Taihun

Hyxhuathil Briefing pt. 7
The Missing Round

Gemscale realizes that he doesn’t recognize the kobolds and he lets out a sigh of relief. Seeing their burns, he flashes back to the prison he was just recently shackled in and remembers the fiery torture devices. Maybe these kobolds are running from the same enemy.
Regardless, Gemscale decides the best course of action currently is to talk to the giants trying to intervene as the gold is weighing him down. He yells quickly and matter-of-factly “STOP THIEF WITH WAGON!!”

Lorrias, seeing the sleeping spell failing, tries to stand his ground and appear brave as he shouts. “Explain yourself! What do you want?” He clutches his shortsword with one hand, and reaches for his component pouch with the other.

Zadkiel observes the one-armed Elfblood as he angrily stares at Lorrias. Hyln bumps into the bald humanoid as he tries to aim his axe at the harnesses of the horses he failed to calm. Striking hard, he splits the leather and frees the steeds. They rear up and charge forward, ramming into Hyln and Zadkiel as they barrel past.

Knives moves next to the trader and puts a claw to his throat while saying in a soft voice “I think it is in your best interest to stop…” He is cut off as the trader pushes the clawed hand aside, crossing with a punch to the jaw with the handle of the tiny crossbow in his hand.
Through gritted teeth, the Svirfneblin growls at the Tabaxi. “Back off! This doesn’t concern you, Feline!”

The Stone Giants all look at each other, look down at the ground and begin to move in towards Knives. It appears Gemscale’s instructions were less than clear.

Roll for initative (1d20 + your dexterity modifier). What do you do?

Hyln takes 6 Hit Points of damage from the wild horses.

Zadkiel takes 4 Hit Points of damage from the wild horses.

Plays with Knives takes 4 Hit Points of damage from Kejermann’s attack.

Everyone apart from Halfdan and Knives must make a Dexterity saving throw (1d20 + your dexterity modifier (+ your proficiency bonus, if proficient)) if you want to move more than 10 feet due to the ice sheet on the floor.

Hexfang +5XP
Gemscale +10XP
Zadkiel +10XP
Aar +5XP
Lorrias +10XP
Hyln +15XP
Knives +15XP
Halfdan +5XP

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On the Road At Last pt. 3
Arriving Rainstorm

Ero retreats out of doors once again – the camaraderie inside is familiar and comfortable, but the oncoming storm and the disappearance of Geran have set him on edge. He circles the settlement, then sets himself up in a tree with a good view of the area. He passes the evening alternatively watching the area and looking for the moon. He misses his home. Noticing that the night sky hosts two moons here, and they move, it seems home is much farther away… “Well… hell…”

Inside, further arguing occurs around the recent use of one of Adrik’s clay tiles. Lorawyn mostly stays quiet during the party’s yelling. She’s already said her two copper’s worth about Geran once, and she sees no point in saying it again. Still, on the inside, she’s seething with rage at the dragon.

Darrin grabs the ramaining tile from Nix’s hands and crushes it. A Skeleton, bedecked in a strange blue-black armour, rotting red cape and a knife in its skeletal hand, appears an inch above the table and falls onto it in a clump. Dust erupts from within the ribcage and between the tibias and fibulas. The blade of the knife is scuffed in places, but still sharp. Sticking out from between his ribs is a spearhead, mostly rusted away. A crown rolls from the skull and clatters onto the floor.

The Dwarves stop their fun and stare. Theodore presses his palm into the table as he rises, his other hand grasping for a weapon just in case. “What the-?!?! Darrin, what did you do?”
“Gods…. DAMN IT!” Darrins hands clench into fists at his sides, and his head rears up to scream the last two words into the ceiling. “I SAID! I SAID DRAGONS WERE GLIB, TREACHEROUS REPTILES! But no, we had to be best pals! Keep what was already a traitor prince close! UNTIE HIM!? REALLY!!?!”

As he rants, he walks over casually to the crown, and picks it up. He’s still spewing forth ungenerous things about Geran and his friends, but he examines the crown as he does so. Theodore pokes at the skeleton with the pommel of his blade, reassuring himself that it isn’t about to rise up and attack. He identifies this as someone who died in the midst of battle, and their wounds suggest they have since spent centuries buried under tonnes of rock, perhaps in one of the collapsed tunnels in the Citadel. There’s certainly a wealth of evidence to suggest this was the King.
“I apologize, everyone. Just a magical mishap over here. We’re trying to figure out what exactly happened.” He says to the whole tavern.

Darrin gets the crown and sees signs of millenias-old construction. There are telltale signs of human, Elven and even Dwarf craftsmanship in different parts of the crown. Some of it is broken, but it’s still identifiable. There are no precious stones inlaid, although it looks the sort to have had this. There aren’t even any empty sockets. The crown is made of gold for the most part.

Ezra finishes his conversation with the bar contact from the Cursed Children, signing that he has found something and that he would like a meeting. A response is given, pointing out that meetings among the Cursed Children are not requested, they are ordered. If information is known, it should be shared with this contact, Ezra is told. At this, Ezra examines his drink a little sheepishly. Turning to Darrin, who is almost inexplicably backing away slowly from the group with a gold crown in hand, he transfers his annoyance to the Elfblood. “Did you have to do that here?” Ezra motions to the dusty pile of bones on the table.

