Chronicles of Bronze

Gangs

Evening set in on the island, and it found the group of adventurers in the common room of The Halberd. Dimopulous was deep in conversation with Taksony, the lycan that Airest and Thorn had rescued from incarceration. Yosephine, singing, and the still mysterious goliath, Stella, dancing to the tune.

Jiggo, curious as to what the sorcerer and lycan were discussing, ventured over to have a seat. He asked Taksony how long he had been here. Taksony replied that he has been here barely a month, and that he was in the guardian trade. Dimopulous excused himself and Taksony, and the two walked off to the kitchen to be alone again. A moment later the kitchen servants quickly filed out, being shooed out by the sorcerer. Frustrated, Jiggo decided to take a short walk. As he was about the leave, a large shadow suddenly filled the doorway. A half-orc stood on the threshold, refusing to move. Seeing the large bow strung on his back, Thorn readied his weapons. The half-orc tossed him only a cursory glance however.

“Someone wants to meet with you, all of you” he tells the group.

The group exchanged looks and after a short moment’s discussion agreed to follow the half-orc hunter. Their march through the twilight city streets took place in silence. Each of them anxious and ready for ambush by the gangs. From the far distance came an otherworldly barking, and a low thundering growl. Their guide’s eyes darted briefly towards the sound, a look of worry flashed across his face. They came upon a small, unremarkable hovel. A series of knocks from their guide opened the door. Inside was a single empty room. A large trapdoor was in the middle of the floor. As it opened they could see a long winding staircase. As the trapdoor stopped it’s motion, magical torches suddenly sprang to life around the room. Their guide gently gestured towards the stairs and slowly they began to their decent into the stone beneath Malteton.

A collection of voices, and languages drifted up the stairwell as they made their way down. They could hear people conversing in common, orcish, and gnome. Soon they came to the bottom of the stairs and into a large luxurious meeting room. A long, elegant table stretched out before them, with room enough to seat twenty. Two humans, a half-orc, and a gnome fill only a few of the seats. Their hunter-guide slowly made his way down the table, taking a seat next to one of the humans. Both of the humans looked to be brothers, the same dark hair, and clear eyes. Their dress however was very different, the one at the head of the table was dressed as nobility. His shirt and breeches made of a fine cloth, and a large fiery gem set in a necklace hung around his neck. The other seemed to be dressed more simply, but there was no mistaking his bearings. It was that of a man accustomed to battle, a large shield lay against his chair. Jiggo recognized it as being made of white dragon hide. The half-orc sat confidently in his chair, unconcerned with the newcomers. His leather armor was studded in many places with sharks teeth. Next to him sat a young female gnome, her green robes were not studded with teeth, but its patterns resembled that of teeth. Jiggo, Yosophine and Airest take their seats, but it takes some coaxing by their host to get Thorn and Stella to take theirs. Jiggo and Yosophine leaned forward and began to speak, the human raised his hands and gently motioned them for quiet. He would introduce everyone, he said, when everyone had arrived.

Time passed, the group waited anxiously in silence. Except for Jiggo, who decided to partake of the bourbon, becoming somewhat tipsy. He sobered up quickly, however, when they heard the door upstairs open. All eyes turned towards the stairs, and after what seemed an eternity, a female drow descended into the room. Her face lifted in an arrogant manner. She wore a dress that seemed to be magically sewn from bones. She began to speak in undercommon,

(“Why did you switch places? This is not the usual spot”) she said. Then her eyes alighted on the group, they flashed angrily.

“What are THEY doing here?” she demanded. Yosophine and Airest, both able to speak Undercommon replied that they had been summoned, but the drow, ignored them. Her eyes still on the human at the head of the table.

“They may be able to help with some of our problems” he replied.

“They’ve helped enough already” the drow shouted. Yosophine began to stand, indignant, but the human motioned for her to sit back down. The drow’s eyes darted around the table.

“Where is your guardian. They are missing” she said.

“I notice yours is not with you either,” the human replied. Before the drow could answer back, the human removed his necklace, placing the gem on the table. His face hardening in concentration. Airest could feel that a sort of telepathic conversation was taking place. The drow’s voice cut through the air again.

“What is he doing here?” she screamed. A tall, pale human had appeared behind their host. His garb was of a dark leather, and two menacing short swords hung at his side. His face was narrow and angular, ending in a pointed beard. Jiggo demanded to know what was going on. The host explained that there was a conversation going on, and that this crystal simply sped up conversation. That this man, indicating the pale human, was simply a servant. Enraged the drow stormed back up the stairs. After a moment they could hear the door open and slam.

Their host, slightly exasperated, informed them that she was Brenna, the leader of the Bones. He introduced himself as Alaron, the human to his right as Abrecan. The half-orc that had guided them to the meeting point was Krushk and the half-orc wearing the studded leather was Gottfriet, leader of the Teeth, and the small gnome his guardian, Rheda. The group in turn, introduced themselves. Alaron then informed them that the pale man was a ‘servant’, that he had been brought along in case Brenna had brought her guardian, but Alaron had seemingly correctly guessed that his and Brenna’s guardians were probably meeting at that very moment somewhere else.

Jiggo insisted that Alaron get to the point. Alaron agreed. He explained to the group that the gangs were very interested in their ability to come and go in the forest. Jiggo informed him of the boneyard, and Alaron in return informs him that something was forcing the boneyard from his usual haunt. He explained that there are at least two creatures in the forest other than the boneyard and that these two other creatures only make trails through the forest when they wished to attract more victims, making them especially dangerous and nigh impossible to track. He then offered the group a proposition that he would ask after explaining his situation.

The Bones were the tax collectors of the gangs. They worked with the people to collect money as the other gangs made sure that the town was safe from the mysterious creatures that seemed to attack the town at intervals. But the Bones had become too soft handed and this was not good for business. The Bones had a monopoly on all the skill in Malteton, but the arrival of the adventurers and the subsequent first fight with the Bones had upset the balance a little. He mentioned Thorn’s previous dealings with the Teeth and the Bones and offered the group safe passage through the forest. He explained that since the rune hounds were under the control of the skins so he could make it possible. In return, he wanted the adventurers to oust the Bones from their position. Their duties would be split up between the other gangs. Destroyed or simply removed from power, Alaron didn’t care, as long as they were no longer on the island.

Airest asked him how they would treat the people of the town after they the Bones were removed. All Alaron would say was that they would be treated the same as the Skins and others had always treated them. Jiggo requested that they discuss this in private. Alaron acquiesces, and the gang members file out of the room, leaving them alone. They begin to discuss and debate amongst themselves. Airest and Yosephine seemed unsure of Alaron’s intentions for the town. Jiggo is convinced that the gangs simply want to use the party and they should refuse to even go along with their plans. Thorn suddenly speaks up, declaring that he will kill the Bones regardless, but does not like the plan. Jiggo asked why.

“Because they are an enemy” Thorn replied.

“If that is the case, we might as well go along with their plan and gain something” replied the monk. Thorn twisted his face in disgust. “NO, I kill them because they are an enemy….you kill for gain”

The gang leaders filed back into the room, and Jiggo spoke to Alaron. He told him that they acted as a group, but each had their own individual interest. That each might want individual payment in different ways. Airest, disgusted with the drow’s manner (and possibly her race), demanded Brenna’s head as well as other compensation. Yosephine wanted a catalog of the island’s plant and animal life. Thorn informed the human that he will tell him his price to him and only him. Alaron smiled, and informed the gnoll that he will be contacted. Despite Jiggo’s insistence, Alaron refused to give out the location of the Bones center of operations, worried that they might do something rash before the time was right. He dismissed the meeting and told the group that they should speak with Gottfriet and the others before they left. Trying to break the awkwardness of being suddenly thrown into a social situation, Airest turns towards Rheda the gnome.

“May I ask what type of caster you are?” she asks. Rheda informs her that she was raised a cleric, but has studied some wizardry, she politely asks what manner of spell caster Airest was. She tells the gnome she too is a cleric.

“We clerics have to stick together,” the gnome replies with a smile. It fades from her face however, as she turns to notice Thorn standing over her. The seven foot five gnoll towering over her like a mountain. He stared at the gnome without saying a word.

“Does….does he do this often?” she asked Jiggo.

“Yes” Jiggo replied.

Trying to break the awkward moment, their half-orc guide, Kursk, spoke up. He noticed that Thorn carried no bow, and offered to acquire one for the ranger. Thorn accepted, but did not take his eyes off the gnome.

“WHERE….did you learn magic,” he asked of her. She nervously told the gnoll that a wounded hedge mage had turned up near the abbey where she studied to be a cleric, and that during his healing, he had noticed she had a talent for the arcane and had offered to teach her some wizardry if she followed him. Since abbey life was all she had known till that point, she had decided to explore and follow him. This seemed to calm Thorn somewhat.

Meanwhile, Jiggo and Krushk were conversing. Jiggo was curious if the Teeth might be next after the Bones. Overhearing this, Gottfriet snorted with derision. Jiggo insisted that it might happen. The leader of the Teeth, however, was confident that it would never happen. Krushk mentioned to Jiggo that there might be ruins in the forest, inhabited at one time. The location was somewhere to the south east, but he warned the monk that the boneyard frequents that area. After a moment’s thought, he asks Krushk if the boneyard has any sort of weakness. Krushk, informed him that positive energy would kill the horror, but he also warned him that it regained strength with every kill and it would have to be weakened substantially before the positive energies would become lethal. The best bet was to shatter every bone beyond use, so it could not reassemble itself, then strike to kill. Jiggo nodded and thanked him for the information, he then asked if there was a place on the island where he could get a boat. Krushk pointed out the fisherman’s guild towards the dock areas.

Across the room, an increasingly nervous Rheda stood under the glare of Thorn.

“What…magic.” he asks her.

“M-mostly evocation and conjuration” she replied.

Thorn gestured over to Gottfriet. Understanding his unspoken question, Rheda replied that she was with the Teeth because Gottfriet had helped her. She was on a merchant ship when it was attacked by a dragon turtle. Nearby fishermen saw the attack and quickly moved to help. Many of the fishermen were Teeth, Gottfriet among them. At that time he was only a guardian. Thorn looked to the half-orc and then back at Rheda.

