Pondera

Hookhead... Seriously?

The thankful residents of Delphin had given the heroes many bundles of black carrots. Si the town’s scribe be gifted them with many rituals. Seeo, the grannie gnome, smiles warmly after crowd dispersed, walked up to Varis, and patted him on the back.

“Well well sonny your friends did swell job with that little conundrum! Come by the inn later all the ale you can drink on the house. I might even have a job for you.” Seeo winked and hobbled towards her establishment.


The ceramic gnome inn was a cozy hovel with colorful ceramic gnomes lining the walls. All of them were in varying states of appearance, some were shiny and glossy without a chip others were cracked and missing various limbs and other important body features. A pair of bards, a jolly round Halfling with a lute and willowy elf played a jaunty tune.

“Welcome heroes, I’m Pille Inwyn Ninwinkle Ellybidle, but folks call me PINE for short.” A young female gnome with moss green hair and a pearly white smile greeted them. Antoinette knew that most gnomes have very long names. “Grandma said you’d be visiting. Please come have a seat by the fire. We have plenty of food, spirits, and stories to share! Just tell me what your poison is and I’ll see to it right away.”

Little old Seeo came out followed by her granddaughter who quickly set drinks and food on the table. Then she bowed and hurried back to the kitchen.

“So I hear you’ve been asking about Rocs. Well since you are going that way there is a patch of forest where my husband Waymilkkin is currently hunting with a buddy of his, Herman. Unfortunately in old age is awful at keeping track of time and Herman is not any better. I don’t think anything terrible has happened after all Waymilkkin was the leader of Fox so he can take care of himself and Herman’s skill with a spear isn’t too shabby either" Seeo said.

Varis knew Fox were a large thieving guild currently inhabiting Valido who usually who specialized in theft.

“Now now I know what you’re thinking, what do I get for helping this old bat, my sweet dear husband has a Liar’s Coin on him. Convince him to come back and tell him to give you it. And if he doesn’t believe you tell him I’ll sell off Olde Sally. I know that’s not the only coin he has. He told me he would be camping near Goldfish Pond, I’ll draw it on your map,” Seeo smilled.


The sun began to set as the adventurers approached the forest. The End Woods weren’t too far from Delphi. The thick foliage nearly blocks all sunlight from reaching the forest floor. As they neared the pond they heard laughter and that laughter came to an abrupt stop and the sound clinking metal replaced it.

“Oi we know you’re here! If you’re bandits you picked the wrong gnome to mess with!”

Waymilkkin was a gnome with white hair and large scar on his neck, as they approached he sheathed away his dagger and gestured the lanky human next to him to do the same. Waymilkkin then plopped
himself next to the cozy fire and invited them to sit.

“Well what are you adventurers doing in a place like this? Don’t you have some grand adventure to go on?”

“Your wife wants you hom,” Varis said.

“Now,” Malbert folded his arms.

“Well Seeo sent ya to find me? I wonder how long I’ve been out here,” Waymilkkin took a swig of his drink, “Tell you what share some alcohol with us, few stories, and in the morning I’ll go back to Delphi whether or not I catch Old Black Eye.”

“Listen buddy we have to get out of here soon…” Varis sighed.

“Herman tell the young’uns about olde hookhead!” Way swigged his flask and passes it to Najar.

“Oh by Avandra’s knickers,” Antoinette grumbled.

Herman grinned and began to recite the tale of Olde HookHead, “There was once a man named Moray E. El. He was a retired sea captain that came to live in Delphi after being the navigator on a sea vessel for 30 years. His favorite pastime was to fish at this pond. One day he noticed something glittering in the pond and he wadded into the water. Unfortunately under some brush was a water moccasin. The poor bastard didn’t have a chance, died in the pond by snakebite. Before any of the villagers could give the body a proper burial it was stolen by Yonderal, a crazy hermit. The hermit was known to be a apothecary of sorts always mixing weird herbs and animal parts. The villagers were pissed to all hell and when to Yonderal hut to reclaim the body. When the villagers got to the hut it was already burnt to the ground with Yonderal’s body decapitated. One person caught the glimpse of a man with a hook for a head running away from the house. Ever since then there have been sightings and the distant screams of the victims of Hookhead.”

“It’s just a tale to scare the wee ones,” Waymilkins took any other swig, you know if the kids don’t eat their veggies hookhead will kill them in their sleep. I’ll be right back I gotta take a piss.”

