Crystal Assembly

So You're Planning to Taxidermy a God?

From the journal of Arjhan

The battle raged on as Solath’s illusion dragged most of the unfortunate human barbarians into the fissure in the middle of the room – their fault for having a gaping chasm in their fortress. I stepped forward and filled the fissure with lighting, taking a few axe-blows in return. This proved the turning point, as it was largely clean-up after that. However, before the battle was quite finished, Captain Eyeballs – I mean, Solath – noticed a figure on the other side of the room, watching us fight. Jaryn himself, atop a dais, standing beside some sort of firepit..

Jaryn made no move as we wiped out his warriors, bound our wounds, and strode across the room to meet him. He greeted us cordially, offering us all wine which he claimed would heal our injuries. Solath, Garth and I decided that accepting magical drinks from fallen paladins who had turned to serving evil deities of tyranny wasn’t necessarily the best course of action. Of course, Silvio, F’lar, Uthrag and Kuruk thought it was a great idea and guzzled away merrily. Their continued survival amazes me.

Jaryn proved to be morose and fatalistic, rambling on that Pelor was dead, goodness was pointless, there was no justice, and similar gloom and doom. One of the more depressive villains we’ve faced, actually. We eventually grew tired of this and gave him our standard “surrender or die” offer, which he predictably turned down.

The fight with Jaryn was oddly disappointing, since he refused to so much as swing a blade at us; instead, he focused on defense. Still more worrisome was the fact that the shadow he cast was large and misshapen…and there was a firepit between Jaryn and his shadow. Sure enough, as Jaryn fell, the shadow animated into a very large and quite hideous ape-demon…thing. This was Naraash himself, the self-proclaimed god: in reality, merely a demon.

Naraash first offered us the position of his Right Hand, sad position being recently vacated by Jaryn. We gave that offer the answer it deserved, in the form of blasts of fire and cold, axes, hammers, and shuriken. The battle was fierce – even though he was no god, Naraash was tough – but teamwork paid off. Eventually Kuruk went face-to-face with the demon, raining blows on him with his craghammer, and Naraash finally expired.

We cut off his head for a trophy – it’ll look dandy mounted over the fireplace – and quickly looted the place. Treasure in hand, we also discovered a secret escape tunnel in the wall behind the late Jaryn’s dais. Slipping quietly out the back door, we beheld a town in chaos, as the people of the Banite community below dealt with the sudden loss of their god and most of his church. We later learned that, upon Naraash’s death, the red stones in the amulets worn by the Death Squads all crumbled to dust. In the general chaos we were able to sip away fairly easily.

Another job well done.

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We Always Knew Solath Was a Flamer

From the journal of Arjhan

The giant suits of armor proved annoying, but not particularly dangerous. Solath hindered them with grasping shadows, I battered them with dragonfrost, and Garth and Uthrag methodically took them apart. One managed to prevent Kuruk and F’lar from moving for quite a while, much to F’lar’s annoyance. He broke free at the very end of the battle, and was able to destroy the final suit of armor.

Solath noticed a hidden door in the wall in mid battle – I don’t know how he keeps track of everything – so we immediately set about getting through it. This led to a hallway, collapsed at one end, and with a pair of double doors at the other. As the rest of us examined the double doors, Garth wandered off because he saw something shiny. Seriously, that was his explanation. He’d be dead long ago if he weren’t as tough as old boots.

Garth’s prize proved to be five purple amethysts set in the wall, surrounding what appeared to be another secret door. Fortunately for us, F’lar noticed tiny runes inscribed around the gems, and we deduced that they were the trigger for some sort of magical trap. After Silvio carefully triggered the trap from a distance, we collected the gems and tried to open the door, but with no luck. We turned our attention to the double doors and, not wanting to waste time on subtlety, promptly broke them down.

