Cut to the Quick

After procuring an influx of food for our settlement there was a mostly restful night. The new day began with a charged melody about the pirate’s slave auction and our place in it. With a late morning farewell from Dradira, it was time to see our heroes back on the road. With thanks for her hospitality, Dradira returned a dark and ominous, “tread carefully”.

Our eyes were soon greeted by another (somewhat) familiar face. Panacea had again crossed our path. This time she was busy selling potions, poisons and herbs in Echizen. Tanna bargained with her in elven and when all was said and done we’d bargained for a fair chunk of business while trying to get a more precise read on this being and what role she’d play in the future of our party and potentially settlement. Panacea’s Goddess Irena has apparently foreseen a need of burial and last rights for this kingdom.. much as She had for Gungrin. There was talk of wounded minds and doors of coping, then there was talk of New Dawnsburg. Panacea was invited and with a hand shake from Tumdrum, she agreed to visit and maybe do some more business beneficial to all involved potentially teaching MacDaman of the surrounding flora/fauna and it’s alchemical uses at a date in the not so distant future. Kaleth was notably not treated as nobility by Panacea, but Kale took it in stride while asking for more on Irena’s views of Cyrelun “Irena’s bane” and the Kou Kingdom “everyone gets what they deserve”. We parted then and left Panacea to “bury the dead and send the departed to the Soulwrought”.

By midday on the road to Aki, we were passing by rocky hills and noticeably larger caravans than our own small group of weathered travellers. Then it seemed there were very few, indeed nobody for a time, until one rundown hovel and it’s apparent resident caught Tanna’s attention. Her sharp eyes caught sight of a child retreating into the building. Of course her good heart would not let her leave a child to whatever fate awaited it in this bleak, broken down “home”. So she tried to offer the retreating figure food, but there was no response.. Kaleth called out to the figure, but there was no response.. then we heard a clicking of metal on stone, that is what drew us in.. ALL of us. Once inside the moldy rundown hovel it was noted there were stone stairs leading down, there was a light at the bottom of the steps and more clinking. Once we reached the bottom of the steps there were three children chained in the room that opened before us. After some soothing, “cooing” words from Tanna they told Kaleth of “the bad men” that would punish them if chores were not done, so of course we had to intervene. Tumdrum suddenly saw these children as abominations.. FIENDS! So he cast a moonbeam spell on one, releasing the enslaved soul of this child and that’s when it happened.. chains drew in on us from the ceiling, grappling us, restraining us, sinking their spikes into our limbs over and over again. Where one would fall another would animate and take it’s place against us. Shortly after Kale’ freed the remaining children’s souls that had been bound here, Amanus spotted a couple devils hidden in the shadows. These were “the bad men” the children spoke of. Once we’d spotted them it was quick and painless to dispatch one, before the other disappeared via some sort of foul teleportation. The one that we’d (maybe)destroyed left a black spiked chain, that the party quickly realized was no ordinary 30 foot link of chain. We were hardly out the door before the entire building was collapsing in on itself, leaving a pile of rubble where there had minutes ago been a deadly battle that could easily have cost us much more than it did. Tumdrum said a few words showing respect of the children’s souls, then it was back on the road, bloodied but still breathing.

The day was wearing on as we approached Aki(the Kou farming village along the road to home via Nakamaru Port). There was talk in the streets of a mother and her cursed newborn that’d recently been burned in order to appease the people and their crazed ideas of cleansing the kingdom. Eventually we arrived at our destination for the night, The Red Ass Inn. Kaleth got us a few rooms for the night(compliments of the innkeeper) and it was business as usual. With a joke about the red assassin that we were staying with tonight, Tumdrum performed both for the party and the masses with his lute and his juggling. After bedding down for the night, I know Deedee was already trying to decide what she’d do first when she got home.. it seemed so close.. and THAT’s when it happened.

Week 40

“There is no avoiding war; it can only be postponed to the advantage of others.”

As our last session, “The Storm Isles: Surrounded” concluded, the motley group of advisors and diplomats continue to finish their evening meal. While some members of the party more avidly conversed with their gracious host, the mysterious drow noblewoman, Lady Dradiira, others choose to pay more attention to their meal and refrain from questioning more into the nature of Fiends. Self-preservation, after all, can be a very powerful motivator in trying to maintain the cohesion of one’s sanity and living status, not to mention their perception of the world! Tanna is one such individual. Kaleth too. The dragonborn, already a firm believer of Tanna’s keen paranoia is the mark of great wisdom and insight, followed suit, especially after the mention of the Valkyrian in their passing conversation.

