Taihun

Hyxhuathil Briefing pt. 4
Hunting by the Hunted

While Zadkiel attempts to discuss the nature of mortality, Gemscale and Knives decide against continuing their gold refinement. Lorrias mentions his wish to continue on towards the Spine of the World, but concedes that strength in numbers is probably best for now. It appears that for now, at least, he’s presently embroiled in the affairs of these Dragons. Perhaps an opportunity will present itself in the Orc city they’re travelling to.

Gemscale then exits the room as the sun begins to drift towards the far horizon, the clouds gathering for a windswept afternoon. He begins slowly, but then unleashes a torrent of questions on Tuhril. Why is Death Lake called that? What help can Tuhril offer with the Dragon Eggs? What dragons live near Hadrukk that could have given away the eggs?
Tuhril answers carefully and deliberately, sharing what he knows. The Mountains near Hadrukk house a small White Dragon family that lives near the peaks. He doesn’t know much about Dragon Eggs, but he does know they’re not given away lightly, and that there are myths that tell of Giants that grew to be powerful heroes after eating Dragon Eggs whole and raw.

After learning that Death Lake is so called because of the annual floods that, when they recede, leave dead fish and plants that aren’t found in the lake during the rest of the year. It’s a mystery none have solved, but an ancient civilisation once theorised that the lake lead to the land of the dead, and the waters simply deposited the dead from elsewhere.

The party rests for the evening, noting that within the village the temperature remains comfortably cool throughout the night. As the sun sets, all the Giants, including Tuhril, emerge from their rooms and congregate in the middle of the village square. There, they discuss plans for the following day in their own tongue. Jobs are allocated out, and all tasks, it seems, are simply assumed to have been completed from the previous day. No one Giant seems to be the leader. The Hill Giants sit in the corner near the gates and sleep in a pile, disconnected from the rest of the goings-on in the village. Once it gets suitably late, the Giants all gather in one of the larger rooms near the rear of the village. Once there, more frenzied discussion can be heard in their language, and it seems they are sharing a clan meal together.

The size and material of the table allows for a rudimentary campfire to be constructed upon it. As the party settles down for the night, more stories are shared. The bards revel in their larger audience, performing great ballads and poems for the newcomers. As the night begins to die out and the dawn arise, some sleep is had before rising for breakfast.

Eagerly, the party leave Tuhril’s room to find this trader. Tuhril is awake with seemingly all the other Giants, and they are slowly wandering about, tending to various duties. The trader is now in the square, a small gaggle of humanoid customers gathering around. A couple of cloaked Kobolds barter for cured meats, a black-skinned Elf and a grey-skinned Dwarf argue over the value of a small mineral-flecked rock, and a few others fawn over the variety of pickled vegetables and fresh fruits from nearby villages. The trader is a Svirfneblin, standing about three feet tall. He’s stocky, has a disdended gut that peeks out of his jerkin, and seems to be chewing… something…

Halfdan huffs as he crests the next hill, silently cursing the landscape he has followed the thief into. Stopping in that Orc city was bad enough; their taste for stringy, pungeant meats is difficult to stomach. But to have his quest almost completed only to be interrupted by a thief is the ultimate insult! Halfdan had spent weeks tracking down the lost Gem of Syterrac, a royal jewel from an ancient Orc civilisation. Coveted by the current chief of Gorgek, the Orc city, Halfdan decided that such an adventure would be worthy of a good story and a hearty meal back home with his wife.

After retrieving the gem, at great cost to his purse and leisure time, Halfdan had managed to escape from the goblin mine it was buried in, leaving the screaming locals behind as he swung across a subterranean gorge using a rope he’d secured earlier; preparation was his forte. After reaching the other side, and hearing the screeches getting closer, he stood tall and stared at the edge on the other side. Concentrating, he pictured a swirl of fluid in his mind. Forming it and holding the shape, feeling around it, he makes it cloudy. More and more he moves it in his mind, makes it still and examines every inch. Growing this image, his eyes cloud over and his arm almost takes a life of its own as it makes swirling motions. The air across the gorge moves with his arm, beginning to make the shape of the image in his mind. As the air moves, it gets cloudier and cloudier, thicker and darker. Soon, a wall of cloud covers the edge.

