A Stranger at the Door

Fornstorm Mountains – Vagan Camp of Dellatana

The sun sets early in these mountains. The contorted, jagged peaks of the Fornstorm swollowed the light leaving a deep blue canopy pricked with stars. Here in our vale narrow spires of rock erupt skyward, and when grown dark in the falling light

Honor Amoung Thieves

Fornstorm Mountains- Vagas Redoubt of Dellatana

We’ve made another strike against the city of Medevjada. We used some Dwarven mines to heavily damage the south tower. While the city garrison put out the fire, on the north side of town we seized a small shipments of weapons that was bound for Teremzad. We lost some good people, too many justify our meager prize. I am beginning to question the value of our campaign against that vexing city. It sits at the foot of our mountains as a taunting reminder of Tharadard’s tenacity. We toss men at it as pebbles into an ocean. Now matter how thin the ranks of the city guard, or how much the populace fears our name, the towers are rebuilt and commerce goes on. A population that fears us, will this help us be rid of Taranstaf and his heirs. The people should be fighting with us. Instead the terror we cause drives them to cling to their king, and they allow him to levy all manner of injustice, and cruelty in the name of protecting his people from the Vagas. Our numbers dwindle. I have heard little from the other bands. We need to find an ally. I have reason to believe that there may be those within the borders of Tharadard that bear no loyalty to the King, or to anyone.

I have had word from Vassa. She is working in a tavern on the road to Teremzad, where she trying to keep track of troop movements to and from the capital. She writes that 2 weeks ago a party of ill-mannered strangers wrapped in cloaks passed through heading east. She followed them hoping to discover what business they had in the city. But they turned north, she trailed them as far as the ruins of Nedarloc, and amoung slabs of broken stones their tracks ended. Another bit significant information comes from the Iznaeg Bazaar, that shady sprawl, of makeshift shops outside the gates of Medevjada. This congregation of tents, carts, and banged together scrap wood shacks provides a haven for disreputable traders that have been barred from entering the city. My man Thorne was prowling around the market when he overheard a Drell poison merchant telling some interesting news from the Draelue Hills. It seems a guest of the Drell court, an ambassador of the Scath Kala, in the midst of negotiating an alliance, managed to abscond with one of their most treasured magical texts. The Hunters were dispatched, and tracked him to the borders of Tharadard. All of this leads me to believe that the Scath Kala are operating somewhere in the Kingdom. And in all of the land no place would attract the attention of necromaners more than the fortress Nedarloc. Legend says its and brimming with dark magic. Its reputation for being haunted would also be a boon, as its likely to keep away unwanted visitors. The Scath Kala would be a valuable ally. I know they are not to be trusted, but then neither are we. I’m hoping for a little honor amoung thieves. After all we do have much in common. Their struggle to overthrow the Councilum Lux in Alluria, is not unlike our efforts to dethrone King Taranstaf. We both contend with far more powerful adversary which requires us to resort to less than scrupulous tactics. We could offer them refuge in the mountains, just across the Allurian border, and if we could base attacks from Nedarloc we could strike a blow right in Taranstaf’s backyard. Tomorrow I take a company into Tharadard, we’re going to go to Nedarloc and try to make contact with the Scath, and seize whatever opportunities for profit, and mayhem that may come our way. I’m going to need a dark wizard of my own so I bringing Verig. He has had some prior dealing with the Scath Kala. I’ll take Thorne, he has spent considerable time in Tharadard, and penetrated the border numerous times. He’s also a crack shot with a bow. For muscle I’ll call on old Berik, a great ox of a man, and a savage brawler. I have also asked Jafan a master swordsman, and renegade Tharadard aristocrat. And finally Saratha, a cunning spy, and old friend. Tonight, as is our custom before a mission, we will gather about a great blaze with our dear ones and share a meal.

