Ye Gilde

Bring Me Back!
What happens when the entire guild lineup is assasinated?

With the list of events plaguing Absalom and The Guild in particular (the heavy life lost when the demonic portal was opened in the Cairnlands, a powerful party lost on a mission in the Mwangi, several deaths on a repeated mission to the Precipice District, unexpected death in the arena games, the weakening of the planar borders and the shadow plane seepage, and most recently the self-inflicted exile of a party guildies turned traitor to the city) things have been tense for The Absalom branch of The Guild. Currently the shadow plane disturbances required constant attention from the more seasoned members not involved in missions and most of the resident clerics to deal with the undead and shadow beasts running amuck. They even received a capable shadow wizard, Phaedra Shadowsil, on loan from the Qadira branch in hopes that her insight might be of use in the current crises. With enemies on the rise and strength on the decline, all remaining members of The Guild were brought to reside at guild headquarters to consolidate strength and keep them capable of responding to requests quickly. Unfortunately, the night grew long and the more seasoned members failed to return in a timely manner. Phaedra, in charge since the other leaders were on missions of their own, using Chad as her assistant, decided to set watches and keep the headquarters on readied alert just in case. Her suspicions proved valid when those resting in their rooms were awakened by intruders standing over them. Theri, Kass, Kaleb, Morti, Purrima, Dirrasha, Shadow, Jerro, Than, Fancy and her rapidly maturing son Damien all received such visits. Most were taken completely off guard as these masked intruders pelted them with strange thunderstones that exploded with sound and a warping darkness. The Guild erupted in a rapid series of sonic booms. Kass, Kaleb, Dirrasha and Jerro managed to resist the assault on the first wave, though Dirrasha was rendered deafened. Kass and Jerro watched as their respective roommates (Theri and Purrima) did not resist and slumped back to the bed with their eyes wide open, unmoving. Kaleb and Dirrasha shared a room and Kaleb managed to stab one of the gray and black garbed intruders. The second round of pelting knocked them both into the wide-eyed and unmoving state. Jerro seemed unaffected by the strange dark thunderstone effects so the two assassins in his room flanked him and proceeded to shred him with their swords. He chose to play dead rather than be destroyed utterly and waited for them to leave. Kass would not be taken so easily. The seasoned veteran dodged and ducked, blocked and parried his attackers efforts. The arrival of a shadow aiding his attackers left him hopelessly outnumbered and severely weakened so he called for help and made a break for safety, tumbling past his assailants and out into the hallway. Meanwhile, a bell alarm had sounded calling all available Guild Members to the central gathering hall. Those left on guard duty heard the bell and the sonic booms then the muffled cries from Kass back towards the barracks. Fursifer, Xythric, Sophie and Valla responded to the sudden burst of activity as best they could. Sophie checked on the gathering hall to find Chad ringing the alert bell signaling an attack. She ignored his instruction to get in there and instead chose to aid the others on duty. They opted to go and save their comrades in the barracks. Back at the barracks Valla was on the scene calling to Kass as he fled his room. Fursifer and Xythric were present too, prepared to stop whatever threatened them. A shadow slipped through a wall and charged, barely missing Fursifer as it attacked. Kass continued to flee and raced past his allies headed for the gathering hall warning that the others were already dead and he was outnumbered. Xythric called out a challenge to the shadow and ordered his allies to stand and fight, but they were less than enthusiastic about their odds against such enemies. Sophie shouted a few jokes to aid the battle but no one but the teifling seemed interested in a fight. When Fursifer tried to retreat Xythric actually blocked his path until the halfling tumbled through his legs. The tiefling magus-slayer unleashed a barrage of magic missiles from his wand and destroyed the shadow before following suite in the retreat, cursing his companions as cowards. They gathered in the central hall with Chad and Phaedra. The shadow mage was conjuring shadowy creatures and releasing them into the halls which brought suspicion at first, but Sophie identified her spells as illusions creating allies. Moments later the door opened and in stumbled a very battered Jerro. The ninja doll told of his similar attack and of the retreat of the gray and black clad assassins through the walls. He informed them that they left the body of Purrima behind in that state of shock. He described a symbol on their clothing which was identified by the group as the Nether Assassins, a band of otherworldly-based killers that hired their blades out for a substantial price. They were also notorious for working with the undead.

Phaedra requested one of these strange stones to examine and possibly understand what they had done to the other members. Fursifer was the first to pipe up and head out on the mission to collect a stone. Kass mentioned a few being thrown in his bedchamber as did Jerro who was strangely unaffected by the weird darkness explosions. Fursifer reached Jerro’s room first and found Purrima still there in her bed untouched with eyes wide. He tried to examine her for signs of life but was hurried and unsure. He did find a few stones and returned with them. While the others huddled together preparing for another assault. Phaedra with the aid of Valla, spent time examining the stones. She came back with answers, none of them good. The stones were some sort of Astral bomb. They used the current weakening of the planar boundaries to basically blow apart their victims, effectively separating them from their souls which were shoved through to the Astral Plane. Their wide-eyed and unmoving allies were basically dead, soulless corpses and would be so permanently unless their souls were collected and returned to them quickly. This explained why Jerro was unaffected. Phaedra warned that they must act quickly, spouting off a variety of dangers and rules that applied to the Astral Plane. Most of the information barely registered to the group. She offered a path to get them there with her magic and told them a few important rules to remember. She bade them seek out Shiva a psychopomp ally that owed her a favor and would likely be tending to souls in the river of souls. She would be able to help them locate the missing ally-souls before they fed into the river that would carry them to their final resting places. The mage warned them to avoid the river at all costs since it would sweep them away to death. She warned them to avoid all portals in the Astral Plane for it connected to every other plane and could dump them anywhere. She warned them of the collectors, namely night hags and daemons that sought out wandering souls to steal them. And she warned them to watch for enemies like the disc riding xenophobic natives and undead, particularly incorporeal undead which would manifest in a physical form on the plane. They all stood around with dumbfounded stares as she called them to gather at her side for the transportation spell. What else could they do? All of their fellow guildies were going to die! Sophie, Xythric, Fursifer and Valla would take up the mission while Chad, Kass and Jerro stayed to help Phaedra defend the headquarters until their return. Just as she was casting the spell to carry them across planar boundaries a horde of shadows poured into the hall. The six incorporeal undead raced at them as they slipped between realities.

