The Lost Relics

Freezer Burn

9/30/11/ – “Freezer Burn”

After defeating the goblin hordes and the pair of murderous Wendigo, the adventurer’s found themselves faced with the decision of how to proceed. Moving forward from the site of their battle, they discovered the tunnel forked left and right. The Beast attempted a divination ritual to point the way—and the summoned apparition pointed to the right.

Taking the path, the crew discovered a team of miners attempting to dig out from the recent cave-in that had closed the path farther. The miners’ bumpkin leader, Rusty, explains that they had been at work for weeks and could potentially dig out much sooner if they only had some explosives. Taking the scruffy fellow by the collar, the heroes backtrack and head down the opposite cavern tunnel. Along the way, the Beast senses a presence observing them. It is at this moment that it becomes apparent that a figure has been following just behind them, lurking in the shadows. Calling the interloper out of hiding, the crew discover that a lithe and sly-looking drow has been following them. Levandius interrogates the other traveler haughtily in the High Speech, distrusting any of the followers of Lolth. When it becomes apparent from the drow’s responses that he has not yet succumbed to the madness of the Spider Queen, the crew asks the dark elf to accompany them on their errand to exit the cavern.

At the end of the tunnel, they discover a large room strewn with the frozen bodies of more miners. Below the thick, icy floor, a frozen dragon corpse can be seen. The room holds an odd pillar of ice towards its middle that appears to have an ornate sword trapped within. Around the pillar lie four runes etched in the ice floor.

After discovering that the touch of the sword meant instantaneous glaciations, the adventurers attempt to figure out the apparent puzzle surrounding the sword. While suffering the missteps of the puzzle-trap, the crew find themselves beset by a flock of ice-bats.

With much strength and intrepidity, the heroes vanquish the bats, solve the puzzle, and retrieve the mysterious sword. The Beast perceives that the black residue left behind by the sprung Elven traps has explosive qualities and gathers some into a pouch.

The crew and their recently thawed miner companion make their way back to the first cavern. Creating a makeshift blast charge with the black powder, the heroes blow open the exit of the cavern. The icy wind of Winterhaven and uncertainty then blows by their huddled shoulders.

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Out of the Fire and into the Freezer

9/15/11/ – “Out of the Fire and into the Freezer”

In their last encounter, our adventurers faced the portal to Winterhaven. Before departing, the wizard Nimozoran the Green admonished the group to seek out the first bloodstone fragment. While unsure of its location, the wizard advised the crew to travel to the town of Eriness and seek out the witch Delana, who could help them in their search.

After travelling through the arcane doorway, the travelers found themselves in the cold, desolate
Icewind Caverns. They overhear a discussion amongst a small group of prospectors who seem to be
part of an organized group seeking riches in the cave. The prospectors seem to have their hands full just outside the cavern wing in which the adventurer’s find themselves, fending off some unseen horrors.

The crew follow the prospectors to the outer cavern, where the sounds of battle rage. They find
themselves embroiled in a battle against a small contingent of goblin skirmishers and archers. After a dispatching the goblins, thanks to some intrepid spellwork on the part of the Beast, the crew face the fearsome likes of a pair of ice yetis. Though the battle was grueling and violent, the crew emerged victorious—ready to continue their quest through this unknown frozen land in search of the keys to the undead Lord’s resurrection.

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Family Reunions Stink

9/1/11/ – “Family Reunions Stink

When last we saw our adventurers, the group had entered the Mardeth sewers with the task to block the outflow end using a set of magic bars given them by Tobolar Quickfoot, apprentice to the wizard Nimozoran the Green. Having just dispatched a small group of bullywugs and a grick, the adventurers continue on their disgusting journey thru the bowels of the town. After turning a corner, the group hears a yelp followed by a splash. Much to their surprise, the find that their companion Berowyn has dropped in through one of the sewer’s many manholes. Having recovered from his Fey intestinal ailment, the elven archer decided to set out in search of his crew and promptly followed them into the sewers.

