A Manifestation of Chaos: Extinction Event!

The Gauntlet is Thrown

Our heroes, still stinking and covered in sewage, return to the palace to Tharg’s room. All of those in town and especially the palace who see them are disgusted, turn the other way, leave, or hold their nose. As they enter the castle guards, servants, everyone within eyeshot move to avoid the stink. Even people in nearby rooms who cannot see them complain of the odor. They enter Tharg’s chamber, and again take effort to make sure they’re not being observed. Thorgal exclaims, “if someone wants to spy on us I bet we’d be hearing them vomiting their breakfast with this stink.”

Orei reminds the party, “do not let Azetta know the contents of the dungeon. I will reach out to you when I learn more. It will take resources to ascertain this situation in a safe manner. If anyone finds out about that alligator it needs to be taken out. You have a friend in me. I mourn the passing of your ally Vangril." Orei then leaves to return to the elves.

Thay’d smells the reptile’s blood on his blade to memorize it’s scent.

Thay’d asks Thorgall “what the best burial for a Vangril?” Thorgal,“Methinks perhaps burying him? I don’t know what elves would want, but we dwarves would burn the body.”

Anna enters the door and reintroduces the party to her slave Mercy and motions her hand in front of her nose to reduce the stench. “Once again the services my of slave will be of use. I will be off, and please bathe. You smell like something the vulture threw off the gut-wagon." The party knows full-well Anna’s offer of Mercy for them is to self-serve her own agenda.

The party bathes, redresses and preps Vangril’s body, carry the body to the Dwarven temple and burn the body with Dwarven rites. Thorgal tells the party, " I think he would’ve wanted it this way. I didn’t know him well but he seemed to like dwarves more than elves."

The party heads back to their quarters in the palace. Azetta, their legal counsel is there to guide them. “The trial of Tharg is to held in a palace room. If he is found guilty he will be beheaded.” “Toboscus is charged with treason, and violation of the Templar Code.” “Joss Van Duren will testify against you. He declared this with tears in his eyes. Sir Toby you don’t know me well, I don’t know you well. Sir Joss will testify against you. Look at me, he believes what he will said. When two paladins do not agree, you must take it seriously. You paladins have the most stringent of codes. In court you will look guilty.”

Azetta locks gaze with Toby and speaks under her breath, “You need to fight this. You could have trial by combat. If you did a trial by combat Sir Joss may take up the challenge. I think you can beat him. A victory will vindicate you. A loss, I don’t think Sir Joss will kill you. You may be imprisoned or banished.” “If judged you will be evaluated by 3 judges representing God. I don’t know for sure if Sir Joss will be the chosen. It could be Sir Jaqen Dayne. It could be Oin March. Lucky for you most of the elite warriors were already killed. The most elite warrior will likely saved for Baron Tharg.”
“I was there when Oin March killed Utred son of Uthnosh. He begged for death by the time Oin beat him.” She tells of a story.

“At a banquet held for the dignitaries to the council on the great beast, Uthred was into his cups and spilled his drink on Wendell’s evening companion, he went on to say “what was the puny man going to do about it” Almost before the words had left his mouth, Oin stabbed him in the temple and nearly killed him straight off and would have finished the job right there had Wendell and Uthnash not intervened. Uthgred bellowed challenge and the trial by combat was set for noon the next day.

The battle, if it could be called that was brutal, Oin destroyed Uthgred, disarmed him, tripped him multiple times, Oin drew it out and mocked him viciousl, hamstrung Uthgred and while Uthgred was on his knees, pissed in his face and while looking at King Uthnash asked “What was the big man going to do about it” Oin, then stabbed Uthgred through the eye, took Uthgred’s axe and cut off his head; then proclaimed he was going to have the head made into his dogs’ new piss bowl."

“Uthgred was part of the order of the Rhemoraz, and known to kill frost giants. Oin March was known to win 200 trials by combat. I was there. I’ve never seen anyone better with a blade.”

Azetta says to Tharg, “Sir Joss will testify for Baron Tharg. That is one of the only things he has going for him.” “I don’t think the court could prove most of what they have charged against you.” “Treason I don’t think they have that on you. Dereliction of duty I do think they have that on you. Cannibalisms? That’s ridiculous. Murder by 163 counts? That’s ridiculous.” “If they can’t prove treason or murder then death is off the table. Then they may get him for dereliction of duty or destruction of property.” Toboscus asks, “can’t he not be charged because he’s not human?” Azetta tells him “he can under the new law. He’s a titled noble. He assumed command away from Sir Maligor,” Toboscus retorted, “but he was just doing the best he could!” Azetta responded “that’s what we’re going to try to argue.”

Azetta further discussed “you went after the Elven princess. We can use this. Some of the charges aren’t execution. They could take his property. Cannabalism they won’t be able to prove.”

Tharg asks “is there a way to pay a fine without admission of guilt?” Azetta responded “no. "

Sir Toboscus tells Azetta, “I’ll do trial by combat.” Tharg tells Azetta, “I felt rescuing the princess was a highly political motive and that I should do it.” Azetta,“I have three paladins who believe Maligor was not competent. The prosecutors will come after you saying he was not competent. Did you know that the caravan would be in danger when you left it?” Tharg retorted that the paladins followed his orders, Malligor showed no signs of incompetence."

Azetta tells Tharg “I don’t think they can get you for treason. They only thing they can get you on is dereliction of duty and destruction of property. I think you’re smart to play your strategy. Do not malign Sir Maligor. I think you’ll be found guilty of some things but that none of them will be death. That’s assuming there’s no fix.”

Tharg argues that since the trial is by judges only and without a jury, on the rationale that they’re chosen by the Gods, “can’t I bridge officals from my Gods?” Azetta replies, "who are your Gods? Will they testify on your behalf? Forget it.”
The party finished their discussion with Azetta, mull their options and try to sleep as best as they could for court the next day.

Daybreak starts and palace guards inform the party to awaken, wash and prepare for court. They do so and enter the palace throneroom which is filled with several people that appear to be various entourage of the palace and possibly some of the regular townfolk. Several guards, paladin, even the Queen surrounded by her court dressed in ful regalia and acting in decorum. Sir Tobuscus is asked to come forward. The rest of the party stands watching.

A herald dressed in fine regal announces, “The first trial of the day is on the matter of Sir Toboscus, charged with Treason and Violation of the Templar Code!” He points to Sir Tobuscus. “How plead you?” “Not guilty, innocent,” replies Tobuscus. Herald,”do you choose trial by judge or by combat?” Tobuscus looks around at the crowd and then boldly stares back at the herald, “trial by combat!” The response causes some uproar and non-discernable chatter in the crowd. Allister Tain hits a gavel against a wooden base, “silence!, the court will proceed.”

Sir Jaqen Dayne raises his hand and announces “who will take be the champion representing the state? Sir Joss Van Duryn raises his hand, as does two not recognizable warriors. Oin March also raises his hand and says, “I’ll kill the cunt!” The Queen, motions to Tain who hits his hammer, “the Queen will speak!”. The Queen states, “the champion will be someone of high regard among the kingdom.” (Dr. Alex rolls a dice and DM Alex tells him the warrior will be based on the roll).

The court herald declares, “The trial ends by death or if you are spared.” Thay’d stares at the Queen to see her reaction, but can’t make out any discernable expression. Thorgal tells Thay’d “give it another try lad. I think you might be lucky” with a wink and about to cast a luck spell. Allister Tain stares coldly at Thorgal and hits his gavel. “This is a courtroom! You will not use your magic here!” A guard approaches Thorgal and stands by him. The Queen whispers, though audibly, “this dwarven holyman is noted for aiding the citizenry. Do not put him in irons for this one mistake.”

Toboscus prepares himself for the fight. He is inspected by Allister Tain to make sure he has no illegal magics or equipment. A squire attends to each knight, assists each in putting on their gloves then gauntlets, and puts the weapons in their hands. A guard whispers to Thorgal, “master dwarf, that’s where we get the phrase throw down the gauntlet.” Thorgal replies,“Aye good sir.”

Sir Jos Van Duran and Toboscus, both armored and weaponed, enter the circle of combat. (A 30’ diameter, surrounded by a larger circle 120’ in diameter). Sir Jos blesses himself. Thay’d scans the surrounding crowd. The audience are mesmerized by the combat that ensues. The queen seems fascinated. Almost perversely so. Tain is unreadable and has no expression on face and his body language is still.

The two paladin-knights stand starting at each other with focus and intent as if palpable. Thorgal thinks to himself, “What a shame. Two good men standing for right but about to kill each other. Makes me want to cry.” The herald declares, "When the Queen lowers her hand the fight begins!. She raises her right hand, pauses and a large drum beats in a staccato. She looks at each knight who both nod back at her, and place their swords squarely in front in between their visage to salute, then back to combat position and then drops her hand and the drum staccato stops.

Both knights immediately assume a defensive stance and begin to posture at each other. Toboscus casts stun barrier. “Come at me Sir Jos!” Sir Jos steps forward 15 feet toward Toboscus, casts Shield of Deflection and calls out, “face me like a man!” The crowd oohs. Someone shouts, “he told him!” Sir Toboscus charges forward at him, with his Scabbard of Wrath with Furious Focus and makes a significant strike. (Rolls for a total of 32 and hits for 43 damage).

Jos Lays on Hands on himself, then attacks Toboscus back, hitting him but Toboscus is not harmed by the fire, (rolls a total of 24, and hits Toboscus for 16 points of damage with a flaming sword, but Toboscus’s magical protection against fire prevents a burn, but Jos is struck by Toby’s Stunning Barrier, but not affected).

Toby attacks him and misses, Jos Lays on Hands on himself again, hits Toby (for 15 and 12 damage). Toby Lays on Hands on himself, attacks and hits (for 19 damage) yelling “I am Voltus’s wrath.” Jos again Lays on Hands on himself, attacks Toby but misses. Someone from the crowrd yells “somebody hit something!” Toby attacks, misses. Jos attacks and hits (for 25 damage). Toby Lays on Hands on himself, misses. Jos attacks, (hits for 15 damage). Toby hits back (for 22 damage). Jos Lays on Hands on himself, attacks and critically hits (for 28 damage), but Toby’s Retributive Ruby Crystal reflects (13) damage back to Jos. Tobuscus Lays Hands again. Jos again attacks and hits, Toboscus again Lays on Hands , attacks and hits for (19 damage), Jos attacks back and hits for (15) damage. Toby attacks and misses, Jos Lays on Hands again, attacks and hits (for 30 damage). “Surrender sir! I have no wish to kill you!” Toby Lays on Hands again, attacks and misses. Jos attacks back and hits for 28 damage. Toby Lays on Hands again, attacks back and misses. Jos attacks and misses. Toby attacks and misses. Jos critically hits and hits (for 27 damage). (During this battle the player spent tremendous amount of PRP points to get rerolls).

The battle continues much longer than a usual fight would last. The two paladins simultaneously landing vicious blows but also healing themselves. Their armor absorbing the hits of their might swords, as if two tanks were having at each other, also buttressed by the belief that both are fighting not for themselves but what they believe is right. This however, is about to change. Both paladins are almost drained of their healing energies. There are sighs and worried comments in the audience. Several in the party start to show worry and concern. Thorgal whispers, “brother champion do not give up. The gods are watching all of us.”

Toby Lays on Hands, attacks, and sees now out of healing power sees he may lose this battle, while yelling “Voltus give me strength. I must continue my oath to fight evil!” His tone, expression and seemingly divine commitment showing sincerity.

Jos sees the oath and prayer performed by Toby, and feels a sudden change of heart. Jos pauses, throws his sword down and bends a knee. "I cannot defeat this man other than killing him and I have no wish to do so! No man would fight like this and so close to death if he did not believe in his own conviction!,” and then bows his head as if humbled.

Toby stares at Jos, lowers his sword, drops his guard, and extends his hand to help Jos up. Jos stands with help of Toby’s grasp, the two staring at each other grasping hands in a brotherly shake, then a hug. The crowd claps with thunderous applause, although a few in the audience disappointed because they wished to see further bloodshed. Thorgal fists both hands and raises them, with a cheek to cheek smile, “By the Gods, justice!” Jos complements Toboscus. “You have my respect sir knight!”

Allister Tain stares at Toboscus and bows. Thay’d stares at the Queen to see if any expression could give him an impression of her true intents but cannot discern any.

Tain hits the gavel and smiles. “So it is decided! Sir Toboscus is innocent!” The Queen says “I am gladdened that you were able to prove your innocence in the eyes of the court.” She stands and introduces “this is an emissary of the Elves to join the party of Tobuscus now that his fate has been cleared.” A large and muscular half-elf approaches the party. Thay’d again stares at her to see if he could detect her motives and cannot tell, but suspects there is magic preventing others from discerning her motives.

Thay’d greets the half-elf Mathain, and Mathain introduces himself, “I have been tasked by the Queen to assist you.” Mathain is brought up to speed. The applause of the crowd ended but the room is still filled with smiles and positive discussion regarding the trial with most of them staring at Sirs Tobuscus and Jos with respect, admiration, and awe. Some of the young ladies in the court appear quite taken with them.

Oin walks and intentionally bumps into Toby, “I would’ve killed you in 5 rounds.” Toby, “I hear you take a long time to kill. You wouldn’t be a problem scum.” Oin responds, “I’ll be seeing you cunt.”

View
Same Day, More Shit
Our Heroes Fight Dirty
2nd of Wealsun – CY 647
Session 019:
Same Day, More Shit

Location: EastfairWorld Map
Map Tab Color: RedMap Tab Symbol: Two Crossed Swords

Weather:

Low Summer, Plains, sunrise: 4:45 a.m, sunset: 7:10 p.m
Date Day Name High (°F) Low (°F) Precipitation (duration) Wind (from, speed) Luna Celene
 27 Earthday  (work) Moderate  (60) Moderate  (44) Cloudy Moderate  (N, 19 mph) - -
 28 Freeday  (rest) Warm  (66) Cold  (39) Cloudy Moderate  (S, 19 mph) - -



Cast of Characters
Holber Brom Mercy Elandrin Taiven Dradoma Tharg
Thay’d Catiph Thorgal Stonecutter Vangril Ryngwyndrare Vangril Ryngwyndrare


Thay’d, Thorgal and Vangril are at a courtyard immediately outside the castle and are presented with box that after opened shows Holber’s severed hand, given to them by what appeared to be a court-courier page. The page hands Thay’d a sealed small scroll. Thay’d scans the teenage boy, whose uniform is that of a page, that brought the box, and surprisingly notices he has shoes that does not match the uniform and gives off a curious look. The supposed courier notices Thay’d’s look and shifts as if to run, then sprints like lightening.

The page runs full speed screaming “Skeevus! Skeevus! Skeevus” (the name of the recently killed bugger and now a town descriptor for a pedophile). (Players in the way roll, Thorgal scored high enough to react). Thay’d throws a net that successfully nets the courier, but manages to still run.

Thorgal charges, tackles the supposed courier, but not before the courier pokes Thorgal’s rib with a shank dirtied with excrement. Thorga’s dwarven constitution resists the poisonous effects. “Damned you little booger!” yells Thorgal. _ “I’ll give ye the spanking your daddy should’ve!”_ Thay’d then charges the courier and knocks him to the ground with his head hitting the ground knocking him unconscious, almost killing the supposed courier.

The palace guard sees the event and runs to toward the scene. Toboscus heals Thorgal who grabs the courier’s shank and wipes the excrement on the unconscious boy’s upper lip, “I hope you enjoy the smell of this when you awaken you booger!” and then ties him arms and legs.

Three guards arrive, “what be going on here!” One of them kicks the the head of the unconscious boy. Thay’d interposes between himself and the courier, and yells “get the torturer.” Guard replied, “I don’t know who you are, but I’m a palace guard!” with anger escalating the tension, but another guard dissuades the first to disengage and then picks up the boy up. Vangril exclaims that the party will bring him debating the second guard who tells him “you have no authority here, I answer to Lord Jaqen Dayne,” in a stern authoritative voice and says, “Paladin (to Tobuscus) I require your aid, I would like it if the aggression is calmed down. We will seize the message you received.”

Thay’d says “this palace is like old cheese. It is full of holes.” “My other friend guard here would’ve knocked your teeth in. Maybe he wasn’t wrong. Stow your weapons. Remove your net.” Thay’d removes the net in an ostentatious manner showing his disdain.

Minutes later ten more guards appear. “Show us that message or I’m going to let my boys beat on you.” A guard tells Toboscus, “your reputation within this palace is already in compromise.” Toboscus replied “my friends justifiably are on edge as you can see.” The second guard replies “this matter’s gone too far.” Toboscus (rolls 25 on diplomacy), is told, “I need to take this to my Lord. We can take this boy into custody and then maybe I don’t have to see the note.” Tobuscus states the party was only concerned with the safety of the boy and tells the guard “we have infiltrators abound, take this boy into custody,” the guard leaves and when asked his name says it’s “Telldonis.” Thay’d replies “good day to you, and watch yourself in the cheese.”

The party goes back into palace, heading to their assigned quarters, and in front of the door stands Sir Jos Van Duren who stares at them stating “Not wise to provoke argument. You’re already not in good standing with the palace guard. Sir Tobuscus, you and your party alienate folks wherever you go.” Thay’d replies “what about the palace paladins? Shouldn’t they be plugging some of the holes around here?” Toboscus urges Thay’d to be more diplomatic and quiet, but then Van Duren drops, “I would expect such words from a friend of the demon-eye.” Thay’d and Jos argue, and Jos accuses Thay’d of being an elitist and priviledged boy, then ends his insult with “do not speak to me again.” He walks out and asks Tobuscus to walk with him. “Please atone Tobuscus. Please atone.”

Tharg sees the tension and the standoff between Thay’d and Sir Van Duren. “I have too much shit going on. I have to make some smart moves. I’m not involved with this.” The party enters their room, check it to make sure they’re not being monitored (they’re not as far as they can tell) and see an religious idol left by Sir Jos (examined and unremarkable other than it is of high quality).

The party, now alone and seemingly unmonitored take out the note, and read “Holber was captured. Know where generally he’s located.” Need to meet up to talk." Thay’d replies “that’s it, there’s no time or place to talk.” Tobuscus tried to identify if the calligraphy revealed anything of the writer but could only find a slight resemblance.

