Abderaz

Adventure 26: The Unforgiving North

After concluding their business with the Vel, the heroes begin their journey back to Stambrecht in search of information on the dragon Malathraxis. Two days into their journey, Kaz begins to see signs of a powerful snowstorm gathering. With several of the heroes being experience northerners, the group decides to hunker down and weather the storm.

When the heroes emerge the next morning, they discover that Nacu has disappeared. A search of his earthen shelter shows that his possessions remain and Kaz notices frozen drops of blue liquid near the entrance. Utog searches the area and discovers barely visible marks in the snow indicating that something was dragged northwest toward the mountains the Arai call the Drengvel Belgan. The heroes resolve to follow the trail, though Kur-Dan is on edge from the cold and weeks of sobriety.

After traveling for a few hours the heroes are met by a aelthen named Thelaedrass the windseeker. Thelaedras indicates that their friend Nacu has been taken by a mad aelthen by the named of Ilthanar Frostheart, who was taken by madness when the Vel constructed Mal-Khata. He says that Ilthanar has taken Nacu to his lair atop the mountain the Vel call Tarachtash and that he is draining Nacu’s power.

After traveling for another day, the heroes eventually arrive at the base of the mountain. Guarding the trail up the mountain is a giant that Thelaedras names Alfar. Thelaedras tells the group that Alfar is known to do favors for Ilthanar from time to time in exchange for food and other treasures, but that the heroes may be able to get around him without a confrontation. As Shir steps forward to converse with the giant, Utog begins to prepare for battle, assuming the worst. As Shir mentions to Alfar that they come seeking Nacu, the giant yells, “Ithlanar say some puny folk may come asking for Nacu, me stop puny folk!”

As the battle ensues, the heroes are battered and thrown about by the mighty swings of the giant, even when they manage to block the swings with their shields. Utog stands back, using his healing powers to help keep the others on their feet. After a drawn out battle, the bloody giant tosses Kur-Dan into Kaz, sending both to the ground, but Shir comes up behind him and finishes Alfar with a wicked flurry of blows.

Proceeding up the mountain, the heroes are faced by increasing cold and thick snow. As they make their way across a snow-covered ice bridge, they are accosted by frost elementals. Kur-Dan, Kaz, and Utog nimbly make there way across, fighting the elementals as they go despite the buffeting winds, but Shir finds himself severely hindered and making slow progress. With relative efficiency the heroes dispatch the elementals.

After a long climb the heroes eventually reach a plateau covered in the frozen bodies of Vel, Arai, and a smattering of other races arranged like a garden of statues. In the distance they see a cave with a flickering light within, which lures Kur-Dan with the promise of warmth. The others, much more cautious, stand back and prepare for a fight. Kaz stabs a corpse in the head, and immediately they animate and begin attacking the heroes. Kaz finds himself quickly surrounded, suffering a grievous wound to his groin from a frozen zombies clawed hand. Realizing the danger he is in, he falls back to Utog and Shir’s position where they take down the zombies as they come in waves. Meanwhile, Kur-Dan fights alone near the cave entrance, surrounded by a horde of the undead. As the others come to join him, they dispatch the last of the zombies.

Standing at the cave mouth, which is colder not warmer than the outside, they parlay with Ilthanar, who is sitting on a throne of ice and flanked by wolves. In the corner floats Nacu encased in an ice crystal. After the discussion proves to be futile, the heroes rush into the cave and attack Ilthanar. Utog, in dire bren form, charges down the hall and tears off Ilthanar’s left arm. After an exchange of blows, Kaz cripples Ilthanar’s hand and the fight quickly ends as the heroes fall upon him. Seeing their master dead, the wolves flee out of the cave and the heroes let them go.

Unable to free Nacu from the ice, Thelaedras says that there is an elementalist named Garstwulf who lives in the southern mountains who might be able to free Nacu.

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Adventure 25: Conclave (Part 2)

Having defeated the ambush set by Thornlord Walikh, the heroes plot their next move. Shir advocates for either killing Hasurath of House Kelwar or intimidating him into doing as they wish. After some discussion, the heroes resolve that Kaz and their new Vel companion will speak to Hasurath while Nacu and Shir wait in the sewers below the manner to support their friends should things go wrong. Meanwhile, Kur-Dan resolved to get a drink, having grown weary of the games and manipulations of politics.

After a long conversation, the Kaz and the Vel move Hasurath enough to warn them of the Black Ishnah creeping up behind them. As Kaz engages the foe, Shir and Nacu burst through the floor of the hall to lend a hand. After a short, fierce fight the servant of the Nezurans lay dismembered on the floor of the Manor. Hasurath mentions that this was his handler, and that now he is free to consider their proposal. Hasurath agrees to risk defying the Nezurans and share what little information he has, though he is clearly no friend of the heroes still.

Meanwhile, Kur-Dan is visited by Haradina in the Inn. She tells Kur-Dan that he is failing to do as the fisherman asked and that she will motivate him properly. With a gesture and a few words she leaves the Inn and soon after Kur-Dan takes a sip of his beer and begins to vomit. Realizing what she had done, he runs to the door and screams after the witch, but she has already faded into the crowd.

