Shades of Grey

The Deepening Shadows
The situation is bad enough the dwarves are asking for help

Several weeks had passed since the defeat of the starspawn, Roth had procured the former site of the cult compound and was transforming it into a temple to his god. Things had calmed down and his comrades were enjoying the spoils of the their victory. As he wandered the streets of Redwater he was set upon by a curious pair of humans, The more fanciful dressed of the pair introduced himself as Averd Hedgewood and was a student of the arcane and his comrade was Fujita a powerful druid. They had been drawn to the city upon hearing of the rumors of the strange happening in the areas. Roth described what had taken place and the climatic battle against the starspawn. The pair were let down they had missed out the climatic battle and as they were preparing to depart Mukwan from the Chartered Company. He rapidly told Roth that he was requested to help deal with a matter, his comrades were unavailable so he remarked to the two humans that if they were looking for a challenge they were welcome to join him. They pair agreed and they followed Mukwan to the chartered company.

Yolanda greeted them and after introductions were made she remarked that the dwarves from Orecrusher Hold were requesting assistance to deal with an issue. Roth knew the situation was desperate if the dwarves were asking for help. For a chance to show up the dwarves Roth could not let that go. The pair of humans eager for adventure joined as they traveled via a portal from the company compound to the dwarven hold. As they emerged from the portal they were met by a dwarf who introduced himself as Purnell and a contact for the Chartered Company.

He described that several dwarves had gone missing and the resulting search parties had also vanished. Whatever was taking the dwarves was beyond their abilities to deal with, the trio agreed and after requesting a detailed description of the area in the mines where the dwarves were going missing they set off. After traveling for several hours they found a region of the mines that were roped off with warning signs advising them to turn around and leave the area. They advanced into the area and soon noticed that the darkness was getting thicker and soon the edge of the area illuminated by their light sources just stopped. They pooled there knowledge and realized that what this was the plane of shadow leaking into this plane.

As they were pondering their options something emerged from the darkness and the sight of the undead startled the group. It was the size of a normal human but Averd realized it was far more than a normal skeleton it was Winterwight and was greatly concerned. Roth channeled his divine power and engaged the undead, the moment he approached it he was racked with pain but he fought through the extreme cold and began attacking it. Fujita transformed into an earth elemental and sank into the ground. The battle went back and forth as the winterwight dealt a horrible wound to Roth and fighting off the effects as dark flames emerged from the wounds. Roth channeled his power healing the wounds and preparing to charge back at the undead. Fujita provided a buffer between the two and forced the undead back into the plane of shadow and Averd let loose a blast of magical fire from a safe distance away.

The undead emerged from the plane of shadow and teleported itself into melee with Avard, The wizards scream in terror and tried to scurry away from the creature. Seeing the danger their comrade was in, Fujita transferred into a fire elemental and engaged with the winterwight while Roth used dimensional hop to engage in melee and after a brutal combat the wight crumbled into dust. As combat ended they realized that the plane of shadow could be forced back by intense light, Averd conjured light at the edge of the intrusion and after traveling through side tunnels they came upon the other edge of the portal. They left another portion of magical light and returned to Purnell and informed him of what had taken place.

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Godfall

So much was hinging on this as the starspawn neared impact. The party prepared as much as they could, Roth went into communion with his god for several days to prepare himself, Booka visited the Arcance tower to fine tone her skills, Reginald began procuring powerful scrolls, and then there was Prince Regent Lord King Ike who boasted of the powers of his pants and they would be instrumental to their victory over the abomination from the stars! They knew the location that the beast would impact, or as close as they could possibly surmise, as they traveled north from Redwater near the town of Wil’s Crossing they prepared for the confrontation.

They pooled their resources bolstering each other with spells and potions, Roth insisted on a Hero’s Feast that even if one of them would meet their gods they would die with a fine meal in their bellies. Reginald had conjured a tower better to observe the surrounding area. They could see the abomination descending from above and before it made impact Bokka roared, " Death awaits us let us not keep it waiting!" Roth and Ike were a step behind. Reginald did not share their enthusiasm and was content to cast spells from a difference until the tower started shaking. It could not be an aftershock and then it happened again, cursing his luck he raced down the stairs after his comrades.

There were no words to describe the abomination as it crawled out of the impact crater, it was crawling towards them. As the charging trio neared suddenly there minds were assaulted by a horrific vision which left Ike Running the other way until he stopped and stared dumbfounded at the sight. Booka and Roth clashed with the beast. As they slashed into the beast they were bashed by their foe. The starspawn opened a portal and a pair of powerful demons emerged that began to pursue Reginald.

