NOVA

Chapter 9

Disheartened the adventurers returned to Fallcrest, there they met with Nykyr, who told them of a way to enter the Abyss. He took them to Winterhaven, where an old sorceress used a ritual to temporarily bind their unconscious state with the Abyss. Essentially, the next time they fell unconscious they would be sent to the Abyss, and the time after that they would be sent home. Oris, being a Deva, had to be given a sleeping draught to be able to reach such a state comfortably. The heroes arranged to reawaken in Fallcrest, and went to sleep in the soothsayer’s home. They awoke in the middle of the Salt Flats of Yeenoghu’s realm. After debating where to find his fortress, they set out in the direction of the Sulfur Sea. They encountered his castle on the way there. After Excelsior mounted an initial recon, they stormed the place, freeing Kat and Gelena, they also found Captain Jim, whom they had assumed had been eaten by mindflayers. Jim told them that the mindflayers had sold him to a band of gnollic raiders. He told of how Zaiden had regrouped her forces and mounted an attack on Venetia, he told how he had seen Armweta fall. And that he had made his way back to Lord Kelmin. In the final battle for Belast, Lord Kelmin sacrificed himself in single combat so that his men would not be slaughtered. The gnolls feasted upon his body and his men were sent to the abyss to become Yeenoghu’s slaves, which is how Jim came to be in Yeenoghu’s realm, he was the last of the survivors. The party was pursued by Nezrebe, Yeenoghu’s right hand. They were attacked in the Salt Flats. During the battle Kor was grabbed by several gnoll gorgers, who began attempting to rip him apart and eat him. Oris, in an attempt to save his friend, fired two bolts from his holy hand crossbows, the bolts met and exploded, killing the gnolls and nearly killing Kor who fell into a deep coma and disappeared from the Abyss. His actions however wiped out half the gnolls, and saved Brom from direct blow from Nezrebe. The heroes were able to escape Nezrebe and that night they departed the Abyss, to reawaken in downtown Fallcrest…

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Chapter 8

The party finally came to the Hadran Mountains, there they crossed (after an accident with Shadowmere Z saved their lives) and they came to the town of Winterhaven. In Winterhaven they were reunited briefly with Nykyr and learned that Fallcrest was the place to look for anyone who might know about slave shipments in the Nentir Vale, they set out for Fallcrest along with a family of four who needed to get to the city, but couldn’t risk traveling the road alone for fear of bandits. On the way to Fallcrest they were ambushed by a large raiding party of Gnolls, led by a Gnoll demon commander. Kat and Kor, as well as the family’s two children were captured, the father was slain by the Gnollic demon, and Mr. Bigg sacrificed his own life so that the others might escape. They arrived in Fallcrest, the rest of their journey uneventful, the woman they were with left to live with her sister’s family in the countryside surrounding the city proper. The heroes learned that a group of slaves had recently passed into the city, and had been given to a suspicious fellow, who took them off to the southwest, into the ogrefist hills. While in the city they were re-united with Oris, who had been reincarnated there, and had been working for the local Temple of Pelor. They aided Oris in stopping the plots of an evil noble, and then the band set off into the ogrefist hills after their quarry. They attacked at night, as the evil forces gathered their, (including several gnolls, a gnoll demon, a yuan-ti warpriest, several snaketongue cultists, an adult green dragon, and a fearsome drow blademaster) were performing a ritual to send their slaves (including Kat, Kor, the two children, Gelena, and a few others) to Yeenoghu’s realm. Roberts charged the blademaster, and with perfect form drove his lance at the drow’s chest. Without so much as blinking the warrior sidestepped the lance, drew his blades, and dove under Shadowmere, slashing her legs with his swords and bringing her down. Roberts was nearly crushed, but he was able to regain his feet and began a losing battle with the drow. Eventually Oris drew near, the blademaster spun toward him, kicking him in the chest. Oris slashed out with Pelor’s Light, but it looked as if he had clearly come up short. Just as the drow went to laugh in his face they both realized that Oris had been precisely on the mark, blood flowed freely from the surprised drow’s throat as he fell to the ground, gasping for breath. Also during the battle Excelsior vaulted the Gnoll Demon after stabbing it in the back, and Brom slew the Dragon, severing it’s head. Roberts and the others were unable to stop the ritual, and while they did save Kor, the others were sent to Yeenoghu’s realm where an unknown fate, and unimaginable tortures awaited them…

