The Hangman's Body Count

Chapter 3: The Shards of Sin

Chat log started at 14.9.2016 / 17:18:44

With their hides in tact, the heroes are ushered onto their next adventure – tracking down a merchant in the employ of Telquine (the Summer Sparrow) who was based in the city of Elmwood, sitting on the southern coast of the Moonsea. With all the arrangements in place, you are lead to the docks early in the morning by Telquine, who escorts you to a sturdy looking carrack and a weathered elven man who is combing over a long list of cargo.
Telquine: This is where I leave you. I appreciate your assistance in this matter. Once in Elmwood, seek out Alamarayne Moonray – she was the one that notified me of the merchants disappearance.
River: As you w-w-wish…
Telquine nods and leaves.
The captain shows you aboard the ship and to your cramped quarters. Clearly this is a merchant vessel, and not one of moving passengers. The ship smells of herbs and fish, but not overpowerly so. Within the hour, you are ready to cast off and when asked, you are told that the trip will take the better part of a tenday before arriving near Elmwood.
Xila: Well, I’m sure we’ll have plenty of food if we need it
River: S-so long as everyone behaves th-themselves…
Xila: I always behave myself.
Xila quickly puts her arms behind her back as she was just about to grab a fish.
Quinn Winterborn looks around gleefully, ready for an exciting ocean voyage
Hudson hides a small smile.
River: P-perhaps. I am just…. remembering the last t-time we were on a s-similar ship…
Xila: Oooooh, do tell!
River: W-well… it involved a v-very … b-brash drow…
Xila: A drow? Never met one, but I heard they’re pretty bad.
Xila: I’m sure the one who travelled with you was an alright drow though, right?
River: The c-captain of that s-ship apparently d-didn’t think so…
The ten day passes slowly, but you are given a breathtaking view of the Sea of Stars as you move along, stopping abruptly in a few of the larger ports that are friendly with Cormyrean vessels. The Sembian coast is nearly completely avoided, before stopping in Scardale and entering the Dragon Reach, a vast bay that harbors a narrow passage into the Moonsea.
You stop to resupply in Harrowdale, taking on supplies for what the captain calls the “worst part of this whole blasted journey” – the trip past Ylraphon and the Flooded Forest. The sailors talk about ghosts and other soulless creatures that would drive a man mad or eat his brain before he knew what hit him. Ylraphon is a ruin of a city, one that once stood before the Spellplague, but was reduced to a monster filled maze of wild magics and other horrible things.
Xila entertains the sailors with ghost stories during this part of the journey.
Passing through the end of the Dragon Reach, you can see that the Flooded Forest lives upto its name, a large sucking mire of rotted tree tops and thick blankets of biting bugs that pester you even far off from the coast. Jagged spires of shattered rock jut up from the swampy landscape, breaking the flat water covered ground.
Hudson spends a lot of time practicing with his abilities, or watching the party quietly.
The captain talks briefly about the history of the region, and how the River Lis was once a wide strait that connected the Moonsea and the Sea of Fallen Stars, but the Spellplague destabilized the area and cause the underdark beneath this area to collapse and the water and land to arrange themselves in a manner that the forest sank, but a wide swath of land rose, dividing the strait into a pair of narrow, but deep channels. This place was once a massive shipping lane for merchant ships, pointing out ruined lighthouse remains on the western coast to emphasis his point.
Quinn Winterborn listens, astonished
The ship enters the river mouth and takes you into the end of the might forest of Cormanthor, which seems to keep the sailors on edge as well, constantly looking over their shoulders and into the massive canopy looming overhead. A full days travel along the river finally gives way to the Moonsea, and a westernly course. In another day, you are docking in city of Elmwood – though city might be stretching it. There is a single wooden dock with the ship you are on being the largest ship in the area by far. Several small fishing boats and a small private ship are anchored here.
Quinn Winterborn: I wonder what kind of trade runs through this town….
Elmwood is a relatively small city by most standards, but being in the middle of nowhere, the city is quite busy, You note that the city proper is surrounded by a massive wooden wall, and another somewhat smaller wall rings the city. The walls appear to be made of still growing trees, their inner ring covered in thick vegetation. The captain directs you to one of the only buildings on the waterfront, a low roofed squat building. He then bids his farewell, interested in moving to the next port without much fanfare.
Xila: I think maybe fishing?
River silently waves goodbye to the captain as he leaves.
River: S-so… shall we g-go?
Hudson: You’re the boss.
The large squat building is fronted by a thin wooden sign marked with Elven script. Muted singing can be heard coming from inside. As a patron enters, you hear distinictly elven singing coming from within.
[Elven]: [Translation] Still Waters Tavern
Xila listens to the elven singing.
Xila: Still waters Tavern
Xila: Nice name
River: A…. t-tavern. Hopefully L-Lady Moonray is i-inside…
Xila: So, shall we go inside?
Xila opens the door and walks inside.
River meekly follows, uncertain of what is to come.
Quinn Winterborn follows
The Still Water is probably the cleanest tavern you have ever seen. The floors and walls are immaculate, the tables and chairs matching sets and all set with small vases of wildflowers. Much to your surprise, the singing is coming from a thick set dwarf that bustles behind the bar. His voice is delicate and not at all what you would believe could come from a dwarf. He smiles at your entrance, though he does not cease singing.
Hudson takes up the rear, standing as tall as possible.
Quinn Winterborn: Oh, hello
The dwarf appears to be a real dwarf (golden dwarf). There are four other patrons in the tavern at the moment, all enjoying an afternoon meal
Xila heads to the bar
Xila [Elven]: [Translation] Drinks for me and my friends please!
The dwarf finishes his verse (the song is some kind of stylized elven hymn concerning Selune maybe?) and smiles at you. His voice is still odd for a dwarf, as it is high pitched and lilting, much like the cadence you would expect from an elf.
Enrad Daelborn [Elven]: [Translation] Greetings, traveler! I am Enrad! Welcome to the Stillwater! What can Iget for you?
Xila [Elven]: [Translation] 5 of your best ale
Xila [Elven]: [Translation] So, who’s the dwarf? Odd seeing a dwarf sing in elven.
The other patrons are a mix of elf, dwarf and half-elven (human).
Xila [Elven]: [Translation] Nice singing there by the way! Odd to hear a dwarf speak Elven.
Enrad Daelborn shrugs.
Enrad Daelborn [Dwarven]: [Translation] I can change to a more expected language if you prefer, though the song is not nearly as beautiful in this tongue.
Xila [Elven]: [Translation] I think I preferred the Elven.
Enrad Daelborn smiles.
Enrad Daelborn: Perhaps the trade tongue would suffice, my good halfling. Now, what can I do for you, aside from drinks? Elmwood isnt exactly a tourist trap.
Xila: Oh! Didn’t even realize, guess I got caught up in the atmosphere.
Xila: Well, river would have a go at me if I didn’t ask. Do you know a ms Moonray?
River: U-um… we’re looking for a A-Alamarayne M-Moonray…. to be p-precise…
Enrad Daelborn nods. “A bit hard to miss her around Elmwood. Alma – err.. Miss Moonray is the high priestess of the temple here.”
River: I-Is she busy with her d-duties right now?
Enrad Daelborn: Likely – she’s preparing for the evenings service.
River: W-well… we should meet w-with her before she b-begins. W-Whereabout would she b-be now?
Quinn Winterborn: Evening service?
Quinn Winterborn shrugs
Enrad Daelborn: The temple’s fairly easy to find. Its the large wooden building with the half moon stamped on just about every surface. Just head into the city proper, you cant miss it.
River visibly brightens. “S-Selûne? An evening s-service makes sense then, e-especially with the full m-moon…”
River: P-perhaps we could even s-stay for the service….
Enrad Daelborn nods. “Of course, ma’am. Thats why I was warming up my voice. Im to sing the hymn for the service opening this evening.”
River: I-I’m sure y-you’ll be much better than m-many others…
Enrad Daelborn beams “Thank you! I think if you hurry, you might be able to catch Alma when she comes back from fetching water from the stream. Head to the southern gate and she should turn up there… in the next ten minutes or so.”
River: T-thank you, Ser Dwarf.
Quinn Winterborn smiles
Xila: Thanks!
River bows gently to Enrad, then quickly shuffles out of the tavern to head to the south gate of Elmwood.
Enrad Daelborn: When you’re all finished, I’ll get you those drinks!
Xila: That would be nice.
Xila heads out to follow River
Quinn Winterborn follows
Hudson also follows.
Elmwood has only one main road heading through the city and you pass through the city rather quickly. You do pass by a large wooden temple that is covered in hand carved moons. Thousands of them cover every inch of the exterior of the building, clearly marking it as the favored location to the moon goddess. You notice that most other buildings in the city are also bearing the moon goddess’ mark in some form or another.
Xila: Something tells me these people worship Selune.
Xila: Just a hunch
Quinn Winterborn sighs
River: I-Is something the m-matter, Mr. W-Winterborn?
The road winds to the south, and passes through a pair of 20’ wooden gates that penetrate the 25’ thick wooden pallisade around the city. A contingent of a dozen men wearing uniforms are standing at the gates themselves, eyes scanning into the forest beyond. Before you can think to ask one of the guards, a beautiful half elven woman of moon elf stock enters the city gates, bearing a thick wooden yoke with two buckets filled with water on either end.
Quinn Winterborn: No, River, Xila’s just great. I mean….
Quinn Winterborn is a bit embarrassed
Xila looks confused
Xila goes over to greet the half elf woman.
Xila: Priestess Moonray? Need any help with that.
Quinn Winterborn looks around for the Priestess
Alamarayne Moonray smiles at the halfling, “I am not sure that you could offer much in the way of help, miss.”
Xila: Hey, I may be small, but I’m pretty strong y’know!
Xila pouts.
Hudson waves quietly. “Maybe I could?”
Alamarayne Moonray: Im afraid that Ive already blessed this water, and it would not do to allow a single drop to be spilled.
Alamarayne Moonray: But I appreciate the offer, Miss.
Alamarayne Moonray cocks her head, as she notes the group standing and paying attention solely to her. “Is there something amiss?”
River: I-If we c-could, Ms. Moonray… I-I mean, P-Priestess….
River: U-Uh…. I mean…. w-we were sent by Ms. S-Silverleaf…. S-Surely she m-mentioned us…?
River is barely able to get the words out amid all of her stuttering.
Quinn Winterborn puts a hand gently on River’s shoulder, giving her a bit of encouragment, before withdrawing
Alamarayne Moonray stiffles a mild look of shock, but then nods. “Perhaps you would be so kind as to escort me to the temple. We can speak once I get these buckets to the acolytes. Im afraid my time is at a premium at hte moment.”
River: Y-yes, of c-course…
The walk back to the temple is swift an silent, with Alamarayne walking swiftly through the city. She simply nods greetings back to the populace that speak her way, making it clear she is not to be approached. As she approaches the temple doors, they part ways, revealing the simply interior of the wooden building. She is attended immediately by an acolyte, and with a few quick words, she sends them on their way with one of the buckets, while turning swiftly down the corridor and leading you into a small office. The office is a tight squeeze for all of you to get inside, as it is filled with carvings of wood, stone, metal and bone – all bearing a moon motif. Alamarayne leans in the corner for a moment, and then straightens, looking River in the eyes – “What did Quine say?”
River (nervous): W-w-w-well….. she…. was c-c-concerned about the m-merchants in the a-area d-disappearing….
River (nervous): …A-a-and…. s-since you were the one who t-told her of e-e-everything, s-she told us t-to speak with y-you…
Alamarayne Moonray frowns.
River (nervous): …O-other than t-t-that……
River falls silent, not sure of what else to say, if anything at all.
Alamarayne Moonray: Blast! I did not expect her to send proxies. I need her hand, not some that are so… uninvolved with things – I mean you no offense.
River: N-none t-taken.
Quinn Winterborn: None taken
Xila: Some… taken
Quinn Winterborn gently steps on Xila’s foot
Xila: I mean, none taken! Honestly
River: S-still, I w-would like to h-help where I c-can…
Alamarayne Moonray picks up a small carved trinket and fumbles it over in her hands while clearly struggling with something in her mind.
Alamarayne Moonray: It is… it is like an Elmwood watch, I suppose. I can share with you what I would have spoken to Quine about, though it will be longer with the background that you undoubtedly do not have. That said, I dont have the time between now and the evening service. If you would attend me after this evenings service, we can speak on it then. Feel free to attend the service if you like, or simply return at a candlemark after the mid of night – the service will be over by then and the patrons returned home.
Quinn Winterborn: I would be honored to attend the service of the goddess of the moon.
River: It is a b-beautiful service, Mr. W-Winterborn. It may not be of A-Amaunator’s taste…. but it is fitting for the night of the f-full moon.
Quinn Winterborn: The Sun and Moon are as siblings, River. I revere all those who shine their lights onto our world, and chase away those who slink in the dark
Quinn Winterborn does not look at Xila
River: Ah… That i-is where they differ.
River: Darkness is not to be feared or cursed. Remember that.
Quinn Winterborn smiles and nods
Quinn Winterborn: Shall we, then, River?
River: J-just us two?
Xila looks at Quinn and River
River fidgets a little out of nervousness.
Xila: I’m not usually one for a service to Selune, but I might attend, just to see what all the fuss is about.
Quinn Winterborn: Well, whomever else wants to attend, of course.
Hudson: I’ll probably wander. Get an idea for the area.
Hudson doesn’t really look comfortable in the temple.
[w] Moro → Hudson: Really? I would think it would be an ‘enlightening’ experience.
[w] Hudson → Moro: I don’t hold a lot of stock in all powerful deities who can let atrocities occur.
[w] Hudson → Moro: Oh. You were joking…. A spirit wolf just made a joke, in my head. This is my life now.
[w] Moro → Hudson: Wordplay is not your strong suit, apparently.
[w] Moro → Hudson: But still. I insist you join along. After all, it’s not just for your sake.
[w] Hudson → Moro: I’m not as nimble as you are, it would seem.
The priestess nods. “I’ll have to ask you to see yourselves out then – I have quite a bit to do before the service. Those that wish to remain for the service can feel free to move about the temple. Those that dont, you can leave the same way you came in. And please keep your reasons for being here to yourselves. There are prying ears everywhere.”
River: Y-yes, P-priestess…
Quinn Winterborn trys a bow
Hudson: I’ll stay actually, after wrestling with my inner demons.
(Passive perception) You notice a whisper quiet crack, and can see that the wooden trinket the priestess was fidgeting with has snapped in her hands, as her knuckles are bone white.
Hudson snaps his head towards the sound, hand moving instinctively to his hammer.
Xila: Is err, something wrong priestess?
Alamarayne Moonray blushes, “No. Just things are not as simple as they could have been had Quine just shown up herself. My apologies, theres just so much going on right now.”
River tries her best to smile to the Priestess.
River: D-don’t worry. We may not be Quine…. b-but she would not place this t-trust onto us if it w-weren’t warranted.
A flash of emerald light pulses on one of the nearby totems as Hudson activates one of his powers. The priestess casually looks over to it and smiles. “This room is well warded – which is why I wanted to be here before speaking freely. I have nothing to hide, if thats what you are thinking.”
Hudson: I’m sorry. I thought perhaps you were in some danger in this room that you couldn’t tell us about. And that illicited your… reaction.
Hudson looks a little bit ashamed.
Alamarayne Moonray: Im sorry I cant get into all of it right now, but I am pressed for time. And with things evolving as they have, a group of well armed saavy people such as yourselves – it does not put me at ease. Particularily arriving unannounced as you did.
Hudson: I understand. I’m just… going to…
Hudson awkwardly takes half a step back, not making eye contact with anyone.
River: Y-yes…. Th-Thank you for your time…
River bows to the priestess before backing out of the room to leave her to her thoughts.
Alamarayne Moonray looks up, straightens her body and then snaps back into the calm stoic demeanor of a priestess, vetting all of her nervousness in a smooth motion. “Please enjoy the temple and what Elmwood has to offer. The service begins at sundown, which gives you a few hours to wander at your leisure. We will speak again later.”
The temple is a ring to explain it the best. The corridors, cells and offices ring the outer wall, with numerous doors leading into the center of the temple. Entering the center, you find that it is one large room, open to the sky with hand carved benches and a pulpit within. The pulpit is at the center of the room, with the benches ringing it, seating here is easily several hundred people. Acolytes mill about adjusting some of the decor, candles and other mundane activities.
Heading back to the Still Water Tavern, you find that Enrad is still tending the bar, but he has help now that people are coming in for the evening meal. The tavern is quite full, leaving not much more than standing room. Still, the dwarf sings aloud, a hymn dedicated to Selune in an erie elven voice.
Hudson is wandering around, maybe asking a couple of the guards, or the hunting types.
River – Your secluded part of the temple is quiet calming as the walls of the temple mimic the forest and the branches at the top of the walls are indeed indicative of real trees. Still, you catch some of the acolytes speaking as they move about, talk mostly around the infirmary and how they dont think any of the survivors will pull through.
Hudson – You find nothing interesting about the immediate area. However one of the guards seems to be chatty about a recent skirmish near the city, where a lot of people were hurt badly. They do not share any further details if pressed.
Izual – You find no indications that there are demonic glyphs around, but you do hear some talk about a recent attack on a hunting party that killed three men, and gravely wounded several more.
Xila: So Enrad, you’re the bartender here, heard anything strange around town lately? Come on you can tell me.
Enrad Daelborn: Nothing really strange – just more newcomers than normal. CIty seems near bursting at the seams as of late.
Enrad Daelborn passes you a mug of dark ale that smells absolutely fantastic.
Xila drinks like a Dwarf.
Xila: Another! This stuff is really good.
[w] Moro → Hudson: Even so, I’m certain River is already aware of things being ‘strange’ about here. The infirmary here already has some of the wounded here…. probably not gonna make it.
Enrad Daelborn: Im not a master brewer for simply show!
[w] Moro → Hudson: Now shh. I’m tired and I would like a bit of rest before the service…. zzz…
[w] Hudson → Moro: I don’t know, but if the same people involved in the skirmish have anything to do with the reason we’re here… they sound pretty well trained. If not, why did so many people leave this very well fortified area to fight somebody or something?
Enrad Daelborn pours another mug.
Xila: Ever thought about working in a major city? You could get rich pretty quick off this stuff.
Enrad Daelborn: I wont go anywhere near those kind of places anymore. Saw too much of “civilized lands” in Mulmaster – I’m fine right where I am.
Xila: Mulmaster huh, rough place to live.
Enrad Daelborn visibly cringes. “A vast understatment.”
Xila: So, you get much trouble down here? We’re not that far from Mulmaster, no trouble with the Netherse, Thayans or Zhents?
The patrons in your immediate area quiet, and make no secret of moving away from you.
Xila: …What’d I say?
Enrad Daelborn: Not much, but enough. There was an attack recently – killed women, children, elderly – it was savage. Elmwoods a close knit community. Everyone has been impacted. You ought to work on tact.
Xila: An… an attack?
Enrad Daelborn: Slaughter really. Not really comfortable talking about it while people are eating. Lets just say that a merchant company was ravaged – and not everyone made it back.
Xila: Any ideas who was behind the slaughter?
Enrad Daelborn frowns, clearly irritated “I wasnt available to tally names, if thats what you’re asking.” He sighs. “Im sorry – its just a bit… raw still. We believe it to be some Zhentish mercenaries, but have no real evidence other than history.”
Xila downs her drink.
Xila: Well then, that’s enough of that! I’ll have one more for the road.
Xila: Thanks for sharing your information Enrad.
Enrad Daelborn nods. “Be well, traveler.”
Xila heads out of the tavern.. a tiny bit tipsy.
Xila heads to the temple, knowing she’ll probably find river there.
River is simply sitting on the bench, scritching Moro’s head gently as she naps.
Hudson does similar
Xila relays everything she learned, a little bit too quick and a stumbling over a couple words with her tispynes.
Izual seemingly forms out of the shadow when he takes off his hood, telling the party about the hunting party that was attacked.
Hudson: That’d be the thing I heard about, I imagine.
Xila: Yeah, Enrad said the same thing, women, children and elders were attacked recently, Zhentil mercenaries most likely he said.
Izual: Ah, no. I heard it was just three men.
Xila: Enrad was speaking of a merchant company.
Izual: Whch mean this are differnt occasions.
Xila: …So, there have been multiple attacks.
Hudson: Do we assume they were both attacked by the same thing?
Hudson: If so… could this be this thing be related to why we are here/
Izual: I think it would be safe to assume so.
River: …I don’t th-think it’s mercenaries…. or at least, n-not just them…
River: Where w-would they gain from killing the p-poor?
Izual: Bloodlust needs no reason.
Xila: Most likely, they’re from Mulmaster. Terrible place full of slave traders.
River: Then… they would have c-captured them… not k-killed them.
Xila: Perhaps they did not go willingly?
Xila: We have heard of people disappearing as well.
River: E-either way… I fear it is something less…. l-logical.
Xila hiccups
Quinn Winterborn: Ominous
As the day starts coming to an end, people begin filtering into the temple, filling the benches from the closest to the pulpit outwards. As the sun finally dips below the horizon, and for a moment the sky is lit in pinks and oranges, a single clarion bell chimes, and the crowd falls to silence. The acolytes move into the room, three each moving along the rows, bearing large white wax candles. The procession moves slowly, taking nearly twenty minutes to reach the pulpit, though the crowd maintains silence the entire time. Once they reach the center, the acolytes disperse evenly and place their candles at marked places, highlighting the perfect sphere of the pulpit.
The clarion bell pells once more, and a trap door falls inward from the pulpit, revealing a large silver ball of light that slowly rises from the floor. As it clears the trapdoor, the door is reset, latching with a quiet ‘snick’ of a well oiled lock. The ball of light reaches near human height before it pulses, moving through the lit phases of the moon – quarter, half, three quarter, full, three quarter, half, quarter, new. Once it reaches the new moon. the light fades entirely for a moment, before a brillant flash of silver sparks erupts and Priestess Moonray stands at the pulpit, clad only in a silvered crown and cloak. Her skin glows with a silver lustre and she begins to sing, a husky tone that gains timbre with each passing bar. A few moments later, a recognizable elven voice joins the hymn, Enrad singing from the rear of the chamber.
The singing continues until the moon rises above the lip of the chamber. At this point, the service continues into a sermon, followed by the promotion of two acolytes in rank, and then another set of hymns, this time sung by the whole congregation.
The service continues until the stroke of midnight, in which the service is ended abruptly, as a handful of acolytes bear a small fountain carved of ivory into the chamber, bearing it to the pulpit. The priestess then raises her face to the sky and begins singing in an unfamilar dialect, a ceremonious hymn that no one joins in, but all watch with gusto. After a few moments, a pale streak of cold white moonlight flashes from the sky and strikes Alamarayne before cascading into the fountain, acolytes scurrying to gather the liquid moonlight and solids (?) into inscribed vials.
This happens seven more times before the priestess stops, her body clad in sweat. She then reaches for a silver robe hidden in the pulpit before waving dismissively to the audience. THe patrons oblige immediately, filing out in quiet awe.
The acolytes carefully remove the fountain once the patrons are gone, snuffing the candles and bringing the priestess food and water while she recovers. Within another 30 minutes you are left alone with Alamarayne.
Xila stays in the temple, in awe of what she saw.
Hudson looks mildly interested in the show of power, but not to the level of anyone else.
Alamarayne Moonray is still breathing heavily, and sweating though the night is on the cool side, and she is wearing only a thin robe.
River slowly makes her way towards the priestess, cautious as to not aggravate her condition.
Xila however, bounces towards the priestess like a kid in a candy store.
Xila: That was incredible! I have no idea what happened, but it was pretty!
River: X-Xila, please. She’s s-still recovering…
Alamarayne Moonray [(waves your concern away)] Its fine. Im just not as quick to recover as I used to be.
Alamarayne Moonray: Well, this is not quite as well warded as my office, but saturated in Selune’s light as I am, I believe this is sufficent to speak freely.
River: If you feel it b-best…
Izual: I have never seen anything quite like that, Priestess.
Alamarayne Moonray: It is not a ceremony that many are privvy too. It is a rarity that most only see once in a lifetime, perhaps twice if they curry the Maidens favor.
River: I d-don’t want to take any m-more of your time, P-P-Priestess… but…. can you tell us more n-now?
Alamarayne Moonray: Of course. Im free until the morning anyhow.
Xila still oggles at the light shining from Moonray
Alamarayne Moonray: How well do you know Quine?
River: I… w-well…
Alamarayne Moonray: I see.
Alamarayne Moonray: You’re acquianted in some manner at least – not just hired rabble?
Xila: We have a …. working relationship. She did something for us, we got her out of prison, now we’re doing something else for her. Y’know, the usual.
Alamarayne Moonray smiles thinly.
River fidgets for a bit…. then takes the priestess’s hand.
River: I…. her sister is a friend of mine….in a matter of s-speaking…
River: It’s…. c-complicated, to say the l-least…
Alamarayne Moonray glances down for a moment, but draws in a steadying breath. “Fair enough. I will lay things out as it seems you are at least familar enough with Quine to know her alias, and perhaps that of her lineage. As the Summer’s Swallow, she has done some good – though I think she might truly be bored.”
River nods in kind. “She seemed to r-revel in the l-limelight…”
Alamarayne Moonray: In truth, Quine and her family work against the machinations of the Netherese, both here and in Cormyr. We’ve managed to obtain a few working relics of one of the Mage Lords of Old. I dont know if we are actively being pursued, but there are hints of it.
Alamarayne Moonray: Elmwood is quiet – and out of the way. But things have a way of following you. Quine’s been crass and sloppy with her movements. And some of her minions have been caught in a Netherese trap.
Alamarayne Moonray sighs.
Alamarayne Moonray: And now things are starting to unravel. I am plagued by visions – the relic I shelter is directly responsible for them, but I cannot pursue these visions – I cant leave the people her unprotected. Quine promised she would come and follow the path, clean up her mess, and bring her family’s power to bear within the Forest, stabilizing the region against these incursions. So, you have to understand, when I am disappointed by your appearance, its not disappointment in you – but rather in Quine.
River: I…. I s-see…
Alamarayne Moonray: Its convoluted, surely – but dire nonetheless.
River: S-still… we are here, r-regardless of the past. W-what can we d-do to h-help?
Xila: Does this have anything to do with the recent attacks?
Alamarayne Moonray: Possibly. The attacks are attributed to Zhentish men – I cannot determine the actual culprit, as the interference from the relic is causing issues with my own powers. Which is why tonight was much more… exhausting than normal.
Alamarayne Moonray: Im unsure if there is anything that can be done directly. If you were experienced in the arcane or in netheril history, you might be able to divine something from the relic itself.
Xila looks immediately to Quinn
Izual: Well we have one such person that is trained in the Arcane.
Izual: And if else all fails, Xila and me are good at being quiet. We could track the partys responsible.
Alamarayne Moonray: There are a few moving pieces here, that I am not sure if are inter related or not. The most pressing is the relic. Perhaps we can take a look at it, and see if it has any secrets to bare to you?
River: W-well… worst case, we learn n-nothing…
The priestess stands and walks unsteadily to her office, beckoning you to follow. Once you are all inside of the office, she closes the door and speaks a few words of magic sealing a few wards.
Alamarayne Moonray: She opens a small box upon a shelf and reveals a small metallic shard wrapped in a runed white silk hankerchief.
She opens a small box upon a shelf and reveals a small metallic shard wrapped in a runed white silk hankerchief.
River: Moro? D-do you think you can help?
Moro groans… then looks carefully at the metal shard.
Alamarayne Moonray: This shard is part of a larger whole, but we cannot glean ‘what’ it is.
Moro is unpleased.
[w] Moro → Hudson: …This. This is a remnant of Greed.
The shard resembles an arrowhead with a small concave area in the base of the shard.
[w] Hudson → Moro: A what? The sin?
[w] Moro → Hudson: No…. not that. Ugh. Humans never learn. This was made by humans in a bid for power. Too much for one being to wield.
Izual: I do not like the energy bleeding off of this.
[w] Moro → Hudson: Those dark ones… Netheril? They split it amongst themselves to split the power. Looks like one managed to slip away from its previous owner.
[w] Hudson → Moro: Right. So… logic would say that the people trying to get this, they have pieces of their own and those not in their protection would be powerfully hidden, because if not they’d go after an easier target, no?
River: It…. does feel o-off… But….
Alamarayne Moonray: It makes my mind hurt when I am in its presence.
[w] Moro → Hudson: Either way, it should not even exist. Cursed, wretched thing, ruining the balance.
River: Have you… t-tried to use it?
Moro growls menacingly and snaps at the shard of metal in anger.
Alamarayne Moonray: Use it?
Xila: What’s up with Moro?
Hudson nods at Moro.
River: I…. I don’t know…
Hudson: That piece of metal is not right.
River: I…. I see.
Alamarayne Moonray: I keep it wrapped in that blessed cloth, which lessens its effect. I do not think it to be a religious relic – very few of the Mage Lords were devout.
River: The… Sinedron?
Alamarayne Moonray raises an eyebrow. “What?”
River: Moro thinks…. it’s something called the ‘Sinedron’. Or a p-piece of it.
Moro continues to growl at the shard, obviously disturbed by its presense.
River: W-whatever it is…. she d-doesn’t approve of it being… in existance.
The Sinedron is also known outside of Netheril as the Shattered Star – an artifact that was lost at the fall of the empire. The shards represent a school of magic, but also one of the greatest follies of human kind.
You are also aware that the Shards are said to be cursed to prevent their use by those not meant to use them.
River: It…. is a c-creation of pure power…. one to rival the very g-gods….
River: I c-can see why Moro would detest such a thing.
The Netherese would undoubtedly want to get their hands on it – so we cannot let that happen.
River: So…. w-what can we do? Send it to a v-vault to be s-sealed away?
Xila: Throw it in the Moonsea?

