The Legacy of Heroes

Winners & Losers


The finals for the B class entries began with the Specialized Fighter finals: the cavalier Earl of Granrud, Vetnik Talthraudii versus Moira Steelshaper, holy paladin of Cortox. Before exiting the pen, Moira smiled and wished Vetnik luck. Deep down, she believed his affection for her as revealed in a letter to her in Greyhawk would outweigh his desire to win. It then surprised her that, when in the arena, he launched into her with all the might and fury of a born-and-bred barbarian! It was simply no contest and Vetnik brought the duel to a swift and surprising end. The interest of the crowd was arrested by the quick round, and their cheers for Vetnik’s victory and cries to see more of the competition surged through Vetnik, who spent a moment to take it all in. Seeing his companion struggled to rise to her feet was a sobering sight, and Vetnik quickly rushed to her side to assist her.

“I’m all right, thank you friend,” Moira said, gently pushing him away as she excused herself back to the pens. Vetnik then knew his mistake. Lyssa watched from the sidelines, embarrassed for Moira but almost relieved at the sight of Vetnik’s disposition despite winning his title. He stood in the arena and struggled to keep Moira in view before the flood of cheering volunteers rushed to magically mend him and announce his victory. As the officials raised his arms in the air for victory, Vetnik looked back towards the pens and saw the defeated paladin collect her things silently, and return to the rest of the party. Never before had a victor had such a dissatisfied look upon his face.

Next up were the Multiclass contests. Grum (under an assumed alias) was pitted against a human thief/fighter named Rodor Ironknife who fought with dual short swords. Their battle was a tense one that held the audience on the blade’s edge. By the slimmest margin, Grum walked away the victor in the combat portion of the duel! In the skills portion, Grum won upsets in several categories where Rodor was heavily favored, cementing Grum’s title as the winner of the B class. Grum exhaled a sigh of relief. The contest was far too close for his comfort.

Priests followed, and after facing down a Dwarven devotee of Thor and a brown and green robed priest of Ulaa, Armod Steinson, Trisoll faced his last challenger of the division. His opponent was a human priest of Saint Cuthbert named Aldred Helmhew. Dressed in dark green robes, Aldred bore the golden starburst sigil of his deity and carried into the arena with him the traditional golden mace of his priesthood. Prior to entering the arena, Trisoll had a conversation with his opponent in the pen that gave him an idea. Trisoll had told Aldred he wished that the priest of St. Cuthbert could “see the light”. After sidestepping Aldred’s initial attack, Trisoll cast Continual Light on the eyes of the priest and blinded him — an inspired move that roused the crowd to the edge of their seats! Before Aldred could intone a prayer curing the condition, Trisoll cast Silence on him and stifled the priest’s very voice. He finished off his blind and mute opponent by summoning a Spiritual Hammer which delivered a crushing mystical blow to his opponent. Trisoll was victorious the B class for Priests and Clerics. He helped his opponent off the ground and patted them on the shoulder as a show of good sportsmanship before being carted out of the arena to cheers. Unlike his barbarian companion, Trisoll lapped the praise up and waved to the adoring audience with much delight.

Next, the crowd and party watched as Lyssa prepared for the final round of her division. Her opponent was a stoic mage covered in ornately-trimmed grey robes. Iban the Grey was quiet as he entered the arena, and bore neither staff nor rod. Made anxious by the intense magic she could feel vibrating throughout the arena from the composed mage, Lyssa quickly (and nervously) dispatched an Irritation spell. The crowd muttered to themselves at the unconventional move, which found Iban spending his turn itching furiously at his lower back. Some even chuckled and jeered at the young wild mage. “What does she think she’s doing?!” one attendee said to their party, while another others cries out “Get on with it! We came to see some magic!” Lyssa did her best to block out the comments, but if they wanted a show she would give it to them! She raised her arm and pointed at Iban, who had scratched himself clean of the magical affliction, and summoned at her side another flame arrow which she sent hurtling towards the grey mage. While there was impact, Iban stood defiant, his robes billowing as the flames fell to the ground around him. Iban’s composed expression broke and with a furrowed brow he opened his palm up and within it Lyssa could see a swirling orb of cool, snow-flecked air. Suddenly, a chill went up Lyssa’s spine and goosebumps populated her skin, and as she exhaled, she noticed she could see her breath. Shivering, Lyssa looked around but saw no visible disturbance that could account for the sudden change of temperature. Lyssa looked back towards Iban and their eyes met; as a sudden and brief flash of red flickered in his eyes, Iban forcefully closed his fist and appeared to extinguish the swirling air in his palm. A small piece of hail fell from the sky above and bounced off her shoulder. Before she could properly look to the skies, an even larger hailstone rocketed from the sky and crashed down against her skull. Iban stood silently with closed fist as more and more hailstones rained down upon the unsuspecting mage. He watched and she cowered and collapsed to the ground as his spell continued to rain down pellets of ice upon her back and knees. As the Ice Storm calmed, Lyssa managed to regain her composure. With furiously burning eyes she reached out her hand and hurled one of Melf’s Minute Meteors. The flaming orb zipped through the air but missed its target, exploding only feet away from Iban (who did his best to shield himself from the blast.) As Iban lowered his robed arm from down around his face he saw a fearsome sight: Lyssa’s arms engulfed in magical fire. With a sharp war cry, she let loose a jet of flame that swallowed the grey mage whole. As she withdrew the fires, his body collapsed unconscious to the ground. Lyssa stood to a roaring cheer from the audience. Officials from the games rushed in to both cart the fallen and smoking Iban out of the arena, and to rush the battered Lyssa to the winner’s circle! Lyssa limped beside them with an expression of confusion mixed with embarrassment.

The penultimate contest was devoted to the Bards, long known to be a crowd favorite event. Thom (as Dim Razor) went up against Hawk Osricsson, a human Bard who carried with him a beautiful and delicately-crafted small harp. Skills were first and Hawk, though human, sang an Elvish ballad so beautiful and stirring that the whole crowd was hushed by the song of reverence. Always the entertainer, Dim Razor took the opposite plan and came out with a thunderous anthem that broke the crowd from their whispered tones and got the crowd clapping and stomping along. Winner: Dim Razor! Hawk was none too pleased since his talents were in music, not combat. Hawk began the combat round with a lucky break from Thom’s defensive blade spin, but the battle was to only slump downhill for the human bard as Thom managed to land two critical hits. His first was in mid-battle, where he injured Hawk’s arm into uselessness. Before Hawk could fully recover, Thom let loose with the butt of his blade and delivered a concussive blow to the Bard’s head. The crowd cheered the name Dim Razor as Thom took his place as winner of the B Class Bards. Thom triumphantly banged his drums and kept the crowd arrested to his beat as he trotted out of the arena and back to meet with his friends.

After the main event of the evening, the finals of the Fighters, there took place a ceremony presided over by Warian Greenshield where all winners from each of the three classes were each presented with 2,000 gold pieces. Spellcasters spiced up the ceremony with small magical cantrips, fireworks, and color displays as the carnival performers outside of the stadium performed. The declaration of cross-class challenges followed. The winner of the C class division, a _________ named __________ stepped to Ventik and issued a challenge. Ventik, who had been feeling nothing but terrible since his “victory” over Moira, took the opportunity to take the challenger to task by venting a bit of frustration and showing everyone in attendance what a barbarian could do. The crowd roared as Vetnik defeated the ________ with merciless precision, winning an additional 2,000 gold. Alas, as he walked victorious from the arena, the high of victory seemed to escape him. There was no solace in his victory. Moira’s impassioned smile was no longer there to greet him, and as he returned to his party, the sting of his win over Moira only seemed to burn even more.

The only B to A challenge was issued by Slean Beechbranch to A class winner Fisk Moonford. The contest started with combat, with skills to follow. In the midst of combat, Slean leaned in close to Fisk as he appeared to whisper something in his ear. Slean underhandedly drove his blade through Fisk’s heart, killing him instantly. The crowd composed not only of men, but women and children alike, began to shriek in horror. This was an especially troubling act, as it appeared Slean had been able to breach the protective magics that dampened magical damage and prevented fatal physical damage from being done. “Oi! Where’s my gold?!” Slean cried out, no care given to his fallen opponent or to the mothers covering their children’s horrified eyes. When no move was made to pay him he grew more indignant. “Where is my coin? I know the rules…where’s my damn gold!” Two unnaturally large goons entered the field silently and placed their meaty hands upon Slean, dragging him out with little effort on their part Slean out. The crowd was arrested in a hush awe, with only Slean’s protests cutting through the silence.

A representative of Warian Greenshield visited all of the Bards and presented them with 50 pieces of platinum each to distract the crowd with music and performance while they did away with the corpse. Of the five recruited, only Dim Razor and the two bards he personally defeated (the half-elf lyrist Scur Tindagger and the other drummer, the female Yasha Twelvefingers) managed to keep up. The other two — the female Isidor of the Pale Ruins and the Tiger Nomad Shurik (of Hoscha) — fell behind the beat and departed the field to return their pay. The Bards succeeded in turning the mood, and the games concluded in a way that left the crowd feeling mostly positive about the season. As the attendees departed and the vendors packed up their goods, Thom was approached by a man who asked if he’d be interested in any after hours action. When asked about the company he keeps, he replied, “only my horses”.
The mystery man asked Thom to hang around until the crowds were all gone. “We’ll talk later,” the man said with a bit of a wink. Moments later, Grum was approached as well and asked the same question. Grum replied, “I’m with people.”
“I hope they’re not that cavalier and paladin that have yet to leave, because they are definitely not going to want to get in on this.”
Lyssa, meanwhile, stayed to herself in introspective contemplation. The first time adulation in such an explosively massive way felt overwhelming, and she spent her time trying to contain and process all of it. She did take notice to Moira and Vetnik from afar, ready to pounce on Vetnik should his interaction with Moira displease her in any way. Lyssa watched though, and saw the prince in what appeared to be low spirits. Lyssa kept herself at bay and continued to stand by in silence. Trisoll had other opinions on the weirdly celebration-less air. “For a bunch of winners, you’re all pretty dour right now!”

Their traveling companions from Raven’s Claw returned to meet with the party from Greyhawk, all collectively expressing their disappointment in not placing. “The next season’s games are ours for the taking!” Galrim exclaimed, trying to lift his own men’s spirits. They fully and heartily congratulated Trisoll, Vetnik, and Lyssa before seeking out the Black brothers with the same message: they represented the characteristics of Raven’s Claw with honor and that they should share the honor with whomever they feel deserves it. They said their goodbyes and set themselves back on the road onto new adventures.

The mysterious man from after the games stalked the fairgrounds once more looking for Dim Razor and (Grum’s assumed name) and after finding them, revealed to them the secret of the after-hours dark games. Gone would be the magical dampening fields in favor of an all-out, no holds barred bloodsport, where the winner who takes their fatal victory would receive tenfold their share of gold — graciously put up by more discreet thrill-seekers looking for action. The brothers took a moment to deliberate. Grum decided that he could not kill for money and declined. Thom also declined, but not out of moral objection, but apprehension for the suspicious nature of these so-called dark games (if such games existed and lacked all manner of rule and order, what was to stop the organizers from killing he and his friends despite winning or losing?) Lyssa was last approached by the sketchy man, but seeing the rest of the party packing their things and mounting their horses, decided to take the ride home.

No more than a mile out of town, the party was set upon by eight grizzled bandits hoping to relieve them of their winnings. Vetnik was first to act and wounded two separate thieves with the slashing of his longsword. Quite annoyed by the encounter, Lyssa lifted her hand and summoned a mighty Fireball, a spell that was conjured with such intensity that it burned all of the bandits and left them smoking in the road. Vetnik sheathed his blade and as he did so, turned back to Lyssa and tipped his helmet to her — a genuine act that only perplexed Lyssa even more.

Several days later on their journey back to Greyhawk, the party happened upon a grizzled man berating four young children picking small plants from the grasses. Seeing the disheveled children at the mercy of this man, Moira immediately stopped her horse and dismounted. “Vetnik?” she asked, turning towards the barbarian prince. He complied and the pair headed over. As they approached, Moira noticed a long, thin switch in the man’s belt with a well-worn handle. Turning towards the children, she could see not only filth but lashes up and down the backs of their little legs. The man, alerted by the sounds of armored boots, spun around.
“This doesn’t concern you, piss off!”
Vetnik grabbed the man without word or concern and wrenched his arm up behind his back.
Moira approached the children while Vetnik subdued the grizzled man. “What are you children doing out here? Has this man harmed you?” The children were dead eyed at first, but at the sight of Moira’s warm grace, they began to break down and huddled together in tears. It appeared the paladin’s fears were confirmed.
“Those is my children, you slag!” the grizzled man barked at Moira, whose eyes were a mix of pity and fury. Enraged by this, Lyssa too dismounted and left the Black brothers and Trisoll to their mounts. Vetnik wrenched the man’s arm harder at the sound of the insult, dislocating his shoulder and causing the man to cry out for mercy, “let me and my kids go!”
Lyssa strode past Vetnik and the grizzled man and with a wave of her hand, cast Blindness over him before moving towards Moira. “My eyes…My eyes, I can’t see! What have you done, you sodding witch!”
“Where are you children from?” Moira asked sweetly, kneeling down to their level with Lyssa looming behind. The children stayed cowered together, frightened and afraid to speak. “It’s alright, I promise you are safe now!” Moira assured. She removed her gauntlet and extended her hand to them. One child stepped forward.
“Beloth” he said in a shrunken, dry voice.
“And you don’t know who this man is?”
The child looked to his captor for approval, but seeing him incapacitated, quickly shook his head from side to side before retreating back to the other children.
“Thank you,” Moira replied, her voice cracking. Turning to Lyssa, she asked, “please watch them” and stomped her way towards Grum and his mount. “Do you have any rope?”
Grum shrugged and began to rummage through his bundle.
“We ought to just burn him and leave his sorry corpse.” Lyssa shouted out, keeping an awkward side-eye on the children (who seem both intimidated and fascinated by her.)
“Though he is despicable,” Moira began as she returned with Grum’s rope in hand, “it is not our place to act as his judge and executioner. That is what the law is for.”
As Moira approached Vetnik and the prisoner, Vetnik expressed his own dissatisfaction with Moira’s plan. “You heard it from the children’s mouths.”
“Our priority needs to be getting these children back to their homes.” Moira countered.
“Very well. Give me the rope… please,” Vetnik requested, to which Moira obliged. Moira returned to the children and she and Lyssa escorted them to the horses, where they rode with herself and Trisoll. The children held on tight as they made their way down the road. Vetnik kept to the back and spared the children the awful sight: Vetnik dragging the blinded slaver behind his armored horse, his arms bound to his torso and tied off to the rope, which Vetnik firmly kept at his side as he lead him down the road. The slaver whimpered and struggled to follow, his arms unable to help him keep balance while his sightless-ness only further hindered and humiliated him. “Let me… let me go please! I don’t have nothing else for you, take the kids, leave me here on the road!” The slaver’s cries for mercy only seemed to anger Vetnik more, who yanked at the rope at every protest.

Almost half a day later, the children had directed the party to their home village of Beloth. The village itself was a small hamlet with only a few huts and, at most, 8 families. As their horses entered the hamlet, villagers slowly crept out of their homes, and as they saw their tuckered children sleeping against the backs of the heroes, rushed towards them with tearful cries of thanks! As the women retrieved the children and ushered them into their homes, the men stood and graciously thanked the party. Soon after, their circle of thanks was interrupted by a wretched sight. Dragging him behind like a lame dog on a leash, Vetnik introduced the villagers to the man who had taken their children. Throwing down the pitiful slaver to the ground, the men of the village quickly drug him away shouting and cursing at him. “Bring back the rope when you’re done”, Vetnik called out as they pulled him away. Moments after he disappeared from view, one of the men returned with the rope and quickly returned to the mob of men. The villagers then offered what meager resources they had (food, water, shelter) but the party had plenty on their own and were ready to be home already. They give their final thanks and the party continued their journey home.

Days later just outside of Greyhawk, a drunk was seen stumbling down the road with wine-filled leather bota in hand. He glanced at Moira with uneven, beady red eyes and slurred out to her,“what’s a fit, sweet lass like you in all that armor?” Moira did her best to ignore him at first, but he persisted. “C’mere girlie, I’ve got something you can ride better than that horse of yours!”
“You are uncouth sir,” Moira replied with disgust and she quickly rode ahead. Wanting to deal further humiliation to the blathering wino, Lyssa slowed her pace and began to stare down the man. “What are ya looking at, ya waif?” Lyssa smiled and with a quick flash of her eyes, cast a terrifyingly potent Scare spell over him, leaving him behind a quivering mass on the side of the road.

Once back at Greyhawk, Lyssa was the first to depart. Leaving her horse in Trisoll’s care, she took her bag of winnings and headed back to her apartment for the evening. Vetnik escorted Moira back to her father’s house with Trisoll tagging along. At the doorstep of House Steelshaper, Moira turned to Vetnik and said quietly to him, “There is no fault here, you are a great warrior.”
“Thank you, I’m glad someone thinks so,” replied the cavalier before Moira made her way inside the house.
“So, what’s going on here?” asked Trisoll.
“Let’s go have a drink or several,” Vetnik replied.
“Well, ok!” the cleric heartily agreed.

The Black brothers made a first stop off at their shared home, stashing away their newly acquired riches. Grum remained in for the evening while Thom made his way to the bazaar after dark to spend some coin. After hours of perusal, he found a number of magical items for sale, though most were outside of his price range. He settled on a Horn of Fog, an Elixir of Youth, and a Potion of Heroism before heading home.

Vetnik and Trisoll made a stop at Pimpleton Manor to stable their horses and check in with Zemilay, who they learned was enjoying some alone time with his reunited love, Xanti. Vetnik left a note while Trisoll tried his best not to think about it and together they headed to the Dripping Blade (per Trisoll’s suggestion.) Trisoll explained that the tavern belonged to Thom and Grum’s mother, Lady Morgana Black, and that the place was much nicer inside then it might initially appear (though the outside was still much nicer than when the Lady Black acquired it). Inside, the pair indulged in four pints of ale each. While this was just enough to get Vetnik on the cusp of drunkenness, it was more than enough to get Trisoll fairly inebriated. During the course of this, the two had a conversation about Vetnik’s feelings for Moira and discussed possibly moving on in light of his defeating her at the Games. Trisoll in his slurred speech advised him to go with whatever he truly feels is right.
“If you want her, go after her! If not, well… I know plenty of girls who would fawn over a strapping knight like yourself!”
“No, not those kind of girls,” Vetnik replied, protesting the off-color suggestion. Vetnik, in his ale-laced state, continued to meditate on what it might be like to exploit his royal heritage in the quest to meet someone. With the night coming to an end for both men, Vetnik took the drunken cleric and carted him back towards Pimpleton Manor. Vetnik continued to ponder if whether or not his quest to win the hand and heart of the pure-of-heart Steelshaper girl was a vain one, all the while doing his best to reign his friend in from drunkenly engaging with other nightowls in slurred, jovial pleasantries.

A Day at the Games


Grum continues with Thurmin training for the next 3 days. Knowing Thurmin’s true agenda, Grum is indifferent and waits to play his hand to see how his agenda develops. Thurmin doesn’t press the matter of insurrection beyond the night of the bazaar. He instead takes him through his trial runs in preparation for the games.

Moira spends one of three days cloistered in the church of Cortox, praying for guidance. Trisoll spends his remaining three days in Greyhawk wandering, enjoying the city he lives in.

After Thom’s competition, Trisoll visits Lyssa.
“What do you want?”
“I think it’s late and you’ve been drinking what do you want?”
“I have but my dad… he’s pretty pissed. He feels disrespected and… he’s just trying to help you—“
“Trying to help me?”
“I’m better now, I’m fine.”
“Ok… well, yeah. Well, I’ll tell my dad you’re ok. I don’t know if you’re still against physical contacts like hugs but… yeah, I’m gonna go sleep. G’nite Lyssa. I’m glad you’re better now.”

Lyssa spends the next few days, experiments. When she returns to see Ebevaria, she sees a more tutorly witch. Still condescending, she sees the raw energies she’s playing with and is going to teach Lyssa the techniques to shape the wild stuff of magic. Ebevaria brooches the subject of wild mage. She explains Lyssa’s temper makes the magic fluctuate, so instead of rejecting the anger, she will learn to harness it. “If you want to be truly a sorceress to be feared, you’ll sit at my side and soak up every ounce of my knowledge.”

“I’ve been invited to go to the games.”
“Some other. It’s just chasing wealth and frail concepts of glory.”
“If do go… what can I do to ensure that my magic won’t misfire. Since it’s quite certain there is no one like you. If you do come back, you had better come back with tales of glory. Or not at all.”
“Yes… Miss Ebevaria.”
Ebevaria dismisses the mage, and as she exits, she glances at a letter on Ebevaria’s desk. She spots Zemilay’s broken wax seal. Fearing the rush of break ins, Lyssa takes the orb with her and departs for the games.

Thom spends his next three days crafting tanto throwing daggers. He makes a decent, working pair.

The morning of the tenth, the party rendezvous with Raven’s Claw for a breakfast at Pimpleton manor. George comes to the door and sees Xost.
“Is sir Xostin here?”
George calls to Vetnik. “There’s a Master Xostin here to see you.”
“Sir Vetnik!” Vetnik picks him up with a jolly hug.
“Aggg! Thank you. My companions told me you took on a boon?”
“But why? “
“I’m a man of my word and stand for something greater.”
Galrim enters and slaps Xostin on the shoulder.
“He’;s a good man who follows thru! Look at him, he has to!”

“This was quite eye opening, my visit here. Do you feel ready for the games?”
Lyks hobbles out from his study. Overhearing their discussion “If they need anything, I’m sure I’ll be able to supply it. We usually talk about it over breakfast.”
Alwyn struts over. “Druid? Quite the horn, I’m Alwyn. Is this your house?”
“No, I’m merely here and watch over these children to make sure they don’t die.”
“These are hardly children, sir! I’ve watched over them since they were children.”
“I see. Spend much time in th woods?”
“Not so much. I do get to ride Snowflake.”
“My pegasus.”
“Yes. She’s greying but still sturdy.”
Alwyn points out his party. Galrim is there leader.

Lyssa knocks at the door. In the commotion, Moira opens and sees the mage. “Lyssa, hello.”
“So, I hear we’re going to the games today.”
“Yes, um… Uncle Lyks, Lyssa is here.”
“We’re going to games together.”
“She’s forbidden to enter.”
“She isn’t inside. Extend the courtesy to let her in.”
“Will she obey?”
Moira waves her in quietly. George sits everyone down for a large breakfast. Dwarves are boisterous and enjoy their cuisine. The gnome smokes, and the elves are overly aloof. They are however impressed to see George capable of making adequate Elvish food.

After breakfast, Raven’s Claw goes to fetch their own wagon. The company gathers their horses (Thom = Starbright, Grum = Sexy, Vetnik = Cleddene) Lyssa and Moira are still undecided and not motivated to any particular horse. Trisoll rides up with Raven’s Claw in attempt to strengthen bonds.

The games themselves are mobile. They set up in an area while they build up and strike their portable games grounds. Merchants also make the journey in order to accommodate the 10000 attendees. They make their way to the battlegrounds up towards Western Furyondy. Ovet the next 13 days, they tell them of the various duels that take place. All our combat duel based except for the priests, who are forbidden from using healing spells in duels built around blessings and combat. in duels Winner gets 2000gp. Winner of cross class either duels where challengers gets 5000. Costs 50gp for entry.

The journey brings the two parties together. The dwarves are fun loving while the elves are moody. The gnomes seems to be a more deliberate, less flighty gnome than the others encountered. On the four day, On the road, they see blood and tracks. A trail leads off the road into the woods. Ventik looks out and does, as well as Thom. They deduce a large, healthy wolf caught something drug it off. Tufts of brown fur kick it up in the breeze. “Looks like there’s a wolf around.” Thom remarks. Beyond the murder scene, they see a wedding procession coming down the road. Lyssa glares hardcore while Vetnik courtesies. Suddenly, their woos of happiness are followed by shrieks of fear. Raven’s Claw bring their wagon to a halt and the rogues pour out of their wagon. Vetnik charges forward. “WOLVES!” Flurmin calls out. Vetnik leads the charge to save the party.

Thom is first to arrive and spots 8 wolves snapping at a bridal party, women shrieking. Thom releases a color spray and knocks a wolf unconscious with its blast. Vetnik rides in, slaying a wolf with his longsword and piercing another with his lance. Grum shoots at two wolves, piercing one and killing the injured one. One wolf ignores the attacking party and is dragged off her horse and eaten by a wolf. A second leaps at Thom and bites at his arm. A third rushes to Flurmin but the dwarf is swift to sidestep. A forth claws at Lyssa and snags her. A fifth viciously leaps over the second wolf and tears into his left arm, drawing blood. Galrim rushes over to the wolf that attacked Thom and cuts into the beast with a glowing blue axe. He splits its skull in two! Galather fires off a pair of arrows, the first missing and the second jamming itself into the wolf’s shoulder. Xostin jams his mini longsword into the eye of an attacking wolf. “We don’t have to slaughter these wolves!” Trisoll cries out before closing his eyes and telepathically asks the wolves to run away. “My friends are going to kill you! They are not your food, go!” All except one deeply who is deathly injured by the arrow. Vetnik cuts its head off. After they see a bridal party cowering, morning over their fallen sister. Alwyn offers to bind the body, bless the corpse. They gives the men proper thanks. The bride herself gives the men of the party a parting kiss. “If you had not been here, this day would have been far more tragic.” Lyssa mines the wolf corpse for organs. The Raven’s Claw gents offer to escort the weary bridal party back home, but their latent xenophoba prevent them from accepting.

Lyssa’s herbalism rolls
10 successful rolls
- Comfrey
- Belladonna
- Cow parsnip
- Woodrose
- Fennel
- Billberry
- Darnell
- Arnica
- Darnell
- Hemp (Trisoll mentions his admiration for the odor of this particular herb to Lyssa.)

