The Age of Heroes

The Eye of the Master

Morganna Black (aka Silhouette) had just received an award and honor from the business association of Greyhawk for transforming the area formerly known as Blood Alley into a bustling business district now known as Newhope. She went back to her husband’s office where he was just finishing up the negotiation of a trade policy with a representative of the Shield Lands. They’re looking for a place to display the award when a gentle knock raps upon the office door. Mayor Black opens the door to see Zemilay Lyks along with his constant travelling companion, Burbis Baggleton, here to visit. He has with him gifts for the Blacks from Isrygrad. A schematic for an instrument native to Grahrud, both stringed and percussive, a book of sea shanties and a sample of dust that acts as a philter of persuasiveness. The foursome are catching up when Jackdaw makes his way into the chamber to see his master. Burbis squees with delight and starts playing with Jackdaw, who has learned to speak a little more effectively over the years, Suddenly Jackdaw’s eyes glaze over, the image of a starfield replacing them, and in a great deep and booming voice he bellows:

“The master’s eye has been stolen. Complete the circle. Return it to its proper place”

The message repeats and Jackdaw is released. The four start to work out the message. They believe “the master” refers not to the Mayor but Jackdaw’s former master, Modius.

Crunghin decides Drayden should be brought in on this and the three of them (Burbis stays behind to play with Jackdaw) make way the mayor’s residence where little Trisoll is playing with the Black twins as well as the Steelshaper twins. Both sets of twins are already showing signs of their future endeavors, Moira is a “paladin” while her brother Barth is a “knight” and a total “little gentleman” kind of child. The Black brothers run around and hide and “pickpocket” everyone while little Trisoll has decided that he’s “a Dragon” and runs around roaring at people and “breathing fire”. Trisoll looks up and sees his dad and runs to him. It’s a been a few years since they last saw each other and they have some sweet moments. They then gather up the Steelshaper twins and Trisoll after having servants put the Black brothers to bed and head over to the home of Xanti Lyks. Long parted husband and wife have a teary reunion even as Xanti knows that her husband is coming to tell her that he has a duty to fulfill. They part sweetly and the trio head to the Steelshaper’s to drop off the twins and recruit Drayden. Of course the reunion is an emotional one until Vortis who is initially happy to see all gathered (as happy as he’ll allow showing that is) says jokingly, “you better not be here to drag my husband away.” Lyks buries his face in his hand and Vortis knows. “Fine”, he assents. “Just bring him back in one piece, we’ve got two little ones to raise”.

The four depart and head to Modius’s apartment. Purchased by Mayor Black some time ago, the apartment has been guarded 24/7 since. They make their way into the apartment. It is covered in an inch of undisturbed dust. They make their way up the stairs and plain as day, they see an empty display case on a short table. No footprints to or from. They determine that the object gone missing is Modius’ Orb of Scrying. Puzzling over the disappearance, Lady Black suggests that they find a method of scrying themselves to seek the orb. They head back over to Lyks’ home to recruit Xanti for the actual scrying and then head to the Guild of Wizardry where the mayor asks for the favor of utilizing one of their orbs. The master of the college, Kieren Jalucian, agrees on the condition that the college be given consideration in its plan to annex some adjacent properties. The mayor gives his assurances and the party is ushered to the scrying chamber. Xanti peruses the half dozen orbs housed there, selects one and gets to the business of scrying. After but a few moments, her eyes snap open wide and she screams. Pulling her hands away from the orb, she is clearly shaken. She asks her husband if they can speak privately. Something looked back at her through the orb. Something powerful. Something evil. She asks Zemilay with tears in her eyes if he must go for their destination has been revealed: The Abyss itself! Xanti tells her husband that when he returns from the twisted hell of the Abyss he must leave Greyhawk and not return for her and their child’s sake. Whatever saw her would seek to harm them for their curiosity. Lyks nods his head in sorrowful affirmation and Xanti rushes from the college. Lyks explains what has just transpired and where they must got to seek the orb. The others offer their condolences and Drayden vows that if anything should happen to Lyks and/or Xanti, he would raise Trisoll as his very own. Lyks then decides to seek the help of Jor-Mak who he contacts psychically. Jor-Mak is finishing up with his new apprentice, a young lass named Jelee. The celestial ogre meets them at Pimpleton Manor where George greets them all and prepares tea and biscuits. Jor-Mak informs them that he can send them to the Abyss but cannot join them there. Jor-Mak asks them to clasp hands and he begins the psionic discipline required to plane shift them to the Ethereal. From there, Jor-Mak guides them to a representation of the outer planes and guides them to the descending spiral that is the Abyss.

Zemilay, Drayden, and the Blacks find themselves in a place that looks not too far from the plains outside the Gnarley Woods. Not at all hellish. Drayden is immediately suspicious as the entire plane radiates intense evil. The party concentrates on the empty vessel of the orb and sets of in an indeterminable direction. After they take their first few steps however, they feel a stinging sensation in their feet. The grass itself is burrowing into their armor and stinging them with poisonous barbs. The party all save and Drayden begins cutting the grass with his sword before moving forward. Soon a small glade of saplings comes into view and they pause. Again not trusting, Drayden slowly starts towards the glade and the saplings bend towards him as he walks. He backs off and the Blacks combine Burning Hands to engulf the small forest, charring the saplings which curl up like little crisped hands as they burn. When the glade has burned away a glorious and gleaming altar is revealed in the distance. Upon it, the orb! Lyks casts detect illusion and the glamour that camouflaged the area is dispelled. The orb sits upon an altar of rotten meat and bone, sinew and fat. As they draw closer a demonic presence is seen using the orb. This devil doesn’t even look up as 3 pillars of smoke appear in front of the party. When the smoke clears it is revealed to be twisted hate filled simulacrums of Modius, Reizhodd, and Lanthis Oakenshield who all shout accusatory things at the party before attacking. A fierce battle ensues with the party on the receiving end of a fireball from “Modius” and Lyks and Crunghin paralyzed by music that bellows forth from “Lanthis’” mouth. Luckily Morganna is quick on her feet and a hurried casting of Cloudkill takes out Lanthis and Reizhodd, who are revealed to be demons. With Lanthis down, the others are freed and Mayor Black unleashes Chain Lightning on Modius. The doppelganger takes a mighty blast from the bolt which arcs to the devil at the orb, striking him as well. The devil looks up momentarily from the orb and cackles. The horrific sound, not unlike a kitten run through a meat grinder, fills the party’s ears as the devil uses it’s innate power to make the party forget while he withdraws from the battle. Morganna then drops an Ice Storm on Modius while Lyks heads over to retrieve the orb. After some hesitation, Lyks grabs the orb to no ill effect. Drayden meanwhile, plunges into the Ice Storm no fucks given about taking damage himself and pins “Modius” to the ground with his Cortoxian sword, ending the fiend’s life. “Let’s get the hell out of here,” says the Paladin with no humor in his voice and certainly no pun intended. Mayor Black casts a limited Wish asking for him and his friends to be returned to the mayor’s home in safety. The spell takes effect and the four of them find themselves, as intended, in the Mayor’s residence along with (and quite unexpectedly) Jor-Mak, Vortis, Madryk Dorn, Tic-Toc and Isrygrad. (Dablova was protected from this by the same powerful magics that keep her coven hidden from the world) Apparently, Wish spells have to be very specific.

After some figuring out what has happened, it is decided that the Mayor will attempt to Wish the others home in the morning after he has recovered from the first spell and not at all surprisingly, Madryk suggests they break out some wine. Vortis complains that the children are alone so Crunghin sends some servants to watch over them, giving the old grump an opportunity for a night out. A good time is had by all and in the morn, as promised, Mayor Black sends Isrygrad and Madryk back to the frozen wastes and under the mountain respectively. Drayden says his farewells for now and the happy couple of he and Vortis head home. Lyks then grows somber knowing that he must leave his friends and family to ensure their safety, at least for now. After saying his goodbyes, he climbs on Snowflake’s back and flies off into the morning sky. The Blacks then make their way back to Modius’ where they replace the orb, which glows with a great bright white light as it is restored to its proper place before fading to a charcoal black and going cold. The Blacks then return to home to consider all that has happened. Mayor Black lights a pipe, leans back and exclaims, “Well, they said being mayor would be hell…”

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05.23.14 - Burning Loose Ends, part two

As the sun rose over quiet Greyhawk, the cocks of the town let out their crows. George Pimpleton was first to wake in his eponymous manor, shaking off the indulgences of the evening prior to begin preparations on yet another lavish breakfast. While hot water boiled, Pimpleton shuffled about the kitchen prepping meats, fish, and pies (the festivities of the evening prior still pounding in his head.) In the parlor, he laid out fine porcelain cups and exotic coffee and teas from all across the realm, then made his way into the dining room to prepare a civil and simple set up for the group’s arrival.

Burbis and Lyks were early to rise as well. Morning light steadily brightened the parlor while Lyks sat silent in contemplation, sipping on coffee, as Burbis buzzed around the house in (mostly) quiet anticipation of the day’s breakfast. A hearty knock upon the thick mahogany front door broke the quiet of the house. Burbis eagerly rushed out of the parlor to answer. “Gnomefriend! They’re here,” announced Burbis, rushing back into view. Lyks set his coffee aside and stood to greet his friends, Drayden and Vortis. While Drayden and Vortis helped themselves to tea, a second knock was heard and Burbis once more rushed to the door to serve as greeter. Madryk entered, having spent a much needed evening of relaxation at Elsa’s House of Comfort, followed by Jor-Mak with fresh baked bread in tow, and Isryrgrad, who had spent his evening with Teela Surefoot commemorating his return at Friendly Strangers. The men greeted each other in the calm manner appropriate for the morning, taking seats in the parlor and quietly mulling over their decision to get together at such an early hour.

