Rise of Nations
These are the archives of the party’s exploits in previous years. For a current record of what’s going in the campaign, go here.
Arodus | Rova | Lamashan | Neth | Kuthona
4711: Abadius | Calistril | Pharast | Gozran | Desnus | Sarenith
Erastus | Arodus | Rova | Lamashan | Neth | Kuthona
4712: Abadius | Calistril | Pharast | Gozran | Desnus | Sarenith
Erastus | Arodus | Rova | Lamashan | Neth | Kuthona
4713: Abadius | Calistril | Pharast | Gozran | Desnus | Sarenith
Erastus | Arodus | Rova | Lamashan | Neth | Kuthona
27th— Party signs the exploration charter charging them to explore the Green Belt region of the Stolen Lands in the name of Restov and the Aldori Swordlords.
31st— Party arrives at Oleg’s Trading Post late in the afternoon and offers to help the Levetons with their bandit troubles.
1st— Party sets up an ambush for the bandits, then takes their horses and with the help of a captured bandit, spends the day retracing the route back to their base camp.
2nd— Party spends half the day traveling, reaching Thorn River Camp sometime in the afternoon. They successfully sneak up and attack, killing two bandits, and capturing four others, including Kressle. A bunch of stolen supplies are recovered and the party learns of the bandits’ fearsome leader, the mysterious Stag Lord.
3rd— Party starts on the return journey back, trudging miserably through a freezing rain. Fin extols the virtues of an honest life to the captured bandits, and manages to win a couple converts.
4th— Party finally arrives back at the trading post in the evening to find some new faces: Captain Kesten Garess and his Free Irregulars, and a priest of Erastil named Father Jubal Hirsch.
5th— Kressle is executed by hanging, and Pietr is dispatched to Restov to turn in the bandit bounty and to pick up some some supplies. Party agrees to help Father Jubal find a lost temple of Erastil and then heads over to a very eccentric alchemist named Bokken to buy some potions and ingredients, meeting a friendly trapper named Traver along the way.
6th— Party starts their exploration and mapping in earnest, although not much other than a herd of elk is encountered this day, providing them with some fresh meat.
7th— Party encounters and defeats a couple of large trapdoor spiders and finds a curious map in one of the lairs on the body of a bandit.
8th— Party runs into four kobolds of the Sootscale Tribe gorging themselves on moon radishes. They manage to communicate with the kobolds and learn that the mites have stolen a statue of the kobold’s god, precipitating a war between the two. Also, someone appears to be playing pranks on the party.
9th— Party returns to Oleg’s to replenish their supplies. Svetlana cooks everyone an absolutely delicious meal from the moon radishes they bring back.
10th— Party decides to explore the area west of Oleg’s but encounter little other than some beetles feeding on a dead elk carcass, which they decide not to disturb.
11th— Party returns to Oleg’s to meet Iskra, a trapper who seems to know the area quite well, and pick her brain about various sites. There is much drinking and merry making. A snowstorm rolls in, blanketing the region, making this a good day to stay home.
12th— Party sets out west again, exploring the northernmost tip of the Narlmarches and discover (mostly by stepping on them) that someone has set out several cruel and unmarked bear traps. Also, they are subjected to several more pranks so Johannes and Pavel set out little gifts for the fey.
13th— Party explores the plains west of the Narlmarches, and run afoul of an assassin vine that was trying to lure them in with tasty berries.
14th— Party swings southeast back into the forest, and discovers the body of a trapper under a deadfall they suspect was sabotaged. They also suspect the dead man was the one who had set the bear traps.
15th— After several more pranks, party finally manages to lure the fey out and makes the acquaintance of Perlivash and Tyg-Titter-Tut. They reveal the location of a lost temple nearby.
16th— Party decides to look for the temple and manage to lay its cursed bear guardian to rest, cleansing it. Father Jubal is very grateful for their assistance and reveals his background to the party.
17th— Party spends a day at the temple, clearing away the rubble inside and also doing some hunting to replenish their dwindling food supplies.
18th— Party heads east to explore the area around Thorn River Camp more thoroughly and discover a useful ford and a nice fishing spot.
19th— Party catches a good haul of fish, then heads southeast into the hills. They find a rickety bridge which poses a problem for their horses. Off in the distance, they are able to make out an enormous sycamore tree to the east. They decide to fore-go exploring the rest of this hex for now, and head towards the tree. They are attacked by a band of mites in the night, which they easily drive off.
20th— The party’s progress towards the tree is halted by Johannes’ warning that a big blizzard is approaching, and soon. They decide to hoof it back to Oleg’s for shelter. Pavel claims to have seen a glowing skull following them, but no one believes him.
21st— Party arrives at Oleg’s in the afternoon and make the acquaintance of two other trappers, Janos and Aleksandr. They learn that the name of the dead trapper was Breeg and that he was a disreputable misanthrope who took a cruel delight in hurting others. No one mourns his death overmuch. Svetlana makes a delicious pie out of the assassin vine berries the party brought back, to go along with a tasty fish fry.
22nd-23rd— Winter vents the last of its fury in a massive snowstorm, piling snow man-high against the walls, but the party is safe and warm. They spend the time playing dice, talking, and swapping stories with the various people holed up at the trading post.
24th— After waiting out the storm, the party re-provisions, and set out again, heading south towards the tree. They pause along the way to explore the hills, though their progress is somewhat hampered by the snow drifts.
25th— While finishing up their exploration of the hills, the party discovers a crack in the ground, leading to a small cave whose walls glimmered in the torchlight. Suspecting it might be gold, but unable to confirm it, they take a sample for Oleg to look at.
26th— Party’s camp is swept away by a flash flood in the early morning but everyone manages to make it to safety. They then make their way to the Old Sycamore Tree and descend under it to fight a lot of mites. And a giant tick. They rescue Mikmek, recover the stolen idol, and are chased out by the biggest centipede they have ever seen. After retreating, they spend the rest of the day exploring the area, giving the big tree a wide berth.
27th— Mikmek leads the party to the Sootscale’s lair and they return the stolen statue to Chief Sootscale, who smashes the thing in an act of repudiation against Tartuk, the shaman who usurped his rule. A brief but vicious civil war ensues, with the party doing the bulk of the fighting. Tartuk is forced to flee, but the party pursues and eventually puts an end to his miserable life. They return to the kobolds in triumph, who throw a party for the heroes and friendly peace is established between the two groups.
28th-29th— The party explores the hills around the kobold lair in a leisurely fashion since Pavel suffered a relapse in the progression of his disease he got from the giant tick. Father Jubal translates the journal they found on Tartuk’s body and discover what a truly unpleasant individual he was.
30th— The party continues west, coming to a confluence of the Thorn and Shrike Rivers, and find a convenient ford. They also find a truly awe-inspiring roc feather, and spend the rest of day looking nervously at the sky.
1st— Crossing the Thorn River the previous day allows the party to head north to explore the other side of the river they were previously unable to access due to the ricketiness of the bridge here. They don’t find much though Rallo was lured into falling down a gully by some sort of glowing, malicious air spirit that night.
2nd— Further exploration southwest of the Thorn River reveals the patch of fangberries that Bokken had requested. The party manages to harvest enough berries after fighting several swarms of spiders and pricking themselves badly on the bushes’ sharp thorns. They stop to rest for the night and meet Mikmek and some kobolds heading into the forest to capture a weasel mount for the little fellow.
3rd-5th— The party conclude their survey of the area around the fangberries and turn around to follow the Shrike River upstream, curious about a supposedly haunted bridge, doing a bit of fishing along the way to replenish their supplies.
6th— The party encounters the terrifying undead remains of Davik Nettles, who makes them promise to avenge his death at the Stag Lord’s hands. The party hurries away afterwards, unsettled. They do not attempt to cross the river. That night, members of party start getting nightmares about being dragged to a watery grave by cold clutching fingers.
7th— Turning north, the party comes across a lightning-blasted tree that looks a lot like the drawing they found on a dead bandit. Digging around in its roots, they find a leather-wrapped bundle containing a dagger, a spellbook, and a signet ring. Rallo recognizes the ring as one belonging to Fated Winds trading company in Mivon. Further on, the party encounters and manages to defeat a mated pair of cockatrices but not before getting viciously pecked, though fortunately, not stoned.
8th— The party returns to Bokken late in the day, to hand over the fangberries and assorted herbs they have collected and learns he is entirely out of healing potions because Iskra “bought ’em all up.” Worried that something might have happened, the party decides to push on to Oleg’s, driving their horses to exhaustion. Their fears as well-founded, as they return home to discover that the bandits staged an attack on the trading post a few days ago. Most everyone survived, except Konrad and Garsk (one of the captured bandits), though all are bloody and bruised.
9th-12th— The story of what happened with the bandits comes out, Father Jubal is busy healing the survivors, and the party helps Traver and Oleg with repairs. With several pairs of additional hands, the work goes quickly and the trading post is restored to a semblance of normality. In the meantime, the party decides its time to do something about the Stag Lord, and starts making plans.
13th-15th— The party sets off southwards, into the Narlmarches, looking for Perlivash or Tyg-Titter-Tut and currying their favor by leaving small gifts for them. Tyg makes an appearance the next morning after giving everyone a fabulous hairdo in the night. They persuade her to lead them after the fleeing bandits. The party skirts around Tuskgutter’s lair but encounter a few hostile boars anyway, which they quickly turn into bacon.
16th— The party explores the area southwest of Tuskgutter’s and find some abandoned camps and a number of pit traps, one of which contains a wounded wolf. They manage to rescue the animal, heal it, and let it go.
17th— The party continues south, reaching the Skunk River, and are ambushed by a group of bandits led by Falgrim. They dispatch the bandits without too much trouble, but unfortunately Falgrim is killed in the battle by a bomb to the face. They gain some valuable information from the captured bandits though. That night, they meet Rannulf, who offers her aid against the Stag Lord if they would take a young werewolf under their wing and reintroduce him to human society.
18th— The party disguise themselves as bandits and bluff their way into the bandits’ fort and spring their ambush! Most of the bandits falls easily to their onslaught, though the Stag Lord proves far tougher. But even he eventually falls under their combined might, with some help from Akiros, one of his former lieutenants. The party then descends into the keep’s basement to find most of the bandits’ ill-gotten gains along with an old shrine to Gyronna and a mysterious old man who attacks them without cause.
19th— The party packs up what portable wealth they can and hires Akiros and the remaining bandits to look after the fort in their absence. They trek north to River Crossing, where they dump the body of the Stag Lord into the Shrike River to fulfill their promise to Davik Nettle.
20th-27th— The party wends their way northward back to Oleg’s Trading Post, stopping at the Temple of the Elk along the way as per Father Jubal’s request to cleanse the stag helm of its taint and restoring it to Erastil’s favor. They are met with much joy and relief upon their return as news of the Stag Lord’s death spreads.
28th-29th— The party takes a couple days to resupply and sort out their affairs, turning Falgrim’s body over to Kesten for the bounty, getting Mikhail and Vasily settled in at Oleg’s, and sending Tyce down to the Tuskwater Keep to reinforce Akiros’ crew. They also meet Ephraim, the newest member of the Free Irregulars, hired to replace Konrad. That night, a traveling bard stops by and composes an epic ballad to memorialize the party’s recent exploits and Svetlana cooks a great feast to celebrate their victory.
30th-31st— The party sets out west in search of the last bandit camp in their region, traveling past the northern tip of the Narlmarches to the windswept plains past them and enjoying the nice spring weather.
1st— The party find the Northern Watchtower and confront the bandits inside. After some initial confusion where Pavel gets a little fist-happy, an agreement is reached. Half the remaining bandits take their leave of the area, while Saeros and the remaining two take up the party’s offer for honest employment. Fin accidentally reveals Mikhail’s identity as a werewolf to Saeros during the exchange, much to everyone’s consternation.
2nd-4th— The party takes a day to finish exploring the area around the watchtower and then decide to head back to Oleg’s to drop off the new recruits before continuing with any further mapping.
5th-10th— When the party returns to Oleg’s, they discover an invitation from the Lord Mayor waiting for them concerning a ceremony honoring their accomplishments on the 17th. They decide to put off dealing with Tuskgutter since it might leave them too crunched for time and spend the next several days helping Oleg out with his expansion of the trading post instead. With the extra hands, a lot of the initial groundwork gets done and the place becomes much more spacious. This is a good thing, since the trading post is seeing a greater influx of travelers now that the roads are safer. The party also commissions the building of a secret trapdoor in Oleg’s storeroom to hide their valuables.
11th-14th— The party sets off for Restov with the two ex-bandits in tow, promising to find them apprenticeships in the city where they can develop their skills. Father Jubal takes his leave of the party, wishing them luck, as he prepares to return to the Temple of the Elk to start the task of restoring it.
15th-16th— The party spends a couple days shopping and doing various errands to get ready for the ceremony as well as looking for a couple mercenaries to send to Akiros and apprenticeships for Angus and Larur. Fin and Johannes buy some magic items.
17th— The night of the big ceremony! Following a rousing speech by the Lord Mayor where he introduces each charter group and describes their accomplishments, they are presented with a founding charter granting them rights to settle the Stolen Lands and promised aid in helping them set up their fledgling kingdoms in exchange for an embassy and a friendly treaty. There is a big banquet afterwards where the party has a chance to meet the other charter groups in more depth. Pavel has a rather… interesting night with two ladies while Rallo sneaks into the room of Baron Drelev’s mistress, Lady Quintessa, looking for anything that might suggest that the lovely lady is not who she claims to be.
18th— The party meets with Taissa to finalize the details of their new charter and initiate the handover of BPs the Swordlords are granting them. She also introduces them to Belimarius, who offers her expertise on urban planning, and Sofiya, who offers to act as their liaison to the noble houses of Brevoy since none of them seem to have any ties or experience with the aristocracy. On Belimarius’ advice, the party visits the various churches in Restov to secure more BPs for their fledgling nation. They also consider an offer from House Lebeda but decline in the end, uncomfortable with the concessions the House is demanding. As a gesture of their goodwill, however, House Lebeda agrees to fund the cost of a new shop regardless. Rallo tails Baron Drelev’s party in hopes of unearthing anything further of import regarding Lady Quintessa but finds nothing amiss.
19th-22nd— Their business in Restov concluded, the party returns to Oleg’s, accompanied by Belimarius and Sofiya.
23rd— The party spends a day resupplying and talking to the various inhabitants at the trading post, recruiting them into leadership positions for their new kingdom. Oleg grudgingly agrees to act as the treasurer (at least for the near future), while Saeros accepts the position of magister and Kesten as the warden. A message is dispatched to Father Jubal asking him to be the new councilor. Belimarius settles in and start organizing for the influx of colonists.
24th-29th— The party heads south to Tuskwater Keep, stopping along the way to look for Iskra to ask her to become the kingdom’s Marshal, a position she agrees to after a bit of convincing. The party checks in with Akiros, who reports that the past month has been mostly uneventful, though his men did spot some goblins moving around the edges of the Narlmarches to the west. To his surprise, the party offers him the role of general, to which he eventually agrees thus completing their leadership council.
30th— The party starts exploring the area around Tuskwater Keep so that they can claim the hex for their capital.
1st— The party concludes their survey of the area and return to the keep to deal with the zombies there so that the preparatory work for their capital can begin.
2nd— Finland is founded! The first trickle of colonists and workers are starting to arrive at Oleg’s Trading Post; Belimarius starts directing them towards various tasks while Iskra starts organizing patrols to protect the settlers as they travel south to Tuskwater Keep.
