The Road Less Traveled
Strange happenings at dusk...

The party quickly departs from Tor Sera. Their goal is Celes, the former capital of Falcatta. They believe that many of their questions can be answered by the imprisioned Queen.

What is the Shoui Orb? What purpose do the Obsidian Temples have? What is Demon’s Path, exactly? What’s up with Lorec?

On the road they find that Lorec has implicated the party as the culprits that caused the distruction of Tor Sera. While their descriptions have been ciruculated, thankfully they have also been reported as killed due to their ruse with Critwall. Lady Reiss is also mentioned in these reports, however her situation is a bit more grim. They report her has being the mastermind of the disaster, as well as possibly being on the run.

Arming themselves in their best disguises, they continue North, allowing citizens to slowly depart to new homes with their relatives in the small towns they pass through.

As they approached Sergwyn at dusk Erbrin Fencrasteil saw a flash of blue and heard some screaming that was quickly cut off in the distance. He notified the rest of the members, and they decided to investigate. On the way they were ambushed by a swarm of Kruthiks that nearly tore Khalid to pieces, however, the rest of the party was able to turn it into a decisive win.

Finally getting to the site that Erbrin noticed, they discovered a slowing healing planar rift. Nearby was a dying woman whom the party managed to stabilize. Though her ramblings and their observations of the rift, they came upon the realization that the rift was into a nightmare/dream plane similar (if not the same) as the one they experienced by way of Andoliath Dinn’s failed ritual. The stabilized woman made mention of a creature of shadows with red eyes that had been frequenting her nightmares stepping through the rift.

The party quickly tracked down this creature at a nearby farming village. Its two companions were making quick work of the villagers, but the party managed to get the drop on them. Even so, it was a difficult battle. The creatue had an affinity for invisiblity and a firey sword which seemed to cut through the party’s defenses. Reaching the end of their resources, they just managed to kill the nightmare creature.

Thankful for their help, the injured woman informed them of the annual footrace of Sergwyn which was happening in two days time. Their village would be happy to have their saviors represent their village in the event. The prize for winning is a set of magical boots, 400 GP, all presented to the winner by the town’s guest celebrity, High Priestess Ionne.

This piqued the interest of Solomon, and he quickly volunteered his support for this plan. As such, the party continued to Sergwyn and entered the race. Since they had a day to wait, they spent it researching and creating magic items.

Korrigan Irongate discovered that Lord Tresker would be making a visit in about a week’s time. Erbrin helped to create an item that seemed to be important for Khalid al-Nichta, as well as finding out more about some of the rumors of the obsidian temples, the pilgrims within, and a supposed treasure out in Demon’s Path. Khalid discovered that his brother might be in town and has registered for the footrace.

Afterwards everyone pitched in (except Korriganwho seemed to prefer to keep information to himself) and scouted the race paths.

The race format is simple. The person who can deliver their letter from the south gate to the judge atop the old northern High Tower wins. There are five basic routes that lead to the tower’s base, and then a hard climb up the wall to victory.

The five routes are as follows:

Rich Street Route: The magic shops have a lot of frontage and strange things going on; running through there can be a bit hazardous. The working barges tie up at the river next to the bridge. Once you’re across, you have to cut through the rich people’s gardens without getting chased by guards or dogs.

Rich Rooftop Route: You go over the magic shops and teaching buildings; sometimes their experiments go awry and that can make things more difficult. There’s no real river crossing, but the bigger boats tie up at that part of the river. Then you’re on the rich people’s roofs, and they can get nasty if you damage their expensive roof tiles.

Main Street Route: The main road is straight and wide but tends to be crowded with traffic, especially around the bridge. Once you’re past that area, you have to run through the market, which is also crowded with milling people, especially on race day.

Poor Street Route: Certain elements of this neighborhood are dangerous. Since racers are sometimes fairly well off, predatory types may be keen to trip them up and take anything of value they might be carrying or using. The river is filthy here and there are no barges or bridges, so you’re stuck swimming across. That gets you into the Stacks, where squeezing through the tight streets can be an issue.