Inspired by the curse placed upon him, and jittery from withdrawal, Kur-Dan meets up with the party to get them moving. The heroes next choose to meet with Yuraka, Tanni of House Ethna. As they plan, Shir opts to fight in the arena. Due to his mixture of fame and infamy, known now as Shir Friendkiller to some, and hero of Amerana to others, he is allowed to select an opponent from amongst the top gladiators. Choosing Reinarch Longshadow, a giant Arai in plate armor and with a mighty Kalmahler, the two meet on the sands of the Arena. Shir asks that if he wins and Reinarch survives, he requests that Reinarch train him in the arts of the gladiator. The fight is short and brutal, coming down to whoever landed the next blow, but Shir emerges victorious, if only just.

A little later, Kaz and the Vel meet with Yuraka, who takes time to listen carefully to all they have to say. While he does not commit to anything, he agrees to consider their words. After that, they make one last appeal to Jerovel to side with Awilan, but to no avail.

Feeling as they have done all they can, they await the conclave. After hours of debate, the first vote comes down 5 for Awilan, 3 for Jerovel, 1 for Garimsta, and one abstention by Lareni. The second vote several hours after that sees Awilan elected king.

Having saved his daughter, Venth voted Awilan where he might otherwise have abstained. Kelwar, motivated by fear or practicality, chose Awilan as well. Ethna voted for Awilan after securing Garune’s promise that either Garimsta or Jerovel would command the armies committed against the Nezura as advised by the heroes. Suveiga, as a traditional ally, voted Awilan on that basis. Lareni merely abstained in the first round to see who had the greater support.

The heroes spend the next two weeks coordinating their efforts with King Garune as well as pursuing their own interests. Shir trains at the arena under Reinarch while Kur-Dan spends time learning the war arts of the Yadarans, in particular the arts of the Methaidas Naladar. They then travel by a portal created by Renano Venth to Stambrecht. After briefly purchasing some gear to ward of the freezing cold, Kur-Dan grumbles and curses the witch under his breath.

As they head out of the city and travel north to Mal-Khata, they are confronted by a cloaked figure who reveals himself as Grundel, god of death. In an effort to continue his vengeance against the line of Ran, he embeds the personality and memories of Sun into Kur-Dan’s blade. As they travel, the blade now occasionally speaks aloud to contradict or correct Shir’s tales, or at least tell Sun’s version of them.

Eventually the heroes reach Mal-Khata, where they meet with a gathering of the Vel clans. The Vel are of mixed opinions, but generally wish to fight the Nezura. Their hatred of the Arai is an obstacle, as is the difficulty of moving a Vel force through any lands where they are considered bandits and raiders. Through much convincing, the heroes manage to get the Vel to agree to consider moving their army through Arai lands if the heroes can secure the cooperation of the Arai Kings. To that end, Shir pledges to slay the dragon Malathraxis.

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Adventure 24: The Conclave (Part 1)

Having reached Marathea, the heroes spend the two weeks leading up to the conclave exploring the city and making plans. Kur-Dan spends time practicing with the Kaishan at the War College while Rasha studies at the Wizard’s College. Kaz opts to work at the forge, crafting gifts tailored to each of the Tanni while Shir works to copy maps from the Great Elberia. Nacu and Utog spend time in the Twilight Garden, where Utog learns that it is not impossible for men and nature to live in harmony as he studies with the gardeners.

The heroes also spend some time planning and discussing their options. Having reached a consensus, the approach House Awilan to offer their support. After presenting their case, Garune says he will consider their evidence and research this Nezuran threat in the Trangyar archives. Shir is also met by a representative of the Vel, who is there to insure that he makes it to the meeting at Mal-Khata.

The heroes then move on to meet with House Daruba. Having yielded their weapons, they meet with Atalar Daruba who inquires as to what they want. Ever the diplomat, Shir begins to giggle at the prancing ponies on Atalar’s armor. A now annoyed Atalar then repeats his questions, slowly becoming enraged as the party fumbles their words. Eventually the heroes are forced to leave, having angered the Atalar. Kaz later makes a piece offering of a finely crafted helm in the form of a derba head, but only time will tell if this will appease the Tanni.

Now realizing that they need to know what they are saying ahead of time, the group plans to meet with House Jerovel. Meanwhile, Shir decides he wants to meet with House Garimsta while they are in their meeting with Jerovel. Shir is greeted cordially by the giant Temotha Garimsta, who knows not only of the deeds of Shir, but also of his noble ancestor Ran, who helped slay the demon who infested Akar-Kitain. After their discussion, Garimsta holds fast to his belief that his claim is at least as goods as the others, but offers that he would sooner support Jerovel than Awilan.

Meanwhile, the remaining heroes meet with House Jerovel. The conversation is much more friendly this time, but Telebar is unwilling to cede his claim to the throne, arguing that a warrior is need in these times and not a politician. His argument is so convincing and earnest that Kur-Dan momentarily doubts their support of Awilan.

