The Rock IV

Why are you such a dick?

In the morning, the elf had returned. The group went up to the fort leader’s quarters to meet with her and the elf, who fainted when he saw Kai, whispering something like LegendChampionSlayer on his way down. This was an elf who was actually showing signs of aging, implying he was an old bastard indeed. Upon waking, he pretty much refused to discuss what had happened, ignoring the baiting and questioning of both Kai and Else. He told the group he could take them in two trips, as there were too many for him to handle (hur hur hur), and when they had decided the order to let him know.

Else and Kai kept trying to push the issue to no avail, and finally the rest of the group was taken to the grove, where the elf explained they would be “checked out” (hur hur hur) by groups of animals, like wolves, bats, or something of the sort. He waited until a group of ravens showed up, then teleported back for Else and Kai. They were filled in on what was going on, with the elf grudgingly saying something about how he couldn’t speak of what he knew about Kai’s situation without possibly causing more damage, then leaving.

The group made it’s way to where they were met by two dwarven guards and a dwarf who told them to swear an oath to not reveal anything about the grove to a servant of the 3. Else, cautious as ever, offered up the two holy symbols and GREFFEN STALT’S HEAD, worried they could somehow compromise the grove. The dwarf thought the stuff would be fine, as the Big Three, like it or not, are as much a part of the grove as any other divinity, although he poked out Stalt’s eyes and fed them to his darling crow companion.

We arrived at the temple by teleportation. Having recently gained knowledge of new vestiges I attempted to make a pact with one but rather made a botch of it. I finally saw the truly unfortunate ramifications possible of a failed pact at the temple and had to expel the vestige if I were to be at all productive in our upcoming meetings.

The hobgoblin smashed an evil artifact that Dag was carrying. I remember briefly my world was smashed to pieces. just like that rod. But then we met Hezzick who cleared our taint. We were led by two flaming dwarves down a complex maze of hallways to meet Gabriel. He told us about his arrival to Gerluun and how Anna Sofia seems to have been cured.

After the usual bit of banter and negotiating our terms of payment for the end of our services (a matter still not quite settled it would seem) he led us to a large hall to meet with Hezzick and, later, Zerick.

Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide

After escaping from the camp and being pursued (without incident), we got to the horses and outran the horde. After about 20 hours of riding, we encountered a dwarven scout/guard party, who stopped us, took our weapons (showing a big reaction when seeing one of the strange shortswords Gabriel handed out as well as Elyl’s spear, which apparently is made of the same stuff- and the dwarves definitely were the makers of the shortswords). The dwarves shouted some sort of strange word to their unseen leader regarding the two weapons (it didn’t make sense to Volaar, THE ONLY ONE IN THE GROUP WHO SPOKE DWARVEN) and the dwarves questioned the group until Cornelius, with Dag right… err… follow… err, very far behind, caught up to the dwarves to smooth things over. He then updated the party about certain events- while at Fartia(?), Ana Sophia had a big lucid fit, with Zerick talking about how the divinely connected dwarf the group had been searching for, Hezzik, was in a sacred grove near the city of Gerllun. An elf wizard who happened to be helping the dwarves took Gabriel, A-S, and Annissa to the grove ASAP.

The party, after resting at another hidden camp, continued on to Fartia. Along the way, Kai tried to molest Dag or something, Volaar doesn’t understand pervert humans. Kai approached the very nervous Dag who kept backing away, with conflict threatening to spill over as Kai continued to say weird things to Dag, intimating a knowledge of the halfling, including saying what was apparently Dag’s real name, Topperfoot Gobbleknob or something like that (I didn’t take notes, not being there, so someone else would need to elaborate on this section). Else and Cornelius managed to keep things relatively calm, preventing a need for Dag to use his COMBO!!!!!!!

Finally, they arrived at Fartia, a fort on a small island where two rivers met, where Volaar remained ill at ease and mostly silent, though prideful and refusing to seem cowed, while the dwarves were equally ill at ease with the hobbo’s presence. Donovan was not there, having agreed to re-up with the dwarven patrols (dwarves have maybe 15-20 arcane casters in the ENTIRE COUNTRY- stupid nonmagical lumps of sentient rock…).

