Way Of The Wicked - The Fall of Talingarde

Book 2 - Act 3 Thirty One Weeks

Week One – Locating a descendent of the Sons of the Pale Horseman in Farhold the party sacrifices him at Midnight. As the freshly removed heart smolders in the first braziers held by the image of Vetra-Kali-Eats-the-Eyes a voice booms out in abyssal “Kazzra Vo” and a blazing pillar of green fire shoots into the sky visible for miles around as the earth shakes even being felt in Farhold.

After the pillar of fire dies down the horn now reveled in all it’s daemonic glory continues to burn with a nimbus of green fire.

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Week Two – The party receives a message from the seventh knot reading “A group of adventurers is headed your way. Local heroes. Poor equipment. Little experience. Plan to arrive in three days. The dwarf has been to the Horn before and said something about entering the caves. Prepare them a proper welcome, will you?” – Z


Included with the letter was a list

  • Hallack Amon – male human, retired watch sergeant, warrior with military experience, the leader.
  • Sister Marta Dian – female human, warrior priestess of Mitra, successfully destroyed a dozen zombies.
  • Yorgun the Smith – male dwarf blacksmith, experience unknown, big hammer
  • James O’Toole – male human, large brawler, famed for taking on all comers at local faire
  • Bianca DeVallya – female half-elven, a local bard and singer, knows a little magic, very fond of Hallack
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    Three days later Hallack’s Crew makes their way into the horn by way of the lower caverns. They slay several of the boggard guards at which point the party attacks. During the battle Hallack, Yorgun and James all fall at which point Sister Marta Dian states she will surrender in exchange for them letting Bianca go free. The party agrees but then Ashe hunts her down after she leaves the Horn.


    Week Three – In Farhold the grisly remains of a murdered prostitute is found and The Sisters of Saint Cynthia-Celeste posts a 500 gp reward for the whereabouts of Sister Marta Dian.


    Week Four – The party receives a message from the Seventh Knot “New adventurers in town calling themselves ’Brendam’s Breakers’. They have been broken. No further difficulties. – Z


    Week Five – Boggard guard station destroyed by unknown force. Two days later the horn is raided by a pair of moon dogs and are slain by the party.


    Week Six – Four immature assassin vines found growing over the entrance to the Maw. The party transplants them to another area.


    Week Seven – Party invited to attend the 105th birthday celebration of Baron Vandermir. During the party they meet Sir Valin Darian acting commander of the Hamorhall and relative of House Darius. They also meet a suave effete man calling himself Dessiter, he states that he has been watching them for sometime and hopes they may do business in the future.


    Week Eight – Letter arrives at the horn by courier from the Seventh Knot. “A new group of adventurers are in town – they are too visible to attack directly. They assault the Horn soon, unsure of the exact time of arrival. They mentioned something about the ‘center eye’. Third level entry? – Z

Traya DeMarco – the leader, a sorceress of some sort.
Hassan J’raaq – a strange foreign barbarian with red skin, horns and a large curved sword.
Tasker Twelve-Knives – half-orc knife specialist, a weakness for pretty women.
Posca the Merchant – dwarven cleric of a god of merchants, greedy above all else.
Shea Dorin – human warrior monk or maybe a some sort of warrior priest.

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Two days later the second level comes under attack by Traya’s Raiders, the party sufferes losses from their hired warriors but they manage to defeat the party. The next morning Ashe discovered that the disk weapon that the monk had used was missing and the party is informed by their guard that the monks body has disappeared.


Week Nine – Group of Ireans discovered hanging on Farhold’s city walls with a message written in blood “Stay away from the Horn."
A couple of days later a message arrives at the horn stating the Fire-axe’s victory at battle of Upandershire Ford and the death of Lord Argus Welshire, Duke of Farhold


Week Ten – Party informed by Zikomo that a boggard hunting party has not returned and his communing has revealed that were killed by a one-eyed demon. The party investigates and discovers that a large hunting cat was responsible. The next day that party tracks the dire tiger to its den and captures it placing it in the caverns as an unwilling guardian.


Week Eleven – The party receives a message by the Seventh Knot by courier stating “Silver dragon seen over Farhold. Uncertain of whereabouts. Be ready. He may be on his way to the Horn. —Z”, the courier disappears but the party learns he has been seen in different parts of the horn.


Week Twelve – on the third day, the third level of the Horn is attacked by Matthias Harkon Inquisitor of Mitra and his men suddenly appearing in the room. The party fights and defeats the invasion, they then learn from a speak with dead spell that there is another outpost with a throne from which one can teleport into the Horn bypassing the shield made by the eyes of Vetra-Kali. Going out to the outpost they destroyed the throne preventing any further use of it.


Week Thirteen – The party confronted the Seventh Knot at Farhold as to why they had received no word about Harkon’s presense. Elise Zadria states “A messenger was sent. What more could we do? If we could possibly send a magical message we would, but whatever is happening at the Horn makes that impossible. You know that. The only thing that matters is that you survived and the mission continues.” Tracking the messenger Ashe locates a clearing where she finds the remains of the messenger, why she is searching she is attacked by a hangman’s tree. Fortunately Kharon on patrol on his nightmare hears the combat and is able to signal the rest of the party. The party makes it to the clearing and using cold magic are able to subdue the hangman’s tree. Speaking to it, they agree to feed it one medium sized humanoid a week in return for it guarding the Horn.


Week Fourteen – The party learns that a Mitran evangelist has reached Farhold and is stirring up the common folk to march on the Horn. The party quickly set their organization to find out whatever they could about the preacher. Finding dirt on him they discredit him and his followers scatter in disgust.


Week Fifteen – On the dawn of the 111st day the party makes the second sacrifice cutting out the heart of Sister Marta Dian. Her heart smouldering on the second brazier a voice saying “Tezathra Vo” booms from nowhere. Suddenly the Horn blazes with green light and shakes with a violent tremor. As the lance of green fire hits the sky, dark roiling clouds appear and darkens the skies for the entire day.


Week Sixteen – On the third day an undead horror rises from one of the first floor rooms and goes on a killing spree, after a hard fight the party manages to destroy it.


Week Seventeen – Gang war erupts between Vandermir Orphanage (part of the party’s organization) and a new gang known as Thatcher’s Crew. The party quickly negotiates getting the gangs to join forces under their control.


Week Eighteen – The party is attacked by an adventuring party consisting of a male gnome sorcerer (Fineas Greenhold), a male dwarf barbarian (Angus Madthorn), a female elven ranger (Vethia Dora) and female half-elf druid (Brunhild Sturmdottir). The party defeats them. After the battle they discover Fineas Greehhold’s Journal which details them being approached by a old holy man telling them about the ritual going on in the Horn and why, as well as who and how many are in the party, their tactics, their henchmen as well as the traps they had set. What the holy man did not know is that the half-elven ranger had followed him after the meeting where she saw him take off his disguise and meet with Elise Zadaria telling her “It is done, the Ninth is finished.” They didn’t know what they meant be these words but the plan was clear… a double cross.


Breaking their clay seal the party presented their evidence to Cardinal Thorne. He is livid, “I have no time for this infighting! We are so close to victory! Nothing can stand in our way!” “The Seventh Knot Hibernal is declared broken. In accordance with the Pact of Thorns, I release these traitors. They are no longer bound to my service or enjoy my protection. I send to you, my Nessian Knot, my furies. Make them suffer for their treachery and then return to the work at hand. Bring me the daemon’s gift!” Two erinyes devils arrive at the Horn and the party goes to Farhold and confront the Seventh Knot at Auld Briarhall inn. They kill them all save Trik they show him the evidence that he had been tricked by Elise to believe the party had fallen out of Cardinal Thorne’s graces. He swears loyalty to the Ninth Knot.


