Abderaz

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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Adventure 16: Rites of Manhood

Having dealt with the elemental threat, the heroes return to Keros Marus to report success. As promised, the heroes are offered the opportunity to participate in the Lykaria and count themselves as men amongst the Ursus. The are told that they must hunt a Xelus, a great cat of the plains, and each must bring back a tooth from the kill.

Shir uses his survival skills to track on the open plain, eventually finding a partially eaten carcass of a wild pelanon (antelope-like creature). Deducing that the predator would likely return for another go at the meat, the heroes decide to stage an ambush. After Shir’s proposal to have Nacu or Kur-Dan hide in the carcass is quickly vetoed by the interested parties, the three decide to hide in some nearby shrubbery. After doing their best to hide, they settle in and wait for their prey.

An hour or so later, a large Xelus appears. Unfortunately for the heroes, the winds are against them and the Xelus catches their scent. With a blazing fast charge it engages them in a fierce battle. Just when Shir laments that they are beating up on this poor beast, it flies into a rage and cuts him down, leaving him bloody and unconscious. After realizing that the battle had just gotten serious, the heroes redouble their efforts and manage to bring down the mighty beast.

After returning to the clan, each of the three is given a necklace bearing the tooth they brought back and the status that brings. A feast is held to celebrate and competitions are held. Fermented derba milk drinks are served, though only Kur-Dan’s manages to drink the unusual concoction without gagging. The heroes participate in the wrestling matches, the pukaria (mock combat), mounted archery competitions, and the derba races.

Following the celebration, the heroes proceed to the tent of the Leotis, Oikilikos of the clan. Here they drink a special brew and are guided on a dreamquest to find their spirit animals. The three find themselves in the hazy world of dreams, standing on a path through a forest. As they walk along, Kur-Dan brushes up against a bush, which begins to verbally accost him. After a heated argument, the bush whacks him in the leg, at which point he falls over broken at the shins like a felled tree. After an effort of will, Kur-Dan manages to return to normal. Realizing that thought has power in the world of dreams, the heroes begin playing tricks on one another.

Eventually the novelty wears off and they proceed down the path, coming upon a farmhouse with a number of Khunna (bovine-like creatures) in a field. As Kur-Dan approaches the bull of the herd, it lowers it’s head allowing him to touch it. Kur-Dan disappears in a flash of light, returning to the waking world.

Nacu and Shir continue down the path, eventually coming upon a small creek with a thin bridge across it. As the approach, a small badger-like creature leaps out of the bushes and blocks their path. It shakes with rage, foaming at the mouth while growling and snarling. Shir reaches down and touches the creature, then vanishes like Kur-Dan.

Nacu, now alone travels through the forest eventually seeing a fung (ape-like creature) eating fruit in the trees. When he climbs to touch the creature, it scrambles to another branch and says it is not sure if it wants to bond with Nacu. It says that Nacu’s hate for the Vel has tainted his purpose. After a discussion in which the fung shows how others have suffered at the hands of the Haroon, much as Nacu suffered at the hands of the Black Vel, Nacu finally lets go of his genocidal hatred. Only then does the fung allow Nacu to touch him.

Having found their spirit animals, all three heroes are branded with a stylized symbol of that animal. The next morning the group packs their things and continues down the road to Morencia. A few days out the heroes see a flash of light to the north. Moving to investigate, they find that a small clan of Ursus have been turned to stone. Moving into the village they see a strange metal device floating in the air. The device lashes out at them with a beam of intense energy and the stone villagers start to animate. After an intense battle, the heroes manage to destroy the device and reluctantly destroy the ill-fated villagers. Rasha identifies the device as some sort of magical creation well beyond his knowledge.

Leaving the village and most of it’s goods behind for their kinfolk, the heroes return to the Legion’s Road.

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Adventure 15: Plains of Senitas

The heroes return to the pass and travel three days, finally exiting the mountains and making their way to the Legion’s Road. Here they part ways with Bhagram, who gives them a parting gift from his collection of herbs and his best wishes. The heroes travel for ten days through the rolling steppes of the Malfax region, eventually encountering a large, haggard encampment along the road. As the approach, they are confronted by several Ursus riders who’s armor and flesh appear singed. After Rasha makes it clear that the group means no harm, they are allowed to enter the encampments.

