Eberron Revisited - Heroes of Xandrar

Making a splash
2nd to 16th of Therendor, 1037

Kir is a famous bard from House Lyrander. His family is out of favour due to the exploits of his grandfather and has been reduced to 3 skyships, but recently two of those went missing en-route to Wroat and Sharn. House Lyrander (unusually) seemed reluctant to investigate, so Kir taken it on himself to find out what is going on He had been following a trail of goods that he found that had been part of the load of one of the missing skyships and found that they had been bought from a merchant based in Xandrar. That merchant reveiled that he had bought them from a small town called Womford. The merchant in Womford (after much pursuasion) told Kir he had bought the goods from a sailor called Scholar Quanderil. This sailor was recently murdered, but he was associated with the Rivergard Keep – a small river keep inland a small way.

Kir had travelled to Rivergard Keep to find out what they know and was welcomed in and escorted to the owner of the keep – Jolliver Grimjaw. However when Kir start probing as to the whereabouts of the goods Jollivar started shouting at Kir. Kir then realised that all of Jollivars men were drawing their weapons and that he had perhaps gone too far, when shouting is heard outside the main hall – “Intruders, Intruders in the dock”. A rough looking fellow runs into the hall.

“Sir, sir, there are intruders in the docks. It’s those bastards from Xandrar again. They are killing everyone”

“Are they now”, growls Jollivar, “I’ll see about that.” and before Kir’s eyes he transforms into a wereboar. He looks at Kir, “Stay here, I’ll deal with you later”. And he and his men leave the hall.

Kir decides that ‘staying here’ is the last thing he should do, but also realises that leaving through the main door of the keep may not be wise or possible. Instead he goes upstairs, finds a window to squeeze through, and climbs down the side of the keep outside.

He then starts the head back down towards the main road, but decides that staying on the path would also not be wise, so he goes off track, beside the river and makes his way carefully and silently through the rough terrain and undergrowth.

As he progresses he sees three other people also sneaking through the undergrowth – a dragonborn male, a halfling male and a human female. However they also see him, so quietly and quickly they interrogate each other and realise that they are all escaping Rivergard Keep. They head off together, travelling through the rest of the day and the night until they find the main road heading to Xandrar.

Kir has met Mythoras, Tito and Layna and they decide to travel together on the road. Kir realises that the trio have uncovered some sort of conspiracy and requests to help them. They are happy to have another set of hands after the loss of their friend Aimn Lu and so Kir is welcomed to the party.

After 3 days of travel off the main road, they arrive at Drum Keep to find that a good proportion has been destroyed. The soldiers have put up temporary barricades and are hard at work trying to rebuild walls, but it obvious that some large explosion has destroyed walls and many of the buildings in the keep.

The party discuss the situation with the captain as Madam ir’Oeskai is currently in Xandrar.
He tells them that the kingdom is in chaos. Much has happened:

  • The king has been assassinated
  • The two advisors from house Deneith and Cannith have taken a shared regency and have smuggled the queen and prince to a safe place
  • An army has been formed and is heading to Sharn
  • Explosions of various types have occured in towns throughout the kingdom, and threats that more will follow if the towns do not declare independence from the crown and elect leaders from among the populace
  • The mysterious Swords of Liberty have claimed responsibility for the attacks

They party have realised that the elemental cults are publically calling themselves the Swords of Liberty and think that something deeper is probably happening. They also realise that they are not going to be able to call on help to take on the cults. They decide that it is up to them and that they must do what they can.

They decide to return to Rivergard Keep and stage an attack in the middle of the night. They travel (off the road again) and sneak up to the keep at 3am. They climb up one of the walls and enter the window that Kir had previously escaped through. They then sneak through the building to try and kill all in their sleeps, but unsuccessfully and the alarm is quickly raised.

A running battle occurs on the battlements and in the main hall where more and more keep dwellers keep coming as they wake. However most of them have been woken from their sleep and are not wearing armour which makes the battle easier for the heroes. After a long battle, bodies are piled deep, tables are destroyed and the battle is over. Some of the heroes have barely survived but they have prevailed.

Over the next week, the party rest, search the keep and defeat the odd boat that comes in to dock. They find a good amount of treasure, but in Jolliver’s documents they find a trove of information. It takes some sorting and deciphering, but eventually it is clear that:

  • Jolliver has been running a reasonably sized criminal empire. Mainly by piracy on the lakes and rivers, but also through caravan raids and highway robbery. A lot of what they have stolen has been provisions and trade goods which has allowed them to provision the Monks of the Sacred Stone and the Feathergale Knights.
  • There are hints that both organisations have a lot more people to feed than is publically known.
  • The Knights paid by taking and crashing skyships where they could, which the pirates then loot. Skyships usually had valuable treasure. The monks paid through precious stones and minerals.
  • Jolliver appears to have had no dealings with a fire cult.
  • The pirates traded most of their saleable goods through a merchant in Womford, who then traded through other merchants in Xandrar and Sharn.
  • A huge proportion of the income made is not in the keep. They have either stored it or spent it elsewhere.
  • There are notes about one provision delivery finding that the Feathergale Knights have gone and replaced by Warforged.
  • There are notes warning of dragon sightings in the hills.
  • There is also an unsigned note confirming that ‘payment has been delivered, and the heroes you describe will be eliminated’.
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Aimn Lu - Captured
2nd to 6th of Therendor, 1037

As told to Aimn Lu….

