Iskar Vale 5e

They've Got Magic. . .and SILVER!
I think we have a rat infestation

Templeton removed the Zephyr from its stand, the hilt still emitted a faint glow, though the sapphire inlays fell dormant.

Tarhill stepped forward and said, “I think it’s best that we return to Aatondale. Samael is expecting us to return with this. And it may hold the clues to our next location.”

Gary leaned his shield against the tomb wall. “Yes, but how will we get there? The Ios is not a timid beast.”

Aerayal cleaned the dirt from under her fingernails with a sharp dagger. She kept her gaze and intent on the job at hand and said, “Aye. But there are ships on the far shore more days than not. I’m sure we can,” she paused to admire her work, “arrange passage.”

Templeton walked forward, slid the Zephyr in his sheath, and said, “Then let’s be off. The tide will not wait for us.”

Tirsh shook his head, chuckling silently at the rogue’s pageantry and frivolous sincerity.

The group fell in line, exited the Tomb of Roe, and no one mourned or acknowledged the desecration of this sacred place. Bones lay strewn about the ground, burial chambers lay disturbed and discarded, and no prayers were said for the interrupted dead.

As the group left the Tomb, the dull, heavy head returned teasing with nausea and slow thoughts. The heroes pushed through, the knowledge that the feeling would subside as they put more and more distance between themselves and the Tomb. When they had left the region of retardation a pair of lost men wandered in the open field ahead.

Thenn dashed toward them, fire in his eyes, and the rest of the group followed along. Gary pushed the mule on to a racer’s pace, and in little time they closed the gap.

Immediately, many recognized that the two men wore the colors of Aatondale’s standard militia. As they approached, one of the men lacking in height, but full of vigor began waving both of his hands high above his head. He continued this even as the group stood just before him. His companion, taller and darker of hair, smacked him across the chest with the better part of his left hand and arm.

“Delen, you can stop now. i’m pretty sure that they can see you.”

The tall, dark-haired one steps forward, focusing on Tarhill’s clothing. “You are of the Loups de Mort, yes?”

Templeton replied, “Yes. We all are.”

The group brandished their Loup de More patches, sashes, and various clothings.

“Finally, we have found you. “Agents,” he says, “we have traveled across the Ios to deliver immediate news from Lord Aaton and Samael.” He pauses

The other guard blurts in, “They have found Garran and Nemic.”

“The news that Lord Aaton’s sons might be alive is both startling and relieving, I know, but your mission is now to be diverted to finding and retrieving them.”

Gary steps forward, his shield at the ready, “We know that you call him Delen, but how are you called?”

“Please forgive me. I am Goret.”

“And how do we know that you are sent by the High Court, Goret?” Templeton asked.

“Forgive me again. Here. I have a writ from Lord Aaton himself.” He pulled out a small, ornate scroll case washed in magical energy. He waved his hand over it and whispered a two-syllable word that Templeton heard as “Victos,” and the scroll case opened. He handed it to Templeton who verified that it listed Goret and Delen as messengers sent by the High Court of Aatondale, sealed by each member.

Thenn, bored by the grown-up talk, started shooting fire into the ground. Delen, overwhelmed with glee and excitement, took to the dragon with great jubilence.

Goret held his hand out for the seal’s return, “Thank you, sirs.”

“So where are the brothers?” Asked Gary.

“A den of bandits have them. They are in the Silverlight forest, but beyond that, we don’t have much in the way of an exact location.”

Templeton asks, “And how do you know this?”

“One of their members defected and brought the information to the High Court. He expected to be well rewarded in gold coin, but found himself well rewarded in years in the dungeon under the castle.”

Goret tugged at the bottom of his tunic and avoided direct eye contact, “And have you found The Zephyr?”

The group stumbled to cover having it, then revealed conflicting stories that Zara had it and was returning it to Aatondale.

At that time, several crossbow bolts flew into the clearing, one singing right through the air and pushing through Delen’s left shoulder, sticking out of the front of his chest. He fell immediately to the ground. Within seconds a dozen short rat-faced men took positions for stabbing and shooting.

Thenn rushed in, released a hand full of magic missiles, and seared their flesh and fur. Tirsh closed in and swung his hefty axe and failed to find purchase. The rat-men surged in with blades and teeth, stabbing and biting. Thenn and Desvark found themselves in dire straights after that as blood poured from several new holes in their bodies.

Gary, and the rest of the crew poured in, attacking and maneuvering, and as soon as their weapons ripped flesh, the wounds healed completely. Gary cried out, “Our weapons don’t hurt them.”

