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#13626053 Jan 28, 2018 at 11:49 AM · Edited 4 months ago
KT Knight
49 Posts
Chapter 0: The Journey Begins

Shortened:
Our heroes meet up in a caravan on the Kheldell path, heading eastward to Red Larch, a major settlement in the Dessarin Valley. Paid by the merchants Conryn and Zylshor Leosandoral to be sturdy members of the traveling group, they are also traveling with paid gaurds: Shuzug, Loggolim, Joann, and Smooth-as-wind. Our team starts with four members to which destiny favors: Bevyn the shrouded mage, who was quiet for most of the travels. Asch the shadow sword, known for his good singing and curiosity of the world around him. Arwen the forest-trekking archer, skilled in playing the lyre and teaching about nature. And Malachi, man of light, he's firm of tongue, sturdy, and resourceful.

Full:

Your feet have taken you here, and your past has sculpted you. Your life started then, but your destiny starts now, and the fate of the world starts here, on the Kheldell Path. The road to Red Larch, the major settlement in the area, has been uneventful beyond your own conversations and the unusual weather. Today, a crisp snow falls, the day before the oven-hot sun was beating you into begging for sunset. Conryn Leosandoral and his mate Zylshor say it’s another 3 days trip to town. Both are half-elf merchants, and have hired guards for their caravan trip to Red Larch. For your troubles, even if you’re just a traveler who looks sturdy, you’ve been paid 15g for your passage.
Around the campfire, you’ve heard the two men talk about their successful merchanting business, hoping to raise a good family somewhere safe, and teach their children art, music, and have a good life. Shuzug, a half-orc in your group, greatly appreciates the songs the Leosandoral’s speak of, and has provided many excellently vocals himself. Muscular, but intelligent, he has an unusually refined mind for someone of his appearance.
With Shuzug, is Loggolim, a dwarf, who calls herself female much to your surprise. A great-axe adorns her back, and her red braided beard covers her gut. She speaks of the grand fights Shuzug and her have had on past jobs of being guards.
Also amongst your group, is Joann Zander, a blonde-haired female woman who is the roughest around the edges. She speaks hedonistically of spending her wealth with little regard and great regret with each tale. She dreams of the easy life. On your travels, you discover, that like another traveler, she hates the rain, a product, she says, of almost drowning many times.
Smooth-As-Wind however, a green-scaled lizardfolk, speaks longingly of the rain. The lizard and the boy stood outside on the first day’s rain, much to the disgust of Joann. Smooth-as-Wind knows how to use her bow, and dreams of fighting the good fight, particularly against undead. Good-hearted, she comes across naively, but knows a thing or two about herbalism, and talks hopefully about joining the wizardry school at Red Larch.
The others in your group have a fate more tightly woven to your own.
In the carriage, riding along in shelter, you’ll find a young half-elf male, pale of skin and dark of hair. He seems to speak infrequently, quietly hiding under his black cloak adorn with crimson runes. While the brash Joann heartlessly criticized his bandage covered facial wounds, none of the others did. At the campfires, he sat further away, but occasionally joined in the conversation. You’ve heard his name as “Bevyn.” But the rest you’ll have to discover.
While Loggolim jests that Bevyn is some sort of shadowy figure, there is one among your group that accepts that title. The youngest of you, perhaps not even an adult, a boy walks outside in the snow, seemingly fascinated by the frost-clad trees. He calls himself “Asch,” a misnomer for his pale complexion, white hair, and white eyes. Even the long narrow sword on his back is clad in brilliant white, a stark contrast to his plain Victorian-style black clothing. At first you could think he was blind by the appearance of his eyes, but it wasn’t so. While speaking little of his past at the campfires, he has an unusual taste for the night. For reasons he has yet to divulge, he spoke favorably of the power of shadow. Asch, like the half-orc Shuzug, sings on demand. While beautifully sung, almost masterfully, the words feel hollow and chilling, despite you not knowing their meaning.
Walking along and appreciating the sudden winter is another part of your destiny. A wood elf of song herself, a woman of deep brown hair and royal blue strands, she speaks highly of nature. She’s quick to teach to those that would listen, such as Asch and Smooth-as-Wind, about the trees, and the critters that dart through the brush. She can move through the forest with ease, collecting examples of her lessons, or herbs the lizardfolk can teach about to her. Arwen Moonsong, plays her lyre with skill and grace, even to a song she’s never heard. Her smooth elegant bow hugs her back, and her arrows shine with a silver light. There is surely a tale to them.
An appreciator of this unusually-musical trip; destiny has placed another person on your path. A human man of the light. His eyes a solid white, but seeing, his long white hair gracing his shoulders. Malachi of the Morning Lord speaks firmly of staying on the sunlit paths of life. Speaking to him often disturbs him from a deep thought as he stares out the carriage windows. While the trip has been peaceful, he wears scale armor emblazoned with the luminous symbol of the glorious sun across the front. In the night, there was talk about the thin cracks of light on his face. Making even Loggolim listen to what Malachi had to say about the lucent powers in the world.
And so, you find yourself on this path, and it will not end at Red Larch. It will take you across this land, and off to other worlds. The Dessarin Valley is a land that forges heroes, and fills graves. You’ll find betrayal, and unlikely allies. There will be sacrifices, and loss. Difficult decisions will force counsel with dangerous beings. Whatever you seek, whatever moves your feet forward, you shall find it here, amidst a chaotic clash of planes. The world is full of singers, priests, fighters, herbalists. You’ll need to be agile, and fortuitous, and strong. Those make a soldier. But you have to be heroes. You have to be silver-tongued, quick-witted, and cunning. Tread carefully young heroes.
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#13626055 Jan 28, 2018 at 11:50 AM · Edited 4 months ago
KT Knight
49 Posts
Chapter 1: The Road to Red Larch
After days of travel, their peaceful caravan is attacked by feral gnolls, to which scholarly Shuzug and alcoholic Loggolim died with many regrets. The caravan moves on, and is attacked by bandits. After a long and hard fight and the loss of the unloved Joann, the party exchanges keeping their lives for surrendering the caravan. This deed is approved by Flametouched, the boastful leader of the bandits. Asch and Bevyn vow to each other to kill her. Now on foot, the party and the survivors of the caravan continue to Red Larch amidst unnaturally changing weather. At night, the group, bonding in fight, speak of themselves some more. Malachi is a cleric of Lathander, and channels divine energy from his diety. Blessed of the light, Malachi exudes light from cracks in his skin and armor. Asch reveals his sword was gotten from killing a man like Malachi, adventurers who attacked his home in the Shadowfell. After the townspeople fell to pious warriors, Asch corrupted the once-sword of light, into a light-drinking necrotic sword he dubbed, 'Shadowedge.'

