Is it Freedom?

Into the depths

3 First Autumn to 10 First Autumn 150AU

After clearing the Gnomish keep and a rather abrupt conversation with Esky and some other Gnomes, you found yourself in the capital of Hendra, Hendra the City.

There, you encountered the head of the Church of the Unchained, Car’Anon, and after a puzzling conversation in which you learned little of what the Inquisition’s ultimate plans were, you did learn that they had planned a trap for the Elves at Baraan.

After fighting in a “tourney” to prove you were of some use to the Inquisition, you were teleported to somewhere in Hendra, west of your town of Penthflower, but not quite as far as the Gnomish Keep.

Some 20 miles to the south, you could make out some ruins. Deciding that looting the remnants of a vanished race sounded fun, you headed into the ruins and found a hidden set of tunnels beneath a old firepit.

Inside, the tunnels had a weird acoustic effect, with strange echoes and unusual walls. Unsure of who constructed the tunnels originally, given that they are sized for shorter than average humans, or tall dwarves.

Inside a chamber, again with weird sound effects, you encountered a large green crystal, inside which was trapped a large demon, that after a convoluted conversation, did what most demons do – it attacked.

You’ve just finished off the demon, you pause for a second to consider your next move…

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Portal?

3 First Autumn 150AU

After removing the rest of the Inquisition forces from the keep, including one of it’s most powerful leaders, Car’Leon, the party discovered a portal that one of the Inquisition researchers was trying to get to work, as according to one of the researchers journals, “… it was the device the gnomes utilised to defeat the High Elves when hope was all but lost…”

Upon reading more of the journals, the party discovered that while the Inquisition haven’t yet discovered how to make the strange, almost bronze metal lining the walls of the Gnomish keep, they had figured out how to cut and reshape it, using a strange dagger that the party had recovered earlier.

They have also discovered that the entirety of the Gnomish fortress had been stripped of most of the metal, and the Inquisition had removed a good portion of the Gnomish clockwork devices to Hendra the City, via a room in the keep that had been reconfigured to a teleportation circle, as well as sending the several chests of more valuable items via a convoy to a more established Inquisition fortress to the south-east of Baraan.

Armed with this info, and that received from a group of captured Inquisition soldiers, the party plans their next move, knowing that the elves are coming…

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Magi and Priests

2 First Autumn 150AU

As the dust from the exploded door settled, two bolts of lightning launched themselves through the cloud, and 6 apprentice Unchained mages and two Battlemages fired off a huge magical assault, which combined with the tight corridor, caused some problems for the party.

Adding to the problem, a portcullis stood in the way of the parties path to the battlemages, though a pair of teleporting spells got around that issue.

After defeating the mages, the party found a target range for the apprentices, and further into the complex, they found a larger practice range, complete with several cages containing dogs, which the party freed, after deciding that the Unchained mages were using them for area spell target practice.

Exploring further, the party found a large chamber with a closet at the back, containing a closet full of valuable spell components, including two hundred golds worth of diamond dust. However, when they tried to leave with the materials, the room filled with a blue light, and the door out locked.

Teleporting in to do battle, a horned devil caught the party by surprise, wounding Og and Raaxis before being killed, though as it died, it issued a warning “You will never defeat the Inquisition”.

Armed with this disturbing information, the party continued to explore, finding a flight of stairs up, finding a armoury, filled with breastplates and a single suit of plate armour.

After the armoury, the party found a guardroom, and deciding a ambush was in order, kicked the door in and quickly killed the handful of guards and two inquisition Captains. Their victory was short lived, as behind another door, a pair of the Inquisitions priests lurked, along with a warhammer wielding, heavily armoured warrior, who proceeded to severely wound Raidne, and and to banish Og to a pocket plane while they tried to kill the rest of the party, coming close on several occasions, but eventually the party prevailed.

Heavily wounded the party is now looking for a place to rest up, hoping that they will not be bothered during the night….

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Clockwork and Magic

2 First Autumn 150AU

After destroying the large convoy of Inquisition troops escorting “something” back into Hendra from an unknown point, the party investigated where they had come from. Following the road and the increasing sounds of water, they found the road leading out into the river, then jutting a few meters into the abyss as the river fell away into a magnificent waterfall, and directly opposite the waterfall, across a huge chasm, there stood a magnificent building, vaguely dwarven in appearance.

Standing at the edge of the roadway, studying several waist high pillars, was a human woman in heavy armour, carrying several large weapons.

When approached by Elthuin, the woman introduced herself as Raidne, a warrior on a quest based on a vision she received involving demons, a portal and the the structure across the chasm, guided to this spot by the Priests of Zarebi.

