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Game Session Recaps
#1
Since abandoning the unsuccessful Journals, I have decided that I would use my gaming notes to provide a highlight reel of our group's adventures.  This may help my fellows remember our place in the game now that we have transitioned to an every other week schedule.  Too my fellow players, please feel free to point out important details that I will, no doubt, leave out.  You guys will have a frame of reference and different focus than I have, and I would love knowing the game through your eyes... and so would the people who check out our forum sight.


   





Highlights of Episode One
Erath, - Melwid 4-5th, CY1031




Through various means of travel six strangers came to Solare, the capitol of Sedaria.  A human priestess from Onastia, a human guardsman from Errod, a human sorcerer from Endel, plus a Dwarven bard from the same land, and from the south there was a Human soldier from Mandagar, and a subtle Elven male (with nefarious skills) from mysterious Shandeer.  Wolf of Errod knew both Blaylocke the bard, and Jolrael the Endelian sailor before hand, through brief encounters.  Blaylocke had the luck to know Jolly well as he often traveled by ship.  Enkili and Riardon met in Talmain and journeyed together by ship and land to the northern nations.  Only Leiya of Onastia had no constant company in her travels, though she did meet Enkili in Solare’s magnificent library days after she introduced herself to the nunnery of Melwen.

Although they had all come for their own reasons, they all noticed that a public play, “The Lion Of The Ancients” was going to be performed on the 4th day of the month Melwid.  Those actors held a great amount of local renown, so much so that the locals just had to share their excitement with foreigners.  So, again each of them had their own reasons, the six strangers made their way to the show.  Blaylocke, Jolrael, and Leiya came on their own, scoping out their individual places behind the screen of nobles and idle rich.  Wolf was acting as a diplomatic bodyguard, protecting his client as they watched the show.  Rodor the rogue and Enkili circulated through the crowd scoping out marks to be pick pocketed, but the play sucked them in.

As advertised the actors were excellent and had the crowed hooked all the way up to the rising action of the story, where the plots wove together to show the direction the conflict would take.  At that moment, from the stage, a fireball burst out, immolating the actors and the front ranks of the well to do audience.  Wolf was caught in the fire and almost died from the inferno.  Jolrael was burned but shielded by a fat patron of the arts, his first instinct was to rise and bring aid to those who were hurt.  Blaylocke was just outside of the blast zone so avoided harm, he too scrambled to aid the injured.  Leiya was the first to her feet, her healing spells and medicinal skills saved scores of lives.

Riardon, whose child name is Rodor, dove away from the spell attack and saw a red devil creature scuttle away from the play across the roof of a nearby building.  His finger drew Enkili’s gaze.  The Mandagan man was no healer, but chasing down assassins felt like the right thing to do, Riardon was forced to follow when his human friend set off in pursuit.  The Elf tumbled over objects in the alley as Enkili vaulted or plowed through the flotsam to gain ground on a Tiefling male running just ahead of them.

Enkili caught up with the Tiefling and tried to grab and detain the red skinned, tailed miscreant.  The soldier missed his grab, but the man with fiendish ancestry turned and tried to gut the Mandagan with a short sword.  Riardon placed two well aimed arrows in the villain, which gave Enkili a chance to draw Dandân Va Panjay, the giant sword he had inherited from his father, and cut the Tiefling down.  City watch fell upon the two southerners preventing them from looting the dead being.  They were questioned and then sent home… which was the shabby dockside inn, The Rusty Bedpan.

Unbeknownst to each other, Jolrael, Blaylocke and a healed Wolf also were staying at The Rusty Bedpan.  In the morning the six “heroes” found official looking summonses addressed to them.  The address was to a mansion like house of learning.  Inside they were met by a man named Wellborn Huxley, a wizard at the upper end of the hierarchy at Wizard’s Peak.  After exposing that he knew too much about the heroes, Wellborn offered the six the opportunity to do odd jobs for Wizard’s Peak.

They were offered gold, magic, and/or knowledge as the various forms of payment they could receive.  Their first job would pay them 75 gold and a minor potion of healing to discover why the dead in Valgren’s graveyard were so restless; a local catacomb dedicated to the god Gurthen.  They were given the night to think the offer over.  Only Leiya and Enkili did not seem enamored of the monetary reward, she due to the frugality of her faith, he because of his high station in life.  They all returned the next day, though Leiya still expressed doubts as to her suitability for such adventurous endeavors.

Highlights of Episode Two
Erath, - Melwid 6-7th, CY1031



Before Wellborn could congratulate them, much less greet them, Enkili asked if he or Wizard’s Peak had ever heard of a man tall Mandagan great sword that had the symbol of seven winged bulls on it, each bull had a full moon cradled between its horns and each moon a pentagram.  The mage claimed ignorance then introduced them to Groundskeeper Cassyt, an acolyte of Gurthen.  She would be their guide through Valgren’s catacombs.  They made it clear to the heroes that Cassyt would not help them with anything except leading them through the benighted depth of the graveyard.

Through a recently reconstructed mausoleum, they found their way down into the catacombs, the first room they came across held a winch and pulley system that was little more than a dumbwaiter to lower the dead into the lower depths of the catacomb system.  The next room had a bone pit with a narrow ledge that led to another room, Wolf, Enkili, and Riardon used their athletic/acrobatic training to cross the pit, while Blaylocke, Jolly, Leiya and Cassyt remained behind.  The fighting men and rogue found three recently dug up corpses laying in a gnawed upon heap.  When they moved to investigate these corpses three ghouls burst out of the dark and assailed them.

Jolrael, Leiya, and Blaylocke made the treacherous route around the pit and came running.  They added sling stones, spells, and bard song to the arrow fire of Riardon.  Wolf and Enkili plied their swords and managed to not be paralyzed by the undead’s touch. 


Highlights of Episode Three
Erath, - Melwid 7th, CY1031



After seeking loot and secret doors (unsuccessfully), the party skirted the pit of bones and rejoined Cassyt, whom some in the party maligned for not defending their gods turf.  Our heroes next came across a flight of rickety stairs leading down to a landing, then descended around a corner with more worm eaten stairs.  Anchoring each other with rope, they made it down both flights without mishap.  They were greeted by a medium sized statue of a four armed goddess that had insectoid features, an object that did not belong in the catacombs.

Beyond the statue was the catacombs “sun room”, a place that Gurthen’s followers used to kill vampires centuries ago.  There were dead thieves there along with their rope.  Six zombies fast walked into the room and beset the party before they could loot the fallen of their ropes and other gear.  After a desperate fight where Enkili loaned Blaylocke his short bow and arrows, they learned that it took massive amounts of damage to render zombies inert.  They had to rest an hour after this fight in order to tend their wounds and catch their breaths.  The dead robbers had four hemp ropes, one grappling hook, a bag of ball bearings, and two thieves tool kits.  It was determined that the would be robbers were victims of the undead rather than the motive for their rising.


Highlights of Episode four
Erath, - Melwid 7th, CY1031


in a room just South of the “sun room” was an obelisk inscribed with celestial writing, which they could identify but not read.  This room had not been ransacked of corpses as many other places had been.  Down another flight of rickety steps Riardon thought he had detected some form of trap, but drawing upon the Dwarven bard’s native knowledge of stonework, it was determined that two different craftsmen had worked upon the stairs.

After negotiating that set of treacherous steps they found a room where the dead were plastered into the walls as friezes in some form of macabre scenes.  Half way across this chilling room animated skeletons dropped upon them from the ceiling.  Again they were set upon by an even half dozen undead, and prevailed only by taking injury.  Leiya used her healer’s kit upon almost everyone but Cassyt.

Down another flight of steps was a room where bones were stacked along the wall, but upon shelves above those remains were skulls neatly lined up.  In an old script written on the walls the party determined that they could each ask the dead a question.  One by one they made a query and were answered by myriad voices that mostly admitted they did not know.  Enkili found the skull of Al’marihm of the Sacred Oasis who begged him to be returned home.

After receiving mostly disappointing answers to their questions the party moved on.  Riardon had to pick the lock to a side room wherein they found the bones of a dead noble who had a floating crown and other vestiges of great magic to her.  It all turned out to be stage magic and showmanship for a dead woman.  Cassyt locked this shrine of vanity up after we left.  They came across another room where the dead were posed in parodies of living scenes.

Beyond, the group found an intersection to the west while their hallway continued on southward.  Curiosity drew them west.  They found a room with zombies, though one kobold was sighted.  Instead of spilling into the room where the undead could attack them all in great number, they drew the undead into the bent and curved hall where they could outnumber the zombies in attacks.  The zombies resiliency was easier to overcome when the entire party could strike at them with missiles or melee weapons as a pack.  Still the fighters took great damage holding their line, and they begged for a rest when the fight seemed to end.



Highlights of Episode Five
Erath, - Melwid 7th, CY1031



Jolrael, who had noticed that no kobolds had been part of the attack scouted ahead.  He found trouble immediately, even as his friends were trying to figure out the best place to take a break.  The rest of the party learned of his deed when he detonated a spell that caused the wall and ceiling to collapse upon him.  The racket drew the party back down the bottle necked hall into the room where they had met the zombies.

Three Kobolds were ranged around the downed sorcerer, and it was due to the rapid approach of Jolrael’s friends that he not only lived, but was healed enough to rejoined the fight.  Gathering together in a northern entry into that room, the kobolds taunted the heroes and plied their slings.  As the group closed upon the half dog half dragon humanoids a human in fell religious robes burst through the kobolds with a scimitar, when that priest was cut down a fighting man in plate armor entered the room and began to drop the party one by one, his prowess was that great.