Snapping out of it, Halfdan smiles, cupping the gem in his hand before placing it in his pack. Getting up again to run away, his escape is framed by the fading yelps of goblins falling into the gorge, failing to see the edge. A smile spreads across his jaw, his eyes still darting around looking for danger.

After all that, and reaching the Orc city, only to have some street-thief take the gem from him before he could deliver it and collect the reward. Upon realising the theft, Halfdan tracked them down. It seems they worked for one Kejermann, a Svirfneblin thief known in the region. Alas, Halfdan was too late to catch up to the mastermind behind this theft, and instead followed a day behind. Choosing to sleep strategically, he managed to close the gap and now, after weeks, he has him close. There, nestled between mountains and along a winding path, sits a Stone Giant outpost, a village of sorts. Approaching, the cold light of the sun making his joints ache as they realise their lack of rest, Halfdan curses, again, the hilly terrain and long distances between places. Long gone are the days of manning the rigging and sailing freely on the open sea, it seems.

The large gates of the outpost are pulled open, shabby-looking Hill Giants pulling them open for Halfdan’s approach. No sooner are the gates open than he sees his quarry! Kejermann! The Svirfneblin thief, bane of Halfdan’s month, simply standing a few hundred feeet away amidst a crowd. He stands atop an open wagon, racks of shelves showing many trinkets and novelties along with foodstuffs. A minor horde of customers surrounds him, and massive Stone Giants wander the place slowly, seemingly busy with other tasks. The streets are wide, the buildings are stone, and the thieves, it seems, operate openly. Angered, Halfdan begins to stride into the village.

What do you do?

Gemscale can sense some magical properties coming from the egg, but is unable to determine what, exactly. It feels natural, and is likely just the magical life-force of the dragon within.

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.

Hexfang +10XP
Gemscale +10XP
Zadkiel +10XP
Aar +10XP
Lorrias +10XP
Hyln +10XP
Knives +10XP
Halfdan +0XP

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Korath Discoveries pt. 13
Ready to Depart

Talison leads everyone from the bar to Nix, who is waiting in the study with Gidye. The walk takes around an hour, which leaves Ezra, Kain and Chriswin, newcomers to the group, a little left out of the loop. They manage to chime in to the conversation a little, though, and discover more about their current retinue.

After meeting with Nix, the party return to the city. It approaches early evening, and all agree it is best to leave refreshed early in the morning.

The night is full of talk and the occassional song. Simon awakes and seems genuinely interested in where everyone is going, and seems lost as to where to go or what to do. He shares again his vision of great danger from the west, a darkness that will bring death, and the Citadel of Uril being at the centre of it. He avoids speaking directly of the Monolith, even in his drunken state, due to the newer faces.

The morning comes and a normal sleep was had by all. Ezra scribbles in his new notebook, finely bound with strong thread and a sturdy cover. 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.

What do you do?

In the comments, I will put sections for you to reply to in order to keep the responses streamlined. These will be:
Gidye’s Study
Diadic Juniper

Outside of that, you can comment as you wish.

Nix, are you planning on staying for longer, or starting to make your way back to the Citadel at Uril to collect Kaila, Zook, Ella and Breena?

Those in the Diadic Juniper: 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.

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

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

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Haunted Fishing Village pt. 1
Serendipity

The night fell quickly. The rainstorm of the last few days could still be felt in the air and soil, and the wind feels harsh and cool. The moonlight and stars keep the well-travelled road well enough lit, and the night birds pepper the soundscape with chirps and hoots.

Ouriana followed the advice from Ogbert, the tavern keeper in Bersault-on-the-Hill, to seek the coastal village. Her enquiries into strange goings-on in the area immediately got his attention, and eventually he forgot to charge for her drinks as he shared tale after tale of the strangeness in that village over the years. Entire hauls of fish rotting on the spot, candles lighting moments after being made, strange markings appearing above doorways, people going missing and reappearing days later with no memory of losing time… Ogbert shares all he knows, and the theories he and others have had. His congenial nature and soft voice make him easy to listen to, but he lacks the commanding presence of a bard. In the corner of the tavern, such a bard is performing a two-hour poem about a pair of dragons far to the north, struggling to make their way south to hunt a dark dragon from the depths. The tale of heroic dragons seems to be taken well, but most seem to be enjoying the novelty of the idea rather than being able to accept it.