Booka raced after the demons to save their comrade while Roth continued to attack the beast, which now was levitating off the ground, Roth resorted to using dimensional hop to approach and slash the beast. Booka was unleashing blade and spellcraft upon the demons with Reginald’s assistance when he was not running away from the demons. Blow by blow they fought back with every ounce of their being. Finally, Ike was able to break out of the mental stupor and after helping Booka fell the remaining demon he charged the starspawn and dealt it a mighty blow that brought about its end. He hefted a severed tentacle into the air and screamed out in victory!

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The Chronicler's End

To storm Fort Egret was not a task that party looked forward to, making the situation more difficult was that Virage had disappeared. Roth thankfully had an old comrade, a hulking half orc named Gord and based on the trophies of slain foes that covered his muscular frame. barbarian was not one to be trifled with. They met with Reginald, Booka, & Eldin and set off for the fort. Reginald offered to teleport them close to their destination. They agreed that there only hope was to strike quickly and for all their sakes not to read anything!

They arrived a short distance from the fort and cautiously approached, but not stealthily enough as they were spotted by six ash giants that waited in ambush! Gord and Roth charged the trio north of them while the rest of the party dealt with the other three. Gord proved his worth as he tore into the giants with reckless abandon! He and Roth felled one after another. The rest of the party did not fair so well as soon the garrison of the fort let loose a barrage of arrows upon them and a figure was soon rising into the air above the fort.

Reginald let loose a blast of arcane power that nearly wiped out the archers but soon a blast of arcane power came from the figure flying above them. That the party could not identify the caster but they could see large draconic wings flapping in the wind. Booka was not one to let a challenge go unanswered and activated her armor and soared into the sky to take the fight to the new enemy.

Eldin concentrated his power on healing the wounds that Reginald was emphatically complaining about and dealing with the remaining ash giants. Between the half orcs engaging them in melee and a very angry druid they did not last long. The party regrouped and entered through the fireball shaped hole in the fort’s wall and prepared to deal with the gnome and end the cult once and for all.

The Chronicler had other plans and began unleashing one scroll after the other on the party. They were grateful that their willpower was strong enough to shake off the effects of his mind control and fell to the combined spell power of Reginald and Eldin. As the Chronicler breathed his last, Booka brought down the dragon disciple with some timely spells thrown by Reginald through the magical rings they shared.

After they were finishing their victory over the last of the cult, they explored the newly liberated fort. They found a number of supplies stolen from beguiled travelers, along with a wealth of correspondence between the prophet and the chronicler describing their plans and further implicating the three noble families of supporting the cult. Their foes slain the party set off to return to Redwater. Reginald began to plan out his future in the city, with the fort needing someone to watch over it, the replacement of some noble families, and of course his reputation for aiding in the defeat of the cult his future was quite bright…all he had to do was survive the coming arrival of the Starchild.

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Hunting the Reaver

Virage, Booka, Reginald, & Roth were gathered with Prince Grey and the now thoroughly charmed prophet for answers. What the prophet answered their questions truthfully his responses left them shaken.

There was no way to summon the Reaver, they would communicate through sendings, he was a powerful spellcaster, but he had no additional protections against spellcasters. Skalls had been the connection between the two, the Reaver had contacted Skalls to kill someone and he made the introductions. There was a s standing agreement for the Reaver to raise the prophet from the dead should he be killed before the arrival of the Starchild.

The Chroniclers name was Varell and he was based out of Fort Egret. The fort was located to far from the city for direct control and as long as written reports arrived there was no reason to suspect anything was amiss. The prophet had taken control of the fort several months ago. The cult had seized control and had been extorting merchant caravans for additional supplies. The chronicler would use his powers to make them forget that anything was amiss or kill any troublemakers.

The nobles that had been supporting the Prophet were Scray, Olafson, and Garrick. They supplied the cult with resources in hopes of seizing control of the city after the chaos subsided.

The prophet then spent several moments describing how their doom was assured when the Starchild arrived.

The prince stated he would deal with the nobles but wanted the party to take care of the remaining elements of the Cult. The party debated the merits of taking care of the Chronicler or the Reaver, eventually they agreed that if the Chronicler was taken out then perhaps the Reaver had an agreement with the Chronicler as well. They knew where to find and went to prepare to travel as quickly and stealthily as possible.

A teleport spell later they find themselves outside the cavern where they had faced the Reaver before. The party agreed that there first priority had to be to keep the blighter druid from fleeing the cavern, they would have to destroy the tree or anchor him to the area. They did not have the resources of the Arcane Tower so they would not attempt to take him alive…they would get the answers from his corpse. They approached as stealthily as possible and Reginald promptly started throwing fireballs into the chamber.

