Birthright: Rise of the Kingmakers

Session 25: There and back again

August 10-11, 561 H.C.

Present: Brian, Jess, Ken, Ron, Jen, John; Absent: Dave

Current Goal: capture and hold a fort in the Esmersdan province of Kiergard until the Prince’s men can arrive to reinforce it (approximately August 17).

Last Session Recap: when told of the spider pendants, the elf queen and The Gorgon’s Wife were very concerned. The Gorgon’s Wife re-animated the dead goblins and dead orogs to question them, and learned that The Eyeless One had intended to spread the spider pendants across the major cities in Massenmarch and Kiergard to create a massive army of undead. The Gorgon’s Wife was also upset that The Eyeless One managed to avoid the “summons” to be at the fae circle – where he was to be trampled by The Boar of Thuringode. She then sent the group back into the dark roads to find The Eyeless One’s base of operations and temple to Azari, both necessary for whatever plan he was hatching. Armed with “darklight” torches for stealth, the group followed tracks indicating activity and found some orog slavers lording over some goblins. After freeing the goblins the group debated how to proceed before deciding to take their orog prisoners back to The Gorgon’s Wife for questioning.

Game date: August 10, 561 (Brecht)

After hearing sounds of water coming from the sunken cavern, Nick heard someone coming up the passage from that direction. It was two Khinasi humans, one was an armored female holding aloft a glowing symbol and the other was a muscular male wearing leather armor and wielding a longsword. Almira used her Ghost spell and approached, causing the woman to cast a spell at her. Having no effect, the woman cast another spell on her companion’s blade. Almira decided to take a chance and dropped her spell, calling out a greeting in Khinasi.

The two strangers explained they had been following a map but had gotten lost. The woman said that her temple (of Cuiraecen) had sent her to The Dark Roads to prevent the forces of Azrai from being resurrected there. They had been captured by some villagers sympathetic to The Gorgon, but managed to escape with the help of some dwarves.

The woman’s name was Jayanti, and the the man’s name was Lvarien.

When they group got close to where they passed the orog guard station, Jayanti cast an aid spell on Nick so he could sneak ahead and check things out. He returned to report that the goblins and the orog guard had killed each other in combat.

Almira cast her portal spell to get past the choke-spore mushrooms and the gate, and the group started to go through. But when only Nick and Vendar had passed through their orog prisoners decided to revolt. One grabbed Vendar, but the woodsman quickly changed into his large cat form causing the orog to squeal in fear. Jayanti, wearing glowing black leather gloves, punched at one of the orogs but didn’t seem to hurt it through its armor.

While the others stood momentarily confused, Jayanti summoned a bolt of lightning and seriously wounded one of the orogs. Vendar pounced on the one that had grabbed him. Still in her pirate/tough-guy guise, Jenneken shouted, “Wait! Listen! The spirits are coming!” The sound of many ghostly voices could be heard coming from the passage behind them. Thoroughly frightened, the orogs re-surrendered and agreed to quickly resume their march back toward the surface.

After several hours of uneventful travel, the group safely arrived back at the spiral stairs that led up to the watchtower where The Gorgon’s Wife was presumably waiting for them. In the waning daylight, the group was surprised to find that the tower was gone, with only the bear pit remaining.

Nick spotted some of the royal elven guards watching from hidden locations some distance away. Pirate-Jenneken went with Nick and discovered that the queen and The Gorgon’s Wife had left. But the Little Girl was still there. After explaining their activities, the Little Girl took one of the orogs to an abandoned building for questioning. After the sound of terrible screaming, she emerged dragging a badly wounded orog. This sight was sufficient incentive for the other orogs to spill the beans.

They said that the main dark road beneath them went to a ravine where humans grew food for The Eyeless One. The passage would lead to a garrison where the orogs were stationed. From there, it continued to the ravine and then on to The Eyeless One’s main fortress. The ravine held stones that were not to be touched, and led toward a side passage (seemingly a likely passage to a hidden temple…)

Jayanti and Lvarien had a map from the dwarves that showed how the dark roads lead around this ravine, providing the group a better chance at finding The Eyeless One’s fortress and the temple to Azrai he hopes to use. It seemed the two Khinasi had met up with the group along this road before running into the garrison – but how had they missed the ravine?

The group settled down for the night, each group catching the other up on the details of their recent adventures. Jayanti explained that some thieves had tricked those at her abbey and had stolen some books that had references to Azrai, and thus her quest. Lvarien dodged questions about his motivations. Vendar, Jenneken and Almira took turns talking about their adventures on Caelcorwynn Island and the similarities to the current situation with respect to temples to Azrai and slave-making insect pendants.

Before nightfall, Vendar checked in with the local wildlife to see what they knew about recent events. The forest critters had little useful news, but did speak of the bear and dire wolf the group had released, and how the animals displaced from the plains around the fae circle were getting desperate to return home.

