The Rise of a New World
many sessions later

After a harrowing battle, the mindflayer fails in eating any of our heroes and lays dead at their feet. Our heroes, unable to find the source of the rift decide to continue to follow where they remember the spectral blue chain leading them. They end up wandering out of the tree grove and run into two Tyrgarian soldiers. The soldiers, recognizing Sir Raneth offer to lead them to the fort they were stationed at. The fort welcomes the group and offers them shelter for the night.

In the middle night, our heroes were awoken to sounds of chaos in the fort. Curious, they exit their bunks and find the fort in an emergency state. It is explained that some black ooze army is marching and wreaking havoc across the countryside. Our heroes climb the walls of Fort Bromark and see a large scale battle occurring off in the near distance. Wanting to help, they gear up, and after talking with the officers in charge discover that a seemingly endless supply of black ooze creatures continue to besiege the countryside. Wanting to find the source, our heroes borrow horses and set off in the direction they believed the monsters were coming from.

They find themselves at a wooded area, not too far from where they had fought the mindflayer and lead a charge through a wave of ooze monsters, fighting their way through but not without taking a few hits on the way. As they continue further, they encounter a trio of people. After a short conversation, they surmise that the trio was sent to stall them and they decide to push on through.

There they find an open rift and venture through it. Unfortunately, the otherside cages them in a magical runic circle. A woman on the otherside stands as the guardian and, although not hostile, doesn’t seem to be able to help. After talking to her for some time, they conclude that, while she means no ill intent towards them, something or someone holds her captive and, should our heroes continue any further, she would be forced to attempt to kill them. Still, despite what keeps her from telling them everything she’d like to, she is able to communicate to our heroes, the way out.

Our heroes end up leaving and returning to their native plane. However, when they return, they discover that several hours have passed as now dawn is on the horizon and in the distance, they see a large ancient dragon rapidly approaching.

Sir Raneth recongizes the dragon as the Emperor Yvas. The great dragon leader that protects Wesdrachen. Unfortunately, with the approach of Yvas, so too comes a cracking in the sky. A huge tear that reveals, on the otherside, some place else. There, hoards and hoards of too-far-away-to-be identified things enter Kres as well as two black dragons who make a beeline for Yvas.

The group decide to return to Fort Brommack and find the Fort half demolished. Above them, Yvas fights fiercely with the two slightly smaller but still huge black dragons. Despite this, the Tyrgarian soldiers seem to be making progress pushing back the black ooze creatures.

Our heroes decide to help Yvas and enter the remains of the fort in hopes of readying siege weapons. Unfortunately, Yvvas is wrestled to the ground by the two dragons inside the fort. Our heroes scramble up the parapets and ready the siege weapons.
Unfortunately, the firing of the siege weapons draws the attention of the black dragons which brings an onslaught of acid down onto them, robbing Prince Rayis of his life.

Thankfully, Yvas manages to help save the rest of our heroes by drawing the two dragons away and eventually slaying them as the morning sun rises into the afternoon and the giant tear in the sky repairs itself, almost as if a divine hand had a role in it all.

Battered and defeated, the Riftbusters sought shelter. Raneth, desperate to find out about her home and family, suggests they return to the capital city of Tyrgaria and so our heroes went, carrying the body of Rayis with them.

When they arrive, they find that Tyrgaria is only in marginally better shape than the fort. The city itself does not seem to have any creatures wreaking havoc when they arrive, however, destroyed homes, buildings, and townsmen desperately upending the broken stones in search for survivors amongst the smell of ash and smoke tell them that Tyrgaria did not have an easy night.

They rush to the castle that Raneth grew up in and find that it has been turned into a makeshift hospital/refugee center. There, they find Raneth’s sister Frigelda, leading the relief effort and discover that the members of House Thunder were safe, managing to flee elsewhere but Frigelda stayed, feeling that her leadership was needed in these trying times.

Raneth offers the family crypts as a safe place for Rayis’ body and the group enlists the help of a dragonborn druid named Gendel who had been helping with the relief effort to care for the body. Gendel finds, on Rayis’ body, a letter detailing his last wishes to return his body to his home. Feeling obligated, the group decides to pursue this quest but not before Raneth explains that she feels the need to stay in Tyrgaria now that it’s in peril, however, she has enlisted the help of Boscoe’s grandson Doxy to replace her, explaining that Doxy is making the trek over as they speak.

In the meantime, Frigelda informs the Riftbusters plus Gendel that new intelligence has found what they believe to be the source of the black ooze monsters and asks that they lend their aid. Along with a few scouts, the group sets off.

There they meet a mage being who seems to have some control of the ooze monsters and after ambushing him, do manage to defeat him. Unfortunately he leaves no body behind, just the equipment that is on his person.

Thankfully, with his death, so goes the ooze creatures and the group returns back to House Thunder to help rebuild.

They spend a few days there helping and prepping to return Rayis’ body as they await Doxy’s arrival. There they learn that Tyrgaria was not the only place where tragedy struck. It seems, on the night of the ooze battle, several simultaneous attacks took place in different parts of Cesmaria, including a woman who has taken over Belebrought who calls herself the Blood Queen, a man on the northern side of Tyrgaria named Morg who wreaks havoc on a dragon, an undead army marching around North of them and many more tragedies that leaves at least one city as little more than a crater in the ground.

