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Journal of the Twelve Talons

(9/29/06)

The Talons continued their slow journey around the island. The keen eyes of Vyctor and Conlith noticed something laying on the beach ahead. It appeared to be the body of a human. Dalech approached the body noticing signs of life, it was a young human female, naked and without equipment just as they have been. He quickly cast a spell to rid her finely toned naked body of any afflictions, thanking the great mother that his order of priests were not celibate. She awoke and Dalech explained to her where she was, remebering a dress they had found i nthe shipwreck he retrieved it and handed it to her, she was thankful. After the young woman was dressed she said her name was Dracos and she was from Ritam. She was on her way to meet the newly re-formed DRS and fell in a stream, when she woke up she was here on this island with us.

(9/22/06)
(9/9/06)
(9/1/06)
(8/26/06)
(8/19/06)
(8/12/06)

The Talons mourn the loss of their beloved friend and healer. But the struggle between Bahamut and Tiamat continue and their work is far from done. They are told of a problem at the site of the new church. A bubble of black puss was found and when it erupted a dark stairway was revealed. A sense of great evil emits from the entrance and they know they must investigate it's source. They are joined by a dashingly handsome man named Dalech. A former healer in the King's Army, fighting in the the recent Rothas uprising. He was recently ordained a Priest of Bahamut and has been training with a new religious order called the Fangs of Bahamut. This new militant unit was sworn to uphold the ideals of the Great Mother and seek out to destroy the evil dragon spawn and all who assist them.

They descend into the ancient stairwell, Dalt leading the party in. All is quiet until Dalt steps on some sort of magical trap and feels great pain wracking his body. Seeing no other way around the rest quickly pass through the trap, feeling the pain it emits. They come to an intersection, corridors going off in each direction. Dalt leads them to the right coming upon an old door, the lock slimy with some substance. Dalt manages to open the door and inside is a small room with two large green creatures drinking from a small pool.

Vyctor senses these creatures may breath acid and quickly protects the group, the green creatures turn around and indeed breath their acid breath on the party. The protections of Vyctor leave the party unharmed. Dalt and the newcomer Dalech enter the room, standing side by side offering each other their protections. Vyctor soon summons one of his wolfs to attack the creatures, Dalt and Dalech continue to beat on the other one. Dalech fought like a madman, infused with rage against these evil spawn, he swung his heavy pick with precision hitting the creature so perfectly it slid through a weak spot in it's scales, killing it instantly. The other creature was easily dispatched and the party investigated the strange pool.

The pool was full of a strange liquid, like water but not. Peering into the pool they saw another green creature in it, unmoving. Dalech quickly looked towards the ceiling thinking it was a reflection of one, pick at the ready. There were no other creatures in the room and the one in the pool never moved, Dalech was unconvinced that it was not alive and brought his pick down squarely on the creatures head, satisfied that now it won't move they proceeded to check out the rest of the complex.

They proceeded down the left passageway blocked by a door like the other. Inside were several pools, and black humanoid like creatures standing in front of them. Dalech sensed their evil, dropped his shield and grabbing his pick by both hands charged into the room with a battle cry to Bahamut. The creature staggered from the blow as Dalt was running in to get some hits in himself. The black creatures were quickly dispatched unable to damage Dalt and Dalech. Inside each of the pools was another of the black creatures. It was becoming apparent that this place was some kind of evil spawning chamber and it needed to be destroyed. They quickly surveyed the last corridor, it was much like the other, many small pools in this one and small blue creatures which they took care of quickly.

The Talons pondered how they could destroy these pools, they tested various methods, trying to fill the pool up with stone, but the stone slowly melted away in the strange liquid. They decided they would head back to the temple and seek the wisdom of Thomas. They instructed those at the new church site that the entrance should be guarded carefully.

Thomas had not heard of these pools, but said he would go to the library and research it. The next day he informed the Talons that they were indeed spawning pools of Tiamat. The only way they could be closed was to create a charm and place it over each pool. The charms would need to be made out of a scale from each metallic dragon. This concerned the party as two of the dragons were held captive in the evil temple with no hope in sight of rescuing them until more was known. Thomas also said that there were writings of a large battle between dragons that happened long ago in the Waste Lands. If they could find this site, they may be able to find enough left over scales to close the pools.

(8/5/06)

The 7th of Hydra- The talons spends the day celebrating their acquisition of two of the items of legacy. Unsure as to the next course of action they decide that will tackle the 4th tier of magic

Conlith volunteers to scout out the next tier. He enter into a limitless plane, small walls of stone placed throughout in a logical pattern. Tall blue creatures and four legged red creatures are placed near each wall in a pattern. They do not seem to take any notice of the ranger until he approaches within 20 ft of them he learns that they are normally inert until you near them and only one color is active at a time. They always move in a groups of three.

The party decides to wait until the 11th when the specially crafted insignias will be done, these will allow Vortimer to heal them all at once. on the 11th they prepare for battle and enter the 4th tier. The blue creatures breath cold and the red fire. After several rounds of combat a group is dispatched and a small piece of the crystal appears. It appears to be 1/7 the size and the talons realize that since there are seven of them in the plane if they came back as a smaller force they should need to kill less. It is decided that Zephyr, Zarathustra and Vortimer will go in. The mage flies all three of them and the creatures are unable to attack them. Zarathustra uses his explosive runes and drops them on the creatures and soon three groups are dispatched and they retrieve the crystal. As they unlock the 4th tier again the Great Mother bestows upon them a gift, they ask for a magical spiked chain with many several unique abilities for Zephyr.

Zephyr and Dalt learn of a problem in the silver mines, the miners claim of being attacked by darkness. The mine owner sent a small force to check it out, none return. The talons decide they themselves will investigate and head down into the mines. They reach the end of the mines and the end of the corridor is pitch black, even their magical glowing orbs could not pierce it. Vortimer casts a spell that will allow Conlith to see in the magical darkness and he heads in to scout. Seconds later Conlith cries out in pain and is soon silent. Allthat charges into the darkness to save him, but not being able to see the large pit before him, falls several hundred feet. Valin decides he will go in but Dalt stops him, telling him it is folly. Vortimer decides that he is the ranger's only hope since he has the unique ability to sense things in the dark. Vortimer slowly walks into the darkness but is surprised by a large tentacle that comes from above and easily grabs him. Vortimer tries to use his amulet to escape but this creature of darkness has made all his magic items inert. The creature drops the now limp Conlith and begins to feast upon Vortimer. Conlith and Allthat manage to get out of the hole and back into the corridor but all hope is lost for Vortimer. The party quickly leaves the mines and tell the owner the darkness is unbeatable, he should securely close the mines and never a soul should enter again. With that they return to the temple.

(7/22/06)
(7/15/06)
(7/08/06)
(7/01/06)
(6/24/06)

The talons continued their hunt of the barbarians. Eventually several days later during the night they were awoken by the sounds of battle as they were attacked by the barbarians they had been hunting. The battle was swift as both sides inflicted great damage upon each other but neither seeming to have the advantage. Again brassy's sleep breath evened the odds and soon the leader took more damage then he cared for and cracked a great bone he was wearing and disappeared from sight. The remaining warriors were taken care off and the sleeping ones were bound. When they awoke they were furious and struggled at their bonds, Vortimer wishing for a good nights sleep brewed a tea of mandrake root and forced it down their throats, soon the warriors were fast asleep.

The next morning the party hoped to garner some information out of the prisoners but again not being able to speak their language made it hard, Vortimer prayed to the mother to grant him the ability to understand them and he could now make out the broken words. Zarathustra crafted an illusionary image of their leader and they at least found out his name, Axeclaw. Not knowing where Axeclaw has disappeared to, they decided to let the prisoners go and follow them, hoping they would run back to their leader. The barbarians were too fast for the party to keep up with so Vyctor transformed into a wolf and followed them. All through the day Vyctor kept a close eye on the warriors as they bounded through the woods, eventually they stopped for the night and made camp. Vyctor hunkered down i nthe shadows hoping the party would soon catch up. The watch was interrupted by sound of fighting as Vyctor made his way to the camp to see what was going on. As he approached he saw a band of Wardens slaying the barbarians quickly. Vyctor resumed his human form and waited for the party their plan ruined.

After reaching Vyctor and learning of the barbarians demise they decide perhaps the mages of Maglan could use their magical sensors to locate Axeclaw. The twelve escort Zarathustra to Beckett City so he can return to the isle to get the mages help and the rest return to the temple in Ritam using their holy symbols.

The 16th of Stirge- The talons arrive at the temple and rest while Zarathustra is away at Maglan. Vortimer spends the day in prayer. Vyctor also prays the mother asking for forgiveness, he is told that when a dragon reaches the age of young he will be forgiven and able to receive the mother's blessing.

Zarathustra returns two days later and informs the party that the barbarian Axeclaw is far away past the peaks at a village, past the talons reach for now. Thom informs them the gold can be grown by swimming in an underground sea beneath a deep dark pit. Vortimer seeks guidance from the mother and learns the pit is deep underneath the border peaks. The party creates their steeds of speed and heads out again to Rothas. On the way Vortimer again asked for guidance from the mother and found out that even though the cave was beneath the border peaks, the entrance lied far to the west in the rock mountains.