As George set the dining room table, the others waited for the rest of their party to arrive.

“I see Ix and Silhouette have yet to arrive,” noticed Drayden.
“They…” Isrygrad began to quip, “had quite a night of it at Friendly Strangers!”

It was true, Ix and Silhouette seemed to have outlasted all of their comrades in their revelry, celebrating not only their return from battle but their newly defined union. The pair had rested at Friendly Strangers after a night of drinking, dancing, and cementing their plan to wed under the stars (and consummating it while flying above the cabaret!) As the men finished their first cups of coffee and took their seats in the dining room, Ix and Silhouette finally arrived, entering the house hand in hand to liven up the spirit of the house.

“My friends,” Ix began, “we’re famished and bring with us great news!” Ix and Silhouette surveyed the dining room. “Where is Dablova?” Ix asked.

Lyks and Drayden turned to each other silently, then back to their friends. Drayden spoke first: “Dablova will not be joining us this morning.” Ix and Silhouette took their places at the table, readily piling food upon their plates as quickly as George set it before them. “However, we have much to discuss this morning.”

Ix allowed Vortis the floor, his mouth too full with food to do more than chew. “Ix, when did you last speak to the Mayor?”

Ix swallowed, casually wiped the mess from his lips, and replied, “I only saw him before we left for Stahzer, and have not spoken with him since.”
“As you all may or may not have noticed, Mayor Gasgal was not in attendance at yesterday’s rally. We later received word that the Mayor had left his post, only leaving behind a note in his office.” Vortis revealed, “Good tidings, Greyhawk.”
Ix continued to dine, pouring himself a cup of morning wine, “I am sure he’s taking some time to himself. Leisure time.” His casual demeanor was a contrast to Vortis’ concern. “Besides, if Gasgal doesn’t want to be found, we won’t be finding him soon.”
Vortis conceded with a soft exhale, “the Mayor is more than capable of taking care of himself, true…”
“Isn’t there an election coming up soon, anyway?” Ix said smirking, his mouth full of half-chewed bread.

Lyks set down his cup of coffee and spoke. “Then, there’s Dablova.”
“Yes,” Drayden sighed, “there is the matter of Dablova.”
“So, where is she?” Ix asked again.

Lyks, took up his mug and silently motioned to Drayden before taking another sip of his coffee. Drayden began to detail the events of the night prior to the rest of the party: “At some point yesterday, Lyks saw and confronted Dablova in the Thornhill District, where Kr’zzt was being kept. She visited him and… Kr’zzt’s body was found, incinerated.”

The expressions of the room ranged from sympathy (Silhouette spoke up, “I’m so sorry, Lyks”) to acceptance (Ix shrugged, taking it all in). “Tic,” Ix probed, “Did you feel anything last night, anything odd? Any kind of attempt at intrusion?”
“No, sir. I sensed nothing of the sort,” Tic Toc replied.
“What reason would she have for destroying his body,” Ix questioned. “I cannot say that I’m shocked that this happened. Just curious as to why she chose to do it, she who had the least amount of history with him.”
“In any case,” Drayden said, redirecting the conversaiton, “Dablova is staying with Vortis and I for the time being. Lyks has asked—”
“I told her to leave,” Lyks confirmed, setting his coffee back down upon the oak table.

The placid mood of the room slowly turned more tense as the discussion continued. Lyks asserted, “I must protect the people I care about. I cannot do that when there are those who would undermine my trust.”
“Lyks, you know I do not condone the slaying of an enemy in secret, especially one as incapacitated as Kr’zzt,” Ix countered, pleading, “nor are we questioning your request to put Dablova out, but—”
“If you do not approve of my choices, Ix, I gladly give the up the reigns to you then!” Lyks fired back.
“Listen, Lyks. We’ve all dealt with betrayal before, and I know that betrayal has affected you firsthand, especially after what Ba’th did, but it doesn’t sound like that was what Dablova was getting at!” Ix reasoned.
“Lyks, you have helped guide us through some of our most trying times. Please, we are not here to argue this morning, we’re just trying to understand.” Drayden said, trying to cool the situation.
Lyks cut both men off, “So, Drayden, Dablova is staying with you then? What of it?”

The party let out a collective sigh as the bickering between men died down. Drayden took Vortis’ hand, bracing himself as he spoke once more. “There is more. Dablova…” Drayden struggled with the words to convey their arrangement, “Dablova will mother our child. Myself and Vortis.”

The group paused.
“All three of you?” Silhouette asked.
“How?” Ix followed

“Yes, the three of us. As it turns out, Dablova had received an omen that she was to bear a child that would continue on as a champion in my absence. Knowing my—” Drayden turned to Vortis, “our unique arrangement, she sought help from the Necromancer, Enoch Greyspeth. Greyspeth delivered to us a scroll last night, a ritual to bring forth a being using both pieces of Vortis and myself. She chose to be that vessel for us.”_

The group let the news sink in in silence. “Since I will be a father soon, I must make raising that child my priority. I’m sorry to say it, but this was my last adventure with you all.” Drayden, seeing the stunned faces of his friends around him, began to back pedal, “but.. but rest assured, I would never abandon any of you! I will always be here, and when the child is of age, I will be more than able to—” Lyks stopped Drayden, placing his hand upon his friend’s. “There is no need to explain,” Lyks said calmly, giving the Paladin and his lover a look of reassurance.

Madryk cleared his throat and began, “I too will be leavin’ Greyhawk. The tunnels under the Lortmil Mountains are crawlin’ with every manner of Deep Gnome and Duergar, and in Silverbeard’s name, I will do whatever it takes to make sure they stay down there!” The party nodded their heads in acceptance. Madryk looked around the table and continued, “I know I’ve asked ye this before, but… Maelik. Please, keep the lad outta trouble. We spared him the horror at The Grove when none of his brothers made it back alive. The boy has a lot more livin’ to do while I’m away!” Ix patted the dwarven cleric on the shoulder, “Of course.”

“I will be leaving as well,” Isrygrad interjected. “I will find my home again, and will go help heal my people and my land. After all that has happened to them while I was away, I owe it to them.” Turning to Silhouette, he continued, “Teela and her cats will come with me. She will help me and together we will help them!” Silhouette smiled and nodded a silent blessing to him.

Ix was next to take the floor and, with his lady love’s hand in his, he began his announcements. “Silhouette and I will be leaving our old lives behind as well. We are to be married, and have agreed to take a common name: Black.”
“Crunghin and Morgana Black,” Silhouette chimed in.
“Oh? Where do the Blacks plan to marry? Greyhawk?” Lyks asked.
“Anywhere among friends.” Ix replied.
“So are we to expect even more children, then?” Lyks ribbed, glancing at Drayden and Vortis. Silhouette and Ix turned to each other and chuckled, scoffing at the very idea. The rest of the party snickered in unison and the mood of the room was once again lightened.

As George entered with a pitcher of wine, Drayden stepped up and took the pitcher himself. He excused George so that he could fill his friends’ goblets personally. Drayden returned to his lover’s side and took up his goblet to begin a toast. “Friends, old and new,” he began, “I remember it like it was yesterday: a mysterious man came to Ket, requesting that I aid him in a quest with other strangers. As it would turn out, that mystery man was a powerful wizard who would unite me with strangers to travel the realms, keeping evil at bay whenever possible. Together with strangers like you, Ix and Lyks, we battled unfathomable evils. Together, these once and former strangers would become my brothers! From those humble beginnings in Ket, now here in this city… with the love of my life…” Drayden shut his eyes to dam up tears as he continued, “I remember the last words I heard my father speak to me. They were heated, and he just didn’t understand that the world was so full of wrongs to be righted and evils to be extinguished. He said to me:

“There’s no shame in coming back home, son. I’ll be here when you return.”

“This,” Drayden continued, regaining his composure, “this life hasn’t been easy for us. We have lost friends, family, and some of us have simply lost our way. It’s easy to give into sorrow, but we are heroes. We mourn and remember, but we too prevail as heroes! To you, my friends… companions, brothers and sisters, here and elsewhere, I toast to you!”

The party rose to their feet, joining Drayden in a heart-felt “huzzah!”, their goblets of wine spilling over the table as their cups collided! With that toast, the party enjoyed what would, for many of them, be their last meal together. Though the mood of the room was sentimental, little sadness was felt. All were brought together, and all who remained were thankful for the time spent together. Pimpleton Manor was once more alive with the sound of laughter and camaraderie, if only for a morning.

Meanwhile, Dablova (having absconded from the communal feast), left her hosts a note:

“Drayden,

Leaving you, all of you, is not easy. It is what must be done, though. My purpose is at its clearest now, and it extends far beyond the pettiness of this realm. I hope you understand, as a man who serves a higher purpose as well, that I must see this to fruition.

Please do not try to find us. Your efforts will be for nothing. When the time is right, you will have your child. I promise you this.

May the spirits guide and protect you both.

— Dablova”

With that, Dablova and her Familiar, Moloko, slipped out of the house and back onto the streets of Greyhawk to begin their journey back to Grynoth. Days later, the two were safely back in their home village. Dablova relayed her adventures to her sister Witches, who in turn secured the village with even more powerful spells of warding and abjuration. Under the watch and care of her sisters, Dablova readied herself for motherhood, but not before tying up one final end. Together with the village’s most powerful Abjurers and Evokers, Dablova called out to the disembodied Drow, Kr’zzt, one final time:

“Kr’zzt, hear us now. Though your spirit is strong, it still lingers in the ether, formless and homeless. Your body is now ash and your place at the Demon Queen of Spiders’ side is no more. The destruction of your body was but a glimpse of my power! You tried to stand in Fate’s way, and for that, you paid dearly. My sisters and I — as well as the champions of the stars — as long as we draw breath you will never know peace. Your spirit may be strong, but we are stronger. Hear us now, Drow. Stay hidden, you no longer have a place on this plane.”