Gabriel, in a letter addressed to Phaedra (he’d assumed she had retained leadership, I don’t know why), asked that the group come as quickly as possible to the grove. The group’s options were to take a boat ride for 3 days, most likely being attacked along the way, or wait for the elven spellcaster get back from ferrying troops and information to teleport them. It was decided to try the elf, while Volaar mentioned the possible limitations on the number the elf could transport. The group met with the fort’s leader (Oria?), who was apparently the twin sister of Kas-Farak’s leader Olia.

The dwarves have discovered there are a total of 5 camps, not the 4 we knew of- the 5th camp was between Fartia and Gerllun, and obviously there was a plan to cut Gerllun off from the outside world completely. The grove mentioned by Ana Sophia was a very sacred place to the dwarves (and is also about as big as the city of Gerllun), so the dwarves were reluctant to let them go to the grove, but the group’s awareness of Hezzik, who is the dwarves’ HIGH PRIEST of a NON-Big Three divinity, got them grudging permission.

In the meantime, plenty of roleplaying happened, not all of which our various characters are aware of- Else and Volaar discussed goals and alliances re: the dwarves and the Big Three priests, with Else insulting Volaar along the way by questioning whether or not Volaar’s goals were the same as the group’s or the dwarves’. Else asked Elyl, Cornelius, and Phaedra about speaking to the head of Greffen Stalt, with Elyl and Cornelius thinking it be bad to try to talk to A DEAD SERVANT OF THE GOD THAT CONTROLS DEATH, while Phaedra was like “Totally, let’s do it!” Else’s cautious nature eventually got the better of him, though, putting off the attempt to Speak With Dead.

Else came on to Elyl to show gratitude, with Elyl… diplomatically?… deciding to keep things professional only. Elyl tried to get the dwarven smiths to look at his spear (hur hur hur), only to be told they can tell him nothing, for it is a sacred object (hur hur hur) that only the high priests could discuss, explain, or possibly even handle (hur hur hur). Dag tried to find secret doors in the fort, therefore missing the part where Volaar cried himself to sleep while staring at his dead wife’s image (hur hur… wait…).

Else's Dilemma

Having lost their guide, but possesing the information he brought, Else decided to press on and try to eliminate Greffen, and hopefully cripple this army as they did Fargul’s. Else, showing some sort of disguise magic most of the others knew nothing about, changed into an Orc bearing the scars of one of the tribes that Gaarvak had managed to describe to him before the attack.
After a harrowing crawl through the darkness they staked out the only tent in the camp and developed a quick plan to eliminate the guards seen in the torchlight surrounding the tent. It worked, and they quickly entered the back of the tent, Else changing again into the form of a smoothed featured female. They surprised Greffen, another half fiendish dwarf and two giant skeletons.
Else cried out, “Do you remember me?” to Greffen, but before he could respond, Elyl cut off his head in one powerful strike. Stunned, Else could only stare as the dwarf, reacting quickly fled out of the tent and raised the alarm. The skeletons lept into action, as Elyl, Else and Volaar were suddenly engaged in battle. Kai shouted, “Run!” and followed his own advice as Phaedra stayed to help Elyl and Else. Volaar disengaged and followed Kai, but the Dwarf who flew over the tent to follow as more guards filed into the tent harried them both.
All the enemies were quickly defeated, and Else looted Greffen’s body as Phaedra began to open the treasure chests stacked in the corner, setting off a Flame Strike trap.
Grabbing what they could as the tent burned like a beacon in the night and the camp began to rouse around them. They managed to make their way to the outskirts of the encampment with several chests full of potions, but they were pursued through the night even as the sun began to rise and they reached the river that formed the eastern border of Gerllun.

The dwarves?
Anybody bring a guide?

