Geneva Scales of War

First Log Post
Starting in the middle?
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Rescuing the Damsel

Previous Session

Alright folks, I’ll start by posting a synopsis of our last session here.

Having liberated Geoff Graef’s bones from the demon living in the Graef crypt below Graefmotte Keep, the Wayfarers headed back up the long staircase to the surface. When you arrived there, Lord Graef and a group of soldiers awaited them. Swift words were exchanged, culminating with the ghost of Geoff possessing his bones and confronting his father.

The ghost laid its hands on Graef’s head, and the two relived the monents leading up to the death of the son. With such irrefutable evidence at hand, Graef was forced to admit his sin, and in so doing, unravel the curse that hung over the souls in Graefmotte.

The dense fog that roiled in the woods outside the town suddenly rolled into the building, obscuring all around you. A feeling of peace and Tranquility overcame the heroes, and soon Geoff Graef appeared before you. He thanked you for your help, and for freeing the souls of the citizens of Graefmotte. In return for their service, Geoff had been granted the abiltiy to whisk the four of you back home.

You appeared roughly a mile outside of Overlook, back in the real world. After a short hike back to town, you were greeted by cheering citizenry; apparently, the sudden disappearance of the heroes of Overlook had caused some concern among the populace. Included among the citizens was Captain Aerun and Elder Cadrick.

Soon, you discovered that a messenger had been seeking you out for a few days now. Some digging the next morning revealed that the messengers – there had been two, a boy and a young woman – had been captured by the Lost Ones, an organized group of criminals that ran the underworld of Overlook. More investigation reealed that he messengers were in fact Thurann and Jalissa.

Finally, a shakedown of some seedy types led you to the abandoned temple of Pelor (god of the sun and light) in the impoverished Nine Bells quarter of Overlook.

Before entering the Nine Bells, an elf bounty hunter named Gilgathorn – “Thorn to my friends” – warned the party that the messengers were merely bait, and that a 1000 gp bounty had been placed on their heads.

Armed with this knowledge, the Wayfarers formulated a plan of attack and entered the temple. In the center of the temple, beaten and tied to a chair, was Thurann; Jalissa was nowhere to be seen. Then the trap was spurng.

The Lost Ones had indeed brought the full force of their ranks to bear, and a hard fought battle left Odachi nearly dead, but the Lost Ones routed and broken.

Thurann was beaten but not in mortal danger. Jalissa was found in an adjoining room, beaten and worse. The Wayfarers retreated back to the House of Sleep, where they were staying as guests of the Council, to regroup and tend to the wounded messengers.

We will pick up Wednesday, May 19th with the revelation of Jalissa’s message.

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A plea for help

After rescuing Thurann and Jalissa, the Wyafarers departed for Brindol. Jalissa was fairly tight-lipped about the reason for their summons, and only hints that Sertanian was quite insistent on their fast return.

Along the way, the Wayfarers met someone looking for them, but thankfully, this mysterious human wizard was not seeking the bounty on their heads. Instead, he sought the Wayfarers to help him avenge the destruction of his wizarding school. The Wyafarers agreed that they would help Kah Spahr in his quest for vengeance – after a little business gets finished up.

In Brindol, much revelry was had at the Antler and Thistle, the original meeting place of the Wayfarers so long ago. The next morning, the Wyafarers headed to the Hall of Great Valor to meet with Sertanian. There, he explained that the platinum longsword that the Wayfarers had recovered from the hobgoblin hordes had mysteriously begun to speak to him, pleading that Sertanian bring “heroes of Brindol” to it immediately.

And when those heroes approached the longsword, it indeed began to speak.

It claimed to be called Amyria, a spirit trapped within the sword. The spirit’s memory seemd clouded however, for it could not remember anything of itself except that it was somehow awakened when a portal in a secluded temple in the mountains was activated. Now, she yearns to be freed from the sword, compelled by some unknown drive, and she needs to be taken to this Greystone Fortress, where a ritual will free her from the sword.