Where Tanna is considered extremely wise in Kaleth’s eyes, Tumdrum is considered the most bold, willing to step outside of his own perception to try to understand others way of life, and Westin, valuable in his combat prowess. Since his induction into Salt’s service, it’s becoming clear he is growing sterner and more vigilant to the threats surrounding the party. As Tumdrum eventually accepts the very informative tome Lady Dradiira offered for him to temporarily borrow and read, the conversation finally transitions from a discussion of fiends to the discussion of what tomorrow would bring – the impending diplomatic meeting with the Shogun’s Chief Advisor, Takuya. To possibly earn Takuya’s favor a little early in the meeting, Lady Dradiira suggests the group offer a gift to the Chief Advisor. From one topic to another the conversation continues, from the subject of the Night Market to the more sensitive moral aspects of slavery, their meal concludes with Tanna urging everyone to finally retire for the night. Lady Dradiira thanks the party, and hopes everyone has enjoyed her hospitality. Considering this particular wing of the palace is her domain, there is safety to be found within it – a much needed thing for the party to comfortably rest and still recover from their hard journey north from New Dawnsburg.

After they retire for the evening in their adjacent quarters, Tanna and the others converse over what happened at dinner, also believing it best they decide on a gift for the Chief Advisor before morning’s arrival. As they heavily begin discussing what specific gift to present, Kaleth is, admittedly, ridiculously off in her own world, clearly thinking over what everyone is saying, but undoubtedly with thoughts and opinions differing from the group’s own running amuck inside of her scaled skull. While food trade is very possible with the Kou Kingdom, it too seems possible with the Dwarves. In the end, Kaleth finally plants a claw down and states it is Baron Drussus’s final say on this diplomatic matter, so she chooses to send a sending stone to her retainer, Thal, to get a prompt response hopefully from Baron Drussus himself. As gemstones are eventually decided upon as a gift, they retire for the night.

With everyone avidly fussed over and dressed the next morning, a morning meal is consumed, with another sending stone message sent and received, before they are eventually prompted, and guided, to where the meeting is meant to take place. Deedee, Millie, and Tanna serve as the groups ‘servants,’ whereas Adam Westin is clearly an armed guard and general, and Tumdrum, Kaleth’s right hand advisor. They hardly had to wait long for Chief Advisor Takuya’s arrival. With armed guards at his shadow, certain Kou Kingdom customs are initiated. Little curiosities, such as the covering of the guards faces, and Takuya’s comment of ‘empty vessels’ is enough to catch Kaleth off guard since it is her (and like everyone else of the party) first visit to the Kou Kingdom.

Armed now with the opinions and perceptions of her comrades, as well as the information provided by Thal and Baron Drussus, Kale introduces everyone within the party to Takuya before encouraging Tumdrum to present Takuya with the chosen gift – a gemstone. Accepted, but curiously questioned over, Kale translates Tumdrum’s answer with very romantic rhetoric, hoping it would be, at the very least, accepted with graciousness. As the meeting progresses, Kaleth explains of the arrival of the colonists from a far off land called ‘Choso,’; however, instead of telling him of how part of the Storm Wall was brought down, she speaks of how Elora, otherwise known to the other colonists as Salt, chooses to answer the colonist’s prayers and allow them entry through the Storm Wall. A commonly known name among the Storm Isles and its inhabitants, Elora’s strangeness is commented upon – something which Westin inwardly bristles at.

Tumdrum’s very avid theatrics with Tanna nearly has Kaleth smacking her own nose and rolling in laughter, so it is only by Kaleth’s focus on the serious aspects of the meeting she managed to retain her politeness and dignity. As the meeting further progresses, mentions of what is occurring in Gungrin is brought forth, as well as possibilities of trade between the Kou Kingdom and New Dawnsburg, even if only for a few months. Kaleth focuses on keeping their trade agreement simple, believing it best they focus solely on monetary costs for goods and nothing else. Given her own knowledge of pact-making from her Warlock training, she knows more lawful-abiding Fiends will maintain their word and integrity instead of fucking the other party over and taking everything from them.

With the meeting a success, Takuya goes on his way and the party decides to split off in different directions for the rest of the day. As Tumdrum decides to remain on the palace grounds, Adam Westin heads out on his own to investigate the market area the group previously visited, whereas Tanna decides to take a stroll… and even more than that. As Tanna explores the streets, visiting a merchant and picking up some goods, her stroll eventually leads her into a Tavern where she attempts to converse with others with Thieves Cant. While some understand her, it is clear she is a foreigner and becomes a person of interest to those who hear her voice. A drink finished, she eventually moves on, heading back out onto the streets, but it inevitably comes to her perceptive attention she is being followed. Tanna attempts to elude her pursuer while heading back to the palace grounds, but it is to no avail. He attempts to charm her, but given her elven origins, she succeeds in not succumbing to it.