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05.18.14 - Burning Loose Ends, part one

Several hours after the repelling the armies of Arachnia at the sunken village of Stahzer, the champions of Greyhawk continued to aid Countess Katarina and her men, recovering the muck-crusted bodies of those men and women slain in battle (human and Brownie alike.) Lyks issued a solemn prayer to Beory in honor of the brave Brownies and Clergymen who battled alongside him and his companions. Together with several soldiers, Lyks first committed the bodies of the Brownies to a mass grave on the battlefield and then improvised a stretcher to haul the bodies of dead Clerics back to the Church of Beory for last rites. As the heroes prepared themselves for the journey back home, Katarina thanked them one by one for their service. While not able to bestow onto them official titles, Katarina did offer both her eternal gratitude to the party, promising them a hero’s reception any time they should find themselves in her kingdom, as well as a portrait of her uncle, Earl Holmer, leading a charge into battle to be hung at Pimpleton Manor.

Dawn poured light over the drying mud of the battlefield and Lyks and his followers finished gathering up the dead while Ix and Dablova intoned the scrolls of teleportation (griven to them by the Mage’s Guild.) In a matter of seconds, the ruins of Stahzer faded around them and in its place stood the Temple of the Great Tree at the Church of Beory. Before departing, the surviving Clerics approached Lyks together, giving him thanks for the privilege to fight at his side and together they promised to give their fallen clergymen a proper burial.

As the heroes made their way out of the church, the sound of jubilant horn music shook the exhausted party back to attention! The streets of Greyhawk were unusually full and bustling, and as the horns announced the champions’ return, members of the city flocked to see them exit the church with roaring applause. The music swelled and the townsfolk were in high spirits, showering the party in a variety of fresh flower petals. The Drow were beaten back, the heroes had returned, and Greyhawk was ready to celebrate!

Accommodations for the festivities were ample to say the least. Former adventurer-turned-town butcher J.C. McCoy labored over the roasting of three full steers, while the anxious fisherman Tranteris hissed at revelers while delicately preparing an entire swordfish baking over coals. Adding to the lavishness, Dron and his one-legged wife, Meris, doled out flowers from their shop while Widow Rohl passed along an assortment of fresh sweet treats to the city folk, all free of charge. The outpouring of emotion was even more palpable than their reception after The White Event; the people of Greyhawk were all too aware of the importance of winning this battle and were all to eager to celebrate their triumph.

The air was sweet with victory, and many of the heroes could do little to resist its intoxicating aroma. A number of luminaries from Greyhawk pushed their way through the adoring crowd, welcoming the heroes back with hearty handshakes and thanks. Ix and Silhouette were quick to indulge in the celebration: Ix took to the sky — zipping into the air to cast cantrips over the cheering crowd and pass out wine and ale to those below — while Silhouette gave the crowd a show on the ground — pulling out her blades, she began to twirl and dance with exhausting enthusiasm. Greyhawk’s most respected madame, Elsa, approached the party, offering discounted accommodations at her house of comfort, to which Madryk was quick to act on (but not before making a stop at the nearby bath house to wash away the filth of battle.) City guards stood casually at the perimeter of the celebration, indulging as much as they could under Vortis’ stern watch. One guard even attempted to sneak a cup of ale, but his mug was quickly knocked down by Vortis — “You’re on duty!” he barked. Ix swooped down to lighten to mood, rustling Vortis’ silver hair and handing the reluctant guard captain some wine of his own. Vortis was short to enjoy it though as his eyes quickly caught sight of his beloved Drayden Steelshaper. Handing the cup back to Ix, Vortis quickly broke from his subordinates and rushed through the crowd to greet his lover, his gaze fixed while loosening his armor. Drayden too broke from trading pleasantries with the locals and as his eyes met Vortis’, Drayden’s heroic facade quickly melted into relief as it had so many times before. The two heartily embraced each other cheek to cheek, whispering adorations of one another.

As the party moved to the center of town, Lyks quickly tried to escort Burbis Baggleton with him but the sensory overload was too much to not indulge in! Burbis disappeared into the crowd, carried off under the weight of the festivies. Dablova, on the other hand, did quite the opposite. She quietly sneaked away through the crowd, politely dismissing the praise of revelers as she made her way back to the peace and calm of the warehouse. Those heroes that remained watched as several noteworthy speakers addressed the party and their victories, the transfixed crowd hanging on every word. Alek Goblinfoe was first at the podium, enthusiastically recounting their heroism at the Battle of Elmshire against the threat of Tiger Nomads. Duke Trelis of Furyondy took a more intimate tone, painting a picture of unrivaled stealth and bravery in returning his lord, Earl Holmer, back to the Shield Lands. Parthus Merrin spoke of the rejoining of the three parts of Cortox at the White Event — and though this speech left some feeling skeptical, the overwhelming sense of city pride drowned out any cynicism. Drayden and Vortis held each other at the hip and watched each man take the podium, while Ix and Silhouette continued to carouse the city folk. Each story erupted in applause from the crowd. In contrast, Lyks maintained a watchful eye, his mind focused elsewhere. The last person called to testify on behalf of the champions’ past glories was the Mayor of Greyhawk himself, Nerof Gasgal. The crowd stood around, gawking in anticipation as the crier called out for the Mayor. After moments of waiting, an official stepped in, whispering into Vortis’ ear, who then in turn made his way up to the platform, relaying something quick and in secret to the crier. A moment later, the crier called out to the city folk to continue with their celebration in the Mayor’s absence!

Back at the warehouse, Dablova quickly made the rounds greeting and feeding treats to the hounds, who were pleased with her return. She returned to her makeshift lab where she thumbed through her books and pulled together an assortment of supplies and texts. Her attention cool and focused, she delivered one final glance back at the hounds, smiled, and teleported to the jail. Once there, she was eager to question the guards on duty about the whereabouts of the prisoner, Kr’zzt. They revealed that he had been moved to a new cell at a medical facility in the Thornhill district. Dablova quickly left the jail and opened a dimension door, appearing a second later in the unfamiliar. While asking distracted city folk, Dablova was first brushed off by an aggressive oaf, who answered her with a swing and a miss (so hard was his miss, he stumbled and knocked himself unconscious on the cobblestone streets.) Startled but undeterred, she later found directions from a more sociable source. Upon arrival to this new facility, she soon realized the doors were barred in honor of the heroes return. Ever persistent, she blinked herself past the barred doors and into the building. The layout was small and rudimentary housing only a few cells and fewer “patients”. In a matter of minutes, she found the Drow just as they had left him: paralyzed and catatonic. Dablova surveyed the halls and, after determining the two were alone together, sat and began to enchant herself with a spell of Burning Hands. Once learned, she stood and looked upon his frail black body. Without word, she pushed her hands between the bars and engulfed his body in streams of fire. His body remained unmoved as the his robes swirled into embers, his flesh crackling under the heat. Dablova swiftly made her exit as the fires continued to consume Kr’zzt’s body.

Dablova slipped back onto the streets, making her way back towards the center of town. The sun had begin to sink with the early evening hours and while more respectable city folk retired for the night, there were still plenty of Greyhawkians indulging in the festivities (including many of the champions themselves!) Before reaching the town square though, Dablova was suddenly reunited with Lyks.

“Where are you coming from?” Lyks questioned, taking notice of both the direction she was coming from as well as the smell of burning flesh that seemed to cling to her.
“I…” Dablova began, “I had loose ends to tie up.”
Lyks coldly questioned, “What have you done?”
“What was necessary,” she replied, just as emotionless.
Lyks’ icy demeanor quickly shifted to anger towards the Witch. “You’re not welcome at my home or warehouse anymore. Leave immediately”
Dablova’s eyes stayed locked with Lyks’. “I do not fear you, Lyks. I serve a greater purpose. You must underst—“

Before finishing, Lyks quickly dismissed Dablova by shapeshifting into a lizard and scuttling away towards the institution. Dablova took a soft but deep breath, her eyes still facing forward, and she began to make her way back to the warehouse (this time moving through the crowd with little regard for the drunks around her.) At the facility, Lyks found the front doors closed but unlocked. He opened the doors, the scent of scorched flesh immediately shooting through him. Venturing into the now darkened halls of the facility, Lyks scurried across the cold stone floor until finding and entering Kr’zzt’s cell. Once inside, Lyks returned to human form to see the charred remains of Kr’zzt, his flesh now nearly reduced to ash, revealing roasted and blackened bones. Lyks let out a deep, frustrated sigh as he looked around the cell, taking the gravity of the scene in. Kr’zzt’s body still remained unmoved. With the help of Jor-Mak’s continuous Mindlink, Lyks reached out to Drayden (who had retired from the festivities with Vortis) and alerted him of Dablova’s offense. “Kr’zzt is dead. Dablova set fire to him tonight as he lay in his cell.” Drayden was silent at first, taking a moment before to process the deed. “Drayden, this was my body to claim!”

“Lyks,” he began, “she did you a favor. She saved you from going down an ugly path. Cortox knows, I could not have done it myself. As much as I’m loathe to admit it, I could not have taken his life so easily, not as he was.”
“She should seek refuge with you then. I cannot be around those I’m unable to trust” Lyks bit back.
“To be honest friend, I am glad she did it and not you.”

Shutting Drayden out of his mind, Lyks moved towards Kr’zzt’s remains, letting out another deep sigh. He reached down, gathered samples of flesh, blood and hair and tore the jaw bone from Kr’zzt’s still-smouldering skull, with his trophy in hand, made his way towards Friendly Strangers.