You are scooped up and carried by some large creature. You don’t like it, but you are held firmly. You are taken to a dry room (dry isn’t good. You don’t like dry).

After a while your body begins to grow and you begin to find your mind returning to human thoughts. As you grow you are grasped by strong stone hands and manacles are placed around your wrists.

When your mind has cleared you see a stony, but almost human face in front of you:

You recall that this is the person who cast a spell on you turning you into a frog. There is also 4 other cultists in the room. An irregular pit fills the center of this large hall. In the middle of the pit stands an obelisk of glistening black stone. Bleached bones lie scattered near the foot of the obelisk. A smaller stone post in front of the obelisk holds a pair of manacles which hold you fast.

“So,” the Stony Man begins, “You are one who would attack the temple of earth alone? Very brave, but also very stupid. However, you did tame a Bullette which indicates you may have potential. I would ask you why you would attack our temple? We are a simple people who mean no harm to anyone, we simply want to be left alone to our worship. I ask again, why would you attack us?”

What do you do?

“Aaah sorry sir. … ahhh I’ma simple people too”, replys Aimn Lu, “I wuz trying to get out and da brew … blue ah blue let, attacked me, I think it broke its chain and went wild, I saw it had a saddle so maybe i thought i could ride it, like a horse, and it couldnt stomp on me if i was on top and ah so I jumped up on it and tried to make it not so angry, it bucked a bit and wus very stomppy and it squashed some of your friends and then da blue let seemed happy after that and it took me here and then it was funny, you were bigger and i liked water”

“Very well. I will consider what you have said. I will return in time. Unless the pudding gets hungry you will remain here.”

You are left. For quite some time. For quite some time indeed. After some time, when you are delirious from thirst, he returns with a stone golem. You realise that your weapons have gone.

“Well”, he says, “it appears you were not telling quite the truth. It would appear to me that you came through the fire temple and have left a trail of death behind you. While I understand that you fire worshippers are brash, this is unacceptable. While we are rivals, we all work towards the same end. I would kill you now, but the master has requested to see you”. He looks towards the golem, “Seize him”.

You are grabbed. The stony man undoes your manacles and you are taken through the complex to a room full of statues. You notice that some of the statues are of the prisoners that you rescued earlier. As you enter, the stony man whispers to you, “You will note that the master is heavily cowled and that it is difficult to see his face. I suggest you make an effort. You will want to know what he looks like.”

In the dimness of the room, a heavily cowled man emerges from the shadows. You cannot see his face at all. He has an iron pick on his belt, forged from a single piece of steel. You can feel that magic humming off it.
“So the murderer faces me”, he says, “I have lost many loyal followers due to your efforts. I am the leader here, Marlos Urnrayle. Whom do I have the pleasure of addressing?”

You are held in place by a stone golem. You are weak from thirst. What do you do?

“Ma names Anim Lu Sir. Are you the swords of liberty leader?”

“You name yourself slave in the elven speech? And I see from your face that you know no other name. Very interesting. Vanifer’s indoctrination goes deep. Yes, in answer to your question, I am one of the leaders of the so-called ‘Swords of Liberty’. But as you must know by now, we are so much more. Has your mistress not told you about the deeper power we have harnessed towards our end . Typical. She talks freedom and anarchy, but she demonstrates oppression and tyrany. But are you truly wed to the flame? I wonder. You have already shown great promise in taming the bulette. I feel that your loyalty to Vanifer is misplaced and you would thrive if you would follow the path of earth and stone. Would you be willing to face the test of earth? Work for me. I will bring freedom to this land and freedom to it’s peoples. Work for me. You will gain rewards and riches. You will gain fame and fortune. You will make this world a better place. So tell me, Slave, will you take the test and throw off your bonds of servitude?”

“Ah Yes Sir, I wood want to take da test.”

At this point Marlos removes his cowl and you see his face:

You feel the blood in your veins slow down, you feel your skin stiffen, you feel your joints begin to lock up. But you are made of sterner stuff than that, and you force your body to retain its form.

“Good, good”, says Marlos. He then turns to the stoney man. “Take our friend here up to the temple and robe him in acolyte clothing. You have much to learn my friend. For a start, you are no longer ‘Slave’. I give you a new name. You are born of fire and violence and you shall be our blade. I name you Obsidian. Serve us well Obsidian, and you will find a home with meaning and purpose. Over the coming months you will learn of our plans for this world and your place in the new order.”

The Stony faced man takes you away, and introduces himself as Miraj. He is quite friendly now. Your clothing is taken from you and replaced with brown robes and a gargoyle mask.

Over the next few days you are trained in basic martial arts, and you learn of the evil inherent in systems that rule Khorvaire. It’s all a wee bit beyond you, but you grow to understand that the monarchy and guild structure is merely a system to supress the common people and keep the wealth in the hands of the elite. You learn that your ultimate goal is to overthrow that structure and replace it with a new system that will share the wealth more equally.

However, you do notice that you are still carefully watched, and that you still remain in a locked cell at night. When you question this, it is explained that you will still need to prove your loyalty before you can gain trust and progress through the ranks. Your chance will come.

