Bellum Caeli Flagrantis

Here Lies Reogar...
Ugliest of the Half-Orcs

Hag-face is the name on the lips of the children of Seaquen. I hear them whisper behind my back as I walk through the city’s streets. There are other whispers too, from the sword I pried from Quo Varis’ dead hand. It feels as though tiny tendrils are taking root on my palm when I hold the blade. And it sings. It’s a beautiful ballad, about life, much like the seela sang, and it fills me with strength. I am drawn to the wild by an urging that is not my own, and it is at odds with my desire to return to Gate Pass where my guild is everyday fighting to hold the vile Ragesians at bay.

* * *

The wizards at the Lyceum made a big fuss about our having saved them from the storm. But Lee Sidoneth’s plan was not entirely unreasonable, and we may have bought the city only a few more months, and hard ones at that. Simeon Gohanach didn’t waste any time sending us on another errand: we are to head back north to Bresk, escorting with us a skillful diplomat who is to try to talk King Steppengard out of his neutral relationship with Ragesia. Joining us is one of the Lyceum’s head wizards, Alain. He doesn’t say much, so I feel we are already friends.

As we were leaving the school, an obsequious errand boy asked us to deliver a letter to a man named Jinnis. I removed my hood and barked at him, terror washing over his tiny face. I think one of the others took the note, though.

* * *

We arrived today at the small town of Vidor. Rumors abound of a creature terrorizing the swamp. Three have died deaths of gruesome dismemberment.

* * *

All things must perish, and I am ready to die. But today is not the day it would seem. I was thrice made a morsel for some insectoid monstrosity. And I felt the life squeezed from my body. The singing, which is present even when I sleep, stopped. I have never been so perfectly non-existent. Some force greater than my own, perhaps, flows through my body. Will it stay with me? And for how long? I must assume it is transient; or else Quo Varis would still be with us.

* * *

Our ward was badly injured today as the blade of our sled caught the belt of a frozen Dasseni soldier. He may be dying. I am beginning to wonder if this mission has any hope at all of success.

* * *

We saved a group of aristocrats who were fleeing from [Dene?]. They said that a mass assassination had taken place. They knew who had died but not who was responsible. They mentioned also a book, the Book of Eight Lands. This, they said, held the key to…

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STORM OF DEATH
that's right

The waves shuffled and sloshed up to their waists as they exited the ruined prison. The typhoon raged around them, uprooting trees and scattering debris, threatening to completely destroy Seaquen, and yet their more present concern was Lee Sidoneth, enunciating the nefarious syllables from a ritual scroll. As the wind and waves buffeted them, gargoyles swooped down from above to engage them and Sidoneth’s faithful pet squid, Lulu, attacked from the depths.

Disadvantaged by the terrain, the heroes floundered in the deep water. Merrick called to the wind and flew to the roof, saving him from the threat of drowning but attracting the attention of multiple gargoyles. Fern struggled to stay afloat in the deep water; A spell pulled Sidoneth into the water as well, until he was rescued by a gargoyle. The nimble flight of their attackers combined with the difficulty of traversing the choppy water (squid and all) had scattered the heroes; things looked bad. Finally they made an effort to gain the high ground, and after their initial attempt to strike down the druid himself seemed fruitless, they focused their attacks on his bodyguards, bringing them down one at a time.

Sidoneth relied on a vicious fire-and-ice attack. First Merrick fell, and Quo Varis valiantly surged forward to save him. Van’s mystical un-life kept him fighting in the face of destruction as the gargoyles shredded him with their black claws. Reogar finally escaped from the tentacles of Lulu and made shore as Quo Varis fought to the brink, rescuing Merrick with magic before being trampled by a gargoyle.

After dealing with Van, the hydromancer struck Quo Varis with a mortal blow; the virtuous eladrin would never again rise to defend the realm. Indomitable, Van rose, and fell, and rose to fight again. Merrick had caught his breath and once again began slinging thunderous spells. One, two, three of Sidoneth’s bodyguards were destroyed and the hydromancer began moving to escape, but it was too late; plagued by the party’s spells, he finally gave up the ghost.