With the help of Jor-Mak, Drayden sent out one final call to his companions for the evening. “Tomorrow morning, let us all meet at Pimpleton Manor for breakfast.” Celebrations began to move in doors, and Silhouette’s recently acquired cabaret, Friendly Strangers, was booming! Lyks was somber as he entered, a stark contrast to the gaiety of those inside, who continued to dine, drink, and dance as performers worked their way through the crowd showing off their finest skills. Lyks asked around for Isrygrad — who he was sure was celebrating with his lady love, the Friendly Strangers’ resident tiger wrestler, Teela Surefoot — and after almost 20 minutes of searching and waiting, was greeted by the ice barbarian who wore nothing more than a smile and a sabretooth pelt.

“Lyks, my friend! You seem upset?” observed Isyrgrad. “Come, we drink!”

Sitting at a small table, Lyks placed the charred jaw before him. “As promised,” he said, moving the jawbone across the table towards Isrygrad, “Kr’zzt is now dead.” Isrygrad took the jaw in his hand, admiring it intently at first before turning back to Lyks.

“You do not seem pleased with this though.”
“It was my death to deal. It should’ve been me.”
“What do you mean? Who—?” Isyrgrad asked.
“Dablova.”
“Ah,” Isrygrad acknowledged, sucking his teeth and nodding his head, “the Witch you say? Interesting. Why her though?”
“I… I do not know.” Lyks answered disdainfully. The pair of men paused for a bit, silent as they continued to digest the death of their nemesis.

Isrygrad put the jaw down on the table, reached out, and clasped his hand over Lyks’. “You’re an honorable man, my friend. I thank you for this. I hope soon you too will find the peace you’re looking for.” Lyks pulled his hand away, nodding farewell at Isrygrad as he did so.

As the men parted ways and Lyks attempted to make his way back out onto the streets, the entrance to the cabaret flooded with even more revelers, escorted by Ix and Silhouette, whose spirits were still stirring with energy. The pair broke from the pack and rushed to greet Lyks, whose mood was more dour than usual.

“Lyks, where are you off to, brother?! Come, enjoy a drink with us!” Ix urged, Silhouette enthusiastically backing him.
Lyks declined. “Pay me no mind, you two enjoy your evening.” Silhouette did her best to goad the Druid back into festive spirits but Lyks was unyielding as he moved towards the exit, bidding his friends good evening.
“We shall see you at breakfast then, yes?” asked Silhouette.
“Of course.”

Lyks parted ways, and Ix and Silhouette returned to the roaring crowd, embracing each other as they moved through the crowded cabaret. In a dimly lit corner, the pair continued to drink and people watch. As Ix polished off another cup of ale, he broached the subject of life after adventuring. “You know, both of us have lived so long with so many names. Perhaps now is the time to finally have a name that’s our own?”
“Oh?” Silhouette answered, intrigued as she sipped on a cup of wine.
“I was thinking… Black.”
“Black?”
“Black,” Ix confirmed, smiling as he looked into the Silhouette’s eyes. Slowly, he removed her ornate mask and the two paused for a moment before sharing a tender kiss.

Lyks wandered back to the manor, but as he did so, he could hear behind him the pitter-patter of small but sure feet against the cobblestone. Suddently, he felt a tugging at his cloak. “Gnomefriend!” he heard from below, and as he turned back he looked down to see Burbis Baggleton, hysterical after a day of pure spectacle. Lyks took his quivering hand to calm him and the two walked down the now quieter streets back towards the manor. Burbis could tell Lyks’s mind was heavy with thought. “Gnomefriend, what troubles you?” Hesitant to answer at first, Lyks finally broke his silence after a few paces.

“Kr’zzt, the Drow. He is dead, and not by my hand.”
“Then by who’s, Gnomefriend?”
“The Witch.”

Burbis paused for a moment, then stopped in the street. Burbis took Lyks’s other hand and, hoping to raise his keeper’s spirits, began to sway back and forth. “It was better you hadn’t, Gnomefriend. Now come, we’ve not seen each other all day and I’m sure there’s a jig in you still!” Lyks, however, remained unmoved. “Come along, Burbis. I’m tired.” Disheartened, the Gnome hung his head low and returned to Lyks’s side. As the pair continued onwards towards the manor in silence, Burbis occasionally looked up at the stone-faced Druid, hoping for some kind of acknowledgement. The pair entered Pimpleton Manor, which was quiet for all but the crackling of the open fire place in the parlor. The two began to head their separate ways. As he meandered to his chambers, Burbis softly spoke up, “Feel better, Gnomefriend. Tomorrow is another day.” Lyks lightly nodded back and continued on into the kitchen.

Lyks took time to decompress in the kitchen, settling down with a pitcher of wine. Redscar, his Pseudodragon, and his wolf, both joined him. The two animals silently kept the Druid company, watching him wallow with every sip. “Master Lyks,” a kind and familiar voice interrupted, “I see you’re indulging alone. Well… not entirely alone.” Lyks barely looked up from his second glass of wine and motioned for his ever-faithful servant, George Pimpleton, to enter.

“Care for a drink?” Lyks asked, already pouring him a glass.
“Thank you, sir. I thought you’d never ask.”
The pair continued to sip in silence until George spoke up. “Sir, you seem rather sullen.”
“Well, George,” Lyks sighed, “I don’t know what to do.”
“In what matter are you speaking of, sir?” Pimpleton asked, his speech slurring with every hearty sip.
“Tonight…” Lyks began, struggling to articulate his feelings. “Dablova, she killed Kr’zzt, burned him alive as he lay motionless. While I know he is not truly dead, his mind still wanders out there somewhere. A part of me can’t help but resent her for taking something away from me.”
“Wel—well, sir, who gave her the right?!”
Lyks let the glass of wine hover at his lips for a moment. “No one.”
“Exactly, Master Lyks! There is no shame in wanting just—justice!” George affirmed with a hiccup.
“Would it have been justice? Or vengeance?”

Lyks turned to see his friend and servant slipping off his stool, glass still in hand. Lyks finished his own glass and draped George across his shoulders, carrying him back to his chambers. George continued to slur his praises of Lyks while sloshing his wine with every gesture. “That Witch… he was yours… yours. Bloody hell…” Lyks laid him down upon his bed and sat at the edge. For a moment, all was still except the flickering of candle flames. “Thank you, friend,” Lyks whispered, to which George replied with a loud, nasal snore. Lyks stood and smirked as he put out the candles and retired for the evening himself.

Meanwhile, Dablova had finished gathering the remainder of her belongings from Lyks’s warehouse when she heard Drayden’s voice inside her head. “Dablova, Lyks explained what happened. Please, I insist you to come see me before you leave.” Dablova spoke not a word as she made her way to Drayden’s home. Once there, she was met by a glassy-eyed Drayden, who greeted her with a scroll in his hand bearing the wax seal of Enoch Greyspeth. The two paused and stared at each other for a moment. “Please, come in.”

Inside, Dablova set her things down and saw Vortis visibly beside himself. “Dablova, I…” Drayden began, correcting himself, “We, rather…” He took another moment to compose his thoughts. “The Necromancer had this delivered to us, he said it was a gift for the two of us on your behalf.”
“I’m sorry I didn’t say anything before. I just… I had to be sure. I had to be sure that the spirits had brought me here for you two.”
Vortis rose from his sofa, “Is it true then? By Cortox, We never thought this day would come!”

Drayden handed Dablova the scroll and the three moved into the dining room. The men hovered around Dablova as she sat, breaking open the seal and unfurling the scroll: a spell of “Blood and Essence”, a ritual crafted to bring together the life-force of multiple individuals to make a new being. With their instructions clear, the couple excused themselves, cup in hand, to collect their mutual “essence” while Dablova made her way to their garden. She disrobed under the moonlight and sat amidst a bed of flowers. Dablova then took her fingers down into her womanhood, coated them in menstrual blood, and traced out the required sigil across her belly. Several minutes later, the men returned, first startled by the nude Witch. Both men averted their eyes in a gentlemanly fashion; Drayden stepped into the garden to hand her their contribution and returned to Vortis’ side under the threshold, watching from a presumably safe distance. Dablova shut her eyes and began to intone the spell, cup in hand. Her chanting became more savage and incomprehensible as she poured the semen across her stomach. She laid herself across the flowers and descended into a deep trance, her eyes convulsing rapidly, her chant unrecognizable. The fluids covering her belly began thin and swirl into each other, and as she intoned the spell they seemed to absorb into her skin. As the last trace of fluid soaked into her belly, the scroll burst into a flash of flame. Dablova ceased her wild chant, exhaled, and sat upright. She quickly took up her robe, covering herself as she approached the men.

“Well?” Drayden trembled.
Dablova rubbed her stomach and shot them a faint smile, “It is done. There is life here.”

The men rejoiced in a mutual a sigh of relief, embracing each other while holding back tears. They wiped the sweat from their brows, exhaling in relief. Dablova, however, kept her distance, for she knew the news to follow would inevitably sour their mood. “I must leave Greyhawk. Tonight.”

The men froze, mystified by her declaration.

“What.. what do you mean, Dablova?” Drayden probed.
“I have done what needed to be done here. Now, I must return to Grynoth to fulfill the rest of my duty.”
“Duty?” Vortis fired back, “You mean to tell us your duty requires that you take our child from us!?”
“No! The life inside will be yours. But… it is my duty to ensure this life arrives safely to this plane, and that cannot be done here.”
“How dare you—“ Vortis began as Drayden did his best to distance his lover and the Witch.
“Vortis, please,” Drayden pleaded, “What are you saying Dablova? That life… this child is ours, it deserves to be raised by us, here in Greyhawk.”
“And it will be. For now though, there is no safer place than Grynoth. My sisters have lived hundreds of years, undisturbed by the chaos of the outside world, they will know better than anyone how to protect it. The life that grows inside me now is valuable and there are those who would see it extinguished before ever getting a chance shine!”
“Arrogant witch! You cannot—”
“Vortis please!” Drayden pulled Dablova aside as Vortis continued to fume, “Dablova, I beg you to reconsider. Please, stay here for the evening. We’ll talk it over in the morning over breakfast, everything, but for tonight just… please!”