Ezetta Zah enters the party’s quarters, Thay’d picks up knife, and opens the box with Holber’s hand, showing it to Zah, “ahh! those monsters!” Her hair and eye change color seemingly in horror from seeing Holber’s hand, examines the hand and using magics on it. “This hand was bit off. I cannot trace Holber, but I cannot tell of his existence within 100 miles. He could be dead that I do not think is likely, or he could be in a warded area.” “Being your party’s barrister I don’t think I should be sticking my neck out in trying to find him. I am fond of Holber. I am sorry.” She examines the letter and says “Taiven wrote it. I can tell based on the handwriting. Only a monk could’ve written it.” “He’s supposed to be at the Sea Prince’s residence.” Zah magically transports the party minus Lord Tharg after asking them to hold hands.

Awaiting at the residence is Taiven who reunites with the party. Tobuscus asks “did you kill someone in the jail, Skeevus be his name?” Taiven admits to the action saying “only after he confessed to buggery of an innocent child.” Taiven tells the party that while in the jail he learned of Holber was likely in the sewers and held by a “guild trying to build their power base, a fairly young group basing themselves in the sewers.” The party agrees to enter the sewers.

Ezzeta offers to make phantom images of the party to be in the palace. She casts a spell that gives the party infravision. Thay’d offers trade for Ezzeta to join the party or to ask one of her allies to join them, and offers Holber’s spell book. Ezzeta replies as if insulted. “A spellbook is a wizard’s life’s work. I will not take his book.” " I will leave and try to get help within an hour. If I do not appear then I would not have been able to find the help."
Taiven tells the party “I believe this is all connected. All of the things going on including the monster that sits in the palace.”

Within the hour Orie, an Elven mystic theurge magically appears after being referred by Ezzeta and offers his assistance. Knowing the plan is to enter sewers he offers various potions including antitoxins, a scroll of water breathing and a communal blessing. “I am follower of knowledge. A wizard is in trouble. He seems like an idiot to me but he has good friends.” He wears the holy symbol of Bocobb, human god of knowledge. Vangril asks “why do you follow a human diety?” Orie explains “I studied areas outside of Elven knowledge. This got me showed the door within the Elven community. I do not limit my path to simply that of the Elven but of that of the path of knowledge in all of it’s forms.” “I expect a full share. Nothing more. Nothing less. I would demand that share gives me first share of any book, potion, wand or staff.” “I wish to copy spells from Holber’s book, but I will not take his book.” Vangril was fervant that Orie not get first pick of a divine item. The two begin to bicker.

Orie states “I will ask for half a silver piece from this Elf due to the insult to my diety.” Tobuscus offers 2 silver pieces to calm the anger. Orie and Vangril exchange words. Vangril exclaims “these are not yet my companions and they do not speak for me. They will not pay for me. If show you to be of worth I will pay a donation.” Orie again states he will join on the request of Ezetta. “I have a slow poison spell already on me and a sling.”

The party enters the sewer and go to a southwest direction as they travel they notice the sewer appears more aged. (Worse than difficult terrain, an acrobatics check must be made above 15 or players only get 1 standard action. The smell is putrid. Everyso often you see a ladder leading to a grate to the surface. Occasionally a homeless person is seen, but a prostitute is also seen who went to the sewer to obtain sludge for smothering herself likely satisfy someone’s perverse indulgence).

Three Wererats (clad in studded leather) are encountered. Appearing as were-rats but with elongated fangs. Tobuscus gets doused with green slime, Thay’d throws chakrams and wounds one. A weresnake rat holds a bucket and runs away revealing spiked boots that give advantage to the difficult terrain of the sewer. Another shoots Thay’d with a poisoned arrow (he fails the save and takes 1 point constitution damage).

Toboscus’s banded mail burns and melts from the green smile acid, but Orie blasts him, hurting him, but the intention was to burn off the slime. The fight is away from Orie, Tobscus, Vangril, and Thorgal but right next to them a fecal golem floats up and attacks. Taiven is sickened from a stench blast. Toboscus hits the golem with his lucern hammer causing it to splotch. Thorgal hits it with his axe he magically enflames but notices the flame doesn’t do any worse damage than fire would otherwise cause, nor does the sharpness appear to harm it much. The unintelligent golem mutters “you can’t hit shit.”

Taiven deftly grapples the golem but despite this the golem doesn’t appear affected with Taiven’s limbs not able to grasp the golem anymore than an open hand could hold water. Thay’d kills a wererat. Thorgal casts spiritual weapon but the weapon misses causing it to dissipate despite him putting in extra effort to maintain the spell. Taiven then strikes the golem causing it to explode fecal matter. The party sighs in relief despite being covered with excrement
A grate is encountered. Thorgal’s dwarven eye notices oddly the grate appears to have been placed within the last few months despite that the stones of the area of the sewer appear years old. Two vials are found and are identified as a gaseous form potion. On the other side of the grate a room is found with a ladder leading to a trap door above, but the party could not cross the grate.

The wererats teeth are examined by Orie who says, “interesting, these fangs were surgically implanted but expertly so,” while his eyebrows curl, “these even have venom sacs.” Their studded leather appear to have been standard-issue city watch armor, suggesting the wererats were city-watch or stole them from city-watch. The dead wererats’ faces having transformed back to human form were unrecognizable, with thin bodies. A tattoo of an anvil and squiggly lines were all on the left forearms. Thay’d recognized that the squiggly lines may represent fear or dread as from the “cold tongue” of the Suloise people.

Due to the room behind the grate being inaccessable, the party decided to avoid it at that time and explore the other side of the sewer. Vangril was wounded during the fight but decides not to heal himself thinking he’ll save his healing powers for later. Thay’d found a secret door entrance leading to a room that appeared sealed-off, the air is stale but smelled fresher than had it been closed off for years, the entrance only being 5 feet. The party still at the entrance of this door, peer through it and the room on the other side opens to an anatomist’s lab with a tall bipedal crocodile-appearing being wielding a staff who then threw an object and appeared a large fecal golem.

Thay’d casts invisibility on himself and runs through the 5 foot door, but immediately after doing so the crocodile-being shoots a web at the door and casts stinking cloud with Thay’d, Taiven, and Toboscus within it’s range. Toboscus (able to tolerate the stink) hits the web with the hammer but notices it’s blunt and piercing effects while damaging the web aren’t very effective. Vangril (tolerating the stink) casts a fire elemental spell. Thay’d (tolerating the stink) casts fly while invisible.
Thorgal prepares to charge through the cloud but immediately stepping into the stinking cloud, his dwarven constitution fails him, and becomes nauseated and vomits! Then the crocodile-man shoots lightning bolt hitting all of the party except for Thay’d because they were all in the same area not yet entering the room. Vangril is electrified dead. Taiven, Tobuscus, Orie and Thorgal are all hit although Taiven is able to reflexively miss some of the hit. Orie partially heals the party.

Thay’d throws a chakram enhanced with a destructive aura at the crocodile-being and hits hurting him but misses on a second throw. The being teleports out yelling with a thick accent “I rememba you hero weeth dee chakram!”
Toboscus resists the effect of the sinking-cloud hits the golem, but then Orie falls sick to the cloud. Thay’d hits the golem with a chakram. Taiven hits the golem squarely in th chest and pulls out what seemingly is an organ. Toboscus critically hits the golem with the fecal matter “exploding.” The party clears the room and those affected by the stink, Orie and Thorgal, recover.

Holber is found on an examination table, appearing as if connected to machines. The level of alchemy and magic was on an order of magnitude not even Orie was familiar who appeared horrified with the unholy experimentation. Orie sees a device related to planar travel that also appeared more advanced and sophisticated than he had ever seen. “My eyes have seen more than most but even this is novel and unexpected, and not in a welcome manner.” A plan on the wall showed designs to mix dragon, human, and minotaur. Orie speculated “it’s as if someone was trying to mix their biological essence, and even knew of the unseeable ribbons that dictate the plans of life.”

Orie points to the party a damaged summoning circle that appears intentionally damaged and in being so may be a sign of genius above that of most wizards. “This circle was damaged as if by purpose and of a precision suggesting it was intentional and by superior design.” “I ask as a favor not to let Ezzeta zah know of this. Her father is a spellcaster of renown. She is highly skilled, but introducing her to magic of this is not good.” A book in the lab was written in the goblin alphabet but not easily recognizable even to one who knows how to read goblin. “It touches on biology, physiology, alchemical formulas, and splicing life ribbons.” “I suggest this be brought up to a higher power within the guild. You have proven your party and it’s goals are worthy of respect. You have an ally with me.” Orie mentions very few and only the most powerful have touched upon similar types of magic. “Ages Aagon Baratheon allegedly used an alchemical substance to seal a portal.”

The sewer stone appeared to be at least 300 years old, but the lab, based on Thorgal’s observation, only appeared to be about 2 years old.
The worth of the materials in the lab is at 10,000 GP.


View
Session 018: Holber Too
With the trial delayed again, Holber goes missing...
1st – 2nd of Wealsun – CY 647
Session 018:
Holber Too

Location: EastfairWorld Map
Map Tab Color: RedMap Tab Symbol: Two Crossed Swords

Weather:

Low Summer, Plains, sunrise: 4:45 a.m, sunset: 7:10 p.m
Date Day Name High (°F) Low (°F) Precipitation (duration) Wind (from, speed) Luna Celene
 27 Earthday  (work) Moderate  (60) Moderate  (44) Cloudy Moderate  (N, 19 mph) - -
 28 Freeday  (rest) Warm  (66) Cold  (39) Cloudy Moderate  (S, 19 mph) - -


Cast of Characters
Holber Brom Mercy Elandrin Taiven Dradoma Tharg
Thay’d Catiph Thorgal Stonecutter Vangril Ryngwyndrare Vangril Ryngwyndrare


We begin today in the heroes quarter of the palace. Lady Azeta Zha comes in bringing Holber from the torture cells. Lady Zha is very interested to meet with Baron Tharg. She describes that she was told by her Guildmaster to go to the prison cell and rescue a wizard.

Toby

She would take on the case if she talks to us and realizes that we’re innocent. She wants 20 hours to ask Baron Tharg questions and interact with the half-dragon, she also wants to be paid for any miscellaneous expenses not including her billable hours. Lady Zha says: “You know only the ones born to the dragon as a mother live, from human wombs they burst out prematurely and die.” Mercy goes to talk to Baron Tharg to see whether he would be agreeable to this deal.

“You are baron Tharg I am most pleased to meet you. What’s the tensile strength of your bite?” She inspects his wings and gullet. “You’re obviously descended from a Red.” “You wanted 20 hours with me. You understand that there are certain secrets that dragons cannot tell you. Do you really want my Mother [Name Redacted] coming after you? On my maternal side my grandmother is Tiamat Bahamut.”

Beware simple mortals,
A tale of woe,
The horned lord is coming,
For flesh before snow,
A legion of brethren,
The bodies lie cold,
A last bloody harvest,
For the Baron of Bones,
He led a clawed march,
Of the sick and the old,
The backs of the people,
Lashed for their gold,
The last drop of marrow,
No dragon will fill,

(Chorus for the crowd as tempo picks up)

Come ye to Eastfaire craven dragon of shame,
Come ye to Eastfaire to soften your name,
Come ye to Eastfaire red scale and horn,
Come ye to Eastfaire your blood will be born!

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Session 017: Conspiracy Here, Conspiracy There
Multiple plots attempt to frame our heroes and the Princess is found brutally murdered
1st Day of Wealsun – CY 647 – CY 647
Session 017:
Conspiracy Here, Conspiracy There

We begin once again in the Royal Palace. Thorgal sends word that he will be staying at the Temple of Heironeous, has received an audience with Allister Tain, and will invite the party when appropriate to treat with the legendary hero of the Chaos War. The party is summarily informed that Taiven broke out of prison and is blamed for the death of the touched prisoner as well as also blamed for the ensuing fire that killed a prison guard. Owen March strides in haughtily flicking a stack of papers on the floor, each of these are wanted posters for Taiven the False Faced One:

Taiven_Wanted.jpg

The heroes clean up the spy painting to prevent it from being used to spy on them. Azeta shows up along with Jos van Duren. Greetings are exchanged. “We’ve scouring the city for the Princess I pray no harm will come to her.” Azeta apologizes for losing her temper earlier. Sir Tobi apologizes to Sir Jos for being wrong about Taiven. “He’s wanted dead or alive, at least Baron Tharg was wanted alive.” Sir Jos continues: “I’ve come here today as not a Templar not a paladin but as your true and good friend to once again plead with you not to take the course of action of besmirching Malagor’s name. It has come to me that as the despicable tactic may be used. It would seriously damage my opinion of you.” Azeta answers; “Sir Jos its a viable legal strategy, we both know the charges against these are trumped up, but Malagor is dead it won’t hurt him.” The two argue back and forth.

Baron Tharg adds: “I recall that Taiven was there when people were disappearing, supplies were being burned, etc.” Zha says: “Ya’ll need to make up your mind on the defense. You’re going up against 3 lawful judges.” Sir Jos says: “Your friend Thayd is a person of interest in the Princess’ disappearance. There’s more talk that Taiven devoured her soul. The next time I see Taiven one of us will die. After last night’s encounter I begged the head of my order for special permission and he came through: Taiven has a big surprise coming. He murdered a simpleton, who was responsible for the death of a child, if rumor is to be believed there is probable more to it than that. I will say this without shame, some are inherently evil like Orcs. The Simpleton should have the protections of law, and if he were proven to what he did, then his head should be have been cut out. Taiven probably has to kill something every day to maintain his powers. I have spoken to the chief of the watches and have warned them of Taiven: they will not be looking to take him alive. If you find where he is and you take him alive you can turn him in. It was his unorthodox fighting style that took me by surprise. Pholtus would have saved me.” Sir Jos leaves.

Zha says: “You need to stop listening to that guy. You know what courage and honour gets you? I’m planning to introduce the 80 statements of our caravan witnesses. We have 30 more than the others. I will want Baron Tharg to take the stand. As we discussed before, you need to downplay your abilities especially in the intellectual department. Don’t mention Taiven he’s a distraction we don’t need. We also have Sir Merkel who was in the employ/service of Malagor and he is still waiting for an offer for his testimony. He feels his testimony will ruin his career, he may not be wrong given Sir Jos’s adamence. He went into great detail regarding certain losses of bowels and not remembering things etc. He is also willing to swear that Sir Malagar no longer remembered the daily prayer and just mumbled through it.” Sir Tobi Says: “I can offer him an apprentice ship.”

Rumors are flying around that the demon-faced Taiven and the dragonman ate the Princess in a heinous blood orgy.

Dread, the Inquisitor, is invited to the trial of the dragonman this afternoon, given that she was one of the investigators. Dread attempts to investigate the prison break, but finds little given that fire covered it up. Dread does confirm that the neck was snapped cleanly of the simpleton child molester. 3 of the escaped were known members of the Eastfair Thieves Guild including Lefthill who was known to run a scam and was slated to be interrogated by Dread. Dread continues to follow up leads.

Dread finds that there are 4 elves unaccounted for. Astenaria had a meeting with the Queen, at which time 7 personal servants were in attendance, however only the bodies of 3 servants were found slain.

Around 5 am, Thayd’s Uncle arrives at the docks and requests to see Taiven, who is forced to forgo his morning bath with his concubines. Taiven travels to the ship quietly, entering the state room. There is another man there who wears full plate – this is Allister Tain. The two are introduced. “Your uncle and I are old friends.” Uncle: “I called Allister here b/c your man Gaston made me aware of a malady you’ve been suffering.” Thayd says, “Yes unfortunately uncle in saving the Princess of the Ardi Forest I touched the wrong crypt here I sit before you half the man I was..” Uncle says, “Allister owes me a favor.” Allister says: “The church of Heroneus thanks you for the benevolent gold offering.” Tain looks over Thayd and remarks, “This might take me more than one try.” He does cure Thayd on the second try. Heroneans true to the their word come through and Tain excuses himself.

Uncle says; “What have you gotten yourself into. It took him twice.” “Some powerful ancient magics Uncle.” “Tell me about it, I had to pull a lot of strings to get him here, and he OWED me one which I had to use on this. So now you owe me one. So what have you been getting into besides associating with the wrong people? What in the world were you thinking about having dinner with the Ambassador of Iuz? In public? I taught you better than that” “I covered my tracks.” “Oh you mean that beating that you took? You may have fooled the masses, but now you have to talk to me. What have you gotten our family into?” “Well Uncle this Kingdom hangs in the balance. There is a man here who left Iuz and hangs in favor with the Queen, this same man attacked our caravan. He is not who he says he is.” “You rarely give me cause to disbelieve you, but I gotta say the last day or two I’ve considered having your sister handle things on the main continent for a while. She does not have your brashness. You say this Sir Bahl attacked you and parleyed favor with the Queen?” “Not only that but while we were rescuing the Princess he came to the aid of the Caravan as it was attacked by Iuz. On the field teh weapons and soldiers that remained were all of inferior make. I’ve reason to believe that hte weapons and the attack came from the bandit lands. The maker’s mark on the weapons was by an orc there, the banners were moth-ridden as if they were stowed for 25 years, the weave was decades old.” “So you’re saying the attack was staged. Staged so that he could ride in and be the hero? So he could gain the favor of a new and young queen. Is this a machination of his own or of Iuz? You had dinner with the ambassador to discern it. You gotta know those guys are excellent liars.” “I did purchase 13 slaves who formerly belonged to Sir Bahl.”

“Evidently this kingdom is under assault.” Thayd gives him the details of the monster attack. “Wow, this is an opportunity for us though – we could get in with this Queen and potentially open up trade for us. I don’t think you’ve done too badly. Of course Iuz wsa interested in trade, being landlocked, but we’re not going to do business with him. Winks At least not openly. All joking aside, whenever you deal with Iuz grow eyes on the back of your head.”

