Pondera

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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Yes...Orphans...Underwater...

Surprisingly though she had traveled many times before on boat, it was the combination of seasickness and food poisoning from a sailor’s fish that had made the gnome cleric ill and unfit for strenuous activity. Arktor also had fallen ill to the movements of the boat and the scaly dinner.

One day while enjoying the sun and the sea on the deck the unshakable (yeah right) Captain Arab burst forth from his cabin, his pet hissing cockroach barely clinging to his shoulder.

“Me grandpa’s watch chain! WHICH ONE OF YE SCURVY DOGS STOLE IT!”

The ship was on high alert. Sailors were going to and fro searching for the watch chain when Najar out of the corner of his eye noticed a person he hadn’t seen before. The new guy turned out to be a half-elf rogue who had stolen the chain, but thinking quickly he was about to pretend he found in hidden in the corner of the ship not to mention he also fooled Malbert. Najar recognized his skills and offered him a spot on the team. Varis was his name, accepted for the retirement was a boring thing.

After journeying many days on the high seas, through bracken waves the adventurers arrived at Pt. Sutchensutch on Kharl.

They asked the local sailors about the shipwreck on the mural, the sailor knew of the story. Many years ago a ship called the Wayward’s Reins was struck by a giant squid named Ted. (The squid was named by the survivor of the wreck). The squid has long been dead, but the shipwreck was still there. The sailor said if they’re going to check out the wreckage beware of the flesheating sharks and sahuagin. They slaughter and devour anything they can catch, raiding coastal settlements in the dead of night. Potions of water breathing were sold by local alchemist. If they wanted to get to the wreckage with enough gold coin they could probably hire a fishing boat to take them out there. The wreckage was about fifty miles southwest from whence it first came, from Wayward.


First thing first was that our heroes had to purchase potions of water-breathing, but Najar also wanted to obtain a scroll of water-breathing for his ritual book. At the scribe’s shop Varis using his superb skills told the keeper that they needed the scroll, because they were going to take some orphans to an orphanage and they were using an underwater route. The shopkeeper was hesitant in believing him until Donna pulled the puppy dog eyes on her. They were given the scroll for much less than market price.

Then it was off to the alchemist for those potions. The keeper of this store was a burly old man with sahuagin heads all over the shop. Najar told to old man they were going to hunt these creatures for the sealord and he immediately sold them potions at a much lower price.


They were able to find a boat that would take them to the shipwreck. The ship was a whaling vessel that hunted minke whales. The adventurers would pay for the voyage, but since they were headed down to the shipwreck the sailors mentioned if they found and killed a shark for them that would cover their expenses since they are considered a delicacy among nobles.

The shipwreck was infested with sahuagins and sharks. Malbert’s blood flowed freely as the sharks and sahuagins struck him again and again in order to draw their fire away from his friends. The enemies were eventually defeated…but alas there was no treasure clue nor a golden ivy key to be found!


After some thought and remembering that the treasure clues may not be as straight forward as they seem they decided to go to Wayward on Lanx since that’s where the ship first came from. They were able to use the boat they were on before and headed to Wayward. There was a large graveyard near the town which happened to have a grave to Ethil Moica. In it was a tattered flag and a rusty dagger with the initials D.F.


After that they went to Eagle-Eye’s commune to drop off Donna and they found about local happenings in Robur. Eagle-Eye was especially amused when Varis started to ask about potential thief targets which she nonchalantly provided.

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So many things happening...arrrrr!!!

Najar volunteered to care for the horses for a while since Arktor got stuck with that duty too often. Travelers coming from the south had reported the weather has been surprisingly good. There hadn’t been many snow showers or ice storms so the roads weren’t too bad.


The cliff roads were quiet with the occasional light wind that bit the skin of the adventurers every so often. Najar and Antionette turned their heads. A rock trickled from the rock walls above soon massive boulders fell, block the road from which they came from.

“For the Dragonmauls!!!” Dwarves in chain-mail and mauls screamed from above.

Like their counter parts from the Musty Yak they were easily dispatched without mercy. On the mafia members they found sketches of themselves and angry words from their leader Valon. Just your another average day in the life of an adventurer.