That very night, you are awakened by the sound of your door unlocking. You see a small figure enter the room and in the dim light recognise it as Hug Hug the goblin.

“Psst. Psst. Big person? Wake up big person. I have come to help you escape.”

What do you do?

_Slowly Obsidian rises and walks over to Hug Hug, Obsidian is tired from days of hard training.
As he walks over he yawns, flexes and stretches. Suddenly a stretch becomes a lunge and Obsidian grabs Hug Hug. Holding Hug Hug tight Obsidian walks out to find his fellow freedom fighters he has caught a new recruit.

Obsidian thinks the stone people are right about this king and guild thing.
The high and mighty always keeping the workers down.
However deep down Lu suspects that he will still be told what to do._

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Earth and Water
2nd of Therendor, 1037

The heroes progress down a long corridor, but strangely they find themselves unsure of how long or far they have been travelling. The find themselves at another dwarven door. As they are examining the door they hear voices in their head. Warped, otherworldly voices.

“Who are these visitors? Why do they visit us? Secrets? So many secrets you seek the answers to. One who seeks his parents, one who does not trust his parents, one who does not know his family, and one who does not trust her family at all. Come in, come in. We smell the magic on you and we will trade secrets for magic.”

The party enter and find themselves in a small room with shadowy corners and a pool with a gargoyle standing still above it. Aimn Lu sees the gargoyle and goes straight to it.

“What do you know? Where do I come from?”

“A trade, a trade”, say the voices, “give us magic and we will tell you where you come from”.

Aimn Lu puts a magic sword into the pool.

“A long time ago, oh so long, the Clearwater Estate in Karnath was your home. Seek it little noble, seek it out.”

The rest of the group start placing magic items on the ground and asking questions, but Layna and Mythoras are both thinking about how they can kill the sources of these voices and retrieve their treasures.

“WE HEAR YOUR SECRETS, WE HEAR THEM, YOU PLAN TO KILL US.” At this point from the shadows burst two Nothics who attack the group. The group dispatch them without too much effort. Aimn Lu then continues to question the gargoyle. Unfortunately no more voices are in his head.

The party head onward through a door in the other side of the room and find themselves in a large complex with a canal, and decide that they must now be in the water temple. They are now just wanting to get back to the surface and are worried about taking on another temple where they do not even know if there is a way they can get up. They decide to head back to the earth temple where they know there is a way up.

They return to the cavern with the bulettes, and find a spot where it is possible to jump over the crevasse. However, on the other side is another Bulette, that attacks them immediately. This bulette seems harder the beat, leaping on the heroes and biting great chunks out of them. They manage to defeat it, but as they do so a saddled bulette leaps from a passage to the North and crushes Tito, knocking him unconscious. At the same time, earth cultists and hobgoblins start pouring out of the same, attacking the heroes. This drives Aimn Lu into a rage. He jumps on the bulettes back, grabs the reigns and attempts to subdue it.

At the same time, the rest of the heroes realise that they are overmatched. Mythoras manages to heal Tito with magic, and then they jump back over the crevasse. However Aimn Lu is in a rage now, and continues attempting to subdue the beast, crushing several cultists in the process.

Back with the rest of the party, they manage to defeat the cultists and hobgoblin chasing them and are considering how to stop Aimn Lu, when they hear a roaring shout from the east. They have awakened an ettin and are forced to put their attentions on it.

Aimn Lu at this stage has subdued the bulette and has it completely under his control. He guides the bulette back up the northern passage, killing as he goes. Layna at this stage is running to try and assist him when a strange figure emerges from an adjoining passage, casts a spell, and Aimn Lu transforms into a small frog. Realising that she has no chance against this enemy, and that she has not been seen yet, she flees.

They party (except Aimn Lu) run back down the south passage, back to the room with the Nothics, spike the doors shut and rest. They have survived, but Aimn Lu has been captured or killed.

After a rest, the party head into the water complex. They are very wary of getting into a battle, so avoid places where they see or hear people. They make their way through a winding route, forced to fight a water troll at one point. Luckily the sound of the running water in this complex makes it unlikely that anyone else will hear them.

Layna spots a spyhole in one wall so covers it with darkness, they continue on and find themselves on a stone beach with 3 boats pulled up. They are considering what to do when Bugbears start spilling out of a room behind them. They quickly push a boat onto the water and start rowing out into the darkness. They can see figures on a jetty to the east, and it is obvious that they have been spotted. Bugbears have gotten to the edge of the beach. Some are preparing boats, and others are preparing javelins for thowing. Suddenly tentacles surround the boat, tipping it and throwing Mythoras into the water……

The group, once again find themselves in a dangerous position with enemies swimming in from all positions, javelins being thrown in from the darkness and bugbears rowing boats towards them. Luckily Mythoras’ armour enables him to breath underwater, and he fights off the underwater enemies, while Tito and Layna fight off bugbears and cultists. Eventually they beat off their enemies and head off down a river leading through stone caverns.

The river goes through approximately two miles of caverns, before passing a landing. The landing has boats moored and stairs leading upward, but the group decide to continue following the river as they can see light at the end of the tunnel. The tunnel leads to an iron gate, on the other side of which they see the wharf area of Rivergard Keep.

