Welcome to the New Age

Agendas part two
Monday Night Smackdown

February 23-24, 25NA

The plot thickens as Red Simpson attempts to turn Aideen away from interfering in the Black Mantle's business.  Aideen has already partially taken steps to bring matters into the open, however and paints a target on herself.

The next morning, Gareth goes to the tower to request some special items.  Desmond attempts to reason with the halfings and then mayor, neither meeting bears fruit.  Aideen is met at her shop by several thugs who proceed to beat her unconscious.

Desmond finds Aideen and brings her home for treatment.  The Heralds split up, with Gareth and a recovered Aideen looking Bruce Courdry while Iliken, Declan, and Desmond hunt down the thugs that beat up Aideen.

Mayor Courdry is found at the "Highwayman's Rest" and the conversation with him reveals that Nancy Healy is missing.

The other half of the group tracks their enemies to "The Homely Sheep" and picks a fight that does not go as smoothly as they might have hoped.  Declan's magic leaves four men dead, and Iliken is forced to carry the unconscious forms of Declan and Desmond to safety.

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Agendas part 01
or DND on the CW

February 19-23, 26NA

Things are not going well in Grayson when the Heralds return.  A new guild is causing trouble getting shipments into the town.  The Town Council seems to be influenced by outside forces.  Mother Healy is confronted by Aideen who admits that she is being blackmailed by Blackmantle — who may just be Mayor Courdy's supposedly dead wife…

Meanwhile, at the monastery, Iliken discovers that an undead attack there accompanied the theft of a book.

 

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The Thaw, part 4
Or Dragonslayer

February 13-19, 25NA

Skadi proved to be a formidable foe, nearly taking down the party before being slain himself.  With his destruction, the hedges and unnatural growth began to fade, rotting quickly.  When the dragon fell, power emanated from the corpse, eventually culminating in a tremendous blast that shook the earth and toppled trees.  A line of white light rose high into the sky, doubtless visible for miles around.

Sadly, in the aftermath of the battle, the hatchling owlbear was discovered to be dead from the potent toxins that Skadi spread.  Severus Brown was also determined to be dead, apparently sacrificed In a rite to make the blighted plants the party fought.

Quercus revealed himself to the party, and they were somewhat surprised to find him to be an Ent.  He escorts the party back to Greywinder village, though he doens't reveal himself to the villagers.

Several days pass recovering in Greywinder, before the party meets Bedelia McGonigal, head of the Druid orders.  The group has experienced an increased appetite since killing the dragon and a greater enjoyment of food in general.  All their senses seem slightly heightened now.

McGonigal brings the party back to the druid's settlement where she uses her magics and expertise to examine them, but says she finds nothing wrong with them after their experiences.

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The Thaw part 03
or Hedge Magic

February 13, 25NA

The path to the heart of the woods leads into a thorny hedge, guarded by sinister animated plants and goblins.  All this leads to the a confrontation that the Heralds might not have expected as the green dragon, Skadi emerges to do battle…

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The Thaw part 02

February 11-13

The rain slacks off on the day following the owlbear attack, instead between the lessened intensity and the tree cover, the party travels through a cold mist for the day.  Declan and Desmond follow the tracks of the creatures, eventually leading the party to an owlbear nest beset by giant wasps!

The battle with the wasps takes a heavy toll on Iliken, but the rest of the party emerges essentially unharmed.  In the owlbear nest, the party finds three dead hatchlings and one live infant owlbear.  The siblings shoulder Iliken aside and simultaneously attempt to adopt the creature.

Carrying yet another infant monster, the party continues on its path, following older tracks deeper into the Greywinder Wood.  They are ambushed by goblins, strange wolf-like creatures of powerful size, and a creature later identified as a barghest — a demon in goblin shape.  The bargest ensorcells Aideen into killing the horses (leaving only Iliken's mount and Gareth's alive).  The monster sneaks away, along with one of the goblins, and is later found by the party, only to escape one more time.

The woods have been getting more and more wild, filled with thorny growths and dangerous thickets.  When they finally rest in a small clearing surrounded by jasmine flowers, Gareth has a conversation with a being identifying itself as "Quercus". 

Quercus warns the paladin of great dangers ahead, as the goblins work for the creature Skadi, who's presence seems to be twisting the woods, causing the strange growth.  When Gareth suggest the party will stick to their course, Quercus leaves them a few potions fruits as a gesture of help.

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The Thaw, part one
Lions and tigers and Owlbears, oh my!

