Shadows Rising

The Cemetery
Nothing ever goes wrong in a cemetery

As the gates slowly swung open, Aspen, Baru, Crulamin, Hobb, Mirko, and Thang cautiously entered the grounds of the cemetery. Remulus, having a general fear of cemeteries, remained just outside the gate, watching his comrades explore the cemetery grounds.

As the group wondered around, they didn’t initially notice anything out of place. As they headed further in, they came upon three large mausoleums situated against the back wall. They noticed that the iron door to the center one was partially open, so they decided to investigate further. Inside they discovered five crypts, two along each side wall and a fifth one against the back wall.

Baru, Hobb, and Thang noticed that there was an inscription on the front of the crypt in the back—they approached it slowly, to make sure that they did not trip any traps. Upon closer inspection, they were able to decipher the inscription:

Take care and heed these words,
That even Adventurers with great courage,
Face certain death and peril from the great hordes,
Lying within this great, deep cage.

Naturally, they decided to open the crypt. As the lid was removed, a sudden burst exploded from the crypt, freezing Hobb and Thang where they stood. Baru just barely missed being struck—he yelled for his friends to come and join him, and they all entered the crypt to see what had happened (except of course for Remulus who remained outside the cemetery gates.)

As they surveyed the scene, they noticed that there was no body inside the crypt—rather, there were a set of stone stairs that led deep down into the darkness. Wary of any further traps, Aspen shot an arrow down the dark stairs—it landed somewhere down in the darkness—nothing happened. Worried that they might trigger something on the steps, they opened a second crypt in the mausoleum, removed the corpse’s skull, and rolled it down the stairs—still, nothing happened.

Sensing that the only way to save their two friends who had just been frozen was to head down the stairs, the four decided to go down into the darkness. Mirko summoned a small light, and they began to make their way down. As they reached the bottom, they stepped on a small pressure plate that the arrow and the skull had not triggered. A few moments later, Remulus came running down the stairs—the plate had brought some skeletons in the cemetery to life, who had chased him into the safety of the mausoleum with the rest of his friends.

Together, the five searched the darkness, hoping to find a way to save their two friends left behind in the crypt above…

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Back to Glitterhaegen
We should vacation in the Bitterwood more often!

IMG_2052.JPGAfter recovering from their fight in Shadow Port, the group headed back to Shadow’s Run to gather any additional information they could about Jamven. The manager had a pretty lengthy conversation with Branan who came back to the group and told them that Jamven had left Shadow Port the previous day and was on his way to Anvil. Branan told them that the fastest way back was to head to Glitterhaegen and catch a caravan up to Anvil. After stopping at the Dancing Firefly for a bit and some local shops, they took the ferry from Shadow Port Landing back to the Bitterwood Landing and started the walk to Glitterhaegen.

After finding a quiet and safe place to camp for the night, they sat around the campfire telling stories of all the events that had already happened on their short quest. They were even regaled by Branan with the sad, sad story of Yamvin Pegason…a man who learned a difficult lesson at the hands of the Shadow Prince.

As the campfire went out, Serine cast a protective spell over their encampment and they all fell into a deep sleep.

In the early morning hours, just before dawn, they were all awoken to the sound of alarms—someone or something had tripped the protective spell that Serine had placed around them the night before. Sensing it was probably best to move on, they packed up their belongings and continued along the trail to Glitterhaegen.

As they were walking they suddenly heard a noise just off the road—investigating it further, they discovered a small cave opening covered in thick vines. Thinking this might be the cave that Caruvial was talking about, they ventured inside.

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Nerryn Auric--Part 1
The circus master is looking for his hat

As the rest of her companions were sleeping comfortably after a particularly brutal fight, a young messenger approached her and passed along a letter to her. As her companions woke up, Nerryn shared some of the letter’s content with them—a person by the name of Caruvial S. claims to know who her real family is and offered her additional information if she would only come to the Dancing Firefly and have a short conversation with her. They all agreed that this would be a worthwhile endeavor to pursue, if only to help Nerryn learn more about her past.

After a while they made their way to the Dancing Fireflyy. A young, mysterious woman seated at a table towards the back introduced herself to Nerryn as Caruvial. Caruvial knew a surprising amount of Nerryn’s personal life, and offered to tell her more if only Nerryn would go on a short quest for her. Caruvial explained that two of her friends, Walkus and Lillian, had recently set out to explore a small cave in the Bitterwood on the road between Shadow Port Landing and Glitterhaegen and had not returned for sometime. Caruvial promised to exchange additional information with Nerryn if she could locate the whereabouts of her two friends.

Eventually, Nerryn (along with her companions) located the corpses of Walkus and Lillian in a small cave—they also discovered a piece of parchment Lillian’s body that could not be deciphered. Perhaps Caruvial will know how to translate the document…

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Crossing Over (into Shadowport)
We're looking for Jamven, not Yamvin...