With all members together, the band creeps through the dank tunnels. After many twists and turns, they come upon a surprisingly large chamber in the sewers. The massive room stretches defies the otherwise cramped conditions present elsewhere in the sewer. A few support pillars stretch to the ceiling, two large canals of flowing sludge run lengthwise across the room, and multiple drain pipes line several of the walls. With a whoosh and gurgle, a few of the pipes periodically gush an enormous quantity of sludge, keeping the canals filled and flowing.
The room is also not uninhabited. The adventurers find several bullywugs are not too happy to have outsiders in their moist demesne. Using fleet footwork, acrobatics, and brute force, the crew makes short work of the amphibious troglodytes. However, instead of the drips and gushes one would expect to hear in the absence of life in the sewers, the group hears instead the soft crying of a child.

Exploring the dank chamber, they come upon a small, fine-featured little girl named Sara hiding in the corner. From the look of her delicate face and finely-tapered ears, the crew determines that she is an elven-child. With much coaxing and gentle talk, they convince the girl to come with them and is promptly taken into Rockwell’s scaly arms.

Having retrieved the mysterious girl, the group cautiously moves through the tunnel opposite the room’s entrance, having noticed what seems to be daylight at the far end. The adventurers ready the magic bars received from the Halfling apprentice. Upon reaching the outflow of the sewer, the group notices that, curiously, the effluent end of the sewers does not appear to be the most accessible of entrances, emptying directly into an extremely deep ravine. With the exception of a narrow ledge leading to solid ground at the far end of the ravine, there appears to be no footing or safe passage to the entrance. Levandius makes known his distrust for the sly-seeming demi-human Tobolar. As they talk, the crew hears the sounds of a march and, looking up to the land beyond the raving, see a large party of Dark Elves, Goblins, and Orcs marching past towards Mardeth. Deciding they had been sent on a fool’s errand, the party swiftly works their way back through the sewers and out the same entrance through which they came—keeping the magic bars for themselves.

Upon exiting the dark tunnels, they find that the alarm has been raised in the town. Hurrying to the Septarch’s tower, the band encounters Nimozoran the Green. Nimozoran, thinking they have returned from the errands he sent them upon, explains that Mauru the Mind-taker is again attacking the city. A detachment of orcs and drow under the command of the furious orc warlord Tragorjan marches upon the city. The denizens of Mardeth are sent scurrying to prepare their defenses.

Nimozoran explains that it is time he reveals a secret that he has been guarding. He explains that Mauru is indeed seeking to resurrect Orkus, the demon-lord of undeath, using two magickal artifacts—the necroshard and the blood stone. The blood stone was split into three shards and Maru seeks to reunite the fragments using a ritual contained in Gruul’s book. Nimozoran knows of the location of one of the shards.

Nimozoran entrusts the adventurers with the task of finding the blood stone shard so as to prevent Maru from attaining his goal, explaining that the evil enchanter is bent on this goal with all his powers and allies. The old wizard returns Gruul his ritual book. The wizened sorcerer then chants a complex incantation and, with a rush of air and a flash of light, a portal opens in his tower lair to the frozen land of Winterhaven, the known location of one of the blood stone shards. Nimozoran implores the adventurers to find and destroy the artifact so as to thwart Maru’s evil plan.

Before departing, the crew presents the young elven maid to the wizard, asking him to ensure that she is returned to her brother Billy, whom they had encountered prior to entering the sewers. The wizard gazes at them with a puzzled look and declares that her brother was there in the room, pointing at Berowyn as he says this…

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Down the Drain

8/19/11 – “Down the Drain”

We rejoin our heroes in the town of Mardeth. The missing companion, Rockwell, finds his compatriots among the returning townspeople, having just completed a strenuous quarter-year plying the favors of lusty wenches. Berowyn departs for the town healer, struck with a rare Elven intestinal ailment. The adventurers share their stories with their scaly companion and pay another visit to the eccentric smith, Albert Gherrick, attempting to return only the body of the ring thief as a ruse to gain access to his wares without returning the Beast’s new ring.
Unable to sway the smith—partly due to Levandius’ use of a faulty intimidation potion, the group departs his company with three “magically sharp daggers” and the smiths’ instructions to find the ring and return it for two magical items in trade. Splitting up to accomplish their original goal, Rockwell heads to the Staggering Peasant for clues to the whereabouts of the old man with the ritual book whilst Levandius and the Beast, in guise of a young girl, head to the church to inquire.