What followed was a vicious melee against the Reaver and his undead minions, and a short lived treant. Reginald continued to cast spells from a safe distance away by using the dimensional rings on Booka and finally the combination of blows from Booka, Virage, and Roth brought the Reaver down. A short while later they communicated with the spirit and while he was not cooperative they were able to learn some more information.

He was not working directly with the cult but with Skalls, Virael the chronicler was a manipulative bastard, he had nothing to share about the starchild, but there was no other forces assisting them. The party made plans for the future for contacting someone to undo the damage done by the reaver to the region…but first they had to see a halfling about his writing projects.

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The dead rise as one

Roth had arrived to witness the finale of the battle as the Prophet vanished and was close enough to hear the party cursing at the prophet for fleeing. Sketchy and Oliver accompanied a large group of wounded to safety. Fortunately Magister Evalia and Booka pooled their arcane knowledge and realized that the Prophet had fled for the Astra Plane, and that she had one scroll that would enable someone to finish the job of slaying him. Virage volunteered to pursue the Prophet and he vanished in a flash of arcane power. Mere seconds later something began to happen in the battlefield as the bodies of the slain, cultists and mercenaries alike were drawn together and formed an enormous hulking mass. Reginald realized an instant that is was a Warsworn, and started panicking at the sight of it. Booka and Roth merely grinned and prepared to charge.

What followed was a brutal melee as the party fought the undead construct with everything that they had. Thankfully they were not alone as Negran arrived and began casting fireballs as the warsworn. The beast just kept absorbing the damage and striking back at the party. Reginald was nearly felled after the creature ripped off a portion of itself and flung it at the arcanist. The party realized that the beast could heal itself by consuming the dead and with the plentiful bodies from the massacre they were fighting a loosing battle.

Roth, & Booka stood in front of a pile of dead and knew that if the beast were able to get past them it would be fully healed. The two half orcs would not allow that, they both nodded to each other and prepared themselves. Roth channeled divine energy into himself and Booka activated her celestial armor and took flight. Then they both charged. As Roth cleaved large portions of necrotic tissue from the beast, Booka channeled her arcane power as was able to cast baleful polymorph upon it. The creature roared and began to change shrinking in size and before the shocked party was transformed into a common cat.,,,this did not make it any less deadly as Roth soon found out when he was knocked back by a powerful blow. The now tiny undead raced back and forth dodging the large amounts of arcane power raining down upon it from Negran, Reginald, and Booka. A final blast of power struck it down and Roth shattered the broken carcass with a final blow.

As the party collapsed from exhaustion an arcane message arrived from Virage that he had, “Disarmed the prophet” and he was ready to return. After a short visit to the Arcane Tower Magister Evalia returned and was able to cast a spelling bring them both back from wherever they were and Virage was allright and the prophet was missing his limbs. Prince Grey battered from his role in the battle approached and was ready to pronounce and deliver a death sentence on him before the party stopped him. They argued that as long as he was alive he could not be raised by another party, and they did not know the remaining resources of the cult. Prince Grey sheathed his blade and told the party that this only delayed the execution. He turned to the assembled crowd of mercenaries, soldiers, thieves, and cultists.

“This man threatened our city, he promised salvation and brought only pain and suffering to those who trusted him. His end will not come quickly but today we have ripped out this horror by the roots and with the support of our stalwart allies we shall do the same to the dark god he served! This I swear to you as your Prince!” The crowd roared in applause!

The then commanded Evalia to cast every type of charm spell at the towers disposal to leave the prophet unable to have a thought of his own and he would tell them everything secret that he possessed. He turned to Casica Vrel to secure the area with the Redwatch. He then thanked Orden Hardhammer for their support of the city and asked the party to bring the prophet with them to the Alabaster Court. Negran caught up with them as they were departing, he had done more research and the Starchild would arrive somewhere north of the city.

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A new arrival and an old foe

The group has finished bring Negran to the Land of Land, he had shared with them that there were ten clockwork soldiers remaining and that he would leave instructions on how to operate them and turn them over to the Redwatch. As Negran finished his explanation of their operation the party caught sight of a frantic horseman who was riding towards them at a frantic speed. As the party readied themselves for battle after Prince Regent Lord King Ike remarked he was not expecting anyone else to arrive, the rider came to a halt and tossed a large sack at the party before he put his spurs to his horse and raced off again. They advanced suspiciously upon the sack when it started to squirm and move, thankfully before the party destroyed the sack Virage stepped forward and opened it allowing a confused and disorientated halfling to emerge.

