The Realm of Eärwa

Trial by Fire

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After the party returned to their rooms Enoch saw Zay sneak out to follow the Warden and see what was happening. Knowing that he would only hinder her he shut the door to his room and bolted it from the inside. His mood was dark and the thought of hopelessness hung over him like a rain cloud. The more he thought about their current endeavor the less he liked it. His mind swam with the chimerical thoughts of their ultimate defeat and inevitable torture at the hands of devils from the lowest pits of damnation.
A quiet rap at the door drew Enoch back from his discouraging thoughts. He unbolted the door and peeked out to see a rather attractive half orc standing there with a bowed head. The events of the evening had caused him to completely forget that he had arranged a meeting with her. Without a word he opened the door and she entered under his arm. He bolted the door and turned around in time to see her undressing.
“No. Please don’t do that.” He said confused and embarrassed.
“But I thought…” she muttered.
“No. I only want to talk with you. How long have you been enslaved here?”
“Two and a half years.”
“What is your name?” Enoch inquired.
“Draven Lighten, Sir”
“Well Draven, I’m going to go out on a limb and trust you with a secret” Enoch said smiling through his beard. “My party and I are not what we seem. We’re not part of the Empire. In fact, we’re here to rescue some friends and anyone else we can.”
Fearing that it might be a trap Draven said nothing.
“I understand that you have no reason to trust me but I assure you that I speak only the truth. I also ask only one thing from you, that being that you spread the word among the slaves that a jail break attempt is coming. When we make our moves we will require all the help we can get. If you desire your freedom this very well might be the only chance you’ll ever get.”
Enoch sat back and stared at the half-orc who clearly was debating what to say. After a few minutes she said “I don’t know why but I believe you. I will spread the message as you request.”
Enoch than thanked her and tried to direct her to the door, but she stopped him. “If I leave now I will be whipped because they will think that I disappointed you, please may I stay the night?” Draven pleaded.
“I see no problem with that. You can sleep on the bed and I’ll take the floor.”
A smile crossed Draven’s face and in a small voice she said “I think it’s better if we both share the bed tonight do you?”
“Indeed.” Is all he said and began removing his armor.
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Licking your wounds

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The attempted ambush on the other side of the river was a fierce and deadly battle. We’d had two members of Irin’d’orin taken captive earlier and now we’d lost another to a brutal enemy. Was the light beginning to dim a little? The team had quickly bandaged and searched the carnage for any immediate valuables before loading up and moving away from the scene of the slaughter. The enemy would come searching for their soldiers and we meant to be long gone before then.
Rut’s passing was difficult and none wanted his body in the hands of the enemy. We committed his body to the river and made our way toward where the the mountains we suspected harbored the mysterious “Forge.”
As we trotted our horses past a jutting of trees off the edge of the forest, a light could be seen shining warmly toward us. Soaked by the rain and leaning wearily in the saddle, we decided a short break to discover the source of the light would be a good thing.
Within the grove a trees knelt a beautiful and tall woman. Calling us by name as we watched her, she bade us enter out of the rain and take our rest. The ring of trees closed behind us blocking the light’s escape.
We discovered that her name was Wylde, but she was often referred to as the Matron or Mother. She had been here waiting for us that she might meet us in person, her curiosity peaked by the recent lights in the Deadwood.
“The world has been so dark these past centuries that I admit to having lost hope and, you might say, that I faded somewhat from existence. Then an unexpected light appeared in the forest and I was surprised. Then a second came to life and I was curious. Then a third was lit and I was renewed with hope. The darkness had receded and I felt a kindling of something I hadn’t felt in many, many years.”
We asked her many questions and she freely answered what she could. The napkins and the goblets were explained as relics from the All Father, Allyxann, the giver of life as well as its taker. She spoke longingly of this deity and when asked informed us that she was his consort and that together they had created the pantheon.
Although we had many more questions, exhaustion overtook the team and we slept a much needed rest. We arose to a beautiful morning. Although our new found friend was no where to be seen, we were rested and healed of our wounds. We loaded up the remaining foods and departed for the Forge.
She had thanked us for renewing her hope and had wished us well in our journey to restore the light and to drive back the darkness.

