STORM KINGS THUNDER

Another cold, cold day...

So we killed that crazy ice witch. Not sure what she was doing there, but she certainly got in our way. Those exploding sprite-cicles weren't much fun either. 

After a quick rest, we headed out on the trail of the barbarians who made off with the dwarves. Who steals dwarves anyway? I can't imagine what they were thinking… "Oh I'd like to steal this bag of rocks with a rude disposition and bad breath and carry it for miles across a frozen wasteland." Who can say what motivates barbarians.

Despite the weather, we managed to follow the trail without too much difficulty. Between the dwarf and myself, we had little difficulty tracking them back to their home. We had a brush with some large mammoths who came thundering by, but they were fairly easy to avoid, though the little ones had some trouble getting out of the way. 

Ketra found a remorhaz lair, or perhaps I should say, it found her. It seemed like she trod right onto a snow covered tunnel which whisked her down into a sizeable cave. We didn't seem to be fairing well trying to fight the creature, so Ketra polymorphed it so we could take a moment to regroup. Some exploration revealed a nest with quite a few eggs! Finney and I were keen to collect them but Ketra made us leave all but three. Having gathered up the eggs, we prepared ourselves to finish off the remorhaz, which we were able to do using some coordinated strategy.

Eventually we found the barbarian cave, or should I say ancient dwarven halls. When we got inside we found a few different passageways. The first one we took brought us face to face with a group of nasty ice spiders! Fortunately for us, the spiders had taken one of the barbarians whom we were able to free. Once we found the barbarian hall, we offered the barbarian woman in exchange for the dwarves, which they accepted. 

After getting the dwarves back to their home or work site (I'm not even sure which), we were finally able to take a closer look at that airship and get it up and running! I've been working on some bird forms which I think might come in handy if we're going to be flying. 

I know it's going to get colder before it gets warmer, but at least there are a lot of forests here in the north. I can only hope we find more nesting creatures with eggs that can be harvested!

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A Letter of Reunion?
Dearest Carramottin

Dearest Carramottin,

We travelled far and wide, to a temple of the giants…it was quite aweinspiring, for a race that seems so….unintelligent, they managed several marvels of architectural design, that should these people be focused upon civilization instead of war, the heights they could reach with Dwarven & Gnomish kind would be astonishing. We now go to seek a shell that will bring us into the very bowels of the Maelstrom, where we certainly do not belong but must traverse, for the world is at stake should we not succeed….mayhaps I will join you soon, if all else fails…also..it is very cold here, I will need to remember to create a protective suit for the winter, I once saw a gnomish contraption that could fire crossbow bolts and other projectiles from its wrists, and had flying capabilities….but alas that suit was made of Iron, and the man within was a fool…I believe his name was Starkious Icaario. For now, I bid you adou, until I can write again, we must trudge through the snow and reach this Jarl before it is too late. May Glittergold Guide us.


—-Fennwick Fitzlebottom

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Breer's Journal of Daring Do - Part 7
Sssssssooooooo Cccccccccoooldddddd...

Too cold to write.  Freezing to death on the Spine of the World after a blue dragon killed our ride out of here.  I'll need to remember to add flight ability to the giant fighting suit I'm designing, if we live that is.

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Ysma's Journal of Discovery part 7
Delivery to the Dead

A Market sprung up overnight! I wandered through the stalls, looking for fun things. I found toys, clothes, gems, jewelry, food, and weapons.(not so interested in the weapons though) I found the best Unicorn! (I named her Fiona)

Ketra made plans for something, so she needed to stay and supervise, She sent us ahead to Nonar's Hold to deliver the saddles and rejoin her back at Callinghorns. Our travel was a bit difficult because of the road was not well maintained, clumps of grass pushed up through the old cobbled road and thick overgrown forest seemed to choke out the sky. Boris and Perrywinkle were very tense and skittish, and snorted with fear. The cart stopped and Rin scouted the narrow road. The darkness and rain obscured most of the overgrown forest path until we crested the hill. The forest thinned enough for us to see a light in the darkness far down the road. As we carefully traversed the wooded path, a giant wolf-like creature, Rin called it a Bloodhound of the Fey, attacked one of Rin's bear friends, the lighted ribbon floated free to the ground. Blood and fang, sword and fire, the battle was joined on that lonely stretch of rain soaked trail. The creature was overwhelmed by the party and ran off into the night.