The four hung in the air on the Astral Plane, an endless sky of silvery light running in every direction. Their bodies were the same but translucent with a nimbus glow of color that suited their individual soul with a silvery chord that tethered them to the material plane and their real bodies. severing the chord would mean they would be as lost as their allies here drifting toward the river and death. Hanging in the air before them were the six shadows, little more than humanoid shapes of black ectoplasm here. The shadows seemed to move as normal gliding on the Astral air with ease, but the party dared not move for fear of losing control and drifting away. They were also warned about the travel here, an act of will to direct and guide your path. They fought the shadows and were surprised and relieved to learn that they were not draining strength here and actually had a physical form now so everyone could damage them. Their chilling touches still hurt though, well everyone besides Xythric with his fiendish resistances. They also learned that spellcasting was greatly enhanced here affecting spells as if they were quickened. The fight was difficult without being able to move and only Valla tried to do so to offer Fursifer a flanking aid. She managed to succeed. Eventually they destroyed the shadows and then the true fun began. How would they locate Shiva the psychopomp and their allies’ missing souls? But first, how could they move about safely without being quickly separated. Travel here happened so fast and the stopping process was the challenge. They decided to use a rope and tie themselves together. Time had no affect here so they didn’t have to worry about food or tiring, but that also meant they could not rest or heal naturally. For lack of a better option they chose a direction and all willed to go that way at once and off they shot at a speed of 150 which quickly accelerated to 300! It felt less like they were flying and more like the plane was racing through them. It seemed like days of travel before they spotted anything in the silvery nothingness. In the distance something big moved. They tried to shift their direction to soar near it for a better look but found mixed results. Some changed course while others were jerked rapidly in the direction when they failed to will the change into being. The rope kept them tethered but also proved painful. The new course soon brought them closer and they identified it as an Astral Leviathan. Something like a colossal whale with rows of jagged teeth and many eyes. They chose to avoid the 70 foot long monstrosity. It was almost a disaster as they tried to change their course and failed multiple times with the few succeeding being dragged along towards the beast by those that could not redirect themselves. More damage was sustained by the twisting and slinging inside the rope but they barely dodged a collision. They began to wonder if this rope was such a good idea. At least it kept them together.

As they soared by in the new direction, Fursifer caught sight of a lone humanoid figure hanging in the air. They moved so fast it passed them in a blur. He shouted for everyone to stop and again found mixed results and painful jerking rope damage. The halfing had had enough of this swinging and bouncing around so he untied the rope from his body. Unfortunately everyone else managed to stop and he kept going a few hundred more feet before he could gain control of his trajectory. The others discovered what the halfling had spotted, though. The visitor came to greet them. Xythric identified it as a night hag and knew her evil and abilities were considerable. They were instantly on guard. She introduced herself and eyed them all hungrily with a sort of shark-circling its food feel to the conversation. They asked a few questions and declined her offer to take them to a nearby portal for safety. She did not seem to know anything about their missing allies’ souls but was interested in tasting theirs. She began fondling the silver chord of life attached to both Sophie and Xythric. When Fursifer finally managed to reach them again after much effort, he noticed Sophie’s genius ploy. The bard pointed in the distance and shouted a warning, the halfling mimicked her. Together they got the hag to spin about and look for the threat. But – ha ha! – there was no threat. The party used the momentary distraction to jet away, fleeing into the sky as fast as they could, hoping the hag wouldn’t chase them down and eat them.

This time as they stuck together and soared away, Valla also untied herself since she was getting pretty banged up by the rope. Another figure materialized in their path. The few that spotted it shrieked and when Fursifer stopped due to being caught by the figure, they all put on the mental brakes, again with mixed results. Sophie and Xythric eventually came to a halt and darted back to aid the halfling but Valla had trouble controlling her path and took a bit longer to join them. The shaman hurtled away into the sky for hundreds of feet before gaining control again. Luckily for Fursifer he recognized the description of the being that held him. She was very tall, dressed in white with blue-white skin and long blue hair. She wore a mask hiding her features, all but her crystalline impassive eyes. This was Shiva the psychopomp they sought. They began asking her questions and quickly learned that she cared little for their mission other than the favor that was promised to Phaedra to get them to the souls and then let her know when the party were ready to return to the material plane. Seeing as how the party’s navigational efforts were lacking, she was convinced to allow them to all grab ahold of her as she carried them towards the location of the missing souls and the “Thought devourer” she claimed held them captive. She eventually delivered the party to a large mass of earth, similar to an asteroid hanging in the Astral air. A single cavern marked the entrance to the lair where their allies’ souls were being kept. When asked if Shiva would help, she impassively answered no. when asked about the threat of the thought eater, she simply informed them that it already knew they were here and was expecting them. That didn’t sound very good.

The psychopomp waited outside and the party entered the cavern. They were happy to find that their minds acclimated them to the earthy terrain and they could walk as normal here. The winding tunnel carried them straight into the lair where they spotted the souls they sought strewn about the ectoplasm-smeared room attached to the floor or walls by strands of the gummy stuff. The souls seemed listless and drained. They knew time would eventually suck all personality and morality from their allies so they needed to hurry. The coulborn or thought eater was there too. It’s loosely humanoid shape had a brain sack dangling below it and hooded skin over its eyeless head. a long toothy mouth protruded and both its long arms ended in two elongated fingers with claws. The creature spotted Xythiric in the lead and was waiting for them. It reached out with its mind and charmed the tiefling. Soon the others were entering but Xythric had enlarged himself and was directing the others to leave the creature alone, telling them that it was helping their friends. Fursifer joined in the defensive strain when it charmed him next., but the sisters, Valla and Sophie were not so convinced of its intentions. Valla believed it was tricking them so she blasted it with a confusion ability. For a split second it reacted but quickly shook off the confusion. In that moment it’s maw split open in three parts and clamped down on Xythric and its claws ripped into him too. The injured magus was set free of the pull of the charm spell. He began to fight the creature. Fursifer kept his loyalty and interposed himself defending the creature while Sophie told jokes to inspire her friends in battle. Valla threw spells at it and kept healing Xythric so that their only line of defense did not fall. Sophie started working her way around the room, breaking her allies’ captive souls free of the ectoplasmic bonds. They slowly crawled to their feet and shuffled from the cavern. She just prayed they didn’t reach the exit and dart off towards the river of souls that was surely pulling them. The thought devourer was no easy challenge. It used spells and actually began to heal itself of the major wounds Xythric inflicted. All the while Fursifer aided it and Xythric took a serious beating while Valla struggled to keep him on his feet with her healing and his cure wand. Valla moved to help her sister free the souls. The teifling fell and the creature attacked the sisters who were setting its meals free. Fursifer was finally convinced to stop helping the thing by a stern scolding from Sophie followed by a bite from the thought eater. Xythric crawled back to his feet after the sisters both healed him and the halfling flanked with him. They both took a serious beating by the creature and only at the eleventh hour did they barely manage to combine their efforts with a blast of magic missiles from Xythric’s wand that Sophie picked up and managed to activate. They toppled the monster and hacked it to pieces. Valla and Sophie rushed to check on the meandering souls and found Shiva at the entrance collecting and holding them. They searched the lair of the creature and uncovered a few works of art, and a couple of enchanted items which they claimed for sale or distribution. Then they gladly returned to the material plane when the psychopomp alerted Phaedra to their readiness. Once back, the souls returned to their bodies and the guildies were revived from the brink of death. None of them had any memory of what had happened leading up to the night of these events thanks to the thought eater slurping on their thoughts.

Xythric, Valla, Fursifer and Sophie each earned 2175xp

Jerro and Kass each earned 100xp for surviving the attack.

Hunting down leads
Which side to choose?