The heroes next opt to meet with House Venth, Shir included. After speaking with Chancellor Thenosa for a time, they get an audience with the reclusive Tanni. Renano expresses an opinion that he would rather not have a king, and that the status quo is preferable. Sensing a lack of conviction in the position, the heroes press Renano, who indicates that he is compelled to vote as he says. At that moment, Shir begins to talk. Kaz, perceiving a real danger of Shir ruining their relationship with this Tanni, puts his hand in Shir’s face. Overreacting, Shir slashes into Kaz with his forearm blades causing a grievous wound, then walks out of the meeting. Having dishonored Renano, he ejects the heroes and tells them that they have proven that he cannot trust them with the issue that stays his hand.

Shortly after that, Shir is arrested by the Tanni of the Lords of the North and House Garimsta and imprisoned for one month for assault and shedding blood in the hall of a Tanni. All four Tanni now have soured opinions of the heroes and Temotha Garimsta expresses his personal disappointment at Shir’s actions and the dishonor it has brought. Shir finds himself alone in a cell, with only a thief named Piddles to talk to, at least until the Oracle of Banustan finds himself arrested unfairly, at which time Shir finds himself next to his nemesis as well. The Oracle urges Shir to take the time in prison to reflect on his anger and strive to be a better man.

Meanwhile, the heroes do some investigation and discover that Renano’s daughter’s absence has been noted, though there could be legitimate reasons. Deciding to follow-up on this lead, they use the clockwork bird to help them track her down, a ploy which leads them to the Manor of House Kelwar. The heroes decide to have Kaz break-in and rescue her while they distract Hasurath by meeting with him. Kaz manages to infiltrate the building, incapacitate a couple of guards, and successfully spirit Renano’s daughter away. Lord Hasurath suggests to the heroes that he cannot be seen meeting with them in the open and suggests a meeting at a warehouse that night. The heroes return Renano’s daughter, for which he is grateful, though he will not trade them his vote for that, only promising that he is now free to vote his conscience.

Being cautious, the heroes scout out the warehouse ahead of time. Kaz, having received a message from the Oracle, secures the Parole of Shir for one day to watch their backs. Shir, in some strange attempt to mock the Oracle, says that he shall not slay or decapitate anyone that day.

When the meeting comes, the heroes enter the warehouse and see Hasurath and a few guards at the far end, while Shir waits outside to keep the watch. As they approach, there is a flash of light and Thornlord Walikh and a contingent of Thornguard appear. Hasurath tells them as he exits the building that he has chosen the side that will win, for who could oppose an enemy that can rain down lich’s upon the Eoran. A battle ensues, with the heroes becoming surrounded by Thornguard while Walikh throws spells at them from afar. Shir quickly joins the battle, and kills the first guardsman he encounters, ending his no slaying pledge, though he claims it is an accident so it doesn’t count. While Kur-Dan keeps their attention, the other heroes begin taking down the Thornguard. When the Thornguard’s numbers begin to thin, Kaz moves on to put pressure on Walikh. With his Thornguard almost defeated, Walikh teleports himself and some of his guard in range to safety. The last remaining guard falls to Shir, who slices off the guard’s arm and finishes him with deep slash across the chest.

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Adventure 23: Metastasis

After returning to a heroes welcome in Amerana, the heroes work with Tanni Lareni to bring the Great Houses together as Kur-Dan was bid to do by Haradina. She indicates that the heroes will need to travel to Marathea and rally support amongst the Houses in the days leading up to the conclave. They will need to find a suitable candidate for leadership and then rally six of the houses to their cause. She suggests that either House Jerovel or House Awuilar would be the most likely to gain the support of the requisite number of Houses. She also agrees to send Tathani Uteno with the heroes to provide introductions and to provide information at need.

As Kur-Dan, Utog, and Nacu leave the Tanni’s castle they come across one of the Tanni’s animal handlers prodding a particularly large and vicious Khunna bull. After speaking with the handler, Kur-Dan offers to try and calm the beast, stepping into the pen. The angry bull charges several times, knocking Kur-Dan back once, but Kur-Dan finally manages to subdue the beast with two punches. Calm, but not broken, the beast follows Kur-Dan cautiously and Kur-Dan purchases the beast, named Arathis, from the handler for a few Shal.

Meanwhile, Kaz runs into Nashir, the leader of an Aryashi band the heroes met in the Punraji. Nashir suggests that he has heard that Kaz received an offer of training from the gardener. He suggests that should Kaz wish to go another way, he should seek Mahmed the Manycolored in Urukan.

The heroes set out northward along the road to Marathea and travel three days through the green hills. As they travel, Nacu finds a dirty and ragged Xelus cub. Using his skills in animal husbandry, he manages to get the lost cub to trust him. Nacu takes the cub as his own and resolves to raise it.

After another day of travel, the heroes set-up camp in a small grove off the path. In the night, a Black Vel moonrunner claiming to be from a rebel faction passes information to Shir from the shadows, saying that the son of Nafartari, named Sharapte Anun-Rehu, has landed on the island the people of the sand name Uru-Al-Karaz. The moonrunner suggests that the weakest of the Nezura can now cross the Sentinels and that the heroes are hunted.

