Jönköpings Finest

The battle at the oathstones

Full Rest

14. Wealsun 996 AF; Brighstone Castle

Stor, Kharamon, Rurik and Eddard headed to the central stairwell. Going upstairs, each step was getting harder, meeting increasing resistance with each flight of stairs. Finally, they can’t proceed anymore.

The heroes tapped into their magical powers, weaving them together and pressing through the boundary. They penetrated the barrier and were suddenly sucked into it. For a heartbeat there was nothing, then they felt like falling down and being shot to the top at the same time, and finally, as if they were diviing into water, they shot down into a flight of stairs, and reality was closing up again.

The heroes were in a large cave. A flight of stairs wound down to a large platform. Three Children of Light, forming a triangle, faced a large dragon. The leader of them – probably the Captain – pointed his longsword to the dragon. A glowing storm of light was emanating from his weapon, extending half-way to the dragon, and meeting a dark wave of energy that the dragon hurled at them. Midway, both energies met and the engergy-streams splattered like broken glass. A cleric and a war-mage formed the other points of the triangle, each in deep concentration, a hand laid on the shoulder of the captain. However, an eery silence embraced the whole scene, as none of them were moving – as if they where frozen in time.

The three Children were standing between two oath stones of a huge stone circle. The large stones shimmered in deep green. Stor recognized the material, as the older and deeper parts of the keep, which dated back to ancient times, were made from the same material.

Another circle, filled with dark-green ooze, edged around the oath stones. Three pools, each at the point of an isosceles triangle, filled the circle with further substance.

The heroes moved down the stairs and entered the platform. They felt a short resistence while leaving the stairs, and suddenly the whole scene started moving. The blast from the dragon vanished, and the three Children stumbled backwards.

A long battle ensued in which the dragon summoned several dragon wyrmlings. The heroes battled them back. However, the group suffered some casualties as the mage was slain by the breath attack of the dragon wyrmling.

As the dragon was getting hit over and over again by magic force and craftfully wielded blades, it was finally brought down to its needs. To the surprise of the heroes the dragon transformed into a heavely distorted elf whose shrill shreak nearly brought Eddard down. A banshee, an undead abberation driven by the will for revenge.

And finally, also the banshee was brought down. Taking a heavy strike from Kharamon, the banshee fell to the ground, transforming once more into. Stor realized with terror that it was now his mother who was laying on the ground. “Nooo”, he yelled, but it was too late. The Captain’s blade was already in motion, and the longsword impaled the frail body of Lady Brighstone. Stor rushed to his mother. She was barely breathing, the heavily wounded
body torn to shreds in many places.

“Don’t let…him… come back…my prince…ahhhhhhhh”, whispered the Lady, blood spurting out of her mouth. “Mother!”, cried Stor, as her head fell limp to the side and his mother exhaled her life with a last, long, rasping breath.

Stor continued to hold her head with his hands, tears bliding his view.

A rumble shook the platform.

“We better get going”, said the Captain, carefully watching the surrounding. “This whole place is unstable now.”

A new rumble shook the ground, first stones tumbled down from the ceiling.

mage dies

escaping, rurik unconscious

talk with Captain Martel

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The wealth of your ancestors
... in which the heroes learn that some cling to their wealth

13. Wealsun 996 AF; Brighstone Castle

After the battle with the unholy spirits, the heroes examine the room. The corridor in the north leads to another door. Someone has scribbled a sign on the door which Eddard and Rurik recognize as an invocation of Sorgor, the Saint of Protection.

“Someone tried to ward this door from these creatures”, Rurik whispers, and listens carefully to the soft chanting on the other side. “And they are reciting the Prayer to Thyr. Maybe some Children of Light?”

Stor enters his role of the castle’s noble again and announces himself. The doors opens, and he can see six Children of Light, weapons and shield ready to defend themselves. The Children realize that no harm will come from the heroes and relax. The sergeant of the team reluctantly shares their story, how they were tasked to secure this level, fought against the guards, and suddenly experienced a shock. He struggles to describes it, and the best he comes up with is a “tearing of reality”. After that, the spirits of the slain guards and fallen Children started to rise, and they barricaded themselves in this room.

“But what were your ordres? Why did you come to my castle in the first place?”, Stor follows up.

“Um…we… got the orders from our captain. He was supposed to put Lord and Lady Brightstone under attainder and bring them to Alsyenna for questioning. There was also talk about some old artifact, connected to Old Magic. But we were only following orders. "

“Do you know the whereabouts of my mother and father?”