A rich merchant noble, Lord Aldron Vandeese, sent a request to The Guild seeking a team to uncover the identity of and possibly foil those responsible for recent attacks on his shipments of rare and exotic goods. He was offering 2,500gp for the mission. A party was formed to take up the job: Egglantine the human paladin, Djelzeem the human rogue, Skritek the hobgoblin barbarian –rogue, and Sampson the human druid with his lamb LuLu. They immediately headed to visit with Lord Aldron to learn as much as possible about the mission. He told them of his business, imports of exotic goods from distant lands including religious items that had been disrupted over the last couple of months. As far as he could tell, his was the only business being affected. They had attacked 3 ground caravans and 2 ships of cargo belonging to the Vandeese family. He most recently found a piece of parchment tacked to one of his warehouses that simply had his family name with a red “X” across it. That led him to fear for his personal safety so he hired a pair of gladiator body guards and sought your help. For the 2,500gp fee he expected to get information identifying the bandits and leading to the leader’s death or apprehension. They had already caused several deaths and cost him thousands in gold. The bandits were calling themselves the Shadow Feathers. But he had little more information on them. They were strangely enough not stealing the goods but just destroying them.
The party left and headed for the merchant district to gather information on these Shadow Feathers. They learned that they were supposedly all non-humans, originated in a foreign land, very selective in their attacks, hiring new members, and working with the shadow folk. They also learned that the leader was supposedly a shadow demon that devoured human hearts and soared on black wings. They heard that the demon leader of the bandit’s was a sorcerer named Baegloe. They gathered a little information on the Vandeese family in order to sort out any possible rivals or enemies but only learned that the former head of the household, Aldron’s father, died two years ago of mysterious causes in an distant locale, and that the family was an old one rising to nobility through contacts and steadfast business in exotic goods.
From there they left for the warehouse where the note was found. When they arrived it was the center of commotion. City guardsmen were there speaking with a couple of workers. Evidently the warehouse had been attacked, raided, and its contents destroyed the night before. Delzeem used his smooth tongue to convince the guardsmen that they were working for the Vandeese household despite the fact that they had no proof. They searched the warehouse and both Djelzeem and Skritek spotted the signs of alchemical fire used to destroy all the goods without burning down the building. Sampson found footprints in the ash, both man-sized and small ones. A very non-descript gnome was sighted watching nearby and they chose to question and bribe him. He spoke of the Shadow Feathers raiding the warehouse and said he knew who they were because they offered him a place among them. During the questioning they also learned that the gnome was not being 100% honest. He had a tendency to lie. When Skritek tried to snatch the bribing gold back from him, the gnome dodged and called for help from the city guard. He told them the party was trying to rob him and unfortunately, Egglantine being unable to lie, had to corroborate his claims. When the party tried to implicate the gnome using his tales of working with the Shadow Feathers he simply lied again and denied it. That led to the city guard escorting them back to the Vandeese mansion to prove their claims of working with them.
The sudden return turned sour since the party had no new information to offer Lord Valdeese besides the destruction of his warehouse goods, some street rumors and a lying gnome’s claims. Then they proceeded to question him intensely about his father’s death angering the man further. They did manage to collect a seal from the lord to prove their claims in the future. From there they headed back to gain more information and stopped by The Guild to speak with other members they thought might know a little more than they did. Both Than Bighead and Sophie Tellimere were consulted for their broad knowledge bases. Than knew all about these shadow folk and informed them that title included creatures like fetchlings and dark creepers and the like. He also knew that the name Shadow Feathers hailed from Avistan. Sophie knew more about the Vandeese family, like the fact that the family built their original fortune on exotic slave trades in addition to foreign goods and that the father died in Avistan while on a trading expedition. At that time Aldron took over the business. She also mentioned that there were rumors in the city of multiple raids on the slavers in Misery Row by the same bandit group, the Shadow Feathers. What became of the disappeared slaves was up for debate.
With a new lead, they decided to head to Misery Row and check out what the slavers might know. They spoke with one man and learned that all the attacks were confined to those slave pens at the far eastern end, so they went to investigate further. They proceeded to meet with and question all 7 of the slavers that had pens on the eastern end. Kathen the human chauvinistic Asmodeus-worshipping slaver from Cheliax made an enemy of Egglantine and had lost 5 slaves in a previous raid. Reeva the human darkly-spooky slaver from Nidal spoke of pleasure through pain and had lost 2 slaves. Abeeshi the human ultimate salesman slaver from Osirian had lost 6 slaves. While D’bwa the human-supremacist slaver from Khalaman earned Skritek’s hatred and told of losing 1 slave. The remaining three, AnHalear the ½ elf, Coothis the dwarf and Malweena the ½ orc all had dogs and had seen no trouble during the raids. They noted that the three slavers that were not hit were non-humans and treated their slaves much better than the others. The sight of the treatment of these slaves led Egglantine to take up a new cause in the form of collecting money to buy slaves and set them free, while Djelzeem was reminded of his former enslavement and personal mission to buy his mother’s freedom back in Osirian. Egglantine also found that despite her best efforts, she was still warded against nature and the guard dogs wanted nothing to do with her, growling and snapping to keep her away. Malweena the sex-slave trader seemed a little more knowledgeable than the others and they bribed her to gain more information. She suggested that it was about time for another raid from the Shadow Feathers. With a few more coins, she also hinted that the four that were previously hit were the ones that had secretive dealings with the Vandeese household. Evidently the family still dealt in foreign and exotic slaves, they just kept those transactions under the table to maintain their pristine reputation.
The party was beginning to wonder which side might be the right side, their employer or the bandits. They came up with a plan to wait through the night taking watches and looking for any sign of the Shadow Feathers. They hoped to get a chance to speak with them and sort out the details of why they were doing what they were doing. At just before midnight both Skritek and Sampson spotted a dark humanoid shape soaring above the area on big wings. There was a whistle of some sort, a signal, and then darkness descended over the eastern end of Misery Row. Skritek fell off the roof of the building where they were watching from but the darkness concealed his fall from his human companions. Sampson set about waking the others. The hobgoblin with his darkvision could see figures stalking into the darkness and bringing down the hired guards at the slave pens. He crept up and offered the apparent leader, a catfolk woman, his aid in freeing the slaves and was reluctantly allowed to help. A collection of ratfolk, cat folk and dark creepers slipped through the darkness killing the blinded human guards and then infiltrated Abeeshi’s holding cells and freed more slaves. They let the humans run free but guided the gnomes back with them. An alarm was sounded and the Shadow Feathers pulled out with their spoils. Skritek joined them while his human companions crawled down from the roof and intended to meet up with him later. But, the catwoman wanted him to bring all his companions back to be questioned about what they were doing there, and so he gathered them.
They wound their way back to the Shadow Feather hideout, asked to meet with Baegloe, and got their wish. The man turned out to be a Strix not a demon. He told a story of his tribe, the Sahdow Feathers, being wiped out by humans and the slave hunters of the Valdeese family claiming him and his mate as slaves. They escaped but his mate was killed in the process so he vowed revenge. He got his revenge when he slew the head of the household with his magic in a surprise attack. He soon learned that the business of slaving and stealing religious goods from the small villages did not stop. The man’s son had taken over the family business. That’s what led him to Absalom. After hearing his tale, the party chose to side with him. They went back to meet with Aldron and collected their fee in the form of a writ to be cashed at the treasury and told the man all they knew of the Shadow Feathers and their hideout. When Aldron sent the majority of his house guard along with city guardsmen to raid the bandit base, Skritek ran back to set their plan in motion. The bandits evacuated before the raid arrived and Skritek was magically enchanted to fly back to the Vandeese compound with Baegloe. The rest of the party was waiting and returned to the mansion under the pretense of offering more information. Once inside they opened the doors wide and called for the strix sorcerer to fly in and get his revenge on Aldron. Only two gate guards and the two hired bodyguards remained for his defense and the party worked to deal with them. Djelzeem and Sampson both took a heavy beating while Skritek and LuLu took some injuries. Egglantine managed to avoid damage and together they brought all of the guards down and Skritek even injured the nobleman heavily after being stuck by the man with a dagger for betraying him. They let Baegloe burn the man’s corpse to a crisp with his magic before fleeing the scene. The next day as they were cashing in their reward payment at the treasury, Djelzeem remembered something that left them all frozen in shock. The rogue had subdued the guard he brought down and in their haste to flee never bothered to finish the job. They had left witnesses to their betrayal of Lord Vandeese. Knowing they would surely face trial and end up in the Brine for their transgressions, not to mention bringing great shame to The Guild for betraying a client, they chose to flee Absalom. Skritek left a detailed note for The Guild officials in hopes that they might be able to return and redeem themselves someday. As exiles, they followed Djelzeem’s lead since he was the only one with a true direction. He led them all by ship to Osirian, his homeland … but where will they go from here?

