World of Omphalos

Once Upon a Sewer Part III
Group 1 runs into more underground trouble.

Work In Progress

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Festival of the Light Part II
Group 2's adventures continue

[Work In Progress]

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Festival of the Light Part II
Group 2's adventures continue

[Work In Progress]

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The Master
Unbeknownst to Group 2, somewhere distant...

Amongst snowy grey peaks, concluding a winding trail a black stone tower stood. In stark contrast to the snow surrounding it, the Master’s sanctum refused the touch of ice which melted instantly on contact with the warm stone.

Inside, a chamber with shutters closed similarly repelled the cold. Like a container of darkness, the only source of illumination was a crystal sphere atop an wrought-iron stand.

A heavy wooden door burst open as an angry mage angrily strode into the room. Blood dripped from his soaking robes, smearing across the floor.. The Master had come home. He snapped his fingers and a half dozen lights blinked into existence atop magical sconces spaced evenly around the room.

He opened a large oaken armoire. His body was weakened, but his will was as intense as ever. He reached in and downed three healing potions in rapid succession. He sucked in a breath without pain finally and his shaking hands steadied. He grasped a staff from the armoire, a long shaft of black rune inscribed wood, topped by a glass sphere. The Blue iris of the eyeball inside the sphere widened as it regarded him. The master’s empty hand unconsciously reached half way up to the eye patch on his face as his remaining eye looked back.

The Master gestured and four pair of windows shutters slammed open, icy air rushing into the room. The ancient elf sucked in the invigorating air. He cast another spell and the blood disappeared from his robes. The one-eyed elf walked over to the scrying orb. He whispered words he knew very well and placed a hand on either side of the sphere. As he concentrated upon it, his visage grew even darker as a cold rage filled him. His vision beheld ruined cities on fire, bodies strewn in the streets. All races, all peoples he saw as he moved his far sight about. Tears traced down his face silently as he gazed upon those he loved most dearly.

“I know what I must do,” he muttered in elvish.

He moved away from the sphere, clutching the staff tightly. Despite his anger and despair, he pushed that aside with well practiced skill. His mind blanked instantly as he prepared to draw upon his deepest reserves of power to summon his most powerful spell. Then he filled his mind with the complicated spell pattern he had not often used. Geometric patterns of runes filled his powerful mind causing energy from outside his body to coalesce itself within his mind. He shaped the energy as an exercise of pure will forcing the tremendous amount of reality-altering energy to bend to his will. All of this done in nearly an instant.

Then the Master cast Wish.

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Festival of Light Part I
Group 2 in the City of Kalis

The troupe of adventurers and their companion Galina, travelled the road South to the city of Kalis.

After two days walking they reached the open western gate of the high-walled city. With a population of over 30,000 people, this was quite a site. Mula’s stomach began to knot as they passed through the gate, her senses overwhelmed by sight, sound and smell, even in this relatively well ordered human construction.

Galina told the group they would be welcome at her family’s home. This turned out to be a large city estate. A mansion in the center of a well groomed grassy lawn and beds of flowers or sculpted shrubbery is protected by a wall and a large iron gate.

They met James the butler and were shown to rooms on the second floor. The group decided to go out that afternoon and collect the bounty on their collection of goblin and orc ears, keeping their gear with them.

Mula seemed to become quite overwhelmed by being in the city. The smells and sounds freaked her out a bit and she left the group for a time to collect herself.

The group wandered through the city until they located a bounty office run by the city. As they did so, they encountered a quiet tiefling man, who just dropped off a large sack of ears similar to what they were seeking to cash in on.

The officious, thin lipped man behind the counter adjusted the bounty value down like a stock price after the tiefling dropped off the ear. At the incredulous looks of the party, he just said that “The Hunter” had filled the quota the city had set and their ears were not as valuable now.

After claiming their money, the group was eager to spend it and relax. Aiza, still thinking about having to leave Boots behind just said, “I want a drink.”

The group wandered around until they found The Frothy Mug tavern and settled down to a large round table. The place was quite lively with a fat obsequious inn keeper named Fargus smiling at them when they flashed their new found gold.

The party started downing drinks, a silence settling over them. Grum walked over to the bar after he noticed a rather attractive half orc lady was bar-tending. Grum learned her name was Hava and started flirting with her in an unexpectedly successful manner.

