Speaker in Dreams

Finding the duergar fortress
Two join the party... one friend, one foe
  • As the party leaves camp a man in the loosely draped clothing of Thaotrem approaches. They do not recognize him as one of the men in the camp. He introduces himself as Franz Mahteze, a guide from the capital city, Kalūtān. He speaks common better than Thaotrese, and the group can tell he is not a native of this land. Franz says he guides merchant parties back and forth across this stretch of road, making a fair amount of money. After guiding a group down to Thaotrem, he was on his way to return to Kalūtān and was hiding outside the camp, sizing up the merchants before he made his proposal to escort them on the road. When he overheard what the adventurer’s were planning to do, he had to be a part of it. He wanted to explore the dark dwarf lands further, but knew it would be foolish to do alone, so this appeared to be a perfect opportunity.
  • Now with Franz in their company, the party of adventurers travels into the arid hill country. They find a small cave for shelter to sleep during the day, and while on watch Landen hears a Dragonne in the distance, roaring aggressively. He can tell the sounds are battle cries, but he is unable to spot the creature on the skyline. Soon, he hears the Dragonne give it’s final cry: a screech as it dies. Gvados takes to the sky in vulture form and locates the battleground, spotting bloodstained ground surrounding a Draggone lying on the ground. After their rest, Gvados leads the party toward the slain Dragonne.
  • When they find the carcass Sapphira examines its wounds. She discerns that it wasn’t slain by a beast, edged weapons rather: axes and swords. As Durgyn walks the perimeter of the battleground, he’s ambushed by a Duergar warrior. Suddenly, eight of them appear from the nooks in the hills and from behind the shrubs that cover the landscape. It’s an ambush, and the party is thrown into battle.
  • The party clashes steel with the dark dwarves they’re seeking, and Gerard cries out “time to get paid!” The battle is fierce. The Duergar launch throwing axes as they charge in from their ambush positions, one landing firmly in Durgyn’s hide. Largo fires his crossbow but it overrun by a pair of the Duergar, and he avoids their attacks by tumbling over the Draggone carcass, using it for cover. Of course, while doing so he tumbles and rolls through its blood, becoming covered in it. Gerard slays the first with his flail, breaking its neck. The Duergar body falls to the ground and Landen’s sell-sword draws his longsword with his offhand and decapitates his slain enemy, shouting the sound of money with joy “ca-ching!” The new member of the group, Franz, sends his animal companion into the fray: a badger. The small beast flies into a rage and jumps onto one of the enemy, grasping into its neck with his sharp teeth. The Duergar fell, and the badger opened his throat. Landen decapitates a foe with one smooth strike and with great dexterity, knees the falling head towards Gerard. Gerard deflects the flying melon with his shield, “I was on my way over there, I could’ve got paid for him!” Gerard falls in by Landen’s side and the two fight together. The minotaur is surrounded by three of the little menaces. Many of the adventurers have their share of wounds, but Durgyn is starting to bleed heavily. With a strength that harkens back to the ages of Voalrikar, Durgyn runs his sword through the dark dwarf before him and rends it out his side, swinging the blade around to sink another savage blow into a second enemy. He hacks the other into death and continues the relentless attack. The third and final Duergar near Durgyn is brought to the minotaur’s mercy. Bloodied and near death, he falls and drops his weapon. Meanwhile, the other adventurers capture the last of the foes attacking them: he drops his weapon and yields. Durgyn looks down at his foe lying on the ground, while the dark dwarf looks up at the minotaur with hatred. His gladiatorial days flash into his mind, and Durgyn is filled with the thrill of battle. Near to loosing consciousness himself, Durgyn tosses his enemy a healing potion and bashes his sword against his shield. The minotaur tastes the hunger to fight til last blood. Durgyn also slides the Duergar’s axe towards him. The dark dwarf just stares at him. Durgyn grunts and spits on one of the other slain Duergar. The dark dwarf’s rage flares, and he downs the potion. The dwarf the reveals another potion from his small pack and pauses, looking to the minotaur’s reaction before placing the vial to his lips. Durgyn gestures for him to drink it, and with an evil grin the Duergar drinks the second potion. Now revitalized, he graps his axe and cautiously rises to his feet. The dark dwarf shouts, attempting to intimidate the minotaur, but Durgyn just roars beastly in return. The Duergar charges and lands his axe into Durgyn’s side, leaving himself exposed. Durgyn chops down with his sword and buries it into his enemy’s shoulder, slicing all the way down into his chest.
  • With one of the dark dwarves captive, Sapphira casts comprehend languages to interrogate their captive. Landen provides assistance with the edge of his scimitar at the Duergar’s throat, but the dwarf refuses to talk. Landen wipes the blood of his slain companions on the Duergar’s shirt. Gerard offers his methods of persuasion, yet it still yields no cooperation. Landen suggests they let him live… but horribly disfigure him. “Do you even know what you’re getting yourself into?” The Duergar asks Sapphira. “If you find the fortress you will surely die. How large do you think my clan is? I don’t speak and you will kill me, I tell you and my clan will kill me. I am dead either way and I will not betray my clan.”
    As the others look on not understanding the words spoken, Sapphira turns to them and says, “he wants us to kill him.”
    “Then kill him!” Landen says.
    “No, we keep him alive,” Sapphira replies.
    “Okay,” Landen steps up and lines his scimitar with the dwarf’s thigh. He raises his blade and Sapphira grasps Landen’s arm. “No!”
    The duergar laughs. “You are weak! I am your enemy yet you don’t have the guts to let something so brutal happen. You will surely die by my people.”
    Sapphira whispers in Landen’s ear, and the rogue lowers his blade, grabs a handful of the Duergar’s beard, and slices it from his face. Still in vulture form, Gvados digs his beak into an open wound on the duergar and gnaws on his tendons. The duergar kicks the bird from his leg and looks at his beard on the ground. “I have been shamed… I cannot return to my clan…”
    Landen cuts the ropes that bind him, setting him free. The duergar looks to Sapphira with a concerned face. “If you plan to follow me that will not work. I cannot go back to the fortress or any of our settlements. I will die out here in the hills.”
    Sapphira just replies, “Go, you’re free.”
    The duergar turns to Landen and screams at him, grabbing at his scimitar. Landen stops the duergar’s rage with a firmly planted knee to the groin.
    Sapphira tosses a small potion to the dwarf crumpled on the ground, “good luck out there.” The party begins to leave the area, then Sapphira hears a gruff voice call, “wait.”
    She turns back and the dark dwarf just stares at her with hate and discontent. In that same gruff voice, the duergar tells her “I’ll show you the way.”
  • As they travel, Sapphira and Hillfort cast the needed spell to communicate the the duergar’s language. He points off into another direction and tells them there is a decent size settlement of his people that way. Franz is curious, and tries to convince the party that they take him there. The party debates if they should go, but they end up agreeing there would be no purpose, as it is the fortress they seek. In vulture form, Gvados flies off in the direction the dark dwarf pointed. 8-10 miles away he finds a small settlement. There are 8 well hidden, small structures.The party makes camp. When it is time to continue on, Gerard wakes the uneasy to rouse duergar with a boot crushing his finger.