Nix leans over, humming delightfully to herself after a minute of muttering and poking at the various items on display. Touching a part of the metal collar on the plate armour covering the arms, thighs, neck and torso of the former King, Nix takes in a sharp breath as the armour moves. The various plates contract and slide over and under one another, all moving to the central breast plate. The lines and indentations on the armour were not simply decoration, but serve as rails and guides for the magical mechanism of the armour. It moves from being a sturdy and complete set of Plate armour to a thick breastplate, greaves and arm guards. Nix looks over the thing, and activates the mechanism once again. A conversation quickly scrambles together out of disparate whispers; Talison and Theodore both show interest in the armour. When Simon pipes up about “respecting the dead” and leaving the King’s armour with him, Chriswin chimes in. “The dead have no need for armour, friend. The dead serve only to grant life to the living.”

Talk amongst the Dwarves turns to resolving the conflict of who gets the armour through various means. A few suggest direct combat, a duel for the prize. Others suggest a game of Shields, although the tavern looks far too small to host such an event. Several contests of Strength or prowess are brought up as suggestions. Eyes turn to Talison and Theodore for their input on the matter…

Nix casts an eye on Darrin as his face grows pale, his hand tightening around the crown. Turning to the bartender, and hoping to casually allow Darrin to realise that events are still occurring, that he can return his mind to the real world soon, she asks for help with securing a coffin or suitable box for the King’s remains. The bartender silently points to a person at the bar who has overheard. They introduce themselves and reveal they are the village carpenter’s son. He agrees to fetch his father, and they can have something put together by the morning.

In the meantime, the bartender offers an empty barrel. The carpenter wants a gold for the work, the bartender wants 3 silver for the barrel and to make up for the commotion. Ezra offers to cover this cost. “And another gold for putting up with us”
“Thank you, Ezra.” Nix thanks the tall gent. “That is lovely of you. And a bed for each of us including the Dwarves. I’m sure they can each pay for themselves. I’ll pay for Ezra. Thank you dear.” Turning from the bartender to the Dwarves, most of them still wagering amongst themselves over who would win in various contests of speed or strength or endurance. “BOYS! Could one of you be a dear and GENTLY! put the good dear king into the barrel for safekeeping? A proper burial might do him good.”

Darrin, rather than snapping out of his trance, simply intones “… gooold…” upon seeing Ezra’s coin. Ezra and Nix begin sharing what they know of each other and the group, how Ezra knows Ero, how Nix knows, well, everyone. The Dwarven conversation turns to louder chants for various contests, and the idea of simply having the person with the most gold own the armour comes up. “Gold?” Darrin says, mostly to himself. He then steps forward again to the crowd and threateningly waves the crown in their faces. “GOLD!?”
“How much have they been drinking?” Ezra whispers to Nix, who furrows her brow deeply.
“Darrin doesn’t drink…” Nix looks closely, and then pulls Darrin aside. His eyes are almost glazed, and he doesn’t appear to be looking at anything in particular. Keeping calm for his sake, Nix swallows a worry in her throat and tries to rationalise the situation aloud. “I believe that the source of Darrin’s blood may be traced back to dragon’s blood, though I may be mistaken.”

There’s a dull thunk as the crown lands on the floor in front of Darrin, just as Nix uses the word “dragon”. He steps back unsteadily, seemingly finding it hard to find his balance. He grips the bar to steady himself.
When he speaks again, his voice cracks dryly. “… could you take that away from me please, Nix?”
Nix raises both eyebrows and glances sideways at Ezra. She collects the pieces of the crown. “Darrin, we should talk a bit more later in private about this. You’ve been acting a bit strange, lately.”
“I’ll-” He clears his throat. “…I will be fine. I just… I’ve never seen so much gold in one place before. It awoke something in me.” His eyes meet Nix’s, then Ezra’s, and then dart down to the floor, where the crown lay moments ago. “I should get some… rest. It’s been a long day. I’ll see you. In the morning. Yes.”

He leaves, surprisingly, through the front door of the Tavern and not into one of the rooms recently secured by Nix.
Ezra calls out to him pleasantly. “Have a good rest!” Turning back to Nix a look of concern quickly finds its way onto Ezra’s face. “Not to overstep, but I would recommend keeping an eye on that one.”
“Yeah. That was just a little weird.” Theodore says, having paid attention to the strangeness occuring before him. He ignores a Dwarf tugging on his arm, trying to get the measure of his hand span to better inform him of a wager.
“Gold and wealth has an effect on people. Some more then others.”
“Yes. It would appear so.” Taking a sip of his drink, Ezra finishes talking of Darrin and tries to move the conversation on to more productive matters. “I am sure he will be alright with a little aid and time. Forgive me, but I forgot what I was saying before.”
The conversation then turns to professions, and Ezra shares his status as a cartographer and map maker.

Talison pulls himself from the crowd of Dwarves cajoling him into swordplay against the grisled-looking Theodore. “So, Darrin, what do you think we should do? Do we still find Glaurung and hunt Glauphin down? Do we hunt down Glauphin by ourselves?…” He looks around, and see that Darrin has left the tavern. Adrik looks grimly at the tavern door, seemingly trying to make his mind up. He then does so, and without a word or look to anyone he gets up from his seat and follows where Darrin went, wolf padding along behind. It’s at this point the bartender notices that the dog is not a dog. “Er, excuse me!”
Adrik looks over his shoulder.
“… N… neverm… Have a good night, sir!”

