Amaranthine Rift

4.3 The Tower

Will post details later.

We should be about 4800 XP total. I’ll add up last 2 sessions and post along with the writeup later this week.

4.2 Through the Trees

will add later

Interlude - The Mourning Queen

Now, Zol the seventeenth of Therendor, year 969:

The Swiftblade marched the halls of The Twelve in Korth. He notes the Sigils of House Ghallanda, here on the fifth floor, their snarling hound on shield, cornered by grape bunches. Not his mark, of course, but one he could have been born with. He climbs another flight of stairs, his little legs taking the human-sized steps as quickly as he can.
The Swiftblade is unmarked, not claimed in the bloodlines of either Ghallanda or Jorasco. Born in Sharn, the halfling earned his name a few years back, in competition with some of the elves of House Phiarlan, in a knife throwing competition. It seemed like he could draw and throw two daggers for every one of theirs. Lord Aelar d’Phiarlan, the ringmaster of the Hydra Circus, took great amusement in seeing the halfling’s daggers fly. Aelar took him under his wing, naming him Swiftblade and teaching him circus tricks.

But the Swiftblade was not of House Phiarlan, could not bear the Mark of Shadow any more than he could bear the mark of the House that summoned him. The Swiftblade’s quiet little steps took him to a chamber on the ninth floor. The Basilisk gazed down on him from shield above the chamber’s door. Inside, two people sat at a table, facing the Swiftblade as he entered. He crossed his arms, his right hand fingering the dagger strapped to his left forearm.

“We asked you here in peace Swiftblade. There is no need to threaten us.” said the man. The brooch on his shoulder was that of a panther, with four tentacles jutting from its shoulder blades. The Displacer Beast of House Thuranni.
“Come, sit and taste our wine, eat our food, listen to our tale.” said the other, a handsome woman in her fifties, with only a hint of grey hair at her temples. She bore a Basilisk Shield on her shoulder, as befitting a marked member of House Medani.
“Aye. I’ll eat, I’ll drink, I’ll listen, but I won’t say that I’ll agree.” he said, pulling up to the table.
“As you know, Queen Dannel’s babe has just died. Jarot, she named him, after her grandfather, the last true King of Ghalifar.” said the woman.
“Sudden it was. A bit mysterious as well.” adds the Elf. His long black hair hides his age. Perhaps his face is ageless as well, you can never tell with those who worship the dead.
“Cyre is mourning with their Queen. There is some turmoil along the borders. Recently, there was a raid into Eston, to House Cannith’s enclave therein.” she said, glancing over at the elf.
“We had nothing to do with it, that’s to be sure. But we hear things, here in the Tower. Those Cannith heirs have never been able to keep secrets for too long. Especially not from those with our talents.” she added, the pattern on her neck glowing briefly. Her dragonmark was completely visible with the open dress she wore, the stylized eye at the left of her throat, shedding it’s tear across her left breast.
“As I had nothing to do with the child’s death. Of that I’m sure m’Lady Aurelia.” says the Swiftblade, refilling his wine glass already, eying her dragonmark with more than a passing interest.
“Of course. We do, however, know that you have certain talents. Ones that interest us in ways that our Houses cannot.” says Crius D’Thuranni. “I know of your connection to the many shadows, and I know your treachery to them. I do not trust you halfling, but I trust you to get this job done.”
“And what is that you want found?” he asks.
“My daughter.” says Aurelia. I haven’t seen her in years. I fear she may blame me for her father’s death. Or blame Crius here, as she knew I had taken him into my bed. But it wasn’t her father who died, just a loyal member of the House that pretended to be my husband and a father."
“Dead fathers, dead babes. Are you suggesting something better suited for the Thuranni?”
“No. I don’t want her dead. Just found and brought back to me. It’s time she learned who her father really is. And those who she blames for her other father’s death took no part in it. But they were a good misdirection for so many years.”
“This child better be worth the pay I demand.”
“Five Astral Diamonds now, five when I see her face again.”
Ten times what the Swiftblade would normally ask, he thought. “Acceptable. Tell me, how old is this girl now.”
“She’s no girl. She’s a woman grown. Twenty four or so.” She hands him a scroll, with a portrait drawn on it and a description as best Aurelia knows. “Find my Aemilia, halfling. She deserves to know what I’ve hidden from her for so long.”

