Andrannar

An Escape and a Hunt
Game Night 4-4-2014

After the disastrous fight at Merikus‘s store in the settlement of Morgil’s Hold, the surviving party members fled separate directions, with Lyris forced to flee in one direction, and Alena struggling to carry the unconscious Marcus in another. Each managed to escape to a safe hiding spot outside of the small town. Alena had the presence of mind to launch a lightning burst into the air, as a signal to any surviving party members. The sight of a familiar energy bolt streaking through the air gave hope to Lyris, though she dared not respond with a similar sign, for fear of revealing her position. After resting a moment and gathering her wits about her, the half-elf mage crept back into the town, determined to reunite with what remained of her companions.

Almost immediately, Lyris was found by one of Merikus’s henchmen. He was a greasy, sneering rogue who brandished a sword and dagger upon seeing the half-elf. He gave chase after Lyris, who launched spells trying to slow her assailant. The rogue was too nimble and dodged many of her attacks, all while menacing her with his blade. Luckily, Alena soon happened upon them, and with her help, they were able to run fast enough to escape their pursuer.

Alena informed her companion that Marcus was hiding nearby, awake but still badly wounded. The eladrin had witnessed a fire consume what remained of Merikus‘s shop, presumably an effort to destroy any remnant of evidence. Lyris grimly confirmed that their missing party members had been ruthlessly executed by the tiefling assassin Merikus. The half-elf declared that she would present herself and her case to the captain of the town guard and reveal the truth of the deceitful tiefling. The Witch of the Wilds would get Marcus and join Lyris at the magistrate’s office.

Avoiding any further unwanted attention, Lyris made her way to the keep and announced herself to the guard. Putting her under protective custody, they would ensure her safety as an investigation was brought up to verify her charges of Merikus aiding in the enslavement of the village of Bahirin, as well as profiting from the forced labor of the dragonborn. Soon after, her companions joined her in protective custody, to await the findings of the guard.

Late the following day, Moritus, the dragonborn captain of the guard came to their room. He informed them that a traveler from Bahirin had arrived, verifying their story and vouching for their honor. It seemed that Merikus was using his store as a front for moving ill-gotten goods in and out of the town, as well as using dragonborn as servants against their will. The tiefling had fooled many, but thanks to the determined efforts of the heroes, he was forced to flee into hiding. The companions were free to go.

The captain of the guard then introduced them to Dysmas, a dragonborn warrior from Bahirin. Restless and nomadic at heart, Dysmas was luckily away from the village at the time of the demon’s arrival. Upon his return, he could see many of the villagers acting uncharacteristically, even witnessing dragonborn murdering their own kin. Recognizing something was amiss, Dysmas avoided entering the village. He observed his fellow dragonborn from a distance, unable to get too close in fear of succumbing to whatever evil force possessed them. Instead he followed the movements of those taken by the demon, in hopes that uncovering the demon’s motives might give him some means to defeat it and free his people. It was by following one such group that he was able to see the demon make contact with Merikus, with the tiefling urging the demon to return to Bahirin and continue its subjugation of the inhabitants.

When Dysmas discovered that the adventurers had defeated the demon and freed his village, he immediately wanted to travel to Morgil’s Hold. The dragonborn wanted to alert the authorities, as well as bring the news to any dragonborn who might still be forced into servitude to Merikus. Dysmas also had a deep hatred for the tiefling and wished to bring justice upon the corrupt merchant.

The adventurers offered to let Dysmas join them, for his goals were well in line with their own. When they mentioned that they also searched for the dragonborn Rhogar, Dysmas gave a cry of recognition. It seemed that he knew Rhogar as well, having served in the same military company for several years. Together they would search for both Rhogar and Merikus, so after a night’s rest and replenishing their supplies, they set out into the wilderness.

Dysmas was a canny woodsman and had followed Merikus’s travels many times previous. It seemed most likely that the tiefling would either join his gnoll allies or perhaps to a certain secluded cave located deep within the Cairn Hills. The party followed tracks to the area where the gnolls frequented, but found no trace of the tiefling. Rather than waste time stalking the area, they decided instead to turn south immediately, hoping the tiefling would eventually flee to the cave in any case.

