Rifts of the Taies

The Story So Far - Chapter 23
Bodies and Fire, The Sky's Light, Dinner with Dragoons

Dark Elf Noble

The PCs, barely alive after their fight with the Magitech thieves strip their enemies of all belongings that look to be of value and tie up the Dark Elf Priestess in the corner stripped of all of her belongings. Zykir and Tixe quickly look at the belongings and identify what they can before shoving the unclaimed spoils into Zykir’s bag of holding.

Ironheart, Mace, Zykir and Laesith Lurin then turn their attention to the captured Dark Elf, and with their intentions turning sour to extract information, Evyane and Tixe leave the cabin. None of the PCs know what happened to Cifli however after he drank one of Zorla Yeg’s invisibility potions.

Ironheart, Mace, and Zykir pressure the Dark Elf priestess with Laesith Lurin observing about the presence of their friends and constructs. They learn that the priestess is one of the noble Dark Elves from the family that rules Shorkes Vardin the slaver district of the Deep City and that their friends are being kept there. They also learn that the constructs are being held in the Urililth Stalactite in the Upper Caverns.

They also learn that the Dark Elf knew of their brands from Norkeris and has seen them before about eight years ago. She also knows of the arm of Norkeris that is in the city and they learn that Laesith Lurin also knew of the arm and is interested to learn what the PCs are actually after.

With that information being enough and with pressure from Laesith not to leave her alive they kill the Dark Elf and begin discussing how to hide her body so that other dark elves won’t find a murdered noble. They end up burying the body of the Dark Elf beneath the floor of the cabin and after a sizable discussion decide not to burn the cabin down to hid the evidence.

Meanwhile, Evayne and Tixe head over to the main office for Korumak’s Cabins and check out from the Inn making a complaint about the security of the facility. They then head for the Sky’s Light Inn to find better and safer accommodations.

The Sky’s Light Inn

At the Sky’s Light Inn, Evayne and Tixe are able to find excellent accommodations for a steep price, but each room has its own fully plumbed bath. Evayne and Tixe wash up right away to get their and other’s blood off of them before they look into returning to the cabin.

Zykir, Mace, and Laesith Lurin also gather up many of the groups belongings and a couple of the horses and head over to the Sky’s Light Inn as well, missing Evayne and Tixe. Zykir and Mace split a room while Laesith Lurin gets her own. Ironheart heads down into the Dwarven District of the city and is able to acquire a small Dwarven apartment for a fraction of the price the rest of the PCs are paying for the Sky’s Light.

Zykir and Mace head almost immediately to the roof of the Inn where the famous pool is and find Laesith there as well as Lady Thaine, though the latter seems quite busy with some business of her own.

Evayne and Tixe head back to the destroyed cabin to find the party and collect her belongings only to find two Imperial Guardsmen there investigating the three dead bodies that were left in the common room of the Cabin. They explain everything about the battle to the Imperial Guardsmen who do not seem surprised, and indicate that they know the dead, and know that they are scoundrels.

While there, Cifli wakes up to the sounds of their voice, having returned to his bed after the fight to combat his own fatigue and hangover. By the time he actually wakes up though and gets moving the Imperial Guardsmen, Evayne, and Tixe are all gone, leaving him alone in the cabin.

He sees with his now sober mind the destroyed cabin and the three corpses and decides to burn down the cabin. Immediately after doing so he disguises himself with his disguise hex and rushes to the Imperial Guard barracks to inform them that some Halflings (or children as the guards believe) were responsible for the burning of the cabin.

From there he runs off to the Last Stop Tavern to try to find the rest of the party. Shortly later while outside after failing a con to earn some money, he meets up with Zykir and Mace who were heading out to find him now that they knew his potion should have worn off.

All of the PCs end up in rooms to finally rest through most of the day.

The Dinner

That night around six in the evening the PCs gather in the Last Stop Tavern and meet up with Norve Taebin and two of his companion Dragoons for dinner. They discuss what both groups are doing in Korumak, and Norve explains that he is there with his Lord, Lord Maelin who has come to investigate the Magitech influence of the city as well as the monsters of the Pit that he believes are related to The Pit of the north lands.

Through their discussion they agree to help each other, and Norve agrees to take their plea to find and free their companions to his Lord who has some influence and may be able to sizable assist. He then invites the PCs to help them fight against the monsters attacking the Deep City from the Pit.

After dinner, and finally fully rested, the PCs head down to the Upper Caverns of the city to search for their missing constructs and friends.

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The Story So Far - Chapter 22
Korumak Day 2, Riots, Missing People, Magitech Thieves

Lady Thaine of the Light

While most of the PCs sleep, Zykir and Mace head down into the lower levels of Korumak to explore during the day. They learn quickly that the Council of Korumak has closed down the general mines beginning this morning and that this is causing a lot of anger and frustration among the prospectors who have claims in the mines.

They head down to the mine level itself to see a large and angry mob that is preventing the lift from going any further down. They also see that the mine shafts are sealed by large constructs that are blocking the mine entrances so that none can get in.

As Zykir and Mace head back up to the surface they hear an explosion behind them that indicates that the hinted at Riot is now in full force. They return to the cabin to get the rest of the party, that isn’t fully rested up yet, but is generally ready to go. Cifli, Tinorian and Zorla Yeg stay behind at the cabin to guard their stuff from any other thieves.

Evayne, Ironheart, Tixe, Zykir, and Mace all head toward the main lift to try and head down into the mess to observe what is happening with the riot now. On their way they stop at the Sky’s Light Inn where several armed and armored Light Elf Guards are preventing the miners from using their restaurant / inn as a hangout while waiting for the mines to open again.

Out in front of the inn is a Stratagos Magus named Lady Thaine who is more than willing to speak with Evayne and Zykir in the Elvin tongue. They learn from Lady Thaine that this riot has been brewing for a while now due to the political situation of the city. Specifically there are substantial advancements in the Magitech technology that cannot be accounted for and are being discovered by private individuals instead of the better funded research organizations.