Poor Roof Route: The roofs are a bit rickety but they haven’t fallen down yet. Birds like to roost in the brickwork and roof spaces, and running across their territory can bring them out. You can cross the river on the old city wall, though it’s crumbling in places. Then you’re onto the roofs of the Stacks and they have a lot of chimneys, which means a lot of smoke.

The Orb of Water - Part 2
The Sands are unleashed!

The party quickly decides to help the best way they can by destroying the crystal which is aiding Lord Tresker’s collection of souls. However, the crystal seemed to be imbued with the ability to protect itself with the power of the souls that were being ‘collected’. Sand creatures attempted to defend the crystal, but it was to no avail. The party destroyed the crystal to the anger of Lord Tresker, who claimed that their souls were better trapped with him than been consumed by the Reapers.

The party’s next task was to collect as many citizens as they could and lead them to safety. They were able to gather the few remaining at the site of the disaster, as well as others from the two main churches and tavern. They gathered 90 people, including Alyssia Wynd, who seemed to have some talent with the longbow, and ol’ one-armed Drex Caldon who was accompanied by a boar, and surprisingly, only one citizen died, perhaps due to Erbrin Fencrasteil’s miscalculation.

Khalid al-Nichta remembered the smuggling tunnel that the party discovered the first night they spent in the town and the assembled group made their way there. However, a commotion was heard and Korrigan Irongate went to investigate. A cloaked Lady Reiss was being pursued by a contingent of royal Lorec guards. The party quickly dispatched them, but a patch of sand opened underneath Sengar and something unseen tore him basically to pieces. As the cleric died, his soul briefly appeared, but rather than being swallowed by whatever killed him, the soul lanced over to Khalid al-Nichta’s old armband, imbuing the warlock with some healing powers. While saddened at the party’s loss, Lady Reiss thanked the party for their assistance, and informed them of her ‘demotion’ and Teathering. Having finally seen what Lord Tresker planned, she knew that Lorec had gone too far.

The final leg through the doomed city was uneventful toting Sengar’s body and the entrance to the smuggling tunnel appeared to be unguarded. However, at the tunnel’s exit, Critwall, and a few royal guards were keeping watch. Critwall approached the party and quietly informed them of his situation. He was imprisoned along with his sister four years ago due to some ‘necessary’ criminal acts that he performed. Since then, he was Teathered, and forced to work as a Lorec guard. The money he made was going toward freeing his sister. However, Lord Tresker had brought the sister to the city, and threated Critwall with her death should anyone escape.

The party made a quick and surprising desision, and offered Sengar’s dead body as proof of his ‘successful’ defeat of them. Of course the other guards would have to be dealt with. Critwall, brightened at the suggestion and as his answer began to rain lightning on his Lorec companions. A few short seconds later, the Lorec contingent was dead and the party made good with their escape.

The Orb of Water - Part 1
What does Consolidation Day bring to Tor Sera?

With the town finally reaching some sort of peace, the party is able to take a bit of well deserved rest just before Consolodation Day. Many used the break for researching old tomes in Andric Ellard’s personal library. Interesting things to note was a method to “bring out” Khalid’s spirit inhabitant, a possible connection between the obsidian temples and the former queen of Falcatta and a mysterious group of mute pilgrims, Cyndine Aedwynn, as well as rumored traits of the mysterious Shoui Orb. Solomon also learns that his captain has been captured and is being transported to the capital, and is constantly in the company of High Priestess Ionne. Likely she is being required to heal the tortures being inflicted upon the prisioner.

However, their research is brought to a halt with the new arrival of Lord Tresker. This youth of about 15 years old, and a rising star of the Blood quickly takes control of the Blood office, and requests the presence of the party due to the recommendation of Lady Reiss. It turns out that Lord Tresker is the harbinger of the Shoui Orb, and he claimed to want to prepare the city for its arrival. After inquiring about the party’s qualifications, he tests their mettle with none other than erstwhile guard member Critwall. However, this time the tables are evened, as it is revealed that the laggard man has been Teathered, a sentance of punishment carried out by the Blood which seals the latent powers that an individual can wield. Lord Tresker temporarily Unteathers Critwall, and it is quickly and painfully noted that he has a hybrid bloodline which somehow is part elemental. In his case, lightning. His suddenly increased abilities make him a match against the party, but they manage to eke out a victory.