Thayd continues, “Jeremy Windell has been stirring up trouble with my group – his champion Owen is no slouch. We’ve facing 5 plots that we know of.” “You wanna come home? This will die down after a few months.” “Just the fact these plots are so hurried gives me great concern.” “Well Windell was old when I was young and it is a fact that he was a principal adviser to Drax the Invulnerable. He had Rel Astra wrapped around his pinky including the Thieves Guild etc. He held out for the Knights Protectors and Unification of the Great Kingdom, his purse got fatter and fatter but now without any real leader in Rel Astra you can bet he is running things. I’ve dealt with the man before, runs a tight ship, never had any business issues with him, but he is prideful – all of his champions are ruthless killers who kill at the drop of a hat. I heard Drax took on some dragon, I wonder how that all came to pass.” Thayd answers, “Baron Tharg is directly related to that dragon.” “There’s no such thing as a half dragon that walks like a man, a little early in the morning to be telling tall tales. I have sailed the world and have seen things you cannot imagine. I will bet you he is a lizardman freak of some kind. How does he even have a Baronhood? If he’s not a fraud, he’s a nothing. He’s gotta be stupid to be walking about human lands expecting to fit in.” “Pay close attention at trial and you’ll get a sense of his mind.”

Thayd says: “My sister travels with the elves, one of them is husband to the missing princess.” “I heard the princess was kidnapped do you think she is dead? Its weird that they would put one of their own paladins on trial?” “I’m not clear exactly.” “So this Tobuscus. Any potential useful allies for the Sea Princes? Any diamonds in the rough, who can serve our needs?” “There are several nobles here who need to be met with. We need to untangle these treads. The Princess named one of our party as Elf-Friend. He is a brash monk and was maligned.” “Wait you’re talking about the Demon-Eye.” The Uncle spits out his drink: “Prince Eladrel is gonna shit a brick when he hears that!” He is belly-laughing. “Elf-Friend? That’s not a title lightly given. If you can bring him in it’ll be 3,000 gp.” “The title should give him significant protection, although much is hinged on technicalities.” “I don’t like societies that talk about purity of law, they’re the most corrupt sons of liches that are. At least with Iuz you know they’ll stab you with a dagger later on.” “In that case, Sir Jos is a man to be avoided Uncle b/c he represents everything you just said.”

A servant comes in with a note in hand, looking it over the Uncle says, “Tell me this is a jest. Our safe-house is under siege. By the city guard. Have you been truthful with me?” The note is shown: “The head of the elven princess was put on a pike on top of the safe-house. Not only that, but one of our employees was arrested with the bounty and named you as the mastermind behind the Princess’ disappearance and murder. Of course I know this is false, how do we prove it false?” “We should probably sail away. I wholeheartedly agree but it makes you look guilty. Gaston! First off, find out if this Princess is dead or not. What modifications did you make to the safe-house?” “I made entire foyer a murder box.”

Tobi looks for Marrko. Marrko answers, “I know of certain truths.” “I hear you’re hesitant to speak these truths.” “May I speak frankly we all know that Sir Jos is very fond of Malagar. In his prime Malagar was a hero to the kingdom and sharing the truths that I have to share is not going to endear me to either of those. I’ve decided to resign my commission I don’t believe the path of a paladin is for me. I will still serve in the military, perhaps political aspirations.” “From what I’ve seen in this palace we could use some good politicians.” “Those aspirations would be short lived if I don’t have any real support. It’s only because I respect the truth so much that I broach the subject of saying anything. He was a doddering old man, but he was still special. I feel like its betraying him, but the light of truth shines through the darkness according to Pholtus texts. I do not like your friend the dragonman I believe him to be an arrogant braggart, but he should have never been put in command.”

Meanwhile, Baron Tharg, Holber, and Azeta Zha are walking the streets. The Baron gets hit with a couple tomatoes. Zha wants Holber to take her shopping to make up for the last date which went poorly. Azeta Zha points to a bottle of perfume, “This is what I want. Buy it.” Holber says, “Go ahead.” Azeta says, “Now we need flowers. Because I said so.” She spends 2 hours looking at every flower and admiring them. “I’ll need a half dozen. After we’re done we’ll have a gourmet meal where we won’t be getting salads.” Holber refuses to pay the high price for the flowers, and as a result Azeta storms out of their date and leaves furious. Holber on his way back to the palace hear of the death of the elven Princess and the arrest of a pirate servant who was arrested trying to take away the ransom. Rumors say that False-faced Taiven ripped off her head and threw it onto a pike.

Baron Tharg consoles the Princess and the two of them enter the Owlbear for a drink, where Taiven happens to be staying. There are half-orcs, orcs, knolls, several rough-looking people. But all of them stay away from the Name Level Wizard with glowing eyes and the dragonman. The goblin bard quickly changes songs from disparaging the Baron to disparaging Taiven instead. Zha says, “What will you do after I get you off these charges? Going after the beast is unwise. I wish you could know what I know of it. It’s said that in year 1333 it killed Arathox Gold Dragon and friend of the elves. Its said the sun shone less bright after that.”

Rumors circulate that the city guard lost 5 members trying to breech the home of the sea Prince Noble, and it was found that inside all the staff had already been killed. The home was connected to the Catyph family. Its rumored that the Prince kidnapped the elf, ransomed her, and sent a servant to collect the ransom. There is an arrest warrant issued for Thayd. Supposedly a snake-like creature killed the guards. As a result, the lizard man serving Joromy Windell has been arrested.

Royal_Palace.jfif

THE ROYAL PALACE

Sir Jos informs Tobi and Holber of the details of the breech to the Thayd domicile – supposedly the creature that fought off the guards had snakes for hands. Holber recalls early on into his training hearing about something called an inphidian. They’re a direct progenitor or subspecies of the Yuan-Ti, also very rare on par with dragonmen. Yuan-Ti are rumored to be behind the Scarlet Brotherhood, a secret society aimed at spreading chaos to disrupt governments and cities, recognized having the best spy network on Oerth. Second, the Yuan-Ti were supposed to have been the descendants of the Reign of Colorless Fire in the Sulocian Empire. Sulocians are not allowed to hold office in the Great Kingdom on pain of death.

EASTFAIR BACK ALLEYS

Mercy goes to find Anna, her owner, who informs Mercy of the Princess’ death. Anna says, “This is a concerted effort to assassinate your character, what exactly went on in that Temple? There’s something I don’t know here, you’d best be telling me now.” “There was the ancient race.” Mercy tells Anna about the inphidian. “I’ve heard of Yuan-Ti, but not of inphidians. The Sulocians have no love for the Great Kingdom that’s for sure. It’s almost like all the evil elements of the world are lined up against your group. Its focused on you guys specifically. Not everyone just goes into a temple of a powerful Lawful exinct race. Somebody wants you guys out of the way – you have to know something important or be important. And you’re not important. This is demon-level chaos. I’ve contacts in the Thieves Guild I have tapped, do you wish to accompany me?” “No thank you.” On the way back to the palace, Mercy gets held by Owen, “Don’t struggle you little cunt we’re gonna have a talk in the valley.” Hold person doesn’t seem to effect Owen, to which he remarks, “That was a stupid move.” Mercy is tripped, and a rapier is put to her neck, “You’ll get up and talk to me in the alley you little cunt or I’ll end you right here.” Mercy complies, noticing he has a guard badge. “What were you speaking with the half-elf witch for?” “She’s my mistress.” “Kinky. I know you’re a slave, but not treated like any slave I’ve ever seen. Who killed the princess?” “I would like to know that as well, it wasn’t anyone in my party.” “You’re a lying cunt.” “You’re welcome to Zone of Truth me if you have it. Our party saved the Princess.” “Where is Prince Thayd the Fast Cunt?” “I’m assuming he is with his people.” “Don’t get smart with me cunt I’ll kill ya and won’t feel bad about it either.” “Just trying to help you.” “I’m gonna come around to the palace tonight and we’ll have a nice little talk just you and me. My friend was arrested and I’m a kill whoever set him up.” Owen walks away.

EASTFAIR DOCKS

Meanwhile, the city guard lead by Sir Jos arrive at the ship of the Sea Princes where Tumothaw and Thayd are in discussion; “His royal prominence admiral and king of the sea barons, I command you in the name of Queen Allasandra to allow me to board your ship and seize your nephew in connection to the murder of the elven Princess Astenaria. You have one minute to comply or I will take your boat by Force. My name is Commander Jos Van Duren.”

Uncle Tumothaw laughs: “I feel like getting my little saber out and pat this paladin on his arse. To take my ship! Who the hell is this guy?” The boatsman answers, “This is a Sea Baron’s vessel and any attempt to seize it by force will be met by force. It is considered sovereign Sea Baron ground. We will under diplomatic flag meet you upon the docks in 5 minutes.” Uncle inquires of Thayd: “What do you want to do? Stow you away or go out there? You’re likely to be arrested officially but I’ll be there every step of the way.” Thayd strikes the Sea Baron, and he is hauled off to the brig. The Lord Admiral goes out to explain to Sir Jos that Thayd has already been arrested pending investigation. Sir Jos commands the Lord Admiral not to leave port until superiors allow him to leave. There is drawing of steel, but cooler heads do prevail. As a token of respect, Sir Jos is allowed on board to stand guard over Thayd. Dread is sent a message that services will be required of the Inquisitor once he could be extradited.

Owlbear_Tavern.jpg

THE OWLBEAR TAVERN AND INN

Anna has entered the Owlbear, wearing a chain shirt and bearing two scimitars – she looks at ease in this part of town. Tharg nods to Anna and she nods back.

Taiven (now wearing an eyepatch over his demon eye) also sneaks into the Owlbear by phasing through a wall and sitting down in a shadowy spot at the Owlbear Tavern. The Barkeep does see Taiven materialize in a corner. Taiven sits down next to Lefthill at the corner table. “Well met I’m surprised you showed up. You know they’re blaming you and your friends, you didn’t cut off that Princess head did you?” “No she was a dear friend.” “So I’ve been doing some checking on you and it seems you are somebody that we may be willing to develop a professional relationship with. What kind of eye powers do you have? I hear that you’re a competent hand-to-hand combatant and actually wrestled and pinned a paladin like it was nothing. The Gortaka orphanage for war orphans was endowed 10 years ago with 150K gold. It’s in shambles because Gortaka left 5 years ago and suddenly through all the taxes the money disappeared. Anyway, with any business relationship, there will be tests of competency. What role would you like? A thug who beats people for collections? We have other operations that are more mercenary than that, utilizing skills such as yours. I recently suffered a setback b/c my prison mission failed thanks to that flipping wizard Holber. He riled up one of the local ruffians and ended up getting kicked in the head – the information in the false tooth got lost when he kicked me. That wizard owes me 7500 gp. Anyway, these tests are basically missions for the Guild that prove your competency and loyalty. Thing is you’re dragonfire hot. Your disguise is good, but we need something better because eventually someone is going to come for you. I need to know whether you’ll help the guild first. I feel I can give you this. One of our operatives made a copy of this and now you know that I’m a serious man. You can read it wherever you need to read it.” Taiven stands up to leave.

As he goes to leave two large Orcs threaten the monk unless Taiven comes with them to speak with the Barkeep, “I know what you did from now on you better walk through the front door.”

City_Docks.jpg

THE EASTFAIR DOCKS

Sir Jos walks in to interrogate Thayd. “I do not understand how good and noble men like Sir Tobi and Baron Tharg are drawn to people like Tiaven and you. You attacked me and instigated that conflict, the food and caravan you remember? It may seem long ago to you.” “I seem to remember taking what was mine and also your sword in the process.” “I’ve prepared for the foul machinations of you and your cohort Taiven. I saw you two always talking and joking together it did not escape my notice. You did not kill the Princess though, I don’t believe you did. Even though you’re disrespectful and my Kingdom you’re not stupid or sloppy. Today’s crime was stupid and sloppy. Inside there was a foul creature, it killed 5 guards and killed all of your house guard. It made use of your home which was fortified for assault. So you tell me: you disappeared from the Palace last night. Will you answer our Inquisitor’s questions willingly or not? The Princess’ head was found on your property. It was one of your employees that was found carrying the ransom, and has made a sworn statement that YOU kidnapped the Princess and put out for the ransom.” “I will allow the questions if the same Inquisitor can question this accuser.”

Sir Jos speaks with Dread. “I’ve a question for you. Thayd’s employee: did you handle that interrogation? Can you re-interrogate that person? Afterwards, when you are done with him I would appreciate if you interrogated Thayd. If it can cause discomfort, it wouldn’t bother me.” Dread enters the cell below decks to interrogate Thayd, but Thayd’s mind proves too strong to be effected by Dread’s psionic powers.

THE ROYAL PALACE

Sir Jacken Dayne comes to see Tobi, Tharg, and Holber. “As you know the Princess has been killed. It was her body, that much has been confirmed. It is interesting to hear that she died especially in light of THIS.” He produces a letter written by Princess Astenaria granting Taiven the title of Official Ambassador and mentioning an known vague threat to the Queen. “What is the threat? What about her other four elves?” Elves once they pass on do not choose to come back. “Now Taiven has full diplomatic immunity and the Elven Prince is on his way. Sir Tobuscus I lord Jacken Dayne the Queen’s Protector order you to disclose everything that occurred in that Forest Right now.” Sir Tobi describes the adventure at the Tomb, but leaves out details concerning the Vaati and the Reforger. Sir Dayne senses that Sir Tobi is leaving out important details, and calls him out. Sir Tobi and Baron Tharg explain to Sir Dayne that there is something else not disclosed to Sir Jacken Dane because the information is highly sensitive and would put his life in danger like it has to all of the heroes, leaving him mad at that revelation and Dayne departs furiously, reminding them that they stand trial soon.

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Of Mice and Skeevus
A hero in an impossible situation!
1st Day of Wealsun – CY 647
Session 016:
Of Mice and Skeevus

Holber deduces looking at Thay’d, “you must’ve been the one who hired my barrister.” Thay’d only states he was looking out for him without saying yes. Not only did Thay’d procure a barrister, he got one of the best in the realm, and one whose intellect, beauty, and expertise few could compare. Tharg and Tobuscus also needing a barrister agree to have Ezetta-zah represent them upon a payment of 300 gold each.

“Very well gentlemen,” Ezetta states as she receives their bags of coin. “Our business is only beginning.” I will start on your defense. Rest assured you are in good hands." She then stares at Holber with a warm smile on her face and her cheeks becoming rosey. “You Holber, we’re meeting tomorrow night. Our business too is also beginning” as she gave off a glowing look. Holber looked back with a tense smile as if he didn’t know what to do or say. “Tonight we’re going out for dinner.” Holber responds, “you’re paying right?” Ezetta responds she will pay, knowing Holber is not yet a man of means.

Elven princess Astenaria walks to the party’s room and announces, “I will meet with each of you for three hours to assist with your legal issues. It warms my heart that you have an elven barrister. She is one of the best but her father is an exceedingly arrogant man.”


Meanwhile in town, Thorgal has walked away from the party, not in legal peril himself, and makes his way back to the weaponsmith Torvac in Eastfare. “Friend Torvac! I return! Show me the blade by which I will kill 1,000 foes!” Torvac pulls out a beautifully made mastework-kukri. Thorgal holds it up the air, stares at it while checking it’s balance. “It’s a thing of beauty and function! I will insert this shaft into the inflamed, bloodied, and unwitting flesh of evil time and time again! Back and forth, back and forth!, out from the wound will spurt out blood that I will proudly claim is my doing!” Despite the boasting, Thorgal is truly and sincerely touched by this new blade, it’s beauty, it’s craftsmanship and that it was given in to him out of respect for acts of kindness. “Aye,” he thinks to himself, “this will be a blade for good.”

Torvac tells Thorgal of 2 orcs he killed but barely managed to survive. “Aye, I killed them but I’m more of a craftsman than a fighter.” Thorgal in return tells him of Drow he’s killed. “They be pretty darky-elf boys with purple skin. They be skinny, and they dress in tight black leather to make them even prettier, but don’t let them pretty things make you think they be anything but the worst evil you’ve seen! Orcs be tough but stupid, their danger is their numbers, Drow are fast, smart, clever!” He then takes off his backback, sets it down, opens it, and takes out an anvil larger than the backpack could hold unless treated with magic, only being able to do so because it is a Haversack. “Look at this! I’m a crafstman too! I used it to fashion me axe. That or I drop it on the head of a drow!” The two exchange humoruous stories. “Thank you my friend” Thorgal exclaims but Torvac only telling him he he did a great service for his family healing his cousin. Thorgal goes to town to expend his healing energies for those in need.


Thay’d makes arrangements for dinner with the ambassador of Iuz at the Owl Bear restaurant.
Tobuscus pens a letter. Sir Joss, I humbly request you to meet with Taiven and I to make amends and find a reconciliation between all parties. In the spirit of true paladinhood and forgiveness it would be in our spiritual interests to find this reconciliation…… The letter is dispatched to Sir Joss.

Then the paladin gets the rubbing of the obelisk and goes to Eastfare’s library accompanied by the elven princess hoping to find something in the library to better understand the obelisk’s symbols. While traveling the paladin discovers he is being followed by a monstrous lizard man of 7 feet, armed with an equally impressive scimitar, hide armor, well-financed gear, and a human of just over 6 feet in mithral armor.

“Ah the game is afoot,” the paladin thinks to himself. He stares at them using his paladin powers (Detect Evil) discerns they are both evil. Tobuscus instead returns to the castle, and leaves now accompanied by Taiven and 3 elven rangers. One of the rangers is asked to accompany them from several feet behind to observe if they are being followed. They again embark to the library and this time see the lizardman with now a half-elf and a beautiful human woman singing The Baron of Bones. (She performs at a 28 on a perform check).

The lizard man and human warrior in the mithral armor keep back 15’ and shadow Taiven’s movement. While moving the human yells, “the dragon-man cunt married the elven princess cunt and they had a cunt-mongrel!” Tobuscus looks at the princess and replies, “remain calm, their intent is likely for us to cause a scene.”

They get to the library and once inside notice they are no longer followed. A man apparently in his 50s possibly a librarian sage introduces himself. “Show me to the languages section, and please provide me a private room.” requests Tobuscus. The librarian allows him the use of a staff office. The princess detects for magic in the library but finds none. Toby tells all (Taiven, princess, elven rangers) that the contents going on are secret and they cannot reveal what they find to others.

Despite lacking training Tobuscus finds some letters similar to that of the Aasimar characters. He goes to the history section, going to the Aasimar section to see if there’s mention of anything branching languages. Celestial shows 2 common characters. An elven ranger comes into the library bleeding on his left cheek. “The man in the mithral armor cut me with a rapier then called it a love cut!”