Vortis continued to protest as Drayden escorted him up to their chambers, their heated back and forth echoing throughout the house. Hours passed and as their discussion died down, Dablova meditated on what Drayden asked of her. As dawn returned, Drayden and Vortis left the Witch alone in their home as they headed to Pimpleton Manor for a group breakfast. They left hoping that Dablova would come to her senses and remain in Greyhawk under their protection, for the sake of the child that was to come.

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05.11.14 - A Unified Front, finale

Following the showdown with the mad Celestian priest Aramis Stargazer at the Feast Day of Cortox, the party deemed themselves far too exhausted to retire to their separate homes and instead decided to rest together at Pimpleton Manor (all except Drayden, who returned to the home he and his lover Vortis shared.) In the morning, they rose to the scent of another of George Pimpleton’s decadent breakfasts. The group indulged in white pancakes, fresh berries, and smoked & salted meats.

Silhouette was the first to depart the manor, returning to her businesses The Dripping Blade and Friendly Strangers, both of which were continuing to flourish in her absence. Ix took his leave after, the Oracle’s premonition of battle still fresh on his mind. Armed with this information, Ix made haste to visit Mayor Gasgal. At City Hall, Ix met with both Mayor Gasgal and the representative from Furyondy, Duke Trelis, who chose to stay in Greyhawk to help coordinate efforts to keep Arachnia’s forces from penetrating the Shield Lands. The Mayor divulged to Ix that a sinkhole had just swallowed the entire village of Stahzer, leaving behind no trace of the town or its residents. Reports had indicated only 4 tunnels were left in its wake, carved out by the approximately 12,000 underlings from Arachnia, led by of one of Lolth’s fiercest warriors: a Drider named Skizz’x! Ix learned that he and his party would not be asked to go alone to beat back the Drow, however. The Duke promised Ix that he had charged 100 Knights from Furyondy with the task of helping to defend the Shield Lands at Stahzer with 500 Freemen from Greyhawk and 970 of Countess Katarina’s most dedicated soliders. The Mayor also informed Ix that he had arranged for mystical transport for the party to Stahzer, courtesy of the Mages Guild. Before departing, the Mayor pulled Ix aside to apologize for constantly leaning on him and his companions to defend not only Greyhawk but the surrounding lands as well, and vowed that this battle would be the last request he would ever make of Ix.

Dablova followed breakfast with another visit to the warehouse, where she tended to the hounds and gathered her supplies for another meditation in the woods. While meditating, she attempted to reach out to the spirits but was unanswered… at first. Meanwhile, with his head heavy with thoughts of battles past and the battle to come, Lyks returned to the Church of Beory to clear his mind. While being ushered in, he asked to be taken directly to the Temple of the Great Tree — something the clerics there had not heard Lyks request in ages! At the altar of the Oerth Goddess, Lyks quietly plead for guidance. Lyks could feel Beory’s presence, gliding in on a sweet gust of wind and pulsing beneath him through the earth. Her message to him was clear: “something powerful moves through me, a mighty force comes!” Lyks, reassured of his connection to Oerth, began to galvanize members of the church in attendance. So moved were they by his show of vulnerability and renewed faith, 9 Druids and 7 more clerics eagerly pledged themselves to battle.

After an hour or so of divination, Dablova heard a voice from the void delivered another cryptic message: “Crimson, traitor, hidden, savior!” She quickly gathered her things and teleported back into the city to reconvene with her companions back at Pimpleton Manor later that afternoon. At the manor, she joined Ix, Silhouette, Lyks, Tic-Toc, and Madryk in what might be their final evening together. Drayden arrived soon after, his eyes red and puffy from tears. Dablova was quick to console him, though he reassured her that the tears shed were shed for the companionship of the company.Jor-Mak and Isrygrad rounded out the group, and together they spent the evening trading stories and indulging in Pimpleton’s finest wine, Ix’s minotaur tobacco, and Dablova’s custom calmative Serenity. Isrygrad bore the flushed complexion of a satisfied man, having spent his afternoon with his lover, the tiger wrestler Teela Surefoot. Jor-Mak was visibly much more at ease now that the Widow Rohl was once again feeling safe. Tic-Toc, however, was distant and not his usual jovial self. A symptom of having recently been reassembled no doubt.

The mood turned more somber as the Drow became a topic of discussion. Ix recounted their past encounters facing an armies of Drow to Dablova (who had never faced them in battle before) and what they could be potentially facing in the sinkhole that now occupied Stahzer. Drayden was quick to revive better spirits in the manor, first expressing his love for his chosen brothers Ix and Lyks. Drayden then rolled up his sleeve and revealed to his friends an assortment of symbols inked onto his forearm, each representing a member of the party (an arrow for Ix, a leaf for Lyks, a star for Reizhodd, a gear for Tic-Toc …) When probed by Dablova about the black spindle among the symbols, Drayden was mum, only telling her it served to remind him that “there is good in everyone, at least once.” Dablova replied that she “hoped to be worthy of adorning his arm one day”, which ignited something impulsive in Ix. He proposed a visit to the local parlor, Tattoos by Gor, where everyone would decorate themselves with a sigil unifying them before battle. Silhouette was quick to follow up with a design: a leafless tree, its branches extending to 9 stars representing each member of the party (and a solitary black star buried at the tree’s roots, signifying those who were now departed.) All were on board except for Lyks, who politely turned down the offer. With further probing from Ix and Drayden, Lyks revealed to them the reason for his hesitation. He showed them that underneath his vestments, his body was already heavily adorned with ink, root-like patterns that represented his eternal connection to Oerth — there was no room for such an intricate pattern! Lyks also revealed to his companions his true, Elven name: Zemilay Lyks, kept secret due to his bastard lineage. It was settled that he would forgo ink in favor of a custom silver cuff from Grek Steelstrike, to be completed upon his return from the Shield Lands (should he make it back alive.) In the spirit of disclosure, Jor-Mak made a revelation of his own. He shed the psychic illusion of a hulking half-ogre the party had come to know to reveal his true form. For a moment, he stood before them a gorgeous vision of a man with flowing hair, perfect alabaster skin, and soft yet piercing eyes. The moment passed and soon Jor-Mak returned to his grizzled self, though the image would be forever held dear in the party’s collective mind. The tattooing and decorating went well into the late evening; Dablova was first to take her leave to rest at the warehouse but not before Drayden expressed his appreciation for her presence. Citing their early hiccups, he told her that he was fond of her openness and thankful she was a part of the company.

The next morning, the party prepared to head to The Mages Guild for quick passage to The Shield Lands. Before joining the party, Dablova sent her Familiar, Moloko, to the home of Enoch Greyspeth with a letter in tow:

“Enoch,

My companions and I leave for the Shield Lands at dusk. I do not know if you have found anything of use in your studies that would aid in my cause since last we spoke. Should I not return from battle alive, please see to it that Drayden and his wishes are tended to.

Many thanks,
Dablova"

Outside the gates of the Mages Guild, Dablova met with her party plus Lyks’ followers from the Church of Beory and his Pegasus, Snowflake. A lone Mage wandered out to greet the party, but his expression soon twisted to bewilderment at the volume of men in his charge. He retreated back into the academy and returned several minutes later with 2 more Mages in tow. The trio intoned their teleportation spells and Greyhawk dissolved right before the company’s eyes, shifting into the desolate plains of The Shield Lands in a matter of seconds. They turned around to see, at the site of the sinkhole, Countess Katarina and her men already set up in encampments. She greeted the party in her stoic way, gracious of their swift arrival, and they were quickly introduced to her general, Qualen Metryk. Katarina filled the party in on the plans to keep the Drow at bay via the four tunnels previously drilled, as well as the status of her imbecilic cousin Jemman) who had since been institutionalized after suffering injuries from a Hill Giant. With 995 armed men and women geared up for battle — and an additional 600 men from Greyhawk and Furyondy, plus 9 Brownies summoned by Lyks — Katarina remaked to the heroes of Greyhawk one last declaration: “I intend to see tomorrow.”

In their preparations, Ix armed himself by burning scrolls of Tongues and Comprehend Languages in order to understand and speak to the Drow in their own language. Dablova took the initiative to try out her recently acquired Wand of Earth and Stone, and was escorted down into a tunnel separate from her companions. There, she spent the better part of 4 hours casting a Move Earth spell to seal the tunnel shut. After successful completion of the spell, the warriors rejoiced and ushered her to another tunnel, where she took the time to cast the same spell again. Upon closing off the second tunnel, the sinkhole was filled with the howls of spirited warriors. Humbled by their accolades, Dablova readied herself to seal a third. The cheers, however, were cut short by the horns of war: the Drow were near!

As the battle horns blew, the two open tunnels rumbled with the sounds of incoming Drow. Dark elves, Driders, and corrupted gnomes spilled out of the earth with weapons flailing. Ix, Lyks, and Drayden were first to drop down into the open tunnel and were greeted almost immediately by the Drow’s grotesque leader, Skizz’x! Katarina and Qualen cried out to their men above “Archers, loose!” and soon the tunnels were flooded with the rain of arrows from dozens of archers, piercing through the onslaught of Drow. Lyks was first of the party to act, tearing open the ground beneath them to create an earthmaw, whose rocky tendrils crushed 3 enemies upon opening. Ix followed using Modius’ Staff of Power to shoot forth a ray of paralyzing energy, petrifying 6 more enemies who were left at the mercy (or lack thereof) of the archers above. Silhouette rappelled down a rope ladder and was next to join the fray in the tunnel. Mindlinked with the rest of the party thanks to the psionic Jor-Mak, she cried out to her teammates to shield their eyes as she commanded the cursed orb circling around her to unleash a blinding radius of light. The Drow were momentarily dazed by the orb’s brilliance, all except Skizz’x, who charged ahead to attack. As Skizz’x cut down more of Katarina’s men, Ix heard him boast that the tunnels Dablova had sealed would not be enough to contain his soldiers. Elsewhere, Dablova called out to the men above to pull her up from the tunnel, but the battle raging above drowned out her cries. She attempted to climb the unsteady rope ladder, only to fall halfway up, injuring herself in the process. Storm clouds began to gather and thunder rumbled above Stahzer as more and more of Katarina’s men met their end.

