The Once And Future King

Back to the Darkness…
Fireday, 15 Desnus 4715 AR

Returning to the Lady’s Cape, Fijit and Roland reconnect with Eran and Dorsavnil and together the four return to the mysterious chamber with the pit that peers into the darkness below…

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Eviction Notice
Toilday, 12 Desnus 4715 AR

Entering the small crypt, the pair navigate a series of chambers and passages, dealing with a minor skirmish before reaching a 30-foot-diamter cylindrical room, carved to resemble the interior of a swirling cyclone of air.

In the center of the room is a diverse array of glass flasks, plant-rubber tubes, mortars and pestles, and other alchemical ephemera, placed carefully on top of a large stone sarcophagus. A helical stairway, formed out of a plume of cut stone, ascends the interior of the hewn stone cyclone,ending at a balcony twenty feet above the floor.

As they approach, voices can be heard indicating that whoever is in the room is aware of their approach.

LalChowda.jpgEntering the chambers, a man steps from the shadows and makes a vicious attack while on the balcony above a fiendish looking humanoid tosses explosives onto the heroes. Roland breaks into the room and heads for the stairs, shooting at the alchemist as he does so while Fijit focuses her attacks on the man who stepped from the shadows.

Roland takes aim at the humanoid and the room as rocked by the jarring sound of an explosion as his pistol backfires and is destroyed.

Drawing his rapier to continue the assault, Roland is shocked when the alchemist draws a vial from his belt and consumes it, turning into a monstrous foe in the process with massive clawed forarms and vicious gaping jaw.

The beast steps forward and attacks with a flurry of claws and bites, while the gunless gunslinger attempts to hold his own against his massive foe.

Below, Fijit finally dispatches her foe and moves into the room to assist. While fearsome, their now lone foe is soon overwhelmed by their twin assault.

With their enemies slain, they search the room and in addition to treasure, they find a curious letter…

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With their goal achieved, they inform the Twincandles and Sheila of the relevant points of what they uncovered. Now rearmed with supplies for the next leg of their original mission, the pair prepare to return to Eran and Dorsavnil the next morning.

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Unlikely Allies
Toilday, 12 Desnus 4715 AR

The next morning, Fijit and Roland head out to Orphellia. The district has recently been suffering from flooding and portions of the cobblestone streets have been completely devoured by muddy sinkholes.

As they approach, a woman’s voice shouts out for help and ahead the see a woman holding onto a man’s arm raised from a massive sinkhole in the ground. Just as they rush in to help, the chittering sound of a massive swarm of rats can be heard from the alley behind them.

Roland rushes into to grab hold of the man’s arm and pull while Fijit turns to face the horde of rats. Combining all of the elements she would normally toss as an explosive mixture at enemies, the gnome instead tosser her head back and swallows the mixture – spitting out an explosive cone of fire from her mouth which completely incinerates the rat threat.

With the threat almost literally evaporated, Roland and the woman manage to pull the man, gasping for breath, out of the mud filled pit.

The woman introduces herself as Ylandria and the man as Eun. Two things are immediately noticeable about Eun, his Tian heritage – quite rare in Magnimar, and the fact that he wears a satek identical to the one found at The Dryad’s Trousseau.

When asked about it and the connection to the crime, Ylandria relates details of the robbery, claiming hat a group of distant Sczarni cousins recently moved into Twincandles territory. Some of these thugs accompanied Ylandria into Dockway in order to acquire a package from Elias Chert, a Twincandles ally. However, while Ylandria haggled with Chert over the price, the cousins decided to rob him instead, beating the man and cutting him with a poisoned dagger. The cousins then ransacked the shop after realizing they didn’t know where the package was kept.

While Ylandria tried to revive Chert, she was handed a compass and told to leave it by Chert’s body which she had dragged outside.

“Then, that weird plant came to life and attacked us. We got out of there with some of what we were lookin’ for, but I couldn’t leave Chert in there with that thing. I didn’t know if it would hurt him. It was a mess. I don’t know why they did it. There was no reason.” -Ylandria

She further explains that the Twincandles leadership has grown tired of their guests and are looking for a way to rid themselves of their “cousins”. Ylandra then posits that perhaps they have similar goals and offers to take the duo to their leadership.

The Twincandles leaders are a pair of Varisian siblings – Olivia and Jacek Giatano.

