Sunday, October 13, 2019

The Saga of the SkyReave

The Saga of the SkyReave

The Announcement

The MageDrake and Arcane Guild researcher Desdemona Silverthorn has commissioned an expedition of adventurers, researchers and mercenaries to travel to and explore the Spindrift Isles in the northern ocean, east of Tarna and west of Scorti. Desdemona has hired an Ice Clipper, the SkyReave, which will depart from Miritius, stopping in Holsfrin the Dwarven Kingdom; Shallahifan, the Elven capital of Slartan; Fellport and Dyrisia in Kooselan; Despa'an in Despa and Sip and Hulesport in Hules. The SkyReave will then head east and north through the Schooner Isles before making the ocean crossing to the Spindrift Isles or Mur Fostisyr (\ 'Land of the Blue Light'\ ). The SkyReave's journey will be plotted as to arrive before winter closes the local seas with ice.

5000 years ago the Cataclysm caused all life to either fall or flee on the western half of Arda. A great eruption of Mana and Energy sprang from an area near the Spindrift Isles spread in waves over Tarna, Telor, the Schooner Isles and Scortia leaving the area desolate, demolished and filled with strange and twisted creatures. It is said that minions of Morgoth the Destroyer wrought the Cataclysm from a source of great energy rumored to be one of the Three Silmarils hidden away 20,000 years ago during the Changes. It is also said that Morgoth used this energy to complete the forging of the Twelve Swords of the Apocalypse but the blades were scattered before his minions could wield them in concert. This is good for with the Twelve Blades and the power of the Silmaril Morgoth would have challenged the Compact between Light and Dark Gods and attempted to take Arda for his own.

The year is 4378 PS, PS being Post Settlement or when Elves first returned to rebuild shattered Tarna and a new accounting of the years began. It is said that even life has returned to the Mur Fostisyr in various forms. The few traders who have attempted the stormy seas and treacherous ice report a land of mystery and magic. They report several unique peoples; the Fustir-Gost, short hardy men or perhaps tall dwarves who ply the seas in ice-capable craft; the warlike Syrkakar who fled from the south and perhaps are relatives of Tarna's Chelni; the Ky'taari, a community of unique elves adapted to the environment; and the Udahir, a group of the High Men who fly with the great birds, the Thyfur. Rumor also says that Mur Fostisyr is home to a MageDrake, a Demon Lord and a renegade Navigator and more ominous is the spectre of Morgoth rising in the artic seas which names itself the Iron Wind.

Desdemona welcomes all to join and board the SkyReave as it prepares for its journey east and northward. Passage and boarding will be paid for all those who apply their skills to insure the safety or improve the quality of the long journey. Ms Silverthorn will also pay those who join her on her own personal business in the Mur Fostisyr. If you have any inquiries regarding the journey, information has been given to the Mangai (\ the Merchant's Guild\ ) who will handle such inquiries.

Enter Khunya

One day you are sitting in your quarters at the Arcane Guild in the capital of Roim, pondering some obscure Arcane text, when you begin to feel an incessant throbbing in your head. Reaching up to check for lumps, you notice the garnet panels of your grey power focusing ring are flashing with bright red light. You realize the Bloodring is attempting to contact you and settling in you open a channel to your thoughts.

"We would have words with you Mage Khunya of the Bloodring. We are your dread and terrible masters, controllers of the Banefire and wielders of the Master Rukh.

"We have chanced upon a mission which might be of interest to you and is of import to us. You may have heard of the expedtion to the Spindrift Isles being organized by Desdemona Silverthorn? We would like you to accompany this expedition in your capacity as a member of the Arcane Guild."

You now remember a flyer stuffed under your door announcing just such a trip and hurriedly search through a mound of papers until finding the yellow parchment with silver ink.

"Upon outer appearance your purpose would to be study the forces of magic which shaped the isles and were used to fuel the Cataclysm. The Navigators reveal there is a major earthnode in the region, whether or not it is really one of the Silmarils they do not say. We have interest in the true nature of the power resident.

"More importantly we have interest in the Iron Wind and the other living forces upon the islands. We serve the Dominator in Scorti but it is a business relationship. Our Dread Master would prefer us to be slaves rather than independents. We wish you to determine whether any of these powers are associated with the Dominator and whether he intends that they suplant the BloodRing which is unacceptable.

"Khunya, we can not give much help that far in the north though the power of the ring and the rukh will still function. However, if in need, you may contact us and will forewarning we can conjure and release a sending, a Grim, of terrible power, where you might direct. Be careful for this magic may reveal who you are and who you serve. May your blood be strong and potent on this quest."

Enter M'Bassu

Life on the Serengeti has been quiet since you returned from the walkabout which led to your meeting with Na'tiean, Khunya and the others. Your tribe has spent many days exploring the land reclaimed from the Shard Wastes now being subsumed by the expanding savannah. The tribe has grown and prospered seeming to relish in the new life brought to the area. The young marvel when the story of the defeat of the BaneFire, and your pivotal role, is sung over the evening campfires.

The only conflict came when another young wanderer of the tribe, K'Tea Shimibuku, returned to the Serengeti about a year or so after your return. He saw himself as powerful and experienced, even possessing an avatar of Tulkas as part of his very being. Although tall and strong (\ nearly 8 feet tall!\ ) his combat skills were that of a baby. K'tea seemed to rely upon spells and his strange and potent club and shield. The club was a font of power, carved in a lion's head, bolstered by imbedded dragon's claws and growing small red flowers. The shield was of wood and metal in a lion's head. Both glowed with orange-red runes which would sometimes fade during combat, to give their wielder power, which K'tea would renew later. He was impetuous and ignorant and it took much to put him in his place.

One day your grandfather, L'Prassa Walker-with-Spirits, the tribe's chief shaman and elder approaches across the camp.

"M'Bassu, warrior and son, as I walked among the spirits I came upon another of a tribe of warriors. He was tall, with hair and skin of a golden hue and bright blue eyes. He wore loose pants and wrap shirt and seemed fit and capable. We talked when we met and the subjects were many and diverse.

"He came from a far northern land, perhaps beyond any that I have seen in my many days. His people were few but they were hardy and stronger. Of interest to you, my son, and Tulkas our guide and friend, is that they also are practitioners of the arts of the open hand and the closed fist though they follow Varda the Lady of the Skies and Arien, who he called Arianna, the Sun.

"I have learned that there is a group being organized by a member of the Arcane Guild," he hands you a roll sheet of white parchment with silver writing,"to head into the far north to explore the lands there. If the wandering urge has come upon you again, I would wish that perhaps you would go to the north to meet these warriors, the Ky'taari, and give their leader a gift from me. There perhaps as well you may learn of a different way of the open hand."

Enter Na'tiean

One day you are standing upon the balcony in your room, overlooking the great Morannon Ridge, home to many industrious and combat-ready Orcs and Trolls, when Ra'tiane enters. She is at 20 your younger sister and heir to Ra'tiea's position of Speaker of the Void, chief priestess of Ungoliant at the Well. She places upon the balcony railing a copy of the announcement from Ms Silverthorn.

"Your mother's dreams have recently revolved about this upcoming expedition. She wishes that you accompany this group, as the mercenary you have been, for an immediate goal and a future goal. The immediate goal concerns one Denirok, astrologer and once a Navigator of the Arcane Guild. He has long since left that Guild but still possesses the Compass by which he scryed the powernodes and flows of essence about Arda. The Web would wish that you attempt to retrieve that Compass for it would be of great use to our Maazhat compatriots.

"You should be careful though for Silverthorn will have a Navigator on board for the journey and may also try to recover the Compass. The Compass resembles an ornate sextant made of silver, gold and platnium fitted with many small jewels.

"The second thing is this rumor of the rise of the Iron Wind. It is known that the forces of the Scortian Empire, led by the Dominator, his Lady and the Ten Who Were Taken, follow the lead of the Church of Morgoth. This Iron Wind may represent his machinations as well. Ungoliant deems his growing power to be a threat and any knowledge you can gain or setbacks you may impose upon them will be desired.

"A final warning, her visions have shown the Bloodring and Tulkas as well. I think you may be about to meet some old companions. Perhaps the Strands of her Web draw them as well to this journey."

With that, Ra'tiane turns and with a rustle of robes, exits your room, leaving you to ponder the paper and peer at the orcs, busily scurrying like ants, upon the face of Morannon.

The Skyreave and those aboard

As a preview, here is a partial cast of characters who will be accompanying and crewing the SkyReave on her journey to Muir Fostisyr.

The SkyReave is a 160 foot, 3 masted, square rigged clipper ship also capable of running on Ice as well as the sea. The SkyReave is the property and home to a Sea Kral clan, the Kindaloo Owami (\ "Ever Sailing the Ocean"\ ). She is captained by Maraloa Iron-Keel. Her Pilot and Navigator is Umlanos Steady-Hands (\ a member of the Navigators guild\ ). The Pilot has two apprentices, both young clan members. The Captain has a First Mate and a Bosun (\ Second Mate\ ) both of the clan. The crew totals over fifty including 12 Ablebodied Seamen, 32 Ordinary Seamen and 6 Deckboys as defined by the Sailor's guild. She also has a ship's carpenter (\ Chippy\ ) and assistant, Supercargo (\ trader\ ) and apprentice, Physican and nurses (\ three non-clan members a male Dwarf, a half-Dwarf [his son] and a male light elf\ ), ship's Mage (\ a sohleguir aka Lizardman\ ) and apprentice (\ a lesser Mahe male\ ) and the ship's Cleric (\ of Ulmo\ ) and acolyte.

Every sailor stands a watch (\ two of 25 crew each\ ), except the Captain, Pilot, Supercargo, Physican and Mage thus total crew is 55.

Ship's Marines number 20 and are commanded by Lady Angelica Silvermoon of the Mercenaries Guild (\ she is a human\ ). Her lieutenant is named Rinaldo (\ he is a male Hani\ ). She is looking for another lieutenant and others to fill her group of 20. She is likely to be accompanied by Sir Steven McCauley from the Arcane Guild.

The primary driver of the mission is Lady Desdemona Silverthorn from the Arcane Guild. She will be accompanied by Cassieopea (\ a human lady\ ) from the Sorceror's Agency and several servants (\ some sort of unusual constructs\ ).

The Churches of the Lords of Light are represented by a guest (\ name and race unknown\ ) and an assistant named Phlemming (\ a male High Man\ ).

This list will be updated as other guests, interested parties and additional crew come forth to join the expedition.

As PCs you can contact the following folk with regards to various positions in the journey and decide whether you want your interest to be made public or not. Desdemona handles guests and ship's crew, Angelica handles the Marines.

The Harper's Call

Hear ye, hear ye...

The following announcements concern the crew and guests to be aboard the SkyReave as she departs for points east and north on this grand journey of exploration.

The following are new guests aboard the SkyReave -

  • Fincullin Delin of Shallahifan, a member of House Dragon and representative of the Elven nation. To meet at Shallahifan.
  • Khunya of Roim, a member of the Arcane Guild in good standing. To meet at Dyrisia.
  • Shadows Deepen of Elkal-Anuz, a member of the Mangai in good standing. To meet at Sip.

    Lady Angelica Silvermoon and Sir Steven McCauley present the organization of their Mercenary Marine contigent -

  • Captain, Tactical matters: Angelica Silvermoon
  • Assistant, Arcane matters: Steven McCauley
  • 1st Lieutenant: Na'tiean
  • 2nd Lieutenant: Rinaldo

    Each Lieutenant will command an 8 man squad, the group totalling 20. Silvermoon is actively looking for all interested mercenaries for her group and the voyage. Top mercenary rates (\ 4sp per day\ ) are offered for all qualified applicants. Expected mission duration 200 days.

    Thank you for your attention.

    The Harper's Call Again...

    Hear ye, hear ye...

    The Harper's Guild in conjunction with the Mangai and Ms. Desdemona Silverthorn are proud to announce the following entertainments have been signed aboard the SkyReave for the duration of the voyage.

    Proudly presenting -

  • Guiles Paniforth, Presdigitator Extraordinaire and Deborah, his lovely companion.

    Death defying escapes, magical transformations, shocking illusions, music, song and dance!

  • Tyarn the Troubador, Singer and Composer

    Compositions for guitar, mandolin and flute, songs, ballads, hymns and cheers

    Other acts will be announced as they sign -

    Thank you for your attention.

    Along the coast of Tarna

    The SkyReave departs Sip, after picking up M'Bassu, Maria, Cassieopiea and the "Servants" and the Chelni merchant. Two entertainers, a pair of dancers from the Harper's Guild and the Church of Nessa, a pair of Hani (\ male and female\ ) also join. It remains cloudy and cold for the next few days as the ship sails along the coast of Hules for Hulesport. The four days to Hulesport proceed without incident. At Hulesport two additional guests join the vessel -

    Tarin Dawngreeter of Azadmere, a member of the Sailor's Guild and representative of the Dwarven Nations.

    Zokhad Graveler, a member of the Mangai and the Arcane Guild, a geologist by trade.

    Also one other entertainer, an old storyteller named Hakiem, joins the vessel. He is an old common human, heavy salt-n-pepper hair (\ more salt than pepper\ ), dark skin and wrinkled face. He speaks with a heavy Bedouin accent and seems to be from the ex-Desert/Shard Wastes areas of Hules or Torca.

    Angelica posts the final makeup of the SkyReave's Marines, now totalling 22 with final folk joining at Sip and Hulesport.

    Watch 1

  • Captain - Angelica Silvermoon
  • Lieutenant - Rinaldo
  • Shalra Goodheart - lesser mahe, f, medic/healer
  • Cera Strider - sea kral, f, stealth
  • Eris Ahly - hani, f, warrior
  • Aram Ahly - hani, m, warrior
  • Sirrush - sstoi'lythi, -, archer
  • Na'keran - vulfen, m, scout
  • Gorin Fist - dwarf, m, unarmed combat
  • Na'skanlon - vulfen, m, artillerist
  • Albert Stanis - human, m, spy

    Watch 2

  • Captain - Steven McCauley
  • Lieutenant - Na'tiean
  • M'bassu Two-soul
  • Maria Gemmola
  • Valkyrie - high man, f, warrior
  • Toran Slammer - dwarf, m, warrior
  • Maerwin Jones - human, f, medic/healer
  • Kiss't Hah - sohleguir, -, archer
  • Daelin Longspear - lesser mahe, f, artillerist
  • Aikolos - light elf, m, spy
  • Sarn Kaly - hani, m, warrior

    All Lieutenants (\ Na'tiean included\ ) receive 80 GP in advance and 80 GP upon completion of the journey (\ more if it exceeds 200 days\ ). All Marines (\ M'bassu and Maria included\ ) receive 40 GP in advance and 40 GP upon completion of the journey.

    Accommodations of the SkyReave

    This is a rough diagram of the SkyReave and her accommodations -

    |                                                                \
    |  |-----|   |--|       |---------|    |--------|     |--|        \
    |  |wheel|   |st|   *   |deckhouse| *  |dckhouse|  *  |st|         -------
    |  |-----|   |--|       |---------|    |--------|     |--|        /
    |                                                                /
    * - mast, st - stairs
       -------          |   ----------  |  ---------   |
       |wheel|          |   | cabins1|  |  |cabins2|   |
    | cabins3     |    hall & harpers   |   marines    |  crew       /
    |  shops      |  kitchen  |  clinic |   crew       | sails   /
      \                 hold/ballast                         /

    As would be expected, the crew, marines and entertainers hang out in the indicated spots. Upper echelon crew, marines and guests have cabins as indicated below -

    cabins 1	cabins 2	cabins 3
    --P--P---P--    ---P-----P---    /--P------P------P---
    |  1   | 2 |    |  5  |  6  |  /    9  |  10  |  11  |
    -----D---D--    ---D-----D--- |        ----D------D---
    D          D    D           D |-------DD             D
    -----D---D--    ---D-----D--- |        ----D------D---
    |  3   | 4 |    |  7  |  8  |  \   12  |  13  |  14  |
    --P--P---P--    ---P-----P---    \--P------P------P---
    D - door, P - porthole
  • Pilot/Navigator & Captain
  • First and Second Mate
  • Desdemona & Cassieopea
  • Angelica & Steven
  • Chippy & Apprentice
  • Physician & Nurses
  • Rinaldo & Na'tiean
  • Ships' Mage & Cleric
  • Fincullin
  • Shadows Deepen
  • Tarin Dawngreeter
  • Khunya
  • Gasa Stargazer (\ the Cleric\ ) & Phlemming
  • Zokhad Graveler

    Passing Cape Renda

    Despite the unusual incident with the Essence Flow while passing around Cape Renda, the SkyReave continues onward. That night and the next day are peaceful and good weather. The ship's crew works to patch the damage to the cabins while the various Healers on board work on crews, marines and guests alike. Desdemona was not grievously hurt by the Slaying weapon possessed by the Black Stalker and Cassieopea recovered fairly well from being blasted through a wall.

    The day after is rainy and at sundown the SkyReave docks at Corinth, capital of Tarn South and last stop in Tarna. Angelica and Steven dine with the Lady Mayor Decuma and receive a request to investigate an island that the SkyReave will pass in the next day or so. Guiles and Deb spend the night on the town as it were and may/may not meet with some success. The SkyReave departs with the morning light.

    Steven and Khunya discuss their various Arcane specialties. During the night of the first day out of Corinth, next destination Telorii, largest port of Telor, the lookout spots the small island that Decuma discussed with Steven. [ And I'll let Steven inform the rest of you as to what is cooking... ]

    Corinth: A Background

    Corinth is the Baronial Capital of Tarn South, southernmost Barony of the Kingdom/continent of Tarna. When Guiles last was there the population was 7000. It has now risen to 8500 due to the looming war in the east and the increasing Tarnan involvement.

    Corinth is set on a penisular jutting from the north shore of the river Umone where it enters the sea. At the south end of the city is Caer Corinth home to the Lord Mayor of the city. The keep has two sub-levels and six above ground levels. At its tallest point it is perhaps 120' above the ground. Within the walls of the keep are a granary, barracks of the town militia and the houses of the Bonded Weaponscrafter and the Bonded Ostler to the mayor.

    The city proper is surrounded by a wall which is oval shaped. To the north-east is an extension surrounding the port of Portland. South of the city wall on the water is the Baronial Haven. A set of docks and a large keep used by the Baron of Tarn South when in town. The current Hani Clan Baron of Tarn South resides in his Manor north of town. The Keep is occupied by Prince Teraphas, Prince Regent of the Southern Principality of Tarna (\ the four southern baronies; Despa, Torca, Hules and Tarn South\ ).

    North of the city walls on the mainland is the suburb of Halain and most of the lower class housing and nearby farms. The surrounding suburbs contain another 5000 people. Corinth is currently the jumping-off point for any Royal and Mercenary military forces headed to fight in the Scorti-Telor war. The city is very busy and bustling with activity. Mercenary companies are actively hiring and training soldiers for the war (\ watch for the press gangs for they are prevelant in the evenings\ ).

    Lady Mayor of the town is Decuma. She has been Mayor for almost two years since her father, Aestus, passed his title to her. Both are members of the Arcane Guild, studiers of Runes in particular. Her father Aestus was Lord Mayor for 15 years until he resigned 10 years ago. He left his brother Ofonius in charge but he fell under the sway of an evil cult. Ofonius was slain by adventurers and with their help Aestus returned to power. He ruled again for 6 months before he passed the title to Decuma. She has ruled since.

    Decuma is young (\ only 21\ ) and very intelligent. She is of medium height and attractive, a common human, with dark-black shoulder length hair frequently bound into a ponytail. She usually seen in the company of her consort and the Commander of the Town Militia, Menelaeus. Menelaeus was at one time Aestus bodyguard and fell in love with his daughter later asking for her hand in marriage. He is a skilled warrior, perhaps of Na'tiean or M'bassu's caliber, a member of the Mercenaries' Guild and possesses an intelligent sword named Sirion. He is tall and dour faced, with straight short brown hair, thin beard and mustache, well chiseled features, fairly handsome. He is strong but not of epic strength. He is also a common human.

    Menelaeus works at Caer Corinth when not inspecting the troops. He dines at a local mercenary/militia hang-out near the Mercenary's Guild. It is called the Boar and Spike. Has dinner and drinks with friends and then returns to the Keep to be with Lady Decuma.

    The last time you were in town, over two years ago, you ran afoul of one of Ofonius' cronies on the town council. Although Ofonius is dead and the crony out of power, some may still remember you and hold a grudge. Perhaps you played a practical joke on a rather pompous sort and he is still spoiling for a duel.

    You have a couple of contacts in the Lia Kavair, the Guild of Thieves, and know where the safehouse is. Through them you could find a fence or some muscle.

    Exploring the Tower and Discovering the Booty

    The tower of the Trolls can only be entered through an underground entryway. The tunnel, if natural in origin, has been expanded and worked with a level floor and polished walls. The tunnel ends in an unlocked Bronze Door which opens onto an antechamber with double oaken doors at the far end. In the room, Na'tiean notices some pulleys attached to the ceiling which were once part of a defense mechanism, perhaps to drop nets on the unwary. Searching the walls he uncovers a concealed niche within which was a peephole to watch the halls and levers to control ropes from the old pulleys. Stashed in the back of the niche is an old leather pouch containing the Trolls monetary gains, 175 BP in coinage and pouch with 10 small Pearls and a large Opal.

    175 BP, 10 - 2 GP Pearls, 1 50 GP Opal

    Beyond the double doors is an entry hall with benches and a curved staircase leading upwards. The first floor of the tower has no windows and is poorly ventilated. It seems to have been used as barracks in time of siege. Siege supplies lie in various rooms such as a barrel full of torches, another half full of oil and some old lanterns. As the group continues up to the next level, M'Bassu finishes breaking up some old footlockers to check the contents, if any. Within one is a small ivory statuette of a woman in prayer garb.