Kaleth, Millie, and Deedee, also leave the palace grounds into the city, where Deedee watches a weaponsmith forging a Katana. Interested in the craftsmanship, she purchases a sword to wield, but they too return; however, it was before Tanna did. When everyone reunites, Kaleth and Millie are already grossly deep in a game of Three Dragon Ante, but they too participate in the conversation. From Tanna recounting her trip from the palace grounds, to Kaleth, very interestingly inquiring into Dwarven mating rituals, and the oddities of Tumdrum’s magical possessions, Tumdrum earns a lighthearted chuckle and regard from Kale. It is clear though she wants to avoid the magical item he carries, the Amulet of Narcissism, if she can…

Once more the group shares another evening meal with Lady Dradiira, and in that timeframe Tumdrum returns the fiend tome he borrowed to her. Thanking her for allowing him the time to review it, the meal passes by uneventfully, though Tanna’s market incident is once more recounted. Dradiira advises Tanna to tread more carefully, but Tumdrum’s curiosity gets the better of him and he asks Dradiira how much Tanna is worth. Given her pureblooded elven heritage, Dradiira estimates at a few thousand gold. A very high price, indeed, for such an elf! Kaleth advises the others to not tell Baron Drussus this, and even amusedly comments on the fact Tanna’s market value even exceeded her own. A very strange topic of conversation, their meal (and the game session) draws to an end, with other topics spoken here or there, but like before, Lady Dradiira departs from the table for the evening.

Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.

Log Entry: General Adam Westin

Our day began with a tasty breakfast served by our hosts. I particularly enjoyed the eggs. Lady Dradiira joined us as we were able to question her about the capital and the area near the city. Also, my fears seem to be true that the evil I felt last night may be coming from Dradiira herself. She also warns Tumdrum of the dangers of sleep sweet.

She begins to describe the “curse” that is effecting the capital and her work in studying it. She informs us Chief Advisor Takuya would meet with us on the morrow. Giving us some time to see the city. Revolt seems to be a problem in the capital.

The Mention of Gods Mirrors seemed to excite Dradiira. She got very defensive about them. Claiming they can be controlled and or used for good with the right knowledge.
She tasks the scouts to acquire a piece of the godsmirror and bring it back to her.
Conversation continued on the Godsmirrors after she leaves. There seems to be a split in the party as to what the mirrors do and the power that controls them. And what exactly Dradiira wants from them.

The party decides to spend the morning resting before heading out to search the town for clues of just who they are dealing with. Tumdrum decides to take flight and explore the area outside the city. The rest of the scouts decide to take to the streets to do some information gathering.

The main group decides to head north towards the merchants. Upon entering a staged area, Kaleth gets the idea to muscle some information out of a poor man named Shen. His bosses name is Sayuri. So Kaleth approaches. Kaleth’s tone was firm with this one. If I wouldn’t have been yelled at so much in my military life, I might have been intimidated myself. After she is done talking to him, I notice she is the topic of conversation. Which leads me to believe it’s time we take some cover in a local diner. Kaleth informs us she learned of a man named Noboru. A slave importer and trader.

The meal here reminds me of the groul we would get in the mess halls back on choso. As we finished and took back to the streets, Tanna informs me that we are being followed. With that, we take action and she circles around to get behind our follower.

After finally getting him in an alley, we were able to find out his name is Sado. He wanted to make some GP off of us with information on Noboru. Tanna informs me that he is not alone, my divine sense tingles as I feel the presence of a fiend as he and a “tiny” fiend. He leads us to a building and says that this is a warehouse where he Noboru runs his slaves. With a payment and one last reminder not to mess with us. We returned “home” for the afternoon.

Old Friends

Stab the body and it heals, but injure the heart and the wound lasts a lifetime.

The night comes and rest beneath something other than open, often inhospitable skies, our party now sleeps in a small room of the gate-fort’s inn. Restless in her eagerness to once again explore civilization, Tanna the scout slips away to seek out other denizens of the dark. But this is a small community, duty-bound and regimented, so she finds nothing of particular notice. When she returns to the elvish trance that is her people’s form of sleep, her dreams are troubled things, showing her creatures living in shadow. Is it real or part of her sickening imagination? In this other realm, the Lady of the Wood tries to protect the young elf, but Tanna continues to turn away from her light.

The next day, the party of Chosoan ambassadors make their way toward the Kou Empire’s capital of Echizen, following their local guide, Chouko and his wagon. The journey is interrupted by armed warriors – ronin – who wear Kou emblems, incomplete though they may be. Their demands are strange — half of our party will be permitted to pass by, but half must remain as a ‘security measure’. We argue for our freedom, showing our passports granted by Kou gate guards, but the warriors will not yield. They draw their weapons in a threatening manner and then attack breaks out. We are also ambushed by their comrades — who are not well uniformed but in the rags of bandits. But this group seems to have underestimated us, for we defeat them handily. There are survivors from their band and we learn they were no more than a group of brigands taking advantage of travelers. We take survivors to law enforcement as we enter the outskirts of Echizen.

The areas surrounding the capital are lowland and west, some areas even swampy. We are stopped at the entrance again, much as we were at the kingdom walls, and asked our identification and business. Chouko, his men and wagon are allowed by, and they aim for the Blue Sun Inn to stay. While Kaleth is attempting to translate and explain our diplomatic mission, she feels herself forced to reveal her true identity — that of a dragon-borne. The guards react with shock and nerves, immediately acquiescing to nearly everything Kaleth asks.

