Beginning as graduates of the great Adventurer’s Guild in Mydlan, in the heart of the Free Realm of Domen, we are introduced to an adventuring part that is currently five strong. Each with their own strengths and weaknesses, these brave souls prepare themselves for greater purposes in the great world of Sion by seeking out treasures, excitement, destroying would-be assassins, and even saving the occasional cat.
The Story So Far…
The Adventurer’s Guild in Mydlan is renowned for its education of adventurers, and is the preeminent education site for them across the world. The party we are following are given Alpha Team designation during their trials, and face off together against the trials that the Adventurer’s Guild has set up for them, finalizing their training. First, they faced off against a trial requiring the team to perceive, plan, and complete a puzzle in its entirety. The next trial poisoned two members of the party, quickly causing them to turn to stone. The remaining party members had to learn the ability to create a potion that would undo the stone. After several tries, they were able to save Val’riel and Sylvar from their fate. Their final challenge was to defeat the illusion of a Young Black Dragon at the end of a swampy cave. In a ruinous fight, leaving the adventurer’s injured and nearly beaten, the dragon was defeated, unlocking the path to the end, where the Guildmaster stood waiting. As they were being healed and restored, the Guildmaster gifted them signet rings, patents of notoriety, and their subsequent ranking system.
Before leaving the Adventurer’s Guild, the party determined themselves friend-enough to stay together, and accepted their first job: assisting the elderly Miss Janna Dovins in finding her lost cats. One by one they disappeared until she was left with no companionship. The Adventurers discovered a trail of blood, and were able to follow it thanks to Temperance’s Dire Wolf form, leading them into the sewers. Assuring themselves that they would be triumphant, they followed the trail into the
sewers below. The stench was nearly overbearing, but after fighting off a band of wild dogs, nearly plummeting into a cistern of fetid water, and then facing off against a putrid pile of rats, leading them up to the Dire Rat King, they found the remains of the poor cats that had been nearly completely devoured by the rats. In a turn of fortune, Daemon discovered a burlap sack filled with kittens who they returned to the poor widow.
Returning from the sewers left them desperate for a shower. After a quick clean up at the Tower, and a delicious dinner thanks to Mungo, made from the rat they slayed, most of our party retired to sleep. Val’riel and Temperance decided to head out into the closing market to try to find some spirits to liven their mood. Fortunately for them, they found a polite vendor who sold them one very expensive Dwarven Wine, and an expensive bottle of Cantruvalean Whiskey.
The next morning led the party to choose two new jobs from the board, having them head north east to the farmlands — specifically the farm of Bryan Wells — and then to help the potionmaker and alchemist Moleg, who wishes for them to find the glowing green-frilled mushrooms in the forests.
Before departing, though, as the party gathered their items and wits, Mungo set out to seek a new weapon from a merchant in the marketplace. Having carried the quarterstaff he had used for years, he determined it was time to find a new one, purchasing a rather ornate dragon-inlaid quarterstaff. While he paid for his items, Sylvar came along. After buying a new item of his own, Sylvar set out with Mungo in tow, to discover the whereabouts of “D”, and his former competitor. After discovering his competitors right hand man, he bought some of the supply and he and Mungo shared some of the Demenshroom tea. A deep trip fell upon them, and they lines between the Astral, the Fey, and the Material were blurred. Now, having cleared their heads, they set out for the forests and fields to the north east of Mydlan.
The forests to the north and east of Mydlan are so ancient, that no one currently knows their name. It has commonly just become known as the Mydlan Forest, or The Wood. Simple folk live close by, tillers of soil and laborers of hand. One such man, Bryan Wells, had requested the assistance of the Adventurer’s Guild. First, though, the adventurer’s would make a stop through the forests to assist the potionmaker and
alchemist, Moleg, by harvesting mushrooms. Temperance, the Circle of the Moon Druid, whose favorite form is a Dire Wolf, used one of the mushrooms that he already had to let her sniff it out. A brief distance in, and they discovered the mushroom, picked it, and went to look for more.
Their search was cut short, however, when two members stumbled up and tripped, only to be caught by vines. When they became aware of their surroundings, they were introduced to Birchtendril, a massive Treant who was guarding the forest — and those mushrooms — for a very specific reason. In a revelation brought to them by the Treant, our party discovered that the mushrooms they sought were actually the spore children of an ancient Archfey named Ruunalen. Rather than face the wrath of the Fey Wilds, the Treant, and the forest itself, the party returned the mushroom to the soil and begged the pardon of the Treant. As an agreement, and a reward for the purity of heart, the Treant offered them the aid of the forest, were they to ever need it. They rejected the quest, and set out for the farmlands.
Their trip to the Wells’ residence was short. When they opened the door, they were greeted by Amelia, Bryan’s wife, and their infant child. They discussed the goings-on, and resolved themselves to stay put in the barn for the night, to watch for what was happening to his farm during the night. Originally appearing uneventful, the party, originally spotted by Sylvar, saw the scarecrow come to life and begin to ransack the farm again. After being completely obliterated by Mungo, Daemon was able to use some of his more special abilities to ascertain the ethereal power behind the animated construct. The spirit fled, and Daemon pursued, followed shortly by the rest of his party.
The party chased them into the nearby home of a fellow farmer, where they accused the owner of demonic machinations. The owner, a nearly debilitated old man swore he wasn’t the cause. It turned out to be the daughter, who consorted with a demon to ensure that the Wells farm would be destroyed, allowed their own family’s crops to flourish. The party chose to forgive the young girl, and returned to the Wells family in the morning to collect payment and return to the Guild the following day. Upon the departure of the Farmlands, the party gained a new member named Jack Pallis, a Paladin.
A short trip back to Mydlan yielded surprising results: there, standing at the Adventurer’s Guild was two Dragonborn Paladin, looking specifically for Val’riel, the Dragonborn Paladin of Zentragos, Sword and Shield of the Holy Tylaen Empire. They knew she had neglected her duties, ran away, and was likely seeking shelter as an adventuring bard. It turned out that one of the Paladins seeking her was none other than a Dragonborn she had expressed her love for before running away. Upon seeing her, he sent his accomplice away, and demanded that she run. And run, she did.
To escape the shadow of the Tylaen Empire, our heroes selected a job at a further distance than most, and set off for the sister cities of Feitrigg and Adelheim. In their first night on the road, our travelers found a nice spot in the forest to make camp. Little did they know that it was within the hunting ground of a rather large Troll.
Harrowing, though it was, the party killed the troll, finally being felled by Val’riel’s blade, slicing his throat. Bloody and all, our heroes went to sleep for the night.
The next morning came quickly — probably more so than any of them had hoped. After packing up the items they had used to make camp, they loaded their cart, and set out for Feitrigg, another couple of days on the road. In the night, it seemed, their newest compatriot had gone missing: Jack Pallis and his steed, Janice. Figuring it to be a lazy day on the road, our big-damn-heroes were shocked when a voice called out to them for their attention. The voice, attached to Uliana, an Archeologist at the Arcane University, lead them to the “abandoned” lair of an ancient dragon. Dodging traps that seemed more like jokes, and discovering a trove of magical items with impractical uses. At the end of several hours underground, they came to a rather large chamber where a massive ancient copper dragon sat, curled up. Her wings had a bright patina, and she introduced herself as Uliana, though her real name was much more complicated. She explained that she was fond of jokes, pranks, and inciting laughter. She also apologized if her jokes weren’t appreciated.
At the end of it all, she let the adventurers leave with whatever they liked, ten platinum coins, and then teleported them to the entrance of Feitrigg, sans their cart and oxen.
The party found their way to the local inn and bathhouse, and bathed to get rid of the green gelatin, blood, and muck of the last few days. Then after dinner, a good performance on stage for Val’riel, and a few drinks, our party retired to get some much needed rest. Mungo took a woman to his room, only to end up cuddling with her. Sylvar imbibed more of his demenshroom tea, and traveled the waves of his memories.
The next morning came, and our party found themselves standing at the Jarl’s table, and finding out the purpose of their visit. In detail, Jarl Bjerl of Feitrigg told them why he needed adventurers: An outside party was almost a necessity to try to convince the Jarl of Adelheim to relocate south, because their homes were sure to collapse into the river — maybe the entire city. Without so much as a discussion of reward, the party headed off to Adelheim, just in time to join their annual competition. In events like a strength challenge, musical performance, fighting, lorgenberry pie eating, and dancing. Our heroes triumphed in every event, eventually standing as victors.
After outperforming every citizen of Adelheim, our heroes pushed themselves to catch the ear of the Jarl. They presented their services, explained themselves, and after a brief interaction, explained their concerns. Already a defensive man, Jarl Bjerl of Adelheim decided he wanted none of the conversation at the time, and sent the adventurers away, to return later. In the mean time, our adventurers went to Adelheim’s tavern and alehouse, securing rooms for the night, as well as nourishment. Discussing their options, and having duly noted a newly formed crack in the ground; time was of the essence.
In a strike of pure brilliance by Mungo, the halfling Monk, our party determined that early the next day, he and Temperance would leave Adelheim to try to find Uliana, and use her as a way to scare the people of Adelheim south. While the team relaxed and enjoyed the evening, they had to thwart an attempt at their life with poisoned ales. Taking watch in shifts, after a second order of un-poisoned ales, our heroes went to sleep, preparing for a busy day ahead. In the night, a storm rolled through, a harbinger of the destruction to come.
The first event of the next day was a blow to morale, as Val’riel received a package. Inside the package was a note in Draconic that read: “Come back, or you’ll begin to receive more pieces.” While inside the package was a piece of Tal’ik’s tail. Explaining this to the party, they decided that they would have to go north, while first attending to the people of Adelheim. Furthermore, on their way out, they noticed a separation in the floorboards and managed to secure the assistance of the tavern owner in gathering citizens to escape.
Sylvar and Daemon went to convince the Jarl that his time was limited, and all they wanted to do was save their people. Even his son, Goreth, said that maybe it would be safer to just let the people know to leave. Instead, the Jarl called his guards and made the fatal mistake of attacking Daemon as he left. A spear to the back ended up with it broken, and a terrified guard. Sylvar, doing what Sylvar does, pulled off a surprise attack from
stealth, with a poisoned arrow, that lodged directly in the Jarl’s heart. Not more that a second later, the Jarl was dead, and in the arms of his son. Screaming, “What have you done?!”
In the meantime, Temperance, Mungo, and Val’riel were rushing through the streets, buildings, and market squares of Adelheim, trying their best to convince people to leave. Joined shortly by Sylvar and Daemon again, they rushed them one by one out of the city as buildings began being swept away by the rising flow of water, joining the underground portion of the river below.
