Salvation

New Friends, New Adventures
A new chapter begins.

3 Deadtree 6934 EY: That evening, the group spend time mourning their lost. Tomren made a small cairn to remember Eza, Leylam, and Bannet. Tomren made a speech about focusing on the living, not the dead. The group rested in relatively high spirits.

4 Deadtree 6934 EY: The group began the morning with an early morning assault on the Valley of Chains at last. The group caught the slavers unaware, and an intense and prolonged bloodbath ensued. Many slavers died, including their azer forgemaster. During the battle, the slavers attempted to unleash an ursith slave they had thought to be broken, but the ursith turned on them, transforming into a dire wolf and ravaging them without pity. The Lord of Chains, now former interrogator Jon Treehill, showed up at last, but did not enter battle as his armies had been laid to waste. He put down his weapons and pled mercy, for his name was a noble name in the Imperial city of Blueholt. There was a brief discussion on Jon's fate, and ultimately Ubah knocked him unconscious and he was brought back home to Dunezar, along with 27 slaves and the ursith, who introduced herself as Haseya of Sipaku. Haseya had been traveling to find a cure for her people, and she had been caught by the slavers to allow her elven companions to escape.

In Dunezar, Zafar thanked the group for help with the slave ring bust. He became emotional for perhaps the first time the group had ever seen, but would not detail why. Haseya, Taegon and Arnold visited with Elder Nazu of the ardo to give him the mythril they had found. Nazu tried to answer questions, but sadly had little true information, although plenty of wisdom. He allowed Taegon to keep half of the mythril—enough to craft a single weapon.

Ubah visited with Magda, the commoner woman he had helped with. He gave the woman a considerable amount of money from his earnings from taking the slaver's bounty—200 gold pieces. He instructed Magda to buy a house. With this money, Magda could afford to purchase a house for her and her children in Hightown District. Magda was speechless and beyond thankful.

A discussion was had regarding what to do next: the group had two tasks ahead of them in their contract from Floriano Stricklen to take down the troll, and Tomren's justicar assignment to handle an entity called "the Father of Worms" in Harubel. After some debate, it could not be determined which was the best course of action. The group agreed to consult with Leodolf in the morning and called it a night.

5 Deadtree 6934 EY: The following morning, Leodolf met with the group over breakfast. They explained their dilemma, and Leodolf said that, simply put, the group needed to handle whichever the biggest perceived threat was. The group expressed concern regarding the wrath of Floriano if they didn't do the Hunter's Take contract right away, and Leodolf was quick to dismiss fear of Floriano, calling him a "fucking asshole" and urging the group not to worry about him. At this, and with Ubah wishing to be tested to see if he had capabilities in magic, it was decided that the group would head northward to Harubel before seeking to slay the troll.

Arnold then came upon the idea to use the cover of a traveling performer's group to hide their identities in case they were ever being hunted. The group agreed to this ruse with Ubah being the most hesitant, but even the normally straight-laced hylo agreed to the idea, under the stipulation that he was taught the arts of deception to help sell the idea of a traveling group.

Before the group could catch a barge bound north to Harubel, they were summoned to Junglewatch Keep by Zafar. The captain of the guard said that, via magical communications, the Treehills of Blueholt had been reached. The noble family wanted nothing to do with their wayward son as he had become a warlock and a slaver. Zafar said that normally he would mete out justice, but in this case he wanted to allow the group to decide the slaver's fate. Initially it seemed the group agreed on imprisonment, but after discussion, minds changed to execution. Speaking with Jon did the man no favors; he remained arrogant and unashamed, even in chains. Tomren would have no part in executing a man and left the room, while Zafar loaned his magically-enchanted falchion, Falconsong, to Ubah to do the deed. Before it was done, Jon had final words to say: "The Eyes of Hell will always be on you, Ubah Memburu."