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Chapter 7

Outside the city the heroes regrouped. Kat was comatose after her close encounter with the Illithid, unfortunately in their escape Mr. Bigg had undergone a similar experience, and no one had been able to find Captain Jim. They had however gained a new companion, an enigmatic Shadar-Kai by the name of Nykyr. Nykyr stood on watch throughout the next night, during which their fire attracted a good deal of unwanted attention. At dawn they were attacked by slavers, in their weakened state they were unable to fend their assailants off, and were unfortunately captured. When they came to they were trapped within a coliseum. There they were forced to become gladiators. Roberts refused and was imprisoned. Z, Cailen, Oris, and Brom however, embraced their new role, fighting to one day defeat the champion, Cruxis, and gain their freedom. At the start of the Grand-Melee, Z attempted to incite a riot amongst the gladiators, however, due to Cruxis’s intervention, he failed and was imprisoned along with Roberts. Together the two of them were able to fight their way out, even finding Kat and Mr. Bigg in the infirmary. Oris was slain by Cruxis before Brom and Cailen could bring him down. Together the remainder of the party fled the coliseum, hiding in the rocks to the west. There they found a young dragon’s lair. They bargained with the dragon, who offered to heal their friends, Kat and Mr. Bigg, if the party would drive off the gnolls in the area that had been threatening the dragon’s territory. The Dragon healed Kat immediately as proof that he was capable of such magic, but he kept Mr. Bigg as collateral. In the area they found a large gnoll encampment, the makings of an army, with the aid of Kat, Z was able to set fire to the entire encampment, scattering the tribes to the winds, however, Zaiden, the gnoll priestess who had brought them together, summoned an aspect of Yeenoghu to gain retribution. The party was nearly slain, and would have been if not for the timely intervention of Excelsior and Shadowmere, they were able to buy Z enough time to teleport everyone to safety, after that harrowing encounter they returned to the dragon’s lair and recovered Mr. Bigg, they then set out to complete their journey through the desert…