Lady Thaine is willing to meet with the PCs again later, away from the crowds. With them having a Light Elf in their ranks and representing Tenzikil’s Triple E she states that she believes they would likely be better allies than most that are available to her in Korumak.

The Riot

With the main lift of Korumak busy and cluttered with people still coming up away from the riots down below, the PCs decide to take the ramps down to the Rift section of the town and from there down to the mines level, where they encounter the Shapers from the Dome and the Gladiators for the Rift arena have set up a boundary so that the riot doesn’t spill out into the Rift and the rest of the city.

The riot is in full force by the time the PCs get into the Magitech workshops and the mines. The Shapers wish them luck but don’t stop or prevent them to joining in the mess of the fighting that the riot has become.

Zykir notices as they move into the rioting workshops that a teenage boy or small woman is following them into the riot scene. The PCs all cluttered together in a fairly tight group with weapons drawn is sufficient to keep most of the active fighters away from them. What guards are left in the area have backed themselves into corners with weapons drawn and as long as they stay out of the way of the rioters there doesn’t seem to be much of a problem.

The PCs work their way through the Magitech workshops over to the entry to the mines where they see a mass of blood and carnage surrounding the guard constructs. In this room the rioters are discussing how the closure of the mines was actually caused by a group known as the Collective and their attempts to control the Council which led to a Council Researcher being murdered in the mines yesterday. The Rioters, clearly being coached by Council friendly individuals, pressure the riot to start shifting its attention against the Collective.

After several minutes of discussion the riot starts to shift off to gather masses, technology, and weapons to march against the Dark Elf holds in the depths of the city.
The PCs start to move out ahead of the masses when they realize that Tixe isn’t with them.

Tixe seeing an opportunity shifted into a cat and moved over toward one of the mine entrances and was able to walk right past the construct guarding it only to encounter what she identified as a Wall of Force.

The PCs returned to the mine entrance to see that only a few people stayed behind. There was a group of Stratagos Wizards discussing in low tones if the riot would assist their efforts or not, a strangely dressed mage with an odd staff or wand who had spotted Tixe and was watching her, and the small woman / young boy with a larger male companion.

It doesn’t take long for the PCs to locate Tixe as a cat behind one of the constructs and they wait for the wizards to wander off leaving only the one strange wizard who saw Tixe and the two rogues that by now the PCs believe are following them. Zykir and Mace wander over to speak with the rogues while Evayne and Ironheart try to convince Tixe to come back and speak with them.

Set Ups and Spies

Tixe returns to the group and after failing to communicate with them as a cat, she shifts back to gnome form in front of everyone and explains that there is a wall back there that they can’t get through. Evayne, believing that the reason the constructs didn’t attack was because of brand from Norkeris, she cautiously shows her brand to the construct that Tixe walked past and starts trying to speak with the construct.

Much to the surprise of everyone in the room the construct responds to Evayne and explains in a low hum of a voice that only those with the brand from Norkeris can hear, that the constructs here were assigned to this post by the Council and told to kill the first five that tried to get past them and then only dark skinned elves that tried to pass after that. The Construct confirms that this entire riot was a set up by the Council.

This one sided conversation draws the attention of the strangely dressed mage and the rogues and the mage identifies herself as Laesith Lurin and starts to answer several of the questions that Evayne and Tixe pose to the construct though when the questions get more in depth she refuses to speak in front of the Collective’s spies, which she indicates are the two rogues.

Zykir and Mace learn that the rogues, the small one being a woman named Dabby and the large man named Norick. They claim to be free agents who were just here coincidentally, though no one really believes them.

The PCs decide to head out and investigate everything further without the presence of others, though they quietly indicate that they would like to speak with Laesith Lurin in more detail about the influx of Magitech into Korumak which she seems to have some of. On her way out she slips something into Evayne’s pocket that no one else really sees, and the PCs head out away from the mines and the now organizing rioters.

Missing Friends and Secret Mice

Once out of the riot scene, the PCs split up with Tixe and Evayne heading deeper to seek the Council and try to petition to get a special pass into the mines for the PCs. Meanwhile, Zykir, Mace, and Ironheart return to the surface to gather the rest of their allies.

When they reach the cabin they see that their cabin has been broken into and Zorla, Tinorian, and Cifli are all missing along with Zorla’s stuff, though all of their mundane equipment is still there untouched in the cabin.

Mace heads off to the Last Stop tavern to try to get information about what could have happened and sees Cifli, dead drunk, in the corner causing a bit of a scene. Zykir identifies the residue of magic in their cabin but cannot specifically identify what kind of spell was used.

With Cifli in tow, Mace and Ironheart try to sober him up to find out what happened tonight, but all they are able to learn is that Cifli wasn’t at the cabin whenever what happened happened. Instead they collect Cifli and decide to head down toward the dwarves to find information that hopefully won’t be as untrust worthy as everything else they have learned so far.

Meanwhile Tixe and Evayne finally make it to the Midtown of Korumak and are able to locate the city Council Chambers and the hundreds of other petitioners seeking entrance to the mines again. Recognizing that they have no way to get the Council to hear them above hearing everyone else, the decide to infiltrate the Council chamber and see if they can dig up or forge what they need to get into the mines again.

Tixe shifts into a mouse, casts spider climb on herself, and runs on the edge of the platform of Midtown to infiltrate the city Council Chamber. Inside she see that the Council members have tied up their dark elf member and are discussing an attack from the Pit being fortuitous though not of their design. Tixe learns that the Council is indeed behind the riots and an attempt to wrest control of the city from the Collective and the dark elf nobles. Learning this, Tixe returns to Evayne and they decide to head back to the cabin to find everyone else to plan their next move.

Magitech Thieves

Ironheart, Zykir, Mace, and a very drunk Cifli head to the Dwarven district to inquire about the slavers that operate out of Korumak. The Dwarves are helpful and give them directions to the heart of the slaving operations out of one of the dark elf city districts in the deep city.

