Dunstrand Rising

Assault on the Ruins of Lenore

Escape From the Caves

Chalan’s Death

Emerging in the Ruins

Taer and Gide Run from the Castle

Group Reunites

Geri’s Kills the Witch

Assult on the Town

Worm is summoned; worm explodes

Gide is downed

What next

Grey Clouds Gather

Cage make promises to his gods and implores them to aid him… the white clouds in the sky turn grey and thunder begins to rumble. A cold wind moves down the pilgrims path and blows the mist that hides much of Lenore up into misty columns that fight and struggle but cannot hold together – twisting and vanishing into wispy trails as storm clouds threaten rain – all within a few minutes of Cage’s brave word. His hand are locked on his sword and you can see the fire in his eyes begin to stoke, as the red rage flitters at the edge of his consciousness.

Voices

[Mican and Xar] A voice speaks to you both, a voice you know none of the others can hears. It tells you that Geraldine and Relb are dead and that the cause you fight for is hopeless. It tells you to stop the useless assault upon the fortress and he/it will grant you your hearts desire… even the return of a fallen comrade or the revitalization of one at death’s door – if you but agree to leave off on you attack. It swears you will be spared the fate of Braddon Bog… you may stay safely hidden away here at Tarly Castle. You have proven your power and could be powerful allies – perhaps you could be persuaded to side with “Tizreal”. It asks you not to consider such things in a rash or quick to judgement process – think first on ending the assault – his power could return one of your own to you. Then perhaps an alliance, a sharing of power – much could be yours if you turn the group towards service in his name. He only wishes to see the rightful descendant of the lord of these lands once again, be lord of the land.
The voice does not seem to be able to know your every thought, but
merely project its presence… you could try and bargain, bluff, or
discourse in any way.
> You see a scene in your head which shows Relb, alone in the dark, fighting against a swarm of hundreds of hard, tiny flies which combine to form spears and knives, jabbing at him from all angles, stabbing him until he is dead of dozens of painful wounds. The scene switch to
the top of the tower, where Geri begins to lower the pennons flying above it and three flying creatures alight behind her, one distracts her while the other stabs her under the lower rib and another in her back. She slowly slides down, her body crumples and then tumbles down the stairs into the room below where your vision shows you only a quick glimpse (perhaps he did not mean to show you?) of a form, impaled on a wall by a heavy crossbow bolt.
MICAN
(Believing a connection to communicate to whatever this is will not cause me any danger, based off of his own schooling. “That words are just words to undo the forces compelling us forward tangible evidence of the fallen would suffice evidence continue negotiations.”
VOICE > The vision of death’s is show in detail
Mican > “Okay stop the attack now Geri may yet be saved with out to great of power involved allow me to retrieve both of them unhindered by traps or creatures escorted if need be (meeting escort at the gate) allow me to aquire the supplies needed to heal Geri, and Gide from your stores. Free us and the town of Branden Bog the rest of our lives. And I will turn this natural course of events and we will leave and continue on our quest away from Braden Bog and when this groups servitude are over we may be persuaded in joining your cause but for right now we travel a different path.”
VOICE > “No, you ask for all and give nothing! I offer you your life, and the return of one of your comrades – that is all. Such a generous offer it is, and you insult me. Braddon Bog is mine, and i will have it. The sweet, slow death that creeps over its stupid peasants is more than you deserve… but you shall die in utter agony if you do not accept my offer and ask for no more.”
Mican > Then the couse will continue for you have lied to me I told you the terms of my
my hearts desire to save those in need…
VOICE > You twist the meaning you know full well – your pathetic attempt to rationalize your ‘desires’ has done nothing more than seal your doom.
Mican > Was willing to stop this group but you dont seem reasonable any more you seemed like a life force I could resason with you told me what you had to offer I told you I accepted and gave you my terms then you do a 180 flip and become power crazy and lose your head what ever fate has in store i’ll be happy with that. (Mental picture me giving what ever it is the finger)
VOICE > You reject the spirit of the offer and instead use words… you are not suitable for my needs, but perhaps there is another who can be more reasonable amongst you.

XAR
Xar > who are you? and what claim do you have to this province? Return our companions unharmed, Remove the blight on the surrounding area, and spare Braddon Bog and it’s inhabitants. Then we can have reasonable negotiations and discus possible changes in our allegiance.
VOICE > I am lord of this place now, and i serve the Once King. Bend your knee to me, enlist the aid of your comrades – swear that the Gallants will serve me and aid me in finding a suitable replacement for this peasant’s haven then i will stop my blight of this place…. i will restore one of your companions in good faith if you swear this. Perhaps i will restore the second if you serve me faithfully. Serve me and you will not regret it – together we will unlock the riches of Tarly Castle and find a suitable new victim more palatable to the Gallants than Braddon Bog."
Xar > sounds good to me… if our enemies can be one in the same, I’m all game. Deliver Geri to us alive as a sign of good faith like you said and we can strike a bargain.
VOICE > I will hold my end of the bargain… give me time to collect her, call off your attack upon the castle and i will send her to you shortly. You are honorable, and the Gallants are powerful – there is much benefit we can gain in our association..

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Gide and Taer Assault on Castle Tarly

…[still to be typed up]

The Fall

After the desperate fight against the corpse of Tulin, which turned into a ghoul, ripping its own arm off to get free of its crucifixion bonds, Gide and Taer rest in the base of the great tower. Gide senses that the rest of the party must have occupied the defenders here, but this commotion will put an end to that. Taer is gravely wounded – no longer the towering wall he once was before his transformation. They must find cover outside the places controlled by their enemies. They decide to flee across the courtyard, back to the ruins of the stables, and try and use what healing they have and hold off until the sunrise. They make a dash for the gatehouse, under the hail of a pair of crossbows. Taer lights his last torch and they run, slogging it through the mud in a light mist an hour pas sunset. The armored skeleton guards are waiting inside the gatehouse this time, and as they appear in the darkness ahead and Gide leads them into the muddy morass of the courtyard proper to avoid their defense zone they know they will not leave. All of the sudden the ground gives way beneath them! Covering themselves with their shields, the earth begins to such them under. They try and grab hold of vines, but its no use as they must keep their shields up to prevent the crossbows from skewering them. They are pulled under, gasping for breath, Gide exclaiming how it “cannot end this way!”. They are forced to leave their shields above ground as the mud drags them down with their last breaths. Deeper and deeper, until Taer loses consciousness when both drop into a dark chasm and then into the lake below the castle! Gide grabs Taer, and swims towards a light in the distance with all his might. As he gets closer to the light, warnings are yelled by familiar voices. Dragging Taer to a rocky outcrop, Gide and he are pulled from the water by the rest of the party – reunited in the dark underground.

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Gide and Taer at Braddon Bog

On the 4th day, after the groomsman killed four of their horses including Relb’s cavalry horse, the group splits up. Gide, Taer, Willup, Jonas, Derek and Bull stay in town while the rest of the group decides to explore the area, following the Mayor’s suggestion. By days end, the mayor has imposed a curfew and the exploring group has not returned. Gide is disappointed the Geri’s divinations of the stars have not revealed anything about their dreams and is worried that his “brain” is gone. With nothing left to do, he interviews Tanner Holmraf again, trying to sense any deception in his words, but cannot – though he admits to being nothing more than an aide to a herald and not a herald himself – either casting doubt on his tale or reaffirming the distance the Duke is trying to keep. When the rest of the party does not return, the people begin to get very nervous at sundown. Bull tries to keep the town watch pulled together but soon people are accusing each other and tension mounts. Gide is concerned about the strange effects of passing of time around them – starting with the tapestry and including the high volume of flies and accelerated rate of decay for dead bodies.

On the 5th day, in the morning, reports come in of a hired hand attacked and killed on a farm at the outskirts of town. Taer tries to recruit a local hunter, first with words and next with wine and words but he fails. Willup reminds Gide of his offer about the silver in Cerran’s Grant and that he is one of the Elon – the gypsies – and has some small ability to track. He would do this for Gide maybe in exchange for early release in the future. Taer gifts Gide his heavy armor – it no longer fits him after his transformation, though Gide’s fitted armor works better for now he has a backup later. Willup tracks eastward – the direction the party left, intending to follow on their journey to see if the effect area was shrinking. They stop at the farm where the attack occurred on their way out of town. Two figure attacked from surprise and seeming vanished up into the air. Tracks, cover and the state of the body reflect the dagger attacks and effects seen. The body is writhing with maggots when they get to it – advanced decomposition in hours not weeks. They burn it and can find no other clues and continue east. Nothing is found in the eastern direction but the buzzing begins after 3-4 miles. They return west, going back through town then towards Bergen, to mark the area effect there and run into a half dozen Umbakian regular infantry attacking 2 men on horse back. As you round a bend in the road, some encounter ahead halts you in you tracks. None of those involved has seen you as you make for cover and inch your way to a better position. Ahead about 70m they can see 2 figures on horseback, surrounded by a half dozen men in uniforms. In the few moments the situation explode into violence. One of the mounted men rears up, plunging down on a assailant with a terrified animal. The horseman is stuck from the side by a slashing spear and spills off his mount as it runs, terrified, in your direction. The other rider tries to pull out of the encirclement but the attacks try and pull him from his horse.

One man is pierced and falls from his horse as Gide and Taer charge in. The other leaps on 2 soldiers from horseback. Gide sees one of them run for cover before the fight is joined. The fight is a hard fight a sergeant, four leather clad spear men and a scout (left the area) are their opponents. The Umbakians shout in unison and use their high tongue to execute military orders. They may not be veteran soldiers but their tactics make up the difference. It is a hard fight, a long fight and Taer and Gide take several wounds and their armor endures much punishment. In the end, their leader even recognizes Gide, trying to goad him into misstep. After the last spear man runs away, the sergeant fights to the death. During the battle, Taer calls upon his goddess for the first time, resulting in a (coincidentally only – though he does not know) mammoth fumble on his opponents part. After the battle, one rider lies crying for help and bleeding on the ground – his arm a bloody mess and broken to the point that it will likely have to be amputated. The other is older and makes to bind of the wounds of his friend. He wears some sort of formal dress and the crest of an unknown lord. He asks for aid you for his friend. Once the wounded are seen to, he introduces himself as Christopher Redkind, junior herald of Baron Chervold G’marne of Westmere in county Faer. He says, “The wounded boy is Topher Jones – my aid. I believe I have found the Gallants – for whom I am searching on orders from my master. Braddon Bog can be only a short distance away – let us adjourn to that place and see to my friend and i will explain to you my mission.” Gide manages to pull risky bit of first aid but saves the wounded couriers arm against all odds. They gather up the Umbakians gear, the 2 couriers and return to town to inform the Mayor and find refuge for the men.

His master, the Baron, his name is Umbakian by name, but his henchmen will point to 400 years of service to the Duke of Dunstrand; his family left Umbak and its political infighting for a more stable condition under what the patriarch consiered a “fairer” man of the time – the Duke of Dunstrand. He brings greeting from his master. He will explain where the barony sits and that as a bordering territory to Bar-Innis he has a great care what happens there and has decided that he must know more of Dierdre’s agents. He asks them to detail what they know of the civil war, and adds that he can be trusted to say nothing ill either way of Berithor or Dierdre. He claims to have come from the court of Berithor and gone on to Bergen – where he can say the Umbakians hold the populace in fear, extorting goods and services for next to nothing for their crusade. He came upon the Umbakians they just fought who hinted that there was another party sent ahead of them a while back, whose orders were to let nothing through on the road to Braddon Bog. He will portray his master as a crafty politician caught in between greater powers and struggling to safeguard his own interests. He claims that the Baron is even now in Monaides under the guise of trade relations, and seeks the party’s return so that he may speak to them in person.

Gide provides some scattered details, probably only confirming what the herald knows already. Really, the herald is nothing more than introductions. The herald knows little of his master’s plans involving the party, and is only there to extend personal greetings and to get to know their character “in the field” as his master says. He will say they are traveling on to the east once their message is delivered. to meet with his master at the Tower of the Stag. Gide points out the situation and that there will be a problem until he can unravel the mystery of whats going on in Braddon Bog. The herald agrees to stay – though the Mayor complains about another mouth to feed when they arrive and explain the situation.

