Ilderan Tales

Five Short Graybles

By the following morning, all the members of the party were awake, cured of their paralysis, and that much closer to their respite at Endamos Keep. Once through the familiar city gates, the team takes stock of their needs and most set off to their own devices:

Astaria soon found that The Keep was too small for a professional bowyer, so she took to the private market and soon found a retired, one-handed mercenary named Garad looking to sell some of his gear. Agreeing to meet at the Lively Unicorn, he shows her a beautiful longbow, made of bone, that is more formed than sculpted. After showing her that it has magical, corrosive properties, he asks for 1000 gold. Only having 500 to spend, Astaria considers for a while, but eventually sells her composite bow to Garad to make up the difference. After a few days, she also receives a letter from Melena, and a sending from Magus Thrakun giving them a small bit more information about their demon hive quest.

Saena made her way to Triana’s pub to see if the brewmaster had heard anything about the demon nest. Aside from comments on the hard life of being a frontier farmer, there wasn’t much new news. Over the next few weeks, she practices her spellcasting, trains Ludo, and eventually came across some Kobold homesteaders on the edge of town who were looking to rent out an ancient tower at the edge of their property known as Keleson’s Tor. Looking to set up a place for her and her companions to rest (when able), Saena quickly negotiates with them for ownership, and soon sets to work making the weary structure more habitable.

Looking for a quiet corner to study continue her research, Asanya also finds herself at Triana’s. During her stay, she sends messages to her family back home and putters around town, doing odds and ends to pass the time.

Always his first stop, Elias makes his way through town to the family forge. He’s greeted by his father’s traditional bear hug, and says hello to his growing apprentices, including Kell’s ‘daughter’ Lucy. After some small talk, Elias shows them all Elysium Tempest, which one worker, Tolphad, recognizes as a magic dwarf-forged sword, probably commissioned for a noble 100 years ago. Elias’ (and Kell’s) next stop is the Ranger outpost to meet with Jax Stonefist, head of the region’s Rangers. They exchange information regarding Elias’ report on vampires, and Jax fills him in on reports from the Shadash Wastes, where a group might have had a hand in releasing the Wolf and his siblings. One of them, a bard named Nialarah Iargain Deo, happens to be in the town jail, and Elias resolves to speak to her before heading out of town. Before leaving he gives Jax Aria, the ancient TS sword he acquired in Malkara, as a gift to bring to the citadel.

Kell opts to visit his home outside of town and catch up with Lucy on current events. After visitng Jax with Elias, the pair lend their help to area patrols. Kell notes that things are far quieter than they should be, and on one of these patrols, Kell comes across a Knoll raiding party that had been massacred, their chieftain missing.

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Unfriendly Neighbourhood Spiders, Man!

After a day of uneventful travels, the adventurers and the caravan drivers decide to settle down for some rest. Elias takes first watch, followed by Asanja. After a little while, Asanja sees something in the darkness grab at one of the drivers. She hastily kicks everyone awake.

Saena springs into action and runs off into the forest, followed by Elias and Asanja. Astaria wakes and makes her way into the forest at her own pace.

Saena travels into the forest, unable to see much. After noticing dark movements around her, she looks up to see an Ettercap, a giant spider creature, that spits venom at her. The venom slowly starts to paralyze Saena as she fights the spider with Ludo. Elias and Asanja join the fight as several smaller spiders start creeping towards them. Elias, Saena and Asanja continue to fight the spiders as they are bitten and poisoned. Astaria stays back to shoot arrows at the spiders, causing some, but little, damage. Eventually the four defeat the spiders, but Saena, Elias and Asanja are fully paralyzed. Astaria frees the surviving caravan drivers and drags her paralyzed comrades back to camp.

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As My Ettin Gently Weeps

THEN

Astaria had been out in the wilds for some time now, away from Nefandra and on a solitary road to the unknown. She had just passed through the Rill Corwyn and was now about a day into the Aelthindaar when she spotted what seemed to be an elk in the distance. Unsheathing her bow, she took aim and fired a single, true shot, catching the creature in the neck. Lithely moving through the underbrush, Astaria approached her prize, but the sudden rumbling of the ground brings an entire herd of dire elk down around her.

Able to dodge around them, Astaria thought she was lucky until the snapping of a tree from the direction the herd was running alerted her to the true threat: a wyvern who was stalking the dire elks, and was now acutely angry something had disturbed its lunch. Bearing down on her, Astaria is shocked when the creature is barreled aside by a blur of wood and flesh that pauses long enough for her to recognize it as a wargolem.

The two combatants exchange blows and scratches until eventually the wyvern limps away off into the trees. The golem turns to Astaria to speak, when it suddenly slumps over slightly. Recognizing the amount of damage it took to protect her, Astaria prods it to its side, and proceeds to drag it through the trees in the direction she heard was the closest outpost: Endamos Keep.


It had only been a few days since Asanja and Elias had parted ways, her fresh tattoo still a little tender. Collecting the last of her things to continue her journey, Asanja opens the door of the store and is taken aback by the huge shadow cast down on her. The wooden wargolem, with its four distinctive animal arms apologizes and steps aside, allowing Asanja to step through.

Fascinated, Asanja quietly watches the creature take a few supplies and exchange words with the owner before leaving again and heading towards the main gates. Taking out her notebook and furiously writing, she follows it for a while until it pauses and turns to her. Asanja introduces herself, apologizes, and only misses a single beat before inundating the wargolem with questions about itself and its life here at The Keep.

She learns its name is Kell, that it is a druid / totemist, and originally hails from The Fuedalism of Shang in the region of Nefandra. She speaks with it on many topics for a while, and eventually shares a meal with its adopted niece Lucy, who is the newest apprentice of her friend Elias’ father’s smith. They discuss their mutual interest in culture, and soon settle on a trip south to Malkara so that Kell can patrol his duties as a Ranger. There, the two catch the latest performance of the bard Ve’Losh, and Asanja bids Kell a fond farewell as she hesitantly boards The Cry of The Hangman for her next culture stop in Isaard.

NOW

The following morning the group meets up with the caravan, which has grown quite larger with the news with will be well protected. At the head of the caravan, talking to the owner and barker, is an odd looking wooden wargolem whom many of the group recognize as Kell the Warforged. After sharing greetings and introductions, they head out.

The wagons are loaded with goods, and thus are slow to move. Boba takes a seat up in the front cart, and the rest of the team spread out between the other eight, both sitting and walking along side. The caravan travels the winding road north only a short distance when Kell signals the party to stop. It has seen a creature in the tall bushes lying in wait, and soon Elias comes forward and confirms that it is in fact an ettin – a 12 foot tall, two headed giant. Normally solitary creatures, they tend to catch their prey by surprise, but the adventures’ superior tracking noticed it first.