The Swiftblade left the Tower of the Twelve, wondering where to start. I could call Nataeus, he’s been looking for someone in Cyre for a while now. Maybe he’s heard of a young Medani heiress wandering about. The Mark of Detection wasn’t one that lent itself to hiding. She’ll show her face, I’m sure.

4.1 Lessyk
The smoldering Flame

The crew makes their way towards Lessyk, the last known location of Andrul, Amarill’s uncle. It also happens to be Birdoswald’s destination. There, he is to pray and try to purge the haunted forest of the demons within.

The motley crew of adventurers enter the town and split up, trying to find a place to stay for the night. Amarill heads toward the Silver Flame Cathedral, looking for arcane books of spells and other things. Birdoswald leads Storm, Arjun and Kat to the inn of the White Poppy, the place where had a room booked for him as a payment for his services, rather than staying with the few Sovereign Host worshipers in the town.
The town has seen better days, but the damage looks recent. Several armed guardsmen patrol the town, with the arrowhead of the Silver Flame prominently displayed on their tunics and shields.

Bellamy enters the Cathedral, looking for the Captain of the Flame Guardsmen. Arandon is his name, he has a scar across his left cheek that doesn’t look like it came from any blade or anything from a man.
“What do you need?” he asks.
“Heard a bit about a Cyran scout group sneaking through the area.” Says Bellamy.
“Cyrans eh? This far from their border? Were they responsible for those kids kidnapped from Zozo?”
“I doubt it. Me and my crew rescued the kids from some kobolds. Seems they was trying to sacrifice her to bring back some dead Dragon. Zarflax or summit like that.”
“Your crew eh? Bring them to me. I’d like to speak with them.”
Bellamy sat there, making small talk with the Captian, telling him the news he’d heard along the road from Aruldusk. At no point did he seem nervous, knowing full well that the Captain was about to bring the Cyran crew right to him.

Once the rest of the crew arrived, Arandon spoke to them of the Haunted Forest and the problem the town had with Shifter raids. Seems that a pair of shifters, Stormfury and Scargash, have been leading raids of the foul beasts into the town, rampaging and killing. The newly anointed Cardinal Krozen sent Arandon and his men here, to protect the town and to root out the shifter threat, destroying every last one of them. Arandon wants their help. To range, scout the forest and report back if they find their den. Not and encampment or enclave, the shifters aren’t human enough for that, find their den and kill them all, he says, with venom in his voice.
After a time, Arandon gets a clearer look at Storm, recognizing some features.
“You. You were the one who did this to me!” He screams. “Guards! Seize them!”
“I’ve never seen you before. You’ve got the wrong guy.” says Storm defensively.
“No, last year you ambushed my men, killing them all. You savaged their bodies so badly that we couldn’t bury them as men, but burn them in the holy Silver Flame instead. We fought, round after round. I defeated you, but you poisoned me somehow. I saw you fall, then my world went black. When I awoke, you had fled like a coward, and I was left with bits and pieces of my men.”
“No need to be hasty here Captain. I can vouch for my man, he’s no shifter. Yeah, he’s a bit rough looking, but not a drop of beastly blood in ’im.” Says Bellamy, trying to defuse the situation.
“Seize them all guards!”
“You’d best not be doing that, unless you want to tick off the Medani.” Bellamy says and he pushes his sleeve up, revealing the glowing Dragonmark and some tattoos.
“We’ll see if he’s a beast or not. Guards, escort these “men” back to their rooms at the inn. Don’t let them out. I’ll deal with them tomorrow, after I’ve made contact with House Medani."

The Rifters, minus Amarill, are led bakc to the inn. There, they are locked away.

