Ilderan Tales

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?”

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.

Meetings, Meetings and More Meetings

While she was typically able to blend into a crowd, all eyes were on Winifred today. It may have been the two handaxes attached to her back. It may have been the long, flowing black cape billowing behind her. It may even have been the tangle of short black hair, usually kept in a ponytail, strewn across her sweat-covered brow. But all odds were pointing at it being the injured mess of a cat she had clenched tight in one hand, leaving a trail of blood behind them, and an older, bearded man, yelling and screaming at her to let him go, being dragged down the street by his belt. With nothing but a stump for a tail, Spooks had definitely seen better days. Mikhail, owner of the Inn of the Red Owl, clearly was not appreciating the public spectacle being made at his expense.

Approaching the Crimson Sail’s front entrance, Saena very quickly realizes her friends are probably not here anymore. The porch is a black mess of cinders and ash, the Half-Elf is talking to two very cross city guards, and the ogre is sitting outside looking incredibly sad. The scorch marks on his face help Saena put together the pieces of what happened. She heads down the street to the Red Owl, the likely spot her friends will have gone to.

Shyama, Boba, Corrin and Elias, heading down from their meeting with a man named Jeff, see Winifred hauling ass up the street towards them. “No time to talk!” she yells as she goes running by, and they follow her, Spooks and Mikhail up to the Rampant Hero Inn. Mikhail shakes himself free and runs back towards his Inn, hoping to finally find safety from this band of heroes who keep ruining his life.

Inside the Rampant Hero, Boba immediately starts tending to Spooks’ wound. Winifred starts explaining what happened at the Crimson Sail, and Spooks changes back to Tibbet form. Sven, the inn’s proprietor, runs up to Spooks and offers him a contract to work there; the Red Owl is going to have Velosh, so Sven needs the awesome fire-breathing, shape-shifting cat to compete. After a few drinks, the party returns to the Red Owl.

Saena has arrived at the Red Owl first, and she hears yelling, mainly Irina at her husband. Outside of the two of them, the bar is completely empty. As soon as she opens the door, Saena begins getting yelled at by Irina. Trying to apologize as best she can, Irina shoos her out of the Inn. Two steps outside, and Saena hears a very loud “YOU DITCHED ME!”

Leaving Winifred to yell at Saena about abandoning her and Spooks, Boba and Corrin head inside the inn. Boba tries ordering an ale, and Mikhail tells him to get lost, that he and his friends ruin everything. Boba yells back at Mikhail, and exits the inn. Corrin passes 50 gold to Mikhail and apologizes, then follows Boba out. Outside, Boba is approached by Jeffrey, ready to have their meeting. The problem, of course, if that the party also has a meeting with Malia at the same time. So they split off in two directions.

Saena, Spooks and Winifred head back to the Rampant Hero, where Sven let’s them know there’s a guy waiting in the back. Basically Jeffrey wants to take advantage of a job opening, but there are a couple issues. Firstly, while Chu had his minotaurs for bodyguards, he is sorely lacking in the protection department, and wants to bring the heroes on as a bit of muscle. Not exactly be seen with them, since their faces are now getting more and more familiar, but as indirect helpers.

Secondly, Jeffrey isn’t the only one going after the job; there’s a man named Erik Mayline after it as well, and he sounds like an even worse candidate than Jeffrey, based on everything the party knows about him. During the way, he did some terrible, unforgivable things, and Jeffrey doesn’t want him for a competitor. So he indirectly asks Winifred, Saena, and Spooks to “do a lot of people a favour”, and get rid of the guy. Jeffrey says he’ll buy them all lunch tomorrow, so they have time to think. They decide to find out more about Jeffrey before making any decisions about it.

Elias, Corrin, Boba and Shyama grab a table, and Mikhail serves them some beers without saying a word. Malia comes in, and suggests to the party that they’ve been causing quite the stir, and need to clean things up. She’s willing to act as a go-between for them and their “mutual friend”, since all parties have a mutual interest, abolition. She gives Shyama a blue handkerchief, and says to put it in the window 48 hours from now if we’re interested in pursuing this opportunity, and can clean up the mess we’ve made.

