Shades of Grey

We still haven't found what we're looking for....yet

The battle had drained the party and had very nearly reduced Ike to a chew toy but they all agreed to continue the search for Charney’s possessions. It was a task that the group was ill suited for, they lacked any type of divination magic and were forced to rely on Charney’s fragmented memory of his traumatic abduction. He remembered being dragged underwater, his stay in the cave carved out of the dam, and a large pile of rocks stacked one on top of the other. Gerran identified it as a cairn of some sort and Alcher was able to deduce that it must be located on the western edge of the fens as they had traveled the length of the eastern shore and seen no cairns. The problem was there were now on the eastern side of the dam and would have to cross it again. Ike offered to let the party rest in his pavilion for the night and set off the next morning for the cairn, Lane and Oolog offered to keep watch and guard the camp site while they set off the next morning.

Ike, Miria, Charney, Alcher, and Gerran set off in the morning relying upon Miria’s magic to cross the chasm between the broken halves of the dam and set off following the western shore of the fens. The countryside became more and more rocky as they traveled and by midday they came upon a large cairn dominating the landscape, Charney was convinced that this was the place from his memories. The group spread out searching the area and soon discovered large clawed footprints easily visible upon the soil leading to the nearby shore before vanishing into the swamp. Miria and Alcher also discovered the presence of a large sinkhole near the cairn, they quickly deduced that there was a large chamber beneath the surface. As they pondered their next course of action Ike jumped into the sinkhole and began to dig, eagerly shoveling the soil out of the sinkhole and refused to be swayed by any attempts to dissuade him from his plan. “Ike doesn’t need logic!”

Charney was completely bewildered by Ike’s actions and sought out Gerran and Alcher demanding an explanation just to who it was they were working with. Alcher explained how they met in the fens and their connection to Odar and that Ike was really the source behind all of the stories involving a eccentric but mighty warrior who lived outside of Redwater. Charney took a moment to process this new kernel of information about their new companion and compared it with the notorious stories that he had heard in the taverns of the quay and the blocks. he glanced back at Ike who was joyfully digging away with the black dragons severed head resting on his own and now whistling a tune. “I can’t believe that he is actually real.” He remarked.

“Neither can we.” Gerran and Alcher remarked simultaneously.

As the trio were discussing matters Miria grew curious and began to make her way stealthily tolisten to their conversation, but alas was unable to hear any of it. Charney set off to relax for a short break while Gerran and Alcher tried to come up with an alternative to using Ike to reach the cavern below. It was then that everyone in the area began to hear a lovely melody as Miria began to play her harp, it was done with such skill and grace that even Ike stopped his single minded digging to listen and when she finally finished her impromptu concert everyone noticed a lone figure walking towards them from the west.

He announced himself to be a druid from a settlement of the Amber glow elves who lived to the northwest along the fens om a region called the Amber Glow, due to the odd phosphorescent nature of the area. As he came closer it was easy to see that he was an elf and that it was plain to see that he would be handle himself in a fight. Miria asked what brought him so far from his home and he explained that he was investigating rumors of odd beasts in the fens. Alcher quickly spun a tale of their exploits, at first he was not convinced but then he caught sight of Ike’s odd choice in hat-wear and was convinced. He was grateful for what they had done and how they had indirectly aided his people against the dangers of the area and offered to help them in some way for their actions.

Alcher noted that they had not been able to find the dragon’s lair but that he was fairly convinced that it had an underwater entrance to it based on the information he had uncovered and the large footprints leading to the the edge of the swamp. The druid eagerly agreed to help and after rousing Ike from his hole cast water breathing upon the party and wished them well before departing back to join his people and inform them of the death of the dragon and sever other worrisome monsters.

Gerran cast light on Ike’s sword to provide illumination underwater and trying not to think of what they would be walking through and swimming through they entered the swamp. After a short journey under the surface of the swamp they came across a large tunnel that lead deep underground. and eventually opened into a large pocket of air in a cavern. They surmised by their movements that they were almost directly under the cairn by about 50 feet or so, as Ike’s sword illuminated more of the cavern they found a sizable collection of wealth and more importantly Charney’s pants and other clothes. There were several items that were not from the estate which the party helped themselves to as well as a mysterious orb that Gerran nor Alcher could identify. Miria and Ike claimed it as the thing that they were sent to retrieve by Odar and substantially wealthier and now with Charney no longer wearing a dress they set off for their camp and eventually back to Redwater.

The group reunited with Lane and Oolog at camp and set off for the return trip to Redwater, the trip was surprisingly pleasant with nothing happening on their return to Redwater. As they neared the gates Charney thanked the party for all that they had done for him and wished them well as he would have to take care of his affairs regarding his rights as a noble and settling himself into this new life…before he left though he suggested that they party pay a visit to a certain house in the blocks. “There might be someone there that they were looking for.” he remarked before entering the city.