The pub bartender tells Rockwell to seek out Nimozoran the Green in the tower on the east end of town to find the old man he described. Particularly, the attention of Nimozoran’s Halfling apprentice, Tobolar Quickfoot, would help in the search, according to the vendor.
Before Rockwell and the rest of the company could complete their investigations, the town is rocked by a goblin invasion. The adventurers engage the invading horde and repel two waves of monsters. The townspeople shower the company with praise for their rescue. The bartender of the Staggering Peasant offer the crew buy one get one drinks for life and Levandius finds a pair of Goblin Stompers to outfit himself better. The crew part ways to rest for the evening; Rockwell to the Torne Stocking brothel for a night of busty wenching, the Beast and Levandius to the Bronze Owl for sleep and meditative repose.

The next day, the crew wanders the streets of Mardeth, visiting various merchants in search of gear and supplies to bolster their abilities. As most vendors are still quite under stocked due to Mardeth’s earlier ransacking, the crew receive many requests for various materials that the vendors can use to craft them items and armor.

Their errands complete, the adventurers travel to the Septarch’s Tower in the east end of Mardeth. There, they encounter Tobolar Quickfoot, Nimozaran’s haughty Halfling apprentice, and the Green Wizard himself. The Beast enters discourse with the Wizard, revealing himself to be Gruul, apprentice of the Grand Sorcerer Kaaz. Nimozoran reveals that he is in possession of Gruul’s book, but is reluctant to return it for fear of Maru’s reprisal against the town he is charged with protecting. He offers to return the book if the travelers agree to secure the town against attack and arm the villagers. The crew agree, and Tobolar is assigned to accompany them on the task.

On their way through the town, Tobolar reveals to Levandius and the adventurers that he is not completely of one mind with Nimozoran, having no faith that the townspeople can defend themselves. He offers to reveal the hidden location of the book Nimozoran possesses if the party agrees to assist the Halfling in convincing Nimozoran to use more magically inclined methods of protecting the town from would be attackers. Tobolar then informs the party that the only weak point in Mardeth’s defenses is an opening in the town sewer drains outside of the town walls. Tobolar gives the crew some enchanted iron rods with which to seal the open drainage as he and Nimozoran will handle the magickal defense of the town personally.

Swayed by the Halfling’s logic, the adventurers agree and enter the sewers…

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To Catch a Ring Thief

8/8/11 – “To Catch a Ring Thief…”

The adventurers exit the depths of the defiled temple, squinting in morning sun, unaccustomed to the effulgence of full daylight after so long a time in darkness. Wearily shambling from between the town’s more decrepit edifices, they espy an unexpected sight in the nearby town square. A gathering of townsfolk, more than they presumed even remained in Mardeth, have encircled two figures.

Maru the Mind-Taker stands in center of the crowd, clutching an old man by the collar, dangling his feet a hand’s-breadth from the ground. Maru strikes the man repeatedly, angrily interrogating him as to the whereabouts of an object he desires and states the ritual he holds is useless without “it”. When the man fails to answer to his satisfaction, Maru effortlessly tosses the wretch several yards into the milling onlookers. The Beast and his companions notice that as the man flies, he holds a leather-bound tome to his chest tightly—the Beast’s ritual book.
Landing with a thud, the old man is helped up by a curiously-well-dressed Halfling, and together they move quickly off in an unknown direction thru the mass of townspeople. Cursing the town, Maru disappears. With nods and brief discussion, the adventurer’s decide that Maru must be dealt with and the Beast’s book returned.