The group from the Red Owl heads over to the Rampant Hero, and everyone heads up to a room they’ve purchased to discuss the outcome of their meetings over a dinner of steamed goose and brandy. The room is lined with lead and cork, and Sven promises the group that there’s never been a scrying eye in the Rampant Hero, so their conversation will be completely private. After a long debate, the party again splits up. Corrin and Shyama head off to oversee what is happening behind Karnegrith’s. Spooks and Saena head off to see Diego, Saena’s contact at the Witch and Shield inn. Winifred, Boba and Elias stay behind to secure rooms for the night at the Hero.

At the Witch and Shield, Saena inquires about both Jeffrey and Erik Mayline. Diego and a friend of his, Charles, give them as much detail as they can. By the sounds of it, Jeffrey is not a serious threat to anyone. He’s by no means a good guy, having smuggled weapons and people during the war, but he’s still a small fish. Erik Mayline, on the other hand, is an incredibly dangerous wizard, and was sent behind enemy lines to kill innocents during the war.

Behind Karnegrith’s alchemy shop, Shyama hides in the dark, while Corrin disguises himself as a homeless Halfling. A couple strolls down the alley, looking like they’ve had a long night of partying. Upon reaching Karnegrith’s, the man, Ovallus, gives Corrin a gold and tells him to get lost; Corrin heads off to the edge of the alley, still able to see shadows of what’s happening.

The couple knocks on the shop’s back door, and a gnome answers. No names are given. A few minutes later, a hobgoblin strolls down the alley, eyeing everyone suspiciously, and holding his hand to his sword hilt. Nobody speaks until the last member of their party shows up…. it’s Malia! She looks impatient, looking around for one more person who is supposed to meet them. Ovallus begins talking about people who are set in place inside the palace, but it will still take a couple of weeks before things are ready. Malia shuts him up. Whatever their plan is, they can’t rush it, it’s costing them lives. She leaves, telling them she has a wizard to go see, and the other people clear off.

Shyama meets up with Corrin, and they start walking back towards the Rampant Hero, ready to break the news of Malia’s deception to their friends.

Call Me Mayline

Mikhail, owner of The Inn of the Red Owl, had not been having a good week. For some reason, everybody thought he could use their assistance lately, and none of it ever turned out very helpful. He was delighted to see that in his bar full of people, only one little pesky Gnome – Corrin – was here, and without his friends around, that Gnome couldn’t cause too much trouble. Mikhail would have had a heart attack if he were looking at the door, for a tailless cat had walked in, and began surveying the room with his multi-coloured eyes. Nobody really noticed the cat, for everyone else’s eyes were drawn unto a makeshift stage that was built, covered in several large drums.

Velosh, a famous bard in the region, was one of very few Orcish bards, coming from the distant western sea. A strange rune was centred on his eyepatch, covering his tattooed face; various animal hides and leathers covered him, and he held a small string instrument, playing a few notes in between furious beats to the drums. All of Mikhail’s problems had moved to the back of his head, for Velosh was debuting a lot of new material, and the Inn’s patrons were more than pleased.

After the show, Corrin makes his way up to the bar and compliments Velosh on the show, and invites him to come back to the Rampant Hero to meet his friends, some of whom he feels are worthy of a bard song. They head off, and upon reaching the Hero, Corrin realizes he has a slight problem… He doesn’t know which room his friends are in!

Naturally, after getting a few doors wrong, Corrin finally stumbles upon the perfect room: Saena is trying to sleep, and Winifred is standing in shock as Corrin leads a giant Orc into her bedroom. Spooks sneaks in behind them. After some convincing from Corrin, and a bit of protest from Saena, Winifred tells Velosh the story of how she saved Spooks’ life, at the cost of his tail. Velosh is not amused in the slightest by the story, and tells his own tale about a story of greatness, about the hammer of the gods and the forging of the world. As he finishes, he wishes them a good night and leaves, and Corrin and Spooks get shooed out of the room.

After a long day, everyone gets some much needed rest – though some more than others.

Day 22

Everyone gets up and discuss their upcoming meeting with Jeffrey over some breakfast. They split up for a few hours before the meeting; some go out for a morning stroll, and some go back to bed for a quick nap. They reconvene, and follow Jeffrey into the Rampant Hero’s safe room. Jeffrey isn’t looking so good this morning; he’s apparently had a falling out with some former friends of his, and needs the group to go talk to them, see if they’ll get back on his side.