Egglantine, Skritek, Djelzeem and Sampson each earned 1760 xp

Than and Sophie each earned 100xp

Ninguable's Caves
I don't think we are in Absalom anymore

The guild was asked for assistance with the influx of Shadow creatures by the town guard. Several groups of guild members were taken down to the Docks in the morning. The conjuction of planes was not a problem during the day, but below ground there were still problems. They were going to help clear out the sewers.

Pugno, Afarrah, and Shok climbed down to the gravely beach and almost immediately were engaged. Three man-sized wormlike creatures with tentacles and beaks came out of the sewer. Pugno ran up and directed a fireball from Afarrah. He unfortunately got burned as bad as they did. Then Shok ran up and the two remaining beasts attacked him, hitting him many times. Shok and Pugno finished off the gricks while Afarrah approached.

What they didn’t know was that 4 gricks had been pursued through the sewer by a large shadowy centipede like creature. They discovered the fourth grick when it attacked Pugno (failing). They learned that these creature were very good at remaining hidden. The three of them together quickly took out the last grick but shortly after came the 10 foot long centipedelike creature with pseudopods around it’s mouth. It charged them running along the ceiling. Pugno stepped up but missed the shadowy thing. No matter. Afarrah burned it and Shok chopped it dead.

They continued deeper occasionally hearing other groups and occasionally some screams. At one point Pugno ran off toward sounds of fighting to kill two Otyughs from the Shadow Plane solo. From there they tracked another group into some natural tunnels where they became hopelessly lost. They wandered for hours and hours until a tiny armored eyeball attacked Afarrah.

It was an Augur Kyton. Kytons are non-devils formerly from Hell but now living on the Shadow Plane. This type was often used as a scout and spy. It zapped Afarrah but then was swatted out of the air by Shok. It was smashed and lifeless but they kept attacking it as it was clearly slowly regenerating. They took it along and continued to damage it occasionally.

In a spot where the tunnel entered a fault cave, they encountered a 9 foot tall robed individual with 7 glowing and moving eyes under his hood. He called himself Ninguable and resided in the caves. He said the caves were between places. They had managed to stumble into them because the borders between planes where weak due to that rare conjunction of planes. He also told them that the ones they seek, the Kytons, were just ahead and had three prisoners. He directed them down a side passage and he was gone when they looked back.

Sure enough they soon encountered a group of three humanoid Kytons partially composed of shadow stuff. They were arguing in a strange tongue. Afarrah, Pugno, and Shok walked up and said “hi”. That soon became a fight. Like the eyeball, these Kyton regenerated and they didn’t have the right items to permanently kill them. Afarrah, Pugno, and Shok attacked with their standard fare and the Kytons attempted some gaze attacks and hit with some strength sapping touches. One of the prisoners assisted with helpful cheers and Shards of Chords. The other prisoners were just a baker and a longshoreman.

The Kytons were being quickly overpowered though and two of them were on fire from Afarrah. The battle was soon lopsided and the two remaining Kytons were trying to escape. They both did but just barely after using invisibility and darkness. Afarrah collected the prisoners and everyone made there way out of the magic darkness into the regular darkness of the tunnel. They began to look for a place to rest the night.

XP: 4,000

Slave Ship At Sea
A discrete and elegant handling of a delicate mission

This was a secretive guild mission. A Venture Captain heretofore unknown to you by the name Herminius Droog contacted guildies with a reputation for discreteness. He was looking for a team capable of doing some investigative work that could very well lead to confrontation with forces unknown but that have a patron capable of scrying magic. At least some of the group will need to interact with member of upper society. From who was available at the guild, he picked Weiss, Afarrah, Maestro Pugno, and Sofie and they asked Jalal Baba to join. He agreed to pay the 50 gp/day plus expenses to conduct a small investigation for an important acquaintance of his that wanted to keep this hush hush.

They are told that while entertaining guests, Lady Darchana, Archdean at the Arcanamirium, noticed one of her guest’s servants was being spied on with an invisible scrying sensor. Alarmed at the implications of someone scrying on her or her collegues she reached out for some assistance. Droog explains to them that they need to find the source of this slave. He gives them two names. First Lady Silviana Dimora has quietly left town but her Majordomo is available for questioning. And Lady Dimora also uses the services of a solicitor by the name of Solvius that handles many of her financial matters. With that information the five headed to the Coins to speak with the solicitor.

So the group bounced around the city visiting several contacts. First was the The Red Letter, the office of the solicitor. It was easy to find and the man fairly helpful. He passed them the name Mahjub Mahdi as the slaver from which the slave was purchased. So they were off to Misery Row to meet with Mahdi.

Mahdi’s shop was broken into though and the slaver was being roughed up. Weiss impersonated one of the city guard and bluffed/intimidated two of the thugs to just leave. Pugno grappled their leader and rescued Mahdi from the shakedown. They were part of the local protection racket, The Sanguine Beast, and they were booted out of the shop. Mahdi was grateful of course and they diplomicized him into giving away some more information about the slave sold to Lady Dimora, and Sophie told him that his shop should be named Mahdi’s Bodies. He explains that the slave Atlag came from an infrequent supplier named Waheeda Wardak, Captain of the At Sea. That ship is a Okeno pirate vessel.

They decided to visit Lady Dimora’s estate and talk to her Majordomo also. They didn’t learn too much extra but did meet with Atlag who was enslaved in Sedeq to pay off debts she couldn’t cover. She seemed innocent. She told them that during the sea journey numerous people visited to examine the slaves. She didn’t recognize any wizards checking her out.