On Day 8, the party sees a militia running through drills and exercises. They see their banners and deduce they’re from Freeburrow. It appeared according to the path taken, the bridal party was on their way to Belgen. On Day 12, the party comes across a theatre troupe of masked performers and mimes and clowns. During the evening, they pair off into teams of 2 for the evening watch. Thom tries to summon a familiar but no such luck during his watch. Vetnik pairs up with Galather, who is pretty stoic. Galather roams while Vetnik sits in silence and watches. Lyssa is stuck with Flurmin, who attempts to talk of getting many riches at the games. Lyssa is unamused and stays silent. Xostin and Grum take the next watch. Grum asks him about his illusions. “I find your magic interesting.”
“The Gnomish people have always been drawn to illusions. The imagination of a gnome is truly magical, and something to behold. I know the humans have a specific study, but the school really belongs to us.”
“That’s great.
Thom and Galrim pair up for their watch. Galmrim gives him more insight into Raven’s Claw. They ask very little, the rewards are there. Represent the qualities and the rest they can’t be bothered with. Going places with a loose brotherhood!” Galrim continues to regale Thom with tales of their past adventures. Galrim’s discussion grows more impassioned, which seems to attract the attention of something else. Thom spots an arrow whiz by Galrim’s head. Thom hears the whistle and pulls the arrow out of the air and tosses it aside with a juggling motion.”
“By the gods!” A voice calls out. He steps out, hands up. “I mistook you for a deer, I’m so sorry. That was marvelous, but I’m so sorry.”
“You’re telling me you thought two men were deer!”
“Don’t apologize to me, apologize to te dwarf!”
Galrim asks XOstin to cast a spell and moments later, waves the archer away.
“Where did you get such timing?!”
“My mother!”
The last shift is covered by Trisoll and Alwyn who share a polite and quite discussion about their opposing deities.

Thunderstorms carry throughout the night. In the morning, rain has left leaving behind clouds. As they ride up, they see a number of tents and wagons of every variety surrounding the grounds. Most sell food with a few merchants. Entering the grounds, they see two corrals. One line leads to warm up rooms and training areas, while the other leads to seating and certified vendors. One man stands at the front taking down information and the competition fee, $50gp.

Throughout the day, each member from every other party makes it into the top six. Thom enters as his masked alter ego, Dim Razor. Every category tent is bustling with activity. Humans, elves and demihumans gather together. As the 7th rounds begin, the gates close again. From a podium in the middle, the grandmaster (Orium) welcomes everyone for coming and enjoying the games all day. A drunken, rowdy crowd cheers wildly.
“I’d like to welcome Barin Jermain, grand of the Furyondyian army.” A man in his late 50s still sturdy and verily. Next to him “Tovylyus Stilmyst, aide to the Grand High Elf Queen.” In the next box, he points to a third whose identity is not addressed. There is something eerily familiar about the third man to Thom and Grum. In the commotion of food vendors, the cheeseman Noell Graven runs into the party. “So nice to see you all again! Tell you something, or lane is a place of joy and growth and inspiration. The statue of Cirilli was told was gift from you people. That’s an incredible gesture, something we cannot possibly repay you for!” Noeel reaches in and gives Thom and Vetnik a bear hug. “I didn’t know you all were competing.”
“Just come cheer us on!” Vet
“You have no doubt I’ll be there!”

Another merchant makes his way around as Noeel continues towards the seating. He asks if anyone has any diseases or ailments and offering his wares. “Ummm…” It’s revealed that it’s Iggy Olvero.
“Not so fast” Ve
“I was under the influence, I heard the spell was broken. So thanks to you. Do you need any polstices.”
“Sure. We’ll a good sample or two.”
“Of all the folks we liberated, none have shown signs of guilt.” Th
“I have memories of you tying me up!”
“Do you have memories of you untying yourself.”
Lyssa approaches, holding her dagger. Iggy drops the rest of his sack. “Here! Enjoy the polsitces!”
Moira steps forward. “You have repaid your debt this day. Go, now.”

Vetnik steps into his ring for specialized fighters. Cavaliers, paladins, rangers, and the like gather to fight. Vetnik’s first opponent is Ruris Silveraxe, a dwarves paladin. A curious sight, one that Vetnik has never encountered before.
“Hello sir, I am Rurik.”
“I’m a paladin to the god Silverbeard. Best of luck to you.”
They enter the battlefield. Rurik Silveraxe rushes Vetnik with a silver axe but Vetnik is swift enough to dodge. Vetnik swing with his longsword and crashes it upon him. Vetnik lashes out two more times with his sword, the first connects and the second misses as he rolls out of the way. Rurik leaps back to his feet and swings four times but misses all four. Vetnik returns with a cleaving blow and a second slash to the side. Vetnik hits him again with his sword but misses with his second blow. A dazed Rurik cuts at Vetnik’s armor with his axe successfully. Vetnik being younger and more agile lands another hit. Rurik responds by knocking his axe against Vetnik. Rurik quickly tries to connect with three more hits but fails. Vetnik, tired of this challenger, slaps the paladin unconscious. The crowd cheers humbly.

Grum fights a figure cloaked in full grey robes, introduced only as Moard.
“Alright Moard, bring it on!”
In the arena, Grum draws his longsword and axe. The silent Moard is struck with both weapons. Moard retaliates with a pair of daggers. When the robed warrior moves, Grum notices her more female shaped form clinging underneath. Grum hits with his hand axe again, but Moard quickly whips around stabbing twice. Moard kicks twice but misses. Grum slaps Moard with the side of his axe. Grum swings again with his longsword with such loose form that he falls and drops his sword. The crowd cries out in an awed hush as Grum quickly snaps his sword back up. Moard quickly takes the initiative to strike, kicking once and missing and kicking a second time in his stomach. She attempts to smash at him twice more but misses. Grum rolls over and strikes with both his longsword and hand axe. Moard staggers back and as she gets her bearings, Grum misses his two strikes. Moard punches Grum in the face and chest and rushes back. Grum struggles to hit at first but the second strike is forceful, knocking Moard back a bit. The pair take a pause to breathe before Grum strikes twice, the first misses the second is measly. Moard tries to hit but misses both times. Moard is shaky on her first hit but the second move she quickly bashes Grum in the kneecap, hitting a cluster of nerves. “Ahhhhh!”
Moard reacts by slashing twice but misses. Grum misses his hit with the longsword and then his axe. Moard shows signs of exhaustion and misses Grum again. Grum strikes twice and misses twice. Grum tries to muster strength but Moard takes the window and sticks Grum right in the torso and knocks the wind out of him, sending him falling to the ground. The nurses rush in and do they best to tend to Grum. They lead him in their arms to the Exhibition of Skills, following after a silent Moard. In the tent stands two clothed men, unmoving. Moard moves in first and fails, with her mark grabbing her wrist. Grum staggers to steal but is caught as well. They are next ushered to a pair of locked chests. Moard struggles and fails to open the look. Grum is quite the opposite and with one flick of the wrist cracks the chest open. Grum’s future opponents acknowledge his skill. The next round is a find/remove trap challenge. Moard goes first and finds the trap successfully. She easily takes the trap off the door. Grum moves in and finds the trap as well, and effortlessly takes the trap off the door, more skillfully than Moard. The crew drags out a tiger cage. Grum goes first and easily sneaks past the sleeping beast without disturbing it. Moard attempts to do the same but the tiger wakes and roars furiously. The following round, a crew man is sent to a nearby tower. There, he will attempt to shoot them in shadows. Both succeed, but Grum becomes one with the shade. He eventually spots Moard, her robe partially visible, and she is struck. Crew men bring out two chests and ask them to hear noises. Moard and Grum both fail in their guesses, opening up to reveal a bird. They are next ushered to a wall where both climb. Moard slinks up but Grum skitters up much quicker. As he reaches the top, Grum is called out as the winner and the crowd cheers.

Lyssa is quiet in the pen, both nervous to explore her the new magics opened to her thanks to her studies with her new tutor. She puts on a game face though and keeps to herself. Her first opponent is a human wizard, Harakaitz. Lyssa is first to cast, and silently stares the wizard down. Her eyes a red glow, the crowd watches as suddenly the human wizard begins to shriek and cower to the ground under the influence of a scare spell. Using this opportunity, Lyssa quickly dispatches him by conjuring a large flaming bolt from the sky and sends it crashing down upon the wizard, putting him down for the count. The crowd cheers and Lyssa returns to the pen a little more confident, feeling the intensity of the new magics surging through her.

In the Bard battle, Thom fights against a half elven traditional bard, Skimdagger. He fights with a shortsword and plays a lute. They enter battle first. “The songs we’ll sing about later, eh friend?”
Thom shakes his hand and laughs. “Indeed!”
Thom draws his wakashazi blade and strikes twice but misses. Skimdagger swipes with a short sword but misses. Thom slashes again and hits but Skimdaggermisses twice in a row. Thom slashes again and hits. Skimdagger stabs and hits and Thom slashes twines. The first is a deft hit but the second lands against Skimdagger’s head. The blow quickly knocks the bard down upon the ground. So struck is he that he misses his hit. Thom misses his first strike but bashes him in the nose with the butt of his blade. Thom is triumphant, walks over, and helps the bard up of the ground. Thom and Tindagger are robed by attendants. “I was truly outclassed as a warrior. I pray my skill with the lute serves me well.”
“Best of luck to you.”
“Something tells me you don’t need it!”
Thom begins a song but stumbles upon his first couple hits. Tindagger busts out old school lute music that is comforting and rouses the crowd to cheers. They enter a sudden death where Tindagger bluffs his lute playing. So offensive was it to the fest organizer that his goons were called to escort Tindagger out of the arena.

In the next round, Vetnik is up against Manton the Bold, a cavalier from a different order. They discuss and agree to joust. Manton wishes Vetnik the best but is cold and stoic in doing so. The pair mount their horses and take up their spears. in the first run, Vetnik smashes in Manton’s shield and bangs against his arm. The second run, they fly past each other. The pair reach other, Vetnik just a moment ahead. Manton rushes past and the pair continue for several rounds, unable to hit each other. After several rounds unencountered, Manton finally conedes. As the announcer calls Vetnik out as the winner, Tyvollus stands and curses Vetnik as an escapee. He casts 3 magic missiles from his staff, knocking him off his horse. In the commotion, Vetnik and Thom look out into the boxes. Thom remembers the face from a painting in his youth. It’s Nerof Gasgal, the old mayor of Greyhawk! His jovial, surrounded by wenches and wine and enjoying the games.

In her second match, Lyssa faces off against another human, a mage in brown robes named Wregan Blackwood. As her namesake indicates, she carries around an ebony wooden staff. She seems adverse to Lyssa and is quick to enter the ring and get the fight over with. Lyssa conjures a fireball, more massive than she’s ever casted one before, and launches it at the unsuspecting mage. Regain pounds her blackened staff in front of her and attempts to split the fireball. She fails though, and the onslaught of magical flame knocks the mage down and out. Flames burn on the ground around her, but shockingly, Wregan’s body itself seems unaffected. Lyssa approaches and looms over Wregan’s body. She holds her hand over the unconscious mage as if it conjure something. Suddenly, the flames surrounding the two women burst into nothingness. A remarkable and uncharacteristic act of mercy from her. Moira watches, inspired and moved by her act of compassion. Lyssa’s daze is broken by the cheers from the crowd.

In the second Bard round, Thom faces off against a drummer named Yasha Twelve-Fingers. In combat, she draws a pair of short swords. “I look forward to seeing your skills on the drums.”
Thom clumsily drops his wazashazi blade and spends his time picking it up. Yasha rushes in slashing, but misses. Thom recovers and misses both. Yasha misses both of her hits as well. After three more rounds of not hitting, Thom taps her with his wakashazi blade. Yasha misses both hits and Thom follows with a severe hit and follows that with a blow to the right arm and cuts into the girl’s arm. Disabled, Yasha swings with her one good arm but misses. Thom slashes and misses. Yasha and Thom miss again until Thom swipes at her again with his wakashazi blade. He misses another hit but the second hits the left leg and cuts in her thigh. She submits on the verge of consciousness. Thom is a gentleman and helps her up.

Thom notices her drums are more influenced by a different culture. Thom beats his drums with cockiness but Yasha is inspired and dexterous, rousing the crowd in her daze. Thom wins the coin toss and the two agree to combat once more. Yasha jumps in with both arms, but neither hit. Thom hits twice and knocks her around. Thom strikes two more times, but Yasha returns with two connects and stirkes Thom twice in the face. Yasha goes to strike again but falls and drops her weapon. Thom presses his foot against her shoulder and presses her into the ground. He wips his swords around and flashes them into his holsters.

Grum’s next battle is against an elf woman named Asteria Silverkin. In the ring, she asks “Do I know you?”
“Um, I dunno.”
“You’re from greyhawk? I’m from the guild.”
Grum smiles as she tries to work her feminine wiles. “Never saw you looking at me at the guild. Most of the other thieves find their fancy.”
“Well, it’s not polite to stare.”
“Of course. let us speak again when this is decided. I’d wish you luck, but you know…”

Asteria attacks viciously with her daggers from the outset. She jabs at Grum’s left leg and cracks him in the same knee that was injured in the previous round. Asteria winks and kicks away at Grum. Grum charges ahead with his sword and axe, hitting with both. Asteria swings and knocks at Grum while Grum responds with two misses of his own. As Asteria waves her hands around, he notices 9 green painted nails and a red painted pinky. That seems to distract Thom, causing him to miss both hits. Asteria misses as well. Grum hits for 3. Asteria hits for 4. After much back and forth, the fatigue gets to Grum and he topples over and drops his weapon. After a few more rounds, Grum drops his sword again. The crowd begins to boo and jeer at Grum. Asteria hits back but only barely. After a series of blows, she concedes on the combat challenge and the pair immediately move into the exhibition of skills.

Grum goes first and makes the pickpocket just narily. Asteria also makes it just barely. At the locks, Asteria cheeses it on the lock but Grum makes it. Both Grum and Asteria find and dismantle their traps. Asteria moves like a ghost past the tiger but Grum is more sneaky in the Move Silently round. Asteria is increasingly pissed. The round of Shadows Grum also makes, but Asteria makes the Sound Check. In the climb walls, both attempt to climb but both fall off to the jeers of the crowd. A crier announces Grum as the winner!
“I can see why you do so well… we need to talk. Next time I see you at the guild, don’t be surprised if I seek you out.”

Trisoll wins his category and 2000gp. He brings over his opponent to Moira. “Hey Moira, this guy Older the Seeker is a priest of Cortox! You know this guy?”
“No! Hello, Oldor, I am Moira Steelshaper. Paladin of Cortox. How did you come upon his teachings?”
“His teachings are available to those who seek them.”
“Believe me, I’d love to speak with a priest. I have to combat a companion of mine. Someone I’m quite fond of and it fills with me strange feelings.”
“Fear not daughter, everything will work out for the best.”

In the final specialized warrior round, Vetnik goes up against the only other opponent, Moira Steelshaper.



As the evening takes hold over Greyhawk, the party finishes their dinner at Pimpleton Manor. Thom is first to depart and heads on foot to the Inn of the Weeping Willow. At the Inn, Thom sees his tutor berating a female student for not being as capable as Chan. Chan plays his woodwind with expert precision. “You see, this is how it is done!” The student runs out in tears and bumps into Thom.

“You don’t practice, you waste my time! You see this face? It’s an old face, and I am an old man who has little time for ill commitments!”

Thom approaches the tutor’s table. “This here is a promising new student. What’s your name again?”
“Thom Drum, sir.”
“How could I forget, Thom Drum? Would you do us the pleasure?” he asks, laying out sheet music.
Thom begrudgingly accepts and aces the foreign beat. Lactile’s brows curl up as he smirks, nodding in acknowledgment (especially when Thom hits the difficult part.) “Excellent! A novice student could never have played that. It’s a testament to this man’s dedication and craft.”

A female student in particular, a red-haired ukeleliest, has keen eyes for him. Thom notices and begins to play a charming song while reciting a romantic sonnet. He fails unfortunately, much to her amusement. “I’m sorry, I haven’t attempted acting in ages. Practice makes perfect.”
“You can thank the gods this isn’t an acting class,” Lactile interjects. “I would like to spend more time with you. Chan tells me you’re an honorable man and your skill is apparent.”
“How about some wine then?” Thom asks
“Elvish is preferred. The rest of you be gone! Except for you, Chan.” Lactile Furlo’s students exit in silence, leaving only himself and his two prized students together at a booth.

“I take it you’ve had Elvish wine before?” Lactile notes. “I’m curious about your lineage. Where did you learn these skills?”
“When I was a child, I had a master tutor.”
“What kind of upbringing did you have that would allow for such studies, Tom Drum?”
“Early on, one of constant travel. Later on, I spent my days in the high courts of Greyhawk before traveling again.”
“Now I do believe I recognize you. You’re one of the Black boys, aren’t you? That would explain the refinement and skill. Well, the secret is safe with Chan and I. Operate under a pseudonym if you must.”
Thom silently tips his glass, careful to hide any discomfort at his teacher knowing more than he’d like him to know.
“What plans do you have this evening?” Lactile asks of Thom. “If we could spend some time speaking more about musical theory? Perhaps Chan can show you some of his native skills. You’re both the most impressive in my keep. You know, you and Chan will have to determine at some point who is my star pupil.”
“No plans to speak of sir, other than perhaps earning a bit of coin.”
Thom finishes his wine. Thom decides to perform for the evening in an attempt to earn some coin, beginning with juggling. He’s shaky, but his quick recovery only causes the audience to be more roused. The house raises his rate from copper to silver for being so engaging.

Back at the manor, Moira intercepts George’s tray for Vetnik and heads upstairs to find him.
“George, just leave it at the door,” Vetnik moans.
Moira creaks the door open and enters. “It’s not George.” She enters, armorless and dressed in casual white blousy linens, with her brilliant silver sigil resting on a chain down her bust.
“I noticed you didn’t come down for dinner. You seem so upset lately. Was it Lyssa?”
“I don’t appreciate her accusatory tone. I’m a nobleman, I wouldn’t do anything to offend you or dare take advantage of you.”
“I didn’t think you would. I know you’re a good man, Vetnik. You carry pain though, it’s unnecessary. You’re one of the few people beyond Cortox that I draw strength from.”
Vetnik stays silent for a moment. “It’s hard for me to talk about things like this, my upbringing—”
“I understand. I grew up in a city with the fathers I had. You grew up in a much harsher land.”
“It wasn’t just Granrud that was harsh. I grew up in a cold kingdom.” Vetnik cuts himself off before opening up too much. The pair sit in silence on Vetnik’s bed for a moment more or two before Vetnik hands her a letter. Moira accepts it, unsure of its contents but tucks it away discreetly. As she tucks the note away, she notices something in the corner of the room.
“Are those blacksmithing tools? Is my father—“
Vetnik looks up from his crossed arms and smiles with a bit of flush to his cheeks.
“You’re my father’s apprentice in more ways than one? That’s incredibly sweet and noble.”
Moira reaches across the bed and goes to embrace Vetnik, which he opens up for without resistance.
“I’ll leave you to your dinner. We’ll speak more in the morning.”
“Thank you, Moira.”
Moira looks at the gear and smiles and the pair parts ways.

In the evening, Grum heads to the Thieves Guild. The doorman recognizes Grum, citing Thurmin’s reference, and allows him in. Grum enters and sees the slim blonde Thurmin finishing his meal at a desk. He stands to greet Grum. “Welcome back, Grum!”
“My apologies for interrupting your meal.”
“Not at all. I haven’t seen you in a while. Operating out of the city?”
“Yes, but I’m back.”
“I am duty bound to remind you that even income from outside the city is subject to guild fees, so let’s just go ahead and say that I said that”, Thurman replies with a wink
Grum smiles ever so slightly, “Of course.”
“Very good. What brings you here tonight?”
“I came to train.”
“Very well. Let’s take a walk to the bazaar, we’ll be able to find some things that only come out at night.”

As Grum and his tutor exit the guild, Thurmin looks around before reaching into his pocket. In his hand, an object reacts with a small flash before he returns it to his pocket. “You answered just as I needed you to.”
Grum looks to Thurmin confused. “It was a test and you passed. You’re here with me, and I need more men of your calibre.”
“I’m not sure I follow” Grum whispers.
“We’re going to take down the structure. Nystra is weak and obsessed, and I’m looking for strong men of principle to operate a Thieve’s Guild, not a semi-political organization. Nystra keeps robbing this city and everything around us blind.”
“Can’t say I disagree with that.”
“Right answer, brother.” Thurmin says with a smile, waving Grum on to the bazaar.
The pair of men make their way to the bazaar and Grum watches as Thurmin surveys the booths. Grum spots a goblin, a strange sight for Greyhawk.

“Ahhh… hello, Thurmin. What can I do for you today?” the small, misshapen thing says with a jagged grimace.
“Bazox, this is my brother Grum.”
“Bazox help you Grum. What you come here for?”
“What have I come for?” Grum answers nervously. “Stealth gear perhaps, something to keep me cloaked in the shadows.”
“Yes… I have something you want.” Bazox says, pushing a jar of dark liquid. “It’s dye, makes anything you drench it in blacker than night. 500 gold.”
“You bring me poor student, Thurmin!”
“I’m not poor, but thats a ridiculous price for non-magical dye.”
“You need to know the rules of the bazaar after dark!”
“What else do you have?” Grum requests
“These lock picks. They’re finest quality.”
Grum inspects them and sees them to be good but not excellent quality. “Sorry, goblin. It’s not what I’m in the market for now.”
“Fah! What else you want? You know any Necromancers?”
“Um… no.”
“Bazox try to help you, what you want?”
Grum tries to haggle for the dye, but the goblin bemoans his price. “There are thieves all across the realm who want my dye! You come here and spit on my business! Bazox might as well starve tonight!”
“So, 300 gold then?”
“Eh, fine. Take it! No more poor students, Thurmin!”
Thurmin and Bazox watch as Grum unscrews the jar and dips his gloves fingers into the lightless black liquid. He pulls his fingers out and holds them up, only to see them almost vanish and blend into the shadows of the bazaar. Grum turns to Thurmin and smiles, to which Thurmin responds with a smile of his own.

At the apartment, Lyssa sees a large coiffer missing but sees nothing overturned or damaged, nor does she doesn’t notice anything pried open. She goes to the Eye of Modius and as she touches it, the orb begins to glow. Soon, the draw of the orb is all that seems to be of importance. The ornate bronze snakes that hold the orb up seem to coil underneath the orb, their gemstone eyes flickering with a red glow. Inside the orb, she sees a vision of small winged creature taking an item and leaving out of the nearby window. She begins to focus and attempt to gain more from the vision but suddenly a sharp pain cuts through her mind. With a white flash, she has an out of body flash back: she sees through Modius’s eyes him casting a spell over the winged creature, who is bound to his lab table. “I am the master, you must never forget that!” The creature groans in pained obedience. The vision cuts out and she returns to reality. She feels weakened. She quickly casts Wizard Lock on the window and casts the orb aside, which has returned to its smoky blackened state. She moves to the chest of three keepsakes and picks up the red glass dagger from Athis. As she contemplates over it, she is overwhelmed with incomprehensible memory of a dimension that shouldn’t exist, an abstract cosmic revelation seen in fragments and felt in powerful waves. The immensity of the thoughts are heavy, and while she is weakened, she realizes there is something deeper to the tales of Cortox. She sets the dagger down and takes a few much needed breaths before placing the dagger in her holster. She does one last check of the room before going to sleep. As she falls deeper into sleep, her rest becomes more fitful as visions of sand, desolation, and hardship flood her subconscious. Unrelenting heat causes her to toss and turn, sweaty through her sheets.

In the morning, the Black brothers come to the manor for a free communal breakfast. They are greeted by the entire Lyks family. Vetnik notices everyone at the table and sits across from Moira. She smiles at him, more intently than usual. He assumes she’s read the letter and suddenly becomes almost nervous.
“Weird that no one’s talking.” Trisoll breaks the silence. “What’d you do last night?”
“Made some coin at the Inn. You?” Thom replies, chowing down on eggs.
“Hung with friends at the House of Comfort.” Trisoll replies cooly.
“Trisoll! We don’t need to hear about this.” Zemilay yelps, uncomfortable by his son’s exploits.
“I didn’t go for that, father! I mean, don’t need to pay women for their company.”
“Mind your conversations more closely in front of your mother, boy.” Zemilay scolds before returning to his breakfast.
“How is tutoring going?” Zemilay asks, chasing sausage with a gulp of tea.
“Yeah, good.” Grum replies vaguely.
“I know you haven’t started with yours yet, Vetnik?”
“I haven’t felt like its the right time, sir.” Vetnik replies.
“My father will tutor him gladly, from one cavalier to another. He’ll be more than happy to pick up the sword again. It’ll be nice to have you around.” Moira responds in turn. Thom takes another sip of his morning drink, glaring at the questionable display of courtship at the table.
“What do you have planned then, Thom?” Zemilay says, noticing his expression.
“Shopping.” Thom says shortly, continuing to stuff his face.
“Anything specific?”
“Nothing particular.”
“I’ll be heading to church this afternoon, uncle. I haven’t tithed in a good while, and they could use some help with services today.” Moira announces.
“Do you need company?” Vetnik asks Moira.
“I’d like that,” Moira replies with a smile.

A knock interrupts their quiet conversation. George answers and comes back with a small letter, with a seal of Orlane addressed to Dim Razor. Zemilay laughs, “Dim Razor? Ha! You have your father’s sense of humor.”
Thom opens the letter and finds it to be correspondence from the Mayor of Orlane, Zakarias Ormond. He writes that the statue in honor of Cirilli Finla has been erected in the town square. She stands with a smile on her face and a key in hand, which is held aloft. It’s modest, but sits on a 5ft pedestal in the center of town.

Trisoll excuses himself, while Vetnik and Moira head to the church of Cortox. Grum takes the afternoon to soak his garments and armor in the uber-dark dye.