Week Nineteen – The party is approached by Juko Five-Croaks who says that hunting has been bad and they have suffered much from monsters and raids. They need food and weaponry. Considering his request they take him down to the caverns and slay him in front of the rest of the boggard tribe to serve as an example.


Week Twenty – The party is informed that Abbess Temperance Avigail of Saint Cynthia-Celeste is sending a dispatch to Matharyn asking for aid. They send their minions to intercept it and are successful.


Week Twenty-One – a crime wave hits Farhold, the parties organization increases criminal and information gathering enterprises.


Week Twenty-Two – Party contacted by Lady Shalyn Marsten through Baron Vandermir and hires them to assassinate six rivals in the merchant guilds, the party successfully kills five of them.


Week Twenty-Three – Party receives word that a silver dragon will attack Baron Vandermir’s manor house. They get him out of the house before the dragon attacks and are able to observe him as he does.


Week Twenty-Four – A faire comes to Farhold


Week Twenty-Five – Sir Valin Darian and a group of knights and men-at-arms attack the Horn and are soundly defeated by the party, taking Sir Valin captive.


Week Twenty-Six – The party is confronted by four Will-o’-wisp’s wishing to feed on the accumulated magic at the top of the Horn. They make an arrangement (to throw in a sacrificial victim) with them to guard the sanctum.


Week Twenty-Seven – A gorgimera files to the Horn and starts to attack and nearly killed by the party makes a deal with the group to help guard the horn.


Week Twenty-Eight – No events.


Week Twenty-Nine – No events.


Week Thirty – No events.


Week Thirty-One – No events.


Week Thirty-Two (Day 217) – as the dusk ritual is complete the Horn is wracked by a tremendous earthquake. In the Sanctum there is a horrific scream and a shadowy apparition manifests over the seal and scratches at it leaving it gouged and marred. The apparition fades in an echo of unholy laughter. many rooms collapse and several minions are killed.


Week Thirty-Two (Day 218) – During the midnight ritual a Star-Feather Avoral Brastius and several giant eagles attack the party in the sanctum. The party defeats the attackers.


Week Thirty-Two (Day 219) – a Greater Mud Elemental emerges from the mud pits in the caverns and nearly annihilates the boggards when it climbs the Horn. The party attacks and destroys it. During the midnight ritual the party is attacked in the sanctum by Hounds of Tindalos the party engaged and killed them.


Week Thirty-Two (Day 220) – Just before dawn Argossarian the Silver Dragon attacks killing Grumblejack and several of the party’s minions. After a fierce struggle the party slays the dragon.


Week Thirty-Two (Day 221) – All allies attack the party, the boggards, the wraiths, the gorgimera, the Will-o’-the wisps. Artephius, their human guard, Trik, Tasker Twelve-Knives, Xavier and Sabrina remain loyal.


Week Thirty-Two (Day 222) – At sunrise the Party is attacked by a Mitran paladin named Sir Richard and his companions (a priest, a wizard, men-at-arms and sword sisters). They slay the priest who disappears (due to a contingency spell) they then slay the men at arms, the sword sisters and then the paladin who is then grabbed by the wizard and teleported out.


They do the final ritual at dusk, sacrificing Sir Valin Darian and after the seal is doused in unholy water the seal explodes and a portal opens from which a phrase issues forth “Za Vo” from which emerges Vetra-Kali-Eats-the-Eyes


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My eyes,” the deamon cries, “Where are my eyes?” Giving Verta-Kali the first eye Raphael said “Do no harm to me and my own.” Giving over the second eye Raphael said “Give us the Tears of Achlys.” “My gift to the world? You wish it? Do you swear that you will see it dispersed among the mortals?” with Raphael’s nod Vetra-Kali hands over a glass beaker filled with vile liquid. Finally giving over the third eye Raphael said “Leave this plane of existence and never return.” At this Vetra-Kali screams in immortal rage. “Traitors! Devil-Whores! You have the smell of the failed god Asmodeus all over you! You think you’ve won? You think you’ve outsmarted me?! Taste my vengeance, impudent mortals!” and with that Vetra Kali vanishes.


The Horn begins to tremble and shake, the party flees as the Horn collapses into a pile or wreaked stone.


Breaking the seal, Tiadora appears who examines the vial carefully, “Well done, my lords,” She says without sarcasm. “I will inform our master.” at which time she teleports away. Returning a moment later she presents them with a pouch full of emeralds worth 20,000 gp. “The master sends his regards. Your work here in Farhold is done. You must make your way to the great city of Ghastenhall. There you will meet a fellow who will know how to best use the terrible weapon you hold in your hands. This letter gives the details.

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Book 2 Act Two: Taking The Horn

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Using the map, the party made their way into The Caer Bryr (The Care Briar) and encountered Jurak The Treant


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He commanded the party to leave, they told him no, and quickly dispatched him.


Soon after the party gets their first sight of the Horn of Abaddon.


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Game Master Note: My apologies but due to having been so long since the adventure log was properly updated I’m going to have to give a summary of the events that took place for this part of the adventure.


The party begins to explore the spire by moving up to the first set of stairs bypassing the cavern mouth at the bottom of the spire. They clear the first level making several discoveries

  • Secret stairs inside a pillar in the Lower Temple which leads down to the lower level and up to the top of the Spire.
  • In the lower temple there is a throne with the word “Yah” in Abyssal inscribed in it’s base.
  • In an apparent Trophy Room is found a small silver ring mounted under the inscription “Iris of Gastenhall, dead from a broken heart and a poison dagger.”
  • In the Alchemist’s Laboratory the find the wreaked remains of the Alchemical Golem Artephus and determine that it can be repaired and reanimated.
  • The Lower Level contains enough rooms for a large contingent of guards and acolytes, a full tavern and a magical fountain that makes clear pure water.
  • The Lower storeroom has a magical enchantment on it that prevents the spoiling of food and drink.
  • A journal of one Brother Zander of Trask which revealed the following information
    1 Trask believed there to be something unusual about the south eastern pillar in the lower temple, suspecting it to be hollow and a secret door to be in it.
    2 Trask heard by rumor that two powerful daemons named Hexor and Vexor guarded the upper levels, and wanted to get a look at them someday.
    3 Trask had seen a priest sit on the throne in the lower level and vanish.


    Making their way to the lower temple the party opens the pillar revealing the staircase and they make their way to the a secret room where they are set upon by two Greater Ceustodaemons introducing themselves as Hexor and Vexor.


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    Quickly realizing these two are guardians set there by the Sons of the Pale Horseman the party informs them that they are there to free Vetri-Kali-Eats-The-Eyes at which point Hexor and Vexor agree to assist them by continuing to guard the stair entrance to the sprial a two hundred foot flight of stairs to the Sanctum of Vetra-Kali. They inform the party that the sanctum has a lightning elemental trapped in it and that if they wish to preform the ceremony to bring Vetra-Kali back into the world they will have to destroy it.


    The party makes their way to the Sanctum of Vetra-Kali at which point they engage the lightning elemental in battle and quickly dispatch it. The party makes their way back down where they move down to the bottom of the stairs where they find a tribe of boggards which believe the horn is a shrine to their god Dagon.


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    The party makes an alliance with the Boggard Shaman Zikomo-Hears-the-Father, he tells them that if they will kill the tribal chief Kumanda-Slays-Nine-Men that he will pledge his tribe to bring forth Father Dagon. The party convinces Zikomo that they are indeed their to bring back Father Dagon and they kill Kurmanda-Slays-Nine-Men.