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Wanted: Dead or Alive
What would you pay for a little information...

{From Enoch’s perception}


As we entered the Castra at Myclai, the wooden palisade that we had erroneously thought was a small fishing village, I had two thoughts that dominated my thinking. The first was that the Garrison held a lot more soldiers than the five us could handle. We were either going to talk our way through this or we would certainly be swaying from the gallows by morning. The second thought I had regarded E’mryk and the stunt he pulled on the docks. If only we could force him to keep his trap shut. Ever since he received that scar upon his face he seemed moody, irritable and withdrawn. He’s a tough little bugger and I doubt vanity alone was responsible for his foul mood.


We followed the officer and his six very green trainees through the fort. I could barely keep from giggling as I watch them marching slightly off beat, clearly chafing under their armor. As for the officer, he went by the name of Optio Servius Tullius Augustus of Brand. Being the fact that I am rusty regarding my knowledge of the Imperial ranking system I overestimated the importance of his position. Rut could have corrected me but he was being especially stand-offish. The others seemed lost in their own thoughts as we weaved through the market section of the fort, where civilians squirreled back and forth hocking their wares. We also passed the blood stained gallows and executioner block, if only to remind us what was at stake.


After what seemed like hours but in fact was mere minutes we arrived at a little used officer barracks. Optio Servius entered and waved us in while he told his soldiers to post–up outside within ear shot. While we waited in the main room the officer entered a side room and closed the door. From the outside came a gnarled old man who entered silently and placed napkins and wooden wine glasses for us on the table. E’mryk attempted to communicate to the servant but the old man simply showed us the stump where his tongue use to be, and bowed out. After changing into a less dignified outfit the Optio waved us to seats where he offered us wine. Pretending to avoid it due to duty but really to avoid the potentiality of poison, we sat and began conversing with the officer.


Due to the fact that we were improvising and nervous most of our conversation is a blur to me now. What I do remember was that the priggish Optio had two weaknesses that we wasted no time in exploiting. His first weakness was his over-inflated sense of self-worth. He felt himself far too great for his lowly position here in this backwards garrison off the banks of the Sea of Cerish. The second weakness we espied was his addiction to information. He correctly ascertained that information is power. He incorrectly ascertained that the information that we were in effect peddling was information of that sort. In short, we gave him information that he would in time inevitably receive. For example that the Imperial outpost at Vannte had fallen and its resident giant was slain. The second category of information that we provided was pure cow dung; that is it was rubbish that we made up on the spot.


After about an hour of discussion we had inflated his head by blowing enough hot air up his ass that he felt dizzy with his own sense of importance. We had also convinced him that it would be in his best interest to provide us with horses and safe passage out of the garrison to the north. I was delighted the whole time that E’myrk kept his cool and that Quinn’s unwise dropping of Malus’ name was overlooked. Nevertheless, we were on our way after the hour. We immediately received our horses from the quartermaster and attempted to leave the fort before our play-acting fell apart. Unfortunately E’myrk started another quarrel with the guard at the gate. Luckily we had him on his way before our position could become dire.


For around a mile we rode north towards a ferry that the Optio had directed us to. Upon reaching it we paid a couple of simpletons to take us across and we boarded a fairly large barge that could likely accommodate ten men and their horses. As soon as we boarded we noticed a squad of soldiers were approaching from the direction of the garrison and we knew that our cover was blown. We encouraged the simpleton ferrymen to hurry and when they seemed incapable to reach the speed we desired E’mryk enlarged Rut with one of his spells and Rut sped our passage by quite a bit. Once we were only the other shore the ferrymen started their return and we discussed what we should do. The general consensus was that we should wait in hiding and ambush those that pursued us. I personally found this to be a very bad idea but I went along with the general opinion of the party. Quinn hid the horses in a gully and we crept behind bushes and other foliage.