Still, despite this information, the group, when Doxy arrives, decides to venture northward where Gendel believes there to be a portal to the water plane they could access. However, in order to reach their destination, they must venture through the heart of the Cesmarian region of Wesdrachen where the undead army marches and where Morg apparently patrols. Upon their first day, they are accosted by three young red dragons which they manage to defeat. Seeking shelter, Gendel points them to a secret druid grove, known as the Grove of Life. Upon arrival, they find people already there, having also sought refuge. Most of them are random travelers picked up by a trio of druids protecting them and there they spend the night.

The druids warn the party against the journey as it is dangerous and that they are unlikely to succeed without cost. The party reluctantly decide to leave Rayis’ body in the grove-at least until they can dispatch some of the more immediate threats on their trek to the northern coast.

They spend the night there and in the morning, find themselves face to face with an old friend – Halen, who had traveled in hopes of finding his friends safe. Together they discuss their next course of action.

Eventually, the group decide to scout out the immediate threats-influenced by two young refugee boys asking for their help in finding their parents, hoping to find someone to give them more information on Morg. They run into a goblin and an orc arguing over bodies in a cart. The group manage to question them and decide to sneak into the camp.

Their plan involves having Halen and Bartok bring in Doxy as a sacrifice to Morg’s dragon whilst Racket sneaks around the camp.

They succeed in deceiving the camp as well as Morg himself, who acts quite friendly to Halen and Bartok. Unfortunately for Doxy, as he is a rather unusual looking person, he is singled out as prime material for the dragon.

The group first watches in horror as the dragonlings are released into a small corral where they tear into prisoners before Doxy is marched forward to be sacrificed to the large black dragon that Morg rides.

Morg jumps on his dragon’s back as Doxy is marched forward. Halen decides to turn invisible and follow Doxy close behind in order to hand Doxy his items as he had been stripped upon his arrival at the encampment. Racket, with the bag of devouring in his hand, rushes the corral in an attempt to remove the dragon from the picture.

Unfortunately, this fails and the dragon, begins to fly upward but not before Bartok manages to climb on.

On the dragon’s back, Bartok engages in a short but fierce battle with Morg while his friends look up from down below – managing to blend in with the crowd by tricking the crowd into chanting support for Morg.

Unfortunately, Morg gets the upper hand and right as he is about to slay Bartok, an offer is made which Bartok refuses. Bartok then, with the last of his will and energy, decides to throw himself off the dragon where he falls to the ground.

His friends race towards Bartok’s body and find their friend lifeless.

Distressed and emotional, they end up arguing, and Racket ends up leaving the group to seek out Raneth.

Halen and Doxy end up carrying Bartok’s body back to the grove where they ask the druids if there is anything they could possibly do. The druids inform them that there is a ritual they can attempt but that it is difficult, expensive, and that it would be most successful if those closest to Bartok partake.

They spend the next day gathering supplies for the ritual upon which Raneth arrives with Racket.

More discussions are had before the ritual is attempted and to their relief, it succeeds but not without some changes. Bartok’s body is wrapped in vines and emerges as a full blooded orc.

Now our heroes must decide what is next in their adventure.

Crossing Guards

When they wake the next morning, the group sets off to find a quick way to Daxia, and attempt to enlist the help of the king. Unfortunately, the guards at the front don’t recognize them but they happen to run into the Loreholder who allows the group the usage of the city’s teleportation circle. Unfortunately, there is no teleportation circle that connects from Daxia to Crestridge but there does happen to be one in Ry’rian which is a day or so’s trek to Daxia. Agreeing, the group sets off and finds themselves in Ry’rian.

Since they happen to be in the city, the Riftbusters decide to drop in on Darwin and his group, just to see how they’re doing.

They spend most of the morning and a little into the afternoon catching up and Darwin invites the group to stay for the night, to which they agree, he then tells them to see the city when they get the chance.

The group doesn’t venture very far into the city, instead they spend the rest of the afternoon in Esme’s Garden, a large park district well kept by a druid conclave. Here, protected by the Royal familiy, the druids are known as refugees and operate under a slightly different set of laws that includes the free use of mind altering substances so long as it is done only within the conclave. Because of this, the conclave happens to draw in a lot of tourists and visitors.

The group roams around the conclave and Bartok finds himself having a conversation with someone who happens to be selling many different trinkets. They manage to convince Bartok that he is in need of a special stone and Bartok nearly shells out the 500 gold neccessary before Rayis trades an extraplaner seashell for it.

Rayis, curious, takes a hit of a substance called a “dream walker” and finds himself under the influence for a bit.

Eventually, they return to the castle and have a pleasant conversation and dinner with the rest of their friends before setting off the next morning.

Darwin gives the group several horses for their trek to Daxia and the Riftbusters manage to make it to the city before sundown. When they arrive, they split up with Rayis who heads to the temple first. The group makes their way to Boscoe’s shop, where they run into Halen, called by Boscoe. There Boscoe explains that there may be a permanent way to save Raneth’s parents.