The old man left. A minute later a loud scream was heard followed by some Elven cursing. When the heroes charged towards Waymilkkins they hear another scream as they are going towards the old gnome. Gathe decided to go back to Herman while the others tried to reach Way.Both sets of party members encountered a man with a hook for a head. When they landed attacks on the enemies they vanished.

The party found small footprints on the ground and followed them. They led to a cave where two clay golems were guarding the entrance. Of course the clay golems were quickly dispatched. Inside the cave was full of traps, but thankfully using Najar’s summon dolphin ritual as a decoy they go pass all the traps.


At the end of the cave they saw a large workshop with multiple gnomes working. A gnome with gray hair dressed in navy blue overalls started shouting at them, “You’re from GOLF’s team! YOU CAN’T HAVE IT! It’s mine I tell you, you cheaters can’t have it.”

Her name was Eggle Apiknie Falan Wernital Gumshoe and she was the head of project seafaring. She was chosen by her superiors to construct a machine for an upcoming engineering fair however in the past their competition have been sneaky cheating spies. She used the legend of HookHead to scare people from their area. Usually just hearing the tale was enough, and tonight she was going to try to scare Herman and Waymilkkin because they were too close, but they proven to be made from tougher stuff.

“But we thought…” Antoinette began.

GET THE HELL OF MY WORKSHOP!!!” Eggle roared.

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An Almost Deep Impact

The village of Arma had a huge celebration honoring their heroes. During the feast there were rumors that were heard that a Roc was threatening a town to the north called Delphi. Where there are Rocs there are eggs and eggs are what they needed for part of the plague cure.


As they traveled on dolphin back, Antoinette had the most unnerving chill go down her spine. She heard a frightening howl and felt cold and wet for a moment, but that disappeared quickly.

The sky darkened and tiny beads of hail begin to pleat the ground. Peering through the falling ice they saw several large hounds materialize. Upon closer inspection they were demonic looking beasts with long porcupine like spines on its back dull yellow eyes. On one of the creatures was a red devil. Seeing him seems to sap some of the strength from our heroes limbs.

The withered devil bowed, "My master is quite aggravated. This is your first and last warning. I am merely one of his many servants. Should you strike me down, many more will come.”

Needless to say the heroes ran over the devil and his puppy minions.


Delphi was a small town with at the base of where Ironfast and Leona meet. A ten food wooden wall surrounds the wall and around the town were fields of what look like carrots. As they approached the town there were festive green and black decorations being hanged. The townsfolk seemed to look kind of depressed.

Najar asked a towns person, “Why the long faces?”

To which the person replied, “We are depressed because our oracle, Ginger Gales, is very ill and will not be able to predict at this years annual black carrot harvest. Which is supposed to happen the next day.”

Thankfully Antoinette was a divine oracle, after checking quickly if Ginger could be cure. She had a really bad parasite in her intestine it seemed. So Antoinette was asked to take part in the black carrot harvest ceremony. She was to ask the gods if the regular buffalo migration would be driven off the path of their crop.

Black carrot is a crop only grown in this area, because of the mineral rocky soil and the spring water in the area. This is the cash crop for the people of Delphi. Unfortunately the fields were located in the middle of a large migration path of wild bison. Normally the oracle would predict if the herd was trampling their fields or not that year. If she said they would they send men to the fields to divert the animals into another direction. It is a little inconvenient because now they have to send men to the supposed path instead of having extra hope in the fields as a precaution.

Before the ceremony the heroes did a little exploring. Varis magpie eyes spotted a beautiful locket on an old female gnome. Per usual he stole it,only to discover she had a picture of her children and husband in it. So our kind hearted thief placed the locket back into the gnome pockets.

The gnome grinned up at the thief after he had moved away, “You’re not bad sonny, but I think you’re missing something.” She tossed his coin pouch at him.

Varis looked stunned, “How? When?”

“Come by the Ceramic Gnome Inn and maybe you’ll learn something.”


Antoinette performed the ceremony and what she saw shock her for lack of a word. She saw a huge asteroid crash into the town and completely level it. Of course when she told the towns people they panicked and begged the heroes to help them.

So with some quick thinking and mathematical calculations of how fast an asteroid would fall onto the world. Najar used a ritual called Hallowed Temple with no roof to entrap the asteroid’s impact, which work.

While that happened Malbert was int he woods and received a note from Cringer Dragonmaul. Something about dealing death to the heroes sooner or later.

After the town was saved their was a huge celebration of food and spirits.