    After killing Kurmanda, Zikomo goes into a trace and reveals to the party the location of one of the eyes of Vetra-Kali. Going into the crevasse where the bones of ones of the priest lay they obtain the First Eye of Vetra-Kali (The Eye of Vigilance) as well as a book called “The Dirges of Apollyon” which details the ceremony required to break the silver seal preventing Vetra-Kali from re-entering this world.


    The party makes their way outside to climb the steps to the second level of the horn when they find themselves surrounded by a group of elvish rangers led by a ebon skinned elf.


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    She demands to know if they are the ones that killed Jurak the Treant. The party denies having killed Jurak and convinces her that people from Farhold are responsible. Fueled by her pain of losing her friend and her elvish companions hatred of the people of Talingarde for driving them out of their homeland, she mounts an attack on the city of Farhold and is soundly defeated.


    The party makes their way into the second level where they make several more discoveries.

  • A broken statue of a Priest of The Sons of the Pale Horseman.
  • A room depicting the Ceustodaemons wearing iron amulets around their necks.
  • A Throne sitting in the Temple of Priests with the word Rah inscribed on it.
  • A hallway of murals which gives instructions on how to summon three hell hounds, a nightmare, and mud elementals.
  • A courtyard which contains a magical fountain that creates pure drinking water.


    In the private chambers of the Master of Acolytes the party encounters and slays a pair of verdurous oozes. The party also restores the statue of the priest and using a Stone to Flesh spell brings him back to life. He tells them his name is Halthus the priesthoods chief torturer, and he pledges himself to their cause of bringing back Vetra-Kali-Eats-the-Eyes, he also gives the party the Third Eye of Vetra-Kali (The Withering Eye)


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    The party then flew to the third level balcony where through the bas reliefs they found that Vetra-Kali is a leukodaemon who was appointed as a Archdeacon of Pestilence in direct service of Pestilence itself. In the Fane of the Three Eyed Prince they found shrines to each of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse as well as a secret door leading to a treasure chamber. Upon entering the party was beset upon by a Dread Wraith and his minions. Instead of attacking the Dread Wraith asked the party if they intended to bring forth Vetra-Kali, to which the party indicated that that was indeed their desire. Ezra-Thrice-Damned agreed to assist the party in bringing forth Vetra-Kali, and gave them the treasures in the vault, of which includes the Third Eye of Vetra-Kali (The Eye of Hatred).


    With that the Horn of Abaddon is under the Ninth Knot’s control.

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Book 2, Act 1, Farhold

The party begins the journey to Farhold on the river barge “Halstyn’s Folly” of which Tiadora is the undisputed mistress, taking the only cabin. For twelve days the barge slowly makes it’s way across Lake Tarik, stopping each night within sight of a village or keep. Upon leaving, each village is either burned to the ground or the mourning wails of it’s people can be heard into the early morning hours.

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On the twelfth night, Tiadora approaches the party and tells them “The Master is here and commands you attend him.” Upon entering the cabin they see their master, Cardinal Adrastus Thorn. He greets them, praising them for a job well done. Due to their efforts the Fire-Axe and his horde has invaded and already three battles have been fought and won. The villages of Ambryl and Tarrington Fields lie sacked and the Fortress of Lorringsgate is in ruins.

Cardinal Thorn then gives them their next mission and that is to find the Horn of Abaddon, an ancient temple which once housed a death cult known as the The Sons of the Pale Horseman, themselves overthrown by Markadian I eighty years before.

The Sons of the Pale Horseman served a powerful daemon prince known as Vetra-Kali-Eats-The-Eyes who had made a masterpiece of plague that he was about to spread across the world known only as the Tears of Achlys. Before he was able to complete his mission Markadian I defeated and banished him from this world using a great seal of silver crafted and blessed by Mitran priests.

Cardinal Thorn commands the party to break the seal and summon Vetra-Kali back to the world and obtain the Tears of Achlys. Once they have obtained the Tears of Achlys they will give it to him and in turn he will give it to his agents to spread in the southern cities of the kingdom.

He tells the party that he had sent his fourth knot to find the Horn and according to his last report they had actually discerned the Horn’s location (less than a day’s ride from Farhold) but they have not been heard from for quite some time which leads the Cardinal to believe that they have been destroyed.

He also tells the party that he has commanded the seventh knot to journey to Farhold as well, the seventh knot will keep anyone from interfering with the party while they attempt to break the seal. He mentions that there is someone in Farhold that they will be introduced to by Tiadora, that being Baron Arkov Vandermir a very well connected nobleman in Farhold who may be able to assist them. He then dismisses them and leaves the barge.

They dock in Farhold the next morning and leave with Tiadora telling them that they will be attending dinner at the Baron’s home the next night. Leaving they explore Farhold just a bit and purchase themselves clothing and other goods.

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Staying the night at an inn they manage to pick up some rumors

  1. On the northern edge of the Caer Bryr are those strange hills called the Karst. It is said that somewhere in those hills is lost a great treasure!
  2. The Caer Bryr is full of living trees — it is common knowledge but it’s rare for one to be seen so far north. One has been rumored to live within a days ride of Farhold.
  3. An elf staying at the Wandering Friar Inn wandered into the Bryr and has not been back in the last three weeks.
  4. Before Lord Welshire left for the war he had a priest of Mitra conjure an angel to defend the town should it be threatened.
  5. Ex-watchman Halack Amon paid off his dead father’s debts but it left him almost penniless.
  6. A Mitran cleric Sister Marta is a devote cleric of Mitra and has saved several peoples lives in Farhold.
  7. The fortress of Lorringsgate has been destroyed by the monster horde.
  8. The Knights of Alerion have gone mad and are blaming the invasion on the temple of Asmodeus. They’re burning anyone with a black cat at the stake! It’s maddness! There hasn’t been a cult to Asmodeus in Talingarde for twenty years. Someone’s organizing the bugbears surely, but Asmodeans?
  9. The Baron Vandermir is the most generous man. Because of him the town has an orphanage.
  10. The kids at the Vandermir Orphanage are little more than thugs! It is said that the corrupt old baron sometimes uses them as muscle.

    The next day Zeitram goes to the Wandering Friar and pays the inn keeper into letting him into the Elf’s room. In the room he finds a map of the northern part of the Caer Bryr with the location of the Horn pinpointed on it. He then takes it back and shares it with his companions.


    That night the party meets Tiadora at the barge and walk to the home of Baron Vandermir where after surrendering their visible weapons are let in. After a few moments of fine wine and hors d’oeuvres, they are led into the dining room where they meet Baron Arkov Vandermir.


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    As soon as dinner is served and the servants are dismissed the Baron turns to the party and says. “You come to me as beggars, the last remnants of a forbidden faith. You will promise me much, of that I have no doubt. But all that I am likely to earn from helping you is the inquisitor’s pyre. Tell me, why should I help the likes of you?


    The party successfully convinces the Baron to assist them assuring him that all of their activities will be in total secret and totally untraceable to him. This suits the Baron at which point he agrees to help them by giving them access to a secret tunnel from his manor to a hovel in another part of town, allowing them to move unobserved.


    After the meal Tiadora reminds the party of the clay tablet given to them by Cardinal Thorn, “Break it when you need to speak with the Master. Be sure not to waste his time. He can be most unforgiving about that. The Seventh Knot is already close at hand. They arrive tomorrow on a river barge named “The Lucky Lady”. You should probably meet them and come up with a plan for seeing our Master’s will done. It matters not to me of course, Not my problem. Goodbye dearest, and good luck." With which she teleports away.


    The next day the party is informed of the arrival of the Seventh Knot and is requested to me with them. Going to the Auld Briarhall in Auld’Irey. They meet with Elise, Trak, Dostan, and Trik


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    She lays out her plan to the party “It is my intention in the next few months to have spies set up in every inn, tavern and anywhere else adventurers and explorers might congregate. When you do find the Horn of Abaddon, contact me. For those groups I can’t personally dispatch, I’ll send a messenger with any information I can gather”.