They even when to the Harbormaster’s place and asked about the ship but nothing with that name was recognized. So the investigators took this information back to Lady Darchana who seemed like it made sense to her. She also had some pull with the Harbormaster and gave them two additional tasks. That was about all the time they had that day. Afarrah went back to Mahdi’s and brokered a return of the defective slave and then set her free.

The next day they returned to the docks to find the ship At Sea. Darchana’s contacts told her that it sails into Absalom as the Kat Season. Armed with that they went back to the Harbormaster with a letter from Lady Darchana. That got them a rowboat and a pilot to take them out to the ship that had arrived yesterday and was waiting to get into port. All five of them climbed up into the Kat Season. The First Mate was suspicious and unfriendly at the unannounced surprise inspection. Many of the sailors were gnolls and they began crowding the guildies. Weiss in disguise as the Harbormaster was led to the Captain below decks by the First Mate. Sofie began telling jokes to win over the crew. They loved her set. Meanwhile Pugno removed the extra letters from Kat Season to reveal the true name At Sea at the bow and stern.

Weiss with the First Mate and Captain Charmed made off with the real set of books for the ship as well as incriminating letters. She came back topside and reboarded the rowboat with everyone else. They headed back to the Harbormaster’s where they turned in the ship for the tax evasion bounty and then turned over all the information to Lady Darchana. The Lady was very happy with the results. The mission was a success and stayed low key.

XP: 3900

No Wasting!
... No waisting ...

A request came to The Guild from a foreign merchant, Amaleek Kalahari from Osirian. He needed a group to retrieve his wares that were stolen. The party formed: Djelzeem the human Osirian rogue, Kass the other human former engineer rogue, and Stritek the hobgoblin rogue-barbarian, plus they grabbed Dirrasha the Catfolk monk on the way out for good measure. The party met with Amaleek at a very low end inn on the fringes of the foreign district. The man was stretching his funds as best he could in hopes of getting his livelihood back. After dealing with the questionable clientele and owner, they met with Amaleek and learned that he had been lured outside the city wall to the desolate Cairnlands to meet with a potential customer seeking his special brew only to be ambushed by a brigand band of gnolls calling themselves The Menagerie. He offered 50gp each to retrieve at least 90% of his more expensive wares (alchemical goods, potions and a special Osirian concoction called Black Iris Brew which he claimed was his most valuable item, an ancient recipe cure-all drink). The party asked a few questions but only Dirrasha noticed that the man was stretching the truth, but she was long bored with the conversation and barely mentioned it. There was a debate about facing gnolls and having a minimum fee if the goods were missing. The merchant reluctantly agreed to a flat 50gp fee but when they pushed for further benefits that deal went sour. Djelzeem and Kass in particular wanted a default payment, but the man grew angry telling them he had hired The Guild by their own rules and was looking for help not to give his limited funds away on a failed mission. Dirrasha grew bored of the debates and arguments while Stritek was the one to chase down the merchant when he stormed out and solidify the deal eventually getting them all to sign the contract. Retrieval of 90% of the valuable goods earned them 100% of the pay (200gp) and it depreciated from there.

First, they traveled north since he showed them a map of where he was ambushed outside the northern gates. They gathered some information on both The Menagerie and Black Iris Brew then stopped to eat and discuss a plan. Too bad diplomacy was not a strong suit of the party. Many ideas surfaced with debates back and forth about how to proceed. Dirrasha grew very bored, wanting only to find some action or adventure. They debated using the cat woman’s sense of smell to track down the gnolls or having DJelzeem pose as a merchant also selling Black Iris Brew to weed out the one responsible for the set up. Since Kass discovered that Black Iris Brew was considered an illegal substance in Absalom they went with the tracking plan. Once outside the city they made quick work locating the ambush site and abandoned cart then followed a trail on to a secluded campsite where they spotted the gnolls. Pay no mind to the howls in the distance or the large dire wolf prints in the dirt. They watched for a while until the guard shifted and the obvious leader, a female ranger, went to sleep and took her weird chicken with her. They shifted their positions with DJelzeem making some noise and attracting the attention of a stirge which latched onto him and began sucking his blood until Stritek blew it away with a well-placed arrow. Amazingly they kept quiet through the attack. They formed a plan to take out the lone guard, avoid the big spiders the monk spotted scuttling into the merchants wares, which sat In two piles in the camp, and then kill the other gnolls in their sleep. The plan did not go as expected with the gnoll sentry wandering out of the fire light and fouling their chances of sneak attacks. So they waited and they waited and Dirrasha grew very bored. She and Stritek held one position while the humans held another. When over 2 hours passed with no action the non-humans took matters into their own hands. They crawled down into the camp with the sleepy cat sliding down the embankment in a cloud of rubble. Another stirge came for them and this time Stritek shot it from the air before it reached them. The twang of his bow caught the sentry’s attention and the gnoll began yapping an alarm in its native tongue. The camp began to rouse. Kass hurled a thunderstone at the sentry and deafened him with a loud boom! The three other gnolls including the ranger leader joined the growing battle and true to their bandit name they added several critters to the fight. The weird chicken (a cockatrice), two big red spiders, and four vipers joined the fray. The rogues did not coordinate their attacks very well with poor flanking arrangements and false promises of light to fight by while the restless cheetah monk darted in recklessly for some action. Djelzeem and Kass found themselves the target of the gnoll ranger’s bow (favored enemy humans) and Stritek was fending off gnolls, spiders, vipers and the cockatrice. The bird actually pecked him a couple of times draining his dexterity as his skin and muscles grew stiff. Dirrasha, despite being the less experienced member, was holding her own, bringing down a viper, a spider and eventually a gnoll with a flurry of strikes that also caused her to pass out. Slowly but surely the tides began to turn and the rogues won, though poison coursed through Kass’ veins from a viper and everyone was bloody. Stritek even chased down and killed the last gnoll as it fled while Kass tended to the unconscious monk and was surprised by the viper Djelzeem sprinted away and left for him to deal with. With the brigand band defeated they licked their collective wounds using a few of the merchants cure potions to heal (some were down dex, some con, and another was unconscious). They dug into the goods and looted the gnolls. But they kept the unconscious leader bound and alive for the return. When Stritek went to place the goods in his pack something broke and a noxious cloud filled the area. Everyone coughed and spat as they fled the vapors but the two humans couldn’t seem to shake the smell from their noses. It was a broken bottle of Black Iris Brew and those two found the next morning that they were infected with something unidentifiable as was the gnoll leader. Their skin was turning ashen and gray and their eyes were also darkening. They felt terrible with Kass losing con and Djelzeem losing strength. They dropped the gnoll off with the city guard and went to the temple of Sarenrae for a checkup and diagnosis. The priests told them they were indeed infected by some sort of magical affliction and that the price to remove that would be quite high, requiring a ‘Heal’ spell. They then went to The Guild and consulted Reznik their resident alchemical expert and doctor. He informed them that Black Iris Brew was outlawed because of it’s unstable and dangerous nature long ago. The infection would likely kill them and return them as undead unless they found an antidote. Only the creator would have such a thing. So they hurried back to threaten and harass Amaleek only to learn that he bought the brew from a local alchemist, Dalahari the Mysterious, a man known to be both masked and elusive. Amaleek was clueless of the dangers of the brew. He directed them to the place where he learned of Dalahari, a magical and mundane regents shop called The Bloody Mark run by a horribly burnt sorceress,Ghesha the Grotesque. They used Djelzeem as the bait since he was Osirian also to ask about locating the brew and its creator. They left word with the sorceress and a place to drop off messages then tried to go question the gnoll captive. Unfortunately no one spoke gnoll … that was a waste of time.

