Exile on Drochtrèdia

A Midsummer Night's Adventure

Aiden Montyouc
Lexa
William Hill
Tahli Karan
Merpip

My dearest sister Lyra, I hope my words reach you and bring your heart joy. I miss my homeland, I miss you, and I find myself missing our older brother Valcrius, I hope all is well in Trevaria and I hope you are performing your duties well enough to please the summer queen.

I am writing you to tell you of a most excellent adventure we have just gone on in a place I imagine you would be quite fond of. I have been exploring a strange land known as Drochtredia but perhaps strangest of all is a place known as the emerald woods.

A druid friend by the name of William Hill organized a delegation to go meet with an archfey known as the mad moon King. Remembering what you used to tell me about Titania I jumped at this opportunity. Also in the party was Lexa, a human sorceress whose magic is so fast it appears invisible and casting so skilled she needs not to speak to do so. The necromancer Tahli, you two would get along. And the Brewer Merpip, land owner. We departed from the city of New Blainsport, that’s the one I told you about in our last letter, and traveled along the river west for two days. Along the way we began to sense strange things but merpip is quite the tracker and before too long we had come across a contact of theirs known as McGrogan

He looked quite nervous but after a few questions and a few gallons of ale he informed us of the moon King’s presence. As we approached I tried to use my magical powers to sense his strength but found my mind’s eye blinded by his power only to learn that was while he slept. He awoke and after some small talk he informed us who was allowed to speak and not speak. He allowed us to introduce ourselves and seemed to know a great deal about our true identities much to the dismay of Lexa and myself. One more thing he seemed to make it very clear he knew you sister, he says hi and I’m not asking any questions.

After mulling over our offer of friendship he offered us a quest. Place the glass scroll on the mirror of the queen of air and darkness mirror, or die. We chose the mirror and like that he launched us through moonlit shafts of light and into the strangest place i’ve ever seen. A place known as the Faewild.

We trekked for what seemed like days surrounded by an unnatural twilight. Eventually we decided to make camp but in the night a few of my compatriots discovered glimmering portals to other realms the fae inhabit. We came across portals to places hot, cold, wet, and dry but no true realm of darkness and after sometime we reached out to Mcgrogan who encouraged us to head south and look for a portal there. We finally found one that took us to a realm of trees, tallest I have ever seen, connected to one another by long branches and vines. We were so high up that the ground disappeared into a dark abyss. We roped off to each other with Lexa and myself taking point and Billy, who turned into a giant frog, merpip, and tahli taking up the rear. Leaping from tree top to tree top we trekked along, though some of us who I will not name needed a little help, until we reached our last tree prior to the portal. Lexa and myself made it fine so I headed over to see if the portal was safe when I heard what I had assumed was tahli screaming only to discover that merpip had not been able to hold on and was now dangling above the darkness. This became more complicated when red eyes began illuminating the darkness and saw in merpip their next meal. We sprang to action quickly with Billy, tahli, and Lexa pulling him up and myself casting and illusion of him to distract whatever it was and with that we charged through the portal.

On the other side we were back in the twilight forest and soon found ourselves engaged with some devilish little fae called redcaps. We dispatched them quickly without too much fuss but I am part of tahli as she did reanimate one and now it follows us around. Mark my words, that woman will be the death of me.

Growing ever frustrated I called out to the Queen herself. “You majesty, Queen of air and darkness, I humbly request an audience with you and ask for directions to wherever the hell you are!” Much to the groups surprise a small voice called out from the woods. “Take you to the queen, I will” said the frog wearing a small hat who later identified himself as “frog with small hat”. He lead us on a strange path through the forest till we came upon a treat with a very small portal. The frog leapt through but this hole was barely big enough for merpip much less the rest of us. Billy spoke with the tree and after some time and a fight against some pixies the tree let us through.

We found ourselves in a dark dream like world bouncing on clouds till we came to a clearing. The frog informed us the hope required faith and would take us where we truly wished to go. I suppressed my longing to return home to the crimson peaks and the moonspire citadel and instead thought of only one thing. “I must accomplish this mission or I will never see home again.” The others must have done the same because we all ended up in more or less the same location, surrounded by darkness although Tahli did look a little shook up and wouldn’t tell us why. We all looked around trying to figure out where we were, lexa lit a torch so we could see only for us to see many faces surrounding us. We sprang into battle formation but upon closer inspection I realized these beings surrounding us were Drow. Remembering what you always told me about these elves I used my best negotiation ability and when we invoked the name of the Queen of Night and Magic their demeanor changed. I told them we were on a mission from the Moon King himself and they proceeded to lead us to their village where we met Malund the Voice of the queen.

He informed us that the Moon king and queen of darkness and magic were once lovers but a long time ago this relationship soured. It’s quite tragic really, reminds me a bit of our mother and father. I pleaded with him to take us to the queen and after convincing him of our altruism he agreed to take us to her castle but first we decided to spend the evening with the Drow. Merpip played them music, Tahli made clouds, and I traded with a few enterprising elves. The next morning the Voice took us through a large portal and led us to the Queen’s castle which was located on a dark plateau under a sea of stars. The voice bid us farewell and we made our way to the castle.
It was jet black and after a few moments inspecting the door it opened, we entered the main chamber and found a throne of darkness with little shadows swimming around it. We found several doors, most were closed. The first open door we found took us down a long hallway were we encountered nothing but destroyed murals of the moon and the moon king. Moving back to the main chamber we tried on of the other doors and found ourselves in a large room surrounded by armor and weapons. Sensing danger I threw a small trinket into the center of the room and like a bolt of lightning the armor struck the point in the room. We avoided the trap by going around but as we were heading to the next room I used my abilities to create a small hand that tried to grasp one of the swords only for the hand to unravvel in front of me. Realizing this also was a trap I was shocked to see merpip reaching for a bow but alas it was too late. As he grabbed it from the wall the floor of the room began to unravel. Though we all made it to safety we found ourselves on seperate sides of the chasm.

I chided merpip and lexa then established contact with Tahli and Billy. We all decided to continue exploring and try to find a way to meet back up. After a little searching we found ourselves on opposite sides of an unexplored room and once lexa removed the flowers and vines from the door we were able to gain entry to a magnificent ballroom, Tahli and Billy must’ve figured it out as they soon did the same and joined us. THe Ballroom was magnificent, or at least it used to be. As we marveled at the gilded structure our eyes set upon the far side of the room where we saw a large dark crystal similar to one Tahli had earlier. She attempted to send one of her undead friends to examine it and he was instantly struck down by some magic. We decided that whatever was leading us around this palace did not want us getting any closer to this object so we turned back to the room with the unraveled floor and proceeded to jump across to the last room where we found the Queen’s chambers.

I snuck in right after Lexa and while she wandered around the room I leapt up and placed the glass scroll onto the Queen’s mirror. It unfurled majestically to reveal a mirror similar to the ones in Portsgaurd during the Festival of Armesia that makes you look short and fat with the magically inscribed words at the top “Wow honey, you have really packed on some pounds”. As I stood there awestruck a cold chill ran down my spine and a voice whispered to me “Who are you and why are you here”. My worst fears were realized, not only had this not been a letter of reconciliation to make matters worse the Fae Queen was now standing behind me.

A few choice words later she understood that the Moon King had sent us and soon forgave our transgressions, or so I thought! She insisted we follow her to her ballroom and seeing no other option we did. Once there she was adamant that Tahlin needed to hand over the crystal but tahli being ever the stubborn one resisted. It was then Tahli found herself overcome, the queen collapsed, and we realize that within this crystal was an Elf. As Tahli inched closer to the crystal we began doing everything possible to destroy the crystal but it was useless. Merpip went over to where the queen collapsed and began slapping her trying to break the concentration and as she came to and realized what was happening all she could muster was “Stop, you mustn’t”.

Like slow motion Tahli placed the last piece into the giant crystal and it shattered, releasing the elf within. He moved erratically and kept asking for “THE CODEX”. When we told him we didn’t know what he was talking about he released a cloud of noxious gas. Thankfully, many of us managed to stay on our feet and we let loose into him our blades but it was not enough and he teleported away. The queen sensing his intentions blessed us with her magic and we gave chase. We discovered him wreaking havoc in the drow city and springed into action.