Adrik embraces the cool night air, the smell of oncoming rain and the brightness of the stars and moons above. Ero spots the Dwarf and his companion, and the two share a look. Without nod or signal, the two know wordlessly that they are both looking out for the group. They then turn to their own methods.

The morning comes far too swiftly, and the rains have arrived. Heavy, thick raindrops bombard the ground and stir up massive mud puddles. The night’s rest was less than comfortable, there only being five rooms at the Inn, one having been taken up by another guest. Thirty Dwarves, Elves, Humans, Gnomes, Tieflings and Dragonborn don’t fit comfortably into four small rooms. Everyone made it work, however. Between those rooms and the hooded wagons, the night was restful to one degree or another.

Erik gathers the troops and makes a start on moving things along. Jila says his goodbyes, undeterred by the evening before. “I really must return to Lorestar. Perhaps I can dissuade them from marching on the Citadel somehow.”

The carpenter appears to have dropped off the coffin with the bartender; a different bartender presents it. A halfling with a scruffy beard and heavy sideburns braves the rain and leaves the house on the end.
“Who’s the leader of this group?” His voice is smooth and young-sounding, despite his looks.
“That would be me for now.” says Erik, standing up on his wagon.
“Are you planning on taking the body with you, or leaving it here? I would like to stress, we don’t have much provision for burials here.”
Erik looks to the group for guidance.

What do you do?

Any parting advice to Jila?

Is everyone travelling south, or is anyone staying here?

Bard’s Tale time!
Feel free to post a tale (or more than one). This “Bard’s Tale” can be a story set within the game world involving people and kingdoms we’ve encountered and dealt with, or they can be other stories that could be told in this world. It can be an account your character shares of their own experiences, if you like.

Talison +10XP
Nix +15XP
Darrin +15XP
Ero +10XP
Ezra +10XP
Adrik +5XP
Lorawyn +10XP
Theodore +15XP
Kain +5XP

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Haunted Fishing Village pt. 4
Imp Confession

Erimeyoma curses as the shoulder wound stings sharply, the poison passed on metastasising a little ways. Her body would heal, she reminds herself; poison has less of a hold on her body than it might for others. Still, it hurt. Her arm drops slightly, unable to hold the full weight of the quarterstaff.

Ouriana spots the two ravens flapping wildly around Erimeyoma. Swinging her arms around her body, she moves her left arm around her back and fingers the thong tied to the bow. Spreading it over the small knub she has on her backpack she hooks the bow on, freeing her left hand. At the same time, she brings her right hand from slightly behind her forward past her hip. Pulling a knife from its scabbard, she flings it into the air straight upwards. It spins, and bending her arm up and flexing her bicep she grabs the knife by the blade and whips her right arm forward as far as it will go. The blade leaves her hand turning only slightly in the air to point the blade at a raven. The blade’s aim is true, but the raven it flies towards hurls itself to the side and then turns its head to stare at the Tiefling. Seeing it is suitably distracted, Erimeyoma takes advantage and swings her quarterstaff down on top of it, crushing its skull and sending the body crashing to the ground.

The last raven, sensing its demise, gives a few strong flaps and rises into the air. It disappears after a few seconds, seemingly folding into the wind itself.

The shadow over the house is gone, although the wood still creaks slightly as though settling back into place.

Ouriana wanders over to Erimeyoma and pick up her dagger from the ground nearby. The two quickly catch their breath, look over the two dead bodies at their feet, and then both turn their heads to look over at the creature still breathing. All are now Imps, as Ouriana has seen their kind before and knows them well. The two dead ones are simple Imps now. The other, however, is wearing a metal harness. Walking over, pulling the arrow from its wing, the pale forester checks over the Imp. The harness is pinned into its spine under the skin, has an attached gauntlet that almost covers and entire arm, and appears to function as a power enhancement for the creature. It seems that the harness is designed to focus infernal energies and produce spell-like effects.
“Are you alright? Are you injured?” Ouriana asks while looking at the Imp, but obviously directing the question to the squamous woman behind her.
“Yes, and yes. But I’ll live.” Erimeyoma uses her quarterstaff to pin the living Imp down.

Narrowing her eyes and growling at the Imp, Erimeyoma’s voice reverberates with a lower tembre not her own. “Who are you? And why did you attack us?” Terror shoots through the tiny eyes of the creature.
[In Infernal] “W… we serve our master Beghazul! Flesh for Beghazul is all we craved! Frighten you, we would; feed on you, we would; please, return me to my master! Let me leave so I can share your greatness with my master!”
Erimeyoma looks confused, not understanding the language used. Ouriana responds in Infernal “And where is your master, little Imp?”
“What did it say?”
Ouriana looks over to her new companion and switches to the common tongue. “He serves someone named Beghazul. He wants to offer us to his master…”
“I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely not on the menu. Who, what, and where is Beghazul?”
The Imp responds, understanding Erimeyoma but too frightened to switch languages.
[In Infernal] “Not offer; parley! I wish to bring no further harm to the two of you! You have bested me in battle! Release me, and I will tell my lord to leave you be!”