Shadow_POrt.jpgAfter spending the rest of the day walking from the dwarven mine, our five heroes came to the ferry that shuttles passengers back and forth between the mainland and Shadow Port. After paying a somewhat hefty fee, they entered the harbor at Shadow Port just as the sun was going down. After quizzing the small crew about the whereabouts of Jamven (none of them knew anything about him, but they did know about a local man named Yamvin—no relation), they took the advice of the ferrymen and spent the night at the Portside Inn, a local inn just along the waterfront.

At the Portside Inn they asked the manager about Jamven Pegason, although he really couldn’t provide them with a great deal of information. He did tell them that he thought he heard a rumor that Jamven was staying at Shadow’s Run (a local boarding house), but he advised them against visiting it as the streets of Shadow Port are not always safe at night. They decided to order food and drink and settle in for the evening.

The next morning they set out for the Shadow’s Run—the manager there told them that Jamven did own a local shop in Shadow Port, and gave them directions on how to reach it. After a short trip up the main drag of Shadow Port, they found Jamven’s storefront only to discover that it had recently been broken into. As they were looking around for clues, a group of dwarves entered the room demanding information on the whereabouts of Jamven. After a somewhat intense exchange, the dwarves left—as they finished exploring the store they discovered a receipt for an item Jamven had recently purchased from an unknown buyer.

After failing to break into Jamven’s locked store room, the group headed out to see if they could find any other information about Jamven from the locals—suddenly, they were intercepted by seven “neighborhood watch” men who questioned them about why they were leaving Jamven’s robbed store. The conversation quickly escalated into a fight—a particularly nasty fight that left Branan and Marduke knocked unconscious for periods of time while leaving their friends to carry on the battle. After the last thug was defeated, the group headed to a local health clinic for some much needed rest and medical attention.

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The Walk to Shadow Port
Are we really going to explore more of this mine?

IMG_2049.JPGThe first day of the two day journey to Shadow Port was relatively uneventful. In the evening they camped just outside the border of the Bitterwood. Each person was assigned a task, and Branan was given the job of finding water for the group. As he was refilling the wine skins with more water, the Priestess appeared to him in a vision and bestowed upon him a Song of Healing.

The next morning, as they picked up their journey on the way to Shadow Port they stopped to investigate an abandoned mine. After some discussion, they decided to go in, just to see if there was anything of value or note inside. As they walked through the mine they approached a fork in the road—they elected to go left. Suddenly, they entered a large cavern that had walls glimmering with Enthilite. As they were picking up pieces of it, they were ambushed by several goblins. After quickly dispatching them, they decided to head back to the fork in the road.

After reaching the fork, they opted to explore the other path not taken. This path led them to an abandoned armory—they picked up an old dwarven sword and continued down the path, where they entered what appeared to be an old throne room. As Branan approached the throne and sat it in, he accidentally knocked an old rusted crown off the head of the skeleton occupying the chair, causing a loud crash to echo through the chamber. From a distance, they could hear voices getting nearer and nearer, until it seemed as if the voices were directly on top of them.

Suddenly, the wall behind the throne room exploded and out poured many goblins and a goblin shaman. After a long and grueling battle all of the goblins lay dead at their feet. Branan saw the goblin shaman’s staff lying on the ground and decided to pick it up and take it with him.

They decided to leave the mine and return to it at some later date. They emerged into the brilliant morning sun and continued on their way to Shadow Port.

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Meanwhile in Glitterhaegen...
Alex is kind of a jerk

Glitterhagen.jpgOne evening, as Branan the Swiller of the North was tending the bar for his friend Alex, the owner, a young wizard by the name of Serine Callings came in for a drink. Serine was interested in the different magical properties of several of the drinks being sold, and so she asked Branan for several samples ( Dragon Tongue, a magically fortified whiskey, was her favorite.)

As the evening carried on a slightly shady looking character came in—she sat down quietly at the opposite end of the bar from Serine, and mostly kept to herself, even when offered a drink from Branan. After sitting for awhile, she introduced herself to Branan as Nerryn Auric—she ordered a small dinner and a drink and told him that she had recently just left a traveling circus, which she had been with for some time.

Suddenly, a great noise burst through the door—a dwarf and an elf were engaged in a heated argument (and really, it was just the dwarf that seemed heated). The dwarf sat down at a table and introduced himself to Branan as Marduke Grimhammer—he told Branan to put all of his drinks on Alatir Gobel‘s tab—he was sure his friend wouldn’t mind (plus he argued that Alatir owed him.)

As the evening came to a close, Alatirl, Nerryn, and Serine all rented rooms upstairs. Branan, after making sure the bar was picked up after, headed upstairs—only Marduke remained downstairs, passed out in one of the booths.

