, medium sized presumably male leading along the second floor of the fortification walls. The footprints lead down the stairs and appear to go out the door.

The town looks to have been attacked by a dragon during its fall to the pirates of calcedonia.

We come across the owner of the barefoot footprints, he is a scrubby guy wearing a ratty robe with a cloak thrown over it, he’s covered in soot from hiding out in the burned out buildings. His name is Sabas. He describes the dragon that attacked the town and the woman that rode his back. He tells of the holy man Aurelias, whose grave he tends, he continues to serve him even in his death.

Sabas leads us to the courtyard of the church. There are 4 statues of men kneeling facing toward the large building. The large building’s structure is like a cross on the first floor, with the center cresting into a dome. The statues have not be desecrated. The men are in farmer, a stone artisan, a soldier and a politician all share the same face, probably the four faces of Aurelias Pius.

The church has no pews or benches, the dome arches up and is mostly bare plaster with only a few tiles on the lower rim. There is an alter directly across, with a older statue behind of a woman holding a spear aloft. The church has obviously had activity recently, there is stone dust and smashed stone. Coy places the statue on the alter, it glows in a soft golden color. The statues to the right and left have been destroyed. Along the rim where the tiles are there are regular golden tiles, making lines around the rim. There are two doors toward the back of the church that lead to store rooms.

Sabas tells us the dome used to have the night sky with the stars of the heavens depicted. Sabas further talks to us of the nightly walks of Aurelias, he agrees to take us to where these walks usually originate.

The door to the church opens and a black cloaked figure enters. Jenson rushed him, he cries out and is silenced by Dom.

We hear yelling from outside of the church, a couple of voices yelling orders and booted feet. We hide the body in one of the store rooms while Coy goes around out the back of the church to scout the sounds coming from the courtyard. We go out the back and wait for Coy to return in the small unused courtyard out behind the church. The outcry is a rally to the docks, the boots are on fire. We wait for them to leave and decide to go to where they are keeping the artisans with the hope of finding the pirate captain, Faruk.

The courtyard appears to be deserted, we head up to the second floor. There is a main hallway with small doored rooms of to each side. We search the rooms for the captain, rousing everyone in the process. Gertie takes control of the situation, questioning the woken townspeople. They have not heard of the person we are searching for, we suggest that now would be a good time for them to make their escape if they are so inclined.

We head toward the mausoleum, it’s on the way to the castle which is our next best bet for finding Faruk. The mausoleum is small but well crafted. It doesn’t look to have been defaced at all. There is not much to find.

We scale the wall to make our way into the palace. I accidentally kick a unlit brazier alerting the guard to our presence. We take care of the guards and enter the foyer of the castle.

The room opens up into a main living area with an opulent bed, there is a slave girl named Lita in the bed, we question her. She tells us where the prisoners are being kept.

We search the room, finding charts and a map of the harbor. The desk has a wine bottle and a couple of stoppered alchemist bottles. The map has a few tokens placed upon it. Wooden square tokens look to be being moved toward the wooded hills. Coy marks the map where the tokens are with some of the wine, we roll the map and take it with us.

We head down toward where they are holding the prisoners we fight our way down the stairs. There are courtrooms on either side, there was a rich looking gentleman wearing a purple cloak running through the courtroom so our left, we wanted to follow him but opted instead to explore down the stairs in the corridor that led below hoping to find our man. We free all the captives including the one we’ve been looking for. Faruk tells us the package he was to deliver was a book that was taken from him, the book’s cover is decorated with a black forked tongue.

We take Faruk with us and pursue the guy in the purple cloak. A huge battle ensues, we are hard pressed, but prevail.

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Session #5
An Underground Temple

We search the rooms of to the sides of the area where we were fighting. One of them is an extensive
and well appointed bathing room. The other room is full of statues, busts of important looking men,
and some dwarves on display. Some of the names are familiar from the history of the realm we found.