The Legend of Nedarloc

Tharadard- The Northern Frontier – Near the Ruins of Nedarloc

By dusk we had reached the edge of the Northern Frontier. The last farm was several hours behind us. Nothing lay between here and the border of Anafale but an expanse of mangy prairie, grass and brush marred by large swathes of barren earth peppered with lonely trees. Low in the west the sun was lost behind a scarlet veil. Its fading light spread in a crimson band that hung over the western earth, barred from radiating further into the heavenly dome by a vast shroud of storm clouds that rolled out of the north and filled the sky. Against this bloody glow in the west the crumbling towers and shattered walls of the old fort of Nedarloc created a forlorn silhouette. The intermittent pit-pat of large drops of rain began to sound all around us. Aeydan “Whooooh! Alright men, we make camp here. Let’s get those tents up before we are washed away.” Xotho “Um, Sire?” Aedyan “Yes.” Xotho “I hate to be a bother, but do you think it wise to stop so close to a…to…” Xotho raised his arm and pointed west. Aeydan “So close to what? Spit it out, man.” Xotho ”...to the ruins, milord.” Aeydan “Nonsense, I have stopped over here abouts, many times. There is nothing to fear from the past.” Xotho “No, milord except repeating it.” Aedyan “What’s that you say.” Xotho “Nothing, milord.” Bearn “Hey Xotho, You really scared of ghosts?” Xotho “I most certainly am.” Raug suddenly rushed up behind the magician arms raised and wailing” Raug “WOOOOooooo!” Unflinching Xotho turned glowering at him. Linn “Never mind ghosts, Wizard. Why don’t you turn your attention to starting us a fire in a downpour.” Moments after the last pole was raised a chill torrent of icy rain fell from the clouds which had grown dark as if streaked with ink. The tents were pitched facing one another creating a shared space between them. In the center of which, bent over a stack of broken branches was Xotho. He peered into pile of sticks as if he had lost something deep with in it. His robes were pulled taunt laden with water, strands of black hair stuck to his cheek. Then he spoke, in a manner he had not used speaking to us. His voice usually timid, and a bit nasal had become deep, and resonant, commanding. XothoLOC EMA OMMEN ENUMAE” At once blue, and green lights leapt out of the bundle of wood, flickering and dancing amoung the sticks. A pleasant warmth radiated from the blaze. Heads poked out of the front of each tent and marveled at the fire. After several moments I noticed that though a fire appeared to be burning none of the kindling was being consumed. Raug “Oy, Xotho is that a proper fire, I mean can we cook with it.” Xotho “No more than you could cook with a warm summers day, I’m afraid. It is called Phantom Fire, it provides light and heat, but does not truly burn.” Raug “Aw, Spit!” Amhill “Well, Tis a pretty thing to look at, anyway.” Bearn “Tell me Raug, what were you gonna cook in this deluge, eh? Rainwater stew? Soggy biscuits?” Raug “I was thinking of roasting some meat, like your tongue on a stick.” Linn “Well, at least it will keep the cold at bay. Gad, this rain is cold as falling snow. I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned hailstones soon.” Bearn “Well, Amhill is this the life of adventure, and excitement you signed up for, lying next to a large hairy man in the freezing rain?” Raug “Hey, I ain’t no hairier than I ought to be.” Bearn “Well, I won’t try to argue with that.” Amhill “It’s not so bad. I mean this is what I wanted, to get out of the city. And hey, a day on the road beats a day cleanin fish in my uncle’s shop. Besides Raug here, has no more hair on his back than my first wife.” Raug “Ay! What about some food? I’m so hungry I could eat my own socks.” Aeydan “Quite right, Roug. Linn, break out the night’s rations” Linn “Yes sir. Let’s see for first course we have some lovely flatbread, then there’s strips of dried venison for main, and for desert a moldy hunk of, Whew!, of stink…I mean aromatic cheese. And a jug of water, and skin of wine to wash it all down.” Aeydan “Well, there you have it men a fitting feast for Tharadard’s finest. Pass the water, and wine around there’s plenty for all.” The men fell quiet as the feed. Raug was the first to finish, an occasion he commemorated with a long draw on the wine skin, and a long rumbling belch. Raug “AAh, that hit the spot.” Bearn “Several spots by the sound of it.” Amhill still chewing his bread, settled his gaze on Xotho, and with mouth half full he asked a question. Amhill “So, Xotho, you really believe them ruins to be haunted?” Xotho “I know that they are. If they were not the knowledge and practice of magic might never have come to Tharadard.” Bearn “What…are…you on about?” Xotho “You don’t know the story?” Amhill “No, won’t you tell us?” Bearn “Yes, by all means tell us a grand tale.” Raug “I like stories.” Xotho “Oh, very well.” He cleared his throut and continued. “Just on the other that field, where now you see only heaps of rubble, and fallen spires once stood the ancient fortress of Nedarloc.