In the morning everyone upstairs awoke to the noise of a fight happening downstairs. As they ran to see what the commotion was, they noticed a person fleeing out the door while Marduke was laying on the floor, quickly picking himself up to run in pursuit. Quickly assessing the scene, they all headed out to aid Marduke.

After running a few blocks through the mostly empty streets of Glitterhaegen, they saw the thief run up a set of stairs and into a room. Marduke was close behind, and burst through the door without too much thought. Everyone else entered the room, unsure what to expect next.

Inside they found the thief and a few friends, looking quite surprised at having been discovered. Quickly, Branan jumped in to try and mediate the dispute. In fact, he discovered the young thief’s name (Jasper) and convinced him to return the gold that he had stolen from Marduke. Stunned, Jasper’s friends leaped out and attacked everyone, although they were thoroughly and quickly dispatched (sadly, even Jasper didn’t make it.)

After rummaging through the room, they found a small piece of paper with what appeared to be orders to the thieves from a man named Jamven Pegason. Branan recognized this name, and told everyone else that he knew where the man’s shop was. Jamven Pegason, Branan noted, was a collector of dwarvish items and didn’t always collect them in the most legal of ways. The five agreed to head up to Jamven’s shop to find out more information.

When they reached Jamven’s shop, the young woman behind the counter told them that he had already left for Shadow Port. She revealed to them that he was carrying what looked to be an expensive dwarven item, although she had no idea what it was. After purchasing a few provisions, the group left Glitterhaegen for Shadow Port.

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Back in Badger
Not this place again

After spending most the day walking from the goblin’s hut back to Badger, the group of seven had dinner at the pub and rested at the local inn. Early the next morning, they visited the local shopkeeper only to discover that his selection of items was small and his prices were exceptionally high. They left his shop and decided to head for the cemetery.

As they approached the cemetery they noticed that it was completely fenced in and was sealed by two great gates that were locked. After determining that there was no enchantment on the gate or the lock, Hobb successfully picked the lock and opened the gates. As the gates swung open, they wondered what danger and challenges lay ahead…

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The Scroll of Azerul
Goblins can be nasty little buggers

After Thang had finally calmed down from his rage, the five surveyed their surroundings. Before them lay the broken skeletal bodies of their opponents—in front of them by just a few steps was the mysterious mound of dirt that they had first stopped to investigate before being attacked. They decided to dig, to see what was buried under the ground. As they dug, they eventually hit a solid wooden box, about four feet long and two feet wide—recognizing it as a coffin, they carefully hoisted it up and laid it on the ground.

After some debate, they decided to open it up. Inside they found Remulus, badly hurt from his encounter in Badger but still alive! As he regained consciousness, he told them of his tale—of being set-up, robbed (alas, all of his gold was gone) and beaten. He asked to join their group, and they happily accepted him, seeing as how his healing skills could be very important for battles that may lie ahead.

The group decided to move on and try and find the burnt out home that they had been told about by the husband and wife back in the pub in Badger. As evening came upon them, they found the homestead, but strangely enough, noticed that there were no signs of recent fire—in fact, the homestead appeared to have been abandoned for a very long time.

Sensing a trap, Aspen suggested they explore the grounds carefully. A few members of the group decided to remain outside while Crulamin and Thang explored what was left of the inside of the home. As they entered the home, they noticed that all of the walls were still standing, and most of the roof was still in place. The inside was dark and musty and nearly all of the furniture was in a serious state of disrepair. Suddenly, Crulamin noticed a shiny locket on a dusty dresser—he went over, and with some hesitation, picked it up. Nothing happened.

Crulamin and Thang decided it would be wise to take the locket outside to seek out the advice of the rest of the group. As they were all discussing what they should do with it, Crulamin opened it up—suddenly, a great light and deafening noise were let loose, and all of them fell to the ground. After a few seconds, they noticed what looked like the husband and wife they had met in Badger coming out of the woods. They approached the house in silence.

All of the members of the group began to pepper them with questions, but the couple did not respond. Then suddenly, right in front of their eyes, the two people merged into one being—a short, nasty looking goblin shaman. Aspen demanded to know who he was, and as it turned out, he was more than happy to chat with them. He told them how happy he was that all of them had fallen into his trap and that he was looking forward to adding them to his undead army. Suddenly several skeletal warriors were raised from the ground around them—the fight for their lives had begun!

As the fight began, the goblin shaman immediately turned his attention to Hobb—he attacked Hobb with such great ferocity that he was knocked unconscious rather quickly. Thankfully, due to the quick action of Aspen, Hobb was stabilized although he remained unconscious for most of the battle. The goblin shaman then turned his attention to the other gnome in the group, Remulus. Having still been badly injured from his fight in Badger, Remulus was also knocked unconscious, but was stabilized by Baru.