Kell and Elias step forward to try and talk the ettin away, Kell unable to because it does not speak the languages associated with giants, but Elias and Saena are successful in finding out that it wants food. Elias tries to trade a horse from the caravan to avoid a battle, but the barker will have nothing to do with it. When the ranger tells the ettin this, it flies into a rage and the battle begins.

Saena fires off a lightning bolt to the creature’s head, drawing it’s attention. Elias capitalizes on this and rushes the beast, taking two solid blows from its morningstars. Another flash of lightning gives Elias the window to take charges from his healing belt and jump back into the fray.

Kell the Warforged steps into the battle, and immediately turns into a wolf, slashing and biting at the ettin between the heroes’ attacks. Saena both takes and gives a mighty blow, knocking her off her feet. Elias rushes in again, slashing his sword, but takes a second hit and is also taken off his feet. From a distance Astaria, who had been loosing arrows at the ettin, pauses for a second to fire a healing bolt at Elias, reviving him, before continuing a ranged assault.

The battle continues like this for some time before Saena is knocked unconscious. Asanja, who had been keeping to the fringes to offer support, sneaks in under the ettin’s notice and drags Saena out, reviving her in the process. Meanwhile, Kell continues to tie up the creature, both taking a fair amount of damage.

Wounded and weary, Elias calls out to Steve to see if he can cast an illusion to distract the giant, but he says he cannot and returns to the caravan. Suddenly he is distracted by Saena, who casts a spell on him to become big. Kell withdraws, and Elias steps up, sword in hand, telling the ettin to surrender or die.

It withdraws and flees, with Astaria firing off one last arrow and Kell casting ‘briar patch’ to take the last of its strength. It stops and, defeated and hungry, sits down and begins to sob. Elias and Saena approach, and in exchange for letting it go they demand its weapons. It concedes, and the caravan sets off again, Elias tossing the giant morningstars and shield into one of the wagons.

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Ship Happens

The group finally finds themselves on a ship, Asanja making it back just before they head out to sea; The Disappointed Providence: A small ship, crewed by three people. The only cabin is the captain’s cabin, and below deck hangs seven hammocks, conveniently, although really, they only needed six after all.

Astaria disappears below deck hastily as she embarks the ship. Boba asks everyone for an explanation. Saena stoically stands staring toward the shore, saying nothing. Elias says, “Give me a minute” and goes below deck to wash the blood off his hands.

Corrin pipes up, unsympathetically talking about Mara’s death perhaps being a good thing. Saena responds by attempting to grab him, but misses. Saena tells him she was her friend, and angrily climbs the rigging. Boba starts chattering about Mara, friendship and generally being confused, when suddenly, he cannot hear anything. Corrin had cast silence on him. The ship captain, upset, reams him out. Corrin decides wisely to stay away from her for the rest of the journey.

Full of questions, everyone heads downstairs, where Elias and Astaria are talking. Elias apologized to Astaria, saying he didn’t recognize the captain at first and forgot to mention to Astaria who they were about to board ship with. Astaria, still upset at Elias, reveals not only that she questions their friendship, but also that Malena, the captain, had broken her heart and she wasn’t ready to face her. Saena heads upstairs to avoid everyone, Astaria follows Saena, then Corrin in tow.

Astaria tells Corrin to go back down below deck, deciding to share her kegs with the rest of the party, spare one.

Astaria apologizes to Saena and does her best to explain what happened, feeling genuinely disappointed at the thought of losing a friend. Saena concedes to having been wrong to keep secrets, but remains disgruntled at Astaria’s spell choice. Saena goes to help the crew, Astaria heads back downstairs.

Elias heads toward the gallows and makes some stew, bringing it to the Captain. He speaks a little with Malena, trying, to no avail, to make her have the feels.

The rest of the journey, having taken a day longer than it should have due to a sudden downpour of rain, is uneventful. During the final night on the ship, the group notices that Astaria had disappeared, and, to Boba’s lament, so did the last keg of beer. Astaria makes her way to the captain’s quarters, timidly, but with purpose. She knocks on the door, then casts Eagle’s Splendor on herself just before she walks into Malena’s room with the keg of beer. They have a chat; much to the sorrow of the group, nothing sexy happens. They speak about Astaria’s personal quest and their relationship. Malena begins to cry, as a confused Astaria tries to comfort her.

Elias guards the door – mostly from Boba who is seeking out the last keg.

The next day they dock in Malkara:

Saena and Boba go to book travel – however, river travel impossible, as it is not the season for it, however, there is a caravan, willing to pay 3 gold per day per person +1 gold per day for the dog to ensure safe travel to Malkara. There are 3 extra guards; two of which are his sons. The third is a big wooden robot.

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Death comes to Halloweentown
in which we kill a rabid dog named Mara

The party wakes in the morning to head back to Malkara on the Disappointed Providence. Corrin had an adventurous night before – he had tracked some Bugbears who had spoken about waking someone. He was certain he was going to stop one of the Sleepers from being woken but instead found the Bugbear trying to nurse a small child who refused to eat. Not that he would tell his friends…

Boba heads up to See Lorea at the university as the rest eat breakfast at the Murdered Archer.

Lorea has dark circles under her eyes as Boba arrives but she seems displeased to see him. She returns his sword, which has not been improved yet at all. The good news though is that she gives him an augmentation crystal of True-death for the sword: an old-world charm that will now damage the undead more than normal. Boba thanks her for the charm as she heads off to get some tea and hopefully some sleep. She adds that Marella owes her.

Happy with his improved sword, Boba heads back to the Murdered Archer and his companions. He swings it around happily, testing out the new weight and feel and generally enjoying his new weapon.

As they head down to the Disappointed Providence, Saena moves slightly closer to the Wandering Night, just to see if she can find out what they are doing in town. They are simply unloading cargo and enjoying town. Saena wisely leaves the ship be and goes to the Disappointed Providence where Astaria is refusing to get on board.

Corrin and Saena stop to ask Astaria what is wrong as Mara starts trying to force Astaria on board. Saena steps between Mara and Astaria, pushing Mara back a little. Mara steps around Saena to try and pick Astaria up, Astaria struggles free as Corrin yells “Halt!” and casts a spell. Mara becomes stuck to theground. Elias stomps into the center of the group, he points at Corrin and tells him to let her go and get on the ship. He tells Mara go leave Astaria alone and get on the ship. He points to Boba and Saena and tells them to get on the ship and then turns to Astaria and gives her a calming hand “Look, I see her too. I know who it is, we don’t have time for this and you’re making a scene. Lets get on the ship.” Boba, still swinging his sword, simply gets on the ship.

Corrin smartly gets up on the ship but Mara and Saena don’t really make much more of a move towards boarding. Both wanting the other to go first, but when Astaria starts walking away, they both jump into action. Saena runs over to Astaria and asks “What’s going on? What’s wrong.” Astaria tells her she doesn’t want to talk about it.

Meanwhile, Boba, on the ship, is still swinging his sword and enjoying the soft humming sound it make, like a girly lightsaber. One of the twins who man the ship comments how great a sword it is, not at all noticing the drama.