Fern picked up the druid’s control rod and commanded the storm to stop, and the winds ceased instantly. Seaquen was saved! But not without its price; the party mourned their eladrin companion as sunlight broke through the clouds for the first time in months. As the living blade began to wither in Quo Varis’ dead grasp, Reogar took it, linking it to his life energy.

As the party sat, sober and exhausted, a great bird appeared in the sky and began circling down towards them. It was (The Eagle), companion of Laurabec, who, as the eagle soon told them, had perished while saving citizens of Seaquen from the storm. He presented the party with her halberd and went away.

The party put the body of Quo Varis on a sled and stumbled into Seaquen, where they were hailed as heroes. The destruction was widespread, but thanks to their efforts, much of the town had been spared. In the wake of everything that had happened, they didn’t really know what to do next.

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Tomb of the Fire Lord
Dungeon Crawl lol

Reogar attempted to open a chest we found, but it grew a pseudopod and attacked him. Knocking him into the muck, pinning him there.

A large robot with blue eyes burst out of a nearby broom closet to help.

We battled and slew the morphing chest without much injury, but Reogar looked a bit foolish at being beat up by a piece of furniture.

The blue-eyed robot, who introduced himself as Pious, had large metallic muscles and sharp protruding nipples carved into his titanium chest.

Reogar opened the chest found in Lee Sidoneth’s laboratory and discovered some letters that revealed information about Paradim Dogwood, the “Masters Army,” a “Book of Secrets,” and a password “Eshu.” Reogar seemed to hide some of the letters in his cloak, so I’m not sure what exactly he’s up to.

We continued to investigate the ruins of the jail and as we crept down a passage a flock of skeletal prisoners slipped out of their shackles and attacked us. Merrick insisted that these skeletons were safe and we could pass, but he was wrong as usual. Reogar offered some strategic advice which turned out only to line us up for the spewing vomit of several of the undead monstrosities. But in the end we were victorious.

We swam down a flooded passageway and came up in an area with a pool of water. I noticed something moving in the water and warned everyone but the mortals of this world move too slowly. They did not react before a group of tentacled aberrations attacked. We killed them.

We came across a room with a red light emanating from below the water. My rituals of nature allowed me to lower the water and enter the room. We searched the area to discover a long shaft with a fiery red light at the end.

Pious & Reogar went down the tunnel and found a dry chamber below. Emerging from the watery tunnel we were attacked by a “Bear Masked” guy who was Leska’s servant, an Inquisitor named Damius. He stood like a coward on the other side of a ravine with a squad of archers to support him, but when we struck, he wept like a maiden as we dropped his companions where they stood. After all of his allies were dead, we closed in on him but before we could kill him, the coward slit his own throat.

We continued on to the next room and found a large statue dragon head that seemed to absorb light. We also found a room that looked like some sort of laboratory where they crafted abominations. We found a feeble mortal named Mareri who said that Damius was torturing him. He took us to a device and teleported us to a dream land where a ghostly Leska touched us. When we teleported back to the mortal realm, we are fully refreshed as if we had a full night of rest. We also rescued an eladrin woman name Faquaniel who claimed to be a spy. She told us that this place must have some sort of control over teleportation. I wonder if i will be able to get back to my home in the Feywild this way.

We found the pyromancer’s tomb and robbed that shit.

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It Was Much Better Than 'Cats'

When last we met our intrepid heroes, they were spending several days in the Lyceum library, searching for information about the ancient pyromancer, Damatarion. After a great deal of research, they were able to discover that his tomb was located somewhere in the ruins on the eastern tip of Seaquen’s peninsula and that it contained a connection of some sort to an elemental plane of fire, hence the “natural” geothermal activity around Seaquen. Unfortunately, they were unable to pinpoint its location any further than learning that an old prison, known as the Carcer Tevensum had been built above its ruins.