Somewhat doubtful, Elthuin introduced the rest of the group, and after a discussion and several attempts at working the pillars, which were inscribed with strange, nearly dwarven runes, Og managed to work the gemstone switches and with a sound of rushing air and discharging static, a magical bridge shot out over the chasm, linking the road where the party was standing to the structure across the chasm.

Crossing the semi-transparent bridge, the party entered a huge entry area, with the walls full of moving gears and cogs of varying sizes, somehow drawing the eye to the large doors into the structure proper. The doors, filled with unmoving cogs, at least wide enough to allow carts to enter two at a time, moved easily when the handles were tried by Elthuin, in fact moving so rapidly it pulled him a few paces into a long corridor, again filled with cogs and gears in the wall, to a matching set of doors about 20 meters away.

These doors led into a chamber, set up like a stable livery yard, with tack on one wall, and one of the extremely lightweight carts that the Inquisition was using for it’s ill-fated convoy. Moving from this chamber into the next, the party found a chamber set up much like a market, despite being deep inside a mountain.

After looking at the odd collection of small cogs and gears, made out of some strange brass-looking metal, the party was attacked by several small, shadowy undead, that all but drained the life from Raidne, and several other members of the party.

After recuperating from this fight, they continued through the structure, finding a room full of clockwork toy soldiers and a barracks with beds designed for people of small structure, pushed together to make beds for larger creatures.

Eventually, they found an unusual clockwork key that opened up a chamber with a concealed door. After triggering an explosion, a glyph hidden in the disguised door, the some of the party are staggering back when….

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Into the mountains
Curse lifted, a new direction

Managing a quick trip to Drask, the party were directed by the Alemaster of Drask (it’s high priest) to retrieve some tomes of ancient dwarven rites, in exchange for lifting the curse on poor Elthuin.

Finding the abandoned shrine in the Underdark, Elthuin’s quest for a cure nearly ended when he ended up in a one on one fight against a mind flayer.

Luckily it didn’t, and the party retrieved the needed books. Returning to the Alemaster, he performed the ritual needed to lift the curse, though it involved a tough fight against several demons, Elthuin was freed.

After the curse was lifted, the party had a chat with the leader of Drask, Kal Meeron who directed the party to “do whatever they wish, as long as it increases trade between Ralston and Hendra.”

The news that the plainsmen barbarians of Ralston are increasing their raids on trade caravans added to the party’s woes, they decided that the Inquisition presence in the nearby mountains was the most pressing matter, and they headed that way.

The party has just defeated a heavily guarded caravan leaving a unusual looking building deep in the Sunrise Mountains, though with no idea as to what the Inquisition was leaving with.

Now, as autumn starts to lose it’s grip and winter begins, what will the party discover?

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Catch up log

23 Second Summer 150 AU

After mourning Gurukaas and freeing a captured drow monk, you proceeded through the tower, destroying a couple of vampire spawn, before facing Car’Leon in a chamber at the very peak of the tower.

There, you discovered that he had set you up, as he was the young man who told you where the assassin’s camp was. After Elthuin, falling to the strange malady that had been dogging him, fire his crossbow, leading into a huge battle with the Inquisition elite, with even the room attacking.

Eventually, he left the fight, and you fell back through the tower, and explored some more of the town, despite being heavily wounded. There you encountered a raiding band of elves, who had slipped past the Inquisition fleet.

Surviving the fight, you fled the town back to where your horses were, only to find them stolen by the dragonborn mercenaries that were guarding the town.

After an epic chase across the rolling, rocky lowlands of southern Hendra, you caught up with the fleeing mercs, and even though you lost a few horses, you managed to reclaim most of them.

After the fight you headed north, hoping to find an answer to Elthuin’s progressing demonism. In Penthflower, the town you are nominally running, you discovered in the time you had been away it had grown considerably, with the trade from Drask and beyond.

After informing the Innkeeper, Bolan of the elf invasion, you headed west with a caravan back to Drask.

There, after delivering Gurukaas’ holy symbol to a local church of Farad, you managed to track down the high priest of Dragazk, the Alemaster Drugan. There, in exchange for recovering some dwarven tomes lost in a old, abandoned shrine much deeper underground, he agreed to lift the curse on Elthuin.

It’s now 6 First Autumn 150 AU, and with the elves and the Inquisition ramping up their individual forces, can our heroes afford this delay?

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Into Towns

3 Second Summer 150 AU to 18 Second Summer 150 AU

After destroying a hidden Inquisition training camp for assassins, you proceeded towards Ba’aran, a middle sized city a week or so to the south of Penthflower.

There, you had some issues with the local Inquisition, when Gurukaas was arrested for being a heretic.

Fortunately, you managed to escape the town, even with the Inquisition teleporting in reinforcements.