On their way through the Dwarven district they once again spot Dabby tailing them, who explains that she is only here to do business. The PCs don’t believe her but by the time they try to challenge her on it, she is gone and lost from sight again within the crowd. They decide to head down toward the slaver district of the Deep City and they take the lift down to the Upper Caverns.

On the Upper Caverns as the group is reunited as Tixe and Evayne head up that way to scout out the last parts of the city they haven’t yet seen for anywhere that looks familiar to Tixe from when she scryed for their constructs. The Upper Caverns looks familiar but finding the right angle will be difficult.

With the whole group together again they start to share information and once again they spot Dabby and Norick walking around behind them and they call out the rogues who approach and state that they live on this level and that they aren’t following the PCs. Again the PCs don’t believe a word they say, but Ironheart decides to put the rogues to work. He offers them 20 platinum if they can help them find their missing constructs.

Dabby agrees to help them and they agree to meet up in 24 hours at the Dwarven Tavern. If the rogues have their stuff and missing people, then Ironheart will pay them 20 plat. With that exchange over the PCs decide to head back to their cabin and wait. They know that the rogues are lying to them, but the plan is that this will give them 24 hours to come up with a plan.

Back at the cabin the PCs settle down to sleep the rest of the night, while keeping a watch as their cabin has been broken into several times already. Before going to sleep, Evayne fishes out what Laesith Lurin put in her pocket and finds a magic coin that speaks to her and says that she should break the coin when they are alone. Evayne breaks the coin and after a few minutes of nothing happening decides to join the others and sleep for a bit.

Ironheart who is keeping the first watch, sees a host of six dragons fly into the middle of town a couple hours after sunrise, one of which looks familiar as Norve Taebin’s Dragon and he wakes up Evayne, to keep watch so that he can head out to speak to the Dragoon.

On the way to the Dragoon, Ironheart notices someone trying to cast a spell on him that fails. However he can’t find anyone who would have been casting on him so he just rushes toward the center of town where the dragons are for protection.

Norve Taebin is busy escorting his master, Lord Maelin, but he sets up a dinner with Ironheart for that evening at the Last Stop Tavern.

Back at the cabin, Evayne also notices someone trying to cast a spell on her, and while she also resists it, she turns to see both Dabby and Norick in their cabin. She yells out raising the alarm and the PCs rush out into the main room of the cabin to see the two rogues. After some short discussion Evayne, feeling that they are being tricked strikes at Dabby and a full-fledged battle begins.

Ironheart glances back toward the cabin while talking with Norve and sees Laesith Lurin gesturing for him to come immediately back, and he arrives just in time to see the battle in the cabin erupt into a full force fight. Laesith meanwhile sees another rogue outside and moves off that way.

Because of the bizarre tactics of Cifli who also turns invisible and keeps the rest of the PCs alive enough to fight, the PCs barely survive the battle against Dabby, Norick, and an invisible man. They are able finally to kill the three of them and Laesith Lurin drags in a dark elf cleric who she claims is the one the thieves worked for.

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The Story So Far - Chapter 21
Arrival at Korumak, Jimmi and the Rift, The Dwarves, Scrying

Korumak

The PCs arrive in the city of Korumak, which initially looks like one of the smallest towns they have ever visited. On the surface there are three inns, an Imperial Guard Barracks, a few homes, and a large Tavern. The PCs decide to rent a Cabin at Korumak’s Cabins so as to have a structure all to themselves.

Immediately upon arrival the PCs decide to send both of the Eye Arbiters off into the depths of the city to search for the body part of Norkeris.

It is evening when the arrive but they decide to take a couple of hours to scout out the city. Evayne and Cifli stay on the surface and head for the Last Stop Markets to get price quotes for the various items they’ve collected and need to sell. While they are on the surface they see a change in the people as the day turns to night. The Humans and Elves thin out and eventually mostly disappear to be replaced by Dark Elves and other underground dwelling creatures.

Meanwhile Tixe, Ironheart, and Tinorian take the Main Lift of Korumak down into the caverns below where the bulk of the city is suppose to be. Leaving Zorla Yeg, Mace, and Zykir to rest up at the Cabins.

Tixe, Ironheart, and Tinorian explore the upper levels of the caverns and learn the general layout from one of the guards there, though Ironheart also ends up finding the Earthborne caverns and community and settles in with his kin for a long night of drinking.

Jimmi and the Rift

Tixe and Tinorian continue to explore the upper levels of the city and make their way to the Rift. North of the Rift in the Strip and the “Freeloaders” they find expansive markets and dozens of locals and temporary housing.

Tixe also spots the boy Jimmi from Camp Draedus and has a little fun tormenting the poor kid.

They spend the rest of the night exploring all five tiers of the Rift and the variety of shops, taverns, inns, and specialty services. In the Traveler’s district they are able to pick up a simple map of the city.

On one of the lower tiers Tixe also finds her way into a shop called the All Seeing Eye that seems to focus on divinations, which gives Tixe an idea. However while she is still there she also finds a token or badge that she finds out is to allow access to the All Seeing Eye which she finds to be strange as she is already there.

Seeing is Believing

Upon returning back to the Cabin in the early morning hours of the next day the group finds the doors locked appropriately, Zykir, Mace, and Zorla still asleep and their Clockwork Mender missing. They also note that the Eye Arbiters, which were suppose to return at dawn haven’t returned yet either.

Before getting some rest to be up most of the next night, Tixe decides to try her hand at scrying on what they are looking for. She start with the body part of Norkeris, since they are familiar with him and have a lense from his eye that she can use as a focus she drops into the scrying trance and is able to see what appears to be a forearm of the giant construct deep in a tunnel somewhere.

Through her scrying she casts Detect Magic and is able to identify that the arm is protected by a circle against Evil, Chaos, and an Alarm spell. She tells the rest of the group about what she sees and collectively they decide that it makes the most sense that such a location would be deep in the old mines, which Ironheart learned were abandoned by the Dwarves because of all of the interest by outside parties of the strange things being found in those caves.

