Campaign of the Month: April 2013

Myyth Realm: Legacy

MRL#8 Erobyss: The Ride Home Podcast
Episode 1



Part 1
Length – 27:28

00:00 – Intro
02:19 – Player and Character Intros
12:54 – Last Time on Myyth Realm Legacy


Part 2
Length – 30:53

00:00 – MRL#8 Session 2
00:35 – The Ogre Survivors
01:47 – Back to the Orchard to see Morax
04:54 – Trek to The World Tree Stump
07:58 – The Seekers of the Shattered Isle
10:25 – Entering the World Tree Stump
10:33 – Tree Creature Guardian Encounter
12:40 – Kongo Intro
21:05 – The Sacred Waters
25:41 – Crossing the Waters
26:38 – Water Elemental Attack


Part 3
Length – 31:05

00:00 – Getting to the Other Side of the Waters
01:05 – What Would Viktor Do?
03:40 – The Shaft
11:50 – Underground Lake
15:45 – Black Dragon Battle
28:10 – Death of Rykson?


Part 4
Length – 41:11

00:00 – Rykson Lives!
02:27 – Character Deaths & Boot Lickers
10:34 – Dragon Slayers
13:08 – Mind Bullets
15:30 – Aftermath
17:06 – To Rope Trick or not to Rope Trick
18:40 – Looting
21:53 – Loot Detail
29:15 – Finding the Way Out
32:29 – Dismissing a Spell
35:15 – Leaving the Lair
36:00 – Swamp
36:27 – Mama Dragon
40:09 – Escape from Erobyss


Part 5
Length – 42:11

00:00 – Return to Dunkeld
05:55 – Goodbye to Viktor
13:39 – MRL#9 & Return to Norkelm
16:40 – Seeker Emblem
18:25 – Gift for the Tanners
20:46 – Festival of Moons & Arrival of the Dutchess Yora
24:07 – Moradin’s Gather Info Crit
33:43 – Arrival at Sand Harbor
34:36 – Mud Worm Encounter


Part 6
Length – 22:06

00:00 – Sand Point
01:30 – Brody
04:20 – Questioning Brody
06:45 – Cloud Kill Grove
20:16 – Conclusion

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MRL#8 Erobyss: Seeker Journal


A Conversation in the Belly of the Leviathan


Gathered in the dim light of Eli’s skull, the Seekers travel beneath the winter seas in the mouth of a leviathan to the island of Erobyss in search of Timeran’s staff. It is dark, damp and cold… the days long and lightness. To pass the time, the Seekers share tales of their travels to Oblivion…

The pained scowl that is ever present on Creed’s face is particularly menacing in the flickering light of the skull. “I’ll go first,” says the Chaplain with a somber voice. “After Mhari hit us with the searing flash of light I remember what seemed like an eternity of pain. Then the light turned to darkness. I don’t know how long I was there but then I started to slowly become aware. It felt as though I was clawing my way through layer upon layer of mud until the world around me finally came into focus. I was on some sort of road…or trail. On either side, for as far as the eye could see, was this endless bog. I remember all of you there with me which filled me with a sense of relief. The last time I traversed purgatory it was alone.” With that the Chaplain’s voice fails as the memory of his first death floods back to him. He produces a bottle of Dunkeld whiskey and takes a long pull before passing it to Rykson Finn, the last of the Outriders.

Rykson holds the bottle for a long moment, staring into nothingness, not wanting to face the memory of that terrible place. The young ranger scratches his chin, and lifts the whiskey to his lips. He shudders and breathes deep. “I don’t remember a flash, or any pain. I don’t really remember much of anything… suddenly we were just standing there. I remember the bog, and I remember being together on the path. Nothing was right about that place, the air wasn’t air. Everything was… dead. I felt dead. Then we were attacked, right? Something from the bog – like tentacles. And there was music, or singing. Harpys? I can remember them calling to us. And then we were fighting – one of us was… killed? Viktor? I can’t remember. It’s like it was all a dream. A nightmare really.” He turns to Tudor, and passes him the bottle, hoping that the sharp-minded wizard will remember more.

Tudor looks pained as he starts speaking. “Just about the hardest thing I have ever done was walk away from my family, Lissa, and Bufree. But, it was every bit as difficult if not more so to watch as Creed and Moradin were killed in that first fight. I wanted to stop and grieve, but we couldn’t. It was weird, I saw you die but I knew that we would finish our quest together.”

Tudor finds himself unable to shake the emotion threatening to overtake his words, but he swallows down the lump in his throat and continues: “Seeing Lissa there was the worst. She was waiting for me. I left her… I left her but she never left me. She gave up on everlasting peace to wait for me. She still seemed so full of energy…”.

Tudor wipes a lone tear from his eye and then chuckles as he says: “Hey, remember how we were going to fight the Grey Lord because he was demanding one of our lives? That dude could probably blink and completely destroy us. Creed, you volunteered so readily to give your life? You are crazy. You are still my brother, and we shall continue to be Seekers for a long time to come. You are all my brothers and the world needs the Seekers now.”

He becomes more serious and academic sounding, “I have been thinking about what Mhari did to send us over to that plane and I feel confident that I will be able to figure it out. I don’t think the mechanics could be much more different that any of my teleportation spells… but it should be more gentle when I do it. I think that we may benefit from such knowledge at some point.”

Creed reaches for the bottle over the sleeping form of Moradin and Tudor hands it over, forgetting to take a drink as his mind races with arcane calculations. He pokes Moradin with the bottle but the dwarf only stirs a bit then returns to his slumber.

“I guess it takes a lot out of you to vomit all day like that,” Creed says before taking another pull from the bottle. “Perhaps such magiks could be of use to us but I certainly would not want to ever return to that… that… drained place. When Moradin and I were killed we suddenly found ourselves in…” he pauses rubbing his forehead as he struggles to remember. “The Pit of Thrall,” he says at last. “Thousands, maybe tens of thousands of spectres flew around us. What I remember most is their eyes as they flew past. They looked so deeply confused, so lost. I was nearly overcome by the despair of the place.” Creed suddenly snatches up the bottle that he had let absentmindedly fall to his side just as Kongo makes an attempt to lick at the sweet whiskey, “None for you, boy,” Creed says as he again passes the bottle to Rykson.

Rykson takes the bottle with steadier hands as the whiskey begins to take its effect. Quietly, he whispers to the massive hound serving as his pillow, “You can have a little, partner. Don’t tell Creed.” The the ranger turns to the party rogue, “Viktor, you’ve been awfully quiet. Do you remember what happened after Creed and Moradin were… taken by those tentacles?”

The scoundrel speaks up for the first time in a long while. “Nah. Don’t remember. None of it. Don’t want to either. What’s done is done, why call a committee to discuss? We saved Dunkeld and got nothin’ for it. Blast it all, I say.” The haunted look in his eyes and the slight shake in his voice belied his gruff demeanor, but the Seekers understood well enough – Viktor did not want to talk about the experience. Death doesn’t suit the rogue, apparently.

The young halfling shakes his head sadly, “Sorry, Viktor, but I need to talk about it. I need to sort it out in my head, or I’ll not be able to think of much else.” Rykson pauses thoughtfully, and takes another, shorter, pull from the bottle before stopping the cork and tossing it to Viktor. The thief nods in thanks, and takes a long draught himself while the ranger continues.

“After… after that, I remember continuing along the path and arriving at… an inn? That doesn’t seem right – why would there be an inn in such a place?! Yet… there was.” Ryskon pauses, trying to concentrate, to remember. “Althos. The innkeep said his name was Althos. We talked to him and drank something that tasted better than anything I have ever had before. What did he call it? Ambrosia? He told us about another mortal who lived in that strange realm – a wizard named Fhorsh, I think. We were going to find him, but we needed someone to lead us there. Wait! That’s were we met the girl…”. Rykson’s voice trails off as he remembers the girl they met. A girl that Tudor already knew. He looks at the wizard with a mix of apprehension and sorrow.

Tudor reaches for the bottle and Viktor hands it to him. Every one of the Seekers has experienced tremendous loss and with that loss comes an understanding of the emotions clearly painted on Tudor’s face. No words need be said to express sympathy or encouragement and thus, no words were exchanged between Tudor and Viktor. They shared an eternity of conversation, laughter and tears with one look.

Tudor holds up the bottle and looks at Rykson, who nods yes, and then takes a long pull from the bottle. “This day, my friends, is for celebrating our victory over death. The people of Dunkeld may not care what we did for them, but we’d do it again. Legends may never know the story of how the Seekers saved Dunkeld, but the gods will never forget it. The Last Hill Outriders and Ironkiln Clan may never know that Rykson Finn and Moradin Thunderbane went into hand-to-hand combat against the Corpse Lord of Cadaverus… but the whole world benefited from your bravery! The people of Silas will not be there to greet their hero, whose faith is so powerful that it reached from the very pits of hell and provided a guiding light for us, but we greet him as hero with every mention of his name. Most will never know how brave and good of heart Viktor is, but we do and we would gladly put our lives in your hands any day. We have all traveled a rocky road and that road looks to be turning mountainous, but as long as we are together, we will save this world.”

Tudor takes another long pull and exhales. When he looks up at the Seekers, he eyes show neither pain nor fear, only respect and confidence. He looks at each of the others taking time to silently communicate his appreciation and admiration to each of them. Then he takes another long pull. “Do yous remember the shteps? Who fingered out that it was two down and one… (hiccup)… up? Did we all die in those hallwayssss? (hiccup) I love you guys!” The conjurer takes another big pull of whiskey, “You guysh are the best but I shtill think we should have eaten, I mean beaten, that blood jelly. I think it killed someone after we ran…”

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MRL#6 Revelations: Rykson Journal

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An Interlude


Rykson looked around in awe at the lush interior of the Crown & Scepter Inn, it was easily the most luxurious inn that he had ever seen. Where he was used to seeing gnarled, rough-hewn benches of pine, there were instead perfectly round tables of varnished oak, surrounded by tall, sturdy chairs with padded seats covered in rich velvet. The long bar of dark mahogany gleamed with polish, behind which were rows of multi-colored bottles holding the finest spirits from the Kingdom of Rhuul. Platters of steaming meats, savory cheeses, and freshly-baked breads were brought out by gorgeous young ladies at regular intervals. Talia, the innkeeper, was friendly and witty, as quick with a joke as she was to refill a tankard.

The other patrons were jovial and pleasant, after only a brief sidelong glance or two at the odd appearance of the dwarf and halfling. The stalwart ranger couldn’t blame them for that; it must have been very unusual indeed for them to see a halfing, normally relegated to the role of servant, drinking and eating as an equal. The sight of a dwarf was likely a first for everyone in the room. But, after their initial shock, the well-to-do tavern goers welcomed all five of the Seekers with open arms. Everyone engaged in conversations ranging from the socio-political state of Dunkeld compared to the other great cities of Rhuul to recipes for roast fowl. Most of the discussion went well over the head of the short warrior, both figuratively and literally, but that suited Rykson just fine. He was happy to enjoy the comforts of the inn, and the sound of something other than battle.

Then he looked at his companions to gauge their mood. Viktor was clearly in his element here; the rakish scoundrel seemed to be chatting with everyone in the room at once. Whenever he flitted to the bar to order another drink, or moved to sit in one of comfortable lounge chairs before the fireplace, a group would quickly surround him, hanging on his every word or bursting into fits of uproarious laughter.

Tudor was engaged in deep conversation with a small, select group of intellectuals. Rykson could barely understand half of the words that were exchanged between them as they spoke passionately about subjects like science and the mystic arts. A pang of self-consciousness gripped the ranger for a moment, as he realized how foolish he must sound to his friend. For perhaps the first time, Rykson realized just how brilliant his comrade really was… the feeling passed when Tudor saw the halfling looking his way, and gave a simple, reassuring nod and flashed his country-boy smile. The group around him was just as enamored as those surrounding Viktor, if somewhat less obsequious.

Surprisingly, Moradin had gained a few followers of his own. The taproom had more than a handful of Iron Knights, as well as a few other warriors, including several bodyguards to the rich and a pair of sellswords who had recently come into money. These hardy men talked at length with the dwarf, having heard of his battle prowess during the Siege of Gentry. After a few drinks, the talk turned into arm-wrestling and other feats of strength. Rykson got the feeling that a few more drinks would lead to an outright brawl, though a good-natured one. For his part, the surly dwarf managed to navigate the conversation with a variety of grunts and belches.

A few of patrons had tried to strike up a conversation with Creed, but it took only a tiny glower from the cleric to discourage further attempts. Again, it was perhaps the first time that Rykson saw a friend in this light. Creed had always seemed like a bit of a father to the ranger, with his protective and caring nature, but he realized now that other people did not see the grim man in the same way. With his closely shaved pate, grim features, and a skull hanging from his belt (which he seemed to be talking to), it struck Rykson just how intimidating the man really was to… normal folks. As Rykson was watching, a haughty noblewoman approached Creed, perhaps to ask him to share a glass of wine. Creed simply stared at her for a long, drawn-out moment before she finally turned away, visibly paled. Even across the room, Rykson could spot the tiny smirk on the cleric’s face as the woman scurried off to the join the rest of the sycophants surrounding Viktor.

Nobody approached Rykson at all, aside from the staff of serving girls. He was welcomed into conversations and given polite questions about where he was from and such, but he could tell that none of these highborns were truly interested in a lowly halfling. It suited him well enough. He was satisfied to have a comfortable place to relax, with strong mead in his cup and hot food in his belly. Still, though, he felt some envy towards his companions: Viktor with his suitors and flatterers, Tudor with his meaningful discussion of issues, Moradin with his simple camaraderie, and even Creed, who at least had the choice to voluntarily exclude himself from the merriment. As if reading his thoughts, Kongo nuzzled his snout into Rykson’s hand and jumped to lick the halfling’s face. The ranger sighed and smiled, “I love you, too, boy.”

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MRL#7 Oblivion: Tudor Journal

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Sacrifice


I hated it, but Creed was right. He was right in suggesting that I jump off a cliff and plummet 1000 feet into a pit of liquid hot lava. I knew he was right the moment I heard him say it.

I had no time to gather my resolve. I had no time to suggest a different, more logical course of action. It had to be done right then.

Rykson steadily held out the cup of life. It was full to the brim of the most delicious water ever. I could see entirely too much of the whites of his eyes as I ran by. That’s when I realized that he was as scared as I was. He was strong though. His jaw was firmly set and in spite of his fear, he remained focused on the cup and less on the Cadaver Lord that was about to kill him. In some ways, I had it easier. I just had to fall to my death… he and Kongo were sure to die in agony on one of the Cadaver Lord’s spikes.

I at least had the presence of mind to conceal our plan from the Cadaver Lord by using the heart of Terek to conjure a cloud of dense fog that restricted its vision. I grabbed the cup from Rykson as I ran past him and over the ledge.

12


I was so afraid that I couldn’t even remember my spells. I knew my body was still alive and therefore I was connected to the mortal coil, but I couldn’t be sure that my soul would survive suicide.

As soon as I got over the edge of the cliff, the heat hit me. It was so intense that I wasn’t sure that my fire resistance would keep me from burning to a crisp before I fell all the way to the bottom. I grasped the cup to my chest because I didn’t want the water to spill or evaporate. I am not a praying kind of man, but a little prayer escaped my lips then: “Please let this work”.