Chat log started at 21.9.2016 / 17:09:50

Last time on HBC – the heroes made their way to the city of Elmwood, where they met up with their contact, Alamarayne Moonray, high priestess of Selune. The party also found out that the town had been target to numerous attacks recently, all of which may be related to the Netherese artifact that the priestess had been keeping within the city. What else can they learn, and why was Telquine involved? And why did she send you?

Quinn Winterborn: They would want it back. It’s a fragment of the Sihedron
Quinn Winterborn mutters to himself “What a terrifying thought”
Alamarayne Moonray: Im afraid I dont know what that means.
Quinn Winterborn: You mentioned you’ve been having headaches since you acquired the item?
River: W-well… whatever it is, Moro isn’t t-terribly fond of it…
Quinn Winterborn frowns, looking worried
Xila: I have no clue what you’re talking about, but sounds kinda bad.
Quinn Winterborn: That’s probably because Moro is wise.
Moro continues to growl at the metallic shard, on constant guard.
Xila makes growling noises to copy Moro
Alamarayne Moonray: Yes – terribly so – its been interfering with my prayers as well. In general, everything is more difficult – which is unsettling, given my powers are not arcane in origin.
Quinn Winterborn: In a sense, the shard is cursed, so that’s not overly surprising
Quinn Winterborn: The Sihedron is an ancient artifact of immense power, and danger. Even a single fragment is capable of doing what you say.
Quinn Winterborn: I do hope you only possess one such fragment…
Alamarayne Moonray: I’e only been given this by Telquine – I cannot say what she has in her possession, but the relics she gains only pass through here, they generally do not stay, as this one has.
Xila stops growling
Xila: We should probably do something about this fragment then.
Xila: Like.. maybe chuck it in the moonsea?
Quinn Winterborn: So we need to sort out how to deal with the fragment, as well as the priestess’ ailments
Quinn Winterborn seems tob e talking to himself
Hudson: And the people who are attacking the town. I’d really like to deal with them.
Quinn Winterborn: The problem is that the fragments have a way of being found. They kind of want to be found, in a way. We need to stop this one from being found or taken by the Netherese, who might try to assemble the Sihedron.
Quinn Winterborn: That would be….bad
River: S-so…. what do we d-do?
Xila: So, what is this Sihedron anyway?
Quinn Winterborn: It’s tied up in the history of Netheril. It’s an ancient, powerful artifact that belonged to Nether the Elder himself
Quinn Winterborn: Back even before the Netherese were corrupted
Alamarayne Moonray: The founder of Netheril – before men wielded magic, if I recall correctly.
Quinn Winterborn: Yes. He was one of the first. Made himself king with it
Xila: Oh, so super bad thing, got it.
Quinn Winterborn: The good news is that, if we can find an Ioun stone and insert it into the Sihedron fragment, it should suspend the curse you are currently suffering, Priestess Moonray
Xila: An.. iron stone?
Alamarayne Moonray looks concerned. “An ioun stone? Those are relatively rare and powerful magical item.”
River: W-well…. is there s-something else we can d-do? I’m afraid I d-dont have much to offer…
Xila: Oh, an Ioun stone, was gonna say, an iron stone would be easy to find.. I think
Xila: …What’s an Ioun stone?
DM: lol
You arent sure why, but you all believe that the priestess is either hiding something, or not being entirely truthful.
Quinn Winterborn: If the Sihedron were to be assembled, it would be a catastrophe on par with the Spellplague.
Alamarayne Moonray: Its a small stone that acts as a magical enhancement to one’s intellect.
Alamarayne Moonray: Doesnt that seem a bit… drastic?
Quinn Winterborn: I’ve always thought of them as providing clarity of thought, though I’ve never experienced it myself. Perhaps that’s how it helps with the curse.
Alamarayne Moonray: Curse?
Moro groans, casting a sideways glance at the priestess.
Quinn Winterborn: I would image, priestess, that you would understand better than I what the repercussions would be if Nether himself’s prized artifact were to be reassembled.
Quinn Winterborn: And yes, the curse on the fragment is what is interfering with your prayers
Alamarayne Moonray: I dont begin to understand what this has to do with me – why would my magic be effected? I don’t cast spells like some hedgemage!
River: P-perhaps…
River: Ms. Moonray… Do you…. I-I mean…
River: Are you…. b-b-being forthright with everything…?
Quinn Winterborn interrupts his own thoughtful muttering, and tilts his head towards River
Xila: Oh, you thought so too huh?
Hudson brow furrows.
Quinn Winterborn: River, Ms Moonray may already be suffering under the curse.
Alamarayne Moonray: Well, no. I mean, this is all very… draining on all of us. The community at large is counting on me…
River: W-w-well…. be as it m-may… it does not add up…
The Priestess puts her hands on her hips and shoots Quinn a withering glare. “Are you insinuating something?”
Quinn Winterborn takes a step back, then takes a deep breath
Quinn Winterborn looks up, seemingly looking at the priestess for the first time in this conversation
Quinn Winterborn looks the priestess in the eye
Quinn Winterborn: Moro, your help please?
Quinn Winterborn looks arouund the room, staring for a moment at the door
River: M-Mr. W-Winterborn…?
Quinn Winterborn looks undecided for a moment
Xila: What’cha thinking Quinn?
Quinn Winterborn: By Amaunator and Selune, Priestess, I hope your words and deeds are truthful and good
Quinn Winterborn walks over towards the back of the door, where the priestess garb is hanging, and opens a bag and looks inside
Alamarayne Moonray tries to move forward, but the cramped confines of the office with all of these people make it impossible. “Wait…”
Quinn Winterborn stops
Quinn Winterborn: Alamarayne Moonray, by your goddess and my own, are you in possession of an Ioun Stone?
Alamarayne Moonray struggles internally for a moment.
Quinn Winterborn fixes his gaze upon her, unblinking
River is confused by the sudden changing events.
Alamarayne Moonray flushes white and then turns a brillant shade of red. “I… I dont know what is happeneing to me. I feel like Im fighting my own mind.”
Quinn Winterborn: You are.
Alamarayne Moonray: Left pocket of the inner robe, you will find a stone.
Quinn Winterborn: As I said earlier, the shard is cursed
Quinn Winterborn: I was afraid you would lie to me, priestess
Quinn Winterborn: Tell me, are there also riches and gaudy jewelry in your acessories behind me?
Xila looks sharply in Quinns direction
Quinn Winterborn seems calm and certain now
Xila: Oooh ooh, lemee see!
Quinn Winterborn: Xila, NO
Xila pouts
Quinn Winterborn: Curse, remember?
Alamarayne Moonray: No. nothing of that sort. Only implements of my station – my holy symbol and some semi-precious components.
Quinn Winterborn: Moro? Do we believe her?
Xila: But I’m not afraid of any curses.. I want shiny things.
Quinn Winterborn sighs, clearly having forgotten Xila was in the room
Alamarayne Moonray: If you plan to rob me, within clear sight, I will not take it lightly.
Xila: Oh, so you admit you have shiny things?
Quinn Winterborn: There is a shard of the Sihedron called the Shard of Greed. It curses the holder to desire jewelry and fine clothing.
Xila: Oh well, that wont affect me then, I already desire that.
Quinn Winterborn: If they are not wearing such, they are sickened, as you maybe now.
River: I-I thought we were h-here to help? W-Why are we doing this?
Quinn Winterborn: I find myself wondering if you were fighting your own mind about revealing the Ioun Stone, Priestess, because you are cursed by the shard of greed?
Quinn Winterborn turns to River
Quinn Winterborn: Does that make sense?
River: Please… Just r-remove this curse… You have the m-means now, yes?
Quinn Winterborn nods
Quinn Winterborn: As long as the priestess does not opose us
Alamarayne Moonray: Perhaps the robe is of higher quality than it should be, but it was a gift.
Quinn Winterborn walks to the robe and searches for the Ioun Stone
You fine a iridescent blue sphere the size of a robins egg within the pocket Alamarayne specified.
Alamarayne Moonray looks defeated, but does not make a move or response.
Quinn Winterborn walks to the desk, tryign to smile at the priestess, and inserts the Ioun stone into the indentation
Xila: Ooooooh
The stone sits easily into the indentation in the shard, The stone glimmers brightly for a moment before going dark.
Xila pouts again
Hudson: How do we tell if she isn’t greedy anymore? Try and give her jewelry to charity?
Quinn Winterborn: I think it may take a day or two before the curse is lifted completely
Quinn Winterborn touches the shard when inserting the Ioun stone, then blinks, staggers back, and groans
Alamarayne Moonray: I dont believe it to be an issue, as I have plenty to tend to without worrying over this… thing.
River: ….Uh… Mr. W-Winterborn?
Quinn Winterborn: Sorry, sorry.
Quinn Winterborn: If I might suggest, priestess, that you do not give away any of the jewelry or finery you have come to possess for at least a day? You might find it an ordeal….
Quinn Winterborn turns to the party
Quinn Winterborn: Ugh sorry. I have no idea what to do now…
Alamarayne Moonray: I plan on resting if possible. The ceremony took much out of me.
Quinn Winterborn: That sounds like a good plan. Is there someone who can watch over you, just to be safe?
Alamarayne Moonray: Enrad would be the only I would trust implicitly.
River: We s-should talk to him for s-safe harbor as well… while we watch the s-shard…
Alamarayne Moonray: What will you do with it?
Quinn Winterborn shrugs
Quinn Winterborn: I’ll tell you what we won’t do, is use it to reassemble the Sihedron….
Xila: Why not? if we reassemble it, then the netherese cant.. right?
Quinn Winterborn groans softly, clearly unhappy
Alamarayne Moonray: Perhaps – but the frequency of the attacks in the outskirits of Elmwood have increased since Quine brought this item to me. I cannot but think they are related. Is there some manner in which the relic is tracked?
Xila: Evil things are drawn to evil things, just as thieves are drawn to shiny things.
River: A powerful a-artifact would be easy to find… if they know what and w-where to look… I think we will have to d-deal with the attacks eventually…
Alamarayne Moonray: It does not appear to be powerful, at least not to me. Had it, I think there would have been more effort into shielding it.
Quinn Winterborn: It’s…also not impossible that someone has another shard, and that it is leading them to this one.
Quinn Winterborn: That is not a happy thought
Xila: But, if a shard can lead to another shard, couldn’t we use this one to track the attacker if that’s the case?
Alamarayne Moonray: No. not at all. It means we are being hunted…
Moro growls loudly at Xila’s query.
River: …I don’t know if using the s-shard at all is a g-good idea…
Alamarayne Moonray: Many relics work in concert with one another, but are unidirectional – meaning that the first can only second and so on. The tear of Sune are lost to antiquity because the clergy possess the third and fourth tear, but do not know where the first is.
Quinn Winterborn nods in agreement with Alamarayne Moonray
Hudson: I don’t know if they know exactly where the thing is anyway, since they were attacking groups of people outside the town.
Alamarayne Moonray: But that would explain the strange visions, yes?
Quinn Winterborn: Yes, no doubt the shard was trying to point you to the next shard
Alamarayne Moonray: The stone woman then?
Quinn Winterborn sighs
Quinn Winterborn: Yes, though I’m impressed that you saw that much without the stone inserted. Clearly, your will is…impressive
Xila: Maybe we should find this next shard?
River: If n-nothing else but to p-prevent it from falling into foul hands… b-but…
River: Would we need another s-stone to counteract the shard?
Quinn Winterborn: There is danger in possessing more than one shard. So long as we ensure that his shard is safe, we should be fine
Alamarayne Moonray: I do not know – but I would assume the relics share some similarity. Alas – I have no additional stone.
Quinn Winterborn: Apologies for ruining the one you had, but I think it was for the best
Quinn Winterborn grins ruefully
Xila: So, what’s the plan? Wait for more attacks and stop them, or take a gamble and take the shard away from here and hope they’re tracking it so they come after us and not innocent people?
Alamarayne Moonray: It was a gift from the Goddess. She saw fit to grace me with it, and should she see fit to do so, she will replace it. I fear it was gifted to me only to be fated to fill this role.
Alamarayne Moonray: The guard is capable of protecting the citizenry. The worse of the attacks have been away from the city in the surrounding forests and merchant routes.
Alamarayne Moonray: But we are still at a loss for who is conducting these attacks.
Alamarayne Moonray yawns.
Alamarayne Moonray: Im afraid I wont last much longer this night. There are bedrolls tucked in one of the closets in the great hall, you are welcome to sleep there if you have no where else. Im afraid the cloisters are full currently though.
Quinn Winterborn: Is it possible for all of us to sleep at the temple, for now? FOr a donation, of course. I’d feel safer surrounded by those in the service of good
Quinn Winterborn: Thank you
Alamarayne Moonray: Of course – you have already done me a great service.
Quinn Winterborn bows awkwardly
Alamarayne Moonray ushers you out of the office and to where the bedrolls and bedding is kept. She then bids you farewell for the night and departs for her chambers once more.
Quinn Winterborn tucks in
Slumber takes you easily as the quiet of the night coupled with the serene surrounds cause ease within you, even if you feel troubled. Those in the group that sleep soundly (Everyone but Quinn), your dreams are strange and filled with mists and clouds, parting infrequently to reveal a massive stone monolith, jutting up towards the sky. As the dreams continue you eventually get a clear glimpse, a towering statue of a woman wearing archaic looking garb, holding a torch held high.
In the morning you awaken to hear a light commotion from outside of the temple, heard over the open roof of the temple hall.
River slowly stirs, before gathering her things and looking towards the commotion.
Xila stretches as she awakens
Xila: Ahhh what a nice dream.
Xila: So, what’s happening outside?
Quinn Winterborn: Let’s go see
Hudson wakes quickly and is already heading towards the door.
Xila follows
Leaving the room, you find your way back outside of the temple to see several of the guard and a dozen or so acolytes milling around a seriously wounded elf. Charred remains of two other bodies lie covered in the street near the gathering, and a third, smaller body lies covered as well, the hand of a child peeking out from under the crude cover, crimson and coal marring the exposed flesh.
Quinn Winterborn: Amaunator…
River: W-w-what h-happened?
Quinn Winterborn: Fireball? Be ware!
Quinn Winterborn looks around for a signs of more trouble
One of the acolytes turn to you, a woman that you saw collecting motes from the priestess’ ceremony last night. “They were attacked outside of the city, on their way from the River.”
River: H-how long ago?
The acolyte shakes her head, “Im not sure exactly. Sometime in the night. They were waylaid by a group of ‘travelers’ who shared their wagon, but then turned on them and killed several outright. The morning patrol found them and brought them here at first light.”
Hudson eyes narrow.

