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Game Session Recaps
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….

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.
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

In the morning, Leiya and Hubert crossed the bridge to deliver the relic, possibly having to stay at the church for a day or two.  This left Jolrael, Enkili, and Riardon to their own devices, so they discussed what they should do.  Eventually they decided to find out if the Chained Heart (Chained Wings) slavers were operating in Anstarre.  After convincing the others to hunt the slavers, Jolrael decided to hunt down a sage who could help him find out what creature belonged to the fur and feathers that were found where the messenger had died. 

With a few well directed questions, the sorcerer learned that a man named Gorvenal Commons had the knowledge that was needed.  Meanwhile, Riardon began to make inquiries among the street beggars to find out where a local thieves guild representative could be found.  In time the beggars brought a woman and her entourage into the alley to facilitate a face to face.  Jade was a lieutenant in the local underground and she accepted Riardon’s tribute/bribe for him to work their territory.

Enkili developed the bright idea to draw the Chained Heart’s logo onto parchment, then seek out the homeless and beggars to see if they knew the symbol.  Soon the fighting man noticed someone paying a little too much attention to him, so he confronted the young man.  Instead of offering a bribe, Enkili thought to intimidate the young beggar.  Predictably the man ran off.  Knowing he could run the man down, Enkili chased after, but the beggar ran him into an alley full of his friends.

By pure accident these friends were the people Riardon had been making an agreement with, and the Rogue was still in the same alley.  For a bribe of one platinum the criminal element agreed not to punish Enkili for his hubris.  Instead of quietly slinking away afterwords, the Mandagan showed Jade and her friends his drawing.  Jade and a few of her followers recognized the symbol, and were immediately defensive.  They were reassured when Enkili blurted out that they were not friends with the slavers.  In an aside that Enkili was not meant to overhear, Jade informed her main enforcer that the symbol belonged to the people who had stolen his sister.

Again blurting their intent to fight the Chained heart and free the people in chains, Enkili swayed Jade into offering them a reward if they should find word of two guild mates of hers; plus she also promised to reach out to, and work with the criminal guild running Solare, the capitol.  She seeks Jubb and Serca, two thieves stolen away from Anstarre.  Deeper inland, Leiya and Hubert received their reward for bringing in the relic, which included greater potions of healing for each person in the group.  The priests also informed her that in a wood to the west of the city, lights and sounds at night were disturbing the locals.  One investigator sent to scout this out had already failed to appear and was feared dead or captured.

Gorvenal Commons, the Sage of Anstarre turned out to be a man who was either too theatrical, or assuredly stark raving mad.  Jolrael handed over the beast’s feathers and told the tale of how they had been acquired.  The cost turned out to be 25gp, but a perceived slight made Jolly have to pay 30gp to smooth ruffled...uh… feelings.  After a production of waving the feather, smelling it, and eventually tasting the light item, the sage tendered his answer that an owlbear was responsible for taking the messenger; one that was possibly trained and working for an intelligent master.  Gorvenal soon indicated that he would pay handsomely for a sample of owlbear blood as it was a reagent for one of his concoctions. 

Before leaving Solare, Wellborne Huxley had told Jolly that if he found an item of magical interest, then he would trade Jolrael a book of magic for it.  The sorcerer told the sage that if he got the blood sample, then he would want a magic item to trade for it; so Jolly could get his book.  Gorvenal showed him a magic plate called the Waverley Plate that produces one meal a day and a possible rumor each night.

Coming back together late in the afternoon, the party shared their experiences and knowledge with each other, and after a brief discussion, they agreed that they could check into the lights and weird noises in the Elmstep Woods that night.

With a few hours of light remaining in the day, the party arrived in the wood and began to sniff around, trying to find clues.  They found the path of a man with soft soled boots heading to a pool in a clearing.  As Enkili almost found out the hard way, the rim of the pool proved to be thin and crumbled easily under his feet; the evidence showed the missing investigator fell into the pool and vanished.  Jolrael made a stone glow with magical light and tossed it into the pool.  The stone drifted down into an underwater shaft and sank beyond sight.

Sensing that this pool was the focal point for the mysterious lights and noises the group broke up and sought cover in the brush, hoping to ambush whatever showed up.  After several hours it became really dark, then two glowing globes rose up from the depths and began to dance around the pool.  When both Leiya and Hubert gasped from recognition, the lights blinked out, vanishing for a moment.  Before figuring out anything else, or sharing any knowledge or guesses, the orbs reappeared in front of Hubert and Enkili.

These creatures shot lightening into the fighter and boy, severely hurting Hubert.  Hubert’s first action was to do a fighting withdrawal and run for safety.  Enkili was unable to connect with his attack, but Jolrael zapped Hubert’s attacker with a beam of ice (frostbeam) that slowed that creature down when it could move again.  Riardon struck the being with his arrow, driving it deep from the surprise he generated.  Leiya charged into Enkili’s tormentor, calling out that it was a “ghost”.  She granted Hubert some protection from physical attacks with a spell then slapped the monster nearest her with a light cantrip that burned like white fire (Word of Radiance)…. 

We’ll see you all again in 21 days time to finish out this combat, as our next game will not take place until July 18th!

Highlights of Episode Twenty Five
Erath, Melad 10th, Watersday - Melad 11th, Windsday CY1031

Riardon soon adopted a fire and move tactic, moving around the battlefield, but the corpse lights countered him by turning invisible and closing on him or Jolrael.  Hubert was pursued all the way too Leiya and Enkili’s side, where he used his protective skills to help either the fighter or the priestess.  Leiya set herself up to use her Shield of Faith, and Spiritual Weapon spells to their best effect.  Jolrael used his Thunderclap, Aganazaar’s Scortcher, and Ray of Frost spells, zapping a newly arrived willow-the-wisp that tried to chase him.  The sorcerer would hit them with a spell that knocked them back, then move away; or hit them with a spell and fly in a short hop out of danger, then move.  Eventually the sorcerer ducked into the pack of his friends when his list of spells ran low.  Enkili used his battle maneuver trickery to land hits on the ghost lights, but as with all the damage the party dealt (except light and force damage), the willow-the-wisps shrugged most of it off.

Twelve seconds into the bout, the party heard a familiar lute and voice out in the dark.  Their old friend, Blaylocke the Dwarven Bard trotted out of the night with his lute and joined his friends in their battle.  His music buoyed the spirits and abilities of his friends, and he was able to ply his bow and strike true.  When the first willow-the-wisp died, a fourth rose out of the depths.  The undead changed their tactics to turn invisible then try to swarm the rogue or sorcerer.  Leiya managed to drop two with a light spell and an assault by her spiritual weapon which was the turning point in the battle.  The last willow-the Wisp did not choose to run off, it continued to attack all alone, and kept the party at bay.  It took over a minute to stop the undead monster as it struck, turned invisible, moved to go after Jolrael, before the group was able to down it.

After much party argument, the group returned to town and slept.  The next day, they reported their progress to the church, then returned to the pool.  Using ropes they swam down and recovered several bodies, mostly skeletal.  The freshest corpse was the clerk they had tracked to the pool, and his was the only remains that carried treasure.  His 12 gold coins were returned to his family, but the party was rewarded by Melwen’s church for ending the menace to the region.  Now the party had to choose where to go next, they could return the way they came, exploring Ulfang’s tower and hunting owlbears along the way.  They could cut overland and follow the coast to The Freehold, or they could catch a boat and sail to said city.

Highlights of Episode Twenty Six
Erath, Melad  Windsday 11th – Midweek the 12th CY1031

Enkili, impressed by Hubert’s maturation, gifted the young warrior 10 platinum pieces so he could purchase his own weapons.  Hubert bought himself a mace, a shield, a rapier, a sling and possibly a handax.  The beaming youngster joined the team at the wagon, and they all set out back down the road to Elfton.  Their first night they stop at the Four Stags Inn and stayed the night with the riffraff.  The next day Wolf payed off the stable hands to watch the mules, wagon, and horses.  Then he payed off some locals to help the stable hands watch the groups belongings.  Before they set out for Ulfang’s Tower the group discovered that the shifty innkeeper had also paid some men to watch the stables, because they were paying customers the group hoped.

Still the party decided to wait until there was a break in the rain before they made the two hour walk to the tower.  When it did let up, the group slipped and slid for the next four hours before they found the tower.  Ulfang the Black’s tower was possibly eight stories tall but very dilapidated, sagging and tilting almost alarmingly.  Inside the conditions were damp and crumbling.  Holes in the floor and ceiling meant that Blaylocke’s stonecunning would prove valuable.  A central column proved to be the shaft where stairs up and down were placed.  Blaylocke suddenly remembered an old song and the lore behind it.  He informed the party that Ulfang had been a necromancer whose cruelty knew no bounds, Ulfang had killed many people by the time someone poisoned him to death.

After checking out the ground floor, the party voted to head up the stairs to continue their poking around.  Leiya cast a light spell on Enkili’s helmet, Jolrael cast light on Leiya, and then he reversed his headband to reveal his permanent light spell.  Some members dispersed to the left, and half split to the right.  Jolrael, looking through a crack in the wall, noticed a damp back pack lodged in the rubble on a bad section of floor.  Wolf, thinking the party was climbing rubble up to the second story, tried to go up the stairs to meet up with them, but he had no light source so backed down the stairs to watch for trouble.  Wolf began to get a creepy feeling that something above was watching him.  In the east, Leiya and Blaylocke moved over rubble into another chamber.  Meanwhile, Rieardon, Enkili, and Jolrael made a plan to traipse out onto the bad floor to recover the mystery pack.

Highlights of Episode Twenty Seven
Erath, Melad  Midweek the 12th CY1031

Tying a rope around Jolrael, Enkili and Riardon tried to anchor the young sorcerer as he edged out to the soggy backpack, Jolly himself had a precautionary Feather Fall spell at the ready too.  In the other half of the tower, Blaylocke Anvilarm and Leiya found a room full of rubble, and the bard decided to crawl out on it looking for anything of interest.  Moving slow, Jolrael reached the back pack and lifted it, and stone started to grumble.  Getting back to the Elf and the desert man, Jolrael looked back in time for the floor to collapse where he had just been.

Shortly after calling out reassurances to Wolf (who was still guarding the stairs with Hubert) and Leiya, Blaylocke found several patches where his floor had collapsed through to the story below.  He of course instigated a collapse after crawling to safer footing, but no one discovered that the Dwarven Bard was alright for several moments.  Enkili was trying to find another vantage to see if he could see where Blaylocke had fallen, when he found the Dwarven man stepping out of a cloud of dust north east of where he had gone into the room.

After a careful exam of the second floor, the party assembled and made their way to the next story.  The third story also seemed to be constructed as a circle within a circle, but three aged and broken barrels greeted them at the landing.  As Riardon and Blaylocke were peeking around the corners, Enkili moved ahead to examine the barrels.  Three people sized spiders popped out of cover or off the ceiling, attacking the group.  In the next 24 seconds of intense combat, five or six more great Dane sized arachnids threw themselves into the fray.

Hubert took a lot of damage, as did Jolrael.  Poor Riardon took several bites as well, two of them critical in nature.  In nearly half a minute of fighting, the heroic party eventually dispatched the spiders.  A thorough search of that floor netted 1pp, 2gp, 3ep, 23sp, four gems (a carnelian, citrine, onyx and a zircon) as well as x cp.  They all took a short rest and healed up from the damage they had taken, almost all their light sources extinguished during this rest, but 6 improvised torches were fashioned for later.

Highlights of Episode Twenty Eight
Erath, Melad  Windsday 11th – Midweek the 12th CY1031

Lighting torches or casting light cantrips, the party made sure they could see before traversing to the story above.  With Blaylocke and Riardon leading the way up, they made sure the steps were sound and free from traps for those trailing them.  On the third floor the group hesitated, checking the ceilings and trying to trigger a response from any creatures who may have been nearby.  Finally Blaylocke chose to move onto the landing, Enkili followed the bard as close as his own shadow.

Twenty feet in, unwholesome lights swirled about, lifting bits and pieces of armor from the rubble until three full suits of armor were completed.  Two more ill illumined armored suits quickly entered from the north, unholy lights blazing where eyes should have been.  Leiya rushed off the stairs and tried to use her holy powers to disrupt or scare off any undead.  None of the suits of armor were affected by her attempt, which informed her that the undead were not in the party’s presence.

Charging in, the two northernmost animated suits rushed in at Jolrael.  Blaylocke was pressed by one, and Enkili charged a fourth.  Riardon hit the fifth animated armor with a damaging cantrip before that armor attacked him and Hubert.  Deafening his friends, Jolrael cast Thunderwave blasting two animated armor’s back and making the floor very unsound in a square pattern.  After a lackluster start, Enkili finally started to chop away with his blade, Dandân Ve Panje; crushing one suit of armor, then moving around to flank Blaylockes foe.

Before the animated armor was defeated, Hubert was seriously injured and knocked unconscious.  Enkili interposed himself before the injured young man, but Jolly used Lightening Lure to pull the last suit of armor onto the unsound section of floor.  This lone suit of animated armor managed to strike out at the sorcerer before the floor gave way, crushing the armor once and for all beneath the rotten stone of the tower.  Spent, the party explored the 3rd floor then decided to make camp in the late afternoon.
Highlights of Episode Twenty Nine
Erath, Melad  Firesday the 13th CY1031 (in the wee hours)

Descending to the ground floor, the party set three hour watches into a twelve hour rest period.  Waking at false dawn, they stretched out and downed Jolrael’s manifested Goodberries before ascending the spiraling stairs again.  Wending around bad spots in the floor, the party discovered that the inner stairwell topped off on this fourth floor.  With further searching they discovered a stairway spiraling up hugging the exterior wall.  They also found a water stained carpet that was not as disheveled and time rent as other items found before.  This big rug burst to sudden savage life when probed, trying to engulf Riardon within its dirty folds.

Jolrael summoned a strong directed wind mighty enough to make the fabric thing struggle, and occasionally be blown back.  Jolrael and Riardon either froze it or singed it with tossed magics.  Leiya manifested a hovering mace that did more than knock dust away, and her spells of light placed even more burn marks on the sinister weaves of the rug.  Hubert struck once with his scimitar, while Enkili flailed futily away after having to struggle to the fore.

Miraculously, no one in the group received any harm from the carpet, and after a thorough search room by room (that revealed not a thing), the party took the stairs up to the fourth level.  Before them, at the top of the landing, the flooring looked very treacherous.  To the right a narrowing curved hall was choked with rubble, which was the easiest path given to the adventurers.

Highlights of Episode Thirty
Erath, Melad  Firesday the 13th CY1031 (in the wee hours)

Jolrael cast light on a throwable stone which the party took turns tossing ahead of themselves to suppress surprises.  Following the outside circumference of the tower, they had to walk all the way around the central portion of the tower.  Along the way two holes were found in the wall where siege engines had broke through in some long ago fight.  Double doors used to be an entrance into the sixth story central chamber; those doors were cast down by the long ago fight. 

The light stone was tossed in and it immediately sank into liquid muck, diffusing the illumination.  Goo and muck covered much of everything and liquid dripped from above, some in trickles some in mere drips.  Parts of bodies lay strewn about, mostly as well gnawed bones.  The stench was horrid.  Riardon and Blaylocke noticed the flash of gold in the shadows, but fear of an ooze kept them from dashing in.  Instead, they sent a Mage Hand in their stead.  The bracelet was securely attached to an arm and torso that were too heavy to drag over, so the rogue finessed the clasp open.