Teetum was lightly coated by a layer of fluffy white snow. Dwarves were moving about completing their errands. After traveling for a couple more miles through the town to the mouth of the small river they saw Ixen’s red painted brewery. Darvar, the dwarf that met them at the door the first time they came once again, was there to greet them.

“Ah it be ye again,” He bowed slightly, “How can I be of service?”

“Where is Ixen?” Harbinger growled, he was clutching his fist so hard his knuckles were turning white.

Darvar furrowed his brow, “He is a little tipsy at the moment just to warn ye.”

“Take me to him…”

Ixen was more than a little tipsy. He commented about Zeetryder’s changed personality and about the last question that was written in the book.

When Harbinger started questioning Ixen he sobered up immediately and acted very arrogant. He told him something along the lines of not needing to report to anyone. Ultimately he revealed that the book was now channeling a power source that appeared to be non sentient.

“Imagine this,” The tiefling wizard said to them, “a bowl of water with a pipe in the side going down a slope. There isn’t any control valve or other mechanisms of the kind. Water in the bowls with the force of gravity goes down hill. That is what the book is like, with no god to control who can use it, anyone can use it.”

Ixen went on saying he would like to see if this is a trend with relics. He was very upset when Lek told him she banished Melora’s Talon, but he knew her reasons. If he could get his hands on another relic, see if the power source if changing with that one, maybe he could trace the new power source.

He told them to keep an eye out for one. Asking questions to the book doesn’t require a steady stream of power and the book needs a small amount of down time before another question could be asked again. This is why he hadn’t been able to locate the new power source.

Ixen told them if they are headed to Valido to get the journal he’ll send word to Archmage Asha to grant them permission to use the main library. It wouldn’t make very much sense for them to go back to Ixen so they should see Lek and discuss their next move with her once they get the book. It is only a day or two journey to see her.


Winter has fallen on the great plains of Leona. A blanket of white has covered corn and wheat fields alike. Every once in a while they past white-tailed deer nibbling on twigs as theyed walk through the snow.

A loud furious roar filled the air. One of the deer they spotted turned around only to find itself seconds later in the sharp jaws of a large lizard. Several other giant lizards with sails on their backs looked at the deer dejectedly, but then spot the adventurers. Their gazes looked hungry.

They were turned into dinosaur hamburgers thirty seconds later.


The grand city hadn’t changed much from the first time the adventurers visited. The tower of the Thundrom Order stood in front of a sky of blue with a light coating of ice on the roof. Near that structure stood the queen’s castle with its more elegant spires and walls of white. As they approached the gate two guards halted them.

“If you have any arcane users in your group they are required to register with us before coming into the city. This is a decree by Queen Victoria Valido.” The guard said.

Since our brave adventurers did not have any wielders of the arcane with them they were allowed to pass through without any trouble. Straight to the Thundrom Tower they headed.

In the tower library Archmage Asha herself appeared before them. She was a regal light purple deva with white markings on her face. She owed Ixen a few favors so saw it personally to retrieve the item they wanted. The adventurers thanked her and left.


After reading the journal they discovered that Osay was actually a warlock that somehow fooled the wizards. It was odd, because warlocks were hated within Thundrom and either Osay was a very good actor or was very powerful and could hide his true power from the older wizards. They also found out he grew up in Nanenlaer and his family was killed for being associated with him.

When they got to Wingfall, Lek asked the adventurers to check out Osay’s hometown and Sein Lenn and try to find the woman mentioned in the journal named Ina and the Watery Foot store her family owned. The journal’s last entry was one year before Ixen saw the quiet lad. The old cleric wanted to know how he was able gain his power so quickly, how he was able to hide himself from the other wizards.

Saint Lek also had one more task to bestow upon them. Donna, the orphan girl the adventurers brought to the matron, had showed great athletic capabilities and since she already an animal companion she wished the adventurers to take her to a ranger called Meru better known as Eagle-eye. She lived in a commune on the border of Dorenthil and Robur. They agreed.


