Pact of the Ancients

bats, Bats, BATS

19th of Ingray, 988

In a very peculiar turn of events, every single member of our hunting party needed to relieve themselves at the same time so we spread out to different corners to get a little privacy. This collective act seemed to irritate some of the native inhabitants of the caverns and we quickly found ourselves beset by large Bats from every conceivable direction. I heard Lhankor Traslocare cry out in pain and come running around the corner that she was behind straight through several of the large Bats. A swarm of smaller bats had apparently attacked Lhankor while she was…well you know. Unfortunately, in her haste she was unable to avoid the attacks of the large Bats while running away and appeared significantly hurt by the time she made it clear. I immediately took to her defense and put myself between her and the pursuing bats, the rest of the part will have to handle anything coming from the other sides.

Everything appeared under control until a couple much larger BATS appeared launched into the assault and one even grabbed Nicolas Hauxworth and ascended higher into the cavern with him in his grip. I maintained my defense of Lhankor and put up a very formidable wall that the bats had a hard time getting through. I heard the pitched battle taking place behind me as well, but didn’t have the luxury to divert my attention to see if they were OK. After several pitched rounds of combat we defeated the largest BATS and, devastated the swarm of small bats, and scattered whatever large Bats we didn’t kill.

After a short rest where Lhankor again used her tracking spell to find where the fleeing tiefling was at, we proceeded onward, but quickly heard the voices of several Dwarfs call out to us. After learning they were from the mining outpost of Forgehome. We sat down to have a talk with them, hoping that we might get some assistance in the hunt or additional information that would be valuable. I admire my hearty brethren who make their home in this harsh, yet beautiful, environment. I hope to be able to see more of it soon, but for now we need to learn what we can from these dwarfs, share what we know with them, and continue on our hunt.

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Perion et la Foret de Champignon
(Perion and the forest of mushrooms)

19th of Ingray, 988

The Company had learned from the ordeal at Geldram’s Tower- after the surviving tiefling retreated, they decided to bed down and wait a short while before pursuing, to make sure they were at full strength when they hit the tiefling stronghold.

Using Lhankor’s ritual, the dwarven maps, Nicholas’s talents as a tracker, and Torrin’s suggestion “why don’t you just follow the trail of blood?” the company found where the wounded tielfing had retreated to, and followed his trail to a forest of Mushrooms. Nicholas recognized these as Razorcloud mushrooms, the spores of which could infect us with bloodlung if inhaled. There were also glowing mushrooms which Lhankor insisted were harmless, and tasteful if eaten with a buttery white sauce and chicken, but that duck would overpower the flavor of the mushroom. The ranger was hazy on the details of bloodlung, but insistent that they were foul. Ever-logical, Kildrak suggested all cover their mouths with cloth to hinder the spores. Still, if a lone wounded tiefling had found its way through, surely a group of six seasoned heroes would have no trouble.

After nearly an hour of stumbling, backtracking, and a good deal of guessing, The Company wandered out, with everyone except Torrin (?and Gesh?) heaving their empty stomachs, thankful that their breakfasts were made of magic and not solid food. (Although some appeared drained and haggard, Nicholas assured everyone that they appeared free from the symptoms of bloodlung. || Fortunately, only Gesh appeared to be suffering from any symptoms like bloodlung.) Unfortunately, the it soon became clear the Tiefling suspected someone would follow him- the party came upon a rope bridge with the stakes pulled from the ground. The chasm was no trouble- Perion whisked the full company across with a magic word. The quarry’s paranoia was more troubling- if the tiefling was willing to risk its own life winding through the deadly mushroom forest to keep others from following, and still destroyed a bridge, he must have considered the force he retreated from a terrible foe.

Though his best efforts were mere inconveniences, what evils could a keep of tieflings thrust upon our heroes?

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Victory or Death!
16 - 19th of Ingray, 988

To Josseth Cromblade

We had just settled into the dwarven outpost and had a near cataclysmic battle with a statue, but for the most part were no worse for the wear. Since we did not know how long we would have to wait until the tieflings would strike again, I spent time looking over the maps that we found there. I hope our dwarven hosts don’t mind me taking a look, but they asked for our help in the first place. It appears that there is more to this story than they are telling, but I will save that for a more secure missive.