3rd-9th— The party is busy with affairs of state, setting up their fledgling government and meeting with the various leaders they have appointed on policy. Fin sets up the first court to address supplicants and complaints (not that there are many at this point), and the rest of the council swears fealty to their new king (with the exception of Jubal, Oleg, and Kesten who are not yet present). Rallo spends some time snooping through Akiros’ and Saeros’ stuff, trying to uncover more about their backgrounds. Fin startles Sofiya by declaring his desire to marry her; she seems somewhat uncomfortable with the idea. The matter is put off for another day.
10th-13th— To relieve the tension, the party goes on a boar hunt for Tuskgutter. The wily old boar ambushes them with a few of its offspring but the party triumphs and there is fresh pork for everyone that night.
14th-16th— The party makes a beeline for Oleg’s so that the meat and head doesn’t spoil in the summer heat. They run across Perlivash and Tyg on their way north, who are always glad to chat and inform them that they heard Rannulf is having some problems with a goblin tribe down south.
17th— The party hands Tuskgutter’s head over to Vekkel, who gleefully starts working on the head cheese he promised to make. Oleg makes a preliminary survey of the kingdom’s finances and promises that he will head south to Pilgrim’s Shore with Kesten in about a week to make a more thorough audit. Reports filter up that some of the colonists are having trouble with centipedes in the vicinity of the Old Sycamore.
18th-20th— The party pays a visit to Bokken to buy some alchemist’s fire before turning south to deal with the centipedes. They rescue a young family along the way being attacked by the giant vermin. As they get closer, they see the depredations the centipedes have wreaked on the local wildlife.
21st— The party faces off with the enormous whiptail centipede that has terrorized the region and slay the monstrosity after a pitched battle. They descend into the mite tunnels under the Old Sycamore to clear out any remaining centipedes and torch any eggs. The party decides to spend the night with the Sootscales, who receive them warmly and rejoice at the news of the centipedes’ demise. Mikmek keeps them appraised of his efforts to train a dire weasel mount and become a cavalier.
22nd-25th— The party heads west into the Narlmarches to continue their mission of exploring and mapping the forest. On the afternoon of the third day, they meet a curious boggard named Garuum offers them information about the surrounding area and a place to stay for the night if they would leave him alone. They take him up on the offer and spend a damp, rather uncomfortable night in the soggy ruins. The next day, they conclude their survey of the area and decide to drop in on Father Jubal at the Temple of the Elk.
26th— Father Jubal scribes a few scrolls for the party’s use while Fin and Pavel finish clearing the last of the debris from the temple steps. Rallo has a talk with Father Jubal about the background of their mysterious general but unfortunately, he has little to add save to encourage Rallo to keep pressing. The party thanks the father for his hospitality and starts making their way towards the source of the Skunk River.
27th-28th— The party discovers the hot springs that feed the Skunk River and is the origin of the river’s stink. They kill the giant frogs occupying the area and have themselves a nice dinner of frog legs.
29th— The party goes to investigate the ‘strange stone’ Garuum had told them about and eventually find a beautiful and lush glade surrounded by paueliel trees with a weathered stone monolith standing at its center. The stone itself is not especially magical, but the glade itself seems heavy with power to those sensitive in magic. Johannes makes a drawing of the cryptic glyph inscribed on the monolith. Later, the party is attacked by an irate owlbear but they defeat it easily.
30th-31st— Heading southeast from the stone monolith, the party returns to the banks of the Skunk River and this time traces it course until they run across the tatzlwyrm that Garuum had also mentioned. It turns out there was not one, but two of those creatures, a mated pair. In short order, the party is able to procure a tatzlwyrm head for Oleg, plus an extra one. Sofiya casts gentle repose on them to keep them from rotting while the party continues its explorations.
1st-2nd— The party follows the Skunk River as it twists south, then east and comes across a serene and deep pool whose sweet waters were a welcome relief from the usual stink. The party makes camp only to discover that the glade is already occupied by a fey water spirit named Melianse. They appease her with gifts and flattery, and she in turn offers her hospitality. She seemed rather enamored with Rallo but he did not return her interest. Regardless, a fun time playing in the water was had by all.
3rd-4th— Leaving Melianse’s delightful glade, the party journeys east, still following the Skunk River, knowing it should lead them back to Tuskwater Lake. Along the way, they run across a caravan of gnomes who had been set upon by a goblin war party. The party helps them fish their ponies and wagons out of the river and the two groups exchange pleasantries. They discover Glinklanus Narthropple and his sister Wotywina are heading an expedition to explore and map the Stolen Lands, and Johannes is able to trade some locations the party has discovered for sites on Glinklanus’ map. The gnomes decide to accompany the party back to Pilgrim’s Shore to re-supply and acquaint themselves with the new settlement.
5th— The party returns to Pilgrim’s Shore to drop off the tatzlwyrm heads and check in with the other councilors but they only stay the night as they are eager to find Rannulf and help her deal with the barghest she’s been fighting.
6th— According to the fey, Rannulf was last seen in the southern reaches of the Narlmarches so the party decides to travel along the western edge of the Tuskwater Lake and then head into the forest. Along the way, they come across a dilapidated hut, home to a mysterious old crone named Elga Verniex. She was quite cantankerous and surly at first but the party manages to thaw her out a little, and she warms up further when she realizes recognizes Johannes as Mikkel’s son. She tells Johannes that his father disappeared many years ago after he went in search of an aiudara (elf-gate) on Candlemere. She gives him his father’s journal and the few personal effects he left with her. She also finally tells the party of how she came to live to be so old and her long quest to find someone who can help her restore the dryad soul she carries back to life.
7th— Re-entering the Narlmarches, the party presses west, hoping to find Rannulf. Unfortunately, a crazy old hermit and his feral cat find them first in an ambush. After a terrific battle involving too much screaming and a truly ridiculous number of traps, the party finally manages to take him down. While searching his body and “living quarters,” they discover a tarnished silver locket which leads them to suspect that the old man is Bokken’s brother. The racket may have alerted Rannulf for she finds them that night at camp.
8th-9th— After agreeing to an alliance, Rannulf leads the party southwest into the tangled depths of the Narlmarches, skirting a blighted section of the forest that she says has been recently corrupted. They finally arrived, scratched and lashed by thorns, to the warren the goblins have carved out for themselves in a humongous briar patch. Plumbing its depths, the party is soon beset by a large group of goblins and eventually, the barghest himself. He is a fearsome opponent, capable of inflicting grievous wounds with teeth and claw, but the party manages to slay him, causing the surviving goblins to flee. They manage to kill the warchanter peppering them with arrows, but their shaman manages to evade Rannulf’s jaws and escape, though not before blinding Sofiya. The party proceeds to make a sweep of the rest of the warren, clearing out any remaining goblins. In the process, they discover a vile altar to Lamashtu which Fin smashed, along with the undead remains of a goblin druid who had lost the power struggle with the tribe’s shaman. They then withdraw, only to discover a band of goblins attacking their horses. Unfortunately, Pavel’s horse was killed, though the party was able to save the rest.
10th-14th— Rannulf takes her leave of the party, though she does reward them with a token of her thanks the following night. They trek back towards Pilgrim’s Shore, slightly slowed by heavy coinage from the goblin warren and by Sofiya’s blindness. They do stop along the way to finish exploring the western shore of Tuskwater Lake before following its contour back to their capital. They arrive in the late afternoon to find Saeros and Iskra in a heated exchange over Mikhail, with Kesten attempting to keep the peace between the two of them. Apparently, a couple of gruesome murders had taken place in the past couple nights: a barmaid was ripped apart two nights ago, while a shepherd boy and his flock were found mauled just the night before. Saeros suspects Mikhail but Iskra resolutely maintains his innocence. The party investigates the matter and eventually discover that while the murders are most definitely the result of a werewolf, it is the work of an itinerant Kellid barbarian named Kundal. He proved a most savage foe when cornered, nearly killing Fin and Mikhail before he was brought down. The party decided to spare his life (for now) and dragged him off the makeshift cell in the keep to decide what to do with him.
15th— The party spends the day questioning Kundal, who appears quite remorseful over murders, though he has no memory of committing them. After consulting their advisers, they decide to they will try to cure him. They also pay a weregild on Kundal’s behalf to the families of the slain barmaid and shepherd boy, as well as make restitution to the farmer whose cows were slaughtered. Fin makes a speech to the townsfolk about his decision to spare Kundal, which was accepted by the citizenry, though not without some grumbling.
16th-22nd— The party fulfills their civic duties as rulers of the land, listening to their peoples’ disputes and concerns, writing and clarifying laws, and continuing their setup of their kingdom’s infrastructure. Father Jubal returns and cures Sofiya of her blindness, much to her relief. He also assists in the administering of the wolfsbane antidote to Kundal, which proves to be successful. The party agrees to continue to hold and monitor him over the next month to make sure he’s fully cured. During this time, Sofiya reveals to Pavel her family tie to Lymon Medvyed, his nemesis. She has little interest in pursuing vengeance against her half-brother but she will not hinder Pavel in his quest.
23rd-25th— After letting Johannes take some time to brew some potion to restock the party’s supply, they set off to explore the area west of Pilgrim’s Shore. They run across a mated pair of wyverns, who try to make a meal of their horses but they manage to successfully slay the beasts though Pavel gets wracked by poison. Eventually they find the wyverns’ nest, and climbing the atop the cliff it was perched on, see a series of suspicious regular hillocks further west they suspect are barrows.
26th-27th— The party investigates the barrow downs, finding most of them intact, a few breached and looted, and finally one that appeared to have been sealed at one point with a large boulder marked with a centaur rune denoting “Death.” The boulder was now split in twain, allowing access into its dark depths. Bravely, the party enters, finding the tomb of a long-ago Iobarian barbarian warlord. After facing down his undead guard and some creepy haunts, they face the Lonely Warrior himself. Though he manages to sap Fin of some of his vitality, he is brought low by a volley of Johannes’ bombs. Once defeated, he reveals that his weapon was broken when he killed his brother and that he needs to atone for his misdeed before he can find rest. The party agrees to try to reconcile the brothers though all he can tell them is that his home village was several days west of the lake. They then sift through all the grave goods buried with the Lonely Warrior and find quite a trove of treasure, including a war chariot (which Rallo takes quite a shine to) and a magical box that can unfold into a longship.
28th-31st— The party spends a day tabulating and packing their spoils for transport while Fin recovers his strength. With the help of the horses and a potion from Johannes, Pavel clears the boulder from the barrow entrance, allowing the party to extract the chariot. Burdened by all the bulky items, the party takes a bit longer that usual to wend their way home.
1st-5th— The party takes five days to attend to the needs of their kingdom. Upon Kesten’s suggestion, Kundal becomes the first of the newly formed Kingsguard (once his probationary period of incarceration is up of course). Also, Mikhail is appointed Finland’s official liaison with the fey, on account of his close ties to Rannulf. The party also makes the acquaintance a young clerk named Anatoly, who is serving as House Lebeda’s representative in the matter of their new shop.
6th— Belimarius approaches Fin with the history she uncovered of the unique armor he wears, and believes that Father Jubal and Saeros may have managed to cobble together a ritual that would attune the armor to him and unlock its basic magical properties. With Fin’s funding, they are able to purchase some of the components required for the ritual from Casimir but it appears a trip to Bokken to pick up the remaining materials will be required. Around the same time, Markard (one of the Stag Lord’s bandits recruited by the party) returns from his secret mission to inform Rallo of his findings regarding his missing siblings.
7th-14th— The party makes the long trip to Bokken’s to give him the locket they uncovered among his dead brother’s belongings and also to buy the remaining components needed for Fin’s armor ritual. Bokken is overjoyed to have this memento of his dead mother and rewards them handsomely.
15th-21st— Taking advantage of the lull before the Harvest Festival, the party sets out to explore the Kamelands east of Tuskwater Lake. They find Old Crackjaw (a giant and cantankerous snapping turtle) sunning himself in his lair, enjoying the warm summer days, but don’t bother him. Further east, they run into a mysterious trio of bloduewedds who are very cagey but still reveal some interesting lore about the land. The “eldest” of them introduces herself as Elisheva and through her, they learn that the area has the unfortunate effect of driving druids mad, which explains why there is no druid circle tending to the Green Belt despite its lush and wild beauty. They seem pleased with Pavel’s gift of a masterwork flute. To the south, the party run across their first trolls, who were apparently out hunting. The trolls proved hardy but not hardy enough as Fin cleaves one in twain with a single stroke of his axe.
22nd-30th— The party returns in time to get ready for the Harvest Festival on the autumnal equinox and there is a week of joyous celebration, feasting, and merrymaking as everyone celebrates the bounty of the land. Fin just barely beats out his fellow party members in the archery contest while Pavel handily wins the wrestling contest. The party ties up any administrative loose ends for the month and also travels up to the fangberry patch to deal with a trio of perytons that have been attracted by all the new human presence in the Green Belt.
1st-11th— The party discovers Rallo has been making secret preparations to leave, and after some querying discover he is planning to rescue his siblings from the clutches of slavers who abducted them months ago. They immediately gather their gear to accompany him down to Mivon’s border, where the slavers have a base. Wanting to avoid trouble as much as they can, they swing west to avoid trolls and manage to elude the lizardmen patrols at the edge of the Narlmarches. During their journey they are attacked by strange log-like creatures and a pack of spiders led by some sort of winged arachnid monstrosity. As they travel further south, they start seeing signs of logging activity and come across a large logging camp, though they decide not to reveal their presence to the lumberjacks. Following Markard’s instructions, they find and follow a seldom-used trail north, though they are ambushed by harpies at a gorge. The party slays two of the fowl creatures and the last one flees, leaving the party in peace (and silence). Their troubles aren’t over though, as they are attacked by a hideous amalgam of woman, insect, and worm as they draw closer to their goal. Rallo is able to identify it as a weaverworm, a cursed servant of Urgathoa. The party finally catches sight of the manor in the late afternoon of the 11th. Using a combination of invisibility, stealth and acrobatics, Pavel scouts the manor grounds, gaining a rough idea of its guards and layout. Afterwards, they opt to withdraw for the night and prepare for an assault on the place the next morning.
12th— The party decides to use a bunch of invisibility extracts to try to sneak into the manor undetected but unfortunately, this is thwarted when they are ambushed by a blood-sucking undead shrub intent on making fertilizer out of Rallo and Fin. The noise of this combat alerts the guards patrolling the manor grounds. Fortunately, the party is able to defeat the guards on the grounds without alerting anyone inside. They sneak in, and check the upper floor for clues but find little else save a couple of bored mercs guarding a few slaves. Sadly, the mercs were able to raise an alarm before the party killed them which put the rest of the manor on alert. Thus, the party found a tough battle in Lady Lissia, made even more arduous by reinforcements from the remaining guards in the house. Questioning of the survivors reveals that Ailmon and the slaves are sequestered in the basement, along with a stone guardian of some sort. Unfortunately, Pavel’s impetuousness nearly ends in his demise as he falls neatly into Ailmon’s ambush. The elf-turned-vampire thrall is a very formidable fighter but a lucky strike from Fin’s axe finally cleaves his head from his shoulders. After Sofiya patches everyone up to the best of her ability and the party downs some healing draughts, they search the holding cells for Rallo’s siblings. They find Lillyn there, who is mostly unharmed but Pebon and Wippin are in a bad way, having been unlucky subjects in Lissia’s heinous experiments.
13th-23rd— After destroying all of Lissia’s notes and the bodies, the party burns down Harrowstone Manor. They hasten back to Finland to tend to their kingdom; Sofiya stays behind with the freed slaves to take care of the sick and help escort them on the long journey north with the help of the south Narlmarch elves. The party gets back to find Grigori loudly criticizing their leadership and inciting unrest in the populace. After addressing his complaints with little success, they decide to back off and have Rallo try to gather some information on him instead while they decide what to do with Grigori in the long run.