    20 GP Ivory Statuette of Ilmare

    The second floor walls are pierced with arrow slits and a hall runs around the perimeter of the floor (\ a 80 foot square\ ). This floor seemed to contain storerooms and a kitchen when Aestus and Decuma lived here. The Trolls rapidly went through the remaining stores and now brought their own kills to the kitchen. Khunya discovers a rather gruesome sight in the eating hall. Other than evidence of distasteful eating habits, the mummified remains of a minstrel remain chained to one wall. All of her gear is dried and battered except for one hint of magic which Khunya sniffs out. In one pocket is an atomizer containing a sparkling green fluid.

    Rin's Voice Enhancer (\ 100 Charges, +10 Singing and +5 Voice oriented-BAR rolls and skill-rolls, 10 mins\ )

    The third floor once contained bedrooms for Aestus and Decuma. One room however may have been used as a shrine at once point. Within is a 6' x 4', 8" thick slab of marble. The room is covered with the dried and smelly remnants of sacrifices. It seems that the WickerMan bade the Trolls to bring their victims here and perform specific rituals. Gritting the stench and sights, Steven pokes about the room. In one corner amongst some discards he discovers a pendant of a silver backed cats-eye on a silver chain.

    Pendant of Cats Eye on Silver w/a Silver chain, +5 DB, Daily III, Projected Light (\ 1 hr duration\ ).

    The fourth floor once contained Aestus' laboratory and library. Most material was removed when Aestus departed and the rest was smashed and scattered about by the depridations of the Trolls. However, searching carefully amongst the bits and pieces of paper in the library, perhaps searching for a scrap of lore or verse, Guiles finds a gold ring engraved with the figure of a running wolf.

    Gold Ring engraved w/a wolf, Ring of Canine Control, allows user to control any canine (\ Will vs Will or lvl vs lvl RR for non-intelligent canines\ ) within sight including dogs, wolves and the like.

    The Return from Aestus' Island

    Close to dawn our intrepid band of adventurers reach the beach and then float, fly, swim or row their way back to the ship. Their various minor injuries are tended to, stories are gleaned and then with a cry of orders the great clipper is on her way again.

    The crew seems nervous as the SkyReave is headed into a warzone patroled by ships of the Tarnan and Teloran Navies but also fraught with Scortian raiders and unaligned pirates. The next day passes under fair weather but clouds of rain and war blot the horizon at sunset. Three days to Telorii, central port of Telor, and three days of rain.

    The SkyReave meets The Black Raven, a privateer of dubious lineage, whose captain has been hired to escort the SkyReave within sight of Telorii and no further. The Black Raven, aside from the niceties of its fallen-Noble captain, is a pirate ship through and through. Over the next few days you get to meet some of her more notable crew: Black Angus, her hooded assistant pilot; Searlin, the blind elven mage who possesses a Jhereg familiar; Na'xenkian, a Na'tiean-sized Vulfen Berserker; Grogface Dogrot, possibly the ugliest man on the face of Arda; Donatello, a swashbuckler in the finest Fairbanks tradition; and a host of others.

    As you near Telorii, the rain continues and the sky turns an ugly brown. The crowsnest spies the high spires and outlying guardships. The Black Raven makes her goodbyes and turns out to sea. Desdemona informs everyone that the SkyReave will stay here for possibly a week since this will be the last friendly port for the rest of the voyage.

    The SkyReave glides between the various guardships, accepts a local Harbour Pilot and is guided through the defenses into the bustling port of Telorii. Telor is a Hani nation, divided amongst five main Hani clans, and has a Hani king in Telhome the capital. The nation wages a desperate war versus the Scortian Empire, worshippers of Morgoth the Destroyer, led by their near- DemiGod Emperor the Dominator, the Empress his Lady, and the Ten Who Were Taken, undead Mage-Sorcerors of unimaginable power. Only recently has Tarna decided to help Telor and Tarnan ships and troops can be seen amongst the Teloran Navy at dock.

    The Adventure That Followed

    Skyreave docks at telorii at about say 4 pm or when steven's shift gets off from work...

    Docks are busy, lots of mercs and such disembarking, embarking. guards and such everywhere. busy merchants. and (!) people selling metal umbrellas and/or wide flat metal hats or metal covered cloaks. roads and ground seem to have lots of brownish pebbles on them.

    Several minutes later there is a peal of thunder across the bay. people scatter for doorways. a faint splashing and pattering can be heard. the clouds boil towards the city. then the rock shard rains begin. every exposed person takes a +50 dagger attack per round in the 'rain'. it lasts for 1d10 rounds.

    People say it is yet another sending from the dominator. another attempt to horrify and batter the people of telor. rumors that he sends the very earth against them. great elementals fling the earth to the sky. sorcery abounds!

    The day passes with one or two more showers. in the evening the rains are less frequent but with bigger rocks. about 10-11 pm there is a pelting of rock hail. Per 151+ will see flashes of green in the sky falling to earth like a flaming arrow. Per 201+ shows there are exactly three green meteors falling from the skies. they fall in different parts of the city.

    If the party does not investigate - they are attacked by a raving, green glowing local type...frenzied and feeling no pain. if they do investigate as they go through alleys and such, they will be attack by berserked animals of various sorts and bums & such...guiles medallion with flash.

    The three meteors will be picked up by ne'erdowells and they will attempt to bring them to the center of town. each person within ten feet of the stones must resist vs 5th channeling or frenzy...if one touches it, rr vs 10th or same. when brought together they begin to radiate madness outward.

    RR vs 5th in 100', rr vs 10th in 20', rr vs 15th in 5'. the items are indestructible [ treat as at20, superlarge crits, 200 cp ] unless subjected to sudden heat then cold [ or vice versa ] (\ darkbolt then firebolt say ]. individual pieces are evil but less strong [ at20, large crits, 100 cp ]. they will their carrier to a central point - tarport/kifir bridge...

    The pieces are evil and unholy, they are periphally powered by three spirits (\ the ravers\ ) which will not manifest until the stones are brought together as one.

    The First Death of Na'tiean Demonspawn

    War rages between Scorti and Telor, and the port of Telorii lives through a constant hailstorm of cloud-borne rock shards. One night, while the SkyReave is docked at Telorii, the storm, a sending by Priests of Morgoth and Mages of the Bloodring, deposits three pieces of an IllEarth stone into the town. These evil fragments inflict all about with bloodrage and madness. The following occurred as this group encountered one of the three shards.

    The hani charges from the alley, bright lurid green outlining his body and flooding from his eyes. Flashes of magic and weapons and he is slammed to the ground, the green hunk of rock falling to the mud. The beserker staggers to his feet and you ready another blow. Suddenly out of the corner of your eye you see Steven McCauley turn towards you. Bright green flashes about his eyes and around his form. He braces and raises his left hand towards you energies coalescing into a bright blue ball. You jerk your shield up and duck to the left but in this instant can not outrun light. A blue blast fills your vision then everything turns white.

    *** segue ***

    The white lasts for perhaps a minute or so and then slowly turns grey. You find yourself walking in no apparent direction. Soon you realize you can see shapes in the grey, the hard and blasted landscape you walk upon, hills seeming composed of the dead armored bodies of innumerable races. You skirt deep dark craters blasted into the soil. Heavy clouds scud across the sky occasionally marked with a peal of thunder. Tattered pennants hang from standards clutched in the hands of frozen figures. Small patches of mist and puddles of water dot the valleys between the hills.

    After a while of your wandering you begin to hear faint music in the distance. Several hills and turns later you follow a bend and see a small roadside tavern. The sign outside reads "Last Rest." It is a small and strong whitewashed stone building with wooden shutters and a tile roof. You hurry to the door and warmth, smoke and noise flood out as you open it. A fair Vulfen maid relieves you of your axe and cloak and leads you inside.

    A huge hall is filled with row upon row of tables filled with drinking and cheering warriors of thousands of races and thousands of years past. A hearty cheer welcomes you from a table filled with lost comrades. Grishnak Short-Foe and Formanian are amongst them. They make some space, grabbing ale and meat you join the revelry. Time passes as you trade stories of your deaths. You discover how Fornanian cheated at cards and why Grishnak and the Knights of Manwe came to blows.

    ** end segue **

    It is a strange procession that hurries northward through the streets of Telorii. M'Bassu and Valkyrie hurry Na'tiean? along while he keeps his hands firmly clamped to his head. Slammer runs ahead leading the way. Except for the noises down by the bridge and near where Rinaldo now guards the fallen IllEarth stone the city is very silent. Like ghosts, you drift through the upscale half of town and to the shores of the river.

    As you scramble down the bank, you can seen a low black skiff being rowed across the river by a short heavy Mahe. Sitting in the front is a tall dark-haired man dressed in greys and blacks. He hops out and approaches as you near the shore.

    "I am Talon GreyWalker," his voice is low and sure,"Shaman of the Insects and Hivemaster here in Telorii. Let me see the fallen Warlord."

    He looks at the body, a faint grimace crosses his face, mutters a long prayer in an incomprehensible tongue and Na'tiean's body is surrounded by a deep blue-green glow.

    "Quick, into the boat, we do not have much time!" Talon directs. As everyone climbs in he looks at M'Bassu oddly but does not say a word. Slammer takes up another set of oars and the boat quick crosses the river. On the other side the group moves into the Shambles. And a shambles it is, ruined buildings, squalid hovels, terrible smells, furtive shadows and garbage lined streets. You move into what may have been an old mission and down into the basement.

    Talon moves to a far wall, taps a pattern, and another section slides outward revealing a concealed set of rooms. He directs Na'tiean to be placed on a bier in one room and moves into another, an altar room. On the floor is a mosaic of an eight-pointed star and a person sits at each point. Valkyrie pulls a chain from her belt pouch. From it is suspended a gold ring holding a 2 inch red glass lens. She concentrates, the lens lights, an image of a figure appears near her. It coalesces into that of a male Hani who looks a little like Khunya.

    "We have brought him," she whispers," I will place the orb in the center of the Altar so you may open the gate." With that she puts the chain in the center of the star and retreats to the periphery. The image vanishes. The people begin a chant and are soon joined by a faint reddish glow. The red fills the star, then turns to pink and there is a flash.

    Standing in the circle are two strange insectoid creatures. They stand about 6 to 7 feet tall, have pink-red chiton, two large legs, 4 small manipulators and two large palps continually moving. One turns a multi-eyed head and chitters to Talon. A silver amulet about its neck speaks in Teloran (\ Talon translates to you\ ), "I am the medical personnel and hsi is the gate keeper."

    Talon points to Na'tiean's body and to a clear space along one wall. One creature moves to his body and begins to check it out with its palps, fingers? and esoteric instruments. The other moves to the wall and begins to assemble a metal framework out of parts from a bag. It is creating a free-standing octagonal ring of intricate metal parts and pieces. Both finish about the same time. The medic moves to the other and they exchange chitters. The medic turns to Talon.

    "The body cannot be repaired in any small time. He must be transferred to the replacement. The gate keeper will bring the replacement from the Well. I will release the augmentation from the body and then return it to the Well. You must retrieve Na'tiean from Beyond."

    The circle of metal fills with a haze of magic. The creature reaches in a retrieves a long vulfen-sized metal casket which floats on the air. In the haze other creatures scuttle about and several humanoids watch the process. There is a strange noise from where the medic is and you suddenly see an alien spider-like creature extract itself from Na'tiean's body. The thing scuttles into a shadow and vanishes. The casket is moved to the bed and with a hiss and burst of steam is opened. Within is a twin, perhaps, of Na'tiean but younger and unscarred. The creatures slowly switch the bodies, leaving his gear behind, and shut the case.

    "We return now, it is now up to Talon and Na'tiean's choice," the insect says as both enter the gate. The keeper turns in the mist and begins to disassemble the gate from the other side. Then it vanishes.

    Talon grabs a chair and sits next to Na'tiean. He enters a trance and anxious minutes pass.

    *** segue ***

    A while later there is a tapping on your shoulder. A tall hooded figure stoops to your ear and whispers, "Na'tiean we must speak, for I can not stay here long before the minions of Mandos discover my intrusion." He draws you over to a corner near the fireplace.

    "I am Talon Grey-Walker and I have come to see if you would return through the veil to Arda. Your body has been severely damaged and can not be repaired in any short period of time. However, your mother and Those Who Are Not Seen had prepared for that contingency. If you wish to return we will transfer your soul to a your body yet a new body. You will regain somewhat your youth but will lose the ceremonial augmentation that was performed. We do not have the priests in our small web who can perform such a ceremony."

    "I also warn you that there may be some mental trauma when the rebirth occurs. Perhaps some loss of memory. It depends on your strength of will. You are Hsi's Warlord and the time comes for the Exodus. We need your abilities. Would you return?"


    Talon leads you to the front door where you retrieve your axe and cloak. The maiden favours you with one of those "look-me-up-the-next-time-you-are-here" smiles. Your comrades' voices echo in the hall. "Don't come back soon...Stay away...Get lost..." they seem to say but they mean well and are happy for you. Outside the door the gloom and cold enfolds you and Last Rest seems very far away.

    "We must make haste," Talon says hurrying along another path,"before the guardians spot us and give chase."

    As you jog across the scarred landscape you begin to feel a rush of energy through your soul. A renewal or cleansing of sorts. The hills of metal and bone flash by as you trail Talon across the wilderness.

    "I entered this place not far from here," he yells.

    Suddenly there is a crash of falling metal and bone from a nearby hill. A long metal dragonfly-like monster rises from the hollow of the now ruined mound. A low thunder rolls across the landscape. Swords whirl about its head as it searches the hills with lanterns of red and white light.

    Talon picks up the pace and you duck and weave amongst the piles and puddles. The shaman points out a faint white doorway ahead and sprints across the remaining yards. The thunder grows behind you and circles of light flicker along the hills. You've covered half the distance when there is a barking sound from behind and suddenly nearby debris explodes outward in a gout of flame and smoke. Sounds and flashes obscure the final dash.

    Talon reaches the white door and dives through. Another bark and blast, debris rain downward. You are suddenly illuminated in circles of red and white. A voice thunders "Halt!..." With a leap you throw yourself into the doorway and the explosions turn to white. There is a long fall and you find yourself slowly awakening. Your body tingles and feels strange. You are lying in a bed and there are several familiar (\ M'Bassu, Valkyrie and Slammer\ ) and many unfamiliar faces. Nearby in a chair sits a tail dark haired and ruddy skinned man who seems to be awakening from a trance. He is probably Talon.

    ** end segue **

    Suddenly Na'tiean stirs and Talon's eyes snap open.

    "He has returned with me," he says and walks elsewhere.

    "Ah, damn, nobody ever told me dying hurt" Na'tiean mumbles through the haze, both disturbed, but somehow reassured that his mother *knew* that he was going to need protection, and a bit awed by the manifestation of the eternal's will. "What happened?" Na'tiean moans his vision still blurry.

    After the explanation, he shakes his head to clear his mind a little more and asks to speak to M'Bassu, since he deserves at least some explanation of why his loyalty has placed him in jeopardy.

    "M'Bassu, There is blood between us (\ a Vulfen statement of debt\ ), and I thank you. It is a hard place that you have come to, and I owe you some answer to your unspoken questions. I, and these here, are servants of The Ungoliant, The Eternal, The Birther of Worlds, and dozens of other names some of which are not to be spoken. We ask but to serve, and to carry her will to the world as we are instructed. The Eternal, however, is much misunderstood in these 'civilized' lands by those, like the followers of Manwe, who mistake Chaos for evil. The eternal knows little of evil or good, light or darkness for such are concepts of mortals. She spins her web between the Lords of Light and the Lords of Darkness, acknowledging neither. She was before darkness, and she will be after, for out of chaos come all things and to it all things return.

    "Still, Her we serve, careful to keep ourselves hidden to avoid open war with those who do not understand and die with ignorant passion on their lips. Sadly, you have seen these here and now their lives are in danger for that knowledge may go to the hatefilled and ignorant. I am fortunate in that someday, when my muzzle begins to white, I shall be Warlord for my people, and so need less to speak the half-truths and lies to hide my faith that I so despise, though I know their need. The thing that you saw within me is a gift from The Eternal, only the greatest of her warriors are chosen to receive this gift, and have one of her spirits dwell within their flesh, and so bridge the world of the eternal and man. Her will and my flesh have been made one. The Demon protects me, and grants me skill in combat.

    "Now the Balance tips as Morgoth seeks to rule all. This will not be tolerated, and so I have been sent to seek for a thing, and to thwart his purpose.

    "I hope that if you will swear to Tulkas that you will communicate what you have learned here to no one, that the leader of this web will chose to let you go as a favor to me, but it is the lives of his tribe, and mine that will pay if any secrets leak, and I cannot take that decision from him. Already my ill luck has let leak too much."

    M'bassu swears such and little else is spoken as Na'tiean is helped into his gear and back to the SkyReave, for his soul is unaccustomed to his new body and seems weak and unsteady. Na'tiean does not worry for he feels his strength returning step by step and he knows his time of vengeance is near.

    "From Telorii to Clen"

    Under a grim and dirty sky, now quite tiresome after six days in Telorii, the SkyReave weighs anchor and heads eastward. Anxious eyes line both the docks and the railings as this will be the last friendly port until the mission returns from Mur Fostisyr. New found friends and old re-found mates wave or yell their best wishes. Morgoth puts an end to the festivities when another stone shower scatters the crowds from the docks. The SkyReave makes good speed and scoots out of the harbor before the storm arrives.

    This day and the next two are quiet and tense. The sailors and marines keep a silent vigil for any sign of pirates or Scortian warships. As the SkyReave nears Clen, the brown clouds focus into a funnel pointed at the north end of the island. To either side are grey clouds and patches of blue. The artificial nature of the sorcerous storm becomes apparent.

    At dawn of the third day, Desdemona Silverthorn rises with the sun and moves to the bow of the ship. There she stands for the better portion of the day occasionally making some mystical gestures with her hands. Though nothing visible appears one can feel a great magical construction coming into being. Brief glimpses into the ether show a great plane, a two dimensional wall being built along the ship's axis. During the latter half of the day, she has the navigator sail a precise straight line towards Clen. It takes the best efforts of the ship's cleric, mage and crew to do the job. Standing at the center of the ship and concentrating one can see a faint line standing in the sky dividing the ship.

    As the sun sets, Desdemona claps her hands and turns from the bow. The pilot calls a change of heading and the SkyReaves turns to starboard, towards the east coast of Clen. As the great ship turns something strange occurs. An image of the ship, exact in every detail, smell, sight and sound, seems to diverge from the SkyReave and turn to port in the same measured increments. Concentrating the spell weavers on board can see that the SkyReave has left the 'plane' that the MageDrake wove and the image hovers the same distance away on the other side.

    The SkyReave sails through the night and into the fourth day with her doppelganger mimicking her movements but disappearing around the western side of the island. Cassie explains, her mistress apparently resting through the fourth day, that the image mirrors the ship but without the reversal that a mirror shows. She also says the SkyReave can not be seen, which a quick trip by airwing away from the ship, proves to be correct. The effect will last until the ship rejoins the 'plane' on the north-east side of Clen in several days.

    Under blue skies when passing south of the isle, the volcano which dominates Clen becomes visible. The main cone is about 7000' feet high with several smaller openings. Bursts of steam and smoke rises from the active calderas. Faint rumbles like thunder flow across the water. Clen seems to be mostly barren basalt fields of cinder and lava except of a ring of forest, grass and vegetation about the coastline and the grass covered hills of the north-western ridges behind which the sheltered coves of the fishing villages hide from the depredations of the volcano.

    Leaving Clen and East Across the Ocean

    With a fair bit of cheering from the crew; Guiles, Khunya, M'Bassu, Na'tiean and Steven are welcomed back aboard. Everyone could see the end of the storm and hear the explosions and collapses caused by the ball of chaos. Though she does not say so, even Desdemona seems surprised by the amount of power that you were able to muster to destroy the ritual site. As the questions and welcomes die down, you begin to feel the physical toll of the flight and the previous day's battles. Angelica sends all of you to be checked out by both marine healers. The bound bleeding wounds are checked and cleaned, sealed by magic for those who don't want scars or stitched for those who do. M'Bassu's sorely torn leg muscles are regenerated and healed, he is back on his feet late the next day.

    The brief respite of blue skies ends the next day as clouds roll in, seemingly like a reminder from Morgoth that he is still present and the war continues onward. It rains off and on over the next three days as the SkyReave makes her way eastward along the Schooner Isles, seeking the point where the Spindrift Isles meet the chain and the journey turns north. Your voyage takes you along the north shores of some small uninhabited isles.

    Midday of the fourth since leaving Clen, the SkyReave anchors at an inlet where old maps once showed a fair sized town. The town has been in ruins for several hundred years now and few signs remain. The captain sends a foraging party ashore and Angelica sends two off-shift marines, Sirrush and Na'keran along as escort. The island is small but covered with very dense forest and undergrowth, some of which has swallowed the ruins of the old town.

    Later that afternoon, the lookout spies the foraging party scrambling pell-mell into the village. Na'keran follows carrying one sailor over his broad furred shoulders while Sirrush covers the rear, shooting arrows into the undergrowth at some unseen enemy. The group regathers at their longboat, tied to an old dock, and they make good time back to the ship. Back aboard they tell a confused and somewhat frantic story.