As soon as Mara can move, she dashes back to Astaria and tries to grapple her onto the ship again. Mara misses her grab and Elias joins Saena in trying to stop Astaria from walking off. He sighs “Look, I’m sorry but I understand… I couldn’t understand but… are you just going to keep running?”

Faced with this, Astaria keeps walking, heading towards a tavern and asking for twenty minutes. Saena nods at that and steps away from Astaria and back in front of Mara. But there is no time in Mara’s mind. She grapples Astaria and Saena grapples Mara at the same time. Astaria has no more patience for all this though – She casts a spell, inflicting serious wounds on Mara. Mara begins to go for a weapon but Saena pins her, trying to stop her from attacking Astaria back. Though Mara tries to escape, Saena holds her tight.

Elias runs up and grabs Mara by the chin to make her pay attention “Mara. We are not your enemy. She is not your enemy, we are friends.” Still, Mara keeps struggling.

Astaria starts casting another spell and Saena knows it is Deep Slumber. Saena knows it is the best way to keep Mara from getting killed and so keeps holding her there.

Boba, watching from the ship, just sort of shrugs as the crew of the Disappointed Providence points out the scuffle on the docks.

Elias is still well aware that Mara is out for blood. He waits to see what happens.
As Astaria unleashes her spell, Saena jumps out of the way to avoid being put to sleep herself but unfortunately Mara doesn’t succumb to the spell.

Elias dives at Mara to grapple her again, yelling “We are not your enemies. “ And to the others “Everyone get on the damned ship.”

Astaria frustrated, comments “I wish she had just fallen asleep, because that would make this all easier.” As Elias and Mara struggle on the ground Astaria yells “Just leave me alone.” And turns to walk into the closest pub.

Mara continues attempting to escape Elias’s grip and Saena hits her on the back of the head but with little effect.

Astaria walks into the bar and orders 6 gallons of ale for the trip. She has them sent to the Disappointed Providence.

Meanwhile, Elias is still grappling Mara, shouting at her that they are not her enemies and that is she wants to get to Astaria, she’ll have to go through him.

With a calm voice Mara replies “So be it.”

Boba calls from the ship, asking what is going on and why they’re not just getting on the ship.

Saena yells to him that he needs to help and eventually he starts over to the melee.

Saena attacks Mara again, calling Ludo to attack as well. Slowly Saena is causing Mara damage, but VERY slowly.

Elias begins pulling Mara towards the water, saying he will cool her down. Boba walks over and tells her to calm her down. Mara manages to escape Elias’s pin.

Saena, resigned, tells Elias that Mara needs to be knocked unconscious and tied up and Elias tells her he wasn’t planning on letting her go and that everyone needs to get on the boat. Saena refuses to listen, saying Mara is now done and she won’t get on the boat with her.

It is about htis time that Boba gives up and walks towards the bar, just as Astaria is heading back out to the group, well buffed with spells to tag back into this fight.

Elias attempts to re-pin Mara but it fails. He calls. “Leave us here.”

Saena takes a look around and notices that several crew members of the Wandering Knight watching the fight and they are calling for Kangar. With that in mind, Saena’s ready for this fight to end. She unleashes a lightning bolt on Mara and Elias.

Boba stops and comes back as Saena yells that Mara needs to be put down. He starts casting inspire courage. Once again Mara tries to escape but Elias holds her tight.
Astaria moves closer to the fight asking “What is going on?”

Saena tells her “You attacked her and now she’s going to try and kill you. There is no shutting her down.”

Elias keeps fighting, pinning Mara again and whispering to her that he is sorry. He yells to the others that they have to end this now. Saena, on the edge of tears, lashes out at her friends again with her lightning.

People are calling for the watch now as well as for Kangar.

Mara continues to fight but is still pinned.

Astaria and Saena both attack Mara, this time trying not just to subdue, but to kill her.
Boba steps in and stabs Mara, finally ending the struggle.

As Mara lies there dying, Astaria wonders softly if she’s supposed to heal her. Elias does his best to stabilize Mara, not to let her die there. He tells everyone to get back on the ship.

Saena turns and walks away, striding past Kangar in silence and walking on to the boat, Ludo beside her.

Boba places his hand on Elias’s shoulder in comfort and goes onto the ship. The alcohol is delivered to the ship and Malena notices Astaria for the first time. Astaria goes and gets onto the ship but as she walks past Elias she slaps him across the face.

Elias continues to try and save Mara’s life and manages to stabilize her and then leaves her there and gets on the ship.

Malena returns and tells the group they are casting off.

As they look over the rail at Mara’s body on shore, she continues to breathe. Kangar picks her up and tosses her over his shoulder, walking away with the unconscious body.

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Sleep Camels, Candle Shots and The Mysteries of Saena’s Box

The few patrons that remained at the Murdered Archer into the late evening had mostly shuffled out after dinner, leaving the adventurers to inconspicuously keep eyes on Saena’s date with Danny. After a final round he too leaves, and Saena is left with her prized (albeit badly damaged) golem heart.

Collectively, we discuss our options to continue our quest, and debate going to Fort Martus on Finsey’s behest to look for information either before or after dealing with the mission Elias has taken on from the Magus for destroying one of the library books the night before. The discussion is ultimately put on hold for the night when it is decided we need to learn more about the Magus’ plan before heading out.

Suddenly remembering the prize Saena is clutching in her lap, Elias asks if he can inspect it and observes that it appears to be a small chest (without hinges to open) covered in magical runes with a huge hole piercing straight through from Danny’s halberd. While Elias is not familiar with such magical items, Astaria eagerly steps up and informs us that the size implies it was from a rather large golem, which would have been powered by the secrets held within. The more powerful the secrets, and the fewer people that ultimately knew them, the stronger the golem would be.

Astaria then turns to Saena and asks if she can examine the heart herself, to which Saena reluctantly agrees. Astaria holds it for a moment before attempting to put the box to her ear, causing Saena to suddenly jump up and demand the box back. Astaria hesitates, causing the two to grapple over the item until the Kalishtaria wins and presses the hole to her ear. The look of confusion and pain on her face is almost instant, and after returning the box to it’s owner, she informs the group that the secrets inside were taken from a demon.

Saena, holding the box close, announces that she is going to bed. Astaria follows after her, warning her about the dangers of listening to the box unchecked, and Saena, unphased, continues upstairs thanking her for her concern.

The rest of the group leave themselves to their own devices, notably Mara heading off to the rooftops to unsuccessfully search for Winnifred, Asanya (having just come in) sitting at a far table pouring over scrolls and books from the library, and Elias taking the time to wander the streets to clear his head. He circles the docks once, noting the sailors laying provisions for the coming winter, and then heads out to the Ranger outpost, where he spends the rest of the night having dinner and sharing stories with the few Rangers assigned to Isaard.