  • As the days of travel pass, Hillfort talks with the duergar occasionally. He offers to take him back to his home country, offering a new start at life working for his brewing business. The dark dwarf laughs. On the next day Hillfort mentions his offer again. The duergar replies, “You will not leave this land. You will die here.”
    “Okay,” Hillfort retorts. “In a perfect world, what would you choose?”
    “I would have chosen to kill you and loot your bodies,” the duergar frankly replies.
    Uneasy, Hillfort chuckles, “let me rephrase that.”
    “Not going to happen,” the dwarf says. Hillfort continues to press the matter, and resigned, the duergar tells him, “in this fantasy world of your imagining… sure, I would go to your land.” Hillfort then determines to himself that as long as they are not betrayed by him, he will protect this dark dwarf with his life.
  • The party begins to discuss camp, and the duergar suggests against it. He says they’re close to the fortress and should continue on. Landen comes to Hillfort and whispers to him. He requests that the wizard translate a couple questions for him and Hillfort obliges.
    “Is there another way into the fortress?” The duergar pauses, and answers, “Impossible.”
    “Is there treasure inside?” The dark dwarf grins, “great treasure.”
    “Is there a mine?” With pride, he replies, “much, much more than a mine.”
    “Who is your king?” At this the duergar tensed up. “I will not speak of him.”
    Landen pats Hillfort on the shoulder and steps away. Hillfort tells the duergar, “We want to be unseen.”
    “Not possible, the fortress is in a canyon, there are three towers.”
    “Surely there’s another option than walking up to the front gates?”
    “Well,” the duergar says as a thought comes to his mind. “There is another possible way…”
    Hillfort casts a spell to read his thoughts, wanting to know the true intent the dark dwarf has as he shares this information.
    “The fortress is mostly maintained from the inside, but not all supplies can come that way.” Hillfort reads violent thoughts towards him and his companions as the duergar speaks, but his statements are truthful. “There is a supply wagon that comes through the front gate. Fresh meat cannot be obtained underground, so one comes on a schedule to supply the fortress with livestock.”
    Hillfort shares this information with his companions. Largo gets excited, “If I only still had my wagon!”
    One suggests they return to the settlement to steal a wagon, but Gvados says he say no stables or wagons when he observed the settlement from the sky.
    Landen adds to the hatching plan, “Gvados, you’d be the perfect spy! Change into a chicken, or a cow…”
    Gvados becomes unsettled, “I don’t think so.”
    “But it’s perfect! You could scope out the inside, snoop around, and no one would…”
    “No!” Gvados sternly shouts. Thoughts of being eaten by a ravenous band of Duergar did not sell the plan for him.
    “Well I’ll drive the wagon,” Largo says. “I wouldn’t even have to bluff: I am a real merchant.” A grin covers his face. The rest of the party is unamused as they ponder how to find the components for this plan to work.
    “What are you all arguing about?” the duergar asks Hillfort curiously.
    Hillfort explains they’re debating on how to get a wagon and livestock so they can sneak into the fortress.
    The duergar gives Hillfort a dumbfounded look. “Are you stupid?”
    Confused, and taken off-guard by this, Hillfort replies, “umm, no?”
    “There will be a wagon… with livestock, on the way to deliver. Isn’t that what I just told you?”
    Hillfort laughs and mentions this overlooked fact to the group. They decide to wait in ambush and steal the supply wagon. The duergar suggests a hidden, rocky area on a hill just near the entrance to the canyon. He says they could watch the route the merchant takes to approach the canyon and be hidden from raiding parties leaving the fortress. Hillfort detects that he’s telling the truth, and something a little more. He reads in the dark dwarf’s thoughts that he hates this merchant and wishes to kill him. The duergar tells them although the rocky place is very close to the canyon, it will not be checked by duergar parties. His people have become complacent of the land since they have had such a firm grasp on it for years. No one has ventured into their hill country for as long as his clan could remember.
    Hillfort tells his companions what the duergar was thinking about the merchant who brings the livestock and suggests they let him have the opportunity.
    Someone asks why, and Hillfort suggests it could gain them a little favor with their captive, bringing him closer to their side. Hillfort continues to explain that the duergar said he’d come back to Calimshan with him and work in his brewery. “If he does not betray us,” Hillfort tells them with an honest gaze, focusing particularly in Landen and Gerard’s direction, “he is under my protection.”
    Landen asks, “If he betrays us, THEN we can kill him?”
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Into the desert hills
Exploring the desert lands
  • Hillfort and Hakiy arrive in Rhatram five days after leaving Ardan. The adventures have been on the desert continent for six days. Hillfort sells items (gems for full price to Abu Ghaary and studded leather to the weapon smith he works with, Najy). Hillfort describes his friends and Abu tells him he saw them not far from his stall, asks if one has a pet wolf. Asks about the minotaur, says him and the other merchants have been talking about them since the day they were in the market. Najy said he heard they were headed north to dark dwarf territory. They’re thick in those hills, no one stays longer than necessary. Now with light load from selling items, Hillfort’s ready for covering ground quickly. He casts ‘flight of the dragon’ (SpC96) and takes to the sky, following the road heading northward.
  • As the adventurers near the hill country, Landen takes a break to exercise his scimitar skills atop a large rock. Largo watches, Landen tells him to “get up here! You want to learn?” “Naaaa” Durgyn responds with a leap to the top of the rock, looses his balance and falls off. Landen laughs. “Geez Durgyn, I think Largo could’ve done better.” Largo practices with his crossbow. Landen is getting a sunburned head.
    Gvados takes to the sky and spots a dust plume on the road north of the dark dwarf hills, and spots something with dragon wings flying to the south behind them… and Hillfort spots a group of 5 travelers on the ground ahead.
    Durgyn jumps back onto the rock with ease, and keeps his balance with skill. Landen notices he’s more stable this time, sends a fake thrust with his scimitar and flips over him. “that’s a handy move, but try it again back to back.” Landen flips over Durgyn’s back and lands successfully on his opposite side.
    Largo spots Hillfort and identifies him looking through his scope. “Anyone want a beer?”
    “That’s not funny Largo,” Landen says.
    “No, look!” Largo points to the sky and Hillfort lowers himself from the heights on his magical wings.
    Considering the group had no idea what fate Hillfort had found after their ocean travel, Landen’s first words either show his conceitedness or his sense of humor. “Did you bring any wine?”
    Hillfort shares his water. Gvados lands and shifts back into human form. “Ah, hello huntsman.”
    Landen is constantly uncomfortable around Gvados as he changes shape. He then turns his gave from the shapechanger to Hillfort. He draws his scimitar and places its point near Hillfort. “You ARE Hillfort, aren’t you?”
    “Of course he is,” Durgyn states.
    Landen looks to Gvados, “well, you never can tell.” He sheaths his weapon.