A few days later they arrived at Kas-Farak, the southern border stronghold of Gerllun. They were allowed entry after showing the pass gotten by Marco and sat down with Olia Marunt, the Muul leader of the southern Border Guards.
Donavan, A human arcane caster from the southern reaches of Vancalla, managed to gain permission to train with the weapon masters of Clan Gerllun. Part of the payment for training is service to the city in some way, usually a craft or skill of some sort but many warriors and adventurers serve as temporary border guards. Donavan was one of these, and he was traveling along the southern Riverwatch with two Muuls, Fiirga and Derak. They were attacked by a group of goblin wolf-riders led by a Barghest They defeated the Goblins and Barghest, but were wounded and exhausted and tried to make the journey quickly to Kas-Farak where Olia commands.
On the road they were ambushed by hidden archers, lured in by the body of a wounded Muul. Derak and Fiirga fell, and Donavan escaped only through the use of his magic. He managed to make it to Kas-Farak where Gabriel and his party were arranging passage to Gerllun with Olia.
After some discussion and explanations, Gabriel decides to continue on to the city of Gerllun, led by Donavan and bearing letters from Olia to the other strongholds and the city. They managed to avoid the archers, but were ambushed during the night by Gargun and twelve of the Sons of War.
Gargun yielded once he saw that these enemies were more powerful than the average Border Patrol, and he saw a chance to save the 5 tribes from their current predicament. Gabriel and the others agreed to meet with the other Warchiefs, Shiv, Waark and Ungar and see if they could help the Hobgoblin women and children.
Gabriel sent Cornelius back to Kas-Farak with Anna-Sophia and Annissa the next morning.
Gabriel met with the four chief and a deal was struck with them to free the women of the tribes, a plan was worked out, and Shiv led Gabriel’s band to a hidden path that would bring them to the Northern reaches of Fargul’s camp, near where Fargul himself has the women and children contained.
The party travelled onward to the hobgoblin encampment, and caught a glimpse of a large figure being led from there by a small escort. There was some talk about it possibly being Cornelieus, but the party was too far away to really do anything about it, and they still had to rescue Ana Sophia, if possible.

Through some Careful Planning, the party was able to sneak into the camp, subdue the guards, then Eylyl and Kai took down the priest before he could so much as make a sound. The party then arranged to get horses, so they could catch up with the ones who had taken COrnelius away, but not before Gabriel announced that he would be heading to Gerlun, for Ana Sophia’s safety more than anything else, and that Phaedra should lead in his absence. While this was going on, a hobgoblin named Volarr asked to travel with the party. He was filled with hate, but that was directed towards the priests who had killed his wife (who followed him as a spirit). A Mul named Gaarvak Fundin joined the party for some reason, too. He was a member of the Gerllun border guard and was traveling toward the Eastern outpost of Fartia. But he had scout levels and the track feat, so he turned out to be pretty useful.

Enhorsed and in a hurry, the party did a lot of hard marching to catch up with Cornelius and the forest trolls who were guarding him. After a running and sniping battle, the party closed with the trolls. Kai was poisoned, along with one or two other members, but finally the trolls were killed, one subdued, and Cornelius rescued. Dag, who was about as useful in the battle as tits on the proverbial bull, collected some poison from the fangs of the defeated trolls, and tried to make it look like he had actually done something in the battle.

Cornelius revealed that the trolls were bringing him to Geffen Stalt. Upon hearing this name, Else was visibly stricken. Questions came up, and Phaedra gave in to the pressure of leadership, placing Else in charge. Else was a little surprised at this turn of events (although the players were not), and then the party realized that they had been marching for the last four days, and decided to rest, although there were plans to question the remaining troll, and the party’s next step had not been decided for sure in the wake of the transfer of leadership.

Using inventive excavation techniques, the party questioned the remaining troll who told them of three other armies comprised of orcs and goblinoids as well as a large contingent of men from Vanir, each led by a priest of the Reaper. The most dangerous of the priests, according to the troll, was an illithid named Vera Kulmin, and the General in charge of the entire invading force was none other than Defrain Chanteal, who Else identified as one of the higher ranked high priests of the Reaper and a vampire.