11


I spun so that I was falling back first. This was the most logical position for me because my body could shield the cup from at least some of the heat. I would not spill the water. Never had a purpose been so urgent to me. The heat threatened to overcome me, but I would not spill the water.

My green sash streamed up from me. It was starting to burn at the ends. I noticed that the looser threads burned more easily. This bothered me because the sash had the same protections that I did. Did this also mean that my hair was burning? Normally, my hat would protect my hair, but it floated above me and seemed to be rising on the heat. I’ll miss that hat. I got it from Mr. Shareen on my 15th birthday after I helped him hunt for some deer.

10


The heat seemed to concentrate on the back of my neck. The pain was so intense, that I nearly started to fight against my descent. For the briefest of moments, I considered trying a spell to teleport away, but I fought down that panic and maintained my hold on the cup. I would not spill the water.

Why was Lissa here? Why hadn’t she crossed over yet? She was still wearing the magitite necklace! Did she know what it was? I thought she was afraid of me after learning that I could use magic… thought that I was possessed because this is what we were taught as kids. But she gave up eternal peace to wait for me, so she truly loved me still. I started crying, thinking to myself: “Lissa, I should never have left you! I left you to die on that island!” I shouted out, “Lissa, I love you! Ascend and be free of this place!”

9


The Cadaver Lord was too powerful, but I thought that we could kill it with the right tactics. I wondered if it could leave the Cauldron. If not, we could always engage it in combat and then step out to where it could not follow as needed. We had done some significant damage to it and if the rest of the Seekers managed to kill it, then I would have jumped to my death for no purpose.

If they killed the Cadaver Lord before I died, I would have come back to haunt Creed! At least, he could have kept me company in my death… much the same way he did with Eli.

8


I thought about starting to worship Allod. His artifacts had power over the denizens of this plane. Even Zym claimed that the araphm was the only thing that held power over him. In the face of such evidence, it’s hard to not recognize Allod, but still… why would a god want to be bothered with worship? Maybe the gods aren’t as powerful as everyone thinks.

Whatever. I am a good man and if the gods couldn’t accept that, then they don’t deserve to shepherd my soul. Still, I worried about what would happen to my soul after I died. Would I be able to ascend even though I don’t have a god? Would Lissa and I ever be able to ascend to the same place? “Lissa!”

More tears.

7


My leather boot laces were melting. Would I, like my bootlaces, melt before burning up? Am I already burning? I couldn’t see anything anymore but I knew that I had the cup of life clasped to my chest. I would not spill the water.

I tried to hold a position from which I would fall straight down. I didn’t want to have the course of my fall changed by an updraft or my coat. It seemed to work because I felt like I was falling faster.

6


The heat was pure agony, which reminded me of a bottle of stuff we found in the house under Gentry. My muscles threatened to lose their function and I felt my skin being cooked and peeled away. I thought I could see the tendons of my right hand. At least I hadn’t lost my grip on the cup. I didn’t know how I was still alive, but I would not spill the water. Even if I burn away to ashes, my hand would maintain its hold on this cup. I would not fail.

I didn’t understand how I could be in so much pain. It seemed as if the nerves should be burned away.

5


Was this really happening? I couldn’t remember anything anymore. There was only the heat and the cup. Was I really falling or was I already dead? I spun to face down. The heat found new parts of my body to torture. I wanted to scream out in pain, but if I opened my mouth, I was afraid that the heat would burn my lungs. I need to hang on for just a moment more.

4


I opened my eyes to face my death. It was beautiful. The lava bubbled up all over the surface. Occasionally, a bubble would move erratically across the surface and then pop. The cinders from the popped bubbles rose past me so quickly, yet I was still able to make out some incredible details. I could see the molten stone cooling around pockets of air creating the most fantastic shapes.

3


I got one last glimpse of the lava pool before I lost my vision to the heat. I didn’t feel the heat anymore and I wasn’t even sure I was alive. The pain had at least served as a reminder that I was still alive. Somehow, I realized that I still had a firm grip on the cup. I would not spill the water.

2


I screamed out, “Mother! I’m sorry I never looked for you!” Then I realized that I didn’t want my final words to be an apology, so I screamed with surprising volume, “Seekers!”

My last breath was gone. My arm muscles faltered and started to fall forward with the cup. I heard a shout in my head: “Tudor!! Never give up!”

1


I did not give up. I felt a little spray in my face as the water poured out of the cup. I panicked briefly thinking that all the water would evaporate before any fell into the lava, but something changed and I could feel it to my core. For a brief moment, I felt very cold, not at all what I’d expected just before plunging into lava.

I knew that I got some water in the lava. My death would not be for naught. I would not have to torture Creed. I would die gloriously in a bright flash of light as I splashed into the lava.

0


The heat and lava disappeared instantly leaving stone in their place. There was no glorious death… no great splash into the lava. I don’t even remember hitting the stone. One moment I was falling and the next, I was with the rest of the Seekers in front of the Gray Lord. We did it.

The joy at our success is blunted by thoughts of Lissa and my mother. I hope my mother ascended and I hope that Althos keeps his promise to tell Lissa to ascend.

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MRL#5 Incursion: Creed Journal

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Crucible: The Five Trials of Creed

Flames from burning structures curled into the overcast sky like the antlers of some great demonic stag. The inferno did little to warm the chill air blowing into Gentry from the Nairn Blair and the darkening sky harbingered the approach of an even more frigid night.

Chaplain Creed stood before a squad of militia at the edge of the city. Beyond them, the hulking silhouettes of trolls could be seen approaching in the diminishing twilight. Most of the soldiers looked as though they had yet to see their twentieth winter. The grim thought that most of them would never see it crept through Creed’s mind and made him momentarily nauseous.

He pulled the straps on his gauntlets tight as he walked down the line of men looking each of them in the eye. When he reached the last man, he turned and moved to stand before them and said, “Step back from yourselves for a moment. Breathe it in and remember every detail, for this moment will never come again. Tonight we send a message to these monsters that dare raise a hand against us. That we stand between them and our wives, our sons, and our daughters. Tonight we show them that there is nothing fiercer than a man defending what he loves! Tonight our steel will be baptized in the blood of the troll! Let’s show these vermin the stuff we’re made of!” Hefting a battered warhammer skyward the war priest charged forward bellowing, “Take the berm!”

In unison the squad raised their swords and cried, “For Gentry!” and followed the chaplain to the top of the berm, just as the trolls came within arrow range.

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Leafless trees grew so thickly that the branches alone were enough to block out most of the night sky. Creed barreled through the thick tangle as fast as his legs would carry him. His muscles burned as if he had been running all night. In his chest, his heart pounded not only with the exertion of his frantic running but with terror. The toe of his boot suddenly became lodged under a gnarled root sending him sprawling to the forest floor. He wearily pulled himself up to sit leaning against a wide tree trunk and tried to shake the confusion from his clouded mind. The density of the wildwood did nothing to slow the cold wind that passed seemingly unhindered through his body. The faint smell of wood smoke was on the air but there was no sign of firelight. Creed fumbled at his belt in the darkness. The Skull of Eli would provide light and maybe some explanation for how he ended up in this place. To his horror, Creed found the leather strap broken and Eli absent.

“Eli!” his voice came out as more of a screech than a yell. Bounding forward with strength fueled by his terror, he stumbled chaotically through the darkness. Where am I? The question repeated in his mind as he ran but no answer came to him. “Eeeeeliiiiii!” he yelled again but the sound that he produced was little more than a distant whisper. It was as if the air was too thick or that his breath was somehow restricted, like screaming into a pillow.

Again he fell to the ground, this time pulled down by a tangle of thorns. Now, in the distance, he could see a faint blue light. “Eli?” he whispered breathlessly. He started to rise again and pain racked his body as the thorns dug into his flesh. In the dim light he could see that they had torn his armor to shreds and left his body ripped and bleeding. Suddenly, a deep moan from the shadows struck him with paralyzing fear. He slowly dropped his hand to where his warhammer usually hung but found it absent as well. His heart raced as a dizzying fear overcame him and he bolted through the thorns toward the distant blue light. He kept his eyes on the light and was too afraid to look behind him. He could feel something behind him, something that would surely capture him if he slowed even a little bit.

Creed finally found his way out of the flesh-hungry thorns and came across a shallow creek. He turned upstream and splashed forward with all that he had. Then, up ahead, he saw what looked like torchlight. He stopped and listened, there was no sign of whatever evil had been pursuing him. The muffled sound of voices ahead filled him with hope. He moved cautiously forward, following the stream into a rocky cavern. As he got closer to the torchlight the natural cavern slowly changed into a man-made chamber fashioned from rough hewn stone.

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He found himself standing in stagnant water that came up to his mid-chest. It wasn’t often that he envied the taller races of the realm but it seemed that whenever water was involved they had a bit of an advantage. In front of him, Tudor held a torch up to a silver door and read aloud an inscription, “Here Lies Orik the Just.”

“Can ya see a way to open the damn thing?” he said to his young companion.

“I think there is a catch under the water here,” replied Tudor.

The dwarf looked back to Rykson and Viktor and said, “Be ready, lads. There could be anything behind that door.”

“Got it!” said Tudor as an audible click rang through the chamber and the silver doors suddenly swung open. The water rushed through the doorway with startling force. It swept them off of their feet and into a large chamber.

The dwarf was unaccustomed to loosing his footing and clumsily tried to rise to his feet. He was able to get one armored foot under himself before the pain began. Without warning he was doused in some liquid from above. A split second later the liquid began to consume his armor, clothing and flesh. He could hear the screams of his companions. Through burning eyes he witnessed Tudor’s horrific visage as the young mage died. His head melted into his body, as if it had been made of wax, leaving only a glistening skull as he fell to the floor with a lifeless thud. A canine yelp drew the dwarf’s attention next and he watched as a ten-foot-tall black dragon threw Kongo into a wall, killing the brave animal instantly. Rykson had no chance lying on his back before the snarling creature. It unleashed another spray of acid upon the diminutive ranger reducing him to no more than pink slurry floating on the water’s surface.

“We gotta get outta here!” He felt himself being pulled back towards the silver doors and was able to make out the blurred face of Viktor, twisted in fear. Then the dragon was upon them. He reached for his waraxe but found he was unable to grasp it. Beyond his elbow was nothing more than a melted stump.

“I can’t believe I’m going to die trying to save your stinky ass,” Viktor said with his last breath. A spray of blood rained down upon the dwarf as the dragon snapped off Viktor’s head with its toothy maw.

Then it was just him and the dragon. The creature came nose to nose with the dwarf and glared at his disfigured face with an evil that he had never seen before. The knight tried to speak through a mouth with no lips. He tried to plead for his life but was able to make little more than a pathetic moan. In response the dragon put his jaws around the dwarf’s neck and began to squeeze, slowly this time. Teeth like daggers gently punctured his neck, cutting off his airway and draining the lifeblood from him. Painfully, the world began to fade.

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Creed awoke to find he was underwater. He flailed his limbs to find the air and soon realized that he was still in the shallow water of the creek. He lifted his head and sucked in a desperate breath. Quickly checking his body in the dim light, he found that he was more or less intact. His arm was not melted away, his face was still how it should be, and there were no holes in his neck. A very slight relief came over him but it was fleeting. What is happening to me? Where was I? Where am I?

The cavern he had entered was gone now. He stood in the shallow creek and listened again for the voices but he heard nothing but the cold wind. He peered into the darkness and strained to again see the torchlight he was following but it was not there. Of course not; they all died.

The distant blue light was still there and it appeared to be slightly closer or perhaps a bit brighter. Again Creed felt an evil presence in the darkness around him. A slow, monstrous breathing was barely audible.

“Show yourself!” Creed’s voice was weak and cracked in his attempt to intimidate whatever lurked beyond his vision. His hands clenched in trembling fists as he turned this way and that, swinging out at the darkness but finding nothing.

Finally Creed stopped swinging and let his arms fall to his side. He tried to slow his breathing and listen… “Creeeeeeed,” a raspy whisper found his ears barely detectable above the sound of the wind. Creed leaned into the darkness and held his breath to better hear the voice, “DIE!” the voice struck him with the volume of a thunder clap and set him once again charging through the thicket in terror. Ahead was the faint blue light. He was drawn to it. Somehow he knew that the blue light was an escape from this place and that he must reach it before “it” caught up with him.

Creed ran until his legs cramped beyond any ability to take another step. He fell to his knees, struggling to catch breath in burning lungs. He tried to listen again to the darkness but could only hear blood pounding through his ears and felt as if his heart were ready to explode from his chest. Eventually his heart and breathing slowed enough for him to take in his surroundings. The blue light was still there and appeared to be just beyond the pond in front of him. He reached into the water and brought handfuls to his face, drinking some and using the rest to cool his brow.

When the water calmed, Creed could see something moving beneath the surface. A face? A person struggling? Creed leaned in closer, “Tudor?”

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Oh gods. I’m in the water. The numbing cold of the brine was not enough to cut the painful stinging from the hundreds of jellyfish that engulfed the young wizard. As the poison entered through his skin, his limbs became more and more sluggish. The words from a tome he read years ago ran through his head,

“It is believed that the jellyfish delivers poison through a barb-containing structure known as a nematocyst. Upon proper stimulation a coiled, hollow, barbed thread turns quickly outward representing, perhaps, the fastest process in nature.”

He was almost able to chuckle at himself; that his last thoughts would be of the science behind the thing of his demise. With his head still above the water he was able to see Moradin attempting to grapple the crude raft that he had built. I’m a wizard, not a shipwright. I’ll remember that if I live through this.

With no other Seeker nearby he began clawing through the water towards the shore. He could see Viktor there, shouting unintelligibly to him. Then, without warning, a gigantic spider bore down on the scoundrel. The wizard tried to yell out a warning but it was too late. Before he could make any noise the spider sunk two massive fangs into Viktor’s shoulder.

Distantly, he could hear a splash and turned just in time to see Moradin topple into the water. He hasn’t a chance with that heavy armor. The lifelong scholar’s mind again treated him to a bit of knowledge:

“The brain cannot survive long without oxygen and the continued lack of oxygen in the blood combined with the cardiac arrest will lead to brain death from which recovery is generally considered impossible by non-magical means.”

A wave pushed him under the frigid waters, blocking the view of his companion’s fate. He was barely able to move now. The cold of the water and the effects of the poison were too much. Amidst the translucent-gray cloud of jellyfish a strange feeling of peace came over him. Do I accept my fate or is this just an effect of the poison? Fascinating. As the currents pushed the passively deadly creatures aside he caught a glimpse of Rykson and Kongo suspended just beneath the surface. Their eyes were open but there was no life within them.

As his vision began to fade a great wave suddenly carried him forward. He found himself prostrate upon the sandy beach, his lungs again filling with air. His head happened to fall so that he had a view of Viktor. The massive spider had spun a cocoon of web around the hapless man and was dragging him away. This arachnid has found quite the fortunate situation. The jellies provide prey for the spider. Already paralyzed and served up on the beach.

Before long he found himself being dragged through the sand as well. He tried to struggle but his muscles would not respond. The horror of his imminent demise began to fill his mind.