There was a time in the age of old empire, before the Great Temblora left mankind fractured into the small kingdoms and roaming tribes, a moment when the imperial legions were on the verge of conquering all of Elan. Two brilliant generals Rhykbern, and Falcavek had led the armies of men to victory after victory, expanding the empire from the northern reaches of Ulavoc to the edge of the Southern Deserts. Elves, Dwarves, Drell, and Grem all saw their lands diminish, all fled before soldiers of the empire. You know Tharadard was not always the flat grassland it is today, no, No, once it was all forest, and one with the great forest Anafale and just as wild, and enchanted as that elf realm. By ingenious tactics, cunning siege weapons, and sheer numbers the elves were kept in continuous retreat. Well, that retreat stopped at Nedarloc. You see in those days men were ignorant of magic. For most it something not to be trusted, even something vile….and those who were curious about it, well the magical races guarded its use carefully. Here near what is now the edge of Anafale, the elves turned and made a stand. Here waiting for the oncoming legions was a host of elven sorcerers, a gathering unlike any before or since. They had animated the very trees into fearsome guardians creating the Hanefol. They had also awakened the Welkin, their ancestral spirits which are said to be immune to steel, and able to pluck a man’s soul from his body like pulling a grape from the vine. It was then Rhykbern, and Falcavek who found themselves retreating. They pulled back to Nedarloc, and regrouped within its walls. Their enemies began to swarm around the stronghold. A company of Grem soldiers and Drell warlocks marched out of the west and added to the throng. The were surrounded. After seven days of brutal siege the fortress fell. The last imperial soldiers standing were herded into the open ward. There the warlock Razfearg stood before them and condemned their souls to a curse. “For the Havoc you have wrought,” he bellowed,”I deny you, and your fallen death, a true death as you have denied life to all those you have massacred. No glorious return to the house of your fathers, no you shall neither die, nor live. You shall walk the earth in a waking dream, in a living nightmare. You will know only hunger, only torment until you pay a debt, a debt of blood. Until you have claimed one life from your own people for every Elf, Dwarf, Drell, and Grem your legions have slain you will never know peace. To this are you bound.” Then he raised his staff, and his terrible spell was cast. From Elven bows a rain of arrows fell into the courtyard, and silence fell over Nedarloc. At least until the next new moon, when Razfearg’s curse compelled those defeated soldiers to awake, and it was no small obligation they were required to fulfill. Considering the imperial legions had been at war for so many years, I don’t know if there were enough people living to complete such a contract. Well, this began the end of imperial conquest, as the empire had this new enemy with which to contend, a death-walking legion of its own fallen warriors. This is how they were known, as the Teragev, or the Fallen. The Fallen spread across the lands of men voraciously trying to pay their debt, slaying all in their path. Steel and tactics could do little, but slow the onslaught. It was not until the bandit Varaven, the priest Lazharan, and a scholar by the name of Kirojasto managed to steal a magical tome from the Drell, and decipher it. Although they could not find a way to break the curse, the did manage an invocation that pulled the wandering Fallen back to Nedarloc, and bind them within the depths of the fortress, and there they dwell still.” Bearn “Aw, come off it, you tellin me that under all them stones is an army of the walkin dead?” Xotho “That is exactly what I’m telling you, this is our history, and it should not be dismissed merely because it seems unlikely. This is an ancient land, with each patrol you walk on legends, you tread on a story with every pace. Amhill stared into the darkness, eyes wide. Amhill “You sure that spell they cast still holds, I mean you said them fellas didn’t know much about magic.” Xotho “If it were not still steadfast, you would not be alive to ask about it.” Amhill “Well, its certain, I’m gettin no sleep tonight.” Aeydan “You’re all to get some sleep, and soon. That is an order. We leave at first light.”