    After the meeting they track down where the leader of the Fourth Knot had been staying before his disappearance and there they find a map with the location of the Horn of Abaddon clearly marked. The party departs for the Horn early the next day.

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Book 1, Act 4 Burning Balentyne - Part 3

The party attacks the keep yet again through the secret passage where they face the magister’s ice golem, the last captain of the watch Samuel Barhold and several of his men, Father Donnagin and finally the Lord of the Keep, Lord Thomas Havelyn Paladin of Mitra.

The battle was pitched and several of the characters were laid low beneath the holy might of the paladin. Nearing defeat Raphael called upon Asmodeus and was answered… Asmodeus restored the party and left the party with marks of chains on the shoulders with the lock appearing on Raphael’s chest. The priest of Mitra Father Donnagin nearing death also called upon Mitra, and was answered…

The priest disappeared and the party defeated the paladin. On his knees the paladin looked at Raphael and said “Do what you will with me, but know I would have given you a swift death.” at which point Raphael said, “I do nothing with you for you belong to Mitra save to send you to him.” at which point he cut his head from his shoulders.

The party found the magister wounded and dispatched him. They then went into the Temple of Mitra where they faced and defeated the Lantern Archon Gestalt. They then went into the gatehouse where the remaining soldiers and dwarves were holding fast and quickly slew them all. Throwing the gates wide they watched from a distance as the bugbear horde stormed the empty keep.

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Breaking the clay seal they were joined by Tiadora who teleported them to a waiting barge.

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Book 1, Act 4 Burning Balentyne - Part 2

Due to having not kept up this journal I will give a quick synopsis of events, my apologies if I forget to mention something but it has been awhile.

1. The party sent the love letters describing the affair between Kaitlyn Mott and Captain Zack Eddarly to Captain Franz Mott. Captain Mott stormed out and challenged Captain Eddarly to a duel of honor. The duel was fought with Captain Mott the victor but the victory was short lived as he was arrested by Lord Havelyn for dueling. The trial was short with Captain Mott giving no defense, he was found guilty and sentenced to death at (ironically) Branderscar prison.

2. The party once again used the secret passage to move into Balentyne where they moved through the tower. They attacked the rookery killing the two guards, Mad Martin Rayard, and all the ravens in the rookery. Tossing their bodies from the tower into the river the proceeded down to the next level and killed the six archers posted there and threw their bodies into the river as well, burned the stores of arrows and then quietly made their way down back to the secret passage and back to their rooms.

3. The party discovered that every Monday that Mama Louisa Giuseppe goes to Balentyne with her famous beef stew to feed the guards. This ritual is very popular with the guards and has given Mama (as she is known) special status with the people of Aldencross as well as the soldiers of Balentyne. The party decides to attempt to poison the guards using the beef stew. Knowing that the town alchemist has to keep a strict record of the poisons her carries it is decided that concentrated wolvesbane would do a better job. They proceed to find someone in town that may contacts with the black market of Talingard. Locating such a person they make an agreement with him to procure enough to poison the entire complement of soldiers.

4. Cylara and Ashe are questioned by Father Donnagin about their possible involvement in the bar fight. They both deny any involvement but it is clear that Father Donnagin knows that they are holding something back from him.

5. Ashe attends a service in the chapel of Mitra where she learns first hand that some other presence is in the chapel that sings along with the congregation.

6. Raphael and Cylara go and visit Tacitus Magister of Balentyne in order to buy some scrolls from him as well as scout out some more of Balentyne. They are greated gruffly and thrown out when he learns that neither of them have anything to trade.

5. Once again the party uses the secret passage to gain entry into Balentyne (once again disguised as tower guards) but this time they moved into the great hall where they inform the watch sergeant that they were hearing strange noises in the tower and wanted more men to investigate. The watch sergeant told them to go to the barracks to get more men. The party went down the great hall to the barracks where they found ten men off duty and requested they accompany them up to the rookery. The soldiers complied with their request and went up to the rookery with them, to the total confusion of the archers stationed on the third floor for which Raphael explained they were there on orders of the watch sergeant. The party maneuvers the men to move ahead of them into the rookery. The party bars the way back down, casts a silence spell and quickly dispatches the guards.

Raphael quickly moves down to the third floor where calling upon the dark powers of Asmodeus drained their life force from them killing them all. They then cut off all the heads from the soldiers and used their bodies to form a five pointed star in the rookery, and then once again made their way to the secret passage.

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Book 1, Act 4 Burning Balentyne

Before the party disembarks from the Frosthamar they attack the crew slaying them quickly and mercilessly, ending with Cervantes beheading Captain Odenkirk. After looting the crew and the ship they set fire to the Frosthamar casting darkness upon it to cover their vile treachery. They make the trek to the market town of Aldencross where they instruct Grumblejack to remain in the woods outside of town and the party will make contact with him every two days. Entering Aldencross they find lodging in The Lord’s Dalliance, the only inn in town. During the first four days they begin to uncover vital information from the various people around town.

#1. The garrison is maned by about one hundred soldiers, four captains, one mage, one cleric and his acolytes, and the commander Lord Thomas Havelyn.
#2. Three of the four captains live in Aldencross.
#3. Lord Havelyn is well respected by the townsfolk as well as the soldiers.
#4. There is a small contingent of ten dwarfs led by one Barnabus Eisenbauch to refit the gatehouse of the garrison.
#5. Most of the humans of Aldencross does not seem to like dwarves
#6. The Lord’s Dalliance got it’s name as a brothel which was rumored to have a secret tunnel connecting it to Balentyne so the previous lord could come and go as he pleased without alerting his wife.
#7. Father Donning may have been demoted and sent to Balentyne after some serious trouble with the Church. (Raphael knows of Father Donning and does not believe this to be true)
#8. Captain Zach Eddarly is a handsome man and somewhat of a heartthrob among the ladies of town.
#9. That to be so grim Lord Havelyn might be guilty of something.
#10. The owner of the Lord’s Dalliance Bellam Barhold is a lush and complains he can not get a hold of any good wine.
#11. That Captain Varning leads a weekly patrol into the woods surrounding Balentyne.

Then one night Cylara learns from one of the soldiers that prisoners have escaped Branderscar, killing everyone in the prison save for a corrupt sergeant. A reward has been issued for their recapture. Meeting in their rooms they decide that they must not use their real names again and they must be careful to continue using the iron circlets to disguise themselves. They also hear that someone may have seen an ogre outside of town.


Later that night Zeitram, Kharon and Cervantes discover that the secret passage from the inn to Balentyne is not a rumor, catching Bellam Barhold using it to steal three cases of elven wine from Balentyne’s storage room. They promise their silence for upgrading their room to a suite at no further cost.

The next day the villains decided to implement Zeitram’s plan to strain racial tensions as much as possible between dwarves and humans. That evening Cervantes joined the dwarven table at the Lord’s Dalliance and took part in their nightly drinking contest. Once it was apparent they were all well intoxicated, Cylara mentioned to her soldier friends that Barnabus the dwarf had scathingly insulted her earlier. Intent on defending her honor, one of the soldiers approached Barnabus and began shouting at him. Shouting quickly turned to insults and shoving between the two factions. Soon the feud escalated to an all out brawl with punches being thrown and more dwarves and soldiers joining the fray.

Bar fight

It was at that point that Raphael stood behind one young soldier and with a magical compulsion he whispered, “Kill him”. The guard started to resist, but Raphael repeated the command more forcefully. As a dwarf charged, the youthful private drew his longsword and ran the stocky, bearded fellow through the belly. Somewhere a woman screamed. A blast of gunfire from the bartender ended the fray and the Watch was called to the scene.

