The Breach

A new hope but a fleeing goal

After the encounter with the undead, the group returned back to the tavern with a new goal in mind; to reach Glass mountain.

Sariel was a little shaken but after Vicroar’s inspiring speech, she felt a little more prepared for the tasks ahead. It is obvious now that IF the group has beaten the undead, then the creatures aren’t so bad and they are better off dead. Thanks to Taksum, the group has decided to stick together and defeat Gharam and then one day help Sariel back to the Feywild.

With newfound hope, the team gathered some information and learned about Glassdale, a small village on the way to their destination. A good start to what might be the end of Gharam.

The travelling seems very familiar, less dense and more space to see what is around you. Unfortunately as the group got further up the trail faded off, leaving the group to decide between the path less taken which provides cover in a valley, or a widening path that leadds straight up the mountain.

To keep Sariel calm and focused, the group chose the discreet path through the valley but as their journey continues up the slope it starts to rain. Unable to see, the group finds shelter behind a rock despite Sariel’s pleas to move on while they are ahead of any pursuers.

Ironically, it was on the third and last shift that the Feywild decided to pay a visit to Sariel. Being on her watch, and less experienced, she decided to go out and scout. Not far away she finds some of her old collegues from her school, but now they seem to be oddly smiling and having glowing green eyes. Scared, Sariel screams and races back to the group.

Together again the group decides to hold ground at the camp, while the eerie laughter of Sariel’s friends slowly drift away in the distance…

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Conversing and Dealing with Death

—The party steels itself, and begin to ask their questions, the first from Taksum, “where can we reliably find Garam after we leave Spellguard?” Lady Saharel looks through Taksum and responds with an ethereal voice, “you can most reliably find Garam, in 10 days hence at the Breath of Io.”

The Breath of Io, previously only mentioned in whispered drunken tavern conversations now looms up towards our heroes. A destination that they will have to face soon, despite their inexperience.

The party follows with the practical question, “where is the Breath of Io?” A moment’s hesitation as Lady Saharel grows bored and floats further aloof, yet she responds, “it’s in the mountain of glass, through the ruins and catacombs and into the mountain itself.”

The destination is now known, and the path marked for the party, but there is still one small voice yet to speak. Too shy to face the haunting visage of Lady Saharel alone, Sariel asks Vicroar to put forth her query, but Lady Saharel ignores Vicroar’s awkward and ill-formed attempt at common tongue. Sariel has no choice, she musters her courage and steps forth to ask, “when will I go back home to the Feywild?”.

Suddenly and swiftly, Lady Saharel swings back towards the party and swoops down to Sariel. Frozen in place, Sariel has no choice but to face the apparition and hear her prophetic response, “if you stay here, Calavere will find you sooner rather than later… he’s hunting you right now.” Sariel shivers with a tinge of fear, far from home and without her old friends, she realises now that she is being relentlessly pursued by an invisible enemy, “what does Calavere want with me?”, she thinks, “and why is he so driven to find me?”

Lady Saharel continues, “little one, there is hope for your return to the Feywild, there are gates that will let you pass through the planes, but the fastest way is to pursue the Breath of IO.” A feeling of destiny and fate settles upon the group, Sariel asks, “what is the breath of IO?”

Lady Saharel looks up through the grey clouds and says, “it’s a place where the world is thin, where great power and great madness stem from. A place, far far away, beyond the Feywild, and it has immense power, it influences the world, chaotic energy, people can taste it, sense it, and if you go to the Breath of IO, then you too will feel it.” Stricken with awe and fear, Sariel mutters under her breath, “how do we make sure WE don’t go mad?” Lady Saharel continues, “the breath itself wont cause madness, unless we go over through it, but if you open the portal, and control it, then immense power is yours.”

Clearly this is the power that Garam seeks, and with that knowledge Taksum’s rage starts to take hold and his ever-steadfast resolve to stop Garam grows. Thinking about the loss of his brother, and the perversion of Dragonkind’s ancient culture that Garam is grotesquely abusing, Taksum holds back his anger and with a deep guttural growl pointedly asks, “can we beat Garam?”

A dialogue ensues, and the heros learn that although reality can indeed be broken by Garam, no special weapons are needed to defeat him – only skill and relentless courage. More importantly the party learns that they have 11 days to reach the Mountain of Glass and the Breath of IO, or face an unstoppable evil.