Upset but trying to keep calm, Toby and his crew leave the library to head back to the palace, but now see a dwarf (not detected as evil), a man in large plate (detected as evil) with the sigil of Rel Astra, one of the 4 principle cities of the kingdom. When they get about 35’ feet from the other group the they hear lyrics from the female singer, “cowardly elf, cowardly dragon-man.”

Tobuscus and his group get to the temple of Pholtus where hundreds are being treated for wounds and sickness There they meet with the older cleric Targ. Tobuscus greets, “you have made a beautiful and divine temple,” and introduces the princess Astinaria. “Where may be Sir Joss?” asks Toby. Their host tells Tobuscus, " “There was a scary woman here asking for him. She works as the city’s inquisitor. She puts fear up my spine!”

Tobuscus asks if there be available clergy for fighting. “On the outskirts of town there is another temple to Volantis where I serve as bishop. There we have two young men. Baku, he is a man of the scripture and not one for fighting. Batai on the other hand, he’s filled with anger and rage. Properly trained he could make an excellent Templar.” He continues, “I’ve treated Black Blades, a disbanded order. The Knights Protectorate took from mostly Heironeous, Pholtus, and Hextor. With the coming of the Ivid dynasty they were disbanded and deemed treasonous. They attempted treason on King Ivid but the proof is in dispute. They were hunted down, but some still live in the wilderness. I know of no one to contact within the Knight Protectorate. Perhaps Jaquen Dane or Allister Tain but I would not trust that Heironean. He is not of the great kingdom but he imposes rules on us as if he is one of us.” Toby heals some of the sick with channels.


Elsewhere in Eastfare, Thorgal wanting to make himself useful but also hoping to learn of Eastfare heals the masses hoping benevolent acts could change influence. “You know lass,” he says to a wounded girl while healing her," I’ve never seen that dragon-man act like the beast that’s being said of him." The girl stares at him, " noble dwarven healer, we know you to be kind, you heal us without asking for anything except our friendship. That dragon-man must suffer and pay for the babies he’s eaten! What perverse man or woman was willing to lay with a dragon and produce this beast mongrel!?!?" Thorgal smiles, continues to heal her, “Lass you get better. Rest, and when you have the strength help your people so I can get back to putting me axe in the skulls of evil!” He realizes he’ll likely never be able to change their minds, then returns to the palace to alert them to the bad feelings against Tharg.


At the palace, “Hear ye! Lord Jaquen Dane, the Queen’s Justice!” he is introduced to the party wearing elegant, masterly and beautifully crafted gold-chromed and glossed red armor. “I wish to speak to Queen Astenara of the Adri Forest.” “I am honor-bound to tell you that I am one of your 3 judges.” “I fought your mother once,” he says to Tharg. “Then you are a lucky man,” Tharg replies. Dane tries to get a measure on Tharg. “Tell her that we have 2 of her elves that we arrested for starting a fight. When she comes to me I will release them to her custody.” ,"hard to say but he doesn’t seem to be 100% against you.

Tharg alerts Taiven of the above. Tharg talks of his mother, “She tried to embaress my father and dropped me off on him.” He then tells Taiven of the history between elves and men that have been rocky for the last several decades.

Elven princess Astinaria gets Jaquen Dayne to sign a release so she may go to the dungeon to talk to her elves. The elves reveal they were accused of attacking a royal guard. Taiven trying to defend the elves tells Dayne that the other men “verbally abused us.” Dayne replies, “you are a large man, what they called you names?” Taiven, “what would you do if your honor was acosted?” Dayne reponds, “Trial by combat. These elves got into a fight and had their asses handed to them. Statements were made, these elves were taken by law-biding people of the city.”

Sir Tobuscus introduces himself to Sir Dayne and supports Taiven, but Dayne plays devil’s advocate, "How did you know they were insulting her? There are several elven princesses. Did they mention her by name? This is a lawful society. You must be able to prove that these were the insults made against her. Taiven retorted, “they said she had carnal associations with Baron Tharg and no other elven princess knows him except for her.” Dayne retorted again, “they did not mention her by name.” Despite their disagreement Sir Toby told Sir Dayne of his respect for him and his reputation of fairness and they parted.


Later that day, Joramy Wendell calls in the party to meet with his hired underlings. They meet in a conference room. Enters Voltar: a large man in heavy full-plate, Vok: a dwarf wearing the symbol of Clandeggan Silvebeard (dwarven god of battle clerics), Sindarin: a Lizard Man in Elven garb with hide armor, Oin March: a human male in mithral armor (calling out cunt), Jenyra Tyelor: an attractive human female bard, and Moghulis: a wizard (male, looks like a tiefling but not a tielfling). Some of these characters were the same ones seen following Tobuscus on his trip to the library.

Joramy Wendell says, “I am recusing myself because I will sit in judgment of you tomorrow. I understand you had a fracas with some of my underlings. Figure it out.” The party all rolls sense motives, the highest one being a 32 DM-“he just wants to stay above it all”.

The attractive human singer, Jenyra Tyelor says, “I was just having fun with my friends today and now it’s gotten to my employer, and now he wants to fix any misunderstandings.” Taivan and Tobusccus cry foul, “one of your guys, that guy, who keeps saying cunt cut the face or our elven ally!” She responds, “The cut under the eye of my friend, I know nothing of it” while holding her hands up, nor showing any concern. Then Oin looks at Tharg with a threatening glare, “I thought the cunt dragon-man would be taller.” Tharg angrily responds, “My dragon-mother wanted to pass a message, thank you.” Oin stares back, “you’re welcome” with an angry face. Further insults are thrown at each other.

Toby-“We don’t have to take these insults.” Jarenn nonchalantly replies, “I make my money entertaining, and songs of dragon-man are the trend. If I’ve insulted you I apologize.” Sense motive-you believe her. “I don’t care if they insult me,” says Tharg. Oin replies, “good cause I like insulting you and I so hope that cunt princess gets insulted by me, and if you want to do something about man-to-man I’d like it even more.” The insults continue, and Oin, considered one of the most adept fighters of the region, grabs his rapier, but just as he draws it out just an inch Thay’d even quicker whips out his brass sea-blade (natural 20, total 32) with such adeptness and pose that it’s apparent he’d have thrown it at Oin’s neck before his rapier could be completely removed causing Oin to stop midway, and only stare back at Thay’d and put his rapier back into it’s sheath. His look alone said more than words. Not only did Oin avoid a throat slit by a thrown blade, not only did he stop cursing out loud but kept silent for a few minutes.

Joramy tells Tharg, “if found guilty will you willingly go to jail? No matter what happens tomorrow there is a Great Beast that lies in Rauxes. It won’t be the common man or the nobles that will fix this problem, it will be us, people of our wits and means, and therefore I think there should be a plan. Wouldn’t it be nicer if we wouldn’t be on bad terms so we could coordinate?”

Tharg says, “you want to to coordinate but we know who your lord is.” Oin replies, “that man’s not my lord, his money is my lord.” Insults are further exchanged, Joramy responds, “maybe we ought to part ways.”

Despite the arguing to both Thorgal and Vok hardly any of it mattered. What mattered to both of them was seeing another of their kin in this world of humans, and a curiosity of why the other would be here. For Vok, it was refreshing to see another dwarven brother-in-arms, and both could tell the other were of a similarly aligned god from the symbol of the anvil of Moradin on Thorgal’s shield, and the crossed-axes of Silverbeard apparent on Vok. Both of their gods Moradin and Silverbeard were dwarven gods of good and order.

As the two parties part ways, Thorgal walks up to Vok and puts his hand on his shoulder. In Dwarven he passionately speaks, “Kadan eron Raztrum, Tha yol E kadan Nar Moradin. Thamar ath Kronuls Nir arms!” (Translated). “Son of Silverbeard, I am a son of Moradin. We are brothers In arms!.” Vok responds, “Ah it is good to see the plain but welcome and honest face of a dwarf again, and speaking the father-tongue! Let us go out to town and drink!” Both head out enthusiastically, both frustrated with the squabbles from their parties, and both happy to see one of their kind not having seen one for weeks or years.


Ezetta zah enters the palace meeting hall with chalices of wine for guests, approaching Holber for their date. Ezetta being of excellent breeding, a highly regarded family, a noted scholar, a sharp dresser, and also noticeably attractive planned for a romantic night at El-ladriel’s a noted restaurant known for their roast pork and stews. Holber bluntly asks without greeting, “do you know anything about that Tarrasque?” Ezetta responds, “that great beast, it’s name is known to very few, and among those few that know of it, they do not speak it’s name lightly. It would draw dangerous attention. For if anyone recognized the name they would know that the speaker of the the name holds a rare secret. Do not say it in public,” Ezetta says softly as if almost flirting.

Holber, oddly speaks off on an tangent and rather flatly, “you know you could lose a few stones.” “What?” says Ezetta. “You know. You could lose a few stones. You’re attractive, but you’re not perfect. You could lose some belly. I figure that belly could be a little flatter.” Ezetta stares at him shocked. Holber “and good thing you’re paying for this dinner. I don’t have a penny. I especially don’t want to spend anything on something that’d make you fatter. When we get there I’m going to order you a salad. I want you on a diet.” Ezetta throws wine at his face, and she storms out. Holbert thinks to himself, “fine with me, I’m not here to get laid,” without even showing much of a emotional expression.

Baron Tharg unintentionally having witnessed some of the event, approaches Ezetta and kindly offers to be her companion for dinner.


Meanwhile at the Owlbear Inn, Thay’d enters, announces his entrance to the host, and finds the ambassador of Iuz, Sporocystan already seated at a table prepared for the meeting. Thay’d approaches the ambassador but is stopped by two orcs serving as his bodyguards by saying nothing but using their hands up to signal stop. They turn around, walk slowly to the ambassador and silently motion Thay’d to follow them. The two are now at the table, one a noble of the sea, the other an ambassador of a nation of demon-worshipers. The two have a conversation of veiled motives, agendas and half-truths.

Sporocystan says, “we’re just looking out for the people of the Flaeness. If you have one overlord for all the people we will all get along.” Thay’d replies, “the sea is vast, and there are many ships. What about this Sir Baahl?” “Ah, the oath-breaker?,” replies Sprocystan, “I came here with an arrest warrant for him but could not get it fulfilled.” Thay’d asks, “then why not take his lands? His titles?” Sporocystan: “His lands are registered with the Great Kingdom and because of this Iuz could not take these. It was probably his plan to change his cloak all along. Most of his men died in a prairie fire.” During the talk Thay’d tried to sense motive but couldn’t detect any suggesting a magical defense.

A basket of warm bread is put on their table. They break it and eat, “I believe your Dragon-Man will get a fair trial now that Allistar Tain is in involved,” says Sporocystan. “Iuz offered 5,000 gold pieces for the lawful extradition of Sir Baahl. This price of course could go up. I’ve heard that you and your compatriots found a temple in the Ardi forest and there was some magics in there.” Thay’d replies, “there was a mausoleum,” it drained me of half my life," and I lost 2 colleagues." Sporocystan says, “I would like to hear more. There supposedly is a rubbing of an ancient language?” Thay’d replied, “We did see some magics.” Sporocystan looks at him suggesting he has something to offer, “we have clerics that could fix your half-loss of life.” Thay’d asks, “what of the accusations that Iuz attacked the caravan?” "Completely fabricated, " Sporocystan answers with a smile, “cause Iuz told me so.” He continues, “I believe this is a machination of Sir Jason Baahl to remove himself from Iuz, and get himself into the royal family. Iuz sent him to help the refugees, but craven and unhonorable as he is, this is the situation we have now.” Thay’d shrewdly asks, " If there was proof Baahl tried to enslave the caravan what would be it worth to Iuz?

The night continues, entrees are served. Thay’d asks, “Has Iuz ever lost a banner because one of was found on the field? We seek a smith, Cromag.” Sporocystan replies, but this time in a tone of criticism, “Cromag works out of the bandit lands. He’s the lowest quality smith. Just above useless.” Thay’d replies, “then perhaps these troops are from the bandit lands.” The night still continues, the entire time the two orcs, both massive only stand silently beside the table.

Thay’d continues, “I think we’ve had a productive meeting.” "For the information I’ve given you I ask 2 things, 1-for an allotment of slaves be sold to me legally. Sporocystan flatly says, “I can only sell 13. Would you like the children?; because some have rather distasteful plans for them.” Thay’d replies yes and says, “I would like to continue our meetings but ask the orcs to make me look roughed up for show.” Sporocystan directs Thay’d and his 2 orc-bodyguards outside the restaurant to an area of less visibility. “Oh and do not worry about them revealing information. They have no tongues.” He calmly then walks away unflinching while the two orcs pummel Thay’d.


After the evening dinner hour, Ezetta zah didn’t show up for the scheduled meeting to discuss legal plans for the trial starting next day. While waiting for Ezetta in the baron’s quarters, the party finds a painting in the room has removable eyes, obviously to observe them from the opposite side. Surprised the party then searches all of the rooms they and the elves occupy and fine the princess’s room has a trap door apparently for an emergency escape route.

Sir Joss having received Toboscus’s letter arrives at the castle and knocks on Tobuscus’s door. “I searched for you at the temple of Pholtus,” Joss says while also explaining that Oin killed 3 men in trials by combat all in the same day. “You be careful young ones. That Oin could likely beat both you and the dragon-man at the same time.” He then looks with an angry eye at Taiven. Taiven humbly asks, “If I am evil strike me down.” Tharg tries to defuse the situation and tells Joss, “Can’t you paladins detect evil?” Unfortunately for the party, Taiven’s demon eye emanates an aura of evil that camouflages Joss’s abilities to discern Taiven’s true non-evil nature. Joss says boldy “I can see your evil. The only reason why you breathe is because you were given diplomatic respect because of the Elven queen.” Thay’d, appearing roughed-up from his pommeling at the Owl Bear, inquires,“how much would it take to calm you?” Joss angrily responds, “How dare you try to buy a paladin’s honor!” and he throws down a gauntlet. Taiven, sick of Joss’s judgmental comments yells out, “you arrogant self-righteous maniac!” Joss draws a sword and casts a spell for a magic
shield.

Joss yells to Toboscus, “fight it!” referring to Taiven, " Toboscus yells out," Joss I will smite evil and upon Taiven to prove to you he is not so, you will see no divine magic will be expended!, and strikes at Taiven believing a hit will show the divine magic of Smite Evil will fail but Tobuscus misses. Joss calls for help, screaming, “men of the kingdom come to my aid!” Taiven tackles then grapples Joss to the ground.

Tharg, yells “you fool!” and punches Taiven. Holber cries like a child, “I thought you were evil from the start!” while cowering in a corner, curling into a ball, and starts to cry. Two guards respond to Joss’s call and rush into the room. Joss grabs a dagger and aims for Taiven’s throat but misses. Taiven succeeds in pinning him to the ground.

The two guards swing swords at Toboscus, and one slices him in the back. Tharg still in disbelief punches Taiven, who is able to still stand, holding Joss while smacking him, “I don’t see your god Pholtus here now!”
Four more guards come in rushing, one scores a critical hit against Taiven’s left leg, cutting open his femoral artery, and the others not knowing who to attack aside from Joss, attack Tharg, causing minor damage against the dragon-man’s tough scales. Joss yells out and commands, “do not attack the dragon-man, he was not hostile against us!”

Taiven falls to the ground unconscious, and Toboscus uses his healing powers to stabilize Taiven.
Oin runs in, “I hear some cunts need filling with me blades!” A guard yells at Oin and commands to him to leave. The guards command everyone to drop their weapons, restrain Taiven in multiple manacles, and carry him out, two-men per arm, two men per leg. Joss says at Taiven, " I hope you suffer," while Taiven is being carried away. Joss commands that none but Taiven be arrested, “Baron Tharg attempted to stop Taiven, and the wizard just lay in the corner like runt in the mother’s bosom,” and commanded weapons returned to the other heroes of the party.

Joss thanks Tharg. Tobuscus explains, “perhaps it is the demon eye in his head?” Joss tells Tharg, “I thank you and will defend you in court, but I believe this Taiven may have ensorceled you. He is not to be trusted”


At a local tavern Vok buys several rounds of drinks that keep coming. Thorgal proclaims, “I like this beer.” In the Underdark we mostly eat on mushrooms and drink mushroom beer. This grain-beer tastes different! It’s lighter and sweeter. So brother what brings you to the the world of humans?!. Vok explaines he accidentally killed a fellow dwarf, and was banished. “No judgment against you brother. Who among us hasn’t made a mistake we wanted to erase but could not? Time is a pen and ink, and you write but cannot erase. I often trust my luck on Vergadain (dwarven god of luck) for that very reason.” Thorgal tells Vok of how he was, without his control or consent, transported from the Underdark to a tomb the party encountered, but for Vok’s own protection, and Thorgal’s own, doesn’t reveal the beings of Law they encountered or how he lost his own eye only to have it replaced by that of ancient obsidian-colored beings.

Thorgal offers to relay Vok’s circumstances to their kin, “when I see them again,” but Vok replies, “it is of no use, I am dead to them.” Thorgal feeling within moments is uplifted by Vok’s story of eventually joining human-society, working his way up, becoming a trusted healer for the high-ranked of Eastfare, and then assembling the elite party that is now at odds with Thorgal’s own party.

The drinks keep coming, but after 6 tall tankards Vok shows some signs of inebriation while Thorgal shows none. Thorgal looks at the barmaid, “lass you keep these coming! I’m famished and I’m no where close to drunk!” He snarkly looks at Vok, “punch me in the chin!” Vok replies, “oh so you want to friendly brawl eh,” “right, either that or we get into a brawl with some of these lads here, cause one of them is sitting in our seat!” Vok despite seemingly liking the idea and his drunkness replies, “I’d love to brother, but the consequences are too high. We be the only dwarves here, everyone in town would know about it within the hour and think we were trying to lock horns for real.” “Very well then brother,” Thorgal continues to drink, but despite them both drinking to the point where Vok falls stuporous, Thorgal suffers no significant effects from drinking other than a slight buzz.

