Pathfinder Off the Beaten Path

The Battle of Ancestor Hill
(Season 1, Episode 5) The Iron Consortium has come at last.

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The Battle of Ancestor Hill..

Throughout the history of Varisia, many details about important events can get rather difficult to confirm for obvious reasons. The first intermediary period was a time where the country was wild and untamed, and many key figures took on the roles of local heros, and eventually legends who’s fantastic stories were repeated through the ages. There was no centralized government, and the local populace consisted of Native Shoanti to the North, and scattered caravans of wandering Varisi everywhere else. Several figures however play an interesting role in what would become the foundation folklore of the eventual city of Brinewall. This place had originally been established as an outpost by fleeing nobility from the far east, but almost all of the family had been wiped out by a concerted attack by the Oni, and for many years the keep was laid to ruin.

This ruin was later rebuilt and became a hub for trade that was headed North into Kalsgard and the lands of the Linnorm Kings. It was at this time, a tribe of Shoanti called the Huho’tach Maudi began to make their presence known. This distressed tribe had spent many generations isolated both from the outside world and the other shoanti tribes, but now was under attack by a shadow arm of the Chelaxian government called “the Iron Consortium,” Thier people had begun the long slow decline into cultural dissolution, when they sent one of their young braves to Brinewall in search of a solution. Unfortunately for them however, the Iron Consortium had been busy, and was preparing a logging expedition to move up into the hills and make a direct assault on the sacred ancestor grove.

Sa’hetna had been using this time to establish himself in Brinewall, when he returned home just in time to find his tribe under attack. There was no time for tactics or long thought out strategems, the situation was critical because the consortium were already well under way with their assault and soon it would be too late. In later writings, Sa’hetna had long had misgivings about the slow decline of his people, and when he returned to the tribe, there was already a heated debate in progress about how to best deal with the invaders.

A tribesman named “Haargev” had formed a degenerate cult of worship for those creatures which dwell beyond the dark tapestry. This dark cult had already wormed its way into the hearts of several tribesman as their fear and desperation grew to a fever pitch, and now, “Haargev” knew that the time was ripe to make his move. The hunt master Nath’rek had taken issue with the use of “summoned spirits” and wanted to gather for a direct assault. Meanwhile, “Haargev” had insisted that the help of the spirits would break the backs of the invaders.

At this council meeting, “Haargev” invited the fellowship to participate in a summoning ritual that would call forth the spirits that would liberate the tribe. Sa’hetna and the others, agreed to attend, but as the greenwalker would recount years later…

“Something felt profoundly wrong about this. I had felt the influence of the spirits and the dire warning I had received from Rancher Fauster did nothing to put my fears at ease. This was something terrible, it was the reason our ancestors had warned us about influence from the outsiders. It was not the lure of money, or the working of iron which had filled their hearts with horror and kept them looking up into the endless sky with dread. The source of their fear, was the profane knowledge that somewhere out in world, these abominable rites and rituals existed, and could be used to call up such evils that no sane man should ever be exposed to.”

When the fellowship had arrived, the ritual began, and suddenly reality itself twisted as something foul and otherworldly was summoned into being. The fellowship only marginally helped as Threndil assisted the ritual by giving his voice to the cult leader, meanwhile Sahetna and the others prepared to deal with the aftermath of what was happening. Shocked and frozen in horror, Sahetna could only stare as the cult leader lost control when the offering mysteriously died just before the creature could consume it. The beast, thus denied its feast, lashed out and nearly took the cultleader before he fled. Fortunately, Olli used his power over the mind to force the cultleader to flee back towards the beast. When he did so, the creature took him in its tentacles and started to drain his life essence. Partly in punishment, and partly in mercy, Sahetna along with the others targeted his attack on the cultleader to finish him off and kill the fool before his soul was consumed by the strange creature from beyond time and space.