“You remind me of someone,” he said.

“A good someone….I hope?” she asked.

The others were saying good evening to the gang leaders. Thorn turned back to the gnome. He stooped low, sniffing at the small cleric, and then stood back up, sneering.

“Not all life…..is good” he said. Thorn turned and made his way out with the others.

Later, at the inn, Thorn, Dimopoulos, and Taksony sat in the common room as the others slept. Thorn told the sorcerer all they had seen and been told at the meeting. Dimopulous seemed especially interested in Alaron’s gem. Thorn told him that some of the group had been somewhat eager to take part in the Alaron’s plan.

“I am not surprised,” Dimopulous replied. “What do YOU think?”

“I am going to kill the Bones one way or another,” Thorn answered.

Branka came and asked the gnoll if he wanted anything. Thorn requested tea. After a bit of silence, Dimopulous asked Thorn if he had any idea how they might disguise Taksony, so that he could move in the open, and help. The gnoll could provide no help other than to suggest maiming his face or changing clothes, pointing out that humans place great emphasis on them. Dimopulous was hesitant to start cutting at the lycan’s face while Taksony rejected the clothes. The three became silent, each seeming to be alone in their thoughts and the night drew on.

View
Swamp

The morning began with Jiggo and Airest deep in discussion about the river Krad. Jiggo wanted to use the morning to scout out the mouth of the river, in hopes of finding a method for moving up the river and just how fast the current was. Airest agreed to go with him. She was keen to practice her alchemy and the estuary near the mouth of the river promised to provide her with some interesting plants. The two set off from the inn and through the town towards the beach.

Thorn, having awoken, gave a rough apology to Kendall for the trouble he had caused the innkeeper. He then sets out about the town, first to inform Dimopulous that they had indeed rescued the half-elf lycan and that he was awaiting questioning in the Halberd. Then he visited Bowden the leatherworker and Bowden used Thorn for a moment to get the measurements for the bracers and greaves that the gnoll had commissioned using the moniho hide. As he began to move through the merchant’s quarter, he spotted one of the stone shapers from the day before. She seemed to be moving through the various shops and stalls. Curious and with nothing else to do with his employer gone, he used his collar to change his fur color to a dark brown and began following the shaper from a distance.

Meanwhile, Airest and Jiggo were making their way through the marsh. As she began to gather a promising specimen, she pointed out that the trees surrounding them required great amounts of water, and that the area must flood regularly. Jiggo stood look out as the cleric gathered herbs. The monk had heard something crashing through the woods in the distance, and was wary of attack. When the cleric’s plant needs were satisfied, he scaled one of the trees to get his bearings, and marked it with his endless chalk for future use. As the monk clumsily made his way out of tree, he spotted something watching them from behind the trees about fifty yards away. The two could not make out what it was, but they saw that the creature was huge. They decided to make a run for it. A great crashing sound rose up behind them as the creature gave chase. Looking behind them they saw what looked like a flood of bones tumbling after them. A huge serpentine creature made up of the skeletal remains of many creatures. Airest recognized the creature as a boneyard and began to run faster.

Their lungs felt as if they were going to explode as they burst from the edge of the forest, the boneyard close behind them. Suddenly, they realized that they were no longer being pursued. Turning around, they saw that the boneyard had stopped just before the edge of the forest. It slithered slowly around the edge in frustration before slowly moving back into the darkness of the forest. They decided to head back to the inn.

Back in town, Thorn continued to follow the shaper. As she was picking through produce, she turned and recognized the gnoll (despite the change in color) from the day before. She made a proposition to the gnoll. The shaper’s guild seemed to be infested with howler wasps. A large insectoid creature with a face like a large fanged baboon and a temper to match. She explained that a tunnel must have collapsed somewhere under the guild, because a hole had opened in the back of the basement and were letting the wasps through. The shapers were apparently under orders to conserve their energy to help keep the town safe from a seemingly imminent attack from some of the various creatures of the forest. This effectively inhibited them from clearing out the pests on their own. She told him that if he and his companions were interested, to come to the guild hall and knock three times.

Thorn made his way back to Paelias’ shop, and asked for some sort of burning concoction from the alchemist. Paelias happily sold the gnoll a very large and obviously dangerous flask of alchemist’s fire, just as Jiggo came upon the store. He relayed the harrowing tale of what he and Airest saw in the swamp to the gnoll, Paelias and Dimopulous. Dimopulous warns them that boneyards are incredibly dangerous creatures, biting hold of their prey and drawing them into the mass of its body, trying to add the victim’s bones to its’ own. He finished by saying that they should be very wary of returning to that part of the island.

As the sorcerer went back to this work, the gnoll led Jiggo towards the inn, refusing to say anything other than they had been offered a job. After picking up Airest, who had managed to produce a nerve poison from her plant specimen, they began to make their way towards the Stone Shaper’s guild hall. After knocking correctly, they were greeted by a young Stone Shaper who made sure the group was there for the bug problem. After being satisfied with their answer, the Shaper led them through the guild. The hall itself was in sharp contrast to the rest of Malteton. The floors were of stone marble. The columns holding up the huge vaulted ceiling were carved out of huge chunks of precious stones. Everything inside the guild seemed to be made of precious stone or metal. With the shaper in the lead, the group made for the basement door. He explained that there must be at least three wasps down there, judging by the damage they had caused so far. Opening the door, the group found themselves atop a set of stairs that turned to the right down to a landing before turning right again to the basement itself.

Thorn moved quietly down the stairs, scouting out the basement. In the back was a large hole in the stone wall. The area around it was strewn with broken barrels, and other various items. The byproduct of the howler wasps’ search for suitable nest materials. Airest followed behind, using her innate cleric abilities, she could sense the presence of evil from the direction of the opening. Thorn and Jiggo began to raise a clamor, clashing their weapons together, and making as much noise as possible to lure the creatures into the open. Airest informed them that it was working, that the presence was moving closer towards them. Thorn began to pull out the alchemist’s fire flask, but was almost knocked over by a howler wasp rocketing out of the tunnel. He barely avoided its’ attack, only to be bitten by a second one close behind. Weapons swinging, and striking out, the party fought back at the aberrations. Thorn cut two of the wasps down, the pheromones of the howler wasps covering him in the process and sending the third into a frenzy before Jiggo could pummel the third to death with his staff.

After the three wasps lay still, the group could hear a tremendous droning, muffled by distance, coming from the back of the cave. They sent the gnoll in to scout out the tunnels, the other two following a safe distance behind. Making his way through the twisting stone tunnels, Thorn could hear the drone become louder and louder until he came upon a steep upward incline in the tunnel. Convinced that the wasp’s nest was right over the top of the incline, he slowly made his way back to the monk and cleric and told them all he heard and saw. Recognizing Jiggo as the most nimble of the group, Thorn handed the flask to the monk. Then he directed the monk to the general direction of the nest.

“Run, throw flask, run back” he said.

After a moment to center himself, Jiggo sprinted up the incline. His footsteps becoming unheard over the loud droning. As he reached the top of the incline, he could see a large chamber, like the interior of a cathedral. In the center of the chamber, was a huge mound, made of animal furs, palm leaves and other detritus. The droning was so loud it seemed to resonate through his skull. He only had half a second to take all this in, because at that moment he flung the alchemist’s fire towards the mound, turned gracefully and began to sprint back down the tunnel. Jiggo was barely below the lip of the incline when there was a thundering whoosh, and a great heat on the back of his neck. The droning suddenly reached a panicked pitch. As he ran back down the length of the tunnel, the gnoll suddenly rose up before him, running in the opposite direction, a pale Airest stumbling along in his wake. Stopping only to curse under his breath, Jiggo turned and sprinted after them.

The howler wasp nest was a towering pyre. The wasps were flying in all direction in confusion and pain, some still alight and burning. Others had managed to extinguish themselves and hovered angrily, making strait for the gnoll. The pheromones still covered Thorn and upon this the wasps descended. Airest sent a prayer to Ehlonna as she uneashed a large burst of sound with her staff, the shock-wave knocking Thorn’s attackers out of the air like dead leaves. The gnoll quickly took a deep drink of healing potion and readied himself for the next attack. Another swarm rose up from behind the burning hive, charred, angry, and larger than the first. They struck Thorn like arrows from the sky, and the gnoll fell to the ground. Before they could descend again for another attack, Airest let out another holy burst of sound, striking the second swarm dead. Airest rushed to aid Thorn, and drew upon her training as a healer to bring the gnoll from the precipice of death. As Airest helped Thorn to his paws, Jiggo treated the gnolls wounds with one of his healing potions. With Thorn still trying to recover from the attack, both Airest and Jiggo thought it best if the monk went and quietly scouted out the other side of the now smoldering nest.

Half way around the nest, he stopped, and motioned for the other two to move up to his position. As Airest and Thorn came around the side of the nest with Jiggo, they saw the source of his caution. Ahead of them was a queen howler wasp. Horribly burned, and shaking with both pain and anger. Six vicious looking drones surrounded her. Refusing to leave their queen. They shuffled from side to side, an agitated living shield. Airest informed the monk and ranger, that the drones would only attack if the queen herself was attacked, and they could leave quietly now if they wished. The other two were not content to leave the job half finished however, and the cleric reluctantly agreed with them. Airest took cover behind Thorn, as Jiggo pulled his sling from his belt. With a quick twirling motion, he sent a small bullet through the air. There was a small crunching sound and one of the rear drones dropped dead. The two in front suddenly flew into the air. Thorn was ready for them and so they missed their strikes against him as they swooped past. Realizing that the gnoll was still covered in pheromones, Jiggo threw his water skein at him, washing it off. His lapse in concentration however cost him, as three of the drones quickly descended on him instead, stinging him. A wasp was knocked out of the air by Thorn as it flew over him. Jiggo’s swinging staff broke one of his attackers, sending it crumpling to the ground. There was a small shriek from behind and they both turn in time to see Airest impaling a third would-be attacker with her spear. A suicidal effort was made by the last drone to bring down the cleric, but it makes it no further than the gnoll before it was cut in two.