24th-30th— The party tends to the demands of the kingdom building and Pavel goes around with Father Jubal to try to raise their standing in the eyes of their citizens in an attempt to counter Grigori’s recriminations. Rallo discovers that Grigori is well-funded but is unable to find anything incriminating.
31st— Mikmek shows up with an urgent request from Chief Sootscale about an important conference so the party sets out for the Sootscale Caverns.
1st-3rd— After a day and a half of hard riding, they arrive at the Sootscale Caverns to discover an unusually well-spoken troll named Hargulka is trying to get Chief Sootscale to join his monster kingdom. The party reiterates their commitment to peace between the humans and the kobolds, as well their recognition of the Sootscales’ sovereignty. Hargulka leaves in a huff. Chief Sootscale invites the party to stay overnight to discuss a possible trade treaty. The party leaves the next morning after working out a satisfactory agreement that would benefit both kingdoms.
4th-30th— Sofiya returns to Finland with the rescued slaves, where she gives Rallo the mixed news: she was able to cure his brothers of their afflictions but the progression of the disease left them with permanent damage that is currently beyond her ability to heal. It is decided that he will journey up to Restov with them to seek help from the Church of Erastil. In the meantime, the party lets Grigori continue his tirade against their leadership while doing their best to build trust and community with their citizens. Unfortunately, Grigori’s harsh words cause quite a bit of instability in their fledgling kingdom and the party has a rocky time of it. Luckily, Borys the Issian Love Hammer is there to distract the citizenry and buoy their spirits and confidence in their leaders with his amazing physique and kind words about the party’s heroics in rescuing the slaves. Also, a couple council members approach the party about Akiros’ continued internal conflict, which is impacting his ability to do his job so they finally corner the man and drag his story out of him. Afterwards, they offer him time off to seek out atonement for his past crimes and any help he might need. He gratefully accepts, and starts training Ephraim as a temporary replacement.
1st-31st— With a circlet of diplomacy in hand, Johannes finally feels confident enough to take Grigori on in a battle of words, with Sofiya and Fin aiding him. The contest almost ends as soon as its begun, when Johannes makes a couple of gaffes but he manages to find his verbal footing (with some judicious use of waterworks) to eventually discredit the loudmouth. Grigori is forced to leave town amidst a chorus of boos and thrown rocks, much to the party’s satisfaction. Rallo returns with his brothers successfully cured; while he was in Restov, he also had the opportunity to meet with Markard, who has managed to insinuate himself into Lymon’s household. His agent didn’t have much information that was immediately useful but could at least provide a partial list of Lymon’s allies and enemies. Rallo directed him to keep digging, particularly into any shady dealings. The end of the year is blessedly quiet and peaceful as Finland slowly recovers from its recent troubles and celebrates Snoggletog.
1st-31st— The new year finds the kingdom slumbering under a deep blanket of snow. But since it seems to be doing better, Akiros takes his leave to seek his atonement with a minimum of disruption. The only other thing of note to happen is the unexpected arrival of a wizard— which apparently was the result of a some sort of mishap with a teleport scroll. Still, since it was the only scroll she had, Hannelore decides to stay for the time being, and offer her crafting services in the meantime.
1st-28th— The party receives a visit from one Leda Stonecross, an inquisitor from the church of Pharasma who has apparently been tracking Lord Aldamori, Ailmon’s vampiric master, for some time. She thanks them for their work in breaking up the slavery ring and grants them a boon from the church should they ever need it. After spending a few days reviewing the ledger they recovered and interviewing the rescued slaves, she takes her leave. Also, the Sootscales finally manage to get their mine up and running and trade starts flowing between Finland and the Sootscale Tribe.
1st-31st— An emissary of Varnhold, Finland’s eastern neighbor, named Cassioche shows up, bearing gifts of fine wine, furs, and textiles as well as the well wishes of Baron Maegar Varn, who wishes to open up friendly diplomatic relations with Finland, as well as possibilities of a trade agreement or even an alliance in the future. He also broaches the topic of a potential marriage between the Duke’s daughter, Ataline, and one of the council members to further cement bonds between the two countries. Since the idea is received favorably by the party, a visit by Ataline is arranged for the summer.
1st-30th— In the beginning of the month, Sir Sergei Khavortorov and his household show up, asking to be made landed knights in exchange for pledging their service to Finland and the King. After some consideration, the party grants his request and bequeaths House Khavortorov a nice plot of land next to the lake after the swearing ceremony. He also brings news of King Surtova’s betrothal to Lady Elanna Lebeda, with the wedding set for the following spring. The warming weather and increasing boredom drives the party out to explore, in the form of short jaunts around Tuskwater Lake. Belimarius has been curious about the Green Belt’s history and decides to ask firsthand from one of the region’s oldest inhabitants (not counting the fey, of course, who probably can’t be relied upon to give an accurate account of what they had for breakfast), the Old Beldame. To sweeten the old woman’s temper, Belimarius asks the party to retrieve some black rattlecaps, which the Old Beldame uses to make a potent tea. Unfortunately, the mushrooms turned out to be guarded by a ferocious plant-animal-fungus hybrid that swallowed Fin whole. Fortunately, Fin survived the experience, and managed to cut himself out of the creature’s belly before Pavel blew it up with his fists. Also, during this month, the kingdom founded its second town on the site of Oleg’s Trading Post, which they named Leveton, in honor of its most famous and well-liked family.
1st-31st— With the founding of Leveton, more pressure is put on the council to find a replacement for Oleg as treasurer. Father Declan of the recently built shrine of Abadar was suggested as a candidate, and after some discussion, a formal invitation was made. Father Declan was delighted to serve, and Oleg has started training him for the eventual transition. The council was also approached by an enthusiastic couple, Tam and Jana Rezbin, asking for some support to help them establish a town deep in the Narlmarches at a ford on the Skunk River. Though there was considerable suspicion that the two might be swindlers, the council ultimately agreed to fund them 2 BPs, with the possibility of more in the future if the town appears to be flourishing. The party also decided to engage in some exploration of the Narlmarches on the western border of their kingdom; in a diseased section of the forest, they came across an abominable tree with a hunger for flesh that could inflict horrible wounds with its scythe-like branches. An ugly scar across its trunk revealed that the tree, which had once been a treant, had had its heartwood removed. This was confirmed when the party ran into Falchos, a satyr visiting a deserted dryad grove. He told them he believed that a creature that he referred to as “Bramble Heart” was behind it. He also mentioned the death of an unicorn several season ago, found with his horn removed but no signs of injury, which he also suspects to be related. After a merry evening of drinks and music, Falchos fades away with the dawn. The party continues their explorations in a westerly direction, following the silty waters of the Murque River since Falchos had mentioned seeing some very old ruins at its head. As they draw closer, they are attacked by twigjacks, pernicious and malicious fey of old growth forests that resent any intrusion of civilization. Eventually, they come across the weathered remains of a village, so overgrown that there’s little left save foundations and the central keep, which itself is draped verdant greenery. The place is far from abandoned, however, as the party finds out when they face a trio of dark fey, who are not quite allies with each other. The Dancing Lady is ultimately slain after a lot of grappling, though not before she death-curses Fin. Rigg the quickling decides to light out for greener pastures after the other two are defeated. The party also find the severed, preserved head of Bran, who turns out to be the Lonely Warrior’s brother. They are able to reconcile the quarreling siblings and help them find their peace. With the treasures they found in the keep and Fin’s curse, the party decides to return to Pilgrim’s Shore, whereupon they find Pavel’s mother, Clerisaana waiting for them. Pavel has a (mostly) joyful family reunion, though he is very suspicious of her new suitor, Gideon.
1st-10th— Welcoming preparations are made for Ataline, who arrives on the 3rd, with Cassioche and a bodyguard in tow. Fin makes it very clear to everybody that Pavel alone shall court her uncontested (at least, until he crashes and burns). A feast is held that night in her honor, along with a fireworks show afterwards. Over the next week, Pavel shows her the beautiful lands around Pilgrim’s Shore, including a boat ride upon the Tuskwater Lake. He surprises everyone by carrying himself with grace and courtesy. The visit goes very well, and a reciprocal offer to visit Varnhold is extended.
11th-23rd— Mikhail brings news of a series of increasingly serious pranks being played in Leveton suggesting fey involvement of some sort so the party ventures north to figure out what’s going on. It turns out that a troll kidnapped Tyg-Titter-Tut to blackmail Perlivash to play pranks in a bid to sabotage relations between the fey and the human inhabitants of Finland. With Mikhail’s help, they track the troll to the hot springs forming the head of the Skunk River and rescue Tyg, killing the troll in the process. They then return to Leveton to reassure the townsfolk that their troubles were at an end, and that they would have no more problems with the fey. However, this unusually canny behavior for a troll troubles them.
24th-30th— The party returns home to deal with matters of the kingdom, and Father Declan takes over the position of Treasurer from Oleg with a minimum of disruption.
1st-24th— Finland celebrates the first year of its founding with a day of feasting and Johannes’ ever-popular fireworks. Unfortunately, the jubilant mood is cut short by news of a troll attack on the farms bordering the Narlsmarchs northeast of Pilgrim’s Shore. And not just a few trolls but a small army of them, numbering over two dozen! Hastily, the party assembles a militia of their own to counter the threat. Fortunately, the trolls were much more interested in eating the livestock than keeping rank, and were handily defeated by the Finites eager to defend their homes. In the process, they capture the “leader” of the troll army, a sniveling brute called Thrundogg who reveals that this attack was not sanctioned by Hargulka. Apparently, the trolls are running out of food and Thrundogg incited some of his fellow trolls to raid the farms for food. The party also learns that Hargulka has enough forces for three more armies, which he had hoped to send against Finland by the end of summer in a surprise invasion. His element of surprise has now been ruined by Thrundogg’s capture (and blabbing) but the party still needs to figure out a way to counter his three armies. So they talk to Beltasar, the resident ambassador to Restov, who tells them that the Swordlords are unwilling to get directly involved in any conflicts but are willing to send supplies and gear down to help fund their troops. They also met with the Sootscales and House Khavortorov about the possibility of raising more troops; both groups were amenable but demanded something in return: Chief Sootscale wanted training and access to tools and materials for his people and Sir Khavortorov wanted to have more influence in Finland, in the form of a council seat. The party agreed to both requests; Finland would repay the costs for equipping and fielding the Sootscale army once the trolls have been defeated, and made Sir Khavortorov their Justicar. Meanwhile, they contacted their fey friends to keep an eye on troll movements in the Narlmarches, and sent Iskra to scout for Hargulka’s stronghold.
25th-31st— The party attends to the running of their kingdom amidst their war preparations. Iskra returns with the location of Hargulka’s “fort,” such as it was.
1st-12th— The party asks Rannulf to alert them of any troop movements from the trolls while they get into position with their armies. They decide to station their militia west of Pilgrim’s Shore while House Khavortorov’s cavalry and the Sootscales protect Finland’s eastern flank. After a week or so of waiting during the hot, hazy days of high summer, word finally comes that Hargulka has made his move. It is time for battle! After all that preparation, it is swiftly over. Both troll armies are dispatched with little trouble or mercy and the Finites are much heartened by this successful and decisive defense of their homeland. Unfortunately, Hargulka remains ensconced in his stronghold and it is time for the party to take advantage of his relative weakness and go on the offensive.
13th-17th— The party rides ahead of their army, following Iskra and Rannulf as they lead them to Hargulka’s lair. It becomes obvious that the trolls have a number of slaves in their camp that should be rescued before the attack to prevent them from being used as meat shields when their armies attack. Rallo sneaks into the slave camp to scout out the guards and discovers Casimir among the prisoners, having been waylaid by the trolls on his return from Mivon. Rallo returns to the party (who was having trouble avoiding the troll guard and just decided to retreat a ways back) and they make a plan to break out the slaves the next morning, just shortly before their armies’ attack.
18th— The Finites (and their Sootscale allies) attack Hargulka’s stronghold and defeat the trolls soundly! Hargulka is forced to retreat into the depths of his cliffside redoubt; the party pursues after making sure the slaves have been delivered to safety. They also rescued a small group of lizardmen among the slaves, who thank them profusely and one of them, Es’San, promises to put in a good word for them among his people in the Hooktongue Slough. The party fights their way in, past the last few remaining trolls still standing, and also encounter the bitter ex-chief of the Briarclaw goblins they slew last year. He may have escape their justice last Arodus, but not this time. In the tunnels beyond the small keep, they confront Hargulka and his two-headed advisor, Nagrundi at last in battle. Hargulka is furious that his plans have been ruined and starts throwing fireballs from his necklace but a shot from Johannes’ bombs detonate the rest. Hargulka is mostly protected from the fire and comes out only singed but at least he is no longer able to use it against the party. It is a brutal fight, and Hargulka nearly manages to kill Rallo with a lucky blow but in the end, the party piles on him from all sides and he is overwhelmed. Nagrundi dies shortly thereafter, with confused looks on both his faces as to how a few puny soft-skins could have defeated them. The tired and battered party bask in their hard-won victory and start going through the spoils in Hargulka’s lair when they hear a deep, bone-rattling HOOT! from the east…
19th-22nd— After sorting through their spoils and leaving instructions for their armies to follow them as swiftly as possible, the party rides hard back to Pilgrim’s Shore. They make it back on the night of the 22nd, to panicked reports from the scouts that a legendary owlbear the size of a manor house is advancing on the town. Hurried preparations are made to beef up the settlement’s defenses but it is doubtful they will do much to slow the angry beast down.
23rd— After stocking up on a few potions and scrolls of flying, the party rides out to meet Talonquake, in hopes of diverting the colossus away from Pilgrim’s Shore, or at the very least, slowing it down to give their armies enough time to arrive and reinforce the capital. The party soon discovers a strange, magical sigil carved into Talonquake that seems vulnerable to attack, though it shifts location and summons will ‘o wisp guardians when struck. Eventually, they are able to deal enough damage to the sigil to shatter it, precipitating an extraordinary transformation: Talonquake becomes a very large, vaguely owlbear-shaped tree. The battle occurs within sight of Pilgrim’s Shore and there was much cheering when its citizens discover they are no longer in danger of becoming owlbear toejam.
24th-31st— The party is welcomed back with a celebration and an impromptu parade is thrown for the victorious armies upon their return to town. The contribution of the kobolds to the battle helps cement a lasting friendship between the two nations, and Finites are now much better disposed towards the Sootscales. The party even gets volunteers from the populace when it comes time for Finland to repay its war debt and help the kobolds build up their infrastructure. Once everyone has sobered up, the party settles down to the arduous task of restoring their kingdom back to its pre-war footing.
1st-7th— The party continues administering to their kingdom. Pavel hires a houseboy named Rudibert, to the derision of a number of party members, which in turn spurs the drafting of child labor laws.
8th-30th— The party sets out on a grand autumnal tour of the Green Belt, spending most of this month and next exploring the areas south of Pilgrim’s Shore, mapping the region and making sure there are no other major threats to their kingdom. Between the trolls and the armies, the southern Narlmarches are pretty clear, and it will take the wildlife some time to recover. The party does discover a mated pair of hodags have taken up residence in the Briarwarrens but since the creatures are unlikely to cause problems and may in fact deterred something worse from taking up residence, they decide to leave them alone. Unfortunately, the same was not true for the shambling mound that attempted to turn Sofiya to fertilizer, necessitating the party to slice it into bits before it would release its choking grasp on her. The party also discovers the remains of a forest drake, stripped to the bone by ravenous trolls, on their way to old dwarven fort. There’s little more to be found in Hargulka’s former residence, though the party notes that it would make an excellent outpost or waystation some day.