The 6th day after arrival is trying. Despite blessings from Fiongala, Willup can find no trace of the rest of the party. They do stumble across the remains of an Umbakian camp – larger then the force they encountered – perhaps the force referred to in conversation with Cristopher. The remains of an Umbakian raiding party is 3 weeks old and consisted of about a dozen on horses and came from the west. No corpses are found, just the campsite near the town. There is blood on the ground though, even bird and small animal maggot ridden carcasses are layered n top of the site – very strange. About 400 silvers worth of goods can be scavenged. The trail leads toward Braddon Bog, but strangely it slowly vanishes. A careful eye will spot many dead flies where the tracks end – though they are almost totally decayed and gone. The flies have eaten the mud and remains of the track – killing them! There’s been no other sign of the escaped Umbakians from the last fight. The townsfolk are starting to turn on each other. More assaults, robbery, and starvation. That night a woman is attacked in the market as the sun goes down. Her belly is ripped open. Her cries keep the townsfolk awake all night – she will not die nor can she be knocked unconscious.

On the 7th day Taer tries to persuade the villagers to end her suffering. With the mayor’s help they do, and Gide does the deed quickly in silence. The body is already festering with maggots and is burned. Few people are now eating or sleeping. Willup cannot find traces of the rest of the group. Finally on the morning of the 8th day he finds the picket line of horses and the old road leading into Tanegulch woods. The woods prove to be alive as they seek for more tracks and evidence. It literally attacks them – branches, moss, briars and roots – except on the road. Taer and Gide set off without their easily spooked horses and the rest of the Gallants tries to keep order in town, operating under Bull. The mayor takes them aside to tell them about the road they found. It leads to tarly Castle.

Castle Tarly

The Tarly family (now reduced to the Tarlwise branch locally) was once a very prominent and powerful family locally. They were the original rulers of braddon Bog. 300 years ago, the uncle of the Earl returned from a long career of adventuring and petitioned the earl for the right to build his own fortified castle in Braddon Bog. It was ideal for the Earl, and so he approved, hoping to gain a real, defensible ally in the lowlands. Tarly Castle was built on a rise, and a massive project hiring many locals filled in a surrounding bog land to make ordered fields and a stretch of good, solid land. Tarly Castle is the only castle ever built in the Lowlands. Wendel Tarly built his castle and founded the hamlet of Lenore, sister to Braddon Bog, outside its walls. His faith in Mizras, lord of battles sustained him in his long attempt to build – for it was veritably a war itself. Consutruction disasters and constant shifting plagued the castle. When it was completed, 8 years later, he was an old broken man. His faith and fortune deserted him, and he died, penniless and alone in his crumbling castle. All who visited returned with broken bones, crippled, and some few died from falls or drowned. Over the years the caslte has fallen in on itself. No one goes there because it is too dangerous to try and scavenge the materials. For those seeking treasure, none was ever found, and many lost their lives or their health seeking it. Rumor abound of loyal servitors and peasants who would not let their dream of greatness die – still serving their lord, spirits tending fields and livestock long since gone from the mortal lands. Tarly castle is nestled amidst the small forest of Tanegulch Woods, about 3 miles from Braddon Bog itself.

Gide remembers that Lord Wendel made his fortune fighting in the north. He adventured in the fallen Kingdom, fought the undead, fight the savage tribes and giants of the north. It is said his amassed fortune was more than the castle represents…

The mayor says its been a long time since anyone spoke of it, the locales talk about it in whispered tones. The road is long since vanished, as have anyone who remembers it. A few may be open to sharing what legends and rumors have been passed down. The group spends much coin and supplies in bribe to try and ferret out information without rousing any suspicions.

Rumors about Castle Tarly:

- He had friends from his adventuring days come through town once after the castle was built – they never returned from the castle.

- Some say he was in league with the Orrish in the swamp and an Everdark worshiper – the castle was going to be his base to launch attacks from.

- Strange lights appear above the forest and the spring and winter solstices.

Gide notes that it is strange that though the folk normally hunt small game around there (rabbits, etc.), no one in the town can remember going near there for the last few months at all.
The herbalist, midwife’s and healer of the town pass over much of the healing they have left to the adventurers at the insistence of the Mayor.

The Road to Tarly Castle

The road is an ancient overgrown affair, barely noticeable now. You can barely see the wagon ruts which once carried supplies to and from the place – It seems as if nature itself wanted to obliterate the path, for unless you knew that it was there, you would likely overlook it ten times over. Though road it may once have been, the overgrowth is dense; you will have to make you way single file. The road to the castle is obscured. Tanegulch Woods has overgrown the mile and a half winding stretch of road. The distance to Lenore is just under a mile, but the road follows the most solid surface to ensure travel was unimpaired, even through the rainy seasons. The party can easily track the road once they know where it starts – for there are stone markers every one tenth mile until the ruins of the Hamlet of Lenore. There are several encounters along the road. Once they see bone-thin woman in tattered clothes, holding an infant to her chest. She staggers into the road, one hand raised. He hair is thin, torn in patches. She looks near dead, and in a rasping voice asks for alms and food for her child. Taer sees the holes in her flesh and warns Gide not to provoke her. The pair give her food and alms and she passes them on. Several times they probe the woods, only to be repulsed. The wind seems to whisper, telling them to “gooooo baaaaack” several times. At one point Taer says they should be close to Lenore. Hacking through the underbrush, they stumble into an overgrown area that was once clear. Ahead they see an overgrown clearing surrounding the remains of a watchtower. The tower is a crumbling ruins – it looks dangerous, though the ruins are still the defensible. The remains of the road is easily navigable here – running right past the watch tower. They pass too the crumbling gatehouse – finding evidence of the fight that took place here and sensing something wrong – but no one attacks them.


Ruins of Lenore

Ahead the road opens to an overgrown area devoid of any but a few trees. The woods surrounding the town of Lenore or the Castle were never cleared much. They are dark and tangled – you feel the roots of the woodlands dig into soil that is evil, cursed and the wood soaks in that curse. The foundations of many buildings can be seen, all crumbled into the earth and few left above a meter tall. Even from the distance of 80m you can smell fetid death. The faint sound of flies buzzing can be heard. Nothing stirs here… a cold aura of fear washes over you. Your senses say nothing is there, but you sense something is not right. Beyond the town lies Castle Tarly. You must go through the town or approach the Castle through the dense and evil woods. Small patches of mist drift across the town surface, no higher than your knees.

They can see the trail leading to the old Church of Gaia. They begin to slog through the mud of Lenore’s ruins. As they approach the town, a few white forms can be see moving in their direction. A great black mass of flies rises above the town. A black cloud descends – biting, stinging, panicking animals around and imapiring your vision. Soon the white figures turns into a march of a dozen… no, more, maybe two dozen skeletons. Armed with spears they advance on you. Shambling zombie horses lurch from the mud. The smell of death and fear of overpowering and they flee from Lenore. The undead do not move beyond the town’s ruins. Gide asks Taer if he can sense anything… the follower of the fox goddess stretches out his intuition and finds a solitary spirit of the air still clinging to life, anchored by the sacred ground of Gaia. He senses anger and pain.

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A Conversation Under Tarly Castle

[Relb] Now, I ain’t the brightest but, Xar and Geri know the extent of that Iron blades abilities. If that thing cuts through stone and earth like butter, why not just carve a new passage out of here close to the surface. One, they won’t know about it when we return from getting the rest of the group. Hell, if this thing cuts rock as easily as it looks, well…exuse me for saying so but, screw going through that door with a demon lord and tons of undead horse shit waiting to kill us or, turn us to the walking dead, fucking unthinking slaves! Not how I think we really see ourselves…hell, like I said, Geri, we go that way and you’re dead. End of story! I say if that blade does what it looks like it can…Xar, carve us a hole outside this cursed castle walls as an escape route. It won’t be easy I’d think but, depends on the strength of that blade. Geri, you are the highest ranking officer here. You’re our specialist on all things mystical and most other things as well. You’re also the most injured among us. Without getting you some aid and healing…, you’re in deep shit. Ultimately, it’s you’re rank and arcane knowledge of the blades abilities that make the final decision yours to make. Gide and Taer will search for us soon. They will be ou t numbered and not expecting this many undead. They will be in grave danger…pardon the pun but, if we can bypass all those undead, go back to the town and research what the fuck this lord wendel is talking about, this broken heart? And, anything to do with this keeps history. Something we can use to battle these monsters and, get you healed up. Gide and the rest of us can not afford to lose you Geri…not here, not like this. You to stuburn to let yourself be killed in this place. Can the blade do the work and free us else where safely? Wouldn’t a stratigic retreat and regrouping be wise about now so you don’t die here. Are we in a good spot to dig an escape tunnel and, flee for now? Here or, by the under ground lake? You’re leader right now so, like it or not, you are to

[Xar] not quite like warm butter with a sharp hot knife… more like hold butter with a dull butter knife… probably a bound earth elemental in there or something like that? (my best guess) I think it would take months (if not years) to dig yourself a way out of here with something smaller than a shovel that wasn’t designed as a digging instrument. I’ve thought about going back the way we came. I could bring the rest of the group to the well. and bring them through there. the beefy guys could strip down out of their armor once in the well (or the staging area outside the well), and I could drag there gear down stream(with maybe a waterproof bag for some stuff). Could also bring enough rope/cord back with us to possibly make the distance down stream ( that would be a lot but at least there would be the possibility of hauling ourselves out of that underground lake with the combination of air supply and a rope to haul ourselves upstream) supply list of that to get when(if) i make it back to town… the rest of our crew. heavy/large bags to haul our gear. lots of rope. at least one watertight bag for some gear (if possible), torches/lantern/oil anchoring pins/loops for ropes/cord to attach to passage walls.

the rest of the crew going downstream should be carrying a large wine/water skin that they fill with air before they head downstream (maybe not too much air or it’ll drag along the roof, but with their heavy gear provide a more neutral buoyancy. also if they run short of breath they could get a lungful or two out of it on the way down. my only concern is there are a couple of tight squeezes in that stream and not sure it would be possible to make it though them in the upstream direction with all that water coming through. I guess there is the possibility I could “Modify” the size of the tight spots with that blade if I was roped off and did a little excavation around the tight areas so we could get through them a little more easily. could also cut some hand holds in the bad areas. wow that seems like a lot of work getting everyone upstream and a lot could go wrong. a one way drip downstream with the rest of the group, and coming at
them at the ass end sounds like the best option. I could modify some of the tight spots and leave some cord/rope in them on the way downstream so it could at least be an option to get back that way in case we get bottle up down there. or we could mount an rescue operation with the rest of the group at the Well, rope downstream and haul everyone up one-by-one. ( would have to take out the skeleton army there first). and then go in the front gate (I’m sure there would be no opposition… right?)

[Geri] I say we try and figure how to get the hell out. We’re beaten up bad and once our enemies realize whats going on with another trip, we’re not going to get another chance for surprise. A horde of animations is bad, but there’s a master mind controlling all of this – and more creatures we don’t know of. If we cannot surprise them right now, i say heal and come back in force. The physics of using that blade will not allow it to be used to carve a path out – we would die when something collapsed. I can probably get myself out or one other person out. We can get one person out by shrinking them. My vote is to send as many as we can back and have the rest wait down here. I volunteer to wait.

[Relb] If they is unable then, I’ll volunteer to get the hell out of here with Xar and, sneak out of the castle grounds to get Gide and Taer back in the town. Perhaps the Mayor can rustle up some militia or, guardsmen to help combat the animations. Once we there we should be able to retrieve some information about this place and, it’s history, grab some supplies and, healing potions or the like for you from the church of Aerna. Might even be able to wrangle a priest or priestess to help aid us again the undead minions up above. I doubt that we’ll have surprise once we can come back with a force big enough to do any good but, given it might be these peoples only hope of survival and, the eventual death by starvation. Being unable to flee because of the buzzing noise and, facing off against the prospect of some Demon lord sounds like at least a chance to die fighting then just simply starving to death…but, who knows what this backwards ass town can produce as fighting men? They are a sturdy lot to live in such a shit-hole though, I’ll give them that. Geri…, would the tapistry work on the animations or the demon lord an, vanquish them like normal enemies or people? I hate to screw that town over, where ever or when ever it might be located. Without the Dragon boat to return, they may get stuck there forever? So, is it even possible that it’ll work? and, should we even attempt to use it as such, given the dangers of even moving it? And, if it does work…do we give a shit that we’re thrusting undead minions and, a demon lord on an unsuspecting town and, this Germainia place?