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Chapter 6

The party arrived in Armweta, a garrison town, more of a fort than anything, whose only purposes were defending Scion and the Ventian Sea region from raiders, and acting as a trade post between the Venetians, and the Northern Kingdoms. Immediately upon arrival they were greeted by a familiar face, Captain Jim, one of Lord Kelmin’s men from the city of Belast, the only man who had survived accompanying them when they went to confront Zero. He showed them the sights of the city, which really consisted of not much more than the barracks, the walls, the communal mess, and the dungeons. The dungeons at that time were housing merely a single prisoner, a formidable looking Shadar-Kai who did nothing more than stand in the middle of his cell and gaze outward, according to Jim he hadn’t eaten since they had captured him, more than a moon and a half ago. After spending a bit more time gathering provisions for the road ahead, they set out to the northeast, into the Carhadarac Desert. Ex-Captain Jim elected to acompany them on their journey. As they had been traveling through the Venetian Region they had heard tale of a wondrous city, known as the City of Paradise, according to legend it was a city of such splendor that none who have entered have ever returned, for they are so mesmerized by its grandeur. The more practical members of the group took this as a cautionary tale, and hoped it to be merely that. However, less than two weeks into the desert their rose upon the horizon a city-scape of towering spires and majestic archways. The group stopped to see if they could come to a decision whether or not to enter the city. Unfortunately, before they could even begin to come to a comunal decision Kat had already made up her mind and was running off toward the city. They went following her into the seemingly deserted city, when they entered the gateway they were attacked by a party of Illithids. The mindflayers used their fearsome psionic powers to bring the hereos to their knees. Roberts, thankfully was able to resist the initial onslaught (due to the presence of the strange voice in his head, which aided him greatly in resisting the mindflayers’ assault), he rushed the nearest mindflayer, stabbing wickedly with his sword, the grotesque squid-like beast parried him with ease, and drove him into the ground with its mental powers, Roberts was able to get off one final scathing attack, and notice Kat’s absence, before the world went dark. The Mindflayers took the group as their slaves, they sent Oris, due to his nimble and dextrous hands, to serve the Central Brain. He sat mindlessly all day, massaging the Brain, his only ambition, its happiness. The others were sent to the quarry to cut and smash stones for construction. Had they been present in their own minds they would have noticed the other slaves, and the daily pattern of the mindflayers selecting individuals, and hualing them away, never to be seen again. Even when Jim was taken to be Mindflayer meat, none noticed. Again thanks to the alien prescence in his mind, Roberts was successfully able to regain control of his own mind, he set about helping to free the others from their own mental traps. Finally he had everyone in the quarry free. By the time he had completed this task however, Oris had been chosen for consumption. Luckily for him however, some commotion drew the Illithids’ minds from their meal, and he was able to escape, unfortunately for him however, he was still compelled to assist the Brain, and so he did little with his newfound momentary freedom. Roberts however seized the opportunity to mount an escape attempt. Leading the others, and those slaves they had freed, their first goal was the armoury. They came to it with little difficulty, and once again equipped themselves with their wordly possessions. Roberts then set about his second goal, finding Jim, Oris, and Kat. Z teleported himself to the Central Brain room in an attempt to disrupt the Illithids even further. After a few skirmishes with still indoctrinated slaves Roberts found himself at the main entrance, and there they all witnessed a stunning sight. They looked on as a lone Shadar-Kai, seemingly unhindered by the Mindflayers’ psionic blasts, cut his way through hordes of the squids and their slave fodder. Upon spotting them the Shadar-Kai “Go, I shall hold them, get out!” Roberts however, refused to leave without the others. “I shall find them, go now!” the Shadar-Kai promised. Their was little more the Dread Pirate or any of them could do, so they beat a hasty retreat outside the city. Meanwhile in the Brain room, Oris found himself again, before he could begin to assist the others however he was confronted by another of the ugly things. “Where do you think you’re going? Tend the Brain!” it ordered him, and then it did a most peculiar thing, the Illithid winked at him, Oris nearly dismissed it as a trick of the eye, that is until he recalled Kat, their Doppleganger friend, he then merely nodded and went back to the brain. Before any of the other Illithids could react, Kat reverted to her natural form and launched herself into the brain with reckless abandon. This immediately brought a cry of distress from the hideous thing and mindflayers began flocking to the room. It was at that moment that Z appeared, while Oris began to assist Kat in destroying the brain, Z found himself hardpressed, holding off a pair of Illithids, one a guard the other a psionic mage. “Z, get us out of here!” Came Oris’ cry, and Z, abandoning any defense against the mindflayers, began his teleportation ritual. Kat however came to his rescue, leaping from the hacked mess that was the Brain she went toe to toe with the two mindflayers. It was a difficult fight, and ended badly. While she had been able to disembowel the guard the psionicist had broken her mental defenses, and begun boring into her head, intent on devouring her brains. By this time, Oris had already teleported away, and only Z remained in the room, though there was an army of mindflayers bearing down on him, he ended his ritual and severed the tentacles of the monster, then stabbing it in its ugly face, spewing blood and brain juices everywhere. Just as more of the fiends were arriving, Z completed his ritual and teleported Kat and himself to join the others, just outside the city…