Meanwhile, Lyssa wakes up feeling oddly (but thankfully) refreshed and the apartment undisturbed. Despite feeling refreshed, her mind still races with the images and feelings the red glass dagger seemed to trigger. She is left with the feeling that all the stories she’s heard Moira tell of her god, Cortox, might actually have more merit than even the paladin knows. Looking to get out of the apartment, she makes her way to the guild.
“Who are you here to see?” the reception at the guild asks.
“Ebevaria.” Lyssa replies.
“Proceed to the sacristy. She is in her in chambers in meetings but will see you shortly.” he replies, pointing beyond the main chamber.
Lyssa finds the seating area outside Ebevaria’s offices and sits on a bench, flipping through her spell book and fiddling with her newly acquired glass dagger. Suddenly, she realizes an hour has passed and becomes impatient. She stands and puts her ear to the large wooden door. She hears the occasional growl of a large beast and realizes another 20 minutes pass. She knocks and hears no answer. Another 30 minutes pass before Lyssa slowly opens the unlocked door. She peers through the cracked door and sees the flaming silhouette of a large creature roaming about the grand office. Before she can react, a giant glowing hand of magic energy bursts through and drags Lyssa into the room.
“I am impressed. I would’ve thought you would’ve been more impatient given the stories I’ve heard about you.” Ebevaria says sitting in her chair. With a flippant wave of her hand, the glowing hand restraining Lyssa dissipates and Lyssa falls to the ground.
“Well, those stories are based on someone who was suffering from demonic possession.” Lyssa replies, sitting up.
“Oh, I know little butterfly. I’m the one who banished your ‘visitor’.”
A large glowing lion with a mane of fire sniffs and snarls around Lyssa. Lyssa reaches out and finds that the flaming mane produces no noticeable heat.
“What is it?” Lyssa asks, curious about the beast.
“Carthis? He was one of my disobedient students, little butterfly. You’ll take care not to disobey lest you end up like him.”
As Lyssa inches her hand closer, Carthis snarls in displeasure. Ebevaria snaps her fingers, a command that sends the lion strutting back to her side. “So they tell me you’ve been channeling the raw essence of magic. Misfires, mistakes. You seem to be able to cast without components and reciting magical verses.”
“It’s still happening. I thought being freed of that demon would set me right again, but I’m still—“
“Well, you’re here now, little butterfly. You are now an acolyte.”
“What does that mean?”
“You’re a student of mine, you fool! You know, little butterfly, this branch of the school would not exist if not for me. I was the first here after the White Event, and it was I who dedicated my time to understanding the wild surges and fixing broken dolls like yourself.”
“Why have you taken interest in me?”
“Ha! I haven’t. You are a favor. Thank the druid, Zemilay Lyks. It was he who requested you get some help. And all that’s required of you while you’re under my tutelage is patience… and obedience.”
“I can give you patience.”
“I demand obedience. I can turn you into a master, but to do so you will submit to me. You do not question me. I am the teacher, you are the student.”
“I guess we’ll see about that.”
Ebevaria’s calm and slightly cocky expression sours. With a snap of her finger, she silences Lyssa. As Lyssa struggles to conjure sound from her throat, Ebevaria glides over to the young mage and places her hand against her face. Lyssa feels a slight warmth under her palm before she removes her hand. “I have marked you, little butterfly. No one can see it but us. Let it serve to remind you that you are mine.” Ebevaria snaps her fingers again and choking sounds suddenly emerge from Lyssa’s mouth, the silence spell having been lifted. “Calm yourself, little butterfly. I was like you once. I understand ypur anger, it is why I provoke you. I aim to make you better than your hate,” Ebevaria remarks as she slinks back to her chair, passing her fingertips through Carthis’s fiery mane as she takes her seat.
“Fine.” Lyssa says before dashing out of the room. Outside of Ebevaria’s chamber as Lyssa makes her way out of the guild, she notices in the reflective panel in the hallway a fiery orange glowing sigil etched into her cheek. The sight of this only serves to anger Lyssa more, even provoking her to draw the glass dagger. She grips it tight in her hand and does her best to curb her temper. Once she reaches an acceptable calm, she looks into the reflective panel one last time before sheathing the dagger and stomping out of the guild.

“Your letter it surprises me to see someone so… courtly, be so bare and raw in one’s emotion” Moira comments to Vetnik as the pair walk side by side through Greyhawk towards the church of Cortox.
“Well, that was my upbringing. I had to be noble for my father, not show my feelings. But my mother nurtured me. Encouraged me to have a heart.”
“I’m glad to see that side of you. You’re a sweet man.”
“Don’t tell anyone.”
“Hahaha. Your secret is safe with me. Have you ever thought about coming to services at the church?”
“As much as I hate to decline the invitation of a beautiful woman, I’ve got enough on my plate.”
“I understand, but Cortox…”
“I know, I’m familiar with the White Event.”
“Well, there’s no need to try and be afraid or shy away from the truth.”
“I have my reasons.”
“Well, it’s a pity. Cortox loves us all.”
“It’d be a disgrace to him. I’d spend the whole sermon paying attention to you.”
Moira blushes and chuckles to herself, and the pair continue on to the church in pleasant quiet.

At the bazaar, Thom continues to look for blades and unusual weapons. There, he spies his tutor, Lactile Furlo, who appears to be poking around for things himself. Thom introduces himself.
“Hullo, Thom Drum! I take it our talk provided some insight to you. What do you seek here today? I’m here just looking for something nice.”
“I’m looking for something curious, sharp, and deadly.”
“Four eyes are better than two!”
The pair of men find mostly plain daggers, which don’t interest Thom. His hunt is for more exotic blades. Suddenly, Furlo stops Thom and pulls him towards a smaller booth operated by a small and shaggy looking gnome, much thinner than the common gnome. At the booth there’s a kettle.
“Don’t deal with the mad gnome! Look at my goods!” a nearby vendor calls out.
“This is a kettle of heating. He wants 3000 gold but we would never pay that. It’s far too much, don’t you agree Thom Drum?”
“No…no, this is a kettle of heating for 3000 gold no less!” the disheveled gnome calls out.
“Why is it worth so much?” Thom asks.
“I demand a smaller price!” Lactile interrupts, leaning in with a strange sort of charisma in his haggling.
“1000 gold!” the gnome cries out, intimidated by the old man.
“Now I think we may be speaking at a price more acceptable.” Furlo says to his pupil.
“I can’t do less than that!” the gnome informs.
“Do you have the coin on you boy?”
“No, but I do have this bracelet worth a 1000 gold.”
“What say you…?” Lactile begins, fishing for a name.
“Galbeth!” the gnome shouts.
“Galbeth, look at this fine example of craftsmanship. It’s a fine piece indeed, just look at the finery of the metalwork. And the gems! Come now, Galbeth, this is an exceptional piece and worthy of a trade.”
“Yes, yes, I will take it!” he says throwing the kettle at Lactile.
Lactile leans in and informs Thom that the kettle is no mere kettle of heating, but in reality it is a kettle of drumming. “Stretch a skin over the kettle and create the most impressively fearsome sound outdoors! This will make for a fine trophy. You come to the Inn tonight and show me what you’re made of. If your skills find favor, the kettle may be yours. A trophy!”

Vetnik heads to the Steelshaper home and finds Vortis not at home. Vetnik leaves a note for the cavalier and heads back to the manor. Once there, he finds Thom gathering drums together furiously. Vetnik comes in and asks if he needs help.
“Yes, have you seen my mother’s drums?” Thom asks rummaging through his things.
“Perhaps they’re at the warehouse. I’ll ask Master Lyks.”
“They’re the larger ones.”
“I recall, many of our bards in the North used similar drums in their acts, though they were probably much cruder than your mother’s.” Vetnik goes to see Zemilay in his office and returns to the parlor moments later with a set of keys in hand. “I’ll return soon!” Thom silently waves him off as he continues to prepare for the evening ahead.

Suddenly, the front door swings open. Seconds later, Lyssa stomps inside, the energy radiating off of her is palpable and something Thom can’t be bothered with. “Lyks!” she calls out from the foyer. Thom rolls his eyes and heads upstairs to his chambers while Xanti enters to greet the heated mage.
“No need to yell, dear.” Xanti calmly begins.
“Who are you?” Lyssa bites back.
“Dear, I am Zemilay’s wife, Xanti. You must be Lyssa, we have not been properly introduced.”
“Where is he?”
“I will take you to see him. Do know, we have not been able to see each other in many years, and in the interest of keeping a peaceful home, I will neglect to mention your acerbity as long as you come with me calmly.”

Lyssa magically shuts the door behind her and Xanti takes a small breathe before calmly leading the young mage to her husband’s study. Inside, Zemilay sits with a stern look across his face.
“My love, Lyssa is here to see you.” Xanti says smiling.
“Can you give us a moment?” Lyssa asks Xanti.
“Of course,” Xanti softly replies. She kisses her husband gently on his bearded cheek and exits the study.
“What brings you here to my home, raising your voice in such—“
“Who is Ebevaria? Who have you signed me away to?!” Lyssa interrupts.
“She is a favor to you. Your powers need to be controlled and she is the best at the guild equipped to deal with you!”
“You’ve put me in the care of a mad woman! Do you see what she’s done to my face?” Lyssa says, pointing to her cheek.
Zemilay leans forward and glares. “What do you mean, child? There’s nothing on your face! Stop this boisterous nonsense! I have done you a favor and you continue to be ungrateful. Take your leave of my home and do not return until Ebevaria’s burned some sense into you.” Lyssa looks around and notices a mirror. In it, she still sees the glowing mark, which only serves to confuse and enrage her more.
“George! Grunnis!” Zemilay calls out from his seat. Moments later the study door opens again, with George Pimpleton entering and a large bear following behind.
“I don’t need to be escorted out by your lackeys.” Lyssa proclaims. As she storms out, her temperament causes all of the burning flames in the manor to be extinguished. Candles, fireplaces, lanterns, boilers and all. Zemilay remains seated and hears the front door swing open and slam shut. George and Grunnis stand in the entryway, silent and a bit stunned.

“She doesn’t know that we couldn’t be together because of her!” Zemilay mutters under his breath.
“None of them know, master.” George says, approaching and consoling Lyks. “Is there anything I can get for you.”
“A stiff drink.”
“I’ll get one for the both of us then.” George replies before he and the bear take their leave.

“Ah hell, what happened now?” Thom mutters to himself, drum in hand, as he watches Lyssa storm out of the manor, candles and lanterns extinguishing as she passes them.

Xanti enters to console her husband, who continues to sit and mull over Lyssa’s latest tantrum. “Dear, don’t let her get to you. We’re together now, it’s over.”
“It’s never over. She serves as a constant reminder.”
“My love, it’s not her who kept us apart. Only what inhabited her.”
“Every time I look at her I can’t help but be reminded of what happened, of why I spent twenty years hobbling around alone in this house, waiting for the day you’d be able to return to me!” Zemilay takes his wife’s hand and looks into her eyes. “Do you see anything for her? A glimmer of hope?”
“Her path is dark, there’s no question about it. But her anger has a base, it’s not—“
“I’m not her father, I shouldn’t have to deal with it.”
“Sadly, his burden is yours to bear. Modius was your friend, and she is his daughter. For better or worse, if you wish to do right by him—”
“For worse apparently. I pulled all the strings I could, they wouldn’t even take her if not for me!”
“I know, my love. Her life was not a good one though.”
“Nor was mine!”
Xanti sighs and continues to hold her husband’s hand in silence, comforting him.

“Thom, I can hear you out there.” Zemilay calls out, rubbing Xanti’s aged hands back.
“I don’t know what happened!” Thom says, nervously entering the study.
“Care for a drink, boy?”
George enters and slides the second drink to Thom on Zemilay’s command, and goes to the kitchen to get his own. Xanti excuses herself to join George but not before leaving Zemilay with another kiss to the cheek.
“Where is your brother?” Zemilay asks.
“Not sure. Sleeping?”
“I take it you saw Lyssa storm out of here? ”
“Yes, and take the candle flames with her.”
“Bah! Impetuous girl. She comes here accusing me of leaving her in incapable hands at the Mage’s Guild. They weren’t even going to take her in! They are accepting new students all of the time, and she was only one they were hesitant on. I had to pull many a favor for her!”
“Well that’s her loss then.” Thom says, sipping on brandywine.
“I don’t need children yelling at me for the favors I extend to them.”
“Then put her down, let her know who’s in charge. Or let it blow over like her other fits.”
“Sage advice, you’re sound like a father. You’ve adventured with her, what were your dealings like with her.”
“Hmph. I suppose it’s like… sometimes you have to let a bear be a bear. I just give her my distance and my respect.”
“But she respects no one!”
“I don’t seek her respect. I only seek her skills in dire times and ask her share of the load. Instead of pointing her at my friends, I point her at my enemies.”
Trisoll enters the study unannounced. “What’s going on?”
“Lyssa stopped by and decided she had it in her to throw another one of her fits and curse at me.”
“Wow… she’s got balls.”
“It’s a child’s temper. One that will have George spending the rest of the afternoon relighting all of my fires around the house.”
“Sounds like she’s just expressing herself. In her own heated way.”
“Well, she can express herself elsewhere. I refuse to deal with it until she can behave like a sane woman.”
“Ok dad, I’ll stop by the apartment and have a talk with her,” Trisoll obliges.
Thom takes another sip of his wine before speaking up again. “I have to say, there isn’t much that unnerves me, but demons… that’s a part of her life I don’t envy.”
“Can we not talk of demons.” Zemilay curtly asks. “I’ve had my fill of them for a lifetime.”
As Zemilay takes another drink, Trisoll leans over to Thom. “I’ll tell you about it later.” Trisoll looks behind Thom and sees a set of drums plus a variety of sticks. “What are you doing with all those?”
“Oh, I’m having a drum off tonight!” Thom reveals.
“Oooh, can I go to the drum off first? Before I head to Lyssa’s?” Trisoll begs of his father.
“Why wouldn’t I let you? You’re not being sent to task to see Lyssa. As a matter of fact, I’d love to come cheer you on as well, Thom. It’s been far too long since Xanti and I have been out for an evening, we could use a change of scenery for a bit.”

As Thom finishes packing up, Moira and Vetnik return separately. Vetnik returns with Silhouette’s drums while Moira returns from her afternoon at the church of Cortox.
“Is this what you were looking for?” Vetnik asks. Thom finishes up casting a ritual spell over himself, Cat’s Grace, and eagerly welcomes the cavalier in. “Yes!” he replies as he places his drumsticks in his quiver. He changes into his drumming uniform, an ornately embroidered silk robe and headband.

“This is so exciting. How did you get to be a part of this drum off?”
“I went shopping, ran into my mentor. Had some cash to buy him a magic item and he decided to put it up as a prize between me and his other prized pupil.”
“What’s the prize?”
“Kettle of drumming. It’s supposed to be pretty effective outdoors.”
“If I were to extend Cortox’s blessing to you, would that be cheating?”
“I’m not sure.”
“Well, the offer is on the table.”

Later at the Inn, the crowd cheers as Thom marches in in drumming garb and masses of drums. Thom goes first, battling first against a student of lesser ability. He drums an impressive beat. Thom steps up and plays the snare part to Greyhawk’s Anthem. His opponent struggles to keep up with Thom’s abilities. The student picks up his momentum and gives the performance of his career. Furlow asks the men to create their own coda, but Thom manages to smoke him. Thom shakes his hand and his opponent is gentlemanly in his loss. Meanwhile, Chan slays his opponent with ease and grace. It was no competition for him at all.

The matchup between Chan and Thom is tense. The first measure, Chan enchants the audience but the second measure isn’t executed as deftly. Thom gets the edge in the second and the third, he begins to juggle his sticks against the drum in a display of showmanship. It’s enough to ignite the patrons and fellow students. Even Zemilay and Xanti are cheering, holding each others arms, the happiest anyone in the party has seen Zemilay. Thom finishes with the end of the piece, closing tightly and cleanly. He rouses the other musicians to follow suit. Even Chan, whose is both humbled and impressed by Thom’s skill, begins to drum with Thom and the competition soon turns into a celebration. Moira runs over and gives Thom a kiss on the cheek. Vetnik picks Thom up and lifts him above the crowd while Lactile comes over and hands him the kettle. Thom takes Vetnik’s ale from him and chugs while lifting the kettle above his head in triumph!

An Unkind Journey Home


In the sepulcher, the groups wait and finish divvying up their goods. Many members of the group are badly wounded and mull over whether or not to continue the raid.

Grum and Alwyn go ahead to scout ahead to secure the area. Alwyn goes SE while Grum heads NE. Grum slinks in the shadows unnoticed and sees a giant chieftain with 4 guards in tow. Grum immediately runs back and lets the groups know of the oncoming groups. Alwyn notices and returns to the group and prepares himself as well.

“If you wish not to fight, I can try to conceal us” Xostin suggests “I don’t have the ability to cloak us all, but if we wish to remain still, I can make it appear as if we are a part of the land surrounding the tomb.”
“And what if the giant smells us?!” Galrim fires back.
“I’m in no condition to fight!” Galather interjects, exhausted and still on the mend.
“Then we hide, and fight if we have to” Vetnik finishes.

The parties stand together against the edge of the bowl and Xostin incants an ornate ritual that conceals the group against the rocks. Shortly after the spell, the chieftain and his men stomp down into the bowl towards the tomb. Dressed in pelts and armor and helmet. They grunt and claw at the dirt, searching. Flurmin hears their grunts “They know somebody’s been here, they’re going to investigate.” After a few moments inside the tomb, they hear they angered cries of the giant party. Flurmin whispers to Galrim, who strokes his beard in contemplation.

“My men recall a potion of giant control we found in tomb. Shall we try our hand?” Galrim
“How many does it work on?” Grum
Galrim shrugs unknowingly. “We can try two or focus our energies on one.”
“We can sick two on the other two flunkies and we rush in and kill the chieftain. If we use the potion on him and he resists, we’re done.” Thom
“Alwyn, have any prayers left in you?” Galather
Alwyn silently moves to Galather, shuts his eyes, and traces something in the air across Galather’s forehead. A sigil appears, glowing green and hovering in front of Galather’s face before disappearing. Alwyn has managed a to restore some of his comrade’s health with a silent prayer.

Together, they break Xostin’s illusion and head back towards the sepulcher. Flurmin imbibes the potion of Giant Control and spies them around the corner and cause the two giants to start beating the two others. The chieftain rushes in trying to break up the disorder. “Someone has defiled the Headsplitter Tomb! Goroth with crush their skulls and wear them as charms around my neck!” the chieftain grunts.

The party rushes in to ambush the chieftain, Goroth. Vetnik leads the charge slashing at the chieftain with his longsword. Vetnik misses, but the charge is enough to draw the chieftain’s attention. Flurmin takes up his new warhammer and swings, but misses. Goroth screams something at Flurmin, and in his rage, he misses the dwarf with his war hammer. Moira misses with Starstrike. Grum unleashes Lyn and Slå and sticks the chieftain with quick and effective precision, stabbing him deep in his arm. Thom begins to drum at the back of the party and Trisoll follows suit by reciting a blessing. Lyssa extends her hand and summons a radius of Darkness around the giants’ heads. Galather steels himself and knocks a couple arrows back at the same time, the second of the two hitting the chieftain. Alwyn knocks his arrows back in a similar fashion, and just like his brother the second arrow hits. Galrim rushes the chieftain with his glowing axe but misses. Xostin stabs at the chieftain in his Achilles’s heel and wounds him deeply.

Galather draws back a couple more arrows, the first of which hit. Moira is next to act and slashes through the chieftain’s guts and he falls. His guts steam as he lays dead on the ground. The party watches as the two attacked giants, incensed by the death of their leader, turn their attention towards the party. They finish off the charmed giants pair together. The first cuts at Vetnik with a jagged sword stained with his giant brother’s blood. The cocky cavalier is cut but is quick to respond only to miss his attack. Galrim swings his axe and cuts into another giant. Flurmin attacks his war hammer but misses. Grum whips out his shocking daggers again slashes at a giant, cutting him deep in the leg. Thom sends two of his arrows into the same giant. Moira follows suit but as she swings, a strap from her breastplate snaps off. Moira is quick to catch it and cover herself.

“I was hoping for some minge!” Thom jests under his breath while continuing to drum.

Xostin misses with his blade, as does Alwyn with his arrows. One of the giants comes for Galrim with a jagged sword, cutting into the dwarf’s leg with it. So deep is the cut, it shocks Galrim for a moment and the damage sends him reeling on the ground. Galather fires off two arrows at the attacking giant. Trisoll runs to Galrim and burns the last of his healing spell on the dwarf which calms him. Lyssa summons into the air a great beam of fire and launches it like flaming arrow, shooting through the giant and staggering it even more.

Moira quickly slashes at the burned giant twice and cuts through the giant’s burned chest. Vetnik turns his attention to the other giant and sticks him twice with his longsword. Galather fires off more arrows, only one of which hits. In response, he swings his jagged blade at Xostin. So severe is the blade and the illusionist suffers a deep and dull gash. Galrim howls out in pain for his leg and his fallen brother.


Defying the brink of death, Galrim tries to swing but he can’t seem to make it. Thom fires his arrows and hits. Lyssa attempts to disarm the giant by levitating the blade out of his hand, but isn’t able to. Instead, a wall of force comes up in front of the mage — which shocks her as she believed her magic to be controllable since the demon that plagued her had been exorcised! Trisoll drags the body out of harms way while Alwyn fires off a pair of arrows, enraged. Grum leaps in with his shocking daggers and delivers a pair of deadly slashes. The electricity fells the giant!

The wall of force shatters and disappears into nothingness. Lyssa steps forth and cautiously casts detect magic and finds Goloth’s belt to indeed be magic. The party readies their carts and rushes out of the barrows. They rush to the plains of the Cairn hills with no disruption. The party heads towards Elmshire as dawn approaches. Galrim fades in and out of consciousness, he mourns over the death of his companion.

“Though he was not Raven’s Claw, after the games he was going to be inducted. Maybe our new friends here from Greyhawk can help us.” Galrim laments.
“I know someone who might be able to help you.” Vetnik replies.
“You do?”
“We should preserve the body though.”
“Alwyn and your friend Trisoll have agreed to prepare the body.”

The party come upon a clearing and set up camp as the morning sun starts to show. The watches are uneventful, as the party sleeps and reads and rests. As Galather watches, they party wakes to see his bow knocked. They hear orcish voices in the distance.

“Let them come” Alwyn boasts.
The orcs hiss from the bush. “Sniff, sniff! We smell elf blood hahaha!”

Vetnik begins to charge after them, but Galather questions him. “You’re really going to go after them?”
Galather fires off two arrows, killing one and missing the other. He prepares to draw two more arrows back before Moira rushes in attempting the knock the bow out of his hand.

“We don’t do that.” Moira says.
Galather says nothing at first, but then turns to Moira and stares her down before firing 2 more arrows, killing 2 more orcs. “Correction, you don’t do that.”
“Then why’d you need me? Why’d you wake me?” Vetnik asks.
“I didn’t know how many there were. Why, needed your beauty sleep?” Galather jokes, sheathing his bow.

“Sorry, princess. Those are 4 less orcs who would’ve slit our throats as we slept. Did what had to be done.” Galather explains to Moira, who is visibly upset by the less than heroic way the pack of orcs were dealt with.

The party picks up camp and heads into Elmshire. Now, the village is thriving and more magnificent than the party’s parents had described. No longer a humble shire, Elmshire is walled with gates and operates as more of a small but bustling province for demihumans.

“State your business!” the halfling guards demand.
“We want to stay the night, freshen up, get a good meal.” Thom fabricates.
“Hello, I’m Galrim. We’re 2 separate bands, we fought together in the Cairn Hills. One of our own has fallen in battle with hill giants.”
The guard perks up at the sound of giants and lets them in. Galrim and Vetnik go together to find a priest to see about rites for Xostin.

“Have you been here before?” Galrim asks Vetnik who accompanies him to the nearest temple.
“No, but I could tell you about it. My father traveled here.” Vetnik explains.
“For a barbarian you’re—“
“Not stupid?”
Vetnik tells Galrim the story of the defense of Elmshire against the Drow. “Your parents must be great heroes here.”
“Oh, they are!”

The others tie off their horses and head to the Inn of the Rolling Meadow. Inside, the clientele is almost exclusively demihuman. Mostly haltings, with a peppering of gnomes. The barkeep, Ouidden Arlus, welcomes them in.
“What can I do for you today?” the barkeep asks.
“Some grub to start, and drinks” Thom replies.
“And baths!” Grum interjects.

Back at the Temple of Garl Glittergold, a high priestess named Diathenea Ansey takes audience with Galrim. For a donation, she proposes they attempt a resurrection spell. Vetnik goes into the priestess’ chambers and introduces himself.

“I came with Galrim. My name is Vetnik Talthraudii, Earl of Granud.”
“The name sounds familiar…”
“I am the son of Vetnik Talthraudii, Grand Duke of Granrud."
“A Northman and a Nobleman! It is indeed, my honor.”
“I wanted to discuss possibly waiving the fee for the dwarf. His brother at arms fell because I invited them brought along. I can take on a boon, or—“
“I can reduce the fee, certainly. As a cavalier, I’m sure you’re a man of your word.”
“I’m in Greyhawk, there aren’t too many Talthraudii’s in Greyhawk.”
“Please send Galrim back in, and thank you for your audience.”

“What did you two discuss?”
“Nonono, you took on a boon on our behalf?”
“You do what you can for those who help.”
“Truly, you’re a cavalier worthy of your status.”

While they wait, he hands Vetnik a leather patch bearing the Raven’s Claw. Vetnik bows before him and thanks him for the honor. Humbled, he welcomes Vetnik into the Raven’s Claw order.

Downstairs, after the Black brothers take their bathes, a halfling crier enters the inn. He calls out for the heroes who killed Goroth Kingslayer. Vetnik and all stand, even Lyssa hesitantly. The crier begins a song, championing their feat and rousing the bar into cheers. Vetnik turns his attention to Moira, who gleefully watches the performance. She turns for a moment and notices him staring intently.

“Vetnik!” Mo
“What, I’m smiling?”
“What, I didn’t know you—“
“Know I what?”
“Nevermind. Heh.”
“How about a drink, on me.”
“I can’t drink”
“Sure you can. I’m sure Cortox doesn’t mind his agents haven’t a pint or two.”
“She said she didn’t want a drink” Lys
Vetnik stops, rolls his eyes, and stomps away.
“I think you offended Vetnik.”
“He’ll be fine, a little bruised ego never killed a prince.”