[Geri] Alright guys.. think.
1) The mayor’s got nothing – he’s hated and the town is decimated.
2) The church of Aerna is gutted – no healing. Before we left, we established that there’s no supplies or service from either the Wyld of Light faiths.
3) You may still surprise them if less flee than went in – they will likely just assume you have fled for good, haven gotten your asses kicked. Yhat means in town can only be a couple hours to get info and grab supplies and reinforcements and come back if they have spies.
4) A demon lord’s banner is not a demon lord. A prince of the Abyss would have more power than what’s being exercised here… assume its a minion – not quite as bad. I hope.
5) Using the tapestry as a weapon? You’re likely to get it destroyed first… and it probably wont work on the animations anyway.

[Relb] 1) Mayor’s a pussy
2) The Faiths need to step up their game in this place…for a backwards ass place with loads of undead activity, or mystical at the very least, their presence is sorely lacking.
3) That’s solid enough thinking and, reasoning…it maybe the only chance we’re able to attempt an assult and, rescue but, knowing more about this place is crucial if we’re to survive at all and, quell this unholy nesting spot of this Demon Lord and, if Lord Wendel is ever to achive his peace in the after life and, forgive himself of whatever precieved failure of his.
4) Demon Lord to me still means bad ju-ju to me Geri. I would hope if this truly was a Demon from the Abyss that we’d have fuckin’ gotten the hell out of here already. I’m guessing even a minion still has significant power to raise and, control so many undead all at one time…I won’t even pretent to understand it but, I’m guessing it takes a lot of power to sustain itself.
5) Well, that’s no good and, only a suggestion for you to a decide if an attempt with the damned thing would even prove useful in this type of situation, as much as I don’t like the thing, it does have it’s usefulness for other matters entirely…where’s Berithor when you need an ass-wipe to banish to a frozen hell. Seems to good for even the likes of him but, I’m willing to throw him in it just for being a bitch working with Umbakians and, their lightbringer asses! but, that’s another matter for now and, not what I need to focus on. Right now it’s about escape and, rescue. If you have other ways this can go down, then speak up because, it’s up to you Geri to pick the plan.

[Geri] I cant help the situation we are in… and the fact that the mayor’s hated does not make him a pussy… he has people dying, no money and no friends. Imagine how he feels – unable to do anything. And i know you are a believer Relb, and i have my own reasons for venerating Ezrilus, but fuck faith. Faith is half the reason this town is so messed up – the Umbakians and their little crusade gutted it. Faith is not about facing animations, its about community. Destroy and disrupt that and the faith fizzles. These people are beaten. They have suffered way more than any of us. The Wyld faith was chased out and we drove out the Lightbringers… in a way some may see it as our fault there’s no one here to give comfort to these people. We drove Berithor too from these lands. And yes, a minion of some Abyssal Lord is bad… but what i am saying is that there’s hope. How you get out of here is up to you. If you choose to try and get more characters down here, the occupants of the castle will know theres a way in and be ready. It may also not be possible to get lots of equipment down here… theres a lot of unknowns. If you choose to try and escape I can probably get one person out with some risky magic (choose the sanest amongst the group for this) and it sounds like diminution can get 1 more out. Or we can try and do a 2 front assault.

[Korvyk] This is how I figure it none of us down here have the rank to make the decisions so this is my plan. 1) Report what we have found out
-Where we are, and our situation
-Windle is here as a physical being
-Any any other useful information

That has to be the priority here make sure everyone else knows whats happening here.

2)With that everyone else who cant get out sit tight and wait orders to come back.
3)This will be done by message in a bottle or by the rest of the group coming down the well within the set time agreed on here.
4) If the rest of the party fail to get orders to the party in the set time. The remaining members waiting word will try to escape.

[Geri] This sounds fine by me.

[Relb] I hate that the man is broken down and, shit out of luck…he’s in a horrible situation but, sometimes you have to gut the problem before it guts you…in order to survive. If you get an opening and, a chance to strike at the heart, you don’t go for the limbs. In life and death, that moment might be the only one there is to save yourself and, alter the ultimate outcome by cheating death one more time. We can’t all be reborn like Taer. Yes I have faith but, that is a hope and, desire to a better path of understanding myself, helping you guys, my friends and compainions as well as others in need. Ezrilius is a good match for you Geri and, your reasons are your own…I can’t explain your motivations anymore then I can truly explain my own…it’s just something that moves me and, makes me believe in a much bigger world and, our place within it. I pity the Mayor’s situation and, his position within it and, nor do I envy his place among his people who’d just as soon kill him at the moment out of fear and, panic, then handling the real problem…This Demon Lord and, his animated flock of distruction. All I mean is that sitting on their asses and doing nothing ain’t going to fix there problem or improve their chances. Yes, we might be partially to blaim for this town having a no religion or faith to speak of but, isn’t that when you need it the most? Shouldn’t it be the last thought one has as the breath leaves the body before growing cold, in the hope that maybe, just maybe, it all mean’t something? I don’t mind going with Xar and, fetching Taer and Gide for town but, coming back down the well wasn’t really in my thoughts as I’d not want to give away our position here and, alert these undead. I believe a two front assult from top and bottom may prove our best chance at getting everyone out alive. It’ll split their forces and, concentrations to have to divert their focus and, their numbers for each group. If we launch the assult up above drawing them away from you, you may be able to ambush them from behind with Chalan and, Korvyk leading the way out. Once rejoined with Gide and, Taer, hopefully armed with the knowledge of this place as to what may ease Lord Wendel’s consciencious. Once we kill this demon lord, his animations should parish as well, if history serves from my time in the North. If we can concentrate on him, we may stand a chance but, I’m not looking forward to that fight during but, if we survive, I’ll be happy as hell! Now, lets get Xar and, the Sanest among us for Geri to do her thing and, lets get this ball rolling before we’re squashed.

[Geri] Relb, I don’t even know what the hell you are talking about. I can see the stress has got to you… Korvyk’s plan is fine, lets just see how things play out.

[Relb] I’ve got no problem with the plan and, all I’m try to say Geri, is I’d rather move on the plan while we still have an option to do so. I’m never very comfortable being idle, hoping we’re not discovered first and, reducing our chances. So, the motto of strike when the iron is hot was what I was thinking.

[Korvyk] Well i vote on Geri to go seems like the plan has to rely on you for some of it also I think you should take Relb just because of the fact he seems to be losing it down here and I dont feel comfortable knowing he is freaking out when we need to lay low and keep quit.

[Relb] Hey, between the nightmare I’ve been having, spending months in Dierdre’s dungon guarding that god damn evil book and, finding we’re trapped under a cursed castle full of undead with one of our own severely injured…hell yeah I’m not taking it well! I’m angry at the situation, not crazy. Figure out what plan you all want to go with and, lets do it.

[Chalan] An easy way out? REALLY? you believe in those? Do you think the magical tree faries will grant you 3 wishes if you catch them too? Damn Relb, your confidence is sureal, don’t change man. Were screwed, survival is a long shot. Our best bet is to see if we can get the others down here, and to proceed as cautiously as possible. USe the stealth we have, sneak up, scout, report back, advance with the knowledge obtained. We’re gonna die, lets see if we can take this demon lord bastard with us. Maybe we’ll get SOME recognition for something aside from butchering random people and being freaks… Shit, it works for artists doesn’t it? Just die and then suddenly you were actually good at something.

[Geri] Its time to step up then.
Who’s grip on reality is the strongest then? I believe Chalan has strengthened his in our travels. Chalan you must prepare yourself for a brief sojourn into the realm of shadows. I have never cast this spell before, but i will Night Walk you. Xar, you will have to orient me to a place outside of the castle grounds, otherwise Chalan may end up in the middle of enemies or worse. Then Xar will use the diminution potion and get out back up the well shaft using his air elemental. I’ll wait 20 minutes and then Night Walk Chalan – from the air you should be able to spot him, there will be a bruise colored ripple in the air when he exits. You two must go back and consult with Gide.

I am making a small symbol on the ground using loose debris. Xar – you must teach the elemental what this is. When the rest of the troop has decided, send the elemental back down in an air bubble with a note and have it drop it on the symbol. Make sure to send a tiny pouch with a
quill and tiny ink well. Teach me the words to have the air elemental wrap the message on top of the symbol back in the bubble and return it to you. I’ll send our reply.

[Xar + Geri / Aside] I’m thinking Taqwill may end up ignoring our warning signs. Hes got so much invested in the library and town – its his life work, and he still feels like he still has some sort of obligation to us from our fathers. You mentioned once about devices that our fore-fathers found in the swamp, from the Gwinnish wreck, that could communicate remotely. Taqwill is brining those Seeing Stones in his wagon… this may help us with coordinating our dual group efforts…

[Chalan] Eh shit, I guess a different way to die is ok too… what the hell am I gonna be experiencing in there Geri?

[Relb] That’s right Chalan, your turn to get freaky in some other realm or, weave or, whatever is about to happen to you. Good luck.

[Geri] Chalan. Xar has got me oriented as to where we are in respects to the edge of the forest and the path out. Using my math skills and zoology knowledge, i have estimated your stride and the distance to where you need to go. I am going to tell you to take so many steps forward, and so many steps “up”. Keep your eyes closed and just follow my instructions carefully. You will hear, smell and feel sensations…. most … disturbing. DO NOT DEVIATE from the path set for you. If you do, i cannot guarantee your safety.

In other news, Xar has pointed out to me the tenacity our our old friend Taqwill. We are likely to see him turn up in Braddon Bog no matter our warning and if he does, he brings with him a mystical device which could aid us greatly. Let us not speculate on that aspect, but wait and see what unfolds. Gentlemen, we have a plan. Its good. Lets just cast the dice and let come what may…

[Relb] Good planning guys, nice work. Interesting about Taqwill, hope it helps and, doesn’t get himself stuck to be starved to death like the rest of the town. It’ll be bood to have a person to research stuff we don’t have the time for, as we’re constantly thrusting ourselves into the shit pile, a different time, dimension or, a well…or, whatever. Hopefully he can shed some light on this castles history and, get there in time to tell Gide and Taer before they head this way…maybe we can get out of this finally and, put Lord Wendel to rest finally. I do hate to see some people suffer.

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Onwards to Tarly Castle

Investigating About Town

A few days pass as events begin to happen more and more. Robbery, assault, neighbor accusing neighbor… the pressure is mounting and the Mayor is unable to stop the hostility stirring.

Four of the party’s horses are killed by the stable hand – including Relb’s cavalry horse!

The Overgrown Road

An old road is discovered on one of the searches of the several square miles enclosing the party – it leads into the Tannegulch Woods. The party investigating seizes the moment to follow a clue; they leave Gide and Taer in town without sending word of their whereabouts. The mounts are tethered on the edge of the forest – there is something preventing much movement – the trees and ground seem alive and resistant. Only the old road is safe – but the party decides the horses would be more of a liability.

The Apparition Along the Road

Ambush at the Crumbling Gatehouse

Long Abandoned Township and Demon-Haunted Castle

There is much debate about what to do, but ultimately the grounds are entered. A horrific stirring of zombie and skeletal remains (a small horde of long dead human remains and fresh animal and Umbakian soldiers strikes fear in some – Relb and Stillmein. Geri and Xar follow their comrades in retreat while Chalan and Korvyk break ranks and rush to the one ruins that the mist does not go near and the animations seems to avoid.

Chalan and Korvyk eventually go down the Sacred Well and into the underground waterway – which dumps them into an underground lake. They manage to find a shelf and pull themselves out… waiting.

The group debates but Stillmein constantly reminds them of the Gallants oath and how he will not leave anyone behind. Geri uses her magic to protect them in mist form and Relb, Stillmein, Xar and her resist the fear and move up to the Shrine of Gaia and down the Sacred well.

Shrine to Gaia and Sacred Well

The one place that the undead cannot attack – the sacred ground still repelling them.

Underground Lake

Running the gauntlet, each party member manages to get down the well, ending up in a vast dark cavern of an underground lake (Ennau).