Our plan was the following: The tieflings would attack, and we would put up a strong showing, possibly injuring one or more of them before retreating. Hopefully we’d retreat with one of their possessions and then be able to use my rituals to trace them back to their base. This would help us gain favor with the dwarves of Vulceron and have the added bonus of wiping out a forward base of tieflings, which is a win if I ever heard of one. So, hopefully the coming battle would be short and we’d escape without serious harm.

We were alone for several days, and Torin, Perion and Kildrak went to explore the caverns. When we were attacked, it was just Nicholas and me. Nicholas started the assault lightly, purposely misaiming his shots, which is a waste to me. When we got a little surrounded, though, he abandoned this plan. I found their leader and gave him a fierce psychic assault that left him helpless and crippled. From there, it was a slaughter. The others returned and we proceeded to demolish the tieflings. What was initially supposed to be a retreat for us turned into a rout for them. They ended up fleeing from us, though not before we disarmed them. With a dagger of theirs in my posession, I can track down the survivors in their camp, and we can wipe them out once and for all.

I will inform you as we progress!

As always your faithful servant,

Lhankor Traslocare

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The desecrated outpost
16h of Ingray, 988

From the Journal of Nicolas Hauxworth

After a lengthy discussion, the dwarves came around to the obvious; the war is here like it or not. And while I can understand that they are hesitant to bring themselves in a racial feud that spans centuries the Talon at least pretend that they are the good guys.

After securing many maps of the local area I was confident that I could lead our group to Qorthar without error. What I was unsure of is any resistance along the way or at the outpost, as we had to approach from the south which is unsecured by the dwarves. Luckily, the way there was uneventful, a few close calls but with the help of Lankor’s magic light we were able to evade any mishaps.

Upon reaching Qorthar we could clear signs of ransacking. Even the door which looked like it had been repaired multiple times was meekly hanging on its hinges. After checking for traps(we were warned that it had been trapped in the past) and listening for any foot traffic we made our way in the rear entrance. We were greeted by a small corridor and decided to take the passed to the right. Again, I checked for traps and assumed the way was clear when there was a horrible blast followed by a blazing inferno of hellfire. Torrin, myself, Perion, and Kildrak were all caught in the blast while Lankor deftly outmaneuvered the flame; not even catching her flowing dress on fire. Even after we had snuffed out the flames the heavy smoke filled our lungs. This was not how I wanted to start this excursion.

Clearly on our toes now we cautiously explored the next area. The next room contained a trove of maps for the surrounding area, quickly we gathered up all the maps and placed them in our bag for future inspection. The same could be said of the next few rooms. We found the supply closet and set up out fake supplies. No other doors seemed to be trapped, at least the ones we have checked so far. We did find a body of a dead dwarf which appears to have been from the previous raid, around three days ago. In the barracks there was signet of the Ambershard which Lankor was able to add that they generally deal with trinkets from the Underdark. Perhaps the dwarves are not telling the whole truth about their operation?

In the next room was a silver statue to some dwarven hero, but instead of a look of pride it was replaced with a face of pure agony. Perion and Kildrak recognized this work of Gyyrune. As Torrin and I inspected it further suddenly he screamed in anguish and started charging me. Quickly I ran past him and shut the door behind me. A moment later Torrin exclaimed that the statue had spoke to him he swore that I was Rayden. Clearly this was preposterous as I how could a large dragon enter the these small caves in the first place. I started to tell him so when he tried stab me again through the door! This was a man possessed. Not wanted me to kill Torrin him trying to kill me Lankor mentoned that we should try and destroy the statue instead. So I started laying waste to the poor dwarf with well placed shots. Then I heard a voice, it was Finnigan Malachine ! That bastard! How the hell he gotten in here I am unsure but it meant his death! As my bolts pierced his flesh he smirked and vanished. Where did he go?! As I started to run after him I blacked out.

