Gift of Eomar

7th to the Rescue!

The companions rush back to the Praetorium Quaerentem to confront Professor Josiah Norrath only to find the halls in a state of emergency. The buildings have been evacuated and there seems to be an active battle in at least one wing of the building.

Fighting through a wave of undead students, the companions fall in league with several Imperial knights. Together, they fight their way to the infirmary, where Gaius Loravius, Commandant of the 7th Legion.

He had made a command post in the area., bringing a contingent of knights from the 7th in response to the outbreak at the Praetorium. The companions arrived during the purge. The companions impressed Gaius with their knowledge of the injustices carried out and brought them to Professor Norrath’s cell for their continued insights. Professor Kasperov was also on site, assisting where he could.

The cell seemed to be ground zero for the outbreak of undeath that sprang through the Praetorium. Norrath was nowhere to be found, but signs of his passing were evident. He seemed to have drawn a great deal of blood from a blade that they found discarded nearby. The blade was identified as a simple dagger, but did resonate from the blood magic exhumed from it. The sacrifice of life’s blood seemed to have an amplification effect.

Signs point towards Norrath having moved through the complex towards the astrology tower. Professor Kasperov is not against the companions investigating the tower, but he insists they wait until he and his compatriots sweep the area of any arcano-traps that Norrath may have left behind. He then continues forward with Gaius, discussing matters among themselves.

~

The companions fall back to Pallorgrad proper, taking the time to check in at Arkhin’s place of business. They also meet up with Baatu, who seems to have accrued a vast wealth of credit in their name. On’ogg communicates his displeasure and sends Baatu on his way.

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Halls of Haxonfield

The companions venture into the grounds of Haxonfield Manor in search of Lor Ragdoth. They find the estate in terrible condition. Derelict and ominous, they find supernatural evidence of a spirit lingering on the premises. Signs seem to point to a feminine specter, likely that of Lady Patricia Haxonfield.

They also find signs that Lady Haxonfield had done something quite evil while residing in the house. On the upper floors, they find several rooms a little more lived in. One such bedroom they attribute to a one Alexei Hush, who appears to have spent his formative years at the manor.

As best as the companions can gather, young Alexei had come to the house with his father, who had remarried the widowed Lady Patricia some time ago. The boy seemed to have a strangeness about him; inexplicable occurrences were connected to him without good answer. Though not singular, this would often draw the ire of Lady Patricia, who despised the boy.

The companions also found that Alexei had attended the Praetorium Quaerentem, where he studied under Professor Josiah Norrath.

While investigating, the companions came into contact with the mysterious figure they only know as Shrike. Though certainly a threat, they attempt to diffuse the situation without unmitigated violence.

Through a critically placed command, On’ogg is able to bind the figure’s figure within the bounds of enchantment for a moment. Shrikes exclaims that she is not there for them and has no wish to harm them as long as they stand not in her way.

Pressing further, a familiarity creeps into the confrontation. She seems to know of the companions, though she says it’s been many years since they had met. She reveals herself to be Constance Marrow, lost adrift in the astral plane. Though it had been about nine month cycles since they had last seen her, decades had passed for her (somewhere between 27-32 years, best as she can tell).

She explains that in her long travels she had honed her hatred of those responsible for Khalsbrad. Now returned, it’s her sole purpose to destroy all those associated with the Crimson Dusk, a secret society of necromancers that the dreaded Hush was a disciple there of.

Lady Shrike mentions that she had followed signs of a powerful agent of the Crimson Dusk to Haxonfield Manor, hoping to strike another blow to the

Seeing a potential ally in one another, the companions part ways with Lady Shrike, agreeing to investigate this society further. Should they have need, she mentions they should come to the warehouse district of Roppsman Ghetto, that they may find what she knows illuminating.

The companions also find a painting of Alexei as a youth and realize that he bares a striking resemblance to the man who would become Hush.

In the upper recesses of the manor house, they find a well kept study with a series of books and literature, which Ahrkin Vesh recognizes to be illegal contraband, not least of which “The Space Between the Stars”, an early work attributed to Josiah Norrath. Long written off as a project of reality-bending, first-person fiction that foretold the arrival of some cosmic entity and the calamity surrounding the event.

The companions also find a crate of skystone ingots, seemingly pilfered from an private holding contracted through the Imperial research division.

Within the belfry, they find a complex esoteric circle made of bone, bronze and wood. Assessing the arcane signs, they find it to be a conjuration device, likely some persistent arcane gate that can lead into an unknown space. Hoping to follow their query to what they believe to be a lair of sorts, they attempt to interact with the defice, but find it null of any power.

Referencing the notes found, they believe some powerful relic, perhaps known as a ‘Blood Diamond’ may be used by those of the Crimson Dusk to manipulate the gate. A key of sorts.

The companions make their way to leave, to investigate further into the Crimson Dusk and this ‘Blood Diamond’, but decide to check the basement for any last clues.

There they find a terrible horror known as Thanatos. He mentions a knowledge of the boy, Alexei. He also mentions having been in a torpid sleep for several years and being thrilled to be back to his ‘work’ again (which seemed to be slaughtering humanoids and performing blood/gore sacrifice in the cellar of Haxonfield).

It’s a hard fought encounter, but the companions eventually defeat Thanatos. Upon investigating the figure, it’s revealed that though Thanatos carried the familiar taint of undeath that he was in fact a devil. Within the chambers below they find a collection of disembodied heads, the cranium of Dorothy Redbranch among the assembly.

Strained by the encounter, the companions are glad to leave Haxonfield Manor.

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In Pursuit

The companions move through the Praetorium Quaerentem in search of any clues telling the now absent Lor Ragdoth. They find Professor Josiah Norrath had collapsed in a fit of exhaustion and entrust him to his colleague, Professor Fulnas Kasperov.

Within Professor Norrath’s study they find several clues; not least of which a deed to Haxonfield Manor, signed over to Lor Ragdoth in the last year. Desperate to find Lor, they make their way to the Praetorium laboratory. They seem to miss Norrath’s research assistant, but get word that he had come through recently, and had departed in a hurry.

Within his work space, they find a series of experiments that seem to be in the research of Yellow Lung. When inquiring with the laboratory associate, they find that he had removed a few items from the stores; a few arcano-devices and a naturally occurring medium known as basalt, which they find to be a strong conductor of the conjuration school of magic.

The associate also mentions that Lor Ragdoth is due to to guide a medical symposium at the Silver Saffron Theater and the companions give chase.

The companions pursue Lor Ragdoth to the symposium, but find the scene bereft of the elusive researcher. There they find a distraught coordinator who struggles to hold it together with a full audience and no real presentation to satisfy the gathering.

A little put out, the companions linger around the theater, where they notice several youngsters that seem to have caught their attention. They intercept one of the scamps, who reveal that a figure matching Lor Ragdoth’s attention had promised a silver piece for them to follow and report the companion’s activity.

Should they have anything of note to bring to him, they were to report to a certain address; the companions follow the direction and find themselves outside Haxonfield Manor.

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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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