Hearing the scream of a young boy, trapped in a collapsed house, Mungo rushed back into the fray to lift the building off the father, pull him out, and rush them to safety. Placing himself at risk, Temperance was able to save the boy and his father, but Mungo stayed inside the house as it was pulled away. Managing to make a last-ditch jump, Mungo grabbed on and was pulled to safety. Then, as the town began to fall away in sheets, our heroes barely made it across the bridge as it, too, collapsed into the rushing waters of the river Ruun.
Once on the other side, and the people were ushered into places of safety, our heroes
were given unfettered access to the mansion of the Jarl of Feitrigg. He supplied them two horses and a covered wagon, and two additional horses. In addition to the horses, they were rewarded handsomely with a chest full of gold. Then, after a restful night, they prepared to set out for the Empire to the North… possibly the most deadly choice they had made yet.
Loaded to make their trip north, the Drow assassin, Sylvar, spotted runic symbols usually used by thieves and the like to relay messages to more with the knowledge to perceive it. In an attempt to find a ship or ferry that could carry them over into the border of the Empire, Sylvar ended up coming face to face with two dragonborn. He was surprised, caught off guard, and nearly beaten to death.
In the mean time, Daemon set out to speak with the Jarl, while Temperance looked for a new shortsword to add to her weapons. Both successful, they returned to the party to discover that Sylvar had been gone much longer than expected. On the trail, Temperance used her Dire Wolf form to follow Sylvar’s scent back to the site of the beating, and beyond, leading her to a dead end, where it seemed that Sylvar had been picked up and carried, causing her to lose the scent. Back in front of their friends, it was determined that they would set out to find Sylvar.
They spent the day chasing leads, one right after the other, while Mungo split off from the group to act as spotter. Climbing up a hundred-year-old Oak, he watched as the newly transplanted citizens from Adelheim made the area their home. Daemon, Val’riel, and Temperance spotted a young boy, who they were told probably had some information on Sylvar’s whereabouts. While the boy set off to find out more information for them, Mungo returned with his sighting. A hot-on-the-trail Temperance set off to find the scent, tracking it through the fields and to a nearby forest. As the day waxed on, and sun light became less abundant, the party tumbled upon an encampment. There, in the center of the wagons was a fire, licking at the sky. The party searched around, finally heading north on their trail, but alas… they were discovered!
“Come down, and out. Show yourselves!” The voice demanded, rumbling from around them magically. As they ventured closer, they spotted a very beaten and bruised Sylvar in the hands of a large, plate-armored dragonborn… a sword at his throat. “Trade us Val’riel for your friend here, and we can be done.”
Rather than acquiesce, Mungo reached into his bag and pulled out a gift given to him by the treant, Birchtendril. Using it to reach out to the forests, and convey his wishes, the forest came alive. Great trees began creaking and rocking. Roots and limbs began thrashing. Great undulating tendrils of roots coursed up the legs and arms of the two cronies, entering their ears, eyes, nose, and mouth, and coming out the paths of least resistance. After mere seconds, they were seemingly crucified in the sky, held aloft with bits of the forest. Roaring in bestial fury, the center Paladin drug his shortsword across Sylvar’s neck and kicking him forward. “Then you will die!” He screamed.
What followed was one of the most intense fights to date. Great hefting blows from the enemy resulted in deep wounds, a sudden spell banished Val’riel from the material, into an empty demiplane of holding. Then, after minutes of exchanging blows, Mungo, the halfling Monk jumped on his back and drug a blade across his throat. “Do you feel it yet?” He asked as the blade sliced the supple throat of the Dragonborn. That was it, the fight was over, and lying on the ground was their very dead friend: Sylvar.
Daemon picked up Sylvar’s body, having to shout at the crows who covered his body.
Suddenly, the wound on Sylvar’s throat closed up and he jerked, returning to life, gasping for air. It was Sylvar, but there was something different about him.
The party returned to the Jarl’s mansion, where they had been staying since their success in Adelheim. The discussed at large the necessity of gold, friendship, and staying together, and celebratory ale was passed around. After a day of fear, hard work, and determination, it was a welcome reprieve.
Early the next day, our heroes loaded up the cart — brought back to them by the Adventurer’s Guild Stable boy. Their venture led them south, toward the forests surrounding Tutston, the village founded by the Tutswine family. On their way south, they spotted two Hobgoblins and a Bugbear headed west to east. Our heroes followed them, listening to them as they talked… unfortunately, none of them spoke Goblin, their used language. After determining that nothing was to be found out, our heroes went back to their caravan, and continued their journey.
Long into the evening, as the sun fell beyond the horizon, our heroes arrived in Tutston.
To their surprise there was no one; not even a lantern flickered in the dim light of the town. The party parked their caravan and searched the town, little by little, house by house, finding nothing but sudden patches of green leaves. Their search led them to the town hall where, after some verification, they found the desiccated corpse of Marinol Tutswine, with vines growing out of his eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. The stench was awful.
Eventually, they settled into the tavern to stay for the night. Mungo cooked up a nice meal for everyone, and afterward, they easily went to sleep. Watch rounded out with Sylvar, who paced the tavern until he heard a childlike giggle from upstairs. After waking everyone up to investigate, Temperance announced that a blue moss and brilliant red-cap mushroom was feylike, and then they heard a laugh, following a wisp as it left the window and disappeared into the forest. Mungo, always thinking ahead, placed a pillow against the window before the party went back to sleep.
At the turn of the next day, Mungo made breakfast, then stepped outside. His venture led him to find a small being in the edge of the woods. As he approached, he felt the overwhelming call to follow her and… to protect her. With little less than a suggestion, he followed her into the forests. Daemon, realizing that Mungo was gone, followed him into the forests with Sylvar on his tail. After being pulled into a tree, Mungo and Daemon were taken beyond, deeper into the Fey Wild, a place of mystical magics and wild colors. Sylvar ended up separated from the group, and finally found his way back to bring Val’riel and Temperance with him, back to the Fey Wild.
It turned out that the veil between the material and the Fey Wild was remarkably thin in that area, an effect caused by the un-shielded heart of the forest. Once everyone was present, it was made aware that either Mungo or Temperance, both characters purest of heart, would have to make a decision to save the forest. Mungo offered his own self in the place of one of two children. Ruunalen, the Archfey, told him that though his motives were pure, he had a recent black mark on his soul. A shadow. Temperance chose to bear the burden, all the while Daemon vowed to come back and tear the Fey apart. Ruunalen understood his pain and frustration, and felt it in the darkening of his spirit.
Doing as she needed to do, Temperance brought the young girl forward and with pain of her own, drove the emerald dagger deep into the heart of the girl. She slowly lowered into the waters, staining them crimson. By the time the water reached the heart of the forest, a deep thumping sound resounded around them, and the veil was thickened.
The party returned to Tutston, discovering that the town itself had been restored. The people, the businesses, and the overgrowth was gone. In fact, reality had changed on its own. Rather than dealing with disappearances, the party was supposed to deal with bear attacks in the forests.
The Fey can be a strange place. Both powerful and beautiful, it is horrifying and pleasant. It can be greater in time or lesser, and it can undo many deep mysteries as well as cause them. Ruunalen blessed the party for their hard choice to save the heart of the forest, and in her power, restored the town of Tutston… except for one little girl.
Deeply burdened by their task, the party loaded up and left with little more than a word to Marinol Tutswine, and made their way south. Tillington was next on their agenda, a town with a rise in sickness and violence.
In keeping with the dark omens of Tutswine, Tillington was much the same. Arriving at the town as the sun set, witnessing a large plume of smoke rising ever higher in the sky, the party was approached by guards who stopped them at the city gates. “Halt!” They commanded, before knowing who they were. After learning that they were members of the Adventurer’s Guild, the guards led them to Governor Tyne.
Governor Tyne was a pale man, visibly weighed down by his task. When the Adventurer’s arrived before him, he almost jumped for joy. “Thank the gods that the guild finally sent someone!” He explained that there had been a rise in sickness, and then stranger things had occurred afterward, all the while he held a rag to his face that he applied scented oils to. To prove his point, the Governor opened the door to his daughter’s upstairs bedroom, to show that she was now neither living, nor dead, but some horrific creature of undeath. She nearly bit and scratched Val’riel, a chain pulling snug as she lurched at her.
After speaking a bit further with the Governor, they had their task set: find the source, and stop it.
The group set out for the Doctor, as recommended by the governor, only to learn how severe the issue was. One by one, the doctor showed the adventurers to the tables with deceased on them, heads preemptively removed. This somber visual lead them down a storytelling path that pointed toward the baker, who was said to have lost his wife to the sickness first and foremost, before everyone else. The party set out for the baker.
Tillington was well known for its artisan baked goods, so well-known in fact, that their goods were shipped all over the realm, and sometimes even shipped to the empire to the north. The Baker confirmed their suspicions of sorts, and led them to the shipment of grain that had been tainted with a magical plague. A further investigation on the docks confirmed this suspicion as well. After setting fire to both the grainery and the ship that was set to sail upstream to the other areas in Domen, the party retreated to the Governor’s Mansion to start working on gathering the potentially infected. Simultaneously, Mungo and Sylvar set out for the church, who had lost its priestess recently. There, in front of the church, was a pile of citizens bodies, burning, in an attempt to quell the sickness.
After searching the church, including the priestesses quarters, they found nothing more than a holy book and symbol in their desperate search for something to stop the horror. On their way out, they encountered their first swath of undead. Five zombies shambled toward them, but they were able to dispatch them relatively quickly. Sylvar went up to check the ringing bell, while Mungo rushed back to discuss their findings with the party.
All the discussion, investigation, and corralling of the citizens led the party to determine that everyone was infected. The whole town had eaten the grain at some point in the preceding three weeks, and were in various stages of infection. The ultimate decision was that the town would have to be purged. Each member of the party wrestled with the idea, knowing that these people had done no wrong, but that without a cure, the manufactured plague would go on for ever. In a last ditch effort, Daemon reached out to his patron fiend, the one who answered his call for power so many years ago. In exchange for years of his life, Daemon requested an answer for the issue at hand, and then an additional set of years to be able to call the necromancer forward so that he could answer for his crimes.
One of Zamrazac’s runes appeared on the ground, opening a fiery portal that summoned the necromancer. In a round of surprise and attack, Daemon killed the necromancer in one fell swoop, ending the magical plague, however, at great cost.
Mungo heard the utterance of the name Zamrazac, and felt the pang of betrayal ring out in his heart. “What name did you say?!” He screamed at the back of his friend as he walked away.
The darkness would not end there, however. Having believed to have saved the people of Tillington, as they left, a gigantic pillar of fire erupted from the ground, rising high into the night sky. As Zamrazac the Betrayer often does, he turned his words, and used the incident to place a beacon of his own destruction, claiming the souls of Tillington as his own, and using them to empower his forces of darkness.
