Mir - A long way...

1. Herd
Preparing for the Spring

Ash has seen you and your newfound friends getting restless. Visits from Twoshoes have turned you all into would-be adventurers. But Ash knows that there are no adventures, and what happens in real life is often more difficult and rewarding than anything you’ll find in a book.

One evening, while you are all talking amongst yourselves, Ash approaches you accompanied by her huskie “Spirit”. Last month, six of our male aurochs died in an accident. With such a small male population, there won’t be enough diversity in our herd for breeding in the years to come. Luckily, the nearby village of olsly is willing to trade some of their aurochs for some of our hearty crop-seed.

Being so near to rain-season, Ash anticipates needing a hand. The village needs these Aurochs soon for spring mating. And it looks like you all could use an excuse to get out of the village. The Justicar will be footing the bill for you all, so you will get some recompense. And even though you all weren’t born in the village, they would all be extremely grateful for your assistance.

Marly, another of your colleagues, declines. “Regrettably, I will not be able to join this epic quest,” a hint of a smile appears at the corner of his mouth, “but I will have quite the surprise when you return.”

4/2/Couatl (8/3/2013)

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2. Rain

Gord, Pico, and Jagga set out with Ash to the small village of olsly. Almost immediately after they left halbrook the spring rains began. This made Ash worried, as the spring rains were relentless, and nearly always brought flooding to the main road north.

The trip to olsly was wet, but otherwise uneventful. The Ranger station still stood on the flood-plain, and seemed to be manned by the old Ranger Henry. Ash confided that they may need to ferry across if the rain continued for their return trip.

In olsly, Ash exchanged the seeds with Remp, the half-orc elder. The party was given accommodations in the the town hall for the night. Pico visited the town herbalist, to both test their skill and to sell some materials Pico had gathered on the voyage. Jagga traded some of the honey that his family had accumulated for 23 old iron nails. Gord introduced herself to Från, the Vishkanya Justicar. Från showed Gord her nice accommodations, including some rare brass plates and a map of the region. Gord attempted to boast and tell stories, but Från saw through them, and scolded Gord for not being honest.

Gord returned to the town hall, and Ash told them all to get some sleep. Gord made an attempt to steal some of the more mundane plates at town-hall, so that she might exchange them for the plates at Från’s. Ash catches Gord, and strikes her with her quarterstaff. Gord starts bleeding from the nose. Ash reminds them again to go to sleep, and starts to write in a book. Gord attempts to see what is being written, and Ash again whacks Gord with the staff, and encourages sleep.

Gord runs back to Från, but is not allowed into her home. She tells Gord that Ash is wise, and Gord could learn lessons from those injuries.

In the morning, they party sets off with the aurochs. Four males and two females. The going is slow, as the rains have not yielded. Ash continues with her morning ritual, of whispering words on a freshly plucked leaf, and blowing the leaf away from her hand. This seems to still the storm a bit for some reason.

Days pass, and they see that the road ahead is very flooded. Vision is severely hampered by the rain, but they can still make out lights coming from inside the Ranger station. Thankful for a dry, warm shelter, the party approaches. Ash and Gord go to the door, asking for Henry. What they find is three Tengu, who claim to be Rangers. After Ash announces that they have gold, and Gord says to be careful, Ash is hit with a poisoned dart, and falls unconscious. A battle ensues, in which Jagga is able to climb the tower, jump in through the window, and hide under a table while the Tengu launch a volley of darts. Gord drags Ash into cover, and Pico changes into a bestial form, while also throwing a concoction at the now closed tower door. Upon impact, the leaf-bound concoction explodes, starting the door on fire and greatly reducing it’s stability. Pico throws himself at the door to break it open, but instead bounces off, getting slightly burnt by the flames in the process. Jagga cartwheels downstairs to find the third Tengu waiting by the door, with a leather bag filled with heavy stones. Jagga enters a rage, and attacks the Tengu with his terbutje Pico breaks down the door and joins the fight. The Tengu attempt to fight back, but are easily brought to heel. Suffering staggering wounds, they surrender, but Pico insists that they be killed. In a rage, Jagga is happy to oblige, driving his terbutje home into the neck of the fallen Tengu. While the party is dealing with two Tengu on the first floor, the other slips out of the window to the ground outside. Gord attempts to get in the way, but slips on the floor and nearly falls of the ledge. The Tengu escapes, running through the aurochs. The aurochs start to panic, and one of the males falls into the raging water below. The party kills the two Tengu, and find the remains of Henry (who had been eaten by these Tengu, presumably). Gord leaves a note of what had happened here.

