Shades of Grey

Battles beneath the city and a banquet

After recovering from being used as target practice by an invisible arcane caster the party set off to further explore the tunnel system. The discovered the hallway that lead to the mage’s living quarters continued onward until it stopped at a small chamber with tow doors, one wooden, the other made of stone. There were no consoles to activate so the party choose the wooden door, Virage found no traps and opened the door…only to have a cloud of poison envelop them! Virage and Sketchy were protected from the could by magical means, but the rest of the party was no so fortunate. Thankfully though no attack came and they pressed on. The fought several clockwork soldier until they reached a console that opened the stone door, as they journeyed through the tunnels again they detected the faint breeze of the sea.

Virage volunteered to go first and with Sketchy linking the parties telepathically he kept them informed of what he discovered. There was not much until he found a large cavern with a large unnatural beast of some sort, the party pooled their knowledge and based on Virage’s description they agreed that it had to be a vemerak. A beast not of this plane, it was aberration and was the source behind the earthquakes…and very perceptive. Virage suddenly had the feeling that it was looking right at him. With an unearthly scream battle was joined as the besat moved to attack Virage.

The party pulled out all the stops in order to rid Redwater of this menace. Roth channeled his gods power and charged into the room, the power denied the beast from attacking him and he struck a mighty blow. Olivia took the form of a dire hippo and charged in alongside her comrade, before the rest of the party could act the vemerak sprayed the party, save for Virage, with a blast of foul acid. Booka activated her celestial armor and took flight to fight beast, and Sketchy alternated between healing the party and providing ranged combat alongside his familiar. The beast was not going to go down without a fight and its spell resistance made the battle all the more difficult, just as it seemed the party had the advantage the beast plunged several tentacles into the ground and triggered an earthquake!

The party scattered to dodge the falling debris but Roth was not so fortunate and was buried alive beneath several boulders. Virage was struck by several tentacles and no matter how stealthily Virage moved the vemerak always knew where he was and he would be batted around by a tentacle. Booka took flight and bit the beast and channeled a powerful necronatic spell through her tusk into the beast. The beast thrashed back and forth as it entered its death roes, but Virage would not be denied and plunged his dagger into the mostly dead beast..then something unexpected happened as the beast shuddered again and suddenly the skeleton of the beast rose with the flesh sloughing off and pooling on the cavern floor. Everyone clutched their weapons but Virage told them to relax, by slaying the beast he had created an obedient skeleton that would serve him.

He explained it was due to the magic in his dagger and that the beast would not obey him until he dismissed it. The party was shocked by the revelation, none more so than Roth who finally dug himself out of the debris and was ready for round 2 against the skeleton. The party agreed for Virage to remain in control of the huge skeleton and it followed them as the followed another tunnel out of the cavern and after a short distance they arrived on the coast. The party was joyful beyond words about being above ground again, and the party wadded into the sea to wash the accumulated grime from their sojourn underground off. Virage ordered the skeleton to guard the tunnel entrance, and Sketchy sent a message to Lord Charney apprising him of the situation, he asked them to meet him in person. The party set off for the Chartered Company and handed the completed map over to Mukwan. He was very grateful and on their way out they met the trio they had rescued who again expressed their gratitude!

They set off to inform Lord Charney and met him at the Alabaster Court. They explained what they encountered in the caverns beneath the city. They could not add much about he mage they encountered, Charney bit a curse and hoped it was not Davos coming back from the dead again to cause more problems for the city. It was then that Sketchy offered to scry the mage and learn what he could. Charney asked to be kept informed as to what they discovered and invited the party to a banquet to be held in their honor that night. The [arty hurried to finish their tasks and acquire suitable attire..something Roth and Booka muttered about being an elf thing. They returned to the the Eagle’s Nest and Sketchy found a quiet room to attempt to scry the mage.

He was successful and learned his name was Negran and that he had been employed by the cult to fulfill their prophecy of doom. He was having a discussion with a robed individual, who hte party deduced was the cult leader, and Negran was very upset at the loss of his lair and his pet, as he called the recently slain vemerak. Sketchy shared the information with the rest of the party, Virage was excited because thanks to the scrying he could now impersonate the leader. They set off to acquire fancy clothing for the banquet and to report to Charney. Booka and Roth were content to add a cape to their armor along with a fancy hat while the rest of party donned nobles outfits for the evening. As they arrived at the banquet they shared their tale and mingled with the guests, Virage had an idea to provoke any allies of the cult by masquerading as Negran, and skirting the crowd. The only person who was shocked to see him was Magister Evalia, she demanded to know what he was doing here and what he had been up to. Virage tried to gather information but the magister was in no mood to talk and she was preparing to cast a spell before a disguised Olivia drew her attention to allow him to escape. She was irked to find him gone and stormed off.

Virage was not done and assumed the appearance of the cult leader. As Virage circled the crowd he noticed that three human nobles had a shocked expression on their faces. They were Lords Scray, Garrick, and Olafson. Virage thought he was on to something when Garrick called for the guards to arrest “him” and proclaimed he was the leader behind the cult. The rest of the party could take no action and the prince commanded he be turned over to the Redwatch. Virage had gone from being a guest of honor to being imprisoned. They were not worried about their comrade they knew he would be able to handle himself and this would hopefully drawn out members of the cult. Though the rest of the group now had to tell Charney and the prince that it was not the leader of the cult that was being imprisoned….a task none of them looked forward to.

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Answers from deadmen

After accepting the charge from Prince Grey and thwarting the assassination attempt on Lord Charney the party was desperate for answers. They searched the surrounding area and found a group of slain humans that they identified as the missing members of the Redwatch that were slain by their attackers. Lord Charney was disgusted by the actions, he shared with the party that he knew he was resented for being new nobility but for them to attempt this was beyond the pale and he would take immediate actions to protect himself and discover who among the nobility was behind this. The sounds of combat had drawn more members of the guard and Lord Charney quickly explained the situation and the party was thanked for their actions. Some of the party were suspicious as to the loyalties of the guards but Lord Charney assured them these were loyal members of the Red Watch, and he asked the party to continue their investigations and report their finding back to him.

With no survivors among the assassins the party was forced to consult other methods to gather evidence, thanks to Sketchy they were able to interrogate the spirits of their attackers. They learned that the robed figure was a cleric and while his answers were elusive they learned that that his name was Floyd Clyde, that he was a servant of the Starchild, and that he had recently been in the caverns beneath the city. They learned from the spirit of one of the fighters was that he was a member of The Blades, a mercenary company based out of the Forge, and that he and his comrades were hired to kill Lord Charney and plant evidence on the body. Virage using less divine methods was able to discern several things from the forgeries, they were written with very expensive ink, an ink that was mostly used for spell casting. He also remarked that the author was left handed, has a thick heavyset build, and walks with a slight limp. The party needed somewhere to regroup and plan their next move, the party decided to travel to the Eagle’s Nest and hopefully make contact with Nessa for additional information.