Lek was able to bargain with the cheap Captain Arab to allow the adventurers on the ship as mercenaries. It was a good thing he let them on the ship because a few hours out to sea pirates attacked!

They were easily massacred and now our adventurers are on their way to Kharl, a Broken Isle to first check out the clue from the mural.

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So this Ghost Poesses this Gnome...

They rested for a few days at the Interesting Mountain Inn. By the time the adventurers headed out of Nortek, travelers from the north coming into the city spoke of traveling conditions. The previous ice storm had made traveling a perilous endeavor, making cliff roads much more slippery than usual. The four days it would normally take for a caravan to travel now takes five to six days. The usual dangers of traveling were still there, bandits, rockslides, etc.


“I see something,” Najar murmured to the others, “On the cliffs.”

Antionette’s black eyes darted ledge to ledge, “I see them too.”

Snowmen with silk top hats and carrot noses bombarded the adventurers with ice filled snowballs. The monsters cold auras cause the adventurers to have ice crystals form on their skin. Eventually the snowmen melted thanks to the invoker’s fire cat. Malbert took a silk hat to wear.


After several more days oftraveling on the icy roads, they entered the more craggy areas of the Thork mountains. The mountains here were higher than Iron mountains of Nortek. About ten miles into the mountain region among the peaks they could see dark looming structures jutting out of the rock among them were modern blocky dwarven buildings. Malbert tells his friends that Garrak used to be a necropolis for the dead.

As they approached the city, the two fur clad dwarves clutching battle axes at the gates gave them a look over and then waved them pass. Dwarves were milling about undeterred by the cold snappy weather. The alarmingly thing they noticed were specter apparitions that sort of glided past. As they journeyed in deeper they saw what looked like dwarven apparitions speaking to a pair of living dwarves.

Najar, Antionette, and Harbinger had read about the dwarven warlords that wanted to build a city there and they had to strike up a deal with the indigenous people, a number of them, that were dead. The deal was that the dead and living would live in harmony together. The ghosts were there because of tasks unfinished or they’re cursed and often they would try to obtain the help of the living to help end these curses. Some ghost however were content being as they are.

The adventurers remembered that Ixen told them that the treasure clue he gave said to search in the Bastion of the Bear in the Death Mountains. It said you needed to obtain the storm wizard’s symbol from each site to unlock the main treasure. Ixen mentioned that the symbol would be in a graveyard and the next clue that would lead you to the next site.

After asking around they discovered that there was only one graveyard close to Garrak, called Iron Bones Cemetery. It was about five miles east from the city. The grounds keeper was a fellow by the name of Torkas Belvir.


They trudged down a steadily sloping path through the mountains until they came upon a large barren valley. From a distance they could make out the heavy sturdy iron fence surrounding a sea of headstones. Just behind the opened gates was a small cozy cabin with smoking billowing out of the chimney.

They knocked on the door of the cabin, an old gruff looking dwarf with missing ring finger greeted them behind him was a large domesticated dire rat Dirt. He told them the government makes him keep a record of all the graves in the cemetery. They rarely get non-dwarves in the place so it should be easy to find their woman. He invited them in for ale. As he sets out the mugs he explained to them he had been tending to the cemetery for 25 years. Most of the time it had been very quiet, the only problem he has now and then were looters, but he’s a great shot with a crossbow. He also told them the story of how he lost his ring. Something about his ex-wife, drunkenness, and a bear trap.

After ten minutes of looking through two large tomes he old them there is only one person, non-dwarf wizard, a half-elf that is buried in the cemetery. Her name was Etil (ivy) Moica (gentle) in elven. Her grave was actually a mausoleum in the center of the cemetery. All he knew about it is that the looters that go in don’t come out. He doesn’t go in there for that very reason. He liked his life after all.


The mausoleum was an old gray structure with brown water damage on the sides. An unlock iron gate stood between them and the darkened room beyond. There were words in common scrawled above the gate reading:

Forever rest here Etil Moica,
Often the slayer of giants,
Otherwise known as Kord’s Lightning,
Lies here forever.

The tomb was dark no lighting whatsoever. The smell of mold and earth hung like a curtain in the air. When they produced a torch they saw that the walls of the tomb were covered in lichen and dark green moss.

