Myridia

The Race is On
The party gains new allies and moves to intercept the cult

10/5/2715

Valyrian Syr fails to show up on the same day that the party arrives so they decide to stay at the inn for the night. The party wakes up in the morning and is approached by a hooded figure. He simply asks, “Koil?” When Koil answers, the man pulls back his hood and shows himself to be Bishop Corver. He informs the party that Valyrian is unable to make it out of the city safely and that he has been appointed to discuss the next course of action with the party.

Bishop Corver lays out two courses of action: Either deal with the leadership of the cult in Arcanum or intercept the group headed to Arkalia in search of the artifact. After some discussion, the party agrees to handle the group headed toward Arkalia while Valyrian and Bishop Corver assemble those loyal to them in Arcanum. Aldon and Hermi go along with Bishop Corver to prepare for the fight to retake control of Arcanum.

Little did the party know, two half-elves were listening in on the conversation and saw it as an opportunity. They decided to wait outside for the party and offer their services once they had begun to set out.

Koil spent a few moments questioning the local innkeeper. He was able to learn that the fastest way to their destination would be across sea and the best place to book voyage would be in the Vorrik capitol of Aerith. After getting directions to Aerith, the party made their way outside. Sela Dathier and Kele Nightwhisper introduced themselves and asked to accompany them. Koil approved since the party was now shorthanded. After gathering the necessary equipment and purchasing some scrolls, the party headed west toward Aerith. The journey to Aerith would take a week, even on the favorable roads.

10/12/2715

When they arrived, Aerith was covered in a light fog from the sea. Four soldiers and Aerith’s massive stone walls blocked their passage into the city. One of the guards asked the party what their business in the city was, to which they replied that they sought passage on a boat. The guard then informed them that there was a tax of five silver pieces imposed on all those without business that was necessary for the operation of the city. The party questioned him as to why a tax was necessary. He informed them that the city’s Marshall had imposed the tax to prepare for war. He wouldn’t say with whom, even after some protests. In the end, the party decided to pay the tax and make their way through the city.

The party searches the docks for a captain to take them to Arkalia. This proves difficult since Arkalia and Vorrik have strained relations. Still, everyone who offers an answer points them toward Kellorun, an old man with only arm and the only person dumb enough to make the voyage. The party locates him fairly easily and he introduces himself as the captain of The Silent Runner.

After listening to the party’s request, he offers them passage for the fee of 200 GP. The party was appalled by the outrageous price. The old man then pointed at his non-existent arm. “See this arm? Of course you don’t! Lost to the damn Arkalians last time I tried this. 200 gold is as cheap as you’re gonna get with me taking this kind of risk.” After some consideration, he offers to lower the price to 150 gold if the party can do some repairs to the boat during the trip. The party finally agrees and Kellorun leads them to his boat.

Kellorun’s ship is in horrible condition and even has a sizable hole on its left side. He gives the party a big, toothless smile. “There she is! Isn’t she beautiful?” Kele says “It’s a piece of junk,” and Kellorun cautions “Don’t say that where she can hear you. She gets upset easily.” Kellorun cuts his admiration short and has everyone board the ship.

10/15/2715

The party spent three days on the ship, performing menial tasks and socializing with the four man crew on their time off. The crew consisted of two half-orc brothers with sizable muscles but questionable intellect, a human male that couldn’t have been more than fifteen or sixteen years old, and a strange gnome named Trashe that began questioning Aarissa about baskets for his pet rat. The two proved to be an odd match.

As the ship grew close to the Arkalian shore, Kele spotted a ship approaching them fast. As it grew closer, Aarissa was able to identify the flags it was flying. It belonged to the Arkalian navy. Kellorun spun his wheel as fast as his one arm would allow him while Trashe screamed “Faster Captain McNubbers!” from the deck. No matter how hard he tried, the ship continued to gain ground. Finally, the party accepted that combat may be inevitable and took up fighting positions on the deck.