Brakken Caves – Under the Bog

The Perilous Path to Lord Wendel Tarly

The Journey Back To Lake Ennau

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Gallants Arriving Quietly in Braddon Bog
Timeline of events and coming up to speed

Its been 3 days now. The town of Braddon Bog has become permeated with fear. Its too small for anyone to not see it – the looks in the faces of its inhabitants are dull and defeated – the people are beyond terrified and seem only to be too calm in the face of the coming horror. A couple have tried to leave, and are never heard of again. You all (except Geri) feel the same steely weight slide over you. After learning Xar has a relative near Bergen and dealing with the Tapestry of Exile, distributing the looted goods and livestock, Tanner Holmraf’s proposal, and his failure to leave and lastly noting everyone is having similar strange dreams Geri mentioned – you set to the business at hand. Mayor Jason Writt and Gide have laid out a series of events leading up to the present time:

30 days; nightmares start
15 days; people began to have the same nightmares
14 days; the local armory, used by the watch but provided by Sir Farold from a long time ago was broken into and several spears and crossbows stolen
13 days; 4 sheep killed in the night (stomache’s burst)
10 days; A shepard eats his own dog
9 days; A spate of robberies – many small items go missing and some money
8 days; The Innkeep starts fire to his inn (held in gaol now)
7 days; More robberies – sems random, poor and wealthy alike
6 days; Farmers son runs and runs around the town from sundown to sun up (collapses into a coma; burning in his belly)
5 days; A few muggings and spate of robberies
4 days; a farmer and his son leave to get help (never returned)
3 days; The few stray dogs in town vanish & merchant robbed on his way into town
2 days; 2 men set out in opposite directions to get help (never returned)
[You arrive]
+1 days; Nothing is noted; Bull distributes foods and shelter but notes everyone is apathetic; The Tapestry of Exiles is examined; 2 burglaries of items returned – tracks vanish into thin air
+2 days; Tapestry crew returns – notes that weeks – months have gone by yet only about 1 day of elapsed time in Braddon Bog. Geri notes the lack of eating and at night the dreams.
+3 Days; (Morning) A peddler is found dead on the outskirts of town – his body covered in flies

Privately, Jason Writt (the Mayor) will say that he has had bands of roaming citizens looking out daily. People are venturing less farther every day. There is a strange noise and pain in the heads of those who venture too far – two people have collpased and had to be dragged back. Game will become depleted as it is pushed farther away and fear will soon cause strange things – he has been to war and he knows what it can do. The civil war seems far away now. He will even mention that a golden cadelabra was stolen from the Lightbringer church right before they left – three villagers were whipped for it and no one has it. He asks that the group search the country side for clues… he also mentions that there are many dangerous places and to be careful. Before following up on clues, make sure to check in with him. He suggests by interviewing victims, witnesses and such. It may take a few days and scheduling and trust wont come easy.

An abandoned hut toward the center of town is given to you as a place to store gear; you post a sentry 24 hours a day – its also useful as a place to meet in semi privacy. Geraldine throws herself fully into the role – books laid open, candles burning and mumbling to herself as the group debates. It is near midnight when she reports back on the first of her astrological divinations… nothing is clear but for one thing – the dreams are not done… and they have deep significance and the power to change those they inhabit!

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Tanner Holmraf's Greetings and Proposal
Tanner Holmraf, a member of the herald's corps for the Duke has an interesting proposal

Tanner Holmraf’s Introductions

< CY 9163, Month 10, Day 26 >
Sira Tanner bears a letter of greetings from Christianna and his credentials as the Duke’s herald (assistant only, but still official). Tanner claims to be here officially researching the conditions in Bar-Innis and getting interviews of those involved in the civil war. He proclaims quite boldly that the Duke is finally turning west and is tired of the situation going on as long as it has. He has actually won his campaign in the northeast against the Merchant Cities, and is now staying in the field as a precaution for next year’s campaign season only; he does not have to and was hoping the civil war would sort itself out by now. Since it has not, he is stepping in to use it to his benefit. Tanner’s charge is to turn the situation in Bar-Innis to the Duke’s advantage somehow. To that end he has dealt with Christianna and he says that she has ‘confessed everything to him’ and he he presents a letter from her which reads: “Gallants and allied fellows: I have entreated on Dierdre’s behalf directly with Sira Tanner Holmraf. In securing the Duke’s support for Dierdre and her child Cyseley – technically the first born of both Berithor and Diedre, I have committed the Gallants as resource to be used as the Duke’s herald best sees fit. I understand that you have commitments which will keep you there for some time to come, but i expect that i will not need to directly until late spring; the first week of June most likely, when the campaign season starts again. This coming year will be the one in which the fate of the people of Bar-Innis and perhaps the entirely of Dunstrand is decided. You have the gratitude of myself and the lords of the Riverdans. [signed] Christianna Voneles” – You look up, not at all comfortable with the turn of events, though Sira Tanner smiles disarmingly. He says “I thank you for not telling ‘Bull’ ”/campaigns/dunstrand-rising/characters/bull-swansen" class=“wiki-content-link”>Swansen of his recent promotion and the assistance you gave in securing the Mayor’s son. The victory will be attributable to him, not the Gallants and for this i thank you. Once you have had your hand here at attacking the Umbakians in Dwindor Swamp, i would ask you to travel hastily and in disguise to the east in the hills and to the Barony of Lievenshire. Once there, go to Mereth’s Bend in Danwich Downs and seek the tavern named ’Fiddler’s Jig’. You will work with a man there known as Philmore to sew some seeds of political unrest. I will be honest, it is not within any legal bounds you will be operating and you should go under some disguise. The Duke wishes the the ‘Baron’ of Lievenshire to look bad. The jobs planned are to intercept a small tax shipment from Raymore in Danwich Downs; the proceeds of which will go half to the Gallants, half to Christianna. Secondly a couple acts of banditry performed in Devlong hamlet and a merchant robbing at The Winter’s Cloud Inn in Corunshire will make the ‘Baron’ look suitably inept. A kidnapping as well, specifically a member of the Wiley family of Heathsted (locally important) after all else will surely cause the people and the new lords of Lievenshire will petition the Duke to remove the Baron and install a new family in power. When done, the group needs to be seen heading southeast. Philmore will have all the details ironed out when you arrive."

There is a lot of lively discussion after he leaves. You also feel a lethargy creep over you – especially those who returned from the north. You find your appetite disturbed – as it is shrinking (except Taer’s!).

Holmraf Tries to Leave Braddon Bog

< CY 9163, Month 10, Day 27 >
I have just come to report to you that I have tried to ride forth and be out of the area before nightfall and i have not been able to do it. AS i reached a point about 4 or 5km distant, the buzzing in my head got to unbearable levels and i fell off my horse. I could not mount or leave. After several failed attempts, i crawled back the road and lured my horse back – which seemed unaffected (or not nearly AS affected). I made it back here as fast as i can – it seems i am as stuck as everyone else. It seems our fate is intertwined even more than i anticipated… i go to take my rest – my head still aches and i am weak… but strangely barely hungry. This entrapment is most foul… i’m not sure how much help i can be in solving this dilemma, but my door is open should you need to speak to me. Also note that if for any reason, my death occurs, you should know in the strictest of confidence that Dierdre will never see the rulership of Bar-Innis herself. She has played far too dangerous a game and the Duke will not let her keep any titles other than regent (and likely not that). Berithor’s family lands will be kept and granted to the child, but nothing for Dierdre herself. This knowledge cannot get back to Christianna or Dierdre – you must all swear upon your loyal to the Duke to keep silent about this.

[Geri] (After Tanner leaves…) “It seems our fate is intertwined even more than i anticipated” – what a nice of of saying “Oh damn, i did not really want to have to depend on you louts, but i suppose i’ll have to let you rescue me from this carfluffled situation by jove”. Lets get to this, i feel very strange and the rest of you are not eating nearly enough since we got here. Relb goes to question folks on the possibilities of Umbakian soldier sitings. He gets the same vague reports Geri and Gide tracked down. There’s some signs of camp sites, but no strangers. A cursory tracking check around the town revelas no evidence – especially of any Silver Talent Knights or their ilk. Geraldine and Xarharan spend a half day burning through their magical energies in an attempt to locate any specific sources – nothing shows up despite long and repeated attempts. Its going to take moving away from the safety of the town and nearby pastures and fields to unlock the secret of what is going on. With Taqwill at least three days behind you, you wont know if the warning worked until he does NOT arrive. Things begin to seem strange… once again the sense of time appears to falter, though none in the village feel it, there are mutterings that bringing in the dragon boat has cursed the town even more. Bull Swansen spends his waking hour placating the townsfolk – livestock are behaving strangely, no one can leave, and there are small swarms of flies pestering those working in the fields… the superstitious peasants are getting nervous.

Strange Dreams

The first one to mention a distinct recurring dream is Geri. She is obviously probing for any others to put forward their own strange experiences. About 2 months ago she had a dream. She thought nothing of it, but then it happened again a month ago. For the next three weeks it happened once a week… and now its happening every third night or thereabouts. She hears a voice calling her name.. a lilting soft voice, with chimes in the background. She smells a dry, aged flavor – not decay, but the smell of forbidden ancient pathways long un-tread. She says she can taste danger and fear. Hesitantly, all the group reveals they have been having a similar experience in the same time frame. The discussion leads to talk of Anwin, but Geri and Xar both feel that he is not connected. “The dreams are not nightmares”, says Geri, “And that’s in our favor. If it continues to happen, i will cast a star reading for each of us to divine either the cause or perhaps even the message if there be one.”

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Tapestry of Exile
Sent to the far reaches of the unknown 'Gaernian' Empire to rescue the mayor's son

Through the Tapestry

< CY 9163, Month 10, Day 25 >

Maidenpool Town

Small town on the edge of the world – not part of ‘the empire’ though mines coal for closer imperial outposts and locals. Only a few hundred population – essentially a mining town. Used to make the locals wealthy selling survival items to mysterious travelers going EAST into the ice lands.

The three thieves (first group) went WEST towards the imperial outpost along the Birchwood Trail.

map

Across the Tundra

Through the Heylock Forest

Lost for almost a week in the woods – should have only taken a couple days.

Found a moose early on, 1 day shy of running out of food, found another moose and managed to stalk and kill it – providing meat for the rest of the journey.

Found the mayor’s son, near death. Had to stop for a day and recuperate him.

Finding the Stone Sign

Across the Crevasse

Through the Silent Lands

Across the Silent Sea

Buying the boat at Maidenpool seemed like a good idea, now it paid off. The constant crack of ice and splash of wash makes it far from silent. A boat could get caught and cracked in half.

The Giants Tomb

The Dragon Boat

The Mayor’s Gift

The Mayor, having little to offer any of the Gallants without making them look petty, agrees to defend the group’s taking of the Exile Tapestry. Its not very popular with the locals, who want to destroy the thing after one of their own has likely died in it. The mayor will likely not be the mayor for long. The party shells out 20 silvers for labor and Geri another 50 silvers to cover the dragon-prowed giant longboat with tarps and protect it from the rain. The dragon skin sail with dragon wing bones is rolled up and stored. Geri says that the ship itself is still holding a dweomer of sorcery about it – its exact nature still unknown. Taqwill will look after the sail and try and use the boat as a tourist draw of some sort. Bull’s mission of raising more supplies and more levies for the Baron’s cause seems hopeless now in the face of what happened and the cost in resources the trip to Gaernia cost them already. Bull has some sharp words to the town elders about protection in the time of war. Gide tries to reason and mediate between them to no avail. In the last 24 hours, the Baron has sent new orders for Bull to head towards Bergen and try and start up a resistance movement there.

It turns out that only about a day’s worth of time has gone by, to the 3+ weeks of time the group spent in the northlands at the edge of the world. To show for the effort is 1000 silvers worth of slag gold and silver, dragon bone fragments, and a magnificent polar bear rug worth about 1000 silvers in itself. Two giant sized chests that are well worked – the wood carvings on them is quite well done and they would likely fetch a few hundred silver in the right place, each. Four of the crystaline globes with some sort of moss in them that grows when it is shook were taken from the giants palace as well – they also might fetch hundreds each, or be of more use to the group.

There is no further clues forthcoming about who the three tapestry thieves were. Whoever they were, they went west from Maidenpool, seeking the outposts of the strange and unknown Gaernian Empire. The campsite that the tapestry was found at revealed nothing more than they were a bit rough around the edges, and they each wore the same – not a uniform, but same drab colors and general outfit and gear – part of some social or religious group Geri believes. About 20 silvers in goods – donated to the town.

Gide holds the chaos ring until some safe way can be found to dispose or make use of it – he has not decided which yet.