Next Tixe tries to scry on their missing constructs and is again successful finding their Clockwork Mender chained to a wall in a room with many other restrained constructs, including the Eye Arbiters which are in reinforced bird cages hanging from the ceiling. There is also a window in the room that allows Tixe to see out over a part of the city that she hasn’t see before, but which is unique enough that she is sure she will recognize it again.

Most of the PCs are tired having been awake now for over 24 hours to include their journey to Korumak, so they decide to deal with what they can later in the evening and night, after they’ve had a chance to rest up.

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The Story So Far - Chapter 20
Deputies of Tenzikil’s Triple E, Across the Highlands, The Satyr’s Draft

Deputization

The PCs left from the valley of the Giants and traveled three days in a direct route toward Huuk. They crossed the wilderness to avoid coming close to Acat in the fear that the Goblins might be on the move already and they didn’t want to encouter the horde on the move.

Three and a half days later when the PCs reached Huuk they saw that the city was swarming with people, soldiers from all over the Highlands as well as the entirety of Tenzikil’s Triple E. Tenzikil was now in Huuk himself to take command of the offensive moves against the goblins of Acat.

Tenzikil makes time for the PCs and meets with them privately where he receives their reports on the tasks he previously gave them. Tenzikil rewards the PCs with 2,500 platnium coins in a small chest with an amazing (DC45) lock on it. He also deputizes the PCs, giving them official silver Triple E badges.

Tenzikil also offers for the PCs to pick up a handful of tasks that are more befitting their new rank within the organization. Of the tasks offered the PCs opt to take on a couple of them, stating that most of the jobs are more diplomatic than this group tends to be.

1: The PCs agree that with the brewing war between Mulkaeran and Druledk they will approach both sides of the conflict and try to represent Tenzikil’s Triple E as an ally to both sides of the war.

2: The PCs agree to investigate the Labyrinth in Druledk and try to discover what powers the Labyrinth uses to hold Magi as well as what the government of Druledk intends to do with such a fortress.

3: The PCs also agree to take a shipment of reports from Tenzikil back to the Hall of the Dragons near Daedlina where Tenzikil has set up his Mulkaeran Museum.

With the goblins now the focus of Tenzikil he urges the PCs to move on saying that their efforts are duplicative of what Tenzikil and his forces are able to do. The PCs agree and decide to head for Korumak in the lowlands of Mulkaeran where they believe one of the body parts of Norkeris resides.

From Highlands to Lowlands

The PCs head south from Huuk to Veik to pick up the deposits they left there before they left for Camp Draedus months ago. Mace stays in the Three Slipper’s Inn and tries to uncover the secret of the third slipper but is un able to clarify what it means.

From Veik the PCs head south to the Highlands Inn, on their way they see the Dragoon Tristeris of the Fortress City of Gurame flying on his dragon the Serpent Zara’Kulthras. Rumor among those on the road is that he is heading north to Huuk and Acat to help fight off the Goblins.

Upon reaching the Highlands Inn, the PCs learn that brewing war with Druledk to the east is no longer brewing and instead is now a full-fledged war. The Supplies bound for the Highlands to help them get through the winter have been rerouted to the war front and the Highlands are now sending as many troops as they can east to help with the war effort.

The PCs follow along with the soldiers as they head east. Though a blizzard around the town of Paed slows down most of the soldiers, the PCs choose to ignore the blizzard and push through the snow into the town of Paed and the Cliff Road that leads down to the lowlands.

The PCs follow the road to the lowlands and learn in Caelx that Castle Shouk is operating as a training facility for untrained highlanders before they leap into the war to the east untrained in military actions and maneuvers.

The PCs don’t linger in Caelx but instead turn north to take the road past the Wizard’s Coppice toward Korumak.

The Satyr and the Dwarf

The PCs learn in Water’s Light that the Wizard’s Coppice is a living forest where the trees have awoken to sentience. They are warned to leave at first light and push hard to reach Deepwarren before dark or they might never see daylight again. They rest up in Water’s Light and head out first thing in the morning.

Cifli fascinated by the awoken wood pokes at it a bit as they travel much to Tixe’s upset, though nothing dangerous happens, but Tixe does catch several of the trees watching them. Also as they near Deepwarren, Tixe, Zykir, and Evayne all hear the sound of revelry within the wood, but Tixe knows that it is a trick of the Fey and pushes the group harder to reach Deepwarren more quickly.

Once in Deepwarren they choose to set up a camp on the north side of town away from the treeline and to maintain watches throughout the night. Before bed, Tixe ventures over to the trees however and engages one of the larger Oaks in a discussion about the woods.

In the early morning about an hour or so before sunrise a heavily intoxicated Satyr makes its way into their camp and begins speaking with Tixe who is awake at this point. She wakes up Ironheart who also starts talking with the Satyr. Before she knows what is happening the Satyr and Ironheart are sharing some of the Satyr’s special brew and the Dwarf is quickly becomes enthralled to the substance and tries to convince the PCs to join the Satyr for his celebration later that day in the wood.

The PCs forcibly pull Ironheart away from the mess he’s gotten himself into and they push that morning for the city of Korumak. Tixe is able to get the gourd of Satyr brew from Ironheart and she gets rid of it.

A days travel on the road brings the PCs to the city of Korumak, known by locals as The Undercity.

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The Story So Far - Chapter 19
The Dragoon, Giant Guardians, and the Sword of Pain

The Dragoon

Two days west of Acat, in the early morning light of the third day, Zykir spots a small fire about a half a mile northeast of their campsite. She quickly wakes some of the heavier armored PCs and they collectively decide to send one of the Eye Arbiters to investigate.

The Eye Arbiter returns with a note from a man claiming to be one of the Dragoon Warriors and explains that he will come to pay them a short visit to chat properly so long as they do not freak out.