The road to the coastal village is only a few hours walk, which in this quiet place shouldn’t be frought with many dangers. She thanks the barkeep and makes haste to Bersault-on-the-Sea.

Erimeyoma had only just completed her last task. Usually left to her own devices and meditations, the oddly-complexioned Dragonborn was unusually busy these last few days. No sooner had she returned, the signs had begun showing themselves again. A coastal village? What could possibly be there? Accepting the creaking and stretching of the branches as a clear communication of a task, she leaves without question and makes her journey to Bersault-on-the-Sea, stopping only to refresh her travel supplies.

The journey east took a long time; over a week of overland travel, the last few days of which left her drenched. Eri had noticed that halfway along her journey, around a mile or two further inland, rose a mighty citadel out of the earth. Days later, the village appears as she rounds the base of a hill. Evening begins to fall, and the soft splish as her footfalls slide slightly on the ground begin to finally grate on Eri. She has been travelling for too long already. Still, she knew what she was here for. A spirit has been trapped, and Eri is tasked with destroying the spirit. She had done so a few times before by performing a lengthy ritual. Hopefully, this task will be simple and completed quickly.

Both adventurers enter the village, which is without walls, around the same time. It is approaching 9pm, and the last boats are pulling in to the jetty. A few fishermen wander the streets, such as they are. There are perhaps a dozen houses here, two warehouses, and a couple of huts for small trading posts. There is a single large dock to the east designed for large sailing vessels, but it seems this village peaks at around 50 people.

Spotting each other from across the village, Erimeyoma and Ouriana note the strangeness of two strangers visiting the same small settlement at the same time… A strong wind howls between the buildings, the fishermen calling to each other and eventually dropping their nets. “Leave it! Another storm’s on the way!” They race towards one of the larger houses, the door spilling laughter, warmth, and a rectangle of light onto the blue-black ground as they open it. The sign hanging above the door reads “Fishermen’s Net Shop”.

The village streets now empty, heavy footsteps now punctuate the night. Ouriana looks around, wary as to the source. Erimeyoma likewise takes a single step and sweeps her hair aside, straining her ears to hear more. Another step. Another. A shadow stretches over one of the houses, the source entirely invisible; no cloud covers the moon. Suddenly, an echoing bang comes from the now darkened house and the “Net Shop” falls silent, the inhabitants seemingly hushing each other. The wood of the darkened house, only two doors down from the shop, begins to creak loudly, a wooden clicking sound accompanying every few snaps. The wind stops entirely. All falls silent.

What do you do?

Erimeyoma +0XP
Ouriana +0XP

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Hyxhuathil Briefing pt. 3

Tuhril pays Hyln and Knives for their efforts, giving them each 20 gold coins in Giant currency. The 40 coins are the size of small shields and the thickness of same. Gemscale and Knives try to cut them down to a smaller size, but it looks like it’s going to take a while to do so. It then occurs to Aar that to a Giant, standard currency would be like sequins; impossible to handle and easy to lose.

The pair of scouts share thir findings with the group, describing how most agents of Gorbane are moving west, although between the unknown agent completing HexFang’s original mission to move the beholder south, and the party of Gnolls moving north through Hyln’s clan’s territories to hunt HexFang. With this, and Tuhril’s own advice, it seems clear that a wilderness trek to the south for a few days is best. Tuhril advises travelling to Death Lake, about a week’s travel, and from there heading east to the Orc city of Gorgek. It’s a mountainous city, and Tuhril has friends there. He provides details, but suggests that you find your own way from there; the more he knows, the more dangerous it becomes for the group should the worst happen.

He then leaves the room to stand outside in the cool sun. The group is left to arrange the last of their plans and leave when they wish.

What do you do?