A heavy buzz suddenly filled the air as the queen entered the fray. She landed hard atop Airest, plunging her stinger into the cleric. Airest went ridged, falling to the ground with paralysis. The queen scuttled angrily turning her mass towards the fallen cleric, desperate to kill at least one of the assassins, but with a flurry of both ice and fire, the gnoll was upon her. A flare of magical color as the enchanted axes bit into the wasp again and again. The queen shrieked and thrashed about, unable to escape the furious Thorn. There was a spray of ichor, and a sickening pop as some organ ruptured, and the queen lay still.

Then everything was quiet, save for the panting of the three fighters still standing. Jiggo hurried towards Airest’s side. After a moment, he was convinced that she was still alive, but paralyzed. What little learning he had about the healing arts proved to be enough and with a minimum of effort, he managed to relieve the venom’s hold her. Thorn suddenly grabbed her and roaring in delight tossed her playfully the air, terrifying the poor cleric further before setting her back down. He then stood and grinned at all the burned carnage. Both Jiggo and Airest looked on in disbelief at the gnoll’s joy.

Amongst the remains of the hive they found some interesting scrolls and potions that the wasps had collected over the years and used for building the nest. Wrapping these items up and putting them in their packs, they made their way back down the tunnels. They came up through the basement, the three of them. Thorn proudly carrying the corpse of the queen howler wasp. The shaper seemed thoroughly unimpressed by the group’s acts, but an annoyed and thoroughly stressed Airest demanded compensation for the feat all the same. The shaper reluctantly agreed and quickly paid the trio, ushering them out of the guild hall.

Later, as Airest rested back in her room. Jiggo treated himself to a stiff drink with both Paelias and Dimopulous, making a wonderful trade for one of the scrolls he found. Thorn, meanwhile, made his way to Bowden’s shop, with his prize. Bowden sighed as he saw the gnoll enter, already guessing that the gnoll had killed something else. After looking over the corpse, Bowden began to estimate all that he could make with the hide. The ecstatic Thorn requested both a new piece of leather armor, as well as two new blades that could be made from the wasp. Then, after a moment’s thought, he also asked for a helmet as well. In the cleric’s size.

View
Arrest

The adventurers were gathered in the common room in The Halberd when a visibly upset Branka stormed in, dropping a note in front of Airest and quickly leaving. The cleric picked it up and began to read to the others. Kendall had been arrested for trespassing, the note asked for anyone with more information or proof of his innocence to come forward. First time offenders would be issued an official warning, however, Kendall’s offence was not a first. If no one came forward, he would be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

With a feeling of embarrassment, Airest explained her and Thorn’s encounter with the half-orc guards a day or so previous. After finding and inquiring of Branka about Kendall’s situation, they find that the general opinion of the town is that the presiding judge runs a fair court. The trial, she continued, will begin at two o’ clock that day. Determined to help out the eccentric dwarf, the group headed out to take care of business before Kendell’s trial.

They visited Bowden, so that Thorn could see how his armor was coming along. The leatherworker mentioned that people had been very curious as to how the gnoll had come across the creature. Thorn then decided to head towards the clearing where they had first encountered Kendell. The rest, for lack of anything better to do before the trial, decide to follow him. As they walked through the merchant’s streets, they noticed for the first time an oddly elegant, large building tucked away just behind one of the shops.

As they made their way through the woods, Thorn motioned for them to stop. He had seen something out of the corner of his eye. A rune hound was stalking them through the trees. Heedless of the danger, Glamdring charged the beast. It spun and bit down hard on the dwarf’s armor. Thorn quickly charged after him, cutting at the aberration. Glamdring shrugged off the bite and swung, both weapons connecting with the rune hound who screamed once, then twice as one of Thorn’s axes bit into its flank. By now, the rest of the party had joined in, cutting and stabbing at the beast. Yosephine summoned a wolf to help in the attack. The poor creature managed to trip the beast only to in turn become it’s target, killed by a spray of acid. The aberration turned and bit at Thorn, who finally brought the creature down, his frost-rimed axe buried into it’s face.

As the beast fell, it let out a eerie howl. It was immediately answered by a chorus all around them in the woods. Deciding that discretion was the better part of valor, the team decided to make themselves scarce. Running through the trees, they could hear the clumsy crashing of large forms all around them. The town came into sight as they left the trees. Turning to look they could see no fewer than seven rune hounds break from the tree line.

As both predators and prey neared Malteton, the archer towers began to rain arrows on the rune hounds. Humanoid figures also began to race towards them. Tall figures with skin like stone and marble. Suddenly, earthen spikes flew out of the ground, a wall of stone teeth appearing in front of the remaining rune hounds to skidded to a stop in confusion. Their escape was cut off with more spikes appearing behind them. Corralled and in such a tight group, they fell one by one as the archers continued to rain death upon them.

They stood on the beach, watching the death of the rune hounds. It was only after they had caught their breath did they get a good look at the strange humanoids. They were grey-skinned, like rock, and wore strange aprons of different colors. The material was leather in nature but had been embossed to appear as dragon scales. Glamdring walked boldly up to them, the gnoll in tow, and inquired as to who they were.

The grey-skins replied that they had been hired by the city to make foundation and building repairs, as well as assist in the defense against threats to the city. They were stone shapers, humanoids who have a strange affinity with earth and stone. Able to manipulate them with minimal amount of effort.

As the stone shapers left, the group decided to try and visit Kendell, while Thorn headed towards the shop of Dilandee Merrytouch, the gnome. Yosephine, Jiggo, Glamdring, and Airest finally arrive at what looks to be a large armory. Stepping up to the outer door and talking to a guard through the eye-slot, Airest managed to convince one of the guards to let her speak with Kendall, though the visit would be a supervised one. Kendall explained, in his eccentric way, that his case was unusual as the hearing was usually during the trial.

Meanwhile, Thorn questioned Dilandee, inquiring for the reason that the western part of the island is forbidden. Dilandee could offer no new insights, simply stating again that the part of the island that Kendall was charged with going into was simply a mystery to them all. After asking him about black corsairs, Dilandee replied with a tale of a mysterious wreckage that he and a group of others had found once, but disappeared.

The others began to make their way towards the courthouse, somewhat annoyed at the missing gnoll, a somewhat key figure in Kendell’s defense. Thorn had returned to The Halberd, inquiring again about the black corsairs, this time to Branka. He was sidetracked however, when he realized that the inn possesses a basement. Branka explained that the entire town actually sits atop a huge stone block and that the basements for the stores and taverns are often carved into the stone.

By then, the others had arrived at the courthouse, declaring that they had new evidence to present to the court. In a surprising move, the judge accepted Airest’s story, even without the gnoll there to back them up and immediately threw out Kendall’s case.

Thorn meanwhile had run to Paelias’ and Dimopulous’ shop (stopping only to feed a strip of meat to the sorcerer’s pseudo dragon) Calling in a favor for the various services he had rendered the other two, he asked that if he did not return by nightfall, to burn down the customs offices. After sharing a nervous glance, the two of them agreed.

As the rest exited the courthouse a grateful Kendall in tow, the group went off in search of the missing ranger, yet again. However, Thorn had taken a different route to the courthouse and burst in demanding to see the judge. The guard was clearly not about to let anyone by without permission but the judge appeared and conceded to listen to the gnoll. Thorn demanded to know why Kendall had been arrested, to which the judge replied that the primary charge was trespassing and then informed Thorn that Kendall had already been cleared of the charges. Growing more irritated by the moment, Thorn asked why the land was forbidden, only to be informed that it was government land. Cursing and threatening the judge in Gnoll, Thorn stomped out of the courthouse.

Jiggo, having learned of Thorn’s request from Paelias intuited that the gnoll was probably back at the courthouse. After gathering the rest of the gang, Jiggo leads them back to where they had come. They caught the gnoll as he came storming out of the courthouse. Before he could be rebuked for his absence, he immediately declared that they should barricade the inn and be aware of attack there. His encounter with the stone shapers and his suspicions of the gang’s control over the governing of the island had led him to believe that retribution for their trespassing would come.

Back at the inn, despite Branka’s reassurances, the gnoll paces anxiously up and down the common room. They had been approached by Dimopulous and invited to a private meeting that night. As darkness fell upon Malteton, people slowly began to enter The Halberd. Among them were, Crowley, Bowden, Boyd, the half-orc who had repaired Jiggo’s door, and what appeared to be an alchemist who seemed to know Jiggo and glared his direction.

The sorcerer informed them that they are a group of townsfolk, interested in ousting the gangs from control of the town. The gangs it seemed, had become very interested in the party. From killing a large number of the Bones, to venturing far inland and even trying to make deals with the other gangs. The last point being a reference to Thorn. Jiggo angrily demanded to know why Thorn had been attempting to make deals with the gangs behind their backs. The gnoll simply shrugged off the question. Dimopulous went on to explain that the gangs worked together somewhat as one group. Each gang performing certain duties in the town. He, and the rest of his colleagues believed that it will only be a matter of time before the gangs approach the party with an offer, and when that happens, he wanted the adventurers to act as double agents and bring back whatever information they could from that meeting. The adventurers, wary of the proposal, accept. Thorn mentioned that he himself will help, only for a price which he refused to list in front of the others.

Dimopulous also mentioned that the forest is also a hotbed of enigmas. Rune hounds are not native to the island but lately they had a large insurgence of the beasts. There are strange invisible creatures which seem to slowly patrol around the island as if hunting the island in a set pattern for something, attacking the town occasionally when they are close by. Yosephine points out that the forest itself is strange as there is no debris or leaf detritus on the floor; it is sand all the way.

As they talked, Airest noticed for the first time noticed the details of Thorn’s collar. The small metal plates set into it had engravings of some sort of equine creature. She asks him why he had ponies on his collar. Offended the gnoll replied that it is for “his lady”.

The sorcerer then informed them that they have a lead on the gangs. Some time ago a lycan was imprisoned for the crime of being, well, a lycan, despite there being no such law in this port. However, Dimopulous is sure that the creature was almost certainly jailed for refusing a position with one of the gangs. He wanted them to break the lycan out of his hidden jail, and bring him back for questioning.