As the party navigated the rocky terrain of the Cairn Hills, they found a lone figure in their path. Revealing himself to be Rhogar, the dragonborn warned the party to turn back, lest he resort to violent measures to do so. The sound of movement around the party alerted them to the presence of other attackers laying in ambush. The party approached as closely as they dared, and Dysmas did his best to covertly inform Rhogar that the village and his family had been freed from demonic oppression as well as tossing Rhogar’s family signet ring at him.

Rhogar caught the ring and stared at it a long while. Then the dragonborn brandished his spear, with a new purpose in his stance, and fire and fury in his eyes. “Your bribes are useless! You will pay for what you’ve dared to do!” Grinning in his battle-lust, the dragonborn charged forward, spear-point glittering in the sunlight ….

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Success and Failure

With the demon vanquished in village of Bahirin, the party set out to find information that tied Merikus to the evil that has been happening in the area. They talk to many villagers and learned about ways the demon was keeping the entire village at bay, like possessing a rebellious villager and having them kill their own family, only to to relinquish control in time to watch the light fade from there eyes. Now knowing why Rhogar was working with Merikus, they searched for what was left of his family. They gave the party a family ring to give to Rhogar as proof that they, and the village, was free from the control of the demon.

With all the information they gathered and an entire village as proof of Merikus’s evil deeds, the party spared no time to travel back to Morgil’s Hold to confront Merikus and prove his guilt. After traveling for two days straight wiht no rest the group made it back to Morgil’s Hold and devised a plan to get Merikus and bring him to justice. Surrounding his place of business Blunder, Graeak, and Lyris went in to the shop to look for the owner, under the impression that they were ordinary customers, while Alena and Marcus covered the back door. After subtly trying to get Merikus to confess, Lyris decides the more direct approach and out right accuses Merikus of his connection to the demon in Bahirin and the Bloodclaw, a violent clan of Kobolds he’s been trading with.

Not liking the public outburst that will surely ruin his name in the city, Merikus takes action and a large fight breaks out between Merikus, his henchmen, and the heroic party. Determined to tarnish Merikus’s name, Blunder runs out of the store and shouts “demonic chanting, I heard demonic chanting in the store!”. After some time has past, the fight proves to be trickier than the party imagined as the Tiefling assassin disappears and reappears seemingly at will, the group start to waver. Battered and beaten the group starts to think about retreating, only to find it’s too late. As Alena carries a bloodied Marcus out the back door of the shop, Lyris flees out the front just in time to see Blunder and Graeak fall inside. Worse still, Lyris then witnesses Merikus deliver the final blow in cold blood to her downed comrades.

Now defeated and separated Lyris, Alena and Marcus find a places to hide as Merikus’s men search the city, hoping that that can somehow find each other and bring vengeance to the man that has taken their friends.

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lyris's log
a history of the vale

Tonight I was present for two amazing feats. Not only did the aged sentinel and the lost soul destroy a Beholder (Although it appeared to have been dead and moving for some time). But a legendary weapon was bonded by a great deed. I was originally skeptical when we read about them in the Eladrin libraries that an artifact could react to a deed instead of its wielder activation. Although I was not actually conscious to see the event l, I have had the witch and the tinkerer describe it to me many times. Sadly the witch’s descriptions lack much in desired verbiage to be academic and the tinkerer descriptions lie firmly with the mechanical interactions of arcane forces. All in all it seems fortuitous that we believed the demon Eater sword to be the only effective method of destroying the loumara instead of merely banishing it temporarily, for it lead to this miraculous magical event.
And so the post ruined village of Bahirin was freed of its domineering blight.

I would like to check in on Rhogar’s relatives and actually get to talk to a dragonborn scholar (if they exist) now that the villagers are not actively avoiding us. But I fear it would be best if we arrived back in Morgil’s Hold before the news of the liberation. And I will have to say as much to my companions.