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Chapter 5

The heroes arrived in Scion, the end of the line for the Executor, as it is the furthest northern reach of the Venetian Sea, and soon the party would be setting out over the Carahadarac Desert. They arrived late in the evening, much of their crew was already asleep. Z, Oris, and Brom elected to go into town however. They promptly made their way directly to the nearest tavern and sat down for a drink. There they met a man by the name of Tolg, he told them of a decent sum of cash he had lost in the sewer, and promised them compensation if they would be so kind as to retrieve it for him. As they had already had quite a bit of ale, it never occured to any of them to wonder why exactly Tolg would have been scrambling around down in the sewers, nonetheless down they went. After a bit of slogging they arrived in the location Tolg had described to them, before they could begin a proper search however, they were attacked. Several bandits lept out and assaulted them, after a tough fight however, the bandits surrendered, and while no one was looking, ran off into the night. Oris, Z, and Brom headed back to the tavern at that point, to have a little chat with Tolg. They arrived to find a scene of some commotion. Apparently there had been a bar fight, they learned from the innkeep that some woman had come in, talking to herself, and sat down next to Tolg. He apparently attempted to initiate conversation, and the lady attacked him. The bartender told them that the fight had carried out into the street and that he hadn’t seen either of the two since. The three of them proceeded outside to see if they could discern where the two had gone, at this point there was some suspicion that the woman they had heard of was in fact their friend Kat. After searching around a bit they found a faint trail of blood on the cobblestones, they followed the trail to a dark alley, against their better judgement, and Z’s protests, they proceeded. A few moments later they arrived at a dead end, before they could turn back however, Z, who had been at the rear was grabbed from behind by a giant hairy goblin, a bugbear as they are known, The brute slipped a garote around his neck and held him from behind. After an intense struggle, and with the aid of Oris and Brom, Z was able to break free just in time to avoid suffocation. Brom split the creature’s skull wide with his greatsword before they had a chance to question it, much to Oris’ dismay. However, it was at that moment that a cloaked figure bolted from the far corner of the alley and attempted to flee past the group. Brom stopped him abrubtly with a solid fist to the face. After some intense negotiations, during which Brom was introduced as the Dread Pirate in order the scare Tolg into talking, they discovered where Kat was being held and formulated a plan for her rescue. First they went to gather Roberts and Kor, whom they thought might provide invaluable assistance. Together they all set out for the warehouse that the Bloodghost Syndicate used for it’s hideout. They arrived and bullied Tolg into gaining access for the group. Inside Brom introduced himself as the infamous, Dread Pirate Roberts. The one in charge of the Bloodghosts was a large bugbear by the name of Rathos. There were far too many foes, and Kat in far too delicate a position for the party to even attempt a straightforward slash and smash approach, each of them realized that the present situation called for a bit more tact. Upon their entrance Rathos recognized two things, the name of the Dread Pirated Roberts, and also he recognized Kor, as Kor was wanted by several very rich and powerful criminal organizations of Telatium, not to mention the Telatium government itself. Rathos being found of gambling and a hater of fights set a bargain against the “Dread Pirate”, the two would play a game of Pirate’s Dice, and should Brom win he would recieve Kat’s freedom, however, if Rathos were to win, he would keep both Kat and Kor. As this was their only option Brom had no choice but to agree. However, Brom had also never played Pirate’s Dice in his life, luckily the real Dread Pirate was able to coach him through it covertly. In the end Brom won the game and Kat went free. On their way out they were confronted by a wizened looking Kobold who called himself Jarmaag Fireseer, in exchange for delivering a package to the founder of the Bloodghosts, Rathos’ mother, he pledged the allegiance of the Bloodghosts to their cause should he come to power (something he was planning meticulously) After that ordeal the heroes were rather eager to leave Scion behind them. They anchored their ship to a small island in the Venetian Sea, and set out north, toward Armweta…

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Chapter 4

Determined to confront the mad sorcerer who was trying to kill one of their own, the heroes set off for Triware, just a half day’s travel to the East. When they arrived Kat promptly brought them to the entrance of Zero’s underground lair. They battle their way through some minor magicians and their fodder, and came at last to a large bridge, the only obstacle remaining between them and Zero himself. The battle across the bridge, killing the mages, and the zombie hordes that served them. Just as the battle was wrapping up and all the mages had been killed, Zero emerged. His powers were far too great for any of them to contend with. The small squad of soldiers that Lord Kelmin had lent them for the mission, led by Captain Jim, were blasted and tossed like ragdolls. In the end the fight boiled down to a battle of wills between Z and Zero. Z won out in the end, obliterating the man who had created him into nothingness. The heroes met up with Captain Jim, the only surviving one of Kelmin’s soldiers and returned to Belast. The moment they arrived they were met with urgent news. While they had been battling mages in Triware, a massive pirate fleet had invaded the Venetian Sea. The Pirates outnumbered the Thacien defenders by twenty-three, thirty pirate ships for the seven of those of the Thacien navy. The Executor being a warship our heroes were called upon to aid in the defense of the region. Immediately they set sail to the south. By the time they arrived, the battle was just beggining. Throughout the course of the fight, the Executor sank six enemy ships, Two with their ballista, two by ramming, one set ablaze by Z, and the other blown in half by the sheer power of Roberts’ piercing smite. After the fight they were formally thanked and congratulated by Admiral Desria of the Thacien navy. Having delayed long enough already, the heroes once again set off to the north, in search of their missing kinsmen.