Through luck, and some skilled shots from Riardon and Enkili, two kobolds and that doughty fighter were slain.  The remaining kobold and a few other people escaped through a tunnel the kobolds had dug, though they dropped some papers and maps in their haste to escape.  The party gained a map to “Darsta”, which had been the reason they had infiltrated the catacombs.  They also left behind a fancy writing kit, 8 platinum pieces, 20 gold, 10 electrum pieces, and 50 coins of silver in a locked box.  On top of that the kobolds and priest yielded 10 gold crowns more, a healing salve, a tinderbox, a fancy hairbrush, bashed up plate armor, a scimitar and a great sword as loot.  As a bonus from Wellborn, he granted each party member the aforementioned droughts of healing.


Highlights of Episode Six
Erath, - Melwid 16th, CY1031



After training the group came together to share the spoils from solving the undead problem in Valgren’s graveyard.  Then they voted on whether they should remain banded together or not.  The most reluctant member of their crew, Leiya remained only because her Melwenite sisterhood had tasked her with finding out why the symbol of a chain bound winged heart was showing up where many children had gone missing.

Also, the proprietor of the Rusty Bedpan had been marked for death by a band of fifteen ruffians known as The Skulkers.  Borman (the Bedpan’s owner), had asked Blaylocke for their help in keeping him alive.  As they were deciding how best to deal with these situations a note was delivered to Enkili and Riardon.  Evidently the father of the slain Tiefling was upset at them, claiming they had killed an innocent man, and stating that revenge would be had.

Researchers from Wizard’s Peak, from Wellborn Huxley, had discovered that there was a scrying device in the ruins of “Darsta”.  Enkili was told that he would be able to find clues to the whereabouts of his family’s lost heirloom.


Highlights of Episode Seven
Erath, - Melwid 16th, CY1031



Unable to choose a course of action, due to lacking knowledge on any of their immediate choices, they decided that they each need to go on fact finding missions through out Solare.  Leiya poked around regions where her chained heart symbol had shown up, trying to find a lead on the missing children.  A homeless woman filled her in on an old group of slavers who use the chained heart symbol to intimidate whole societies.

Riardon and Blaylocke attempted to contact the underground powers of the city to learn about the chained heart symbol and The Skulkers.  Their efforts turned up little so they approached Wellborn in his scholarly abode.  The representative of Wizard’s Peak, also, could not provide any information on either avenue of research.

Wolf and Enkili sought out the city watch to make their inquiries.  Upset over the Tiefling’s note the Mandagan asked after the investigation into the attack on the play, and found out that the gendarmes had concluded it a shut and done case, Baredal Mourgan (the Tiefling) was the guilty party; as was every Tiefling just for existing.  Playing at being an envoy from Al Madii, Enkili shamed them into putting forth further effort.  He explained that the cities elite had been attacked at the play, and those who lost loved ones would bear powerful grudges if answers were not found.  Wolf found out that The Skulkers could be found in Suther’s Alley; behind the Rusty Bedpan.

Making the assumption that the chained heart symbol and the tales of missing children was the act of slavers, Jolrael decides to investigate the docks.  After many conversations he stumbles across The Torrent, a ship and crew that were the actual slavers Leiya was after.  Or so it seemed.  They watched the Sorcerer as he ambled on his way back to The Rusty Bedpan.

Before the party could assemble and disclose their knowledge, Blaylocke had to perform his brand of music to earn his stay at the Rusty Bedpan.  He and Jolly thrilled the super time crowd.  Before that Enkili had an encounter in Suther’s Alley with a pair of glowing red eyes that vanished before he could close.  When the musical set was done they all tried to speak at once, but as they imparted their news they were disturbed by a scream from the kitchen.  Borman’s daughter, who worked at The Rust Bedpan, had been taken by men sporting tattoos with the chained heart with wings, bound by chains!

Highlights of Episode Eight
Erath, - Melwid 16-17th, CY1031


Learning that the girl had been hustled off down Suther’s Alley they party set off at a charge in the hopes of cutting off the slavers before they made their escape.  At a ‘T’ intersection they were set upon by four Skulker’s and their wererat lieutenant.  They attacked with crossbows from the rooftops, completely surprising the heroes.  After taking a good amount of damage, they all figured out their individual routes up to the roof tops, and took the battle to the Skulkers.  Killing three of the regular Skulkers, and charming another, their boss, Boscar shifted to full rat shape and escaped.

They barely had time to loot the dead before Jolly summoned the watch (who were at The Rusty Bedpan at the time).  They had to answer a series of questions before they were allowed to go after the abducted girl.  Noting signs that the nearby sewer grate was often used (but not that night) they headed for the docks where The Torrent was moored.  In a dark alley overlooking the river, the crew took a short break while arguing how best to get on board that slaver ship.

Highlights of Episode Nine
Erath, - Melwid 17th, CY1031


No consensus could be made concerning their choice of approaching The Torrent, seven crossbow armed sailors stalked her deck and all their choices had big holes.  Finally, Blaylocke started to change into a disguise right in the middle of the trail.  He instructed Enkili and Wolf to act as his guards who were to have custody of Riardon and Jolrael, who were to act as recently purchased slaves.  Leiya was supposed to act as the bards assistant writing the “noble’s” thoughts down as they walked.

Disguised as a disgruntled noble customer who wished to exchange two defective slaves for better owned help, they demanded an immediate exchange from the crew.  The crew let the adventurer’s aboard just to toy with them, but found out that they had bitten off more than they could chew.  The Slaver crew proved a tough nut to crack and it was through Jolly’s magic that they intimidated the survivors to flee their own ship.

Jolrael and Enkili volunteered to remain on deck to raise anchor, remove the gangplank, then threaten the mooring lines.  That left the rest of the party to go below to search for slaves.  The ship proved to have four decks.  Just as the chained and penned children were found, the Torrent's crew returned from the city with reinforcements.  Riardon and Blaylocke raced to free each individual as Wolf searched for keys and information.  Leiya found an oil barrel to use as a weapon even as Enkili and Jolly sawed at the mooring lines of the ship.  The slavers manned little fishing boats moored to the dock to come after The Torrent.

Ushering the children to the top deck took time, and despite heroic efforts from Jolrael and Enkili, the slavers began to swarm up grappling ropes to gain the deck of their own ship.  Using her oil to craft flaming crossbow bolts, Leiya charged up to the deck to shoot one of the boats that held kegs labeled as oil; she missed.  Rodor joined her along the railing as Enkili and Jolrael were being cut to ribbons; the rogues burning arrow flew true.  The keg of oil proved to be something else, that alchemical something exploded taking half the dock and part of the ship with it.  Jolrael was nearly killed in the blast.

With the ship sinking the crew abandoned their attempt to retake The Torrent.  They dove back into the water just as the children made it onto the deck.  Replacing the gangplank the adventurers attempted to herd the kids to safety, but with the sinking vessel going down so rapidly, most of those kids panicked and jumped overboard.  Most of the party crossed over and tossed found ropes to haul the kids out of the water, and Enkili roped the dock so he could swim to the dock carrying children.  Even though most of the kids could not swim every one was nonetheless saved.


Highlights of Episode ten
Erath, - Melwid 17th, CY1031


Guiding the children along, the party noticed several slavers working with the local city watch as they slipped up the trail away from the docks; confirming their suspicions that the guards were in the pay of the slavers.  Being stealthy they remanded most of the kids to the clergy of Melwen, then rested for eight hours.

When the heroes rose mid morning, Riardon found a visitor waiting for him.  This messenger from the criminal underground claimed that they had stomped out the last of the slavers, but the party had to kill the last witnesses to the slavers endeavors; the Skulkers who had been in the Chained Heart’s employ.  Though most of the group disliked the “leave no survivor’s” mandate, they still agreed to enter the sewers to search out the ruffians.  Before they set off on that task they tried to warn the city watch and Wellborn of the corrupt guards along the docks.  The papers recovered from the Torrent were not sufficient to be proof of the guards and a certain magistrates wrong doing.  They were gifted with silvered weapons though, Wizard’s Peak did not like the idea of lycanthropes owning Solare’s drainage system.

After entering the sewers they found a blood trail from the sniper Blaylocke had charmed the night before, that lead them to a stair.  At the bottom of the stair was a west side door, with another west side door up top, the tunnel continued but turned west after both rooms.  Storming the first room resulted in a sprung ambush.  Three Skulkers and a new wererat tried to cut the heroes down with crossbow fire.  The party’s fighters raged through the rank and file with abandon.  Reinforcements came from the back of the room, from a series of tunnels that would prove to connect with the door at the top of the stairs.  One party member recieved a bite from the highly infectious rodent lycanthropes.

The groups violence cowed the new Skulker’s and their lieutenant, they all ran to get help pursued by all but Jolrael and Riardon.  Those two suspected that the Skulkers would use the upstairs door and tunnel to sneak out or flank the heroes, they went to stymie those plans.  After leading the bulk of the party to two other wererat lieutenants, the Skulker’s turned back to engage the party.  Boscar and the last pure human Skulker chose to flee rather than face Riardon and Jolly….

   
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#2
Highlights of Episode Eleven
Erath, - Melwid 17th, CY1031




Enkili and Wolf worked together hacking at one of the three wererats they faced.  Leiya used her abilities to interfere with the lycanthropes retaliation against the two, while Blaylocke Anvilarm plied his shortbow and picked off the injured hybrid shapes.  Meanwhile Riardon and Jolrael raced around, skipped the door at the top of the stairs and went to the tunnel at the end of that hall.  There the two confronted Boscar the Rat and a common Skulker Thug; those two fled through a door at their backs, Boscar shouting orders.