It was dark as they all made their way through the streets, towards the tavern that Dimopulous had indicated hid the secret entrance for the prison. As a guard patrol made its way up the street, Yosephine called upon her druid training to warp the wooden walls of the tavern, allowing them passage inside. After clumsily knocking a goblin dishwasher out cold, they search for and find the entrance to an underground labyrinth. Traveling through the tunnels, they come upon a carefully concealed door, behind which they find an empty cell. After many nervous moments of stealth, they happen upon the cell of a half-elf. Thorn, who had been following the scent of wild pig through the entire underground prison stopped in front of this cell. Certain they had their man, they asked him if they would come with them. After forcing an indignant Airest to strip to prove she wasn’t hiding a Scales or Skins tattoo, he agreed to let them help him out.

The three of them made their way quietly back to the surface. Only to be greeted not only by the goblin they had rendered unconscious, but several of his guard friends. Thinking quickly, Airest called upon her deity to help her charm the creatures. Enthralled by her dance and song, they didn’t even notice the gnoll and lycan slipping outside into the darkness.

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Furniture

The next morning found the return of Yosephine and Leopoldi from their training session. Airest and Yosephine began to talk over the cat’s training and everything with Paelias’ clasp. They had begun to turn the conversation towards another traveler staying at the inn ( a female goliath) when Thorn slipped out the front door. Curious as to where the gnoll was always off to, the others agreed to try out Leopoldi’s recently honed skills. They sent the serval after the bodyguard to see where he was going. Thorn walked along the streets of Malteton looking them up and down. As he passed Paelias’ shop, he heard the sound of scraping and thumping coming from the upper stories of the building. The store front seemed to be closed. Intrigued he moved around to the back. Hushed, agitated voices could be heard from just outside the back door. As he came around the building he could see Paelias and a short human talking to each other. The human seemed to be apologetic and embarrassed while Paelias seemed incensed. Thorn seemed to be unconcerned when the others began to show up behind him to watch the exchange between the two. It was only then that the alchemist noticed the large party and relieved, he beckoned them over. He explained that this was in fact the sorcerer who had caused them all so much trouble. Paelias had gone to make peace with his nemesis that morning and accept the latter’s offer to share the storefront. However, this was all after the sorcerer had cursed the objects in Paelias’ room into trying to kill him. The sorcerer, Dimopulous, had explained to Paelias how the curse worked, so Paelias was able to produce a simple anti-magic oil that when applied to weapons could effectively ‘kill’ the animated objects. Airest asks them what price they were willing to pay for this service. Dimopulous replied that he can enchant their armor and items at a discount. It was at this point that everyone noticed a wandering ranger who had come in behind them off of the street. He introduced himself as Shaftus and also offered his services to the group for the same reward. After applying the oil to all of their weapons, they begin to make their way up the stairs, Thorn leading and all noticing how quiet the room had gotten. At the top landing, he spotted a large rug laying just across the threshold. The gnoll brought both axes down on top of it, but the rug was too fast. It pulled itself out from under the blow and wrapped itself around him. Hearing the sudden commotion, Glamdring rushed into the room just as all the other furniture began to move forward to attack, signaling complete bedlam to ensue. Glamdring tried to cut the gnoll free but was forced away when the bed began to move towards them, creaking and thumping. He slammed his axe into the rogue mattress as Thorn broke himself free of the rug, and cut it down. Leopoldi dashed past the two of them to bite at a trunk as Shaftus drove an arrow through it. Thorn saw a light out of the corner of his eye and he turned to slice a candle in half that was ready to set Airest on fire. Splinters flew as Glamdring smashed an end table in two and Leopoldi tripped up a bookcase, breaking it. Shaftus shot down another that was bearing down on Leopoldi. A writing desk and chair came from behind a screen on the other side of the room. As Glamdring charged the desk, Airest struck out with her spear at the chair. Stuffing and wood were flying everywhere as they continued the close quarters battle. As they began to clear the objects behind the screened off portion of the room, both Airest and Yosephine began to feel a strange aura coming from the mirror near the wash basin. Airest stood transfixed by the mirror, certain it would grant the party wishes if she only knew the right command word. The others were continuing to attack the dormant furniture when Yosephine, understanding the situation called out to the others to smash the mirror and following through, shattered it with her scimitar. The furniture suddenly became still in the minds of the party and in the silence the group took a moment to rest, all except for Thorn who continued to hack and slash at the inert objects in fury. Leaving the gnoll to it, they made their way down stairs to discuss their fee. Paelias paid them in healing potions and the sorcerer agreed to enchant their items once for free, as the sound of a window shattering, and a large chair smashing to pieces on the street outside reached their ears. Exhausted by the ordeal, the group began to go their different ways. Glamdring headed for the nearest tavern, Yosephine headed for the inn and the ranger Shaftus back into the streets. Airest, however, stayed behind and ensured that their weapons received the proper enchantments. In an effort to calm the gnoll down, both Airest and Thorn decided to go hunting as the evening passed. In following the scent of a deer though, the two accidentally stumbled into the area of the island under guard by the two orcs that Thorn had met previously. The two guards heard the pair and began to move in on Airest’s and Thorn’s hiding spot when the gnoll threw them off the trail by mimicking Kendell’s voice and distracting them. Continuing south, the pair find what looked to be a small town like Malteton, but with a barracks and more concentrated guard towers. There was also what appeared to be black corsairs docked there. Deciding that the mysterious town looked uninviting, they continued to track their quarry. They found it, on a wide sweeping plain as the ground began to rise higher into the mountains. It was head down in the tall grass as Thorn indicated to Airest that this kill was his. Pent up with energy and rage, Thorn burst from cover and began to charge at it. The deer’s head rose up from its meal of small animal at the sound, revealing a scaly hide and rows of sharp teeth which it flashed at the gnoll with a snarl. This failed to deter the gnoll who slammed into the creature as it counter-charged, staggering the deer-like beast. The creature flew into a rage, stabbing out with its antlers; it was futile attack. Thorn’s axes, flashing with enchanted fire and ice, cut into the beast again and again, sending the creature‘s blue blood flying across both of them. Satisfied and his hunting urges fulfilled, Thorn hefted up his trophy and began to head back towards town. After offering it to a slightly shocked Branka for the inn, she suggested taking it to Boyd to be cut into manageable portions. Airest remained behind while the gnoll took his prize to the hunter’s house. While at Boyd’s, the hunter began to tell the gnoll all about the creature he had hunted down. The lizard deer was called a Moniho, meaning ‘lizard teeth’, that the choicest meat is at the shoulder, and other interesting facts. Boyd also mentioned that he will be able to make some bracers and greaves for the gnoll given time. The gnoll thanked him and informed him to take the meat to The Halberd when it was ready. As he began to move through the alleyways away from Boyd’s house, he stopped and thought for a moment. He wiped some of the blue blood off of his armor and after another moment’s thought, painted a crude animal head with it on one of the walls. It glowed bright for a moment before becoming something that looked more permanent. Smiling, the gnoll made his way back to the inn.