Drayden charged into battle, his blade focused squarely on Skizz’x! He swung his sword three times, cutting into the Drider twice. Skizz’x hissed as blue-black blood poured from his wounds. Little time was given to react before Jor-Mak released a wave of psychic energy, igniting the Drider’s brain. Skizz’x’s hiss grew into a full on battlecry as he charged at Drayden with even more violent intensity. While the paladin and Drider squared off, Lyks used Tharun Darkwood’s staff to cast a blessing over those warriors in his vicinity, reinvigorating them as the Drow army continued to hack away at Katarina’s army. Entrenched in the thick of the Drow, Silhouette cast Forget on her attackers, resulting in a pack of perplexed Dark Elves wondering where there were and why they were brandishing blades. Isrygrad took a pinch of sleep dust in his fist and dusted another crowd of attackers, only to find out that Drow were not so susceptible to Sleep Magic (a lesson hard learned!) Appalled by the death around him and eager to show his new companions his mettle, Burbis drew his blowgun and spat darts into two Drow which induced bizarre giggling fits in both of them. Disturbed, the hysterical Drow retreated from the unassuming Gnome. Their retreat was short lived however, as Tic-Toc leapt into battle with a bloodlust and gored into the two Drow, their laughter continuing as he drove his blade deep into their bellies. Attempting to even the odds, Ix called out to Katarina and her men, “beware the smoke!” The warrioress and her men spread out as Ix burned yet another scroll: Cloudkill, the very spell that had taken his life once before underneath Skorane. A putrid, yellow-green cloud of thick fog materialized, enveloping (and instantly slaying) a pack of 8 Drow. The fog spread out, its caustic fumes suffocating 6 more to death. The Drow struck back with brute force: Lyks and Silhouette endured minor slashes while Ix, Tic-Toc, and Isrygrad were attacked more fiercely. Drayden, however, received a devastating blow from Skizz’x, whose poisoned blade cut deep into the paladin.

Over the next hour, 69 more of Katarina’s men were slain as one of the sealed tunnels burst open, spilling even more Drow into the already riotous battlefield. Faintly hearing Dablova’s cries for assistance, Lyks called out to Snowflake to retrieve her. The Pegasus quickly swooped down into the hole and carried the Witch away almost as quickly as it arrived. Dablova and Snowflake circled above the battlefield as storm clouds gave way to heavy rains. Dablova focused her wand yet again, this time transmuting the rock of one of the tunnels to mud in hopes of slowing down more of the Drow from entering the fray.

Continuing to fend off Skizz’x and his immediate forces, Silhouette cast Burning Hands, sending jets of magical flame and setting a trio of Drow ablaze. Meanwhile, Isrygrad learned yet another lesson in battling the Drow when his second dust (a Hold powder) failed to bind all but one of his attackers, whom he dispatched with a crushing blow to the head using his mace, the Fist of Lyks. Ix quickly turned his anger to Skizz’x; his hands enchanted, Ix rushed the Drider, grabbing at him and siphoning off his lifeforce with Vampiric Touch.

As thunder crashed above, the sound of battle horns were heard just outside the encampments amidst the chaos of the battle. Katarina’s men cried out, “Furyondy gives aid!”, as 100 Knights from Furyondy rode to aid of the Shield Lands. Drayden turned his attention towards the men above him cheering and raised his sword in solidarity. Suddenly, his cheers were gargled by the blood filling his throat as a crimson blade burst through his chest plate. Drayden’s eyes welled up as he looked down upon the blade piercing him. Its color and shape were all too familiar to him: it belonged to Tic-Toc! “Tic-Toc…how could you?”, asked the wounded holy warrior. The familiar and repulsive laughter of their nemesis Kr’zzt suddenly rang hollow in the back of Tic Toc’s mechanical throat. “No,no, no…He was never back! It was you the whole time, you fiend!”, cried Drayden. The crimson sword was quickly ripped from Drayden’s torso, and he buckled to the ground, turning around to see the mechanical man he rebuilt wielding the bloodied blade. “Yes, this shell is mine now Paladin. Strike me down if you dare! Even if you destroy your friend, it will not stop me. I’ll haunt you ‘til the end. Your children and your children’s children will learn to fear my name!” Tic-Toc taunted, his voice cold with spite. “Damn you to hell, elf!” Drayden cried, one hand clenching his heart while the other reached for his mystical sword, enchanted by the will of Cortox himself. As Tic-Toc readied himself to finish Drayden off, Drayden drew the legendary blade and as he swung, 17 swords of cosmic energy followed, felling the mechanical man and cutting him back down to scrap.

Drayden dropped his blade and huddled over the remains of Tic-Toc, muttering a soft prayer to Cortox to not forsake his fallen friend. Lyks called out to his Druids, ordering them to rush in tend to Drayden. As they intoned their healing prayers over the wounded paladin, Lyks tossed Drayden an Elixir of Healing. The Beoryian prayers managed to seal the wound; Drayden drank the smallest sip of elixir and tossed the flask back at Lyks. “Save it. for someone who needs it” As Lyks returned his attention to the Drow around him, he noticed something rub against his leg. Lyks takes a moment to consider this cat, so out of place in the din of battle. Upon closer inspection, its body was revealed to be composed of small star-like particles of light. This was no ordinary beast, but the familiar of the Herald of Cortox and Lyks’ former companion, Reizhood. This was Smog! Smog purred softly and looked up at Lyks before charging off into the fray, its form growing to the size of a rhino as it charged. At this cue, Ix’s own miniature companion, the Homunculus Jackdaw, looked sweetly into his master’s eyes, a cheshire grin crawling across its face. “It’s tiiiime” Jackdaw whispered to his keeper, and Modius’ creation began to grow and transform to terrifying size. Jackdaw, now a large, gargoyle-like creature, leapt into the conflict, both celestial beings used their imposing new shapes and powers to tear into the surrounding Drow with savage efficiency.

As the beasts cleared the surrounding area, Drayden felt an intense energy from within the remains of Tic-Toc. All of a sudden, a bright white light engulfed the area, blowing back Drayden and the Drow alike. As the light dimmed, a completely restored Tic-Toc stood, examining his animated body. “Tic?” Drayden whispered, “Cortox be praised!” “Drayden, old friend! I haven’t seen you since we were taken at the Druids’ Grove. Where are we?” Tic-Toc questioned. Drayden took Tic-Toc’s crimson blade and tossed it to him. “No time, friend! We have a war to win!” With that, Drayden and Tic-Toc were back on their feet, hacking and slashing Drow back-to-back in perfect rhythm.

As the battle reached its crux, the storms above began to turn the earth below into mud. Bodies of Drow, warriors, clerics, Knights, and even Brownies littered the field, their blood swirling in the sludge. The Freemen of Greyhawk marched upon the confrontation soon afterwards and jumped into battle, cutting down Drow and Driders with all their might. Turning his attention back to their leader, Lyks eyes burned with fury as he conjured a colossal lightning bolt and sent it barreling through Skizz’x. The bolt incinerated the Drider from the inside out. As his charred corpse fell to the mud, his two generals were flooded with panic. They called out to their troops in their native tongue “Fall back! Fall back! We cannot win here!” As the Drow retreated, Ix hurled fireballs down the through their tunnels adding insult to injury.

In the wake of the Drow’s retreat, the heavy rains began to subside and the thick clouds scattered. Though many had fallen, those that still remained stood exhausted but victorious. Lyks called out to Snowflake to bring Dablova back to the party and Jackdaw and Smog returned to their normal sizes, Jackdaw’s roaring and disturbing laughter in the throes of victory transforming to a delightful giggle as his form reduced itself. Jackdaw rushed back to Ix while Smog leapt into Lyks hands to be pet. “Thank you friend”, the druid/ranger whispered to the heavens. Smog purred deeply in the champion’s arms, its body dissipating with every stroke until nothing remained. Katarina and Qualen ordered men to assist the champions of Greyhawk out from the tunnel they were contained in. As Katarina helped the heroes return to the encampments, a Seer rushed to Katarina whispering something in her ear. Katarina stopped and turned her attention towards the battered, muck-covered men and women: _"The lives lost this night were not lost in vain. We have subdued the forces of Arachnia against impossible odds and I now have word that the rangers of the Vesve Forest, the united forces of Furyondy and the Wolf Nomads of Eru-Tovar have shared our blessings on the field of battle." “Together, we have accomplished the unimaginable, and in doing so, we have secured our lands from the threat of Arachnia for a generation to come!” “The Drow sue for peace!”

With that, the battlefield erupted in an explosion of triumph.

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05.04.14 - Ouroboros

Standing amidst the shaken and panicked congregation of Cortox, the heroes looked out beyond the decimated temple walls to see a familiar figure floating in the destruction. He was Aramis Stargazer, a priest of Celestian who succumbed to madness after being driven out of the very same temple (once a temple devoted to the astral wanderer, Celestian) by many of the same heroes months prior. Draped in the tattered vestments of his former clergy — as well as another robe, this one embellished with with metal stars — the former priest cried out to Celestian, asking for strength in the destruction of the heretics who now occupied his once and former parish.

While the church goers buckled in terror, the heroes of Greyhawk readied themselves for a final showdown. Aramis wasted no time in unleashing his vengeance: from one of his rings he shot forth three glowing missiles of celestial energy. While much of the party were safe, having only been burned by the heat from the missiles, Silhouette was not as fortunate. Powerful though the cosmic bolt was, Silhouette endured and rejoined the party.

