Ilderan Tales

Tiger By The Tail
Legends of Madjan

The back alleys of Malkara can be a dangerous place for the uninitiated, and rumors abound about those who have mistakenly made their way behind those of the Crimson Sail. Undaunted, the ranger Elias and adventuress Shayama are in the process of questioning a local information runner, a street urchin named Mike, when Bobba Rumblerocks approaches with the package he secured previously. Elias allows Mike on his way, and the travelers converge on their new discovery.
The package, a small envelope held closed by a wax seal, appears to contain no magic or traps, but Boba opts to wait until the group is together to open it, hoping to find some information about their next move. Meanwhile, in the throng of the marketplace, Corrin finds Danger and, realizing that losing the package will surely cost him, offers him a handful of gold pieces and the advice to leave and makes his way back to the group.

Back in the alley, Bobba carefully breaks the seal to reveal a small slip of paper with the note “Behind Karnegrith’s tonight”. He and Elias have heard of this person: an independent alchemist working in a shop next to the Monestary of Songs, who while known primarily for his love potions, grew in prominence in the last year creating anti-siege weapons of war. With a new direction, the group find an inn between the market and the Temple of Serik called The Rampant Hero and decide to sit for a drink. Corrin and Bobba realize that Spooks is not with them and double back, finding him having checked out all the entrances to the Sail and realizing they are all magically protected – save for the main entrance. He rejoins the heroes and they all head to the inn.

The Rampant Hero is more well appointed than the Inn of the Red Owl, and at this time of day the bar is full of patrons, a primary mix of heroes and scarred wizards. The establishment is run by a kobald named Sven, and staffed by his identical barmaids named Sarah. Over some ale, Corrin, Bobba, Elias and Shayama decide to visit the Owl while Spoks, Winifred and Saena head to the Crimson Sail to gather more information.

At the Owl, Elias finds out that Delosh, the second most famous bard in all the land, is going to spend the night, news that has Irina shaking with a mix of anger and anticipation at the sight of the group. Questioning where Mikhail is, she is hesitant to tell us that he is heading to the Crimson Sail to try and make things “right”. Elias flies out to stop him, but is delayed by a confidence man named Jeff claiming to want to work with the group to fill the power vacuum left by Chu’s death. In no uncertain terms, Elias tells him they are not interested and storms off, but Corrin stops him to tell him we may meet him later at the Witch and the Shield.

On the way to the Crimson Sail Mikhail is intercepted by Winifred and her troupe, and while he tries to convince them that he is first heading to the docks, then paying “rent”, he is unable to make them abandon him, and Winifred follows him into the Crimson Sail. Outside, Spooks tries to skulk his way passed the ogre guarding the door, but it hears him, grabs him by the scruff and hoists him into the air. On reflex, Spooks blasts the ogre with a cone of fire, which is almost entirely ignores, pins he cat under its foot, and begins hitting it with its enormous cleaver.

The commotion draws the attention of the bar patrons, and when Winifred realizes what happened, she bull rushes the ogre screaming “Don’t hurt the kitty!” The ogre ignores her and continues to keep Spooks pinned, but now the elf at the door stands up, interested in substantiating the rumors about the fire breathing cat at the Owl. Winifred attempts to deceive him, bargaining back and forth for Spooks with fake names and thin lies, but by now Spooks has set fire to the wooden porch of the Sail with another blast of fire.

Meanwhile, Saena has headed off to the Witch and the Shield, a busting tavern where an orc named Diego waves her over to sit and talk. Saena is searching for information connection the Crimson Sail to the Rilador, and learns that the previous proprietor Eduando did not leave the pub to the Rilador when he died, which cause some bad blood. The current owner is Yassin of the Scarred Sails, but the tavern itself has fallen into Tong hands. He leaves her with the knowledge that should any sort of accident befall the Sail, the Rilador would be grateful, and she heads back to rejoin Spooks and Winifred.

Realizing the ogre will never let Spooks go, and that her “negotiation” with the elf is going nowhere, Winifred grabs Mikhail and pulls him through the fire now coming into the doorway. On her way out, she pulls a blade and deftly slices off the pinned section of Spooks’ tail, while at the same time punting the now free, now bleeding, and now fire breathing cat through the air and onto the street, where the group make the escape back towards Elias and the Owl.

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Intrusions and Illusions
Legends of Majdan

Day 21

The Inn of the Red Owl spent most of its nights quiet and dark. The Innkeeper, Mikhail, would usually be sleeping. His wife, Irina, would usually be doing a bit of late night laundry. This is how things went… usually. But this was not one of those usual nights. Two minotaur corpses lay on the floor, one near the doorway, and the other lodged near an overturned table. Blood was splattered everywhere. The fight had not been long, but had been disastrous for the inn.