Talk of green slime and black ooze made Enkili nervous, so he tried to spot movement on the ceiling.  A drip in the eyes all but blinded the Mandagan, so they used the Mage Hand to carry the stone up.  They discovered a hole in the ceiling filled with black and red ropy goop… and body parts caught as if in webs.  That made the group realize that this room was some creatures midden heap, and the hole in the ceiling was an advantageous chute the creatures could use against them.  The decision was made to ascend a level and meet the creatures in their den.

On the seventh floor they discovered bad sections of floor around the outer circumference of the tower, but the central chamber, though filled with rubble, was sound.  There was an almost ten by ten hole in the floor before a set of double doors that still stood.  Somehow the group managed to sneak up on the doors and range themselves for an ambush.  Jolrael stood before the doors, beyond the pit, pretending he had opened them with magic, though Blaylocke was the one who opened the northern most portal.

Jolly noticed blood sprayed on the inside of the door and a large alter covered with old and fresh blood.  A partially devoured human arm and a silver chalice sat on that stone.  He cast light on another stone and cast it inside.  Leaping over the alter, a living corpse with a long wagging tongue and hatred on its face charged out intent on destroying the sorcerer.  The ghast was met with an arrow from Blaylocke and a firebolt from Riardon as it passed through the door.  It changed course and moved south to face Riardon and Enkili.  Three ghouls slipped through the door, one going for Riardon, one trying to pass around the pit to get to Jolrael and Blaylocke, and the other stopping in the doorway.

Two more ghouls arrived just as the ghast and one ghoul were destroyed by the party.  Only Hubert took some harm during the bout, and the lad was fortunate enough to not succumb to the corpse chill grasp of the ghoul.  Using the terrain and disrupting tactics, the party finished off the ghouls shortly after their boss ghast perished.  Moonstones encrusted the silver chalice, making it the only thing of monetary value the party found.  After using a healers kit to buoy Hubert’s health, the group assembled on the stairway leading up to the eighth and final floor of Ulfang’s tower.  Knowing that they still had to loot the midden room and explore the basement level of Ulfang’s tower, the group felt fortunate that they still had the opportunity to climb that one level more.

Highlights of Episode Thirty One
Erath, Melad  Firesday the 13th CY1031 (in the wee hours)

Under the spire roof of the top floor there were four triangular rooms radiating from the center of the room like spokes on a wheel.  Riardon moved up ahead and gave the scene a good probe, and heard scrabbling sounds in the dark.  Impatiently, Enkili moved up behind the Elven Rogue, yet banged his foot off the last step alerting the floors inhabitants.  They began to bay in a basso profundo cry like hounds.  Enkili knew he had messed up so he moved out to take the brunt of the attack.  The hounds seemed to have extra teeth growing in several rows, and glowing red eyes, they were mastiff like but much larger than those mundane dogs.

One of the burly hounds was slain before it could attack anyone, the other managed to breath fire on Riardon, Jolrael, and Leiya.  It was cut down before it could do any follow up mischief.  Jolrael had noticed that the hellhounds had collars.  Instead of name tags, or ownership tags, the two metal lumps seemed more like puzzle pieces.  Taking a chance, the party assembled the two halves and discovered that the two metal lumps made a key when conjoined.  After a long fruitless search for valuables the group talked about taking either a long or short rest.  They opted for the short rest.

Sure enough on the basement level they found an ornate door with a lock that the key fit.  On the other side of the barrier, Riardon discovered a swinging blade trap and a pressure plate.  His first plan to negate the trap did not work, and it took Riardon a while to figure out how to disable the device.  They found that the they were within a circular chamber with outer rings of hallways.  A creature rounded the nearest blind corner crawling along the wall, it immediately attacked Riardon as he was the closest.  The poor rogue was well damaged by the time the surprise wore off.

Riardon was able to slip the beasts attention when Hubert moved up to engage the monster.  Enkili used one of his Battlemaster maneuver’s to help Jolrael escape the claws and bites of their foe.  Leiya took a moment to figure out the creature, and the knowledge shocked her.  “It is a Nosferatu”, she called out with fear etched on her features.  Following a hunch Enkili challenged the undead beast as he sidled around it; “Ulfang, you look all dried up!”  The creature did not like itself being named so truly.

Sorry, this is another cliffhanger that we will not get back too until two weeks after Halloween.  We will be playing a one-shot of Call of Cthulu and setting fire to children caught in costume.

Highlights of Episode Thirty Two
Erath, Melad  Firesday the 13th CY1031

For a brief moment Hubert and Enkili had Ulfang surrounded, and Enkili managed to land a grievous slash upon the nosferatu.  Ulfang slipped aside and delivered some punishment upon Hubert.  After being flanked again by Enkili and Hubert, the undead creature caught the Mandagan, Jolrael, and Riardon in a cone shaped blood gout.  A bad case of projectile vomiting that damaged the trio.  After a rain of damage upon his person, the Nosferatu bit Enkili and drew healing from the damage he delivered upon the Human male.

In the next turn Ulfang was able to drop both Enkili and Hubert.  This forced Leiya to step into harms way.  Between her and Blaylocke, they got both fighters to their feet; though neither man was able to heal to full health.  Several time the two men were dropped to unconsciousness, and Ulfang managed to vomit blood upon Leiya, Enkili, Hubert, and Riardon.  Both Blaylocke, then Riardon managed to deliver desperate but debilitating attacks upon the undead creature.  Between the two of them they managed to slay Ulfang the Black and end its threat to the world.

93PP, 167 GP, 243 EP, 600SP, and 900CP were recovered as were 2 amethysts, 2 coral, 1 pearl and 1 tourmaline.  In a three inch jar was an ointment of an indeterminate nature.  Three potions were also recovered; one with silver liquid that had a sliver floating within, one that looked and smelled like a healing potion, and the third draught was cloudy green and smelled of the sea.  A jellyfish shaped bubble bobbed within this third potion.  The party began to discuss returning to Anstarre for training and research, Riardon argued (unsuccessfully) that they should continue on to Elfton to do their training.  Anstarre was two days travel away, while Elfton happened to be near two weeks travel to reach.

Highlights of Episode Thirty Three
Erath, Melad  Firesday the 14th – Bardan the 17th CY1031

In Anstarre the party spent over twenty days learning and training in their fields of expertise.  Guild dues were paid so no one fell into arrears.  Near the end of their training Enkili had more time to research his family’s lost blade and Leiya took the time to start casting continual flame upon the objects of her friends, so they did not have to rely upon torches and actual fire to illuminate their way in dark places.  In that time Blaylocke and Jolrael figured out that their mystery potions were actually a potion of healing, Keoghtom’s Ointment, Hill Giant Strength, and a potion of poison.  Alarmed at that last philtre, Blaylocke and Leiya insisted that no good could come of that draught; without much argument against the act, they poured this poison onto the ground.

Various party members sequestered out unwanted items from everyone’s packs and sold them, dispersing the profit among each member.  Unlike their last visit to Anstarre, the party did not have the same accommodations as each other.  Instead Leiya spent her nights at the local Melwenite chapel or at an inn nearby, Reardon found a place were average means artisans and middle class merchants took room and board.  Enkili and Hubert decided on being pampered at a place where the rich came to stay, Hubert learned that a bellhop usually did know where to find hash and hookers.  Blaylocke traversed from inn to tavern to find his lodging.  Bards from all over the countryside were in town for the bardic competitions and celebrations held in the middle of the month of Barden.

Using new magic she had accessed, Leiya sent word to Wellborne Huxley and the urchin Miria in Solare.  After over half a month learning new techniques, Riardon practiced his “art”, pulling off a weekend heist from a well to do merchant’s house.  When Blaylocke was not learning new songs and poems, and more intricate beats, he spent time and money on repairing that suit of plate armor the party had recovered in their first mission together.  At a historians house in the wealthier section of town, Enkili met a bard who described his families sword too him and told him this rumor: The sword is said to be wielded by an Efreet under the service of a foreigner.  The Efreet’s master is said to be searching for an ancient artifact in the ruins of Darsta.

Though he all but pleaded with the party, and he did threaten to leave, Enkili could not persuade the group to set aside their quest to stop the Chained Wings slavers.  They did agree to get to The Freehold by the quickest means possible and return the same way.  After researching the problem the party found that going part way on the road to Elfton then cutting overland took almost half as much time as following the road or river.  However they could not take the wagon with them if they traveled thus; they would have to buy their own riding horses and store the bulk of their possessions with Wolf.  Tents and jugs were gathered and stored with care as well as fifty days of rations, even though they planned to consume food Leiya claimed she could summon by magic.

*for all of you who keep up with these gaming recaps, it was decided that December 9th would be our last game of the year.  December 26 will be a night for family and love.  Merry Christmas one and all, Santa the Barbarian is coming in his sleigh to slay us all!

Highlights of Episode Thirty Four
Erath, Bardan Watersday the 17th – Bardan Endrest the 22nd CY1031

After procuring mounts, food, fodder and various other supplies, the company set out in a heavy rain.  In an effort to save the comestibles, Leiya used a spell that made an abundance of food for people and beasts.  This she did again after the party rose the next day; another day filled with constant rain.  They discovered that water had gotten into their dry rations, spoiling some of the food.  They partitioned the spoiled food out for a day down the road that Leiya could call upon Milosta (Melwen) to remove the wet and taint and make the food whole again.  Later they found the overland trail and left the established road. 

Near evening they discovered that a recent flood had washed away signs of the trail.  Blaylocke and Leiya were divided in their opinion on the right direction they should go.  Leiya was best able to reason out the correct direction and the party found the set of trails they needed.  Camping near a stream, the party was beset that night by an Owlfox; an aberration created by arcane or sometimes fay magic.  Enkili, who was on watch, managed to warn the group before receiving a bite on the arm from the creature.  The Mandagan’s increased martial prowess quickly drove the creature into literal flight as the desert man’s friends tumbled from their sleep to help.  Blaylocke spent the time figuring out what the creature was while Riardon threw a firebolt spell.  Hubert had come out with his scimitar so was unable to involve himself in combat as the creature was already fifteen feet up and climbing.  Leiya dashed out and immediately used a healing word to shrink Enkili’s arm wound.  A well placed arrow ended the fight.

Under Blaylocke’s guidance the party stayed firm to their trail that day and camped near the road to The Freehold after another rainy day.  A nearby troupe of tinkers offered the company access to their wares, common goods.  Blaylocke, Riardon, and Leiya bought themselves used books, discovering some arcane spells, and clues to possible adventures.  Enkili traded his 50’ hemp rope in for 50’ of silk rope.  The Dwarf’s entertainment was of a caliber that the merchant Grubbo Gorbsen (I don’t know the real spelling, sorry) mentioned that the Cat and Badger Inn in The Freehold would be generous to a good bard. 

In the early evening the party entered the freehold, finding the free city tense and overrun with Seddaran troops.  In order to control the city’s trade practices of remaining neutral during a war, Seddar had cut off the sea and inland roads into the city.  When The Freehold capitulated an occupation force was immediately stationed within.  Citizen and soldier alike paid the foreigners special attention as they made their way into the more influential section of town to find the Cat and Badger Inn….

Highlights of Episode Thirty Five
Erath, Bardan Endrest the 22nd - 23rd .CY1031

Denninel, the Half Elven proprietor of the Cat and Badger Inn gave the party individual rooms, and a duck and strawberry supper with red wine.  As they dined and had light conversation, Riardon noticed the glare of a stranger.  This individual knew he had been spotted so he rose and left.  After Riardon shared this observation with his friends, the rest of the party was naturally concerned.  Calmer heads counseled against trying to tail this man, so the group retired to their beds.  Leiya studied the alley beneath her window and noticed a pipe smoking man watching their series of rooms.

They consolidated into a pair of rooms and slept the night through unmolested.  Rising in the morning, Leiya again glances out her window and discovers more Sedarran soldiers in the vicinity than normal, this news stirs Riardon’s suspicions.  The rogue quit the room to question the innkeeper about the soldiers movements.  Instead he overhears guardsmen asking after the party in the inn’s common room, Denninel arguing that her guests should not be rousted by the soldiers.  Quietly backstepping, Riardon brought this alarming news back to his friends.

Though Enkili wondered why they should not confront the soldiers, he did follow the rest of the group out the second story window; Jolrael’s Feather Fall spell allowing for safe egress.  As they pondered whether to head east or west through the alley four human like creatures suddenly manifest, two at either direction of the alley.  A pair of hidden snipers took aim one from east and one from west, damaging Jolly with the surprise they elicited.  One human and a bugbear charged in from the west, while a pair of bugbears hustled in from the east.  Enkili tripped the human then rained several slashes at the vulnerable figure, doing a lot of damage to the man.

Jolly and Riardon moved to face the monsters from the east, their spells ineffective the first round, lethal the second.  Jolly was shot down, was healed, then gets taken out a second time.  Even with Blaylocke’s bardic assistance, Hubert also was downed twice, once by the bugbear he faced off against, and after a healing, the archer took him down again.  As she shot down young Hubert, the woman shouted “Best regards from the Chained Heart!”.  Enkili killed the Human male and turned his eyes on the lone bugbear looming over the unconscious boy.

Blaylocke used Healing Word to bring Hubert back from the brink, and this convinced the bugbear to withdraw.  Instead of chasing the bugbear down, Enkili swarmed up the two story building and took to the roofs.  He discovered that both snipers were already gone. One thing was clear to the party. The slavers knew they were in town and they had influence with the occupying guards.
Highlights of Episode Thirty Six
Erath, Bardan Endrest the 22nd.  CY1031

Immediately after running off the slaver assassins, the party could hear the guards barging through the Cat and Badger’s interior.  From the roof, Enkili notices three sets of clotheslines, one line too far for his plan.  Even though they stripped two lines of clothes, and the cloaks off of dead bugears, they were not afforded the time to change their dress.  The guards spotted them through the inn’s window and set to tootling their whistles.  Clutching their textile booty they set off down the north east alley and lost their pursuers through luck and a little bit of illusion.

Several blocks away they took the time to change their dress, dress their wounds, and realize that the Chained Heart slavers had them in a corner.  They had no idea where the slavers headquarters were, they had no friends or resources except what they carried.  Hoping that they could come back for their horses at some point, they set out for Rivan and the Broken Bottle Inn.  At least they could find a sanctuary, gain allies, and draw upon local thieves guild resources.  Breaking into two teams, Jolrael, Hubert, and Riardon found an outdoor place to loiter and watch as Blaylocke, Leiya, and Enkili entered the bar to initiate contact with Rivan.
Eight city watch soldiers broke cover, six rushing for the Busted Bottles front doors and two heading for the back entrance.  Those guards failed to spot Hubert, Riardon, and Jolly in their place of hiding.  In an effort to warn their friends in the tavern, Rodor used magic to sound a lion’s roar into the courtyard; which of course set the six guardsmen on their scent.  Jolrael set to cool the soldier’s ardor with a magical wall of water.  Five of the six were not moving after the Tidal Wave spell washed over them.

Leiya, Blaylocke and Enkili entered the Broken Bottle and did not see any person inside.  On the tables were half consumed meals and drinks and the smell of copper tinged the air.  Fearing what he would find, Enkili moved over to the bar and peaked behind the counter.  A dead man greeted his eyes, a pair of crossbow bolts jutting from his torso.  Blaylocke covered them with his bow as Leiya and Enkili poked about.  Leiya checked Rivan’s body and found a bloody parchment and a signet ring.  Enkili moved into the kitchen and found the cook and server propped up with the life ending quarrels still in their bodies.

As a wash of water cracked the big front windows and sloshed through the doorway, out back Enkili saw two guards move to the door.  He shoved a table to block that entrance then left with the guards ordering him to let them in.  The three of them dashed out of the inn into the street out front.  A sodden guard was just pushing himself too his knees, so Enkili slapped him upside his squamosal sutures with the flat of his big sword; knocking him cold and as inert as his drowned friends.  Joining up, the six heroes fled back into the alleys and streets, avoiding the watch yet again.