The 28th of Stirge- The talons reach the rock mountains. They decide it would be best to head north to Pothas and attempt to find a guide who may know where this entrance to the underground lies. They find and old man who once was a guide to the mountains and knew of the entrance they seek. He drew them a crude map and the party returned to the mountains.

[find that cave with the nasty hydras]

The 9th of Wyvern- The talons reach the cave to find that a battle had taken place, charred corpses were strewn around and they found the entrance was blocked by a cave-in. Zarathustra used his explosive runes to attempt to blast a hole through but it didn't appear to be working. The next day Vortimer and Vyctor used the power of nature to cause small tremor to rumble through the boulders, eventually four days later they managed to create a tunnel through and enter the underground.

For days they traveled through the dark tunnel with out seeing another soul. That all changed later on the third day when loud grunts were heard in the distance. The party stopped and the dragons peered into the darkness eventually seeing large shapes ahead. The twelve prepared for a skirmish. As the grunts got louder the dragons saw three very large giant types suddenly grow huge. The giants charged the group, Zarathustra creating a large patch of sticky floor to try to slow them down. Their shear size broke through to the front line where Zephyr and Will began to attack. Even Zephyr enlarged was dwarfed by the mass of these creatures as they inflicted much damage upon the party, things couldn't get much worse when the lead giant opened up his giant maw and let loose a scream that caused the very earth to shake. The scream deafened and stunned half of the party, the scream was so powerful it lifted the rotund Zarathustra off his feet and flung him several feet away where he landed unconscious. The talons were far too damaged for Vortimer to reach in time, fearing for their lives he called a retreat. Most could not act still stunned from the scream. Finally one of the creatures fell to the ground dead and another stuck in the sticky goo. The gold dragon engaged one directly it's wings and claws slicing through the air. Dolt raised his shield high and told the party to stand it's ground, rally to the front and destroy these creatures. With the encouraging words of Dalt the talons stood fast and with a flurry of blows from the gold and the front line, the remaining two creatures were slain.

(6/17/06)

The 8th of Ettin- The Twelve Talons return to the temple of Bahamut. Thom the young acolyte is now 50 yrs old, having spent time in the library he learned much and is now teaching several new acolytes. Thom relates to then that the next items for growth are 5 silver rings from an old dragon cult temple in Fallon. Luckily the party already posses the rings and Zarathustra return to Maglan to retrieve them. He return the next day and Brassy is advanced another age.

Thom also tells them that the other squad attempted to unlock the 2nd tier of spells but failed. Several were killed inside the void but luckily death in the void only transports you back to the temple and unable to enter that tier again. The talons decide they will give it a go and enter the 2nd tier void.

The void is a strange complex with small pools of magma surrounding it. The party begins to advance into the complex when they are attacked by what appear to be salamanders, soon a group of smaller salamanders appear. The larger salamanders attempt to grapple some of the party with their tails. Soon a very large creature approaches the party and conjures up a wall of fire through the center of the party, the intense heat cause much damage and a few of the party members scream in pain and disappear, teleported back to the temple. Things are starting to look bad as the large creature throws rays of fire and soon the party is outnumbered, luck joins their side as brassy manages to take down the large creature with his breath of sleep. The remaining talons rally and with their will of determination mange to take out the remaining salamanders retrieving the crystal.

As the 2nd tier spells are unlocked again the party is awarded a treasure. They choose a rod that when held will empower the spells cast by the possessor.

Reminded of the old dragon cult temple they explored long ago, they remembered there were some guardians they had not been able to defeat, perhaps they could now and gain some treasure. Not sure that it may be something they should do at this time, Vortimer seeks guidance from the mother who confirms it may be of some benefit. With that the party heads out to Fallon.

When the talons arrive at the dragon cult temple they are met by the DRS they had already cleared out the temple and had advanced the gold dragon. The magnificent sight of the now medium sized gold dragon was breathtaking. Vortimer felt the the gold dragon should accompany the talons, since they were the more talented of the two groups. The gold agreed but did not want to leave the DRS with only two dragons so the bronze agreed to go with the DRS. Since the next dragon had been advanced the talons headed back to the temple in Ritam to receive the next quest.

The talons return to the Ritam temple and Thom presents the party with holy symbols that will allow them to return to the temple from anywhere once per week. Thom also imparts upon the party their next quest. "To grow the Brass, he must bath in the fire of the last dragon" . After some discussion the party realized that last dragon must be a reference to Acuzio'thes-cole-Quate the last dragon from days past. Again Zarathustra returned to the isle to pour over the tomes in the library and speak with the sage. Soon he learned of a Dwarven city in the border peaks called Low Hold, within was a shrine to Acuzio, this would be the fire of the last dragon they seeked. He also learned a bit of the dwarven history learning the tale of Thirstmar Oakenshield, a dwarf warrior of old who had lost a precious artifact, a hand-axe called Skullsplitter. The mage returned the next day and told of his discovery, the talons mounted their horses of speed and took off for the border peaks at once.

The 11th of Dryad- The Twelve Talons reach the dwarven fortress of Low Hold. As they approached they are stopped by a dwarven voice in a tower. Zephyr tells him that we need to visit the fire of the last dragon. The dwarf explains that none but dwarves are allowed within. Zephyr uses his charm to explain that the brass dragon needs to bath in the fire to grow stronger, still the stubborn dwarf refuses entry. Zephyr than reminds the dwarf of the hand-axe of Thirstmar, he brokers a deal that if the party can return this artifact the dwarves will allow the brass and two party members to enter. The talons depart the are of Low Hold not entirely sure how they will find the axe lost so long ago. Their only clue was that the axe was lost to a barbarian tribe, so they headed north.

A few days later they found a barbarian village on the shore and attempted to make contact, not being able to speak their language they didn't get very far. Soon a noble of Rothas appeared and told them they would not be able to talk to the tribe shaman and were told to leave. The talons not wanting any trouble left to ponder their next move. They soon realized if one of the barbarians had the axe, he was probably a warrior of great renown and was probably fighting in the war. They would probably do best heading to the front and inquiring if any of the king's army had seen such a barbarian. With that they headed to Beckett where the skirmishes were going on.

The 25th of Dryad- They reached Beckett and found a camp of the king's army. They inquired as to the status of the war and if any of the troops had encountered a barbarian of great stature wielding an elaborate hand-axe. The captain explained that they had just had a skirmish with a powerful force of barbarians several days ago and had driven them of into the woods north, the leader was believed to carry an axe. They quickly set out in the direction they had gone and soon discovered a trail. They followed the trail for several days, appearing to always be a day behind their quarry, they encountered nothing but a small pack of dire bears that were easily taken care of.

(6/10/06)
taken from the Journal of Exeter the Dark

The 3rd of Harpy- The party continues to ponder the missing black dragon bones. Eventually the bronze dragon realizes that perhaps Bahamut herself had retrieved the bones and brought the black back to life. They decide to head towards Fallon City perhaps they could find out more there. They stay the night in Uristown and all are visited with a dream.

"In the great city of men, the stairs will appear: followers can ascend or descend to enter the temple of choice. You cannot enter the opposed, the stairs are sanctuary to all within a dragon's sight so do not fear."

They party discusses this dream the next morning. Zarathustra remembers some passages from history books he had studied on the isle. He believes "the great city of men" is a reference to Ritam City. They quickly head towards Fallon City to use the portals to Ritam. On the journey there they decide henceforth they will be known as the "Twelve Talons". The talons stop by the Baron's Rest on the way so their new title can be engraved into the plaque honoring their liberation of the inn from the mad bandits.

The 10th of Harpy- The twelve arrive in Fallon City. Zarathustra heads to the home of wizard Brookover to retrieve some items he had commissioned. She tells him that all the dragon orbs are glowing and when all ten doors are open a map appears showing an open lot with a staircase leading up and down. This news confirms the bronze's assumption that the great mother retrieved the black bones and that the map conforms with the parties vision days earlier. Zarathustra begins porting the party to Ritam.

The first to arrive in Ritam city are Valin and Zephyr, they learn of the location of the staircase and head over promptly. They learn that only those who were chosen by Bahamut may enter the lot, they ascend the stairs to find an immaculate temple. In the anteroom of the temple is 200ft solid platinum disc with nine hemispherical depressions. Zephyr convinces Valin they should not attempt to touch the disc until the rest arrive.

The 17th of Harpy- The rest of the talons arrive in Ritam and head to the staircase. They ascend to to the temple and marvel at it's beauty. Vortimer sensing the purpose of the disc steps on to it and receives a vision.