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Into Razorspire Mines
A Nightmare in Waiting

2 Deadtree 6934 EY: The war party arrived at Crade's Spire in mid-afternoon and, following instructions as laid out by the notes left by the dwarven miners, found the entrance to Razorspire Mine as the sun began to set. Zafar suggested setting up camp outside the entrance. The milita folk began discussing their lives outside of the militia, and spirits seemed high, until an unnatural wailing emitted from the depths of Razorspire Mine. The noises set the camp ill at ease until Heigard, Belmelia, Taegon, Remi, and Arnold formed an impromptu band to play music and lift the spirits. The plan succeeded, and, with the help of Barin's surprisingly quality food, the group was able to forget the imminent danger.

Manora dragged Arnold away from the campsite to engage in a bit of intimacy. After finding a quiet place, the pair was interrupted by a dwarven entity clad in black leathers. The entity emitted a sense of amazing power and admonished Arnold for "wasting time" with the slavers when so many important things were about to happen. Shaken by the encounter, the couple returned to the camp.

Eza chose to spend this evening sleeping with Tomren as she was too afraid of the following day to sleep on her own. Zafar invited Taegon and Ubah to sleep in his pavilion tent, as they did not own tents.

3 Deadtree 6934 EY: The group finally entered the Razorspire Mines. Nearly immediately, they are beset upon by a horde of arachnid humanoid creatures called 'chitines.'  The group bravely warded off these attackers, losing only Leylam Mudeya, a militia man, to the onslaught.

Heading northward and deeper into the caves, the group resisted the urge to explore any more than they had to. They stumbled into a nest of gazers, lesser beholderkin that were led by a spectator. These creatures were quickly dispatched, and in this room was found a sizable crate of mythril, as requested by the ardo.

Venturing northward more, the cavern opened into an immense quarry of purite. Here, thousands of feet below, the group could see countless chitine scrambling to avoid the light being refracted off of the seams and veins of raw purite found here. The group tried to hurry through this cavern, but was stopped by the arrival of the creature known as the Abortion: a pale, ghastly aberration roughly beholder in form but with pale white skin and a bleeding red eye.

A terrible battle was fought, and many were injured. Bannet Dofrey and Eza Nyafor both had their lives claimed by the monstrosity until Belmelia landed a lucky strike of holy energy, destroying the creature completely.

Finding a pathway that seemingly led to the Valley of Chains and feeling that they had left the horrors of the Razorspire Mine behind them, the group decided to camp to recoup, regroup, and prepare for the final push on the slavers.

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Gathering Allies
The time for retribution draws nearer

30 Brownleaf 6934 EY: Tomren received word back from Professor Geldimbrag of Dunezar University on this day. when he arrived, he discovered that the Valorous Family, Realm's rulership, had discovered the couatl brain and had sent a representative named Child Temperance. Child Temperance requested the brain be relinquished to Imperial control; after Temperance had left, Tomren confronted Geldimbrag, who explained he sought the opinion of a colleague at the Imperial Academy and it must have been intercepted by the Valorous Family.

Taegon made a plea to the Hunter's Take to help with the mission against the slavers. Heigard explained that he would only take a paid contract to hunt beasts. Manora, on the other hand, was more than ready to relinquish her role as an officer of the Hunter's Take. She also introduced Taegon to Elder Nazu, the leader of the ardo in Heronsflight, who cast an animal messenger spell to send word to the Viridian Wardens for aid.

31 Brownleaf 6934 EY: Arnold officially graduated from the college of satire on this day and was rewarded by learning the "swamp blues" style of music as well as being given a harmonica. After B4P left, he was approached by their trombonist, a hobgoblin named Thunder. Thunder explained that he knew the group was about to travel into a dangerous place and that hobgoblins were a tactical, ordered, warlike people, and he grew up in that tradition and felt he would be a useful asset. 

On this day, Ubah discovered an old journal from a long-forgotten expedition beneath the Tongo Mountains. It described untold natural riches discovered under the mountains, but also an ancient evil called "the Abortion" that seemingly killed the miners to a man.

With this knowledge, the group met with Zafar to discuss further plans. Zafar introduced the group to the nine watch men that would be joining them, as well as the three lieutenants he had requested waiting for their return: Eza Nyafor, Barin Gunny, and Remi Thobard. 