“Now that be odd.” Thorgal thinks to himself. “I had to drink enough for 4 dwarves, and I only be slightly hazed, and Vok, couldn’t even get an arm-wrestle out of him.” He picks up Vok, puts him on his shoulders, and carries him out, staring at the stars of the night sky, a view he still sees with novelty having lived in the Underdark all of his life. He thinks without saying, “might it be that darned eye in me head?”

Thorgal carries Vok back to the palace, feeling nostalgic he could pick up another one of his kin on his shoulders after a hard night of drinking. When he gets back guards tell him he can only return to the party escorted by guards because his party was engaged in a fight. He looks at them as says, “Just what in the blazes did me party do this time!?”


The third hour of the next day, Ezetta-zah enters the palace, requesting to see the party to arrange their legal defense, and appearing extremely upset. She is astute and up-to-date on recent events. “What by the realm were you thinking!?!?! Now there’s an assault on a paladin! Thankfully Tharg and Toboscus came to the aid of Sir Joss and this will work favorably, but the monk may lose an arm!” Tharg snarkly responds, “how about an eye?” Ezetta decries, “an assault on Joss is an assault on the guard, so it is an assault on the military, and a noble.” Toboscus defensively replies, “it could be his demon eye.” Ezetta proclaims, “I have signatures from 72 of the caravan saying you are innocent. I have signatures showing Sir Maligor was cowardly.” Tharg asks “do we have to throw him under?; it would be unfortunate to throw a man of noble acts under the wagon.” Ezetta responds, “we don’t have to but it’ll help. They want someone blamed. I haven’t told Joss because when this happens in court I need the surprise on his face to be genuine.” “The further we destroy this man the more this will help Tharg.”

Thorgal is escorted to his party, stamps his foot and says, "me fair lady, and gentlemen, hold on one moment, " and then he says nothing while pointing to the painting in the room meant to spy on them. . Tobuscus says, “alright then someone keep an eye on this painting, someone check on the princess.”

Ezetta asks “why did you bring Sir Joss to this room and make these two speak,?” Tobuscus replies “I was trying to repair their relationship.” Staring at Holber Ezetta sternly says “and you!, you’re lucky I don’t turn you into a toad!” Holber apparently wrote her an apology note, " you give me a pathetic note. You could’ve at least brought me flowers."

Guards check on the princess’s quarters and she is missing. Her room looks fine, perhaps too much so with nothing out of place, and no signs of a struggle or signs of preparation for a departure. Extensive searches and attempts with tracking are useless. (Thorgal attempts survival advantaged with a blessing, but with no success). When the trapped door is opened, her 3 elven rangers are found dead, one cut into twain as if by a massive sword, and one with several “surgical” stabs in the throat.

Making matters even worse the party is told the librarian who assisted Joss was murdered, apparently tortured before his death and found in the library. Tobuscus thinks silently, “and yet I only asked him for an office.”


At the local jail Taiven is held, his clothes removed and he put into a stinking mildewed loincloth. When asked by other inmates what happened, he replies, “there is an ignorant and arrogant paladin. I had him pinned.” Lefthill , a wiry but well-spoken half-elf introduces himself. “I’ve been in here a few years. I’ve been accused of stealing. They had no proof. I didn’t steal anything. They only keep me alive because they think I know where it is.” He clenches his mouth that reveals a missing molar. Lefthill alerts Taiven that the elven princess is missing, Taiven-“what!?!? Tell me of it. She’s important to me!” Lefthill responds, “all in due time good sir. We plan on breaking out of here,” and shows him a pick he had hidden in his mouth.

“We need a distraction. We need a strong man like to you to break the neck of Skeevus. It is providence you happen to be here tonight during a shift with the least number of guards on duty now. We’re taking those 3 men with us,” pointing to 3 other inmates. “They’re good folk. They’re going to set a fire ensuring our escape.” Lefthill then points to a simpleton prisoner, who one can visibly see is such due to his malformed head and face, “there’s Skeevus, he buggers children.” Taiven replies, “I’m an honorable man. I cannot simply kill someone.” Lefthill, “well we heard he buggers children.” Taiven cannot tell if Lefthill’s agenda is honest, and is conflicted. Either face trial believing he will never have the truth told and stay in jail risking not being able to attempt to save the princess, or try to escape at the cost of killing this man who he knows nothing of other than this inmate’s story.

Taiven approaches Skeevus, his voice being extremely simplistic like that of a child, and barely comprehensible. “I heet her doo hod, she wen to seep fowever.” Taiven makes his choice, puts his arm around Skeevus’s neck, quickly and painlessly breaking it. A guard sees Skeevus fall to the ground, “Skeevus is having an episode!” the fire starts, the door is opened, and Taiven runs out with the other 4 inmates. Lefthill tells Taiven, “We’re splitting up but meet me at the Owlbear some day.” The 4 other men run off in a different direction.


The party is alerted by Sir Joss of Taiven’s escape, that another prisoner was killed, and of the elven princess’s disappearance. “He may have been a simpleton but everyone has rights.” The party asks for a ranger and Joss says the best ranger is the Lizard Man Sindarin, “but he’s one of the suspects” exclaims Tobuscus. Sir Dayne posts a 36 in hour martial law to add order forbidding anyone from leaving the city. Sindarin is enlisted to help find the princess. The Elven ambadassor is alerted.

“What of this Thay’d? He was in-league with this Taiven on more than one occasion,” mentioned Sir Joss to the other guards and paladins. “Notice he wasn’t around when the princess disappeared, and he was in league with Taiven when they tried to burn the food carts.” Further investigation of the princess’s room suggests teleportation magic was used because of the nature of her disappearance was so sudden and without a trace.

Tobuscus points out Oin as a suspect due to his callous demeanor and nature of the elven rangers’ wounds, “he was in the room during the fight with Taiven.” Oin now present sharply responds, “I just came in to try to help. (pauses then looks at Tobuscus), you cunt.” Thorgal suggests use of a magical Zone of Truth, but Joss alerts all that this can only be used with royal decree, but Joss will ask Sir Dayne for Vok to pursue this.

At the crack of dawn at the embassy of the Sea Barons, Thay’d wakes up in a comfortable room to the smell of fresh bread and fried bacon, His servant Gaston refinely alerts him. “I’m sorry sir. You will not believe this. Your friend Taiven escaped, 3 of the princess’s elven guard are dead, she is missing, and you are the number one suspect of her disappearance.” “All before breakfast,” Thay’d replies without showing shock, “and your uncle is coming today,” replies Gaston. “The trial has been postponed for a day and a half. What are your orders?”
Gaston tells Thay’d that two of the elven rangers were killed by a finesse weapon, the other by a large blade splitting him into two, and Thay’d replies “and of course it happens to meet the description of the weapons I wear on my back.” Gaston says, “I see 3 options. I should suggest you turn yourself in and cooperate, this is a stupid option, 2-hide here, 3-make for the sea and perhaps your uncle’s rank can assist you.”


Taiven makes his way to city orphanage. There he finds 3 adults and about 300 children. The children, to survive, engage in illegal activities, such as selling narcotics and pick-pocketing. Taiven, now re-clothed, able to scavenge various pieces of clothing left to dry, pretends to be a beggar, approaches other beggars, sees one that is extremely dirty, possibly not even human but is not sure, asks “where do I buy booze?,” the beggar sees Taiven’s demon-eye, becomes frightened, tries to scurry away but moving mostly through his arms because his legs are mangled, but after only 10 feet, falls over. Taiven covers his eye with a makeshift eye-patch, and makes his way to the Owlbear.

City heralds are out on the streets proclaiming, “A ransom request of 25,000 gold for the elven princess! If you have any information on her whereabouts inform the guard immediately!”

View
Session 015: The Baron of Bones
Our heroes must muster legal arguments to save Tharg's neck from the noose
27th – 28th Day of Flocktime – CY 647
Session 015:
The Baron of Bones

Location: EastfairWorld Map
Map Tab Color: RedMap Tab Symbol: Two Crossed Swords

Weather:

Low Summer, Plains, sunrise: 4:45 a.m, sunset: 7:10 p.m
Date Day Name High (°F) Low (°F) Precipitation (duration) Wind (from, speed) Luna Celene
 27 Earthday  (work) Moderate  (60) Moderate  (44) Cloudy Moderate  (N, 19 mph) - -
 28 Freeday  (rest) Warm  (66) Cold  (39) Cloudy Moderate  (S, 19 mph) - -


Cast of Characters
Holber Brom Mercy Elandrin Taiven Dradoma Tharg
Thay’d Catiph Thorgal Stonecutter Tobuscus


We begin today in the heroes quarter of the palace. Lady Azeta Zha comes in bringing Holber from the torture cells. Lady Zha is very interested to meet with Baron Tharg. She describes that she was told by her Guildmaster to go to the prison cell and rescue a wizard.

Toby

She would take on the case if she talks to us and realizes that we’re innocent. She wants 20 hours to ask Baron Tharg questions and interact with the half-dragon, she also wants to be paid for any miscellaneous expenses not including her billable hours. Lady Zha says: “You know only the ones born to the dragon as a mother live, from human wombs they burst out prematurely and die.” Mercy goes to talk to Baron Tharg to see whether he would be agreeable to this deal.

“You are baron Tharg I am most pleased to meet you. What’s the tensile strength of your bite?” She inspects his wings and gullet. “You’re obviously descended from a Red.” “You wanted 20 hours with me. You understand that there are certain secrets that dragons cannot tell you. Do you really want my Mother [Name Redacted] coming after you? On my maternal side my grandmother is Tiamat Bahamut.”

Tiamat.png

Azeta Zha seems unphased. “I’m going to be frank with you – that is false sir. Also, wizards are not afraid of dragons. My father destroyed 3 dragons at one time.” Azeta Zha starts to draw a sketch of baron Tharg. “You’re being charged with a lot of things. I can’t make all of them go away. I don’t think they can get you for treason. They can tout it out there, but simply put, you left Sir Joss in charge. I think they can maybe make a hard case for dereliction of duty, but not treason b/c you left a chain of command. In the military dereliction of duty under certain circumstances charges of execution can be made. Your name is on the lips of every bard. They’ll want to make an example out of you, the racist cucks. I will let you know currently Jason Bahl is high in favor with the queen and brought 700 people in. I have to be earnest with you: I have seen personally over 2 scores of statements praising Jason Bahl for freeing them from your evil clutches. You know as well as I do the person who gets their story out there first has an advantage. This Jason Bahl not only gifted the queen 700 of her citizens, broke with Iuz, defied Iuz, we have to be able to prove a lot.” “We have a paladin that has not yet been deposed. We reached the elven forest low on food, the elves agreed to help us. We begged for help. When children are starving, I am willing to give up pride. One night, Princess Astenaria walked out into the woods. I turned the caravan over to my second in command.” “I’ve seen Sir Joss testimony he was very candid with his opinion that you were doing the wrong thing.” “It’s not his place to make that decision, it was mine.” “Correct, but did you reasonably believe that sir Joss and the rest of the remaining forces could adequately protect the caravan.” “After the damage at the fire, yes, given that many of the enemy died and were executed by the elves.” “Later on they were attacked by highway men and brigands including orcs, had it not been for Sir Bahl who aided the caravan in its time of need. That is exactly why anything Bahl says is golden. I don’t know this Jason Bahl, but as a servant of Iuz turning the cloak, seems convenient. He’s got dozens upon dozens of testimonies says that you were eating babies, setting people on fire, torture people into slavery. How do we prove these are not lies?” “Chamber of Essence.” “Excellent idea, however Chamber of Essense went out of law since Avid the First.” “A noble whenever he can will grab up power, the right to be tried by Chamber of Essense is still there.” “I will bring it up, but I have little hope. One of the reforms Avid the First put was NO divination at trial. Magic was deemed as unreliable due to its casters. Another unfair persecution of something that is different. Like I said, I believe I can make treason go away. However, if I can broker a deal will you take a deal that avoids hanging or your personal murder? How much time would you be willing to do? None? It is not courage to rush towards death. If you could be granted your life, for one to two years, you should take that. What is the actual providence of your claim to title of Baron? Please, don’t just tell me birthright. Barbarian tribes, aren’t really kingdoms, but luckily we have 3 barbarian kings in town for the conclave. One recently lost a son. I say again would you be willing to take a deal?” ""I will consider any deal that you bring. My father was granted nobility by the previous Duke, Stefan Biorke." “I won’t lie there are some that are trying to tear down his legacy, but the Queen has been very resistant to that so far.” “Of course, my father did a great many extremely violent things, sometimes on the side of law and order. My two compatriots followed my orders (Sir Tobi and Sir Taiven).” “Yes, but they are also being included by charges of murder, torture, and treason. Would they be willing to take deals?” “I have no idea. I suspect the Paladin will plea to nothing.” “The only thing you can truly rely on is Magic, not Gods or people. I will have to go talk to them, which will be a lot less enjoyable than talking to you. I met their so-called Interrogator, a thoroughly unpleasant woman. The fact that you even tried to attack a Terrasque… Well, I came here for the Conclave.” She demonstrates a pin from the Greyhawk wizard’s guild. “I am one of the foremost wizards in Xenomagography, the study of magical monsters. It gets worse: i was expelled from my order based on my observations of this creature, but my father’s name got me here. I expect you to not expose the name Terrasque until I bring it up at the conclave. Most would not recognize it, those that do already left town, city, country, or plane.” “You should know, my paternal lineage is Selocian.” “Keep that to yourself. I will do my best to make sure that you don’t have a short trip on a long rope. Trial by combat is a possibility, however the Queen’s Champion is very formidable. Sir Jacken Dane is the Queen’s Protector and Champion. He single handedly slew Safgafagor the Blue, an age Category 10 Ancient Blue Dragon. He used to be a Black Blade. There is a number of Champions you’d have your hands full, let’s just leave it at that. I’m going to speak with Taiven next.”

The Selocians have a very poor history in The Great Kingdom. On pain of death, they cannot hold office officially for old injustices. For hundreds of years, the Solust Empire held a race in bondage. They unleashed a fire upon them. Then in return the Sulost were utterly destroyed by the Invoked Devastation or the Twin Devastations. After this, the Sulost were never but a shadow of themselves. Most Sulost now are barbarians.

“May I speak with Taiven? Would you like to do this here or in private?” “I hold no secrets.” “You’re being charged with treason , conspiracy to commit cannibalism, murder, rape, theft of property by the Queen.” “Amazing.” “You’ve been identified as one of Baron Tharg’s lieutenants. She has heard accounts of two score of sworn depositions from members of your own caravan that says the dragon man was eating babies, torturing people alive, selling people into slavery. I’m not saying these charges are true, however proving it is going to be tough. There’s a scathing deposition from Sir Joss Van Duren that isn’t doing you any favors.” “Sir Joss and I have differences in opinion.” "It says that you attacked him. " “I was trying to remove him. Ask him if I ever harmed him.” “I’m sure that the Inquisitor, if you are willing to testify against Baron Tharg, would be willing to cut you a deal or dismiss charges in entirety. I am not recommending this, just making you aware of your options.” “That would not be me.” “Don’t be sorry for being honest.” “Whatever misinformation has been laid down, it is just that.” “I will tell you what I told Baron Tharg, I believe i can make treason go away. That is a reach. My question is if I’m willing to get you a deal that doesn’t involve death, how many years would you be willing to serve here in the Eastfare dungeon? My guess is you would be sentenced to hard labor.” “I tell you this, I would be willing to help those in need. Individuals who are incarcerated would be in need.”

Baron Tharg says: “I will not take any deal that finds me guilty. That would blacken my name forever.”

Lady Zha says: “You’re a dragonman, your name is already blackened in the face of the humans. What do you think you can do marry the Queen and rule the empire? Best case scenario is that you’re afforded hero status someday. This little blurb, if I can keep it that, will not effect that.”

Tharg responds: "I do not want knighthood, I have no desires toward humans.

Mercy adds: “The deal may change the nature of the charges.”

Azetia says: “If you take the deal that doesn’t damage your reputation you may attend the conclave where you can speak and share your truth. I won’t bring you a deal I don’t think you can live with. I will not allow you to be sacrificed. Just on legal dereliction, they’ve got you. You’re a fine commanded, but not a lawyer. They’ve got you on this. They wanna pin these 700 murders on someone. My professional opinion is if they want you for this, they’ve got you for this. If we can defeat these other charges of cannibalism, dereliction then won’t seem as bad. I know they have 48 sworn statements. I don’t know the names of whom. Also the sworn statements of all 7 surviving paladins that you were derelict in your duties of not being with your caravan – that carries the most weight.”

Azetia then asks Holber for dinner tonight, to which he agrees. She seems motivated by a will to show off some dumb men to her overly proud narcissistic father.

There are ballads sung by bards about the “Baron of Bones.” Referring to the dragonman.

Torgal is taken by Jonathan Caden to the Church of Heroneus. Hundreds of people are missing arms, etc. Thorgal sees a man with a grey beard performing miracles such as regrowing arms back, even bringing back people from the dead. As Thorgal also starts healing, after a few hours, a strong voice says; “My name is Enobrin Tain, Hand of Heroneus. Jonathan says you’re self less and honorable.” “Honored. Our Gods follow similar paths. Honored and proud to help people of a goodly faith.” “So what brings you to Eastfare” “Fate.” “Jonathan said you were healing people for free in the city. That seems like a goodly thing. I am here for the conclave, at the Queen’s invitation. I will name Caden as your companion, you can go to him with questions, and he will attend you.” Caden has a pin showing off Heronian initiation into paladinhood.

Mercy finds Anna, her owner, waiting for her. Anna says; “You’ve forged quite a relationship with the elven Princess. You’re acquited yourself very well. Don’t be getting any ideas, you’re mine. I still need you. You know I’ve never been a harsh master. One year. Serve me for one more year and I will allow you to buy your freedom, as long as your service doesn’t diminish. After that, I would like to talk to you as a free person about joining me in my various endeavors. I’m not privy to share things I’ve learned, but there will be opportunity after the Conclave. You’ve positioned yourself well, the fools in your band not so much. They ARE being character assassinated. If someone is going to eat children, they aren’t going to do it around paladins. It’s ridiculous. However, you know as well as I do that they’re going to scapegoat somebody for this caravan debacle. I think the way this plays out is the dragonman will be executed. The others will get off with minor charges. At worst a rune of cowardice branded on their forehead. Where is Thayd? With the Sea Lords you say? Why did he not stay with your group? You’re perceptive. Can’t argue with disassociation. Why did YOU stay? Keep what you make I’ve a feeling you’re going to need it. I’d rather have you alive than dead.”

