Pondera

Parties, Art, and Old Flames

Lek told them, “I will take my leave now with Stephen. Ixen or I will contact you if there is any change with Osay’s forces. So far other than Briarthorn his followers haven’t been very active. I will try to obtain more information for Stephen, but it might take a while…The boy…respects the mad man very much. It’s easy to look up to someone who you share ill experiences with.”

And with that bit of information Lek left. In the morning while the others were talking amongst themselves about the next course of action Varis decided to poke around the scroll shop, not that he was going to steal anything… When he heard these two elves talking about a party a nobleman in Dindulin was going to have in two days. Varis’ became more interested when he heard the words “expensive art”, “very wealthy”, and “corrupt briber”. With the idea lights flashing in his head he headed back to Malbert and Antoinette. A short chat with them and Abigail later and the two short folk were on board on a planned heist the half elf rogue concocted. They were able to talk these two elven merchants into traveling with them.

It was now March. The dirt road was muddy and the morning dew clings onto near bare branches. During their travels they came across other fey folk most of them look liked merchants, farmers, and rangers.


Their ears picked up the sound of screaming. A human boy with cuts with deep cuts all over this body stumbled out of the brush.

“Help! The trees, the trees are alive!”

The boy pointed into the woods with a shaky hand, “We were cutting up fallen trees to be made into weapons when Henry accidentally swung his axe into a live tree. THEY CAME ALIVE! He’s still in there,” He sobbed, “I just ran….”

Our heroes rushed in, saved Henry, and dispatched the living wooden creatures.


Dindulin, the capital of Nanenlaer is a bustling city. Most of the structures were located high in the tree. The party they were trying to find was at the estate of Klindel. It was to celebrate his engagement with a powerful elf sorceress called Hazel.

Our heroes obtained some fake invitations with the agreement with the inn keeper that they were take a certain small sculpture from the estate anything else they could get was theirs.

During their little break in they found out some interesting information. The demons that patrolled the area who were said to be under Klindel’s control were really under Hazel’s. Varis let it slip that he knew about the real cause of Datshun’s destruction and a succubi accidentally let it slip to Varis that Osay was her true master.


Sein Lenn was a large harbor city, but smaller than Rion. A mass iron-like vines matted and twisted together made a wall between the city and the surrounding forests. Buildings sat in large weeping willows that looked like they were hundreds even thousands of years old. The trees here were infused with magical properties ages ago which prolonged the plants life-span. A few of the denizens looked at the heroes strangely as they walked pass.

The Watery Foot sat atop an oak tree close to the town’s main square. Inside the store there were a variety of food stuffs most of them were from different countries. Behind the counter was a young blond elven woman with golden eyes scribbling things down in a large red cover book.

“Greetings and welcome to the Watery Foot, my name is Ina. Is there anything I can assist you with this wonderful afternoon?” She smiled.

“We need to speak to you, dear lady…about Vander…” Antoinette said quietly so the other employees could not hear her.

When she hears Vander, she immediately froze. She reluctantly called a fellow employee to work the counter and took them to the storage room in the back.

“I thought he was dead…not that I expected to hear from him after I snuck him onto the ship. It was better that way. I wanted to go with him, but my parents would have tried to find me and if they did…they’d find him too. So he is alive? Where is he? What has he been doing all this time?” Ina asks desperately.

After they gave her the news.

“No…that is not the Vander I knew…He wouldn’t kill those innocents. That can’t be him. I refuse to believe he’s…a this mad man this monster…He’s a good man…he only turned to the dark arts because he…they wanted a way out from the vicious cycle that plagues all non fey in Nanenlaer. He has a good heart and I refuse to believe that he is this so called evil man now. Please…I know it’s pointless but if you can…please don’t kill him. There has to be some kind of explanation for this,” Ina stared them down, “I won’t give you the name of the ship until you promise me…you’ll try to capture him alive…”

Antoinette said, “We promise to to everything in our power to capture him alive.”

“Give me a couple hours. I would like you to bring him a letter when you capture him.”


The Fly Crane was the name of the supply ship and from what Ina said it was destined for Gadarn. However the ship never made it there. It crashed into the mountains of the southern Wilds. She doesn’t know where the exact location was, but the harbormaster would probably know.

Harbor Master Klin “Eh? I’ve got all the records? The Flying Crane you say?” He looked in his records, “Shipwrecked in the Branded Mountains. It was carrying elven artwork and other decorative pieces to Gadarn. What exactly ya looking for? Aye fortunately everyone on the ship survived. I be having a list right here. I also have a list of goods if that’s whatcha looking for.”

Osay was not on the list.

“I can be giving you the located of where the ship was wrecked…may I be asking why you want to know?”

“A client wants something retrieved,” Varis lied.

The old sea dog looked up from his notes, “Oooo the Wilds? You be nuttier than a loon if you want to go there.”

Klin explined that The Wilds can only be reached by boat. The Wilds are an extremely dangerous place. The only town is Haven which is more like an outpost. Klin stressed that they would not survive without a guide. Their best bet was to find Eagle-Eye and employ one of her rangers. One of them probably knows their way around the Wilds very well. The natives in that area aren’t for the most part a welcoming bunch.