    They left the ship and docked at the ruins in good order. The ruins and the hills beyond were covered in very thick undergrowth and forest making the going tough. On the outside edge of town they discovered the remains of an old road headed into the hills and chose to follow that into the hills. As they walked, they frequently heard wolves and Na'keran said he could pick up very strong wolf-like spoor in the area. After a mile or two they came to a clear intersecting in the center of which was an odd obelisk covered with faint unreadable writing. Passing it they continued along the old road into the woods searching for game and forage.

    A couple of miles later the wolf sounds ceased but Na'keran could still pick up the spoor. The trail was quiet and any paths were old and cold. Suddenly a pack of huge wolves burst from the undergrowth and attacked the party. Everyone was on edge and thus reacted well. The creatures were savage and blood-thirsty but were driven off by force of arms. One of the sailors was severely bitten by a large black-legged beast before it was forced away. Na'keran says the wolves were much larger and feral than any he'd seen since at home in the northern mountains of Tarna.

    The foragers regrouped and retreated, harried by the wolves. They made it to the obelisk and were granted a brief respite for the wolves did not attack into the clearing. Sirrush quickly bandaged up the wounded sailor and tended to other cuts and scratches gained during the initial encounter. Rested and relatively calm, they gathered up their gear, organized and made a dash for the harbor. As soon as they passed out of the intersection the wolves picked up the pace, harrying the foragers. Sirrush made the rearguard, as the sailors ran ahead and Na'keran followed carrying the wounded Sea Kral. The group caught glimpses of their pursuers, large wolves of various hues and tones, but Sirrush and several sailors swear they saw, leading the pack, a huge reddish beast, maybe man-high at the shoulders, that seemed to move on two legs as well as four.

    The group made it safely to the ship but now the crew is worried. Although the wounds are clean and can be easily healed, the sailors fear worse effects. The Sea Kral crew, being a superstitious bunch like most Mahen, have heard ancient stories of cursed shapeshifters who can pass their curse onward to those they attack. Everyone knows of the 'Bear Tribes' folk but their shapechanging is genetic and can only be passed on through birthright. They speak of the Nwalkanahta, the 'cruel-bite' of such a creature, that passes the Hendiulgundo, the 'eye of the hideous beast' to its victim. The captain asks Angelica and yourselves whether you could explore the island and determine whether any of the sailors did fall victim to one of these cursed shapechangers and perhaps seek a cure (\ the best cure though, legend says, is the death of the biting creature\ ).

    From Vampire to Whirlpool

    The SkyReave departs Faucarach's island and begins the longest open ocean section of the voyage. The captain says the next 700 miles will take 10 to 15 days depending on favorable winds and weather. At the sight of the next landfall, the SkyReave turns north and enters the Spindrift Isles with Mur Fostisyr not far ahead. The next few days are quiet and pleasant with clear skies and mild winds.

    One night, six days into the voyage, the winds are low, the sky clear and Tilion the moon makes a rare and bright appearance. The SkyReave is passing over a seamount sparing the ship from the treacherous deep ocean swells and variable winds. It seems like an inland sea. Rinaldo's watch is on-duty and has been since 10 bells and gets off at sunrise. The only sounds are the quiet creak of wood and snap of the sails and rigging. The SkyReave slowly begins to rock as a series of small waves wash alongside. The winds slacken and her pace drops off. The ship rises and falls as larger waves approach. The crew begins to take notice of something strange and the sounds of scurrying and voices in Sea Kral increase.

    Suddenly the SkyReave seems to crest a hill and heels over to port in a noticable list. Unsecured objects slide across cabin floors to rest against the port walls. There is a cry from the crow's nest and the deck explodes in sound. The off-watch of crew is hurriedly woken and more sail is lowered to grab the failing winds. Voices rise and suddenly a shocked cry in Tarnan can be heard, "WHIRLPOOL! To the port side!..."

    Onward to Dol Amroth

    The ritual on the seamount having been disrupted, the whirlpool rapidly collapses in upon itself. The SkyReave regains the wind and manages to extricate herself from the swirling waters. Many groans and creaks can be heard from the hull especially in the area damaged by the attack of the great white whale almost a week ago. The captain's course takes you away from the seamount and into deeper, wilder ocean. The next few days are filled with numerous squalls and sudden storms. High winds and strong rains lash the SkyReave and the crew works hard to compensate.

    The storms seem to come together and become an almost constant gale on the fourth day after the whirlpool. The skies are dark and brooding, the rain unending. After some close calls from rather potent storm-spawned lightning bolts, Desdemona weaves a coocoon of magicks about the ship which catch the devastating electrical discharges and deflect them harmlessly away. The SkyReave pounds through the towering seas, grappling with the winds and swells which threaten to hurl the ship upon its side. Through the heroic efforts of the crew the damage to clipper is moderate, several shredded sails and much tangled and destroyed rigging. Fortunately no masts or spars are lost. Tragically the crew suffers her first casualties, two sailors (\ one from the Kindaloo clan and one human\ ) and one marine (\ Aram Ahly, from Rinaldo's watch\ ) are lost overboard and can not be recovered. Many other are injured but in the capable of hands of the crew and marine healers.

    The skies clear on the fifth day and the lookout spies an island off to the southeast, perhaps a day away. The navigator confirms that it is the turning point for the journey. There ensues a heated conference between the captain, Maraloa, the navigator, Umlanos, Desdemona and Angelica in the captain's wardroom. The results of such, announced to every one on board, is that the SkyReave must make for the island a find a place to anchor and eventually be drydocked or beached. The storm's force has severly stressed the patches placed after the attack by the whale and great danger exists if the SkyReave continues much further. Desdemona has decided the need to fix the ship exceeds any dangers the island might possess. However, when the SkyReave finds a harbour, she has asked Angelica and the Marines to carefully scout the island and determine who and what might inhabit it.

    About noon of the sixth day the SkyReave slowly sails into a lonely cove on the north coast of the small island, unnamed on the Navigator's maps. The weather is hot and humid, the sun bright and clear. The island is 20 miles across by 25 miles north-south and seems riddled with marsh, streams, lagoons and inlets. Many irregular hills, ridges and rocks break sea level and form the backbone of the place. All is covered by a deep jungle forest full of animal sounds and smells. Angelica gathers the Marines upon deck and asks,

    "So folks, how do you want to go about checking this little paradise?"

    To Hunt a Dinosaur

    The forest echoes with the wounded and angry bellows of the towering reptile as it searches the air and ground for its foes and prey. Somewhat masked from the bellowing is the sound of cracking branches, falling boughs and inelegant splats into the muck and murk of the marshy jungle. About a hundred feet or so downriver from REX, M'Bassu and Khunya reach terra firma first. Carefully balanced on the rapidly disintegrating disk, M'Bassu carries a rather limp Khunya in his arms. Seconds before impact, he springs into the air in a precisely inscribed arc and lands up the ground only to be greeted with a sudden jolt of pain rushing up a rather bruised left leg. M'Bassu grits his teeth and remains standing, ankle-deep in the marshy ground.

    [ M'Bassu: 13 hits damage remaining from the insects, another 18 from the crash through the branches, for 31 total plus a bad leg bruise leaving you at a -20 for all movement and combat actions til healed, also stunned for 1 round at the beginning of next game. ]

    Taking a quick glance at Khunya, he seems to be awake but in a sort of catatonic stupor. He mumbles and drools at bit, stays where put and can be led about or made take very simple actions (\ eat this, stand here, etc... )

    [ Khunya: Mental Collapse, unable to function for 6 hours, 25 hits of shock and mana backlash damage, another 20 hits of bruises and impacts for 45 total hits taken. At many minuses til morning. ]

    A couple of seconds later and somewhat slower and with less noise, Steven, Na'tiean and Guiles land a collapsing disk upon the forest floor only 20 feet from our friend REX. Steven and Na'tiean seem to be relatively unhurt except for minor scratches and cuts, exhaustion and frustation.

    [ Steven: 10 hits of bruises, Na'tiean: 15 hits of bruises ]

    Guiles leans against a tree somewhat dazed by the branch that smashed across his face. You can see the large bruises beginning to form and didn't that nose look a little straighter earlier this evening?

    [ Guiles: 26 hits of damage, a broken nose, at -30 to all actions for the next two days or until the nose and bruises are healed, stunned and unable to parry for the first two rounds of next game. ]

    [ Note that no minus have been applied due to % of total hits taken, which may only be a concern for Guiles and Khunya ]

    Meanwhile, ole REX is looking like a veritable pin cushion. He's been hit by at least a Shock Bolt, a Bleed spell, 6 or more arrows, 3 or more ballista bolts and he's just plain unhappy. He's also in a bit of pain and not quite as nimble as he was. However he is beginning to realize that someone has just crashed into the woods behind him. "Slowly he turns, step by step..."

    [ T-REX: 287 hits of mostly puncture/flesh damage, bleeding at 1 per, -20 to action due to hits taken. ]

    The scene
    						Pirates -> about 600'
    River edge
    Forest edge			^
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ 20' ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    M'bassu				Steven
    Khunya  <-     100'         ->  Guiles   <-             200'         -> The
    				Na'tiean				Eagle
         E< * >W

    Maria's Tale of a Crypt

    At the end of the guard shift change, sometimes towards late afternoon of the last day on the island, Valkyrie returns from the woods helping a rather shaken Maria. After a couple minutes with the medics, they let the crowd to check on what happened. Maria looks a little pale and sweaty but now has a big smile on her face.

    "Hey, wow, a crowd" she comments looking at all the familiar faces in the tent," guess you dudes want to hear what happened. Wow, it was some rush, I'll tell you."

    "Hokay, it was getting a little boring hanging out in the trees watching for pirates and hunters. I decided to take a little walk to straighten the old legs, stretch a bit. About a couple of hundred yards inland, I found a stretch of lowland that looked wonderfully Gothic. It probably once was a field or meadows but had sunk a bit and become very marshy. Water and weeds all over, blech! The meadow was dotted with all sorts of humps rising out of the weeds. Probably are barrows since none of the plants, except for some scrub grass, wanted to grow on them.

    "The hollows and in-betweens, as I said, were filled with weeds and rushes. There were also a lot of tall cypress and willow, dangling branches and vines everywhere. Tres Eerie! I said 'Olos' to the ring and the darkness became just like day and I took a poke around.

    "Now most of these hills were pretty dull. Maybe an old monolith on top or a scattering of stones, nothing special. There were alot of old wooden or metal poles with doo-dads all over planted everywhere. Some sort of markers I guess.

    "Well I came to the center and there was this one big hill, with a little one just in front, like a dog sleeping in front of its master. I clambered up the small one and saw a set of doors in the big one. Wonderful stuff, all iron-bound and hard wood. Big ornery locks crying 'pick me!'

    "I scoped the entryway, spotted a concealed stone plate in front. One of those things that springs up and splats you against the door. POW!" Maria suddenly slaps her hands together,"And you need major medical quick. I jammed the trap with some wedges and checked the door. No surprises there and the lock wasn't no problem either.

    "Now when I opened that door, WHEW, that smell was unbelieveable! You felt like you were being stifled with a blanket. But that wasn't the worst, I saw a pair of eyes, pale whites with lambent greens. Perhaps a cats or a Hanis. I don't know, but they shot of out the dark hallway towards and I booked! Man, I didn't want those eyes catching up with me for nothing.

    "Wow, I guess I got back to my post, crashed there and Val picked me up. Hey babe, thanks a bunch. What a rush, huh? Whew...anything else you folks need to know or can I go get a drink?"

    The Treasures and Creatures of the Crypt

    in the crypt -

  • Ibun Challan, Knight Commander of Chassalain

    greater mummy (\ class IV\ ) lvl 14, 198 cp, at18, qu97, db20+25, large criticals, no bleed, +120 Wham, +80 shield(25/25), +110 LBash (2x), +150 LGr, 2x damage w. Wham, 2x dam from fire, RR vs lvl 10 fear (SD), lvl 5 disease (CO)

    +25 AT-18 mithril cuirass, greaves and vambraces +20 stone war hammer Ibun's amulet (\ of command\ ) +10 leadership, daily 2, command spell three pieces of jewelry (\ 100 gp, 40 gp, 200 gp\ )

  • Arin Challan, Knight of Chassalain

    minor ghost (\ class II\ ) lvl 4, 75 cp, at4, qu97, db20, large, no bleed, +75 MCl (2x), touch causes A cold crit, con drain (RR vs 4) 3-5 in 10'R, magic only, regenerate 5 cp/rnd unless focus (\ vase\ ) destroyed

    +5m club ornate full shield w. crest Arin's amulet (\ of stealth\ ) +10 stalk/hide, daily 2, invisibility spell three pieces of jewelry (\ 8 gp, 6 sp, 15 sp\ )

  • Kara Challan, Knight of Chassalain

    minor ghost (\ class II\ ) lvl 4, 75 cp, at4, qu97, db20, large, no bleed, +75 MCl (2x), touch causes A cold crit, con drain (RR vs 4) 3-5 in 10'R, magic only, regenerate 5 cp/rnd unless focus (\ vase\ ) destroyed

    +5m mace ornate full shield w. crest Kara's amulet (\ of agility\ ) +10 climbing, daily 2, spider climb spell three pieces of jewelry (\ 35 sp, 5 sp, 5 sp\ )

  • Irlan Challan, Knight of Chassalain

    minor ghost (\ class II\ ) lvl 4, 75 cp, at4, qu97, db20, large, no bleed, +75 MCl (2x), touch causes A cold crit, con drain (RR vs 4) 3-5 in 10'R, magic only, regenerate 5 cp/rnd unless focus (\ vase\ ) destroyed

    +10m war hammer ornate full shield w. crest Irlan's amulet (\ of skill\ ) +10 to pick locks, daily 2 lock lore spell two pieces of jewelry (\ 1 sp, 10 sp\ )

  • Kasta Challan, Knight of Chassalain

    minor ghost (\ class II\ ) lvl 4, 75 cp, at4, qu97, db20, large, no bleed, +75 MCl (2x), touch causes A cold crit, con drain (RR vs 4) 3-5 in 10'R, magic only, regenerate 5 cp/rnd unless focus (\ vase\ ) destroyed

    +5m mace ornate full shield w. crest Kasta's amulet (\ of water\ ) +10 swimming, daily 2 waterlungs spell two pieces of jewelry (\ 8 gp, 6 gp\ )

  • Ridick Challan, Knight of Chassalain

    minor ghost (\ class II\ ) lvl 4, 75 cp, at4, qu97, db20, large, no bleed, +75 MCl (2x), touch causes A cold crit, con drain (RR vs 4) 3-5 in 10'R, magic only, regenerate 5 cp/rnd unless focus (\ vase\ ) destroyed

    +10m morning star ornate full shield w. crest Ridick's amulet (\ of deceit\ ) +10 duping/acting, daily 2 suggestion spell three pieces of jewelry (\ 30 sp, 1 sp, 5 gp\ )

  • Ritta Challan, Knight of Chassalain

    minor ghost (\ class II\ ) lvl 4, 75 cp, at4, qu97, db20, large, no bleed, +75 MCl (2x), touch causes A cold crit, con drain (RR vs 4) 3-5 in 10'R, magic only, regenerate 5 cp/rnd unless focus (\ vase\ ) destroyed

    +10m hand axe ornate full shield w. crest Ritta's amulet (\ of trade\ ) +10 trading, daily 2 assessment true spell four pieces of jewelry (\ 30 sp, 3 sp, 5 sp, 5 gp\ )

  • Unflache the Dissolver, mount of Ibun Challan, bound guardian

    lesser acid drake lvl 12, 250 cp, at11, qu110, db60, large, +80 LBi, +90 LCl, +90 HBa, +60LHo, +80 Acid Breath (1x min, 50 x day, as Fbolt, Acid crits\ ), Acid Law & Sonic Law to level (\ 24 pp\ ), attack forms - (\ Br & Cl, Ho & Cl & Ba, Bi & Cl & Ba, Cl x 2 & Ba or Br\ )

    ornate bridle, harness and saddle (\ worth 60 gp\ )

    The Crypt

  • Low Barrow

    contains the sleeping form of unflache, Ibun's mount, a young swamp drake. he will awaken if Ibun is disturbed or attacked in any way or if Ibun tries to escape

  • Main Barrow

    contains the remains of the hani knight Ibun and her six knight companions. it is a circular barrow perhaps 50 foot across and 20 high and has a single set of double doors facing the low barrow. a stone path runs around each side of the low barrow to the front door. the front door is of ebony faced with iron (\ and an iron plate in the middle\ ) and is locked (\ -10\ ). there is a trap (\ -10 to detect and +0 to disarm\ ) which causes the stone entryway to spring up and smash the unwary against the door (\ treat as +50 fall/crush\ ).

    above the door, carved into the stone lintel, in hani, is the following -

    here, thankfully, lies the dreaded Ibun Challan, and her much feared sisters and cousins. the clan ends here.

  • Entry Hall

    the entryway is 8 foot tall and 6 foot wide faced with stone on all sides. the wall panels show a pictorial history of the depredations of Ibun and her female knights. at the end is a single stone door which is locked (\ -20\ ) and trapped (\ -20 to detect, -10 to disarm\ ). the trap causes the center five feet of the hall (\ leaves 1/2 foot on each side\ ) to vanish dropping the unwary into a 60 foot deep pit filled with 10 foot of quicksand (\ treat as a +30 fall/crush then worry about drowning\ ).

  • Outer Room

    this room is 10 feet high and roughly 15 by 20. along the left and right walls are a set of niches, six in all. each contains an ornate shield against the back, a weapon against the shield and a black ceramic vase (\ sealed and stoppered\ ) about which hangs an amulet on a silver chain whose design matches the arms on the shield.

    the vases are the residing place of Ibun's six compatriots and carvings above each lintel indicates such. within each vase is the ghost of the knight whose bones and ashes are within. each ghost manifests if its vase is disturbed, Ibun is awoken or if more than 3 vases have been moves, all remaining ghosts manifest.

    against the back wall is a single metal faced door which is locked (\ -30 to pick\ ) and trapped (\ -30 to detect and -20 to disarm\ ). the trap drops a 5 x 5 section of the ceiling onto the unwary (\ treat as a +25 fall crush and the 250 cu foot section of rock blocks the entry way [ weighs 25 tons ] )

  • Inner Room

    this is a roughly circular room 10 feet high and perhaps 25 feet in diameter. in the center is a 10 foot long, 3 foot high and 3 foot wide stone crypt. the top is laid on the bottom and only sealed by special wax seals. the walls are carved with panels representing a history of Ibun and her compatriots.

    if the crypt top is moved or disturbed, Ibun animates, and remaining ghosts manifest and move into the room through the walls and the drake awakens and blocks the exit. Ibun is a mummified hani female in her old mithril plate with ornate shield and war hammer, wearing some expensive jewelry.

    The Dead of Chassalain

    It is the 1st of Ulmorn and the sun is slow setting the west casting long shadows across this glade of cypress and willow. The land and waters in the bog begin to chill and a faint mist starts to form in the gulleys in between trees and barrows.

    You have succeeded in opening the barrow of the dreaded Knights of Chassalain, a particular nasty group of Hani knights buried here several hundred years ago. By destroying her urn (\ the focus of her ghostly form\ ) you have finally put to rest the spirit of Arin Challan, the eldest of Ibun Challan's six clanmates (\ sisters and cousins\ ). Steven now holds Arin's Amulet snatched from her urn by M'Bassu before Arin's ghost struck him an icy blow. Khunya holds three pieces of jewelry found amongst the ash and bone fragments in the urn. An ornate shield and a hard wood club remain in the niche in the inner room of the barrow.

    M'Bassu is unconcious from the ghost's blow, most likely from the shock for the cold damage has been healed by several applications of the herb Jojopa. Steven is nursing a rather nasty cut and bruise that runs along his left arm and across his chest from Arin's second and last strike. Tuo's Eagle form is nursing some bumps and bruises from his inelegant landing into a bush near the beach. Khunya has bandaged up a rather nasty cut on his right hand courtesy of Tuo. Everyone else is unharmed.

    [ M'Bassu, down 0, unconcious; Steven, down 26, @ -10; Tuo as Eagle, down 14; Khunya, down 22, @ -10, with a bound 1 per wound ]

    Dividing the Crypt Booty

    First the Good News and then the Bad News

    Here's the sum total of all the booty that was collected from the barrow -

    One suit +25 AT-18, ornate mithril armor sized for a 6'2" Hani female (\ or someone similar\ )

    One +20 granite headed w. laen inlay, ebony handled War Hammer.

  • Ibun's Amulet [Na'tiean]

    +10 leadership, d2 command

  • Arin's Amulet [Tuo]

    +10 stalk/hide, d2 invisibility

  • Kara's Amulet [M'Bassu]

    +10 climb, d2 spider climb (\ RMC IV Arachnemancy\ )

  • Irlan's Amulet [Maria]

    +10 lockpicking, d2 lock lore

  • Kasta's Amulet [Steven]

    +10 swimming, d2 waterlungs

  • Ridick's Amulet [Guiles]

    +10 acting, d2 suggestion

  • Ritta's Amulet [Khunya]

    +10 trading, d2 assessment true

    Note that the chains are broken on Kara's and Ridick's Amulet

    7 unique and ornate 25/25 shields

    A +5m club, +5m mace, +10m war hammer, +5m mace, +10m morning star, +10m hand axe.

    An ornate saddle, bridle and harness set for a riding lizard (\ worth about 60 gp\ )

    16 pieces of jewelry (\ 200gp, 100gp, 40gp, 8gp, 6sp, 15sp, 5sp 10sp, 8gp, 6gp, 30sp, 1sp, 5gp, 3sp, 5sp, 5gp\ ) total - 384.5gp

    3 damaged pieces of jewelry (\ 20sp, 2sp, 15sp\ ) total - 3.7gp

    And one dead Acid Drake

    And now the bad news, everyone who fought or touched the Mummy (\ Ibun Chassan\ ) can send me a d100+CON bonus roll (\ this includes M'Bassu, Na'tiean, Guiles and Steven\ ).

