Gift of Eomar

Blood on the Parchment

The tale of how Sayer and his companions ventured into the heart of the Brass Sea to thwart The Sultan, epic though it may be, must be told another time. For the wheels of fate grind forward, bringing woe and wonder to the fore.

Aelostrian bleeds beneath the heel of Imperial conquest. Feeling the suffering of her people, Akasha Delithrang returns to her homeland to aid in their time of need.

Engrossed by the intricacies of magics, Kiranek Fateweaver recedes into her tome, completely consumed with the research. The companions carry this tome still, to one day draw their friend from the lofty secrets of the arcane.

With the weight of responsibility holding sway, Count Elbanor stewards the companions by managing the stronghold of Coldwater Anchorage, the Chainstay.

Krinkle, the enigmatic bard, lingers near the periphery; her true intents kept to herself .. at least for now.

Even Sayer, the staunch advocate for wild adventure, gave pause to the responsibilities of a new partner. He sailed forth with his freebooting bride at his side.

Finally we come to Boris and On’ogg; two heroes left to right so many wrongs in the world. The two make the most of their time in transit to the Imperium, crafting what they can while planning their next move.

With the war ravaging much of eastern Aelostrian, they surmise that moving through the lands of man might prove less difficult. Docking at the port town of Drybrush Station, they found themselves at the customs office. Though On’ogg’s reputation within the Order of the Alabaster Aegis serves him well, Boris finds his path forward somewhat impeded.

With her paperwork in fine order, Dorothy continues forward to run errands before they travel back to the Praetorium Quaerentem. At that moment, the paladin’s request for a traveler visa rings open on the arcane network, drawing the attention of an old friend…

~

In the annals of an Imperium Archivum, Thadeous Wobblegrinder closes a tome and places it on top of a stack of books. Nothing worthwhile, not yet. Rubbing his eyes, he thinks of his old friends. At that moment, Eclasius Vorander touches upon his shoulder a note from the intelligence office of the Matriarch.

“As I understand it, you were asked to be notified Master Thaddeus..” he whispers and excuses himself with a curt bow. Thaddeus reads the note and without hesitation makes his way from the Archivum.

In the chambers above, he finds the Matriarch Palthorius dining in the Great Hall with only the motionless guardsmen as company. The wizard requests leave from his station, citing as grounds the need to resolve personal issue. Showing some small concern, she inquires whether he may need assistance, but Thaddeus reassures her that he should be able to handle things.

With leave granted, Thaddeus turns to leave and steps through the spatial anomaly created by his Cloak.

~

Meanwhile, for an inquisitive rogue, the investigation goes well. Professor Norrath agrees to an afternoon sojourn to the park in order to pass along any more information might prove useful. With assistant in tow, he asks the rogue to pass along a special coin to Dorothy Redbranch, believing the adventurer to be able to move without the notice of this would be killer. The hope seems to be that he may be able to dissuade any further violence with his presence.

He travels to Drybrush in an attempt to intercept this student as she returns to the Imperium.

~

Within the time needed to snap a finger Thaddeus finds himself outside the governing chambers within Drybrush Station. Within he greets his old friend On’ogg and Baatu, who has been entertaining the local guardsmen with great success.

Reunited, the three make way through the town. They soon wrangle Dorothy back into the party and find a tavern to share drinks and stories. So entranced in the moment, they fail to see the figure sitting outside a very specific tavern who seems to take heed of their arrival.

Within, the companions take a much needed respite. The mysterious figure continues his vigil for some time before presenting himself to Dorothy. Passing along the coin given to him from Professor Redbranch, he notices her eyes glaze over as some arcane message is communicated through contact with the coin.

She introduces the inquisitive rogue to the companions and greetings are exchanged. Resolving to take Dorothy back to the Praetorium, wait out the night at the tavern.

Come morning, they book passage on the mechanical locomotive, which runs along a track through several small towns en route to the grand city of Pallorgrad.

~

While on the train, commotion is heard from the cabin ahead, where Dorothy had gone to rest. Suddenly, a narrow blade slices some ways through the wall, a minute line of blood slipping from the wall where it had cut through.

In a flurry of activity, the companions come to the aid of Dorothy only to find her slain, her dwarven head rolled to the corner of the cabin. Those within the cabin hear some slight noise from overhead and the companions move to intercept the killer. They find a figure, slight of frame, running along the top of the train. The emergency stop lever is pulled and within moments the train begins the long effort of halting.