Here the heroes meet Keros Marus, chieftain of clan Meristes (Keros means chief). He explains that fire rained from the sky, landing in the area of their winter camping grounds at a place called Talii Hollow. Creatures of fire erupted from the crater and the land was rent asunder, turning the area into broken earth and lava pools. These creatures attacked the clan and drove them from the area.

The heroes offer to attempt to cleanse the area and explain their mission, to which Marus responds that should they succeed he will name them clan-friend and they will have the opportunity to undertake the Lykaria (ritual hunt). If they pass the rite into manhood, they will earn the right to speak at Ursus meetings and have some status amongst the other clans. The Oikilikos (shaman) of the clan, Leotis, will also take those who become men on the dreamquest to find their spirit animals.

Having agreed to help, the heroes make their way north, eventually coming upon the crater and it’s surrounding molten terrain. Elementals of fire wander the area and the only safe path involves leaping across on the floating chunks of rock. Surveying the scene, Utog and Nacu determine that with some mystical effort that can stabilize and area around them, preventing the stone slabs from capsizing. The heroes fight their way across the lava field, staying close to Nacu or Utog who are stabilizing their areas. When they can, Nacu and Rasha use the essence siphon to collect elemental essence for use in enchanting later.

Having crossed the field, the heroes climb the crater and find an elemental lord in the center flanked by molten bodyguards. A fierce battle ensues, with the heroes eventually learning to spread out to avoid the blasts of fire. At several points things look bad as both Kur-Dan and Utog fall during the battle, but thankfully Nacu had achieved sufficient mastery of his water powers to bring them back into the fight. Eventually the fiery lord is defeated and the area instantly begins to cool and revert to it’s natural state, though the damage done to the terrain and the plants will likely take years to undo.

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Adventure 14: Library at Dalath (Part 2)

After defeating the numerous entities presumably summoned up by the man calling himself the Librarian, the heroes settle in for a night of rest in the main hall. The Librarian begs and pleads for them to release him, describing the awful conditions he is suffering due to having been trapped for weeks in the Hall of Art, but the parties mistrust of the man leads to caution.

When they finally break the demon’s seal and open the doors to the Hall of Art, they are greeted by a horrifying vision. The Yadaran wizard has created for loci pulling energy from the four dimensions/planes that the creatures he originally summoned came from. A area is divided into four parts, each pulsing with the energy from their native realms and twisted accordingly, all flowing into the wizard at the center of the room.

Realizing the import of what they are witnessing, Kur-Dan moves to engage the wizards as his comrades attempt to disable the loci. The heroes suffer ill effects of a type related to the realm contaminating the area they occupy, but they fight through it and destroy the loci one-by-one. Meanwhile, Kur-Dan struggles against a buffeting wind pushing him away from the wizard, all the while attempting to keep the wizard’s focus on him.

When the last of the loci fall, the heroes descend as a group on the wizard. Once the wizard’s shield falls, Kaz hits strikes him in the throat to silence him and he is quickly dispatched by a series of blows. On his body the heroes find the key to the Hall of Memories. Not knowing what to expect, the heroes opt to rest another day in the main hall before heading to the lower level and the Hall of Memories.

The heroes open the door to the Hall of Memories the next morning and are greeting by a translucent image of a Trangyar women who introduces herself as the guardian. The hall of memories has several alcoves containing the same magical device and shelves holding thousands of crystals. She says the a Master Van Dorel has authorized their use of the facility and that he has prepared a memory crystal for them. They are also told that they may not access any of the other crystals.

The heroes gather in an alcove and view the memories collected by the crystal as if seeing it through their own eyes. They learn of the arrival of the Nezura from the West, the period when the ancient Sidd and Trangyar were conquered peoples, the Nezuran experiments in race creation, and finally the rebellion that led to the Nezurans being sealed behind the sentinels and the creation of the Wall of Storms. Through asking questions, the heroes also learn the details of the Trangyar decline and the last Trangyar war against the Dar-Guhal.

Having learned what they could, the heroes resolve to return to the Jurha Pass and continue on to the Ursus city of Morencia in the Malfax region.