I stepped forward, masking myself in magic, appearing as one of his fellow ascendent elves to provide a distraction for the others so they could get closer and surprise the mage. As I drew closer I called out to him but he saw through my disguise, so I did what and Trevarian would do when caught, I shot him with a crossbow. In an instant as if by magic or divine provocation my allies struck like summer lightning. We quickly had him surrounded. He put up a hard fight and was not going down easily but thankfully Mcgroggan appeared and aided us in our time of need. Just then as we were starting to get the upper hand the sorcerer’s hands began to glow with a green hue, we paid it little mind but mcgrogan’s demeanor changed and a look of concern came over his face. As we were in the process of dealing the final death blow the mad elf released his charging spell and like a flash Mcgroggan leapt in front of the blast and disintegrated in front of our eyes. In our rage we felled the cruel mage and like that the fight was over. I searched the elf’s body and found a strange amulet, hopefully it will aid in finding answers. We then helped where we could around the village while billy gathered the ashes of his friend. The queen appeared and half-thanked us for the pyrrhic victory but strongly suggested we leave as she opened a portal. We agreed and when we stepped through we were back in the presence of the Mad Moon King himself.

He immediately broke into laughter asking what was the look on her face when we placed the scroll on the mirror. The look of confusion and astonishment on all of our faces quickly soured to anger on my own and without fear or thinking of consequences I broke my silence. “My sister spoke to me of the majesty and power of the Fey but you must excuse my disappointment in you sir, your prank was childish and you didn’t even think about the fact she casts no reflexion but this isn’t surprising given your inaction in your own realm. Just as you have sat Idly by sleeping and being foolish while the blight ravages the Northern forests you too sat idly by while we fought an Ascendant Elf which resulted in the death of your friend Mcgroggan.” The Archfey summoned one of his shadows that blaced its bladed arm to my throat but I did not flinch, I stood there staring into to the eyes of a powerful being and in that moment saw humanity in him for he knew I was right. I continued to explain to him that beings with powers such as his could be a great aid to our world and what I sense is a coming conflict. He acknowledged and since we completed his quest he offered each of us something to aid us and made Billy his new guardian of the forest and placed Mcgroggans hat on his head. I told him we would call upon him in the future and he simply nodded his head.

We returned to New Blainsport that day and just like that, 17 days later, this dream came to an end. I hope this tale entertained you sister and I hope to hear back from you soon.
AJI

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New Blainsport Exploration
A pastry for your thoughts

Dear Captain Quinston,
I’m writing to report to you on the incident that you asked me to look into. After the trials that Kau and I have been through these past few weeks, I appreciate the chance to ease my way back into the hustle and bustle of our colonies. I can report that the cause of the disappearances and livestock mutilations in Blainsport has been caught and will not be troubling the people any more.

I started in what passes for a tavern in Blainsport. The town is growing quickly, but something could definitely be done to make things more comfortable to the people here. There I met up with several unusual characters that accompanied me on my quest. I made friends with an Imperial investigator high elf named Immeral as his skills would come in handy in our search. We were joined by a slippery gnome named Fenrik Finkleberry the Fifth just before a bombastic dwarf barreled inside. The dwarf, named Daedric, was very loud and very confident in himself. Last to enter the tavern was Erevan, and this caused quite a stir because he is a drow elf. You know as well as I do the tales of horror and cruelty that come from the dark elves so their presence here was at first alarming. He didn’t seem to be causing any problems and said he was from the ‘Queen of Night and Magic’ whoever that is. It seems theres a lot I’ve missed out on while I’ve been away.

I went to ask the bar tender if this was a usual occurrence, and when I turned around Daedric and Erevan were having a face off and half of the building was asleep. I couldn’t leave the two of them unsupervised, I don’t know if the town could have survived that, so I invited them to aid in the investigation.

We first met up with Rodrick who is in charge of the Blainsport guardsmen. Erevan was not the first dark elf in town, another had been there and he had been the first of five people to have disappeared recently, along with the slaughtered sheep. All of us on Drochtredia are outcasts of the empire but it seemed that Favin was an outcast even amongst outcasts due to the nature of his heritage. Rodrick dealt with Erevan’s presence and Daedric’s shouting rather well considering the tension and deserves some reward.

Erevan, Daedric and I then went to gather some much needed supplies while Immeral and Fenrick Finkleberry the Fifth (he was quite insistent about using his full name) searched Favin’s house for clues about his disappearance. They found a series of letters to someone named Accordia and a set of wolf tracks leading from his bedroom and outside the house. We found similar tracks in one of the outer farms where sheep had been slaughtered, but alongside the wolf tracks were holes in the soft earth as wide and deep and a sturdy pole.

I real was able to follow the tracks through the woods to a cave that had signs of multiple wolves living in it. Finrick Finkleberry the Fifth scouted ahead and found the den deserted, but there was a door and a ladder down to a chamber below. A clever series of puzzles and traps awaited us below. I won’t bore you with the details but they were all rigged to do damage if we failed. With the bravery and expertise of all of us we were able to bypass the ingenious traps and reach the laboratory.

Before we could get the chance to thoroughly investigate we were confronted by the dark elf Favin himself. The traps we had passed and all the disappearances had been caused by him. He arrived in the colony some time ago and had faced some harassment from the villagers since. None of them had appreciated his works or his abilities. Recently he had been contacted by the Queen of Death and been told about a cataclysm coming to Drochtredia and that had unleashed him from caring about the rules of society. If the end was coming he wanted to ‘have a little fun.’

With that he launched an assault on us. His prized creation was a mechanical monstrosity made from the body of a mother dire wolf that had 6 metal spider-like legs. It’s armor was strong and difficult to pierce. The fight was close with the two of them harrying us, but Daedric was hitting the metal beast like anvil and Favin fell just after he had summoned the aid of more wolves. Thanks to the quick action of Fenrick Finkleberry the Fifth he was stabilized and now awaits questioning in the New Blainsport cells.

Favin was a monster for what he did and deserved to die, but he had also been treated unfairly by the town. It does not excuse his actions but after seeing how people (including myself) had treated Erevan when he was nothing but naive, curious, and helpful, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Favin.

In his laboratory we found a caged litter of malnourished dire wolf puppies that had been orphaned by Favin and will now have a good home with the rest of us. We also found a homemade enchanting table, which Daedric, Immeral, and I used to enhance some of our items. The table broke after three uses, but I believe that Fenrick Finkleberry the Fifth had a good look at the layout and might be able to assist in recreating one if necessary.

The threat to the people of Blainsport has been stopped but I fear another is on the horizon. If more people are so inspired by the this aspect of Death then others may go mad. It’s more important than ever that we hold tight to each other in this strange land and cast off old prejudices.

Outstanding hooks:
Favin waits in jail for questioning
The Queen if Death is planning a continental cataclysm soon

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Dark Fey and Sleeping Dwarves

A party of Lexa, Tahli, Merpip, Mordecai, and myself (Derg) wandered back into the fine settlement of Bruckschloss. The others had heard my earlier reports of horrid fey creatures and hoped that Merpip’s extraordinary fey-hunting skills could be put to good use. Furthermore, the previously slumbering dwarves are a prime resource for knowledge of Drochtrèdia’s history.

As we arrived in Bruckschloss proper, we were greeted by the dwarves. I lead my new allies to the barracks, where I knew my good friend Dwögar would be. Unfortunately, the slumber still weighs heavy on all the dwarves’ minds, as Dwögar could barely remember me. He was unable to remember Gil at all, which I’m sure would hurt poor Gil’s heart. Not as much as it would hurt mine, if Dwögar somehow recalled Gil but not me; but, luckily that was definitely not the case.

Dwögar’s long term memory did not fair any better. He could recall very little of his time before the slumber, which made him of limited use to us. Luckily, he informed us that we could have access to some of their records if we were to assist with a small issue that had arose.