The next thing I remember was Perion looking over me, bleeding with two fresh bolt holes in his shiny emerald armor. I couldn’t have done that? Could I have?

It seems that this outpost is only beginning to tell us its secrets.

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The Counsel of the Forge
a meeting of minds, and skittish dwarves

From the Journal of Torrin Stormtooth

We made our way through the tunnels towards where the majority of the skirmishes were happening, and the Talon forces bases. We met up with a company of Talon soldiers and they told us about the locals who had been keeping the lines in the area were a group of dwarven miners from Vulceron. They could not hold the outposts because they were getting raided on a regular basis, and unable to hold their position the supplies that were left behind were being taken by the raiding forces whoever they may be. We met with a procession of dwarves from Vulceron who represented the counsel of the Forge. Much dwarven blood had been spilled every time the outpost had been overrun and the leader of the procession, named Helsing, wants nothing to do with this “war between the Talon and the Horn”. Perion was trying to negotiate with him and gain his support in the battles to come when my temper got the best of me. Helsing was saying something about not wanting to get his people involved and how his people just want to live their lives and mine, I slammed my fist into the table and shouted that his people were already involved and the war is at their door. Perion shouted me down and continued to explain the plan. Now we are making our way to the outpost to reestablish the outpost and wait for the Horns forces to attack. Note to self- I get to take a horn, or other piece of an enemy but we must not kill them all we will feint a retreat and then track them with some spell that Perion and Lancor had devised.

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Giant pain in my Arse

15th of Ingray, 988

News of the tragedy that is besetting Cerdan brought with it rumors that Guyrune may be involved. This was the first lead I have had on him since I started my search, so I decided to follow it up, however I can’t handle it alone…I need help and I know exactly where to find it.

It turns out that the plague in Cerdan is also of interest to my friends, each for their own reasons, and they had addition information on where to start the search…apparently a dwarven expedition encountered duegar while mining and stumbled upon their path up from the underdark.

Heading towards these tunnels we stopped off in the small mining town of Silvermont where Perion de la Foret had some conversations with Lord Ormend and Mendis Falcon on the situation going on elsewhere in Endisia.

Continuing our trek towards the tunnels, while walking through a shallow valley we were assaulted by a group of giant and their pet dire bear. It looked like they had the upper hand to start as they bombarded us with boulders and pinned us down, however we were eager for an opportunity at real combat and quickly took control of the situation. Most of the team took the 3 giants on one side of the valley, while I fended off the other side with the assistance of Lhankor Traslocare. She is a handy ally to have, and she was able to take the dire bear out of the combat by putting it into a deep magical slumber.

After quickly dispatching the giants we proceeded toward the tunnels, where we met up with Josseth Crownblade and discussed the current state of affairs with him. He let us know that Baron Varsod has taken control of Tyrrn and has used the harsh treatment of tieflings by the Talon to whip the city into declaring war against the Talon under the guise of religious persecution.

I am beginning to fear that all out war can no longer be avoided…

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Pestilence and Pain

A strange fever has broken out in Cerdan. It seems to be spreading through the leadership ranks of the city militia as well as among some of the political leaders of the city.

Finnigan Malachine begins to push for the Council of Lords, a largely symbolic assembly of members of some of the descendants of the noble caste of the Empire of Nerath, that the Council should be stepping in to assume authoritarian control of the city during the crisis of the spreading sickness.

Victims of the fever suffer from a red rash that resembles flames, but as they hallucinate they claim to be freezing to death in an icy wasteland covered by rushing glaciers colliding with each other, pummeling hailstones, and crushing avalanches of ice. Many have died. None have fully recovered.

Later in Cerdan one day, a dwarven prospector came running screaming through the city gates into the farmer’s market square. This dwarf had come back from a deep excursion into caverns beneath the Valthunes. He told a tale of duergar capturing his colleagues and taking them down toward the Underdark as slaves. The mining company that he worked for hired a band of adventurers to follow the dwarf’s directions back down into the deep caverns. They managed to confront the duegar in a volcanic cavern and rescue the other captured prospectors and miners. They know the path down into the Underdark that the duegar where taking.