The two fighters, cleric, and bard fell into a routine that began to wear the wererats down quickly, all the while two penned prisoners called for succor behind them.  On their own, the rogue and sailor/sorcerer(?) stepped into the room.  Immediately Skulker thugs poured out of the space Boscar had fled, and from the hallway door the two had ignored, another handful of criminals spilled out.  All Riardon and Jolly could do was fall back and try not to let the enemy flank them.  Riardon fell back into a small storage room swinging his silvered short sword in desperation; Jolrael was forced into a corner behind a table. 

Leiya, Blaylocke, Wolf, and Enkili heard the detonations of Jolrael’s spells, and they knew their friends were fighting on their own.  Yet the last wererats proved tenacious combatants.  Enkili was bitten two more times, the only hero to be exposed to the cursed disease they carried.  Injured by swarming attacks on his person, Jolrael Symara found the thugs lined up perfectly for his Thunderwave spell.  He bounced most of the group facing him with his first arcane shot away, killing only one, and he backed fully into his corner.  As they fell upon him again, the bad guys situated themselves for Jolly’s last real spell.  This time Thunderwave slew all the Skulkers and their new recruits in its detonation.  The last survivor ran cradling injured limbs.

Wolf and Enkili darted for the door the wererats had been defending right after the bard shot down the last of the lycanthropic lot, While Leiya and Blaylocke freed and questioned the prisoners.  After wending a maze of rooms and doors the fighting men found Riardon and the sailor healing their wounds and coming out of the little closet they had taken shelter in.  Following Boscar’s trail, they found the last Skulker recruit dead over grates that led deeper into the sewer.  Below, in a small cistern like room, the heroes discovered that the last surviving Skulker, Boscar the Rat, had assumed a full rat shape and escaped through a tunnel that not even a Halfling could fit.

After a brief discussion the crew looted what they could then sent word to Sess, Riardon’s underworld contact.  Though Boscar escaped, the local thieves guild were impressed with the groups carnage, though they did claim the Skulker’s lair as their own.  Our heroes found 13 pp., 127 gp., 20 ep., 140 sp., 200 cp., a carved ivory bracelet, 3 potions (healing, heroism, and hill giant strength after detect and identify were cast), 2 lapis lazuli, 12 polished quartz, a small gold bracelet, three silver trade bars (ingots), and a set of engraved bone dice.

Though he decided to inform the group after they trained, Blaylocke the bard claimed an urgent errand and he left the group.  Those heroes who remained, to this day, still pray for the time that Mr. Anvilarm might join them again.



Highlights of Episode Twelve
Erath, - Melwid 17th through Taznos 8th. CY1031

We will speak of Jolrael's training and purchases when he returns just as mysteriously as he vanished.  We hope he knows our prayers go with him.

Of the treasure, it was agreed that Leiya would hold the Elixir of Health (mislabeled as potion of healing above), Wolf was given the potion of Heroism, and Enkili claimed the Potion of Hill Giant Strength).  Leiya also wanted one chunk of the lapis lazuli to turn into prayer beads.  Wolf and Enkili both purchased locks and chests to ride in the party’s (Wolf’s) wagon.  This was after all the other items were sold.  Enkili trained to become a Battle Master, a fighter who utilizes tricky maneuvers to bring about favorable conditions in combat.  Through the lunar cycle, Enkili is declared free of Lycanthropy from the trio of bites he had taken.

Riardon’s training was having him join four other thieves guild members in a heist.  The mansion that was targeted seemed proof against stealthy entry, lock picking attempts, and other roguish skills ( and Rodor's new spells).  Riardon’s only luck that night was his ability to get the lot of them free without being caught.  He lost a little sway with the underground of Solare.

Wolf trains then does some light shopping, He chooses to join the cavalier's to learn his fighting skills. 

For the next five days, Enkili researched the map to Darsta they found in the catacombs.  Using his new calligrapher’s skills (and 50 gp in bribes) to help him unravel the map, they discover that the old city was next to the Dragonspine Mountains in western Sedaria.  The dead king of that ancient city state cursed those who had killed him, but his ghost slays all who enter his garden.

Out of curiosity, Leiya began to read “the Dishonor of Dispair” a tattered book found in a curio shop.  So garbled were the words, that she began to suspect it was some form of coded script.  Enlisting Enkili and Riardon, the three of them researched together to discover a map to the ruins of an ancient temple dedicated to a minor god (Eyah) of Dreams and visions.  Liral was the name of the temple and the last high priest was Zerandis.  From some of the papers taken from The Torrent (the chained Heart slaver ship), the priestess also finds that the Chained Heart Slavers may be working out of The Freehold in the south.

Also, in a group collaboration, the party discovers that the Tiefling, Ethorm Maurgan, fled to the capitol of Bhel to study something.  That leaves the heroes torn.  All the possibilities they have for adventure lead away from Solare, and they lack the money to travel far.  Fortunately in 4 days time, the festival of Shieldmeet is happening and the games are being held in Sedaria.  There are many forms of tournaments with fat prizes, many full purses for Riardon’s itchy fingers, and other opportunities to find coin.

These are the five adventures open to our party, listed in nearest to farthest distance from Solare.

Shieldmeet in Solare, several days of games and tournaments

Coded message’s ruined temple west of Lake Sedaria (? north west of Wizard’s Peak).

Pursuit of the Chained Wings (slavers) in The Freehold.

Lost city of Darsta in the Dragonspine mountains in south west Sedaria.

Vengeance on the Run in Norak, Bhel.  Ethorm Mourgan’s hiding place.

Highlights of Episode Thirteen
Erath, - Taznos 8- 10th . CY1031




Enkili’s past poses a problem for him entering the Shieldmeet games.  In the rules it states that the entry required for most of the games is either an invitation, documentations proving ones noble pedigree, or a sponsorship from the well to do.  Only the archery contests are “open” to the public.  Riardon takes a stroll through town using his mage hand spell to pick the pockets of the unwary; he gains 25 gold for his efforts even though he barely slipped away after his crimes.  The rest of the party (Leiya, Jolrael Symarna, and Enkili) approached Wellborn Huxley to see if he could help with a sponsorship.  As a representative of Wizard’s Peak Wellborn would only be able to sponsor a mage or sorcerer of the guild in magical combat on the 4th day of the tourney.

However the wizard did pave the way with three well to do people of Solare who could sponsor the team; the interviews were held on the 9th of Taznos.  The first was Lord Cromley, whose daughter had been saved by Leiya at “The Lion of the Ancients” fiery attack.  He was already the patron of a fighter in the lists, but he did offer a remuneration package of 500g.p. should the party’s gear be “captured” and held for ransom during the games.  A generous proposition only if the team could become sponsored by someone else.

Their next potential sponsor was Lady Alisande who was the daughter of a new magistrate of the nation.  They found a lot of the lady’s decorations to be gilded imitations of rich peoples belongings, proving that the young lady was striving for position amongst the high and mighty.  Jolly and the lady sparked distaste off of each other upon first meeting, and as the questioning went on, even Leiya started to see darkness in the young woman.  In a fit of desperation Enkili offered a martial display to prove his worth to Alisande, but when she made one of her servants take up a shield and stave to face the young warrior, Enkili began to understand the underhanded heart Alisande had.  Through intimidation he made the young servant boy Hubert quail in fear, which prompted the desert man to ask for a real fighter to face.

Alisande demanded that Enkili beat the servant or she would withhold her patronage.  Her sponsorship was declined with ill feelings, yet Leiya was able to free Hubert from Alisande’s service.  The boy gravitated toward the party offering to work for food.  They did not promise the young man an extended time of working for them, but they did express a desire to see him placed in better conditions (home was not an option for Hubert.)  Wellborn Huxley next offered them the address of Lady Adelein, a retired paladin of Melwen and a famous dragon slaying hero.

Riardon joined the team for this early evening outing.  Lady Adelein was much more receptive to the tale that the young heroes gave her during her questioning period.  Even Enkili’s convoluted familial tale did not strike the woman as odd and off putting.  After she discovered Lord Cromley’s endowment for ransom, Adelein agreed to sponsor any in the party who wished to enter the lists for any competition.  Lady Adeleid asked that Enkili come over the next day (the 10th of Taznos) to be fitted for his armor and gear.  She also sees some spark in Hubert and asked that Enkili take it upon himself to train the young man in the use of arms.  Hubert agrees to act as “squire” to Enkili and Jolrael who expressed a desire to compete with his sling in the open archery tourneys.

Also, Wellborn has asked Jolly to become a part of Wizard’s Peak guild; a position that never used to be open to “natural” casters until the war.  It may be that Jolrael may soon have a license to cast magic in public, a coup for sorcerer’s the world over!

Highlights of Episode Fourteen
Erath, - Taznos 10th . CY1031

As Lady Adelene made sure the would be contestants were fitted for their armor and arms, and trained while in them and with them, Hubert was made to learn the duties of a tourney squire.  Meanwhile, rumors began to circulate about important visitors and their champions.  1) As mortal foes in real life, the rumor that Bhel’s champion and the hero of Errod would be fighting to the death.  2) Representatives from Uhria would be joining the games for the first time in Shieldmeet history.  3) N’maria will be participating, and their Queen shall be in attendance.  4) Svealund Dougal, the Wokari chief (an Angierthan tribe) would be coming.  5) Kaashak, the new Maklu of Bhel has deigned to come and observe the games.  6) From Brandt, the legendary warrior Prince Eidwe is reputed to be coming to enter the jousting tourneys.  7) Emperor Alexi Ilyanovitch of Onastia (Leiya’s homeland) is bringing his best champion, Eleyna Petrovia, to have her enter the martial lists; her reputation is one of brutality.