Apparently, a duo of dwarves had been taken during routine scouting to the south. They were presumed dead, as no sign of them had been seen for several days. I knew only the most foul creatures could possibly take on not only one, but two dwarves. We quickly agreed to recover their bodies, and deal with whatever monster had caused their deaths.

We followed what I believe to be Route 6 south. It appeared to be a tunnel of dwarven make. Nice and wide, ceiling not high enough that terrifying creatures can recede into the darkness. Perfectly dimensioned. Despite this, we were nearly ambushed by a drider. Luckily Merpip has an impressive awareness of the fey, and Tahli was able determine its precise location using the Detect Poison and Disease spell, which I had very recently learned! Funny how when you think you create a spell, you always see someone else use it within a couple weeks. Especially if it was a difficult one, that you struggled with for months. “Whew that was difficult, surely no one else will be using this all willy-nilly!”, you think. Three hours later, someone you’ve never met is expertly casting it in a high-pressure situation, saving your life, while you sit there wondering why “silver” doesn’t rhyme with anything. “Gold” and “copper” do. Even “platinum”.

Anyways, this drider was terrifying. He hurled at us with a whirl of longswords and biteybites. As this was my first time seeing Merpip, Tahli, and Lexa in combat, I spent most of my time shielding blows and examining my new allies’ skillsets. The most surprising was Lexa, whose mastery of magic is so considerable that I was unable to identify a single spell that she cast. My current theory is that she is a powerful abjurist, who can conceal her spells in such a way that her enemies are wholly unprepared for what she is to deliver next. I think there is much I could learn from her.

When the drider finally lay dead, we continued down Route 4. Eventually we reached an intersection, with a powerful, stout, expertly crafted, dwarven watchtower hewn into the rockface. There was some sign of recent activity, so we decided we were not too far off the trail of the missing dwarves. We had a choice to explore westward, or downward (as we approached the intersection from the east). It is of note that we did not explore the westward path at any point of this adventure. Merpip was able to use his heart (which is where I believe rangers get their magic) to feel where the nearest fey were. They were located to the south, so we headed there to enact our revenge.

A few yards into our journey, an umber hulk made an unplanned visit. His visage was horrid, with a mere glance causing confounding fear. I could have stood there for hours, trying to figure out why this horrible creature was the way it was. Why is it vaguely furry, but only in some places? Are those another set of eyes, or is its nose in a terrible place? Three sets of mandibles? That is too much. Luckily, Mordecai told me to avert my gaze, so these questions quickly left my head.

The umber hulk had knocked many of us unconscious, but we left no one behind, and fought to the brink of death to slay this monstrosity. Mordecai tried to turn the battle with is Stag Bag, but apparently it has been re-enchanted into a Weasel Wallet. That is a Gil “improvement” if I’ve ever seen one. The weasel did fight with fervor, and I cannot fault it for its effort. Who knows if we could have survived with out the slight annoyance of a weasel in the peripheral of the umber hulks gaze.

Wounded, exhausted, and kind of hungry, we decided to camp for the night. Taking inspiration from the classic gnome play, “Weekend at Bernilian’s”, we propped up the umber hulk near the entrance to make him look like a horrifying guard.

I was strangely awoken from my slumber by Mordecai. He seems to have been yearning for the education that he has previously absconded from. I will say he was an attentive listener and tried to understand my spells to the point where he suggested minor edits. I think he has potential, and hopefully I can turn him back to the way of the book.

The next morning, we continued our search. To our surprise, we quickly ran into a pair of dwarves. To our greater surprise, they were alive! To our even greater surprise, they ran up and recklessly attacked us. Through some liberal application of Hold Person, as well as good old fashion roping, we were able to detain the clearly mind-affected dwarves. I identified the spell cast on them and learned that the spell would only hold in a certain range of effect. We quickly returned north to the tower, to let their minds clear.

They confirmed that they are the dwarves we are looking for, and that some horrid spider-ish creature had controlled their minds. They remembered little, so we told them to return to Bruckschloss while we deal with the mysterious enemy. Merpip once again pinpointed their location, but first Tahli wanted to take a quick sojourn at a nearby cave that was filled with refuse. No judgement.

She quickly called for my assistance to see if there was anything of value hidden there. 11 minutes of nearly vomit inducing ritual later, and I was able to cast detect magic. I located a magical ring that I knew was a Ring of Mind Shielding. A few things happened very quickly, so I may not get the order exactly right. I said “Oooo!” and placed the ring on my finger. Tahli exerted a sudden and powerful necromantic spell upon a skeleton obscured in the refuse. My new best friend says “Are those my bones?”

This slightly relates to my previous musings on the nature of magic, and how some spells seem to come easy to some while they are tremendously difficult to others. One thing I was certain of, before this very event, was that no one could accidentally cast a spell. In my opinion, that is what I saw Tahli do. There was a small glimmer of excitement when she saw the remains of Bones McKenzie (I’ll get to that), and then she cast what I would describe as a tremendously difficult spell with no effort or even recognition that she was doing anything. Necromancy is hard to deal with. It usually takes years of study to carefully control life and un-life. To impose control over a risen form takes carefully constructed spells with well-studied boundaries. Yet somehow, she just did it without trying. It was 90% impressive, 10% frustrating.

“Are those my bones?” the voice inside me proclaimed. The Ring of Mind Shielding seemed to be housing a soul. After some internal discussions, we decided that they were probably his bones, and that he was fine with them being used for whatever purpose Tahli saw fit. We also learned that his memory was not too good and he could not remember his name. I dubbed him Bones McKenzie, but he slightly prefers Kenzi. I think that is because we are such good friends, so we have nicknames for each other. He can call me Der.
Apparently, if one dies while wearing this ring, their soul may be transferred into it. This prospect excites me greatly in many ways but horrifies me in one. I would like to have this on public record:

Please, for the love of Gond, if I die and my soul goes into this ring: Do not resurrect me. I am disturbed by the possibilities of what may happen if my soul is in a ring but I am resurrect to a body. What if there are two of my souls? What does that mean about souls? What if my soul leaves the ring, but my consciousness remains? There are way too many questions. Please just take the ring and give it to someone who yearns for arcane discovery. Or a dwarf. Preferably someone who is both.

Myself, Tahli, Bones McKenzie (soul), and Bones McKenzie (skeleton) returned to the party. After some minor gasps and such, I informed them that everything is all right, and the soul that previously owned the skeleton is fully consenting to its use. With that matter behind us we continued south to get our minds taken over by spiders.

The foes we approached ended up being Neogi. Powerful mind-controllers that certainly don’t like being hit with a ton of fire on their stupid extruded faces. There was a pair of Neogi, one of which got a little over zealous, and walked into the danger zone near Merpip, Lexa, Tahli, and Bones McKenzie (skeleton). The Neogi was expected to murder a handful of people under the Hold Person spell, when suddenly dwarven torch explodes out of invisibilty. Me and Bones McKenzie (soul) had been sneaking around invisible, and unleased one of my more impressive scorching rays. The blasts distracted the Neogi enough that he could not hold on to his hold person spell, which allowed for the party to make short work of the danger zone Neogi. Mordecai made a series of impressive acrobatic displays, jumping all over the place around the remaining Neogi. I do not fully understand the Monk arts, but I am sure that he inflicted tremendous pain that was imperceptible to the untrained eye. A short time later both Neogi were slain, and any webs or egg sacks nearby were fully torched.

We returned to Bruckschloss, having earned access to their written records. Through a combination of their records and Kenzi’s memory, we found out that the blight may have something to do with why the dwarves were put into their magic slumber. We learned we have no idea who exactly cast the powerful spell keeping them alive, but that it is coming from somewhere else. The “Queen of Death” moniker did not seem to jog any memories. I know that Kenzi knows more. Hopefully his memory can return some, or we can find a way to help him remember. Either way, it is the start of a beautiful friendship.