They easily pick the lock, and create an illusion of a pile of cultist corpses in the boat which they hide under. They then wait until they have floated into the wharf area. The guards and pirates around that area express surprise at the boat of corpses, and then further surprise as the part emerge from hiding and start shooting. The party fight as they flee, and manage to (with some hard work and cunning) lift their small boat over the chain blocking boats from leaving or entering. They then go down the river some distance before finding a good hiding spot.

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Earth and Fire
1st - 2nd of Therendor, 1037

Our heroes leave the ogre’s guard room and find themselves moving through a dwarven complex. In they hear mad giggling coming from a room to the south. Tito attempts to open the door quietly and subtly, but that is just not possible with stone doors that pivot in the middle. In it he sees a wild eyed individual and some earth cultists. Thinking quickly the group make earth symbols with their fingers and move into the room., pretending to have a captured goblin.

This is obviously a torture chamber, with people in cages on the side of the room and a badly mutilated corpse on a rack. The group move the body off the rack and pretend to start tying Hug Hug down (who is panicking at this stage). While doing this, the group move into a good attack position and take the cultists by surprise. They are easily defeated.

The group rescue the prisoners and realise one of them is an earth cultist named Olna. They convince her to trade her life for information, and Layna asks her if she knows anything about the Swords of Liberty. Olna gives the following information.

Olna originally went to the Sacred Stone Monastery looking to join the swords of Liberty after her family were killed by Breeland soldiers. However after a short time she learnt that the Swords held a deeper secret. They had a chance of harnessing elemental power towards the opportunity of liberating Breeland. She became part of the cult of earth. After that she learnt that the Swords of Liberty were simply a cover story to help them recruit. She tells them that there are four elemental temples, all underground and linked by tunnels. All the temples are built in abandoned dwarven facilities. Apparently there are still some dwarves somewhere in the complex, but they have not been found.

She informs the group that they are currently in the Earth Temple, underneath the sacred stone monastery. This is confusing to the group, as the mine they entered would have been almost a weeks travel to the monastery.

The group decides that Olna has earnt her life, but bind her hands and tell her that she will be delivered to the authorities on the surface. They gather the other prisoners and prepare to return the way they have come. They pass through the ogre’s room and down the dwarven tunnel, but they are unable to find the mine passage they came down. The path just continues on. The group tell the prisoners to wait where they are and continue down the passage. They find themselves at stairs going down. Layna and Tito sneak down and find themselves confronted with a Chimera. A battle ensues, but the sounds of battle attract guards with bows and flaming swords. During the battle Olna takes the opportunity to flee and Hug Hug also flees at the sight of Chimera. The Chimera is defeated, and the group decide to retreat back up the passage. They leave with the sound of a guards jeering ringing their ears.

“That’s right, you stay in your part of the complex, Earth Temple scum”

They do not find Olna, Hug Hug or the rescued prisoners on the way back. They return the the ogre’s room, spike the doors shut, and rest – patching up wounds and restoring themselves. During the rest they hear a group of guards pass the door, but no alarm appears to be raised.

They realise now that they do not know the way out, so they head further into the earth temple to try and find a way. They move through the darkness. They hear a hammering clanging sound and see a Dao and Duegar working at a giant forge. Deciding discretion is the better part of valour, they avoid them. They move along the edge of a giant crevasse and find themselves in a chamber where they can faintly see, in the darkness, the shape of a Bullette chained to a pillar. Tito and Layna decide to sneak past to scout out what lies beyond them.
Bulette.JPG

They move soundlessly, but then Tito puts one foot down slightly heavily and immediately the Bullette raises and charges towards them. Another charges from deeper in the darkness and they hear more bellowing from the other side of the crevasse. It is all on. They start to move, but one Bullette breaks it’s chain, attacking Layna and seperating her from the party. She runs down a passageway to the south. They whole party together manage to defeat the Bullette with missile fire and old fashioned swordplay. They then kill the other Bullette they can see before it can break it’s chains. They then follow the passage heading south…

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It's a mine
28th of Olarune - 1st of Therendor, 1037

As the heroes are exploring the corkscrew mines, Layna hears a gnomish voice in her head:

“Layna, I thank you for your kind offer. I would appreciate you finding the location of those pretending the be the Swords of Liberty and disposing of them. Do not return to Wroat at this time. You will know when the time is appropriate then you will be able to return as heroes. What we do, we do for the good of our House. V.”

They continue to explore, but find there are traps everywhere. Eventually they decide that they weren’t going to find what they were looking for without getting killed and leave. They now have a goblin companion that they rescued from the mine (Hug Hug is his name).

They take a day to travel to the next mine on the map.

Mine Three – They arrive at the mine entrance, see that it was an old dwarven secret entrance where the secret door had been removed from it’s mechanism and see a Orc/Dworc wrestling match going on. Eventually they met with the Orc and Dworcs, where they found that the upper levels from their home had been taken over by members of the Emerald Claw. They decide that this had nothing to do with them and move on.

Another day of travel to the next mine

Mine Four – Deserted and collapsed not far in.

Another day and a half to get to the next mine. By this time the snow is melted and early spring flowers are starting to appear.

Mine Five – after a journey of several hours down the mine tunnel it linked to a well carved dwarven tunnel and a door. Through the door is a room with 5 ogres camped. They were obviously set up as guards, but were defeated fairly swiftly.