When they entered the second floor they noticed a ghost. He wordlessly glided through a doorway. Surprisingly he was elven. He introduced himself as Talsor, a thief killed there long ago. The ghost explained that he would like to help them for he was sent into this tomb to obtain an item for the father of his love. He knew all the traps in the tomb and would leave once his task was complete. At first everyone wanted Harbinger to be the target of the possession but in the end Antoinette volunteered.

They found the tomb easily after dispatching a mummy that had been wandering the corridors of the fourth floor. Making their way back to the third floor Najar not convinced it was safe, allow his fire cat to scout ahead. There were skeletons with scimitars accompanied with a three headed skeleton and vampires.

“Death to those who take!” The Skull Lord hissed, “Death upon you!”


Talsor left them after they had taken the key off of the body of Etil Moica. After a short rest the group headed back to Nortek to warn Prince Fargrim of Robur allies, armory plans, and corruption of Oakfist’s son. Harbinger now patiently waits to travel to Teetum to confront Ixen….

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Devils...Why couldn't it be demons?

Antoinette and Zeetryder piled bodies on top of one another while Najar and Malbert selected a dwarf to interrogate. Their choice war the robe wearing spear wielding brigand who had constantly dazed the fighter. He was promptly slapped awake.

“What the hell…aw shit,” The caster groaned as he looked up at his captors.

“You’re going to tell us where the Dragonmaul hideout is,” Malbert ordered.

“This is a very nice beard,” Najar began stroking it, “I wonder how long it took you to grow it…would be a shame if it was cut unprofessionally.”

“I’ll talk I’ll talk!” The dwarf shouted, “Just don’t chop off me beard!”

The dwarf that questioned turned out to be an initiate or so he said. He explained that the hideout was in the slums quarters at the end of Etna Street. To be able to enter a member of the mafia had to place their hand upon the door and it would instantly unlock. Najar and Malbert let him go and woke up a one of the full fledged Dragonmaul members. He told them the same information as the initiate and sketched them a map of the inside. They were also merciful to him and let them go.

The adventurers quickly disposed of the remaining unconscious members and took the hands of one of them. Antoinette stopped a child on the street and handed him a letter to deliver to Lt. Rockfist and a few copper. The dwarf child nodded eagerly and sprinted off to the barracks.


Before continuing their quest they decided to get a good night’s rest. Interesting Mountain Inn was their place of choice. During the night a loud scream was heard. Najar, Antoinette, and Malbert (Arktor was with the horses again) found Zeetryder experiencing what looked to be a seizure. His coloration fluctuated, his eyes became pupil-less. Antoinette attempted to heal him to do something but his strange state wouldn’t stop. Najar touched the paladin’s hand. It was as if his very essence was leaving his body.

Two minutes later the seizure stopped and everything seemed normal. He slept on as if nothing happened. They gave him another look over and with nothing else they could do they themselves went to sleep.


In the morning Najar, Malbert, and Antionette woke up to find Zeetryder’s bed empty. They discovered him downstairs…eating his third bowl of salad.

A perky dwarven woman approached the table, “Is there anything else you would like sir?” She asked in Dwarven.

Zeetryder looked blankly at the waitress, “Could you repeat that in Common?” His speech was slow and deep.

“Hey Zeetryder,” Malbert said slowly then in Dwarven, “how are you?”

“I am fine comrade, you know I don’t speak that language,” The paladin frowned.

“What do you speak?” Antionette quirked her brows.

“Common and Elven.”

“I need to go to the bathroom,” Malbert said.

“Wait for me I need to do something in there!” The gnome followed. Najar bowed to the strange dwarf and headed into the restroom with his friends.

Moments later they emerged and started questioning Zeetryder about his past, trying to figure out what the hell was wrong with him. The paladin finally caught on.

“I see it was foolish to try to deceive you,” Zeetryder sighed, “Allow me to explain.”

The dwarf went on to tell them that Zeetryder had written in Ioun’s Book and the question he asked left him an empty shell. Ioun was in need of an agent because things weren’t working the way they were supposed to. The “new” guy called himself Harbinger, he was in the past life a wilden.