“Ylandria has informed us as to your business in Ordellia, and it’s fortunate for all of us that the goals of the Twincandles and the goals of the Pathfinders are as alike as two petals from the same bloom. We can tell you how to find the ones you seek-the scoundrels who attempt to debase your honor." -Olivia Giatano

The pair relates a similar tale to what Ylandria conveyed, adding that in an attempt to gain greater status in Sczarni circles, they had decided to move into the lucrative narcotics trade when their cousin, Titus Terliss, arrived with a savvy alchemist that he promised could aid in their new endeavor.

While they have never met the alchemist, the two seem to have their own agenda of late and have taken an ancient crypt beneath Two Lights as their base of operations.

With a mutual enemy and understanding, Fijit and Roland agree to enter the crypt and flush out their foes.

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A Crime-Spree in Magnimar Perpetrated by…. The Pathfinders?
Moonday, 11 Desnus 4715 AR

Following an uneventful, albeit long, journey back to Magnimar, Roland and Fijit check in at Heidmarch Manor where Sheila informs them that over the last several days, a series of crimes has been committed with the perpetrators attempting to frame the Pathfinder Society.

As anxious as she is for the party to continue their quest for the next shard, she is also eager to get to the bottom of this recent crime spree and sends the duo to the Dockways to investigate a break-in and assault at a horticulture establishment known as The Dryad’s Trousseau.

Upon arriving, a young member of the town guard meets them and gives them a broken way finder that was found at the scene.

“Look, I know you Pathfinders are all right. Cap’n Heidmarch’s done good in this city, so I’m happy to help you start sortin’ out what’s behind these crimes. But public opinion is gain’ south. The sooner you figure out who the guilty parties are, the better. Good luck.” -Guard

The neighbor, an elderly woman named Mrs. Soap, chides the duo asking them to explain why “their lot” attacked “poor Mr. Chert”.

In something that vaguely resembles an interrogation, Roland and Fijit ask the lady some questions, attempting to gather more information on what happened, but fail to gain much insight into what occurred or who might have been behind it, so they decide to break into Mr. Chert’s shop.

Inside they find a broken planter and a metal plate which reads “Antaios”. Splitting up to investigate the shop, Roland comes across a strange plant, shaped like a jaguar made of thorny vines and covered in freshly blooming rosebuds,sits crouched in the corner among torn sacks of potting earth.

As he approaches, the plant lurches to life and attacks! As the gunslinger steps back to gain range for his weapon, the plant suddenly shrinks into a normal sized topiary and a plant behind him morphes into the shape of the jaguar and continues the assault.

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When Fijit arrives a moment later, the pair make quick work of the living plant who leaves brown as it slumps over and dies.

In one of the strange creature’s clawed limbs, a bloody piece of cloth is discovered which Roland quickly recognizes as a satek – a type of bandana commonly worn by the Sczarni. Of more immediate interest is the fact that the sated is decorated with a repeating pattern of two cross candles – the symbol of a Sczarni gang known as the Twincandles.

Some quick research leads them to find that the Twincandles operate out of the district of Orphellia from a ruin known as Two-Lights.

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A Quick Journey for Additional Provisions
Oathday, 7 Desnus 4715 AR

Peering into the pitch black shaft the party quickly makes a decision to briefly return to Magnimar to resupply before venturing headlong into the unknown.

Pending any fallout from their battles against the Troglodytes and Boggards, Eran and Dorsavnil agree to stay behind with Maroux to monitor any repercussions at the Lady’s Cape while Fijit and Roland gather the group’s accumulated treasures and return to the city.

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Entrance Chamber
Oathday, 7 Desnus 4715 AR

On the heels of the late evening journey back to Maroux’s isle, the party gets a late start, not departing until nearly noon.

The return journey to the monument chamber is uneventful, and upon arriving, they take the final passageway that extends from the cavern.

CaryatidColumn.jpgAfter some distance, the rough cave walls give way to a chamber of worked stone, with walls made of blue-veined white marble. The ceiling is supported by columns masterfully sculpted to depict voluptuous warrior women wielding two-headed guisarmes, with each column unique and strikingly detailed. At the center of the room, a ten-foot-square shaft leads down into the darkness below.