Unable to shake the thought of Caliver’s tireless pursuit, Sariel asks, “how far away is he? And is my family okay?” At the mention of family, Lady Saharel’s face is twisted by grief, and she shrieks, “at least you have a family!” Darkness immediately descends, and the heros are suddenly left alone amid a blustering and unholy storm. Emerging from shadows, figures cloaked in whispy black appear. Dark apparitions whose humanity had abandoned them ages ago. Ghoulish archers, undead soldiers, and their general, a wicked wight close in on the party.

Surrounded and out-armed, the party are left bewildered at the sudden change of events. Where there was once a ray of light breaking through the clouds, now only an abyss of jet black ink. Managing to stay their panic, Taksum calls for a coordinate retreat, “there’s too many of them, we have to escape! Make a run for the monastery.” And with that, Sariel and Taksum run for shelter.

Despite the stench of death and rot, Vicroar stays his ground. Alone now, he grips the handle of his mighty battle axe and naively makes his way for the first ghoul. “Fools, there’s no such things as ghosts… now get prepared to be VICROAAAARED.” The crushing sounds of metal on bashed undead bones fill the air.

“Idiot”, hisses Taksum under his breath, “Sariel, run to the monastery and bring back the monk – he may be our only hope. Vicroar won’t last long alone, I’m going back to help”. Agreeing without words, Sariel continues onwards to the outline of the monastery, while Taksum turns on his heels and rushes back to fight by Vicroar’s side; the party are now isolated and vulnerable.

Screams pierce the air, and the worst has come to pass, amid the chaos and isolation, the heros have been unnaturally immobalised by dread, and now have to face the nightmarish abominations alone. Despite his valiant stand, the young fighter Vicroar is knocked down and out. The wight points with his skeletal finger towards the fallen hero, and a group of undead slowly lumber to feast on his flesh. Quickly finding his side, Taksum is able to heal Vicroar back to his feet before the ghouls reach them, but they are then left to battle the undead fiends in a weakened desperate state.

Impossibly the night seems to grow darker, bolts of evil necromatic energy shoot from the wight’s fingers, and the party are now not just fighting to escape, they’re fighting for their souls. Although fear pulses through Sariel’s veins, a deeper and more powerful instinct responds, a yet untapped ardent instinct to fight back. To fight off this evil with strength and leadership. “For all that is good in the Feywild!” Sariel lunges towards her attacking ghoul.

Despite their exhaustion, Taksum and Vicroar are inspired to push on by Sariel’s valiant stand alone. “Come on, let’s do this together” Taksum says through a brave grin. Vicroar responds confidently “thanks for the earlier save, and that’s more like it! Now let’s cut these enemies down.” Finally fighting together, the heros are just turning the tide of undead, when all of a sudden they hear the shrill cry of a young girl. “It’s Sariel! She’s down!” shout both Vicroar and Taksum.

The wight silently stands over Sariel’s crumpled body in the howling winds, like a motionless dark wolf over a broken hare. Drawing on ancient evil, the wight spreads his skeletal arms and prepares to cast a necromatic spell to capture her soul for all time – when suddenly he let’s out a piercing undead shriek! The yell momentarily stops cold the blood of all living creatures unfortunate enough to hear it, but the wight slowly dissolves into ash around Vicroar’s battle axe and Taksum’s dagger. An unexpected attack that saved Sariel’s life from dark eternity. With the wight defeated, the tide of darkness begins to withdraw, and despite being brought to their furthest limits yet, the heros are able to push back the ghouls and undead archers.

Badly bloodied, weak and exhausted, the heros finally manage to vanquish the final ghoul, and the darkness lifts. Sariel is revived and the party are left once again along among the ruins of Spellguard. “You were brave little one”, Vicroar says proudly. Taksum adds, “we wouldn’t have been able to do it without your courage”. Together the party search the remains and hobble back to the monastery.