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Snowed In
19th - 28th of Olarune, 1037

The next morning you reprovision and look for mounts. You overhear much rumour regarding a number of topics:

  • Sharn has succeeded from the Kingdom of Breeland and is now a city state.
  • Sharn has been conquered by the warforged guards that protected it and the other races are being killed.
  • A number of small villages have been devastated, with sections of the villages utterly destroyed. The rumour is that the swords of liberty are to blame
  • The king has gone mad and is imprisoning or killing many of his cabinet and guard.
  • There is rumour that the governor of Cragwar and his key advisors are considering swearing fealty to Aundair.
  • There is speculation about why House Deneith has suddenly brought so many warriors into Cragwar. The town of Cragwar does not directly employ any Deneith services.

There are many mounts available for purchase, but the storm is still going on and it would still be unwise to leave town today – you can if you want, but you will be taking a risk. Exploring the town, there are also other services available that were not easily accessible in Xandrar. In particular, there are a high number of small hedgewizard shops selling simple specialised magical goods. There is also a House Medani enclave who would be able to identify magical goods – for a price.

Discrete enquiries indicate that most of the Deneith troops have been transported into town over the last month, with the bulk arriving in the last week. At the moment nobody has been told what their mission is and none of the troops are allowed to leave the guildhouse. They are finding the inactivity hard, but Deneith is a well run organisation and there have not been any serious incidents yet.

The party head out into the snow filled streets. Mythoras goes to a local inn for breakfast and talks with the locals. He finds out:

_You have been heard of – you are known collectively as the heroes of Xandrar, and you are well known for killing a black dragon and uncovering a plot to assassinate the king by Feathergale Knights who were working with the Swords of Liberty.

There is a lot going on at the moment, with multiple attacks from the swords of liberty around Breeland, and the succession of Sharn. Apparently the king has called on all of the towns to provide troops and there is a gearing up of resources to go to war against Sharn.

Cragwar is a very wealthy city with a high level of commerce as well as a lot of mineral wealth from its mines in the Blackcaps. There are whispers of Aurum agents in town, gathering wealth for the dwarves. A dwarf named Zeed is suspected to be an Aurum agent and does a lot of buying and selling in the area.

There are temples to the Sovereign Host, to the Silver Flame (one following the path of Durnik, the other following the path of Tira Mon), and a small one to The Path of Light. The latter is a religion you have heard of before, but have never seen a chuch dedicated to the religion._

You head to the governors mansion and once your ID is verified and your weapons removed you are ushered into his presence. The governor is an older gentleman with a magnificant moustache and a military bearing. He is keen to hear about the stories he has heard of you defeating the black dragon, and of you uncovering the Swords of Liberty conspiracy within the Feathergale Knights. He is very interested to hear of a cult not far from his town, but tells you he can spare no resources dealing with it. After hearing of your encounters with the Water and Earth cults he gives you some advice:

“It sounds to me as if you are trying to go to far too quickly – you are leaving your flank undefended. Your best method of attack would be to use some form of subterfuge to try and gain access to these facilities and then to make sure that one area is clear before progressing to another. However it might be too late for subterfuge now – they are likely to know who you are and be on watch for you. It’s best to avoid confrontation where you can, but if it happens scorch the earth.”

He apologises for the lack of help, but explains that there is a lot happening politically at the moment and he cannot spare any troops.

“Not that I have any knowledge of trouble being imminent though, but I need to be ready”.

Do you let him know about the build up of troops at House Deneith?

He is happy to arrange a missive to be sent to Vitor D’Deneith, who is now directly in charge of co-ordinating the Breeland Army. He explains that if you draft something he will have it sent via the next skyship and it should be there swiftly. The king is no longer accepting direct communications from any of the town leaders due to a heavy workload.

Layna writes and seals the following message for sending:

Vitor:

_I see your hand at work in the events at hand and admire the mastery that you demonstrate. I apologise for my inability to see things clearly before. I place myself humbly at your service. Allow me to assist in your design and learn by your side. I have some small skill and have companions who act as I will. How best can we be put to use?

Yours sincerely,

Layna d’Deneith_

The group are snowed in for another 3 days, during which they get magical items identified, buy equipment and generally relax. They also notice that they are being observed. When they capture their observer it turns out he is an informant of an Aundair noble called Batrax, who is trying to find out what has happened to his son, Kleris Martel. The party inform the observer of this, but are very interested in how the observer found out where to find them and who they were.

During their enforced break, the party decide to change plans. Instead of trying to find the fire cult, they decide that they need to hunt down the Swords of Liberty. They decide that exploring in abandoned mines near Black Pit might be fruitful as it was Black Pit that has been threatened by the group.

Once the snowstorm lifts, they travel slowly back to Black Pit, which takes longer than it would usually take due to difficult roads. When they get there they pay a local to draw them a map of local abandoned mines. They then head out into the hills and start exploring. The first mine they find is inhabited by a necromancer. They kill him and move on. The second mine is filled with undead, a purple worm and a lot of traps. They find the deed to the mine (the Corkscrew Mine) in the hand of a dwarvish skeleton.