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

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Korath Discoveries pt. 12

Ero, Ezra and Chriswin enter the tavern of the Diadic Juniper again, seemingly having Erik’s confidence that so long as someone is handling the situation, he need not intervene. Erik follows and returns to his corner spot, intentionally pushing Simon as he does. Simon rouses drunkenly, blinks harshly and reaches around for a mug with some ale inside. After trying a few, he finds a goblet with some wine left, downs it and collapses back onto the table, the remnants of the rouge liquid dribbling from the side of his mouth.

Darrin charges into the tavern in a bluster and angrily shouts at everyone while explaining the situation. Eventually, he calms down. “Look, I don’t know what’s going on here, I don’t know what all… this… is. But I just have to know…” He lets out a long sigh, his body seeming to collapse from the weight of his shouting and bluster. “… Are you guys coming or what?”

A drink is passed along by Ezra, and Darrin calms down enough to fetch Talison and Geran. They all sit and discuss their plans. Geran wants to leave as soon as possible, but has no idea where to go. Ezra reveals he recognised Geran from the few times he had travelled through Elven lands. Mostly at official functions to which he managed to be… ‘invited’… Ezra had spoken to the Prince only once, but has seen him a few times. Needless to say, Geran doesn’t recognise Ezra at all, which piques Ezra’s interest. After hearing of the plan to gather allies, Ezra thinks back to his mission and how, were he so inclined, his recent gathering of information on small settlements in the region might help with the purported quest to find allies. For now, it seems, he is keeping this information to himself, despite it making him essentially a prisoner of Chriswin’s and not an ally sharing valuable intel. Perhaps he will share it soon. His affiliation, however, he might keep quiet about for longer, at least until he can get the measure of this group more fully. His past encounters with Ero haven’t exactly left him knowing the mysterious disappearing man too well.

Theodore enters with Adrik and Lorawyn, and they inform the group they plan on moving on soon. Erik offers carts and horses for their travel, which they accept, conceding that the flooded tunnel makes using the Uril Monolith for transport isn’t as useful as it might otherwise be. Adrik has a distant, almost years-old memory of the Gnomes left behind outside the Citadel in the rain… Hopefully they are okay.

Nix continues her practice and copying of spells into her spellbook.

What do you do?

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

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Hyxhuathil Briefing pt. 2
The Meeting of the Seven

The bright and cool morning sun breaks over the nearby mountainside. Hyln and Knives set off from their campsite, opting to rough it instead of outstaying their safety window in the nearby village. While scouting and gathering intel, it is best not to leave much in the way of a trace yourself. Walking for a couple of hours downhill, the tall pair see Hyxhuathil and approach it. They know to meet Tuhril, their contact and patron, and share with him what they’ve found. As the loose stones on the path crunch beneath Hyln’s feet, he thinks back to the last few days. Having to split up to cover more ground, he and Knives parted from the small kobold village they were in and began their rapid scouting. Hyln vividly remembers the smell of the spiced raw cavefish from the market that day, and how it stuck with him for a day afterwards.

Knives spied on a Svirfneblin trader for a day and a night, eventually following her into her warren. Grabbing a letter from her desk and quickly copying it, Knives then found a translator back on the surface. His spying of a few key phrases served well, as the letter revealed appointments and important trades going on over the next three months. If the letter was accurate, then several major players with connections to Gorbane would be tied up moving west. It appears the overall plan is to make Hargijk, the nearby Orc city, run low on food supplies from their northern and eastern farms and hunting grounds within a year. The exact purpose is unclear.

Hyln spoke to several acquaintances, pulling in his small net of contacts from respectable Hobgoblin sergeants to a Kobold sneakthief. Each one Hyln had recently been involved with in some capacity, whether helping them escape death at the hands of a pack of feral mountain lions, or apprehending them on behalf of a local authority and collecting the bounty. His conversations were brief, and the information he received fragmented and piecemeal, but being resourceful and tactful he managed to put together some key facts reasonably reliably. An agent of Gorbane’s will be passing through Hyxhuathil in a week or so; given Gorbane’s visions of his quarry moving west and south, an increase in dangerous activity is happening in those directions; several Kobold settlements, including the central horde at Hadrukk, have been granted special magics to help bring in the rogue dragon. A few other scant pieces suggest that a Gnoll hunting party, something rarely seen north of the Crown of the World, is being sent for. All in all, the information points towards a dangerous situation for this rogue dragon.