Another Dull Patrol

Tharadard- City of Teremzad

I am to set out on another long patrol. Tomorrow we head north, past the ruins of Nedarloc to where Anafale forest meets the sea. Then we march west along the edge of Anafale to the foothills of the Fornstorm mountains. We then turn south and make for the fortress of Augathund. We complete our grand tour by then heading east along the Parak frontier, back to the coast, and then north home. It is my charge to inspect and evaluate every outpost, and battlement along the way. Assigned to my company is a bowman named Bearn, Amhil and Raug, both infantry, a mage called Xotho, and my seargent, and 2nd in command Linn. At dawn I rode to the east gate. There Linn already had the men assembled. They were loosely congregated around the supply cart, some leaning against it, some squatting beside it. Taking no notice of me as they were otherwise occupied with discussing last nights debauchery, finishing scraps of their breakfast they had brought along, and fiddling with their packs. I caught Lin’s eye and he bolted upright like someone had run a lance up his backside. His face drew hard, and grim. His exploded in a gruff bark. LinnAlright! Look alive you wag tongue wenches! Attennnnn…Shun!” Immediately the others jumped to their feet, spit out food, and scrambled into a line. As passed along eying the state of each man, I noticed one was missing. Adeyan “Mr. Linn, Where is our wizard? Still in bed?” Linn “Here he comes now, milord.” I turned and saw passing under the stone arch of the east gate the blundering brown rumple robed figure of Xotho. He dashed across the cobbled stone, arms laden with books. His step was occasionally interrupted by getting tangled in the hem of his own cloak, causing him to suddenly lurch forward and then rear back to keep the column of tomes he carried in a vertical stack. Leather straps bit deep into his shoulders bearing the weight of a stuffed rucksack. From within its swollen bulk there came all manner of clangs, clinks, and metallic tings which sounded with each step. And hanging off it on strings like party decorations were a multitude of glass bottles, and baubles filled with colored liquids. When he reached the company he relinquished his burden with a clamor. Xotho “Mage Xotho, milord reporting for duty.” I wheeled my steed around and glared down at him. Aedyan “Mr. Xotho, this being your first patrol, perhaps the meaning behind only the essential has eluded you.” He stared back with a blank expression. Xotho “But..Sire…..I have..brought only the essential.” Aedyan “The essential.” Xotho “yes.” Aedyan “I see…Well, might I offer some advice that might yield a more efficient selection of gear. First, all the knowledge contained in those beautifully bound, ornate volumes SHOULD BE IN YOUR HEAD, and not your arms. And what is the meaning of all those bottles? Are you going to be conducting experiments, setting up a laboratory at every campsite? As for the rest, has it occurred to your learned mind that at some point we may be required to be a bit covert, a bit clandestine? A capability I feel may be hampered by your rattling doodads announcing our position LIKE A BAND OF MINSTRELS.” Xotho “Oh, but I have a very interesting potion that will…” AedyanMr. Xotho! Xotho ”...and this book here tells of a….” AedyanSilence! One book, two potions, lose the rest.” Xotho “Yes, milord.” I had Linn double check our provisions and we set out. The road north wound through rolling grassland dotted with the occasional cabin, or small farm. Over the horizon before us a bank of pitch clouds hung like coal smoke promising some foul weather before the next sunrise. I stopped for a moment, and let the men filed past. I indulged myself in one last look at the fading spires of Teremzad lit gold in pale morning light knowing it would be a month or more before I gaze upon them again. I have grown tired of this drudgery, trekking along our shrunken borders, inspecting fortifications, and siege weapons that are never used. I don’t understand how our people, our king are satisfied clinging to this tiny scrap of the old empire we call a nation. One day this will have to change if Tharadard is to prosper. Our forests dwindle, the cost of timber soars, while the Elves in the north frolic about in league, upon league of woods so dense they are nearly impassable. We are gouged by the Dwarves, and the Vagas for minerals mined from the very mountains we once ruled over. The Parak Peninsula has become a lawless haven for brigands and pirates. If we find no action in this task, by thunder I should make some, perhaps something worthy of a promotion.