The group met an entertaining server, a small gnome named Jinkle who caries around a step ladder between table so that he can reach the top and distribute drinks. He chats up the party and asks about them as he walks across the table to present the group their drinks.

The party noticed that the tiefling they saw earlier was in the same tavern and he sent over a nice bottle of elven wine to their table. He raised a glass to them after they got it as he sat alone at his table.

Xylia walked over to the Hunter’s table. She bantered with him a bit to suss him out before he insulted her, sending the rogue angrily back to her party’s table.

The group continued to drink as an emboldened Grum continued to make friends with Hava. At a near-by table, another group of rowdy adventurers was enjoying their evening. Grum was getting quite smashed and a depressed Aiza was starting to feel relaxed as was Mardis.

Elgeiros began to give Jinkle a hard time, and the gnome in the near-by group took offense. Hyjinx ensued as pranks between the tables ensued.

Some members of the group participate in dart throwing or arm wrestling. Xylia makes an excuse to visit the powder room and is not seen again in the bar that night.

A drunk arm wrestler gets rough with Jinkle and hurts him. Hava kicks him out as the party watches on.

Eventually the other table of adventurers heads out and Elgeiros uses his magic to harrass the gnome in the party.

Elgeiros gets in a confrontation with the party and with Hava who expels him from the tavern. The rest of the group goes with him.

As they are making their way back toward the mansion where they are being put up, a figure emerges from the shadows and attacks the group with amazing speed. Aiza goes down, falling unconcious from a deliberate pommel blow to he temple. The tiefling, whom the group realizes is “The Hunter”, must have followed them from the bar, deliberately did not use a lethal strike on Aiza.

The Hunter miscalculated the group’s strength however as he is quickly over matched by the four remaining party members, including blasts of fire from Elgeiros which took him down.

As the red-skinned tiefling’s body remained on the ground bleeding out, the group drags him to a near by alley and force-feeds him a healing potion. He awakens to their questioning, but not recognizing the group’s lethal intent refuses to answer them, once more underestimating them. Elgeiros stabs the man in frustration, knocking him out and spilling his blood onto the alley. Some how Elgeiros’ blow did not kill him outright and the tough tiefling continued to draw unconcious breath. Elgeiros nods slightly at Grum who stomped on his chest until he stopped breathing.

After completing their looting of the body which included some money and weapons, they headed back to the Mansion.

Xylia meets them there explaining that she felt sick and went home.

Grum drags Aiza over to a bed and everyone sleeps off their alcohol and recovers from their wounds for the morning.

No one notices that their host is not to be found.

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Fire, Blood and Ears Part II
Group 2's adventures continue

The wolf-like howls of worgs signaling each other over long distances grew closer and the team abandoned any thought of destroying their log-bridge over the river ravine.

Seeking to re-unite with their companions below, the team tied off another rope to a tree and tried to climb down the 50 foot drop to the moderate water below.

Unfortunately, in their rush, and exhaustion from the fighting, the most of the team failed to properly grip the rope whilst descending and fell part of the way to the ground.

Elgeiros fell badly and a rocky blow to the head knocked him out cold.

The banged up adventurers did their best to float downstream, having managed to locate both the still-breathing Grum and Boots the mule that had managed to survive the fall as well.

Minutes passed as they tried to gain distance from their pursuers.

Then a great howl blasted through the ravine. The worgs and their goblin companions had caught up to their trail. As doglike screech of pain followed as their still-distant enemies climbed or jumped down to the river from above.

The companions scrambled down stream, towing their unconscious colleagues. The sounds of the approaching enemies indicated they were nearly upon them. The group split in half by the river let arrows fly at a bloodied worg and its uninjured companion. They four-legged canines quickly closed the gap. Surprising the group, the new comer stood in the front line on the north side of the river and let loose a bone snapping punch into the nose of one of the beasts. As it blinked the tears from its eyes and blood gushed from its nose, it continued to snap and attempt to tear at that group. A similar struggle on the south side of the river ensued with the injured beast.

The battle lasted only seconds, and the group was successful in defeating the monstrous wolves, but not without fresh injuries.

A fresh peal of angry howls in the distance shattered any thought of being able to rest. As the group began moving westward down stream again, the human woman urged them to climb the north side and escape the funnel they were trapped in.