The small village of Nonar's Hold was very dark with the only light coming from the White Hart Inn, a lone lantern hung from the frame of the door. We were met by wary villagers, defenders of the Hold. We introduced ourselves to them and were rudely questioned and then they walked away. Abgar, owner of the White Hart greeted us warmly, if a bit confused, and prepared us a few beds and a meal.

I'm awoken by a child's cry of confusion and alarm, Screams filled the night and I rushed to the sound outside of the door to our common room, a small girl was wrestling with a huge snake. I grabbed a broom and attempted to shoo the snake away, but Fenwick attacked the girl and she shifted into an undead spirit form. We then proceeded to attack her and send her back to the spirit world. the snake turned out to be Rin shifted into snake form. (I'm confused.) Things should look better in the morning.

The morning brought not much light or much revelation. We were sent to the run down manor house to meet with Amrath Mulnobar the Keeper of the Lodge, to deliver the saddles. He was a nice old dwarf in a well maintained suit. We delivered the saddles and he seemed to be happy with the delivery. We left shortly after, but the party decided to do something else. Breer took a look around the unkempt property and found a disused barn. (I have no idea what we were waiting for)

Fenwick told me that there are children's bones in the basement of the house. (we need to find them and help the children's spirits.) I went back to the house, knocked on the door, when Amrath open the door I asked him directly if there were bones of children in the basement, He told me "No" amongst spluttering and indignant bluster. I pushed my way past him to search the house for the basement stairs. After several minutes I finally found the stairs leading down and Fenwick called to me to go upstairs, I tell him that the basement is downstairs and head down to investigate. Suddenly an explosion rocked the house and I turn around and go back up. Weaving my way to the front stairs, I took them two and three at a time to the dusty 2nd floor. Fenwick was trying to open a door and then, frustrated, I watched him walk away down the hall, I continued his efforts and kept trying keys until the door unlocked. The door swept open and I strode to the other side of the room. Breer warned me just in time to avoid the ball bearings in front of the door. I let the Weave flow, while I stood among the bearings, and hammered the Undead Monster in the back with fire. The party hit him, smashed at his defenses, with a last effort he erupted in flames and righteous fury, falling to the floor in a mewling pool of smoldering undead flesh.

The Master was Dead again.

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Breer's Journal of Daring Do - Part 6
Just another one of our services...

Ketra, I see some of the others have already given you their report, but let me give you the executive summary:

1. We delivered the saddles.
2. The others thought the saddle buyer might be evil.
3. We killed the saddle buyer and burned down his home.

Yup, tell our client who asked us to deliver the saddles that they should take this customer off their mailing list and don't send him any catalogs.  It's just part of our stellar customer service where we deliver quality goods to every dangerous location in the land and kill whoever we find there because they're 'evil'.

Look, you should have see this town.  Dullsville, absolute dullsville.  No thieves guild, no gambling, no local arts scene.  An undead servant of Orcus and a 'Most Dangerous Prey' hunting lodge were the only tourist draws they had.  The lodge was obviously reinvesting its profits into the business, they had just bought some high quality saddles for an undead carriage.  That would be really classy to offer shuttle service between the town and the lodge.

But nope, so long destination hunting parties.  All the town has now is dead children who try to bury naive druids alive in the middle of the night.  That doesn't get the tourists there, it's a value-add.