While waiting I lent the spyglass to E’myrk, he being the only one of us that can see in the dark. He spied on the party that was waiting for the ferry’s return. He estimated their party to consist of ten men or so. Their leader seemed to be a Tiefling with a broken horn. He returned and informed us what he saw when we all heard a noise. Apparently we were the ones that were going to be ambushed, for a moment later we were assaulted by a horde of monstrous beings. There were two giant cyclops creatures, two trolls and six black goblins. The fight opened with one of the cyclops launching some-sort-of ice spell that sent everyone in our party to their knees in pain.


I often find that when I’m in the middle of a battle my mind becomes clear, all inner dialog silences and there is only the fight. For this reason I always have a hard time retelling a tale about a battle. Images flutter through my mind but they seem unconnected. I remember Quinn getting the stuffing knocked out of him when a majority of the enemies descended upon him at the same time. I remember Zay rolling about and slashing wildly with her cruel blades. I remember mowing down a goblin or two only to find the cyclops and troll that attacked me to be more than I can handle. Apparently, we were losing the battle, Quinn fell, followed by Zay and myself. Rut was toppled next and E’mryk stood alone launching magic missiles into their midst. After being revived with a potion from the Gnome I flew into a rage and attacked the last remaining cyclops, who rather than return my onslaught killed Rut viciously by driving his crude pike into his skull as he lay unconscious.


I had only known Rut for a few days but I couldn’t help but pity the poor bastard. I also wondered if he had a wife and/or child somewhere that would be waiting forever for his return. E’myrk and I finished the cyclops off and cut the line to the ferry so that the other pursuing party could not reach us and finish us off. E’myrk revived the remaining members of our party and we limped towards our horses knowing that time was of the essence if we wanted to survive.

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Behind Enemy Lines
and in trouble... as always

With the foes slain and the loot divided, the adventurers needed to deal with the problem of Rut Rutter, formerly known as Todd. The man was once Quinn’s best friend and he was torn between past and present loyalties. Todd had freed Quinn and through that act had most likely saved the lives of the entire party, but he had also promptly turned and knocked E’mryk out. After a small amount of deliberation, Rut was given two options: be released into the world with no armor or weapons, or to join the companions in their quest against the Empire. After assurances of goodwill, Rut agreed to join the party. He then warned them that Malus would be sending a clean up Quad to the area and it would be best that the party left with all due haste. They set the Ruined Fortress ablaze and set out into the cold gray rain. After a few hours of travelling, Quinn found a shelter that overlooked a large portion of the land. The adventurers set up camp and established watch. Quinn took the first, uneventful watch in which the only entertainment was strange noises in the woods and a very, very distant giant patrolling Northport. When the time came he awoke Enoch, who experienced the same uneventful watch. After Enoch came Zay, and lastly E’mryk. Throughout the entire night, the only interesting occurrence was the rapid departure of the giant from Northport.

The next day, the adventurers left in search of Eastport. After deliberating about the best course of action, they decided to avoid the city if possible, and instead to search along the shore for a vessel to take them to the other side of the Sea. Upon arrival at the shore, the adventurers successfully flagged down and old fisherman and requested a ride to another, larger vessel. After a good deal of convincing, mostly with the glint of gold, the man agreed to row them to the ship. As they neared the ship, Quinn and Enoch hailed the captain. As the adventurers bartered for their passage, the old man from the fishing boat realized that he recognized one of the members of the group. “I do believe that you have a quite familiar face sir” He said to Quinn. “What do you mean” the ranger responded. “Why, you’re Quinn…” the old man was cut off by the cold blade pressed against his back. Enoch slipped him some more gold as he warned him to stay quiet.