So on to the Fortress the Wayfarers went, platinum sword in hand. There, they discovered a massive temple carved with statues of Githzerai. The temple was once, long ago, a monastery of the mysterious race of beings. On the stairs, the Wayfarers found themselves ambushed by Drow and their spider beasts. A heated battle ensued, with new friend Kah flexing his magical might.

Soon the last dark elf fell, and the party delved deeper into the temple.

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Thorny problems

As the heroes delve deeper into the somewhat alien temple, they are immediately set upon by more drow, in a bizarre room lined with portals leading to an adjacent room, separated by a thick transparent stone barrier. A massive cave troll, clearly enslaved by the wicked Drow, tried to pound the heroes into submission, even at one point grabbing Orsik nad swinging him like weapon at Odachi. However, after a heated battle, the drow, and the matronly figure commanding them here, fell to the Wayfarers.

After two draining battles, the heroes decided that a night of rest was a best option, to strategize and plan for this new enemy. In the night, however, the bounty hunter Thorn attacked, seeking the price on their heads. Despite the element of surprise and the assistance of four magical beasts, Thorn was quickly overcome, and finally surrendered to the Wayfarers’ superior abilities.

Thorn proved wuite forthcoming about his role in events, and as it turns out, he was simply after th ebounty. Now that he had been beaten, he felt no animosity toward the heroes, nor sought to exact revenge. As it turns out, he was a great source of information about the Greystone Fortress, having gronw up not too far from it.

Armed with better knowledge of the temple proper, the Heroes sent Thorn packing, with naught but a sword to protect him, and a warning to stay away from the party and from Brindol.

In the morning, they returned to the temple, intent upon revealing its secrets.

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The big update

Returning to Overlook revealed a city preparing for war. A few questions here and there revealed that the city was boosting for war a s aprecaution, and that here was no currently credible threat to the city.

In addition, Orsik visited the Stone Anvil – the main temple to Moradini in the city – and found the place manned by a skeleton crew of clergy and falling into a state of disuse (upkeep chores not done, etc.). When asked, the priestess overseeing services confessd that High Ancestor Durkik had ordered that the long-abandoned temple to Moradin in the Divine Knot (the slum quarter of the city) was to be renovated at the same time as the city defenses were beefed up. There were many who questioned the move, but the High Ancestor’s orders were carried out.

Further investigation within the city by Orsik and the rest of the crew revealed that something was wrong in the city, something was not quite . . .proper. Visiting the construction site in the Divine Knot revealed that there had grown some animosity toward Orsik and the Wayfarers. The dwarves set to guard the construction site did not hide their opinions of your paladin friend, with accusations that Orsik’s place was within Overlook, not galavanting around with nondwarves. Just before the situation came to blows, Ancestor Kerros, the second-highest-ranking dwarven priest in the city arrived to escort the heroes of Overlook through the site.

Kerros confessed that Durkik had not been acting himself for some time, and that he too questioned the preparations for war and the reconstruction of the shrine in the Knot. He confessed to Orsik that he could not act against his superior at this time, and that he must be kept out of any investigations. Orsik noted that he agreed and that he would get to the bottom of things.

Meanwhile, Arannis had put out feelers to try and get in touch with Thorn, the half-elf bounty hunter who attacked you outside the githyanki temple. He intended to ask him about this General Zithruun. This brought him into contact with a mysterious goblin, sitting comfortably in the seediest bar in town. Of particular note was the mug of pale green glop steaming away in front of him (more on that later). The Goblin claimed that he knew of Thorn and might be able to get a message to him. Arannis gave him a day to dig up some info and promised to return, seeking answers.

The next day, Arannis returned to the bar to find the goblin perched in exactly the same chair, exactly the same position, with exactly the same mug of glop in front of him, steaming away. The Goblin claimed that he had sent messengers to find Thorn, but that he had information about Zithruun. He claimed that Zithruun was a disgraced githyanki general, tossed from the strange race’s heirarchy due to his fiery temper and seeming instability. Despite his shortcomings, Zithruun has the reputation as a canny and ferocious foe, who won many wars for the githyanki people.