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Witch Hunts!

They traveled the dirt beaten road, the birds were chirping and the sun was shining high in the sky. A gentle southern breeze brushed their cheeks accompanied by the loud bloodcurdling screams. There wasn’t any mistake that the screams were coming further down the road.

When they reached the source of the screams there was the sight of an unconscious woman, beaten and battered being carried by several men. Several of them look like farmers, but the other five were dressed in religious garb with symbols of Pelor embroidered into their clothing.

Without another thought the adventuring party engaged this grouped. Throughout the battle the enemies praised Pelor and called upon his might to smite their enemies. Gathe looked quite preturbed by this as he had to strike down them. They were quickly dispathced.

The brown haired woman they were carrying was dressed plainly. She had several injuries and when they inspected her more closely and there were whipping marks on her back they were still quite fresh. When she woke her up she looked very frightened.

“Please don’t hurt me! I swear I’m not a Bane worshipper!” She sobbed, “I just wanted to know Matilda was. That’s all I swear!”

After the heroes were able to calm her down she told them what was going on.

“My name is Ann Maria. I’m from Arma a village not too far away from here. Those men were from the Hand of the Sun Lord. They took my sister to the dark tower weeks ago and I only asked where she was! They took her because she had a birthmark that looked similar Bane’s Symbol. No one is safe from the Sun Lord’s Hand. They take you and if you question their methods of rooting out corruption they kill you. They even take the words of others at face value. If someone in Arma hates you then they report you to the order on corruption charges.”

The party decided to pay Arma a visit and to see these so called men of the Sun Lord’s Hand.


Arma was a small village, it was not even big enough to have a wall. Most of the houses were small wooden one floor structures with small plots of lands for garden vegetables which included turnips and potatoes. Out in the surrounding area were large tracts of land with the first signs of what looked like corn and wheat. As they approached they saw the citizens glance at Ann and run in their homes.

“They’re afraid if they associate with me they’ll be branded as heretics and tortured too.“

A group of militia met them in the middle of the road. "By the order of high inquisitor Dramon, surrender the Bane cultist and you will be granted a swift painless death!”

“The same kind of death you gave these innocents?” Gathe growled, “This is not Pelor’s way!”

The militia was dispatched in seconds.


The tower sat on a large hill half a mile away from the village. It stood like a sentinel of death looking over the town.

“They’ll be more soon… There are always more…” Ann Maria whimpered, “If you intend to kill them, please I know there are still prisoners inside… I… please Matilda might still be alive, but the horrors… oh by the gods why…”

“Don’t worry”, Antoinette said quietly, “They will be free soon. We swear it.”

Inside the tower there were many instruments of torture. Ann told the heroes usually it took some amount of torture for heretics to confess their crimes. It was only then one would be granted the merciful taste of death.


They finally arrived in the holding chambers where High Inquisitor Dramon was. He was in charge of the entire operation. There he stood over the battered villager and held his whip high just as the heroes entered the room.

“I thought my knights would’ve taken care of you,” Dramon said as he lowered his whip, “In Pelor’s name…”

“You have no right to invoke His Name,” Gathe glared at the High Inquisitor, “I will personally see to it you never hurt anyone ever again.”

The adventurers proceeded to kick major ass and the day was won.

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Battle!

Our heroes had just arrived back to the plateau. When a soldier walked up to them.

“We’re short on patrols,” A young soldier told them, “The Dusk Knights have not arrived yet. It would be a great help if you could be one of our patrol groups tonight.”

“That shouldn’t be a problem,” Najar shrugged.


Patrolling was quiet work. The moon rose in the sky casting an eerie glow over the landscape. The occasional roar of some savage beast could be heard every now and then. Several hours into the watch they were approached by a man dragging his feet, fresh blood stained his armor and face.

“Oh thank the Platinum Dragon!” He collapsed by their feet, “You must warn Vizer’s Peak! They’re coming! They must’ve been planning this attack for months. They attacked just before the dragonborn fell ill. All of our outposts were simultaneously attacked. They sent weekly reports via hawks back to the peak. Sometimes if we took too long to answer Lord E’shek’iel would send messengers to make sure they were fine. Tiamat’s followers were clever enough to hire changelings into their ranks. I was a messenger along with my friend…”

He coughed up blood and Antoinette rushed to his side to heal him. He continued,“Jeremiah was suspicious…and wanted to wait until nightfall to sneak into the outpost. We did and found out who the imposters really were, but they found us before we could sneak back out. They killed Jeremiah and nearly killed me. I awoke under a pile of corpses…and tried to make my way back to the peak.”