Last time on HBC, the heroes found themselves confronted with a powerful artifact that had brought the local priestess under its sway. Luckily, Quinns understanding of arcane relics was robust enough to determine the nature of the item, and how to counteract the curse on the item. Freeing Priestess Moonray from the shard, the group spent the night in the temple, resting up for another day. In the morning they awoke to a commotion coming from outside, where they found some guards and acolytes tending to some merchants that were attacked outside of the city. The heroes found themselves in a pickle – do they speak with Enrad about the priesttess, or do they venture outside of the city to find the attackers?
To refresh – dead bodies of elderly and children. A badly wounded man who is being tended to by acolytes and a trio of city guard.
River and the others proceed towards the inn, where they hope to find Enrad and bring him up to speed.
The group leaves the gruesome scene to the paid professionals, heading back to the tavern near the docks. You pass several small groups of city guardsmen that rush in the opposite direction of you, clearly irritated. You arrive at the inn to find it locked up this morning, though the singing that can be heard from around the back is clearly Enrad’s voice.
Xila heads around the back, skipping in time to the song
You find the dwarf singing more elven songs, his voice clear in the morning light. He is racking up several large roasts into a smoking box, with an array of bowls, crocks and kettles scattered on a large picnic table behind him.
He takes a moment to notice you, then stops his singing abruptly, “Oh… hello?”
River: Mr. E-Enrad? W-we…. need to talk to you a-about something of d-dire importance…
Enrad Daelborn: Well, I hope you dont mind me working while we talk – food wont prep itself – and folk’s er always hungry!
Xila stomach rumbles right on que.
Xila: Yup! I can agree with that.
River: P-perhaps… We were w-wondering if you c-could look after the p-priestess while we… i-investigate the recent a-attacks…
River: E-even so… w-we’re not sure where to look f-first outside the w-walls…
Enrad Daelborn motions to the table, “If you peel taters while we talk, I’ll give you the lunch meal on the house.” He then stops cold and turns to River, “What happened to Mara?”
Hudson: starts peeling.
River: It… w-we…. she was….
Xila: Oooh! I’m an expert with a knife!
River carefully looks around to check that they aren’t being watched…
Xila steals peeling the potatoes so fast, she makes holes in them.. stabby stabby.l
There appears to be no one in this area but you and the dwarf.
River then leans in toward Enrad’s ear, taking care to whisper quietly.
River (whispering): S-she was a-affected by some kind of m-mysterious artifact she was s-safeguarding… Mr. Winterborn helped to r-regain her senses, but she is feeling w-weak…
Enrad Daelborn grows dark red, his countenance stormy for a moment without saying anything.
River (whispering): It may take some t-time before she is w-well again… Perhaps you c-could watch her until she is w-well again?
Clearly the dwarf is coming to grips with something, before he takes a deep breath and attempts to calm himself. “This is all Quin’s fault! I KNEW that Mara was getting into bed with trouble when those two got together! Its the kind of thing you tell people over and over and over again – do they listen? No. What do I know? Im just an old man who knows nothing about the ways of the world and the dreams of little girls. Fie!”
Xila sings a song about peeling potatoes as she works.. to liven the mood.
Xila stops peeling.
Xila: What’s Quinns fault?
Enrad Daelborn: Not Quinn – Quin – Telquine.
River: P-perhaps… but we can only change w-what is to come, not what already h-has happened…
River: Please, will you h-help?
Enrad Daelborn slaps a thick roast onto the grates, clearly aggravated. “Yes – I’ll look after Mara. How have you remedied her affliction?”
River: We were a-able to nullify the a-artifact with the help of a-another…
Xila: Ooooh! That makes sense.
Xila: Ok, back to peeling
Xila: Peeling potaotes, Peeling potatoes
River: B-but we fear this is what the recent attacks are s-seeking to find.
Enrad Daelborn: The attacks have been increasing recently, and there have been an influx of ‘unusual’ persons through town recently. Could be some of them. But it seems more coordinated and less haphazard. I’d guess slavers, but then again, I blame quite a bit on them.
River: Do you k-know where th-they are heading? Or…. should we s-search on our o-own?
Enrad Daelborn: There were a few individuals that came in the day before yesterday, but I think they’ve moved on since then. No one’s really come through since you’ve arrived. My guess would be that they are heading towards Elmwood from the east, as the attacks have been moving steadily westward.
River: W-well… it’s better than n-nothing… Thank you.
Xila finishes peeling the potatoes
Xila: So! Lunchtime?
Enrad Daelborn: Got to cook them first, unless you like raw potatoes.
Xila: Awww
Enrad Daelborn: Whats your plans then, to just wander the woods, looking for trouble?
Hudson frowns.
Xila: Ok, so, hunt bad guys, eat after right?
Xila: Potatoes will be cooked by then yeah?
Enrad Daelborn: Thats generally a bad idea in the elven forest – people dont tend to like it, and you’re as likely to stumble into trouble are you are to find it. Why do you think the attacks are related to this – magical doodad?
River: It’s……the Sihedron…. Or a piece of it.
Enrad Daelborn looks confused. “Ok. not sure what that is. You said Quin’s involved Mara – that means they have some bits of Shade magic then?”
Enrad Daelborn: If the shades are involved, then likely its Zhent mercs killing and hurting peoples. Likely hired outta Mulmaster. That said, those idiots arent very good at hiding their trails, and the guard aint found much to go on yet, That means this get is sneaky, methodical and likelt manical. Best be careful. Unless you know of someone thats seen these men, I doubt you’ll be able to track them down.
River: If n-not… I feel they will track us instead. We will have to b-be on guard…
Hudson: Better to at least try and get them on the backfoot.
Enrad Daelborn: Then perhaps you set the trap instead? Not sure how though. But sounds like poking around isnt going to be fruitful. Perhaps running away and hiding? That might prevent innocents from being killed.
Xila: But… I like poking around.
Xila: Although I also like hiding.. and stabing people after hiding.
Enrad Daelborn: You murdered those potatoes… I’ll have to peel more so theres some to eat
Hudson: If this is drawing people to us, we should go away from innocents.
River: Exactly. We will have to e-end this one way or a-another…
Hudson: Okay. So, we can either go pick a spot for an ambush, or just head out of town and pursue… the other thing, and let them come to us too.
Enrad Daelborn: Perhaps it will work itself out, but I would plan your route carefully, collateral damage will not be light
Izual: We could always look for the other ones.
A loud thunderclap ruins the relative silence of the city in the morning. Several smaller staccatos ring out in response, the mini explosions rocking the ground and the dwarf’s relative calm. “That sounds like the guards arcane bows. But what could be attacking the city?”
Xila snaps to attention.
Xila: Sounds like trouble, we should go check it out
Hudson nods
River: … I have a b-bad feeling about this…
Another blast rocks the ground and a black cloud of billowing smoke comes from the southern edge of the city,
Enrad Daelborn: Might be a good idea to go check on Mara. Im going to lock things up here.
Enrad Daelborn quickly starts gathering up the items off the table to take them inside.
Hudson looks at the group. “We’re going right?”
Xila nods
River: I….I-If we must…
Hudson starts rushing.
Xila: It’ll be fun! Just think of all the bad guys to poke with a dagger.l
Xila heads off.
Several more explosions and smaller black clouds of smoke billow from the wooden walls of the city as you meander back through the city towards the temple. Luckily, it seems that most of the city guard was already mobilized, and you note that teams of acolytes move towards the walls, medical kits in hand. It seems that whatever is happening involves most of the city’s resources.
Several small groups of guardsmen rush from the western most areas of the city back to the east and south. A few isolated druids and hedgemages also accompany the city guard, busily consulting tomes and scrolls as they do so. You come to the temple, to find Priestess Moonray delegating small groups of acolytes and initiates to areas of the city on a small map set up on the large table outside. A steady flow of wounded come into the temple to be tended by awaiting priests.
Hudson: What’s happening? Where can we help?
Alamarayne Moonray flips a strand of hair from her face, “I dont even know fully It seems that the city is being attacked from several places by groups of well armed soldiers and mages. The city guard has answered, but we are taking losses at a greater rate than we can inflict them.”
Alamarayne Moonray: I cant keep this area organized and tend to the wounded at the other end of the city. You have someone skilled in healing among you, yes?
River: Y-yes… I can a-assist if n-need be…
Xila: And I can assist with stabbing! That’s always fun.
Alamarayne Moonray: Good – please go to the western end of the city – in the bazaar there is a large infirmary – a big white building with the crescent moon upon it – and attend to the woudned there. The acolytes can do the heavy lifting, but they need organization. Can you do this?
River: Y-yes. We m-must hurry.
Hudson nods sharply, and starts moving, hand on his hammer at all times.
Xila: Wait, we’re just gonna hang out with a bunch of injured people and not stab bad guys? That’s no fun.
Hudson: We can keep guard of the place Xila. As a second line of defence.
Xila: Well.. As long as I get to stab someone.
Xila pouts
Xila begins heading off to the infirmary.
Winding through the streets, you find you hear the loud thump of explosions less frequently than on your journey to the temple, however you can occasionally hear someone scream aloud, though you never come across these people. You way is made slowly, as you aren’t entirely sure where the infirmary is, other than a vague direction. The wide paved streets give way to narrower cobbled streets, where the buildings are more packed together and the buildings less robust.
Coming down the main road, you believe that you catch sight of the infirmary or at least a very large white building, a few block down. Turning down what you believe is the correct street, you are greeted with at grizzly scene. Two acolytes lie in the middle of a crossroads, a bright swath of crimson painting the cobbles stones between them. A group of men and women are scatted among the bodies, chief among them a large bald man with a blood slicked greatsword.
River: T-they’ve already b-broken through the western w-wall?
Hudson reaches into his bag of holding, and grabs the Onyx God ready.
Xila readies her dagger
Xila: Yay, things to stab!
Moro growls and readies to initate combat… with her teeth.
Xila: I haven’t stabbed a bad guy for a while, getting antsy.
A mass of bones picks itself up from the ground, where a person once stood. The bald man turns and laughs aloud looking in your direction, “Looks like more fodder, Vilki.”
Xila: But… we’re not food.
Xila: We’re people
Quinn Winterborn: He’s raising undead from the townsfolk! Stop!
Izual: Be careful. We don’t know what’s lurking around.
Xila steps behind the wall for cover.
[TURN] Quinn Winterborn
From Xila’s vantage point, she sees another skeleton down the alleyway
Xila: We got another one
Xila points to the alleyway
Quinn Winterborn conjures a cloud of daggers to pierce the skeleton in the alleyway!
Several skeletons emerge from around the buildings corners and begin to move towards you, guided by an unseen hand.
Quinn Winterborn: They fall over pretty easily… I can mop them up pretty quickly.
The tiefling moves forward, whisps of smoke and fire streaming from his hands as he does so. He stops abruptly and hurls a globule of smoking brimstone at Xila.
Vilkins: Blast! The damned bones are in the way, Charl!
WarMage Minos: Its fine, you upstart savant. Leave this to the professonals.
A black cloud of vaoprs bursts into being in the middle of the group, the choking cloud cutting off your fresh air and filling your lungs with poison.
River chokes and wavers as black vapors surround her and her allies.
Xila looks at the dog Hudson threw
Xila: Doggy!
Hudson: His name is Remus!
Hudson grins at Xila.
Moro growls and jumps into Izual’s frame, disappearing and alighting the gith’s eyes with a silver fire!
Moro suddenly reappears right in front of the two enemy wizards, baring her teeth with vengeance!
WarMage Minos flinches as the massive arrow lances into him.
A woman goblinoid steps from one of the buidlings, moving your way. Large stylized images of a black gauntlet held upright are present on her garb and armor.
Blackhand Thvim: NO QUARTER!
At her cry, the skeleton strikes at the onyx dog.
Zealot Charles rushes forward in a blur of motion.
Zealot Charles slams into the dog full force with his blade, the hit sending Remus staggering backwards nearly 15’.
Zealot Charles points at Hudson. “You die next!”
Hudson: After you.
A slim, familiar man steps from the farthest building, he steps towards the dead men in the street and murmurs something, casting a spell.
River gasps as the man reveals himself. “W-what? N-no, this c-can’t be…”
Xila pokes around the corner.
Xila: Hiya!
Xila shifts away after the attack
Quinn Winterborn rolls back the sleeves of his robes… and lobs a single bead of white light into the street….. which explodes into a sheet of fire!
Vilkins: Heh. professional my ass.
Quinn Winterborn dodges, grinning
Moro turns back to try helping the rest of the party by harrying the bald warrior.
River then pulls out a banner from her pack, planting it in the city street.
River: Be strong, Mr. A-Aydar! Persevere!
River prays for hope…. and fire springs forth around Hudson in a protective circle.
Tal Montez: Its her! Miss Sangria, your presence is requested in Suzail. I beg that you come peacefully, otherwise I will be forced to dirty my hands.
River: I-I… I don’t know what you’re t-talking about…
Tal Montez: You know exactly what I am talking about.
Izual lets loose a flaming arrow, straight at the man who rounded the corner.
Tal Montez laughs.
Blackhand Thvim: Charles, you first.
Blackhand Thvim: You’re out of range again Charles. Minion – strike true!
Tal Montez touches the ground once more, drawing ebony energy into his hand, as the body of the other acolyte begins to rise..
Tal Montez: A shame. I will have to sunder it then.
Moro shrugs off the magical missile with a bit of effort to keep her form.
Xila moves past Khal Drogo to get to Thvim
Xila: Hi! Since you’re near Moro, guess you’re the one I kill
Xila: Don’t you feel all warm inside?
Blackhand Thvim: You are nothing, halfling.
Xila: Tell that to my dagger!
Quinn Winterborn points his staff at the ground, and mutters words of power
Xila dodges the skeletons attack effortlessly, without even turning around.
Moro moves to get the proper vantage point from within the mass battle… and howls!
Xila just stabs Thvim more
Izual ’s bow glows with a firey red… and he aims it at Xila.
Izual: Xila, incoming!
Izual ’s arrow explodes in a fiery blast, setting flame to multiple of his foes.
Xila hops out of the way as the arrow comes charging towards her.
Zealot Charles swings…
and then swings again
Charley APs
Blackhand Thvim: Charles… end this
Xila shakes off the fear caused by Thvim.
Xila: Ha! Takes more then that to scare me
Tal Montez: I warned you. This pain is your fault.
Xila lets lose a torrent of blows, aiming for the targets eyes

Chat log started at 5.10.2016 / 13:44:35

Last time on HBC – the heroes found out some information concerning the shards from the Innkeeper, but when they went back to follow up on some more leads, a fight broke out from outside the city that resulted in some major assault of the city itself. Sent to help out at the other infirmary across town, the group came across some baddies and the resulting sequence has caught them up in a fierce fight for survival!
Explosions of fire flash among the heroes, but none close enough to leave a lasting impression.
Moro dives into Hudson’s body, invigorating him with FURY.

Izual levels his bow at the blind Thvim….
Izual closes his eyes…. and wills the arrow to fly forth towards the backline!
Izual: …You three are next.
Zealot Charles stands up.
Tal Montez: And now we end this charade.
River: Nnngh…. n-no….
Quinn Winterborn: River!?
Hudson: What’s wrong?
Xila: River?
Tal raises his hands and grabs and twists the aethyr around him, causing brillant white sparks to spit from his hands. As he does so, you hear the distant wail of a white wolf as Tal makes a tearing motion and breaks “something” in half. River falls to the ground unconscious.
Quinn Winterborn: River!!
Izual: …That was not a happy sound…
Xila: RIVER!!
Tal Montez: I warned you. Even gave you a chance to come quietly. But no, you acted a fool.
Hudson: You will die. Painfully!
Tal Montez: Enough, cur.
Izual pauses and widens his eyes as recognition washes over him.
Izual: …He severs the connection… but how?
Quinn Winterborn: If words matter, FRIEND, then heed this warning – hurt my friends, and there will be no escape from my magic….
Izual: We must take them down quickly!
Xila turns around and charges Tal
Hudson points at the other enemies. “You’re next,”
Zealot Charles swings his sword in a frantic arc as Hudson’s hammer crashes into him, catching the warden and his hound off guard.
Izual takes a firm grip onto Hudson’s arm and STRAAAAAAAINS to drag him out of harms way.
Hudson looks confused.
Izual: I shall not have you strike down my friend!
Tal Montez: Away from me, halfling welp.
Xila: Well that wasn’t very nice
Xila: I just wanted to stab you, is that so much to ask?
Tal Montez points to the dead body of Zealot Charles. “Arise, Charles. Be of more use now, than you were in life.”
Xila stands and dusts herself off
Quinn Winterborn: His protection just faded. Hit him now, Xila!
Xila: Ok!
Xila Aims her dagger right at Tal, and throws it, then calls it back to throw again a split second later.
Xila then throws her dagger for a third time.
Xila: That’s for hurting my friends you jerk!
Tal Montez: I will put you in a cage and feed you to the carrion birds, child.
Quinn Winterborn: Words, words, words.
?: Outta the way, ma’am. Heroic entrance, comin’ through.
Quinn Winterborn: Who are you calling ma’am?
steps through the alleyway and poses heroically.
?: Stand and deliver, Evildo-
: ….Wait, what happened to everyone?
Tal Montez: Who are you?
Xila: Oooh, whose the friend Quinn?
Quinn Winterborn: I…uh…
???: No matter! STAND AND DELIVER EVILDOER. The HIGHWAYMAN demands his due!
Quinn Winterborn looks at the stranger pointedly
Xila: That’s not fair, he has a cool pose. I want a cool pose.
Xila tries to make a cool pose
Highwayman: Y’know, I was expecting a fair fight. Not sporting attacking women.
A cloud of dark vapors pool around Tal’s feet, granting him rapid healing to his wounds.
Tal Montez: Diee…ee… alo..nne…
Xila completely ignores the skeleton nipping at her and heads to strike Tal
Highwayman: Don’t worry, citizens. You are SAFE with the Highwayman at your side!
Xila guides her strike just right.
Xila follows up with a slash at his legs
Highwayman: Stand back, ma’am. We can’t have y-
Highwayman: OH GOD YOU’RE A MAN
Quinn Winterborn shouts “finish him, I’ll protect the others”
Highwayman shakes off his revelation and turns toward Tal Montez.
Quinn Winterborn holds his staff at ready
Highwayman: Anyways, prepare for judgement, criminal scum!
Highwayman: For I am the shadow that stalks you in the night~ I am the boot that kicks the butt of evil~ I am the HIGHWAYMAN!
Highwayman poses once again for good measure.
Xila just turns away from Tal and stares at Highwayman
Quinn Winterborn mutters if Xila swoons…..
Xila: No fair, I want a cool speech.
Xila: I am the one who stabs people in the belly, I am the halfling that never rests until every gold coin is hers! I am XILA!
Highwayman: ….Wait, you’re a criminal too?
Xila: Oh I only stab bad people.
Quinn Winterborn: Smooth…..
Xila: Huh? I’m not evildoer, I’m xila.
Xila points to Tal
Xila: He’s evildoer.
Hudson: Xila is just an annoyancedoer.
Xila: Yup!
Xila: I mean.. heeey
Highwayman: …I’ll withhold judgement against the short one for now. BUT YOU! You shall not escape your fate.
Xila: ..Short one? is that a short joke?
Hudson: …. he means the necromancer right?
Hudson throws his hands out, and eyes turn solid white.
Hudson: You’re going to bleed for me!
Highwayman: Hold on. Lemme get my music box.
Highwayman turns a small key on the side of his belt…. and a hymn begins to play.
Highwayman: Right then. FOR GREAT JUSTICE!
Highwayman charges forth recklessly!
As you strike at Tal, a wasp of dark energy steals your life force.
Highwayman lands a sharp blow, and leaves a parting shot of light into the necromancer’s eyes.
Highwayman: HAH. THIS is a fight!
Highwayman: Come at me, evildoer! Show me that your magic isn’t mere parlor tricks!
Tal Montez eyes flicker with dark energy, as he struggles against the magics of the others. Still, he points a finger at Izual and whispers, “Break.”
Izual gurgles a cry of indescribable pain and falls to his knees.
Xila: Ok, now I’m mad.
Xila: Although I was mad before
Xila: But now I’m madder
Xila steps forward and stabs Tal Montez
Highwayman: Focus your attention on me or be JUDGED FOR YOUR WEAKNESS!
Highwayman bravely runs away around the corner.
Highwayman: That did not do as much as I had hoped it would.
Xila moves downwards and throws her dagger
Quinn Winterborn flicks away the skeleton’s claw with a grin
Highwayman: I shall not go quietly in the night! JUSTICE SHALL PREVAIL!
Highwayman valiantly charges once more!
Tal Montez runs away.
Highwayman: Stop…. Ow my head…
Xila follows after Tal
Highwayman: In a moment! Hero… busy trying to find his feet…
Highwayman takes a bit of a breather.
Quinn Winterborn: I already told you, there is no escape from my magic
Xila stands up.
Xila: Peekaboo!
Xila throws a dagger around the corner.