Taking the captain’s advice the sought out Eagle-Eye again and was given a halfing as a guide. Bit is a halfing originally from a cannibalistic tribe from the Wilds. As a young fella he decided he wanted to see what laid beyond the Wilds. A student of Eagle-Eye, Raina, found him in Haven and took him to Eagle-Eye after he explained his intentions.

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Morality

“Blizzard dragon!” Malbert roared, “Jade and I will take of that. Najar, Antoinette take care of the dead ones!”

They had been walking through a vast ice canyon when a roar had interrupted their musings of how the hell a place like this could fit into a dungeon. With the dead also bursting from the ground and their rogue friend that suffering from a episode of frost bite the heroes they began their assault.

The undead were dispatched easily followed by an wind elemental made of air and rock. The undead were struck down with radiant bolts of energy.


Without resting they pressed on through the next room once they had rested. They were surrounded in a walled city with burning buildings.

“So…” Jade looked to her companions, “You’re human?”

“Speak for yourself!” Malbert grumbled.

“If I didn’t know better,” Najar interjected, “I would say we are playing the part of the outsiders against the elves of Briarthorn.”

“Foulspawn!” A grand armored warrior roared waving his sword, “Briarthorn will not fall today!”

They clashed! The elven warriors charged head first into their “enemies” spells flew and steel met with steel. Each elf warrior was cut down until only the captain was left standing.

“With my mortal body I fight to the end for Briarthorn!” He swung his sword against Malbert only to be blocked by a shield and cut down by raining steel.

The burning city disappeared and on a small platform appeared the captain still in fully battle regalia.

“Well done,” The captain shrugged, “You have defeated me in battle. I supposed I should introduce myself. I am Captain Kalon Dryearlylth and what you participated in was the last battle of Briarthorn before it became a smoldering ruin.”

“What can we do to lift you of this curse you all seem be be suffering?” Najar asked.

“Heh unlike the others I didn’t choose to stay here,” The captain scoffed, “But until Briarthorn is returned to its former glory I cannot leave not until my people get their heads out of their asses and stop bickering with the non-fey. It’s all politics now. Now let’s get you folks equipped so you can fight this new evil I heard about from these Vecna cultists who keep on bugging me!”

“Before we leave,” Antoinette spoke up, “What should we know about the cleric quarter?”

“Janin is weird,” The elf captain informed them, “His quarter I hear is different from everyone’s. He has these questions or tasks you’ll probably have to pass more mental stuff than physical.”


The cleric quarter was made from marble with golden inlays. Words of the end of the war were written on the walls. Stephen mentioned that the cure was in the inner sanctum of this place. Noe one survived here though.

To enter the cleric dungeon there was a portal of sea green energy. With his knowledge of the arcane Najar knew the portal required that each person who wished to enter must reveal his or her darkest secret. The creator of the portal would know said secret. So they whispered to the portal their secrets and one by one they fell through the floor, landing onto a polished white marble floor. For a catacomb this area was very well lit but there were no torches in sight. It dawned on them that nothing in these halls had seemed to decay. The other parts of the dungeon had a couple rocks falling, chips in the walls, or mold, but these halls were pristine. As Antoinette, Najar, Jade walked through these halls there was a presence, one could only described as angelic.

There was another set of double door they entered, which led to an enormous space. The structure they had set foot upon looked like it was placed in a blue sky floating among clouds. A wide staircase led up between two white pillars which ends could not be seen through the clouds. Statues of Avatars of the gods were placed on the ground floor, the statue of Ioun was the most grand depicted.

At the top of the stairs was an elven man dressed in chain mail with staff on his tabard. On his back was a gnarled quarterstaff. A thick brown leather bound tome rested in his hands. Slowly his closed the book and started his way down the steps.

“I am Janin Orlerith, founder of Briarthorn. I know you seek the cure to the plague which greatly diminished my people’s numbers. I also know that you seek to destroy a follower of Vecna. You shall receive both the cure and help on your noble quest if you are deemed worthy.” The cleric waved his right hand and several doors appear, “Each one of you must answer a few questions or complete a task. Do not try to lie…SHE will know if you do. we seek only truth.”


After stepping through the door there was a flash of white light that temporarily blinded Malbert. He found himself in combat with a female orc warrior. He realized he was part of a patrol when they discovered a band of them had crossed over the Ironfast border. Upon seeing them his unit attacked.

As he was about to strike the final blow an orc child stepped in front of her. He’s trembling, but ready to defend as he clutches a broken spear.

“Kill them!” His superior roared as he took on his own orc.

Malbert quickly knocked them unconscious. When his superior was finished fighting he ordered the other members of the patrol to do away with the dwarf fighter for disobeying.


Antoinette appeared in a cozy cottage with a little girl stroking a white fluffy cat by the fireplace. There was something about the girl that seemed familiar. She slowly turned sensing someone else in the room besides herself.

“You…” She yelled, “you left us with her…how could you leave us?! Why didn’t you do anything?!”

“What are you talking about?” Antoinette asked trying to calm the little girl down.

“You left us in Hope…We are no more…what reasons did you leave…if you knew what was going to happen to us would you have stayed…I thought followers of Avandra were supposed to help free people," The little said.