The party’s benefactor had another rumor emerge about her.  Evidently Lady Adilene is reputed to have killed the giant that slew her father when she was but a teen.  The participating nations will be Mandagar, Shandeer, Endel, Errod, several tribes from Angiertha, Bhel, Sedaria, Brandt, Onastia, N’maria, Uhria.  Though the rumors have not been confirmed, Dhanta, Quan, and Gora may have champions arrive to enter the lists.  May the gods say it so, and all praise be bestowed upon them!  May glory fall upon the champions who stand as representations of Tazen's and Melwen’s will manifested upon Erath!


Highlights of Episode fifteen
Erath, - Taznos 10-13th. CY1031


Wolf settles on jousting, mounted melee, melee single combat, and horsemanship games.  He too is fitted for half plate and is given a horse to ride.  During the opening rituals on Taznos 12th, the Lady of Mercy was chosen, and Lady Meren of Clearbrook is chosen; her champion is Durne (or Sir Durne) of Wesfolk.  That morning, Riardon almost got caught picking pockets.  He was forced to run and rely on his illusion spells to make his escape.

Since the party is made up of mostly unknown foreigners, not a single individual was invited to the first feast, but the nightlife in Solare was going into overtime with impromptu competitions, feasting, and drinking of all sorts.  Riardon made good on his picking of pockets, he earned enough to pay his “guild” dues and offers Leiya the rest of the money too help support Melwen’s sisterhood or other Melwenite causes.

Leiya just wandered through the crowds watching the various wrestling or boxing matches she came across.  Wolf hung out with some of the folks setting up the competitions, he learned his first melee opponent is not a known quantity, but his jousting partner is Sir Tumbolt a knight with a little bit of a reputation at arms.  Wolf also learned that Enkili’s first melee foe is an unknown Brandti fighter.  Enkili takes Hubert with him as they wander the festival filled night.  He encourages young Hubert to enter a boxing match so the young man could get a taste for the adrenaline his body will feed him during a fight.  The boy is dropped in three punches without landing one blow, Enkili tries to stop the bout, but Hubert wades back in without hesitation.

Enkili pulled Hubert out after a fourth punch sets the young man back on his backside, he then treats Hubert to a roast and potato dinner, and they spend the rest of the evening picking out good fighting technique over bad.  Seven criminals are placed into the tourney for Shieldmeet justice.  Wolf is the first party member to have a bout on the 13th of Taznos, the first day of actual competition.  The bard that Lady Adilene had working the crowd on behalf of the party members grants Wolf a bardic inspiration while Leiya buffs his armor with a Shield of Faith spell.  The ex watchman does not start off too well, taking heavy blows from his opponent while fighting mace and shield, then in one hit he forced his foe to concede the fight.

Enkili’s first foot melee fight sees him getting Shield of Faith buff from Leiya and has help intimidating his Brandti foe from the bard; he loses the coin toss and has to fight sword and shield (his opponent’s choice).  In one hit he strikes so powerfully that his foe concedes (critical hit).  Wolf has his first jousting contest and takes Shield of Faith and another Bardic Inspiration.  In the first pass, Wolf chose to aim for Sir Tumbolt’s shield and twisted away from his lance.  Wolf tilted true (critical hit), shattering his lance on the shield and knocks his opponents helmet off.  Sir Tumbolt misses entirely.  Wolf earns five points to zero points first tilt.  The second pass saw Wolf using the same tactics.  Again his aim was so daunting (2nd critical hit) that he shattered his lance, unhelmed his opponent, and this time knocked the knight off his horse.  This made the score 15 to 0 as Sir Tumbolt missed again and was knocked out when he hit the ground.

Highlights of Episode Sixteen
Erath, - Taznos Fellsday 13th-. CY1031

(My apologies RC, I dropped the ball in my note taking by not paying attention to the right exposition.  I tried to recreate your archery scores from my faulty memory.  I hope I captured the thrill of your slinging for glory at least.)

With the sun just past it’s zenith, young men and women began to place targets of woven straw out on plinths for the archery contests.  Referee’s ambled about proclaiming that a shot in the outer ring would give that contestant one point, the second ring two points, the middle ring three, the ring just outside of a bullseye was four whole points and that desirable spot in the middle was worth five golden points.  In pairs the contestants would square off and get three shots each at the target, the individual with the most points would continue on into the next round while the loser would be eliminated.  Today’s contest would see five rounds of elimination.

Sitting on a bench just off the line, Jolrael Symarna waited his turn while his first opponent sped his stones downrange.  Two misses and a three point shot.  Jolly stretched his shoulders before taking the mark.  His first shot flew wide, but the sorcerer’s second and third shots smacked the straw for a clear six points and his first victory of the day.  His next opponent landed an astounding eight points with three solid strikes.  As a champion should, each of Jolraels three shots eked out a point closer to the bullseye than his opponents shots had, another three points over the other contestant and Jolly got his second win.

Stress began to mount within the Errodian Sailor.  In the third round his opponent got an outer ring for 1 point, a 5 point bullseye, and a strike in the 3 point circle, for a total of 9 points.  The sorcerer’s first shot was in the 3 point circle, then just outside that for 2 points more.  In the stands, Jolrael’s friends fretted and called out their belief in him.  He made Enkili and Hubert go berserk when he hit that sweet sweet bullseye to win by one slight point.

In the fourth round, Jolrael faced Cercka the Eye, a fellow Errodian with an outgoing personality.  Cercka accepted his defeat with a smile and hearty praise of Jolrael Symara.  In the fifth and final round, the young sorcerer’s opponent scored a total of 6 points in his three shots.  Jolly beat that in two shots, scoring a bullseye and third ring for 8 points total.  As his friends all but hoist the Errodian on their shoulders, a large man approached.  Vlocka the Vast, an Onastian merchant claimed that he had won a lot of money betting on Jolrael, and for that he graciously invited Jolly and his friends too accept sweet deals from his great stores of merchandise.

As Leiya, Hubert, the sorcerer and crew were making a possible contact, Riardon the rogue slipped into the crowed, following a brightly dressed middle age man from Angala.  Although the man had filed teeth, the Elf crept closer and closer until he was just behind him.  Deft fingers slipped the scrip off the man’s shoulders and Riardon was blocks away before the hue and cry broke out.  Among the foreign coins, the thief came away with a deck of playing cards (northern manufacture), a map of Solare city, and a statuette of a smug looking Halfling.  Leiya received four gold coins as a donation to Melwen from Riardon when he returned, he had a half believable story of acting as a guide to earn those coins.

Erath’s greatest foot race saw over one hundred twenty contestants enter and take up positions behind the starting line.  Contestants and the audience hear the referees call out that this race would be held in fifteen legs, the three legs of the “straightaway”, and the fourth leg was a broad ditch to be hurdled just before the cliff face.  The sixty foot wall counted as the fourth, fifth, and sixth leg and was made of compacted dirt.  Legs seven and eight were to be a dash up a grueling slope.  At the top would be the ninth leg, where the contestants were to dive off a cliff into the choppy waters of the lake below.  Swimming that lake would be the next two legs of the race, where the competitors were supposed to crawl out into the swamp, a muddy pit that comprised the thirteenth leg.  The final dash would take up the last two legs of the race, where Tazen would rejoice in the glory of the victor.

As the starting horn blew, Enkili (Competing as Dumuzid of the Whispering Waste) found himself in the middle of the back quarter press of flesh, but he managed to claw his way to lead two thirds of the racers upon reaching the second leg.  He lost some ground coming up on the jumping hazard, the desert man and several other racers did not make the jump and ended up being trampled by those eager to leave them behind.  Now at the rear third of all the runners, Enkili almost reached the halfway point of the crowd when the dirt cliff was reached.  With over a hundred people clinging to the wall, Enkili had a hard time fighting his way to be in the first third of the pack... just before the top ledge of the cliff gave way and tumbled scores of runners down including him.

Later estimates stated that four racers died in that fall, three others were too injured to continue on.  That cliff stopped over half the racers.  Leiya, who dashed out with many concerned onlookers, healed Enkili even as the fighter started climbing up and over those who were too week to complete the climb; then she helped other injured runners which impressed many important people.  By the time the Mandagan reached the top, the lead competitors were three legs ahead.  Undaunted he churned on, thoroughly muddy and hot with his own sweat.  Passing flagging runners up the slope, Enkili kept his pace steady and put himself only two legs behind the first position leader gaining the slopes top.

Two things at the lake shake Enkili a little: 1)he’s never dived before.  2)He’s never been in water where his toes could not touch the bottom.  Despite this he commits himself to his first graceful belly flop, in a bid to imitate the divers in front of himself.  Trying to ignore the deep water, Enkili bobbed to the surface and found a drowning competitor splashing just in front of him.  Feeling the eyes of his father looking down from his soldier’s paradise, the Mandagan fighter pulled the poor man to the cliff where he could cling and recover.  Although he thought his race was over, Enkili swam on, determined to cross the finish line even if scores of people beat him over it.

