Welcome to the New Age

Pursuit part 1
Into the Upside Down

July 3, 25NA

The decision is made to pursue Black Mantle.  When the trail under the Homely Sheep leads only to the strange calendar stone, and signs point to a ritual.  Reactivating the ritual leaves the party in a strange, dark, and seemingly empty copy of Grayson. 

But not empty enough…

Strange spider-like creatures pour out of the river, attacking the party in the streets of a darkened town…

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Interlude: Columbia part Four

The battle at the Homely Sheep was bloody and hard-fought on both sides.  After felling Aideen, Black Mantle cut down Desmond and Gareth before seizing Aideen’s corpse and teleporting into her network of tunnels.

The remaining Heralds and their allies fought the rest of her men, although a few of their opponents fled the area.  The group did not give chase, instead ensuring that no one else on their side was lost.

In the basement of the tavern, a ritual space and (later) a secret door were discovered.  Ilikan ran to bring Grumbar to examine the working, while the rest of the group worked to keep Declan from opening the secret door before backup arrived.

Finally, the group reformed and Declan took the chance to open the secret door.  Undeterred by the poison which it emitted, or any of the traps in the hallway beyond, the Heralds searched for their lost friend in the tunnels.  

Eventually the trail led them to a large room, where Aideen was bound to a stone block, alive.


——-


Though she would not remember it, or indeed anything of her time past the threshold of death, Aideen was questioned under a Speak with Dead spell.  The questions, and her responses, were thus:

Who sent you to kill Black Mantle, specifically? (It was Declan’s idea.)

Do you have unfinished business which needs to be dealt with? (Yes, I do.)

Would you forswear a grudge against your killer if you were restored? (Yes, I would.)

How important is your unfinished business to you? (It’s important.)

((A comment, at this point, to someone near the Questioner: “That seems to lack the drive we’re looking for…  yes, yes, they’re often gone… I don’t think it would change…”))

If you are restored this day, to life, how soon would you leave Grayson to go about your business? (I would go as soon as I could convince my companions to go.)

((Another comment: “Yes, yes, let’s bring him onboard, and he'll speak for her.”))

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Interlude: Columbia part Three
Vengeance at the Homely Sheep

July 1, 25NA

Two miraculous revivals occur as Grumbar Brighthammer calls upon the powers of the Gods to return life to Grunr Stormborn and Gwythr ap Llewellyn.  Heartfelt speeches by Aideen and Gareth help the ritual's success.

Illiken and Desmond rush to the prison where Isadore Consuela has been locked up by the doppelgänger.

King Courdry issues an order to Declan and Aideen: "Find her, and End HER!"

The Heralds head to the Homely Sheep, fighting off and ambush on the way. The fight that ensues at the Homely Sheep, comes of as onesies the other direction, as the Black Mantle's wizard and bard strike at the party before the she herself steps in and strikes down Aideen…

Howwillthis all end…?

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Interlude: Columbia Part two
Two for the price of one is a good deal...

June 29-July 1, 25NA

Dinner with the new King and his fiancé turns into a surprise announcement that the royal wedding will occur in two days.

Various errands are run over the next day.  Tailors are procured, providing the attendees with finery and some small number of magical enhancements.  Illiken is handed a mysterious warning by Red Simpson, who has fallen on hard times.  Gareth learns some of the secrets of the Sword of Sigurd and buys a wedding gift.  Aideen meets with Cogsworth to check on some old business.  Declan and Desmond meet with the town council before separating.  

The morning of the wedding arrives with pomp and circumstance.  As the ceremony reaches its conclusion Isadore Consuela, a ranger the party met previously, assassinates Gwythr ap Llewellyn and Grunr Stormborn.  Isadore is revealed by Iliken as James Anderson, jr.  The party kills him, but is the damage already done…?

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Interlude: Columbia part One
Birth of a New Nation

June 21- June 29, 25NA

The Heralds are accosted by a gang of aggressive centaurs on the way home.  After a tough battle, they emerge victorious.

Upon their return they find things are different in Grayson, the appointment of a monarch, King Bruce Courdry, has altered the flow of the town a little.  The livery now seems to house flying mounts - four gryphons - take a spot in the yard, and the two Panthrows garner much appreciation from Abram Dreier and his staff.

They are directed to present themselves before the king up on their return and are greeted warmly.  Bruce insists on having them all to his home for dinner that evening.

The group has errands to run, and each goes their separate ways, but Gareth and Iliken seek out Grumbar Brightaxe to seek his counsel about the possibility that  Declan and Aideen might be enthralled still by the strange fish they encountered days earlier.

Grumbar confronts each twin and removes the charmed influences on each, but they are surprisingly not as grateful as might be expected…

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Tortuga Part 2
But the fish is our friend...

The party made quick work of the Hydra, but as they searched the cavern, the diving bell started to lift!  A scramble for safety left them wet, but inside the sphere.