While Asch denied it, Bevyn stated the sword would corrupt and overcome Asch, whom slept with the sword that chilled the hearts of those even near it. Bevyn was also quick to dodge the question about his unusual angry outburst when the fight against the bandits turned into a losing one. The wood elf Arwen, sitting at the campfire, was mortified into speechlessness, along with the other survivors, at the supernatural conversations that were had by the others.

The next day, group gets the jump on a small pack of Death Dogs, which almost sees the death of Asch, Malachi, and Smooth-as-wind, the lizardfolk roguish hired help. As Asch and Malachi are poisoned and viciously mauled by the two-headed beasts, Smooth-as-wind almost becomes dog food along with them.

To make matters worse, Malachi, a pious man, a usually strongly-willed fellow, found himself repeatedly compelled to attack his ally Asch and his evil-eminating sword. Meanwhile, Bevyn and Arwen unsuccessfully try to aid from afar with magic and arrows alike, but when they finally dial their aim in, the fight turns around in favor of the party. They skin a death dog, and continue their trek. Malachi recovers quickly from the poisonous bite of the beasts, while the boy Asch suffers all the way to Red Larch. When they finally arrive, the party temporarily goes their separate ways. Smooth-as-wind joins the wizarding school at Red Larch, as she dreamed of, and Conryn and Zylshor get top dollar for Malachi's death dog pelt in exchange for escorting them. Seeing rooms are full up at the inn and boarding house with farm hands fleeing the fields, the group finds an unlikely place to rest in the generous home of the magical wares shop: Nightenvale's Magical Imports. This shop, ran by a man named Jeames, a dragon named Xannim, and Jeame's son Izlas, proves to be a useful point of information for the group, as well as a quiet place to rest.

Chapter 2 & 3: Red Larch & Bears and Bows.
After resting and recovering, the group hears from Jeames that a person named 'Oliver' at 'The School' usually has odd-jobs for people. Also to check with the constable or at the Swinging Sword tavern. The group tracks down Oliver, the headmaster of the magic school, who looks no older than a young adult in a field giving a lesson to other students. Oliver, who appeared weak from his stature and face half-covered with bandages, has a condescending attitude. He tells the group to follow the Cairn Road south to a bandit encampment and rescue the sister of a student of his. Afterwards, he says, to go further south to a lake and pick a dozen particular flowers for him at night.

The group leaves for the bandit camp, arriving and convincing them they are just travelers who are waylaid. However, their plan goes up in smoke as the party reveals they know of the kidnapped girl and the bandits attack. The bandits attack in force, twice as many as our party of four, in a viscous battle that almost kills Asch and Malachi while Bevyn and Arwen safely attack from range. With Malachi's supporting magic for his allies, and Asch's curses, the group manages to keep it together in the mass fight which sees Bevyn incinerate an unfortunate bandit. As the fight turns in favor of the group, Arwen makes a dash into the camp to try to find the girl, but is met by a grizzly bear, forcing her to retreat. The bear tears a bandit in two, as the other bandits flee from it.

Thinking the bear is somehow related to the girl, the group doesn't attack until the feral starved and tortured bear attacks them next. As Arwen rescues the girl from the tents, the other three fell the bear as its vicious heavy attacks push the armor and shield-clad Malachi back. The group finds a bountiful treasure that the bandits have collected, and return to Red Larch with the frightened girl. Bevyn and Asch, expecting a reward from Oliver, are frustrated when the smug young man explains that the reward was only for the flowers. With a smirk, he belittles their good-intentions by suggesting that rescuing the girl should have been reward enough. Frustrated, the group returns to the magic shop to rest after spending half a day doing various downtime activities.

Bevyn learns more about magical item construction, while Arwen and Malachi investigate the boarding house and shrine respectively. Asch tells the group the Swinging Sword seems like a good place for information, after investigating the busy tavern and overhearing of a plague eminating from a nearby cave. That night, Asch spends his time playing with the young boy Izlas, while the rest of the group briefly speaks to Xannim and Jeames about rumors of a lost tomb just to the north.

The group spends the next day doing individual downtime activities, before setting out at night to the lake Oliver spoke of. They arrive at a picturesque lake surrounded by beautiful flowers. Beneath the water, luminous flowers grow, which Malachi and Arwen collect, while Asch begrudgingly takes a dozen himself. Bevyn doesn't help, but keeps a look-out. Returning at night, they find Oliver still in his office, and they trade the torch-bright flowers for a magical amulet. The group then sells the other flowers to the magical shop, fetching a small amount of gold for their trouble before retiring for the evening.
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#13641972 Feb 07, 2018 at 08:30 PM · Edited 4 months ago
KT Knight
49 Posts
Chapter 4: Lance Rock: Boys and Monsters
After resting, the group speaks to Jeames and Xannim about happenings around the area. They learn of a tomb that has been recently opened and desecrated. There are rumors of anger ghosts haunting the halls of the dead to the north of Red Larch. They also here about the local legend of Tricklerock Cave, off the Larch Path to the northeast. There, there are stories about great treasure lost within the wet cave, one only need find the entrance…

Jeames and Xannim also talk about the reported plague coming out of Lance Rock, along Kheldell Path. They point out the location on a map provided to Malachi for his help around their magical shop. Feeling the threat of disease is a danger to the town, the group spends half a day traveling to Lance Rock. Arrive at the structure, they determine the enormous rock is not native to the area. There are also signs speaking of a terrible plague within the cave, and not to enter as signed by ‘The Lord of Lance Rock.’ The daring heroes entered the cave system, coming across the body of a man who was killed by a slashing attack. Further in, they are ambushed by zombies that pushed falling boulders onto the ground. Bevyn takes a grievous blow from these falling stones, but the party dispatches the zombies.