Relb and Geri’s Private Conversation

[Relb] Geri, you said the Dragon Boat still had some magic about it? Even without the Wings? How Curiously odd? I wonder if we may have further uses of that boat once we can dicern what it’s capable of? Is it just fast, does it travel dimentions as easily as it had in getting us back here out of the tapestry? Maybe it can travel back into it, just in case we can make it back to loot that Tomb of the Blue Giants? The Dragon Boat must’ve gotten there some how? I suppose when you have the power of the Lich Lords at your Command, nearly anything is possible? It seemed to trigger when we went to sleep, could it be some sort of Dream Travel portal went through? Isn’t there some legend that says that Dragons are made of Dreams…that they’re slightly out of our reality as we know it? And that’s what makes them immortal? Well, long lived at least…they can obviously be killed somehow? Whatever magic is within them, it must hold even after death to some degree, wouldn’t you think by the effects of that ship Geri? I know, I’m an ant and, you’re the mental giant so, I’ll leave the figuring out to you and Taqwill. I wonder what a ship like this in the Duke’s or, King’s army might fetch on the market? I don’t want the Umbakians or the Gwinnish to get their hands on the Dragon Boat Gide. I think something like that would be very bad indeed! This boat is massive, could hold many supplies and soldiers. On the open Sea I bet this ship might just be unbeatable for speed, strength and, intimidation factor? I mean, this thing was made by Giants and, has Dragon Winged Sails! I believe it will make a temping target if either of their forces hears of this ship sitting here in Braddon Bog on Dry Dock. It might be Land Locked but, I wouldn’t put it past either of there forces to make a grab at it? Even if we’re the only ones with the knowledge of the Dragon Wing Sails, a ship of this size and, volume would be a powerful player on the waters. Hell, even the Merchant Cities might make a play for it?

[Geri] If we had any time whatsoever, i would be using it, but time is something we have next to nothing of. What little time i do have is devoted to other things. You speak of much and all of it “should”, “could” and “what” and i have no answers for you. I don’t think anyone is really going to care about the boat – its an oddity and nothing more unless we make more of it. Surely we have no use for it now. You seem to know more of dragons than I, for i cannot speak to anything in that regards with any certain knowledge. You talk as if you have understanding – dreams and such, Lich Lords, and the Merchant Cities. What little I’ve found has inscriptions in a strange runic language – it may be Draconic or Mosforb – neither tongue do I know. The language i am learning next is Ducat – the language of the earth folk, for there is a copper scroll i seek to decipher; who knows its importance but it is ancient beyond all measure of counting. In short, i wish i did not have to sleep and i wish i had the answers for you i want myself… but it will be a while before we uncover any of the secrets locked up from this trip unless you yourself can shed light on anything. I don’t feel hard pressed to find them out either – the risk seems worth little reward in the case of looting the iced lair of giants.

[Relb] I wish we had more time as well. I can only speculate from rumors and, legends. I have no formal knowledge in this area of your expertise and, can only offer questions. I guess my main point is to make sure this ship is secure here and, just an oddity to those that may seek it out one day. I would rather gift it to the King or Duke’s armies for coin before letting it fall into our enimies hands. I can only hope that one day we can unlock the secrets of this boat one day and, put it to good use. Stillmain makes a good Captain of a ship, it is obvious why his peoples have such a strong bond to the waters, it suits them well and, he it. Braddon Bog is obviously not very defensible and, it’s people freightened by their own shadows. Taqwill will have to be careful how he draws attenton to this boat and, hope that no others see it value the way we do. It should help that the Dragon Wing Sails are not attached, I fear that would be to temping even for me to pass up. These people of Braddon Bog need not the harm that would surely follow if the truth of what we hide here is discovered. Look at their faces…these people see us as another group of adventures sturring up trouble in their quiet little town
like in the times past, such as your fathers time must of been like to them in their day. I hope that Ducat spell holds something good for you in your catch of spells that proves useful Geri. I do not envy you in that regard for the knowledge that you must sift through to obtain that which you want. I do not have the patients for such endeavors but, am humbled by your incredible wit and reasoning for their applications. You know Geri, there are techniques that are said to lower ones need for sleep and, still feel rested. Perhaps you could train at them and, gain some of that time which you seek for your studies? Just a thought…

[Geri] I can’t guarantee anything with the boat here, and I’d tell Gide the same to his face. If you want to guard it, feel free… but its not something we can really defend well if someone had the means to take. I can’t really imagine anyone coming in search of the boat, though some of the other library materials – i’m surprised there’s not already a band of Umbakian mercenaries here already… As for Stillmein, his folk would not fare well on the open sea. We have no navigator ability other than my own feeble astronomy skills. Its safest if we just downplay it as a novelty and nothing more. It seems like the books, references, items, and trails of clues is piling up 10 times faster than i can process them. I grieve daily that my studies were so informal and i have no mentor to turn to to aid in study, learning, and research… but i’ll continue to stumble through it all. I have left with Taqwill a list of a few primers for some subjects i am interested in and a small sum to purchase them (though i fear its not enough). Once he is re-established here i plan to ask Gide to grant him a small % out of our takes so he can research subjects we need to learn about. I don’t know what you refer to about lowering the need for sleep – if you know of such a ‘technique’, why have you not trained all of us in this!?

[Relb] Well, novelty it is and, something to marvel ans wonder at it’s creators. I know Stillmain is of thr River folk but, he did a great job getting us in shape on the deck of that boat in order to get us home. I got no love for the open seas, always been on land and, unless I have to, I’ve desire to start now. I fear it is our lot to discover and rediscover things of old and, bring them to light Geri…weither we can keep up with the pace of our efforts, I don’t think any of us can say? Hell, I got tusks for my efforts…not my best day or, decision but, I’m trying to learn from my mistakes and, not repeat them. Like Fireballs in my face…must be more careful and find a way around such booby-traps? Not a clue how to do that yet but, maybe well come across something or, one of those spells you reseach one day will give use the insight we need to avoid such? It will be good to get Taqwill up and researching that which we have no time to do ourselves. I’d donate money to that effort and, I believe Gide will see the wisdom in it as well, it’s a good plan Geri.

[Geri] No need to donate money, if Gide agrees we’ll all take a cut in our shares so some cab go to him. Books are not cheap though, so there may be an initial cost – but i’ll pay for that. I cant speak to any destiny or ‘lot’ in life – i hope we improvise it as we go; or at least most of it. Dancing some pipers jig for an already written tune is a bleak future. Not to worry though, if things seem to be moving too fast, its certain that our enemies are in no better shape than we
in understanding things!

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Braddon Bog's Tapestry of The Frozen Wastes

Arrival in Braddon Bog

< CY 9163, Month 10, Day 24 >
You explain to the mayor that you are returning the goods taken from the people, and he begins to cry. “You have come to return what we once posessed, but do you bring the cure to what afflicts us!? These goods – clothes, money, food, they are all well and good, but i fear you are now accursed with us! You should flee, save yourselves if you can and abandon this place. For if you do not, you will surely die with us.” The dour faces of the townsfolk barely even look up but a mumbling ripples through the crowd. The mayor shouts to the crowd “The brave Gallants – heroes of Sir Robert have come to rid us of this sickness! They will drive out the evil that creeps across the lands and takes those we love from us and driving others mad!” He quickly turns to you and says in hushed tones “Do not question my words, you must give them some hope or they may turn their wrath upon us both. Let us adjourn ourselves to the town hall.” He shouts to one of the men in the crowd and orders them to begin handling the supply wagons the party has brought. He leads you to a plain long house with an ornate double door entrance. It is nearly empty inside, and the mayor walks you all back to the far end where his office is located. A small fire burns in the great hearth next to a desk and chair. On a old couch sits his scribe and assistant (likely his wife by her age) with a pair of dressers to keep the town records in. The mayor calls for kava and bread and you all warm yourselves around the fire. Their is a strange smell in the air.

The mayor bids you greetings and identifies himself as Jason Writt. He asks you to recount the capture of the loot and its return. After your story is told, he sighs deeply and stares at you. He says “The town of Braddon Bog has become permeated with fear. Its too small for anyone to not see it – the looks in the faces of its inhabitants are dull and defeated – the people are beyond terrified and seem only to be too calm in the face of the coming horror. A couple have tried to leave, and are never heard of again. You have come to return what we once posessed, but do you bring the cure to what afflicts us!? These goods – clothes, money, food, they are all well and good, but i fear you are now accursed with us! You should flee, save yourselves if you can and abandon this place. For if you do not, you will surely die with us. Here we have come to know only fear and death. Much has gone on here the last few weeks, and evil is growing. And you say you encountered no one along the road – that means that those who left never escaped. I thank you for this brief happiness, but i fear you have only returned to your doom.” The old woman begins to sob and moan, the mayor moves to comfort her, confirming your suspicion of marriage between them. “There is a new evil now too!” His voice grows louder. “An evil which has taken our son! I beg you to set out forwith and discover the source of this… before any others lose theirs!” Finally the mayor himself breaks down in tears. After he regains his composure, he takes you over to a place in the hall which is covered by a large canvas. He pulls the canvas down it reveals an ancient and worn tapestry depicting what is likely some scene from the frozen north.

“Yesterday my own son and 2 others set out to try and escape the area of the town and stumbled across an empty campsite… along with this tapestry. My son touched its surface and vanished! Such evil sorcery i cannot fathom… look! Look here, closely on the surface of the tapestry. I can see his likeness in a figure on the far left! I beg you to get him out of there! You are great and powerful men, wise in the ways of the world. I implore you – i will give you everything i own, land, titles, i give you the rest of my life in servitude if you bring my son back!” His words sting as you hear the sincerity and the utter hopelessness. He grabs your hand and kneels at your feet, sobbing and making a spectacle of himself. His wife shares what she knows: The tapestry can be touched and rolled up by only touching the back. The figure of their son has not moved. On other local boy accidentally touched in hanging it up and blame the Writt family for his boy’s vanishing. The townsfolk want to burn it before it does any more damage, but the Writt’s want to save their boy who is obviously trapped in it.

Gide and Bull meet in the corner to discuss options. Gide is more concerned about getting the Gallants out of the mess they may have stepped into, while Bull is here on Sir Roberts behalf to try and raise more levies and supplies. They agree to break the party into 2 groups. Gide will focus on getting the details of other things happening locally. Bullwill take Geri, Relb, Xar, and Stillmein and try and figure out what the tapestry is and where it came from.

Raef’s Letter to Xar

You arrived in Braddon Bog only a few hours ago and you already feel overwhelmed. The people are obviously in distress about more than just the crisis of civil war. There is a haunted and terrified look in their eye, even those the region is now safe un Baron Wheglin’s control something else looms ever-present in their lives, filling them with fear.

That is all put aside for the moment, as they are also very accommodating and insist on seeing to getting you dry and warm after your long journey. It is during this lull that an older gentleman comes to you out of the crowd. He bears a sealed envelope, and its obviously been crumpled and hidden somewhere for many days. With a caution almost approaching reverence, he slowly hands Xar the envelope.

Dear Xarharan,

Greetings from you nephew Raef. It must come as a shock after all these years to find you have relatives in these parts. Obviously we are not blood relatives… though my mother Melanie, was a ward of your father. Though we may not be bound by blood, we are bound by fate. I write this not to impose upon you, but only to let you know that you have family. My own family lives just north of Bergen. I do hope that you may come see us when this dreadful war is over. The Umbakians take nearly all of what we make and leave almost nothing. I do not expect your aid, i do not even know when this may find you. I sent this to Braddon Bog in the hopes that one day you would return to one place that your own father called home, and that welcomed him openly. I hope this finds you well and i hope that we all live through these terrible times to know each other, and be part of a larger family. Like your father, i hear rumors of a band of adventurous souls who travel with you. I would indeed be honored if you might seek us out in a better time, when i can provide the fare you are used to.

Raef’s letter could not come at a better time. For Xar it is a message of hope and acceptance and a warm hearth and destination not of battle but home. Certainly a trip and stay in Bergen to visit relatives of a sorts would be a welcome diversion. Geri also mentions that the group should remember them in case of a need to hide on the run…

Bull Takes Charge

Bull takes charge of the Gallants assigned to him as if he’d always always been in charge. He has a natural leadership quality that the others just seem to obey. He sets Stillmein and Relb to getting 2 weeks supplies assembled in the town hall. He, Korvyk, and Xar are going to examine the spot where the tapestry was found, and he sets Geri to work on seeing if she can figure out what the tapestry is – any reference in ancient occult or historical texts.

