Second Exodus

A Friendly Engagement
or Wait, what's your name again?

Kingsday, Mercsmonth 20

The town of Bayside seems abandoned less than a week after the Festival of the Merchant. Wicked storms off the Dragon’s Rest Sea tore through Kepinger Bay on the Festival’s final night and turned the tent city outside of the town into a pit of mud and fouled carriages. But even the wreckage has been more or less cleaned up by this point, even though the rain only stopped as the sun went down on this Kingsday. Now, in a cloudless sky, Dragon’s last arc sits ready to dip below the horizon, its light casting a yellow orange glow upon the weathered doorway of the Twisted Maid.

One of several small taverns on the Bayside docks, the Twisted Maid has long been a watering hole and meeting place for those acquainted with the town’s underbelly. For whatever reason, it was always a good place to hide one’s face away for a time. Tonight, however, is not a night for hiding among strangers, but one for seeking friends.

And you find them.

The door opens silently into the quiet barroom. Dark shapes huddle close to the sputtering candles centering each tabletop as if seeking warmth from its glow. Yet, as the black hearth attests and the glistening sweat on each inch of exposed skin reveals, the rain did little to cut the sweltering heat and even less to alleviate the summer humidity.

A movement out of the corner of your eye draws your attention to the small pool of lantern light at the bar and the man behind it. The man’s name rushes from your memories so forcefully that you have to check yourself before saying it aloud. Boris Guthand, the tavernkeep; a man so short and stout you’d reckon he was half dwarf, if such an abomination actually existed. His hands busy drying a mug, he nods to a corner of the room, the motion setting his long earring pendulating.

You follow his nod to a corner table. Even before you approach, you recognize some of the shapes around it.

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You Do Not Belong Here
or Rock 'em, sock 'em roustabouts

Mercsmonth the 12th

Dawn brings the Festival of the Merchant and the scheduled bare-knuckled boxing match. William the Horseman handled his fight almost surgically, awarded the decision without absorbing a punch. The second bout of the day featured Bonner Halmest, champion for 3 consecutive years and working on a fourth as he literally crushed the skull of his opponent.

The bouts ended for the morning, Avandros sought out Marsember to inform him of the demise of Westel the lighthouse keeper. In addition, the wizard spoke of the shrine beneath the promontory on which the lighthouse is located. Marsember assured his friend of an audience with the Lord-Mayor once the festival is completed.

Meanwhile, Blunderbore and Murgle headed to the dockworker’s tenements to seek out a thief to help with some of the traps in the shrine. A conversation with a bartender in the shit I forgot the name Tavern connected the two adventurers to a young thief named Jewels, whom they promised a full share of loot.

Accompanied by their new ally, the adventuring party returned to the shrine. An investigation of the “v” shaped hallway in the lower level revealed a secret door. Triggering the door was simple, and it opened into a room full of strangely featured skeletons with flat foreheads and large lower incisors. Weakened by Murgle’s prayer, they were no match for the heroes.

Ignoring the obvious door to the south, the party instead entered a cracked open secret door to the north. The large room was filled with two massive bullheaded skeletons who proved to be much more difficult than the smaller skeletons. An investigation of that room revealed a secret door to the east as well as a normal door. The normal door was trapped, however, and resulted in the destruction of some of Jewel’s thieves tools. The secret door was trapped as well and caused Jewel’s to run screaming from the shrine. Not to be dissuaded, Bluderbore attempted to open the door, successfully, but he also felt a vile curse descend upon him.

Within the secret door, the adventurers discovered a bedroom guarded by a wraith-like creature that devoured light itself. The creature warned them that their presence was unwelcome before succumbing to the combine onslaught of the group. In the bedroom, they discovered a few special items.

Wounded and tired, the party left the shrine at this point to find rest in the lighthouse.

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For Whom These Shattered Remains?
or Your subscription to trashy undead romances is about the expire!

Mercsmonth the 11th

The party awoke to the slight tremor of a far off earthquake. Aftershocks would dog their steps throughout the day, but cause no harm.