Wandering almost aimlessly, they sought a guild hall of Wizard’’s Peak, then a Melwenite temple to seek sanctuary in.  Along the way, Riardon noticed the signs of a native thieves guild being crossed out by the Chained Heart’s symbolism.  When they neared the temple Leiya had her friends hide out so she could enter the temple and make contact with the local Milosta/Melwen adherents alone.  At first Father Patreus feared the young priestess, but as she addressed his fears he let her know that they were wanted for the slaughter of the Broken Bottles staff and customers and the drowning death of five guardsmen.

Assuring the head priest that the Chained Heart was responsible for (ahem) all the mayhem, he agreed to give the party sanctuary for the night.  He told Leiya of a secret passage installed during the Temple Wars that allowed access to an underground room in the temple’s basement; access was through the alley down a grate covered drain hole then through a secret passage into the basement.  Of course he did not want the refugees to wander around and mix with the local congregation, they would be better served by remaining in their room.

After memorizing the hidden route, Leiya left the temple and lead her friends to their underground refuge.  There, as they prepared to rest for the night, they began to share the details of their separate adventures at the Broken Bottle.  Leiya produced the bloody parchment and ring, and thought that the missive she held was just a list of random things.  Riardon asked to see the writing and became engrossed in the subtle ebb and flow of the thieves cant hidden in the note.  With a curse he stood up, face draining to white.  “We have to leave, now!  This instant!” Riardon declared.

Quickly they gathered their belongings as the Elven man filled them in on what he had found.  He had read that Father Patreus sold people to the Chained Heart slavers, by tricking the “merchandise” into an underground room.  After a short debate on whether to go through the front door, fighting their way out, or dashing back through the hidden tunnel to climb back up to the street, they chose the back entrance.  There they found that a cart had been parked on the grate and guards were hastening into that alley.  Turning about they dashed to go through the front doors only to find guards pushing into the basement with good Father Patreus leading the way.

Jolrael tried to drown these guards with another casting of his Tidal Wave spell.  Grinning, almost gloating even, Patreus negated the spell with muttered words and a hand wave; the spell casters in the party readily realized that spell negating magic was all arcane in nature, proving Father Patreus was more than he seemed.  Enkili wondered aloud on whether the priest was a follower of Thurm, who liked to infiltrate other churches to corrupt the followers of other beliefs.
Riardon had remembered a water drain near the rungs back up to the street, so he prevented his friends from attacking the guards.  Instead they locked Father Patreus and his friends out of the secret room and dashed back the way they had come.  The drain was small but lead to The Freehold’s sewers.  As they made their escape the group wondered aloud how the Chained Heart had known that Rivan was to have been their contact.  Did Jade in Anstarre have an enemy agent in her midst?  Where could they find support in this city?  Where could they hide just to get a good night’s rest?

P.S. It has rightfullly been brought to my attention that I have forgotten to mention an important detail on our party's escape.  Leiya wisely entered the small drain last.  Using one of her preciously few remaining spell slots, the lady priestess cast Create Food and Waterto choke the crawlspace.  Forty five pounds of fruitcake, pastries, etc. created an imposing mound that cost the guards time to clear, thus allowing the entrepid adventurers time to lose themselves in the sewers.

P.S.S.  My friends, always feel free to correct my errors, point out that which I forgot, or add to this memory aid.  This is our story which we create together.    

Highlights of Episode Thirty Seven
Erath, Bardan Watersday the 23rd.- Bardan the 24th Windsday, CY1031

Crawling through the drain soon brought the company into the sewers proper.  Before them was an upward slope straight ahead and to the south was a ten foot drop off in the direction the waters ran; they could hear the miniature waterfall of the sluice in that direction.  Every party member looked up, so they headed up the slope.  They reached a dead end, with another drain above them, this one barred even though rungs ran up to the inset barrier.  There was a brief discussion of trying to force their way through those bars, but the sound of guards crawling through the drain made them realize that time was not on their side.

Racing back down they took the south turn, Enkili fell down the drop off then helped his friends down.  Seconds later they found a natural underground pond that had become part of the sewers, the deep waters were flanked by people made walkways and side tunnels.  Everyone but Enkili noticed the sound of something plopping into the water.  Blaylocke and Leiya decided on taking the western flank dashing along the walk and sheltering in the mouth of the nearest side tunnel.  Everyone else followed the eastern walks, arms and spells ready for the large monster creating a swell in the deep waters.

Resembling a frog with three eye stalks at the crown of its head, the hulking creature surfaced; its size greater than the party had expected.  From the center of the pond, it lashed one of four tentacles at Blaylocke, wrapping the poor Dwarven bard up.  The creatures tongue darted out to the east, pulling Hubert off the walk right up to its snapping fang lined mouth.  An ice spell from Jolrael struck the creature slowing it momentarily, but a sussurrus of crazed whispers sped over the waters from Blaylock.  The water beast’s eyes flew wide, it dropped its prey and sped away from the Dwarf for several seconds.  Since the creature was covering the western walk, Leiya and Blaylocke were forced to dash back around to join everyone on the eastern walks.  Leiya shouted out that the monster was a froghemoth, a creature from another world but not extraplanar.

Before the group was able to fully reunite the froghemoth was back.  It struck with two tentacles grappling Riardon and Leiya.  With a thunderous boom, Jolrael smacked the creature with a spell that heaved the beast to the western side of the waters, forcing it to drop its captives.  City guardsmen began to shout in consternation as they caught sight of the froghemoth.  Riardon was caught one more time by a tentacle as everyone began to dart down a side passage.  Despite being miffed at his friends for darting down the other side of the walk ways abandoning him, Blaylocke still cast another Dissonant Whispers spell.  Frightened, the monster dropped the Elf and decided to go after the juicy looking city watch.

Their last look at the froghemoth before running on showed them guards being stuffed into the beast’s greedy maw, even as Jolly taunted the guards one last time.  Fear and frustration fueled the groups flight, all of them tormented by the straights afflicting them.  Not even realizing they had lost their immediate pursuit, they continued to run until they had passed entirely from under The Freehold and to the great Inland Sea.  They found themselves in early afternoon sunlight, though they thought many more hours had fled by them.  Too the east they could see the shanty towns that surrounded The Freeholds docks.  Arguing on whether they should rent a shack for the night from a fishmonger or boat worker, the party stumbled on a shelter hidden in the shore’s shrubs.  This is where they decided to camp.

Dejected and barely talking one to the other, they took turns walking to the shore to clean themselves of the sewers nastier muck.  That night, keeping watches, the party was able to get a full nights rest.  The arguing broke out before the sun was fully up.  Some wanted to try to get their horses from the Cat and Badger inn, while others wondered how they would be able to hide with their animals in tow.  Some wanted to leave The Freehold and pursue another adventure.  Some wanted to disguise themselves and question the fisher folk on the docks, which was a course of action that Jolrael eventually took upon himself.

Upset by all the finger wagging and growls of her companions, Leiya prepared herself to cast two Sending spells, and an Augury.  She was able to warn the priesthood in Solare of the corrupted priest in The Freehold.  They suggested they seek out the local Tazenites who had their headquarters near the city’s coliseum.  Enkili had to point out that their only clue pointing a finger at the child stealing priest was written in thieves cant.  Leiya’s message to Wellborne Huxley had a return message that also prompted them to seek out the Tazenite’s and also a person named Lukoss of Selna.  Selna was an extraplanar city that would appear in Bhel every century.  The wizard failed to tell them where to look for this “friend” of his.

As Jolrael donned his disguise, with Blaylocke’s slightly belligerent help, Enkili used his curved dagger to cut away his own hair; Laeya’s magic indicated that Jolly’s endeavor would bear some fruit.  Jolrael limped his way to the shanty town overlooking the docks and found some fishermen conversing outside a series of shacks.  He introduced himself and claimed he sought work mending nets, unfortunately, they only spoke Sedarran and did not understand Common Speech.  So using sign language he tried to make his pitch, but he had to resort to picking up a net, pretend to untangle a damaged section while actually casting a Mending cantrip.  Seeing his handiwork the two fishermen seemed interested in having his help, though none of them spoke of a price.  Instead of hand signing a work contract, Jolrael mentioned Lukoss of Selna by name.

Suddenly terrified the two Freehold natives pointed up at a bluff overlooking the Inland Sea.  A worm eaten two story house seemed to lean out over the bluff’s drop off.  Jolly returned with his news.  His information and the nearness of their goal brought heart back into the company.  Fifteen minutes of taking an uphill gradient brought them to the door of the diminutive spell caster, a Sneferneblin of milky white eyes and slate gray skin.  Gruff and unfriendly the deep gnome seemed only interested in sending the party off, but the group wore him down by invoking Wellborne’s name.  When Lukoss discovered they were out to stop the Chained Heart Slavers he became more cooperative, though no less taciturn.  He told them that the evil priest was actually a warlock named Lareg, and hinted at other crimes the fake priest may have been party too.

Warning the party that he wanted them gone in the morning, he intimated that Lareg was wanted and that might be enough to set the Tazenite’s off on the war path.  Lukoss also informed them that he would provide them with a list of Chained Wing hideouts in the morning.  Suddenly, the heroes realized they had enough support in this small deep gnome that they could begin to lay plans and dream of success!

Highlights of Episode Thirty Eight
Erath, Bardan 25th Midweek, CY1031

Tentative plans were laid to deliver messages to the Tazenites, then to put surveillance upon some of the locations Lukoss promised to feed them.  Then the party was able to get a full night's rest in peace.  Good for his word, the Svirfneblin Lukoss told the group of a warehouse that belonged to the Chained Wings slavers.  He also mentioned that he had a connection who could clear the party’s names if they brought proof that the corrupt city guards worked with the slavers.  Everyone believed that proof could be found in the warehouse.  So, they ate a mediocre porridge their host prepared then the party decided to divide their forces.
Hubert, Leiya, and Enkili dressed in their stolen garb and headed for the Tazenites near the coliseum.  Also dressing down, Riardon, Blaylocke, and Jolrael moved out to put an eye on the warehouse.
The High priest of Tazen proved to be a burly old fighting man named Berreth.  Using Leiya’s credentials as a Melosta/Melwenite priestess, and reminding the Tazenite priest that “Damuzid of the Whispering Waste” (Enkilis’s monicker for the Shieldmeet games) had placed well in the games, Berreth gave them time to lay out their request.  The veteran was mostly compelled to give them this time since Melwen and Tazen are brother and sister twin deities, whose clergy has supported one another since before recorded history.  Leiya told Berreth of their plight of being framed by the Chained Wings and how the supposed High priest of Melwen had tried to sell them to the slavers.

Enkili warned Berreth that Lareg (the false high priest) was a warlock with a bad reputation.  Berreth pondered for a moment then declared that he and his fellow Tazenites would deal with Lareg but could not help against the slavers.  Berreth informed Hubert that his near brush with death should not discourage him from being brave; the old warpriest had detected the young man's current uncertainty in himself.  Walking back to the waterfront the trio spoke of moments where they had momentarily lacked confidence in themselves, and how they had found strength in watching the other members of their party step up and pull off heroic acts.  They also bought a bottle of cheap booze to help foster their disreputable disguises

For several hours, Jolrael, Blaylocke, and Riardon maneuvered around the warehouse noticing the door and window locations and the lack of external guards.  They all pondered various gimmicks and ruses that would allow them to study the warehouse from a closer vantage, then they realize that the north to south alley on the western side of the building was perfect for them to explore close in.  Finding that the ground floor windows were not locked they got the bright idea to try sneaking in there and then.  No need to wait for the other half of the party to show up.

Finding the aperture unlocked and free of traps, they opened the window and Riardon slipped in asking the others to wait until he gave them a signal to enter.  Listening then slowly creeping forward, Riardon began to hear various people moving about him both on the ground floor and on the catwalks above.  Hugging the stacks of crates, he wormed his way deeper into the warehouse somehow avoiding detection.  A bugbear noticed the open window and moved to investigate and see if there was a guilty party outside.  When it poked its head out of the window, Blaylocke and Jolrael grabbed the creature and dragged it caterwauling out of the aperture.  They managed to knock the bugbear prone and hit it with a Frostbite spell, what they did not do was silence the humanoids shouts for help, though they did close the window.

Nearby, Hubert froze up with indecision, his courage as yet not fully bolstered after his near-death experience with the froghemoth.  Enkili did not hesitate, with the bottle of booze in one hand, the Mandagan produced his heavy mace and ran up to smack the creature in the face twice in quick succession.  Though he silenced it, the damage had been done.  As Blaylocke and Jolrael pasted themselves on either side of the window, Enkili rose up to see three or four more bugbears through the glassy pane.

Brandishing the bottle too the bugbears he burst into an off-key song and put on a drunken act.  He hoped to put these guardians at their ease thinking the noise had been nothing but another wailing drunk on the docks.  One of the humanoids stepped out of the open main entrance to the north to deal with the disturber of the peace, only to find Hubert and Leiya waiting at the alley’s entrance.  Enkili stumbled through them to offer the creature a drink, trying to hide his mace behind his back.  Confused, the bugbear hesitated, and in that moment of consternation, Blaylocke stepped around the corner and put an arrow in its midriff.

Howling in pain, the bugear let its friends know that he needed help.  Four of them piled out of the warehouse to mix it up with the heroes and throw javelins.  After they dropped the injured bugbear the remaining three creatures disengaged and fell back into the warehouse.  Jolrael remained near the window, suspecting that some bugbears might use it to sneak up on his friends, or come through the alley door at the far end of the alley.  This was not a tactic the bad guys tried to use however, so the sorcerer cast a Tidal Wave spell through the window, bringing wet woe to three of the creatures.

Enkili mashed a second noggin with his mace then decided to pursue one of the fleeing bugbears upstairs, he had the idea that the offices would be up above.  However, he was spotted by two or three beings (not bugbears) who were acting as snipers on the catwalks above.  The fighting man had to withdraw severely damaged, as he was not in his armor.  Healing spells hit him from Blaylocke and Leiya, but another bugbear leaped from the shadowed crates to engage him.  Blaylocke and Jolrael, who had joined the group were caught in a sniper fight with bugbears that would randomly jump out of the crates and hurl javelins at them.

Hearing Enkili report on snipers up above, Jolrael used a feature that allowed him to fly a short distance before or after casting a spell.  He flew up and tried to Aganaazer’s Scortcher one of the bow wielding beings, none were in range so he set a catwalk on fire.  Meanwhile, one of the shadowy rooftop snipers that had survived the ambush on the party at the Cat and Badger inn walked in on Riardon.  The Rogue had found a room and was searching fruitlessly for anything that might resemble papers or books.  It tried to stab the Elven man a couple of times and only got a Firebolt for its efforts.  It fled Riardon.  Giving chase, Riardon discovered the slight masked figure had exited the warehouse through an east facing side door and was dashing to the south east.

Highlights of Episode Thirty Nine
Erath, Bardan 25th Midweek, CY1031

Seeing the Bugbear try to attack Enkili from behind, Hubert slipped by Leiya and skirted around the humanoid.  From a flanking position he plied his scimitar well and left a deep wound in their foe.  Unfortunately for Hubert a second Bugbear slipped up behind him, running hard to get into position.  A third one stepped out and lobbed a javelin at long range at the priestess, but missed due to range and Leiya’s instinctive movements.  Simmering because he thought the party plans had not been observed, Enkili still had the presence of mind to drop the Bugbear that had first come at him, then he bounded around both Hubert and the second interloping Bugbear to put that inhuman creature in a dire position; the Mandagan left an impression with his mace, which set Hubert up to drop it.  Leiya moved up her Spiritual Weapon and provided healing and radiant attacks to the fray.