Moira rushes after Vetnik. “Don’t go! Lyssa means well, she’s just looking out for me.”
“I respect you too much to take advantage of you.”
“You don’t have to explain yourself. Let’s have that drink”

Moira and Vetnik walk back in. Moira is clueless as to what kind of drink to order. She picks up a stein and looks curiously at it. Flurmin and Galrim are already lit while the rangers sip on ciders. Trisoll gets a little tipsy while the Black brothers casually sip their spirits. Trisoll downs a pint of dwarves ale and is properly lit.
“You’re alright!” a drunken Trisoll, wobbling over towards Lys.
“You’re drunk” lys remarks dryly.
“No kidding! Hahahaha! No seriously, ever since we got that demon out of you, you’ve been so chill.”
Lys fumes at the happy pack across from her, Vetnik and the dwarves from Raven’s Claw, who surround Moira and cheer her on and she sips on a housemade concotion. “Thanks for the compliment.”
“Take a look at those two. So weird, right? The ‘happy couple’.”

Moira raves over Quidden’s amazingly light but potent drink and after a pint soon finds herself in the throws of drunkeness. She stumbles away from Vetnik at the bar, over to Lyssa. “Oh, I feel hot! What’s wrong?!”
“You’re making a fool out of yourself. You’re stumbling around like a common drunk.”
Moira looks crushed and defeated. “I… I…”
“You’ve done way worse in inns, Lyssa. Let her have a little fun tonight.” Gr
Vetnik steps away from the dwarves and the barkeep and moves towards Moira, Lyssa, and Grum. “Moira, how about another?” He pauses and sees an almost embarrassed expression on her face.
“She’s fine, but thank you.” Lys
Vetnik steps to Lyssa and berates her about her low upbringing and questionable moral character, how she could have any right to pass judgement on anyone having done the things she’s done (low blow!) Lyssa glares at him, gritting her teeth and bearing his harsh remarks. “Enough of this. I didn’t realize I was still in the company of children. I’m out of here!”
Vetnik leaves the inn, and Elmshire, for Greyhawk in a night’s ride.
“Wow” Th

Grum carts Moira off to her room, where she passes out lamenting her missed opportunity with Vetnik. Downstairs, the crier notices Thom’s drums.
“Are you a bard?”
“Yes, I took up the path of the blade and have been in training since.”
“Care to play with me?”
The pair play a discordant impromptu jam that still seems to arrest the crowd.

On the trail home on the second hour, Vetnik sees red cloaked figures walking down the road. Vetnik rides off the road and sees them not acknowledge him. They are shoeless and ignore the cavalier.

In the morning, everyone except Galrim waits downstairs. Xostin returns with Galrim. “Where is Vetnik? I owe him gratitude!”
“He’s… gone.” Th
“Did he scout ahead?” Xo
“Probably not.” Th
“I know he took on a boon to reduce Raven Claw’s debt.” Xo
“I have no other emblems but I would like to make you all honorary members of Raven’s Claw and in time, if you wish to consider full pledging.”
“I would love to you” Gr
“It’s nice to be a part of something bigger than yourself.” Tri
“I… I don’t, the principles, can we discuss those more in depth first?” Mo
“Of course, in time. I will tell you your friend accepted.” Ga
“Oh, he did?” Mo

Galrim sends Galather with the brand to go to the tanner to make new patches. 20 minutes later, he returns.

Together they head out. On the robe, they see 5 red robed figures.
“I can’t see faces, but they seem to be humanoids on foot. In red robes.” Al
“We probably shouldn’t attack them unless they appear threatening.” Gr
“Shall we just pass them?” Gala
“I’ll talk to them!” Tri
Thom makes wages for wizards vs. cultists. Flurmin and Grum get in on the bet.

“Hey, what’s going on guys?”
They ignore him and keep walking.
“It’s rude to not acknowledge a greeting!”
One looks up, a human with a dazed wide eyed look on his face.
“So, are you guys like wizards or cultists or what?!”
“I think it’s cultists for the win!”
“I’ll secede but that doesn’t mean they can’t be wizards too.”

Later on, on a stump, they see a row of mushrooms on a stump. Lyssa goes in for a closer look and identifies them as edible mushrooms. As they’re hanging out, a 13 yr old girl walks out and is startled.
“Those are my mushrooms, sirs!”
“We figured they were someone’s.” Gr
“They’re mushrooms for my father’s business. He’s a spicer, Yllmoth’s Spices.”
She nervously gathers them up into her basket and runs away.

Vetnik gets to the manor and finds a reunited Lyks and Xanti in the manor. She answers the door.
“Oh, hello? Oh…oh, Vetnik!”
“It’s nice to meet you.”
“It’s nice to meet you too, dear.”
“Come in, George is in the kitchen and Zemilay is waiting in the parlor.”

“Why are you here with only yourself in tow?”
“I lost my cool, which I think you can understand.”
“Ha! Yes, I can.” Goerge brings Vetnik a warm bowl of stew. Vetnik regales Zem with their giant slaying tales. He shows Zem the patch of Raven’s Claw.
“You must have done something right to have that honor bestowed on you in such a short time.”
Zem explains to Vet why Xanti is back.
“I don’t know if I’m having a change of heart, but I no longer find this honorable.”
“In what way?”
“I came to fight for honor and glory and not be babysitting people in their cat fights.”
“Seems you did both.”
“I just need time to think” Vetnik retires to his room.

Several hours later, the rest of the heroes enter the city. Raven’s Claw decides to stay a few more nights but asks them to come to the games with them.
“The games is a huge match, with 1000s of warriors all fighting for a grand prize. We’ll be here for a few more days, and once we’re ready to set off we will touch base once more. And not just warriors, dear lass, spell casters such as yourself.”
“We’ll be sure to holler. In the meantime, be sure to check out The Dripping Blade!” Th

“The belt, do you mind if I take it. I can perhaps miniaturize it, or at least discover what it was used for.” Lys

The party heads to the Manor.
“Vetnik is up in his room.” George
Lyks hobbles out on his staff, with his wife Xanti at his side.

“Dad, we met these really cool guys, Raven’s Claw! There’s like 2 really cool dwarves, one has an axe, and 2 half elfs, one is kind of dick but whatever, and a gnome wizard warrior who died but Vetnik negotiated in Elmshire to get him resurrected. I dunno why he’s being such a buzzkill, where is he any way, moping in his room?”
“Vetnik has expressed some dissatisfaction at his treatment within the group, those who don’t wish to respect his boundaries and feelings.” Ze
“I’ll go talk to him.” Mo to Ze
George dispenses food and drink. As he heads up to Vetnik, Moira intercepts. “I’ll take it up to him, George.”

Among the Bones of Giants


Moira kneeled over Trisoll, rubbing his hand as she waited for him to come back to full consciousness. The spider’s bite had left him reeling, but between summoning some much needed blessings from his deity and Moira’s own holy touch, Trisoll’s recovery looked to be a speedy one. The bite wounds that once weeped with steaming venom had all closed shut, leaving only traces of dried blood and a tattered tunic in its wake. Moira herself was doing her best to keep her composure though. While her healing hands had certainly helped purge the poison and seal the wounds shut, the confrontation with the spiders had suffered another casualty. In the heat of battle, Lyssa’s wild flames had affected both friend and foe alike. Gone were her flaxen tresses, now replaced by a crowd of jagged, burned ends. The smell still clung to Moira as a horrible reminder, but vanity had no place on the battlefield. She steeled herself and quietly watched over the mending cleric while the others gathered up their things and rummaged the corpses of the spiders.

As Moira sat engaged with Trisoll, she could feel the air around her head begin to buzz with faint energy. Almost a ticklish feeling. Unremarkable at first, but slowly the warmth of the energy began to increase. Trisoll’s weary head turned to Moira and smiled. Moira herself was all the more confused, especially as scarlet threads of light began to cascade down the side of her face and form into pieces of champagne colored hair. Moira quickly turned around to see a strange sight looming over her. She saw Lyssa, her hand and eyes aglow, orchestrating threads of red energy that followed Moira’s head and seemed to mend the burned ends. The strange sight was Lyssa’s expression. Moira and the others had only know Lyssa’s signature gaze to be an extension (or warning) of a fit of rage. This time though, behind those glaring red eyes, her expression was placid and concentrated.

”Thank you,” Moira said as she stood, handling her newly mended hair between her fingers.
Lyssa nodded in acknowledgement and began to retract the magical mending threads of chaos magic back into her hand. ”Of course. I had no idea my power would surge with such an intensity back there, I hope this makes things a little better.”
”I know you didn’t. Cortox’s blessings to you.”
The last of the magic withdrawn, her eyes snapped back to their normal brown hue. ”Shall we?”
Moira smiled and nodded. Trisoll stayed laid on the ground, the exchange between the two women — though mildly awkward — a sign of hopefully better times to come. It was something that warmed his gentle heart a great deal.

They cross dusty, barren plains covered in shrubs. Trisoll takes a look out and sees horses and a wagon. He can’t make out any more than that.

“We ought to head them up.” Gr
Moira and Vetnik take the front, just in case the caravan proves to be hostile. They see that it’s a wagon and a single horse. It’s tipped over, a crash and a puff of dust with a bunch of men trying to push it up from a mini ravine. They appear to be fighting men. A couple are very short in stature. They appear to be dwarves and gnomes with 2 humans in company.

“1…2…3…” they call as they try to hoist the wagon up.

“Can I help you?” Vet
“HO! Who goes there? What knight are you? I don’t believe I’ve seen that armor before. “
“I’m not from around here.”
“Well, I’m Galrim.”
“Vetnik, Earl of Granrud.”
“Well, Earl of Granrud, come give us a hand.”

They all, except Galrim, do their best to push their weight, and slowly the wagon is lifted back onto the road. They all give thanks.
“Thank you very much, Xosten Wilcryn the gnome.”
“Thank you very much.” His tone is measured and not as frenetic as Burbis. He carries a spell book as well as a sword sheathed at his side. The others introduce themselves.

Half-elf: Alwyn Ayen, a ranger with a holy symbol of the forest god (XXXX)
Half-elf: Galather Eldrin, a ranger
Dwarf: Flurmin Bromdrak
Driver: Jep

“We’re on our way to the games right now.” Gal
“Where are they?” Vet

“I’m heading from greyhawk” Ve
“What are you doing out in the Cairn hills.”
“Dealing with Hill Giants.”
“Tell me more” he says with a snarl
“We’re following up on a rumor of treasure to be found in the hills.”
“What do you think boys, ya wanna throw in with these lot?” Gala

“I’m in, we’re in! Let’s go!” Flur
“Before jumping in, there is a curse supposedly.” Ve
“What dya think about that, boys?”
“As long as you’re not a suspicious man—“
“Gelwyn Thordoor is no suspicious man! The word of a Raven’s Claw is law. We’re good men.”
“I noticed.”
Vetnik sees a Raven’s claw brooch on Flurmin, Galather, and Galrim

“What say you, Lyssa?” V
“I suppose it can’t hurt to have extra help against Hill Giants.” Ly
“Of course. Just wanted to make sure you’re ok with bringing strangers.” V
“As long as they don’t get in my way.” Ly
“What about you, Thom?” V
“As long as we figure out our shares.” Th
“We can figure that out later.” V
“No, we should figure that out now. Keeps everything out on the table.” Tr

Thom approaches Flurmin, who’s calculating the cut. “You’re the smart man?” Flur
“No, just the only one who bothers to keep records.” Th
“You don’t keep track of treasure, and that’s when stabbing begins!” Flur “We propose we follow you. My group aren’t fans of the Hill Giants. Nay, they’re mortal enemies. 50/50 split?”
“How about 70/30” Gr
“I was thinking something a little more…” Flur
“What you finds you keep?” Ly
“11 part share on all coins, round robin on all items. Our find, we get first pick.” Th
“Let me takes these terms to my men.” Flur

“Let me tell ya about my men. Flurmin & Gala, we’re all Raven’s Claws. Like brothers.” Gal
“Who are they” Ve
“Small association of men, most demi human. I know it’s strange to hear a Dwarf claim a half elf as brother—“
“I don’t actually” Ve
“Alwyn is a cleric ranger, and Xostin the gnome is a fighter illusionist.”

Jep gets the reigns at the cart. The crew jeer “Take it easy this time!” and they follow the party on the way to the Cairn Hills. They come upon 18ft tall statues. One of a hill giant with a necklace of tusks holding a club. The other a hill giant, bearded, holding two maces low and high. Thom burns Strength on he and his brother. The cleric blesses the party while the Gnome begins to intone some unknown spell. Thom also puts invisibility on Grum. Just ahead they see a crypt entrance over the hill at the north, and a southern most crypt low in the valley. Further on are a series of barrows, huge burial mounds for the giants. Grum heads south to the crypt. It is unguarded. Inside, he sees a crudely made tomb. Mud hammered into place with clubs. Down in there, Grum sees that someone has been inside. A tomb has been opened and tossed and plundered.

“How long ago was it plundered?” Gel
“Not within the past day.” Gr
“Continue to scout out.” Th

Grum scouts ahead and sees a group of 4 hill giants moving up the hill. Grum darts aside. Grum sneaks up with his longsword and slashes, returning to visibility. The giant cries out and howls, the wound gushing! Galrim, when he hears the giants, throws out a Hill Giant insult which incenses them.

Lyssa sends forth Magic Meteors. All make their targets except one, which whizzes past the group of oncoming giants and explodes around Grum’s attacker. Flurmin steps up with an axe but misses. A hill giant swings at Thom with a tree, knocking him off of his horse. A second giant swings down at Lyssa with a giant hammer but she is nimble enough to evade. Moira jumps in to defend the mage at the attacker but misses her attack. Vetnik rides up with his spear and longsword between two of the undamaged giants and sticks them both. Thom casts Burning Hands over 3 of the giants. One of the giants’ loincloths are set ablaze. Another giant attacks Trisoll, slamming a large boulder into him. Grum quickly switches to his bow from his blade and fires two arrows at his giant but both miss. A 4th giant takes Moira to task with a tree but misses her. Galather the Ranger sends out two arrows but misses. He misses so bad he smacks himself in the face with his firing arm. Xostin casts a quick spell and he and all of his gear become Wraithform. Golrim blasts on of the giants with a war hammer embellished with copper gilding. Trisoll, bleeding from the face, looks up at the grey skies above and enters what appears to be a trance. His eyes roll back and suddenly the skies begin the crackle with thunder and lightning. Suddenly, a bolt crashes into the leader giant.

Thom throws Lyn to Grum and allows him to wield both Lyn and Sla. When both are held, the blades glow electric blue! Grum slashes twice and hits. As both hit, a lightning bolt erupts out of the blades and enters the body of the giant. The bolt sends such a shock through its body, its heart bursts and falls to the ground.

“Holy shit!” Gr

Galdriel the dwarf swings with his battle axe, glowing with an indigo glow, and slays the leader of the hill giants. Cutting it from shoulder to belly. Vetnik slashes at a giant with his longsword, cutting into his torso with great severity. Moira sees Vetnik take a chunk out of it and goes in to press her attack. Her first hit misses but the second she hits with Starstrike. Alwyn comes over and heals Trisoll who remains in a trance. Galather fires two arrows into a giant while Trisoll also cures himself with heal light wounds. Lyssa manipulates the giant with the flaming loincloth to turn into flames choking smoke that climb his body and choke the giant. Flurmin tries to swing but falls. The staggered giant attacks Grum but misses in his stumbling stance. Thom fires an arrow towards the face of the staggered giant and screams out in pain as its blinded. Xostin, in wraithform, casts a spell and summons a Storm Giant carrying a huge boulder. The choking giant runs as fast as he can away from it.

Vetnik gallops behind the remaining giant, misses with his spear but jams his sword into it and fells it. The running giant realizes the smoke is tied to its loincloth and tears the burning fabric off. Grum aims his arrows to the giant and lands one of them. Lyssa focuses her powers once more and rains down 5 magic meteors on the giant. Alywin adjusts himself and fires off two arrows expertly. One arrow lands in the left leg, breaking his knee. The shock is enough to fell the giant, dying from blood loss.

“Keep it down!” Galrim orders his cheering men. “There’ll be more time to celebrate later. Let’s strip the bodies.”
“Sounds like a plan.” Lys

They find 120 cp, 100 sp. Lyssa offers up the idea of possibly making some enchanted items from any hill giant armor they’re able to recover and return to Greyhawk.

Flurmin “I was hoping for a better return, but there crypts and barrows yet to be explored.”

They gather themselves together and head towards the southern crypt. Grum goes ahead and scouts alone, slipping in the shadows becoming untraceable. The crypt is unguarded and laden with treasure. Grum sees a single bottle peaking out from a pile of coin. He grabs it and makes his way out. Thom reveals that the bottle is a potion of healing. Grum salivates at the thought of going back in for more treasure.

Inside, 5000gp, 300ep, 300pp, 12gems. Lyssa casts detect magic over the space but the party’s presence only serves to dilute its potency.

27 ep
27 pp

Flurmin “I like the way you operate. It’s honest and builds trust.”

The party turns their attention to the Barrows in the center of the field. There, they come upon 4 more hill giants. One of them heaves a boulder at Grum but Grum evades, just barely. A second boulder flies and heads towards Alwyn and crashes into him. He’s thrown to the ground, bow thrown out of hand. Grum responds with Lyn and Sla but sees they are not longer glowing blue. He misses with Lyn but delivers a shocking stab with Sla. Trisoll blesses the party again. Galather shoots a pair of arrows, one misses the other just barely makes it. Moira rushes and slashes with Starstrike. Lyssa summons a radius of Darkness on the giants, enveloping their heads. “Use your arrows wisely!” she calls out. Vetnik sees this and rushes up, stabbing at the wounded giant and cuts into its leg. Thom fires off an arrow with great precision and shoots into his left leg, and brings it dying to the ground. Galrim leaps forward with his blue glowing battle axe, grazing a giant’s thigh the first time and slashing into his belly with a second swing. Flurmin swings with his hammer, smashing his right hand and dropping the giant’s weapon. Xostin unsheathes his sword and cuts into a giant.

Moira sees the example lead by the Raven’s Claw folk to attack a single giant at a time and aims to attack the injured giant, but misses. Vetnik manages to bring the injured giant down with a cut of his longsword. Grum leaps in to backstab a blinded giant with his shocking daggers and delivers a mighty blow. Lyssa attempts to throw a dagger at the shocked giant but it misses it. Xostin slashes at the shocked giant with his long sword. Alwyn fires 2 arrows but misses. Galather fires an arrow into his left leg and knocks the giant down. Galrim looks at the fallen giant and dismisses it. He swings twice, misses first but the second cuts into the giant’s leg. Trisoll hits with his shellalegh and puts the fallen giant out of his misery. Flurmin hits with his first arrow. Galrim is targeted by the last standing giant and is hit, but not enough to knock him down.

The last giant strikes out at Thom and hits with a tree trunk. He is in grave condition but still standing. Lyssa conjures a wave of burning hands while Vetnik stabs at the giant with his spear. Grum jams his shocking dagger into the giant and fells it.

“Those daggers are quite the find, my friend!” Alwyn to Grum “They carry the power of the storm.”
“I know!” Gr

Lyssa requests Moira’s assistance in carving up the body of one of the giants and she raids its organs for later use in potions and spells.

Alwyn burns cure light wounds on Galrim. Trisoll rushes to Thom and Moira follows, both of which heal him considerably.

“I told you to be sparing with the brooch, not too sparing” Lys to Th

“We should rest for a moment.” Ve
“Where are we going to rest?” Gal
“What about the abandoned crypt.” Gr
“What about the bodies?” Gal
“Ah, but there aren’t any bodies!” Xostin casts vacancy over the bodies and conceals them. “If you will allow me 30 minutes I can cast another spell to conceal our presence. The will appear unplundered.”
“I don’t see why not, if it keeps us out of harm’s way.” Lys

Xostin casts successfully. “If we’re to rest, now is the time.” Meditation and healing spells take place as they rest in the concealed crypt. While waiting in the crypt, Lyssa has a flash of a memory: Modius meeting a being called Quantus Lightbender, he sees this person and says “the pieces are coming together.”

The party rests for another round of healing. Lyssa watches as it gets darker outside but hears nor sees anything out of the ordinary.

They head towards the ridge. They see another giant statue, 4 feet taller, a giant with a fur pelt and necklace of skulls of various races. In one hand a tree, another is the corpse of a man. Invisiblity is cast over Grum and he tip toes down into the crypt. This one is larger and more ornate. In the middle is a mausoleum and mounds of treasure guarded by 4 armored hill giants.

“Big giants, but do we wanna talk about risk v. reward. There is reward!” Gr
“Illusionist, what can you do?” Ve
“I can try and conjure the image of a hill giant chieftain.” Xo
“We send Grum for a backstab, then Xaustin goes in with an illusion.” Th
“Vetnik was it? You’re a wise tactician.” Ga
“How much time to get into position?” Xo

Xostin finishes his casting and the party can hear the illusionary hill giant march in. The 4 giants are startled, as the illusion is modeled after one of their own standing in the room, a duplicate as it were. Grum slashes but his backstab but misses. The party empty into the tomb and a giant attacks at Galather, but misses him. Moira jumps in and slashes at the lead giant with Starstrike. A second giant lunges at Thom and smashes him with a war hammer. Vetnik slashes with his spear and sword, both of which hit. Galather fires two arrows, first hits second misses. Flurmin hits with his hammer while Trisoll casts a blessing. Alwyn fires two arrows both of which miss. A third giant comes for Trisoll and smashes him with a hammer. Thom swings but misses. The forth giant smashes into Galather. Galrim sees his man take a blow and cuts into the giant twice. Xostin slashes but misses. Grum breaks invisibility and jams his shocking dagger into the giant and shocks it to near death. Lyssa calls out to her comrades to stand back as she sends a fireball down the crypt. The leader of the pack is burned to death while the other three endure severe burns.

A giant slams his hammer down upon Galather and puts him down but not out. Thom summons a color spray and stuns one of the giants. Xostin slashes and misses. Lyssa aims her burning hands at two of the giants, the dazed giant and a 2nd. Grum retreats into the shadows with ease. Galather tries to fire a pair of arrows but is too weak to aim. Flurmin hits with his hammer. Vetnik slams his spear into one giant and hits. He jams his sword into a second. Moira slays the first giant she hits with her sword and takes a good chunk out of the second. Trisoll whips his shillelagh around but misses. Alwyn fires two arrows but misses. The last standing giant retaliates against Moira and bashes her with his hammer. Galrim slices with his axe and draws blood.

Xostin swings his sword but misses. Alwyn fires two arrows but misses again. Galather takes his revenge and drives his arrow through the chest of a giant, goring it. The giant sees Galather’s attack and swings but misses much to ranger’s relief. Moira slashes with Starstrike and cuts. Flurmin hammers and smashes the giant. Galrim cuts into the giant and forces and is finished off by Lyssa’s magic missiles.

The haul is grand. Thom deduces some of the items.
Philter of Persuasiveness – Leg
Potion of Flying – Rav
Elixir of Youth – Leg
Potion of Healing – Leg
Potion of Giant Control – Rav
Potion of Giant Strength – Rav
Potion of Climbing – Rav
Potion of Gaseuos Form – Rav
Dagger +4 – Leg
Spear +1 – Leg
8 Arrows +2 – Rav
Warhammer +1 – Rav
Leather Armor, human sized +1 – Leg
Gem of Seeing – Leg

Binding Demons


Moira and Vetnik waited silently in the temple of Cortox. She waited and watched, masking her concern with brave posturing for both Vetnik and their mutual adventurer, Lyssa. While this temple had made her feel safe all of her life, she couldn’t help but watch over the mage and feel helpless as Lyssa’s condition appeared to decline. Lyssa had arrived in Moira’s arms a limp, unconscious body, something else seemed to stir in her. Vetnik and Moira watched as her eyeballs rolled about wildly behind her thin, dewy lids that seemed fixed shut (no matter how violently her eyes rolled behind them.) Her body laid rigidly suspended in its pose, except for her fingers, which seemed to twitch and extend as if trying to reach out to someone.

“I don’t know what happened, I promised I’d help her,” Moira whispered to herself.

The attendant returned to the party waiting in the apse. Nervously, his eyes met Moira’s and waved her and the others to follow him. As Moira leaned down to pick up the catatonic mage, Vetnik stepped forward and placed his hand on her shoulder again. Moira stepped aside and obliged Vetnik’s chivalry. Taking Lyssa up into his arms, he followed Moira and the monk down the ambulatory into a vestry hidden behind the great altar. The party rushed deeper through the dimly lit halls, the lit lanterns cascading a series of candlelight-star patterns over their bodies. At the end of the hall was a large wooden door covered in another constellation of seven-pointed bronze stars. This was no mere constellation though, but one of the most potent sigils of Cortox himself — so Moira recognized. The monk banged on the door and just as quickly as the monk stepped back, it opened. Standing there to greet the party was an older man, bald and grey of beard. Moira’s steely pose crumbled at the sight of the man, dressed in the finest of Cortoxian vestments — luxe white and pale blue robes embroidered with metallic constellation sigils — she had turned to in many times of moral conflict.

”Your Divine Truth!”

The priest waved the attending monk away and he quickly obeyed, leaving the room to the four of them. ”My child,” he said in a soothing tone, taking Moira’s hands into his, ”I heard you needed our help. What troubles you?” This was indeed the reigning Architect Prime, Gemmen, longtime high priest of Greyhawk’s First Church of Cortox. He had long served as treasured friend and counsel to the Steelshaper family ever since his initiate days after leaving the Celestian faith.

Moira struggled as emotions began to bubble to the surface. _”My companion… I sense there’s an evil in her. Something is wrong and you were the only person I knew could help.”