Mercy responds: “He is definitely the more thoughtful, selfless members. He had his soul drained to help the group.” “What i will want for your freedom isn’t going to be gold. I’m not averse to working with you even after I buy my freedom. I also sustained a heart injury unable to be cured by simple magics (Mercy took a crit from one of the Abashi devils). At this point, I’ve already had offers to remove the rune of slavery.”

“Understood. Things will become clear to you within 6 months and then you’ll have a hard choice to make. I urge you to accept the mark of slavery for what it is. If you must remove it, please reach out to me before that. Tell me everything you know about this elven princess.” Mercy does tell Anna many things but leaves out the Reforger, and Wendeam. “I’ve heard of these Vaati they seem to be associated with a Rod of Law. Did you find any clues to the Rod of Law?” “Unfortunately not.” “If you should happen on any more information than that, let me know. People search their whole lives for that.” “Can you tell me a bit about it? Obviously the Abashi devils were there for some reason.” “All i know is the Rod of Law slew an ancient and terrible evil, ending the Great War of Law and Chaos. That was hundreds of thousands of years ago, before recorded history. It is said that the Rod comes in 7 parts and can defeat in any enemy. Every 2 months I will magically contact you. So I heard rumor that Iuz had a piece of the Rod, before Mordakainen. Mordakaiden imprisoned Iuz underneath Castle Greyhawk. It is also rumored but debunked that the final piece of Rod is the Ruby Gem in the Staff of Asmodeus. Other than that Rod pieces pop up from time to time and are generally not kept very long. There is supposed to be no greater artifact, even the Throne of the God which my order found at some point. All the great artifacts have drawbacks. I believe Thayd used a relic, not an artifact.” Little is known of Anna’s past. She came upon a Deck of Many Things and current member of the Seekers of the Arcane, a loose organization of treasure hunters scholars and explorers who scour the world for artifacts magic and treasure. Her order recovered The Throne of the Gods in CY614 and lost in CY616. “I will tell you what I know. Joss van Duren is to receive a special commendation from the Queen for bravery and receive a promotion to Colonel in the Great Kingdom’s Army, likely to be named Warden of Raxus. Where the beast sleeps. He may be an up and comer, not unhand-some, and the queen is 13 and she has many noble men acting as suitors including Sir Jason Bahl who she seems especially smitten. He continues to win hearts and minds. Another man from Rel Astred name Drawny Windell, an older man. He basically ran Rel Astred even though Drax the Invulnerable was king there for many years, he is de facto power of that city and area. He is an exceedingly dangerous man, do not get on his wrong side. He is here for the Conclave with his protection party. His personal champion has slain 3 people in trial by combat the last few days, one of them the son of a barbarian king. Windell’s champion is a real cutthroat named Owen March, real good with the rapier and a number of underlings including a dwarven cleric named Vulk and a protector named Voltar. He is influential and intelligent. Dread is a new investigator, frightening, very capable at her job. I tend to avoid those type of people. it is said she uses some type of magic to break people’s will. Your friend Holber is unique. If Tharg choose trial by combat, I imagine Jacken Dane would be the Queen’s first choice, he will find no shortage of capable opponents. Don’t get too accustomed to the royal life.”

“Announcing most honorable sir, Thayd Catiph. Twice born son of Servior and Aldar, Godwhisperer and Waverider. A man of land and sea, brother to the Grey Mariners, courtier, sword of the teas, Escort to the Long March, Finder and Protector Royal Highness Astenara princess of the woodland realm, and a rider of the realms.” Thayd says: “Is the princess here or did I just miss her?” Thayd is announced as he meets the heroes. “If there are some trinkets or items you require I’d be happy to broker that.”

45 have signed affidavits. A quarter are slaves with no selling price, meaning they could not be bought. Tobi says; “We could say teh cultists bought them.” Thayd says: “It was the ailing mind of Sir Malagar for choosing the wrong leader of the nobles.” Tharg says; “That doesn’t save any of us.” Thayd says; “He was still alive in charge in that contingent Openly wept while in command. He left a beast, a mad creature in COMMAND?” Thayd proposes for Malagar to take the fall.

“Sir Bahl becomes an issue he was sent to oversee the calamity. There should be a warrant for his arrest from Iuz, all of his family and men, etc. There are so many options. He may no longer be a Sir, i.e. he may not have any title at this point. We’d be calling into question his honor to Iuz. Let’s say that Jason Bahl stood up to Iuz, if anything we buy some time before he is established in his lands.

“What young red baron would not fly out to save a princess? Princess Astenaria will have to admit in court that she needed saving. You will have to work on that.” This also may play to the young Queen. She would love to hear the tale of the handsome Prince Thayd and his sidekick Taiven who saved the Elven Princess.

Secretly, Thayd will share with the party that weapons pulled off the field bore the mark of a fang with an eye in the center, traced back to Cromag – maker of the weapons, and is currently being tracked by Thayd. The flag of Iuz was recovered and according to weavers it had been stored for 25 years, was moth eaten, and left on the field. More than likely, the bandits were agents and in league with Iuz.

There are several rumors flying around:
- Newer rumors say that Baron Tharg is a Sorcerer that gains his power by eating babies.
- Apparently Sir Windell had 17 servants die. One of them whipped to death just for looking at him wrong.
- The Admiral of the Sea Barons will show up to the conclave. “He eats seafood all the time and might want city food.”
- Sir Bahl has been in the company of the Queen most nights for the last ten-day. She is exceedingly smitten with him. Split is 50/50: half say his family was of the Knight Protectors. About hlf the slaves think he is shady. Nobody just does stuff for goodly reasons. Bahl stays in the Royal palace quarters adjacent to the Queen’s quarters.

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Meanwhile, Sir Tobi goes to explore the palace. He does not detect any evil beings wandering the halls. He does run into Sir Joss and speaks with him at length. He discerns the following facts:

1. All of Joss paladins and statements refute any dishonorable activity on Baron Tharg’s part. Also Joss will take the stand on behalf of Tharg, Tobi, but not Taiven. However, they did not attend him 24/7. Sir Joss says some babies were missing, 600 members are missing. Many probably died in prarie fire. Apparently some came to Joss with reports of baby cannibalism.

2. Sir Joss recounts the tale of the battle between the caravan and the orcs: Approximately 2.5 days after breaking from the forest edge, scouts were seen flying the banner of Iuz who came in under a flag of Parley again with threats. Sir Joss was suprised an Orc was the leader, not Sir Bahl. Then middle of the night the orcs came and Malagar gave them what for, killed 8 of them. The last orc killed him with a serrated blade decapitated. He probably saved the caravan. The orcs broke with the slaying of their leader: they made off with 3-400. Sir Bahl had 25 men with him: He told Joss that Bahl had been told to take the caravan. So he broke his lord’s command to fight for us. Joss sensed no deception in his words. Out of 12 paladins escorting the caravan only 7 survived the final battle.

3. Sir Bahl is from a line of Knight Protectors (An order of Pholthus, Cord, Hextor, and Heroneus). He had supreme command of a two-handed sword. He had a holy symbol of Hextor. Safe to say he is an Antipaladin of Hextor. The Knight Protectors maintain a token force, with an unrecognized knighthood. Stefan Biorke tried hard to get those knights recognized. It was rumored that at The Festival the re-establishment of the order was to be announced.

4. Sir Joss asks Sir Tobi: “On your word. Never ask me to speak on behalf of Taiven. Send Tharg my best wishes and that I’m in his corner. I’m working to send word of his character however on every street corner and in every brother it’s almost as if someone is being paid to spread rumors. I BEG you sir Tobi end you association with that monk. He will lead you to ruin.” “Sir Bahl saved my life personally. I now owe a life debt to Sir Bahl, but i do not call him friend, that orc would have killed me had sir Bahl had not intervened.”

5. Neiron, Theocracy of Pale, most Barbarians (Frost, Ice, Snow) would oppose Iuz.

6. Sir Joss wishes to send a message to Taiven, “I’m ashamed you suckered me once, but if I ever get opportunity to end his reign of evil.”

Around 4 pm, Azeta Zha shows up and Baron Tharg is brought to the main room. Thayd also comes in. Zha says to Thayd, “You are an elusive fellow. I hear you have many titles. Let’s dispense with obtuseness. What is your impression of Baron Tharg? Is he guilty of cannibalism, murder, rape, selling beings into slavery? No? You’d be willing to swear to that as an absolute fact? Why are you willing to swear to him now? Apparently you and Tharg were at odds, and that you defied a direct order from Baron Tharg.” “I recall no such thing.”

Thayd presents the Malagar defense. “An addled man weary by age and prolonged tribulations put an inept creature in charge. They’ll want to keep quiet about the fact that Malagar left a dragonman in charge, because there are so few heroes left already.”

Zha seems to think this is a little bit of a strategy, but no slam dunk. “Perhaps Baron Tharg can speak to the fact that he is not leadership material, and handed off his leadership to paladins who are supposed to lead.”

Evidently, Sir Joss will also testify AGAINST Taiven, claiming that Taiven was behind the whole affair and was just leading Baron Tharg into evil. Sir Tobi tried to Smite Taiven, but was unable to do so, proving that he is no longer evil. The eye detects as evil, but the rest of Taiven does not. In response, Taiven decides to plan on removing his evil demon eye, and asks Mercy to help extract the demon eye. He hopes to have the eye regenerated one day by Sir Tain.

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A soft somber voice, a low, slow lute begins to play…

Beware simple mortals,
A tale of woe,
The horned lord is coming,
For flesh before snow,
A legion of brethren,
The bodies lie cold,
A last bloody harvest,
For the Baron of Bones,
He led a clawed march,
Of the sick and the old,
The backs of the people,
Lashed for their gold,
The last drop of marrow,
No dragon will fill,

(Chorus for the crowd as tempo picks up)

Come ye to Eastfaire craven dragon of shame,
Come ye to Eastfaire to soften your name,
Come ye to Eastfaire red scale and horn,
Come ye to Eastfaire your blood will be born!

View
Session 014: Wanted for Treason
The heroes must defend themselves against charges brought by a devious psionic inquisitor.
25th – 26th Day of Flocktime – CY 647
Session 014:
Wanted for Treason

Location: EastfairWorld Map
Map Tab Color: RedMap Tab Symbol: Two Crossed Swords

Weather:

Low Summer, Plains, sunrise: 4:45 a.m, sunset: 7:10 p.m
Date Day Name High (°F) Low (°F) Precipitation (duration) Wind (from, speed) Luna Celene
 25 Godsday  (worship) Warm  (73) Moderate  (47) Thunderstorm  (2 hours) Moderate  (S, 19 mph) 1/4 -
 26 Waterday  (work) Warm  (78) Moderate  (48) Clear Light  (SE, 6 mph) - -


Cast of Characters
Holber Brom Mercy Elandrin Taiven Dradoma Tharg
Thay’d Catiph Thorgal Stonecutter Tobuscus


We begin on the outskirts of Eastfare, a major city of the Great Kingdom of Aerdy. The heroes make ready to enter the city.

Astenaria says she will have to tell her husband about the Reforger, as well as to her Prince and her King. If Astenaria’s embarassment is kept secret, she promises no one else will be told about the Reforger.

Astenaria is asked to scout as a bird. The party is interested in speaking to the farmers on the outskirts of Eastfare, regarding the situation and gates etc. The crown has sent out notices that they are buying all crops at near-fair wage. Some yields look good, some excellent, some giant footprints are present in some farmer fields. Thayd looks at the fields, 30-40% of the crop could fail unless there is a huge influx of manpower. Behind the heroes there are some royal processions trailing behind. The party runs across some minor patrols. There are currently no encampments outside the city, but there is a heavy guard presense.

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The heroes decide to send Thorgal and Holber into Eastfare to scout, to seek audience with temple of Moradin or visit taverns.

They hear Ermie, Sargeant in the Great Kingdom: “You sons of liches you get these peasants in here right now!” They see that in place of his missing arm there is a whip at his right forearm. He is screaming orders at soldiers and at peasants, trying to get them into an orderly procession. The gate guards take a copper per person as they enter a city.

Thorgal strides up to Ermie, “Sir Ermie, do you need the services of a fighting man? I’m also a healer.” “Healer! Hell yes we coul duse a healer. Go to the Temple of Pholtus and heal these people up!… Hold up I know that Wziard. Ran just before things got tough. Throw this mother hucker in irons!” Men come up with irons ready to place Holber in shackles. “Shut up dwarf. YOU, Wizard I’m arresting you on charges of treason. You were supposed to help defend the innocent caravan to Eastfare. You guys disappear.. the asshole Extorian had to come and bale us out. Irons, and since he’s a mage, clamp his mouth shut. The dragonman? That fucking cowoard I wish he was here now I would KILL him.” Thorgal says: “Ooh, that’d be interesting to watch.” Ermie: “I would gut that oversized lizard man like a fish. There’s actually a reward out for him from The Great Kingdom. Abandonned his duty.” The guards grab Holber and take him to a dungeon: he is stripped naked to a loincloth, and thrown into a dungeon with a bunch of smelly drunk brutes, however his hands aren’t bound and mouth is NOT gagged: there are 10 people crammed in a cell meant for four, smells like sweat and piss. One prisoner is close to death. The smell of vomit fragrences the air. Nobody is manacled or shackled. One corner of the room is where people go to shit. Holber goes up to look at the dying prisoner, realizing he is dead. The rest of the prisoners begin to ruthlessly bully Holber. At midnight, 3 guards come to Holber’s cell and beat him up, take him to a small nondescript room and blindfolded.

Meanwhile, Thorgal is traveling to the Temple of Pholtus. People on the way are discussing the monster attack, small cities next to Eastfare have bene wiped out. Tons of nobles are coming to the meeting. Slaves were brought in and were freed as a Gift to the Queen, likely Sir Jason Bahl, Commander of Iuz. On the way, Thorgal overhears a couple of Great Kingdom Privates discussing events with each other: “Can you believe that Iuzite came in and gifted our queen with our own people and she bought it? What a foolish tramp. 13 years old. That’s what happens when you put a woman on the throne. We’re supposed to listen to a little girl? I’ve got a little girl who’s four. Maybe she could be high chancellor. She even set Bahl up in the palace. Ask me? That’s cow manure.”

The main group of heroes is 5 miles outside of town, waiting for the rest of the scouting report. The Elven Princess, Astenaria, fortunately spotted Holber getting apprehended. She returns to the main group of heroes and informs them of the events that transpired. “The wizard was arrested and slapped into irons.” She describes Ermie. The heroes discuss preparing a disguise to get into a city.

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Inside the Temple of Pholtus, there are 200 people crammed in an are that can only hold 100. 3 or 4 Clerics of Pholtus are running around trying to heal people. “Moradin? Well met! Solid folks you dwarven types! We got a bunch of people needing your help!” Thorgal begins to go around healing peasants. It’s obvious to all that they are all out of spells. They’re obviously competent and obviously overworked. People swarm Thorgal as they see magic being used. As soon as Thorgal starts channelling, people swarm him and ask for all sorts of treatment. A cleric named Tark (lvl 2) goes up to him: “Thank you for lending your aid. Kanan Katar will be here at Sunset. After services we would be honored if you had a meal with us.” “I’m a veteran of battles.” “Wow a battle cleric? I’ve never seen battle and never want to. The Church provides for all my needs. I tithe 70% to the Church, I only keep a small stipend. I’m ashamed ot say, by decree of the queen, soldiers and nobles take precedence over the others. One of our priests was whipped by a bastard with a whip for a hand. He was just carrying out his orders, but… all are equal under Pholthus eyes.” There are a lot of commoners talking about the evil knight Jason Bahl, he was of the family Alyssa. There was a lot of devil worship in that family during the Chaos War – Alyssa was severely effected then. Nobles are coming in and out of town. The Queen’s Conclave is starting in 10 days. People are shaking Thorgal’s hand and asking him for tales. Katar says at dinner; “I talked to the Royal High Chaberlain might get us a grant. Ran across the handmaiden to the queen. I hope she will put a good word in to the Queen on our account.” “We helped 600 today, unfortunately 41 died. Injuries are down, its more due to illness now. I want to introduce you to Thorgal stonecutter, who came of his own volition and unleashed divine magic to heal.” The Kanon eyes Thorgal, and clearly is suspicous, “What’s a dwarf doing at the Temple of Pholtus.” “I don’t know I was fighting drow, you know darkie elves? Then I magicallys got transported into a cave and now I’m here. It must be divine providence.” Katar loosens up a bit, “That’s a great story.” “Strange thing is its actually true.” “Sure, sounds legit. I want to thank you for actually helping people in need.” “What can I do to make myself most useful?” “I personally know a Sargeant major and a commander in the military. When I’m at the palace tomorow and seek out my commander friend, if he is able I will bring him to Sunset Services tomorrow night. It’s the least I can do. If you want you can sleep here tonight with the rest of the acolytes. The guards are not letting people in after nightfall, not sure about letting folks out.” Thorgal leaves Eastfare at night to return to the heroes. He gives them the scouting report.

Astenara says; “Due to you aid and kindness I would be willin got name you as my diplomatic entourage. I will even even extend this protection to his Grace Lord Baron Tharg, under condition that he asks me nicely for it.” Sir Tobi thinks: “This is a tough condition your highness.” Astenaria laughs: “If he is going to enter civilized lands he will have to act civilized. I cannot extend this request conciously without that. I would not embarass my kingdom. Let’s speak plainly but he’s not even a man.” Taiven speaks up for Tharg: “I’ve seen him charge in the face of danger. I believe he has a good heart.” “Of course your opinion of baron tharg matters, but maybe perhaps youre confusing courage with honor. What is its real motivations? His tongue has said many things that don’t line up with honor, he just wants power. You are a good man Taiven and were it in my power I would knight you.”