He gives little information on this “Beghazul”, but he says that he is simply here to consume spirits from the town. He also wanted to start a side-enterprise converting living victims into slaves for his master, but didn’t anticipate being so easily defeated. He begs and pleads to be released, warning that his master will avenge his destruction if he doesn’t return.

What do you do?

Erimeyoma +10XP
Ouriana +15XP

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To the Citadel of Uril pt. 2
Strangers Approach

Cosima stays at the edges of the gathered gnomes, greeting some with a smile, others with a wink, and accepting raised eyebrows from those with which she had joined in the previous nights festivities. Trying to get closer, but not close enough to be noticed by the elven prince, to perceive the situation happening before her, she sees a single noble Elf standing tall. His chisled features contrast sharply with the more natural, doughy shapes of some of the Gnomes nearby.

Still, the arrival of this tall (by Gnome standards) and important person is fairly suspicious. Arriving in a flash bound, having escaped capture. It all seems too hard to believe, too convenient perhaps. Why this field? Why now, right when the gnomes travel this way? A bit suspicious if she does think so herself.

Trying to get a measure of the man as two Gnomes step forward as King and Queen, he immediately turns reverent to the Gnome nobles. He seems sincere in most of what he says, although his excuses of wanting to travel alone fall a little flat. “It isn’t the place of royalty to be wandering the land alone, especially so recently after an encounter which leaves him bound.” The King and Queen introduce Cosima as their royal advisor. Geran, the Elven noble, looks Cosima up and down. He then looks her in the eye and strains a smile. He is evidently not taken by her attire.
“You not need be seen with we Gnomes. To ensure your safety during travel, you could stay inside one of the caravans! Else perhaps a smaller escort would be enough…”

The King and Queen turn to look at Geran, awaiting his response. His grimace turns to resignation. “It will be… and honour… to travel among you for a short time. Thank you for your hospitality.”

The evening progresses with many trying to involve Geran in evening festivities; after a hard day of travel, a hearty feast and night of song is what Gnomes crave. The Elf stays mostly to himself and refuses to answer too many questions. He does remain cordial throughout, however.

The morning comes and more oddities occur. One of the more restless among the group waits for others to awake. Cosima rises with the growing murmurs, and goes to find out what the focus of attention is that roused her from her slumbers. Approaching from a distance are two groups. From the south, and Somergleam, come some mounted soldiers. Five armed and armoured men and women.
From the west come a slower-approaching band. Goblins, perhaps a dozen or so of them.

Should the meeting of these two forces turn ugly, the sheer size of the Gnome force should at least give them pause. While they pose no threat, it is curious that they should both approach. The question arises as to whether these groups should be greeted, or if the caravan should pack up and leave. Geran, it seems, is indifferent on the matter. Tipsin suggests moving on; getting caught up in a local squabble is not in the interests of the mission. The ultimate resolution, it seems, is that the caravan will prepare to head off past the Goblins, while a small contingent of around five wagons will remain and handle the arising situation here; finding out what is happening in the local area, and if the Somergleam kingdom can perhaps be bartered with to be an ally in any potential coming conflict that would be of great benefit.

The five wagons that remain are chosen, and the rest continue their journey west. Passing by the Goblins, one dressed in a dirty and bedraggled robe raises his head to look beyond the lip of his hood at the wagon train. He has one dead eye of pure white, and both earlobes have been long since taken by damage. His group carries on walking east towards the five remaining Gnome wagons.

What do you do?

Is Cosima part of the group continuing west to the destination, or staying to learn more, and then move on to Somergleam to negotiate aid?

Cosima +10XP

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Haunted Fishing Village pt. 3
Poison Strikes

The ravens fold over in the air and dive down, splitting their attentions between the two warriors. The one that spoke zooms down and tries to snap its beak on Ouriana’s arm. Separating her readied arrow, the horned fighter backhands the raven with her bow hand, batting it away, and she then deftly nocks, draws and looses another arrow after it, managing to take it down in the singular fluid motion. The arrow pierces a wing, and the creature flops hard to the ground. Its chest still heaving, it is incapacitated but alive.

The other two dive at Erimeyoma, her mouth opening to eject a poisonous stream of liquid. It hits one of the ravens and seems to sizzle on its feathers, but doesn’t look as though its done any damage. The birds swipe by, one of them biting the Dragonborn hard on the shoulder. It flips over and flaps rapidly as it tries to right itself, but then swoops smoothly away up into the air again. The mark in her shoulder stings harshly, causing her to whince and move a hand to cradle her wound.

Roll for initiative (1d20 + your dexterity modifier). What do you do?

Erimeyoma too 5 damage. She also needs to make a Constitution saving throw (1d20 + your Constitution modifier (+ your proficiency modifer, if applicable)). The DC is 11. If you fail, you take 10 poison damage. If you succeed, you take half of that (5).

The ravens are 10 feet straight up in the air. You can hit them with a melee weapon.