    After Steven returns Khunya to the ship, the healers check him out and conference on what needs to be done to save him. They begin a ritual which will take a little over 40 hours to complete and involves both Marine healers, the Ship's Doctor, the Ship's Cleric and the Cleric of Varda. This leaves everyone another two days to hang about on the island. Steven and M'Bassu's wounds are of a non-critical nature and can be cured by time and rest. Mostly scrapes, cuts and claw marks.

    North to Beryl

    The voyage halts for two days as the ship's healing contigent, consisting of the two marine medics, Shalra Goodheart and Maerwin Jones; the ships' doctor, Darin Bonesetter; the ship's cleric, Solona Foamfollower; and the cleric of Varda, Gasa Skygazer work feverishly to save Khunya. They begin a series of ritual magicks and prayers that carry over the next two days but result in Khunya being restored to full health. However he does pick up some odd looking white steaks in his facial hair and mane and spends the next four days in bed.

    Angelica approaches Tuo and says, "Congratulations, you're now a marine aboard the SkyReave. You'll receive 20 GP now and 40 GP on the completion of the mission. If you do not wish to be a Marine, you must gather funds to pay for your transit as a guest (\ approximately 100 GP\ ). These also must be secured before we leave this island. Desdemona will tolerate no stowaways or hangers-on."

    The SkyReave departs northward on the 4th of the 10th month (\ Oromern named for Orome\ ). The ship nears the equator and fights against strong southerly winds driving across the ocean. There is very little in the way of sea traffic to be seen. Late in the 5th day of travel (\ 10.8\ ) the lookout spies a settlement ahead, the island it belong too had been in sight for the past two days. The charts and histories show that this island was once part of the Dwarven Bright Realm, the last Empire in this region which collapsed about 350 years ago.

    The settlement turns out to be a fair sized city built into the sides of a pair of steep cliffs on either side of a small river. The first part of town, passed on the way to the harbor, seems to be a new shantytown or refugee camp built along a road leading south out of town. A motley collection of fishing vessels and small ships are beached near the shacks or float nearby. Separated from the shantytown by a long wall across the land which leads to a large breakwater ended by an impressive tower, is a second more orderly and civilized harbor. Several merchant ships can be seen within. Inside of the city walls are large tall buildings, many built into the cliff face rising behind the town.

    Further north is a small enclosed port at the based of the second cliff. The river leads into the main harbor. The second cliff face supports an impressive citadel and the cliff itself is riddled with porches, parpets, and embrassures. In the private harbor floats two warships of grey wood and shiney steel armor and one ominous black two-master schooner. As you round the first breakwater, a small boat with a local Dwarven pilot approaches to lead you into the docks. Those of you with sharp eyes notice that the schooner flies the flag of the Scortian Empire which is a stark contrast to the various flags flying from the Citadel.

    Angelica gathers you all together and says that Desdemona would like you to take some time to check out the city, determine who controls this place and learn what you can of the lands to the north. Be careful for this part of the world is not at war and relations with the Empire to the south may be different. Other than that, enjoy yourselves and be careful.

    Segue: Local History

    For those of you interested in the local history of Scorti and how it pertains to the Dwarves. Here is the past several hundred years in the local area.

    [ all years are based on Tarnan time ]

  • 3855 PS

    Khudzul Bright Realm formed from the ruins of the Teloran Empire.

  • 4060 PS

    Bright Realm collapses due to clan squabbles between the seven families and other external pressures. The time known as the Retreat begins and Dwarves move to islands in the north and far north-east (\ near Harn\ ).

  • 4060 - 4096 PS

    Civil War and various non-Khudzul factions fight for Control of the country.

  • 4096 PS

    Kai the Merciless conquers Scorti, expanding his empire from Tarna eastward.

  • 4145 PS

    The Interreggnum collapses when Kai is defeated by Olorin the White in the halls at Tarcannon.

  • 4145 - 4175 PS

    Various warlords and princes vie for rule over Scorti.

  • 4175 PS (\ 0 DT\ )

    The Dominator, rumoured to be Kai the Merciless resurrected, consolidates and rules Scorti. The Ten Who Were Taken appear at his side and become his dark emmissaries and generals across the land.

  • 4299 PS (\ 124 DT\ )

    After a century of building his forces, the Dominator begins his push westward to eventually conquer this hemisphere.

  • 4378 PS (\ 203 DT\ )

    Current year.

    PS - Post Settlement (\ Elven timekeeping\ ) DT - Dominator Time (\ Scortian slang/calender\ )

    The Seven Fathers of the Dwarves

    All Khudzul, across Arda, trace their lineage through one of seven families or particularly Seven Fathers. Each family usually competes to embellish and promote the history and accomplishments of their Father and establish their right to rule all the Khudzul in that region. This history, though sketchy, can be traced via oral history and song, back beyond the Changes, before the Young Races landed upon Arda. The Khudzul are very competitive and posessive especially about their creations and accomplishments.

    The Seven Fathers were Durin (\ the Deathless\ ), Bavor (\ the Swift\ ), Dwalin, Thrar (\ the Cold\ ), Thelor, Druin (\ the Proud\ ) and Barin (\ the Scarred\ ). Members of the clan of Bavor currently rule the island.

    Kharakizun-dan and Surrounds

    Regional Information

    The island is called Kharakizun-dan ('kara-kizun-dan', Isle of Granite\ ) and is roughly 67 miles long (\ on a NNW-SSE axis\ ) and 32 miles at its widest across the Low Island. Kharakizun is two large outcroppings of granite and other rocks, the Upper Isle which resembles one large seamount rising to a 2104' peak and the Low Isle which is twice the size and has two major peaks (\ 1751' and 1311' ). The largest city is Ahktin (\ Beryl in Tarnan\ ) and sits at the southern tip of the isle. A second city Rilgrin (\ Opal\ ) sits on the north shore at the end of the valley joining the two parts of the island. Numerous small towns dot the Lower Isle, which features some arable land, small woods and lots of "heath/scrub/moor" (\ treat the temperature as mild/hot much like the Caribbean\ ).

    The two cities, Opal and Beryl, are remnants of the Jewel Cities, the centers of population of the Bright Empire. Both have been in existance for close to 500 years or so. The island's population is mostly Dwarven, with a smattering of the Young Races and very few Elves. The population is concentrated on the Lower Isle though small mining settlements and clan house/cave complexes dot the Upper Isle.

    Marine Assignments in Beryl

    While the ship is in port (\ having arrived the night before, 10.8\ ) Angelica moves the marines to 24 hour watches. Each half of the marines takes one day and covers the 24 hours. Rinaldo's watch is handling this day (\ 10.9\ ) until 8 am on the 10th. Angelica is off duty with Rinaldo in charge, his Healer is resting and the remaining 8 marines are taking 6 hour watches in pairs (\ Cera/Eris, Sirrush/Na'keran, Gorin/Na'skanlon, Albert/Sarn\ ).

    On the 10th, Steven, Na'tiean, M'Bassu and Tuo, you're on duty.

    Beryl in Detail

    The Upper City of Beryl is constructed almost entirely of stone quarried from the local cliffs. The streets are precise and orderly. There is little deviation from a standard grid until one hits the docks. Beryl seems to be very busy with much activity in the streets. There is a city market full of noisy haggling Dwarven and Mahen merchants in the city square across the river from the Citadel. The closer to the cliffs one moves, the more Dwarven the buildings and businesses. The roads seem to carry a fair way into the cliffs turning into a labyrinth of tunnels.

    Although busy, there is a pervasive feeling throughout the crowds. People seem worried and nervous. Various mumblings of 'Bad Omens' and 'Storms on the Horizon' can be heard. The spectre of the Black Schooner only adds to the anxiety.

    The Margrave Commands

    Late in the afternoon on 10.9.78, somewhere in between the time after Maria left to do some 'shopping' and before Khunya returned from the Arcane Guild, a messenger arrives at the ship. He is a young dwarf, apparently from the Citadel given his blazoned surcoat, bearing letters for Desdemona and all the guests aboard the SkyReave (\ Tarin Dawngreeter, Zokhad Graveler, Gasa Stargazer, Fincullin Delin, Khunya and Shadows Deepen\ ). He also brings a separate set of letters to the entertainers on board the ship (\ Guiles & Deb, Tyarn, Hakiem and the Dervishes\ ).

    Desdemona passes her letter along with a brief note to Angelica. In turn she gives it to Steven with the comment, "You are on duty tomorrow so you can handle this. Note Ms Silverthorn's note at the bottom. I'll be off-duty hanging around the ship and purchasing supplies in town. "

    The letter is an invitation and reads -

    	** The right honorable Margrave of Kharakizun-dan,
    		** Lord Mayor of Ahktin,
    			** Father of Clan Bavor,
    				Bavin the XII
    		Does hereby invite you to a dinner feast at one bell
    		after the noon on the 10th day of the month of the Sea
    		God at the Citadel of Ahktin. This feast is to celebrate
    		and honor the presence, in our fair city, of 
    			The Imperial Legate - Soulcatcher
    			Desdemona Silverthorn
    		There will be entertainments, fine foods and drinks
    		until the sun sets beyond the sea.

    Desdemona's note reads -

  • Angelica,

    I would like an escort for this dinner. It would be expected of me. However, lets us not make an overt military show of things. I'm sure Soulcatcher will bring Imperials and I do not want to engage in one upmanship such as whose warriors carry the bigger sword. Subtle and potent is preferable. I'll leave you to the details but make sure the SkyReave remains safe for the mission is paramount.

    Desdemona Ascendant

  • Guiles letter contains what seems to be a fairly standard contract reading as such -

    	** The right honorable Margrave of Kharakizun-dan,
    		** Lord Mayor of Ahktin,
    			** Father of Clan Bavor,
    				Bavin the XII
    		Does hereby contract your services for an afternoon of
    		entertainments, foods and drinks at the citadel of Ahktin.
    		Renumeration for the afternoon will be provided in the sum
    		of twenty-five pieces of good Khudzul gold coin to the
    		signee of this contract. Performers should report to the
    		Citadel at five bells after dawn of the 10th day of the
    		month of the Sea God. Please present the token given to
    		you by our agent when the contract is signed.

    The Dwarf awaits replies from the entertainers and departs for the Citadel. To each who signs the contract, he gives silver-backed white enameled pin featuring the crest on his tabard. It radiates a slight bit of magic.

    The Black Schooner's Crew

  • Bosun

    Short, tough lesser mahe female. middle-aged, bleached brown fur, one green eye and a patch. wears studded soft leather, carries rapier & main gauche, also two "pouches" with pistol xbows (\ algrendan of course\ ). under the eye patch is a strange black orb (\ with some sort of darkness powers, darkvision & dark control\ )

  • Headsman

    Human, female, medium height, short cropped black hair, tanned skin, scar along right side of face, crinkled smile. wears soft leathers with metal plates. wears heavy gauntlets. carries a long club/truncheon (\ which splits into two hand axes\ ).

  • Fisherman

    Bulky, lesser mahe male. Younger than Bosun. Deep brown fur and blue eyes. wears fine chain mail armor (\ floats\ ). wears a falchion and a mug (\ which changes into a buckler\ ). has a bolas concealed under cloak behind armor.

  • Cavalier

    slim and pale half dark-elf male. steel coloured hair and wide features (\ house Orca\ ) with black eyes. wears cavalier style full leathers with a rapier and main gauche. has a belt pouch full of shuriken.

  • Spearchucker

    Animated and young sea kral female. all arms and legs, thin, blond fur and blue eyes. wears a light chain mail shirt under colourful gypsy garb. carries a cutlass. also a very short spear that telescopes to 5' length and returns to the thrower.

    Timeline of Events after the Tavern Incident

    The battle at the tavern finishes at a random time that we'll say is 10:00 pm.

  • 10:00 M'Bassu, Tuo and Khunya head to the ship
  • 10:00 Na'tiean heads to a bar (\ Guiles waits behind with Deb nearby\ )
  • 10:00 Slammer at a bar (\ having not been successful\ )
  • 10:01 City Guard shows at the Tavern w. questions
  • 10:03 Soulcatcher and a squad of Imperials teleport to near the tavern and then enter
  • 10:08 Soulcatcher leaves with the bodies of her crew and the Imperials
  • 10:10 Tuo & co arrive at the ship after some healing and hiding (\ of the spear by Tuo\ )
  • 10:10 Deb and Guiles rejoin and head back, have an argument on the way.
  • 10:15 Deb and Guiles return to the SkyReave
  • 10:30 Soulcatcher returns to the Black Schooner, the crew is recalled
  • 10:35 Soulcatcher sends a message to the Citadel demanding to see a representative of the government
  • 10:45 Representative arrives at the Black Schooner
  • 11:00 Guard leaves the Tavern after full statements and such (\ very anti-Scortian information\ )
  • 11:00 Citadel representative returns quickly to the Citadel
  • 11:15 Black Schooner begins to prepare to leave
  • 11:30 Black Schooner exits the harbor headed eastward
  • 11:30 Margrave and council begin to meet
  • 12:00 Margrave and council conclude meeting
  • 1:00 Black Schooner disappears in darkness
  • 1:00 City Guard and government rep sent to the SKyReave, they are ordered to leave by sun-up or will be fired upon.
  • 1:00 Descriptions of missing crew and marines passed to runners to search for the missing folk
  • 1:05 Pilot's Apprentices return
  • 1:05 Chains are raised and the docks are blocked
  • 1:06 Rest of the ordinary seamen return
  • 1:14 Supercargo returns
  • 1:17 Hakiem returns
  • 1:20 Bosun returns
  • 1:39 Cleric's Acolyte returns
  • 1:48 Aikolos returns
  • 1:49 Zokhad returns
  • 1:56 The Hani Dancers return
  • 2:16 Last ablebodied crew arrives
  • 2:18 Tarin Dawngreeter returns
  • 2:21 Tyarn returns
  • 3:00 Earliest point the SkyReave is ready to leave
  • 5:00 Dawn and the exit deadline

    Reactions -

  • Desdemona -

    Not worried about the bit with the Scortians, but is worried about the potential danger to the mission as a whole. Dislikes personal things interfering with the business at head, especially petty hatreds and prejudices. If people want to fight the war, they can do such outside of the mission, i.e. leave this ship and be dropped off on the island somewhere. She is a little above this nation/war thing (\ but does except the Dominator as an entity as a threat but not his Empire\ ). If the Dominator/Morgoth has forces in the north, this may warn them that we are coming. Bad move.

  • Angelica -

    Annoyed that the Marines decided to get themselves in trouble, especially when off-duty and "defending" a guest unnecessarily. No need to defend Khunya. Wants to know the reason for the meeting in the first place (\ if that comes up\ ). Marines weren't ordered to spy and if you are looking for passage by a different boat, then that can be provide. Annoyed that Marines were unnecessarily at risk and the image it portrays of her company as a whole (\ 'we are not blood-thirsty savages' ). If you want to fight Scorti either wait til we take on that mission or leave this company. Will not have the marines taking it upon themselves to engage in activities not a part of the current mission.

  • Crew & Guests -

    Surprised and annoyed at the sudden departure. Some may begin to find the marines more of a danger to the mission than to the enemy.

    From Beryl to Topaz

    The SkyReave departs into a early morning fog, leaving the city lights of Beryl receding into the distance. People are still a bit nervous and all a-buzz about the early morning happenings at the docks. The Captain informs Desdemona and Angelica, and thereby yourselves, that the next landfall will be about 4 days travel to the north. It is a pair of islands, a small one about 25 miles wide by 10 miles north-south and a larger one, 65 miles across at its widest and perhaps 90 miles north-south. Her charts indicate only one settlement, on the southern tip, another remnant of the Jewel Cities called Shakan (\ Topaz\ ).

    The next four days are filled with ominous morning fogs, very cloudy skies and several sudden squalls. The crew is obviously nervous for there are several sightings of the Black Schooner that can't be confirmed. Divinations by the ship's Cleric seem to be confused and dark. Everyone seems to be keeping their hands just a little bit closer to his or her weapon. On the morning of the 14th (\ having departed Beryl on the 10th\ ) the fog clears somewhat at the two islands can be clearly seen and a sharp-eyed lookout can spot what may be the town of Shakan.

    Longboats and Goldtooth

    With little fanfare, the SkyReave departs Topaz on the morning of the 15th. Her next destination is another chain of islands about 8 to 10 days further north, perhaps the southern edge of the Mur Fostisyr chain. The weather continues to be mild, but the strange morning fogs continue. Old stories, related by Hakiem and the older clan crew members, tell that the seas of the north were likened unto fields of fresh fallen snow. Perhaps the fog or worse, ice.

    For the next two days, the SkyReave makes her way north along the west coast of Dharak-dan. The weather is clear and there are no reports of the Black Schooner on the vessel's trail. On the morning of the 17th, the ship has just passed the north-west corner of the island during the night, the crew seems to be anxious. Their morning services were very quiet, intense and subdued. After waking, the ship's cleric, Solona Foamfollower, talks to Desdemona and the captain, Maraloa. Down the deck you can hear snatches of the conversation in the cleric's broken Tarnan,

    "Madam and captain... ... ...have word... ... ...a dream of words... from the sea. Today... ..Personage... ...Chosen-one..Ulmo's gift... ...the mists...saw battle... ... danger... ... ...Voice calls ship... ...her aid."

    The captain seems only to nod and agree with the cleric's words. After some thought, Desdemona seems to agree as well. The captain and Angelica pass orders to the marines and crew to stand ready for surface action. There are furious minutes of activity as the off- watch crews are awakened and go to action stations. Then there is quiet.

    Her decks crowded with anxious sailors and well-armed marines, the SkyReave drifts slowly through the morning mists. The gentle lap of the waves and snap of the sails belies the building tension. Suddenly the sharp-eared aboard hear the faint clash of metal upon metal in the distance. The clipper alters course and drives towards the noise. The sounds grow louder and more detailed; crashes of metal and wood, the snap and tear of sails and rigging, screams of pain and anger, grunts and yells in familiar and foreign tongues.

    The SkyReave broaches a last bank of fog and a grim tableaux is revealed. About 300 yards ahead, three ships are engaged in a circling dance of death. On the outside are two ships of the same ilk; low, sturdy, oar and sail driven coastal raiders, their decks crowded with warriors and their sides lined with shields. Each ship has a brightly coloured single sail and ornately carved fore and stern posts in the forms of sea beasts. Trapped between the two, in a tangle of rigging, oars and grapples, is a small single masted ocean-going merchanter of unfamiliar make. She taking water badly, almost to the gunwhales, and her only spar is down across the decks.

    The remnants of the merchanter's crew seem to have been hemmed into her bows where they make their final stand. Though several seemed to be armed and fighting, one stands out, a perhaps 7 foot brown furred fighter wielding a long sword bladed spear and surrounded by a haze of magics. Across the deck are strewn the bodies of both the crew and the attackers. Debris and other bodies drift away from the ships. The raider seem to a uniformly human in size and countenance but their shields and helms bear many ornate devices and designs. As the SkyReave bears down upon the conflict, groups of the warriors gather and charge with cry at the warrior at the bows. Magicks flash, waves and winds break the charge, the warrior's blade sings and yet again the attack is beaten off. But the warrior seems tired and may not stand much longer nor may the ship tary above the ocean as well.

    Angelica tells Na'skanlon and Daelin Longspear on the ballista, "Gentlemen you may fire when you have the range." She approaches Na'tiean and Steven, "Gentlemen, I leave it to you to organize the boarding/rescue action. We hope to save the warrior and the remaining crew. In less than two minutes, at our current rate, the captain will pass 12 fathoms [ 72 feet or so ] bow-ward of the battle. Rinaldo and I will provide covering fire and defense of the ship. I'm borrowing Kiss't Hah from your watch for that purpose. Good luck, this seems to be very important to the cleric and the clan."

    Victory and Rescue

    With a thunderous crash the wave, summoned from the hands of Goldtooth, rolls over and down upon the remaining Dragonship. The tip of the mast can be seen briefly as the ship rises up the side of the wave and then is thrown over upon its side. Tons of water smash hull planks, oars, mast, rigging and crew alike. The lessened wave, its destructive energy spent, continues on to the south. The vessel is left behind, capsized and settling, with several lucky pirates clinging to the hull.

    Steven gathers everyone upon his brightly coloured flying disks and whisks you away from the other ruined vessels. As the bow of Goldtooth's dying merchanter slides below the surface, leaving only the castles and mast visible, she murmurs a silent prayer to those who perished during her long journey. Ulmo save and protect their souls on their way to Mandos' halls, she asks. Perhaps somewhere, in the great seas of black, he listens.

    As you return, the wall of wood upon the deck of the second Dragon- ship vanishes. With the weight gone, her bows rapidly rise skyward as she quickly sinks due to her ruined stern. The mists rejoin behind you, much like a theatre's curtains, hiding the final view of floating debris and bodies. The gathering cries of seabirds can be heard as they near the flotsam-laden waters.

    The crew of the SkyReave can be seen crowding the railings and rigging as you near the clipper ship. Scanning the assembled marines and crew members, you see few injuries and little damage to the vessel. The captain, navigator and ship's cleric take great pains to correctly welcome Goldtooth aboard. There is much cheering from the crew, bemused looks from the marines, and slight confusion amongst your new guests. Everyone aboard and the disks banished, the noise calms down and the SkyReave begins to return to the regular routine. Steven and company can stand down while Angelica's marines continue her watch (\ til the late afternoon\ ). The navigator and crew bring the great vessel back to a more northly heading and the voyage continues.