“Stop talking,” Antoinette urged, but the soldier Tomas continued.

“I don’t know when then they were supposed to come, but they will come…”

In the distance the avenger noticed a tremor, soft, but growing. A roar, a loud one, not too distant came from the east. It was definitely a dragon; there is no doubt about it and not a young one either.

They urged their animals back to the peak. Malbert threw the wounded soldier onto his pterodactyl and they rode into the night sky.


The party was able to make it to the peak in record time. Once the army was alerted the encampment was thrown into a whirl wind of action. Catapults were loaded. Soldiers grabbed whatever weapons and armor they could from the armory. Rail (the gold dragon) looked up at the sky when another roar was heard. He clutched his weapon so tight that his knuckles were turning white.

“Dragon,” Gathe murmured, “Chromatic most likely.”

The officers bark commands at their soldiers, “The portals should be stable enough for a bit, get as many sick away from this area as possible!”

The sky darkened, in the distance there they were. Hundred, thousands of them banners of Tiamat waving in the fluttering in the air along with wyverns with riders. A huge red dragon with two smaller dragons a red and a green flanking its sides roared.

“He’s issuing a challenge,” Najar whispered, “Not good.”

They saw Rail let our a roar before going to the edge of the plateau and shifting into a huge golden dragon taking to the air ignoring the warnings of a trap from soldiers.

“Don’t just stand there like loons! Fire the Catapults!” One of the commanders ordered, “Give cover to the hippogriff battalion!”

“Sir Ewan, they’re breaking through our front line!” The soldier yelled back just as an arrow pierces the base of his skull.

“FOR THE PLATINUM DRAGON!”

“Sir! A small group are headed for the med tent!”

“That crazy cleric bitch and her friends are still there. E-shek-iel will kill me if anything happens to her,” Ewan growled and directed his attention to the party, “Don’t you five stand there take a small group and get yer arses to the medical tent!”


As they fought through draconian after draconian a small gnome with white hair let loose a huge wave of radiant energy searing a large group of enemies. She spotted the familar face of our intrepid adventurers in the crowd.

“Thank the goddess I found you!” Pip rushed through the groups of soldiers, “Vecna cultists… we have to hurry! They cut off the portal before we could send the sick through. My lady and Marques are still fighting them off.”


They successfully made it to the medical tent when…

“Dracolich!” Lek shouted as she pointed to the sky. A large decrepit creature descended upon them.

After defeating a small number of cultists, “Where’s Snow?” Marques asked as he wiped off some blood.

Just as he finished speaking a cultist fell over dead from behind a tent, a white dragonborn with a pole with a sickle-like blade at the end stepped out and sheathed her weapon. The dragonborn visage faded to that of a changeling.

“I have a sneaking suspicion these Vecna cultists want me,” Snow said.

“Their shouting of ‘Osay wants the white haired bitch was not an indication?’” Marques asked.

“Though they meant the old one,” Snow replied.

“I hate to interrupt the harping on the old woman, but we have more company!” Lek huffed, “To arms!”


The battle was won with quite a few casualties. After a week of helping the army Lek, Marques, Pip, and Snow produced a list of ingredients that they needed to combat the plague. It was agreed upon they Snow would be sent to Dighton to be kept safe from Osay. Osay probably wanted her because she knew of advance technologies from the other side of the world. The party would go find the ingredients, which included Roc Egg, Eye of Cyclops, Panite, Willow Branches, Heart of a Metallic Dragon.

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Deeper into the Mine

As soon as the duergar were cleared out the laborers regained their senses and began to thank the heroes for saving their lives when a woman rushed out of the cave screaming.

“Please the other miners are still in the pit you must save them before they all perish!”

The heroes followed the distraught woman. They could hear voices being carried by the drafts in the mine, crying, begging for mercy. At the end of one corridor there was a massive hole in the ground. Other than the light from the top of the hole, there looked like there wasn’t any other light at the bottom of the hole. As soon as they went to the edge a human woman darted from the darkness and gazed upwards.

She pleaded to the new onlookers, “Please help us…Oh gods its coming help us please!!!” She ran back into the darkness and coming in view was this large red ooze dragging itself across the floor following where the woman had just ran.

