The City of New Haven and beyond

Beyond New Haven

As the members of the party spend the weeks in new haven procuring good, healing, training, and just relaxing soon the spark of wanderlust starts to hit them. Lode having heard news of a significant earthquake in the north mountain range to the east of the dwarven stronghold Forge's Deep combined with the legends of a great weapon's mage having his final resting place somewhere in that area has the party thinking a trip north is in order.  Upon learning of the groups desire to travel north The Council desides to take this opportunity to have the party deliver some letters of importance as emissaries of New Haven.   And to charge them to find out and eliminate any banditry that they come across along the road to Forge's Deep.  

The group finds a caravan with six guards that they can join and travel with.  The first four days of the journey go by without any incident, but on the fifth day the quiet is ended.  An ambush set up by a group of kobolds and gnolls shower the caravan with arrows while the gnolls block any escape, although with some quick thinking and spell work from the clerics as well as fine archery the ambush is a complete failure and the goblinoids flee in terror from the caravan after several of their number lie dead.  The group remembering the charge form the council to route out banditry rely on Drecaril's tracking to follow the creatures to the west and the coast. 

Drecaril and Valenthia decide to go on ahead of the group when Guernan and Valenthias sharp elven eyes see smoke rising up in the night sky from somewhere far ahead.  Moving silently through the woods Drecaril and Valenthia come to a thinning and eventually the end of the forest.  a couple hundred yards away they see a large bonfire with several score of the kobolds around it.  They also notice some patrol groups about 70 yards from the main fire. Beyond the fire just illuminated by is some sort of low lying stone structure.  Drecaril and Valenthia decide to stalk the perimeter and realize that the creatures are camped against a cliff face that falls away to a crashing surf that they can not see in the scant light provided by the new moon.  They can smell the salty tang in the air that warns that the sea is close by.   Returning to the rest of the group they decide to wait until morning when the rising sun will be at their backs and hopefully the beasts will be less vigilent.

The morning brings quick action, with Guernan casting successive sleep spells on the patrol groups and Valenthia and Morning, and Drecaril's arrows make quick work of all but two of the creatures from 12 that cry out and alter the rest that an enemy is upon them.  As the small vile creatures from a quick line of defense with several archers behind them the heavy hitters of Lode, Drecaril and Valenthia charge in to break the line and get at those archers.  Two of the Kobolds move back towards the stone structure.  The Hero's crash through the line and Morning calling upon his god for favour is blessed with a great hammer that flies to and fro and with each tremendous strike another of the creatures lies crushed.  It is then that out of shadow it seems a great slavering wolf larger than any of the group has ever seen lunges forward snapping viciously at Drecaril!  Drecaril responds with a mighty swing of his enchanted bastard sword which cuts a vicious cut through the 5 foot tall wolves side.  Then follows a site that chills the party to the bone, the creature transforms in seconds to an eight foot tall monstrous humanoid with a wolves head!  Load moves forward and smashes his axe dead against the beasts chest but it just bounces off doing no harm at all.  The beast then rips open Lode's stomach and sinks it's long dark fangs into his shoulder and rips chunks of dwarf flesh out.  If not for the healing prayers of Rastor and Morning the Dwarf surely would have been close to deaths door.  But Valenthia and Drecaril do not let up and when the beast is bleeding from several smaller wounds the ground itself opens beneath and he falls through vanishing from sight.  Lode in his fury slams his great axe viciously into the newly appeared ground sending sprays of dirt flying.  

The party wary of the beast returning takes a momentary reprieve to catch their breath and take a better stock of the surroundings.  the stone structure behind the fire is a tower that decends down the cliff face and seems to have been built right out of it.  There are to large raised platforms of stone that once could have been lookouts or perhaps beacons for passing ships.  Their investigations lead to Morning find an outline of what appears to be a door and Lode once seeing the door easily discerns the catch mechanism that will release it and allows them access to a spiralling staircase that leads down into darkness.  Morning pulling out a small wooden ball with a light spell cast on it tosses it down the spiralling staircase and after a few turns the light is lost in the depths of the stairs.  Looking over the sides the characters realize that this tower must stand over two hundred feet from the ocean surf crashing against the cliff.  