Reluctantly, the group went along with the woman’s words and they used ropes to scale the cliff wall to the north side. Struggling to lift the massive orc, their mule and an unconscious elf, the team was able to do so before sighting any more worg and goblin scouting teams.

Fleeing from the hunting parties of the orcs and goblins though the trees and fog was neither easy, not pleasant. Injuries and unconscious companions slowing the team, they spotted an iridescent wall of fog in the distance.

As they approached, the team realized they were looking at a ley line, a natural mystic phenomena, a vein of magical energy. As they stepped into the ley line, a hair-raising tingle was felt on each party member’s skin. And for the druid, the surge of power poured into her, filling her drained reservoir or magic. She quickly began to use the re-invigoration, seemingly limitless to bring her healing magic to bear on the group. As Mula’s cure spells fixed their bodies, Mardis noticed that the ley energy, like a road through the forest, weaved downward into a high-walled grotto.

Deciding to investigate, and appreciating a chance for cover from hunting parties, the group descended a curving path between rocky walls to a circular clearing. At the far end of the clearing was an enormous stone carved to resemble a massive toad.

Toad.jpg

Before the great statue was an ancient slab of stone with holes in it. To one side of that was a pile of skulls, and on the other was a large pit. Several ancient pillars would have once added a temple like semblance had age and the elements not reduced them broken remnants. A second ley line flowed down one canyon wall and up and out the other forming a ley line nexus right above the frog statue and the altar.

The group looked around at the ancient scene, going as far as to touch the statue and Grum even lay down on the altar to see if something would happen. Peering into the hole, but deciding not to descend toward the bone littered bottom, the group pondered their next move.

The human woman approached Xylia and introduced herself as Galina Relgurd.

She spoke briefly about her experience before running into their group. She described being part of a caravan taking wagons of spirits and ales from Crux, her home city to Kalis for their annual Festival of the Light. They had camped for the night, when suddenly their camp was assaulted by orcs, goblins and worgs. Their wizard was able to cast a firey explosive spell, before being taken down by a squad of axe wielding orcs.

She’d had no choice in the face of the ambush but to dash for the trees and try to hide from the foul creatures as they cut down those fighting or fleeing.

It was then that she witnessed a strange scene. A figure in a hooded cloak was speaking to a very large orc clad in plate. The figure did not seem to be an orc, an elf or a human perhaps. The figured was carrying a glaive and gestured with it pointing toward the wood. She could not quite make out what the figure said. The figure climbed to the back of the stone horse statue. As motes of golden light seemed to appear around the horse surrounding the figure, the figure suddenly turned to look right at her. It barked an order at the orcs, pointing the glaive directly at her just before the figure disappeared along with the horse statue.

The orcs however growled in anger, or glee, she could not say, but the started running directly toward her hiding spot. She took off running as fast as she could. Shortly after she ran into the your group Galina explained.

The group seemed largely preoccupied with examining the ruin and did not ask her any questions.

After a few minutes, the more alert members of the team spotted another goblin on worg-back. The blood thirsty beast howeled, then foolishly charged into the clearing with the now refreshed adventurers. They were rapidly cut down by the group. More distant howls echoed the now slain beast and the team knew it was time to resume their flight.

Leaving behind the grotto, they could not help but feel they had missed something, however they put it behind them for the time being. As they left the ley line behind, they lost the replenishment of energy into their bodies and they wondered if they were making a mistake leaving behind the defensible position, but Galina urged them onward. She had seen the force that assaulted her caravan and if they were hunting them, the mystic energy would be unlikely to save them from that force.

Hours passed as the group pressed on, fleeing the ever-present hunting barks of more worgs. Suddenly Mula held up a hand and the group slowed their pace. She looked at a low-hanging tree branch where spider webbing had captured a particular set of leaves from some herbal plants.

“There is a grove near-by, a big one,” she muttered. Gesturing for the group to follow her, she began to follow signs obvious only to one who has followed the path of the druid for years.

Soon the group saw a peculiar sight, a tree with a face on its trunk. The eyes of the face opened and watched the group approach. In fact the whole tree seemed to shudder and shift. Mula spoke to it in a secret tongue, her voice some how sounding like wind, then rain, and a bird eating seeds. The great tree responded in kind. A path between trees opened from no where as the branches of the tree and dozens, if not hundreds of other trees parted to allow the party passage into the sacred natural grove ahead.