Word of these happenings in Cerdan circulates widely throughout Endisia.

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On the Wings of an Eagle
26th of Kelm

To his Holiness, Josseth Crownblade, Leader of the Talon,

Report 1

As you have advised, I have started integrating myself in with the Company that retook the tower. I’ve decided to take on a more facilitator role, as they don’t seem overly fond of the Talon. However, our goals are one and the same, and their abilities cannot be brushed aside. I’m curious to see what I might learn!

I met them with you when we arrived at the base camp for the Talon in this region. I assume that eventually we’ll be moving closer to the tower, making it a home base. I think that we should maybe give the Company main control, since they did most of the fighting. Of course, this is up to your sole judgement, your holiness.

I spoke with them for a bit and got to know them, but we also were talking with Advero. It appears that martial law is being implemented in Cotham and he needed to get there in a hurry, but I was able to provide my skills as a mage to get us there in style on flying eagles. If there is one thing I know, it’s how to make an entrance.

I will inform you further, my lord, if there are other developments.

As always, your humble servant,

Lhankor

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The Tower is ours.....
From the Journal of Torrin Stormtooth

24th of Kelm

We fought our way into the tower and survived a trip to a fiery plane that non of us were familiar with, AND the onslaught of the Devils that I can only assume were the work of Gyyrune. That damned smirk on his face as the quarrel struck his chest and he fell into that fiery abyss, makes me thin we haven’t seen the last of that Tiefling bastard. We exited the tower with what remained of our health and Talon escorts hoping that Salavar would understand the odds that we had faced and forgive the loss of so many of his soldiers.

Upon entering the fields before the tower the cavalry riders met us and asked if we had been routed or victorious, they yelled a whooping celebration and rode back for the small camp that Salavar had set with what remained of the company of soldiers we brought with us to siege the tower. He stood near the center of the camp seeing to the wounded and barking orders at the healthy. He listened as Perion and the others told him about their struggles under the tower and he expressed that the scout’s and soldiers had served their god well and had sacrificed themselves for the good of the war. Then he told us even bigger news than our surprising victory over the forces of the tower, Josseth Crownsblade was on his way to our position with all of his strength in tow. Then Eridan freaked out and started ranting about how he was tired of almost dying and said something along the lines of “screw you crazy bastards I’m going home” after taking his share of the spoils I expressed my distaste of keeping him alive long enough to get his spoils for him to leave like this. He said “no I’m not leaving like this” he flipped backwards turned into a cat and bounded off, when Kildrak said “I guess he is leaving like that”

Nicholas said they had not secured one or two of the smaller tunnels under the tower, and suggested that he and a few of the healthy soldiers go in and secure the tower and the tunnels that were left untouched. Kildrak, who was left virtually untouched, also hopped up to his feet along with me to go and check these tunnels. We entered the tower and down in the tunnels past the cavernous room that was all that remained of the room where we first fought Gyyrune we found the tunnels in question, one was a dead end the other was deep and dark. Nicholas sounded a halt and slumped to the floor and began crawling into the tunnel while the rest of us watched, is was mildly amusing at first, then amusing became hilarious as someone shouted through the dark “hey , hey you know we can see you right…” after the laughter had died away the torches were lit and we found two drow scouts locked in a small makeshift prison cell that had been hewn into the rock with iron bars put into the rock. While Drow are not the most savory of the races they are better that those retched Tieflings, and the enemy of my enemy tends to be an ally.

Nicholas questioned them to some extent and after several attempts at lying which failed miserably. They told us they were scouts from the undercity looking to make a foothold here on the surface and they had heard of the Throne of Anguish Perion promised we should let them go, while others said that we should not so we ended up with the Drow in shackles and marching to the sunlight where they were not happy.

Now we wait for Josseth Crownblade to arrive, the others aggree that we should have this tower for ourselves as a fortified base to venture forth from, I have only been with them for a short time but is seems they has as powerful of allies as I do among the people on the other side of the Valthune mountains. Will Perion’s charms and wits succeed with Josseth as they did with Salavar or will we be put out on our collective rear ends.