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Clasp Part 2

Annoyed and frustrated with the previous day’s events, the adventurers decided to head back to the alchemist’s shop to see if he could tell them anything about the false clasp. Alas, Paelias could tell them nothing more than he already knew. After a small amount of debate, they decided to return to the cave in hopes of finding the mischievous familiar. They made their way through the dark, Thorn leading the way, Airest safe behind the others. The group started to go towards the right-most path, remembering that the troglodyte had mentioned the path was a dead end the day before, after they made it to the end of the path. They then took the left-most path and they happened to find themselves in a large underground chamber. A large chasm divided the room. Along one side was a ledge that could be crossed only with great difficulty, however, bridging the chasm lay a large stalactite. Thorn could hear the sounds of something moving nearby, but could not find the source. He advised the others to proceed with caution across the stone bridge. Jiggo, the monk, volunteered to test the bridge first, to see if it would hold weight. He began to cross to the other side, and it was obvious that the stalactite could hold even the gnoll’s weight. Jiggo was beginning to feel confident, but just as he reached the other side, a slithering sound descended from the ceiling above. With a heavy crash a dark shadow fell atop the monk, throwing the sunrod from his hands. Thorn charged across the gap, followed by Airest. Jiggo struggled against the unseen creature as it writhed on top of him. Axe and spear began to bite into the to wriggling beast as it tried in vain to tear into the prey beneath it. A hatchet bit deep into its’ flank, and a familiar scream cut through the musty air. With almost manic enthusiasm, Thorn began to tear into the aberration, stopping only when the creature no longer moved. With a bit of effort, they extracted the monk from under the carrion crawler and continued with their task. Except for a dire bat who had the misfortune to try and make a meal out of Thorn, the rest of the journey went without incident. By pure accident, they discovered a short cut into a chamber which they had been in before. Airest recognized the small stalagmite the pseudo-dragon had perched on previously, luring them in with the fake clasp. After a moment of searching, Airest discovered the real clasp wedged in the rock behind the stalagmite. Relieved that the real clasp had been found, and eager to collect reward from Paelias, the monk and cleric began to make their way back into the sunlight. Thorn, however, held them back. He could hear the small pseudo-dragon splashing somewhere in the caves. Somewhere close. An incessant curiosity about the creature tugged at him. The gnoll began to mimic the creature’s chirps and squeaks, and in the gloom, the group could hear the creature begin to take notice. Thorn got the monk to follow him across the water towards the familiar, who then took off and flew across the lava and around a bend beyond the sight of the group. Jiggo began to grow annoyed and impatient at Thorn’s stalling. He insisted that they return at once to Paelias’ shop. With great reluctance, Thorn followed them. As they approached the shop, Jiggo and Airest began to debate amongst themselves as to whether they should try to ask for a little more compensation in return for giving Paelias back his clasp. When they asked Thorn, the gnoll replied in a distracted manner that they should simply give it to the poor alchemist. The other two agreed with reluctance. A relived Paelias greeted and congratulated the returning group, and promised them ample reward, once had all his stock in order once more. The group muttered but grudgingly agreed to return soon for their compensation. They had only just turned away from the shop and onto the road when a loud bang came from the shop, accompanied by the sound of swearing. Rushing to the back, Jiggo kicked the rear door open. Before them was an almost comical site. Paelias was waving and swinging his arms in the air, fending off a group of small, red, humanoid creatures. Imps darted here and there through out the shop, attacking Paelias, breaking furniture, and destroying potions. Paelias had placed the clasp on a table, and above it hung a shimmering portal from which another imp flew out of. Scrambling into a panicked action, the trio began to try and stop the invaders. The small demons easily slipped past most of their blows and strikes. It was hard frustrating work, like trying to stab at bumblebees, the imps being almost too small to hit. But gradually, they began to gain the upper hand. It was Jiggo who recognized the clasp as the source of the portal, and turning attention from one of the imps, he began to strike at it with his staff. Airest joined in to help him, accidentally throwing the object high into the air and onto a cabinet . The three crashed into each other in an effort to reach the clasp, but it was the monk who once again reached it and with a final blow, shattered it. To their dismay, the portal still hung in the air, though imps stopped coming through. Paelias quickly explained that the clasp on their plane must be destroyed as well as the one on the other side of the portal. He explained that they must go through the portal and break the clasp on that side before the miniature invasion stopped. They would then be pulled back into their own plane once this was done. Without hesitation, Jiggo, Thorn, and Airest leaped through the portal, and into the imp’s home plane. As they exited the portal, they began to realize that Paelias had left out an important detail in his explanation. He had failed to tell the adventurers that the plane they were traveling to might have a different version of ‘reality.’ The relative sizes in this plane were reversed. The imps towered over the group as they peered out from under the now massive table. The group could tell the clasp sat atop the table but could not risk moving out to strike at the gem. Jiggo and Airest began to discuss the best course of action as an anxious Thorn began to show signs of impatience. Sudden inspiration came to the cleric. She took off her necklace and whispered to it in an unknown language. The air around it shimmered and convulsed, where the necklace had snaked around her arm was now a large, lithe ferret. Airest cooed, and petted the beast, whispering instructions. The small creature seemed to understand, and it leapt from their hiding spot and scurried up the counters. Jars, and bottles fell onto the floor with a loud crash as the ferret began to knock over and break everything it could find. As one the imps turned and scrambled after the beast, knocking the clasp to the ground just out of reach of the party hiding ‘neath the table. Airest took advantage of their distraction and ran out to retrieve the clasp. It was only after it had begun to shatter under the rain of blows the group was delivering to the clasp, that the imps realized that something was amiss. Ignoring the ferret they charged towards the adventurers, but it was too late. With a final hit, the clasp broke and all three of them (ferret in tow) were pulled back into the Prime Material Plane. Exhausted but victorious, the group slowly regained their breath, and began to glare at the alchemist. Aware that one of the party members stood a good four head taller and hundred stones heavier than him, he quickly told the adventurers that he could properly compensate them for their work at that moment. He promised to return one hundred percent yield on any potion ingredients that they brought him, and would they please so graciously accept these very useful healing potions., yes thank you again for all your help, now I must get this place in order. Evening was beginning to settle on the small port city as they left Paelias’ shop. Airest returned to The Halberd, petting and cradling her ferret. Thorn began to make his way through the streets, heading towards the wilds. Curious and a little suspicious as to what the gnoll was up to, Jiggo tried to follow him. Thorn proved to be much better versed in subterfuge than him however, as he easily lost the intrusive human. Frustrated, Jiggo instead decided instead to pay a visit to the sorcerer that had caused them and Paelias so much trouble. Thorn slowly made his way through the alleys and back ways of Malteton. From behind a voiced called to him. Thorn spun around to see an elf in bone colored armor standing atop the roof behind him. The elf told him that he was not pleased with the gnoll making offers to his subordinates, to which the gnoll replied that he didn’t care if the elf liked it or not, his offer still stood. He warned the elf that the Bones could either help him with his search or they could stay out of his way, but he would burn anyone who tried to stop him. A shard of bone suddenly flew through the air, landing at Thorn’s paws, and his world went black. When he came too, it was an hour later, and the elf was gone. Thorn smiled to himself, and heaved a sigh of relief that things had suddenly become much less complicated. Meanwhile, Jiggo had found the sorcerer and was admiring his wares. Not able to learn any information of use, he purchased a stick of everlasting chalk and thanked the sorcerer for his time. As he entered The Halberd an idea came to him. He struck up a conversation with Branka, the innkeeper’s wife and he asked in which room the Thorn was staying. She replied that it was actually the room across from his. Casually the monk made his way upstairs, and after checking to see that the hallway was clear of all but himself, he tried the door across from his. It seemed to be locked, but confident in his own capabilities, and determined to find out more about the enigmatic gnoll, he proceeded to kick down the door. It was a shame that he had not inquired more out of Branka, because she might have told him that Thorn was cleric’s bodyguard. As the door crashed open, an indigent Airest sat up in bed with a scream. Surprised and flustered, Jiggo stammered out that he had mistaken it for his own room. It was then that Branka had charged up the stairs to find out what the commotion was. Both women began to scream and yell at him, as he began to offer apologies and excuses. After a ten minutes of hollering and confusion, Jiggo agreed to repair the door he had broken. Without an ounce of carpentry experience, he began to try to repair the door in vain. After an hour he realized that he could take his door carefully off of the hinges, and place it over the gaping hole in Airest’s and Thorn’s room. He was quite pleased with himself, until Branka pointed out to him that there was now no door on Jiggo’s room. Sulking and more than a little embarrassed, he convinced a local half-orc carpenter to repair the door in return for some of the prime catch from Jiggo’s nets.

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Clasp Part 1

The group awoke that morning to find Yosephine and Leopoldi missing. According to the innkeeper, Branka, they had awoken early in the morning to go off for “training or some such.” Airest sat down at the table next to a few new faces, a troglodyte and a human monk. Natural conversation started and the monk informs the two that he is in search of the great wyrm’s resting spot, in hopes of reaching the giant crystals first to use them for the forces of good, or to destroy them so that evil cannot utilize their powers. The monk also says he has a map of the island that dates back several centuries when the last of the inner island’s villages fell to the environs. The monk, who calls himself Jiggo, informs the interested pair that he will only reveal the map to them if they agree to help him in his quest for the big crystals. During this exchange, Thorn had gone off to Bowden’s shack to pick up the equipment Bowden had made for Thorn and Airest. Thorn then made for Paelias’ Storefront arriving to find it empty and locked. Picking up the Alchemist’s scent, Thorn followed the trail to the inn in which his group normally spent their nights. During his excursion, Paelias had made for the inn and had sat down with the group and asked for help over an ale. As Thorn entered, Paelias motioned for the gnoll to join them as Thorn tossed Airest her boots. According to Paelias, the prior owner of the shop Paelias had taken residence in was a sorcerer that was none too happy to have lost his store to a nut-job like Paelias and had sent his familiar to take away the most important item Paelias possessed. His clasp that he used to keep his robe on to conceal his armor and potions was the item stolen. As he explained the situation to the group, Paelias also let mention that the reason it was so valuable was the fact that the clasp was the key for his innumerable pockets on his armor which held all of his potions, ingredients and supplies. Without the key next to his person, the magic was starting to fail and he had at most a day and a half to last before all the extra dimensions in which his items were carried imploded on themselves. The group agreed under the condition that any potions they had made through Paelias would yield the group the full amount of draughts he would normally make. Paelias agreed and then showed the group a picture of the familiar that had stolen his clasp. Airest recognized the creature as a pseudo-dragon and knew a great deal about the creatures, sharing the information she knew with her comrades. The group then set out to follow the creature, heading to the north side of town and intent on making it to the forest. As they hit the edge of town and stepped onto the sandy beach, they noticed a small reddish-brown dragon perched on top of a grave marker, chirping happily with a shiny object clutched in one of it’s fore claws. Airest, knowing the penchant for shiny objects the creature’s possess, removed a gem from her backpack and threw it halfway between her and the pseudo-dragon. The dragon ignored her, instead chirping as it watched the group. Thorn stepped forward to try and ‘talk’ to the dragon. As he ran forward to get it, the dragon flew off to the treeline and perched on a branch before turning around to watch the group again as it chirped. The gnoll motioned for the troglodyte to move around to the other side of the forest and sneak up on the creature from within the forest. Thorn continued to try and talk at the dragon while the troglodyte continued to edge to the forest edge slowly a few hundred feet away from the dragon. The pseudo-dragon ignored Thorn, choosing instead to chirp as it rocks its head back and forth as it watched the party and the troglodyte moving away from the party towards the treeline. The monk got fed up with the gnoll and told the gnoll to knock off the ceaseless yammering that was clearly not getting through to the dragon. The gnoll ignored the monk and the monk challenged Thorn to a fight. Thorn rolled his eyes at Jiggo as Deus the troglodyte was making it to the forest line. At this point, the pseudo-dragon shook his body lightly, its skin changing color to match the branches and it fluttered off to the north into the trees, chirping as it moved. The group, Jiggo leading, sprinted after the critter. The group made it to a now incredibly familiar pile of corpses and searched around for the little pest. Thorn noticed it fluttering back and forth in front of a cave entrance but kept quiet about it as he watched the rest of the group look around aimlessly for something so obvious. Jiggo started to move around the pile, coincidentally in the same direction the dragon was until the monk chanced to look up and see the dragon. At the moment the dragon knew Jiggo was looking, the pseudo-dragon flew into the cave chirping all the while. Utilizing Deus’ perfect vision in darkness, they sent him to the front of the line and the rest followed as they entered the cave. Deus proceeds into the cave and stops shortly inside the entrance, calling to the others. As the rest of the group comes up behind the troglodyte, the torch illuminates the cave such that the group recognizes it as a series of old lava tubes and the first room they have entered splits into three directions. Deus can see that the right path is just a dead end from where the group stands and Airest can hear the pseudo-dragon’s chirping down the middle path. The group heads down the middle path and Deus finds himself walking past a still brackish pool on the right side of the cave path. The troglodyte eases into the water and dives down to explore, noticing luminescent plants and a fairly large clam. Poking his head back above the water, he lets the group know of the clams and plants. The group discusses briefly and requests that Deus retrieve the clam for the group to examine. Deus dives back in and forces the clam open underwater, exposing a very large pearl. Passing the pearl onto the rest of the group, Deus proceeds down one of the underwater paths. It opens up into another chamber with two more underwater tunnels and two above ground hallways. One of the above ground paths has a reddish glow about it and steam pours out of it. The troglodyte reports this back to the group and the group decides to all go and check it out. Breaking out a sunrod and ditching the torches, they all follow the troglodyte through the water towards the glow. They move down the hallway towards the red glow, coming again upon another brackish pool, this time on their left. Deus jumps in and looks around, quickly locating another clam that he fails to open. Upon request, Thorn jumps in to the water with his sunrod and smashes the clam open, finding two small pearls nestled inside. The group after this point continues towards the red steam. The hallway opens up to a chamber that proves impassable, a flow of lava meeting a deep pool is what was causing the glow and steam and causes the group to head the other way. Swimming straight across the pool to the other above ground hallway they find themselves walking around a sort of canyon with a ledge containing stalagmites and stalactites up above and to their right. Thorn motions the entire group to stop and quiet as he smells rotting meat coming from above them. Motioning the troglodyte to examine the ledge from the group with his superior vision, Deus sees something poking out between some of the stalactites. Thorn attempts to use a butcher’s lure in the sound of an injured bat but instead says the phrase, “I am a bat,” much to the chagrin of the group. The monk at this point hides, Thorn throws the sunrod a few feet down the tunnel and the whole group readies their weapons as the troglodyte finds himself being quashed under the creature that just dislodged itself from the ceiling. Thorn is the first to the aid of the troglodyte, making deep slashes into the side of the beast with his axes as another falls behind him and makes for the cleric. Jiggo reveals himself and tries to hit the one on top of Deus, but doesn’t hit hard enough and gets paralyzed by the creature. The creature on top of the troglodyte turns around and paralyzes the gnoll that hit it so well about the time that Airest is being knocked out by the one she faces. Jiggo manages to recover from the paralysis and stabilize the cleric as Thorn finishes the two off after recovering himself too. The group takes a quick breather as the troglodyte vanishes into the darkness. The group then moves down the path a little more to find the pseudo-dragon perched on a rock at the far end of the chamber, chirping at the group. The group moves towards the little critter and it takes off and flies through a shaft in the ceiling, chittering and chirping happily the whole way, leaving something shiny where it had perched. The group moves in and finds the clasp and also finds that they are unable to touch it directly. Airest puts her boots on her hands and drops it into Thorn’s pack and the group makes for the city. The group espies a vasuthant as they make it to the entrance of the cave and decides to just run for the city knowing how slow the creatures are. Making it to the city, the group makes straight for Paelias’ shop. Upon arrival, Paelias looks at the clasp and immediately declares that “this isn’t my clasp.” The group mildly confused asked how he knew that, to which Paelias replied, “This clasp has a red gem set in the middle, mine had a green gem set in the spot.” Coating his hands in a special ooze-like substance, Paelias took the clasp and looked it over. He explained to the group that it was likely of the sorcerer’s creation and that pressing the gem in the center was how it activated. Paelias also informed them that they should not press the gem as something terrible would happen, though Paelias could not tell what exactly would happen. Carefully placing it back into Thorn’s pack, Paelias also let the group know that he only had till about mid-afternoon the next day before his magick’s expired and he lost all of his goods and equipment in his pouches. The group acknowledged the timeline ahead of them and turned in for the night.