Even later that night the group left the inn with a knife stolen from Barnabus’ room. They disguised themselves as dwarves and pounced upon the guards in the dead of night. The battle was quick and the guards soon lay dead with Barnabus’ dagger, and the seed of discontent, firmly planted in the chest of one of the fallen.

The next morning they resolved to leave town early. Not just to avoid the the fallout of their clandestine murders, but because today was an excellent day for hunting. It just so happens that today they would be hunting men. Specifically, Captain Ryan Varning and his small group of soldiers that go on a patrol once a week to scout the countryside. Between the trio of Ashe, Cervantes, and Kharon they were soon on the trail of the patrol. While they may have gotten a head start on the party, the distance was closed in a matter of a couple days.

They descended upon the campsite of the watch patrol in the dead of night. Ashe fired an arrow enchanted with silence while Zeitram slipped invisibly into the camp. The combination was devastating with many of the soldiers dead or dying without knowing who or what was attacking them. Cylara stood back casting spells and cackling madly. Ashe fired arrows with deadly precision against any who were unwise enough to exit their tents. Kharon and Cervantes efficiently murdered all who still lay sleeping. Zeitram entered the largest tent and was suddenly attacked! Captain Varning had awoken and was fighting back. Zeitram stumbled backwards from the tent clutching his wound. The tent shook violently and was suddenly still.

Raphael and Cervantes cried out in alarm that Varning was escaping. The captain lept upon his horse and took off at a gallop. The party made a dash for their horses while Raphael cast a pair of spells at the fleeing captain and his horse. Both fought off the enchantment and Varning and his pursuers disappeared into the forest. Snarling a curse Raphael mounted his horse and made attempt to catch up knowing that if the captain should escape at this moment the element of surprise would be forever lost.

The chase was frantic. Assassin vines had to be dodged, a cliff had to be climbed, blocked paths had to be navigated, and an angry bear! Varning proved to be an expert rider and bypassed them all. Just when he seemed to be on the verge of escape he was slowed enough for his attackers to seize him. He fought valiantly but in the end the forces of Asmodeus prevailed. Varning and his men were stripped of all valuables, their campsite taken down and burned, corpses and supplies were hurled into the vast lake, and all traces of their passing were expertly brushed away by Ashe. And over the next many days, Grumblejack would feast on horseflesh.

Ambush

Upon their return to Aldencross they learn that the bodies of the dead soldiers were found. The dwarves were questioned by Father Donnigan and he does not believe that Barnabus was responsible.

The party then resolved to take advantage of the secret passage beneath the inn to see what they could discover. They decided that for this first foray into the keep that only the most stealthy of them should go. It was decided that Cervantes the pirate, Kharon the inquisitor, Ashe the ranger, and Zeitram the rogue would be the ones to enter the keep this night. Raphael cast a blessing of status upon them so that if they ran into trouble that he would know. He stayed in his room at the Lord’s Dalliance with Cylara and awaited their return.

Disguising themselves as soldiers of the keep, the group of four entered the armory. Being so late at night, it was abandoned. There were stairs leading up into the tower and a door. Choosing the door, they found themselves in a hallway. Rounding the corner they began opening doors and found a couple empty rooms. Thinking themselves in an unused part of the keep they barged into the next room without much precaution. Opening the door they found a man seated at a large desk wearing a captain’s badge of office. “What do you want,” he asked looking quite displeased.

Clearly not expecting to find anyone in the room Zeitram stammered, “Uh, just checking on you.” The captain’s eyes narrowed and the rest of the group held their collective breath at Zeitram’s omitted honorific of “sir”.

The captain turned back to his writing desk and grumbled, “Next time just knock.” The group offered their apologies and hastily shut the door.

They took more caution with the next room and determined by the lack of noise that it was probably unoccupied. Entering the room they found it to be another captain’s quarters with nicer furnishings. Searching the room, they found a hidden compartment in the wardrobe that contained love letters between Captain Zack Eddarly and the wife of Captain Franz Mott, Catelyn. Taking the letters so they might put them to good use, they began to argue on what to do next. Kill the captain in the next room? Search more of the keep?

They were interrupted when the real night watchmen came down the hallway and began checking doors. Locking the door, they stayed still and silent as stone, and when the watch had passed they made a hasty dash for the secret door. Zeitram grabbed another bottle of elvish wine on his way out and led the party back to the Lord’s Dalliance. When they exited the basement of the inn they were confronted by Master Barhold about being up and about so early in the morning. Zeitram assured the innkeeper that nothing was wrong and slyly handed Barhold a bottle of rare elvish wine. Looking pale and shaken, Barhold said nothing as the group went back to their rooms and relayed the details of their scouting mission to Cylara and Raphael.

The next day the villains gathered more information about town and later retreated back to their rooms to plan the next course of action. Many ideas were thrown around, including assassinating the captain in his quarters, sending the love letters to Captain Mott to arrange a confrontation between him and Captain Eddarly, and poisoning the weekly stew a little old lady brought to the keep once a week. More ideas were brought forth and quickly dismissed.

It was at this time that Zeitram felt the need to leave the room and bumped into Suri, the innkeeper’s daughter. She claimed to have been mopping the next room, however Zeitram noticed that the bucket not only held no water, but was bone dry. Eyeing her, and the close proximity to the room where the group were plotting, he suggested they make use of the empty room. He tried to be charming, but there was more malice in his look than lust. He took a step forward and she ran.
Cursing, he ran after. The rest of the group, having heard the commotion, all hurried downstairs as well.

Tavern1a

Master Barhold, the innkeeper, intercepted them when they came downstairs and demanded to speak with them. Once seated with him he confronted them with what Suri overheard while outside their room. “Poisonings and murders. I don’t know who you people are but only bad things have happened since you’re arrived in town. Suri will no longer be serving your food or fetching your baths and I want you gone by tomorrow. And if I catch you in my cellar again I’ll be headed to the watchtower to tell them what I know.”

Many in the party would have visibly paled if not for their magical disguises. If looks could kill, Cervantes would have reduced the innkeeper to ashes with the dangerous glare in his eyes. Raphael smoothly interjected, “Oh Master Barhold, I think there is definitely some sort of misunderstanding here. Clearly your daughter only heard a small part of our quiet conversation taken horribly out of context behind a closed door. Surely you must reconsider.”

“No. I want you gone”, Barhold stated firmly.

“I see”, Raphael mused. “Tell me Master Barhold, what is bothering you. What is this really about?” He leaned forward in his chair calmly awaiting the man’s response.

Barhold leaned forward himself and stared right back at Raphael. “I don’t like being blackmailed”, he growled.

“Ah, there we go”, Raphael purred, a smile creeping over his lips. “Now we have the truth of it! I can see we have wronged you greatly Master Barhold. You’ve given us your best suites for an entire month and all we have done is take advantage of your generous hospitality. I would offer my sincerest apologies, but I see this matter can not be resolved satisfactorily with mere words.” He then pulled out a bulging coin purse and began counting out piles of gold. “I would offer three hundred apologies if I thought it would matter. Perhaps you would accept three hundred of these instead?”

Barhold stood transfixed by the pile of gold laid in front of him. With silver-tongued assurances from Raphael that they truly meant no harm towards anyone in the Lord’s Dalliance or in Aldencross, which was technically true in a way, he backed down from his demands for the group to leave and graciously accepted their gold.

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Book 1, Act 3, The Fire-Axe

At the end of their training The Master calls them to a lavish banquet and calls forth the slave that Kharon had been taking his pleasure with. Summoning forth a barbed devil the woman is given to it, to which it gleefully tears to pieces. Drawing some of the devil’s blood with a silver dagger he moves to each party member and draws the sign of Asmodeus on their forehead.