A few hours later, in the night, alarm bells clang and shouts of terror are heard throughout the city. The guards bang on the doors, “Here’s your chance to prove youre not with those beasts.” they say as they unlock the doors. The streets are dark, with some torches and lamps burning. Storm, Bellamy, Kat and Birdoswald stand along the second floor balcony, looking over the carnage below.
Wolves and Longtooth Shifters stalk the streets, laying waste to whatever they can find. The guardsmen are no match for them, the wolves pounce on them, tearing their throats out. Two hulking brutes, all muscle and fur, tear the people limb from limb. Storm and Kat jump down, charging a group of wolves and shifters. Bellamy vaults the railing, rolling to his feet and heads towards Captain Arandon, with Amarill close behind the Captain.
The battle is bloody and savage. Kat and Storm team up to slice and dice their way through as many attackers as they can. Amarill unleashes his fireballs among the throng of wolves, both two-legged and four. Arandon and Bellamy fight side by side, as a dark shape looms out of the alley, a pair of wicked looking picks in each hand.
“Scargash.” says Arandon, with a hatred in his voice deeper than that against Storm.
The creature leaps forward, piercing through Bellamy’s protective chain and sends him lurching backwards, knocking Amarill and Arandon to the ground. He follows up with a pair of slicing pick attacks, nearly killing Bellamy.
Birdoswald remains on the balcony, directing his fellow adventurers towards their foes, but taking no part in the violence.
Kat and Storm make quick work of their foes and turn toward their Captain, and the Captain of the Guard. Kat rushes Scargash, blades versus picks in a flurry of blows. Storm brings his fullblade down across Arandon’s back, hacking deep into his shoulder, knocking him to the ground to let him bleed out. Scargash, realizing his raiding party is defeated, turns and runs into the shadows, escaping death however so briefly.
Bellamy glowers at Storm, then reaches down, grabbing the hefty paw of one of the brutes and rakes it across Arandon’s throat.
Amarill notices a familiar sword at Arandon’s side. He takes it out and replaces his longsword. It has his family name stamped into the blade, just like the one uncle Andrul always wore.
The other members of Arandon’s guards run up a moment later.
“Lord no, tha Captain!” says his second in command, a man named Tyree.
“Aye, that big one, with stripes like a tiger did him in.”
“Sure. Bring me some javelins, any kind of throwing weapon. I aim to hunt that bastard down and nail his pelt to the Cathedral doors.” vows Bellamy.
Tyree snaps his fingers and one of the guardsmen rushes off, returning moments later with some Javelins. Relic, Arjun and Birdoswald make their way to the streets, Relic carrying their packs, bedrolls and the like.
“Here, take these too. You never know what you’ll find in those woods. And take this, the Captain’s helm. Wear this as you slay the monsters, avenge his soul.”

EXP: 390, 4140 total
Items: Lvl 8 Rubicant’s Blade – Kaleb
Lvl 6 Helm of Exemplary Defense – Josh
Potion of Dragon’s Breath
2 Potions of Poison Resist

3.3 Back inside the cave

The crew plunges back into the darkness, this time with an irritated Bellamy and an angry Storm.
“It be a cold day in Dolurrh before I takes one o’ Relic’s potions again.” gripes Bellamy.
“If it makes anything other than those little bombs, I’ll end it myself. I don’t care what Torrit wants.” adds Storm

Not long into the tunnels, avoiding the places they’ve already been, the crew comes upon a rather large cavern with the sound of trickling water in the distance. Amarill’s light shines off Arjun’s shield, creating a mirrored light throughout much of the cave. Kat’s new blade shines brightly, making much of the cave as the brightest day.
This cavern however, is different. Oh, it holds several kobolds, just as the others, except there’s a little more to it.
several kobolds with slings pop out of their tunnels, swinging their pots at the crew. A few kobolds with the wicked looking blades pop out and charge. One trips right in front of Storm. The fullblade crashes down, slicing the poor bastard in half. A hooded, robed scaly one throws a pot of stinking goo onto Arjun, hitting him square in the chest. Just then, a splash is heard as a strange looking creature rises from the pool at the far end. This six legged insect-looking beast charges Arjun, sinking its pincers in his plate. The beast, an Ankheg, tries to pull him away, back towards the pool. Bellamy will have none of that.
He races after the Ankheg, sinking his blades deep into the beast’s carapace, exposing the oozing slime beneath. Kat charges after, hacking away with her bastard swords, killing the beast well before Arjun is pulled into the water.
At the end, the crew captures the robed kobold.

“Tell me where the girl is.” growls Bellamy, as Arjun holds it off the ground by the throat.
“Never! The lord master will rise again!”
Bellamy cuts its toes off, one by one, until finally, the kobold points the way to his master, whimpering and crying.
Birdoswald stands to the side, clearly uncomfortable, but making no effort to stop Bellamy.
Bellamy ties the kobold up, and leashes him to his wrist.
“Lead the way little one” he says as they march down the tunnel.