Templeton slid The Zephyr’s blade into the side of one of the rat-men and it looked down in surprise, shrieking to its companions, “They’ve got magic!”

At the end of the onslaught, after several ineffective hits, and Aerayal’s arrow being pulled straight out and laughed at, Goret reached into his pouch, pulled out several silvery orbs, and threw them to the Loup de Mort.

“Silver your blades!” He cried as he burst one of the orbs over his own blade, coating it in a slick, silver fluid.

The opponent that Templeton had skewered screamed louder, “AND SILVER!”

Several of the archers run from the fight, leaving their stabby and bitey friends to work over the party.

And the DM got tired and lazy. . .to be continued. . .

. . . continued.

Tirsh stood fast and the rat-faced beasties closer. He hefted his great axe and posed an attractive threat. Two small clusters of hero and baddie emerged, and once the ratmen in the clearing had been dispatched, Aerayal and Templeton deftly maneuvered to where the remaining threat lay.

Once the backup had arrived, the second cluster had also been subdued and Gary had wrestled one of the ratmen back into the clearing where Aerayal bound him. Thenn and Templeton dashed off toward the wolf-faced man who had been watching from beyond the trees, only to find that he was no longer there.

Upon their arrival, the beast leapt from a tree, bit Tarhill hard in the neck, and sprinted off. Thenn gave chase, but the beast transformed into a large wolf and his speed went unmatched by the dragon.

Torturous plots found a heap of charred bodies and a rat-man strapped to a tree. He gave the best of his information, revealing Garran to be the leader wolf who had escaped, and his brother to be among the dead. Slowly, the bodies lost their fur and rat faces, reverting back to humans, and none of them were recognized to be Garran or Nemic.

Templeton dripped silver fluid in the captive’s eye, Gary issued commands for those with bows to take range, and when no further information could be gleaned from his will, he was asked, “Do you want a quick death?”

Aerayal, tired of the noise and banter made the beast’s decision for him and without a breath slid the answer through his good eye, closing the matter.

Goret and Delen’s wounds were seen to by Desvark and Gary and Goret shared that the knowledge of their ability as shape-shifters was the next thing he intended to share, along with the orbs and a cache of healing potions.

“They have at least thrice this count in their lair in the Silverlight Forest, Agents. And I have no more silver orbs.”

Templeton commented, “We are wholly unprepared to face this threat.”

Goret said only this, “Forgive my insolence, Agents of the Loups de Mort, but you had best get prepared.”

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Bones and Coins and Bones and Coins
One step closer to finding the Wind

With the rightmost tomb emptied, the group looked around a bit more, some members moving on. Zara discovered that this tomb held interred Sylanna Roe, the eldest daughter. She tucked this knowledge away and moved out into the yard where a few of the others had already begun to open the second, smaller building. The door opened easily, Loups de Morts flowed in, and skeletons erupted from the inner chamber. At the same time the outer walls burst, sending shards of stone and dust everywhere.

Zara quickly let loose an enchantment covering the hidden skeletons in a mystical light that seemed to attract her companions’ blades. The skeletons on the other side of the building shambled forward. In the midst of all the chaos, a well-armored warrior charged in on a donkey and a cart, raised his shield to bash the walking bones, and unleashed a storm of fury.

The skeletons were quickly sent back to the ground and the second tomb searched.
Serget Roe’s eldest son, Marvolo, laid in final slumber here and another coin of the same mysterious metal quickly found and magically slipped into Zara’s pockets. The newcomer introduced himself and Templeton immediately realized that he was a member of House Ios’ mercenary squads. As everyone received him, they hatched a plan for the final tomb.

The double doors opened, Templeton rushed in and immediately rushed back out, though not of his own accord. An enormous skeleton in armor and carrying a shield guarded the tomb. They fought him diligently, eventually bring the bones to a crumpled pile, and searched the tomb. A third coin appeared at the hilt of the sarcophagus’ lid. Zara revealed that the tomb belonged to Serget Roe, the Once King of Kharsis, and Templeton discovered some writing on a tapestry far above the floor.

“The wind awaits on silver and gold time again. Suffocation and ruin lie before it”

Zara found an inscription on the sarcophagus itself that read:

“Eternally, the strength of pride guides us to victory
While the measure of action holds us in the balance
And the worm tunnels its way to the Wind”

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Dragons don't need clothes
And only rangers rush in. . .