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The Border Town of Cragwar
14th to 18th of Olarune, 1037

Your simple journey to Cragwar turns into a nightmare as the late winter weather changes for the worst. What should have been a two day journey turns into four days as you struggle through driving snow. On the fourth day you suddenly arrive at Cragwall, a large prosperous town, built in a broad cleft in the foothills of the Blackcaps. Protecting the town is a huge and thick stone wall with a single visible large gate. The gate is closed, and guards demand to see your papers before they allow you to enter. Luckily, Layna’s papers are enough to get you all through the gate, as some of you have no documentation at all.

Cragwar.JPG

You enter into what may well be the cleanest and most organised town you have seen. There are a large guild presence here, and a high number of money changers, mining operations and high value shops. There are also a large number of trading warehouses. If there is a seedy underbelly here it is well hidden – you don’t even see any beggars. All the streets appear well lit with magical lightglobes and there are a high number of skyship towers.

There are also a high number of soldiers, with the walls very well manned and a high troop presence in the town itself. The human troops look miserable in the snow but the Warforged are unaffected. The main streets have been swept of snow, but it is still landing thickly and movement is difficult.

As you enter the town, apart from the inns found near the entrance – some of which have the Ghallanda symbol showing, you also note a large Cannith guildhouse and an extravagant House Kundarak stronghold.

You are all frozen, exhausted and miserable. Layna suggests heading to a house Deneith Stronghold she knows of, so that they can rest securely. You pass by a number of luxuriously appointed inns to reach the house. The guards look at you suspiciously when you arrive, but once you show your papers you are ushered inside. Inside, the guild is a hive of activity, with many more people than you would expect. You are taken to the housemaster, Doras d’Deneith, who is obviously suspicious of you.

“Well, we can’t turn you away, but as you can see we are currently very busy. I can assign you bunks in the shared area and you are welcome to the food in the messhall. Other than that, I strongly advise that you keep a low profile for the time being and in the morning I suggest you find more appropriate accommodations.”

You are taken to a large area with approximately 50 bunks, your beds are spread throughout the area. The room is nearly full of guildmembers settling down for the night.

Aimn Lu immediately goes off the the messhall and eats his fill while the rest of the party retire for bed straight away as they are so exhausted.

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Return to the Village of Black Pit
12th to 14th of Olarune, 1037

The heroes spend an uncomfortable and cold winters night out in the open, hidden from the enemy that they are sure will be trying to find them.

In the morning they head off through the hills, leaving the Sacred Stone Monastery behind them. They decide to head for the nearest civilization and the village of Black Pit only just fits that description. They walk for three days through cold but clear weather, looking behind their shoulders the entire way. and in mid morning on the third day, see the village ahead of them. It is an ugly sight with the mismatched and scruffy architecture counterpointed by the evil vapours and sounds coming out of the giant pit that the village is named after.

However they notice that a good proportion of the village has disappeared. When Tito and Layna were last here, the village extended over the pit and down the side some way. This is where many of the House Thurashk facilities were, lowering prospectors down into the pit to a spot far far down where Kybershards could be mined. This has all gone, with the remnants of many buildings hanging over the side. All the remaining buildings also look damaged.

The heroes enter town where the locals give them half wary, half crazed looks (as they did last time). They decide they need to talk to the local authorities and are sent to the nearest thing in this town, the innkeeper. They enter the bar, buy some ale and ask the innkeeper, a man named Dragonfly, what has happened.

Apparently, 3 days ago there was a massive earthquake in the town that destroyed much and sent much sliding down into the pit. The townfolk would have blamed some newcomers to the village, but a note left on the inn door pointed to another culprit, the Swords of Liberty.

The innkeeper has the note and shows it to the heroes:

“People of Black Pit. The time of King Bortan has come to an end. He has proven his corruption and lack of care for his subjects. He will not come to your aid in your time of need. If you do not want further repercussions, you will hold open and fair elections, appointing a leader that the majority agree on. The Swords of Liberty seek to free you from the tyranny of the heirs of Galifar. The Swords of Liberty will lead the common people to prosperity and freedom from the shackles that hold you. This is not a request. If elections are not held within a month, then the town of Black Pit will be utterly destroyed and you will all perish with it.”

The innkeeper tells the group that several of the influential people in town are meeting to discuss this demand, but with the succession of Sharn and word of other towns receiving similar messages, there is a chance that the village may hold elections. A ridiculous idea, thinks the innkeeper.

The heroes ask about the newcomers he mentioned and are told that 4 days ago something happened that has never happened before – people came out of the pit. They were ragged and spoke of being captured and enslaved by Dolgaunt down in the depths of Kyber. They had escaped and managed over much time to make their way back to the surface, but spoke of Demon Lords being summoned in the deep and of danger to the world. They had stayed one night and then departed for Wroat to inform the king.

“If you are the heroes you look like”, the innkeeper informs them, “you’ll be looking at a way to get down the pit and deal to this evil before it spreads. That’s something I can arrange for you”.

The heroes decline his kind offer, but instead ask him where to source ‘provisions’. Following an earlier lead, they ask if he knows anything about a gathering of druids. He confirms that a number of druids recently passed through town heading towards a festival of some sort. They had said they were heading to Scarlet Moon Hall to attend the rite of the wicker giant. Dragonfly has heard of Scarlet Moon Hall and knows it to be ruins on the top of one of the hills at the North of the Blackcaps – somewhere near Arcanix.

The group decide that their next step should be to find this festival. They get their ‘provisions’ and head directly towards the border town of Cragwar without staying the night in Black Pit.