As they were leaving for the Eagle’s Nest Sketchy saw an old comrade named Olivia, she was an elf a powerful druid. He quickly was able to convince her to join the group in their endeavors, Booka and Roth both muttered their dismay at another elf joining the party. Roth suggested that they consult the monks of the Smiling Horizon for any additional information on the starchild, he had taken the leaders holy symbol and hoped hte monks would be able to identify it. They arrived at the monastery and after a few minutes found a scholar who was able to offer some insight, the symbol was not of any well known god, but the scholar was able to offer some theories that it was not from a god but rather a powerful servant of something from the outer planes. Roth thanked the scholar and the group set off to contact Nessa.

They arrived at the Eagle’s Nest and were directed to Nessa’s table, she immeadiately recognized them from the council earlier in the morning and asked how she could aid them. The party explained that they had just thwarted an assassination attempt on Lord Charney and were hoping she could provide information. She grew visibly upset about he attempt on Lord Charney’s life, the city was still rebuilding after the coup and some idiots were causing problems again. The party asked for some place private to speak, and she nodded and lead them to one of the rooms located upstairs and uttered a phrase before opening the door. Sketch, Booka, and Roth immediately recognized several power enchantments preventing scrying and that would cause great harm to anyone entering the room without the pass phrase. She explained that The Blades were a rival mercenary group but mostly were active outside of the city and individual bands had a lot of freedom in choosing jobs, they are effective but unprincipled. She had no knowledge of the cult, but if the party were looking to explore the caves beneath the city they had two options. They could explore the cliffs in the Quay in hopes of finding an entrance, or they could contact Mukwan, a half orc ran the day to day operations at the Chartered Company and attempt to gain entrance through the Argent mine. If they were going that deep they should contact the Orecrusher dwarves They were welcome to use the room and gave them the pass phrase. It was part of her civic duty, and asked that the party keep her informed as to all that they discovered .

The party agreed that searching for a specific cave amongst all the others in the Quay was foolish at best, their only option was the Argent Mine and set off to the Chartered Company compound. They arrived to find a dwarf discussing business matters with a half orc, who the party quickly realized was Mukwan. They waited until the pair had finished their discussion before introducing themselves, as the dwarf was leaving the compound Booka asked him about conditions beneath the city. Once the dwarf was suspicious but after Booka explained they were mounting an expedition beneath city. He explained some of the conditions they would face and to be careful of cave ins. The rest of the party was talking with Mukwan and were able to receive permission to enter the Argent Mine and were given a partial map of the mine, all that Mukwan asked was that the fill in the map as they progressed. He warned them that the mine was not open and had been closed after a flood and that he was only recently gathering resources to reopen the mine.

Booka rejoined the party outside of the compound and shared what she had learned, the party agreed to set off for the mine in the morning after they had procured supplies. A short visit to the ever chaotic Odar’s and Roth had acquired a magical rope to aid in their descent should they need it. The group agreed to depart at first line for the mine and begin their descent, they returned to the Eagle’s Nest for a well deserved rest.

They set off in the morning after procuring mounts, and Booka procured a bag of live chickens, they arrived at the mine after a few hours of travel. The descent was easy and they followed the main tunnel until it split off into two paths, one that descended deeper underground and the other that ended at a cave in. Booka deduced that the cave in was recent and the rest of the party heard something coming from behind the collapse. Roth was able to shape the stone to create an exit from the chamber and three disheveled humans emerged. While most of the party were suspicious about their presence in the mine, they identified themselves as employees of Mukwan and had been hired to map out the mine. The trio now only wanted to leave, Sketchy negotiated for their map and used it to fill in the missing sections of the groups map before returning it to the trio. Who swiftly departed for the surface.

The party followed the other tunnel and it descended deeper and they became aware of a strong stench permeating the air, that was becoming stronger the further they descended, until by the time the tunnel opened into a larger chamber the stench was nauseous. The tunnel opened up into a large chamber that was mostly taken up by a large pool, the stench of the room was overpowering and while several members of the party were disgusted by the stench Booka was not irritated in the least and continued trudging along with her bag of chickens and as she neared the waters edge a large shape rose from the fetid water. It resembled some type of large frog but its size dwarfed the party and with a deafening croak from the creature battle was joined. The party pooled their knowledge and identified it as a Froghemoth

The battle turned against the party as they were facing a variety of the beasts attacks, Booka was grappled by its tongue and swallowed hole. The rest of the party were shocked by such a turn of events and redoubled their efforts to kill the creature to save their friend. Their aid was not needed as Booka cut her way out of the beasts stomach…only to fall into the depths of the pool. Even with a gaping wound the beast was not done, Virage attempted to kill the beast but his every move was seen by the beast. Roth was content to keep slashing away at while Sketch and this fairy familiar attacked the beast with ray spells. Olivia turned into a large snake and dealt the deathblow to the beast, as it sank back into the pool Booka emerged.

She had lost her bag of chickens somewhere in the muck and was heartbroken by their loss, she consoled herself with a something she had found in the pool. A large covered in thick muck. She was convinced it was a staff of fire, and after a quick consultation by the rest of the party she was proven correct. The party pooled their knowledge and realized this beasts constantly regurgitated whatever it ate and that was the source of the foul stench, the party shuddered at the implications…except for Roth and Booka who commented that they had been through worse. The party healed their wounds and found that another tunnel exited the chamber and descended further underground. They party pressed on, convinced that they were heading in the right direction to discover the source of the earthquakes.

Their journey continued uneventfully for some time until the tunnel opened into a large cavern. They continued onward coming to a another tunnel but this one had glass walls with gears behind the glass. The party was unsure of what they were as they had never seen anything like it before. The tunnel ended at a door that had a console of some sort next to it. Virage saved the party from harm by finding a glyph of warding, Sketch was unsuccessful at dispelling, but Booka was able to remove the glyph allowing Virage to open the door. As the party entered through the door a robed figure demanded to know who they were! After a swift failure at diplomacy by the party battle was joined as the robed figure let loose a blast of chain lightening striking most of the party severely, then he vanished.

The party charge forward, Booka and Virage were in the lead trying to detect the mage, Olivia turned into a giant ape and tried to climb the walls to find a better vantage point, while Sketch and Roth stayed near the door. The mage stayed invisible casting spells to harm the party, Virage was temporarily dominated but was able to shake it off before killing the druid. Olivia discovered a thick wooden door and while it was open she opened it the druid way with a warp wood spell. As it twisted into a new shape and fell apart Booka charged into the room to find a cozy living quarter with several book shelves.