Ash was in a deteriorating state, as the poison seemed to be some sort of mixture of drow alchemy and other substances. Pico did what he could to slow the advance, but things were getting worse. Ash had mentioned an alternate route, taking the highlands through the wild in order to get back to the village. Without Ash being able to give further directions, the party backtracked, trying to find another path. Eventually Pico was able to find a very old cobblestone path which had been overgrown. More days pass, and each night they are visited by wolves who circle their camp. Cold, wet, and essentially blind in the woods, the party begins to despair.

Along the path, the party finds a tunnel which is built under a waterfall. They are able to pass through the water using this tunnel. Inside they find script that none of them can read. Gord writes some examples of this script (later found to be halfling writing).

They continue past the tunnel for a long while, and find a trail that goes off from the main path. This leads to a large ruined building, with many toppled statues and broken pillars. It is a welcome respite from the rain, so they decide to camp here for the night. While exploring, they discover an ash pile with several humanoid remains, and burnt books. Gord finds a mostly intact (though rotting) book, detailing the existence of Zon-Kulthon, who seemed to be one of the old Gods. This frightened the party, as they wanted no part in any dealings of the old gods. On closer inspection, if seemed as if the statues were of tortured figures. The ruins did not seem as welcoming as before. Also, a strange purple vine was growing in the ashen pile.

During watch, watch that night Gord heard a strange whistling and wailing noise. Gord woke Spirit, and hugged spirit tight. They determined that the noise was coming from a distinct, large slab of stone on the floor, which seemed to be separate from the rest of the floor. Gord woke the others, and they decided it’d be best if they slept outside.

During Pico’s watch, he decides that it would be a good idea to temporarily abandon his party and retrieve the old book. They hadn’t seen any of the wolves or other creatures follow them while they were near the ruins. While inside the ruins retrieving the book, Pico carefully takes a sample of the strange purple root that was growing out of the decay.

Continuing with their terrible luck, the next night the tarp they use as a tent broke down, waking them all. Without time to dry or warm themselves, the party is covered in fungi and sores, and is without good sleep (they are taking -4 to all checks).

During the day, they run into an Elf named Brood, accompanied by a great Tiger and a ferocious beast, about the size of a bear. Brood seems to know Ash, and is willing to help. But only if the party will give up one of the aurochs. They quickly agree to give the non-pregnant female to Brood, and the elf makes an herbal mixture. It seems to ease Ash’s suffering. Brood explains how lucky the party is, because if Ash weren’t here, they would have been his prey. But now, he warns you of the dangers of the road, and to protect Ash.

That night, several of the large shapes approach during the third watch. pico throws a bomb…

4/13/Couatl

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3. Betrayal

The bomb explodes. Aurochs and forest-beasts alike react instinctively, moving to avoid the fire. Jagga tries his best to calm the aurochs as the rest try and peer through the trees and rain to see that which stalks them. Furs, claws, and teeth spring from the darkened green, savagely attacking the party while attempting to seperate the humanoids from the creatures they protect. After taking great wounds, the party is able to defeat the largest of the wolf-kind and send most of the others fleeing back into the forest.

Soon they reach their village, and it is a welcome sight. Ash is taken care of, and the Aurochs are seen to as well. Jagga, Pico, and Gord each receive a small monetary reward, as well as the respect of the villagers.

While they were away, some new faces showed up in camp. David and Rebecca Barris, and their daughter Bunny. They came from the west, where they were recently freed from slavery by their former master. Gord, seeing this situation as suspicious, decides to silently observe the family for a day. He learns that their child is sick, and is getting worse. When confronted about their problem, they confide in the party, and tell that Bunny has been bitten by a snake and was poisoned, and her condition continues to decline.