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Underground, Overwhelmed
11th of Olarune, 1037

An extremely tough looking Orc steps out from the doorway. “Who are you? What is the sign?” he demands.

Thinking fast, Mythoras remembers the earth symbol. He raises his hands up high and makes a triangle with his fingers.

“Ah, alright then,” says the Orc, “What do you want then?”

“We are here to find Marlos” replies Mythoras. Can you please take us to him.

“Droopy, show them the way” say’s the Orc, signalling the ogre, who has stepped out behind him.

DIS WAY”, Droopy says, before leading the heroes through a maze of tunnels to a potcullus blocking stairs going down into darkness. “HE’S DOWN DERE”, says Droopy who then turns and walks back the way he came.

There is a bronze door near the portcullis, and they decide to see if they can open it. A key they found on the body of the cultist upstairs fits and the door opens with a click. They open the door only to see an umber hulk with metal arms and a missing central eye on the other side. It roars and charges towards them. They slam the door, Aimn Lu managing to hold it closed as they relock it.

The portcullus can be opened by a lever on each side, so they open it and then go down the stairs which spiral down a long, long way, before exiting at a cavern, over which a bridge crosses to another tunnel. The party cannot see the bottom of the cavern, but they do see gargoyles perched around the cavern watching them. They make the sign of earth with their finger before they cross though and are undisturbed.

They cross over the bridge and a tunnel opens up to a large set of broken double doors of dwarven make. They pass through an entrance hall. They spot arrow slits but nobody appears to be behind them. They pass into another large room only to find hobgoblins keeping guard. The leader of the hobgoblins comes forward. He is a thin, tall crazy eyed man riding a bullette.

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“Ooo are ya”, he drawls.

“We are here to see Marlos” says Mythoras.

“That’s not what I asked” drawls the man, “c’mon, give me an excuse. Ow about I asks a different question? Ooo told ya bout this place”.

This stumps the heroes, Marlos is the only name they have heard. Then they remember the name of the stone worker in Womford.

“Mellikho sent us”, declaims Mythoras loudly.

“That idgit?”, replies the man, “ee thinks ee knows stuff about monastery, but ee don’t know nuffin. Ee certainly don’t know about this place. Kill em, boys.”

Suddenly a battle is on. For a short time the party hold their own, backing behind cover as they find advancing hobgoblins. They kill the crazy eyed man. But then suddenly arrows start peppering them from behind from the arrow slits, and cultists, duergar and guards come pouring out of nearby rooms and passageways. They are overmatched.

The party try to escape, but the members are seperated as enemies block their passages, and the bullette tramples over them, blocking the only exit.

Knowing that if they stay they are dead, one by one the party attempt to hurdle the bullette. Aimn Lu fails his first attempt and falls to the ground surrounded by hobgoblins, but manages to disengage from them and leaps over the head of the bullette. The party flee over the bridge and up the stairs. Looking behind them they see that have a short head start as the hobgoblins try and get around the bullette. By now they are all very wounded.

They run up the stairs at full pace, hearing enemies close behind. They get to the top of the stairs, only to see Droopy at the end of the passageway. He yells to someone behind him. “DERE DEY ARE”, he yells, " I TOLD YER I TOOK THEM HERE".

Layna sees a gap behind the ogre and decides to try and dodge past him. She does so easily, but finds herself surrounded by Duergar and very tough looking Orcs. Some of them move in to attack her while others head up the passageway to take on the rest of the party.

The sound of hobgoblins coming up the stairs is getting louder. Aimn Lu and Mythoras quickly run forward, unlock the bronze door and then slam it open loudly. They then retreat behind the portcullis which Tito closes using the nearby lever. The umber hulk roars past them and immediately begins attacking Duergar. At this point the hobgobins appear in view down the stairs. Tito activates the lever again, opening the portcullis. The three companions run behind the umber hulk who is occupied fighting Duergar, and through the bronze door which they slam and lock behind them. They find themselves in a cage, but the key also opens the cage door. They are back in the original room they started in.

Meanwhile, Layna is surrounded by enemies. While she is well armoured and good at avoiding damage she knows that she has no chance of winning this battle. She dodges around the enemies, taking hits as she does so and starts fleeing down the passageways with Duergar and Orcs hot on her heels. She outpaces them easily, but soon realises she is lost. She finds herself at a dead end, with 3 cages filled with prisoners. They plead for her to release them, but she has no time. She backtracks and finds a door which leads to a small smelly bedroom. A door at the other end slams open and it is more Orcs heading towards her. She runs through a third door which leads to some stairs. She escapes up the stairs, only to find them guarded at the other end by four cultists. She dodges past them, down some stairs, through a statue garden and out into the night.

Meanwhile Tito, Aimn Lu and Mythoras drink all the healing potions they have. Tito then quietly sneaks up the stairs to check out what might lie upstairs. He pokes his head up enough to notice around 20 cultists waiting around the room, and a robed, blindfolded lady. All are unarmed, but Tito decides that this is not a good path to escape.

He returns and tells the others what he has found, and they decide to try the stairway upward that they found in the tomb nearby. They quietly go up the stairway, noting a doorway halfway up.