Mikhail charges down the stairs, yelling at nobody in particular, and everybody at once. Stopped by Elias, who tells him of Chu’s plan to kidnap his wife, Irina runs in and hugs her husband. Mikhail is worried that the Camonna Tong, a criminal organization that Chu works for, will come after him, and he feels that he and his wife must leave town. Elias offers to speak with the Tong, to clear the Innkeeper of any guilt, and Mikhail says he would do best going to The Crimson Sail, an old pirate bar in the docks district of town.

Corrin grabs a few coins off Chu’s body, the rest of his possessions incinerated, while Elias finds a pouch of 50 gold coins on one of the minotaurs, and everyone begins dragging away the carcasses. After clearing out the bodies, the door swings open, and the three Halfling waitresses come in to find their workplace in a complete mess. One of them, Qiana, corners Spooks – who had left his cat form – and threatens him into explaining what happened overnight, or else she would throw him to the dogs the next time he transformed. “I can breathe fire” the cat protested. “So can the dogs” she retorted.

As Spooks is explaining, Boba runs in to see how his friends are doing. He’s been hearing all sorts of strange rumours on the way over from the temple. Ignoring the explanation of the events, he sets to work bandaging up Elias and Corrin. Irina prepares everyone a complimentary breakfast, and as it’s being brought out to the table, Sir Bart stumbles down the stairs, and joins in for a bite. Seemingly unconcerned about how the fight went, Bart wolfs down his food and takes off. Elias follows him, seeing if there’s anything he can do to help. Bart tells him that unless he knows the king personally, there isn’t anything he can do to help, but warns Elias to keep his eyes and ears open. “Something fishy is going on.”

Everyone heads down towards the docks, and spots The Crimson Sail easily. En route to the bar, they can’t help but notice that Malkara has become even busier than yesterday; people are hauling decorations and setting up small shops for the festival, craftsmen are working furiously on prizes for the upcoming tournaments, and many delegations from outside the city are arriving – in particular, one group of wizards from the Aecha Ostai, travelling in a large floating column of carriages and horses.

Nearing The Crimson Sail, Spooks splits off from the party, taking a rooftop approach, while listening in to the crowd for anything about slavers, Lady Galina, or the recent events of the Red Owl. The front door to the Sail is blocked by a massive ogre, armed with multiple weapons, bearing his long teeth at the people passing by. A Half-Elf stands near by, admitting people or turning them away. The bar has far more security than any other nearby, even the Fox’s Cellar, a bar notorious for being quite chaotic. Spooks and Shyama notice the back door of the Sail is getting even more action than the front. Every minute or two, a young child, ragged and dirty, approaches the back door, speaks with someone inside, and then takes off in a hurry carrying a small package.

Splitting off into three directions after a brief discussion of strategy, the party begins to track down some of the children, to try and get a sense of what’s going on. Shyama and Elias begin head west towards a sail-maker’s shop, where some of the older kids are being sent, while Boba and Corrin head east past the cooper, where the younger children seem to be going. Spooks heads up to the top of the Sail, in hopes to hear something from inside.

Nearing one of the windows, Spooks hears a muffled conversation about a hobgoblin. It seems everyone knows Chu went to do a collection, but nobody knows what happened inside. One voice thinks it was an adventurer who was staying at the Red Owl who came down and killed Chu and his guards, while another voice swears that the Innkeeper is a retired wizard, who killed Chu with beams of light from his eyes. A third voices believes that Chu was killed by a fire-breathing cat, causing a furious round of laughter from the other two.

With a spell, Corrin disguises himself as a small Halfling child, and gets Boba to memorize his face. Boba in tow, Corrin runs after one of the orphan package-carriers, a very young Halfling, and tells him to wait up. Making up a story about being told to follow the small boy, “Danger” as he calls himself, Corrin tags along to see what becomes of the package. Approaching the palace, Danger begins taunting some of the guards, and one guard comes down, bearing his spear, to chase them off. The guard grabs the package and returns back to his post. Danger gives Corrin the nickname “Slowpoke”, and the two return to the Sail.

Shyama spots an older human boy carrying another one of the packages, walking slowly down the street. He’s missing the bottom half of his shoes, so he’s easy to catch up to. Beckoning him over, and flashing a coin, Shyama begins interrogating the boy about the Red Owl, and he willingly divulges all sorts of rumours he’s been hearing. When she tries to switch the topic to Lady Galina, the boy gets really defensive, insisting he knows nothing. Elias comes to join the conversation, sensing the boy isn’t telling the truth, and offers the kid a gold coin, which gets smacked away. Shyama unsheathes her dagger a bit, trying to show the boy that they mean business, and scares the kid away. She and Elias look for another kid, hoping their luck gets a bit better.

Back at the Sail, the backdoor opens up and an Elf answers, with a package for Danger. Eyeing Corrin up and down, he questions what is going on, why there is a second child here. “Slowpoke” accepts a job to run packages to their destinations, and the Elf hands one to Danger, but first warns him that if he fails to do the job properly, he won’t live to see tomorrow, and slams the door shut. The package is for a delegation of wizards, the Ennen Stery, and Danger cautions Corrin again of the price of failure. He tosses Corrin the package, and the two head off.