Exploring, they find a cave filled with dead bodies of various ages, and decide to investigate another route.
There, they find a group of costume-clad dancing zombies. Asch suggested that leaving the undead alone would not provoke them into attacking. Illustrating his point, he is surprised when the zombies attack his comrades. With everyone on the offensive, they carve a way through the dead-ridden caves. They come to a large cave where they catch up with the ‘Lord of Lance Rock:’ A young man who hid behind his undead army. He demanded the group to leave or die, and when the group threatened him, he ordered his soldiers to attack.

Asch was immediately downed by serious injuries from taking a barrage of arrows in the opening salvo. The others struggled to survive in a fight they were very badly unnumbered. Using the natural terrain and usage of ranged attacks, they clear the hall after a harrowing fight that almost kills every member of the group. They take a small rest to recover their strength and for Asch to awaken and get on his feet. They follow the fleeing Lord all the way to his study, from which he attacks them. As the battle rages, there are two hostages: a boy named Stuart, and a very young man named Tobin, whom are restrained in here.

Sensing defeat, the Lord of Lance Rock surrenders and begs for mercy, saying he didn’t bring the children here. Arwen and Bevyn want to hear the man out, while Malachi suggests the same, promising to kill him after. However, he speaks no more when Asch executes him without hesitation. After locating the man’s journal, who’s proper name was Oreioth, they also speak to the hostages. Stuart was kidnapped from Red Larch by Oreioth, and was being tortured. Oreioth wrote that he was trying to get information from the other boy, Tobin, who is chained to the wall by magical shackles and sleeps deeply. Oreioth had written that Tobin was bound here before Oreioth's arrival at Lance Rock.

The group finds no further information on a magical symbol they find on an altar within the study. It disappeared as they studied it. Looking to Tobin for answers, they hesitantly weaken the magical shackles so the boy would wake up, as per Stuart and Oreioth’s observations. Tobin explains that he’s been a prisoner here for a long time, imprisoned by wizard’s guild of Red Larch. Desperate to leave, he tells of how the Head Wizard imprisoned him because of a polymorph-like spell going awry. That left Tobin with unpredictable morphing, explaining the feathers that Stuart and Oreioth observed, when Tobin was not sleeping. Thus, he was sealed as the other town’s people were worried about their safety based on Tobin’s appearance.

Heeding Tobin’s begging to be set free, they break the magical chains that bind him with. their. bare. hands. After leaving the cave, Tobin is unable to suppress his form, and involuntarily transforms into a Dorthroziun, a huge winged chimera. According to Bevyn, they are powerful demons formed when a demon fails to possess a humanoid. These creatures can shape-shift between their demonic and human forms, but are only able to keep a pure human form for a few days at most. Unable to hide his hideous demonic form anymore, Tobin tells a different story. After he became this abomination by resisting the demon named Vugdran, the wizard’s guild sealed him in the cave, being unable to kill him. At the time, Tobin was compliant, but now he vows not to let that happen again.

Free again, Tobin speaks of waking up in the cave often, seeing soft blue light before sleeping again. He also expresses his dream of flying, having not gotten the chance prior to his imprisonment. Tobin also says he wants to be around people again, but given his nature, living in Lance Rock would have to do: It’s close to Red Larch, but secluded enough that he should be able to shy away when forced to transform back into a demon.
Asch and Bevyn both act very friendly to Tobin, each eager to make Tobin a friend. The demon-boy asks the group to bring him some basic supplies so that he could live here, as he can’t go shopping for himself for obvious reasons. He also asks for magic study materials, so he can pick up where he left off with his wizard-schooling from just over 400 years ago. Bevyn vows to do this, promising to return shortly, feeling very connected to the nearly-same-aged boy.

The party heads back to Red Larch, and before the day ends, they stop at the Swinging Sword, one of the local taverns. There, they meet Kaylessa, the sturdy proprietor of the establishment. She promises payment to any adventure whom can clear out the ‘dark threat’ she believes is in Lance Rock. Once discovering the group had already done so, she provided the promised payment. Impressed by the do-good adventurers, she takes their advice when they tell her to let it be known that the cave still lingers with plague and no one should venture there.

Kaylessa also speaks of the Haunted Tomb and Tricklerock Cave, confirming what Jeames and Xannim spoke of. She marks the probable locations on their map. While Asch struggles with the lingering injury from the struggles at Lance Rock, the party had accomplished a great deed, and feel that experience has empowered them. Now, they think about their next move over-night while a powerful demon awaits their promised return and tales of treasure- and ghost-filled caves await discovery.
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#13652637 Feb 12, 2018 at 09:03 PM · Edited 3 months ago
KT Knight
49 Posts
Chapter 5: Foley
Upon waking, the party sets out from the pleasant warmth of the Nightvales’ home to travel to the nearby tomb, following rumor of ghosts. Arriving, the find the heavy tomb door ajar, but when they enter the dark crypt, they find it seemingly undisturbed. However, shortly after entering, a ghostly guard appears and demands them to leave. Misunderstanding the party for grave robbers, the guard attacks them. As a difficult battle rages in the hallway, Malachi ducks into a side room where he’s immediately attacked by an animated sword.

The fight begins to wear on the spirit, causing it to unleash a frightful howl and possess Bevyn. Arwen also ducks into a different room to recover her stamina for a moment, leaving Asch alone with Bevyn and the young man’s doubtful allegiance. Asch is rewarded for not abandoning or attacking an ally, as Malachi suggested, by nearly being killed when Bevyn forces the spirit out of his body. Facing his own difficult fight, Malachi manages to put down the hostile sword and regroup with the others as Arwen’s silver arrows finally cause the creature to disperse.

Taking a moment, they catch their breath before exploring further. They find a chest in a secret room, and a key that seems to have a mind of its own. While found in the lock of the chest, it refuses to go back into its home willingly as it constantly seeks to evade our hero’s grasp. After spending time exhausting other options, they take the key and leave after finding two strange potions in the chest. Bevyn, who left first, is immediately stuck with a bolt and a javelin, retreating back into the tomb.