Three months pass—the adventurer’s meticulously and clandestinely rid Mardeth of the corrupt guard. Slowly, life returns to the town as the population, many having fled in fear of the guard’s regular abductions for the slave pens of Anduras, return. The mornings bustle with the sound of trade as peddlers sell their sundries to those in from the countryside. It is on one such morning that the adventurer’s gather quietly to one side of the town square. Having each pursued his own ends and achieved naught, they decide to seek out what information they can concerning the mysterious old man with the Beast’s book in The Staggering Peasant, a tavern with a reputation for welcoming the less-savory members of Mardeth society.

Walking carefully through the back alley to the non-descript entrance to the bar, the adventurer’s are accosted by a number of the town’s newly-returned merchants. The group buys two supposedly magical potions from a withered old crone and attempt to barter with an unseemly, and uncooperative, merchant selling what appears to be household junk. Just before reaching the bar, the group stumbles upon a freshly-established shop-front run by the self-named smith Albert Gherek. The majority of the smith’s wares are poorly-made, having the appearance of apprentices’ practice work. After making a mysterious trade with a passerby, Albert cryptically indicates that greater items are in his possession, but that he simply does not trade with the general public. Albert offers to display his handiwork if the adventurer’s recover a magical, green jewel-bedecked ring stolen from Albert’s clandestine cache of treasures. The adventurer’s half-heartedly agree and continue on to The Staggering Peasant.

In the tavern, the adventurers each deal with the bizarre patrons. Berowyn is accosted by a rambling, ale-addled drunk obsessed with bugbears, Levandius attempts to match wits and ply a well-dressed halfling for information regarding the events of three months prior, and the Beast finds himself beset by a busty, greasy bar-wench bent on testing his strength. As Levandius bandies with the small manling and Berowyn attempts to repel his undesired companion, the Beast finds himself the center of attention pitted in an arm-wrestling match with the enormous wench. After a few unsuccessful attempts to best the greasy strumpet, the Beast summons his energies and hurls the creature across the bar, knocking down several patrons in her ruin. It was in the aftermath of the dull thud that the Beast notices one of the patrons bearing a green jewel-bearing ring. The man rights himself and quickly runs for the nearby exit.

Summoning his eldritch powers, the Beast momentarily tears the veil of reality asunder and plunges headlong through the pathless ether after the newly-discovered ring thief. With a crack of suddenly displaced air, the Beast re-enters the world just behind the fleeing man and grabs hold, stopping him in his tracks.

Seeing the commotion, Berowyn shoves the drunkard aside and nimbly steps through the shocked crowd. Reacting with the reflexes of a wild hunter, he leaps into a window facing the tavern’s side and deftly kicks out the flimsy led-glass panes to afford him a straight shot. Meanwhile, Levandius curtly excuses himself from his conversation with the haughty demi-human and hurries towards the exit after his companions.

In the clearing outside The Staggering Peasant, the adventurers engage the thief, who shows forth the power of his ill-gotten ring by summoning manifestations of his inner self. Methodically the band defeat the magickal clones and finally dispatch the thief. Pulling the ring from his finger, the Beast gathers the crumpled, unconscious form of the thief. Determining the trinket to be of too much value to return to its owner, the Beast proposes to keep the object and places it on one of his thick fingers. Exerting his will, he causes his form to change, using the diminished power of the ring.

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6/25/11 - "What a Horrible Night for a...Spirit Wall"

6/25/11 – “What a Horrible Night for a…Spirit Wall”

The sun had completely gone down, and the party found themselves in a defiled temple dedicated to the worship of Ocrus. After disposing of several skeletal beings using the power of the recently discovered necroshard, the room was soon filled with the sounds of moaning and shuffling of feet. Undead beings were thought to be approaching, but the party was pleasantly surprised to see Rockwell stumble through the door. Rockwell informed the party that his absence from the previous events were due to him taking a quite respite at the Mardeth tavern above the underground library from which they entered early that morning. Unfortunately for Rockwell, the ale that he consumed in the tavern was apparently the same drugged ale that they previously found next to the unconscious barkeep. As a result of consuming the poisonous liquid, Rockwell was in need of some serious medicine that would ward off the effects of the tainted ale. The party searched around the room hopelessly until Levandius was able to conjure up a miracle cure in the form of a healing potion called Gnu’hathik. Rockwell consumed the liquid and felt much better within a matter of minutes.