Abandoned Campsite: The campsite is difficult to find, but the town hunter who found it was able to find it again. By the time they found it, a few hours had gone by. There was the sound of hundreds of mosquito’s buzzing in their heads when they stumbled across it. It appears to Korvyk‘s trained eye that there were three men. The trail is lost in the pouring rain, but it seems as if they were heading east. No trace exist of the people – perhaps they too are trapped in the tapestry. Neil, the hunter, claims the tapestry was hanging over a large branch – as if they were examining it and maybe each of the touched it. The campsite is mostly dry, under the massive boughs of an ancient fir tree. The tracks go nowhere. Xar claims there is a strange smell in the campsite, he cannot place it, but it is very familiar. The group searches through the camp site’s gear and find little. If the thieves had anything on them, they took it with them. The three of them pack what they do find, and make haste back to Braddon Bog. When they return, the whining sound in the ears diminishes and finally goes away once they enter the town. Bull describes the effect to Geri but she cannot place it to any sorcery power she knows.

The Tapestry’s Origins? Geri has stared long and hard at the tapestry. Nothing at first occurred to her, but then she began to think more abstractly. She has come up with only a single theory. She says that the map must be related to Tamragen’s Exile. Tamragenn’s Exile was a rumor thousands of years ago, when the north still stood and the Lich Lords power was unknown. Tamragen was an evil lord, some even say he became one of the Lich Lords, so great was his evil. He had a special fate for those that displeased him – an exile to a cold place in the north, far from any recognizable points on a map of any place in the world of Helca. The “exile” consigned these enemies “to the end of the earth”. This place was supposed to be a place where only the blue giants of north and strange mystical creatures may dwell. There was a rumor too that there did exist a way out – it was said that in case Tamragen himself should ever be exiled there himself he would know a way home. Geri has found that the back has gold thread woven into it that may spell out words… if they are, it is the ancient language of the north – Daermelaine – and she is not literate. Immediately Bull says that he is – “in the north, the native folk there still speak it and making an effort to learn it spoken and written earned me a lot of respect amongst the locals during my duty at Northgate Garrison”. Geri says that they should try and translate it. The tapestry is safely lowered to the ground and Geri and Bull try and unravel its meaning while the first of the supplies begins to get stacked in the long hall. Geri pointedly asks if Bull is going to try and retrieve the Mayor’s son by traveling into the tapestry. Bull looks at her and affirms it, asking if she has any problems with that. “No sir” she says, resuming tracing the letters from the back.

Bull and Geri work long into the night, first tracing the barely noticeable thread and the letters or words it forms, then trying to translate with Bull’s imperfect knowledge. By morning thy have a rudimentary idea that in order to escape back to their place, they must pass east and cross the “still sea” there. They must travel with the “wings of a dragon” in order to return home. The translation is a little unclear, but it is the best they can make out. By now, the others of the group are starting to rise and assemble in the long hall. Braddon Bog has given up much needed supplies for this venture to rescue the mayor’s son. Gide reports that there is a lot of grumbling and resentment… he cannot guarantee the mayor will be in power much longer, so this troop had better hurry as fast as they can. It is soon after sunup that a man arrives, claiming to be a messenger from Sir Robert. He is wearing simple travel garb and not the Baron’s colors though. He asks to see the Officers of Gide’s Gallants only. He does present a letter with the Baron’s official seal. The letter reads that the bearer is Tanner Holmraf, an agent of the Duke himself and a member of his corps of heralds. Tanner speaks with the words of the Baron in regards to Taylor “Bull” Swansen. Assembling the officers in a safe place, Tanner claims that Bull is hereby a member of the Baron’s Household Guard – no longer a mercenary in his employ. There was a deal forged between Bull and the Baron that he would become such after proving himself upon this mission, but the Baron his decided his service has already warranted it. However, you must swear on your honor not to tell him. He does not offer a reason, but simply says the Duke wishes it so. “Your cooperation in this matter will be duly noted,” claims the herald, smiling enigmatically. You get nothing more from him.

After a quick meal or barley soup and black bread, Bull and his team suit up and lift heavy packs on their backs as the tapestry us unrolled on the long hall floor.

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Relief of Braddon Bog

< CY 9163, Month 10, Day 20 >
Xarharan Nii Says to the group that night that is time to save the folk of Braddon Bog. Since his recapturing of the loot caravan from Braddon Bog and bringing it safely to the camp of Baron Robert Wheglin, he has been waiting for an opportunity to return its contents to the townsfolk. Gide and Geri put pressure on the Baron to remind him of his vow to protect the town and library. He grudgingly swears to draw some troops away – but it will take a several days to put logistics together to send troops, armaments, and supplies. Separating out the towns and the library’s loot, you leave with the town loot ahead of Taqwill – who is cataloging everything from the library again as the Umbakians made off with the list in their advance guard to Bergen (and he is worried once they figure out what may be in there, they will come back for it!). The Baron’s troops will travel with the library supplied a week or two behind you – waiting for the cataloging to be complete and supplies to arrive.

You load up everything in 4 wagons and pack for a light trip – all the lowlands are under the control of the champion Sir Robert Wheglin now so it should be safe. The trip itself is surprisingly uneventful. The roads are empty what with the civil war going on, but you pass a few peddlars who ask that you bring news of the road’s safety when you return – trade must flow. The wagon’s progress is slow though – especially with the rains and fall weather, and many times you sweat through what appeared to be a perfect ambush spot… but alas, the Lowland Council and Sir Robert have truly won a total victory and no marauders menace you. You do manage to use nearly all the spare wheels in getting the wagon along the muddy roads – more suited to the peddlers than merchants in the bad weather. Cold, tired, and sore it takes you 4 days to make what is normally a 1 day journey.

The Gallant’s New Motto

[Geri] We need a great slogan or war cry. Can anyone think of a good one? i’m going off the idea we are mercenaries here… not tied to a specific place even if we are hitched (temporarily) to a cause by pay or circumstance)… how about “For Brothers and Glory”?

[Gide] “Together We Stand!”?

[Geri] What, nothing from anyone else? Its got to basically be about unity – we see ourselves as one and the only ultimate authority. No gods, no nation, no group or institution can break our vows to each other.

[Relb] To offend one of us, is to offend us all…? “Always be Prepared”, “Faith and Fortitude”?

[Gide] [Gide] I’m partial to “To offend one of us, is to offend us all…” but it’s a bit more confrontational and might put us in a light that says we’d rather fight than get the job done.
“Together we stand” says we work as a team but we fight as a team too.

[Geri] To offend one of us, is to offend us all – I prefer short and sweet, but its good. Always be Prepared – it sounds like a motto, not like a rallying cry – Faith and Fortitude – no thanks on the faith part.

[Chalan] Rather than together we stand, what about together we live, or thrive?

[Geri] To me, that sounds kinda like a formal family motto or strange name for a play. I’m still sticking with Fidelity ’tll death. OR Fidelity unto death – even better.

[Relb] You Fuck with them, you Fuck with me…Ya’Bitch-Ass, Snitch-Ass Cunts! Unto death of course… What, not the tone you’re looking for??? What about, “Shepards of the weak, in the Valley of Death”?

[Geri] I say, “fuck the weak, its them or us… i’ll take them”

[Xar] I’m still going with slurp my backside….

[Geri] Well, we can always not have one.. i was trying to tie the group together a little more. Sounds like deep down Xar and I struggles to give a hoot, but were trying.

The Gallants decide on “Fidelity Unto Death”.

Items Taken from the Dream-Sending

[Geri] Well,since we’ve not been able to decide what to do with them items from the dream sending of Anwin amongst us officers, i’m brining it up as a company issue. Here’s what we know:
6 dark cycle books – a collection of mystical treatise and ceremonies drawing on power from the shadow lands. In short, they are what you’re average peasant might refer to as “bad”. Ring of some black polished stone. We know it impairs healing and causes wounds to hurt more, but it also draws upon chaos and changes the wearer; something random. Books: makes it easier to learn orienteering and geography for those just starting Book: History of ring making, including religious icons and witches tokens Scrolls: Fab Thallium; strips of flesh said to be demon hide – may be fake? Book: History of Gwinn – great reference material Book: Orrish Primer – easier to learn Egg: ??? Scorpion man egg? Poison? I know that now is not the most opportune time to be discussing this, but its gotta get decided some time.

[Geri] I’ll flat out say that the the Books of the Dark Cycle and Fab Thallium interest me. The chaos ring does not, its too random and the known bad effects are too much for me. The orienteering and geography books are great for beginners; i have no interest. The ring making is interesting, but there does not seem to hold much there for me. Gwinnish history – maybe with Taer’s new perspective, such knowledges may interest him. The Orrish primer is quality stuff, someone who does not have the skill can learn it quick. The egg… i have no clue.

[Taer] Hmmm I would be interested reading about Gwinnish history. Maybe we can find something we can use against them if needed in the future.

[Relb] If we’re dealing with the Orrish this winter, that primer book might be handy in trying to work with them. I’m curious about the ring too? I’m not excited about the side effects but, depending on the change it causes? It may prove useful to us, if it was found to be useful in my profesion. I ain’t big on pain etc. but, it could be put to use if we need too, as I am not afraid to try it…?

[Geri] Well, i won’t prevent Relb or anyone trying the ring on… remember it impairs your healing and can cause harm as well – we know this. However, i would prefer it if it was done in safety – away from settled areas; i don’t want any fallout coming back to hurt our reputation. As for Taer studying about Gwinn, i say thats a good idea – having someone else who is willing to study subjects and store knowledge can only benefit us… this way your sources of knowledge are not concentrated in one person. So thats the Books of the Dark Cycle, ring and the library on Gwinn. Any other claims? To clarify – There’s no way to know what the chaos effect will be…
thats the drawback is, its random.

[Relb] So it’s either good or bad…is it perminent? Like Xar’s cursed ring or, is the effect only while worn? How bad is it going to be? Sounds like a it’s going to change him, like transform him? Does attempting to put it to good use out weigh the benefits, if any? So far my healing will suck, it’s going to hurt as well as make pain hurt more and, it’s connection to chaos is going to change me in someway randomly? Would doing this endanger the group, me or, go
against the tenets of the faith of Fiogala? I don’t mind asking Taer for guidance. I might be able to draw out the poison from the egg and use it as well. I doubt anyone would want it? Since no one might otherwise use it other then Xar.

[Geri] We do not even know what it is though.

[Taer] Its not either good or bad in itself. Yes it is permanent, it will transform you somehow. None of us can know what it does… there is nothing obvious in the tenets of the faith to prohibit it, as i understand it.

[Relb] Then I don’t mind trying it. I dislike the draw backs but, curious enough of the outcome to try it

[Chalan] I can tell you that I’ve been tempted to put that ring on since we first discovered what it would do. Chaos may have the potential to do great harm… but the reverse is true as well, and I’m honestly scared of whats to come in the adventures ahead. I’d much rather risk that ring killing me now rather than having it sit around when it might hold enough of an edge to save our asses later. Better die by your own choice than some one elses I guess..

The Chaos Ring

<aside> [Chalan] I’ll volunteer to try the ring. I’m new here and losing me wont effect the group much if it comes down to it.

The group discusses the ring and items brought out of the dream-world where Anwin sent them.

[Geri] The ring will impede healing and cause damage. This we know for sure as an effect. Though its power seems endless – if it causes chaos effects, it already caused on on the man-scorpion we took it from and if its still working, it may work multiple times – though only person can wear it afterwards. Sounds like Gide will have to arbitrate.

Xar eyes the ring nervously, his natural curiosity edging him on. However, his recent experience with the order of Gloombringer has ultimately cured him and he leaves it be, though asks what the drawbacks were again. Gide rolls his eyes hopelessly and puts his hands in the air.

[Relb] Shit, I was just volunteering but, if Chalan wants to try it or, Xar is curious enough, let them have it. I don’t want to muck up my healing anyway. I am curious but, if others want to try then, be my guest. I have no interest in the books we got from the dream sending, though maybe using the Orrish primer would be useful. I don’t want to quibble over the ring or be greedy, just flexible and a team player. I am willing to throw my name in the hat with the other two for the ring but, not enough to fight over it… even if it does end up being really cool. I can take a pass if it helps settle the issue quicker? Not sure how quick Xar’s going to be to take a chance on another ring that’s going to screw up his healing but, it’s his WPR check.

[Xar] I may be curious, but i am not stupid

[Gide] I’ll have to decide who gets first rights. Relb and Chalan are both claiming interest in using it. Geri insists you remove all but your underclothes, lay a weapon and shield next to you. Away from fields or burnable areas (rock) and settled places, place the ring on your finger with the rest of the group about 30m away. This is a seniority issue. I don’t rememeber Xar mentioning wanting to use the ring, just you and Chalan. If you pass, you pass. No sweat. Your hat was in the ring so you have first shot otherwise.