He then fills the group in on more information about Erik Mayline; a description of Mayline, his Nana, and Danov, the crew that Erik surrounds himself with. He lives about a doctor’s office on Fountain Street, and does most of his business from there. The party decides to go find him immediately.

The house is easy to find. It’s made entirely of wood, and a simple set of stairs leads up to the second floor. The doctor’s office is next to a music school, and the sounds of a beginner violinist can be heard. There’s a simple abjuration, probably an alarm, cast on the door. With a bit of help from Corrin’s Spider Climb, Spooks does some reconnaissance of the house. Inside, an old lady is humming a lively tune, setting a table for three people to settle for afternoon tea. The interior, with it’s fancy rugs and expensive couches, looks quite different than the rundown exterior.

Corrin disguises himself and goes inside the doctor’s office, asking to make an appointment for a friend of his. The dentist inside, a human wearing a white coat, covered in blood stains, introduces himself as Holti Osterrson. The prospect of a customer coming in brings a big smile, ironically revealing three rotten teeth, to his face. Corrin tries to find out when the upstairs residents will be gone, so the noise won’t bother them, and Holti tells him it’s never a problem for them.

Shyama hides in the alleyway, as Spooks returns to the others to let them know the state of things. As they are heading back to Mayline’s place, a large carriage pulls up, and lets out three people. The first is a tall human with a large, bushy beard, carrying in one hand a huge spiked shield – perfectly matching Jeffrey’s description of Erik Mayline. The second is a Dwarf in full plate mail, carrying a crossbow much too large for him. His beard braided in four different ways and tucked into his belt – he matches Jeffrey’s description of Danov, Mayline’s right hand man.

The third person coming out from the carriage is a woman with a bag over her head, being dragged up the stairs by the Dwarf. Her voice is muffled as she tries to scream, but Shyama, who is hiding nearby, can hear it sounds vaguely familiar.

About half an hour goes by, and everyone shows up. Corrin and Shyama reveal that everyone is inside, with a female captive. At that point, they hear a loud scream from upstairs. Saena levitates Winifred, with Spooks held under her arm, up to the window and hurls them through it. Elias kicks the door down with such vigour that it falls off its hinges, onto the rug below, as he, Boba, Corrin and Shyama spill into the room, Saena sprinting up the stairs to follow.

Downstairs in his office, Holti Osterrson hears a crash from above, and the smile returns to his face. There will be blood spilled this afternoon.

The Mayline, The Witch, and Their War Dwarf

A single moment is all it takes to change the course of everything. One action, one movement, one decision, all taking but a moment…

In a moment, Elias had kicked down the wooden door, splintering it off its hinges and sending it crashing into the room. The handle ricocheted off and flew in an unknown direction, barely noticed by the two occupants: Erik Mayline and his grandmother (affectionately known as Nana).

Battle ready, Elias steps in, and instantly meets the steely gaze of Erik, who unnervingly makes no motion at his presence. As Winifred and Spooks climb in through the window, Elias levels his long sword. “Where is the woman, Erik?” With this, Spooks drops from Winifred’s shoulders and tucks himself up a coffee table, readying his attack.

Nana, who had been previously setting the table for afternoon tea, sets down her cup and responds “You stay out of my grandson’s business!” and with that, murmers ancient words causing herself to suddenly split into six mirror copies, each of which standing ready to defend her various curio cabinets and sundries from the interlopers. Now drawing his sword and readying his giant spiked shield, Erik moves himself between Elias and his Nana. “You better get out of my grandmother’s house” he threatens, and in that moment Danov the dwarf comes out of the back room, not sure of what is happening, but ready to fight to the death for Erik he readies his own shield and Dwarven battleaxe.

“Tell us where the woman is” calls Winifred, her own axes drawn and ready to fight. Spooks darts out from under the table and rushes under the legs of Erik. Erik takes a swing, hitting him clean with his sword Undaunted Spooks makes for the doorway to the room Danov entered from, turns on his paw, and blasts the trio with a cone of frost and ice, signaling the start of the battle.

Elias rushes forward and cuts into Erik with his mighty sword, while Winifred takes two mighty swipes at both Erik and Danov, of which only the dwarf is quick enough to avoid. Nana continues casting in the ancient language of Draconic, leveling a finger at Spooks and uttering the dire word for “pain”, which causes him to buckle in agony. At that moment, Erik also begins casting, and effect is gruesome: the blood begins to seep from his veins and travel the length of his sword, crackling with electricity as it goes and imbuing the sword with such power that when it comes crashing down on Elias it breaks through the defense of his shield and sends him staggering back in a blast of char and pain.