Without another moment of hesitation they leaped into the pit and faced off with a acidic blood ooze surround by numerous ghouls. They were already bodies of laborers that had been dead for a while. The battle was difficult, Malbert found himself trapped with the belly of the jelly many times. Each time thinking that the acidic chemicals would eat away at him until he was nothing but bones. But the adventurers proved resilient and defeated the ooze.


They decided to travel around the mine. There were large spiders that inhabited the trash pit. The trash pit turned out to be a huge cavern with an underground lake. There wasn’t any light here other than the light filtering from the hole they just came down from. There were bodies of humans and two duergar. Antoinette revealed that they were bitten and injected with a poison. Giant spiders burst from the darkness and began to attack them. At the water’s edge just as another spider came down, a large splash was heard, the spider disappeared as this large reptile head snapped his mouth around the spider, crushing it in its beak.

The large creatures peered at them through the darkness and let out a laugh, “Well…well…I recognize the two of you. How have you been my friends?”

The large creature was Odin, the large sea turtle they met very early on. He told them that an earthquake had opened a path of underground river ways that eventually led out to the sea. He made his way here. He also told them that a few nights ago he saw a what looked like a huge meteor crashed in Skorukh.

“The trail and fire coming from it was unlike any I have seen before.”


With things at the mine taken cared of they decided to see what Odin was talking about. When they reached the site it turned out that meteor was an airship. Around it were a few dead white dragonborn. Near the wreckage was a golem of sorts that looked inanimate and a white hair pale woman.

The woman was called Snow, an avenger of the Raven Queen sent by her house to apprehend a criminal who had stolen an old artifact from them. During her pursuit of the criminal Garrett, she was caught in a storm and landed here.

After some exchange everyone deducted that Snow was from the other side of the world. (She told them of Sharne and other land marks they had never heard about.) Najar and the others realized that with Snow’s knowledge of magic that she might be the key to stop the plague Osay is testing.

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The Dragonmauls are Back in Town

They posed as traders with a wagon equipped with a hell behemoth named Helly. The bait worked. A four minute battle later two volcanic dragon laid dead at their feet. After traveling a few more miles, it was clear that the battle with the dragons had taken more out of the behemoth than Antoinette previously thought. So they decided to rest for the night.


The night passed without incident. In the morning our heroes were roused by the sound of Helly chewing on some blood red rock. They packed up camp and traveled north. The path became much narrower as the wagon started winding into the crags of the small mountain range. The air smelled of sulfur.

On the side of the path was a wagon or what looked to be the remains of a wagon. They could barely make out the burnt corpses of what they thought were once some kind of humanoid figure, maybe human or elf. It wasn’t fire but a mixture of fire and lava that did this. In the wagon spilled to the side were bar of adamantium. Malbert decided to loaded it into the wagon to deliver to the army camp when they were done at the mine.


The trail winds through the mountains end at the entrance of a large rock quarry. Medium size boulders decorate the edges out and inside the quarry. Charcoal skinned dwarves some with white hair others with red work in the quarry accompanied by large creatures with multiple arms and a large gaping mouth atop their heads equipped with serrated teeth.


As Varis sneaked up to edge of the quarry and the boulder shift into what looked like a rock-like person and glared at you with white eyes. During the battle a monster was pushed over the side of the quarry and alerted the duergar below, who joined the fight immediately, but our heroes disposed of them.

After the battled it was discovered that these duergar were part of the Dragonmaul mafia. There were instructions on them, most likely their superiors, telling these individuals to take advantage of the abandoned trade route.


Inside the mine were more gray skinned dwarves accompanied by humans in ragged clothing. They were clearly being mind controlled by these evil Dragonmauls. Our heroes flew into battle careful not to gravely injured the humans.

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Dragon Country

Once outside of the Black Temple, Antoinette heard the voice of someone familiar in her head. The young yuan-ti took this time to scamper away unnoticed.

“Lek is in need of your assistance immediately. Go to her home in Wingfall ASAP.”


They teleported to Vox first to sell a few items then arrived in Wingfall shortly after. Lek’s monastery looked the same as always. When they arrived in the study, Lek motioned themt to be seated. Pip and Ixen were also present. Antoinette noticed that for once that the tiefling wizard didn’t appear to be drunk.

“I see you have a new companion. There will be time to exchange pleasantries later. We must attend to business first.” Lek apologized, “I’m glad you came as quickly as you did. Did you find anything on your travels about Osay that we didn’t know before?”