Gaarvak found it impossible to believe that an invading army of that size passed the borders of Gerllun without the dwarves knowledge. Regardless of the validity of this army, he planned on investigating the area they were supposed to be at, which was between here and Fartia, and then travel on to report his findings to the captain of the stronghold, Oria Murunt.
Getting a description of Greffen Stalt from the troll, Elyl, Phaedra and Cornelius seemed sure that this half giant was the same priest who killed Zerick in the Jungles of Parasabda. Volaar took part in the interrogation, using his powers of creepiness to intimate the troll, who somehow manned up and began to taunt the hobgoblin. This didn’t end well for the troll as Volaar lost his temper as the taunting included his wife’s immortal soul, and Volaar caved in the troll’s head, ending the conversation.
Elyl wanted revenge, Volaar lived for nothing else, Kai seemed up for killing, and Else seemed intent on facing this Greffen Stalt for his own reasons. Phaedra, Dag and Donavan thought this a bad idea, though Pheadra did wish to see Greffen dead, they had other priorities.
Donning his new Mantle of Leadership, Else decided to accompany Gaarvak and “investigate” and if possible eliminate this Greffen Stalt. Most of the group agreed with this, save Pheadra who was now perhaps regretting her impulsive decision to hand over leadership to Else, as no one seemed to listen to her argument, save the two newest members of this group. She reluctantly agreed to follow the group as she made her opposition known to the others.
Cornelius, who had been strangely silent during this discussion, took Else aside and told him that he thought it a bad idea for himself, Pheadra and Elyl to go into this camp and possibly be captured as the priests seemed to be specifically looking for the three of them and had been since they left Loxosphil. He planned to ask Dag and Donavan to accompany him to the outpost on ridge and hopefully catch up with Gabriel and then on to Gerllun with him and Ana Sophia.
So the Group split again, Cornelius, Dag and Donavan heading North to the outpost on the ridge, the others heading east to travel along the hidden dwarven trails to find this hidden army camp.
They traveled for another day and a half when Gaarvak left the others at dusk to go and scout ahead after seeing signs of patrols circling where this camp was most likely located. Gaarvak told the others to follow after an hour, taking care to cover their tracks.
Following the trail markers left by Gaarvak, they met up with him and he led them to a secluded gully that should be safe from random patrols to discuss what Gaarvak had found out infiltrating the enemies camp.
It wasn’t, however, and a patrol consisting of a Half fiendish dwarf mounted on some sort of horrific aberration and six half giants descended upon the group. A pitched battle ensued, which the group eventually won, but not without cost. Gaarvak and the half fiend seemed to challenge each other in dwarven, but the half fiend proved stronger as Gaarvak was killed.

The road to Gerllun
did anyone bring a Poncho?

About six hours into the journey, they were set upon by a hurricane like storm and like most of the travelers on the road took shelter in the closest inn. Gabriel decided to rent rooms before they were sold out, as the storm did not look as if it would abate soon. Phaedra decided to go out into the storm and scout around and she saw nine huge horses with large riders riding through the rain toward the inn from the South.
The Innkeeper waved them back toward the stables, where the stable boy awaited them to take their horses, while Pheadra attempted to sneak back into the Inn unseen. The riders immediately turned around and galloped away at full speed to the North, the very direction the group was headed in.
After discussion, Gabriel decided that as soon as the storm broke they would head overland off the road and try to avoid any contact with these Half-giants who were undoubtedly the same ones who trailed them in Karillia.
Around 10 pm the storm broke and Phaedra went outside to scout around and make sure it was safe to leave. Just as she noticed a shape in darkness by the stable that could be a large man crouching, several arrows flew out from the darkness one of which caught her in the shoulder. Using her magic, she teleported into Gabriel’s rooms, raising the alarm.
Once in the rooms, everyone prepared themselves, while Phaedra spied through the curtains at the front on the Inn. She saw at least one large man sized shape crouching in the bushes at the side of the road.
Kai and Else headed downstairs through the crowded common room toward the back and the stables where Phaedra said she was attacked. Phaedra, Cornelius, and Elyl soon followed by Gabriel, Anissa, Anna Sophia, and the 4 Passerini’s.
Hidden in the darkness of the common room, a Halfling named Dag watched the others sneak down and slowly make their way to the back door of the inn. At the back door, Elyl, Kai and Else tried to see some the assailants, but couldn’t and they waited for a minute or two before venturing out into the night. Phaedra soon joined them and sneaking around the side of the inn, noticed an open window. She investigated, crawling into the open window, as the others carefully approached the stable in the darkness. In the unlit kitchen, Pheadra found the body of the innkeeper with his throat slit, just as the others noticed the stable was on fire.
Elyl ran toward the stable doors, but found them barred; the others hurried to help them as the Passerinis kept close watch over Anna-Sophia and Anissa. Phaedra climbed back out as Elyl burst through the stable doors, only to trip over the body of the dead stable boy, his throat also slit. He saw all the horses were dead and ran out to help the others.
Else and Kai ran to the back of the stable, which was nearly fully consumed by fire. They saw several large men riding away at speed and Kai gave chase, throwing his weapon at the closest rider and wounding him. The rider immediately turned to fight and the others followed. Most everyone ran to the back of the barn to fight and the battle was close, as there was a sniper in the dark woods who almost killed both Else and Kai. While this went on behind the barn, more riders in the front attacked the Passerinis, and Gabriel ran to help them. Kai and Phaedra chased down the sniper while the riders in front were dealt with but not before two of the Passerinis were killed defending Anna-Sophia. Gabriel ran back and the Sniper was escaping as Pheadra and Elyl could not find him the dark. Gabriel persisted, and they managed to find the sniper as he fled to his horse. Gabriel charged him in a rage, and barley managed to defeat him.
They immediately brought the Archer back to their rooms to interrogate, as the rest of the inn’s patrons rushed around in a panic trying to put out the fire. They found that this was Bern Kalvek, hired by the Pavoni’s to kill Gabriel and all who traveled with him.
The Neutrale soon arrived, and the surviving Passerini’s traveled with them back to Karillia to ensure Bern didn’t escape and collect the reward on behalf of the Family. Elyl, Kai and Else went to requisition horses to continue their journey north.