A further day down the road the heroes come upon a merchant and his cart being accosted by brigands. After easily crushing the bandits, most of whom fled after the initial charge, the heroes finds that the merchant is none other than Sabu Panish, purveyor of potions. As a reward, he gives them potions from his stock and a discount on any other potions they want.

Two days later the heroes enter the village of Erena and are recognized. One of the locals asks that the heroes investigate several strange deaths that have occurred in town over the last two weeks. Investigating the most recent murder leads one of the group to ask if there is a lumber mill nearby. After half-hearing the conversation, Shir resolves to watch the mill for fear of arsonists. Meanwhile, most of the other heroes pursue the case, even consulting with the spirits of the dead, eventually leading them to decide to investigate the mill themselves.

Within the mill the heroes are told to flee by a voice in the shadows which says it doesn’t want to hurt them. Opting to continue deeper into the mill, the heroes are attacked by a Yadaran moving at supernatural speeds. Just when the heroes think they have him cornered, he scuttles up the wall, clawing into the wood with his fingers. Kaz teleports into a grapple with the creature on the wall, only to be bitten by the creature and paralyzed by ecstasy. When the creature realizes Nacu is healing he prey, it attacks him, but Kaz, having shaken off the effects of the bite, appears behind the creature and dispatches it with a stab into the brain. Shir cuts off the creatures head and kicks it out the door, at which it bursts into flame. Seeing this, he drags the rest of the body into the flame.

After searching the mill, they find what can only be described as a nest. Within they find a journal indicating that he served a Norano family, vassals to House Kunar. The journal also describes him waking up in a crypt, fleeing the creature that lay within and eventually ending up in the mill when the hunger struck.

The heroes travel to the Norano estate only to find that the mistress does not see visitors during the day. Pressing the butler, the heroes find out that the mistress has been acting strange the last few weeks and that several guards have stopped coming to work. They convince him to let them check her room and they find it empty. When asked, he indicates their is a crypt beneath the manor.

The heroes make their way into the crypt and are set-upon by Lady Norano, a guard, and a Black Vel. All three are faster than can be believed and combat is joined in earnest. Nacu, Utog, and Rasha stay in the last light of the day coming through the doorway, and find themselves not being attacked. Meanwhile, Kur-Dan, Kaz, and Shir all find it difficult to land a blow on the creatures. Concentrating their efforts, the heroes manage to bring down the Black Vel, after which the guard runs into the sunlight screaming that he was free. Lady Norano continues to fight, but begs for them to slay her, which they eventually do.

Emerging victorious, the heroes let the butler know that they will pass the word to Lady Norano’s son who is studying in Marathea. Knowing that these creatures were undead of some sort, the heroes speculate that the undead Black Vel emerged from the blight.

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Adventure 22: A Cancer on the Land

Having arrived in Amerana, the heroes learn that a patch of land west of the city has been blighted and that the Tanni’s troops are attempting to contain the undead. After securing a meeting with Tanni Lareni, the heroes proceed to offer their services in dealing with the blight. Tathani Uteno, the bard they met along the Legion’s Road, vouches for them and Lareni explains the situation.

As she tells it, the blights have appeared near every major city in the Eoran. News from Marathea is that it takes powerful magic to breach the field of energy shrouding the blights and that a lich can be found within in an underground lair. When Utog indicates that he believes he can breach the shield, she thanks the heroes for volunteering to aid her. Since most of her veteran troops are currently at the border with the Malfax, she offers to have her troops deal with the lesser creatures above ground while the heroes descend into the heart of the blight.

The heroes travel to the blighted area and coordinate with the local commander. Nacu prepares the heroes for the coming battle by drawing warding sigils on them to protect them against the powers of the undead. When all are ready, Utog and Nacu channel their power through the branch of Evendaloth, causing roots and vines to swell and tear down the opaque, fog-like barrier. As the field drops, the heroes and their allies are confronted by hundreds of skeletal creatures meandering about a hole in the earth. The heroes slay a undead abomination and then cut a path through the horde to the entrance of the underground lair with Shir and Kaz leading the way.

As they enter the underground area, they find themselves walking through putrid waters ankle deep. When they cross two skeletons merged into the wall, a terrible wailing sounds as skeletal soldiers come down the hall led by a wight in plate armor. The skeletons and the wight form a shield wall while skeletal archers shoot arrows from further down the hall. Compounding matters, pustules in the walls burst and spray necrotic fluid as the heroes pass. Using tactics, the heroes manage to break the shield wall, weakening their opponents ability to support each other. Eventually the heroes manage to defeat the enemy piecemeal and the archers are quickly taken down once the frontline falls.

As the heroes proceed, they enter a large round chamber with large, vein-like structures running from a mound of pulsating rotting flesh into the walls. Floating high above the mound is a lich and against opposite walls stand huge skeletal creatures bearing pikes. Shir moves the engage the skeleton on the right, helped by Nacu who raises a stone stair up the vein, while the others begin hacking at the mound. As they strike at their targets, the lich begins to unleash death spells against the heroes.