“Digestion starts before any of the prey is swallowed. Spiders inject digestive enzymes into the prey before they start breaking it up. The partially digested food is sucked into the spider’s alimentary canal.”

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Suddenly, Creed was able to move his limbs again and flailed out to break free from the restraining webs. But there were none holding him. He sat up and held his arms up in front of him looking for signs of the web and found nothing. He was soaking wet and now on the other side of the pond. The memory of this place came to the front of his mind and the place he was faded from his thoughts like the memory of a dream.

The sound of splashing on the far side of the pond froze the Chaplain. A dark, hulking silhouette was barely visible. He thought to himself that perhaps if he remained silent the creature would overlook him. Perhaps it had lost his trail at the shore of the pond. Then, as if the creature heard his thoughts, two saucer-size luminescent red eyes flared as they gazed directly at him.

So again he ran. He scrambled up a steep embankment and charged recklessly through the nightmarish wood. Catching sight of his only beacon, the distant blue light, he changed course to run directly toward it. If I can just make it…

Creed glanced behind him to check on his pursuer and was caught by a low branch. He hit the forest floor hard, knocking the breath from his lungs. Rolling over to his stomach, he closed his eyes. Iynmar, wake me from this nightmare.

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For comfort, he moved closer to the unmoving body of his lifelong companion. There was still warmth there but it was fading quickly. Masterhunter has died. My pack has all died. The giantones struck them down. All but me. I am sad. The animal pushed itself up on its forelegs and let out a long, sorrowful howl. It echoed across the valley and off of the nearby mountains. Then there was silence again.

I must stay with the deadone of the Masterhunter. Masterhunter is not food. None of my pack is food. He lay down again next to Rykson’s corpse and waited. Hours passed before the first scavengers arrived, a pack of coyotes. As they approached he stood to meet them. My haunches are up and my teeth are bared. I will bark and snarl. I will rip out their throats if they come close. I know they will not. They are a weak pack. They do not kill their own prey.

He stayed with his fallen pack for two weeks when the weather turned. He cuddled up to Rykson’s frozen body and watched the darkness of the clouds as they approached. A sharp cold began to set in as the wind picked up. His coat offered little protection. He was hungry and weak and shivered uncontrollably. Before long the shivering stopped and he closed his eyes. I am tired and will sleep now.

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Creed opened his eyes. Tears made streaks though the mud on his face as he wept. He pulled himself up to all fours and squeezed the moss tightly in his fists as he muttered, “Why did they all have to die? Why wasn’t I there to help them?”

“You kiiiiilled them Creeeeeed,” whispered the darkness.

Creed’s head snapped up and he screamed, “Who are you!” He buried his head in the ground and through his sobs he managed to say, “Just take me. I cannot go on.” The sound of foot steps accompanied by raspy breath drew closer to the defeated chaplain.

Then Creed noticed he was casting a shadow upon the ground from the yellow light of a fire. He lifted his head slowly and just ahead of him stood a small cabin. Smoke poured from the chimney and light shown through the edges of curtain covered windows. Where did that come from? A flicker of hope lit in Creed’s heart and he leapt to his feet. Behind him his pursuer let out a demonic roar and charged forward. Creed sprinted for the door of the cabin. He closed his eyes tightly and slammed into it with all of his strength.

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When he opened his eyes his view was blocked by a burlap sack covering his head. He tried to remove it but discovered that his wrists were shackled to the wall behind him. He heard breathing next to him and asked, “That you, Sledge?”

“The one ‘n only,” came a hoarse reply followed by coughing.

“It’s been three days, I’m surprised an old piss-artist like you could last this long,” the battered thief shifted in his bonds in an attempt to relieve some of the ache in his shoulders. “You should have retired years ago, after your first dust-fart.”

“And you shoulda went with yer sneaker friends,” Sledge replied with a chuckle.

“Seekers.”

“Huh?”

“Seekers,” he replied with irritation. “We’re called the Seekers. The Seekers of the Shattered Isle.”

“The Shattered Isle?” Sledge asked.

“Yeah, Egermont. I told you all about it sinking into the sea, remember?”

“Oh sure. I remember. Egermont.” The two scoundrels stood in silence. Dripping water echoed off of stone walls as they waited for their captors to return. “Don’t ya think you boys are lookin’ in the wrong place?

“What in the Nine Hells are you talking about?”

If it’s Egermont yer seekn’ I’m thinkn’ yer way off.” Both of them laughed and for a moment they were almost able to forget about their situation. Before long, footfalls approached. “Shut yer bunghole. I hear ‘em comin’,” Sledge’s voice ended in a whisper. A slight hint of fear was perceptible through his defiant demeanor.

The door creaked open and he could hear their captors step inside and walk over to Sledge. The sound of Sledge’s burlap sack being ripped from his head came next. “Are you ready to beg me for your worthless life?” he recognized this as the harsh voice of the nhir’gan, Grilzt.

Sledge’s voice had been growing weaker and weaker as the days past, “The only thing I’ll be beggn’ fer is fer you ta keep yer foul breath offa me. It be so bad I find meself lookn’ forward to when ya breakn’ wind.”

“I’ve grown tired of you old man,” chained to the wall he could only stand there and listen as a blade was drawn from its sheath followed by the wet sound of his old friend’s bowls splattering to the stone floor. Sledge let out a final, quivering breath and then fell silent. “And now you,” Grilzt walked over to him and pulled the sack from his head.

The gray slate chamber was dimly lit by a few dung fires placed around the room. Grilzt and two massive trolls stood before him. He looked up at the nhir’gan and managed to muster a smile revealing a bloody mouth with many teeth knocked out, “Hey handsome, I’d ask you for a kiss if your lips didn’t look like a couple of overcooked sausages.”

Grilzt responded with a cruel backhand across his jaw sending a fresh blood splatter across the wall next to him.

“Did I offend you, sweetheart?” he said when he regained his senses.

“You will beg me for your life you pathetic creature,” Grilzt said in a voice thick with hate. He stepped aside to reveal four small sacks lined up on the floor against the opposite wall.

“Uh oh. Mysterious bags,” he said sarcastically. “Looks like the bags I used to put over your sister’s head.”

Grilzt walked over to the first bag and picked it up then walked back with it slowly swinging back and forth. He could see now that the bottom was stained a dark red.

“While I banged her,” he added.

The nhir’gan swung the bag in two slow circles then smacked it hard into the thief’s groin. The blow caused him to double over, as much as his chains would let him, and wretch vomiting up the blood that he had swallowed since the last torture session. Grilzt then emptied the bag onto the floor. The contents rolled to the thief’s feet.

He looked down at a battered human head. It’s Tudor.

“We’re going to play a game, Viktor. Let’s see if you can guess who is in the bag I’m beating you with,” the nhir’gan retrieved another sack from the back of the room. As he approached the thief he said, “Unless of course you are ready to start begging for your life? Then, perhaps, we can put a quick end to your misery.”

“Misery? Ha! I want more! Come on! You give better head than your sister and your mother combined!” he was laughing maniacally. “Even when they’re working together!”

Crack! The next strike slammed into the side of his head. Dizzying pain throbbed through his skull and down his neck. It was becoming more and more difficult to maintain consciousness. “You have no hope of escape, Viktor,” as he spoke he deposited the head of Rykson on the floor next to Tudor’s head. “There are simply no more of your friends left. Your only hope is for a quick death. Now beg me.”

He slowly regained his senses and spit copious blood from his mouth. In a raspy, weak voice he said, “You forgot to let me guess.”

The next sack hit him a dozen times in the stomach and groin. With each strike the thief laughed weakly, only enraging the nhir’gan and causing him to swing harder and harder until again the thief vomited blood. The head of Kongo made a soft thud on the floor next to the others. The sadistic torturer lifted the last sack, “Only one left. Hmm… heavy.” He opened the sack and looked inside, “This one’s wearing a sturdy looking helm. If you ask real nice I’m certain I could cave in your skull with one swift strike. Quick and painless.”

“Please…” his voice came out barely a whisper.

Grilzt moved closer to the scoundrel, “What’s that? You have something to say?”

“Please….please…”

Grilzt came disfigured-nose-to-nose with the barely conscious man, “Speak up now; what do you want to say?” A look of arrogant satisfaction crossed his grotesque features.

“Take a bath.”

The look of satisfaction changed to sheer rage. With a scream Grilzt brought the heavy sack down upon the thief’s head with a bone crushing force. He saw the sack coming down upon him as if in slow motion. There was a great flash of white light as it struck him and he felt himself being thrown backwards.

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Thrown too far backwards, through the wall behind him. He was toppling head over heals down a steep, muddy slop. Creed made futile attempts to grab hold of the gnarled branches and roots around him but they were too slick with wet mud to get a grip. The further he slid the steeper the slope became. Somehow he managed to stop himself from rolling and was sliding on his back. He glanced up at the top of the slope and thought he saw two points of red light. A pang of terror shot through his heart and he stopped trying to slow his descent. He gained more and more speed and the darkness seemed to close in around him. Suddenly he flew off of a cliff edge and found himself in a freefall. He screamed with a voice that was not his own.

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The impact at the bottom wasn’t as bad as he was expecting. The pit floor was covered with a thick layer of sewage that broke the fall. The rope that was tied around his waist was slack and falling into a heap behind him. He looked up just in time to avoid Tudor and Viktor as they fell into the pit with him. His companions appeared to be unharmed from the fall thanks to the foul smelling cushioning. “What happened?” he asked.

“Well, Stinky didn’t properly anchor the rope around his waist and this noodle-armed-choir-boy here wasn’t strong enough to keep his feet planted,” complained Viktor.

“Moradin!” he yelled up to his companion. He had sunk up to his ribs by then and was beginning to get nervous. He didn’t have a lot of height to spare after all.

“Aye! I’ll throw down another rope and hoist ya up!” came the reply.

“Alright. Spread out and search for the artifacts. They’ve got to be here somewhere,” he said to Viktor and Tudor. The three of them began their hasty search. Before long his hand found a solid mass within the semi-solid muck. “I’ve got it!” he exclaimed as he held the black package aloft.

“What’s that all over your arm?” asked Tudor.

He looked up at his arm and to his horror it was covered in dozens of writhing maggot like creatures. He tried frantically to wipe them away but most of them were stuck fast and burrowing into his arm. The pain was like nothing he had ever experienced. They’re eating me! He looked over at Tudor and Viktor and they too were covered in the disgusting vermin. The rope sent down by Moradin finally arrived and each of them scrambled up in turn. By the time they reached the top the grubs had disappeared into their flesh. “What’s wrong?” asked Moradin.

Tudor began to respond and then fell to his knees clutching at his chest with a look of agony on his face. Then Viktor followed, he too clutched at his chest and fell to his knees. Both of them were dead within seconds of reaching the top.

Now he could feel the creatures chewing thorough his lungs, causing them to fill with blood. Dizzy with pain, he reached out to Moradin who could only look on in stunned silence. He fell to the ground and as the world faded away he could distantly hear the vicious barking of Kongo and the battle cry of another troll.

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The pain slowly subsided and he opened his eyes. Ahead was the blue light, closer than ever. But now, the creature, the darkness, the evil that pursued him was no longer chasing him. It was ahead of him; running toward the blue light. Creed took a couple of hesitant steps forward and pushed some branches aside. He saw the hulking creature standing in a familiar clearing, Corpse Rest. It appeared to be a giant humanoid but its features where nothing but shadow. It was almost as if the creature was made of some impossibly black silk. Standing before the creature were the Seekers. Moradin Thunderbane, Viktor Delmark, Tudor Samson, Rykson Finn, and Kongo. The creature raised a massive black arm and struck down Moradin with a single swipe.

“Nooooo!” screamed Creed as he rushed into the clearing. His voice had no volume behind it despite his great effort. He felt as if he were running through waist-deep snow as he tried to reach his friends. Next Viktor fell. The Seekers did nothing to stop the creature as it attacked each of them. Why are they just standing there! Creed tried to yell to them to run or to fight back but it was no use. Tudor. Rykson. Tears streamed down the chaplain’s face. “Please no! Take me. Take me.” Kongo looked at Creed with his head cocked and smiled a dog smile at him. Creed looked away before the creature struck the animal down. He crumpled to the ground weeping, “I was too late. I was supposed to protect them but I wasn’t there. I have killed them all just as I killed my flock.” He had no fight left within him. Everything he had ever loved was gone. Now, he just wanted the suffering to end.

When nothing happened, Creed again opened his eyes and stood. The creature was gone as was any trace of the Seeker’s remains. He was no longer in Corpse Rest. Now he stood at the edge of a tree line overlooking a rocky, snow covered valley. Before him stood Eli wreathed in a bright blue nimbus. Next to Eli were two Cairns. One had been built for Eli by the chaplain not long ago. Creed approached and saw his warhammer atop the second cairn. “My grave,” he said to Eli more as a statement then as a question.

“It’s time to go, Chaplain. Your flock awaits you,” replied Eli in a distant voice. With the wave of an arm a shimmering white portal opened above Creed’s grave. “Come,” Eli said as he extended his hand to Creed.

Creed reached out to take Eli’s hand.

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With a painful jolt Creed’s eyes snapped open. He attempted to take in breath but was unable to. Just as panic started to set in, he managed to suck in a wheezing breath. He was on his back and looking up at Rykson kneeling over him. The Cup of Life was in the ranger’s trembling hands and his face was streaked with tears.

Viktor shouldered the halfling aside and grabbed Creed by his breastplate, “Gods damn you!” he screamed in the chaplain’s face. “Don’t ever do something stupid like that again!” He helped Creed to a sitting position. “Don’t you know that we need you?”

“I know, Viktor,” Creed replied. “Now I know.

View
MRL#5 Incursion
Session V-VI: Ibernus 4 - 27, 252 A.E.

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Talisman
Ibernus the 4th, 252 AE

The Seekers found themselves resting in Silas after Creed’s dual with Lucas. That night, while everyone was talking and eating, an old man named “Talisman” arrived at the cottage. Talisman was an obvious woodsman. He even smelled of fresh leaves and he was obviously "He” they were seeking.

Talisman was a man of few words and shortly after he arrived, he said, “Let’s go, Pahdi”. Tudor recognized the word from an old history lesson as meaning, “My children”.

The Seekers went with Talisman. Talisman was definitely a woodsman, based on the way he smelled. They also noticed that he left no tracks, not even in the snow. They followed him into the night until they broke for camp. The night passed uneventfully and they all woke early in the morning, instead of being wakened by Moradin as he finished his turn at watch.

Shortly after the Seekers had set out in the morning, a saber cat pounced out of the snow at Tudor, catching the mage unaware and leaving a large gash in his leg. Tudor recovered quickly though, leapt away from the animal and conjured forth a globe of acid that quickly shot out of his hand with a loud, “Assid!”

Rykson responded by mounting Kongo and moving in to protect the vulnerable mage. So the cat attacked Kongo. Rykson expertly moved Kongo away from the attack, but the cat still hit Rykson with a paw.

Tudor followed his acid globe by shooting 3 missiles of force into the cat’s ribs, knocking it unconscious. Talisman immediately called for the Seekers to stop the attack, which they did. Creed even healed the beautiful cat at Talisman’s request.