Game date: August 11, 561 (Brecht)

Before dawn, during Jenneken and Johan’s watch, the Little Girl elf magically appeared and said she needed to speak with Johan. Afterward their private conversation, Johan woke up Almira and told her that he was being instructed to leave to assist The Gorgon’s Wife in investigating The Eyeless One’s plans with the spider charms. After taking his share of the loot, he walked off into the forest with the Little Girl and disappeared.
After eating, the group returned to the dark roads, retracing their steps from the prior day. Having made it to the guard post, kitty-Vendar snuck forward to find several orogs using spore-spreader devices like the one they found in the tower. They were building up the protective mushrooms near the gates, taking care to make the coverage too large for Almira’s portal spell to span.

Almira used her Ghost spell to change Nick, and the lad went ahead to try and scare the orogs. But he came back a short while later to report that the orogs weren’t afraid. Instead, they produced a pot that was emitting some kind of vapor cloud. Jayanti said it sounded like a “ghost root” brew, an herbal concoction whose vapors repelled spirits.

Jayanti, servant of Cuiraecen The Reckless, was ready to charge in. Nick was all for the direct approach, too. With no alternatives presenting themselves, the less aggressive party members agreed.

Jayanti stepped around the corner and threw a lightning bolt down the passageway, blasting the checkpoint gate into smithereens. The flash of light triggered the mushrooms and the spores filled the passageway. Jenneken retrieved her Gust of Wind wand and began pushing the spores toward the orogs that had hunkered down in the checkpoint area.
As the group waited behind the slow moving spores, the orogs shot their crossbows at those of the companions that were in front. Most missed, but one managed to thump painfully into Lvarien’s chest. Vendar changed into his small owl form and flew over the checkpoint, circling back behind the orogs and changing into his large cat form.

With Jayanti having bestowed various blessing on Lvarien’s armor and Nick’s weapon, the lad charged through the spores and barreled into the orogs. His shadow-enchanted axe sliced through one of the orog’s necks, decapitating it quickly. (Duly noted: DM roll for DMed PC (Nick) with 6s on wild die, and 1s on wild die for monster…) Vendar pounced, preventing one of the orogs from fleeing. Jayanti cast another spell, causing one of the guard’s armor to begin to heat painfully.

Nick chopped his axe deeply into another orog, dropping it to the ground, as Jayanti and Lvarien managed to charge through the spores to join him.

One of the orogs fled into the guard shack along the wall as Jayanti’s spell continued to heat the creature’s armor. From her position on the ceiling, Almira disabled the shack’s door lock. Nick charged in to find the shack covered a small alcove where the orog had fled. The guard was trying to retrieve an item from a shelf that was there. Jayanti was close behind, and her scimitar finished off the creature before it could act.

Searching the area and the orog bodies, the only thing of interest found was a note in the orog language. Jayanti managed to decipher the note with a spell: it instructed the orogs about the group of goblins that had been freed and that they should fortify “the waypoint.” One of the orogs had the spore-spreading tube, and three ghost-root brews.

As the others searched through the area, Lvarien pointed out that it was odd that the orogs were prepared to defend against ghosts when it was just the prior day that “Karl” was selling the story about spirits attacking. Jennken wondered if this area was becoming like the area around the temple at Caelcorwynn Island, where zombies arose every night.

Before moving on, Jayanti smashed the signaling horn as safety precaution.

Traveling back to the room where the goblins were working, there was no activity. Almira noticed that the stones around the drain had a spell inscribed on them; some kind of detection spell that would be triggered by contact with water.

Continuing up the passageway where Jayanti and Lvarien had come from before, the group climbed “upstream” and found it harder than their prior journey. The group had to coordinate to make it past some drop-offs and other obstacles. Almira’s ever-useful portal spell was once again a huge boon.

Eventually the group arrived at a large cavern full of massive mushrooms. Jayanti and Lvarien recalled having passed through this way before. Having heard some scuttling about amongst the tops of the huge fungus, the group quickly moved along.
Jayanti noted on their prior trip they had seen a side passageway that they didn’t take before. Noting they did not encounter this ravine they were searching for, it seemed a good option to investigate.

After traveling up the side passageway for some time, Vendar detected the smell of bat guano. Explaining that bats need some way to fly outside to feed, it seemed likely that this route led to the surface somehow. Changing to his small owl form, Almira cast her Ghost spell on him so that the bats could not attack him.

As anticipated, owl-Vendar found a large cave full of bats. Various holes led outside, but flying through one he found that there was no ravine but rather just sparse prairie land.
Returning to the main passageway, Almira continued to help the group traverse various waterfalls and other impediments they encountered along the “main” dark road.

Suddenly, the group was surrounded by armed and armored dwarves. Demanding to know why they were intruding, Lvarien carefully retrieved his lute and played a song from his prior encounters with the stout folk. Recognizing the song, the dwarves relaxed a bit and escorted the adventurers to a room where they would await a meeting with the dwarven elders.

Each member gains 3 Character points!

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