At this poin, Arannis’ curiosity got the better of him. He asked about the mug of glop. He was told that it was an old goblin drink, very good for you, very healthy. “It’s goat-based” said the little goblin, at which Arannis could only reply “huh.” Despite thousands of years of Eladrin instinct screaming at him, Arannis asked to taste it, and another mug was instantly produced. Arannis drank the stuff, and immediately went on an acid that would most likely be felt by his children some day.

Orsik decided to seek out Durkik, to confront him with concerns about his plans for the city. They asked around and finally got the name of Dergan’s XXX brewery, a dwarfy establishment Durkik was known to frequent. They headed there, and sure enough found the High Ancestor sitting at a table in the back of the room, shrouded in a cloak, clearly trying to hide his presence there.

Into the bar came a rather weaselly-looking human (not unheard of but definitely unusual), who went directly to Durkik’s table and sat down. The two began a hushed by energetic conversation.

Shortly thereafter, another human entered the bar and set about totally not following the previous human. Kha (disguised as a dwarf) recognized this person as Veles, a friend of his from wizarding school who had been asked not to return after only one semester.

After a few moments, Durkik silenced the human with a gesture and harsh words, and the human rose, and headed out the door. Durkik rose to leave as well, and Orsik confronted him.

Durkik was surprised to see Orsik, and seemed a bit flustered. He claimed he had business to attend to and asked Orsik to meet him the next morning at the Stone Anvil. With nothing to go on, Orsik reluctantly agreed and let Durkik by.

Meanwhile, Veles had left the bar to follow the human. Kha the followed Veles to see what his mischievous friend was up to. The two schoolmates finally met up outside the shrine to Erathis in the city proper, where the human from the bar had travelled to.

It turns out Veles had been following the human, suspecting that he was involved in the disappearance of the previous priest overseeing this shrine. He had been asked to do this by Lavinya, the priestess who takes care of the run-down shrine in the Divine Knot.

Kha, sensing that the two friends may be seeking the same thing, brough Veles back to the Wayfarers for introductions and intel sharing.

The next morning, Orsik found himself stood up by Durkik at the Stone Anvil. Convinced that something was amiss, the Wayfarers confronted Grovald, the human who had met with Durkik the night before.

Grovald evaded questions at first, but when he felt his position was hopeless, he attempted to flee. He was stopped very quickly, however, and taken into custody by the Wayfarers

With only mildly implied threats to his body, the man freely admitted that he killed the previous caretaker of the Erathis Shrine, and that he was taking orders directly from Durkik. He claimed to have been hired as a mercenary by General Zithruun to help Durkik in Overlook, and thet Durkik gave the order to kill the caretaker for sticking her nose where it didn’t belong. Finally, Grovald admitted that a warehouse in the Blister (forgeworks) district was where he would get his orders from Durkik. The plan was hatched to visit said warehouse in the wee hours of the next morning.

At the warehouse, Mako and Veles attempted to spy into the place through skylights to get the lay of the land. They found several thug-guards one duty, and most shocking, captain Aerun of the city watch. They had to cut their recon short, though, as a few failed stealth checks led to unwanted attention.

The plan was simple. Kha would disguise himself as Grovald, and claim to be awaiting orders from Durkik. Once the guards were distracted, the others would strike. The plan went perfectly, to the point that Aerun believed “Grovald, and allowed him in and was about to close the door behind him. The party struck, and a large battle ensued. Aerun reacted by flyingto the catwalk 20 feet up, much to the amazement of the Wayfarers. In the battle, Arannis confronted Aerun and struck him down with nonlethal blows, intending him for questioning. Howeve,r when the final knock-out blow was dealt, Aerun dropped to the ground dead.

After the fight, investigation revealed that Aerun’s body had been dead for some time – less than a month, but more than 3-4 days. Kha’s arcane training had once spoken of magics that allowed one creature to inhabit or possess another’s body at the expense of the other’s life, which could account for the strange occurances. In addition, Veles had discovered that the warehouse had not done any real business for some weeks. A search of the warehouse revealed an unusual trapdoor hiden in the back of the room. Debate was held as to what to do with the bodies, when somebody began pounding on the main door of the warehouse.