1 Deadtree 6934 EY: While preparing the chain of command while he was gone, Zafar said it would be two more days before the group could move out. During this time, Leodolf summoned the group to his office because there had been a new contract put out and they had been specifically selected to fulfill it. The contract was from Floriano Stricklen himself, the "big boss" of Dunezar, who was present in Leodolf's office. Floriano made a point of being a contentious, arrogant sort who made it very clear he expected this hunt to be a priority and for it to be a successful one.

Also during this day, Heigard and Belmira approached the group. They explained that they had seen the fresh and raw recruits being sent into battle against the slavers and it troubled them. Heigard explained that the one thing he hates more than anything is seeing young soldiers die. And so, despite the fact that it would anger his old friend Leodolf and likely put his officer position at risk, Heigard and Belmira gave themselves to the cause, as well as recruiting their friend, Archie Trueshot.

On this final night before the expedition, a large party was had at the Silver Monkey with most of the warband in attendance—Zafar recused himself, as did Ubah. During this party, the group paired off with a number of women: Arnold with Manora again; Tomren with lieutenant Eza Nyafor; and Taegon with a vulpini woman, with the help of wingman Remi Thobard.

2 Deadtree 6934 EY: The group at last set off toward the Tongo Mountains to plumb the Razorspire Mines for the entrance to the Valley of Chains. As they were leaving, they were stopped by a man in a rainbow cowl: none other than Kellam, son of Eidarel, of the Viridian Wardens, who had heard Taegon's call and traveled this long distance to help them fight whatever they may face. Another ally and a new hope in the face of a looming and unknown evil.

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Eight Nights in Dunezar
Some Much Needed Downtime

The Hunter's Take guild offered the new recruits a feast. Most of the leaders of the Hunter's Take were in attendance, and the group met the following new faces: Archie Trueshot, a halfling bowman of some renown; Heigard Rauss, a legendary member of the Hunter's Take; Belmelia Rauss, Heigard's loving wife and cleric of Elsabene Earthtender; Jared Koner, the guild's foremost trapsmith; Manwulf Wann, an eccentric dwarven knight with a boar mount named Frida; and Winket Frimar, the newest recruit to the Take outside of the group themselves.

After much song, story, food and drink, the group retired for the evening. Concluding an evening of flirting, Manora joined Arnold in his bedchambers.

25 Brownleaf 6934 EY - On this day, Ubah held a meeting with Leodolf in an attempt to convince the guildmaster to lead a counter strike on the slavers. Leodolf explained that it was outside the purview of the Hunter's Take to initiate such a charge; he instead suggested that Ubah discuss the matter with Zafar Blackgrace, the captain of the Jungle Watch. Zafar seemed less than thrilled to see Ubah, but upon hearing his plan, his countenance changed considerably. Zafar revealed that he has long sought a way to end the slavers, and asked for a week to rally his lieutenants and formulate a plan to strike out at the slavers for good.

Meanwhile, Tomren sought out a professor of magical beasts at Dunezar University to discuss the strange, magically-inert brain of the couatl he harvested. He was introduced to Professor Histum Geldimbrag, a haughty and eccentric gnomish professor who insisted on calling Tomren "Wilkins." After finally convincing the professor that he wasn't a student, Tomren relinquished the brain to Geldimbrag's possession, who in turn promised to divulge any information he learned about the brain to Tomren.

26 Brownleaf 6934 EY  On this day, the group heard rumors of a unique band playing at the tavern known as the Deep Darkness. When the group went to watch, they discovered the band was composed of members of the low races-an orc, an ogre, a bugbear, a hobgoblin, a goblin, a gnoll, and a kobold lead singer named Cal Cabboway.

Arnold was very impressed by Cal Cabboway and the band that called themselves "Beasts For Peace." Cal agreed to take Arnold under his wing in a crash course—his tuition would be paying the tabs for the band for five straight nights of insane drunken revelry.