As Burbis and Drayden flocked to protect parishioners, Lyks tapped into nature itself, greying the skies to bring forth a powerful lightning bolt. To their amazement, as the bolt passed through the mad priest, they witnessed Aramis unfazed. Dablova suspected Aramis’ apparent invulnerability to be the work of an enchantment, and in turn, hurled a glass flask of Oil of Disenchantment at the priest. Her lack of athletic prowess was her downfall though, as the party watched the flask shatter to the ground before reaching the levitating priest.

Before Aramis could initiate another attack, Ix drew Modius’ Staff of Power, summoned from the cosmos a powerful fireball, and hurled it directly at the floating priest. The flames engulfed Aramis completely and burned away the last traces of his priesthood. As his vestments, hair, and flesh burned, the priest shrieked, sinking to the grounds outside the demolished church while crying out to Celestian to now release him from his agony. The fire died down as Aramis collapsed to the ground, the sapphire robe embellished with stars wrapped around his charred remains, visibly unblemished. The parishioners cheered and rejoiced, crying out with blessings to Cortox and singing the praises of the heroes that saved them. The parishioners clamored around the heroes, wishing to be blessed by Cortox’s holy defenders. While Drayden did his best to calm the crowd, Dablova easily felt overwhelmed and sneaked away with Silhouette and the others to investigate the Stargazer’s remains. The party dusted off the items left with Aramis’ remains (the robe, a pair of rings, and a wand) and quickly made their way back to Pimpleton Manor to rest and regroup.

Back at the manor, the group was collectively exhausted. The party used their respective healing powers and potions to reinvigorate each other while George Pimpleton tended to their comfort with food and drink. While the party indulged in much needed (and deprived) relaxation, they pondered over the spoils of their confrontation. Were these items cursed? Drayden was quick to dispel their worries, letting them know that none of the items carried any residual evil. The next task was to determine what the objects were and whether or not they would be kept. A mistress of legend lore, Silhouette was able to deduce the nature of a number of the items. She was quick to take dibs on the ring that pained her so intensely earlier: a Ring of Shooting Stars. She also uncovered that the other ring was one that granted Aramis his unnatural endurance: a Ring of Protection, which Isrygrad gladly accepted. Dablova was especially drawn to the brilliant blue robe adorned with metal stars. Silhouette uncovered that the robe was in fact a Robe of Stars, a garment that allowed the wearer to travel between the Prime Material and Astral Plane. In addition to that, Dablova was gifted with Aramis’ wand, a short wooden branch tipped with rough opal.

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04.27.14 - Spectacular Preparations

Having experienced varying degrees of success uniting the lands neighboring Arachnia, the party set forth on their return to Greyhawk. Isrygrad and Jor-Mak are the first to make their way back to the city, departing Eru-Tovar aboard the party’s ever-unsettling vessel, the Bone Shredder. Isrygrad contemplated on his brief time in the Wolf Nomad’s territory, stirred by the crudeness of the barbarians and how close he could have been to being a savage like them had circumstances been different. They were soon joined by Ix and Silhouette, who had left behind the rangers of Vesve Forest in a particularly peculiar situation involving two of their number entangled a mystical mess — a mess that might have befell the pair had Fate not shined upon them.

In Chendyl, Lyks and Madryk were reunited with their companions, bringing along with them a new member: Burbis Baggleton. Saved from dismemberment as punishment for petty theft in Furyondy, Burbis saw the stone ring upon Lyks’ hand, found in the ranger/druid’s very first adventure, that marked him as “gnomefriend” and pleaded for help. Madryk and Lyks inform Baron Jemain, Grand Marshall of the Furyondian army that they would not allow this unfair punishment to take place and they are given care of the gnome and harshly dismissed. Burbis revealed to his new keepers that he was a part of a band of Gnomes who had traveled from their home in the Lortmil Mountains in the Duchy of Ulek as part of a crew of traders. Burbis’ ship was a casualty of foul weather, and while the rest of his companions were presumed dead, Burbis managed to find his way to shore, feeding off of wild vermin for survival until finding himself in Furyondy. There, he was apprehended after stealing bread (out of hunger) and coin (for sheer aesthetic pleasure — “they’re so shiny!”).

On their way to Critwall, Drayden revealed to Dablova a desire to stay in the Shield Lands, citing his need to protect the weak as a divine duty. Conflicting with this duty, however, was the desire for a more domestic life with his partner Vortis, a life that would include a child to call their own given the right circumstances.

The entire party reunited, they made their way back down the Nyr Dyv to Greyhawk (with their excitable new companion sedated thanks to Madryk’s potent Dwarven ale.) Once in Greyhawk, the party made their separate ways yet again, agreeing to meet for dinner at Pimpleton Manor later in the evening.

It was back to business for Silhouette, who wasted no time in checking up on her recently acquired businesses. First at The Dripping Blade: Silhouette found that business had been on the grow after a tweaked menu helped to not only satisfy the tavern’s old clientele, but introduce many other Greyhawkians to a new watering hole. Meanwhile at Friendly Strangers, Silhouette found her cabaret to be performing at peak condition. She had established not only a well-welcomed source of entertainment, she had also inadvertently begun to stir a cultural change in the city, creating a bohemian area for locals and tourists alike where crime and iniquity had once run rampant. Silhouette was now on her way to cultivating a new identity in Greyhawk as Madame Noir, a resident of Greyhawk and business woman to be reckoned with.

Ix had more arcane business to handle, however. The threat of the Drow still fresh on his mind, he made his way to a known Oracle. For a decent amount of gold, the Oracle provided divination via a powerful crystal ball wherein the spirits revealed to her “blood shed, in other places… many men will die in the barren lands…” as well as Ix’s birth name, Ce’ren (a name known only to his parents) Ix deduced that these barren lands were, in fact, The Shield Lands Drayden spoke of after his visit. Feeling secure in the Oracle’s divinations, Ix began preparing himself for a visit to The Shield Lands.

Lyks, Burbis, and Isrygrad began their morning in Greyhawk back at Pimpleton Manor, indulging in a well-earned breakfast at home courtesy of George Pimpleton. Lyks requested the domestic to prepare delivered breakfasts for their companions Drayden (and his partner Vortis) and Dablova, after which Gnome and Gnomefriend departed the manor to visit the bazaar. While perusing goods and acquainting Burbis with more about himself and Greyhawk, the pair were found by Drayden with the one-and-only Tick Toc Individual in tow, alive and ticking! Drayden reveals to them that while he was able to reconstruct Tick Toc, it was fortune and Cortox’s blessing that smiled upon them and revived the mechanical man.

After spending much of the morning tending to her animal friends and enjoying a well-prepared breakfast at the warehouse, Dablova journeyed into a wooded area just outside the city gates. There, she partook in her weekly ritual of calling out to the spirits outside the Prime Material. This time, however, she sought much more specific insight: the nature of her latest omen. She reached as deep as she could, contacting a spirit in the Outer Plane. While the spirit revealed to her that the the “star” that engulfed her in her vision was that of another being inside, the spirit was unable to confirm whether or not that being was a child. Though her ritual was abruptly interrupted by a pack of wild wolves, Dablova had little energy to suffer their threats and teleported back into the city to find whom she believed to be the other “star” in her vision: Drayden. (Drayden, a member of the so-deemed “champions of the stars”, had expressed to Dablova a desire for a child to call his own, to pass down his legacy to.) Dablova rushed to Drayden’s home in a daze, only to find Vortis instead. Visibly shaken by the conclusions she’d began to draw, Vortis only further fueled her suspicions by expressing his desire to nuture another life into the world with Drayden as well as his fears of losing Drayden to battle before being able to do so. Dablova knew what she had to do; she took a hearty sip of Serenity and made haste to the one man in the city she believed could help realize the prophecy…

Enter Enoch Greyspeth, the reclusive, singular white Necromancer of the Flanness presently staying in Greyhawk. Having refused all visitors, Dablova applied her charm (both natural and magical) to the lady of house until granted an audience with Greyspeth. While quite powerful in her own right, her attempts to beguile the perturbed Necromancer were swiftly struck down when he momentarily transferred her life-force into a corpse in his laboratory! “Woman, I am not an evil man, but you test the limits of my patience” he warned the Witch before returning her to her body. While stunned by the ordeal, Dablova was unwavering in her determination to receive his aid. Such determination did not go unnoticed, and after discussing the nature of her visit (an arcane method of bringing about a child between three people), Enoch’s interest was piqued. He agreed to dig deeper into his resources to find if such a ritual could take place and sent Dablova off with a couple warnings: never return uninvited and never involve the lady of the house.

Night fell and the group reconvened at Pimpleton Manor for another of George’s intricately crafted meals in honor of their return from the outer lands as well as the return of their companion Tick Toc (ironic that there should be a dinner in honor of a man requiring no food at all.) Soon into their dinner, however, they were interrupted by a visitor, Constable Derider. She alerted the party of a disturbance with Kr’zzt: he had fallen into a catatonic state! Lyks agreed to pay him a visit (promising to be on his best behavior) along with Jor-Mak. At the prison, they found the Drow in a truly vegetative state; a psychic scan by Jor-Mak revealed no signs of psychic intrusion or scarring.

While Lyks and Jor-Mak tended to the imprisoned Kr’zzt, the rest of the party received an invitation from Gemmen to attend the Feast Day of Modius at the Church of Cortox in honor of their former companion and his ascension. Drayden and Ix took the opportunity to reveal to the rest of the party their plans to return to the Shield Lands to prepare a defense against the impending threat of Arachnia. Lyks and Jor-Mak reached out to the party, alerting them of the mystery at play. The team agreed to pay a visit to the prison to see for themselves — Dablova took the opportunity to learn a new forensic spell, Patternweave. Using this spell, it was revealed that there were no intruders that caused Kr’zzt’s vegetative state. Whatever happened seemed to happen from within! With little else to go on, the party left Kr’zzt for the evening.