They spent two days waiting for a reply with both the humans slowly waisting away. Dirrasha once again grew very bored. When they returned to the shop late the next day Djelzeem and Kass entered to spot a hooded, masked figure shopping. Ghesha the Grotesque directed them to him with a gesture and a nod. Outside, the lookouts Stritek and Dirrasha didn’t notice anything until Kass exited to let the two have a private conversation and waved the pair over. Djelzeem was inside brokering a deal for an antidote. Stritek took up a position in the back alley at the rear exit and the other two waited at the front door. Stritek saw the sorceress exit and depart as well. Djelzeem tried to lie and failed miserably then called for help when a fight broke out and Dalahari tossed a fiery bomb at him, burning him. The doors were locked but Kass quickly picked the front lock and Dirrasha kicked in the door. Stritek had trouble with the back door and instead ran around to the front. The fight was on with bombs flying, kicks flying, blades flying and then the man going invisible. He didn’t count on the cat woman being able to sniff him out. His gloves and mask came off and when they saw Dalahari again he was actually a ghoul. He paralyzed Kass then Djelzeem and finally Stritek, but only because the others begged the hobgoblin not to kill him until they found the antidote. So, Dirrasha cleared a path and let the heavily injured ghoul alchemist run while her companions recovered their ability to move.

Together they tracked him down to his lair beneath the city near the edges of the Puddles. Inside he had left a trap, a gelatinous cube but they quickly avoided and outran it, finding his lab and six unfortunate souls he was holding prisoner strapped to tables as they neared the waisting completion. Another fight ensured and more bombs flew burning the hobgoblin badly. The monk tried to rescue a victim only to have him turn to a zombie in her arms and knock her nearly senseless. They were fast zombies and began rising at a staggered pace throughout the battle. Since they could see his lab, they decided to destroy Dalahari and beat down every zombie that rose up. It was tense for a moment as the hobgoblin threatened to slay the last two victims before they turned, two children, but the others convinced him to wait just in case. It was a fortunate decision for the children were not quite ready to succumb to the waisting. The lab was unfamiliar to any of the party members so they sent for help from The Guild getting the only alchemist present, old Nicholas. He arrived, picked his teeth, sang a bad tune and pointed out what he thought was the antidote and the day was saved for both the children and Kass plus Djelzeem. The party was then chastised by Guild officials for accepting an illegal mission and warned to be more careful in the future, but congratulated on stopping both The Menagerie and Dalahari’s plan to infect Absalom’s water source. All in all, a good job!

Djelzeem, Stritek, Kass and Dirrasha each earned 1,800xp

Reznik and Nicholas each earned 100xp

Irorium: Starring the Guild

The guild enrolled numerous members into fights at the Irorium in an attempt to increase their survivability.

The pre-game show was a big hit. It featured a four level step pyramid with an enchanted musket on a swivel on top. Four teams of two guildies were randomly picked to fight with merciful weapons enchanted to do only non lethal damage. It turned into an extremely interesting fight. Samaya and Maestro Pugno ran up to the top tier right away and fought each other nearly the whole match. Jalal started by Charming Weiss, Afarrah launched a fireball, and then Dusk Blinded her. Afarrah kept launching fireballs toward the sound of Reznik’s voice. He was in beast form by then and closing in. Angus started climbing the pyramid and was met by Weiss.

The fighting continued. Angus was knocked out by Jalal, but then Jalal was Charmed by Weiss. Charred Reznik got a good swipe in on Afarrah but it was Jalal that finished her off. Then Samaya fell to Pugno. Reznik was pummelled mercilessly by Pugno. Then Charmed Jalal and Pugno were convinced to leave the field and disqualify themselves.

Team Dusk & Weiss looked like they were going to sweep the game but then Reznik tore into the crouching Sin Mage and took him out. Reznik and Weiss stalked each other on the pyramid for a while. They ended up on the top tier fighting it out. It could have went either way but Reznik landed the winning blow and Weiss collapsed.

Team 1
Angus & Maestro Pugno
Team 2
Afarrah & Samaya
Team 3
Dusk & Weiss
Team 4
Jalal & Reznik
Order of Defeat
1 Angus
2 Afarrah
3 Samaya
4 Jalal
5 Maestro Pugno
6 Dusk
7 Weiss

The halftime show was a rousing game of baskethead. For this game a prisoner is taken from Death Row and laid in a guillotine. At game start the head rolls down a chute and drops to the arena floor. The two teams race to the head with the objective of taking it to the opposite end of the court and pitching it into the basket. Of course there are obstacles along the way and a few surprises. The court was roughly divided into thirds with each third hosting a minor creature, giant centipede, venomous water snake, and giant scorpion. The center section had water obstacles. The surprises were two 10 ft wide trenches filled with water and leech swarms, and a wide pool with floating wooden rafts where falling into the water turned you into a Koi fish until the fish person was dried off on land.

Team Guild made it more difficult than necessary by letting the other team grab the head-ball first and starting attacking players. They dropped one of the opposing team right away and injured half the rest with Stone Call. A few turns later another died because his Stone Call injuries were just enough that falling into the first leech pool killed him. A rusty longsword was released into the arena at the same time the head rolled. Thiery managed to claim it from one of the floating wooden platforms but unsuccessfully fought a snake until she went unconscious. Meanwhile the giant centipede was having the best time biting people left and right. Somehow Sampson didn’t get trampled by the Centaur. Shadow traded blows with Team Two’s leader, the Lumber Consortium Enforcer, for most of the game – basically taking them both out of the fight until the very end when the enforcer dropped. Toward the end, Sampson attempted to throw Bergman (in Koi fish form) across a leech swarm pool but he missed and Bergman-fish landed short before transforming back. A giant scorpion on the other side ran over and ate him. About that time Team Guild reclaimed the head ball with an interception by Kaleb. Team 2 didn’t have enough people on the far side of the court to stop Kaleb from running closer and throwing the head into the basket for the win.

Team Guild collected 2,400 gp for their win.

Team1 (The Guild) ♕
Valla ☹
Sampson and Lulu ☹
Thiery ☹
Bergmann ☠
Team 2
Lumber Consortium Enforcer ☹
Human Rogue
Thug ☠
Half Elf Scout
Kobold Rogue ☠
It's a Boy!
Fancy and Morti finally give birth

Fancy along with five other women and Morti were brought into the nursing wing of the temple to Shelyn, Goddess of love and Fancy’s patron. Labor had been slow-coming and painful for all of them. Fancy noticed the way they looked at them and her in particular. They told her that she was carrying a boy, but there was something else that worried them, something they did not share with their paladin. It was odd that all of these pregnancies seemed to be in the same state and all seemed to be running late by weeks! Morti was the least pleasant of the expectant “mothers” with his constant whining.