The heroes destroy the mound, causing the lich to float down to the ground, but the mounds destruction releases a backwash of corrosive necrotic fluid that eats at anyone standing in it, filling the chamber up to two feet deep in the foul liquid. To make matters worse, the lich seems to be surrounded by an aura of decay which also continuously tears at those in close proximity.

Unable to ignore the other skeleton any longer, Kur-Dan moves to hold that creature off while the others engage the lich. Meanwhile, Shir continues to battle a now armless skeleton at the other side of the room, dodging stomps and kicks. At this moment, Nacu is hit by a devastating blast of necrotic energy, taking him out of the fight. Kaz retreats quickly to revive Nacu while Utog continues to swipe at the lich.

Eventually, Kur-Dan manages to defeat the skeleton on the left and moves to engage the lich as well. Kaz and Nacu make their way up the left vein in an attempt to avoid the fluid covered floor, then Kaz leaps acrobatically off the vein to engage the lich on a flank. Now desperate, the lich manages to fell several of the heroes in turn, but eventually the numbers tell and the lich is defeated.

As the heroes return to the surface they see the remnants of their allies standing amidst a field of bones no longer animated. A cheer goes up as the troops of Amerana see the heroes rise from the earth victorious.

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Adventure 21: Keep Orisa

At the conclusion of their titanic battle against the Zainahim, Kur-Dan punches Rasha and knocks him unconscious for abandoning them. The next morning, a somewhat more cautious group proceeds westward towards the Eoran.

On the second day of travel, the heroes see off in the distance a tree standing some 150 feet or more tall. As the approach, they can see the remnants of corpses dressed in armor and garb spanning centuries, if not millenia, dangling from the vines of the branches. Nacu and Utog approach cautiously and are greeted by a fae creature of great beauty dressed in gown of leaves, vines, and moss. She introduces herself as Avandavalari De Na Veyoudin, companion to the great spirit that is Evendaloth, the tree-father. After a brief conversation, Avandavalari says that Evendaloth offers a boon in aid of their cause. At that, the great tree lowers one of it’s branches and sheds a twined branch the size of a staff as a gift to Utog.

The heroes press on, traveling seven days further until they are intercepted by a Yadaran patrol bearing the sigil of House Kunar. The leader of the patrol, Kithana Rathari, interrogates the heroes briefly before bringing them back to Keep Orisa for processing. Here they must wait a few days in order to get their paperwork in order.

As the heroes settle in and go about the small town that has grown around the keep, the here rumors of necrotic blights in the Eoran, a quarantine on the borders with the Dal region, war in the Punraji region, and a dragon named Malathraxis burning part of Stambrecht. They also see signs of Yadaran troops mustering along the borders.

Hearing the rumors of war in the Punraji, Shir contacts Svarda Chandreshi to inquire and learns that the regions has erupted in civil war. Chandreshi leads most of the Svarda and he is in the process of subduing the renegades. Shir then meets with Rithari, telling him of the Nezuran threat and assuring him that the Ursus do not gather to attack the Eoran. After some effort, he convinces Rithari to meet with Keros Parmenedes to corroborate his tale.

Meanwhile, as Rasha and Kur-Dan enjoy the comforts of the local tavern they encounter an old Yadaran women who names herself Haradina. She says to Kur-Dan, “The fisherman bade me bring word. Befriend a Tanni, call the houses together, and win the great game.” She then goes on to berate Rasha and Kur-Dan for their failings, suggesting that the future may rest on them becoming better than they are. As she tells Kur-Dan, “An army will follow a drunk, but they will not follow a buffoon,” and later to Rasha, “A hero acts because it is right to do so, not because their is profit in it.”

On the second day, Kithana Rithari calls the group to his office. His scouts report a small group of Vel, armored and unusually organized, spotted west of Keep Orisa. Having heard the description of these Vel from Shir earlier, Rithari decided to pass this information on to the heroes. In total, some thirty or so Vel were seen in the camp.

The heroes decide that they need to gather intelligence from these Black Vel, and opt to hunt them down. After four days they manage to track the Black Vel, who are camped in a depression located in the midst of a horseshoe shaped hill. After arguing and planning the attack for many hours, the heroes opt to try and send a hit squad into the command tent using Nacu’s ability to tunnel through the earth with his elementalist powers. As a back-up plan, Nacu also prepares numerous escape tunnels and cover.

The strike team manages to make it into the tent, and Nacu, Shir, and Kaz each coup de grace the Black Vel sleeping in the tent, but none of the three manage to land a fatal blow. Having failed in their attack, the heroes fallback into the tunnel and Nacu seals it behind them.

Knowing that the Black Vel will come after them soon, the heroes opt to strike quickly in a direct assault while the Vel are still recovering. Emerging from one of the side tunnels, the heroes lure the Vel down the hillside to avoid lines of sight while Rasha combats the archers along the hilltop with his magic. Fearing a flanking attack, some of the Vel remain on the opposite hilltop to watch for more attackers. Surely six men would not dare attack thirty highly trained warriors?