When the ship got within firing distance, the crew of the other ship hoisted a white flag into the air. Kellorun stopped his frantic maneuvers and breathed a sight of relief. The other ship sailed beside The Silent Runner and its captain shouted out “Kellorun? I never thought I’d see you raiding out here again.”

With some quick thinking, Trashe was able to convince the other captain that the ship was merely transporting some passengers and not taking part in some coastal raid. The other captain cautioned Kellorun not to show his face around these waters again and then sailed away.

Within hours, the ship arrived in Strathon, capitol of Arkalia. Kellorun said goodbye to the group and also to Trashe who decided to go with them. Kellorun didn’t seem the slightest bit upset that Trashe was leaving, especially since his rat ate so much. The party spread out to find directions to the ruins of Iquro on Mountain Top Isle. The citizens of Strathon gladly pointed out a ferry that would take them out to the island. After attending to some personal business and restocking, the party made their way to the ferry that would take them to their destination.

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Escape from the Temple (of Doom)
The party makes their escape from the city

The party makes their way through the dungeon, trailing behind Hermi who decided to scout ahead. Hermi was able to find several keys and pocketed them. Before long, the group came to a half-orc guard who spotted Hermi. The battle that ensued was tedious because much of the group lacked weapons but the party prevailed in the end. Hermi continued exploring and found a locked door. He opened it with one of the keys and found most of the party’s stolen gear (except for Hermi’s magical dagger).

The party continued onward and Hermi was able to kill three cultists while they slept on the way out. They encountered another half-orc guard but this time they were prepared. He went down easily, though he was able to severely wound Koil in a desperate final attack. After patching himself up, the party continued upward, out of the secret dungeon and into the temple.

Once in the temple, Hermi decided to scout around some more. He came across a female priest that appeared to be praying to a statue. Hermi returned to the group and struck up a conversation with Valyrian and asked what the party should do about the priests. Valyrian reasoned that many priests are not part of the plot and are simply doing what they’re told. He asked the party to spare as many as possible. He also gave the party direction. To the west was the exit, and the east led deeper into the temple. The party decided to head east to exact revenge on those who imprisoned them.

The party came across several groups of mercenaries that gave their lives trying to stop the party from proceeding further. During the fight with several of the mercenaries, the newly appointed Archbishop emerged from his office, brandishing Hermi’s magical dagger. He was quickly dealt with by Guy. The party proceeded to finish off the mercenaries, though two priests were able to escape to the west during the fighting.

Valyrian interrupted the party momentarily to point out a secret wall in his old office. He presented Koil a pair of gloves that were able to heal with a touch. The party continued east and found a meeting going on between two figures. One was easily recognizable as Martin Preese, the man that had stolen the Crown of Carrikos and was supposed to be executed. The party moved in to attack but were stopped short by two heavily armored men that blocked the door. The two bodyguards proved to be skilled fighters and were able to severely wound Aldon and Koil and knocked Guy unconscious. The whole time the melee was going on, the casters on both sides were unleashing spells on the other. Once one of the bodyguards was dealt with, Hermi was able to squeeze in behind him and started attacking the two casters. Hermi was able to incapacitate Agrassi Muer but was having trouble dealing with Martin Preese. When Aldon finally finished off the second bodyguard, he moved in to help Hermi and was able to finish off the wizard.

With the other three men dead, Agrassi Muer began pleading for his life. At first he tried to withhold information but after some persuading from the party, he figured he’d have a better shot surviving any assassins sent by “them” than he would surviving the people now in front of him. He told as much as he could, revealing that he helped “them” come to power. He also told the party that “they” weren’t interested in ruling Arcanum, that the arrangement was temporary. When he told all he could, Hermi finished him off, not wanting to risk having to deal with this man again. Aarissa also found a letter in Martin Preese’s spellbook, though it was in some sort of cipher that made it impossible to read without some work.