As the group enters the chamber, four of the statues animate and move to attack. The ancient stone defenders strike mighty blows and their rock-hard exterior shields them from some of the party’s attacks, as Dorsavnil discovers when a mighty swing of greatsword results in not only a sizable chunk being taken out of not only one of the statues, but also a piece of his blade.

Fortunately, Roland and Fijit’s attacks prove effective and with Eran offering magical support, the chamber’s ancient defenders are destroyed.

Approaching the shaft once more, the group gathers round and stares into the darkness below that swallows all light as the shaft descends into utter pitch black darkness….

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Hack and Slash
Wealday, 6 Desnus 4715 AR

Following the near-disastrous fight with the pyrohydra, Maroux informs the party that in their absence, she received a missive from Magnimar addressed to them and hands over a letter from Sheila Heidmarch.

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Now recovered from the prior day’s ordeal, the heroes decide to return to the cave of the hydra to slay the beast.

Nearing the cavern, Eran creates a magical bubble of silence to quiet their approach, and enter the cavern to see the alert beast intently watching the cave mouth entrance to its lair.

As the heroes silently approach, one the hydra’s five heads glances in their direction and hisses upon seeing them as the beast slithers forth to attach.

Once more, spouts of flame burst forth from the creature’s heads and Eran is incapacitated by the assault. Fijit tosses forth bombs which rain down on the beast’s hide while Roland hammers bullet upon bullet at it before Dorsavnil finally delivers the killing blow.

Reviving the Eran, the group searches the room and finds a notable amount of treasure scattered amongst the bones of the dead.

Retuning once more to the chamber with the monument, the group takes the next passageway to the left which after sometime weaves into a strange chamber whose walls are caked with sticky orange fluid. Inside of the muddy cavern, a humanoid creature resembling a muscular frog – known to Fijit as a Boggard, appears to meditate before a carving of a massive three-headed frog.

Daghop.jpgThe Boggard looks up as the group enters and lets out a tremendous croak before charging with a mighty warhammer.

Moments later, reinforcements – notified by the loud croak – rush into the room and turn the cavern into a wild melee of leaping Boggards attacking with maces and tongues.

In less than a minute, the heroes stand victorious over the bodies of their fallen enemies and as they search the area, Eran notes that the multi-headed frog statue is a representation of Gogunta, the demon god of Boggards.

In the next chamber, the reinforcements appear to have been resting and gambling as a large pile of coins and gems is discovered on a makeshift table. Ahead, the mouth of the cavern opens into shallow swampy area. Some two hundred yards away, a village can be seen.

As they approach, the village seems quite calm and they make their way to the closest hut, peeking inside, a single Boggard resides within – unfortunately that Boggard spots the party, croaks and fear and rushes out to defend itself. In a matter of seconds, croaks can be heard throughout the village and a swarm of Boggards descend upon the group.

Boggard.jpgRoland calmly takes aim at the approaching humanoids as the sound of gunfire echoes throughout the village. Keeping an eye for groups of foes, Fijit’s bombs explode with precision sending dead Boggards flying through air with each conclusive blast. Eran and Dorsavnil wade into those unlucky enough to make it into melee and before long, the village huts are stained with blood, as the heroes casually stride through the bodies of the dead.

Searching each hut individually, the group finds little. In the largest hut, three Boggard women stand in defiance, menacingly gesturing for the group to leave. Despite the language barrier, the party obliges, leaving the three Boggards as the village’s seeming only survivors.

In a hut on the outskirts, a foul stench wafts forth and a curtain of buzzing flies practically cloaks the entrance. Holding his breath, Dorsavnil enters and is nearly overwhelmed by the stench of decay.

In the middle of the hut sits a horrific mount of waste and garbage, mixed with the remains of dead bugs and wild animals. Lying next to the filth is a female troglodyte, unconscious and bound at her hands and feet.

Dorsavnil removes the troglodyte from the hut and Eran uses his healing magic to restore it to consciousness, while Fijit acts as translator.

Ultimately, the trogolodyte provides little useful information, instead insisting that she will put in a good word with her tribe about them for their actions in slaying the Boggard threat. What goes unsaid is how the troglodyte – slowly dying from filth fever – will return to find her tribe slaughtered and its leader killed.

Weary from battle, the group returns to the cavern where they first encountered the Boggards and beds down besides the corpses of their enemies.