Inside was a stairway leading up, and we heard the sounds of footsteps and hushed movement. At the top of the stairs was a very large room, split in two by a fissure in the rock. Solath lead the attack, using magic to drop a stinkpot sling stone (taken from my midget hillbilly cousins a while ago), which produced the sound of coughing. Solath then lead the attack more literally, rushing up the stairs to engage the enemy. The enemy ended up being several wild-looking human warriors, a couple of hobgoblins, and some skeletons wreathed in flames. One of these firey undead managed to set Solath on fire before the rest of us could come to his aid, but Kuruk was kind enough to throw a mug of beer on him to help douse the blaze. Where he got the beer, I don’t know. I assume it’s a dwarf thing.

The battle continued, and our defense solidified, with Uthrag and Garth getting to the front line and Solath using magic to lure two of the enemy into the rock fissure. A human spellcaster appeared and blasted us all with some sort of hellish power, only to fall under our combined counterattack. At one point, F’lar threw a dagger between Uthrag’s legs and took out a human – it made me wince to see. Uthrag and F’lar are both lucky that little gnome’s such a good shot.

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No Demonic Frenchy For Me, Thanks

From the journal of Arjhan

The tiefling proved an annoying opponent, striking out with his twin short swords and then becoming invisible. Fortunately, our keen-eared wizard Solath noticed footprints appearing amongst the rubble, and we proceeded to blast the hell out of the area. There was a brief uncomfortable moment after the tiefling reappeared when F’lar attacked him and received some sort of “demonic Frenchy” attack that left us all feeling queasy. Fortunately, we managed to take him alive, remembering that Jaryn was said to have a tiefling companion.

The tiefling (after being tied up and persuaded to speak) proved, in fact, to be Dajani, a companion of Jaryn. From him we learned that Jaryn made it to the Pillars of Night, but there our captive’s information became…less useful. He seemed very vague and disoriented, and gave no clear answers. We eventually deduced that Jaryn had sworn himself to Bane and become “the Right Hand of Bane.” Dajani, likewise, seemed to have dedicated himself to the Dark God.

After some consultation between Solath, Kuruk and myself, we came to the conclusion that Dajani’s conversion was natural, not the product of enchantment; as such, magic could not cure him. Since he had willingly surrendered himself to Bane, there was no help for it. Although there was talk of tying him to a stone, or to Uthrag, and dropping him in the river, we ultimately gave him a warrior’s death in honor of the heroic adventurer he had once been. With this grim reminder or our enemies’ power, we continued on.

Glasur the moonboat captain informed us that we had come as far north as the river could take us. He promised to wait for us for a week, and so we struck out overland, heading north. A couple days travel brought is in sight of the infamous Pillars of Night – and a town, built into the mountainside. We estimated about 5oo warriors and twice that many noncombatants; mostly human, but some dwarves and dragonborn as well. We saw no elves or gnomes. The symbol of Bane was displayed prominently.

Since the town itself was not heavily guarded, we covered any obvious holy symbols and such, and simply strolled in. By joining in work gangs, weapons training classes, and the occasional religious sermon, we picked up a fair bit of information as we maneuvered towards the far side of town. In particular, we learned that the talismans with red stones that we had been collecting were carried by the Death Squads…fitting, perhaps, that we had acquired a hefty number. We also confirmed that Jaryn was the Right Hand of Bane, which post he apparently won by decapitating the previous cult leader, Larkazh the hobgoblin. Unnerving.

This seemed too easy, as indeed it was. As we reached the doors of the stronghold, carved into the side of the mountain, a doppleganger on horseback rode up out of nowhere and denounced us. Thinking quickly, we rushed inside and slammed the doors behind us, which activated some sort of triggered magical effect. Although the outer doors sealed firmly, all of the interior doors did as well.

With some effort on F’lar’s part, and some assistance from the rest of us, we managed to get one of the two other doors in the room open. Beyond lay some sort of storage chamber, lined with giant-sized suits of armor. A quick blast of arcane ice toppled one to the floor, lifeless, so we strode in with confidence…at which point the remaining suits of armor animated and attacked us.

Typical.

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At Least It Wasn't a Gay Buggerbear

From the journal of Arjhan

The four dragonborn clad in the tunics of the Hand of Naarash quickly fell prey to Solath’s arcane trickery, which grouped them nicely for my own magical attacks. They were blinded, immobilized, and otherwise inconvenienced, leaving them with little strategy save to lash out blindly with their axes. I can only guess that following such filth as the Naarashites saps the mind and will; these fools barely deserved to be called dragonborn.