Finding a window with very little noise coming out of it, Spooks pokes his head down and tries to enter the room. The window flares up with light, burning a bit of Spooks’ fur, and the cat rears himself back up to the roof, as the door to the room is slammed open. He stays atop the roof, licking his wounds, and starts looking down to see if he can spot any of his friends.

Chasing after Danger, Corrin passes the package to Boba and tells him to run and find Elias and the others. A little ways down the street, Danger questions what happened to the package, and he and Corrin split up. Danger searches desperately for it, and Corrin runs off to an alleyway, let’s the disguise spell fade, and heads off in the direction Boba ran.

Elias beckons over a young boy, maybe ten years old, with a gold coin. This child, Mike, seems a little more willing to talk, if the price is right. Asking again about the Red Owl, the boy responds with the same information, but includes that nobody is going to miss Chu. Continuing the line of questions, Elias asks about Galina, but Mike says she’s “one of the good ones”, and wouldn’t want to sell anyone information about her, especially not to people saying “We don’t want to hurt her.”

A query about slaves being brought to Malkara opens him up again, and he talks about a gathering up north where a few of the Tong were up trafficking slaves, doing a lot of business. Shyama is curious about Galina, if she would have any interest in slaves, or perhaps freeing slaves, but Mike saw no reason for her to need them, with all the servants she has, and no reason for her to free them, because it’s a waste of money.

Asking Shyama and Elias where they’re staying, they quickly realize they have no rooms, so mention that a friend of theirs invited them to stay at the Temple of Serik. After a lengthy tirade about Serik being a “little too righteous for me”, Mike asks them if they know Lady Marella. As Boba runs up to his friends, panting and out of breath, he hears the young boy speaking about the object of his infatuation, asking “Lady Marella… Is she hot or what?”

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Showdown At The Red Owl Inn

Dawn breaks over the distant mountains as our heroes stir from the remains of an unremarkable night. With due time given to washing, eating and praying, the party, the newly freed slaves and Jamund, the remaining servant of the Lady Galina, break camp and continue their journey to the great city of Malkara.

The sheer scale of the city’s outer walls conjures various emotions from those who view them: at sixty feet tall and ten feet thick, they offer a sense of security for the merchants and shop owners that live within while for any number of invading forces, they offer one impressively daunting task. On this day, the city Watch are on a light patrol and our party is able to pass through the gates, cart in tow, without any issues.

Once inside the gate, the party determines decides that much information can be gained by separating and regrouping in the town square in a few hours.

Jamund thanks us for our escort and promises the poor souls will be returned to their families, and with that heads off on his own into the heart of the city. Spooks and Corrin are not entirely convinced, and opt a stealthy reconnaissance of the cart that leads them to the outskirts of the merchant quarters and to the city’s shipping and storage district. They observe guards (bearing the sigil of Galina) standing watch outside a large warehouse allow the slaves entrance, and immediately set to find out more about the happenings inside. Spooks, in cat form, sneaks in through the roof, while Corrin attempts to climb up to gain better vantage, only to misstep and cause enough of a commotion to alert the guards. Deftly, Corrin explains that he is merely “looking for his lost pet”, and crisis is averted. Slightly rattled by the experience, and the warning that the alleyways can be a dangerous place in the evening, Corrin is startled by Spooks, who returns to inform his companion that the slaves are in fact being returned to their families, and the duo set off to the market square.

At the same time, Boba, himself once a citizen of Malkara, makes his way through the bustle of the town to the Temple of Sarik where he spent much time in the tutelage of the Lady Marella before setting out on his current adventure. The Temple is smaller in size, and while not run down, shares the same facade as many of the other buildings where the coin does not fall so freely. Welcomed back with open arms, Boba enters and immediately runs into the head priestess: an Elven woman with a keen interest in the happenings of the world outside the scrolls and texts that she translates day after day. Boba and her speak on a few subjects, and he decides that he will return for his Lady after reuniting with his companions.

Meanwhile, the ranger Elias works his way through the busy streets and alleys of Malkara, and soon finds himself at the outer entrance to the manor of the Lady Galina. The manor itself is rather large, and boasts a plaque that at one point, through various owners and centuries of habitation, it had earned the title “The Giant’s Grave”. Undaunted, Elias makes his way to the huge double doors, each adorned with enormous hand-shaped door knockers, and bangs them for entrance. After a few minutes, a servant answers the door: a tall, thin elf with tattoos running down his face. Elias requests an audience with his Lady, and is made to wait an additional ten minutes before the elf returns, informing him that while his Lady is not receiving visitors at this time, he may like to make lodgings at the Inn of the Red Owl. Thanking him for his time, Elias notes on his way from the manor the odd stillness of the early morning, and resolves to patrol the area when he soon arrives at the inn.