Treated now like feared royalty, we are escorted to the more noble regions of the city, even to the enormous palace itself. We are to meet a higher personage of the royal household who is housed in a wing of the palace, who will — it is presumed — be able to help us in our initial diplomatic process. This person turns out to be Dradiira Despath, a Drow and well-known to most in our party. It was she we first encountered when landing to shore after passing through the Storm Wall. It was she that first told us she was a refugee from her own people and took sanctuary with our colonists, bestowing on us knowledge of the islands, a map of the region, and a ring of invisibility. And it was she who disappeared from our colony when the settlement was attacked by werewolves.

Now, apparently Dradiira is an important person within the Kou Empire, accompanied by her human major-domo (main servant). We are not sure why she has established herself here, but it can be presumed to having provided the Empire some very important duty. While she is reacquainting herself with us, however, Adam Westin and Tumdrum both sense something is off, and cast ‘divine sense’ at the Drow. Through their magical senses, they now see that Dradiira and her servant are “fiends”.

While trying to digest this startling information, Dradiira, oblivious to their findings, offers us all sleeping quarters. Not wishing to be separated, the group requests one large room they will share, feeling more comfortable, they say, in bedding down together. Kaleth and her retainer Millie, however, decide to sleep in a chamber on their own.

During the night, Tanna again experiences disturbing visions. This time, she sees something hovering over Adam, something following him, covering him in storms. When she tries to touch this influence, her hand passes through an opaque mass that dissipates. The rest of the night passes quietly.

The Diplomats
Week 37

- “Slow and steady wins the race!”

As a new day dawns over the settlement, Westin, Tumdrum, and the rest of their companions prepare to travel north to the Kou Kingdom in an attempt to establish diplomatic ties at the behest of New Dawnsburg’s newest ruler, Baron Drusus. Clearly not an easy journey to travel via foot, they decide to travel via hoof. With mounts, outfitted with the most basic leather tack and gear, are collected from willing Ech’lun within the colony, the group – now with four equines, a bear, and a griffin – set off in high spirits towards Nakamaru Port.

For the majority of the day, they travel north, but as the day begins to wane, their direction slightly shifts in a northeastern direction. With the sea able to be glimpsed in the distance, nightfall eventually approaches, and Tanna, ever-vigilant, chooses to scout out and about the local area to see whether or not there may be possible dangers which need to be dealt with or altogether avoided. With trees and hills well-obscuring her actions, she comes to find there are little obvious threats. ‘Tis rare, after all, for there to be a peaceful night on the Storm Isles, and the party takes advantage of it; however, such peace is disturbed when a blood-sucking critters fly through. Thanks to the fire that was lit though, these infernal insects avoid the group completely.

As another day dawns, everyone is swift to eat a morning meal, collect their things, and journey onward. With little conversation passing between them all, they continue traveling northeast until Kaleth suggests to Tanna to scout the area prior to their approach to Nakamaru Port. Given what her retainer, Thal, said of the citizens of the Kou Kingdom, she believed it best for the group to find out what they were dealing with before they fully approached the wall which served as the kingdom’s, or rather Shogunate’s,primary defense. Tanna’s search of the area, however, does not go unnoticed. With Ech’lun slowly following her, Tanna’s stealthy and wiley ways allows her to readily mislead them before she returns to the party to recount what she encountered. Tumdrum suggests that, perhaps, it is best for the party to remain fully together to avoid Tanna coming under harm.

It’s only shortly afterward the group approaches the gate which blocks passage into Nakamaru Port. Giving a loud hail in greeting, Kaleth attempts to communicate to a guard that they need passage inside, but she, and thus the rest of the group, are told they need to travel further north before they can gain access. Perturbed a little by this encounter, Kaleth chooses not to aggressively pursue the matter with the guard and instead follow his advice – travel north. It’s clear though the road was likely closed, possibly due to the troubles occurring at Gungrin.

Realizing that they are being followed, the group continues traveling on until nightfall, preparing themselves for a possible upcoming battle with the Ech’lun that seemed to have been trailing Tanna earlier in the day. As night falls, it’s readily revealed the Ech’lun are not Ech’lun; rather, desperate werewolves seeking to feed their starving pack. But the group is prepared and at the ready, wasting no time to deal with the threat they now faced. With spells cast, swords drawn, and arrows sneakily shot, the werewolves slowly dropped one by one. As Kaleth herself deals a final blow to the Werewolf Alpha, instead of pulling her halberd from its abdomen as she so often did with the enemies they previously faced, she keeps it there and instead asks the werewolf three questions – questions which he is forced to truthfully answer before he is finally allowed to depart the world of the living.

Adam Westin and the others, surprised by the event, demand to know what happened to the werewolf and its clear Kaleth is elusive in her answers. Almost completely unwilling to speak further on the matter, Tumdrum and Adam converse between themselves and it is suggested they wait until morning before dismembering and burning the bodies of the werewolves.