"to expand the Mother's power, join hands in the circle and speak the number as one, defeat the guardians to retrieve the crystal and select a treasure"

Vortimer explains to the twelve that each depressions represents a tier of holy magic the mother will give to her enlightened. The twelve all step on to the disc, hold hands and loudly proclaim "One" in unison. Instantly they are transported to a strange disc floating in the middle of nothing. The talons are distributed evenly along the edges. In the center are four very large ape creatures. They feel that if no action is taken the guardians will not engage. The twelve talk over a plan and Zarathustra springs to action (that term of course being used relatively), he makes himself invisible and causes the floor underneath the apes to become sticky. One of the ape escapes the goo and charges the space Zarathustra is in and manages to make contact. Vortimer quickly conjures large spiritual jaws of force which bite down upon the ape holding him in place allowing the mage to escape. The rest of the talons enter the fray, Zephyr's chain swinging wildly coupled with the greatsword of Will and the precision volley of arrows from Valin and Conlith take down the remaining apes without much harm to the party.

A crystal appears in the center of the room, Vortimer retrieves it and the party reappears in the temple. He places the crystal in the first depression and feels a new connection with the mother, the voice of the mother echoes in his head "You have done well, choose your treasure". Vortimer tells the rest that a treasure of their choosing has been afforded them. After deliberation they decide a magical bag that can hold more than it appears would benefit the talons greatly. An elaborate bag sewn with patches of the platinum dragon appears and all are pleased.

Vortimer receives a vision of a very large bird flying over high peaks. He learns if one of the dragons eats the egg of this bird it will grow. The talons learn it is called a Roc and can be found in the mountain range in the east of Rothas. The twelve quickly head to Rothas using their steeds of speed arriving there uneventfully. Not entirely sure how they were going to find one of these giant eggs they begin to search the range looking for trails. Eventually they find a trail, tracks showing it is used by giants of some kind. The party takes the trail hoping they can gain some assistance with these giants. Soon after large boulders are flung at them and a booming voice in broken common tells them to go away. Zephyr uses his charm to convince the giant that we offer no harm and that we are looking for a Roc egg. After some discussion Zephyr convinces the giants that we can perform some task for them in exchange for them retrieving the egg. They tell the party that their water supply has dried up, if the talons find out why the giants will get them an egg.

The Talons follow the dried up waterfall that feed the giants supply, they find it's source, a spring in a large cave. In the center of the cave is a large mound of earth blocking the spring. As they approach the mound it begins to move forming into the hugest earth elemental any have ever seen. It began to beat down on the talons, things were not looking good but the twelve held their ground and eventually the huge pile of rock disappeared into the ground and the water begins to flow again.

The Talons return to the giants and inform them of what was blocking the water, apparently the elemental was known by the giants and called the great father. The giants were quiet upset the twelve drove their friend off but a deal was a deal and they gave the giant egg to the party. The bronze dragon began to devour the egg and soon grew. The giants who were not very happy with the party made them leave and told them never to come back.

(6/3/06)

The party continued their journey to the pool of rebirth, with the help of Vortimer's magical snowshoes they easily glided over the snow swept path. A few hours into the day Vortimer spotted several carrion birds circling an area off the path. Vortimer volunteered to investigate and changed his shape into a wolf and ran off in the direction of the birds.

As Vortimer neared the clearing his wolf senses could smell the death ahead. He came upon a scene of carnage that even the most seasoned warrior would shudder at. Lay before him were the severed bodies of what appeared to have been Wardens, one was even sliced in half. Vortimer quickly surveyed the area looking for clues as to what did this, it was definitely done with weapons and strange looking arrows of a make he had never seen before.

Hiding behind a tree and badly injured was the lone survivor of the massacre. Clutching a dagger as to defend himself, Vortimer realized he was still a wolf and dismissed the spell returning to his human form. He healed the ranger's wound to stop the bleeding. Meanwhile back on the trail the fighters felt the pulse of positive energy through their magical bond with Vortimer, fearing he may be in battle they quickly headed in the direction he had left.

Soon the rest of the party reached the battle site and the injured ranger Dixon told of the struggle with these strange creatures. Twelve Wardens and two Druids were slain. Vyctor recognized one of the slain druids from his training in the grove and was clearly angered by this tragression. The battle being only a few hours old, the party decides to hunt down the vile creatures and avenge the dead. Zarathustra conjured a mount out of thin air for the injured ranger and the party quickly headed off.

The trail was easy to follow and the party made good time gliding over the snow. Conlith broke off from the party to scout the woods in case the creatures had left a rear guard. Soon after he returns, having sighted the creatures setting camp a mile off down in a ravine. The party set their own camp so the casters could prepare spells for the oncoming battle.

The party awoke before dawn and headed of towards the ravine, as they came closer Vyctor cast a spell that made the party harder to distinguish from the trees. They approached the edge of the ravine and surveyed the field. The creatures were in three groups several hundred feet away, the keen eyes of Vortimer and Vyctor noticed three scouts a few hundred feet nearby. Quietly they descended into the ravine, the scouts unable to distinguish them from the snow. The party stopped and a front line was erected as Exeter and Conlith approached the scouts from the side. Exeter fired his eldritch power quickly taking down one of the scouts, he nearly took down another but it had enough life left to sound the alarm.

The camp was soon awash in shouting as a hulking creature with a greatsword appeared to be rallying his troops. As soon as they were assembled the large one ran toward the party with frightening speed. He was soon joined by a strange bird creature that fired a crossbow at Clarth hitting him squarely. Vortimer then called a large cloud of rain and wind down on the creatures making it very hard for them to see. As the creatures approached, Vyctor, still angered about the deaths of his brethren, imbued a large patch of snow with his wrath. As the creatures entered the area, most of them were wracked with great pain and nausea, unable to do anything but wretch and curse.

With most of the lackeys out of the way, the hulking one and his companions finally engaged the front line. Zephyr's spiked chain inflicting many wounds before they could even close the distance, where Will was waiting with his greatsword and Dalt standing firm deflecting blows with his shield. Valin and Conlith fired a hail of arrows from the back, one arrow fired so well from the bow of Conlith, that the barbarian running toward him was knocked backwards and fell to the ground dead.

The party quickly dispatched of the remaining creatures and Vortimer tended to the wounded. It was a fearsome battle and the party decided to camp here for the day, several curious items were found that Zarathustra wanted to unlock their secrets which would take some time.

The next morning they resumed their march to the grove. On the way they encountered a band of Wardens, they recounted the demise of their comrades and the avenging of their death. The injured ranger Dixon was handed over to them and the location of the battle given. They continued on their journey hastily, the grove was still several days away.

A few days later they finally reached the Pool of Rebirth, they found the other adventuring group there, a gold wyrmling fluttering nearby. They performed the rights of rebirth and the bones of the bronze dragon spawned into a wyrmling. Fortunately this one was not given the gift of gab as Brassy was. With that the five metallics were assembled and both groups awaited the coming of the mother.

Soon after, the surface of the pool rippled slightly as a huge creature began to materialize over the pool. It was the most majestic sight any there had seen, it's platinum scales shimmered in the sunlight, both groups stunned with awe. It looked curiously over the groups and the wyrmlings seemed very pleased. In a commanding but gentle voice it spoke to the groups, the sounds seemed to form directly in their heads.

"You have done well" it said "But the task is not yet complete, you must also return the chromatic dragons to the world, then the cycle shall be complete".

Both parties glanced around at each other, thinking it was odd to bring the evil ones to life also. Sensing their confusion the dragon paused for a few moments than spoke again.

"Who here wishes to serve me and my cause?" the dragon asked looking over the parties. "Step towards the pool if you so desire"

Vortimer quickly stepped toward the pool, as did the [that other guy from the other party?]. The other party members hesitated pondering the question, soon all of Vortimer's friends stepped forward except for Exeter the Dark. They were joined by all of the members of the other party, except for the druid and the ranger.

The dragon looked over those who had approached with an approving glance.

"Who here wishes true enlightenment?" the dragon asked. "Enter the pool if you so desire"

Before the dragon could even finish it's words, Vortimer launched himself into the pool, followed quickly by [you know that other guy]. Again the other members hesitated pondering the question. Slowly a few jumped into the pool, when they entered the pool the meaning of true enlightenment was given to them. A few seem panicked that this burden was placed upon them but after realizing what it truly meant they smiled and basked in the dragon's light. Others fearing this life was not for them climbed out of the pool, explaining to the dragon why they were not ready for such an endeavor. The dragon reprieved those who had cleanly explained their reservations, except for Vyctor and Zarathustra, who were told they would be reprieved but would not be able to receive the blessings of the mother when the time came about.

The image of the dragon slowly faded away. With that their paths were set, they needed to bring back the black and green wyrmlings, they knew the locations of both the lairs and both chains were safely stashed away on Maglan isle. Both groups began to discuss who would go where, it was decided the friends from Uristown would head back to their homeland and retrieve the black, while the other would head to Dale to retrieve the black. Although both groups would have to travel to the nearest city so Zarathustra could use the portal to get the chains. The mage from the other group, Karina spoke up saying she could contact the mages from here and perhaps they would bring the chains to them. Zarathustra and the other mage contacted the mages of Maglan and soon disappeared, returning shortly with the chains. The groups decided to meet back here two moons from now to complete the ceremony.