They were not alone, however; a pair of bugbears and a spellcasting human soon emerged from the town to support them. They quickly found themselves outmatched, although one bugbear managed to get the upper hand on Silvio for a bit and attempt to choke the life out of him. Uthrag came to the rescue, declaring “I’m going to heal you with my axe, bugbear!” Typical Uthrag logic, although I can’t fault his efficiency.

Having dealt with the Naarash scum, we immediately rescued what humans we could from the burning buildings; several had become trapped inside, but my sorcerous training provides me with a measure of protection against heat, so I was able to free several. The locals were naturally grateful, but their town proved to be a near-total loss. Fortunately, Glasur the moonboat captain offered to transport them back to Adakmi after dropping us off at the agreed-upon location.

The locals offered us what information they could. The Pillars of Night, they said, were about three days travel north. They also spoke of a pair of outlanders who had come through not long before, a human and a tiefling. They did not remember the pair’s names, but their descriptions matched those of Jaryn and his tiefling compatriot. The villagers described these two as being completely mad; apparently they were intent on wreaking vengeance on Larkazh, the leader of the Naarash cult. At least we’re still on the right path, although our chances of retrieving Jaryn are looking dimmer.

Without much ado we continued sailing north (is “sailing” the proper term to use on a boat drawn by giant fish?). Our pace was slower, what with the weight of another several dozen people, and the quarters were becoming a bit cramped. I have only sympathy for these human refugees, but I’ll be glad to get off this Blacksnake.

We eventually put in for the night. The villagers decided to sleep aboard the ship, for safety; we on the other hand decided to camp on shore. Solath made quite a fuss about the exact location, and Silvio and F’lar virtually ringed the camp with small deadfalls, tripwires, and noise-maker traps. I took the opportunity to curl up near the fire.

I was awakened most rudely buy a dagger in my side. It seems a tiefling – crazed-looking fellow – has somehow bypassed all of the traps and entered the camp to stab me in my sleep. To arms!

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Figures a gay dwarf would have a boat named Blacksnake_

From the journal of Arjhan

We cleaned up the shadow hounds quickly; they proved no match for the combined spells of Solath and myself. After the battle it was decided that a shadow-hound pelt would make a nice rug, so with a bit of aid I skinned the least-damaged of the bodies. A nice bit of work if I do say so myself. We also discovered the pelt retained the living hound’s quality of slightly darkening the ambient light. There was some talk of making a shadow-hound-pelt codpiece for F’lar, but it was decided that this would be counterproductive. Just as well, as I certainly wasn’t going to be assisting on that one.

As we were engaged in our taxidermy, Uthrag came wandering by. It seems he had finished his business with the Windrider Tribe and caught back up by unknown means. His explanation was somewhat incoherent – something about the chief’s daughter, who apparently outweighed Uthrag and had a face like a shovel, and being kicked out of the clan.

We continued north, and after several days of sleeping under bushes and eating whatever Uthrag and Silvio could convince us was edible, we came to – of all things – a citadel. There were a number of human corpses hanging from the walls, all wearing the black tunics of the Hand of Naarash. F’lar and Silvio volunteered to sneak in and spy on the townsfolk in order to learn if they were Naarashites or potential allies. Solath offered to “help” F’lar by triggering F’lar’s invisibility power with a whack from Solath’s quarterstaff, but F’lar refused.

After several hours, F’lar returned alone and reported that Silvio had been captured by the townsfolk. There was talk of “recovering our companion over the heaped corpses of our foes,” but ultimately we decided to try diplomacy. Come dawn, we approached the citadel and, after showing our collection of looted talismans and loudly denouncing “those Hand bastards,” we were shown to the constable’s office. There was some talk about “that tiny Hand bastard,” at which F’lar seemed quite twitchy for some odd reason.

The constable proved a reasonable human, although he initially wanted to kill one of us as a “doppleganger test.” After that was smoothed out and Silvio was released unharmed, we learned that the name of the town was Adakmi. The locals claimed that the land to the north was crawling with foes: hobgoblins and bugbears of the Hand, as well as survivors of wrecked communities who turned on their fellows to save their own lives. The Pillars of Night, our goal, lay to the north. Despite the constable’s pessimism, we decided to press on.