“Well, your father… some took him and brought him to the coach, they were on their way leaving when this”, and he makes a vague gesture, "happened. “Your mother…she fled, we don’t know where she is.”

The heroes inquire about the rest of the basement. There are some prisoners in the cells, which the Children protected against the spirits. The heroes order the Children to take the prisoners and go to the first level and join with the staff in the kitchen.

Afters a short rest, theheroes then descend into the catacombs of the castle. The stairwell opens into a larger room, the center column and the walls made of the green stone, with golden sparks embedded. The heroes quickly find the old treasury, where two large chests with coins promise a substantial fortune.

The next room contains several sarcophagy, in which Stor’s ancestors have found their final rest. Stor examines the stone lids. Most of the names are know to him, although he never memorized the stories connected with these. However, he realizes that three sisters are buried here which found an untimely death, being accused of witchcraft and murder. Many stories revolve around Mathilda, Melanie and Maria, and while some stress their care and contribution to the Old Blood community, others stress them killing their husbands and performing forbidden magic.

The heroes open a sarcophagus to look for further treasure. Mathilda’s corpse is heavily decomposed. Her hands still hold a black wooden staff. As Stor graps it, Mathilda’s corpse rises to defend her property – and two more sarcophy lids move. The heroes fight a tough battle, but can overcome the three sisters.

A short search of the catacombs shows no more valuables, so the heroes grab the two treasure chests. As Stor moves the chest, he hears a voice in his mind: “Password?!”. He does not know the word and two statues animate and attack the heroes, but are defeated after a short battle.

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Bones of old
... in which Rurik develops a heretic theory

13. Wealsun 996 AF; Brighstone Castle
rest to recharge Stor???

Kharamons Scout
dead CoL
two halfblood, two CoL without armor and weapons
One crying and crushing a statue of Yiviel
battle, charms, all dead

Statue of Isamir, The godly Saint of Light, different style, quite personal, old statue, real mace.
something insie the dais
hidden compartment, old bone
Dwarven Mark on the mace

short rest, cleansing the chapel

fight with incorporeal undead, voices

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Near death
... in which the heroes learn to fear the CoL

11. Wealsun 996 AF; Brighstone Castle

Looting the lady#s chamber
long rest

12. Wealsun 996 AF; Brighstone Castle

Kharamon in captivitiy
Mage hunter
battle
reinforcements
Kharamon escapes, Stor and Eddard down, Rurik held
Rurik rules (heal, break free, attack)
final fight

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Meeting old acquaintances

11. Wealsun 996 AF; Brighstone Castle

The heroes went up on the north-eastern flight of stairs and entered the second floor. Bodies of two slain Brightstone guards – stabbed to death with the merciless precision of the Children of Light – and three dead Children of Light, who seemed to be smashed and clubbed to dead.

The corridor ended in a room. Two gargoyles – and the heroes suspected them to the gargoyles they encountered a few days ago on the plains – were standing guard there. As soon as they caught sight of Rurik, they marched forward. The heroes tried to negotiate a passageway, trying to convince the guardians that Rurik was “one of the good ones”, but the gargoyles approached Rurik with stone-like determination, ignoring the others. Finally, Kharamon cast invisibility on the cleric, who retreated to the first floor. The gargoyles stopped their advance and returned into their room.

Kharamon headed down to inform Rurik to meet at the western flight of stairs. The heroes tried to gather new information from the guardians.

In the room, there was another dead Child of Light. A brief examination showed that he was not smashed to death by the gargoyles, but stabbed in the back with a short dagger. Eddard recognized the soldiers as one of the mage guards, a protector of the war mages that the Children of Light employed. He further commented that their second task was to make sure that the mage was not overcome by the forces of magic, in which case he had to end the mage’s life.

one level up
gargoyles
Rurik invisible

Rurik headed downstairs and went to the eastern flight of stair, which was the main connection between the floors of the keep.
As the reached the second floor, he found a magic barrier blocking the path into the main part of the compound. The heroes were were already at the other side and poked at the barriers. Neither matter nor sound appeared to be able to pass.
Kharamon attuned with the barriers, but was not able to get in resonance with the magic structure. He suspected it to be a barrier that a mage erected to block entry – or exit – to the second floor. He and Stor could try to bend the streams of arcane energy that formed the barrier to create a passagway, but that would consume some of their prescious reserve of magic. They decided against it.