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Back to the Blight: The Demise of Willowbite

From the diary of Caeladyn, which is hastily scrawled on dirty bits of slightly burned parchment, with notes on encountered flora and fauna written in the margins:

Our party (consisting of myself, Gil, Peren, Aiden and Mordecai, a human monk who I had not met before) set off from Mariner’s Landing towards the edge of the Creeping Wood, with a first destination that was referred to by the rest of the party as Ed’s farm. Instead of traveling on foot like I’m accustomed to, we used an odd form of transportation Gil showed up with that he referred to as “the gilly”. It was a fairly ordinary horse-drawn covered wagon, but instead of being drawn by horses, it was pulled by an odd horse-like creature, seemingly made of water and instead of wheels, it just floated on a handful of Gil’s favorite discs. As we got underway, we quickly realized that the horse’s appearance wasn’t the most remarkable thing about it, it was also incredibly fast, faster than anything I’d ever encountered and was able to keep that speed. However, we kept it to a normal speed slightly faster than jogging as Peren had brought his armor-clad giant ram Stubbs, who was too large to fit in the wagon.

The first bit of the journey passed without incident. The first sign of anything wrong came from Peren, who had been riding with his legs out the back of the wagon, keeping an eye on Stubbs and softly talking to the ram (who I will admit is rather impressive for a tamed creature). Peren pointed out vines, which he had noticed criss-crossing the path below the wagon and Stubbs’s hooves. Taking a closer look, I noticed they were somewhat thick, mottled with veins of pink and violet. My companions confirmed my suspicion, this was the blight. With a tinge of worry, they remarked that this was the furthest out they had seen it. It seemed like it was definitely spreading. We decided to continue onwards towards Ed’s, hoping to warn him about the blight, but we feared it was too late. As we drew closer, we began to notice signs of creatures following us: deer, the bushy tails of wolves in the shrubs.

With more miles behind us, I started to make out the shapes of buildings on the horizon. Those who had been there before confirmed that we were approaching Ed’s farm. As we drew nearer we noticed vines already covering most of the buildings. Everyone looked grim as we realized we were too late to warn Ed of the incoming blight. We began a fruitless search of the surrounding for Ed or any signs of his current whereabouts. As we conducted the search, we noticed an enormous creature standing still in a nearby field, clearly blighted. A battle then began, as we were attacked by a whole assortment of blighted creatures: wolves, sheep, elk and many others. Thanks to Mordecai’s acrobatic attacks, Aiden’s flaming blades, Stubbs’ bravery, Peren’s flaming arrows and Gil’s usual clever tricks, we finished the fight victorious. The only real casualty was the “gilly” which had been charged and destroyed by a blighted elk.

After defeating the last blighted creature and still seeing no sign of Ed, we decided to set up camp for the night. Since the chapel was free of blighted vines, we figured that would serve as some sort of protection and was probably the safest place nearby to spend the night. Gil got to work repairing the wagon, with the help of Mordecai. Aiden had trained his rabbit to find bullweed, and rewarded him with a small bulb of it when he retrieved some. This had a far more drastic effect than Aiden intended and I spent the next few minutes enjoying the spectacle as Aiden tried to calm his rabbit. It dashed around the area, wriggling out of Aiden’s arms every time he tried to restrain it, drawing blood occasionally. Finally I decided that Aiden had suffered enough and went over to talk to his rabbit for him. The rabbit was clearly very affected by the bullweed, babbling and confused. It ranted about Aiden a few times, calling him a bastard, then claimed to be a genius and said it would be a wizard someday. Seems that pets do imitate their people…the rabbit began burrowing and Aiden started teleporting all around the area, looking surprised but pleased with himself . I figured they’d just tire themselves out, so I went back to observing.

Shortly after they returned to normal, we were ready to retire for the night. Gil barred the entrance with a magical dome and we all settled down in the back of the church. Close to dawn, we awoke to what we all feared when we chose to spend the night here. It was nearly completely dark, with no moonlight or daylight entering the large stained glass windows of the chapel. It seemed the blighted vines had snaked around the chapel, trapping us. With a combination of torches, fire spells, fire arrows, and steely ram muscle, we managed to burn/bust our way out of the chapel. We sprinted towards the gilly, hoping to put as much distance between ourselves and the blight as possible. As we boarded the wagon and prepared to leave, a section of the vines peeled away from the roof of the chapel and lashed out as us. Stubbs and I were both attacked by these vines. We were able to disable the vines fairly easily and continue on our way.

At first, my wounds from the vines seemed fairly minor, as it barely hurt. But as we traveled, I gradually began feeling a burning sensation in the wounds where the vines had struck me. This feeling started to spread throughout my entire body. Looking down at my arms, I noticed my skin was shiny and red where the vines had met flesh. I began to hear whisperings of a voice in my head, though it was faint enough that I could not understand it. I decided to speak up, letting my compatriots know about the burning sensation, the appearance of my wounds, and the whisper in my head. They exchanged worried looks and began a muttered discussion.

At this point, my recollection of events starts to become a bit hazy, as this affliction took hold of me. I’m not typically much of a talker; my many years alone in the forest have given me an appreciation for quietly observing instead of constantly talking (a quality I have not encountered in very many other adventurers in Drochtredia). However, this was different; I found myself unwilling and unable to communicate with my fellow travelers, instead just sitting in the back corner of the wagon. Gradually, the voice in my head got louder and louder. I recognized it as Druidic, a deep, deep voice repeating itself over and over again.

“Give in… Give in… Stop fighting… Give in…”

As this repeated, I slowly lost control over myself. I was overcome with the urge to lash out, to hurt everyone around me. I still had a smidgen of control over myself, so I was able to incoherently croak “Help! Can’t…going to hurt..” Fortunately Mordecai got the general gist of what I was trying to say and deftly tied me up. I also noticed that Stubbs was thrashing around similarly and Peren was tying him up. I faded in and out of control as the others discussed the situation. I watched them circle around Stubbs, Gil looking very unhappy. Suddenly Stubbs began thrashing and emitting a horrible noise, somewhere between a scream and a pained bleat. I had an awful feeling that whatever was happening to Stubbs, I was next. Stubbs eventually returned to a normal state, calm but a bit anxious. The group shifted over to me, and the last thing I saw was Gil’s grim face.

Screaming, pain, fire. This was the entirety of my world as my body was engulfed in flames. I yelled in agony, but the voice in my head was louder.

“Fight it…This isn’t real..Fight it.”

I realized the flames were an illusion and snapped out of it. The pain faded and the flames vanished. Aiden realized I was not returned to normal and stepped closer, lowering his flaming gauntlet. My body was again awash in flames, this time real. I screamed louder, the deep Druidic voice again returning to its refrain of “Give in…Stop fighting…Give in…” I drew closer and closer to death, and the voice continued, swelling and becoming less coherent until it reached a peak and stopped. My mind cleared and I opened my eyes to find everyone else standing above me, looking miserable and guilty.

I got back into the wagon, tended to my burns and tried my best to forget the whole harrowing experience, though I fear it will haunt me. We continued following the tracks of Ed’s flock until something slightly out of place caught our eyes. A wooden stake was driven into the ground, with a goblin impaled on it and the goblin’s entrails intricately braided down the spike. As we contemplated it, we noticed another and another and another. There was clearly a line of impaled goblins intersecting our path. A number of theories were thrown around, the foremost being that this was the work of the blightmaster, trying to repair the leyline.

We continued onward until we reached a clearing with a statue in the middle of it. As we drew closer, we realized it was some sort of shrine, a small pool in front of a stone box topped with a bull statue that my cohorts referred to as the Bullfather, the creature who had blazed the path we were following. We pulled the bull statue-topped lid off to take with us, but the contents of the shrine had clearly been removed.

Further onward, it became apparent who had raided the first shrine. Another shrine was ahead, with a dozen or two kobolds trying to pry off the bull statue lid to get at the contents inside. We made short work of a few of them and the rest scattered. We pried the lid off the shrine to find some coins, a candle, a bronze scroll case and some scrolls.

As Aiden admired our findings, I noticed his face suddenly contort in confusion and he asked if anyone else heard a buzzing noise. I saw a colorful blur above his shoulder, a small hummingbird, which suddenly transformed out of its animal shape into the form of a scruffy, hairy human. “YOU!” Aiden bellowed and lunged towards the druid, his hand on his rapier. Luckily Peren’s elven reflexes were too quick for Aiden and he was restrained.

From the journal of Duke Aiden Montyouc, purifyer of the blighted.