While Van, Quo Varis, and Fern rifled the library, Merrick arranged for the sale of the Milsoven and donated the proceeds to Laurabec Adelsburg and her effort to construct a polytheistic temple as a rallying point for Seaquen’s diverse religions. Even though he was impressed by her talking eagle mount, Takasi, and was invited by Jrestaki, the head of the refugee Ragesian cult of Kord, to participate further, Merrick showed little interest in personally involving himself in the plan to unite the fractious clerics. Laurebec thanked Merrick for his donation, and he went his own way.

Finally, the day arrived for the Wayfarer’s performance of ‘The Spectacular Trial of Toteth Tolpec.’ As they watched the play with Katrina, Giorgio, the Wayfarer ambassador to the Lyceum war council and leading man in the performance, was spotted heading to the deck of the Wayfarer’s floating theater, wiping blood from his hands. Quickly alerting the various dignitaries to trouble, the heroes chased after Giorgio and discovered him beginning to operate the ship’s teleportation device, a trip that would kill everyone on board, particularly given the barrels of explosive material that had been brought onboard. After a pitched battle, including Brutus (Nelebekus?) and his brother, Setales, as well as a homicidal halfling, the heroes managed to prevent the teleportation of the ship with mere seconds to spare. Meanwhile, the incessant rain that the heroes had experienced over the last couple of weeks picked up to stormier levels, whipping the seas into a choppy mess. Interestingly, the party seemed to avoid the worst of the wind and weather, even though those around them were being soaked and buffeted by the storm.

Back at Lyceum, Gorgio revealed that his plan to teleport the ship and leave eladrin corpses as scapegoats had been engineered by Lee Sidoneth (to no great surprise). Also, of interesting note, the blood globes of the swamp had finally be analyzed by Dougan Rambausen and determined to be the source of the heroes’ invulnerability to the rapidly worsening storm. Taking a force, the heroes went in search of Lee Sidoneth at his home but found it abandoned, They managed to find a small locked coffer in the basement laboratory but felt it wasn’t worth the time to discover its contents as the storm reached hurricane-level strength around them. Finally, Fern used her ability to sense the currents of the wind and determined that the eye of the storm was fixed over a particular spot in the ruins, and reasoning that it might be associated with the source of the storm, the party headed out. They left behind their allies, though, who were unable to make much progress in the storm.

Following the eye of the storm, the party located the Carcer Tevensum and descended into its ruined remains, in search of Sidoneth. Again, they encountered aberrant sea spawn, as if someone had crafted creatures out of spare parts. After dispatching the creatures (and some leftover rats), they party continues into the depths of the prison.

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Whistling in the Dark
Inflammable means flammable?

Entering the underwater temple, Aquila, we discovered several “mutated” forms of sea life, including crabs, squids, and a humanoid skum. The lobstrosities had soft bellies, so we dug in, buffet-style. After the fight, we discovered loot under the fountain (from which I took a drink, regrettably), but I don’t think that’s why the others wanted to come here. The flooded temple held some significance, perhaps, for our seela acquaintance, Tiljann, who is researching the life of the bard Etinifi. Maybe the temple led Etinifi to the location of The Aquiline Heart, maybe not. All we had to go on was a cryptic clue: souls of the dead gather on the storm and let a black rain fall upon the land.

Speaking of rain, it hasn’t stopped for days now and doesn’t show any signs of letting up, which is good for one thing, if nothing else: putting out all these burning buildings.

The fires sprung up here and there in South Harbor and more recently in North Harbor. The city’s magistrate, a split-braid bearded dwarf named Lorb Vortberd (he didn’t accept the promotion I mistakenly gave him when I called him ‘Lord’, but, then, dwarves are an ungrateful lot), suspected that the fires were the work of the White Wyrms. Our investigations, however, point more toward inflammable rats. Van and Quo Varis are currently researching a possible connection between the rats and the pyromancer, Damatarios, in Lyceum’s extensive library.