  • Gvados describes the terrain he saw and the dust cloud of what could be a large group on horse. Landen asks Sapphira if she could do something about his sunburn, Gvados overhears and casts CLW and slaps his head with his hand to deliver the spell.
    “We should start traveling by night and camping during the day” Gvados suggests. “there’s a camp ahead then we’ll be into the hills.” The camp is large, a base camp for groups to assemble together to make the trek through the dangerous pass. Two wagons are already there. Largo approaches a wagon and they grab their sword handles shouting words. “No No,” Largo shows a gold piece and a bolt “I need these.” They understand and let him look. Gvados summons a pig to kill and eat.
  • 2 men are with one wagon at the camp, three to the other. All are well armed. Largo buys darkwood crossbow bolts for the first price the travelers ask. Gvados offers them to join in eating the pig and they gladly accept. No one understand them, Hillfort casts comprehend languages and understands them but hides it. They talk somewhat demeaningly about the group, can’t believe Largo didn’t barter. One man from the second wagon comes over and asks if he can join. Gvados says yes, and bring a bucket. The traveler returns with the other two from his wagon, Gvados creates water in the bucket. With the wagons unattended, Landen sneaks around to have a look.
    Hillfort starts singing a lullaby in Thaotrese and walks up to the group of travelers. They notice he’s singing in their language and look angry. “I would like to know about the travels ahead,” Hillfort asks. They stay silent and stare him down for a short while.
    “You speak Thaotrese?”
    “Through magical means, for short periods.”
    “When did you cast the spell?”
    “A few minutes ago. I found it amusing that my friend didn’t barter with you.” Hillfort attempts to remain friendly despite their now hostile attitudes.
    “He is a fool! What do you want to know about the road?”
    “How far until a safe area?”
    “Typically a little over 2 days, but everyone goes faster to get through in one. About 60-70 miles.”
    As this is happening, Landen gets Gerard’s attention as he’s sneaking around their wagons. He signals to kill the two merchants… then jokingly cancels that and just tells him to keep an eye on them.
    When the merchants leave the adventurers’ camp to return to their wagons, they spot Landen’s movement. They think it’s an animal and don’t find him. Landen rolls under the wagon and hides as they mill around. Gerard walks up to the rear of the wagon, creates an opportunity for Landen to get away. Hillfort flies off with his dragon wings, “want company?” Gvados asks as he changes into his bird from. The merchants are suspicious. Durgyn has been reading a book while at camp. Largo goes to sleep. Landen walks to Durgyn as says with a tone of concern, “I think somebody was in their wagon.”
    “I do too,” Durgyn replies with a wink.
  • The adventurers rest and prepare to set-out at nightfall. Gvados hands out hearth fire to provide a dim light (item from races of stone), then transforms into a wolf.
    As they’re leaving camp, one of the travelers approaches Hillfort. “It is unwise to leave this camp alone. Although we took offense from you, you should still travel with us through the pass when more merchant teams assemble here.”
    “Well, perhaps we could assist you. We plan to attack the duergar and free a hostage.”
    They laugh historically but see that Hillfort is serious. The traveler looks at him with disbelief of his foolishness. “We want no part of that. Good luck.”
    Hillfort asks for coffee and the traveler replies, “Sure, one pound for 3 tin… you are in the middle of the desert wanting to buy from this merchant.”
    --Encounter with Dragonnes in the valley pass. Durgyn enlarged at start. Wolf approaches, Landen too… ROAR!!! Landen is fatigued. Dragonne pounces on Gvados in wolf form. Durgyn runs up and draws warhammer. Largo snipes the Dragonne in the hill, it charges down to Durgyn and clings on with a bite. Landen gets behind the one attacking Durgyn. Gvados takes another pair of claws and a bite for damage. Largo shoots the one attacking Gvados, Hillfort shocks him with a lighting bolt. One fighting Durg and Landen flies into the air to reposition behind Landen and bites him in the shoulder and ROARS!! Landen is exhausted by the deafening roar, Hillfort and Gerard are fatigued. Gvados changes into a raven, flies to Landen and casts a spell to aid his condition. “Thank you night starling” and Landon’s reinvigorated, attacks the Dragonne. The other dragonne chases Gvados in flight. Gvados lands on Landen’s shoulder and the chasing dragonne bites at the raven, sinking his teeth into both. Durgyn steps up and slams one with his hammer, crushing its head into the ground. Largo double snipes, Hillfort fireballs behind the Dragonne. Fatigued Gerard comes into range and throws his longsword, misses. Gvados flies back from Landen’s shoulder, casts a spell (splinterbolt, 203SpC). Pierces it fiercely: dead.
    --Gvados lands and changes back into a wolf. Landen drops to a knee, “Sapphira…” Gerard comes to Landen’s side. Landen looks up at him, “I’m going to make a hat of these things.” Gerard apologizes his sword missed and he didn’t kill the beast. “The deal was dwarven heads… give me a hand up.” Gvados lays in the dirt and whimpers. Landen is fiercely wounded, near to death.
  • The group continues wounded and tired into the desert hills…
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Searching Rahtram for info
Across the ocean, the party finds Thaotrem very different from home
  • A dark skinned human and two dwarves find Hillfort unconscious on a beach. They lift him and take him to a small settlement, barely even established in the foothills boarding a desert. The settlement is Ardan, and when Hillfort regains his wits he finds himself being cared for by the man and dwarves who speak a strange language. He casts a spell and is able to understand them: he learns where he is, the local currency, and two of their names: the human is Hakiy, and one of the dwarves is Noori ibn Ma’sa.
  • Meanwhile the group finds their way into the city of Rhatram. Landen seeks information of his guild-mate Rhynn while shopping in the eastern market. He gets a haircut, skin bald, and the sight of Durgyn seems to distract the barber as he does his job. No one in Rhatram seems to have ever seen a minotaur, and Durgyn can understand why. They certainly aren’t native to the land; all the hair makes the heat unbearable. Landen overpays. When he exits the barber and finds his hired sword Gerard, he asks for an opinion on his new style. “Fearsome m’lord” Gerard jokingly replies.
    Largo finds a bank to learn the common currency and exchange money. He finds the bank is a fancy, large structure. Inside, Largo finds an agent and lays a gold coin on the desk, “ever seen one of these before?” he asks with a wink. The banker replies in common, unamused, “I know the Eastern gold currency… I work at a bank.” He learns the official exchange rate:
    EXCHANGE: 3cp=1tac, 1sp=1tur, 1gp=1gold, 1pp=2tin Tac are small, rounded bits of steel, Tur are larger, finished coins of a metal alloy, gold are hexagonal coins of gold, and Tin are spherical balls of precious metal.
    Sapphira speaks with locals to learn the culture and ways of this foreign place. Gvados changes to bird form and takes a view of the city from the sky. He sees a large ship at port bearing the name ‘Desert Wind’.
    Durgyn discovers coffee… and caffeine.