Following the incidents in Tutston and Tilligton, the heroes took a breather. They returned to Mydlan, first having to explain the events that transpired, leading up to Tillington being completely destroyed by an ethereal fire. To the authorities they explained that a Necromancer was responsible for reanimating the dead, and when his plan was almost foiled, he called upon a great evil to purge the city of life, forever. When further questioned at the Adventurer’s Guild, by Guildmaster Rykkar, he explained the difficulty of being an adventurer — skilled, and under scrutiny of the world. They were released without punishment of any sort, not that any reasoning could be applied. Rykkar simply said, “Sometimes things must be done that a simple mind does not understand.” And he left it at that.
Their return earmarked a three month cycle in which they toned back their standard work. Taking up rooms at the Adventurer’s Guild again, each party member set out to make a little progress on their independent ventures, while also staying in contact with a each other. When a job would come up that seemed worth their attention, they set out to make it right.
Mungo and Daemon set out before anything else was done, to visit Miss Jana Dovins, the old woman who had been the contact for their first job in Mydlan. Dinner and tea became the whole party repairing her roof, and then a broken window. Believed to be a local gang of kids, Daemon showed them how much of a demon he could be, flashing a darkness that will likely leave the children scarred for their lives. Afterward, dinner with her while in Mydlan became a common occurrence; every Friday night, the group of adventurers saw her. The old woman essentially adopted the ragtag group of adventurers.
Their quests took on unique names that suited the venture. One of those was simply called “Dolly”. One of the jobs they had been requested to undertake was a fairly menacing-looking porcelain doll who just showed up at a Mydlan residents home. She immediately left the gentleman alone, but she began following Daemon. The Tabaxi bristled when, after disposing of Dolly outside of town, she was back in the group’s covered wagon. After multiple attempts to get rid of her, and finding in her awkward places like beds, bedrolls, and the sauna, it was discovered that she found an interest in Charles, the garden gnome who was always in the cart. Turns out, the two may have been in love, because one day they were just both gone, never to be seen again.
“Ba-a-a-ad Decision” was a request by a local farmer, near Lisburg, to herd up his sheep. For whatever reason he and his dogs couldn’t get the job done. Long story short, the City Mage, Dar’curin, decided he wanted to be left alone for a while. So, he polymorphed himself into a sheep and set off, problem was, the other sheep felt strangely inclined to follow him. That Dar’curin sure was a sheeple person.
During all of this, Sylvar expressed further desire to train in the ways of being a Monk. Apropros of his interest, Mungo and Daemon both assisted him in learning some better defense, though it mostly consisted of Mungo and Daemon enjoying a snack while Sylvar dodged rocks and sticks.
During their next sort of interlude at Mydlan, Sylvar commissioned a special quiver be made from a local leatherworker, Therin Urstear. Therin also provided the leathers for Mungo to craft a specially made saddle for Temperance to wear when in her Dire Wolf form, so that Mungo and her both would be more comfortable.
Mungo also commissioned a new gi, this one more of a traditional take on the gi of the Dragon Monks, as seen in the art at the monastery. On the headband and back of the gi, was the symbol of Zentragos. On the front right breast, was the symbol of the Adventurer’s Guild. He also sought out the maker of his staff to see how much deeper his knowledge of Monk tradition was — though he wasn’t a Dragon Monk himself, he was able to extend his mystical knowledge to Mungo, and also grant him an artfully done tattoo in the traditional fashion.
Daemon spent a fair amount of time in study, at the Grand Library of Mydlan, in the halls of the scholars, learning deeplore and ancient scripts on Demonology. He also slipped a letter off to an old friend.
Temperance set off to the nearby forests surrounding Iristrea, in her former home, to reconnect with her Circle, and the forests by in large. She sent word to them, and her pack escorted her there and back again. The circles home was an ancient ruin, deep in the forests, protected by magical wards and the forest itself. There, she learned more of how to commune with the forests, and honed her herbalism and potionmaking.
Val’riel spent her time focused in her love of music and dance. She tried out new instruments, finding a love for the hurdy gurdy, whose guttural sounds are reminiscent of ancient Dragonborn throat singing. She commissioned a new holy symbol of Zentragos, and righted herself, spending time prayerfully communing with the Dragon god. As a bard, she figured a skill in libations wouldn’t harm her, so she made friends with one of the local brewers, a Dwarven woman named Thenna Ohban. With some extra space at the brewery, freely given by her friend, Val learned to brew.
Our heroes were certainly not dormant in their duties, either.
They repelled a small goblin incursion at the North Mydlan Farmlands, and checked up on the family of Bryan Wells, and the young girl who had summoned the demon. Her father had passed, but she was taking up the task of farming, quite well.
They helped construct a new bridge over the river Ruun, and more houses in Feitrigg. Mungo nearly slipped into the river again, and threw his hands up with it. He helped build houses instead, checking up on the Father and Son from Adelheim who called him a hero.
They closed up a deepmine in the mountain west of Lisburg, where something had been awakened deep below.
They removed bandits from an encampment near the construction site of the new Wayward Wailer Tavern between Mydlan and Fietrigg.
Fought the scaly-long-biter in the swampy murk south of Mydlan. It turned out to be a rather large, albino alligator. Temperance communicated with the animal, convinced it to return to its home, and try not to assault so many of the visitors to the swamp.
Now, it was time again to set out into the world, and take up more work.
After their return to the world as full-time adventurers, our heroes set out for Da’hun, and then Caldune, with hopes of a fortune of gold to be found in a dragon’s hoard. After defeating a cadre of goblins and hobgoblins, the group traveled through the night to arrive at Da’hun. There, they met up with Indoran Tones, a well-known explorer, archeologist, and professor at the University of Meyorne. Indoran told them about his suspicions of where a Dragon’s Hoard could be, after a mercenary group by the name of The Shiner’s Hand downed an adult red dragon.
The next morning, the group was expected to summit the mountain. A celebratory dinner would be had, and our party made some potentially lifechanging decisions. In a bid to help forget Tal’ik, Val’riel ended up bedding Indoran Jones. Mungo, on the other hand, made a connection with Brin Yellowleaf that extended into the night. Brin Yellowleaf, the tavern owner, and daughter of the Townmaster, Jannon Yellowleaf.
Then, the group set out to climb the mountain. It took days to get to the mountain and head up its face. They managed to avoid mercenary encampments, bears, and defeat ratty ice demons, fending off exhaustion and emotional defeat the whole time.
The journey was not an easy one. They climbed and climbed, finding a place to rest under a ledge to offer some semblance of shelter for the adventurers. The next morning was a surprise. In the dawn of the early morning, a rumble shuddered the mountain. When they were able to ascertain the cause, it was too late, and feet and feet of snow buried them in their shelter. Thirty minutes of shift digging, and they were able to dig themselves out of an eighteen-foot deep pile of snow. Surveying the landscape above, they spotted the top of an old watchtower.
Once inside the watchtower, Mungo discovered a tunnel that went backward, seemingly into the mountain. Geared up for whatever, Mungo set off. He was followed shortly by his compatriots. Reaching a fork in the cave, they chose to go right, netting them a dangerous encounter with two angry Frost Giants. The group managed to survive, and gathered their wits, following the path back the other direction at the fork. This led them to a seemingly dead end. Fortunately, they discovered that up was the way they needed to go. As requested, Daemon launched Mungo up in the air some ninety feet, giving them the anchor they needed to make the next push.
Another several hundred feet in the air, where they found a place to rest momentarily, Daemon and Temperance worked together to come up with a plan where Temperance, in a Giant Wolf Spider form, carried several party members while carefully knitting a webbed ladder together. And after a long climb further, they reached the top of the shaft, and the hallway before the Red Dragon’s chamber. After a bout with a whole bunch of Kobolds and their Chieftan, they entered the hoard room, discovering unimaginable treasures.
It took them six more days after convincing the remaining tribe of Kobolds that Val’riel was their future Queen and rightful dragon ruler. She convinced them to get all of their treasures and take them down the mountain, little bits at a time. In those six days, they loaded tons of treasures into carts. In the end, the journey took nearly two complete weeks of preparation, travel, climbing, and sorting the masses of wealth and items they had acquired. Indoran Tones took the items with him to sell, promising to return with their half of the wealth in items. Before he left, they took the time to separate the monetary wealth. Now, with two tons of coin piled into a wagon like stone, and covered by a canvas drape, our heroes were headed the long way back to Da’hun.
After dueling with the evil bee of the Da’hun forests, which resulted in Val’riel knocking her tiara off her head, Daemon getting hit in the head with Mungo’s quarterstaff, and Mungo finally firing a ki blast into the air, the party arrived in Da’hun. They took care of a little business here and there, and situated themselves for the short journey to Caldune.
Caldune was a sight to behold. As our party got on the gigantic elevator that takes above-ground guests into Caldune, they bore witness to one of the greatest feats of Dwarven architecture. During the 1,000 foot descent, they could see the houses and businesses carved out of the roots of Mount Nighberon.
Throughout the day of their arrival, they introduced themselves to the Adventurer’s Guild, deposited their newly-found wealth in the Consortium Bank, rented a suite at the Full Tang Tavern, and discussed the terms of their quest with the leader of the Red Axe, and Gran’Tague of Caldune. They learned about the Deep Roads, a series of interconnected subterranean tunnels that interconnect all the Dwarven Cities of the world, and the issues of the Druergar punching through the walls from the Underdark. Before leaving, they were invited to join in the festivities of Barumfaust Minor, a competition of Dwarven Brewing, and a festival for eating.
The next day, our heroes went to Barumfaust Minor and enjoyed a great deal of ales, stouts, whiskeys, and Old Toby. As the night waned on, in the midst of the crowd and ruckus, they spotted six hooded figures — obviously dwarven — seemingly making a break for it. After only a few moments passed, the guards at the gates to the deep roads shouted out “They took her!” They determined that “her” was Adonna Understone, the daughter of Chonce Understone, the Gran’Tague of Caldune. They knew they would have to pursue.
When they arrived at the grand gates, they engaged in combat with several Druergar, pushing some back into tunnels, where Giant Spiders waited in ambush. Before deftly dispatching them and pushing deeper.
After hours in the deep tunnels, they came upon a group of Goblins and Hobgoblins who were gathered around the tunnels. Our heroes were able to intimidate the group and push them back, forcing them away, but still having to fight the Ogre they left behind. In a quick encounter, ending in the brutal death of the ogre, our band of adventurers pushed even further into the dark tunnels, these having been carved out. Their trip led them deeper, and deeper, and deeper, until they found themselves in the Underdark, and surrounded by Duergar combatants.