XX year XX season.

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A Little Information
The party returns to Morgil's Hold to hear from their informant.

(October 18th Game Night)

After bolstering their party ranks with Blunder and Graeak, the Witch of the Wilds and her companions bid Hawkstone farewell and made their way to the settlement of Morgil’s Hold. The day’s journey was blessedly uneventful, and soon after arriving at their destination, they were contacted by an agent of Kel.

She was a slim, pale woman who did not offer her name, but she had a great many answers to questions the party had.

  • Merikus had many contacts among both the local dragonborn and the gnoll tribes.
  • While the Stalking Wind gnoll tribe were the peaceful gnolls that wanted trade with Morgil’s Hold, Merikus more often had dealings with the Bloody Claw. The Bloody Claw were among the more aggressive and bloodthirsty gnolls, who claimed a demonic heritage and were devout followers of Yeenoghu, the demon lord of savagery and slaughter.

(More to come soon!)

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Welcome Assistance
The party returns to Hawkstone and finds new allies.

(October 4th game night)

The party returns to Hawkstone, carrying the corpse of Brithian Baylond. Upon entering the city, whispers and rumors begin to spread through the streets as people see the company’s reduced numbers and grim cargo. They return to the Magistus Arcantheum and meet with Greagor and show him the corpse and return the fallen wizard’s wand. The old professor is saddened by the revelation of the death of Brithian and his students, as well as the adventurers’ losses. In return for their service to the school, Greagor offers a reward of several valuable gems, as well as free access to the arcane college’s teleportation portal. As the party is leaving, Greagor mentioned that he has a colleague that has many of the same interests as the group, and may be interested in accompanying them. They arrange for a meeting at a later time, then bid the wizard farewell.

Afterwards, the party made their way to The Hall of the Dawnlord, to inform Durgrim Ironedge of the death of both Brathis and Sasha. The dwarf cleric expressed his condolences and reveals that this is not the only recent incident where the Raven Queen has interfered with the ritual to raise the dead. Durgrim voiced his speculation that something or someone in the region has drawn her attention and any attempt to infringe on her sphere of influence may meet a similar backlash.

The party then returned to The Wandering Wyvern, to rest and drink away their sorrows. Later the next day, they were visited by Greagor and his associate, an eccentric-looking gnome named Blunder. Blunder was an artificer, an arcanist with a talent for creating and imbuing magical items. He also had a passion for exploring ancient ruins and uncovering old relics and artifacts. Given the party’s predilection for doing those very things, as well as their reduced numbers, Blunder offered to join their group. With Greagor vouching for his competency, the adventurers agreed and welcomed the gnome to their ranks.

The following morning, after the party members had risen and were eating breakfast, they overheard the common room abuzz with gossip. Apparently during the night, a large stone golem had approach the city walls, but then stood a silent, motionless vigil near the southeastern gate and the main trade road. Curious at this development, the party gathered themselves and went to investigate.

A crowd of people had gathered to gawk at the giant stone construct, but none dared approach. Somewhat nonchalantly, Alena strolled up to the golem and began questioning it. The golem offered little information, just repeating the phrase, “I wait for those who will come, when the time is right.” Frustrated by the lack of any revelation, the party then went to seek out Stravo in hopes that perhaps the golem would react to other adventurers.

Stravo was in the midst of a performance so the party waited, enjoying a beer or wine as the bard plied his trade. After the show ended, the bard rejoined them, and the company made their way back to where the stone golem waited. Again, they spoke to the golem, hoping that the presence of the bard would alter the construct’s response, but the answer was still the same. “I wait for those who will come, when the time is right.”

Unable to offer any other help, Stravo bid them goodnight, and returned to The Wandering Wyvern. The party questioned members of the city watch that stood vigil in sight of the golem, but the Stone Hawks gave little additional insight. Upset by the lack of progress investigating the golem, the party made their way to return to the inn.