Like many other shops and buildings in the downtown district, the Inn of the Red Owl has seen better days, but unlike the same shops, travelers from far and wide marvel at the beautifully painted wooden sign hanging over the door, a masterwork created by a famous artist passing through the region. Inside, Elias sits and enjoys a beer and a friendly chat with the owner Mikhail Sumar and his Halfling barmaids. After promising to bring his friends back for lodging and a trout dinner, Mikhail recommends the Hunter Hall, birthplace of the Taer’Sulei rangers, and Elias leaves for the central market and rejoins with his traveling companions.

After exchanging their new information, the excitement of the crowd draws Corrin in, and he opts to stay behind while Boba returns to the temple and Elias and Spooks return to the inn. As he wanders, he learns that the town is abuzz with preparations for the upcoming festival in a week’s time and that as an added bonus Corinia, the famous bard, will be appearing. Understanding why the gate guards were lax, Corrin makes his way back to the inn. Inside, Corrin and Spooks continue a lively conversation with one of the barmaids, Qiana Emakaio Kahale, who tells them more about the festival, and relates to Elias that another ranger, Sir Bartholomew of Guttersby, a handful of a man who is also staying at the inn but is out for the evening. Elias thanks her and takes his leave, heading towards Hunter’s Hall.

Back at the temple, Boba continues his previous conversation with the head priestess who, while never having been to the Inn of the Red Owl, is very familiar with the sign hanging outside as it is one of her favourite artists. While discussing the translation of an ancient text concerning the history of Val Reas, Lady Malena returns, her hands covered in blood. She explains that he was healing a criminal, who was attacked by a mob seeking their own justice. Inspired, Boba asks his lady for some sound heroic advice concerning how to interact with his companions, and while counseling her wayward ward, Malena tells him all she knows about the Lady Galena: rumor has it that her merchant husband has been selling weapons to Satu Mari, and in the interim, the leader of Ivory Throne has formed his own private police force, known as the Templars, to help protect the local roads. Boba thanks his lady for the new information, and retires for the evening.

Based on its history Hunters Hall, the birthplace of the Taer’Sulei rangers, should have been glorious: a building fit for the clandestine meetings and war chatter of the men and women who fought bravely against the Crag. But as Elias approaches he realizes what was once often is not what is, and the landmark today is not much more than another bar, housing within some pieces of Ranger lore, roped away from the public and viewable for small donations to “the cause”. Also admiring the displays is Sir Bart, and after a short “admiration” of the surroundings, they head back to the Inn together. After several more rounds of drinks have made their way to the table, and Corrin and Spooks have failed to pry any new information from Bart, the party becomes aware of a small argument in the alley behind the inn, and soon find the owner Mikhail in an argument with one of his barmaids Qiana Emakaio Kahale. As it turns out, Mikhail is being bullied into paying protection from a local hobgoblin named Chu Pao-Xie, and Qiana, rather strongly, feels that if he does not stand up to them they will never be out from under his thumb. With some reluctance, Mikhails agrees to the groups help, and they return inside for a promised dinner of the best perppcorn trout in the entire city.

Once the plates have been cleared and more drinks have been passed around, a tall Kalashtari woman steps to the table and takes an empty seat next to Corrin. She introduces herself as Malia, and quietly thanks the group for their “efforts” earlier in the day on behalf of their mutual “friend”. Elias, understanding that names are intentionally not being used, agrees to continue their efforts on her behalf, and may or may not meet her again at the inn the following evening. She thanks them and leaves, but the ever vigilant Corrin trails her quietly out into the street, working his way through the throng of merchants and revelers, until he loses her some ways away. He pauses, confused, just long enough to feel the touch of steel to his throat held from behind by Malia, who wonders why exactly she needs to be followed. She and Corrin exchange words on intentions and trust, and she sends him back to the Inn. A few more drinks, and the party retires for the evening, but not before carrying a comatose Sir Bart to his room.

Deep into the night, after most of the city’s inhabitants have retired, Corrin is awoken by the sound of glassware smashing to the floor somewhere in the kitchen. He moves silently out of his room, altering Spooks who appears from his quarters in cat form, when a muffled cry awakens the rest of the party. Ready for action, Elias readies at the top of the stairs, when he sees the cause of the commotion: a pair of minotaurs (one holding Mikhail’s wife Irina in silence) and the hobgoblin Chu Pao-Xie sitting at one of the tables. He states that the group can leave, that this matter is none of their concern, but Elias holds fast. Corrin, shocking Elias, opts to leave, when he suddenly casts Colour Spray on the minotaur guarding the door, thrusting the group into combat.