“We couldn’t sacrifice those people…We couldn’t have Mittens competely destory those souls,” The gnome cleric tried to explain.

“We are all dead because you wouldn’t stay!”


Najar’s eyes glazed upwards a blue dragon grand in stature loomed over him with a look of what could only be described as bemusement.

“I am Aasterinian of exarch Avandra,” The blue dragon said, “Today I give you a choice. Whatever you choose has the greater chance of coming true.”

With a wave on her talon two stand still images appeared. One image was of fifty people of varying humanoid races, they all looked beaten, worn out, and a few look like they were on the verge of death. The other image was of a young woman, who he immediately recognized; she was in a similar state if not worse than the group. Her body shows years of abuse and some of her injuries looked very fresh.

“In the south of Robur there is a harsh tyrant who has enslaved these fifty individuals to work in a mineral mine. The conditions are brutal and the death rate is high. However in this one is someone you know I believe, a certain avenger of Avandra tortured by Sultaness Barafuli. So your choices freedom for the slaves from their master or a loved one…Which would Avandra wish you choose and could you live with such a choice knowing what might happen.”

Najar overcome with emotion took a moment before answering, “Avandra would want me to free the slaves. I follow her will and it is her teachings that have brought me on this path today. I choose the many.”


The air was filled with smoke from a large bonfire that had been burning up the remains of what looks to be balhannoths. A young soldier walked up to Jade.

“Ma’am we have located the outbreak of this plague,” The human soldier pointed to a village, “What are your orders?”

“Please we haven’t done anything wrong!” Some of the women behind the wooden walls cried.

“As you know Commander this disease is easily transmittable and cannot be cured. We cannot tell who is infected except when they turn into balhannoths,” An elderly elven wizard informed her, “The afflicted humans will feel compelled to travel and spread the disease.”

“Commander!” Another soldier ran up to the deva, “The villagers are trying to escape. We have sorcerers and wizards ready with unless fire upon them at your command. What are your orders?”

“Burn it all down,” Jade ordered immediately.


“There were not any right or wrong answers. All I cared about was that you answered questions or completed tasks the way you would normally. This is just a reminder thought I do not think the likes of you need to know that there are always two sides to a coin,” The cleric walked over, “As promised the cure to the plague is yours and my assistance.”

The cleric explained that this cure to the plague was not complete. It was enough to cure the imminent threats to the elves but the long-term effects were never reversed. This is why the elves compared to ones of the past were more fragile and their left expectancy dropped from 1000 to 400 years of age. They would have to find people to work on the cure to make it more potent.

With their task done they headed back to Sanda village to talk to Abigail.


When the adventurers returned Abigail was at the counter of the scroll shop eager to hear what they had found.

“This is oh so interesting, but I have someone here that was even more eager to hear from you. I was afraid that all of you had perished after you didn’t come back in two months.”

They noticed that Abigail bowed in respect as Lek walks through the door.

“I can explain that,” Lek said, “It wouldn’t be too farfetched theory that the time in the dungeon and the outside world do not coincide. It is not strange for places of great magical power to act this way. Abigail is part of an order called Melora’s Talons. When I said I had contacts I meant it. With Ixen and Abigail help I was able to track you down. Just wanted to check how you were faring.”

They explained what they found out so far about Osay and the cleric of Melora merely nodded then turned her attention to the child. At which the heroes explained that Stephen was/is part of Osay’s Vecna cult and that he was a warlock.

Lek summoned the devil devil that had the pact with Stephen freeing his soul.

Now on to Sein Lenn to find Ina and the name of the boat Osay had left on many years ago.

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It Eats Magic Stuff...Damnit

The walls were made of jasper with shadowy figured that since to dance with the flicker of torchlight. The quarter however did live up to its name. There was danger at every turn, danger in the form of large skeletal bats and rotting undead.

As they moved the silver ancient elven script spoke about a series of battles versus the outsiders. Before the door to the main quarter there was a corpse with metal armor that looked as if it had been eaten. With a deep breath Malbert burst into the room only to be cornered by Fey Spiders and giant rust monsters.

The battle was a long one, but out heroes did not come out unscathed. One of the larger monstrosities had eaten Malbert’s scale armor leaving him in only a suit of chainmail. On thing that is notable is that the giant room they entered that was a forest turned into a large stone room. It seemed that that this dungeon turned into a habitat most suitable for a monsters.

The next room also had another corpse in front of the door. This was belonged to a Vecna cultist and he looked like he had froze to death.

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It's a Trap

After resting briefly in the room that connected all four mazes they descended into the rogue maze. Only after taking a few steps into the maze our heroes were attacked…by spectral tentacles and vampires (who don’t fucking sparkle). Eventually the vampires were smited and Najar and Varis disabled the piece of artwork that was controlling the tentacles.

They crept deeper and deeper into the maze and soon found themselves surrounded by coffins. Malbert literally stomped his way into the middle of the room and waved his axe about like a madman. Several zombies and fleshy toddler sized creatures came bursting from the stone storage units. It was as if some deity used from crummy cliches to express this very obvious turn of events.