The following morning, the heroes venture down from their rooms to find Elias has returned as is waking Asanya who fell asleep on her books in the tavern. After a… questionable… morning meal of what is called porridge, Astaria and Bobba head to the university, Mara opts to gather information on Mr. Sabat, Elias and Asanya decide to return her books, while a weary and sleep derived Saena chooses to hang around the bar. Everyone decided to convene back for lunch.

At the university, Bobba spends some time tracking down the wizard that forged his sword, an Elvish Magus named Lorea who is also a friend to Lady Marella. Bobba learns she is a necromancer when she shows a mild interest in his stories about vampires, and to help his mission she reluctantly agrees to make improvements to his sword. Meanwhile, Astaria learns from Magus Thrakun that there is a demon hive growing north of Endamos Keep, but cannot give any details about timing or threat level. During their conversation, an elf wearing a chain shirt interrupts and tells Thrakun he is late for their lunch. With that, Astaria heads to the library to search for info on the Master of Morass.

Also walking the shaded streets towards the university, Elias helps Asanya carry her books and scrolls. Aware that is old friend is out of sorts, Elias questions her about her research. Reluctantly she tells him she’s looking up information on where she grew up, and her Kalishtari heritage, the customs and the people. She wants to learn more about different peoples to make her way stations more universal, and Elias backs her in her idea (as always) promising to impart any culinary tricks he learns on the road.

Donning her truth seeker goggles, Mara makes her way through the more reputable bars in the shade before finally locating Leiland Sabbat at one of his favourite spots, accompanied by his Goliath priest bodyguard Reuben. Sabbat is a quiet, mousy man she in his mid thirties, and Mara has learned that while the war had affected his fortunes rather harshly, his new trade is in information, and that business is booming. She gathers some extra information about his family and opts to bring it all to the group before confronting him.

Finally, Saena has packed up their gear to either take directly to Fort Martus or north past The Keep. Taking Ludo for one last leisurely stroll, she makes her way down to the docks, and is shocked to see that the Wandering Night has made port. Keeping to the shadows, and not seeing the captain Diego, he swiftly goes back to the inn for lunch.

Back at the Murdered Archer, Astaria shares Thrakun’s information with the group, and an anxious Saena insists the party leave town as soon as possible. Deciding that they need to head north before heading to Martus, Elias, Mara and Asanya go to book passage on a ship while the others head out to confront Sabbat.

At the Enchanter’s Cellar, Sabbat and his bodyguard are enjoying a late lunch when Saena and her crew approach. Short on time, she asks him about the Waking of the Sleepers (of which he doesn’t recall) and mentions the emergence of vampires and The Wolf (of which he has heard). Sabbat counters that he had sent a group to find information about his brother Arthur who had gone missing during the war near Astatre. They apparently had also woken some ancient evil there, but claimed to have killed it. At this, Corrin jumps into the conversation, slamming his fist down on the table demanding Leiland come clean about his intentions. Non chalantly, Sabbat points out that like us, he two could be connect to waking an ancient evil without it being his intention, and with this point, the group leaves.

The docks are a flurry of activity during the day, and Elias finds that the Wandering Night is the only Rilador ship in the harbor, meaning they will have to book on a legitimate ship heading back to Malkara. After walking for a bit they find a well moustached ship barker offering passage on The Lively Queen and its sister ship The Maurice, heading back to Malkara the following day. He follows them down the docks, haggling his price several times due to having to split up the group, but is cut short by a Kalishtari woman wielding a dagger. As he scuttles back to his boats, she introduces herself as Malena, captain of the Disappointed Providence, and offers the heroes passage for 20 gold a head, to embark the next morning. Happy to bid rid of the other man, Elias agrees, the bargain is struck, and they head back to the inn.

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Cheesecloth and a date

We start off with the early risers, known to most as Team Breakfast: Astaria and Elias walk together to the library, where they decide it would be wiser to have Elias stay in the library and return the surviving books, while Astaria went to get the Magus. As Elias introduces himself to Kassa’Enenwen, a student running the library at that time, Astaria sheepishly mentions the book that Elias unwittingly destroyed, then leads him to the library where she expects to find Elias. After Elias explains the situation, including which book was destroyed and what information he was seeking, the Magus seems oddly calm. He explains that there is a “cheesecloth” issue* that needs to be dealt with, and this may be a good opportunity to balance the debt of the destroyed book. The Magus explains that some more works needs to be done before the situation can be dealt with, but he will find Elias when he is prepared. The Magus then takes Astaria aside, and tells her, “Your friend is full of shit, the emerald has nothing to do about vampires, it’s a history book. About this guild.” As it turns out, “The Unknown Emerald” is a collection of histories and historical accounts.
Astaria, curious about the book, asks the librarian about some extra information on the Unknown Emerald. She is pointed toward a far section of the library: The histories regarding the histories before the war and beyond. Most are accounts of various wizards’ research and the events surrounding it. Most of the book Astaria found were, although interesting, not very informative, although they did include references to the cheesecloth theory. After searching for a time, she finds references in the histories, particularly to a devil named Stephen: “Stephen the Fallen” or “Stephen the Poet”; several passages are written by him. Feats of abjuration, fireballs and poets, Stephen the poet seems to get around. While looking into the author himself, Stephen the Poet is not of this world: he is often mentioned in conjunction with famous wizards. Around the evacuation, Stephen drops out of the histories. It seems that Stephen records deeds, and has been doing so for hundreds of years. Some stories were depicted in reliefs of the towers.

Meanwhile, Team Lunch congregate in the dining area: Corrin apologies to Saena for telling people about Winnifred. Saena makes it clear that she is more on the side of the party than with Winnifred, wanting to make sure that it is understood that she would not sacrifice the team for the sake of the Vampire Winnifred.
They reach Corrin’s brother’s place where a man, sounding somewhat like Russell Brand, is trying to sell him a Golem heart and a box. Finsy has finished appraising the items Corrin gave him. He then gives him a horse-maker.
Interested with the Golem Box, Saena inquires to the man about the box. He asks for 50 gold. She offers 15. After some haggling, he asks her out; she accepts. At this time, Corrin is handed a bag of money from his brother. Upon seeing this, Saena confronts him and offers to keep this a secret for a cut.

They find out that the other man’s name is Danny. He is with is Galinor, the same man that Boba confronted in the previous city, but she does not know the name of the man with the golem heart box. Finsy, always looking for new treasure, tells Corrin that Fort Martis is a good place to find treasures, although it’s dangerous, it may be worth his while.
Everyone meets back up at the bar, except Corrin. Elias apologizes. Saena explains that we shouldn’t do anything about Winnifred at this point. Astaria explains about what happened with the Magus and attempts to tell the group about the cheesecloth theory, most of the group looking at her cockeyed and with blank stares. Elias states that he would like to right his wrong before seeking out the wolf, and the group agrees to wait for the Magus.