“I HAD HIM! HE WAS RIGHT THERE ONLY INCHES FROM MY BLADE.” Why did peren stop me, surely someone on their own quest for vengeance, who had been victimized by this many faced man would understand. Is he secretly suffering from the blight? Is he in league with the blightmaster? Surely not, no I cannot think such things. Although, if being on drochtredia has taught me anything it is that no one can be fully trusted.

Instead of letting me end this traitor they gave him food and separated us from each other so they could question him. He “claims” that he is sorry for what happened and the dragon made him do it. He also informed us the dragon is hunting Ed and if we do not make haste he will be the next prisoner. I don’t trust this druid but having no better leads we decided to follow along….for now.

We carried on a bit farther and eventually we heard a shriek all too familiar. We left stubbs and the gilly behind for safety and proceed up the hill stealthily to scout ahead. Once we were on the hill we were able to see ruins like we had never seen before and it was there, curled around a tower, Willowbite.

We decided to wait till nightfall so we could try and get Ed out of there. Gil made a magic house while peren and I set upon dressing it with grass to better camouflage it. Since Mordecai and myself were still fresh we volunteered to stay up and watch the prisoner so the others could rest up. Eventually I settled my dispute with the traitorous druid but his words struck me true. The magic running through my veins spoke to me and relaxed my anger. In a show of peace I handed the druid my personal flask of whiskey and informed him that if he did not cross us here that I would vouch for him upon return to mariners landing.

Once night was upon us Caeladyn turned into a cat and began searching the buildings from the ground while Gil sent Saila to do so through the air. Throughout the night they both searched stealthily under the dragon’s nose until it finally noticed Caeladyn. Luckily since she was still in cat form he paid her little attention. The final building she explored appeared to be some sort of temple with a basement but when she explored the basement a type of ooze began moving towards her. She decided to regroup with us and we thought of all places here that basement was Ed’s most likely location.

We made our way safely to the temple and after fighting several oozes and disarming a trap we found ourselves in a mausoleum to the bullfather. We decided that since dawn was breaking it would do us well to rest here for the early morning. A few hours later Fey’lor woke us with his shouts. “The dragon has found him”.

Our stomachs sank, almost all present had encountered this beast at least once or had at least heard of his power. We had gone out of our way to avoid a fight with him in the open but as we silently moved to the top of the stairs our worst fears were realized. The dragon had pounced on Ed who had been hiding among his flock in a hastily thrown together disguise. We moved closer to see if he was alive or dead and when we got about 120 feet away we heard his voice. He was wounded but alive, the dragon kept saying “We have plans for you shepherd” and when he mentioned Stiles we knew exactly who the dragon was working with. We were unsure what role Ed would play but we knew that above all else we could not let the blight master have him.

Our impulsive Monk soon leapt over the hill and began bargaining with the dragon and although I admired his effort I could have told him it never would have worked. We realized that there was no going back and we would have to fight at which point Mordecai’s negotiation went south. I told the others I would buy them some time and lept from the hill in my scarlet clothing and fine, feathered hat. The dragon immediately forgot about the monk and locked eyes with me “YOUUU, I REMEMBER YOU……” THe dragon lept from eds location and moved forward to question us both. To distract the beast I used my new found magician powers to conjure an illusion of Mac Woodfleet’s severed head further enraging the beast. I prepared my rapier sheathing it in magical energy and readying myself to strike when the dragon got near. That is when I remembered that the dragon could breath poison…….

The gust of noxious air filled my lungs and sent me to the ground. I didn’t know what had hit me, how could I have been so foolish, I saw images of my father on his throne dismissing me after my brothers death, I saw the two of us playing as children, the flyer for the boat that brought me to mariner’s landing, but most of all I saw a light welcoming me to the next life. I could hear my allies, the dragon had used its horrific breath on me and I could hear Peren’s arrows connecting with the creature as it writhed in anger. I heard Gil scream out in pain then fall silent but then almost as quick as I had fallen I felt breath re-enter my lungs. As I lept to my feet I saw Caeladyn call out “we could use some help” and I immediately reached for my hand crossbow and began taking potshots at the dragon.

As I fired off my bolts they seemed to harmlessly fall from the dragon but I did have his attention…..unfortunately. He turned to face me “Dont you ever stay dead?” and like that he swept down and slashed me across my chest knocking me to the ground again. This time the light grew brighter and just like before I thought i was at the end of my luck I felt the life return to my body only this time the monk was standing over me with a empty health potion bottle. Just then our new friend Fey’lor made it over to Ed and whispered something into his ear and he fell dead. Willowbite shrieked out and tried to make his way to their location but right then Mordecai managed to land on the dragon. He held on for sometime but was eventually thrown but it was too late for the foul beast as Peren’s aim was true and one last fateful arrow found its mark and the emerald nightmare of the creeping wood fell from the sky. As we closed in swords drawn the dragon groveled and begged for its life, promising to deliver the blightmaster if we allowed it to live. Peren and I nodded in agreement and with no hesitation our blades found their mark for Mac, for Brennus, for Wengruc, for Tahli, but most of all for ourselves. Also, I want it noted, I in fact did take pleasure in it.

In the aftermath of the battle fey’lor revealed ed’s demise was a simple druid trick to save his life by making him appear dead. With Ed restored and very confused we tended to his wounds and quickly set upon loading what remained of the once mighty Willowbite into the Gilly to bring back to Mariners landing for all to see. This will be a symbol of hope, this dragon had spread fear throughout the landing and the tale of how we defeated it may be just the thing to give our people the hope needed to defeat the likes of the Ghouls and the Blight.

We may not know what dangers Drochtredia holds for us all but the sky’s will be safer, for the time being at least.

Duke Aiden Montyouc, Willow-slayer, Defender of New Blainsport, Purifier of the Blighted, Guardian of the Free People of Dawnbreak, Great thief of Stataghs Hoard, Ghouls-bane, Enforcer of House Makovica.

Future adventure hooks

THe blightmaster is using the leyline to power something, more investigation needed
The blightmaster and Willowbite were working together, more recon necessary to figure out what.
There was a sign with a lightning bolt on it that lead to a path, possible point of interest.

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The New Yorick Road

Brennus Artaius
Daedrick Blackheart
Immeral Eathalena
Lexa
Wengruck Fireforge

Upon Arrival in Mariner’s Landing I immediately set to work. If I am to gain the favor of the all-father then I cannot just rest and be a eldhúsfífl. I overheard word of a quarry and of skilled dwarves in the area and after assessing the “quality” of the walls of the city I determined the best thing for everyone was to speed up the stone delivery for this city.

Going to the local tavern I managed to recruit a few promising candidates and a few that I was unsure of. A few days later everyone arrived outside the guild as I had instructed them. The boss of the guild caravan told us we would be paid based on our performance and I made sure to point out the weak links he needed to watch out for.

The first few days of work went by fairly uneventfully aside from the cleric leading us in the wrong direction for a day or two. We managed to correct this and find the stream that lead the last party to the quarry but on our third evening we were set upon by a pack of wolves.

The Cleric and his Ram, I really need to get one of these, made quick work of the first two wolves and while the rest of the party assumed battle formation I took my opportunity to charge. It had been too long and I had been itching for a good fight so I charged one of the wolves while slathering myself with the meat from a fresh kill and prepared to strike the beast down when it came at me. Just as the beast charged in three booming lights went flying by my head and like that my enemy was dead. The cowardly elf use his sorcery on my foe and ended it before it had its chance to fight me, my glory denied.

Day 4 and 5 went by uneventfully aside from some rain and confirmation that the cleric had gotten us lost but we were apparently back on track. On the evening of the 5th night I refused the help of the elf who had denied my glory and took watch myself. Towards midnight I heard a rustling in the tree above me and as I looked up a smile spread across my face. I immediately alerted the others and went into a frenzy as several giant spiders lept from the trees and attacked us. We dispatched them rather quickly and the cleric gathered a vile of their venom to experiment with back in town.