With the east wing of the temple cleared, the party proceeded west. They came across two more mercenaries and were able to kill them quickly. They also found a female priest hiding among a few statues. The party tried asking her questions but she seemed too afraid of them after witnessing them kill the two mercenaries. The party decided to ignore the woman and proceeded onward. When they arrived at the exit, Valyrian cautioned that there are two town guards stationed at the exit and that he would be unable to proceed with them there. He hesitated to kill them but finally agreed. The party devised a plan to use Koil to bring them inside where the party would wait in ambush. It worked perfectly and the guards walked into the trap and were easily dealt with. With that, Valyrian suggested that the party head toward a small town called Emilstone and stay at an inn called The Ruby Tower. He would gather himself and meet them there shortly to discuss the next move.

Once at Emilstone, Aarissa began deciphering the letter. She found that the cult had intentions to head toward an old ruined keep where it was rumored a powerful artifact had recently been found by the Arkalian government. The letter suggested that the city’s mages were used to locate a certain item and that all divinations pointed toward the ruins. It also mentioned that all the mages involved were to be put to death so they couldn’t discuss what they were doing. The writer of the letter had apparently already sent a group to Arkalia to speak with the government. This group would pose as the heads of various Carrikos magic colleges seeking to examine the find.

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Surprise!
Arcanum proves to be quite different when the party returns

10/4/2715

The party settles in for another 9 day journey, this time with the leaf from the Caiman Bush in tow.

When they arrive at Arcanum, they go through the usual routine of presenting their writs from High Priest Valyrian Syr that confirms that the group is friends of the church and permitted to carry weapons inside the city. However, the guard on duty seems shocked when the party presents the papers to him and begins nervously motioning for the guards in the gatehouse to come assist him. When his friends arrive, the nervous guard straightens up and says, in the most authoritative voice he can manage, “By decree of the Lord Mage, all those who associate with the traitor Valyrian Syr are to be arrested on sight.” The party is shocked by the sudden revelation but Hermi has the forethought to quickly hide one of his daggers and his thieves’ tools before allowing the guards to search him.

With everyone in restraints, the party is led toward the familiar temple where Valyrian once resided. As they approach, a voice calls out for them to be blindfolded and for Aarissa to be gagged. The party recognizes the voice as belonging to Bishop Belmer. The party begins throwing out several questions like “Why are we traitors?” and “Didn’t we help the church?” but Belmer dismisses most of them. When Koil refers to him as Bishop, he quickly corrects him and says “That’s Archbishop to you, traitor.” With that, the party is marched further into the temple, hurling questions and insults the whole way.

When the restraints and blindfolds are finally removed, the party finds themselves in a dimly lit dungeon, each of them in separate cells. A familiar voice welcomes them; the voice of Valyrian Syr. The party questions that man and he begins revealing everything that had happened while they were away. The Cult that the party thought they dealt with apparently had the entire thing planned out. The Crown of Carrikos was enchanted with a spell that caused those who touched it to fall under the suggestion of some outside figure. At first, it began with just initiates and maybe a bishop or two. At the end of it all, Valyrian believed that at least four of the High Priests were under the spell. It all happened at the worst possible moment as well since the election to appoint the new Lord Mage was held in the party’s absence. It was the first ever non-unanimously elected Lord Mage but he still received the seven votes required. No one was quite sure who the man they were voting for was but many assumed him to be qualfied simply because the Church of Carrikos doesn’t make mistakes. This newly elected Lord Mage then began hoarding the city’s talented mages.

Valyrian informed the party that he was here because he noticed the signs and moved to stop it. He resigned his position so that he could move more freely and began to work in the shadows. However, when the new Lord Mage was elected, Valyrian was quickly labeled a traitor and was unable to elude the city’s templars. Since his capture, Valyrian has been stuck in the cell. The new Lord Mage doesn’t have the support required to order his execution but can’t risk having Valyrian alive so he simply ordered Valyrian to be locked away and forgotten about.

After being informed on the situation, Hermi made his move and began expertly picking the locks on each individual cell. Armed with just Hermi’s dagger and Aarissa’s magic, the party pressed on to find a way out.