The rogue climbs atop the train and is able to shoot an arrow that pierces the peculiar armor of the killer, who turns and moves into a guarded stance some forty feet forward on the next car. “I have not come here for you”, she says and then immediately falls to a knee, placing an outstretched hand on what seems to be a series of arcane symbols that had been drawn on top of the car. With a flash, she disappears from the top of the train as it screeches to a stop.

~

Within Dorothy’s cabin the companions note several interesting clues. Dorothy’s tome, an item not far from any wizard, was not within the cabin. A torn page was found folded into a paper bird. When flattened, they found upon the sheaf the word ‘Shrike’, surely left by the mysterious killer.

Inspecting the damage to the wall, they noticed that the cut was uncanny in it’s ability to slice through the matter.

The train authorities are apprised of the situation and the locomotive is soon on it’s way again.

~

The companions arrive in the city of Pallorgrad and make immediate passage to the Praetorium Quaerentem. On’ogg and the rogue surge forward upon the paladin’s celestial steed and rush forward in an attempt to forewarn Professor Norrath of the imminent danger. The rest of the companions follow suit in their own ways.

They find the Professor with his assistant and question him with a deep urgency. With a insightful eye they press more and more from the old man, who’s shiny veneer begins to split somewhat. Professor Norrath grows at first impatient with the scrutiny and then anxious. A remark presses him into a fit of rage and he inexplicably throws himself from the window, plummeting from a great height.

Without a moment’s hesitation the rogue calls out to “watch the other one!” and throws himself out after Professor Norrath, gaining the distance in a moment and manipulating the air around the two falling men. He makes a harrowing escape from certain death. Taken into custody, Professor Josiah Norrath teeters back and forth in a sitting position, staring forward with a lunatic’s gaze.

In the office above, the rest of the companions take heed of their situation only to find the assistant has silently taken leave of the chambers.

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The Feast

The companions invite their new friend Boris to a feast at the Keep in honor of the group’s return from abroad. The mood mostly jovial, save for some small tension between On’ogg and the former bandit lord Willem the Whistler.

The companions then make their way up to the tower in which Xandrilla has occupied. Though arcane signals abound, they fail to locate the orcish witch. Through intense searching, they find a passageway leading into the depths of the island.

Continuing down, the companions face several trials and traps before they locate Xandrilla. She had located a tunnel system of raw gemstones, surely the wealth of the now defunct Vayne family.

A sudden lurching of the ground interrupts any deliberation on how to proceed; something seemed to be tunneling it’s way through the ground nearby. They search throughout and encounter a pair of monstrous insect creatures. They not only lashed out with deadly claws, but seemed to sear away the strands of fate enthralling the companions.

Through some effort the companions eventually defeated the monsters. Fleeing the mines to the Keep above, they find things in a state of panic. The denizens of the Keep seemed struck by absolute madness, lashing out at one another with profound violence.

Finding disorder throughout the place, they moved steadily to uncover the source. Outside they found Elbanor fighting for his life and quickly brought order to the situation.

They then continued towards the greathall, where the feast had taken places only hours before. They found a strange daemon dining pleasantly at the main table while complete violent chaos tore through the area around him.

He showed a strange mastery of the situation, only baring his teeth when prodded by Kiranek. The companions dove into combat, attempting to end this creature.

At that very moment all of the mad denizens stopped and turned to confront the companions. So ensued a bloody conflict, not yet coming to it’s terminus before On’ogg and Maldahr grappled together, the daemon stealing his identity.

Seeing the conflict drawing to a close, both Oggs made to stop hostilities until things could be investigated. At that moment Kiranek banished both of the paladins. After several moments, only one reemerged.

The victory was bittersweet, with the companions knowing that somewhere this deceitful creature still moved in opposition to their purpose.

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Return from the West

The companions finish their mythical adventures with Zorbastorum, raising their friend to the seat of power within his ancestral home of the Sapphire Isles. Laden with gifts and prestige, they make the voyage back to Gorganhelm.

Their travels are interrupted by another ship, seeming to have been attacked by some large vessel of the Imperial Fleet. A lone survivor is brought aboard. Investigations of arcane design reveal her to be from the Praetorium Quaerentem of Pallorgrad.