Malbert growled clearly pissed off at the loss of his drinking buddy, “What makes you think you are as capable as Zeetryder?”

“I am what you would call a runepriest and though this form is weaker than my previous one I assure you I can be an essential part of your team. I will follow you with the guarantee that you’ll take me to the one called Ixen when convenient,” Harbinger stated.

They agreed.


In the morning they traveled to the slums district to Etna Street and there at the end of it was a poor looking house. The adventurers placed the severed hand on the door and with a clicked it unlocked. Inside the room was a succubus next to a warm hearth with a small table, five dwarves were gathered again around it.

“Password?” A burly dwarf asked.

“Time to die!” Malbert unsheathed his weapon.

The battle was quick. They searched the room and found a magical helm off of one of the brigands. They moved quickly through the hallways. When they came to a certain certain of the hideout a large stone wall shut behind them. They made their way through the compound. In the mess hall they found a large group of spine devils. The were dispatched with ease.


After killing more dwarves in the sleeping quarters. They stopped at the the last door a cherry wooden one. When Malbert tested the knob was locked. He then proceeded to bash the door down. Inside there was a small bed with black sheets and an ebony desk with multiple drawers and stacks of books and papers. One the papers they look like they are for a magic ritual. They checked and discovered it was locked with what appeared to be some Arcana Mechanism. Najar easily opened the drawer, perfume waif from within.

Examining the papers they noticed a few of them are from a R.G. to a N.T. They looked like love letters. Interesting enough they found other documents, there were shipping documents of Pixie Dust and Crock Tooth (narcotics and very illegal) the document was signed by a Bazgen Oakfist. There were letters detailing the exchange of one Mattie Thunderaxe for dwarven blueprints of one the armorys outside of Nortek. The last letter was from Robur, a Sultaness Barafuli, Barafuli has agreed to send more support to Valon Dragonmaul once Vanguard became officially king and not before.

At the back wall they found a secret door that lead to the library. The sound of clapping echoed throughout the room. A beautiful dwarven woman in black robes accompanied by two spined devils rose from her seat.

“Well I see father’s hired help was incompetent as I thought, not that my devils didn’t fare any better,” She smiled evilly, “I am Love Dragonmaul, I run this district. Did Rockfist send you or did one of the councilmen? No matter I’ll find out once sear you to a crisp.”

She was strong, necrotic and fire danced from her fingertips, but eventually the adventurers were able to subdue her. They found tomes of interesting books among these were A Guide to Controlling You Devil by Theral Kiju: The Shadowfell by Kei Hye: Warlock Love by Fara Trill: Poisonous Plants of Blanchon by Varis Tenonhal: Disciplining Your Imp by Erevan Innma: Learn to Speak Deep Speech in One Week by Grendal Poka.


The hallway ended with a plain looking door. With no other way to go the adventurers when they went through said door a noise resembling the falling of rocks was heard. Apparently this secret entrance was into an armory shop.

“What the bloody hell did you do to my store?” An enraged dwarf roared.

“Would you like to buy this fine whiteflame armor?” Malbert held up the chainmail they obtained from the fallen warlock.

GET OUT!”

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Dwarven Mafia?!

The adventurers took their time to wander Ixen’s home. Zeetryder and Malbert drunk much ale that night. It would be a miracle if they weren’t plagued with hangovers in the morning. Antoinette retired to one of the guestrooms to pray and Arktor stayed with the horses. Najar traveled to Ixen’s study where the wizard was currently partaking in some spirits. When the deva entered the study Ixen merely ignored him and continued to pour his attention into the many tomes he kept.

After rummaging around for any interesting tomes, he called upon the divine powers of Avandra to guide him to a book. Unfortunately the goddess did not hear his pleas and he obtained a book of elven wine making. He poured through it regardless.


In the morning the adventurers were awaken by the sounds of a rooster crowing. Seconds later they heard someone shout something in Draconic and then in common shouting “Scorching Burst!” Outside the window sat the smothering remains of a rooster. Downstairs Darvar and black bearded dwarf placed upon the large dark oval table bowls of what looked like beef stew; the aroma is a little odd for beef stew though.