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Medicine

The party awoke to the coughing fits of Airest, the group’s cleric. The doctor who had been summoned by the kind innkeeper told the group that the illness was not life-threatening, but would take many days to totally recover from it unless she was given a special draught of medicine. The doctor had all but one ingredient in stock and told the gnoll bodyguard and the druid what plant was needed to finish the medicine. Both of them recognized the plant he was describing, Green Amaranth he called it, and the doctor circled on their maps where the last known locations of the weed was. Both the gnoll and the druid recognized the farthest area as the spot where they had found Kendall and Thorn recognized the other area as the spot where he and the cleric had fought the corpse eaters. The doctor packed up and went downstairs for breakfast, leaving Yosephine and Thorn to decide their courses of action. Yosephine decided to make for the nearest location that might have the plant, the mound of corpses while Thorn decided to wait with Leopoldi by the cleric’s side. As soon as Yosephine was a few minutes gone, Thorn made his way to the market place with his own personal agenda to attend to. Yosephine made it without incident to the treeline and then stumbled through the forest, barely able to keep her feet from stepping on twigs as she walked. When she entered the clearing where the bodies lay, she noticed a hulking creature standing at the edge of the mound staring at her. She looked the creature over and recognized it as a dire armadillo and knew that it would not attack her unless she gave it reason. Doing her best to not give it one, she edged around the corpse pile to look on the far side of the clearing for the plant. As the armadillo decided to ignore her it started to root around the corpses, turning bodies over looking for something. Yosephine paused in her search to watch the armadillo as it turned over a corpse then pounced a cockroach trying to scuttle away before flipping another corpse and making a feast of a 3 foot long maggot. Slightly disgusted at the apparent feast of the armadillo, Yosephine noticed the entire pile was slightly pulsing with motion and also noticed that the armadillo had just uncovered a bit of metal that looked valuable even from this distance. Being careful to not disturb the hungry armadillo rooting around for treats, the druid carefully leaned over to pick up the object that she found out to be a Heavy Steel Shield of Dwarven craftsmanship. As she slung the treasure over her shoulder, 2 hulking maggots rose out of the mound to confront her, as if to try and deny her the find. Instead of directly confronting these tooth-filled horrors, she got the attention of the armadillo and got it to spot the maggots, at about the same time they reached Yosephine. The first bite got the druid square in the thigh and the paralytic saliva took effect immediately, dropping the druid to the ground. The armadillo at this point had tucked into a ball and slammed into the larger of the two morsels and was proceeding to stomp on it till it stopped moving. Recovering from the paralysis, Yosephine drew her scimitar and started hacking at the maggot facing her, striking many cuts along the creature’s length but needing the aid of the armadillo to bring it down finally. As the armadillo stomped the last time before starting to eat the flattened meals, two shiny objects were kicked up from the corpse pile, a wand of impressive value and a mostly clean suit of splintmail. Collecting these and leaving the armadillo to its meal, she searched for the plant and found it very quickly, harvested it and made for the town again. Reaching the inn and passing the plant to the doctor, she noticed that Thorn was missing and decided to get some tea to pass the time while the cleric came too. Meanwhile, Thorn had made his way to the market place and used the card to find Paeleus, now set up in a front row shop as a gift from the leader of the Skins as Thorn found out. After asking many questions about the inner workings of the underground and the gangs of the city and getting little more than a promise to pass on the message if he got the chance, Thorn asked for a shampoo that would allow him to see magically hidden objects. Upon seeing Thorn’s reaction to the price, Paeleus offered an alternative, bringing one ingredient would cut the cost in half, two to a quarter of the price and bringing all three ingredients would make the item free. Thorn was very interested in that and Paeleus wrote down the ingredients on a piece of parchment for Thorn, gave him a magical pouch that held many different empty phials, and went back to selling his wares. Thorn made for the inn, arriving about the time Yosephine was espying the armadillo and confronted Kendall, asking Kendall about slaves and where to find them in Malteton. Kendall said he had no idea that there were any in the area and then brought up a curiosity that he had stumbled across in his wanderings along the tree line for fruits, that well out of sight of the city, there were guards making sure no one passed too far to the west, though there appeared to be nothing to guard. Thanking Kendall and making sure that Kendall knew not to say anything Thorn hastily made for the tree line and then stalked off to the west in search of these guards. As he approached the upgrade in elevation, he made to change his fur so that he would not be recognized in his natural color elsewhere. As his fur changed to blue and green patterns, a voice emerged from behind him, “That’s a nice trick.” Freezing in place, Thorn slowly turned around to see two orcs in full plate and armed for a war standing over him. After a brief exchange wherein Thorn tried to persuade the orcs into letting him continue on to see what was beyond and then trying to persuade the orcs into passing on his offer to their boss, he was turned back towards the city. On his way back, Thorn decided he may as well attend to the second clearing where they had located Kendall the day before to try and find some Green Amaranth and perchance acquire one of the ingredients for the shampoo. Disregarding safety, Thorn boldly strode into the forest, making it to the clearing without incident and quickly locating the needed plant, albeit, half-eaten as the doctor had warned that it was a favorite of herbivores. Thorn then went back to the purple banana tree he had seen last time and spent a few minutes trying to climb it for a banana. After several botched attempts and the taunting smell of amusement from unseen creatures, Thorn finally made it to the top and retrieved a banana. Upon returning safely to the ground, he grabbed a leaf and wrapped it around the banana after which he sat down, proffering it to the unseen creatures he knew were there. Several minutes went by until he heard a bird cry unlike any other he had ever heard, turning to hear where it came from in hopes of seeing it. Intent on watching for this bird, he didn’t notice the banana disappearing out of his hand till the creature was trying to get what was in his hand. He dropped the rest of the banana on the ground, keeping the peel and what was left of the leaf before hearing the interesting bird again and looking to see if it was nearer. Looking back he saw the banana had disappeared from the ground and Thorn decided he may as well head back to town. As he made his way out of the clearing, he noticed a purple cloud floating towards him, tentacles grasping in his direction. Drawing his axes, Thorn leapt into combat with the creature. A long fight of being dragged into the center of the cloud and being crushed before bursting out and striking at it left Thorn on the brink of collapse by the time the creature fell in a pile of purplish black sludge. Reaching into the pouch Paeleus gave him, he collected a sample of the goop before resting against a tree. Leopoldi emerged from behind an adjacent tree and started to quietly yowl and nudge Thorn, indicating the path back to town. After his respite, Thorn made for the town arriving at the inn to find Airest up and around sitting at the common table drinking tea with Yosephine. They explained that they had sent the cat out looking for Thorn since he had been so late at coming back. He grunted and sat down to fully recover from his battle and without so much as a word on his injuries Yosephine asked about the purple goop on his boot. He shrugged the question off, choosing to reply “Creature,” instead of going into great detail. Airest and Yosephine made for the market street to get her treasures identified by a professional. Entering the street, they both noticed a Dwarven arms-dealer’s shop set across from where they stood. Approaching he gave them his full attention, knowing they had a good chance of possessing coin enough for his wares and likely would have a need for them at some point if not right then. Handing over each item, the Dwarf studied them and quickly informed the pair what the items were as he knew it but was unable to tell what the wand was good for and suggested the “new magic man in town” for the true identification of the wand. Yosephine gifted Airest with the splintmail she had found and they made for the ‘magic man’ after Airest sold her old armor to the nice Dwarf who had helped them. Upon reaching the ‘magic man’s’ storefront, they recognized the face of Paeleus behind the counter and exchanged pleasantries before asking about the wand. Once the wand’s worth and magics were made known to the pair they decided to make for a local tavern for information about the going’s on of the local gangs. The pair did their best to get information out of several tables of patrons but did little more than draw attention to themselves and admit that they had a major part in the gang fight that had erupted a scant few days earlier. In the end, the pair decided to rejoin Thorn empty handed. They set Leopoldi on his scent again to find the sneaky Gnoll. Through this time, Thorn had made his way to the site of the battle with the warlock and the meeting with the Tiefling there in front of Boyd’s house and sat on the edge of the dock staring into the ocean where he had mutilated the body of the warlock after that fight. Getting an idea with a grin, Thorn smashed his axe blades into the dock, splinters flying as he boldly strode through the alleyways, using his abilities to mimic chanting of the warlock they had defeated a few days before, taunting any local gang members to show themselves and confront him. The ruse worked and a pair of Bones and a trio of Teeth rounded corners to meet him. Both sides interrogated him as they eyed the other side while Thorn did his best to get as much information out of both sides, blatantly playing them against each other. When he discovered the groups were too low in rank to know the information he wanted, he quietly set the Teeth to hunt for information pertaining to the slavers and he suggested the Bones take out the two orcs he had met patrolling the bleak shoreline. In exchange, Thorn offered his services to whichever side met his requests. Both parties left in opposite directions and Thorn made his way back to Boyd’s feeling quite proud of himself. Halfway back to the edge of the docks he met up with the rest of the party and they decided it would be a good time to retire back to the inn for the evening meal.