Friends and Enemies

Anafale Forest- Northwest of Galaan Darach

I have been sent northwest to alert the Northern villages of danger in the wood, and to dispatch reinforcements I can find to meet Una and the others near Wynden. So I urged my steed Thendil summon all the speed he possessed, and we made for Ardwyld, the nearest settlement large enough to be able to aid Wynden. The Woods rushed by tree trunks blurred into solid walls. Hanging branches swooped down at me from the flickering ceiling of dark bough, and white clouded sky. I kept low close to Thendil’s mane so as to ensure my head would stay attached while we made countless bounds over fallen trees, stone, and bramble. What I could see of the sky tells me a storm is near. I also spied flocks of birds flying east reminding me to be wary. I decided to slow Thendil a bit, so as not to go charging into a trap. But soon it began to rain, and a ferocious wind bent the trees sending water, leaves, and debre whipping us in the face, and almost entirely obscuring my vision. I believe I could have galloped down the throat, and into the belly of a dragon before I sensed something amiss.

I was nearing the river Beatheil, the crossing to Ardwyld, when Thendil suddenly reared nearly tossing me. A small shadowy figure dashed in front of us, and darted in under Thendil’s uplifted hooves. A deep, gruff voice spoke, “I am sorry for the suprise, but I did not want to call out to you, for fear of being heard by ears other than yours, Tan.”

The Pools of Gywaibeth

Anafale Forest- Northeast of Faedale

We have come to the thicketed hills northeast of Faedale. We have only to follow the hilltops south and we should be in Faedale by sundown. A formidable wind has begun to rip through the boughs sending tiny cyclones of swirling leaves and pollen sprigs tearing along the Forest floor. The rain has continued and saturated most of our gear. Elam treats us to a veritable dissertation on the military strategies of every realm in Elan. Celas continues to grumble. Delandil recalls a lass he once knew in Wynden. Cada has been quiet, she seems lost in thought.