After the defeat of many things that are undead and die in one blow someone found a secret door. It turned out to be a portal of some kind, whether it was one or two was was not known by Najar. After a short prayer to Avandra he took a leap of faith and ended up at the bottom of a set of stairs. He was also able to stick is arm into the portal and have it shown on the other side. The signal that way was safe was delivered to his compatriots.


The walls of this place were aventurine, green tiny sparkled shine in the torch light. The artwork here was drawn in black and looked like they were meant to resemble shadows. Among the artwork are the silver words that continue to tell of Briarthorn’s history, distrust of one of the envoys. The death of the diplomat, Vanya Dindae and the outsider’s daughter, Beatrice Novala.

The rogue spied with his little eyes a tripwire and disabled it only one of his stature could. Unfortunately he didn’t see the other two and two very large darts came flying from the wall. It was soon discovered that the whole corridor before them were lined with tripwires. Working together and using unusual techniques such as swinging axes and having spirit cats run through said wires they were able to clear the way.

Other traps that encountered included spikes that fell from the ceiling, which they got through by tapping the floor tiles that corresponded with the area the spikes were. A crumbling floor which Jade helped the other members get across by nailing rivets into the walls.

There were other traps that awaited them including a huge magnetic boulder which was disabled and during the disarming process a bag of holding was found.


Near the end of the chaotic trapped dungeon they entered a corridor that our heroes noticed as they walked down it they became smaller. At the end of said corridor they was a mural that circumnavigated the entire room. It was of our intrepid heroes’ history. It started at the very beginning at Vox, Gadarn where two of the original party members were employed by the Archmage Redgar Callon. The mural however ended in the future where they were fighting a black robed man. Across from this depiction of the an epic battle Varis noticed a very well dressed elf who seemed to be observing him.

Suddenly the black robed man who our heroes figured must’ve been Osay came out of the mural into a flesh and blood state. They tried attacking him head on while Varis snuck to the elf on the other side of the room. The elf turned out to be Vanya Dindae, the diplomat that was murdered by the outsiders which in turn caused the War of the Wilds. He wasn’t very helpful in the battle they currently were fighting.

Antoinette had a brilliant idea and walked over to the painting with the eternal chalk and drew X’s over the eyes of the still paint Osay. The flesh and blood “Osay” disappeared and Vanya stood up and clapped.

“Bravo,” Vanya smiled, “That was damn creative. I will now answer any questions you have.”

“We’re here for a treasure clue,” Najar responded, “We were led to believe that it was here.”

Vanya pulled out from his pockets a golden ivy leaf key and some parchment, “Strange story about these items. I believe they were left here by a Etil Moica. Amazing woman, came here and cleaned out the place by herself and told me to give these things to adventurers that sought them.”

Diplomat Vanya explained in greater detail that the war really came about over a grave misunderstanding. The outsider’s king sent his daughter Beatrice Novela as an ambassador to Nanenlaer. Beatrice and Vanya were by themselves when she had an aneurysm and the elf was blamed for murder. Diplomat Vanya was killed by the outsiders and the war began. Like Archmage Lenn he is bound to this

“So the warrior quarter should be opened right now. I don’t know much about it since it was built after I died, but I know Captain Kalon Dryearlylth. He led the army against the outsiders in cause some of you haven’t been reading,” Vanya glared at Malbert who rolled his eyes, “Loves a challenge.”

“Guess it is too the warrior quarter then,” Jade checked the sharpness of her blade, “I can use some action.”

“Enough of this stuffy scholar shit,” Malbert spat, “I need some action too.”

“Before you leave I have one more piece of advice. The child you have, he seems to still hold this Osay figure in high regard. I would watch him if I were you.”

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Mimes, Clowns, and Puppets

Our heroes decided to back track in the mage maze. As they walked back, Malbert slammed into something knocking him off his feet. Upon closer inspection there seemed to be a invisible wall that had the same feel as glass. The arcane runes inscribed on the walls were the power source, but it was impossible with their limited arcane knowledge to disable them. They had no choice but to go down the stairs at the other end of the maze.


The bright torches illuminated the walls as they descended down the st Their white faces are illuminated by the staircase. When they approached the last step they entered a room with containing glowing blue floor tiles. However the room was not empty. Figures…three of them were adorned with black and white striped shirts with loose fitting black pants. The other three had long black and white stripped robes that reached the floor.

Mimes…accompanied with a floor laced with lightning proved problematic but not impossible.

As the last mime fell onto the floor, there was a clicking noise. A door on the far side of the room opened slowly and from the other side circus music poured out. On this giant platform more enemies appeared. Four of the figures had painted white faces, orange hair, with a round rubbery noses and wearing polka dotted attire, and they were juggling. The three others on the platforms were dressed similar only they had fake flora sticking out of their pockets were using a wand for blowing bubbles.

What sort of people would make a dungeon full of beloved childhood figures!


After defeat of the magical clowns the wall in the back of the room receded opera house area. Lined all over the walls were silver ancient elven script, on the ceiling was an exquisite painting of an elven glade with wood nymphs depicted. Rows of red velvet chairs placed in front of a stage with a red curtain trimmed with gold were in front of the stage.

An voice echoed throughout the hall, “Please be seated, tonight’s show will begin momentarily.”