Just as Booka was entering the room a cloud of noxious fumes appeared in the hallway and several party members identified it as a cloud kill spell. Only Booka escaped the effects of the cloud but while the party was hurt none were killed…then Roth and Sketch heard the sound of breaking glass. The gears that were suspended in the glass hallway were actually inactive clockwork soldiers. Roth immediately cast spiritual weapon to stall them, and Sketch followed it up with a flame strike…but there were to many. They quickly alerted the rest of the party, and Olivia created a wall of thorns to slow their advance into the area where the party was. Just as the wall appeared a fireball slammed into the party. The mage did not take kindly to invaders. Sketch was rightly upset at being struck with so many spells and cast stone shape to create another wall behind the now burning wall of thorns. They finally caught sight of the mage only to watch him teleport away, cursing in rage with the mage escaping the party searched the living quarters for any clues. Virage found a strong box with a small amount of wealth and a ring of mind shielding, the coinage was divided amongst the party while he claimed the ring. With the party safe from the clockwork soldiers the party decided to rest for a short time before advancing further.

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The Trembling Earth
Blood flows in the Alabaster Court

Much had changed in the two years since the attempted coup by the Syndicate. The power structures, both official and unofficial of the city had shifted. The Cartel had risen in power, taking control of the Quay away from the Syndicate, and the slums had slipped further into ruin as resources were strained throughout the city. A doomsday cult had risen to prominence with their preaching about the coming doom that would strike the city in the form of earthquakes, which had soon struck the city even though there was no history of tremors in the region.

It was all the talk in the tavern were a trio of strangers were dining, two were half orcs who had the look of warriors, and a nervous looking elf. They were sharing tales of their travel, one of the half orcs was an unconventional practitioner of the arcane named Buka, she was a magus and had drawn the ire of Magister Evalia due to her unique usage of magic. She delighted in channeling arcane power through her tusks while biting her opponents. The other half orc was a boastful individual who introduced himself as Roth the Joyous, and was a preacher of a sort. He was a warpriest who followed the tenants of god by facing his foes in combat and not in theological debate. The elf had a haunted look in his eye and twitched while stating his name as Sketchy and that he was a humble servant of god, and served as an oracle. They had each arrived in Redwater for their own reasons but now were compelled to discover what it was that was occurring in the city.

They learned Prince Quinn Grey had called for a council at the Alabaster Court in the Guilded Ward to find some answers as to what was happening in his city. The trio made their way to the palace and blended in with the diverse crowd of spectators watching the proceedings. Some of the nobles debated endlessly about what should be done, undercutting Lord Charney who tried to maintain order, and ranting about their own grievances.Until the arguing what shattered by Buka roaring, “Why doesn’t someone go under the city and find out what it going on?”

Her random outburst ceased the nobles arguments and the Prince seized the moment and charged Buka and her comrades to meet with his minister Lord Charney before proceeding with their endeavor. Several nobles tried to protest but the prince brought his fist down and declared the council over. The nobles grumbled and left the chamber followed by the crowd leaving the trio and Lord Charney in the chamber. He asked them to follow him as they discussed their plan to investigate the tremors and to introduce them to a member of the Red Watch who would be joining them. Their new companion was not a volunteer but rather a conscript and had the appearance of a rogue and had a single red dot on his right arm. He introduced himself as Virage the Mirage and wanted to know if this would fulfill his obligation.

The group had a short discussion about how to go about investigating the tremors and Charney suggested they keep a low profile by avoiding the crowds outside the main chamber and lead them out a back passageway. They continued with Charney leading them down a lesser used hallway as they discussed the recent events in Redwater. as tehy were moving down the hallway a Red Watch patrol and a man in robe was marching towards them. Charney was unconcerned but Roth and Virage noticed something off about them. The two of them were able to act as the guards suddenly drew weapons and attacked. The robed man threw something at the ground and two clockwork soldiers appeared.

A vicious melee followed as Charney was struck down and the group was hard pressed by the assault. The clockwork soldiers were revealed to be arcane casters of a sort and bombarded the party with lightening and fireballs. Virage and Sketchy vanished from sight leaving Roth and Buka were the only targets and were soon swarmed by the imposters, both took several hideous wounds. Roth suffered each wound in stride and after taking a blow that should have killed him he only laughed and channeled his god’s power into him returning him to the fight and striking down the guard who had stabbed him. Sketchy called upon his god’s power to aid his comrades and to keep Charney alive, meanwhile Sketchy was stalking the enemy eliminating them one by one.

As the battle raged back and forth Sketchy realized the guards were bolstered by several enchantments, he smirked as he began removing their enchantments. The guards began following one by one, the clockwork soldiers had exhausted their spells and withdrew from battle. The remaining guards were falling and the robed man prepared to flee through magical means but before he could finish his casting Virage killed him with a single blow. The battle ended and as the group saw to their wounds they searching the area and found the robed man had several documents on him that incriminated Charney in various dealings. Virage glanced through them and deduced they were forgeries. The group realized that these soldiers were here to assassinate Charney and plant these documents on him. Searching further they found a bizarre religious icon that none of them could identify. The party had not even begun their investigation but had realized that there was more going on.

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Against foes old and new

The party completed their search of the fortress to find the lich and his vampire ally had fled, they healed themselves with their limited resources and left the fortress to meet with the Talon Clan. The clan was heartbroken at the fate of their kin but gladly shared their healing magic and shared their supplies with the heroes. Cloudwalker shared some vital information with the party, he had learned that Davos had struck an accord with an old chromatic dragon that the founders of the Talon Clan had named themselves after. He did not know the full name of the dragon only that it contained, “Hal,” As the party debated how to find the dragon, Cloudwalker shared that the location was to the north and could lead them. After recovering their strength the party set off but before they could leave the compound, Miria suddenly collapsed. The party rushed to her aid, but she had been stricken by some sickness, she urged the party to go on without her as she was in no condition to aid them. The party. The party vowed to slay the fiends and tell the tale to her upon their return.

Cloudwalker lead the party at a brisk pace and after a day of hard traveling they reached a pathway that lead to a large cave. Cloudwalker would not be be able to join them in parlay because of ill relations between the dragon and the clan. He explained that before Davos the clan had given tribute to the dragon, but with their alliance with the lich they felt no reason to send tribute to the dragon He offered the party his magnificent axe to be give to the dragon to begin their parlay. The party accepted the gift and dismounted from their horses and set off up the trail to the cavern.

King Ike ever confident took lead, with Lane next to him, and the remainder of the party behind them they entered in the cavern. There a very large red chromatic dragon was resting on a sprawling mound of treasure, the dragon roared out a challenge and the party responded diplomatically and tried to prevent Ike from insulting the dragon. After mitigating the demand the the dragon serve Ike as a mount, the parry explained that they were not here for the dragon’s treasure in fact they were there to add to it and presented Cloudwalker’s axe. The dragon examined the offering and commanded them to speak. The party explained, they were there only for the lich and offered to serve as the dragon’s agents in destroying him. This greatly amused the dragon and agreed to allowing the party the privilege of serve him by destroying the lich and his vampire ally. They were recovering in a cave off of the cavern and if they hurried they would catch them unaware. That said the dragon resumed his resting place on his treasure and watched the spectacle unfold.