Saffron rushed over to Tarhill’s aid, reviving him and healing his wounds. She prayed fervently, sending divine whispers to absent ears, and the scent of oatmeal cookies filled the air. Being early morning, the group rounded up their belongings, ate their food, and started their day in separate fashions. Most of the group stayed in the camp to prepare themselves for the journey ahead, but Tirsh, Aerayal, and Saffron went to find the ogre’s mate.

The found the cave in an outcropping of rock just about ten minutes from camp. Based on the size of the rock, the bones strewn about the entrance, and the carcasses accumulated, Aerayal estimated that there were at least two more ogres inhabiting the space. She reported this back to Tirsh and Saffron and the three returned to camp to share this information with the rest of the group.
They all agreed that they made relatively quick work of the first ogre, even though its club was enough to stunt the halfling’s growth even further, and the barbarians suffered both bruises and humiliation. The prepared, packed their things, and moved out from the camp and from the woods. Aerayal was again on point though this time her ability to stay hidden failed her.

Once they got close, Aerayal moved toward the cave, trying to use the rocks, trees, and shrubbery as cover, but the ogress’ senses were stronger than they had anticipated and she saw them. Aerayal, not wanting to bring the angered beast back to her party bolted off into the nearby woods, staying just far enough ahead of the ogress to keep her enticed.

As soon as the ogress gave chase, the party poured into the battle, attempting to take her attention off of the fleeing tiefling sneak. They successfully brought her down using might and magic and Aerayal suggested caution as they approached the cave because she believed there to be something else within.

Fortunately for the adventurers, the only other inhabitants of the cave were two captured randos. They were crated, which seemed odd for ogres, but lucky for captives. Thankful to have not been the night’s meal, the two offered to provide their services in exchange for being allowed to travel with the party who accepted graciously. Templeton and Desvark were now honorary members of the Loup de Mort.

Templeton left the cave seeking fresh air and Desvark followed, inspecting the rocks around the cave for any types of clues. The rest of the group stayed inside and collectively found some works of art, many coins, and a small wooden box with a hinged lid. The box had an ellipse indentation in the felt bed and the lid that looked like it held a shape similar to an egg.

The group took to searching for what might go in the box and found a stone that looked promising. Zara could tell immediately that there was some form of magic about it and set it to the box. She cast an identify spell and learned that it was a luck stone, though her knowledge of such items indicated that they were traditionally made of agate, not standard pebbles.

With that information and the loot squarely sorted, the group convened outside the cave and Templeton shared his knowledge of Mount Hammerford, suggesting that he could easily find the tomb they were searching for. As the group headed in that direction, Aerayal continued scouting and they encountered another patch of rotted earth along the way. They made a wide berth, continuing their trek until they began to feel their senses and thoughts dull.

Zara believed the stone to be the source of their troubles and walked it away from the group where her clarity returned. She hid the stone and returned, making note of its location. The Loup de Mort moved on for what seemed to be far too long and then realized that they’d been treading the same ground for nearly an hour. Zara returned to the stone and carried it with them and once the dullness subsided, they found the Tomb of Roe.

There were three buildings, the center taller and wider than it’s flanking cousins. Zara peered inside while the others looked around. As she was taking inventory, Desvark opened one of the tomb doors and stepped inside, finding himself immediately beset by animated skeletons. Within seconds (and with lots of leaping on sarcophagus lids) the skeletons were smashed back into piles of bone rubble, and Zara repaired the lid that Thenn, Templeton, and Tarhill broke.

The group searched the tomb, noticing that a dusty bookshelf in the room had visual anomalies. Tarhill climbed the bookshelf in search of loot while Saffron put her hands between his legs and pushed finding a medallion-sized coin hidden behind a false back. Desvark, impatient and ready for action left the tomb and headed for one of the other buildings. Templeton followed with Thenn’s words still echoing in his head, “Dragons don’t need clothes.”

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Saffron's notes

We were selected for a squad and told to prepare a list of items. We are still in the main hall. Saffron arranges passage on a ship for the party. We are now part of the lu de moor. We get clothing of royal blue with silvery embroidery of a wolf’s head. He hands me a blank stone tablet that is 5×5 inches square.

+90 EXP

Saffron’s healing spell smells like oatmeal cookies. We found a cave looking for the ogre’s lair.

party funds:
2100 copper
1300 silver
70 gold
10 electrum
5 platinum

zara:
2 copper chalices with silver filigree
embroidered silk hankercheif
small ornate box with latch with small indentation size of pebble
look stone: +1 to ability checks and saving throws. needs attunment.
almost black coin w dragon on it.

headed to mount hammerford & tomb of roe

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Elves, Stinky Patches, and Ogres. Oh my!
Don't trust the stinky patch. . .or the ogre

Samael announced that a change of plans called for the group to leave the next day. They were left to their own desires for the night with orders to return the next morning at daybreak.