The rifts or gates are powered by a specific ritual. Boscoe believes that if one destroys the runes on the ritual circle of the gate, it could close the rift. He warns, however, that destroying the runes on the other side may lead to being stuck on the other side, unable to return. He advises caution. But destroying the runes aren’t so simple, aside from the fact that these runes may not be receptive to normal magicks or harm, he also adds that in the readings of the journal he is translating there have been mention of creatures, beasts, and entities guarding the rifts. He tells them that they must unchain these guards first above all else.

With this in mind, the group resolves to go to Tyrgaria, although without Halen, who stays behind and with Rayis who rejoins.

Together the group sets off to Tyrgaria which is a few days trek away from Daxia. They go past Ry’rian and continue onwards until they hit the boarder of Tyrgaria. They’re still quite a bit away from the capital city but on the outskirts of Tyrgaria they spot strange goopy humanoid figures but they’re slow and otherwise nonthreatening.

Eventually, they continue on and stop by a guard post who explains that there is a single known rift in Tyrgaria and it happens to be nearby. The weird group creatures are slow and easy to dispatch but they accumulate in the direction of the rift.

The Riftbusters set off in the direction of the rift, spotting more of the group creatures but avoiding them easily. When they reach a more wooded area, they find a tattered clothed boy hiding behind a tree. They attempt to coax him out but he doesn’t speak a word, instead, he points to the metal chain on his leg.

The group attempts to remove the chain which eventually turns into a spectral blue line. When they break the chain, the boy changes, tentacles bursting out of it, he grows a size bigger, naked and purple, and looms over them.

Forged in Stone

Bartok and Racket decide to rest, keeping an eye on Gregory, whom they have bound with rope for his friendly fire. Eventually, Gregory returns to consciousness and after some discussion, the two decide to allow Gregory to walk away safely as well if Gregory agrees to help transport the petrified Raneth, an offer which he accepts. Unfortunately, Raneth’s petrified state proves to be difficult to resolve and so Racket sets off in hopes of finding help instead. In the meantime, Bartok warns Gregory about the bounty on his head and the two work on a cover story and new identity for Gregory to take on in order to avoid this fate.

Racket returns to town safely and finds a temple. There he asks for help and runs into a Triton by the name of Rayis who is eager to help. The head cleric at the temple offers the aid of her alchemist friend who has them gather supplies in order to create a salve for Raneth. With this done, the pair returns to the Raneth and applies the salve. Thankfully, the salve works, and Raneth returns to her previous state.

Eventually, they all return to the surface, during which time Gregory leaves and Rayis decides to stay. The group then discusses their next course of action and resolves to return what they believe to be the Ancestral Mandate they retrieved from the Medusa lair to the Loreholder, who sent them off on this quest. After handing the scroll over, the Loreholder confirms that it is the Mandate and immediately takes the group to King Stormstone.

During the audience with the King, they discuss many things, including an attempt on the Kings life that the King promises to take seriously, a dragon terrorizing the Hinterlands, and the reunification of his kingdom.

After their audience, they are escorted out of the castle and the group begins their next course of action where Raneth reveals that Boscoe had contacted her, asking her to return to Daxia as soon as possible as there is something they need to discuss. The group finds an inn and spends the night there, taking the time to decide on what to do next.

Favor for a Friend

While in Ostcliff, waiting for Halen’s father to get out of jail, the group discusses what to do about the assassins after them. During one shopping trip, a note is slipped to Bartok Ironclaw, asking to meet.

It turns out, the note is from Bartok’s previous employer, known simply as The Butcher. When they meet, The Butcher, passes off a tip to Bartok that he is being actively hunted by a very dangerous group of Assassins known by many as The Kings, short for “King Slayers” after they had successfully assassinated the previous king of Belebrought several years ago.

TheThe Butcher offers Bartok an out. He will take care of the Kings if Bartok promises to return the favor somewhere down the line, whatever that favor may be. Despite the unease he feels about the deal, Bartok accepts this offer, in the hopes of saving his friends, after all, they have nearly died several times from ambushes by them.

The day of Halen’s father’s release, the party decides to meet him, but find themselves directed to an office for information. There they run into a drow by the name of Enri, apparently, Enri’s precious cart has been impounded and the bureaucracy refuses to return it to her. Taking pity, they invite Enri out to a drink, where they find themselves at a local tavern catering specifically to the nondwarf races.

Unfortunately, their drink is cut short when a group of city guards wander into the tavern asking for the owner of a recently impounded cart. Halen, covering for Enri, claims that the cart is his, but this backfires on him when the guards intend to arrest him for the apparent illicit materials found in the cart unless they do a favor for him, with the added bonus of returning the cart should they complete the task.

Forced to agree, the group gears up and goes to tackle the task. Apparently twelve dwarves have gone missing in a nearby mine and the group has to retrieve them, either dead or alive.
At the camp, after speaking to a few of the miners, they find the miners unhelpful and most seem traumatized by whatever it is they encountered in them. Without much information to go on, the group enters the mine.

There they find it completely empty as mining as come to a complete halt. As they venture deeper and deeper, they find themselves no closer to the answer when suddenly, the floor begins to cave downwards. Escaping the potential disaster effectively, the group climbs down the newly created tunnel only for it to cave in. Narrowly escaping with their lives, they decide to abandon this expedition entirely, concocting a plan to trick the guards who’ve strongarmed them into agreeing on this quest.