The party raced to the end of the chamber and they entered it just as the lich and dragon were rising from sarcophagi. Gerran lobbed a fireball at the pair and battle was joined. The lich and vampire resorted to invisibility and trickery to keep the party divided. Ike was a favorite target of mind control spells but was able to shake most of them off. The other caster responded with fireballs of her own but thanks to a combination of Alcher and Gerran she was made visible and an easy target, but she did not go easily. Once the vampire was slain they were able to aid team melee in slaying the lich again. As Davo’s body crumbled to the ground the dragon chuckled at the defeat of his so called ally.

“Well done my servants, well done indeed! Now kill Cloudwalker!”

The party was aghast at the proposition and refused, the dragon rose to its full height and roared, “Then you are my servants no longer and thus you are my foes!”

The party wisely used the time the dragon spent conducting its monologue to drink potions and try to prepare themselves for the fight to come. They scattered as the dragon let loose a blast of it’s breath weapon nearly immolating them. Without the aid of Miria it became a race to see who would outlast who. With Alcher and Gerran providing ranged support with arcane and explosive blasts, it was up to team melee to enter into the fray. It was close fight as the party was barely standing when the party struck the final blow and slew the beast as it tried to flee.

Cloudwalker raced into the chamber to aid the party and was amazed at the party’s victory over their foes. They explained what transpired to Clouldwalker and returned his axe and offered most of the treasure to the clan to help them survive the coming winter. He was gracious beyond works and swore that he would see his clan return to the way things were before the lich.

The party then focused their energies on finding the lich’s phylactery that was somewhere in the chamber. They had to find it less the lich return to torment them again. After several searches they discovered a sealed container in the floor that radiated necromatic energy. Opening the container they found a bronze ring, the party pooled their powers and was able to destroy the phylactery sending Davos to his final death. Their task done the party set off to return to their castle in the Land of Land, but not without the severed head of the dragon to adorn the great hall of the castle of the Land of Land.

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Housecrashing

Only a day had passed since the loss of the Embassy of the land of Land, and the anger of Lord “King” Ike had not abated, the slow pursuit of the Talon outriders had allow the party to lose them in the rougher terrain as they neared the ancestral home of the clan at the Flattop mountain. Miria had rejoined the party after her commune with her god. The narrow path they followed proved unstable as the ground beneath Oolog and his horse gave way sliding down a steep embankment, they were relatively unscathed but were separated with no easy way to reach the party. Oolog swore he would meet the party at the Flattop mountain and set off following the ravine. They hoped the best for their missing comrade but with the threat of the Talon outriders hanging over them the party could not afford to linger.

The party moved as fast as their mounts would take and later in the early morning hours of dawn they emerged at the foothills of the Flat top mountain, they could see a rough palisade some miles near the base of the mountain but there was nothing but open ground between them and the palisade. They party briefly considered their options, there was no way that they could successfully infiltrate the settlement with the entire party. Ike seemed to favor the strategy of having half  sneak over the wall while the other half of the party provided a distraction by charging the front gate. Gerran argued against splitting the party and instead having Alcher scout ahead while invisible and report back. The party agreed and Alcher mounted his flying broom and quaffed a potion. The gnome vanished from sight and set off to see what he could see.

There were several buildings behind the palisade palisade and that there was a large number of armed guards standing watch over the gate. The villagers were only staying in one area and they seemed hesitant to approach an entrance carved into the mountain. Ike was arguing for his plan while Gerran countered that dividing their resources was a foolish, as they argued their choice was made for them as the outrider of the Talon clan were returning home. The party could not face a fight if the Talon Clan reunited so they agreed to a compromise, Alcher would sneak in while the rest of the party charged the gates….and hoped for the best.

Alcher once more mounted his broom and vanished while the rest of the party mounted their horses and made their way to the gate. The guards easily saw them and Ike attempted to put their fears to ease diplomatically…it did not go well as they began to barrage the party with arrows. Ike frantically began chopping at the gate while Miria used her magics to protect herself from the barrage. The others were not so lucky as Lane, Ike and Gerran were hit. Alcher continued to float above the Talon camp and noticed something odd, the villagers were moving but they continued to avoid the carved entrance. He prepared to unleash a bombardment of his own but stayed his hand. There could be a force coming up from beneath the mountain and he best make his way over there to unleash a torrent of explosions, whatever came out of the earth would wish they had stayed underground. As Alcher was making his move the outriders reached bow range and opened fire on the party attacking the gate, only Mira emerged unscathed.

Lane reached the gate and soon she was aiding Ike in “opening” the gate. Gerran attempted to remove the guards by unleashing a new spell that would hopefully not prove fatal. Soon a large orb of water formed on the palisade and began moving towards the archers, they scrambled away from the orb but many were not successful as it engulfed them and moved towards the other archers. Panic began to set in as the gate finally gave way after a mighty swing from Ike and the remaining archers being chased and consumed by the sphere.

Alcher approached the entrance almost giggling as he prepared a potion only to scream in pain as his body was racked with some foul energy, it took all of his concentration to remain upright as his body convulsed in pure agony. He frantically scanned the area but could see no spell caster, he could see the battle near the gates, and the now panicked member of the Talon clan. The sun was brightly shining and he was sure that even if the vampire that had battled earlier was able to protect herself from the sunlight there was no way that she could have targeted him, there had to be something else. He frantically scanned the area and tried to recall any lore that could explain what had just happened. It took several moments but he recalled that wards could be laid in the very ground that would only react to a persons true moral nature, they would not harm the caster or any like minded individual but those that had a different morality would experience extreme pain and possible death. Just as he made this realization the gate gave way and his comrades entered.

Ike triumphantly entered through the now sundered gate and struck a heroic pose. Gerran followed shortly after and continued to direct the orb at the last of the frantic archers on the palisade, the orb sweledl as it enveloped more of the archers until none remained. Miria and Lane soon entered with the oracle asking about injuries while Lane planted herself defensively in the middle of the now opened gateway. I demand to speak to whomever was in charge, his ultimatum was greeted only with shocked silence until one of the outriders approached the palisade. The party recogonized him as Cloudwalker the leader of the outriders who had let them escape after their previous meeting. He had stored his weapons and upon seeing that the party had not killed any of his tribesman, those trapped in Gerran’s spell were released relatively unharmed, and moved by Ike’s promise of liberation and retribution…somewhat enhanced by Mira. He explained that a dozen member of the tribe were being held hostage to ensure good behavior from the rest of the tribe. He was about to explain why none had rescue the hostages when a bizarre series of magical light appeared near the entrance that spelled out stop. A moment later Alcher reappeared near the entrance, he loudly explained the ward and he would not leave for fear that it would be triggered again.
Cloudwalker could offer no details about the size of the Davos’s complex inside the mountain, the only members of the tribe that had been inside were those that were now held hostage. Ike was eager to lead the charge into the mountain regardless of the risk from some magic thing. Gerran had studied the ward and after consulting with Alcher realized that the ward was beyond his abilities to dispel. The party healed their wounds and steeled their resolved before stepping past the ward and promptly screamed in pain and convulsed in agony for a moment before the torment ceased. The rest of the party had not fared as badly as Alcher but they were soon made whole again thanks to Miria. They pressed onward through the entrance and began to ascend a passageway that lead to a temple.