It was a close thing for the huho’tach maudi, because if the beast had escaped the confining circle it would have inflicted untold death and injury before it could have been stopped.. if it could have been stopped at all. The circle held however, as the magic of the Harrow revealed itself through Zuristoi and saved the lives of the fellowship and the village. After that disasterous turn of events, the council and the tribe realized its folley in turning the to dark spirits from beyond and decided that now was the time to fight. The fellowship agreed to fight by their side and gathered with Nath’rek in the morning for the attack.

As the Consortium continued up the hill, the Huho’tach moved to attack the other two elements while the fellowship crept forward to attack the third. Each element consisted of 2 clockwork soldiers alongside a clockwork harvester and attended by gaurds and an overseer. The fellowship planned to attack the overseer, and disable the harvester until all the others had been dealt with. The attack proceeded as both Olli and Zuristoi used their magic to occupy the overseer while Sa’hetna and Threndil used claw and summoned creature to attack the gaurds. The clockwork soldiers were very strong, and could inflict terrible wounds upon anyone who got close. Fortunately however, one was led off by Threndil while the other was attacked and dismantled by Sa’hetna and A’hoot. The fight did not last long as the gaurds were cut down and the overseer was forced into a magical slumber from which he would awake only briefly. His gaurds did their best to protect and revive him, but by the time they realized what was happening, they were being overrun by the fellowship and the tide was turning against them. As the battle was nearly finished, Zuristoi led the harvester on a merry chase while the others tried to use the keys to take control of the clockworks to no avail. The other groups of Huho’tach were successful in their attack, having brought down the clockworks with huge mallets that smashed joints and caved in armor. After leading his harvestor on a chase through the field.. Zuristoi led the device towards the warriors, who knocked its knees out from under it and proceeded to smash it into metal bits.

Nath’rek had decided to press the attack, kill the next shift and burn their camp in a wave of destruction that would chase the consortium all the way back to the shore. Sa’hetna and the others followed and wrecked terrible damage upon the consortium until chelish troops began to deploy from the boats to call a halt to their assault. Meanwhile the tribe’s advance had left a path of destruction in its wake, and the consortium would have no choice but to retreat.

The warriors of the Huho’tach and the fellowship returned to the village victorious, and a great feast was gathered in honor of those who fought, and those who had died to make victory happen. Sa’hetna was given a sacred ancestor sapling to place in his grove, and after making a quick stop by the sawmill to say goodbye to Breanna, he guided the fellowship back home. Threndil had been busy collecting salvage, and so he traded his horse for a wagon that would carry the metal back to Brinewall for his forge. This meant the trip home would be longer, but with the metal and spoils from the battle, it would well be worth it.

None of the fellowship had any illusions about the eventual return of the Iron consortium. They had been beaten once, but now was the time to prepare. They would come back eventually, stronger then before and ready to fight and destroy the Huho’tach maudi forever.

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Zuristoi... Dragon slayer
(Season 1, episode 4) Shepard's Bane is cornered and slain.

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Greetings mother and father.. I will be returning home soon. It will be very good to see everyone again and I am looking forward to seeing the mighty ancestor trees which grace our homeland and keep the spirits of our ancestors. I know now, that I am on a great spirit quest, and that our journeys will become legends told to children many years from now, provided we survive. I have made a home in the stinking town of Brinewall, where it smells very bad all the time. I am hopeful however, that as I am able to show them the way, and convince the people to work with the land instead of struggling against it, they will achieve some measure of harmony, and then they will aid us in our fight against the consortium.

Nearby, there is a great tower of stone which is a nesting ground of evil spirits. They call to goblins and hobgoblins, filling their ears with desire to dwell in the company of darkness. Twice we have cleansed this place of evil, and twice it has reached out to call more of its kind to dwell there. I fear that there may be no way to finally be rid of it, except to raze this nesting ground of dark spirits to the ground and return its bones to the earth from which the stone was drawn. I must always be mindful, for not every dark spirit is necessarily evil, but whatever is calling to these goblins and bringing them down from the mountains, makes it difficult to secure the town of Brinewall from threats to the North.