    Thus Begins a Ritual of Severance

    As midday arrives it begins to grow dark about the cave. The maddening rush of the foliage towards the sky produces a dense canopy blocking the green-ringed sun from view. The ground cover quivers and shakes as surges of growth ripple across the land. Tuo and M'Bassu, their senses honed by years in the wild, can sense a great wrong being perpetrated across this part of the island. The same can be felt from Khunya's change-ravaged body. The twisting surge of Essence, which wracked Khunya's body during the morning, seems to diminish and fade. Steven and Khunya take the time to rest and recover their energies.

    Outside, the forest continues to twist and grow. The cave seems to relatively safe, especially with a healthy fire to keep out the ever encroaching undergrowth. The flora seems to sense the flames and keeps a wide berth. The small lichens at the back of the cave grow into large clinging clumps filling the cavern with a sickly green phosphorescent glow. Outside the noises and cries continue unabated. Top-heavy trees, growing too fast for roots to support, topple with gigantic crashes. Twisted and maddened animals charge each other in a carnivorous feeding frenzy.

    As the sun sets, another pulse of essence shudders across the island. Khunya is ripped from the peace of meditation by a series of gruesome convulsions heralding another series of changes. After waking Steven, with puissant words of magic and bursts of magic, the two mages are able to pool their talents and work to dispel the new tortures visited upon the tired Hani's body. Despite the horrific appearance of scales, fluid-sacs, eye-stalks, feelers and pinchers, none of the changes become permanent. They do, however, take their toll on Khunya and Steven, leaving them sweating and tired, much like before lunch.

    [ Ed. note: Same PP totals as at the end of last game... ]

    Outside, as the verdant sun sets, the gigantic misshapen forest grows quiet. The sounds of the stream died hours ago when clogged with vegetation. Distant thunder of overgrown and toppling trees echoes in the cave. The feeling of Wrong seems to withdraw from the cave, deeper into the woods. As the day's light dies and the firelight flickers along the cave walls, people can relax and move about. Stretching tensed muscles, flexing cramped legs. Carefully peering about the outside of the cave. Tuo and M'Bassu venture forth and forage for dinner.

    Later, as you prepare dinner from carefully culled normal fruits and animals, a sudden terrible wrenching sound, perhaps a hundred great trees falling at once, fills the woods. The sounds of some-Thing massive and ponderous, quickly on the move, echoes towards the cave.

    The Ties Are Severed

    With a low moan and a rush of wind, the shredded Grim vanishes off into the distance. The dust and ash covered landscape stretches for miles under the clear, untainted sun. Following the dry streambed, the return trip to the shore is easy and without incident. The sea breezes pick up the dust raised by your passage and spread it about the dirt and rock. As expected the SkyReave is nowhere in sight when you arrive at the shore. Beige sands stretch for miles in either direction blending into the cleared dirt-covered hills and meadows.

    Guestimating, you figure that the SkyReave is probably 150-200 miles north of here. This day being the 20th of Ulmorn, the ordeal beginning on the 17th. The captain speculated, due to the winds from the north, that the ship would not make good time on this part of the journey. Via a careful combination of flying disks and enchantments to extend their lifetime, you are able to fly quickly through the day. As night- fall approaches, the SkyReave comes into view. Wearily you land, give a brief version of the ordeal and retreat to a welcome rest in your beds. The 21st dawns with good weather, signalling the beginning of the last two weeks of the journey to Mur Fostisyr.

    Arrival in Mur Fostisyr

    As Steven and Khunya's magical disks, glowing in the fading light, draw the group away from the settling longboat, a frenzy of activity grips the doomed ship's crew. Dead sailors and fallen gear is heaved overboard to lighten the vessel and gain access to the shattered hull. A steady rush of water fills the rear end of the boat and the bow begins to rising noticeably from the ocean. The sailors keep a wary eye on your group as they frantically work. Some carry shields, others use the mast for cover. Nearly a score of stunned and wounded sailors survived the assault but now seem resigned to a swim in the sea.

    As the longboat slides beneath the dark ocean, sailors prepare as best they can for the cold. Wounded are tied to floatables. Sailors bundle in heavy wools leaving armor behind. A brave deckhand gives several blasts from a horn (\ before he is perhaps struck down by arrow or magical bolt\ ) which echo across the ocean. Somewhere, faintly in the distance, a reply can be heard, a vessel that won't arrive in time. The longboat gone, the crew bravely floats and bobs in the water. However, the ocean and the cold of Ulmo cannot be denied and one by one the sailors either slump upon their floating debris or slide beneath the ocean forever. After fifteen minutes, as twilight sweeps the northern sea, it is over.

    The SkyReave continues northward, towards the channel between the rising masses of the Ky'taari island Yalf Hurm and the Syrkakar island of Adea Hu. To the left, on Yalf Hurm, rises the first of many great peaks, this one near or over 10,000 feet tall. To the right and east ten miles across the straights, lies two long sloping ridges with a narrow fjord in between, on Adea Hu. The traverse is quiet and peaceful and little can be seen except of faint lights within the fjord, which might be the Syrkakar trading city of Byra Sug.

    Your travel turns westward along the coast as the straight ends in the great central bay. The air fills with the faint sounds of ice moving, grinding and cracking. The lights of the Maelstrom, bright in the northern sky, reveal a huge circle of ice, perhaps a hundred miles across, filling the bay. Small sections bump alongside the ice clipper, but no great threats are present. A steady westward current and wind, carries the SkyReave along, as the sun rises in mid morning. The days seem to be short, even with summer coming, perhaps only 8 or 9 bells of sun.

    The next day finds the SkyReave making good time along the large channel between the coast and the icepack. Many small inlets and coves are passed, created by mountain rivers from springs or runoff. Stretches of beach of fine black sand (\ except for one long stretch early in the day where the sand resembled snow\ ) and broken volcanic rock are common sites. One or two small Ky'taari fishing vessels are passed and once, late in the day, a small ice runner can be seen scooting across the ice pack in the center bay.

    The barren rocks and slopes are sometimes covered with mist and steam rising from the geothermal activity which makes the land habitable. The bitter cold winds from the north are blocked by the mountains, creating habitable fjords and valleys. At least one small village is sighted and passed in late morning. In late afternoon, as the sun begins to dim, a cove is rounded and a large town can be seen in the distance. It glows in the dim light, buildings carved from bright white marble, intricately carved and detailed. The city seems to be built entirely of stone, down to the tiled roofs and thin translucent panels used as windows and skylights.

    Several Ky'taari fishing vessel, returning with the days' catch, escort the SkyReave to the docks. You are met by another small boat, flying a white flag with a golden sunburst, which ferries an official delegate and a pilot. They are awed by the size of the SkyReave, a vessel the likes of which, has not been seen in years. The pilot joins the captain and guides the clipper to anchor near the harbor, for there is no dock in Itaraan, this city (\ 'home of gold' in the Ky'taari tongue\ ), which can handle her.

    As the SkyReave's crew settle down from the sail and guests and marines alike marvel at the small city; Desdemona, Cassieopeia, the Captain and Navigator and Angelica board the small pilot's boat and head into town. There they remain for several hours, as darkness falls and the town fills with lights, and then return to the vessel. Angelica gathers the marines, amidships,

    "We have met with the leaders of the town, Itaraan, and of the Ataarn Katashaan, I think that is their equivalent of a Royal Army, and they have agreed to allow the SkyReave to dock here for an extended period of time. At this point we are at a break in our service to the SkyReave. Several marines will be hired to provide a small watch for the ship, but the bulk of you are free to pursue your own interests in this region. You may stay upon the ship or pursue housing, there are several fine inns in the city, upon the shore. It is the beginning of the eleventh month, you are required to return, if possible, to Itaraan by the end of the second month of the next year.

    At that time the SkyReave will begin her journey back to Tarna before the winter snows arrive and the ice packs freeze again. I want to thank you all for the excellent job you have done during the past three months, and expect the same results on the return trip. If any wish to leave my service, see me in my cabin and we'll take care of the necessary papers and payments. A word of caution, be careful, this seems to be a strange and dangerous land and I would not want my company depleted by foolish adventure. Dismissed"

    There is a small cheer from some of the marines and then much chat as they discuss future plans. Guest can be heard bargaining with the local sailors for passage to shore and other parts of the island. In the city, the wind carries the sounds of music and the smells of fresh cooked food, to the harbor and the SkyReave.

    In and About Itaraan

    As the crew of the SkyReave wind down from the long voyage, the guests and marines busily prepare their own plans. The ship is anchored near the longest dock in Itaraan and the ship's carpenter is busily helping locals create a floating dock to reach the vessel. Meanwhile local kids make a good business ferrying passengers back and forth for a copper or bronze a head.

    Guiles and Steven, remaining on board as M'Bassu and company headed for the capital, see several other departures over the next days. Zokhad Graveller, the geologist from the Mangai, hires one of the marines as an escort (\ Na'Keran\ ) and after purchasing some provisions, heads off overland. The Kindaloo Navigator, and his two apprentices, vanish one day and the crew says they are off of an teaching trip for the apprentices.

    Shadows Deepen busily negotiates passage on a Ky'taari trader, headed for Byra Sug in a few days. When word of the trip reaches the ship, several of the marines, Sarn Kaly and Eris Ahly (\ who are now seeing each other\ ), Aikolos and Albert Stanis book passage as well. They are various seeking other work or interests in Byra Sug.

    On the 6th, the day M'Bassu and company return to Itaraan, a large group heads to the capital. They include the SkyReave's Supercargo (\ trader\ ) and his assistant as well as two able seamen, Tarin Dawngreeter, who has hired Gorin as escort, Gasa Stargazer and Phlemming, Fincullin Delin and Tyarn the troubador. They are variously engaged in visiting the capital for trading and political reasons.

    Word of later trips is mentioned. The other entertainers, the dancers and Hakiem, plan to visit the capital, especially for the High Summer Celebration in two months. The ship's Mage and Cleric both plan a visit at some point in the future. A second trip to Byra Sug may also be in the works for the Supercargo and assistant may also travel there upon their return from the capital.

    Everyone else either plans to remain in Itaraan with the ship, has no particular plans of yet or has plans but has not made them known.

    Return from the Capital

    The warmth and sun of Mur Fostisyr's all too short spring and summer fill the land as midsummer rapidly approaches. As the land warms, so do the Ky'taari, filling with energy and growth as does the local flora and fauna. Young men and women fill the streets of Itaraan and other towns with song and colour, praising the return of Arianna to the skies above. The port becomes quite busy as traders from nearby towns race up and down the coast, doing a furious business before the spectre of winter rises again.

    Much has changed in Itaraan upon your return to the port. Fishing boats, once stored for winter, now crowd the harbor's docks. Houses are opened to the sun and much cleaning and renovation, to wash away the cold's scars, is in progress. The floating dock to the SkyReave has been finished and although the crew busily uses the walkway, the crowds of the curious have diminished.

    Angelica and Deborah welcome you back to the ship. A few incidents of note have occurred, which they relate to you. Desdemona left about the end of the prior month, 3 weeks ago, and paid a visit to Oran Jatar. She returned, unharmed but not unchanged, in about a week or so, and Cassie says she was not pleased with the results of her conversations with the "Dragonlord." Both Cassie and Toran, independently, learned that in the mountains, near the Ky'taari capital, is the ancient citadel of a demonlord known as Aztaur. Aztaur, "Lord Demon of Cold" was slain and banished by the Ky'taari many thousands of years ago during the wars of Dominion.

    As for others on board, the ship's Navigator returned, with his apprentices, after an absence of two weeks or so. Cera Strider, one of the marines on Angelica's watch, has married into the Kindaloo Owami, to one of the Ableseamen. Na'skanlon, one of the artillerists, was inducted into the Ky'taari's Sailor's Guild. The local gossip suggests that Valkyrie is having an affair with a young Ky'taari trader who is close to the town's Ryaan (\ Lord Mayor/local Baron equivalent\ ). Maerwin Jones has spent much time helping in the local hall of healing and her foreign looks, as well as Angelica and Deborah's, have attracted the attention of more than one Ky'taari male. With a wink and smile, both Angelica and Deb say they've been faithful.

    Tarin Dawngreeter, with Gorin as escort, has finished his business in A-Tykaar (\ the capital\ ) and has sailed off to meet with the Fustir. Zokhad and Na'keran have not returned. Fincullin, Gasa, Phlemming and Tyarn remain in A-Tykaar. Goldtooth left, not saying where, during the month. During your two weeks back in Itaraan, while Steven finishes the item for Khunya, Hakiem and the Dervishes, all of whom have been quite successful in Itaraan, head for the capital.

    During that time, the ship's Supercargo and several sailors as well as Aikolos and Albert Stanis return from their travels in Byra Sug bearing grim news. The occasional infighting between upland and lowland Syrkakar clans flared up into what appears to be the beginnings of a civil war. Things were looking ugly and most Ky'taari and other traders decided to wait this out at safer ports. Taking the hint, the Supercargo and others left. However, Shadows Deepen, Sarn Kaly and Eris Ahly, remained behind pursuing their business.

    Other trader's bring word from the world to the south. The Scortian- Telor war is back into full swing for the campaign season. The political situation between the Dwarves of the Bright Realm and the Scortians is degenerating rapidly. The forges of the Dwarves work night and day in anticipation of invasion. The land to the north, devastated by the Bloodring, is suffering from a pestilence and the spring crops look weak and prices are rising.

    To Find a Compass - I

    A sunny and quiet day has dawned over the western half of Mur Fostisyr and despite the activity, it is surprisingly quiet at Tharg Jironak, the tower of the Astrologer and rogue Navigator, Denirok. The adventuring party is quiet for Tuo has created such via the recital of a prayer of power which allows those close to him to speak without fear of being heard from without. Within that circle of power there is much activity. Na'tiean holds the open doorway, into the tower, against the onslaught of the steel entities. Steven stands behind him throwing bolts of light and mana against the bright metal skin of the golem. Various words of power, spells in the making, are spoken or held by Maerwin, Deb, Tuo, Guiles and Khunya. Angelica waits behind Steven, swords drawn, awaiting action. Maria waits by the parapet, contemplating the other towers.

    Within this tower it is silent as well. M'Bassu, breathless, impact-groggy and sore, awaits silently at the top the stairs perhaps looking for another exit from the tower. Silently, except for the sound of their heavy steel feet crushing the parquet floor, the constructs go about their work of pummeling the intruders. The sharp ring of metal on metal or metal missing and hitting stone, is the only evidence of this work. Elsewhere, the keep is silent, no alarms ring out or troops march. Perhaps surprise has been achieved and no reaction has stirred below. Despite the lack of sound, a grim battle continues...

    Mechanics up date -

  • M'Bassu: 50 pts damage, -20 penalty, Stun 4 rounds, Unable to parry for 2 rounds.
  • Na'tiean: Second round of Adrenal Speed coming up.
  • Steven: Down 33 power points
  • Khunya: Down 17 power points, prepping Portal
  • Guiles: Down 7 power points, prepping Invisibility
  • Tuo: Down X pts for the silence, prepping Corridor??

    Need everyone to send me current maximum hit points and power points (\ and number of adders available\ ) so I can make up combat records beforehand.

    To Find a Compass - II

    Via incident and happenstance, the group has almost traversed the length of Denirok's fortress, from the top of the high tower to the other end of the main level. Still the astrologer and his forces remain elusive or in hiding. Muffled sounds and faint glimmers from spells that sense minds indicate that more lies behind the solid stone walls than other rooms. Denirok seems content to let you rush about his demense and discover his forces rather than present them in the open. Fate decrees though that a confrontation of some level will occur but the details are unformed and inexact. The particulars are for the group to decide.

    **** PC update ****

  • M'Bassu - down 31 hps, -10 to activity due to chest wound
  • Na'tiean - down 32 hps, -20 to severe left leg bruise
  • Steven - 39 + 3 power points remain
  • Khunya - down 8 hps, missing 7 days of memory, 1 + 2 power points remain
  • Guiles - 31 + 1 power points remain
  • Tuo - 21 power points remain
  • Maerwin - 3 power points remain
  • Maria - down 49 hps, left arm useless, 3 per wound clotted, -20 due to hps taken
  • Deb - 0 + 2 power points remain
  • Angelica - 11 + 2 power points remain

    To Find a Compass - III

    The lower floor of Denirok's fortress echoes with the faint footfalls of the PCs and the faint noises of cooking from the kitchen. A barrage of smells compete for attention, the friendly and kind smell of a hot and hearty lunch (\ once for Denirok's garrison and now in the hands of the adventurers\ ) competes with the cold, barren and sickly smell of blood, dead and the dying. Fifteen of the mercenary contingent lay scattered about the halls slain by spell, steel or hand. Everyone's gear and closes are splattered and soaked by blood and sweat, which slowly dries in the cool confines of the fortress.

    Steven does not even consider wasting the power for the simple enchantment to clean his gear, for he fears that every ounce of mana will be precious at the end. Angelica hopes the servants' numbering of the castle's population is true for any more forces might make the situation untenable. Lack of power and wounds not easily healed are becoming a serious drawback. Deborah is simply terrified and has said little since cradling Guiles' bloodied form in her arms until Tuo and Maerwin could bring him back to health. Maerwin clears a table and begins to catalogue her remaining herbs to see which she might pass on, in small batches, to the group to bear on their body for use during combat. Maria wanders about kicking the odd wall, cursing her failure to miss the trap on the stairs. She bemoans the fact that these soldiers had little of worth other than monies (\ less than useful now\ ), fine broadswords (\ at least one\ ), fine armor (\ various sized suits of chainmail - AT 15 ) and a fine light crossbow. Perhaps there is else but she has yet to find it.

    **** PC update ****

  • M'Bassu - down 25 hps, -10 to activity due to chest wound
  • Na'tiean - down 33 hps, -20 to severe left leg bruise
  • Steven - 24 + 3 power points remain
  • Khunya - down 8 hps, missing 7 days of memory, 1 + 2 power points remain
  • Guiles - down 3 hps, Clotted 3 per wound, 1 power point remain
  • Tuo - 21 power points remain
  • Maerwin - 0 power points remain
  • Maria - down 49 hps, left arm useless, 3 per wound clotted, -20 due to hps taken
  • Deb - 0 + 1 power points remain
  • Angelica - 11 + 2 power points remain
  • Robert (\ Demonslayer\ ) - 17 power points remain

    To Find a Compass - IV

    With a dull roar, Khunya's fireball detonates amidst the remains of the grand melee in the long hallway. The smoke and flame rises into the dark corners of the vaulted ceiling. The highly polished blue granite floor is covered with bodies a debris from the stairs, where you stand, to the end of the hall, refuge of the remaining defenders. Gore and fluids have splattered the black, gold-veined marble walls. The magicks of Deniroks clerics leave power white ash streaks along all surfaces. Flickering flames and burning embers mix with pooling blood and steaming acid in and around the fallen combatants.

    The carnage is impressive for almost 2 score friends and foes have fallen in this confined hall and the rooms beyond. The great hulking shape of the War Trolls lies atop both the strangely alien Maazhat and the grim defenders of this demense. Oddly robed acolytes lie strewn amongst chain mail clad warriors. Swords, axes and shields are spread and thrown willy nilly about the area.

    The smoke and flame clears, one final soldier falls, the remaining defenders are revealed. Their backs are against the hallway, cunningly blocked by the interlocking doors of the garrison room. Two warriors, both human women, one young and attractive, the other middle aged and grim, stand in front. They are clad in torn chain mail and tabards, wielding longswords and shields. Behind them stand two of Denirok's clerical brethren, a short stock human female with pronounced dwarven features and a tall dour darkhaired human male, stand clad in light and dark grey robes, trimmed with maroon. Energies, mostly a grey or white sickly light, swirl about their hands or bodies. They stand silently but the moans of wounded and dying can be heard from adjoining rooms.

    Their numbers are small compared to your group jammed into the hall. M'Bassu and Angelica stand at the front prepared for battle. Khunya and Na'tiean's ally, Aben-Daga stand behind, the former still holding a medallion emitting faint red wisps of power. Guiles, Tuo and Maerwin stand in the back. Maria rushes up the stairs with a recently woken Steven in tow. Deborah is nowhere to be seen, perhaps downstairs. Na'tiean remains on the floor of throne room a level below, tended by Aben-Daga's Dark Elf cleric, Lareth. Aben-Daga's Dark Elf mage, Runyaheri, stands at the back of the party, observing the searches of the two Lesser Orc scout, Snaggle and Rend.

    "Charge?..." Angelica offers.

    **** PC update ****

  • M'Bassu - down 3 hps, -10 to activity due to chest wound
  • Na'tiean - down 46 hps, -20 to severe left leg bruise, currently unconscious, lifekept and preserved.
  • Steven - 39 + 3 power points remain
  • Khunya - down 8 hps, missing 7 days of memory, 10 + 2 power points remain
  • Guiles - down 3 hps, Clotted 3 per wound, 4 power point remain
  • Tuo - 27 power points remain
  • Maerwin - 4 power points remain
  • Maria - down 26 hps, left arm useless, 3 per wound clotted, -10 due to hps taken
  • Deb - 2 + 1 power points remain
  • Angelica - 11 + 2 power points remain
  • Robert (\ Demonslayer\ ) - 17 power points remain

    The Second Death of Na'tiean Demonspawn

    The last you remember was charging across the throne room floor, marshalling your forces to assault the upper levels of Denirok's palace. Then the blackness took you...

    Time passes...