Without any apparent enemies to battle our heroes took their seats. Trumpets sounded signifying the beginning of the show. The curtain revealed a small wooden stage. On the stage there was a sign that says “Weapons Safety By Lou, Shoe, and Blue”.

A few minutes after the puppets disappeared an elf with sharp facial features walked out from behind the stage.

“I am Archmage Lenn and I hope you enjoyed tonight’s entertainment. This is the most excitement I have had in thousands years!”

The archmage was dead cursed to live in his part of the catacombs until Briarthorn was restored to its former glory. He provided the with the following information. The rune they were looking for was in the warrior quarter. The cure to the plague was in the cleric quarter and the treasure clue would probably be in the rogue quarter.

He said, “The catacombs were designed in segments. The rogue and warrior quarter were long built after I died so I do not know much about them.”

“I had other visitors not so long ago. They did not stay for the show. Cultists of Vecna," He was visibly disgusted, "I threw as many constructs as I could at them but they came in waves. A few were able to slip through my fingers. They came for the recipe for the plague. I doubt it will be very effective for them. My people were only able to figure out enough to cure it, the true strength of it is known to these outsiders. I do not know anything about them since they were before my time. The catacombs are more like a trial than a tourist destination. It decided for you the order you must go. You chose the mage quarter; I sense the rogue quarter unlocking.”

Recipe for the plague- Using the famous eladrin wizard’s Andraste Bein theory of attaching specific arcane energies to a person. Using this theory the outsiders were able to attach certain magic properties and have them recognize the natural magical aura of a race. The reading of the aura had to be in a specific range. Auras on a person range, but they seem to stay within a specific for different races.

Auras do not necessarily predict anything, it is just another type of identification a person has, but the outsiders were able to use the elf aura ranges. Lenn says it sounds like the elves were attack and not the gnomes or eladrins. He has his own theory for this. Gnomes and eladrins probably have their own ranges. If the magic was adjusted to sweep the whole range of aura from gnomes, eladrins and elves, the outsiders may have been victims of their own plague.


Now they head into the rogue…

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Into the Catacombs

A line of beautifully carved sarcophagi lined the wall. Torches illuminated the area. Each sarcophagus depicted fey humanoids most of them appeared to be elves of upper middle class. Along the walls there were silver words written in ancient elven script.

Varis, Antoinette, and Harbinger concluded that the script told of the history of Briarthorn, its founding and its prosperity. The primary founder was a cleric of Ioun named Janinin, a distant cousin King Astaldo Celenarta, Nanenlaer’s first formal ruler. Briarthorn was at first a place where scholars met, discusses theories, research and what not.

While they deciphered the script another set of footsteps echoed throughout the halls accompanied by the clanking for armor. Varis disappeared into the shadows creeping around corners to find the noisy intruders. Wrights clad in heavy plate accompanied by armored jars that contained brains. The brains in jars sensed the others and hovered past the hidden half-elf to attack.

(Queue Victory Music)


Peering into the dim light they saw at the end of a hallway there were a set of stairs leading down. At the base of the staircase a body in a black robe sat in front of a large ordinate door decorated with ironwood twisted in abstract shapes. The body itself was of a young teenage woman with black hair. Around her neck was a necklace with an eye pendant made of iron. She had died of suffocation.

Varis fiddled with the lock on the door clicks several times and they opened slowly revealing a large circular room, torches lit this area. Like the first room there were words written along the walls, but this time they are also pictures carved into the black rock which resembled obsidian. In the center of the room was a circular raised platform. A row of enemies watched you from the other side of a trench. A long necked catoblepas, accompanied by nighthawks, and several burly skeletons with flails.

Our intrepid heroes succeed defeating their enemies. When Malbert drew them near to his being Harbinger made it difficult for them to move.

After the battled the party finally had time to read the walls. The ancient scripture on the wall here continued telling of the history of Briarthorn mostly about rulers that governed the small town eventually having it evolve into one of the largest centers for primal and arcane studies thanks to the archmage, Lenn Maeg Namo.

Najar’s sharp eyes spied a glinting light that turned out be a key. When they inspected the circular platform, they saw it was made of a blue agate laced with mithril with many deep incisions slice across the circle. In the very center of the platform was a keyhole. They inserted the key round platform dropped and created stairs leading down into a dimly lit circular stairwell.

At the bottom of the stairwell they arrived into a plain stone gray square room with double doors on each wall. There wasn’t any writing on the wall in here, but there was what looked to be body with the same robes as the girl upstairs. This recently deceased person was about 13 years old, human, wearing a crude necklace made from a leather strap and a wooden eye.

Without a clear direction they picked a door and went through it. The walls of this place were made of hematite. So polished that they reflected an obscure a distorted images. Other than the silver words of Briarthorn’s history which were hard enough to make out there were no other images on the walls. The writing told of the exchange of knowledge with the outsiders. Harbinger then placed a hand on the wall…there was eruption of white light and arcane runes appeared. However no one in the party could figure out what they did.

The rest of the maze were uneventful until they reached the end when they encountered a young boy cornered by some rot grub zombies. After easily dispatching the zombies they learned that the boy was named Stephen and he had been part of Osay’s group that was dispatched to Briarthorn. Winifred and the older cultist had forced to further scour the catacombs after they had the majority of the information they needed. The boy also informed them that the catacombs were split into four quarters rogue, warrior, cleric, and mage. Only a few of the older cultists made it back from the inner sanctums of these quarters.