The group quickly realized that the temple was dedicated to a malevolent god of magic, Abraxas. There was a powerful enchantment radiating out from the altar severly limited the powers of Lane and Miria. Gerran, realized the huge disadvantage the party would be at attempted to dispel the enchantment, and he was barely successful. Miria and Lane rejoiced in their reconnection to their divine patron but the effort had taken a substantial toll on Gerran’s magical reserves that he hoped to save for later. The party trekked upwards and the passageway opened up into a large chamber, there were three closed doors and a passageway that continued upwards. Fearful of an ambush the party decided to search the three rooms and then press on.

The first room was revealed to be a fully stock alchemist laboratory that left Alcher speechless as his eyes bulged out at the value of the materials present. The sheer volume of material would easily have stocked several master level alchemist labs. He gleefully began taking vials and stashing them in his satchels. The second room was stocked with a variety of arcane materials, a summoning circle dominated the center of the room and severals desks were covered with blank scrolls and writing materials. Ike had to be prevented from splitting a desk in half with his blade, as he loudly proclaimed, “ You have to cut the desk in half to get the treasure! Odar taught me that!” The last room was a fully stocked library with a slant towards Necromancy but Gerran discovered several journals written by Davos himself. There was no lingering enchantment upon the journals so Gerran eagerly took them. The party regrouped in the center room and pressed upwards.

It was only a short journey that the party came upon a large chamber that had several small jail cells along the periphery and another stair way across the chamber from them. They could see multiple figures in the cells, the party realized that they had found the Talon Clan hostages. They were to late to save as the now newly transformed ghould surged out of their cells and assaulted them. The group formed a position near the stairwell with their backs to each other and fought off their attackers. A few moments of combat passed and the party returned the Talons to their eternal rest. After seeing what Davos would do to his supposed allies the party was even more focused on ending the lich’s existence.

The stairs lead to an unadorned circular chamber with yet another stair way at the opposite end. The party advanced cautiously into the room and they were reunited with the vampire blackguard, the lich, another vampire who promptly vanished from sight, and a dozen or so vampire spawn. Ike let out a roar and charged the lich wile Lane moved to engage the blackguard. The rest of the party engaged the mob of vapmire spawn and to deal with the invisible spell caster. The battle was vicious and Miria had little healing to spare after their journey but she used every spell and channel she had to keep her comrades alive. Something that proved to be difficult as Ike was placed under a geas and nearly killed Lane with a single blow. Davos avoided direct combat with the party as he remember their previous combat in the Alabaster Court and the vampire spawn made for excellent temporary barriers to keep Ike from engaging in combat with him. Ike was able to momentarily reclaim his few scattered wits and finished off the blackguard. He was slain outright and did not have the chance to transform into a mist and flee combat. Alcher and Gerran used their area effect bombs and spells to thin out their opposition and to keep an eye out for the spell caster who continued to lob the odd fireball spell at the party. After several misses with glitterdust Gerran was able to determine her position based on the magical artifacts she was wielding. He gleefully informed the alchemist of her location and the pair attacked her. The battle had turned in their favor and as the last of the spawn fell the remaining vampire and Davos fled through a dimensional door further into the fortress. The party was battered but all were still alive.

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A comrade is lost

The battle against the Talon tribe convinced the party that they should press so as to cut off the head of the snake as it were. Miria unexpectedly told the party that she must spend the coming day in commune with her divine patron so as to prepare for the coming battles. She swore to the party that she would catch up with them soon. As she was making her goodbys two figures on horseback and one flying on a broom approached their camp. It was Redge leading Oolog and Alcher to join their comrades. Redge explained that he found hte pair lost on the plain and lead them here. Seeing the signs of battle around the area Redge tossed a large pack to Lane. “YHere, something to help.” Redge remarked as he departed. Lane was overcome by curiousity and opened the pack to finding it brimming with potions. Alcher quickly identified them as a variety of healing potions. The party waved in thanks as Redge vanished into the countryside. The party decided to press on towards the Flat top mountain, though they would sorely miss the oracle’s healing but thanks to the unexpected generosity of Redge the should be all right until her return. They had also dispatched the last Talon war party they encountered and they were confident in their ability to dispatch any other forces.

After a hard day of traveling the party was still quite a distance from their destination and decided to setup camp for the night. The party agreed on a watch and rested from their day of traveling. Alcher took the first watch and nothing of interest took place, he roused Lane from her sleep and wished her a safe watch before collapsing into a deep slumber. Lane quickly put in her armor and found a somewhat comfortable spot to keep a nearly perfect view of the camp and surrounding area. She smirked at the thought of some members of the Talon tribe discovering the opulent lodgings of King Ike, it should be a relatively easy task due to characteristics and while they were dumbfounded by that her comrades would easily dispatch their confused enemies. Truly no living humanoid would not be impressed by their lodgings, alas not all their foes were of the living variety.

It was near the end of her watch when Lane caught sight of them, at first she thought they were another Talon war party but as she studied them more she realized that they were all undead. A large group of undead were making their way towards the camp, they didn’t walk as much as scurried as they sniffed the air life blood hounds. There was a solitary armored figure behind them barking out orders that she could not hear and the undead host seemed to follow them. Lane had no time to be subtle she broke from cover and ran for the pavilion to warn her comrades of the coming battle. The party scrambled for their weapons they would not have time to done their armor, save for Ike who had an enchantment woven into his armor to make it easier to don. Alcher quaffed a potion and prepared to mount his broom to provide some aerial bombardment, Gerran cast a spell to provide some protection as he was sans armor. Oolog grabbed his axe and quaffed the contents of his magical stein before joining the fray.

The battle was long and brutal, team melee clashed with the large group of undead that some members of the party realized where vampire spawn. Somewhere on the fringes of combat there was an invisible caster aiding the undead by weakening individual members of the party and then bombarding the entire party with a fireball spell. Team clothy were locked in their own struggle with a group of wraiths that divided. Alcher had attempted to hover above the battle but the flight spell powering his broom was dispelled and he landed on top of the pavilion which was slowly bursting into flame. He still defiantly threw potent explosives at the wraiths. Herran had unleashed a Daylight spell that while illuminated the area did not cause the undead any discomfort. He let loose another blast of arcane energies at the wraiths that hounded him inside the burning pavilion.