That night, Saena has a date with Danny: Mara is there, but her being there does not seem to faze Danny. Turns out that Danny has heard of Saena, through his friend Azis, an old friend of Saena’s.
Danny explains how he got the box: he killed a golem by stabbing the golem in the heart, which caused the golem to disappear, revealing the box, protruded by the spear.

*Cheesecloth problem: The world that we live in is not solid, as it seems. It is porous like a cheesecloth. The outer planes are not like other planets; they are like things that are pressing through, and sometimes something tumbles through the cheesecloth, much like Nualla. Usually, it’s not terrible. However, as things keep filtering through these holes, the holes get bigger, and worse things get through these holes. Reports are coming in that, up north there is a demon hive.

In the end, Saena got her Golem Heart Box, Astaria maintained her friendship with the Magus, and the adventurers have a few options ahead of them!

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Secrets About Vampires Sparkle When Brought To Light

After a long day of seeking out information from the various sources available within Isaard, and a tense morning of more startling revelations, most of the group find themselves wandering the streets, alone with their thoughts:

Corrin, fresh from meeting with an old friend, takes in the cool afternoon air. He navigates the dark streets well, having spent some time in the city prior, and makes a clear path to the inn for the night.

Astaria, who had just finished her dinner pseudo-date with Magus Thrakun, walks silently towards the inn, deep in thought about what she has just learned.

Elias, brooding over his earlier encounter with Corrin, opts to clear his head with a light patrol of the shady, city streets before retiring for the evening. He notes the neighbourhood, even for being in the shade, remains rather calm due in no small part to the blue robed mages he assumes are the Phalanx. With nothing to take his mind off his troubles, he eventually works the back alleys back to the inn.

Asanya, back from her own mission, steps quietly through the inn doors before most others arrived. Having arrived far later than intended, she notes the rumbling in her stomach and laments having missed dinner with her companions.

But not everyone chose to be as reflective, and some had missions to complete before they could rest for the evening:

Saena made her way directly to the Aetherforge at the University, trying her best to blend in with the other young folk as they prepared their magic. Eventually she is questions by some of the more suspicious students, but manages to bluff her way through looking for someone that can help her device a specific magical item. Her queries eventually lead her to a dumping area of sorts, filled with pieces of weapons, armour and other trinkets that did not make the cut to become fully magical items. Searching through the rubbish, she grabs a few items of particular note and, satisfied, heads back to the inn to meet with the others.

Late into the evening, Mara made her way like a shadow through the darkened back alleys of Issard. Her meeting with the Forgemaster had lead to some interesting revelations and as per her orders, she was now making her way to her rendezvous point to pass the information along to her handler. Her task complete, Mara slipped back into the darkness and quietly headed back to the inn.

Boba drank his third flask of ale, and eyed the other patrons of the bar suspiciously. The inn was built with many shadowy corners, and the cleric was keeping note of all of them. Over the course of his investigations, he made note of many people, often mages, coming and going and dealing in small flasks of an unknown liquid. Each of these transactions, he noted, went through the barmaid Mithrimi, who commanded a high price. Eventually tiring of just watching, Boba springs into action and starts questioning the patrons, but is soon interrupted by Mithrimi, who tells him he might enjoy the sites of the city more than their bar. Taking her up on the offer, Boba heads to the University and spends the day chatting with the various elves and mages before returning to the inn in the evening. Boba hurried back, eager to share his discovers with the others: several impressive magical discoveries were made out of Therengrad (some sort of golem creating dungeon), and many of the lower mages swear that a vampire was spotted in the university (but were not overly concerned).

By the time the bar had closed and the patrons were all in their rooms, the majority of the group arrived at the Murdered Archer. Boba and Elias had arrived early, and had a discussion regarding the information about the vampire in town, whom both had assumed to be The Wolf. Shortly thereafter Mara comes in, and is instantly assaulted by Elias’ need for more information regarding Winifred and her following the group. She reasons it’s better to discuss directly with Corrin, so the duo head up the stairs to his room, but their frustration compounded when they do not find him there.

At almost the same time, Corrin strolls back into the inn, and while initially oblivious of the troubles inside, is soon warned by Mara that Elias and Boba are looking for him. In stride, he sits at a table by the bar and does not have to wait long for them to find him. As Elias bears down upon him, Corrin claims he can solve the issue with four simple words, but the suddenly turns invisible and makes a dash for the door. Using his keen ranger senses, Elias is able to grab onto the invisible Corrin and tosses him back into his chair, now firmly holding him in place. Corrin responds that if they need answers, they should talk to Saena.

In the midst of the confrontation, Astaria enters The Murdered Archer. Seeing the chaos inside, with friend turning on friend, she begins to plead for calm. Elias beings questioning Corrin (and anyone else within earshot) about the vampire in the city, when at that exact moment Saena returns from the Aetherforge with her trinkets. Hearing the word ‘vampire’ and aware that her secret is out, she spins on her heel and back out into the dark streets, with Mara, Boba and eventually Elias making after her.

Mara reaches her first and tells Saena what has happened during the evening. They walk cautiously, and have a brief conversation about the events, and Saena gives Mara the gift of a small skull she found while rummaging. Resolved, she decides to turn around and face the group.

Meanwhile, Boba and Elias are blocked at the door by Astaria, still asking her friends for a peaceful resolution to the issues. Not wanting to waste time, Elias dodges back and makes a break for the back door of the inn, but is frozen in place by one of Corrin’s spells. Boba rushes Astaria, and when he bounces off of her and cannot move past to the door, attempts to distract everyone with a bardic whistle. During this, Astaria mindlinks with Elias and tries to calm him down, his rage now boiling over.

Eventually, Elias breaks free of the spell, and after glaring at Corrin tells Astaria to move out of the way. Corrin quickly casts a silence spell on the half side of the room, and isolates Elias and himself from the others. The two allies, now driven by hurt and anger, begin arguing their respective points away from the crowd: Corrin insists he did not tell the others about Winifred because Saena asked him not to, and because Elias is being untrusting and overreacting, he is concerned for Saena’s safety from him. Elias assures him he has no intentions of hurting anyone, that the fighting is pointless, and that he was after Saena for the answers she was keeping from him.

The silence spell dissipates, and the small bar area of the inn again becomes a cacophony of raised voices: Elias yelling at Corrin, Boba yelling at the newly arrived Saena, and Astaria still pleading with everyone to remain calm and reasonable. Elias cuts through the noise and begins questioning Saena directly, and her whole truth of the matter is revealed. Their argument ultimately boils down to a few key points: Saena kept the information from Elias because she still believes Winifred can be saved, and did not trust Elias to not murder her on sight. Elias admits that he would have, although begrudgingly, only to protect himself and the surviving members of the group because he feels Winifred the ally is dead, and the creature in her place is too dangerous.