Regarding Nelebekus — it vexes me even to write the name — and the Ragesian conspiracy to subvert Seaquen … I’ve got nothing really but a collection of wild (and pitifully underdetermined, as my wilden friend, Fern, is good to remind me, lest I give myself completely over to madness and paranoia) theories:

I. Mr. Paradim Dogwood (who offers a magical service which alters a person’s appearance) has disguised Nelebekus.

II. Brutus, the mage, who was seen with Mr. Paradim at the home of Lee Sidoneth, is Nelebekus, disguised, see I.

III. (Van’s theory, which I adopt as equiprobable): Katrina is a spy for the Ragesian Empire and was attempting to bring the blood globes to Seaquen before she was captured by the tiefling witches.

IV. Guthwulf, blood globes, druid’s orb, control rod, White Wyrm machinery, &c.

There are many more, but I can’t help but think that I am losing too much sleep to my neurosis, so my journal reminds me once again to close.

Addendum:

Yesterday’s war council was interrupted by the Shahalesti military. A stunningly beautiful eladrin of high rank, Princess Shalosha, demanded control over the region and has set up a blockade around the port city with a small fleet of Shahalesti warships. It’s not enough that we have to worry about stopping the Ragesians; now it seems that conflict between the Shahalesti and the people of Seaquen is brewing. There’s much to be done. I’m off this morning to see what Van and Quo Varis have dug up at the library. Also, Shalosha informed Quo Varis that his mission to carry the Case to Lyceum is complete and that he should return to Shahalesti to take up his position as a knight of the Solei Palancis. Quo Varis is torn between his patriotism and his loyalty to his comrades in battle.

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The Great Big Spiders Climbed Up the Ruined Spout

After just a short time tracking the attercops’ signs of passage, the party came upon a series of ruins in the swamp, little more than the outlines of buildings and low walls, with an ancient pyramid looming through the rain on the horizon. The party ran into a small number of the dog-sized spiders almost immediately and defeated them handily, although not without disturbing a native the swamp. A hexing creeper, a man-shaped creature made entirely of vines and vegetation lurched its way toward fresh meat, but it was soon defeated by the heroes. They pressed on through the rain and mud to the foot of the ancient pyramid itself. Crawling across its stepped face and through a door at ground level were several more of the huge arachnids, including some larger ones, presumably adults. While battling up and down the pyramid’s stairs and sides, the heroes once again alerted a denizen of the swamp, a bog brute, which Fern rather easily subdued and handled. Finally, the party delved into the interior of the pyramid, in search of the remaining spiders, and found the tomb of an ancient elven leader, unmarred by the passing of the ages. There they discovered the attercops but also were forced to face the elf that was buried in the tomb, now risen as a ghoul, and two of his attendants, fiery skeletons. After a protracted battle, the undead creatures were returned to their rest (minus some fancy loot) and the last of the monstrous spiders exterminated. Although the tomb appeared to allow further access to the pyramid’s depths, the egress was blocked by a huge hexagonal stone that the party was unable to bypass. Determined to ask for advice from the mages at Lyceum, the group reluctantly returned to the Milsoven.

Once back, the party realized that ship was now captain-less and essentially theirs to handle as they saw fit. Unsure whether they were interested in becoming seafarers, the heroes returned the beasts in the hold to a grateful Banahman Vett, who rewarded them handsomely. (It should be noted that Merrick parted with the caged pegasus with extreme reluctance.)

The heroes then found themselves at loose ends for a bit, before remembering that they had told Tiljann that they would help to track down the temple Aquila that was the goal of Etinifi the Bard. Asking the mages for some guidance, the party determined the most likely resting place of the ancient temple and determined to explore it for clues to the missing bard’s location. Before they could head out, though, Merrick was approached by Crystin Ja-Nafeel, who, acting on behalf of Laurabec Adelsburg, a Knight of the Aquiline Cross, sought the diminutive priest/sorcerer’s aid in uniting the fractious religious groups now established in Seaquen and the surrounding refugee camps. According to Crystin, Adelsburg seems to believe that establishing a communal, polytheistic temple, rather than maintaining separate shrines around the area would encourage the various religious leaders to hammer out their differences of interpretation and sometimes violent recruitment/conversion techniques. Crystin departed with the reassurance that it would be looked into.