1st-18th— As the leaves start to turn and the nights become crisp, the party explores the foothills south of Candlemere Lake. They come across the Little Sellen River, which if followed, would eventually lead to Mivon, making it a good candidate for a future trade route. However, it seems that a rusalka haunts a stretch of the Little Sellen, as the party catches a glimpse of a beautiful woman with long, flowing tresses sunning herself by the banks before she dives in. She only hisses at their hails and disappears underwater; following Johannes’ advice, the party declines to engage her further. Perhaps they could ask Melianse about her. Further north, they run into Munguk, a despondent giant. Offering him the carcass of a boar they hunted a couple days before, they manage to make a friend of the depressed giant and promise to send him any female giants they meet his way. He gives them a pickled sheep’s head to give to the prospective object of his affections and heads east, in search of richer pastures. By this point, the party has been gone for over a month and it’s time to return to Pilgrim’s Shore.
19th-25th— The party attends to kingdom affairs, and it becomes apparent their citizens aren’t exactly thrilled with them disappearing off into wilds for weeks at time. There is some discussion about making more formal arrangements for a staff for each council member, to help them delegate matters now that the kingdom is host to nearly 5,000 souls and to provide some leadership while they are gone or unavailable. Pavel decides to recruit some acolytes from each of the major faiths in Finland to serve as liaisons, while Lillyn manages to sweet talk her brother Rallo into letting her take an active role in his spying ring.
26th-31st— Akiros returns from his quest for atonement, having completed it in a satisfactory, if bittersweet manner. He relates to the party the tale of how he was sent to small, farming village called Vinterberg in southern Rostland to investigate an issue that was tearing the formerly close community apart. In the end, he was able to clear the name of the man of the falsely accused of child molestation but the damage was done; someone murdered Lucas because he was unable to believe in the man’s innocence. The case left Akiros angry and saddened but also re-ignited his sense of justice and purpose and he informs the party that he has decided to return to the path of the paladin, a choice welcomed by the Church of Erastil. Auguries indicated that the clear (if cold) weather will hold for a little while longer, so the party plans one final trip— an exploratory foray to Candlemere— before huddling down for the winter. Johannes prepares by procuring some new formulas and scribing a few scrolls, while Pavel works with Kundal to learn how to pilot a boat (a skill he figures will be useful for courting Ataline as well).
1st-4th— The party spends a couple days out on Tuskwater Lake to allow Pavel to get used to sailing; Kundal insists on accompanying the group, claiming that having more than one sailor onboard would be wise (since none of the rest of the party know anything about being on a boat) and in any case, he has sworn to defend the body of the King Fin. On the 4th, Pavel guides the boat south, threading the narrow neck separating the Tuskwater from Candlemere; that evening, the group camps on the north shore of Candlemere Lake, being mindful of the local tales warning them not to spend the night on the island itself.
5th— On their approach to Candlemere Island, the group is spooked by the sight of a pair of monstrous fins attached to some large, dark shape breaking the water near them. They hurry to shore, and make their way to the crumbling tower standing at the low summit in the center of bramble-covered island. Soon it becomes evident something bad happened there as they are assaulted by ghostly visions of screaming cultists and an unshakable feeling of unease and disquiet. In a moment of madness, Pavel even tries to murder Fin while Rallo stabs Johannes but fortunately, the party comes to its senses before anyone is killed. Pressing further, they find a seemingly bottomless pit in the remains of the tower, which they eventually determine to be some kind of illusion. At the bottom of the pit is a monster composed of mouths and eyes, and which gibbers madly. Pavel manages to defeat it handily and everyone climbs down when he announces the presence of a stout wooden door leading further into the ruins. The spiraling staircase beyond descends at least a hundred feet into an ancient and crumbling complex. The walls, floor, and ceiling of the first chamber are covered in a chaotic jumble of script of all sizes, obviously written at differing times and in differing hands. When Pavel and Rallo try to read the words, it seeps into their minds obsessively and they find they cannot clear their thoughts of them. Meanwhile, Fin, Johannes, and Kundal all feel an insidious apathy overtake them; this becomes a problem a little later when the party decides to withdraw. None of the three are willing to leave the island and Pavel and Sofiya are forced to subdue them and tie them up in the boat. Before they go, however, they find the remnants of a camp set up by Johannes’ father, Mikkel, in a side room with a strange six-pointed symbol carved prominently into the aged wood. Sofiya identifies it as the Elder Sign, a sigil used to protect against creatures of the Dark Tapestry. Journals recovered from Mikkel’s abandoned pack reveal more about the dangerous nature of the ruins under Candlemere Tower and the party decides to quit the place and come back later when they’re better informed and more prepared. After floundering around in the water for a bit, Pavel finally manages to point the boat towards shore and it is with relief that they watch Candlemere’s dark shores receded into the distance.
6th-8th— The party spends a day to recover and then heads back to Pilgrim’s Shore. The weather is starting to grow very cold and snowy, signaling the end of another year of exploration.
9th-30th— The ring of sustenance Pavel picked up in Candlemere turns out to be cursed; instead of nourishing him, it creates a terrible hunger in him for human flesh! Very luckily, Sofiya was able to remove the curse before Pavel starts chowing down on the citizenry. Johannes sends a letter to Varnhold suggesting that he and Pavel visit them during the Winter Solstice; they receive a warm and welcoming reply from Cassioche. Sofiya receives a letter from her cousin Adalheid stating her intention to visit her around the New Year. Fin orders a special tiara from Casimir.
1st-7th— The party gets their kingdomly duties out of the way for the month.
8th-19th— Johannes and Pavel leave for their trip to Varnhold, accompanied by Pietr and Lillyn; in Leveton, they meet up with Oleg and Vasily who are traveling up to New Stetven to regenerate Vasily’s tongue. The weather cooperates and the group makes good time; Oleg and Vasily part ways at Nivakta’s Crossing to continue on to Restov while the rest turn south to Varnhold. The terrain grows increasingly mountainous and they can just make out the fog-shrouded peaks of the Tors of Levenies far to the south. Meanwhile, back in Finland, construction on the Temple of the Elk is finally completed. Father Jubal holds a simple but heartfelt dedication ceremony and there is much merrymaking. Rallo meets an adventurer (and lech) from Irrisen named Aldric who is looking for work and decides to recruit him (at least provisionally) into his “cartel” of spies though he is as yet uncertain of the man’s loyalty.
20th-31st— Baron Varn and his wife offer Johannes and Pavel a hearty welcome to Varnhold, and hold a celebratory dinner in honor of their guests and arrange various activities to entertain them. They celebrate Cystalhue, a holiday imported from Taldor, where Maegar Varn met his wife. Pavel takes this opportunity to formally declare his intent to court Ataline and a schedule of visits between the young lovers for the upcoming year is arranged. Johannes secures a trade agreement with Varnhold though he is unable to gain the upper hand in negotiations with Cassioche; however, there is no hard feelings and arrangement is quite satisfactory to both parties. Things are bit more eventful in Finland where plague has broken out due to improper disposal of troll remains near the fangberry farms. Thanks to quick action and Fin opening the kingdom’s coffers to help those afflicted, it is swiftly contained; the cold weather also helped. This cast a bit of pall over the Snoggletog festivities but the citizens of Finland remain undaunted. Adalheid also arrives at the end of Kuthona, much to Sofiya’s delight; Fin doesn’t see much of her for a couple days while she catches up with her cousin.
1st-15th— Pavel and Johannes stick around Varnhold to celebrate the New Year and then head back. The weather on their return trip is rather less cooperative and they are delayed a few days by heavy snows (as is Casimir, who is carrying a package Fin is eagerly awaiting).
16th-24th— Once they are back, the party meets with Adalheid, who tells them the story of Evenholme, a long-gone druid kingdom which once claimed Green Belt as part of its territory. Apparently, they enacted a great ritual called the Sanctum to protect their lands but the Invocation went awry when a supposed ally betrayed them and poisoned the ley lines feeding it. The corruption of the Sanctum made the woods extremely hostile and drove the druids wild; the neighboring River Kingdoms were forced to destroy Evenholme and its stone circles. This caused the Sanctum to go quiescent but did not repair or dismantle it; thereafter, the warped energies of the Sanctum slowly drives any druids in the region mad over time. Unfortunately, the knowledge of how the Sanctum was created and how to deactivate it was lost long ago. Adalheid also meets with Elga to determine what could be done to separate the dryad’s spirit from the old woman’s and fulfill her promise. Unfortunately, the news is far from good: the party needs to either find a powerful spirit binder (who are exceedingly rare) or kill Elga and plant a special seed in her remains. On a brighter note, Casimir finally delivers the tiara that Fin had been waiting for so impatiently. Fin immediately makes arrangements with Wilhelm, owner of the Pickled Boar Inn in town, to rent out the common room for the night. There, after a romantic dinner, he proposes to Sofiya on bended knee (with half the town peeking through the windows). She is rendered speechless at first but eventually manages an emphatic and excited “Yes!” as she hugs and kisses him. The townsfolk flood the common room and an impromptu party breaks out.
25th-31st— The party deals with kingdom stuff. And also probably wedding plans.
1st-29th— The party decides to take a trip with Adalheid out to the strange glade with the obelisk; on the way, they stop at Tatzlford to check up on the status of settlement. They find several sturdy huts and a growing community there who invite them to join in on their “polar bear challenge.” After plunging naked into the half-frozen river nearby for “fun”, the party is warmly welcomed with hot drinks and woolen blankets. They agreed to help Tam and Jana build a tavern, and send 6 BP of aid towards the endeavor. The next day, the party continues to the glade, where Adalheid tells them the stone once acted as an anchor (one of several) for a massive warding, though its magic is now spent. She also theorizes that the death of the unicorn and corruption of the treant may have been used in some way to break the enchantment on the stone. Since they’re out here, the party decides to continue exploring the few remaining hexes in the northwestern Narlmarches left blank on their map. They discover the ruins of a burnt hut with some old bones in it; Fin feels strongly they should give them a proper burial so the party takes the bones with them. A faded message scrawled on a nearby wall in blood indicates the bones might have belonged to Sybille, the redeemed priestess of Gyronna who saved her love Larur from the sacrificial knife of her bloodthirsty sisters. They also comes across the a flock of axebeaks and mark their location for future reference, since they’ve heard the birds can be trained as mounts. Ataline visits Pavel at Pilgrim’s Shore as the first of the scheduled visits and the two get along very well. Adalheid leaves to carry news of Sofiya’s impending nuptials back to her family in Brevoy.
1st-31st— Hannelore shares the fruits of her research on the Dark Tapestry with the party, including what details she was able to dig up about Yog-Sothoth and its spawn. Her information is terrifying but helpful, and the party starts thinking about ways they can protect themselves from the malign influences of the Great Old Ones and their servants.
1st-30th— Pavel visits Ataline at Varnhold as part of their courtship, which seems to be going along swimmingly. Meanwhile, since spring is here, the nation has started its frenzied preparations for Fin and Sofiya’s wedding.
1st-31st— Wedding preparations reach a fever pitch and at the end of the month, Pilgrim’s Shore sees a massive flood of visitors arriving for the festivities. Also, with the completion of the graveyard at Jubalee, a small ceremony is held to inter the bones of Larur and Sybille together, uniting the two in death at last.
1st-30th— Fin and Sofiya’s wedding, which was set for the 5th kicks off nearly an entire month of celebrations. Visitors from all over show up, from Clerisaana to the Varns to the Sootscales; even the Drelevs and a few Medvyeds attend. The festivities are much “livened up” by the appearance of the fey, who raid the honey cakes table and illuminate the wedding vows with a glowing disco ball. After the ceremony and reception, Fin and Sofiya disappear for (at least) a week to some undisclosed location for some “private time.” Johannes takes this opportunity to broker a meeting between the Sootscales and Baron Varn, to discuss trade treaties and head off any potential misunderstands regarding future hex claims, while Pavel spends some time with Ataline (and introduces her to his mother). It seems that the gods smile upon the union for Finland is blessed with a long streak of beautiful days and pleasant nights, raising everyone’s spirits and productivity.
1st-31st— Once life has returned to a semblance of normalcy (though everyone notes the king is unusually cheerful all the time), the party starts making their final preparations for another expedition to Candlemere Tower. Mindful of the dangers of the place, the party get their kingdom duties out of the way first, in case something happens. Upon their return to that accursed place, the party has little difficulty with the upper level, since they are ready for the haunts this time. Avoiding the dreadful writing that so debilitated Pavel and Rallo last time, the party presses deeper into the underground temple, fighting horrific tentacled creatures, first in the form of barrel-shaped elder things, then some sort of aberration that would wear its victims like meat puppets after exploding their heads from within. Further on, they run into a pair of hound-like creatures that are able to teleport at will; they inflict some fearsome injuries on the party, nearly eviscerating Rallo before the group puts them down. Finally, they reach the portal chamber, far below the surface (and possibly below the lake), where they come face to face with the enigmatic Colour Out of Space. Thanks to the information provided by Hannelore, the party is well-prepared, and the thing does little more than sear Fin with its disintegrating touch before Johannes sends it back to the void with his force bombs. With the abomination gone and Johannes’ father avenged, the party is free to collect Mikkel’s remains and the Krivbeknih, a tome that holds the secrets to closing the portal to the Dark Tapestry. They do so, grateful to leave Candlemere once more with life and sanity intact.
1st-31st— News of a gorgon attacking and petrifying miners at their gold mine sends the party forth to deal with the threat; the beast is defeated handily, no one is turned to stone (at least permanently), and there is enough beef to feed PIlgrim’s Shore for a week. Once the threat is dealt with, Pavel goes to Varnhold to see his betrothed for their bimonthly visit. Johannes spends a good chunk of the month perusing the Krivbeknih, sussing out the particulars of the occult ritual needed to close the portal on Candlemere, which are quite complex. In addition to procuring some expensive and rare material components, he realizes he will need to consult an astronomer on the exact date that will provide a proper conjunction of the stars to perform the ritual. He also meets a wandering bard from Alkenstar named Lisette— she came to him looking for alchemist to make some gunpowder for her musket; he winds up recruiting her for his diplomatic corps.
1st-30th— Using their newly built aviary, Johannes sends a message to Halley, the astronomer they rescued from Harrowstone a couple years ago, asking about the specific conjunction of Aucturn and the moon needed for the ritual. The party also contacts Falchos about a possible site for Tiressia’s new tree; the satyr is happy to help and hopeful that the party might be able to find a way to resurrect his love soon. Unfortunately, Hannelore has had little success in locating a powerful spirit binder among her contacts. Pavel sends word to his mother requesting her presence in Varnhold in Kuthona to discuss possible nuptials.
1st-31st— Early in the month, Ataline comes to visit Pavel, the last of her scheduled visits for the year, and it is becoming quite apparent to all the growing affection between the two (as well as Pavel’s increasing nervousness that he does not screw this up). Also, work has started on the construction of the castle and everyone is quite excited about it, though it won’t be finished for a few months yet. In the midst of all this good news, Lidiya, a mid-wife and acolyte of Pharasma comes to Pavel with sobering news about a suspicious increase in the number of maternal and infant deaths in recent months. A couple of the distraught parents point their fingers at a strange boy named Starling, who they claim is an agent of the fey and is skulking around, swapping their babies for changelings. When the party gets Kesten to bring the boy in for questioning, they find him a very odd bird indeed. Despite his exceeding fair countenance, there is something very unsettling and distinctly unchildlike about him. However, Starling insists the deaths are not of his doing, but rather that of an evil cult. The party is suspicious of him, and his motive for being in Pilgrim’s Shore, but they follow up on his hints and begin to suspect that their city has been infiltrated by a group of Gyronna priestesses. Rallo uses his spies to ferret out likely suspects, while the rest of party convinces Iskra to pose as an unhappy and resentful underling in hopes that the cult will try to recruit her.