Exhausted from their time in the Fens the group scattered but agree to meet up in a few days after they had taken care of their various matters and some R & R. Miria and Ike set off to see Odar and presented them with the orb, and the tale behind the recovery of it. To which he was incredibly excited and even more so when he was told that they had been unable to identify it. Odar carefully spent several minutes examining it before bursting out in joyous laughter. Ike and Miria quickly asked what the orb was, and Odar’s reply was, “I have no idea! This is perftect!” He then rewarded them most generously.

Gerran and Alcher set off for the Chartered Company compound and sought out Mok Wan to procure a wagon and tanner for a return trip to the fens to harvest the scales from the black dragon and then sell them. The trip there and back was boring and much appreciated after their previous time in the Fens and after a few days were back in Redwater selling the scales except for a few they kept for themselves. Alcher was content with a single large scale that he plans for making into an eyepatch while Gerran comissioned a scabbard for his blade. They both set off for the Eagle’s Nest to enjoy a nice beverage and then meet up with the rest of the party.

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We're going to need a bigger floating disc!

Regrouping at their camp the party quickly decided to set out for the remnants of the dam that was located to the southwest, it was the only structure large enough to serve as a possible lair for the dragon and the likely location of Charney. It was not possible to travel directly to the dam because of the fens, they decided to skirt the eastern edge until they reached higher ground and then move onto the dam. Rommel would remain on guard at their camp while they pressed on what they hoped to be a simple search and rescue. It would take most of the day before they emerged from the fens onto solid ground and began to see the remnants of the dam, the center had been washed away leaving a gap of over a hundred feet. As they made their way down the slope to the shoreline a few members of the group hear a faint call for help.

It took several moments but soon all were able to hear the frantic call for help that was coming from Charney. It took several moments of carefully examining the landscape but they finally saw him, he had been placed in a shallow cave carved out of the western side of the dam it seemed that their search was over but as the group made their way down to the edge of the water Charney began frantically screaming to stay away from the water. The group retreated from the shore and moved back up the slope and began looking for whatever it was that had frightened Charney so horribly but they could see nothing. Gerran thought it might be a lingering traumatic memory of the various traumatic events that Charney had gone through over the past days, what with the Ettin attack, his abduction by the Chuuls, and his likely interogation by the black dragon that they had recently faced it seemed likely that Charney had reached a breaking point and could just be seeing things that weren’t there…still though there could be something to his frantic warnings.

Miria offered to levitate herself and a few volunteers to retrieve Charney but she could only keep them aloft she could not move them through the air. With a plan in mind, Miria, Alcher, and Gerran made their way to the top of their side of the crumbling dam, while Ike, Oolog and Lane stayed at the top of the slope. Miria anchored a line of rope on their side and then launched the rope to the other side of the gap to the western portion of the dam. After a few cursory tugs to make sure that the rope was secure the trio were levitated by Miria and began to pull themselves across the gap while their comrades watched, it took several moments but they were able to make it across and Miria lowered them down to the cave where Charney was held. The dragon had taken all of his possessions and left him there to guarantee access to his familys manor for whatever treasure remained. Miria tried to explain that the threat of the dragon was gone but Charney kept staring at the water below them and began to describe the massive beast that dwelt in the water below. As the quartet looked down they noticed something big was moving beneath the surface of the water some 60 feet below. Miria quickly levitated them quickly back up to the rope and they began to pull themselves across the chasm as the dark shape beneath the water kept moving close to the shore and finally the beast broke the surface revealing itself to a huge reptile!

The beast was so massive, it must have measured at least 50 or 60 feet from snout to tail and for a moment Gerran thought it was another dragon until Alcher remaked, “That is the largest gator or crock I have ever seen…I wish i could remember how to tell them apart.”

“Is there a difference between the two?” Gerran asked.

“One has a large mouth then the other.” he replied.

As the two friends were conversing about the situation Charney seemed a a few moments away from a nervous breakdown upon seeing the beast, though he was relieved to be high up in the air away from the beast. Miria frantically began pulling herself along the rope in a desperate attempt to reach their comrades on the ground before the beast….it was a race she was going to lose. Gerran paused a moment to cast a spell upon himself as he feared that he would be soon be forced to fight the beast in melee if his comrades fell. The trio on the ground were not caught aware as the huge gator pulled itself onto the shore and sped up the slope to devour them, Ike stood defiantly in front of the beast and striking a heroic pose and bellowed, “You shall not blow me!” Oolog and Lane could only stare in confusion at his battle cry but their confusion was short lived as battle was joined.

Ike found himself the first target after he missed with his swing and was savaged by the beast as he was reduced to a chew toy after a horrific bite, Oolog rushed and narrowly avoided a slash from a claw large then him but failed to hit. Lane attacked the other side and was able to score a hit but a hit but the beast paid it no mind as it continued to attack Ike. The airborne party members had been moving as fast as they could across the chasm, Gerran was the only one who was in range and frantically cast a lightening bolt which struck the beast causing it to howl in pain. Charney, Miria, and Alcher frantically moved along the rope in hopes of either getting in range or putting their feet on solid ground. The battle on the ground continued with Ike being reduced to little more then a chew toy. He refused to back away and cried out, “Ike doesn’t retreat!” Lane frantically tried to heal him with her lay on hands abilty but he was far all intense purposes a dead man walking or a soon to be gator snack.