The groups quickly headed in their respective directions. The party from Uristown headed south towards the road they would take near the border of Rothas. After encountering a group of travelers warning the road was overrun with refugees and movement was very slow, the party decided it would head towards the river, perhaps they could find travel down it.

They reached the river in a few days. The journey had gone well until that night. During the first watch a loud crash was heard from the woods, soon the camp was overrun by two large three toed beasts. One of the beasts immediately reached down and grabbed the barely awake Clarth, the fighters sprang to action and engaged the beasts. The other beast reached out and grabbed Will in one swoop of his giant claws and began to head off into the woods. Zarathustra attempted to hold the beast in place with his sticky floor, but through its sheer size and strength broke free and continued carrying poor Will away. Fearing the same would happen to Clarth, Vortimer tried to hold the beast at bay with his strands of kelp, but alas it's strength was too great. Zephyr ran after the beast carrying Will, trying to bring it to it's knees before it escaped into the dark. Dolt and the others finally managed to bring the other beast down but not before it grabbed Clarth into it's gaping jaw, killing him instantly. Hope for Will's escape was dimming as the last beast managed to dodge Zephyr's chain, but the power of the ancestors would prevail. As the beast made his last dash into the darkness, a very large wolf blocked his way, summoned to aid the party by Vyctor. The wolf lashed out with it's own powerful jaw biting down squarely on the beast. The wolf quickly used his advantage and swept the beast off it's feet, the beast panicked, letting go of Will and trying to get to his feet and run, but it was too late he was surrounded and dispatched promptly.

Several days later the party reaches Fallon City. They sell a few items and gather some supplies. Will makes it known he would like to challenge the guardian underneath the city again. Figuring the party has a little extra time, they agree and cast their protections on him. A few minutes of combat and the guardian again defeats Will. Unfettered by his loss, Will wants to try again tomorrow. After analyzing his last battle and discussing a plan, the party agrees. Again Will engages the guardian, this time the battle goes differently. Will calls upon all the strength he can muster and brings his greatsword smashing down upon the guardian's sword. The sword shatters in a thousand pieces, the guardian stumbling back stunned by such a show of force, a loud cheer erupts from the party watching over the battle from the gallery. The guardian regains his stance and tries to punch Will with his shield, it lands soundly but Will is seemingly unaffected by the blow. The guardian realizing his attempts are now futile, puts down his shield and yields. Will triumphly claims his prize, a majestic greatsword of ancient times.

The party hurries on their way to the lake of slugs, the location of the black dragon's bones known to be somewhere underneath the lake. They approach the shore and Vyctor takes on the shape of a crocodile and heads off into the waters to scout out the lair. A few hours later he returns, having found an underwater cave. Vortimer and Vyctor cast their spells that will allow the others to breath underwater and the party reaches the underwater cavern. The cave appears to be empty expect for a few stalagmites. They search the area in vain, not finding anything of note. Valin wades out into the shallow water in the entrance and finds a well hidden tunnel. They move through the tunnel where it ends in a small room with two dragon statues. Valin carefully enters the room and the two statues spit a stream of acid towards him, he deftly dodges it and retreats into the tunnel. Valin makes an attempt to run into the run room and hide behind a statue, the streams of acid follow him through but again he manages to dodge them, reaching the base of the statue unharmed. He then attempts to disable the statue, but it doesn't seem to work, he tries again and feels confident it will work. He makes a giant leap to the base of the other statue and attempts to disable it also. Carefully he hops off the base and towards the center of the room to test the statues, nothing happens so the rest of the party enter the room and begin looking for another exit.

After a few minutes of searching a trap door is located in the center and Valin proceeds to check it out, it drops 10 ft and he follows a short tunnel to a circular room. In the center is a small island with the chest upon it, on the walls centered with the chest are two more statues, surrounding the island is a pool of bubbling acid. Valin looks all around and notices the lower parts of the walls are pitted and broken, he attempts to use these to climb into the room, as he enter the room the acid begins to rise, he leaps back into the tunnel and the acid slowly recedes. He describes the room to the rest of the party, after a few minutes of discussion, Zarathustra has a plan to retrieve the chest safely, the party agrees and waits out the day to prepare for executing the plan in the morning.

In the morning they prepare, Zarathustra's plan involves using his hawk familiar to fly to the chest and then use his spell of transposition to safely get Will into the room to grab the chest. Vortimer use his magic to shape the entrance to the room into a half wall, to dam the rising acid. The hawk easily lands on the chest and Will takes it's place, the hawk returns to the mage and Will grabs the chest and is switched back with the hawk, safely in the tunnel, the hawk again flies back to the mage all before the acid could rise above the wall.

They examine the chest to find it is already unlocked and the bones missing. After having searched the area and finding no signs that anybody or anything has been in this cave for some time, they are quite puzzled as to where the bones are. They make one more exhaustive search over the lair to ensure they haven't overlooked anything. Finding nothing of note they decide to return to the surface and plan their next move, wondering how in the name of the ancestors they were going to locate the bones.

3rd of Basilisk (5/27/06)

The party begins the search of the dungeon that contains the bones of the bronze dragon underneath the Barony of Dane. As they attempt to walk through, strange forces block most of the party from moving past. Through sheer strength of will Exexter and Vortimer mange to delve deeper into the labyrinth finding two rooms, one containing obelisks with strange runes covering them and another with a throne made of bronze.

Knowing that the throne is key, but fearing what may happen if they don't use it properly, they look for ways to get the rest of the party through these fields of repulsion. The rotund mage Zarathustra devises a plan using his extra-dimensional rope tricks and his spell of switching the places of people. They manage to get the party into the final hallway. Clarth the Warmage recognizes the strange runes as Draconic and deciphers there hidden message, it appears the architects of this particular location had a sense of humor, for the messages on the obelisks merely told us they contain no information about how to use the throne.

Without any fear Vortimer then sits in the throne, a voice appears in his head, telling him the bones are underneath the throne. Valin searches the throne looking for secret compartments but fines none. So they employ the stronger ones to try to push the throne, it finally gives way revealing a passage underneath. Valin descends into the hole looking for any dangers and finds himself moving through a section of unnatural darkness and then something blocks his way, another field of repulsion. Vortimer volunteers to enter and bypasses the field descending 220ft to the bottom finding a small corridor and a door. Not having Valin, Vortimer makes a crude attempt checking the door for traps, feeling confident it is safe, he opens the door greeted by a bolt of lightning that passes through him and fires all the way up the hole nearly hitting the party. Luckily the protections the ancestors afforded him took the brunt of the bolt leaving Vortimer a bit singed but fairing well.

Beyond the door was a small circular room with a chest sitting in the center, feeling the luck of the ancestors on his side, Vortimer enters the room heading for the chest, he felt the presence of 2 more fields of repulsion, calling upon his spirit guide to show him the way, he manages to pass through them both. As soon as he passes the inner field, the space between the two fill with lightning. Using the chain he unlocks the chest and finds the bones, putting them away carefully, he prepares to run through the lightning field. Much to his dismay the field blocks him, the party had learned after traversing the fields above that once you had the will to go through a field one way, you could return the other way without trouble. These fields were more advanced. Feeling a bit trapped, but comforted knowing his friends would find a way out, Vortimer relays his dilemma to those on the other side of the fields. The party, knowing the fields above reset themselves once every 24 hours and assuming these circular field would do the same, decided to camp through the rest of the day and try to escape on the morrow. Realizing the danger if Vortimer were to make it through the first field but not the latter, the party devises several emergency egress plans.

The next morning the party awakes with plans set and Vortimer with a much stronger protection. Vortimer feeling confident now makes the dash to safety, easily moving through the first field, the lightning field zaps him but his protections soak up the damage, he attempts to bypass the last field but can't. He is trapped in the field of lightning, the worse has happened and he feels his protections falling, knowing soon the lightning would damage him. The party was quick to act though, Zarathustra created an extra-dimensional space above the field and the strong ones quickly ascended the rope into it, reaching their hands out from seemingly nowhere, they were able to grab Vortimer and pull him up to safety.

The party knowing they will need a large amount of bronze to bring the wyrmling back, split the bronze throne in half, grabbed a piece and quickly leave the dungeon longing for sunlight and fresh air.

The party decided they should next head to Ritam City, the location of the last metallic dragon bones, the Gold. The journey to Ritam City from Dane would take many days, so Zarathustra uses the mage portals to ferry the group to Ritam. Zephyr and Exeter go first to gather information about the last dragon and seek an audience with the King to acquire the chain. Upon arriving they find out the other party had already retrieved the bones and were heading out toward the Grove that very day.

Exeter caught up with the other party as they were leaving and started a dialog. He had suggested they work together, and while they had agreed that may be best, Exeter did not like the tone in their voices and soon his darker side took over, he began to shout threats at them. The other party not wishing a fight merely said good day and continued on their journey.

After several days the rest of the party was once again together and they themselves headed toward the Grove to bring the bronze wyrmling back to the living world.