Oolog laid a vicious blow into the armored figure commanding the spawn when suddenly he was attacked from behind by Ike. The dwarf barely was able to stand after being struck by his comrade. Ike suddenly appeared to awake from a dream as he stared at his wounded comrade while a sickening laugh emerged from their armored foe. Ike and Oolog watch dumbfounded as their foe placed his hand to his chest and healed the wounds inflicted upon him. Lane immediately recognized what they were facing, he was a blackguard, a serant of fell powers much like Lane was a servant of righteous powers. The three fighters engaged the blackguard in a vicious battle while spells from the invisible caster rained down upon them. The party sorely missed Mira’s healing powers as they each suffered grievous wounds. Somehow the party stayed fighting until the last of the vampire spawn were slain and the blackguard finally fell, only to watch as his body transformed into a vapor and rose into the night sky. Their foe had been a vampire. Gerran and Alcher had not been idle and had slain one wraith while the other fled their wrath. The party frantically searched for the spell caster that had so vexed them, Ike and Oolog combined their skills and thought they had located their foe. Only to watch as she reappeared near the vapor and cast a teleport spell. The party cursed the luck of their foes and frantically scrambled to save as much of the pavilion as they could, but it was to late. There was no way to prevent the spread of the flames and it was all they cold do to save their horses and gear.

The angry and wounded party assessed their situation, the lich had powerful servants and knew they were coming for him. Ike in a moment of clarity suggested that the party rest during the day and travel during the night so as to avoid another ambush. The party was amazed at such an insightful observation from Ike and hastily agreed, dawn was only a few hours away so they prepared to stay where they were at and wait for Mira before setting off. The awoke the next morning to see a group of horsemen approaching and they were easily identified as members of the Talon Clan. The party quickly mounted their own horses and rode out to meet them.

Their leader rode out to meet the party and identified himself as Cloudwalker of the Talon Clan and that he had been sent to take care of them. The party quickly realized that there was something that he wasn’t telling the party. A successful parlay later the party learned that a year ago a mage arrived and things changed. The clan became more aggressive and started using strange magics in battle. Other strangers arrived who were allied with the mage and there was something different about them. He and his outriders had been sent to deal with a threat that the strangers were not able to defeat. The party tried to explain that they had traveled to this land to deal with the mage. Cloudwalker raised his hand stopping the party from speaking further.

“I know of what you speak and I can not aid you. He holds our families hostage in our own stronghold. If we fail to being battle to you their lives are forfeit and I will not cause the death of our clan. Should you flee we will be force to chase after you, it is a shame that the horses on the left flank are very tired and need to drink. If my prey was to know that then they might take advantage of it.” That said he returned to his forces.

The party was confused for a moment, none more so then Ike. Lane quickly took charge of the party and lead them in a desperate charge past the left flank of the outriders. She glanced back to see them slowly trotting after them. There was a chance if they kept to their pace they could the outriders in the hills they would be able to finish their task.

“What just happened?” Ike asked.

“He just gave us permission to go kill the lich and save his people!” Lane yelled back.

“Oh I am glad you speak his language because I could have sworn he threatened to kill us!” Ike replied.

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A camping trip north

The party broke camp in the morning and set off north for the Orecrusher holds, after their fight against the orcs and frost giant they were on guard had no other distractions on their travels. Alcher did however have an axel break on his wagon and told the party to go on ahead and that he would catch up with them shortly. Their was a small toll to pay to travel through the tunnel, olog was given a break as a fellow dwarf and the party had a relatively uneventful journey through the tunnel. They did meet some merchants heading in the opposite direction but the merchants did not have time to stay and chat It took only a day of travel for them to emerge from underground and see a vast savannah spreading out before them.

The party decided to travel to the city of Tylonia, the only major settlement in the area, as they journeyed north they quickly learned that they were being shadowed by figures in the distance riding horses. Not wanting to provoke a fight when they were outnumbered and in unknown territory the party pressed on keeping a sizable distance between them and their pursuers. They were making good time until their path was blocked by a solitary horseman. They were able to move out without incident and after a few more hours of travel arrived safely at the city of Tylonia. The city was nowhere near as large as Redwater, the entire city could fit into only one of the city’s wards. It was the largest settlement in the area and the best place to begin their search for the lich.

They began investigating for any word on Davos and after meeting the ruler of the city, Lord Jaden, the party learned that there was a power struggle between the three tribes that roamed the savannah. The Talon Clan was now the dominant tribe but this was the first time that one tribe reigned dominant over the other two. There were also rumors that the tribe was wielding strange magic. The party decided that they needed to meet with the other tribes to find out what they knew about the Talon clan. They met a member of the Howling Gale Clanm he gave the directions to a place sacred to his clan that night to meet with their leaders. They set out immediately too reach the site and arrived with just enough time for Ike to prepare the pavilion. A short while later of group of barbarians arrived and their leader introduced himself as , Redge of the Howling Gale Clan, the party welcomed him inside and despite the diplomatic fumblings of Ike the party did not come away empty handed. They learned that the Talon Clan were now the dominant force in the area and the Howling Gale clan and the other tribe the Bloody Pack clan had lost territory to them. Most importantly the party learned where they could be found. Redge was also unsure of how the Talons had risen to power so quickly. They did not know about Davos but the party might learn something from the Talons. The emissary of the Howling Gale.

As they set off into the land that were claimed by the Talon Clan they came across a raiding party and battle was joined. The raiders were accompanied by a mage who used his power to transform the landscape that trapped the party in a sea of weeds. The fight turned desperate as Ike was caught for several moments in an arcane quagmire, but he was able to muscle his way through the wretched terrain. The fight turned desperate as they struggled against ann assault of mounted cavalry charge. The party was able to vanquish the raiders, the raiders were easily identified as members of the Talon tribe.

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Of castles and camping trips

Ike had been granted title to a portion of land that was strategically located to the west of the city, it was near the only bridge that spanned the river and was a heavily traveled route. There has been plans to eventually create a guard post near the crossing but having a very strong group of allies creating their own keep would serve the city nicely, and if something tragic were to happen to them well the Redwatch would go in and clean out the ruins. Miria through magical means lead a procession of freshly quarried stone to the construction site. As the rest of the party watched awestruck the castle was finished over the course of a single day. Gerran and Alcher both agreed that the party should have sold tickets to the people of Redwater to watch the construction. The group moved into their new home that night.