In our most recent adventure, we had finally killed the goblins and secured the tower before realizing that the small green dragon which had started amassing its horde in the basement would likely soon return, and be very angry with us. A dragon knows its horde like it knows its own skin, every coin is like every scale. Everything has a place, and as soon as we took some of it, the dragon would know its lair had been defiled and its treasure touched by outsiders. We tried to return the goods, in hopes that the dragon would not immediately attack and give us enough time to recover some of our energy. The blessing of the trees would not fall upon me until dawn, so I had to make do with what I could while Zuristoi, Olli, and Threndiil had recovered enough of their strength to be useful.

We barracaded ourselves in the tower to wait while the dragon returned from its hunting to consume its latest catch and add its bones to the growing pile. We knew that we would not be hard to find, but we had returned the treasure we had taken in hopes that it would not be so angry with us, that it would hurry to engage us. After resting for a time, we heard a disturbance outside.. so Threndiil sent one of his eagles out to give chase, but we didnt hear anything after that. Zuristoi used a trick of the light to make it seem like someone had gone to the door, and the decoy was consumed in a massive cloud of acidic gas.

We fled back down into the dragon’s lair, and made ready to assault the beast. It would seem counter intuitive to attack it in its lair, but its true strength, was in the air where it could attack us with impunity and we would be nearly helpless to stop it. By this time night had fallen, and the lair itself was nearly pitch black. Zuristoi had used another illumination spell, and we soon discovered the creature as it moved to confront us.

Our attack was swift and decisive.. everyone attacked as best they could, A’hoot closed while I cast my spells and helped as best I could. The dragon’s attack had taken place too soon for Ollie to replenish his spells, but he helped attack the beast as best he could. Zuristoi however was quicker on the draw and drew up next to the dragon with his sword raised high. He struck the beast once.. then again as it died from its wounds. The dragon was defeated and the scourge of the local livestock was now dead.

We were hailed as heros upon our return.. and Zuristoi spun tales well into the morning while the rest of us went to tend to other matters.

I had investigated the area, and found a ruined grove that could be used with some time and attention. Meanwhile .. the town itself was attacked by an acid scarred ogre who had come down from the hills. Its savage attack was cut short as our hunting party gathered to stop it. The people of Brinewall fled while we raced in the other direction to confront the beast. It had left a trail of devastation in its wake, but we caught up with it before it was able to kill anyone. We attacked the ogre head on.. and brought it down, but not before several of our group were wounded. At this point the fellowship decided it was time to see to the ogres in the hills, and end their threat once and for all.

We left for the hills in the early morning.. I did my best to guide the others and track the path the ogre had made in its rampage. Finally, we followed the ogres back to their lair, a stinking cliff cave that was covered in strange burns that were likely made by the dragon. We wasted no time inside, and hurried to engage them before they could better prepare themselves. Two ogres came out of the darkness as we went in.. and the fight was terrible. Ahoot had been knocked down and was bleeding badly. Were it not for Zuristoi’s magic and the wands we had purchased, I don’t know what would have happened to my brother.

We finally defeated the Ogres, and on our way back, saw a terrible sight.. a caravan of hobgoblins and goblins, moving into the tower to once again fortify it as a garrison of their foul race. My heart sank as I considered what we had just sacrificed to clear it.. but the goblins and hobgoblins were a truly numberless enemy.. and it was not going to be easy.

Finally we made our way back.. and I asked the others if they would help me return to my people, so I could acquire an ironroot tree seed as the center of the new grove in Brinewall.

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More Dragons and Hobgoblins
In which we deal with dragons and spend more money than we make

I.

Sa’hetna’s last log entry left off with us in a middle of a supernatural windstorm, battered by a fight with air and lightning elementals and hunkering down in the cave of a dead copper dragon. We had rescued two of her wyrmlings, Acidophul and Cyandotin, but sadly arrived too late to help the third (whom we later learned to be Ganason.) I’d seen an earth elemental peeking out of the wall deeper in the cave, but when we proceeded in there was no sign.