It appeared that the gargoyles were randomly patrolling the rooms and corridors that were open to them, but did not try to open doors. When they entered a distant part of the corridor, they signalled Rurik to come back through the north-eastern flight of stairs, and they managed to circumvent the gargoyles and lock them in the eastern part of the castle, while the heroes pushed further in the north-western part.

magic barrier
Locked doors and a battle with CoL

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Trapped in Brightstone Castle
... in which the heroes learn about the corruptive taint of magic

10. Wealsun 996 AF; Brighstone Castle

After the heroes entered the kitchen, the passageway shifts away with a sucking sound. The heroes serached the kitchen for supplies and managed to manufacture some molotov-cocktails.

Cautioulsy, they started to explore the first floor of the keep. Stor still knew the outline of the castle, although it looked changed at some places, sometimes, as if some older versions and newer versions of the castle overlapped, co-existed in this time.

The way to the servants quarter was covered with dead bodies – mostly servants, as Stor realized, but also some Children of Light. The passage to the main hall was blocked by a crude barricade of tables and chairs. The heroes hid a in a passageway, while Kharamon casted invisibility on him and headed to the barricade. About 15 servants were in the main room, again all servants, although some of them appeared to be armed with the weapons of the Children. The leader was apparently a hulking brute with huge strings of muscles, who was passing around in an aggressive manner, oozing rage. Five of the servants – as the brute, they were of the old blood – seemed to be in a similar mood, and also appeared to be stronger than normal half-elves. They reminded Kharamon of the horror-tales his grandfather used to frighten him when he was not training his mind. As his granddad told him, when those gifted with magic did not control and master this gift, the gift might become a curse, and take control of the mage. Whatever their affinity with magic was – and for some it was their emotions, as emotions were energy, like magic – will become stronger and stronger, and finally take over. The brute must have had an affinity for magic, and his aggressiveness – might it he be born with it or experienced it while the catastrophe in the castle occured – had taken over.

Kharamon sneaked back to his comrades and reported. Stor then tried to convice the servants to subject to hic command as lord of the castle, but the brute refuted and immediately attacked after Stor hauled his first fireball into the barricade. The fight was intense, but short, and all ragers were killed.

Kharamon was observing the main hall and realized something odd. All the other servants covered in the corners of the room, as far away from the fight as possible. However, a young girl – also of the old blood – drew a dagger and disappeared into the north-eastern passageway. The heroes immediately pursued and entered the corridor. The heroes heard a short, painfilled shout that turned into a garglind sound, while two other voices appeard to recite a prayer to Thyr. The passageway zickzacked once, and one of the prayers stopped, slurring into a garling, too. Then another room opened on the norther side of the corridor. Inside were three Children of light, sitting on the ground, the hands bound at their back. Two were dead, their throats slit open, the blood gushing out of the fresh wounds. The girl – not also radiating an aura of rage and raw power, raising her hand to slit the throat of the third soldier.

The heroes focused all their efforts on stopping the girl. After a short battle, she was slain, too, the Child saved.

The heroes interrogated the soldier. He appeared the last remaining survivor of the warriors of Thyr on this floor. Their task was to secure the floor, but after the catastrophe happened – which he described as huge jolt of the ground and booming sound, followed by a surge of energy, and a tearing on their souls – they encountered a tough defense by the raging servants. They were overpowered, and he and his three surviving comrades bound.

An questioning of the servants did not lead to many new information. They were quite intimidated by the brute, both from his power, and because he seemed to afflict others with his condition. They followed him out of fear, which was even greater after he killed the dwarven smith and his apprentice, who refused to follow him.

The heroes searched the other rooms on this floor. Stor found a scroll in the room of the quartermaster, which contained a spell he didn’t know yets. After that, the heroes fortified the main room again, set a watch perimeter, and went to sleep.

However, the well-longed for rest did not the needed recovery. It felt as if they were cut off from the normal flow of magic, and their dreams were filled with terror. In the morning, the heroes looked at each other concerned. It appeared, they had to go through this adventure without replenishing their magical powers!