As they return, they find a large cavernous tunnel that wasn’t there when they entered and after Halen shoots a blast down the tunnel, several rock figures begin approaching. The group high tails it, only to discover that the rock creatures stop at the opening of the cave. Fearful that the tunnel was made by a wyrm or an otherwise equally terrifying creature or magic, the group confirms their intention of abandoning the quest.

They successfully manage to trick the guards and escape and decide to retrieve Enri’s cart a different way.

After some investigation and questioning around town, they find that the cart has simply been impounded in a separate lot and manage to retrieve it with relative ease, much to the group’s chagrin.

They invite Enri to Halen’s home and there the group has a nice hearty dinner with the now reunited family as Halen’s dad has finally been released from holding. There, Halen has a heartfelt conversation with his father who asks the boy to return home. Halen agrees and goes to talk to his friends about his choice.

The next morning, with Enri gone, the Halen continues to discuss his decision with his friends. They are saddened and some take it better than others but eventually they press on without their friend towards their next goal.

Raneth tells the group that she’s uncomfortable with the idea that the Kings may be after the Dwarven King and asks the group to travel with her to Crestridge so that they may warn him. They agree and make their way to the Dwarven capital.

They arrive in the evening in Crestridge and decide to find a place to bunk. They find a nice enough tavern but soon after arrival, Raneth finds herself magically frozen in place and handcuffed by a human man. The party, quick to react, demand answers out of the man. The man explains that he is investigating a murder and that both Raneth and Racket are persons of interest.

Outraged, the group argues with him, claiming that the man is overstepping his bounds. After much argument, they finally settle on some form of understanding. The man is named Gregory Farose, he is Del’s brother and father of Alvin, the young boy who had been murdered at the shop. Raneth and Racket had been there during the murder and he intended to question them.

Raneth is still outraged but the group understands that the brash actions of the man had most likely come from his grief. As an apology, he offers the group an audience with a friend of his, the Loreholder, a position of high authority within the Dwarven kingdom.

Before heading to bed, Bartok is, approached by The Butcher, who calls in his favor. The favor being the murder of Gregory. Bartok is taken aback and asks several questions but is The Butcher refuses to answer the question.

The next day, they meet with the Loreholder who tells the group that the only way they can get an audience with the king is to find the Ancestral Mandate, a lost Dwarven artifact, lost somewhere in the Golden City, an ancient Dwarven city below Crestridge.

They agree and set off on this journey with Gregory in tow.

They get through the Golden City without much fanfare until they encounter stone statues that attack them. They find themselves fighting through these statues and other hazards. As they stop to rest, they hear a strange hissing sound from a nearby open large building, likely to be an old hall of some sort. Gregory decides to approach first and there he is met with a Medusa. After he explains that he’s just looking for an artifact, the Medusa, believing them to be thieves attacks.

The party is caught in a fierce fight as the Medusa has commands the stone statues littering the hall to attack as well.

Eventually, the fight ends with the group victorious but not without cost. Raneth has turned to stone and Gregory unconscious.

Many Travels, Many Misfortunes

It turns out, Naella’s group were debating about whether or not they should leave the city but are unable to reach a conclusion. With the argument at an impasse, the group decides to table it. Our party of heroes then goes to leave the shop only to find themselves face to face with the young hanging body of the counterboy. Shocked and scared, everyone immediately goes to investigate and together they come to the conclusion that the boy is a message, although they aren’t sure who for. The only thing they have to go on is a strange ornate and ornamental dagger in his chest, although it is clear that he was strangled to death first.

Uresh, with Naella, both decide to fill in Drava who is staying elsewhere and return shortly. Upon return, Naella’s group, fearful for their lives and unsure whether or not the message was meant for them decide to leave but Uresh refuses to let them go alone. Our party then escorts the group outside of Daxia and to Ry’rian where Darwin’s family lives.

It’s a quiet three day trek to Ry’rian.

In Ry’rian, the party is updated on the political climate surrounding the region and after staying the night, decide to part with Naella and her friends and continue on. They decide to return to Belebrought, where much of the political power in the region is centered.

The return to Belebrought is uneventful. Upon arrival, the party makes an immediate beeline towards The Speaker, who has now established a council in the city of Belebrought. After waiting around, they finally manage to find him and have a conversation where he declares his intention of stepping down as the Free Monastery Speaker and offering the position to Uresh. After some delibration, Uresh accepts the offer and the group leaves him behind but not before they are joined by a mercenary contracted to take them to the Dwarven Kingdom.

As they make their way towards the Dwarven Mountains, they find themselves at the Grand Marshes where they are accosted by many strange corrupted creatures. Barely escaping with their lives, the group treks backwards, hoping to find a town they can stay in for the night. Unable to make it to a town, they take shelter in what seems to be an abandoned cabin but are attacked by the spirits dwelling in the cabin. After making short work of them, the group investigates the cabin and finds two corpses. After disposing of the bodies, they declare the cabin safe and decide to stay for the night.

Unfortunately, disposing of the bodies mostly means throwing them out a few feet from the cabin. When they wake that morning, they find a few more corrupted creatures mauling the corpses and after spooking them are attacked. Barricading themselves in the house, the creatures continue to mindlessly attack them, eventually managing to spit fire and begin burn the cabin down.