“Bear,” Najar nosed twitched, the meat wasn’t prepared properly.

Darvar ignored the deva’s criticisms and informed them, “Ixen has been in his study all night. Tells us he’s not to be disturbed, but he wants to see you folks before you leave.”

After breakfast then went to the tielfing’s study and knocked on the door. Ixen bid them to enter. The first thing they noticed was the now empty bottles of alcohol on his desk.

“Sometimes being drunk allows me to be creative,” Ixen sheepishly scratched his head, “Don’t worry the important thing is I’m sober now. How long that will last I do not know. What did I want to talk to you about again? Oh right…Since Perrin is on parole his authority is limited. I will inform Archmage Asha to write you a letter granting you permission to use the Thundrom’s library in Valido in the mean time act like normal goblins laying adventurers. Go find clues for that treasure clue parchment thing I gave you and right…Lek probably will want to see you if you decide to go to Noirchon. Anything else? Questions? I’ll contact you if I find anything important."

He gave them a red gem, “It’s a polyglot gem, this particular one I created will allow anyone who has it to be able to speak, read, and write Abyssal. Useful especially against the forces of Osay. This item also has another purpose, I can simply perform a ritual called view object. I’ve tuned the stone to purposefully glow every time I perform the ritual on it. I will be able to hear things from the object so when it glows say where you are. I will send a message shortly after. Good luck.”


The journey on the main trade road to Nortek was a long and cold one. The northern winds bit and chilled any uncovered flesh it was able to find. The mountain passages were narrow pathways carved into solid gray stone. Every so often they would pass a carving on the rock either to provide as warning or a simple “I was here” message.

After traveling for a few hours, they spotted a small person bundled up in warm clothing inspecting what looked to be a wheel on his covered wagon. Two Clydesdales stomped their hooves as a person, looked like a dwarf but it was hard to tell under all those furs, brought out a wagon wheel. The wool clad halfing peered through the heavy falling snow and waveed them over.

“Oi! You there! Can you help us for a moment?” The halfing asked when they came close enough, “Went over a nasty bump and crack our wheel in two. We could use a bit of help changing it!”

“Bloody jack ain’t in working condition! I’ll kill Yilt…" The dwarf continued to curse.

Out of the corner of his eyes Malbert could see another halfing skulking behind boulders on the roadsides.

“It’s a trap!” The dwarven fighter roared.

Their enemies fell upon the snowy ground. Their enemies fell down the cliffs. Their enemies fell screams of pain caught in their throats.


After another days travel they came upon the great captial of Ironfast Nortek. The grand city sat inside an enormous caver. Molten pools sat on either side of a bridge heading straight to the city’s arena. As the adventurers walked through the city they heard rumors of the sick king, and the two sons Vanguard and Fargrim. In dwarven politics if the king had more than two children it would be up to the council to decide on which was the better ruler. Unfortunately the vote was split in half on either side. This caused a lot of turmoil in the nation.

First order of business was to sell the treasure they had accumulated over their excursions. As they moved through town Antoinette paused in front of an antique shop. Loud bags accompanied by muffled voices was heard in the tiny store. A scream was followed then another crash. Zeetryder and Malbert busted through the door to find several rugged dwarves shaking down an elderly one.

Words were exchanged briefly and a brawl ensued.The battle was quickly won and the shopkeeper explained that he was Gogrin Earthminer, arts and antique collector. The men the adventurers had killed were part of a dwarven mafia called the Dragonmauls. They had moved in last year and began “asking” shops to pay an insurance fee. Gogrin was being shaken down because his fee had jumped from 15 to 30 gold pieces a month.

“Do you know where we can find these Dragonmauls?” Malbert asked the elder dwarf.

“No, but Lt. Rockfit might have some information though he hasn’t done anything about them ever since they came,” Earthminer grumbled, “He’s at the barracks a few blocks from here.”