After the adventurers boarded the ship and a price and destination were agreed upon, several of the party decided to rest on the journey. As they slept , the crew rowed them towards their destination: a fishing village called <insert name="true">. One of the crew noticed that the sleeping Ranger’s cloak had slipped, and that the armor of an Imperial soldier was visible. When Quinn woke up, he realized his error, and decided to solve the problem. He walked to the boy and slipped him a handful of gold, warning him to be quiet. Upon arrival at the Imperial port, the adventurers immediately assumed their pre-decided false identities. Zay was posing as a private contractor used to infiltrate unfriendly cities while the rest were posing as the now destroyed 6th Quad. They stepped onto the dock and were immediately assailed by a worker demanding their papers. E’mryk, pretending (or was he) to be a belligerent officer refused this, while the rest did as they were asked. After a brief standoff, E’mryk consented to have his papers examined, and the party pressed forward. Rut subtly guided them toward the Dockmaster’s booth, at which they were again demanded to show papers, and also questioned. The group all responded with the appropriate lies, and claimed their work to be highly confidential. During this conversation, Quinn noticed that guards were starting to line the balconies up ahead, and he warned his friends, telling them to undo their peace bonded weapons. The Dockmaster dismissed the group by informing them that the Commanding Officer wanted to speak with them. As they moved in to the courtyard, the aforementioned officer met them. “It has been a long time since we had the pleasure of entertaining a Quad! Please, come join me in the command tent!” he said as he reached for the hands of the group. As he shook Quinn’s hand, he scanned his face, a glimmer of recognition visible to the Ranger. He then turned and led the way into the main garrison. As they entered, The entire party simultaneously noticed a large, publicly displayed wanted poster with a caricature of a frighteningly familiar Ranger. Quinn felt his blood turn to ice as he realized his days, and crimes committed, as a highwayman were coming back to haunt him. Wanted.jpg

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The Black Gauntleted Hand

Loot
All of the Quad members have:
Signet ring of Quad of the 6th rank, and papers of his station.

Rut Rutter the Barbarian
+1 Battleaxe
+2 Leather Armor
Equipment: Backpack, bearskin cloak, bedroll, drum, greatsword, handaxes (2), healer’s kit, javelins (3), mess kit, potion of healing (2), pouch, stone of good luck, tinderbox, torches (5), traveler’s clothing, waterskin, money (10 gp, 4 pp)
Stone of Good Luck: Wondrous item, uncommon (attuned) While this bloodstone disk is on your person, you gain a +1 bonus to ability checks and saving throws (not included on your sheet).
Rut considers it to be a token of the god of War.

Lander Marsk the Fighter
+1 Longsword
+1 Shield
+1 Pike
+2 half plate armor
Equipment: Longsword, pike, javelin (5), half plate armor, shield, dungeoneer’s pack, potion of healing, money (33 gp, 5 sp)

Raladius Mithrali the Warlock
Equipment: +2 robes of the Imperial Mage, two daggers, herbalism kit, explorer’s pack, potion of healing (5), alchemist’s fire (5), Book of Shadows, club, money (75 gp)

Valas Argith the Drow Rogue
+1 Shortsword
+1 Dagger
+2 Studded Leather
Equipment: Hand Crossbow, quiver 20 bolts, dungeoneer’s pack, thieves’ tools, disguise kit, poisoner’s kit, signet ring of minor drow noble
Helm of Telepathy: Wondrous item, uncommon (requires attunement) While wearing this helm, you can use an action to cast the detect thoughts spell save DC 13) from it. As long as you maintain concentration on the spell, you can use bonus action to send a telepathic message to a creature you are focused on. It can reply—using a bonus action to do so—while your focus on it continues. While focusing on a creature with detect thoughts, you can use an action to cast the suggestion spell (save DC 13) from the helm on that creature. Once used, the suggestion property can’t be used again until the next dawn.

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Fireside Chats
Dredging up the painful past...

E’mryk sat staring into the fire. His hands sat in his lap and the silence was deafening. Normally he would attempt to engage in conversation or discuss something he’d read recently, but tonight was different. For some reason the last few days had deeply disturbed him, jarring loose memories of his childhood he’d thought lost to time. Yet here they were. Coming back into focus with a clarity that both stunned and overwhelmed. Perhaps the Bleakstorm had more of an effect than he’d realized.
His mother’s face haunted him.
Everyone seemed more subdued, lost in thoughts. Each appeared to be on the verge of speaking…
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Marking the Passage of Time
Clockwork Revalations