Before they were able to be slain, or slay them, Mungo stepped forward to offer a solution. They spoke at length with Vencor Penor, the Duergar who led them, and Adonna Understone, who carried the child of Vencor. They discussed peace, and treatise; wistful thoughts of bringing long-separated cultures together. Determined to rise above, Mungo and the Heroes of Adelheim returned to Chonce Understone to convince him to speak with Vencor. At first, he was reluctant. But with the pressing of the heroes, and the convincing of Mungo, he relented.
Their discussion turned into an agreement, and then a grand dinner that included all the highest ranking members of the Red Axe, the Obsidian Shard, and even co-members of the Duergar Ascendancy. This was a truly momentous occasion, because the Duergar and the Dwarves haven’t engaged in peace talks in over a millenia.
Our heroes spent a few more days lingering in Caldune, taking in the sights and recovering from their trip into the deeproads. By the time they were ready to go, they were able to watch the Dwarves and Duergar working in unison to excavate tunnels that would connect the Underdark and the city of Caldune. More so, they were able to see Dwarves and Duergar beginning to walk and talk in the city square. There were still some hot spots of racial tensions between the two, but most were long past the sins of their fathers, and were happy to move on.
After collecting payment in the form of gold, a 900-year old decanter of fine Dwarven whiskey, bearing the dredged wax over the cork, and five shares to the Red Axe Mining Company and the promise that they would one day be worth a fortune.
The group then gathered up their possessions, loaded the cart, and headed off to Da’hun and thereby Meyorne, for their next bit of work. First, they stopped in at the Tavern to meet up with Brin, the owner, and for Val’riel to use her potion to change her appearance forever. She experienced what would be the worst pain of her life as she appeared to completely become a new person. Mungo, on the other hand, found out life-changing news: after his stint in the bed of Brin, the tavern owner, he has a child on the way.
After all the news, the changes, and the excitement, the group set off to work. They met up with Marles, the Orilisian Monk whose memories went back hundreds of years. He walked and talked plainly with the group, carrying a koto on their back. Their casual escort led them through the forest, a cemetary, and finally at the trunk of a seemingly ancient Orilisian Maple tree. Marles set up, played a brief song, and after he was done, he thanked the party and disappeared into thin air.
Now, having completed their mission, they have set out for Meyorne, and the case of the missing magic users.
On the way through Mydlan, the party stopped through and visited with Mrs. Janna Dovins, who was thrilled to have her adopted grands come to visit. Originally, it was only Daemon and Mungo, and after a bit, the whole party stayed the night with the elderly woman. Before they departed, she left them with a scroll, begging them not to open it until she was gone one day. A bit of shopping, and and official name change from Val’riel to Valorie, and the party left the following day.
The next morning was a rainy one. The sound of the rain drops on the canvas cover of their caravan was a symphony of sound that lulled them into a sense of sleepy comfort on the road.
Hours along, and the worst happened, a deep-set rut in the road caught the wheel of their caravan and broke it completely in half. The caravan collapsed to the ground, sinking in the muddy waters of the road. After a bit of arguing over how to repair the wheel, the Tiefling(s) Temperance and Valorie saw a small cottage nestled against the treeline about a tenth of a mile away. After resolving themselves to the fact that they weren’t interested in hearing the rest of the party argue, they headed off. Daemon, watching them leave, gathered the soaked horses, and led them toward the house as well.
When everyone had gathered together, they knocked on the door. They were beckoned to enter by an older woman, who brought them in and dried them, fed them, and offered a place to stay. After a few moments, she spoke to Valorie and Temperance exclusively, asking them deep questions about their past and their parentage. After a bit more soul searching and digging, it turned out that the older woman in the home just so happened to be Temperance’s mother… her birth mother. The woman explained that she had made a mistake by abandoning Temperance to the forests near Illarien, and that her birth name was Summer. She wanted to make things right. But making things right was a selfish act for her…
Before the party could escape, the woman revealed her true nature: a night hag. Her true form revealed, the disguting visage of evil appeared before them, and they had no choice but to fight her. In the ensuing battle, only minutes passed but it left them weakened, and Valorie magically cast asleep. When they awoke her, they discovered that she had been having terrible nightmares, and she was haunted by the visions of her friends perishing. They gathered their horses and set out, the rains clearing as they left.
On the road again, the party encountered a much happier face, a fair-faced strawberry-blond-haired man by the name of Ander, and his feline companion: Ser Pounce-a-lot. After introductions, they made a decent ride, camp, and Ander cooked for them. It was a late night full of good food, and over the next day or so, they would make the remaining trip to Meyorne.
By the time Meyorne was in their sights, they were exhausted from the journey. Ander split ahead of them and ventured off, while the party set their sights on determining what was happening within Meyorne.
Their first stop was meeting with the Archwizard of the Order of Thaine, a magical guild and school within the city, and one of the victims of the disappearances. They met with Tassit, and got the run down on the missing peoples, determining their locations prior to disappearance and picking up any leads as to their potential whereabouts. They also discovered that the mages had been missing now for almost a year.
The next stop was the Sorcerers Guild, also called Vilderfort, a purely magical constructed tower with great exhibitions of powers within. They were greeted by the master sorcerer, a high elf with a disdain for the party, who only acquiesced because he believed they had some potential of following the gone-cold trail of the missing persons. The Master Sorcerer showed imparted his knowledge and passed over a scroll with the names of all the sorcerers and wizards who had gone missing over the past year — a list compiled by he and Tassit together.
Before venturing any further, Ander took off with Temperance on a separate mission that required her finesse as a druid. In the mean time, the remaining party members set off on their ongoing mission to determine the whereabouts of the missing magic users. Their path took them to the Illuminatus Academ; a place touting “science” as the answer to the use of mortals abusing magic. He showed the party members the variety of uses, including electrical power, flames, and other such devices.
As the party left, after learning very little from the Illuminatus Academ, the party headed back outside into the mid afternoon sun. Then, visions began. Daemon saw his old master, who, when pursued, told him that he had failed him. Mungo saw a similar scene, where his “grandpa” could be seen just out of his vision, and when he approached, the scene changed to him being beheaded and an obsidian-armored monster standing over him. Sylvar experienced the hanging of his parents in first person, and withdrew at the sight.
They went back to the archwizard, looking for answers, being told that someone almost had to know them to give them the visions they experienced. This led them back to Ander, who they tracked to the Tavern. There, they found Temperance and him having a drink together. After a brief, but slightly intimidating encounter with Daemon and Mungo, Ander took them upstairs. He explained that he had been bringing magic users from the Empire for months now, and hiding them in Domen. The Free Realm was a place for them to hide. Ander, though, did use his magical abilities to detect the whereabouts of the magic, finding trace amounts on their fingers and hands. Deductions lead them back to the Illuminatus Academ, where they began to sneak in at night.
The party sneaked back to the tower. Daemon walked in the front door with Sylvar in his shadow. After he was confronted by them, Sylvar left, sneaking back outside, and then the rest of the party tried to find a way in — not before being confronted by guards — Temperance was seen outside, and Mungo thought quickly enough to distract and confuse them.
All the sneaking, climbing, wordy sentences, and such left the party in the difficult position of standing before the headmaster, Jorus, as he changed into a hulking behemoth, absorbing the magic, souls, and bodies of over one-hundred missing mages. He kept telling the party “it didn’t have to go this way!” But it did.
After a long and arduous fight, the party was left fleeing. The massive pink crystals that flooded the room, growing in and out of the walls, the bricks, and the floor itself, became a massive arcane explosion. Mungo and Daemon scooped up Valorie and Sylvar, and then launched themselves out of a window. Temperance followed, barely escaping the ensuing explosion. As they looked up, the world began erupting into a myriad of colors shapes and horrors. The sky began to shift between day, night, and deep green waves of borealis colours, swirling and changing. Stones and dust rained down around them, powdering them in the fine material. They were barely able to determine what happened as they rose to their feet, horror in their mind.
As the dust settled, our heroes rose to their feet, sore and exhausted from the battle before. They dusted themselves off as lingering rumbles of the of the explosion echoed into the distance. Before they could aptly respond, they were surrounded by guards. As honored members of the Adventurer’s Guild, they were brought in as guests, rather than prisoners, so that they could explain the events as they unfolded. Ander arrived shortly after, offered his healing power to bring them back from the edge, and ventured into the magically-imbued remains of the tower where the explosion happened.
Horrified by their explanation, and yet satisfied, the Order of Thaine leader, Tassit, gifted them with 500 gold coins and an Efreeti in a bottle. The band of heroes left Tassit’s office still exhausted, devoured some good meals at the local Tavern, and finally got some much deserved sleep.
The next morning, before the party could even enjoy their breakfast, a woman came rushing in. “Adventurers!” She shouted. “Are there any adventurers?!” With a sigh and then a smile, the party responded. She told them of an issue in Lisburg that needed their immediate attention: Treants were attacking the city.
Three days on the road later, and the party arrived to find nearly one-hundred Treants attacking the city, throwing stones and boulders at the protective wall, shattering blocks as if they were dried clay. Mungo approached a Treant, pleading with him to stop. After a deal of listening, and some compulsion, the party was taken deep into the thick Cormanth Forest to meet with Yewbrow. Suprisingly, they were first surrounded by trees who rooted and grew tall above them, forming an arbor. Then, they were met with the withered face of a man who resembled bar himself. He was a man, in all shapes and forms, but his burlap-appearance robes were covered in moss and lichen. He introduced himself, and when the time was right, unveiled his true form: a nearly eighty-foot-tall Yew tree, whose branches sprawled for what seemed like ages. Yewbrow told them of an agreement between humans and the Treants that was not being upheld. The party convinced Yewbrow to let them try to convince the humans to relent, and so the next step was searching for a document that might just be 4,000 years old.
The leader of the city was an unfortunately obstinate individual, so their conversation with them was almost in vain. Shortly, though, they began searching through the library of Lisburg, hoping to find old documents. Their search led to a loose brick, situated atop the marble floor of the old structure. The party broke through to investigate, and only moments after, they found themselves looking at a faintly-glowing crevasse in the floor, and two vicious hellhounds. Their fight was short, but harsh, and left the party standing, looking for more.
As the dust settled from their previous engagement, they discovered they were not alone, a half-elven ranger named Alastair hid in the shadows, and fiends slipped through stacks of old books and columns, raising chills down the spines of the heroes. They, too, were looking for this contract in an effort to let the Treants raze the city to the ground. After a succinct battle, one shadow demon escape, seeking the help of their master, and find it, they did… rising from the depths of the glowing crevasse was Mekanov, a Balor General of Zamraznac. During their fight, he wrapped his gigantic hand around Mungo, leaving horrid marks in the flesh of the young Halfling. After the General retreated, the team went to the surface with their new friend — Alastair in tow.
They confronted the Townsmaster with the contract in hand, and after round after round of his insolence, Temperance cast Plant Growth on his skull, causing a myriad of plants to bloom within him, ending his life. The ensuing task was to stop Ballistae, which were already in action, and keep them from destroying the forest. After success, the team was chosen by the people of Lisburg to rule — well, at least the Adventurer’s Guild was. Now, the party must set off to Cantruvale.