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A Tinkerer's Madness
Report to Ketra

For Lady Ketra's Eyes Only:

Report Number:  0100011101101110011011110110110101100101001000000101001101110100011110010110110001100101

As instructed, we made our way to Noanar's Hold to deliver the harnesses, along the way we encountered what seemed to be a large wolf that was very ferocious, it put up quite a fight but we eventually scared it off, as it simply disappeared…it is possible it was also a spectre. Further information will be provided below in that regard. It was late in the night and we made our way to the town shortly after, the guards, if you can call them that, were alerted to the boom of one of Ysma's fire balls during the conflict. We obtained lodgings and found out that we should not go outside, however, the area and its inhabitants had Rin & myself wary, so, after a short meditation, Rin made it outside to spend time with the horses and keep them safe. He was approached at that point by a little girl, who he tried to assist, though, she grappled him and attempted to bring him to another location, he made it into the lodgings and we managed to subdue her, only to find out she was a spectre of some sort, thus the assumption that the wolf was as well a spectre. We then spent the rest of the night in the inn, and made our way in the morning to the hunting lodge where Amareth was located, the one who requested the saddles. More to that shortly, after communing with Garl I found out that this spectre is a type of undead that is most commonly freed by either burning the bones, or burying them properly. I used the location device that Breer & I mounted onto the wagon to find where children's bones might be found…they were located in the hunting lodge, in, not on the grounds, but in. I could not allow this to pass, so, we investigated and turned the saddles in, I double checked by using the device again, and they were once more, located in the hunting lodge. After minor convincing, we as a group (Breer being hesitant) decided to resolve the issue, Rin & Breer climbed the building after Breer did some recon work, we found many indicators that this is defiled, and upon detecting evil, we found that the entire place was desecrated. Ysma asked what we were on about, and upon informing her, she went to the door and pounded on it, this acted as a distraction for Rin & Breer, while I stayed with her. After a time, we managed to locate the master of the house and defeat him, as well as find the bones and give them proper rights. We also incinerated the house to cleanse the grounds. I am certain Rin & others will be able to provide more detail, however, my soul is horrowed by this and I wish to meditate, any questions you have I will be happy to answer.

 

In Garl's Name,

Fennwick Fitzlebottom, Owner & Proprieter of the Fitzlebottom Emporium.

Cleric of the order of Tricksters, Beloved of Garl Glittergold.

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Rin's Report
Attn: Ketra

While you were tied up in meetings with people from corporate HQ, the rest of us did as you asked and completed the delivery of the saddles.

I have to admit, I had some trepidation about being given charge of this mission. As I'm sure you remember, I didn't do so well the last time I was tasked with keeping track of Fennwick and Breer. With the added responsibility of also watching over Ysma, I felt a bit over my head as we headed out.

Things went fairly smoothly getting out there. With some basic directions from the locals before we left, I was able to prevent us from getting lost with relative ease. Due to poor trail conditions, the going was slow and we were on the road longer than expected. As we neared the hold, we were attacked by some type of beast. No, beast is the wrong word. It wasn't a beast, it was like some kind of hellhound, except it breathed cold instead of fire. In the dark and the fog it hid from us after we first spotted it. I went ahead since I could move faster than the others through the thick undergrowth and eventually the creature was flushed out of hiding. Ysma's fire was particularly helpful in routing the thing. I am fairly certain the creature was destroyed, or possibly banished. It did not leave a corpse, though I'm fairly certain a final arrow from my bow ended its life as it fled. Without any more trouble, we headed on to the settlement.

It was quite late when we finally arrived. The others went to see about getting us lodging at the Inn. I stayed to secure the wagon and the horses, which was more difficult than I had expected. The stable was boarded up, so I had to hobble the horses and secure the wagon out in the open. Fortunately, I didn't need more than a brief rest, and after about an hour I went out to keep watch on the horses and wagon. 