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Chapter 3

After their adventures on the island of Euist the adventurers set out to the north, in search of their kinsmen once again. They sailed the expanse of the Ocean, until they came to the Venetian Sea, the last great body of water south of the Carahadarac Desert. They docked at the small town of Starford, where they replenished their supplies and attempted to gain as much information about the region as possible. Thus they learned of a fierce battle being fought on the opposite shore of the Sea, less than two days to the east. Word had it that Lord Kelmin of Belast was engaged in pitched battle with a massive army of raiders. Never a group to skirt a fight the adventurers went immediately to the east. They arrived in Belast less than two days later, to find the city in a state of serious disrepair, burning rubble and bodies lined the streets, but the hardy people of this frontier town remained as well, they directed the adventurers to the main lines, and Kelmin’s headquarters. They met Lord Kelmin as he stood amongst his men on the front lines of battle, Kelmin and his beleaguered legion were happy for the arrival of fresh men. Before they could be properly introduced however, the battle was on in full. Several of Kelmin’s men fell, but not nearly as many as those the raiders lost. After that assault came a lull in the fighting, and Roberts discussed with Kelmin their plan for defending against the next offensive. They planned to put a massive flamethrowing weapon in the center of their line, to be used if it seemed they may be overrun. They soon returned to the line, Brom and Cailen maneuvering the devastating machine into position. Shortly after, the raiders attacked. They outnumbered the valiant defenders by more than three to one. The battle was a fierce one. Oris and Roberts led the defense on the left flank, each felling several foes. Kelmin stood tall with his men at the head of the center of their line. It appeared at that point that the battle was nearly won, when a sudden enemy assault threatened to overwhelm the right flank, it was Cailen and Brom’s quick reaction with the flamethrower that saved them all, obliterating the enemy attack…

After the battle the party met with Lord Kelmin, who thanked them for their noble and heroic actions. From him they learned of a nearby cavern, just south of Belast. It was rumored that within the cavern there was a rock pool, filled to the brim with glorious treasure. The adventurers, always in need of some funds to keep them going, decided to investigate. They sailed the Executor to the cavern entrance, but took a dinghy from there. They came through a narrow passage, and inside of the cavern they discovered a small lake, sitting in the middle of the lake was a tiny island, the location of the rumored treasure. Without hesitation they rowed out to the island. Mr. Bigg set about digging immediately, while everyone else kept a weather eye out for trouble. Before they had hardly begun a thick fog enveloped the cavern, and sounds of a chant could be heard on all sides… Suddenly! A horde of zombies came rushing up from the water. Our heroes dove into pitched battle, everyone fighting fiercely to protect Mr. Bigg. Finally the last undead fell, but they were hardly out of the woods. From through the fog came magical blasts, several of them striking the heroes. Roberts issued the order for a return fire, and whipped out his own crossbow. The battle raged for another few minutes, till all but the last wizard had fallen, and Mr. Bigg had just finished excavating the treasure. The heroes attacked the final remaining mage, bolts, arrows, daggers, and magic, flew at the villain. And none of them even made it to him. Again and again they attacked their foe, to no avail. And then came his retaliation. The mage began firing incredible bolts of energy at the heroes, sending each of them flying, knocking a few unconcious. Finally, not a single adventurer was left standing to fight, and the mage then teleported to the tiny islet. He approached them, and began his monologue detailing the futility of their efforts, and their imminent demise. Just as he gathered all his energy, for one, final blow…A sword suddenly erupted from his chest. The stunned wizard gasped as his energy dissapated into a harmless ball of light that quickly faded away, he slumped to the ground, dead. And there, standing over him was none other than Kat, the Doppleganger assassin. She subsequently explained how she had been employed by Zero, (Z’s creator, and how she had been tasked with killing Z, so that he would not disrupt the plans of her master. She also explained how this had been a trap, but she had decided at the last second that she liked the heroes much better than she liked Zero. She informed them of his lair underneath the city of Triware, to the east, and then went on to suggest that they simply blow up the town and let it collapse in on their foe. Roberts immediately took a liking to the, mildly unstable, assassin. However, the more magically savy, and less pragmatic, group members decided that even if they did blow up the town it wouldn’t even bother Zero. At that point Kat suggested that they blow up the town, just the same, and Roberts immediately knew that he and the assassin would get along just fine.