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Inside the keep, a woman with red eyes and black hair meets with Holber: “Why hello traitor how are you today are you enjoying your cell? Tell me more about this not a traitor bit. My sources tell me there was a contingent of refugees that was relying on a group of individuals to see them safely to the city, and one evening near the elven forests the majority of that group decided to leave the refugees to the whims of fate. From the description, you were one of this group. Do you deny you were one of these people escorting these refugees?” “No, I believe Baron Tharg ordered us elsewhere.” “You’re saying you did so under orders. If a soldier abandons his company b/c a superior officer tells him to do so.” “No idea, I don’t know military law.” Dread, the red eyed woman, accosts the Wizard’s brain with images of hell. Holber’s mind is bombarded with horrifying images: fingernails ripped off.

Meanwhile, Tharg asks the Princess, “Please allow me to ask you to accompany you as part of a diplomatic mission.” “Your Highness did not hear the word pretty please.” “Pretty please…” “I will of course grant such a request.” ’"I will take an oath to not speak until give permission by you." “Excellent I take now as the time of the start of your oath.”

The morning of the second day, Thayd is gone with one of the horses. Astenaria says that “Thayd graciously declined the diplomatic service, and felt he didn’t want to be a burden, I accepted his decline and he went on this way. I imagine when we enter hte city I will ask to be housed in the Palace. I also request that Taiven and Mercy guard me at all times. Usually we are granted 2 to 4 retainers. My guess is 2 based on the number of people invited into the city.” “Sir Tobi I woul dask you to accompany Baron Tharg wherever he goes. If we are not in proximity I want someone to help the Baron out should be forget himself.” Baron Tharg hands Astenaria a paper… “I see you found a loophole in our communication your grace.” Tharg has given Taiven his sword and dagger.The scroll reads; ‘Please take care of my sword it is all I have left from my father.’

Per Sir Tobi’s request, the Princess writes and signs papers denoting that each of us is a diplomatic escort, in case the heroes are separated. Sir Tobi requests to walk with Thorgal in order to try and get in touch with Pholtans. Around 9 am of the second day the heroes arrive at Eastfare.

Meanwhile, in the Palace a female elf wizard comes to visit the Inquisitor, Dread. “My name is Azeta Zha, I’m a wizard and it has come to my attention that one of my brethren is rotting in your prison without the aid of counsel. I’m here to represent them. What are the charges? Treason? Is he an agent of the state? I’ve been told his execution has already been scheduled. I formally request the right to gather evidence in his favor, at least 3 to 10 days to do that. Is he guilty?” “I gotta admit, he seems really inept. I’ve broken a lot of people, so I think he doesn’t know anything or really good at hiding.” “Are you saying he is a stupid wizard?” “I’ve seen smarter rocks.” “I’m not married to the idea of saving this imbecile may I sit in on your next interrogation session? I don’t want you using any coercive methods though: no torture, etc.” “I don’t do anything that leaves a mark.” Dread arranges to have Holber brought into interrogation. Azeta Zha introduces herself to Holber. “If I deem you guilty I’m not going to put the Tower’s reputation out there.”

Dread says; “As you can see your represenation is here. Possibly. Its a serious matter. Are you sure there isn’t something to provide that can make you less guilty of treason?” Zha says: “My client doesn’t have an oath to the Kingdom. He might be guilty of breach of contract, but this is not treason.” However, Baron Tharg can be considered to have committed treason, or at best abandonning a post. Same for possibly the Tobi and Taiven. So after Zha and Dread discuss the case, he is released of charges of treason. In return for represenation, Holber will have to scribe scrolls at the Wizard Tower for 2 weeks. Dread concludes: “I feel like you got off lucky today.” Zha offers to buy Holber dinner and hear of the description of Baron Tharg. Holber answers: “Well, lets start with dinner and see what happens.”

At 9 am the heroes arrive at the Main Gate. There is a wanted poster out for Baron Tharg for 1,000 gp. The group is stopped immediately. The guard presense is triple what it was yesterday, and Dread is present as well as Sir Joss. About 10 crossbows are trained on the group. The Princess cries out: “What is the meaning of this, this is my retinue and they are under my protection.” Baron Tharg has his hands up.

Dread says; “It’s interesting you surround yourself with those that warrant for treason.” “Your Royal Highness, I claim these men and other things as servants under my crown. Therefore they rae to be granted Protection due someone my station. I need to see your warrants.” She shakes her head, “Treason?” "That is correct if youwant to go somewhere we can discuss it. I believe SIr Joss also wanted to weight in. " Joss speaks “Yes I know these men, whereas I do not agree with decisions they made, they are not criminals, they were put in a hard situation. I believe ultimately they did what they felt was right. Tis not treason.” Dread speaks: “Ultimately that is not my decision, but we can come to the truth of it.” Joss says: “Very well there will be no irons until we’ve made this decision.” Sir Joss comes up to Baron Tharg and shakes his hand: “I’m sorry about this.”

Sir Tobi learns of the daeth of Malagar. He also learns that Sir Bahl actually came to the RESCUE of the caravan, not to the aid of the half-orc and enemy raiding forces.

Eventually all the heroes are brought to the palace, in a conference room, and all sit down and discuss the warrants. Dread lays out the charges to Tobi, Taiven, and Tharg. The charges are shot down by the facts and Princess Astenaria’s testimony. Dread will see if the charges can be formally dismissed. Quarters will be provided to the party. The charges can be expected to be formally dropped tomorrow. Until tomorrow the heroes are under house arrest. Thorgal is told to not leave town. Thorgal is turned away from the Church of Pholthus: “We don’t know what’s going on with you, but its not the image we want here.”

Word of Baron Tharg has spread like wildfire: some tales have him battling at the gates, supposedly committed atrocities: ate children, burned a man alive. dark rituals, crazy rumors that everyone is talking about.

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At this point, the heroes are able to purchase items in town. Tomorrow will bring them one day closer to attending the Conclave…

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Session 013: Reunited
After seemingly months in the tomb, the heroes reunite with Baron Tharg
17th – 25th Day of Flocktime – CY 647
Session 013:
Reunited

Location: Ardi ForestWorld Map
Map Tab Color: RedMap Tab Symbol: Two Crossed Swords

Weather:

Low Summer, Plains, sunrise: 4:45 a.m, sunset: 7:10 p.m
Date Day Name High (°F) Low (°F) Precipitation (duration) Wind (from, speed) Luna Celene
 17 Moonday  (work) Warm  (67) Cold  (40) Partly Cloudy Light  (W, 8 mph) - -
 18 Godsday  (worship) Warm  (64) Moderate  (42) Cloudy Light  (NW, 9 mph) New -
 19 Waterday  (work) Moderate  (60) Cold  (39) Cloudy Light  (W, 8 mph) - -
 20 Earthday  (work) Warm  (64) Moderate  (44) Cloudy Moderate  (SW, 16 mph) - -
 21 Freeday  (rest) Warm  (70) Moderate  (45) Light Rain  (12 hours) Moderate  (W, 18 mph) - -
 22 Starday  (work) Warm  (72) Moderate  (43) Light Rain  (9 hours) Moderate  (W, 11 mph) - -
 23 Sunday  (work) Warm  (64) Cold  (40) Light Rain  (8 hours) Moderate  (E, 12 mph) - -
 24 Moonday  (work) Warm  (63) Moderate  (44) Cloudy Light  (SE, 10 mph) - -
 25 Godsday  (worship) Warm  (73) Moderate  (47) Thunderstorm  (2 hours) Moderate  (S, 19 mph) 1/4 -


Cast of Characters
Holber Brom Mercy Elandrin Taiven Dradoma Tharg
Thay’d Catiph Thorgal Stonecutter Tobuscus


We begin in the Tomb’s final room as our heroes are all standing around the Obelisk. Mercy touches the Obelisk and immediately falls unconsious – she will remain unconscious for 24 hours. Thorgal will grab Mercy and pick her up to carry her out of the dungeon. Sir Tobi and Taiven both pick up the Obelisk. “What kind of armor are you wearing?” asks Taiven. “You’re right we should undress her.” adds Holber. Given this objects size it should be almost 2 tons, however it only weights a relatively light 450 lbs. It is 8 feet tall by 6.5 feet wide. Its center is hollow based upon some curosory tapping. Sir Tobi says: “I think this is a hollow object perhaps we can open it and just take the interior center without the entire obelisk.” There is however no discernable mechanism that will open it, and Holber thinks a magical command word trigger might help to pry it open. It is metallic, smooth, and made of metal.

Thayd asks the dungeon, “We’ve been found worthy, how do we open the obelisk.” There is only stony silence in reponse. Sir Tobi touches the Obelisk and feels all fuzzy inside. The rest of the room hold no real heirogrpyhis. There are three sides to the obelisk. One side is etched, one is raised, and another side is unclear. It’s almost as if the outside of the obelisk is build around the symbols on it. The language on it is the same as that of the Vaati. Tobi tells Thorgal that his eye should be able to read the obelisk. Tobi cannot communicate with it telepathically. Trying lay on hands on the obelisk doesn’t seem to effect it. The room itself has an overwhelming abjuration magic (protective magic).

Holber thinks that there are multiple variables in time travel including number of people and weight (e.g. teleportation, dimension doors are dictated by weight and number of people too).

Thorgal offers to cast Ant Haul to help carry it. If his Eye of Providence touches the obelisk nothing happens.

Holber does know of the Rod of Seven Parts, the most potent weapon in the multiverse used a battle before recorded history existed, except perhaps the elves. The root word of Vaati is Powerful Air. So the party settles in for a rest in the abjured room, while having Thorgal attempt ot attune the Obelisk.

The princess comes to Thayd and says that Tobi ‘mocked’ the bear somehow so she doesn’t want to give aid past helping the refugees to Eastfare. Thayd paritlaly succeeds at his diplomacy. Sir Tobi will go up to the Princess and smooth over relations with a sincere apology. In addition, the Princess will grant Taiven the title of Elf-friend.

During the night, 3rd shift is taken by the Princess and Thorgal. During this time, the Princess notices a problem.

Tobias detects evil in his sleep, immediately wakes up, stands and and yells: “Evil is about us, awaken my friends!” Sir Tobi casts Magic Weapon on his trusty hammer. A howl emanates from a creature that appears as the party rests. The princess crumples in a weeping heap and blood is gushing out of her eyes and face, pissed and shit herself as well. She let out an unimaginable scream of terror. The word abyssal comes to mind. Everyone is now definitely awake. The creature has an undescribable aura of evil.

A telepathic message from an actual wolf-spider says: “You may seek but you may never find.”

As everyone wakes up, Thayd stands and incants a circle of protection from evil to protect the party. Then Taiven hops to his feet and attacks the wolf spider with a flying kick. Sir Tobi casts Weapons against Evil, “Your weapons will now pierce the flesh of evil doers!”

“The Wendeam are took weak to save you…” Says the wolf-spider as it fades out of existence. The word Werjadeam is a similar word that seems to be related. Sir Tobi suspects that finding the Wendeam might be a good idea actually.

Thorgal says: “The obeslik doesn’t wish to leave here. It is a being of supreme good, in my opinion. It knows of the Terraque, but the obelisk knows it is not itself evil. It says that if anyone knew it left, it would draw attention. It wouldn’t give me its name b/c its name would confer power onto those who know the name. It stays in this shrine area and can float anywhere it wants, away from the terrestiral world, but if we put it on the terrestrial world. It told me that a worthy one that one might be able to gain access. I got the feeling that if we follow its agenda it might help us indirectly. It definitely said that other than FAITH there is no way to get a hold of it. One can commune with the artifact once within these walls, but after leaving the Tomb it cannot communicate with us. It also referred to itself as the Reforger. When I asked it whether it would like to receive parts of the Staff of Law, it became uncharacteristically silent.”

There are 10 questions that we can still ask in between now and next session.

Our heroes leave the Tomb and arrive about 2 hours after Baron Tharg, seeing dragonman tracks. They quickly re-unite with the Baron and update him on the latest events. He has been lost, beset by lizardmen and shambling mounds the whole while -almoast as if these creatures are drawn to this place. However, Baron lies to the others and tells them a cover story.

According to the Druid Princess, it is 9 days from the day that the heroes entered the leyline.

The Princess wild shapes into a giant eagle and flies to go scout what occured to the caravan, giving our heroes a clear map to follow out of the forest.

During the trip out of the forest, the first night our heroes camp and in the dead of night hear the sound of a pan flute in the far distance. However it doesn’t get any closer or louder during hte course of the night.

Awakening in the morning, our heroes continue our trek. Towards the end of the second travel day through the forest, Astenara the Elf Princess catches up with the group. She transforms out of a giant eagle taking elven form again.

“My lady what is the news?”
“Grave news…. (sigh) I can say some things for sure. It looks like the caravan is 2.5 days away from Eastfare the caravan was set upon by a military force – a battle definitely took place. Six of my people died. Hundreds are dead. It does look like there are two divergent set of tracks from the forces, so it would seem that the caravan held. People were definitely taken. There were dead bodies flying the banner of Iuz. Obviously cannot give you hard numbers, but from the depressions of horses and booted prints, I would estimate between 300-500 were taken and another 300-600 were killed. It does look like numerous arrows were fired upon the caravan. The good news is the caravan did continue upon its way. There were no other obvious battles, but the land has been polluted. There was scout pursuit after the battle. The caravan would have made Eastfare on day 5 given everything. The orc we previously captured has been executed.” This is in reference to Sir Baal’s orc lieutenant. The battle took place 7 days ago.

After some consulting, the heroes recommend Astenaria to collect some horses. Another day’s travel and the party reaches the edge of the forest, where Astenaria meets the heroes with 8 horses gathered from the remains of the battle.

Most of the party members agree that unfortunately due to time constraints they must travel to Eastfare right away instead of going to save the captured refugees – the greater good will be served if Iuz’ evil activities are heard by representative of the entire continent. However, Baron Tharg is insistent upon saving his subjects and travels via flight on his own towards the Iuz caravan and its recently captured slaves. En route, he encounters a griffin and fights it to a stalemate: the griffin flies away not willing to fight this hard for a simple snack. Baron Tharg finds the enemy caravan by the river, meaning they could only be headed towards Eastfare.

Baron Tharg reunites with the rest of the party members whilst they are encamped and reports on the movements of the Iuz caravan. Thereafter, they all agree to their next goal: they must travel to Eastfare in all haste.

After a few days more of travel, they finally reach the might City of Eastfare. What adventures await them here? Will the Demigorgon’s vile lackeys lay a trap for our heroes? Will the captured slaves be saved? Most importantly, what will happen to the sleeping Terrasque and the Rod of Law? Our heroes have their work cut out for them…

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Session 012: You Have Been Found Wanting
Our heroes enter the final room of the Temple and face their toughest challenge yet!
16th – 17th Day of Flocktime – CY 647
Session 012:
You Have Been Found Wanting

Location: Ardi ForestWorld Map
Map Tab Color: RedMap Tab Symbol: Two Crossed Swords

Weather:

Low Summer, Plains, sunrise: 4:45 a.m, sunset: 7:10 p.m
Date Day Name High (°F) Low (°F) Precipitation (duration) Wind (from, speed) Luna Celene
 16 Sunday  (work) Warm  (63) Moderate  (44) Gale  (full day) Hurricane  (W, 81 mph) - -
 17 Moonday  (work) Warm  (67) Cold  (40) Partly Cloudy Light  (W, 8 mph) - -


Cast of Characters
Holber Brom Mercy Elandrin Taiven Dradoma
Thay’d Catiph Thorgal Stonecutter Tobuscus


The dwarf Thorgal slots the Eye of Providence into his eye socket, and as a result he immediately becomes Nauseated. For an entire hour Thorgal is vomiting onto the fresh dirt. The insane Wizard laughs hysterically the whole while. Afterwards, he completely disappears, mentioning: “My purpose has been fulfilled: farewell travelers.” The eye looks a bit big for Thorgal’s face, it is pure obsidian black and doesn’t even reflect light. The Eye of Providence looks exactly like the eyes of Icosyl (the black giant in the crypt, not that specific creature’s eye but exactly like that of his race, which has such a high skill check to identify none of the party members know the name of this race). Sir Tobi is able to join the group after the wizard disappears, and is caught up on recent events.

Eyerony_3.jpg

Thorgal looks down the darkened hallway seeing a number of humanoid incorporeal shapes: between 6-10 wraiths. He is absolutely certain they are wraiths: they are crisis-crossing the hallways, patrolling it. He is absolutely certain somehow, that without this eye he wouldn’t be able to see through the hallway. Also the buzz-saws appear to be non-functioning. Mercy knows that wraiths are incorporeal undead that drain life, they are almost always evil, but instances in history have had exceptions. Sir Tobi casts Detect Evil and detects no evil down the long blackened hallway.

Eyerony_1.jpg

“Can you hear me?” “Come in Paladin.” “Can we first talk?” “Caution is a type of fear that paralyzes you.” “I think caution is a healthy type of fear.” “You are found wanting.” Sir Tobi walks forward but hits a barrier which prevents entry." Next Thorgal steps forward, “Stop. What do you want?” “I want to enter.” “Do you believe it’s right?” “We are here to retrieve a princess.” “You are found wanting.” Tobi shows the scars of Demigorgon on his chest, but the wraiths seem to ignore Sir Tobi. “Would it warm your heart to know she’s alive? Would it anger know to you that she is dead? Why? Perhaps she is in danger now what will you do? How would you do that? What are you here for? What have you learned? What are you going to do?” Thorgal continues: “It is our duty to find The Princess. We believe she is beyond this path.” Taiven adds: “This place has been corrupted. There are entities that have no place here.”

“We are the seekers and judges. You have been found worthy and may continue. You passed the test of bravery going into the unknown without permission. You will find something you lost within.” Taiven walks into the next room. Next, the Wizard tries to walk forward, he hears: “Stop. Why are you here? (The says I”m not a looter per say but I want compensation). You are found wanting." Next Thayd walks down the hallway, hears from the wraiths: “What do you know of Icosiol (pronounced Acosyl)?… Actually you may pass (He is a sword bearer who already proved his bravery: in this sense action in the face of the unknown).” Thayd says: “I like my comrades were chosen to enter and pass through this Tomb by Acosyl.” Thayd and Taiven are now in the large room at the end of the Tomb. They see along the hallway the Wraiths are standing in guard formation with a double headed spear: they look to be the same race as the Giant (The Wendeam – the wraiths gave the name of the race to Thayd and Taiven). Everyone else is outside the pitch black hallway who cannot see or cannot hear anything. The wraiths whisper to Thayd, “Something you lost will be returned to you.” The two walk forward into the next room and you hear, “Use wisdom and caution within.” Sir Tobi tries to call out to the duo, but gets no response.