Kuni and Gertie question the Simian- Count Torckez, was commanded by the Emporer to take control of
the town. To secure it as a forward naval base and to escort a party here. The woman that commands
to sky and flame (rode the dragon) is names Elezabetha, she serves the Emporer in name if not in spirit.
He did not wish to take hostages, he intended to overtake the town by a show of force he was hoping
for no resistance. Elezabetha is heading north with her army to secure the northern territories. Torckez
does not know how she came to be in partnership with the dragon. Torckez has heard tell of more
dragons, but has not seen any himself. He requests we send for ransom from Chalcedon, where he has
family. We tell Torckez that the arms we took from him are the ransom, and he will agree not to pursue
us. In exchange we will have the bard in our group sing his praises and extol his virtues, if he does
pursue us, the songs that will be sung will bawdily describe his fall to a small group of ruffians. We leave
him secured in the storeroom and we tell him not to try to get free until well past dawn, if we see him
before we leave, we will not be as merciful. He negotiates to have the bonds left off and give his word
he will not exit the storeroom until after dawn.

We find the room of the Freaky religious guy we were pursuing, a piece of jewelry with medallion of a
star with five points in different colors, also in the room is a large book that no one can read and a box.
Cilka opens the box, it has a longue black forked tongue that appears to have been torn out of whatever
it came from nestled on a brown leather pillow. We also find 200 gold in loose coin.

Hamanu notices that what looks like severe weather is coming in from the sea side.

We decide to go try to speak to the ghost, we follow the marble stairs down to the lower level. There is
a a few inches of water on the floor, it is very dark, too dark for even Coy to see. Crypts line the walls of
the walls, there are a few stone coffins and piles of rags and bones skattered around.

We hear skittering off in the darkness. We are the set upon by large crabs and a couple of swarms of
tiny crabs. Sorely wounded we move on. The corridor slopes slightly upwards, the water is left behind.
The corridor leads to a round room with a pedestal with three cut pieces of glass resting on it. Hamanu
picks up one of the diamonds, a stone slab slams down on the entrance where we came in and water
starts to poor in from holes in the walls. Looking around, Cilka notices there are what appears to be
a map of stars on the ceiling. Hamanu boosts Jenson up, Jenson places the diamonds in a hole in the
ceiling, the water stops pooring in, the water starts to drain away and the doors open.

We move on through the other door, and enter into a smaller room with 6 altars, one is empty the
others have clay fired statues, a spear, sword, a harp, balancing scales and a scroll. We place the wheat
idol on the empty altar. All the idols look similar, made in a similar style. When the wheat idols is
placed on the empty altar, the ceiling starts to glow. A feeling of piece and calm come over us (at least
anyone that rolled better than a 15). The scroll idol has changed and now appears to be a real scroll,

Jenson picked up the scroll, he holds a scroll in his hand and the scroll idol is still on the altar. The scroll
is written in common, titled, on the observances and worship of the gods. It is a very exhaustive text.
The scroll is of the highest quality. There are names written Larani (spear), mother of the gods, goddess
of nobility and honor. Istus (scales), god of justice. Paoni (wheat), goddess of restoration, healing and
renewal. Merylar (harp), goddess of arts and creation and Cord (sword) got of strength, power and
chaos. Jeridian (scroll) god of knowledge.

Jenson goes to the idol and focusing on it with his eyes closed. Jenson turns around, touches Hamanu,
Cilka, Coy and me on the forehead. We immediately feel much better. The feeling is similar to what we
felt when we were healed in the old woman’s cottage. Jenson’s hands were glowing when he touched
us.

As we leave the temple, the door slides shut and the diamonds are back on the pedestal. The door to
the temple has a symbol of branch with leaves, like a laurel. Coy obscures our tracks, we exit through
the door that is askew in the room where we fought the crabs, hoping it leads to the sea. The far wall in
the next room has an underwater passage to the outside. We all make it out and head toward our most
recent camp. Coy scouts the burning ships and looks for sailors, the remaining sailors are being held
captive, he tried to rescue them but was forced to withdraw.