The path lead to a lightly forested meadow where a small water fall fed a bubbling brook and a serene pond. What grabbed the group’s immediate attention however were the two giant elk drinking from the pond in the moonlight. First one, then the other lifted its head to regard the visitors. The first had a great, many-pointed rack of horns that was simply put, awesome. It walked around the edge of the pool curious about the party.

The group was some what awed by the scene. Mula lead the team to follow the great sacred elk toward a lone standing tree. The tree was huge, and a face seemed to be appearing on it’s trunk. Mula recognized this as different from the earlier guardian awakened tree earlier however. With the greatest of respect and awe, she realized she was looking at a Treant in the process of being born. The time line for such a birthing was in the decades or even hundreds of years, but it was one of the most sacred events in nature to a druid.

The elk, they came to realize were guardians of this grove and this sacred birthing. The group also came to realize that the elk seemed to be able to understand elven, but could not speak themselves.

The group spent the night in the grove. As they fumbled about trying to ask for words to communicated with the elk, they eventually convinced it that it should help them escape their pursuing orcs.

Base voices, shouting in anger an surprise confirmed that the orcs had found their trail that lead them to the grove. As they were suddenly being battered by the defending trees, they started to bring fire as a weapon.

The entire, group mounted on the male Elk’s great back strode out of the grove and then charged through a near by group of orcs, including a particularly large beast wearing plate mail. As they trampled though, it appeared the recent damp weather was preventing them from torching the trees effectively and their large group was spread out in an effort to surround the grove. The group easily galloped on elk back out of the trap, the awakened trees bending branches out of their path.

The beast lead them away from their pursuers. With unbelievable endurance, it galloped to the edge of the north wood in hours, letting the group down within sight of the road to Kalis.

Nodding its head with respect toward Mula and the group, the beast turned back into the wood to return to its charge.

The group, jostled but feeling refreshed began their journey down the road to Kalis.

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Fire, Blood and Ears - Part I
The FIRST Group-2 Adventure

It is late evening and a light fog settles down over the Northwood forest. A group of adventurous folk had settled down for the evening at an oft used camp site a short distance from the forest-bisecting road. The warm coals were all that remained of their camp fire and all but two of the group were a sleep in their bed rolls.

The newly formed team had been hoping to run across some goblins and collect the bounty bounty on their ears set in the City of Kalis. Having had no luck in the past three days of hunting they had eaten their dried meat and travel bread whilst discussing heading back to the town of east bridge or possibly following the road the rest of the way to Kalis.

A firely explosion, maybe half a mile distant woke the adventurers not on watch. Gathering their gear and deciding quickly what to do they sent their stealth specialists, Xylia Fae and Mardis Riverfin ahead of the group to scout in the foggy darkness. Grum Heckstream hefted his great axe with familiarity leading Aiza Haan with her twin long swords at the read, Mula Bandah hands gripping her gnomish quarterstaff, and Elgeiros Aleviir in the rear as he mentally prepared to unleash his arcane power at a moment’s notice.

Walking stealthily ahead, Xylia and Mardis were the first to spot a squad of four goblins walking down the road. Barely able to signal each other with the fog enshrouded road separating them, they stopped and watched as the patrol passed them heading toward the main group. Following from behind they let the goblins come up to their less than stealthy comrades. The goblins, scimitars already at hand muttered in their raspy native tongue as they prepared to rush the team ahead.

The goblins where quickly outmatched, half their number cut down before they could act. The other two ran away from the road in opposite directions. The team was able slay one through the fog with an arrow, but the final goblin provide surprisingly quick and was able to escape into the trees.

Barely pausing the group immediately started harvesting the ears of their prey. They stuffed all the disgusting, but valuable ears into a saddle bag on their mule Boots. They resumed travel down the road in a tighter formation, approaching the earlier explosion. Then they heard the sound of heavy boots on the hard packed road ahead.

A squad of thick-armed, broad-headed orcs wielding large two-handed axes approached. Neither the party, nor the orcs had bothered with stealth and the orcs yelled war cries as battle ensued.

The orcs proved much tougher than the goblins, as the entire team was forced to bring their best effort. As the rogues sought to strike from sneaky angles, Grum charged to the fore front to take on the lead orcs.