As the party darts out of the tomb, they are under attack by a goblin and an orge. While the goblin dies swiftly, the giant demands revenge for the death of his friend. With his giant club, he charges at the party. Against the large foe, Asch and Malachi hold the beast off of their allies, Arwen and Bevyn, who bombard the attacker at range. The giant connects a kick on Asch, launching him into the cliff-face, barely able to get back on his feet. Malachi seizes the opportunity, and goes up to his near-fallen comrade and point-blank executes him by almost punching a hole through his chest with a magically-enhanced blow!

As Asch immediately drops into a growing puddle of blood, allegiances are shaken as the orge continues the attack. As they fight the orge, Malachi triumphantly declares that Asch was evil, and Malachi was duty-bound to kill him. Once the orge has fallen, Bevyn stabilizes Asch, who despite lethal injury, clings to life. A heated discussion erupts between Malachi, Arwen, and Bevyn as to the nature of Asch, and if that warranted trying to kill him. Malachi, claiming Asch corrupted his dreams, used Asch’s heart-chilling sword, the boy’s heritage of the Shadowfell, and Asch’s tale of killing ‘pious fools of light’ as proof of his claim.

Arwen and Bevyn find Malachi’s claims unfounded. Believing there’s no proof that Asch tormented Malachi in his sleep, nor do the stories Asch tells of his past mean they are true, or warrant death even if so.

As the threat of a fight becomes reality, Malachi, reviewing his feelings and experiences, suddenly comes changes his stance. He gives a swift apology, quick to blame himself for jumping to the wrong conclusion without providing any rationale as to how he came to trying to execute the boy. Eager to prove his good-intent, he unleashes a burst of radiant energy, the likes of which haven’t been seen yet. Thus, Asch regains consciousness. While brought back from death’s door, the magic still wasn’t powerful enough to heal all the injuries of our blindfold-wearing youth, nor enough to earn his forgiveness.

Fortunately for the others, Asch’s injuries did prevent him from mounting a successful retributive attack. Arwen and Bevyn are able to get Asch to back down from immediately attacking Malachi, with kind firm words and threats respectively. The two manage to keep the party from completely dissolving into a brawl. Asch uses Malachi as an example of how dangerous and treacherous ‘followers of the light’ are. Faced with his severely-injured condition, and the threat of fighting his other ‘allies,’ Asch vows revenge on Malachi, saying the man of light will always have to look over his shoulder now.
Despite the tension in the air, the group finds a powerful weapon on the Orge before moving on. Malachi is quiet from his shame, trying to keep a low-profile as he feels Asch’s unsettling glare on him at all times. Thus, when the party arrives at Tricklerock Cave, in search of the legendary treasure, it is Arwen and Bevyn who win the day against a group of bat-like blood-sucking insects. Within the wet earth, they find the skeleton of a long-gone adventurer. Asch, remarking at the old holy symbol of Lathandar, the god of light, says the gods of this world do nothing for it.

Upon laying the bones to rest, a magical bow found on the body, comes to life with light. Feeling its magical attacks are best suited for Arwen to use, they agree that she should wield it. As the night loams, the group heads back to town, where the tension keeps most chatter to a minimum. Heading out at dawn with supplies, they head for Lance Rock to visit Tobin, the Dorthroziun demon boy who now dwells there.

Their travel is interrupted by Oliver, who restrains almost the entire party effortlessly with magic. He’s eager to know about what the party is doing, and what they’ve done and seen at Lance Rock. As his interrogation continues, it becomes obvious to the group that Oliver knows about Tobin. Bevyn, annoyed at Oliver’s condescending tone is sharply dismissive of Oliver. Despite Asch’s nudge to not be an ass to someone so powerful, Bevyn doesn’t back down. Arwen manages to keep the peace until Malachi instigates Oliver with a veiled reference to ‘winged hellions’ such as Dorthroziuns. This almost earned the party an uncertain fate as Oliver’s questioning becomes increasingly hostile. Still, they do not tell Oliver that they know about Tobin, and the bandage-wearing young man ultimately dismisses them with an amused chuckle.

Arriving at the cave, Tobin is excited to see them. While in a mostly-human form, the first thing he does is run out and hug Bevyn. Tobin, happy to the point of crying, is so thankful to his new friends, he gives them powerful magical artifacts left behind by Oreioth, the necromancer. The group also removes the spikes that are in Tobin’s back, using his demonic regenerative powers to their advantage.

When Oliver is brought up, Tobin warmly reminisces that Oliver was his boyfriend when both of them were apprentices in the wizardry guild 400 years ago. Shocked to hear Oliver lives, Tobin is eager to control his form to be able to meet Oliver again, giddy at the prospect; the party is less so. They openly discuss that Oliver was completely aware Tobin was imprisoned because Oliver left Tobin Torch Pedal flowers in the cave. By the day’s earlier demonstration, they also conclude that Oliver is powerful enough to have released Tobin if he wanted to.

Fearing another run-in so soon with Oliver and finding Tobin to be very energetic and friendly company, the group spends the night at the cave. Malachi, who was initially ready to attack the Dorthroziun that transformed in front of him, brought a cake for everyone to enjoy as they helped set up Tobin’s new furniture. The joyous time certainly had moments of Arwen’s excellent lyre-playing and Asch’s breath-taking singing. As the air of hostility lifted with Tobin’s up-beat aura, there was also the sight of Bevyn having fun, laughing, and smiling, something not seen yet by the others. Malachi, careful not to shatter the temporary peace and bring upon even more shame, also keeps a light-heart around Tobin, whose human-form is not yet advanced enough to not bare an obvious demonic appearance.

Alas though, the next day, they leave to travel back to Red Larch. After a hug from Tobin, Bevyn assures him they’ll return. Tobin partially transforms into a winged hellion and plucks a poisoned razor shard from a wing and gives it to Bevyn. That if it ever tastes blood, Tobin vows that he will come as fast as he can to help the group. It’s the least the boy can do. While taller and physically more mature than Asch, and roughly equivalent to Bevyn, Tobin proves to having a younger persona about him compared to the other two and clearly looks up to the party.