Seven days passed after the culmination of events in Lisburg, and a day further before they arrived in Cantruvale. The city itself was a masterpiece; it rivaled Mydlan in size and had even more travelers due to the port. The first act for the party was to find a place to stay. After perusing for two or three different taverns, they finally settled at The Twelve Coconut, a pirate-themed tavern with all the bells and whistles — even the barmaids were dressed like pirate wenches. Next, Daemon, Temperance, and Mungo made off for the local temple of Alanaea, in an attempt to find some sort of a cure for Mungo’s recent affliction. The priestess told him that she didn’t know outright, but that she would investigate it.
Next, it was time to tie up with their contact, an Inspector Dor’ut. The Inspector had been working with one of the bakers in the market, and directed the party to meet him after hours at the docks, a little hole in the wall tavern called The Shipping Bard.
A requested by the inspector, the party met him there, and learned of their work. They were instructed to seek out the history and actions of the Caerthynna Barathalion, a local paragon who seemed to have her hands tied up in the trafficking of children. As the owner of an Orphanage, she had almost unfettered access to the bodies necessary to perform the task, and even the money. Unfortunately, no one could directly tie her to the acts. The Inspector told them to be careful, and that the chief had even informed them not to get involved, just to “let it go”. Dor’ut couldn’t let that happen. He offered the party 100gp to complete the task, and more if they could bring Barathalion to justice, if she was truly involved.
The next day, the party discovered that Mungo, the Halfling Monk, had fled during the night. He left a note that read:
Daemon, Temperance, Sylvar, Val, and the new guy,
You are all the best friends and the closest thing to a family I’ve ever had. But I need to not fight for a while. I’m heading to Da’hun, please don’t follow me. I know this is sad, and it doesn’t have to be goodbye forever, but it is goodbye. For now.
Frustrated, sad, and angry, the party went on their way. They visited the orphanage and asked a series of investigative questions, and also crossing paths with Avius Dagorin, a private investigator on the same case as the party. Avius, being a telepath, sent a message back to Daemon for them to meet up later at the Shipping Bard Tavern, and would do so later. After a bit of discussion, an unfortunately lost game at the Crimson Stockings game, and a bit of tourism, the party returned to their rooms and unfortunately found the Inspector, Dor’ut, dead in their room. After alerting the guards to the situation, they found themselves renewed to stake out the docks.
The party’s descent into chaos worsened when they split the party in two; one half went to stake out the docks, hoping to find something out. The other half stayed at the Twelve Coconut to wait for the guards to come back.
One of the parties saw four men at the docks, and then an arriving carriage. All the while, the other party was convinced by the guards to follow them to the guard station. On the way to the guard station, Daemon, Temperance and Val’riel — er, Valorie — were jumped by assassins who killed the three guards with them. Then, in a powerful exchange of abilities, the group dispatched the assassins, and received a telepathic message from Avius to hurry to the docks.
By the time they arrived at the docks, Caerthynna Barathalion stepped from her carriage, flanked by two hooded figures looking very similar to the assassins who jumped Daemon, Temperance, and Val in the alleyway. Avius returned at the same time, and the group rushed the docks to confront her. The confrontation went on forever, it seemed. The group believed children were being ferried onto the ship, when it reality it was grown men, waiting to spring a trap as orchestrated by Caerthynna.
Combat was relentless. Daemon exhausted his resources, bleeding his ki dry, dispatching enemies one by one. Sylvar used his powers of death to wither a sergeant, nearly killing him in one fell attack. Alastair used several long ranged bow attacks, from the shadows, dropping the infantry mercenaries. Avius unleashed mirror forms of himself, confusing their opponents. Valorie used her paladin and bard powers together to sow violence in their ranks, while supporting her own. And finally, Temperance used one of her newer abilities to summon two additional creatures to her side, aiding her in battle. She summoned two more dire wolves.
As the battle waned, and Caerthynna nearly escaped, Valorie cast thunderbolt into the water that Caerthynna fled to. The impact pushed vessels out to sea and shook the piers with power, further weakening Caerthynna after several mental onslaughts by Avius and physical attacks by Daemon. Tensions were high, and the party barely succeeded, finally capturing the leader in the tentacles of Temperance’s giant octopus form.
Once she was tied up, Avius bombarded her brain with a variety of different attacks, finally resulting in the discovery that this wasn’t Caerthynna — well, not the way they expected. The disguise fell away, showing that this Caerthynna was a doppleganger, assuming the role of Caerthynna. Frustrated, but resolved, as Daemon and Sylvar left to attempt to rescue the children from the burning orphanage.
The children had been taken elsewhere, and a message was confirmed by Lord Rykkar, who agreed to take the Doppleganger into custody of the Adventurer’s Guild. The party was met with certain exhaustion after near defeat, and confused success. It was clear that another page had just been opened in their storybook of foes.
The party spent days, extensively searching for the children. They looked all over Cantruvale, and once they were finally allowed, examined the ruins of the old orphanage that burned to the ground. Inside, after a good bit of searching, Avius found a secret tunnel. The party followed it down its long stretches, eventually coming to a room at the end. Due massively in thanks to Avius keen investigative abilities, the party found another passageway that took them to a door barely large enough to crawl through. Temperance, thinking it wise, shifted into a rat. Daemon, unable to fight his more primal urges, chased rat-form Temperance all the way back to a small hole in the wall, where Daemon scratched and pawed for a while. After distracting the Tabaxi, he party returned to follow the crawlspace all the way out to a place on the beach, where several dinghies had been stored. It was evident that this section of beach around the bay had been used to hide the boats for an impromptu escape.
Dejectedly, the party returned to Cantruvale. There, they decided to enjoy a few drinks and wait for the festivities of Cerveth 4th, the day in which Domen celebrated its inception as a free realm. The event was well know, and Cantruvale has the best show aside from Mydlan, whose distance was too far to traverse. Instead, they drank on and on, until night. In the dusk of the evening, the party set out, leaving Sylvar and Alastair to finish their drinks, noticing a rather unique tent. Inside were even more unique items. For minutes they browsed until suddenly… it all fell apart. Avius was standing alone in the tent of much less interesting items.
Daemon, Temperance, and Val’riel fell through space and time, galaxies of stars and planets wooshing past them. Suddenly and inexplicably, the party came to a screeching halt, and they found themselves laying belly-down on the rug they were standing on inside the tent. When they stood up, they were inside a cavern with only a single door at the end of it. Daemon, of course, marched up first to the door. When they opened it, he passed through a magical barrier removing any effects the alcohol had on him, as well as seemingly removing his connection to Zamarznac. Inside, he came face to face with Mungo, who rushed up to hug him. Temperance and Val’riel followed suit, Val losing her permanent polymorph, and Temperance losing any effects of the alcohol. They all embraced for a few moments, happy to see one another.
Finally, though, the plinth in the center of the room quaked to life, and a disembodied mouth floated above it, talking. It talked them through the process, and asked for a volunteer. Mungo stepped up and without a second word, a metallic tendril impaled Mungo, killing him instantly. His body was pulled into a compartment under the floor. The remaining party members nearly fell to pieces, but followed the commands of the mouth, finally leaving the room to meet the caretaker. As they left the room, Mungo came out again. “Hey, guys!” was all he said. The party was in the Grande Temple of Jiang, and this was the first of many tricks. As the self-proclaimed leader, Daemon was given an amulet that would hold the necessary tasks for the party to overcome. Along with it was given a poem.
The party finally left, and found themselves surrounded by people who had been here for days, weeks, or even years. One such woman begged for help from the party.
They ventured forward, into the Grande Temple, into long hallways, and tall staircases. They made their way to the twenty-first level — or was it the forty-third? — and met a Kobold cleaner by the name of Boluu. Boluu told them of his King, Lickabutt XVIII, and of their purpose.
With all this information overload, the party made camp for a night in the forest level, hoping to find some sort of resolution to this chaos, whatever it may be.
The party awoke the next morning with the sound of the animals of the forest rising with the sun. They made a fire and roasted potatoes, while Temperance hunted down a pair of rabbits for breakfast — though her desire was clearly to eat squirrel-bats. They cooked and discussed their plans for departure, and then made their way back down the grueling staircase. Floor after floor they descended, finally returning to the main floor that they came in on. There, they were fortunate and excited to find both Sylvar and Alastair standing and waiting, having been looking for them, by their reckoning, three whole days in the outer world before coming into the Grande Temple of Jiang.
Now resolute in their plan, they set out to search the seemingly endless halls and tunnels. In their search, they first came to a Minotaur. They tried to stop and have a conversation, only to be attacked. Frustrated at taking a life, but knowingly doing so, they pressed on. Their next finding was a room full of Duergar and a Drow Elite. At first, they fought, having been jumped by the group, but managed to turn it around and into a simple conversation. They agreed to come back and save them, and Mungo gave them some of the potatoes he had left.
Then, ever onward and upward — or downward — or laterally — through the Temple. They surpassed puzzles needing fire and horns, and a room with a returning Minotaur, only to find themselves exhausted after fighting the Minotaur three separate times. At the end of the fight, they went back south and found themselves going north — another one of Jiang’s tricks. Exhausted, dismayed, and distraught, they collapsed and had a short rest in the tunnel outside of the Minotaur’s domain. They tended to wounds, ate a quick snack, and gathered themselves up to continue. This time, they found a staircase.
Down they went. When the stairs ended, they found themselves faced with a door. Another door. They opened it, and beyond it sat the gem of a city: Jingtown, nestled in the caverns below the Temple. Into the city they went, being greeted by Hadren, the owner of the General Store, who had been in The Grande Temple for ten years — and by the party’s reckoning, he had been away from the surface for anywhere between twenty and forty years. Dread set further in.
Being the good man he was, Hadren led the party to the Adventurer’s Inn, a tavern owned by the Tabaxi Adventurer: Jenbourn, and his good friend Bandre. Jenbourn set them up with a nice penthouse room on the fourth floor, where the glass ceiling allowed our exhausted heroes to look up and see a ceiling covered in luminescent mushrooms. Hopefully, rest would come to the weary.
The party rose the next morning and settled into a table in the tavern, focused first on filling their empty bellies, and second, making a plan to get out of Jiang’s Grande Temple. As the food was laid out before them, an older gentleman rushed into the bar and sat down. “Excuse me?” He asked. “Are you the new arrivals. The adventurers?” He wrung his hands nervously and sat down at their table after they confirmed. He asked if they had seen a group of soldiers in the dungeon, ten or twenty men and women.