After dispatching the creatures, the party moves, once again, towards the marshes, intent on crossing it successfully.

After some recon and many discussions of plans, they eventually decide on building a raft. It takes quite some time to build the raft but once they succeed the group takes off, stopping shortly at what looks to be a raised hut in the middle of the marshlands. Curious, Halen decides to investigate and finds a scarcely furnished one room hut. He sees a chest and decides to open it only for it to animate and attack him. A small scuffle occurs, cut short when a beautiful woman appears and dispels it, telling them that this is her home. She offers to magically transport them to the mountains in exchange for “a little of your time” The group sees through this ruse and impressed, she allows them to trade other life forces, birds in this case, instead of their own for the favor.

Succesful, the group finds themselves at the base of the Dwarven mountains and enter the Kingdom with very little issue.

The group finds themselves in Starkhammer and make their way towards the train station where they run into Bartok. They find out that the train is temporarily out of commission and so Bartok takes them to a nearby tavern where they catch up.

Raneth and Racket eventually retire to their rooms but the two half-orcs decide that the night is still young. They step out of the The Boot, the tavern they’re staying in, and find another bar, Craven’s Slumber. Upon arrival, Halen spots a mysterious and shady figure and decides to make conversation. Somehow, during this conversation, the figure, Emmerick, mistakes them for his buyers and trades them a very potent naga poison as well as two antidotes, a ledger and a small nymph figurine before leaving.

Bartok inspects the ledger and discovers a plot to kill the Dwarven King but the hour had grown late and both half-orcs decide to sleep on it before deciding their next course of action.

As they sleep, Halen, who had held onto the poison, finds himself attacked in the dead of night. Barely managing to escape, he casts invisibility on himself and watches as his attacker disappears. The next morning, he finds that the naga poison has disappeared.

After a small debacle with Halen’s room being unable to be accessed, the two half-orc boys meet up with Raneth and explains the situation to her. They also discover that the person that attacked Halen turned up dead not too far up the road. Alarmed, they discuss the course of action, during which Halen steps outside and is, once again, attacked, this time by a poison arrow. Raneth and Bartok jump into action, managing to pull Halen back into the tavern, only for an explosion of fire to set off where they are.

The group manages to escape and end up meeting up with Racket where they explain the situation to the gnome. Hurriedly, they escape the city, jumping on a train and making their way to Ostcliff, all while still discussing what to do about the newly learned information they were not supposed to know.

Partway through the trip, the train car they are in is attacked again. They do manage to kill one of the attackers as the other escapes. Luckily, the rest of the ride goes without a hitch.

As they step foot into Ostcliff, the party questions how on earth they are being tracked and come to the conclusion that the items they are carrying are certainly not helping. They decide to rid both the nymph figurine and the ledger – but not before copying the ledger down.

With that done, Halen makes his way towards his father, hoping to speak to a man he hadn’t seen in quite some time.

They are eventually directed to a human household in Ostcliff where Halen meets Morana, his human step mother and Thomas, his step brother. She welcomes him and his friends in and reveals a lot of information about Halen and his father as well the strained relationship between father and son. She also explains that his father is currently being held up in the city jail.

Halen goes to the jail to talk to his father where the air between them is finally cleared only for more questions to arise. It turns out, his mother has been disguising herself as his mentor for many years and frustrated, he runs back to his father’s home, where the group is unsure how to comfort him.

Too Quiet.

Waking in the morning, the party is told by the inn keeper in the lobby that someone has left a message for them. The letter simply says “Need a Favor” and is signed “D.” Assuming that the person in question is Darwin, the group parts, Halen and Racket going to the Bard college to visit Maggie and to begin Racket’s training as U’resh and Raneth go to Del’s shop in hopes of finding Darwin.

In the backroom of Del’s shop, they hear arguing and knock, the door opens to the tired faces of both Darwin and Vere. They explain that they need help, that they would like to know what happened to their missing party members and that while they cannot pay with coin, they do have several items that might be useful. They agree to start off tomorrow, giving Darwin some time to brew a few potions for them.

Meanwhile, Maggie does not seem to actually be inside her office, leaving both Racket and Halen to mull about in the library instead.

Having the day to spend in town, Raneth and U’resh decide to visit Boscoe at Books and Bobbles and eventually drop off the book but not before Boscoe suggests they retrieve a book from the Luna Tower that would help with speeding up the translation process since he predicts it could take months. They agree to bring it up to their friends.

That evening, Halen decides to drop by and visit Darwin, just to check in, but finds that Darwin is nowhere to be seen. Instead, he finds himself face to face with the always sour Vere. Together, the two of them have a surprising heart to heart and part ways managing to work out some of the tension between them.

The next day, the group is ready to set off and arrives at the shop where Darwin gives them the potions and they are given directions to Dunes Run, the last place Naella and Drava were seen. However, before leaving the city, U’resh mentions that visiting Luna Tower before they leave. There’s a brief discussion about what they should do – if they should set out to Dunes Run first or if they should stop by the Tower, but Halen, fed up by the waiting, decides to take off running instead.

He eventually arrives at Luna Tower, losing his friends behind him, and manages to talk his way in. Unfortunately, his recklessness has him ending up in chains and thrown in a holding cell within the tower. Bemoaning the loss of time, he waits for his friends to come get him.