He greeted the party as he struggled to stand he introduced himself as Eldin and remarked he had been sent on an important errand to bring the party word of a large beast to the North that had been terrorizing the region, the party’s fame had spread and he hoped that they would help. Prince Regent Lord King Ike volunteered the party and wished that he could join them but he must stay and keep The Land safe from harm, and that he would send word to Lord Charney and infrom him of what Negran had told them. With everything they had discovered and faced over the past few weeks, the party was looking forward to the relatively normality of a hunting a monster. They pressed Eldin for details and he replied that there had been only scattered sightings of a large winged beast and there claw markes scratched into the ground.

With Eldin leading them the party departed for the wide open plains north of Rewater. they had not traveled for more than a day and had learned Eldin was a powerful druid but the beast was beyond his abilities to defeat. Then they caught sight of a large winged beast nearing them. They identified it as a Barbed Tongue Wyvern that rapidly closed and engaged with them. The fighting was brutal but they emerged triumphant and Eldin was certain that the region was much safer not that the threat had been dealt with. He joined them on the return trip to the Land of Land. As the approached the borders of Redwater they could sense something amiss and they soon received a magical sending from Lord Charney, informing them to get themselves to the slums immediately. The prophet had made his move and declared himself ruler and announcing the end time were upon them all. The party raced for the slums and hat to deal with large crowd of people either fleeing or rushing to the slums to see what was happening. Roth was separated from the party and not wishing to fight through a crowd told the party he would catch up to them.

The remainder arrived to find a tense standoff with the Redwatch, Nessa’s Falcons, and the Cartel keeping a large collection of the Cult, the Prophet, and a contingent of mercenaries at bay. What followed was a tense diplomatic duel as Sketchy was able to trick the Prophet into admitting the doom that awaiting them and saving them had never been his goal at all. This caused the cult to disperse but as the prophet realized he has lost the crowd he ordered his mercenaries to kill them all. What followed was sheer chaos as the once fervent believers fled for their lives as the party rushed to do battle .

It was not as easy fight as the prophet unleashed his divine energies upon the party and his guards continued to attack the former believers. Even as the battle turned against him the prophet remained unfazed and channeled more divine wrath upon the party. It was only when Virage dealt a might blow to the prophet that wounded him causing his to drop unconscious….only for a contingency spell to be triggered teleporting him away and causing something horrific to happen to the bodies of the slain.

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Explanations and deadlines

The party was leaving the Eagle’s Nest when they noticed that the streets were far more deserted than they should be for this early in the morning. They noticed that there were multiple missives posted on nearby buildings that advertised for a gathering to take place and work towards the good of the city. Virage examined it he determined it to be written by the same person who had created the forgeries that were to be planted on Charney…..and that there was a compulsion to go to the meeting. The group pooled their arcane resources and realized that the effect of the missive was very similar to the influence a Bard would have on a group and that there was an offshoot of bards that were called Chroniclers who could convey there power through the written word. With their suspicions about what was to take place at this meeting As the party was preparing to travel to the location a messenger arrived stating that Negran was waiting for them at their room at the Eagle’s Nest. They decided to speak with Negran and then follow the flow of people.

The bartender seemed very on edge when they returned and after Roth spoke to him he passed him a note warning him of something. Anticipating a problem he cast Resist fire on Olivia based on their past experience with Negran leading with fireballs. As they entered the room they were shocked to see that it was not Negran waiting for them but rather the prophet. The prophet was calm and collected, not showing the barest hint of unease at being so close to those that had thwarted some degree of his plans. He calmly stated that he had arranged the distraction taking place outside so that he could have a private discussion with the group.Through a tense discussion he asked just what the party hoped to accomplish, he merely wished to save as many souls as he could before the arrival of the Starchild

The tense conversation continued with the prophet mocking the party’s attempts at concealing their presence from him outside of this room. The prophet then inquired about the fate of Skalls, since he did not come when called. Virage took this as an opportunity to pull out a thigh bone among those he had retrieved from the battle in the Reaver’s Waste and offered it to the prophet. Several not so veiled threats were exchanged and the prophet simply asked “What had the city done for them that they were so intent on aiding it?”

Each person had a different response, Roth liked the wine, Virage asked what the prophet would pay him, Sketch and Olivia agreed that they were not a fan of earthquakes. The prophet replied that he saw no real harm in a few earthquakes, no one was really harmed and that was all in the past. Why was the party causing him such difficulty, the starchild was going to arrive and that all the party could do was prevent him from saving as many souls as he could. He remarked that it was nice to meet them and that was all that he intended. He then vanished through a dimensional door. The callous actions in the way the prophet treated the party made it obvious that he did not view the party as a threat, and best they were an inconvenience. They resolved to meet with Lord Charney and bring him up to date with what they had discovered. As tehy were leaving Angelo again asked Roth if everything was okay with the bill, Roth remarked that he would stay with Angelo for a bit and then meet the group at the Alabaster Court. The note had warned of an ambush of some sort and he wanted to not to draw the party into it. His plans were thwarted as the moment the rest of the group stepped out they were ambushed by a barrage of arrows.