Leaving their fancy cleric behind to commune with his Aspect, the group plunged, once again, into the strange, undead-filled sanctuary. Nothing had disturbed the rooms through which they had already progressed.

Determined to avoid the fire trapped door for the moment, the group instead made their way down a long stairway off of the bedroom. The stairway lead to a “U” shaped hallway along which 3 doors beckoned. A haphazard search for secret doors by the least perceptive characters found, as expected, nothing. The impetuous Blunderbore instead took the lead, and attempted to open the door leading West.

Suddenly, most of the hallway dropped beneath his feet, and both Blunderbore and Bringut plunged nearly two-dozen feet into a pit of deadly spikes. Blunderbore landed roughly, but managed to avoid the sharpest points. Bringut, however, allowed his acrobat training to take over. Sadly, tucking and rolling into a spiked pit can be hazardous for one’s health as our nimble fighter found out.

Venturing instead into a chamber encircled by the hallway revealed an abandon storeroom. However, the always-ready Sir Leif noted an inconsistency in the layout. Another, focused search revealed a secret room filled with useful treasures and a shadowy spirit itself filled with nothing more than vengeful anger from beyond the graaaaaaave. They gave it peace.

Exploring North, the party entered a room occupied by a number of easily-defeated wights. The walls of this small chamber were decorated with the man from the murals on the floors above. From his fists ran chains around the necks of wailing proto-humanoid figures. A large symbol made completely of mithral was embedded into the walls.

Following their northern route, the party hefted a portcullis into a small hallway that in turn lead to a ladder to an unexplored chamber on the first level. Luring the chamber’s shadowy occupants into the hallway, they were able to defeat them easily. Exploration of the chamber revealed little more than a few pouches of dust and two secret doors.

The northerly doorway opened into a barracks of some sort whose ghoulish residents hungered for the flesh of the living and were destroyed. Leading from that room to the West was a door to the remains of a library long ago devoured by rats. The rats themselves, long devoured by time, were still hungry for the savory taste of mortal flesh. Swarms poured from the many piles in the room, but were eventually eradicated.

Avandros searched the library and discovered several tomes with pages still legible.

At that point, in need of rest, the party headed back to Bayside. The half days journey brought them to the Broken Mare just before midnight. A night’s rest is enough to refresh the group before the Merchant’s Festival and perhaps another plunge into the strange sanctuary to discover its secrets, if any remain.

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The Icy Chill of the Grave
or Rogues? Where we're going, we don't need rogues.

Mercsmonth the 10th

The toothy, muttering Wights descended upon the hapless party. Sir Leif’s mighty greatsword seemed somewhat ineffective; however, the gleaming morning star of Bringut and crackling lightning from the fingers of Avandros buffeted the restless dead with their full force, and the creatures reeled from the assault.

Then, Murgle, that simple-minded dwarf cleric, waded into the clutches of his hated foes, the symbol of his Aspect held high. The Wights withered before him. The black ashes of undeath in their hearts were assailed by the sudden perception of a spring afternoon: the feeling of lush grass under foot, the sun warming the skin, the sound of a distant thunderstorm reverberating off the mountainside, the smell of daffodils. The existence of sense in the souls of the senseless rocked them back, and the Wights cowered in fear of the dwarf and in agony over what they had lost.

The rest of the party easily dispatched them in their powerless state.

Traveling south, the adventurers held strong against a terror trap, except for Sir Leif, who ran away screaming like a little girl. The discovery of a shattered stairway did not dissuade Avandros, who easily located a pressure plate in the floor. Using various wight body parts (a tactic that no doubt enraged the creatures’ god to the point of divine retribution in the very very near future), Bringut triggered the plate, and a secret door slid open to the south.

The party traveled down an eastward running, frosty hallway into a large room full of barred cells. In that room, they faced their greatest foe yet, as a pile of bones in the corner assembled into a strange, large, toothed bird creature. Despite natural feelings of dread, Bringut charged forth and brought his bright morningstar to bear against the creature, Sir Leif strode not far behind, but a lash from the creature’s tail sent the two fighters flying.