Another morning comes and the werewolves corpses are properly disposed of before the traveling cohort venture onward. With a road finally coming into sight, they also realize they are not alone. A wagon, filled with collected junk and other from scavenging ventures, is being drawn by an older-aged man named Chouko. His, though poorly armored, guards, Goro and Etsuko, are with him and as they all converse with one another, with Kale actively translating, they decide to travel together to yet another gate leading into the Kou Kingdom.

It’s clear though, though Kaleth volunteered to serve as the colony’s primary diplomat, she is still inexperienced in handling foreigners. Poorly communicating, and even stuttering or talking too actively, Chouko comes to the rescue of the group and helps the entourage get into the Kingdom. Every foreign member of the party is given a passport – meant to record their comings and goings within the Kou Kingdom itself.

Venturing onward through the small Fort built at the gate, the group continue to speak to Chouko and they eventually decide it best to stop at the Fort’s local Inn, owned by Jiro. Kaleth’s attempts at booking room and board at the Inn come at a high cost and utterly livid at herself for her stupidity, the group spend the rest of the evening eating, drinking, gambling, and in Tumdrum’s case, actively entertaining! The lighthearted conversations though eventually turn to more serious matters and though it incites tension between everyone, the information acquired from Chouko himself, and the opinions of the others, prove highly insightful to Kaleth as to how to better handle their diplomatic affairs.

The question remains though… is it truly possible for the group to avoid what is going on in the Kou Kingdom? With Tumdrum’s shadows pointing him ever onward towards an unknown fate, no one can be certain.

What the Thunder Said
Week 36

We start off doing some things around the settlement waiting for around a week for the Baron to arrive. The constant rain has finally relented. Tumdrum has a horrible, violent nightmare that keeps him from sleeping until he ups his dosage of sleepsweet. The group helps out around New Dawnsburg not wanting to leave or start anything big before the Baron arrives.

He and the other colony boats do finally arrive safely at the lake shore. It is the Sea Otter and four newer, barely damaged ships that make landfall. We all gather and help unload the ships as well as make a quick greeting with the Baron Drusus. First impressions were a bit awkward, but we realize he is working from incomplete knowledge of the events so far on the Storm Isles. We are notified that 4 of the main ships are soon to be going back to Choso though with a skeleton crew.

We later meet with the Baron and have a longer conversation. He seems to be a reasonable and fair man. He explains the awkward look to Tanna earlier and is also only slightly phased when introduced to a dragonborn. We give him a full run down of what we know of the island we are on. Starting with general info about the areas we know little of, then going into detail of the threats faced at the spot our wrecked ship first made landfall, and finishing with a thorough detailing of our current settlement and the area and threats around it. He knows we have saved the heir to the dwarven kingdom and that he still rests unconscious in the Temple and that a rescue party for him has been notified of his safety and current whereabouts. He asks us to consider taking leadership roles in the settlement and that we sleep on it to determine which role is best for ourselves as the fourth wave of colony ships left port expecting more of a solid foothold being set up here before landing. He understands the hardships and challenges faced and is glad at least some have survived, and we aren’t starting completely from scratch.

We awake and meet with the Baron again. We pick our roles and he seems satisfied with our choices having not known us long but trusting that Westin would mention if something was a horrible idea or not. He gladly accepts the help as the man seems to have gotten little sleep his first night on this land. Macdaman tells the group that he cannot travel with them on any more adventures and must stay in the camp to help here. The Baron requests that we go on a diplomatic mission to the Kou Kingdom north of us. He notes that the slivers and the men of the bear are threats, but that the slivers are beyond our current capabilities and the men of the bear have not closed in on us yet. Food supply is the current highest priority. We have to find some to fill in the gap between our current supplies and when a new harvest can come in if planted now on top of our first winter here looming. We are unsure if we can grow food to ripeness before a possible winter snap, but hopeful we can produce at least something.

Millie the Valkyrian agrees to visit the Temple of Alandra and see the artwork of the Valkyrian race and possibly commune with Alandra. She admires the murals and the statues but seems distant. She asks why is this place so alone? Why is there no city around it? Tumdrum replies after asking Alandra that this was a barracks, a graveyard, and an outpost to fight against the creatures of Torbane (that came from the big hole just South of here). Millie seems shocked but tries to hide her feelings and asks to leave. And we all do, and I thank her for giving it a try. Kaleth is very interested in this place as though she knows of Valkyrian, there are no places like this with their culture on display where she is from.

We end the session getting a sending sent to Velm and the reply states that the rescue party has just exited Gungrin and is on the way. Macdaman can handle relations with them if they arrive while we are out to the Kou Kingdom as it appears they will make it to camp before we return. We prepare for our trip north to the Kou Kingdom hoping to get a good night’s sleep as we leave in the morning.

To Serve
Week 35

- “A servant is a master in disguise.”

With a much-anticipated message – a Sending – sent by MacDaman, the message received in response renewed hope within the weary companions. And yet, though it renewed hope, it too sparked newfound worries. The second wave of colonists from Choso, now led by one of Choso’s very own nobility, Baron Drusus, was expected to arrive soon. How soon was soon though? And where, precisely, would they make landfall? All these worries, and more, likely plague the group, but though they do, the group continues onward in their attempt to persevere against the dangers of the Storm Isles.