Their lines drawn in the sand, Elias eventually concedes that he will not attack Winifred unless provoked into defending himself or others, but it is still his duty to do whatever he must to protect his friends. With this, Boba runs out of the bar, tears streaming down his cheeks. He makes it a few short yards when he drops to his knees and cries out for Winifred in the darkness. A few moments later Saena comes out to get him, and the two re-enter the inn.

A break in the din allows Mara to pass along to the group the information she gains from the Forgemaster regarding The Wolf and the weapons he had ordered. They discuss this, and Corrin offers his info about a possibly bigger threat in the form of Leiland Sabbat, who may be behind the Waking of the Sleepers. Wearily, and with the hope of their victory slipping away with each new revelation, Elias recommends that everyone retire for the evening, but not before have a brief conversation with Astaria at the bar.

The following morning Elias, Boba and Astaria meet downstairs for breakfast, and are relieved to find that the well timed Silence spell Corrin had cast kept more of their shouting from waking the other patrons of the inn. Elias informs Astaria that through the night he had knocked over a candle onto one of the books he had borrowed and destroyed it. After finding out that Steve knows nothing about Leiland Sabbat, they resolve to go to the library and deal with the books, leaving Boba alone with his buckwheat porridge and grapefruit juice.

Alone now and bored, Boba heads upstairs to try and wake another one of the adventures to go out. Unfortunately, the door he knocks on is Mara, who after scornfully insisting she is going back to bed, tosses Boba back down the stairs.

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To kill or not to kill (a dead friend)

Allow me to set the stage: Astaria and Elias are researching The Wolf in the Library of Isard. Neuala, the Ice Nymph is with them, in hopes of finding a way home. Corrin is at his brother’s pawn shop, readying himself for an altercation with The Wolf, along with the hope to change Winifred back to human. Mara is off alone on a mission of her own. Everyone else is around, and each has their own tales to tell, but their stories are for another time. These four adventurers are about to embark on a long (very long) but productive day.

Mara sits in the The Shrew and Demon – an inn that Forge master Thorve Daxos frequents. She is looking for information on him. She has heard some disturbing news about this blacksmith. Mara decides that she does not have much to do until nightfall; however, she manages to find where the forge master’s house is and scouts around the premises. She notices that the place is not overly secure. It’s a small but sturdy 2-story home with a small yard. He doesn’t seem overly wealthy. As she scouts around the perimeter of the home, she detects a chaotic entity; possibly the two year old child that lives in the house. Mara bides her time during the day, awaiting nightfall. She decides to nap, having spent the previous night watching Neuala.

Elias, Astaria, Neuala, Steve, Asanja, and Boba are in the library, each doing their own work to find information on The Wolf. As Elias begins collecting books and information, Astaria looks at Neuala, wondering what they are to do with her. Knowing that the University is a place of great magic, there must be a wizard somewhere within the walls that will be able to help her. Astaria seeks out a nearby librarian and begins to ask about experts in planar magic. She is given two names: Arion Koerwe (a second-circle magus that does a lot with The Green as well as flux and chaos magic) and Magus Thrakun (another second-circle magus who researches lower planes, including The Howling Dark, and the Winter Kingdom, where Neuala is from).

Before we continue on with the story, allow me to illustrate some history: There are 7 ranks of wizardry: an apprentice hopes to become a Prestidigitator. From there, a wizard will enter the circles of magi, of which there are three. Of those wizards, there is one high magus, who eventually becomes part of a council of arch magi. The council of arch magi consists of nine powerful wizards. Of those nine, they alternate being named The High Magus. Magus Thrakun is a wizard within the second circle of the three. Astaria is told that he has an office three floors up and can be found in the Aleph chamber.

Astaria, Neuala and Steve ascend the stairs toward The Aleph chamber. As she approaches, Steve appears, stating that he does not wish to enter the Aleph chamber for fear that he may find himself back in Hell. He agrees to wait outside while Astaria and Neuala seek out the Magus. The Aleph chamber is a floating tower, once tall and thin, but has grown outward to incorporate new renovations. Astaria enters a large quad, filled with students going about their own educational business. In the middle of the quad, unbound by any walls, stands a door with markings on it, stating that it leads to the Aleph chamber. Astaria circles the door with a cautious curiosity. She opens the door which leads to stairs leading downward, each step engraved with runes for gateways and summonings. As she descends the staircase, Astaria can feel herself changing planes. The as she walks down, she notices a large column of changing-coloured light. The light goes all the way from the floor through a hole in the ceiling. As she reaches the bottom of the stairway, she is approached by a Phalanx. She explains that she has business with the Magus. He tells her to wait on a nearby bench until the Magus arrives.
Finally, after several minutes, Magus Thrakun arrives. He is a Tiefling, a creature that has ancestors from the Howling Dark. He has red hair with grey streaks. Like many mages here, he does not wear robes, instead he wears trousers. He pauses at the top of the stairs and sees Astaria and Neuala. He smiles with pointed teeth and his eyes are inky black. He pauses as he approaches and sniffs the airs. “Are you here to find out if you are related? I’m just guessing, but I’m happy to help”. He tells Astaria that her aura smells like brimstone. She explains to him the predicament Neuala is in, and he is willing to help. The Tiefling says, “Follow me.” As they walk towards his office, he begins, “Do you know what Alpeh means? It is a wizarding word that is a point to see all other points. We do summoning…calling” As they walk toward Thrakun’s office, which winds up being more like a workshop, They notice that there are doors leading to several other workshops. As they pass by them they can hear a cacophony of horns and yelling. They go to a workshop labeled “Thrakun”. There is a summoning circle on the floor. He takes note of Neuala. The Magus takes note to saying, “everything happens for a reason”. He states that he cannot bring her home himself, but can summon a creature that can. Astaria thanks him, and as she is about to take her leave, she hands him a scarf, saying that it is from a friend of his. He looks at it, delighted, saying “oh, a token!” He then states that he and the owner of the scarf and he used to date. “How is she doing?” he asks “She seemed be doing well”, Astaria replies. Thrakun then goes to Neuala and says “Let’s get you home”. Before Astaria leaves, Thrakun offers to take her to the Shrew and Demon. She accepts his offer. He says “no demons, I promise. I leave my work here”. She agrees and takes her leave. “Good luck Neuala, it was a pleasure meeting you”. Neuala smiles and thanks her, profusely. She offers Astaria a future reward. She gives Astaria a token, a small ring of white gold set with a blue stone, assuming that Astaria can scry on her, either now, or in the future.