Not wanting to wait for the beast to appear in their midst they decide to take the fight to it and decend the stairs wary that at any step the creature could appear and attack from any side.  After descending for several minutes they come to a door with the stairs continuing down.  Taking time to check the door for traps and hidden dangers they eventual step through.  Seeing a corridor that leads ahead and opens into a large room, the move forward tentatively.  Once at the entrance to the main room the creature appears through a rip in the very substance of reality!  Attacking viciously at the Large Barbarian Drecaril and taking its own hits as well.  The group cleverly shifts and tumbles around the creature flanking it and slaying it before it has the opportunity to escape through on of its rifts again.  Searching this floor of the tower they find an amazing bag that holds much more than appearances would allow and several bones and chunks of rotting flesh. 

Moving forward and going down the stairs once again they come to another level of the tower.  After entering and looking around appearing out of thin air is a green wizened crone of a woman that grasps the elven wizard around the neck and throttling her drains almost all of her strength in moments.  The warriors are quick to hack at and attack this green woman but before much damage can be done she vanishes as quickly as she appeared.  Thinking quickly the clerics both cast detect magic in hopes of finding her but in the moments the spells take to manifest they are unable to find any trace of her.  Continueing their search of the floor they find a child in what appears to be a kitchen as well as a coded leger and an bed with many furs and silks.  Further exploration of the tower finds a lower room with more children chained as well as what would appear to be stolen caravan goods.   The children are all left with only minimal mental faculties.  Morning suggests they brought to his church in new haven to be cared for and hopefully nursed back to health.  After further exploration the party meets back up with the caravan and has them bring the children back to new haven and notify the council of all that they have found.

Moving forward towards the town of Romraoc it takes a few uneventful days and the passing of deep forest to rolling hills before they see the small farming waypost village up ahead.  Drecaril having passed by here on his way to New Haven warns his friends that the people are less than receptive to outsiders and are often cold if not outright mean to any other than the caravans that pass through, and even those are really only tolerated by the Inn Keeper MacDougal.  As the party enters the town they catch many evil looks and even more instances of people outrightly ignoring them.  Drecaril leads them to the Tavern where MacDougal is quick to provide an oversized tankard of ale to the Barbarian.  Guernan the female elven wizard upon learning that there are no rooms available, no possible hot bath throws a tantrum demanding that the party continue past the town.  Rather than spend the night in such unhospitable environs.  Shrugging their shoulders in acceptance the group leaves the tavern and quickly passes through the town proper and continues on the road north to Forge's Deep the dwaren keep.  

They first go to the top of a nearby hill where there are a set of circular stones that have stood for many generations.  Lode knows the stones well for it is the spot where the Dwarven Captain Cirgarren made his final stand against the evil horde of humans and elves that had swept up from the south.  He and his men died valiently defending this land against the evil elves and humans.  Morning hearing this relates a much different view to the battle, one shared by Valenthia of a human and elven host chasing a murdering and pillaging group of Dwarves known for their slaughter to this spot where they were all slain.  The two sides agree to disagree on this point and leave the stones in a sour mood indeed.  

After leaving the stones they travel for several more hours of daylight.  It is as dusk is falling that they see near the rise of a nearby hill a campfire with figures around.  Not knowing what to expect but curious they approach.  Not bothering to hide themselves they come much closer and see a group of human warriors, as well as two teenagers.  After some talk and introductions the two adventuring groups sit down to share stories and the fire as well as some food.  They learn that Lara and her group found the same reception at Romraoc as did themselves.  Further they learn that the two teenagers are lovers that are hiding from the town as the boy is accused of being behind some recent killings and disappearances.  In fact is only under full darkness that a small group of villagers with torches come up to the campsite demanding they turn over the boy for his punishment and the girl Gwen's father demands she come home but with the proteciton of Drecaril and Morning and Valenthia she stands her ground with her beloved.   The townsmen knowing that they can not win this fight leave and head back to town.