What Alcher lack in size he made up for in speed and he was finally in range to being bombarding the beast with explosives and light it on fire, Gerran followed suit and unleashed a pair of scorching rays upon it that nearly burned holes clear through. While it convulsed in pain Oolog landed a blow that ripped a bloody furrow along its side. The beast ceased its efforts to chew Ike and tried to devour Oolog but he avoided the worst of the damage. Gerran dealt the final blow with another pair of scorching rays that finally caused the beast to fall…it was not dead and Lane would let none torture the creature as it was animal and not intrinsically evil, she climbed ontop of the creatures skull and with great effort drove her blade into the creatures brain ending its life.

Miria frantically began pouring healing energy into Ike who to the amaze of all was still alive and moving, after she had spent the majority of her healing energy into him he was back to normal, or as normal as Ike could be, she used her remaining energy to heal Lane and Oolog. Both were grateful and had fortunately taken little damage as Ike had occupied almost all of the beasts attention. They all agreed to rest and then continue there search for the dragon’s lair.

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Did everyone remember to pack their acid proof undies?

Standing knee deep in the muck that was the fens, or floating on a disc as was the case with Alcher, the mixed group stared each other down. Lane, Gerran, and Alcher were startled by the new trio after the surviving chuul had escaped with Charney as a captive. Fortunately Oolog choose that moment to emerge from the the brush and joined the gathering, he explained the the trio had been following him since he set off to join the rest of the party and clear his head from the horrific hangover he had suffered from. When asked how he had been able to walk all the way from Redwater, he replied, “That he just kept walking.” “King” Ike explained that he and his traveling companion Miria, who served as the official ambassador for the land of Land, and Rommel an associate of Oder. They had traveled to the sunken city at the urging of Oder to find something there and then bring it back to him. Gerran quickly convinced “King” Ike to aid them in rescuing their missing comrade, Alcher rolled his eyes as Gerran embellished their tale with such outright lies and misdirection that only a fool would believe it, thankfully “King” Ike was that kind of fool. Miria rolled her eyes but was unable to restrain the enthusiasm that gripped Ike as he raised his mighty sword and set off to charge further into the swamp.

Gerran could not believe that his story had worked, neither could Alcher, Lane had exhausted her powers for the day and after healing the last of Gerran and Alcher’s injuries volunteered to stay on the edge of the swamp and keep watch over the horses. Rommel volunteered to stay and keep watch with her. The quintent set off into the swamp with Ike attempting to lead the way but fortunately Oolog was able to find the trail that the fleeing chuul had left and the quartet set off. Mira explained how Ike was convinced he was the rightful king of his “land”, and by that she meant a small plot of land with a hut and partial moat. She further explained that he had worked for Oder as a cursed magical item inspector and that contributed to his various quirks but that he was every bit the warrior that he portrayed himself to be, and that she herself was an oracle well versed in healing but haunted by various things…nothing to dangerous just annoying so far.

After a short while of traveling deeper and deeper into the fens they were attacked by three chuul, the battle was as vicious as their last encounter with no quarter being asked and none given by either side. This time however the advantage was with the party as any who were affected were able to shake off the paralysis poison and Miria was able to channel healing power that negated the damage dealt to the party. Ike and Oolog dealt savage blows to the chuuls while Gerran and Alcher provided support. After the final blow was dealt to the last chuul the group glanced a shape flying through the air towards them, that kept getting larger and larger as it approached. Gerran and Alcher realized that it was a black dragon. Ike was greatly excited by this as he planned how the skull would adorn his dwelling, the rest of the group was more subdued as they frantically prepared for the arrival. Gerran quickly cast a spell that made Miria invisible, while he and Alcher enhanced their abilities through magical and alchemical means. Oolog was debating between his crossbow and axe while Ike began yelling insults and taunted the dragon…everyone wisely stepped away from him after that.

The battle began as many expected…with a cone of acid aimed right at Ike! He took full damage from the breath of acid and unfortunately Oolog found himself just on the edge of it but was able to avoid the worst of it as the black dragon plummeted in front of them. Ike and Oolog wasted no time in counter attacking the dragon while Mira began channeling energy to keep the burned fighters alive. Alcher backed away from melee and began carefully lobbing explosives at the beast, while Gerran dashed around to attack the dragon from behind. The dragon responded with a fully bevy of attacks at Oolog and Ike before taking flight and leaving the battleground…only to return several moments later with its wounds healed and began mauling the fighters again. The battle continued back and forth as the dragon would deal damage to the party, Miria would frantically heal them, as the dragon would then take flight to heal. The dragon battered but not dead demanded a parley. It stated that it had underestimated the party and that it wanted no more of their quarrel. When asked about the fate of Charney it replied that its minions had captured him to gain access to the house with wooden statues and claim the treasure within the walls. The dragon scoffed at Mira commenting that even invisible she was visible to the dragon. Gerran took this time to demand the return of Charney while Ike demanded that the dragon become his mount. That was to much for the chaotically evil dragon and it reared up to attack once more and met its end at Ike’s blade as he beheaded the dragon with one blow.