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Fire!

The sun had set several times over course of their journey as they transverse the coast. Though they found the occasional fishing village here and there it was not until they reached the large coastal town Qizan when they were able to find an adequate sea faring vessel.

As night fell the buildings cast long shadows upon ground. The marketplace was filled with the sounds of collapsing wooden poles and folding of linen awnings. The adventurers decided to stay at a comfortable bed and breakfast called Anya’s Home. While there Varis scouted the room looking for valuables and scout to see who else was staying at the inn. There were two others an elven noblewoman from Nanenlaer and a eccentric jeweler who rented out the whole third floor.


In the early morning the clanging of bells sound through the air, followed by voices chanting in almost perfect unison. Dressed in orange robes resembling more like rags they walked barefoot through the dirt packed streets, the younger ones trailed behind the bell carriers holding onto chipped clay bowls. The monks knocked on doors and almost instantaneously denizens walked out and scooped food into their waiting bowls. A silent prayer and a small gesture of thanks were given in return and the process repeated.

The these beggar-monks Najar explained to his companions do not worship a single god. They primarily believed in accumulating good karma and giving karma who donate to them.

At breakfast coincidentally the eccentric jeweler was heading up to Nanenlaer to do business, brought them to the harbor, and took them to the captain of the ship he was taking. Eventually they were hired by The Lively Jeremy, who’s captain, Captain Arboreal, could not pay them but offered them free passage in exchange for their protection.

The ship’s crew was made up of 30 individuals, 14 humans, 6 elves, 3 dwarves, 2 half-elves, 2 half-orcs 2 halfings, 1 minotuar. The captain explained that he was originally from Nanenlaer, but relocated to Leona when he was four. He hung around shipyards a lot and was eventually taken in by an old seadog who taught him the ropes. He was just fifteen when he started life as a real sailor. He is now a successful merchant. Most of the elves on his crew were from Blanchon or the Broken Isles and they were the ones who did business for him in Nanenlaer. The shipment that the Lively Jeremy was carrying were metals from Ironfast. With good weather it should take them 2 weeks to reach Port Rion, one of the smaller ports of Nanenlaer.


“Pirates!”

“The ship is taking on water, get down there to bail!” Captain Arboreal barked.

“Captain we won’t have enough men on the cannons!” The first mate shouted.

“Get the mercenaries to help ye!”

Cannons rained from the sky smashing into the floorboards. A large bulk of the crew headed below deck to pump out the water. Several sailors grabbed the hands of the adventurers and pulled them over to the cannons…pack powder, lift cannonballs, and lighting fuses. The pirates came closer and closer until Najar was able to teleport his comrades onto the ship and took the fight to those heathens.

“Come get some!” Malbert taunted the mostly female pirate crew to his position.

After the death of the gnome Captain Ronaldo most of the crew who weren’t dead surrendered and once again they had obtained another ship for a lucky captain. Captain Arboreal ordered a small portion of his crew to sail the other ship.


Thunder cracked! Sailors on the ship clamored about. The wind howled kicking up any particles it can… sand, tiny pieces of wood, flecks of gunpowder, turning them into a deadly projectiles. Lightning flashed illuminating the black sky. Immediately after thunder roars, the white beast has emerged. Wood splintersed as barrels were slammed into one side of the ship.

“Aaaahhh!!!!” The ship violently tipped to the side throwing several men overboard.

“Get those sails down!” A sailor ordered, “Try to get those men back up!”

A young human sailor, froze in fear, Antoinette slapped him out of his stupor. Varis and Jade dodged out of the way of cannons which fasting had snapped. Pulling the rope, Najar and Harbinger helped lower a sail. Malbert pulled up sailors who had been thrown over board.

Two of the sails were brought down quickly. Sailors on the other mast were struggling to get it pulled down. The rope was struck. Flashes of light illuminated the sheer horror on the men’s faces as the lightning used one of the masts as a lightning rod and the sail caught on fire. The crew was now in panic. Just as things looked like they could not get any worse murphy’s law kicked in and the ropes that held piece of canvas in place broke and the fiery sail came billowing down onto the deck.

The deck was now on fire from the tar that was used to waterproof the planks. An explosion was heard from the bow of the ship, the force sent several men crashing into the sides of the boats, but others fall into the water like sacks of potatoes.

“Shit the fire got into the black powder…GET TO THE BOATS!” A sailor ordered.

The remnants of the crew leaped to the sides to get into rowboats.

“In here, hurry!” A sailor roared.

The adventurers and the sailor lowered the boat quickly into the water. The ocean churned violently tossing the little rowboat every which way. The sailor looked out into the water, his face pale and eyes almost impossibly wide. They were like black spires looming in the distance. Giant jagged pieces of stone, if struck would shatter the rowboat. The waves hurled the small boat against the rocks leaving a large gash. The boat begins to take on water. Lightning struck again this time onto the rock. The magnitude of the shock-waves was so great they were knocked unconscious.


They woke up in a bad state. Miraculously the six of them were still together surely the gods had smiled upon them, but there was no sign of the sailor that accompanied them. Large splinters of wood washed up on shore are the only evidence of what was experienced last night.