  • Hillfort imagines his friends must have made it as well, but obviously not to the same place as him. He figured if he could find his way to Rhatram, the group would converge there since it’s their destination. He learns from his hosts that Ardan is 9 days travel from Rhatram. Hillfort decides it’s time to leave and offers to pay the men for their aid. “We could not let you die, there is no price for hospitality.” Hillfort asks, “may I set a price?” “If you must” Hillfort gives them 10 platinum pieces in a pouch. Hakiy insists he travel with Hillfort to Rhatram, and Hillfort walks the small settlement while Hakiy prepares the horses. He casts dancing lights for children, and finds life there quaint, peaceful, and completely isolated.
  • Gvados lands on Landen’s shirtless shoulder. Landen shakes to get him off, but Gvados grapples to keep his footing with his talons. “Huntsman! Get off! Talking animals freak me out…”
    “But it adds to your mystique,” Gvados replies.
    “Fine…”
    The bird nudges Landen’s head, “What’s with this?”
    “Wha?” Landen touches his bald head. “My hair! Where’s my hair!? It’s hot you fool, I cut it off.”
    Landen finds an extravagant merchant’s stall with all sorts of jewelry and clothing. The merchant’s name is Fa’jy. Landen seeks purple and black fine garments of the local attire to keep him cool. “I want a shirt with one sleeve,” Landen states in his noble voice to the merchant.
    “Two weeks custom order, or I can modify a garment in my inventory,” Fa’jy replies.
    Landen finds a shirt he likes and rips a sleeve off.
    “How dare you profane my merchandise!”
    “You said two weeks!” Landen argues and knocks the bird off his shoulder to try on the shirt. Gvados flies around the stall, but it’s so cramped with merchandise he knocks clothing on the ground and crashes onto his back, feigning injury.
    “Get that bird under control or get out of my shop!” Fa’jy screams. “If any more garments are damaged…” The merchant scrambles over to inspect the condition of the items on the ground.
    Landen grabs Gvados and stuffs him in his backpack. “Knock it off,” he grumbles and he stuffs the bird in.
    “Mine are the finest!” Fa’jy growls. “You owe 9 tin!”
    “Okay!” Landen concedes and pays the requested amount.
    “Now leave so that bird is no more trouble.”
    When Landen leaves the merchant’s stall he opens his backpack. Gvados tumbles out and turns into a wolf, causing a huge scene, destroying Landen’s backpack, and bringing the guards running to the scene. Things are resolved… eventually.
  • The group continues to gather information on Rhynn and the emperor’s convoy he spoke of. Gerard seeks information at the taverns, Landen at the docks.
    A ship of the emperor’s, the Firestorm captained by Aan’ha al-Sabui, landed in Rhatram two weeks ago. One day later a caravan left from the ship and traveled northwest: inland to the capital. It is a 17 day journey on foot to take the road to the capital. Over two days travel out from Rhatram there is a long stretch of road that travels through dangerous hill country. A camp is on either end of the road where merchants and travelers wait until they are large enough in number to make the journey through the hills. The road is constantly raided by Duergar that live in the hills. It’s rumored there are so many and they are so established in the hills that settlements litter throughout the hills, hidden in the valleys, and that they even have a large fortress.
    Largo learns that there is no organization of thieves in the area. They cannot survive the harsh punishments in Rhatram and the duergar make it impossible for them to pillage merchants on the roads.
  • The adventurers wait a day for any sign of Hillfort. At the end of their second day in Rhatram they leave in the cool of night on the road to the capital.
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Leaving Shiny Cove
Ashes and the Ocean
  • Hillfort returns to the Tankard & Gull to lay low for the night. As Durgyn and Landen exit the arena battleground, Largo decides to find a different route and ends up exploring the tunnels underneath… and gets frightened by a lion. Durgyn believes he won the duel in the arena and doesn’t recall how the dwarf was slain. Landen explains to Durgyn he was unconscious, and Largo’s freedom has not been won. The battle was won along with the arena crowd, but the duel was lost and Largo would still be indebted to Serin. A gladiator approaches them.
    “You better leave now if that’s your plan. The lord of the arena will be upset if you’re not staying. With Gamak dead, he’ll be hoping you’ll take the place as the star warrior of the arena.” Landen jokingly shares a thought, “I could be your agent Durgyn… we could make a lot of gold.” The gladiator shows them the back way out, and Durgyn rewards him with a gift: the jeweled brooch given to him as thanks from the Baron of Brindonford’s sister.
  • Gvados approaches Landen and Durgyn as they exit the arena undergrounds in the form of a mangy dog. “That was well fought,” the dog speaks.
    Landen jumps back startled. “Am I drunk!? Drugged!?”
    “Drinks are on me,” Gvados replies. “Gamak was a good combatant.”
    “The dog is buying drinks!?” The dog tries to lead them somewhere but the two heroes do not trust it. Instead they head to the Tankard & Gull, finding Hillfort there. Hillfort sees the minotaur with joy, as he believed him dead. Hillfort sneaks a barrel of his ale into the tavern downstairs, hides it under the table and taps it to celebrate Durgyn’s survival. With the arena show over, a rush of customers keeps the barkeep from noticing the adventurers filling their glasses from under the table. Then Landen hears a familiar voice, “You stood me up!!” and recalls a meeting he arranged with Gerard to discuss their quest. Landen fills a new glass and extends it to Gerard, as if he was expecting him. The thief introduces his mercenary to the group and Gerard is well excepted. Who wouldn’t be with phrases like, “I love senseless combat,” or “blood and gold!” As the group discusses their plans for Landen’s task ahead, a commoner spots the minotaur and Landen.
    “The slayers!! It’s them!” Soon, the attention of those customers who came from the arena crowd is focused on the pair they just witnessed in glorious battle. They flocked around them, cheering. As they push their way through the crowd to leave the busy tavern, Hillfort sets his keg on the bar. The barkeep, rushing to fill glasses as the orders are placed, notices this and looks at Hillfort strangely.
    “You neet to get more of this,” Hillfort tells him, “it’s the best I’ve ever had!”
    “What’s it called?” A customer asks. “What are the arena heroes drinking?”
    “Hillfort’s finest,” The wizard says with a smile.
    “Gerard,” Landen calls, “hold these people back.”
    “So I’m hired?” The merc asks. Landon glares at the brazen mercenary. Gerard grins and grabs the nearest fan pressing towards them by the collar of his shirt. “You’d get back if you knew what’s healthy.”
  • As the group makes preparations to leave Shiny Cove, they discussed how they might be able to travel across the ocean quickly. “I need my wagon,” Largo recalls. “With what happened in the arena there’s no way Serin will willingly give it back to me.” The groups promises to help Largo steal it back before they leave town.
    “I could help with your travel arrangements,” Gvados offers. “I know someone who can close the distance. A weather-weird.”