“Behold,”he proclaims, “The Nessian Knot is forged.”

Just in time,”The Master remarks.“My ship has arrived.” On the river dock behind the manor under cover of darkness, a square-sailed longship sailed into the slip. Sitting heavily in the waters, laden with a substantial cargo. The Master dismisses the party and the feast is over.

The party is called to his study the next day, “Welcome my children,” he said in a deep resonant voice that had an almost inhuman quality to it.“Training is at an end. You have proven yourselves worthy. Now, it is time for you to use that training and take on your first mission.”

Your mission is war, my children. You will bring war to Talingarde.”

You have two objectives. First, you will see a shipment of munitions delivered to a bugbear chieftain named Sakkarot Fire-Axe. He makes his camp on the northern coast of Lake Tarik beyond the Watch Wall. With this shipment, the Fire-Axe will have resources enough to unite the barbarous humanoid tribes of the north and light the fire of war.”

Sitting on the dock as we speak is the longship Frosthammar captained by Kargeld Odenkirk. Tomorrow when the ship is resupplied it will be your transport. The captain is a ruthless mercenary and not to be trusted. He knows nothing of the specifics of our mission and you should keep it that way. He knows he is smuggling cargo to the north beyond the Watch Wall. That is all he need know.”

Once the cargo is safely delivered, he will take you just south across the lake under cover of darkness and land near the town of Alden cross. There our contract with Captain Odenkirk will be concluded.”

It is a shame how greedy he has proven. I had hoped to let the captain serve me again but it seems he is too much a liability. Kill him. Kill his crew. Burn his ship and leave no survivors. It is crucial that no one suspects our involvement and that loose ends are taken care of. Be sure to reclaim the coin I gave him. Best not to be wasteful.”

That done you begin your second task. We will do more still to aid our ally the Fire-Axe. The bugbears are mighty warriors but poor siege engineers. You will infiltrate the tower Balentyne, keystone of the Watch Wall, kill it’s commander and open the gate for Sakkarot’s horde.”

Once the shaggy monstrosities pierce the Watch Wall, the bugbears will pillage and lay waste to the townships of the north and the local garrisons will have no choice but to meet the Fire-Ave in the open field. Sakkarot is the most brilliant, gifted and murderous bugbear of his generation. I expect these battles to go poorly for the knights and yeoman of fair Talingarde.”

Do all of this and then when you task is done, break this clay seal.” He handed the party a delicately carved clay seal adorned with a tangled knot of thorns surrounding the holy symbol of Asmodeus. “I will have more instructions then. Succeed and I will see you rewarded handsomely. Fail or betray me and you will pray for the comfort of Hell before I am done with you.”

The mission you start upon today is a holy mission. The people of Talingarde think they have seen the last of the mighty Asmodeus. Soon enough we will remind them that there is no escaping the grasp of Hell. Let us toast our success.”

He poured each of the party a glass of deep red wine and pouring one for himself he raised the glass and offered the toast.

To War!”

The party boarded the Frosthammar and began their journey, and slowly made their way up the coast. Just as they were about to pass the Watch Wall they were hailed by a Talingardian ship christened The Blade of St. Marius. Coming along side the Frosthamar Raphael informed Captain Edward Sambryl that they were on a mission to the north on a secret mission. The captain considered what Raphael had to say and let them go. The next night the ship was attacked by a group of tritons and water elementals led by a Triton Oracle named Nerianus. The party defeated them and captured Nerianus, upon questioning he claimed that Mitra had been sending him visions of the evil that was coming to Talingarde. The party disposed of him.

Moving on Captain Odenkirk told them that they had to detour to Seal Isle to refresh the water supplies. Knowing that the water stores were fine Cervantes questioned the Captain further and discovered that he wanted to hunt seals for some extra coin. Not having been given a time limit they agreed to the stop at the isle.

Arriving at the island the party hunted seals obtaining 5 pelts and Odenkirk and his crew obtaining 6. Shortly after the hunting was over they were approached by a group of Yutak tribesman. Ignoring the captain’s suggestion to kill them they traded with the tribesman obtaining a 8 foot long narwhal horn and several walrus tusks.

Leaving the island the Odenkirk sailed north to a narrow river that led through the northern woods to Lake Tarik where they quickly found the humanoid encampment of the Fire-Axe. Docking they were met by several bugbears, thinking Grumblejack was in charge they asked if he brought the “little ones” to eat. Raphael stated that they were there on the orders of Cardinal Thorne, which meant nothing to the bugbears. He then stated that they were there at the Fire-Axe’s invitation, which confused the bugbears long enough for the Fire-Axe to arrive.

Picture 14

The Fire-Axe stated that the men were his guests and that they brought them steel to fight their war. He then invited the party to join them in a feast to honor their arrival, to which they accepted. During the meal they found that the camp not only consisted of bugbears but also goblins, hill giants, and a few Naatanuks (intelligent polar bears from the far north). After the meal concluded the Fire-Axe requested them to accompany him to his tent.


“You are traitors to your own kind. You must know that. When Balentyne falls and my horde pours through it’s shattered gates, we will slaughter the Talireans by the thousands. Yet I see no regret in your eyes. Tell me how can this be?”


Each party member related their stories to the Fire-Axe and when they mentioned the f brand he removed his breastplate to show them the sign of Asmodeus burned into his chest and said, “We all have our scars.” The party reveals that they are the ninth knot and the Fire-Axe tells them “I am the only true member of the the knot. The rest are only fools” at which point he tells them that he will betray his own at the appointed time for the greater glory of Asmodeus.


He then finishes the evening by saying,“Tomorrow you must depart this camp. It will never be truly safe for you here. Over the next week, more tribes will rally to my banner. I will promise them blood and give them steel. Then at last I will be ready to march. I will move my horde to the valley just North of Balentyne. There we will wait for your signal. Fire this rocket into the air. Within the hour we will attack. Make sure that the way is ready.”


“After we gather, my horde will be idle and start to grow anxious. I can hold them together for another two weeks. After that, I can expect desertions and squabbling. Get your work done before then. You have one month to infiltrate and destroy Balentyne.”


He then handed the party a single carefully wrapped signal rocket and then says staring into the party’s eyes,“Can you do this? In one month can you break the Watch Wall?” answering him that they can he grunts and says “Thorn has faith in you. If you weren’t his best, he wouldn’t have sent you. Do this and your names will be legend. Hail Asmodeus!!”


The next morning the party left the encampment and spent the next week crossing Lake Tarik.

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Book1, Act 2, Into the Knot

The party spends the next three days in luxurious comfort, but they are not alone in the manor house along with Tiadora are four others that share their domicile.

Elise Zadaria (Human, Winter Witch)

Dostan Alfson (Half-Elf, Barbarian)

Tallus “Trak” Rackburn (Human, Ranger)

Titus “Trik” Rackburn (human, Cleric)

On the evening of the third day the party is summoned to the Masters study.

“Have you enjoyed your gifts? The iron circlets allow you to move amongst your enemies as one of them. The silver amulets will remind you of your true loyalties. The other items – well, you need them now.”


“You have done well to escape Branderscar and accept my offer. However, you are still not ready for my service. Tiadora will lead you to the basement of this domicile. There you will find nine chambers each more dangerous than the last. Somewhere hidden within these chambers is a pendant of silver and sapphire. Recover the pendant and bring it to me. Let nothing and no one stand in your way.”


He stood up and looked out of the manor house window across the grey moor. “It’s almost dusk. You have until dusk tomorrow to bring me my prize. Do not fail me.”


The cardinal then regained his seat and Tiadora beckoned to the party leading the way to the basement.