In spite of being heavily batted about like ragdolls by the Vestige of Salt, the group attempts to rest and awaken early the next morning within the settlement. While many of the group have a restful slumber, the dwarf, Tumdrum, does not. Still, despite this, Tumdrum awakens and seeks to visit the Thane of Gungrin and his faithful retainers, Marauk and Gimdin. Upon encountering the retainers, it’s learned the Thane has yet to awaken, but instead of continuing the conversation further, Tumdrum leaves and seeks out Deedee and MacDaman. Given the Thane’s dire state, perhaps there is safety to be found in numbers.

Tumdrum, Deedee, and MacDaman return to speak to the Thane’s retainers and it’s revealed the Thane’s parents were assassinated. With the seriousness of the situation weighing heavily on Marauk and Gimdin, they believe it best for contact those still loyal to the Thane’s bloodline. With a Sending sent, it’s learned a rescue party was already mounted to rescue the Thane, but it will still take the rescue party some time until they reach New Dawnsburg.

Shortly afterward, Westin and others have an impromptu meeting with Admiral Otta and it’s learned he intends to travel to where the fleet of ships will make landfall. Westin, it seems, will be temporarily in charge of the colony itself, and it will likely take Otta a week and a half until he returns with the second wave of colonists. All the same, MacDaman immediately seeks to visit Alandra’s temple afterward to greet and commune with the Goddess of Life. Greeted warmly, she patiently listens. Entreated to aid Tumdrum, and others, in trying to heal the wounds inflicted upon their being, Alandra regretfully says she cannot. These are not physical wounds; rather, mental wounds and mental wounds need time, and rest, to heal.

Over the next few days, it’s seen the Ech’lun are tending to the trees outside of the temple and for every day, the trees are getting bigger and bigger. They, and others, are slowly but surely seeking to restore the temple and though there is some tension between the Colonists and the Ech’lun, they continue to keep a truce between themselves. Many Gnolls were put to the pike by the Ech’lun, and it’s clear they’ve been hard at work trying to protect the settlement. With Adam Westin overseeing the colony while Admiral Otta is away, it comes as a surprise and horror to quite a few when he initiates a grave life-changing experience – the removal of his left hand. Vowing henceforth to dedicate his life to Salt, the Sea at Storm, as a Paladin, only time will tell if his sacrifice proved worthy in soothing Salt’s vengeance. ‘Twas only a short time afterward when he visited the lake below the nearby Aether Pyramid to greet his newfound steed and companion, Mackh. A great bear in shape and form, Mackh informs Adam he was a Cleric of Salt in his past life, and a little knowledge is revealed into Salt’s teachings. With this newfound knowledge, what could it mean for Adam’s future?

These events however were not the only events which transpired. Deedee communed with nature itself in the hopes to find, and gather, food as well as learn a little more about the land. Tumdrum, and his blessed steed Amanus, made an excursion into Gungrin in an attempt to find more food and supplies for the colony too. Met by Drow, it seems Gungrin is already being invaded by outside parties bent on raiding it for its goods and secrets after Thassuc’s death. Kaleth’s retainers, Thal, Joel, and Millie, arrive via boat travel to the nearby lake. With Kale’s newfound companions in her shadow, it comes with little surprise they all come face-to-face with Remulus, the ‘Guardian of the Lake’ himself. The interaction proved tense, but conflict is avoided between the parties; still, Kaleth, though deceptive, made mention of a Son of Baelhal visiting the settlement. Deceptive or not, it may very well be an inevitable experience the settlement will have to one day face.

With the game session concluding with Tumdrum speaking to Thal and Kaleth to learn a little more about the Storm Isles, and the Kingdoms present, one has to wonder just WHO will be brave enough to tell Tanna Eaolithe she may, in coming days, greet a dragon…

New Dawnsburg

Week 34

Whilst still within the belly of the lake pyramid known as the Aether Ruin, our party is exhausted and heavily wounded, having staved off an attack by four beings, Aether Echoes. Kaleth is turning out to be a very powerful, if enigmatic ally. She tells us she has been able to bring down part of the Storm Wall through the lightning spells of the Aether Ruin. We have only a moment to contemplate what our next move should be, however. It may have looked like we killed the Echoes, but appearing on the heels of their departure is a being mightier than they….. the Chronomancer. Even as we try to come to grips with this new threat, two more Echoes appear to flank us. The Chronomancer creates a ‘Wall of Force’ which effectively imprisons Macdaman and Kaleth within a circular wall. They are neither able to break through it or hear through it. The group remaining outside have a hard time tracking the Chronomancer, for he is using his mastery over our time perception by making it difficult to track his physical presence.

In desperation — because we see we are no match for his power — some in our party attempt to communicate. Some tell him we wish to speak, not fight. Others put their weapons aside in an act of faith. The Chronomancer begins to speak, the effect of his magic allowing the individuals in our group to hear and communicate in their own native languages.