Gord tells this information to her grandfather, while Pico and Esha talk with the village herbalist about how they might find an antidote to the snake’s poison. It’s discovered that the snake who bit Bunny is from lands far to the west, and are not naturally found in the location where David insisted Bunny was bitten. Again, Gord tells all of this to her Grandfather.

The party sets off to the location David indicated, which is a few days north-west of the village. Along the way they notice major waterways have been severely flooded and are nearly impassible further to the west.

When they arrive at the designated spot, they find wagon tracks that lead off road. This takes them to a broken-down wagon, and they find the remains of two Yuan-ti. Their throats have been slit. Still guarding the wagon and their dead masters, a group of extremely poisonous snakes lashes out at the party. Eshe is bitten, but they are able to defeat the snakes and recover a decent sample of the venom.

As Esha’s condition worsens, they arrive back at camp. Pico and the herbalist set off to work immediately on an antidote to the poison. Gord finds that Daniel and Rebecca are nowhere to be found, and her Father and Grandfather are avoiding the subject of their whereabouts.

After long work, the antidote is ready, and is administered to Esha and Bunny. It seems successful, though both still need some time to recover.

During this time, the party has begun work on two projects, with the help of some of the Villagers. Pico means to open an alchemists lab joining to the existing herbalist shop, with the aid of Esha and the herbalist. Jagga and Gord begin construction on a bar, using the pre-existing foundation that Daniel and Rebecca had been building as their home.

4/24/Couatl

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4. Foul

The PC’s good friend Marly had come home with some interesting news. He found a sailor, dead, with a note about a possible ship and treasure. Marly traced this back to the Foul Shore, a place where you all have been warned of since you were children. Fearing the other villagers rejection of your plan, you all left immediately. The voyage was hectic, as one night one of you lit a torch to fend of the darkness. Instead, the torch attracted an owlbear. Esha took heavy injuries, but you all managed to come out of it with some owlbear trophies.

You found a small village on the coast, surrounded by all manner of crude traps. In the village were a population of large, lanky, grey skinned creatures of simple intelligence. Each seemed to have particular racial traits that differed from the others. There is also a pit in the middle with various body parts from all sorts of creatures in different states of decay. They asked if you were here to say Father, and you said you were. They then lead you to the ruins of a circular building on the coast, and to a ladder which lead down. Jagga investigated a little and found the ladder stopped part-way down. There was an altercation up top, where the creatures attempted to force Pico and Thissen down the hole. The creatures were dispatched easily, though one fell on Jagga in the hole where he sustained even more damage. Through some investigating, you found an injured sailor named Tom who needed assistance. With the enemy unknown, you all decided to burn down the structures in the village and flee back to your own village.

Four days passed, where Tom healed his wounds and you all made up time for your chores. On the fourth day, Grok and Orin, two of halbrook’s farmers, were taken from their house. A trail of blood led to the direction of the foul coast. Without stopping for council, you all raced into the woods after missing villagers.

Trying to maintain pursuit, you travel without sleep for the day-long journey. You arrive exhausted, but determined to find your friends. The burned-down village is abandoned, with signs of movement towards the underground lair. Tom is with you, and seems to know the way through the tunnels. You find a tunnel that ends in a pool of water, and Tom tells you that the other side has to be swam through the tunnels. Esha does not trust him, so when Tom goes into the water, you all split and go the other direction. You find a jail cell, partially under water, which houses your villager friends as well as…Tom. Tom, minus one arm and most of the hair on his head. Esha gets a strange feeling, and is guided towards some writing on the wall. It seems to be jibberish, and some hand signals. The rest of the party try it out, but only get strange unnatural sensations. Esha finally combines the vocal and somatic, and a point of light appears out of nowhere.

In another area, they find the remaining creatures in a tunnel that leads to the ocean. This tunnel smells absolutely terrible. It is probably where all the waste ends up. Most of the creatures flee, but a few stay behind to fight you off. They are dispatched with relative ease.

Another tunnel reveals a strange room with a large stone bowl, three giant skeletons pinned to the wall, and an aboleth skin attached to the ceiling. Pico finds a recipe near the pot, which he suspects has something to do with Evil Tom.