The party does manage to convince the tower to release Halen to them, claiming that they are the Daxian city guards, and abandon the quest for the book, citing that they’ve wasted enough time.

Buying a pair of horses, they leave Daxia and make the day and a half trek by horse towards Dunes Run.

Following the trail into the hills, they find a hanging naked human body, dead awhile but continue forward. As they continue, they manage to spot even more signs of struggle but the area around them grows more and more quiet. Uneased, they decide to make camp, ensuring that there is someone to stand guard.

Unfortunately, when Racket’s watch comes, he finds himself nodding off and doesn’t manage to wake the next person on watch. When they wake that morning, they find themselves face to face with a familiar Goliath woman. Drava tells them that they are lucky to not have been found by the bandits. She guides them to Naella, who is seriously ill, and explains to them that she has been fending for the two of them for weeks now in the forest. Ambushing and killing her attackers who have been stalking them. She had found the group by chance and nearly attacked them but upon recognizing them, stopped and decided to keep watch for them.

U’resh, using his divine power, heals Naella who is grateful. She thanks them and hands them three hundred gold, in gratitude. The group then gives the pair their horses, telling them to go to Daxia as they are in much worse condition than the party is.

Still, the party is careful, and slowly they make their way out of the hills without any issue. In fact, it’s almost eerily easy to leave.

The walk back to Daxia is much slower without steeds and it takes them two days. When they get back, they immediately make their way into Del’s shop but find themselves opening the door to a heated shouting match in the back. As they enter the back room they find that their three friends Naella, Darwin and Vere looking distressed.

When You Dig My Grave Can You Make It Shallow So I Can Feel The Rain

Returning from the peek of the mountain, trekking slowly downward as a cool fog settles in, the party returns to the sanctuary grounds where U’resh begins to feel a strange sense of loss coming from his sword. As he begins to walk around the grounds, he discovers that the sensation becomes stronger or weaker depending on where he walks. After following the feeling, he finds himself in front of a simple plaque that bears only the symbol of Idon on it. After the group surmises that the plaque is a marker for the dead and U’resh realizing that the sensation could not possibly grow stronger, the group begins to dig, optimistic that they might find something.

It’s a shot in the dark but it’s the only clue they have.

While the acolytes are initially apprehensive, they do allow the group to dig, so long as to not disturb the remains. Fortunately, after days of dry bones and random digging, they find the old bones of a human body and with it, a bag containing a single book. As they thumb through the pages of the book, the group finds that none of them can recognize the language, let alone read it, and after approaching the High Priest, she confesses that she also doesn’t know the language.

Resolving to find a translator, the group departs from the Sanctuary of Idon and the continent of Vorsha, returning to Daxia. Upon arrival, they find a surprised Darwin, sporting a new very noticeable injury on his face, and after brief conversation, learn that his party has been split up. That Drava and Naella are both missing and that ChrenKrix Chren is dead. Vere is also nearby, hoping to learn more news and Darwin himself is still recovering and hiding. The group parts with Darwin, but not after Darwin suggests they visit a store called Books and Bobbles for a translator, U’resh walks off on his own, exploring the city, and everyone else follows Halen to see his mentor.

When they meet with Maggie, she tells Halen that she’s looked for his father like he had asked and heard that Mr. Glider had found a permanent residence in the dwarven city of Ostcliff. He thanks her and they trade tales while also inducting Racket into the Bardic arts.

After some time, they part ways with Maggie. The group then makes a quick stop at Books and Bobbles where they discover that the journal they hold is written entirely in Infernal, a language very few speak let alone write, and that a translation for the whole text could take months. Deciding to hold onto the book for now and shop around in hopes of a faster translator or a cheaper one, the group decides to rent rooms at an inn where they get some much needed rest.

"Ask Your Mom"

When the group awakens they approach the High Priest and ask her questions pertaining to their journey. The party had originally embarked on in the hopes of finding the source of the sickness that plagued Raneth’s family but the High Priestest admits that she doesn’t know much outside of the four walls of the temple. She does, however, reveal that the temple atrium contains a Gateway. She offers to help summon the Gateway guardian for them to question in relation to these rifts.

As the ritual begins, both Raneth and Halen, who have been through the gateways find themselves struck by a vision of the past. In the vision, they see an old white haired human man barely able to walk in the very atrium they are in, when he reaches the altar, a golden divine silhouette emerges from the statue of Idon and begins to extract a purple shadowy figure from the old man.

When both Raneth and Halen come to, they see that the same shadowy entity is now contained at the center of the gateway circle they stand on.

Asking it questions, they come to discover that the entity has no name, although he was once known as “Friend” and that it is a being that doesn’t quite understand the concept time. He is unable to answer the questions that the party asks and the connection is soon severed. Frustrated with their lack of new information, the party’s quest stalls as they attempt to find out what to do from here. That being said, the entire affair did lead to a single clue – the old man, whom both Raneth and Halen ascertain is probably their friend Ahl, from another world, based on the familiarity of the shadow entity. As they talk over the possibility of the old man being Ahl – a possibility that they find hard to be believe since the entity had claimed that the old man had died perhaps a thousand years ago- the High Priest hands them a journal in old elvish from the previous High Priest in hopes that they could perhaps find reference to the man.