She expresses her intentions to travel to Filament City, but agrees to travel with the companions for a time.

The companions decide to send word ahead to Captain Eddie Mathias and use the extra time to check in with their forces at their unnamed garrison.

They find the port town busy with activity, indeed the keep itself was well maintained and engrossed with workers. Under the guidance of Elbanor, who has been acting as magistrate to issue law and order on the area, economic exchange has provided an influx of revenue to the folks of Coldwater.

Willem the Whistler reports much of this, a (somewhat) changed man. It becomes apparent that several of the bandits have stayed in the area and now provide labor for the keep.

Though busy with the governing of the islet, Elbanor has apparently found time to convert some of this purse to a chapel and small garden place. The companions find the report lacking any solid details on the circumstances around the tower in which Xandrilla has inhabited.

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A Gathering of Captains

The companions gather what they know from the private journal of Bisbing the Captain Eater and tie up the loose ends at Sastasha Seagrotto. They decide to allow Trixxy Kee to take residence within the Seagrotto. They also bring sailer Brock into a sort of indentured servitude as a pittance towards redemption for his crimes.

They also bring news of their deeds to the Untergnomes, gaining the peculiar colony as a subterranean ally if they should have need. They also are introduced to the Unterberry, a seemingly benevolent fungus entity caring for the Untergnomes from the depths of their lair.

Returning to Gorganhelm, they find the denizens of the city in a buzz. An imperial frigate lay anchored some ways out in the bay, accompanied by a contingent of battle cruisers. There’s talk of all out war between the Aelostrian and the Imperium. Some even whisper that some dastardly move by the elves have drawn the traditionally neutral dwarven nation of Rorxammar into the conflict, aimed at the elves.

With the assistance of Morinth, the companions are reunited with Jotun Borzegar and the Aurens.

The companions decide to gain send an envoy to the Captain’s Moot being held that evening. Doing so they hope to gain a voice in the goings on; or at least gain a better understanding of the general reaction of the local political powers.

The companions make to ready the ship recently run by the Briny Barnacle gang, thereby qualifying to join the Moot. They attempt to rouse Castien Vauldra from the depression he has been stricken with, but they find him too enveloped with sorrow to be of immediate use.

Pivoting with expertise, they decide that Sayer must fit the bill. Quickly they make effort to ready both the vessel and the swashbuckler alike. With some effort, the group along with Zorbastorum dress Sayer up appropriately.

It is at this time that On’ogg and Marobar Sul discuss Ahrumaz kor’Javed, the Glorenfauzt and the World Chains of Agartha.

With no small effort the Hand and Akasha prepare their new vessel for display. They appoint Brock as temporary skipper and make way for the bay.

Sayer and On’Ogg mingle with the ‘dignitaries’ among the meeting just as their absent colleagues make way through the cove. Through no small amount of nautical shenanigans, they gain the attention of all present.

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The Unter-Place Pt. II

The companions sneak into the Briny Barnacle hideout through a little used storage room. The complex seems cut out through the terminus of the caverns of Sastasha. They press on, dodging the patrols of the crewmen, eventually coming to a small group of sailors. Gaining their attention, they lure the unsuspecting pirates back to their readied position.

The companions quickly dispatch several crewmembers of the Briny Barnacle, but a third is able to run and alert the attention of a few others. A larger group engages, causing the companions some trouble, but ultimately falling before their might.

Exploring this new area they find several prisoners, one being their old colleague Morinth Rheinhardt, the scouting agent from Archon’s Fall. Having completed her task, she had come to Gorganhelm in search of the companions. While investigating the whereabouts of the group, she had visited the Second Son and doesn’t remember much after that.

The group forge forward, eager to rid the place of the rest of the Briny crew. They confront Bisbing the Captain Eater and his strongest crewmembers, fighting on and around the ship itself which anchors within the cavern system. The companions best the leader and his crew, liberating Trixxy Kee
taking Brock as a prisoner.

They loot what they can find; treasure, items and the journal of Bisbing.

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The Unter-Place Pt. I

The companions press down into the depths of Sastasha Seagrotto, led to its entrance by Priestess Boopu and are told to follow the steady stream of water, which should lead to the Briny Barnacle hideout.