[Geri] We know its going to make healing more difficult. This chaos feature it grants will be permanent. I am against this experiment, and let me say i think its dangerous. Afterwards, I will mana sense you until I am sure no foreign influences exist. I should be able to tell you what has changed as well, if the effect is not obvious. If anything goes wrong, the group will fight to subdue ring wearer; to kill if anything else appears.

[Gide] I think we should have it destroyed. Not a fan of Chaos. But to support the group and as long as Geri’s precautions are followed and the “user” pays for any damages ensued from any need of the party to save their butts he will concide to the experiments. That being said, since two of our party wish to try the ring and Relb has senority he can try it on first and can decide if he wants to keep it. Good luck suckers!

Relb – The First Experiment

[Relb] Fine, if I have sinority then I’ll give it a whirl. Alright lets find a good spot away from everything and everyone so, we don’t scar the shit out of people more then we already do normally. If I go mad, please subdue me quickly…I don’t want anyone else getting hurt
by me or this ring if this turns out badly. Only in Dunstrand…I must be crazy but, lets hope for the best.
> Relb pray’s to Fiogala but as I’m not recognized by her yet all I can do is hope I’ll survive and be o.k. Think like a fox, think like a fox, think like a fox… “Tricksteer Goddess Fiogala, I know you know not of me but, I bore witness to my dear friend Taer’s transformation
and rebirth by your hand and design. I am humbled by what I saw that day and, feel indebted to you for his life and, new path. I wish to help support him down this new road as I too shall follow your tenets. I pary that you my guide this Ring bore of Chaos as I too will now
undergo a transformation of some kind. I know not if it is possible but, I pray that you hear my lonely words in this valley, alone with a distant hope that perhaps you my listen to one fool such as I. You may be my only hope as the trickster goddess that if you can fool death for my friend Taer, that you may be able to trick Chaos to bend in my favor as I wish to better serve you and, my fellow Gallants, my truest friends, companions and, your new hand, Taer. If I truly am lucky as time has shone again and again then may my luck hold true that this message is received in your ears and, are moved to my aid for, I diserve it not but, by your hand perhaps one day I will…In Fiogala’s name, the Fox, the Trister Goddess’s name, please hear my
call through your vessel Taer as my friend, commanding officer, your new hand, follower and, as my guide to you…my Goddess, my protector of yout kits and, foxes alike I pray to thee.”

Taer looks on, saying not a word, having no holy symbol on which to focus. After the prayer, he will stripe down to loin cloth and, move to our chosen spot. He will seek one in the light of the moon in a clearing, where it’s light may shine on him. He will want to have collected fresh
running river water and dirt from the clearing, and gather rocks to form a fire pit and, wood to start a fire. He builds it next to a central rock in the clearing and, sit atop it stone. He will set his sword and shield aside the fire so it’s glow will shine and reflect the light of the flames and the moon so they may be visable to him from where he sits legs crossed. On the rock before him, pour a mound of dirt making a crater, place three small rocks in the center of it forming a triangle, pour water in the crater on the rocks in it’s center, then place branches and twigs on the rocks and, form a triangle og those as well. Take the Cerimonial Dagger(sharp), from Baron Balif Thindle and, cuts his palm and, the finger in which the ring will be placed let the blood flow into the water, stone, earth on the rock where I sit and, then take the blade and stick it in the flames until hot. Then cauterize the wound on my palm but, keep the finger as is…place the srine in the waterpool and, then after the prayor to Fiogala, place the ring onto the appropriate finger after blood has been rubbed onto it’s surface completely. Pray for luck, pray to Fiogala, pay this thing doesn’t kill him so that I may better serve the Gallants, Taer
and Fiogala and, pray to all the elements now combined before me mixed with my blood and, to the Chaos I now willingly bring upon myself and, that the universe may be kind to such a fool as he to take such a leap of faith and, count on my luck and, a godess I’ve never met to see me through this ordeal.

Relb puts on the ring. The area around you heats up. Steam begins to rise from their body and you feel the pain reflected in their eyes as it courses through them, stifling their screams. Soon you cannot see them and the area around you cannot be seen through the steam pouring off their body. The victim yells, sounding muffled, and accompanied by strange noises. You cannot get near from the heat, which curls your hair from a distance. The wearer drops in a heap to the ground and the heat dissipates. As they roll over onto their back, you are transfixed by the change. A massive jaw with tusks protruding up has become part of the wearer’s physical body. Strange half-words come from them, as they realize the ability to speak has been impeded. The rest of them seems unchanged, though they look… younger. Aside from these outward changes, none other are apparent on Relb.

[Geri] The ring itself has changed afterwards, but not diminished in power. This means that both of you may be able to use it to trigger the chaos feature, though only one (obviously) can gain the advantages from wearing it.

[Relb] I do not recommend this to be tried by anyone else but, if they wish, I’ll let them try but, I’ll be keeping the ring now that I’m a freak with big ass teeth! Anyone got a problem with me keeping it? Does some other fool want to try it? Think I’m going to need a face mask and, Familiarity with these things.

[Geri] whoa!!!! holy shit! what!? what are you trying to say!? I can’t understand what you are trying to say. I think he said he wants Xar to try it! Maybe he said “chalan” – i’m not sure. Who else wants to try it? Hey, i’ll do it if you will! hahaha… damn, sorry Relb.

[Gide] Pfa! disgusting. Well, you’ll not be the one sent to town to scout things.

Chalan’s Chaos Feature

[Gide] Who knows? Maybe Chalan will grow a scaley tail and be real ladies man amongst the Lizardman folk.

[Chalan] Hell I was the first to volunteer and Geri told me not to. Honestly that doesn’t seem bad to me, it may even be helpful in some of my… individual problems. Lets do this: MUTATION AHOY!

[Relb] You crazy! I was dumb. Here you go…hope you have better luck but, I’m keeping the ring.

[Xar] Xar shakes his head and says something under his breath in elvish… (idiots….)

The area around you heats up. Steam begins to rise from their body and you feel the pain reflected in their eyes as it courses through them, stifling their screams. Soon you cannot see them and the area around you cannot be seen through the steam pouring off their body. The victim yells, sounding muffled, and accompanied by strange noises. You cannot get near from the heat, which curls your hair from a distance. The wearer drops in a heap to the ground and the heat dissipates. As they roll over onto their back, you are transfixed by the change. A tentacle protrudes from the left side and back of Chalan! The tentacle is small, about 1m+, ugly grey.. it could at best hold a knife. Clothes and armor will need to be modified.

[Relb] Ha! Shit…thought my tusks were bad! Man! O.k. Now that we’ve been fucked pretty good, what else can this thing do…since I’m keeping it? Any other takers? or, do we have enough freaks for Gide to deal with?

[Xar] wow. I thought I was a freak. welcome to the club boys!!!

[Relb] Couple steps forward…a few back, ah Gide???!

[Gide] If any more of you goof-balls want to try the ring I’lm going to disband Gide Gallants and start up Gide’s Circus and Freakshow. We’ll make buckets of coin! <under> we’ll never be able to show our faces in the light of day again……. because we’ll scare babies!

[Relb] Well, not sure it was worth the tusks and public shame but, I will be wearing a mask unless I need to bite someone. I should learn to fight with them… might as well know how to use these suckers, hell may prove useful one day…at least he’s always armed now. I promise not to mess with Magic’s again unless I know what the heck it’s going to do for real…sorry Gide (he says with much effort). Yes I am keeping the ring! After that, there’s no way he’s not going to keep it. Besides, I got a few good ideas for this thing…heheheha!

[Gide] Relb, you sound like a drunk the morning after: “if you make the pain go away, I’ll never drink again!”

[Xar] been there… done that…

[Geri] Xar, Gide, Taer… whats happened to these idiots? We got three weak links now – drains on our healing. I’m finding it tough to care about these new-comers. I feel the ripples of chaos disturbing a peace we forged early on… i’m struggling here Gide, not to vent hard on these pea-brains.

[Relb] It wasn’t the effect I was expecting but, it’s not the worst of the effects I’m sure, nor the best but, then again…it’s chaos. Now I know what to expect from this thing I can put it to good use and, chance the chaos re-roll as a maybe or last ditch effort. As far as the tusks go, it sucks but, at least I can hide them when needed. Talking is going to suck. Biting is cool. Masks are cool, not to be trusted but, better then scaring people…unless that’s my intent. And, they’re better then a 4 ft. tenticle coming out my side…that’s just creepy. Maybe the Gwinnish will worship you as a creature/product of Elincil? Worked for Morgent, hahaha!

[Geri] Masks would be a good idea in those settings though. It depends on the situation… you may be just as likely to have people want to kill you than be afraid of you to the point of
submitting. Certainly it wont go over well to show it in the open, so a mask is a good idea. Of course that will make talking even more difficult. I would say the healing and wound effects are pretty bad, bad enough to deter anyone else. Its not like theres a total screw job… but i dont think its worth it. Thanks anyway, i’ll stick to the Books of the Dark Cycle (which she is reading as you travel as well… she’s looking a little more pale by the 4th day when you arrive).

[Relb] Yep, it’s bad enough that I don’t think I’m going to make Gide suffer any more of us freaks so, I won’t let anyone else even try…it’s to risky. Geri, what’s happening you…I obviously shouldn’t play with things I don’t understand, like magic but, watching you get pale from reading books is strange in itself. You’re not becoming Possessed like that other evil ass book are you? Look at me…I really don’t understand the whole magic thing but, I remember
the last book we got from Anwin and, though these may be from that Dream sending, they still should instill caution and pause. If you don’t mind sharing the basics of what you’re studying so that whatever is happening to you makes sense as to why? Why is it that you are getting paler the longer you read those books? What ever it is, it isn’t natural…? What the hell am I talking about, I’m learning how to Bite people with these damned tusks…sorry if I bothered you Geri. I just want to make sure you’re o.k. too. Don’t want it to go by unnoticed, unasked and, I’m only concerned about your health… the rest? Well I’d trust you’d confide in Gide if something was truly wrong?

[Geri] Hmmmm… “instill caution and pause” – like it did you? If you can imagine you trying to explain what it is to be human to an ant, such is myself explaining the ways of magic to yourself. What i can say is its dark, evil, nefarious, and powerful. Gladly will i pay the
price for such knowledge. Like you, i believe the benefits of what i am doing outweigh the risk. Plus its really action packed – good character and plot, i give it 4 out of 5 bronze stars. hahahahaha

[Relb] Look, I know I don’t got the mind for reasoning that you do and, that you always seek power…I get that, always have. Hell don’t even mind that about you and, admire your drive for knowledge but, is it so wrong to ask of your wellbeing and, state of mind sinse the last
time you sought forbiden knowledge? You got pretty frightning, even for us misfits before that priest expelled that influences of that evil tomb of Anwin’s. I know you’re gaining some kind of power out of all this and, that you’ll use it…you always do but, to say that you seem more unnatural, pale and darker would be an understatement. If you say your fine then o.k. but, there’s reasons for that knowledge to be outlawed. I wouldn’t stop you from learning it even if I could but, do be careful with those Dark Arts Geri…they may paint us in an even more unfavorable light then we already have, including the two freaks of nature that Chaos Ring made out of Chalan and I. We all have shit on our plates, lets not try to eat it anymore then we have
too. I doubt House Malor will be happy you’re learning this either, that Red Cloak fella and, the other Mage hunters didn’t like you already so, don’t get caught o.k. Personally, I got no business in what your doing or, what you’re learning. I don’t care if it’s dark or what have you as, I’m no saint. We kill people and take there shit, merc’s, hired hitman and, sometimes no better then assassins as we use their tactics as well. I took a chance on this ring and, now
I’m a freak so, be careful is all I’m saying. To our Brotherhood first, Fidelity unto Death…lets just make sure it’s theirs, not ours.

[Geri] By the shaved snatch of Ezrilus! Wonk, wonk, wonk! You sound like a mother! You lost me after “power”… you’ve too much wind in ye. I don’t come and kick the spatula outta your hand at “McMutton-King”, don’t tell me how to do my job. <grin>

[Relb] Cunt’n Whiskey Geri…can’t no one be a friend to you once in a while and give a shit. I ain’t telling you shit except to be careful for your sake and ours by not getting us all killed for you studies. Besides, I think Ezrilus wouldn’t want a carpet muncher like me in that nappy-dugout of a clam shell, more akin to Chalan’s new squidly-didly arm! Hell, he’s got 4’ of the thing! should be able to shuck that oster and find that clit in her pus-ladden half-shell…hahaha! Shit! Think I just shot a boog out my nose!