This proved difficult, as literally everyone we spoke with insisted that following the road was suicide. We were considering following the river when Kuruk noticed another dwarf eying him. This friendly fellow proved to be Glasur, a moonboat captain who offered to take us north, and seemed greatly interested in Kuruk. I know nothing of the mating rituals of dwarves, but I know interest when I see it. Eventually, despite Kuruk’s obstinacy, Galsur agreed to ferry us north.

The moonboat was drawn by a pair of giant gar chained to the prow – fascinating. We passed several burnt-out villages, but nothing of interest until the fourth day, when we encountered one that was still burning. Hoping to find survivors or information, we disembarked, to discover Hand agents still present. Dragonborn, to be precise. We wasted no time in attacking these vile cowards; their fanaticism will be no match for our skill and courage.

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Hey Garth: I Love You, You Love Me...

From the journal of Arjhan:

The battle with the dopplegangers was tough, but after the initial surprise our defense solidified and we managed to hold our own. Solath’s visions of avarice spell was quite effective, holding several of the false paladins in place and allowing us to maneuver around them.

Eventually, through team effort and a little luck, we managed to kill them all. Upon death they resumed their natural forms, including their clothing and gear: cultist robes and those peculiar talismans, but nothing of any real value. These talismans were also missing their red stones, but Solath, Silvio and F’lar managed to somehow dye some clay red with blood and some sort of mashed berries, and make some serviceable fake stones for the talismans. We decided to wear them and the dopplegangers’ distinctive daggers; perhaps we can convince any Hand of Naarash cultists that we encounter that we are, in fact, the very dopplegangers sent to kill us. Worth a shot, anyway.

Oh, we also found a map. Pretty crude, and it doesn’t have much detail, but it matches the one that human girl gave us in Erstlin. Confirmation is good.

Continuing north, we’ve been catching sight of hobgoblin bands – twenty or thirty at a time. One would be a tough fight unless they’re all rookies, but I have a feeling they’re not. This place is infested with Naarashians…Naarashites? Naarashies?

The others keep pestering me about Bhaar’nei, so I shared a few fragments of the Exiled One’s songs with them From the Mouth of Arjhan the Bard (review last entry called Bhaar’nei the Purple). That shut them up for a while. I do wish Silvio would stop with the threats, though; my singing isn’t that bad.

Then, as we’re walking through a foresty area, F’lar starts flapping his hands and shouting something. Nothing unusual about that, but it turns out he spotted an ambush – one we walked right into. Some sort of black, wolflike creatures; shadow hounds, I think they’re called. A bunch of them, eight or ten, bound out of the trees around us and start making this bloodcurdling howling sound. Very distracting; makes it hard to concentrate or defend yourself adequately.

Anyway, we fan out and start doing what we do best. I see a perfect opportunity to hit a number of shadow hounds with my fire breath, and – oops – hit Garth as well. It’s not like it did any real harm to him; I don’t know why he was so upset. Anyway, I made up for it later when I shouted for him to get out of the way and hit seven hounds with my lightning breath. Good times. I love that big half-orc.

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A pig skull works so much better than a horse skull

As the combat continued, the Brotherhood found that the hobgoblin troops of the Hand were tougher than the normal garden variety. However with, the benefit of in battle first-aid provided by Kuruk and Arjhan, the fight was won by the good guys. As Garth charged out one door to chase down the last remaining hobgoblin archer, Silvio went out the back to drop the remaining bugbear, which was fleeing by horseback. Silvio brought it down when one of the four arrows he fired, took it in the back and the other three brought down the horse he was mounted on. Totally planned that one – Elven efficiency, never waste and arrow….” says Silvio.