The Chronomancer tells us he wants us to leave, and he wants us to take the artifact with us. He says it is damaging to them, that is is something created by a god called Iouna. He will allow us to leave unharmed if we cause no further violence and put away our weapons. He is questioned further by others in our party, by which we gain some incredible information.

The Chronomancer states he can defend this place from all — even the gods — except for Baelhal the Dragon. He tells us that the god Haurom is chasing us, that Haurom is a ‘shattered’ god, that Haurom now has different aspects… which include Salt and Alorum (sp?). Many of the gods are in this shattered state. When asked how the gods became shattered, the Chronomancer replies with a short tale of a great war among the divine beings. It is due to this that the shattering took place. Others among this new pantheon include: Korrick (war, honor), Omin (civil, justice), Meloron (the wild), Irena (death).

When we tell him we were told to bring the artifact back to the pyramid ruin by the Spirit of the Lake, Remus (sp?), he expresses disdain. He states that this creature, ‘Abdeth’ is not who he claims, that he has been trying to get into the ruins and is not trustworthy.

The Chronomancer states that it is time for us to leave, and bids us pass through a portal again. When we do, we find we have been set to the grassy plain a half days’ journey south of Alandra’s temple ruins, we decide against resting and head north. Macdaman is able to provide some healing to our battered group. It is still raining heavily, and just before we move out, Macdaman is able to launch another Sending to the Choso ships, telling them of the path to take through the calm portion of the Storm Wall.

Rest and peace are an elusive prize, however, for our group encounters four powerful elementals, who immediately attack. Though we try bunching to shore our defense, the elementals — Water, Air, Fire, Earth — punch through our line and cause heavy injuries. We are able to defeat Earth and Water, but Air and Fire coalesce into the Vestige of Salt. His attack is sudden and brutal, sending a tidal wave of divine power. When the wave passes, all but two in our group are mortally wounded and dying. Tanna gives Macdaman her last healing potion, and he surges to the god, intent on sacrificing himself for the survival of the others. He feels the fault is his through the destruction of the statue dedicated to Salt back in the first few days we landed on the Storm Isles.

In a private communication between Salt and Macdaman, Salt demands a sacrifice to appease him of his wrath against our group. He then disappears, leaving us to contemplate the meaning behind this.

We finally return to Alandra’s Temple and the remains of our colony, New Dawnsburg. It is apparent that, in our absence, a schism may have developed between our colonists and the Ech’lun, for their camps are clearly divided.

The Sending Macdaman sent earlier is answered. The Choso ships will follow his directions but they need to land soon as they are nearly out of rations. They also warn of the presence of an important passenger who will become part of our colony — the Baron Drusus. This does not bode well, for the Baron is known to some as a prideful, arrogant man.

Their Legacy

Week 33

Still in the Observatory of the dwarf mountain city of Gungrin, our party is recovering from the explosive trap set off by the dying dwarf artificer, Thassuc. Tanna is only saved from certain death due to the skills and magic of the groups cleric/healer, Macdaman. Members of the group search the ruins in vain for anything of value — only some bits of gems and Jaderite remain to be claimed, as does the original large crystal of Jaderite that our group initially brought to Thassuc.

Before we begin departure, we want to explore the immediate area rooms in case the morally-questionable dwarf artificer has any secrets to reveal. Throwing caution to the wind due in part to his continued mental illness, Tumdrum accidentally trips a trap on the door to Thassuc’s private chambers, setting off a lightning curse. He is injured, though not critically, and gruffly steps aside after berating everyone for their slowness. Just as Tanna and DeeDee enter, they become entranced by another magical device…. a large mirror hanging on the wall. It is another God’s Mirror, ensorcelling those who look on it. The elf scout seems especially affected, perhaps due to previous influence, and it takes Macdaman entering tied to a rope and the strength of DeeDee pulling out Tanna before all are safe. Recovering himself, Tumdrum again enters, tethered as the others were but with the addition of a blindfold so he does not become bespelled. His dwarven strength helps him to pull the mirror down.

The room is searched. Valuable books on gunpowder manufacture and war-forged creation are found and confiscated. Tumdrum takes some time to read, and comes on some hints of Thassuc’s journeys to the Aether ruins. Kaleth, the new dragon-born companion to the group, flips through some of the books, but when she expresses a desire to read what Tumdrum has in his hands, he politely declines. She is disturbed by this but without a common language between her and the others, communication becomes more and more of a problem.

Deciding to avoid a long rest and just push on with exiting Gungrin, the group briefly explores another room, discovering it contains another teleportation portal. Wary now, some in the group conjecture it may lead to planes with undesirable inhabitants, so they abandon the place, locking the door to the portal chamber securely.
Taking the elevator back to the previous portal level, some in the group are eager for the new exploration, while others are simply weary and want to leave. Tumdrum, who has been reading of this portal that leads to the lake pyramid, instructs the others, giving them the incantation to activate the portal. They each enter and are sucked away through the portal’s path. Many see flashes of other planes, other realms impossible to comprehend.
They each arrive in a large square chamber without doors. It is believed this is inside the pyramid. A center stone platform dominates, with large multicolored gems and runes in a precise arrangements on its surface.