Later on as you regrouped just north of Ba’aran, you made out a screeching sound that directed your gazes back toward the walled city.

Launching themselves from one of the taller towers, two shapes rapidly flew towards you, and after a few moments, they revealed themselves to be armored wyvern cavalry.

After fighting them off, you retrieved an odd pentagonal amulet from one of the “knights” and determining that they weren’t part of the normal Inquisition forces, you headed out away from the town before circling back towards “that fishing village”

On the way, you encountered a herd of wild cattle, that after a taming (then butchering attempt) that stampeded Og into the dirt. Og is still looking for his Eggs Benedict.

23 Second Summer 150 AU

A few days later, you arrived at the “fishing village”. After bluffing your way into the town, and having a brief look at the fishing vessels, a mighty bell rang out, and the strangely efficient militia fishermen rushed to the harbour man the ships, one of the mercenary captains grabbed Raaxis and sent the party to the tower.

There in the entry chamber, after setting off a glyph trap, they were ambushed by several mercenary warriors, and during the scuffle, Gurukaas fell to their blades.

The party is now recovering after the fight, and the strange effects of whatever curse is affecting Elthuin…

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Wait were where we?

25 First Summer 150 AU

As you were preparing to leave town, a small boy approached you and told you he found a hatch under the ruins of Gladys’ house. This was odd, as no-one who was in town after the Inquisition kidnappings remembered either her or Esky.

Exploring the hatch, it revealed a tunnel system that lead to a strange portal. After fighting off several animated armors and you entered the portal to end up in a forest, somewhere.

There, you wandered aimlessly, somehow never more than 40 or 50 feet from the entrance “stone”. During your wandering, you encountered a white stag, a dryad and a gorgon, all but the last ending peacefully.

Returning to the entry stone, you managed, via a sweet enticing song from Chiana, to coax out the rulers of the strange wood, who offered to you a challenge – take this chess piece and solve the puzzle it leads you to.

After figuring out the built in guidance system for the piece, you located the entrance to a cave complex, in which you found more of the chess pieces, however you did have to deal with some strange creatures, including a genie-like medusa, a destitute ogre mage and a water elemental.

Most worrying is that the most dangerous occupant of the (as it turned out prison) complex managed to flee before you killed it, leaving your “sponsors” perturbed. They did return you to Penthflower, however, all but Gurukass forgot the whole encounter, and when you searched, the hatch under the house had vanished.

3 Second Summer 150AU

Once more, you look to leave the town, on the road ahead.

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A new beginning

11 First Summer 150 AU

After confirming that the four people in the cage were drugged and unable to be roused from their stupor, the party proceeded through the Inquisition’s barracks. You entered a chamber filled with a haze, and the ever present drumming was loudest in this room, though you could now make out the source, a massive framed drum at the rear of the room, beside a altar.

On the altar was one of the villagers from Penthflower, and standing over him with a knife was an Priest of the Inquisition, uttering words in an unknown tongue. Springing into action, you managed to quickly knock out the converted villagers that rushed to attack you. You also began to deal rapidly with the Inquisition soldiers, however the strange miasma in the air was having some odd effects, whenever you got wounded, you were overcome by an uncontrollable rage, and in Og’s case, it was severe enough to knock Gurukaas unconscious.

In fact, it was neither Gurukaas (brought round by a quick potion fix by Elthuin) nor Raaxis’s night, as they each fell again to the footman and the priest, who proved a huge nuisance by banishing Og out of the fight.

You eventually won, and tied up the crazed villagers and released Justin, the blacksmith of Penthflowers apprentice. He informed you that the smith himself was killed by the Inquisition when they burned down the smithy.

You retired then out from the barracks, after stopping to loot the treasury, and concealed yourselves just outside of town whilst Chiana went and fetched the old priest, Father Eldin, who managed to clear the insanity that infected the two ox drivers that came from Penthflower.

After he had left, and you had donated a few hundred coins to his Church, you travelled slowly back to Penthflower, through the pouring rain, carting the crazed villagers, who came round as you entered the village.

13 First Summer 150 AU

Upon your return to town, the ruler of Drask, Kal Meeron was in Penthflower, supervising the pulling down of the half completed Inquisition barracks.

Greeting you, he enquired after your travels, and you gave him a report of your actions over the last two weeks in clearing the old Dwarven Shrine, the discovery of Belak, the crazy druid who was making the trees come to life, and the rediscovery of the old dwarven outpost, which Kal Meeron identified as Nubenzagar, an ancient dwarven hold that was abandoned some centuries past.

You also let him know about the Inquisition taking the young of Penthflower and the ritual that you had interrupted in Etherwine. Concerned, he told you to continue your investigations, and he also put you in charge of improving the village for him, and he left you some funds and materials to do so.