Upon reaching the basement the party moved into the first room which had an inscription on the archway leading into the room. “Deception is a tool. Self-Deception is death. Decieve always thy enemy but never thyself.” The room beyond was a plain room with one door lit by a an oil lamp hanging in the center of the room. Quickly moving across the room Zeitram barely jumped clear of the pit trap set before the door. Looking at the pit filled with blunted spikes he looked upon an inscription in the wall. “Thou wert deceived. Pain is thy reward.” After careful searching the party found the door in front of the pit was false and a secret niche in the northern wall containing a glowing piece of alchemical ice. They then found a concealed door on the southern wall opening to a short hallway at which a door waited at the end.


Inscribed on the door was “Following the herd is for fools. Fear not their icy derision. Instead, fear only thy Infernal Lord.” Opening the door the party found a plain stone chamber with a door in each wall. On the floor was discovered tracks of at least a dozen people moving toward the east and south doors. The west door was covered in a violet fungus that radiated cold. Cervantes informed the party that it was a creature called “Violet Fungus” that feeds off of heat and would grow double in size if a single torch was brought near it. Using the alchemical ice obtained in the previous room the violet fungus was destroyed and inscribed on the door was “Thou hast made thine own path”. Walking down a rather long hallway the party encountered yet another door with another inscription “Know your enemy. Shatter all that blinds you and then burn thy adversary to ashes.”


Upon opening the door Zeitram was met with an inky darkness that his sunrod could not penetrate. Moving up Kharon and Raphael were able to see a chamber with two other doors and a pedestal in the center holding a black rock. Kharon moved into the room to inspect the rock when he was suddenly attacked from behind by what Cervantes identified as a Vampiric Mist. After defeating the vampiric mist and shattering the piece of obsidian radiating the darkness spell the party moved to the north door, untrapped and unlocked they opened and moved down the short path to yet another door with an inscription


“Cruelty is a tool not a pastime. Be ruthless to thy enemy but reward those who serve thee well.” upon opening the door they looked upon a plain stone room without exit and a torturers rack sitting in the center. Searching the room they found nothing but the very functional torturers rack. Turning to leave Raphael heard a faint noise and upon investigating found a secret alcove with a frightened young man dressed in knights livery.


Squire timeon


Upon questioning he said his name was Timeon, Squire of Sir Balin. The party assured him that he was safe and beckoned him to sit on the rack to receive healing. After he reluctantly sat Raphael commanded Kharon to seize him. Kharon quickly strapped Timeon onto the rack where he was questioned. Timeon told the party that he was accompanying his master when they were set upon by a large band of brigands. He was knocked unconscious and upon awaking found that he and his master had been captured by an evil worshiper of Asmodeus. Timeon blindly fled and secreted himself in the hidden alcove where he heard the follower of Asmodeus looking for him and heard him speaking of the terrors of the dungeon that he was in. Afterwards they continued the torture despite his pleading for them to stop and then Cervantes cut his throat.


Going back to the room of darkness the party moved through the eastern door, down a hallway stopping at a door inscribed with “The chosen are revealed by their might. The weak deserve no sympathy.”Upon opening the door they found another plain stone chamber with one other door in the southern wall. Sitting in the center of the chamber was a pair of metal cobras. The party engaged the mythral cobras and destroyed them.


Snakes

Moving to the door the find the inscription “Suffer not the fool. Stupidity is our faith’s cardinal sin.”. Opening the door the party beheld a plain stone room with a stairway leading out the east wall and a podium in the center of the room. Approaching the podium they found a pendant of a silver dragon with sapphire eyes. Not trusting the ease with which they’ve found the pendant they began to search finding a secret passage in the west wall, revealing another hallway. Moving down the hall they found another door with another inscription, “Secrecy is our greatest ally. Exposure brings death.” Upon opening the door, a sudden shrieking started as it was hit by Zeitram’s sunrod. The party retreated from the room waiting for several moments. Moving back to the room the party discovered four water-logged corpses standing wielding great axes.


Undead

Once again the party retreated back to the room and waited for the Draugr to arrive, and upon arrival engaged the party in fierce combat. After several tense moments the four Draugr were defeated.


Afterwards the party destroyed the shrieker and moved through the stone room filled with coffins the Draugr occupied to another door leading to a short hallway, leading to a door with another inscription on it, Serve thy master well and be rewarded." Next to the door hung a iron ring on a wooden peg. Upon opening the door the party found another simple stone room with a bed and standing near the door a single armed man.


Sir balin

The party had used their iron circlets to assume the forms of Squire Timeon and several Talingardian soldiers and told him that they had come to rescue him. As soon as Sir Balin moved into the next room they surrounded and attacked him. During the fighting Sir Balin disabled both Ashe and Zeitram but was himself disabled, at which point Raphael stabilized Sir Balin took his holy symbol of silver and sapphire and dragged him to the torture rack at which point they dowsed him with lamp oil and Raphael said “Sir Balin you have been found guilty of crimes against us, you are therefore sentenced to death by fire.” and lit him on fire. Before expiring Sir Balin said strangely calm and clear, “May Mitra bring vengeance upon you.”


After slaying Sir Balin the party returned to the Master’s study


“You’ve returned.” The high priest holds the trinket and pauses as if in deep contemplation. He watches the holy symbol glitter in the light. “A pretty enough thing, eh?”he muses. This is a holy symbol of Mitra in particular the sort favored by the Knights of Alerion. Perhaps you already knew that.“


”Remember this symbol. This is the mark of those who destroyed our faith and sought to banish all traces of the worship of our Father from these shores. These, my friends, are your enemies."


Tossing the holy symbol to Cervantes he continues “Keep it. It may aid you in disguising yourself.”


He then smiled. _You have done well. Escaping from Branderscar, slaughtering Sir Balin… yes, you are worthy. Now let us complete your training…"


For three long months the party trains under the close tutelage of The Master honing them into instruments of vengeance. He is a brilliant teacher, learning quickly that success brings reward and failure delivers them to the hellish tortures of Tiadora.

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Way of the Wicked Book 1
Act One (Prison Break!!)

Branding1

Art above created by Michael Clarke.


In the kingdom of Talingarde, many crimes may send you to Branderscar Prison, but the sentence has but one meaning. You are wicked and irredeemable. Each of you received the same greeting when you arrived. You were held down by rough hands and branded upon the arm with a runic F. The mark signifies ‘forsaken’ and the painful scar is indelible proof that each of you has betrayed the great and eternal love of Mitra and his chosen mortal vassals.


Condemned, you face at best a life of shackles and servitude in the nearby salt mines. Others might await the “gentle” ministrations of the inquisitors so that co-conspirators may be revealed and confessions extracted. Perhaps, some of you will be spared this ordeal. Perhaps instead you have come to Branderscar to face the final judgment. In three days, the executioner arrives and the axe falls or the pyre will be lit. Through fire or steel, your crimes will be answered.


You have all been chained together in the same communal cell dressed in nothing but filthy, tattered rags. Manhandled and mistreated, any finery you once possessed is either ruined or long lost. No special treatment has been given any prisoner – male or female, commoner or noble – all of the forsaken are bound and imprisoned together. Your feet are secured by iron cuffs tethered by one long chain. Your arms are secured to the wall above by manacles. A guard is posted right outside the cell day and night. Little thought is given to long term accommodations. At Branderscar, justice comes swift and sure.


Escape seems hopeless. You have all been well searched and every attempt to conceal anything on your person has failed. And if you could somehow slip your bonds and fly out of this prison, where would you go? Who from your former life would want anything to do with the forsaken? Despised, alone and shackled – all that you can do now is await your doom.