Najar once again conjured some mystical dolphins and they rode through what they thought were the forests of Nanenlaer. During their journey they tangoed with some grumpy owlbears. Soon they happened upon an elven village which happened to be 150 miles from Briarthorn.

The village of Sanda was nothing short of spectacular. Harbinger was reminded of when the world was still young and chaotic but patches of serenity like this provided a safe sanctuary. Tall trees with thick green lush crowns similar to giant mangroves sat in a lake. Thick trunks are so big the elves were able to carve them out into housing, leaving the tree still alive. There were green lights on the trunks glowing turn out to be illuminated fungi, while the lights in the buildings themselves glow orange, probably firelight. Transportation boat…similar to gondolas.

Antoinette played it off to the denizens that her comrades were her entourage and she was on a mission to explore Briarthorn. After staying at an inn they visited the local scribe an elder elf called Abagail, who gave them more information about Briarthorn.

The ancient city was one of the largest centers of magic in the world. This attracted humans from the other side of the globe to them. These humans were technologically and magically advance. At first the elven and human races got along. It is unclear what started the War of the Wilds, but it ended when the human let loose plague on Briarthorn that only affected elves and eladrins. The humans went back to their home and the fey were left to dwell on their mistakes.

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Thoslin Babies

Our intrepid adventurers traveled the dunes on their mighty…dolphins. Najar had conjured some transportation earlier in the shape of celestial dolphins… During their travel they encountered some aggressive trolls and land sharks that tried to tear them apart.

Forward they went to find a coastal town that had boats that would take them to Port Azul in Nanenlaer, the closest harbor to Briarthorn.


When they continued their journey they were once again halted. A band of bandits had besieged some merchants at an oasis. Several of the merchants lied dead around the feet of the bandits. Our adventurers immediately without a second though swooped in and defeated the bandits.

“Well that takes care of that,” Malbert inspected his blood covered axe.

“You’re a miracle worker!” A woman from the caravan cried, she trotted over to Harbinger, “Maybe you can help us cure this cursed plague!”

Harbinger stood there motionless as a merchant scoffed, “There is no cure.”

Jillian explained to the adventurers she came from a coastal village called Amaville. Their village has been besieged by a plague that has affected them for more than two generations. With them were merchants from Drudge who supply them with Thoslin, a medicine that lessens the severity of the symptoms. Thoslin can only be grown in Drudge because of the special soil they have there. Most of Amaville’s income is used to buy this medicine, which is enough for two shipments a year. The adventurers were suspicious of this transaction and went to the village themselves to see what was going on.

After questioning and interrogating the villagers and merchants our heroes discovered that the drug Thoslin was a narcotic more commonly known as on the streets as scratch. Long ago the merchants snuck it into the village and the plague the villagers though they had was actually withdrawal sypmtons. The adventurers threatened the merchants back to Drudge and came up with a plan to wean the villagers off the drug.

Grateful for their help the villagers reward them with some treasures.


Then our heroes on newly acquired camels from the merchants fought some gnolls at some oasis and won.

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Eyes of the Tigers

During the party Antoinette noticed Arktor speaking with Rana at great length about something. She overheard her say something about Hill Giants to the north of Robur and her people’s efforts to exterminate them. It seemed as if she’s doing a little recruiting of her own. Eventually she saw the Goliath leave with the chieftain.


The large scout guided them through the narrow alleyways of the slums. After fifteen minutes of weaving through this territory, they arrived at the house Varis tracked him to earlier. It looked like any other home dingy stone-mud like walls and broken windows the edges of the glass long worn down. The scout knocked on the down a few times, a few knocks responded his, and he knocked a few more times before they heard a click.

The interior of the room was dim, this room led to a warehouse full of crates. a large unfinished cedar desk sat at the back of the warehouse and at it sat a young delicate human woman with strands of auburn hair sticking out of her headscarf and hazel eyes. There was also another woman in the room, a tall slender pale-green deva. The two stop speaking to each other as once the adventurers entered the room.

“Ah Asad! It’s good to see you and these must be the other potentials you told me about.”

“Yes Lady Fellah,” Asad bowed.

The one known has Lady Fellah stood from behind her desk and circled around them for a few moments.

“Asad tells me you are an invoker, tell me who do you revere?” Lady Fellah asks with that small smile. She also inquires to Antoinette, Harbinger and the others.

The adventurers answered the questions thrown at them, but the woman seemed to sense their deceit.

“Hm Asad as usual your choice in warriors is superb unfortunately their words do not match their hearts…try not to make a mess. I shall return soon.”

However Lady Fellah was not able to escape before Najar, the deva Jade, and Varis were upon her. Fellah revealed to them that they were surrounded by Dragonmaul dwarves. They all went back inside finished Asad the were tiger and his dire tiger pets.

Lady Fellah, who turned out to be a doppelganger explained that she did not wish to engage in combat. She explained that she was a sort of information broker trading information for the highest bidder. She had no allegiance to the Sultaness or any of the warlords. Apparently the Dragonmauls were unsatisfied with the information she provided them and also they were after the adventurers because of the death of Love Dragonmaul.