Talisman led them all the way to a small harbor town called Norkelm. Norkelm’s harbor was frozen solid with boats stuck at dock. Talisman told them that once the harbor thawed, they would catch a boat to Silverkiln. In the meantime, they were going to have to stay in Norkelm, so Talisman led them to a tavern called “Tannar House”.

The Tannar House was full of wounded men. Chaplain Creed did a quick visual triage to identify which men were in most need of help. He tended to everyone he could, including adding a little healing magic when none were looking. The men had been wounded while repelling a troll attack. Even though these men were wounded, some seriously, they at least repelled the assault and forced the trolls to retreat. They were told that the trolls had come out of the ul’Fyrnan and had attacked at the behest of a fairy.

The troll attack had been the first since the Troll Skirmishes, which finished nearly 30 years ago. The Troll Skirmishes officially came to an end when Lord Luther and the Troll King signed the Avness Accord. The signing of the Avness Accord required humans to leave the ul’Fyrnan woods and the Fey to leave Eimhir.

The Seekers were told that the town’s leaders – the Rohk Council – would meet the next morning to discuss what they would do about the troll attack. The Rohk Council was a four-man council consisting of Tannar, Arris Mennes, Chaplain Cluve (a Chaplain of Sol) and one other.

Arris, had an interesting story for the Seekers. He claimed to have bedded the Fey Queen. According to him, the Fey Queen seduced him and left him after he fell asleep. When he woke, he found himself surrounded by little men and another fey that he guessed was the Fey King. The Fey King was furious and gave Arris to the trolls, who kept him in a dungeon.

Tuvgulk was the King of Trolls at the time and he wasn’t interested in keeping Arris. So King Tuvgulk gave Arris the means to escape by giving him an amethyst pendant that allowed him to pass through a certain stone at the Troll Castle and arrive in Norkelm. Arris even remembered enough of the Troll Castle to draw a map for the Seekers.

As amazing as Arris’s story sounded, he seemed to be telling the truth.

As they were speaking to Arris, the town’s warning bell sounded and almost immediately, a little boy ran into the Tannar House and up to Tudor screaming about trolls that were attacking from the west. Tudor started off that directions, found a place where no one could see him, and cast a spell that turned him invisible, just in case he came across trolls before he found his friends. He found the rest of the Seekers at the base of hill looking up to one of the town’s cottages.

They had just spotted two trolls attacking the cottage. Tudor, who was still invisible, began summoning a celestial hippogriff and Creed cast a spell that allowed the Seekers to move through the deep snow as if they were moving on dry land.

The hippogriff attacked one of the trolls and distracted it while the other charged at the Seekers. They quickly cut down the charging troll and then turned their attention to the remaining troll, which they also killed fairly quickly. The tactic of dividing and conquering worked flawlessly and they easily dispatched the two trolls. The trolls were very powerful foes and could have easily over-powered the Seekers had they not been so finely battle-tuned.

After the fight, the Seekers noticed a slimy orange fungus growing on the trolls’ skin. The fungus gave off a sweet and not unpleasant odor. None of the Seekers recognized the fungus.

The cottage that the trolls were attacking belonged to a senile old man named Svorn. Svorn came out after the attack and lectured the Seekers seeming to blame them for the trolls ruining his chicken coop. Svorn actually expected the Seekers to fix his chicken coup. They did it too, maybe because they were so taken aback by his behavior or maybe because they are just that nice.

Svorn was a senile hermit and had been a veteran officer in the Foot Infantry during the Troll Skirmishes. Hearing this, the Seekers reasoned out that the trolls had not attacked a random cottage, that they were looking for something specific in Svorn’s cottage…maybe even Svorn himself.

The Seekers didn’t want to leave Svorn at his cottage because it wasn’t safe, so Tudor and Creed took him to the Tanner House and left him with Else, the innkeeper, against her wishes.

Meanwhile Rykson and Moradin stayed behind to investigate. While doing so, they found a very special-looking sword. They didn’t do anything until Creed and Tudor made it back to the cottage. Rykson told them about the sword and they all agreed that they should take the sword for safe keeping. So they bundled the sword in blankets and tied it to Kongo’s side.

They went back to the Tannar House and found that Svorn had passed out at one of the tables. Else had been right about what would happen if they let Svorn drink. They paid for him to have a room and waited there until Chaplain Cluve arrived and announced the Council’s decision on what to do about the Troll attacks.

The Council decided to send a runner to Gentry to call for Lord Luther, who was one of the signatories of the Avness Accord. Tudor told them that the runner would have to ask for Darrin, but he didn’t explain why. Eventually, they explained that Lord Luther was dead, but they waited until they were alone with Chaplain Cluve to explain why.

The Council also wanted someone to meet with the Fey Queen to ask about the trolls. The Seekers volunteered and since they volunteered, Chaplain Cluve gave them access to a large stash of potions. They didn’t want to completely deplete the Chaplain’s potions, so they took less than they would eventually need. As they were discussing their next steps, Talisman bust in through the doors of the Tannar House and just casually walked over to the Seekers. He told them to meet him at the Tannar House on the Festival of Moons.


Rykson’s New Home

Council Member Arris led the Seekers to a meeting with the Fey Queen’s Warriors. The Queen’s Warriors were very formal, slightly rude and very short with the Seekers.

The Seekers followed the little, Rykson-sized fey to the Queen’s domain. Arris did not join them as he feared an encounter with the queen’s angry and jealous husband. He did give Rykson an Amethyst Pendant that he claimed would let him travel from the Troll King’s castle to Norkelm.
Along the way, the fey explained that the trolls were poisoned and that they had a cure. They further explained that the trolls had kidnapped Queen Gwyneth and that there had been a revolt in the troll kingdom. The new troll king was responsible for the kidnapping and the fey believed that the trolls meant to break the Avness Accord and invade the humans.

As they traveled to meet with the Queen’s husband, Prince Rowan, they were ambushed by four man-sized trolls. The trolls attacked with poisoned arrows. The first volley was concentrated on Tudor and nearly killed before he even knew they were being attacked. Creed reacted quickly enough to save him though. After Creed nursed Tudor back to consciousness, Tudor just laid there pretending to be dead.

The ploy worked, for Tudor was not hit with any more arrows. With the help of the Queen’s warriors, they were able to kill two of the trolls, but unfortunately, the other two escaped. Every one of the Seekers took poison damage during that attack and it was then that they realized that they should have taken more potions when they had a chance.

They traveled a while longer and set up camp. The two trolls that had escaped earlier in the day attacked that night while everyone was asleep. Moradin and one of Tudor’s summoned fire beetles got the killing blows on the trolls.

Afterwards, they finished up resting. As they were trying to get comfortable and as Tudor reflected on the battle, he realized that the armbands he wore gave him a chance to move without provoking an attack of opportunity.

The next day, they made it to the Verdant Meadow – the heart of the fey territory – without interruption. The Verdant Meadow was incredibly serene and lush. The waters flowing through the streams were crystal clear and had curative properties and the Seekers bathed in it. Afterward his bath, Moradin rolled around in some dirt to get the nasty cleanliness off himself.

Once they were done preparing for a meeting with Prince Rowan, Leaf, one of the Queen’s Guards, sang a little song, which worked as a trigger to open a hidden entrance in a hedge. Before the Seekers stepped into the heart of the Verdant Meadow’s gardens, Blackthorn, the General of the Queen’s Guards, advised them to plug their ears because the music playing there would cause them to go mad and want to remain in the meadow forever.

Prince Rowan did not care for the Seekers. He was rude before they had even aid anything to him. When the Seekers first stepped into the court, the first thing Prince Rowan did was apologize to General Blackthorn for having to deal the Seekers’ stench. He was at least formal enough to offer the Seekers food, which they accepted.

After some brief, not-too-friendly conversation, Prince Rowan explained that the Fey can’t survive outside the Fabled Woods but they needed someone to cure the trolls and rescue the Queen. He offered to close off the Fabled Woods to the trolls in exchange for the Seekers help.

Prince Rowan provided more details about the trolls. He told them of Skraal, the Troll King’s son, who had usurped King Tuvgulk, of the poison that was making the trolls aggressive and that Skraal was being directed by a nhir’gan.

Prince Magrilg, Skraal’s brother, fled the castle to the safety of the Verdant Meadow, which is where he had been staying. General Blackthorn led the Seekers to Magrilg. Along the way, he explained that the cure for the poison would have to be dumped into pools at the troll castle and that Magrilg would have to lead them there.

Magrilg and Moradin did not get along. It didn’t take long before Magrilg shoved Moradin but fortunately, Moradin showed some restraint and did not fight back. As the Seekers and Magrilg discussed the way in which they would cure the trolls, Rykson just stopped listening or caring. He realized that the Verdant Meadow was a perfect place for him. He could stay there forever and dance among the trees and flowers. He would eat the freshest honey and be surrounded by others that were little like him. He felt content and did not ever want to leave the Meadow.

The Seekers weren’t able to talk any sense into him, so Creed attempted to physically carry the little halfling out of the Meadow. Rykson really didn’t want to go though, so he punched Creed squarely in the nose. It was a perfectly placed punch and made Creed’s vision blur for a moment.
They eventually tied him up to be carried away. The Seekers regretted having to do that to their friend, but it was necessary. Blackthorn summoned three giant owls to carry them to the troll castle. One of the owls picked up Rykson and carried him in a talon.

The Seekers arrived in the troll domain amiss a hail of arrows, but the owls were able to drop them off in a safe spot and fly away. Magrilg led the Seekers through deep snow across the frozen tundra of Arbroath. Along the way, they encountered some huge elk. Rykson was able to empathize with the elk, keeping them from running and thus alerting the trolls to their presence.

They eventually came to a forest of titanic trees. These trees were 100’ wide and reached into the clouds. They crossed a frozen river and entered the woods and immediately heard the sound of something large crashing through the forest.

The sounds were being made by three large wolves that thought the Seekers would make an easy meal. Instead, the Seekers quickly killed two of the wolves, with Kongo and Magrilg each getting a kill and the third one ran away.

They hurried on while Magrilg led them to “Mountain” at the entrance to an enormous waterfall. The Seekers weren’t expecting it, but Mountain turned out to be a giant. They needed to get past Mountain to go through a portal. Rykson offered Svorn’s sword to Mountain as a gift and bribe to let them past. From the way that Mountain and Magrilg reacted, it seemed as if Rykson had just offered an entire kingdom. That sword was very special.

Mountain led the Seekers to a gate behind the waterfall. It was called a “troll gate”. Moradin had had his eyes on that sword from the moment they first saw it and he wasn’t quite ready to let it go, so he asked Mountain if he could have it back. Surprisingly, Mountain gave it back. Then the Seekers went through Troll Gate. As they went through, the last thing they heard was laughter.


Through the Troll Gate
Ibernus the 23rd, 252 AE

Tudor, Creed, Rykson and Moradin had just gone through the Troll Gate at Wyspr Falls en route to save Queen Gwyneth.

The Troll Gate led them into a foul-smelling castle room dimly lit by torches fueled by troll-dung. It took a moment for their eyes to adjust to the dark, but when they did they saw two men chained to a wall. They recognized the men immediately. The one whose guts were hanging down to the floor as if someone had just ripped them out and left him to die was Sledge. The other was Viktor and luckily he was still alive. Barely. He was completely naked and just barely maintained his grip on reality. When he heard the Seekers approach, he even mistook them for trolls and dared them to kill him.

Creed immediately tended to Viktor’s wounds which were so severe that he had to invoke Iynmar’s power just to mend Viktor’s shattered legs. Rykson offered some clothes to Viktor after Creed healed him, but the halfling’s pants wouldn’t fit past Viktor’s knees, so Tudor gave him an extra set of winter clothes that he had been carrying. Viktor explained how he and Sledge had come to be prisoner in the dungeon. It happened when he and Sledge got caught spying on Grek’s men as they murdered the man that was to be replace the former mayor, Luther, who died in a duel to the death against Creed. At least Viktor and Sledge were able to determine that Greck planned to help the trolls invade Gentry.

The Seekers, united with a freshly healed and unarmed Viktor, decided to push deeper into the castle. They had little choice because Prince Rowan had used a geas, to force them to save the queen and apply the anti-poison to the trolls’ drinking wells. So they prepared to move further into the castle.

Darkness broken by the occasional troll-dung-fueled torch dominated the halls and despite Moradin’s claims that walking through the darkness is fine because he could see well, Creed cast a light spell to help the rest of the party see.

Before they made it ten steps out of the room, Moradin heard a sound that was music to his dwarven ears – that of stonework in progress. The sound was coming from a huge hall just ahead of them. They carefully approached the huge hall whose walls were lined with several statues. The statues depicted different trolls and were made of a black stone like obsidian with alabaster teeth and claws. There was very old troll who was carving a last troll statue that was larger than all the others. This statue appeared to be the statue of the new troll king, Skraal.

The old troll was so startled by the Seekers’ approach that he fell off his chair and broke his hip. The troll didn’t really seem to be a threat, and his injury stirred some pity in some of the Seekers – particularly Tudor and Creed. Creed healed the old troll, who hardly seemed thankful. He just got up and limped away without so much as an acknowledgement or thanks. The Seekers tossed around some ideas for dealing with the old troll, but eventually they just watched him wander away even though they knew that he would probably alert other trolls.

The Seekers began searching the large hall and found a door covered by drapes made of flesh. Creed pulled the drapes aside to peer into the room beyond and as he did so, tentacles reached out of the drapes and grabbed at him, Moradin and Viktor. Viktor, as usual, reacted quickly enough to avoid the large black tentacles. Creed and Moradin did not and those tentacles grappled them tight.

Tudor recognized the source of the tentacles as a spell called Evard’s Black Tentacles – a nasty spell developed by a mage many generations ago. He quickly summoned a riding dog and created a small tear in reality that teleported Creed to the dog’s position and vice versa, but not before the tentacles had hurt the Chaplain.

Moradin was able to overpower the tentacles and escape on his own.

Meanwhile, Viktor decided to go question the old troll. As he was trying to leave, two huge wolves appeared in the dark hall and they appeared to be searching for the Seekers. The old troll had already done his damage. Creed reacted immediately upon their arrival with wrath. He charged one of the wolves and smashed its shoulder with his hammer.

Instead of Creed, the wolf attacked Kongo but Rykson is an expert rider and deftly guided him away from the wolf’s bite. The other wolf attacked the nearly defenseless Viktor and tripped him. Viktor’s response was to play dead, which probably saved his life because he didn’t have weapons or armor.

Creed charged fearlessly at the wolf that was attacking Rykson and Kongo and delivered another vicious blow. Tudor focused on his pendant, pointed a finger at the wolf that tripped Viktor and conjured forth a globe of acid with a loud “Assid!” The globe of acid burned a large spot out of the wolf’s fur, eliciting a pained howl.

After some time, the Seekers finally dispatched the two wolves plus a third that had arrived just in time to meet a swift end at the end of the Seekers’ weapons.

The Seekers were still curious about what was behind the flesh curtains, so they tried moving the curtains again. This time, they were more cautious. Rykson used his lance to push the curtains aside. When he did, the tentacles appeared again. Finally, they cut down the curtains and set the evil thing on fire, which seemed to dispel the tentacle attack.