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Things Get Freaky in Phagin
The party encounters two mysterious figures while searching for the young woman's cure

9/23/2715

The journey took the party nine days but they arrived at last at the city of Phagin, nestled in the foothills of the Sentinel Mountains and only miles from the mouth of the river that flowed north until it bisected the city of Arcanum.

While approaching the gap in the city’s wooden palisade, the party was approached by a shadowy man that told them what they were looking for could be found to the southwest. The party instantly became suspicious of the man and how he became aware of their actions. He proved hesitant to answer and instead decided to try to escape through the city. Aarissa quickly put a stop to that idea by conjuring a Grease spell that caused the man to slip and fall, allowing Aldon and Guy to easily restrain him. When pressed, the man claimed that his boss was more powerful than they could imagine and that he was only doing his job. “After all, I’m helping you. You get paid. I get paid. We all win.” Not really having a reason to hurt him and deciding that hauling around a man bound in ropes might attract attention, the party decides to let him go.

Wanting to find out more info on the Caiman Bush, the party heads to the local herbalist’s shop. The herbalist hinted that he wanted some money in exchange for his information and didn’t seem to appreciate Aarissa’s donation of leaves. Hermi ended up paying the man and the group proceeded to question the man. They learned that the bush secretes a dangerous poison in the air around it that can kill a man in under a minute by paralyzing his nervous system until his organs cease to function. They also learned that the leaves are a potent painkiller and the bushes are usually sought after by drug dealers instead of honest herbalists like himself. The party questioned him about the most effective way to harvest the leaves from such a bush. The herbalist suggested hiring a dwarf since they usually survive the poison long enough to retrieve a few leaves.

Not having a sacrificial dwarf, the party instead decides to head to the area where the bushes grow in abundance and see what the situation looked like before devising a plan. When they arrive, the find a thick green cloud surrounding dozens of the plants. The stench of the poison fills the air for miles. The party begins discussing their plans that ranged from having Aldon hold his breath, rush in, and hope for the best to buying a scroll of gust of wind to temporarily blow the poison cloud away then send in Aldon and hope he can outrun the gas as it returns. While discussing this, Hermi’s keen elven ears picked up the sound of a group approaching them. Off in the distance, he saw a middle-aged man flanked by 6 metallic human figures. The middle aged man called out “I figured the bush would have claimed you by now.” With that, he ordered his constructs to attack the party.

The fight that followed was extremely trying for the party. The constructs proved to be resilient and the man was an adept spellcaster. Aarissa was able to incapacitate a few of the constructs long enough for the party to force the man to retreat using his magical necklace that teleported him several hundred yards away. The party was too busy dealing with the constructs to pursue him so he was able to escape on foot before the fight ended. Dealing with all six constructs left the party exhausted but they still had to deal with the bush.

In the end, Aarissa decided it would be best to lasso a plant, drag it close by, and then use her magic to pluck the leaf from a position of safety. It worked like a charm and the party placed the leaf in an old bottle left over from a potion. The party decided to locate a healer to patch up their wounds from the tough battle and then rested in the inn before continuing back to Arcanum to claim their reward.

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Getting Some Answers
The party does a little research and pieces together the necklace's past

9/11/2715

The necklace inscribed with the symbol meaning “Death” that Lady Millicent wanted so much was proving difficult to identify with conventional means due to a curse that had been placed upon it. The party arrives in Arcanum right as night is falling and decides to make their way to Valyrian Syr to see if he can provide any insight on the necklace. The guards at the temple inform the party that Valyrian has stepped down from his position and has disappeared from the temple. The party requests a meeting with the highest ranking member present at the temple and are introduced to Bishop Belmer. Belmer looks over the necklace for a few moments and hands it back, stating that he has no clue as to the necklace’s origins but that the party should consult a sage or historian if they wanted to know more. Everyone agrees to the idea and decides to begin their search in the morning.