    You awaken, lying upon the ground. A quick glance shows a floor of black stones with glowing white mortar, surrounded in a black haze. Sitting up, a longer glance shows you are not upon a floor but in the center of an argent web hanging in space. The web is not perfect and is frayed at the edges. In the distance the blackness swirls with dark cold and warm greys.

    You can stand but find that curiously you cannot remove your feet from the strands of the web. Attempts to do so cause a brutal cold to flow into your body. Examining the webs shows within the glowing white what might be a rush of faint colours, perhaps like a trickle of water through a large pipe.

    Later several lights appear at the periphery of your vision. More appear totaling eight. They spin about the web and then move together near one edge. When the points join, there is a flash and a circle of power spreads outward. Within you can see a single figure backlit by a bright orange and yellow glow. There appears to be roiling clouds in the background of the opening. The figure steps through and the ambient light reveals your mother, Ra'tiea.

    Clan in the finest black and silver clerical robes, festooned with ribbons, jewels and talismans, she crosses the gap to you, never touching the web itself.

    "Na'tiean, my son" she addresses you," I have wandered the realm of spirits to find yours where it is bound to your body yet also near the gates to the other realm. Seers say that you are gravely wounded but the mission is not yet complete. I cannot see whether it can be completed without your help."

    "Because of that, I am hesitant to make you an offer. Your body should be returned to the Well for treatment. If you deem the situation to be grave, hsi can give you the chance to finish this quest but it would be at the cost of the future. You may fight now and never again or you may let your friends and erstwhile allies complete the quest."

    "The choice is yours..." and she awaits.

    To Find a Compass - V

    Scenes -

    With a word a prayer ends and Lareth dissolves the window looking into the realm of the Spirits, particularly where Na'tiean's resides while his life is kept in his body. In response to Guiles' question, M'Bassu drops Denirok's limp form to the tiled floor. Deb turns away at the sight of so much blood on a single form. Runyaheri and Lareth move to near the dais, and as she watches, he begins to pray over his ornate amulet of a the eight pointed star.

    Denirok appears to be a fairly handsome and middle-aged half light elf. He was tall and thin, with mostly white hair with a short light beard and mustache. He seems to be very well dressed. He wears fine white leather boots which rise to mid-calf into which are tucked doeskin breeches. He wears a fine light grey tunic with a dark grey surcoat of some unusual skin on top. The spilled blood has soaked the tunic but beads on the surcoat (\ though there are several holes from bolts of fire and electric\ ).

    On top of the surcoat is a rather ornate and wide belt of black leather with silver panels studded with ruby and jade. A thin black belt runs under it holding a fine tooled leather scabbard holding a very ornate and ancient rapier. From the weapons belt hangs a heavy purse and a small chain that loops into a pocket in the surcoat. In the pocket is a large key chain, 20 keys in all including a large iron key and a orange glass key. Denirok wears a single white glove on his right hand, an ornate bead, coral and jade headband and long soft scarf of white inlaid with silver thread.

    Denirok wears three rings on his left hand, a bracelet on each wrist, possesses an ivory and granite amulet in the form of a blank white face and a pendant in the form of blue gemmed star on a silver back. His body radiates residue magicks of various forms and will take time to figure out.

    -- Segue --

    Desdemona ponders Khunya's words for several seconds and bids him prepare a spell of safe landing for himself. She speaks several words of power and they vanish from the deck of the SkyReave to appear about 50' above ground near Denirok's keep. Despemona is suddenly surrounded by a nimbus of magic which keeps her aloft while a burst of mana slows Khunya's descent to the ground. Several seconds later there is a wrenching of the local reality and two other figures appear near Khunya outside of the keep. One is Umlanos Steady-hands, the Sea-Kral Navigator, while the other is an attractive middle aged human male, dressed in a heavy surcoat, pants and boots. Armed with sword and dagger, carrying an ornate compass. "I am Jaed of the Daruni Olkanin and I am charged with serving this area for the Guilds of the Navigators. Let us enter and determine what is amiss."

    He gestures in the air and leaves a spinning circle of magick hovering in the air. "A marker for others," he comments. Jaed turns to the moat and raises bridge of magicks across to and against the wall. Walking across he stops at the smooth and glassy walls. Desdemona drops down beside and offers her services. "No need, M'Lady" he replies, "we have spells for each barrier we encounter." He weaves words of magic and begins a tunnel or passage against the wall. It seems to moan and surge into the wall and through. The tunnel is nearly 10 foot by 20 foot and pushes into the center hall. "Let us hope we are not too late!" and Jaed hurries into the keep.

    -- Segue --

    Steven completes the loop of power around and above Khunya, snaps his fingers and Khunya vanishes into thin air. He turns to Angelica and says, "we must hurry downstairs to see what is happening and do what we can til the Navigators arrive." They run back down the stairs leaving Tuo, unless you wish to follow, and Maria along with a sleeping Aben-Daga. Seconds later, the leader of the Cult troops, awakes and stands. He orients and heads down the stairs without a word.

    The upstairs room is scattered with bodies, Rogir, Jacilyn and three of Denirok's elite guard. Rogir was a normal sized human male with rugged and scarred features, somewhat handsome. He was wearing dark grey tunic and pants of some sort of the leathery material. On top is a sword belt carrying a very fine and ornate broadsword, a pouch and a key case with eight keys of various sizes. Upon his right arm is a black scaled glove and on his left is strapped a sturdy normal shield. A black and grey reversible cloak is held by a blue gemmed star amulet like Denirok's. He wore no jewelry and has a fine crossbow strapped to his back with a quiver of bolts opposite his sword's sheath.

    Jacilyn lies nearby and seems to be an older and sturdier human male. He is wearing a chain shirt and pants of ordinary make, a fine shield painted with what might be Denirok's coat of arms, a very fine broad- sword and crossbow. Upon his right hand is a blue jade ring and in one ear is a green jade earplug. As expected he also has a purse. Maria stays behind for a while, to make sure she collects everything of value or note, and then rejoins the group.

    -- Segue --

    As Guiles and Maerwin check Denirok's body, M'Bassu moves to hand the satchel to Runyaheri. A voice booms from the front of the hall, perhaps from the stairs or the door, "I think that would be a mistake! Perhaps you should reconsider..."

    Aftermath in Denirok's Fortress

    The fortress of the deceased Astrologer Denirok turns from a battlefield to a beehive of activity. The people freed from Denirok's "gallery of beauty" are initially confused and lost. They seek out people from their own lands and gather in small bands. There is one group from Scorti consisting of the half Dark-elf (\ Nalene, a lay healer\ ), the half Light-elf lady (\ an outdoorsman of some sort\ ), the Neanderthal woman (\ a mercenary\ ), the Bear Tribesman (\ a male WereBear and engineer\ ), the male Dark-Elf (\ an experienced lay healer\ ) and the Sea Kral lady (\ a spell-using crafter\ ). Another group forms of those from the lands of Oerdi (\ commonly known as GreyHawk\ ) comprising Cabal Telker, the half Dwarf mentalist, the Human male (\ an alchemist\ ) and the Lesser Mahe male (\ a warrior-mage\ ).

    Keeping away from the Scortians, perhaps due to fear, hate or worry regarding the Telor-Scortian war, is a group consisting of folk from Tarna, Telor and the Schooner Isles (\ the chain in between Telor and Scorti\ ). They include the High Man male (\ a young martial artist\ ), Kalyn Shullah (\ the Hani female and advertiser\ ), the Mixed Elf female (\ a ropemaker\ ), the Greater Mahendo'sat female (\ a delver of note\ ), the Hira'razhir (\ a scout\ ) who is caring for the phasing Stsho (\ the Seer from Harn\ ) and the Light Elf female (\ a soldier from Hepmonland who has become friends with the Mixed Elf woman\ ).

    Na'tiean has gathered a fairly large group to help with the disposal of the bodies and salvaging of the gear. His workforce consists of the Vulfen female (\ a healer from Lythia\ ), the Greater Orc male (\ a fighter from the isle of Kiraz in the Schooner Isles\ ), the Lesser Orc male (\ a warrior from the Sarandon hills in Tarn South\ ), the Troll male (\ some sort of crafter from GreyHawk\ ), the Half-Orc male (\ a mentalist from Scorti\ ) and the Maazhat Lieutenant (\ a warrior from the Shard Plains\ ). The last group is from the Harn and Lythia area and consists of the Dwarf male (\ the historian\ ), and a little clique of the Kif (\ a mentalist\ ), the Sohleugir (\ a professional\ ) and the Sstoi'islythi (\ a warrior from the Dragonlord's realm on Hepmonland\ ). The Nymph and Satyr stay together and follow Tuo about. Steven and Angelica ponder how to help the Dolphin.

    The only others remaining in the Keep are Denirok's servants and your group. The new arrivals wander the keep, scrounging what clothes, weapons and supplies they can find. During this time you discover the various storerooms, the bedrooms, Denirok's library, the vault of Tomes, the art gallery and the room of sculptures. Steven helps in the attunements and delving of the newly found items and then suggests that perhaps we should leave as soon as possible. Angelica, while figuring out how close is the shore is for transporting the Dolphin to the ocean, discovers a small alcove with a couple of fishing vessels and support gear. Steven volunteers to return to the ship, return with some sailors, and try to get some of the refugees back to civilization.

    Comings and Goings in Itaraan

    Guiles - Deb suggests that perhaps we could hire some of ship's Marines when the voyage finishes back in Tarna. In particular she suggests Gorin Fist, Albert Stanis (\ he's a cutie, she says\ ) and Aikolos (\ though she hasn't asked any of them\ ). Or perhaps one or more of the recently freed captives might be interested.

    Deb wouldn't mind spending a couple of months searching for knick- knacks. It gives her more time with Angelica checking out those cute elven guys!

    Khunya - Goldtooth departed while your group was in Byra Sug (\ between adventures 25 and 26\ ). Noone in town call tell you where she went but, if pressed, the ship's crew will say she left on some sort of a quest.

    Denirok's notes and maps indicate several interesting places within the circles of islands. Upon this island there are two places noted, one is Taurkytaal, once the home of the Demonlord Aztaur (\ defeated by the Ky'taari long ago\ ) the other is an approximate location for Kaldaraak-vaar, the holy place of the Ky'taari (\ where it is said that Arianna comes to Arda for one day at High Summer\ ). He also has some notes referring to the northernmost island in the circle, basically an extinct cinder cone whose rim rises to two great towers, which imply an unknown race is resident there. All local Ky'taari and Syrkakar cities are noted as well as all Navigator Obelisks and local Earthnodes.

    The ladies' name is Kalyn Shullah and she is from Telor. Her clan was a small one under the lordship of one of the five great clans of Telor. A male can challenge into any clan but it helps to have allies (\ female of course\ ) within the clan. Kalyn does seem interested in your potential for clan leadership (\ especially magically\ ).

    Tuo - [ the way I'm doing Herb Lore is that you know and have worked with herbs with a difficulty number equal to or less than the number of ranks you have in Herb Lore. These can easily be found according to the climate code. To find more rare herbs (\ higher difficulty #s\ ) requires help or a tome/guidebook ]

    From a gross perspective there is a brewing war of good (\ the Ky'taari\ ) vs evil (\ the Syrkakar\ ), with the Fustir Gost assisting the side of good. Traders say that the Syrkakar coastal clans are grudgingly pledging allegiance to the Syrkakang. No war has begun but perhaps the forces of the Iron Wind are waiting for word from the south. Speaking of the south, Traders also say that the Dominator has begun to blockade the Dwarven nation, preventing trade with Scorti or other points south.

    M'Bassu - The Ky'taari very carefully maintain the environment for they are always on the brink of winter and need to wring the maximum results from the land. They are bright, gay and free-thinking folks with a long oral tradition (\ they've been here for 4000 years\ ). Outside of the small cities, it becomes very quiet and very wild, though the islands are not huge for high hills and mountains form the backs of the lands. As described previously there are several species that are unique to the lands (\ the Koylarin, Torkaan and others\ ).

    Perhaps contrary to appearances, they are concerned about the growing darkness in the east (\ the Syrkakar\ ) and whisper about it in hushed tones, for fear the Iron Wind may hear. Some call for the Ataarn Katashaarn (\ the King's army\ ) to be greatly expanded, others even suggest preemptive strikes, alliances with the Fustir and other measures. Moreso this year, than others past, they feel the coming winter will be a hard and cold affair.

    Na'tiean - The return voyage is relatively uneventful. You receive Guiles' message concerning the Syrkakar vessel. During the first night your vessels are buzzed by a large flying creature, headed south, which may have been the Fell Beast that Tuo saw. Despite your readiness to fight, the Syrkakar vessel never crosses your path.

    Talking with the refugees, you find that the Maazhat, the two orcs, the half-orc and the Vulfen Healer (\ Ra-Seiya\ ) are interested in returning with you to the Well. Ra-Seiya seems to have taken an interest in you. The Troll wishes to explore the mountains of this realm and find his own way and future.

    You return to Itaraan during the evening of the 28th. Talking with Valkyrie, she reminds you the first day we could use the amulet to contact the Well would be on High Summer in the morning. Valkyrie and Slammer would be ready to leave though she will miss some of the town folk (\ probably her rumored lover\ ). Rinaldo wishes you well and says perhaps he see you in the afterlife (\ though he admits it may take many years for him to get there\ ).

    All - As expected High Summer Day dawns with bright and clear sunshine, as Arien rises slowly into the skies and the streets of Itaraan fill with festival and celebration of life, renewal and Ariaana, their goddess. Note also the Tarnan calendar clicks over from 4378 to 4379 PS and the next day is the first of Manwarn.

    To Slay the Syrkakang - The Plan

    The month of Manwarn slowly passes with the weather fine but the populace unsettled. Chat about the tables in Ky'taari taverns frequently focused on the events of High Summer and many have axes to grind. Careful talking with the locals indicates there are some who even consider taking action against the Syrkakar. Two are notable, one is a Ky'taari farmer, from the local hills, who lost family during the incident when it struck the capital. The other is a Ky'taari monk, a favorite child of Arianna, who wishes to contest skills with the forces of Darkness.

    As summer progresses, other foreigners can been seen in and about the ports of the Ky'taari. Southern traders usually avoid Byra Sug, unless well armed, and their passengers invariably prefer to disembark in Ky'taari harbours. Maria notices one new- comer seemingly in the act of scoping the local edifices, a task she performed quite frequently (\ too keep in practice of cours\ ). Another is a rather well armed an emblazoned Warrior of Manwe who seems to have come to these northern lands on some sort of quest.

    Steven suggests it would be from people such as these, that you find the stout-hearted souls who would wish to infiltrate the citadel of the Syrkakang and slay the leader of the dark people. Perhaps we should surreptitiously send an invitation to these likely souls that they should meet us at a local inn (\ rented for the evening\ ) or aboard the SkyReave for dinner and a little chat.

    [ Those PCs (\ of the old bunch\ ) doing active study and teaching gain 5 DPs towards those skills studied. For Guiles it would be towards a sword skill; for Tuo perhaps an outdoor skill; for M'bassu some diplomacy or local history:Ky'taari, for Khunya perhaps region lore: Ky'taari. ]

    To Slay the Syrkakang - Recruitment

    Dawn's Edge is a quiet little tavern on the eastern edge of Itaaran where the sun first touches the town. There are no rooms for rent thus it was easy to secure the place for the eve and not have to worry about unexpected visitors. The dinner for the evening is typical light Ky'taari fare. Torkaan chops with mint are the main dish, oriented towards the visitors for the most meat Ky'taari eat is the odd fish or two. A broiled local fish upon a bed of fried Shir flavored with a small amount of imported spices is also present. Sides of potatos, breads and cheeses are available. Dessert is bowls of local berries with fresh cream. Liquids include clear spring water, a light ale made from Shir and a nutty brandy made from the Lotanak tree.

    As the dishes are cleared away and the participants begin to relax about the common room fire, Angelica decides to say a few words. "Steven assures me that he has done what he can to ward and defend this inn versus scrying eyes [ and some have noticed two black masses floating by the windows at various times during dinner ] and thus we can talk freely. Everyone here seems to have at least one common purpose, among their other many goals and dreams. That purpose is the eventual downfall of the Syrkakang thus stopping the influence of the Iron Wind in these northern parts."

    "Steven and I have some suggestions on an expedition to accomplish that goal. I'm sure everyone else has a plan as well but let me first give our suggestions. Steven has learned a little of guiding vessels by Earthnodes and along with a competent crew, could lead a vessel to Adea Hu, the isle of the Syrkakar. Sailing carefully to avoid other vessels, we land on the sparsely populated northern shore. Then we hike inland, up the side of the volcanic caldera which holds Syclax, their capital, within its mouth. Once at the rim, we descend into the caldera and attempt to gain entry to the capital by stealth and guile. We know little of Syclax and hope our Ky'taari friends could tell such of it. I also leave the floor open to others who have plans of their own to present them for debate and discussion. Ladies and Gentlemen..."

    To Slay the Syrkakang - Crossing Adea Hu

    On the morning of the 9th day of the second month of the year 4379 Post Settlement, the party begins its journey to the center of Adea Hu, the land of the Syrkakar. Arianna blesses the journey with a day of bright sunshine and cool weather. A chill breeze from the ocean reminds Ashaan and La'an that the Blessed Goddess can not provide summer for the land for much longer. Leaving Paren, the Ky'taari trader, to conceal and guard the boat, the trek inland begins. Everyone is in fine spirits and health, except Orlando who is still nursing a bothersome stomach (\ still at -10 to activity\ ).

    The first day of travel exhausts the easily traversed coastal lowlands. By the end of the day, a trail of golden flowers leading into the hills, becomes readily apparent. The trail continues into the low foothills which rapidly rise towards the volcanic summit looming in the distance. The trail seems to lead into a cleft along the northwest of the mountain's slope.

    At the end of the second day, scouting ahead via M'Bassu's stealth and Tuo's sky-spanning sight (\ especially when roaming the skies above\ ), the party discovers that the trail of flowers leads into a box canyon about 7000' above sea level. Unfortunately, there also seems to be a camp of Syrkakar at the back of the canyon. Five hide huts or tents surrounding a fifth. La'an can tell it is probably a Lird, a 50 man fighting force used to scout the country- side. Accompanied by hawks and wolves, the Lird is self-sufficient and capable of extended wilderness journeys. A Lird is composed of a leader and 5 Lirm of 10 men. Each Lirm consists of a Lirm leader, two sub-leaders, of groups called Lirks, and seven warriors. .TS center expand; l l l l l. Lird (50) Lird Leader Lirm Lirm Lirm Lirm Lirm (10) Lirm leader (1) Lirk leader (1) Three warriors ( one handles wolves ) Lirk leader (1) Four warriors ( one handles hawks ) .TE

    It looks to Ashaan that the trail leads past the Syrkakar but to what end? Perhaps only Arianna only knows and she has not said. The day ends with the party poised at the end of the canyon and the camp but a half mile ahead over broken ground and scrub.

    Tuo - Over the past month you were able to collect the following herbs:

  • 2d5+5 doses of each of -

    602, 626, 631, 638, 641, 644, 645, 668, 677, 688

  • and 1d6 doses of each of -

    635, 603, 608, 611, 649, 650, 625, 651, 666

  • Ashaan - The monastery's physical is able to provide the following Ky'taari healing salves for your party - 1

  • 10 Darric salves - heal 10 instantly (chew)
  • 5 Jiri salves - infravision for 1 hour (apply)
  • 10 Ghiloa salves - cures frostbite (soak)
  • 5 Sebron salves - anesthetic, lasts 10-12 hours (chew)
  • 1 Nya salve - Lifegiving for a Ky'taari OR Lifekeeping for anyone (\ 10 days\ ), (eat)

    To Slay the Syrkakang - Night Terrors

    The screams of the dead and dying awake young Kintat from a fitful sleep. He is baffled by the loud ruckus as he crawls from his bedroll to peek out the tent flap. Scratching Tergus, the wolf, behind the ears, as he sits by the entrance, Kintat peers out into the night. The scene revealed is terrifying to the Syrkakar warrior. Exploring and training the mountains, during his two month stint with the Surd, he never expected combat, let alone this. It seems as if a horde of demons stream into the camp from darkness.

    Kintat, not realizing, grips Tergus tightly, waking the Lird wolf, as he watches the battle unfold. He sees the on-watch Lirm charge to the far end of the camp to engage the invaders. They seem to be no match for their taller well-armed foes. Bright blades flash, arms and legs swing in mighty arcs and streaks of mana criss- cross the air and the Lirm is divided and decimated. Bolts of fire splash against tent sides, setting them alight. Grey hazes of magic flow into tents to wreak unknown havok. Other dark shapes stalk through the camp to silently enter tents or slay Sykakar warriors where they have fallen prey to the Essence.

    There is a crack of a log from one of the watch fires and a haze of sparks shoot into the air. In the brief burst of light, Kintat sees a chilling sight. Two Ky'taari warriors, a man and a woman, in the center of the attackers. The demon elves, for who but a demon could survive the winter nights on naught but the summer sun, lead other stranger foes to slaughter the Lird. Kintat rolls back into the tent, grabs his short sword and awakens Erkat, his Lirk leader and friend. "Hurry, Erkat!" Kintat whispers,"Awake and help me awake the others for the Ky'taari are upon us and this night we must fight for our lives like our fathers taught us. Awake and to arms!!"

    To Slay the Syrkakang - Ruins

    The last echoes of combat die out but the sounds of the nearby forest have not returned. The slow pop and crack of scattered or unattended fires, the drip of blood, the clank of surrendered sword, the scrape of victorious sword returning to the scabbard and the soft moans of the wounded take center stage. The camp looks like a gigantic pile of debris has been scattered hither and yon. Two tents burn, lighting the canyon, while a third lies collapsed. Bodies and gear are scattered about the tents and the walls of the ravine.