Elam ”...whoever these doghearted cankerous fiends are, I just hope they are foolish enough to walk the Wood at night, and awaken the Chan Eraid.” Una ” Or cross paths with a Hanefol.” Delandil “Or find their way into the belly of a vine beast.” Cada “Perhaps, this threat did not pass through Alluria, or the mountains, but passed over them.” Celas stopped in his tracks. Celas “You mean they flew, flying?” Delandil “Ah, Some sort of flying beasts.” Elam “But what?” his tone dripping with skepticism, “Dire bats all the way from the Deadlands? Lone wyverns suddenly deciding to form a flock? Next you’ll be saying its dragons” Celas_ “Dra..Dragons?” Una “Don’t worry Celas, there is only one Dragon left, Ajazuul, and that old wyrm has not been seen in these skies for centuries.” Cada “It could be something worse than a dragon, you may be begging to sit in the Queen of Dragon’s lap before this is over.” Celas “Why don’t you save that sort of talk til I have a tankard or 2 of thornblossom.” Una “What is it Cada? Have you had a vision? Do you know what awaits us?” Cada ” I am certain of nothing, I have had no visions.” Una “What then?” Cada “Just a memory, All I can tell you is the Forest has felt this presence before. I fear if we were to run all the way to Wynden, we would still be to late to warn the other settlements, and if we push ourselves to exhaustion we will have nothing left for the fight. There is no wisdom in rushing to our enemy only to collapse at their feet. Una “What do you suggest we do?” Cada ” I have an idea. A way that I may be able to get to southern villages faster than the rest of you.” Delandil “How is that possible?” _Cada “Una, have you noticed where we are?” _Una “You don’t mean the…” Cada “Yes, near to the east, just down in that gulley are the pools of Gywaibeath.” Elam “The Changing Waters.” Una “Cada, no…its too dangerous.” Celas “Changing waters?, the pools of what?” Delandil “Celas, have you forgotten your obscure and unlikely elven legends.” Cada “It is no mere legend, follow me and you will see the pools for yourselves.” Celas “Legend, or no what are we talking about?” Delandil “In the time called The Barrens, during the destruction of Galaan Gasrah, the great sorceress Gywaibeath witnessed the death of her lover. He was obliterated to dust before her very eyes. It is said she wandered the forest distraught, in a trance of despair, her falling tear creating the river Beathel as she passed. When her strength waned she collapsed in a flowered hollow, where from her weeping two pools were formed. Into these pools she opened her veins with her skinning knife, and left this world. Celas “How do you know all this?” Delandil “What, I can’t know things?” Cada “Gywaibeath was famed for being able to take on the shape, and appearance of any beast in the Forest…” Delandil “In fact the name Gywaibeath, in the old tonque, means fair beast…” Celas “Alright, we get it, you know things.” Cada ”...it is believed that anyone who baths in the pools also gains the ability to change into creature form, for an hour, or a day, or even a week..” Una “Or foreverCada “Fear not Una, my spirit is strong enough to resist, I won’t lose myself to the beast. I will try to call forth something swift, a hawk, or a deer, or a panther. Elam “And what if you end up a slug, or a toad, or a tree snake.” Cada “Then you can carry me in your pocket, or wear me around your neck. Think of it Una I could have a force ready and waiting for you by the time you reach Wynden.” Una “And risk being stuck with a squirrel, or a badger instead of healer for who knows how long. Look, the few recruits we manage to squeeze out of each village are likely to have never seen action, or have not seen it in many springs. Your skills are going to be needed.” Cada “There are other healers between here, and Wynden….I am sorry Una, I can’t see any other way.” She began to slowly back away from us. Una “Cada?” There was a flash of thunderless lightning, all blinding white for a moment and she was gone. UnaBlast, that stubborn old witch. Quickly, that spell never takes her far, Celas, Delandil, run her down and keep her out of those pools.” The two young archers leapt away, over underbrush, behind the trees and down into the hollow. Elam and I followed as fast as we could. We descended the incline in kind an artful fall, or a series of short falls, bounding from each outcropping to the next. At the bottom the trees were sparse making room for emerald bushes spangled with violet, and indigo flowers. We heard raised voices up ahead, splashing water. Elam “Come on, hurray!” As we burst though the last bit of brush, and on to the bank the air was shattered by a long piercing howl. Before us were the pools. On the far shore was Delandil, sitting on his backside, sprawled out, looking rumpled, damp and bewildered. On our side of the pool, standing before was a large wolf, streaked silver, white, grey, and black coat, much like Cada’s own tangled hair. Celas was nowhere to be seen. The wolf stared at me and I held its gaze. Then it rushed past us, back up the gulley and was gone. We walked around to Delandil who still sat dumbfounded on the wet bank. Delandil “Its her, she changed, just like the legend said. She was already in water when we found her, but still herself. We tried pulling her out, but…” Una “Where is Celas?” Delandil “You know she’s a lot stronger then she looks.” Una “What happened to Celas?” Delandil “The old girl tripped him, the crafty old bird, and he fell in.” Una “Fell in!? Where is he?” I turned quickly and scanned the surface of the waters, peering into their depths for some sign. UnaDelandil! Did he get out? Is he still…still in there?” Delandil “He’s over there.” Una “Where? I don’t see him.” Delandil raised his arm pointing, and he said slowly with a heavy tone. Delandil “He’s there.” What Delandil was pointing at was a 2ft long rather plump lizard. Its scales were new leaf green and white, and it was peppered with purple spots. It sat motionless except for the occasional flick of its tongue. Elam standing over the lizard, “This is Celas?” UnaAAAAAAAAUARGH! I’m supposed to be GAINING people on this mission not losing them. Elam “Celas, my lad, can you here me?” The lizard blinked twice. Una “That witch better have a legion waiting for us, or I’m going to drag her back to these pools by her matted hair ,and drown her in them.” Elam kneeled down, picked up the lizard and brought its face close to his. Elam “Celas, talk to me lad. Why is not saying anything.” Delandil “Because he is a lizard.Elam “But I thought one could talk in creature form, I mean Cada was going warn the settlements, and raise an army she can’t do that with barks and howls.” Una “Cada, is a shaman she can speak without words. If she wants she can put her voice in your head without making a sound.” Delandil got up and brushed himself off. Delandil “Well, at least we will be spared his constant grumbling.” Una “Yeah, well if we run into trouble we are also spared his bow. Come on, let’s move out.”