Highwayman moves up and pats himself on the back for encouragement.
Highwayman: THERE YOU ARE, Evildoer!
Highwayman: Trying to escape me, eh?
Highwayman: A HA! Your feeble attack does NOTHING to faze me.
Tal Montez: Eight of you couldnt kill me,… this is your deaths.
Highwayman: Big words for a peddler of sin!
Highwayman: FALL BEFORE THE-
Tal Montez finishes his comment, only to catch a dagger in the throat and a swirling cloud of magic slicing into his flesh. The man falls to the ground in a heap, numerous trinkets falling from his body as it lies in the alley.
Quinn Winterborn: THERE
Quinn Winterborn: IS
Quinn Winterborn: NO
Quinn Winterborn: ESCAPE
Quinn Winterborn: FROM
Quinn Winterborn: MY
Quinn Winterborn: MAGIC
Quinn Winterborn take a deep breath then lets it out in a puff
Remus rushes to River’s limp form.
Highwayman: ….Aw man. Had a big speech and everything, too.
Quinn Winterborn: Hudson, we got him. Check on River and Izual!!
Xila: Serves ya right!
Highwayman turns off his music-box.
Highwayman: No need to thank me civ- wait, where are you going?
Xila loots the body
Highwayman: Where’s my recognition?
Xila: Oh err, thanks for helping us, we totally had it under control though.
Xila returns to looting
Izual and River are unconscious, breathing, but unresponsive.
Highwayman: Really? I thought wizard boy was gonna pop a blood vessel for a second.
Highwayman begins to drag the dead body back to the alleyway with the others.
Quinn Winterborn ignores the Highwayman
Xila stops him
Xila: My loot
Hudson picks up River carefully.
Highwayman: Loot?
Hudson: Grab the Loot for later. We need to get to a healer.
Xila: Yeah, the goodies this guy has on him. I’m sure he’s got some nice stuff.
Highwayman: Whatever, little lady. I’ve got to account for any dead.
Highwayman: You can get your ‘loot’ later.
Xila: Nope, gonna get it now.
Xila finishes looting, then leaves the body for Highwayman to take care of and returns to river.
Xila: Ok, done now.
Highwayman: Sheesh. Scavvers.
Highwayman takes out a small list of paper and does his business as the others take account for their fallen comrades.
Xila finds a lot of gold coins, magic plate, magic gauntlets, a magical orb, some potions and a weird looking coppery shard.
Quinn Winterborn perks up
Xila: Hey Quinn here.
Xila drops the magic stuff on the ground and pockets the gold.
Highwayman: This will do for ‘Services Rendered’…
Highwayman: Right. Now then…
Highwayman: Well, then. That’s…. what, four…. and three…
Highwayman: Right then.
Highwayman turns to the party, carefully putting away his things.
Highwayman: I suppose you’re still in a bit of a pickle, what with two of your number in their current predicament.
Highwayman: FEAR NOT!
Highwayman poses heroically.
Highwayman: I, the magnanimous Crimson Crusader shall assist you and bring you to safety!
Quinn Winterborn eyes Xila warily
Xila: Nah, we don’t need to be brought to safety
Xila: Thanks for the offer though
Xila heads over to river and shakes her.
Xila: Come on River, wake up! Stop sleeping, we have places to be
Xila: If you don’t wake up… I’ll stab you till you do!
Quinn Winterborn pushes Xila gently but firmly awa from River
Highwayman: River? What an intriguing name.
Quinn Winterborn: Some healer you are
Neither River or Izual awaken when “messed with”
Quinn Winterborn: Carry them back to the temple?
Highwayman: My, she’s a tiny sort. Almost as small as the kid.
Highwayman: And th- Ewwww.
Highwayman: I mean, well. Um…. What an intriguing …specimen…..
Quinn Winterborn: That
Quinn Winterborn: …is our friend
Quinn Winterborn picks up Izual
Xila hops over to River and.. dispite her size, manages to pick up river with ease.
Xila: So, lets go
Xila: If she wont wake up, I’ll just take her with us
Highwayman: RIGHT. I, the Defender of Faerûn, shall lead you to safety! THIS WAY!
Xila heads off ignoring Highwayman
Quinn Winterborn follows Xila, slowly
Highwayman: And try not to get any more blood on the streets. This place is hard to tidy up enough as it is.
Quinn Winterborn: So, Xila, someone you met….last night?
Xila: Huh? Oh no
Xila: Never seen him before, he acts kinda funny.
Xila: Cool pose and speeches though.
Quinn Winterborn: Hmm. You seemed…. oh never mind
Highwayman: What? You’ve never heard of the Highwayman?
Quinn Winterborn: Oh, by the way, thanks for your help.
Quinn Winterborn keeps walking
Highwayman: The Bane of Tyranny? The Crimson Crusader?
Highwayman: Come on. You had to have heard of me SOMEWHERE.
Xila: ..Nope
Xila: Not a clue
Quinn Winterborn: Wait, are you the Mauve Maurauder, by any chance?
Highwayman looks as if the wind was completely taken out of his sails.
The sounds of fighting are heard well off in the distance, likely still at the walls, but not in your immediate area. You continue through the alleyways and within a few labored minutes, find yourself at the infirmary that you were sent too. Unfortunately, the building has been gutted. Dark whorls of smoke and soot stain the outer walls, and the inside of the building is burnt beyond recognition. The bodies of a handful of city guard lie intertwined with the masses of bones similar to the skeletons that you fought recently. A quick search finds a few scraps of cloth that match the cloaks of the Warmage Minos that you dispatched.
Highwayman: …Well, looks like the infirmary didn’t last too long without my help.
Xila: Aww, I was hoping for a nice bed to rest in. River’s sleeping so I thought I would join her.
Highwayman thinks to himself, as he formulates a plan.
Quinn Winterborn swears softly
Xila: So, what now?
Xila: Nothing to guard here but bones and dust.
Quinn Winterborn: Hey alley guy, do you recognize these cloaks?
Highwayman: It’s the HIGHWAYMAN, thankyouverymuch.
Xila: Ugh, I cant keep calling you that.
Xila: Too long
Quinn Winterborn: He also goes by red rover, I think
Quinn Winterborn: try that
Xila: How about… Bane?
Xila: Bane is nice a short.
Xila: And you did say you were the bane of tyranny
Highwayman: Well, it’s wordplay. Bane’s a god of tyranny. I’m the Bane of —
Highwayman: REGARDLESS
Highwayman: I’ve seen these cloaks on the outskirts of town, but really, it’s obvious they’re behind the attack.
Highwayman: Hm… Who sent you out here, anyways? You aren’t just some commoners from around here, I’d wager.
Xila: Nope, we’re adventurers.
Quinn Winterborn: She’s the Blue Brigand
Xila: Princess Moony sent us here.
Quinn Winterborn giggles
Highwayman: A fellow vigilante she clearly isn’t.
Xila: Vigi.. Vigilante? What’s that?
Highwayman: Regardless, I would have a word with your ‘Princess Moony’. She may have an idea for my assistance to save the town.
Highwayman: Where is she, by-the-by?
Xila: Oh, probably at the temple.
Highwayman: Right then. TO THE TEMPLE!
Xila: But we just came from there
Xila: That’s boring.
Hudson: Are you planning on carrying the bodies of our friends back through the battleground too?
Highwayman: Of course! What kind of hero would leave the fallen behind?
Highwayman: I’ll pick up the green fellow, since you all seem rather attached to the lady.
Highwayman: Hm. What an interesting banner.
Highwayman plucks the banner of the Lost light from the ground.
Highwayman: I take it this is yours?
Quinn Winterborn: River’s, yes.
Highwayman: I see. She must be dear to you all, judging how you fawn over the lass.
Warren (Quinn Winterborn): should I take the second shard as well, then?
Hudson: I suggest you don’t treat this with your seemingly usual amount of mockery.
Highwayman: Nay, good sir. I save my sharp tongue for those deserving of it.
Highwayman: Take heart! I shall watch over this banner of yours with the delicacy of a flower in bloom!
beyond that minute
Highwayman: …Interesting insignia. Some kind of a star on a black background?
Xila: I mean I have frost daggers so the damage type thing is useless
Highwayman: Hm…. I think…
Highwayman: Yes. I think I recall seeing you about the town earlier. Chatting up the locals and such?