When they presented her with the rubbings form the Black temple with the rubbings, Ixen took them, “These are extremely old. There is Abyssal on here.”

Najar added, “I think they are some kind of code. The phrases are nonsensical.”

The saint of Melora tossed a scroll onto the table. The seal on it belonged to that of the Platinum Covenant. An order of Bahamut followers, most of them paladins, were currently in Shoruhk participating in the War of the Dragon against Tiamat forces.

Gathe read the scroll outloud,

“Saint Lek Nohk of Melora,
I am in need of your assistance. Our dragonborn have been struck ill and only dragonborn both adults and children. Symptoms include Abdominal pain bleeding due to blood clotting problems, diarrhea, fever, nausea, organ failure, vomiting, and muscle weakness. Most suffer from severe weakness, but few have died…for now. I fear that number will rise soon.
Our clerics have tried everything. Their neither spells nor remedies work. Because of this sickness Tiamat’s forces have made a sufficient push against us. I know that your skills as a healer are unmatched.

We are desperate and if things continue down this path we will lose Verthicha di Ixen and with it Io’s scale.

I am currently in Vizer’s Peak, where his staff and jewel meet. The majority of the sick are here. For reasons unknown I have not been infected. Perhaps it is because I am Platinum Dragon’s Chosen, I am afraid I do not know.

We await your arrival.

Sir E’shek’iel.”

“The symptoms he describes in the letter were those experienced in the elves before they died from their plague. As you know the outsiders used ones aura to infect. A dragonborn’s aura is very specific, they have the narrowest spectrum,” Lek explained.

“What does all this fancy talk mean?” Malbert grumbled.

“If this is indeed Osay’s work and he has learn to manipulate who he can infect then this doesn’t bode well. Luckily it seems he cannot control the strength of the illness or maybe he’s just testing it. Who know? What I do know is I need to go to Skorukh, but I am old and not what I once was. Ixen and Pip must stay here especially now that you brought those rubbings. They have several other things they have to work on. To put it simply I need guards. We will have to get to the border and then travel through by normal means.”

“If there is evil to be destroyed then we shall be there,” Gathe said.

“Skoruhk is a volcanic region, hot ash is a problem for all who wish to travel through there,” Pip commented.

Ixen mentioned, “I have a ritual for you some resting and avoiding the ash.”

“Gather any supplies you need and we will depart in the morning. The biggest worry we will have are dragons especially those of the red variety. You might have to assist the army while we are there also,” Lek glanced at Malbert and Varis, “Dragon body parts fetch nice prices at the market, in case you need some incentive…The tricky part is preserving them, but I’m sure you can figure something out.”


The surrounding area was rocky. Peaks of active and extinct volcanoes litter the region. There is barely a trail much less road that carves through the area. Every now and then jets of steam shoot from the cracks in the ground.”

As the traveled they came across a group of scouts being attacked by a red dragon. Our heroes literally destroyed the fiery beast. The scouts led them to Vizer’s Peak. It sat atop of a reddish plateau with Tents covering the entire surface. The scouts mention that the sick were quarantined on the other side of the camp and the only dragonborn allowed here is E’shek’iel. They brought them to the largest tent where they said their leader is waiting.

When they entered the tent there were a group of armored warriors gathered around a large round table pouring over maps. A green dragonborn in golden armor and an impressive yet familiar looking longsword, turned in their direction and immediately Lek froze. Antoinette and Malbert remembered a portrait of a dragonborn in Eagle-Eye’s home with multiple daggers and arrows through it.”

“Skelesh,” Lek growled, “We thought you were dead…”

The dragonborn nodded, “Now is not the time. If you wish pummel me, you can do it later after helpt he sick.”

Lek begrudgingly agreed, “Give me a few clerics and I’ll see to them. In the meantime, they are willing to help. Treat them with respect you bastard.”

Surprisingly Marques the wizard Malbert and Antionette saved earlier in the yearn was there to help also. While Lek was off attending to the sick E’shek’iel asked the intrepid heroes to exterminate some volcanic dragons that have been plaguing a road. This road was vital for it led to mountains north of Skoruhk , where the army received admantite for weapons and armor.

“Volcanic dragons are evil, correct?” Gathe asked.

“Yes.”

“Let’s go.”

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Black Temple

The black temple was truly one of the best examples of pre-war elven architecture. Its elegance yet delicate designs graced the other walls as if someone embroidered them on. The stone’s polish had been worn away with age but even that and the thick jungle vines had not greatly diminished its beauty. Yuan-Ti paroled the outer walls.