[Geri] Gawsh Relb, i guess aint no one ever cared for me the way you do. Lets get hitched, mom will just love you. Moonlit nights on the swamp, possum gruel, and holding hands while we search for hidden treasure. gulp It all sounds so romantic. Take me away from all this power, money and fame – i just aint cut out for it. <grin>

[Relb] You’re to funny Geri…<tusky-grin> Yeah, I’m a throw back looking cracker-ass. You wouldn’t have me anyway and, you hate the swamp so, don’t even try to get with this sexiness! I’m not even saying not to learn that shit, not like you’d listen anyway. <sticks> If our enemies know that stuff, then I’m glad you’re learning it so, maybe you can counter it when we face some mage that tries to kill us and, we will…that’s just a matter of time.

[Xar] mmmmm… possum gruel my favorite…

Gregore’s Chaos Feature

[Gregore] I can’t decide if you are all crazy or just apathetic. Do none of you care about the rest of the world’s perception of you? … Course not. Its all and only about the company! A group of outcasts already, what’s a couple tusks or a tentacle anyways? So in an attempt to fit in with Gide’s medly of minions, and a rash urge for risktaking, Gregore will request an opportunity to try on this ring!

A few more mutters, but no one outright says no. Gregore dons the ring! The area around you heats up. Steam begins to rise from their body and you feel the pain reflected in their eyes as it courses through them, stifling their screams. Soon you cannot see them and the area around you cannot be seen through the steam pouring off their body. The victim yells, sounding muffled, and accompanied by strange noises. You cannot get near from the heat, which curls your hair from a distance. The wearer drops in a heap to the ground and the heat dissipates. As they roll over onto their back, you are transfixed by the change. Skin grows hard and cracked; red oozing rifts appear randomly on the body and weep clear puss.

<gide> What?!!!!!! I’m surrounded by crazies! You know the tales by the bards where all the freaky people think and act normally and it’s the “normal” looking guy that’s the most bent? That eats babies and castrates cattle? Is that what you guys want? You want mercenary? You want Evil? I’m concerned that the body count might be going up soon…. you guys are making me nuts. and it won’t be caused by no fucking Chaos ring. I need a drink.
<gide>

[Relb] Hey, I was taking one for the team. I have regrets sure, hell I got tusks! Once I turned freakshow I warned you guys not to chance the ring, for Gide’s sanity if for nothing else. The risk was high and, chaos has proven itself it’s own master. Chelan was crazy to follow, over eager even. Now there were the two of us freaks…if that wasn’t bad enough, now there are three of us, with the red skined oozy Gregore added to the mix, poor Gide has to deal with the fallout of our dumb-asses. How the fuck is he going to explain that three of his men, Defenders of the Low-Lands are now a company of freaks? Shit, I don’t blame him for getting shit-faced! We’ll be lucky if he even wants to keep us on. Who the hell is going to hire us if we can’t go out in public and blend in??? I’m sorry for my part in this but, these two crazy shits…well that’s just stupid of us.

Gide and Geri – Private Conversation

[Gide] Geri, how are you feeling? You’re starting to look a little rough. When we first got together I asked each of us to tell me what you can do, what your specialty is. Time goes on. We change. What I’m asking you is what are you learning in your studies? You know I’ve got your back but you’ve had problems before with your research. I’m not saying no to anything you do but for the group, hell for me, I need to know what you’re getting into. I know I won’t understand the details but I know you can make me understand.

[Geri] Its dark sir, very dark. The last book of forbidden knowledge (which i will remind you i read because Relb was proding us to) has given me some defense against suck works. The dark cycle books will drain me of some life energy, of that there will be no doubt, though they will also grant some crucial knowledge of spell craft and summoning. In short, sir, its worth it. I will lose some of my physical hardiness, but I desperately need some spells to contribute more to combat situations. If it all works out, and my mind stays strong, i will also be able to call forth a minor shadow being from that plane of existence. There is a logical path at work here… a cost to be paid and benefits to be gained. Look what this ring has done though, see the chaos it sews. Relb, like Cage, has broken the chain of command. If you can count on me for anything sir, its to obey that chain. If you tell me to stop, i will. If you tell me to hold off until we can discover more, i will – i offer that as a way of not directing everything towards Relb and making him feel ‘picked on’ (thats difficult for me sir, i feel like busting him in the chops for his insolence). But it only works if that chain is wielded in an ordered, logical manner. We must all obey it. Relb has just stepped back in and decided he can do whatever he wants. You must chastise him – not just put him in his place, but punish him so we all know there are consequences… or it will be like an old woman giving a petulant child a slap on the wrist and everyone will start stepping out of line. In the army, he would be flogged – a half dozen lashes. I leave it to you to decide, but if you go soft, everyone will see it as weakness.

[Gide] I’ve got serious reservations about this Geri… i don’t mind study, but i’m going to have to insist that before you attempt any hocus-pocus, you inform be and seek the safety of at least one of us while you do it.

[Geri] Understood. Also, i don’t know how else to say it, so i am going to just say it… I need a live captive to sacrifice. I guess need is a strong word, i can get by without it, but i’ll have a lot better bargaining position. I’m thinking Umbakian when we reach there. And a backup – Xar’s the only one with magical aptitude and i ask that he be made my official apprentice.

[Gide] I’ll consider – what may be involved in this? You’ve got House Malor to deal with, and i insist that be done before any further steps in your or an apprentices arrangements are made. I’ll give you until the late winter or early spring at best – its that or you will have to leave, because i wont let you endanger everyone else. And you need to take care of it on your own… if you need a loan or anything, we’ll arrange it, but a cost YOU must bear. You owe Taer big time, this will go towards paying that debt.

[Geri] Fair enough, that patience a plenty… it had to happen eventually. In regards to Relb and the ring, he’s being awful possessive without any say so from yourself. I say give him shit duty for a month. Its only gonna hurt us to take the extreme route and lash him… and it means in between main encounters, he’s out of the action – cleaning horses, gear, etc. – thats worse to him than lashes. Leave it to me and i’ll assign him the worst duties that our gimpy servant does, sir! Lets not forget about that too – Willup’s illegal mine and/or smelting operation. With all our money gone to the church of Fiongala, maybe we can replentish there.

[Gide] Ahhh Willup, yes. After we’ve taken care of the Umbakian threat and secured Berithor fighting a 2 front campaign, i promise we’ll turn towards that.

Revolt in the Ranks

[Geri] El-tee, you say the word and the ring is history. I will say that i never heard you explicitly prohibit further uses… but i’ll make it go away if you need it to. Despite some observations that we’re all banded together as freaks, i prefer not to have that be the
way we are thought of. As long as it stays, some may be tempted. Others may ask questions or look into whats happened – and this sort of things we’ll not be able to hide forever. Three members now have used the ring, and they will put an undue pressure on our healing abilities and supplies… for what? Live with that constant reminder, or order us to be rid of its presence.

[Relb] Nope, I’m keeping this bitch of a ring but, I will not allow any further uses. I’ll hide the bitch if needed and, I have tusks as a constant reminder about playing with shit we don’t understand, thanks anyhow. I won’t deny that I thought about putting it on Gide as he
layed there passed out…yes, I was tempted but, no more. The ring stays with me and, I’ll put these chompers to use on the next one among us that wants to try this ring. You know I’ll do it. I guarded that hellish tomb that Geri read in a dungeon for months. I will let no other try it. I may put it to use, in my own special way but, no one else is testing this ring!

[Geri] Really!? So, now you are in charge? I’ll give one chance for Gide to prove he’s in charge and cull this, or else. I can’t believe he actually admits to contemplating putting it on you in your sleep! Step up or step aside, sir <turns>.

[Relb] Only a little but, I volunteered to be the first to try it, the other two are just crazy to follow and, I’d never do that to Gide or any of the other Gallants…that not o.k. and only slightly funny as a joke but, dying afterwards from the backlash for doing so, far out weighted any real danger to him from me. I can’t speak for the other two yahoo’s.

[Geri] That was no joke the way it was spoken, buried in the heart of a serious dispute – don’t try and cover your tracks now. And both you and Chalan expressed interest in the ring at the same time, he just came to me privately first.

[Gide] <severely> By the Maker, what am I going to do with you guys? We pay to have a shiny ring identified. We’re TOLD that it’s Chaos, it is certain to harm us in one way or another and you can’t leave it alone. Relb, it’s bad enough that you tried it. I understand hope. But the rest of you? How many times do you have to be bit in the ass to leave the dog alone? Relb, you’re not keeping the ring. As long as we have possession one of you ass-holes is going to want to use it. And don’t give me this “I tried it first it’s mine” shit. Geri, I need to know the best way to dispose of this item. White Sisters, the guild that you sort of belong to, whatever. I just needs to be gone. If we can cash in on any value it has so much the better. Gods know that it’ll take a pile of coin to even try to remove any of the crap effects it’s had on you morons. Three times, Three times one of you though that magic could make you better even though you knew it would harm you too. Good outweighs the bad?: Bullshit. We are fantastic as a group. Not because one of us is the biggest bad-ass but because we work together. As a group we’ve started to make a difference in the Kingdom! Not just a tribe or a town but the Kingdom. Are we totally successful? No. Are we making a difference? Absolutely! The pretty things and the magic that we occasionally aquire in our journeys allow us to do more but do they really help more then they they hurt us? Magic hasn’t done all that much for us. What has? Each other. We kick ass as a team. Diedre’s brother? He hates us. Why? Because we keep fucking up his plans. What kind of power, men and money does he have? Plenty. What do we have? Not as much as he does but we still trip him up. Not any one of us but all of us….. Which is probably why we’ll need to stay together to stay alive. Bottom line: We are Gide’s Gallants. It’s each of us as individuals, working as a team, taking care of each other, that makes us a threat to our enemies not the trinkets and magical baubles that we find along the way. Don’t cut off your nose in the hopes it will grow back better than it was. We’re great as we are. We’ll get better together.

[Geri] Well spoken… sir! As corporal, i hereby order Relb to surrender the ring. The ring will be held by the El-tee until we can get rid of it completely. I suggest perhaps our contact in Karolak – Paul Dorn, of the Order of the Stone Hand. I propose we exchange it for future services.. we can have Taqwill send it through his channels to not arouse suspicion. I also request Relb be punished for his insubordination and breaking the chain of command.

Arrival at Braddon Bog

Along the road you passed only a lone traveler coming from Braddon Bog who said its in miserable spirits. The lack of movement can be attributed to the rain, which has not let up in days. At least people are moving, a testament to the job the Baron has done in making the roads safe again. The wagon’s progress is slow though, and many times you sweat through what appeared to be a perfect ambush spot… but alas, the Lowland Council and Sir Robert have truly own a victory and no marauders menace you. Ahead is the NE rise that marks the high ground which leads to Braddon Bog. Its raining so hard you can barely see in front of you. There is no one in the fields, as expected in this season, and you can smell peat moss burning from the fireplaces. As you rest the rise, you look down into Braddon Bog and there is a heaviness that comes over you. This place has seen much violence in its time, and it hangs in the air like a fog. Speaking of which, a fog is moving in behind you, almost pushing you into the town. A few of the townsfolk come out to see the passage of such a huge caravan.. but they regard you with blank faces and downcast eyes – hope has fled this place.

Geri orders the “freak team” to circle around to the other road out of town and capture anyone who attempts to leave. Its 2 hours till sun down, but with the black rain clouds it almost feels like night already. The rain is coming down in sheets, soaking everyone to the bone. After a half hour wait, the wagons are plied out of the mud and a weary group of PC’s make their way to the heart of the village. At the fringes everyone can smell and see some of the peat fires, and soon the light from the Inn is visible. a lookout shouts as you approach and a few young boys scramble from the dryness of the stable and begin to help you unhitch the horses and stow the wagons. Dogs begin to bark and the Innkeep comes out, following an excited stable hand pointing at you. Its a rare sight the you’ve seen such dour faces, but as a few patrons and townsfolk gather you can see everyone of them has a dark cast. Though when you tell them who you are and why you have come their faces are alight with joy and hope. A few dozen people have gathered by the time the old mayor arrives. Your team on the other side of town arrives too, reporting no contacts. You explain to the mayor that you are returning the goods taken from the people, and he begins to cry. “You have come to return what we once posessed, but do you bring the cure to what afflicts us!? These goods – clothes, money, food, they are all well and good, but i fear you are now accursed with us! You should flee, save yourselves if you can and abandon this place. For if you do not, you will surely die with us.”

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