    Of the Syrkakar, only two remain standing, frightened and passive, while the rest lie dead or dying. With a modicum of first aid performed, you find there are 21 dead and 28 are unconscious but will survive. If no aid is given another 10 of the unconscious die. If heroic efforts are made, 5 of the dead can be saved from dying. The two standing Syrkakar can do only minimal effort to save their fellows if allowed.

    As for the victors, only Ashaan and Peryk have suffered serious injury. The bruises and scrapes received by Tuo, Steven and Angelica will heal with time. Ashaan and Peryk's wounds require spells or herbs to heal bleeding blood vessels and mend torn muscles. Tuo is capable of all that is necessary, given a little time.

    When the question of what to do with the captured Syrkakar arises, Steven has a suggestion. "Companions, given a little rest, perhaps until dawn, to regain my magicks and then another short period of time, until noon of the next day, I can open a magical portal to another realm wherein we can send the living to spend their time. Some obscure layer of the Abyss or perhaps a more neutral place might be appropriate. Opening a gate to the Elemental planes could be dangerous to us as well. Since they do not have spellcrafters, I do not see them returning." With that he finds a corner to meditate in, away from the mess and debris.

    "Oh," Steven turns," one more thing. If you wish I can charm or master their leader and suggest that when he awakes that he should be very cooperative and answer your inquiries about what they were up to."

    Disarming the bodies and searching the guards produces a rather grand pile of gear after several hours of effort. Short swords, crossbows, leather armor, small shields, quivers, quarrels, camping gear, pots, pans, knives, dice, cards, symbols, trinkets, a book or two, clothes, backpacks and the like. There is also a good deal of spelunking gear: rope, hammers, pitons, lantern helms, picks and the like. Of notable booty is the following --

  • 579 bp, 148 sp, 43 gp, 1 pp, 3 mp
  • +5 N Short Sword
  • 60% wt AT-18 (\ breastplate, greaves and vambraces\ )
  • +10 M Small Shield (\ 20/20\ )
  • +25 M 50% wt Two-handed sword (\ of solid black rock or metal\ )
  • 80% wt Two-handed sword
  • 50% wt Short Bow
  • +10 N 70% wt Combat Net

    All of this gear is wrapped, dusty and rather ornate and richly embellished. There is a matching helm to the armor, a useless quiver for the bow (\ dried and rotten\ ) and some normal arrowheads.

    Either by coercive force or Steven's charms, when their leader awakes (\ or is awakened by healing\ ), the following information can be gained. Indeed the Lird was on a training mission but the leaders were given a second goal. Within the cave is a network of tunnels and passages throughout the mountain. One pathway seems to wind up into the mountain spiraling towards the rim of the caldera. That path is filled with chimneys and tubes and slopes upwards for all its route. The second major pathway seems to run downward into the bowels of the mountain. It is narrow and dark, growing hot in its deepest parts, as it heads under the surface of the caldera deep into the basalt of the volcanic plug. The third path, the one that members of the Lird traversed just recently, goes only a little ways into the mountain, perhaps half a mile, and ends at a crypt. There, after much ceremony, they were told to reopen the grave and retrieve items, once belonging to a Syrkakar warlord, for use in the uncoming battles versus the Ky'taari. When this war starts, he does not know, but he knows his masters are begin- ning to prepare for such an endeavour. He also knows naught of the first and second paths, having never traversed them.

    Dawn shows over the top of mountains, Steven awakes and begins the magicks which will finish about noontime, leaving the rest of the group to its own devices.

    To Slay the Syrkakang - Orlando Recovers

    The 12th of Ossern proves to be an early for all involved, especially after the distraction and danger of the now-dead Giant leaves everyone recovering from a surge of adrenalin. The group breaks camp and begins the trek up the side of the mountain. Steven and Orlando float alongside upon a flying disk, also carrying spare equipment and climbing gear. Peryk moves ahead to be the scout and first to contact the Udahir scout, Siegfried.

    With Tuo's sight as a guide, it isn't hard to find the outer cave that was mentioned. There Peryk meets Siegfried's thyfur Hilde. A thyfur is a rather large eagle that can be ridden. Siegfried is surprised to see the large group but won't deny access to the earthnode to allow Orlando to be healed. After the climb and settling-in, Steven and Tuo begin the necessary rituals. Steven says he requires no help in terms of power, allowing everyone else to be prepare in case something wanders along.

    The days pass relatively quietly, with the weather being clear but increasingly colder. Summer has passed and a brief autumn is in the offing. The climbers, on the first, passed a flock of condors, white and grey, floating down to inspect the abandoned camp. The first night, the howls of some sort of wolf-like animal, can be heard as a small pack moves about down-slope. Seen from a distance, they resemble grey white hounds breathing mists of pure cold. The next day, the 13th, a strange white ball floats into the caverns and up to Angelica. It proves to be a sending from Desdemona. She reminds Angelica that the SkyReave is to leave on the first of the next month and the Marines must return by then.

    Steven and Tuo continue the work upon Orlando. Steven's rituals work well, he fervently hopes that the information provided by Tuo is just as good. On the 17th, there is a cry from Hilde at the outside entrance. A young ice drake has ventured down the cliffside and is considering whether the thyfur would make a good meal or not. He is disuaded by a well placed firebolt from either Khunya's hand or medallion. On the 18th Steven has finished the seventh ritual and asks Tuo whether he wishes to finish the healing via herbs or to continue the rituals. Orlando seems to be doing well but is still unconscious and will be til all are done.

    Whether herbs or rituals are used, Orlando continues to be on the mend for several days hence. On the 19th and 20th, herds of local animals can be seen in the distance, downslope, foraging for the fleeting flora. On the 21th, another, perhaps the same, flight of Condors is seen in the distance.

    The morning of the 24th features a different arrival, that of Bronte, another Udahir scout. She arrives by thyfur (\ Emil\ ) and is here to tell Siegfried that the summer is almost over and his time to return to home is near. Bronte is surprised by the company but takes everything astride and spends her time with Siegfried. He says he will be leaving at the end of the month. The next few days are quiet until the 28th, when, whether the herbs were used or not, Orlando awakens. He is still in pain and shock, but feels he may be able to continue. Steven is thankful for he feels time was running out, at least for Angelica and him, on this mission.

    To Slay the Syrkakang - Within the Citadel

    From the journals of Engot, Lirm leader within Critan's Lird a fifth of the Syrkakang Personal Guard.

    15th day of fall of our year 203 in the northern lands.

    Another fall is upon us and thus the chill of winter is but weeks away. I am fortunate to have gained a position on the Personal Guard which allows me to spend my time in arguably the warmest building in Syclax, the citadel of the Syrkakang, Jyka Brust of clan Ukasur. I have trained my Lirm well and they have responded, earning the praise of Critan my commander. Only Delgak's Lirm does better and they guard the Syrkakang himself.

    We have an equally important task, here in the second level below the city, we guard the vaults of Syclax. Here the monies of the city reside behind walls of magicked basalt and doors of steel overlaid on granite, protected by traps both physical and magical. Here in the empty hall of the vault floor, walking with my Lirk leaders, Kendan and Rejat, I have much time to consider the wealth of my position.

    My Lirm is well armed with swords of magicked steel, shields of hard woods and strong skins and armor of the fell beasts of the sea, leathers harder than any leathersmith can tan. Kendan, Rejat and I wear cuirasses of bright steel with matching vambraces and greaves. A heavy but more potent protection than the beast hide. Carefully crafted crossbows, with an invention stolen from the west, which allows a higher rate of fire, complement our gear.

    I compose my thoughts for a moment...ware! A sound rises from the levels below. I hear the sound of steel upon steel and the yells of men. Rushing to the central shaft, I carefully look down into the darkness. Hot air, rising from the ancient volcanic shafts, brush my face as I peer into the darkness. Light from the windowed roof and the other floor reveal intruders in the hall.

    They ride upon strange disks of reddish colours and leap into the floors to fight Allek's Lirm. I hope he fairs well. Horrors, a sight and voice strike me, there are Ky'taari amongst them! One with a bow and the other, a woman, carrying a pair of blades. A scream echoes up the tube as a furred creature, perhaps a Hani as I've been told the Syrkakang's guests are called, grabs a soldier with a loop of energy and pitches him to a waiting disk. The occupants pummel him and pitch the poor soul to his death in the depths below.

    Alarum and to arms I call. The call is echoed up through the tower. Invaders below, draw arms and ware! I retreat from the shaft and take cover with Kendan awaiting their approach. With this note I close this entry and if the Wind blows in my favor, then I will write again...

    To Slay the Syrkakang - Summit Climax

    [Ashaan] The yells and cries of the prisoners rise in volume as your lonely battle continues. Your foe, one of the Sykakar guard sergeants, is battered, bruised and bleeding. His sword is gone out a window but he draws a dagger to replace it. His shield is smashed and dented, armor rent and torn but he has refused to submit or surrender. Yells from the floor above suggest that some of the prisoners have been freed and are beginning to gain arms to use against their captors. However, other noises indicate at least another Lirk of warriors is making its way to this level. Thank Arianna that you are unwounded at this time.

    [Khunya, M'Bassu] Crouched upon a disk of mana, you have reached the highest level of the keep of the Syrkakang. The balcony of the level below has been blocked by a wall of wood grown from the railing and surrounding decorative wooden panels. Behind the wall soldiers of the guard hammer at the wood with swords and axes. Seizing upon an idea, Khunya hurled the unsuspecting Orlando at the Syrkakang only to discover another wire mess across the air above them. Orlando plowed through the mesh with a snap and flash of mana, a strange mist departs upward to the sky as his right hand and sword fall in a slow spiral down to M'Bassu's awaiting arms. Orlando's unconscious form glances off Jyka Brust and disappears behind the railing. You see Tuo on this level, busily beguiling one guard while one other body lies nearby. M'Bassu feels a constant pain flow through his body, his sweat and blood puddle on the disk, while Khunya feels a steady flow of blood from a crossbow bolt buried in his back.

    [Tuo] Seated upon the stairs helps relieve some of the pain from the painful slash across your right leg. You concentrate upon the ensorcelment of the guard with the crossbow and barely notice the arrival of Khunya and M'Bassu. There is a shudder and twang of wire as Orlando is hurled out of view to the top floor. Everyone else is out of sight on the top level except for Ashaan who is yet to arrive.

    [Orlando] Ah, the pleasure of battle rises within as you work down the steps clearing it of the Syrkakar guard. The Druid has blocked the lower passage by a conjuration of wood thus allowing you to finish one or two more and then charge up the stairs and into the main fray. Suddenly, you lose your footing and are hurled upwards into the air. Why, you don't know, foul sorceries have seized you! You hit some sort of barrier, there is a tug, a flash of pain from your right arm and a haze of blue washes across your vision. The blue resolves into a cloudless sky and you lie upon a green plain. You are unclothed and unarmed and alone. However you are whole, but feel something is missing. Looking about shows tall spires rising in the distance and a sudden realization, that is the High Tower of Manwe, where he resides with his servants and assistants beyond the realm of the world. You have left the battle and are stranded on the plane of Spirits, you have been Absolved. Your screams of frustration do not echo in this land.

    [Laan] You were engaged with the tall armored Messenger, when from the corner of your eye, you saw Jyka Brust in all of his savage, armored fashion move around behind you. He twirled a black runic and twisted spear from which grey magic dripped. With a cry, the spear was thrown to plunge into your lower back. There was a slight twinge of pain, a light blow you thought, and then all was black. You look for the light and begin to walk. Soon the black resolves into dark browns and greens, the deep forest. Trees and bushes can be picked out as the light filters in from the forest edge. Reaching the border, you look upon a sunny day. The hunting was good, a brace of coneys dangle from one hand and your bow from the other. Down a slight hill you see smoke drift from the chimney of your farmhouse. Trotting down the hill, a voice calls. Your wife, at the well, waves in your direction, puts the bucket down and runs to you. "You have returned from the hunt, " she say, a smile beams, "and it looks like dinner will be a good one. Come home and rest a while... "

    [Peryk, Angelica and Steven] The guard of the Syrkakang press you into the hallway, against the door recently opened by Peryk. They are fresh and unwounded, eager to kill the intruders for their leader who watches from a distance. Behind stands one of the mysterious Messengers who watches and waits. Near him, lies the body of Laan, struck down by Jyka's spear, from which a black pall of smoke rises to the skylight. There is a sudden crash and Orlando's body lands against the Syrkakang and then slides to the floor. He does not move and a puddle of blood forms about him. Jyka looks surprised, turns and backs away from the balcony. He nears the second Messenger, staggered by a bolt of Ice thrown by Steven punching a hole through the aura of un-magic which pervades this place. Protective and vision spells begin to flicker and fade as the un-magic eats at their essence as well. Yells and hammering blows filter up from the tower's depths. "Well, if we are stuck here, " Angelica grunts, "let's make it a good fight." "I hope our companions arrive in good time and in good shape, unlike Orlando there, " replies Steven.

    Injuries -

  • M'Bassu - down 105 CP (\ 70 for 80 mins, 35 for 40 mins\ ) at -30
  • Laan - deceased from heart wound
  • Orlando - down 76 CP, right hand severed, bleeding 6 per, -20 due to wounds, Absolved for 6 weeks (\ unconscious\ ) [ down 1 pp ]
  • Tuo - down 16 CP, -70 to move, MM, combat due to right thigh muscle damage (\ 4 muscles\ ) [ down 5 pp ]
  • Khunya - down 18 CP, bleeding 3 per, back wound [ down 13 pp ]
  • Steven/Robert - [ down 27 pp and 6 pp respectively ]
  • The Return Begins

    With a stroke of his Laen blade, Ydirak, leader of the Thyfuriai, cleaves free the glass roof of the tower of the Syrkakang. The great pentagon wrenches free and plummets downward through the tower's core. Seconds later a great crash is heard from the volcanic tunnels below. As his fellow Udahir cover the streets, Ydirak's trusted scouts, Siegried and Bronte call to the folks below. The battle on the floor below seems to have finished and most of the adventurers have survived.

    Ropes are secured and lowered to help people gain the roof from the fifth floor of the tower. Steven suggests to Khunya that we try the ropes until we see whether our disks dissolve in the field of magic suppression. M'Bassu and Khunya hurry to the roof and then zoom off down the side of the tower to discover the whereabouts of Ashaan and the progress of the rebellion.

    As the last members of the party, Angelica and Peryk (\ providing a rearguard as they were the least wounded of the group, Peryk in fact is without a scratch\ ), are hauled to the roof, the wall of wood is splintered by a great blast of mana. As the smoke clears from the hallway, a wash of mana or energy streams from the fourth floor and suppresses the wall of fire on the stairs. With a cry, a group of soldiers charge up the stairs. Angelica gasps as she notices that the guards are led by two Marines, Sarn Kaly and Eris Ahly. Sarn wears a bright chain hauberk covered with a black tabard with the symbol of a flaming fist crushing the globe (\ the emblem of Morgoth the Destroyer\ ). Eris is similarly attired.

    Those Udahir who are not busy upon the ropes or controlling their Thyfur, fire arrows at the approaching troops. Some hit the following Syrkakar guard but most are swept away by mages backing the tower guards. As Sarn and his foul company round the midpoint of the stairs, a deep voice calls from the very shadows,

    "You will not reach your foul altar this day, servant of the Wind!" echoes down the stairs as a figure steps from the dark walls into the sunlight falling through the open roof. Yet another surprise, for it is Aikolos and he is dressed in a suit of deep black leather armor and carries an ornate crossbow-like device. His long white-blond hair contrasts with the shadows and his garb. Behind him and on to the landing of the fifth floor, a group of Syrkakar warriors step into the light. They are garbed in tabards of grey featuring naught but a black circle.

    "The Lord of the Five Darknesses sends his greetings to the minions of his lesser brethren, the Lord of Destruction," Aikolos continues as he fires his weapon. A shaft of crackling silver streaks down the stairs only smash into Eris' breast as she steps in front of her mate. Her stricken form slams into Sarn's arms and he staggers back and lowers her to the ground. Frenzied Hani rage begins to contort his face,

    "Susymog will Ordain you and then I will have your heart to sacrifice to Morgoth in the memory of dear Eris!" Sarn nearly screams her name.

    Aikolos steps to one side of the stairs, by the balcony, and his troops edge down the stairs, "Melkor," he whispers but a shout," and my patron, Aztaur, Lord of this Cold, will not give you this chance! Slay them all loyal servants of the Ice!" And his grey-clad Syrkakar charge, with a cry, down into midst of Sarn and the Palace Guard.

    "And you," Aikolos addresses those on the roof,"my once companions. Escape while you can, especially before the Ordainer is summoned. And by the way, Angelica, I resign my commission and send my best to lovely Deborah." He then turns to the battle at hand and dispassionately watches the frenzied Sarn tear into the Syrkakar.

    Ydirak comments, "You have strange allies, my friends. Be that as it may, let us make haste and alight from this dark city." By disk and bird, the party quickly heads up and away from the city. Seconds later Khunya, ferrying the much battered but victorious M'Bassu and Ashaan, rejoins the exodus from Syclax to the north-west.

    The return to the earthnode goes well. At one point, a great Fell Beast is spotted heading south-west from the city to the mountains. Ydirak dispatches a scout to carefully follow the beast and Messenger. Smoke rises from Syclax as the forces of the Syrkakang are beseiged in their own citadel by the prisoners and the warriors of Aztaur. Upon, reaching the Node, Ydirak sends most of the Udahir onward to the northwest and the sea. He leaves Siegfried and Bronte behind to help guard your group and watch for pursuit. Finally, he gives a sealed scroll to Ashaan, "Take this to your King or High Priestess, for it is an embassy from Tanhuz, Fighter-King of the Udahir, who wishes to join the battle versus the Iron Wind. Much luck and strong winds to you all!" and he is off and away upon the back of his Thyfur.

    The Calender for Home

    For those who may be confused -- here is a timeline of the SkyReave's return voyage to Tarna --

    3.1.79 - Depart Itaraan, ritual for Steven completed, he'll recover fully in 7 days (\ 5.8 )

    3.18.79 - SkyReave arrives a Shakan (\ Topaz\ ) in the evening (\ this is town on the island devastated by the Bloodring\ )

    3.19.79 - One day layover at Shakan; Tuo, Steven and Peryk plan to travel south to visit Beryl on this day

    3.20.79 - SkyReave departs westward, Tuo remains behind on Shakan

    4.6.79 - SkyReave makes closest pass by Trin during the night (\ a landing is not planned due to the current war\ ) and Orlando and Ashaan plan to depart

    4.10.79 - SkyReave arrives in Corinth, late evening. Desdemona and Cassieopeia plan to depart

    4.19.79 - SkyReave arrives in Hulesport

    4.24.79 - SkyReave arrives in Sip (\ port nearest M'Bassu's home\ ) and M'Bassu plans to depart

    5.3.79 - SkyReave arrives in Dyrisia, Steven, Angelica and the remainder of the Marines depart as well as Khunya and Kalyn

    5.12.79 - SkyReave arrives in Shallahifan and last guests depart. This official ends the expedition and the ship continues north to its home ports in Miritius.

    Homeward Sail

    Making quick farewells, the SkyReave departs for the south with the morning sun of the first day of the third month of 4379 PS. The crew attempts to make good time to counter two threats; the growing winter ice and any retribution from the Iron Wind (\ via the Syrkakar or the minions of Oran Jatar\ ). The mood of the voyage is quiet and reflective, people pondering the results of their various missions and the effects on their futures. Even the normally jovial crew seem somewhat subdued by the past several months, the omens are too many for even a Sea Kral to laugh aside. As would be expected, many minor things happen as the SkyReave winds its way south and west, and these are but a few of them --

    [ Ashaan ] About a week and a half into the voyage, the SkyReave makes landfall at a small uninhabited island. Volunteering to help with foraging for food and water, you discover the ruins of an abandoned Ky'taari village and temple. It dates from the times as the Ky'taari moved north to the region. With a little effort you are able to clear the underbrush from the altar in the temple and allow the light of Arianna to purify and bless the area. In your prayers you hope that perhaps Arianna will tell others that they might land here as well and form a settlement.

    Later in the voyage, perhaps one night during a fit of homesickness, you receive a vision from Arianna. Things go well in the north. The Ky'taari have met with the Udahir and Fustir Gost and have forged an alliance to help free the Syrkakar from the yoke of the Iron Wind. Oran Jatar has not been seen from since. A great battle rocked the mountains of Adea Hu which may have been a confrontation between Susymog and Aztaur (\ helped by some of the Udahir\ ). The Ky'taari are hesitant to ally with their old, once presumed dead, enemy versus a new enemy and are very wary of any overtures he makes.

    [ Guiles ] There are many stories which you can wade through, to add material to your show. The epic trek to slay the Syrkakang is the greatest of all but there are also some interesting tales to be told by the people freed from Denirok and the two Ky'taari aboard. Deb is happy to be on the way home yet regrets leaving such a pretty land. You discover the "famous" Peryk of Pertin is a guest on board and find that is an interesting position for a "thief" of his caliber. His story would be interesting if you could get it out of him.

    [ Khunya ] It is a remarkably quiet time, compared to the constant battles of the past 4 months, on the return trip. You are able to get to know Miss Kalyn quite well by your return to Dyrisa. Between the two of you, with perhaps some added info from Tyarn the only other Hani on board, you are able sort out some possible clans to look into. However, given your lack of attention to such matters and her time in the hands of Denirok, you feel you need to do a lot of work upon your return to Tarna.