Gemmen pulled away from Moira and waved them over to a nearby table. The slab of polished marble was inlayed with a moonstone surface. Draped over the opalescent panel were a series of shimmering white silks. Vetnik gently set Lyssa in the center of the table and stood back with Moira. The pair watched as Gemmen moved in closer to examine the case. He silently circled around the table and surveyed the effects of the trance on her physical body: her pulse, it seemed, had slowed considerably, while her body responded to no physical stimuli. He fingers continued to wretch and claw at the silks beneath. He moved in to examine the eyes when, as he peeled her lids open, a horrid manifestation waited for him. Shock twisted the high priest’s face as he watched the whites of her eyes flicker from milk to pitch colored, with the thin red veins webbed throughout surging with violent burst of red electricity. He closed her eyes and placed his hand upon her chest. Closing his eyes and whispering a sacred verse to himself, he held his holy symbol in his hand and sunk into a trance of his own. After a few moments of this quiet, peaceful meditation, Gemmen was startled back to reality. Quickly, he began to lift the thin white fabric off the table to cover and bind Lyssa.

”What…” Moira began to ask but stopped herself and waited for Gemmen to finish wrapping Lyssa’s body.
”You were correct, Moira,” Gemmen replied as he hastily finished draping the consecrated silk over Lyssa’s body. _”There is a presence in this one. Something inside that is not her.” Gemmen returned to Moira and took her hands once more, gripping them more firmly than before. _”I can extract whatever possesses her, but it will need to be contained. I cannot do that on my own. Gather whomever you can, we must take her to the Mage’s Guild at once!”
”I will go!” Vetnik interjected. Moira turned to her companion with a smile, her eyes keeping tears of worry and gratefulness at bay.

Vetnik nodded and gave Moira one last reassuring rub on her shoulder. He bowed to Gemmen before quickly taking his leave. Gemmen stepped away from Moira only for a moment and rung for his attendants, who arrived quickly and anxiously. ”Yes, Your Divine Truth?” the two boys asked in unison.
”Ready a cart for the girls and I, and bring a stretcher. Do so with a quickness!”
The pair of attendants bowed together and were off at his order, leaving Gemmen and Moira to watch over the motionless Lyssa.

Back at Pimpleton Manor, Zemilay Lyks stayed closed off from the others in his study. Seated just as he was when Moira and Lyssa left, he maintained his glare on the strange orb displayed before him.
The muted sounds of tiny knuckles gently rapping at the door pierced the weighted silence of the study. ”Yes?” Zemilay barked, keeping his eyes forward on the orb.

The door slowly creaked opened and a soft and fay voice called out. ”Gnomefriend Lyks, what’s wrong?” Finally, someone was able to snap Zemilay out of his own trance. ”Burbis,” he began as the small, bearded gnome approached.
”What troubles you, Gnomefriend?”
Zemilay took a pause and returned his eyes back to the orb. ”The thing that has kept me in solitude for all of these years, I believe, has found another way back into my life.”
”What do you mean?”
”The spell caster from Furyondy. She came into my home and I fear she brought something else here with her.”
”You don’t mean…”
Zemilay once more was silently fixated on the orb, leaving Burbis to tremble at what could have possibly been unleashed upon his beloved master’s house.

Vetnik bursts thru the front door of the manor. He informs the Druid and the twins of her possession.
“What trisoll got lucky?” Th
“Something demonic has taken hold of the girl.”

“I knew it.” Ze

“I knew that this would come back to haunt me. Where is she?” Ze
“Church of Cortox, Moira’s church!” Ve “We need to follow them to the Mage’s Guild.”
“We need to go quickly.” He beckons to Gibbs, the bear, to serve as his transport.

“Do you come or stay” Ze “I’ll leave Redscar here with you.”
“Oh good, we’ll stay and play while you’re away.” bb
“Send the birds for me if you need help, either one!” Ze

In Lyssa’s mind, memories of Modius’ mortal life. The time he spent adventuring up until his ascension. The vision ends with him witnessing the conjoining of Cortox and the chance to become his avatar. One last memory is imparted: shortly before the champions were summoned, she sees Modius binding a demon. One that curses his name and vows revenge!

On horse and bear back, they cart Lyssa to the door of the mage’s guild. Zem takes the wizard to task.
“Glarius, where is he?”
“I… I….”
“Go fetch him now!”

Glarius isn’t arrogant, but very confident. He invites him into his glorious mage chambers. Brimming with magical items.

“I hate to intrude upon you.”
“I appreciate apology”
“She is possessed by a demon.”
“Is this the one you assigned to me? A demon child? lol”
“That’s why you were specifically requested.”

“What are these two doing here?” Gla at Mo/Gem.
“Me sir, I promise to protect her. I will take on any boon!”
“And the rest of you, do you wish to incur a sort of boon to defend her?”
“I will”

Trisll watches Lyks step forward, and steps forward as well. So too does Vet.

“She is related to Modius” Lyks
“The mage’s guild will not provide service to two heretics.”
“After all I have done for this city, but this is not the city. Do not come to me and tell me that you are owed anything. The champions of the stars did nothing for the guild. With the exception of yourself and the Lord and lady Black. We are both men of reason.”
“I would be most gracious for your assistance. I will take on whatever debt need be paid.”

Gladius moves over to Lyssa and sees the scroll in her belt.
“There was a wizard who helped us on the road.”
Gladius reads it and smiles. “Uthar, eh? A wise man with a valuable gift. This will actually assist in the procedure we insist to cast here.”
Gladius casts over a mirror above them, beyond it the party is shown a beautiful woman intensely casting a spell over a table, crafting a magic item. In the background, a vicious lion with fiery fur.

“Edaveria, dear. Come attend to your prospective student. Friends of Lyssa only, you are to attend and only you.”
“Was anyone friend’s with Lyssa? Was she friends with us?” Th

They take Lyssa to the magic lab. Glarius and Gemmen work together to inspect her body. The twins stand back and watch, while Moira, Trisoll, and Vetnik watch while Gemmen paints symbols of Cortox on her body. As he prepares the body, the lab door bursts open and the woman from the vision saunters in followed by her lion. She looks down. “Hello, little butterfly? What’s wrong with you?”
“We’re here to perform an exorcism. I assume you’re here to do the binding.”
“Ugh, of course I’m here to do the binding.”

Gemmen finishes painting the symbols on him and intones a spell of Exorcism. He cants Forbiddance on the area. Zem comes behind him and places a reassuring hand on the priest’s shoulder.

While the exorcism begins, visions of grizzly Hell flash thru Lyssa. The visions are most terrifying, the crimes of the pit unfold. Suddnely, Lyssa’s body rises and jerks off the table. A demon presence emerges from her chest, from red mist to life. It immediately tries to plane shift away but is locked and trapped in the forbiddance. It does whatever it can to intimidate the party but fails to instill fear.

Edaveria incants a spell, “Back to the abyss, demon.” The demon is whipped from the plain, the portal explodes and the smell of metallic lightning struck earth fills the air.

Moira wakes Lyssa and feels a sense of peace. Moira hugs her dearly, Lyssa doesn’t fight back. Cowering, Lyks kneels to Lyssa and explains what happened. “Given all that you’ve been thru, this is going to be a hard story to follow. All of you. There was a time we had to go to Hell to fight a demon, Bolothamogg, after he took an orb that belonged to a friend, Modius. I always feared. Do you know Modius?”
“He is my father.”
“Whoaaa….” tr
“Who is Modius?” Th
“Well, back in the day, we didn’t know much about Modius.”
“Did you know this whole time?” Th
“No, but I suspected some connection.”
“So the demon had a vendetta and when he couldn’t find Modius he took Lyssa instead?”
“This demon also kept me from my wife.”

“I’ll have you know, dear.” Eb
“Who are you?” Ze
“I am Ebeviria Yzmari. So this is the child I am to tutor?”
“Yes” Gla
“Will you handle her temper?” Ze

“I had months to plan this while you were gone.”

“Let us discuss this boon. Those of you who accepted, step forward. I am going to keep you in strict confidence, as you know. Since the white event, magic has been broken. Some areas where spells go wild, surges or even worse, not at all. These dead magic areas, you see why these are of concern. Especially when one has been concentrated into an orb. I need this anti-magic orb, I cannot send my men because I’m powerless to stop it.”
“Sounds scary” Gr “I don’t have any magic, so I don’t have much to worry about.”
“I accept on their behalf.”
“Very well then, good day to you.”

“I apologize that I had never known your existence. Modius was my friend for a long time and it pained me to see him leave. It’s why I keep his things as they were. I would love to take you to his apartment.”

Thom’s tutor – Lacte Furlow

“This apartment, all of it within is yours now.”
“Someone spoke to me. In the void.”
“What?” Zem reaches out to embrace Lyssa but she recoiled.
“The voice said the orb was the eye of Modius, and that it was my legacy.”
“The orb and everything in the apartment are now yours.”

Grum goes to see his mentor at the thieve’s guild.
“I’m here to see someone?”
“Thurmin Detreeve”
The barred door swings open after a few moments waiting. He lets him in, pointing him down the hall.
“You’re all right!” Gr
Grum enters and sees a short, stocky man drinking beer. “You want a beer?”
“Thanks for your hospitality.”
“What brings you here?”
“I was sent here by Master Lyks.”
“Lyks told us you were coming a long time ago.”
“Oh, that’s news to me.”
“The reason the guild master asked me to tutor you, he said you wanted to be able to scrap instead of just pilfering.
“Good, let’s go visit the bazaar and make someone’s pockets a little lighter.”
“Great, I have no problem with that.”

The two men finish their beer and walk past the Church of Cortox and into the bazaar. Grum is going for a townsperson instead of a flashy tourist. Grum walks up, chatters up a guy for a moment and cuts off his pouch. He steals it finding 96 gp.
“Any critique?”
“None whatsoever. You made a good mark, and it paid off. Keep being smart like that. As far as swordplay, we can go back and duel. We’ll run through some drills and talk about compensation later. One hand takes the other, right? It’s nice to finally have a student with skill!”
“I appreciate it.”
“If you don’t have one yet, visit the quartermaster at the guild and we’ll set you up with a new lock pick set.”

Thom goes to the inn of the weeping willow, near the mansion. Inside, sitting in an alcove sits a 60 year old bard with 7 students. He sticks around to see the choir perform for him. The old man is harsh, as one student breaks down and cries at his critique.
A bartender asks “You want anything?”
“Sure, some dwarfsod. The whole kettle!”
“Yes, in fact!”
“Here’s your pot.”
“I’m Thom drum, you?”
“I’m Kom, this is my bar. Where were you when dwarves were getting stabbed?”
“It was in all places, elven land.”
“Which one?”
“Enstad the wonderful and hospitable.”
“What? Anyone who’s escaped from those jails gets a beer on me!”
“Yep, got himself stuck in the Lort Mountains.”
“How did you find yourselves all the way out there?”
“Extended vacation, the wanderlust took hold.”
“If you’re an adventurer, check out the Barrow Hills. I hear there’s treasure to be found.”
“Cheers! I’ll see what I can find.”

He wraps up his conversation, the bard students are better as the list goes down. Their quality is better, the other drummer is not that great, but the flutist and lutist are the best of them. The drummer’s style is much different, not quite like a human from around Greyhawk. He looks more Tiger Nomad, and his drumming reflects that. The teacher gives gracious notes to the last 3 students at the belittlement of the other students.

Thom offers to show off his skills to the students. He makes it beat beautifully. The other drummer perks up when he hears familiar Tiger Nomad rhythms. _”Tok, what did you think?”
Tok silently approaches and begins to beat more confidently with stick, fingertips, and palms. Thom attempts to retaliate, but fails.
“And that, students, is how you burn.”
“Well played, Chann.”
“I hear you incurporating Northern influence in your drums.”
“I have the North in my blood. And, under my cloak.” Thom whips out his wakashazi.
“Interesting weapon for a bard. Your attempts at marrying styles is clumsy,but over time Master Furlow will teach you. I take no pride in your shame.”
“No shame for me, I’ve been beating them on the battlefield far too much.”
“Pleasure to meet you.”

Lyssa and Lyks head to Modius’ apartment, which is guarded by the Black family’s hired guards. “It’s fine, the door doesn’t open for anyone it’s not supposed to.”
Lyks brings Lyssa up the spiral staircase and to the dust covered flat.
Lyssa looks around and sees the lab and magic items and less dusty orb stand. Over a fireplace is a portrait of Modius, its eyes seem to follow them as they walk. She does her best to suppress the new sensations.
“Do you wish me to stay or go.”
“Go, please.”
“Then do be so kind as to show me out.”
Lyssa escorts Lyks down stairs and goes inside alone. The door opens upon her command. Once back inside alone, she surveys the the room and sees a trio of keepsakes. They remind her of Drayden, Vortis, and Lyks. Each keepsake is a token from each world visited.

The twins decide to stay in their own house inherited from their parents. At Modius’ apartment, Lyssa scans a wand she finds using detect magic. She senses the wand is still potent, beaming with divination spells. She finds no personal tomes but does find records of the different monsters he’s encountered.

The next afternoon, Thom goes to forge a wakashazi blade, steel base with a silver coating. to be made ready in 3 days time, using 250sp. Grum spends his day searching the bazaar for a new bow, but first, new garments to enhance his stealthiness.
“Friend come over. You look for sneak, I have… boots of elvenkind. 2000gp. These boots, elvenkind.”
Grum inspects them, and asks to try on boots. The dealer summons over a big lug to watch him. They fit perfectly. “You like, you buy?”
“I’ll think about it.”
Grum turns back around and realizes he has gems and tries to haggle.
“2000 for boots.”
“You like gems?”
“I love gems.”
“Take this, and 100 gp.”
“I don’t want semi-precious.” he points to 2 of the more precious gems. “I take these two, you take these boots.”
“Fair enough.” Exchange is complete!
Grum continues to look but none of the bows are in his current price range.

Vetnik and Moira head to Vortis’ house. “I think my dad really likes and respects you, as a cavalier.”
“Both of those mean a lot to me.”
“I’m happy to bring you to see him.”
The pair find Vortis as white as a sheet. “Moira, come inside.”
“Are you ok?” Ve
Vortis rests against the two of them and inside they see a young knight. “Lady Steelshaper. I am Norrin, I was there when your father fell. I was just a little boy. He saved my mom, my dad, my whole village. I caught him as he fell, he made me promise to come here after I when through my rites of manhood.”
He presents Vortis’ shield and Drayden’s sword. Vortis is beside himself with shock. “This means a lot to me, and Moira… and Barth, wherever is he is. You’ve traveled far, I offer you a stay in our home.”
“But Vortis, if you don’t feel up for it, I’m sure zen wouldn’t mind.”
“No! What he’s done for me.”

Moira and Norrin talk. Tearful, she thanks him for having something of her father’s. “I wish to train as a paladin of Cortox.”
“Abosultely I will take you to the church to receive training.”

Vortis presents Moira with her father’s holy sword. Vetnik watches in awe. Moira is overwhelmed and presses her body into her father’s for a moment. Moira calls it “Starstrike” in honor of her father.

In the evening, Moira escorts Norrin to the priesthood at the Church of Cortox. He’s in awe of her and fancies her. At Pimpleton manor, George prepares a dinner of gorgeous meats and root vegetables. Moira runs and embraces Lyssa as she is last to arrive. “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to offend.”
“No, it’s alright. I’m just… trying to process the past 24 hours.”

Lyssa describes the time Lanthis got turned into a lute to Lyks. “It’s like I have two minds in one. I know everything and still have no answers.”
“You have help now. An apartment, a tutor.”
“You said back at the guild that I reminded you of him.”
“No, we didn’t get along but I always cared for him. He left and I lost someone I loved.”
“At least you got to meet him.”

Downstairs, Moira does her best to restrain her tearful enthusiasm to Thom’s entertainment. Zemilay enters.
“I thought I’d never see that again” Lyks
“That sword, it’s his old sword.”
“In honor of my father, I’m going to call it Starstrike.”
“That was a very special sword.”
“There’s other gods” Trissy

“May I have the orb?”
“Do you need it now or may I eat my dinner?”
“By all means, I’d hate to be rude.”
“Thanks for your permission.”

Thom talks about the treasure to be found in the Carin Hills, following the tip from the mage’s guild.
“Lys, how ya holding up?” Th
“I’m…….. I’m holding.”
It’s been a long day for all” Vet
“Not for me, I’m going out!” Tri
“Before you go, I want to speak with you.” Lyks

“I wanna find your mother.”
“You can’t. The demon—”
“It’s gone now!”
“OMG you’re right!”
“I’m going to go somewhere else.”

Trisoll goes to the church of Tritheron, and seeks to find a way to contact his mother and tell her to come home. Lyssa asks for the orb back and heads back to her apartment. The twins head to the Dripping Blade to find info. Thom puts the word out, tips on the Great Barrows for coin.
“5 pp”
“It’s a grave site, for many, so don’t let it become yours. The Lord of Giantkind fell there. You’re definitely going to find Hill Giants there. That is sacred ground, and they’ll protect it with a vengeance. The other rumor is that there’s a curse on the barrows against treasure thieves. Whatever it is, it’s supposed to be bad.” The informant draws a thorough map of the barrows and tells him “The bones of giants provide the essence of creating potions of giant strength. Even they’re weapons can be forged into girdles of hill giant strength.”

Lyssa returns to Modius’ apartment. She places the glowing orb back in its pedestal and burns a hole into the face of the painting of Modius before retiring for the evening.

In the morning, Trisoll pulls Lyks aside. “She’s coming back!”
“Like a week.”
“While she’s gone, take snowflake and get her back.”
Lyks is warm for the first time and he hobbles to get Xanti. “Don’t let them kill each other.”

Meanwhile, Thom gets new horses, saddle bags, and a pack of guard dogs to ride alongside the horses. They plot their trek to the hills, a 4 days trek past the village of Elmshire (where Ix is most favored.)

The party was once more back on the road, and it felt as if very little had changed. Grum still continued to lead the pack up through the plains, per the directions given to him by his brother Thom, he casually sat atop his horse scribing little details in journal whenever he could. Trisoll marveled at the sensations of the open road: the smell of fresh grass unspoiled by the chaos of urban life. Vetnik and Moira rode side by side, upright and sturdy. Lyssa kept to the back of the party, quiet but riding with a strange sense of calm. Gone, it seemed, were the constant sighs of dissatisfaction. She seemed strangely at peace despite the bedlam of the past few days.

Out of a large thicket a nest of 11 large spiders that leap out of the bush. Thom begins to drum, changing the dynamic of the group and boosting their morale. Vetnik charges forward on his horse and stabs at the spiders. The first misses with his longsword, the second is stabbed with his spear. The spider dies. Moira charges ahead with her longsword and cuts the spider down. Grum fires a bolt from his horse, and kills the first spider. The second arrow slains another spider. Trisoll calls out to them that if the rest of spider flee, they will be left unharmed. The spiders reply in their native hiss that they shall not leave, and will feed on their blood! The spiders leap at Lyssa but are missed. The two spiders attack Vetnik but cannot pierce his armor. Same for Moira. Lyssa fires off a fireball and burns the two attacking spiders but also burns the paladin in the process. The spiders attack again, but only manage to bite at Trisoll. Trisoll staggers and falls victim to the venomous spider bite.

Moira rushes over to Trisoll and immediately tries to heal him but sadly only revives him slightly. Grum shoots at the spider that took a bite out of Trisoll and kills it. Vetnik swings wildly kills two of the spiders. Thom fires his arrows at the last two spiders but only kills one. Lyssa ends the last one with a series of magic missiles.

“I just need to cast a spell.” Tr
“You need to rest. Then you can cast.” ve

Trisoll rests and then casts cure light wounds on himself.



Climbing up from out of the mire of Explictica Defilus’ lair, the party (with the carpenter’s children and Rahme in tow) sorted themselves out as best they could. Exhausted barely covered it. If the face-to-face with the terrifying Naga herself hadn’t worn them out, then transporting the dense amounts of loot they managed to raid certainly did. Despite their familiarity with the oppressive and sluggish conditions of the Moors, all who climbed out from beneath embraced the bits of sunlight that pierced the thick canopy above. Together, they sighed a breath of relief. The carpenter’s children sank against each other, clustered together in a sibling’s bond. Moira turned and smiled back at the siblings. Memories of a long-lost bond similar to theirs flickered in her mind, and for a moment, a longing was triggered in her that had been buried for quite some time. She turned her attention back to her steed and, as with the others, prepared for the day’s ride back to the Dim Forest, and beyond that, Orlane.

The air hung low and while the fog of the Moor had lifted, its feverish hallmarks remained. Flesh sweltered underneath clingy leathers, linens, and heavy metal armor. The salt of sweat gathered in their eyes and mouths for what they hoped would be the last time. The party did their best to move through the marsh as fast as they could, but the addition of the two siblings and an old (and apparently powerful) wizard to their group, plus several pounds —of treasure and equipment, only served to slow down their pace. The old wooden wheels of their cart strained to turn through the wet mud. All were silent and focused on pushing through the marsh towards the firm earth and fresh air of the Dim Forest.

Vetnik and his steed (surely the most powerful of all the horses in the party) did their best to keep a timely pace while letting the expert tracker of the bunch, Grum, take the lead. He was motionless atop his horse, even as gnats and flies buzzed around his helmet and danced on his fine, blonde beard. His cool blue eyes squinted, trying to flush the humidity from his sight in an effort to stay focused. Below, his armored horse trotted through a particularly deceptive patch of marsh. His hooves splashes as he moved through the wet bog, pushing around thick patches of mud and floating peat. As Vetnik and his horse continued, the floor of the bog seemed to descend deeper still. Water levels rose up to the barbarian’s boots, splashing against his already-muddied greaves with every step further. Suddenly, he felt something gently tug at the bottom of his foot. Vetnik lifted his leg, thinking little of the act, when soon his eyes split open with a shock. Out of the water and clinging to his boot was a none other than a giant leech, its body black and segmented and closer in size to an eel!

”Vatun’s frozen beard,” Vetnik cried out! He did his best to jerk his leg and shake the slithering critter off, but his movements only seemed to entice the leech more. The black worm’s segmented tail pulled the rest of its slick body up Vetnik’s armored leg, giving little regard for the barbarian’s movements. Before Vetnik could cry out again, the leech sprung into action. The leech unhinged its toothy jaw and, using its tail as an anchor, slung the rest of its body upwards towards Vetnik’s face. With the blades of its jaws exposed, the leech bypassed the opening in Vetnik’s helmet and buried its mouth against his. The others in the party watched in horror as Vetnik’s steed stomped and splashed in a panic. Before the others could come to his aid — and just as the leech began to unleash its razor-sharp proboscis — Vetnik steeled himself and gripped the writhing thing firmly with both hands. With all of his might, he tore the giant leech away from his face. The party watched as the leech’s jaws and proboscis struggled to retain their hold. Bloody cuts from where the leech’s jaws pierced him notwithstanding, Vetnik bore his fingers deep into the boneless black tube and with a light grunt, tore the creature in two! Disgusted, Vetnik immediately drops the leech parts back into the dark bog water; he wiped his beard, now a mix of sweat and blood (both his and the leech’s) and launched a hearty spit into the water. He had clearly had his fill of the sensual offenses found in the Moors. ”Let’s keep moving,” he said grimly. The said not a word, and did as they were told.

Vetnik’s encounter with the bog leech aside, the ride itself was uneventful and continued on in relative silence. Things began to look brighter, literally, as the last hour of the ride approached. The thick canopy of trees thinned, allowing for larger rays of sunshine to shine down upon the party. Patches of brighter green lay sprinkled throughout the fields of fetid peat and moss.

”Just a couple more miles,” Grum languidly reported back to the others from the front of the march.

The last hour through the Moors, another leech attempts to swim up through the marsh and attach itself to Moira. Thom draws his bow back but falls from his horse. Grum leaps off his horse to protect his brother but stumbles, messing up his shot. Moira is startled but quickly cuts the leech in half from atop her horse. Now they find themselves at the edge of the Dim Forest. The group settles to camp and Moira takes up first watch. The night goes by smoothly, undisturbed by anything.

On the second day of travel, the party saddles up and rides through the Dim Forest. No encounters. The day is not eventful, and the party sets up camp at the edge of the plain. The third day, they travel quietly together through the abandoned plains and near the city of Orlane through the West. Signaling their entry, Thom sounds a triumphant drum beat. The first thing they notice is people being social on the streets, a complete contrast to the atmosphere before they got there.

“Help strangers, what brings you here?” they look shaken?
“We found two of your lost souls” Thom, showing off the teens. The people sob and cheer for their return. The town seems to be truly free of the Naga’s charm. While the crowd is social, they’re discussion are wrought with panic.
“We did it! We freed them! Everyone should be free!” Tri
Thom takes his course to the elves house. He knocks, there’s no answer. The door creaks open slightly. A note is pinned to the table.

“Well met bros, your handiwork has born fruit. We have departed Orlane and have other matters to attend to. We applaud your efforts and can find friendship with the elves of the Dim. Word of your good deeds has traveled there.”

They are met by a pack of guards. “Strangers, the mayor would love to speak with you.” They take them to the familiar mayor’s house that Grum scouted a few nights ago. They meet with the Mayor, his wife, and 2 daughters and 2 older sons.

Thom cracks a joke in their presence, and the family finds the joke hilarious. It’s a welcome respite. “Stranger, your levity brings joy to a somber situation. I know what you’ve done. The Naga lays dead, otherwise my people would not be free. We owe you deepest thanks.”

“You do, but you owe more to Cirll.” Th
“O my, I will insure she’s taken care of. Is her family?”
“We’re looking into that. We left her with elves.”
“There were elves in town?”
“Then I must pay them my respects as well.”
“I apologize to any brusk treatment you received from my charmed guards. Tell me, how did you come to know our plight.”
“Gelnar came to us in Greyhawk.”
“Greyhawk?! Oh my, allow me to bestow an honor. If you have a few hours, allow us to make the honor.”
“We really don’t.” Lys whispered.
“No need, mayor. Just doing our job” Gru
“We are people of honor, we serve those who are weak.” Mo
“Gather your strong men, go beneath the GGI and into the Temple and retrieve the statues. Use the funds to rebuild your village.” Th
“I intend to, and will be sending men through the Moors to extinguish any lingering threats in the lair.”
“Sure, I’ll make you a map with directions.”
“Absolutely. Give me 2 hours, we’ll assemble a crier. “ The mayor orders a servant and departs with his thanks.
“One more request sir, an appraiser for our found gems.”
“Of course, go to the jeweler and money changer. He can help you.” He scribes a note for Thom and thom responds with a bow.
“To a brighter Orlane, Mayor.”