Spooks leaps down from the railing on the minotaur holding Irina, and succeeds in having it drop her, but is slightly wounded for the attempt. Shayama follows suit, thrusting her sword at the minotaur, while Saena stays above, blasting the hobgoblin with bolts of lightning with frighteningly little effect. Moving to protect Irina, Elias stands between her and the minotaur, while Winifred aids Corrin with the minotaur at the door. With that, the hobgoblin, known colloquially as “The Devilish Chu”, materializes a demonic scythe and slashes at Elias, doing no visible damage, but sending him reeling to the floor. Once Winifred is able to knock one of the minotaurs unconscious, Chu casts a fog around his companion and himself, making the battle difficult for all except Spooks (who can sense them and casts a cold blast into the mist) and Winifred, who heroically charges into the fog and is able to kill the second minotaur guard. In the confusion, The Devilish Chu escapes out the front door, but is not fast enough to escape the heightened senses of Spooks who chases him out, and in a spectacle for the shop owners and merchants who are now busy opening for business, reduces the villain to a pile of ashes with a well aimed blast of fire.

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The Slaves of Malkara
Legends of Majdan

Day 1

At the peak of its time, the Gorrakis Stronghold was armed with a battalion of soldiers. Its keep rose hundreds of feet high, and held conference for a great number of historic meetings. Its parapets lined with archers, its barracks filled with swordsmen, and its stables filled with knights, Gorrakis was an impregnable fortress, a safe-haven for merchants, farmers and travelers from distant lands. This, however, is not the peak of its time. Long are the days since the stronghold has been of any importance. The walls have crumbled, the buildings lie in ruin, and the name Gorrakis is now known by only a handful of historians. It is, as far as anyone is concerned, unimportant and abandoned. Yet tonight is unlike most nights, and lights flicker inside a ruined citadel, bringing life once more to Gorrakis.

It is early into the night, and Elias Blackthorne has spent far too many hours patrolling the roads along the great forest of Aelthindaar, keeping an eye on the trade caravans passing by. He itches as his scruffy beard constantly. The farmers of the area have come to rely on Elias, for as a ranger, he would do anything in his power to make certain they keep free from harm. This night has proven quiet, and as Elias prepares to set up camp his attention is drawn towards the ruins of the citadel, where small lights are flickering in the distance. It might be nothing, but he decides to go investigate.

Winifred, Saena of Kangar and Boba Rumblerock have traveled together for two days without rest. They have luckily not drawn attention from many unsavoury creatures. However, their five day trip to the city of Malkara, Boba’s hometown, has not been an easy one, and all three are eager for some rest. Winifred reties her short, black hair back into its ponytail, while Saena wipes the sweat from her brow with her thick gloves. Boba’s feet are covered in dirt, and his stomach rumbles loudly; for him especially, it’s been a long trip. In the distance, they see what was once a very large building, and head towards it to make camp for the night. As they make their way inside, they hear raised voices and begin to see shadows moving across the torch-lit floor.

One of these shadows is Shyama Songsteel. She hides in the dark corners of the room, shrouded by navy and black armour, her cloak pulled up to cover her face. Unless you were lucky, and saw the glint of yellowish eyes or the faint reflection of a silver necklace, you would never know she was there. It’s been four days she’s been tracking this band of slavers. She creeps out from the shadows, unsheathing her shortsword, preparing to strike.

Elias rounds a corner, spiked-shield leading his way, just in time to catch a glimpse of a female Tiefling spring from the shadows and slit the throat of a surly-looking man. It’s dark inside, only a few torches providing any light, and chaos has broken loose. The remaining slavers, for Elias can see at least seven slaves shackled in the centre of the room, have started towards the young girl. Raising his longsword, he charges in towards the fight. From the other side of the room, Winifred, Saena and Boba have watched the same events unfold, and head towards the action.

In the citadel’s basement, the strange duo of Corrin and Spooks stare blankly at a giant metal claw. It once belonged to a mighty golem, constructed to help the architects in Gorrakis create the many buildings which lay within the stronghold. Now it lies disarmed from the rest of the golem, with hundreds of years worth of dust and cobwebs covering it. Corrin holds his torch up, illuminating a near-empty room, laden with broken columns and old useless equipment. A loud crash from above shakes the two out of their haze. Spooks, holding his appearance of a common smoke-grey cat, bounds up the stairs to the upper level, while Corrin runs as fast as his short legs will allow, trying to keep up.

Where once a party of slavers had been, none now remain. The air holds the smell of blood, steel, fire and electricity. The floor is littered with bodies, some cut open and bleeding, others charred to a crisp. Shyama grabs a tattered piece of cloth from the ground, and wipes the blood from her blades, as Elias leans down to examine the corpses. Corrin searches the bodies, looking to loosen the slavers of their now-unneeded coin purses, as Boba heads to the centre of the room to attend to the slaves. Saena and Winifred search the bodies to find keys, and unshackle the former slaves. Spooks stares at everyone curiously.