Gemscale looks around the room with the others, taking in the size as well as the blandness. They consume food and sit in mostly silence, which Tuhril seems to enjoy. After a while, he stands and leaves the room. “I will be back. I am meeting with my contact. You will be safe in here. Stay here.”
“Tuhril… is there a store to barter goods here?” Gemscale asks, stopping the Giant from leaving. He does not respond verbally, but instead raises an eyebrow at the gold dragon. “I have a fancy set of dice and a few other items I’m looking to trade…” Gemscales smiles sweetly at the Giant. Tuhril then leaves the room and pushes the stone door closed.

Meeting Hyln and Knives beside his abode, he speaks in a hushed tone. The gravelly voice sounding as clipped and considered as ever, the rumble of his timbre felt in every limb. “I thank you for meeting me today. We arranged to meet. We have met. We arranged to meet to talk. We are talking. You will follow me into my residence. You will meet strangers. We can talk plainly in front of these strangers. These strangers will not harm you. You will not harm these strangers. You will share you findings with me and these strangers. This will help these strangers. You are helping. Your are helpful. I like helpful people. You will follow me now.”

He pulls aside the 25foot tall door and slides it along the purpose-built smooth stone rails, the gliding, crackling sound showing a hardy, worn yet long lasting craftsmanship. HexFang, Aar, Lorrias, Gemscale and Zadkiel turn to face the doorway, and hear the clear clicking and slapping of claw and skin on the rough stone walkway encircling the table. Emerging at last over the top and onto the map-table, a pair of tall humanoids make themselves known. One looks to be a slender feline creature with feral eyes and a weather-beaten coat; the other appears to be a smaller version of Tuhril, stoic, muscular and hairless. His grey palour suggests a similar parentage, but his being about a third of the height and breadth of Tuhril betrays his kind: Goliath.

“HexFang should meet my scouting contacts. They have been paid to provide information. They will provide information.” Tuhril appears to have a hint of pride about him, as though he’s happy to introduce people to each other.

Hyln and Knives examine the group before them: a pair of young dragons, barely discernable in their age and size, perhaps they are the same, but one is gold with a subtle crown-like crest of small horns growing from the back of his jaw to the top of his head, while the other is green with similar protrusions but smaller and following the lines of her head rather than forming a crown.

A pair of Elfblood humanoids, one in flowing robes while the other in more flamboyant attire, stand beside a broody-looking human with stern, harsh features. His eyes pierce with an otherwordly quality not entirely threatening, but certainly something to be wary of.

What do you do?

Hexfang +5XP
Gemscale +10XP
Zadkiel +10XP
Aar +5XP
Lorrias +15XP
Hyln +0XP
Knives +0XP

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Korath Discoveries pt. 11
Dividing Lines

Theodore, Adrik and Lorawyn meet back up in Korath and discuss their plans. Now the Myconids are back together, and they have left the potentially dangerous Uril Monolith area, there is nothing more to be gained from that ruin. Perhaps soon, if battle lines begin to be drawn, or if the need is felt to claim the Monolith for the Druid Order, the group may return. However, because of the flooding in the tunnels, it is next to impossible to get to, or leave, the Monolith chamber at Uril. Using it as a landing pad for easy transportation south will take some preparation and skill in order to circumvent, or repair, the tunnel system. Instead, the three Order initiates review their mission proposal: to travel south to Bersault-on-the-Sea and find some way to move a spirit on from this world. If they undertake this, and leave without any of the others, they are essentially stranding them to days of wagon rides, or weeks of walking. Theodore also recalls that Nix requested an audience with the Druid Order so that she might learn more about how she might activate the Monoliths. It is known, however, that such secrets are not to be shared with those outside of the Order. Such an act would mean expulsion from the order, and entreatment from the High Priests of the relevent Circle to remove ones connection to the Feyweave entirely.