  • They headed to Serin’s warehouse and found the burnt ashes of the building and it’s contents instead. Largo panics and begins to run, but Durgyn grabs hold of him. “It’s all gone,” Durgyn’s gruff voice says. “Not just your wagon, everything. All of Serin’s wealth. You can start over.” The group returns to the Tankard & Gull to get their packed horses. Hillfort finds a moment to tell Durgyn and Landen something quietly.
    “I thought he got you killed. So… I robbed the place and burnt it down myself.”
    When they leave the Tankard & Gull, Landen leaves an IOU note in his suite.
  • “I’ll meet you outside the city,” Gvados says before transforming into a dire hawk and taking to the sky. Because of his large size, he offers to fly the party members over the wall one-by-one, to avoid being seen since they would certainly be in danger if found by Serin’s agents. Most agree, but Gerard and Durgyn decide to leave via the city gate.
  • On their trek to find the weather-weird, some wild animals ambush their camp at night. It results in a tasty meal.
  • After traveling southward, Gvados brings them to a beach. The waves lap on the sandy shore and a man is in the distance with a long staff, dragging it in the sand. “That’s him,” the shapechanger says. As they approach closer they see that the man is drawing a large, detailed design. A human form swims in a twisted knot-work pattern. “Funny to see you come back here,” the man says, apparently to Gvados. The shapechanger doesn’t reply. The man looks up to the other members of the party. “I am Aleshire. What brings you to my sands?” Gvados explains, speaking in an apologetic tone. The others wonder what past the two have but discern nothing.
    “I can call the waves to carry you.” Landen’s face twists in confusion. He notices the tide has come in and is in the process of washing Aleshire’s sand drawing away.
    “You’ve wasted your time,” he says gesturing towards the erasing waters.
    “It is an offering of praise. It is not waste, because the goddess sees my offerings and cherishes them, so if I wish I may use them to call for a favor.”
    “You’re mad.” Landon believes this journey was a waste of time and offends the weather-weird. They argue about his abilities and Landon calls him a fool. “I’d like to see you prove these magics.”
    “I shall give you proof in three hours if you wish it,” Aleshire says with fury.
    Durgyn senses the weather-weird’s motive and believes he is telling the truth. “Landen, let it rest. I believe he can help us.” The minotaur diffuses the situation, but Landen still doubts. Hillfort’s perspective as a spellcaster however is different. He speaks to Aleshire admiringly, asking to learn more about his magic. Aleshire explains that there is no magic from him, he speaks to his goddess with the drawings in the sand and his devoted service results in granted requests.
    “I know you owe me nothing,” Gvados says, “but we ask that we may save a friend of his.” Gvados gestures to Landen. Aleshire looks at the thief distastefully, but replies.
    “To save a friend, it would be a pleasure. This is a good cause. I must call the weather and the tides properly, and you will need to submit to magical sleep.”
    The party agrees to submit to Aleshire’s magic, and one at a time they step forward to be put to sleep. Aleshire casts the spell on Gvados, but he resists and it had no effect. Aleshire shakes his head at the shapechanger and moves on. Gerard struggles but eventually falls subject to the spell. Landen is last and frankly tells Aleshire, “I am of elven blood. I do not, and cannot sleep.”
    “Well,” Aleshire grins. “the journey will be less pleasant for you.”
    As the group sleeps on the sand lined up like slain bodies, Landen sits next to them watching Aleshire work. He mutters some foreign words and the tide retreats, leaving him a blank canvas. He begins to draw in the sand with his staff, placing rocks in nodes of his design. At the center are the adventurers.
    “How do we get back?” Landen asks.
    “Well I am not going with you. And the spell only works one way. You’ll have to figure that out.”
    The weather begins to change. Storm clouds quickly advance on the shore from the ocean and the water becomes restless farther out at sea. Gvados tries his best to rest but becomes restless and begins to panic. Aleshire offers assistance and casts charm person on Gvados, but the effects are minimal. The weather-weird speaks softly into the shapechanger’s ear, “If the spell fails, I did not wish to kill you.”
  • The waves wash over the adventurer’s bodies and pull them out to sea. Gvados and Landen try their hardest to rest, but as they’re pulled out into the ocean and their companions are swallowed by the waves they begin to think they’ve been cruelly tricked. With no shore in sight, they each experience being in a stormy ocean, waves slamming them into the water as they drown and loose consciousness.
  • Gradually the adventurers wake one-by-one on a hot, sandy shore. As they walk the beach they find everyone, including Gvados and Landen… everyone but one. Hillfort is missing and no where in sight, but off in the south they see a strange city: buildings with curves and domed rooftops. Gvados recognizes the skyline as that of Rhatram. The spell worked, they arrived except for one, and they decide their only option is to head toward the city. Landen decides the journey would be more pleasant shirtless due to the scouring heat.
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Arena Duel
A momentous main event
  • Landen introduces Shadrach to the group.
  • The group heads to the arena to inquire about betting odds on the duel. Hillfort places 100gp on Durgyn, while Largo bets 1400gp. Hillfort overhears others standing in the betting line speak about the gladiator Durgyn is set to fight. A dwarf, Gamak Ruhollah, has been fighting in the arena for the last 15 years and has never lost a battle. He fought in the suppression of Baron Gstohl’s uprising and was imprisoned for his crimes, including eating those he killed. Serin arranged for his sentence to be served in the arena, which has resulted in another avenue of profit for his crime organization. He now only fights in duels to the death, and prepares a meal of his losing opponents.
  • Landen seeks a blade for hire to aid in his quest for Shadrach, and he finds Gerard. Landen takes to his rough and confident personality and offers him 3gp a week and 5gp per dark dwarf head on their quest. Gerard agrees, “for blood n’ gold.”
  • Sapphira speaks with a wizard in a local magic shop called Lanta’s Wands, inquiring about teleportation services for the party to begin Landen’s quest. The price is far too steep.
  • As the time draws near for Durgyn’s duel, Landen seeks a spot to sneak onto the tops of the arena to perch. Shadrach looked into Durgyn’s opponent and tells Landen he should be concerned, he hands him an invisible arrow to aid the minotaur if direly needed. Landon spots a rope hanging from the arena wall in some vines and tangled bushes. A pair of kids are arguing who will climb first when Landen surprises them. “Don’t get us in trouble!” One kid plees. “There’s nothin’ but trouble here kid… Scram,” Landen gruffs. The kids run and Landen climbs. At the top he spots a man dressed in animal hides crouched at the edge of the wall and another street kid sitting next to him. The man introduces himself as Gvados, travelling druid. He offers meat from his sack and Landen shares his wine. Gvados offers Landen’s wine to the kid and Landen stops the bottle’s motion in that direction with his hand. “I don’t think so. Not the kid, you know what this costs?”
  • The final event is announced in the arena. “For the first time in this arena, witness with your own eyes, a true Minotaur of Torger in mortal combat!”Durgyn is huge in size, but the dwarf commands a fearsome presence in the arena. He certainly holds the crowds’ favor and his armor is custom, blood stained, and gleaming with menace. The battle is fierce, both combatents exchanging life threatening blows, bleeding from horrible wounds. As they expend their last energy, Gamak delivers the final blow to Durgyn. The minotaur drops his weapon and collapses to the ground. Landen fires the invisible arrow from the walltops… And it misses!