While the slaves, two different families by the looks of it, begin hugging each other and thanking their deities for saving them, our seven heroes make a crude circle, and begin to eye one another. Shyama begins to question everyone, though remains thankful for their assistance in what had been a ten-to-one fight against her moments before. Introductions are made, and all seven decide they should help the slaves return to their homes in a small fishing village east of Malkara. Not wanting these newfound allies to go to waste, Spooks and Corrin convince the others to help them dig out the claw, and return it to Malkara on their way to the fishing town.

Day 3

The claw is returned to Professor Leoben Haring at the Malkara Gallery of Historical Artefacts for a moderate reward. Much to the chagrin of Spooks and Corrin, the money is split amongst all seven, rather than the two of them. The group of adventurers and the rescued slaves use the money to fill themselves with a glorious meal and a round of drinks, the first decent meal most have had in weeks. The next morning, they continue on to the slaves’ village.

Day 9

The seven travelers have bonded over the past few days. After returning the former slaves to their hometown, they get word of a colony of slavers holding many, many slaves. The camp is also holding a vast amount of riches, which peaks the interest of a few of them. Shyama, completely distraught by the news, adamantly insists that the party continues working together to go free these slaves.

They have been advancing for four days now. En route to the slavers’ camp, they stumble upon a caravan under attack by small, sharp-toothed creatures. They managed to save the caravan, and one of its members, a young bard named Philip Brightsong, wrote a song about the party with the help of Boba. Winifred was shocked to find out the song did not even mention her, but was instead about the heroic deeds of the group’s two feline members.

The following night, the weather took a turn for the worse, and the party was faced with a torrential downpour. They sought shelter in a cave, which had been inhabited by a goblin hunting party. Despite Corrin’s best efforts to keep things civil, the goblins were all killed. Young Saena had charged in, whipped off her pirate’s hat, and lit up the camp with bolt after bolt of electricity. After a scolding from Boba, who was opposed to the unnecessary bloodshed, the group began working on a way to bury the goblins at his insistence. They waited the rest of the storm inside the cave, and continued north in the morning.

Day 12

The full week of travel towards the gathering of slavers has finally finished. It is not a small gathering, as the party was expecting, but rather an entire market for slaves, filled with buyers, slavers and many pirates of Rilador. The camp is protected by magical wards, and various groups of people are arriving by convoy, magic carpet, or are teleporting straight inside the camp. All who approach the camp present identification, and an invitation allowing them in.

The adventurers debate on a way to get in. Spooks wants to storm the camp and light the tents ablaze with his fiery breath. Saena and Winifred, due to their involvement with the Rilador, wish to find another way to deal with the slavers. Corrin and Shyama begin planning out how they can manage to sneak inside the market to get some more information. Elias finally suggests they spend a couple days and do some reconnaissance, and everyone agrees.

Day 14

After two days of scoping out the slave market, our group has moved on to a different plan. The camp holds upwards of a dozen mages, over twenty guards, and various other slavers, mercenaries and unknown shady characters, a force clearly overpowering the small band. With his knowledge of geography, Elias finds a spot in the forest near one of the roads leading away from the camp where the adventurers have a distinct tactical advantage, in hopes to ambush a group leaving with newly purchased slaves. A wagon containing five people, three in the tattered clothes of slaves, being pulled by two conjured horses, approaches the group’s hiding spot. The two purchasers of the slaves surrender without a fight, and undergo interrogation about why they were purchasing slaves.

They are servants to a midlevel Malkara noblewoman, one Lady Galina, who (as far as they’re aware) has purchased the slaves so they can be freed. The leader of the two servants, a major-domo to the house of Galina, is insulted at being ambushed and having their motives questioned. The party accompanies them back towards Malkara, their progress increased significantly because of the cart. They find out more information about Galina, whose husband is the leader of a merchant guild in Malkara, dealing chiefly in stone, and trading with the halflings who live beneath the sea.

Day 19

A half day trip from Malkara, along a trade route with lots of camp sites along the road, the adventurers, the servants and the slaves stop to camp for the night. Boba takes it upon himself to take first watch. He stares up to the star-filled sky, thinking of new melodies to write, but stays alert to what is around him. A rumble brings him to attention, this time not from his stomach, and he peers over to the wagon as a massive earwig-looking beast breaks free from under their campfire. Boba yells for his party to awaken.

Standing over ten feet tall, with razor-sharp incisors dripping in acid, foot long mandibles, an armoured carapace and over a dozen legs, the beast leans down to the wagon and takes a large bite out of one of the slaves. Emerging quickly from his sleep, Spooks opens up with a cone of fiery breath, igniting the night sky and the giant earwig in flame. Even after the fire has subsided, the beast is encased in wisps of flame, and is now an easily visible target for the arising warriors.