Nix continues studying, spending the next eight hours painstakingly copying spells from various parchments in Gidye’s study. Between the need for neat and art-like application of the inks and oils to the pages of her spellbook, to the meditation-like trances that the mental excercises force her into, to the practice of making her magical essences take on the rudimentary shapes, for lack of a better term, of her newly learned spells.

Ero watches as Erik frogmarches Ezra out of the tavern. Flashing a glance at Darrin, the two follow to see what transpires. From their vantage point across the road between two other buildings, Talison and Geran see the gruff Dwarf escort the Tiefling towards the middle of the street. A nearby Dwarf that looks to be a patrolling guard is called over by Erik.

“This is a person of interest.” Erik introduces the Tiefling in his custody without any customary hail or greeting, not even a smile. Most Dwarves in Korath are more than happy to help each other, since they grew up together and know each other very well. Everyone pulls together, and minor disagreements are settled between those directly involved. Chriswin, the passing Dwarf pulled into this situation, finds Erik brash and condescending, much like a certain sergeant. “Under royal orders, we are to safeguard the secrecy of a guest within our borders. This young man has information that could endanger that guest of the crown.” Erik looks Ezra up and down, trying to get the measure of him, and looking as though he’s deciding something. Turning his back to Ezra, he confides in Chriswin’s ear. “I do not want bloodshed, but I do not want to fail the crown. Do you understand me? I want an escort of this Tiefling until such time as the royal guest is out of danger. Can you do this, soldier?”

Without waiting too long for an answer, although he does pull back and look Chriswin in the eye, a subtle nod and a knowing wrinkle at the corners of his eyes show the approval of a fatherly figure. Despite his rough introduction, it seems the Erik has emotions after all. He turns to Darrin and Ero. “This situation with your… escort will be resolved soon, correct?” He asks sternly, as though being firm about it will make it so. Talison and Geran cannot hear these more quiet enquiries of Erik’s, although they can clearly see that some sort of solution is being hammered out. Perhaps intervention, or inclusive negotiation, would reveal more.

What do you do?

Talison +5XP
Nix +20XP
Darrin +10XP
Lorawyn +10XP
Adrik +5XP
Ero +10XP
Theodore +10XP
Ezra +10XP
Chriswin +0XP

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Korath Discoveries pt. 10
Timely Details

2:30am: Everyone begins to emerge from the tunnel into the city of Korath. The nearby inn of the Diadic Juniper calls to Darrin, Talison and Geran. They enter and retire.

2:45am: Theodore, Adrik and Lorawyn enter the Druid Grove, and begin to be debriefed by the Order.

3am: Nix, Ero, Jila and Gidye enter King Trillhelms hall. Within half an hour, a plan emerges and the King offers to help. Gidye is revealed to be the Queen of the city, and the royal couple have a disagreement on how to handle the politics of the situation that results in both leaving the room.

4am: Nix, Ero and Jila reach the Diadic Juniper and retire for the evening. Adrik, Lorawyn and Theodore finish their debrief with the Druid Order Elders and undertake the Walk in the Wilds.

5am: Lorawyn and Theodore emerge from their walk, and casually explore the grove while they wait for Adrik.

7am: Adrik leaves his Walk, and the wolf cub is now a young adult. It greets Theodore as a friend, but shows great deference and loyalty to Adrik, who looks more muscular, but also more feral. The team is briefed on another potential mission, and they accept it. Theodore mentions that he has to find Ero, first, and save the Myconid children. They agree to meet up later.
Ezra is accepted at the main gate, and the mountainside pathway looms ahead.

8am: Ezra reaches the main entrancehall to Korath. Armoured guards and statues are initially hard to tell apart. A central, huge statue of bronze dominates the hall. It depicts a Dwarf with a map in one hand and a halberd in the other. The large wooden doors behind it open to reveal the city proper, down below a series of stone and wooden walkways and lit by crystals connected by pipes.

10am: Nix awakens early, excited to learn more about the Monolith. Between her rest just before midnight, and the comfortable sleep this morning, she is raring to get started. She makes her way down the tunnel to Gidye’s study near the Monolith.