Ike posed triumphantly and claimed the severed head as his trophy. The rest of the group was less enthusiastic, with the dragon slain they were left alone in a large swamp with their lead on the location on Charney dead and nightfall fast aproaching. They had slain many chuuls but no one knew how many remained or what had been stirred from other lairs by their battle against the dragon.

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Interlude part 2:There is something I want over there, I don't know what it is but it is over there..go get it

A trio had been summoned to Oder’s Oddities by the proprietor for a vague task, news had reached him of an expedition to the sunken city by acquaintances and he wanted the trio to join them and bring something back. Oder was not sure what it was he wanted, just that it was in the sunken city. The trio consisted of Ike, a somewhat delusional test subject of Oder’s items but while delusional was a mighty human warrior wielding an immense blade. Miria, an asimar oracle of the traveling god and had become a traveling companion to Ike fearing for his safety and his addled state. Rommel, was not known to the other two, he was a human warrior but unlike Ike wielded a guisarme and was heavily armored. He was an acquaintance of Nessa but not a full member of her band. The trio agreed to take the road to the north and would depart the next morning.

The trio traveled on the North Road to the nearby town of Reeger, they had agreed that it was pointless to travel through the night in the wilds. They arrived at the inn and began haggling with the innkeeper for a room. Ike struggled with the concept of paying less then five gold for the night, Rommel was more persuasive and paid only a gold piece, while the Miria was able to achieve the preferred rate. After a good meal they set off the next morning. As they neared the sunken city they encountered fewer and fewer travelers and as they passed the Iron Hills they were soon the only travelers on the road. Soon Ike was regaling them with stories of the Land of Land and his mighty dwelling in his castle by that he meant the 5 foot deep pit that he had dug inside of the hut where he dwelt. He had been the subject of one to many test the cursed magical item request by Oder. They had traveled as far as they were able to during the day and found a relatively safe area to take shelter for the night, they found a copse of trees to paddock their horses for the night, they arranged a watch and tried to get some rest before venturing into the swamp the following day.

It was a peaceful night and nothing drew their attention away from their small campfire and their own thoughts about the coming day, thankfully their horses were far more observant and were able to warn them of an approaching threat. A pair of ettins were stealthily moving towards the camps site! With the party roused by their horses they charged into combat with Rommel and Ike each heading for a different ettin. Rommel attempted to trip the first one with his guisarme but failed horribly, Ike charged for the other screaming out “Ike doesn’t afraid!” and struck a mighty blow and was then struck twice in return by the ettin. Rommel was bashed by the other ettin but not as badly. Miria made her way and began healing the pairs wounds as they traded blows with their much larger opponents. Rommel finally succeed in tripping his foes and dealt it a savage blow as it scrambled on the ground. Ike screamed out, “For Land!” and stuck another blow but both Ettins kept soaking up damage and dealing it back towards the pair. Miria kept channeling energy back into the pair keeping them alive as they were battered back and forth. The ettin that was bashing Ike began moving towards Miria, fortunately Ike was able to deal the last blow to knock it down. The remaining ettin was tripped again by Rommel and after several blows finally collapsed.

After the battle the group was on edge and the oracle was exhausted, Ike volunteered to keep watch for the rest of the night and he amused himself by scaring off a pack of wolves that had approached the corpses of the ettins with a mighty roar. After Miria recovered her spells the trio set off late the next morning for the swamp, after several hours they arrived at the edge of the swamp and found several horses tied to a rough paddock and heard the sounds of battle coming from the edge of the the swamp and saw a group fighting off two large beasts that had massive claws for arms and tentacles hanging from their mouths. Ike screamed out, “For Land!” and charged to join the fray accompanied by Miria with Rommel a step behind.

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Helping a kidnapper to loot his ancestral manor.

The group left the smiling horizon monastery to meet up with Charney at the Redwater Tannery and discuss his offer to rescue Ren, the missing boy from the orphanage. They found him talking ot Kire Arrowstorm, the owner of the tannery and a retired ranger of some some renown. Charney explained that he was grateful that the party had not turned him in for kidnapping and that if they helped him with a small matter he would be in a position to help them to retrieve the boy. Charney explain that his family was descended from nobility but all evidence of their claims was left in their ancestral manor when the family fled the flooding of the city to the northwest. If the party accompanied him to the sunken ruins and helped him to retrieve evidence of his birthright, well he would be able to help them. Lane and Alcher each tried to sense the truth behind his words and were surprised that he was telling them the truth.
He further explained the risks that they would face, what had once been a lake had been turned into a large swamp that had spread through the city, and his family kept old stories of wooden golems keeping watch over the estate. The stories stated that they would not harm any of the family or their companions. They party agreed to accompany him and they debated on the best way to reach the sunken city,. The Road ot thew est was in much better repair but it would take them much longer to reach the city, the road to the north was in poorer repair but it would shave a day off of their journey. After much discussion they chose the northern road. Charney then bid them a good night and that they should meet him on the north road outside of the city.