Grum and Thom goes and sees a heavy set man, balding, at the counter. Counting coins with 2 guards in leather armor in the room. “Hello, stranger. What can I do for you?”
“I have a fair bit that needs to be appraised.”
“Here’s a list of our fees—“
Thom hands the note. “What’s this?”
“From the mayor” Thom winks.
“Oh…I see. Well then.” He says, sliding the fee plate back in place.
Thom places his gems down and the changer has good news, telling them the gems and jewelry is worth $$$$$. Thom dumps 13k copper down to change, much to the frustration of the changer. After changing, he bids Thom and Grum a bitter adieu.

Vetnik, Moira, and a distant Lyssa head to the stables while Trisoll explores the rest of Orlane. After tying the horses, they gather in the town square. People have begun to gather early.
“Ppl of Orlane, take heed of the kindness of strangers. PPl who answered the clarion call for help, they freed our town of the terror of the Naga. Unselfishly. I want to recognize everyone individually. Please, step forward!”
All but Lyssa step forward and asks them by name.
“Vetnik Talthraudii, I offer you title of Protector of Orlane” hands Vetnik a medal fashioned of electrum. Repeats the process for Moira.
“Hi!” Grum says. “I’m Grum!”
“You are now Grum, protector of Orlane!”
“I’m the Blade!” Thom says. “Dim Razor, protector of Orlane!”
“As a token of my personal appreciation, I present my own longsword to you. Given to me by uncle, a great paladin who used it in service of his god. I have little need for it, this should go to someone of worth.”
Vetnik takes it and holds on to it. “It is called Suffering’s End,” the mayor informs.

Neveen arrives and greets everyone with a great smile. Meats and pastries pass through the humble gathering. Grum votes to stick around and hang out, Lyssa is visibly over it and wants to go home. Grum gets slightly buzzed and finds himself a nice, yet hesitant, farmhand to flirt with. “It’s OK, I’ve never done this before either.” Grum fibs. Thom is drinking conservatively and buddies up with the mayor and the blacksmiths, discusses design notes on the statue for Cirilli.
“I would’ve never thought of this, celebrating our own in freeing themselves as well is a remarkable point!” They make their way back to the ISS late at night, for stays free of charge. Grum takes a room of his own with the farmhand. Thom looks around for lasses of his own. He’s not picky, and finds quite a few ladies. He attempts to woo a pair for the evening, and succeeds!

“The mask always stays on” he says wooing one of them.

Lyssa is still visibly annoyed and forgoes partying with the others and retreats into her room, alone.

In the morning, they awaken in their rooms alone. Grum is hungover, while Thom is slightly groggy. Everyone else is fine. Thom heads out to buy more horses and padded saddle bags and ditches the cart.

Together, they head through the Rushmoors again making their way to the Gran March without incident. On the left, they see the Dim Forest edging up their way on the left. Lyssa finds 2 rare plant life for potions/polstices before clearing the Moors entirely. They enter the Gran March and camp in the plains. In the first hour, the most delicious odor hits their nose. They follow the path, and they see a man eating the most awesome food. He pays the group no mind as they ride past.
“Smells good, bro!” Tri
“It is good!”

In the 5th hour, they see a small caravan of fighters heading north, rolling up behind. The group scoots by as they roll by. “To the games!”
Grum smirks and leers at the dashing knights, “Those are some games I want to head to.”

The quarter moon flickered high above in a dark, cloudless sky. The openness of the Gran March plains was a pleasant and expansive. Everything about it was a welcome contrast to their travels in the Rushmoors. The party made their camp and slept easy in the open grassiness of the plains, their bodies snuggling under their sleeping bags with every passing cool breeze. As the moon began its slow descent from midnight, Lyssa took watch over the camp.

Lyssa sees a very hairy man stumbling through the night. He approaches. cautiously. “I need help quickly.” There’s a small gecko on his shoulder.
“I’ve been robbed, they’re using my book as precious book as kindling. “
“My name is Uthar,”
“Just be quiet. “
“Down there!” The raiders throw the unwanted things in the fire. Lyssa extinguishes the fire magically, causing them to panic. She turns the flame into a pillar of flame and shocks the group .
“You will be handsomely rewarded if you save my spell book!”
The raiders turn and fire their bows and stick the levitating mage. The first arrow grazes her but the second shoots in her stomach. Full of rage, she turns the pillar of fire into choking cloud using Pyrotechnics. Two of the men are blinded, but the third

The third takes a blind shot and breaks a rib, stunning Lyssa and breaking off the levitation. Enraged and losing blood, Lyssa sends forth a burning hands spell, incinerating the last two men. She collapses to the ground.

Uthar runs over and asks to help. He runs the opposite to get his spell book and runs to the camp.

Thom wakes and sees Lyssa is gone. He casts invisibility over himself, nudges Grum.
“Ah! Wtf?!”
Thom starts to scout the area. He sees an old man running down the wizard.
“Help, the female mage, she’s badly hurt!”
Moira wakes “WHICH WAY?!”
“Down the road, by the ravine.”
Moira jets off with Thom rushing after. Uthar stands, bewildered and helpless. “She’s badly hurt, can she help her? “Jingo, calm down!” He orders the gecko running across his head. “May I rest here for a moment?”
He laments over the turn pages of his book.

Moira runs down and sees Lyssa. “This is gonna sting!” She rips the arrow out and places a healing hand upon her.
“Are you OK?”
“I wanna go home.”
“Why did go alone?!”
“I…” she passes out.

Moira picks her up, carrying Lyssa’s unconscious body in her hands. Vetnik and Grum run up the road behind Thom. Thom sneaks past and investigates the raider camp. Back at the camp, the raiders struck an exhausted Uthar, who was completely depleted of spells.

“She’s real bad, we have to get her to Trisoll asap!” Mo
Vetnik takes Lyssa and rushes back.
“Where is your brother, Grum?”
“Right here,”
“Did you check the camp?”
“Just a bunch of thugs. Only found a few of the old man’s pages. Three of them seem to be fine, another is partially burned.”

Vetnik rolls up to Trisoll and Uthar talking. “Lys, is she ok?!”
He holds her unconscious body, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry” and gives her +8

“I’m glad you can help, I couldn’t live with myself if someone died over this.” Uthar explains he’s a truly powerful wizard in travel, who got robbed while gone of spells.
“Where are you heading?” Vet
“Valuna, what about you?” Uth
“We’re on the road to our next stop!” Th says, vaguely.
“I owe you for the bravado of your companion. If there’s any way I can help you travel…let me check my book!”
He thumbs through and cries out as he does, seeing how destroyed the book his. Thom floats the pages to him, and he rejoices! “Yes, yes, ahhh! If you tell me your destination, I can take you there!”
Vetnik looks to Thom to level with the old mage.
“Greyhawk!” Trisoll cries out. “Greyhawk, you think you can help us out with that?”
“Yes, yes of course. If I didn’t have my book. I owe this young lady a debt of gratitude that will be repaid.”
Uthar rolls up a page and places the scroll in Lyssa’s belt. “Gather your things, this will take me a few minutes to gain the magic. Please, watch over me.”
Uthar meditates, and asks the group to visualize their destination. A bright flash of light and they feel themselves transported to the city gates of Greyhawk. 1,000s of miles traversed in seconds. The teleport spell shocks Lyssa out of her slumber.

“How long was I out for?” Lys
“A couple hours. The man you saved, Uthar. He was true to his word, he gave you the scroll and teleported us back here!” Mo
“To the manor, then?” Thom says “And Lys, when I said be frugal with that brooch, I didn’t mean to be that frugal!”

The group stands at the gates, the early hours of morning approaching. The town is quiet at 4:30 am, and together they head through the town to Pimpleton Manor. Trisoll leads the party inside and sees the parlor empty, the fire at a low roar. Gibbs the bear smells the party and walks down the hall, bellowing and signaling their return.

“George!” Lyks calls out.
“Yes sir, right away sir.” George rushes down, rejoicing at the sight. “You’re back, you’re all back!”
Thud, thud, thud. “Oh, you all didn’t kill each other.” Lyks jokes, arriving in full Druidic vestments.
“There were attempts.” Lyks
“Uncle, the people of Orlane are free.” Mo
“From what?”
“A naga. We defeated a naga!”
“George, prepare a breakfast. I want to hear everything.”
“Yes sir!”

Real food smells fill the house. Together they all sit down.
“I’m going to my room.” Lys
“Nonono, you come back!” Lyks
“Lyssa, head upstairs.” Moir

“I understand Lyssa has changed in our time together, there was a time though early on in our travel… she hurt people. But I don’t believe it is her. I know that there’s something good in her.”
“Yeah, she spat butterflies!” Th jokes

Lyks digests it silently. “So, a Naga, huh?”
“Naga, and we ran afoul of a dungeon in Enstad.”
“How’d you make it out?”
“Elven sisters, one who was serving time for helping humankind. Her sister, a jail attendant.”
“I’m aware of the queen.”
“And the queen is aware of the Black bros lineage.”
Vetnik lowers his head.
“What did you tell her?”
“I told her that… they’re her grandchildren!” Vet
“That info may be a bit sensitive.” Lyks
“It was a faux pas, but that crazy old hag of a grandmother would’ve found out any way. She would’ve thrown us in jail regardless.” Th
“She never even spoke to us. She spoke through a scribe, Tvylouss.”
“He sucked, I don’t like that guy.” Tr

The twins stay with Lyks to talk as well as Tris. Moira goes home to see Vortis, and Venik takes his leave to explore Greyhawk. Lyssa sleeps alone.

“Good to see you dad,” Tr hugging Lyks.
“I’m glad you made it back safely.”
“Me too. I’m not too proud to say I was scared, but everyone really pulled together to make it happen.”
“That’s why I wanted to talk to you 3 first.”
Entering his private chamber, in a display case is a crystal orb, blackened and dimmed. The party sit around the table. They all indulge in Lyks’ private stock of spirits and talk.

“Given that you all made it back alive, and no one killed each other”
“Lyssa and Moira had their moments”
“Catfighting or…”
“Moira found something troubling about her.
And you let her in my house!”
“Dad, there’s good in her. you don’t understand, there’s something else.”
“What is it then?”
“We need to help her then. She saved a man’s life, alone.”
“Quiet, how do you expect to save someone who doesn’t want to be save.”
“Trust me, dad.”

“I have witnessed some strange mishaps in her spell casting.” Th
“her spells were going nuts” Tr “She needs training.”
“Funny you bring it up. I went to the Mage’s guild and talked to the head. Their grounds are open and accepting new students. But first, we need to figure out what’s wrong with the situation.”
“Of course, thank you! I promise, it’ll be worth it! We’ll get a tutor for her, everything will work out.”

“Fine. As for you, brothers Black.”
“Yes, Master Lyks” Th
“I have some things lined up for you guys. Perhaps you’re interested in weapon craft. I’m allowing you access to my warehouse, to craft what you need.
“Moira will be happy to try her hand at steel! She wants to honor her father” Tr
“Also, I would hope you guys keep the peace.” Lyk
“They did a great job! Sneaky, pulling traps, don’t be modest, they were impressive!” Tr
“I have lined up a contact a tutor for Lyssa, as well as you two. I thought those contacts to aid you both, enlisting with the Bard’s Association.”
“It’s an honor. I’m glad we didn’t let you down” Th
“I’m very proud.” Lyks

Twins leave. Father and son stay. “I want to get some tutoring. I think it would help you. There’s also a letter for you.”
“From who?!”
“Your mother.”
Trisoll bolts the room excited.

Hours pass. Lyssa stays in her room. Vetnik returns to a happy Lyks. They discuss the difficulties of the journey but that Lyks is sure Isygrad would be proud. He pulls out a pouch, a new supply of sleep powder. Vetnik is jazzed.

Moira returns after spending the afternoon with her father. Nice to hear his approval and pride over her. She knows Drayden is proud as well.
“I’m proud too”
“I tried to keep everyone on the right path. Not everyone follows my ethos though. The brothers are godless but capable.”
“The brothers are spectacular, as are you.”
“I have a lot to live up to.”
“That’s why I’m here. I’ve given up a lot.”
“have you spoken with Lyssa yet?”
“I’m not going to hobble all the way upstairs”
“She’ll come down for me.”

Moira knocks. Opens up.
“I’m glad to see you getting rest.”
“Are you saying I look tired.”
“No, just all that you’ve been through. Lyks would like to speak with you.”
“Why, to chastise me more?”
“No, we just want to help.”
“Help? I’ve been hearing that since I got here. Trisoll, Lyks, you! In the month I’ve been with you I’ve been attacked near death, out of control of my magic. Maybe it’s you people who are the problem!”
“Lyssa, I… I promised to help you and I intend to keep that promise. Will you come down.”
“Fine. Fine!”

With her spell book tucked in her belt, Lyssa followed Moira downstairs through the manor to meet with Zemilay in his private study. Moira tapped on the door as she opened, signaling her arrival (and her manners.) ”Uncle?” she called out, entering the cozily lit study. Zemilay sat alone, in front of him rested an glass filed with the remnants of elvish brandywine. Further out on the table, the polished black quartz orb continued to rest undisturbed in its tall, ornate brass holder.

”Enter,” he replied, tapping the butt of his gnarled staff lightly against the ground. Moira did as she was told and stepped lightly into the study, with Lyssa straggling behind. Moira, arms at her side, tipped her head slightly and smiled warmly at Zemilay before standing back to allow Lyssa to enter the druid’s view. Her arms crossed and jaw clenched, Lyssa stood at the head of the table before Lyks as uncomfortable as ever — much to Zemilay’s dissatisfaction. He gripped his gnarled wooden staff and slowly rose to greet the two women. Across the table, as Lyks rose, something arrested both his and Lyssa’s attention immediately. The smoky threads running through the black quartz orb resting on the table began to flicker and surge with currents of white light. The flashes were subtle at first but noticeable. Zemilay watched the orb flicker, his brow furrowing with a mix of curiosity and concern. Lyssa slowly turned her head to watch, and as she did, the bursts of light became more brilliant. Moira stood by and watched with concerns of her own as Zemilay slowly turned to see Lyssa standing, her body relaxed and transfixed by the flashing lights. Lyssa glanced up from the orb for a moment and noticed that no longer were the others in the room fixated on the light, but herself!

”What?” Lyssa asked, backing away from the table.
Moira sheepishly approached the mage, balancing her gaze between Lyssa and Zemilay cautiously. ”That orb doesn’t usually glow… at all!”
”Both of you, sit,” Zemilay ordered, his tone eerily calm. Moira did as she was asked and took her seat across from Zemilay. It was hard for her not to pay mind to the orb, whose flickering only seemed to brighten and increase. Lyssa began to make her way to a seat beside Moira, but the orb’s pull was strong. Lyssa paused and continued to gaze deep into the currents of light undulating within the crystal ball.
”What is this?” Lyssa asked, approaching the table (and the orb.)
”I’m not entirely sure,” Zemilay began, creeping towards the young mage. ”What I do know is that it is mine, hard won in a quest ages ago. When you two were but small children.”
”What does it do?” Lyssa asked, leaning towards the orb for a closer look.
”It usually sits and does nothing but serve as an ornament.”
Lyssa briefly turned her attention away from the orb, the standoffish expression she entered with now replaced by a relaxed and almost devious demeanor. “Purely decorative, eh? Didn’t figure you one for sentimental trinkets,”_ she quipped.
Zemilay scowled, and throwing caution away, moved closer to the girl. ”That trinket, as you so blithely put it, helped to put a curse on my family. Your sensitivity is appreciated.” Lyssa’s defiantly rolled her eyes and returned to watching the light show within the crystal orb. Moira’s body and expression seized up with tension as she slowly lifted herself from her seat. ”I had arranged for a tutor for you at The Mage’s Guild, given the regard your companions seem to have for you. Your overwhelming brazenness had me curious ever since you stepped foot into my home. How does a girl from the middle of the Furyondy plains arrive, so entitled and with such a curious knack for magic?”
”Divine providence,” Lyssa muttered back sarcastically, ”or shit luck.”
”Everyone here seems to have faith in you but me,” Zemilay revealed as he made an effort to separate Lyssa from the orb.
”She’s done good, uncle! We’ve all seen it—“ Moira cried out in her companion’s defense. Zemilay rose his hand to hush the impassioned paladin, his eyes still on Lyssa. Moira silenced herself and was cautious to speak out of turn again.
”I’ve opened my home to a stranger,” Zemilay continued while Lyssa’s eyes continued to frustratedly dart between the elder druid and the glowing orb. ”My son revealed to me most disturbing news from your journey. News I think you had best sit down for.”
”I prefer to stand right now.”
”Bayerton, I found it while you all were away. I did some digging of my own, to see if the tale of this poor young girl abandoned by her mother here in Greyhawk added up. It’s true, you do have a mother. Violetta, banished from Bayerton after you tried to burn your fellow villagers once they discovered your macabre interests. There was another, Martra, a witch who had also been exiled from the town decades earlier. Does her name ring any familiarity in you?”
”Yes! Both left me to fend for myself.”
”They both left you because you were… are dangerous!”
The air around Lyssa’s body began to rapidly heat with every revelation Zemilay made. Her eyes welled as she recalled the feelings of abandonment each of the aforementioned women burdened her with. ”Stop!”
”Tell me, Moira. How do you feel about someone like that? Is your faith still so sure?”
”Is all of this true?” Moira asked, her voice still soft with compassion.
”Yes, and what of it?!” Lyssa bit back.
”Moira herself has detected evil in you!” An immediate and shared expression of shock crossed both women’s faces.
”You… you think I’m…” Lyssa began, choking on her words as she processed all the revelations laid out by Zemilay. ”You think I’m evil?”
Moira immediately stood and approached, palms up and pleading, ”No! No, it’s not like that!” Both Zemilay and Moira could feel Lyssa’s aura as they neared her. The invisible coils of chaotic energy that surrounded her body warmed with rapid intensity. Behind Lyks, the orb too seemed to react to Lyssa’s stress. The currents of light flickered more and more rapidly with growing visibility! ”I wondered at first,” Moira continued, ”and I definitely felt something. As the weeks went on though, I saw a change in you. We all did!”
”You smile in my face and call me friend now, yet you’ve harbored this fear of me the entire time? What kind of paladin keeps such secrets from her so-called friend!”
”Lyssa, no! You must understand—“
Lyssa’s temper cooled for a moment of uncharacteristic vulnerability. ”Out of everyone, even Trisoll, I trusted you the most,” she revealed.
THUD! Zemilay banged his staff against the floor, frustrated by the back and forth between the two women. ”Unfortunately, child, I do not trust you.” Lyssa’s tearful expression returned to its usual fiery intensity. With flared nostrils and a clenched jaw, she continued to stare menacingly at Moira. The air in the room was now unusually heated. As Zemilay spoke, Moira noticed the candle wax trickle and melt more rapidly while the fires in the study seemed to extend slowly without cause. Zemilay continued, ”as faithful and trustworthy as my niece may be, I must do what is best for my house. Your temperament is one I seriously question—“ Before Zemilay could finish and without warning, Lyssa darted towards the flickering orb, reaching out to grab it. Zemilay proved to be more spry than his lame gait as he quickly pushed himself between the orb and the mage. At the table, Moira looked away and saw the once smoke-black orb was now burning with strobing white light.
”Back off!” Lyssa growled as her familiar chaotic gaze appeared. Her eyes flashed a red glow and with a wave of her hand she did her best to subdue Zemilay in place. Lyssa’s power over gravity seemed to take little effect on the much more experienced Zemilay. His body jerked towards the ground for a brief moment, but he steadied himself on his staff with ease. ”The orb calls to me!” Lyssa hissed, realizing her attempting at manipulating Zemilay’s personal gravity failed. Meanwhile, George Pimpleton was making his rounds through the house and was well on his way to check in on Zemilay. As he neared the door, George could feel the intense heat radiating even outside of the study. He placed his hand upon the brass knob and could feel the unusual warmth carried through it.
”Master Lyks,” George called out as he rushed through the door.
”Moira! George! Get her out of here now!” Zemilay barked as he took notice of the changing environment of the room. Both George and Moira did their best to grab at the mage, but she seemed to move with a remarkable agility. George stumbled to the ground as she rushed past Moira and Zemilay towards the wildly flaring crystal ball.

Immediately as Lyssa placed her hand upon the flickering orb, the light within flared with a solid brightness. The mage’s mind swelled and drowned under a siege of foreboding sounds of some alien place. The noises filling her mind were violent and overwhelming, an amalgam of frenzied sonic elements crashing together to create a deafening storm. Suddenly, a voice cut through the chaos of sensorial tempests. It said with a clear and booming echo:


With the utterance of the mysterious name, Lyssa was suddenly thrown out of the chaotic realm and back into reality as some unseen force ripped her person from the orb. That same force flung the mage’s body against a nearby bookshelf, and as Lyssa’s unconscious body slumped to the floor, the orb that strobed so wildly in her presence had immediately returned to its cloudy black state. The air of the room had also immediately returned to its original temperature, and the flames of the fireplace and candles had calmed. Moira rushed to her companion’s side and kneeled beside her, scooping her up into her arms. Zemilay looked at the orb and noticed it was once more an blackened crystal ball.
_”Shall I take her to her room,” Moira softly asked her mentor, cradling the unconscious mage in her arms. Transfixed by the now blackened orb resting on his table, Zemilay took a moment to respond. ”Uncle?” Moira asked again less patiently.
Zemilay darted his head down towards the two women and immediately fired back with an expression most severe. _”Anywhere but here,” he commanded. Moira knew better than to argue with her chosen uncle, especially when his tone was as grave as it was. Moira nodded silently and propped the unconscious mage up. Together, the pair quickly vacated Zemilay’s study.
”Master Lyks,” George nervously began, moving aside to let the two young women leave.
”Leave me, George,” Zemilay commanded as he took a seat at his table. George said nothing back, and in a similar fashion to Moira, nodded his head in silent obedience and left the study without a word. George quietly closed the door to the study and left Zemilay alone. The sound of burning candle wicks and kindling in the fireplace were the only company left as Zemilay sat alone once more at his grand oak table, his eyes unmoving from the mysterious spherical void.

Elsewhere in Greyhawk, the Brothers Black took their leave of the local bathhouse. Their afternoon was one spent in much-deserved relaxation (with Grum getting an additional helping hand from one of the house’s strong caretakers!) Freshly bathed, the pair made their way beyond the warehouse district to the Greyhawk bazaar, which was steady in its activity. Textile and metal fineries, strange and exotic fruits and vegetables, and handcrafted weapons from all over the realm populated the booths here. The boys silently reminisced to themselves and remembered what it was like to run as boys through the aisles while their parents were bound to their offices. The time they spent in Greyhawk as children was short, but the worldly items found within the bazaar had always captivated the twins. While Grum meandered about, rifling through bladed weapons, his brother was more focused in his search. Thom soon came upon a booth that was tented off from the others, draped in exotic tapestries. Grum waited outside as Thom entered, holding his satchel close to his side as he did so. Minutes later, Thom returned without a word, his satchel much less full than before.

”How much did the horn go for?” Grum asked casually.
”Enough for a few pints. Shall we?” his brother replied. Grum shrugged and together, the boys continued onwards to the New Hope neighborhood of Greyhawk — formerly known as the den of crime, Blood Alley.

The businesses in Newhope were steady for the afternoon. Newhope was now a hotspot for tourists and citizens alike, who all came to indulge in something lighthearted. Most lively of the businesses was a thin yet tall building, its exterior brick painted a vibrant crimson. The sounds of awe and laughter from inside poured onto the streets as they approached. The wooden sign above read in gilded letters: ”Welcome… FRIENDLY STRANGERS CABARET” The twins smiled at each other as they made their way in.

Inside, the lighting was dim, with only the lantern-lit stage at the front of the house and daylight peaking in from the curtained windows offering up details of the crowd. Rows of tables were filled with the afternoon audience: a mix of visitors from neighboring cities, jovial locals, and daytime drunks with enough coin to spare all huddled together along benches and tables. On the stage, a thin, tan man decked out in exaggeratedly exotic costuming and body paint danced and posed across from a tall, clay urn. As the dancer stretched and moved, a serpent slowly began to rise from the urn. Its body was massive and adorned with an intricately scaled hood that widened as the dancer approached. The giant snake hissed and opened its mouth to a gaping expanse, revealing a pair of dripping, razor sharp fangs. The twins reclined against the bar and watched the captive audience recoil in horror as the painted performer drew closer towards the cobra’s mouth, and slowly placed his head between its jaws. The performer lifted his hands and stood completely still, his head neck deep in the cobra’s mouth. The triumphant pose set off an eruption of applause from the audience! Things had certainly not changed here at the Friendly Strangers Cabaret.

Further down the bar was a table of young, unaccompanied women. A figure stood above them, regaling them with what the boys assumed to be a most amusing (if not off-color tale, judging by some of the ladies’ blushing expressions.) The boys honed in closer and saw that it was no mere man, but a man outfitted in metal from head to tow. Even the mustache he twirled between his metallic, hinged fingers was made of gold!

”Tic!” the boys called out in unison. The metal man looked up from the giggling maidens and immediately excused himself from their table side.
“With my own two eyes, the Black brothers have returned to Greyhawk!” the metal man said to the sound of gears smoothly churning. ”You’re both so tall!” he said in a warm, yet tinny voice.
”Tic-Toc, old man,” Thom cheered, banging his fist playfully against the automaton’s armored shoulder.
”How in blazes are you?” Grum continued, banging away at the opposite shoulder.
”I’m wonderful, even better now that you two are here! Come, let us get you boys a drink!” Tic-Toc replied, waving down a nearby barkeep. ”How did you like the show?” he asked while the barkeep quickly set two cups of ale down upon the bar.
“It was marvelous.” Thom answered as his brother took an early sip.