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Adventure 13: Library at Dalath

Making their way in the direction Jura indicated, the heroes eventually come upon a large stone structure appearing to largely be intact. Cautiously making their way into the greeting room, they notice immediately Ahuric runes painted on the wall. Shir reaches out to scratch off one of the runes, but is stopped short by his companions. Littered across the floor they find a few burned scraps of what appears to be journal pages. The fragments seem to indicate someone was here conducting magical experiments.

Proceeding into the main hall the heroes note the room is large and pentagon-shaped. There appear to be doors to five other halls, all save one closed, and there also appears to be a stairway down to the lower level. In the center of the room stands a strange magical device projecting a series of magical runes through crystal orbs onto three of the doors. A fourth orb lays shattered on the ground beside what was presumably it’s mount. The bookshelves and books in the room are decayed and crumble to the touch. The walls are covered in painted runes like the entry hall. The heroes find more burned journal pages which seem to be written by an increasingly unstable mind.

The three doors with rooms over them are labeled in Ahuric as the Hall of Science, the Hall of Philosophy, and the Hall of Literature. The fourth door which no longer has runes over it is labeled the hall of religion. The fifth door is labeled the hall of art and it has a symbol scorched into it resembling a circle divided in four, with four symbols in demonic script within them. The door to the lower level is labeled the hall of memories appears to be locked and requires a magical key. In addition, the journal fragments indicate a guardian of some sort prevented the writer from entering.

As the heroes study the symbol on the door to the Hall of Art, a voice from beyond the door calls to them and begs for help. He says he is sealed inside by magic and can only be released by disrupting the magical lock on the door. Working with the heroes, he reasons that touching abberant flesh, shadowdust, ectoplasm, and demonic ichor to the magical seal will deactivate it. For the moment, the heroes table the decision on what to do about the wizard.

Making their way to the open door to the Hall of Religion, the heroes hear a disembodied voice that offers them a deal. Scratch off the runes on the inner walls and he will not kill them. After negotiations which were used as a stall tactic fail, the creature manifests and a battle ensues. The creature, which the journal fragments name Adelzebub, is a demon from the dimension of Ihinas. Kaz is overcome by the terrifying appearance of the entity, and flees for most of the battle. A long and brutal fight in which the demon continually summons imps to his aid forces the heroes to deal with the small creatures or become overwhelmed. Eventually the demon is slain and some of it’s ichor is collected.

The heroes next decide to open the door to the Hall of Science. They opt to leave the rune at the door in place, figuring that they are warding runes, so that the creatures inside cannot leave that hall. When they open the door they find only mounds of dust five or six feet deep. While peering in from the door, two worm-like creatures burst from the dust and latch onto Shir and Kur-Dan with tentacle-like tongues, dragging the heroes deeper into the room. After a relatively short battle the worm-creatures lay dead. Nacu has Shir harvest the worms thick hide to be made into armor later and saves a portion of the aberrant flesh.

The heroes move on to the Hall of Philosophy. When they open the door they seen nothing but empty bookshelves and shadows. Having again left the rune in place at the door, a disembodied voice taunts them and indicates it will not show itself when there is no hope of escape. Lowering the rune to goad the creature out of hiding, they are confronted with a shadowlord that the journal fragments name Uriath. Uriath summons forth shadows to aid him and uses his power to create a shadow version of Kur-Dan. It is a difficult fight in which many of the group suffer grievous wounds, but Nacu manages to keep everyone alive through it all. The heroes collect the shadowdust and move on to the Hall of Literature.

The heroes again leave the rune in place and head into the hall as a group. Here they are confronted by ghosts who seemingly manifest from the air, led by a spirit of sorrow that the journal fragments name Telindria. The heroes later learn her tragic tale from the wizard behind the door, but in the meantime they must fight for their lives. Finding that there weapons have reduced effect on the incorporeal creatures, it is up the the magic users and divine practitioners to deal with the threat. Eventually the spirits are all banished and the heroes collect the ectoplasm.