Quickly, Kha took the shape of Aerun and threw on the guard captain’s cloak to answer the door. The rest of the wayfarers got into ambush position. Kha opened the door to reveal a priestess of Avondra and a group of guards; they had come to relieve the current watch group. Kha stalled as best he could, and then unleashed Burning Hands on the tightly packed group. Most of the guards fell, but the Priestessand one particularly nasty guard fought on. However, in the end, the Wayfarers persevered. The priestess was exmained and determined to be another of the strange possessed individuals. Also among the dead were doppelgangers, disguised as common thugs.

With this second wave of enemies defeated, the party decided to investigate the warehouse further and head down the trapdoor. Th estrange locking mechanism was no match for Veles’ skill,and a shaft of hastily hewn stone led down to a 30’ square room.

Atached to the room were a dozen cells, nine of which were filled. Most of the occupants were youngish, royal-looking people, but one contained a very bruised and battered High Ancestor Durkik, who proclaimed “Thank Moradin you’ve come!”

A nasty trap was in evidence in Dirkik’s filthy cell, three tubes pointed at his chest ready to unleash metal spikes if his door was opened. Once again, Veles’ nimble fingers made quick work of the trap,and Durkik was freed.

The other occupants, as it turns out, were all sons and daughters of noble families in nearby neighboring countries and cities. Each of them seemed to be tied to a particular industry; one was the some of an iron mining conglomerate in a place called Diamond Lake, another was the daughter of a shipbuilder in the northern reaches, while another was the son of a bargeman who controlled the grain trade up and down the nearby major river. Veles intimated that the reason he was here was that he had evaded an attempt to kidnap him, and discoverd that he was to be brought here, to Overlook. He guessed that, as he was the son of a large caravan magnate, he was desitened for one of these cells as well.

Durkik spoke of his ordeal, claiming that a creature called General Zithruun had tortured him mercilessly. Zithruun had demanded to know and something called the Mountainroot Temple, and ancient temple built to honor Moradin. It had been abandonned for centuries following an earthquake that was seen as a sign of Moradin;s displeasure with the infighting and pride that was tarnishing his worship. Only a select few knew of its place and its purpose.

It’s purpose was to be an inter-dimensional place of worship to Moradin, so that all who hailed the Mighty Forger from anywhere in the multiverse could go there to pay homage. The place has several magical planar portals, and one portal that connects to the Stone Anvil itself.

Durkik has asked you to pursue Zithruun into the Mountainroot temple, and stop whatever evil he is up to. In addition, he asked Orsik to retrieve an artifact of dwarven legend from the temple, the Incunabulm Primeval. With the coming storm, Durkik feels its place should be here, to bolster the faithful of Moradin.

Durkik says he can take you to the portal to the temple, but he cannot accompany you – it is forbidden by his oath.

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D&D Is Like Math-Believe
I'm doing this in character, you know.

After our little dust up with the Harpies than the gnomey-dwarf guys, Kah thought back to the academy and remembered something about Slystone Dwarfs, nasty little biters native to the Feywilde, known for being cruel, evil, vile, and distantly related to gnomes. Nasty on all counts. Well, gnomes are okay, but that one bugger kept taking my money in that casino on the bay that one time. Ahh, that casino. The tables and the waitresses were loose…