Winifred dodges the monster’s tail as she approaches with both handax flying, but the attack ricochets off the beast’s armoured carapace. Shyama unsheathes her weapons and runs in to attack. The sky is again lit, as Saena, red hair being whipped around in the wind, blasts the creature with lightning, which also passes through and explodes a nearby tree. Boba readies his Doom spell, but it has no effect. Elias, who started the fight nearest to the earwig, begins slashing at it with his sword, scoring a devastating hit and slicing off one of the creature’s mandibles, causing the beast to cry out in agony. The grass nearby begins to burn away with dripping acid, and several members of the group move back to avoid getting scorched.

After avoiding most of Corrin’s fiery blast, the giant earwig makes an attempt to burrow back down under the earth and retreat. Boba hits one final shot with his sword before the earwig can finish burrowing, but it manages to escape. The air holds a hint of the beast’s volatile stench, as everything becomes silent and darkness once again takes over.

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Camping is Hard Work
1 out of 10. Campsite has an ankheg problem. Would not stay again.

A group of travelers is moving South on the road between Athtia and Radcerinaburis. The whole area was once forest, but now the road goes around the dense wood, since the scary things started eating people. The party eventually makes camp. Orn takes first watch, Demona takes second and Trinn takes third. (Thereby agreeing to make breakfast.)

During first watch, Orn notices a conspicuous silence – very few animal sounds, for hiding out by a forest. Orn hides in some plants close to Trinn. Nothing happens, but the forest remains very quiet. Orn wakes Demona for watch number two. When Demona has been roused and is mobile, Orn sneaks behind Demona and alerts her that there is something nearby. (The disembodied voice of Orn coming from behind Demona is not alarming; this is common behaviour from Orn.) They feel a rumble in the ground beneath them. Something large bursts through the ground in the centre of the camp. [GM unrolls grid mat. Ominous.]

A huge segmented insect with little clawed legs and powerful mandibles, dripping with acidic venom bursts out of the ground in an explosion of rock. [It’s an ankheg, but the party may or may not know that.] Orn immediately draws his pistols and fires twice, over each of Demona’s shoulders. One of the bullets puts a large hole in its exoskeleton, and the other misses the creature. Demona stands up and quickly draws her short sword, slashing at it. She strikes a blow, and the wounded monster ducks down and grabs Demona with its mandibles. It swings her around like a rag-doll and throws her back where she came from. She collapses in an unconscious heap. Trinn, who was still sleeping at this point, rouses herself and draws her sword which shines in the low light. Trinn flails about in her bedroll ineffectually, not even drawing the creature’s attention, never mind doing damage.

Orn uses his healing belt to revive Demona, then leaps to the side in order to flank the monster. Demona stands up, ducking under another swing of the monster’s mandibles, and swings with her short sword, which clatters against its hide. Trinn disentangles herself from her bedroll, hacking at the thing with her sword of Solarian true-steel. It carves through the shell and smelly, acidic guts are spilled all over the campsite. The creature whirls around and clamps down on Trinn’s sword arm, trying to tear the sword from her hand. Her sword arm is heavily damaged.

Orn draws his two swords and slashes away, as the creature’s attention is focused on maiming Trinn. He slips under the thing and slits its underside. Acidic blood leaks all over him and stains his clothes. The bug starts to collapse on top of him, and he attempts to tumble away. The bug collapses on top of him, leaving him partially inside. He cuts his way free, none the worse for wear.

The campsite is full of dead ankheg. Orn looks for something to take as a trophy, and ends up taking an antenna from the monster. The party salvages some guts that could be edible or useful. Orn digs his bullet out of the body, ‘cause that shit’s expensive. Orn uses the last charge of his healing belt for the day to repair Trinn’s sword arm as best he can.

Trinn and Orn go back to sleep, and Demona resumes her watch. The wildlife sounds resume. Demona paces for the remainder of her watch. When it comes time, she wakes Trinn and settles down to sleep. After a few hours, Trinn notices a shift in the wind, and a coppery, urine-like smell on the breeze that she does not recognize. Nothing else is unusual, so she waits watchfully. She fries up some dead giant bug for breakfast.

The other two wake up and notice the smell as well, and recognize it as the smell of a tannery and dye place. Bug breakfast is delicious.

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Legends of Majdan
Vanguards of the Realm

Chapter One: What Lies Beneath

The market and tavern life of Volos is alive with regular activity: items to buy, sell, trade and learn from. Everything and nothing catch the eye of Lazura as she made her way from stall to stall, eventually finding relief from the crowd in one of the quieter taverns. Her eyes adjusting to the dark, she is surprised to see a familiar face at the bar: the swrod for hire Uther DeBarco. Her presence is enough to rouse Uther from his stupor, and the two reminisce of their previous adventures rousting Dire Badgers and laying Wights to their final rest. His bottle near empty, Lazura is able to coax them both back out on to the street, to explore what the market has to offer.