A few minutes later, the path branches, the kobold suffers more pain at Bellamy’s hand before telling them which path to take. The tunnel opens into a large cavern, with several kobolds guarding a priest, chanting over the body of a human girl. Runes cover the floor where the girl lays, an alcove in the room’s center.
“This is a dark ritual.” mutters Amarill. Birdoswald nods his head in agreement.
“I wonder if they need a virgin for the sacrifice…” says Bellamy.
“I know how to take care of that.” says Arjun.
“There will be no raping of anyone while I’m alive.” says Kat, staring Arjun down.
“We better get moving boys, and girl, sorry ’bout that Amarill.” says Bellamy before he charges into towards the wyrmpriest.

The battle is short, but fierce. Storm and a pair of Dragonshields dance back and forth, neither making much headway. Finally, he cuts them both down and turns towards what’s left of the wyrmpriest. Meanwhile, the rest of the crew cut down the other Kobolds. Arjun grabs Katrin and pulls her out of the runes. A moment later, the runes flash, and a purplish light flashes through the cavern. A large, bony, half dead Black Dragon materializes.
The recently dead Kobolds rise, shouting “All hail Zarflax!”

Arjun pulls Katrin towards safety, throwing his body on top of her as a slinger pelts Arjun’s back with his pots. Kat, knowing this Zarflax was the great darkness within, charges in, laying waste to this half-living Dragon in a spectacular display of swordsmanship. Storm and Bellamy push the dragon back into the alcove, hacking and slashing away before Zarflax can make any way towards Katrin. As Zarflax dies, so too do his undead minions.

Katrin cries all the way out of the cave, partly in terror, partly in shock.
Outside, her father has gone, presumably back to town with Duane and his father. The crew makes way back to the town of Zozo, arriving at dusk. There is already a small celebration, for Duane has returned relatively unscathed, as has the boy Trebor. The town cheers as Katrin runs towards her father.

Bellamy saunters towards the man, saying “Not so fast there. Seems she was captured by these kobolds, and seeing as how we took her from them, she’s my property now.”
“You mean to tell me that you brought her back not as a rescue, but as slave?”
“Didn’t say none o’ that exactly. Seems like we deserve a bit o’ payment, seeing as how none of you folks could bring her back.”
“Brother, do you mean to treat her like this?” he asks Storm.
“You’re not my brother.” he replies.
“Katrin came here to wed Duane. Tomorrow will be their wedding day.” says her father, Brand.
“That much is true. I was hired to come this way, performing rites and rituals for those who worship the Sovereign Host. Joining these two young ones in matrimony was to be one of the happier celebrations of the trip.” adds Birdoswald.
“Maybe so, but we aim to leave tonight. With the girl or with payment.”
Brand stares at Bellamy sullenly. His eyes smolder with a fierce resentment. “What is it that you want, half elf?”
“Half the dowry.”
“The dowry consists of some chickens and sheep. That will do you no good on the road.”
“Sheep, no. Chickens, aye, I’ll take ’em.”
Brand gestures to Trebor and the boy runs off.
“Don’t forget a sack for me chickens boy!” Bellamy shouts after him.
“He won’t forget.” says Brand. “and neither will I.” he says, under his breath.

The crew leaves Zozo and makes camp an hour’s walk outside of town. Bellamy roasts one of his newly gained chickens and the crew sleep uneasily, close to the Haunted forest of the Harrowcrowns.

EXP: 650 each
Items: Undead Ward ritual
Last Sight Vision ritual
Lvl 7 Astral Fire Chainmail – Jared
Lvl 6 Belt of Flanker’s Bane – Nick
2 lvl 5 Potions of Healing

3.2- Kobold Cave

Birdoswald exited the Lightning rail at Aruldusk and immediately began looking for his contact to take him to Lessyk. A swarthy looking fellow approached him, with a bit more swagger than what he expected from a farmer, calling himself Bellamy.
“You be Birdoswald?” he said witha hint of a sneer.
Birdoswald nodded, not sure what to make of the man.
“Well, me and me crew been hired to take you to Lessyk.” he lied.
Birdoswald nodded again, still not trusting the man, thinking he was only to meet a single farmer.
The two of them left Aruldusk together and headed to the clearing just outside town where Bellamy and his crew had left their gear stashed earlier.