Racing after the mysterious figure he had faced in the linen room, Riardon observed the being's movements and saw an affinity with his own pilferer’s training.  They both leaped outside of the warehouse then up some curving stairs to the south east of the building.  The Shandeeran male rounded some crates to witness his quarry with an Elven archer drawing bead on him from inside the warehouse.  Seeking discretion, Riardon turned about to find some cover.  Arrows pierced his body and brought him down, unconscious and bleeding out.

Inside, Jolrael noticed a ladder in the north western side of the warehouse.  Having had a glance when he had flown up and tried to fire the catwalk overhead, the sorcerer ascended at speed then tried to get into an office before the Elven snipers pinned him.  Despite his best intentions, an arrow did find his flesh before he crowded into the windowed little room.  Below the sorcerer, Blaylocke felt being left behind to be less than ideal, so he dashed through an aisle under the main catwalk and joined up with Leiya, Enkili, and Hubert as those three dealt with the last of their nuisance Bugbears.

Seeing the archer lumbering closer to his office, Jolly stepped out and hit sniper with a Thunderwave spell.  His aim was to knock the Elf out of a nearby upstairs window, however the archer was too nimble to be dislodged so easily.  His next effort was to close himself in the office and bar the door with his body; Jolly saw papers on the desk but was not in a position to check or even take them.  The Elven archer’s might proved to be inexorable to the former sailor and the androgynous being pulled a shortsword to threaten our hero after forcing the door open.  Again, Jolrael’s Thunderwave spell failed to throw the archer.  He was quickly cut down by the sexually ambiguous Elf and lost consciousness.

From the main catwalk, another archer and Bugbear tried to rain death down on Hubert, Leiya, and Blaylocke but their angle of fire proved slightly problematic.  Enkili plucked a shield from a dead bugbear, hoping that might be enough armor to face the archers up top.  Asking for a volunteer to go upstairs with him, Enkili eschewed the stairs and scrambled up the shelves and crates creating aisles on the ground floor, he crawled up onto the catwalk to find himself nose to nose with the archer harrowing his friends below.  Fifty feet away was the Bugbear also menacing those heroes still below.

Hubert sprinted for the stairs to join his friend and mentor up above, however the young man found that another Bugbear had come through the main door facing north (where the bulk of the party had initially entered the warehouse), they wounded each other when Hubert altered his route to clash with the humanoid.  Both Leiya and Blaylocke noticed Hubert’s confrontation and they moved up to lend healing and martial aid to him, dropping the Bugbear in moments.
Drawing a short blade, the archer facing Enkili could not breach the unarmored man’s purloined shield, but the Elf called a Bugbear to its aid.  Having to resort to a full out sprint, the Bugbear slipped around the fighter to surround him.  Enkili side stepped the pair, then simply shoved the bugbear over the edge.  There was no railing along that portion of the catwalk to halt the humanoids fall, so it ended up with a broken back amid its own pooling blood.  Promising havoc with his eyes, Enkili then laid a mighty blow on the androgynous being that remained.  Instead of fighting Enkli toe to toe, the Elf skillfully extracted itself and ran east across the crosswalk.  Leiya ran up the stairs then positioned herself to cut off this archer’s escape, he/she put aside the shortsword and pulled their bow out.

Before the Elf could choose a target, Enkili closed with it, mauling the being with punishing and tricky attacks.  Hurt, but still hale enough to think clearly, the Sylvan-like being broke away from Enkili and Leiya, slipped over the railing and scrambled down the goods-laden shelves to the ground floor.  At this point the two heroes noticed the archer that had downed Jolrael step out of the office, its tunic stuffed with scrolls and papers (No one else knew that either Riardon and Jolrael were down and possibly bleeding out at this point.), Leiya made the intuitive leap that the papers the party was after were with that far archer.  She/he moved to climb down the ladder Jolly had used to climb up, attempting to escape with the slaver's intelligence.

Enkili dashed back to where the catwalk had no railing, then leaped across empty space to land on top of the tall stacks of goods in the warehouses northern section, he then nimbly bounding across the crates and shelves to lower himself to the ground floor where he could cut off the laden archer.  Leiya, being smart enough not to hurl herself through the upper reaches of the warehouse chose to heave a Slow spell instead, the burdened archer began to run as though through thick molasses.

Blaylocke had heard the priestess’ call and turned to face the ladder.  Though he had a poor angle to fire from, the Dwarven bard cast a strengthened Dissonant Whispers spell at the party’s main target.  Grasping its head, the Elf fell with a horrified expression stretching across its face, still at the landing on the floor above.  In the office, poor Jolrael had been faring poorly, his wounds spilling forth his vital fluids at a rate that had not boded well.  However, the former sailor-turned-sorcerer was made of determined stock.  His body pinched off the blood flow and pulled the Endelian from death’s brink into full (if painful) wakefulness.

Pulling himself painfully to his feet, Jolrael glanced over at the desk and realized the papers he had seen before were now missing.  Tottering over to the door he met Hubert who had come up to determine if the archer Elf was truly dead.  The two of them glanced at the papers as they took them and realized they had hit pay dirt.  Amazed by Blaylocke’s arcane display, Enkili remembered the acrobatic Elf who had slipped down to the ground floor before the advent of the paper laden archer.  Since he no longer had to worry about their papers getting away Enkili turned about and raced back under the catwalk to look for his former prey.  The nimble Elf was going out through the eastern loading doors, sprinting as if death was at his/her feet.  Enkili pulled his bow, but was unable to keep his eyes on the archer.

Seeing a set of stairs on the outside of the warehouse (after realizing he had no idea where the slaver had run to) in the south eastern corner, Enkili began to climb just to see what was there.  Blaylocke had climbed the interior stairs and dashed back to the south eastern corner.  He found Riardon laying in a commingled pool of blood, next to the dead body of the Elven archer who had dropped the rogue.  A Word of Healingspell was enough to revive Riardon, who tried to thank Blaylocke for stopping his would-be killer.  After teasing Rodor for having body odor enough to kill the archer, the bard confessed that he had not slain the Elven foe.  Enkili arrived to chew Blaylock and Riardon out for not sticking to the plan.  Pouting, the Mandagan turned about and found a staircase leading to a basement level in the warehouse.
Not only did the party have the mystery of the Elven slaver’s death to ponder, but Jolrael wondered aloud where the water level was compared to the warehouse.  Several party members began to worry about the slave pens being flooded, if the slave pens were truly down below….

P.S. At this point, we are going to have a hiatus from our 40th game in this campaign.  We will discover the fate of the slaves and our intrepid adventurers on the 3rd of April (tentatively).  Until then, keep the love in your heart and the mayhem in your brain.

P.S.S. Our game is back on for March 20th.  Our 40th game will occur on the first day of spring.  Please ignore the first post script.
Highlights of Episode Forty
Erath, Bardan 25th Midweek - 27th Fellsday, CY1031

After locating the stairway down, Enkili began to don his armor.  The others took quick stock of the warehouse and the loading yard outside, there were no ships loading but there was a row boat moored at the head of the slip.  When the group began to gather, the Mandagan fighter again had sharp words for Riardon, Jolrael, and Blaylocke.  Jolly and Blaylocke tried to ignore the tirade, but the Elven rogue pretended that infiltrating the warehouse had been the goal all along.  Warning that such errant behavior with an Efreet would get them all killed, revealed that Enkili was actually worried about what they might face in the Lost City of Darsta.  He had spent several months enslaved to the Efrit who had slain his father, and such mental scars do not heal easily.

To change the topic, someone worried out loud about when the guards would show up.  This created a short debate between leaving and looking for slaves below; specifically Jubb and Serca whom the Anstarre thieves guild woman Jade was interested in learning about.  Without waiting for a conclusion in the debate, Enkili turned and descended the stairs, taking the matter into his own hands.  He entered the basement alone, ignoring the calls of his comrades.  There he found goods in various lots stored in piles and shelves, since the area was nearly as expansive as the warehouse above he had to wander around looking for the cages he half expected.  Instead he found an adjoining room with walls and floors of wood; this was also filled with goods, some of which he might have wanted to loot.
Ignoring the temptation, Enkili called out and peeked around corners until he was in the south east portion of the room.  A pulled out shelf and scrapes along the wooden floor were a clear indication that the wall beyond held a secret entrance.  At last he called for his companions.  Riardon was able to discover the trick of opening the door and they found a ten foot by twenty foot room.  Doubting that this was just an empty room, the party poked about and found another secret door at the eastern wall of this room/hall.  Hubert remained at the staircase, listening for signs of danger, Leiya stayed where the stone storage room adjoined the wood room, to relay messages.

In the room beyond they found a set of three adjoining cages, two along the far east wall and one too the north.  Instead of the humanoid cargo they expected, they found clothing and accouterments people usually carried on themselves, loot taken from freshly taken children.  There were three sconces in the room, and two held mostly burned torches casting light into the two northernmost cages; the southern cage was open, and its torch had been extinguished by water seepage through the porous wall.  Again the signs to the party was obvious, someone had just come through ahead of them; there had to be another secret door.
A quick search did locate such a door.  Beyond was a southerly passage that led to the waterfront, popping out right where the row boat had been tied.  There was no sign of the slavers in their boat, they had been that far ahead of the party.  Paths up to street level were to the east and west of the landing to this secret dock.  Jolrael had remained in the secret hallway to relay messages, and after the passage to the docks had been located, Enkili remained behind to complete the information chain.  As Blaylocke and Riardon were noticing the missing boat, Hubert began to send warning that the guards had arrived up above.  Using the dockside pathways, the party avoided the law enforcement encroachment.

Needing a safe place to peruse their pilfered papers, the party returned to the beach side shanty they had discovered just after escaping The Freehold’s sewers.  Guards and priests were named, along with the sums they had received from the Chained Heart slavers.  The party also learned of a continuation of the slaver network controlled by The Slave Lords, a group the Chained Wings had paid homage too.  This route led from The Freehold to the Island nation of Yrie, then to the vile nation of Bhel, specifically too their cities Norak and Nemsh.  Several rich lords and merchants were also revealed, purveyors of illegal gladiatorial games.  Though the two were not named, the party had to surmise from the documents, that Jubb and Serca, along with other children, had been taken by ship recently.

Taking their discovery to the Deep Gnome Lukoff, the party returned to the cliff side ramshackle that served the wee wizard.  Grumbling at having to deal with guests again, the mage never-the-less kept his promise and forwarded the incriminating papers to his unnamed friend.  Within a day arrests were being made among the officers of the guard who had taken slaver money, and the party’s names were cleared of the charges of murder.  Jolrael, of course, agonized over the soldiers he had killed with his first use of his Tidal wave spell.  Leiya inquired with Barreth of the Tazenites and discovered that Lareg, the false priest of Melwen, had escaped.

Trying to curry favor with the local underground, Riardon tried to bring word to the surviving thieves guild members that the Chained Wings were no longer a factor.  He discovered that three gangs were vying for dominance in the vacuum left in the slavers wake.  The Storm Hooligans and Lost shadow bands warned the Elven man away from working in the Freehold, the Ally Runners actually tried to kill him when he brought them the good news.

The people that brought the party proof that they had been exonerated of the crime of multiple murder, fill in details that had eluded the groups research before.  For years the Slave Lords and their Chained Wings puppets have been raiding the coastal towns and villages within the Great Insland Sea.  No race or kingdom had escaped their predations.  Those who thought to set up a resistance have been stymied by political turmoil and legal infighting from their peers.  Meanwhile, whole villages have been uprooted, while those who paid bribes found the slavers eager to renege on such agreements.

A few nobles and rich merchants have been paying bounties on slavers taken or killed, and the party was directed to one such rich possible patron.  While he would not pay a bounty for the group dispersing the Chained Wings in The Freehold, Lord Kaer Bercel did express interest in hiring them to strike at other slaver enterprises.  Lord Bercel, though not a true noble, had acquired enough wealth that the honorific had been hung on him.  He had lost his family to the slavers.  He informed them that Sedarria was manufacturing weapons on a massive scale, but despite old trade agreements, those arms were not being shipped to the nations nominal allies.  Instead rumors abounded that the terrorist nation of Bhel were the actual recipients of this military aid.

Highlights of Episode Forty One
Bardan the 28th, Endrest, Cy1031

Scowling over their shoulders to give The Freehold a last glare, the party hit the northern road heading for Elvold.  When that road made its grand eastern turn, the party scouted out one of the many trails through the wilderness that allowed travelers to forgo Elvold and hit the road that runs between Elvold and the groups goal Anstarre.  Anticipating making their camp near the Elvold/Anstarre road, the party was almost surprised by a Gnoll ambush.

Six of the bestial humanoids jumped out of the brush.  A Gnoll Pack Lord had two Gnoll hunters, two regular Gnolls,  and a Gnoll flesh gnawer in its troop.  The road pinched up against a stream so that one Gnoll in front and back, with the rest just west of the path, were able to force the party into combat.  The fight took only eighteen seconds to force a conclusion, but the flash and roar of arcane magic rocked the field of combat.  Arrows flashed between parties before the distances were closed and steel and polished wood were taken in hand with fell intent.  Divine magic either gentled the flesh or burned it, and in the end only the Gnoll Pack lord and one of the hunters were left alive to flee into the trees.

*Note.  We left the game before we could loot the Gnolls. Yet, despite that, we will be resuming our game at the mouth of the Owlbear cave.  The cave we found in episode 21, the eater of messengers.  As another note to the party, since we have skipped the travel time to reach the owlbear cave, the group will have noticed tension in Enkili.  He has been taciturn, grumpy, and foul company the entire trip.

Highlights of Episode Forty two
Moonday of Draman 1st – Windsday of Draman 24th CY1031

On the Gnoll bodies the party found 3 pp, 45 gp, 5 ep, and 80 sp.  Also there were three items of interest that were revealed with a casting of a Detect Magic spell.  The first item was a potion vial full of red liquid with bubbles of pulsing light (a potion of Vitality).  They also discovered a six sided dice whose numbers were fuzzy, this dice rolls the number the user chooses; this die was found on the richest dead Gnoll.  Last but not least, was a key that had a question mark etched into it.  This key is supposed to fit in any door and has a chance of unlocking it; it will more than likely disappear after this single use.  Our adventurers then journeyed for close to two days to where they thought an owlbear possibly resided.

Relying on Enkili and Riardon’s memory of where the cave was, the party left the road and crept up to the cave mouth.  The tunnel and cavern beyond were naturally formed, and from the flow pattern in the rock Blaylocke Anvilarm was able to determine that they were in a lava tube.  They heard no sound but smelled animal musk in the air, the floor was devoid of owlbear spoor and the remains of slain creatures.  Several yards south of where the tunnel opened into the chamber, Riardon halted the party and stealthed ahead.  After checking around the entrance he had the group move up and set up station there; he again slipped into the dark and probed ahead.

With practiced ease, Riardon slipped  north through the chamber and located a large form sleeping on a woven pile of sticks and debris.  It was an immense owlbear snoozing away the afternoon.  A roar that held more than a hint of hooting in it, broke the still.  Fearing the worst, Jolrael darted past everyone and entered the chamber.  He found himself facing a second owlbear charging in from the west.  Later Riardon would blame the group for too much noise, while Enkili was certain that it was their lights that had drawn the beast.  Never-the-less Jolrael suffered a serious injury from just a bite from the hulking creature.