Scattered among the bodies they find:

  • 2 potions of healing (1 to Vicroar and 1 to Taksum)
  • A flask (2 charges) – filled with chemical silver (use a nature, religion, or thievery check, and apply silver ointment to weapon to make weapon like a silvered weapon) (given to Sarial)

Reaching the safety of the monastery, the party collapse and the full gravity of their fight starts to sink in. The battle shook each hero differently, but what is certain is that each member stared in the cavernous hollow eyes of evil undead, and nearly tasted death at their hands. Withdrawing from the overt gazes of the other travelers in the monastery, Sariel, Taksum, and Vicroar tend individually to their wounds. Not a single word was said, but they each know that nightmares from the battle will haunt them in their sleep for many nights to come.

Solemnly, the heros gather their equipment. All there is to do now, is prepare for the upcoming journey and depart towards the Mountain of Glass and the Breath of IO. Only 10 days remain before Garam reaches it first.

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Cruisin' for a Lady

The journey to Spellgard took our group of lovable adventurers on a path leading towards the mountains. The smells of the city quickly were replaced by cool, sweet country air with each step towards Spellgard. Unfortunately, these idealic scenes were quickly replaced by a downpour of rain that chilled our adventurers to the bone. Nevertheless, they kept on journeying, ignoring Sariel’s grumblings of being cold…jerks!

As the day wore on and our adventurers couldn’t imagine how they could get any wetter, they stumbled across a small cottage with smoke coming from the chimney and light peeking out from the door. Without a second though, Sariel bolted to the cottage and started banging on the door. “Hello! Hello! Hellooooo! Is anyone in there?” Slight muffles from inside indicated that someone was coming. Not knowing what to expect, Vicroar and Taksum stepped away from the door and prepared themselves for the unexpected, leaving Sariel to fend for herself…jerks!

Luckily, the door was answered by a friendly monk, named Monk. Monk invited our adventurers in out of the rain to dry-off and warm-up. Everyone was very thankful for that. Once inside, it turned out that the cottage was actually a monastery, and other adventurers were huddled by the fire, thankful to be out of the rain too. Spellgard, as Monk explained, is right around the corner. All of these adventurers had come looking to ask Lady Saharel questions to reveal their own futures.

The evening was spent by the fire, trading rations for whiskey with Monk. Some quick thinking by our lovable group encouraged one of the adventurers to play some music, which lightened the mood of the rain-drenched crowd. Monk had a penchant for the drink, and by the end of the night, stories had been shared between adventurers and information had been gathered about Spellgard.

Spellgard, it turns out, used to be a fortress, but had come into ruin in the distant past. There is treasure buried within the catacombs, but Monk warned that no one ever returns to enjoy the treasure. For the most part, people come to Spellgard to get answers to their questions. Lady Saharel, it is said, is a being from another plane of existence, somewhere between a living and dead existence. People seek her out because she always speaks the truth and has an eye for the future. But there is no guarantee that Lady Saharel will come to you and answer your questions. Many letters hanging on Monk’s monastery wall attest to people’s anger at her elusiveness. A great many letters also praised her for her helpful answers. Either way, Monk warned that Spellgard can be a very dangerous place, and that everyone should stay vigilant.

Before our adventurers closed their eyes for the night, a brother and sister duo stepped away from the fire and journeyed into Spellgard in the evening, looking for their answers…

A restful sleep gets our group off on the right foot the next day. They decide to hunt some rabbits and collect some food to give to Monk to thank him for such fantastic hospitality. Taksum expertly takes down two rabbits, while Vicroar collects some wild vegetables and herbs. A lovely husband and wife couple they would make!

Monk is very grateful for the food and wishes them luck in finding Lady Saharel. He reminds them to stay above ground in Spellgard.

The day is sunny as the group wanders into the ruins of Spellgard. The rubble of once tall towers lies everywhere, with one tower still intact in the middle of the grounds. Taksum, Vicroar, and Sariel explore the area, finding the remains of camps long forgotten. They find no sign of the brother and sister duo that left the night before.

As our group explores the perimeters of Spellgard, a fog rolls in from the East. It gradually gets heavier and heavier. Every once in a while each group member swears they hear a faint woman’s laugh on the wind.

The fog continues to roll in and the adventurers continue to explore. When they look up, they are each convinced they see a woman’s figure in the near distance. Sariel is scared and wants to go back to the monastery, but Vicroar charges ahead after the womanly figure. Taksum and Sariel follow. After a game of “catch-up”, and Vicroar returning a beautiful silk kerchief to the figure that had been dropped in the mud, the figure turns to speak to the group. Lady Saharel is ready to answer the groups questions…

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Turnips and turn ups

The battle with the Ankhegs left the group a little sore but full of energy. They decided to continue their return trip to the city when they met a lady plucking turnips from the ground. The party assumed that this lady must be Anishene, the woman they were told to seek out by the Melora’s Wave. She was as mysterious as her answers, leaving the group suspicious and confused but at least she provided them with some hope… SPELLGARD!