“Theres a letter for them here from the mayor. Would you like it.”
Tic Toc gives it to them, the letter indicates that their mother is having a street named after her. Morgana Way. The twins propose that they forge the documents to go and attend in their parent’s absence.

Departing the town square, Vetnik had made his way through the bazaar. There, his fingers and eyes traced across the many tables displaying a variety of silks, trinkets, and weapons delivered to Greyhawk from all over Oerth. The Granrudian Ice Barbarian may have been a prince, but was royal in title only. The extravagance of the bazaar was cross-cultural and balanced by the relaxed nature of the vendors and buyers. He savored seeing the eclectic offerings all brought together in one place, a rare sight in his distant kingdom to the far North. He had earned his first coin in Orlane and saw so much to consider spending it on — a new lance, perhaps, or a new wolf pelt to replace the one so dirtied in his travels. The calm of his stroll was shook by a frantic sight moving quickly at the edge of the bazaar towards the Church of Cortox.

”Moira?” he asked himself, focusing on the figures moving through the distance. Stepping away from the nameless booth, he hastily made way towards the temple. His soft blue eyes focused and saw them. It was indeed Moira, with flaxen hair billowing and bouncing with ever rushed step. Her sure and tall frame no longer adorned with the Paladin’s armor. Buckled under her arm, with her boot tips dragging against the cobblestone streets, was the waifish mage, Lyssa. Her auburn hair wrapped and dangled down her unmoving face. Vetnik worried of what possible trouble the mage could have gotten herself wrapped up in again as the distance between the three closed. ”Moira!” he called out as the three approached the broad stone steps of the church. Moira whipped her flaxen hair around and revealed a usual expression where it concerned her intense companion: worry.

Vetnik called out to his panicked friend, ”Where are you going?!”
Moira struggled at first to balance her attention between the approaching Vetnik and adjusting the unconscious mage in her keep. ”Lyks cast her out,” she began to explain as she hurriedly ascended the broad stone steps of the temple. ”The orb in Lyks’ study, she… it started glowing and she touched it and then…”
”What orb? Is Lyssa—“
The trio gathered at the grand, oaken doors of the temple, each of which were embellished with a constellation of bronzed metal stars — symbolic of the pieces of the once-sundered God and his avatars. Moira held Lyssa close to her side as she frantically banged the geometric metal knocker against the thick wooden door. “I do not know,” Moira began to explain in a tone of forced calm, ”the orb flickered in her presence and—” She darted her eyes back to the doors as they slowly (and loudly) creaked open. Standing in the doorway was a young man, a monk whose habit denoted his devotion to Cortox.
”Can I help you?” the young man asked.
Moira steeled herself in the presence of the holy brother. Adjusting the shining metal sigil dangling across her chest, she announced herself: _”I am Moira Steelshaper. Sworn Paladin to His holiness the once-sundered Cortox, and daughter of Drayden Steelshaper! This woman needs aid!”
The monk’s expression expanded from curiousity to immediate recognition (the Steelshaper name was revered as legendary in the church after all!) ”Yes, yes, come in at once!” the monk said rushing the trio in. _”My lady, what ails her?” he asked, leading them down past the pews towards the main altar, where sisters and worshippers lit candles and laid offerings of coin and freshly picked flowers in silence. The monk whispered to a nearby sister, and after a very brief discussion, the sister lead the others out of the altar room.
”I need,” Moira said, pausing for a moment to conjure the words and calm herself down, “I need you to check her for… other presences.”_
Both Vetnik and the monk shared immediate mutual looks of confusion. ”What are you getting at?” Vetnik asked, placing his hand on the paladin’s shoulder.
Moira took a deep breath and did her best to remain calm and collected, or appear as such any way. ”Nothing else makes sense to me! Back at the manor, when she touched that orb she made some kind of connection. However brief it was, it was potent!”
”What are you saying, Moira?”
”I’m not sure… whatever hints of evil I detected from Lyssa over the past few weeks, I felt all at once when she touched that orb. Something else is afoot, Vetnik, and I sense her struggling. There is something else to her madness and I must be certain of what it is!”
”I,” Vetnik began, squeezing Moira’s shoulder gently, ”I trust you.”

In the Hall of the Reptile God


Together, the party from Greyhawk stood at the base of the lichen and mud-encrusted cobblestone steps that descended further into the bowels of the lair of the Naga. The chill of subterranean air caused all whose skin it touched to crawl. Under their armor, warriors Moira and Vetnik’s breathing became more labored as the cool-yet-humid air made wearing such armor taxing to lug around in. Even the hot-blooded Lyssa shivered, both from the drop in temperature and a fear of what else lurked deeper underneath the Rushmoors. With their elder guide Rahme serving as torch bearer, the party could make out faint and crude details of the cavern they now occupied. A pair of large columns supported a hollowed out cave. Water trickled down onto the cavern floor with a muffled sound. Rahme lowered his torch to reveal a dense mire of mud where a floor ought to be.

”How do you imagine we’re supposed to get across this?” Moira pondered aloud. At her side stood Lyssa, who silently took in the fetid darkness.
”Hang on,” she replied. She closed her eyes, inhaled, and as she opened them, the scarlet energy poured out of her eyes and began to flicker around her body. The party watched as Lyssa gently strs Something was amiss though. Moira turned to her companion to see the chaos energy fizzling in her eyes. Like a dying campfire, the embers of magic flickered for a moment then ceased. Lyssa shut her eyes and bowed her head, and with heavy breathing, silently began to focus once more. The group stood curious and silent as Lyssa tried to regain her composure. ”Lyssa?” Moira gently asked.
”I… I can’t,” Lyssa began with frustration mounting in her voice. With a heavy exhale, she opened her eyes. Lyssa stared out into the murky darkness, visibly defeated. ”What is happening,” she whispered to herself.
Seeing genuine distress across the mage’s face, Thom held his usual jeers and instead stepped forward to take action. Knocking his arrow, he held it in his bow and focused — not the darkness, but on the head of the arrow itself. With a magic word, the arrowhead slowly began to glow.

Tom casts light on arrow, shoots down hallway. Head north, slogging thru mud. Grum scouts West and finds large mud filled room. The party decides to go east instead. They find the path splits north and south. Grum scouts the north and finds it ends in a door. Heading south, he finds a room filled with murky brown water. Grum approaches and wipes away the mud from the wall.

”You all don’t pay attention, do you?” Grum quipped, pushing in a secret door.

Inside, he finds a small room and a boat built for two. Thom and Grum decide to venture forth and investigate.

”If anything goes awry, I’ll fire an arrow back to shore!” Thom
”That’s if you’re even able to draw your bow.” Lyssa

The twins row to to the vantage point across the secret river and find a shelf with two medium-sized chests. Grum finds and removes a poison needle trap (joking to his brother that he’s been poisoned in the process.) Inside the chests, the brothers find large amounts of gold, silver, and platinum as well as jeweled bracelets and small gems. While the brothers pull together their bounty, the others wait cautiously for them. Lyssa thumbs through her spell book, regaining her magical knowledge, while Trisoll meditates.

The twins return telling of their bounty. Grum stays behind while Thom returns to fetch the treasure, explaining that the boat fits only so much. While they wait, they continue to recharge and rearm themselves. Thom returns with treasures in tow and together the party set of north to the door.

They find the wooden door swollen from age and moisture, but unlocked all the same. Vetnik and Moira take turns kicking at the door, but it is Vetnik who breaks through.

”Well done!” Moira remarked at Vetnik, with a possessive Lyssa looking on.

Inside, the room has a pillar. As the party pours in, a zombie shuffles out from behind a pillar and grabs at the old man Rahme. Shocked, the party take a stand together against the undead thing. Trisoll tries to turn the creature but fails to contact Trithereon. “What went wrong?” he pondered. Lyssa tossed a dagger but missed due to the dim lighting in the chamber. The zombie continued to shuffle forward and took Thom by the throat, digging his bony fingers hard and relentlessly into the bard’s throat. Thom reached beneath his cloak and drew the first blade available: the cryptic dagger known as Lyn. Thom drove the dagger into the zombie’s chest and, as the blade pierced through his ribs, a surge of electricity burst from the dagger blade and burned out the zombie’s chest. The electricity shot up through the rest of the zombie’s body, up through his spine and cooking the creature’s brains for a true death.

They continue north and find another door. Grum successfully picks and continues to find a door to the left. Thom listens and hears a pair of voices, a boy and girl. Grum does what he can to pick the lock, but the rusted lock proves to be too difficult. Vetnik and Moira take their places and begin to kick at the door. Moira successfully bashes the door in! Vetnik pops Moira on the shoulder playfully, which only seems to make Lyssa distance herself more. Inside, the party finds rows of cells. 3 empty, 2 occupied. A 16 y.o. boy and 18 y.o. girl recoil as the party enter. Grum rushes to unlock the cell doors while Vetnik assures them that they’re safe. The teenagers reveal that they are the carpenters children, imprisoned after their parents were enslaved by the Naga’s charm. They somehow resisted and were kept as prisoners. They escort the teens into the secret room with the boat and order them to hide and wait for them to return. Before leaving, Vetnik asks about the Naga’s servants, the Troglodytes. They are unsure of what they are, knowing only that they’re ruthless and loyal to the Naga. Vetnik asks them to point out the Naga’s lair on the map made by Rahme, and they abide.

The party heads back out and continues into a chamber, empty save for 5 wooden benches. 20 ft beyond lays another door, unlocked and noiseless. As Vetnik opens he sees a wretched sight: a Wight! The ghostly creature rushes through the party, targeting Rahme and grabs at him. The party watches as the Wight slowly begins to suck the life out of the old guide. His eyes roll back into his head, and as the party fears the loss of the old man, they see his eyes crackle with electric energy. His old, thin skin heats and glows and suddenly a bolt of lightning surges through Rahme and knocks the Wight off of him. The Wight staggers back while Rahme sinks to his knees, reeling from having just had his life force partially drained. Grum quickly draws his own cryptic blade, Slå, and flings it at the beast. It hits the Wight but provides no shocking effect. Moira draws her longsword and cuts the Wight down.

Suddenly, the mad cleric of the reptile god reveals himself. As he charges in, Tom draws Lyn and slashes at him. Vetnik follows up with a shield bash but misses. While the crazed cleric fends off the cavalier, Lyssa saunters up behind him and effortlessly jabs her dagger into the side of the cleric, felling him as she pulls out her blade. The cleric falls to the ground and Vetnik quickly returns his shield to his back and pulls the keys from the cleric’s belt. With the Wight and cleric death with, the party sees the room for what it is. Standing in it is another statue of the Naga. Thom inspects it and sees that the head is on a seam. He rotates it and reveals a wooden panel that drops on the north end of the floor. Trisoll finds another secret door 20 ft down.

Together, the party come upon the chamber of the Naga. Before entering, Naga intones a powerful spell that creates a crystalline globe of invulnerability around them. Rahme looks to the party and warns them that now is their chance to gain the upper hand, and to be tactical. Lyssa responds by attempting to pin the Naga down as she sleeps using an anti-Levitation spell. Suddenly, she feels a tickling in her throat, immense and bizarre. She recoils to the back of the sphere and vomits up a swarm of butterflies that flutter about the globe. Thom, realizing the butterflies will only serve to annoy and alert the Naga of their presence, forgoes a quip and conjures a fixed point of light across the eyes of the Naga. Moira jumps in as the Naga writhes in blindness, slashing with her longsword. Grum stays with the party and fires off a couple successful arrows. As the globe dissipates, Trisoll prays to Trithereon to protect the party from the evil of Explicitica Deflius while Thom whips out his drum to buff. Enraged by the latest flop of her magic, Lyssa cries out and releases a wave of powerful flames from her hands. As the Naga recoils from the fires, Vetnik leaps in and cuts the Naga down!

With the Reptile god dead, the Twins get to looting the Naga’s chamber. Vetnik cleans his blade of the filthy creature’s blood, while Lyssa rushes and begins to raid the corpse for spell ingredients. Rahme asks little of the party except for a ring and scroll. Once their collective bounty is all secured, they rush back through the same secret path and take the teenagers back through the tunnels up to the Rushmoors for safety. The Naga defeated, Orlane is presumably saved.

Return to the Moor


Back at the ISS, Rahme departs and says he’ll meet in the morning. The party pays for another night, and with the route given to them by him, they prepare for four days travel through forest, plains, and marsh, back into the Rushmoors.

Thom wishes to find another shop in the area by himself, to purchase more supplies. Grum insists he accompanies, and takes Trisoll with him. Thom argues he should go alone citing that the warriors need to be ready for battle, his brother’s presence would be too suspicious, and Lyssa is too temperamental. Vetnik suggests that they sneak into the general store

“OMG that’s incredibly sensible, let’s do it!” Th
“Are we sure they’re cult members?” Mo
“Anyone who brags about the GGI to be reputable is a cult” Th
“It’s fine, we’ll just go in knock them out and be out.” Th
“We’ll only be knocking them out.” Moi to Lys.
“We don’t all have to go.” Lys
“Lyssa brings up a fair point, we don’t all have to go” Tr
“If it makes you feel better, I’ll some coin after we knock them out and raid their store” Th to Moi

Vetnik gives Trisoll the rest of his sleep powder.
“Sleep dust. You know what my father dealt in” Vet to Tri
Tri ties it up and puts it on his belt. The twins and Trisoll head out.
Thom brings coin and the men head out. He summons his unseen servant, wary of venturing out unprepared knowing that the heat is on them. Trisoll casts protection from evil on Grum, and blesses the entire party traveling to the store. Grum takes the lead and plots a course back to the general store.

They pass the mill without incident. The family is preoccupied with tasks. They go to the dam. Thom makes it but Trisoll slips and falls shoulder first. He can’t right himself before getting swept over the rocks and tumbles into the river, rocks breaking off and striking him as he splashes down into the lake below. “Gimme a minute!” Tri moans. The attention has not been brought from the mill family. Trisoll continues to swim along the edge and climbs up out of the lake.
“Just like Moira, too bad Lys wasn’t here to pick me up. Sorry, that was embarrassing. I’m not as lithe as you.” He pulls at his robes and wrings water out.
“No worries, carry on.”

The move on to the house, and Grum guides them from the shadows, past the livery manure stables. The horses aren’t disturbed as they sneak past the stable. They attempt to pass a fenced in area between the house and stables. They skirt the edge of the wider fence and Grum runs over, curls up beside the house. He looks up and is pretty sure no one’s seen them. Trisoll stumbles on his wet shoes but catches himself together. He pulls his shoes off quickly and dumps out the last of the water inside. The candles get snuffed and the house goes dark.
“Should we continue to skirt around here?” Tri
Thom takes the lead and glides across with expert ease. Meanwhile Grum peers up through the window. Inside he makes the layout and peers into the bedroom. He sees a family going to rest for the evening. He climbs down and together they start the cross the road. Suddenly, they hear “Halt!” Grum stops, hands up.
“Strangers, come here.” beckons a lone soldier. His hand rests on his blade. “What do you know of what went on at the GGI?”
“What went on at the GGI?” Grum
“Murder most foul.”
“Who was murdered?” Gr
“A number of people as a matter of fact. I don’t know your faces, so we’ll have to bring you to the constables and—“
Trisoll casts Hold Person and carts him off the road. Thom rushes behind to assist. “Look man, got nothing against you, we didn’t do anything wrong. You’ll see, you’re not going to be harmed.”
Grum kisses the man on the cheek while Thom prepares to hide him. Tri reveals the spell should hold for another 5-6 minutes.
“Guess we’ll have to kill him” Th
“He’s kidding, I swear! He has a black sense of humor” Tri
Thom sends his unseen servant to check for locked door, finds it to be locked. Grum goes ahead and cracks the door open. he sees the shop keeps 3 sons, putting away goods and working.
“Let’s try to whack some dudes” Th
“No, not whack” Tri
“Well, like whack… against the head.” Th
“I can try and cast fear on them” Tri
“Well, I could blind them with a couple light spells.” Th
Together, they burst in on 3. Tri rushes in first, attempting to cause fear in one of the boys. He runs in terror out the door, past the party, and into orlane. Grum dagger-whips the second in the back of the neck, he staggers and falls to the ground. Thom casts light across the 3rd boy’s eyes and he cries out, blinded. His cries alert the others in the house: the husband and wife in the front.

Trisoll whips his staff out but misses. Thom wacks the blinded boy with his wakashazi blade still sheathed. The wife charges in, crying out, rushing at Trisoll with a short sword. She swings weakly, missing him. Grum grabs at the old woman does his best to restrain her in a sleeper hold. The husband watches as his wife goes limp in his chokehold. He charges after Grum, and Grum feels the wind from his blade as he swings. The father swings again at Grum and misses. Trisoll cracks his staff over the father’s head but the father is barely fazed. Grum tries to grab at the weapon but fumbles his dagger out of his hand trying to reach. Thom jumps in and casts light over the man’s eyes. Thom strikes against with his sheathed blade.

“We only have about 2 minutes before that solider wakes up.”
Trisoll rushes out with a length of rope and ties him up. He awakens, struggling. “I swear, no harm. We’re just gonna put you in the store, make sure nothing happens to you.” He sets him down in the pantry and blows Vetnik’s dust in his face.

“Whoa!” Trisoll marvels at the effects of the dust. He reaches into the bag and sniffs the powder, and grum watches him go down. Grum slaps him around, and a few seconds later he comes to.
“That stuff is potent.” Tr
“Thanks for testing that, good to know that it works. wanna come help us out now?” Gr
“Man, don’t ever snort Vetnik’s dust!” Tr
“I don’t think I need to. Now, grab a bag or something!” Th

In the course of there raid, they find a stored cashbox. Thom admits to himself he can’t help himself. Grum also finds something: he finds a locked chest in a master bedroom. He proceeds with his safe opening procedure with Thom. Grum finds another poison needle trap. He attempts to remove it and fails, the trap proves too complex. Trisoll reaches under the mattress and pulls out the key. ‘It’s where I’d keep something important.”
“Put it to the test!” Th
It fits the lock, opens, and finds more gold, silver, and electrum. They pass back down through the pantry. The wife is out, the boy is still screaming, and dad and son are writhing in bound. “Should’ve never recommended the GGI!” Tri
“Don’t worry, you’ll thank us later” Th
Together, they cart everything off and the road is clear. Grum leads the charge and find themselves across the road, against the darkened farmhouse w/ stable. Grum sneaks, but hits a rock that knocks against the house. He panics but no candles light up. They move to the rear and prepare to run up the hill towards the dam. Tri jumps across successfully, cheering for Trithereon. Thom and Grum follow, sack of raided goods across their backs.

Back at the ISS, Vetnik, Moira and Lyssa wait for the others to return. They sit and wait in the common area.
“If you don’t mind, Lyssa, and if you do I take no offense. Where do you come from” Moi to Lys “We know little of you.”
“You never thought to ask”
“Our first encounters were tumultuous.”
“I pitied your plight”
“I’m not a pity cause”
“No I mean no disrespect”
“Well… how well do you know Furyondy.”
“I know it well, I’ve studied.”
“I see. What was life like there?”
“Im sorry to hear that. I hope you’ve found improvement.”
“I dunno, I’ve almost died twice over the past month.”
“If you find yourself in harm’s way, you have my word that I will do what I can to protect you.”
“Do you require a paladin’s promise?”
“The cleric promised.”
“The cleric? His mind is like a haystack, sometimes things get lost in the pile.”
Vetnik relaxes and fetches a drink.
“If you swear to me, I will return the favor.”
Seeing Lyssa’s distress, she softly says “yes of course.” Places hand on shoulder gently and shakes her hand with the other. Lyssa is lost in the moment. “You are amongst friends. I see good in you, I do. I understand you have anger, it’s just focusing it in the correct direction.” Vetnik goes outside, enjoys the night air. Moira leans in closer, “I am sensitive to your pain. What I do promise is to help you find some peace in that. Cortox loves us all.” she smiles back. Lyssa pulls away, placing her hands on the table, gets real quiet.

Outside, Vetnik sees the two brothers and Trissy coming with a new backpack, stuffed with goodies. He sees that Vetnik is still wet.
“I had a Moira” Tri “It was embarrassing.”
“You, Vet and Trisoll head in, and we’ll climb into our rooms.”
Thom scales up with his backpack and slinks into his room. Grum follows, not quite as gracefully, but is successful. Meanwhile, Ollwin is busy restocking. The twins place the bag in hiding, and head downstairs.
“I see Trisoll had a fine bath” Th
“He should’ve taken his armor off first.” Oll
Thom passes along a tale about the theft of the general store, passing it off as a fable.

Outside, Vetnik whistles as three men approach the inn. Vetnik remains sitting, whistles, and continues drinking his drink.
“Sorry to interrupt your evening’s libations”
“Where do you hail from?”
“Tret, right? Long way from Greyhawk. What brings you to Orlane?”
“Where is your destination? Surely you haven’t come to see Orlane.”
“Passing through”
“Leaving in the morning?”
“As long as I wake up lol”
“I’m sure you’ll wake up. Fair travels to you in the morning sir.” The three soldiers walk off.
Vetnik sets his cup down, takes his armor off, and armed only with his sword, he follows the three men.
He follows and doesn’t notice Vetnik following him. He makes noise and reveals himself to the trio. They spin around and pull out their swords. Vetnik laughs, stumbles out fake drunkely. Thom and Grum, hearing the warning whistle, climb to the roof of the inn and prepare a round of sleep-potion laced arrows.
“Stranger, you tempt fate! Take him!”
“I wouldn’t do that!” They grab at him and Vetnik struggles against their grasp. Vetnik wrenches his arms out of theirs. A solider charges with a longsword but completely misses. The second solider attempts to swing but misses as well. The third swings and barely cuts at him. He swings again but misses. Vetnik retaliates and hits the attacking solider. Decked out in platemail, he’s sliced for damage and shocked at the barbarian’s ferocity. The damaged man slices back and sticks Vetnik in his chest. Vetnik staggers back and the third solider hits, and is cut again. Thom and Grum rush to the roof and see the attack. The bloodiest guard attempts to stab but misses. Vetnik slashes back and lands him on his last legs. From the roof, Thom fires an arrow laced with sleep potion and fells a first, but misses his second. Another solider slashes and barely grazes Vetnik. Grum pulls back and fires but fumbles, breaking his bowstring in the process. The last soldier slashes and cuts into him again.

A soldier lunges at slices at Vetnik. Thom fires at the other standing knight and it knicks him, but he saves against the sleep poison. Vetnik knocks at the same guy with two heavy slashes and kills him. The staggering knight takes a final swing and cuts into him. Grum attempts to throw a dagger from the roof but misses. The last standing solider tries to swing, but succumbs to fatigue and misses. Grum fires off another arrow and slays him. Two dead soldiers lay in the street, a third sleeping.
“Tret, get back in here!”
Thom climbs down and tells everyone they need to pack their things and get ready to head to the woods. Trisoll prays to Trithereon to cure Vetnik’s light wounds and seals up a couple of his wounds, but several cuts remain.
“Who were those men?” Mo
“Soliders asking too many questions.” Vet
“Grum go find the hermit, I’m going to get the elves. Everyone pack up quickly, time to move out!” Th
“Is that wise? The hermit won’t be here until morning” Mo
“Everyone except Grum will leave. Grum, you stay here for the elves and meet up with us later!” Th
The party rush to pack up their things and make their way on horseback
“I’m sorry I can’t help you with your wounds” Mo
“It was my own stupidity. Don’t worry, save it for tomorrow.” Vet
The innkeepers watch on as the party rushes out. They ride 15 minutes before hitting the edge of the forest. Having not been followed, they wait for Grum to ride.

Thom gives Grum a note to give to the elves: Their cover is blown, protect the girl and keep safe. Grum sneaks up there and spots a patrol of men. One of the men glance in his direction but turns away. At the cottage, he sees no candlelight. He quietly knocks on the door, but no one responds. He sees a significant gap underneath. He shoves the note underneath and flees back to meet up with the rest of the party.

Back in the woods, the group sets up camp. While Thom is on watch, he hears something grumble in the woods. It’s the sound of a bear. He fires an arrow off to the distance, creating as much brush noise as possible. He shatters against the tree and the bear takes the bait. He pokes trisoll and “There’s a bear.”
“Gimme 10 minutes, I got this!”
After a few more minutes, more sounds awake the party. Mugwump scares the bear away and the giant frog comes to the camp. Trisoll gives the frog a kiss. “It’ll be dawn for another hour.”
Lyssa walks away while the boys bait the bear. Lyssa wanders and hears the sounds of creatures in the night. Lyssa watches Orlane and sees torchlit patrols passing through periodically.

As Dawn approaches, Thom burns invisibility on Grum and Grum makes his way back effortlessly back to the inn to meet Rahme. He sees him walking towards the outskirts of town, avoiding the patrols. Grum approaches and whispers “This way…” Whiskers writhe around, but Rahme tames him. “Quiet.” Lyssa watches him come up the road yards away and enter the woods.

“Ah, clever. There are patrols everywhere in the city. We must free the town, now! It’s beyond the breaking point.”

Lyssa returns to the group and they pass through abandoned farm lands with no travelers met. At the end of the day of travel, the trees of the Dim Forest are visible in the distance. Vetnik sleeps on his horse, exhausted but fully healed as Trisoll has aided him throughout the day. As they march, Thom identifies the plate mail and shield as +1 each. The party pauses for the night before heading in.

On the 2nd day, they entire the permanent twilight area of the Dim Forest. (Describe mossy forest.) Lyssa lights a torch as they head through. In the distance, they see 4 Trogs. Lyssa fires off a flaming sphere and launches at the oncoming pack. The trauma of the flame fells one of the beasts. A Trog swings at Moira on horseback but misses. A second hits trisoll and he is affected by revulsion odor, wrenching over in pain. The last swings at Vetnik but misses as well. Grum, with restrung bow, looses two arrows at a Trog, piercing him through the abdomen, killing him. Vetnik slices twice at the attacking Trog and slays him. Thom reaches out and sends out a jet of burning hands at the last Trog, immolating it and reducing him to ash.
“Usually I like to aid people with my spells, but I always have a card up my sleeve.”
Lyssa guides the flaming sphere inches away from Thom’s face, but before it closes in to harm him, she extinguishes it. Thom bows. Together they sleep restfully. Grum asks Thom for more sleep potion to lace his arrows.