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Chapter 2

The ship arrived in Candlemass port. There Kor and Cailen decided to go in search of a new crew and ship, while the others headed to the nearest tavern. The Dread Pirate was attacked by a Dwarf bountyhunter by the name of Garrett. The patrons of the bar, as well as many of the sailors in port came to the aid of the familiar dwarf. While the party tried to keep fatalities to a minimum, a few “civilians” were killed. Eventually the guards came along and escorted the group away. They were taken to Castle Gristone in the city of Garreck. They were soon pardoned however when Lady Drassaud learned of their prowess. She asked them to carry a package to the city of Corinth on the other side of the island, and have it delivered to her sister Lady Apheia. The party agreed and they were given ample supplies for the journey, as well as four mounts to speed them on their way. They met with Kor and Cailen before leaving, and Cailen warned that if they did not return within two tendays that he would leave Euist without them. After some debate the heroes decided that their best path would be to head over the mountain pass. They set off that night and covered many miles before daybreak, at which they broke their fast and then continued on throughout the day. They set up camp that night, but it was a restless night. The party was attacked by wolves, the wolves went after the horses, as well as the sleeping party members. Z fended off his attackers by the campfire, with the aid of Oris. The Dread Pirate held back several of the beasts. Brom was lept upon while mounting his horse, but he was able to flip the wolf off him and hurl it into a chasm. Eventually they drove the pack off, and elected not to give chase. The next day they were attacked during their journey by a pair of Hippogriffs. The beasts injured Oris, but were wounded themselves and driven off. The rest of that day was uneventful. The next day the party wandered into a seemingly abandoned village, and were ambushed by orcs. The Dread Pirate’s horse, Shadow-Mare, was wounded by the Orc chief, who was beheaded in splendid fashion by Roberts. The party managed to slay most of the beasts, though a few may have escaped. Oris found the villages surviving inhabitants hiding in one of the tents. Roberts gave them some weapons and told them to be on the lookout for any remaining orcs, and then the party was off. The next day they encountered a Frost Wyrm. The fearsome thing knocked Oris unconscious, and was later beheaded by the Dread Pirate, after a fierce fight with the rest of the party. During the course of the next day Oris and Brom lost their footing and nearly plummeted to their deaths, luckily however, the other two were able to save them. That same day the Hippogriffs returned, and the ensuing battle nearly cost Oris his life, the Hippogriffs were dispatched however, and the entire party survived. They arrived in Corinth the very next day…

After arriving in Corinth they delivered their package, as instructed, to Lady Apheia’s personal servant girl. They spent the next few minutes in the kitchen, awaiting the Lady’s response, that is until she came storming in, along with several armed guards, demanding that the party surrender their weapons and tell her their business there. After convincing her that they were not assassins, the Lady explained to them her dilemma. She and her sister had concocted a scheme to bring all of Euist under control of the city state of Carreck. Lady Apheia would marry the Baron of Corinth, then after she gained the people’s trust the Baron would be assassinated, and Apheia would surrender the city to her sister, Lady Drassaud. However, during her time in Corinth Apheia had fallen in love with the Baron, and come to see the evil of her sister. The package she had just received was in fact the warning that the assassination was about to take place. She enlisted the help of the party in stopping the assassin. The heroes headed up to the ballroom, after some time of careful observation they spotted the assassin, just as she was about to strike. They quickly gave chase, and just as it seemed she might get away, Brom dove and tackled the would be assassin to the ground. They took her to the interrogation room, and Brom and the Dread Pirate attempted to intimidate her, while their attempts to shake the assassin failed, they noted that she seemed rather unstable, the assassin told them that she had decided she liked them and spilled the beans on the plot, with which they were already familiar, however the assassin added that Lady Drassaud planned not only to kill the Baron, but later to have Apheia killed as well, so that she may rule the island alone. The party left the room to converse with Apheia, leaving her head guard, Bralani, to guard the prisoner. They explained her sister’s plan to Apheia, and then heard a crash, and a thud come from the interrogation room. They rushed back around the corner and into the room to find Bralani lying dazed on the floor, he pointed out which way the assassin had went and the heroes, along with Apeia went off in pursuit. They eventually reached a dead-end, while still having seen no sign of the assassin, they returned to the interrogation room to find Bralani missing, however upon closer inspection Oris discovered his body hidden in the corner, naked. Roberts consulted Z on that matter, and after some quick brainstorming the group came to the conclusion that the assassin had been a Doppleganger, or a shape-shifter. And had posed as Bralani to escape. They attempted to lock down the city, but their attempts proved futile as the Doppleganger could impersonate anyone she chose. The Party spoke with Lady Apheia and decided to return to Carreck and mount an attempt to dethrone her evil sister. They were all given Corinthian light shields as well as a handsome amount of gold as reward for their actions in foiling the assassination. They returned to the city of Carreck and decided upon a plan to infiltrate the castle and kill Lady Drassaud in her sleep. They left Z by the wall facing Loch Lauren, where Kor and Cailen waited with their new ship, The Executor. The others infiltrated the castle, and were doing a decent job of remaining undetected. They reached the Lady’s quarters unnoticed, and Oris, the stealthiest of the group, approached her sleeping form. He slashed down with his scythe, but scored only a glancing blow. She was able to gain her feet and sound the alarm. Immediately a contingent of guards came rushing into the room. Oris led the retreat, Roberts grabbed the Lady and followed, and Brom held off the guards long enough for the others to get going before making his own retreat. They signaled Z to blow up the wall (using some explosives they had bought before setting out for Corinth over the mountains.) They came running into the courtyard, and out the gaping hole in the wall. They went running full bore for the docks, arrows and guardsmen nipping at their heels. As they reached the dock they jumped one by one onto the ship, first Oris, Brom, then after a moment of indecision, Z, and finally the Dread Pirate Roberts made his run, he stopped at the end of the dock, tossing the Lady aboard. He then turned around, reached into his belt pouch, and drew out a strange looking object. He hurled it at the pursuing guards, and turned about to jump for the ship. The strange thing aimed straight and true at the face of his nearest pursuer, and as it flew through the air, the thing exploded, inches from the surprised guard’s face, the force of the blast obliterated the dock, along with those guards on it, and sent Roberts sailing through the air to land on the deck of his ship. And off they sailed, out into deeper waters. Later they stopped by a Corinthian outpost at the northern tip of the island, there they deposited a distraught Lady Drassaud, with orders for the men there to have her delivered to the city of Corinth with the utmost haste.