    As Hillfort watches from amongst the crowd, he watches in terror as the minotaur loses the duel. He looks to the man next to him and believes everyone’s attention is so involved in the combat no one would notice him. Hillfort disappears with invisibility and takes to the air, flying towards Serin’s warehouse with revenge in mind.
    As Gamak positions for the final blow, Landen perches himself on coiled legs on the wall’s edge.
    “No!” Gvados shouts. “This is a duel, you must not interfere in sacred battle!” The words were powerless as Landen’s eyes were filled with the near death of his friend. The thief’s legs explode and he flies from the wall, falling the long distance to the arena’s dirt battleground, his trajectory lined up with the dwarf. Landen crashes onto Gamak, quickly gains his feet, and as Gamak turns lifting himself from the ground Landen’s scimitar falls. The greart dwarf warrior’s head leaves his body and falls to the ground.
  • The crowd falls silent. Landen reaches down and helps Durgyn to his feet. The crowd begins to cheer and chant, “Torger! Torger! Torger!” Landen lifts the dwarf’s head and Durgyn picks him up, raising him up on one arm. Gvados the druid changes shape to a raven and lands on Durgyn’s shoulder, casting a healing spell to offer a little aid.
    The arena announcer observes the entertained crowd and is pleased. He speaks, “Battle is over! What do the champions have to say?”
    Durgyn shouts as the cheering crowd grows quiet to listen. “The foul creatures that attack Brindonford will find defeat at our hands!”
    “Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a new Lord of the Arena!” Landen and Durgyn take in the cheer of the crowd, and a voice raises from the VIP balcony behind the announcer. “NO!”
    They look to the balcony and see Serin standing at the announcer’s precipice. “I want their blood!” Standing next the Serin the announcer raises his hands in responce, “and what do the people say?” The crowd screams and shouts in hatred toward Serin’s proposition. Hillfort hears the crowd halfway across the city as he flies through the air, imagining grusome things happening to Durgyn’s defeated body.
    Serin yells in rage and strips a crossbow from a nearby guard’s hands. He takes aim for the heroes and the crossbow bolt zips past them. Largo hops from the crowd into the arena pit, revealing his weapon, “this is how you shoot a crossbow.” The bolt stabs into Serin’s chest, the crime lord drops in pain and retreats.
  • Meanwhile… Hillfort arrives at Serin’s warehouse. He flies in through a window and finds loads of treasure: jewel crusted dragon skull, mithril horse statue, amongst countless small treasure. The majority of Serin’s wealth that runs his crime organization appears to be held in this very warehouse… And Hillfort blasts the place with fireballs. He walks away unnoticed as the warehouse is engulfed in flames.
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A day in the big city
Spies, shopping, and rumors
  • Largo wakes up early to setup shop at the harbor market. He isn’t alone finding a spot to setup at 4am, then when the sun had fully begun its course in the sky at 6am the market was packed with merchants.
  • The rest of the party wakes and Durgyn cashes in his spa token, Landen orders room service, and Sapphira invites the others to visit the local temple of Heroneous to satisfy an itch to hunt undead. Hillfort finds a note form Largo inviting him to visit his stall in the market. Hillfort finds a crowd packed at the harbor market as he searches for Largo’s wagon, and a petty thief pitifully attempted to pick his pocket. He finds Largo stressed having never been in the midst of such bustle. To aid in his marketing efforts, Hillfort casts a spell sending dancing balls of light above Largo’s wagon. This must have worked, as a wealthy man eventually purchased two of Largo’s most expensive items: a ring of force shield and cloak of protection… it seemed the man was a little paranoid about his safety, as a body guard who carried his coin came forward from the market crowd shortly behind the man.
  • Sapphira, Durgyn, and Landen walk the streets of Shiny Cove in search of an enchanter on the way to the temple and Landen notices someone had been following them since they left the inn. They find an enchantment shop and slip in to negotiate the improvement of Landen’s scimitars. While the party discusses paying for the enchantments Landen sees the man who he suspected following them waiting across the street outside.
  • After Largo’s big sell, he packs up his wagon and takes inventory as Hillfort tries to navigate it through the busy marketplace.
  • Landen gets concerned of the quality work this enchanter is offering because of his prices, but the gnome introduces himself as Skupnik the enchanter and testifies his abilities, which reassured Landen to trust his scimitars in his hands. After completing the transaction Landen asks if the party may exit through the back door. “Well, that’s outside the customer area,” Skupnik replied. “Why do you ask, are you being followed? You’re not criminals are you?”
    “Would we have paid if we were?” Landen retorts.
    “Fair enough,” Skupnik says, and he leads them through the door to the rear of his shop. The back room is cluttered with the gnome’s work. He opens the alley door and says “The swords will be done this evening. Will you be returning through the back door as well?” The gnome chuckles.
  • The entire party rejoins at the temple of Heroneous. Hillfort notices Landen missing something and asks, “where are your scimitars?”
    Landen glances to his empty scabbards and looks back up to Hillfort with shock, “I don’t know!” He pauses then starts laughing, “I’m just kidding.”
    A temple servant greets them as they enter. “Welcome,” he notices Sapphira at the head of the group, “are you all servants of Heroneous?”
    Landen leans to the temple servant and whispers, “secretly.”
    “No,” Sapphira answers. “We seek to honor Heroneous and destroy any undead that trouble Shiny Cove.”
    “Within the city things are well.” The servant explains. “Undead on Ancestor’s Island are rare, it is a sacred kept graveyard well tended by our clerics. The last sign had been about three months ago, and rumor is a necromancer is hidden outside the city walls possibly camped outside the North Gate on an ancient unmarked burial site.”
  • Outside the temple Hillfort spots a familiar face. He thinks he saw him at the market, or perhaps when he left the Inn this morning… The party suspects they have all been followed throughout the day, so they split up to meet at Skupnik’s enchantment shop in thirty minutes to see if they are each followed on their way there. Landen spots the same guy he noticed following him outside Skupnik’s shop earlier. Landen slips into an alley and catches the spy by surprise when he comes searching for him in the alley. Landen takes a wound in the scuffle and feels the effects of a poison from the rogue’s blade, but Landen still gets the advantage and questions him at rapier point. “Who do you work for?”
    “Press that point as hard as you like, but I won’t speak.”
    “Then I’ll have to get my friends to make you talk…” Landen replies, and with this threat the rogue attacks again, breaking free to flee down the street.
  • When the party regroups at Skupnik’s Landen arrives notably weakened from the poison. “We’re definitely being followed. Who else noticed a tail, you?” Landen looks to each of his companions, and each in turn suspected they were followed. “Largo, was anyone following you?”
    “I… don’t know… maybe?” Largo replies, unsure and seemingly nervous of the question.