27 Brownleaf 6934 EY - Arnold awoke this morning in the Broken Spear tavern, naked but for a g-string with a note from a mysterious individual named "N." Tomren received a mission from his organization instructing him to travel northward to Harubel to dispose of an individual named the "Father of Worms." Ubah began recruiting individuals for the strike force on the Valley of Chains.

28 Brownleaf 6934 EY - While training with Ubah and Winket, Taegon noticed a loon flying through the air. Knowing this bird to not be native to the jungles, Taegon followed it into the jungle. It led him to a statue that took the form of Tarathiel, his goddess. There, Taegon took his oath of the ancients in the light of his goddess. Meanwhile, Arnold awoke this day in an orphanage where he had apparently stumbled in and eaten all of the children's cookies.

29 Brownleaf 6934 EY - Arnold awoke this day in his own bed, but strapped with leather bindings, naked, and with a foreign object lodged in his nether regions. When produced, it turned out to be a magical rod. This rod of wonder is capable of creating thousands of unique effects, but they occur at random. On its first use, Arnold granted sentience to a chair, which immediately began panicking and screaming in existential crisis. Meanwhile, Zafar called a meeting with Ubah, Taegon and Tomren to discuss their plans for attacking the Valley of Chains. After several plans were discussed, it was beginning to look like there are no easy way to make the strike happen. Taegon resolved to make contact with the Hunter's Take guild members to see who might be interested in joining, and he also planned on contacting the Viridian Wardens in hopes that they might send aid. Ubah meanwhile endeavored to research the Tongo Mountains in the hopes of finding an underground passage into the Valley of Chains.

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Escaping the Valley of Chains
A Flight From the Dark

Taegon began this session in a cell situated across from Manora. Manora seemed terrified—she explained to Taegon that they were in a place beyond their ability, and that they would surely be killed if they attempted to escape. Taegon didn't heed her advice, and instead used his abilities as a mystic elf to teleport out of the cell and assault one of the guards. Using the guard's key stone, he helped Manora to escape as well.

In another cell, Tomren and Arnold were helpless to find a way out. They shared their cell with an unconscious man—none other than Moras Graymoon, the druid from the rival team. A death dog watched them like a sentinel, but when Moras awoke, he used his druidic powers to charm the death dog into doing his bidding. He commanded the death dog to get the keys and used them to help Tomren and Arnold escape.

Ubah found himself isolated in a torture chamber with a thin human man. The human man very briefly tried to get Ubah to submit his will, but Ubah instead resisted or ignored the man's requests. After a couple chill touches, the man left Ubah to stew for a few days. When the man had left, Ubah's manacles came undone and dark whispers urged him to help free another slave. He found a felice woman in an isolation chamber, beaten to unconsciousness and completely naked. This woman was Emanaya, and upon being released and brought to consciousness, she revealed herself to be a powerful warlock who agreed to help Ubah find his friends and escape the compound.

After ducking and dodging through the compound, the three groups coalesced into one. They found the armory where their gear was being kept and re-equipped. Arnold found a new lute here and added it to his repertoire. They crossed the outside yard without being detected and made their way toward the terror wing roost. On the way, they had to fight a group of a half dozen slavers. Because they chose to linger and loot the room, the suspicions of the compound rose enough to raise an alarm.

The group hurried on to the roost where they found the terror wings were remarkably well trained animals that allowed everyone to clamber on board. Moras insisted on staying back to buy the group some time. The rest hijacked terror wings and took off toward Dunezar.

Although the group initially felt as if they had found safety, they quickly learned that they were being pursued by none other than Buzum, the Lord of Chains, as well as a retinue of 30 slavers and two kyton, or chain devils. As Taegon, Tomren and Ubah focused on flying the mounts, Manora and Emanaya launched a barrage of attacks. Eventually, Moras caught up wild shaped as a goose, and commandeered a terror wing of his own.

As the group neared Dunezar, the Jungle Watch trained their ballistae onto the oncoming swarm of terror wings. They shot down Ubah and Taegon's terror wings and a large fight broke out in the city.