Days 6-9 went by without much of interest. I grew ever more restless, I am here to fight things and so far there hasn’t been much to fight. The elf kept mentioning an Ape following us, not sure what that is but it doesn’t sound very tough. Eventually we found the beautifully constructed Dwarven road to the quarry and began the last bit of our travel.

On Day 10 this “ape”, or whatever it was, found us. It came barreling through the forest at our side, knocked over our wagon, and beat one of the crew to a pulp. This beast towered over us all but I went into a frenzy and began attacking the beast. Soon after the courageous brennus and lexi followed suit. The cleric charged in with his ram and we had the creature surrounded, all the while the elf hid like a coward until he finally popped up and made a box appear over the beasts head. The beast confused and cornered hit itself in the head and accidentally cut its own throat. I made sure offer the group the beasts heart as is tradition in my clan, I had doubted them all but they had proved themselves to be valiant and courageous warriors, well almost all of them.

The next day I made sure to follow my clans tradition of celebrating a victorious battle by painting my body with the runes of victory and spending the day naked. The others seem put off by this display but it did not stop me from following my traditions, the gods must be shown their respect when they have delivered you to victory. After a few hours of marching we managed to make our way to the so called “Big Mac Quarry”. In the ruins of my people we found a great statue and when one of ours said they detected magic in the sword by its side we knew we must investigate further. The gods took humor in our endeavors and took away the good fortune and coordination we had found in battle leaving us in a ridiculous display of clumsiness but after some time we had managed to remove the sword from the statue.

After much discussion the group signaled for me to claim its power, a shining beacon of hope emerged from the sheath. Tunglskin, or moonlight in my people’s tongue shall be thy name. The elf managed to find a ring but we were unsure its properties. The guild happy with the road paid us for our good work and out of respect we named the road after the fallen worker Yorick, thus the New Yorick road was opened.

View
Hag Hunters
We are #1

(I am really sorry this took so long)

Mac, Stor, Peren, Azoth and myself met in front of the dungeon in Mariner’s Landing to give Mac a crack at King Glacbrack. We went into his cell and gave him hell, trying to get him to spill the beans.

He got real spooked and he informed us that one of his fellow bullywog prisoners had a fake iron tooth, too large for his mouth, which he could use to communicate with the hags. We ‘delicately’ removed this tooth and deliberated over our plan loudly next to it and decided to “APPROACH FEYWATCH KEEP BY WATER” all the while winking knowingly and nudging each other, happy to be in on the joke.

We went to the docks and captain Stor took the tooth and put it on a ship. He told Mac that he told the captain exactly what happened and that they should be very careful and that everything was just fine.

After that we decided to make good use of our time and head to New Blainsport to check out our respective homes. I was pleasantly surprised to see my bees had taken residence in my attic and a constant swarm was happily buzzing around the house. Mac spent some time fiddling with her catapult in her back yard. At this point we decided to cross the river and began heading inland to feywatch keep. After a bit of trekking we found a statue of the Fleet. It was a pretty neat statue and apparently some adventurers found it before.

We proceeded to head back towards the river and walked parallel to it about 1/4 mile away, towards Feywatch. At some point I felt a briny and flotsemy dark fey presence at the edge of my awareness. We went back towards the water and hid, with Peren a ways from us. A dark bubble came up the river and we put illusions in the water to get it to stop.
The bubble then bobbled away. We then dispatched some eel hounds, which when defeated turned into lily pads and disappeared.

After this, we continued heading parallel upstream until we came to a tributary stream which was 60ft wide and filled with crocodiles. After trying to tempt them with meat, we just continued upstream where there were no crocodiles. We crossed a mile upriver and started noticing claw marks from a very large creature about 6 ft up tree trunks. It was a troll. Azoth dug us a trench where we would spend the night against some trees. We awoke to a troll talking to itself about wanting a midnight snack. Stor used his grease ring and it fell into the pit. Twice. Stor mocked it viciously. It was not a good outing for the troll. The next thing I noticed was Mac holding it’s head while screaming and lighting the body on fire. It was very strange. Seemed overkill to me, it couldn’t even stand up on its own.

Mac did not get a good night sleep, she suffered some night terrors. We believe it may be from the hag Annie. In the morning Peren and I snuck to the keep and the remainder of the party quietly followed behind. We walked right past a camp of 10 ogres and a troll and got to the castle which was patrolled by winged creatures, a 15ft wide moat, and Granny Jetsam’s bubble going under the wall. We returned to the others and Mac sent her raven up to check out the chalice we had seen last time. Mac found an imp who tried to eat the raven. Mac lured the imp back to use where Peren and I deftly captured it with our superior
netting skills.

We interrogated the imp by befriending it with magic. He kept trying to evade us by getting smaller, turning into a mouse and other small mammals. We were able to keep a hold of the bag and submerge it which kept him from being too unruly. He told us everything he knew, including his most very real name, Elmozibub. All of the details of what he told us are hard to remember since we spoke with him for some time, but we learned of a coven of hags living in Feywatch Keep, Granny Jetsam the sea hag, Annie a huge ogre looking one, and Sally Skinner a night hag. He told us that there were likely around 20 devils summoned in the castle, around 10 ogres outside, and probably a troll somewhere. Supposedly there is some old feud kicking off again which brings the devils back to fight. Granny is living in the now flooded dungeon of the keep which has a secret entrance submerged on the east side of the castle.

Learning all this and figuring it would not be safe to release the imp, we decided to send him home. He erupted into flames and went home. Upon dispatching Elmosibub, we returned to the landing with our new knowledge in tow.

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The Final Resting Place
The Tail of How We Didn't Die to the Queen of Death (Yet)

Send to:
Flate’s Flask’s and Flammables
Mariner’s Landing
Droctredia

TO: The People of Mariner’s Landing
FROM: Your friend, Tahli
-————————————————————
Hello Mr. Flate,

I didn’t know where to mail letters to Mariner’s Landing, so I hope this finds you well, and that you distribute this letter amongst the citizens of the town, and all my friends.

My hands are still shaking a bit. I can not return for this exact moment to Mariner’s Landing as I find myself with a companion who is not welcome there. I am staying with Windrinse Highpeak for now with the dwarves. I have yet to meet most of them. I need to tell you about what happened in our adventure north.

Arrival:

Gilvaldellin (Gil), Windrinse Highpeak, Gerald Poh, Valen Aldarin, and Myself all followed Gil as far north as I think anyone has been to investigate a vision Gil had of a necrotic cave plaguing the leyline. It was over a hundred miles away, but Gil had a fabulous wagon that floated and was pulled my an incredible horse made of water! It galloped so fast I thought we were flying. After 5 days of travel along the mountain ridge we found the canyon Gil recognized. It was darker than normal here. Everything felt still and grey, as if devoid of color and emotion. There was minimal life…and it was so still. We found a body that seemed to be young, but he just withered away, almost as if he died of old age.

The Cave:
At the end of the canyon we find the pit that Gil saw in his vision and descend the staircase to see what lies below. At the bottom is a small pool of rainwater that trickles down the hall, leading lower and lower. The walls had fantastic markings on them, depicting burial rights, souls being put to rest, and clergymen, with one black, hooded, dark bishop depicted as a powerful person.

Down the hall we find a room that has four shadowy cloaked figures holding a pedestal over a pit. There are also sick beds, an alter, and pews. We looked around for a bit and I heard spatterings of a voice coming from farther down the hall. We take a look into the next room and there is a corpse with this manic look on it’s face, and we are attacked by an Alip. It was this maddened ghost like creature that could walk through walls and howl so loud we were stunned. Despite this, we dispatch the creature, and look around some more. It seemed as though clergymen lived here, and they were healers of some sort.

Going Farther Down:

Eventually we decide to see what is in the pit the four statues are holding. We take an old gnoll body and put it on the pedestal, and after a bit it descends below, where something drags it under. The statues emit a paralyzing gas when it does this. We climb down and dispatch two skeleton gnolls, and continue on our way.