Winter had set in and the travel was slow going, but steady. The trip was largely uneventful until one brisk morning. As the party was traveling through a small group of hills, Vyctor's hawk, Janis, returned to him in a flutter, indicating something dangerous was ahead. As they rounded a bend Vortimer saw three large wolves on a hill ahead. The party prepared for battle, the wolfs lunged toward the front line breathing a cone of cold air on the fighters. Zarathustra used his sticky floor to keep the wolfs at bay while the rest of the party got into position. Things were going well until two groups of small blue fey appeared behind the party firing arrows with a poison that caused sleep. The sleep arrows were mighty for they were able to effect Vyctor, whose bond with the land made him stronger to resist the fey. Zephyr quickly moved toward the fey to engage, now towering over them in his enlarged state. The wolfs were quickly dispatched by Will, Valin and Dalt who moved to assist Zephyr as he was now surrounded by the fey and taking much damage. Vortimer chastised the wood spirits, ordering them to return to the woods causing the fey great pain. The fey were falling and melting into the snow but not before they inflicted great harm upon Zephyr who crashed onto the snow bleeding heavily. Vortimer fearing he was too late called upon the ancestors to heal the wounds of Zephyr, luckily Zephyr was of stout blood and was able to hold onto life and soon the healing returned his consciousness.

Vyctor and Vortimer used their skills to relieve the wolves of their fine pelts, while the rest of the party found the home of the fey, finding a few items of their previous victims. The party quickly resumed their journey to the Grove, keeping an eye out for these strange blue creatures.

27th of Hydra (5/20/06)
as told by Exeter the Dark

We begin the journey back to Fallon City to acquire supplies. The gating is uneventful, the party learns Rothas has declared independence and allied itself with the Cralloc and birdman like forces. The Baron apparently has been running around in full armor since he received the news! Zephyr with his Mitzy wooing manages to gain an audience with the Baron. Flexing by Dalt, and some silver tongued savvy by Zephyr leads the Baron to give us 2 markers, ( each for 1,000 Dragons), gotta love the Baron!!!

Zarathustra returns to Maglan Isle and drops of one of the markers in a safe location, while there the wizards inform him the blue and the copper orbs are glowing. The Baron lets it slip that under his castle is a monster with incredible skill. If one should defeat this beast a great boon will befall the victor, ( a nice big greatsword). Will with tears of joy in his eyes, ( later to be tears of extreme pain), declares he will fight this beast to the death and get the greatsword!!! After 2 days of having his ass chopped up like liver, Will remembers he has very important matters to attend to and lets the beast keep his crappy greatsword.

Traveling to the pool of rebirth we find our latest ally, Clarth the Warmage, soon after the party is attacked by two Cralloc's and a nasty fireball dropping birdman. Entangling the Cralloc's and blasting the birdman the party makes short work of the threat. Recovering numerous items from the bodies,(silver dagger with ruby in the hilt, silver comb with moonstone inset, mithral brooch with aquamarine stone setting, 612 kings, a large +1 kukri, and a platinum amulet with a lightning bolt on the front that does 5d6 once a day), Vyctor takes the birdman's ball sack covering and proceeds to wear it on his head jumping around and singing wildly, Vyctor recovers and we head off to the pool.

Arriving at the pool we briefly speak with the Switzerland druids, drop the items in the pool and out pops a tiny brass dragon with more attitude than anything else. The dragon wishes to be called "Brassy" and not "Mr. T ". The party, feeling confident in their abilities to accomplish things, head out with Brassy to the Dane Barony in hopes of gaining an audience the Baron of Dane. Gathering information the party learns the Baron is an open man and regularly holds meeting where he can be approached. The party gains the Baron's ear and tell him of Brassy's return. The Baron wishes to see this marvel and is amazed at the the tiny. mouthy, brass turd. The Baron in awe of our talents gives us the last chain he has, the Bronze, the other two chains were stolen weeks prior. Fortunately the Bronze Vault is right below the Baron Castle and the party agree's to recover the Bronze bones.

We enter a huge room with nothing but pillars, as one walks between these pillars a screen of lightning joins both pillars,(2d6 lightning zap). With the right protections in place the group manages not to get cooked. ONLY after much debate does the party agree to try to match the ceiling pattern to the floor.( Previously learning when you step on the middle square two bolts shoot out of the pillars and the person on the middle square gets juiced for 4d6 lightning damage). Undoing the lightning screens doesn't hurt as much as it should of and soon after matching the floor to the ceiling a spiral staircase appears in the middle of the room . Being tired and crispy on the outside the party decides to call it for the day before heading down. Next week, Vyctor's new lightning dance and maybe Conlith's attempt to shoot someone other than a friend!!!!

12th of Hydra (5/13/06)
as told by Exeter the dark

With the wizards aid, the prophecy is revealed. The party's much need direction is attained. With a Hy-Dee ho ho and the ever pointing Mitzy finder from Zephyr the party, heads out for Reston.

On the way the group encounters two dire lions and a displacer beast. Questionable tactics and a slippery chain almost lead to Zephyr's demise,( 2 hit points to go). Fortunately Dalt's supreme defensive nature and Will's mad hacking save Zephyr's Mitzy's finder from becoming sliced mutton. Vyctor lends his summoning talents along with Exeter's blast and KO the displacer beast!!! Scavenging in the beast's lair the group finds a month old displacer baby, I believe I heard Vortimer calling the tiny beast, " his little turtle head", but I could be mistaken. Heroic Healing Vort patches up the party once more and we make our way to Reston unscathed with "LTH" in hand.

Upon arrival the Mitzy finder goes spastic and we locate the Mitzi in a few short seconds.( Insert drooling sequence for Zephyr). Zephyr convinces Mitzy to return home and we leave the next morning, Mitzy train and all. In route to Fallon City the group stops of at Uristown and says "hello" again. Our good friend Gus is there and tells us a group in Galston, has a baby silver Dragon and are headed back to the druid pool with what appears to be the items to make another dragon, possibly copper. We reach Fallon City without delay and land a wonderful meeting with the Baron.

Of course the Baron is once more bombed out of his head but manages to stay awake, long enough to give the party some nice intel. Come to find out each Barony has three dragon vaults containing specific dragon bones. The vaults are opened by the Judges Chains. The black vault is located in Slug Lake in the Fallon Barony. The Baron makes Zephyr a Lord three times and takes it away only two so I guess he is a Lord now, the Baron finds Dalt sexy and makes him a Lord too. ,DIP-lo-matic wooing from Zephyr allows us to find out from Mitzy we have three original chains to open the Black/Green/Brass vaults, the Black/Green chains are currently back on the Island covered in chocolate.

The brass chain in hand the party gates North to Poster in hopes gaining an audience with the Baron. Believing access to the Baron would be difficult, the party gathers info and finds the youngest Baron daughter to be very receptive. Meat does a wonderful impression of the Mitzy finder and the young lady reveals the location of the brass and green dragon vaults along with her maidenhood.

The party treks out and locates the vault, get the brass bones and in a tactical fuck up almost get themselves dead, like real dead, with no DM roll fudging, dead. From what I gather the warrior lust or some high level stupidity trap, coupled with a failed save from the DM bitch slap, hooked the warriors, the findings are still up in the air. Luckily the other party members made their saves and all was not lost. Exit the party from the vault to continue next week.

13th of Unicorn (5/6/06)
Unicorn (4/29/06)
1st of Unicorn (4/22/06)
26th of Dragon (4/8/06)

The party continued their journey to Darsten pondering the meaning of the earth creatures, calling upon Vortimer's and Vyctor's knowledge of the earth and Zarathustra's knowledge of the planes they determined these creatures were not summoned like normal and appeared to be native.

A few days south of Darsten a lone rider was spotted heading hastily towards them. The rider identified himself as Miles Vain, a minor Noble [which family?]. He told of a strange frothing red goo seeping from the ground in a lumber mill his family owned a few hours north of us. The red substance had made the workers go mad and they began slaughtering each other. Thinking there may be a link between this and the madness at the Baron's Rest, the party headed quickly to the lumber mill.

Upon arriving at the lumber mill, they quickly surveyed a scene a death, nothing appeared to be left alive. The party cautiously investigated the area, noticing the goo originated from the large mill building in the center. As they entered the mill, strange looking translucent rats attacked them, the fighters quickly dispatched of them and proceeded into the basement. A few more of these rat things and a very large hole was observed in the ground.

A lit stone was dropped into the hole, revealing a large cavern extending 150 ft down. A primitive pulley system was crafted and a small recon force went down to investigate. The force consisted of Exeter, Will and Vortimer [who else went?]. As the force made their way through the tunnels they noticed pools of this bubbling red goo. As they entered a larger room they were attacked by the strangest of creatures, a few small blob things, some very odd 3 armed creatures and eventually pale translucent bipeds with tentacle's. The squid things were fast and attacked from a distance with their tentacles eventually grabbing a hold of Will knocking him unconscious. Vortimer rushed forward to help but was ensnared by the other creature. The creatures began to retreat with their captives. The rest of the group knowing the only way to save their friends was to retreat quickly and get the rest of the party.