On their return, they were waylaid by a number of street thugs and rogues. Without so much of a warning, the thugs ambushed the party and attacked. With the late night streets deserted, the party may have been in for a tough fight. Luckily, they were aided by a solitary stranger, a lone warrior who’s massive fullblade cleaved through the assailant’s ranks. When the penultimate rogue fell, the last attacker threw down their sword and begged the party for mercy.

The warrior who helped the party introduced himself as Graeak Uthadar , an older human male whose broad shoulders and thick arms defied the age his grey hair and beard implied. Seeing the party ambushed, he could not help but rush to their side. The party welcomed his assistance, and if he was available, welcomed him to join theim in their quest against the evil that threatened this land. Graeak agreed to escort the party, offering his protection against the perils that obstructed them.

The lone assassin who surrendered introduced herself as Cassi. A native of Hawkstone, she explained she was an orphan who had turned to a life of crime to survive on the streets. In exchange for her life, she offered to renounce her life of crime and instead find a way to help the party and her new mistress, the Witch of the Wilds. Cassi would keep an ear to the streets for any news or information that would be of interest to the party, and report back as often as possible. Satisfied by this turn of events, the party returned to the inn.

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Darkness Gathers
A fight and a disastrous attempt to Raise Dead

(Sept. 6th game night)

The party entered a fierce battle against a powerful and skilled opponent, the wizard Marthell. The wizard invoked many powerful spells and incantations, causing great harm to many of the heroes at once. As the struggle worn on, the wizard revealed he was an imposter, actually an incubus demon that was capable of replicating both Marthell‘s appearance and mannerisms. Not only that, but the incubus proved able to possess a vulnerable mortal’s body, even controlling their actions and turning them against their allies.

The demon proved to be a crafty and deadly opponent, and its attacks seemed particularly focused on eliminating the party’s healers. While the heroes were able to eventually prove victorious and cause the incubus to flee, it came at a great price. The aftermath of the battle showed that Sasha had been killed. It was with a quick and grim determination that her companions moved to secure the area and prepare her body for a Raise Dead ritual.

The party rested to regain their strength and Alena began the necessary steps to restore Sasha. The eladrin witch performed the ritual to completion and the deva was returned to life. A dark, shadowy portal began to form however, and wraith servants of the Raven Queen emerged to reclaim Sasha.

The party resisted and proved strong against the cold necrotic energies of the wraiths. Far more dangerous was the icy, stifling aura that surrounded the lead wraith and inhibited healing energy. The other wraiths also possessed a soul-piercing shriek that seared the minds of the the mortals. This time, both Sasha and Brathis fell beneath the withering touch of the wraiths, and the rest of the party watched in helpless horror as the wraiths collected the bodies of the fallen and disappeared back through the portal.

Numb with shock and grief, the survivors recovered as best they could. In pained silence, they headed back to Hawkstone, guilt and anguish following their every step.

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The Ruins by the Lake
The party investigates an ancient Dalaran ruin

(August 23rd Game Night)

The party left Hawkstone in search of the wizard Brithian, whose last known whereabouts were an ancient Dalaran wizard’s ruined home. Throughout the journey, they periodically get the sensation they were being followed. Other than a glimpse of glowing red eyes in the night, they saw no signs of pursuit.

After a few uneventful days, the party made it to the investigation site. It appeared to have once been a manor house, with perhaps a tower, but some destructive force in its past seemed to have destroyed the upper levels of the buildings. Only the ground floor structures remained even partially intact. A closer bit of further investigation revealed the remnants of Brithian‘s campsite, an old campfire, collapsed tents, and scattered supplies. Among the wreckage they discovered the decayed, putrified remains of two bodies, both wearing the tattered garb of students of the Magistus Arcantheum, as well as journals the wizards’ presumably kept. Within one of the journals, they found the preserved fragment of an old letter, thought to have been penned by one of the last inhabitants of the ancient building.

The party moved to examine the ruins, finding signs of the academy wizards’ excavations. They soon found a stair leading downward, to a set of once ornate, now worn, double doors. After checking for traps both magical and mundane, they found the doors safe, and opened them.