The team fought hard, but the orcs were relentless accepting grievous wounds in an effort to spill the group’s blood. During the battle, one orc was placed under a sleep spell at the outset to achieve a strong tactical advantage. The fight was over quickly however with Mula healing Grum’s well earned wounds.

They bent over to loot the bodies and take their ears which they tossed into Boots’ saddle bags. A scant minute passed for them to catch their breath before a dark haired woman dashed toward the group and through them yelling, “Run! They’re coming.”

Deep voiced orcan voices shouted in the darkness ahead as the group turned to follow the fleeing woman. They dashed into the Northwood side of the road seeking the cover of the fog enshrouded trees. As they ran, a haunting howling sound could be heard as something not-quite-wolf started the pursuit as well.

The group came up to the edge of a deep gorge. Scrambling to find someway across, they spotted a large dead tree leaning out partially over the babbling water below. As they reclaimed their breath, Grum looked down at Mula the gnome and Mardis the halfling. With a grunt from Mardis and a hesitant nod from Mula, Grum picked them up each in turn and hurled them across the narrowest near-by part of the ravine.

Clearing the 20 ft. gap, the smallest members of the team were thrown a rope coil, Grum having forgotten to hold onto one end. A sense of panic was settling over the group as the wolf-like howls grew closer. Another rope was thrown across to the group, this time with a hold on both sides, but they realized they didn’t have time to get across using the rope.

The small folk switched gears and started bashing at the foot of the leaning deadwood. The tree crashed to the ground forming an impromptu bridge as hoped. The team scrambled across the slippery mossy wood as they could hear a dual growling menace approaching.

Aiza urging Boots across the gap behind her found that the beast of burden’s hooves were simply not up to the task and it lost purchase, tubling over the side.

In a near suicidal last ditch effort Xylia grabbed a branch and caught the rear hoof of the mule. For a moment she held onto Boots, feeling like her arms were going to tear out of their sockets.

Aiza watched in horror as her long time friend fell from Xylia’s grasp, Xylia herself nearly losing her grip as well until Grum hauled her back up onto the log. Then two Goblins riding huge wolf-like mounts arrived.

goblin_worg_rider.jpg

Grum, not yet recovered from his earlier exertions could not summon his barbarian rage and fought the first beast and goblin as it lept onto the log behind him. Summoning magical fire, Elgeiros and Mula both hurled flames at the beast as the rogues fired arrows at its thick hide.

The team defeated both powerful beasts and their riders, but just barely with an exhausted Grum attempting to complete the crossing, but slipping on some blood soaked moss and plummeting from the log into the water below.

Aiza steeled her self against physical and emotional pain, she climbed down the ravine, ignoring scratches and a bite wound, she found Grum’s body pushed up against that of one of the worgs.

Sighing about the loss of an ally, but ever pragmatic, she took out a dagger and grab his half-orcan ear. A quick slice added an ear to their collection, or at least it would have if the bags of ears had not disappeared with Boots.

Unexpectedly, Grum groaned and some water gurgled out of his lungs. Aiza dragged grum’s heavy body out of the water onto the shore, yelling up to her companions, “He’s alive!”

[End of Part One]

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Once Upon a Sewer - Part II
Goblins again...

Hugh G. Peter’s Staff headed once more into the putrid tunnels. Following their new map, it lead unerringly toward the goblin’s territory.

Making no pretense at stealth, Black Nate belted out some sea shanties as they approached.

They entered a large chamber littered with rubble, and bisected by a wide and deep channel of water. The other side of the water had a defensive barriers set up. The arrived in time to spot two goblins jumping into the water to be carried along by the current. They leaped the smelly stream to find a small camp with the left overs of a cooked fish, and a sleeping goblin which they were able to slay without difficulty.

The party proceeded from here deeper into the goblin den avoiding several traps, eventually reaching a very long chamber with a ladder consisting of chiseled indentations descending from their tunnel the the floor 50 feet below.

Upon reaching the bottom floor, and continuing with their stealth-free procedure, the group was set upon by hundreds and hundreds of swarming rats.

The group fought hard wiping out the rats with steel and offensive magic. As they did so they found a couple of goblin guards firing arrows at them from the corresponding top passageway on the other side of the chamber.

Blaine closed the distance on the goblins and cast forth one of his people’s dark gifts, surrounding the goblins with harmless purple flames. The goblins lost all courage at this and fled deeper into their lair.