Our heroes hopped off their dolphins and scouted the area. it looked like the temple had taken a beating. Bit said the only other people in the area were a tribe of goliaths in the mountains. During tactical discussions a yuan-ti patrol wandered into their area.

The young yuan-ti, who was intimidated very easily, told the adventurers that his people had recently had a territorial dispute with the goliaths.

“We are not stupid,” The yuan-ti said, “We heard what you did to the blasphemers to the north.”

“If you aren’t inclined to fight us then have your leader meet us and we’ll talk,” Najar demanded.

“Go get her,” The young yuan-ti said nervously to his comrade.

Moments later a large yuan-ti abomination wearing colored feathers and wielding a huge metal staff slithered out of the temple. When questioned about humans that have been in the temple, the abomination recalled three the most recent tens years ago and it was a teenage boy. Her guards had chased him into the aqueducts and left him there. The aqueducts were the only area in the temple the yuan-ti weren’t about to clear.

“If he lived then there must be a way out down there,” The abomination said.

“We won’t attack your people if you agree to lead us down there and not to engage with the goliaths,” Najar offered.

“It’s not as if we have the numbers to attack anyone at the moment,” The abomination thought, “Besides they’ll kill the monsters in the aqueducts so we don’t have to.”

“Agreed and you might as well take that sniveling yuan-ti you captured or we’ll execute him anyways.”


It was dark, pitch black. The aqueducts smelled strongly of mold and dirt. The structures here had not been taken cared of and the water in this place did not help in the deteriorating process. The platforms on the sides looked as if they are ready to crumble.

Down in the crumbling aqueducts they fought a fearsome hydra that also defeated Malbert if it weren’t for the heroics of Varis giving him that life giving potion at the last second. They also found two unaltered rooms both had murals.

A series of pictures were shown on the wall. It started with the birth of a boy, then humans being abused by elf masters. The boy in the carvings joined some type of order and went through with making a pact with a devil. The family of the boy was promptly slaughtered two panels later and then he was snuck onto a ship by an elven woman. Then the finding of the temple and what looked like a small phylactery. It went through joining another order and the acquiring allies and followers it ended with him fighting a group of adventurers. The rest of the carvings looked unfinished. In the other room were the pictures detailing on how the phylactery was made.

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Dawn

In the morning, the adventurers contracted a boat to take them close to the area where Osay had been shipwrecks ten years ago. While they rode on their dolphins, Antoinette heard a rope snap. Almost immediately after that Malbert’s dolphins disappeared and the dwarf fell into quicksand. From the treetops several feathered arrows landed next to the quicksand trapped victim. Among the foliage were halfings with paint on their faces, feathers in their hair, and tattoos on there bodies.

Bit immediately started yelling in a primitive broken elven and waving hands about and then in common said, “Stop no one fire. I know them! They are Litian!”

One of the halfings tossed a vine to Malbert while another spoke to Bit. Varis and Antoinette were able to pick up words snake people, kidnapping, and fear.

Bit said to the heroes seriously, “You told Eagle-Eye you’d compensate me if I took you to the Black Temple. If you help me kill some yuan-ti that’s all I need.”

Bit explained they walked to the tribe’s settlement that lately the yuan-ti have been stealing his tribesmen into the night. They had been taking to a temple located in the Alabaster ruins. For what purpose they don’t know.

“Apparently we have impeccable timing…their latest victim was my younger sister, Sina…The chief has more information for us…”

After traveling through the jungle for about an hour they came upon a walled village with thatched reed houses that sat in trees. There were dozens of halfing men, women, and children dressed in loincloths, feathers, and painted decorative beads sharpening weapons, skinning freshly killed animals. A few of the children stopped in their tracks and stared at all them.The hunter’s leader guided them through the village to the largest hut.

The interior was lit by a small fire. There were several men inside with spears and sitting in on a brightly woven rug was an older individual with very elaborate tattoos on his face and chest with a large piercing in his nose similar to that of a bull. Najar noticed there was a human in the corner of hut dressed simple woolen tunic with a very large well kept blade on his back.

“Father,” Bit nodded in the chief’s direction.

“Please sit,” The chief said in common, “I take it the hunting party told all of you what was going on.”

The chief explained the abductions started 3 months ago. They started small, a hunter would be missing from a party as he was separated from them during the hunt, but then women and children started to disappear and by this time they knew who was doing it. They tried sneaking into the ruins to find our own, but there were too many of them…especially the abominations.