As they proceed up the stairs they see it leads up to an ancient dusty laboratory. A skeletal figure in ragged robes is reading an ancient tomb and making notes. Without turning it says in a dry voice, “I already said I wasn’t interested. Leave. Now. I’m trying to work.”

Aimn Lu charges up the rest of the stairs yelling “It’s just a stupid skeleton. Come on, we can take on a stupid skeleton.” as he hacks into it with his halberd.

Suddenly the skeleton has disappeared and the room is full of a weird green mist that immediately starts sucking the life out of the trio. They flee – Tito and Mythoras going back downstairs and Aimn Lu bursting out of the door half way down the stairs. He finds himself in the statue garden, but just in time to see Duergar and Hobgoblins burst out of another open door. He runs off into the hills with them in close pursuit.

Tito and Mythoras are forced to wait 10 minutes for the mists to dissipate. They try to sneak back up the stairs, but hear the dry voice again, “I suggest you follow your friend out the door. Stopping time and summoning the devouring cloud was a warning to you. Disturb my studies again and you will be destroyed.

Tito and Mythoras do as they are told and depart into the statue garden through the door. They hear a commotion in the hills and in the moonlight see figures going over hillcrests. They decide to go off on an angle and follow nearby. After some time the Duergar and Hobgoblins stop following Aimn Lu and head back to the Monastery. The three are reunited.

Then Tito, knowing how Layna thinks, suggests that they seek out a hiding place that he and Layna slept in last time they were there. Sure enough, Layna is there waiting and the heroes are reunited, battered, bruised, nearly dead and unsuccessful in their endeavors.

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The Sacred Stone Monastery
8th - 11th of Olarune, 1037

The group (excepting Tur Turro) find themselves exiting the blue door in the dark, back in the hills where Morythas and Aimn Lu left. They are forced to make a makeshift camp and an inadequate fire and shiver through a harsh winters night.

The next morning, they decide that they must do what they can to stem the danger posed by the cults, and that they are unlikely to get any help from the King now. So they decide to head on to the Sacred Stone monastery. They travel for two days through rough terrain until eventually they find a trail. They then follow the trail which leads directly to the monastery.

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They arrive at mid morning, and send some time scoping out the building. As they are watching, two people exit the building and begin walking down the trail. They are wearing brown robes and gargoyle masks. They follow and attack the two monks, and take their robes.
Layna and Aimn Lu then don the robes and masks. They pick the lock on the gate to the walled garden at the back. Layna and Aimn Lu walk through without issue, but when Tito and Morythas enter, gargoyles attack them. The gargoyles are easily defeated and Layna and Aimn Lu decide that they should enter the building in disguise and reconnoiter. The pick a door (which is unlocked) and enter.

They find themselves in a large room which is obviously some sort of temple, with wide stairs in the middle of the room leading down into darkness. A dark haired man stand behind the altar doing something with a dagger, while two men in what looks like stone armour stand and watch.

“What are you doing here,” says the dark haired man, “you know you are not to disturb me. Get out”

“Sorry boss,” slurs Aimn Lu, pretending to be drunk, “we were just out there and wanted to come back in. What’s going on?”

“I said get out,” says the dark haired man, “How dare you disobey me. Leave now.”

“Don’t pay any attention to us,” says Aimn Lu, “we’ll just pass through and…”

“That’s it,” snaps the dark haired man, “I will not stand such disobedience.” He looks at the men nearby. “Dispatch them”, he says.

The guards move in to attack. The heroes move into the room and take them on. However as the dark haired man sees the non-disguised halfling and Dragonborn enter he realises that this is not just drunken insubordination.

“Wait, stand down. There has obviously been a misunderstanding” he says as Layna moves towards him. However she notices that he is moving towards a small lever on the wall and starts slashing at him. He runs towards a small door as the guards move to protect him.

He runs through the door and down a small hall, but Aimn Lu is too quick and splits his head apart as he attempts to open another door. The guards are quickly dispatched and the group explore the temple. They note that it was once a dwarven temple, but the runes have been carved out and new carvings of the elemental earth symbol have replaced them.

Aimn Lu is curious about where the dark haired man was fleeing to, so tries the door and sees that it leads to an empty dining hall. He tries another door and sees people in robes and masks cooking in a large kitchen. They see him and stop, staring.

“Well, don’t just stand there”, he snaps at them, “Get that dinner out here now.” The cultists look at him in his servants outfit and then hustle into action. The rest of the party join Aimn Lu for a nice meal.

Part way through the meal, a large number of other cultists enter the room, see the group sitting and eating. Stop momentarily, and then sit and start eating, giving them sideways glances throughout the meal.

When the characters finish eating they return to the temple and decide to go down the stairs. As they descend, Layna notices that there are scrape marks that indicate that the stairs have a mechanical trigger that can turn them into a slide. They descend warily.

At the bottom they find that they are in a room where a mutilated Umber Hulk is held at bay in a cage. The only other exit is through a bronze door which they manage to unlock and open and they find themselves in a tomb where they are attacked by zombies. These are easily dispatched and the group heads onwards through the tunnels.

They try a door, and see an ogre lying on the floor with other creatures in nearby beds. But the ogre is immediately alert. “WHO’S THERE?” he yells, “HEY GUYS, DERE’S SOMEONE COMING IN.” The party shut the door and decide to head onwards, but as they walk away, the door opens behind them….

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