Arrival in Karillia
whites of their skin

Gabriel decided to follow the others surreptitiously to ensure their safety. He noticed that some of them were immediately tailed by a group of half-giants that obviously were professionals but none of them were accosted.
Else ran into a shady half elf who claimed to be a man of the Nuetrale, and made arrangements to meet with him and gain access to the secret elven library supposedly in the city.
Elyl also made similar arrangements, but due to his half elf blood, with Tharival Siannodel the patriarch of the Siannodel family.
Kai was followed and approached by several mysterious hooded man, who seemed threatening, then ran when they was his face. The leader was an albino elf, but definitely not a Drow.
Some of this information was obviously false but Gabriel’s priority was Anna Sophia and getting into Gerllun to meet with the dwarves.
While relaying what he found out, Kai had an episode of his own, seemingly switching between several different personalities before regaining control of himself. Else and Elyl in particular seemed very interested in this, and conversed with him/them for several hours.
Marcos returned from the Guild with a document from the Gerllun Ambassador to allow them passage into the Dwarven city, so they decided to leave the next morning with four Passerini outriders; Ventos, Gerraldi, Tarento and Warrello Passerini.

the journey to Karillia
On a (small) boat

When they arrived in Ballastrio, Gabriel sent Else, Kai and Elyl out to track down the Big Deal so they could immediately board and set out toward Karillia. Else found the ship within the hour and returned to Gabriel with the news. Gabriel, and Else left Phaedra and Cornelius with Anna Sophia and Annissa to negotiate passage with the Big Deal’s captain, a female half-orc named Kruug. Kai seemed overly interested in Krugg’s name and began to make her uncomfortable, before Gabriel asked him to stop.
While they were gone, Anna Sophia had an episode in which she appeared to be wrestling with an invisible assailant and said to hurry to Hazzek. All evidence of Zerick then disappeared from the young girl. Pheadra was the only one to fully witness this episode, and she later relayed it to Gabriel in detail.
The remainder of the party was brought to the Big Deal, and Gabriel noticed that they wee followed by some skulking figures in an alleyway. As soon as Elyl returned, they set sail hoping to lose whatever pursuit followed them.
About halfway to Karrillia, off the regular trade routes, the ship hit a fairly major storm, and Phaedra’s seasickness came back with a vengeance. The next day brought the ship into an eerie calm and a thick fog. Worried, but with no other choices the captain sailed into it.
The ship was attacked in the fog by a ship full of savage Darfellan pirates who were led by a sorcerer captain. The Big Deal was swiftly burning as a result of several fireballs, and the crewmen that weren’t killed were busy trying to put out fires as the pirates rained crossbow bolts upon the burning ship.
Gabriel leaped across the gap between the boats and fought off the pirates as the others, sans Phaedra, did their best to take out the pirates at range. The battle quickly turned against the pirates, but the Big Deal burning badly began to sink. Quickly ferrying the surviving crewmen, Anna, Annissa and Phaedra to the pirate’s ship they settled into the grimy captains chambers.
There they found a cache of strange unfinished weapons and ingots of a mysterious metal, which they decided to keep secret from the crewmen. Gabriel fashioned hilts for the swords and offered one to each of his companions who wanted one.
They arrived in Karillia, and Gabriel gave the ship to Kruug in return for the loss of the Big Deal.
They were brought to the Passerini estate in Karillia where Anna Sophia, who showed no signs of illness since Ballastrio, happily fell in with cousins of her own age. Phaedra fell asleep for a long while and Cornelius asked permission to visit with his people while here in the capitol. Gabriel asked the others to find out what information they could about Darfellan pirates or Delia’s pride, and to be very careful about it.
Gabriel then met with Marco, his cousin and the Passerini ambassador in Karillia. Marco told him of the troubles involving Delia’s Pride, and also that the weapons they found on the ship were actually the secret cargo of that ship. Marco then told Gabriel of the dwarf he met, a strange being with skin like brass, and coal black hair and beard with fiery red roots, and the circumstances that connected their family to the Dwarves.
Gabriel immediately summoned the others and asked them to not bring the new weapons out in public. He urged them to be careful and keep a low profile.
Kai, Else ad Elyl went out to find out what they could and they all came up with similar information.