Erimeyoma +20XP
Ouriana +15XP

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To the Citadel of Uril pt. 1
An Unexpected Journey

The hills seem to pull aside as the wagons trundle between them. The sheer power one can feel from being part of such an army of wagons is immense. The caravan was called by Tipsin, a noble Gnome and respected person in the political community. Being a Gnome, however, they are simply another person. All Gnomes in Gnome society are equal, no matter what they bring to the table. Millenia ago it was agreed, by observation and research, that it is impossible to measure the worth of a person since every person affects every other. A hunter brings down game today, but his ancestor developed the spear by which he hunts, his neighbours by their presence or absence change the direction the quarry turns, and a child can spur on the memory of a hunt long gone by that helps with the current one. The impact of each and every person is unique but indisctinct; to reward one member of the group more than any other seemed silly in light of this philisophical revelation. The society embraced these ideals, and as such they no longer hold to ideas of having any one Gnome above others in authority.

Tipsin called for this caravan to form, and form it did. Cosima knew that if she ever wanted to do the same, all she’d need to do is ask.

After passing the hills, Tipsin asks to press on through the first night, despite waking everyone up early in the morning to begin on this journey. The destination is unclear, but it is said to be three days travel west of Somergleam, the nearby Human township, and hugging along the coast. Not a lot of civilisation in that part of the world.

The warm air of the forest pulls away and seems to claw at the wagons, begging them to return to comfort. Alas, the cooler winds and nearby storms await the group. More than five hundred wagons, more than a thousand Gnomes, travel along the roughly travelled roads through thick grassland towards their destination. The first night of rest comes after their second day of travel, and the group stop in the middle of a vast field. Miles of vast grassland sweep north, south, east and west now. The night is warm, however, as the roaring campfires throughout the campsite house multiple warm bodies. Rich foods are shared, along with stories. Several bards gather and sing lofty songs of travel, of love and of history gone by. The crowds are thoroughly entertained, and even those that do not usually perform do something for the crowds. While not everyone gathers in one spot, there’s enough flow and movement to say hello to everyone in the evening. Everyone has something; a song, a poem, a magic trick, a story, a short play or a performable skill.

The evening settles in. The next day goes by much like the last, but with everyone feeling much more refreshed. To the south on the horizon, Somergleam can be seen. The ground below feels softer and more damp; rain was here recently. Miles to the Northwest, a giant rainstorm can be seen and heard moving further away.

As the camp is set up on this third night, a strange thing occurs: a burst of light captures the eyes of several Gnomes who decide to go and investigate. While several miles from Somergleam, they’re close enough; trouble to Somergleam means trouble to business. Half an hour later they return with a surprising guest. Geran Edhel, Prince of Tharensari, an Elven city far to the west, sits at the front of one of the returning wagons massaging his wrists and hands. Tipsin holds aloft some cut ropes.

“It appears Prince Geran has recently escaped capture by some miscreants. I believe we should provide shelter and escort for him, although he believes himself capable of making his own way from here. Perhaps we should ask the King and Queen.” He asks in a leading fashion.

Cosima knows, just as the others do, that there is no King and Queen. They are simply chosen Gnomes to handle a given situation to give the illusion of a central government for the Gnomes. Volunteers are often asked for in times like this. Upon volunteering, however, ones statements and orders are treated as though they truly were royal decree.

With a strange royal appearing in a grassy field out of nowhere, halfway along their journey to an important meeting, it certainly is strange. Should he be left to travel on his own, or should the Gnome caravan take him along escorted? What if he’s still in danger from these captors?

What do you do?

Cosima +0XP

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Hyxhuathil Briefing pt. 6
Interventions

Halfdan’s eyes glare furiously at the crossbow bolt as it flies by, and he slowly turns his head to follow the route back to where it came from as he still advances. Reaching his hand behind his back, he pulls the spear he carries free from its mooring.

Managing the steady themselves for the most part on the glassy floor, the group Knives and Hyln now find themselves with appear to be helping this one-armed man to some degree. HexFang, the dark-coloured green dragon, spins and throws his weight behind a tail whack. Stricking the rear wheel of the wagon, he manages to knock it out of its original position and stop it turning, splintering some of the wood. Knives runs a few steps, claws scratching into the ice to get a firm foothold, and slaps his hands down to the ground to launch himself up into the air. Twisting slightly in the air before splaying his arms and legs out wide, the Tabaxi lands on the back of the wagon behind Kejermann.

Zadkiel and Aar try to get out of the way of the wagon as it turns and pulls away. The horses skid and slide, eventually losing their footing and falling. They pull on their harnesses and the wood can be heard straining to hold the weight of the beasts. Kejermann shakes the reigns angrily, turns to get something and is confronted by Knives, his claws drawn and at the ready. Turning again to face the front of the wagon, his eyes lock with Halfdan’s. The roguish adventurer thinks back to his days piking in shallow riverbanks, and flexes his muscular arm back. Throwing it forward and releasing the spear, a part of him expects it to stop a few feet away stuck in a fish. It flies through the frosty air and strikes the wagon near the Svirfneblin thief. A visible shudder goes through the grey man, and he looks terrified. His gaze flicks about, looking for some way out of this situation.

The horses stand up and try move off again, and Kejermann lets out a sigh of relief, only to catch the end of it in a curse; Hyln, the Goliath that looks as a child amongst the Stone Giants, rushes to the front of the wagon and holds his hands up in a calming fashion. He coos and hushes the horses, trying to calm them down. The recent spear-throws, reign-pulls and loud commotion appear to overpower the attempt, however, and the horses strain and pull at the wagon, struggling to pull against the broken rear wheel.