As the battle progresses, the heroes manage to catch the Vel in waves, lessening the impact of their vastly superior numbers. Eventually Rasha is forced to take cover under a withering hail of arrows, but not before felling many of the Vel with fire. Meanwhile, Kaz, Shir, and Kur-Dan hold the center and Utog holds the left, cutting down swaths of foes with mighty swipes of his claw while in bren form. As the Black Vel captain charges over the rise to strike at Nacu, Kur-Dan lands a lucky blow, knocking the captain unconscious. The heroes fall upon him while he is down, quickly eliminating the greatest threat on the battlefield. When the heroes victory seems inevitable, the Black Vel archers that remain scatter at their lieutenants command.

The heroes gather the materials from the Black Vel command tent, though most of it is in the script of the Nezuran slave races that none of the heroes can read. One item is easily understood, a page containing sketches of the heroes.

The heroes continue their journey, rounding Lake Enarana and eventually making their way to the city of Amerana, seat of House Kunar.

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Adventure 20: Into the Eoran

Having secured the allegiance of the Ursus clans to their cause, the heroes prepare to depart the Malfax region and head into the homeland of the Yadara. Shir gives Keros Parmenedes one of the communication stones to coordinate their efforts and the group begins their journey westward.

After one days travel, Shir has a dream in which he is visited by a being that radiates light The creature has four eyes, two mouths, and four wings, matching the description of an angel of the Sidd god Shir. It’s deep voice resonates as the words are spoken with two mouths, saying, “I name thee demonscourge.” Shir is awakes screaming as the flesh of his right arm is seared, the smell of burnt flesh spreading out over the camp. When he lights his sleeve he finds words written in characters he does not know burned into his skin.

The heroes travel for another three days, setting up camp in the shadow of a slope. As they settle in, a group of Dar-Guhal emerge from the shadows and demand that Kaz and Rasha be turned over to them. Kaz and Rasha recognize the Dar-Guhal as Zainahim, a cleansing squad of the inquisition, most easily identifiable by the purifiers (enchanted spears) they wield. After a short parlay, a battle erupts when Rasha makes a break for his derba.

Nacu reacts quickly, turning the ground beneath the enemy to mud in order to slow them down. The leader of the Zainahim fades from view while his soldiers begin to close the distance. Those too mired in the mud begin to shoot bolts of flame from their purifiers while their compatriots engage the heroes frontline in melee. When one of the soldiers engages Nacu, the Zainahim leader appears behind him and stabs Nacu twice, leaving him dying on the ground.

It takes some effort, but Nacu is brought back into the fight as the battle turns into a slow grind as each side strikes at the other. Maneuvering to keep Nacu protected, the heroes begin to fight in close formation until they realize that one of the Dar-Guhal that stayed out of the fight seems to be healing his compatriots. Shir moves to engage the healer and a guard protecting the healer, but he soon realizes that he cannot bring the cleric down alone. Still, at this point momentum seems to be on the heroes side.

It is at that moment that disaster strikes. Kur-Dan, who had been holding off five of the Zainahim is struck by a lucky blow that cleaves him in twain. The heroes begin to suffer badly after this, beginning to fall like dominoes until only Kaz and Utog remain. Just as all seems to be lost, Rasha returns to the battle after he found his courage. He immediately heals Nacu, who then proceeds to bring back the others, and then he proceeds to hammer the Zainahim leader with fire. The tide having turned again, the heroes eventually vanquish their foes.

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Adventure 19: The Ariatum

On the way to the Fallen Kings, Jura appears along the road and presents the heroes with 10 communications stones that allow individuals to converse over vast distances. These stones are to be used to coordinate the many allies of the heroes.

The heroes soon arrive at the area known as the Fallen Kings. Here they find numerous tents and thousands of Ursus warriors and Kerosi gathered around the toppled and weathered remnants of giant statues raised by the Thulian kings of the Yadara. As they make their way through the camp, Shir gets into a scuffle and manages to insult a number of warriors. Rules of the Ariatum (clan meeting) forbid bloodshed within the camp, so the matter is tabled for the time being.

Eventually the heroes find the tent of Keros Marus. Marus indicates that the clans are meeting to decide who is responsible for the attacks on the Malfax. Many blame the Yadarans, seeing the rain of fire and the presence of elementals as clear signs of magical attack. Seeking his advice, Marus indicates that they will need to secure the sponsorship of one of the leaders from the three largest clans. Keros Aretius of Clan Koidestes is known to favor war and is short tempered. It is said he respects strength. Keros Kleitis of Clan Telii favors peace and cautiousness and is said to respect cunning. Keros Parmenedes of Clan Derastis is undecided and is superstitious. He is said to respect wisdom and spiritual piety.