As Dorsavnil takes first watch, he fails to notice a slitting swarm of snakes has entered the cavern and the venomous creatures attack the sleeping party who waken to sharp sensation of snake fangs sinking into their flesh from all over.

Leaping to action, Fijit throws bomb into the nest of vipers, decreasing its size with explosion, while the rest of the group – their weapons ineffective – hides.

Once the threat is eliminated, the group packs up their belongings and treks back to an area of safety to rest for the night – camping once more at Maroux’s isle.

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Deeper in to the Caverns
Toilday, 5 Desnus 4715 AR

Pushing forth into the cavern complex, the party arrives at an intersection of four tunnels inside a sizable cave. The domed ceiling rises to a height of twenty feet and near the center of the cave stands a monument made of polished black basalt – seven-sided with the same great rune carved on each face. The top portion of the monument has broken away, revealing what appears to be a hollow space within in the shape of a female figure.

An astounding number of strange albino insectoid creatures, each the size of a man’s finger, scuttle and scurry along the walls.

As Roland steps forward to examine the monument, the scuttling sounds of three larger insects – the size of dogs – is heard from the ceilings as the strange creatures move to defend the lair.

The skirmish is brief and, after the slight delay, the monument is examined. Fijit recognizes the rune on the monument’s side as the ancient Thassilonian rune for ‘lust’.

Hydra.jpgMoving on to the next tunnel, the party continues for some distance before the cavern opens into a larger chamber. Forewarned by their less-than-stealthy approach, a fearsome multi-headed serpentine beast lies in wait, its multiple heads unleashing bursts of flame upon the party.

While Fijit tosses a bomb at the beast, Eran and Dorsavnil turn to flee. Roland, deeper into the chamber, finds himself cut off from the group and pursued by the snapping maws of the massive creature.

Finally, the gunslinger is able to evade the beast and the party flees for sanctuary, returning to Maroux’s isle to lick their wounds and start fresh in the morning.

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Troglodyte Caves
Toilday, 5 Desnus 4715 AR

Journeying South, the party soon comes across a wide cave entrance in the side of a rocky hillside. The exterior shows plenty of activity and clear signs of habitation – perhaps none more clear than the crude barricade built in front of the entrance that reeks of oil.

Troglodyte.jpgAs Roland approaches the barricade a flame is hurled towards him and before he can react the barricade bursts into flames as three humanoid creatures resembling upright cave lizards with dull grey scaly hides burst forth and pelt the group with javelins.

Once inside the cave, the party makes quick work of the creatures. As the move from chamber to chamber the encounter more of the Troglodytes – first in a room with a funeral pyre, then in a room with 14 of them slowly dying from filth fever, then into a nursery filled with eggs.

Finally, the complex opens into a larger chamber which reeks of rotting flesh. Between two rocky outcroppings, both smeared with blood, are the remains of a foul ritual – heaps of decaying limbs, bones, and viscera. A symbol depicting a spiraling clawed tentacle has been crudely carved into the rock on the right.

Uggilo.jpg Hissing in defiance stands a larger troglodyte wielding a mace and flanked by an enormous alligator companion. As combat breaks out, the gator viciously grabs hold of Roland with his powerful jaws and thrashes about wildly on the ground as the gunslinger’s limp body hands from his jaws.

Dorsavnil and Fijit press offensively on the troglodyte while Eran’s healing keeps Roland from death’s door.

Eventually their powerful foes are toppled and the group takes a moment to catch their breath and examine the area, discovering that the remains offered on the sacrificial alter are not boggards or animals, but troglodytes. Meanwhile, Eran correctly identifies the crude symbol on the wall to signify this as a shrine to the demon-god Zevgavizeb.

Violet_Fungus.jpgPressing further on, a tunnel leads to a haphazard gate beyond which lies a field of fungus.

Shattering the gate, three of fungal elements in the room react to threat and strike with long tentacles, but are quickly destroyed.

Beyond the area the tunnel opens up into a crossroads, with three additional passageways branching off from the Trolodyte’s cavern…

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Meeting Maroux
Moonday, 4 Desnus 4715 AR

The following morning, The Wanton Ways arrives off the coast of The Lady’s Cape and the party is given a small rowboat to row ashore. Arriving ashore, the party follows Jasper’s map and heads off in search of the witch Maroux.