Lord Tresker seems impressed and assigns the party to travel out along the Western road to meet with the carriage transporting the Orb to Tor Sera. They are accompanied by a silent and unfriendly Captain Graythall. The trek out of town is easy, however, the next day, when accopanying the carriage back, they are ambushed by a clever group of Wildblooded warriors. A huge man managed to disable the carriage as well as defeating Captain Graythall and dragging him off a battle trophy. Meanwhile, the party broke into the carriage and recovered the box containing the Orb and made their escape towards Tor Sera.

Fleeing Wildblood reinforcements, Korrigan outpaces the rest of the party and bunkers down to get his own personal look at the Shoui Orb. However, upon breaking into the box, he finds a mundane, fake orb. Revealing his find to the party, they begrudingly (and angrily) return the fake to Lord Tresker. The youth doesn’t seem to surprised at the ambush, and he reveals that he always had the Orb on him, just in case such events happened. He is unappologetic about sending them into a likely ambush, but notes that Captain Graythall was a loyal and duty-bound man who brought Lorec honor with his sacrifice.

As a reward for what Lord Tresker says as ‘successfully drawing out the enemies of the Blood’, he willingly shows off the power of the true Shoui Orb. Using a simple, but powerful dvine ritual, he draws a ‘mote’ of energy from the Orb into an obsidian locket, which he gifts to Andric Ellard as an Amulet of Protection. He also explains that there are two artifacts required to keep the Sands at bay. The power contained within the Shoui Orb, and another previously unknown item that he called “The Looking Glass”.

Andric Ellard, happy with his gift from such an upstanding member of the Blood, invites the party to stand with him during the closing ceremony of Consolidation Day to be bequeathed with the rewards they deserve for defending the city over the past month. However, what awaited at the closing ceremony was not at all what was expected, either by the party, or by Andric.

The ‘protective amulet’ given to Andric seemed to contain a trap of some sort. It shattered, and in the process turned the figurehead into Sand. A wave of energy pulsed over the city from the released power, and the ground started to show signs of turning to Sand as well. With a haughty announcement, it is revealed that Lord Tresker has basically sentenced the city to death for ‘rebellion’, its citizen’s souls to be claimed by the Shoui Orb for defense against the Sands.

A crystal similar to the ones seen at the obsidian temple, and in the dream world appears and channels a mote (soul) from the sandy remains of Andric Ellard to the Orb Lord Tresker holds in a fortified position on the City Walls. Alongside him is a contingent of royal Lorec guards, wearing their fineries, holding the wall against those who may attempt to escape. To add to the party’s troubles, something appears to be moving in the new patches of Sand that are growning throughout the city. Reapers…

The Balance of Power
With Tor Sera at its breaking point, what could be done to quench the flames?

Incidents have been happening frequently. Citizens cornering and roughing up gaurds and vice-versa. With one little spark, Tor Sera could plunge into an unrecoverable chaos.

Andoliath Dinn reveals that he is a member of a small group of resistance workers. He claims that while they want their freedom back from the Blood, they are also quite realistic in their goals. While they wanted to prove that there was some extremely bad elements within the Lorec guard, they don’t want the city to fall to civil war. Andoliath pleads with the party to enlist the aid of Andric Ellard, figurehead of Tor Sera, to negotiate some concessions with Lady Reiss to bring this stalemate to an end.

The party accepts and makes an audiance with the once-popular ruler. While he seems distrustful at first, he reluctantly agrees, if the party is able to recover an ancestrial relic. His father, the ruler of Tor Sera before the Lorec occupation, wore a ring said to have been blessed by the Ancestors. When Andric’s sister became a traitor and sold their father to Lorec for her freedom, he was lead off in chains and never seen again. However, Andric believes that with his connections with the guard, he has learned the truth. He claims that his father was likely taken into Demon’s Path and executed along with other prisoners of political value. While he doesn’t know of an exact location due to the curse of the Woods, he’s been able to peice together a good idea.

The party takes up the offer and travels to the location. There they find an execution site as expected. What is slightly surprising is that they find the relic with relative ease. However, the body of the former ruler appeared to be protecting a woman at the time of his death. The relic had preserved his body, but not hers. The ring seemed to be made of a glass-like crystal that had shadows swirling inside of it. It also seemed like no one could approach the body/ring except for Erbrin. After taking the ring, the man crumbled to dust. The party decided to take the body of the woman back to Tor Sera.