The party, heading back to Red Larch, steel themselves for a battle of Tobin against Oliver. They still don’t know whose side they’d be on. The giddy friendly demon who wants to live peacefully, or the wise-mouthed young man that teaches magic, enchants the town’s food, and surely provides safety for its residents. They are somewhat relieved that this doesn’t come to a head as they arrive in town, as Oliver doesn’t confront them. This gives them some time to think about what they’ve learned, particularly as to what Oliver’s motivations might be.

Still, their thoughts are busy with other threads as well. The suspicious activities around Red Larch for one, but more personal matters are coming to a head: Malachi’s attempted murder of Asch has left everyone in a tense state. While around Tobin, everyone individually decided to sweep it under the rug. However, it has since burned through and threatens to burn the whole house down to ash. They come to realize that somehow, over time, they’ve come to trust each other, and only realized it now that it’s been shattered. Still, any further discussion about this with the group quickly dissolves as wrathfulness and doubt keep the conversation from being productive. With a bit of time for emotions to calm down, perhaps the group can come together again and constructively and cooperatively repair the damage that’s been done.
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#13689486 Mar 11, 2018 at 10:30 AM
KT Knight
49 Posts
Chapter 6: The Believers
As the group cooled off in Red Larch, rumors filled their ears. Oliver charged them with finding a student of his, Braelen Hatherhand. His father, Rotharr, told us that Braelen often ran off and he was sure he’d come back. Tales of a magical fox that can grant wishes in Black Maw Bog to the north, along with a God of Fire to whom protected the town of Triboar from a goblin attack. A horrible metal beast is attacking caravans near Red Larch, the constable has placed a bounty on this creature. And, lastly, a political delegation from Mirabar passed through Red Larch 20 days ago, but disappeared on the way to Summit Hall after leaving Beliard. A heavy snow greeted them one morning. Each person was doing their own thing, but Arwen met a gnome woman named “Ada” and her pet fox “Pym” at the School’s library. On this morning, the earth caved-in in the center of the town. With some children having fallen down, the group rescues them. Before descending themselves to investigate the cavern, suspiciously nervous town elders beg them not to descend. They try to convince the group not to touch the stones before running off.

In the cavern, the group, Ada now included, find a stone door with signs of people coming and going. When they enter, they find themselves in a meticulously created underground complex made of stones with statues of dwarves.

Pushing forward, many of them become ensnared in a cage trap. Asch takes the opportunity to reveal his red demonic eyes to Malachi, and taunt him about getting revenge. In the end however, Asch ultimately leaves Malachi with a facial scar as reminder, and a promise that if Malachi ever attacks Asch again, he’d regret it before his swift death. Furious now, Malachi barged into the next room, where the group discovers a boy, Braelen Hatherhand.

Here, Braelen is being pinned by stones, harmlessly, for 2 days now. He explains that his father is punishing him for not delivering a letter to Ilmeth Waelvur. That the man that dropped the cages on them, Grund, just works here and left after doing so. The others believe the stones within have magical divination properties. There’s a meaner man named ‘Larrakh’ deeper in the tunnels, and that he likes to be in a room Braelen isn’t allowed in. Bevyn, incensed that the father, Rotharr, imprisoned his own child, vows openly to kill Rotharr. Braelen begs Bevyn not to do so, while Arwen is very vocal about not slaying the man as well. Braelen reluctantly agrees to leave, and as the group turns to bring him to the surface, a man appears in the hall behind him.

Wearing a stone mask and a black cloak, he attacks the group, but they easily dispatch him. Somewhat amused, Oliver appears behind that man with a lantern. He expresses disappointment that he didn’t get to kill him. Oliver, whose bandages on his face and arms are loosened, exposes that his face and forearm and cracked like a porcelain doll’s might be. Within, a deep red light gently emanates from the cracks and missing flakes of his skin. His eye is also unnaturally black and red, with a rune marked on it. Somewhat taken aback by his form, Braelen takes a moment before joining Oliver to return to the surface. Before leaving, Oliver charges the group with discovering what’s going on down here, and putting an end to it.

When the group continues forward, they catch up with Grund, who has now brought many allies, all wearing stone masks and similar attire to the first. In a difficult fight, they dispatch this group as Grund flees. Progressing forward, they find a large room with floating stones and ancient graves. As they investigate, they are ambushed. A man who walks vertically up the stones, attacks the group with spells, nearly dropping three people immediately with thunderous explosions. As the party engages into battle, reinforcements of mask-wearing soldiers appear of unknown origin.

The man who ambushed them, wielding a glaive of enormous power, also fills the room with smoke. This separates the party into individuals. While the soldiers distract the individuals, he starts cutting the group down with ease with the power of the glaive. This battle sees the near death of Arwen, Asch, Ada, and Bevyn, while Malachi is left with little himself. Ultimately, they defeat the man, who surrenders while the others retreat, cursing the man’s cowardly ways.
Battered, bloodied, some injured, and all very weary, the group now has this man as their prisoner, whom Asch holds at the point of his sword. The soldiers they’ve encountered so far, including this man, had a healthy set of equipment. While most of it remains to be identified, Asch has already claimed the glaive, while Malachi has taken a shield. In the room, they discover the smoke cloud was emanating from a magical bottle, which they have also corked and taken into possession.

Now, with their prisoner, they have many questions: Who is this man? And what is the group that operates down here? What’s going on beneath Red Larch? And how does this involve the town elders Rotharr Hatherhand and Ilmeth Waelvur? What else is yet to be seen in these tunnels with magical stones, and just what are these stones and the magic that makes them idly float in the air?
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#13698717 Mar 17, 2018 at 08:47 PM
KT Knight
49 Posts
Chapter 6 Continued:
The group, wearily interrogates their prisoner under Red Larch. Larrakh, the man says his name is, talks about how he’s a scholar, a member of the Stone Knights, along with the other people down here. Larrakh admits to tricking the townspeople into believing the stones down here have magical divination properties. He did this to get the chance to study them further. He also shares that he was there when the Mirabar delegation was attacked. When the delegation entered the Stone Knight’s territory near their monastery, they stopped them to identify them. Whilst this happened, air fanatics from Feathergale Spire attacked.