Raneth combs through the journal but has a difficult time fully deciphering the writings. It’s in old Elvish and furthermore, the book itself is not in the best of shape. With old ink and the damage of age, Raneth is only able to glean a few references to a human man but cannot be completely sure that that man was Ahl.

Elsewhere, Halen returns to his room in meditation, where he is suddenly pulled in by a familiar voice. The voice had become more and more prominent in the last few weeks, especially since he had arrived at the foot of the temple. For awhile now, he has been trying to decipher the meaning of his strange dreams as well as a soft whisper in his head but had mostly dismissed it in favor of other more pressing matters. Now it seems the voice has finally reached him and Halen finds himself blinded by a brilliant flash of light and unable to move to the fullest extent of his body.

As the day wears on, the party comes to discover that Halen has gone missing. They look for him, investigating every nook and cranny and eventually going outside. As they search the sanctuary grounds, Raneth slips, falling twenty or so feet into the cliffs beneath her. After rescuing her from her near death, they return to the temple and back into the party quarters in hopes that perhaps Halen has returned.

Instead, they find themselves also blinded by a brilliant white light, and also unable to move their bodies to their fullest extent.

Eventually, they all right themselves, and find themselves in a vast green meadow, a nearby treeline that points to a grove and a collection of strange shimmery lights in the distance.

Upon approach, the lights become hostile, and a fierce battle engages as the lights seem to drain the energy of the party. As the situation becomes more and more dire, a sudden booming voice can be heard.

STAY YOUR HAND AGAINST MY HUSBAND” It shouts and almost immediately, the lights disperse.

Beneath them, the grass around them begins to point towards the grove.

Tentatively, they follow, where they are met face to face with what can only be described as a treewoman. She tells them that Halen is her husband and that she herself has lent him his power. Things become tricky when Halen attempts to leave and she refuses to allow them to. As tensions grow higher and a battle nears its head, Halen manages to diffuse the situation by promising to return once he is finished with his Kresly ties. She relents but warns that her powers have a limit and that it may be in Halen’s best interests to return as soon as possible.

The party is free to leave but when they return, both Racket and Raneth, are unable to remember the ordeal.

Tired, the party decides to rest before talking over their plans.

When they wake the next morning, Halen is hesitant to let his friends know the truth. Uresh, however, informs Halen that he does in fact remember the ordeal. After some fussing, Halen eventually relents and admits the truth.

With this matter mostly settled, the party sets their sights back onto the task at hand – the rifts, the gateways, and what they are doing to the world.

Once again, they ask questions about the old human man that they suspect is Ahl and once again they are given no answers, although someone does point them towards a figure they refer to as the loreseeker. Perhaps, they say, they will know as they have lived a very long time. The only problem? The loreseeker is a hermit and hasn’t been seen for at least a hundred years. The last place he was seen was on the Western mountain and unlike the mountain the sanctuary sits on, there is no floating stairs to take them up.

They are directed to the location of what used to be a bridge between the mountains, long since destroyed, in hopes of repairing it or at least finding another way over. Unfortunately, the bridges were located at the very top of the mountain and the group sets off on a lengthy and exhausting climb.

When they reach the top, they find nothing except a strange shimmer in the distance. As they go to investigate, they find that it is a barrier of some sort and on the otherside, a group of Treants urge the group to hush. Unsure, the group decides to backtrack out of the barrier where they find themselves face to face with a strange large apelike being that Uresh recognizes to be demonic in nature.

A fierce fight commences but the party eventually wins out and the Treants thank them before disappearing. Unsure now of what to do, they investigate the area, only to find nothing. After some time, they are suddenly approached by an old elven man. They ask him if he’s the loreseeker and he responds that it is a title he has not heard in quite awhile. They show him the journal and he reads it out to them, revealing that the old human visitor died shortly after his arrival at the sanctuary and is buried on its grounds. The elven man then disappears.

With this news, they resolve to return to the sanctuary and dig up the grave of this visitor but not until after a good night’s rest.

On To the Next One

The Stronghand Company are still engaged in battle when Darvon falls but Bartok picks up Darvon’s flaming sword and calls out to them, demanding that they abide by their agreement. The company, without its leader, is wrangled in by the group, releasing the prisoners they had on their ship as well. After a night spent packing and cleaning, Bartok makes it known to the rest of the party that he is leaving with the company, hoping to reform it. Morvan, despite not completing the purpose of his own trip decides to leave as well, unwilling to let Bartok go off on his own.

The group say their tearful goodbyes, during which Bartok encourages the party to continue with their trek and to return the sword that was tasked to them. Agreeing, the party set off to continue the adventure without their barbarian.

They manage to meet up with Anhall who tells the party that her tribesman are safe, in no small part due to the party. Thankful for their help in driving away the slavers, she guides the party to the mountain elves.

It takes several days travel upstream but eventually they reach the mistlands. Anhall explains that she is unable to venture further into the mist and that the rest of the journey on foot is up to them. She departs with the advice to look towards the mountain further up as their guide.

Tying a rope together, the party makes their way into the mist and after an hour or so of seemingly no progress, they are met with a heavily armored humanoid figure. The person greets them, explaining that the high priest has divined their arrival and proceeds to guide them towards the floating stones. He introduces himself as Uresh, a half-drow paladin.