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The economics of Asmodeus
Wherein the self-styled count of the forest realizes winning one battle does not stop a war.

From the histories of Perion de la Foret

23rd of Kelm

When the garrison at the tower realized that The Talon had won the battle, the two tieflings on the roof retreated inside. The Talon, Torrin, and I finished off the enemies outside, regrouped and rested. Salvarr Dagg said that he would hold back while we finished the fight, and granted us the help of Gesh and a few of the officers.

We entered the tower and found the foyer empty. Deciding that joining up with Nicholas and the others was the next step, I used a quick ritual to magically seal the the door up to the rest of the tower, and we climbed down beneath the tower. We ran into one of the tieflings from the roof, and a small group of infernal armor, but Torrin thought he could hear the rest of our group, and tore into them pieces with a ferocity I have never seen, quickly breaking the armor into pieces.

Our group pushed on into the next room, and waiting for was a small army. The rest of our party was exhausted, Eridan and the Talon warlord looked on the edge of death, and none of the scouts sent with them were still alive. They were pursued by a rampaging fire elemental. And standing by a massive pool of fire was the necromancer who escaped us back in Tyrrn, at the Temple of Asmodeus.

Hoping to rush this climax to its end, I slipped right into the middle of the minions and cultists and hit them with every burst or blast of magic I had; leaving them disoriented and disabled. Nicholas assumed a wary stance and used the last of his energy to tear through the enemies between our two groups; and Eridan and Durani tried just to do whatever damage they could while clinging desperately to life. Torrin gave them some of his endurance by laying his hands on them, but he knew he was needed more in melee, and that was somewhere they should not have been.

The necromancer identified himself as Gyyrune, the brother to Netheria, who we had fought and killed in the foyer above, the day before. Torrin pulled Gyyrune into the middle of our group in hopes that we could overwhelm him through sheer force of numbers, as we had his sister; he was prepared retreated back to the pool of fire. We killed perhaps a dozen armors or cultists, and it looked like our victory had come; but Gyyrune summoned a pair of bearded devils from the abyss, and a giant scorpion crawled from a crack in the corner, leveling the playing field. We rallied our strength, and Torrin worked miracles in keeping Eridan and Durani alive while Kildrak held like a stone, to pin the devils and the fire elemental in the corner. I used nearly every trick I’ve been keeping up my sleeve since the start of this adventure, and with all of us exhausted, the warlord fallen but away from the battle, and every foe save Gyyrune and the barely-intelligent beasts vanquished, things began to go wrong.

With his back to the wall and his army beaten, Gyyrune swore he would see us all in hell. I had heard that every time I faced any worshiper of Asmodeous, and laughed it off; but he was able to back his words literally. With a tap of his staff and a flash from the pool of fire, Gyyrune used magics I haven’t heard of since childhood bedtime stories. The room cracked into five pieces, platforms floating in a horrible dark fire, and I could feel us shifting off the plane. As if to erase any doubt we were halfway to the hells, four more devils flew in and started to assail us with fiery spines and swords. I called for a retreat.

Getting back there alive was disastrous. The hell-born spined devils killed two of the Talon captains sent with us, and knocked Durani and Eridan unconscious again. Nicholas knocked Gyyrune from one of the platforms into the fires of hell, thinking it would help our fight, but he simply floated away without any fear or uncertainty. It was only through Kildrak’s apparent invincibility, and my tweaking teleportation into my most familiar spells, that this few of us were able to make our way to the spot that was anchored to The First Work; and to drag our half-dead comrades to safety before the portal closed up.

This tower might have been more important to The Horn of Geryon than I had originally thought. Rooting them out now might have been our only chance. We succeeded in clearing them all from the tower; but it still feels like Gyyrune won a victory too. I think we did a good thing, and that assaulting this now was the right decision; but our victory came at a terrible price for The Talon. I hope what we did was enough to prevent a literal hell from coming to earth; and that Salavar sees it that way.

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