Gemscale, ignoring the fight and concentrating on the Kobolds slipping and trying to get away from the whole mess, calls out. “Hey Kobold! What’s your business in this village?” his voice has a grating tone, each vowel stretched ever so slightly as his large mouth contends with the common tongue. The two try to look up as they scramble. Their faces are unfamiliar to Gemscale, but they look to have been burned in a way to cause as much pain as possible for as long as possible: they were tortured. The pain and loss in their eyes is haunting. They look as though they’re about to talk, when a shadow falls over them. Looking up, Gemscale can see that the Stone Giants are seeking to intervene. Three of them are towering over the scene and looking about, their hands seeming ready to pick someone up but they’re a little confused over what to do.

Halfdan, however, begins to feel drowsy as the dark shapes draw closer. His eyes blink closed for a moment, and then he shakes the drowsiness away. He looks up and around, eventually seeing that it was not a Giant but a mage. And not just any mage, but an Elfblood! Whether full Elf or Half-Elf as himself, Halfdan struggled to comprehend how a learned scholar of magics might consider themselves able to put an Elfblood to sleep. Lorrias, the Elf Wizard in question, raises both of his eyebrows in surprise, a worry in his eyes now that he’s been found out.

Roll for initative (1d20 + your dexterity modifier). What do you do?

Everyone apart from Halfdan and Knives must make a Dexterity saving throw (1d20 + your dexterity modifier (+ your proficiency bonus, if proficient)) if you want to move more than 10 feet due to the ice sheet on the floor.

Hexfang +15XP
Gemscale +15XP
Zadkiel +10XP
Aar +5XP
Lorrias +15XP
Hyln +15XP
Knives +15XP
Halfdan +15XP

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On the Road At Last pt. 2
An Unexpected Departure

As the consensus falls on staying at this ‘Pleasant Pheasant’ tavern and Inn for the night, Theodore examines the rest of the buildings. Seeing the outward signs of industry and trade, he sees that there is a general purpose Smith, most likely dealing in cobbling, a Carpenter, a Translator and a Guide service to the local area. All the business buildings double as homes, and inside the windows scenes of family meals can be seen. Besides these four, the Inn and the Grain Store, another house sits at the end of what could be argued to be the street of this village. It bears no obvious symbols or signs of service or industry, and it sits in darkness.

Ero, Adrik, Darrin and Geran stand by the side of a wagon while the logistics of who is parking what where are being worked out.
“Well my fine gentlemen, we still have a long journey ahead of us. How many more days rides is it? My Uncle Tibsin should arrive at the monolith in three days from now if I’ve done my math correctly.” Nix declares to her party, a few of the Dwarven soldiers stopping to listen also.

“I think it would be smart of us to stay the night. If we push ourselves the whole journey we will be absolutely exhausted by the time we get there. We will make better time in the daylight anyhow. This looks like a quaint enough place. I love little new places like this!” Nix is not generally too perturbed about much, but she would rather not spend a night in a tent in the coming storm when there is a perfectly reasonable bed and breakfast right there. Dismounting from the wagon onto the crunchy cool ground, she passes Adrik giving Geran the Enervation Stone. The bound Elf Prince handles the stone almost gleefully, and he does seem to perk up visibly. Perhaps these stones do indeed work.

Ero echoes Nix’s sentiment in his usual, dry approach. “Here’s as good as a ditch by the roadside.” Ero gets a flash of disbelief across his face for a moment, though, as four nearby Dwarves laugh. They laughed at his joke! In all his time over the last few days, barely a one of his jokes had landed and found an audience, but these Dwarves let out more than a simple chuckle. Simon rouses slightly from his stupour at the merriment. Groaning, he looks about with bleary eyes. “Are we there yet?”

As the decision is made and the wagons begin pulling under the open cover next to the Inn, Erik and Theodore wander into the Inn itself. Ero and Darrin begin to argue, gently, about the merits of having Geran bound while on their journey. The threat of him casting spells, Darrin contends, outweighs the comfort of travelling without accost. Nix gets involved, and the conversation turns productive instead, Geran nodding away with almost every point. Nix gets ready instead to write a document clarifying that this Geran is an imposter, with a seal of her house, so that when the group departs in different directions in the morning, they won’t have to deal with too much hassle. Ero then considers his ability to change shapes in the first place. “Ancient One…” he ponders almost to himself, then turning to Geran directly. “How many faces can you wear?”

Geran grins widely at Ero, deliberately fumbles the Enervation Stone between his bound fingers and his eyes follow it as it tumbles to the hard ground. Flicking his eyes up and looking Darrin straight in the eyes, he raises one foot and stamps down hard on the stone. The sheer joy and victory in his eyes as they squeeze in laughter shocks Darrin for a moment, the cracking, crunching sound of the clay tile under Geran’s heel serves as the only audible accompanyment to his departure. Geran disappears in the briefest of flashes, knots and all. Geran is gone.