On the way back to the keep, they were ambushed by Ned Highwater and his new gang. He claimed pleasure at both being able to correct his previous loss and get paid in the process. However his new gang was defeated. Ned managed to escape yet again, but just by the skin of his teeth.

After presenting Andric Ellard with the relic and the woman, Andric thanked them for their duty to the city, and proceeded to hammer out a new deal with Lady Reiss. With the help of the party, a new order was formed to be an impartial judicial system for the city. Under the leadership of the Ex-Warder and well-liked Drex Caldon, the branch would take over procecuting any charges brought before it by the guards, or by complaints from the citizens.

The city almost immediately seemed to breathe a sigh of relief, and Tor Sera became a bit more like the town it used to be before the invasion….

Just before Consolidation Day…

To Feed the Hunger
Andoliath and a well-built cleric make a request...

Andoliath Dinn requests the aid of the party. It appears that what he attempted to show the adventurers in the vision has happened again. However this time, it was a group of orphans being cared for at a makeshift temple of Kord. A representative of the Church, Sengar, asked to be a part of the search and retrieval of the children.

The party searched the scene and found a trail, as well as an odd magical mark. Following the trail and the arcane symbols, they leave the city and eventually make it to the ruined tower of the Goldenhawks. Vanamere and Lethion Goldenhawk were retired warders. When the War of Consolidation broke out, Lethion was killed in battle defending the gates of Tor Sera. Vanamere, in grief, caused their tower to explode, killing a stretegic contingent of besiegers surrounding the structure. Vanamere was rumoured to have also been killed, however, her body was never recovered.

At the ruined tower, the party encountered a group of Lorec guards and zombies. Quickly dispatching them they found that the group had been excavating the tower’s basement and found a way in. Descending, they happened across more guards as well as the group of kidnapped children. However, the reason why the children were brought to this place was not fully clear. Traveling deeper into the ruins, they finally come to the end. There they find a well-known Lorec born guard, Jeras Falck, talking to an undead creature, promising him the young flesh that it previously partook in regularly just a few years ago.

Enraged that the promised meal had escaped, Jeras ordered his undead minions to attack. But things looked grim. Eventually he called out for help from Critwallwho appeared to be hiding in the corner. Critwall shrugged and told Jeras that he wasn’t paid enough for the insult of feeding children to this abomination, and continued to lounge in the corner until the battle was over.

Afterwards, Critwall thanked the party, for following his magical trail to stop Jeras Falck, reiterating his disgust for this job, and then proceeded to make his exit.

Meanwhile it quickly became obvious that there was a disturbing significance of the room where the battle took place. Bones littered the floor. They appeared to have been there for some time (three years or so). A pillar with chains nearby appeared to be a restraint for someone to be held helpless while they watched the carnage take place. Signs of a Falcattan uniform led Solomon to believe that his captain, Arrogar Lynnth was held here. Also, a makeshift throne, emblazoned with a symbol of the Blood was present, leading the party to believe that the Blood may be behind this heinous act.

Korrigan decided to inform Lady Reiss of their findings. She became angry at the possibility of this affront to humanity. She swore that she would get to the bottom of the matter and that the party would do well to keep their hands out of it. As a ranking member of the Blood she had protection that the party could not claim. As a reward, she granted Korrigan’s request to be a part of the guard of the Shoui Orb when it would be presented at Tor Sera for Consolidation Day.

News breaks out of the party’s discovery, the Lorec guard’s part in kidnapping the children, and the fate that awaited them. The city seems to take a turn for the worse as citizens and guardsmen alike brace down for a potential conflict.

Horrid Dreams
A ritual gone wrong...

Andoliath Dinn attempts a ritual unbeknownst to the party which is supposed to send a vision to them. However the ritual went horribly wrong.