Malachi, suddenly remembers hearing of the location on his hunt for a Waterdhavian woman. Larrakh continues, that the air cultists kidnapped Deseyna and Teresiel, along with other members of the delegation of whom he didn’t know their names. Surely they brought them back to Feathergale Spire.

Before Larrakh is questioned further, a man clad in stone armor, looking much like an earth elemental, drops from the ceiling. He quickly takes the glaive from Asch’s hands, and uses it to kill Larrakh, calling him a traitor as he does so. The man then turns to the party, nearly cutting Asch down in a single blow as he vows to kill them all. The unknown man, seemingly a member of these Stone Knights down here, proves to be far more capable with the glaive than Larrakh was. With it, he nearly single-handedly kills the entire group, resulting in many injuries as the exhausted group fight for their lives. The mana-exhausted Ada miraculously survives as the man chases her down across the room and repeatedly attempts to kill her for good.

The tide starts to turn as Malachi and Arwen manage to penetrate his stone armor with their attacks. As Asch is impaled by the glaive, he successfully manages to hold onto it inside of him, forcing the man to let go. Now armed with his mace, and the rest of the group getting back on their feet, they start to wear him down. Asch, despite beyond-lethal injuries, continues to fight in a death-defying frenzy, glaive in hand. Malachi also finds new strength: summoning a celestial sword directly into the man, impaling him. Faced with defeat, the man fights to the bitter end, but is finally felled. The group, most injured many times over, and some unconscious make their way back to the surface as a heavy snow falls. They rest at Nightenvale’s home.


Chapter 7: A Snow Day.
The dawn is obscured by a blizzard, but everyone makes it to the common room of the house. Some in better shape than others. Taking company in each other, and with tensions not so high, they manage to sort out many feelings.

The group eagerly hears Malachi’s explanation for his treachery: His god told him to eliminate an evil, and he thought Asch was the evil his god spoke of. He also believed Asch to be the source of nightmarish dreams of great destruction and calamity sundering the world. Only after he believed himself to have killed Asch, that he realized his mistake. He also explained that he’s concerned, as he served Lathander, God of Light, Dawn, and Renewal. As he was a Dawnbringer, Malachi knows that this god, is not Lathander. This god came to him when he was left blind and dying after failing his fellow Waterdhaven comrades in battle against an undead horde. This being imbued Malachi with an enormous amount of power, explaining the light spilling from the thin cracks in his skin, and his pale skin, hair, and eyes. While this god has a similar domain, it’s not the same being. Malachi also shared with the group that he heard of Feathergale Spire as he’s trying to track down a Waterdhaven noble before this all happened. Furthermore, this new god can’t perceive Asch. Which troubles Malachi greatly, as what god can not perceive a mortal?

Asch explains this might be because he’s from the Shadowfell. There, he and his kin are unperceivable to undead. As long as they don’t interact with them, they don’t even notice you. Also, it could be that because Asch isn’t a mortal. Asch explains himself freely: He’s the >60-year-old son of a demon and aasimar from the village of Sath’toth in the Stormlands of the Shadowfell. Like similar people in his village, he’s an immortal: he’ll never age or decay from time. With his eyes a nightmarish crimson red, typically bleached by the sun, he says he was sent here with two others because they looked most like the people on this side of the portal, and that his young appearance has proven to be effective. He explains that while he necrotic powers are potent in this world, in his world, they are very weak as everything is resistant to them. He’s here to bring back a power that creatures in his home world are vulnerable to in order to ensure the security of his village, and he assures that he won’t stop at anything to achieve that goal. His distaste of celestials is rooted in feelings of betrayal by them. He also reveals why he’s so playful with children: He wants siblings, a difficult task as Shadowfell limits live births.

Arwen sheds light on herself as well. She’s here looking for artifact or kind of power. As a member of the Emerald Enclave, she’s tasked with protecting the natural world from disasters, and feels one is coming here. She explains that she already knows of Teresiel, one of the people Larrahk said was captured by the air cultists of Feathergale Spire. She alludes that with this power she can bring balance back, and restore that which becomes corrupt. An elf, she travels, teaching students and helping communities with her familiar Caprice.

Ada shares a similar story. Coming from a reclusive gnome village from far away, she travels with her companion fox Pym. Having an unnatural ease at conjuring illusions for light-hearted fun, she too is seeking something here. She explains she’s looking for someone, who seemingly possesses some item, power, or knowledge, to some end. She clammed up at direct questioning for details, likely just not comfortable with the people she barely met the day before and nearly shared a grave together.

Bevyn also reveals much of himself. He undoes the bandages on his face, revealing a demonic eye with arcane runes carved into his face and extending down his neck and body. He explains that his father used him as an experiment when he was younger, locking him in a cage, hence his great distaste in Braelen being mistreated by his own father. One day, Bevyn’s father’s tinkering resulted in… something invading his mind. A creature that shares his consciousness, that sees from the demonic eye. It demands carnage and savage malevolent murder and destruction from Bevyn. Bevyn says this is the cause of his outbursts, as he and this creature eternally fight for control. Bevyn wants nothing more than to be free from this parasite that is bound to him. Bevyn, much to the alarm of his comrades, explains that his father is looking to reclaim him.

With Bevyn’s appearance, the group speculates on the similarities to Oliver’s appearance. A demonic eye, where Bevyn has runes carved in his body, Oliver seemingly only had one: on his eye. Also, Oliver’s skin cracked apart, flaking off, as if damaged was concerning. Malachi speculated that Oliver tasked them to find Braelen and explore the complex because Oliver wanted to avoid political drama, while Bevyn suggested it was just because Oliver likes it when others do his work. Realizing Ada doesn’t know who they are talking about, the group quickly catches her up to speed on who Oliver and Tobin are, and how they both seem powerful in their own right.