At just this moment a bard approached the cave! It turned out to be one Zuristoi, a Varisian friend of Sa’hetna and Thrindiil who had helped carry me back to town when they rescued me from the giant spiders a few days earlier. As we were unable to wake Cyandotin, we felt it urgent to get a Restoration spell for her before she became dehydrated; however, we lacked the money to pay for it, so we gathered the dead mother’s hoard and headed back to Brinewall through the lowering storm. While we were loading up A’Hoot with the sacks of gold, earth elementals phased through the floor in that creepy way earth elementals have. It turned out they’d been family friends of the dragon; they would guard her body until we returned with a Speak with Dead scroll to figure out what she wanted us to do with her kids.

The hoard. The hoard was mostly a lot of copper pieces. Thrindiil was going to count it, but then he had some sort of wizard study to attend to, and since my magic mostly just sort of happens – I don’t really know how, but on the other hand I don’t have to stay up all night studying scrolls – I agreed to count them for him. But then luckily a merchant agreed to trade us the whole lot, uncounted, for a Restoration scroll! Narrow escape there. We might have overpaid, but really taking everything into account we got a bargain. So, Sa’hetna masterfully cast the spell from the scroll, waking Cyandotin who promptly attacked us. But we all tried to calm her down; she spewed acid all over everybody, but only once, so I suppose that’s not so bad. Anyway she didn’t get any on me. Cyandotin’s pretty surly, but I guess you have to give her some leeway because she just lost her mom. Still, I like Acidophul better.

So we, meaning Zuristoi and myself and I think Sa’hetna, bought a Speak With Dead scroll as well. The hoard was gone at that point, so this was out of pocket. We’re not really doing a great job of making a living at this – both Zuristoi and myself are running a net loss since we started adventuring, and Sa’hetna might have been as well but I don’t think he’s keeping count. Anyway. It turned out I was the only one of us who understood the scroll, so I was going to get to cast it. I was apprehensive – I blew enough scrolls back in wizard school in Crying Leaf – but I got lucky and was able to get the spell off. So then I was in mediumistic contact with the departed spirit of the mother dragon! That was pretty gross. She wanted us to try to raise her other child from the dead, if we were going to raise anyone. She also said we should take Acidophul and Cyandotin to a bronze dragon who lived down the coast a bit, which surprised all of us. Who ever heard of a bronze dragon raising copper dragon wyrmlings! (Nobody spoke of trying to raise Ganason from the dead, in spite of the mother’s wishes – perhaps we all felt that while it might be worth an heroic quest to bring back a powerful adult dragon, we already had about two more wyrmlings than we could handle and didn’t need a third.)

She was terse and a bit cryptic, but I’ve heard this is always the case with the Speak With Dead spell. It makes me wonder what I’m really talking to there – it certainly didn’t feel like a fully conscious intelligent being. Anyhow, she said we should just “return her to the earth”, and so the earth elemental leader agreed to bury her. I think Thrindiil was relieved that I wasn’t going to try to badger him into helping me cart this large (and apparently valuable) dragon corpse through pirate-infested waters half-way across the world to get her raised. We hurried back to Brinewall, arriving just after nightfall in a howling windstorm.

Oh, also the dragon’s cave had an entrance to the Darklands! The earth elementals said they guarded it and kept things from coming up.

II.

The storm kept us bottled up in the Brinewall castle for another day. On the morning it started to abate, we found Cyandotin had scarpered. Not much we can do about that; hopefully she doesn’t run into any of the green dragons that are distressingly common hereabouts.

Zuristoi talked to the Varisians who’d been pranked by the copper dragon – now known as the Green Horse Caravan – and produced a wagon to escort us down the coast to see Plantagonox (the bronze dragon). This was especially handy because I didn’t have to carry supplies, or walk. Plantagonox, it turns out, spends his time killing and presumably eating pirates. I’m not sure how he tells whether a ship is a pirate before he destroys it – didn’t seem like a good time to ask. I haven’t heard any complaints of dragons preying on shipping up in Brinewall, but then it’s hard complain very loudly from inside of a dragon.