We were faced with a series of hallways blocked by one way doors with part of an inscription on each one that said the following:

“All are welcome, sick or healthy, all may come to take your rest
Admit there is no second chance, come and join in the final dance
Go not to heaven’s distant strain, nor hells that seal with curse and chain
You built this place with blood and bone, where should one rest but in Her home
We welcome you with open arms, so sleep here deeply safe from harm
Our children left will surely know we’re always watching from below”

The hallways were lined with hundreds of skeleton’s graves. They were decorated with pieces of their past, including robes, jewelry etc. We prop open the doors with bone, and Windrinse takes a few rings to pocket. After about the 5th room, Windrinse has the idea to look back to find the doors have been shut. We can’t open them, but I try laying a hand on one and it does open. It seemed to respond to my necrotic energy. Skeletons awaited us on the other side and told us it was a one way trip to meet the queen of death. Naturally, we continued downwards.

The Final Resting Place
Finally we find a large room with a throne perched atop a pile of skulls. The bishop sat on the throne, with two statues guarding the room as well. His voice was chilling but enthralling. He wished us here with open arms, and invited us to meet the queen of death. I wanted to meet her badly, but after a pause, he stood to hurry us to our inevitable graves. His hood fell back, revealing he was a Bodak, and that was all I remembered for a minute. I woke up to someone pouring a health potion down my throat, and for a few seconds, people just kept falling over dead. He face was horrifying, it’s jaw fell open nearly a foot down, and it was death to gaze at his eyes.

The fight was grueling and horrible. We were on the smallest of health at all times, and he seemed to be invincible or resistant to nearly everything we threw at it. He called two ghosts to aid him, and one did something to me. I….I aged 30 years. My face isn’t the young face I remembered the last time I looked in a mirror, and my hands have started to show lines. I am not old, but I have lost my youth…it saddens me to think about.

Outside the door, I activated a wall of fire stick, scorching a dozen skeletons. Windrinse and Gerald managed to continue hacking away at the Bodak, but they could never stay up. Most of mine and Valen’s efforts were spend healing the party. Gil surprised me once by turning me into an elephant!! I killed a ghost as this mangificant beast, but Gil was knocked unconscious shortly after, rendering me back to my original state.

The fighting continued and we all though hope was lost, but the Bishop continued to wither, and eventually it started to panic. At the end of the room there was a dark pit, calling strongly to us. Gil made an illusion to displace the pit in the Bodak’s mind, and it dove into the ground in confusion. It was haggard and panicked and frightened, and we were weak and tired and out of potions and spells. Valen bravely threw one last radiant beam towards the bodak, it flinched violently and dove headfirst into the pit. The remaining ghost shortly followed. The fight was over.

The Queen

The party wanted to take a long rest here. I thought it was a horrendous idea seeing as there was a literal pit to death calling at us to run into it in this room. Gil set up a hut for us to hide in, and we compromised at a short rest to lick our wounds. A ghost came to keep an eye on us, but returned to the pit after a while. Windrinse tried to intimidate it but was obviously whimpering like a small child the entire time. I don’t think it was very effective, but it gave us a few laughs which were a welcome comfort.

Then I heard her. This voice was in my head asking me why I came here, and I told her the truth. I was here to learn how my magic works, why I have it, and where it came from. Why do things I touch wither and die? Why do the corpses not bother me, why can I poison and rot whatever irritates me and why do I just know I can bring something back to life soon?

She said she could teach me…she said she was the end of Droctredia. She was the Queen of Death and she promised a silent and a deep slumber with no war, no fighting, no pain, no harm. It would all just end. It could be peaceful and numb. She said she used to be a half elf like me, and she was tired of the plagues on this land, so she rose to power. She is the reason why the dragons do not own this land. She wanted me to stay, to aide her as a living thing. I could know everything I ever wanted to know.

I wanted to go with her to be honest. It was the most tempting offer I have ever faced, but Gil kept me sane enough to deny her request. She said that if we returned the things we stole, she would let us leave, just this once, however, she wanted to see what her world has become in her absence. A skull dislodged itself from the pyramid and rolled to my feet. It would be her eyes, and one day I could return with it, full of memories of Droctredia. I will carry it with me from now on. This is why I can not return to Mariner’s Landing. The party was uncomfortable bringing it to a place so safe. We returned the items we stole, and she was true to her word. The skeletons let us pass, and returned to their slumber.

I hope I can return soon, I need to make my acquaintance with these dwarves and see what they have to say about this whole ordeal. But for now, my best wishes and kindest regards. I hope this letter bring you the information you need.

Your Friend,
Tahli

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Bees
Bees.

The Outset

Azoth, Captain Lingo, the Cleric Wengruck, the Druid Caeladyn, and I set out from the docks aboard the Skinblanthir after I explained what exactly my ‘Help wanted ad’ had meant. Everyone seemed in good spirits, especially Captain Stor who had just recovered from our last journey up the waterfall. I’ll admit that I had yet to fully recover from that adventure myself. I still had a vague feeling of unease from that night spent in the alcove which I elected to ignore and focus on the task at hand.

The Landing

We spent a short day rowing to the peninsula where Stor and Caeladyn had seen the bees near the hut, and I promptly decided to try to follow the bees home. They were not going home. As I wandered in circles in a flowery and grassy field the others discussed the problem. Perhaps we should search for the hive or wait for nightfall to follow the little creatures home. Once I decided my circling was fruitless, I agreed with them and we set off into the tall grass to find some beehives.

The Redcaps

As we set off Azoth picked me up and set me on his shoulder (to my surprise), I was mildly embarrassed and uncomfortable, but now I could see more than a few feet in front of me and the grass wasn’t hitting me in the face anymore so I didn’t protest. From my vantage I spotted some movement ahead in the grass and alerted my colleagues to a couple red hats bobbing around in the grass. We prepared an ambush with an illusion of a great deer and waited. They were two Redcaps who were quite competent fighters, but we dispatched them and took some time to recover from our wounds.

The Halfling

Stor sat in a nearby tree to keep watch while we all rested. When it was time to move on Stor returned to the group with a halfling named Marie who he cheerily introduced as a good friend who was also in the tree and who claimed to live “west of here”. The members of the party who didn’t know the Captain were skeptical, but if Stor trusts someone, I tend to trust them as well. She did make a passing comment about my quality of sleep which I found strange, but I wouldn’t doubt that I looked a little haggard after the day of sailing, hiking, and fighting so I passed it off as nothing and she joined our little group.

The Bees

At this point Caeladyn and Wengruck, the only ones seemingly capable of finding bees, found a small grove of trees with a hive high in the branches. And so began the most complicated part of our adventure. After a bit of discussion, I used my climbing kit to ascend the tree and reach the hive. It took… a while. Upon reaching the bees I tried to calm them by communicating with them. Of course, bees aren’t known for their intellect, nor do they have a hive mind, so they didn’t pay me much attention. Having expected this I used a torch to smoke them and pacify them so that I could cut the hive down and lower it to the others. Unfortunately I did not have enough rope to reach the ground. At this point Caeladyn climbed the tree partway as a spider and waited to catch the hive and tie another rope around it to lower it the rest of the way. Surprisingly, the bees did not like what was happening to them, and the ball of angry bees approaching Caeladyn seemed to inspire some worry in my companions. Wengruck took immediate action by climbing the tree and summoning a small rainstorm just above the hive which made them much less aggressive and gave them time to lower it to Azoth’s mage hand.

The Hag

From my vantage point in the tree I noticed a dark blob rushing through the water along the coast. I pointed it out to the others and Stor used his spyglass to see a hag, king Glackbrack, and some bullywogs along with a toad creature come out of the water. Marie suggested we run, and Caeladyn started down the tree. In order to reach the ground quickly, I decided I would jump from the tree, after all, it had to be the fastest way down. Wengruck caught me halfway down almost as if he knew I was about to jump, which was probably good as I regretted jumping as soon as I had done it. He carried me to the ground where Caeladyn had wrapped the hive in a blanket and turned into an elk. He put me onto the elk’s back and we took off away from the hag. A lengthy chase ensued which ended with Marie nowhere to be found and the Succubus from the waterfall road in her place. Strangely there was far less suspicion about her now that she wasn’t a halfling anymore. We decided to make a stand and fight the creatures behind us, Azoth making his fabulous fortress, Stor setting some traps, and all of us nursing our wounds.