No sooner did the man make his request did his son come marching through the door; a young reptilian humanoid, not too far removed, and yet entirely different from a Dragonborn. His name was Hissk. He introduced himself to the party, eventually being taken in as a guide for the party. He leads them to the general store after treating them to breakfast, then leads them to the Chapel of Jiang in Jiangtown.
After a brief conversation about the way to fill the amulet’s gems, Mungo decided he was going for it. He ran and he jumped onto the offering plinth, disappearing as if he were an offering himself. Then, Sylvar followed. Then Temperance. Eventually the whole party and the Cleric of Jiang was thrown in. The group of adventurers fell through time and space, into galaxies and through stars.
Finally they came to a landing in the midst of what appeared to be a vast vault, coins stacked twenty feet into the air. Great swords, pieces of art, and entire statues made of gold. They walked toward a throne they saw in the distance, which, too, was made of gold. Sitting across the arms of the chair was the god Jiang, who turned to look at the party. After a great deal of conversation, persuasion, and contemplation, the party convinced Jiang to a deal. Jiang spends fifty years as a mortal halfling, and the party has twenty years to complete their trial. If they do, they get all the wealth in the trickster god’s vault. Once the deal was struck, he teleported them back to the place they left in his dungeon… four months later. And on the outside, it had been a solar year.
After a bit of discussion, Daemon and Mungo fought, believing it to be one of the gems on the medallion. Indeed, after Daemon knocked Mungo unconscious, the gem lit up. The party then returned to Hissk’s house, where they had to explain to his sister and father that he wasn’t dead. They found comfortable places to rest, and slept.
Recovering from his wounds, Mungo awoke shortly after everyone else the following day. Their morning was spent enjoying a nice meal together, and then setting off to speak with King Lickabutt XXIII, the leader of the Lickspit Kobold tribe. Thanks to their guide, Hissk, they found their way quickly, and were confronted with
Bobo Bablu, their Kobold Cleaner and Slime Wrangler friend from the first night they were there.
The interaction with Bablu was short, at first, with the little Kobold telling them that he was almost positive that King Lickabutt was hiding money from Jiang, instead of donating it. The party changed course to discover the truth behind that, and then see if they could get some information on how to escape the hell that was the Grande Temple of Jiang.
After being invited to be guests of Lickabutt, for the rights of the recruits to become Slime Wranglers like Bablu, they ended up having several discussion with the King; one ended up being a negotiation between Mungo and Lickabutt, that turned into the challenge of combat.
After quickly taking a beating, and then dishing out his own level of butt-kickery, it was discovered that King Lickabutt was a pure descendant of the Dragonspawn, and held the power of a dragon’s heart in his hand, allowing him to cast vicious spells, far above his own personal ability. Mungo stood down, lest he get innocent people injured, and allowed Daemon to step between them. Frustrated, he almost left, but reconsidered after determining that Bablu had more to tell them. He drug the little Kobold back to discuss things with the party. It was then that they came together to form a plan, and it involved a little trickery, and a lot of bowel movements.
Hissk pointed the party toward a mushroom that grows native in the caverns that acts as a natural laxative. When mixed into a potion by an alchemist, it becomes a salve to open the bowels. And so it was. Brewed into a potion by the hands of Daemon, and then given to the King, he proceeded to violently expel his bowels for hours upon hours, then unable to fulfill his duties as King. He left the top of his Ziggurat, his guards eventually joining him. Meanwhile, Alastair and Sylvar snuck below to make off with some of his wealth. At the same time, Val’riel used the Kobold’s attraction to her to distract them, as well.
After giving the potion to two more Kobolds, who also proceeded to violently expel their bowels, Sylvar and Alastair escaped with a lot of platinum and gold in their bags. All the while this was happening, Hissk had baited a Bulette into pursuing him back to the home of the Kobolds. Daemon considered leaving the Kobolds to deal with the Bulette on their own, but Mungo convinced him otherwise after watching the little dragonkin be squished under foot and chomped in half. A tired-from-fighting-the-king Mungo gave the rest of what he had to defeat the Bulette, weakened by Alastair, and then collapsed as his ki ran out.
Daemon carried Mungo back to rest, and noticed as Sylvar and Alastair returned to them, that two more of the gems on the medallion had illuminated, leaving only two more spots to go: the largest of the stones, and the farthest right. Mungo meditated, reaching out with success to the dragon god Zentragos, who left him with a definition of the poem and a foreboding warning.
Finally, after they rested, they contemplated their next steps over dinner. Daemon, having been told of Mungo’s revelations from Zentragos, considered several dark and fateful passes of action, one of those was slaying Hissk’s family. Convinced by the ever-benedictine Mungo, these words turned Daemon’s mind: “…we use our favor to save everyone, except the ones we stepped on to get there.” Daemon relented, and considered other options. As it would be, other options worked sufficiently, because they took the troves of gold and platinum they recovered from King Lickabutt and placed them on Jiang’s plinth in his church, in Jiangtown. As all the coins filled Jiang’s coffers in offerings, the largest stone lit up.
Now, only one more stone remained. Determined that it was either going to be “Make a Personal Sacrifice” or “Lose Everything” the party set out on several excursions to try to fulfill the prerequisites. One such excursion led them into the lair of a sleeping Tarrasque. They managed to release the creature, and scuttled back to Jiangtown to make sure it was okay. In a moment of ingenuity, they tried to use the Efreeti they received from their quests in Meyorne. The efreeti did manage to relocate the Tarrasque by using a Plinth to warp the Tarrasque into Jiang’s inner sanctum.
Finally, Mungo decided he would give something a shot. He knelt in the garden area of Hissk’s home, and there he lost everything — from a certain point of view. He relinquished his bond with Zentragos, losing his Dragon Monk abilities, and a great deal of his prowess and energy manipulation as a monk. In that moment, everything fell away, leaving the party standing in a stark white area. Before long, the party found themselves standing in the realm of Jiang, being chased by the Tarrasque. Fortunately, for them, Jiang appeared and froze the Tarrasque in place. “And I was just beginning to enjoy the mortal world,” he said.
The party was finally teleported back into a cavern. When they reached the surface world, they opened a cellar door to step out into a green area. Using his abilities as a Ranger, Alastair felt and checked the soil, determining they were between the cities of Lisburg and Meyorne, south of the forests of south Mydlan. Temperance, ever in touch with nature, pressed her hand against the bark of the tree nearby and closed her eyes. With tears welling in her eyes and horror on her face, she turned to face the rest of the group. “Someone is doing something awful to the forests. This is terrible.”
Indeed, they were. When the party moved through the forests to the other side, the peered from atop the hill, down onto the mighty city of Mydlan, now under the control of the Holy Tylaen Empire. Hanging from the Adventurer’s Guild Tower were six large banners, blowing in the breeze, bearing the imperial sigil. Surrounding the city, many of the small woods and forests were being cleared back, burned, and made into siege weapons for the empire. Gathering her senses, Temperance shifted into a crow, and flew into the city to survey the surroundings, and search for Janna Dovins, known to our party as “Nana”. Tragically, there was no sight of Nana, except for a young kitten whose collar had a name tag on it reading “Daemon.”
On her flight back to the party, carrying the kitten in her talons (after she transformed into a Hawk), she saw a golden dragonborn running toward the party at full speed. When she got back, she shifted back into her Tiefling form and gave Daemon the kitten to Daemon the Tabaxi. She told the party that she had seen no sign of Nana for quite some time, and then told them of the dragonborn.
Effectively hiding, they waited patiently, and when the dragonborn reached the top of the hill, Daemon sprung on him, claws at his neck. Introductions made them realize they were on the same team after a bit of discussion, and they determined themselves to travel together. The dragonborn’s name was Yoshin, and he was a former cleric of Gazentros, turned Cleric of Zentragos. Zentragos, the dragon god of order, led him to find the party, and guide them to Mungo’s monastery in Zhaeviga. The armies of the Empire were trying to find their way across, but could not so far. Temperance knew someone that could help.
Through the night and into the next day, and up to sunset, the party arrived to make camp just outside the forests of Iristraea, Temperance’s home as a child. She shifted into her favoured form — that of a dire wolf — and howled to call for them. When none came, she returned to camp.
Yoshin told them of what had happened in the two years that had been gone, stuck in the Grande Temple of Jiang. The Empire marched south, conquering everything in their sight roughly six months before, spending almost a years gathering at the border, and sailing south. They were killing magic users by the dozens, and generally executing anyone who disagreed with their mindset. Yoshin held a deep regret for his allegiance. Then, everyone went to sleep.
In the night, while Sylvar watched, he quickly found them all surrounded by dozens of eyes, seemingly suspended in the dark night. He commanded his friends to wake up, but only to discover that the Canis Pulchrae found them. The Archdruid Anbreas introduced herself to everyone, embraced her adopted daughter and pupil, Temperance, and led them all into the circle home in the center of the forest. There, they got the best sleep of their lives.
The next morning, the travelers were treated to a delicious breakfast, and then gathered their items to make for the mountain pass. Temperance considered staying, but Archdruid Anbreas assured her she was on the path she was supposed to be on, doing exactly what she was supposed to do. Emotionally, Temperance joined her friends, and left for Kamara, the farthest city in the east of Domen, and the border city on the Zhaevigan Desert.
Their trip took them all day, arriving in Kamara at night. As soon as they reached the city gates, they were badgered by Tabaxi merchants who Daemon tried to dodge — only to have his party ask them questions. One merchant managed to sell the party on the great silver bell of Adjucar the Great. And then Adjudicar… and then Cardijude. A second Tabaxi sold a deck of many things to Sylvar. That is, a deck with pictures of many things.
Comically frustrated, the party pushed into town, catching a conversation of another Tabaxi who said that they she had sold information to three dragonborn soldier scouts; information on how to get the Monastery of the Dragon Monks. Overhearing this, Daemon confronted the girl and her two friends. Using his imposing demeanor, he scared the first two off, and then managed to convince her to take the party to her brother, who runs the trading caravans into the desert. After a short bit of convincing… and gold… the party rented camels, Temperance turned into one, and they rode off through the night to the Monastery.
Upon arriving at his old home, Mungo was filled with excitement and fear, but he spied the camels tied up at the entrance path. Just as soon as he hopped down to head up, the three dragonborn came down, charging at them. When they all moved to attack, the dragonborn passed between them, and ran in fear out into the desert.
Fearing the worst, Mungo rushed inside.
When he got to the top, his fears were realized. Dreck, the young boy who he had fought years ago, died in his arms. The horrible destruction was wrought by one horrible force, and Mungo had seen it play out in his dreams before. He rushed to the pool at the center of the monastery, a natural place forming an oasis. Standing there in the water was a black armored figure that the whole party knew as… Zamarznac. Zamarznac made sure to tell Mungo that the old man didn’t know that Mungo had let him die. Before he would allow anyone to even attempt to fight him, he did something that caused the bright blue pool of water to turn an inky, staining black. The rod that Zamarznac carried poisoned it with evil. Then in an instant, he called upon his top general, and left through a portal.