Sanguilar disappeared into the crowd, off to do what he does best. Kane started towards his friend Andrul’s home. Andrul’s home was a bit off to him- the door was open and he felt a disturbance in the energy within. To his surprise, Andrul’s home was ransacked inside, and there were three strangers, an old acquaintance and one person he instantly recognized but had never met.
“Well well Santor, did you come to find more than you expected?” he said to the gnome.
“You know why I’m here. Your goal should be the same Kane.” replied the gnome, still tied up.
Storm grunted his disapproval, bid his fondest of farewells, leaped to the second floor balcony and stole out the open window, his fullblade already resonating dark magic.
“Who are you?” asked a bewildered Amarill.
“A friend of Andrul’s. Don’t worry, I’m not with him or Nataeus.” He said as his right hand suddenly glowed, a blade forming in his previously empty hand.
“Give my regards to Vhagar.” he said, as the sword pierced the gnome’s throat.
Relic and Kat searched the home some more, finding a coded note tucked away in amongst some scrolls. Amarill was in some shock, but soon deciphered Andrul’s note. It mentioned a tower in the forest near a town called Lessyk, a few days ride southwest of Aruldusk.

The remaining crew headed back out, towards their camp. Kane follows, talking to quietly to Amarill about how he knows who Amarill is and how Kane knows Andrul so well. Kane also takes a queer fascination with Kat. He tells her that he can feel a great power within her and wants to introduce Kat to his Lady to see if his instinct is correct.

Together, the cell of the Amaranthine Rift begin their long walk to Lessyk. A few days into the trek, they meet up with a heavily armored Dragonborn named Arjhan. Arjhan hails not from Q’Barra, but from Argonessen itself. He tells them that a true Dragon has sent him to Khorvaire, to search out the Prophecy and fulfill his destiny within. Here, he has heard stories of tribe of kobolds that may worship the Dragon Below. During the trip, Relic prepares new potions and concoctions. Storm and Bellamy are his first tasters and fall violently ill within minutes. Relic whips up antidotes, but it takes some time.
While Bellamy and Storm are puking up their guts, a villager approaches the Rifters.
“Help, please. My sons have been kidnapped and my eldest boy’s fiancee was taken too!” he cries. “Those damn kobolds have taken them to their lair.”
Bellamy, too sick to ask questions or give orders, dismisses the man with a wave of a hand. Birdoswald offers to find them and do what he can to save them. Amarill joins in, as do Arjhan
and Kat.
The four adventurers and the villager head off to the cave, leaving Relic to tend to Storm and Bellamy in a small clearing off the beaten path. The villager leaves the crew at the mouth of the cave, and the four of them plunge into darkness, but not for long. Amarill Lights the Dragonborn’s armor, making him into a small sun. Once inside, kobolds ambush them, ducking and diving through their little tunnels and forcing the crew to chase them through the bloodrock and slime covered cave. After decimating a small skirmishing party and exploring the cave network, they open up into a cavern. Inside, they see two boys huddling together, as rats scurry about their feet and a skull tied to a rope swings through the darkness near them, thoroughly terrifying them. The Rat master attacks with his swarms of rats. Birdoswald once again prays to the Eight Gods of the Sovereign Host for protection, keeping his newfound allies from significant harm.
Once the kobolds and the majority of the rats are dead, the crew leads the boys to safety. The older boy calls himself Duane, his brother is Gregor. Duane’s fiancee, Katarin is still inside. Outside the cave, Katarin’s father has arrived, shouting furiously at Duane’s father. Bellamy and Storm are there, looking a little sick to their stomachs, but otherwise healthy.
“It’s all well and good your boys are safe, but what about my daughter?” Baram yells. “We didn’t come all the way from Lessyk just for you to let some flithy scaly buggers to take her!” Baram is a large man, with wild beard and hairy forearms, thick as logs.
“You, brother, you can’t let them kill her.” he says to Storm.
After making sure the boys are okay, Birdoswald turns on his heel and head back into the darkness.
Kane holds Kat back, asking to see her sword. He holds it lengthwise and the blade glows white. It keeps some of that glow, like it had been left in the sun all day, when he hands it back to Kat.
“You’ll need this. I sense a great force of darkness inside.”

More to come…

XP- 650 (enough to get to Level 4)
Gear: Sunblade – Rob
Astral Fire Chain – Jared – Lvl 7
Belt of Flanker’s Bane – Nick – lvl 6
Undead Ward Ritual
Last Sight Vision Ritual
2 Potions of Healing
240 GP total (40 each)

I hear the Rail a-comin...