1st-30th— Rallo discovers that a number of cultists work as midwives, abusing the trust women placed in them and using their expertise to poison the mothers and infants. Iskra also informs the group that she has been invited to a meeting on the 5th to test her entry into the cult. The party sets up a raid and attacks! They discover that the cult is headed by goodwife Niska, who was really a green hag posing as an ordinary citizen to recruit and corrupt embittered women to Gyronna’s side. They slay her and take the surviving three cultists prisoner. Crade Hambley, the farmer who rented his barn to the cultists, had no idea of their evil activities and the party let him go. The next day, they discover that Starling had been beatened near death by some townsfolk a few days prior. Father Jubal was able to heal his wounds, but he remained unconscious. With some magical analysis, Hannelore was able to tell them that the boy was under the effects of a witch’s curse so they bundled him up and took him to see Elga. Elga confirmed that Starling was under the effects of a powerful eternal slumber hex but without knowing the escape clause (which was not being kissed by a queen apparently), there was no way of waking him. She offered them this alternative: she could try a special ritual that would “exorcise” the curse into physical form which the group could then defeat but she needed petals of a certain flower from the First World to make a tea. So the party paid a visit to the blodeuwedds to beg a favor. Flowers acquired, the party heads back and Elga prepares the ritual— what appears is some sort of animate nightmare. It appears differently for each person, taking the form of something that each of them fears. But the party stands firm and it eventually evaporates into mist under their attacks. Starling wakes, and in the process of thanking Elga for her help, Elga realizes he might be the “mortal practitioner of magic” that the dryad spoke of so long ago, here at last to help her fulfill her promise. But in this, she is not quite correct; prophecies have become uncertain in this Age, and Starling suspects it may actually be referring to his father (or even grandfather). However, he is willing to give it a try, though he doesn’t think much of his chances for success since he has no training. Still, it is better than nothing, and the party agrees to escort the two of them to the site Falchos chose earlier. Unfortunately, it is quite a ways in the forest and the group is ill-provisioned to go on such a journey immediately. They decided to return to Pilgrim’s Shore to buy supplies and also tend to their obligations. They leave Starling with Elga in the meantime. Back in town, they decide the fate of the three cultists (executed), and the townsfolk who had participated in Starling’s beating (hard labor in the mines for three years). It was at this time that Aldric alerted Rallo to the presence of a stranger in town who had been asking about Starling. It turns out that he had been dispatched by Starling’s family many years ago to look for him and bring him home. The party agreed to take him to see the boy once their duties had been dispatched.
1st-31st— Starling did not recognize Harker, but this was not a surprise as he had only been a small child when he had been abducted. Since the party had been planning to visit the Varns this month in anticipation of Pavel’s engagement (indeed, Johannes helped him pick out a very nice necklace for Ataline), it was decided to postpone the ritual to restore Tiressia until after their return— this would have the added benefit of giving Harker some time to give Starling a little training and Elga a chance to put her affairs in order. Then it was off to Varnhold (with a stopover at the Sootscales when an untimely blizzard forced them to take shelter), where they were welcomed warmly; this was the first time Fin, Sofiya, and Rallo had ever visited the kingdom and only the second for Johannes, though Pavel had made the trip a couple times in the past year during his courtship. Pavel’s proposal to Ataline went off without a hitch and the Varns hosted a formal engagement party to celebrate. There were a number of delicate negotiations between the two families mostly concerning matters of title, rank, and inheritance, and Johannes and Clerisaana were on hand to help; in the end, everything was settled mostly to everyone’s satisfaction. The wedding would be held on the 20th of Gozran in Varnhold.
1st-31st— After celebrating the New Year with Ataline and her family (and introducing fireworks to a new audience), the party returns to their own kingdom. Fortunately, the weather remains cooperative and they are able to make it through the pass without trouble. Once back in Pilgrim’s Shore, they decide to get their kingdom duties out of the way before embarking on Elga’s quest. Harker reports that Starling is doing well, and has been spending most of his time studying. The party loads up on provisions and brings a small sleigh to keep Elga comfortable and sets out with Starling and Harker in tow and Falchos leading. They acquire quite a procession on the way to the glade as word of the attempt to restore Tiressia spreads among the fey. Perlivash and Tyg show up first, followed by Rannulf. They are then joined by Mikhail, who has been drafted into carrying Melianse on his back. Finally, they are trailed by packs of pixies, sprites, and leshys, though most of them are far too shy to actually come out and say hello (but apparently not too shy to play a few pranks). The re-purposing of a few of the kingdom’s chickens as battle mounts by the leshys in particular distresses Pavel greatly and he makes a few choice complaints to the king. The “ritual” (such as it was) itself was almost anti-climatic, since it consisted mostly of thirty minutes of watching Starling and Elga sitting in the snow, holding hands, followed by a light show. Nonetheless, it was a success, and resulted in Elga gratefully shuffling off the mortal coil and Tiressia safely established in a new and healthy tree. She thanks Starling and the party before retiring to recover her strength, leaving them with the decision of what to do with Elga’s body. Good thing they have a sleigh and it’s freezing right now. Starling and Harker decline to return with the party back to Pilgrim’s Shore; both are eager to be on their way back to Kaer Maga and the fey are more than willing to help them navigate through the Narlmarches to Mivon’s borders. Also, work on the castle in Pilgrim’s Shore is finally complete, much to Fin’s delight.
1st-28th— After spending the last two months slogging through snow and sub-zero temperatures all over the Green Belt, the party has a quiet and uneventful (and most importantly, warm) month resting on their laurels.
1st-31st— Eager to fill in some holes in their map, the party decides to explore the southeastern corner of the Green Belt despite the cold, dreary, and windy days. It is slow going, hampered as they are by the snowdrifts and occasional snowstorm, but the party figures that the area they’re exploring is not that big and they have plenty of time. Quickly, they find the lingering traces of Talonquake’s rampage north, despite that fact that it has been over a year and a half since the behemoth was defeated. They follow the trail of broken trees, gouged earth, and claw marks gouged into boulders back to a small-ish cave complex. Inside, they find a profusion of fungi and molds, some rather unfriendly, as well as a couple colony of spiders, all living off Talonquake’s refuse. None of these would have presented any threat to Talonquake while he lived and they didn’t present too much trouble to the party either (though Pavel seemed particularly susceptible to the spiders’ poison). Deeper in, they discover the body of some poor unfortunate soul who had wandered into the lair, perhaps lured in by the rumors of owlbears in the area, for he bore a ring of bestial friendship. There was also evidence of a long-ago battle between a group of ancient warriors and another owlbear, this one not as big as Talonquake but certainly bigger than say, a barn. The party posits that this might have been the owlbear that the Lonely Warrior and his people faced a millennia ago, and the make and style of the corroded weapons and armors on the skeletons seems to collaborate that observation. In any case, the party take the time to do a complete sweep of the complex and are satisfied that no other threats lurk here. On the way back, Fin decides to try to use the ring of bestial friendship to try to charm Crackjaw, and persuade him to move from his current lair. This seems to work at first, but Crackjaw turns on Fin moments later, filled with an unnatural rage and subsequent activation of the ring have no effect. After the turtle chases the king around for an hour or so without flagging, the party comes to the incontrovertible conclusion that the ring is cursed. Fortunately, Sofiya manages to dispel the curse on Crackjaw, who grumpily returns to his lair by the lake, presumably for a good nap. The party makes a note to destroy the ring. By now, it is getting quite late in the month and the party returns to Pilgrim’s Shore to fulfill their ruling obligations. While they were gone, some unsavory elements apparently attempted to set up a drug den in Leveton, but fortunately, it was thwarted by the authorities.
1st-8th— Knowing that the rest of the month will likely be taken up by preparations and whatnot for Pavel’s upcoming nuptials, the party get their kingdom duties out of the way, and then start packing for the trip. Though this is not as a big deal as the King’s wedding last year, excitement still runs high and many citizens look forward to closer relations with their eastern neighbor and the opportunities it may open up.
9th-13th— The party leaves with Akiros, Belimarius, Kundal, Saeros, and Sergei as part of their retinue and stop by to visit the Sootscales on the way. The kobolds have also been invited to the wedding, but they will be arriving closer to ceremony, as they did not wish to impose too much on the Varns. Chief Sootscales invites the party to partake of the Sootscales’ hospitality at Nettle’s Crossing, which they have built up into a little town catering to both humans and kobolds. The party does so, but do not tarry long, as Pavel is eager (understandably so) to be on his way. Though it is still bone-chillingly cold in the pass, it is relatively clear and the party navigates the icy terrain without too much problems, stopping only once or two to clear some drifts. They arrive at the watchtower on the night of the 13th, expecting a warm welcome and are disturbed to find it deserted. A quick peep from its parapets reveals only darkness in the valley below, the beacon atop Varnhold’s garrison unlit. The party immediately decides to undertake the ride into town that night, pushing their horses to their limit. It is well past midnight by the time they get there, and everyone is tired but what they find only makes them more uneasy. Rallo scouts out a couple houses around the edge of the town, and other than finding dead and rotting livestock, he discovers that all of them are vacant. The party is unable to wholly convince Pavel not to go charging in, but he at least grudgingly accepts a couple protective spells, including an invisibility. He makes an immediate beeline for the Varn’s manor, but Ataline and her parents are nowhere to be found. Their place has been ransacked, however, though it’s not clear if there are signs of struggle from a cursory examination. Pavel then moves on to the garrison, whose gates are barred shut, hoping that perhaps the Varnholders took refuge at the keep in the event of an attack. Scaling the walls, he finds that someone has set up dummies up on the ramparts, and a small figure asleep in the smithy, surrounded by wolves or wild dogs. Unsure what to make of this, he finally heeds Johannes’ advice and retreats to report his findings to the rest of the party. They decide to retreat to an abandoned farmhouse just outside the town to rest and ponder their next step.
14th— The next day, the party does a thorough search of the town (complete with several incidents of projectile vomiting) and while they encounter some hostile wildlife that has move in to take advantage of the Varnholders’ absence, they find little sign of where all the townsfolk have gone. Someone at the inn, however, manage to carve ‘NOMEN’ into the door before the disappearance, which presumably refers to the centaur tribe to the east but the group is unsure of its significance and meaning. They also find references to a ‘Vordakai’ among a Professor Helstrom’s notes in conjunction with sketches of a jade bracelet that the professor had been researching at Maegar Varn’s request. A group of spriggans have ransacked the town and taken over the garrison, though it is fairly obvious after a short talk with them that they are opportunists and squatters, and know nothing about how or why the Varnholders disappeared. Nonetheless, the party is offended by their callous appropriation of Varn’s holdings and belongings and angered by their attempts to extort more money in exchange for a look at them. Instead, they decided to storm the fort and retake possession of items stolen by the spriggans by force, since they also feel that the gnomes cannot be trusted. The initial battle goes relatively well, though Johannes seems to be all thumbs today and clips his allies with his bombs a couple times, much to his pique (and their terror). Fin, Pavel, and Rallo decide on a frontal assault of the garrison, while Johannes and Saeros enter through the top (after dispatching the guard up there), thanks to the magic of flight. While the King et al batter their way though a series of stout doors, the two up top run into the leader of the spriggans, Agai, who wields an exquisite and fearsome bow. And he turns out to be very good with it. Saeros’ mirror image spell is all that saves him from impersonating a human pincushion; a desperate battle breaks out on the second floor while the other half of the party tries in vain to come to their aid. A lucky crit lays Agai low, and a second crit finishes him off. Checking through the spriggan’s ill-gotten gains and the entire keep, the party finds no further clues to Varnholders’ vanishing. So they decide to try to make contact with the Nomen centaurs in the coming days, and send Sergei and Kundal north to Nivakta’s Crossing to warn incoming wedding guests. Akiros will return to Pilgrim’s Shore with Saeros and Belimarius and raise a militia to secure Varnhold.
15th— The party heads east into the Dunsward and are accosted by the centaurs in the afternoon. The centaurs demand the group leave their lands until the party show them Agai’s bow, which Pavel had recognized as a relic of centaur make. In exchange for returning the bow to their people, the centaur war party grudgingly agrees to lead the group to their camp to talk with with their leader, Aecora Silverfire.
16th— It is a long ride through the trackless plains and the party finally arrives at the centaurs’ main camp in the late afternoon. Aecora and her advisors meet with the group and are surprised by the news of the Varnholders’ disappearance. She is thankful for the return of the bow and civil enough, but the centaurs regard the party with deep suspicion and mistrust and are unwilling to allow them access to their lands nor expound upon their knowledge of a ‘Vordakai.’ Her advisors exhort her to send the party away but after an impassioned plea from Johannes, Aecora offers them a deal: if one or more of them would be willing to make the Kankerata Run to prove their honor, the centaurs would be willing to open a dialogue concerning the information they seek. With no other leads available to them, the group agrees.
17th— The party does very well in the Kankerata Run, with Pavel winning the Run despite a strong showing from the centaurs’ champion, Danide. The centaurs are impressed and their esteem of the party increases. As agreed, Aecora has a private conference with them in her tent, where she shares a portion of their history and reveal that the tribe was given a sacred charge to guard “the lands in the evening shadow of the Rim.” Unfortunately, due to the depredations of wars and plagues over the years, the Rashalzar tribe (as they call themselves) have lost much of their history and lore and no longer remember the details of their task, save that they are to watch for signs of disturbance or strange awakenings in Olah-Kakanket, the Valley of the Dead. Their historian, a male centaur by the name of Tamerak, also found a reference to Vordakai among their legends, more specifically, as “Vordakai’s Needle,” which was reputed to an ancient vault holding “terrible treasures and secrets from before the Great Darkness” and guarded by Kerezar, the Last Watcher. With this information in hand, the party requests an escort to take them to Olah-Kakanket and do a sweep of the Tors, to look for anything amiss or possible signs of the Varnholders. Aecora agrees and sends her best scout, Erishad, with them.
18th— The party heads south, first towards the Linnorm’s Grave, said to be imbued with the shade of Zosh’tar the Dead-Waker, another local spirit placated, if not venerated, by the Rashalzar. Said to have the power to rouse the dead, or to quiet them, he also reputedly barred Kerezar from the next world after his murder-suicide. The site seems quiet and undisturbed, though the party does sense a vast, slumbering presence among the bleached bones. They also notice that they are being trailed by a murder of crows, likely the same ones from Varnhold. They debate about shooting at them, but decide not to.
19th-20th— Erishad leads them further south towards Tors of Levenies, where the ground grows increasingly rocky and broken. A wall of bone totems spans the entrance to Olah-Kakanket, warning others to stay out. Beyond is a massive graveyard, filled with thousands of massive gravestones, a mute testament to some long-gone race. Rallo is able to determine the language on these stones has some sort of tie to Giant, but is unable to identify it. After sweeping the area, the party discovers a small, red crystalline tree growing amidst a patch of churned earth. Sofiya tentatively identifies it as a scarlet tree, which raises those buried under its branches as undead. It is intensely infused with negative energy, as Fin discovered when he touched it, and Pavel when he punched it. Elemental damage seem to have little effect on it, so in the end, Fin decides to simply hack it down. Hitting the tree produces a highly unpleasant ringing that hurt and nauseated those around it, but Fin perseveres and eventually the tree shatters in a storm of razor-sharp shards and negative energy. Fortunately, he escapes relatively unscathed. If there were any bodies buried beneath the tree, they seem to be gone now. Scorched tracks in the earth lead the party to suspect Kerezar’s involvement but what was going on here remains murky. The party notices the crows are still following them and decides to shoot a couple this time; examination of the dead birds don’t reveal anything suspicious but at least it does scatter the flock (for a while). Erishad wishes to brings news and a sample of the tree back to Aecora for examination and the party agrees so plans are made to return to the Rashalzar camp. That night, the party is attacked by a mysterious creature of formless, inky blackness with Wisdom-sapping claws though they manage to kill it.