After resting the night, the elves and the gnome, standing amidst the statues of divinity, both crumbled and whole, began deciphering The Wisdom of Al’yxonn mounted to the wall of the temple. When they had completed the words, the floor opened beneath the party and plunged them into a sub-basement chamber leaving them battered and bruised.
After passing through several rooms with clockwork apparatuses, the team came upon a hallway that looked strangely translucent. Quinn shot an arrow the length of the 90’ hall and it stopped in mid-air, hanging above the floor where it halted its flight. Then it began moving toward them at a slow, but steady pace. The team rained arrows and a fireball at the moving goo and eventually the thing collapsed before reaching the interlopers.
Beyond the blob a portcullis with a dozen locks on its face blocked their path. Zay studied them and realized one of them looked somewhat familiar in design. She managed to pick the lock and the bars slid into the ceiling. clockworks.jpg
The next room had a clockwork mechanism in the floor and levers protruded from various points in the round room. A plaque hung from one wall with an inscription in an old dialect of high elven.
Levers were moved according to the mysterious riddle-like inscription and a hidden set of double doors opened in a wall beside them. skeleton.jpg
A hallway continued away and ended in double doors opening onto another round room at the end. Skeletons in armor moved into a protective positioning within and prevented the team’s advance. A battle ensued and the bony defenders were defeated, but not after causing more damage to the group.
Enoch decided he liked the shields and took one as his own as they moved back to the main round room. More levers were moved and other doors opened. Down into the basement of the basement the team went. A ghostly vision of an elf in deep thought hovered above the floor at the bottom of the spiral staircase. Conversing with the friendly apparition revealed that Mallus and the elven king’s bodyguard were brothers and grandsons of the spectral elf. Two toys were given into the care of Irin d’ orin to give to the grandsons. Ghost_Elf.jpg

It appears that Lucan left a writing on the wall, a long write-up in ancient high Elven: The world has fallen, it has fallen into chaos. Once beautiful, it is now consumed with darkness. Mankind fought, and fought, then they turned to their deities when they could not come to an accord. The Convocation tried, we tried to bring peace, we tried to unite the kingdoms. The generals gather their armies, and the final battle has been fought on the Loyal fields. There was no place for court intrigue and backstabbing, those acts of the play had already been offered. Now, only bodies of fire and ash are left. Death and destruction is what mankind wanted, and the god have given it to them. Fate has chosen for us, for the deities in their divine wisdom played their hands much like mortal wisdom. The fates have taken us in their hands, and like ashes have flung our futures to the wind. The armies have been disemboweled and torn asunder, Earwa and Aynemere alike have been brought to their knees and beyond. Our gods have departed, hope for mankind has fled, insanity reigns… Maybe the fate has decreed that mankind must burn in the fires of the abyss and feel the loss of their deities to understand what they once had. One day, one day, a light in darkness will call to good folk to usher forth a beacon in the darkness, a light so powerful even darkness cannot extinguish it. Allyxann have mercy on us, for we are lost….
Irin’ d’orin a’ halen a’ mor’alhnel…

Layout of the Tombs Catacombs_layout.jpg
Here are the names on them:
Once Prime Chaplain Mythicar Ilthayne and founding member of the Synod
Once Justicar Warden Asmundr Kasrin and founding member of the Synod
Once Prime Envoy Arondel Dawnbringer and founding member of the Synod
Once Commandant and Prime Envoy Aidia Talonlaw
Once Commandant, Prime Chaplain, Justicar Keld Verglas
Once Prime Envoy and Justicar Alexandros Korviniat
Once Justicar and Prime Warden Matthias Darkmire
First Master Articifer Karn Mildon and founding member of the Synod
First Prime Steward Torlin Alfheim and founding member of the Synod

The team rigged some ropes to pulley themselves back up and out of the basement of the temple planning to return with the news. As E’mryk was reaching the top, he reached up to make purchase at the lip and a black gauntleted hand reach down grabbing it.