It had only been a few days, but already Birdoswald felt anxious about his trip to Lessyk. Not all of the Thranish villagers worship the Silver Flame, and these villagers requested his presence for blessings and some protection. Birdoswald is a penitent Cleric of the Sovereign Host and normally travels by his own bare feet, walking across these warring kingdoms of Khorvaire, performing the rites and blessings that the Host allow. They could not pay much, but Birdoswald accepted their offerings and their ticket on the Lightning Rail to see the rumors of the lycanthrope attack for himself.

A few hours into the trip, the train comes to a rather abrupt halt. The House Orien rail guards burst into the common cart and single out two uncommon-looking men. The first, a handsome man in a long overcoat with a greatword at his back and a stylized longsword at his side. The second, a slender long-haired and serene elf. The guards beg for their assistance and the two step forward to assist. Birdoswald, with his duty to help and protect those in need, joins them.

Outside, small, bony reptiles make their way toward the Rail from both sides. The first man, Sanguilar Roseinvaire, kicks his left foot back, flipping his greatsword forward and catching it in his right hand. Gripping the hilt with both hands, he yells out: Kruthik! and charges. Kane, the elf materializes a slender white blade from a wand and teleports to the outside. Birdoswald never attacks the enemy, instead protecting his new allies and assisting their attacks.
The Kruthik surround the three, with their gnashing teeth and spiky claws, attacking ferociously and giving no ground. That is until the end, when only one of the adults burrowed deep and fled.

Back inside the Rail cart, the Orien Guard Captain, a man named Gavorn, thanks these three for their assistance, owing them some gold at their next stop. The Rail cart does not start moving again, although the Guards and conductors continually remind the passengers that the Rail line is not damaged, and neither were the Rail carts. Eventually, Captain Gavorn summons these three to the semi-private carts. It seems that during the Kruthik attack, something was stolen from the secured cargo cart for the wealthier passengers. Gavorn and his men have interviewed 3 suspects but they refused to say much. He hopes that a man of the cloth can get farther with them than he can.

Gavorn tells them a few things to help and after a few moments, the three adventurers discern that Casaubon, the Half-Elf from Aundair, was the thief. Gavorn enters Casaubon’s room, a scream is heard and Gavorn stumbles out, clutching the dagger in his chest. The remaining guards eyes glaze over and Casaubon emerges, turning towards the closest door and runs. The guards try sto slow down the three adventurers, and fail miserably. Causabon’s left arm lashes out, a purplish black tentacle grabbing at Kane, crushing him like a python snake. Again, Birdoswald protects his new allies, encouraging them from a distance and weakening Casaubon’s defenses. When Casaubon fell in battle, the remaining guard’s eyes returned to normal, albeit with a splitting headache.
A Halfling worshiper of the Silver Flame blesses Birdoswald’s octogram and it renews itself, from the dirty old and worn octogram to a shiny new holy symbol.

XP- none. Birdoswald will be at the same level as the rest of the team when/if they join forces.
Gear- +1 Octogram of the Sovereign Host
Gold- none yet, 150 gp promised upon arrival in Aruldusk. (50 each)

3.1- Aruldusk

After cleaning up the remains (literally) at the House Cannith Enclave, Torrit D’Cannith gave his eternal thanks. His saviors have earned his trust, so much that he sends hia new alchemical warforged Relic, to the Amaranthine Rift. He needs to get back to his forge in southern Cyre. Erryk sends Stevin D’Deneith as an escort, along with Rakharo and some of the Hobgoblin forces. Erryk hopes that Stevin and Torrit will get along and perhaps that Torrit can teach Stevin that he can still serve his house well, despite not manifesting the House Dragonmark. Stevin and Rakharo are also to investigate this “Crimson Blade” in the goblin enclaves of Southern Cyre, or the Zil region of gnomes in Eastern Breland, wherever and whatever it may be.