Now that all 4 party members were somewhat rested from the previous battle, they decided to trudge on through into the darkness in search of the evil Mauru the Mind Taker. It was Mauru that put them in this position in the defiled temple, and it was he who stole the minotaur’s ritual book, and so the party decided to pursue the evil encanter to exact revenge upon him. The heroes gathered their courage and stepped into the next room which they soon found to be a large sanctuary of sorts. Some quick thinking by Rockwell led to the dragonborn illuminating the room with lightning breath, albeit only momentarily until the party found and lit some large braziers. The party explored the large room and found some old bookcases containing mostly worthless material, two terrible looking demon statues, a large statue of Orcus, and a trap door. The demon statues and the statue of Orcus both appeared to have been placed on the top of older statues of the goddess Erathis. Continuing their exploration, the party decided to open the trapdoor and descend down a spiral staircase.

The staircase opened into a room that had not seen the defilement the other rooms in the temple had. The walls of this room were covered in large murals depicting the following:

A single image of the history of the land of Irathor. At the bottom is a picture of a horrible demon trying to break from a giant stone chamber buried under the earth. Above the entombed demon are 3 giant red stones floating above the ground, and it appeared that a lone cloaked being was harnessing the power of the red stones using a black rock hanging from his neck. The cloaked figure was sending beams to the tomb underneath as if to aid the demon in escaping his tomb. Finally, to the right of this cloaked being was a depiction of human standing in front an opening of an ancient looking door covered in vines. The being was placing a small elvish statue into a crevice on the side of the door to accompany another elvish statue on the other side. inside the door is a glowing image of a large stone hammer.

After examining the mural, the heroes looked around the rest of the room and discovered an altar to the goddess Erathis, and a large silver bowl filled with water sitting at the foot of the statue of Erathis. Rockwell stepped closer to the altar only to be immediately surrounded by hundreds of spirits, cutting off any hope of escape. Three other undead shapes appeared, with one in particular dressed in armor and telling the party members that they would never be able to free Orcus from his imprisonment. The party battled with the foes, as well as Levandius being sucked into the “spirit wall” by one of the many spirits lashing out to pull them into the spirit world. Eventually the enemies were vanquished, but not before Rockwell did a fade away jumper and sent the necroshard into the silver bown of water with a splash. The effect on the necroshard was that of a purification, and the shard turned from the dark black color to a bright blue. This act of purification showed the armored entity that they were not part of the Order of the Twisted Hand, and that they were not seeking to free Orcus. The armored entity parted with a final word of warning to the heroes: “do not lot the sacred hammer fall into enemy hands”. The spirit wall was lifted and the party escaped up the stairs, but the night was not over…

Upon reaching the top of the stairs, thousands of undead were heard and seen attempting to completely surround the party. The sinister laugh of Mauru the Mind-Taker was overheard and the players caught a fleeting glimpse of the warlock commanding the undead to attack before fleeing with the “Beast’s” ritual book in hand. Thinking quickly, Rockwell, Levandius, Berowyn, and the “Beast” barricaded the doors and windows with bookcases and lit braziers. This quick thinking both slowed the entrance of undead, and incinerated the would be attackers if they were able to breach the defenses. A lasher zombie finally entered the room and was able to get through the fire from one of the braziers with only minor injuries…but was quickly cowered in fear by the sight of the purified necroshard. The heroes were able to defeat all of the attackers as the sun finally rose and vanquished the horrid undead.