The Fight

The hag arrived with her large toad companion and we immediately began fighting. We all fought well and managed to defeat the toad creature and even the hag. However, just as she fell King Glackbrack arrived and sent a bullywog to help her escape then caused a cloud of fog to obscure her completely. At this point we had identified the hag as the one who lived in the conch and terrorized New Blainsport regularly. I leapt from the fortress and dashed into the fog hoping to land a killing blow to end the threat permanently. Unfortunately in my weakened state I misjudged my location in the fog and found a bullywog instead. I don’t remember much from then on until I woke to an enormous flame wall and a charred Glackbrack laying nearby with the succubus standing over him.

The Return Home

We escorted the three bullywogs we captured back to Mariner’s landing by land where they were arrested and likely put away for questioning. I hope this leads to less violence around New Blainsport in the future, though there is a hag out there who will likely hold a grudge.

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Underwater Spelunking

Kaltharax walks into the Driftwood Inn. After ordering a drink at the bar, he turns to some of the other patrons and says, “Come, friends! Listen to a tale of greatness!” While several of the other drinkers seen intrigued be this announcement, most turn away in annoyance. Undeterred, Kaltharax continues.

“It all began at Kerrhylon the Mighty’s homestead. Her, Captain Stor Lingo, the intrepid Merpip, the brave young Mordecai Brown, and myself, Kaltharax the Magnificent, set out to explore an underwater cave system that had been found a few months ago. While Kerrhylon doubted Mordecai’s abilities, I was sure that he had a great destiny to fulfil.

“After an uneventful trip to the river, we came upon the cave. The entrance was below water because a beaver had built a dam just downstream. While the rest of us discussed our options, Merpip brave went into the beaver dam, and found that Droctradian beavers are quite large creatures! This one had a litter of kits, so we knew that destroying the dam was not an option.

“At this point it was decided that Kerrhylon would swim ahead into the caves. She found three passages: the first contained overturned book shelves with moldy books. The second, giant spiderwebs that blocked the entrance! When she explored the third, however, she encountered a slime creature that tried to eat her! Only her quickness saved her, as she was able to escape back down the passage were the creature was too large to follow.

“Kerrhylon reemerged from the cave and told us of her findings. We all then ventured into the cave and went to the room with the books. The room was of unnatural construction, as if it had appeared there from somewhere else. The stonework there was very smooth, unlike the rest of the caves. While we were there we examined the books. Most were destroyed beyond recognition, but a few were still readable. They were primers for several different languages. There was a tunnel on the other side of the room that lead to a small chamber. Inside was the dried-out husk of a basilisk! What the creature was doing here before it died none of us knew.

“We then decided to venture into the room with the spider webs. We we all reached the room, I cleared us a path with a mighty gout of fire! It was at that moment that some sort of squid-like creature dropped from the ceiling right on Kerrylon’s head! As fought it off, suddenly it was enveloped in a shroud of darkness. Two more dropped down; I count one on my shield, but Merpip had on land on his head as well. It was at this moment that Mordecai showed his greatness. He bravely leaped into the darkness surrounding Merpip, and with a single mighty blow struck down the creature!

“After finishing off the other two, we ventured further into the cave. There we encounter a rock monster of some kind. They said it was from the plane of Earth. The creature was eating gems out of geodes it found here in this chamber. Captain Stor was able to converse with the creature with the aid of the books we found. It told us that the spider traveled through dimensions, and that the creature wanted our help to catch it so the creature could catch a ride with the spider to another plane. We agreed to help it.

“Mordecai, in a show of great bravery, went over to the web and pretended to be caught in it, so as to lure the spider into out plane. It took the bait and appeared out of nowhere and attacked us! We were ready for it and Karrhylon lassoed it as Stor threw a grappling hook at it. We held it as the rock monster climbed under the spider and held on as it blinked out. Unfortunately, Stor was too close to the spider and was pulled along with it!

“As Stor tried to cling onto the spider in the hope that it would go back, it turned and attacked him! Stor was faced with an impossible dilemma: his only was home was trying to kill him! It was at this moment that Mordecai noticed that as the spider moved on the other plane, it rustled its webs here on ours. He came up with a brilliant plan. He and I ran toward the web trying to lure the spider back. It worked! The spider came back, and it brought Stor back with it! This time, when we drove the spider back to the other dimension, all of us stayed on our own dimension.

“As we were preparing to leave, we discovered a magic scroll in one of the books, and a magic ring inside the throat of the basilisk. The creature was too dried up to be able to collect anything of use from its corpse.

“Mordecai ended this adventure with an incredible back flip”, Kaltharax proclaims as he concludes his tale.

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Waterfall Wonders
A Keep Lost

Date: Unknown

Something is wrong…very wrong. While we have all survived the trip up and over the water fall on the Blainsport River, I am ill with fatigue and weakness. As soon as we make port at the Landing I shall go to the clinic. Gil suggests the Consortium and Peren the Advocates. Maybe someone will know what to do. I fear falling into the Etherial Plane while fighting the Fey Spider has split my soul in two.

As for the expedition, we have mostly terrible news. The Feywatch was occupied by evil forces from hell including ogres and bearded devils. Our battle flag no longer flies over the tower. I also suspect yet another hag is present, possibly named Annie. Both Merpip and I are greatly distressed by this loss and can only blame Captain Quinston for failing to garrison the fortress. Valen seemed disturbed at such evil forces and wished strongly to retake the Keep but no good plan seemed to take form.

We met with the Fey creature McGrogan. He seems aloof to the new occupiers. Something seems off though almost as if he is complacent or aiding these forces. He did remind us that Billy has a date with the Moon king.

After killing two ogres, one by a brilliant longbow shot by Peren, we chose not to engage the Keep forces and instead approached the Waterfall. It was four or so days from Blainsport. Behind the waterfall was found not a dragon, but instead, a riddle of a poem warning travelers. All of us pondered meanings of this poem.

To avoid the first obstacle, Gil hoisted us over the cliffs. We marched onwards to a bridge guarded by a troll demanding payment. Gil fooled him with a piece of coral after my grease spell failed.

We then encountered the ladies, one a redhead and one a brunette. Two nearly naked damsels blocked our path sealed in invisible fields of force. We knew one could be a friend but not whom it was. After numerous questions I realized we could determine a liar by asking if they were attracted to me. One said no and the other yes. Clearly we knew who was lying. Peren released the darker haired of the two and she quickly changed into a winged creature clad in leather who thanked us for setting her free. The redhead simply vanished.

We marched on until dark where we found a small cave and a skull. Another riddle was etched here. It referred to a highwayman and someone named Flain. I don’t understand its meaning. Again my sleep was interrupted and I feared my death would be soon.

In the morn we tied ourselves together and nearly lost Merpip in a gust of wind. We did survive despite my clumsy knotwork and poor reactions.

Next we came upon a swamp with water dripping out of rock. I tasted it with regret as it was water mixed with oil. We took a flask of it based upon our reading of the first riddle. Thankfully it may have saved my life by doing so.

Crossing the swamp, a mass of entangled vines and debris attacked. It seemed immune to most of our efforts but finally Peren landed another spectacular shot and bubbles were all that remained.

My health remained perilous so I asked the party to hurry. We found a hill with a tree named Stoop. After providing the oil water from the swamp to this creature, Peren learned it was cursed to kill any that touched its sap. We have returned samples of this poison. The tree told us about the land beyond but to use the water below to get back to the waterfall. Gil very much wished to continue but we ran low on supplies and I had become a burden to the mission.

We rested one more night and I expected not too last. Strangely, as my nightmares returned, a winged figure guarded my soul. This fiendish woman which we had freed earlier claimed me as hers and fought ghostly figures away. I rested well the rest of the night protected by my lady of darkness but my constitution appears permanently withered.

We found the Feywatch deserted when we returned but Gil’s loyal owl noticed an invisible presence so we fled. The Feywatch is lost. Another hag may be after us. Something evil lurks in the tower. Beware all who travel in the area and may my existence be saved by Gozreh or my new fiendish friend.

Captain S.L.

New Hooks:

  • Retake the Keep
  • Finish the puzzle run up stream into the wilderness
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