    Landen suspects a thieves’ guild is targeting Largo to steal merchandise from his wagon, while Durgyn thinks Landen’s ostentatious behavior is the cause of this targeting. “You had to have the biggest room in the inn,” Durgyn points out.
    “It was pristine,” Landen boasts as he recalls the lavish comfort of the room. “You could have joined me. Regardless of why we’re being targeted, I say we set a trap for them.”
  • While Landen retrieves his freshly enchanted scimitars and plans an ambush with Durgyn and Hillfort inside the shop, Largo and Sapphira wait outside.
    “Heroneous be with you,” Sapphira says to each passer, wishing the blessings of her deity upon them. Largo notices one of the men who have been following standing a block down looking at them. He tries to discreetly give him a signal to move away, and both Sapphira and the spy do not pick up on his efforts. Largo exaggerates the motion, shooing with his hands at his waist. The man tailing them notices and moves along down the street, but Sapphira also notices Largo’s behavior. “What are you doing?” She asks.
    “Nothing,” Largo tries to play it off. “Just waiting for the others…”
  • The group heads outside the North gate of the city to test if their followers would continue their task past the city walls. Sure enough, they notice a group of six leather armored men leave the North gate shortly after them. “Alright,” Landen says to the group. “There they are. Let’s go up ahead and stage an ambush just off the road.”
    “Ignore them,” Largo replies. “It’s not a big deal… I… I can explain later.”
    Durgyn laughs at the notion. He finds ignoring shady individuals following them around the city a pitiful joke.
    Largo tries to press his point. “If they attack, go ahead and kill them. I can explain why they’re following later, just know that I’m a friend.”
    The party continues walking down the wooded road. “We deserve an explanation,” Landen insists.
    “I don’t think you do,” Largo disagrees, trying to avoid revealing the truth as much as he can.
    “We do,” Durgyn’s voice booms in a forceful, unamused tone.
    Then Largo explains everything: his debt to Serin, his recent meeting, and how Serin insisted if he didn’t get his money soon enough from Largo he would take it from his traveling companions.
    “Why didn’t you just tell us?” Landen asks, finding the secrecy of the matter making things more complicated.
    “You may work for a shady man,” Durgyn adds, “but if your only involvement is a legal contract to owe him money, we see no problem.”
    Sapphira shares a thought. “Perhaps instead of being followed around, how about we have audience with him as a group, discuss arrangements to sort this out.”
    “Haha,” Largo laughs nervously. “Not so easy. I have more money to give him, but they only let people see him who have a sigil.” He shows them the token given to him from the first meeting.
    “Well I see six more coming this way,” Landen says indicating the group following them.
    Largo looks nervous at the prospect of killing their followers and using their sigils to barge into Serin’s office.
    “Okay, let’s just setup camp and see what they do.” Landen suggests, stopping at the side of the road.
    Eventually the group catches up to the party’s stopping point at the side of the road.
    “Evening,” the first man says in a jovial greeting. “Seen any deer about?”
    “Nope,” Landen simply replies.
    “Ah, well we’re out on a hunt. This looks like it could be a good area.”
    “I could help you find some.”
    “Nah, stalking them is a part of the fun. Probably the most fun I’d say.”
    Landen catches a hint of innuendo in the man’s statement, and they look at one another each understanding the underlying conversation.
    “Well good luck, I hear deer in these parts can be real tricky.”
    Another awkward moment passes, as each group stands looking at each other waiting for anyone to make a move. “G’night then,” and the man leads his group off the road into the woods.
  • The party heads back into town and returns to their inn: the Tankard & Gull. They discuss what to do and agree to pay a visit to Serin Colmok. Landen doesn’t want to miss his arrangements for Pier 7 at midnight, but his companions assure him there’s plenty of time.
  • Largo takes the group to Serin’s warehouse and tells them to wait outside.
    “Listen,” Landen says, “leave your gold out here with us as a bargaining chip. Don’t pay it to him now or else you’ve got no leverage.”
    “No,” Largo replies, “I just want to pay my debt.”
    “But you’re in a position here to change things. We’ll wait outside, and you can…”
    “I’ve got it handled, just let me do it my way.”
    Indifferent, Landen agrees to let him go in as he wishes.
  • Inside Serin’s warehouse, Largo is led to the boss’ office. “Ah, my little merchant friend. Come with some good news I hope.”
    “Well, I have some money for you.” Largo produces a pouch of coin.
    “AH! You said the right words. That’s good to hear, good to hear.” Serin opens the pouch and gives the coinage a quick estimate.
    “It’s eight thousand,” Largo states. “I’ve got two thousand more, but I brought something else.”
    “Oh?”
    “The adventurers are outside, and…”
    “What?”
    “Well I thought you’d want to meet them, perhaps they could help you…”
    “I don’t want them here! I wasn’t looking for new friends, I just wanted information about them if you fell through on your debt!” Serin’s temper was starting to show its ugly face. “How about my two thousand gold now without the adventurers.”
    “Well, I kind of need it…”
    HAH! Funny, it’s my coin. We can do this the hard way.”
    “Okay, I have a propose a gamble.” Largo tries his swindling ways as hard as he can in the hopes to keep some coin in his pouch. “I thought you’d like a good wager?” Serin only replies with a stern look. “Your best fighter against one of my companions. If I win, you forgive my remaining debt and I keep the two thousand gold I have now. If I loose, you can have the two thousand plus an extra ten thousand added to my debt, and I’ll give you all the merchandise back.”
    At first Serin’s annoyed expression turned to confusion, then he grinned. “You’re right, I like a good wager. You’re on. I’ll arrange the event for tomorrow evening. Have your man enlisted for the duel at the arena by tonight. Haha, this should be good.”
    For some odd reason, Largo gave a nod and left Serin’s office with a grin.
  • “You did what!?” Landen said to Largo as he returned to them outside. “That’s NOTHING like what we discussed!”
    “I know, but I thought it was a good idea.”
    “Good idea!?” Landen tries to keep himself contained. “What are we going to do, draw straws!?”
    “I won’t let any of you risk your lives,” Sapphira shares as her thought on the matter.
    “Maybe you can hire a brigand to fight for you?” Landen jests, although as he sees it, his odds of finding a willing man would be better that way.
    Durgyn steps forward to add his words. “I have experience fighting in an arena.” The group is silent and they all look to the minotaur. “I will fight for you.”
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Arrival in Shiny Cove
The group makes it to the big city

-Along the road, ambushed by brigands: pay a toll. One escapes them & they take a prisoner. They find a sigil on each body.
-In Shiny Cove Largo splits from group to meet Serin and update him on the status of his debt. The rest of the party goes to guard garrison to turn in their prisoner. Turns out the leader of the group they killed was Spender, an employee of Serin Colmok, 500gp reward. The sigil is his mark for those that work for him that they may gain entry to his properties within the city.
-Shopping: Durgyn finds Gronan, minotaur smith. Durgyn introduces himself with full lineage. Arrange custom full-plate armor set to be crafted, Gronan promises a minotaur enchanter to do the magic work. Also identifies the mark on axe found on gnolls as an item crafted by legendary smith of Iath Savon.