Morning came and the party noticed a large very heavily armed group of Redwatch approaching the castle, and that the Prince was among them. The party opened the gate and greeted the leader of Redwater and welcomed him inside, and while the accommodations were still spartan Ike promised to have it fully accommodated with all of the amenities soon. Quinn was still amazed at how such a thing could be built so quickly and so soundly, when he first heard word of the castle appearing as if it sprang from the ground he had to see it for his very eyes. After a short tour of the conversation turned to the recent threats to Redwater, and while the Syndicate had been dealt a serious blow there was still the threat of the lich. Quinn had been busy asking scholars to investigate and had determined that the lich was actually Davor a wizard who had tried to rule the area and after being defeated had fled for Tylonia….some 700 years ago. The party volunteered to travel north and deal with the threat. Tylonia was far to the north past the Orecrusher Dwarf holds and was a region full of orcs, goblins, and not so nice peiple, and they hurried to put their affairs in order before leaving.

Gerran sought out Nessa and found her at the Eagle’s Nest, he quickly explained the threat of Davos and then asked if she and the Falcons would be willing to garrison their castle while they were gone.Nessa agreed before the words were barely out of his mouth and she eagerly set out to. With the safety of their castle provided for Gerran left to rejoin the group as they set out for Tylonia. The party had already procured horses and set out upon his return. Lane had procured a magnificent charger through her action during the recent troubles and was eager to test its mettle in combat. The party decided that they travel through the Orecrusher holds rather then take the longer way around the mountains, they would have to stable their horses outside the hall and procure new mounts on the other side but the journey would be much easier then the alternate route. They encountered no threats as they traveled during the day and agreed to rest for the night, Ike joyfully began the arduous task of setting up his pavilion for the party to shelter in for the night. They agreed upon a watch and settled in not expecting any serious threats this close to Orecrusher territory. It was several hours later when the party was roused by a large group of orcs being lead by a Frost Giant.

The battle was quickly joined as two dozen orcs rushed the camp, fortunately Gerran and Alcher were able to stem the tide with arcane and chemical explosions, the pair would fell the majority of the orcs by themselves. Lane, Oolog and Ike were locked in vicous combat while Mira frantically scrambled to and fro keeping people alive. The giant deal vicious blows to Olog and Ike before finally succumbing to the various electrical, fire, and explosive damage from Team Clothy. The party had survived and aside from a new exit made by Ike in the pavillion their shelter was still standing.

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A new threat emerges!

They paused to take a moments rest after the fierce battle in the courtyard, but they soon heard further combat coming from within the Alabaster Court. Though the door was battered it was still closed shut. Alcher was able to open the lock on the Alabaster Court and the party moved down he entrance hallway only to find their entrance to the throne room blocked by a massive wall of ice. Gerran and Alcher unleashed a blast of alchemical and arcane explosions that shattered a breach in the wall that the rest of the party charged through to enter the throne room. They arrived to see the scene of frantic combat being waged between the living and the undead A small group of soldiers clustered around the throne and was surrounded by a horde of animated skeletons, a lone archer was separated from the melee and was aiming at a robed figured that was guarded by two large skeletons. The robed figure gestured at the archer and suddenly a dome of ice materialized around the archer trapping him. The party soon realized it was Charney. The two large figures moved towards the party and battle was joined.

The party charged forward to engage the enemy with “team melee” consisting of:Oolog, Lane, and Ike charging the oncoming threat. Miria slipped past combat rushed to aid the group surrounded by skeletons. Gerran and Alcher moved to assist team melee with their respective explosives and spells. The clash between the pair of guards was fierce, the guards were quickly revealed to be large undead skeletons wielding flaming great axes that dealt grievous wounds to team melee. The robed figure was also able to heal the pair regardless of the damage that was dealt to them. Miria reached the throne and unleashed a wave of positive energy that destroyed the undead surrounding the throne and healed the surviving defenders. Miria recognized one of the survivors as Quinn Grey, the Prince of Redwater, she had no time to talk as she rushed to aid her comrades. The robed figure saw the results of Mira’s efforts. He rushed still recovering defenders and unleashed a horrific spell that left only the prince and another soldier alive. Gerran and Alcher realized that the spell was Circe of Death and based on the number of people instantly killed they were facing a very powerful necromancer and refocused their efforts on disposing of their foes.

Ike saw the robed figure and with charged it single mindedness that only he could possess. His blow while impressive did not seem very effective and it was soon revealed that he was fighting another skeleton. Gerran and Alcher felt their odds of survival drop as they realized they were facing a lich. Ike saw another group of skeletons emerging from an unknown hallway behind the throne and they moved to engage the prince and his remaining guard. The party’s prospects were looking grim but fortunately Ike was not easily intimidated or maybe he just did not possess the reasoning skills to be. He readied another swing and despite the blasts of necrotic energy from the lich that left him weakened and withered he presses onward striking blow after blow. Gerran and Alcher let loose a brutal barrage of explosives, scorching rays, and lighting bolts that along with the damage dealt by Oolog and Lane was enough to destroy their foes. Miria frantically channeled energy to revive her battered comrades before they rushed off to engage the lich. Their involvement was not necessary as Ike destroyed the lich with a mighty blow. With the lich defeated the remaining animated skeletons collapsed to the ground, followed a moment later by Ike who was struggling to stand after all the wounds he received. Miria rushed to him and used the last of her abilities to heal him.

As Miria was pulling Ike back from deaths loving embrace, the rest of the party busied themselves by seeing to the other survivors. Oolog frantically chopped at the ice dome and was suprised to see that the captive archer was in fact Charney and that he was still alive. The rest of the party to the throne and found a wearied Quinn was surveying the damage, he asked that the party accompany him outside to see the state of the rest of the city. The survivors made their way outside of the Alabaater Court and the prince was grief stricken by all the damage done to his city by the Syndicate and their allies. The prince spoke that while he knew that there was no way to eradicate the criminal element in the city he thought that they could at least be controlled, he had paid grievously for that belief and he would not allow it to happen again. He offered the party whatever boon he could offer them for their service to Redwater. While the rest of the party asked for expected item such as gear or wealth, oddly enough Gerran asked for nothing, it was Ike who asked for a parcel of land to build a castle and a peerage. The prince obliged him and in a short ceremony he knighted the fighter and thus he was now Sir Ike.

As the sounds of victory and celebration spread through the city Gerran and Alcher pooled their knowledge about liches. They soon surmised that this was only a temporary setback as the lich would reform in a few days at the location of its phylactery, and there was no way to know where that was. They had to somehow determine who the lich was in order to find some clue as to his whereabouts and destroy him while he was still weak.

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March of the Wooden Soldiers

After their last encounter with the Syndicate the party realized that they were up to their eyes in a power grab by the Syndicate to take control of the city of Redwater. They needed more information about where the actual golems were placed and not the sculpted forgeries. Their only option was Odor’s, if there was any type of magical item that could detect golems, then he would have it. As they were makingtheir way to the Midmarket ward they came across Oolog who had taken care of his personal matter. The party quickly informed him of their recent exploits and the threat that they were now investigating. Oolog offered his keen Dwarven insight.