The group is learning that Kaleth is a powerful magic-user in her own right. She begins to understand the arrangement before her, and invokes a language-understanding spell. She is able to speak and understand dwarven, a language understood by nearly everyone in the group. Kaleth approaches the center shrine and takes a place in a seemingly bare circle that was perhaps once occupied by a stone (?). Just as this is happening, Four figures make an appearance in the room on each of the four portals. They are ‘Aether Echos’, magical beings, and bent on attacking either with aggression or defense. There is little time to try to inquire which. Whilst the rest of the group tries to defeat the beings, Kaleth sees visions from her position.

The four Echos are killed by our group but not without delivering significant damage to our health. It is uncertain whether our efforts to return the stolen artifact are successful or not, for we must wait for the interpretation provided by our newest member.

Future Fragments
Week 32

The scouting party begins this day with a grave realization that their work in Gungrin is yet unfinished. Thassuc still holds the stolen artifact from the pyramid, and though a sending was delivered to the Way of White, the High Church of Sol, no definitive reply has yet been received from the Church as to the state of the incoming ships of Colonists.

Knowing that the time of their arrival is nigh, or worse, that they had already arrived and been scattered to the depths of the sea for the drowned to find, the scouting party carefully plans their next few days. Raziel, Richtofen, and Roma are sent to escort the Paladins of Anitar and their Thayne to the safest place nearby, their colony. The Paladin, along with his steed, and the Burglar see them to the safety of the river, before doubling-back to the foot of the mountain. The healer sets himself to making a warm meal to drive the cold out of the other scouts bones and boost morale. His medical training tells him that there is little medicine in the world that treats madness, and only in a cursory sense- such wounds are beyond his mastery. Beyond the mortal wounds, he found diseases, curses, and maledictions- the harsh world always finds a new way to taunt his efforts.

But with a meal that isn’t from the iron rations and another night’s sleep out from beneath the stone of Gungrin, the Paladin finds his hand to be a little more steady once more, and the Warrior is not so quick to bloodlust. There is a worry, but for now, everyone can pretend that all is well.

Marching from the village and back towards the bridge that leads into Gungrin, the scouts react to sounds of battle, rushing forward to find another curiosity of the Storm Isles. The slivers that amass on the bridge they are well versed with, but not the oddity that is the warrior. Covered in scales and less human than even the Drow or Ech’lun that have been found upon the Isles. A warrior that summons her weapon from the fire, wears the cold like a cloak, and rebukes every attack with a chilling riposte. Between the efforts of the Noble and the Scouts, the Slivers are picked apart- their masses razed with fire, their strongest broken under combined fire.

The scouts, not learned in the tongues of the Storm Isles, can only vaguely gesture towards Gungrin, before discerning that the warrior intends to enter the Dwarven city. Another weapon to array against the masses is not easily turned down. With conviction, the Scouts plus one, make their way up to the Observatory, and find a line of modified Warforged awaiting them.

Thassuc is called from the depths of his workshop, and is pleased to see most of the faces of the party returning, though does note that they look to be a bit more on edge- he respects the deal they’d struck, though does not trust them to follow him into his workshop, and asks that they remain for a day while he makes what last use he can get out of the stolen artifact. The party is agreeable, though the paladin clearly becomes restless. The party’s thief, never one to leave her fate up to the hope that a madman will play nice, she cloaks herself with the ring of invisibility and pockets a vial of alchemist’s fire from the paladin.

The thief waited for a path through the line of Warforged, careful not to make any noise to alert the Warforged to the presence of a sixth member in the party that had come up the elevator. She found the Artificer mid-surgery, looked upon the horrifying scene as he dug about in his own chest, using the help of one of his Warforged to carve and place the beginnings of a Jadrite array within his still-living body. With no remorse, she filled his chest cavity with liquid fire, plunged her hand and dagger down into the heat- stabbing for the heart. She found a lung, but leveraging her surprise, being pulled from her invisibility, she stabbed the wheezing man again, almost certain she he’d delivered the lethal blow- she fled.

The workshop descended into the chaos of another battle, with the Warforged immediately spouting flame and wielding over-sized weapons. The scouts had seen plenty of warforged perish at their side, had slain a handful in their first few hours inside Gungrin, they had no qualms with destroying more of them- yet more that would never see their awakening.

Thassuc returned, his chest marginally healed, gripped with a mad rage. and attempted to assassinate the thief in a similar manner that she’d tried upon him, striking out with a poisoned shortblade and firing upon her with the pistol. Before the mad Artificer could finish his work, the Paladin put Thassuc down with fire bolt hailing from across the room, rocking the observatory with a concussive, ear-ringing explosion as the deadman’s switch was triggered.

Last is the door of death. The final resort. Nothing can hurt us after we are dead, or so we have been told.


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