What happened next was perhaps the most grueling, ruthless, and unforgiving fight that the party had ever experienced. Mungo fell to the Balor general, Makanov. Hissk fell next. And when things looked their most bleak, Daemon, who had been locked into place by the dark powers of Zamarznac, pleaded for the Demon prince, with tears in his eyes.
Suddenly the battle stopped, and Daemon begged for Zamarznac to release his friends, bring them back to life, and let them live. And in exchange for this, Zamarznac could hold his oath fulfilled, and have Daemon’s soul.
Mungo and Hissk returned to life, and the others rejuvenated some. They were left in the Monastery, broken mentally, physically, and spiritually. In that moment, they vowed to find Daemon, even if that meant going to the Abyss.
With the aid of his friends, Mungo dug nineteen graves, and set up nine pyres to properly send the Dragon Monks into the afterlife. With one final flame from Val’riel, Mungo lit Omori’s pyre, and walked away. The party explored the monastery, investigating the monastery proper, searching for details or beneficial items. After going through Omori’s room, he found a crate with a gi, a medallion intended for himself, magical handwraps, and several pieces of parchment with detailed information on them. On top of the items in the crate, he also found a note that read: “The day you left, I wanted to impart with you what lies beneath, but your departure was an event I was outvoted on. If you’re reading this note, instead of talking to me, it means that I have passed on. A vision came to me that showed me my death, so I can only assume that will come sooner rather than later. For that, I am sorry. If my vision is true, then you will be the last of us. I regret that I was not able to impart your official rank upon you, Mungo. But, a master you will be. I don’t know the extent of Mraz’s destruction, but know that you are on the track of your destiny, and Zenlong will be with you. Go below the Oak. Drem Zenlong.”
The information that Mungo found the most interesting was a lead to a great tree at the oasis in the monastery. Upon his inspection, he examined the mighty oak that stood next to the oasis. On its bark, it said a word in a language he couldn’t understand. Calling for Temperance, he showed her the word. After a bit of searching and thinking, she had the forethought to place her hand on the tree and utter the word inscribed, changing the mighty tree into a staff in her hand, and also revealing a staircase below it.
One by one the party went down, eventually ending up in a vast cavern, appearing empty. In the darkness, though, finally, as lights came on. They saw the visage of a gigantic dragon in the pool of water. When Mungo stepped up to him, he felt a warming in his chest and heard a familiar voice. “Mid-Kendov. Time is short. The skies darken, but the sun is not gone. Cherish your friends. Trust your heart. Your destiny awaits you.” And the great appearance of Zentragos, the god of order, appeared to perish right in front of him.
Saddened and renewed by all that he had seen, he and his friends were determined to leave and get away. Just as they were about to leave, three armored Dragonborn entered the monastery compound. As the party prepared to fight, the center dragonborn turned on his fellow soldiers, and slew them where they stood. Then, upon removing his helmet, revealed himself to be none other than Tal’ik Un’grobin.
As events changed, and it was revealed that the Empire was razing their way through the forests of Iristraea on the way to the monastery. The party turned to flee.
Their path led them out into the vast and nearly endless desert of Zhaeviga. After a run in with scorpions, and the blistering sand and wind of a sandstorm, the party settled into a magical bubble summoned by Val’riel, where they camped for the night.
The next day brought more surprises, as they tend to do. With the morning came the suddenness of near-death. A massive stone column swung overhead, nearly killing them where they slept. Barely able to dodge the collapsing column, they threw themselves to the side, some of their gear being crushed by the column. As it were, the column was actually the gigantic leg of an earth elemental whose size was so gargantuan, that he was literally a living mountain. By the time they were able to gather themselves together, they found themselves surrounded by a cadre of guards who demanded their immediate surrender.
Doing completely the unexpected, the party surrendered, at the urging of Sylvar who had been contacted by his goddess, Ahkasa.
The party was led to holding cells after having surrendered all their weapons and were forced to wait on the Shah. In the cells, they discussed their options. After they visited with the Shah, who explained the difficulty of his decision of whether to turn the party over to the Empire, release them, or perhaps keep them forever, he placed antimagic binders on their necks and invited them to his ball later that day.
Sylvar, explained his predicament, and they found time to visit a local tavern where Hisssk had spotted a strangely obvious Gnoll in noble attire. Even more surprising, when they were inside, they found the god Jiang, at a table, hiding as a mortal. Mungo sat down at the table and pleaded with the god, trying to reclaim his favor — Daemon’s favor. This, of course, wasn’t going to happen. Jiang explained in every way that he could that that just wasn’t the way it worked, and they soon separated having half-cashed in the favor by deactivating the magic of the neck binder and giving them some items of assistance.
Then, after heading into the ball, it was time to make action happen.
At the ball, the party convened their best, and Mungo told the party that they needed to just “wait for the signal,” though they had no idea what the signal was. With that, Mungo flew off into the crowd to find the Shah. At the same time, Sylvar and Tal’ik were searching for the Shah.
Caught up in the crowd, Sylvar saw the Shah head into the back. After an attempt to garner attention from the gaurds, Tal’ik retreated to the crowd. Haphazardly — rather, accidentally — working together, Sylvar used his stealth and finesse to trip up the crowd, and grab the guards attention as a fight broke out. The one remaining guard at the door stood guard, looking warily from side to side, trying to determine what exactly was happening.
In a moment of clarity, Tal’ik approached the guard, looking drunk. His near flawless performance landed him within feet of the guard, and then, with a “trick” he made a spear appear in his hands, and in the guards face. A quick-moving Mungo managed to get behind the guard in just enough time to catch and lower him to the ground, even keeping his pike from hitting the ground.
Then, as the party gathered together at the door, they drug the body inside the door. With a bit of convincing, another guard hesitantly believed Mungo’s comments about a fight breaking out in the crowd. Then, as soon as he left, Mungo slammed the door, using the pike to brace the door in addition with an intricately tied rope — and a thanks to Brin.
Then the party set off down the straight forward path, leading them into the back of the palace. There, with a bit of lockpicking, they broke into the treasury. Unaware of what was ahead of them, the party ended up finding not only the Shah, but a magic carpet who also brought them a bag of beans. Though the carpet originally gave them to Val’riel, they seemed to end up with Tal’ik. Then, in the midst of it all, Sylvar made his attack, hitting the Shah with a poisoned dagger. In the moment, he turned and ran, making a break for it. As the poison began working, he lost his true form, suddenly looking more like an obsidian dog than a person. “She sent you, didn’t she?” He called out.
While Sylvar, Temperance, and Val’riel pursued the Shah, Mungo and Tal’ik engaged a new enemy. Suddenly, from the shadows, a monstrous Leonin with glowing blue eyes appeared in front of them. The fight was vicious, and as it continued to quicken in pace, Sylvar landed the final blow to the Shah and broke the crown of domination, used to subjugate the Leonin, named Hroarthgar. Too, he picked up a beautifully articulated blade in the shape of a sharp triangle, one part of a set — strangely, he could feel the second blade singing to him from another location, far away. Unsure of what to do with himself, he joined the party to flee with them.
Once left behind in the party, Hisssk had not been dormant. He spent his time crafting molotov cocktails out of expensive liquors on the table. Then, when the time was right, Hisssk made his way across the ballroom and flung the bottles — lit on candles — into a group of guards trying to break into the back of the palace. He wore a big toothy grin the entire time.
The flaming bottles did extensive damage to the guards, and only The Rhino was able to break through headed to the back. Hisssk, however, landed a spell of Hold Person on The Rhino, and then carried the locked up guard captain into the fray, following a second group of soldiers into the back halls.
Guards piled up at the doors, stacking up on it, waiting to go in. Unknown to the party, Mungo opens the door, only to be face to face with several guards. Mungo slammed the door right back. He quickly put distance between him and the guards, and after a standoff with the guards and a bit of extensive hand waving and nodding, he pulled off his necklace of fireball and chucked it into the crowd of guards. With multiple fireball detonations, every single one of the fifteen guards were suddenly incinerated in the explosion. Using his powers to benefit the party, Hroarthgar stepped up and cast a spell to instantly cool the air, rendering it harmless to the party.
Then, as the fray calmed, Val’riel was contacted by Rykkar — a response to her previous request. He insisted that they go outside. In the chaos of the moment, seeing more guards and Dragonborn soldiers pour into the palace, the party moved up the side staircases, to the top, where they found themselves on the balcony. “Go across!” Rykkar demanded, resounding in Val’riel’s head. Relaying the message, they used their magic carpet one by one to go across the gap to the roof on the other side.
Suffering minor injuries, Sylvar managed to hold back much of the crowd in the staircase. Then, after barely missing an attack from an adult red dragon whose flames scoured the tops of the buildings, portals began appearing, bringing forward the faces of friends. Amidst the flames and flying arrows, Avius, Ander, Harding, and Rykkar held off the approaching forces. “Go, go!” He shouted. Spells, and arrows flew through the air, whizzing and finding purchase in the scales of enemy dragonborns, some destroying them in single blows. Rykkar slammed his shield into the ground, bringing up a glowing defense, just in time to fork the next blast of fire from the dragon. As soon as the party was safe, including their new friend, he went in behind them.
They found themselves suddenly in Caldune, surrounded by friendly Dwarven faces. A brief introduction, a trip to the tavern, and some ales and rest left them ready to discuss the future.
At the dawning of the next day — maybe, time is hard to follow underground — the group one by one came down to the tavern floor for breakfast. They discussed, at great length, their intentions to go into the Abyss and collect Daemon, whatever the cost. It was mentioned more than once just how dangerous of a journey it could be, but it was a risk they agreed they must take.
Firmly against the concept, Tal’ik showed a bit of his simmering aggression when his group left him alone for a while, by throwing the table aside, spilling thee plates, foods, and cups on its surface.
The rest of the group made their way around the city, trying their best to get items needed for their journey, but finding it all a bit scarce. Finally, having collected a bit, they rendezvoused at the tavern one more time before headed into the Deep Tunnels, aided by Scout Harding, whose presence there would act as a guide.
Hours into their underground departure, they found themselves standing at the gates of the city of Misra, the first Drow city, and trade hub between the Underdark and the surface world. Here, many dwarves, duergar, and drow mingled. There, they set about finding out information. It was an arduous task, but the got a name: Taemin Faelyndiira, and she was the leader of these Free Folk. Now the party had to get an audience, but they had no idea what was in store for them…
After a bit of discussion with a guard at the gate, a concerned Captain Miggard approached. The older man was a stoic-faced Duergar with eyes that glowed an amber red. After assessing the situation, and taking the team inside to better ascertain their purpose and story, he provided Scout Harding with a map to get them where they needed to go: a scout camp further into the Underdark.