The following day, the party attended Feast Day as a whole. While Dablova kept a low profile and Burbis wandered around the festivities in utter awe, Modius’s former companions (Ix, Lyks, Drayden, and Jor-Mak) were attendees of a particular prestige, revered as witnesses of the Rejoining. The celebrations were abruptly disrupted however, as the church itself began to crumble. Stained glass visages of their once-and-former companions shatter and the very walls of the church crumble down upon the parishioners. Drayden swooped in to save a family; Burbis displayed his first act of heroism with the party by saving a small child; Dablova quickly dispatched the falling debris by transmuting the rock into mud, covering the revelers in liquid earth. In the wreckage, the party sees a figure floating as the dust clears: the disgraced and now maddened former head of the Church of Celestian, Aramis Stargazer.

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04.20.14 - A Unified Front, part one

Having spent the day confronting the detained Kr’zzt in the bowels of the city prison, several members are summoned to Mayor Gasgal’s chambers for a meeting at dusk. Together, they are taken to the mayor’s secret War Room, where they meet with representatives from neighboring lands bordering the now fallen City of Iuz: The Shield Lands, Furyondy, Vesve Forest, and the Wolf Nomad territory of Eru-Tovar. Those from the party in attendance (Ix, Silhouette, Madryk, and Isrygrad) agree to visit each of these lands in the hopes of using their experiences in Iuz to rally support for a possible offense against an evil greater threat to their lands: the rise of Arachnia.

The entirety of the team convenes at Pimpleton Manor for one last evening together before separating. Together, they pair off and determine what lands they will visit. Drayden asks to accompany Dablova to the Shield Lands;Lyks and Madryk pair off to visit the Kingdom of Furyondy; the subtle (but not-so-secret) couple of Ix and Silhouette agree to visit the Rangers of Vesve Forest; and Isrygrad and Jor-Mak agree to venture further northwest, into the territory of the Wolf Nomads.

Later in the evening, Dablova expresses deep concerns to her companion Drayden, who feels as if she’s abandoned her post among her sister witches in Grynoth, leaving them open to any potential danger brought on by Arachnia. She wonders if the omen that brought her to Greyhawk has already come to pass (she later receives a new omen, one that seems to deal with her fate more directly!) Meanwhile, Madryk expresses concerns of his own to his travel companion Lyks: riding with him on his winged Pegasus!

Midnight falls, and all are asleep in Pimpleton Manor (or in Madryk’s case, passed out from too much Dwarven ale.) Lyks slips out under the cover of darkness and hits the city streets. It is on these streets that Lyks witnesses the murder of a man in plain sight by an unknown assailant. The backstabber is able to flee from not only Lyks, but his Familiar Redscar too, leaving behind a corpse and little-to-nothing with regard to his identity! Frustrated, Lyks makes his way to the city prison and asks to visit with Kr’zzt. Behind the guise of interrogation, the temperamental Druid takes his frustration out on the captured Drow, beating him into a howling fit. When asked to leave by a city guardsman, Lyks complies, but not before healing the Drow’s wounds and sedating him for the rest of the evening. An ESP spell proves fruitless in extracting the names of more of Kr’zzt’s agents in Greyhawk, only yielding dream symbols.

In the morning, the party prepares to indulge in a sumptuous farewell breakfast prepared by George Pimpleton. Dablova excuses herself to tend to the dogs at the barracks, but not before confronting Lyks on the newly-acquired bruises she sees decorating his knuckles. Lyks admits to the party that he paid Kr’zzt another visit to interrogate him alone while they slept. After Dablova’s departure, Drayden expresses great concern for his comrade, warning the Druid that his temperament is one that should be kept in check for fear of falling into the darkness that others in the party have been unable to resist. However, his pleas fall on less than sympathetic ears as many others in the party (Ix, Silhouette, Isrygrad) take little issue with Lyks’ method of extracting information. The group’s breakfast turns somber, and Lyks makes a hasty exit for the Church of Beore to clear his mind before leaving the city. The party reconvenes shortly thereafter, and Drayden asks to make amends with Lyks, citing that while he does not pass judgement on his friend, he is a man of faith and only makes his concerns known out of compassion. Friendship reaffirmed, the party sets forth to sail down the Nyr Dyv.

Drayden, Dablova, and the battle-hungry Shield Lander Jetrek are the first to depart, their destination the arid plains of the Shield Lands. On their way to meet with Jetrek’s aunt, the Countess Katarina, Dablova attempts to calm the anxious noble with Serenity — her signature calming Witches Brew — and she and Drayden further discuss the endless struggle of good and evil among themselves and their comrades. The trio eventually arrive at a hamlet outside of the city center, and are met by the Countess. She expresses to the heroes that while the Shield Lands are not as glamorous as more urban areas like Greyhawk or Furyondy, her people are resilient and willing to hear them out. Soon after, a Hill Giant and a pair of Ogres descend upon their introduction; an overzealous Jetrek is quick to take up arms to defend his aunt, but is felled just as swiftly by the Hill Giant. While the pair of heroes and the Countess quickly deal with the monsters and heal the outer wounds of the noble boy, they soon realize that his mind is far too damaged internally. Distraught, the Countess asks the pair to address her people without her as she must tend to her now-imbecilic nephew. Drayden and Dablova do their best to rouse the townsfolk and while the people are unconvinced at first, the support of a fellow Shield Lander finally helps to communicate the severity of their visit.

Lyks & Madryk are the next to break from the party, returning to the Kingdom of Furyondy. There, they are met with honor as prestigious “knight protectors” and are quickly received by the Grand Marshall of Furyondy’s forces, Baron Jemain, who is quick to inform them that his troops are ready for whatever threat may come their way. The pair of heroes fear that Germain’s confidence is a based in arrogance but the vast, well trained legion at his command proves otherwise. Before their meeting concludes, Jemain is alerted to the capture of a thief. The thief is brought before Jemain and the heroes to answer for his crimes. The thief is revealed to be a lowly Gnome, who’s petty thievery extends to not only bread but a bit of coin as well. As punishment for his misdeeds, Baron sentences the thieving Gnome to have his hands removed but not before Lyks and Madryk interject. Baron scoffs at their audacious demand for release, but eventually agrees to let the Gnome (named Burbis Baggleton) into their custody, unwilling to suffer any further pettiness. Baron then allows to let the pair discuss with his men what awaits them should the nation of Arachnia move south. Both the Elf and Dwarf are charismatic enough to rally the guard successfully.

Ix & Silhouette make their way up past Furyondy to Vesve Forest, where they are met by a patrol of highly skilled Rangers. They’re escorted hastily to meet with Lord Elrenn Walthair and his band of Vesve Rangers, among which are a pair of brothers, Fanden and Faelin. While Ix & Silhouette are successful in regaling the councilmen about their troubles in Dorakka, the brothers also fear more immediate threats — such as a Bugbear den just outside their camp — pose a more realistic danger than the possibility of an Arachnian invasion. Ix & Silhouette agree to accompany the brothers Fanden and Faelin and a band of Rangers to dispatch the Bugbears. At the den, the pair watch as resting Bugbears are cut down and slain by the Rangers. In the wake of the Bugbear raid, the brothers find a pair of matching cuffs among the remains. While each maintains a cuff of their own, Ix & Silhouette watch as the brothers squabble for ownership of both, eventually resulting in a scuffle between the young Lords. In the midst of their ruckus, the cuffs accidentally collide and send forth a blinding light that illuminates the entirety of the den. As the light dims, only one brother stands wearing both cuffs. Fanden pleads with the heroes and his Rangers to help find his missing brother and in the panic, clashes the cuffs together again. Another light beams forth and in its wake, Faelin stands. This panic continues, as the brothers continue to bang the cuffs together in hopes of reuniting with each other on the same plane of existence.

Finally, in the Wolf Nomad territory of Eru-Tovar, Isygrad and Jor-Mak meet with the savage warlord Kreveka. Kreveka is an intimidating sovereign, who’s built his legendary reign upon the destruction (and occasional devouring) of his enemies. While Jor-Mak attempts to psionically break down the brutish king’s emotional walls, Isygrad tries to sway Kreveka with empathy. He pleads with Warlord Kreveka as one Barbarian to another. He relays to the Wolf Nomad King the loss of his royal family at the hands of a single Drow. Offended at the mere thought of even a single Dark Elf being able to bring harm to his kingdom, the prideful king has Jor-Mak seized and demands that the Ice Barbarian be put to death for his impertinent tone. Not a moment too soon, a voice speaks up from the crowd of Wolf Nomads vouching for Isrygard’s honor. A figure steps forth and he is revealed to be Isrygard’s former companion, Maydon Wolfsguard. Maydon proposes a challenge before the King: a to pit him against the strongest warrior in the kingdom in non-lethal combat for Isrygard’s honor and freedom. After minutes of sparring, Maydon lands a devastating blow against Kreveka’s champion, crushing the thug’s glass jaw and swiftly taking him out of battle. Having bested Kreveka’s champion, the King holds up his end of the deal and releases Isrygard and Jor-Mak. Together with Maydon, the pair appear to successfully rile up the Wolf Nomads against an impending invasion from Arachnia.

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Two New Heroes

Giselle introduces her character Silhouette a blade from the tiger nomads territory. Jack introduces his character Ba’th Moara a cleric/mage from the church of Istus. Lyks and Ix invite these two into their fold.

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A review session

The group gathered for a planning session. They gave their character sheets a once over, assessed their equipment, and started planning what to do with their new properties. The burning question, what’s George Pimpleton doing and can he train animals.

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Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.

One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.

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