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4/30/11 - "The Defiled Temple"

4/30/11 – “The Defiled Temple”

Upon defeating the undead in the room underneath the library, the party began to leave and head back up to the town of Mardeth. Berowyn and Levandius first looked around and saw that their companion, Rockwell, was no where to be found. The party was interrupted by the faint sound of voices seemingly coming through the walls. Levandius searched around the pedestal where the old musty tome had been lying, and found a hidden lever that once triggered, revealed a secret trap door leading down. As the sun began to set, the two heroes descended down into a room where a sacrificial ritual was being conducted. The faint voices overheard were actually that of 5 members from the Order of the Twisted Hand cult. They were chanting in a strange tongue, all while facing the center of the room where a large minotaur creature stood chained to a pedestal in the middle of a strange bubbling liquid. The party elected to attempt to save the beast from his bonds and attacked the cultists. Taking out 4 of the cultists resulted in the chains of the beast being broken, but the victory was short lived. The final cultist, later revealed to be Mauru the Mind Taker, finalized the enchantment and proceeded to bring forth from the bubbling liquid a large ochre jelly monster. Once the monster was raised, Mauru gave a familiar sinister look to the beast and fled through the rear door. The heroes eventually defeated the ochre jelly and then began with the introductions, although the beast was somewhat reluctant to divulge his true name.

The party began to look around the room, but as they were a loud clicking sound was heard followed by evil laughter…the way back into the library of Mardeth was cut off. Gathering their courage, the campanions decided to give chase to Mauru through the rear door. The beast was especially motivated as it appeared that Mauru had stolen the minotaur’s ritual book. Going through the door towards the back of the room, the party found a long hallway that branched off at the end into 2 separate hallways. The hallways were dimly lit by the near setting sun. Painted all over the hallway walls were murals. Looking at the murals carefully, Levandius was able to determine that depictions of evil deeds, sacrifices, and other unsavory acts were painted over the top of much older murals. At the back of the hallway was a large statue of the demon lord Orcus, but something odd stood out about this statue. Berowyn noticed that the statue of Orcus appeared to have been placed over the top of another statue, possibly that of the god Erathis. It was clear at this point that the party had stumbled upon a defiled temple, dedicated to the worship of Orcus. It was at this time that the minotaur heard a strange hissing sound coming from one branch at the end of the hallway. Unsure of what was truly making the strange hissing noise, Levandius elected to scout out the other room at the end of the branch of the hallway. Peering into the room, Levandius discovered a small library with several bookshelves lined with ancient books. Upon seeing the joy on Levandius’ face after the discovery, Berowyn remarked with “whoa! Your fave!”. Levandius searched the bookshelves for anything of value, but found nothing except various documents spread over the floor with some bearing the mark of the Order of the Twisted Hand. These documents also were all written in a strange language, but the beast was able to decipher a few words…all relating to that of enchantmens, and necrotic energy in particular. The beast continued to search and found the Journal of Mauru. Looking at the book, the beast was again able to only decipher a few words: “Orcus…necroshard…undead army”. Levandius then discovered a small wooden chest underneath a table in the corner which contained the magical Boots of Quickness, and a strange black rock that is embedded into a backing of gold and bound to a leather neck strap.

The party deduced that this rock was possibly the “necroshard” that Mauru spoke of in his journal. A test of the shards’ power was attempted by waving the rock close to a dead rat. The rats’ skin split as the shard began to glow with a green aura, followed by some bones beginning to emerge from the corpse. Levandius put the necroshard around his neck, and the party trudged on into the other branch of the hallway where the hissing sound began to grow louder. Entering the room, the party saw large metal pipes lining the ceiling as strange necrotic gas flowed through openings at the end of the pipes and down into 4 piles of skulls in each corner. A large tomb guardian skeletal being was in the center of the room standing over an arcane symbol, and began to attack the party immediately by summoning skeletal warriors that rose from the necrotic enhanced skull piles. The necroshard hanging from Levandius’s neck began to glow the green aura it had before, so Levandius began to wave the necroshard in front of the skeletal warriors violently in the air. This act enraged them and the monsters flocked to Levandius…drawn by the power of the necroshard. The minotaur beast discovered during the battle that there was a large mechanical structure that seemed to be controlling the necrotic gas flow. Levandius and Berowyn battled the skeletal warriors while the minotaur disabled the mechanical structure by solving a runed puzzle. With the skeletal warriors ceasing to become reanimated via the skull piles, the party dispatched of them and began to take on the tomb guardian. This fight though would prove near fatal for both Levandius and the beast. Before being knocked unconscious, Levandius desperatley heaved the necroshard to Berowyn, while the minotaur lay helpless on the floor. Berowyn also acting in desperation, threw the necroshard into the middle of the room on top of the arcane symbol. The necroshard began to glow even brighter than before and then appeared to consume all of the remaining necrotic gas in the room into it’s core before pulsing out a necrotic wave that would spell doom for the tomb guardian.