Thankfully the barrage had missed most of the party and only Olivia had taken damage from two arrows, she immediately transformed into an Allosaurus and began advancing, the rest of the party drew blades and Roth teleported behind the enemies battle line. The leader of the ambush group realized what it was that had taken place and wisely asked for a parlay. Virage was not willing to let spilled blood lie and demanded compensation for the wounds taken by Olivia, the druid had remained in her altered form and demanded gems in compensation for the wounds she had suffered. Virage was let down by the lack of blood being demanded by his comrade and the leader of the opposing side quickly passed a bag of gems over. The dinosaur returned to her normal size and gladly accepted the offering.

With both sides calming down Roth demanded of the assassins who they were working for and who was their target. The leader replied that they were members of the Cartel and that he would tell them more but wanted to get off the street. Roth remarked that they would journey with the group to the Mugs & Mead Tavern. they had received a tip for a trusted source that the wizard Negran that they were looking for was inside the tavern and that he would be coming out looking for a fight. Roth replied that they had received the same information and that they had both been tricked by the Prophet who wanted the two sides fighting each other. The group arrived at their destination and the Cartel members took it as an insult that someone had tricked them and vowed to look into their own sources. The party than set off to report to Lord Charney with what had transpired.

They arrived at the Alabaster Court and were soon greeted by their benefactor and informed him of their interaction with the Prophet. He was already exhausted from dealing with the results of the mass gathering that had swept up most of the city and to learn it was arranged for the sole reason of being able to meet the group left him aghast. He inquired as to what the party planned to do and they agreed that they had to find Negran to learn what it was that he knew that the Prophet wanted him silenced. Charney had access to several scrolls and used one to prevent scrying and suggested using a scroll of commune for some divine input.

The party asked several questions and received some answers but not all the ones they wanted. They learned that Negran was not in the confines of the city of Redwater, but that he was on this plane of existence, and looking for asylum. They also learned that the Prophet did not know where he was, and that Negran was not hiding in his old lair. As for the Starchild they learned that its arrival was immanent, and that there was nothing calling the creature to Redwater.

The party agreed that they might have to go off the reservation and not let their actions reflect upon Charney or the prince. After several more minutes of intense discussion Charney suggested using magical means to see if Charney wanted to talk, he produced a scroll of sending. The group realized that since he was being hunted by several parties he would want sanctuary from the,. Lord Charney suggested the fortress of the newly made heir to the throne Lord King Ike. With their plan arranged and with the approval of Lord King Ike they used the scroll to send their message and wait. They did not have long to wait before Negran responded asking them to meet at the Chartered Company in an hour so they could discuss terms. With their plans prepared the party set off for the Chartered Company.

Upon their arrival Mukwan lead them inside and they met with the the local leader of the company, Yolanda LIghtfeet, she stated she had been asked to serve as the mediator between her client and the party. She explained she had taken precautions to prevent scrying and asked the party what their offer was.

The party began negotiations with all honesty and confident they were protected from any form of observation. They stated that they had arranged for sanctuary for Negran in the Land of Land under the protection of Lord King Ike, and that they would escort him. What they wanted in return was all the information that Negran has on the Cult, the Prophet, and why the Cartel was after him. Yolanda took a moment to soak in the party’s offer and after considering it she agreed to it. She would contact her client and expected that the party would follow through on the terms offered or there would consequences. A short time later Negran appeared before the party, his appeareance was different from the last time that the party had interacted with him beneath the city, he was haggard and was constantly on edge from avoiding the different groups searching for him.

Negran explained the cult was after him because of what he had learned about their plans. He had originally been hired to create clockwork soldiers for them, and after the party had raided his lair he had returned to the cult asking payment for his losses. While at their compound he learned from other cult members what exactly the StarChild was and what its arrival would do to Redwater. He could not go to the authorities because of his previous actions, the Cartel was hunting him because of a large loan he had taken out from them for his research. A sum of 50,000 gold pieces. He had been able to avoid detection because he had stockpiled a number of scrolls to prevent scrying in any form. He went on to describe in detail all he had learned about the Starchild, it strengths & weakness, and most importantly its arrival. The creature would arrive in only two weeks!