Before they turned in for the night the group set off to learn about what they might face in the swamps and fens that covered the sunken city, they arrived at the Eagles Nest and learned from some of the occupants that there were stories from the area about living trees wandering the fens and that there were stories of people being pulled underwater by unseen beasts and vanishing beneath the water. The flood that destroyed the city was caused by the destruction of a dam that caused the area to flood and forced the survivors to evacuate to Redwater. They set off to resupply and procure some horses before setting off in in the morning.

True to his word Charney was waiting for them outside the city gates and they began the first day of their journey, Charney kept scanning their surroundings looking for trouble, he explained that they were not in the city anymore and beast could emerge at a moments notice. The day still passed without any problems and they were able to reach the small town of Reeger by nightfall. The found lodging in the inn and though they believed that their horses received better care then they did they set off the next morning, they passed the Iron Hills but began to see fewer and fewer travelers along the road until they were the only ones as the road became less and less maintained. They found the best possible shelter they could and settled down for the night with watches being assigned. It was a quiet night and Alcher was keeping watch while puffing away a concoction known only to him when he saw large shapes moving in the distance trying to move up unseen, but Alcher was able to spot them and was shocked that each beast seemed to have two heads. He stealthily made his way to his group members and alerted them to the danger. None of them were wearing their armor but they quickly armed themselves for the beasts attack.

The beasts each lobbed a javelin that struck Lane and Charney. Lane responded with a warcry and charged the beasts with her sword drawn. She struck the closest monetarilly unarmed ettin deeply but the beast lumbered on. Charney was shocked by the sight of the beast and the trauma he had received but steeled himself and began firing arrows at the beast not engaged with Lane. Gerran began conjuring a rolling sphere of fire that lunged for the beasts, but they were surprisingly nimble and dodged it. Alcher reached for one of him more potent potions and joyfully began to bombard the beasts from his perch on top of the fallen tree. Seeming unfazed by the barrage of arrows and explosions the ettins drew large wooden clubs and nimble avoided the flaming sphere to engage Lane, Gerran, and Charney in a brutal melee. Lane was able to dodge the mighty swing while Charney was struck and staggered back trying to get out of range of the club. Alcher lobbed a special grenade at the ettin clobbering Charney and set it ablaze, which only seemed to irritate it and draw its attention. Alcher watched in horror as the ettin charged towards his perch and struck him, so Alcher bravely jumped down putting the fallen tree between him and the beast and hid.

The brutal melee between Lane and the other ettin ended with a triumphant but badly injured Lane, she paused only for a moment then charged the remaining ettin while Charney stumbled around trying to regain his bearings. Gerran cursed the fates as the already engulfed ettin continued to nimbly dodge the sphere of fire. The ettin turned to attack Lane again but missed thankfully and soon collapsed after a dual assault from Lane and Charney. Alcher emerged from his hiding spot drinking a potion and Lane used one of here wands to heal Charney Gerran and herself. With their wounds mended Alcher and Lane resumed their rest while Gerran, joined a jittery Charney who could not believe at what had just happened to them and that they were still alive. The fights that he had been a part of in the city were nothing compared to what happened outside the walls.The two spent the rest of the night wide awake as Charney seemed to jump at every noise he heard. Morning came and Charney was creating an extravagant breakfast from their supplies, after last night he refused to travel without a good breakfast because if he was going to die he was not going to die hungry. The rest of the group was offered to join as well and they enjoyed the meal before mounting their horses and setting off for the fens and finally the sunken city.

By midday they had reached the edge of the fens and had to leave their horses behind for fear of laming them in the unstable ground, scanning across the fens they could see some type of beast flying in the distance over the fens and after securing them to trees and logs on the edge of the fens they began their trek as stealthily as they could. The ground quickly turned to mush and they were soon in water up to their knees. Alcher would already have drowned if not for Gerran creating a floating disc for the gnome to occupy well above the water and to keep an eye on the surrounding area. After an hour or so of marching they arrived at the ruins of the city and made their way to Charney;s family estate. The grounds were littered with many amazingly carved wooden statues that strangely enough had no moss or lichen growing on them. They grew in number until they finally came upon a pair guarding the main entrance to the estate. Charney marched up to them and announced his lineage and requested entrance for himself and companions, and waited for a response or for something to happen….yet nothing did. He tentatively took a step forward and opened the door and keeping a watchful eye on the statues crossed the threshold and waited for something to happen. After several moments and still nothing had changed Charney stepped into the estate proper and yelled for the party to follow. Once they were all inside Alcher asked Charney what they were looking for to prove his nobility. He replied, “I’ll know it when I see it.”