Fuelled by hope, the party decided to head back to the city before Spellgard when they ran into more luck. They found the wagon tracks they were hunting before which lead to a thicket of shrubs and trees.

SUCCESS!!!! The group stumbled onto an abandoned camp. After a bit of searching they found a riddle on a tree: Order 10 stews, add at least 15 thorns, take two seats, and shout once.

With a bit of effort, some time and luck the group figured out the riddle and found a trap door. Below was a large room that held more of those rocks with glyph inscriptions. A detailed family tree (presumably for dragons) with names scratched off in some areas. Due to their excitment the group was caught off guard by a group of slimes. In a near fatal battle for Taksum the group was able to finish off them jell-o and breath the fresh air… when!!!

Sariel ran off shouting “he’s here, he’s here”. After a confused chase the group was reunited along with Sariel’s friend “Taksum’s mom”. The group learned that it was this creature who saved Sariel from Celevir in the Fey Wild.

With luck turning up everywhere, the party has decided to travel to Spellgard with their new friend to ask Saharo some questions

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Caravans by Night

After a brief discussion with Pieter, Taksum was able to make an arrangement. In the morning they would meet and provided Taksum’s merchandise was of interest they would receive “proper” storage. Distrusting anyone related to Gharam, the party decides to set up watch at Pieter’s house.

As Taksum and Vicroar go off to the inn to get some shut eye, Sariel and Morgana hide in an alley for their stake out. Under the pretense of a begger, Sariel walks over to the neighbours house and sits down to meditate and watch over the residence. Concealed and fitting the role all to well, she was not prepared for the bucket of feces that was thrown out a window and on to her clothes.

Like any unfortunate event (although, Taksum would of been jealous of such treatment) luck would soon follow for those deserving. Pieter arrives late at home in a hurry, enters the house grabs some material and leaves. Sariel and Morgana follow him to a warehouse. They try and circle the building to get some kind of indication to what was going on inside, but to no avail.

As the search become one of patience the doors open and out comes the caravans, with armed soldiers as drivers and Gharam leading the late flight. In a heartbeat Sariel instructs Morgana to gather the group and use the red gem to find the markings that she will lay out for them. After that, she heads off to trail the caravans.

Being late at night, Sariel was able to keep up with the Caravans but only up to the city’s perimiter. At the gates, she gets a sudden fear of leaving the group and decides to hold out. Meanwhile, Taksum and Vicroar learn of the situation and head over to the warehouse. From there they use their ill luck to slowly follow Sariel’s hasted markings to the side gate.

At the gates, Morgana leaves the party <party> and the group convinces the guards that they were part of the caravan crew. Despite the guard’s hesitance, he gives in and allows the group to exit the city. It seems Pieter’s money can still provide guilt to some of those he deals with.

The party travels throughout the night, passing by many stopped caravans on the way but by daybreak they realise that they have lost track of the caravans. Disgruntled, they head over to a group of travellers who were resting right at the side of the road.

At the group calls out to the travellers they are surprised to see the military efficiency of the mercenary band they have stumbled onto. After a brief conversation the band introduces itself as “Melora’s Wave”, and gives the impression that Helga of the long braids is the leader of the group. She says that they are too busy to help the party track down these caravans as they are on their way to Fyshwick. She does give them a valuable tip to keep an eye out for a woman who travels alone who goes by the name of Annishen.

Travelling back to the City, the group is attacked by a group of Ankhegs…

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The Plot Thickens in Harkenvold

As Vicroar and Taksum walk back together towards town, the weariness of the previous battles begins to sink into their bones. Conversation turns to discussing the important details of the fight.

“That was one hell of a snake back there”, marvelled Vicroar.

Taksum replies, “Ya, but not as big as the one I showed your mother last night”

Oh snap!