The majority of the heroes opt to visit with Kleitis, leaving Shir out of the meetings as they worry about his sometimes volatile and confrontational nature. Meanwhile, an annoyed Shir decides to meet with Aretius on his own. Kleitis is unconvinced by the heroes and the meeting is largely unproductive. Meanwhile, after some conversation offers a test of strength, calling out the warrior that he insulted earlier. Aretius accepts the offer, and Shir meets the Ursus warrior in single-combat outside of the camps boundaries. After a quick battle, Shir emerges victorious and claims his right to speak at the Ariatum. Nacu restores life to the fallen Ursus warrior so as to avoid future trouble and the spirit of the man fortunately decides to return to the world.

Shortly after that, the heroes meet with Parmenedes as a full group. Appealing to his spiritual side and presenting their case with evidence supplied by Shir, the heroes manage to get Parmenedes to also sponsor their right to speak. The heroes then opt to rest and prepare for the Ariatum that evening.

After a few hours of discussion, the heroes eventually are allowed to speak before the gathered Kerosi. As the begin to speak, translucent forms of their spirit animals ten feet or more tall manifest behind them. As the spirit of the bren stands behind Utog, he transforms into a bren and roars. At that moment an Oikilikos named Vellius says, “A man will come, the spirit of the bren made flesh, to lead the people to victory over the shadow from beyond the veil. His windriders will be known by steel, by faith, by cunning, by flame, and at his right hand will by the stormlord, the rider of stone and the bearer of nature’s fury.” Suddenly an energy barrier rises around the heroes and pushes back the gathered Ursus warriors. Demonic assassins appear and attack the heroes, who then fight for their lives against the unholy creatures. After a tough fight the heroes eventually vanquish their foes.

The gathering turns to Utog, in the form of a bren (bear-like creature) for the fight, and chant Keroises-Kai! It is later explained that Vellius was reciting an old prophecy and that Utog was to be named Keroises-Kai, master of heaven, chief of chiefs. First, however, he must ascend the mountain called Eveliar Sablus whereupon he will sacrifice a derba (horse-like creature) and burn it’s heart of the pyre.

The heroes make their way up the mountain, solving the riddle of the Xelus Gate, ascending the Kylindrian Stair, solving the puzzle of the Bridge of Winds, and eventually passing the Trial of Battle. Utog sacrifices the derba on the altar and burns it’s heart on the pyre. A red smoke rises from the flames, signaling the watchers below that the spirits support the new Keroises-Kai.

Having accomplished their goal, the Ursus clans begin to leave with promises to come when called to serve the Keroises-Kai. The heroes resolve to travel into the Eoran first to rally the great houses of the Yadara to their cause. As they take their leave, Shir gives a communication stone to Keros Parmenedes.

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Adventure 18: Tomb of the Legionnaires

As the heroes prepare to make their way to the Fallen Kings, Kaz is met by a cloaked Shezar-Ki who hands him a locket and indicates that if he wishes to be trained, seek out Hasheb the Gardener in Urukan and say, “A blossom withers.”

One days travel north of Morencia, the spirit box carried by Rasha leaps out of his pack and rolls onto the ground before him. Above it appears a ghostly figure of a Sidd in the garb of a Mensir era centurion. He announces himself as Sun Dao-Feng and he pleads with the heroes to travel east to his tomb, saying a necromancer is attempting to raise a host of undead. Inspired by his pride and the honor of the legions, Kur-Dan leads the heroes east until they find the doors to the tomb.

Inscribed on the doors in Sidd characters is a memorial which reads as follows: Here lays the fallen cohorts led by Centurion Sun Dao-Feng. These brave soldiers of the empire gave their lives to buy time for the legion to rally at fortress of Mu-Ren as the the barbarian Darusha and his mongrel horde drove south. Here they remain as a reminder to all that the legion does not yield.

Finding that the door is locked and seemingly beyond their ability to bypass it, the heroes are led to a tunnel dug into the side of the tomb by Sun Dao-Feng’s spirit. The spirit urges them to move quickly, as the Necromancer Jie Fuo-Ma is nearing the completion of his dark ritual. Proceeding down the tunnel, the heroes find themselves in a large room of offerings where incense was once burned in honor of the fallen. Doors leading north and south and made of wood appear to have been smashed and a large iron door leading west appears to lead deeper into the tomb.

As Kaz begins to pick the lock, a clicking sound is heard and poisonous gas begins streaming into the room. Moments later, bonegnawers, creatures that literally eat bone, come charging out of the north and south passages. The heroes quickly rally around Nacu, who uses his ability to manipulate air flows to create a pocket of clear air. After dispatching the bonegnawers, Kaz moves back to the door, stopping the gas and opening the door. Unfortunately, precious time had been lost as Kaz fumbled with the mechanism.

Advancing down a long wide hall towards a pair of double doors, the heroes are confronted by animated skeletons of the legionnaires climbing from their resting places in the nooks in the walls. The heroes quickly cut their way through the undead, only to be confronted by another door which Kaz unlocks quickly and efficiently. The spirit of Sun Dao-Feng is near panic as he urges the heroes to hurry, but alas they fail to interrupt the ritual by mere seconds.

When they open the doors, they see a large room with another set of double doors across the way. On a twenty-foot high platform to either side stands a row of statues of legionnaires. Amongst the statues stands the necromancer and below on the floor stands an undead abomination stitched together from the flesh of many poor souls. Seeing this, Kur-Dan cries, “For the Legion!” and charges the abomination with his Kaishan in hand.