Hustling at double time, Hubert dashed out to flank the owlbear with his sling ready to whirl and fire.  At the same time the sleeping beast woke, it did not see Riardon who was too clever, but it did notice poor Hubert run into its vision.  The boy was run down and clawed and bitten, serious wounds delivered.  Enkili charged out of the tunnel, passed Jolly and into the first owlbear’s flank; his attack was so ferocious that Jolrael was able to slip away without reprisal.  Seeing Hubert’s straights, Blaylocke cast Dissonant Whispers on the second creature.

The spell so discombobulated the owlbear that it turned tail to run back to its nest.  Hubert used his scimitar to carve a seriously deep wound into the running owlbear.  Jolrael cast Aganaazer’s Scorcher on the creature that had hurt him, but not until after it had clawed and bit deep wounds into Enkili.  While fire flickered up the furry feathers of the first owlbear, Enkili used his big blade to finish off the beast.  Leiya sprang into action and managed to heal Enkili with a bolstered Healing Word, even as she patched Jolrael with a healer’s kit.

Blaylocke finally entered the chamber and cast his own Healing Word on Hubert, while firing his shortbow at the last owlbear.  Not realizing that the fear effect on the owlbear was just temporary, Hubert strode towards it and unleashed a thrown handaxe and hit.  This caused the monstrosity to turn about and retaliate, again savaging the young man.  Leiya manifested her Spiritual Weapon and smote the beast soundly, then she ran up to support Hubert.  Casting Frostbeam, Jolrael tried to freeze the owlbear but failed to connect with his magic.

Riardon had been trying to use his Fire Bolt cantrip through the whole battle, his third attempt again hit no where near the roaring beast.  With a mighty slash, the owlbear clawed deeply into Hubert, downing the boy with such power that his limp body bounced on the stone floor.  The creature then moved on to Leiya, its beak cutting the priestess severely.  Rushing up beside her, Enkili plowed into the owlbear with such fury that Leiya was able to disengage from combat without the animal noticing.  His follow up slash dropped the monstrous beast.

As the tumult began to fade, Blaylocke cast another Healing Word and revived Hubert.  Seeing his opportunity to fill a beaker with the owlbear blood he needed, Jolrael cut into the first dead owlbear and squeezed it like a lemon.  Dispersing through the chamber, the party discovered two disconcerting things: one, the nesting space was far too clean of droppings and carcasses to be natural, and two a set of boot prints exited through a smaller side tunnel.  Working together the party tried to follow those tracks, they climbed out of the side tunnel but lost the trail in the woods shortly after.
Not having the skills necessary to search for the individual who had dared enter an owlbear cave, the group decided to declare their victory and continue on to Anstarre.  Along the way Enkili tried to convey his mixed fealings and fears of what awaited them in lost Dharsta; he was reluctant to face an Efreet after witnessing his father have his head nigh twisted off and then spending several months as the evil Genies slave.  In Anstarre, Jolrael was able to trade his vial of owlbear blood in for the Waverly Plate, a magic item that would manifest one meal a day with the possibility of conferring a rumor upon the one who dined.
The young sorcerer was also able to talk Gorval the Sage into researching the fur/feathers the party had found the first time they had looked for the owlbear cave; Gorval wanted samples from the owlbear’s fur/feathers as well as the mystery creature’s as his payment.  The party had determined that those older fur/feathers were not from either owlbear, and was possibly from an entirely different creature.  For the next twenty days, the adventurers chose to train their skills as they awaited the sage’s determination on the mysterious fur/feathers.  Several gems were traded in to pay for the training.

*Gorval will deliver his findings at the start of next game on May 15th, 2022.  We are all glad to reach sixth level, and some of us will declare their leveling choices in the days ahead.
**Correction, this quirky NPC's name is Gorvenal.

Highlights of Episode Forty Three
Midweek of Draman the 25th – Iiyoltan the 6th, CY1031

Before the party finished training, the eccentric sage Gorvenal reported his finding on the fur/feathers found where the messenger had been slain on the 6th of Milad.  These feathers were closer to what one finds with an eagle or hawk, but on a larger scale.  He believed that a griffon was the creature those samples belonged to.  Leiya learned from her fellow Melwenites that a griffon had been killed by the road wardens not too long ago in the general area where the messenger had died.  She was also told that all sorts of creature sightings happen in that region.

Estimating that Darsta was a six day journey by horse, the party bought twelve days of rations.  They found the terrain beautiful even though it rained many days throughout their trip.  The month of Draman ended and the week long period of Laehcan was entered on the Erathian calendar, and the only trouble the party had was noticing a party of goblins scatter and run upon seeing them.  Just to make sure that an ambush was not going to be played on them, the adventurers tried to investigate the goblin’s course.  They only confirmed that the goblins had no wish to fight or even meet the party, all sign of them was left behind.

Still, they all felt eyes on them as they rode, even up to the point of setting camp.  When the foothills actually bunched into the mountain range, the travelers realized they were lost.  Somehow they had missed the tell tales their notes spoke of.  At a guess they concluded they needed to head west in order to find the valley where Darsta was to be found.  Several days later they realized that somehow, they had gotten turned around and were further east than ever before.  Though Enkili did not like the idea, he allowed himself to be convinced to continue east in the hopes that they could find the small town of Umbel where they could replenish supplies and hire a guide.

Before they reached Umbel the group stumbled upon a small troop of hunters carting a dead stag out of the forest.  The leader of the hunters, Llain, agreed to hire hire out to the party, but only after the Day of Wards festival.  This festival was the next day which would not put the party out too much time wise.  The Day of Wards also happened to be in the first days of the summer month of Iiyoltan.  There were bonfires, the burning of wood plaques with individual wishes carved upon them, music, feasting, and dancing.  Everyone took part except Riardon, he did not waken to the exultant feeling of well being as his fellows did (extra inspiration for the game session).

With none of the misadventures that had befallen the party before, Llain, with his hound Liam (named after the man’s dead son), lead them directly to Darsta; they arrived on the 6th of Iiyoltan.  The hunter had no wish to enter the ruins of the old city so he set his camp well outside the city’s boundaries; he informed them he would wait three days and if he received no word then he would leave.  Paying the man an extra gold (on top of the 4 gp deposit), the group had him watch their horses.  Following their clues (and again feeling watched) the party traveled through the fallen buildings taking note of places of interest along the way.  The fallen architecture had fanciful beasts and horned men carved on the stones.  Soon they found a hill with a frame of stones making a door shaped entrance.

They followed a fifty foot long hallway carved into the stone of the hill, at the end of that stretch was a trapdoor with a ring.  After having Riardon check for traps, Enkili lifted the lid to reveal a fifty foot shaft down.  Affixing a rope to the trapdoor’s ring the group climbed down.  In a 10 x 15 foot room they found a door with the base relief of a horned man like shape that held a big curved sword in one hand and fire in the other.  Enkili was certain that this pertained to the Efreet said to have his familiy's Sainted Sword.  That door slid up revealing a five foot wide hall heading west then looping to the north to another door.  As this door slid up, the first door closed behind the party.  Riardon and Enkili did not think this was a cause for alarm.

The room revealed had a small door on the east wall, a dry wading pool in the center of it, a small door on the south west wall, a double door on the west wall, and a stair down along the north wall.  When the group stopped to check the eastern door (the closest to their entrance) three figures phased out of the walls around them and attacked.  Blaylocke realized that these horned man like figures were shadow demons and they seemed to resist both weapon attacks and fire spells….

*This is where we had to call an end to this weeks game session.  Our next game is tentatively set for the 29th, memorial day weekend.

Highlights of Episode Forty Four
Iiyoltan the 6th, CY1031

After skirmishing for a few seconds the shadow demons seemed to have been incapable of hitting any member of the party, and the heroes had discovered that most forms of their attacks had done minimal damage.  Riardon and Enkili’s foe disengaged and flowed down the stairs, offering the two a look of disdain as it fled.  Using her Word of Radiance cantrip, Leiya discovered that the divine light was extremely efficacious against the outsiders.  On a quick whim, Blalocke hit the priestess with a potent Haste spell.  As the world seemed to slow around Leiya, Riardon moved into a flanking position against the demonic foe Leiya and Hubert had been facing down.  He had chosen the Shocking Grasp cantrip and discovered that the creatures were immune to electricity, The Elven man felt deep frustration.  Facing off against one of the shadow demons alone, Jolrael used a sorcerer’s trick to turn his Aganazaar’s Scorcher from a fire based magic to a sound based attack.  His spell only slightly wounded the fiend.

Breaking away from Hubert and Leiya, their shadow demon started to flee down the stairs but Enkili headed it off.  Using his new training, the fighter rained two quick but powerful attacks on the abyssal creature, and even though he inflicted more damage (Great Weapon Master feat), the shadow demon shrugged most of the slashes off.  A Chromatic Orb spell set to do ice damage proved totally ineffective against the sorcerer’s shadow demon.  Running up to flank Enkili’s new opponent, Leiya was able to use her Word of Radiance and mace to severely wound that demon.  Finally getting a sneak attack with his Fire Bolt cantrip, Riardon hit Jolly’s creature and did a little damage.  Happily, Blaylocke discovered that his Dissonant Whispers spell did damage that the demon’s were not immune or resistant too.

Enkili’s opponent slipped by the two heroes harrying it and tauntingly sped down stairs into a dark pillared chamber.  The shadow demon that Jolrael had been fixed upon also disengaged and headed for the stairs, but the heroes concentrated all their attention upon it.  Enkili was able to destroy that creature after a rain of spells reduced it sufficiently.  The fighting man warned his friends that the fiends wanted them to follow them down the steps, so the heroes hesitated at the top of the stairs.  Those that could see deep enough into the darkness hurled spells at the flitting shapes they could see.  With the sharpest eyes, Riardon was able to discern that the surviving shadow demons were pulling darkness into themselves and regenerating from the damage dealt them.  He even noticed one shadow demon split a third smaller shadow demon from itself.

Taking the time to reassess her mode of attack, Leiya cast Aid on Riardon, Jolrael, and Enkili.  Alarmed at the idea of the shadowy fiends subdividing while healing themselves, Enkili succumbed to the impulse to dash down the stairs and take cover behind a pillar.  In doing so he set off two magical fire traps, but he was only hit by one of them for just a little damage.  Shaking his head at his human friends impatience, Riardon explored the steps ahead of himself and found no pressure plate traps waiting his step.  Blaylocke hurled another Dissonant Whispers spell into the dark. 

Seemingly to magically fork a poisonous Chromatic Orb spell at two fiends just at the edge of the light from Enkili’s enchanted headband, Jolly hurled his spell.  Unfortunately his aim was off with both attempts.  Following the fighting man’s steps, Leiya descended the stairs while casting Spirit Guardians on herself, she discovered that the pressure plates did not reset from their earlier trampling.  This new spell caused her Bless spell to depart though.  Blaylocke and Jolrael both repeated the same attacks they had used before, all three spells hit but the twinned poison spells from the sorcerer did no damage.  The shadow demons were immune to poison, cold, and electrical attacks, resistant to physical and all other magic effects, but psychic damage was normal while they exhibited a vulnerability to radiant damage.  Hubert had shifted to his sling and was doing ranged damage when he hit.

Seeing that Leiya was surrounded by magic that could do real damage to the shadow demons, and noting that Leiya had not been harmed because she had followed his path, Enkili decided to clear her path to the fiends taunting them from deeper in the chamber.  He set off four traps as he dashed to the two closest shadow demons.  Almost dead from the flames, the fighter surged with frantic fury and attacked a freshly spawned shadow demon.  His attacks were enough to kill the creature in its weakened state, then Enkili Breathed deeply and seemed to recover slightly from his burns.  Wanting to berate her friends stupid gesture, the priestess did follow the fighter.  In her quickened state she was able to cast Word of Radiance on the fiendish foe, then a Word of Healing upon Enkili.

Unwilling to face the mortals, the farthest demon floated further away from the party, the shadow demon before Leiya was unable to withstand the flitting little fairy creatures of the Spirit Guardians spell and was burned completely away.  Jolly misses with his next ranged spell, but Riardon was able to strike the last villain.  Two sling stones from Hubert did their little bit of damage.  The shadow demon took shelter behind the last pillar in the chambers western side, so Leiya advanced upon it (setting off a trap as she moved, but no fire touched her) while Enkili proved ineffectual with his bow.  Not liking the Spirit Guardians spell, the last demon slipped passed the priestess to beset the still weak fighter.  Enkili punished the demon for that move, but did not drop it.  Also setting off a trap so that he could get an angle to fire from, Riardon spun passed the flames so he could try to hit with his Fire Bolt.  Blaylocke did not like the idea of trying to get an angle passed the pillars by stepping off the safe path in the room, so he cast Healing Word on Enkili.

Hubert followed the safe path to get behind Enkili and plied his sling.  The young sidekick’s barrage was able to bring the monster down.  After deciding they needed to find a safe place to rest the party tracked back up to the pool room.  Riardon insisted on checking all the doors for traps before the group opened the small door on the south western wall.  It opened upon a ten foot wide hall running to the west, after thirty feet that passage narrowed until it was naught but five foot wide.  Sharper eyed party members like Blaylocke and Rairdon could see a possible chamber at the end of that narrow hall.

*With few spells left and very few other tricks up their sleeves, the party had to leave off here.  Our next game will be held Sunday June 12th.  Until then, have fun and pray for fantasy mayhem!

Highlights of Episode Forty Five
Iiyoltan the 6th, CY1031

After studying the tapering hallway before them, the group discussed their need to rest.  (rules as written would have made the party hang out for 18 hours in order to get a long rest) Since it was still early in the day they chose to rest for an hour, which they did back in the entry chamber with the horned man bas-relief.  Returning to the passage that tapered down to a five foot wide hall, the party headed west passing a twenty by twenty chamber and coming to a three way intersection with halls continuing to the east and north; a door sat in the wall south of the northern branching.  At the intersection Riardon peeked around the corner and jerked back, urging his friends to collapse back the way they had come.  No one but the sharp eyed Elven man could see the creature that rounded the corner, not even when it attacked Enkili; pushing the fighter back ten feet in its attempt to eat him.  When Riardon's Fire Bolt hit the monster they all could see a cube shaped being that had psuedopods reaching from its three dimensional square body.

An icy spell from Jolrael damaged the creature but Leiya failed to burn it with divine light.  The priestess also summoned forth her Spiritual Weapon which did hit the cubic monster.  Enkili had pulled his bow thinking he would fight the creature from range, however it was on him before he could see it.  Dropping his bow he pulled Dan Dan Ve Panje and struck with all his might, twice, making the creature explode into a puddle of liquefied goo.  They discovered a small room through the southern door, which was filled with predominantly gray mushrooms; though a wide variety of colors were present.  Under the bed of fungi were bone shards and rusty metal fragments.

Continuing west down the narrow hall they found a place where the floor had crumbled away.  A pool of clearest water rippled in the dark, it’s bottom visible yet giving the sense of great depth.  Jolrael cast Light on a sling stone and had it cast into the water.  After waiting several long moments the stone never touched that bottom.  Backtracking to the north juncture, the party moved in that direction and found a room that had been destroyed by an old acid trap.  Nothing whole was found, so the heroes moved along.  The passage had two halls that turned left, they took the southernmost path and found their way back to the pool room, after passing a place where several statues and pedestal had been destroyed in an alcove.

On yet another path the party again looped about and found themselves in a chamber adjoining the pool room; this chamber linked to the pool room through the large stone door on that room’s south western wall.  North of those doors fifty feet or more was another doorway that opened on steps leading down.  Four pools that looked like oil suddenly sprouted tentacle like tendrils and slid toward the party.  Fire hurt the creatures, but ice did not.  Blaylocke had his leather armor destroyed by acid with one hit of a tendril, so the bard created a margin of distance between himself and the caustic beings.  Enkili learned that his sword only split the creatures making more of them to deal with.  He ceased his assault in order to bring forth his mace.  Hubert’s bullets had damaged one of the ooze creatures showing that blunt weaponry was viable.  On a side note, acid burned the fighters sword from his splitting the crawling thing, erroding its integrity.  While retreating the fighter was hit once.  His armor dissolved to a small degree, but Enkili himself suffered a terrible injury, losing half his life in that one blow.