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Kendall

The party and a dwarven fighter resting in the inn were all awoken mid-morning by the female dwarf innkeeper, Branka, who was searching for her husband Kendall. Upon noticing that he wasn’t in the rooms for the paying visitors, she left to go organize breakfast for her tenants of the last night mumbling in concern to herself. The party and the fighter reorganized their thoughts and proceeded downstairs to breakfast. At the community table, the party noticed the fighter feasting on a suckling pig, some in disgust and some with hungry eyes. As Branka came by with the rest of the morning meal, she was asked by Airest what was causing her worry with her husband. Branka replied that while Kendall had a slight habit of wandering off, he was always sure to be home before breakfast needed to be prepared for the guests. He was a little ‘off,’ in her words, but was a good man that made her laugh and had no reason to leave her without warning. After the party agreed to help, she let them know that he occasionally would stop by his ‘cousin’s’ house, the net-mender at the north side of town, and also informed the party that they could help themselves to any coin her husband was carrying, especially because he had been in the safe that morning without permission. She also informed the group that Kendall made a habit of wearing a very peculiar hat, a green tricorn with a blue peacock feather stuck in. As she gathered the dishes from the party and turned away, Leopoldi, the druid’s cat, leapt onto the table and scarfed down a few bites of the fighter’s bacon while he was preoccupied with the back end of the lady dwarf walking away with the dishes. Before a scuffle could erupt between a still-hungry dwarf and a cat half his size, the druid stepped in and calmed the fighter with promises of gold in return for his assistance in finding Kendall. He of course agreed and got his leftovers to-go. The group with the new fighter made for the north side of town and upon arriving at the net-mender’s, recognized it as the shop that Boyd had waited for Airest and Thorn in while the pair recovered his sister-in-law’s body. Upon entering, they all quickly noticed the proprietor of the establishment, deftly working a net over in his hands, making quick work of the holes in the trawling net he held. He introduced himself as Dillandee Merritouch and wondered what such a motley crew would want with him. The party asked about the whereabouts of Kendall and Dee let them know that he had the habit of walking the treeline for fruits, and then sometimes would walk through the market street as the vendors were setting up their stands for the morning crowds. The party asked whether Kendall started his search for fruit by heading east or west along the trees, to which Dee replied, “Whichever way the first bird flutters is.” The party was starting to realize just how ‘off’ Kendall is at this point and decide to make for the treeline in hope of finding his tracks leading to the market to perhaps avoid trekking into the woods. As the party reached the treeline, they noticed that there was only one set of tracks heading to the west with no matching set of tracks coming back across them. The crew followed the tracks for a distance before the tracks stopped and made to the north, straight into the forest. The group formed up a distance behind Thorn and followed the tracks in, weapons at the ready. Minutes later, the group happened upon the hat, sitting perfectly upright in the sand along the path that continued to the north. At this point, Thorn noticed obscured tracks crossing and dancing around Kendall’s tracks. Making doubly sure nothing was around, Thorn passed the hat back down the line to be stored safely and then followed the tracks again to a clearing where he could see Kendall’s body on the ground in the middle. Thorn glanced around and saw nothing, and called the druid’s cat up to his side to see if the cat noticed anything. The cat started to growl quietly as it glanced around looking for something at about the time that Thorn caught a whiff of animal fear on the wind. He glanced at the tracks again and noticed there were several sets of obscured tracks all over the clearing, in many different sizes. Making a gamble, he charged into the clearing banging his axes together and roaring as he made for the body. The smell of fear grew more intense as Kendall rolled over with a grumble, “Whats all that racket?!” Thorn stopped with mild surprise that Kendall was not a corpse and asked what was there. Kendall replied that he was playing with his friends and needed to take a nap because they tired him out. Thorn asked, “Friends?” to which Kendall replied, pointing at several empty spaces where the obscured tracks tended to stop or get even more muddled, calling out different animals and then finally to another empty spot on the north side of the clearing and saying a small child was there. The rest of the group slowly made their way forward as they heard Thorn talking to Kendall and were all pretty sure he was crazy. The fighter and druid could see nothing but dirt, Kendall, Thorn and the cat and were pretty sure he was just making things up. The cleric saw a bunch of goat-raptors standing around the clearing, with a large one standing in the clearing on the north side, all of them were staring at the group. The cleric was pretty sure Kendall was crazy because they weren’t any of the creatures that Kendall had said were there. Kendall reiterated that he was playing with his friends and walked up to the big one he had called a small child and set his hand on the top of its crest, “tussling the child’s hair” as he saw it. Thorn made another gamble on the creature’s intentions and stepped forward with a roar and picked Kendall up by the neck and bared his teeth at Kendall as he roared. A scant second had passed before Thorn found himself with the wind knocked out of him as he lay on the ground reeling from a blow to the gut. Airest had watched the big one standing next to Kendall ram Thorn with his head and then stand again beside Kendall. Thorn quite smartly remained on the ground and started to whimper. Airest let Thorn know that the big one had relaxed a little bit and Thorn sat up with his axes laying in his lap. Kendall, meanwhile was going on about what Thorn thought he was doing and that he had no right to assault him like that while he was in front of a child. Airest told Kendall that his wife had sent them because she was worried about him, and he asked if it had really been that long since he left. After hearing the responses, he called to all of his ‘friends’ and gave them all hugs and promised he would come back and play with them again. The group made for the city again, placing Kendall protectively in the middle of the party. They returned Kendall’s hat back to him at about this point as they made their way to the city. Airest stayed at the rear as the only one who could watch the goat-raptors to make sure they would not try anything funny. As they approached the edge of where Airest could see them, she noticed them all scatter, right before Airest was hit in the side with a stream of black acid from a distance. As she cried out, the party turned to see the assailant and saw a monstrosity, later identified mid-battle as a runehound, coming in for the kill. The party rushed in to battle, most attacks dealing minor damage that was repaired before their eyes. Thorn then got a very lucky strike, greatly wounding the aberration, and the fighter quickly dispatched it with yet another lucky blow, cleaving it into several pieces with one swing of his battle axe. As the party stopped to catch their breath and examine the creature that had just attacked them, Kendall piqued up, “Good job on that one guys, but what will you do about these three?” As the party turned around from their near-death experience, they were faced with 3 fleshrakers, kin to the velociraptor, just smaller and covered with spines on their backs that secreted a poison. The cleric let the party know that these dino’s were oppurtunists whose primary mode of attack is a pounce that would let the fleshraker’s attack with both arms and legs, a bite and their tail, and if that failed to kill their victims, they would retreat to let the poison finish them. The druid set her cat to guard Kendall as the rest of the team made quick work of the 2 fleshrakers nearest them. The cat made a valiant effort to keep Kendall safe, but a fleshraker pounced on Kendall, who managed to stay upright, before being bitten, clawed, raked and smacked. The blows were too much for Kendall who fell to the ground in a heap. The party made very quick work of the last fleshraker, not even giving it a chance to move before it fell under their barrage of attacks. When they reached Kendall, they found him severely injured, but stable, and the cleric used a quick heal spell so he would be able to walk under his own power back to the city with the group. The group made it back to the inn safely and were greeted with many thanks from Branka. Airest asked Kendall for the money he had been carrying to which he was surprised. “My friends got my purse off the belt as we played on our way to their home, they buried it ‘neath my hat, as it were so that I would not lose it while we played tag and so I wouldn’t forget it on my way back home. Clearly I forgot, since you all handed me my hat instead.” The party grumbled and the cleric decided that since there was no immediate reward, that the party would be able to lodge at this inn indefinitely and would be able to get their meals from the inn as well. Branka agreed of course, as she had originally planned to offer them that anyways. Airest cursed her luck as she realized she could have asked for more, though she couldn’t think of anything at that instant. The party made for their respective rooms to rest up after the long day of trekking through the forest, despite it still being only midday.