After a few uneventful hours, a small child came wandering by. The posted guards ignored her completely, which seemed somewhat strange to me. It was quite chilly and damp, and the child was obviously cold. I asked her where her parents were and she pointed off in the direction of some fields saying her home was that way. I tried to take the child's hand and she immediately began climbing and clamoring to be held and carried. I kept trying to put her down but she was very difficult to handle. I decided to take her to the Inn where she would at least be able to get warm. Perhaps in the morning we could find someone who knew the child and could help. But as I brought her into the Inn she started screaming loudly and then began biting and clawing at me! I soon realized I was not going to be able to subdue the child with normal means. I transformed into a snake to better grab hold of her and keep her still. It was about that time that Fennwick and the others were awakened by all the racket. I admit, it was poor planning on my part. No one in the group has seen me in snake form before. For a few tense moments it seemed likely that my companions would see me, the snake, as the aggressor and come to the aid of the little girl. Who could blame them? It was my own lack of foresight that created the situation. But Fenwick, with some quick thinking, cast some kind of detect or turn undead and then it became obvious that we weren't dealing with a human girl. 

It seems obvious looking back. I should have known something was wrong about the girl. I did know, but I didn't want to trust myself. I just wanted to help the child. I was too willing to take the situation at face value. I have much to learn about the way things work out in the world. But that is, after all, why I took this job. I just need to learn to make better decisions for the sake of the group, but I digress.

After defeating the "little girl" apparition, we finished resting up and prepared to make our delivery. Fennwick did some kind of religious or spiritual research and found out that the child's spirit was connected to remains which we might find in the area. If we could bury or destroy the remains, the spirit would cease to return, or something like that. Using the giant's divining tool, which we had brought along, Finney was able to find out where a large collection of human remains was. (Side note: I thought it was pointless to bring that metal thing with us the whole way. I thought it would be useless and just take up space, but I was wrong.)

It turns out the bones we were looking for were in the same place we were headed to make our delivery, an old hunting lodge up on a hill overlooking the town. Now we had to decide if we were just going to make our delivery or look into the situation with the bones. Fennwick and I wanted to investigate the bones, Breer wanted to deliver the saddles and leave. After explaining the situation to Ysma, she seemed eager to find out where the bones were as well. 

So we made our delivery. We were met by an old dwarf who politely bade us to leave the crate in the entry way of the Large old lodge which we had come to find out was the residence of whomever had made the saddle purchase. (I don't remember the name. I know we had it written down somewhere. I have to get better with names and details like that.) After dropping off the saddles, we let ourselves out and began looking around the property to see if there were any other clues as to where or why there might be dead people in this lodge. The stable was filled with piles of horse bones where horses would have been, or perhaps were.

After a bit of discussion and deliberation it was decided that Breer and I would climb to the top floor and check things out up there, then perhaps come back and report what we found , if anything, to the others. As Breer and I headed up the wall to the third floor, Ysma had knocked on the door and was talking to the old butler again. As it was too late to deal with that, Breer and I headed into the third floor via a corner of the lodge that had been damaged and left open to the elements. Searching the rooms as we went, we didn't find much of interest on the third floor. We went down a set of stairs to the second floor where we came across a couple of skeletons, one sitting, one reclining on a bed as if placed there by someone. Could these have been the remains the device led us to?

As Breer opened another door, we came face to face with a man (perhaps the lord of the lodge?) who threatened us, as if to imply we would join his collection of skeletons. Combat at this point was unavoidable. After a few ranged attacks are exchanged, the lord grabed a glaive off the wall. Breer and I skirmished into a hallway to try to avoid the weapon's long reach. After a few moments of fighting I heard the butler's voice outside the room where we met the man. He's arguing with someone. It's Fennwick! The others made it into the house! I ran down the hall to let Fennwick know where we were. Ysma must not have been far behind at that point either.