Until next week…

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Ruined Fortress of Vannte
Connecting with the past

Zay laid within the crate, as motionless as possible, steadying her breathing in the cramped space. She felt it rock from side to side as it was carried forward, she felt it being set down. It was almost time! It was then a flash of light so bright accompanied by a crack of electricity was heard right outside of the crate, and she could only imagine the pain involved. ogre.jpg The lightning arced from the walls and you could almost hear mad Dwarven laughter as the dwarves lit up the ogres and barbarians in the courtyard.

hillgiant.jpgStorn Backbreaker’s back arced and his bodied convulsed violently and a second wave of lighting was launched into them. His gaze lockedl on E’mryk as he stalked toward the source of his pain, both fire and lightning, climbing over the buildings to reach him, but E’mryk had other plans. Storn climbed the building, E’mryk took the opportunity splatter the giant with thick green-tinged webbing and spider-climbed down the side wall, landing on the ancient cobbles and slinked around the building while the legendary hill giant thought he fled. Oak and Rowen took the signal to also slip away, making their way to the temple as the Dwarves’ shouted “Get to the temple, we got this!”

Enoch and Quinn broke through the wall. They heard the Dwarves shouting down to them to circle around and make their way to the temple, guiding their spectral mounts out and around to make their way to the front of the temple.

Zay slowly lifted the lid of the crate and peered out to take in the scene. She realized she was not in the temple, but rather in the courtyard out front. In the dusk light she began making her way up the wide stairs leading up into the temple. Hearing voices, she cut to the left and began moving from crate to crate. Within she spotted two barbarians of the Cloven Hoof tribe who sorted barrels and crates. Creeping up and around, she jumped out and took the opportunity to unleash an assault on a lone barbarian as the other had moved around behind the crates. Zay_action.jpg

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Getting there
Showing up is half the battle

The companions of Irin d’ orin departed early the following morning on the summoned steeds gifted them by the elves. Capable of greater speeds and possessing endurance beyond that of normal mounts, the six made good time toward the Loy Valley. They skirted the northern edge of the farming communities to avoid detection by the Legions who now occupied the territory. Unfortunately, this also meant they were also introduced to the maelstroms of the Bleakstorms, known for its chaotic and unpredictable magical storms.
Just as the six made their way around the northernmost tip of the Sea of Cerish, an unusual popping and cracking could be heard in the distance. Not having been here before, no one had any idea what they would soon face. The noises grew rapidly closer and the wind began to stir. Before anyone could react the maelstrom was upon them. Illusory rocks whirled past them. Most just passed through without physically harming the team, but others were solid and pelted with unexpected force. The wind became increasingly fierce and ghostly faces began to appear in the midst of the churning mess. Several of the companions were upended landing under their mounts. Unable to see each other within the chaos, E’mryk yelled as loud as his little lungs would allow, “ride as fast as you can. Get out of the storm!”maelstrom.jpg
Emerging at different points, but luckily all on the eastern side of the storm, five of the six made it free. Oak hadn’t come out. Fearing the worst, Rowan kicked his mount forcing the magical beast against its instincts to re-enter the magical moshpit while the remaining four began yelling. The elven twins followed the sounds of the others’ voices to defeat the disorienting effects of the maelstrom and soon rode out, battered and somewhat slumped in their saddles, to rejoin the other four.
A breathless moment passed with a collective sigh of relief and the six rode off, putting some distance between themselves and the storm.
Deciding that the mountains would provide better cover, the team dismissed the magical horses and walked into the foothills for both cover and a better vantage to watch and plan.
While the six exchanged the spyglass and whispered tactics, a unusual sound came from behind. The noise started low and quickly rose in pitch before fading. These preceded a gruff voice that said, “What’s this? What’re ye about?”
The team turned and beheld a gnarled dwarf with goggles on his head, a long metal rod on his back and a long scar that ran over his right eye. His white beard had metal braided into it that bounced and jiggled as he twitched standing there confidently awaiting an answer.
“We six are here to sack the fort down below.” Enoch stated without missing a beat.
A line of dwarves in leather armor stepped from the rocks to stand beside their leader. Each carried a crossbow-like device with a metal tube mounted where the bolt would have been.
Mirth shook the crazy looking dwarf for a second before he questioned them about the logic of the six of them taking on a barbarian war party, an octet of ogres and a giant of some renown. When the team answered in the affirmative, he replied that the team would need help to pull off such a crazy idea.
Somewhere in the midst of the brief conversation, the companions had mentioned elves returning to the Deadwood. This raised the dwarf’s bushy eyebrows and he stopped the conversation in mid-sentence.
“Now I know ye’re mad. There ain’t been elves in the Deadwood for centuries. I was a’mind to throw in with ye before I thought ye were out o’ yer mind.”
The team could see that he wanted to help them, but he wouldn’t risk his troops without knowing the sanity of the odd collection of people before him..
Enoch continued, “The elves have returned. King Tordynnar has asked us to stop the supplies that fuel the empirical armies rampaging through the region. We intend to make it so.”
About to leave, the crestfallen old dwarf offered one last option, “If ye can show me proof them elves have returned we’ll throw our lot in with yers and goose ol’ Storn Backbreaker like he ain’t never had a’fore.”
Oak lowered his hood, his elven heritage plain in his sharp features, “I am ”/characters/oak-and-rowen-tordynnar" class=“wiki-content-link”>Oak Tordynnar, son of King Athtar Nindrol Tordynnar, King of the Thousand Leaves. He speaks truth."
The shocked dwarf simply said, “So, let’s kill us some giant, eh?” His fellow dwarves grinned in anticipation.