The beginning part 2
the party starts

The three companions; Elyl, Phaedra and Cornelius, meet up with Antonio Passerini at his request. He assured them of his discretion, and asked them for theirs in the matter he brought them to discuss.
His granddaughter, Anna Sophia, was afflicted with a sickness of some kind that involved delicate matters that he would rather not have brought to the attention of the Church. The Captain of the ship that brought the three travelers had heard rumors of divine healing in their hands. That captain brought word of this to his patron, Antonio, so it seemed that they had a mutual interest in helping each other. The three agreed and were escorted by Else, Kai and Benvolio to the Passerini’s summer home to see if they could help the young girl for a fee.
Meanwhile Gabriel was at the house with Anna Sophia trying to keep her as comfortable as possible. Her fits were as bad as ever, and to prevent rumors from spreading, she was sequestered in isolation, surrounded only by family and trusted employees of the family.
During the ride to the family estate, Else and Kai got to know the three companions who seemed rather tight lipped about whatever had brought them into the Passerini’s employ. Benvolio also seemed uncharacteristically tight lipped, which disturbed Kai and Else particularly because he was normally adept at masking his true intentions. About halfway through the journey, Benvolio, who was on horseback galloped off leaving the others behind in the slow moving carriage necessary to transport Cornelius’ bulk.
The others arrived at the house and were brought to see Anna Sophia, who quickly revealed herself to be Zerick, son of Raza. The three companions seemed to know him and held a conversation with the possessing entity where they learned he wished to be brought north to find someone called Hazzek. Anna’s young body could not long handle the strain of possession and she soon collapsed with exhaustion.
Needless to say Gabriel, Else and Kai were surprised to find that the newcomers knew the entity that possessed the little girl. Gabriel hired the three newcomers on behalf of his family to accompany him and the others to Karillia the capitol of Vancalla by ship. He was to go there anyway to investigate the disappearance of a Passerini ship called Delia’s Pride, and from what they could determine this Hazzek was probably a dwarf from Gerllun a city-state just north of the capitol.
The group traveled back to the city of Lesarti with Anna Sophia to board a Passerini ship to Ballastrio where they would find a ship named “Big Deal” to take them to Karillia. The group arrived in the city close to nightfall, and Gabriel decided to sleep on the ship, so that they could leave with the rising sun.
Else, and Kai slept below decks with the crew, Gabriel, his servant Annissa, Anna Sophia and Phaedra slept in the guest quarters above deck and Cornelius slept on the deck itself due to his large size. During the middle of the night, three assassins snuck into the guest quarters and attempted to kidnap Anna Sophia. Phaedra was awoken and raised the alarm as one of the assassins grabbed the little girl and attempted to run off the ship. The alarm was raised and a battle ensued where Cornelius was almost killed protecting the little girl and two of the assassins were defeated. The third one dove into the water and, despite Gabriel and Else’s best efforts, escaped.
The two assassins survived, but Kai carved one up while he still lived, and the other one had a poison pellet hidden in a false tooth. He died before any information could be gotten from him. They both were teiflings and wore symbols of the Reaper around their necks.
Gabriel persuaded the Captain to leave before dawn and they dumped the bodies of the assassins in the ocean. Phaedra became violently seasick and spent most of the uneventful journey vomiting and dry heaving.

The beginning
The Rock IV

Cornelius Renfield, Phaedra Templeton and Elyl Ders were invited by a dwarf named Varnak Nevak to be introduced to a man who would enable them to become more connected to the Divine. The three met up with the surly dwarf on the edge of Parasabda and began the journey to see the man named Zerick.