It started out normally, with Andoliath showing the party a vision of what had happened three years previously, with the Lorec instigated kidnapping of citizens, including that of his daughter in-law who were never seen again. However the ritual diverged in a way that Andoliath didn’t expect, as the party suddenly finds itself in the middle of the suddenly very real vision. They are taken captive by a younger looking Captain Graythall, hooded and herded into a wagon that takes them to a dungeon. When they are unhooded, they find themselves in various cells, along with some other captured citizens, a disoriented young girl of about 14 years old, and a madman with no eyes who hangs impaled on the wall, wounds healed around the peircings.

The party breaks out of the cells, along with the girl and a couple of the citizens when Solomon makes the discovery that the madman is the person he came to Tor Sera to find, Arrogar Lynnth. Arrogar begs Solomon to stop his visions, which the warrior sadly grants. They young girl finally seeming to accept what is going on introduces herself as Rina.

The party begins to look for an exit, when they come across a horrible scene. A catwalk-like path arches over a room completely covered in deformed spiders. Below are more spiders, cultists, and a huge door locked by some sort of magical seal. A magic circle, also below throbs with warding energy as well. Within the circle is an arm which looks to have been torn out of its socket. It sounds as if the cultists are trying to break the seal. A quick search above reveals a floating orb in an adjoining room which might just be the fabled Shoui Orb. However it seems to have been corrupted as well, with red blood swirling within. Upon approaching the Orb, Khalid al-Nichta’s armband suddenly flares with heat. The crystal imbedded within shatters and a mote of energy which seemed to have been contained within floats over, and is absorbed into the Orb.

Rina, urging speed, suggests they leave as soon as possible. Her eyes look in fear at the sealed door below. Korrigan, fascinated by the arm gets Erbrin to nab it with magic as the ritual concludes and the seal fails. The door opens and something horrible emerges. The party races to escape, as the ‘thing’ follows, whispering maddening thoughts to them telepathically. They manage to find a secret passageway and duck into it to allow themselve a respite.

Korrigan Irongate takes the time to examine the arm and finds a disturbing family ring on the hand. Meanwhile Khalid begins to hear whispers in some of the adjoining cells of this passageway. With the help of Rina, he is able to track down the voice, who claims to be his sister. Confused and concerned, he reluctantly agrees to house her spirit. Rina, who is increasingly familiar for some reason to Erbrin, as well as extremely insightful, seems finally understand what is going on. She explains that the vision is decidedly real enough to die in, and the creature that was just awakened could do even worse should it catch them. She also shares her suspicion that the vision is a symbolic mirror of the past, present and future and that they should take special note of these events.

However, their discussions seem to have attracted spirits of Khalid’s past, namely, two of his ghostly brothers. Jonoven is killed in the ensuing battle, but the party manages to find the exit, just as the creature from beyond the sealed door discovers the secret door. However, upon exiting, they find themselves in a ruined fortress in the middle of the Sands. Rina, unfazed seems to realize that the vision is coming to an end and wishes them well in their journey.

Most of the party awakes back in Tor Sera. Jonoven has died. Andoliath appologizes to no end, however, he is still unable to determine what went wrong. He vows to restore Jonoven back to life, when he can afford it.

Meanwhile the questions of who Rina was, and what significance the vision was remain unanswered.

Down and Dirty
Corruption and murder...

After getting back to Tor Sera, the party realized that some sort of curse has been placed on them. Likely due to their proximity to Demon’s Path the previous night. They can’t seem to relate their experiences to others in regards to anything regarding the obsidian temple, however a little research turns up the fact that there are a series of obsidian structures along the boundry of Lorec and Demon’s Path.

After some rest, Alyssia Wynd asks the party a personal favor. One of her friends, Thomas Blackgrove, has been arrested and accused of the murder of prominent Master Smith, Gareth Aellwen. She was positive that he wouldn’t harm a fly and hired the party to prove his innocence.

Taking up the charge, the party examines the crime scene. There they encounter a lackadaisical mage by the name of Critwall, maintaining an illusion of the scene. He seemed to think rather highly of his work and prefered to use as little effort as possible when answering questions. However, when looking over the scene, the party finds that Gareth was savegely beaten by someone very strong, which doesn’t fit Thomas Blackgrove’s physique. However the other guards at the scene thought that it had something to do with a illicit drug called ‘Dead Eye’.