Halfway over the tossing waters he swam up on two more contestants whose strength had failed them, their eyes were panicked and they obviously did not have the gas to even tread the water, their limbs may have been cramping up on them.  For the first time in three years, Enkili mouthed a swear word, but he knew he had to stop and help.  Taking the two drowning people in his care he started the slow swim to shore, before noticing Scores of onlookers swimming out to meet him.  Under the panic of the two he was trying to save, Enkili himself went under and found fear in his own heart.  They were heavy, they were frightened, Enkili’s great reserve of energy was almost spent, and the water was so deep.

Stressed and afraid but not wanting to yield to the long dark of death, Enkili paddled harder and brought the three of them to the surface; fear even lent the young man the strength to close with their would-be rescuers.  Gette of Brandti, a fellow competitor had noticed Enkili’s heroic effort and had voluntarily swam all the way back to help, taking one of the drowning men off of Enkili’s hands.  Unfortunately for Gette, the last of his strength was given in that deed, the Brandti urged Enkili to continue on as he himself quit the race.  The lake was a barrier that became the quitting point for scores of competitors.

Even after three rescues, Enkili still discovered that he was passing much of the remaining competition; his physical fitness such that he was far from out of the running.  Gette had been in fourth place, a fact Enkili discovered after he passed two more swimmers in the lake.  In the swamp he chased the first place runner through the muck, coming even with the man as they muddily came to the paved street and saw the finish line.  Both men passed each other, stumbling more than running, but just as Enkili was throwing his chest out to break that line of tape, his last foe made his own heroic surge and crossed that line first.

Enkili did not notice that his name was called out much more than the winner’s name, he spent his time lauding the victor and taking joy in the man’s accomplishment.  Just crossing that finish line had been an achievement the young fighter would never forget.  That night, Enkili was summoned before the competition’s notables, Gette and he were recognized for their heroic efforts in saving lives through that grueling race.  But before that, Riardon stalked the evening crowds, coming away with more coins and a rough carnelian stone.  The Elven rogue was beginning to see the patterns within the cities watch and their hidden and disguised security measures.

Close to eleven hundred brawny fighters marched into the grand field for the Grand Melee.  Wolf could not locate Enkili in the massive press of bodies.  The rules were simple, survive to be the last creature standing.  Up until the horns blew, the crowd could not be heard, the fighting men and women’s conversations and taunts had dominated the noise levels until then.  Even before the first wooden stave smacked armor the spectators were making ecstatic noises which were a deafening roar.  Everyone was buffeted, jostled and smacked soundly before six seconds had passed.  Wolf managed to square off against one foe, whom he swatted down easily.  Enkili also faced a single person that encounter, but he was knocked around.

On his next memorable encounter, Wolf found himself surrounded by four opponents and he was played like a ping pong ball on a multi sided table.  Trying to find his friend, the Mandagan swordsman instead found himself helping a group of two other fighters take down a man fighting like a wounded lion; that man was hauled off the field.  After failing to fall down a shift in dynamics placed Wolf beside some of his former opponents attacking a new foe; together they dragged that doughty fighter down and removed them from the game.  Facing several foes at once, Enkili not only defended himself from flailing wood, he also managed to sneak in a good hit that dropped one of the pack.  Most of the weaker contestants had been removed by this point.

In his fourth memorable encounter, Wolf too found himself surrounded, and his savage counter attack saves him and dropped one of the gaggle.  Without knowing it, Enkili swung at one foe at the same time that three others also attacked, one more down.  Still facing a large pack of foes, Wolf again defended himself and popped another one out of the contest.  Enkili did not fare as well as four pummel him at once, staggering him.

Locking his wooden blade against a stout fighter, Wolf has a wonderful duel before a score of sword swinging maniacs interpose their melees where they had been fighting.  A swirl in the fighting confuse the group trying to take Enkili down, they all attack another member of the pack, removing them.  Again finding himself part of a temporary pack, Wolf helped pull down a figure who did not want to go down.  At the same time, the Mandagan also helped face off against a mighty fighter who held off the small pack of four by himself; even Enkili.

With just a few large handfuls of the toughest fighters left, Wolf had to face several at once; he punished the group by taking one of them down before dispersing them.  Enkili’s eighth memorable bout was with just a single swordsman, he won after a grueling bout.  Facing just one person, Wolf snaked the tip of his stave out and knocked that foe cold.  A gaggle three fighters took a moment to knock Enkili around almost dropping the young hero.  Then for a moment there was a stillness when the remaining contestants realized that only a little more than a handful of them were left.

Squaring off into three separate melees, the final six contestants swung wood with skill and determination.  Each one saw the end of the contest looming and they each were savoring the idea that they could be the big winner.  Unable to swing straight, all of a sudden, the two heroes found themselves out matched.  Enkili fell first, having suffered more damage through the whole fray.  For sixth place he won a purse of 10 gold pieces.  Wolf who fell at fifth place earned 15 gold.  Thus ended the first day of Shieldmeet, with notable contestants being observed by the hosting officials, visiting nobility, and even the few persons of royal birth who were attending

Highlights of Episode Seventeen
Erath, - Taznos Endrest 13-14th-. CY1031

As the last few contestants were straggling away from their end of day bouts, Gette, Enkili, and Leiya were acknowledged by the event coordinators for their humanity, compassion, and selflessness throughout the day’s events.  That is where they learn that Leiya was recognized for “Piety in the Temple” for upholding Melwen’s tenets in the chaos of Shieldmeet.  Telizen of Flamespire had been the winner of both the Grand Melee and the footrace.

Jolrael finally realized that the archery competitions happened every day through Shieldmeet, and he did not have enough round sling stones.  With Hubert and Enkili’s help they gathered as many round rocks as they could before the light faded.  He then wandered over to the Rusty Bedpan to make sure the inn keeper and his family were still faring well.  The nightlife of Shieldmeet was ensuring that the inn was thriving.  Meanwhile Leiya had spent time at the church helping feed the poor and tending the sick; she then joined Enkili to wander through the street to street festivals that was Solare at night.

After discussing all the repeat criminals being hung while Shieldmeet was going on, the two noticed a street urchin with a stuffed animal eyeing some sticky buns with avarice in his/her androgynous eyes.  Leiya bought the child a proper meal after Enkili purchased a sticky bun for her/him.  The urchin took the food and ran.  Wolf hung out near the event coordinators again, spying out who he would face in the morning.  The Errodian learned that a trade agreement might be signed between Sedaria and Brant, and that he would be jousting against Elgar.  Riardon burglarized an estate whose owner had not been paying their “protection” fees to the underworld.  Easy money for the Elven Rogue.

In the morning the heroes learned that Enkili was to have 3 bouts, one in the morning, one in the afternoon, and one in the late afternoon.  At the same time Wolf would be doing his first joust in the morning, a melee on foot in the early afternoon, then a final joust in the evening.  In the afternoon, Jolrael would also be competing with his sling.

In the first tilt Elgar scored 3 points against Wolf, but 3 points were scored against him.  When their lances crossed for the second round, Wolf only scored 2 points against his opponent.  Elgar scored no points but had been well and truly bloodied to the point he conceded the rest of the bout to Wolf.

Axsess the Lean faced Enkili with sword and shield at the same time that Wolf was humbling his opponent.  In the first of five rounds the two sword fighters tied with 1 point a piece.  In round Two Enkili pulled ahead, scoring 2 points to 0.  Neither warrior scored a point in the third pass.  Round four was a repeat of the first pass where both men scored a point.  Axsess desperately tried to score points in the final pass of this bout, but he only scored 1 point while Enkili stole the man’s dreams by taking 2 more points to win 6 to 3 overall.

Before Sedarian soldiers happened along, Riardon managed to pluck 1 platinum, 18 gold, and 4 electrum pieces from one oblivious event spectator during morning crime time.

This day was not so kind to Jolrael Symara.  In his first round he got three bullseyes and scored 15 points which was a great start.  His next round however is not so well shot.  His opponent got 10 points but Jolly only had one bullseye and two one point shots.  He fell from the champion’s bracket in the competition but would be able to continue seeking a prize in what amounts to the widcard bracket.

Enkili faced Theed the Stanley in his afternoon melee.  Enkili chose longsword and shield for this bout.  Enkili took round one with 2 to 0 points.  Round two saw a draw at 0 points even.  Again Enkili does well on the fourth engagement, scoring 2 points to 1.  The crowd was eager to see “Dumuzid of the Whispering Waste” fall on the fourth pass where Theed got an unanswered hit (0-1).  Even more than seeing a champion fall, the crowd loved seeing a favorite rally.  Enkili scored 3 points to 1 against him to take the bout at 7-2.

On the other side of the tourney field, Wolf faced his foot melee foe with sword and board.  Volga the Strongarm first had to deal with the ridicule of Lady Adelien’s bard, who disparages Wolf’s opponent mightily.  In their first pass neither Wolf or Volga scored a point.  Pass two saw the two bashing each other mightily, Wolf edges Volga out 3 to 2 in new points.  In the third engagement the bard’s barbs began to really show, Volga could not exploit a single opportunity to hit Wolf, 1-0.  Pass four is another 1-0 score for Wolf.  Wolf turns on the juice on the fifth round, overawing his opponent 3-0 to win 8-2!

Feeling jaunty after giving his 4 electrum pieces to beggars, Riardon again tried to stalk a fat purse with a party goer attached to it.  This time his fingers did not work as requested.  Utilizing his magic, Riardon barely slipped into the crowd without anyone getting a good look at him.  A narrow escape indeed.