As the battle is joined, the heroes must contend with patches of necrotic energy that sprout and grow at the necromancer’s command. Wielding magic from the heights, only Kaz and his ability to teleport through the Drell can reach the necromancer in a timely fashion. Kur-Dan and Utog struggle with the abomination on the ground while Rasha hammers it from afar with holy flames. Meanwhile, Shir uses a rope to climb up and aid Kaz in breaking through the wizard’s shield. All the while Nacu tries desperately to heal his allies as necrotic magic and huge claws assail them.

When the abomination is finally felled, the necromancer teleports to the other platform. Shir is daunted by the prospect of getting across the room and at the necromancer, but Nacu raises the earth to create a ramp up to the platform. Now assaulted by the full force of the group, the necromancer is quickly slain.

The spirit of Sun Dao-Feng announces that it is not over, the shades of Darusha and his windriders have been summoned and are even now in the next room. Led by the centurion, the heroes confront the shades. The battle is furious as the heroes weapons have reduced effect on the largely incorporeal creatures, but eventually the shades are returned to their eternal sleep. As a reward, Sun Dao-Feng gifts the heroes with his centurion’s accoutrement.

Having completed their task, the heroes travel three more days north, eventually coming to the gathering of the clans at the Fallen Kings.

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Adventure 17: Gathering of the Clans

As the heroes continue down the Legion’s Road towards Morencia they run into a Yadaran traveler who introduces himself as Tathani Uteno, court bard of Amerana. The heroes agree to allow Tathani to travel with them and for fifteen days they share stories and he sings for them many tales, including some from the days of Ran, Sun, and Jura, as they make their way westward. Along the way the encounter a small group of Ursus from Clan Karedes traveling north. The groups go their separate ways after eying each other mistrustfully for a time.

Two days later, as they pass the ruins of a Mensir keep, Shir spots a flash of light from inside the tower in a familiar pattern. Going into the ruins alone, he encounters a Vel moonrunner who greets him and presents him with a scroll. Shir learns that the Vel clans are meeting at the ruins of Mal-Khata to discuss the return of the hated old gods in three months time (at the third full moon). Shir has been invited to this meeting as the descendant of Ran.

Three days later the heroes reach the the outer gates of Morencia. As they make their way in, a familiar voice booms from behind them and they turn to find the Oracle of Banustan also waiting to enter the city. The heroes settle into town and decide to spend a few weeks in town conducting various business and relaxing. Kur-Dan and Rasha largely devote their time to indulging their vices. Utog mostly enjoys his time away from civilization and the grand mission. Nacu and Kaz work together to craft a new suit of armor for Nacu from the wormhide they gathered, with some help from Rasha by way of enchanting the materials.

While in Morencia, they hear rumors of fiery monsters falling from the sky, a strange illness sweeping across the Dal, undead plaguing the Eoran, and a dragon causing havoc in the Rechstan. Kaz also receives a cryptic warning during the first days, learning that, “someone has purchased a flower for each of you.”

Meanwhile, Shir, largely because he is unusually cheap over the absolutely wrong things, strikes a deal to fight in the Akarium, a gladiatorial arena also known as the Pit. The other heroes receive a cryptic prophecy from the oracle related to the fights, something to the effect of “a great champion will fall.” The oracle also predicts that Shir will become frustrated and angry. His first fight is a pairing with Kaz against two opponents, followed by a solo match, and finally concluding with his match against the champion, Varius Kaetar. It is a close match, but ultimately Shir falls. Later, outside the Pit, Shir becomes angry and frustrated when he overhears two locals talking about the oracles prediction, at which point his reaction causes a child to quote the oracle’s prophecy about Shir becoming angry and frustrated. Driven by his annoyance, Shir resolves to hangout with Nacu outside the city and away from the oracle.

A few days later, the heroes are attacked by Hajjinturu, assassins sent by some unknown party. Fortunately, most of the heroes are with at least one other person when they are attacked, but Shir and Nacu face the gravest threat from their leader. For most of the heroes, a desperate battle ensues and several of them are nearly slain. Only Kur-Dan prevails without suffering too badly, though his precious beer was spilled and poor Nika (the beer fairy) soiled himself. Eventually, each pairing manages to overcome their attackers.

A few days later many of the heroes go to investigate the House of Many Gods, a strange temple run by a man name Iacanos. Here the statues and symbols from a hundred gods representing a dozen cultures are arrayed along the walls. The heroes speak to a statue of Wendil, an event of much interest to Iacanos, and two of them receive Wendil coins when they request them.

Having concluded their business in town, all of the heroes save Shir meet with the oracle for personal readings. Whether or not the readings are the result of a true gift or a charlatans clever words, no one knows, but the heroes listen and take note anyway. The heroes then gather their things and resolve to head to a place called the Fallen Kings, were rumor has it the leaders of the Ursus clans will be meeting to discuss the elemental attacks on the Malfax.

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