Once all of us had converged we were able to dispatch the evil hunter. After he fell, I reached down to pull off his mask and see who it really was! It wasn't a mask. Whoops. So then we set about searching out the corpses, which we piled up and burned along with the entire lodge. I wasn't sure if we needed to burn the whole house or not, but Fennwick said the evil presence was very strong and it would be risky to leave anything behind. He's the expert in such matters, so I didn't argue.

Hopefully, the local people there can now lead normal lives, but I have my doubts. They seemed quite resigned to allow the evil to remain there before for Gods only know how long. I suppose we did what we could. All in all, I'd say we did well. Everyone performed quite admirably, in and out of combat. Neither Fennwick nor Breer caused any mischief or mayhem. They were both quite good about keeping the mayhem relegated to the field of battle. Ysma kept her habbit of wandering off to a minimum, and was as usual, invaluable in fighting. I would also point out that Fennwick really put duty first when dealing with the undead and abundant evil. Also Breer, though he didn't want to stay and deal with the lodge still performed his duties very well in helping us. And sometimes doing your work at the times when you least want to can be most difficult indeed.

That concludes my report. I think we're all looking forward to having you back with us from here on out. Your job as leader is harder than it looks!

 

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Breer's Journal of Daring Do - Part 5
It's the little things...

There are events that occur in your life that really make you question the choices that have lead you to where you are today.  Being turned to stone is one of those events.

I've realized that while I'm fine with my choices, I haven't really taken the time to notice my surroundings and enjoy the trip.  For example, it never occurred to me that a person transformed to stone would look the same as a statue carved from rock by hand.  What about all those statues I've walked passed on this trip?  What if some of them were like me?

Also, I never really took the time to stare at the detail around me.  I've never been great at finding traps.  I always thought it was because trap makers were really good at what they did, but now I wonder if I was just in too much of a hurry to really examine all the fine details of a door or a wall.

Found out that roasted pigeon is delicious.  I never really took the time to savor it before.

You know what else?  Swamps.  I never liked them, but today while we were waiting for a giant to walk into our ambush, I just took a moment to enjoy the foul mud as it sloshed around my toes in my boot.  It wasn't a consistent feeling, there were harder and softer bits in the slime, and there might have been a crawly bit in there as I wiggled my toes.  Made a very pleasant squishing sound too.

Yeah, encountered a giant doing giant-stuff again.  The others started talking about it but I kept my mind on important things, like how wiggling the toes of my left foot makes a slightly different sound than wiggling my toes on my right foot.

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Ysma's Journal of Discovery part 6
Beyond the Temple

The next day a great storm began and the roads turned to rivers of mud. We trudged through until we couldn't go any further. Middle of the next day I met a dragon (this one was very nice). It was looking for a group of Zhentarim to "harass". I told it I will help look. (I have no idea what Zhentarim are, I will ask Fenwick, he is very knowledgeable)

Soon after we ran into a group of merchants heading to Yartar, wagon nearly broken, slogging through the mud. We stopped to help and get some information. Rin was given a bag of "good luck". (smells odd). We camp again in the intense storm and spend the night protected by Ketra's camping spell.

The following day it was still raining and nasty. We continued on until just before nightfall when lights appeared out of the night and attacked us. Rin recognized them as Will-o-wisps. They attacked with lightning, Fenwick saved us (and the horses) with his magic.

The day after, the rains continued until we arrived at a small village with a keep on a hill overlooking it. Music drifted down to us and with hopeful faces knocked upon the closed gates. It turns out that we found an inn that is extremely well defended called The Callinghorns.

The bar seemed lively and well appointed. With music, laughter, and rich food we thanked the patrons for their kindness.  After a warming bath, a change of clothes and a good meal the road seemed a long way off. The ale was tasty and made me whirly and warm (I like Ale). Music. Dancing. Hot skin. The night became very "Fuzzy" and sleepy. I went upstairs to bed.