The party took a momentary pause to catch their breaths at Negran’s revelation before they began making plans. They inquired as to the status of the remaining clockwork soldiers in the caverns beneath the city, could they be repurposed. Negran replied as long as they were still functional. Roth suggested that it was time to go on the offensive and deal directly with the cult and their mad Prophet once and for all. The clockwork soldiers could be used to keep the cultists at bay while they dealt with those in control. That said they escorted Negran to the keep of Regent Crown Prince King Ike where the charismatic individual greeted them whole heartedly and welcomed Negran to his home. The party decided to then report to Lord Charney and plan their next course of action before leading an armed raid into the slums.

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Don't fear the Reaver

The party continued onward and followed the tunnel deeper into the depths and with Virage in the lead and linked with the rest of the party. Soon Virage came to a chamber and could hear an argument. Virage recognized it as belonging to the guard who had tried to frame him for murder. The rest of the party drew closer but did not enter the chamber as they all could make out the words and could see a skeletal figure yelling at an ancient gnarled tree.

“Come forth and pay the favor due!”

Besides the skeletal figure the party spotted four gaunt figures at the end of the chamber that they identified as bodoxs, a powerful form of undead. As the party was planning their attack, Olivia volunteered to enter the chamber and assist Virage who was already inside skiring the edge of teh chamber, she assumed the shape of a small bird and flew to the top of hte cavern…the momnet she entered the chamber the undead knew something was amiss. Sketch decidd to abandon all forms of subtlety and assumed the shape of a death worm and then turned invisible before tunneling into the earth. The two half orcs grinned at each other and prepared to charge into the frey.

as the party entered into the chamber the humanoid that stepped out of the tree conjured a thundercloud which began to strike at the party. Olivia retaliated in kind and conjured a hailstorm to strike at the undead engaged with Booka & Roth. The skeleton and Virage were caught in a brutal game of cat and mouse, they were evenly matched and Virage was forced to improvise by using a decanter of endless water to launch the skeleton against the far wall where Sketch was engaged in combat with the undead.

Booka and Roth soon learned that the undead were resistant to some forms of magic and more susceptible to others, they hacked their way through the undead and while Roth was able to shake off the affects of their gaze attack Booka was not so fortunate and was greatly weakened. That did not stop her from charging into battle with the remaining undead. The humanoid that the party soon realized was a human and some type of druid was occupied countering Olivia, who had attempted to turn the withered tree into a treant. As she kept the human occupied Virage was able to discern that he was a blighter druid, the antithesis of Oliva.

As the Booka and Roth finally reduced the undead they were fighting to shreds booka charged off to help her comrades that were engaged with the remaining undead and Roth teleported to engage in melee with the blight druid.Between the comined efforts of Booka, Virage, Olivia, and Sketch the undead fell one by one….though Booka was the only one that would fall victim to their gaze attack. Roth engaged the bligh druid directly and savaged him with a series of blows that caused him to retreat into the tree and vanished. As combat ended the party was upset that the blight druid had escaped and discerned that there was no easy way to discern where he went. They realized that he was probably not the legendary blight druid that had reduced the area to a wasteland. They looked at the suffering tree that the druid had emerged from and Olivia recommended they put it out of its misery. She conducted a short ceremony and the tree was reduced to ashes.

The party then interrogated the spirit of the skeleton rogue that had been attempting to parlay with the blight druid. They learned his name was SKulls and that the prophet had sent him to par;ay with the blight druid. He had also been a member of Nessa’s Falcons. The rest of his answers were vague and misleading. They party set off for the Eagle’s Nest to confer with Nessa about this new information.

They returned to Redwater and soon were at the Eagle’s Nest, Nessa was at her usual table and she confirmed that Skulls had been a member but did not fit into the group. He was more brutal and enjoyed killing. He had left the group and took jobs the Falcons would not. She was sad to hear of his passing, for all their differences they were once friends. She shared that through her contacts she had learned the cult was growing in strength in the slums but had no information to share on the location of Negran but would keep looking. The party agreed they would share what they learned with Lord Charney and then regroup.

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Follow that skeleton

Roth, Booka, Sketchy, and Oliver were relaxing at the Eagle’s Nest in their safe room awaiting news from Virage as to what happened the night before. They did not have long to wait as soon he arrived with another stranger. He explained that the new arrival was named Reginald, he was an arcanist and an old comrade. He then shared what took place the night before and his actions in escaping during the confusion. The party discussed their options and realized that there were three options to them.

1 Pursue the animated skeleton which had fled the barracks.

2. Search for the prophet

3. Search for Negran.

After much discussion the party agreed to search for the skeleton, thanks to Virage possessing the discarded flesh of the skeleton Olivia would be able to track the skeleton. The party reasoned that the skeleton would hopefully lead them to the prophet and Negran. With Olivia in the lead the party set off and soon were lead to outside the city and she remarked that the trail lead to the south west to the Reavers Waste after traveling for several hours by whatever mounts they could acquire they arrived at the mouth of a cave.