Darrin takes a few rapid deep breaths before calling a bit louder than he intended, eyes locked on the floor where Geran stood a mere moment ago. “Adrik! Do you have any more of those stones!?” Adrik obliges and hands the other over. Nix and Darrin examine it, turning it over in their hands and concentrating on it. Their combined magical energies flowing from their fingertips act as another sense, trying to divine any mystical properties of the instrument. Between them, they work out that these are not, in fact, Enervation Stones. They think back, and realise that the only source for that information was Geran. Talison and Ero look around for any signs of a trap having been sprung.

The Stone Geran used was a Teleportation stone, with a fixed destination. Now crushed, it is unusable. The function of the second one is presumably similar, and just as perishable. However the one that is currently intact seems to work the opposite way; it’s a summoning stone, designed to bring an item or being that has been previously marked by whoever made this stone to the point at which it is used. The destination of the first stone, though, will have been determined centuries or even millenia ago; it’s unlikely Geran even knew where he was going, just that he was going elsewhere.

Which then brings into question everything Geran said. Glauphin is indeed a Dragon written about in the annals of history, but his rivalry, the danger from the North, the need to escape from Glaurung… all of this needs to be re-examined, it seems. Disturbed by this thought, and with the wind howling about them, Nix gathers everyone and escorts them inside. Simon holds his head in his hands, seemingly oblivious to all that has transpired over the last three days.

The tavern of the Pleasant Pheasant is surprisingly active. While not heaving, there are a good dozen patrons, an active instrumental from a player in the corner and a healthy din of chatter. The entrance of the party is met with a nod and a hail from the barkeep. Most of the patrons simply look up and back down into their conversations, undisturbed. A few tables are commandeered by the Dwarves, and the thirty of you all sit in close proximity. Between the soldiers, drivers, friends and allies, the first mugs of ale bring about lively and friendly talk and tales. Simon perks up slightly, and gets involved with the lyrical poem being improvised to one side.

Nix, however, looks over the tile they have remaining while casting her Identify spell. Saving her eyes, and knowing she will be refreshed after a good rest, she opts not to perform the lengthy ritual. She discovers that the tile has a strange, unknown spell cast upon and within it. It appears to be a variation of an Instant Summons spell, but can transport a person instead of simply a lightweight item. The tile has been attuned to summon the King of Uril, likely a security measure to instantly free him from capture. Wherever the King is, dead or alive, he will be brought to whoever crushes the tile. Given the age of the ruins, most likely it will bring nothing but bones and his rotten clothes.

Ezra looks around the tavern, having noted the marking above the doorway showing that a guildsman was inside. Seeing a familiar face, they avoid eye contact and make it difficult for any onlooker to notice they wish to speak to Ezra, but Ezra notices. While up at the bar to get another drink, the pair communicate in their Cant, mostly through hand gestures. The contact, a member of the Cursed Children in Somergleam, asks if any interesting, guild-furthering discoveries have been made…

What do you do?

Bard’s Tale time!
Feel free to post a tale (or more than one). This “Bard’s Tale” can be a story set within the game world involving people and kingdoms we’ve encountered and dealt with, or they can be other stories that could be told in this world. It can be an account your character shares of their own experiences, if you like.

Talison +15XP
Nix +15XP
Darrin +15XP
Ero +15XP
Ezra +20XP
Chriswin +5XP
Adrik +5XP
Lorawyn +5XP
Theodore +15XP
Kain +5XP

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Hyxhuathil Briefing pt. 5
Town Square-Off

Gemscale recalls what he knows of White Dragons; their feral rage, lack of empathy and a voracious appetite. Beyond that, only their love of the cold and ice caves is known. As he wakes early with the others, and tries to carry all forty of the giant coins to the trader.

The huge doors beginning to close behind him, Halfdan stomps angrily towards the Svirfneblin. “Hey! Arseneblin, think it’s funny to steal from a cripple, do ya?!”
Gemscales looks, and sees that the man shouting is indeed missing his left arm. Holding out his right arm, the air shimmers slightly around this stranger before settling back to normal. Everyone closer to the trader, however, gives out a gasp or yelp of surprise.

Zadkiel, Knives, Hyln, HexFang, Aar and Lorrias are all by the wagon examining the wares, and have just completed a quick transaction to get some unperishable consumables for their journey. Beneath their feet they hear a cracking sound, and thin film of ice spreads from the grey-skinned trader. It seems he is emanating a cold aura, the ground beneath his wagon, and for a couple of dozen feet all around, freezing over with a layer of slippery ice. The party moves away from the Svirfneblin, catching themselves on the slippery surface and stopping only about ten feet from him.

HexFang looks over to the one-armed man angrily approaching. She then shouts a curse-laden retort, warning him not to anger the Dragons present. Halfdan, half-blinded by his rage, notices the Dragons now for the first time. Small as Dragons go, these beasts sport dulled, deep-coloured scales. One is dark green, the other a ruddy bronze or gold colour. They stand about the size of large work horses, muscular in build, and sporting folded wings of a huge potential span. It seems they were conducting trade a mere moment ago.

Gemscale notices the two cloaked Kobolds, and sees from one of their faces as he catches a glimpse that it is scarred horribly, and burned in places. Unfamiliar, it is unclear to where their allegiances lie.