For each of you, your old life is over. For each of you, hope is a fading memory. For each of you, justice will be fairly meted. And who can blame fair Talingarde after what each of you has done?

Adventure #1 05.27.2013

With the addition of Cervantes the Pirate the party began to discuss what had brought each to Branderscar Prison. During their discussion Sergeant Blackerly arrived with two guards commanding Zeitram to stand expressing surprise that a fine lady would wish to visit him. Escorted down Zeitram beheld a woman of unearthly beauty dressed in black, face covered by a thin gossamer silk veil. Tears streaking down her face she asked the sergeant to leave them alone together, blank faced the sergeant left them at which point her mournful face changed to a devilishly sly grin.

She stated that her name was Tiadora and that she represented a friend who wished to speak with him and his fellow cell mates. Giving him her silken veil she told him that they had three days to effect an escape of Branderscar Prison and make their way to a manor house on the Old Moor Road at which time they would meet with their mutual “friend.” Message given she rose as the sergeant returned where she thanked him for allowing her to visit with her “beloved” one last time and assured him that searching her beloved would not be necessary.

Upon being returned to his cell, Zeitram informed his fellow prisoners of his strange encounter as well as her request. Revealing the silken veil he removed a patch that contained a set of masterwork thieves tools, with which he used to unlock their manacles. They then noticed that they were being watched by an ogre in an adjacent cell. He promised to assist them if they would set him free. They quickly opened their cell door and freed Grumblejack the ogre.

Moving into the guard chamber they quickly dispatched the two guards and moved down the stairs. Upon opening the door they saw two guards in the great hall. Grumblejack strode forth and struck the closet guard killing him instantly. The other guard blew the signal horn and was quickly engaged and killed by Cervantes and Zeitram, where they observed archers on the top of the gate house across the courtyard. Quickly retreating back into the main building they barred the door.

They set about exploring the castle discovering the mess hall and then the barracks. Where three guards were making themselves ready for battle. Raphael who had donned one of the guard’s uniform informed the guards that the signal horn was a drill and to pay it no mind. The guards satisfied went back to their bunks at which time Raphael closed the door and moved to the kitchen while Cervantes and Kharon barricaded the door with tables from the mess hall. The guards became suspicious as they heard the moving of the furniture and opened the door to find themselves trapped by the mess hall tables. Catching sight of the other prisoners they attempted to push past the tables at which time Grumblejack moved the tables and proceeded to kill the guards.

In the Kitchen they found Sam and Myrtle (two servants for the castle) huddled in the corner of the room. Kharon asked them if they served the Great Asmodeus which they said no that they served Mitra at which point Kharon slew Sam followed by Cervantes slaying Myrtle.

Moving back to the great hall Zeitram unlocked the door to Sergeant Blackerly’s Office and Cervantes broke into the armory. While Cervantes emptied the armory Zeitram and Raphael searched finding a map of the prison and records implicating Sergeant Blackerly in stealing supplies from the prison and selling them for personal profit. They opened the supply room and found that it was quite bare of the supplies needed for optimal operation. Zeitram opened another door leading to the sergeant’s room where they found the sergeant in the process of removing his strongbox.

Engaging the sergeant they were able to subdue him and took him into the supply room where they had found branding irons that had been used on them. The sergeant offered information if Raphael wouldn’t brand him. Raphael agreed provided that the information was useful. Sergeant Blackerly told them that since the signal horn had been sounded that the warden would come down from his tower to lead the remaining guards and so would not obey any command of his to lay down arms. Agreeing that his information was indeed helpful he fulfilled his promise to not brand Sergeant Blackerly and instead had Cervantes do it. After severely beating sergeant Blackerly they tied him up and put him in a cell with the paperwork implicating him on the floor in front of the door leading into the cells, thus sealing his fate.

Moving out the kitchen door they secretly made their way to the wardens tower where they found the first floor empty save for plaques telling the story of Branderscar’s History. The second floor they found to be a library in which they found three valuable books. On the final floor they found the warden’s map of the surrounding area giving them directions to the Old Moor Road.

In finding the tower empty they deduced that the Warden and what remained of the guards were at the gatehouse attempting to keep them contained. Raphael, Zeitram and Grumblejack rushed the gatehouse at which point they were fired upon by two bowman on the top of the gatehouse. One guard released two guard dogs on Zeitram and Grumblejack as Raphael used the window patch from the veil to make a window in the main gate. They dispatched the bowman, the guard and the dogs. Seeing the gate led into an entryway with a second set of doors and arrow slits he told Grumblejack to break down the door leading into the gatehouse itself. Breaking down the door Grumblejack was struck by a magic missile causing him to stagger and fall. Ashe moved to the doorway and spotted a single guard with a longbow and a wizard. Ashe shot the wizard as he casted a spell sending a flaming sphere into her. Cerventes dived over the flaming sphere entering the room and killed the guard with a longsword as Ashe retreated from the doorway shooting the wizard again.

The wizard stated “I will see you all back in your chains” cast a spell and disappeared.

Zietram also dived over the flaming sphere which had now caught the wooden door on fire and moved up the ladder onto the next level where he found the opening mechanisms for the gates and the portcullis. He started to open the gate and was told to stop by Raphael knowing that the wizard had cast an invisibility spell and was still there. Suddenly the flaming sphere moved and struck Cervantes revealing the wizard still in the room. Cervantes attacked and killed him with his longsword.

The party moved out of the castle across the bridge where they found the guardhouse on the landward side empty the guards having fled knowing that they only way the prisoners could have escaped after the signal horn was to have killed everyone else. Using the map they found in the Wardens room they journeyed to the Old Moor Road and found the manor house.

Haunted house

Upon knocking on the door they were met by Tiadora who instructed slaves to take them to their rooms to get them cleaned up, fed and healed so they could be presented to the master.


The party was led by Tiadora to a beautifully appointed office richly decorated with dark wood and sumptuous brocade tapestry. Sitting in a leather high-backed chair was a devilishly handsome fellow who smiles as you enter. “I believe you to be the first to ever escape from Branderscar Prison. Well done! Of course, you had help from the outside,” he said with a wicked smile.


"But enough with pleasantries. You must be curious why I’ve helped you. Rest assured this is no random act of altruism. I have brought you here for a reason. My name is Cardinal Adrastus Thorn. I am the last high priest of Asmodeus left on the island of Talingarde. Once the Prince of Nessus was rightly revered alongside the other great powers. Now, the king of Talingarde has become a puppet to Mitran fanatics who wish to destroy any religion that does not bow to their insipid sun god.


For their blasphemy, I will see the same people who imprisoned and condemned you to suffer. I understand what you went through for I have faced it myself." With that he pulled down his sleeve of his robe revealing his own runic ‘F’ brand. “I am going to burn Talingarde to the ground and from the ashes I will build a new nation that knows its rightful master. I can not do this alone. I seek servants worthy of our Infernal Father’s majesty. Have I found them in you?”


He rose, eyes flashing with hellfire and divine purpose.“Join me!” "Serve me well in this holy endeavor and I will raise you up in the eyes of gods and men. I will make you princes of the new Talingarde. Today, swear fealty to me and to Asmodeus.


“Put aside forgiveness and I shall give you vengeance. Put aside mercy and be made powerful. Put aside peace and become my harbingers of war. What say you? Will you swear your allegiance or will you burn with rest of the blind fools.”


The party agreed


“Excellent. Let us make this official. Signing in blood is traditional.”


He brought out a quill, a silver ritual knife and two copies of a contract written on some unidentifiable leather and written in dark red ink


After reading the contract each of the party signs The Pact of Thorns


Giving the party one of the contracts the other he keeps.


Well done. Your first command: prepare yourselves. Stay within the manor. You are now hunted by the Talirean soldiery. In three days you will begin your training."

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