Having identified all the items, they start going through them, dividing them up. Ada taking a powerful mage rod, Arwen takes a cloak that enables her to teleport, Asch claims the Glaive, Bevyn uses a magical pearl to enhance his abilities, and Malachi takes an item granting him immunity to poison. The group also divides up a mass of other items. But have yet to decide who gets the legendary magic contained within a very powerful book. The Nightenvale’s, happy the town is a little bit safer for the party’s actions, gifts them a magical lantern. Oliver, despite the snow, stops in.
Oliver is pleased the ‘impartial travelers discovered the truth of the scandal.’ He also informs that the constable Harburk has found a collection of murdered travelers in the complex. He awards the group a magical set of clothing before leaving. As the snow melts on the hot day after, Harburk visits, he also rewards the group with some supplies before informing them of the missing delegation, and tasks the group with discovering the truth of what happened. He and his men will sort the truth from the lies in Red Larch, the group is needed elsewhere after they recover.
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#13734336 Apr 15, 2018 at 01:40 PM · Edited 1 month ago
KT Knight
49 Posts
Chapter 8: Monsters and Delegations

During some downtime, Malachi makes a name for himself in Red Larch helping tend to those whom are injured, mostly travelers. This has earned him an interesting magical trinket that allows him to grow in size and revert to normal. However, on the morning of the 30th day of the group coming together in the Dessarin Valley, a sheppard approaches them in the streets of Red Larch. A man named Larmon, talks of strange graves suddenly appearing on a hill two days east of Red Larch. They follow Larmon out there, finding the hastily dug graves. Looking at the occupants, they find four adult corpses: A human male wearing familiar stony armor, an elven male wearing a white robe with black feathers and a silver brooch, a human female warrior bearing the symbol of the Mirabarian army, and a male dwarf dressed in artisan robes.

They also spot a white tower far to the north, where large birds circle. Larmon tells them it’s the Feathergale Spire, and the knights from Waterdeep there keep to themselves. Looking around the area, they find signs of a battle. The group parts ways with Larmon, heading north to investigate the spire on their own. From the north, a squad of giant vultures with soldiers attacks them. Malachi and Bevyn dismount and kill two of the attackers while the others flee on bird back north. They find a similar brooch on the two men, whom also wear white robes with black feathers.
The group formulates a plan to dress Bevyn as one of these soldiers, and present him as a prisoner to the spire in exchange for entry. Their plan is waylaid when a group of Flametouched Bandits run into the group, chasing a small wolf themselves. They immediately open fire on the group, calling out Bevyn by name, and focusing their attacks on him. Three hunters also join the fight, ambushing the ambushing bandits, and aiding the party. Adrian, Axel, and Maik they call themselves, and after the battle is won, they speak of their upstarting guild ‘Quivers of the Raven’ and invite Arwen to join for her excellent archery.

The three hunters talk of a nearby beast, a Gorgon, that they have been hunting in accordance with the bounty from Harburk from Red Larch. The group, having heard about this bounty on the beast attacking travelers on the road, hear out their plan: Attack at dawn, while the beast sleeps in its liar nearby. They agree to split the reward and set up camp far enough away to be safe from the Gorgon’s nighttime roaming.

However, after getting little in the way of the sleep, the group is attacked in their tents. The three hunters revealed themselves to be werewolves. In a fast-paced fight with little time to think, the party is separated from each other, and hunted for sport. Due to the surprise, everyone finds themselves without their normal combat gear such as armor. Some, like Asch, Ada, and Bevyn, found themselves without anything at all; fighting werewolves in the dark on their own without even clothing or shoes.

However, Arwen got her weapons quickly, firing magical arrows into the wolves that were cutting up Asch and Ada. Likewise, Malachi retrieved some of his gear and teamed up with Bevyn to lay the hurt down on one of the werewolves. Things started to look bleak, but Ada deflected cursed bites with her magical shields, and Bevyn successfully tossed Asch his sword, along with Arwen using a potion to heal Asch. With some armaments, the group re-assembled as the lycanthropes stopped playing with their food.

One werewolf latched onto Arwen, biting and holding her until Bevyn and Asch freed her. Likewise, Asch sustained multiple bites, including a bad one to the back the neck, barely capable of staying conscious he fought on. However, the wolves grouped on Malachi, and despite him magically increasing his size to that of a giant, he sustained multiple bite wounds in a short period of time, losing consciousness from the pain.

Using a potion to get Malachi back on his feet, the group started to unload into the now-weary wolves, causing one to flee as the two others were cut down. Enticed by the smell of blood from Ada’s multiple claw marks, the wolf couldn’t help but return and ambush her in the dark. However, Ada nimbly dodged the bite, and the party slew the last of the beasts.

In the dark of night, they faced the truth that while their grievous injuries would heal, three of them were bitten, two were bitten multiple times. Arwen told of her knowledge of Lycanthropy, that the curse passes onto those whom are bitten, and on the next full moon, they’d transform unwillingly into a feral beast and kill their own comrades. The lunar event would come in 17 days, giving them some time she offered: Time to find belladonna and try to cure themselves, a power she’s been seeking after her uncle was afflicted.

After a somewhat restless night, dawn finally came, and as the group was getting up to prepare for the day, another person arrived. A woman, a warrior, walking through the brush, with a large celestial winged lion. The two spoke in celestial to each other, and after an initial stare-down and ascertaining who could be trusted, the woman and lion offered their aide. Melisant Ansellus of Swanlight the woman called herself, introducing her lion companion Iahhel. Asch, uninterested, left the camp to go scout.

A middle-aged woman, Melisant talked briefly of things people fought for while she dispensed Iahhel’s magical saliva onto the present party’s wounds, a substance that, she claimed, has magical healing properties and could cure afflictions. Relieved that their infection was cured within half a day, they were very thankful and appreciative to Iahhel and Melisant. Melisant briefly explained that she was once a soldier for Neverember after she followed him from Waterdeep to Neverwinter to reclaim the city. Now, she travels with Iahhel, doing what she can for the common folk.

Melisant says that she was in the area, looking for the werewolves, but sees the party has already dealt with the problem. She approves of the knights of the Feathergale Spire, saying she’s seen them help travelers in the area. Melisant reveals she has some magic about her as well, commenting on the two demons in Red Larch, talking about Tobin and Oliver by name in her short time there in the past week. When asked what she thought about them being demons, she offered the following wisdom:

“I never took a lover, nor had a people of my own whom I could fight and protect. I won’t lecture you to do otherwise; it’s something you have to discover for yourself. Why the trees grow, and mothers love. Why the dusk comes, and the crops sprout… You can find the answers in the campfires, even when other lights go out. And when you find an answer… tell it to others, so that we all might see.”