*That is this session’s cliff hanger, Blaylocke and Riardon are about to be split from the group being hearded to the south while everyone else is north (though two paths will reunite the party if they are cut off in this long chamber).  Our fighters now know that they can do little harm to the beasties, and they hope that Jolrael, the bard, and the other two spell casters can sway the encounter.  Or will we have to roll up a new band of adventurers?  This question will resolve on the 10th of July.

Highlights of Episode Forty Six
Iiyoltan the 6th- 7th, CY1031

Shaken by the harm done to his sword and armor from the black slime creatures, Enkili took his time putting Dan Dan Ve Panje away and pulling his bow.  He would regret this hesitation shortly.  Knowing that his sling produced results, Hubert continued to snipe from his position north of the beings.  Seeing all the puddings pull themselves up the stairs from their room below and pour into the hall, Riardon fell back behind Blaylocke and burned one of the sword divided slime’s with his Fire Bolt.  Seeing that Enkili hadn’t blocked his ability to use a ranged spell for once, Jolrael produced a stronger than normal Aganazaar’s Scorcher, and caught four of the (now) five black pudding’s.  Leiya caught all the creatures in a Slow spell but only affected two of them.

Though smaller than the other living slime creatures, the divided black pudding Riardon had burned turned on Blaylocke and easily struck the Bard through his ruined armor.  This made the Dwarven man reel.  At the same time, one pudding crawled across the ceiling and cut off Leiya’s retreat to the north, while another blocked her path south. Yet even surrounded, she came to little harm as the creatures tendrils lashed out but mostly missed.  Blaylocke was wounded again and fell unconscious to the ground.  Another black pudding slithered south to beset Blaylocke and Riardon.

Enkili, Hubert, and Jolly were just north and the closest to the trapped Leiya.  Jolrael (Jolly) upcast Aganazaar’s Scorcher again but did not seem to bring as much harm as the last time.  The pudding that had slithered across the ceiling to block Leiya off had brought itself next to both Hubert and Enkili.  Hubert drew a mace and struck the overhead horror, splattering himself with acid even as he hurt the pudding.  Leiya, ever devoted to her goddess, eschewed fear for her own safety and cast Healing Word on Blaylocke then casts a divine light type of power on the Bard, but she got hit for her troubles.  A black pudding would be destroyed by this divine light even as it would strike the bard.

Knowing that his hesitation was the reason Leiya was in her predicament, Enkili turned into a cyclone of action.  Transferring his useless bow to his off hand, the Mandagan pulled his mace and plowed into the ceiling crawler.  Pulling upon the power of his Coin of Fate, the fighter struck a nerve center in the amorphous being with one of his four attacks; accidentally striking another nerve cluster a second time (two critical hits).  Even though he splattered himself with caustic juices and etched the hell out of his heavy mace, he killed the pudding to clear a path for the priestess to escape.  However a tendril struck the young woman and knocked her out before she could capitolize on the opportunity.

Catching two of the black puddings with his last big spell, Jolrael cast Aganazaar’s Scorcher to good effect, then pulled forth a Potion of Healing to use on Leiya if given the chance.  Dodging slime tendrils, Enkili ran to Leiya, grabbed her up and pulled her away from the three black puddings trying to engulf her.  Hubert, being closer and faster than the sorcerer, pulled his Potion of Healing and revived the priestess.  Blaylocke was able to stand after his healing, and dodged away from his foe to a place of relative safety behind Riardon.  The small slime pulled itself next to the Elven rogue and struck him soundly.  Without a priestess to wail upon, one of the three puddings chose to slither south, while another crawled north and attacked poor Leiya; but missed.

The larger black pudding that had just shifted south hit Riardon and rendered him unconscious.  Though assailed by slimy tentacles, Leiya was able to cast a Mass Healing Word spell reviving Riardon and bolstering everyone else; she then withdrew out of melee range.  Before the Elven man could make a move though, the smaller pudding whipped him with a tendril and sent him off to dreamland again.  Just as the larger of the southern puddings was ready to strike the helpless rogue, Blaylocke hit it with Dissonant Whispers.  Compelled by the magic the blob fled north away from its intended victim.

Enkili and Hubert tag teamed the pudding closest to them with their dwindling maces.  Using Meta Magic to transmute a Ray of Frost spell into a Ray of Flame spell, Jolrael torched a pudding; taking great delight in the sizzle that ensued.  All the black puddings in the northern portion of the hall were now slain.  That left the pudding that had fled Blaylocke and the smaller one rearing over Riardon.  Transmuting his magic again, Jolrael cast Ray of Flame, going for the distant pudding and killing it before it could harm Riardon anymore.  Hubert and Enkili used ranged weapons and did a little damage.  Out of spells, Jolly also reverts to the sling to hurl stones, but the last black pudding was slain by Blaylocke.  His last Dissonant Whisper spell, though not powerful, was enough to blast the life out of the oily blob.

Riardon lashed out at Enkili for bringing them to Dharsta as the party drug itself back to the entry chamber to take a long rest.  The larger man did not defend himself, looking at everyone’s ruined armor and weapons deflated the fighter immensely.  After hearing Jolrael express a wish to leave, they discovered that the trap door above them would not open.  They were trapped in Dharsta, their only hope was to find another route out… if it existed.

Safe in the chamber, the party took a longer than normal rest.  Spells were shifted in the caster’s repertoire to better serve their predicament.  Then the group returned to the black (eastern facing) pudding room.  Going down the steps they found a ‘U’ shaped chamber that was beyond clean.  They discovered quite a few gem stones and a strange crystalline orb.  No one was willing to cast a Detect magic or Identify spell this soon in the new day, so they took the orb and gems and moved to a door a few steps down from the pudding room. Beyond this door was a short hall (heading west) that lead to a 15’x15’ room with a door along the eastern part of the northern wall….

*We leave off here, with Riardon just about to check for traps and the lock status of this door.  We will resume on the 24th of July.

Highlights of Episode Forty Seven
Iiyoltan the 7th, CY1031

Disclaimer.  Due to health issues and poor attention skills, this recap will not be as in depth as prior episodes.

After determining the door was not trapped, the party opened the upward sliding door and passed through.  Though there were many corridors heading north, the party followed as westerly of a path as they could.  At one point Riardon found an anomaly set into the floor, and with Blaylocke’s help they discovered and disarmed a pressure plate that would have dropped a large stone on the party and cut off their path.  In a nearby room they found what seemed to be a golden statuette surrounded by tapestries that had been reduced to ribbons by time.  The statue was of stone with gold paint and held no value.

Still heading more west than north, a room was found where water had eroded the walk away and cut the room in half.  Jolrael cast Light on two stones, the first stone was tossed across the room to reveal a double wide door on the far side of the pool; the next light was dropped into the water where nothing was discovered.  Though the fighter swore he could make it to the far side with little effort the rest of the group chose to turn back and find another route.  Going back to the closest north bound hall, the party took that route and found an east directed branch.  This hall led the party almost back to the place with the Black Pudding room, so the group retraced their route to a west leading branch.
An irregular shaped chamber was found that had three pools of water.  A large body of water clung to the northern walls, a smaller pool was immediately south of the door, and in the south west was another slightly larger pool.  After Riardon crossed the narrow path to the western side of the room, and Blaylocke and Enkili were stuck in the middle of this path, two creatures made of water rose; they wore armor and bore tridents.  One came from the middle northern greater pool and the other rose from the south eastern pool to surprise the party.  In less than twelve seconds Enkili and Riardon were severely wounded, before they had a chance to strike back.

Part of the Water Elemental Myrmidon’s (player knowledge not character) tactics was to melee then hurl their tridents at targets that had tried to use missiles or spells.  Those tridents would magically return to the Elemental’s hands, on top of that they could randomly burst out and do cold damage at random times.  Hubert and Enkili’s weapons did not make much impact on the watery creatures, but the caster’s spells seemed to have normal efficacy against them.  Unfortunately Blaylocke and Leiya had to focus on healing the party rather than deal damage with their magic, but when the Water Elementals eventually absorbed a lot of damage they changed tactics.  The creatures started to dive into one pool and pop out of another, attack, then return to the water.

Enkili crossed over to the middle of the room to help Blaylocke, which allowed one Elemental to take advantage.  It attacked the less hearty people the fighter had left behind and struck Jolrael down, because he had been doing a lot of damage to the creatures, then it knocked Leiya out because she had been keeping the party on their feet.  Riardon, who remained bad off through the entire fray, had been forced to take cover and attempt to snipe with his Fire Bolt cantrip, then run for another bit of cover.  Blaylocke desperately healed Leiya from afar while shooting with his bow or switching to his sword.  Both he and Enkili were forced to place either a bow or sword at their feet and switch weapons every turn as one elemental harried them then took cover.  Leiya, managed to dodge away from her assailant and erect a Spiritual Guardians spell.

That spell and some well placed shots by Riardon and the sorcerer (who was healed then dropped again) finally slew the Water Elemental Myrmidons.  However the party had expended a lot of resources to win this victory.  They returned to the chamber that had two doors and took a short rest( the same room they had started in this episode).  Many aspersions and glares were shot at Enkili who felt wretched for drawing his friends to this cursed and oppressive ruin; he no longer thought reclaiming the family heirloom was a worthy endeavor.

*Our next game will be August 7th

Highlights of Episode Forty Eight
Iiyoltan the 7th-8th, CY1031

Realizing that relying on their memory might not be the best navigational tool, the party debated how best to record their path.  As no party member had paper or parchment to draw a map upon, and there was no coal or chalk, Enkili used his curved dagger (khanjar) to lightly incise arrows upon left hand walls.  Not having taken this precaution before, the party ended up revisiting the water room with the narrow ledge they had avoided mere hours prior.  They had to retrace their steps to take a northern hall.  In the first room they encountered they met a creature that appeared to be a giant floating eye beset with many tentacles.  Riardon and Blaylocke were grappled before the party could implement their plan to run away.

Midway through the battle, Blaylocke realized that they were facing a being related to an Eye Tyrant.  Enkili discovered that he was easily able to slice the monster with his big blade.  Unfortunately this caused blood to spurt out, and that hemoglobin carried an electrical charge that damaged everything near the creature.  Forewarned of the shocking blood, Hubert pulled a mace and helped the fighting man from Mandagar flank the unnatural beast.  Leiya managed to curse the being with a Slow spell, while Riardon squirmed loose from the tentacle holding him and hit it with a Fire Bolt cantrip.

Hubert discovers that bludgeoning weapons did not incite an electric spray from the beast with a savage blow from his mace.  Blaylocke also wriggled free of the tendril holding him, then chanted a melody that inspired Enkili.  Riardon took the opportunity to escape the abberation’s twenty foot grasp and used his cantrip at distance.  Blaylocke let fly with an arrow which caused the electric blood spray to coat Hubert and Enkili.  Jolly, Leiya, and Hubert were grappled after Blaylocke tried a Dissonant Whispers spell.  On their turns Leiya and Hubert freed themselves from the groping appendages, unfortunately Jolrael could not and suffered horribly for it.  Mouth like cups at the end of the tentacles began to suck the sorcerer’s blood.  Blaylocke tried his Dissonant Whispers spell again.

It sucked more of Jolly’s blood and zapped him with an electrical charge.  Blaylocke upcast his mind altering spell, expending his last spell slot to do so, and drove the creature back.  Unfortunately it could not flee far so its elastic tentacles continued to clutch the sorcerer, when it drained blood a third time Jolrael lost consciousness.  Desperate and horrified, Enkili delivered a feinting attack on the monster and scored a killing blow.  Leiya, who was also drained of magic used a cantrip (Spare the Dying) to stabilize Jolly.  Bruised and battered the party realized they had drained their resources for the day so they retreated to the room they had taken their last short rest and spent the night.

In the morning Leiya contacted Llain with her Sending spell and told the hunter about their predicament.  The woodsman decided he would go home but return in five days.  While they had rested the party used magic to figure out the crystal orb they had found in the black pudding room.  It turned out as an Orb of Shielding (Yhnad Skarn helps resist poison and acid), which was an item Jolrael could use.

Returning to the Beholder Kin’s room, the party continued to explore.  Opening a door they found themselves in a short hall between a northern chamber, a southern chamber, and east bound stairs going up.  Up above they saw a pillar that looked as though symbols or speech was carved upon it, so the party was drawn upward.  When Riardon stepped upon the pedestal the pillar rested upon two armored earth elemental type beings rose up out of the floor and attacked the party.

Falling back upon an old favorite of his, Jolrael cast Thunderwave which failed to hurl their opponents back; it did cause rocks to fall upon everyone from the ceiling.  After observing the primordial beings for a few seconds Blaylocke inspired Enkili again.  Riardon decided to ply his bow but missed.  Hubert hit and discovers his scimitars did less damage than normal.  Leiya summoned forth her Spirit Guardians and drew the wrath of one of the elementals.  She was hit by a stone maul that caused a thunderous burst that knocked the priestess off her feet and caused another shower of debris from the ceiling.  Lieya stood and healed herself with magic but was attacked again.  Riardon also suffered a maul attack.  Blaylocke, who faced the same elemental as Riardon and Leiya, disengaged and retreated; he then upcast Healing Word on the priestess.  Enkili received a thunderous attack that dropped rocks from above that damaged several people.  Hubert punished that elemental by landing a pair of blows, but the monster fixed upon Enkili and struck the man savagely.  Enkili saw stars and looked rubbery in the legs.

Jolrael tried using Gust of Wind to blow an elemental away from Leiya, but the creature retained a firm stance.  The sorcerer then Twinned a Ray of Frost spell and hurled ice at both creatures.  Leiya disengaged from her first opponent and joined Hubert, Riardon, and Enkili with the foe they faced.  Without the priestess to pick on, the elemental closed with Jolly and Blaylocke.  Blaylocke used Healing Word on Enkili then successfully shot an elemental with arrows….

*This is where we left off on our game.  Our next session will most likely fall on the 4th of September after our good friend and DM recovers from surgery.  He has our love and prayers.

Highlights of Episode Forty Nine
Iiyoltan the 8th, CY1031

Dust and small pebbles continued to patter from the ceiling when Hubert tried two attacks against the Earth Elemental pinioned between Enkili and himself.  His swings whooshed through the air then clanged off of thick armor to no effect.  Against the other Myrmidon, Jolrael missed with a fiery Chromatic Orb; the thick bodied elementals only seemed ponderous.  Enkili set himself up for a particularly vicious strike when he used a missed shot to measure his opponents spacing.  Almost at the same second, Riardon sneakily placed a Firebolt spell in a tender area upon the other primordial creature.  Leiya’s continuing Spiritual Guardians spell chewed away at both Earth Elementals physicality, and Jolly’s Gust magic pushed their one enemy back to a far wall; it spent its entire turn struggling to get back into range against Jolrael.

Jolrael uses that opportunity to Twin a Chromatic Orb spell, but missed with both evocations.  Though his arrow glanced off a pauldron, Blaylocke succeeded in granting the sorcerer an inspiration.  Weapons and spells continued to be wielded for several seconds more between the combatants, some hitting others missing their marks; before the battlefield shifted in what appeared to be a poor direction for the heroes.  The Myrmidon facing Riardon and Jolly stepped out of the windy Gust spell’s path and helped knock Leiya out cold with a thunderous burst.  However rocks from the ceiling struck and killed the other elemental.  That Elemental Myrmidon exploded, sending stony shrapnel throughout the room, which did nothing to improve the unconscious priestess’ condition.