They found a small chamber behind the flesh drapes, called the “Ovum”. The chamber was slick with blood and there were stacks of human body parts all around. They also found a black dagger seated in the torso of one of the bodies. They recognized the dagger from Geeb’s basement. They found other items in the chamber including three arcane scrolls. Creed checked out one of the scrolls but it blew up in his face. The surprise on his face was priceless. The remaining two scrolls were for the spells Slow and Lightning Bolt. Tudor took these scrolls and would later transcribe them into his spell book.

They also found a tanned piece of human flesh on which was written: “Makuul will lead us to victory and everyone will be enslaved.”

They ventured further through the dark smelly halls of the castle until they were attacked by more of the huge wolves. The Seekers worked together very well to dispatch the wolves efficiently. They made great use of their new team feat, Chain Attack by focusing their attacks on one enemy at a time.

They continued on through the castle until they came out of a tunnel onto a ledge overlooking the sea. They thought about resting there, but decided against it. Instead, they went back to the Ovum room that the flesh curtains were hiding and tried to rest there. They even made a new meat curtain to disguise their whereabouts.

That night, while Tudor was on watch, he observed a very strange phenomenon: the other Seekers were all mumbling the same incoherent words in their sleep, “trick… rope… hide… scared… rope trick”. He didn’t know what it meant and decided that he would study the words and see if the others had any recollection of a weird dream. They didn’t and the study would have to come later.

As Rykson was standing watch, he caught a glimpse of a nhir’gan whom Rykson recognized as Grilzt and who had apparently spotted them and ran off for help. So the Seekers got up and began exploring the castle again.

As they explored, they found more of the huge wolves and a larger white wolf that was chained to the wall and had a look of intelligence in its eyes. The Seekers fought and killed the white wolf with Tudor eventually landed the killing blow.

Luckily, Viktor was keeping watch away from combat because he saw some trolls approaching the Seekers. The Seekers quickly decided to throw down some oil and light it on fire in the hopes that it would slow the trolls down. Then they started moving to a more defensible position. As they were running past the cages, Moradin spotted an incredibly beautiful, sexy, dirty and naked lady in one of the cells. She was perfect even though she was covered in grime. Something about the way she held herself announced that she was the Fey Queen.

The trolls were coming from two different directions, so Tudor summoned a bison to slow down the trolls nearest their egress, which was a staircase leading up to the castle’s courtyard. Creed went to the Fey Queen and was going to carry her over his shoulder, but she refused to let him treat her in such a manner, so Creed cast a Sanctuary spell on the Fey Queen and then tried to hurry her to the stairs.

The Seekers just managed to escape the trolls by closing and barring two huge alabaster doors that blocked the doorway to the throne room. It was a very close call. They managed to bar the door shut just as the trolls were about to push the doors open. They had just barely escaped nine trolls and five of those huge wolves.

Feeling satisfied that the huge alabaster doors would keep the trolls and wolves away, the Seekers began searching the throne room. Rykson found a relief on a wall of a diminutive dwarf dressed in full plate that had the symbol of the Hammers of Orohk on its chest plate. The dwarf in the image was holding a silver box that appeared to be a peace offering to the troll king and it looked like the troll king was refusing the gift.

They searched for more, but found nothing, so they followed a staircase up. The stairs led to a balcony overlooking the sea. When they got out on the balcony, the Queen asked them to leave her there. Rykson was completely flummoxed at this. His jaw just dropped but they decided to leave her there until they could find a way to safely get her out of the castle.

The Seekers followed another staircase leading up out of the throne room and came across a large arch of pure black stone. On the floor next to the arch were a troll skin, some troll blood and a troll eyeball. Tudor did not know how to activate the portal, but he was able to surmise that the stone arch was a portal and that someone had recently tried to activate it using the troll parts.

Since they could not operate the portal, they continued on to an adjacent chamber. The room was torn up – it looked like someone had rummaged through all the books, shelves and anything that could be turned over. At the end of the room was a large alabaster door that was locked.
Tudor, Rykson and Creed decided to go back down to the Throne Room to search again while Viktor worked on the lock. It was a good thing they did because they found the chest plate piece of a full plate set of armor and a silver pendant.

After they finished in the throne room, they joined Viktor and continued through the alabaster door that Viktor had just picked. In the next room, they found a Gem Rod, a gray stone ring, an exotic wooden harp and 1,700 gold pieces.

Creed cast a spell that allowed him to see any magical auras in the room and found that the gray stone ring gave off a faint aura of transmutation and the gem rod gave off a moderate aura of enchantment.

While the rest of the group was looking at the magic items, Tudor was checking out a side room and randomly found a secret door. The door led out to a narrow cliff. The Seekers tied Rykson off with some rope and sent him out on the cliffs. The ledge led to the former Troll King, Tuvgulk, who was barely alive and left chained to a huge pedestal in a chamber at the top of the mountain.

As Rykson unchained him, Tuvgulk asked about the Fey Queen. Rykson explained that they had rescued her from her cell but still needed to escape the castle.

The two talked about Tuvgulk’s younger son, Magrilg. Rykson explained that he was safe and probably staying with the fey at the Verdant Meadow.

Then, Tuvgulk said that Skraal, the older son, was in league with the nhir’gan and that they were going to attack Gentry. He explained that Skraal was too powerful to defeat, but could be killed by using the Onyx Sword with his blood on it. He said several times that they would only have one shot with the sword.

Rykson crawled across the windy ledge back to the rest of the Seekers and grabbed the Onyx Sword. He then returned to the King, asked if he had any last words then applied Tuvgulk’s blood to the blade by cutting off his head.

They found another secret passage in the fireplace of the room that had been ransacked and followed it down. This passage was large enough for a troll and led down to a passage leading out of a cave. The cave entrance was covered by thick bushes and the wells were just beyond the bushes. Since it was dusk, the Seekers decided to get some much needed rest before exposing themselves to whomever or whatever could see the wells. The passage proved to be a great place to rest because the cave entrance was hidden by dense bushes.

The next morning, they started making their way towards the wells. The vegetation covering the cave entrance seemed to come alive as they made their way through, catching the Seekers by surprise. Two creatures that looked to be lions made of vines and leaves attacked Moradin and Creed, leaving nasty bite wounds in each.

Rykson and Kongo attacked the nearest vine lion. Rykson missed, but Kongo did not. The vine lion attacked Kongo in return and pulled the large dog into its maw. The other vine lion bit into Creed again and pulled him into its maw.

Tudor conjured forth an arrow of acid that hit the lion grappling Creed and Moradin chopped into the vine lion that was grappling Kongo.

While this was going on, Viktor crawled through the vegetation unscathed and made his way to Rykson to grab a torch out of his backpack. As he was lighting the torch to give to Rykson to use as a weapon, Creed went unconsciousness from the force of the vine-lion’s bite.

Tudor cast haste and eventually Moradin landed the killing blow on both creatures. During the fight, Tudor conjured an orb of acid that was weaker than any he’d conjured since first discovering his talent for magic. It was a very disheartening moment in the young mage’s life because he feared that one of his family, one of the Seekers, would be killed by one of the vine-lions that should have been killed by his spell. Luckily, no one died.

After the battle, Tudor went down and dumped a dose of Fey Powder into each of the three wells and then the Seekers quickly left to go back to the Queen and possibly capture or kill the nhir’gan.

When they got back to the huge barred double-door in the throne room that led out to the courtyard, they stopped to listen for any sign of the trolls that had chased them. They heard some breathing, but it sounded as if the source was sleeping. So they decided to prepare for battle and were going to rush whatever was outside that door.

Tudor summoned a celestial giant bombardier beetle, then Rykson said about the huge double doors, “Let’s motorboat these double-Ds!” To this day, no one understands what that meant.

They opened the door to find that all the trolls had been killed and that Mountain was sleeping in the middle of their carcasses. The Seekers were still a little hesitant about waking the massive troll, so they tried not to wake him as they went and investigated one of the courtyard’s side rooms. It was fortunate that they checked the room because in it they found an enchanted chain shirt and a magical dagger.

Mountain did wake and even though he was still very scary, he explained that he was there because Magrilg had asked him to help the Seekers. So he came and killed all the other trolls – which was indeed VERY helpful.

The Seekers spoke to Mountain briefly then went back to the castle’s cesspool to get the package that Viktor had seen them discard. The Seekers lowered Rykson down into the poo. He tried to avoid the more solid piles and used a makeshift rake to sift through the nasty stuff. Eventually he found what he was looking for but rootworms got into the flesh of his arm during the process. The infestation nauseated him and he started to get sick very quickly.

Creed quickly lit a torch and started burning and cutting the rot worms out of Rykson’s skin and then healed him. Then they cleaned him off and went back to the Queen. The Queen had called giant owls to carry them all away from the castle. The owls carried the Queen back to the Verdant Meadow and the Seekers back to Gentry. The Seekers chose to be taken back to Gentry because they knew the trolls were attacking it and that was where they’d find Skraal.


The Battle of Gentry
Ibernus the 27th, 252 AE

The Seekers arrived in Gentry to find bodies everywhere. Many buildings were still on fire and they could see villagers trying to get out to ships in the harbor to escape. They moved in to Eastford and went to Chasties. The door to the inn was open, so they carefully entered.

Everyone in the inn was dead, including Grek, which the Seekers lamented because they wanted to get their revenge on him. They did find Dys though. However, Dys was not himself and they quickly realized that Grek had somehow transferred his being into Dys’ body. Dys/Grek came at the Seekers very confidently and blasted them all with a force blast. However, the Seekers easily overpowered and killed him. It was unsatisfying.

They explored the rest of Chasties and found all of Viktor’s gear (except for his rapier) and 3,400 gold pieces. They needed to rest, so they left Chasties and found a small abandoned house.

The next morning, they woke and planned their route to where the remaining humans were barricaded behind a makeshift wall. The road was cut off by the occupying troll army so they had to cross a river to get to the human encampment.

They arrived just in time to witness a man use magic! It was Eunice and he had just blasted a couple trolls that were trying to break through the barricade. The Seekers spoke with Eunice briefly and volunteered to help. Each of the five Seekers were assigned ten-man teams. They barely had a chance to say hello to their teams before another wave of trolls attacked. This wave of trolls was led by Skraal.

The Seekers had their respective teams line up on the make-shift barricade to fire a volley of arrows, but the trolls were already too close for them to get off a volley of shots. The Seekers led their teams through battle and eventually were able to surround Skraal. Once he was fully surrounded, Tudor teleported Moradin, who wielded the Onyx sword, into striking range. Then, those surrounding Skraal all aided Moradin by distracting Skraal just enough to give Moradin a clean shot with the sword. He barely hit Skraal, but the blood-covered onyx sword stuck and turned Skraal to stone. The Seekers were victorious but it came at a horrible price. Skraal killed Creed first.

Rykson tried using the Cup of Life to revive Creed, but it didn’t work. Luckily, he had some of the water that flowed from the Spider Island spring where they originally found the Cup of Life.
He filled the Cup using that water and poured it down Creed’s throat. That worked and the Seekers got their Chaplain, their protector and their friend back from the clutches of death.

Viktor remembered a portal that the trolls used that was just west of Gentry. The Seekers found it and were able to use one of the pendants to activate the portal and travel back to Norkelm.

The council members in Norkelm greeted the Seekers as heroes and held a huge celebration for them. The townsfolk brought them lots of women and a dragon’s hoard of treasure, including the Maksimoida (a metamagic wand of maximize), Lightspeed (mithril full plate of speed), Flammende Lader (a +3 Fireburst Lance), Uhglee (a shield of heavy fortification) and Deceit (a Rapier of Puncturing). This is what happened in Tudor’s dream that night.

In reality, the townsfolk just held a nice celebration for them and provided a cottage for the winter.

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MRL#4 Chaplain
Session V: Ibernus 2-3, 252 A.E.

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The tallone’s hearthfire is as warm as the hearthfire of the shortones… I am tired now.

Their dens are different. Tallones build dens of trees and piled stones. Shortones dig in the earth, and make dens of deerflesh and bearflesh. Those dens move. They have moved away. Those dens are very far now. This makes Masterhunter sad. This makes me sad.

We walked very far to be here. This tallone den smells better than the manstink in the air at their Great Gatherings. Too many dens, too close together. Tallones are dumb like cats.

They are all in sleep now. My pack has not had goodrest in many nights. It is safe in this den. Moradin should not be in sleep. He should be scout now. I will not stay in sleep when Moradin is the scout anymore. He is lazy. He smells strong. I like Moradin. I will lick his face now.

The youngling stirs above us! This one is quiet when it moves. Is it male or female? It whispered words to my pack- we are Alert now! Masterhunter is ready, and Tudor, and Creed! Moradin will be ready soon…

I hear the sounds of horsefeet on the earth! Many horsefeet. An army of tallones approach.

These tallones have metalskins and sharpblades. One is howling to Creed for a fight. This one is Alpha. He has eyes that hold death for Creed! We should kill these tallones! They stink like their Great Gathering! We will rip open the bellies of their hoofsteeds and roll in their guts when they are defeated!

Why do we not fight them? We will kill them all! Tudor has fight in him, too. He is ready to kill! Moradin is always ready to kill. He is eating foodstuff now.

Masterhunter wants to fight. He holds me back. He tells me to Be Easy Boy. I will not Be Easy Boy! My pack are not squirrels! My pack does not watch as Creed is killed! What madness have these tallones carried to my pack?

Creed has crushed the Alpha! Creed is stronger now! Creed is Alpha of these metal tallones now! They will bring us food and we will mark them! I will mark one now! Ha! My mark makes Tudor and Rykson laugh!

Creed is standing over his kill. All of the metalskins look to him. They are weaker than my pack. They should lie on their backs and show their bellies to us! I will howl at them now. I will snap any who come close to us…

The weak metalskins have gone away. They stole the deadone of Creed’s kill. We should have eaten it. My pack never wants to eat our kills… madness. My pack did not take the deadone’s tokens or sharpblade or metalskin. My pack always steals from the deadones. The deadones do not need their spoils… I will never understand the games of men.

The hearthfire is warm. The foodstuff is warm and good. My belly is full. I will sleep. It is safe here… we should share this den with the happy tallones. They smell like my old pack… but with no other dogs.

A tallone has approached. This tallone is older than the trees. And powerful. He says few words. His words sound heavy and strong. We will travel where he travels now. This oldone smells like an old world…

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MRL#4 Chaplain
Session V: Ibernus 1, 252 A.E.

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“Ruuun!” The hoarse voice of the Seeker’s Chaplain bellowed through the chill night air. Creed could see the shadowy forms of Moradin Thunderbane and Tudor Sampson moving out of the far reaches of the firelight at the edge of the campsite. The rest of the party had already disappeared into the black. Attacking spirits had been cast out by Creed, but they would not stay away for long. You must lay me to rest, Chaplain. Eli’s incessant voice filled Creed’s mind, allowing for no other thought. At the edge of the clearing, opposite his companions, Creed spied the mound of snow that Eli claimed covered his remains. The Chaplain sprung forward with supernatural speed thanks to Tudor’s enchantments. In the same instant the Outrider, Rykson Finn and his mount, Kongo burst back into the firelight and were soon at the Chaplain’s side.