Meanwhile, in the city of Harkenvold, where the huge (5 stories tall) Colossus of Eothir towers from its centre, Sariel anxiously sits waiting in a cleric nunnery; hoping that the miner will recover and wondering if Taksum or Vicroar will ever find her. A pang of homesickness strikes her, as she reminiscences about the warm sun and gentle breeze of her native Feywild. Two weeks ago she was twirling and dancing among the almond grass, and now she finds herself in a hostile, dangerous, and harsh human world. The reality that she may not see the placid green meadows of her home for a long time, weighs on her mood. “How did I end up so far away from home?” Sariel frustratingly muses. One thing is certain, on this plane, Sariel is going to need to grow up fast.

By this time, Taksum and Vicroar have settled their dispute about size, with clear agreement that the snake could probably have been bigger if it wasn’t so darn cold outside – either way, not the snakes fault. Making their way into Harkenvold, the adventurers take in their surroundings. Harkenvold is a large trading town nestled in the valley close to the mountains. Situated in a lush area, it thrives from a traditional agricultural and market based economy, and enjoys its prosperity with relative peace – a neutral trading zone for disputing factions. The Colossus of Eothir dominates the city line, and is a testament to the craftsmanship of the artisans. Made from stone, the colossus seems poised for action, clad in its stone armour.

After a long and disheartening search through the local pubs (the Mermaid’s Legs and the Crimson’s Head), Vicroar and Taksum eventually find Sariel in the Sisters of Evandra nunnery, tending to the wounded miner by his bedside.

During their search for Sariel, a crag had persuaded Vicroar and Taksum to have their fortunes read. She foretold of Taksum falling out of space and time into a great white space, and then wind, scratching scales, and that he will bring great destruction onto the world. Vicroar’s fortune is clearer, he is to be… the Chosen One! Rhetoric or a prophetic statement? The adventurers knew not the truth.

During their search for Sariel and discussion with the miners, the adventurers discover that the ore dealer, Piter Teramith, was the most likely buyer of the caravan’s goods. The group knew that to get to the goods, they would need to find Piter. Slinking back to the Chimera’s Mane, for group pauses for a moment of well needed rest.

During the break, the magical Chalk and red Glass is identified as a secret marker system where the chalk markings can only be seen through the glass piece. Vicroar also hears a rumour about a horde of treasure that is cached away in an area south-east of town. The rumour carries a risk, as it also names the creature guarding the treasure – Karsh – and once you enter, you can never return the same way from Karsh’s Gauntlet.

Another rumour surfaced about a great flying beast that sometimes flies overhead casting a shadow of fear. Most likely a lie – or at least the party hopes so.

At the Chimera’s Mane, the party are tucked into their evening meal when lo! Morgana joins the table. Weapons remain sheathed, as she unravels her side of the story.

From Morgana’s tale, they learn that Garam is a sorcerer bent on power, and convinced that Dragon’s are the key to supreme power. His ambition is to find that well-spring of Draconic magic, and then harness it to become, what he hopes, will be a God. Garam also believes in the Draconic creation story, how the great Dragon Gods Bahamut and Tiamat where cleaved from the Great One IO, by a weapon that still exists in this plane. Garam searches for this weapon and wellspring.

Morgana believes that the Draconic ruins that the caravan carried help Garam find this wellspring. Specifically, she has heard a rumour that somewhere on this planet there is a location called IO’s breath, where the world is thin and the laws of nature and magic don’t apply. Perhaps the wellspring is there. After Garam is finished with the stones, which come from an old temple or dragon meeting place near the mines of Wyrum, he sells them to a brotherhood of evil Tieflings who worship Tiamat.

Morgana then goes on to explain her interest and the halflings.

The halflings from the previous battle come from a clan of fearsome warriors. Long before the dragonborn were created, there was a mortal dragon that was king of all dragons, known as the One. Morgana and the halflings wish to see the One return, for they fear that in this current age the good dragons are becoming sleepier than their evil counterparts, tipping the scale towards evil. For great justice, Morgana wishes to see the One return so that it can stop the tipping of the scale and restore the balance to good.

“So much for being home in time to pick this year’s bloom of lionflowers and buttercups” Sariel sadly thinks to herself. As the weight of Morgana’s words and gravity of the situation sink in, Sariel asks her if there’s anyway to return home to the Feywild. Unfortunately, Morgana is unable to reassure Sariel of an easy route, and can only point her to the far away City of Doors, Cygil, or the Neverglades, an area in the deep south with a fairly strong connection to the Feywilds.