After scouring the grounds they came upon a sealed door flanked by more wooden statues, Charney removed a key from a satchel and with great exertion opened the door revealing a vault with a small fortune. Charney could not believe the wealth displayed along with a various weapons and armor. He quickly began to place the items in his bag that did not change in size as more and more items were added to it. He glanced up and sheepishly remarked to the others, “You do understand this is my inheritance and I will need it to establish myself so that I may be of aid to you.” Lane replied that we came to aid you and we will follow our agreement. Charney was grateful and after he had finished with retrieving his inheritance set off for the entrance. Alcher however spotted a very ornate bracelet which had been left behind by Charney. With their task completed they set out after Charney catching up to him before he left the estate. It was still in the afternoon and they did not want to stay in the fens for the night, they agreed that if they pushed themselves they could be out of the fens before dusk. Charney was enthusiastically leading the party out of the fens. Alcher returned to his position on his floating disc and they began their journey out of the fens, unaware that something was watching them.

Alcher somehow glanced a bizare ripple moving through the water nearby the party and yelled a warning as two bizarre amphibians rose from the muck and attacked them. In broken common one blurted out seize the lordling! The beasts wielded no weapons but their arms ended in huge claws large enough to easily grasp a grown man, and tentacles hung out of their mouths. The pair quickly closed on the party and lunged for Charney. Gerran realized that these beasts where called Chuuls and were not to be underestimated, but before he could warn the party they attacked. Lane held one at bay but its tentacles struck her and for a moment she was paralyzed but then it faded, Charney was not so lucky as he suddenly froze with a look of horror in his eyes the other beast lunged forward. Gerran and Alcher unleashed spellfire and explosives upon one the pair and drew its attention away from Chareny, leaving Lane along with her foe as they traded blows.

Gerran and Alcher fared worse then Lane as Alcher found himself completely overwhelmed by the beast, while it could not land a blow on the nimble gnome. Alcher was for more susceptible to the paralysis then Lane and was soon being eaten alive by the Chuul. Gerran charged forward unwilling to let his comrade die and charged his speels through his sword striking serious blows and trying to force the beast to release his comrade. With no other option left after trading blows with it, he was forced to unleash a blast of fire and engulfed the chuul and thankfully avoided Alcher, but it was not enough to kill it as it staggered forward and slashed Gerran and caught him between his claws squeezing the life out of him. With barely any life left Gerran smiled as it raised him face to face and then breathed out a blast of fire and slew the chuul, the claw went slack and he stood uncertainly. the remaining chuul lunged forward ignoring Lane and grabbed Charney before fleeing into the water. Lane could not keep pace in her armor and quickly dropped her sword and drew her bow and fired off two desperate shots and while they both hit the chuul fled deeper into the fens. Sometime later the paralsis wore off Alcher and they healed themselves but were left with little time to plan their next moves as night would be falling soon.

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Making new friends over interrogations

With their reward in hand the group set off for a well deserved drink at the Falcon’s Nest, only to find it completely overran by graduates from the academy who were getting sloshed out of their minds. They were able to find a table and after a few moments they came across a member of the Smiling Horizon. The monks of the order served as the city mage hunters as well as overseeing a large orphanage which offered vocation training in various fields. Hewas trying to recruit some of the graduates for a task. They gradautes refused saying that it was beyond them and walked away, Alcher made his way over to the man and inquired as to what was the problem. The man revealed himself to be Sivo a monk and refused to say anymore to someone he did not know. Alcher dropped Nessa as a contact and the monk agreed that if she were to couch for them he would trust her world. Nessa was occupying a side room trying her best to ignore the riffraff that invaded her bar, she was more then willing to vouch for the group. He explained that one of his charges had gone missing from the monastery and that he believed that something foul had occurred to him. His possessions had been left behind and the missing boy was enjoying life at the monastery. The boy had been a cut-purse before joining the orphanage and the monk believed that someone in the cartel had kidnapped him. The boy was an orphan so he held no benefit as a hostage for ransom, he had only been at the orphanage for a few weeks and he had been party to no great secrets of the order so the boy could not have been involved in some form of espionage or sabotage. They agreed to help find the boy and return the boy if possible and asked to see the boys room at the orphanage in hopes of finding some clue that the monks had not.

Alcher, Olog, Lane, and Gerran arrived at the orphanage and the monk quickly showed him the missing boys room, a quick search found nothing out of the ordinary until Alcher found a large molar that had been unnoticed by the monks. A quick locate object spell later lead them to a bar deep in Cartel territory called Mugs and Mead. While they may have mugs the mead is not very good. The group entered and kept to themselves having a round or two while their potential target nursed his drink. They witnessed the spectacle of the lead bartender Orden Hardhammer tossing out a customer who had mistreated one of the barmaids. Their target was revealed to be a male human dressed for combat and with a longbow and several other weapons. They waited for several minutes after he had left and tracked him for several minutes until he realized that something was up. Lane had split off from the group to cut off his avenue of escape

Olog sprinted up to catch up to him only to be tripped by their quary, Gerran and Alcher still tried to be diplomatic but their target was not listening and was rapidly drawing an arrow, Just as Lane was rounding a corner and saw Gerran hit by an arrow. She Bellowed out a warcry charged down the street and barely avoided an arrow Alcher was not so lucky. Olog finally pulled himself up and charged the archer and just barely with the flat of his axe. Alcher lobbed a grenade that was fortunately and non-lethal and by the time he recovered Olog and Lane both were upon him with weapons drawn. Their quary dropped his bow and raised his arms in surrender.