We head back toward the ship, cold wet and miserable we reach the ship and finally rest. Overnight
during the storm the anchor rope snaps, we are forced to raise sail to avoid the rocky coast. The storm
rages for a day and a half. We sail southwest and west until we put into a small cove at the opposite
end of the sea.

While at sea Cilka takes the time to identify the unknown potions, Gertie’s sword and the scroll. There is
a magic to the scroll, but it is subtle and beyond our comprehension. Cilka also looks at the tongue in a
box, it was wrenched from a demon’s craw and is associated with heat and a dry wind. She also looks at
the book, which is not magical in nature.

Dawn of February 1st

We set to and make repairs to the ship from the storm. We are now on the Umbrian coast. The
shoreline is sandy leading up to the mountains which fiercely craggy. We go to shore while the sailors
make repairs and study the scroll we received at the temple. The scroll is understandable to anyone
that takes the time to study it. The sword that Gertie carries has symbols that match the symbols on
the book, Hamanu makes the connection- they are both Illyan in origin, of course they would match, the
Illyans were the ones that trafficked with demons in the days gone by.

Coy, Jenson and Hamanu go out to gather food for us and the sailors, on their treks, they pass an old
very well engineered road running north to south. There are signs of a village nearby, it looked to be
uninhabited but they had a deer they were bringing back and did not take the time to check it out.

Jenson read the scroll, from what he can tell it talks of a seventh god referred to as the dark lady. Her
symbol is an upside down five pointed star, she fights against the other gods, her nemesis is the mother

of the gods and the god of knowledge is more neutral, he sits back and takes notes.

February 3rd,

We explore the city, it appears to have been abandoned, then taken over by Goblins. There are several
dead goblins scattered around and tracks of armored feet leading off into the mountains due west.
The fight that killed the goblins happened sometime in the last week or so. There is some evidence of
crossbow damage. There looks to be marks made from fallen warriors that were dragged away.

We head west into the hills to see what we can find. We follow the trail for the rest of the day the
ground becomes rocky and covered in shale. As it gets dark we can see some light off in the distance,
it appears to be a tower. We approach the tower and are hailed, after declairing her name and titles,
Gertie is told to move along. She presses the guard asking who resides in this tower, Lord Tiberious.
Kuni offers to bring tidings and entertainment to them in exchange for a place to sleep for the night.

The Tower has a bridge spanning a small dry moat and a fortified wooden door. The door is smaller
in stature than would be comfortable for us. A dwarf greets us at the door. We are given a reluctant
welcome thanks to Kuni’s persuasiveness.

We enter into a large hall with a fire, there are a few dwarves sitting around near the fire (female
dwarves do not indeed have beards). We are directed toward some “fresh” rushes in the corner while
our host goes to the kitchen to see what may be left over that he could provide to us.

Coy speaks with the dwarves, there is a camp of Calcedonians about 20 leagues north. They warm up to
us a bit when they realize we are not with the Calcedonians. We give them the news of our homeland
giving them warning to prepare to defend themselves. The dwarves have a legion flag that is similar to
the legion markings on the book we found in the cave. We show them the book, they explain that the
legion that the book belonged to was primarily a legion of men and was of more recent organization
than theirs.

The dwarves speak of rumors they have heard that the Calcedonians have declared themselves to be
the new center of the empire. Hamanu shows the dwarf the rod he carries, it is a black iron rod with
brass caps on the end of it, incised and highlighted in brass is XX. The dwarf explains the significance
of the rod, it is the symbol of the commander of a that legion’s rank. The dwarf speaks of the history
of the legion and the rod. As the empire became weaker and the borders harder to control, the 20th
legion was tasked to stand against the orcish army, they ran and were executed when they were found.
The staff was lost and the legion was stricken from the rolls in dishonor. Hamanu takes back the rod,
thanking the dwarf and promising to treat it with honor and respect.