So, down they went into the dark and cool of the belly of he Underdark. After a long enough journey, they encountered a Drow woman, who quickly turned, blade drawn, fearful that her life was about to end. In fact, it had just been saved. By the party’s arrival, a Fomorian who was about to kill her instead left and ran off into the tunnels. Offering a bit of healing first, and a heartwarming introduction, identifying Taemin Faelyndiira as the sister of Sylvar, the party pursued the monster who had harmed her, with Mungo leading the charge. A short exchange of combat later, and the monster lay dying on the cold stone floor. Taemin explained that this was just one of the many trials that lay ahead of them if they pursue, but that their leader, a Fomorian warlord by the name of Iglometh must be slain if the Drow and Duergar are to cease being kidnapped. So, on they went.
Their descent led them into even cooler, stale, musty air. They fought off mutant experiments of Iglometh, and worse yet, more of the putrid Fomorians. In the last engagement, however, Mungo was cursed with a magical deformity akin to the appearance of the Fomorians, rendering him half the halfling he should be. Now, they rest roughly one-hundred feet away from the entrance to Iglometh’s lair, ready to strike.
A quick rest, an hour or so, spent regaining their strength and energy, and the party was ready to move forward. Taemin set first, moving through the large corridor, until she reached a large door. Here, Hisssk took the lead, and stepped forward. Pulling lightly on the door handle, it swung open triggering a trap. In the blink of an eye, a bright green warding rune flashed on the door, igniting a splash of sticky-green acid, that pelted and injured the party. Gathering their wits, they peered in, nauseated by the pungent odor of rotting flesh. Content with what they saw, then pushed into the room. Now with a better view, the party was able to see several corpses, laying around, in various stages of dissection and decay. In the midst of them sat a white-skinned woman with stark red hair, unbeknownst to the party, the Shadar-Kai envoy prepared to slay them.
After a brief vocal interaction, very brief thanks to Tal’ik’s spear chuck, combat ensued. Blade to blade, and stinger to chest, the Shadar Kai fell, but not before harming some of the party members.
Tal’ik discovered a still-living captive, held against her will against the far side of the room. He checked her pulse, and Taemin and Mungo released her. Turns out that Elzie, one of the Clerics of Alanaea in the city of Misra had survived her capture. Their uniting was short, as the sound of Iglometh’s rage filled the chamber, and three corpses reanimated, mutated, and attacked the party. One by one, they fell, and exploded a sticky green acidic ichor, splattering party members and items.
Once they felled the mutants, Taemin rushed into Iglometh’s chamber, followed closely by the rest of the party. In a long, drawn out fight of wits and strength, Iglometh delivered blow by blow, but in the end, he took more than he gave. Taemin was knocked aside, unconscious and paralyzed. Tal’ik, too, fell into a state of unconsciousness, and was saved by their new addition, Elzie.
Thinking they were done with their encounter, footsteps came running down the corridor. To their fortune, it was the scouts of Misra, coming as backup. They recovered and stabilized Taemin to something to aid with her now-unmoving legs. Meanwhile, the party set about searching the room. In their search, Hisssk found a container of Pixies; Tal’ik found a Seeing Skull Necklace; Temperance found a druidcraft bag; Mungo found potions he left behind; and Sylvar found not only the mate to his dagger, folded in a piece of black leather, but also a unique skull. Picking the skull up, he heard a voice in his mind, suddenly, identifying itself as Archibald.
Having discovered that the interior of her bag was in fact a pocket dimension, the party decided to stay inside of there. Casting Tiny Hut for outer protection, and leaving their bag of holding outside to prevent any… unnecessary complications… the party went into the warm and temperate herbal greenhouse that was the inside of Temperance’s herb garden bag.
Before slipping into the comfortable confines of their new portable camp, Sylvar made a promise to Taemin to return. A promise, she reminded Sylvar, that their parents didn’t keep.
Having risen early, Mungo climbed out of their new home away from home inside the pocket portal herb-garden that was in Temperance’s new Druid bag. After getting their morning together, and making their way outside, they — with the help of Archibald — discovered that the black gate was across the underground lake whose shores they stood upon. After a bit of discussion, the party loaded up in the boat they found on the shore. Much to Mungo’s chagrin, he pushed them across the water with his water-running ability. But that was not for long.
As he ran, he disturbed the water’s surface, and from deep below came an Aboleth, seemingly aided by mysterious creatures known only as Cloakers. After an intense fight across the water, and barely making it to the other side with the boat and themselves in one piece after some quick thinking by Val’riel’s animate object, driving the boat on its own, Elzie’s Light and Beacon, and Temperance’s call lightning, albeit a bit bruised and beaten.
With Archibald’s help, the party managed to activate the portal and climb in, sending them into the deep, colorless Shadowfell. Arriving there, they discovered the massive plane of existence to be nothing more than a ghastly, desiccated mirror image of the prime material plane. And when they arrived, after naught but a short ways of walking the party found themselves hiding not only from a monstrous being, towering above the tree, but a Shadow Dragon, whose perch was atop the massive tower. Doing what Mungo does best, he took his party, who was hiding out inside the bag, and flew the magic carpet into the top room at the balcony. Inside, he came face to face with an Adult Red Dragon. His party quickly tumbled out of the bag, and drew arms.
Their exchange, though likely seeded in fear, became one of gift giving, as Mungo handed over Archibald to the dragon — better known as Lord Thanatal. Then, having hoped they would be allowed to escape, were invited to a dinner table with the Lord. Not having it, a hidden Ander, in the polymorphed form of a rat, leapt from the bag and ran into the room they had just been in. There, he changed back, flung a spell at the Lord, and smashed the skull of Archibald, and fled with everyone else on the back of the carpet.
Then, the party found respite for the night at the base of a tree in a lifeless forest, a ways down the river. Tucked there, under the Tiny Hut, and inside Temperance’s bag, the party sought sleep.
Waking up brought them into a world, barely perceptible in the dark, where they found themselves lost in a forest of unspeakable horrors. Little by little, the party tried to find their way around, only to be stopped by dolls each time. At first, they appeared to be only nine dolls, made of sticks and dressed in haughtily knitted burlap. Next, they were cleaned up, with no strings or leaves visible. Then, they had skin. Then their clothes matched.
More often, they looked more and more like the party until finally Mungo saw a group of dolls that looked exactly like his friends. Much to his chagrin, the doll that favored Tal’ik shoved Mungo’s doll off of a limb with a rope around his neck. Soon, Tal’ik witnessed a version of his doll being stabbed in the back by a doll resembling Sylvar.
As tensions peaked, the party heard awful cries from the forests, and before long found themselves face to face with an unspeakable monster. After destroying it, they found a young woman who appeared lost. Taken by their need to protect, they brought the woman into the fold and offered her safety and respite. There, she revealed her true nature as the woman-turned-hag, and Temperance’s mother. Battle ensued.
After a long, drawn out engagement, the party found themselves victorious, but hurt. They nursed their wounds, and allowed Ander and Temperance to fly the magic carpet off to their next location.
Not long after waking up, the party found themselves ready to descend into Pandemonium. For what felt like hours, the party descended on the flying carpet, watching the stone walls change from simple stone to the horrid faces of tortured souls, then back to stone. Finally, they arrived in the darkness of Pandemonium, wrought with relentless winds that whipped their hair and clothes, and left them shaken and battered.
Hours in the onslaught, they were approached by an old man wearing tattered clothes, ripped and shredded. He was aloof to his true identity, but it was discovered shortly that it was Daemon’s former master. The old man led them forward into the layer of Padesmos, and against the foray of wind. For what seemed like nearly an eternity, they wandered forward before coming face to face with a winged demon. In several quick movements, they dispatched the creature, and pressed forward again, only to run into the horrors of a creature called a Cerebrilith. The monster tangoed with the party, dealing out deep wounds, and threatening to break their minds. All in all, the party prevailed, as usual.
It was a brief period of time later that they came upon the boatman, Charon. The shadowy figure was the entity responsible for ferrying the dead — and at great cost, the living — down the river Styx, and into the Abyss, where they now sought to go. After solving a riddle and paying a large fee, the party climbed aboard the ship for a two day sail to the shores of Avernus and Ontemus, the opposing sides of the Nine Hells and the Abyss.
Emerging from the cavernous expanse of Pandesmos and into the crossover of the Nine Hells, the Abyss, and Pandemonium, the boat of the damned cruised against the tar black water of the Styx. Our heroes watched as the Blood War, a millenia-old war was being fought right in front of their eyes. “Leap now, or forever pay the price,” the boatman said. Moving with time of the essence, the party all leapt, lurching for the shore. All but Tal’ik made it. The barest side of his foot touched the water, and all in an instant, a myriad of memories flooded his mind. Rather than face this truth outright, he retreated to the druidic bag upon Temperance’s back.
The party went on, using the stealth of Temperance’s Pass Without Trace spell to their advantage. Luckily, it helped them make it all the way through to the first portal completely unnoticed by any demonic forces.
With a bit of ingenuity, Temperance and Mungo jumped into the portal on their own, with a fly spell cast on them. As they emerged from the other side, trying to get a bearing on their location, they found themselves in the near-endless sea layer of the Endless Burning Sea. Just slightly before running out of their time flying — easily offset by Temperance’s ability to fly — Mungo and Temperance came to a rest on a horrific screaming island made of black glass. Once there, the whole party climbed out of the bag and made their way into the middle of the abandoned town that sat at the center of the black glass island.
Almost there, and they found themselves in the shadows of Harvat, the demon queen of Harpies, a three headed entity of pure evil. She could detect the good hearts of several of the party and had them step forward as they attempted to hide. After a discussion regarding their reason for trespassing there, they were allowed to leave, passing by the magical green fountain, and leaving through the next portal.
Upon peering inside, they discovered that the next layer of the abyss was — or seemed to be — entirely submerged in ocean. Transforming into a giant octopus, with all of the party in her pack, Temperance dove into the water and made her way to the bottom. Piquing her curiosity, the bulbous towers of a structure made its way into her line of sight. For what seemed like hours she dove down, and down, and down into the murky depths of this realm… the watery realm of Dagon. Once there, she made her way inside. Pushing deeper and deeper, she found herself in the court of Dagon himself. All at once hundreds of eyes opened, and peered at her. With but a conversation, and a tap into her mind, he released her.
Her escape was purely luck, or perhaps divine, that she was allowed to leave the grasp of the ancient one, the primordial, Dagon the Sleeper.
When she surfaced, she found herself in a cavern of a purple-lit layer. The party exited the bag and they determined themselves to push forward, into the endless maze of Baphomet. Unable to rest, stricken with a drive to find their friend, and some pushed to the point of exhaustion, they found themselves facing off against a twenty-foot tall half-cow behemoth.