Saffron headed to the docks, talked to some of her contacts, and realized that it would cheaper to simply take a regular ship across Lake Ios than to charter a private ship. She negotiated a deal and paid upfront, expecting the others to reimburse her. Zara took to the libraries and scoured the books for the rest of the day, researching old scrolls and tomes alike. She discovered that the Tomb of Roe most likely laid south of the Krennari Pass and North of the Silverlight Forest. Tarhill tried his hand at some dice games and managed to turn his winnings into enough alcohol to make lots of friends for the night. Aeraryal headed off to find a mark and though she didn’t manage to sneak up on the fat purse she found, she managed to make a go of it and played the man and his date while relieving him of the burden of his full coin purse. Thenn decided to take a night for himself and visited a local brothel where he took on three of the workers before a messy finish when he left the city walls and joined Tirsh for setting some things on fire before they returned to camp.

The next day, Samael directed the group, announcing their affiliation with the Loups de Mort and granted them each an article of clothing with a rich blue cloth and finely embroidered silver wolf head. Additionally, each member received a small item as Samael explained that he was received a vision while meditating at the Brazier Eternal. Tarhill received a small wooden box with a sliding lid that held a strange metallic liquid. Tirsh was given a small, silver sphere. Aerayal got a smooth leather pouch filled with shimmering, fine powder. Zara got an empty, metal hourglass. Sapphron received a blank stone tablet, and Then got a red arrowhead that vibrated when it touched his skin. Samael mentioned that there was another pedestal which had no name marker and on it sat a locket attached to a leather strap. He handed the locket to Tarhill for keeping.

The squad was sent on their way after giving Samael a copy of Zara’s research, and the items they requested were left on a table near the exit. They headed to the docks, boarded their ship, and set sail across Lake Ios. Zara made arrangements to provide entertainment during the trip. Two days later, they reached the east shore and headed up the shoreline. About midway through the day Sapphron and Aerayal noticed that there were two figures ahead. Sapphron pointed out that they were clearly elves, and Zara determined by their appearance that they were not elves native to the Silverlight Forest tribes.

The group approached with caution, Zara further studying their body language, with the determination that they were aggravated, but not hostile. Though they were both approximately the same in size, one clearly held an aggressive stance over the other and when the group finally closed the distance, the aggressor had his fist raised ready to strike.

Zara approached, attempting to calm the situation, “Greetings friends. How are you today?”

The aggressive elf stepped forward, Thenn reached for his sword, sliding it a few inches from it holder, when Zara sent him a nod to calm his tits. He left his hand on the hilt and raised his shield in a ready stance.

“Everything’s fine here except this guy keeps telling me that he’s a better shot than I am. Well, I can tell you, I’m a better shot. I got five rabbits and Wendel there only got three. That proves it.”

Zara noticed that Wendel sunk into himself attempting to remain small and unthreatening. She replied to the first elf, “Well, I’m sure that we could set up a contest for you to show your skills. I even have a bow you can use so there’s no bias.”

Wendel and the other elf, eventually identified as Eoris, bickered as Eoris protested the contest saying that it really didn’t matter. Ultimately, they decided to proceed and Zara used her magic to create a target on a nearby tree. They stood 100 paces from it and took turns shooting Zara’s bow. Eoris proved that he was clearly the better marksman and Wendel virtually refused to concede that fact.

“But I got five rabbits, and you only got three. I’m still better.”

The two gave the group some parting advice that they should avoid going too far north, choosing to cut through the forest where it thinned, and to watch out for patches of land full of rot and decay. The group continued north until it was time to camp for the night and then made camp a few yards into the woods. During the last watch, Tarhill heard a disturbance in the woods and woke Zara who telepathically woke the others.

Tarhill grabbed his frying pan and scaled a tree while the others quickly assumed defensive stances, moving away from the camp. Zara masked their scents with magic, and a large bear trundled into the camp sniffing at the bits of food that Tarhill had left behind. Unimpressed, the beast moved on and the group prepared for their day’s journey.

About halfway through the day, this squad of the Loups de Mort spotted a shimmer in the air that was a few hundred feet ahead. Upon closer inspection, they could see that there was a circle full of rot and decay. The air grew colder as they approached, the smell of stale sweat lingered near the patch of pestilence, and they kept a wide berth. Aerayal knocked an arrow, fired it through the shimmering air above the rotted earth, and it streamed through. Zara shared with the group that the area was resonating alteration and conjuration magic.