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Visions of the past
...in which Rurik learns about the Witness

10. Wealsun 996 AF; Free Plains

next day:
the ritual
Healing for Kharamon and Tanquol
Rurik dozes off…into a life past and gone
-
Rurik followed the ritual with interest first, but the chanting of the priest was quite repetitive. Rurik started to gaze around, his eyes discovering the details of the room. The circular shapes on the floor, that reminded him of a stone circle, caught is attention in particular. The stone looked green, had a quality of crystal, yet at the same time were filled with milkish torrents and golden sparkles. Rurik stared fascinated at the flickering glimmer of the gold. While he stared at the stone shapes, his mind wandered. Images filled his mind, of large menhirs forming a perfect circle.

Suddenly Rurik felt a pull and a caleidoscope of light and darkness filled his mind. Then he saw a the stone circle from above, as if a bird was observing it from above. There was a man in the cirlce. Four groups of three humanoids were wainting outside of the circle, and a larger mass of people were standing behind them. 13 humans were standing outside on the right side, covering the right half the menhir cirlce.

Ruriks view was still blurry, but he forced himself to focus and zoom in to the human in the circle. He was young, maybe in his late twenties, dressed as a warrior king with armor and sword, a simple crown on his head. A glowing presence of the height of a large human swirled behind him. However, Rurik felt a fierce awareness emanting from the light, as if it were pure consciousness and will.

Now the scene started to move, as if a frozen picture came to life. The first trio entered the circle. Three dwarves, dressed in an oldfashioned way, slowly walked toward the human king. Two of them knelt down, while the third stood a bit apart, witnessing the scene.

“Do you, Andros of Clan Kundarak, pleadge allegiance to our cause, and swear a holy oath to accept me as your king”?

“I do, and I subject me and my clan to your command and judgement!”

“Then let our bond be.” The king nodded slowly.

A glowing bond formed between the dwarf and the king, silver light. The golden sparkes in the stones flashed as the king replied, and now strands of golden light reinforced the silvery bond between Andros and the king.

“For your loyalty, I bestow this gift on you.” The king touched the forehead of the dwarf with his index and middle finger. At the same time, a beam of energy emanated from the swirling figure behind the king and struck the dwarf; with no obvious effect however.

“So it is pledged, so be it”, acknowledged the third dwarf.

As he spoke, the bond thickened and embraced the human and the dwarf, binding their souls and fate together. And while the whole scene captured Rurik in awe, none of the spectators reacted to it. It dawned on Rurik that they could not see what his eyes showed him. Did he see the magical power of the Oath Stones? But who was the dwarf? Which arcane power did he wield? And which role did the swirling figure of light play?

“Do you, Balenorn of Clan Galvern, pleadge allegiance to our cause, and swear a holy oath to accept me as your king”?

“I do, and I subject me and my clan to your command and judgement!”

“Then let our bond be.” Again the king nodded slowly and touched the forehead of the dwarf. Again, light emanated from the figure.

And again the silvery band formed, reinforced by the light from the Oath Stones, and acknowledged by the third dwarf.

“So it is pledged, so be it!”

Rurik focused his attention on the third dwarf. He appeared to be a Speaker of the Ancients, a scholar of dwarven heritage and law and often counsel in legal matters. In ancient times, the Speakers were also the priests of dwarvendom, gainig their power from the power of the Ancients – the founding fathers who were born from the stone -, and the paragons who went into the stone again.

Rurik felt a weird familiarity with this dwarf. He didn’t know him, that was sure, but he felt an uncanny connection with the spirit of this dwarf. Sure, the personality was different, as was his life and history, but at the inner core, he was like Rurik. Was he an ancestor of him? That would make sense, but yet… the feeling of deja vu, the uncanny familiarity…

A thought formed in Rurik’s mind, so weird and unrealistic that he immediately rejected it. “No this can’t be”

Rurik’s consciousness jerked back, zoomed out, got some distance. No, it can’t be him, his soul, incarnated in a different body. Him, but not the Rurik of this life with his own history, but the essence of him, living in a distant time. Rurik was shaken, and pushed the thought aside. This was too unbelievable, and if he would further dwell on this, he feared he would get overwhelmed by the implications of this possibility. He gathered his will and refocussed on the scene that was unfolding below him.

The dwarves stepped out of the circle and the next trio entered. Two halflings knelt in front of the king, while a third watched the ceremony. The first halfling, Cora Jorasco, pledged allegiance for House Jorasco, the second, Malva Ghalland, for House Ghalland.

The third trio were three humans, Agnella Sivillian and Balthazar Orien, who pledged their loyalty and that of their houses to the king, receiving and unnamed gift from him – or the swirling figure. The fourth and last trio were three hobgoblins, two proud warrior chieftains, who pledged the allegiance of the Tharask and Vadalak Tribe to the king, also receiving the gift.