The party pressed onward with Virage in the lead they pressed on through the cave and soon found a tunnel that lead deeper underground. The party pressed onward with Virage mindlinked and in the lead they set off again and he soon found the tunnel opened into a large chamber and there was some type of large beast. He studied it confident he could do so unnoticed. He described the beast to the party as being a gigantic worm that as he drew closer realized was floating off the ground, and it was suddenly moving a gaping maw to be directly in front of him. With an uncharacteristic scream of panic Virage darted away deeper into the cavern to find somewhere to hide.

The rest of the party charged into the fray but were unable to move more than single file through the winding tunnel and soon found themselves being showered with acid being launched from the creature, that they identified as a neothelid. As Sketch rapidly shared what he knew of their abilities and the fact it could detect almost anything did little to lessen the panic that sketch was feeling. Olivia responded as most druids would do when facing a flying gargantuan worm…she transformed into an allosaurus and began attempting to savage the creature. Booka drew her axe and entered combat as well, only to be hit repeatedly by several tentacles and barely avoided being grappled. Roth charged a moment later but was protected by his gods power and began striking wherever his blade could reach.

The battle went back and forth as the party was hit with acid showers, tentacles, and the occasional mental attack. The party responded with blow for blow and Reginald responded with a variety of arcane blasts. Inspired by Virage’s attempts to leap on top of the creature to engage it in combat, Roth channeled his gods power and leapt through dimensions to land on the bests back and he began chopping at it like a madman. The beast screamed in pain but Roth did not stop until the creature collapsed lifelessly to the ground….thankfully missing his comrades below.

The party recovered from the battle and discovered that there was another tunnel at the end of the chamber that lead deeper underground. Olivia confirmed that the trail of the skeleton continued onward. Though the party was curious how it was able to avoid the beast without engaging it in combat?

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A day in the city

With the disguised Virage on his way to the barracks to be interrogated the party scattered to accomplish their own missions. Roth sought out Charney was lead to a small room where Prince Grey and Guard Commander Casica Vrel were waiting. He explained what had happened and apologized but the prince’s reaction had to be sincere and the Virage was hoping to draw the attention of the cult and then gather information from whomever they sent to kill him. The trio were impressed at the faith Roth had in his comrade.

After a moment of consideration Roth asked about the state of city and what else was happening, After a short discussion he explained a theory that he had that whoever was behind the cult was preparing for a power grab and that they probably had allies amongst the nobility. He explained the attempt on Charney’s life was special, anyone can be sent to kill someone but they wanted to discredit it, and by extension the prince. With Charney out of the way several nobles would benefit. Prince Grey was very concerned by this and after further discussion realized that he must name an heir, it had to be someone trusted and a member of the nobility.Charney and Vrel could not be nominated, they were to close to him. There was only one person that would be accepted, one of the Heroes of Redwater, Lord King Ike With the issue of succession settled Roth asked about the noble Garrick.

Charney muttered a curse, Garrick had been a pain in his side ever since the coup. Every motion Charney put forth, Garrick or one of his allies opposed it. He was the patriarch of large well connected family. One of his relations was the guard captain of the Guilded Ward, the guard captain had fought for the prince during the coup. Vriel was convinced that a man like Garrick had secrets to hide. Roth volunteered to investigate but added he would be consulting some less than savory sources, and excused himself as the prince needed to consult Charney and Casica to plan their next move.

Roth returned to the Eagle’s Nest and sought out Nessa for advice on how to approach the Carte. She was surprised to say the least. Roth explained his reasoning and she agreed it was the proper course of action, she advised him to speak to Orden, the head barkeeper at the Mugs & Mead tavern in the blocks. She cautioned Roth to be direct and be careful, Orden was not one to be underestimated. He thanked her for the advice and set off for the tavern to make contact with the cartel.

Roth had used his abilities to mask his equipment to make him appear to be more of a normal fighter and not a warpriest. The tavern was packed but surprisingly peaceful, and after a few moments he was ordering mead of a questionable source and talking to Orden. Roth was blunt about what he an his comrades faced beneath the city and after several more drinks Orden invited him to a private room to talk more. Once they had their privacy Orden asked if he could tell him more. Roth for a moment felt his resolve shake and for a moment weaken before it passed and returned to normal. He explained that he was searching for Negran and for information on the dealings of Garrick.

Orden was impressed by the direct approach but wanted something in return. Garrick is a powerful member of the city and to have him as an enemy…well there would have to be some kind of compensation to make it worthwhile. Roth knew he was making a deal with the devil but he was not going to agree to anything until he knew what the syndicate wanted. It is a small city, Negran took something from us that we want back, so you bring Negran back to us alive and than we will get you what you want. Unless you have a problem with that?