The doors opened onto a long hallway, that flared with magical energy and illuminated the passage. Illusionary murals depicting beautiful landscapes shimmered onto the walls. One simple door was set in the middle of either wall, and at the far end, stood another set of double doors. At the base of the far double doors, they could make out the remains of a desiccated corpse, clad in moldering robes. As the party moved along the passage, the walls pulsed with varying eldritch power, striking the party and causing great damage. Much to their dismay, the party soon discovered that various tiles along the floor were also trapped, discharging tremendous electrical shocks that stunned their victims.

Seemingly in response to the trap activations, a ghostly mist rose from the withered body. It coalesced into a spectral form that invoked magical incantations, flinging spells that caused great harm to the party. It took a great deal of time and effort for the party to overcome the traps, but they eventually defeated the guardian and wards. After searching the corpse, they found an old wardstone that was able to turn off the traps with only a thought. After taking a moment to rest and gather their strength, they opened the double doors, intent on seeing what the traps were protecting.

In the room beyond, they found a large magical hemisphere, that glowed a pale blue. Within the magical constraint, they could make out the figure of a humanoid shaped being trapped within. Also in the room were several more bodies in various states of decomposition. Near the base of the magical ward, they saw a cloaked and hooded figure kneeling, examining the barrier closely.

The hooded figure turned, revealing itself to be Marthell, Lyris‘s former master. With a great deal of caution and suspicion, the party entered the room and talked to the older wizard. He claimed to have barely escaped the demons that attacked his tower, narrowly evading their pursuit ever since. Despite the wizard’s words, Sasha detected the faintest evidence of a nearby demonic presence. Guessing that Marthell was in fact an incubus demon imposter, she ordered Marcus to attack. Cursing Lyris’s companions, Marthell enacted his magical defenses and began channeling his arcane powers to respond in kind.

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Finding the Path
The party returns to Hawkstone and their way becomes clearer.

(August 9 Game Night)

After defeating the cyclops, the ettin, and the displacer beast, the party searches the enemy’s campsite. They discover a bag full of severed heads, some treasure, as well as a letter. Among the loot, they found a gold statue formed in the twisted likeness of the two-headed demon lord, Demogorgon. The party burnt the ogres’ trophy heads, collected the treasure, and took the heads of their vanquished opponents and returned to Merithalar.

The party went back to the library and discovered that the names House Zar’Haelirin and Fae’Hardrimm were drow and seemed to implicate the dark elves involvement somehow. Later, the party returned to meet with the military leaders. They showed the eladrin the severed heads and trophies taken from their fallen enemies, as well as a copy of the letter they found. The military council thanked them for their help and rewarded them with several thousand gold pieces. The party pledged their aid should further trouble arise, then took their leave.

After leaving the Merithalar, the party returned to the dryad grove, to say farewell to Tessryn. The fey spirit was in good sorts, cheerfully telling them of the ogres’ scattering. After thanking the party again for their help, she pointed them on their way and they left to make their way back to the Hawksroad.

Around dusk, they made it to the main road, and they set up camp for the night, occasionally feeling as if they were being watched. In the morning, they set out northwest, heading for Hawkstone. Not too far from their camp, they found the remains of a group of ogres, their severed heads mounted on pikes. Unable to find any other tracks or clues, they continued on their travels.

The party continued unmolested for another day, although again, as they were making camp, they had a brief sense of being watched. Still unable to find anything amiss, they camped for the night. In the morning, they searched the surrounding area. The party was a bit unnerved to discover a spot nearly eight feet off the ground, in the trees, where something sharp and/or metal had recently scraped bark off the tree trunk. Too linear and uniform to be a natural occurence, the thought that someone or something was stalking them was unsettling. But with no other clue, the party soon continued on their journey back to Hawkstone.