Unfortunately, shortly after they closed the door, the sphere stopped.  A voice, reminiscent of the fish-like creature they met at The Smithsonian, rang through their heads.

The Aboleth explained that it had thought that the Hydra would kill them, end the party’s lives in a heroic way.  It apologized that it had to betray them, but that they knew too much, and that it could not afford to let our heroes go.

Realizing that the safety they had worked so hard to attain had become a watery prison, the group worked fast to break free and attempt the swim to the surface.  

Before they could make the surface, though, the Aboleth himself attacked the party.  It made itself allies of the twins, promising to help them fulfill their deepest dreams.

With their help, the injured creature was able to swim off to tend to its wounds.  The twins, however, had to explain why their spells had turned against the rest of the party just as the fight was beginning to turn in the heroes favor.

At the surface, the pirates (strangely helpful, and offering no fight) gave the party the Sword of Sigurd and returned their mounts. Rather than make the trip overland, the group opted to teleport back to the great tree. 

Most of the Panthrows were returned to Wilks, and after a rest, the group turned its eyes to the next task ahead…

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Tortuga Part one
There's Something fishy here...

June 18-19, 25NA

Prince Padraig gives the group a parting gift, a lucky clover that Declan takes, and the party flies to Tortuga to attempt to meet and deal with Greybeard Seaworthy of the Depp Clan.

Tortuga proves to be an artificial island composed of hundreds of ships and lashed and anchored together.  While suitably impressed by the entrance the party makes, riding their winged mounts, they are still unwilling to allow the party to approach the captain without disarming them.  

Even when they meet with Seaworthy, a fight still breaks out.  Sheer numbers overcome the party and they are put in a brig to contemplate their situation.  The captain meets with Aideen, and seems to know her.  He tells her that he'll be able to give them the sword if they can defeat "the snake".  Also he suggests that he'll let them have their gear back for the fight.

The snake is found in an underwater air pocket that is only reached by a diving bell.  The group watches in fascination or horror as the creature comes into the air, a serpent with five heads…

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Borderlanders part 3 & 4
Into the Witch Oaks

June 9-17, 25NA

The hollow tree proves to lead into a complex of caves and chambers occupied by more of the strange bruise colored Giants and the Gnolls.  The trip culminates in battle with a powerful troll filled with draconic and Druidic powers along with two of the regular creatures and a particularly potent Gnoll in a chamber with a runic circle.

The Druidic creature possessed a wand that creates and utilizes the runic circle of teleportation.  The group also finds a strange magical fruit that imbues draconic power into Desmond, making him into a partially dragonish creature.  What other effects it might have are not immediately clear.

The party rescues some of the Panthrows kittens, but not all.  And they make their way down to meet back up with Dorian Wilks.  He begins to train the party in riding the adult panthrows.

It takes a week before the group is deemed ready to make their trip to Tortuga.

South of the Borderwood lies the villages along the gulf that once lead to Mexico.  These fishing settlements belong to the Depp Clan pirates.  Most have a raiding ship or two that seems to double as a fishing vessel.

As the party heads towards the end of the former state of Florida, the Borderwood shifts almost abruptly into the Ogrefen.   A strange tower juts high above the swamp and the group is nearly distracted by it.  

One night, near the end of the last watch, the party meets Prince Padraig Oakhart, a Sprite of the Summer Court.

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Borderlanders Part 2

June 8-9, 25NA

The path into the hills and mountains is surrounded by the Hag-Oak trees, imports from the Feywild.  During the climb, signs are noted of medium sized creatures that may have hunted out other predatory creatures here, but no sign is found of the larger, ogre-sized, creatures.

Gnolls, strange hyena-men who seemed to hail from somewhere south of the border into Old-Mexico, riding giant vultures attack the party from a frustrating range, but an ice spell from Aideen kills them.

Strange lights are visible at night from the path, seeming to surround a giant tree near the top of the path.

More Gnolls are encountered at the end of the path, guarding the outside of the tree, which has a huge door in it.  After the fight with the Gnolls the party attempts to enter the tree, finding strange bruise colored giants that recovered quickly from injuries.  Fire seemed to end the recovery process.

What other threats lie inside the giant tree…?

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Borderlanders Part 1

June 1-8, 25NA

A miracle happens.  Anne Finnegan is alive once more, after the invocations of Grumbar Brighthammer and. The heartfelt words of Declan, Illiken, and Desmond.

Mrs. Finnegan goes to work for the Courdy house while the party leaves for their mission.  Though as they leave, the party does remember to vote to elevate Bruce Courdy to King.

Several days of journeying brings the party to the Borderwood.  Some sort of fey magic makes the forest difficult to explore. The party finds the scene of a combat between large predatory cats and some sort of ogre sized opponents.

After a misadventure crossing a river the party meets Dorian Wilks, a ranger raising creatures he calls "Panthrows"— giant winged panthers.  His charges would be perfect for their trip to the pirate island of Tortuga, if they hadn't been taken by the strange "spindly giants" living up in the mountains…

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