4th of Dragon (4/1/06)

The party takes stock of what was the Baron's Rest, and find it a gruesome place indeed. There are 24 slain bandits, 20 murdered residents, 7 other bodies not readily identified, and 1 eight year old Katy Tuston. Katy hid in a closet during the raid and somehow was spared the tragedy that befell her entire family and the residents and guest of Baron's Rest. Katy was in no state though; the shock of the recent events has left her catatonic. Luckily for her, Exeter has taken her to a safe clean place and tried to return some normalcy to her life.

The group decides to send a message to Mitzy Fallon to request assistance. They attach a short note to the leg of an Animal Messenger created by Vortimer and dig it to await help. Figuring that it would take a few days at least for assistance to arrive, the party gathers and burns the bodies. They then investigate the unidentified bodies hoping to gain some clues as to who they were and what they were doing in Baron's Rest.

Three are a family; father, mother, and son. The father appears to be a craftsman of some kind and they are not of significant means. After searching the storage barn, a cart is discovered that obviously belonged to this family. The man was a glassblower and the tools of his trade and apparently all the family's meager belongings are in the cart.

Two others are also obviously related, but the age difference if more granddaughter and grandfather than father and daughter. The older man is dressed as a scholar and the woman in traveling clothes. Their wagon is located and along with the standard traveling supplies, two locked chests are found. A quick search of the old scholar's body turns up the key. One chest contains tomes and scrolls, two of the scrolls radiant magic; a scroll of 3 spells and a magic map. The tomes are History Books; The Cralloc Invasion, The Last Dragon, The Founding of Upper Ritam, The Original Baronies (Dane, Fallon, Poster), Noble Houses of Ritam City, The Life and Death of Garth Beckett. The other chest contains 3 statuettes; a replica of the Uris Statue, a raven, and a large oak tree. The raven radiates magic. A journal is also found naming the man Brendan Whaler and his granddaughter, Meggan. Brendan was a wandering historian on his way to Uristown to study the Uris Statue.

The two other men couldn't be any different. One is old, bald, and fat dressed in silks and perfumed. The other is young, lean and dressed as a rich nobleman. There is a covered buggy that belongs to the silk merchant, but the locked truck is not able to be opened. The young nobleman did not have a cart, but an extremely fine horse is found slaughtered among the rest of the carnage in the stables. The brand on the horse is identified by Exeter as of the Valin family of Fallon City. The Valin's are a minor noble house owing their fortune to numerous successful lumber mills.

Vortimer decides that talking to Brendan Whaler's departed spirit may give the party more insight and at the very least they will discover what to do with his valuables. Brendan is less that helpful with information, but he does tell Vort that he would like his stuff returned to "Old Harry" who can be found in the Great Library in Ritam City.

After spending 6 days waiting for help to arrive, when none does the party heads for Fallon City on Dragon the 10th. Arriving at the East Gate, the party is turned away by a stubborn guard, but makes their way to the North Gate and finds a reasonable room at The Lame Stag. The next day Wizard Brookover is found and the payment is finally rendered for the Ankheg carapaces.

Zarathustra uses the Maglan Monolith to go to Ritam City and returns Brendan Whaler's items to "Old Harry". Harry let's the party keep the magic map and the statuettes; he had no real use for them anyway.

While Zarathustra copies spells from his new found friend, the rest of the party spend time in Fallon City. Dalt has his breastplate engraved with the Viso symbol. Zephyr picks up his magic chain. Vortimer spends some time with Eroth of the Bear. Conleth practices archery. Will drools over Dalt's breastplate and Zephyr's magic chain. Exeter reads many books in the library. Vyctor plays outside in the rain. And Brennin gets himself more acquainted with the lower class of society.

Eventually the party investigates further the mystery of the Judges Chain. After questioning Judge Simon Thatch it is revealed that his son took the chain because he was being blackmailed for the release of his kidnapped children. After questioning the son and the guards and a few hired men, one man stood out as less than reputable, Kory Irestone. After some intense interrogation by Dalt he spilled his guts.

Kory was hired by Judge Thatch to find his missing grandchildren. The only lead that pointed to Darsten, so Kory when there and asked around for any information. At the Rusty Spike Tavern, Kory, found out from the bartender that he had seen a strange man come in with 3 children in tow. Children in the Rusty Spike were odd enough, but these young 3 matched the description of the Thatch children perfectly. As Kory left the tavern to return to Fallon City with the news, he was stopped outside by a strange man who offered him 45 Kings to keep his mouth shut.

They decide to head north to Darsten. Packing the wagon and buying as few horses as possible they head out of the North Gate along the Fallon North Road. Two days of travel pass uneventfully, but on the third day the very earth in front of the wagon erupts and two large creatures of earth attack the party without conscience.

Zephyr rushed towards the earth creatures swinging his spiked chain wildly, even though he struck the creatures soundly, they shrugged off most of the damage. The earth creatures continued their onslaught pounding the front line with their fists of stone. Twice Zephyr was nearly slain but the constant healing of Vortimer kept him standing. Things were beginning to go badly, Zephyr taking a pounding from both creatures, Zarathustra, sensing the demise of Zephyr quickly cast a spell switching the places of Zephyr and Dolt, Dolt took the brunt of the force, saving Zephyr but quickly having to withdraw. The mage then was able to create a wall of smoke between the party and the creatures, giving the party a few moments to regroup. Vortimer stepped into the fray and calling upon the power of nature, he chastised the earth spirits causing them great harm and eventually driving them back into the ground.

Bruised and battered and many near death or unconscious, the party pulls off the road to tend to the wounded.

29th of Stirge (3/25/06)

The party receives the thanks from the Follos Farmer's Council, they are rewarded with 1500 Kings and they also are able to choose from one of three precious town artifacts. The three artifacts are all items from a local hero of the Cralloc Invasion, Corim Hanflet. There is a sword which is said to allow a quick strike after an enemy is felled, a shield which defects thrown boulders, and a helm which grants superior vision and protection from fire. The party chooses the helm and gives it to Conleth.

The Council then connects the party with Geoff Holben, who is interested in paying them for the Ankheg that they have slain. After Geoff surveys the carnage and haggles with the party slightly they agreed to terms. Geoff will claim all the slain Ankheg and eggs in exchange for; 3000 Kings, 40 jade chips, a heavy warhorse, chain barding, a military saddle, and a promise to enchant Zephyr's new spiked chain being crafted by Jamie Reyer, a prominent weapon smith in Fallon City. Geoff gives them a letter for Wizard Carlene Brookover of Fallon City. He explains that she will pay his debts and enchant the chain.

Before the party leaves Follos they hear rumors of more bandits in the forest between Uristown and Fallon City. They also hear rumors of extremely large slugs coming out of the lake southeast of Follos. They leave for Uristown the next morning. On the second day of travel they meet up with a large band of Rangers. Ranger Aerith is with them and she explains that they are heading south to investigate the slugs.

They pass through Uristown on the way back to the forest where the bandit activity is reported. Traveling through the forest they are not ambushed by bandits, so they decide to head for Baron's Rest, drop off the horses and explore the forest on foot. The search reveals strange happenings in the forest. Tracks are found of slow moving booted men dragging an occasional limb. The vegetation around these tracks also appears to have died. Soon they spot a tree in which body parts are strung up like ornaments.

A clearing is soon spotted ahead. They approach cautiously and Vortimer mutters an incantation allowing him to see the spirit world. The clearing appears to have been charred and in the center is a large pyre of vegetation, trees, and bones. As they near, the bones animate and form grotesque creatures of mixed bones wreathed in fire. One of the creatures is fiercer than the rest and gives the party some trouble, but after several tense rounds of combat, the burning skeletons are destroyed. It soon is apparent that they skeletons are only the beginning. As soon as the last skeleton falls the pyre explodes with incorporeal spirits who fly through party members, testing their will and draining health for those that fail. The spirits form a ring wall just inside the clearing, preventing any from exiting.

Vortimer uses his chastise spirit ability to hold them at bay so most of the party can escape, but he a Zephyr remain inside the ring. The party builds a pile of trees and rubble to exceed the height of the spirit ring and Vort climbs out. Zephyr hastily scrambles over the pile and loses his balance and falls in to the spirit ring.

Vort tells the party of an herb that he can use to cure them of the drained health and so they scour the forest until they find enough. Back in Uristown they created the infusions needed and then head back to the forest. Arriving at the entrance to the Marble Complex, they find that it has been filled in with dirt and other rubble. They spend the time to clear it out and find nothing has been disturbed.

The trail of the blighted vegetation and booted men dragging limbs is found again and followed for eight days south all the way to the sea. Frustrated they head north for 6 more days to arrive back in Uristown just in time for Celebration. Gus is there as promised, but he has no news except that the Baron has his militia patrolling the Fallon Road through the newly named Bandit Forest.