11am: Ero awakens to find Theodore waiting for him. The two head to the Monolith to return the Myconids. Darrin, Talison and Geran wake and head to the tavern section. Talison rushes off to speak to Nix.

12am: Theodore and Ero return the Myconids and return swiftly. Talison arrives and wishes to speak to Nix. They agree that fetching Geran to explain more about what he wanted the Monolith for would be beneficial for Nix’s research and for determining his motives. Talison heads back to the tavern.

1am: Ezra concludes the business he has in Korath, and decides to relax in a tavern for some refreshment. Finding a quiet tavern on the outskirts of the city, he finds the Diadic Juniper. Talison and Ero both return at the same time, and find themselves taken aback by the Tiefling that has entered the tavern. Geran is convinced that Ezra has recognised him, and might make an issue of his restraints. Talison pulls the trio out of the tavern, but Darrin returns to discuss the situation and make introductions. Geran supports this idea, as he would rather try to control the situation and ensure rumours of his capture don’t begin spreading uncontrollably.

What do you do?

Talison +15XP
Nix +15XP
Darrin +15XP
Lorawyn +15XP
Adrik +15XP
Ero +15XP
Theodore +15XP
Ezra +15XP

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Hyxhuathil Briefing
Discussing the Future

HexFang checks the room over briefly, making sure their conversation will be private. Then, she relays her plan: “Listen, these infants need to be cared for.” Gemscale looks at his egg, and thinks back to their journey on the way here. Over 4 days, the eggs gave no indication of change. Gemscale’s egg showed no signs of ‘preference’ for the cold, although it maintained the cool temperature for longer throughout the day when travelling. No movement comes from the eggs at all, and there’s a possibility they have been calcified beyond life, although the temperature reactions suggest otherwise.

Gemscale and Lorrias spend a few evenings poring over the parchments and book that the gold dragon rescued from the tower a few days prior. The book contains the following spells, of which Lorrias is unable to copy any of them as yet since he does not have access to the required materials -
1st Level Spells: Expeditious Retreat
False Life
Find Familiar
Illusory Script
Protection from Evil and Good
2nd Level Spells: Ray of Enfeeblement
Invisibility

The Journal entries relating to the dark lord and living flame may be referring to Dargyntad, or another literally dark-coloured being. There are allusions to fire moving of its own accord, but the journal entries freely mix metaphor with factual report. This is, however, a detail previously missed; this dark lord is said to manipulate their surroundings.
“And lo, this force of darkness charges many to his service. With correspondence south and east, approaching the World’s Crown comes news of kingdoms, once bitter foes, now confederated. A Queen most foul, a servant of darkness, leading this charge. This Dark Lord’s taste for death sated by causing living flame to walk through forest and grove, the Queen of Death rising over it all on wings of fury.” It appears a distant queen, in the service of this dark lord, united various smaller empires and began slaughtering those that didn’t join.

Another section says this: “The Dark Lord has dominion over death. The World Spine holds no sway over his power; no sooner is a foe slain, the claw of darkness reaches over the winds and ranges and holds their soul. A fistful of torture, he throws spirits back to the world of men to serve at his pleasure. The dark lord’s fist also holds his own soul. Death cannot stop him.”

The parchments are orrery readings and stellar charts. Notes allude to interpretations of the Taihun’s intentions. It appears there is a prediction of three harbingers descending from the heavens to announce the arrival of a blade of swift death striking a southern kingdom and making a river of blood. Another reading suggests a divided kingdom dispersing soon. A scribble note to the side gives the monk’s personal interpretation that this alludes to the nearby city of Hargijk.

Now inside Tuhril’s room, the giant sits bolt upright and barely moves as he speaks, seemingly becoming one with the stone. “I will leave in an hour to speak to my contact. My contact will share with me the information I asked for. The information I asked for will help me determine a safe route south for HexFang. I will stay for an hour to answer questions and be your host.” He then slowly reaches for an instrument that for him would be a small brass horn, but is large enough almost to sit in. When he’s not responding to questions, he plays long, steady notes in a slow but uplifting melody.

What do you do?