After concluding the fight the group revived the unconscious Perren Auldwyl, and though he was somewhat thankful, they had to listen to the man’s opposition to any change brought on by the presence of the group, as he explained the current situation in Erstlin, “The Hand is running weapons north,” Perren says quietly. “Erstlin’s a stop-off point, last town short of the wilds. We give their smugglers free run of the town, the Hand leaves us alone. Unless you’re planning to stick around to take on the group that comes looking for this one, you ain’t done us no favors.” Auldwyl pulls aside the curtain to the bedroom, showing the crates stacked there. He opens one, revealing a brace of black-fletched arrows. Another crate contains longswords, and a third is packed with steel helmets. This group of cultists arrived yesterday to take delivery of the arms and armor. I met you all in an attempt to keep you out of sight, but I guess that did not work so well.”

The group spent some time reviewing the smuggled arms in the crates and barrels hidden in the cottages in town. In addition found that the arms and armor worn and used by the cultists was superior to what they would normally have. It was determined at that time that the smuggled arms should be destroyed after suitable pieces were set aside for disguises. Additionally, the townsfolk should be sent off to the southeast to the refugee camps for there own safety.

As a number of townsfolk had gathered outside, the group chose to have Arjhan address them, as he had done in the past with others assisting him. With the existing goodwill from the recent combat, and first-aid by Kuruk, the group won over the crowd, finding what they had been seeking for some time. At the edge of the crowd, a young woman stepped forward. “Name’s Shandra. Hobgoblins killed my pa when they first came. Said it was a warning. I followed them, meant to take revenge but I couldn’t keep up. But I saw where they went. I can make you a map for finding their Black March.”

There was a period of time where Arjhan considered attacking his comrades, as Uthrag touched upon a sore spot in his racial background by confusing the scale color of his heritage as purple instead of red, and invoking the ultimate dragonkin insult of referencing the ever great Barney wrym.

After that the group harshly convinced the townsfolk to hastily clear out of town with the refugee camps to the southeast as their destination. The group set themselves to burning the arms and armor stores. During this period Uthrag’s crystal ring started flashing and humming alerting him of and incoming message from Crystal. Uthrag soon understood that Crystal was summoning him away for an urgent guild mission, to help maintain peace amongst his adoptive tribe the Windriders, where Chief Nytok was being challenged by the warrior Jarlok, and where Nytok has chosen Uthrag as his champion.

With parting words for Uthrag and the fleeing townsfolk of Erstlin, The Brotherhood set off into the wilds, continuing their northwest path, looking to locate the beginning of this Black March. The lands beyond Erstlin turn to hilled forest, offering better shelter, but increasing the difficulty of travel.

Three days out, as dusk approached, the group stumbled upon an ancient ruin shrouded by stunted spruce—a shrine or temple reduced to a foundation pit and half a dozen pillars among the trees. As the group approached a cry rang out. A crashing of branches precedes a male human with the sun of Pelor on his cloak, blond hair hanging ragged, lurching into the light. As he stumbled toward the group, they saw a prominent scar on his left cheek, and Garth and Silvio believed they heard the name Jaryn as they called for the stranger to identify himself.

At that point F’Lar jumped forward and yelling at the man as he grabbed his cloak, and slapped him across the face saying, “Make since, man! Speak clearly!” – True F’Lar fashion.

At this point the paladin’s mouth widened into a leer, and a short sword whipped out from under his cloak as he buried it in F’Lar’s belly. The group soon found that they fought not one but five, and as one fell they realized that these were not paladins at all, but doppelganger assassins.

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And Now They Have a Pig Bong

The Brotherhood searched the northwestern frontier for 16 days spending the nights in barns and cottages if invited into, and as they found these frontier towns. However, on several occasions they had to sleep in the wilderness. Their questions about Jaryn and his group continued to lead them in the directions they traveled.

As they went, they continued to come up with additional ways to win over the paranoid frontier folk. When the opportunity presented itself they brought some of the game they killed along the way, Kuruk thought to perform simple healing as he could, and he was able to add to the goodwill and benefit Arjhan while he seeked the information for the group.

F’Lar assisted where he could by offering to remove chastity belts from famer’s daughters, and thinking to steal a pig from one town only to donate it to the next. Kuruk had to put the kabosh on that idea. However, they were given a pig in one town, which they did in fact end up donating to the next town.