-Largo: Serin, I have 300… I mean 3,000 & info: Brindonford. Largo lies about money, Serin “I can start removing body parts…” Search him and finds 2k more gold. Asks for details of his traveling party. Serin says he wants updates and will be watching them, and will not hesitate to take his money from his companions if he fails to pay. Largo stores his wagon in Serin’s warehouse and Serin gives him a sigil for access.
-Sapphira visits church of Heironious to donate 660gp. Hillfort brings news of Brindonford, specifically about what Landen saw at the church of Pelor to the local temple of Pelor in Shiny Cove. They inform him that they know and brothers went to Eurnox to join army being assembled by Eurnox & Mithrondale.
-Landen visits docks at night and posts the Black Starling note on Pier 7. He leaves a gold piece in a sleeping drunk’s hand.
-The group assembles at Shiny Cove’s largest inn: The Tankard & Gull. They each get the style of room they desire. Landen gets the largest suite “how much? doesn’t matter, I’ll take it” and plays off like Largo’s his servant. “Largo, pay the man” and sneaks away.
-After the rooms are sorted out, Largo goes up to the top floor suite. He unlocks the door with the key and finds Landen kicked back & shirtless (having picked the lock to get in) inside. “Largo!” Landen cries jovially. “Fetch me some elven maidens!” Largo throws the key at Landen and leaves the room to find his bed in the common room.

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Stalking a hunter
The party tries to find Luftwyld

-morning audience with Helinack: Brindonford plans and bounty on Luftwyld (2000gp). Scout Brindonford and begin to organize an army.
-Reunion with Sapphira in the streets of River’s End.
-Hillfort tells Landen what he saw the night Luftwyld fled arrest (read thoughts): he was scared.
-Largo suggests falsifying Luft’s death to save Luftwyld and gain gold reward. Party not keen on dishonesty.
-Head out, no sign of Luftwyld… Luft tracks them.
-Set up camp, Landen scouts out and spots Luftwyld hidden in the tall grass, thinks he’s an animal because of the furs he wears. Landen stalks him like an animal, gets close enough and realizes it’s not. Right up behind him then fight.
-Party notices the scuffle. Largo pleads they stop and reminds them of his plan, Sapphira approaches, Luft: “hey pretty lady, you better stand back.”
-Durgyn implores Luftwyld must return with them. Landen tries to get behind Luftwyld after the other adventurers have approached, but Luftwyld notices the action and attacks him. Sapphira tackles him and a grapple begins.
-They pin Luftwyld with some struggle. Landen notices Luftwyld’s fast healing and thinks he’s cursed. They tie him up and establish watches.
-Luftwyld gets loose on Sapphira’s watch, explains “I gotta pee.” Durgyn wakes and reties him, “just go.” Luftwyld howls to ruin everyone’s sleep, Durgyn gags him.
-Landen takes watch. Landen ungags Luftwyld, “gotta pee.” “Seriously?” “Yes.” “Ugggh.” Landen unties his tether but keeps him bound. Hears Luftwyld’s plea that this is all wrong. Landen sees everyone else is asleep, unties Luftwyld’s bounds: “shred the ropes and be gone. If I see you again, you will die.” Landen walks away but Luft doesn’t flee, follows Landen to camp and talks. Then Luftwyld runs.
-Morning. Durgyn “Where’s the prizoner?” Landen: “He must have escaped! I might have fallen asleep… elven wine… but I didn’t drink any…” They question Landen but he succeeds at a bluff: “I wanted him more than anybody! That was my bounty!”
-Luftwyld begins journey home to Eurnox woods, party continues south to find road to Shiny Cove.

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An Eventful Dinner
Audience with the Lord of River's End falls apart

-Everyone acquires their market goods: Hillfort arranges to purchase large amount of Finnegan’s barley blend.
-Durgyn is brought to the Lord’s keeper of coin, Algan Finnegan. Finnegan is first skeptical, then takes interest and invites Durgyn and his party to dine with Lord Helinack.
-Talk about cleaning up Luftwyld. Durg, Landen, and Hillfort are in their fine atire.
-Luftwyld buys a vest, Largo tried to barter for him but insults the craftsmanship of the vest, which was handmade by the merchant. They settle on a price the merchant is more happy with.
-Lord Helinack, Finnegan, and Lon Deneldin are present at the head of the Lord’s table in the big dining hall.
-Durgyn introduces the party and they tell the news of Brindonford. Luft’s manners invoke a comment whispered by Finnegan to Durgyn, “he should be eating with the dogs.”
-At the climax of Riis’ tale, Landen asks the lord for one of his finer vintages of wine. The lord graciously permits the request and Landen tells his tale of Pelor’s temple.
-Luftwyld snags more meat with his hands from the platter and dips his bread in the meat’s runnings on the serving platter… Landen is appalled and becomes angry.
-They discuss aid for Brindonford and the lord explains the relations of River’s End with the larger city, how halflings have played a part in the hamlet’s success.
-As the lord shares his plans for the next morning in relation to Brindonford’s situation, he is interrupted by Luftwyld licking his plate and tossing it onto the table. Landen’s anger is increased with this and he states “I have killed for less!” Largo takes the moment to excuse himself for supper. Luft lights a cigar with a table candle and props his bare feet on the table.
-The lord is angered and demands they leave due to their insult. Largo leaves of his own accord, but Luftwyld refuses until he has finished his cigar. Helinack calls the guards for assistance of his removal. Luftwyld fights and Hillfort casts hold person to help. They remove the paralyzed feral adventurer, Durgyn apologizes and everyone denies their association with Luftwyld.
-Luft escapes, chase through keep, running at high speed to retreat town, guards shoot arrows and give chase on horseback. The party still dining with Lord Helinack hears him escaping and offer their services to the Helinack. He commends their honor and bids them to give chase.
-Landen borrows a bow and hits fleeing Luft twice. 4 guards on horse give intense chase, Luftwyld kills a couple horses and a guard dies in his fall from horseback.
-Luftwyld escapes.

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Small Hold River's End
The party arrives to the keep downstream from Brindonford

-Morning ambush from party of gnolls
-Hillfort blasts remaining gnolls and leader with fireball, catching surrounding brush on fire
-Gnoll leader is mildly healed and spared, crawls away angry and badly wounded
-Blaze is extinguished, party finds a battleaxe with unique maker’s mark on one of the gnolls
-Second night camp… Luft wakes Landen even though it’s Hillfort’s watch… Landen wakes Hillfort
-River’s End: old keep built during the war, recently restored and settled as a small town, ruled by a noble (Lord Helinack)
-Durgyn takes Klobaen Riis and goes to inform Lord Helinack of Brindford’s plight, Luftwyld seeks dairy products at a small farm a little ways outside of town, Hillfort seeks grain at the market, and Largo sets up shop to sell his wares and some poor quality bows pilfered from the gnolls

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