With their enemies defeated, Levandius and the minotaur managed to regain consciousness…but the rest would be short lived. The sun faded completely and the room was suddenly covered in darkness. The familiar voice of Mauru the Mind Taker was overheard telling the party that “this shall be your final resting place!”. This theat was followed by a horrific sound that the party determined to be that of several undead beings making their way to their vicinity.

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Welcome to Mardeth

2/19/11 – “Welcome to Mardeth…”

After creating a vine horror from chemicals given to the adventurers by a member of the Shadow Thieves guild, the party was reduced by one as Berowyn was whisked away by the ankles from one of the vine horrors’ long writhing tentacles. The monster carried both Berowyn and Captain Thorley of the Mardeth Guard through the forest in a rage, as Rockwell and Levandius chased after it. After several attempts to catch up to the monster, Rockwell decided to take some of the plant attraction chemical that he had obtained from the Shadow Thieves guild member, and pour it on the ground in front of a tree. Rockwell and Levandius then scampered up a nearby tree in hopes of luring the monster into their trap. The plan worked as the vine horror caught wind of the chemical and turned from it’s path and headed back towards Rockwell and Levandius. The party was able to surprise the monster and Berowyn escaped its’ grasp. Captain Thorley cried for help and was somewhat assisted, but mostly ignored for the duration of the battle as the party wasn’t necessarily on speaking terms with the Captain. Eventually, after a streak of successful blows to the vine horror, it went into a maddening rage and attempted to dislodge the earth from underneath the feet of the party. It was during this time that Captain Thorley was taken, or better yet “consumed” by the vine horror as the party looked on. The vine horror’s attempt at a final assault on the party, would ultimately spell the creatures’ doom as it consequently opened up a large sink hole underneath it and fell into the blackness. Upon searching the remains of the dead vines on the ground, Levandius uncovered Captain Thorley’s shield which was covered by what appeared to be the living remains of the vine horror. These vines created a writhing but protective barrier to the shield giving it unique magical properties. Levandius gave the shield to Rockwell for future use. Levandius also uncovered a small key that was dropped by Captain Thorley during the battle. The symbol on the key was familiar to Levandius for he had seen it above the library in Mardeth.

The party decided to return to Mardeth at Levandius’ request so that he could continue his searching for information regarding the location of the kobold encampment. However, before returning to Mardeth, the party decided to disguise themselves as guards of Mardeth using the clothing from the slain guards they encountered on the Trade Road within the Woods of Alaren. Donning their new uniform, the adventurers rode into Mardeth and witnessed many women and children running at the sight of them dressed as the feared town guards. Berowyn managed to extract some directions from one of the local townspeople and found a tavern in town called The Staggering Peasant. Upon inspection of the tavern, they discovered it was deserted save for a slumped over barkeep. Levandius and Rockwell tried many methods of waking the barkeep from his loud snoring slumber but all methods proved to be in vain. Rockwell was able to deduce from the odor of one of the wine bottles that the barkeep had been drugged. Berowyn searched around the tavern for any traces of someone that could’ve drugged the barkeep, and found traces of dust/pebbles that didn’t look to be native to the tavern itself. The party decided to leave the tavern and head towards the library of Mardeth.