Solath utilized his skills to exterminate pests in frontier barns and Uthrag located some skunk weed that he shared, as the group demonstrated the pig skull bong, which Arjhan constructed and donated to that town. The next day though was rough on everyone, and they failed to accomplish much of anything including finding another town.

All in all, as the group moved through the frontier, they leveraged the following information from the folks who called this area home. They found that the paladin, Jryrn, and his followers were going after a Hand chieftain named Larkazh— the foulest hobgoblin Hell ever spawned, and that these hobgoblins have been trained well over the years. Where the Hand used to be seen only coming out of the mountains to the northwest, now the well trained soldiers of the Hand can be seen everywhere on the frontier.

As the Brotherhood continued to make their way north and west, they found the last three settlements they passed through had been burned out, human and hobgoblin bodies scattered in the ash. At last just before dusk, they found a settlement still standing. The track met up with a wide stream, with green fields to both sides. As they approached, a lone figure on horseback rode out from the nearest farmhouse. An older human man hailed them, one hand rested on the longsword at his hip. He introduced himself as Perren Auldwyl, and warned of dangerous times ahead, inviting them in from the road.

The group accepted Perren Auldwyl’s hospitality for a place to stay and a bite to eat. However, they found him shaken when F’Lar questioned him about the Hand. He answered by stating, “Not the first time I’ve heard such questions from outsiders, and I’ll tell you straight what I told them—Erstlin don’t need no would-be heroes making trouble. Best you take your questions and head back to your precious cities at first light.”

However, before much more could be gathered from the scared frontiersman, from outside came the sound of hoofbeats through the dark night. Auldwyl sprinted to a window, carefully peering through the shutters. “Fools!” he hissed as he turns back. “You don’t know what you’ve done.”

As the group started to rise, then doors blew open, Perren flew into the wall behind him, and four large bugbears burst onto the scene dressed in the Hands uniforms. The group had come to silence Perren, and additionally there were several hobgoblin soldiers, archers and a war wizard. As the Brotherhood raced met the bugbears and wizard head on, the combat raged around them, and Perren lay unconscious against the wall of his home….

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Where's my Tail Fuck Button Located?

This session began a new mission that would send the Brotherhood back into the war-torn north with winter setting in. The guild was now hired by the Light of the Sun, a group sworn to uphold the oaths of Pelor, and combat a cult of Bane known as the Hand of Naarash. The Brotherhood’s main task would be to track down and find a missing hero of Pelor’s cause, a paladin by the name of Jaryn, who had set out a year ago to take the fight to the cult, and strike deep into its heart. Rumors had his group of five seeking out a great temple to Bane, known as the Pillars of Night, by following the secreted Black March through the Moonsfall Mountains.

The Light of Sun had left word for the Brotherhood to seek them out in a frontier town two days northwest of Edgecomb. The meeting place was to be the Two Moons tavern in Anklin. The group would pick up operational detail in this meeting, and was briefed by Crystal to dress warm as the northern winter rains had already started.

As the Brotherhood arrived on the outskirts of Anklin they could tell from the shanties and tents seen around town, that like Edgecomb, this was a refugee haven. The group not wanting to waste any time went straight in to find the Two Moon tavern to leave word of their arrival. They saw a few differences from Edgecomb right away. Anklin, though larger, had fewer members of an organized town guard, but at least food and drink stocks were still available for purchase.

As there was not any sign of the Light of the Sun at the Two Moons tavern, the decision was made to gather some information from the locals, and check in with the Pelorian Church in town. In doing so, it was found that the predation of the Hand of Naarash had caused this state of refuge. The membership was made up of Goblinoids, humans, and any other converted races of found in the north. The tactics being used had death squads isolating and putting to the sword individual families, unless they converted.

Later in the day, the group looked to return to the tavern to check for information on their meeting. The rain had started that morning and showed no sign of letting up; the track through the center of town has turned to mire. As they approached the common, a shout rang out through the downpour. Sunrods lit the refugee camp where a tent had been pulled down. Seven figures stormed through the adjacent shelters as people scatter before them. A child screamed as a mace was raised.

Seeing this happen, Arjhan roared, causing one of the figures to turn, delivering a threatening glare, warning the Brotherhood not to interfere. Kuruk notice the symbols of Bane painted on their tunics or armor, and Silvio responded with a pair or arrows, which started the combat.