Eventually their path leads them to a bridge leading to a small island upon which stands a mossy wooden shack with a sagging roof. The bridge is decorated with bleached humanoid skulls with Fijit correctly identifies as the skulls of boggards and troglodytes.

Approaching the hut, the heroes shout the greeting that Jasper instructed them to use. After a moment, a half-orc woman – blind in one eye – with a raven on her shoulder exits the hut and shakes her staff menacingly.

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“Who be you fools? I’ve always room in my stew pot for more meat, you know. Unless you want to join the turnips in my soup, get off my island!” – Maroux

After offering assistance, the witch’s demeanor changes greatly and she admits that off the island to the west there is a rare seaweed known as Kelpie’s Hair that she is quite fond of and if they can return with some she’ll offer what she knows of the area. Before departing she shares that the shipwreck near the Kelpie’s Hair may, in fact, be haunted.

Agreeing to return with the seaweed, the party slogs across the island to reach the shipwreck. In preparation, Eran uses his magic to obscure the party from undead and Roland and Dorsavnil approach. Human skeletons mill about the ship, but seem oblivious to the heroes – save for one, who looks at them with cold eyes and moves in to attack.

As Dorsavnil flees, Roland dives for the seaweed, and it is not long before the party is drawn into an underwater combat against twice as many foes. Fortunately, the rank and file skeletons are easily dispatched and once their leader is returned to death, the rest fall easily.

Returning to Maroux’s isle with the Kelpie’s Hair, the witch invites them in for dinner. Before long, the conversation turns to the surrounding area and a much more pleasant Maroux has a great many details to share…

“The xulgaths – who you city folk know better as troglodytes – and boggards have bickered over control of the Lady’s Cape for years. They’re pretty evenly matched if you ask me. I’ve bloodied their noses when they’ve stuck them in my business, so for the most part they’ve let me be-that’s what the skulls and artwork on my bridge are for.

“But then, a few months back, we had some new visitors. A troop of women knights or something, clad in plate and wearing red-plumed helms. Their leader was a woman named Oriana – pretty enough, at least till she took her helmet off and showed off her scars. She sat down to dinner with me just like you did, only she gave me a fine magic wand as a bribe, so I didn’t feel the need to send her off to gather seaweed. Anyway. She told me she and her sisters were from Korvosa, soldiers of the rightful queen who’d been tumbled off the throne a few years back. They’d had to flee the city once their queen wasn’t in charge, and fell into mercenary work until Oriana got the idea to plunder the Lady’s Light for the treasure they think’s hidden inside of it. Made me chuckle a bit, since I’ve heard there’s secret rooms in the Lady filled with treasure too. I’ve tried to find a way into the place before-there’s caves under the area that are supposed to connect to the chambers below the Light, but those caves belong to the trogs and frogs and bigger critters. I didn’t get far, and since then I’ve steered clear of the Light – the bitch gives me the willies, anyway. Some powerful magic going on in there.”

“Anyway, Oriana was intent on getting under the Lady’s skirts, and she asked me if I knew a way in. I told her about the caves and warned her of the trogs ‘n frogs, but that didn’t seem to bother her. Unlike me, she had herself a whole group of ironclad soldiers to back her up, after all. So off she goes, and damned if she and her mercenaries don’t make friendly with the frogs! Got them some better weapons, gave them some fighting tips, and then helped them launch an attack on the trogs. In return, the frogs gave her permission to use their tunnels.”

“But here’s the kicker. Oriana found a way inside the Lady­ or at least she says so. She came my way ten days ago with a story that she’d found none other than the Runelord of Lust herself in there, and that the runelord had recruited Oriana to help her reclaim her lands and rebuild her kingdom! Oriana asked me to join their crusade! I politely refused and wished her well and she went on her way. Gods above an’ below, I couldn’t get her out of my hut quick enough!”

“The way I see it, there’s three possibilities. First, Oriana is lying, for whatever reason. The second, Oriana, sad child, is off her nut. And the third, someone or something in there is masquerading as Sorshen the Grand Whore of Thassilon and has tricked Oriana into being her minion. Well, I suppose there’s a fourth possibility-that Sorshen really is alive and well in the Lady’s Light, but if you believe that claptrap, there’s a bridge across the Straits of Aroden I’d like to sell ya!” – Maroux

After dinner, the witch offers her isle as sanctuary while the party stays in the area and they set up camp outside her hut for the night.

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