His name was Charney and he had been hired by the cartel for the sole purpose of retrieving the boy from the Smiling Horizon Monastery. He did ask how they had been able to find them, an Alcher held up his missing tooth. “Bloody magic.” He replied. That was all they got out of him as a trio of redwatch guardsmen arrived demanding just what the hell was going on. Gerran bluffed their way out saying it was a bargame gone wrong, just tying to catch arrows. The guard did not buy it and demanded that both parties leave in opposite directions. The group returned to the Mugs and Mead, Lane volunteered to stay outside and keep watch. The remaining trio went inside and waited for the crowd to thin out before asking Orden for more information. The crowd thinned out to only a few regulars when they approached Orden again. They explained that the were looking for a missing child. Orden glanced at the picture of the boy they presented and explained that the boy was safe and would stay safe so long as no one was looking for him. The regulars at the end of the bar were now standing up and drawing weapons. Seeing that they were at an impasse the trio took their leave before things got violent.

They were left with no easy solution, the cartel had the boy and were not going to give him up for fear of what he had learned that might be used against them. There was also no way that they would be able to fight their way through the bar and into whatever spider-holes were beneath the tavern. They cordially left tavern, met up with Lane and returned to the Smiling Horizon Monastery and explained to monk Sivo that for the boys own safety the monk had to let him go for fear the cartel would kill him if there was the possibility of people to continue looking for him. Alcher idly mentioned the name Chancey and Sivo reached for a scroll that had been delivered to the temple to be given to the group upon their return from someone named Charney. It stated that Charney was very grateful that they had not turned him in as a kidnapper to the Redwatch and that he might be of some assistance retrieving the boy if they would meet with him.

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Spelunking in the Underdark is ill advised

The group pressed on after their battle with the carrion crawlers, they pressed on exploring the mine coming upon another series of chambers. Another chamber was filled with refuse and an overwhelming stench, as they began to leave one of the piles started to move and from the heap a beast lunged at them. After a few tense moments of combat the beast was dead and after persuading Olog not to dig through the rancid garbage for treasure they returned to the central chamber and before they could decide on their next course of action they were suddenly attacked by a large snake that was blasting them spells. Damage was dealt all round with the party being blasted pretty soundly but in the end they were able to destroy it with a combination of explosions, spells, and good old brute force. The snake had a wealth of magical items that were divided amongst the party and they moved to explore the last chamber that actually turned into a tunnel that lead deeper into the earth. They moved further down and suddenly the ground gave way beneath them, Olog and Lane grasped arms but began to tumble down while Gerran grabbed and held them for a moment as Alcher quickly drank a potion and grabbed Gerran and began to pull the group to safety. Looking down the newly revealed chasm they were horrified to see a pulsating green cube patiently waiting below. They also realized that the tunnel went deeper and deeper into the earth and was actually a connection to the underdark. A place that the group knew was well beyond them. They agreed that they had completed their task and returned through the underwater passageway, without nearly drowning this time, and explained the situation to their employer. Mok Wan was grateful for their assistance and they returned to The Chartered Company to receive their payment.

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interlude

Interlude at the Eagles Nest,

Oolog and Gerran made their way to the Eagles Nest to meet Nessa and inform her of what had happened with their interaction with the syndicate and the package that had been left with them. While Olog was enjoying a drink or cask of ale. Gerran explained that the Syndicate knew that the group had aided Nessa and then showed her the stuffed eagle to Nessa. She was visibly shocked and regarded the situation carefully as she realized that the falcon was actually a death threat against her and that the group had been offered the job. Gerran replied that he had no intention of aiding the Syndicate and offered to aid Nessa in dealing with the mysterious man with the hat that had arranged the contract.

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That's our claim you claim jumpers

With the fallout from the previous adventure raining down on them, the group was uneasy to put it mildly. The Stuffed Falcon was an obvious calling card from the Syndicate and their identities were known to them, the had to find a patron that could provide some protection or they would simply be killed one night. Alcher had fortunately made connections with the Chartered Company and they had a prospective job lined up with Muk Won. The group would investigate and then reclaim an abandoned mine for the Orecrusher clan from goblins. They would be well paid and have the support of the Chartered Company, a group that the Syndicate was loath to challenge. Before they set off the group scattered to take care of personal matters, Lane went to the Red Watch barracks to see how recruiting a possible apprentice and offering her talents as a trainer, Alcher went back to Brewing, Gerran went to the Eagle’s Nest in search of Nessa but was unvailable, and Oolog went shopping.