Chat log started at 12.10.2016 / 17:03:48

Last time on Hangman’s Body Count, the heroes continued in a pitched battle against Tal Montez and his handful of henchmen. His magics were twisted in a way that the group had not seen before, and with a single minded focus, the villain sundered the bonds between the primal spirits that gave most in the group their powers. Both Izual and River fell victim to the spell, and both fell unconscious. Luck, however, was on their side, as another brave civilian entered the fray, helping to thwart the villians before much more carnage was had.
It was not all celebration in the end, as the group found out that there were unable to revive the two unconscious members of their group, and in the end, the infirmary that they were to support during the battle was gutted – the sick and infirm slaughtered and the building itself left a smoking husk. Dejected, the group, with their new plus one, headed back to the Temple of Selune to see if the High Priestess could make some sense of the malady affecting their comrades. During the trek back across the city, the sounds of battle silence, leaving only the erie wailing of the injured and dying wafting among the buildings…
Highwayman: THIS way, civilians! I think I see the temple over— Wait, no…. just another tall complex.
Highwayman: There’s a surprising amount of tall buildings around here.
Quinn Winterborn: Maybe I should lead
Hudson: Maybe you’re just very short.
Highwayman: Well, be careful with the green one too. I know you guys are attached to your girlfriend and all, but she’s not the only wounded.
Hudson glares.
You track back to the temple easily enough, as it seems that nearly all traffic is heading in that direction. Streams of wounded move towards the temple while those that are bandaged hobble back towards their homes. You find the quirky dwarf, Enrad tending to a group of soldiers near the rear of the temple as you approach.
Quinn Winterborn: Some help over here?
Highwayman: You there, dwarf! We’ve more wounded for you to tend!
Enrad Daelborn turns at the sound of your voice, clearly shocked to see you appear from around the corner. “I thought Mara sent you to the market?”
Highwayman: I…. WOW, I don’t even know what to say to that.
Enrad Daelborn: Well, what happened? Set them down on the bower over there and I’ll see what I can do. Great with gut and a needle, but they dont appear to be wounded.
Highwayman: Well, they’re not waking up. Looks wounded to me.
Enrad Daelborn: Perhaps you’d like me to sew up their nostrils then?
Quinn Winterborn: They fell victims to a curse of some sort.
Highwayman: I’d be careful with the wordplay. The big one doesn’t appreciate a good jab.
Hudson continues to glare.
Enrad Daelborn shakes his head and bellows in an elven-dawrfy kind of manner, “HARL! GET MARA OUT HERE! MORE BAD NEWS!”
Enrad Daelborn: So… what… happened?
Hudson: We already killed the people that did it. A group with dark magic.
Hudson looks to Quinn to continue.
Quinn Winterborn: They wore interesting garb. The curse seemed to feel the two of them with nary a wound. They just screamed and fell where they stood
Highwayman: It was a most heinious act of EVIL, attacking a woman and…. whatever he is. BUT HEINIOUS NONETHELESS.
Quinn Winterborn: It wasn’t arcane magic, I can tell you that.
Highwayman: Thankfully, I was nearby to assist aid.
Highwayman poses heroically.
Hudson: Moro vanished from the field when it hit. I don’t know if that means anything.
Highwayman: …Moro? Some other rapscallion is in danger?
Enrad Daelborn feels around the head and neck of the two unconscious ones, grunting softly. “This is beyond my ken.” He settles for a moment. “Smelling salts?”
Quinn Winterborn: Hm yes this is true. I would imagine that it would take a very specific kind of magic to sever a shaman and her familiar
Quinn Winterborn turns to the HIghwayman
Quinn Winterborn: Did you just use the word rapscallion??
Hudson hesitantly tries reaching out for Moro with his mind.
Highwayman: What? It’s a word.
Quinn Winterborn shakes his head sadly
A few more moments pass, Enrad puts you to work helping bandaging others and fetching water while he works. After several attempts at reviving the pair, he wipes his hands on his breeches and walks off muttering “I cant do anything for them, but I got lots dying aorund here. Mara’ll be here shortly – bet she can help.”
Quinn Winterborn: I pray to Amaunator that you are right, friend.
Ten minutes later, the high priestess arrives, a half dozen acolytes and attendants rushing around here and there. She dismisses them as she comes closer, seeing the forms of River and Izual laid out on the ground.
Hudson: Please. Tell me you can do something.
Alamarayne Moonray: I take it you were not successful.
Quinn Winterborn sighs
Quinn Winterborn: No.
Highwayman: You must be the high priestess.
Quinn Winterborn: Let her work, man.
Highwayman: Sorry, sorry. I’ve just got more on my mind.
Alamarayne Moonray kneels down and feels around with delicate fingertips, probing and proding, attempting to find the extent of the issue. “You said this was a curse of somekind?”
Quinn Winterborn: Sorry, priestess, I did not discern the nature of the curse, but it acted very much like one
Alamarayne Moonray frowns. “This is some kind of magic that Ive not seen before, but have read about… maybe. Who was the assailant? What did he look like… and sound like.”
Quinn Winterborn offers a quick, though not observant, description.
Highwayman: He was a cruel and rather talkative villain! Long chin, fancy mustache. Had EVIL written all over him.
Hudson: They could summon and control the dead
Highwayman: Stubborn to the end, no less.
Highwayman: But they could not best the HIGHWAYMAN~
Highwayman poses proudly to everyone’s chagrin.
Quinn Winterborn: VERY arrogant.
Alamarayne Moonray: Clearly not Zhent… but the dead? That does not bode well. Dusky skin and a smooth pate could very well be Thayan, the magic is one Ive read about being used against the Witches of Rashemen in eons past. I… I dont know that I can do anything.
Highwayman: Then all we can do is wait, and see if fortune favors them.
Quinn Winterborn gasps in dismay
Alamarayne Moonray looks very frustrated. “Time, perhaps could mend them – but the magic sunders their connection to the spirits themselves – akin to turning one inside out, stripping them of all they are.”
Hudson stares blankly at hids two friends.
Highwayman: Nngh. Sounds grisly.
Alamarayne Moonray: Its likely thats why the wolf spirit disapated.
Hudson: Moro. His name was Moro.
Alamarayne Moonray: But why would such a powerful creature journey to Elmwood?
Quinn Winterborn crouches down and holds Izual’s hand.
Quinn Winterborn: You know why, Priestess.
Alamarayne Moonray: What is that supposed to mean?
Highwayman: Regardless, it is CLEAR this town is in need of heroes.
Highwayman: I ‘HUMBLY’ offer my services to aid you in your time of need, High Priestess.
Quinn Winterborn does not respond
Highwayman bows low in regards to the Priestess.
Alamarayne Moonray spreads her hands wide. “What could you offer in this time of disaster?”
Quinn Winterborn makes sure his pack is securely fastened
Highwayman: Have you not heard of me?
Highwayman: I am the shadow that stalks evil in the night~
Hudson: Are there anymore attackers in the city?
Hudson completely ignores Highwayman
Alamarayne Moonray: I dont believe so, but the wounded are trickling in from all over. We have not yet heard from the battalions that were outside of the city, at least that I am aware of.
Alamarayne Moonray stops for a second and turns back to Quinn. “Do you mean to say that man was coming for the… item?”
Highwayman: …These villains are after something?
Alamarayne Moonray: Its not out of the question. Quine was sure that they were onto something with the artifact. I assume you still have it then?
Quinn Winterborn nods
Alamarayne Moonray bites her lip fiercely. “So… is it your thought that perhaps if we remove it from the city, this… rediculousness will stop?”
Hudson: What do we do with….
Hudson: if we’re leaving, what happens to River and Izual?
Quinn Winterborn: Sadly, yes to both
The priestess directs several people to take Izual and River inside, and take them to her private quarters. “I will cast a few more divinations this evening once I’ve calmed the populace down a bit to see if I am correct. I can look after them until I can discern how to… fix them. I think it might be in your best interest to leave her for the immediate future – and perhaps determine if the other pieces of the Sihedron are in the hands of the Netherese or Zhentarim. Neither would bode well for people in this area.”
Quinn Winterborn looks down at his two friends, takes a long breath, and sighs
Quinn Winterborn: Well, where to?
Alamarayne Moonray: Enrad and I spoke of the statue that we observed in working with the item. He thinks it might be a Netherese tower left by the MageLord from ages past. He thinks it located in the Flooded Forest. I am not familar with the place, unfortunately. The four of you could likely use some additional assistance, as you are down two people. I have requested one of my more trustworthy associates to attend me – and perhaps he can fill out your party in the interim?
Highwayman: FINALLY some recognition.
Highwayman: I shall show you all, the HIGHWAYMAN shall be a hero this night!
Highwayman: I shall not let you down, m’lady. This mission of whatever you speak shall succeed! ….whatever it is.
Hudson looks at Quinn in disbelief.
Alamarayne Moonray tugs out a weathered parchment with a charcoal sketch upon it. “Here.”
Highwayman snatches the parchment before the others can nab it.
Highwayman: Hm… He’s…. a rather friendly sort, from the looks of it.
Alamarayne Moonray: We thought it to be a statue, but if Enrad is to be believed it is a tower built in the MageLords likeness… a summer home, if you will.
Alamarayne Moonray: Her territory did span this area when she ruled, so its not entirely out of the question.
Highwayman smiles, as sparks of insight flash through his eyes.
Highwayman: Ah…… I recall hearing songs of this place. Rather illustrious history.
Alamarayne Moonray smacks her forehead with an open palm. “You said that these shards could be used to track one another, right? Thats why they were attacking… they knew where the shard was… But that means that they have one as well…”
Highwayman: Not a place for the faint of heart, assuredly.
Alamarayne Moonray: The flooded forest is ripe with monsters. I dont image a tower in the center of that would be deserted.
Highwayman: All the more to inspire tales of my exploits!
Highwayman: Let us be off, post-haste!
Quinn Winterborn: Yes, they’re tracking our shards with shards of their own. Our magical attacker had a shard, that he doubtless used to find us
Alamarayne Moonray: I will make some arrangement to take you into the flats near the Flooded Forest. I know a merchant that owes me a favor. IN the mean time, perhaps you should rest and gather whatever supplies you need for the journey. I will send my associate to meet up with you in the morning before you leave. If you’re lucky I can get you transport by midday.
Alamarayne Moonray: You’re welcome to stay in the temple if youd like. Otherwise, Im sure that Enrad has some rooms.
Highwayman: Nngh. I’d rather sooner than later, but I suppose preparations are necessary.
Alamarayne Moonray: Theres simply too much for me to do before the morning. Theres still all the wounded to take care of.
Highwayman: Right. I shall be in the tavern, rooting out evil!
Highwayman boldly strides off to the tavern.
Alamarayne Moonray: Party taking extended rest.
The evening passes quickly, though the worry for your friends makes the time drag on. At the end of the evening, as Enrad finishes providing the suppertime meal, a large burnished looking dragonborn enters the tavern. Enrad nods to him, motioning to your group before tending to the cooking gear in the sink.
Zhek walks forward confidently to the table he was pointed to
Zhek: Zhek am I, Alamarayne suggested you might need my aid?
Highwayman: Ah…. You must be the associate she mentioned.
Quinn Winterborn offers a hand in greeting
Zhek glances at each member, sizing them up thoroughly in one quick, measured glance.
Zhek nods affirmatively
Zhek: Affirmative
Zhek: Work for her I have done
Hudson watches quietly.
Zhek points at an empty chair questioningly
Highwayman: Oh, sit, sit!
Highwayman pulls out the chair for the imposing dragonborn.
Zhek sits beside you, a tall dragonborn, heavily armored in service-worn, finely-made, black enameled scalemail and bearing a heavy black shield embossed with a silver dragons head. What you can see of his scales are bronze-gold, with the heart of each scale a burnished silver. A white tabard also emblazoned with the silver head, this time edged in dark gold filigree covers his front. A heavy bladed longsword is sheathed at his side, and his face is crisscrossed with battle scars. Looking closely you note a few missing scales. This dragonborn has been around for awhile.
Zhek: Who are you?
Highwayman: Right. Let me introduce myself…. for I am THE HIGHWAYMAN!
Zhek looks pointedly at the Highwayman
Zhek raises one brow-ridge
Highwayman: ….The Crimson Crusader?
Zhek: I….see
Zhek grunts
Highwayman: The Bane of Tyranny? Defender of Faerun?
Highwayman: Nothing ringing a bell?
Zhek points vaguely at the others as he speaks
Zhek: Need to work confidence you do
Hudson: Hudson.
Hudson nods.
Zhek nods to the burliest of the group amiably
Highwayman: It’s a little hard to get the word out when no one seems to listen for some strange reason.
Zhek looks at the wizardly looking one
Quinn Winterborn: Welcome. Any recommendation of Alamarayne’s is welcome.
Highwayman: Regardless, I am assisting these fine folks with their mission. At least, until their friends are able to return to their duties.
Zhek: Thank you I do
Zhek turns questioning eyes on them
Zhek: And what might that mission be? The Lady priestess gave me little to go on
Xila entertains herself by tossing knives at a plank and talking in hushed tones with Enrad, keeping away from the group.
Quinn Winterborn: It…might be better to discuss it out of town, away from prying ears? Let’s just say it has to do with the recent troubles here in town.
Zhek: And her…expeditions…have been getting a bit…stranger lately
Zhek nods
Zhek security, understood
Zhek: Security issues, understood
Highwayman: I’ve never been a fan of discretion, but they like their secrets.
Zhek: Time and place, my son
Zhek: Time and place
Highwayman: In any case, have you all your things? We leave for as soon as possible!
Highwayman: Heroism waits for no man!
Zhek: Ready am I
Zhek raises an eye at Hudson pointing at the Highwayman
Quinn Winterborn: Are you, perchance, from Tymanther, Zhek?
Zhek: Always this way is he?
Zhek brows lower looking over at the mage
Zhek: Aye, I have come from Tymanther….long ago
Quinn Winterborn chuckles
Quinn Winterborn: I come from Chessenta, and likely will not be back. Let’s not hold it against each other, shall we?
Quinn Winterborn offers a handshake again
Zhek grunts affirmatively
Zhek shakes the mages hand, carefully trying not to damage him in the process
Highwayman: Right then, my stalwart and stoic companions. We make…. for the Flooded Forest!
Zhek: Are you ready?
Highwayman: ALWAYS!
Zhek: Believe the Lady said something about providing transport to your group?
Highwayman: Naturally. Walking all the way there would take forever!
Quinn Winterborn: What’s your nickname again? The Mauve Maurauder? The Chicken Chef?
Zhek resists the urge to glare over at the Highwayman
Highwayman: All inventive names, but none quite as original as ‘The Highwayman’!
Zhek also resists the urge to smile at Quinn’s jest, though one corner of his mouth does quirk upward
Enrad Daelborn: Francis should pull in early in the morning, around dawn at the dock. He’ll come and pick up a few barrels of food and water before setting off.
Zhek chats with each individually on the voyage, getting a feel for their role in combat, asking questions that probe gently but with a solid confidence in each member – even the Highwayman
Zhek: An Evil to be avoided at all costs
Night falls on Elmwood and the cries of the day fall into a quiet and tense night. While the attackers broke off suddenly, the city soldiers could find no trace of them what so ever, nor did they find any bodies that were not dead. Sleep comes softly and uneasily, but come it does and before you know it dawn breaks with the obnoxious crowing of competing roosters on the rooftops. A thin man wearing threadbare sailcloth clothing enters and speaks for a brief minute with Enrad and grabs a bit of breakfast. Clearing out, he welcomes you to follow him, asking the largest men to wrangle the two water barrels to his ship. You set sail before he sun is completely up over the Moonsea and you tack back towards the river mouth. Two days of constant travel brings you to a large wide salt flat that Francis pulls along side, letting you know that this is your stop.
Highwayman looks over the glistening salt flat…. and his face souring.
The salt flat extends only about a 1/4 mile or so along the river, before the ground gives way to broken cedar and cyprus and the innane humming of all types of noxious insects, even in this late month, the humidity and warmth of rot is pervasive.