The Svirneblin grimaces and shivers, feeling the chill of the ice sheet on the ground despite his elevation on the wagon. He reaches slowly around his back and pulls a hand crossbow. Pointing it at Halfdan with one hand, he leans down and pulls on a rope with the other while firing off a shot. The bolt flies wild and hits the doors weakly behind the Elfblood adventurer. The rope the man had pulled, however, was part of a mechanism to get his wagon ready to leave; the rear steps are now stowed and the stocks in front of the wheels have been pulled up to compartments above the wheel spokes. He dashes for the reigns of the wagon, seemingly ready to make his escape.

Roll for initative (1d20 + your dexterity modifier). What do you do?

Everyone apart from Halfdan must make a Dexterity saving throw (1d20 + your dexterity modifier (+ your proficiency bonus, if proficient)) if you want to move more than 10 feet due to the ice sheet on the floor.

Hexfang +10XP
Gemscale +15XP
Zadkiel +10XP
Aar +10XP
Lorrias +10XP
Hyln +10XP
Knives +10XP
Halfdan +15XP

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On the Road At Last
Hamlet Ahoy

Nix meets with everyone in the study, conversations are had to confirm the directions everyone is going, and she fails to get an audience with the Druid Order.

The following morning, the wagons await outside the Diadic Juniper, ready to take everyone to their destinations. Ezra muses on the mission he is being dragged into with this “Geran”, and considers revealing his knowledge of all the local settlements that might help with their mission. Instead, he keeps the knowledge and instead suggests that he had heard a firm rumour of a hamlet due south that might match what Geran is looking for.
Jila suggests that he and Nix head to Uril and try to stop any potential fighting there; Jila will branch off and try to stop the Magolglir from marching.
Gidye is no-where to be found, but King Trillhelm greets the party at the wagons. “I regret we had but a short time. Perhaps we will speak again. Speed of a river.” He turns and begins walking back to the palace halls, returning hails from most of the Dwarves walking about the place. Chriswin receives a slap on the shoulder and a warm smile from the King, a memory of drunken singing coming to mind.

The plan, it seems, is to travel all together as long as they can. Darrin, Geran, Talison, Ero, and Ezra will stop within a twoday ride from Korath, looking for a small hamlet. Ezra, of course, knows exactly where it is, but so far no-one else knows this. Ezra in fact has a map full of potential stops for this party, having just charted it.

At the Hamlet, Jila plans to head west towards his Elven city, and within a few days will arrive and try to stop any potential armed march on the Citadel of Uril by the Magolglir. He admits it will be hard, and he asks for help in formulating what will be shared. He fears that the moment the fact of there being a Monolith at the Citadel is confirmed, as they suspected, nothing will stop them from wanting to claim it. It will be the only Magolglir Monolith in the region, a boon to their military that will not be ignored by the nobles.

Nix will travel with Theodore, Adrik, Lorawyn and Kain to the Monolith, at which point the Druid Order initiates and their new warrior friend, with his young companion, will peel off and head east towards Bersault-on-the-Sea for their mission.

The start of the journey down the mountainside is slow, the party being asked to walk alongside the wagons to avoid tiring the animals too much so early. Erik leads a small armed contingent of soldiers ahead of the caravan, and a wagon of soldiers trundles behind at the rear. Nix looks over the scrolls in her satchel that Gidye let her take; one or two are very strange, the detail in the arcane inscriptions suggesting them to be spells far outside her current ability to manifest. However, the three Thunderwave scrolls and the Alter Self scroll were pleasant enough gifts to receive on their own.

Once the bottom of the mountain road is reached after a few hours, it is already near mid-day. The wagons take on passengers, and the caravan pulls away at speed. Rations and snacks are passed around, the rickety wagons making it hard to do anything but sit. At the first night, the distant sounds of thunder can be heard on the southern horizon, and a lantern-lit human happens upon the camp. Stopped by the Dwarven soldiers, he is given directions towards Korath and sent on his way. The rest of the night, it seems, is quiet.

The second day dawns, camp is broken and the caravan sets off again. Nix, Adrik, Lorawyn and Darrin share a brief look, remembering their previous journey on wagons mere days ago to the Citadel with Simon; the sleeping drunkard is helped onto a wagon by Ero and Chriswin. At least, the thought occurs, it’s no longer raining.

Towards dusk of the second day, heavy rainclouds can be seen gathering and blowing north towards them. By the time the hamlet is found, darkness begins to shroud. Erik calls out to the wagons. “If we all stop here, we could perhaps depart separately in the morning. This village isn’t known to me; I suggest we stick together.” The hamlet has a sense of simplicity about it, with only seven structures closely nestled together. Little more than a tavern and a grain store, it seems this is a waystation rather than a residence. The wind picks up, carrying a chill and the bite of future rain. The lantern in front of the tavern makes the sign easy to read upon approach: ‘Pleasant Pheasant Food, Wine and Bed’. The side of the inn appears to have a wooden shelter erected as a makeshift stables, but no trough and no purpose-built holdings. A short-stay place, to be sure, but it holds the promise of softer beds than last night.

Erik leaves the decision to stay ultimately on the heads of the party. Those wishing to press on, he continues, can do so with some of the soldiers as guards should they request.

What do you do?

Does Adrik share a clay tile (Enervation Stone) with Geran?

Talison +5XP
Nix +10XP
Darrin +10XP
Ero +10XP
Ezra +10XP
Chriswin +5XP
Adrik +5XP
Lorawyn +10XP
Theodore +10XP

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