Along the way they were ambushed by Yuan-ti, a scourge that flourished in the deep jungles of Parasabda. The four of them fought them off and made their way to an ancient ruin of the elves. They were met by Rillton Fathsphere, a Centaur druid; A Loxo Lumberjack named Chaara Teel; and a human Monk named Gerrard Sillit. Rillton, the centaur, questioned them about their motives, and there seemed to be some tension between the dwarf and the others, but they were allowed to see Zerick.

The three initiates were led to a dark long tunnel and brought to a pitch-black room where a voice from the darkness asked them why they were there. “What is your pain?” the voice asked each of them, and as they answered, the voice revealed himself to them as a Half fiend and called himself Zerick, son of Raza. Each of the supplicants in turn were faced with their deepest pain and marked by stigmata. Phaedra was scarred on her feet to honor her patron Fharlargan, god of roads; Elyl on the base of his spine to remind him that pain is the true pleasure of life and what the dead miss most; Cornelius had the word “honor” carved upon his chest to remind him of what gave him the most pain in his life.

With these markings, the three were opened to the Divine within themselves and were now able to channel divine power in distinct ways. Just then, Gerrard and Varnak ran in and the sound of pitched battle could be heard from the chamber beyond. With a guttural growl, Zerick charged through the tunnel followed closely by his five disciples.

In the chamber beyond, Rillton, Chaara and about fifteen more disciples of Zerick were fighting against a superior force of followers of the Reaper led by a blond Half-Giant with a giant spear. Zerick, Elyl and Cornelius charged at the leader while Phaedra, Gerrard and Varnak ran to help Rillton, Chaara and the overwhelmed disciples. Most of the disciples fell before the newcomers could help and even the mighty Centaur and Loxo were becoming overwhelmed. Zerick and the leader engaged fiercely, but it was apparent that the Half-fiend was overwhelmed. Elyl tried to help Zerick, but the giant’s armor deflected his attacks, while Cornelius fought to help Chaara.

Just when the tide seemed to be turning against the invaders, a score of reinforcements swarmed through the entrance to the chamber. Zerick, bleeding and weakened from many grievous wound, bellowed at Varnak to get the newcomers away, and the four fled through the tunnel into darkness just as the fair haired Half-Giant plunged his spear through Zerick’s chest.
Varnak led the three to a secret passage that opened up into the dense jungle that surrounded the ruins. They could hear shouting all around them, as the hideout was being surrounded by what seemed like a small army. The four survivors crept through the jungle along a small path and were almost away when they were surprised by a Cleric and three small dog-like aberrations with writhing purple tendrils protruding from their mouths.

With a mere touch of the creatures purple tentacles, Elyl and Phaedra seemed sapped of their wits, and Elyl soon was surrounded. The Cleric, from a safe distance, began to cast a spell while the three companions fought against the monsters that threatened them.

As the Cleric finished casting his spell, Varnak showed his true colors and attacked Elyl from behind, while in front of them a Large Owlbear skeleton attempted to separate Cornelius’ head from his shoulders. Elyl and Pheadra killed the creatures and moved up on the Cleric as he finished casting a second spell and grew to twice his height. While Cornelius fought the skeleton, Phaedra shot her bow at the priest and Elyl battled the traitorous dwarf.

The three friends were victorious, and using their new-found powers, healed up the wounds from the battle and sneaked off into the jungle, hoping to evade pursuit. For three days they headed south, with Phaedra working to cover their trail, and on the fourth they emerged from the forest undetected.

They sought help at the first town they came to, where the town druid met them at the outskirts of town and told them they were not welcome. Apparently, agents of the Three were searching the countryside for them in force, threatening ruin on any who aided these fugitives. Having no love for the Three himself, the Druid gave the companions some provisions and info and sent them south to Larruma to find safe passage to Vancalla, Cornelius’ homeland, where the Three had little power.

They traveled by boat to Lesarti, the closest Vancalllan city to Larruma and found lodgings in a dockside Inn. Soon afterward, representatives of the Passerini Family approached them, and insisted they meet with the family patriarch Antonio that night. Cornelius explained to the other two that merchant families that often warred with each other at the worst of times and were steeped in intrigue at the best of them in the cities of Vancalla.

Cornelius suggested that they go meet with this person as it was likely that he wouldn’t harm them without provocation and it would be considered rude if they did not. Elyl agreed and the three travelers set out to meet up with Antonio Passerini.


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