The sun was setting as each group of the strike team moved into place, the Dwarven Rangers moved up to the North and South walls while Zay deftly crept into place and opened the crate to climb in and hide, Quinn and Enoch made their way quietly into position to fire upon the Barbarians and Ogres, finally E’mryk and the two Elves silently (and slowly) moved their way and climbed onto the rooftops in the southern part of the Vannte. They waited, and then realized ‘how in the world am I ever supposed to know when to start…’

That is when the arrow flew, Quinn firing upon the Barbarians and Ogres relaxing around a fire in front of the Temple, quickly followed by Enoch. Then the battle ensued, as E’mryk heard the sound of a Hill Giant turning at the noise. Storn Backbreaker had been relieving himself on the Eastern wall when the ruckus started. Turning, he began making his way to the center of the fortress. Enoch and Quinn were able to get a second volley off before the Barbarians and Ogres were upon them, as a spectral figure of a bear manifested in their midst. Enoch and Quinn took the brunt of several attacks, as the bear materialized, they quickly called their mounts and jumped on riding quickly away as the horde laid into the spectral bear. Upon Storn reaching his largest group of forces, the sounds of Thunder-tubes could be heard powering up before unleashing six lightning blasts onto the group. The searing light and raw electricity was truly awe-inspiring as it reached its targets and proceeded to chain through all the different targets as a bright light flashed in the center of the fortress. This was quickly followed by the blinding light of a green fireball as it exploded on the back of Storn Backbreaker. As Storn shook his head, and gathered his wits, he realized exactly where the fireball originated. He turned, locking eyes with E’mryk and began to climb the buildings stalking toward the diminutive little Gnome.
That is where we stopped for the night…

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Back to the Demeter
Irin D'iorn

Scene 1
• The smell of smoke permeates the air, smoke with hints of sweet apple woven in. Have you ever smelled burned apples? Burned apple pie?
• Fresh bodies litter the street, in different states of composure and decomposition.
• You can hear the howling of the wind as it rises and falls.
1st Scene Description: Rent is beheading and removing the weapons from the barbarians, then throwing them in a pile. Dain has provided enough ease to the injured as he can, but the people need rest, good food, and care in order to recover. Jed tears up in seeing the returning heroes, and at the loss of the town folk and others. Refugees from Venton Rock, a town NE at the base of the mountain was known for its coffee and Tin, and Jorg, a town SE at the river Tywanrae known for its freshwater fish (mostly Salmon). Spending the night and starting out first light is the best option, and after getting the fires put out, and bodies gathered up it is almost 11PM. The adventurers have to make a choice to move the refugees to the Tree of Demeter.