February 5-11, 25NA

The Heralds are given the choice of two tasks, with the other falling to the guards.  The first was to investigate attacks by some kind of "part bear, part owl creature" near the logging camp in the Greywinder Woods.  The second involved missing families in the mountains.  The first was chosen due partially to the fact that Severus Brown seems to have gone missing for the Winter.

Partway through the first day of travel, Aideen discovered that Baldric had stowed away in her saddlebags. It was decided that the group wasn't going to turn back, so he was brought along to Greywinder Village.  The goblin child causes some friction in the group, but doesn't slow the progress overall.

They receive a warm welcome in Greywinder after four miserable days of chill spring rain.  Meeting with Oona Bristlebelt gave them information on the "Owlbear" attack.  The Heralds also spoke with a gnome named Laszlo who was the only survivor of the attack.

So the group left the village and started following the path to the site of the attack.  On the first night, as the party makes camp, Gareth uses some of his magic to speak to a local bird, who warns him that animals are being pushed away from the deep woods by something that has erected thick thorny hedges.

Remnants and cloth fragments marked the location of the attack but the trail is marred by the rain.  Iliken chose to manifest one of the patches from his robe of useful items- a pair of mastiffs- in the hopes that in the morning they might pick up the trail.  The party makes camp.

It is nearly midnight when the Owlbears attack.  One of the mastiffs is killed but the party comes out mostly unscathed from the fight.

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The Thaw, prologue
Springtime and a young adventurer's heart turns to...

February 5, 25NA

Bruce Courdry looked over the lists that John Black had turned in.  The last time stores had been this low was that first winter, when most of the food they had was scavenged canned goods and a few poorly salted game animals.  Still, no one had died from starvation this winter and the town's spirits were high.  It was a nice change from those early, chaotic years.  Years where death came sometimes with no warning.

"Bruce…?" A voice asked tentatively.  Nancy Healy was looking expectantly at him.

"Sorry, Nan, I was wool gathering.  What was that?" He turned his attention to the rest of the council: Grumbar Brightaxe sitting at the far end of the oval table; Joe Kirk looking like he wanted to back at the stables rather than making policy; the aforementioned Will Black looking like he'd just come from a shift behind his bar; Simone Reilly, broad of shoulder from years of farmwork; Nan, her concern bleeding away into an expression of soft indulgence; and Reverend Greg Jansen looking irritated and slightly red faced.  In the back corner making hurried notes in his cramped script in a book of bound pages was young Gary Moore.  Moore had gotten permission to attend the Grayson Town Council meetings when he offered to combine his notes for the town broadsheet with the meeting minutes.

"Sorry, Reverend, what where you saying?" Bruce said, hoping that he was giving the man a proper tone of penance.  Jansen was a good man, but was feeling increasingly redundant in a world that seemed ready to supply its own miracles.

"I was saying: I think it's disgraceful that we pin a medal on that boy then he makes us put him in a cell.  He should be living up to expectations, not down!"

"Ahh, let it be, Rev'r'nd," Grumbar said in a voice that sounded like gravel rolling down a hill.  "Y'kenna 'spect 'em t'change his spots in a day.  My understand'n was tha' boy was trubble from a ways back.  Fact of things is this: He'n his frein's saved this town.  Y'kenna pick an' choose yer saviors."  Inwardly Bruce groaned.  Grumbar's words were chosen to draw Jensen out into another religious debate.

Bruce cut in before the Reverend could speak up.  "Desmond has been a model, if depressed prisoner.  While he didn't give up who commissioned the papers, he's taken his punishment and not said a word of protest." He gave a sympathetic look to Jensen, "Sudden celebrity has never really been an inducement to moral behavior.  I think that we need to chalk some of this up to experience on both sides."

There was a general murmur of approval down the table and no vote was called since no actual issue was put up for one.

"Now, if we can move on, I think that Joe has some business to bring up.  Joe?"

Joe stood and cleared his throat.  He had two reports in his hand and glanced down before beginning to speak.  "The Greywinder Logging camp reports that some aggressive animals have been sighted and one early tagging team was attacked by some creature they described as an "owlbear".  Two men dead, one nearly so.  Severus Brown hasn't shown back up yet, he apparently spend the winter at some camp he'd found deep in the Greywinders.  They're asking for the Heralds to look into it." He switched pages.