Meanwhile, Thang, Aspen, Baru, and Crulamin waged battle upon the goblin shaman and his assorted skeletal warriors. Although the battle went back and forth for some time, the goblin shaman and his warriors were finally defeated. After the last enemy had been slain, another loud noise and great light appeared, and suddenly, the homestead disappeared and was replaced with a small hut.

The group entered the hut and discovered the badly beaten, but still alive, body of Mirko. After regaining consciousness, he explained to them that after he had lost the ambush he was in back in Badger that the goblin shaman had been using his powers of sorcery to maintain the illusion of the abandoned homestead, so that the goblin shaman could trick people into taking up the “quest” of the married couple. Grateful for his rescue, Mirko offered his services to the group and joined them.

After hearing his tale, the group rummaged around to see what they could loot—there were mostly minor healing potions and ointments strewn about. Off in the corner, they spotted two chests—after checking for any traps on the chests, they opened them. One of them contained several pieces of gold, which they distributed amongst each other. The other contained the Scroll of Azerul. Although they could not fully translate it, Baru and Remulus determined that the scroll contained what appeared to be marching orders as well as the words “Badger” and “cemetery.”

Being tired and weary from the battle they had just faced, they all took turns on guard while the others got some sleep. They woke early in the morning to head back to Badger to investigate the scroll further.

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Quest for Gold
Mirko and Remulus got a little greedy...

Mirko and Remulus were both investigating (for different reasons and unbeknownst to one another) certain magical properties of the trees of the Dragon Wood, near the borders of the small village of Badger when they each came upon a sign post announcing the arrival of a messenger of the The Emperor. The messenger was announcing great rewards and accolades for those who would take up the The Emperor’s call to do his justice upon the growing evil in the land. Intrigued, they both made there way to the local pub, where The Emperor’s messenger was just about to begin his speech.

After sitting down at the same table (pure happenstance, of course) and listening to the whole speech of the messenger, Mirko and Remulus were approached by a stranger offering them great wealth in gold if they would only take up a small quest that he had for them. Without really inquiring as to the stranger’s motives, they both agreed, and he told them to meet him in an alley just outside the pub.

As they entered the alley, a different “man” approached them. He was at least part man but also, at least to Mirko’s eyes, part dragon as well. He had a surly demeanor and wasn’t the kind of person you’d want to spend too much time with. He approached Mirko and Remulus and demanded that they give him all of their weapons—clearly they had been set-up. Seeing as how the fight was two to one, Mirko and Remulus chose to fight…unfortunately, from the shadows the man was joined by three additional mercenaries—this was suddenly going to be a much more difficult fight.

And indeed, the fight did not go well—Mirko suffered many severe blows, even though Remulus successfully healed him many times. Meanwhile, Remeulus couldn’t land a single blow—the warrior he tried to attack merely laughed at his feeble attempts. Suddenly, just as Mirko was taking yet another critical hit, one of the warriors pulled a small pouch out of his pocket—he grabbed some of the dust contained in the pouch and blew it in Mirko’s face, knocking him completely unconscious. As Remulus surveyed the scene, he realized that he was not only on his own, but greatly outnumbered. After a valiant attempt to keep up the fight, he too was knocked unconscious by the same mysterious dust.

Mirko and Remulus both slipped into a deep sleep, dreaming dark dreams of the fight just lost and other trials yet to come…

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Meeting in Badger
Five unlikely heroes unite

small_village.jpgAfter responding to a local call from the Emperor himself, five unlikely heroes came together to help solve the increasingly violent and mysterious occurrences in the borderlands of the Dragon Empire. As they were sitting at a table in the local pub introducing themselves to one another, a married couple who lived about a day’s run north of Badger approached them and told them a dreadful tale of woe. They barely escaped with their lives as some unknown assailants attacked and burned down their homestead. During the conversation, the husband revealed to Aspen that many valuable items were to be found at the house, including a special and highly prized ring. The five heroes decided to head out and investigate to see if there was anything they could do for the couple.

On their way they were waylaid by a group of Decrepit Skeletons, a Skeletal Warrior, a Skeletal Archer, and a particularly nasty (yet cowardly) Kobold Warrior—at the time they were investigating an interesting patch of recently buried dirt in a clearing. Although the battle was difficult at times (Aspen was knocked unconscious during the battle, and Baru and Thang both had to heal themselves during the battle) they overcame their attackers in a decisive victory. Baru and Thang each delivered crushing blows, while Hobb, Crulamin, and Aspen contributed decisive and critical hits in the fray.

After the battle, they discovered that Thang needed a little bit of extra help to calm down from his Barbarian Rage. They sang him a gentle lullaby, and he let go of his rage and remembered that they were his friends.

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