Sorry, Arranis has told me to pay more attention. Like Mr. Broody-pants isn’t paying enough attention for both of us. We question the Slystone, which would be an excellent name for an inter-species troupe of bards, incidentally, who revels that he and the rest of the Feywilders…Feywilderen…Avandra’s Tits, what do you CALL these guys? They were all sent by “Kaleshane, the Stoneskin King.” Now that bastard, I remember hearing about back in school. Ugly mother: Fomorian and cruel, evil, vile. Sense a theme? Which makes sense, what with the feathery harpies and Feywildorian dwarfs. After what can only be described as “a negotiation” (of sorts), our little sly friend tells us he and his bunch came in the front door, and now they can’t get out. Mako sticks his hand back through the portal, only to quickly pull it back in, saying he felt like he was “dissolving.” I’ve seen an ocher jelly at work, being dissolved is NOT high on my to do list. Sly tells us that the book (Libram Moradinneedsbetternamesium or whatever) is though the double door opposite the “main” entrance. Sly’s boss, Heathdra of the Deathly Song (a harpy, I assume) has the book, but she’s torqued Kaleshane off, so she’s in the temple on an unsanctioned little snatch-and-grab. Sophocles, Kaleshane’s new advisor told him NOT to go for the book. This seems like a REALLY good idea, based on what happened next. Turns out, another group’s also after the Libram, and they’re not here to play. They have the “keeper,” of the temple, whoever or whatever that is. As soon as the keeper was grabbed, the portals shut down, and now we’re stuck in this cave. No wines, no ales, and worse, the only women appear to be harpies.

So, what do we do? The logical thing: go after the book. Through the double doors was an immense cavern, in which we immediately see a Slystone and the rest of his family, some catfolk (catgirls, things may be looking up!), and some buggy little guys; quicklings. Naturally, we attack. Well, the rest of the Wayfarers attack. I decide the alter at the top of the cavern looks like the best possible place for a book to be sitting, and I hightail it up the side. As soon as I get there, yeah, the doors at the top of the cavern fly off and a pack of angry trolls and their pet Firebelcher slobbers their way in. In the second before I dive for cover, I hear Arranis, who’s been doing an amazing job keeping Orsic and himself alive, I might add, blame me. And of course, no book. One exhausting scuffle later, we’ve got both groups down to twitching piles of Troll and Fey, but we’ve got no booze, no book, no keeper, no women, and I think that bastard Firebelcher singed my cloak!

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Really? Who leaves armor in pools of stagnant water?

After our encounter in the room of cake that had no cake, we camped for an extended rest in a secure room. Arranis, our fearless leader, was on watch when he overhead some grumbling from the portal chamber. Hethrada (She of the Deathly Song)’s little twiggys were testing the portals and frustrated they could not escape. Arranis woke me up from a wonderful dream about this little half-elven baker girl in Overlook who smelled like cupcakes to report the keeper and the book must still be apart (note to self: that’s good).

And so, we headed back into the Coliseum of Cake; fortunately the fallen Trolls and Fey all remained right where we left them (note to self: that’s also good). A quick peak down the crevasse along the right-hand wall revealed darkness, and not much else. We chose to avoid that way for now, instead, heading through the doors under the stairs. The right-hand door led to a dusty chamber, and Orsik took the lead through the very dwarven temple. Our first path led to three options: door left, door right, hall straight ahead. To the right, a room of broken furniture; Orisk assumed it was the post-party store room. I’ve been to dwarven keggers. I’m not disagreeing. The left room appeared to be a dormitory, with small, individual cells for the dwarf monks. Again, covered in dust; nothing of note. While Orsik and I moved to the second door in the cells, Arranis, Kah, and Mako remained in the hall; that turned out to be a very good idea, as Orsik and I entered a dining room and encountered animated anvils with hammers for arms. Really? If any race needs to diversify their décor motifs, it’s the dwarves. In true dwarven fashion, we were warned to “leave this place,” and then immediately attacked before we could comply. With the help of the three who chose to use the hallway to enter the dining room, we were able to make short work of them, and proceeded into a forge, where Orsik triggered a trap. However, “compelled by Moradin,” he “bravely trudged forward” to a giant anvil, making a nice clear path for me to disarm the traps. For his shocking experience, he got a souvenir anvil charm. Having exhausted this path, we headed up and out through the doors the trolls decided were superfluous when they made their dramatic entrance into the fray.