The trip back to the city was uneventful and the party quickly went to work, trying to tie up loose ends. Sasha went to the Guilded Dagger, to try and contact the spymaster Kel. Lyris went to the Magistus Arcantheum, to learn new rituals and entreat the masters there into letting the party use the college’s teleportation portal. Brathis went shopping, eventually ending up at the Rising Sun, and befriending Garen. A member of the Crafters, Garen was also a friend of Alek Erevis. The shop owner vowed to send word to his friend to meet with the party while in town.

While the party had split, Sasha had left word at the gambling den for the spymaster Kel that she had a job offer for him. Later, Kel or one of his associates contacted the deva while she prayed in the temple of Pelor. Sasha negotiated a deal in which Kel or his team of spies would surveil the tiefling Merikus, a suspected assassin in the town of Morgil’s Hold. The spymaster agreed to the terms and left the deva to her prayers.

Later, the party returned to the Firebrand warehouse where a tiefling assassin had made a secret lair. The furnishing in the tiefling’s room looked to have purposely been burnt. Breaking into the rest of the warehouse, they discovered crates full of weapons, armor, and other non-perishable supplies. Though the Firebrand emblem was seared upon the crates, faint ridges and markings seemed to indicate that perhaps the Firebrand had covered another symbol. The party took a plank of wood with the markings and left, trying carefully to hide evidence of their presence.

The party returned to the inn and soon met with Alek Erevis. The noble warrior mentioned a few of the Crafters’ most recent investigations, as well as the group’s activities further north, near the city of Mythas. The stirring of evil activities in both regions painted a grave picture. The news of elemental creatures searching for an imprisoned primordial in the Lakesrim Mountains was disheartening. Alek also mentioned that demonic cult activity in Hawkstone Vale seemed to be increasing.

Alek left soon after, but not before vowing to get in touch with Greagor, a fellow Crafter who worked at the Magistus Arcantheum. If any could help the party at the arcane college, it would be him. In addition, a barmaid presumably working for Kel picked up the payment the spymaster required.

The next day, the party met with Alek‘s associate Greagor. He told the party of a missing professor, Brithian Baylond. The instructor had taken a number of apprentices and students with him to investigate an ancient, ruined wizard’s abode. Greagor vowed that if the party could return with Brithian, or at least deteremine his fate and recover his ivory wand, then Greagor could use his influence to allow the party access to the arcane college’s teleportation portal. The party agreed to help.

On their way out of town, the party stopped by to talk to the wizard Annazar. Something of an expert on Dalaran ruins, he suspected the ruins they were investigating was once the home to a former apprentice to a Magelord of Summoning. He warned them of magical traps and wards that they might see, as well as any relics they might recover. The party thanking him for the information, then departed in search for the ruins and the missing wizard.

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Game Nights Summary
A brief compilation of multiple game nights

(Because the DM is a slacker, the record of the past several months of game nights will be condensed into one entry.)

The party battled an orc warband in the ruins of the dwarven village. The combat raged through streets, alleyways, and buildings. During the course of the fight, the party discovered a warlock named Alexis, who allied with them. Her deadly invocations proved useful against the greater number of enemies they faced.

After defeating the warband, the party made their way to the entrance of the Malachite Fortress. A number of orcs stood guard here, backed by archers who commanded a view of the entire entryway. As the party attacked the guards, the archers rained volleys of arrows down upon them, causing much damage and confusion. After a long, grueling battle, the party was victorious, and they took a moment to think and lick their wounds.

The doorways to the mines, and the audience chamber was much as Stravo remembered. But there was a new tunnel available, once collapsed, now newly excavated. If the orcs had gone through all this trouble to clear out this passageway, the party reasoned, then surely they must be after something important? The party’s wizards conjured some light, and the adventurers carefully made their way into the depths of the fortress.

As the group made their way down the hallway, they encountered a disembodied voice, that mocked them and encouraged them to destroy their allies. In return, it promised them great power. The party noticed that their emotions had become heightened and amplified as well. They did their best to ignore it, though the voice did stir up feelings of doubt and confusion.