A few moments later a man mounted on the back of a Copper Dragon lands the Dragon nearby and he dismounts. Wearing shiny metal armor and having a small weapon rack on the side of his dragon, he introduces himself as the Dragoon Warrior Norve Taebin.

Norve Taebin explains that he is a scout for his people and that he saw what the PCs did back in Acat as well as what the goblins of Acat are up to. He tells them of a legend from the Pain Wars of one of the weapons of Nisus being lost here in these hills. Norve believes that the Giants have found the weapon and that is what they’ve built their stronghold here to defend.

Norve Taebin explains that he believes that the creature the goblins are creating with the egg in Acat is being designed to come here and claim this artifact from the Giants, and that he can’t let that happen.

After a short discussion, Norve Taebin agrees to join the PCs for their journey to the Giants and investigation into what the Giants are doing there.

Giant Guardians

Upon reaching the valley that the members of Camp Draedus described as the tribute valley, the PCs dismount early and cautiously approach the top of the hills surrounding the valley. With carefully observation they are able to see two Stone Giants guarding a small path that leads up into the mountains. The Stone Giants are well camouflaged so that it is hard for any of the PCs to see them at all.

The PCs spread out into an ambush and then send Zykir, Mace, and Evayne down into the valley to make contact with the Giants. The Giants disregard the PCs and refuse to answer their questions or listen to their claims and Zykir, Mace, and Evayne are forced to return to the rest of them.

The PCs decide to camp for the night and think about how to scout out and infiltrate the Giants’ stronghold since the two Stone Giant guardians won’t let them in. They really want to try to avoid a fight as the Giants could potentially be allies against the Goblins.

They decide to do to fly overs with Norve Taebin and the Eye Arbiters, and then to look for other means to enter the mountains.

In the morning when the Eye Arbiters return the PCs also notice that there are different Stone Giants guarding the trail, three of them this time. They decide that they might as well just attempt their old tactic and see if these new guards were told about what happened yesterday.

Zykir, Mace, and Evayne approach the Giants and try to bargain their way in again. This time they are able to convince one of the guards that there is a real goblin threat coming this way and the Giant agrees to escort them into the mountains and have them meet with one of the elders.

The Cratha’haina

Miles into the mountains the PCs finally are brought into a mountain settlement where they are introduced to one of the Elders of the Giants. He refers to the collection of Giants that live here as Cratha’haina.

The PCs see that there are many different types of Giants here in the mountains, not just Stone Giants, but Hill Giants, and even some Fire Giants. The Elder explains that the Cratha’haina came here upon discovery that they were immortal here.

He thanks the PCs for the warning that they brought but explains that it is charge of his people to protect this site until such a time as they are utterly defeated if that time ever came. The Elder again explains that so long as they defend this site they cannot die, and as a result he does not fear the goblin assault.

The PCs ask what it is that they are guarding and the Elder leads them through a tight canyon pass that leads to a much larger canyon on the other side of the ridge. There the PCs will see a sword surrounding in shimmering bubble floating over the chasm.

The Elder explains that the sword they are seeing is the Ir’ekther’il – The Night’s Edge, and one of the weapons forged in Lorinis for the War of Pain. The Elder says that just getting the sword to this point when the found it cost the lives of ten of his kinsmen, but that once they had it here, they devoted all of their powers to sealing it away and protecting it.

Ironheart will see a carved structure in the cliff wall just to the east of where they are that appears to be an old Earthborne fortress. The Elder will explain that they brought the sword here, because the old Earthborne fortress is what grants them immortality. By bringing the sword here they had a realistic opportunity to defend it forever.

The PCs gather together with Norve Taebin away from the Cratha’haina and their elder, and discuss what they have learned. The consensus that they reach is that the Giants have this well underhand and that the PCs could offer little to no additional assistance. They talk about waiting here for the goblins to assault, though none of them have any idea how long that would take.

Norve Taebin explains that though he is suppose to recover the sword to take it somewhere safer he has no capability to handle the magical protections that surround it. He says that he will have to take this information to his superior and find out how they want to handle this issue.

The PCs decide to let the Giants handle it, and to take the information to Tenzikil and let him figure out what should be done with it.

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The Story So Far - Chapter 18
Betrayal of the Seekers, Knight of the Taies, Huuk

Troll Corpse and the Seeker

Evayne and Mace dragged the Troll’s body while Ironheart carried its head toward The Dancing Warlock Inn that they were utilizing as their base of operations. Tixe however questioned why they were bringing the entire Troll body, and Ironheart announced that it was because they still needed to loot the corpse. Zykir also stated that they needed to properly dispose of Troll’s body or it would regenerate.

As they dragged the body back down the street the PCs could see fire light to the west of them across the gorge with the river. With further investigations they could see that there were streams of fire moving toward the catapults that the goblins built there. These streams seemed to be moving and walking on their own which suggested fire elementals.

Just as the PCs returned to the Inn they saw the catapults launch and bundles of fire elementals from the west side of the gorge began to land in the center of town. From there they could also see that many of the civilians had finally decided to give up the fight and were heading south in the dark toward the unguarded exit from the town.

As they move into the now deserted Inn the PCs can see that the fire and what appears to be Magma elementals are moving into a single large bonfire in the middle of town that casts enough light on other parts of town for them to see that many of the other goblin patrols have captured civilians and are bringing them toward the fire.

The Seeker Tharsaveris appears then in the corner of the Inn, in a translucent form and thanks the PCs for the distraction that they caused in town which was sufficient to allow him to claim the Scroll of Nisus. He announces though that he will need the corpse of Chokol to complete what he came here for. The PCs ready themselves to defend the corpse but with a simple spell the Seeker had ready and collection of failed will saves only Cifli is able to resist the trance and sleep that the Seeker puts on them.

The Seeker Tharsaveris then takes the Troll corpse, levitates it and starts to push it out of the Inn toward the center of town. Cifli attempts a couple of spells to stop him but they are unable to overcome the Seeker’s defenses.