Acidophul didn’t seem keen on staying with Plantagonox, and Plantagonox didn’t really want Acidophul, although he said he’d keep him since it was his mother’s dying wish. Zuristoi read the Harrow for the kid, and it said staying with P. would produce woe, so he came home with us. He’s now hanging around the castle in Brinewall, where he gets free meat and water, so a pretty sweet setup. I hope he sticks around; he is fun to play with, although I think dragons grow up so slowly that he’s still going to be a kid when all of us except maybe Thrindiil are long buried. Someday when I go to Crying Leaf I’ll have to introduce him to my mom.

It turns out Plantagonox had strained relations with Acidophul’s mom, and we think she was just trying to saddle him with raising her kids as a final joke, since she knew it would drive him crazy but that he’d do it because he was so straight-laced. Which is pretty funny, actually; maybe the kid is a little young to appreciate the humor in it right now, though.

III.

By the time we got back to Brinewall it had been two weeks since the group cleared the hobgoblins out of that old watchtower, so we decided to go back and finish looting it. We approached along the wash to the secret back door that I’d found earlier, so we wouldn’t be spotted if more monsters had moved in. And it turned out they had! Three goblins with riding dogs were keeping guard along the creek; while they were no real danger to us, only Thrindiil’s summoned eagle was able to keep them from escaping to warn the Tower, harrying them until A’Hoot caught up and finished them off. I got to try out this new trick I’d discovered to interrogate someone’s thoughts by sort of yanking on all the threads through their brain. It worked pretty well as far as that went – I learned that the goblins were indeed scouts for another batch of female hobgoblins that had reoccupied the tower – but I was a bit surprised that it also killed the subject.

We had no trouble getting back in through my secret door, but this time I had a bunch of folks who were better at tracking along, and they noticed something I’d missed earlier – a dragon was evidently lairing in the cave there! Sa’hetna said it was probably a green. I think it must be a pretty young one – surely no adult dragon would live in a crappy cave under a goblin-infested tower like this, nor would he leave the brush growing over the entrance so he had to crawl into his own home on his belly – but the others didn’t seem to agree. Anyway, we hurried on so we could assault the hobs while we still had surprise on our side.

They had walled up the stairs from the basement (where we were) so there was only a narrow crack in, but this time we knew that trick. (Later Thrindiil had his earth elemental knock that wall down; having to invade the tower through that narrow crack twice was enough.) Incidentally, we saw the hobs had made a lot of improvements to the tower – maybe we should let them occupy it one or two more times and see if they put in some curtains and nicer furniture. That’s a joke.

So: I changed my form into that of a goblin, and Zuristoi taught me how to say “No treasure down here, nope!” in goblin in case I was caught – with the hope that the hob guards would chase me rather than alerting the fortress – and I snuck through to see what was going on! This actually worked too well – first, I was so stealthy that the guards didn’t even see me, and then when I tried again and deliberately stumbled into the guard room, then fled back through the crack, Zuristoi could hear the guards saying “it’s just a goblin, who cares” and failing to pursue. So, we just charged in and attacked. We quickly overcame them, but as we soon discovered there was another batch of hobs upstairs who had heard the fray and were now prepared for our assault.

That next fight didn’t go as well – I went up the stairs first and attempted to cast my new Murderous Command spell on one of the guards, but I didn’t see the hobgoblin necromancer standing behind me in the stairwell. She was invisible (I think using the same Vanish spell that Thrindiil often casts), Mage Armored, Shielded, False Life’d, and had a Spectral Hand up as well. Right off the bat she hit A’Hoot and me with some sort of energy drain effect, but we mostly were able to shake it off. Luckily I was able to keep her confused by tweaking on her threads – and thus prevent her from doing anything intelligent like fleeing – while the rest of the group finished off the guards. Then A’Hoot and Thrindiil’s earth elemental were able to box her in in the stairwell and, eventually, kill her.

At this point the hobgoblins were all dead, but Thrindiil and I were almost entirely exhausted of magic. However, we still wanted to clean out the basements before the green dragon returned from its hunt, so we pressed on.

IV.