“Damn fool!” cursed the Chaplain. “I told you to run!” he scolded breathlessly. In reply, Rykson only smirked at the old man and resumed his scan of the tree line, searching for another spectral assailant. The trio covered the ground to Eli’s remains swiftly. Creed fell to his knees and frantically brushed away the snow to reveal the headless skeletal body. He gathered the bones into their own chainmail and laid them across Kongo’s haunches. With a click of Rykson’s tongue and an imperceptible squeeze from his knees, Kongo turned and bounded back towards the Knight and the Wizard with the Chaplain in tow.

Moradin raised a gloved fist to signal the Seekers to a halt. They had been running for near an hour, and the specters did not appear to be pursuing. The Knight surveyed the area while the rest of the Seekers caught their breath. They were well off the road with plenty of trees to obscure the light from their fire. On the opposite flank there was a small rocky gully ending at a high crag. Anyone approaching from that side would need to descend over a hundred feet. “We should make camp here, boys,” said Moradin, satisfied that this was an adequate tactical position. The exhausted Seekers raised no objection and went about preparing their camp.

Creed removed Eli’s bones from Kongo and entered the gully to begin constructing a cairn. Moradin watched as Creed worked, then gathered a few stones and brought them over. He laid the stones then placed his hand on Creed’s shoulder and said, “There ain’t nothn’ can be done about the past, Chaplain. All ya can do is decide what path yur gonna walk from here on out. Every one of us has lost somethin’. But ya know what we all have? We have each other. You’ll always be a Seeker, Creed and there ain’t nothn’ or nobody that can ever take that away from you.” Creed looked up from his work with pain in his eyes and nodded to his companion. With that the Knight rose and returned to the campsite to gather wood for the fire. The dwarf somehow reminded Nathanial of his own father whom he had buried only months ago. His gruff demeanor, his wisdom, and his relentless optimism are the same qualities that Nathanial remembered most about him. So alike, in fact, that it sometimes struck a cord of sorrow when the dwarf spoke. Chaplain Creed wiped a tear from the corner of his eye and placed another stone on the cairn.

“My friends! Please join me.” Creed breathed deeply of the chill night air as he summoned his companions, “The time for this moonlight requiem is long overdue.” The Seekers took their places around the cairn in silence. The silvery light from Shaneer shined down upon the Chaplain glinting off of his armor and giving him a ghostly glow. In a solemn tone he began the eulogy, “When last we gathered to commit the deceased to eternal repose it was Moradin who occupied the grave. By the grace of powers we do not yet understand our faithful Knight returned to us. And so we cannot presume to understand the will of the Gods nor should we make an attempt at such futility. Eli did not return to life after he was struck down as Moradin did. But he did not pass into the embrace of the Sky Father either. There are times when winter sweeps across our lands so suddenly that the harbors freeze over leaving ships trapped until the thaw. In much the same way the spirit of a mortal can become entrapped in our realm. And, like the thaw of spring, the only way for that spirit to be released is to melt that which holds it here. For Eli, the winter came upon him in storm of vengeance,” Creed paused for a moment then looked to the infinity above them, “at my hands,” he finished. “And because of this Eli is trapped here with me. So, Eli I forgive you. I forgive you for all of your terrible sins. For taking my flock. For burning them in the very tabernacle where they worshipped the Sky Father. Where they prayed for their sick. Where they prayed that their harvest would be fruitful. Where they prayed that their unborn children would be healthy. Where they pray no more and will never pray again. I forgive you. I lay you to rest so that your spirit may find the embrace of the Sky Father.” Looking down again, Creed finished by saying, “And I damn myself,” barely louder than a whisper.

With that, the Seekers made their way to their bedrolls to get some much needed rest. Unable to sleep, Creed took the first watch, making himself comfortable on a fallen log at the edge of camp. The Chaplain sat listening to the steady breathing of his sleeping companions when the sound of something approaching grabbed his attention. He peered into the darkness and suddenly a pair of yellow eyes appeared in the waning light of the fire. Just as Creed was about to raise the alarm he heard the familiar panting of his favorite Seeker, Kongo. He let out a sigh and said in a quiet voice, “Come here, boy.” Kongo trotted over to the Chaplain and sat down next to him, nuzzling at his hand in a bid to get scratched in that special spot behind his ears. Creed pulled some dried meat from his pack and began feeding the eager animal. “It’s been a tough night, Kongo. Hell, it seems we are all having a tough life. I’m glad you’re here though.” Kongo put his paw on Creeds leg and nosed at the backpack, “Okay, here you go,” said Creed as he pulled out more dried meat. “You know, all the family I had left died in that fire. I suppose your family is all dead now too.” Kongo put his head down in Creeds lap and looked up at him, looking sad as if he understood what Creed had said. “It’s okay, boy,” said Creed as he ran his hand through Kongo’s soft coat. “We’re your family now. All of us. The Seekers. As long as we have each other I think everything is going to be alright.” The Chaplain rose from the log and found a stick on the ground nearby, “A little piece of advice for you, Kongo. If you ever need to wake up Tudor for watch make sure you keep your distance. The boy swings his fists at whatever is in front of him when he is roused. Learned that the hard way.” Creed started waking toward Tudor’s sleeping form then stopped and looked back at the dog, “You know what?” Kongo cocked his head to the side in response to the question. “Eli’s quiet,” Creed said with a smile that no other Seeker had ever seen before.

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MRL#4 Chaplain
Session IV-V: Nivosus 24 - Ibernus 3, 252 AE

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Cold ocean water sprayed over the ship’s bow as the Seekers gathered on the deck of the Albatross and encircled the dented and rusted iron oil lamp they found in the dragon’s lair. Creed reached down and slowly rubbed the lamp. It became warm to the touch and then a white vapor flowed from the spout. The vapor quickly condensed into a child-size, floating, semi-transparent humanoid form that seemed slightly overweight. He looked at the Seekers with overly large eyes and then smiled a toothy smile.

“Well, your faces sure beat that ugly dragon. I am Myrkyr, what may I fetch for you this day?”

Creed replied, “Greetings Myrkyr. We are the Seekers of the Shattered Isle and are pleased to make your acquaintance. Today we request that you retrieve a pearl necklace of twenty 100 gp pearls.”

“Greetings, Seekers.” Myrkyr said and gave the Seekers a very formal half bow. “Such a request is acceptable. But, first, allow me inform you of the rules.” Myrkyr smiled a toothy grin as a chill wind swept across the deck. "Firstly, only one item can be requested every 31 days. I cannot return until then. And not every item can be found. I will look… but no guarantees. After 31 days pass, rub the lamp and I shall emerge… hopefully with your requested item. Also, when I am summoned, if an item is not requested, I still cannot return for 31 days no matter how hard you rub the lamp. Secondly, the item must be paid for in advance. In this case, the fee will be 2400 gold, which is the cost of the necklace, a bit of profit for the seller, and a small commission fee for me. If I cannot locate an item, the money is returned to you minus my 10% fee. Thirdly, I do not… let me repeat… do not grant wishes. I just want to be clear on that. I have had issues in the past on that one.”

Finishing with a deep breath, and a quick look around, Myrkyr added, “Will that be all then? I wish to be on my way. Boats make me sick.”

Creed dug into his backpack to retrieve 900 gp and then added another 950 gp from the Albatross stash and got the final 550 gp from the lock box. He stopped for a moment to admire the pile of gold, never having seen so much at one time, and then pushed it over to Myrkyr.

When Myrkyr touched the gold, it disappeared. “The deal is done, then,” the pot-bellied apparition said with a toothy grin, which was oddly disconcerting on his cherub-like face. “Summon me again in 31 days.” Myrkyr eyed the endless waves for a moment. “And hopefully you won’t be on a boat.” The gaseous vapors of Myrkyr’s body were quickly drawn back into the dented iron lamp leaving the Seekers on the heaving deck of the Albatross with the shores of Verland lost in the cold distance.

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The Seekers found themselves aboard the Albatross again. This time, they were leaving Spider Island on their way to the port of Gentry, which according to Captain Pollock was only three days away.

It was night time and the Seekers were fast asleep below deck when they were suddenly wakened by the frantic screams of Captain Pollock and the violent pitching of the ship. Tudor was the first to react, but he was hesitant to go above deck; he was afraid of going overboard… which was a fear he developed while trying to get on to Spider Island. Instead, Tudor stepped just far enough out of the cabin to see what was going on.

From there, Tudor could see the reason Captain Pollock was screaming. Wry, who had been a deckhand before being killed on Spider Island, was somehow on the helm with Captain Pollock. His body was partially decayed and had obviously been submerged for some time.

Rykson did not hesitate the way Tudor did. He ran up to the helm to help the captain. However, once he got to the helm of the ship, the stench of Wry’s decaying body made him nauseous. Viktor also did not hesitate. He made it all the way up to the helm of the ship, tumbled in behind Wry and drove his rapier home. Creed had an almost phobic fear of drowning, so he called upon Iynmar to grant the Seekers the ability to walk on water. The spell affected all the Seekers except Rykson and Tudor, who were too far away from Creed to receive the benefits of his spell. Wry turned on Viktor to attack him, but the swaying of the ship caused the creature to nearly fall.

Moradin, who had been sleeping very hard finally woke and moved out of the cabin. He tried to get up to the helm, but there was no room. Tudor, seeing the frustration on the dwarf’s face created a rift in time and space with which he was able to teleport Captain Pollock and Moradin to each other’s spot. Thus, the Captain was moved to safety and Moradin was put right in the midst of combat where he belonged. The normally tough-stomached dwarf was caught off guard by Wry’s stench though and became nauseous.

Rykson attacked Wry from his flanking position, but he missed. Viktor did not. He pierced Wry’s heart with his rapier, but it had little effect since Wry was already dead.

Creed called upon the power of Iynmar, “Return to the land from whence you came!” A light beamed from the eyes of Eli, the name Creed had given the skull that hung from his belt, that was meant to lay the man to rest, but Wry stood strong.

Just as Moradin was taking a chunk out of Wry’s side with his axe, the dead body of Stefan climbed over the aft end of the Albatross and Wry ripped at Viktor’s chest with a vicious claw.
The sudden appearance of Stefan earned him Tudor’s verbal response of “Assid Arrow!” and two mighty slams from Dys. Rykson realized that Moradin and Viktor were about to finish off Wry, so he jumped over the railing to go quickly finish off Stefan. It was a great idea, but poorly executed and Wry tore a big cut into Kongo’s side as they leapt away.

Viktor tumbled into the spot Rykson had just vacated and ran his rapier through Wry’s throat – killing the disgusting creature. This time for good.

Creed refocused his attention and held a bright, glowing-eyed Eli aloft. His focus on the light overwhelmed Stefan, who tried to run from Creed as fast as it could. Before it could get away though, a large wave rocked the ship knocking Tudor, Creed and Rykson off their feet and Kongo overboard. Dys managed to keep his feet and killed Stefan with a huge metal fist.

Rykson was hanging to the side of the Albatross, considering jumping into the freezing waters to save Kongo, but as it turns out, Kongo was in better shape than the halfling. A barrel had washed overboard and Kongo had managed to climb on top of it and then jumped back on board the Albatross as a wave brought him close enough. Rykson eventually lost his grip and was washed away from the ship.

Creed would also have been washed over the side of the ship if not for Viktor’s quick reflexes. Viktor reached over the side of the Albatross and pulled Creed up and to his feet in one fluid movement.

Feeling like things were back under control, the Seekers turned their attention back to the ranger who was struggling to stay afloat. Pollock took back to the wheel. Viktor and Moradin grabbed rope to throw to Rykson and Tudor began summoning dolphins to help Rykson get back to the ship.

Then another, larger wave rocked the ship. Tudor lost his focus on his summons as the wave washed him overboard. The wave also slammed into Rykson pushing him well below the surface and out of site of the rest of the Seekers.

Dys was still able to walk on water due to Creed’s spell and he jumped overboard and went out to help Tudor, but as he reached down, he fell headfirst into the surf and began bobbing uncontrollably upside down in the waves.

Creed was also washed over the side and Captain Pollock lost control of the ship. Creed could walk on the water for a time, but he knew that his spell would expire before he would be able to get back aboard the Albatross. He could not see Rykson and both he and Tudor were being washed further away from the ship. But he maintained his cool, grabbed the White Flame Pendant that he had been carrying and made an inspiring call for help to whatever being would respond.

Once Creed finished his call for help, the pendant crumbled in his hand. The waters and winds immediately calmed and a final wind blew in bringing with it a being that looked to be a ten-foot-tall man of otherworldly origin.

“I am Jezerah, Blade of the One God”, the being announced.

Meanwhile, Rykson had been under water far too long. He could no longer tell which way was up, so he pulled out an ever glowing torch and lit it. Jezerah instantly saw the glowing light and dove down into the waters and brought the little halfling out of the water. After he returned Rykson to the Albatross, he gathered up the rest of the Seekers and brought them aboard the ship. Jezerah looked upon the Seekers and after an approving glance, he vanished.

Having barely survived the storm, the Seekers took a lot more precaution over the next few days during the journey to Verland. Every time one of the Seekers went out on the deck of the Albatross, they made sure to tie themselves off [see Seeker’s Standing Orders].

Luckily, the sky cleared and the rest of the way to Verland was uneventful. They arrived in Verland at the port of Gentry on Nivosus 28th – 4 days after leaving Spider Island.

Captain Pollock warned the Seekers about the strange customs Gentry had. In Gentry, all non-human races were considered devil spawn. Weapons were not allowed. All citizens wore black to acknowledge the sins of the world. Foreigners had to stay in the Three Piers or Eastford, which is where the Chaste Sailor, the tavern in which Pollock would be staying, was located. Before setting off for the Chaste Sailor, Captain Pollock told the Seekers that it would take a month to repair the ship.

Two other ships were docked near the Albatross. One, the Guinea, was much larger than the Albatross. It had two masts.

It was snowing out, so the Seekers set off to find a room at an inn. As they left the ship, two guards, one wearing green and the other wearing red, called them over to ask where they came from. After the Seekers gave their answers, the two men told them that Gentry does not tolerate disobedience or violence and gave them a long list of rules.

Most of the rules were common sense, but Tudor thought some of the other rules were extreme and an indicator or the type of harsh, controlling government Gentry must have. The rules included prohibitions on drinking, gambling, cursing and carrying arms, among a long list of other rules. One of the rules actually required citizens to be humble.

Creed did not like being there, partially because there were wanted posters with his face on them. He was wanted for the murder of Lord Luther’s men. Creed did kill those men before he met the other Seekers, but only after they had trapped the members of his village in his church then burned the building down. Since there were wanted posters, he decided to stay on the boat.
Viktor and Tudor were the only two Seekers not wanted by the local authorizes that could pass as humans, so they set off to find Captain Drake, who was captain of the Guinea. Before they could even get off the pier, a woman beggar approached them asking for help for a lady named Laura, who was very ill.

The beggar was named Nancy. Nancy used to live in Creed’s village and was one of the church members there. She was gone the day Luther’s forces burned the church and its patrons but her husband had been in that fire. So Viktor convinced Creed to come help the lady.

Nancy was very happy to see Creed. She knew what had happened and knew that Creed had done the right thing, even if it made him a wanted man. She led the three to Riverside – the slums of Verland.

After they had gotten well into Riverside, a man stepped out from between two shanties and demanded money to allow them to pass. Viktor decided to toss the man 5 gp to pay them off, but the bums only became more aggressive and demanded additional payment. Viktor, Creed and Tudor gave the thugs one last chance to leave peacefully and with the 5 gp, but the thugs were too greedy.