21st-30th— After informing Aecora about the scarlet tree they had destroyed and resupplying, the party leaves again with Erishad to scout the southwestern rim of the Tors from the Valley of the Dead on up to Varnhold. Along the way, they run across the Ghost Stone, a local curiosity they recognize as similar to the faengard they had found in the Narlmarches, except that this one appeared intact. They were approached by a phase spider that introduced herself as Zzamas and asked for their help in getting rid of some xills that had taken over the stone. The party agreed and the xills were dispatched in short order. Zzamas rewarded them with a fancy chest she had found floating in the Ethereal, and also allowed them to examine the stone at length. Unlike the faengard found in their own lands, this one appeared fully functional, still fulfilling whatever purpose it had been made for. Fin was curious to see if it would have any reaction to him as the other stone did, but nothing happened; in fact, there was no trace of the First World around it at all. Moving on, the party eventually arrives in the still deserted Varnhold, having found nothing else of significance in their sweep. Frustrated by the lack of leads, Pavel decides to meditate and ask his goddess for advice, while the rest of the party debate merits of breaking into the mage’s tower in the remote hope that there was a clue they might have missed. Pharasma sends Pavel an ominous vision of an empty centaur camp, rimmed by the Tors painted red by the light of a dying sun. The mute and blinded ghost of Tamerak stands in the midst of the abandoned yurts, and after some difficulty Pavel is able to gather that the centaur is trying to tell him to ask his people about some place almost directly west of their lands. With that slender hint, the party decides to return to the centaur camp and talk to Aecora further.
1st-3rd— The party’s third meeting with Aecora doesn’t go quite as well as Pavel had hoped; she clearly understands the meaning of his vision, and yet, the centaur leader is frustratingly close-mouthed about it since it involves some of her tribe’s deepest mysteries, of which she is unwilling to reveal to outsiders. However, she is not unwilling to help the party so she points them to the legend of Shurak, a centaur who had been exiled from the tribe for fratricide but was accepted back in their ranks after she threw herself into the mouth of Cindermaw the Clan-Eater, and re-emerged from its belly after cutting her way out, her sins scoured away by the ordeal. By having Tamerak recount this legend, she obliquely offers the party a way to earn the esteem of the tribe so that they may be deemed worthy of the centaurs’ most closely guarded secrets. To verify their accomplishment of the feat, an old Truthsayer named Ishava accompanies them to the Ash-Blown Lands to bear witness. The party makes what preparations they can for the journey ahead.
4th-7th— On the way to the Ash-Blown Lands, Erishad tells them a little about the dangers of that hostile place, and offers to watch their horses for them while they go searching for Cindermaw. She takes the party to the edge of the plateau that marks the beginning of the Cinderlands and wish them luck.
8th-10th— The party plunges into the Ash-Blown Lands, shielded from the worst of its unwavering heat by endure element potions from Johannes. Along the way, they encountered giant scorpions, a large and ravenous pack of bush tigers, a very dangerous rift drake that nearly bit Johannes in half, and took shelter from one the region’s periodic emberstorms before finally making it into Cindermaw’s territory. While Ishava watched impassively from the relative safety of the skies, the party leapt one-by-one into the (rather confused) beast’s maw before Fin (ehr, sorry, I meant Rallo) cut their way out of its belly. Then they all fled before Cindermaw, now quite disgruntled, could hunt them down and eat them a second time.
11th-15th— After dodging emberstorms and basilisks, as well as slaying another soul eater, the party returns to the Rashalzar with news of their success. The centaurs throw a feast in honor of the new ties of kinship between the party and the tribe, and their attitudes thaws considerably. The Rashalzar might not consider the party blood brothers yet, but they at least think of them as close cousins.
16th— Aecora meets with the party to reveal the existence of Hash’mal the All-Seer, a majestic and powerful Roc spirit they revere for her insight and portentous nature. If anyone knows where Vordakai’s Needle is, it would be her, since she is incredibly long-lived and is well-versed in much of the history and lore of the region. Hash’mal makes her home atop Talon Peak, a difficult ascent that few centaurs ever make. Aecora also invites the party to join the tribe on a mammoth hunt, but the party politely declines, since they have to hurry back to Pilgrim’s Shore in time for their kingdom duties.
17th-24th— The party passes through Varnhold on the way back to Pilgrim’s Shore and stops briefly to confer with Akiros, who has raised an small army at their behest to occupy Varnhold to make sure no others make a claim upon it in the Varnholders’ absence. He also relates the dismaying information that King Noleski Surtova and his bride have been assassinated and Brevoy is now on the bring of civil war. Natalya, the king’s sister, has asserted her right to sit on the Dragonscale Throne but House Orlovsky finds this unacceptable and is raising allies to contest her claim. All this is old news; the assassination was over a month ago, but it has only reached the party’s ear now because they have been incommunicado. In any case, the party rides on to Pilgrim’s Shore, and make it just in time.
25th-31st— The party receive word from the Swordlords that with the coming war (conflict seems all but inevitable at this point), they will be forced to pull back their support and so entreat them most earnestly to investigate the disappearance of the Varnhold, and offer what little help they can (mostly in the form of scrolls). Also, a fire breaks out in Leveton due to an abundance of cow poop but it is quickly contained by the citizen’s brigade.
1st-7th— The party decides to get this month’s kingdom duties out of the way despite Pavel’s apprehension as to give themselves more time to find Vordakai’s Needle. They also get re-supplied for their foray to Talon Peak. Johannes asks Lisette to act as a liaison to the Rashalzar during this time.
8th-11th— The party heads back east, with them turning south before the Tors to reach Talon Peak and Lisette continuing further on to Varnhold and eventually the Dunsward. They find themselves at the foot of the mountain on the 11th and decide to make camp and leave their horses there while they make the climb.
12th-18th— It takes the party approximately one week to make the grueling ascent, during which they encounter the ghostly heads of previous sojourners who had fallen to their deaths. At first, Rallo thinks these are the “flaming skulls” that Pavel keeps claiming he sees (and whom no one else has ever seen) but this turns out not to be the case. Also, they get extorted by some ice mephits. They stop at the plateau to burn the herbs Aecora gave them to honor Hash’mal and briefly take a look at the mysteriously sealed building the centaurs call High Tower but choose not to explore it for the moment. Eventually, tired and aching, they haul themselves into Hash’mal’s nest amidst a snowstorm, thankful once more for Johannes’ endure elements potions. Amidst their entreaties for an audience, Hash’mal swoops in, her wings splitting the air like the crack of thunder. She entertains the party’s petition for information and tells them of many things, not just of Vordakai but also of the dragons that had once lived in the area and also a little about the faengards that dot the Stolen Lands. She also grants them the ability to see past the illusory veil that hid the approach to Vordakai’s Needle, deeming them of sufficient mettle to challenge the ancient evil. Then she takes them on a wild ride between the mountain peaks, climbing to dizzying heights before swooping down in stomach-churning twists into deep chasms. Finally, she deposits them about half a day’s walk away from their horses and bid them farewell.
19th-25th— Heartened by their newfound knowledge and Hash’mal’s blessing, the party decides to head south and try to find the southern pass through the Tors of Levenies instead of taking the time to circle north and take Varnhold Pass. In doing so, they skirt the irregular northern and eastern shores of Lake Silverstep, taking delight in the idyllic scenery and the lake’s pure, clear waters despite their urgent mission. Along the way, they notice some bubbling mud flats warmed by geothermal activity but they detour around it, preferring not to get bogged down in the thick silt. With Johannes’ excellent wilderness sense, they manage to find the pass with little trouble, and before long, the party finds themselves on the eastern edge of the Tors, not too far from the Ghost Stone. They pay a quick visit to Zzamas, who welcomes them warmly, and assures them that she has not been troubled by any more xill. Back in (somewhat) familiar territory, they make quick time towards the Valley of the Dead, though they are accosted by a centaur patrol on the way. They quickly debrief the centaurs of their plans, who promise to inform Aecora of the new developments. The centaurs also inform Johannes that Lisette has arrived in their camp, setting his mind at ease.
26th-27th— After carefully searching the cliffs on the southern edge of the Valley of the Dead, the party discovers a wide, worn set of steps carved into the cliff walls that they had not noticed previously. These stairs wind laboriously up the cliff side into the mountains. As the party progresses deeper into the Tors, the air grows increasingly oppressive and heavy, and though it is summer, it is gray and dreary, with no sounds of wildlife. Flocks of crows wheel unceasingly above them, but even these make no sounds, merely tracking their movement in eerie silence. Less than a day’s journey into the mountains, they come across Kerezar, the undying “Dark Watcher” that was supposedly corrupted and driven mad by Vordakai’s influence. He is accompanied by the zombie warriors that the party recognizes as Varn’s guards from Varnhold Pass. Kerezar bars their path, warning them to turn back, deaf to all of Johannes’ attempts at diplomacy. Finally, Fin grows impatient and rushes him, but is unable to land a telling blow before the creature nearly cuts him down with a few casual swipes of his greatsword. Quickly, the party realizes that Kerezar is too powerful a foe for them to confront in direct combat and they withdraw, hoping to regroup and come up with a plan to defeat him. Kerezar pursues them relentlessly for several miles, nearly all the way back to the top of the stairs, before fading silently back into the mists. Tired, the party makes camp not too long after and start tossing ideas around about how to defeat Kerezar. They decide an aerial assault by alchemist bomb or spell would be best, to avoid strikes from the centaur’s devastating blows.
28th-29th— The next day, the party puts their plan into action, attacking Kerezar from the air as soon as they spot him; even so, it is a close battle. Kerezar is remarkably resistant to magic, and only Johannes’ force bombs have any effect on him. Fin and Pavel both dip into Kerezar’s charging range after trying to go after the zombie warriors accompanying him and learn the error of their ways, though fortunately not fatally. Finally, Kerezar dissolves in a swirl of fiery embers, leaving a smouldering pile of his armor and weapons. However, the party is certain that they have not seen the last of the centaur champion, and in particular, Pavel knows that Kerezar’s armor must be destroyed in order to lay the undead spirit to rest. Unfortunately, this is not as easy as it sounds as the armor is virtually immune to all damage and can only be destroyed under a specific set of circumstances, usually unique to the creature. Sofiya consults the gods through a divination and they indicate that Kerezar would almost certainly return before they had a chance to confront Vordakai but also that Kerezar was loathe to enter his master’s tower. Therefore, the party decides to leave Kerezar’s armor up in a tree (with some silly drawings on it) while Fin takes the greatsword with him; its disappearance would serve as a warning for when Kerezar had re-awakened. The party then presses deeper into the mountains, but they encounter nothing else along their dreary path.
30th— On the afternoon of the 30th, the party emerges from the mountain path to behold a tall, thin spire sitting in the middle of a wide river, at the bottom of a waterfall. They spy a cleft at the base of the spire, and using their folding boat, Pavel is able to navigate the rushing waters to the small beach in front of it. Before they are able to reach their destination though, they are attacked by a hungry fog; fortunately, it is destroyed by Johannes’ bombs before it manages to reach the boat. Within the cleft, they find an archway carved with magical runes that has obviously been recently defaced by someone, a human judging by the size of his tracks and the tools he left behind. Further in is a short corridor lined with slave statues that leads into a diamond-shaped tomb. On the walls are faded paintings depicting life within an ancient cyclops empire while a stone sarcophagus sit in the center, surrounded by pottery and a couple amphorae filled with coins and riches. The party finds the bracelet depicted in Professor Helstrom’s notes lying amidst the treasure but before they can look around much, they are attacked by two zombie cyclops. After defeating them rather handily, the group examines the sarcophagus in more detail, noting the magical red gem embedded in the single eye socket of the robed figure carved atop the sarcophagus and the dire warnings carved around the sides of the stone coffin. They decide to leave the coffin alone, and find a secret door leading to a pool guarded by an undead elasmosaurus; after slaying the beast, they find an underwater stairway in the murky water (someone obviously went through a lot of pain to hide the true entrance to Vordakai’s tomb). Emerging from the water into some sort of antechamber decorated with gruesome scenes of cannibalism and necromancy, the party encounter one of the Varnholders, now hideously transformed into a mummy with a ram’s head sewn on. He leads Fin, Pavel, and Sofiya into a watery death trap (made 50% less death-trappy by the water breathing spells they had on) while Johannes and Rallo go on a canopic jar destroying rampage. Finally, the mummy and his cyclops zombie buddies are made to lie down properly (or float as the case may be) like the real dead. The three free themselves from the trap, and the whole group proceeds to try to find a way to disable the flow of water filling up the chamber (“manhandling” several statues in the process) but it’s a no-go. They do, however, find another secret door (this one further barred by a portcullis) leading to a winding staircase up. At the top of the stairs, the party find themselves in a shrine to the Four Horsemen, with two doors to choose from. After briefly checking out the unremarkable bronze doors across from their entrance (which just leads to a long corridor), they turn their attention to the ones bracketed by two shrines and decorated with a large mosaic of Charon in his longboat. Unfortunately, they do not perform the proper ritual and force open the doors, which causes the shrines to blast them with freezing black fire that carries the taint of the Styx. Fin immediately lashes back at a nearby shrine with his axe, which causes a second blast that knocks him unconscious and severely weakens almost everyone except Pavel who managed to dodge the blasts. Restoring everyone back into fighting form depletes quite a bit of Sofiya’s resources, which causes the party to consider their next actions a bit more carefully. Beyond the doors, they find another mural-painted room (these ancient cyclops were quite artistic, if morbid) featuring images of a familiar red, crystal tree. Indeed, they come to a large, hexagonal chamber that appears to be more rough-hewn, and of a somewhat different architecture than the rest of the dungeon, containing a bigger version of the crystal tree they encounter in the Valley of the Dead, surrounded by a giant glyph. Of course, the tree is not unguarded and when the party sets foot inside the room, they encounter another unfortunate Varnholder. Pavel recognizes the ghostly, tortured form of Aribeth Ducat, one of the minor nobles that serves Baron Varn, though she has been much transformed. She is joined by two guardian daemons, and there is a pitched battle but in the end, they are able to send her tormented spirit to Pharasma’s arms. Fin proceeds to destroy the glyph etched around the tree (which allowed Vordakai to tap into the well of negative energy to empower his necromantic spells and rituals) but Pavel and Sofiya determined the tree was too powerful to be affected by mere weapons and more research would be needed to figure out how to shatter it. The party presses on, backtracking through the shrine chamber to explore a long corridor that led down to a large crypt. There they are attacked by a pack of zombie cyclops, which they defeat with the help of Johannes’ last few bombs. By this point, the party is low on resources and after seeing that the way deeper into Vordakai’s lair is across a giant pool of bubbling tar, they elect to try to find a place to rest. They opt to fortify in a short hallway off the large crypt and manage to have a few quiet hours but it becomes obvious that Vordakai is aware of their presence in his tomb and plan on sending a steady stream of summoned daemons to disrupt their rest. In desperation, the party consults the gods through a divination, which indicates the solution to their problem may lie in the burial preparation chamber. This room happens to be nearby, just past the armory. The burial preparation chamber is morbid and grisly, as expected, but thorough searching turns up a secret room hidden behind a statue of Charon. Inside, they find an odd creature, known as a stygira, or stone witch, suspended in mid-air by chains. She initially appears dead, but when the party gets close with their lights, she comes to life and jabbers at them in an unknown language. With the help of the helm of comprehend languages and read magic and one of Johannes’ extracts, the party manages to set up a crude system of communication. Unfortunately, years of solitude and confinement has driven Melabdara (as she is called) rather mad, and she largely speaks in riddles and cyphers. Eventually, the party figures out that the chains holding her can be opened by solving a series of riddles, though wrong answers shock both her and the person entering the answer. Rallo seems particularly adept at solving them, and Melabdara is finally freed, much to her gratitude. In exchange, she tells them what little she knows of Vordakai, and more importantly, a way to free Kerezar of Vordakai’s thrall, and perhaps lay him to rest. This would allow the party to rest outside of the spire, without fear of attack from the powerful undead centaur, and also deprive Vordakai of a powerful ally. She also rewards them with a small coffer of uncut gems, before taking her leave. The party make their way out of the tower where they confront Kerezar for the third time. Sofiya manages to successfully cast the break enchantment that frees him from Vordakai’s influence, and the centaur takes off his cursed armor for the first time in a millennia and crushes it beneath his hooves, releasing his spirit from the bonds of undeath. Afterwards, the party takes a very long nap as they are very tired.