Scene 2 – The Tree of Demeter
Scene Description: Before entering the deadwood, they see another light in the NE of the Deadwood light up as another tower (Tree of Aphrodite) is overtaken. The color seems to be returning to the woods as the group slowly, cautiously makes their way into the Deadwood. Along the way, you notice Valandor grab Rianton, and the Elves take a break and step to a big dugout on the side of the road. Looking on, you notice the reverence the Elves are taking and some sort of prayerful motions. Before taking note, they move on and if asked do not wish to speak on it. Moving closer to the tree, you notice a perimeter of heads on pikes (if they inspect them they will see that in this light they look very much like the Goblins, Trolls, and Cyclops heads, but they are man-made).
Scene 2
• As you make your way through the Deadwood, you can actually smell the hint of nature returning. As you get closer to the Demeter, it gets stronger.
• The foliage and trees around you actually are taking on flecks of natural looks once again, the browns and greens that you would expect.
• Every now and again, you think you hear the sing song of a bird on the light wind.
2nd Scene description: As they come upon the Tree, there is a great bonfire. All of the goblins, troll, cyclops have been prepared to be burned. Rianton turns to the companions and asks “please, wait here a moment with the wounded, I must speak with them first”. He and Valandor walk up to the leader and begin explaining something to him, and if you continue watching, you notice another elf, a much older looking Elf step up and seems to emphatically be denying his words. After a couple minutes of discussion/argument, Ural steps away holding his gaze at the group as he moves back and then begins watching the area surrounding the bonfire. Rianton comes back, he is smiling and Valandor approaches the tree “Rowen and Oak, please guide these good gentles into the protection of Demeter. They are to be placed in the outer birth of the wetterleif.” Rowen seems to look haughty as he is given orders, but Oak cheerfully responds and begins encouraging folks to move up to the tree. Rianton then looks to the companions and invites them to join him at the bonfire.
Athtar Nindrol Tordynnar looks old even by Elven standards, on his brow he wears a circlet with what looks to be a majestic bird of prey, the circlet sits on a head full of long, Blondish/Grey hair, and he is wearing a beautifully crafter suit of plate that appears to be gold, with intricate fluting and inlays that look to be lines that end in leaves. (Speaks slowly, enunciating precisely, and drawing out the words as if each word matters.)
The whole time Ural, his bodyguard stares at them with a watchful almost hateful eye. He is wearing Half Plate of exquisite make, but it appears to be blued to a blackened state. He carries a maul, and unusual for an elf, he has a beard. His face appears to have been burned at some point, but it could be age, you’re not sure. If and when he does speak, he speaks in a gravelly voice that makes you think he may have taken a throat wound at some point.
The Elven leader is prepared to give a speech:
On the day the Empire of 1,000 Leaves fell, the sky burned the color of charred blood, and the muddy boots of the Imperator’s Warmakers pounded cadenced thunder across the cobblestoned courtyard of the Aberwyth. It was always a place of beauty and tranquility, a place of solace, and a place of meditation. The grand trees standing majestically above the stone palace, the palace lovingly erected by not just those of Elven hand, but Dwarf, Human, Halfling, Gnome, and even Orcish descent erected it. (as he motions over in the direction of the nation of Romarot) In this hour, it’s an unburied mass grave of innocents. The people littered the streets – some spirits lingering, though many left this Plane, their wounds bled the last of their hope into the gaps between the cobblestones. But today, today it stands as a mausoleum. These creatures, these abominations, their appearance is that of a corruption. Nature gone awry. With this fire, we will return them to their ancestors, for then they may truly choose how their spirit will live on.
At this, the wardens not standing watch over the proceedings move forward and begin reverently putting the bodies into the bonfire. Once they are done, they are introduced to the Elven leader, and his bodyguard. Small talk, and then they invite them into the Demeter. While they move forward they can now see it looks like Elves are laying against the base of the tree, as if holding a loved one. If asked they are Druids, and they are infusing the land with good magic.

Back to the earth and all that. Dark City has fallen, and it is expect that they will attack the Dwarves soon:
- The ruined Fortress of Vannte (at the base of the mountains near the finger of jutting north on the Sea of Cerish at the base of the Great Kavarsus)
- More Towers in the Deadwood
- Undercover operation in Galeoth
Tryse in the Realm of Shrouds will be under attack within a month probably 2 weeks, the barbarians are migrating to battle, hence the barbarians that waylaid Walden, Venton, and Jorg. Quite possibly many other small towns and villages between here and the mountains. They are not all the same tribe, and as they passed they set upon these villages.

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