Attempting to render Leiya assistance, Jolrael skirted around his friends to find an open spot in the cordon around the last elemental.  He adjusted the angle of his Gust spell and shoved the earthen being a full fifteen feet south, he then started to staunch Leiya’s seeping wounds.  The Myrmidon pushed itself all the way back and hammered on the sorcerer.  Using the creatures singular focus against it, Riardon ran over and dragged Leiya to the far eastern wall safely away from mauls, falling stones, and exploding Earth Elementals.  As the rogue shot Blaylocke looks of appeal, the other heroes flailed in their efforts to kill the last creature.  Finally Enkili pulled the creature about to help the injured Jolrael extract himself from further harm.  The fighting man landed a killing blow.  He and Hubert absorbed the explosion.  All was silent (except for the mirage of the Beholder Kin that seemed to step through a door(inside joke)).

Though battered and running real low on spells and resources, the party continued to explore after a short rest.  A hall from the northern chamber met a corridor running all the way to the doors at the southern chamber, it also led north which is the direction the adventurers took.  That path turned west soon enough and Enkili marked their way with arrows carved into the wall,  as Riardon demanded more space as he scouted their path.  The Elven burglar found a stair down into a chamber that was lit with a strange red glow.  He slowly made his way down and discovered glowing writing along a wall in an open chamber.  While trying to close to within reading range, the glow flared up and two armored fire elementals manifested.  Fire Elemental Myrmidons!

As the heroes gaped, momentarily stupefied, the two creatures carved on Riardon with their fiery scimitars.  When the party started to rally from their surprise, one Myrmidon exited the chamber through a door to the chamber’s south.  It would reappear behind the party a few seconds later.  Meanwhile the other Elemental accepted the attacks of Hubert, Enkili, and Leiya.  Riardon used the advent of his friends to pull back to relative safety.  He was forced to face the second Myrmidon when it assaulted Jolrael from behind.  Bruised and bloodied, Jolly cast Tidal Wave.  He only annoyed the second Elemental which began to pick on the sorcerer in retaliation.  The terrain kept Blaylocke and Riardon from rendering Jolrael effective assistance, so the sorcerer continued to get slashed and sliced.  Another watery iteration of his spell brought him no relief and he soon dropped.

In the chamber, the first Elemental attempted to slip away from the fighters, but they hounded the being with steel and determination.  It pushed through Hubert and tried to bully Leiya, but she used her spells and abilities with great efficacy.  Hubert eventually brought that Fire Myrmidon down.  However, poor Jolrael was near death in that moment.  Alerted by the urgency in Blaylocke and Riardon’s voices, the fighters pushed through the others to close with the last Elemental.  Though it tried to push past Enkili to get to the stricken sorcerer, it was thwarted several times by the fighting man and the punishing sword of Riardon.  The last Fire Elemental succumbed to a mighty but lucky blow from Enkili and it sputtered out, doused by the party’s might.

*The party received enough experience to level up, but they are unable to slip away for training.  Once again they are near death and out of resources, so we were in the middle of talking about a long rest as this game drew to a close.  We will resume this narrative on the 18th of this month, until then take care of yourselves and the ones you love.


Highlights of Episode Fifty
Iiyoltan the 8-9th, CY1031

Trying to retrace their way back to a safe room to rest the night away, the party accidentally found a chamber they had not explored before.  Fortunately Riardon spotted the armored air elementals from a distance.  Out in the corridor, Jolrael heard the Elven man’s exclamation and ran back to a doorway and prepared himself to trigger the opening mechanism; that door was just north of the entry the rogue had taken.  When Riardon flew through the chambers doors, the sorcerer opened his door, which caused the southern door to automatically close.  From there the party dashed west.

At the first north south intersection Enkili chose to run south, thinking that he could lead his friends back to explored territory.  However when the hallway ended their choice was a flooded room to the west or a closed door to the east.  Riardon chose to open the mystery door and when when it slid up they faced one of the Air Elemental Myrmidons.  The Rogue spent his turn slapping the mechanism that closed the door back up.  The three in the outer chamber heard something slam into that door.

Sure that they were being chased by their doom the party raced to the north, then they were forced east all the way back to the three adjoining octagon rooms the Earth Elemental Myrmidons had lived in.  Their mad fearful career took a minute and a half, before they started to realize both that they were not being chased at all, and they were cornered.  Riardon crept back to the northern door they had triggered to reveal the Air Elementals; that door was still sealed shut.  Enkili offered a long prayer in his native tongue, the only words the other members might have understood was the two names Mahkim and Ahme, then the name of the ruins they were in, Darsta.  The fighting man acknowledged that he was not pure enough to search for the lost heirloom and all he wanted was a way out of the fallen city for his friends.

Tired from all the fighting and running they camped in the middle octagon room because it had the most exits for them.  They remained unmolested through the full day and night they camped.  In the morning the adventurers decided that they would rather go through the elementals than take the one north western hall they had not explored.  They devised a plan at the northern door to send Riardon in first to lure a Myrmidon out, and then they were going to shut the door blocking off the second air elemental.  Spells like Aid, Bardic Inspiration, and Spiritual Guardians were cast before the plan was implemented.  Then Riardon crept in, and let the elementals know he was there, then he ran back as he had the day before.  When the Air Elemental Mymidon’s arrived they were one before the other, their turn ending just before any of them stepped all the way through the door's frame.  The Sorcerer also adressed them in Primordial, invoking the name of the ancient Storm King Alutha (based upon a legend someone recalled about King Alutha and his super fast invulnerable Air Elemental Myrmidon soldier/servants).  As had been the habit with all the elementals before, these creatures of air ignored Jolly's words.

Jolly hit the lead creature with an ice spell that would cause it hardship in hitting any of his friends for a moment.  So as not to have the door frame provide his victim any cover, Enkili stepped out from beside the door, hit with a Distracting Strike, then missed with a quick follow up shot.  He then stepped aside to allow Jolly another spell attempt. The sorcerer hit with an ice cantrip that slowed the same elemental’s movement, then Hubert stepped around and immitated Enkili with his pair of attacks then stepped back aside. After that, Leiya stepped up to the creature and hit with a Word of Radiance which did no damage (unlike the Spirit Guardians spell in effect, the Myrmidon's speed is reduced by half in addition to the damage); she then was struck as she glided away.  His eyes going strange, Blaylocke cast Dissonant Whispers on the lead Elemental causing it to react in pain.

*This fight just got started as our game day drew to a close.  We had spent a lot of time and party cleverness avoiding a pursuit that never manifested.  Our next game will be October 2nd.  We have just learned that our October 30th game will be a horror themed one shot, details coming….

Highlights of Episode Fifty One
Iiyoltan the 9th, CY1031

Seeing the two air elemental Myrmidons lined up in a row just outside of the room, Jolrael upcast Aganazaar’s Scorcher; his fire catching both creatures.  Hubert then stepped around and cut the lead myrmidon with two slashes, before stepping back.  Choosing his time with precision, Blaylocke sent a Dissonant Whispers spell into the lead elemental.  It turned and fled heading back the way it had come.  The other being of air slid into the room and zeroed in on Leiya, whose continuing Spiritual Guardian spell was effecting it and its friend to a great extent.  Lightning and sparks arched off the myrmidon’s flail as it caused a lot of harm to the priestess.

On her turn, Leiya cast Healing Word on herself, then Word of Radiance on her tormentor.  The second air elemental returned to the rooms doorway, and tried to flail Enkili and Hubert but only managed to strike the door frame.  Knowing the myrmidon would be displaced with the closing of the door, Enkili filled the doorway with his bulk before hitting the trigger to close the door, forcing the myrmidon to retreat away from the party.  He then moved behind the first elemental and distracted it so that Leiya could safely disengage and scamper off to a safer position.  After Riardon missed with his Flaming Sphere cantrip, the second air elemental proved it could open the door.  It did so then moved through the room attacking and missing Hubert then Enkili.  It did hit Leiya though, bringing her to a desperate position health wise.

Singing an upcast Word of Healing on Leiya, Blaylocke’s next move was to draw and ply his short bow.  Trying to put some oomph into his blow, Enkili tried to be fancy with his first attack but was humbled by a miss.  Though his second attack hit, he did not try that attack with anything special.  The second air elemental Myrmidon began to move deeper into the room, focusing all of its attacks on Enkili; missing the first two swings but catching the fighter with its third flail assault.

After Hubert only hit with one of his scimitar attacks, Jolrael split a Flaming Sphere attack.  He hit the first creature but missed the one that had hurt Leiya.  Avoiding being drawn into melee with the second elemental, Blaylocke disengaged but still gifted the priestess with a healing spell.  For her part, Leiya killed the second myrmidon with her Word of Radiance spell.  The surviving air elemental myrmidon flailed at Enkili.  Electricity crackled and made the big man whimper from the damage delivered.  An upcast Chromatic Orb met that creature before it could gloat at the damaged it had done.  Riardon finally hit with a Flaming Sphere and slew the last air elemental myrmidon.

Just as the last creature imploded and winked out of existence, the entire underground facility began to shake.  Nearby doors whisked open, and from sounds deeper in the dungeon the sound of all nearby apertures grinding open met the players hearing.  Before the stone on stone noise of the doors rumbled to a halt the cries and calls of beasts and monsters from afar started up; in less than a minute the sound of roaring flame was added to the bestial tumult.  With some of the party fearing the imminent collapse of Darsta’s ruins, the group dashed into the room where the last elemental enemies had lived.  Passing into an eastern running hallway through the southern door, the party passed a set of open double doors facing south then came upon a dead end room at the end of that run.

Pushing passed his friends, Enkili made it back to the open double doors to the fire trapped room where they had fought the shadow demons on their first day in Darsta.  Three cadaverously thin creatures with glowing eyes and pronounced canines were slinking toward them in that room.  Wanting to run, Enkili placed himself one step down in front of his friends and set himself as a guard.  Though Jolly had encouraged everyone to run, he moved to the Mandagan’s side on the steps and hit the undead beings with a Tidal Wave spell.  Two of the benighted creatures were swept off their feet, the water spell seeming to do great harm even to the one who remained upright.  All three creatures surround Enkili.  Leiya pulled upon the power of her goddess and made two of the three flee in terror.  Blaylocke shot the one that stayed.  Before the vampire like adversary had a chance to maul Enkili, Riardon cast a Protection From Evil spell on the fighting man.  This caused the hissing creature to miss every attack.  It then scuttled up the wall to cling to the ceiling, it then moved over the top of Jolly and Blaylocke to go after Leiya.

Damaging spells whipped up at the undead being from the party to varying degrees of success, but it took Enkili barging through Jolly and Blaylocke to close with his sword before the creature was undone.  Not wanting to go into the room that had demonstrated all its fire hurling traps reset after a few seconds, the party decided to head back to a west running hallway near the air elemental’s room.  They circumvented the trapped chamber and returned to the pool room.  To the south east was the door that led to their way out.  In the west and southwest were doors to halls and chambers the group had already explored.  On the eastern wall was a doorway into unexplored territory.

Though he had been excoriating Enkili with barbs every since the door out had locked them in, it was Riardon who seemed the most reluctant to leave without Enkili finding his Family sword.  The Elven man led the way to the east door and his keen sight noticed the glittering of undead eyes deep in the shadows down the north directed stairway they had discovered….

*We had to end this session before disposing of the last two lesser vampire creatures.  We will conclude that fight on October 16th, and with luck, maybe a few other bouts as well.  We will be voting on the genre of our Halloween game during the lull between sessions.
**The vote is in!  We are going to visit the wierd west in a game of Deadlands for our Halloween game.  In the hopes that my efforts help my fellow gamers here is the URL for the test drive rules.  These rules will not help with character creation, Irik will, as usual, be all over that.

Highlights of Episode Fifty Two
Iiyoltan the 9th, CY1031

As the party watched, Riardon tossed a fire bolt down the stair’s steps to have a hissing scream float up in response.  Blaylocke began to unlimber his bow, even as he sang a snippet praising Riardon (bardic inspiration); he then prepared to shoot anything that came up from below.  Enkili just darted over and put himself before Riardon, and just a little left of the rogue so as not to block any shots.  He also prepared to strike out at any attackers.  The two vampire spawn flowed up out of the dark and hid just around the corners of the room below, giving themselves cover since they could not close with the party.  Interposing himself in front of Riardon, Jolrael flung a frostbite spell hitting the right hand vampire spawn.  On her turn, Leiya moved up behind Enkili and bound wounds he had derived from their first altercation with the vampire spawn.

Moving rapidly, Jolrael hit the same vampire with another frostbite cantrip and challenge them to “Come out and play”.  His words came just as Hubert pushed passed the sorcerer and set himself defensively in front of everyone.  Hungrily the vampire spawn on the left raced up the steps, grabbed Hubert, and tried to sink fangs into vulnerable neck flesh.  Blaylocke hit that first spawn with an arrow, helping to throw its bite off target.  Riardon used his favorite cantrip to add more punishment onto the over bold creature.  Before the second spawn could move from its cover, Enkili danced down the steps and attacked the first vampire creature with two slashes; one of which hit with authority.  The big man then moved a couple of steps back so he would not get flanked in turn.  Leiya cast Word of Radiance on the first spawn, but it saved and took no damage.  The second vampire spawn then moved to successfully grapple and bite Enkili.  The party could visibly see the Mandagar fighter wither a little as vitality was taken from him to boost the spawn’s unlife.

With a dexterous twist, Hubert wriggled free of the first spawn's grip and put a great cut on the vile thing (critical).  Even as Leiya’s Spirit Guardians chewed at the vampire spawns essence, it tried to place a grip on Hubert again but missed.  It’s following bite hit however and new strength flowed from Hubert into the tattered undead.  Remembering how potent his last Tidal Wave spell had been, Jolly cast it again, dousing Enkili as he severely damaged both spawn; even though they all saved; Enkili fared better than the vimpiric entities.  Delving back into his trick bag, Blaylocke attempted to Charm Person both vampire spawn.  Neither creature fell under the bard’s control.  With unerring precision, Riardon hit the first spawn with his fire bolt magic, but he had to move to gain a better angle before hand.  He abandoned that position so others could move up to get an open shot.  Still clutched by the second vampire spawn, Enkili was hit by a claw attack, but the monster’s bite missed flesh.  Much of the fighting man’s luck stemmed from the continuing Protection from Evil spell Riardon had laid over him minutes before (last session).  It took two tries for Enkili to break free of his captor, but he Action Surged and cut down the first vampire spawn.

Still protected by Riardon’s magic, the second vampire spawn tried to grapple and bite Enkili again, but both attacks missed.  Hubert stalked by the second undead creature and carved two big slices out of it.  Jolrael grinned happily as his flaming Chromatic Orb wrought painful wounds.  At the same moment Leiya poured magical healing upon Enkili.  Following her example, Blaylocke sent some healing to the fighter, then shot and killed the last vampire spawn with an arrow.  As the last undead fell, the air pressure assailed the party.  Distantly groans and the sound of wildfire flared up briefly, an all pervading hum issued from the west in the ruins.

While they debated on whether to go on or rest, the adventurers discovered a jeweled key around the second vampire spawn’s neck.  Among bones and debris in the chamber below they also found an electrum dagger inset with a black pearl.  A comb set was found that was made in a dragon motif and made of gold and gem stones.  There was also a flask with a boiling blue potion inside, it was later identified as a Potion of Heroism.  8 platinum, 33 gold, 57 electrum, 74 silver, and 92 copper coins also made it into the parties pouches.