When the adventurers confronted Lt. Rockfist about the mafia he let out frustrated sigh, “The Dragonmauls?! They’ve been causing mayhem for months. I’ve been trying to find something on those scoundrels. Most of the storekeepers are afraid and wont testify and the ones who do are considered mentally unstable. Hell I can’t touch them because some of the councilmen back them. Word on the street is the councilmen who do support them are being blackmailed.”

“Blackmailed,” Najar leaned in intrigued, “We’re interested in helping. We are not part of your force. Therefore not constrained by these rules.”

“It is said that Vanguard Orrak supports the mafia, because of the blackmail material. I can give you a few councilmen rumored to be blackmailed. Ira Thunderaxe, Donlel Oakfist, and Nola Trollbane, you’re best bet is Trollbane the other two are away from Nortek for business. You can find her mansion a little ways from here.”


They traveled to Trollbane manor. It was a large stone complex with a domed top and golden glyph inlays on the pillars. A old wispy white hair dwarf greeted them at the door and led them through the house to Lady Trollbane.

After some prodding the councilwomen reluctantly told the adventurers that she was in a affair with a common soldiers and the mafia had those letters. If returned then she would throw her support behind Fargrim. The only information she could tell them was the members of the Dragonmaul mafia frequented to a place called the Musty Yak.


The establishment was dark, the smell of smoke emanated from within. Inside groups of dwarves gathered around tables playing cards and dice. A few of them were chugging pints of ale. When the adventurers entered all eyes became fixed upon them. Unkind looks were laid upon them.

They started getting cocky asking one too many questions. The whole establishment was upon them like a pack of wolves. Wolves that were shot all too soon.

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Goldenhawk Tower

“I didn’t come here alone you know,” Tim said as they trudged back to Leafwind.

“Oh? That’s a surprise,” Malbert muttered sarcastically.

“I came with a Deva named Najar,” Time furrowed his brow, “But since the Thundrom has recalled all their members I’ve got to go back to Valido. I wonder what’s he gonna do now.”

“Was he weak like you?” The fighter scoffed.

Tim appeared to be annoyed but held his tongue, “He was a capable fellow if that’s the answer you are looking for.”

“Hm, where was he last?” Zeetryder asked.

“Last time I saw him he was at the tavern in town, the Little Minnow.”

The adventurers returned to Captain Aven, Tim confirmed the killing of the trolls . Satisfied with a job well done the captain handed them a sack of coin. He mentioned to them that his superior Field Marshal Drake was looking for a few individuals to help with something. All he knew was that it had to do with brigands. They agreed and Aven told them he’d send word to them at the tavern.

………

The Little Minnow was small and bustling with activity. Mounted on the dark walls were all sorts of fresh water fish and a few primitive looking fishing poles that looked like they were made of bone. A large fireplace complete with a dire wolf rug sat at the far end of the room.

A group of mercenaries had taken up a large portion of the tavern and were singing, clearly drunk. Near the fireplace was a young couple on a date. The woman was a pretty thing with a lanky individual with a lisp. She had tankard of ale on her side, while he had a glass of blush wine. The adventurers noticed the woman say something to him, and he timidly poked one of the men and they could barely hear him say.

“Excuse me, I don’t approve of your language.”

The drunken men taunted him a few times. One of them reached over and pours his wine over the his head. The lanky individual stood up in anger and a big burly man pushed him down. He toppled over the table. The woman rushed over to her boyfriend but was immediately grabbed by the arm by one of the drunkards.

A deva, who had been meditating in a corner, rose from his seat and with the grace and swiftness his many lives had granted him and cast a series of spells causing his enemies and the stalwart dwarf fighter to see images of blood. Malbert merely shook off the after affects of this invoker’s attack briefly wondering whether he was on their side or not.

After the adventurers got rid of drunkards the beaten man introduced himself as Potsie Winifred Gale the fourth. He wanted to thank them by paying their for there stay at the inn. Small talk was exchanged between the deva invoker Najar and the others. With some convincing he decided to join them.

While they settled down a young boy walked up to them and said Field Marshal Drake would like to see them first thing in the morning in the Langley Fields. Antoinette thanked the boy and tossed a copper piece his way.

……………….