The morning came and the group set off with Muk to the site of the mine and was shocked to find another group there. A large group of nearly a dozen well armed individuals had rerouted a stream and were in the process of flooding the mine! Neogitations went poorly as the claim jumpers were found to possess a forged deed that they were deceived in purchasing from an operative of the Syndicate, Mr. Grey! They would not listen despite the best diplomatics efforts of the group blood was spilled and the unfortunate claim jumpers were disposed of. All care was taken in care of their burial and the stream was rerouted to the original path and the group prepared to enter the mine. Muk agreed to remain at the mouth of the cave with his guards and make camp.

The damage was done however and the passageway was flooded, Oolog volunteered to go first and navigated the submerged tunnel and safely made his way out and back. The groups efforts to navigate the tunnel were not so successfully as Gerran, Alcher, and Lane nearly drowned because of the slow progress they were forced to make due to the narrow passageway. On their second effort they made it and discovered a chamber with no bodies but plenty of blood.They quickly discovered why as a pair of carrion crawlers lurched towards them!

Battle was swiftly joined and despite several close calls no one in the group was paralyzed from the crawler’s venom and they prepared to rest and then continue their journey into the depths of the mine.

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June 15th So we are going to stop an ambush

The group was summoned to the Eagle’s Nest after Gerran had been gathering some information about the “problems” that had been hounding Nessa’s mercenary company. She had discovered that the Syndicate was behind all of her misfortunes. Their actions had caused great harm to her organization and she had a task for the group. She requested that they ensure the safety of her latest job, she was sending two of her men to serve as bodyguards for a very wealthy dwarf named Hondo Orecrusher, who was buying into the gems business in Redwater. A market currently controlled by the Syndicate, and they wanted no competition.

The group consisted of Layne, Oolog, Alcer, and Gerran and they set out to meet and clear the way for Nessa’s Eagles. After a few hours of travel they came upon a work detail attempting to repair a washed out road, something did not seem right and as Layne & Oolog moved to talk to the Guardsmen and their conscript they were caught in an ambush. The “guards” sent their conscript to talk with Layne and Oolog while Gerran and Alcer stayed some distance behind. While the conscript explained thier presence here both Gerran and Alcer realized this was not standard protocol and as Gerran readied a spell, Oolog and Layne were target by snipers.

The sudden barrage caused Oolog the most harm as he was hit several times and poisoned from crossbow quarrels. Layne was hit for far less and shook off the effects of the poison. The “conscript” was revealed to be a bard and began singing to aid his comrades, the odds were not that bad until a group of three mounted warriors charged out of a hidden cave. The group was caught between the anvil of the “guardsmen” and the hammer of the charging horsemen. This was not a simple ambush this was an extermination squad, Hondo and his bodyguards would stand no chance against this. Oolog was hit again and fortunately his rage kept him alive as he fought back. Gerran unloaded his magic against the bard and Layne held her own against the two guardsmen. Alcer was readying his various grenades and let loose a barrage upon his foes.

The horsemen were well trained and were able to skillfully dodge both spell and weapons while delivering more and more damage to group, Layne and Oolog bore the worst of it while Gerran and Alcer tried to even the playing field. Gerran cast a rolling flaming sphere that forced one of the snipers from his perch while Alcers concoctions made short work of the horsemen. After several hard fought rounds they were all heavily battered but breathing while the lone Syndicate survivor was at their mercy.

He was an amicable sort and after a short discussion cut a deal with them for his freedom in exchange for letting them know about the Syndicate’s backup plan. A large flying beast remained to be taken care of to ensure the survival of Hondo and the prestige of Nessa’s Falcons.He could only provide a vague description of the beast, it was some type of flying animal and bore some resemblance to a lion. After healing as best as they could they set off down the trail in search of the beast, it did not take long.

A manticore soon appeared and announced its presence with a shower of spikes, striking most of the party. The beast delighted in staying out of their range and swooping in to attack isolated members, they had to wear it down through a battle of attrition. Gerran was able to weaken the beast with spells while ALcer blasted it with alchemical explosions, Layne and Oolog both struck it with ranged weapons and soon the beast fell dead. The were left with a health understanding of the Syndicates reach and thoroughness as they arrived back at Redwater. Nessa was shocked at the forces raised against her but was grateful to the group for the success of their mission and rewarded them handsomely.

As they were leaving the Eagles Nest they were approached by a lean individual who identifeid himself as Mr. Grey and wished to talk with them. He said that he had to reprise his opinions of them and that he left a package for them at Grahm’s Imports in the Guilded Wards and merely suggested that they retrieve it and consider the contents. Mr. Grey then departed leaving the group to consider his words. In agreement they set off to retrieve the package and a short while later they arrived at Grahm’s and retrieved the package. They decided to open it immediately were shocked and the contents, inside lay a stuffed falcon.

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