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The story thus far...

Thus concludes chapter one of our grand adventure. Thusfar our heroes have had their village destroyed, and their friends and family taken as slaves. They have tracked them through the nation of Telatium, joining up with a dashing hafling rogue and taking to the seas after their quarry. They have survived the treacherous path through the Watcher’s Isles, and they have come to the mysterious island of Eileen a’ Ceedich. There they learned that their kinsmen had been taken north by a group of Yuan-ti cultists. They now travel north, less than a tenday behind the cultists, but they cannot cary on for long, their supplies grow short, and soon they must make landfall to replenish their stocks. Presently they approach the small port of Candlemass, on a southern penninsula of the island of Euist. There they will wiegh anchor, and take account of their situation…

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Sense of Foreboding...

The party had escaped the Watcher’s Isles, though just barely. Only one of their crewmen remained, the others were either dead, or had been swept screaming into the fog. Which was worse, none can rightly say. As such, an underlying sense of dread permeated the ship. They sailed thus for several days across the open sea. Till they came neared their destination.
“Ho! Land ho!” came the cry from the crow’s nest. But this sight was not met with the usual joy and merriment of a crew upon sighting harbor, for this was no harbor to them. It was the isle of Eileen a’ Ceedich, an island infested with mages of horrible power, and cultists worshiping dieties others dare not imagine, let alone name. As they drew closer a thick fog descended once again, and the sun fell from view. In the distance they could see a cliff overhanging the surf. And upon the edge of this cliff stood a lone figure. A mysterious chant emanated from the island. As they came on the figure on the cliff seemed oblivious to thier presence. Only once they had come very close did he make any move. The figure’s arm rose, slow and deliberately, pointing off to the right.
“I think he wants us to go that way,” but before Roberts could so much as lay a hand on the wheel it began to spin, and the ship veered to starboard. The Dread Pirate took a step away from the helm, and a few minutes later the ship had docked itself within a tiny cove. A lone delapadated walkway led away from the ship. The crewman was left behind to guard the ship, as the others set out along the path. Following it led them to a cavern, and within, an underground river, upon the other bank sat a cloaked figure, looking eerily similiar to the one they had seen upon the cliff. After a few moments of anxious debate in hushed tones, the party decided to cross the river and confront the figure, for they understood that it was here that their friends and families had been taken by the slavers.
“Halt.” issued the figure as they drew close, “What business have you here?”
“We come in search of our countrymen, they were recently brought here as slaves” The Dread Pirate displayed no fear of the mysterious figure.
“They are no longer here,” the figure droned, “They were sent north, to a sect of the Cult of Zehir in the Nentir Vale. If you wish to find them that is where you must go. Now you have no business here, be gone.” it commanded.
And so they left, armed with information, they sailed away under their own power, but still they were not yet free of a strong foreboding…

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