Hexfang +15XP
Gemscale +15XP
Zadkiel +15XP
Aar +15XP
Lorrias +15XP

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Return to Hyxhuathil
Onward Progression

Tuhril, having now seen everyone and greeted them… slowly, and precisely… he states that there is now no need for him to travel to Hargijk, since he was only going there to find HexFang. Instead, he offers the group to follow him home. He turns and begins his walk back along the road. Every step he takes is slow and heavy, but he travels about the same distance in the same time as everyone else. He seems irritated by the concept of walking and talking at the same time, but seems comforted by any conversations that break out among the group.

The journey takes 4 days, with Tuhril sharing what he knows when he stops to rest each evening. His satchel contains a fold-out cot that he props up with stones. This raised bed presents a shelter from the elements during the evening. Tuhril shares many tales, and talks openly, albeit frustratingly slowly, about his quest to find HexFang.

The gist, strained over two nights, is that Gorbane was disappointed with HexFang leaving Hyxhuathil to travel with two Gnomes, instead of gathering intel from or taking action against the nearby tribes and encampments that were allies of the Beholder. Gorbane has since tasked another to accomplish this goal.

Gorbane wishes HexFang killed for her insolence and disobedience. He has given this message to all of his allies and contacts for a thousand miles in every direction. Tuhril decided to travel south and follow HexFang to warn her; he feels that one so young should not be held to account for so minor a thing. Once at his home, Tuhril wishes to provide temporary safe accommodation and gather some information on nearby movements of Gorbane’s contacts. With this he can find a safe path for HexFang to move beyond Gorbane’s reach, beyond the Crown of the World. The journey will be long and arduous, but it will be necessary for her survival until she grows to adulthood.

As the party approaches Hyxhuathil, the huge door slides open, pulled by a hill giant wearing torn hides knotted together, some of them not even cured or treated. The walls are wooden, shaved tree trunks treated with an unknown oil or cream; as strong as stone, and as tall as the hill giants themselves. The stone giants in this town, however, are considerably taller. They are all visible from outside the walls if they’re in the open. The structures are strangely built, certainly more vertical than horizontal. The buildings within are made from stone slabs cut and placed in tall arrangements, with rooms being roughly enough to fit two giants side by side. All the doors slide to the side, and are large sheets of wood or stone. Despite the crude architecture, the small community is bright and appears content. The stone reflects the light and appears a very pale shade, seeming almost white next to the cold, dark grey of the mountain beside it. Some giants sit outside on stone blocks, carved with simple patterns and set at odd angles, more trapezoidal frustum than cube.

The giants here are quiet, for the most part, seemingly content to just take in the outside world. Most stone giants live in complex cavern structures, rather than building freestanding buildings. This settlement was set up as a waystation, a meeting place for the giants to keep a handle on more worldy affairs without submitting their own homes to threats. There are only six other stone giants here, and four hill giants in their service, but even through the peace here you can sense that the giants do not enjoy being so close to each other.

Crossing what appears to be a village common, Tuhril takes the group into a building, the huge door sliding across making a satisfying scraping sound, smooth and demonstrative of worked stone that will take years to wear down.

Upon entering the “small” room a tall table can be seen, shaped much like those stools outside, standing tall and chest-height to the giant. Clearly carved into the table is a spiral designed as a small walkway to the tabletop, perhaps 3 feet wide.

Once there it can be seen that the tabletop is in fact a map carved into the stone that shows the local area. This is where HexFang and Tuhril discussed strategy before, and it was made clear at the time that Tuhril was a man of direct action rather than one of finesse. He gathers food for the group, however, and sits at the table. An odd silence falls as mid-day approaches.

What do you do?

It can be assumed that during the first 2 nights, Zadkiel is watched incredibly closely and perhaps bound. After this, it should become apparent that he is in full control of his faculties during these transformations.

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.

As a further note, I am willing to offer 1,800 XP per character to travel to the southern continent before level 4. This is so that you’ll either reach level 4 upon arrival, or be close enough that a few sessions is all it will take. The option is not there yet, but when it comes, it will be.

Hexfang +15XP
Gemscale +20XP
Zadkiel +25XP
Aar +20XP
Lorrias +20XP

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