After Celebration, the party decides to head back to Fallon City to find Wizard Brookover and claim their payment from Geoff. On the road they find dead bodies of the Baron's Militia and the tracks of twenty or so men heading east.

The kills look fresh and the party decides to quickly pursue, the fighters remove their armor and hustle, but Zarathustra is forced to stay behind and Exeter stays with him.

They arrive at Baron's Rest to find is already sacked and bandits everywhere. A large melee ensues and the party triumphs over the Backus Brothers and their henchmen.

campaign date (3/18/06)

The group travels the rest of the way to Follos and enters the town from the East. Follos is a large farming community with very little else in the town except farms, farmers and those that support them. The town has an exceptionally large percentage of children under the age of 16, it seems as though there was a recent baby boom. The only party member who has been to Follos is Brennin. He came through a while back with some farmers from Uristown and stayed a couple of nights with Channas Hornweather. Brennin remembered that Channas' youngest daughter, Julia, was quite nice and thought that he should seek out the farmer and see if he could secure a place for the party to stay and perhaps see Julia again.

The party finds the local watering hole, The Weary Farmer, and Exeter begins to question the barkeep, George, about the Red Sorceress. George says he doesn't know much, but suggests that Exeter talk to Burt, the old man sitting by the fire. George says that Burt is a little loony, but knows everything and everyone in Follos. Exeter sits down next to Burt and tries to have a conversation with the old man. Burt is toothless and drools and spits everywhere when he talks. He is also prone to fits of laughter, but Exeter finally manages to get some sense out of him and a good lead. Burt believes that the Red Sorceress has a sister and that she lives in a red barn-like house just over the river.

The party goes to the house and meets a farmer coming back from a long days work. After a promise of a few drinks, he agrees to look a the body and determine whether it may be Serena, twin sister to his wife Susanna. Jediah Faulkner confirms that the Red Sorceress is Serena. He suggests that the party could bury her next to her parents in the cemetery. They can easily identify the parents grave because it is marked by stone with a carving of an old oak tree being struck by lightning. Faulkner explains that Susana and Serena's parents were killed a few years back in a freak lighting strike which caused the largest tree in Follos to fall on top of them.

The body is prepared and the grave is dug. Vortimer suggests that he may be unavailable for a week after the talking, so the party makes plans to make him comfortable and keep themselves entertained for a week. Dalt, Exeter, and Zephyr elect to stay in town, while the rest of the group ventures to the forest a days travel to the north to look for a rare mushroom for Zarathustra. Vortimer performs the rites and fall unconscious.

The expedition to the north was uneventful. The party did manage to find a few black truffles and practice some survival skills. In Follos, Dalt trains with the Baron's militia and their Captain Garth Poleman. Exeter and Zephyr hang out in town talking to the locals. Vortimer wakes after only one day and when the party returns from the north he relates the news from Serena, the Red Sorceress.

Apparently in the hills to the west between Manse and Hackeston there is a squat tower in which resides the Dark Mistress. She is a dark skinned elf with white hair and dresses in purple robes. She has been hiring people to cause chaos and wreak havoc on what she calls the "surface world". The Backus brothers were in her employ. Serena had only been there once and never spoke personally to the Dark Mistress, but she did notice that the tower was much deeper underground than she would have expected. She also was told that the Dark Mistress had many strange and demonic creatures guarding her tower.

After laying the body to rest, the party returns to the Hornweather farm to determine their next course of action. It is then that Brennin is approached by Channas with a job for the band of adventurers. The Council of Farmers of Follos has been recently more and more concerned with the Ankhegs that seem to be plaguing the farms to the north of town. They are ruining crops and leaving destruction in large swaths across bountiful fields. He is not sure what the reward would be, but he would really like Brennin and his party to try and eliminate the Ankhegs.

After Brennin explains the situation to the group, they decide to venture forth and save the day. They soon discover evidence of Ankheg burrowing and enter into a network of tunnels. Will, Dalt, Exeter, Brennin, and Zephyr are soon trapped between escape and dozens of Ankhegs. Luckily most of them are juvenile and with help, they manage to kill or drive them off and escape.

The next day with more organized exploration they party discovers the lair and a queen Ankhegs creating offspring at a furious pace. The party plans and with the help of some carefully laid traps by Zarathustra and the exploding gems from the Dragon Cult Complex, they quickly dispatch all the Ankhegs, including the queen.

Stirge (3/11/06)

The scene opens as Brennin and Dalt open the first of many 10 ft. doors. The door slides into the floor as you expect, but what is revealed is startling. The room beyond is in stark contrast to the remaining white marble complex. The room is dark, with no magical light sources and the walls, floor and ceiling are all made of a dull black stone. In the center of the room is a 3 ft. high pedestal with an enormous statue in the same black stone. This statue is of a dragon.

Brennin enters the room and begins his standard search protocol. After the room appears to be safe, he searches the pedestal holding the great statue. While searching the pedestal he triggers the room's defense mechanism, and doors in the pedestal open to reveal the guardians, small stone dragon constructs. A battle ensues and Zephyr, Dalt, and Will wade in to dispatch the constructs. Zarathustra uses his magic to make the floor trap and hold the guardians and the battle is quickly over, but not without draining the party's resources. Each time a dragon is killed it explodes dealing a somewhat avoidable electric blast in a 10 ft. radius. A lot of healing is needed, but no major harm is done.

A quick search under the statue reveals another eight guardians in a state of disrepair. The party retrieves them and Dalt uses his magic flail to break them apart to retrieve the same electrically charged sapphire that was left behind when the guardians were destroyed. 15 total gems were recovered, 1 was accidentally set off while Dalt was smashing construct pieces. During this process, Vort dared Brennin climb to the top of the Dragon Statue for 2 Dragons, so Brennin climbed and very skillfully at that. The problems started on the way down. Brennin, perhaps paying too much attention to the jeering and taunts, but one loss of good footing and he tumbled to the ground knocking him unconscious.

Careful exploration of this room reveals 3 more 10 ft. doors. The east door is tried and is not able to be opened. The north door opens to reveal a corridor with 16 doors. The hallway and doors open in to 16 dormitory style rooms. On the beds in each room is a skeleton of a man long dead, apparently of a ritual suicide. A goblet is found cast aside and rolled under the bed in each room, as well as various other dragon motif items, rings, amulets and the like. Zarathustra also managed to recover a few tomes of significance and a half a dozen diaries.

Returning to the statue room the north door is searched and opened. A quick look inside the room reveals two more dragon statues and a huge stone guardian, which quickly activates and rushes the door. Brennin and Dalt quickly back away and luckily the guardian is unable to exit the room. After some experimentation, the party decides to abandon the complex and return to Fallon City to try and complete their investigation.

On the journey back to Fallon City, the party tries to get news from travelers at the Baron's Rest, and along the Fallon Road, but there is no news to be had. After they arrive, Brennin heads off to the rougher neighborhoods to gather what info he can. He is not very successful that night or the next day. Zephyr checks in on Mitzy, and finds out that the party can still expect food and lodging at the Baron's Castle, but not for much longer.

Meanwhile Zarathustra returns to Maglan Isle and gets some information on the tomes they recovered (see separate email on Dragon Cult).

Mitzy brings them up to speed on recent events. The Baron returned the Judge's Chain to Judge Simon Thatch, who apparently was not aware that his had been replaced. The investigation continues and the Baron still expects that the party if following leads. Mitzy also reports that the Backus brothers have been freed from prison and that the Red Sorceress killed herself that very morning. Zephyr and Vort escort Mitzy to the dungeon cells and Mitzy uses her charms to get the guard to leave. Vort finds the body of the Red Sorceress and enters his spirit trance, not knowing exactly what he'll find, or how long he will be out. He comes to four hours later.

Red Sorceres

Vort learns that the Red Sorceress was accidentally killed by a guard who was trying to force himself on her. She choked on the gag that was in place to prevent her from casting spells. She also tells him that the Backus Brothers were freed by a powerful female spell caster. She is willing to tell Vort the location of this woman's tower, in exchange for making sure that her body is returned to her home in Follos to be buried. Vort agrees and when he awakens he turns to Zephyr, who turns to Mitzy for help.

Mitzy manages to get the body and will allow the party to have it on one condition; she must accompany them. The group is not keen on this and in the morning it becomes even more obvious that there is deception going on, so Zephyr, Marek, and Exeter are elected to convince Mitzy that the party must split and she will join them later with the other three. The remainder of the group head out west on the Fallon Road to Follos.

They pass through the bandit woods and through Uristown with no fanfare. A day outside of Uristown in a small copse of trees, they are ambushed by two juvenile manticores on the road. The battle is tense, but thanks to Vyctor, who caused the plants to entangle the beasts, and Conleth actually firing his bow at something other than a party member. The beasts are slain but a horse is killed in the fight.

Later that night at camp, three riders approach. It turns out to be Zephyr, Marek, and Exeter. Zephyr finally realized that having Mitzy on the road would probably ruin his chances forever, so he bore the ire of the moment and saved face with the Baron. Any reputation the party had for saving her life and defeating the Backus Brothers has been played out in Fallon City and the group can expect no more special treatment, unless of course they become heroes again. And that is exactly what Zephyr intends to do ...