With this, Sariel recognises that her responsibility is now here with her friends. She sighs, and exclaims, “trees grow with time, so if you need to move it, start at the beginning.”
i.e. let’s start looking for the stones tonight and stop Garam in his tracks.

Just as the party prepare to leave for this task, Pieter – the notorious ore miner – strolls in. Quick decisions were made, and it was decided that Taksum would take the guise of a ruin trader enter into conversation with Pieter, hoping to discover where the caravan stones are hidden.

The party wait nearby anxiously holding their breathe.

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Getting 'Pushy'

With the battle done, Taksum focuses his attention on the one remaining halfling lying on the ground, injured but not killed. “Tie him up”, yells the Dragon-born hero to Garam, who is closest to the halfling. “We need to question him and get to the bottom of things”, mutters Taksum under his breath. But his intentions are not so simple!

With Garam bent over the halfling, putting his finishing touches on his knots, Taksum strikes at Garam’s head. He intends to double his winnings with two prisoners and get some real answers.

Unfortunately, Taksum’s “crushing blow” to Garam does more to crush Taksum’s pride than render Garam unconcious. Reeling back from the surprise hit, Garam begins an incantation. Vicroar and Sariel try to support the effort of incapacitating Garam, to no avail.

Suddenly, ice shards start falling from the sky on our heroes. The damage is large!

Seeing that our heroes mean to redouble their efforts, Garam makes a break for the woods, and escapes the group. Taksum hurls curses at Garam’s back, knowing that they will meet another day. A halfling frozen to the core lays at our heroes’ feet.

During the short rest that follows, Sariel decides to scout the area to see if she can find any trace of Morgana. All the while, Sariel wonders why Morgana turned against the party.

A quick search reveals a note posted by arrow on a tree just off the path.

It reads:

Sariel note

Returning to the group and showing them the note, Sariel, Taksum, and Vicroar demand to open the 5th cart and reveal its’ contents. With some flair and intimidation, they convince Elvand to open the tarp. Elvand is very reluctant and not amused.

To everyone’s amazement, a metallic cobra, the size of three grown men emerges from the cart. Elvand jumps on one of the caravan carts and commands the entire caravan to run!

With the caravan leaving quickly, Vicroar takes the opportunity to be a hero and steps in line with the cobra. “It will have to get by me first”, he says as the cobra deals a quick poison blow to Vicroar’s body. But the cobra will have to do better than that to shake this seasoned hero.

The party fights well and quickly slays the cobra, in large part to the quick thinking and valiant fighting of Sariel.

With the serpent slain, Taksum and Sariel run for the caravans. The heroes are far away but still within reach…if only they can keep up the pace! Vicroar opts to stay behind and search the slain beast. And he finds a Thundering Hammer!

Taksum quickly starts lagging, only to see Sariel dart past. Taksum swears he could hear Sariel tell him to “lay off the dragon eggs” as she demonstrates her physical prowess.

Sariel runs and runs…and runs! And catches the caravan! With a deft ‘Fey Step’ teleportation onto the top of one caravan, Sariel is in a good position to slow them down so Taksum and Vicroar can catch up. Trying everything she can think off, the cart driver isn’t convinced to slow down and wait. Sariel decides it’s time to take more extreme action as her friends get left further and further behind. With a quick move, Sariel tears a hole in the wagon tarp and begins throwing the ore and draconic ruins on the ground. The cart driver is having none of it and comes back to stop her, grabbing her.

But he can’t hold her for long, and Sariel escapes!

With the driver opening himself in an unsteady position, Sariel rushes him and pushes him off the cart. She watches him as he falls to the ground, and then watches as he gets run-over by the trailing cart wheels. The drivers’ body lies limply on the path behind.

The caravan stops and looks to the injured driver. Weeping, Sariel feels the full verbal assault thrown at her by the other drivers. She quickly agrees that the caravan needs to continue to town immediately so the injured driver can be taken and treated medically. Not knowing whether she had killed the man or not, Sariel’s has never felt so much remorse and regret in her life. She passes the remaining hours riding on a cart, silently weeping to herself.