After a large amount of confusion and chaos, guard captain Zafar Blackgrace was able to slay the Lord of Chains in single combat. Zafar was furious at the group for leading the slavers in full force to Dunezar. He threatened to imprison them, but ultimately let them go if in exchange they handed over their terror birds that the guardsmen may train them and breed them.

Returning to the Hunter's Take guildhall, the group met with Leodolf Roltermann and collected their reward. They were then led to a secret room within the guildhall where they were introduced to the guild's secret benefactor—a naga named Rhyoulis. Rhyoulis explained the true nature of the Hunter's Take guild: it is a guild of capable warriors who Rhyoulis is training so that one day she might have an army to destroy the opha, that the naga might reclaim the jungles of Molentius for themselves.

The heroes each received their Hunter's Marks and bid farewell to Emanaya and Moras. The session ended there.

 

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The Story So Far
From Campaign's Beginnings to the Current Situation

16 Brownleaf 6934 EY: Our story has inauspicious beginnings. The four heroes of this tale found themselves, for one reason or another, as initiates of the Hunter's Take in Dunezar. This was a guild of monster hunters, assembled seekers of wealth and glory who took contracts to hunt and slay beasts and harvest from their bodies precious materials.

The group consisted of four individuals who were thrown together seemingly at random by the Huntmaster of the Hunter's Take, a dwarf named Leodolf Roltermann. These four were Ubah Memburu, a hylo warrior from the Olvani Islands; Tomren Hawich, a human justicar of the Towers of Ten; Taegon Brighteyes, a curious breed of elf the likes of which the world had never seen from a remote forest village on the continent of Utar, far to the south; and myself, Arnold Freuenberger, a humble dwarven bard from the lowlands of Batal.

Our rival team was led by a dwarf named Alberich Adelhard. He was accompanied by a thragg'ar, Bulxan of Clan Ghorumph; a human ranger named Finbar O'Lochlan; a corvo rogue named Asano Udo; and a human druid named Moras Graymoon. Alberich was quick to despise us and acted like a braggart and fool in general.

We were led by Manora Telgoran, a ranger from the Olvani Islands. Our quarry: an adult male couatl. We spent the first day within Dunezar, taking time to purchase provisions from Jungle Jym's Jungle Jymporium, as well as researching couatls in Dunezar University's library. Ubah chose to train in the Hunter's Take guild hall during this time, and Tomren sought out Manora in the Hunter's Mark Inn in Little Dunezar, where they drank and spoke of the Opha.

We left Dunezar around 11:30 in the morning. After around two hours' travel, we were ambushed by a band of vicious pyfron warriors. Although their poisons made the encounter difficult, we prevailed. We looted several wheels of cheese from these pyfron, traveled for a few more hours, and then camped for the evening.

17 Brownleaf 6934 EY: Travel westward continued. Around noon we were alerted to cries for help. Upon investigating, we discovered a kopa who had been accosted and injured by a half-ogre and orc pair who now stood over the wounded okapifolk and argued about what to do with him. With a precise surprise attack we were able to defeat the low creatures, but Taegon was brought down from a single mighty blow from the half-ogre. After healing our ally and the kopa, Arnold used a spell to comprehend languages to speak to the kopa. We learned that the kopa's name was Banda. Although we healed his broken leg, it was still unstable, and it was clear he would not survive the voyage home. Upon insisting we escort him, Banda eventually relented.

Upon arriving at Kumba, the kopa village, we were immediately accosted by kopa guards. After further discussion via the comprehend languages spell, as well as intervention by Mudo, the chieftan of Kumba, we were allowed to stay in the village for the night. During this time, Arnold learned the kopa trance style of music. The others asked Mudo about couatl, and he spoke about how the “winged serpents” lived further into the jungle, near the “forbidden lands” where the “scaled men” live. He warned against traveling into Opha lands, for surely it would spell our death.