They made quick work of the thugs. One of the thugs actually tried to rape Nancy during the middle of the fight. But Moesser, who had answered Tudor’s summons as an earth elemental, killed the would-be rapist with one hit.

After the battle, Viktor quickly dragged the bodies of the dead thugs into an empty shanty.
When Creed went to tend Nancy’s wounds, she recoiled from him in fear. She became afraid of him after seeing his rage turned loose on the thugs. Chaplain Creed calmed her down though and talked her back to an emotionally stable position. Afterwards, they found Laura who was indeed suffering from a severe case of pneumonia and would probably die without attention. They stayed that night in Laura’s shack so that Creed could memorize a cure disease spell.

While Creed, Viktor and Tudor were in Riverside playing with thugs and diseases, the others were busy getting in trouble with the guards.

The Albatross was brought to the town guard’s attention after a repairman noticed that a little boy (Rykson) was aboard the ship and appeared to be malnourished. Some guards came to the ship to arrest the men. Rykson tried to bribe the Gentry Guards, but he only managed to infuriate them. The office in charge calmly told Moradin and Rykson that they must go with them.

Moradin acted like he was reaching for his gear to go with the guard, but instead, he grabbed his axe and swung it at the officer, yelling, “I ain’t no troll!” Moradin’s axe cut a deep gash into the captain’s leg.

The captain yelled out, “Demonic creature!” and returned the attack. The sword did not do as much damage as Moradin’s axe, but he was very good with it. Another of the guardsmen blew a whistle, calling more guards over for help.

Dys stepped off the ship and tried to help Rykson and Moradin, but there were too many guards. The fight lasted a long while and more guards were coming. Moradin and Rykson were going to be either captured or killed and Dys could do nothing about it, so he jumped into the water and clung to the bottom of the boat, effectively hiding from the guard.

Rykson managed to flee the scene on Kongo’s back. The guards were not able to keep up with the dog, so they kept their focus on Moradin, who was not cooperating even though he was captured.

The next morning, Creed woke in Laura’s shanty and cured her disease. Her cough immediately went away and she stopped wheezing. She even had enough strength to give Creed a big hug of thanks. Nancy also thanked Creed by giving him a mud-encrusted bracelet. It was very likely worth more than all the rest of Nancy’s possessions, but she made Creed take it with her. Viktor estimated that the bracelet was worth about 200 gp.

Nancy gave them some information regarding where Luther stays, of Luther’s Hymns of St. Adelphus and some information on a man named Eunice, who may help them. Creed recognized the name, “Hymns of St. Adelphus”. He knew that Luther had claimed to have celestial conversations with Adelphus, which inspired him to write the Hymns of St. Adelphus and uphold them as the law of the land.

Creed, Viktor and Tudor were on a road to the Isaac Inn, when they noticed two large shapes moving towards them in the snow. It took them a moment to realize that the shapes were those of owlbears – vicious creatures whose name was fitting.

Viktor and Creed were nearly killed by the owlbears, but Tudor managed to distract them with summoned dogs long enough for the three of them to escape. However, they escaped in different directions with Tudor and Creed going the opposite way Viktor went.

Viktor managed to get to the guards at the nearby gate and tell them of the owlbears. Luckily, the guards did not notice Viktor’s elven ancestry, while Creed and Tudor reported back to the guards at the Riverside gate.

After speaking to the guards, Creed and Tudor decided to go back to the Albatross, but when they got to the pier, it was gone. They went over to the crew of the Guinea and asked them about what happened to the Albatross and everyone aboard. The drunken crew of the Guinea told them about the fight and that the guard had towed the Albatross to Three Piers to disassemble the ship. Creed thanked the crewmen by giving them a bit of gold.

Creed and Tudor headed off through town to get to the Three Piers. As they crossed into Three Piers, they heard a town crier call out, “Man of demonic intent is being burned on Penance Hill!” They looked at each other, worried that the man of demonic intent may be one of the Seekers.
They made their way through town and to a tavern called the Pious Maid. Amazingly, they found Viktor and Rykson at a table in the common room, so they joined them.

Viktor was still badly hurt from the owlbear attack, so Creed gave him some loving healing. The four of them swapped stories, including one about how Viktor and Rykson spoke to Roland – the man pushing the cart of tubers that they had met on the island weeks ago.

They spoke to Eunice, the tavern’s owner, but he was not as helpful as Nancy suggested he would be. After a while, they decided to head back to Gentry. They bought themselves a hay cart and a donkey to pull it. Viktor named the donkey Moradin… apparently finding some humor in naming an ass after his dwarven companion. Rykson hid in the cart, fearful that the guard would recognize him.

When they got back to Gentry, a snowball came flying from out of nowhere and nearly hit Viktor. It took a few moments for them to realize that it was Moradin who had thrown the snowball. They were amazed to find that he wasn’t in prison but didn’t have time to question him on it because they needed to keep him hidden.

They tried to continue on to Eastford to meet up with Captain Pollock, but the guard stopped them. Apparently, all citizens were required to watch the burning of the man with demonic intent. Not having anything else to do, the Seekers went to the burning.

Many citizens had gathered for the burning. Parents held fearful kids close and others bundled together to protect themselves from the cold. The man had been tied up in the center of a pyre. The guard was going to burn him alive.

Just as the guard set fire to the pyre, the man hysterically proclaimed, “Here’s something from my Master!” The man then disappeared and was replaced with a huge fire elemental. The elemental attacked everything in sight and killed several guardsmen within moments. The Seekers fled just like everyone else. They knew they were no match for the elemental.

They took advantage of the confusion to escape Gentry and make their way to the Chaste Sailor, called “Chasties” by its regulars.

Some rough, scarred-up man at Chasties decided to pick a fight with Rykson, who was only a quarter of the man’s size. Creed quickly interjected and stood to fight in Rykson’s stead. The rough man – a regular – beat the pulp out of the Chaplain, but Creed never gave up.

Creed knew he was going to lose the fight and hoped that the man’s aggression would be satiated with a win, so he took the man’s next punch squarely in the jaw and went down – partially on purpose to pretend that he was knocked out and partially because the punch hurt that badly. The thug stepped over to loot Creed, but Tudor stood from the table and shouted in as menacing a voice as he could, “The fight is over!”

The man seemed to think about attacking Tudor, but the bar’s bouncers interjected and stopped any potential fighting or looting.

After Creed managed to get himself up and back to the table with the rest of Seekers, Viktor approached the bar’s owner – a man named Grek. He asked Greck about Captain Pollock. Grek eyed Viktor for a moment then shoved a hand-written message into his hands. The message was from the captain and explained to the Seekers that he had to leave. He probably blamed the Seekers for his ship – his livelihood – being sunk. Rightfully so.

The Seekers were surprised by another chance meeting at the bar. One of Grek’s wenches had been married to a man named Eli. Eli led Luther’s guards in the attack on Creed’s tabernacle. His skull hung from Creed’s belt now and served as a sign of the Chaplain’s breakdown that night he exacted his revenge on Luther’s guards.

The Seekers had come to Verland in pursuit of Creed’s revelation, but they needed a safe way out of the city. They had been told that Grek could help with that and so they asked him for help getting out of the city. As they were missing most of their weapons, they also asked Grek for help retrieving them from the guard.

Grek was accustomed to helping men flee the law and always made a lot of gold in doing so. He eyed the Seekers knowing that they would be able to deliver more gold than most and complete a little task that he thought was too dangerous for his enforcers. He had loaned a man some money and that man had never repaid. Today that man was sent to be burned at the stake, but he disappeared. However, Grek suspected that the man had some valuables in his house. Retrieving those valuables was the task that he deemed too dangerous for his enforcers, so he agreed to help the Seekers escape the Gentry area unnoticed and return as much of their lost gear as possible as long as they would go into the house and retrieve any valuables to repay the debt.

The Seekers agreed then went to their rooms to rest until midnight. While the others were resting, Viktor managed to go out and buy some weapons.

At some point in the evening, a guard named Lucas came to their room. He had recognized Creed and believed him to be a murderer as stated on the wanted posters. He didn’t come to arrest Creed though. Instead, he came to thank him for saving his mother, Laura, who was the lady suffering from pneumonia in Riverside.

The man impressed the Seekers. Tudor gave him 20 gp to make sure that he had money to take care of his mother. Lucas was obviously an honorable man, but he also wasn’t comfortable with breaking the law by allowing a wanted man to go. He did so though with a warning that the Seekers must leave soon or he would be forced to arrest them.

The Seekers left Chasties at about midnight to go to Geeb’s house – Geeb being the name of the sorcerer. When they got to the house, it was all boarded up. The windows, the doors, everything was boarded up. The house had a certain creepiness to it that made it easy to understand why Grek’s men wouldn’t enter.

Not seeing any other obvious way in, Moradin pulled the boards blocking the door. It made a loud snapping noise that luckily didn’t attract any attention. Viktor checked and didn’t find any traps on the door.

It was apparent that the city guard did not check the house before they boarded it up because the Seekers found the body of a lady they assumed to be Geeb’s wife. She had been cut open from neck to genitals and had a wickedly curved black dagger driven into her heart. The dagger had Infernal markings all over it and had an aura of moderate transmutation. Tudor also found a glass bottle that radiated moderate conjuration. He didn’t want to have anything to do with the dagger, but he took the bottle.

Tudor could only guess that it had been done to power some form of dark magic. It was infuriating. Where Tudor grew up, folks that could use magic were put to death. The people feared magic and when he saw what this man had done to his wife in the name of magic, he could understand why some people feared it so.

Viktor busied himself with an inspection of the room. It served as a good distraction for keeping his attention away from the corpse and also turned up a small chest. Viktor eyed the chest hungrily. He checked it for traps and when he found none, he opened it. He had hoped to find something valuable, but only found some sailor’s clothes. So he continued to check around the upstairs area of the house but found nothing of interest for the Seekers or Grek. However, he did find a trap door behind some kitchen cabinets.

While Viktor was searching the main level, Rykson investigated the loft. He found some hay-filled mattresses and a chest. The chest was rather small, so he tossed it down to Moradin to hand to Viktor so that he could check it for traps. He didn’t find any traps and clothes filled the chest. Another disappointment.

They moved on down to the cellar and found a locked door. Viktor tried to pick the lock, but he accidentally broke one of the lockpicks and the pieces of it got lodged in the lock. So Moradin broke the door down. At least, that’s what he imagined would happen when he struck the padlock with his axe. In reality, he barely scratched the padlock and nearly chopped off his foot.

Rykson looked at the dwarf then contemptuously popped the door open with one hand. He had used a prybar, but Moradin didn’t see it and Rykson didn’t see any reason to tell him he had.

The door screeched loudly and opened into a dark, dark tunnel leading down, which opened into a circular chamber. Inside the chamber, was an evil-looking statue paved with flagstones. Creed recognized the statue for what it was: the statue of a demon. His investigation of the statue was cut short by a sudden flash of light followed by sinister laughter and scratching sounds.

Tudor was the first to react. He cast a spell that made the rest of the Seekers move and act more quickly than normal, giving them a nearly supernatural advantage that was especially handy during combat.

Viktor tumbled into the room and attacked one of the devils as it was getting its bearing. He missed. Tudor’s spell also gave him a second attack before the devil could respond, but he missed that attack too.

Creed moved up to surround a devil with Rykson and Kongo. Moradin tried to join them but the devil stabbed him with a nasty-looking glaive just as he tried to move in. Rykson and Kongo each managed to hurt the devil. The devil barely noticed. Rykson was not done though because he was attacking supernaturally fast due to Tudor’s spell, so he attacked again before the devil could face him. He missed so horribly that he tripped over Kongo fell prone.

Moradin got close enough to hit the little devil and cut a gash into its side. Tudor called out ‘AaaSid!’ and a small orb of acid shot out of his fingertips splashing into the devil’s side. It failed to burn the devil as he would have expected.

Viktor tumbled into a flanking position and dealt a punishing blow while Creed moved in to heal the nasty wound that Moradin had just received.

The devil blinked out for a brief moment then summoned another devil. The Seekers were slowly wearing down the original devil when Ron suddenly screwed up the order on the battle sheet.

The combat was intense – the devils blinked in and out and magic and did significant damage to the Seekers. Tudor called forth Rauck, who appeared as a small earth elemental, and sent magical force missiles that overcame the devil’s natural spell resistance.

Creed attacked the devil but slipped on some of the blood that covered the floor. The devil lashed out at him but he had fully recovered and swept the attack aside. He then began casting a spell from a defensive stance, but his boots were still slick with blood and he slipped again just enough to disturb his spell casting.

The devils blinked in behind Tudor and attacked. One of them hurt the young mage, but the second devil blinked back in facing the wrong direction.

Rykson chased after them and hit the first devil with his lance but he took a nasty shot from the devil’s glaive in the process. Rykson was in serious danger and needed to get out of reach of the devil’s glaive, but he wouldn’t leave his friends.

Moradin was cutting into the devil with nearly every attack, but the devil resisted a lot of the damage from his axe and some of his psychic attacks. Creed kept the Seekers healed as well as he could but channeling Iynmar’s power was difficult and some of his spells didn’t work.

Viktor tumbled all around throughout the fight and was the one that delivered the killing blows to both devils.

During the fight, Moradin contracted a disease from a devil’s beard which Tudor recognized. According to his studies, the disease was magical in nature and would drain his strength if it remained untreated.

They found a statue in the room. Rykson and Creed studied the statue and Creed recognized the stone from which the statue was carved. The stone was actually harvested from an area near his home village called the Cattle Trough. The area got its name because a narrow ravine split the otherwise flat area for about 50 feet. The ravine was deep and its walls were solid stone. It filled with water whenever it rained, making it look like a cattle trough. They decided that it was too bad that the stone was used for this purpose and then they destroyed the statue.

The Seekers grabbed one of the glaives and the dagger that was sticking out of Ms. Geeb’s heart. Creed was the one to grab the dagger. He was very careful when he grabbed the dagger – he even wrapped a cloth around it before touching it.

They took the things back to Grek at the Chaste Sailor, just as they had promised. And just as Grek had promised, he had recovered as much of their missing gear as possible – which was Rykson’s lance and Viktor’s boots. A lot of gear was not recovered.

As promised, Grek showed them the way out of the village, which was through the sewer. He had an entrance to the sewer in the basement of the Chaste Sailor which the Seekers used to enter the sewers. That is where they spent the rest of their night – trying to catch up on sleep in the sewer.

An ankle-deep layer of water covered the sewer, which was about 5’ wide and 8’ tall. The Seekers followed the running water to an intersection which contained a large drain. The Seekers lowered a rope down the drain and Rykson began to descend. Creed created a Protective Ward on Rykson before his descent.

Rykson and Viktor made it safely down into the chamber below and were watching Moradin descend the rope when tentacles shot out of the rubbish towards Moradin. Moradin lost his grip on the rope trying to keep away from the tentacles and ended up falling. It took only a moment for Rykson to recover from the surprise. He did so by hitting the source of the tentacles – a nightmarish otyugh – with an expertly placed sling bullet.