Through those doors, we followed a long staircase up a corridor to spy a leather-wrapped, thin being talking with something that looked like dragonborn, but was slightly “off.” They turned a corner and disappeared before we were able to confront them, but it’s assumed that’s Zithran. Following the stairs, we entered into what could only be described as dwarven architecture after hitting the Old Thunderbottom’s Dwarven Ale a bit too hard. A huge chamber with a pyramidal stair in the center, a clear (Glass? Enchanted?) floor in a circle around the chamber, which formed the roof of the level below. At the far end were another set of double doors, before which stood a creepy looking statue of Moradin. To the southwest corner, two rooms had roofs, as opposed to the clear glass above most. In the room, apparently searching for something, were five human thugs, two of the not-dragonborn, two large trolls, and one of those small bastard trolls that spits. After making friends with one of the trolls who would not leave me alone, I decided discretion was the better part of valor, and chose to “explore” the chamber directly below me, filled with large statues and item of a spiritual but not economical value. Sitting in a pool of stagnant water, I did locate a shiny and obviously enchanted suit of chainmail. I decided Arranis needed it.

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"My Dicebag Responds to Shake." "So Does Mine, Depending on What Underwear I'm Wearing"

The next stage of our romp through the dungeon began with Orsik thanking Arranis for the hammer cozy. The explorations of the rooms with the crystal tabletop ceiling (formerly, the crystal tabletop floor, until well-planned decision to evade my trolly friend) revealed, the the following order:

A room of pedestals and podiums, with hooks on walls, the remains of old tapestries rotting from them. I’ve been in enough art galleries while trying to win the less-noble affections of a comely noble lass or two, and I’d say this was once such a room.

The next room bore a more grave feel, as alcoves along the walls held ransacked and smashed sarcophagi. One the floor lay one human skeleton, pierced by iron spikes; clearly, not as good at disarming traps as I. Beneath his corroding armor lay a golden crown upon a purple cushion. (Might I say, Arranis looks lovely in his new tiara?)

Room three, a study room of slowly rotting chairs and tables. Next door, in room four, a decaying library with a pile of moldering books recently disturbed. The Incunabulum’s resting place perhaps? Perhaps Dwarves need better places to hide the book that ENDS THE PRIME MATERIAL PLANE THAN UNDER A PILE OF OTHER BOOKS! The last literary room was a dusty scroll room, full of dust that was once scrolls. On a side note, my side quest to discover “The Big Book of Dwarven Erotica” continues to come up nothing, further proving my point that no such tome can exist.

Room six…seriously, who leaves a suit of clearly enchanted armor in a pool of stagnant water?

Finally, as we rounded the final room without a proper ceiling (really, can we get one of these in Lady Penelope’s School For Girls back in Grayhawk?), Mako finds a suit of leathers fit for…well, Mako.

Within the enclosed outbuildings, we discover a battered and tortured Azer, the Keeper, clearly worked over in a way that would intimidate those thugs in the Lost Boys back on Overlook. Chained to an upturned bedframe, implements of torture (and not the fun kind) strewn about, he needed the ministering of Arranis and Orsik just to bring him around. The Keeper reveals that the plot is to use the book to access Overlook for an invasion. Carefully guarding our new found charge, we camped for an extended stay.

From the crystal room, we backtracked using the Azer’s directions to the library. Through the large Birthday Cake Cavern, to the main entrance, and then through a small door that led to a dark passage, into darkness. Is it too much to ask, that once in my career, a passage opens to a meadow of buxom Elvin maidens carrying large vats of baby oil? Sadly, this dark passage only led to small room with a table and no visible exit, but Mako’s keen archer eyes spotted prints in the dust. I was able to pop the door, and though it we entered the “Library,” a rectangle room with raised chambers around it. Three visible Quicklings, a trapped floor, and two harpies later, we realized the room had been ransacked, but Kah found a bandoleer with eight potions still viable. Orsik found a small, warm iron tube and some salve, and we left him alone with them…until it proved the tube was child-proof, and I opened it for him. The wand inside went to Kah, and I found a stylish silken sash. I think it makes me look roguish.

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"My sword is outrageously large!"