Enkili’s third and final match for the day was against Lug the Lucky.  Aggressively Enkili met his opponent scoring 2 points to 0 in the first passage of arms.  Round two he again scored two hits and receives none.  The third round was purely defensive for both fighters with a 0-0 score.  In the fourth round Lug got an early hit, but Enkili exploded and struck him back for 2 points.  Lug was forced to concede the fifth round as there was no physical way for him to even tie their scores, 6-1 victory for Enkili.

Somehow Guglaakh the half orc from Bhel discovered that Wolf was an Errodian.  The two nations have had a tense peace for the last year, but they are still at war with one another.  In the first pass, neither of them score.  In the second pass Wolf did well and scored 5 points for shattering his lance and knocking Guglaakh’s helm askew, however the half Orc got 3 points for the show he put on.  Wolf was unhorsed in the third pass for a 0-8 round.  In the fourth charge neither combatant scored, so the bout went to Guglaakh, 5-11.  Wolf had to go to the wildcard list, but the Bhellian held his horse and armor for ransom.  In a great show of unsportsmanlike disdain, Guglaakh refused to ransom the armor back to Wolf.  Outraged horse fighters from many lands pooled their money to get the Errodian both a mount and armor so he could continue fighting in the lists.

Karma shows itself in odd moments.  At some point in the evening, Guglaakh discovered that many valuables were missing from his tent.  A smug looking Riardon bought Wolf a drink with coins he had not held that afternoon.  Leiya again chose to wander through the carnival atmosphere of Solare at night.  She found the androgynous urchin again, discovering that she is a little girl named Miria.  The two of them come to an agreement where information equates to food and care for the child.  After the two ladies part ways, Leiya is approached by one of Melwen’s better known priests.  This man makes an argument that Leiya should enter the displays of “ordination”, which are the clerical trials in Shieldmeet.  Being humble, Leiya begs for time to think about the request.

That night news of almost all the attendant nations brokering agreements, treaties, and deals with each other was spread by jubilant celebrants.  Sedaria and Brandt did make their trade agreement official, while Sedaria and Nodra conclude a border agreement with each other.  Angiertha and Errod signed a mutual defense pact.  On top of that Errod and Endel brokered a trade agreement that seemed quit lucrative too both political parties.

Highlights of Episode Eighteen
Erath, - Taznos Moonday 15th-. CY1031

At dawn Leiya would have her Tests of Ordination, and begged Enkili not to wear a skirt to cheer her on. Things are heating up in the archery competitions and Jolrael Symara discovered he had two contests for this day, one in the morning and one in mid afternoon. Wolf found that his two bouts conflicted with each other he had to agonize over which event to drop, the foot melee or the joust. Enkili had foot melee bouts all day, morning, noon, and afternoon.
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Highlights of Episode Eighteen
Erath, - Taznos Moonday 15th-. CY1031


Before false dawn made it’s promise known, the adventurers accompanied their own Melwenite Priestess to her ordination.  After a “show”, a divine play where a Sedaran version of Melwen’s story of holding off hordes of demons was portrayed, Leiya was taken aside.  In a series of short rituals, Leiya was anointed in blessed oils and recognized as one truly dedicated to the goddess.  With the new blue vestments she received she was also promised the help and hospitality of the church (Leiya gained the “Shelter of the Faithful” feature given to the Acolyte background).

Riardon, who did not want to witness a stuffy Priestly ritual, mingled with the early risers in Solare.  His nimble fingers liberated several coins of a lesser nobility and a 10’ roll of string. 

Having to hustle from Leiya’s ordination, the bulk of the group made it to the archery fields in time for Jolly’s first bout.  He easily wins the first round at 15 paces with 12 points.  At 20 Jolrael devastates his rival with a 19 point score that had two bullseyes and a near bullseye.  Facing his third opponent, they both tie at four points apiece so they had to go to a sudden death shoot off.  Jolrael barely ekes out a third round win.  Two bullseye shots  and an outer ring 1 point shot outdoes his 4th rival.  The girl Jolrael faced on his fifth and final round scored an outer ring 1 point hit, an inner ring 4 point hit, and a bullseye for 10 points.  Jolrael was only able to hit the 3 point ring, the 11 point outer ring, and a single bullseye.  His 8 points did not prevail so Jolrael asked the girl archer for one of her lucky stones for future luck.  With a smile she tossed the sorcerer a stone then strolled away to bask in the crowds adulation.

In a best 3 out of 5 bouts, Enkili faced his morning competition with a Shield of Faith spell from Leiya.  In a swift series of wooden staves crashing against armor Enkili dominated his rival 15 to 3 and wins the first passage of arms.  In round two the blunt weapons gave his rival 7 points, but Enkili scored 11 points.  In the third round, Enkili’s opponent again scored 7 points worth of hits, but takes two stout blows from the Mandagan.  Those 10 points forced the man to concede granting Enkili another great victory.

Directly after Enkili’s bout, Leiya recieves a summons to deliver the last rites to the loser of a mortal contest between an Errodian Dragonrider and a Bhelian prisoner, a half Ogre who had known mighty heroes half a decade prior.  Many people began to rush to the site of this contest, all abuzz with disquiet and foreboding.  Riardon follows his curiosity and soon learns of the mortal bout.  Both he and Leiya watch the half Ogre greet the Dragonrider, throw down his weapon and scream at the watching Maklu of Bhel.

“Avenge the Crown!  Avenge the Prince!”  the prisoner then threw himself upon the Errodian champions weapon and ended his life.
In a show of disdain for all, the Maklu stood up and told the Dragonrider this.

“You can have him back now” then he walked out.  Stunned spectators funneled away as Leiya escorted the half Ogre’s body to a tent where she cleaned the slain and performed the ritual of last rites to the noble Bhelian prisoner.  At one point she notices that she had an observer who lurked in the shadows.  Once spotted a man stepped out and declared his name was Hereth.  Hereth told Kureg the half Ogres sad tale, of how he had failed to save the former Maklu’s only son from the hungry blades of the Usurpers forces.  Hereth begs Leiya to restore the Half Ogre to life.  While explaining that she did not have that power she accidentally discovered that the half Ogre had an enchantment that would have prevented even the mightiest of priests from raising Kureg.

As Leiya struggled with what she should do with her information, Jolrael squared off for his last chance rounds with archery.  He easily won his first bout with 14 points to 5, his two bullseye shots magnificent.  Round two again routes his opponent scoring an overwhelming 14 points.  He scored a bullsey, a four point near bullseye, and a miss for a total of9points; his rival could only muster 7 points.  With a strong wind making itself a factor, Jolrael’s fourth opponent scored a hefty 8 points, unfortunately misses his first two shots and has no way to even tie the match up.  So he struck out of any further competition in this Shieldmeet archery contests.

Enkili has Lady Adelien’s bard ridicule his opponent to throw the man off for his afternoon bout.  In the first pass this opponent scores 5 points off of Enkili but takes 12 points from the Mandagan.  In round two the score is about the same, 8 points to the hero’s 15 perfect points.  There was no fourth or fifth round because Enkili scored 11 points to 6 points, defeating that rival handily. 
Riardon had sent out messengers to his friends asking them to meet him at the Rusty Bedpan for dinner that evening.  After that he stalked a rich nobleman.  Private security spots him when he made his play, so Riardon had to use distracting magic to force his getaway.  Once again the city guard did not get an accurate description of the wily Elf.

On her way to administer aid to Enkil for his evening bout, Leiya stopps off to meet with her informant, the little girl Miria and her stuffed rabbit.  The girl and her friends learned that someone important had been killed the night before, but no one knows who died.

As Enkili faced the ridicule of his opponents bard, he received the powerful protection of Leiya’s Shield of Faith spell.  In the first pass at arms Enkili scored 7 points to 4points and wins the first bout.  He wins the second bout 10 to 8 almost seeming as though Enkili was ready to trounce this opponent too.  The third round witnessed a change though, Enkil lost that bout 7 to 10.  In the fourth pass Enkili again lost 10 to 6.  With the bouts evenly split the two rivals enter the fifth supposedly tie breaker round, they both score5 points each, so they have to have a rare 6th round.  Unfortunately the Mandagan Battlemaster scores 5 points while his burly foe bashes twice as many points out of him.  Enkili has to step down from the champions bracket.

Sess, Riardon’s underworld contact, hunts the Shandeeran down with fell news.  He learns of the N’marian queens assassination and how the crime points to the Solarian thieves guild.  While the organization was not involved  but they think that a band of Uhrian assassins called the “Whisperers” may be behind it, though proof has not been gathered.  The Safe house the party was luxuriating in was rescinded.

Unable to exchange their information with one another, all but Jolrael attends the orality play in the early evening.  While the play had a little boy and his mouse face off against a witch and a wolf in an eating contest of the door of a candy house and a house made from a giant turnip, the show did not reach a conclusion.  Miria showed up with a friend of hers, a boy with a bad tummy ache.  As the little girl and her precious doll were trying to explain the boy suddenly collapses with every bit of evidence pointint to poisoning.  Thinking fast Leiya uses her only spell that could rid the lad of poison, but even as she did.  Many people in the audience began to keel over clutching their stomachs.  Riardon was the first to notice that all the afflicted were Errodians.  Enkili and Hubert looked on helplessly while Leiya ran around trying to provide help, any help… to no avail.

