Shades of Grey

Beginnings
Session 1, April 6 2012

The party starts in the City of Redwater, on the northern edge of the Constant Sea. They started off in the Midmarket Ward and went into Odar’s Oddities to look for work. Odar greeted them warmly, but did not have any work. He encouraged the PC’s to bring to him any unusual magical items they found and offered to buy, sell and identify any nonweapon magic they encountered.

The PC’s continued on into the offices of The Chartered Company and heard Yolanda Lightfeet yelling at her assistant, Mookwan, to fix some kind of problem “immediately.” Mookwan hired the party to locate a lost shipment from Redgranite Mine and the fate of the guard they sent to escort it. The party accepted an offer of 4,000 gold to fix the problem.

On the road to Redgranite Mine, the party was ambushed by a group of Worgs, who they drove off easily. They continued to the mine and noticed that the dwarves who were at the entrance were actually zombies. A fight ensued out in the area near the mouth of the mine with the zombies. A skeleton (who was wearing the emblem of The Chartered Company) appeared to be leading the zombies and displayed some unusual powers.

He insisted that the party not be killed, but “brought to the boss”. The party wiped the zombies and skeleton without suffering any significant losses. At the outset of the battle, the party noticed a Mohrg awaiting them inside. As yet, it has avoided sunlight.

The party has learned what happened to the shipment and the guard. What now?

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A nice honest job

After their recent success with retaking the mine for the Orecrusher dwarves, the group returned to Redwater to collect the reward and search of new opportunities. Gerran rejoined the group along with a member of the grateful Orecrusher clan to seek out new adventure. It only a few hours they found themselves in the proxy employment of Nessa Elaness to deal discretely with a problem in the Quay. Endo Hammerfel, the owner and operator of Locks and Gears was the target of intimation and extortion from the Cartel. The group consisting of Lane, Gerran, the Orecrusher dwart, and a pyrotechnic gnome set off for the Quay. They were however tailed upon leaving the Eagles Nest, but their tail was soon picked up and the group began a frantic game of cat and mouse trying to deduce their tail. Through some close calls the tail got away but not before they deduced he was a member of the cartel.

Upon reaching Locks and Gears, Lane offered to stay behind while the other three went in search of The Pit, a retched den of scum and villainy but with great ringside seats for fights, in hopes of gathering information about the social and economic layout of the Quay and tracking down their prey. In a few short minutes they found the location but the fights were not scheduled to take place until later that night. They meandered until the fights took place and after purchasing prime seats the fights played out as they scanned the crowd but were unable to find their target but after a magnificent fight between a boar and wolf ended in Gerran and the dwarfs favor they say several individuals leaving the pit suspiciously. Quickly cashing in their wagers they set out after the group and a few moments later they caught sight of the four men speaking with the man who had followed them earlier that day. The stranger asked them if they had seen the Endo at the pits and upon hearing their reports they set off for the Locks and Gears to take care of things. The trio followed from a safe until they arrived at the Locks and Gears

As one of the henchmen tried to pick the lock on the door to the Locks and Gears, a nigh impossible task, seeing their quarry focused on door they crept as close as they could before unleashing a barrage of explosives, spells, and crossbow bolts. Caught unaware they withered under the barrage before replying in kind and soon the street was full of explosion and the death cries of men. As his fellows were dying the lock pick succeeded in opening the door only to receive an arrow to the head from Lane who was patiently waiting inside. Endo emerged from his bedroom and was then commanded by Lane to return there while she handled things.

The fight in the street had already claimed the lives of two of the thugs and their apparent leader was felled with spells and explosives. The dwarf had taken several arrows but in his rage he gave them no heed. The lone survivor fled for the apparent safety of the open door only to meet his end at Lane’s longsword. She announced it was safe for Endo to come out, and as the dwarf stared at the bloodshed in his store his only comment was, “Who is going to clean up this mess?” The paladin graciously offered to mop up the blood as her comrades made preparation to toss the bodies into the see. Fortunately there were no witnesses as they disposed of the bodies into the sea.

The next morning the group set off for the Eagles Nest to meet with Nessa, she was very interested to hear if the group knew about a fight that took place in the Quay near the Locks and Gears, the Redwatch had arrived at the scene to discover evidence of a fight but no bodies. She smirked at that and handed a pouch that she had received from Endo.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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