CROSSINGS

Prodigals
You've been gone so long

It takes a week for Ahl to find our heroes a way home, during which our party gets to work on restoring the church they’ve taken shelter in. Eventually, Ahl explains that he can, in fact, complete a ritual with the help of his friend, Father Coleridge and Bisclavet.

The ritual must be done at the center of town in the summoning circle at the exact hour that the night reaches it’s halfway point between sunset and sunrise. Fighting off the nightly horrors, our heroes manage to complete the ritual and find themselves transported away from the demi-plane of dread. They then find themselves held at spear point by guards adorning the crest of the Free Monastery.

The Speaker of the Monastery, after telling the guards to lower their weapons reveals to our heroes that they have been gone for five years. Shocked, our heroes are unsure how to react but the Speaker leads them to the guest house and tells them to rest. They agree to it and fall into a restless slumber as Sparks runs off to talk to the Speaker. It’s then that they realize that Ahl had not, in fact, returned with them.

With the five year skip, our heroes separate in order to take care of things as well as reorient themselves into their new old world. Raneth returns home to Tyrgaria, Bartok finds himself working with Sparks and Halen finds himself a steady job at a nearby brothel as a musician.

Weeks later, Bartok hears tell from reliable sources that there’s trouble brewing in Tygaria. Alarmed, he seeks out Halen and together the two leave Belebrought behind to reunite with their friend.

It’s a few days travel to Tyrgaria by caravan but they find themselves at the center of town. After some misunderstandings the pair manages to find Raneth. Raneth invites them into her home where they have dinner with her family and the three catch up before embarking on a hunting trip the next day.

Traveling out into a nearby forest by horseback, they arrive in dense forested grove where Raneth’s family Summer house resides. After spending some time relaxing and attempting to hunt and fish, they enter the home only to find that it has been in use. Curious, they begin their investigation, hoping to get to the bottom of this strange circumstance.

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A History of Man
The Major Lift

The party, engaged with the rabid beast, realizes that there is no way of calming it down. Deciding to book a hasty retreat, instead of slaying it, they attempt to run down the hall only for the beast to follow. With their attempt unsuccessful are forced, once again to fight it off.

Luckily, all the noise draws the attention of their friends whom they haven’t seen in quite awhile. Sparks appears at the staircase at the end of the hallway and tells them to flee, Ahl following close behind.

The young warlock casts suggestion successfully and magically influences Bisclavet to leave them be. The party retreats upstairs where Sparks and Ahl lead them to the study. They’ve explain that they’ve been held up in the study for the last few hours while everyone else explored the keep, learning as much as they can from the tomes there.

Barricading the study, both Ahl and Sparks explain that, like the old fortune teller had foretold, the pair were able to find information about the history of the town, the beast, and the mysterious cult that had constructed the summoning circle through Marie’s journals.

Halen, after perusing the journals himself, learns that Marie’s encounters with the beast suggest sentience. That Marie, upon hearing rumors of the beast that murdered the court of Tierkrieger, originally set off as a huntsmaster to slay it but learning of its docile nature, decided upon befriending and learning about it instead. Marie also had some reservations about a group she refers to as a “cult” that had arrived in the village the same time she did and managed to steal some of their research in an attempt to figure out what their goals were. Unfortunately, it seemed that she was unable to and also unable to stop what it was they planned on doing.

Ahl explains that, based on the research that Marie had gathered, that the cult had actually used the beast of Tierkrieger as a convenient excuse. There was a darkness in this town due to the massacre the beast had caused and the cult exploited that darkness in order to create a gateway to another realm. Marie’s death, her sacrifice, was likely the catalyst in the gate’s opening and allowing a great many spirits through. Ahl also postulates that the gate opening has shifted the town into another plane – the demiplane of dread.

The rest of the party, with this in mind, decide to head to bed as Ahl continues his research. When they wake, Ahl tells the group that he believes the beast is a man, a werewolf, cursed in his current form and that not only is the beast a man, but the beast is the original baron of the keep.

With this new information in mind, the group, even more hesitant than before to slay Bisclavet, decide to instead seek help from the cleric in town. Together, Raneth,Halen andBartok attempt to sneak out of the keep and return with the cleric in hopes of relieving the baron from his curse.

As they make their way down the hall, Sparks and Ahl barricading the room behind them, they hear a suspicious sound from nearby, deciding not to risk it, Bartok suggest the group go through a hole in the ceiling. After a few attempts, he makes a makeshift grappling hook that allows them to climb up. Unfortunately, the rope breaks part way up as Halen climbs, bringing a wooden banister crashing down on top of him. As the three heave the obstacle off of Halen, they realize that the sound of the crash has attracted a banshee.

Halen, having been freed from the rubble, unfortunately falls to the Banshee’s wail and an intense battle erupts. Partway through the battle, Halen decides to run back towards the study but as he rounds the corner, another Banshee had appeared and he, once again, falls victim to its scream.

As the battle continues, nearly felling all three heroes, Ahl and Sparks, joining the fray after hearing the commotion, the heroes return to the study in an attempt to reassess their plans.

Deciding on an even stealthier approach, Sparks and Bartok decide to trek off to retrieve the cleric themselves, leaving the rest behind. Ahl, who had been a heavy hitter in the battle with the banshees, and having been without sleep for the night, falls asleep, feeling very much unable to do any more without rest.

Bartok and Sparks manage to succeed in their stealth mission, climbing out of the hole in the ceiling successfully this time right as the morning light begins to crest. Together the two head into town, retrieve the cleric after explaining the situation to them and returns to the castle.