All of Solare was subdued that night, even in the rusty bedpan.  Boreman Herske gives the party a room and feeds them.  Disheartened the party shares their disparate bits of knowledge with each other then spend most of their time speculating on what It might mean, who could truly be behind it, and so on. 
Unable to fathom the madness or genius behind all the chaos, the whole party accompanies Jolrael to his Magical initiation into the ranks of Wizard’s Peak.  Surprisingly Wellbourne Huxley is the representative administering to the tests.  They learn that the weakened Peak also suffered poisonings, losing many potent members of their guild.  At first Jolly has to answer several questions posed to him by the circle of mages, afterwords they acknowledge him as a “Mage of the Bloodwright”.  Jolrael admits that he was born with a mark on his body that also marks his magic, news to his companions.

Continuing on, the circle request a demonstration of Jolrael’s druid craft skills, then they ask him to cast his cantrip spells.  After that they have him move on to more sophisticated spells, having him demonstrate or prove the magical powers he manipulates.  “Hail and welcomeJolrael, Third Circle Evoker of the Bloodwright, Child of Wind and Wave!”  They give the young sorcerer a cloak pin and a potion of rest after he takes the oath binding him to the wizard’s guild.  As this is going on, Wellborne admits that Prince Eidwe of Brandt has disappeared.

*Wolf's bout will be forthcoming soon, we hope.  We hope work and security were worth missing the game for, lol.

Highlights of Episode Nineteen
Erath, - Taznos, Watersday 16th- 28th. CY1031


Though finding the scores of Wolf’s last tournament problematic, it was evident From the Errodian’s demeanor that he did not fare well in his last joust.  In the morning of the 16th, he returned the borrowed horse and armor to Lady Adelien, the sponsor of our party in Shieldmeet.

Again, before the first cock crowed the day awake, Leiya Tevorova was up tending to the injured (including Miria’s little friend who survived the mass poisoning).  Attending to her healer duties, she was unable to participate in the first rounds of Watersday’s tournament.

Though Enkili walked out boldly to meet his competitor for the morning foot melee bout, the two bards calling imprecations down on both fighters, it was clear the Mandagan swordsman was ill prepared for this fight.  In the first pass Caanen of the Steel Host scored 12 points against Enkili and suffered 11 points against himself.  In the second round Enkili scored seven points but lost because Caanen took 12 points.  In the last pass 10 points to 8 were scored, and Enkili was resoundingly beat; there was no need for a fourth or fifth bout.  The mercenary did state that with a little more training, Enkili would be a perfect fit for the Steel Host.  Enkili was the last of the party to have held a bracket in Shieldmeet.

As the day progressed, the group learned that Bhel and Errod officially declared war against each other.  A new leader was proclaimed in N’Maria, an indigenous warlord named Gurruk of Aniran.  He immediately declared war on the Brunok and Koloi tribes of Angiertha, a move that will distract help away from Errod in their war.  Uhria formed a surprising alliance with Bhel and N’maria and will be helping out in both nations war efforts.  In another surprise move, Sedaria (who normally keeps Bhel in check) signed an agreement of non aggression with Bhel.  As usual Onastia declared itself neutral.  Even though the ink was still wet from their agreement with Errod, Brandt broke it’s pact with Errod and signed a non aggression pact with Bhel and Uhria.  A lot of speculators believe that death threats against the missing prince of Brandt may be behind this move.

Hareth, the dragonrider from Errod who had given Leiya information about the valiant half Ogre, Kerig, had tried to assassinate Kaashak, the Maklu of Bhel during the night.  He killed a decoy instead and got caught.  On the 17th he was judged and later executed by beheading.  Hareth was denied any visitors, even for religious or legal services.  Leiya tried several attempts to see the dragonrider before his show trial and even showier execution. 

Gathering information on his own, Riardon learns many of the same rumors that come to the rest of the party, but he does add that Shadowaith seems poised to invade Errod from the ocean side of the nation.  This seems to be a third nation poised to rip into that stout little country.  Unable to bring himself to watch people being executed, Enkili gives into the temptation of the flesh; he had located a whorehouse that served hemp buds among the drugs offered along with the girls and boys of the house.  Wolf spent most of the day watching the foam die in a mug of beer he watched from morning to night.

Normally the Midweek of the 18th would have been a deeply celebrated day, as this was the day that awards and accolades were given to the champions and notables of Shieldmeet.  It was a poorly attended event, and only the vendors tried to enliven the day.  In the Bow archery competition Aderia of Westfolk took the big prize.  The master of the crossbow was Taas the Younger.  For the thrown ax, Thorm Thorminsson was declared the champion.  Telizan of Flamespire won the spear/javelin title.  Hordan Arlinsson took the prize Jolrael had battled for, the best slinger.  The winner who had beat out Enkili in the footrace was also Telizan of Flamespire.  Aston of Plithney was the jousting champion.  Alehrd Kanoth, Kanoth the killer, had been a prisoner who was supposed to face death in Shieldmeet, instead he fought his way to becoming the champion of the foot melee combats; thus winning his freedom.

The winner of the Grand Melee was Talizan of Flamespire.  The master of Horsemanship was given to Kinoga Jochi.  The stone toss and Wrestling awards both went to Talizan of Flamespire.  Flamespire is not a known quantity on any known map.  Wolf managed to garner 750 gp for his deeds in the joust.  Enkili won 1,000 gold for his placement in foot melee, and he also won a 25 gp golden torc (it is cleverly wrought with wings at the ends) for the great foot race.

During the “celebrations” the party was greeted by Wellborne Huxley of Wizard’s Peak, the man responsible for bringing the Foreign Force together.  Later they see the wizard speaking with a fighting man dressed as a traveler, quick eyes in the group also spot that this stranger bore the token of the Errodian dragonriders.  It is surmised that Wizard’s Peak is again showing itself independent of Sedaria politically.

Empowered by their experiences, the party decided that it was time for them to seek training in their preferred professions (4th level is gained).  In the ten days they took to hone new skills and talents, Enkili bought Leiya, Jolrael, and Riardon storage chests and locks for their belongings on the wagon.  He also buys himself a 200gp suit of splint armor.  His banded mail he grants to Hubert, the boy who they are still training.  The Mandagan also buys five days of food for six people and five days of food (30 gp for rations, 30# stored in the wagon.), and ten days of fodder for six animals (Hay 6sp, 120#.  Oats 3gp, 120#).  Enkili also proposes to start a collection from the party to buy young Hubert training and a weapon.


Highlights of Episode Twenty
Erath, - Taznos, Endrest 28th –  Melad 3rd, Windsday  CY1031


Unable to seek the advice of Wellborne Huxley, who had returned to Wizard’s Peak, the party sought the advice of the paladin, Lady Adelien as to which quest they should take up.  Unfortunately with all the wars and rumors of ill ilk, their former sponsor was too busy to advise them.  However, At Melwen’s church, Leiya learned that a relic needed to be transported to the Sedaran city of Anstarre to the south west.  So with the promise of a little remuneration from the church, the party decided that they would deliver the relic, then travel back to The Freehold and deal with the Chained Heart slavers who may be working from that port city.

The Hand of Surna was the relic they took up, it was a preserved hand in a small wooden case.  Evidently Surna had been a Priest of Melwen who had performed so many healings that he became something of a saint.  After he died they preserved his body and allowed the afflicted to seek healing from his enshrined cadaver.  A fire burned his temple down and all but his right hand was consumed.  One of the first acts of the party as they left the city was to purchase an ornate wooden box of roughly the same dimensions as the relic’s carrying case.  This box was intended to fool would be pilferers who may waylay the party for this specific relic; a well placed illusion from Riardon would complete the deceit.  The holy appendage may or may not have been stored with the hay and oat sacks that carried fodder for the wagon's mules.

Traveling by wagon, the party took almost a seven day week to get to Pikton.  After a nights rest, the party did a little light shopping then hit the road again on the last night of the short festival month of Sawan (They had traveled through the entire week long sowing and fertility celebration).  As the group traveled they stopped in little villages and hamlet to buy the ingredients for antitoxin potions and potions of healing for Leiya to brew up.  She managed to craft a potion every two days of travel.  Two days out of Pikton the party met Urwis, a Warden of the West Road.  The man warned the party about the dangers of leaving the established road; wiley bandits were making the region unsafe.

The city of Evold was reached on Windsday the 3rd of Melad, 1031 CE.  At the gates they were met by Irial, a representative of Wizard’s Peak.  Irial was also the caretaker of a converted farmhouse that is a safe house for members of the magician’s guild.  Jolrael’s new association with Wizard’s Peak was already providing benefits to the party, as they could all use this farmhouse as a base of operation while they worked within the region.  Though the safe house was north of Evold, it was well concealed by trail covering spells of astounding crafting.  Irial, Irial’s son, Irial’s apprentice (ground keeper), and two farm hands reside at the hidden farm, but they made it clear that they were not servants for the party to order about.

Leiya asked the party to set out after only one night of rest, rather than give in to her companions urges to rest for several days.

Highlights of Episode Twenty One
Erath, Melad 4th, Midweek – Melad 5th Firesday CY1031


In the Morning, Irial’s wife came home and cooked a hearty breakfast for all at the farmstead, using the finer foodstuff reserved for Wizard’s Peak representatives.  As the party partook they discussed whether Hubert was ready to settle upon a weapon of choice.  Irial brought the lad a quarterstaff, which was a weapon that Hubert could use to train with until he was actually ready to choose arms to represent his personal style.

When they did reach Elvold, Leiya and Jolrael tried to catch news of the road ahead.  Enkili dropped by a hashish den and treated himself to a few hours of permagrin.  After half an hour they attempted to get on the road again, but were caught in a downpour.  The rain did not let up when they made camp, but the party had troubles building a fire.  Jolrael used magic to apply fire to their wood, but the rain just drowned any flame applied; thus the party slept cold while keeping watch.