“Lets just gather up the statues and light them on fire.” He offered.

“Then they would get up and start walking around the city while on fire and we don’t know which ones are golems and which ones are statues. Four of them gave us a hard fight, just imagine what twenty or so would do to us. " Gerran offered.

“Oh, okay.” Oolog replied.

Upon their arrival at Odor’s they explained the basics of their request to the eccentric owner, who seemed to have developed a new twitch since their last visit. He returned with a pair of amulets that he promised would be able to detect the presence of any type of golem, and thanks to Miria’s excellent negotiation skills they were able to procure them for an excellent price. Gerran and Oolog donned the amulets and they set out through the city wards to locate the real golems.

After their scouting mission they took a short rest to prepare and recover spells before they reported back to Guard Captain Ogren at the Barracks. He was eager to hear about their findings and the party shared the locations of the real golems, Ogren was very upset to hear that most of the golems were located in the Blocks, the area that was his direct responsibility. Ogren stopped the discussion and had the party follow him to met the Casica Vrel, the Guard Commander of the Redwatch, and apprise her of the situation. The party knew little of Commander Vrel other then that she was young, at least in terms of an elf, and she was an excellent commander and well respected by the Redwatch, though there was a rumor she was in a relationship with Quinn Grey, the prince of this city. They soon arrived at her office and Ogren made the introductions and the group retold of their experiences with the Syndicate. She immediately called for the Redwatch to be deployed in force and to destroy the statues. She would depart for the Alabaster Court and personally brief the Prince as to the state of affairs. Lane asked as to what the party could do to aid their efforts.

“You have done enough but I am sure you will find someway to contribute.” Casica replied.

Gerran addressed the party, “I propose we go see a man about a bird.” Ogren and Oolog looked confused at the odd statement but the rest of the party nodded in agreement and departed.

It only took a short while to travel from the Barracks to Grahm’s Imports and the owner was surprised to see them still breathing, and after a few tense moments he agreed to contact Tomwise Paval with a magical sending so they could have a polite discussion. Gerran and Alcher both made sure the scroll that was being used was one of sending and not a destructive spell, and a reply came a few moments later from Tomwise Pavel saying that he would be there shortly to discuss matters. A few moments later he arrived and there was a tense standoff as he tried his best to intimidate the party with veiled threats that there other things that the party should see to.

Ike was barely keeping his temper in check while Pavel insulted and attempted to intimidate the party, the insults were largely ignored but somehow this one man was able to intimidate the party. He was no mere lackey this was someone who was used to power and not afraid to get his hands dirty. With a final sneer at the party he simply turned away and walked outside. Ike suddenly felt a bizarre compulsion and fled the building, right past a waiting squad of Syndicate enforcers. He was stabbed several times but was compelled to keep running for a nearby fountain.

The party jolted into action as Lane turned her gaze on Grahm and learned in an instant that he was just as vile as Pavel, greed from any sense of moral objection she drew her blade and prepared to strike him down. Oolog and Gerran moved to join the paladin while Alcher drank an invisibility potion and made to sneak out a nearby window. Ike had jumped into a nearby fountain and after a few moments his mind cleared and began to reclaim his wits. Grahm revealed himself to be a mage as he attempted to cast a spell at Oolog but the raging dwarf was able to shake off the effects and countered with an axe blow that splintered Grahm’s head. With the threat ended inside the shop Lane moved outside the entrance and was attacked by the same foes that had attacked Ike. Alcher had made his way out through a nearby window and surveyed the area, Ike had recovered his wits and was preparing to rejoin the fight and Pavel was some distance away now wearing plate armor but Ike still charged straight for him and struck a mighty blow. Lane was quickly surrounded by a quartet of enforcers and was barely holding her own. Alcher quickly prepare an explosive and lobbed it at the enforcers, it exploded magnificently causing harm to them all but avoiding Lane. He was to quick to celebrate his victory as a volley of spikes for a newly arrived manticore impaled him through his chest. The new arrival was soon joined by a large minotaur who moved to protect Pavel.

With the party scattered things looked bleak, but Oolog was able to fight his way to Lane and the two fought back to back striking down the enforcers. Alcher was impaled again by another volley of spikes and the manticore landed to fight or eat the gnome on foot. Ike leaped from the fountain and bellowed a warcry while charging to save his small companion from the manticore’s gullet. Gerran was casting a spell upon himself and placed the stuffed falcon on top of Grahms corpse before he exited the building through a different window to attack the enemy from behind. Miria left the building through the same window that Alcher had earlier and gasped at the sight of the impaled gnome. She quickly began channeling energy to keep him from passing out from trauma. Ike was able to slay the beast before it could deliver the final blow to Alcher. Pavel had healed himself from Ike’s blow and cast a vile spell that struck Oolog causing great pain. The battle raged back and forth between the enforcers and Ike and Lane. The pair were finally able to take them down but they had suffered greatly in the process, fortunately Miria was able to heal their wounds. Ike seeing the manticore dead turned to charge the minotaur that was advancing towards the battered pair of Lane and Oolog. Gerran had rounded the corner unseen and prepared to engage Pavel. The minotaur and Ike exchanged savage blows that would have killed lesser beings, but in the end Ike emerged triumphant and Pavel dropped to the ground gravely wounded from Gerran’s blade and spells. As the battle rush ended they all became aware of something odd, there had been no golems in their fight, just where were they?

They soon heard the sounds of battle resonating throughout out the city and they had their answer. They were already being used to attack other areas of the city, they could tell that the nearest battle was taking place at the Alabaster Courts. The group grabbed the barely alive Pavel and made way tthere as fast as the could. They arrived to find Nessa and a few of her mercenaries standing guard outside the broken gates with a fair number of dead syndicate enforcers around them. She had no idea what it was that ripped open the gates but there was another syndicate squad on the way. She and her men would hold them off while the party moved inside the court and investigate the fate of the prince and his inner circle. Gerran pointed to the battered body of Pavel and remarked, “This is the real one.”

Nessa casually walked over and began savagely kicking but not killing him. She thanked the party and returned to her men. The party moved through the broken gates and became aware of a loud crashing sound as they moved into the courts it became louder and louder until they reached the heart of the fortress and saw a large earth elemental battering a tower entrance while 4 wooden golems stood guard. Others might have been intimidated by their foes but the party merely charged their foes. Ike savagely reduced a wooden golem to splinters with a single blow, Gerran slew another golem with a combination of spells and sword work. The rest of the party turned their attention towards the elemental and remaining golems. Alcher let loose another barrage of bombs but was struck by the elemental with such force it nearly killed him. He retreated behind Oolog and Lane while Miria frantically healed him. Gerran cast a lighting bolt at the elemental while Ike engaged the last of the golems. The creature was finally slain thanks to a combination of Oolog and Lane as Ike slew the last golem. The tower was still sealed but they were safe for now.

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