Meanwhile, Vicroar and Taksum start their long walk to town, wondering when they’ll run into Sariel…

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I Love the Smell of Halfling Blood in the Morning

While exploring the woods, Sariel comes across a note from Morgana which reads:

Little One,
I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to explain to you my role in all of this. I’m hoping that someday I can regain your trust.

Please believe me that netiher Garam nor Elvand can be trusted when it comes to this cargo. Also, I have reason to believe that the 5th cart may be trapped.

May the lotus guide you,
MORGANA

As the halflings descend upon the caravan, Morgana reveals herself. She explains that Garam is concealing more than just the contents of the Caravans, and that she has reason to believe that these artifacts are going to be used in a tiefling plot against the dragonborn. She asks for the party’s trust, but Garam warns them that their obligation is to the mission that they agreed to.

The party suggests that Garam open up the caravan to discuss this further, and he refuses, whereas Morgana says that they cannot risk waiting any longer, and asks the party to step aside. With no compromise in sight, blood is drawn. Garam and Morgana Morgana do battle towards the front of the caravan, while Vicroar hammers a few points home into the heads of local halflings. Taksum verbally chastises several of them, with shocking results. Sariel’s sling makes short work of many of them.

They leave one halfling alive, and have Garam tie him up while Taksum swiftly tries to knock him unconscious. He misses, and Garam, alerted to the treachery, casts a spell which knocks everyone away from him, kills the halfling in the process, and allows him to vanish.

With Elvand being the only one left to make decisions on behalf of his father, Norlan, the party tries to persuade him to open the 5th cart of the caravan. He reluctantly agrees, but mutters a few words before opening it, and an Iron Cobra bursts out of the back.
Iron cobra

The party engages the cobra, shaking off its poison, but the caravan takes off at a gallop during the distraction. By the time the party has fought off the mechanical beast, the caravan is too far away to catch up – except for Sariel, who teleports closer, and manages to teleport onto the rear caravan, and then the second to last one. She struggles with the driver, who tries to grab her, and in a moment of ill-fated strength, she bull rushes the miner (who has a wife and eleven beautiful children) off of the cart, where he is trampled by the wagon following behind. The caravan slows to a stop, which is what Sariel intended, but at a terrible cost – the miner is close to death. At this point, she agrees with Elvand to no longer interfere with the caravan’s progress, in the interest of saving the man’s life, and they take him to the hospital in Harkenvold, at the shrine to Avandra near the centre of town. Elvand agrees to take care of the man and his family, and the sisters of Avandra predict that he will recover in the long term.

But what of Vicroar and Taksum?

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We got a great big convoy!

While the others scout out the trail ahead, Vicroar keeps a vigilant eye on the camp, and discusses the expected ambush with a veteran miner from his hometown, known as Miner Bob. Through his cunning, Vicroar is able to divulge that there is something out of the ordinary in the fifth caravan.

He notices in the early evening that Garam is nowhere to be found, leaving his suspicions to bubble and churn like a cask of spoiled Gybrian ale.

Upon returning to camp, the party confers, to share what they had witnessed, before retiring to an uneasy night’s sleep.

The following morning, the caravan departs its camp, towards the pass where the attack is most likely to come. As they approach their false blaze, everyone’s eyes rest squarely on Garam, Morgana, and Elvand, and suspicions fly wildly across the caravan, like silent epithets in a shifter curse-war. Garam insists on scouting out ahead, and reluctant to leave him alone, and Taksum insist on following. Shortly thereafter, one of the horses spooks, a small trickle of blood dripping down its flank, and gallops up the path. In the commotion, Morgana slips away, and finally the traitor is revealed.

After further distrust expressed between Garam and the party, they advance, and Sariel begins scouting in the woods, when suddenly, the halflings begin descending on the caravan, and felling trees, trapping the Caravan’s escape…

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Caravan Convoy: On the Move

After the dust settled from the tumbling boulder, the party only momentarily hesitated before leaving the mine entrance to seek cover in the nearby forest. Vicroar clearly did not want to be seen near Norlan’s mine, lest he agitate the already sensitive relationship between Norlan and his family. As a mob of villagers gathered near the mine to investigate, the party attempted to quietly return under the cover of dusk – only to be stopped by the common miner, Bob.