So Cifli and the Seeker begin to chat. The Seeker agrees to give them the loot from the Troll if that will make the PCs just go away for now. Cifli strips the Troll and starts to take the goods back to the Inn when the rest of the PCs finally awaken. The Seeker explained that soon the entire goblin clan would belong to him.

The Knight of the Taies

As the PCs awaken they rush from the Inn and start to pursue the Seeker who is nearly downtown. As they move closer they see a corner of the Town Hall explode and one of the Imperial Magistrate’s Knights of the Taies rushes through the new hole to run south toward them.

The Knight, quickly introducing himself as Kevlamin explains that the rest of the Imperial Guardsmen and the Magistrate are all dead and he is now honor bound to flee and seek assistance from the guardsmen, etc in the Highlands. He explains that it would be suicide for the PCs to try to fight the Goblins and the Seeker now and that they should come with him.

The PCs eventually agree to go with Kevlamin and move south out of town where they are able to group up over the evening with nearly a hundred and fifty other citizens who also chose to flee from Acat.

Huuk

It is about a ten hour hike south along the ravine to reach the town of Huuk which sits on the west side of the river and has its own bridge crossing the ravine.

On the way to Huuk, Ironheart, finally beginning to recover from his battle with Chokol, begins telling and retelling the story of his duel and many of the citizens of Acat saw the battle and believe that Ironheart is one of the legendary Dwarven heroes.

Kevlamin explains as they travel south that he is going to head for the Fortress City of Gurume to seek the assistance of the Dragoon in outing the Goblins from Acat and that he will only stay in Huuk for a short time. The PCs begin discussing what actions they should take.

Huuk is a larger town and has substantially more militia and better defenses set up and is ready to fight against the goblins if they were to push south. The PCs decide to hang out in Huuk for a day and a half to rest up and think about what they want to do.

Eventually they decide to finish the tasks given to them by Tenzikil. The next morning the PCs decide to head north up the west side of the river past Acat to see the condition of the city and then to make their way toward the Giants.

The Egg

When the PCs reach Acat they see the city still swarming with Goblinoid creatures, but they also see that the center of town has a large stone lava formation that seems to make out a magic circle.

In the middle of the large lava flow circle is a Giant sized fleshy egg that the goblins seem to be protecting. The PCs agree that Chokol is likely within the Egg probably evolving again into whatever form comes to the Goblinoids after Troll.

The PCs turn west from Acat and start heading back the three days toward the valley of tribute where they expect to find the Giants.

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The Story So Far - Chapter 17
Midnight Attack, The Giant Dwarf, The Dual with Chokol the Troll

Hobgoblins in the Night

The PCs decided to hunker down for the night and seek out the Troll and the Scroll the next day. The Innkeeper was happy to have them present in his Inn: The Dancing Warlock. The PCs are on edge as is everyone in town, there are vastly out numbered and out gunned and Goblinoids usually move and attack at night. As a result many of the PCs decide to stay up and keep watch.

Shortly before midnight Mace hears Goblinoid being spoken outside. The PCs rouse their full number and don their armor and grab their weapons.

Looking outside from the windows and door of The Dancing Warlock they see a dozen or so human sized goblinoids that they realize must be Hobgoblins moving through the back alleys of the town across the main street from where the inn is located.

The PCs don’t hesitate and Ironheart, Mace, and Evayne rush in with Tinorian taking up an archery position near the Inn. However before they get too far Zykir casts enlarge person on Ironheart making him a large sized dwarf that stands about 8 feet tall. Cifli also casts Haste on all of the melee fighters and moves in behind them to support.

It is a slaughter as the PCs surprise the Hobgoblins and in the matter of a few seconds they decimate the patrol with the exception of one of their number which flees north through the alley toward the center of town.

Ironheart, Mace, Evayne, and Cifli (who is now flying up above the streets) follow the fleeing hobgoblin, as Tinorian, Zykir, Tixe, and Zorla Yeg follow along the main street to flank the creature.

They round the corner to come into a small back ally well square to find 10 goblins, 4 hobgoblins, 3 bugbears, and an Ogre.

The PCs engage this new assault group which is slightly more solidified into their position, with the bugbears protecting the Ogre, three of the goblins are casters, and a couple goblins are even on the roof of one of the nearby buildings with short bows.

Ironheart, Evayne, and Mace dive right into the fray while Tinorian and Tixe flank from another alleyway that draws the Ogres attention. Zykir, Chifli, and Zorla Yeg move in to support the rest of them with spells and buffs.

Tixe takes on the form of a giant wolverine to fight off the Ogre with Tinorian turning it into a pin cushion of arrows. Meanwhile the rest of the PCs pound the bugbears hobgoblins and goblins with the exception of one goblin that high tails it further north through town.

After a about a minute the battle is won and Ironheart, re-hasted and still enlarged moves as fast as possible to chase the two goblins that got away.

The Troll – The 3rd Meeting with Chokol

Ironheart rushes ahead of everyone else with his hasted speed and follows the goblin to the town square where he sees the Imperial Magistrate’s guards and Knights of the Taies fighting off two ettins near the town hall.

The Goblin disappears behind a building and a moment later the Troll Chokol emerges with a half a dozen bugbear guards to face the rushing Ironheart. Chokol turns and says something to the Bugbears behind him and they form a half circle around the Troll to protect him, and he pulls out a clearly magically enhanced sword.

Ironheart doesn’t hesitate even a step as he rushes at the Troll axe held at the ready. Chokol steps forward to duel the enlarged Dwarf.

Dwarf_Troll_Duel.jpg

Chokol attacks first striking Ironheart but doing fairly minimal damage. Ironheart then retaliates with a called shot to Chokol’s sword arm where he gets a critical strike and with a total of 60 points of damage severs the Trolls right arm.

Chokol takes a step back and grabs his right arm with his left and re-attaches it. Being the troll that he is the arm immediately reattaches but he doesn’t bother picking up his sword again. Instead Chokol leaps upon Ironheart and starts ripping at him with claws and biting him with his fangs.