9/12/2715

The search for a capable historian goes smoothly thanks to Aldon’s talent for socializing. They make their way to the first name on the list of names that Aldon collected. They’re greeted by an excitable elderly man with glasses. When the party presents the necklace, he pauses to think for a moment and claims that he recognizes it from a book he read once. The historian asks the party to leave the necklace in his care for a few days while he does some research. The man seemed trustworthy enough so they party left the necklace with the old man and decided to take care of a few personal errands in the meantime.

9/14/2715

After taking two days off to gather themselves and take care of personal business, the party regroups at the home of the historian to see if he has found anything. When he recognizes the group he eagerly ushers them inside and retrieves a book from his desk. He begins reading aloud, one hand holding the book and the other holding the necklace. “Long ago, there was an adventurous but vain lord that sought out a necklace of great power from the powerful witch that created it. It was said that the necklace was what kept the witch eternally beautiful and young. The young lord was able to steal the necklace but the witch then cast a powerful curse on the necklace. If she couldn’t have it, no one could. The curse would rob the necklace of its powers and doom the young lord and his subjects to never find peace in death.” The historian then held up the book for all to see. Inside was a sketch of the necklace he now held in his hand. He cautioned that the tale was a legend and admitted that he was shocked to see it held some truth. Everyone asked if such a young lord truly existed but the historian couldn’t think of anyone that fit.

Determined to find a definitive truth, the group ventured to the nearby wizard college to use the vast library located within. They were able to easily get access thanks to Koil’s position as a priest. They began hitting the books, using all the clues they could think of to narrow their search into something manageable.

(Thought I’d drop a quick FYI for those of you who might be curious about what clues there were to find and use to narrow the search. You guys came up with the idea of using the heraldry from the keep but there were two other ways to narrow the search. The bottles of wine you gathered could have been used to get a more precise date other than “about 200 years ago”. The third clue you never found. The fireplace had a few pieces of paper that could be pieced together to form a few fragments. The pieces of paper would have given you a name to look for and the name of the lord’s district. Just thought it was an interesting thing to throw out there even though you found the info you needed with just one clue.)

After hours of searching through countless books, Aarissa found what she was looking for. Using the heraldry from the keep on a hunch, Aarissa was able to find that it was the family crest of the Millicent family that disappeared two centuries ago. The official history book had no mention of a witch or a necklace but did make a mention of his wife’s disappearance. Shortly after her disappearance, Lord Millicent went into reclusion, as did his entire estate. It wasn’t long before the entire area was forgotten.

The group started putting the pieces together and decided that the necklace must be the one described by the legend. They also questioned whether or not the necklace did truly belong to the vampire they met considering she could easily be the Lady Millicent mentioned in the history book, assuming she was telling the truth. Regardless, now that they were sure the necklace was useful, the party took it to the temple to have the curse removed from it. The priest was able to offer the group a good price and removed the curse with ease. Aarissa and Koil then tried to identify it once again and discovered its abilities weren’t what the legend had told them to be. Still, a necklace that prevented the death of the wearer was valuable.

Once the group got their questions answered, they decided to split up and look for work. Aldon was approached by Bishop Corver who warned that Valyrian Syr’s disappearance wasn’t like him and that something else must be going on. Hermi found travelers that brought rumors of a well-coordinated attack against a town by well-armed kobolds. Guy was stopped by a desperate man that claimed his daughter was ill and the only thing capable of curing her was a leaf from the Caiman Bush. Aarissa found his claims to be a little odd since she had never heard of the Caiman Bush having healing properties. Still, the group decided to take the job and made preparations to journey to the city far to the south where the stranger told them the bush grew.

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The Ruined Keep
The ruined keep proves to be full of mysteries...

9/10/2715

The party rides all day and arrives at the keep just after nightfall. The party approaches closer on foot, using magic to light their way. Approaching from the east, they come across a portcullis blocking entry. A single zombie tries to attack Aldon through the bars but Aldon easily dispatches him.