The Journey to Faedale

Anafale Forest- South of Galaan Darach

Our first day is blighted by the threat of a coming storm. I met the dawn scrying the southern horizon at the top of the west tower. The sky was already a dense swirling froth of cloud and mist, and away to the south east an angry tangle of darkness, periodically fractured by flashes of light. The Forest is dim, and flooded with a thin haze. I can hear the rain has started, but it will probably be midday before it trickles to the Forest floor. We keep a brisk pace, sprinting at intervals, our destination is the village of Faedale. There we hope to increase our numbers. As we travel we discuss the inevitable question, When we finally gaze upon what is left of Wyndren what enemy will we find there? Delandil “Could it be the Grem Rakhi?” Una “This far East?” Celas “But the Grem Rakhi would have to pass through Alluria, or cross the Fornstorm, yes?” Elam “As I see there are only two of forces capable of crossing that Republic of men, a small band highly trained in stealth and deception, or a large army bent on invasion.” Delandil “Well, the Grem Rakhi have always trained assassins who can move as shadows and mist.” Celas “As I hear they can slit a throat and be home making a sandwich before their victim hit’s the ground.” Elam “Precisely, a band of Grem Raki assassins would have penetrated the Wood done their dark business and disappeared, chances are we would not have been alerted to there presence.” Una “Yes, the next messenger or trader to arrive in Wynden would have just found bodies and silence.” Cada “It is certain, assassins would not stay and risk open combat, and most assuredly I can FEEL our enemy still moves though the Wood.” Delandil “So are you saying when we arrive in Wynden we will be greeted by an encamped army? An invasion force? Celas “The five of us, and a handful of hunters and village sentries we manage to scrape together between here and Wynden against an Army? Delandil “You know I just remembered I left some fire root boiling in a kettle, perhaps I’ll just nip back and check on it.” Celas “Delandil, Get back here.” Una_ “Do not forget Tan, he will muster another band and meet us in Wynden.” _ Cada_” I fear for Tan, I feel his journey will be blocked, barred in some way. You should not have sent him alone.” Celas “He had to go alone, Who could keep pace with Tan?” Elam “An invasion force is not possible, at least not from Bolkrag, for there would be a wave refugees fleeing before them either Allurians from the east or Vagas from the Mountains.” Delandil “Ay, what of the Vagas, Could they have raised an army?” Elam “They never have, not since they were driven from Thyatis. They are small scattered tribes that do strike and flee fighting much like Grem Rakhi assassins.” Una “Besides, they would have come from the south, and Wynden is not the first settlement they would have come across.” Delandil “So then, What? Alluria? Have our neighbors to the West betrayed us?” Una “I could never believe that? Not unless every member of Councilum Lux has gone mad.” Elam ” I agree, nearly every realm on this continent has long held a dagger for its neighbor’s back except Alluria and Anafale. It is this peace that has prevented many Wars, it would not be thrown aside lightly.” We came into undergrowth thick and crowded, every pace now had to be accompanied by a quick turn, or sudden duck, and we began the swift twisting gait, the flowing dance that is the Treewalk. A million tiny waterfalls began to pour all around us as the morning rain had finally found its way through the boughs. Celas “Oh, lovely, thats just….grand, certain doom, invading armies, now wet leathers, all I need more is to take a tumble into a nice pile of bear dung and my day will be complete.” Cada “Do not complain Celas, the Forest will need to drink deeply if it is to defend itself from these intruders.” Celas “Yeah, well I’d like to drink deeply, does this Faedale have a tavern.” Delandil “Not as such, but there is a Public House that serves a thornblossom wine that better than bathwater.” Una “Look you two, The survival of the western villages depends on our reaching them before they are attacked, we do not have time to lounge about a Pub sipping thornblossom wine.” Delandil “But my dear Una, we are stopping in Faedale? To enlist recruits , Yes? Well, what better place for the town to gather and hear our news, and plea for aid than….” Celas “The Public house, and what stirs a youth to acts of courage, daring than a wee bit of thornblossom wine.” Una “Very well, but we will press on, I want to be deep in the wild again before make camp.”

The Darkening of the Light

Republic of Alluria- Del Astarum Still the western range is bound to be teeming with bandits, Dwarven patrols, and all manner of beasts. I just hope the Magister can hold the light long enough for our return. May the Faith guide and preserve us.