Morti: “Awww geez … child birth looks terrible. All that labored breathing is really going to do a number on my asthma. Plus, when I’m nervous I get gaaaasssy! And don’t get me started about hygiene of the delivery room – oi vey! Do you know who the doctor will be? I’d like to see his credentials. These days, any two bit schmuck can become a healer. Also, if it’s a boy he’ll need a bris. I know it’s a weird thing to do, but what can i say – it’s tradition. My mother – the Gods rest her soul – would be put in an early grave if I didn’t do it. In any case, I doubt you’ll find a proper Mohel, so just make sure the doctor doesn’t accidentally chop off his weewee … that would be aaawful. Awwww geez, all this talk is making me very very nervous, and you know what that means …”

The mothers were eventually ready to give birth … all of them at once! Morti required a c-section. They were in great pain, so much so that even Fancy could not remain conscious. They each passed out. Fancy awoke first, she was nauseous and in horrible pain but she came to her senses because of the crying babies and the screaming. All of the other mothers were still unconscious. She struggled out of bed and stumbled to the next room’s doorway to check on the commotion. She shook away the nausea, reducing it to sickness. There were several hooded men in the room. One crawled out the window carrying a bundled baby under each arm. The other two each stood over one of the priestess midwives that lay in pools of their own blood. The one priestess that still moaned softly was silenced when the man over her jabbed his kukri into her again. They spotted Fancy watching and one man advanced on her with his blade. The other seemed unconcerned and went about sprinkling a powder around the room. Fancy did her best to catch the man leaving with the babies. She knew one of them must be hers. All seven of the cribs in the room were empty. When she suffered a stab but made it out the window she watched the hooded figure along with several others slipping away down the alley carrying the babies. She cried out for help and tried to pursue them but lost them quickly. The city guard and the temple guard took her reports. They tended to the midwives who both miraculously survived. Fancy wanted answers and demanded to speak with the high priest. He told the whole story, that she was tainted with evil as were all the pregnant mothers. Something was very unnatural about the children they carried but they feared for their safety so they treated them and tried to help with a safe delivery. It turned out that wasn’t enough. The demonic children held a dark link to their mothers, feeding on their energy (effectively draining their levels). This kept Morti in a coma, left Fancy weakened considerably but killed the others. There was also a mark left on all the mothers and found on the cribs of the missing infants. The symbol was of a black bat-like creature with red eyes. It was more of a brand on Fancy’s stomach that held the potential to interfere with her holy blessings from the goddess. She also learned of her sister’s recent death and received the family heirloom sword. Still Fancy wanted her baby back!

She went for help from the guild with a reward and the blessing of her temple to back her. She selected a team. Courage the half orc fighter, Dawn the deaf human oracle, Than the goblin necromancer, Djelzeem the human rogue and Fursifer the halfling rogue. The party immediately set about gathering information. They visited several temples around the city (Sarenrae, Pharasma, and Abbadar) and learned of similar incidents occurring there too. The babies were all stolen and the midwives and mothers more often than not were slain. Even some of the priestesses of Pharasma were missing, but the offer of aid the head priestess originally offered was revoked when Than offended them by praising Urgathoa, his Goddess, and their mortal enemy inside the temple. So the group was kicked out instead.

Than eventually identified the symbol they had found and told them it belonged to a cult dedicated to Soul Eater the Demon Lord. The tale was of a demon Lord banished long ago by those that formed this branch of the guild. That name was also familiar to him since he was there when his teammates accidentally released that demon lord from his prison in the Cairnlands a few months back. This cult was composed entirely of fanatical teifling. In the tales the goblin knew, they magically impregnated women then collected the demonspawn offspring when they were born to serve their cult. Some were born as abominations, some were the teifling they desired and some other rare few were born entirely normal. The demon spawn were supposed to grow quickly reaching adulthood in months. They switched tactics since the hooded figures seemed to share demonic traits and the link to the babies was apparently demonic and evil in nature. Djelzeem, having arrived from far shores by ship, knew of a bar at the edges of the docks called The Hallows that was dedicated to teifling patrons. They thought it might be a good idea to try asking around there. While the humans, Fancy, Dawn and Djelzeem waited outside, Than, Courage and Fursifer slipped into the dimly lit bar to gather a little more information. The teiflings inside seemed wary of the outsiders. They whispered in the shadows and eyed them cautiously. Courage made straight for the main bar and began chatting up the bartender and owner in a not-so-subtle half orc fashion. The man was less than friendly. Fursifer and Than tried working as a team and took seats next to a lone teifling trying to gain his favor by buying him drinks. He only spoke to them in Abyssal so Than and the man had a grand conversation about halfling delicacies while Fursier struggled to make out the conversation and tried to present the man with the cult symbol by scratching it into the table. This made everyone nervous. Their dealings with the man ended in them being cast way and Than spilling the man’s drink in his lap “accidentally”. When a tiefling arrived from outside and joined a group in the corner both of the small folk decided there might be some trouble. Fursifer moved to the front door, opened it up and called to the humans “I think we found our guys!” That launched the bar into chaos. The quartet in the corner were indeed cult members and attacked immediately. They injured Than horribly and also hurt Fursifer. Than pulled back to his allies and cast sleep into the room. Unfortunately he only managed to drop Fursifer with his spell. They traded blows and Courage found himself inside alone and flanked by cult rogues stabbing him to the point that he dropped to the floor bleeding and unconscious. Dawn dropped a magical mist which shielded their retreat but also camouflaged the enemy. The party was divided and trying to bring down the cultists before they escaped while the bartender sent for the city guard. Than scared away the leader of the band in the alley outside and one other fled but they did bring down two cultists and carried them away for questioning. Dawn healed and retrieved Courage. Then she channeled to heal everyone since they were all pretty dinged up. When they were unsatisfied with their results of the threats and questioning they took them to the temple of Pharasma for further interrogation. The answers gained let them know where to look for one of the secret bases and that a ritual at midnight would be used to sacrifice the one normal baby. Fancy was worried it might be hers and they headed to the rescue.

Once at the cult hideout, they slipped in using stealth and worked as a team to surprise the demon mother. Courage interrupted her ceremony which saved the one normal human baby. Three abomination babies were here and attacked while two teifling babies huddled at the back of the room by their new mother. The remaining cultists that escaped earlier returned to add to the massive combat. Everyone fought with the rogues, Fursifer and Djelzeem, working together to flank and whittle down the enemy, Dawn using her magic and even rescuing the human baby, Fancy facing off with the abominations and the demon mother and Than tossing his spells into the mix to shake things up. Courage was cursed by the demon mother priestess, Than was spit on with adhesive spittle by the teifling baby boy and a group of them were sonic blasted by the teifling baby girl. The babies were defending their mother. Courage unleashed a huge assault and slashed the baby girl in half. Fancy was none too happy about that or the fact that the three abomination babies were laid to the ground too. She knew one of these was her baby – Damien. Delia, Morti’s little girl, turned out to be the teifling baby girl that Courage slaughtered but by doing so he set Morti free of the curse. The fight turned in their favor. They ended this hideout of the cultists, gained their reward from the temple and returned with two baby boys, one human and the other teifling. Fancy learned that the teifling baby was Damien. She sought the help of the temple to remove the cursed link between them and set her baby free of his ties to his unholy father, Soul Eater. Now her child is growing and quickly. Damien will be a young adult in a matter of months. His mother has already begun the process of training him and teaching him so that he too can join The Guild, wield the family heirloom sword and carry on her family name in honor of her late sister Gidget.