They all agreed to stay away from the stinky patch even though Thenn wanted to get close to it. He tossed a rock in the middle and it was instantly covered with purple, green, and white nastiness. The group quickly continued on their chosen path and several hours later found the need to camp once again.

During Zara’s watch, a disturbing crushing sound caught her attention and she turned to see that Tirsh was missing and a clear path away from the camp had been left in the foliage behind. The ground thudded with a regular rhythm and she woke the group. They all readied themselves, pulling weapons and heading in the direction of the noise. Several members identified the threat as an ogre who was wielding a huge, spiked club in one hand. . .and a Tirsh in the other.

Wrapped in only a loincloth and a fur slung over shoulder, the brutish creature thrashed through the woods at a casual pace, unconcerned with anyone who might be following. This apathy would prove his eventual downfall as Aerayal closed ranks and shot an arrow through his cheek. He stopped and faced the group as they swarmed him. Tarhill climed a tree, Tirsh struggled to break free of the beast’s grasp, Saffron called on the forces of light and life to bless Zara, Tirsh, and Thenn, making it easier for them to strike the ogre.

Zara unleashed a wicked bolt of eldritch magic that seared the ogre’s skin and started a bit of rot as maggots drizzled from the wound. The huge lunk smashed Thenn with its club, bruising his arm and compressing his ribs almost to snapping. Saffron shot her crossbow, missing the ogre, but hitting right near Tarhill as he slapped the ogre in the face. He clutched at the bolt, using it for position, and whipped around the tree to connect with a foot.

The ogre asked “What are you?”

Tarhill said, “A Halfling.”

“Which half is the tastiest?”

Aerayal moved in, sensing the ogre’s distractions, and sunk her rapier into his spongy flesh. The beast howled and knocked Tarhill out of the tree where he fell unconscious. Zara sealed the deal with a final blast that erupted in a glittery display as it zipped a loop-the-loop around a tree and slammed into the back of the ogre’s skull as he ran off. Thenn moved forward, stuck two dagger’s in its head, and proclaimed, “Now what, bitch?”

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A Call to Aatondale
Hard times and high tensions

The gathering started as scheduled, but its unorganized nature was a poor fit for Aatondale’s High Court. Many people milled about looking searching for those they knew and small groups of familiar people began to form naturally. After a short bit of time Sammael stood on the stairs before those assembled. He wore royal blue robes, embroidered with silver runes and sigils that undulated with whimsy.

“Thank you for joining us and answering the call to service. For those of you who don’t know me, I am Samael, the High Arcanist of ”/characters/victor-aaton" class=“wiki-content-link”>Lord Aaton’s High Court. We have three types of missions that we need accomplished. We believe them all to be important to the ongoing peace that The Vale has known. The three types are information gathering, item retrieval, and military missions. Each are equally important in the eyes of the Court, though certain skill sets may be better suited for others."

Samael pointed to six guards evenly spaced in the courtyard and announced, “Please select one of the groups to join. There is one representative on each side. Once you have all gathered, we will start the interview process.”

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The Story So Far. . .
Choosing the Chosen

Lords of Aatondale

Two groups were sent out. The first returned with murder on their breath and assaulted Lord Aaton and his sons and they fled to Grejtak seeking reprieve from the hunt. The other group was sent to Grejtak on other tasks, escorted by Nemic and Garran themselves, but their arrival was never confirmed. Nor have the brothers been heard from.

War Wages

Aeith pushes ever onward toward Urgath M’Tal in the name of cleansing and righteousness. Blood spills and soaks the ground on all sides and no voice of reason will be heard. Grejtak has been abandoned by Aeith and lies in chaos, ruled now by greed-inspired merchants and Aeithian armies have overtaken the Roewood Forest and the Dwarven mining city of Ocklan. Seige is the whisper on the wind, and Aaton hears it

A Final Plea

Lord Aaton sees the end of his people. He knows that he cannot stop the force that is Aeith. Desperation has sunk in and he faces both the loss of his sons in the now and the loss of The Vale in the near. There may be hope, though, and the Urgathi will be instrumental in seeing it through, only they’ve stopped trusting the world of men.

A New Dawn?

Will you help the Iskari? Will you join the forces of Aeith and wipe out the goblin threat of Urgath M’Tal? Will you see past hatred and bigotry and save a relatively peaceful nation of honorable warriors from annihilation at the hands of the power-hungry and ruthless? Or will you forge your own path and seek a different solution? The Iskar Vale awaits.

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