1st— It is nearly noon before the party is up and ready to return to Vordakai’s Needle. Feeling bolstered by their previous successes, they quickly make their way back to the pool of bubbling tar, only to be met by yet another Varnholder Vordakai has conscripted into his service, this time in the guise of Famine. Though this one’s head has also been replaced, by a jackal’s head in this case, the party guesses that it might be Eudonius Halvorsen, Maegar’s court wizard, given the evocation spells the creature blasted them with. Though he is quite tricky to hit, a few blows is sufficient to bring him down. The party then batters down the wooden door he was guarding, and soon find themselves in a vast and terrible feasthall. Before they have much of a chance to look around, they are set upon by a pair of mohrgs who attempt unsuccessfully to lick them into submission. Undead dispatched, the party is dismayed to find quite a few Varnholders they knew seated at the table, craniums cracked open and brains missing. Maegar was not among the dead sitting at the table, but they encounter him moments later upstairs, in the guise of Death. Though transformed from his usual affable self into a silent and deadly wight, he had clearly not forgotten the sword skills he had learned as a swordlord and proved to be a fierce foe before the party was able to lay his tormented soul to rest. The party then decided to backtrack a little to explore a side door, whereupon they came upon the remains of poor Willas Gundarson, Varnhold’s marshal. After slaying the woeful specter hovering over his body (and gaining some more negative levels in the process), the party discovered a couple curious things on him: firstly, a rubbing from a tablet that depicted an ancient map of the Dunsward, marking the location of Vordakai’s Needle and secondly, a delicate ring of greenish metal set with a distinctive sigil of dragon-like creature. The ring shattered at the slightest touch but not before the party recognized the same sigil bore on similar rings found on Hargulka and the Stag Lord. They did not spend much time pondering this, however, and retraced their steps back up the stairs. There, they came across a mysterious room of purest white with a huge inverted eye carved into its domed ceiling, looking on an empty plinth. It radiated an overwhelming aura of magic, and was clearly of a different construction than the rest of the complex. A little further on, the party is attacked by a corrupted water elemental tainted with blood, which tried its darndest to drown Sofiya and Pavel; it succeeded in ruining their clothes, but not their day. And finally, beyond a set of brazen double doors, awaited the master of the spire, Vordakai. The ancient lich was in no mood to parley and immediately assaulted them with an assortment of deadly spells. Johannes succumbed to a phantasmal killer but Sofiya was able to bring him back with breath of life, and Pavel nearly strangled to death from a suffocation spell before she was able to dispel it. Perhaps he had not entirely recovered from its effects for he proved unusually susceptible to the stinking cloud Vordakai dropped point blank on himself. In the end, it was Fin who finished off the monster with a blow from a mace he had looted from the creature’s own armory. Then came the mad scramble to find the lich’s phylactery, though nothing of the sort turned up (the puzzle box lying in plain sight on Vordakai’s worktable was deemed a trap, and it did indeed contain a trap when the party finally succeeded in solving it— the symbol that flashed when they opened it drove Fin and Johannes insane, though its effects weren’t immediately apparent). They did find the remaining Varnholders, however, bottled up in hundreds of soul jars. Johannes started on the monumental task of contacting and reassuring the frightened villagers imprisoned within but his mania soon manifested itself and before the party knew it, he had freed six villagers in exchange for their willingness to offer him physical reassurance in the form of “cuddles.” He was therefore banished from contacting further bottles and set to sorting through Vordakai’s notes instead. Fin and Sofiya took up the responsibility of tallying the rest of the soul jars while Pavel started preparing the mutilated body of the dead Varnholders for burial. In a stroke of good fortune, Ataline and her mother was found alive, if distressed, in one of the jars, which was turned over to Pavel for a bittersweet reunion of sorts. To spare his love more anguish, Pavel glossed over the fate of her father and the other Varnholders who had died horribly under Vordakai’s “attentions.”
2nd— Despite the party’s eagerness to get the Varnholders back to their town so they can be freed of the soul jars, they are incredibly uneasy with their inability to find Vordakai’s phylactery so the decision was made to stay at least one more day to look for it. Pavel and Rallo search the whole complex thoroughly and though they discovered a couple more secret doors (including one that lead out to a ledge on the side of the spire), they come up empty-handed. Meanwhile, Johannes’ perusal of Vordakai’s notes provided some consolation: his most recent entries indicated a frustration with his loss of abilities from his long hibernation and his fear that he was no longer powerful enough to maintain a link with his phylactery. Perhaps that meant the lich was truly gone. Johannes was tasked with continuing his scrutiny of Vordakai’s notes while the rest of the party set about the grisly task of dragging the dead outside for funeral rites and keeping an eye out for Vordakai’s regenerating body in case he wasn’t really gone for good.
3rd-6th— The party makes their preparations to leave for Varnhold, packing as many soul jars as they can into their various bags of holding and handy haversacks, and carrying the rest (and roping Johannes’ “cuddle-partners” in to help). But first, they burn the bodies of the dead Varnholders in a great funeral pyre on the shore of the unnamed river surrounding Vordakai’s Needle with the exception of Maegar Varn, who they intend to return to Varnhold with his people. They leave most of the loot and treasure they found in Needle there, intending to come back and clear out the spire later. The return journey through is mountains is quiet, and they are undisturbed by any creature, living or undead. It is around this time that Fin starts demonstrating symptoms of his derangement: he becomes convinced that he has ascended to demigod-hood after defeating Vordakai in combat, and starts proselytizing to the party about converting to the “Church of Fin.”
7th— They emerge from the Tors to find the centaurs camped en masse in the Valley of the Dead, awaiting their emergence anxiously. They are overjoyed to hear of Vordakai’s defeat and welcome the party as heroes. They are also reunited with their horses, whom the centaurs have been taking care of these past weeks. After a debrief with Aecora where the party communicates their urgency in returned the trapped townsfolk to Varnhold, the centaur chieftain appoints an honor guard of centaur warriors to accompany them. The centaurs grudgingly allow the Varnholders to ride on their backs to expedite the trip. Desperate to be reunited with his betrothed, Pavel also releases Ataline and her mother, Maraet, from their soul jar, although Johannes then immediately tries to recruit them to be his “cuddle partners” and nearly causes a diplomatic incident before Fin and Pavel are able to pull him off.
8th-11th— With the help of the centaur escort, the party (and company) reach Varnhold in good time, whereupon Akiros greets them with relief. Sofiya makes arrangements to leave for Restov immediately to seek a cure for Fin and Johannes’ derangements, though Johannes refuses to leave until he is provided with more “cuddle buddies” to replace the Varnholders who won’t be going with them. Meanwhile, Pavel and Rallo set about releasing the imprisoned townsfolk from their soul jars.
12th-19th— While Sofiya, Fin, and Johannes are gone, Pavel and Rallo help Maraet and Ataline with the difficult task of pulling their people together after the tragedy and rebuilding their shattered lives. The Varnholders hold a grand funeral for their fallen baron to mourn his passing, and the passing of their friends and family. Some work is started on cleaning and repairing the damaged structures, while Maraet starts putting together a provisional government as most of Varnhold’s council had been slain by Vordakai. She, Ataline, and Pavel re-affirm the young couple’s intent to marry, although the wedding is to be postponed until Varnhold’s ultimate fate has been decided and the nation has recovered more.
20th— Once Sofiya, Fin, and Johannes returns, feeling much more themselves (though Johannes has a lot of apologies to make), the party holds a big powwow with the remains of Varnhold’s council to decide the future of the beleaguered nation. After much deliberation, the two sides jointly decide that the best course of option for Varnhold’s future is to make it a vassal nation of Finland, with Maraet continuing her rule as Varnhold’s Baroness and serving as Finland’s Viceroy. Pavel extends the idea of moving to Varnhold to serve in some capacity on its ruling council but Fin won’t hear of it. In any case, some basic and essential accords are forged, with details to be worked out in the near future, because time is pressing for the party to return to Finland to attend to their own matters of state.
21st-24th— The group leaves their army in Varnhold to help with reconstruction efforts, though Akiros returns with them to Pilgrim’s Shore. Their return (and just in time) is hailed by their citizens, who have been growing increasingly uneasy with their long absence (though they are hardly unused to it in the summer months).
25th-31st— The Finites takes the news of Varnhold’s addition to Finland with remarkable equanimity, and the group hopes that the rest of the process will continue as smoothly. Pavel discovers that his mother, Clerisaana, has moved down to Finland to be closer to her son, especially in light of the civil war brewing in Brevoy. Adalheid had stopped by earlier in the month to meet with Sofiya but had to leave before she returned; she left word that she had access to an awaken scroll that the party had requested she look into. Furthermore, an emissary from Mivon has been eagerly awaiting an audience with them, a man by the name of Fintan Gisvet. Apparently, Mivon was interested in supporting their fellow Swordlords in Restov in the event of a war, and was requesting permission from Finland to march troops and supplies through should hostilities break out. The party had their reservations but after much discussion, they agreed to the idea, provided the Mivonese adhered to certain roads and made no trouble. Since this was merely a preliminary meeting to sound out the idea and a prelude to establishing a closer diplomatic relationship with Finland, Lord Gisvet said he would return in a few months (when the situation in Brevoy would have hopefully solidified a bit more) to hammer out details. The meeting aroused Pavel’s anxieties, however, and he sought a consultation with Akiros and Iskra about the nation’s defenses. The talk did not quite go as he had hoped, since there was no apparent threat, just uncertainty and disquiet about future of their northern neighbor and what that might mean for Finland.
1st-18th— Johannes reminds everyone that the time for the ritual for the closing of the portal under Candlemere was coming up and buries himself in its preparations, securing the needed supplies, briefing Sofiya and Belimarius on their roles in the ritual, and brewing potions and alchemical concoctions. Sofiya also travels up to Leveton with Fin to train their horses to move via air walk. While there, Sofiya meets up with Adalheid for news of Brevoy and also to ask her to charm Crackjaw and sweet talk him into moving to the western shores of Tuskwater Lake. Adalheid grudgingly agrees, though she warns she’s not very adept in such matters. They group also squeezes in 3 days of kingdom duties as to give themselves a little more time for their return trip, in case anything should go wrong.
19th-20th— The party sails down to Candlemere Island.
21st— They brave the horrors of Candlemere Tower once more, battling past its haunts and seemingly inexhaustible numbers of eldritch creatures to the portal chamber located far below the earth. There, Johannes sets up the ritual outlined in the Krivbeknih with Sofiya and Belimarius’ help, leaving the others to defend the three of them from any creatures that might try to disrupt it. Indeed, the group is assaulted by a variety of bizarre creatures, from living fruitcake to flying carnivorous dire elk to a creepily jolly fat man in red with a tenticular beard. This last had managed to stuff Fin into his sack of the void, where he (or his corpse) might have fallen forever through an infinite mad vista but fortunately Pavel and Rallo (once he recovered from his laughing fit) managed to pummel the cheerful abomination into unconsciousness, whereupon he dissolved into a crusty stain and his bag burst open, releasing Fin amidst a shower of brightly wrapped presents. A few minutes later, Johannes finishes the ritual and closes the portal forever with a boom, knocking everyone flat. After picking themselves up and getting healed up, they open their presents to find various foodstuffs that only marginally resembled their normal world counterparts in taste, texture, or color. Those that ate their “treat” (everyone except Belimarius) found themselves bestowed with the ability to twist reality to their wish, once… a dangerous and chaotic gift. The group them made the trek out of the dungeon, noting that haunts seemed to have lost their power, and that the sky over the riven tower had reverted back to a normal time and place. They piled back into the boat, grateful to have made it through with their lives and sanity intact, and sailed for shore to rest.
22nd-23rd— The trip back was uneventful and their citizen were glad their rulers had returned seemingly without incident.
24th-31st— Work in kingdom of Finland is never done and the party completes the remaining 4 days of their duties. They also debate the merits and harm of using their Yog-Sothoth granted gift. In the end, Fin and Pavel decide to use their wishes to return Maegar Varn to life (after consulting his wife and daughter, of course), as he was at the beginning of the year. This meant he lost his “memories” of the months following though this was considered a blessing, given what the man had undergone. A very confused and bewildered Maegar Varn had to be briefed on the events of the last nine months, especially since, from his viewpoint, he had gone to sleep on New Year’s Day and woke up naked on FInland’s council table. He took the news of the deaths of his friends and companions hard, and the party decided to let him spend some time with his family before attempting to talk to him further about Varnhold.
1st-7th— Since the party was sticking around for a bit longer to deal with Maegar’s return to life, they decide to put their time to good use and get their kingdom duties out of the way while waiting for him to get his bearings. They also start making plans on how to recover the remaining treasure from Vordakai’s hoard. Sofiya offered to use her wish to teleport the party back to the Needle, nullifying the need to make a trip up Talon Peak, to ask Hash’mal for another blessing to pierce the veil around Vordakai’s lair. However, if this was done, the party would be unable to bring back another member of Varnhold’s council, an option they had contemplated and was offering to Maegar. Finally, Maegar told them that he was unable to choose which one of his friends would be most deserving of such a boon and told them use their remaining wishes as they chose. Johannes became worried about how Rallo might use his, so he used his own wish to pre-emptively prevent the halfling from expressing his, in what he hoped was a non-harmful manner. Understandably, Rallo was not too happy about that, and this caused some tension in the party, though nothing was actually said aloud. Also, Pavel and the Varns finally set a firm date for the new wedding, to be held on the 14th of Lamashan. The young couple wanted to be married sooner rather than later, and it was felt that a joyful ceremony in conjunction with the Harvest Fest might lift the spirits of the Varnholders.
8th— The Varns take their leave to return to Varnhold to prepare for the wedding and also to inform the populace of the return of their Baron. It is decided that Finland will release Varnhold from vassalage and let them regain their sovereignty at a token of mutual friendship and accord at the wedding. The party make their preparations for their trip to Vordakai’s Needle and rent a dozen mules.
9th-12th— Sofiya uses her wish to teleport the group and the mule train to the path next to the river; the group’s plan is to leave the mules by the banks of the river while they transport the treasure bit by bit out via bags of holding. It is an exhausting and tedious process once they realize just how much coin was in Vordakai’s treasury (weighing over a ton!) but after several days of hard work, everything is finally stowed away in the party’s bags of holding, handy haversacks, or on the backs of mules. Johannes spends much of this time combing through Vordakai’s library with the help of his helm of comprehend languages; most of the books are vile texts filled with rituals and prayers sacred to the Four Horsemen, along with spells to summon their servitors. However, a couple prove useful, detailing the powers of the crystal crimson tree found on the lower level along with the occulus Fin ripped out of Vordakai’s head. With their help, Johannes was able to deduce methods for destroying both artifacts, however difficult and protracted.
13th-18th— The party makes their way back out of the Tors, heavily laden, and meet with the centaurs on the Dunsward. They decide to make a detour to visit the Rashalzar, so they can finally tell the centaurs of their adventures in the Tors in full. They are welcomed at the camp with much fanfare and ceremony.