Rurik was beginning to feel a strain on himself, as if watching this scene – a scene from the past? – consumed parts of hif lifeforce. He forced himself to zoom out of the scene and observed the bigger picture. From a distance, he dared to focus on the swirling figure. Again, a sensation of raw power overcame him, a fierce will, yet somehow unworldly. However, the fierce power reminded Rurik of something that he has touched from a distance, since he heard the call of Thyr, and has connected to him in prayer so often since. Was this Thyr, or a manifestation of him? The old stories revealed how he guided the king in his war against the evil Witchkings. Did Thyr intervene and granted parts of his power to the king and the Houses, Clans and Tribes that pledged allegiance to the king? Never had Rurik heard of this taking place, yet he was witnessing it.

But Thyr’s presence never felt so archaic and unbound like the presence of the swirling figure. Something was different, but Rurik could not make sense of it. Thyr always felt more like a real being, godly and inconceivable in his power, but not unsympathetic to the peculiarities of human or dwarven life.

Again Rurik weakened. He realized his time was running out, or he would harm himself in the process, finally being consumed by it. But he needed to know more about this event. Rurik forced himself to focus on the 13 figures standing outside of the circle. He felt that each of them were attuned to a divince force. The figure in the middle was a priest of Beory, the All-Mother, the others were followers of cults mostly long forgotten, extinct, or driven into hiding by the Children of Light. Rurik got the impression that they disapproved of the ceremonies. Were they jealous of Thyr, did they fear their loss of influence, or even had a hunch of the things to come: The victory of Arthur Manetheren, the union of the Church of Thyr and the Crown, and the conversion of hundreds of thousands of faithfull?

Again Rurik zoomed out. Now streams of humans pledged their allegiance to the king, however, none of them were granted a gift.

Rurik zoomed out further. The scene became a scene of many, in an endless streams of scenes and events. However, he was drawn to a scene further in the past, the day before the oath ceremony. He mustered all his strengths and started to force his will further back in time, meeting increasing resistence in the process.

The healing ceremony of Kharamon was successful, and now it was Thanquols turn. Stor and Kharamon stood around Rurik. Blood poured out of Ruriks nose. He started to shake, but his eyes were pulled back into his head, only showing the white. Stor and Kharamon were very concerned. It was clear that their companion was in huge distress, but they didn’t dare to wake him – if that was even possible. Stor and Kharamon looked at each other and – as if they were thinking as one – both went behind Rurik. Stor, on the left, put his left arm on Ruriks shoulder and his right arm on Kharamons shoulder; Kharamon put his right arm on Ruriks right shoulder, and his left arm on Stor’s shoulder. They formed a perfect triangle with Rurik at the top. Their touch already seemd to calm and strengthen Rurik. Then, with a deep breath, both Stor and Kharamon joined Rurik in his trance. Both Stor and Kharamon formed a bond with Rurik, joining their trained will and force of personality with Ruriks energy.


Suddenly, Rurik felt the presence of his companions, and a surge of energy washed his tiredness away. He pressed further backwards in time.

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The Scythe-Tree
... in which Eddard finds his new faith

8. Wealsun 996 AF; Free Plains

After the battle with the bandits, the heroes form a pyre and Rurik performs the last rites of Thyr. Ruriks stands guard for a while while the pyre burns down, and then joins his comrades for a well-earned rest.

9. Wealsun 996 AF; Free Plains

After a refreshing night in the relative safety of the hunting lodge, the heroes discuss their next steps. Rurik,. who remembered the three hunting dogs in the kennel, decides to take possession of them and establish his dominance, while the others search the lodge.

After a simple lunch, the heroes march back to the forest. Rurik takes a different path back, and soon realizes that he led the party into the hunting ground of tow land-sharks, or Bullettes. It is almost too late as he realizes the dangerous situation they are in, as the Bullettes burst from the ground and leap in the middle of the group. Two dogs are instantly killed, and Kharamon pushed to the ground.

Finally, the heroes reached the grove. They caught up with Tram, the priest of Beory, who started to clean up the mess the scouts caused. He was not aware of any new attacks, but mentioned a winged humanoid creature that appeared yesterday and seemed to be concerned with a certain part of the central hill that overgrows much of the old temple. Tram agreed to perform the ritual for Kharamon and Tanquol during dawn, when the energy of rebirth is the strongest.