Kuni performs for the dwarves, the lord thanks us for sharing the news and any harm we may deal to
the men in the north. We are welcome to stay for the night, but no more.

Umbria was slowly taken over by humans, originally it was a dwarven region.

We discuss our options and what direction to take next. We decide to return to the ship, travel back to

Leibach and attempt to decipher the scroll.

We level up. Anyone who wants to study the scroll may take a level of cleric or paladin.

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Session #6
A visit to Prebold Keep

February 5th

We set sail back to Pola. The going is more difficult as the winds are against us. We help where we can, running the pumps and assisting with our continuing repairs.
Ha’manu seems to have opened up more, I notice him being friendlier with the crew, reminding me of how he was when he first joined our small group, before we started going on raids with the bandits.

February 12th

We reach port on the morning of February 12th. We stay the night with the plan to buy horses in the morning and head up to Laibach.
During dinner Cilka explains what was in the book that her guild was trying to get. The book tells the tale of the fall of Ilios. Ilios was overrun and obliterated by demons. Whatever was done to destroy Ilios and remove the demon scourge seemed to close the door the demons were being summoned through, consequently making it more difficult to commune with the gods. This raises many questions, if the gods are returning, does this mean the demons avenue of access will return with them?
We spend some time in the market changing our spoils to coin so we can buy horses. Gertie impresses us all with her negotiations skills, leveraging much more than I was able to the last time I attempted to exchange our loot for money.
Ha’manu returns with horses for us all, they are not the prettiest beasts, but they should serve us well. I name mine Savory Stu. Cilka has dubbed hers Spark.
Kuni seeks out the town council to warn them of the recent military activity of the Chalcedonians. She secures an appointment with members of the town council, we delay our departure.
Riding shortens our travel time considerably, leaving first thing in the morning, we reach Tergeste just after dusk. We camp outside the town walls.

February 14th

In the morning we travel on to Prebold, a keep held by Lord Klemen in the name of Duke Samo of Laibach. We approach the watch post outside the castle, Gertie declares herself and we enter. Our horses are looked to and we are given refreshments. After a short time we are invited to speak with the Lord. We are brought to a hall, Lord Klemen is sitting next to his young wife at the high table, his son Marcos is by his side. We are brought to a table below the high table, and welcomed by the Lord.
Gertie greets the Lord as she is personally known to him, she had warned us that Lord Klemen is a friend of her parents, and that her welcome might be a tad strained. Kuni is also known to the Lord, she greets him very diplomatically as their previous interactions have been cool at best. Kuni shows Lord Klemen the map and explains where it came from and that we are on our way to warn Laibach. Lord Klemen receives our grave news with solemn appreciation. He goes so far as to offer the keep as a place of refuge to us if we find ourselves in need. We are escorted to the guest suite to prepare as best we can for the dinner he has invited us to.
Coy and Jensen go wandering, they come across an old man in a small library. He introduces himself, his name is Carol, and he asks where they are from. He explains that he has a penchant for exploring the old documents in this library. They discuss the news of the incoming army. Coy and Carol discuss some of the history of the keep. It is of dwarven make, built by the Umbrians many years ago. Coy gets Cilka so she can see the books. Many are quite old, from pre-forsaking. Cilka asks if he has anything on Ilios.
Carol tells us some of the history of Laibach, it was a town of refugees before its rule was taken over by the current government in the time of Carol’s grandfather. Carol talks about the diplomats that recently visited Laibach from Chalcedonia, their goal was to expand trade. We believe theirs was a more nefarious purpose. They talk about an area in the main church of in the capital of Umbria being called a “Threshold” that is located toward the back of the church, not in the front door area as one might expect. The book they are viewing that references this information has pages missing in the area where this is discussed. Carol mentions that most religious books he reviews have similar missing pages in key areas throughout the volumes.
They spend so much time discussing these higher theological mysteries that the Lord’s seneschal is forced to find them to avoid their being late for dinner.
Dinner is a bountiful affair, with roast pig, millet and BEER!
Gertie is invited to the high table, we get to avoid this honor and have a much more enjoyable time among the commoners. Jensen, Ha’manu and I enjoy ourselves a little too much, testing the civility and good graces of our host. It’s not my fault, Ha’manu started it.