Even though there were members who wanted to continue on, those who had few resources left prevailed so the party rested in the empty wading pool room.  This allowed Hubert and Enkili to recover from the draining effect the vampire spawn had inflicted upon them.  Surprisingly nothing afflicted the party through the night, though there were no doors to shelter behind.

Riardon and Blaylocke both decided to find out where the distant humming sound was coming from, and that meant the party found themselves retracing their steps west.  They wound through the halls until they came to the first water filled room they had discovered.  This time they skirted around the ledge to get on the far side of the deep pool where they found an unexplored set of hallways north.  At an intersection that had a chamber to the west and one to the east, both with stairs down, Riardon first moved west.  That room was empty, but in the eastern room he found a skeleton with staved in ribs and a broken sword.  He discovered old coins 10 of gold and 16 of silver.  He also recovered a raw diamond that he speculated must be around 500 gold coins in value.

Eventually the party made it passed the room where they had faced the Water Elemental Myrmidons, just north of that water filled chamber was a room that had four pillars built on raised beds.  Riardon had been in that room before during the elemental fight, but there were changes this time.  Before the room had been completely dark, now red sigils glowed within the chamber on the rounded uprights.  Each pillar seemed to have magical representations of the four elements lit in red.  Guessing that they had to touch each pillar in the order of the party’s encounters with the various elemental myrmidons, the sorcerer made his rounds from pillar to pillar touching them as he remembered.

When the first pillar was touched (water) the ceiling of the eastern passage ground down to be block off the hall.  The southern passage also closed off their last egress from the pillar room when the second (earth) pillar was touched.  The fire pillar saw all torches, candles, lanterns, and items with Continual Flame enchantments snuffed out; the only illumination came from the blood red pillars.  When the air pillar was touched a huge Efreet appeared in the room.  It first glared at Jolrael, then caught sight of Enkili.  “Seed of Harbhamit, you shall die!” it declared.  Enkili replied, “ Of all the Djin, Efreet reek the most.”  While the oversized Djini stomped on the ground Enkili named it, Amir Mareib (Mandagan for Terror).

Its stomp made the whole room jump (lair action).  Everyone but Riardon was knocked off their feet.  Just before dodging behind a pillar the Elf pulled his bow and sunk an arrow into the Efreet lord.  In retaliation it threw a globe of fire that hit Riardon (legendary action).  On its turn it stabbed Enkili on the floor as he had fallen at it’s feet, then tossed another globe of fire, this time at Jolrael (action).  A hurled Guiding Bolt from Leiya missed but caused Mareib to blast fire around it’s person, burning Enkili (legendary action).  Putting extra power behind his Dissonant Whisper spell, Blaylocke hurled true, but the Amir of Terror used special powers to shake the spell effects off (legendary save).  Knowing that he wouldn’t hit Enkili this time, Jolrael attempted his patented Tidal Wave.  The Efreeti again called upon special powers to mitigate harm to itself (second legendary save).
Rolling to his feet, the mauled and singed fighter moved around and tried to strike his familial foe with his sword.  His first attack missed, so he used a Distracting Strike attack to give himself advantage.  That second swing hit and did damage….

*This cliff hanger is a doozy as it is the culmination of a character’s motivating quest, and a face off against a supernatural foe of Enkili's entire clan.  Also, we have a Halloween one shot coming up next game so the Dungeon of Dharsta will have to resume in one month's time.  We have all chosen our archetypes for this horror western Deadlands game.

Highlights of Episode Fifty Three
Iiyoltan the 10th through Drindos the 10th CY1031

Pivoting around his cover behind a southern pillar, Blaylocke hurled a Healing Word at Enkili, then he lofted an errant arrow in the vicinity of Murieb.  In retribution Murieb took two swings at the fighter delivering one more injury.  Inexplicably, the Efreet Pasha scanned the room looking for invisible enemies.  Mentally altering his magic, Jolrael turned Aganazaar’s Scorcher into Aganazaar’s Chiller.  The ice seemed to do full damage.  Breaking from cover, Leiya dashed from her southern pillar in order to cast Cure Light Wounds on Enkili.  Taking advantage of having two enemies close, the Efreet noble generated a concussive fiery burst.  Blaylocke interrupted Murieb with Cutting Words, stealing his mojo so that his spell burst was restrained in the damage it dealt (Blaylocke earned experience for his stinging diatribe).

Hubert also left his concealment from behind the same column Leiya had hidden, he hit twice, the first cut much deeper than the second (critical).  Piqued, Murieb hit the loyal retainer with a big bolt of fire, which severely hurt the lad.  Being young and quick, Hubert acted next by first flanking the Efreet and striking him twice.  Opposite Hubert, Enkili missed with an attack then hit especially solid with a second swing (critical).  Muttering a vile curse, Murieb tried to summon forth a poisonous cloud.  Blaylocke countered this using a Dispel Magic spell, keeping his friends from having to inhale noxious volcanic fumes.  Another Tidal Wave manifested by Jolrael slammed into Murieb, who had to use another dwindling Legendary Save to keep his feet.

When Leiya invoked her Spirit Guardians spell, the fearsome Efreet attempted to Counterspell that magic.  Clever Blaylocke negated that Counterspell with one of his own; a quick magical duel that robbed Murieb of the chance to be obnoxious.  The Efreet was able to partially fend off the sprite shaped positive energy projections, then it bowled Leiya over with a quick savage overrunning charge.  When it moved Hubert thwacked the Efreet with his scimitar, but Enkili missed his opportunity.  Next Murieb rained fire upon the prone priestess but could not shake her concentration upon her continuing spell.  From behind his northern pillar Riardon sped an arrow strait into the noble Efreet’s kidneys.

Responding negatively to the rogue’s attack from concealment, Murieb flung another blob of fire at Leiya; she again kept her concentration on her Spiritual Guardians.  Seeing another opportunity to shoot the Pasha in the back, Riardon tried another shot but the Efreet stepped left instead of right.  Not to be outdone, Murieb succeeded in producing a noxious gas cloud that covered Leiya, Enkili, Jolrael, and Riardon.  Holding his breath to keep from getting poisonous fumes in his lungs, Enkili closed with the Efreet lord.  Smoke stung eyes prevented the Mandagan fighter from connecting with his cuts.  In a blast of fire and violent noise, Murieb pulsed a concussive blast that knocked Leiya out and blasted Enkili and Hubert off their feet.  Scrambling from prone, while producing a Potion of Healing, young Hubert administered aid to the senseless priestess.

Sensing Enkili’s weakness, Murieb cut at the fighter and brought him down, broken and bleeding out.  Jolrael gasped as hot gasses filled his lungs.  He was instantly sickened but forced himself to cast Aganazaar’s Chiller again.  Murieb’s retributive fire followed the sorcerer as he moved around a corner outside of the poisonous clouds radius, hurting the former sailor badly.  Newly revived and having the presence of mind to hold her breath, Leiya stood and cast Mass Healing Word.  She was hit by a fiery orb but maintained her feet.  From the south, Blaylocke missed with his arrow but further bolstered the freshly risen Enkili with a Healing Word.  A geyser of magma was fired at Jolrael.  The sorcerer spun mostly out of harms way, so the damage he took was not enough to take him down.  Sensing her own weakness, Leiya chugged a Potion of Healing, then improved Enkili’s condition with some healing magic as a bonus action.

Once again Murieb pulsed out a concussive burst of flame.  Hubert and Enkili absorbed the damage and kept their feet, Leiya slammed to the ground much worse for wear.  Hiding his despair behind a mask of fury, Enkili used his acid weakened sword to strike his ancient family foe.  His second shot was a critical, which cut Murieb down.  Before the Efreet burst into flame and vanished he cursed Enkili, basically informing the young man that he would never return home to Mandagar, never see his family again, nor fulfill his quest to return the Sainted Sword to his loved ones; or words to that effect.  The huge scimitar that Murieb had been wielding lost its illusion enchantment, revealing itself to have seven bulls engraved upon the blade, between their horns were seven moons that each held a pentagram.  The Sainted Sword.

Stone ground on stone as the sealed doors began to open.  At the same moment the raised dais in the middle of the room rose up to fill a recess in the ceiling.  Below the dias was revealed three lock boxes and a locked chest.  After numerous adventures without gaining treasure, our adventurers gained fifty five pounds of coin, a plethora of gems and jewelry, and several magic items other than the coveted sword.  Laden down, the troop left Dharsta and retrieved their mounts from Llain the Hunter.  They turned their steps towards Anstarre where they would spend the next twenty days training and selling their plunder, as well as replacing their damaged arms and armor.  Training and guild fees have been paid.  Their first night was spent in a wood and thatch inn called the Blushing Ivy, whose owner/proprietor was Peg.  Peg proved to be high strung and easily distracted, but she took pride in her stone fireplace.

Here is the party’s list of treasure: Bracers of Defense (+1?), Hewards Handy Haversack, Horn of Silent Alarm (4charges), Potion of Supreme Healing, Elemental Gem (fire), Serpent Scale Armor.  The Sainted Sword is currently a +1 weapon and is considered a legendary magic item, it will grow as its wielder grows.  280 platinum pieces, 260 gold, 573 electrum, 740 silver coins, and 924 copper were found.  On top of that 3 blood stone gems, 1 box of turquoise animal figurines, brass mug with jade inlays, bronze crown, 2 carnelians, 3 chalcedony, 2 chrysoprase, 4 citrine, a large gold bracelet, 2 moonstones, 2 onyx, 1 quartz, 3 sardonyx, a silver necklace with a gemstone pendant, star rose quartz, and 4 zircon gems swelled the groups coffers.

Highlights of Episode Fifty Four
Drindos the 10th-18th CY1031

For twenty days each member of the party trained during the day, and worked on projects at night (this lasted until Drindos the 10th).  They would continue their extracurricular activities for another week after that (Drindos 11th-18th).

For her part, Leiya attempted to contact certain benefactors and friends with divine messaging means.  The orphan girl Miria did not respond to the priestess’ hails.  The girl could have been asleep, unconscious, unwilling to respond, or dead.  High Priestess Jonella of Solare wondered if the party would be returning to the area.  Maraudering trolls between Wizard’s Peak and the capitol have been making life miserable for many people in and about Solare.  Wellborne Huxley informed Leiya that preparations for war continue though no wars have been declared yet.  He also warned her that the party has captured the interest of unknown individuals who may be scrying upon the party’s progress.

Other than learning new songs and a smattering of lore, Blaylocke spent his available hours repairing the plate armor the group captured in the catacombs below Anstare.  By the end of training he found himself a mere week from completing this project.  He requested the time to finish this errand before the party made a decision on a direction to set their feet.

Learning how to turn himself invisible by arcane means, Riardon decided to spend his free time planning then implementing a break-and-enter caper.  He succeeded with little problem, coming away with coin and a wand of some sort.  Of course he paid dues to the local underground element and was allowed to keep his new wand.  Unfortunately, on Drindos the 11th, he learned that a person knowing of his theft had been captured by the law.  The underground element did not think their man would be able to remain silent on Riardon’s involvement, and the Elven rogue had chosen not to share this wrinkle with his friends.

Near the end of harnessing more powerful spells, Jolrael Symara discovered someone had slipped a note into his pocket.  This forced the sorcerer to reveal a bit of backstory to the whole party, information that he had only shared with Leiya before then.  Jolly had been an ordinary sailor until one day he woke up with a brand upon his upper back/shoulder area and arcane powers buzzing in his cranium.  He thinks (with Blaylocke agreeing with him) that the strange mark may be a map.  The note he found claimed that he could learn more about his brand if he will show up at a ruined lighthouse along the coast of the Inland Sea.

Enkili bought a wagon, a team of 4 horses, and extra adventuring gear for the party, and a composite longbow for himself.  At night he researched the Sainted Sword taken from Murieb and discovered many things lost to his family.  From four excerpts the fighter gleaned that three people conspired to craft the sword.  Harbhamit (his ancestor) had an Efreet named Haqim and a Djinni named Malaq forge his sword using earth from the elemental plane of earth and a forge from the elemental plane of fire.  The Djin folk infused the blade with powers, the Djinni layed spells of protection (against otherworldly beings) while the Efreet infused eldritch powers that harmed as much as they helped.  Evidently the Sainted Sword would not become completed until joined with “a coin made from stone, a song stolen from dirt, and a knife from under the hills” were acquired.
After agreeing to let Blaylocke have his week to smith on the armor, the party is considering on traveling back to Solare to check on Miria and kill trolls.  In the meantime everyone else is planning on shopping for specific items and researching trolls.  Riardon was acting as though he resented this delay in the party’s departure.

*Our next game is scheduled for January 22, 2023.

Highlights of Episode Fifty Five
Drindos the 18th – Kemen the 7th CY1031

After having Enkili finance the last stretch of repairing the black plate and mail, Blaylocke presented the armor to the fighter.  Enkili let the bard have his splint mail to sell just to replenish his coin purse.  During that week the party learned that trolls quickly regenerate unless acid or fire was used to damage them, which hampers their ability to heal.  They come in many kinds depending on their place in the world, and they are related to the various families of giant kind.  In the mean time the party discussed returning to Solare in order to learn the fate of Miria and hunt down the trolls ravaging near the capitol.

They arrive at the Pilgrim’s Rest near Elvton on the 25th of Drindos.  This is the sanctuary for Wizard’s Peak guild members.  After talking to Iriel and Renela, Jolrael turned over the Waverly Plate to the caretakers and got a writ granting the sorcerer permission to read “Whispers of the Pale Lady”.  This also placed Jolrael into the member-in-good-standing category as far as his guild dues.  Enkili used the pretext of gathering information to ride off to Elvton to visit the ladies of the night and smoke hashish with them.  Everyone who stayed at the Rest ate off of a now full set of Waverly Crockery, and were enervated by the dining experience.

Continuing an uneventful journey, the party arrived in Solare in the early evening (6th of Kemen).  They set off to lodge in the Rusty Bedpan, only to find the place burned to a husk.  Riardon and Blaylocke entered the remains of the inn and poked around.  Blaylocke discovered the sign of the Chained Wings carved into the bar top and called the Elven man over to look.  Discovering that the emblazoned board was loose, Riardon made sure it was safe before he recovered a paper written to him by his old contact Sess.  Sess wrote the names of Borman, his daughter, the cook, and Miria and a few others that had been taken by the slavers to the slave pits of Nemsh via an overland route to The Freehold and then a stop in Yri, which is not a direct path at all (most definitely was way out of the slaver's way to go to Yri).  This was all done to punish us for sinking their ship The Torrent when we had last been in Solare.

Seething inside, the party found another inn, The Kings Vine; which was a few steps up on The Rusty Bedpan.  Brenson was the innkeeper, a man with long hair fading to gray. The man was festooned with tattos that shared Nautical symbolism and fish.  After a rest they rose and set out to gain more information.  Leiya attempted to contact the High Priestess at Milosta’s temple, but learned that the exalted lady had gone to Clearbrook to minister and grant aid.  So she canvassed her fellow clergy to see if they knew anything.  They were unaware of the true happenings in their city.  Finding an old beggar the party cajoled a few bits of information from him.  His name was Nieman and he had seen the fire “They were took to the docks, put on a ship with red and blue sails”, “Twer others as sure, that were took the nigh(t) before”, “Since the sinkin’ they (the Chained Wings) hide their marks, but are in league with some muckity mucks with pull.  Geld is a great incentive.”.

Enkili found a man that had some knowledge.  With the threat of angered Tazenite followers hunting the man down, just for displeasing a Mandagan diplomat, Enkili coerced some information loose.  He was given the name of a Chained Wings middleman who worked the docks in The Freehold, a man who could be either a pilot or a dock official….

***The name and the information Enkili squeezed from his man will be fleshed out and delivered in full by our next game on February 5th.

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