We thanked Mudo and the kopa for their hospitality, but as we had daylight left, we decided to press on. After traveling for another four hours, we camped. During the night, we were surprised by the arrival of Alberich and his gang in our campsite. Alberich was furious, insisting that our contract was his by right, and that he would kill us and claim it for himself. Asano, Bulxan, and Finbar were still with him, although they had claimed to have killed Roy and Moras had ran away. After a brief skirmish, Bulxan and Alberich lay dead. Asano and Finbar surrendered, explaining that they had been strongarmed into helping out of a desperate need for coin. After much debating, we agreed to let them leave.

18 Brownleaf 6934 EY: We entered a rainforest wetland area this day and encountered an old hut late in the afternoon. Upon exploring, we discovered it belonged to a night hag named Lysane, who attacked us immediately. Arnold fell in battle, but Lysane quickly recognized our “unusual auras.” She invited us in, where we healed Arnold's wounds and spoke to the eccentric night hag. Ubah opted to remain outside and interacted with Lysane's pet alligators. Lysane read our fortunes: for Arnold, the Sign of the Fool; for Taegon, the Sign of the Horizon; for Tomren, the Sign of the Darkened Path.

19 Brownleaf 6934 EY: In the morning, we discovered a Sarenulian trader named Seto Zian who had taken a wrong turn and his wagon had ended up lost deep within the jungles of Molentius. After helping him dislodge his wayward caravan, Seto was thankful enough to feed us and offer us a discount on his wares.

In the afternoon of the 19th, we were apprehended by a band of rangers belonging to the Viridian Wardens, a secret sect of jungle elves and humans who guard civilized lands from the Opha threat. After meeting with their chief ranger, Eidarel, and their leader, Asteriel, we told them of our mission to hunt the couatl. Eidarel's son, Kellam, had seen a male couatl rampaging in the area and agreed to take us to find the beast in the morning.

During this evening, Eidarel took Ubah and Manora under his wing to teach them the ways of the ranger.

20 Brownleaf 6934 EY: The following day, Kellam led our group to a nearby cavern behind a waterfall. It was here we confronted the couatl in a long, grueling fight. After much bloodshed, we felled the beast and claimed our prize. Upon searching for the gem egg required by our contract, we discovered a dying female couatl in the back of the cave. There were no apparent injuries or illnesses to the creature. Tomren, who has much knowledge of the arcane arts, examined the creature and determined that it lacked any manner of arcane energies—a strange predicament for such inherently magical creatures. This lack of the Weave in the creature caused it to die, and so we put it out of its misery. Arnold collected its feathers as a remembrance, and Tomren harvested its brain for further study.

When we returned to the Viridian Warden's city of Ti'oakana, the Wardens were impressed with our victory. Asteriel discussed Taegon's origins with him, but sadly had no information to give, but impressed upon him the importance of who a person is, not what a person is. Kellam showed Arnold and Tomren a lookout post where they could see Opha'Seph, the Wailing Ziggurat and home of the opha, on the distant horizon.

21 Brownleaf 6934 EY: We were led to the outskirts of the Darkwald by Eidarel and his company of rangers. From here, we journeyed eastward toward Dunezar once more.

22 Brownleaf 6934 EY: We encountered an abandoned camp that seemed to belong to a group of Hunter's Mark guild members. After searching the area and discovering a palm-sized emerald scale, Manora deduced that these hunters had been the victims of an opha attack. The footprints indicated that one individual had been dragged away alive. We debated for a time searching for this soul, but ultimately decided against it when it was determined that this camp site had been laying in ruins for quite some time.

23 Brownleaf 6934 EY: We had a blessed day of quiet travel without interruption. We continued our march eastward, and home to Dunezar.

24 Brownleaf 6934 EY: What began as another quiet day of travel ended in disaster. Mid-afternoon, we were assaulted by a Brotherhood of Chains raiding party. We were overwhelmed by their brutish beaters, who rendered us unconscious. When we awoke, we were isolated and bound in chains. Taegon was in an individual cell opposite of Manora; Arnold and Tomren were locked in a communal cell with an unconscious druid that we identified as Moras Graymoon, the Hunter's Mark initiate who had disappeared; and Ubah was bound to a stretching rack and being interrogated by a spindly human man.

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