Cifli arrives next but stays back several paces. Observing that the Bugbears are only watching Cifli does the same so as not to further provoke the Bugbears. Tinorian is the next of the PCs to arrive in the vicinity though he doesn’t do the same as Cifli and instead fires an arrow at the Troll, which misses.

Cifli calls to Tinorian to stop and not to get involved as it is a duel and any further involvement will bring in the attention of the others around the area. Tinorian and the other arriving PCs agree to let the enlarged, raging, hasted, dwarf battle with the Troll by himself.

Dwarf_Troll_Duel_Spectators.jpg

Ironheart battles with Chokol until both of them are severely wounded and in the last moments Chokol decides to try to retreat and Ironheart takes the attack of opportunity and kills the Troll. With only 2 hit points of his temporary raging hit points left, Ironheart stumbles over the Troll to protect his kill as the Bugbears begin to rush forward.

Tinorian doesn’t hold back any more and unleashes a volley of arrows that kill the leader of the bugbears as Evayne and Mace rush forward to finish them off.

With the battle still raging in the heart of the town, the PCs grab the body of Chokol and begin to drag it back to the Dancing Warlock.

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The Story So Far - Chapter 16
Goblin Armies, Nisus Worshipers, Elves, & Bounties

Acat Under Siege

About a half a mile west of Acat the PCs peak over the nearest hill ridge and see about 200 goblins milling about west of the river’s ravine. The town of Acat on the other side of the ravine looked to be in good shape and the PCs decide to send another note to the Imperial Magistrate that they are there and that they are willing to help.

What concerns the PCs is that the goblin prisoner told them that the entire clan had come here which should number somewhere closer to 600 goblins, meaning that 2/3s of the goblins were unaccounted for. The PCs feared that the Dwarves were walking into a trap in the tunnels beneath town.

Tinorian is able to spot a tower on the northeast side of town with several bowmen perched on top of it which means that the towns folk are trying to fight off the Goblins. But the bowmen are facing north which could account for part of the goblin forces attacking the town from the north.

The Eye Arbiter returns fairly quickly with word from the Magistrate that he could use them in town if they can get there. The PCs turn to circle around the Goblins on the south side, however not before seeing that the Goblins were building what appeared to be three catapults on the west side of the river to use to attack the town.

The Magistrate and the Seeker

The PCs head far south of the goblins and are able to cross the ravine and the river several miles south of town before they then turn north and find absolutely no resistance heading north along the road into the south side of town. The Goblins were intentionally leaving an escape route to the citizens.

As the PCs move into the heart of the town they find that the Imperial Magistrate has with him about 20 Imperial Guardsmen, four of whom are Knights of the Taies. The towns own militia number only about ten anymore and the PCs note that there is also a Seeker in town.

Tinorian and Cifli decide to stay outside to speak with the Seeker, while the rest of them head into the town hall to speak with the Imperial Magistrate.

The Magistrate informs them that when he arrived he learned that there was a fairly notable and growing cult to Nisus and the Seekers here in Acat, which was highly unexpected given the normal outlook of the Highlands. He was delayed here conducting investigations and learned that it is believed that one of the many missing scrolls of Nisus was found here. It is his belief that they goblins have come for it.

He offers the PCs 5,000 gold each for recovery of the Scroll of Nisus and presentation to him. He also said that his scouts have seen that this Goblin clan is run by a Troll and he would pay them the same for the head of the Troll.

The PCs decide that they need to try to claim these bounties and head outside to speak with the rest of the members.

Tinorian and Cifli speak to the Seeker Tharsaverus who also explains that he believes there is a Scroll of Nisus in town. He offers the PCs 1,000 platinum pieces to recover the Scroll and give it to him. He explains that he and his order of Seekers are being blamed by the Magistrate for the problems in this town and so he will not help them until the Magistrate is willing to admit that he and his people are not at fault for all of this.

The PCs reconvene and discuss who they should trust and decide that the money is what talks and that if they recover the Scroll they will give it to the Magistrate instead of the Seeker. To that end they decide to investigate where to find the Scroll.

The Elves of the Ralu Wood

Cifli, Mace, Ironheart, Tixe, and Zorla Yeg head off to find an inn on the south side of town that they can turn into their base of operations while they are here and to hopefully find some information about this Scroll or Cult. Tinorian, Evayne, and Zykir head off to the tower with the bowmen they spotted from a distance.

The tower turns out to be an Elven tower built on the eastern road that heads from Acat into the Ralu Wood. The PCs find a dozen or so Elven rangers set up there to defend more the road into the Ralu than they are the town. They learn that their is also a druid of the Ralu wood that is helping to fight against the goblins.

When asked about the Scroll the Elves direct them to a ranch north of town owned by a man named Baelen Tarriks who they believe might be associated with the Scroll or at least with the cult. It was near his property that they spotted the Troll about a day prior.

Back at the inn on the south side of town Cifli tries hard to interact with the people of this world an only comes off as extremely awkward and forward. However they are also able to learn of the ranches to the north of town and the cultist presence up there.

The PCs all reconvene at the inn on the south side and decide that with it being late in the afternoon that it is too late to head out to the northern ranches as they don’t want to be caught out in the open at dark. They decide to take up a defensive position in the Inn and wait to see if the night passes uneventfully.

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The Story So Far - Chapter 15
Speaking with Animals, Problems with Dwarves

Giant Birds & Giant Bears

As the PCs head out east after the encounter with the goblins, they spot several large / giant birds that seem to be following them. Tinorian is able to identify one of them as a Wyvern and the PCs continue to move east but with a guarded perspective.

That night after another long day of traveling, during Evayne’s watch she spots a large shape moving about in the hills surrounding the Camp. On edge from the goblin assault she immediately rushes to wake up the rest of the party and prepare for battle.