They encounter the Junkyproon, a large fungoid monster. Defeating it, they find a mostly ceremonial blade that the untergnomes must have prized for it’s luster.

The companions slay a giant who had been slaying untergnomes unlucky enough to venture within his lair.

They find strange lichen creatures that soon overwhelm the group. The companions slay the lot of them, though it was a close thing and left them much depleted.

Coming on a quiet cavern, they find a travelling knapsack, a small amount of foodstuffs and a journal penned by a sailor named Brock.

Eventually the companions come to a passageway that leads to the Briny Barnacle Hideout…

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Villainy Below Gorganhelm

The companions make their way back to the docks after their excursion to the ‘Grey Dawn’, feeling the need to find this Sandoval before it’s too late. They make their way to the Second Son, the local hang-out for the ‘Briny Barnacle’ crew, who they believe Stenner Sandoval to have had some dealings with recently.

Soon within the Second Son, which seems to be a teahouse with a foreign, somewhat exotic vibe. Noticing some small area damaged and blocked off, they attempt to coax information from the staff. Unfortunately their attempts are clumsy and disorganized, which draws the attention of the Teamaster, who ushers them out of the establishment.

There they run into a small pack of sailors, who give them a small amount of grief. The freebooters mention that they intend to see that “Sandoval gets what’s coming to him, no amount of luck from the Lady will save him from that”. They soon depart, hearing rumor that the old seadog may have turned up at the docks.

Hearing that Sandoval seems to hold some stock in the Lady of Fortune, the companions quickly make their way to the re-purposed Chapel of Galindred, where they look for clues. With an invocation almost unnoticed, Sayer flicks a gold coin onto the pile of offerings, which upsets a stack currency, spilling a large portion onto the floor.

There’s a slight shudder, then the foundation of the floor gives way, depositing the companions in a pile of rubble into the depths of the chambers below, long dusted with disuse.

~

They press forward in this quiet place, finding damp rooms of mushroom and foliage in some chambers. Noticing a sign with a language little understood, they pressed on carefully. Unfortunately a misstep triggered a small rip-cord, which besides seeming to cause a sudden clatter beyond, merely puzzled the companions.

Continuing forward they made contact with Jarly Horkuun and the untergnomes, who seemed to be hiding. The two groups were vastly curious about the other, which was much precipitated by the companions giving small gifts of oddities and trinkets. A female untergnome by the name of Boopu knew some small amount of the common tongue and acted as mediator for the clan.

Through peaceful acts of goodwill the companions effectively bought Sandoval from the untergnomes, who who had been found lurking in their kingdom. They had intent to sell him to the “briny folk”, who had in dealings with the untergnomes in the past. Apparently the briny folk had their hideout far in the depths of the “unterplace”.

Boopu led them to the chambers, where they found a half-crazed dwarf begging for the illumination of another candle. He seemed terrified of the darkness that would envelop the cell should his lone lamp go out. Sensing a malevolence nearby, the companions blessed Sandoval, effectively ridding him of any curses that may have gripped his soul.

Instantaneously a shadow spirit flung itself out of Sandoval’s shadow and attacked the companions. They proved more than match in the enclosed space and soon the spirit cast a dimensional shift spell and fled away.

They found Sandoval to be a broken man, anguished by the choices of his young son. He had apparently begun running with those of the Briny Barnacle, a crew of ill repute. Sandoval had come here in attempt to find his son and bring him back. The companions decided to go in his stead and deal with the Briny gang, who seemed to not only be slavers but also seemed to give the untergnomes trouble from time to time.

Resolute in their task, they stayed enjoyed the peculiar hospitality of the untergnomes and prepared for to explore the unterplace.

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Black Night, Grey Dawn

The companions visit a small cafe in the upper districts of Gorganhelm, hoping to gather rumors. They soon meet a small group of young adventurer women who tell them of the “Grey Dawn”, a ship that has anchored herself in the harbor. There’s talk of dark omens, as not a single soul seems to walk her decks.

Some suggest that it has something to do with the strange elvish ghost who has been terrorizing the low places of the city at night. Others believe it to have something to do with the mysterious sea madness which has been gripping the uncharted seas of the deep south.