The otyugh shot more tentacles out, catching and grappling the tiny halfling. Moradin managed to stand and hit the smelly creature, but the creature quickly grabbed him too.

Creed and Tudor saw what was going on and tried to get below as quickly as they could. Creed began climbing down the rope and once he was close enough to the ground to drop without hurting himself too severely, he did so.

Tudor called forth Deesul, who had taken the form of a celestial hippogriff. Deesul flew down and attacked the otyugh doing considerable damage with its taloned claws. Then Tudor drank a potion of levitation and jumped down the drain to slowly float down.

Viktor moved in to attack the otyugh in a vulnerable spot, but he didn’t find one and his attack was swept aside. Moradin was in the creature’s grapple and could not hit with his axe, so he tried to think nasty thoughts at the creature, but he was unable to maintain his concentration through the grapple.

Rykson tried to escape the grapple, but the creature held tightly. The otyugh then squeezed the hell out of Rykson and Moradin, causing Rykson to go unconscious. Creed moved in to heal Rykson and tried to cast defensively, but he failed and lost his spell.

Tudor casted a haste spell on the rest of the Seekers and Deesul just as Deesul swooped in for another vicious attack on the Otyugh. Viktor attacked again and then again. He missed again and again.

Moradin tried thinking more nasty thoughts at the creature and this time wounded the creature’s psyche…a wound every bit as serious as one from his axe.

Rykson bled on the otyugh, so it dropped him to deal with the other threats. Creed was right there to tend to the halfling’s wounds, channeling the healing power of Iynmar through Rykson’s body.

Tudor and Deesul continued their assault from above. Tudor shouted, ‘Assid!” and launched a small orb of acid that seemed to come from his fingertips. The ball of acid slammed into the creature’s face and began burning. Deesul swooped in and racked the creature again.

Viktor shuffled over to get a better spot and hopefully kill the otyugh with a well-placed strike. He missed though. Moradin tried another psychic assault, but he couldn’t maintain his concentration and in the next moment, Moradin went unconscious from his wounds. Then the otyugh attacked Kongo and Viktor. It hit Kongo with one of its tentacles and bit Viktor.

The bite was nasty so Creed quickly moved over to him and healed Viktor. Tudor fired magical missiles at the creature then Viktor jabbed twice with his rapier. He missed… the first attack, but the second attack killed the beast.

Tudor floated on down to the room looking too clean and Creed busied himself with healing the rest of the Seekers.

The Seekers found signs that others had come this way and not survived. Tudor was able to find a magical armband that gave off a faint aura of transmutation and Viktor found a small flask which was filled with sooty black powder. The flask emanated a faint aura of necromancy, so Creed took it. They also found several pieces of silver.

Creed searched around the room looking for another human skull. After being tempted by the former Mrs. Geeb’s skull, he decided that he really wanted another skull. He kicked around pile after pile of garbage and bone. His mood became very anxious until finally he yelled, “Just give me a damned skull!” He went quiet after that outburst.

The Seekers continued on until they found a road that would lead them to Creed’s tabernacle.

They breathed a collective sigh of relief that they had made it without anyone dying or being sentenced to death.

It is the first day of Ibernus and the Seekers had just escaped from Gentry via the Smugglers’ Tunnels below the city. They were finally ready to set foot upon the path to Silas and Creed’s revelation. Unfortunately, Viktor couldn’t join the rest of the Seekers just then. They still don’t know his motives for remaining in Gentry. They didn’t believe his insistence that he had to go back to Gentry for “treatment”. The rest of the Seekers just assumed that one of the nasty wenches he bought gave him a bug, so they didn’t push their questioning.

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They followed the Vale Road out of Gentry to the north. As they looked back at Gentry, they saw a threatening storm front directly to the south. Luckily, they had just missed the storm. It was nice to get a break for once, or so they thought. It was still cold out, so Creed, Tudor and Rykson each used a minor incantation to protect the group from the freezing temperatures.

They were off to fulfill Creed’s Revelation. They had purpose and were excited but mindful of potential dangers along the road. But they not prepared to deal with Creed’s past, with a specific moment in his past that will forever shape the man he will be.

Creed’s Battle

The first night on the Vale Road, the Seekers found a clearing of trees just off to the side. It was tree-encircled and provided a terrific natural windbreak. They were even able to light a fire for additional warmth. The night sky was beautiful. They sat around the fire and roasted treats, made jokes about Moradin’s potent stench.

As they sat there, the night calm was disrupted by hollow voices floating across the breeze. “It’s the Chaplain,” “ The Chaplain must pay” and “Murderer”. They were being surrounded by the ghosts of the men that had murdered Creed’s flock – men whom Creed had killed in a revenge-fueled rampage.

Moradin was the first to react. As usual, he had his crossbow sitting within arm’s reach ready to be fired. He grabbed the crossbow and shot one of the ghosts. The bolt passed through the ghost as if it weren’t there.

“Murderer! Murderer! Murderer!” wailed the ghosts as they moved closer yet.

Creed immediately recognized the ghosts and knew the threat they posed to his friends. So he gave Iynmar’s blessing to the Seekers.

Little Rykson jumped up and tried to fast-mount Kongo. Normally, the spry Halfling would have no issues doing this, but the ghosts had him so shaken that he slipped out of the saddle. At least Tudor responded well enough to blast one of the ghosts with three bolts of force.

The ghosts were only interested in Creed and ignored the rest of the Seekers. One of the ghosts touched Creed and drained his strength. A second ghost moved in to flank Creed.

Moradin decided to use an old trick…he gave one of them a dirty look. It was a particularly mean look, but the ghosts didn’t notice.

Creed was able to turn the two ghosts that surrounded him, but other ghosts moved into the clearing and came after him.

The battle continued, with Moradin making faces at the ghosts with no affect, Creed turning ghosts and Tudor using his magic against the ghosts. This continued until Creed recognized that this was the very place that he had killed these men. He quickly scanned the area and found the remains of Eli, whose skull he continues to carry at his belt, and most likely saved the Seekers by doing so. He needed to get to Eli’s remains and put his spirit to rest. Eli, of course, is what Creed named the skull he wears on his belt.

He grabbed the headless remains of Eli and the Seekers made haste to get away from the haunted grounds. They continued on for a while until they felt they were sufficiently far enough away for Creed to lay Eli to rest without being disturbed.

Creed removed a set of magical gauntlets from the remains and then set about building a cairn. He then called the rest of the Seeker’s over and performed a moon-lit requiem finally laying Eli to rest. Creed had now effectively killed the man twice.

Tudor, feeling encouraged by Creed put on the armbands he had picked up in the otyugh lair in the tunnels beneath Gentry. He wasn’t able to tell if they had any effect, but he knew they were magical. Afterwards, they finally got some much needed rest.

Early the next day, they were back on the road and had been marching all when they finally arrived at Silas only to find that it was empty. The Seekers sought out Creed’s old cottage as a place to rest. On the way to his cottage, the Seekers found a newly built home that was not vacant. Creed did not know whose home it was, but he remembered that the cottage was just being built when the “incident” occurred.

Creed knocked on the door and a huge man named Vance Kriggle answered. Vance was a typical country gent. He was very friendly and invited the Seekers in to the warmth of his home. As the Seekers entered the cottage, Vance kindly suggested that Rykson go play with the other kids, which brought a round of laughter from the rest of the Seekers.

Rykson, as always, was very polite in his response and kindly explained that he was a halfling, not a little boy. He went even further and gifted a bottle of perfume to Vance’s wife for their hospitality. Doing so made him feel more like an adult.

After a while of some pleasant conversation with Vance, a shy little girl that Vance and his family had taken in came down to where the adults were and said in a quiet voice, “Horses”. The Seekers then heard the sound of hooves and stepped outside to find that Darrin – a knight who owed the Seekers a blood debt – and Lord Luther had arrived with several of Darrin’s men.

Lord Luther had come for Creed’s head. Creed was a wanted man in Gentry for killing Lord Luther’s guards after they had burned down the Silas tabernacle while it was full of the town’s citizens. Lord Luther was also furious that he had to hang his cousin, Lucas, for what he considered to be aid to the Seekers. Creed had cured Lucas’ mother before a disease took her life and in return, Lucas did not arrest the Seekers after he had discovered them in Gentry.

Luther wanted Darrin and his men to arrest Creed, but they would not so Luther challenged Creed to a one-on-one battle to the death. Creed accepted the challenge. The rest of the Seekers were worried for their friend. Even though they frequently put their lives in Creed’s hands, he was still getting old.

When the fight first started, Creed looked to be in serious trouble. The two older men circled each other, trading blows. Luther landed several critical blows, but in the end, Creed remained standing. As Lord Luther died, his last words were, “In the end, we’re both evil”.

The Seekers collectively released a huge breath…it was a close fight.

Darrin and his men watched the fight without interfering. After the fight, they gathered the body of Lord Luther and carried him back to Gentry. Darrin gave the Seekers a respectful nod as he rode away.

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MRL#4 Chaplain
Session IV: Nivosus 24 - Ibernus 1, 252 AE

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Rykson watched as the man with no hands silently fell into the freezing water, following the magic candle into the depths. The halfling felt slow; slower than he had ever felt before. He dove into the water after the man and was swallowed by darkness. Reaching blindly, he grabbed the man and tried to swim to the surface. But, he was too weak, too slow. The body went limp and pulled him down. The light of the candle shone upon the face of the man, but it wasn’t the handless man at all, it was Rykson’s father. And all around him were the submerged corpses of his clan, his family. The ruin of Egremont.

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He awoke with a start in the dingy taproom of the Pious Maiden. The smell of stale ale and tobacco smoke filled his nostrils, and his bleary vision focused on the man standing over him.

“Viktor! You have no idea how glad I am to see you, my friend!” the ranger exclaimed, momentarily forgetting where he was, as he leapt to embrace his friend.

“Keep it down, half-pint. It’s good to see you, too. Now, what kind of stupidity brought you here? And where’s the damn dwarf, relieving himself in the alley, no doubt? As if this backwater town didn’t stink enough.” The rogue’s crooked smile was comforting, even if his tone was harsh.

“I’m afraid not, Viktor. We had a bit of a mishap…”

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The tense moment dragged into an eternity, as the captain of the guard again demanded that Rykson and Moradin surrender themselves into custody. The silence was filled only with the creaking of the Albatross and the crashing of the waves against the shore.

Rykson peered down at the dock. There’s only the six of them. Maybe we can flee, he thought grimly, if only Moradin weren’t so slow. The situation was not good, in the outrider’s estimation.

Moradin suddenly broke the stillness with gravel and contempt in his voice, “Fine, then. We’ll be comin’ along. I’ll grab me gear.” As he turned to the small hold beneath the upper deck of the ship, his eyes caught Rykson’s, and flashed with violence. The halfing knew what was going to happen next, and steeled himself for it.

The knight bellowed a war cry as he rushed from the hold, axe gleaming and held high. The look of surprise and fear on the face of the guard was nearly worth the price that they were all about to pay.

“Kongo! To me!” Dog and outrider howled together, and the inevitable battle was engaged. Axe and lance tasted blood before it was over, with Moradin being taken captive, Dys plummeting into the sea, and Rykson fleeing into the night astride his faithful steed.

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“Are you bloody kidding me?!” Viktor was not amused by the halfling’s retelling of the events. “That damn dwarf will be the death of us all. Most importantly, the death of me.” He swigged the last of his grog and slammed the empty mug on the table. “Well, what’s done is done. Let’s figure out a way to find Creed and Tudor, then rescue the dwarf, and get the hell out of this god’s damned, stinking pit of a village.” He eyed the halfling with a suspicious look, “Wait a moment, where are your weapons? We’re going to need them.”

With a heavy sigh, Rykson sadly recounted the rest of the night.

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Where am I going? the young ranger was freezing, and scared that he would be set upon by guards at any moment. He and Kongo kept to the alleyways as much as possible, alternately creeping slowly along and dashing quickly through the streets. He had only a vague idea of how to get to the Three Piers district, but did not know what he would do even if he made it there.

Through the thick snowfall, he spotted a squat tower standing vigil over a long wooden bridge. Instinctively, he knew that bridge would lead him to Three Piers. Standing at its mouth were more of the town guardsmen; they hadn’t spotted him yet.

“Whoa, boy. Let’s think about this for a moment,” he whispered to Kongo, who responded with a low “woof.” The guards were well-armed and armored, of course, and the halfing would not risk another fight.

I doubt that these men have been told of the battle at the docks yet; word could not have traveled that fast. With luck, they’ll let me pass. And if not, I’ll let them take me captive. At least I’ll be reunited with Moradin. Hopefully, they’ll treat Kongo well. That last thought was most troubling to Rykson. He worried greatly for the fate of his most trusted companion.

He dismounted and grabbed the riding dog’s harness before continuing on to the guard tower, gripping tightly to the reins. As he neared, the watchman called out. “Who goes? And where? Show yourself!”

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“Viktor, I cannot believe that I surrendered my father’s lance! It is the only heirloom that I have. The only thing that connects me to my family!” Despair over his hard decision to give the lance to the guards washed over him for the first time. “We have to get it back!”

“If it’s gone, then it’s gone, my little friend. There’s no point on dwelling on it now,” his tone softened for a moment as he took pity on the young warrior, “If there is a way to get it back, we will find it.” The rogue put a comforting hand on his comrade’s shoulder and squeezed. “You did the right thing in giving up your weapons. But, you’re still a damn idiot.”

Rykson looked up at his friend and smiled. He knew that the scoundrel would make things right; all he had to do was follow Viktor. They would meet back up with the rest of their party, and then find a safe way out of this city.

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The next hours were a blur of sleep and fear, as the halfling was carted through the city hidden in a barrel in the back of a mule-drawn wagon. The only humor he found was when Viktor would yell, “Yaw, donkey! Move it, ya stinkin’ beast. At least you smell better than your damn namesake.”

By some miracle, they found Moradin hiding in an alley. The dwarf would not explain where he had been, except to cryptically say, “I swear, I didn’t kill ‘em!” That could not be good. Later, there was a great commotion during what Rykson figured to be a public execution. Then, there was Grek at the Chaste Sailor, otherwise known as "Chastie’s"…

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As the group returned to Chastie’s bearing the wicked dagger and demon-glaive from the madman’s house, they were greeted by the barkeep’s humorless grin and blazing blue eye. After the formalities of exchanging the hard fought treasure for access to the smuggler’s tunnels that would take them out the town, Grek turned to the halfling and said, “I managed to find a little something for ya, but the rest of the lot is long gone.” He heaved a long bundle onto the filthy bar and flipped it open.

Tears welled behind Rykson’s eyes as he looked upon the black-wooded, silver-gilded lance given to him by his father on the day that the young halfling volunteered to be Khalan. It had never looked so beautiful to him, with engravings of birds, dogs, and flowers done by the hands of his father, grandfather, and grandfather’s father. The bright red and orange feathers strung on a bright, thin chain still hung where is sister had put them years before, along with the glass baubles set by his mother before she died. With trembling hands, Rykson gently lifted the Lance of Orinson from the bundle, and vowed to himself that he would never again let it go.

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“Yeah, it’s a pretty nice stick ya got there, half-pint. Time we went and poked somethin’ with it.” Viktor flashed his crooked grin, and the Seekers of the Shattered Isle set forth.

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