While Astaria is off finding Neuala her home, Elias, thirsty for information, yet unaccustomed to Universities and their library policies, seeks out books that may help his research. He looks around the library and finds a kobold that must be the head librarian. As he approaches her, she sneers at his lack of magical talent. She introduces herself as Elior. As he begins asking her for what he seeks, Elior folds her arms, rolls her eyes and sighs as she listens to his request. Elias asks about ancient vampires and she looks at him cockeyed and explains that her research is primarily in the Bunnybadger. Elias conducts polite conversation about the Bunnybadger, but manages to redirect the conversation to vampires. She tells him that he is not the only one looking for information on vampires. She further explains that there is a vampire hunter that also has been seeking information. She does not know him very well, but gives a brief description of him and tells Elias that he lives in town and owns a bow shop.
After finding several books at Elior’s suggestion, he starts reading several books from the library. He finds out that vampires, unsurprisingly, are very dangerous and not-accidental. He reads histories, searching for references to “the Wolf”. Elias finds out that The Wolf is one of 3 or 4 brothers, possibly simply “siblings”. They were forged by the Lich and live and die in his service. Elias notices that the authors are typically crazy wizards, with most writings by Ingol the Conjurer. There are a few accounts by a necromancer that had some inside knowledge named Ellys Grani. Both authors are essentially dead; however Ellys has more ascended, and is thus pretty much gone from the world. Upon finding this information Elias finds Elior once again. The Librarian says that she may be able to look into Ellys’s last appearance, for a price. Elias thanks her for her help, gets her contact information and returns to the books to finish up his research. Elias selects several books, but three books stand out from the rest: Narvi’s historical Companion and Accounts by Ellys Grani and the Enchiridion of Bones. Elias asks Elior if he can take the books for the night. She scoffs at him, saying that he is not a student and therefore not part of the university. However, he could borrow the books, if he finds a sponsor within the university to ensure Elias’ responsibility and the books’ safe return. Elias waits for Astaria’s return. She returns shortly after. Neuala is not with them, and Steve is still following Astaria. Elias asks Astaria to if she can use her connections with the university to get a sponsorship to sign out the books. Astaria sighs, saying “I was just there!” Elias convinces her to return to the Magus. Following the same path she took before, and waiting again for the Phalanx to summon him, Magus Thrakun returns, explaining that he was just about to summon a Genie to help get Neuala home. He agrees and Elias takes out the three books:

“Corrin!! Corrin!” Finsy cries, as Corrin starts to leave the pawn shop. Corrin turns round to acknowledge his brother. Corrin is given a secret mission by his brother, unknown to the group. Beyond that, Finsy tells Corrin about the Waking of Sleepers. There are people going around finding ways to wake undead creatures, and they are beginning to stir. There is a small village in the west was destroyed by a ghoul that woke from a tomb. Finsy continues to explain that a group of adventurers came around and killed an army of resurrected skeletons. He warns Corrin that there are tombs of sleeping undead creatures that are waiting. There are groups of people prodding them into wakefulness. Corrin uncovers one name in connection to several of these instances: Mr. Sabbat has been hiring mercenaries to do suspicious things around tombs. Corrin’s brother also tells Corrin about a local man: a bower by day and vampire hunter by night named Bishop Ryan. Intrigued by the news, Corrin seeks out this Bishop Ryan.
Corrin makes his way to the Bower’s home. The main floor is a bow shop, filled with several carved bows, made by pristine hands. Bishop lives on top of the shop. An old man sits in front of the shop, sanding a bow. Corrin clears his throat, saying “Excuse me, are you Mr. Ryan?”
“Yeah, I’m Ryan” he replies, not looking up from his bow. Corrin presses him, “My brother is Finsy, and he speaks highly of you and told me that you’re the one to talk to about vampire problems.” Ryan gets up and begins to walk toward Corrin. Corrin notices that he walks with a limp. Corrin asks if he can ask the old man some questions. Ryan invites Corrin inside. “What kind of vampire problems do you have?” he asks.
Corrin replies, “Well, I know how to avoid vampires, but can you tell me anything about their weaknesses? My friends and I encountered one and it didn’t go so well”
Ryan considers this, “I imagine not, seeing the look of you,” he says “Sunlight, running water, and stake to the heart.” Ryan continues, “for running water to work, you have to hold him down. That’s the hard part.” Ryan then explains that he had killed 16 vampires, and once didn’t go so well. Through discussions about what the adventurers had encountered, Ryan explains that they must have found an old, dangerous vampire. Corrin asks him to join them if they find where the vampire is. Ryan refuses, and explains that he is retired, but he adds, “Killing the vampire is easy, fighting is the hard part.” He explains that they can call on minions, mind-trick your friends, or just suck you dry. He explains that those are powers of a young vampire, but an old one, he has no idea. He suggests it’s a job for someone else. Corrin explains that he’d love to leave it to them, but this is something they have to do. Corrin leaves the old man to his bows to return to the inn for dinner.

The group meets back up at the inn. Elias tells the rest of the adventurers what he’s learned. Corrin explains about his ideas about the Waking of Sleepers and that he’s already met the vampire hunter and that he is retired. They decide to disband for dinner.

Corrin, Mara, Elias and Astaria sit together at a table at the inn, anxiously waiting for something to eat. Mara asks Corrin about Winifred being turned into a vampire. “So, what protections are we taking so that she’s not following us here? I mean, she’s already been meeting with Saena, so she’s following us” Elias raises his eyebrow, saying “what?” Mara looks around the table and apologetically explains, “This one thought that everyone knew?”
Corrin sighs, his great secret now revealed, worst of all to Elias. “In Malkara,” he explains, “they kind of bumped into each other. Saena didn’t want anyone to know about it. Winifred didn’t hurt Saena. As far as I can tell, she’s friendly, for a vampire”. Elias then throws down his cutlery, gets up and walks out of the room. Astaria stays silent and puts a hand to her head and sighs.
Mara asks, “Didn’t your brother say that, once you’re changed, you lose your alignment?”
Corrin replies, “One can hope, but she said that there’s still good in her.”
Mara says, “You also said that a Vamp has to kill every couple of days, if this is the case, and she approaches Saena and gets her and possibly the rest of us, while our guard is down? Shouldn’t we take precautions?” Corrin, ever the optimist, says that he has hopes, and also states that Elias may have anger issues, possibly thanks to a low charisma score.

Elias, angry, goes to the Bow shop to meet Bishop Ryan. He sees him yelling at kids and sanding a bow, possibly the same bow he had when Corrin came by. Elias introduces himself. Bishop explains that, if a person is turned, they keep their personality, but they are a vampire; he cautions Elias, saying that being a vampire tends to change a person though. Ryan gives Elias the Elysium Tempest, a silver, dwarf-forged long sword. As Elias is leaving the shop, he sees Winifred. He draws his sword. She looks at him and nods. Elias follows her to an alley, but she is gone. Elias uses every resource his ranger training had taught him, but gains nothing. He hears Corrin say “It took you half a second to draw your sword when you saw her. I just wanted to see what you’d do. I don’t think Saena’s gonna like this.”