14 First Summer 150 AU through 24 First Summer 150 AU

During these two five-days, you helped to add improvements to the town, increasing it’s income by establishing a pair of trade routes, one into Drask and one down to Etherwine, and starting rebuilding the blacksmith and beginning the work on a wooden palisade to protect the town.

You also trained several of the townsmen as militia, hopefully they can stand off any small banditry and monsters that bother the town while you’re away.

Several of you also investigated the possibility of houses in the town, though with the craftsmen available, only Jaunet was satisfied by the basic way that they would be done.

25 First Summer 150 AU

It’s dawn at the end of the first month of summer, and you are preparing to hit the road once more…

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Keep them wagons rolling

11 First Summer, 150 AU

After a peaceful, undisturbed rest in the Inn’s basement, you awoke to find that both Esky Timbers and Gladys Firewine had disappeared during the night, with Gladys leaving you a present of money and a note scribed in Elvish.

I thank you for your aid, please accept this token of thanks. I’m sure we’ll meet again

Leaving the basement, you quickly questioned some of the village folk, and after questioning Uncle Mede in his shop, he let you know that he hadn’t seen his son, as he sent him on the road west earlier to pick some things up for him. Chiana spotted that the shop had all it’s metal items missing, spade heads, rake heads, scythe blades, all gone. When they questioned Uncle about it, he said that the Inquisition had taken them all, at the same time they burnt down the blacksmith.

Concerned for the blacksmith, they quickly searched the remains of the smithy, fortunately not finding any bones in the wreckage.

Deciding that they had lost enough time, they headed out of town at a extremely brisk pace, trying to catch the fleeing wagons of the Inquisition on foot.

That evening, a tired party entered the town of Etherwine, though Chiana was exhausted, they got rooms at the Inn (cheap) and had some food and beer (expensive). Chiana had a look round the local Church of the Unchained God, and found an old priest, Father Eldin, who gave her some info on their religious practices, which seemed occasionally at odds with the behaviour of the Inquisition – a fact the priest seemed really uncomfortable with.

Later that night, Ethan and Chiana went and explored the Inquisition barracks on the outskirts of town, and saw a large number of guards on the wall. When Ethan struggled to climb the palisade to look in, Chiana had a go and saw the last of a group of the captured children being led into the building. The puzzling thing is that she spotted only one wagon, whereas Jaunet (care of his owl familiar) knew that there was at least three that left Penthflower.

Coming back to let the rest of the party know what they had found, they all returned to the barracks, and using a combination of stealth and blades, Og and Ethan climbed the wall and dispatched the two pairs of patrolling guards, though their was a brief instance of panic, when they tossed some of the bodies over the wall, the guards quivers emptied, nearly hitting Chiana, who was at the base of the palisade to provide some magical support for the infiltration effort.

After opening the palisade gate and entering the main building, they found a kind of internal stables that contained six unusually proportioned horses. The rest of the building was taken up by two short archery ranges and two circles, that Raaxis identified as sword training areas.

Around the edge of the building, about 25ft up, there was a narrow wooden walkway that allowed access to the barracks arrow slits. Deciding it would be a great vantage point to attack anything that appeared, Chiana climbed up a nearby ladder, but when she tried to pull it up, she dropped it, making a huge clattering sound.

A few seconds later, the rooms everburning torches got covered by hoods, plunging the room into darkness, allowing a pair of shadowy warriors to attack the party, severely wounding Gurukaas. The team managed to dispatch the assassins, but were then faced with a new problem. The door to the lower level was locked tight, and it was a huge steel door, designed to withstand (according to Raaxis) siege weaponry. Of further concern was the barely audible “boom boom boom” of slow drumbeats from behind the door.

Using Raaxis’ block and tackle and the strange horses. they managed to get the door harnessed up to the horses, and with a command from Og, the they managed to free the door. Unfortunately, the horses didn’t seem to be able to stop, and they went bolting off into the darkness, dragging the remains of the door (and Raaxis’ block and tackle) behind them.

Descending into the next level, they encountered a weapons room and a barracks on one side, the barracks containing two Inquisition guards and one of the Inquisition Captains. Killing them proved easy once more (thanks to Chiana’s heat metal), they then checked the next room.

It was pitch black, and even the parties lights didn’t penetrate too far into it. Upon entering, the leading members of the group were attacked by living shadows, draining the strength of Og and Ethan. Deciding that fighting shadows was a fools game, the party explored the other side of the entry room, finding a guardpost (empty, bar a few coins) and a prison area, were several of the missing children were found, including Uncle Mede’s son, Inbral.

A quick look over them revealed that they had been drugged by something to make them docile, as they didn’t respond to any of the groups questions or actions.

Pausing briefly, the party is debating what to do next.

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