They all decide to row out to the ship come sundown. Indeed, they find the vessel to be bereft of any life whatsoever. Splitting up, they search the upper cabins and the lower levels. In the Captains quarters, they find a logbook, cataloging the last several days of the voyage.

scene_-_grey_dawn.jpg

From the Log of Captain Horus Magpie, of the Grey Dawn:
- A sailor marooned upon a lifeboat sought passage to Gorganhelm, having barely survived a bloody revolt aboard the “Aquarius” (which he claims to have been lost in the mutiny).
- The sailor, who was recognized to be a dwarf named Sandoval, a lifetime freebooter of common standing. He was thrown in the brig.
- Over the coarse of several days, several crew members go missing, or die in strange accidents. Though none are implausible, the frequency is at first alarming then downright suspect.
- After days of these events, the surviving crew confronts Sandoval, who seems to be suffering sleep deprivation. Captain Magpie mentions that he intends to send him down the plank.
(Here in lies the last entry, which had been penned about three days ago).

Though below deck the scene is mostly calm and undisturbed, several cabins are scenes of bloody murder. Whatever had gotten to the survivors was both thorough and absolute.

Coming back together, the companions sneak down to the brig, ready for what may be lurking in wait. Strangely, they find the cell empty, the wrought iron bars bent and broken outward. With a final sweep of the ship coming up empty, they make haste to make for shore, to find this Sandoval before anyone else be slain.

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Sightseeing

The companions come together after their adventure in the wilds around Gorganhelm, finding Akasha trying to tend to the spirits of their friends. Though the effort seems have an effect on Baatu, Prince Zorba and Nazeer, Castien seems unmoved. Indeed, the elvish legionnaire seems to have room in his heart only for despair.

The companions seek out a safe place to keep their recovering friends, finding the remnants of an old ship wedged cradled through several trees in the cliffs high above the cove. They take the time to make it somewhat habitable, then continue to familiarize themselves with the city.

Among the destinations, they visit a small chapel in the upper district of Broad-Blade. Though several walls were covered with a carpet of moss and vines, the place didn’t seem completely disregarded. Centering the area was a large statue of a vaguely feminine being. She was surrounded by pieces of currency; some familiar while others must have come from far off lands and foreign societies. A placard nearby labeled the figure as thus: “Galindred, Lady of Fortune”.

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Foundation in the South Seas

The companions return to Gorganhelm, their experience in the strange shrine hanging heavy in their thoughts.

They spend the next week developing their own place in the city.

Sayer the Swashbuckler gains a proctor assignment with the Brass Gambit, serving in the ranks of Captain “Goldtooth” Malloy and his crew.

Witnessing the overly superstitious culture among the denizens of Gorganhelm, The Hand fabricated rumors of the ‘ghost of the elf noble’.

On’ogg spends some time reading some of the books that he has acquired and makes contact with the keeper of Bent Sheaf Depository. The keeper mentions that he will contact a colleague who may be able to shed light on the mysterious scrolls that Ogg had discovered in northern Collabria, who should be able to travel to Gorganhelm within a week or so.

~

The companions then come together at a small safehouse under the control of the Gambit crew. Here the operation officer under Captain Malloy assigns Sayer and his colleagues to look after the first mate of the Gambit, who has been long over due. He worries that the increasingly dangerous roads to the Vuthuk settlements may have something to do with her absence.

The companions set off to find her, following the road until eventually clues of the some struggle draws them off the beaten path. In their search they are confronted by a tribal native, who is attempting to find the beast who had slain his tribesman. They continue forward together after establishing that the lizardfolk would gain his trophy.

They follow signs of some wild beast further into the wilds, before coming on a long abandoned stone pavilion. Suddenly in a flash of movement, a lithe form attempts to flee; the companions and the lizardfolk intercept the figure of a half elf, who they realize is Lecksy the Briarthorn, who seems to in the verge of losing control. scene_-_curse_root.png

She explains in a panic that she has been inflicted with a strong lycanthropy, which she struggles to contain. The Vuthuk tribesman then attempts to engage her in combat, which is interrupted by the companions casting out the half elf’s curse. It billows forth, taking drawing in the fauna and root around the area and forming a mass of cursed root, which the companions soon slay.

First mate seems wary of returning, lest she bring trouble to her crew. She asks that the companions tell them that she is dead, a request which they comply. She then lays down on the altar of the pavilion and turns to a stone wolf. The Vuthuk tribesman is persuaded to take a trophy from the cursed root, cowing his thirst for vengeance.

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