One room we had ignored when coming up through the basement was full of chests and broken furniture. Thrindiil used the last few seconds of his summoned earth elemental to open all the chests, but there was nothing obviously valuable. All of us except A’Hoot joined in a quick search, which was perhaps a mistake – horrible little crawling undead hands came out of the debris and jumped on Zuristoi, Sa’hetna, and Thrindiil! I kept trying to discharge some positive energy into them with cure spells, but I couldn’t manage to land a hit. Also the door slammed shut – evidentally that was some local supernatural effect, and not my fault like it usually is – which shut A’Hoot out in the hall. But while the hands were quite disgusting they weren’t very strong, and eventually we were able to smash them while A’Hoot bashed through the door.

Sa’hetna said he still had a full panoply of spells, so we decided to go ahead and check out the last unexplored room, the Chamber of Bones in the sub-sub-basement. (We didn’t know it was called the Chamber of Bones at that point). This was a very large room, piled waist-high with bones as advertised, and with some sort of construct made of skulls sitting in the far corner. Which construct immediately hit Zuristoi and myself with a fear spell, so I decided I’d just stay out in the corridor and be ready to heal anybody who needed it. So the rest of the description of this battle is from what Z told me later. A vast horde of skeletons, at least fifteen, plus a mighty death knight rose from bone debris and charged toward the party! Luckily, Zuristoi still had the ability to channel, so he cleansed the room with blasts of positive energy! The clatter of disintegrating skeletons was deafening, leaving only their death knight leader and the skull tower itself. Sa’hetna magically set the tower on fire, but it was burning very slowly, so Z was still having to fight through the fear effect – but he was undeterred! He loosed a hail of specially designed anti-skeleton arrows at the puissant knight, but the fell fiend fought through them and engaged him in single combat! Finally, Sa’hetna, wielding a magically summoned club, and A’Hoot were able to assist him, and with a mighty thrust Zuristoi brought down the foul creature! I’m really sorry I missed all of that, it figures I’d run out of spells for the best fight of the day.

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Broken Dragon
(Season 1, Episode 2) A Hellknight in Brinewall, and a dark storm descends

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It was in late spring when the fellowship returned to the growing village of Brinewall from the forgotten watch tower. In the dark webs of the spider mother, they had discovered a prisoner who had been kept barely alive to feed her brood, a dark haired half Elf named Ollinithivel. He had taken a job as a scout, but had run afoul of the monsters after sneaking into the secret entrance to the lower levels of the watchtower. There, the brood of the spider mother had attacked and kept him paralyzed until they were ready to feed. Fortunately for “Olli” the brood of the spider mother had proven no match for the fellowship, as they cut through their ranks. It was not until half the fellowship was forced to return to deal with an undead threat above them, and their strength was halved, did the dark mother of webs reveal herself and attack. It was clear she had commanded her children to secure their food, and she would not surrender Ollinithivel without a fight.

Fortunately, the mighty A’hoot, Sa’hetna the greenwalker and Thrindiil Forge-borne were able to turn the tide of the dark web mother, and soon her cracked, bloated body was spilling its blood upon the stones. When she was dead, Sahetna burned away what webs he could and opened the coccon containing Ollinthivel the Oracle. His blood was thick with the paralytic poison of the spider queen, and it took much of the day to return him by litter into the welcoming arms of the city of Brinewall.

Of the mysterious figure of Ollinthivel, little is known except when Sa’hetna would speak of his friend and traveling companion.

“Ollinthivel?… There are some for who the presence of the spirits are a blessing, but others who do not agree. I have come to realize the the burdens of his secrets were many.

After they returned to Brinewall, Ollinthivel was treated for his injuries at the local apothecary and given leave to report back to the commandant about the situation. Meanwhile Nick and Nadia had received an awaited message from a young child who rushed up and gave some sort of coded statement. Nick immediately recognized what the child was saying and left to catch up with the caravan which had only recently departed Brinewall. Nadia packed up her things and left with Nick in hot pursuit of the Traveling wagon train. They took Zuristoi with them to help with negotiations once they caught up with the caravan and the insular Varisi who run them. After they divided up the loot so far, they took their shares collected so far, but left the rest in our care for when they accomplished their mission and returned.