War News

- The Third Ragesian Army, led by General Revulus, is preparing to march south to Dassen after assisting at Gate Pass, but bad weather has halted it for now. - Meanwhile, the Fourth Ragesian Army attacks Shahalesti around the northern edge of the Otdar Mountains.
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Rain, rain, go away ...

Having decided to stake out the “drop house” by setting up camp within, the party is awakened around midnight by the arrival of a hooded man, cloaked against the continuing drizzle. After a brief chase, Reogar tackled the townsman and hauled him back to be questioned. After some threats and a suspicion that the rather ordinary-seeming fellow may have been subject to some sort of mind-control, the party determined that this man was a member of a sect of White Wyrms, Ragesian terrorists that were acting to aid the eventual conquest of Seaquen. He gave up the location of the terrorists’ hideout: an old mill.

Heading out into the rain-soaked night, the party found the mill and quickly decided to investigate the interior. Unfortunately, the lookout, a cambion in chainmail, wielding a greatsword, gave a shout and alerted the rest of the White Wyrms. Cue a pitched battle with several cambions, their human minions, and Jess, a succubus, that ended with the party bloodied but victorious. Unfortunately, none of the White Wyrms were left alive to be questioned, but the heroes did discover some strange arcane-seeming equipment and machinery parts in the basement, its purpose unclear.

The next day, the party decided to take up Lee Sidoneth‘s offer to introduce them to the headmaster at Lyceum in order to finally complete their original mission and hand over the contents of the case, which they were unable to decipher (even with the help of a Comprehend Languages ritual), to the wizards at the school. Before they left, though, they dropped by The Royale, a tavern on the eastern edge of the Seaquen near the ruins that drop into the sea, keeping an eye out for Nelebekus. Although they learned a bit about the gladiatorial combat that is each evening’s entertainment at the tavern, there was no sign of the mysterious half-elf. Of course, it was ten in the morning …

Before they could head to the school, the party was also visited by Tiljann, who brought with her a gnome bard by the name of Gilver Fern, a friend of the seela who had come to meet Quo Varis and to lay eyes upon the Living Blade. While there, Tiljann asked the party to help her in her quest to track down the legendary seela bard, Etinifi, who, it seems, was last seen in Seaquen trying to track down an ancient temple called the Aquila. The party listened with sympathy and agreed to think about it.

Finally, the heroes met with Simeon Gohanach, headmaster of Lyceum, Dougan Rambausen, an expert on artifacts, and Kiernan Stekart, head of the newly created War Department at Lyceum. The three wizards confirmed that the book that was within the Ragesian case was written in supernal, with a difficult-to-unscramble cypher. Apparently the book was penned by none other than Kreven, second-in-command to Leska, herself. It refers to the Scourge, a movement in which thousands of “disloyal” mages will be rounded up, but also suggests that there is some other purpose to these arrests. The book goes on to describe the trillith, creatures of which the wizards seemed unaware. The party agreed to let the professors continue to examine the book and were told they would be contacted about further insights. On the way out of the school, the heroes were met by Banahman Vett, another Lyceum instructor who had heard of the heroes by reputation. He explained that a shipment of exotic creatures, including a pegasus, a girallon, and some stirges, among others, had been delayed, as its ship, the Milsoven, had mired just off the coast of the swamp to the west of Seaquen. Vett offered the party a handsome reward if they could retrieve the beasts before they all starved to death on the stranded ship. Agreeing, the party trekked out to the ship via raft, only to discover a horrible sight. It seemed that the shipment of attercops, spiders the size of hyenas, had escaped and attacked the Milsoven’s crew, killing the captain and another sailor. The remaining crew members had been encased in webbing, implanted with eggs, and hung from the ship’s rigging. After rescuing the surviving crew members, the heroes determined to head into the swamp, following the tell-tale path of spider webs, in an effort to track down the spiders and prevent them from turning the oft-traveled swamp into a new arachnid hunting-ground …

War News
– The First Ragesian Army, led by General Magdus, Coaltongue’s successor, has ceased hostilities because of bad weather. The army now roams the eastern plains of Sindaire, pillaging towns to feed its troops.
– A fleet from Ragesia is sailing for the capital of Sindaire, and the leaders of Seaquen suspect the First Ragesian Army will link up with the fleet in the coming weeks.