Late in the night while Drecaril and Morning are on watch a strange winged creature descends from the darkness to swoop down upon them.  Drecaril knowing several birds of prey realizes that the creatures target is Gwen and stands over her protectively interposing himself.  Trying to rouse there comrades the beast flies down upon Drecaril raking him with vicious back talons that slice him open from hip to shoulder.  They get a better look at the devil that is a blood red and has wicked talons, long sharp fangs and a long beard that has the sheen of metal to it.  After a long battle where Lara and two of her companions fall decapitated by the devil and several teleportations away from the battle while it regains its strength only re-appear and attack again.  It goes into a berserker rage slashing and biting and slicing wildly until finally it falls under the mighty blows of the group and dissipates in a foul cloud of brimstone.

Morning is beside himself in anger that someone would dare to bring forth an abomination from the lower planes and then set it upon two innocents.  For he sees the gift of his god Sunneirelling (god of the dawn, sun, and dusk, healing, bane of undead and beauty).  in the amazing drawings of the young lad and hopes that if they survive that his church can sponsor the boy and nurture his beauty away form the cruelties that he is surrounding by currently.   They come to the cave where the lovers have been hiding and learn that there is a long forgotten chapel far from the town and decide that is as good a place as any to begin looking for this summoner.  Also the chapel is a good lead considering the involvement of Loki (god of mischeif and lies) and Vali (god of revenge, hate, anger maliciousness, cruelty) in what so far appears to be an attempt at ridiculing or upsetting the goddess who is the caretaker of the dead and overseas all who are worthy of her). 

Finding the chapel easily using a very well detailed drawing from the young lad the group proceeds to investigate it.  Finding that it has been recently used they find an alter which they move aside and underneath find a green silk altar covering, several magical candles and a magical chalice.  Although the magical nature of the items is known the details and exact use is not.  As the group is leaving they see cresting the rise of a hill a group of people that appear to be coming right for the temple.  Hiding inside and listening to some conversation they determine that this is indeed the group that summoned forth the demon and are led by a young woman, and the whole kidnapping of Gwen has to do with the innkeeper wanting her as his plaything.  Enraged at such evil the group storm into the room slaying all and freezing the woman in her tracks for a moment.  Drecaril chases one who dared to hide and attack him from behind through a secret panel where he cuts him down.  It is then that the woman breaks free of the spell holding her and holds aloft a horn of some sort that sends out a wave of magical fear that causes everyone to flee violently.  Drecaril rising from the secret room finds the woman standing among her dead companions and she raises the horn and sends him fleeing in terror as well although the horn itself cracks in half.  As the group overcomes the magical compulsion and returns to the church they find the woman and one other conspirator gone.  

Deciding to go to the town and finish this right now they leave the church after finding the summoning room and inundating it in magically created water.   Heading towards the town they are almost there when they see a group of the townsmen all armed with various weapons and torches milling about.  It is then that they hear the male conspirator declare that "there are the ones who slew MacDougal, Heath, Silaryn, and are behind the murders and disappearances."  At that the captive they had revived from the battle with healing magic yells out to his townsmen "they mean to kill me and only kept me alive to find you! (which is very close to the truth in his eyes) and just now threaten me with death if I do not calm you down"  At this the group not wanted to kill innocent villagers let the troublemaker go and race into the night ahead of the mob.  Drecaril and Valenthia break off while Justin and Rastor lead the mob ahead with torches.  Drecaril and Valenthia catch up to the town's treasurer who incited the mob although before they can get to him he mutters under his breath "one day you will know true evil" and plunges a dagger through his own neck and throat and dies in the street.  Drecaril and Valenthia search his home and learn that through a painstakingly well kept leger that he was very fair and generous with the towns money that was earned through the caravan and they even find the town treasury.  To make a point Valenthia writes a note and puts it inside the lockbox saying "this could have been ours and if we are the evil you think us to be we would have taken it, but in the coming weeks and months through harvest and past the first snows when no more people go missing and you no longer fear the night… you will learn the truth that we saved your town from an evil that you did not even know was growing and living in your own midst".  

to escape the mob Justing when around the rise of a hill shoots off his sun rod into the end of a gully for the mob to follow and he and nestor escape back to the cave of Gwen and her artistic lover where they meet up with the rest of the group.  After relating each others stories they decide to rest for the night.  