19th-21st— The party spends a few days with their four-legged “kin,” filled with contests, feasts, and storytelling. Already, Tamerak is working on an epic of their battle against Vordakai and his minions, to be incorporated into the tribe’s oral history. Aecora tells the party that things in the Valley of the Dead have been quiet, with no further signs of disturbances, though she promises her people will continue to remain vigilant. One of the scouts, however, reports that she saw a tall, lanky figure wrapped in rags lurking around the edges of the Rashaldin, though it disappeared without a trace when she got closer. The party thinks this might be Melabdara and asks the centaurs to try to get in contact with her if they could.
22nd-30th— The party starts their journey back to Pilgrim’s Shore. They stop in Varnhold to check up on Maegar and his family. The Varnholders are elated to have their Baron back, and it also appears they’ve thrown themselves into preparations for the upcoming nuptials with fervor. Maegar himself seems to be adjusting to the changes gamely, though sorrow still clouds his features. He holds a long palaver with Johannes, as the latter tells him in great detail the events of the past summer, from the party’s effort to befriend the centaurs to the grisly encounters in Vordakai’s Needle. The party also meets with Evril Helstrom, a professor from the Kitharodian Academy in Oppara that been imprisoned in the soul jars along with the Varnholders. Given that his area of study is the indigenous ethnicities of Iobaria, he was very interested in the party’s interactions with the Rashalzar, and also in the history of the Koloran Empire found in Vordakai’s lair. In fact, he offered to buy the stone tablets the party had hauled out of the Needle, but the party was not sure they wanted to sell. They did, however, let him take some rubbings for further study. He also thanked them for his rescue and return of his beloved viola and notes with a wand. The party did not stay long, not wishing to impose on the Varns, given how busy they were and left after only a couple days. They finally arrive home, tired but rich, at the end of Rova.
1st-7th— Pavel spends the beginning of the month fulfilling his kingdom duties in anticipation of his impending wedding later in the month while the rest of the group rides up to Jubalee to ask Father Jubal to officiate at Pavel’s wedding, given the death of Ivar, Varnhold’s high priest. He is, of course, delighted to do so. Then they proceed on to the plains just south of the (rebuilt) watchtower where they had first met Saeros, to chase off a herd of axebeaks and capture some of their young for use as future steeds. They lead their catch of 6 juveniles and 1 adult to Leveton for stabling and eventual training, though they discover to their dismay at all of the birds are female. If they wish to grow their flock in the future, it will necessitate a second trip to capture at least one male. Oh well, best not to worry about it now… they’ve got a wedding to attend!
8th-12th— Pavel leaves from Pilgrim’s Shore with the rest of the entourage (Belimarius, Clerisaana, Father Jubal, Kundal, Sergei, Saeros and his date, Glaicyd) while the rest of group takes the northern route from Leveton through Brevoy to get to Varnhold; both groups arrive approximately around the same time.
13th— The night before the wedding, the Varnholders unveil a memorial to the slain and hold a somber but heartfelt ceremony honoring the dead and an entreaty to Pharasma to look after their souls. It concludes with the release of hundreds of sky lanterns being released over the Kiravoy River. Though the Varnholders are, for the most part, staunch worshipers of Erastil, they have chosen to incorporate this small veneration of Pharasma into their religious holidays as a nod to Ataline’s husband-to-be.
14th— The wedding is a wonderful event, from the lovely morning ceremony (though apparently there was a small altercation regarding who was to be Pavel’s best man) to the games and feasting that lasted through the afternoon and late into night. There are a number of notable guests: one of Maegar’s older brother from Issia, a number of Maraet’s family from Oppara, including a feisty old lady named Aunt Viviana, a gnome swordlord named Rupert Grimwinckle that they previously met at their founding charter celebration, and a hulking half-orc named Halak, who turned out to be an old adventuring pal of Maegar’s. The party helps Halak organize a horseshoe tournament, and bond over the cask of ale they won from him afterwards. Pavel was on his best behavior, except when he learned that the wedding party had been crashed by Crazy Ernie, a man offer the finest in bear-wrasslin’ entertainment. The groom could barely contain himself before hopping into the cage with the biggest bear Crazy Ernie had, to wrestle that bear down. He won, pretty handily too, impressing Ernie enough that Ernie bought him a drink afterwards. Fin opted to wrestled the next biggest bear, and the match lasted a good two minutes before Ernie finally declared it a draw. They pressured Johannes to join in, which he eventually did, albeit very reluctantly; unfortunately, it seems bear-wrasslin’ was just not one of the elf’s strong points. In any case, the young couple retired their wedding suite in the evening amidst much good-natured joking and ribbing while the party carried on far into wee hours of the morning.
15th-31th— Nursing hangovers (somewhat mitigated by Johannes’ alchemical remedies), the party (sans Pavel) gets off to a late start on their travel. On their way back, they take a detour to Restov for a few days, both to sell and buy items, and to gather the latest rumors regarding the state of Brevoy’s political landscape, returning to Leveton just in time to fulfill their kingdom duties. Meanwhile, Pavel takes a more leisurely trek with Ataline to Pilgrim’s Shore, spending the rest of the month together as a part of their honeymoon. He even takes her for a few (short) boat rides on Tuskwater Lake, before the increasingly chilly weather makes it too unpleasant.
1st-16th— The party attends to their monthly kingdom duties when Pavel receives a mysterious, unsigned note asking him to come to Restov to meet the unknown writer at the Margreve Inn on the 17th of Neth. It specifically asks him not to alert Rallo, saying that the halfling cannot be trusted, though no reason is given. Troubled, Pavel asks Johannes advice and in the end, the elf agrees to go with him. Ataline also comes along, curious about the strangeness of the letter. The three set out for Restov and arrive on the 16th, taking advantage of their early arrival to do a little shopping.
17th— In the evening, Pavel, Ataline, and Johannes go to the Margreve Inn as indicated in the note and after a little bit, is approached by Markard, who has changed his appearance since they saw him last (which admittedly, was a few years ago). He sits down to dinner with them, but refuses to say why he asked them here, saying it’s not safe to talk and that he would lead them to a safer place after eating. Pavel notices him making subtle gestures at a halfling woman sitting at the bar during the dinner and she joins them on their way out. He introduces her as Maris, a former handmaid of Lady Melisana Medvyed, Lymon’s wife. Markard leads the group through a tortuous path through Restov’s back alleys but they are ambushed by an unknown sniper and a couple of hired thugs. Markard is slain by a poisoned arrow but before he dies, he tells the them they must keep Maris safe. Johannes and Pavel manage to kill or disable the thugs to run past them, out of the range of the sniper. Shaken, Maris leads the group to the hideout she and Markard set up to grab her traveling gear and a couple of important items. Uncertain as to the safety of the refuge, Ataline volunteers the use of Varn’s embassy in Restov. As she is packing, Maris tells them about why they’ve contacted Pavel and why Lymon wants them dead. According to her, she and Markard uncovered clues that indicate Lymon has been cultivating ties with the cult of Norgorber, though she doesn’t have any hard evidence to back up her story. If this was true, and the truth got out, it would almost certainly ruin Lymon (and possibly get him executed), since worship of the Reaper of Reputation is expressly forbidden in Brevoy (as it is in most nations of the Inner Sea). The only solid lead they have is a rubbing Maris made of a strange metal plate she saw Lymon hide in a secret panel that no one could make much heads or tails of. Because Markard had heard rumors that Rallo might also be associated with Norgorber, he had been hesitant to contact his former employer, a notion Pavel soon dispelled. In any case, Ataline got Maris settled at the embassy while Johannes and Pavel returned to the site of the ambush to search for any clues. Unfortunately, both thugs were gone and someone had cut off Markard’s head and stripped his body. Johannes speculated that it might be to prevent anyone from casting speak with dead on the body, and make resurrection far more difficult. Nonetheless, they took Markard’s body with them so that he could be given a proper burial.
18th-30th— The four of them set out for Finland immediately, feeling that it was unwise to tarry in Restov. The weather was not particularly cooperative and they were tired and cold by the time they make it back to Pilgrim’s Shore. There, Pavel and Johannes convene a full council meeting to explain the reason for their trip to Restov and the recent developments. Maris was invited to stay in Finland for the indefinite future while the party debated the best way to approach the situation. Maris gives them a ring set with a ruby and a yellow zinnia pressed into clay, telling them that Markard had told her to give these items to the party if they wished to go to Heldren to investigate Lymon further and to return them to a woman named Satinder at the Velvet Glove. The party then comes up with a cover story about Fin being a furrier named Matthews, offering fine pelts and furs from the River Kingdoms, with the rest of party acting as his business partner (Johannes), bookkeeper (Rallo), and guard (Pavel). Due to the delicacy of the mission (which could have dire repercussions for Finland should things go horribly awry), it was decided that both Sofiya and Ataline should stay out of it (and in any case, there was always the possibility that Sofiya might be recognized by her half-brother). In addition, Rallo is able to identify the rubbing of the metal plate as a decoder— something that could be used to decrypt a specific and complex code. The party decides to have their best blacksmith attempt to make the best replica he could from the rubbing.
1st-7th— The party complete their kingdom duties as expediently as possible while making preparations for their journey to Heldren. The replica of the decoder is completed, and while it won’t pass for a facsimile of the original, Rallo deems it good enough to serve its purpose.
8th-21st— The trek to Heldren takes two weeks through a snowy Rostland.; the going is not hard, but it is slow and made longer by the fact they are forced to loop around Lake Reykal on account of the lake being frozen. The group lodges at a nondescript inn and eager to start their investigation, they visit the Velvet Glove the very night of their arrival. To their surprise, they discover that Satinder is no lowly whore; she turns out to be madam of the establishment. Johannes handles the initial contact with Pavel acting as his bodyguard, while Fin and Rallo lie low at the Glove’s gambling hall. Satinder does not appear to be entirely happy to see them, knowing from the tokens that Johannes handed her that Markard is dead. Nonetheless, she reluctantly offers them the information Markard had her hold in trust for them, namely a way to sneak into the smuggling caves underneath Lymon’s fortified villa. They make plans to meet for an early “lunch” tomorrow at a local dive, after which she will lead them to the cave’s hidden entrance. Since the lake is frozen, it is a hike they can make on foot, instead of by boat. Satinder informs them that since the shipping on the lake has been shut down by the freezing temperatures, the caves are probably empty (and thus ideal for infiltration), though it is rumored that Lymon employs some sort of guardian. Additionally, Lymon is likely to be distracted planning for his big winter holiday party, to be held in a few days hence. There is some discussion of the political ramifications of what might happen should the party find evidence of Lymon’s association with Norgorber, both for Heldren and Brevoy at large.
22nd— True to her word, Satinder leads the party to the cave opening, which has been cleverly concealed by an illusion. She does not offer to go in with the group and they do not ask. And just as she predicted, the caves are cold, dark, and empty at the moment, with only a few stacks of crates being held in the ‘warehouse’ portion. Unfortunately, in their explorations the party stumbled across the clay golem guardian and it activates, chasing them from the room where it stood almost all the way to the cove, smashing several doors in the process. Fin also discovers that wounds inflicted by the thing are horribly resistant to healing magic, which makes the party even more reluctant to engage the creature. Meanwhile, sneaking around on his own, Rallo finds two stairways leading up into the mansion, one directly to Lymon’s study (the one Maris also discovered) and another leading to a large wine cask in the cellar. Rallo decides to enter the mansion through the cellar secret door, and disguises himself as a servant. He makes his way to Lymon’s study and rifles through his desk, but finds nothing incriminating— just the usual jumble of correspondence and household accounts and a few personal items. Not wishing to push his luck too far, Rallo returns to the cellar without anyone the wiser and eventually rejoins the party. By this point, the group has discovered a secret office in the dungeon, with a locked (and trapped) iron cabinet. Rallo manages to bypass both and the the party finds a cache of documents, including deeds for warehouses in both Heldren and New Stetven, old blackmail material on some of Lymon’s rival and competitors, and a coded ledger full of transactions. While it would takes hours, if not days, to decipher the details, Rallo got the gist that it chronicled Lymon’s smuggling operations. While incriminating, this was not the evidence the group was searching for, and after copying the last few pages, he put it back with everything else and re-locked the cabinet. The group then did a pass through the caves, but still turned up nothing. Figuring they were missing something, they sent Rallo around with a potion of detect secret doors; almost right away they encountered a secret panel in one of the pillars in the warehouse. This panel opened up to a tunnel running beneath the warehouse that led to a very complicated locked door. Rather than trying to pick the lock, Fin decided to use the wand of dimension door he had instead to bypass the door entirely, taking Rallo and Pavel with him, and leaving Johannes to stand guard outside. It turned out the room beyond was a vault of some sort where Lymon kept a bunch of gold, gems, and jewelry, as well as a handy haversack filled with stuff he might need in case he had to make a quick escape. After some argument, the three of them decided to leave most everything as it was, though Fin did pocket the gems from inside the haversack, and Rallo decided to sew a small patch of cloth to the haversack so that it could be easily tracked by magic in case Lymon did manage to flee. Then, Fin used the last charge from his wand to dimension door everyone back out as there was no way to open the door from the inside. However, this was still not what the party was looking for, so they sent Rallo with another potion of detect secrets doors to search for more secret doors. Eventually, he found a very well hidden secret door at a T-junction in the cave tunnels leading to a narrow corridor that ended in a wooden partition and door. The corridor turned out to be trapped, but fortunately, most of the bolts missed him. An examination of the door revealed it had a moderate aura of abjuration on it, which made the party suspicious. In the end, Fin decided to use his scroll of summon monster III to summon three small earth elementals to trigger the suspected trap on the door. It turned out that the magic on the door summoned a gray man, some sort of insectoid guardian of Norgorber. Due to the DR of the creature, the earth elementals were unable to hurt it, so the party rushed forward to engage it. This turned out to be a bit of a distraction, something Fin discovered when an invisible, masked rogue stabbed him in the back. Fortunately, Pavel was able to stun her; otherwise, things might have gone very poorly for Fin indeed. The party ganged up on the stunned rogue and finished her off quickly, recognizing her for the threat she presented, and then finished off the gray man. Then they were free to look around the small suite of caves hidden behind the partition. It was obviously a temporary bolthole Lymon had set for his Norgorber allies, with an alcove full of deadly mushrooms and an alchemy lab for brewing poisons. They found clerical vestment of Pharasma among the dead rogue’s belongings and figured she must have been the one posing as a priest that Maris had mentioned. And secreted in a little alcove behind the shrine to Norgorber was a slim volume; unfortunately, they paid a high price to retrieve said volume as the glyph triggered by Pavel turned him to stone and wiped his face smooth. Powerful magics would be needed to restore him to flesh and also to restore his face. More immediately, the decoder needed to decipher the tome was in his backpack… which was also stone, necessitating that Rallo sneak back into the mansion to steal the original after all. The party also decided to raid Lymon’s vault to gain the funds necessary to fix Pavel, though they tried to make it so that things didn’t look disturbed. Time was now of essence before Lymon discovered what they were up to so they hauled Pavel’s statue out of there and made plans to leave town for Stoneclimb as soon as possible.
23rd-31st— The party journeys towards Medvyed lands, trying to get in contact with Adalheid, whom they hoped would be able to facilitate an audience with Lord Gurev, the patriarch of the house. During their travel, Johannes and Rallo work feverishly to decipher the contents of the tome they took from the caves. They discover within a contract signed between Lymon and agents of Norgorber for Lymon to provide them access to Brevoy’s high society and to launder certain items through his smuggling operations for them; in return, they would supply him with information to blackmail or ruin his rivals and eventually, to unseat Lord Gurev as the patriarch of House Medvyed. The most shocking piece of information the Norgorberites had presumably been hoarding to use at the right moment was that Father Petronicus, one of the high priests of Abadar who had extensive ties to House Surtova, was actually a priest of Asmodeus. This little tidbit of info was to have wide-reaching implications for Brevoy’s future.