To be continued…

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Adventure 12: Kalikan and Jurha Pass

The heroes take a few days off in Kalikan to rest and resupply. A few hours outside the city the group finds a broken wagon just off the road. Amongst the wreckage Kur-Dan finds a fine bottle of Sidd Hu (wine) and he claims it for himself. After setting up camp for the evening, Dar-Guhal assassins attack the group. The assassins bring forth a demon to aid in the assault, but in the end the heroes manage to defeat them.

Another day of travel later, the heroes come across a small stage set-up along the road, looking much like a stage for puppets. Shir proclaims it must have been sent by Wendil, and promptly walks up to the stage and disappears. With reluctance, and more than a little annoyance, the others opt to follow him.

There is a flash of light and the heroes find themselves in a room, each having been transformed into a puppet version of themselves. Shir, out of curiosity, stabs Kur-Dan in the arm leave a small gash from which red yarn trickles. Kur-Dan cuffs Shir in response, nearly knocking Shir off his feet. Making their way deeper into the structure, each hero is transported to their own experience and are confronted with moral dilemmas. Most choose the path of sacrifice, if reluctantly, though there are no truly right choices.

After being reunited and sharing their experiences, the group is confronted by three doors. One is marked with a fishing hook, one with the symbol of the Sidd God Shir, and a third with a tree. Rasha, Nacu and Utog choose to walk through the tree door, while Kur-Dan pushes Shir through the fishhook door before walking into the door with the holy symbol. After another flash of light they find themselves outside and normal again and each receives a blessing from Wendil based on their choices.

The heroes continue on into the Jurha Pass and eventually encounter a Kalikan patrol under attack from a group of Hur. Utog, Nacu, and Rasha engage the Hur on the slopes while Kur-Dan and Shir help relieve the patrol on the road. After a quick skirmish the Hur are defeated and the heroes earn the thanks of the patrol.

After another few hours of travel through the pass, the heroes encounter Jura, who tells them that they must travel off the pass to the Library at Dalath, the ruins of an ancient Trangyar library. He tells them that there they will gain information they will need to known if they wish to defeat the Nezuran threat.

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Adventure 11: Signs in the Sky

Having rescued the Svarda’s son, the heroes turn north and begin their journey towards Kalikan. Opting to conserve resources, the group decides to travel by land rather than taking a boat up the river. Soon they find themselves traveling behind Bhagram, though they keep a respectful distance so as to not bring their troubles down upon him. During an 18-day stretch of travel, the heroes enjoy a relatively uneventful time save for a brief skirmish with some bandits, who quickly realize they picked the wrong prey and flee.

The heroes find themselves in the town of Hani, where they spend the day resupplying. During their brief visit, Shir encounters some Vel traders and has an interesting discussion. Meanwhile, Kaz meets an odd creature while working at the local smithy, an annui of the Forge who calls itself Smoulder. In cryptic language, Smoulder suggests that together they will forge great things and shape the future with them.

In the town square, Rasha comes upon a scene of a Shezar-Ki in heavy armor holding down a Punjal prisoner. When Rasha inquires, he learns that the Shezar-Ki is a Sar-Kadam, a paladin of justice about to pass judgement on the criminal. Rasha considers the pleas of the criminal, but opts not to intervene as the Sar-Kadam executes the prisoner.

The heroes also receive a plea from a local women, who says her grandmother’s necklace has been stolen. After investigating, the heroes eventually discover that it was merely lost in her house and they return it to her.

The heroes then resume traveling north along the road and after 9 days Shir sees a holy symbol blazing above a village. Lead by Shir, the group finds that the village is being attacked by Ursus raiders. The heroes fight their way through the village streets to drive off the Ursus, eventually confronting and defeating Tarius Atathrax and his windriders. They claim his enchanted armor and they go about putting out fires and caring for villagers.

While recuperating in the village, Kur-Dan stumbles across a kaishan with a dragon motif laying in the town square. When he inquires, a local elder says that the sword fell from the sky many years ago and that no one has been able to lift it. When Kur-Dan tries, the sword comes up easily, as if it were meant for his hands. Shir recalls a story from Ran that said only a descendant of Sun can wield Sun’s kaishan, peacebringer.

The heroes move on the next day, and after eleven days of uneventful travel through the grasslands they come upon the fortified city of Kalikan.

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