They approach the mountains where they discover that they are in fact, a collection of mountainlike pillars floating in the air, obscured from the distance by the combination of mist and the thick jungle vegetation. Awed, they watch as Uresh begins to step upwards and a staircase forms a step in front of them, disappearing from behind.

It is a long journey up to the top but after several hours of climbing, they arrive at a dark temple carved into the stone of the mountain where statues of Idon, the God that reigns over Life and Death, flank the entrance.

When they enter, they discover that the atrium is incredibly spacious and empty, with only an alter and a single robed figure on the other side of the room. The only light comes from outside, shining into the stone floor of the Sanctuary of Idon.

The robed figure approaches them, revealing herself to be a visibly aged drow whom Uresh greets as High Priest. She introduces herself as Vaalyun Pamear and knows the name of the visitors.

The party presents her with the old relic sword, given to them by the satyrs when they ventured into the Daxian underground only to end up mysteriously crossing over to the pocketplane where they met the satyr guardians of that particular Gateway Crossing.

She takes the crumbling and damaged sword from them, thanking them, and makes her way to the alter where they restore the blade to its former glory. She then offers to let the party stay as long as they like and has her acolytes show them to their quarters where they discover that it is sparsely furnished.

As the party makes themselves at home, High Priest Pamear tells Uresh of his destiny. She says that the blade, revealed to be an elven moonblade, will be bestowed to him and that he must use it to lead the party in their path. Although he protests, Uresh eventually relents, and the ceremony to attune the weapon to him begins.

An hour later, he joins the party, not revealing to him that he intends to travel with them and converses with them, hoping to get to know his new companions a little better before they all head off to sleep.

With Strong Hands

The party sets off with their guide, Ka-Anhall to the site of the mountain elves. The journey is said to take several days floating upstream. Unfortunately, they are interrupted when, near the end of their first day, they spot a gravely injured dwarf. Deciding to stop, they find and manage to help him.

After conversing with them, they discover that the old dwarf’s name is Morvan Hunter, and that he is a treasure hunter from Cesmaria. He had sought voyage to Vorsha from Silkvann and paid the Stronghand Company in order to travel as they were also traveling towards Vorsha. For six months he spent time with them in close proximity with the crew of one of their two ships and befriended Darvon Stronghand. However, soon upon arrival, Morvan discovered the Stronghand’s true agenda and protested, leading to his capture and disposal in the jungle. His items are stripped away from him and after having been beaten, Morvan was left bound and abandoned in the jungle. Fortunately, Morvan is a resourceful and stout man, able to get the bindings off of himself and made his way to the river where our heroes find them.

Morvan explains to the party that Darvon, disappointed by the lack of progress, plans on smoking out the rest of the elves in the jungle, hoping that burning it to the ground would lead them out. Alarmed by this information, the party decides along with Ka-Anhall to return to the village of Ka-Vashel, putting their relic quest on hold and inform the elder.

It takes the rest of the day to return and by the time they arrive, the moon had already risen but after discussions, the Ka-Vashel tribe decides to evacuate further into the continent, sending word to other tribes to do the same while our party of heroes attempt to stop the Stronghand Company from smoking out the jungle.

Morvan directs them to the area where the Stronghands had told him they would be and there they encounter a small group having already begun a small fire. Together, they defeat the squad but not before the fire takes hold. Abandoning the plan to hunt the company, the party attempts to put the fire out.

Over time, villagers from the nearby settlements arrive to help. Doing their best to save Vorsha from the deadly blaze, they all work diligently until the last of the flames flicker away as the sun begins to rise.

When they’re done, our heroes, tired from the night, find a place to rest from a friendly settler’s home, a few miles away. There, they sleep the majority of the day away, smelling of wood fire and smoke.

When our heroes rise in the late afternoon, they find that both Halen and Morvan are gone, leaving behind a note for their friends explaining that they had gone to scout ahead, hoping to learn more and perhaps retrieve some of Morvan’s things.

Following in their friends’ footsteps and the directions of the settlers, they make their way to a tradepost where they find the Stronghand encampment. With the moon overhead, the group decides to rest once again, but not without keeping a careful eye on the company.

At some point in the night, the party retreats further into the jungle, fearful that they may have been spotted by the company. When they rise that morning, they once again spy on the encampment, searching for intel as well as any sign of their friends.

A little while later, Bartok notices a dim purple light behind him. It turns out to be both Halen and Morvan and together they rejoin the group and share what they know.

After much discussion, the group decides that the best way to defeat the Stronghands is to appeal to Darvon’s pride. They approach the company and demand a duel between Bartok and Darvon, hoping that the duel could serve as a distraction for Halen and Racket to slip onto the ships.

Darvon accepts.

Unfortunately, Bartok is unmatched fighting alone with Darvon and Morvan, seeing the danger, grabs Bartok and teleports him away when he notices the fight go to the wayside.

This causes chaos and Halen comes sprinting up, shooting bolts of magic at Darvon. At this point, with the duel dissolved, a fullscale fight begins between those of the Stronghand Company there and our heroes.

With Halen near death and the help of Morvan, the party is able to lay the finishing blow on Darvon but now find themselves with a dead company leader with the company still standing.


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