Finally they return to the pool of water, where Thissen volunteers to swim to where the prisoners can be rescued. Esha uses her new “Magic” to light Thissen’s claws, which helps in the pitch black icy watery tunnels.

When Pico sees “Good Tom”, he chants a silent prayer to Zon Kuthan, and smiles at the injuries sustained to Tom’s arm. Pico takes this as a sign that he understands the ailment, and is happy that he will be able to treat it better. All three of the prisoners seem to have a mental condition, and are mostly unresponsive to stimuli.

Without exploring the other tunnels, you all make haste back to the village with the rescued villagers. Jagga makes his way ahead, and meets up with Gord and the rest of the village leaders. He explains that the monsters might be coming to attack at any time, and lets slip where they were and what they were doing. Eventually the rest of the party comes back, and all of them come clean as to what they’ve been doing the past week. Gord is disappointed that she missed out, but happy that she got to go to Moon Port, where she aided Ashe in delivering the two former-slaves.

A letter came back with Gord and Ashe, which the Elder Cin explains is a note about the Yuan-Ti Lords demanding supplies and soldiers from their village. House Sauringar, which rules over these lands, has a dispute with a neighboring house. They are assembling an army in one month’s time. There is also news about dams breaking to the west, essentially cutting off half of the island.

Cin wants to go to the Moon Port with an escort, in order to protest the impossible demands laid upon the village.

5/2/Couatl

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5. Beginnings

The Justicar and Elder go to Moonport to talk on the town’s behalf. Marly says he has a surprise for everyone, and will be back later. Gord follows him to a stone structure about an hour away from the village. Marly admits that he has been coming here for years (usually not alone…), and that it’d make a good watching post for the village. You could see for miles all around. Marly also has started to cultivate this plant, which when smoked produces pleasing results.

In town, two families of farmers come and tell how their lands were raided by grey-skinned brutes. They volunteer themselves to aid the town in exchange for land and protection. The family of Tengu are good with farming and language, and the beetle-like Denuub are being trained by Thissen to be some martial presence in the village.

The bar is finally completed on the eve of the Crop Festival (with Gord finishing the payments using money borrowed (stolen) from her grandfather’s locked drawer). With the bar and the alchemist lab, halbrook is starting to get noticed.

Jagga and Eshe venture to the stone structure, where they encounter a strange creature with the head of a goblin and the body of a snake. The creature retreats under a hidden cellar door. Marly, Eshe, and Jagga commit to returning with their friends after the festival. Marly also explains his picture that he is making of the surrounding area.

Much fun was had during the Crop Fesitival. There was much drinking at the Bar, dancing, and story telling. The new members of the village got along nicely with everyone. There were even some travelers from out of town. One of the travelers, a female ratfolk named Timeon, took a liking to Thissen, and spent the night in his hut.

The morning after the festival, the party woke early (and slightly hung-over). They traveled an hour to the structure, which Eshe identified as the remnants of a large hand coming out of the earth. Entering the Cellar, they see a large hallway with three pairs of doors. At the end of the halway is another door, with a torch lit. They search the first room on the right, and find a horrific sight. There are cages with bones of goblins and monkeys, as well as many glass vials with biological material. Stone tables are covered in blood, and there are anatomical diagrams of goblins, monkeys, and monkey goblins. In the next room they find a similar situation, except with humans and snake-like creatures.

Gord and Eshe sneak down the hallway, only to hear hushed voices of several goblin-like creatures on the other side. As they make their way make, the door opens and several slithering creatures approach. The party retreats to the entrance of the cellar, and tries to communicate with the slithering creatures. Every word that the players say is repeated with a different voice in their head. They take a peak, and see what appears to be a very old, possibly blind Naga. There is also another humanoid creature, as well as over a dozen of the goblin-snakes. When the situation is very close to coming to blows, Eshe is able to establish a mutually beneficial trade. The Naga says that trades such as this can continue, as long as no beings enter their area. A goblin-snake will be sent to the village with the next trading request.

Pico continues to explore the contents of the Zon-Kuthon book, while he learns to read. There are useful experiments in the book, which talk of cutting and burning, using pain to understand the body and focus the mind and soul. It seems to be very effective, and opens a new world of understanding for the budding alchemist.

5/7/Couatl

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