The heroes questioned the old servant and the stable boy. They remembered that a group of Children of Light arrived at the castle and their leaders demanded to speak with his and her lordship. After a while, their leaders and Lord and Lady Brightstone went deeper into the dungeons. Then chaos emerged and they barely managed to escape.

Afterwards, it was the bandit’s turn. Rurik used his headband to gain insight into the mind of the bandit, and Eddard cast a zone of truth, which aided in getting to the ground of things. It turned out the bandit was with LImping Jack from the beginning. Their goal was to gather certain antiques and kill people whose name were on a list. All names refer to old names in the borderlands. He didn’t know who compiled the list or ordered the killings, as it was only LImping Jack who was in touch with them.

Eddard knew enough to speak his verdict, which was death by hanging. The heroes used a nearby tree and brought the bandit to justice.

Next he heroes wanted to question the surviving scout. However, Tram answered that he made him suffer for his attack on the forest, and that he will give back to defend the forest in the future. He was concerned that the 9th Legion might return in force and destroy the forest or the temple in the future. Consequently, he started to prepare the forest for defense.

The heroes were in desperate need of information to figure out what is going on and decided to question the scout. Tram points them into the right direction, but said he won’t neither help them nor interfere, and was okay with whatever outcome will result from their actions.

The heroes went on their way and from a distance saw the silhouette of a gargoyle who seemed to be engaged in some activity. However, the heroes marched on as the life of the scout was on the line.

After a short walk they reached a glade. In the middle was a huge tree. The scout was pinned to the tree, his arms spread, the naked flesh bound to the trunk with thorny vines. He seemed to be in a comatose state. The tendrils seemed to slowly suck the life out of the man.

Stor went into a trance again and tried to commune with the tree. He realized that the tree was feeding on the scout, not only consuming his blood, but also his spirit. Stor pushed further and managed to glimpse into the memories of the scout. He experienced flashes of memories and feelings. A long and hard campaign in the north… an oath sworn in good faith, which bound him from then on and can’t be renounced … a circle of stones… terrible deeds that scarred and numbed his soul…

In the meanwhile, Kharamon composed a spell that enhanced his speed. He lunged forward, escaped vines and grass that suddenly became alive and tried to grapple him, dodging one swing of the branches of the tree – or more a vile treant? – that knocked the air out of him, and lunged onto the tree. He slowly hacked the vines away and tried to free the scout. After a while, a small battle between Rurik and the tree, and some healing, he was successful and the scout was safe.

Stor returned from his communion with the forest, but this time had a hard time coming back. He needed to fight to compose himself and felt that he lost something in the process.

Eddard also went into a trance, similar to the day when he stood guard during the night of ordination, when he received his vision and call from Thyr. For some reason he felt not compelled to fight the tree or help the scout. Instead, his nagging doubt about the development of the church resounded strongly in him, questioning his oath. But not in the sense to abandon his oath – more to pledge allegiance to a different cause. An oath of nature. And at the same time, this felt in line with his allegiance with Thyr. But instead of connecting to the abstract ideals of law and justice, Eddard connected to the more concrete ideals of nature. And it felt right…as if he was closer to Thyr in a weird, more personal or human way…

- To be continued -

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The Old Hunting Lodge
... in which the heores finally catch the Scoutmaster - and an old enemy

7. Wealsun 996 AF; Free Plains

Dusk is alread setting in as the heroes finally reach a hilltop. Down in the valley appears a two-storied house, which looks like an old hunting lodge. The traces of the fleeing scout directly point to the lodge, so the heroes assume that he is seeking refuge there.

8. Wealsun 996 AF; Free Plains
The heroes, exhausted and bruised from the long pursuit, decide to make camp. The night goes by uneventful. Kharamon has the last watch. While he is watching the lonely lodge, the intense scenes of the last days pass in front of his mental eyes. The battle on the market place, where a priest of Thyr supposedly provided the last rites for the convicted bandits,, which suddenly transmuted into monsters of molten rock. Only Limping Jack, who didn’t swallow the oblate of the last rite, did not transform and managed to escape. And Justice Alistair Dunstan, brother of Lord Alar Dunstan, who seemed quite an incompetent judge, but a more dedicated follower to the law of purity who despises half-bloods like Stor or Kharamon.