On the other side of the hill they spot a huge Dire Bear eyeing their mounts. Tinorian steps in however and urges the PCs not to fight the creature. Instead he sends his Animal Companion wolf off to fetch some food for the Bear. They encounter the Bear and it roars and makes otherwise threatening gestures toward them but it doesn’t attack.

Tinorian’s wolf returns with some larger game for the bear and he presents it to the Dire Bear and is able to convince it to take the offered food and to go away, which buys them a night of rest.

Later that night while Mace is no watch, the Eye Arbiter they sent to Acat returns with news from the Imperial Magistrate who is currently in Acat and organizing the towns defenses. He urges them, through written word, to make their way to Acat as quickly as possible to help them, and he thanks them for the warning.

Earthborne of the Stratagos

A full day and a half later as the PCs ride east for Acat they spot a group of about a dozen Dwarves marching east as well though from about a half a mile north of them. The PCs change directions and move to intercept the Dwarves.

The Dwarves are pleased to make the acquaintance of the the PCs with the exception of Ironheart who they refer to as the Exile, a statement that catches Cifli’s attention.

In communication with the Dwarves they learn that the Dwarves were hunting and defending the Stratagos’ entrance ways and gateways along this stretch of the mountains and that they were sealing up those doorways that were no longer used. In this process they were also fighting off threats to the Stratagos that they came across in the hills, such as the goblins.

Upon learning of the goblins they were also heading to Acat to help out, but they were going to take a different road and use the tunnels beneath the Highlands to approach the town. The PCs decide not to join them and simply agree to look for the Dwarves in town when they all get there.

The PCs leave the Dwarves there and continue to head east for Acat not quite sure what they should expect to find.

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The Story So Far - Chapter 14
Draedus take 2, Into the Hills, Prisoner

Camp Draedus, Again

The PCs, with Zorla Yeg joining them, leave the Gnomish Research Facility with new weapons, armor, and allies, and retrace their steps in a full day long march back to Camp Draedus on the other side of the Spires.

The Camp looks deserted when they first begin their approach to it as there are no more tents set up anywhere. The people who have stayed in the Camp are all residing within the longhouses. As the PCs approach a couple of gray cloaks run out to greet them, and explain that in the aftermath of the void worm attack most of the hunters decided that it was time to call it a season and return to the civilized lands for winter.

The PCs set up their own camp again just on the outskirts of Camp Draedus and decide that as they head east to search for Norkeris’ body parts that they will try to finish off the tasks originally given to them by Tenzikil, which remain as the Goblins and the Giants. They decide to start with the Giants.

That evening in and around Camp Draedus the PCs begin to investigate the Camp’s knowledge of the giants, and they learn again that there are two different clans of giants, those who reside in the hills north east of the Camp and the Cloud Giants that reside in a flying city above the spires that is run by something else and considered very dangerous.

After looking at the notes from their meeting with Tenzikil the PCs decide that what Tenzikil want’s to know about is the Giants in the hills. With some further investigation they learn that Huntmaster Bliane has ordered the gray cloaks to bring tribute to the Hill Giants on a regular basis and the gray cloaks give the PCs directions to the Valley about a day and a half away.

Night Assault

The PCs head out the next day for the Valley of Tribute. There is no road or trail that heads that way and instead the PCs are forced to trail blaze, using their new Inevitable Eye Arbiter allies gained from the Brand they got from Norkeris they find and are able to plot a path, though it is slow going.

They set up a watch rotation of 4 watches a night and one PC watching with the two Eye Arbiters and the Clockwork Servant standing watch all night as well as Tinorian’s wolf and Zykir’s guard dog.

There is fog their first night out and during the second watch Ironheart hears something out in the fog and sends the Eye Arbiter to investigate, when it doesn’t come back he rushes to wake up Mace and then the others.

As soon as the dwarf turns to alert his allies, goblins begin to assault the Camp with arrows and worgs. Tixe puts up a Windwall to surround the camp and protect against arrows. This angers the Goblins and one of the shamans casts a lightning bolt spell at the gnome completely incapacitating her and knocking her out.

With the Wind Wall up the goblins drop their bows and rush into the camp. Ironheart, Mace, Zykir, Tinorian, Zorla Yeg, and Cifli engage the goblins in the middle of the camp. Evayne however waking up just as the fighting began and trying to put on her armor quickly in her tent is suddenly assaulted by two goblins who come into her tent after her. She tries to fight them off but isn’t able to land any successful strikes and is eventually saved by Mace as he comes past her tent and kills both goblins in one strike.

Evayne calls out that they need a prisoner and Ironheart rushes at one of the few remaining goblins to try to capture it. Using the broadside of his axe he injures the goblin and as it tries to crawl away he misses striking it twice. Mace joins him and also isn’t able to strike the crippled crawling goblin. Eventually Evayne, finally making to the rest of them, is able to stand atop the goblin and prevent it from getting away.

The Goblin Prisoner

With a single goblin prisoner, the PCs decide to conduct an investigation to learn what they need to about the Goblins for Tenzikil. They question the goblin for some time that evening and learn many things, but most importantly they learn that the entire clan is pushing for the town of Acat to the east of here and that the two Marrisouf who successfully stole the Key to the Door of Four from the Gnomes are with the clan.

The goblin tells them that they are honor bound to serve the Marrisouf and that the Marrisouf are pushing to reach their clan with the key that they stole. They also learn that they Goblins fought with a group of hill giants a day or so ago, not far to the north of here and that the Goblins lost. What the clan was after this goblin didn’t know but he knew that the Goblin clan would be returning for it later.

The PC’s let the goblin go as promised, though Tinorian fires a single arrow when no one else is looking to kill the goblin before it can get too far away.

They decide to write out a message of warning for Acat and give it to one of their Eye Arbiters to take to the town to warn them. It will take them three days to reach Acat but the Eye could get there in just about 18 hours.

The PCs then hunker down to get what rest they can before daybreak where they will push as hard as they can without tiring themselves out for Acat to help with whatever defense they can.

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