The party contemplates climbing the keep’s crumbling forty foot high walls but then decides it should be saved as a last resort. They scout the outer walls of the complex and find a massive section of the southern wall to be collapsed. Everyone makes their way into the courtyard through this opening only to be greeted by half a dozen undead creatures. The party came prepared, however, and dispatched the creatures with little effort.

The party scouted the courtyard and found nothing, not even bodies of the former inhabitants. They then decided to move on to the keep. The iron doors creaked open to reveal even more undead which the party quickly took care of. As they ventured into the corridors of the keep, they came across three human bodies dressed in armor with weapons nearby. The bodies were horribly mutilated and appeared to have been half-eaten. Koil was able to guess that the bodies had not been dead for more than a day or two.

After dispatching a few more undead, the party stumbled into what appeared to be a throne room. A tapestry with a family’s crest was draped across the back of the chamber behind a silver throne. Sitting on the throne was a skeleton in purple robes with a golden crown sitting atop his head. A skeletal warrior dressed in heavy armor stood nearby and drew his sword as the party came into the room. However, the armored skeleton stopped when the crowned skeleton barked out an order.

Only Koil was able to understand the language of the skeletons and realized that the crowned skeleton had said, “Let them speak.” Koil engaged in a conversation with the two skeletons and asked who they were. Neither was able to recall who they were or how they ended up here but they did say that they had been here for what seemed like centuries. Koil then questioned them about whether or not they killed the keep’s inhabitants. The crowned skeleton grew upset at the accusations and demanded that the group leave immediately. When Koil persisted, the armored skeleton drew his sword and reiterated the crowned skeleton’s demand, prompting the rest of the group to draw their weapons. Koil told the armored skeleton “I wasn’t talking to you,” at which point the armored skeleton moved forward, pushed Hermi aside, and attacked Koil.

The party was able to gain the upper hand quickly by cornering the crowned skeleton and then teaming up on the armored skeleton after the crowned skeleton was dealt with. With the two intelligent skeletons taken care of, the party moved to explore the remainder of the first floor. They found a few bottles of wine in the cellar that had survived and the dates on the bottles suggested the wine was centuries old. The fireplace in the kitchen area also had a few scraps of recently burnt parchment though the party didn’t attempt to piece them together. The party also found something that struck Aarissa as very odd in a small bedroom. Several articles of clothing littered the ground; each piece filled with holes and unraveled to the point that the clothes were falling apart. Aarissa figured it would take years for this kind of damage to occur and began piecing together other clues in her head. The crumbling walls, the rusted gate, the dust that covered everything, the wine, and now the clothes…everything pointed to the keep being abandoned much longer than Lady Millicent had let on. Regardless of the deception, the party decided to press on.

The party moved to the second story of the keep and encountered another handful of undead. After defeating the undead in the hallways, the group opened up a door to reveal a library. Inside the library, an elderly man in gray was sitting down, reading a book. He was flanked on either side by two ghouls that sat at attention almost like guard dogs. The party assumed him to be the necromancer and attacked him on sight. The elderly man put up a valiant fight for someone his age and even caused Hermi to flee back downstairs using his dark magic. In the end, though, he was overwhelmed and killed. With him dead, the party was able to get a closer look at him and saw that he was extremely aged; to the point that it was hard to believe he could still be alive. Around his neck the party found a necklace that radiated magic and decided to take it from his corpse and stash it away for identification later.

After clearing two large bedrooms and finding the necklace Lady Millicent described hidden under a floorboard in a closet, the party decided to head back and have a few words with Lady Millicent. As they were making their way back to their horses, they spotted a figure approaching them on foot using a glowing scimitar as a makeshift torch. As the figure grew closer, the party recognized it as Lady Millicent, though she was now wearing leather armor and wielding the impressive looking weapon. Lady Millicent began asking for the amulet, subtly at first then becoming increasing aggressive as the party refused. She gave them a final warning and when she still didn’t receive her amulet, she attacked.