Fancy, Fursifer, Courage, Dawn, Djelzeem each earned 1118xp

Morti earned 200xp

Attacks from the Darkness Conclusion
The Rescue

XP: 2500

The Awakening
Off to find a lost book in the Precipice District ... easy!

The day began early with Chad wandering into the gathering hall where the few available members were gathered. He surveyed the group with disappointment and then held aloft the fancy paper with its golden writing and wax seal offering it to whoever wanted it. The group formed: Nicholas the aged alchemist, Sophie the comedic bard, Her younger disapproving sister Valla the shaman and Bergman the black-lunged investigator, sadly their brawn for the mission. They took the request and found it was a call from Lady Abigail Aruthella of the house of coins – nobles known for having a lot of wealth. They hurried along to meet with the lady and arrived at an estate that left them in awe. Greeted by doormen, escorted by house guards and waited on by servants, it was quite the reception. When the portly lady arrived dripping in finery they managed to repulse her in every way. It was as if these uncouth vagabonds had crawled from the sewers to assault her refined sensibility. Only Valla had the presence to present a respectable image. Her sister, Sophie, flashed the lady, while Bergman coughed on her hand, leaving a bit of his bloody spittle. Nicholas was equally inappropriate then made a scene about using the bathroom and later popped-a-squat in the bushes out front because she denied him. They managed to gather enough information and a map to proceed on the mission but didn’t bother with much in the way of information gathering. They had a map and a direction, find the black and gold book … oh, wait was it black and silver? Well, we’ll find it …

The trip to the precipice was easy enough with the help of purchased carriage rides. The guards at the gates got a hearty laugh when the party stopped to ask what they knew of the area before entering, the fools! Bergman turned out to be an excellent guide once they entered the district. Good thing since that brawn position was a bit sketchy. But, Sophie was sure to keep them entertained with her non-stop string of bad jokes succeeding at further embarrassing her judging sister. Bergman always laughed though, because she is hot! Nicholas picked his teeth and sang a few off key ditties and everyone made their way without incident.

Upon arrival at the half dilapidated mansion, they found a hooded and robed figure standing at the entrance with its back to them. Several of them tried calling out to the mysterious stranger but got no answer. Bergman, being the trusting sort, readied his crossbow and took a shot at them, missing terribly. Yep, good thing he was a great guide! It was Sophie that finally tapped the figure on the shoulder getting a response as the young woman jerked to face them. She was apparently deaf, which made Bergman trust her even less … how did she get here alone? Nicholas enjoyed engaging the young woman with pen and paper and soon learned she was led here by her dreams, a servant of the gods going by the name of Dawn. The old alchemist was all for bringing her along with them. They had a brief argument about what to do with Dawn, but she heard none of that and simply fell into line behind them as they entered the mansion. Bergman cautiously searched their path as they followed the map straight to the stairs and down to the library without pausing for so much as a peek in any other direction. He was sure to check for traps and test the floors though. They reached the grand library and began searching for the book among piles of scrolls and tomes. During their search they uncovered several scrolls and books on the waterways, gods, noble houses and one about the Aruthella household. Nicholas even found a heavy tome about rituals and ceremonies. But it was Sophie who found the the book they sought. She picked it up and began to skim the first pages of the black and silver bound, skull marked book. It was magical and forced her to read the arcane words inscribed there, words that finished a dark ceremony begun over a decade past. A ghost, the man who owned the book in life, Abigail’s uncle and a necromancer of great power killed in the earthquake appeared and began to laugh as his ceremony was finally completed. The ground shook as a cold wave of energy blasted through everyone. The book flew away as the Ceremony of Awakening was completed and the ghost vanished. Everyone looked about unsure what had happened. They spotted a shadow darting about the room, alive! Nicholas threw a torch at it, singing the creature. It struck him back twice, draining the old man’s feeble strength to nothingness. He crumbled to the floor under the weight of his own clothing. It darted at Bergman depleting his strength next. There went their brawn. The others did what they could with Valla and Dawn calling upon divine power to create stones for them to throw at it. They were enchanted to be deadly against the undead. Eventually they destroyed the thing but not before something else began to pound at the barred door to the library. Dawn never heard the pounding and actually backed up to the doorway before Bergman raced over to hold it secure. The others ran for the second exit with Sophie in the lead. The bard heard more pounding at that door. The doors began to shatter under the beating they received and a ghoul wedged itself into the first portal while skeletons and zombies busted through the other entry. Sophie’s grease spells kept them slipping and falling and actually saved their hides while the others used magical stones supplied by Valla and Dawn to destroy the shambling bodies. Although many of the stones missed their mark and went bouncing around the chamber, lost under piles of rubble and parchment. Nicholas’ bombs came in handy too, blowing the bodies apart in masses, until he accidentally dropped one in front of his feet and burned himself. The undead continued to pour towards the chamber, summoned by the Ceremony of Awakening Sophie had completed. The level below the library was a catacomb filled with the burial sites of the long lived Aruthella line. The party continued to try and push their way out of the library and made it into the hallway they entered from, but it was a slow and losing process. At one point Sophie was paralyzed by a ghoul and Bergman found himself shredded by skeletal claws as did Valla, while Dawn felt the solid blow of a Zombie. They had toyed with an idea Nicholas suggested earlier but abandoned it quickly as the undead surrounded them. Now they were trapped in the hallway so the idea seemed their best bet. The book of ceremonies the old man had found earlier was the focus. They dug through the pages scanning for any sign of the Ceremony of Awakening. They found it! Nicholas began the undoing of the ceremony aided by whoever was not being shredded by the masses of undead surrounding them. Valla, Dawn and Sophie all added their bits of arcane knowledge to the process to help the man complete the ceremony. They each paused as they were attacked. Bergman fought on steadily with his weakened strength. The deaf girl destroyed multiple skeletons with her club, giving them breathing room to aid the alchemist. When Nicholas committed to the process he gave it his all and raced through the words to undo what had been done. At an astounding speed born of pure adrenaline and fear, they completed the process and reversed the magic of the ceremony. It came none too soon as those fending off the undead were all but drained of life. The undead collapsed around them as the false life left the corpses. Not wanting to waste any time or take any chances they ran from the old Aruthella estate and hurried through the Precipice eager to be free of this place before darkness set in. They took the book, which was not a diary as they were led to believe but a powerful spell book of necromancy to their guild to be studied. The higher ranking members thanked them for their foresight but had them deliver the item to Lady Abigail and complete the mission. Dawn was invited to join The Guild with her newfound abilities and everyone was paid for their efforts plus a nice sum of cash from the sale of the other tomes they uncovered in the library. They are unsure if there were any lasting effects of the magic, but they did make a hasty copy of the ceremony and it’s undoing before selling that book – just in case.

Bergman, Sophie, Nicholas, Valla and Dawn each earned ???xp


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