The Volos trade community is an excellent place to find maps and documents of unique magical importance, and many young scholars travel here to research tomes and return the information to their cloisters. The young man known to some as Preacher is no exception, and were he ever to pull his nose from the latest book or ancient scroll, he might have noticed either the fanfare or the surly man he walked headlong into, knocking himself to the ground. By some divine chance of fortune, Preacher looks up to notice the man is Uther and his companion Lazura, whom Preacher had shared in the adventure with the Wight, and he immediately conscripts them into his mission to reveal the secrets of his newfound half-map. Amused at the circumstance and with nothing else to do, they accept.

After a stay over to approve of his new quest with his superiors, Preacher leads the group to Isard, a major port city that is home to the greatest wizarding academy in the region. Much of the city was sieged during the last great war, and the magical community worked to fortify the walls for their mutual protection. Preacher pays the way for the group into the city walls to establish the next leg of their journey, and that night Lazura makes camp in the nearby woods, with Uther offering to take the first watch.

As Uther sits, he becomes aware of a scuttling sound slowly moving towards their camp, but the darkness reveals no visible intruder. As the sound gets closer and seems to be coming from all points around them, Uther rouses Lazura and the two step out by the fire, just as an ankheg burrows through the tent, attacking the party. With lightning speed, Uther attacks the beast, fnding himself taking much damage throughout the fight. Lazura joins the fight, transforming into a monstrous kimono dragon, slashing and biting at the great beast, while Preacher, between commentaries on the ankheg, uses his magic to fortify the combatants.

Eventually, the ankheg takes enough punishment to flee back under the ground, but does not make it far as Uther stabs it in the head, killing it. The group is left to regroup and lick their multiple, multiple wounds.

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The Session from the Sky
in which everything bad that happens comes from above

We Woke up in Athtia.

After Traveling for 2-3 hours we come across a hand cart that seems unattended. Then we hear a cry for help.

We look up and see a colourfully dressed man grabbing onto a tree branch and holding a bunch of ropes attached to some cloth balloons that seem to be floating. It’s a halfling named Randolph.

Lukas climbs up the tree to him with the rope and manages to rescue the balloons and Randolph, though it is a precarious sort of deal. Lukas ends up hanging from a rope with the balloons and on Randolph’s urging lets go. Randolph leaps after him, says one word and their fall slows.

In the meantime, a buzzing noise was heard. While floating Lukas spots a swarm of steel bugs of some sort.

Clockwork Menders are our enemies. Creatures from the great Machine, not common on the Prime Material plane. Hopefully we handle this swarm well.

Lukas uses a flaming sphere and Gretel and Sela fight fiercely and the swarm disperses.

Randolph isn’t looking very good so we decide to escort him back to Athtia. On the way, Randolph tells us about a spring in these woods that causes things to float when it’s put into them. In thanks, Randalph gives Gretal a purple balloon. We then start heading back towards Treva.

We travel safely until night, where we come accross a clearing to camp at. It’s unfortuneatly occupied by a gaunt looking humanoid, with a silver broadsword accross his back. He sniffs at us and talks to us in a language we don’t understand. Turns out he’s a Githyanki, a race of soldiers and pirates from the astral plane. Tend to be not nice.

Gretel and Sela stand there, staring at him, concerned because he might hurt people if we leave him, but we’re not sure. Lukas circles around, looking to see if it is alone. So Gretel, as is her want to do, decides to call a weapon to hand, prompting him to attack. An attack which is swiftly returned by Sela and Lukas.

Gretel feels bad about this ass whooping and so decides not to kill him.

After accepting the surrender, Gretal and Sela use Gretals rope to tie him up. Sela doesn’t seem to be much help, but Gretal finally ties him up. The plan seems to be to interogate him in the morning.

During the night, a Manticore shows up looking for food. It circles our camp at 35 feet in the air, and shoots spikes at us.

Our prisoner jumps up and grabs his weapons (having freed himself) he attacks on our side, trying to help us defeat the Manticore.

In the process of the fight, the Githyanki goes down and Gretel uses her healing belt to help him (under cover of obscuring mist, so Sela and Lukas don’t know). From that point on, the Githyanki seems to follow Gretel around and guard her.

We fight the Manticore, all four of us, we drive the manticore off twice but it keeps coming back, attacking in the mist. At one point, the Githyanki gives Gretel his great sword with a roll of his eyes.

During the fight, Lukas goes down but doesn’t die. Gretel gives up the ghost on the crossbow and gets her trusty Halberd back, giving the Githyanki his great sword back.

Gretel and Sela can’t hit a damned thing to save their lives and finally we get out of the damned mist and get prepared to kill the Manticore… so of course, it leaves.

Sela decides to go back and return to sleeping, which Gretel isn’t exactly pleased with the idea of. She elects to keep her watch going.

The rest of the night seems to pass uneventfully.

In the morning, Lukas heals us a bit more before we head out for the day and the Githyanki packs up to join us.

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