Early in the morning just after eating and praying the venture outside the cave to see an adorable young girl with the whitest blonde hair and the fairest skin and very slight of build.  Now this is in direct contrast to everyone else they have met in the town who are dark of skin and hair with some with orange hair.  In fact it would not surprise them to realize that much of their gruff nature comes from slight interracial breeding of dwarven blood into them.  It is then that the little girl speaks. 

"oh, but you had to bring such an abrupt end to my little game.  But then with all games one must play by the rules, and although you were not anticipated you did stay within the rules and have been some welcome amusement." Drecaril ever as straightforward and blunt as always asks "what is your name?".  At this the petit child bursts into laughter "if I were to say my name to you I sincerely fear that you my die right were you stand, and for the winners of my game what reward would that be?  But, with winning there is always a price, for (a string of sounds that pains the ear comes from a voice that is far from the little girl) is very cross with you.  He was to spend many years on this world wreaking chaos and causing fear, and now he is home, sent there by such fragile creatures of yourself.  I do admit that he was bound by the game and was not allowed to use his full strength… but I assure you that if he finds away around his century banishment and even then, (the name) will not forget such an insult." after some more pleasant if mysterious chat with the slight girl she sighs deeply, "There are many games to be played, and life at my uncles side doees become so very boring… I am sure I will need a distraction again soon, and perhaps my eye will stray towards past players.  Oh!  but the game is not yet done.  For there is no escape from loosing or from being weak… do enjoy yourselves my winners."  With that she is gone and a haggard looking stooped old woman appears in her spot.  She immediately unleashes a barrage of fire magic that engulfs Drecaril, Lode, and Valenthia and to a much lesser extent Justin and Rastor.  The group makes quick work of the summoner and when she is dead they wander at just whose game they interfered with and if they ever want to see her again or to be full members of one of her games. 

Comments

Aye, we fought those spindly-legged Kobolds and tracked them to the coast. Next thing we know, they’re camped on the edge of a cliff. What a fight! Morning or Drecaril get the idea t’charge out o’the sun, blinding the lil’ scamps. We took out at least a patrol with some spells and arrows, and then charged our way in.

Thing is, the kobolds had a leader: biggest dang wolf I ever seen, bigger than them ones back at Bluto’s castle, and came right out o’ their fortress. Turns out it’s actually a shape-changing monster from hell (to quote our mage) and a real pain t’take down. Dang’d thing only gets hit by magic, and din’ have the decency to wait ‘till we’d found some. Luckily it ran away from Drecaril, which is good. I thought it vanished into the ground, and wasted a good chop wit’ me axe, but it was just inside the danged fortress.

We went in, fought it for all we was worth (with some fancy maneuvering, I might add) and took it down. The fortress was built on the side of a cliff, the stairs going roof-down. We met the thing’s boss, some weird green lady who nearly ate Guernan. Only scared her off, but we rescued several children. Turns out the place was the base for smuggling or somethin’. I think it’d make a good home base, someday. Even if we have ta clear it out again, I at least ‘ll come back here.

The group moved on to a village, but I can’t remember… what happened there?

Beyond New Haven
 

The mage doesn’t know what hes talking about its a damn werewolf Kobald I say: they heal fast, only silver and magic hurt them, and if it was a shaman before it got bitten it would explain the magic use.

I say one of these days we will have to go find the ugly green hag that attacked the mage it was feeding children to the werewolf and i think it might be in league with the slaver or pirates we keep hearing about since there are places to dock at the outpost.

That town had the rudest most dis-likable disposition i have ever come across. I think i will ask my cousin Rob (aka the bard) to go cheer them up.

I’m up for making that place into a base of operations. it close enough to the town to be useful and it would help us watch over the coast for pirates and the like. Now all we need is some peasent to maintain it for us while we make the area safe and a few guards so it doesn’t get over run with kobalds again.

Beyond New Haven
 

Aye… now I remember…

Well, I wonder ifn’ that haggard ol’ summoner was the green lady we fought? Would make watch duty less intrestin’ ifn’ ye ask me, and all the better for it!

((whoa, did I miss a good session when I left early!))

Beyond New Haven
phishish

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