Highwayman: The den of evil is not too far now.
Quinn Winterborn: Fun place
Zhek nods for once in agreement with the noisy one
Quinn Winterborn swats a few bugs away idly
Warren (Quinn Winterborn): ooc
Zhek ignores the bugs for the most part.
Highwayman: Mark my words… The HIGHWAYMAN shall find this home to iniquity and strike the shadows of evil down! …Eventually.
Zhek: We must move on. Do we have further directions?
Highwayman: Naturally! Follow me!.
Quinn Winterborn: East
Zhek: Do we have a map that I might see?
Quinn Winterborn: And, if I could remind you, I am not to carry any more shards
Zhek: Or are we going on the bandit’s gut instincts
Highwayman: They’re not instincts if they’re not wrong!
Quinn Winterborn: We have some magical guidance, but a map or guide would help
Zhek: See we shall
Highwayman: Right then. THIS WAY. Mind the bugs!
Zhek grabs the highwayman by the shoulder before he can lead off
Highwayman: GHA~ Careful there, Muscley. I bruise easy.
Zhek looks at Hudson to see if he agrees with the direction the bandit was going
With the shard and the Highwayman’s innate understanding of the towers location, you are able to navigate the swamp relatively easily with Hudson’s guidance and occasional physical intervention is necessary to prevent Xila and Highwayman Jim from stepping into obvious dangers.
You travel until night begins to fall, still the shard leading your onwards, but it is near nightfall.
Zhek looks unapologetically at the Highwayman after grabbing his shoulder again to pull him safely from the bog
Zhek: Sorry for bruising
Hudson: Maybe some bruising will calm him down.
Zhek grins at Hudson
Zhek looks thoughtfully around, trying to determine if this would be a defensible campsite
Quinn Winterborn: Stop
Hudson stops instantly.
Highwayman: What is it? Danger afoot?
Quinn Winterborn: Camping would be wise, I think
Zhek: Agreed
Highwayman: Bah. If we must forestall Justice another night.
Hudson: Camping it is.
Zhek: Justice comes as it can, my son
Quinn Winterborn: Sorry, Green Galavanter
After a little traipsing around, you believe that by climbing into the wide boughs of the cyprus here, you would be in quite a defendable and safe position. The ground is spongy here and nearly everything is damp.
Zhek looks at Quinn, then HWM
Zhek: What IS your name bandit?
Highwayman: Well, it’s not often I traipse about with the common folk on my journey to fight evil.
Zhek sighs theatrically
Zhek: Name?
Quinn Winterborn: Ok, setting watches?
Highwayman: IF it necessary, You may call me Dias Weaver. But NEVER in the public eye!
Highwayman: Also, inform my next of kin if it comes to it.
Zhek looks askance
Zhek: You have kin that claim you?
Quinn Winterborn offers a handshake to the Highwayman
Quinn Winterborn: Well met
Highwayman: Oh. Well, thank you.
Hudson nods
Highwayman takes Quinn’s hand and shakes heartily.
Highwayman: Aye. I’ve an uncle back home.
Zhek shakes head in amazement
Highwayman: Alas, my family is also my quest: TO RIGHT THE INJUSTICE OF THEIR TRAGIC DEATH.
Highwayman draws his blade in righteous fury.
Zhek ducks back in the tree, making sure he’s not slashed accidentally
Zhek: I will take whatever watch is left after you all have chosen, I am used to short rest naps
Highwayman: I suppose I shall take first watch. These eyes are used to the darkness of night.
Night falls swiftly in the humid swamp and the droning of insects does not cease with darkness. The first two watches go swiftly and quietly, nothing to be seen in the darkness of the canopy. Things move in the water, a splash here, a twig snapping there, but nothing close.
Zhek finds nothing on his watch, though as it near the end of his time, the swamp grows quiet, as if all the creatures had finally decided to go to sleep for the night.
Zhek mutters something in draconic about it being too quiet
Quinn, aware of the change in the atmosphere, as relayed by Zhek, keeps his eyes peeled and though he sees nothing, he can hear something(s) moving quickly through the undergrowth, clearly not interested in either stealth but only speed. The creature(s) pass nearby, but continue in the direction that you are planning to head at daybreak.
Getting down out of the trees in the morning, Quinn and Hudson find tracks that are strange and have a large webbed foot passing within 100’ of the campsite. The creatures that made these are now long gone.
Dias: Hm…. Intriguing.
Dias: Perhaps a giant frog? It’s not unlikely we have disturbed the local fauna.
Upon further examination, Quinn finds a javelin in the mud, the head bearing a clear stamping of Cormyrean steel.
Quinn Winterborn: It was either a predator or large – it seemed unconcerned about being noticed
Quinn Winterborn: Or, perhaps, something more…advanced than a mere animal?
Hudson: Did you see it?
Quinn Winterborn shakes his head
Zhek: The javelin points to that….and that it is well equiped for a primitive
Quinn Winterborn: My concern, of course, would be a mounted shard hunter. But I don’t know of anythign one can ride that makes that track
Zhek: Keep sharp. Let’s move out
Quinn Winterborn: Agree
Dias: Right. ONWARD!
Dias flourishes before being dragged about by Zhek once more.
Zhek grabs his shoulder again to slow him down, preventing him from stepping in another bog hole
Hudson shakes his head slowly and starts leading.
Zhek: I’ll try to do the other shoulder next time….it needs the workout too
Dias: Much appreciated, big guy.
Zhek: One moment….
Zhek bends a knee, then offers a prayer to Bahamut, asking for blessings on the party’s journey
Zhek rises
Zhek: We go
Three hours of slogging through the swamp, you come to a large clearing. Scattered upon the ground are obvious signs of carnage, and the vile reek of rot mixed with a pungent reptilian stink assaults the nostrils like a hammer’s blow. Buzzards wheel in the sky above while clouds of flies buzz below. At least three dozen decomposing humanoid bodies lie strewn across the ground here, reptilian and amphibian in form. The reptilian bodies have all been decapitated—the heads are nowhere in evidence.
Zhek: Careful
Zhek: They may still be here, look sharp
Dias: Hm. The battleground littered with dead. Methinks…. a tribal skirmish.
Zhek moves into the clearing warily
Hudson moves to back him up.
Quinn Winterborn: Check for more Cormyrian weapons?
Zhek grunts agreement
Dias: …Guh. Man. How long have they been here?
Zhek lets the other search, keeping his eyes moving around the periphery
Dias tries to fan the stench away from his nostrils.
You find numerous primitively made weapons – arrows, spears, clubs, etc. Among the dead amphibian creatures you find two Cormyrean javelins and a Zhentish handaxe.
Quinn Winterborn: This…bodes ill
You find the relatively fresh bodies are easy to tell from one another, as scale differ from rubbery skin. There are 6 amphibian creatures and 18 reptilian bodies – though no heads of the reptiles.
Dias: …I think civilization definitely tipped the scales in this battle.
Quinn Winterborn frowns
Dias: Still… How did they get ahold of such arms?
You note that some of the blades are coated in a thick layer of filth.
Hudson: So, two tribal societies, and our quarry is arming one side over the other?
Hudson catches a glimpse of something metallic coming from underneath one of the reptilian bodies.
Dias: Either that, or perhaps they stole them. Hard to say.
Hudson gets one of the primitive weapon and uses it to move the body out of the way.
You find a gnarled talisman of somekind made of an old spoon, twigs and twine.
Hudson: hm..
Hudson: Well, that’s vaguely ominous.
Quinn Winterborn: Zhek, have a look at this talisman when you can. I think it resembles a demonic totem I once saw in a book, but I’m not certain….
Zhek shrugs noncommitally.
Hudson reaches into the bag of holding, and uses the tongs to gently put the talisman into a pouch, and then into the bag.
Dias: Huh? A talisman? A symbol of evil, no doubt.
Quinn Winterborn: I am filled with feelings of dread
Hudson: Might come up later. I’ll keep it safe.
Quinn Winterborn: Better you than me
Dias: Hm… Well, I can’t find anything else of note in this…. filth.
Dias: Shall we press ONWARD?
Hudson: I’ll carry the demonic iconography, and you carry the arcane death traps. Seems fair?
Hudson: I mean, i would have asked Izual but…
Hudson glances over his shoulder, remembers, and face goes flat.
Hudson: we should keep walking.
Quinn Winterborn: Yes
The battlefield gives way to more swamplands, and more slogging. You catch the occasional frogprints and headless lizardman corpse as you continue to walk.
Dias: ….Well, that’s one frogman that’s carrying a LOT of heads.
Near the beginning of evening you begin to see why this is called the flooded forest. You stay clear of the deepest places, but the crowns of trees that could have been 60’ tall emerge broken from the waters, as creatures unseen move through the water. The flat swamp gives way to small foothills the burst out of the water, and then give way to small lakes in between.
The footpath is nearly all that is solid at this point, and it winds through the flooded forest leading you towards the looming foothills, that break into a myriad of broken and crumbling clifftops that spill back into the water.
A wide cave entrance opens in the side of a rocky hillside here. The cave’s exterior shows clear signs of habitation, with much foot traffic in and out of the entrance, which has been barricaded crudely with mounds of brush and branches. The interior is dark, and a deeply unpleasant odor issues forth like the exhalation of some carrion-fed beast.
Dias: Well. This looks to be promising.
Dias: Wizard… does your divining direct us to that cave there?
Quinn Winterborn: I hope not. Please, a moment.
Quinn Winterborn fiddles with things
The black line is a barricade of bushes, branches, thorns, and junk.
The cavern mouth opening is 40’ at the top, but it slopes back. At the barricade its about 10’ high
Quinn Winterborn: This SEEMS like it.
Quinn Winterborn: There must be a way through if something lives here, and it obviously does
Quinn Winterborn: Traps?
Quinn Winterborn: I smell…somethign flammable…
Quinn Winterborn: Be careful…
Dias: Ngh.
Dias: Surprised you can smell anything here.
Dias: Something flammable, eh?
Quinn Winterborn nods, attention on the cave mouth
Hudson pulls out a 10 ft rod out of his bag of holding and looks to Quinn.
Hudson: should i poke it?
Dias: If it is what I think it is…. we could burn it down.
Dias: That would probably take a bit of time, though.
Dias: Hm…. Well, no bones about it. Tally-ho!
Hudson pokes at the shrugs.
Dias strides forward, ready to clamber through the brush and other junk.
Dias holds up a hand and points at his ear, then at the barricade….
Zhek: Hudson, you and I pull in opposite directions. yes?
Xila: insert flirty statement here
Hudson and Zhek reach into the barricade, grabbing what they believe to be a solid pole and tug together, pulling large pieces of the barricade away, sending the rest of the barricade collapsing on itself, creating a large amount of debris on the ground.
Zhek glances deeper, beyond the fallen barricade, looking for movement
The collapsing barricade reveals the rest of the cave mouth and three startled lizard creatures that whirl away from where they sit, clearly surprised!
Zhek: Hudson, take them!
Dias: Come at me, foul beasts! If you can even manage the brain power to do that!
Dias turns on his music box, as a ballad of battle rings forth.
Dias flips off the troglodyte.
Dias: Even one as dim as you should know when you are beat!
Zhek waves the halfling forward to battle
Xila steps towards the Mauler
Xila follows up with a low slash
Dias: Over here, lizard-brains!
Zhek glances over his shoulder at Dias show of bravado
Dias: Oh. I mean…. the other lizards.
Zhek: Excellent my friends!
Zhek points his longsword at the last one
Zhek: Get that one now!
Hudson turns to the other trog and gives a dissapointed look.
Troglodyte 1 shrieks and fumbles with a small vial before smashing it to the ground.
The smashed pieces of barricade are engulfed almost immediately as the vial of alchemists fire ignites the branches and sticks immediately.
Dias: Just gimme a minute to get this giant toothpick out of my shoulder.
Xila uses her dexterity to dodge the flames
Xila slips out of the fire
Quinn Winterborn: WEll, that was fun….
Hudson steps out of the fire, barely fazed, and splatters the trog against the wall.
Xila dusts off a bit of soot that was on her clothes.
Hudson: I’m a little bit on fire.
Dias pulls the javelin out of his shoulder, still tender from being dragged about by a dragonborn.
Xila: Yup! Sure was, dodging fire is fun
Zhek: As am I
Xila: You guys should work on your speed.
Zhek bats at the flames trying to extinquish them
The fire rages for less than a minute before comsuming all of the dry tinder and burning itself out. You are left standing in front of two slender cavern openings that lead into pitch black.
Hudson: Zhek’s very motivational.
Hudson grins and nods at Zhek.
Dias turns his music box off, in anticipation of sneaking into the darkness.
Quinn Winterborn: Want a light?
Xila: No thanks, I don’t smoke.
Xila: Oh.. you mean for the darkness? Sure go ahead
Quinn Winterborn casts light on Xila’s dagger
Hudson nods gratefully.
Zhek nods back
Xila stares at her dagger
Xila: Pretty
Xila points her dagger forward
Xila: So, which way
Zhek let’s take a short breather
Dias: Onward, obviously! To the tower…. which may or may not be underground.
Xila: But.. there’s two onwards
Xila: Left and right
Xila notices more openings
Xila: Make that more then two
Dias: Well, pick one. It’s somewhere in here.
Zhek: Let’s take a short rest sirs
Zhek: Catch our breath
Zhek: Take stock
Xila: I’m fine thanks! I can go all day
Xila: Lets gooo
Xila places her dagger on the floor and spins it.
Quinn Winterborn: Left?
Xila: This way!
Hudson: We don’t want to get lost, we should – Xila!
You stand in a large cavern. The ground here is flat and smooth, and four caverns lead off into the darkness.
Zhek looks at halfling a bit questioningly at the idea of spinning a blade for direction
Quinn and Xila both move forward the floor suddenly collapses, revealing a deep pit with sharpened stakes covered in foul grime standing up jaggedly.
Xila feels the ground fall beneath her feet and jumps backwards
Xila: Phew, that was close.
Xila brings her dagger up to her face
Zhek: Good reflexes, little one
Xila: Bad dagger, almost got me killed.
Hudson gets out his 10 foot rod and starts poking the ground around him suspiciously.
Xila: Guess we’re not going that way
Zhek: Perhaps that’s what they want
You note that elsewhere in the cavern, small puddles of water are present everywhere, whereas the floor here was devoid of the puddles.
Dias: Well, to the west then? Or are we admiring the pit some more?
Quinn Winterborn: Interesting
Xila: It is a nice pit though.
Quinn Winterborn: The left passage it is
Zhek: Unless you see a way around it, west we go
Xila points her dagger toward the left
Xila: Left it is! See, I knew we should have gone this way
Zhek glares at the halfing
The air in this long cavern is much drier than elsewhere, and the thick tang of smoke fills every breath. A large fire pit burns brightly to the north.
Xila: Hey guys
Xila: More of those things here
Zhek: MOVE!
Xila moves back to safety
Zhek nods as the hobbit passes
Zhek: Hit the Trog!
Zhek: Get the Mauler down first, lad
Dias: Are you guys still fighting things?
Xila: Yup
Xila: You’re missing out on all the fun
Dias: Allow me to BREACH through their defenses! ENGARDE!
Dias smacked the mauler deflty, leaving behind a flash of light in the trog’s eyes, dazing it.
The mauler lashes out weakly at Dias.
Dias: Watch where you aim that, evildoer!
Xila darts around the trog
Xila stabs the trog in the back
Zhek: Nice shot, Little one
Zhek: After the others! Quickly!
Zhek attacks rashly, almost daring the creature to strike back
Zhek only to see it fall at his feet
Hudson: …
The trogs, seeing their dead comrades, rally and charge at the massive dragonborn.
Zhek: Strike now, bard
Dias: Right. Annnnnnnnnd FLAME ON!
The trog skitters away from your blast…
Dias: Well, they’re little skittery types, eh?
Xila starts off with a low slash
Xila turns around to face the runnaway
Xila steps forward and slashes with her dagger
Zhek steps forward, patting the little guy on the back in congratulations
Xila: Well that was fun!
Dias turns off his music box once more.
Hudson: can i go pick up my shame first?
Xila steps over to pick up Hudsons shield
Xila hands it to Hudson
Xila: There ya go
Xila: Next time, try to aim better k?
Hudson: I will… try.
Xila: I’ll give you some throwing lessons larter
Zhek looks questioningly at Hudson, wondering about this defender’s role
Hudson glares at shield and starts messing with it’s holder to check.
Zhek then claps him on the shoulder in shared commiseration
This appears to have once been a communal feasting hall of sorts, but now serves as a place where the trogs keep their dead. Fourteen dead trogs are lying near the large pyre at the rear of the room, thick with flies and filth.
Zhek: Equipment check, my friend
Dias: So. Interesting.
Zhek: Going to have to find a way over that pit, aren’t we my lads
Zhek bends a knee, offering a prayer of gratitude to Bahamut
Dias: Nothin’ a little climbing can’t fix.
Xila: Yup
Quinn Winterborn nods