“We found the human a week ago injured,” The chief said.

The peasant figure nodded, “I am Gathe. I was part of an envoy sent to discover why there were Yuan-Ti and a green dragon at the Alabaster Ruins. Unfortunately, my band was attacked by yuan-ti, accompanied by wyverns and dragonborn. I am the only survivor.”


Bit knew where the ruins were so he, the adventurers, and the newly acquired Gathe went. They found their way through the courtyard with almost no difficulty. During there fight in the main temple of the ruins they discovered that the tribal halfings were being tortured because their life essence was being used to prolong a dragon’s life. The dragon had been cursed causing her life span to be shortened. The yuan-ti were helping the green dragon because Dawn (the dragon) proclaimed that she was an aspect of Zehir.

Of course the party trounced the yuan-ti and dragonborn thoroughly, but Dawn escaped.

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Circus of Doom

Bit told them the easiest way to get to the shipwreck’s location is by boat, and one could probably be hired in the Broken Isles. When they go to the Sein Lenn’s harbor they ran into their old friend Captain Arboreal.

“Well well if it isn’t my old friends,” Captain Arboreal hopped down from some crates, “I don’t expect ye be looking for passage somewhere?”

When they told the good captain where they were headed he agreed to give them free passage once again. He had lost half of his crew on their last trip but he was able to find some new hired help.

While they were on the ship Bit explained that the term cannibalistic halfing, in his case, was a little misleading. During funeral rites the decreased is consumed, in a strange way its done so each person always carries a part of them within. However there were halfing tribes which view humanoid flesh as a delicacy especially those of different races.

Bit explained that they had to be very careful in the jungle. It was thick and would take them at least four times the normal time to get to somewhere. The Wilds can be looked as three sections, in the north is mostly populated by jungle elves and halfings, in the west are the golitath and half-orc tribes and the south there the yuan-ti make their home.

“Well we travel with phantom steeds so that should minimize traveling time,” Najar commented.

Bit said, “The black temple like I mentioned before started out as a Corellon temple, when elves from Nanenlaer were sent to populate the Wilds., but the region proved too untamed. After the site was abandoned, Vecna cultists made the temple their own, eventually they too abandoned it and now its infested with Yuan-Ti.”


Five days into the journey the ship slipped through the night silently. A portion of the crew was sleeping below deck while the others taok care of menial tasks. Earlier the captain told them that with this good weather they may reach the Broken Isles quicker than usual. Antoinette experienced a brief moment there was a picture and a sound that flashes in her mind. It was a scream that came from above deck and the violent shaking of the boat. When she snapped back to reality the captain was there just talking with her.

“Everybody down!” The gnome cleric cried.

A mysterious The sea monster lets out a shriek of pain and descends back into the depths. Several sailors are badly injured and many of the wooden planks are broken. Bit and our heroes leaped into action and defeated the sea kraken.

“Thank you for saving my crew,” Captain Arboreal stared into the water, “I have never seen a kraken before…the last one I heard about was one called Ted, but never witnessed one…they are frightening.”


They arrived in Siren’s Call 5 days later. The Kraken had done extensive damage on the ship making their journey even slower. Siren’s Call is one of the larger islands of the Broken Isles. During this time there was a festival taking place in honor of a sealord’s birthday.

As they walked through the festive streets Bit, Najar, and Antoinette looked over their shoulders only to catch a glimpse of a shadowy figure..

“Did you see that?” Bit motioned them to keep walking, “I think someone is following us. Suggestions?”

“I’m the stealthiest of all of us,” Varis spoke, “I will pretend I have business elsewhere and while he follows the rest of you I was observe him.”

The rest of them agreed and began to walk down the road. Varis followed the shadowy figure who turned out to be a tiefling rogue. When his comrades went into a inn he observed the tiefling watch the from a window and jolting down notes. Varis attempted to steal the notebook he was writing in, but the other rogue proved too quick for him.

It was then Varis’ friends followed the tielfing who lead them to a group of Dragonmauls, which they caught by surprise and killed. The Dragonmauls had been hunting our heroes in hopes of getting a reward from their leader.


During their stay on the island. Varis was approached by a gnome dressed as a clown who was desperate for help because his usual knife thrower was sick and their was a tent full of children that had to be entertained. Varis along with Malbert and Jade (who had daggers thrown at them) performed for these orphans as the half-elf demonstrated his dagger mastery.

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