Thankfully, dear miner Bob wasn’t about to stand in the way of a fully armoured group, especially not after fearsome Taksum suggests that any delays will be met with consequences. The party leaves Bob and walks straight to Vicroar’s Inn to speak to his dad.

At the inn, Vicroar’s dad scowls in disapproval, but is unsurprised that his troublesome son was involved. With earlobe in hand, he marches Vicroar straight out to confront Norlan. Seeing his family’s reputation at stake, Vicroar shoulders responsibility for the mine incident and agrees to repay the debt by accompanying Norlan’s caravan of ore to the nearby city of Harkenvold, close to the Nantir Vale.

An unexpected agreement, met with some party hesitation.

The party returns to the Inn to prepare, rest, and feed. As Vicroar snoozes, Taksum describes in an emotional letter to his master Ashwing the sad fate of his brother. Similarly restless, Sariel anxiously wants to return home to help her school mates, but without a clear path back to the Feywild, she is left helpless and decides to accompany Vicroar and Taksum with the caravans.

Early next morning, the convey is ready to move out. There are 8 caravans in total with the following escorts: the party, Norlan’s son Elvand, a half-elf woman named Morgana, and the infamous Garam! Shock, surprise, and rage seizes Taksum who confronts the enigmatic Garam but receives no further information about his brother’s death. Taksum quietly vows to seek the truth and ultimate revenge.

Before departing, Norlan warns that the caravan will surely be attacked by bandits in a valley near its destination. So in order to prepare, while en-route the party use their skills of conversation to produce a map of the vulnerable valley and learn about the fates of previous convoy attempts.

The pass

Sariel’s curiosity overtakes her as she successfully sneaks her way into the last caravan to inspect its contents. Quickly, she snatches a fragment of a rock and proceeds to share her ‘treasure’ with Vicroar and Taksum over lunch. The rock, with its Draconic writing is clearly not ore! The party doesn’t yet know what to make of this finding, but they all agree that things are not what they seem.

Eventually the convoy reach a clearing and settle in for camp. Dusk approaches.

The hired hands, including the party, gather to discuss strategy. It is agreed that Taksum and Sariel will proceed immediately to the vulnerable valley to investigate the terrain and see if they can find any signs of the bandits. It is also agreed that the caravans will set out early to try and throw off the bandits, despite some opposition from Garam. The instruction is for the convoy to stop at a pre-determined sign, three tree blazes, which will be created by our heros. So leaving Vicroar to guard the convoy, Taksum and Sariel depart on recon.

Without incident, they eventually reach the rocky beginnings of the valley. Stealthily they approach the hill and discover the jovial scenes of a camp in full swing. Sitting around open fires and singing songs, Taksum and Sariel are surprised to find a group of 8 relaxed halfings, enjoying their mugs of ale and fireside songs. A few of the halflings seem larger and pale, with distinctive markings on their face.

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As Sariel and Taksum begin to retreat from their spy encampment, a clang from Taksum’s dagger raises the alarm, our cover has been blown! (It’s speculated that instead of Taksum’s dagger, it was most likely his pair of giant brass balls getting in the way, a consequence of being hard as fuck).

The halflings spring into alert – with trained efficiency. Torches are lit and a search of the nearby forest commences, this is a dark time for our heros. In attempt to throw off the search party, Taksum hucks a sling bullet to a remote part of the forest. As the bullet clangs on rocks and trees, multiple halfling daggers are instantly thrown towards the sounds; however, the halflings appear more organised, determined, and deadly than before. Slowly they close in on our heros.

With no choice left, Taksum decides to leap to his feet and deliver an intimidating Dragon Roar ROAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAR. A few of the halflings seem shaken, without a moment’s hesitation, Taksum then unsuccessfully attempts to ignite one of the halflings in an explosive pyre. During the commotion, Sariel phasesteps past Taksum, and together they flee the encampment. The shock and awe diversion worked, as our heros lose their pursuers.

As they are fleeing down the path back to the caravans, Sariel notices three distinct tree blazes, the same blazes that Garam expects, yet not created by our heros. Clearly something is a miss, and signs point to a traitor among the convoy. In order to plan a ruse and expose the traitor, Sariel and Taksum decide to recreate the blazes further up the road, closer to the caravan, and gauge the reaction when the convoy stops there.

Sariel and Taksum are now only left to return to the caravan, share the news with Vicroar, and ponder their next move.

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