    [ M'Bassu ] Upon the return journey you can continue regular sparring with Gorin Fist, the martial artist on Rinaldo's watch, and perhaps involve Ashaan as well. Gorin tells you that there are several schools of martial arts in the south half of the country, any one of which would be interested in having you on their staff. More interestingly, this past year there was a great contest of skills held on High Spring Festival at a manor just east of Felda in Tarn South. It is sponsored by the Church of Tulkas and a wealthly adventurer and proved to be a great success. If there is another this year (\ in six months\ ) Gorin plans to be there and hopes you will be as well.

    [ Orlando ] Angelica approaches you during the early part of the voyage home. She has heard of the invasion of your home island and the pledges of various other party members to join in its defence. Angelica is planning to rebuild Silvermoon's Raiders and offers the services of herself and her company to the cause. She figures she can be on Trin by High Winter, perhaps two months after your arrival. Angelica has begun recruiting Ship's Marines and has nearly a dozen but she confides she is having a hard time convincing Steven to come along as well.

    Having Gasa Stargazer on board is a boon for you can attend regular services, abeit for a few, on the way home. You and Gasa become good friends and he has much valuable advice. He offers, before you leave, to do two ceremonies; one to bless your upcoming campaign versus the Dominator and the second to consecrate a banner or standard to use when leading your troops into battle.

    [ Peryk ] You discover that several of the guests on board are mildly upset by the decision not to stop in Beryl on the return voyage. You discover you can make a tidy sum of money (\ 10s of silver\ ) by offering to pick up or drop off various items in Beryl when you make the side trip with Tuo and Steven. You find out that several on board, notably Maria, Guiles and the Supercargo's Apprentice recognize you. The Apprentice seems to be affiliated in some way with the Tarnan Lia Kavair (\ Thieves Guild\ ) and offers to help you join the Guild in Tarna should you choose to.

    [ Tuo ] Upon your arrival at Topaz (\ the town on the island ruined by the Bloodring\ ) you discover that the island can be restored and renewed to its former glory. However, the locals are having a tough time dealing with the shattered ecosystem and the blockade to the south. The town leader, Baronet Galin of House Bavin, asks for your help and offers a fair salary for as long as you can stay on the island and help restore the flora and fauna.

    [ Others ] Steven has taken on an apprentice, one of Denirok's freed captives, a young man, and is successful in creating another set of combat gloves for M'Bassu. The gloves are sturdy and effective but not pretty. Angelica is busily recruiting for the war and so far Rinaldo, Shalra, Sirrush, Maerwin, Kiss't Hah, Daelin, Albert and two of the former captives are interested. Tyarn may join as well to become the Company's chronicler and bard. Na'keran and Na'skanlon are off to join the Wolves of War, Na'tiean's old outfit. Maria is off to do what Maria does best. The Ky'taari marine (\ not Ashaan\ ) may go with Angelica but seems to be interest in seeing what Ashaan's plans are. Everyone else will wind their way home by various routes.

    The Final Voyages

    Makarn 13. 4379 PS, Homeward Sail Inn, Shallahifan - port and capital of Slartan, the Elven Barony. The journals and writings of Tyarn the Troubador...wanderer and scribe.

    As I sit in this fine inn, relaxing with some of my funds gained from the long voyage, I write my final entry concerning the incidents and happenings of the mission of the SkyReave. Travelers do not stay long in Shallahifan, the prices set by the Elves encourage such, and I shall write a few lines before I find passage southward. I will head to Roim where I take my next position as Chronicler and Harper for Silvermoon's Raiders, as Angelica reforms her company to go war.

    The past few weeks have been filled with many departures. The evils and enemies we faced did not depart without one last reminder of their continued existence. Khunya, Tuo and M'Bassu bear the Mark of Doom from Soulcatcher the Taken (\ carefully I whisper his name...\ ). Khunya was attacked by a mage from the Scortian Bloodring which he left so long ago. And finally Deborah and Guiles were assaulted by an elf, one last survivor of Denirok's cohorts, who masqueraded as one of the freed prisoners. His name was Jalor, 'ware him, for he has many guises.

    First to leave the SkyReave were Orlando, the warrior of Manwe, and Ashaan and Torl'ta warriors of the Ky'taari, the wondrous race we met in the far north. They were ferried to the island of Trin, by several of Steven's disks, on the night of 6th day of the 4th month. Trin has been invaded by the Scortian Army led by Bonegnasher, one of the Dominator's Taken, and Orlando hastens to join in the defense of his family's land.

    Trin will become a whirlpool of activity as the forces of Good, assisted by many strong-hearted adventurers and warriors, combat the forces of Blood and Destruction. Many of the marines have decided to return to the small island to join the fight.

    Upon the 10th of the 4th month, the SkyReave docks at Corinth on Tarna. Our first sight of Tarnan soil in over seven months! We are quiet and dour at this moment for Desdemona Silverthorn, accompanied by Cassieopea and her strange servants, depart the Voyage. The MageDrake, organizer and backbone of this Voyage, was gravely hurt in her epic battle with the FireDrake, Oran Jatar, and may not survive the month. Tarna loses a great power after a great service to the land. Also departing, with no circumstance and almost overlooked, was Peryk of Pertin, a strange secretive man who may have been more and less than he seemed.

    We continue north, stopping at the major ports along the way. Hulesport on the 19th, where several guests depart, and Sip on the 24th. At Sip M'Bassu the warrior and Tuo the Druid depart to rejoin M'Bassu's tribe in the Serengeti of Western Hules. The homecoming may be short for both have business in the East, M'Bassu perhaps joining his companions at the war and Tuo returning to the northern lands to heal the damages created by the Bloodring. The Serengeti is quiet but the animals tell of war being waged under the Shard Plains between a race that shuns the surface and a race from the skies.

    Several days later, on the 3rd of Makarn, the fifth month, the SkyReave arrives in Dyrisa. There the bulk of the Marines, guests and adventurers go their separate ways. Angelica returns to Roim to organize another incarnation of her Raiders and to return to assist Orlando on Trin. She has a core group of the ship's marines to build upon and hopefully Roim is filled with young warriors who will follow her to fame or death. Steven ponders joining the war or returning to a life of academia and study which he abandoned several years ago when he met a young and attractive, but sadly departed, healer named Morag Simmons. His disks are laden with esoterica from the journey, including a fair sized library of tomes and texts and a rather nasty looking Drake's head.

    Khunya and Kalyn (\ said in one breath for they are now a couple\ ) depart to Roim for business with some Astrologers and back south to Tarn South or perhaps Telor, to either join the war or become embroiled in Hani clan intrigues. Khunya fingers an amulet in his pouch, pondering what sort of trade he can engineer for the item of power. Kalyn's arm rests about his shoulder, on top of the collar that once was a symbol of Syrkakar power. Guiles and Deborah, my friendly entertainer companions, depart find a place where they might begin a small hotel/restaurant which would feature "murder mystery" weekends. A grim entertainment, I do think, but perhaps it will catch on with the decadent in Roim. Guiles has perhaps, might I speculate, gotten a bit of cavalier in him evidenced by his recent practices with a rapier?

    As I sit here in Shallahifan, somewhere to the north, there lives perhaps the loneliest of the adventurers upon the SkyReave. Within the well, a warrior and warlord named Na'tiean looks out from a balcony across a cold, hard landscape populated his fellow warrior folks. All, Vulfen, Dark Elf, Orc and Troll, have the same thoughts on their mind as those that Na'tiean now ponders. The Exodus comes soon, within the half year, and Ungoliant leaves Arda and brings her faithful with her. Does one accompany one's Lord and God to the realms beyond the Maelstrom or does one stay upon Arda and continue to spread her word.

    The SkyReave continues northward to Miritius and beyond, where the Kindaloo Owami, the Sea Kral clan which owns and lives aboard the Ice Rigger, will continue to ply the seas for the years to come. A grand mission to the far north has come and gone. Friendships have been formed but enemies have been made. We have seen the splendors of the Ky'taari, met the plain and simple Fustir and heard rumors of the Udahir who ply the skies on the backs of Great Eagles. The forces of the Iron Wind, the end of the Dominator's Black Breath, have been dealt a mighty blow and may not soon recover. Perhaps winter, which now grips the north in its cold hand, may not be as bad as previous seasons. Tarna, and I, go to war against the Dominator and this is where I write my next chapters. Til then...

    Timeline of the Voyage of the SkyReave

  • 8.1.78 [ ILMARN, month of Help ] -- The SkyReave departs Shallahifan, in Slartan, with the Kindaloo Owami as crew, Desdemona and most of the Marines (\ including Steven, Na'tiean, Angelica and Rinaldo\ ). Fincullin Delin boards as well.
  • 8.9.78 -- The SkyReave docks at Dyrisa in Kooselan. Guiles and Deborah (\ as well as Tyarn the Troubador\ ) board the vessel as entertainers. Khunya boards the vessel. Gasa Stargazer (\ the cleric of Varda\ ) and his assistant Phlemming board the vessel.
  • 8.17.78 -- The SkyReave docks at Sip in Hules. M'Bassu and Maria join the Marines. Cassieopea and Desdemona's servants join the vessel. Shadows Deepen and the two Hani dancers board.

    ADV 1

  • 8.21.78 -- The SkyReave docks at Hulesport in Hules. Tarin Dawngreeter, Zokhad Graveler and Hakim join the vessel.
  • 8.25.78 -- The SkyReave encounters the rift of darkness, while passing around Cape Renda, and the ship is attacked by a Black Stalker and several Shadows.

    ADV 2

  • 8.27.78 -- The SkyReave docks at Corinth in Tarn South. Steven and Angelica have dinner with Lady Mayor Decuma while Guiles and Deb spend the evening prowling about.
  • 8.28.78 -- The SkyReave anchors for an evening at Aestus' Isle. There is discovered several Trolls and the Wicker Man, the latter of which is destroyed in battle.

    ADV 3

  • 9.1.78 [ LORIARN, month of Dreams ] -- The SkyReave meets the Black Raven, a pirate ship hired as a temporary escort.
  • 9.2.78 -- The Black Raven departs and the SkyReave docks at Telhome to begin a 6 day layover. The dangers of the stone showers are witnessed. During the eve of 9.3.78 fragments of an IllEarth stone are flung into the city. Na'tiean dies and is reborn. The SkyReave departs on 9.9.78 for Clen and points east.

    ADV 4 & 5

  • 9.12.78 -- The SkyReave arrives at the east coast of Clen and anchors. The vessel has been hidden by a ritual performed by Desdemona allowing the time for the search for the source of the storms plaguing Telhome. The ritual site at the cliffs of Arnone is destroyed in a ball of Chaos. The SkyReave departs the area during the afternoon of the next day (\ 9.13.78\ ).

    ADV 6,7 & 8

  • 9.17.78 -- The SkyReave docks at the ruined village on the north coast of Faucarach's island. The wolves, wargs and werewolf are encountered and a vampire is spoken of.

    ADV 9

  • 9.23.78 -- The SkyReave encounters the whirlpool generated by an evil ritual on the sea floor below. The ritual is disrupted and the vessel makes her escape.

    ADV 10

  • 9.29.78 -- After a week of fierce weather, the SkyReave spots land and docks for much needed repairs.

    ADV 11

  • 9.30.78 -- In the early morning the PCs duke it out with a Tyrannosaurus Rex to much amusement.

    ADV 12

  • High Spring Festival -- A pirate and a member of Chuchlain's cult are captured by pickets.
  • 10.1.78 [ ULMORN, month of the Ocean ] -- Maria discovers the barrow of Ibun Chassan. Khunya severely wounded in the exploration. The necessary ritual delays the departure by several days.

    ADV 13-14

  • 10.4.78 -- Departure north.
  • 10.8.78 -- Arrive at Dwarven city in evening, PCs explore the city the next day.
  • 10.9.78 -- Exploration and shopping in Beryl. Khunya and Steven see Soulcatcher. M'Bassu tries to join the crew of the Black Schooner. In the evening, at a bar, Na'tiean, M'Bassu, Khunya and Tuo fight and kill 4 members of the Black Schooner's crew.

    ADV 15, 16 & 17

  • 10.10.78 -- The SkyReave is asked to leave Beryl and does such, heading north.

    ADV 18

  • 10.14.78 -- The SkyReave docks at Shakan (\ Topaz\ ) on the south tip of Dharak-Dan (\ "North Isle"\ ). The PCs meet the locals, learn of the "Vikings" and explore some of the local woods (\ wounding a giant in the process\ ).

    ADV 19

  • 10.15.78 -- Depart Shakan and head north.
  • 10.17.78 -- Encounter the raiders during the early morning north- west of Dharak-Dan. Sink two Syrkakar longboats and rescue Goldtooth, Paladin of Ulmo, and the remains of her crew.

    ADV 20

    Khunya decides to leave the Bloodring and thus began the Ritual of Severance beginning with the Day of Storms. As the fierce weather approaches the SkyReave, after Khunya's ring vanished and his rukh exploded, Khunya and others return to Dharak-Dan to weather the storm.

  • 10.18.78 -- After surviving the Storm, floods and lightning, Khunya and company rest in a cave. The next day is a Day of Pestilence and Khunya undergoes strange metamorpheses.

    ADV 21

    Surviving the changes, the group encounters a huge creature, an amalgam of local flora and fauna.

  • 10.19.78 -- the day dawns hot and dry as the Day of Decay begins. The group survives the heat and hallucinations induced.
  • 10.20.78 -- the Day of Severance and the group survives the Sending of a Grim, a semi-sentient acid-based creature. They wander across the devastated island and return to the SkyReave

    ADV 22

  • 10.23.78 -- The SkyReave encounters a Ky'taari trader
  • 10.30.78 -- The islands of Mur Fostisyr are sighted
  • 11.1.78 [ OROMERN, month of the Hunter] -- The SkyReave encounters a Syrkakar longboat. It is sunk by a squad of marines (\ Na'tiean and co.\ ).

    ADV 23

  • 11.2.78 -- The SkyReave arrives at Itaraan (\ home of gold\ ) a fairly large Ky'taari port.
  • 11.4 - 11.6.78 -- M'Bassu leads a small contingent; Na'tiean, Khunya and Tuo, on a trip to the capital. There he meets with the high priestess of Arianna and presents the gifts from his grandfather. Much about the local world is discussed. The group then returns to Itaraan.

    ADV 24

  • 11.10 - 11.15.78 -- Most everyone travels via Ky'taari trader to Byra Sug, the Syrkakar trading city.
  • 11.16 - 12.9.78 -- Everyone wanders and hangs about town while Steven and Khunya, with the help of a local alchemist, work a ritual to build a multiplier for Khunya. Despite several spectacular failures and personal injury, they complete most of the ritual.
  • 12.10 - 12.12.78 [ TULKARN, month of the Lion] -- return trip to Itaraan.

    ADV 25

  • 12.13 - 12.24.78 -- Steven completes the work on the multiplier. Guiles and Maria talk with the SkyReave's Navigator about a contract on Denirok the rogue Navigator.
  • 12.25.78 -- The party; Steven, Na'tiean, M'Bassu, Khunya, Guiles, Tuo along with Angelica, Deborah, Maerwin Jones and Maria, depart from Itaraan to Denirok's fortress. They fly directly into the fortress and upon entering are engaged by four Steel Golems.

    ADV 26

    The party retreats and discovers the observatory. They head downstairs and encounter Denirok outside of his "storage" room. They then head to the throne room to re-join Maria and Khunya (\ teleported near there by Denirok\ ). While beginning to explore the lower corridors Na'tiean discovers a concealed ambush site.

    ADV 27

    The party engages the lower guard contingent and bests them in battle. They then rest in the lower area.

    ADV 28

    Na'tiean brings assistance from the Well. His forces assault the lower throne room. Na'tiean is critically wounded by a crossbow bolt. The battle carries into the upper corridors of Denirok's keep. Both sides suffer tremendous losses.

    ADV 29

    The party blasts through the last of Denirok's guards and confront the Astrologer in the compass chamber. He is slain and the compass is retrieved by M'bassu. Rogir is slain (\ Jacilyn and the remaining elite guard as well\ ) and Jalor escapes. Steven and Khunya summon the Navigators and a confrontation develops.

    ADV 30

    After tense negotiations, the Spider Cult agrees to return the compass. An exchange of hostages is performed; a Navigator to the Cult to help with the Exodus, and Na'tiean's sister Ra'tiane, to the Navigators to ensure the safety of the other hostage. Both sides depart leaving the party in the keep. Na'tiean is healed by a Well healer and rejoins the group. The last group of Denirok's priests are destroyed while they performed some sort of ritual but Jalor escapes in the confusion. The strangers in the tube are released from their "sleep" and are much confused. The party organizes a general looting and cleanup of the fortress.

    ADV 31

    The party remains at the keep during the afternoon and for the next night. The booty is divided amongst the adventurers. Guiles sends a message to Desdemona as to their return and request for a navigator. Tuo goes for a little flight, during the night, and gets lost. On his way back he encounters a black eagle and a riderless fell beast.

  • 12.26.78 -- Most of the party begins to return to Itaraan via flying disk. Na'tiean decides to return via the ships, with the freed captives, to keep some in line. Tuo hires the Navigator to send several other captives home. The Navigator presents the fee for slaying Denirok.

    ADV 32

  • High Summer Festival -- More fragments of Illearth stone fall across Ky'taari lands. The adventurers combat one such fragment in Itaraan.

    ADV 33

    Much conversation and political discussion occurs in the aftermath.

    ADV 34

  • [ MANWARN, month of the Skies ], 4379 -- As the month passes, more of the locals become interested in eliminating the Syrkakang. Steven suggests organizing a group of adventurers to do such a task.

    ADV 35 ( PC Gen )

  • 1.30.79 -- The conspirators meet and introduce one and another at the Dawn's Edge tavern. The group meets Orlando, Paladin of Manwe; Ashaan, Ky'taari Abbess; La'an, a local farmer and outdoorsman and Peryk of Pertin, reknown thief.
  • 2.1 - 2.8.79 [ OSSERN, month of the River ] -- After hiring a Ky'taari vessel, the adventurers head to Adea Hu, isle of the Syrkakar. Guiles decides to stay behind. They encounter a demon of some sort on the traverse.

    ADV 36

  • 2.10.79 -- While headed overland to the city of Syclax, the group encounters a group of the Syrkakar army, a Lirm of 50 warriors. A fierce battle ensues and the Lirm is defeated, losing its leader and perhaps a third of its warriors.

    ADV 37 & 38

  • 2.11.79 -- The survivors of the Lirm are banished to another plane by Steven. The group explores the local tunnels in the mountain. They find the crypt of a Syrkan Warlord and a powernode near which resides Siegfried the Udahir scout. During the night, the camp is attacked by a giant and Orlando is severely wounded by a stroke of its club.

    ADV 39

  • 2.12 - 2.28.79 -- Tuo and Steven begin the long process of healing Orlando. The group relocates to the powernode and talks with Siegfried. The lower tunnels are explored and an underground passage into the Syrkakang's citadel is discovered. Another Udahir, Bronte, arrives. Orlando seems to recover well except for some minor disability (\ recurrent nausea and chest pains\ ).
  • 2.29.79 -- The group convinces Tuo to enter the tunnels and makes its way to the magma pits. They decide to rest for the night and then enter the citadel at dawn.
  • 2.30.79 -- The group begins the assault on the lower levels of the citadel. The group is scattered between several floors on the lower level.

    ADV 40

    Rallying together, most of the group makes its way to the top of the citadel. There they engage the Syrkakang's personal guard. La'an is slain by Jyka Brust's spear and Orlando is badly wounded when flung through the wire mesh. Tuo, M'Bassu and Khunya are variously wounded.

    ADV 41

    All but Ashaan are on the top level of the citadel. Tuo and Khunya disable many of the guards via a blown cloud of poison. Steven is badly wounded by one the Messengers. Khunya vaporizes Jyka Brust, the Syrkakang, with a bolt of fire (\ after fireballing the entire floor\ ). Ashaan is rescued from the bottom level as a prison revolt is in full swing.

    ADV 42

    The Udahir arrive to help extract the adventurers from Syclax. The fallen La'an and Orlando are retrieved as is some booty. Syrkar forces approach, led by Sarn and Eris. They are delayed by Aikolos and forces of Darkness. The group returns to the earthnode and from there to the ship. La'an is taken home for burial but potent herbs are used to bring Orlando back from the realms beyond. Ashaan decides to accompany the Voyage back to Tarna as a Marine while Orlando and Peryk book passage as guests.

    ADV 43

  • 3.1.79 [ MELIARN, month of Wisdom ] -- The SkyReave begins its journey back to Tarna
  • 3.18.79 -- SkyReave arrives at Shakan at nightfall.
  • 3.19.79 -- Steven, Tuo, M'Bassu, Peryk and Guiles travel to Beryl and encounter Soulcatcher and the Invisible Hand.
  • 4.1.79 [ AULARN, month of Making ] -- Bloodring mage attempts to kill Khunya.
  • 4.6.79 -- Orlando, Ashaan and Torl'ta leave for Trin.
  • 4.10.79 -- SkyReave arrives at Corinth. Jalor attempts to kill Guiles and fails, flees the ship. Cassieopea and Desdemona leave the Voyage. Peryk steals M'Bassu's belt and flees into the night

    ADV 44

  • 4.24.79 -- M'Bassu and Tuo depart at Sip.
  • 5.3.79 [ MAKARN, month of the Warrior ] -- Khunya, Kalyn, Guiles, Deb, Steven, Angelica and a host of others depart the Voyage at Dyrisa.
  • 5.12.79 -- The final stop at Shallahifan.
  • 5.13.79 -- Tyarn completes his journal of the Voyage.

    ADV 45 -- Finale

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