This would be her parting words of advice to the group, and, after conferring with Iahhel, decided to part ways with her companion, leaving Iahhel as part of the group with Malachi. She explained that with time, her body has withered and time is running out. Iahhel could see so much more of the world and do so much more with her life with someone like Malachi instead of herself. Malachi and Bevyn openly agree that they have a mutual feeling they’ll be seeing Melisant again, a theory she agrees with.

With Melisant gone, Asch returns to the group with a wolf pup in tow, and to his surprise, listens to why there’s a celestial lion in the party now. Despite being annoyed at the tip in the scales, he still opens his bag to show all the loot he found inside Adrian’s tent, which the party spends the later part of the morning identifying. The highlight of which is a powerful amulet that Malachi desires, however they must find the means to repair it first before it’ll work.
As the wolf puppy plays with Pym, the party finishes gathering their things. Their objective is the tower, and soon the forest ends to give way to the sparsely-treed hills the tower calls its home. It’s very near now as they get on their horses and lion. Who are these Feathergale Knights? Why are they attacking the party? And how does this fit into everything that has happened?
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#13779147 May 26, 2018 at 09:26 AM · Edited 1 minute ago
KT Knight
49 Posts
Chapter 9: The Sighing Valley & Feathergale Society
The group arrived at the Feathergale Spire during the day. Iahhel and Malachi flew, ascending to the top, before returning and reporting. This indeed was the home of the Feathergale Knights, a man named ‘Thurl Merosska’ was the leader of the group from Waterdeep and invited the party inside the fortress. There was also a blatant discussion about being Malachi and his group being attacked by the Knights, to which Merosska wanted to speak to him more about, unware of what the celestial man was speaking.
When the group approached the gate, a very friendly and optimistic Feathergale knight named Savra Belabranta invited them inside. She was eager to praise the noble society of knights, and the missing woman from Waterdeep that Malachi was looking for. Also in the foyer, was another knight named Guillaume Menuel, who was far less concerned with socializing with the group, but nonetheless stayed with the party to escort them through the fortress. Inside, Malachi attempts to instigate a fight with a group of people who are not knights of the Feathergale Society, but are somewhat-unwelcomed guests in the fortress. This group, led by a man named Soshel Jelor, show off their prowess with air-themed magic and physical abilities. This group also wears the regalia of the people that have been attacking the party by flying vultures.

Despite Malachi’s accusation, all that resulted was scowling looks, and Savra leading the group on the rest of the tour. Moving up through the tower, the group meets friendly Feathergale Knights, who extend noble gestures of welcome. At the pinnacle, the party finds Merosska and another knight, Susun Cenne. Here, at the highest point in all of the Dessarin Valley, resides a dagger-sized green crystal floating just near the stairs. Merosska happily greets the party, and gets to know everyone’s names. He speaks that his Feathergale Society is made up of nobles from Waterdeep, that like to venture to this private escape and do more than just dress up for parties and play politics. Here, they are knights, helping to keep the realm safe by being griffon-flying enthusiasts.

Merosska, titled “Lord Knight” is also very interested in hearing what the party has to say about Soshel and his cultists. Merosska is disturbed that Soshel and his group have been attacking people on the roads. However, the party correctly alludes that Merosska’s hands are politically tied. Still though, the group and Merosska hatch a plan to remove Soshel and his group from the tower after a great feast that is planned tonight. There, with all the knights assembled, they’ll spring into action.

At the feast, with revelries and drinks to be had, the knights ask each and every member of the group about themselves. How Malachi came to look the way he does, or how Arwen came to be so proficient with a bow. They also ask the group questions as well, such as why they came to the Dessarin valley, and if they are members of any other groups, such as guilds. The smashing feast is interrupted when one of Soshel’s group spots a Manticore near the tower. Merosska invites the brave group to join his knights on a fantastic hunt against the dangerous beast.

Riding the griffons at night, visibility was limited. However, the group found and eliminated the manticore. They then returned to the tower, and rested. However, everyone was overwhelmingly attacked in the night. They were sub-sequentially roughed up quite a bit, before being dumped on the pinnacle of the spire at dawn whilst bound. As the group was being carried up one by one, Arwen, having sneaked a knife, managed to cut most of the group free. They then launched an assault on the Feathergale Knights for their betrayal. While some were in their pajamas, and others in less than that, they started to fight the armor-clad knights. Eventually, Merosska and Susun themselves reached the top of the spire, and the battle at the top of the spire truly began. With wind roaring, the two knights proved themselves worthy of their titles.

Ada snuck down the stairs to find the missing Pym, while Arwen was blown off by Merosska’s magic. Fortunately, she caught the window ledge on the level below, saving herself from a lethal fall. Even with the loss of two though, the remaining group members manage to defeat Merosska and Susun after nearly dying themselves. Faced with death, Susun tries to bargain information for their lives. When Malachi, Bevyn, and Asch suggest her giving information and then dying, she goes to plan B: She breaks off Merosska’s necklace and tosses it at the party. And then kicks herself and Merosska off the pinnacle, sending them on a thousand foot fall to the bottom of the Sighing Valley.

Taking the key and heading down, leaving the green crystal on the top of the spire, the group meets up with Arwen, who has found their items, but not their gold, in Merosska’s room. They also find numerous letters on his desk, a chest of valuable weapons, and a box of scrolls. With their items, they continue down to look for Ada, who successfully snuck past the guards with her illusion magic and found Pym. There, she joins the fight when her group attacks the knights stationed on that level. Guillaume surrenders when the fight is lost, much to the disgust of the remaining knights, who fight to the death alongside many of Soshel’s initiates.

The group doesn’t have much time to interrogate Guillaume before many of the remaining knights are alerted to the fight. At this level, the group slays them rather viciously as they charge up the stairs and burst into the room: Right into Malachi and Asch’s swords, a barrage of arrows from Arwen, and magic from Ada and Bevyn. And it’s here they find themselves again, on the second floor of the Feathergale Spire, in a room full of bodies. Bathed in the blood of the people they drank with last night, the same people that tried to kill them.
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