Chat log started at 19.10.2016 / 16:49:09

Xila skips back to the pit she almost fell down.
Ok… last time you fought some trogs after slumming it up in the swamp for a few days. The halfling almost died to a pit trap. These trogs seem kinda weak and not really into fighting.
Xila looks for a way arround the pit.
Xila tries to walk around the pit with the narrow edge.
Xila: [SKILL] Acrobatics [1d20+15 = 33]
You successfully tumble along the narrow ledge that everyone else can walk along carefully.
Xila: Well, come on
Xila points her dagger forward. Onward.
Xila: Onward
You can smell something fetid here
Xila sniff
Xila: Hudson, did you let one off?
Remus glares
Hudson glares too.
Xila puts her dagger away so the light is minimised.
Xila tries to sneak forward to take a look.
Xila (whispers): There’s people in here. They haven’t noticed us yet.
Xila (whispers): A lot of people
The floor in this cavern is slightly sunken, forming a shallow pool of filthy water. Mounds of swamp plants and branches are heaped here and there to form crude, nestlike beds.
Xila (whispers): Maybe we shouldn’t go this way.
You count roughly a dozen trogs that are lying in these nests, though only a few raise their heads at your approach.
Xila backs around the corner.
Xila: Although, I think we could take em.
GM: You hear a rough, dry sounding croak come from the room.
Troglodyte 1 [Draconic]: [Translation] Have you brought the blessing from the Chieftain yet… and water?? So thirsty…
Xila (whispers): Anyone know that they’re saying?
Quinn Winterborn relays the translation
Xila: They’re thirsty? Maybe we should bring them some water… Maybe poison it first though.
Xila: So, what’s the plan? Kill them as they sleep? Or move on to the next path?
Dias: They’re not asleep. You just heard them talk.
You hear scrambling and splashing as at least one of the creatures begins to get up
Zhek closes his nostrils with a soft chuff of sound in irritation at the smells assailing them
Troglodyte 1 [Draconic]: [Translation] Barak?
Xila: Oh, right.
Zhek: Better move
Zhek: They think we are someone
Zhek imitates a deep frog voice
Zhek [Draconic]: [Translation] yeah?
Zhek whispers to the others
Xila places her hand back on her dagger ready to draw at a seconds notice.
Zhek [Draconic]: [Translation] Trying to pretend to be who they are looking for
Troglodyte 1 [Draconic]: [Translation] Are you bringing the water and the blessed dressings? I think its getting worse.
Xila (whispers): Sorry, couldn’t understand that.
Zhek [Common]: trying to pretend one sec
Zhek [Draconic]: [Translation] No, no more dressings were ready
Quinn Winterborn whispers
Quinn Winterborn: There may be a plague here??
Zhek nods
Zhek [Common]: Some are apparently ill
Quinn Winterborn nods in agreement
Zhek [Draconic]: [Translation] I will go ask the others
Xila: Aww, I cant kill ill people, that’s not fair.
Zhek [Draconic]: [Translation] Go back to sleep, I will return
Troglodyte 1 [Draconic]: [Translation] Uggilo said theyd be complete already. Let me come out to help – I can still stand.
Zhek [Draconic]: [Translation] No, it will just spread more to the others
Troglodyte 1 comes around the corner….
Zhek [Common]: Kill him quickly!
Dias: This…. hardly feels heroic.
Zhek chuffs in humorous agreement
Xila: k!
Zhek [Draconic]: [Translation] Oh, alright, come on out
Xila throws her dagger at Troglodyte 1
Troglodyte 1 staggers backward away from the strike, as Xila nearly clips the cavern wall
Zhek swings his blade upward at the trog
Zhek [Common]: grrrrrrr
Dias: Hm…
Dias gets a roguish gleam in his eye.
[TURN] Troglodyte 1
Troglodyte 1 roars and attempts to shove Zhek backwards towards the pit!
Xila stabby stab stab
Zhek blinks again at the unorthodox attack.
Hudson catches his shield out of midair and huffs a lot.
Zhek grimaces, curling his lip and showing fangs at the growing number of trogs
Dias [Draconic]: [Translation] Best stand back, creatures! My companions are not as so kind as to leave you alone if you press onward.
Where the ground was water logged and muddy, the wizards icy blast and then the firery blast has caused it all to become soup like. The trogs dont seem to have an issue moving around.
Dias [Draconic]: [Translation] Stay in your cave and leave us be, and you shall be spared the fury of… THE HIGHWAYMAN!
Xila: What’cha saying?
Xila: It is alright for me to go in and kill them, or are you playing nice?
Dias: Well, they’re sick. I’m not gonna kill a bunch of weaklings, even if they’re trogs.
Xila: Well, it’s not fair to kill things that are ill.
Xila: But then, I never have played by the rules.
Zhek [Draconic]: [Translation] Stop Trogs, you are sick, perhaps we can help you
Dias [Draconic]: [Translation] Perhaps if you play nice, I may gift you with dressings and such. SUCH IS THE MAGNANIMOUS GENEROUSITY OF THE HIGHWAYMAN.
Dias poses proudly.
Zhek chuffs in frustration
Zhek [Common]: we are going to have to kill them
[understood by: Quinn Winterborn, Dias, Hudson, Xila, Zhek]
Xila moves through the difficult terrain
Xila steps forward and stabs at the trogs.
Xila follows up with a low slash on the other trog
Xila: 2 down! Bunch more to go
Dias: Uh…
Zhek [Common]: Beware lil one
Zhek [Common]: I will watch your back
Dias [Draconic]: [Translation] Um… Yeah, sorry about the halfling. She’s kinda stab-happy.
Zhek Die then you fools!
Zhek [Common]: They make us lose honor
Xila: I never had any honour to begin with
Zhek grunts agreement as he parries the trog’s attack on his heavy shield
Xila blocks all the attacks with her light shield
Xila yawns
Xila: This is no fun, killing things that cant fight back.
Xila: But, oh well, it’s gotta be done.
Zhek grins, baring his teeth as he watches the little one efforletly pary each attack
All of the standing trogs start flailing at the halfling in a fury with broken and dilapidated clubs.
Zhek [Draconic]: [Translation] Surrender you foolish Frogs!
Zhek [Draconic]: [Translation] It is not honorable to kill such helpless foes!
Zhek growls in frustration as he sees yet another weak troglodyte fall with Hudson’s attack
Dias: ….This doesn’t sound right, does it Wizard?
Quinn Winterborn: No, it does not
Xila just stabs stabs stabs
Xila: These things deserve to die for the stentch alone. blergh
Zhek roars his frustration
Zhek cold sprays the room
Zhek doesn’t roar in frustration, but rather in anger at having to do that
The remaining trogs have not stood up and do not appear to be able to do so
Xila: Huh, so these must be the ill ones
Xila: The others weren’t
Xila: Ok, I’m done. The others put up a fight, however small, so I really didn’t feel bad killing them.
Zhek [Common]: Leave them
Xila stows away her dagger.
Zhek [Common]: I will see what I can do
Zhek walks toward one of the ill ones
Zhek kneels, praying under his breath
Zhek looks frustrated as he stands
Zhek: I do not think I can help them. Bahamut is not answering my prayers today. Perhaps my dishonor….
Zhek bows his head in momentary shame
Dias: I take it you three are done with the slaughter? We’ve more pressing matters to attend to than this.
Dias tisks away as he circles about the dangerous pit.
Zhek glares momentarily at Dias
Zhek sighs in frustration
Zhek: They do not have much longer in life
Zhek: And are well beyond my power to help them
Xila: I could put them out of their misery?
Zhek shakes his snout with a snuff
Zhek: No
Xila: Ok
Zhek: Let them have their last moments…with their gods
Dias digs into his pack and clacks alight a sunrod.
Zhek: It is…the only honor…we can yet give them
Xila: Ok!
Xila skips through the crap and heads back to the group, drawing her dagger for light.
Zhek turns and walks out of the chamber, shoulders lowered, shield drooping
Xila points upwards
Xila: This way!
Dias carefully squeezes through the tight cavern passages, ignoring the halfling’s lead.
Zhek grabs the bard’s right shoulder to stop him
The ground in this cavern is a slimy mess of mud and fungus. Several trampled mud nests mixed with fragments of leathery eggs lie around the room.
Zhek but misses with his shame still haunting him
Numerous trogs startle as the sunrod ignites and Dias steps inside.
Dias bows low, silently gagging on the stink of the trogs.
Dias [Draconic]: [Translation] Hello…. I take it this is a bad time…. I’ll be seeing myself out
Zhek: Xila – go the upper passage, see if it wraps
Xila: Don’t think it does.
Dias: ….Yup, more Trogs. I dunno if they’re angry or not. Didn’t stick around to find out.
Xila: Should we just leave these guys?
Zhek a chuff of frustrated air exits his nostrils
Zhek: We not able I doubt, brave one.
Xila: Ok, well if we must.
Zhek: Wait for them to come to us
Quinn Winterborn: Did they see you?
Xila throws her dagger at the Mauler
Dias holds up his sunrod, and raises an eyebrow. “I think this glowing stick kinda gave me away.”
Xila: Told you we should have gone north!
Zhek grins, his fangs showing again
Troglodyte 1 races away, shouting as he does so…
Zhek: Watch that northern one!
Zhek: He’s warning the others
Hudson: I’ll get it.
Zhek: Did get him you do?
Xila: Is Zhek broken?
Zhek: Broken not
Xila: If you say so
Zhek: It….happens
Dias: Nah, that’s just his way of talking. We ignore you when you talk odd, kid.
Zhek shrugs shoulders in frustration
Xila: I never speak odd
Zhek: Little mousy voice odd is
Dias (musing): Eye of the Beholder… Eye of the beholder.
Hudson: oh, that was such a mistake.
Hudson: i’m going to enjoy this
Zhek growls quietly, waiting patiently
Xila dodges to the side as the javelin comes towards her
Xila: Woopsie, that was close.
Xila: You really want to pay more attention to where you throw those things
Xila: Someone might get hurt
Zhek reaches out to the little one in concern
Zhek: Careful lil one
Troglodyte Mauler 3 swipes at Hudson and then bites at Hudson’s neck, leaving a jagged, gushing wound.
Dias: Well, I stirred this hornet’s nest. Only fitting I stride forth to take the front line!
Dias turns on his music box.
Dias: Chin up! For today you fight beside THE HIGHWAYMAN!
The sounds from the music box echo oddly in the cavern.