Near morning the weather broke up into a cloudy day, but Jolly’s druidcraft had shown them that a bright sunny day was in their future.  While stowing their gear they heard galloping hooves coming their way.  A fearful riding horse, with no rider, attempted to dash by them on the road, but Riardon was fast enough to intercept and calm the beast.  On the saddle were the signs of blood and widespread claw marks that Leiya identified as bird claws.  Tying the horse to their wagon they stalked down the road trying to find the rider.  A mile down the road they found the attack sight, where they found feathers and fur of a singular coloration, and tracks that were discovered held both bird talons and monstrously large animal paws.  The animal had broke through the brush on one side of the road and had carried the rider off, breaking through the brush on the other side of the road.

Only Riardon set up protest at the idea of following the tracks to recover the rider, dead or alive.

Highlights of Episode Twenty Two
Erath, Melad 5th Firesday - 6thFellsday -  CY1031


TPK!  Just kidding. 

Jolrael, and Leiya wanted to ignore the bloody side trail, claiming that delivering the relic was more important.  Riardon just didn’t want to go monster hunting, Which left Enkili to argue for the lives of those who would use the road after them; Hubert abstained from voting because he was not a full fledged member of the group.  The compromise they came too was to have a few members follow the trail for a short time, while the rest of the group stayed back to protect Hubert, the Mules, horse, and the wagon.

Enkili and Riardon found a clearing that had a gravel slope at the far end.  At the bottom of the slope was a cave entrance and a bloody boot, it was evident that something lived inside the natural chamber.  Riardon slipped down and recovered the boot and a tuft of animal hair.  Bringing this information back did not sway Leiya, Jolrael, nor Riardon into hunting the murderous beast down.  Enkili resorted to guilt tripping the party even as they rode on, outvoted though he was.  That night while training Hubert (after setting camp just off the muddy road), Enkili showed the teen the steps and weapon flourishes that could be found in the Elven script for the word "Craven", a little jab that no one noticed. 

Taking the first watch, Leiya and Hubert sat around the fire making sure the mists and increasing drizzles did not drown the fire.  The priestess drew out some more of Hubert's background, learning that the kid had been an urchin until hired by the despicable Lady Adelade.  While in her employ, Hubert had often been switched for being "slow" or for his stutter.  She pointed out to the lad that his speech impediment had been in a decline in the time he had taken up with the party.  Enkili had second watch, which he kept alone, the drizzle increased into a light persistent rain, he chose a wandering watch that allowed him to check the wagon, animals, and tents between stoking the fire.

On Riardon’s watch, the clever rogue noticed a few small humanoid shaped creatures scuttling around in the darkness.  He fed the fire then attempted to investigate who or what they were.  Short hairy bug like creatures with pincer hands, and nippers rushed him.  One of them stepped into a shadow outside of the firelight and reappeared in the shadows of the end tent where Jolly and Hubert slept.  As Riardon was engaged by two of these fay bug men, he thought that his friends would sleep through the fray, his penchant for stealth made him forget to call out initially.  When he did speak up, Hubert, Leiya, and Enkili woke.  As the fighting man scrambled for his sword, the priestess used magic to make the fire flare up to shed more light.  Hubert grabbed his dagger then shook the sorcerer awake.  Though he jumped adroitly to his feet, Enkili had to push himself physically (action surge) to close with the teleporting bug man.

Noticing how the creatures shied from the light, Leiya thought to protect the animals by casting her light cantrip upon the mule closest to the fight.  Jolrael rolled out of his tent and began to hurl spells at every creature he didn't recognize; meanwhile Hubert remembered he now owned a quarter staff, then he followed the sorcerer into the light rain and chaos.  Hubert noticed a third meenlock teleport through shadows to the far side of the tent he had shared with Jolrael, calling attention to the creature the bow beset it with his stout stick.

Meanwhile the Riardon, Enkili, and Leiya had to deal with the meenlock's trying to sow magical or psychic fear in them, and Enkili learned that the creatures claw strikes could cause paralysis.  After fighting through the meenlock's bedeviling abilities the party finally beat the creatures down enough that some of them succumbed to magical and physical wounds.  At this point the fay bug creatures were forced to flee.  Caught up in his own martial prowess, Enkili plowed into the brush and chased one fleeing meenlock down.  Through a bit of divine magic from Leiya, when the meenlock clawed the fighter a holy light struck the creature down.  Enkili thought he had developed new magical powers and had to have Leiya's spell explained to him.

As they calmed the mules and horse down and cast more light spells around their camp, Hubert (who seems to know quite a bit of local creature lore) gave the meenlock name to the party, explaining that the creatures were unseelie creatures from the feywild.  After making sure no further assault was forthcoming the party tried to bed down again, but they all heard the sodden clopping of hooves in the night.  A muffled rider entered the bright lights Jolrael and Leiya had surrounded the camp with.  Enigmatically the stranger asked them:

“A bit zealous with the lighting, yes?”  All they could tell from the stranger was that the voice was young and masculine….

Highlights of Episode Twenty Three
Erath, Melad 6thFellsday – Melad 10th, Watersday CY1031


Reluctant to share information about himself, the stranger inquired after road conditions he would have to face. The party warned him of the beast attacking riders behind them, then offered him shelter from the rain. After a struggle with himself the man chose to ride on.

Setting off the next morning, the party felt ragged and out of it from lack of slumber. Soon they passed a coach house (inn) whose inhabitants and guests were angry and sour from a robbery of the night before. Since no one thought to ask the party if they had seen anyone, they just rode by chuckling too themselves. An hour later the group had to maneuver around a band of seven brown robed men marching on bare feet in the same direction they were traveling.

Leiya called out a blessing upon the monk like fellows and caused one of them to stumble and cut his toe. They ignored her other than that, chanting some dolorous marching tune. That night the weather turned from a drizzle to a downpour, and realizing that if they pushed a little they would find another coach house, the wanderers took refuge. Due to a massive Silver tree growing nearby, the inn was named Lonesome Tree. Drunk soldiers and the tales of a fellow traveler did not keep the group from sleep, and they all woke refreshed… and dry.

In the morning Riardon thought he would purchase a map of the local area. When he discovered the 50 gp price on the parchment, he instead chose to draw a crude map from his memory of glancing at the real thing. Here the party warned the inn keeper of the beast preying upon travelers behind them. After a great breakfast, the adventurers hit the road again. After four hours they passed the same group of 7 monks they had passed the night before. Gauging from the mendicants position, Leiya and Riardon figured out that the men had marched all night long with no rest. They were chanting the same marching song with the same fixed expressions, still in their wet and muddy robes. Only the man with the injured toe glanced at Leiya as she called a benediction down upon them.

A merchant train of ten wagons forced the party to pull off road and laboriously trudge through the sodden roadside to pass the train by. This cost both parties a half an hour travel time. That evening, Jolrael cast his druidcraft spell and learned that rain would return that night. Pushing on they found the next coach house to pass the evening by in. The Fearless Raven had similar costs for lodging and food, but the group judged the fare was better than at the last inn.

Unsurprising, they passed the 7 robed men again; Leiyas well wishes did not evoke a response in any of them this time. Another forecast of rain forced the party to stop over at The Four Stags, a rougher road house than they had grown accustomed to staying at. The other customers and inn keeper were such a rough and ragged lot that the party made plans to keep a watch that night.

Before they could take to their beds to implement their plan, a ragged man burst through the door, staggered over to a table in the middle of the room, then collapsed. Enkili rushed for the door to head off any following trouble, while Leiya ran over to the man. The man husked out “Ulfang the Black” then died. The priestess tried to stave off the grim reaper using her magic, but to no avail. The inn keeper asked her if the body was hers, which was a question her life experience had not prepared her for. Enkili and Riardon, who had seen many darker things knew what the greedy men meant; Riardon thought quickly and claimed the body as his.

As the patrons and inn keeper began to bid over who would get to loot the dead man, Leiya discovered an iron key on the body. Though not secretive by nature she still managed to slip the key into her own pocket without being spotted by any person in the room, not even Riardon who noticed most deeds others thought smooth and hidden. Meanwhile Riardon sold looting rights to another customer for 1 gp, a price that would be hard to recoup from the state of the dead man’s accoutrements… well except for the boots of course. Taking the boots and the man’s purse, the high bidder carried the body outside, where there was a decent sized graveyard.

Following her instincts, Leiya followed the man out and questioned him as he dug the grave. She learned that Joun (the dead man) had been treasure hunting at the ruins of some old tower that had belonged to a wizard or cultist named “Ulfang the Black”; she delivered the last rights to Joun after he was planted.

While hitching the mules up to the wagon in the morning, the only time the party did not have witnesses about, Leiya told of her deed and investigation. They agreed that they would add the Tower of Ulfang the Black to their list of things to do on the way back from delivering the holy relic.

Passing the monks again, the party was shocked to see only six chanting men were left. The man with the bad toe was no longer with them. More assiduously than before, the marching men ignored being passed by a curious Priestess of Melosa (Melwen), and the macabre speculations of Enkili who bestowed cannibalistic tendencies upon them. Heavy rain hit before the night fell, but the party pushed on for a few hours into the night until they reached the outskirts of Anstarre; a walled city approached by a long bridge, whose gates were already closed. In the village like sprawl before the city’s bridge, they found the Dragon’s Flagon inn, inside weapons of all sorts dangled over the hearth….

Highlights of Episode Twenty Four
Erath, Melad 10th, Watersday CY1031
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