February 15th

We depart Prebold bright and too early. Luckily Savory Stu is a temperate beast and gives me little trouble (oh my aching head).
Jensen spies trouble ahead and pulls us all off the road. We dismount and ready ourselves to meet the ambushers. There are many of them, after a very bloody battle we beat them and take the uber archer prisoner.

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Session #7
Return to the Catacombs

Game Run 9/4/11
We loot the bodies and get: 300 Silver, 225 Gold, a masterwork heavy re-curve bow, a chain shirt

We question the orcish archer- apparently we killed his brother, so he has a vendetta against us. He was paid to kill the old woman for the idol. He says if we let him go he will not pursue his vendetta, we think he’s not actively lying. There is a debate within the party about how honorable it is to bargain with him for information if we are just planning to kill him anyway. Jensen offers to get him to speak, but Kuni is going to try to charm him. Personally I’d bargain with him and let him go, people can change. But I don’t feel I have much to say in these matters, they are beyond me.

There is an encampment a ways off the road with the remains of a fire and a horse on a spit. The camp looks empty, there are human bodies piled off to the side. They look like merchants or travelers that had the misfortune to take this path. There are some that are dressed in armor with livery we don’t recognize. The bodies range in age, the oldest are somewhere around 2 weeks old.

We continue on the Gertie’s house. We reach their house around dusk and it looks like there is a storm coming in. Gertie’s home is a manor house that has seen better days. Ha’manu and I take the horses away while the others head into the house. We are served some refreshments while we wait to be received. Gertie and Kuni are escorted away to see The Parents. Gertie’s mom is less than pleases with all of this and ends up being excused from the interview. Gertie’s dad while not happy with his daughters choices, does honor her intentions and offers to accompany us to Laibach to add weight to our warning.
February 16th

We ride to Laibach the next day, making good time. We proceed straight to the keep, Lord Henrick, Gerdie’s, father in the lead. We are taken directly to the duke. The duke is up on a throne on a raised dais, I don’t think the duke is terribly pleased to see Lord Henrick. Sadly my vast experience with nobility and my exemplary social skills allow for a less than grand entrance.

We tell the duke of all we have found, hoping he listens. We arrange to have the duke contact Lord Henrick if he wishes further information.
Lord Henrick plans to close up the manor and take his household to Prebold, taking the invitation offered by Lord Klemen. Coy, Kuni, Gertie and Jensen go to the church while everyone else has lunch at the Fox and Glove. I plan to seek out Venko to pass the warning along to him and tell him of our travels, however, lunch looks too appetizing causing me a fortunate delay as Coy returns calling us to help clear the church of an evil that has infested it.

We cleared the upper level relatively easily and decide to head down to the catacombs. There were many more of the evil undead down below. This was a much more difficult fight, we prevail. Searching the area reveals the tombs that were intact during our last visit have all been broken open from the inside, this is the source of some of the dead we were fighting.
The altar has a star traced out in powdered gem stones. Coy disperses this evil symbol, feeling a chill flow up his arm. He does not appear to be harmed by his action. Jensen traces the symbols we found that we think represent the old gods; a new cleaner aura is now present.

There is a sarcophagi set off to the side that also was broken open from the inside, we think this may be where the leader of the undead down here came from. The name, Sir Stefanus, is inscribed above the tomb, Gertie is familiar with his story, he was some kind of mage slayer, an epic figure in ancient times.

The undead female mage has vestiges of gem powder on her, we think she may have been the that desecrated the alter by inscribing the evil star emblem upon it’s surface. She also had on person some gold and empty vials.

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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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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 #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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