“Killing two birds with one stone,” Lady Fellah explained.

She made them a deal, if they killed the dwarves in exchange for her life she would tell them everything she knows about Barafuli.

“Violet, we know you’re in there come out!” Just then a molotov was thrown threw the window…


The doppelganger was then knocked out to prevent her from getting away. Harbinger was tasked to carrying the unconscious female around.

After the dwarves and the hell hounds were dispatched. The brought the doppelganger to an inn with some drugs they found in the warehouse which they will attempt to sell later.“Lady Fellah” started to talk whist being blindfolded and tied up.

“Don’t let the southern warlords fool you, the south is not as stable as it looks. Hell the southern warlords are just puppets at this point. There are several major rivals in the south one being Barafuli the others are a group known as the Sand Knives, a group of eladrins, who are known for their ability to redirect attacks at their opponents. Their master is unknown, but it is said that several major cities in the south pay tribute to him. There are also many other rivals.”

Fellah had only seen Barafuli three times in her life. The last time was fairly recently about six months back at one of her hideouts. The rumors were true; she does changes homes often and erratically. Her main goal is to rule the north, especially gain control of the oases to the north therefore controlling trade in Robur and eventually controlling the country itself.

She also said that Barafuli has four trusted generals who watch over chucks of her “empire” and explained in detail who and where they were.

The last interesting thing she revealed was that Sultaness Barafuli recently allied herself with someone called the “Dark One”. The adventurers had a hunch that it was Osay. Apparently she had been sending assistance to him in Briarthorn.

“Now that I have held up my part of the bargain, may I leave?” Fellah looked impatient; “Once the Dragonmauls get whiff that I am alive they’ll send more people after me. And I don’t want to stay here long. Or…you betray me and cut me where I stand?”

Being the good people they were they let her go and now head to Briarthorn tasked with two things…to find out what the Dark One is up to and to find the next treasure clue.

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Two by Two

Springtime in Robur is always very warm, the blazing heat comes from the sand which is bombarded with the sun’s rays all day. Caravans would often tell those interested in traveling the sea of sand to travel them in early morning or night using the constellations to navigate by.

Eagle-Eye mentioned to the adventurers about caravans visiting the local oases to the south. Since slavers are common in Robur caravan welcome adventurers to act as mercenaries. A particular caravan carrying dates and salt to Fort Granite was currently at one of the closer oases near her commune. She also mentioned a tournament going on in about a week at the city with many important people visiting for the festival.

The adventurers with sick Arktor in tow they find the merchants who have only been at camp for a few hours. They gladly accept them into the caravan as mercenaries. The merchants tell the adventurers that the festival honors the birth of Chieftain Kural, the one who united Robur many years ago. Every year the main event is a two on two tournament. The prize is entry into Warrior’s Rest where they found out Darrish Franks was buried for his heroics.

The caravan leader told everyone that when night falls then it would be time to head out. Fort Granite was a week’s journey.


A week later they arrived early morning at Fort Granite, the city was built in the center of a crater of the remnants of a great mountain. The story of Fort Granite was that Kord himself in a battle against a demon, threw his opponents into mountain and the monster left a crater there.

The city itself was vast, each building was made with granite, but most of them were low on the ground for cooling purposes. The vendors were putting up stalls for selling and games the fair would have. There was talk among the town about the main event at midday, the annual tournament. This year’s prize was a choice of armor and weapons that once belonged to the recently deceased Warlord Ulan.

The rules of the tournament were that anyone could enter, there was no killing allowed, no magic armor, implements, or weapons, magical items were allowed- necks, boots, rings, etc. Each fight is two versus two. Each person fought until they were either unconscious or surrenders.

Varis decided to scope out the other competitors among them were a famous rogue duo Tik and Tok, a friendly warlock and her bard partner Mute, and the favorites of the tournament a cleric named Lansing and his partner a barbarian called Bobo.

Varis and Malbert decided to enter as one team and Najar and Harbinger would be the other. Antoinette sat in the stands observing the attendees trying to spot anyone suspicious while collecting bets. It was rumored that a scout would be watching the duels for potential employees for Sultaness Barafuli.


During the battles Antoinette saw the scout in question a few rows below her and she heard an interesting tidbit that Calli Ba, wife of a minor warlord who possessed a ring called Sehanine’s Tear, was going to be at a party at the Sandy Dunes. The duels went quickly each respective team squashing their opponents until it was Najar and Harbinger versus Varis and Malbert. Eventually Varis “fell unconscious” therefore making the other team the winners.

Right after the tournament they decided to hurry up and get the next treasure clue before pursuing other interests. The grave was easily found and the clue was a piece of wood, which according to Harbinger came from a old wilden. One the piece of wood was ancient Elven text which said Briarthorn. Harbinger knew that Briarthorn was a glorious city in northern Nanenlaer while Najar knew the place has be desolate since the War of the Wilds.


Varis decided to go after larger prey and headed off to the Sandy Dunes for Calli Ba’s ring while the others went to a party they were invited to to feast with the three warlords. The wily rogue was able to steal the ring and soon the scout that was at the tournament showed up and present them a grand opportunity to be employed. The adventurers acted interested in the offer and the scout told them he had to have an employer just check them out first.

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