“Damn wizard tried his best to kill me and my comrades, I don’t have a problem with that.” Their accord struck Roth left for the Eagle’s Nest, it took longer than usual as there was some type of commotion going on in the Blocks. He paid it no heed, the city was not fire, he had a bellyful of bad mead, and a desire to get some rest for the coming day.

Booka had left earlier for the Tower of the Arcane to consult with the members in hopes of meeting or learning more about Negran. After entering the tower she learned where Negran’s quarters were and after a failed attempt to enter a pair of guards arrived. She calmly stated that she was hear to see Negran and was blasted in the face by a ward. She then asked to be brought to Magister Evalia as she had business to discuss with her. The pair of guards quickly escorted her to meet with "Magister Evalia. They had met previously and the magister made her distaste with the magus well known, it infuriated her to no end that Booka was a powerful mage not under her control, and possibly a rival for her position. The pair were soon left alone in the privacy of the magister’s office and they had a tense but cordial conversation.

Booka explained that she only wanted to leave a message for Negran and asked if the magister would be able to assist her with that. Evalia agreed to, Booka quickly wrote a short note asking for him to contact her at the Eagle’s Nest and passed the note to her, she promptly opened it and read it. She then remarked it would be placed in his quarters and stated that should Negran contact her than Booka should contact the Arcane Tower immediately. Booka replied that the moment she heard from him, she would contact the magister.

With their conversation done, Booka left the Magister’s office and explored the tower until she found a training to practice and refine her techniques. After several hours of practice sh decided to return to the Eagle’s Nest but as she was nearing the blocks there was a great commotion as members of the Red watch were frantically moving around dispersing groups of people to return to their homes. Booka asked what was going on and learned that there was a breakout from the barracks and that there were several casualties. The rumors became very strange after that, something about guards chasing a skeleton. She mused that it did not seem like Virage’s style to cause this many problems or casualties, something else was afoot, but with the Red watch clamping down hard on this area of the city, she doubted they would want any outside assistance. She continued on her way to the Eagle’s Nest and was expecting quite a tale from Virage when she met him next.

Virage still disguised as the cult leader was sitting in a cell in the depths of the barracks. His dagger had been taken from him, while most of the the rest of his possessions remained glued to his body as he intended them to.A pair of guards interrupted his musing as they approached his cell and informed him he was to be taken for interrogation….then one guard killed the other by driving his short sword through him. Virage was shocked by what transpired, he was expecting an attempt on his own life and not on the guards. He attempted to open the locked cell door while the guard with a look of madness on his face began slashing his own arms with Virage’s dagger and flinging the blood at him. The guard was delighted by Virage’s attempts to force open the door and with a look of complete madness on his face he stabbed himself with the dagger and collapsed lifelessly to the ground. After seeing what transpired Virage ceased trying to force the door open and reached for his dagger, he reached it just before the transformation began.

The guards body began to convulse and wit ha sickening pop the flesh slid off the corpse and pooled around its feet as the skeleton sprang upwards. Then it began moving erratically towards the upper levels and the exit. Virage knew he did not have long before the guards arrived in force and this time they would not be content with a simple interrogation. He scrambled and was able to reach the keys that were on the body of hte guardsman slumped against the cell door and upon opening his cell door he frantically shoved the corpses into his portable hole and with a look of disgust on his face climbed into the hole. The sounds of combat intensified than dropped off as several moments passed, and than a contingent of wounded guardsman arrived. Virage caught several conversations about what had occurred, The skeleton had fought its way out of the barracks killing several members of the red watch along the way, the utter amazement that there was plenty of blood but no bodies near this cell, and the building was under lock down.

Several moments of intense searching the contingent of guards left to continue scouring the fortress for Virage. Things had definitely not transpired as he hoped they would, he reappeared and reached into the portable hole and removed the body of the guardsman who had been killed by his comrade and removed his uniform before placing the corpse back in the portable hold and donning the uniform. So began his great escape as he left the lower levels and bluffed his way past several guards. He did take a slight detour to the armory to reclaim his remaining items and to take what he could. He found a chest labeled Pavel and upon opening it found a very nice dagger which he took. He had no way of knowing he had just taken a dagger that belonged to one of the most dangerous men in Redwater.

After several close calls Virage emerged from the barracks to find the area in turmoil as members of the watch were trying to restore order. He blended in with a group of guardsman and then slipped away, there was to much of a presence in the blocks to make it the Eagle’s Nest so he changed disguises again and set off for the slums, he knew somewhere he could lay low for the night.

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