Being hinted at the fact that Gareth had a young daughter, the party decided to head there next to see if anything else might help their investigation. As they arrived they found it being assaulted by thugs who seemed to want their own peice of the Aellwen fortune. The party quickly dispatched most of the assailants with the assistance of Lieutenant Fanroth. 16 year-old Tessa Aellwen unbarricades the door and thanks her saviors with grace. The Lieutenant seems annoyed at the party’s interferance in the matter, but comforts the young girl. Erbrin quickly realizes that this comforting goes beyond something that a friend might offer, but the girl seems oblivious to the potentially romantic intentions of the guardsman (who seems about 15 years her senior). Still irritated at the presence of other adventurers, the Lieutenant leaves. However, pieces of the puzzle begin to fall into place.

Fanroth, as it turned out, had recently befreinded young Tessa Aellwen. Gareth, however, opposed of this friendship (likely because of the same reasons that Erbrin sensed). It was learned that Gareth and Fanroth had a rather spectacular argument, and it seemed that soon afterwards Gareth was arrested on trumped up drug charges. Gareth managed to prove the accusation false, and was released, but on his way home was murdered.

Suspicion was falling squarely on Lieutenant Fanroth, so the party quickly headed out to confront him at Thomas Blackgrove’s trial. Unfortunately, they were waylaid by group of guards and thugs. Among them was Toreg Sigil, Fanroth’s righthand man and likely candidate for the real murder, Critwall (hanging out as far back as possible), and Ned Highwater, a wanted criminal.

The party managed to kill Toreg, and Ned fled, as well as Critwall who left behind his wand as incentive to not follow.

Finally arriving at the trial, the party managed to prove Thomas Blackgrove’s innocence, and point the blame at Lieutenant Fanroth. Seeing his fortune failing, Fanroth began spouting anti-Falcattan epitaths, and the assembled Lorec-friendly audiance seemed to empithize. However, this was quickly silenced, as Lady Reiss made her final judgement, with a lightning fast dagger thrust to Fanroth’s throat.

Unhappy at how the guard conducted this incident, Korrigan Irongate asked to help Lady Reiss with observation of the guard to determine the unlawful elements. She seemed thankful of the offer, but warned the party that they have not made any friends this day, and to be careful.

The Woes of Tor Sera
The weary trail leads to a ruined town...

For various personal reasons a group of adventurers meet in the struggling city of Tor Sera, the once prosperous fortress of Falcatta. They congregate in a small, but well kept inn called Warder’s Hall run by a fetching young woman, Alyssia Wynd.

The group consists of -

However things are quickly thrown out of balance when a horde of demons appear and begin to kidnap people, Alyssia being one of them.

After a struggle with the local guards, they are summoned to attend the occupying Blood representative Lady Reiss. After admitting that the town is struggling to keep its own viability, she hires the group to find and rescue the citizens, if possible.

The party quickly tracks the group of demons through a smuggling tunnel and to the edge of the fabled and foreboding wood Demon’s Path, where a temple constructed from obsidian awaits. Inside the temple, they find a maddened Wildblooded wizard attempting to sacrifice the townsfolk in order to resurrect some of his slain comrades with the aid of a floating crystal.

They had almost defeated the wizard when the crystal seemed to turn on its owner, killing him. The act seemed purposeful, as the crystal also drew out a mote of energy from the mage’s body and absorbed before collapsing in on itself, imploding. After reviving the captured townsfolk and Alyssia Wynd, the party notices a secret door in the temple that leads to a room with a strange obsidian throne on a dais. In front of the throne there is a small pillar that looked like it should be the home of an orb or gem.

They are suddenly assaulted with painful and chaotic visions. A maddening rote could be barely be made out:
“Conflict pains me. Two desires, each equal in power and chaotic in nature. Completely different but with one similarity: Only the strong survive. So shall it be…

When the vision fades, the party noticed that the crystalline structure began glowing dimly, but something was moving amid them. A large windstorm of shattered crystals coalesced into some sort of guardian. Telepathically it queried the party:
One fell, Two turned and Two to face the storm. The door will open soon, but not for those without a key. Those without must perish!

Unable to meet the construct’s demands, the party managed to destroy it. However it left many unanswered questions as they returned victoriously to Tor Sera.


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