Suddenly the team found themselves surrounded by a magical field of silence blocking all sound. A goblins shaman was spotted in the corridor they had descended from. As the team fought on against the swarms of rats, now bereft of spells, Cain attempted to ascend to deal with the new threat. Unfortunately he could not resist the Shaman’s hold spell as he was paralyzed.

The Shaman had dropped the spell of silence however and this freed up Cade’rin to blast magic up into the corridor, killing the goblins and forcing the Shaman to retreat.

The team battled deeper into the goblin’s sewer lair. Entering into a fairly disgustingly decorated goblin shrine, they were faced with a wave of goblins and their giant rat pets trying to over come them with sheer numbers.

After defeating the initial wave of combatants, they prepared to face the next wave. When suddenly a goblin leader called out for a parlay in the goblin tongue. Estelia treated with them and the goblin leader trotted out the remaining goblin shaman. Killing him in front of them as an apology, he was able to explain that they thought that the party was with the “takers”.

It became apparent that the goblins were having members of their own tribe kidnapped by these “takers” and even offered “lots” of money if the party can return their stolen tribes-folk.

In return the goblins would harass then no further and show them to the area of the sewer apparently inhabited by these “takers”. Coincidentally this was the area on their map marked by a large skull.

The team proceeded back into the unclaimed sewer tunnels. On their way they passed through a tunnel with a broken ceiling, open to an alley way in the city above. Debris from an earth quake from a year ago had not even been cleared away. They passed over the rubble and eventually arrived at a large door.

The portal around the door was carved into a frightening demonic skull. The party pulled a chain hanging from the ceiling and the doors opened into a corridor.

With some trepidation, the team advanced into that corridor only to find the door closing behind them and the left hand wall moving forward to crush them. With no choice but to move forward they dashed ahead and around a corner into a small chamber.

As soon as they entered the chamber runes on the floor flooded the room with an eldritch blue light. Fighting a sudden wave of nausea, the group found themselves suddenly relocated into a larger room but contained within a large cage-like cell.

As they paused to come to terms with the situation, they also suddenly realized that all their gear that was metal had left them as well. No armor, no weapons and feeling desperate, Cain called upon Valador’s blessing to Misty Step passed the iron bars. As he did that Cade’rin whispered arcane syllables summoning a sphere of burning acid, managing to burn through the lock on the cage door.

It swung open as a heavy door into the chamber opened and a surprised pair of human guards with spears as well as a young man in clerical robes were surprised by Cain shoving them backward.

A struggled ensued as the rest of the team tried to get into the fray but were prevented due to the tight confines. The arms-men retreated to the adjacent chamber as the young priest called for help.

The group managed to finish off the guards, harvesting their weapons and moving through a guard room, entered a tall chamber, filled with pews, pillars and statuary.

As they took in their surroundings, an authoritative voice called out from the far side of the chamber. An older man with a stern visage, accompanied by an acolyte called out, “Put down your weapons, or face the consequences!”

[To be continued…]

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Once Upon a Sewer - Part I
Beneath the streets of Balmal

Time passes in Balmal as Estellia and Cane remain there. Neither can shake the feeling that there is something that needs to be done or found.

With their funds dwindling in the expensive city, they both agree to consider a job. Thus they found themselves in the back room of the Black Rose.

A human man by the name of Hugh G Peter introduced them to the 3 others in his employ. Estellia eyed a grinning, heavily armored human casually leaning against a large glaive with suspicion. Her gaze traveled to a tall tiefling man with a blood-tinted complexion, then a much shorter figure. She blinked twice when she recognized the third black clad, white haired person as a dark elf. Cane’s glare took them all in as Hugh named the three, “Meet your team-mates…” He introduced Black Nate, Cade’rin Torment, and Blaine Sovari.

Hugh moved on to the mission he had for the new team. “Alan Sawyer has gone missing,” he began. He proceeded to outline how witnesses described a very drunk young master Sawyer, and his companion, one David Brand, being kidnapped by sewer goblins.

“The city guard for all their power cannot easily take their golems into the sewers, and have already written the pair off as dead. I however believe there is a short window of opportunity to rescue them no matter how small the chance, and I’m willing to pay.”

The team quickly negotiated for their services, Black Nate demanding half up front. The group agreed to take on the task: 80 platinum coins for returning Alan Sawyer and another 20 for the safe return of his friend David.