My Dream that night was of mom and home all warm and cozy but was transformed into a nightmare, as an attack of two monsters, called Trolls, intruded on my peaceful home. Great hulking monsters with green rubbery skin, that healed scarily fast. They hungrily attacked the guards in the courtyard. My friends and the guards were attacking the monsters with great desperation.  Fire seemed to be the beasts great bane.

So I blew them up with fire…

The rest of my Dream was blessed darkness.

Ketra told me the next day that my nightmare was real and the inn was attacked. I was understandably upset, because I didn't remember any of my actions the night before. (I think I was naked. Ketra keeps telling me that being naked is not proper, I still don't understand.)

The lord of the keep, Lord Zoar, used his power with the Weave and restored Breer. With joyous tears and Hugs we welcomed Breer back. We were asked to investigate the reasons why the Trolls were venturing so far away from their swamps. This inn was apparently a nexus of activity as the center of travel in this area. Merchants and mercenaries, travelers resting, and pious people of faith heading to sacred destinations, stopping in their contemplations to revive the body on the quest for spiritual succor. Lord Zoar offered Ketra the use of one of his guards, named Brian. ( he was nice) We stayed an extra night and headed out the next day.

The swamps were even more horrible than we heard, the rains never stopped once, and the fog covered everything. We found nothing the first day. The fog was ever present and gloomy until we heard a low grumble in the fog. Tizzy kitty flew away to find the source of the noises. Ketra, through Tizzy, reported that a Fire Giant was bullying a group of trolls for food while it searched the swamp with the help of a magic rod, the same kind used by the Fire Giants to find the metal construct part in Triboar.

The giant walked toward us and never knew we were there when we attacked as best we could. Rin struck the first blow with an arrow to the neck but it seemed to ignore the wound. I removed Winaal from the bag an send him over to defend my friends. The giant attacked Winaal and smashed him down with cruel strokes of its sword. (horrible monster) I reach into the bag a second time and find Winaal ready to revenge itself upon the Giant. We attacked the giant with the fervor of desperation. It stepped over Winaal and walked up to me. I tried to conceal myself but luck was with the thing and it hit me hard, nearly opening me up like a fresh deer kill. Rin surrounded the Giant with thorny spikes. With slow, lumbering, painful stomps it stalked forward and struck me once again, into blackness…

I awoke to cold rain spattering my face. and Fenwick smiling down at me. The Giant was dead and Winaal still alive, I gave him a great hug, and sat up. We struck out for Callinghorns, dragging with us the heavy rod. Lord Zoar told us our debt is repaid. The rest of night is awash in drinks, food and stories of giant killers, A messenger arrived while we were out investigating the trolls. The message was from King Brunor of the Mithril Hall informing us that Frank will not be rejoining us here, on our adventures. More pressing matters of the Dwarves await his attention.  (I will miss him, we all will)

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I Was Scared, You Were Petrified.
The Minder of A Tinkerer...The Mind of A Cleric

Oh Caramottin…It was horrible, we left Yartar and ended up finding this little old church building, it was infested with Bugbear & Goblins…we made short work of them and I found that this place had become a very deadly and potentially multi-culturially dangerous place for anyone who did not serve demons…as there were multiple summoning circles and runes in regards to them. As we delved deeper into the temple, we encountered a masked woman…a woman unlike any other I had encountered before…after a few moments a memory surfaced of a request we once had, to capture a woman with snakes for hair..this was indeed such a woman, and she was savage in her assaults. Dear Breer ended up so scared, he turned to Stone….I mean, we are both rock gnomes, but he didnt have to be literal about it. And our little friend Ace, a mercenary we took on, also met the same fate…but in the end, we did end up winning the day, at the cost of two allies…we now make our way to find an adept cleric capable of restoring them, and with luck, it will be on the cheap side….I need to lick my wounds and contemplate on the healing capacity that I must reach to be able to serve my companions better, as well as achieve our ultimate goal…fare well dear Caramottin, until my next letter.

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