With that, the party engaged Lady Millicent. Hermi quickly landed a blow, piercing her stomach with his dagger. She simply smiled as he withdrew the dagger to find that the wound was already closed. It became painfully obvious that they weren’t dealing with a human at this point. Lady Millicent was able to land several blows against the party and even temporarily turned Guy against the party but Aldon’s divine power and Guy’s raw strength proved to be too much for her in the end. When Guy landed the final blow against her, she vaporized into a cloud of smoke and floated away into the night, leaving behind even more questions for the party to ponder over.

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Farewall to the Church
The party returns the Crown and moves on to other work

9/9/2715

The party arrives at the city late at night and make their way to the temple of Valyrian Syr to return the Crown and hand over Martin Preese. The guards at the temple inform the party that Valyrian is currently asleep but they quickly move to retrieve him when the party says they’ve completed their mission.

Valyrian politely greets the party and remarks on how quickly the group’s number is growing. When the party presents the Crown, he is quickly taken aback and confirms, without a doubt, that this is indeed the real thing. The party tells the tale of their adventure and points out that the man with them is responsible. The temple guard takes Martin Preese into custody for questioning and his eventual execution. Valyrian asks the party to return to him in the morning for their reward.

Everyone decides to turn in and head to Valyrian in the morning. However, before everyone can get settled in, Aldon is approached by a noble woman that seems visibly upset. She introduces herself as Lady Millicent and begs Aldon to help her. After calming her down, Aldon is able to learn that her keep was overrun by a necromancer and his undead spawn. Lady Millicent is unable to provide much information beyond that since she claimed to be away during the attack. As a reward, she offered a necklace she said was hidden within her keep. Aldon assures her that he will help.

In the morning, the party receives their reward from Valyrian and makes their way toward the noble woman’s keep.

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The Forest Temple
The party's first venture into the wilderness

The party is able to return to the city by nightfall and receives an audience with Valyrian Syr. Valyrian is able to point the party in the right direction by using some of the landmarks on the map to determine where the meeting place is. He warns of the dangers of the area and suggests the party make the appropriate arrangements to deal with several days in the wilderness. The party is able to requisition horses and receive writs from Valyrian that declare the party to be “friends of the church”, allowing them to carry weapons within the city.

9/3/2715

After gathering all the supplies they believe they’ll need, the party sets out for the Dark Woods. They only have a few hours of daylight left upon reaching the edge of the forest but decide to venture in anyway. Aldon is placed in the lead with the map in hand to help guide him. When the last shreds of light begin disappearing from the forest, the party makes preparations to set up camp.

9/4/2715-9/6/2715

Aldon turns out to be a horrible woodsman and leads the party off course in the thick underbrush. It takes the group several hours to realize that they’ve become lost but Koil takes over navigation duties when Aldon’s poor sense of direction becomes known. Koil, with Aarissa coaching him over his shoulder, is able to lead the party toward their destination with only a few hiccups along the way.

Shortly before nightfall, the party locates a clearing that is home to a moderately sized temple. Judging by the map, the party is certain this temple is the meeting place. The group approaches the temple cautiously. Upon opening the large, jeweled doors to the temple, the party is met by several of the blue-robed cultists. A fight breaks out that leaves another half dozen cultists dead. The party continues onward to a large room with a defaced statue and altar that is guarded by two orcish mercenaries and a menacing looking priest. The battle that broke out was a bloody battle for both sides but the group came out on top even though Aldon and Koil were severely wounded during the fighting. The party took a few moments to gather themselves and while doing so began to notice that this temple likely belonged to a sect of Assytia worshipers. Upon further investigation of the temple’s ground floor, they found several bodies in blood-stained green robes. It appeared the cultists had slaughtered the previous occupants…
The party continued onward into the temple’s below-ground level. A small skirmish broke out between the party and a few more of the cultists but the party prevailed once again. They came across a strange green gem inlaid in the floor that was filled with a mist that followed their every move, almost as if it were alive. They decided to pay it little attention and moved on to a locked door. Hermi had considerable trouble opening the magically reinforced lock but was finally able to unlock the door.