Erryk sends your cell off on undercover scouting in Thrane, to find out more about what’s going on with their troop movements and why they raided Eston. Were they looking just for Relic, or was it more? Oddly enough, Erryk let Relic go with them, into the same enemy territy that tried to capture him just recently.
The cell crossed the river and headed south towards Aruldusk. Despite being on the border, Aruldusk is relatively unscathed by battle. The garrison is decently trained, but far from the Thranish troops that raided Eston a few days prior. Bellamy orders the crew to bury their insignias and the major gear, to better pass as farmers and merchants in order ot enter the city. Bellamy knows plenty about Aruldusk, that it houses a temple of the Silver Flame that ceates Holy Avengers and Warcasters. At the start of the War, Thrane decided to create their own Arcane school like Arcanix, but under the strong tutelage of the Silver Flame. This school is here, in Aruldusk.
Once in Aruldusk, the crew try to meet up. Bellamy is no where to be found. Storm moves off to the Library. Kat, relieved Stevin isn’t around, heads to an inn and starts drinking her afternoon away. Amarill takes Relic and they discuss the differences between the Arcane arts Amarill knows and the alchemy that Relic creates. Amarill asks around for a man like him, his uncle Andrul. He learns that Andrul often spends time at the White Lion, a decent sized inn.
Amarill and Relic head there, meeting Kat along the way. When they arrive, Andrul is nowhere to be found. After a short while, Storm arrives at the White Lion.
Amongst the predominantly human patrons, a table of 3 Half-Orcs approach Storm. Their leader, a tall, well-built male, immediately addresses Storm by name, asking him what he’s doing here and not in Lessyk, harassing the village on the outskirts of the Harrowcrowns. This Half-Orc, Ghesh, quickly realizes that this Storm Furyhands is not the same Stormfury he knows. From the short conversation they have, we learn that Stormfury is a Shifter leading a band of shifters, half-orcs and other non-humans that harass and raid the villages surrounding the Harrowcrowns, the haunted forest a few days ride southwest of Aruldusk.
Realizing his mistake, but recognizing Storm as a shifter, Ghesh leaves the White Lion in a huff. A short time later, some of the local militia barge in the doors, led by a beautiful Silver Flame Warcaster. She disgustedly orders that Storm be taken into custody, a Shifter travelling in Thrane. As expected, Storm draws the massive blade he forged (made of steel, it’s a sword). Amarill tries to defuse the situation and appears to calm the soldiers but it doesn’t faze the Warcaster in the slightest. Kat draws her handaxes and hacks into the militia. Not intending to leave a bloody mess, they try to knock them out quickly. At the end, Storm unleashes his rage and fury, hacking the crossbowman in two. The four members of the crew make quick work of the Aruldusk militia and take off through the back door. Storm leaps to the roof of a nearby home, searching for a quick way back out of town. A street urchin grabs Amarill by the hand saying that Andrul needs help and fast.
Bellamy is still nowhere to be found.

The four race through the streets (and rooftops) of Aruldusk, as far away from the White Lion as they can get. Andrul’s home is a decent size for one man a two story home/laboratory. The front door is open, and it looks trashed on the inside. They search for Andrul, he isn’t there. They can’t find any secret doors, but plenty of small-time magic items strewn about the place. Neither Relic nor Kat recognize the tracks of what ransacked the place, but they can tell they aren’t human, and aren’t natural either. As they start to leave, a voice comes out of nowhere and says: “Are you looking for Andrul?” Amarill says yes and identifies himself. The voice replies “Oh, this is even easier than I thought.” and then several creatures appear from the shadows. A pair of chill wights glide toward Amarill, a demon-dog charges Kat, a little Gnome in full scale armor and a pair of short swords moves towards Amarill as well. The strangest looking creature grabs Amarill around the chest and head, from over 15 feet away and moved through the shadows, teleporting around the room. The creatures seemed to focus on Amarill. As one of the wights raked its dead claws through Storm’s blade, it triggered some of the magic inside the blade. The team, still minus Bellamy, fought tooth and nail against these aberrant creatures, taking them down one by one. Relic cast out his all-seeing eye, which prevented the wights and the gnome from using their invisibility at all. Once the tide was certainly turned against him, the Gnome says “Nataeus didn’t pay me enough for this” and tried to flee. He failed. Both Storm and Kat laid into him as he moved away, then Kat brained him from behind with the haft of her handaxe. The remaining wight disappeared the instant the Gnome fell unconscious.

Three questions remain: Where is Bellamy? Where is Andrul? Who is Nataeus?

XP gained- 475 each
money- none
items- (Lifedrinker Fullblade – Josh)

2.2 - Defense of Eston

The crew returned to Eston with the Couriers in tow. Bellamy turned them over to Colonel Erryk and handed over the encrypted message with as much translation as you could figure out. Erryk gave him a wayfinder badge, created by House Sivis as a short-range messaging system. Range is about 30 miles for regular messages. Beyond that and it appears to work only twice a day. Alreon was moved to a different cell, with two replacements, Amarill and Peleon? a Tiefling Warlock.