Then there were the two expeditions into Castle Brightstone, which ended with him and Tanquol looking into the eyes of pure horror, tearing into their very soul, and ripping away decades of their youth. The feeling of a dark, all-consuming vortex building up in the center under the castle, and the spirit of the castle being inverted – or perveted – into something negative.

The travel to Old Tram, priest of Beory, the goddess of nature, interrupted by two gargoyles, former guardians of Castle Brightstone, who lost the purpose of their watch.

The encounter with the scouts of the 9th Legion of Light, the Legion that once was commanded by Lord Alar Dunstan, now ruler in Alsyenna. The heroes took sides with the Guardians of the Grove, wolf-like fey creatures, who hunted the scouts. At the heart of the grove, they found two more dead scouts, a severly injured priest, the two surviving servants of Castle Brightstone – and an ancient temple. Old Tram said that the damage to Kharamons and Tanquols soul was too severe for him to heal, but that an artefact from the temple – the Temple of Life – would be able to heal them. Unfortunately, the artefact was stolen by a last scout.

And then the pursuit, which brought them here…

Suddenly, Kharamon realizes that he is being watched. A silhuette of a large man with three huge dogs stands at the fringe of the dim light the fire sheds into the vanishing night. A short conversation occurs in which the heroes indicate that they were in pursuit of a person, and coming from a forest. The man vanishes into the night. only later to be seen to bring the dogs to a kennel at the lodge, and entering the house.

The heroes approach the house. Now they realize that the lodge has seen better days, as signs of decay are visible everywhere. The lodge seems to be out of use for long time. The fading heraldic symbols indicate that this lodge once belonged to the former Lord of Alsyenna, before the fief was dedicated to Lord Dunstan for his successful campaign in the north.

The heroes make themselves known by knocking on the door. A window in the first floor opens and a halfling peeks out of the window – it is Limping Jack!

The heroes enter the residence. Stor calls out for the majordomus of the place, which is anwered after a short while with the call to enter. Eddard opens the door and is immediately shot by five bolts and arrows.

An intense battle erupts, Especially the Masterscout is a deadly threat, felling Kharamon with three swift strikes. However, he can’t escape as Rurik is blocking the exit. The Masterscout, a battle-hardened veteran of many campaigns, calls out Rurik:

“Why do you ally yourself with such abominations? You’re a priest of Thyr, by his name!”

“But they are not abominations, they are people!”

“One last time, let me pass, you are interfering with orders from the church!”

“I can’t let you go!”

Rurik is torn as all the believed in, and what gave his life purpose and stability, is now torn apart. He decided to go against the church – at least against this incarnation of its military pillar – and hinder the escape of the scout. The scout manages to bring Rurik to the ground and flee…

In the meanwhile, Thanqoul was pressing hard on Limping Jack, who tried to flee through the kitchen. However, he could not escape the wrath of the halfling, and ended his life on the blade of Thanquols rapier.

In the end, all brigands were killed…

- to be continued -

Loot:
- Ancient artefact (similart style like the old temple and the ancient fundament of Castle Brightstone)
- Map, which marks the Temple of Life, another temple in the north, and another position – potentially a camp of the 9th Legion.
- Kharamons family heirloom
- Gems and coins worth 500 Electrum pieces.

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In Pursuit
... in which the heroes follow a trail of fire and death

7. Wealsun 996 AF; Free Plains

The battle with the mad gargoyle was won, and the heroes headed towards the forest were the cleric of Beory – Tram – was supposed to be. The heroes entered the forest and felt a similar sensation as when they left Realm. A sensation as if they entered a new sphere of belonging, that is aligned with a different spirit than the Realm. A spirit connected to nature and life.

The heroes headed to the center of the forest, when they crossed a newly made trail. Rurik investigated and found traces of two humanoids that sped into the east of the forest.

battle between the scouts and the grove guardians

The heroes headed towards the center of the forest.

ancient tree, temple, priest,
pursuit of the scout
water elemental
Again the heroes followed the barely visible blood trail of the scout. Next they encountered an angry Treant, who walked towards them with flailing arms. Luckily, the heroes were able to spot smoke that was rising from the back of the treant. While the others distractected the Treant, Kharamon managed to climb it’s back and discovered three burning arrows. He used his magic to extinct the fire. Again, a good deed done!

The heroes again pursued the scout. They reached the border of the forest and entered the wide grassy hills of the “no-mans-land”. Rurik led the party into the unknown. After a while, he discovered a dead and a severely injured blink dog. Blin
blink-dogs

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