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Made

We fought the Ragesians in the mud. The one who lived longest suggested that Nelebekus was working for the other team. A letter found on the Ragesian captain fought in the swamp (reprinted below) suggested that there would be a large-scale attack on Sequin that somehow would occur from within.

We finally made our way into Seaquen. Katrina headed off and then we realized we’d had a letter to give her the whole time and failed.

We went to talk to Lee Sidoneth, an old mentor of Torrent’s, who was an eclectic old chap with a pet squid and very shady friends. In fact, one of them really matched the description of Nelebekus (shoulder length brown hair, ugly for a half-elf [but he is a half-orc?], bad teeth), which was too bad because we had thought Nelebelicious was on our side. While we were talking to Lee, the shady looking character with the shoulder length hair headed into the swamp.

Also no one in town seemed to realize that Seaquen was under blockade by the elves. [DM note: Primarily because it has not been. You guys received advanced warning.]

We wanted to pursue these leads further but first we needed to go to Lyceum.

Before meeting with Lee, we went to the market to get some supplies. There, an off-duty guardsman gave us the message that someone was looking for us, a woman named Jess, who could identify us by description. The man led us to an abandoned house in another part of town where there was seemingly no one to meet and nothing to find.

This is the note we picked up from the Ragesian Commander:

Farthal,

Your journey will be dangerous, but you further Ragesia’s glory. The druid’s orb and its control rod are in the proper hands. Use the locator to find the entrance and then stay there until everything is done. Enjoy Seaquen’s destruction, gain its surrender, and return.

We will be waiting.

Guthwulf

War News
– In Gate Pass, the war wizard Gabal, believed to have gone into hiding, emerged once the city council let the Ragesian Inquisitors inside the walls. While Gate Pass soldiers kept the Inquisitors busy, Gabal and his students assaulted the Ragesian camps outside the gates. Reported losses for the Ragesians were nearly two thousand in one day. One of the Inquisitors, however, managed to locate Gabal and dispel his fire protection, and a mighty firebreathing dragon incinerated the mage.
– In the aftermath, the Second Ragesian Army, commanded by General Ashok Danava and aided by the Third Army, breached the first district gate of Gate Pass. The Shahalesti are believed to be providing supplies to Gate Pass, forcing Ragesia to turn from siege to assault.

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Swamp, then Seaquen
Part II

The prisoner the Tiefling witch spoke of was none other than Katrina, Rantle’s mage sister. She is also headed to Seaquen, and so we have added yet another to our pilgrimage. In the witches’ desk I found a note. Its message should be regarded with skepticism, of course, considering its source:

Check with Nelebekus

Is “Katrina” a
Ragesian spy?

From what I’ve seen, Katrina is a sultry, saucy flatterer—but a spy? It remains to be seen. Nevertheless, we will keep a close eye on the book.

The witches also kept a collection of glass globes. They are filled with a red fluid, which perspires through the glass like blood from an open wound. They are disgusting, whatever their design.

There are Ragesians in the swamp, with wyvern pets. We spotted one holding one of the blood globes, this one, however, was broken.

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Road to Seaquen
Winter.

It was the dead of winter after all, and snow fell on the last of the dying embers of the Fire Forest of Innenotdar. The seela gathered supplies for the next leg of our journey: their lives are literally in the hands of Quo Varis, and so they are eager to see that he survives and is richly appointed with fine furs.

“Well, excellent, just hand me the case, and I’ll be off.” Kazyk, demon servant of the Ragesians, didn’t waste any time calling for his end of the bargain we’d never explicitly agreed upon. It made little difference to us, so we gave him the case. But not before we emptied it of its contents: a heavy tome (marked with a supernal script, as we later discovered). As he departed in his usual way, Kazyk made vague threats: “Know that you will be watched.” “Begone.” I told him, “I am used to looking upon ugliness, but the sight of you sickens me.” I had been saving that one for just the right moment.