Wanting_8.jpg
Wanting_4.jpg

The last room is massive, with two huge gargoyle statues flanking a black monolith at the top of a decorative stairway:

Wanting_9.jpg

The stalactites have ruins carved into them. The black obelisk in the center holds glowing runes. Thayd sees a sarcophagus with a carved person on top. The left hand one looks like a stone carving of Tharg the other looks to be the stone carving of an elven female. The Gargoyle says: “You are doomed. Your soul is mine.” Another voice adds whispering; “Not all is as it appears. You two together have lost something and it will be returned to you. Choose one.” Essentially the duo have to choose between Tharg and the elven princess Astenis, or so it appears. Duo does a visual inspection of the room: left to right. Thayd sees that the Monolisk has Icosyl’s language.

Wanting_7.jpg

Thayd’s demon eye sees that one of the stalagmites is demonic, but he cannot read it. The tomb of Tharg has writing on it in draconic. The tomb of Astenis has elven writing on it: “She was found wanting.”

Wanting_10.jpg

The duo chooses the elven druid and announces the above choice to the room: “We choose Astenis Druid princess returned to us unmaligned, whole, and in her true form.” The right-hand coffin opens and she stands up alongside her bear. Tharg’s left-hand coffin opens but Tharg isn’t in there.

Wanting_15.jpg

Cautiously, the duo walk up to the the Druid and her bear companion. The bear growls at Taiven. A disembodied voice says: “You have honored your commitment to your objective and your word congratulations.” The two head towards the door, Thayd walks back towards the portcullis. “Astenis, come.” She answers: “I came here for the obelisk but I was found wanting it will not reveal its secrets to me.” “No we are bound not to.” “I feel in my soul it has vital information, please.” “I cannot. We must leave this place.” “Allow my bear to retrieve it.” “Princess we must leave this place.” “I am the Princess do as I command.” “You are not my princess. Do you remember what you left behind?” “It’s important.” “It’ll still be here.” “We must go.” “Do you understand the nature of this place? It is not static, it is not here all the time I cannot come back here. Only once every 400 years does this place appear. It’s been a 1000 years since my people have traveled here.” “We have divined a way to come here.” “What way is that?” “By the timing.” “This is a mistake but you rescued me, so fine, but I will have your lying tongue if we cannot get back here.” “We must go.” The Princess now following the duo out of the room.

Wanting_13.jpg

Tharg appears from invisibility, right behind the small party. He looks ravaged: like he rose from the dead. He is bleeding, the fire in his blood is cauterizing the wound, but he looks like somebody worked him over. He is large, and in rage yells: “You vipers left me to die!” Taiven takes 2 massive hits from Tharg’s great weapon, immediately falling to the ground. Tharg’s face elongates like that of a wolf and has shadowy limbs when raging: it looks much more malicious and ancient evil feel, but Thayd is certain it is Tharg, alive. With a heal check, Thayd knows that not all of the blood on Tharg belongs to the dragonborn.

At this point, down the hallway, Thorgal’s eye fires up: “Champions of law are in trouble.” Thorgal can see down the hallway now, but is out of line of sight to Tharg.

Meanwhile, the demonic pillar tells Thayd: “They can be saved.”

Thayd: “Do it or tell me how.” “They can be saved for a price.” “Name your price.” “I want to soul of the elf woman and I will restore your dragonman.” The elven Druid heard the demonic pillar. Thayd swiftly retrieves a potion from his belt, very accurately throwing it down Taiven’s throat for a meager amount of healing (4 points which stabilizes him). The Princess touches Taiven’s body and uses her Travel domain to transpose them both to the hallway. She tells her Bear: “B.J. keep the foe here.” The bear leaps at Tharg but fails to grapple.

Wanting_3.jpg

The guardians in the hallway are gone now. The hallway lights up for Thogral: “The force-field has dropped.” It now lights for everybody. Now everyone can see down the hallway in the rest of the party. Sir Tobi, Mercy, Holber are now able to get into the fray. Holber casts Haste on the party, following that Sir Tobi bounds down the hallway. Tharg swings his weapon twice at the bear, it’s spine snaps in half and it instantly slumps dead, Tharg yells: “You fools left me to die! Help me!” The Princess cries out at the death of her animal companion.

Wanting_1.jpg

Thayd throws a net onto Tharg (halves the move speed, no running or charging), telling everyone: “Tharg is either possessed or cursed and he has lupine features and he can be saved and no dealing with devils!” Then Thayd moved back. Mercy tries to disable Tharg with some type of spell but it fails to effect the raging dragonborn barbarian. The Druid hits Thayd with a sanctuary spell and runs away down the hallway.

Thorgal bounds down the hallway and heals Taiven with a powerful healing spell. Taiven’s eyes pop open! Baron Tharg is wielding a large two-handed great-sword. Baron Tharg steps up and breathes a cone of fire at the entire group of adventurers. Thayd yells out: “Kill him and we’ll raise him with breath of life!” Mercy deals a massive amount of healing with an incredible channel! Mercy hears the sound of stone reshaping itself and two great wolf howls reside from the final room. The two Huge gargoyle statues turn into two Wolfspiders (Huge wolves with eight legs and mouths like spidery mandibles).

Wanting_12.jpg

Thayd and Thorgal hear a voice in their minds: “The ancient enemy has awakened and cannot be allowed to escape the temple.” Upon hearing the howl of the wolves, the elf druid says; “Enough running!” She takes out her staff and walks up the hallway next to Mercy: “This crooked deformity killed B.J. and now he’s gonna die.”

Thorgal casts Divine Favor on himself, then charges at Baron Tharg, with a heaving blow but it doesn’t all go through Baron Tharg’s thick hide. Taiven stands up but get whacked with Tharg’s weapon to the face. One of the wolfspiders teleports behind the party. The other second wolfspider runs to the front of the group and emits a Baleful Howl at the party, but Tobi’s Aura of Courage stands strong.

Wanting_6.jpg

“At long last, Mishka the Wolf Spider will rise!” The ground starts trembling everywhere! At this point some strange effect which overcomes the Will of several party members washes over all. Tobi swings twice striking Tharg once with a hefty blow. Taiven throws 2 chakram at Baron Tharg, hitting one time as well. Mercy heals Taiven substantially and gives Tobi Combat Advice: “Put Tharg down!” Taiven takes 5 feet back and prepares himself for action.

“Aberration of fire and death, Oxidus Erodis!” The Druid points at Tharg – and with that, the armor just melted off of Tharg’s body. Thorgal burns a Fervor increasing his armor and swings twice with his Holy Weapon: Tharg looks mad. The flanking Spiderwolf unleashes a Baleful Howl, only hitting the Druid Princess. Tobi swings his lucerne hammer at Tharg and mortally strikes down the Dragonborn Baron. He looks mournful, but knows that his friends have a potion to revive the dead and hopes Baron Tharg will return to life unmolested by the taint of evil

Wanting_5.jpg

The wraith guardians appear from the walls and inform the group: “The ancient evil has been unleashed. We can collapse the Temple – it will contain the evil but kill all of you inside.”

Thayd and Sir Tobi both say in union: “Do it.”

The Wraiths say in union: “You’ve passed the final test. You were willing to lay down your lives. You were willing to even consider saving a compatriot who had betrayed you (referring to the plan to use Breath of Life on Baron Tharg’s corpse). The obelisk is yours. You have all been found worthy to quest for the Rod of Law. It is the most terrible and powerful weapon our civilization ever built. In its pieces use it sparingly for its power has devastating effects upon lesser beings.” The Rod of Law is the Rod of Seven Parts: it is the most powerful weapon ever devised, extremely lawful – created by a race of creatures known as the Vatti.

With that, all the illusions of Wolfspyders disappear and Tharg’s ‘body’ actually crumbles, because it was a construct all along. However, the bear remains dead and the Druid Princess is saved.

The final test of law has been passed and our heroes must now travel to Eastfare…

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Session 011: The Shady Eyerony
An Eye for an Eye: Our heroes must pass the ultimate test to obtain an artifact of great power
15th – 16th Day of Flocktime – CY 647
Session 011:
The Shady Eyerony

Location: Ardi ForestWorld Map
Map Tab Color: RedMap Tab Symbol: Two Crossed Swords

Weather:

_ (Low Summer, Plains, sunrise: 4:45 a.m, sunset: 7:10 p.m)_

Date Day Name High (°F) Low (°F) Precipitation (duration) Wind (from, speed) Luna Celene
15 Starday  (work) Warm  (67) Moderate  (51) Thunderstorm  (full day) Strong  (W, 26 mph) - -
16 Sunday  (work) Warm  (63) Moderate  (44) Gale  (full day) Hurricane  (W, 81 mph) - -


Cast of Characters
Holber Brom Mercy Elandrin Taiven Dradoma
Thay’d Catiph Thorgal Stonecutter Tobuscus


The party beaten and bruised, looking like hell rained fury down upon them, stepped past the dead hell-spawn. Sir Toby the last to leave looked down, came to some conclusion, and followed the others out of the corrupted ecosystem that was the reflecting pool. He looked at his fellows and was about ready to suggest a respite when Taiven walked up into the next corridor. There they saw a hallway that ran approximately 40 feet and turned 90 degrees into complete darkness. On the wall, at the bend in the hallway, a closed eye stood carved into the wall. Under the eye writing could be seen but at this distance no one could read the message.

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The band of friends walked toward the bend in the hall where the closed eye seemed curious and the darkness looked like certain death. Taiven stepped up to the symbol on the adjacent wall. The Eye stood closed, but written underneath was readable “All those that follow a rigid code may not pass beyond”. As the rest of the group walked closer the light cast by magic and torch alike did not seem to penetrate into the obvious the way forward. Mercy cast light on a rock and threw it into the darkness with the illumination dying as it passed beyond the black barrier. Thay’d clearly recognizing a trap when he sees one, ran back into the reflecting room drew his rapier and in one cut felled a giant mushroom. He drug the fungus into the hall and tossed it into the darkness; grinding of gears and the slashing of some sharp unknown implements confirmed Thay’d’s instincts. The mushroom was shredded with only a stump left in his hand.

Without the ability to see the traps and the obvious large closed eye on the adjacent wall, everyone turned their attention to it. Taiven stepped up close to the shuttered eye and astonishingly the eye opened. As it opened the wall ahead turned translucent and beyond a tower and small cottage could be seen. As the group studied the curious sight of a serene country cottage in a devil infested multiverse. Everyone thoughts turned to traps. Sir Toby pressed on the now translucent wall feeling only a wall, but when Taiven pressed, he passed through into the serene cottage setting; and with as much speed as he could muster jumped back onto the stone floor off the grassy field.

One-by-one everyone passed through the translucent portal except Sir Toby. It was curious, what made Sir Toby so incapable of transversing the barrier? Seeing it as our only option, the party moved into the picture perfect scene. The tower buzzed with power and the party saw fit to give it a wide berth. Everyone was on edge; their senses on high alert. They’d looked at the deadly darkness and the translucent barrier “Well it seems like the best approach is to explore the the cottage to see what we find that can help.” Taiven and They’d slid through the barrier creeping up to the tower; the others followed. Inspecting the tower, Taiven, They’d and Hodar noticed it was covered in the same artistry as the wall outside but each brick had the symbol instead. As they looked the eyes opened and the buzz grew in tone and intensity. Everyone jumped back and saw beyond the tower a fortified wall, a cottage, and a small little garden of weeds.

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As everyone stared a small elderly man stepped out. He was dressed in what was once probably elegant robes, but now draped over this boney man in tatters. As the party was just standing out in the open after jumping away from the tower, the elderly gentleman turned to face them. A curious smirk crossed each of the party’s face. The gentleman had, along with his tattered robes, an eye patch over one eye and an eye that was more akin to what you would find in the socket of a Gecko. He smiled a warm smile and waved to the group standing by the tower. “Hello gentle-persons. Are you here to partake in the challenge? The all seeing Eye of Providence sits beyond that wall. Are you here to try and claim it?”

Mercy stepped up “Excuse me, the what?” “Yes”, the elderly man replied, “ the Eye of Providence.” “No Sir” Mercy Replied. They’d explained “We are looking for a woman that may have past through here. We know that she is within the temple, but not sure where exactly. Have you seen her?” The elderly man waved his hands, “No. No one has passed through here.

Where are my manners. My name is Sheeve and I’ve been researching the Eye of Providence, for as long as I can remember, really.” Holber ask “How long has that been?” “Oh, not nearly long enough. I haven’t made as much headway on my research as I’d wanted.” Mercy pointed to the barrier and asked “Why is the portal barrier keeping our friend from passing?” Sheeve’s replied “For my safety, my dear. Any one with unswayable ideals tends to take offense at my beliefs, young Mercy. Please though, make yourself at home; touch the tower and you will come away feeling refreshed and invigorated. It will do you some good, I can tell you’ve been through some difficultly reaching this oasis.” The party looked suspiciously at the tower. Mercy, ever the guinea pig reached out and put her hand on the tower, smiled and responded with a smile. Everyone followed suit, except Holber. His eyes squinted and there was a look of distrust that crossed his face. “I am up for bartering as I haven’t left this pocket in many, many years and am in need of some common items, especially soap; I haven’t had a proper bath in decades. I have many magical and wondrous items that I have collected from adventurers like yourselves. If you see anything you’d like let me know and maybe we can come to an agreement.”

The party started into the small cottage; arms and armor, potions and wands, and wondrous items were thrown haphazardly throughout the little room, but looking around everyone could see a large collection of magical goods. Everyone saw something they could use; a magical staff, weaponry, potions, but nothing seemed to strike the cord necessary to get through the magical darkness.

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After the shopping montage Mercy strolled over to the closed gate with the now familiar closed eye over the frame. Ass she stepped up the eye opened and the wall turned translucent. Above the door she read “For your wisdom, for knowledge of thy self; and for what you seek.” Seeming to understand little of what she was getting into and caring even less, Mercy stepped across the translucent barrier into the room. As she stepped through the second eye opened and a viewing window opened where the rest of us gathered. Within the center of the room stood a large fountain and surrounding the fountain on three ornate columns sat three large gargoyles. The rest of the room was covered in vines and other vegetation.

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As she approached the central fountain the headache started, beginning in her eyes and then moving into her head. The blood draining from her lacrimals was a surprise but not nearly as much as the bubbling eyes that she saw within the fountain looking up expectantly. Mercy tried to reach in and grasp one of the expectant eyes and was fiercely burned for it; the liquid was some form of acid. A booming voice gave instructions “MAKE AN ACCEPTABLE OFFERING TO BEGIN THE EYE OF PROVIDENCE TRIAL. ANSWER THREE QUESTIONS, ONE OF WISDOM, ONE OF SELF, AND ONE OF WHAT YOU SEEK.” Mercy reached up to touch the inside of her nose where the blood was draining and felt the socket give just a little. She pushed harder and the eye slurped and fell into her hand. She handed over to the liquid; the voice boomed once again “OFFERING EXCEPTED!!”.

The three gargoyles turned to her; the first one speaks
I have many tongues but cannot taste
By me, most things are turned to waste
I crack and snap, yet I stay whole
I may take the largest toll
I assisted all of the first men
And I will pay them back again
Around me, people snuggle and sleep
Yet run when I am released from my keep
I jump around and leap and bound
The cold man wishes I he had found

Mercy thought for just s split second and answered, Fire. Well Done. Now candidate, how well do you know yourself and your mentors? In your experience who are the only witches that have grand hexes? Mercy responded that her mentor was one, so at least a witch that has seen multiple years. Gargoyle two announced “Not specific enough! Now you wager for your eye.” The third Gargoyle turned toward Mercy “What is the condition that causes humanoids to have limited sight far from their nose?” Mercy turned toward the barrier where the rest of the party stood. Holbar reached into His robes and pulled out a piece of paper and handed it to Thorgal. He wrote down the word nearsighted and held it to the barrier and in the split second that Mercy had to read the parchment the barrier shuttered and tuned back to brick. YOU HAVE FAILED THE TRAIL, BUT HAVE WON YOUR EYE!” Mercy’s eye floated to the top of the pool where she could snatch it up and as she brought her eye back home it found its place automatically.

It went on like that until Taiven. They all had worked out that the view station stayed open as long as the no one helped on questions. The first time someone tried to help the viewer would close. In this instance Taiven answered correctly the question testing his wisdom, but got stuck on the progression of his craft. Mercy must have studied at a monastery with monks of all experience because she seemed to have a depth of knowledge when it came to what experience would bring to Taiven. He, however, misunderstood her promptings and answered incorrectly. The questions about the eye were the toughest and it was predictable the circumstance Taiven found himself answering only one of the three questions correctly. The gargoyles simultaneously announced “YOU HAVE FAILED THE TRAIL, BUT YOU NEED NOT LOSE AN EYE!”, and with that AN eye migrated to the surface of the pool. The pupil was elongate, like a cat. The iris was the color of bile with gold flecks throughout and where the white should have been there was a deep endless void of color. As it slithered it’s way to the top of the pool it began to reek of evil and death. Taiven had to make a choice between his pride and his party. If he left the eye behind he would limit his ability to help the party and he knew that the next encounter would take all of them. Taiven picked up the eye and brought it up to his socket. The optic nerve reached eagerly for his brain and as it moved closer the foreign body slid easily into the socket restoring Taiven’s sight. What came with it only time will tell.

Thorgal was the next person to take the trial. He was experienced and had gotten closer than any to the ultimate prize, so expectations were running high. The first question came and he was at wits end when Mercy stepped in to help. As the answer was given by Thorgal the door closed to the viewing chamber and the the party sat there readying the next person. But, the second question was asked and he returned the right answer in short order. Now, Thorgal was two for two and understood the anatomy of the eye better than anyone else in the room. Excitement rose and as the last question was uttered by the third gargoyle, Thorgal smiled and in a rapid and confident response gave his answer. Magic fluttered and the three gargoyles stated in unison “YOU HAVE SUCCEEDED WHERE ALL OTHERS HAVE FAILED; TAKE THE EYE OF PROVIDENCE AND USE IT WISELY!” Thorgal slid the eye into place.

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