In the cover of night, Mara begins to wander around. She hides as she creeps onto the property of Forge master Daxos. Mara envelops herself in stealth equipment, careful not to miss anything before daring to sneak into this home. Mara creeps around the home, looking for clues for her quest. She hears someone clear their throat and turns around. Daxos had found Mara easily, having detected her magical items after a magical, silent alarm had sounded as soon as she entered the house. She stands up, still hidden from view and says, “Forge master Daxos?”
Unimpressed, Daxos replies, “Yes? What are you doing in my home?”
“I’m looking to solve a mystery that makes no sense”
“And it brings you here, now?”
Mara explains that she has heard that all she knows that he is a great blacksmith but can’t figure out why she’s heard that he has been using black magic to forge weapons.
“Black magic is an irrelevant thing. Get out of my house. Solve this mystery if you wish, but you will find nothing here, where my children sleep”. The blacksmith’s tone had a threatening air about them.
She replies “I will leave, and if these weapons have been taken from you and can do harm this one will help”
The blacksmith explains that the weapons were received. Mara contests, saying that she heard they were stolen. Daxos tells her that she was ill-informed and gestures her to follow him. He takes her to his back porch and says, bluntly, “The weapons were collected; they were forged to pay a dept. I did so on my own accord. They are a harm to others and I was told that people would come looking for them.”
Mara asks him to tell her the names of the people who took them. The forge master simply tells her “The Wolf”. He goes on explaining that his family owed him a dept which was repaid by forging these weapons for him and his siblings. The weapons included a Long sword, a pair of daggers and a pair of hand-axes. They channel the power of vampires. They are weapons built for vampires. He also mentions that The Wolf is going to wake his siblings and is planning something. He gave him a message saying that people would come looking for them. “The message”, he tells her,” is to tell the ranger that he is looking forward to the chase and the kill.” He finishes by saying “if you wish to find me, you can find me at the Aetherforge.” The blacksmith directs Mara away from his home, inviting her to never return.

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Landed

After the battle with the Kuo-Toa, the group discussed the fish-beings, trying to figure out if they’re really gone. Turns out that Boba knew the most about them, seeing as Halflings and Kuo-Toa are very hateful toward each other, seeing as they have a particular taste toward Halfling babies. Diego, the captain, explains that the fish guys have been getting more aggressive and don’t tend to attack ships, but lately they have been Killing people and sinking ships.

The group disband. Corrin is playing in the cabin, playing cards for money, Elias is trying to be helpful and patrolling, Mara is lookout. Astaria stays on deck, having just come up from a nap just before the fight. The pirates on the ship, after seeing the battle, have become fearful of the band of fighters, So Corrin winds up winning more than his fair share of hands
Those on the deck see a light flickering in the distance. Mara sees that it’s an ice flow. A three-foot Flickering figure starts flying towards the ship.

Astaria peers out into the darkness and recognizes the figure as a mephit. This figure is a tiny elemental fairy, in this case, one of ice or water. Mephits are not typically hostile creatures. They fly, cast spells, and speak common as well as their own language. Mephits are often familiars to wizards. The cut of her clothing indicates she’s not from the air plane, but rather the winter plane. Mephits have small breath weapons and can throw a magic missile once an hour and has healing abilities, if ice is around. It is odd that she is here, since there is no ice around, but she looks annoyed. As the thing approaches, Astaria, being the most familiar with outer planar creatures, asks, “Can we help you?”
The creature replies, “I certainly hope so, where are ye?”
Astaria looks at her, confused, not knowing what she means. Astaria knows that there’s a field outside of Isard where the grass goes in and out and creatures tend to get lost between planes, she tries to explain to her, and “We are in the prime” she says, nervously. The Mephit replies “Of course we are!” and nastily asks for a ride. They find out that her name is Neuala, and she is an Earless of Shatcklon with a superiority complex. The Winter kingdom is ruled by faes, with queens and kings and don’t tend to like primate-like creatures. This explains Neuala’s unfriendliness toward the humanoid troupe. The Mephit have complex customs and serfs of lesser races. Neuala sees the group as a lesser species and reacts to them as so. Asanja asks Neuala how she should be addressed, and Neuala replies she wishes to be called ‘Lady Neuala’. Not having an appropriate place for a ‘lady’, Elias gets Diego to give up his cabin. Asanja, being curious in nature, follows the Mephit into the cabin, acting like a handmaid to fulfill her ever-growing need for learning experiences. Mara, suspicious of the creature, hides within the cabin, not having a need for food or sleep keep Asanja occupied with orders and complaints about her current situation and the life she’s lost from and fears she cannot return to. Asanja starts to tire as the night continues. Desperate for a way out, she mind links with Astaria who is still standing on deck, trying to enjoy the night, comes to saves Asanja, brining Steve in tow to add some help and conversation, hoping the Mephit is more friendly toward a fellow outer planar. They spend the rest of the night playing cards, provided by Steve, and telling stories and having general conversation. Mara managed to remain hidden under the bed.

As the sun begins to rise, The University can be seen arising from the horizon, as the group starts sailing closer and closer to the Isard. Asanja can barely hold her excitement.
A mysterious security force in blue robes are there to greet the group and Corrin notes they are not the expected Phalanx – a highly trained wizarding security force there to protect the people. The University stands floating above Isard, the tall tower the Aecha Ostai had to fly and suspend it a hundred of years ago from the Khador ruins. The group disembarks the ship to find room and board at the Murdered Archer, the inn that Jeoffery was kind enough to suggest. The inn is a frightful place amidst the Shades, filled with thieves and murderers and other ne’r-do-wells. The innkeeper looks at the group cockeyed, as this is not a place where the virtuous are often found. She offers room and food and most importantly, secrecy. After setting up the rooms, the group separates into two groups.

Corrin, Mara and Saena head toward Corrin’s brother’s pawn shop. Corrin’s brother sells tools and other pawny stuff. He has a mechanical look to him. Two security guards are at the doors to greet the three adventurers as they enter the shop. As they enter the shop, they realize it is bigger on the inside.

Astaria, Asanja, Elias, Boba, Neuala and Steve make their way to the University to research The Wolf. They find themselves at a portal to the University whose gatekeeper is a skinny wizard boy. He asks what he can do them. The group replies that they are looking to do some research; the boy looks at them and refuses them entry. Having no real way to enter the University, the four discuss what they can say to get in. Astaria lingers behind and talks to the boy. She calls back to the group “I got us in”. Elias asks her “how did you do that?” Astaria shrugs and says, “I’m from a pretty big University. I have connections”. They enter the portal. Another boy, identical to the boy outside, greets the adventurers. He gives the group directions to the library, pointing toward the tower. They realize there are statues that may or may not have been people at one point.

Corrin’s brother’s guard talks to Corrin – he had come from a battle and has a new scar. “Life is tough, axes hurt” Finsy, Corrin’s brother, is there examining a strange looking teacup that casts no shadow. He speaks like a telegram. Corrin asks his brother about vampires, alluding to the possibility of bringing back a vampire. They have a few options: Killing the head vampire or resurrection, the latter being the most recommended, but no options seemed very good.

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