Hugh lead the new group to a man hole entrance into the sewer system below the city. “This tunnel will lead you straight into the Shadow-lands, a literal black market and refuge from the law. Seek out a halfling named Crisp. He can help you find a way to the goblin territory.”

Proceeding with hesitation only for the smell, the intrepid band made their way into the sewers. After a half hour walk, they entered a large under-ground, domed chamber. The hum and buzz of any surface market place also occupied this chamber.

The_Shadowlands.jpg

After intimidating an older woman, she directed them toward a tented stall at the other end of the chamber. It was there that they found a pipe smoking halfling and a pair of thuggish half-orc guards.

Crisp barely acknowledged their approach as he lit a fresh pipe. “So, you’re Hugh G. Peter’s new Staff huh?” He chuckled humorlessly at the joke. “Yeah, I’m Crisp, and you need my map.”

He offered to sell his sewer map in exchange for 50 platinum. The group, taken aback that the cost would be as steep as all the money they had taken up front for the job were relieved when Crisp suggested an alternative.

“A favor gents, just a favor. I’ll call on you in the future to do something worth no more than 50 platinum. And you can have my map now.” After a brief deliberation the party agreed and were given a map.

He pointed at some locations on the map, identifying goblin territory and telling them not to go to an area marked with a skull.

It was at about this time that some kind of skirmish was forming up a short distance away.
Two lines of seedy men were squaring off against each other, hurling insults.

The party moved in to intercede and one of the two groups decided to retreat. It was then however that the confident row of humans revealed their true nature. Their forms shifted into a blend of rat and man, confirming their lycanthropic nature.

They attacked expecting a short fight, but Hugh’s Staff put up a fight. With no clue they were fighting a team armed with silvered or magic blades and magic to back it up, they were quickly crushed, but not before Blaine received a painful bite on his arm. The last rat fled, discarding his fallen companions without a thought.

Armed with the map and an eagerness to complete the job and leave the stink plagued sewers, the group left the Shadow-lands seeking the goblin kid nappers.

To be continued…

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Delve into Shadow - Unconclusion
The first campaign foray concludes

While still in the midst of Jonas’ tea-bagging the slain were-wolf, howls erupt in the distance.

As if the rest of the pack sensed the death of its fallen member, the team quickly concluded it was time to move on.

A minor healing spell and a potion restored some of Jonas’ vigor, though he was still suffering from his injuries greatly, and the party was running off through the trees at Illium’s insistence.

The party climbed a ridge just as their four-footed pursuers caught up to them.

As the beasts watched from the cover of brush as the last of the team climbed a 10 foot cliff, Jaxx took the opportunity to urinate off from the top of the cliff, expressing his complete disdain for them.

A battle erupted then as the team spread through the forested area, some fighting at the ridge line, others seeking deeper cover, fled into the trees toward the sounds of running water.

Jonas, in the lead of those fleeing the woods was the first to encounter a black were-wolf that had gotten ahead of the team to cut off their retreat.

A quick exchange of blows combined with Jonas’ previous injuries, not yet fully healed saw him go down with the wolf on top of him.

What followed was an uncoordinated fight in the trees. The team proved victorious despite the lack of organization and fire magics had set off a blossoming forest fire.

The remaining wolves retreated to regroup and the group moved deeper into the forest.

As darkness and the rain compelled them to seek shelter, they spotted firelight light reflecting outward from a cave.

The team proceeded cautiously into the cave, spotting a single individual. A human-seeming, white-haired woman in dirty peasant clothing.

The Witch

She looked up as the they entered with a neutral expression on her face as she poked a campfire with a stick.

“So, my brother has finally found someone competent to track me down and kill me.”

============
Epilogue
============

That is the last thing that Estelia, Illium and Cain can recall.

They woke up with a splitting headache in the alley of a very large city.

After realizing they have no idea what happened or where their other companions are now, they take stock of their situation.

Finding themselves flush with apparently new treasure that they must have come from the Shadow-fell excursion, but no memory of what happened they rent a room at the Happy Halfling Inn for some time.

Illium has a break down, she sells her adventuring gear and treasures and setups an alchemy shop in the city of Balmal where the characters now find them selves.

Estellia and Cain are more driven and begin to investigate the local scenery in more detail. Cain seeking to make a mark and name for knights of his order, Estellia, searching for something….

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