Troglodyte 1 rummages around…
Zhek calls out encouragement to his new companion Hudson
Zhek: Stand firm, soldier!.
Quinn Winterborn deftly flips his staff around to point the other way
Quinn Winterborn coughs pointedly
Quinn Winterborn frowns, and inspects the staff with great interest
Dias: Yeah, this is taking a bit longer than I hoped.
Dias tinkers with his music box…. and twinges as it starts making a ghastly racket.
Dias: Okay okay ow, yeouch….
Dias: Well… Regardless. YOU THERE. TREMBLE BEFORE THE MIGHT of the HIGHWAYMAN! Before you wet yourself, at least.
Dias: ….Oh. Forgot. Probably too dumb to understand common.
Dias sheepishly rolls his eyes.
Quinn Winterborn takes his staff in both hands, and points it awkwardly at a trog
Quinn Winterborn takes a moment
Dias slams on his music box, trying to get the music to properly sync.
Dias: Come on…. come on, you damn thing.
Dias: …Huh. Maybe…..
Dias tries to load another record into the music box… and loud, booming heroic music echoes forth!
Dias: THERE we go!
Xila: Now this is my music!
Xila moves her dagger in time to the beat, which surprisingly makes her always hit the weak spots.
Dias: Okay, slime! PREPARE TO BE SCRUBBED!
Dias: …In due time.
Xila dances to the music and moves in time to dodge it.
Xila does a pirouette while dancing to the music, slicing open the trogs neck as she does so.
Xila pierces the trog
Xila: Well, one down
Xila: How’re you guys handling yours?
Xila: Wait.. they’re still alive?
Xila moves closer but doesn’t go all the way
Quinn Winterborn: Amanautor!
Xila: Brandobaris grant these people the luck of a halfling.
Xila: Thank you Brandobaris, that was quick!
Zhek: Push them back!
Zhek: Give us room!
Dias twists his blade, giving it an icy sheen.
Zhek: Good strike, Dias!
Zhek [Draconic]: [Translation] Surrender, Frog! You are beaten!
Dias: You, runt! Move with the tempo!
Xila: Don’t call me a runt
Xila moves in time to the beat around the trog
Zhek: grrrr
Quinn Winterborn: I, uh…ow…ok, I’m coming..
Xila stabs again in time to the music.
Xila: This is fun!
Xila: Need to do this more often
Dias: …Well, that took longer than it probably should have.
Hudson pants.
Dias: … SHUT UP, dammit!
Xila: Speak for yourself, the trogs never dodged my strikes.
Dias slaps on the musicbox hard…. and it slowly whirs out of juice.
Zhek chuffs another frustrated breath
Xila hums to herself as the music plays on.
Xila: Aww.
Xila: I liked that music.
Zhek: wait
Quinn Winterborn sits down and takes off a boot

Hudson: gives himself back his nice life saving items.
Dias: Well. That was…. something.
Zhek: Yes
Dias: Let us never speak of this ever again.
Zhek: We forget that one shall we
Zhek looks at Dias in surprise at the same thought
Xila: Oh I don’t know, I rather enjoyed it.
Dias: ….WELP. I feel like I got most of my wind back.
Hudson: it bit me. in the neck.
Zhek: Agree
Dias stands back up and stretches a bit.
Xila: It bit me too
Xila: I shruged it off.
Zhek: You both ok?
Xila: And then stabbed it for good measure
Dias: Maybe they’re affectionate?
Zhek: Wizard, you ok?
Dias: I’ve never really thought about dating ‘trogs’ though. Not my taste, personally.
Looking around the room, you see that the trogs used this as a hatchery, though there are no signs of eggs here. There is a large pile of refuse and a moldy looking set of crates in the back of the room.
Zhek shoulder’s kind of rise and then fall in wonder
Zhek points at crates
Zhek: Search
Xila opens up the crates in curiosity
Dias: ….Ew. You first.
Dias: Might wanna use gloves on that.
Zhek: I get disease, I give to you for sure, Dias
Surprisingly the crates are chained and locked..
Xila: Oh don’t worry, a thief cant choose what they search through.
Quinn Winterborn sits on the ground, torn between paying attention to his sore ankle and not drawing attention to his sore ankle
Zhek: Share and share
Xila: Oh, they’re locked.
Xila takes out her trust thieves tools
Zhek turns to take a look at Quinn’s ankle
Zhek shakes head in disgust
Zhek: You not hurt
Quinn Winterborn: Thanks!
Quinn Winterborn: Xila, any luck with that lock?
Zhek: Break open
You manage to fiddle with the locks enough that after scraping off a lot of the crud, you can barely manage to get it open. However, you are really covered in filth now…
Xila sneezes
Dias: ….Yech.
Dias steps slowly away from Xila.
Xila: It’s fine, I’ve been in filth before.
Zhek: Cover mouth
Xila: I mean you guys found me in a sewer.
Zhek looks intrigued
Zhek: Really lil one?
Xila: Well, I followed you through a sewer.
Dias: Explains a lot, actually.
Zhek: Ah
Xila rumages through the chest.
Zhek: Yes, does that
Inside of this chest are a variety of bones, a well made dagger with a Cormyrean stamp and several bolts of cloth that are rotten.
Xila: Ooh a dagger.
Xila throws the cloth on the floor.
Zhek grunts without surprise
Dias: You done rummaging about in the garbage? We’ve got hero business to attend to.
The other crate has something else inside. Upon opening the crate, you find a large bundle of moldy cloth, and a little girl sitting inside, covered in filth.
Xila looks shocked.
Xila checks she’s alive.
Xila: Hey there’s a girl here!
Xila: Forgot the filth and come help!
Zhek blinks in astonishment
Amaryllis: OH my GAWD FINALLY
Zhek jerks at the sound of the voice
Xila helps the girl out of the crate.
Dias: …What on earth is… that?
Xila: …You friendly?
Amaryllis: I dunno, are /you/ friendly?
Zhek: she dirty is, need bath
Xila: Yup!
Xila: Well unless you’re un-friendly
Xila: Cause I’m not friendly to those who aren’t friendly.
Amaryllis: I don’t wanna be unfriendly.
Zhek: Ignore lil one….liller one…he mean no harm
Zhek: Are you well?
Xila: She
Amaryllis: I just wanna get outta here. Those stupid butt-head trogs stuffed me in a box.
Zhek steps forward to see to her
Quinn Winterborn tries to look helpful without actually standing up
Zhek: I will not harm you lil one
Zhek holds hand out to her
Dias: Well. NEVER FEAR. You have the mighty HIGHWAYMAN to show you to safety.
Dias: Just…. y’know, mind the clothes. I just washed these.
Hudson moves against one of the walls, touching the neck wound repeatedly.
Xila: Well I don’t care about filth
Xila: You can stick with me!
Amaryllis takes the dragonkin’s hand.
Zhek pulls her out of the box
Zhek checks her health
Amaryllis: Well that might be fun.
Zhek offers her a bandage and pantomimes wiping some of the filth off her face and horns
Amaryllis: But I’m kinda on business here, so..
Dias: Hm… What exactly WERE you doing out in the Flooded wood, anyways?
Zhek: What business?
Zhek: Ignore the bandit
Xila shakes some of the filth off her.
Quinn Winterborn: Whose business?
Zhek: And the wizard…
Amaryllis: Oh, I’ve got a dude-guy to nix off. I lost track of him, but this big-bad trog thing has soemthing that might lead me to him.
Zhek: What thing?
Amaryllis: BUT I got careless and got stuffed in a box!
Dias ponders to himself…
Zhek: You need help??
Zhek: Or mayhap we can be of assistance to each other
Quinn Winterborn: Wait, you are on an assassination mission??
Amaryllis: Yeah? You think so?
Amaryllis: And yeah, I am!
Zhek stands tall, pounding his scalemailed chest proudly
Xila: Cool!
Amaryllis: Right??
Quinn Winterborn: NOt…cool?
Zhek: What?!?!?
Xila: I’m a rogue myself, I like stabbing evil people.
Quinn Winterborn: Might I ask whom you intend to murder in cold blood?
Zhek: Not…definitely not…unless target is evil being
Quinn Winterborn: She didn’t say she was killing an evil person, Xila
Zhek: Yes, what wizard say
Xila: Hey, assassination isn’t murder.
Quinn Winterborn: It can be
Zhek: Yes, It is lil one
Amaryllis: Hey, hey, you’re making my head hurt. One at a time please!
Xila: Murder is when you kill an innocent person without reason
Xila: Assassination is a reason.
Xila: Therefore it’s not murder.
Zhek: All quiet now please
Zhek: speak lil one
Quinn Winterborn falls silent, but is staring at Xila intently
Zhek turns to Xila looking at him fiercely
Amaryllis: My mark is named Orianna, she’s a Grey Maiden. They’re in cahootles with the Zhents.
Zhek: We talk later
Xila: Oh well then, definitely evil see?
Amaryllis: Only thing I know is that she’s tossin ‘round cash looking for some.. Nether-whatsit power thingy.
Zhek: Netherese?
Amaryllis: Yeah, that!
Zhek growls in anger
Zhek: Not like Zhents either
Zhek: We definitely going to help you
Dias: Speaking of… We never got your name. I am obviously the HIGHWAYMAN, whom you’ve naturally heard of.
Dias poses heroically.
Xila: His name is Bane
Zhek: And I am Zhek’han’eesh
Xila: I’m Xila!
Xila also poses heroically copying Dias
Zhek: Wait….you say…BANE?
Quinn Winterborn: Quinn Winterborne
Zhek: Who is Bane?
Dias: ….Yeah, no. The defender of Faerun, The Bane of Tyranny.
Xila: Like I said, Bane
Amaryllis: I don’t know of no highwayman, sorry. And my name is Amaryllis! Just call me Amy though, it’s easier.
Zhek blinks in misunderstanding
Dias: She’s just unable to get wordplay is all.
Amaryllis copies both of them, and poses heroically.
Dias: Sheesh.
Zhek: And I am Zhek – also easier
Xila: You can call me Xila! It’s easier too
Xila: I think
Zhek holds out hand to her to shake
Amaryllis: Oh! Before I forget!
Amaryllis: PLUUUUUM!!
Zhek where?
Quinn Winterborn actually stands up, then winces, and rushes over
Zhek lookis a triffle disconcered at – whatever it is
Quinn Winterborn: Is she magical?
Dias: Good. Great. Wonderful. A cat. A tentacle-displacer-kitten.
Amaryllis: This is Plum, my kitty!
Xila: Oooh kitty!
Amaryllis: She’s super sweet.
Xila strokes Plum
Zhek chuffs through his closed mouth in irritation
Zhek: A…cat
Plum purrs as he recieves the pets.
Dias clears his through clenched teeth.
Zhek steps back carefully
Amaryllis: She’s fey, if that’s what you mean.
Zhek snuffs a sneeze
Dias: Great, wonderful. In case you all forgot, we got HEROICS to go do.
Zhek: Right
Zhek: For once, bandit is correct
Zhek: We must move onward
Zhek: Perhaps we will find your…target m’lady
Dias: …What do you mean ‘’FOR ONCE’‘?
Quinn Winterborn: Fascinating
Zhek glares at Dias in warning
Dias: Bah, whatever. This way. My sunrod won’t light forever.
Xila: My dagger will!
Xila lifts her dagger which is still alight
Zhek grabs and misses Dias, again
Quinn Winterborn smirks at Xila, then frowns
Zhek begins moving, catchign up slowly
Zhek: I have to rope you bandit
Zhek: Keep you out of trouble
Dias: Please, by all means, go ahead.
Zhek blinks in confusion
Hudson sits quietly for a while, before he realises others have left. and has to jog to catch up.
Dias: As long as you keep moving, I’ve no reason to keep you waiting.
Zhek glances at the warden as he catches up
Zhek: It ok, I confused too
Zhek mutters to himself in draconic
Xila: Down the side path we go
Zhek [Draconic]: [Translation] This very strange group
Xila stows her dagger and sneaks ahead
Quinn Winterborn gets Zhek’s attention and winks at him
Zhek blinks, then lowers brows as he realizes the wizard understands his native tongue
There is a small side tunnel here, but it appears quite narrow. However, you hear the telltale shuffle of dry scales on rock coming from the large cavern above you.
Hudson starts walking towards the sound, hammer in hand.
Hudson: more things to kill
Xila: Lets explore the tunnel first
Xila: Let me scout
Hudson sighs.
Hudson quietly. “What does it even matter.”
Zhek grins at the fighter
Amaryllis: Ooh ooh, I can come too!
Zhek: Careful lillest one, remember box
Xila: Lets let my dagger decide
Zhek steps in front of the girl
Xila places dagger on the floor and spins, and watches at it points at the large cavern.
Xila: Ok, large cavern it is
Zhek: you have to stop that
Zhek: it bad habit
Zhek: get in trouble
Amaryllis: Let’s get sneaky..
Xila: Now you’re speaking my language!
Zhek groans, muttering in draconic again
Zhek [Draconic]: [Translation] I hate scouting parties
Xila takes out her dagger again.
At the edge of your light, you see something moving in the dark
Zhek wonders why the cat is right behind him
Dias: You, go get the backline! Move move move!
Dias slaps his musicbox to get it going again….. which it barely does.
Hudson: I hope you choke on me.
You hear the unmistakable GROWL-SNAP-HISS of a crocodile… but its so deep it rumbles the floor.
Amaryllis takes a deep breath, and a feint ‘thun’ can be heard as a dart speeds into the neck of the Trog.
Zhek steps forward to defend the lil girls
Zhek: grrrrrr
Zhek mutters frustration
Amaryllis: That’s him
Amaryllis: The big-baddie!
A massive Trog decked out in robes of crocodile leather and a massive croc skull mask steps out of the shadows and tromps forward.
Troglodyte 1 [Draconic]: [Translation] You face great Chieftan Uggilo!
Zhek [Draconic]: [Translation] Great Chieftain Ugglio, you are going down
Dias: …If his name is any indication, he must not be a pretty chieftain.
Quinn Winterborn [Draconic]: [Translation] Amaunator deliver you, Uggilo.
Dias snickers to himself.
Zhek [Draconic]: [Translation] And Bahamut will finish you!



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