Garth and Uthrag charged in to occupy the cult’s muscle, that were armed with halberds, and Kuruk moved to back them up. One of these guards hung back and blocked for a cult war mage, who made his appearance targeting Silvio and Solath with a blast of lightning and thunder. As Arjhan charged the mages guard, F’Lar moved into a sneak attack position, being benefited by his triggered invisibility.

As the group finished the combat with little problem, they tried to keep one of the cultist alive to question, but found the cult member was in no mood to divulge any information. His life was ended as he spit curses at Arjhan. As the group assisted picking up the refugee camp and aided who they could, the town watch arrived along with another group. The newcomers were well-armed, all in gray cloaks set with the sun of Pelor. When the last of the injured has been taken care of, a tall human woman approached, greeting you deferentially. “Well met,” she said. “And thanks to you for a timely intervention. We have been hard after these cult butchers for three days now. Had you not been here, our arrival would have come too late.” Soon the group realized that these Pelorians were the Light of the Sun strike team which was meant to meet them here, and Emesha, a cleric of Pelor, was its leader.

That evening, in the Two Moons, the group spoke of the operation detail that they would need as the search the frontier for the Jaryn, word of his group, the location of the Pillars of Night, or the location of the secret path, known as the Black March. With a last word of thanks, Emesha and her compatriots took their leave they prepared to escort a group of refugees to larger settlements south and east. The Brotherhoods destination was west and north.

The frontier road was all but empty as the group headed out in the morning. The Brotherhood was to travel north and west seeking word of passage and information on Jaryn. The plan would be to find settlements and search out clues from any frontier inhabitants they could find.

The first day out they found just how difficult the task would be, as finding the settlements would not be easy, and overcoming the fears that the living had of the Cult would be tough, especially being unknown by these paranoid frontier folk.

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I am Going to Hide Behind the Gnome

It was another night that started out right in the middle of combat, and what a combat to be locked in. It was end game at StormCrow Tor, and Agera of the Shadow Face had been awakened from her decade long slumber. As the Brotherhood had found the previous week, she is rather grumpy when she wakes. However, the group had also found a tactic that work quite well. So for the most part they remained surrounding her, attacking from a distance.

Early in the night, Garth finally came to his senses, and snapped out of her mental grips, prior to bringing down one of his compatriots. The first few rounds, saw Garth move back into position to exact some revenge, as he traded out with Uthrag for the up close and personal attacks. This tied her up, as everyone else plinked away from range.

One of the nights highlights came as an invisible F’Lar snuck in and delivered a well timed critical hit. This strike got her attention a little too well as she responded with three strikes of her own, which brought down the fleeing elusive gnome.

Kuruk was at F’Lar’s side in his next action to stabilize the dying gnome. F’Lar was up later that round as he was given a potion which revived him. However, that would not be the only time which F’Lar went down, as a short time later; Agera’s controlling magic had Garth and F’Lar attacking each other, which ended with F’Lar back prone and out.

To everyone’s dismay just as it looked like the group was gaining the edge, Agera called on her dark lord to give her the aid in exchange for the souls of the Brotherhood, and before their very eyes she seemed to heal (+96 hp)….ouch. However, instead of breaking their will, this had the reverse effect. The group just buckled in and hammered away.

In the 16th round of the marathon with Agera, the worn and ragged Brotherhood, had a moral building round, as hit after hit were scored, with the final blow coming as F’Lar moved in for a flanking assault, which put Agera down and out for good. By this time F’Lar had been down twice, Garth was currently down, and the Group had racked up a combined 510+ hp damage against the bitch.

In the aftermath the group recovered, and searched the crypt, gathering all items of any value that remained in the broken tombs. They spent more time studying the Journal recovered from the desk. From this they learned for sure that the Wrathstone, worn around the neck of Agera, was the definite cause of the Stormcrow Companies demise. A paranoid Agera had polished of the other two with the help of the Dark lord, Asmodeus.

With the info they had come for, the group departed Stormcrow Tor for the safety of the guild halls.

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