In the commotion, the group’s own casters enter: Corrin takes up position behind Elias and uses his healing belt on him, while Boba rushes to a position behind Winifred and uses his own spells to enhance her defense. Reacting to the sounds of heated battle, Saena also enters the fray, and blasts Danov with a bolt of lightning. At this point, Spooks has positioned himself further into the back room, and is cautiously waiting attack, when suddenly an arrow from Shyama’s crossbow whistles across the room and deflected off the Dwarf’s shield.

The mirror clones of Nana, each one shifting and materializing to confuse the group, all stop and stare at Winifred. As before, they point an evil finger to her and cast the same pain spell, causing her to cringe in anguish. Steel willed, Winifred continues to fight, barely dodging the electrified and now flaming sword of Erik Mayline. Sparing no time Elias, freshly healed, vaults over the table and plunges his sword into Nana – but only managing to take out one of her clones.

Her vision blurred by the pain of the spell, Winifred renews her attack against both Danov and Erik, and while she strikes the battle mage, Danov still manages to knock her attack away. The same is true with another bolt loosed by Shyama, but neither he, Erik nor Nana are able to avoid a crackling blast of lightning from Saena, who has moved closer to the combat.

Despite being hampered by another cone of cold and ice from Spooks, Erik sets his rage upon Winifred, who is too wracked with pain to get clear in time of his horrible crackling and flaming sword, which he proceeds to plunge deep into her chest. Her pierced body broken, Erik kicks her to the floor, standing over her. Without concern fro his own safety, in an instant Boba rushes through the throng, avoiding the swing of both axe and sword, and uses his magic to bring Winifred back from the brink of death.

Elias manages to cut through two more of the clones as a burst of colour and light from the fingers of Corrin sails through the room and hits Danov in the face, blinding him. Corrin then casts invisibility on himself and gets into another combat position while Winifred, still shaky from her wounds, manages to slice into Danov. As another bolt of lighting is cast by Saena, Shyama takes advantage of the Corrin’s spell and stabs Danov in the kidneys, causing him to finally begin to slump in pain.

From the next room, Spooks leaps up onto the table and then to the face of one of the Nana’s scratching and biting until she disappears, revealing herself another clone copy. With resignation, the remaining pair of Nanas back into the corner, whisper new words, and bring forth another copy to defend. Erik, realizing his grandmother is in the corner and his ally is badly wounded, turns to help, giving Boba the advantage needed to strike low and gravely wound Erik. As Erik crumples to the floor, Boba moves in and in one swift moment has sent his sword cutting down through the mage’s neck, killing him.

The air in the room becomes noticeably cooler as the Nana clones stop their shifting and moving and stare down at their fallen grandson. When her eyes raise again to the party, the cautious bemusement and focus that was once there is gone, leaving only cold, blind rage. Nothing seems to distract her now, not Elias moving into the back room, nor Winifred attacking Danov, and as it seems that she is about to charge one last, final attack, Saena expertly steps in and blasts her with a massive bolt of lightning, sending her back into the wall and leaving her a smoking heap on the floor. Spooks casts a cone of ice directly at Danov, which causes him to also fall to the ground.

With the core of the battle over, Saena moves in to restrain and gag Nana, who dies shortly afterwards from her wounds. Elias removes the hood from the woman, revealing her to be Malia, and he uses his own healing belt to heal her. In the commotion, it is revealed that the Draconic pain spell is still in effect, and that Winifred and Spooks have been fighting through it the entire time. Using all the group’s enchantment and healing devices, all but Elias, Shyama and Corrin rush to the Temple of Serik to try and find a healer to break the enchantment. With one last healing spell from Boba, they break away from him and rush to the temple, but luckily the spell wears off before they arrive.

Meanwhile, as Elias and Corrin are tending to Malia, Shyama moves to check on Danov, who surprises her by jumping up and leaping out the closest window to the street below. Shyama takes chase and attempts to fire an arrow at him, but it glances off his armour and, badly wounded, he manages to stumble his way onto the street and away from the heroes.


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