"Some of the lower passes in the Appalachians are opening up already and my kids are making their first delivery runs of the season.  As you know, we have a lot of holdouts up there and they insist that roving orcs and goblins aren't gonna drive them off their land.  The Lucas stead, the Granger stead, and the Walden's place all show signs of break-ins sometime in the winter.  Timmy Jackson says that he found old bloody handprints and footprints at the Walden's.  Something killed all their livestock and seems to have eaten it on the spot.  No sign of the families.  I'd like to send the kids up to have a look.  I can't have my service heading up there if they aren't safe.  By midsummer I'm gonna have about a dozen delivery runs going up there, most of them alone."

Bruce frowned.  Technically those families weren't part of Grayson, by their own choice.  But Joe was right, part of the responsibilities of their community was to keep the area safe.  And if it was just missing folks, it might just have been that they gave up and moved on, it had happened the first few years, still did occasionally.  But the slaughtered livestock?  And animals, twisted new ones, attacking the loggers?  Bruce knew about the portal in the heart of the woods.  He and Gwythr had been there.  Maybe these things were coming from the other side?  And there was still some kind of large predator out there…

"I'll call Aideen in and we'll see which one we can send them on.  We'll get Pete Dalton to put together a patrol to check out the other one and see what can be found."  Once, that would have been him, going out to deal with these problems.  Not now.  Heavy is the head and all that.  "Any other business?  Grumbar, wasn't there something about Rapid Run giving you problems with the shipments of iron for the anchors at the coast…"

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Winter Days
How i spent my Winter Vacation

October 31, 24NA to February 5, 25NA

The Elves are grateful for the aid of the party in recovering the fingerleaf for the cure to Gwythr ap Llewellyn's poisoning.  Several days are spent among them, learning and celebrating before a return to Grayson and the lives interrupted by their adventures.

As the weeks pass, the party takes on differing tasks and some are more successful than others in their endeavors.  Mrs Finnegan continues to care for the goblin baby, who grows extremely quickly, though no one seems to know if this is unusual.  By February, the child is walking mostly unaided and talking in broken common — nearly ready for some sort of formal schooling, if any is to be given.

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Fey Tales Part 3
Fists of Fury

October 30-31, 24NA

The mummy's touch leaves a curse on Desmond, weakening him, leaving him with an unquenchable thirst.  After defeating the undead, the party explores a tunnel to a lower level, where gaining the stone requires moving through a death trap to escape.

After the return to Dialb the final door leads to a dojo in the Abyss, where they meet Oniisama and his disciples.  Oniisama makes a deal with them— he will turn over his crystal if they participate in a combat challenge.  They are not required to win, only participate.

The party is entertained after the fight with conversation and a meal before returning to Dialb and giving over the last crystal to him.  He gives them the leaves as he promised.

 The departure of the group from the Feywild is without incident and the party is once more turned into birds by Severus and are now racing to bring the cure to Gwythr ap Llewellyn.

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Fey Tales part two
Door number One? Door Number Two? Or Door Number Three?

October 30, 24NA

The Fey Knight Dialb offers to turn over the fingerleaves if the party retrieves three stones for him from remote places he either can't or doesn't want to go.

Each door is marked by a strange symbol.  

The first door leads to a strange laboratory marked with the same strange letters (DOSA) seen on the elf's remains in the dwarf mines.  The place is lit by Old Age technology, bright and well maintained.  Strange open-skulled rats occasionally pass by in open topped pneumatic tubes.  Observation Windows over look a chamber where bizarre tentacle faced creatures experiment on humanoids, twisting their forms for no discernible purpose.  The chamber with the crystal is watched over by a bizarre mass of flesh with a single massive eye and multiple stalks, each tipped with an eye.  It shouts an alarm telepathically and then attacks the party, causing a variety of strange effects from its eyes.  As the creature is defeated and Desmond takes the crystal (shutting off the power) the rats gather into a swarm and dominate him — delaying the group's exit.

Eventually the party tumbles out into the tower of Dialb.

Door number two leads into a constructed passage of worked stone. Where the party finds heavily painted images of an invading army met three times, once with flood, once with fire, and once with falling stars (Each of these points is determined to be a trap, potentially sealing the passage).  The passage turns two corners before opening into a burial chamber with a massive sarcophagus and two smaller, less decorative sarcophagi.  The massive sarcophagi has a mummy in it (that does not come to life) and a secret tunnel under it that is revealed when it is slid aside.  But as the party finds the tunnel, the other two sarcophagi burst open, and undead surge out to attack!

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