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The Alchemist

Airest and Thorn awoke that morning and set out to explore more of the town, Airest making for Bowden’s, the Hunter, house while Thorn set his sights on exploring the city’s warehouses and custom’s quarters. During their explorations, a druid fresh in port was wandering down the market street and chanced upon an elderly man beset by three thugs demanding money that his daughter had owed. The druid wasted no time in aiding the old man and dispatching the miscreants. Several other thugs from the same gang, known as the Bones, that were passing down the street came to join the fray as well, the druid deftly dodging and blocking all hits and punches aimed at her and knocked them all down as well. After talking with Boyd and Bowden for a short while, Airest provided the type of gear she preferred Bowden to make from the corpse eater’s corpses and then she set out for the marketplace to restock on supplies. Upon arriving at the marketplace, Airest noticed a group of onlookers watching a fight. Forcing her way to the front she witnessed a druid and her familiar take down another thug. Examining the various thugs sprawled and bleeding on the ground and the crowds joyous cheering at their defeats, Airest nodded her approval which drew the druid to invite Airest to join her in the fight. Airest obliged and faced off against several more enemies as the Bones flocked to the scene. Meanwhile at the warehouses, Thorn was searching for illicit or hidden incoming and outgoing crates and other suspicious occurrences. Slowly working his way from the east side of the city to the west, he noticed several gang marks on many of the dock workers, picking out bones on upper arms, shark teeth around necks and tattoos resembling dragon scales in viewable places. A bone-bearing individual ran passed Thorn and hurriedly explained to another bone-person that a fight was brewing in the market street and to get everyone together for it. The two parted ways, the first heading to the east to find more bone-wearers as the second dropped his task and ran for the street. Thorn also noticed down an alley some teeth-toters and scaled skins talking quietly and then running through the back alleys to the market street. Thorn ignored this and enjoyed the quickly emptying area as he made it to the custom’s area where he stumbled upon a merchant vehemently arguing with the customs’ officer for a prime location to set up shop as opposed to his allotted lot. The merchant, failing his intimidate and bluffs, stomped off as the customs’ officer held his ground, and made for the market street. Thorn decided to follow the robed merchant discreetly. The cleric-druid pair were enjoying dispatching the thugs until a hail of crossbow bolts from an unseen attacker started to rain down on the two. Finally seeing the assailant after several attempts, the druid sent her cat forward to attack the crossbowman atop the roof as the druid slung rocks at him. About this time, the merchant made it to the street and saw the fray as Thorn attempted to approach him. As Thorn drew close, the merchant threw wide his robe and dashed for the opening in the crowd, knocking back a silver vial before jumping over the onlookers to land at the feet of the druid and cleric, drawing a crossbow from his side as he spun towards the rooftop attacker and loosing a bolt. Thorn thundered behind him but was stopped halfway through the crowd where he roared like a hungry lion and scattered the final onlookers who hadn’t had the sense to retreat while two parties were exchanging ranged fire. As the crowd disintegrated, four more bones rushed forward. The bolt fired from the merchant hit the crossbowman square in the side and erupted into a black splash of acid, making quick work of his internal organs as the cat finished him off. The druid and cleric teamed up on the left two bones as the merchant took the far right bone while Thorn decimated the last one without him taking more than a few steps forward. As the last bone fell for the group, they checked their surroundings and saw the entire street had lit up in a full out brawl. With no more current enemies present, the elderly man stood up from behind his crate and quickly motioned for the four to follow him to safety before more showed up. The old man led them to a house home to a familiar face, that of Boyd, the fisherman who had contracted Thorn and Airest to help find his brother’s dead wife’s corpse. They found out that the woman whose corpse they had recovered was the one who “owed” money to the Bones, and that the old man was her father. The old man, Crowley, explained the gang system in place in the city of Malteton, that the “bones” held the residential and market areas, the “teeth” held the fishing quarter, the “scales” had the customs area, and the three groups had separate interests in the warehouse district. Crowley also told them of a fourth gang called the “skins” that bore a pulsing tattoo of demonic skin hidden on their person and that the gang represented a sort of assassin’s guild and possibly the group backing the other three gangs. As he finished explaining this, the group focused on the merchant, asking questions of him. They discovered he was called Paelias the Alchemist and he was trying to get a booth to sell his shampoos. He had been rejected because the customs’ officer didn’t believe his shampoos could do everything Paelias claimed they could. Paelias has shampoos that all alter Charisma and another stat or skill based on needs. He had helped the group to establish that his shampoos were not a bunch of crock and had merit and that he had actually left a construct in the middle of the fight shouting that Paelias the Alchemist helped the innocent in the fight with his potions and shampoos as a sort of advertising agent. As the questions trickled to a stop, both Paelias and Thorn sensed something coming and spun around to the doorway where a hooded figure stopped and stared in. The horns were very prominent despite the hood and all could see the tail lashing back and forth. The druid voiced the question on everyone’s mind, “Who is he?” to which the figure laughed in a very feminine manner and vanished into a cloud of miasma. Thorn and Paelias rushed outside ready for battle only to find nothing. Paelias noticed something at the side of the house and realized it was a fresh corpse and called for the cleric knowing it wasn’t quite dead. They intimidated Boyd into letting them use a cot while the cleric worked on healing the charred body. As Airest healed him they noticed he had a tattoo that eerily resembled the demon skin Crowley had told them of. The near-dead man came too and they started to ask him questions. He told them to leave him alone and cursed that they had saved him from death. When further pressed for questions he told them he would say nothing, but in doing so he let slip that the tiefling had betrayed him. Thorn tied him up and dragged him outside, where once passed the door he wriggled free of his bondage and stood up with dark fire wreathing his hands. The group all drew their weapons and aimed to subdue the burnt man for more answers. As the group swung and fought, they didn’t notice that the once-corpse had edged to the very edge of the docks and was fighting them close to the waterside. The dark fire had moved all the way up his arms as he readied himself for another round with the adventurers as Thorn moved in for a final strike. As Thorn swung expecting him to dodge or block with anything, the man dropped his guard and took the hit in full, knocking him off the edge into the water, a whisper of “thanks” leaving his lips as his breath left him. Thorn dove in for the corpse to re-revive him but it was too heavy to bring it back to the surface or even within reach of the rope Airest threw that was floating at the top of the water. In a rage, Thorn mutilated the corpse underwater, separating it into several pieces before crawling back out onto the dock to dry off. As the group tried to make sense of what just happened and Thorn tried to regain control over himself, they all heard the sultry laugh of the tiefling they had just met briefly a few hours earlier. Turning to look, they noticed she was perched on top of Boyd’s roof watching with a bemused look on her face. “I knew he wouldn’t say anything,” she laughed as the group tried to get her to talk to them. She just laughed again and vanished into the same miasmic cloud she had left in last time. Paelias explained that his construct was about to expire and he needed to go continue the advertising and then parted ways with the trio. They then set out for the nearest inn to rest up for the next day.

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The Beginning

The adventurer Airest Silverfire and her Gnoll bodyguard Thorn have arrived in the port capital of Malteton. After finding a local tavern and ordering up some ale and food they are approached by a man smelling of fish (Boyd). He asks them if they are adventurers based on the appearance of a half-elf nymph dining with a gnoll. After their response, he asks them to help his ill brother (Bowden) recover the remains of his recently deceased wife. Upon agreement, he takes the pair to the shack owned by his brother where they find him stretched out on a cot. He fell ill when his wife had died and had just started to recover when he learned that creatures had dug her up and dragged her corpse off, the stress causing a relapse into his illness. He and his brother offered small coin and their assistance in professions, fishing and hunting, if the pair could recover the corpse so it could return to rest. The gnoll asked for a large rotten fish of the fishing brother whom rushed off to find one in the fishing wharfs. The fisherman returned with a 4 foot shark that had been caught 2 days prior and was set to be used as bait in crab and lobster cages. The gnoll picked it up and the pair followed the fisherman to the north side of town where the graveyard sat. The gnoll dropped the fish into the plot that had been the resting spot of the fisherman’s sister-in-law. The pair then hid along the building line and waited for nightfall. At sunset, the pair could see a group of three carcass eaters patrolling the tree line as they waited for the sun to completely disappear. After a short wait, the creatures slowly made their way to the graveyard and started fighting over rights to the shark. When a winner was declared, they started dragging the fish back to the treeline and the pair started to quietly follow them. One of the carcass eaters in the back heard the half-elf and the gnoll used a ghost sound to make the half-elf sound like a dying rabbit so as to entice the carcass eater. As it charged toward the pair it spotted the gnoll and howled for the other vanguard eater to join a fight for an injured rabbit. As the gnoll and eaters closed, the half-elf sprang into action. Several rounds later, the pair found themselves slowly creeping along the dragline in the sand following where the fish was headed. The gnoll slowly crept ahead while the half-elf hung around the treeline. The gnoll heard plenty and eventually got the attention of the eater that had dragged the fish to the lair and the gnoll ambushed the eater as it ran passed the gnoll. The gnoll signaled the half-elf to join the battle and they both tore through this third eater. On its death, it signaled a fourth, the alpha, who charged through the brush and was promptly dispatched by the pair. As it died, it howled a horrible howl and all creatures within earshot ran in fear. The pair followed the tracks of the alpha back to its lair and found the fish and the wife’s corpse in a pile of bones. They carried the corpse and dragged the alpha and other eater out of the woods, depositing the eater by the other two and dragging the alpha with the corpse back into town. They were greeted by the fisherman who had been waiting just inside the building line and were given a handcart to go collect the other eaters to take to the hunter in hopes he would be able to find something useful to turn them into. They took the handcart through town to the hunter’s house and left it outside as they talked with the hunter and fisherman. Both offered their thanks and handed them the small coin and directed them to an inn where they could rest for the night.

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