I fear that dark days are upon us. His Holiness the Sanctus Magister has fallen into the grip of some strange illness. Each day he grows weaker. The most skilled healers in all the Realms call this city home, of all the peoples of Elan we are the most learned in the healing arts, and yet the answer for this aliment eludes us.  It is in fact our failure to find a cure which has brought many, including myself to the conclusion that this is no natural affliction.  The Magister's personal Valde suspects poison. Though I think he be in the right, I have sworn him to keep his suspicions to himself.  He is to do all he can, and consult with who he must to find an antidote, but not to reveal the identity of his patient.   I can just imagine the panic, and despair that would fall over the land if it was believed the Magister was vulnerable to such treachery.  After all he is the Vessel of Light, the Walking Dawn, the Living Star, our people are pious, superstitious, it would be seen as an omen bespeaking of doom.  Then there is the Councilum Lux whose more cantankerous members would be calling for the rites of succession before the good Valde concocted his first antidote.  My greatest fear is that the Valde will fail.  All poisons have long been banned in the Republic, our knowledge of their composition, and remedies is limited and ancient.  He will find few, if any samples to study. All of this has brought me to one grave decision.
I must lead an embassage south, to the Drell, to the Worlocks of the Draelue Hills. A people we know very little of, and what we do know comes from the ancient histories.  We do know they are renowned for their expertise in poisons.  Every illegal poison taken off every would-be assassin has been made from herbs known only to grow in the Draelue Hills. It has been centuries since there has been any contact with the Drell, not since their exodus from Anafale after the War of the Barrens, when they passed through our lands in search of a new home. It is known that they are allies of the Grem Rakhi, with whom we have had to much contact in the form of border raids.  Our spies have on numerous occasions reported the presence of Drell soldiers, and traders in Bolkrag Valley.  Considering an ongoing conflict with Bolkrag, the nonexistence of previous relations, and the irreconcilable differences of our philosophies on the use of magic, I have little reason to believe that our entreaty will be well received.  Even if we are received, and they agree to aid us in finding an antidote for our ailing Magister, what terrible price will they demand, something more than gold.  What bargain can we come to?  I am not sure the Magister would want to be saved if the cost were a betrayal to all we hold most sacred.  And how can I trust they will honor their end of any agreement, after all these are people who believe it perfectly acceptable to twist magic into any form, and bend it to any end that pleases them, the satisfaction of the most perverse base desires, enslaving others by charm and illusion, channeling energy in ways that cause destruction, and death, conversing with spirits of the dead, there are Worlock spells for all these things.
There is still the question of who is behind this plot?  One of the elder Councilors with visions of wearing the Magister's mantle? The Scath Kala?  A foreign power, Bolkrag, the Vagas, perhaps the Drell?  That is why this mission must be secret.  I did have to inform at least one member of the Councilum Lux in order be able to legitimately negotiate with a foreign government on behalf of the Republic.  I chose Councilor Theros, he is a long time friend of the Magister, I believe him to be a good man.  Since I have instructed my most trusted men to watch over the Magister , while I am gone, I am left with the task of  finding brave souls to accompany me on this endeavor. I feel most of my guards, save the ones I have assigned to the Magister, are a too close to Councilum politics to be completely trusted.  I will of course take my apprentice Corsian, and then there is Rhaeog, the son of Councilor Therus.  He is a soldier in the 7th legion, a bit green but trustworthy.  I have sent word to my childhood friend Owiddryn, he is a Dev Nitor, with the Semita Solis Order.  My thoughts turn to Commander Taebry, he held this post before I.  He was the Magister's guard when the Mantle was taken.  He has been retired for some years, but if he still has the strength I know he would spend it to save his old master.  There is one other I would like to join, she is known as Eaeha, a famed Uluvac scout, archer, tracker.  Although I do not know her personally, I know she spends her time in the wilds of the Uluvac region to the east, far from the halls of power, and treachery.  
    All of these other concerns aside, my immediate problem once our company is assembled, is the road south.  The shortest route would be straight through Bolkrag Valley, but its borders being so carefully watched and heavily guarded it seems impenetrable to all but an army or a single spy.  So it seems we must go around though the Fornstorm mountains, but we should keep just east of the valley, out of the range of Namhad , but not so far east that we are crossing high rugged near impassable peaks that comprise most of the Fornstorm.
Welcome to your Adventure Log!
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Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

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One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.


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