The once-collapsed tunnel eventually led to a massive cavern that held the dwarven undercity. A few sputtering torches lit what was once the main street, the points of light indicating the street continued for nearly half a mile. Some of the stone buildings were damaged and crumbling, and much of the wood they saw was rotting, but the rest of the buildings they saw looked intact.

The more alert party members could here whispered conversation coming from a nearby building. As they moved to investigate, the wall of the edifice exploded outward, and out rumbled what could only be described as a powerfully muscled, two-headed ogre. As it rushed to attack, it was joined by its orc allies, and the ambush was begun.


The party proved victorious in its combat, but the cost was great. Brathis had fallen, and the party made a quick exit to travel to Hawksbridge and restore their comrade to life. They made their way south and crossed the river. Coming into view of the village, they saw that the bridge had been destroyed, and signs of destruction marred both sides of the riverbank. The palisade surrounding Hawksbridge looked to have been scorched by fire, and the gates were closed. Much of the land surrounding the village had been either trampled or burned to the ground. Across the river, the many campfires from a makeshift encampment of orcs, minotaurs, and their brutish allies lit the evening sky.

The party moved to enter the city, the name Stravo still carrying enough influence to persuade the guards to let them in. After gaining entrance and making their way to Threecoins Chapel, they were dismayed to discover that Serida Bonhart had been killed. It seems she sacrificed herself during the orcs’ attack on the village, channeling enough energy to destroy the bridge and halt the assault.

The party still carried the favor of Barristan Hark, the town magistrate and a cleric of Bahamut. Indebted to the party for saving his life, he settles the debt by giving them a scroll imbued with the ritual to restore the recently dead to life. The party successfully resurrects Brathis, but also angers the Raven Queen, who sends a handful of wrathful shades to punish the party for stealing a soul back from the realms beyond. The party manages to defeat the attack, but it is clear that restoring the dead is no longer a safe, easy endeavor.

(More to come soon)

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On the Road to the Fortress
The party returns to the Malachite Fortress

After resting and recovering their strength, the party decided to return to the Malachite Fortress. Clearly, it was still important to the minotaurs and orcs and the party wanted to find out why. Also, Alena pointed out that the primordial was once imprisoned somewhere beneath the fortress. Perhaps they could discover what once bound him as it might offer a clue on how they could do it again.

The party left the ruins of Tir Kitor, following the old road that once joined the eladrin city and the dwarven fortress. As they followed the worn route, they ambushed a group of orcs. Their enemies had deadly archers and a storm shaman, as well as the usual brute warriors. A fierce battle erupted as both sides used the rocky, mountainous terrain to their advantage, but the party’s teamwork helped them overcome their foes.

They continued on, till they reached the Malachite Fortress around dusk. There was a large open field before the entrance to the dwarven fortress. The stone and wood remnants of an old dwarven surface village dotted the field, and from the party’s vantage, they could see the ribbons of smoke rising from at least two campfires within the ruins. Not wanting to enter the ruined village at night, they kept a watchful vigil and prepared to enter before daybreak.

When the appointed hour had come, the party gathered themselves and tried to stealthily approach the nearest building in the village. The lack of much cover made things difficult, and they were soon spotted by a number of orcs on watch. Rather than engage the orcs in the open where they could be surrounded, the party rushed in and bottle-necked the orcs at the entrance to the building, where Brathis and Vorsk stood with readied weapons. Alena and Lyris launched their spells over the heads of their allies, further hampering their enemy’s movements.

The spellcasters’ invocations left flames to burn at the feet of the orcs, and with no room to move away, the fires scorched the trapped brutes. The fighter and paladin systematically hacked away at the survivors, grimly felling their opponents. Through the smoke and flames, they saw a lone surviving orc flee out of the back of the building. Cursing, Vorsk darted after it. As the dragonborn entered into the street, he pulled up short as the orc disappeared into the maze of buildings.

Vorsk looked over his shoulder as the rest of the party joined him. As warning cries and sound of activity sprang up around the village, the group took a defensive stance. “Get ready,” the dragonborn growled. “They know we’re here.”

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