When the group ventured into the room, they found themselves face to face with Martin Preese. He asked the party to stay their blades and told them that he was ready to surrender. He handed over the Crown of Carrikos and Koil was able to confirm that it appeared to be authentic. He led the party through the temple at their leisure and pointed out a trapped room that the group was unable to enter. Hermi was able to disable the traps long enough to retrieve the goods the previous occupants worked so hard to protect. Martin Preese also mentioned that he had captured what he assumed to be a member of their party since he arrived only hours before they did. He introduced the party to Guy, an experienced knight that traveled the land. The group decided to take him along since Martin was able to confirm that Guy was a talented warrior since he defeated several of his cultists single-handedly. With that, everyone made their way out of the temple and began the trip back to Arcanum with the Crown of Carrikos in tow.

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Dealing with the Cultists
The day begins and ends with a chase

After some discussion, the group decides that a tracker may not be as big of a help as they previously thought considering the traffic on the southern road. They instead began their search and headed south in pursuit. After a few hours of walking, they came across the scene of a recent battle. An empty wagon was overturned on the side of the road and a few bodies were scattered about. Everyone seemed to be dead except for a man in the now familiar blue robes. His breathing was erratic and it became clear that he would die without help. Koil decided to heal the man so that the group could question him. The blue robed man wasn’t very forthcoming with information and seemed to prefer death over giving away secrets. The group was able to determine that the wagon was attacked because it carried something the cult wanted and that the group was indeed responsible for the theft of the crown. Using a strange brand of interrogation, Aarissa was also able to deduce that the man liked the smell of boiled potatoes. Having gotten everything they could out of him, the group tied him to a tree and continued down the road.

It wasn’t long before they came across wagon tracks and quite a few footprints leading off the road towards a hill. When they investigated the hill they found a passage that led to an underground complex. Their presence didn’t go unnoticed and soon they were attacked by several of the blue robe wearing cultists. The group made their way through the complex with fighting breaking out occasionally. A strange circular room caught their attention but seemed to be locked. Hermi was able to open the lock but didn’t spot the trap in the door’s knob. When Aldon opened the door he was pricked by a small poison needle. Fortunately, he was able to shrug off the poison without too many ill effects. Hermi found another locked door in his path and was more careful this time, spotting and disabling another needle trap in the door before unlocking it. Inside the room they found a small chest sitting on a desk. When they opened it they found a large pouch of gold, a map, and a letter addressed to the Voran guy who wrote the previous letter. The letter seemed to suggest that the crown had been moved and Voran was to meet with someone later at the location detailed on the map. The party stashed away the chest and continued on through the complex.

The party soon stumbled upon Voran’s chamber. Hermi was able to quickly dispatch the female cultist that occupied the room with him. Voran quickly made a dash to the back wall and opened a secret passage. A long and tense chase followed. Voran was obviously prepared to make such an escape and had deployed caltrops in the narrow secret chamber to slow the party down. He then made use of the scroll of invisibility he had hidden in the secret passageway to make good his escape. Or so he thought. Hermi’s keen elven ears were able to discern his general location and he began tossing vials of Alchemist Fire in that direction. One of the vials struck true and revealed his location long enough for Aarissa to cast a Grease spell. Voran had a hard time with the grease, falling down repeatedly. The party nearly cornered him before he was able to escape the grease and cast a grease spell of his own in a narrow hallway. Only Hermi and Aarissa were able to keep their balance through the grease as Voran neared the exit. To make sure of his escape he cast a spell that sent two streaks of energy at Hermi, sending him to the ground. With Hermi down, everyone thought for sure Voran would make it out alive…except for Aarissa who pulled out her longbow and sent an arrow straight through his heart. With his death, the party seemed to have accomplished everything they could so they gathered up the loot and headed back to Valyrian Syr to see if he could locate the area on the map they had obtained.

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