The Rift’s cryptographers decoded more of the intercepted message- explaining that it wasn’t a troop surge towards Eston, but a massing of strike troops and skirmishers, intent on getting something or someone from the Cannith holdfast. Erryk heard through the grapevine that one of the Cannith engineers was showing off something new to the House Masters, but had no idea what it is.
Erryk said he’d talked to his Goblin troops about this Crimson Blade, to see if they knew anything.

In the downtime, Bellamy scouted out the defenses of the Cannith Tower in the center of town. Storm checked out the main defenses on the outskirts of town, then went to get drunk. Kat, on the other hand, trid to go to the bar but ran into her cousin Stevin instead. Stevin and his crew kicked Kat out, clearly angry with her and wanted nothing to do with her. Stevin’s father Roland helped found the Amaranthine Rift, but died a few years ago in the Siege of Shadukar, while on a rare contract with Karrnath.

The crew were sent on sentry duty that night. The Thranish strike force arrived that night, a day earlier than what you’d expected. The crew fought off quite a few members of the the strike team, including a battle comander of the Argent Fire, the same crew that ambushed Storm a few years back, right before he joined the Rift.
The strike force was really just a diversion, as Erryk discovered and relayed to Captain Bellamy. The real target was deeper in Eston- at the Cannith Tower. The intercepted message referred to a great power from the south- a new kind of Warforged brought up from southern Cyre. The team’s new target- find and secure Torrit D’Cannith, that Warforged’s creator.

Mayhem and confusion raged in the town, making it hard for the team to break through the crowds of people and get past the alchemical workshops, but they made it through with minimal injuries.

Outside the tower, Bellamy tried to save a Cannith house guard. He learned the general whereabouts of Torrit and the Warforged, but wasn’t able to save him. The team made their way through the Cannith hallways to the guest lodging, when Torrit D’Cannith was already bound and gagged. His Warforged fought vailiantly to save him, and the team took down the final strike team. Their leader, a gnome named Martrand, died in the battle. Although the other dead men appeared to be Thranish, there ain’t many gnomes in Thrane.

Total XP- 760
Gold- 75 (15 each)
Magical stuff:
Kaleb- Bloodthread Armor: (Lvl 5) Daily, +2 to AC when bloodied
Nick- Opportunitistic Weapon: (lvl 4) d12 bonus dmg if crit on opp attack, instead of d6, Daily: free action after opp atk, make a 2nd opp atk (or make it a 2W attack like Power Strike, choice is player’s)

2.1 - Scouting the Flame

While stationed in Eston, Commander Kasten sends your unit into enemy territory for a short scouting assignment, despite your notorious lack of stealth. The Commander knows you can get the job done, no questions asked.

You crossed the river in a small ferry. A few hours later, you came across a small patrol of Thranish scouts with guard dogs escorting a House Orien Courier. The dogs were taken down quickly, the courier was knocked out in seconds, allowing Bellamy to force the two scouts to surrender. The courier carried a semi-coded map of patrols and other movements along the Thrane-Cyre border. There appeared to be another courier coming through this general area in the next day or so. The Orien Courier was left alive, but gagged and taken back to the ferry.

You made it back to the path with enough time to set up an ambush in a cutout on a hill.
Foolishly, the Thranes walked right into it.
Kat dropped a boulder onto an archer’s head, Storm charged and seriously injured another archer in surprise. Alreon leapt across the cutout and kicked the last archer’s jaw out. That left the three Dwarven bodyguards and the gnomish mage. Kat leapt down into the cutout, chopping one of the dwarve’s arms off, then decapitated him in one swift blow. Storm stepped up to the plate, turned his fullblade sidways and batted that little gnome bastard a good fifteen feet away.

The gnome carried a message sealed with the House Orien seal. You couldn’t understand all of the message, but you could figure out that there seemed to be a large amount of troops moving from Thrane and another area in Southern Khorvaire towards Eston. The attack is coming in a few days and it looks like it includes something called the Crimson Blade.

XP and treasure:
500 XP each
25 sp each
Gauntlets of Blood – Storm
Brooch of Shielding – Kat


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