Upon arriving at the library, Levandius recognized the symbol above the door as the same symbol that was seen on the key he found in the Woods of Alaren amongst the remains of the vine horror. The adventurers entered the library and eventually found that by moving the two bookcases, a secret passage was uncovered opening up a door with a spiral staircase leading downward. Levandius had never been to this part of the library before, and was hopeful that he might uncover some ancient tomes giving him information as to the whereabouts of the kobold encampment. Berowyn, Rockwell, and Levandius descended down the spiral staircase and into a musty room that had a large arcane symbol on the floor, along with two bookcases, and a pedestal at the rear of the room that held an ancient book that had not been used in some time from it’s dusty appearance. The party also noticed that in the middle of the arcane symbol, was a painted red hand that was curved in a mangled position. Also on the ground were two skeletal corpses lying next to the arcane symbol. Levandius approached cautiously and elected to walk around the arcane symbol, but as he did, the corpses re-animated…seeming to draw power from the symbol itself. The corpses were not the only evil in the room though as two additional corpse lords entered from behind the bookcases. After Berowyn and Levandius made quick work of the re-animated corpses, Levandius decided to attempt to light the two bookcases on fire with the idea of sandwiching one of the corpse lords in between them. Although the fight ended in favor of the party, the flames consumed the bookcases and consequently burned all books as well. Taking this disappointment in stride, Levandius went straight to the pedestal at the back of the room and grabbed the ancient tome that rested upon it. Upon inspection of the tome, Levandius noticed the same red mangled hand on the front of the book, but was unable to decipher any of the strange arcane symbols on the old pages.

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The Escape

1/15/11 – “The Escape”

Berowyn, Levandius, and Rockwell found themselves bound and riding the back of a prison wagon down a dusty dirt road on the way to the city of Andurus. Each individual had their own unique run in with Captain Thorley, head of the Guard of Mardeth, who arrested them and put them into this predicament. In the prison wagon the players agreed to a business relationship of sorts with the small halfling, Kepli Longhollow, who wanted the aid of the adventurers in his plight to rescue his brother. The group agreed that if Kepli helped them escape, they would help him rescue his brother who was suspected to be in a separate prison caravan head of them.

After the party freed themselves from their shackles, Rockwell disposed of the wagon driver by punching a hole through the wagon wall and then pulling the driver back through. This however caused the cart to begin to split open, resulting in Rockwell having to hold the cart together while Levandius Fey Stepped onto the top of the wagon and took control of the horse from the drivers’ seat. Eventually the party caught up to wagon in front of them that contained their equipment as well as a locked chest. Inside the chest was a small stone statue measuring 1’ in height and depicting that of an elvish warrior. After the party was unable to discover any useful information about the statue, they gave it to Kepli for safe keeping.

Once the two wagons were in the control of the party, they set off in the direction of the Woods of Alaren, to seek out Kepli’s brother. The party found another wagon that showed signs of an ambush, with the trail leading into the western part of the forest. Although Kepli ran on ahead in his haste to find his brother, the party approached cautiously and found a campsite where Kepli’s brother was caged. Berowyn stealthily climbed the tree and was able to attack of the bandits sitting by the campfire, although this attack alerted two hidden bandits hiding the treetops. The group dispatched of the bandits by pushing them out of their hiding places, with one of them meeting their death by a coup de grace strike from Rockwell’s warhammer. One of the bandits begged for mercy and proposed a moneymaking venture, much to the displeasure of Kepli who ran off into the forest with his brother at his side cursing the party.

After some questioning, the bandit informed the players that was part of the Shadow Thieves guild. He showed the players two strange chemical filled viles that acted as both a plant attraction and plant growth enhancement. The Shadow Thieves bandit told the players of the elvish Ancient City of Alaren, and that he needed an item contained within, although was hindered by a large stone wall protecting the city. Per the bandits’ suggestion, the players agreed to use the plant chemicals to create an extremely powerful vine horror that would destroy the stone wall around the city. The party was interrupted in their journey to the elvish city by Captain Thorley and 4 soldiers from the Guards of Mardeth. Berowyn quickly shot a plant-attraction-dipped arrow onto the shield of Captain Thorley, and the group poured the plant growth chemical onto some nearby vines.

The newly created vine horror went into a wild rage, and killed all 4 of the guards and grabbed the legs of both Captain Thorley and Berowyn. The vine horror quickly turned and slithered into the forest, pulling both the captain and the elf ranger with it…

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