It was after speaking with the commandant, Ollinthivel had recovered much of his strength and After Zuristoi, Nick, and Nadia had gathered their belongings to intercept the caravan, a strange procession entered town. The fellowship was considering what their next move should be when a small slave column began to work its way through Brinewall on their way to a Chelaxian merchant ship docked in the harbor. . It consisted of Three slavers, 4 shoanti prisoners, and 1 blonde hairedVarisi woman.

As soon as Sa’hetna noticed the Shoanti in chains, he moved out into the center of the street and blocked the way forward with A’hoot at his side. Ollinthivel and Threndiil noticed the slaves as well, and immediately knew there would be trouble. The slavers moved with impunity, despite the fact that most of the crowd were faithful of Desna, no one was willing to challenge the obviously armed and dangerous slavers. There was a brief standoff as everyone parted ways, leaving the three adventurers standing in the slavers path. Threndiil tried to negotiate, but they were already tense and the situation was ready to explode at any moment. Finally Ollinthivel cast a spell to try and force one of the slavers to fall on the ground with a spell of command. As soon as his magic flew, the Slavers knew they had a fight on their hands and moved forward to attack.

Threndiil the Forgeborne, summoned an Eagle to attack the slaver, while Ollinthivel continued casting spells in hopes of sowing confusion among their number. Meanwhile, with a look of fury, Sa’hetna and A’hoot attacked the slavers head on. A’hoot slammed into a slaver, and bit into his neck as his head thrashed back and forth. There was a loud Cracking noise as the first slaver’s neck snapped like a chicken’s and he went limp. Sa’hetna attacked with his warclub as the eagle and Ollin’s magic did their work upon the third slaver. As the combat began, The crowd parted to allow the shackled slaves to escape into a nearby butcher shop. Once out of harm’s way, they rejoined to create a group of spectator’s hiding them away. A’hoot charged again, crashing into the second slaver as he tore an arm from its socket with a bellowing roar, leaving the man to spray his life blood upon the muddy street. Finally Threndiil was able to talk to the remaining man after he had been nearly killed. At that point he knew that it was over for him, and his only chance for survival meant surrender. He gave up to Threndil and Ollin, before being clubbed into unconsciousness by Sa’hetna from behind.

As the people started moving forward, suddenly a dark clad man in a breastplate shoved his way through the crowd. It had been long enough so that the remaining slaver had regained consciousness and called out to Him.

“Armiger!.. please, help me Armiger!”

This statement named him as a untested squire of the Hellknights, and revealed the presence of the Cheliax militant order here in Brinewall. The Knight drew a sword and swore a bitter oath at the slaver as he shook his head…

“Oh.. you shouldn’t have said that.”

Sa’hetna sought to place himself between the knight and the others, as blood had not been drawn and in truth he appeared to be a far more formidable opponent. Ollin tried to tangle the man’s mind while Threndil began to cast spells and summoned another creature to press the attack. Unfortunately, the Hellknight novice moved around the crowd, and nearly buried his weapon in Olli’s head before missing at the last moment by tripping over some mysterious invisible object. The melee ensued, as Sahetna and Ahoot moved to attack and struck blow after blow upon each others defenses. Fortunately, Olli was able to weave a spell that forced the knight to drop his weapon on the ground. As he stumbled about for it, another magical spell whipped it from underneath him and it danced off to the side and out of reach. The Novice Hell knight snarled as he drew a sap and proceeded to lay into Olli as the fight carried into the butcher’s shop where the slaves had taken refuge. Ahoot and Sahetna tried to trip and force the Knight off his feat so he would be vulnerable, but the experience and combat training of the warrior proved to be too much as their attacks proved far less effective. Finally after being cornered and battered, Olli commanded the spell to toss the knight’s weapon up unto the canvas roof and well out of reach. The Hellknight novice roared in frustration, determined to use his sap to club Olli to death when Sahetna and A’hoot finally brought him down.