Within the temple, our final exploration took us down the crevasse in the cathedral cavern. It was notable that several of the smaller humanoid bodies were dragged away. The dark crevasse itself dropped 20 feet from the collapsed ramp to the right, a path led to the left into darkness. Orsik noted disturbed dust, and Arranis polled the party; left or right. We voted right, and headed down the tunnel—clearly natural, broken and ripped in the wall by whatever cataclysm befell the temple.

The crevasse ceiling opened into a larger, lit chamber, as the crack itself narrowed. The chamber we found ourselves in was columned, with a raised dais at the north. The columns gently glowed, providing the small chapel with enough illumination to see. One column laid across the floor, and Orsik noted the columns themselves were likely to fall if impacted too hard, bringing the cavern down on our heads. Upon the dais was an old dwarven crone, ancient beyond attractiveness, and between us and her, four of the slystone dwarves and three cyclopses: Hethrada and more servants of the stoneskin king. Remarkably, the crone engaged in conversation—and thankfully not flirting—about how to escape the tunnels and who possessed the Incunabulum Primeval, until she revealed it was in her possession. And of course, at that point, the Wayfarers do what they do best: all hell broke loose. (Just once, I’d like these guys to not assume I was trying to sleep with the villain, although later, we found out she could polymorph, so maybe it wouldn’t have been a bad idea.)

Following our battle with Hethrada and her minions, we discover Zithran most likely fled to the Astral Plane, as the final doors in the crystal tabletop room led to its vast expanse. The Keeper granted us the book, and left us with the thought that perhaps he alone should not hold the temple, and perhaps it was time to be reconsecrated and returned to its purpose as a nexus for Moradin-worshippers. (Note to Orsik: career options?)

We returned through the portal to the Stone Anvil, a portal end now guarded by four dwarven soldiers. We are whisked to the council chambers and summoned to their dais, it appears we were the first band of adventurers and first group of non-dwarves elevated to equal footing with the Council of Overlook—a curious honor to be sure. Looking down upon the council, we report our adventures in the temple, and the elders are alarmed. Mako points out to me that the Captain of the Guard is a former ally of the party, one Kalad, formerly of the Sundered Chain monastery. Elder Cadrick, the youngest of the council, is the first to take stock of us and realize, “You look like hell!” We’re finally dismissed, sent to The House of Sleep, and rushed to bathe and spent the night as eventfully as we wanted it.

We are awakened early by pounding on the doors, told to dress and bathe, and as we’re rushed to the council, we smell smoke in the air and the populace on the verge of panic. The council is gathered in a perfectly square room, adorned with maps of the city. We discover that during the night, an army of trolls and ogres has laid siege to Overlook, and have begun burning the surrounding farmland. The city itself is stocked for months of siege, and we inform the council of the portals we know of as “back doors” or potential escape routes. I head to the streets, contact the Lost Ones and some other less savory associates, and whip them into helping; the party stays and plans the defense of Overlook. We end the day on the verge of battle.

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"If you're doing half damage to the Mrs., you're not hitting hard enough!"

The morning before the Battle of Overlook, no siege engines had been spotted outside the city walls, but magic and muscle clearly ruled the surrounding countryside. The hills, fields, and forests (what one old-timer on the guard described as generic Oerth countryside—just like every other environs surrounding every other city in every other kingdom on our world) were being ravage by the coming army. From his perch atop the walls, Arranis estimated their numbers in the thousands.

Arranis began his day early, heading to a contact he had in town. All I could get on this contact was that he enjoyed the occasional “goat-based beverage.” (Really? That sounds too disgusting even for a goblin to drink.) He of the flouncing silvery locks reported back that there was no proof the invasion was the work of Zithran, but logic would dictate such. Arranis also said that his contact had no idea why Overlook would be invaded; it simply seemed illogical, and that his contact was caught off guard by this force. If the contact was unaware, no one knew this was coming, but an invasion force this large must have been in the works for a long time. His Eladrininess also spoke of a bounty hunter whose name I recognize—Thorn, who was playing it cool but acting tough. What little I know of the guy, yeah, that sounds about right. Thorn was approached by someone looking for “heavy hitters” to “stir up trouble;” the exact nature of the job was left vague, but Thorn turned it down as it wasn’t his line of work. Thorn also assumed that if anyone would be behind said offers, it would be Zithran.