Dryad (3/4/06)

After much deliberation on what to do with the bodies and recovered goods, the party decided to bury the bodies and find wagons to recover the goods themselves. On the journey back to the Baron's Rest they met up with the final two friends; Zarathustra, an obese wizard, and Exeter, a disturbed warlock. Both were on their way to Uristown to meet with friends, but had been delayed for various reasons.

The group, now fully formed, borrowed a few wagons and horses from the Giaus Baltar, the proprietor at the Baron's Rest and set back to the forest to recover the caravan goods. After an encounter with wolves and Ankhegs the party manages to return to the Baron's Rest and meets up with Captain Vargus.

They turn over the goods and the prisoners to Captain Vargus, who promptly rewards the party with 2000 dragons. Then they accompany him back to Fallon City.

At Fallon City the party meets with Mitzy and eventually the Baron, who holds a dinner in their honor. They tell the Baron what they know and work their way through town trying to gather information on who could be behind the Backus brothers plot against the Judges.

They learn that only one Judge has children that could have been kidnapped, Judge Simon Thatch, but it turns out he has 6 grown children and 12 grandchildren.

The party also learns that the Judges Chains are more than they appear.

Coming up with few leads, the party heads back to the marble complex in hopes of finding more information. They find a secret door in an area not previously searched and it leads them to further corridors and rooms. They soon encounter living statues that are resistance to some magic and some physical blows. Once they adjust the tactics, the states are defeated, but they also explode upon defeat. The first 2 explode in shards of stone, but the next group explodes in shards and fire. The fire group leaves behind a ruby with an inner fiery glow.

Dryad (2/25/06)

The friends assembled back in Uristown after 2 years of training in various places. All made it home save Zarathustra, the heavy set kid who went away to the Maglan Academy to become a Wizard. Upon return to Uristown there is no news, seems like the boring farm town that all wanted to escape was still as boring as ever. The only interesting thing that seemed to happen while they were gone was that the Uris Statue was struck by lightning.

The party swam out to Statue Island to investigate and found that the spear head had apparently been struck by lighting, but the statue appeared to be unharmed save for some black soot on the tip of the spear. Brennin climbed the statue to be sure and found nothing further. The group decided to retire to the Gatehouse Inn, where Zephyr treated them all to a round of a drink he had favored, Lodar's Applely Concoction.

The group conversed over food and drink and discussed the events of the past two years. Most had exciting times and more importantly learned quite a bit. A few seemed more changed than the others, but soon things seemed to settle into the old routine. Everyone congratulated Dalt on earning Viso, everyone except Zephyr that is. The Viso tattoo had even gotten him a few free drinks from the locals. No one from Uristown as far as anyone can remember had ever been awarded Viso. Brennin seemed slightly confused about his training, but was happy to be home among friends. Marek definitely had seen the most real action and it showed on his face. It took him longer than the rest to settle back into the old routine. All in all things seemed to be returning to normal. They even started joking that Big "Z" had not made it back because he encountered a caravan of pastries.

A few hours into the night a weathered and travel weary man came into the Gatehouse Inn. He shuffled up to the bar and ordered a few ales, and then he spied the party and ordered a few more to be sent to his table. The man, who appeared to be in late forties, chose a table next to the party and sat down. After downing the two ales that he originally ordered, he began to strike up a conversation with the group.

He seemed to recognize the professions that each had chosen and where they went away to training. He had trouble deciding what Brennin and Vortimer where about, and he mistook Vyctor for a Ranger instead of correctly identifying him as a Druid. He claimed to be Academy trained, but did not show Dalt the respect he had come to expect from the Viso tattoo. Eventually he introduced himself as Gus and asked the party to show him the Uris Statue and in return he would set them on the path of adventure.

The party took Gus to Statue Island in the middle of the night and then returned him to the Inn. Gus promised to meet them for breakfast and then he would give them some information that would quench their thirst for excitement. When the group assembled at the Gatehouse Inn for the morning meal, Gus was gone. He did leave a note:

Sorry Boys, I had to run. If you travel southeast on the Fallon Road for a couple of days, you will enter a small forest. There has been some recent increase in bandit activity there. That should keep you busy for awhile. I'll meet you back in Uristown in a couple of months, just before CELEBRATION! -GUS

With nothing else to do, the party decided to check it out. They left word with Gabby, the barmaid at the Gatehouse Inn (and Zephyr's Mother), in case Zarathustra managed to make it back to Uristown and then they borrowed some horses from Benedict Barrimen, the local horse rancher (and Dalt's Father). They headed southeast on Fallon Road for a good day and a half with no incident. On the 21st day of Dryad the party encountered a small band of Wardens on patrol. The Wardens reported coming across an ankeg to the north, but nothing else unusual.

Just after the midday meal on the 22nd day of Dryad the party came to the edge of the forest that Gus had described. They tied the horses securely to a tree just inside the forest edge and proceeded on foot. Less than an hour later the scouts noticed a group approaching on the road. Zephyr immediately noticed the stunningly beautiful woman, who was being escorted by 4 guards and a lightly armored woman dressed in red. He recognized her as Mitzy Fallon, the Baron's youngest daughter. Zephyr had a childhood fantasy of he and Mitzy Fallon, and was overcome by her beauty as she approached him on the road. A few greetings were exchanged and then suddenly the group was attacked from the north side of the road.

A rough voice was heard, "Keep the woman alive, she's no good to us dead. Kill everyone else!"

The ambush seemed well timed, but the party reacted quickly. Vcytor's hawk companion quickly dispatched many of the bandits and everyone else contributed to take down the remainder. Mitzy's guards surrounded her and stayed on the defensive, while the women in red leather hurled spells slightly more powerful that Marek was capable of. Marek's burning hands spells did their job, and true to Viso fashion, Dalt stood center and drew the enemy around him. When Zephyr finally swung his chain correctly the leader fell to the ground.

The party gathered the slain bandits and stripped them their equipment. The bandit leader did have a magical flail and a finely made chain shirt. They also found a heavy silver chain with a large amulet. Mitzy immediately identified the chain as a Judge's Chain from Fallon City. This disturbed her greatly that a bandit would have a chain from one of the three Judges, and she decided that she must return to Fallon City and tell her father what they had found.

Pitor on of the Backus Brothers

Two of the bandits were captured alive and they were stripped and bound. Marek showed off his skill at intimidation and before long the conscious of the two live bandits was telling him everything. The leader of the bandit attack was named Eric Backus and turns out his older brother Pitor, is the true leader of the band and he has more than twenty more bandits in a hideout down on the river's edge.

While Marek was interrogating the prisoner, Brennin gave the leader's equipment a thorough looking over and found a couple of parchments hidden in a secret sleeve on the back of the shield. One was a map of the area and the other a listing of three caravans detailing cargo, crew, and timetable (see attachments). One of the caravan's was listed as the Baron's Militia Caravan. Mitzy told the party that if they were to recover the goods from this caravan, she was sure that the Baron would reward them greatly.

The party decided to escort Mitzy and her guards back through the forest to safety. Mitzy Fallon explained that she would pay for the party to eat and stay at the Baron's Rest, a large Inn complex a day's ride outside of Fallon City. They took her up on her offer and enjoyed one of the best meals they have had in a long time. When the party was asked if there was anything special they wanted to drink, Marek even worked up the courage to ask for some Elven Delight. The server gave Mitzy a look, and when she nodded they brought a small crystal glass for Marek and one for the Baron's daughter. At 100 Kings a bottle it is a rare treat.

The next morning Dalt gave Mitzy the horses with the promise that she would get 500 Kings to his father, and she returned to Fallon City to give her father the news. Mitzy took the prisoners with her. The party decided to return to the forest to defeat the remaining bandits and recover the stolen merchandise. They followed the instructions of the prisoner and soon found the opening to a cave complex near the side of the river.

In order to gain the element of surprise, the party elected to try and quietly dispatch the 2 guards outside. They almost succeeded, but the brigand at the entrance managed to run into the complex and raise the alarm. After a few minutes of waiting for the enemy to come out to the cave, the party chose to take the fight to them and entered. The "cave" was not a cave at all. In fact it was a solidly made marble walled and floored dungeon complex. The marble and other decorations inside reminded everyone of the Uris Statue and home.

The battles in the dungeon were fierce; many party members were injured, healed and injured again. The effectiveness of Zephyr's spiked chain was proven and apparently untrained bandits were slain a few each round. While pulling all their resources together the group managed to defeat the underlings, a warlock, a sorceress and a greataxe wielding Pitor Backus. In the final showdown, between Pitor Backus and the warlock, Brennin fell to the eldritch blast and a solid splitting of his head by the two handed axe. Luckily Vortimer and Vyctor made it to him in time to prevent him from joining his ancestors.

After careful search of the bodies, the party was able to stabilize Pitor Backus and the Red Sorceress.

quadratic-useless