In the morning they were awakened by the sound of a rooster crowing. The smell of bacon and bread wafted up from the hearth below. Rose had set upon the table plates of bacon, duck eggs, and soft cheeses, wooden cups of milk and tankards of lightning hoof ale. She also brought out 2 wineskins for each of them one filled with drinking water and the other with hot water to put wherever was needed to stay warm.

The rain poured heavily. They traveled out of the city and came upon what people named the Langley Fields. It was a tract of farmland that hadn’t been tended to in a while. Militia recruits were bashing each other with wooden swords and doing some mediocre marching. Every now and then a recruit would lose a boot in the muck and the others would push him over and laugh at him. And not too far off looking at them with some measure of approval/disapproval was an armored man on a horse his squire next to him.

The armored man noticed their approach and got off his horse to greet them properly. They each shook his hand and down to business.

“Are you aware of a tower called Golden Hawk?" He asked them.

Najar nodded, “The desolate tower to the north.”

“Yes, it is a watchtower a standpoint against the goblin hordes. My friend Sorek Orvash is a prospector, who was sent by the local baron to the tower with a group to see if the tower could be rebuilt. They encountered brigands with faces painted like skulls accompanied by the walking undead,” Marshal Drake explained.

“Could you call your friend?” Arktor asked, “Maybe he can describe to us these brigands in greater detail.”

Drake’s young squire waded into the muck to the small house to fetch the person in question. Sorek came out tipped his hat and greeted them. He explained the men he saw in more detail.

“Sounds like some bandits fell into a Orcus cult,” Antoinette glanced at Zeetryder and Najar who nodded in agreement, “We’ll do it.”

“I would attend to this matter myself,” Drake said as he shot a look of disapproval toward the militia recruits, “but as you can see I have my work cut out for me.”

……………………….

They traveled north for a day, the rain continued to pour. It was evening when they reached the tower. The tower itself looked like the top portion of it was sheared off. Around the ruined structure were large pieces of rubble. To the east a large skeleton was buried in the ground. It looked like it may have been a hill giant at one point.

Sorek answered any questions they had. He told them the leader of the watchtower was a elven storm wizard named Valatra Goldenhawk and she was the scourge of goblin kind. The state of the tower was cause by Valatra. About 200 years ago the tower was besieged by goblins and giants and as a last recourse to slay them all she used the tower as the final weapon sending shrapnel in the armies laying them low. It was unknown whether she survived or not.

As the approached the tower Sorek noticed the campsite his men had abandoned days ago had a lit fire. The adventurers agreed that the dwarf should stay back in case things became ugly.

The watchtower’s walls still climbed to the height of 30 feet and ranged from 5 to 20 feet thick. The adventurers not being the most stealthy of folk crunched twigs and kicked rocks alerting men that were talking in the ruined structure.

They dispatched the skull face bandits with relative ease. After searching the camp they found a paint of the tower itself. Sorek explained the flag in the painting was the storm wizard’s crest, a golden hawk on a field of purple and black.

A rope ladder was tied to struts of the broken staircase that looked like it was used to go down the hole in the center of the broken watchtower. Zeetryder cautiously peeked into the dark crevice and thought he saw a face looking up from the bottom. The element of surprise was not their forte so they decided to let the ladder just drop into the room below.

When the rope ladder was dropped a voice shouted, “Hey! Stay the hell up there! We’ll let you know when its time to come down.”

And then Malbert scampered down. There was this moment of silence.

“Get him!”

Braziers had cast shadows of the warriors on the etched walls of the room. Archers had taken their places on old wooden scaffolds in order to pick off the melee fighters at a range. Armor warriors who had previously been lounging about took up defensive stances. A man in fine clothes began to analyze who was the ideal target to charm. Spiritual cats were summoned, ray of radiant energies were shot, and large axes decapitated foes.

“Yenner is going to skin the flesh off your bones and make you into one of his thralls!”

Later on a masked man who tried to sneak into the fray unnoticed was spotted by Zeetryder. He tried using poison on the stalwart dwarves and the craft gnome, but it didn’t work. After he saw some of his comrades fall in battle he hightailed it through the double doors he came from.

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