The fellowship did not have time to celebrate their victory however, as soon as the fight was over, it was clear that the slaver had escaped and was even now, fleeing to the Cheliax merchant ship. On the dock, the sole surviving slaver waved his arms in hopes of catching the attention of those on deck. As they watched, Olli moved forward into a tent structure, readied a crossbow, and just as he was spotted by the officers from the boat, sent a crossbow bolt into the slaver, killing her instantly. Her body slumped into the water, and when Threndil moved forward to shout at the ship.. a mage on board summoned a pair of manes to give chase.

As threndiil retreated from the dock he shouted behind him, “We trade! But not in slaves!”

Later on that evening, Threndiil was speaking the commandant about the work on the forge, when the matter of the slavers came up. From that point forward, the conversation went poorly as the commander realized that he would be forced to entertain the ships captain as a guest for dinner in order to smooth things over. After a long and grueling conversation, over which the commandant made it clear that we were to stop causing trouble, or else. Olli and Sa’hetna had decided it was time to seek answers outside of Brinewall.

After visiting with a caravan recently arrived in a disheveled state, it was revelead to the fellowship that the caravan had encountered a mischevious copper dragon, who was disguised as a comely woman. When she had asked for aid, but then was refused by the new caravan master, she had begun to play tricks upon them.. one thing after another until the caravan fled as fast as they dared.

(to be continued)

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Pilot: The Forgotten Watchtower (part 1)
With the threat uncovered, The fellowship must survive and protect Brinewall.

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Synopsis: As the Heros gathered in Brinewall, an old menace arose in the surrounding countryside, forcing the Commandants’ hand. As Zuristoi the Fortune Teller arrived, he was beset by several enforcers from the dreaded Sczarni Syndicate, hoping to enjoy some violence at the fortune teller’s expense. Before blood could be drawn, the group attracted the attention of Nick Hawkes and Nadya Begeris who decided to intervene on the fortune teller’s behalf. Meanwhile, Thrindil Tamin’Atar and Sa’hetna The Greenwalker were on their way to the keep to speak with the Commandant about the situation with his forge and the release of workers to help build it.

The brawl became a vicious duel, as the two Sczarni tough’s drew blood and things rapidly deteriorated. As all those gathered decided to stop the assault of the fortune teller, Nick, Zuri and Nadya fought the bravos until their uncle arrived from the caravan to formally request that their lives be spared. After a brief discussion, the Sczarni were relieved of their weapons and turned back over to their uncle. As the dust settled, Zuristoi the Fortune Teller thanked them for their help, and asked them to disregard such a shameful representation of his native culture.

At this point in the day, the group saw a search party of guards stumbling back into Brinewall after a long day chasing an alleged chupacabra. They had no luck attempting to find the creature that was killing a shepard’s nearby flock, and as it stood, Thrindil’s forge would continue to remain unbuilt until the safety of the town was assured. Thrindil and Sa’hetna decided to speak with the Commandant directly. Upon speaking with him, it was decided that the only way work on Thrindil’s forge would continue, was to find the cause of the missing sheep.

Sa’hetna tracked a band of marauding goblins back to a forgotten watch tower in the middle of a small bowl valley. After sneaking their way close to the tower, the fellowship was discovered as they closed in, and a general melee broke out. Goblins tried to defend the tower, but the fellowship broke through their defenses, but not before being mauled by the combat. There were several difficult battles, during which members of the fellowship were gravely wounded, and eventually they did have to retreat before anyone was killed. This delay cost the shepard his life, however, as the remaining forces in the tower retaliated and disposed of the bodies of their cohorts.

After the fellowship was able to rest, repair and rearm, they returned to the watch tower and immediately rushed to subdue the remaining forces there. When the upper levels of the watchtower were attacked, several ambushes were laid with hobgoblins and bugbears until the group was badly mauled once again by the ferocity of the inhuman opponents. Finally however, we were able to win through, and the threat on top was dealt with. Exploring the lower levels however, has proven challenging, fortunately however, the fellowship is far more prepared and is ready to face these new challenges.

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A Gathering in Brinewall
As the Fellowship gathers, a forbidden watchtower awaits.

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As the fellowship is brought together by the hands of fate, the forgotten watch tower broods in the distance. What awaits them in this lonely garrison?..

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