3rd day, reaching the muck of the Rushmoor. (Describe path to Rushmoor, slimy mud, obvious trail, etc.) The ride is uneventful, only filled with the obnoxiousness of stinging bugs. The humidity is familiar but doesn’t make it less wretched. After a day, they see the light at the end of the tunnel: a low barrier. Circularly dike holds the swamp water back from a small island of dry land. Thom tries to identify another set of items. He reveals the ring the priestess had was Ring of Protection +1, while the rest of her items were useless. The silver brooch found at the temple is a Brooch of Shielding. He does what he can to identify the daggers Lyn and Sla, and finds that each one when hits with a shocking grasp effect. He explains the devices to the group. He bestows the brooch to Lyssa with the condition that she wears it only if necessary, and agrees to share it among the group.

“Why should we trust you?” Lys
“I’ve been tracking them since they arrived, biding my time. Waiting for suitable allies.” Rah
“What else does Whiskers see” Lys
“He likes berries, and the occasional mouse.
Lyssa continues sharpening her daggers.

They continue down a muddy set of wooden stairs descending down into the earth. (Describe size of tunnels.) The timbers that hold up the ceiling are massive but rotten, mildewy. They hear the dripping of marsh water come down. They enter in from the north. Grum, Moira and Vetnik lead the party in. Grum slips down and tumbles as he leads them in, falling for about 60ft. At the base of the stairs, Grum is met by 4 human guards. They spring, two attacking Moira, a 3rd attacking Grum, and the last one attacking Vetnik. Grum is hit for -2 dmg. The 2 attacking against Moira ricochet off the armor. The 4th missing Vetnik entirely. Vetnik slays his attacker. Thom drums a bard’s song for a boost to morale. Grum strikes back at his attacker and fires off a pair of arrows, missing both shots. Moira swings and cuts into one of her attackers. He’s shaken but undeterred. Lyssa’s eyes flash and the second attacker against Moira and sends it floating to the ceiling.

Trisoll whacks at one of the soldiers with his staff but misses. Vetnik slashes twice at soldier attacking Moira and kills him. Lyssa attempts the charm the floating soldier, and fails. Failing her charm
“I have this, he’s helpless!”
“He’s still under the Naga’s charm is he not?”
“Yes, but—“
“Then he is a threat!”
“But if we defeat the Naga— fine, I wipe my hands of this.” Moira releases him.
“Waitwaitwait. Just clunk him on the head and tie him up!”Thom commands. Moira abides.
“If he tries to attack, Lyssa, torch him!” Th
“Fine.” Lys.

They continue with the prisoner south until meeting a large chamber. As they move in, the lofty room has a 15ft ceiling. A pool of mud sits in the center. Thom hands Grum a +1 spear for poking about the room. The go west to an extension 40ft, then hit a wall. It heads up northwards and the twins stop. “Secret door!” A simple sliding secret door. They continue through it and reveals a small alcove with a boat large enough for 10 ppl, on the edge of some water. They look ahead and see a room filled with a large pool. Many small fish can be seen in the stagnant smelling room. Vetnik looks around, inspecting the walls and ceiling. They exit the boat room for moment and ponder over where to go. They decide to go west, leaving the boat room for later. Extending 50 ft, they find a fork splitting north and south. 40 ft in, they smell swamp gas and see sagging timbers of a ceiling. A small muddy shelf extends over the pool. As they edge closer, Mugwump begins to croak madly. Trisoll notices and tends to the frog. Thom goes forward with the spear and pokes around. Vetnik moves forward and throws a stray rock in. Out of the mud, a pair of huge killer frogs leap out and jump onto the spot where the rock landed. In comparison to Mugwump, they stand a foot taller than Mugwump. They bare talons and sharp teeth, strange for any frog to possess. They turn away from the killer frogs and move down 60 ft, meeting a door. The door is wooden, swollen from the dampness. The murky pool is just on the other side. Vetnik tears the door off and sees the pool at a new angle. Grum sees at a closer distance a secret door in the muck, deliberately placed dirt piled to conceal it. The party debates the merits of slaying the two killer frogs and slough thru the mud or head somewhere else.

“Can you be brave for me?” Trisoll asks of Mugwump. He croaks in obedience. “Distract the frogs, we’ll be here watching.” The frogs hop out of the mud and begin to engage with Mugwump. Grum and Thom ready their arrows and let them fly and drops the first killer frog. Vetnik leaps forward and cleaves the second frog in half but is stuck in the mud. Mugwump runs over and licks the mud off of Vetnik. Trisoll claps and summons Mugwump. They spend the next 20 minutes digging through the plug of dirt to reveal a narrow tunnel leading into a small room. Thom casts Strength over himself, boosting his physical ability. The ceiling in the chamber is 8ft, with 3 large chests raised on a wooden platform 1 ft above the muddy floor. Grum checks for traps but finds nothing of note. Thom finds the chests bound with brass. Grum is unfazed and does the rounds, doing his best to pick the locks. Grum pops open the chest, unsure of whether or not there was a trap. There was none, but he finds a bounty of silver and electrum. Grum finds the third is certainly trapped and can’t find any traps. Lyssa casts knock over the first chest checked and finds a shitload of copper. The third chest unlocks as well. Thom attempts to open the chest with his spear and flips it open. Nothing happens, but treasures await. He realizes there’s no traps at all. Inside he finds a series of ornamental and semi-precious stones.
“Surprising us constantly” Thom says of Lyssa’s spell

They decide to replug the hole. First 10 minutes are uneventful but the last 10 summon a giant lizard. Moira raises her sword and cuts into the lizard. Vetnik follows up with a second chop and slays the beast. The resume filling the plug back up while Lyssa mines the corpse for possible ingredients for potions. They move along to a door that’s heavily barred. Vetnik steps up and smashes the door in. The bars bend, buckle, and fall to the dirt.
“Aye aye, Northman!” Th
“Thank you!” Vet
“No, thank you!” Th
“A song of your strength is surely on the way” Th

The room contains 4 soft chairs. A fireplace burns, with a keg of Orlanian wine. They hear several (three) doors slam and feet running. Rounding the corner are 3 opponents, one dressed in scale mail, the other in leather, and third in leather as well. Thom and Grum aim their arrows at the scale mail, and is pierced. A second soldier strikes Vetnik but his blade crashes against his armor. Moira strikes the scale mail soldier and cuts him down. Thom aims his arrow at the closest weatherman and fires kills him. Trisoll moves in and strikes the third soldier with his staff, walloping him across the face. Lyssa attempts to stab him in the gut but he staggers away. Vetnik follows up and fells him. They appear to be 2 assassins and a fighter.
“Strip them” th orders.
They find a sword sword with a lizard sculpted into the hilt. Trisoll burns detect magic and senses the magical energies. Thom splits up the daggers between he and his brother, twin blades for twin brothers. Thom leads the charge, sees a bedroom filled with 2 woolen cloaks, a bed, and other stuff. They come upon a hallway that winds southwards. They come upon a locked door, w/o traps. A soft bed and wooden chest, with a small jade reptile image on a desk. A small statue of the Naga. Grum sees the chest is guarded by a magical glyph. Vetnik says the naga’s name out loud and the glyph dissipates! Grum kneels and pops the chest open. Inside, a cleric robe of black and red, a scroll of light wounds, and mace.
“Do you recognize these vestments?” Lys
“Not at all!” Tri
They head towards the boat room and slide the secret door open. They load into the boat and push off into the water. Ramne carries the torch and lights the way into the chamber. rowing down passageways, they continue south. In the middle, they see several crocs on a landing and slip into the water and start swimming towards the boat. The boat comes to a rest at the south end and find themselves in a 20ft hallway, branching off in three directions. The turn the corner east and see a giant weasel, extremely perturbed by their presence. Rahme’s weasel freaks out as the giant rodent charges forward. The old man is surprisingly lithe. Lyssa roasts the weasel with -11 Burning Hands. Trisoll swings but misses. Vetnik jams his blade into the weasel, felling it. Lyssa raids its corpse for possible ingredients. Moira finds a torn leather pouch and fishing around near it, finds a bag with gold and silver in it. They continue down a separate passageway 100 ft before turning off. The twins perform DOP and Thom hears the hissing growls of Trogs behind the door. Thom begins banging his drum, luring the lizard men out. They hear the door thrown open. The first sees Lyssa, but the second misses Vetnik. Vetnik jams his blade into its skull. The second Trog swings at Thom but misses. Moira swings and misses. Lyssa jams her dagger into the face of the Trog. Grum shoots off an arrow and misses. Trisoll crushes the same Trog’s skull. The bodies smell so much that Lyssa is revolted. Lyssa burns 3 of the 4 alive as they rush in with burning hands. Thom slashes twice, first with his wakashazi blade and then his Shock dagger but misses. Trisoll misses too. Vetnik delivers a killing blow: carving through the chest of the Trog.

In the room: fish bones, Trog bodies, low table. Beyond to the south, a stairway.

What Lurks in the House of Merikka


Grum and Thom continue onto the next room while Lyssa is beside herself in the hallway. They find no noise or traps. They open and see a dining area (describe dining area.) Grum checks the display case for traps and finds none. Opens and finds prime harvested grains and veggies. In the south of the room, 2 doors (one connecting to a previously explored room.) Thom coldly coerces Lyssa back into the party, who’s fearful of using magic for fear of more transformations. She stays close to Moira. Vetnik and Thom gag and blind the two prisoners and lead them through the temple.

In a second door they hear nothing nor see traps. Inside, they see 3 medium sized ovens, cupboards, and a table. Thom searches the room for potions and only finds the mundane. “Anyone hungry?” he jokes. They collect a few pieces of salted meat and local fruits and continue outside and around to the south.

Together, they open the room up and see rich blue drapery just west of the door. Area is empty aside from plain wooden benches. Trisoll peaks behind the curtain and throws it to the side.
“Check it out!” A softly carpeted room…. (describe Orlanian wine room.) “This looks top shelf!” Tri
“That’s not saying much.” Tho
Tri leads the charge in grabbing available bottles. Moira declines, feeling weird about stealing from a church, while Lyssa is too shaken to focus. With wine in hand, Vetnik opens the next room. They find a bare room with 3 wooden benches and a door to the east. Vetnik attempts to open but finds the door locked. Grum steps forward and struggles at first, but pops open the lock. Entering, he sees a small bed, trunk, and desk. no traps on trunk, appears unlocked. Thom searches and finds a trap door in the floor of the room. Before heading into the secret door, Lyssa steps over and bars the door with a chair.
“Everything will be OK, I promise. You are protected.” Moi to Lys, squeezing her shoulder gently.
Grum detects no traps. “Pretty sure there’s no traps but does someone else wanna open it?” Thom opens and Trisoll comments “Some things should remain secret, man!”

Down inside, there lays a cavernous hallway. Long, carved. Trisoll asks Vetnik to be torch bearer, but Moira interjects. “No, you’re better with your sword than me. I’ll take the torch.” At the finished side of the wall is a door, while the other side is unfinished and cavernous. Thom and Grum search the north edge, using their infra vision. Grum sees a small spot of light and sees above him a secret door. As Grum checks the door, Thom returns to the others.
“If there was something festering here, would it not come from the underground?” Mo
Thom agrees and they continue through the mystery door. They enter a finished corridor, 10 ft wide. Thom casts light on an arrow and holds his arrow in his bow, lighting the party. Grum creeps up and peers around the corner, and sees an ogre with an ear against the wall ready and waiting. Grum signals to the party to stop moving and Vetnik and Moira freeze in place, terrified to make another move. As Grum warns the party, the ogre looks and spots them. They see it’s been starved, emaciated looking. Trisoll prays to Trithereon to delivery to Grum the blessing of Aid, which boosts his stats. The ogre crashes his club down but Grum is nimble enough to avoid. Thom calls a light arrow to the face but he misses and falls to his foot. The light beams up creating a more ominous glow. Vetnik charges forward with his longsword and swings but misses. As he swings, his balance is thrown off and he falls and his sword falls out of his hand down the floor. Fearing her Alteration spells not working properly, Lyssa impulsively shoots off a duo of magic missiles. The second missile sends the ogre reeling. Grum takes out his longbow and shoots his arrows but misses as the ogre flails in pain. Moira charges forward, eager to prove her medal, but just barely misses the wildly flailing thing.

The ogre charges at Moira but misses. As the ogre rushes, Lyssa jams the ogre in his thick neck, blood squirting everywhere. Vetnik leaps up and swings at the ogre with his shield, but misses. Grum fires off a pair of arrows but misses both. Trisoll swings bashes the ogre’s jaw and slaying the beast. He plants his staff back down.
“Way to soften him up for me, Lys!”
“I’m just glad we got to kill something.”
Thom peruses the body but finds only
“Nice shot.” Thom says giving her back her dagger.
“I had no idea you were such a good shot.” Mo
“I do what I can. As long as I don’t turn into a fox again.” Lys
“What happened? I wasn’t sure if you messed up your spell.” Mo
“Whatever magic is here is fucking with me. The sooner I’m out the better.” Lys
“Agreed. We’ll stick together, make sure nothing else happens.” Mo
“Thank you.” Lys
Moira looks stunned.

They following the corridor down 50 ft and head down another extension, 40 ft before turning once more. Grum continues to lead the party and continue 80ft before turning into a long, dark hallway. 60 ft in, it turns northwards once again and finally they find a door. The twins check the door and hear no noise/find no traps. Moira puts her hand on the door, opens and within she finds another hall that heads north and east. They head east but find it to be a dead end.
“Seems odd they’d make a dead end.” Lys
Trisoll finds a low spike in the wall section and slaps it, opening it up into a narrow, dirt-filled crawl space.
“Who can fit?” Vet
“One of the elves, I’m sure.” Tris
“We’re 1/2 elves, but thats cool. I’ll go.” Th

Thom crawls in and heads in. at 70 ft in, he fires a light arrow back through the hall to signal the party.
“Does that mean we follow?” Mo
“Yep” Gr
Thom stays put and waits for the party to come up the rear. As he waits, it doesn’t move or make noise, led by Grum. Moira and Vetnik roll up. “What’s the situation.”
“We’ll find out”.
“I can go ahead.” Gr
“No, I got it.” Tho
“Let’s go as a group.” Mo.
As they approach, it looks humanoid in size. Like a body. They get up and find it to be an old corpse dressed in an old tunic. Looks like the person left claw marks in the walls. Shining the torch over it, Grum recognizes them as vestments for Merikka. Thom searches the body but sees nothing beyond the robes. They deduce the person was thrown in and left to die.
“How cruel. Whoever defiled this temple shall pay.” Mo

They backtrack and head back into the hall. Traveling deeper in west, they find another door. No noise/no traps. Vetnik is asked to open and he abides. Inside he finds yet another corridor. They continue on northeast through the winding tunnels. The run into a dead end and turn back around. They head into a “fresh dirt on the floor” tunnel. They come up to the tunnel and see it descends with earthen stairs, and twists northeast another 25 ft until another set of stairs. The air is chill. The corridor snakes back north. At the base of there are two tunnels, left and right. Right at the fork, they see a 4 ft tall mushroom.
“I don’t wanna fuck w/ a 4 ft mushroom.” Trisoll worries, having almost died at the hands of a mystery plant.
Thom fires an arrow and shoots off the wall behind it. The mushroom begins to howl a pitch so intense that causes the party to fall. Moira charges forward with her longsword and cuts into the thing, causing -5 dmg. Trisoll staggers behind and wallops it with his staff for -4. Vetnik tries to swing but his footing once again fails him. He slips and falls, twisting his ankle and falls into the corridor behind it. He realizes its mud and slowly he begins to sink. The mud leaks inside his armor as he struggles to free himself. Grum aims his arrow at the shrieker and fires 2 bolts and silences the shrieking thing. Behind Vetnik in his periphery he sees a group of Troglodytes. Moira rushes up to save Vet. “The mud is no place for a mighty warrior!” They notice there’s an inch of mud coating the tunnel. Suddenly, they both see the pair of Trogoldytes. Wielding stone axes and release a repellent odor. All except Trisoll and Vetnik fall. The first Trog swipes at the captive monk with his axe, killing him. Trisoll stands and intones a blessing and summons a flame blade into his hand. He swings at the beast but misses. The 2nd Trog swipes and is knocked by the stone axe. Trisoll feels the ambush two axe blades and sees another pair of Trogs invading the tunnel. Grum spins around and fires off a pair of arrows. The first misses but the second lands and pierces his heart, felling the beast. Thom pivots around as well and does his best to drop the 2nd slashes into the beast’s arm. Moira swings and slays the Trog in front of her outright. Lyssa quickly tosses another dagger at the Trog, slashing into its scaly hide. Vetnik stands and slices the the Trog before in down. Thom pulls back a final arrow and sends it flying, hitting the beast. Vetnik violently turns around and charges the beast, but misses. Trisoll, with flame blade in hand, cuts into it and creates a sizzling wound inside the Trog, cooking it from within. He extinguishes the blade. “Let’s go.”
“Wait,” Thom begins to search their bodies. The oil they excrete stinks up their bodies and covers their corpses. Clan markings painted onto their armor signify their tribe, but to whom is unknown.

They continue down the right path and finds a series of doors. Inside, they find them to be a series of chambers, the doors both open. They continue on and branch of into a large chamber. They discern it to be a lair. Trisoll points out something in the dirt to Vetnik. A small chest buried in the dirt. Twins check for traps and finds no traps. They dig the chest up and feel the jingle of weight inside as they move it. Grum quickly pops open the chest with extreme effectiveness. He sticks his blade in through gold, electrum, silver, copper, and sees a silver brooch. Thom pauses for 15 minutes and raids the bounty. They take carry the treasure and the priestess along and continue back up the circular path and back to the half-carved tunnel. They arrive into the room once full of monks. They find another door and find no traps/noises on the door. Vetnik opens to a bare room full of 8 skeletons. As they move through the door the skeletons slowly begin to animate.
“We should be respectful… ah 9 hells!” Th
Vetnik whips around and swings long sword, smashing the first skeleton. Moira follows his lead “Well done, cavalier!” but misses. The skeleton charges at Lyssa but misses. The 2nd comes for Vetnik but misses. 3rd misses Grum. 4th misses Thom. 5th and 6th miss Trisoll and Moira. The 7th skeleton grabs at the bound priestess and slashes into her shoulder and shrieks under her gag. Grum fires an arrow but misses. Trisoll swings with his staff and shatters his skeleton. Thom fires off his arrows, misses first but strikes the 2nd, smashing it to dust. Lyssa swipes at an approaching skeleton, knocking out its jaw. Thom fires 2 more arrows, misses second and breaks the ribs of the 1st. Moira misses her blow. Vetnik tries to strike but misses as well. Grum fires but misses. Another skeleton rams the priestess with its sword and slays her but misses everyone else. Avoids Vetnik and Lyssa. Trisoll smashes the skull of another. Lyssa swings twice but misses twice. Trisoll swings again with his staff but falls and drops his staff. Vetnik swings and smashes another skeleton. Thom fires his last arrow but misses. Grum misses. Moira swings and knicks its bones, but still it stands. A skeleton strikes at Vetnik but misses. Trisoll lays on the ground and is stabbed by a nearby skeleton. Vetnik steels himself and decapitates the skeleton by shattering his skull. He attacks again but misses the 2nd skeleton. Lyssa grapples with her skeleton but misses. Moira saunters over and smashes the skeleton and shoots Lyssa a playful smile. The last of the skeletons attack Vetnik and Moira but both miss. Trisoll grabs his staff up off the ground and lifts it through the body of the skeleton. With a well placed bolt, Grum kills the last one.

Trisoll realizes his damage and heals his light wounds. They continue west through the unexplored door. Opening the small chamber, they see a table, 2 chairs, wine bottle, and 2 clean glasses. Thom urges them to step out and check the 2nd door. Thom opens and sees many shelves of books, 2 small tables. Inside the library room, they see an ornate book: A WORSHIPFUL GUIDE TO BENIGN MERIKKA. (Describe the defaced books). Thom shuts the book and notices the sacred text debased.

“More wine, ladies?”
“No, Tris.”
“I’ll pass.”
“You’re no fun.” As they enter, secret doors open up and goblins pour into the room, 9 of them. 3 goblins charge at Lyssa, 2 at Tris, and 4 at Moira. The first slashes -4 at Lyssa, the second strikes her left leg and causes minor bleeding. The third misses. Moira is struck once, while Trisoll is missed. “Nooo!” Trisoll rushes to Lyssa’s aid and gives her back +7 hp, and closes her leg wound. He backs away and watches as Lyssa engulfs the entirety of the goblin army in flames where they stand.
“Heh, I guess you are alright.” Tris jokes.

Thom turns the corner and sees a burning bright light and hear the screams of burning goblins. She stands and Trisoll asks if she needs to be healed. Thom burns his last armor spell and grants Lyssa +13hp of armor. They escort Trisoll, Lyssa, and Moira into the library.
“Now that is an appropriate application of your wrath.” th
“It felt good.” lys
“I’m just glad Trisoll and I could help you.” moi
“Thanks.” lys
“No need for thanks, we’re your companions.” moi
They wait in the library for 40 minutes. Trisoll blesses both Moira and Lyssa, and heals them while speaking words of camaraderie. Almost blasphemous, he speaks of the strength of each individual’s nature within the group. The twins head up the secret door initiative, and peer in to see a large barren room with 9 straw mats. Thom sacks the room but finds nothing, except a secret door in the north. Grum, meanwhile, pings on a secret room. The twins go to the door closest Thom and Vetnik opens. They find a 30 ft hall that connects with a door, and sees a smelly large room filled with the scent of decay. Further in, they see a rack and iron maiden. Several pine boxes stand stacked against the wall. They feel grain residue under their boot. Thom heads to a door in the south and Vetnik pushes it forward. The sound of small bells sound and Thom begins to pound his drum readying their saving throws. The inside of the chamber is filled with scratched walls and strange stains. The next room they enter, a coin falls at their feet yet makes no sound. All of sudden, Thom realizes his drum is silent. Trisoll mouths the words “WTF!”. Moira looks down the corridor and sees dashing around the hall a man dressed in chain mail with a mace and madness in his eyes. Moira darts forward but misses. Thom picks the coin up and throws it behind him and lifts the spell of silence. The mad knight cries out and charges at Vetnik but misses. Vetnik retaliates with a heavy swing of his sword and cuts through his chest. Fear crosses his eyes. Grum pulls back his arrows but misses. Lyssa tosses a dagger and misses; the mad knight throws his mace at her but she manages to duck it. Trisoll steps forward, silenced no more, and commands Tritheron to hold him in place. He freezes in mid run.
Lyssa steps forward to search his body for charming elements. Trisoll steps forward and casts detect charm, and realizes his mind has collapsed under the weight of the charm spell of the Naga.

Dirty straw palette with beautiful robe and battered locked chest. Exqusitely crafted chest. Hooks for tapestries are set into the stone. While Vetnik ties up the knight, he finds a ring of keys on his belt. The desktop is covered in insane scribblings while the tapestries bear faded images of scenic fields. Trisoll snoops around and finds a door in the northeast corner of the room. When he’s looking at the desk, he notices a switch underneath. Thom checks for traps and finds none. They trigger it and the door slowly opens. They see 4 granite statues and a jade serpentine woman statue. A small cage holds the body of a woman held captive. She looks up and sees them to be humans.
“Please, set me free I beg of you!”
Thom rushes forward and pops the cage open.
“My family were taken. I dunno what happened. I was immune.”
“Immune to what?” Lys
“The Naga!” Cerilia, daughter of the village storekeeper.
“Do you know where does he sleep?” Vetn
“The jade statue is of Defilius. I won’t take you, but there’s no way I’m going back there.”
(Describe jade statue of Naga and other reptile statues.) “The man who carved them kept me here, Agribo.” (Describe reptile statues.)
Grum pings a secret door while Thom raids the chest.
“Find a place to hide.” Tho
“No! Don’t leave me down here.”
Vetnik does what he can to calm the weeping woman, radiating charisma. “I will protect you.”
“I believe you sir. I’m going to bar the door behind you.” Cel
“If you don’t hear from us and our knock code, hide!” Tho
“I’ll be back for you.” Vet

The twins pop the secret door open and find it to be another door underneath the secret door from the floor above. Vetnik comes right back and Thom reasons to her to go seek refuge with the elves.
“Where would you have me go? I’d rather die than stay here for another moment.”
“They’re good elves. GO there, be quick.”

Together, they exit the temple. A man carrying a weasel is there to greet them.
“Strangers, what are you doing in the temple.”
“Could ask you the same questionn, sir.” Vet
He moves on a gnarled, wooden staff. “If you see threat in me, I assure you there is none. I ask only because of the goings on at the tavern. I know Whiskers saw you.”
“If you’ve come to stop us, then you’ve met your match.”
“I am no threat, and you have confirmed to me what I wanted to know. You have acted against the cult and we are allies. I am Rahme, and this whiskers.”
“Do you live here?” Vet
“I’ve gained knowledge thru patient observation.”
“What about the elves?” Tho
“What elves?”
“They’re the ones who told us to investigate.”
“Now that you have, what secrets do you hold?”
“This lass, who was resistant to the Naga’s charm.”
“They took my family. I’m so scared, but what is your name?”
“I am going to seek the elves. I can help you to find the lair of the Naga, but do nothing more.” Cel
“So, this girl knows where the Naga sleeps? Will you seek him out?” Rahmn
“Of course!” Tho
“True heroism.” Rah
“Do you know what a cavalier is?”
“Of course. Uou would be well advised to bring me. I have fair knowledge in the arcane.”
“What kind of knowledge?” Lys
“Madam, I’ll let Whiskers answer you.”
Lyssa scowls.
“Let us escort the maiden to the elves house.”
One of the elves is home and accepts her into their home, Dorian.
“Travel to the moors, a couple days out of town. That’s where the Naga sleeps!” Cel

Thom asks Moira to sense Rahme out, but senses no evil. He’s truthful when he says he wants the cult expelled from Orlane.