Unfortunately, when they return, they discover that Bisclavet has trapped their friends in the study, both sides stalemating as neither can leave nor enter despite their attempts. The cleric explains that he must have physical contact with the beast to attempt his restoration.
Bartok, handing the cleric the holy symbol they had found in the chapel, concocts a plan to draw the beast’s attention and creates a tripwire that they plan on using against the beast.

As he shouts at the beast to get its attention, Halen, having heard the voice of his friends, casts a spell through song that psychically instills fear within the beast, and in its state of fearful rabidness, ignores Bartok and attempts to flee. Bartok, sensing an opportunity, overtakes the beasts’ position and manages to activate his makeshift tripwire. The beast falls and the cleric, with the aid of the holy symbol and through a truly impressive display of diving magic manages to revert the beast into its wolf form. This change seems to calm the beast entirely, all aggression gone.

Bartok, realizing that the beast is now a wolf, attempts to cast a ritual learned from his youth to speak with the beast. In the ensuing ten minutes, the rest of the party joins them. When the ritual is complete, Bartok learns that the beast is indeed the Baron and that the baron had been afflicted with a terrible curse believed to be caused by his guilt of killing his entire court in a blind monstrous rage he does not remember. The guilt, he believes, forced him to remain in monstrous form, unable to shift to wolf or man. The party also learns that despite being unable to shift back into man, that the Baron did in fact, have control over his monstrous form after the night of the massacre and only loses himself in blind rage once again after the death of Marie and that centuries of madness had driven him to do some truly abhorrent things.

The entire party, to the surprise of the Baron, sympathizes with him and the Baron, grateful, vows to see them home and to save his countryman from the evil that started with him. He helps them pick out books and the party heads back into town in hopes of learning more and finding a way back home as well as a way to restore the Baron to his original body.

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Garwalf

Rising from their rest in the oubliette, our heroes find that Ahl has returned to himself. Before they get a chance to really ask him about his friend, a knock on the door has them scrambling for their weapons. Luckily, the mysterious visitor is a harmless familiar old human. Our heroes recognize them as the person that had warned them to run the night before. Suspicious, our heroes wonder why it is that they are offering help now and not the night before.

“I was curious to see if you’d survive the night” They answered.

Still suspicious but lacking any better options, they follow this person into their home where they find a strange altar and a velvet covered table. After asking a few questions, our heroes discover that a curse has stricken this town that has trapped its inhabitants for centuries. People may come but none so far have successfully left. In order to return home, our heroes must find a way to break the curse and to do that, they need access to the only library in town, the one at a nearby keep. Unfortunately, things are rarely so simple. It turns out that the town is riddled with violent entities that have crossed over from the summoning circle and that a beast in the keep is thought to be the origin of the darkness. With this in mind, our heroes intend to set off but not before a strange scrying ritual is performed with hopes that it will guide them in the right direction.

The scrying ritual revealed some information about a “source of light” in town so the heroes head off to the chapel in town in hopes of finding it. There they discover an aged cleric who spends his nights bowed in prayer in hopes of warding off the evils in town. The cleric tells them tales about the town’s history, about a woman named Marie and the beast that hides and terrorizes the town. At the end of the tale, the cleric instructs the heroes to make their way into the chapel at the keep in hopes of finding that source of light.

They make the journey into the keep, the weather worsening as they approach. They are spotted by a pair of gold eyes but luckily avoid any conflict on the way up. As they approach the keep, they discover that it is separated from the cliff they stand upon by a huge chasm. The heroes make their ways across on a drawbridge and after arriving in the courtyard, find that the drawbridge has mysteriously raised, trapping them in the keep.

As they enter the keep, alert in case of danger, our heroes decide to separate to cover more ground. Sparks and Ahl make their ways upwards to the second floor and the rest of the party stays on the ground floor. Traveling east, they find themselves in the chapel, and there they find a holy symbol atop an aged skeleton. Believing this to be the source of light, they continue their exploration.

Moving about the keep, the heroes get into a scuffle with a pair of animated statues but easily do away with the danger before descending underground. There they find the crypts where many marble coffins are housed. The heroes open one, discovering it to be empty, and continue forward without opening more.

They attempt to descend even further but both Bartok and Halen are barred from entry, finding themselves teleported back at the top of the stairs. Luckily, Raneth is able to pass and, as the warning the fortune teller had told her about pride echoes through her mind, is able to retrieve a silver arrow from the coffin that lies there using the holy symbol they had obtained earlier.

Returning to the two men, they take a short rest before exploring the rest of the keep. Unfortunately, as they enter the throne room, all three are caught off guard by the beast.

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Homeward Bound
The Minor Fall

After finding themselves in a tunnel in the hopes of retrieving the Speaker’s scouts, our heroes find themselves in another world altogether. Exiting the way they thought they came in, they find that it is not the monastery or the city of Belebrought that greets them but rather an unforgiving blizzard wrought mountainside. With the help of a local dwarf by the name of Katva, the party manages, after a two day trek, to find a village among the mountains. There they recover from the exhausting and dangerous trek to find themselves lost without a way home.

Luckily, they literally run into a young human man, barely out of his adolescence that claims he can help. After explaining the state of the worlds they live in and that they have found themselves in a godless world, the heroes and new companion trek back up the way they came, intent on summoning a demon or an angel to aid in their quest home.

Unsure of what to do when they arrive back at the cave, the young man’s appearance shifts and alters. A being known only as “friend” has taken over their new companion and convinces them to allow him to take them to the shadowfell where they may find a way home. Instead, the heroes find themselves somewhere else, somewhere none of them know.

There they hear an ominous sound from afar and after knocking on a nearby house door, are told to run. They find shelter in an abandoned and overturned house in a secret cellar where they are attacked by magic armor. In the very small space, they manage to beat it, and find themselves resting for the night, all while they same ominous sound continues to ring in the distance.

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