From the hallway, a flash of lightning plunged into the creature’s chest, announcing the presence of Avandros. Loud prayers reverberated from the cell walls, as Murgle step forward, defying the monster to engage him. The creature spewed an icy mist that clouded the eyes of the allies and caused the ground to become treacherous beneath their feet, and the creature surged toward the hallway and filled it with a blast of frost that rooted the wizard in place and enclosed around the heart of the cleric as he fell to the ground, one foot on the threshold of oblivion.

Not to be dissuaded, Bringut and Sir Leif charged at the creature, its tail once again sending them flying. This time, however, Sir Leif did not rise again. However, an echoing trigger phrase erupted from Avandros’s lips, and bolts of magical force leaped from the wizard’s outstretched wand and plunged into the creature, and it collapsed in a heap of shattered bone.

Returning to the sanctuary of the wights, the adventurers plunged northward through a door and into a vacant room. Some snooping revealed a small storeroom with a handful of useful potions and a gout of fire trap that sent the party to their bellies. Determining it was an ideal place to rest for a bit, the group took an hour, during which time Avandros’s seemingly everlasting daylight spell finally winked out.

Exploration to the east discovered a bedroom inhabited by a wraith. Easily defeating the shadowy creature, the adventurers determined it was time to take a longer break. Returning to the surface, the evening sun gleamed off the welcoming lighthouse. Within the lighthouse, the tired adventurers found undisturbed slumber.

The sun rises on Hammsday, 11th of Mercmonth.

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The Long Road to the Depths
or From Grave Robbers to Wool Merchants to Grave Robbers

3/29/12 – Mercsmonth the 2nd through the 10th

Gathering themselves after the strange vision of Ravenloft, the party found the terrible dream had exacted a grizzly toll. The corpse of their long time ally, Esgraphor lies withered on the highway. The fiend Elenia had taken particular interest in the holy child of the Mother. One can only pray his soul found peace the realms beyond and is not chained in endless torment within the girl’s needy clutches.

Dutifully looting their ally’s corpse, the adventurers continued toward Bayside. A night’s pause at a small, unnamed village inn ended in a drunken coma and a new ally, the dwarf cleric Murgle (sp?).

Despite the burden of their alcoholic companion, the adventurers found it within their hearts to aid a shepherd in the repairs of his wagon in a transaction that left them with the wagon and the farmer with the hope of cure for his daughter’s wasting sickness. They parted ways with ambiguous promises of a future in magery for the farmer’s eleven year old boy.

Arrival in Bayside brought disappointment for Avandros, who had issued orders to his serving men to procure rooms in the fine inn, The Sail and Wagon. No reservations had been made, as the mage’s men had been intercepted by Avandros’s longtime friend and archnemesis, Marsember the Bright. Marsember insisted rooms be procured at The Broken Mare, and that is where the companions found him.

At the Mare, Blunderbore agreed to be the second man for William the Horseman in the bare knuckled boxing tourney during the Festival of the Merchant. In addition, Avandros agreed the party would aid Marsember in determining the whereabouts of his longtime friend Westle, the lighthouse keeper.

A half day journey brought the adventuring party to the lighthouse. After startling a number of monstrously icky spiders from the lighthouse keeper’s home, the party stumbled upon a strange pit beneath the floor. Determined to investigate the mystery, they descended to a natural tunnel, spiraling deep into the cliff face. Several hundred yards in, the adventurers encounters two water mephits and made short work of the nasty creatures. Startlingly, they discovered the body of the lighthouse keeper wedged into a tidal pool, plugging a hole that had opened to a chamber below.

Descending into the chamber, revealed strange ruins of some forgotten temple to an ancient cult. After making short work of a group of restless zombie halflings in the temple threshold and triggering a vicious spiked trap, the explorers plunged deeper into the mystery. A battering ram has revealed a sanctuary, and the only parishioners, a gathering of wights, sets upon the party with greedy claws and toothy grimaces.

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