As we made ready to leave the seela village, Tiljann, inspired by the bard Etinifi, asked if she could join us in our questing. I admire the Eladrin’s skepticism: “what do you think you can contribute to the group?” he retorted. “Well,” the little fey said, looking shyly at her toes, “I could teach you the Song of Forms?” This was agreeable, so we allowed her to tag along.

It would be a long journey indeed, and it would take us along paths long overgrown. To make matters worse, it was to be, by the caterpillar’s bush, a harsh winter. An icy wind blasted our faces (and a colony of icicles tugged at my mutton chops). And it was in this state that we met a lone traveler, a bard by the name of Starett, on his way to see the sight of the everburning forest. Had he ever heard of Etinifi, Tiljann enquired. No, but ask me again sometime, he replied. We told the bard only what he needed to know to save him a trip to the now extinguished forest, and he eagerly agreed to join us and hasten our travels with song. This was a boon, indeed. And, with Fern’s magical protection we swiftly blazed a trail along the southern road, untouched for some forty years, to the village of Cornerwood.

We passed unnoticed by a band of hobgoblins, members of the Razor Claw Clan, rumored to keep umber hulks, trolls, and even dragons as pets. This was not the last we’d see of them.

We took cover from a raging snowstorm. We rested in a small cave, the final resting place of a troop of Dasseni warriors. Starett, with his loot-first-ask-questions-later philosophy, has gained my respect. Together we set about the business of relieving the dead of the trappings of the living. No luck, but their armor was frozen solid to their bodies, which rose from the ground, radiating a bitter, deadly chill. We cut them down, frozen brain matter ricocheting off the cave walls, may they rest now in peace.

We were relieved to see Cornerwood, a ways farther down the river flowing with chunks of ice, a few dozen men still fishing along its bank. Our very conspicuous group was spotted by the town’s horsemen, all bedight in the livery of Dassen. They arrived only too late to help us fight off the ambushing Razor Claw hobgoblins. Their captain, Iver, led us back to town, where Starett lifted the spirits of the commoners for but a few hundred coppers.

We followed the river from Cornerwood, through Thornwood Forest, and from there we journeyed farther south along the Prince’s Way, passing through some of Dassen’s duchies:

Timor: Ruled by the wise and benevolent Lady Timor, who hopes to earn the favor of Lyceum. The lands are kept safe by patrolling mages, dressed in the duchy’s dove and tree branch livery.

Rego: Capital city: Trenalath. Ruled by Lord Rego. Quincy Felthuf, one of Rego’s knights, told us of the wickedness of the wizards of Lyceum, who ignored Lord Rego’s plea for help, as Li Psu, a marauding mage, unleashed some primordial creature which harried Lord Rego’s castle. Once the strongest of the duchies, Rego is now devastated from the unchecked destruction that took place one year ago. It’s a fair bet that relations between Rego and Lyceum are cold at best.

Namin: Ruled by Lady Namin, friend of the Shahalesti, suspicious of Ragesian refugees. This duchy is harder hit by refugee travel. Soldiers tailed us as we passed through the land.

Iz: Lord Iz greeted us with long bearded, barbarian guards at his side. He was keen to impress us and the refugees by personally fulfilling his duty as lord.

Megadon: Lord Megadon is a just and generous ruler of his citizens. He is, however, hostile towards Seaquen (haven for Ragesian refugees), and has banned trade with the town. Foreigners are harassed with a 10gp toll. Lord Megadon does not believe Ragesia to be a material threat to Dassen and is critical of King Steppengard’s reactionary response. The citizens of Megadon would like to see King Steppengard step down and Lord Megadon take the throne.

Dene: The lands of Lady Dene are connected to Megadon by ferry. The duchess’ army is the weakest in all of Dassen, so the lady gouges the refugees, hoping to use the profits to swell her forces with mercenaries.

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