Meanwhile, Mako spent the day with his family, as his father-in-law tanned leather goods for the guard and his wife rolled bandages. Mako checked on the archers’ training, mostly dwarven crossbowmen with the occasional longbowman of another race thrown in.

Orsik visited the Wayfarers’ old friend Now-Captain Kalad, and was asked to review the troops. As a “Hero of Overlook” he was a boost to their morale and a model for the coming conflict.

Kah sought out other members of his people, if any had infiltrated the city. He also spoke briefly with Overlook’s scouts, hoping there might be similarities in the invading army and that which leveled our old school.

I spent the evening and early morning debriefing one Sergeant Alison Stormgale, a member of the guard whom I relieved of her duties and insured her personal morale was at its peak. Alison was more than willing to keep me abreast of the guards’ strong and weak positions and shared quite a few of the techniques she had picked up over her training. After Alison reported for duty, I made for the less shiny parts of town, to see what the Lost Boys and other unsavory types were planning and preparing. As to be expected, their judgment of what to protect and what to let go was quite different from Kalad and the Wayfarers, but I may have a clue as to one of the Lost Boys’ chapter houses. Something to look into later? Perhaps Captain Kalad would be interested to the tune of a tiny sum…

As is typical, early-to-mid morning, we are summoned to the Stone Anvil, and, as these things conveniently happen (good thing we never have to sit around and wait) shortly after arriving, a runner bursts in to the War Room to report a group of “men” have arrived at the South Gate seeking Arranis. It turns out 50 Shadar Kai have been sent by an old “friend” of the Wayfarers, one Modra of the Shadowfell. Based on Orsik and Mako’s recounting, “friend” means they didn’t kill him, he didn’t kill them, despite initial efforts on both parties. While the Shadar Kai leader (Hat Rack? I couldn’t have heard that right) and Arranis discussed their arrival, I devoted my attention to one Gloom Shadowdove…I’ll have to look her up again once this mess in Overlook has been cleared. As the dwarves lead the Shadar Kai to quarters, a thought crossed my mind; do these dwarves have any air cavalry: griffon riders, hippogriffs, etc? Looking up, I spotted several winged shapes heading toward the city; blue demons and manticores fly overhead.

The demons dropped some sort of fiery grenade, and we rushed to where the nearest smokepoure above the rooftops of Overlook. The blue demon had set a street afire—Orsik would later recognize it as a berbalang (Do they make rugs? Or was that a juice drink? I can’t keep this stuff straight), which eats flesh and consumes the memories store therein. It can also replicate itself, as we discovered when three copies of the blue bastard appeared in a flash of light. Our battle with the berbalang was watched by citizens of Overlook slowly settling their panic and encircling our melee, despite the fires raging around. We put on a pretty good show; I’d like to think we made them feel a little better about their losses that day. I’d especially like to go back and see what I can do to fill the emptiness in that baker’s daughter I noticed…

Following the berbalang, we make to the wall; it had been breached! Three large trolls and one of those little spitting bastards poured though, while the men and dwarves of the watch were engaged with orcs, it became clear these four have us on the menu. Things were not looking well early on, but fate must have rolled a different die halfway through the battle, because the tide turned in our favor. Also, I broke into a house. It was in order to get a better shot at the spitter. Kalad will understand.

The dwarven engineers were able to reinforce the wall, and while there was no way of knowing how many of the foe poured through the breach, we spent the rest of the day in a mopping-up action, jumping from hot spot to hot spot and taking out small bands of orcs and the like. We rejoined with the Shadar Kai to find they fought well, only four of their number fell that day. Eventually, Elder Durkick caught up with our combined party and forced us to the House of Sleep, collectively, we were too exhausted to even consider objecting. Overlook held that day, due to the noble efforts of its people, its guard, and the Wayfarers of Brindol.

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