Codex V-Chapter 6

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When Khaska awoke the next morning, the sun was shining brightly. Rynn was already up, having eaten some of his rations, and stroking Ranna’s head as the wolf sat next to the ranger, tongue lolling out. The others remained asleep.

The Maha’i cleric glanced over at the bundle he had slept near. Now that the sun was up, and they were no longer in immediate danger, he thought it might be prudent to inspect the sword more. Carefully taking his time, he slowly unwrapped it until it lay on the cloak.

The scimitar was still coated in blood from the combat the night before, both the black blood of goblins and the red blood of him and his compatriots. He used some of his water to clean it off, until the ebony blade was shining and clean. He could more closely read the writings on it now. He ran his fingers over them, but still careful not to touch the sword, reading them under his breath.

“What does it say?” came a voice.

Khaska jumped. He had been so enraptured by the sword that he hadn’t noticed Sanjin approaching. The elf squatted down next to him, glancing the sword over.

“It is an inscription in my native tongue, that of the Maha’i. It says, ‘Kvanir Addhineen Vazhdu Avd’Urziana,’ and it is the name of the sword. Kvanir is just a formal name, Addhineen means ‘dragon’s bite,’ Vazhdu means ‘silver,’ and Avd’Urziana means ‘slave of Urziana.’”

“You were just here on a pilgrimamge, eh?” Sanjin said, a bemused look on his face.

Khaska smiled. Sanjin was a clever one. “We did not lie, though the term ‘pilgrimmage’ does not convey the full meaning of why we have come. It is a long story, but to sum up, this is the sword of Tawru, an ancient hero of my race. It is a cursed blade now, though, and it seems to have driven Kagu mad when the goblin warlord retrieved it from the monastery we came here to find.”

“And that’s why you’re not touching it?” asked Sanjin.

“I know not the nature of the curse,” Khaska replied.

“Well, maybe I can help with that,” the wizard replied, rolling up his sleeves. “Shall I cast Detect Magic on it? Might shed some clues on what’s going on.”

“That would be most welcome.”

Sanjin moved his hands in the required patterns while speaking the arcane words aloud. He concentrated and observed the workings of magic that surrounded the sword, discovering all that he could.

“It has a moderate evocation on it. That means it’s not just an enhanced weapon, there’s also some additional magical affect on it. Without casting Identify, I can’t know what that effect is for certain, and I don’t have the components to cast it.”

“That is quite alright,” Khaska said. “I’ve been thinking, perhaps I’ve been treating it too cautiously. A Knight of the Silver Dragons wielded this sword for decades, and didn’t succumb to its curse.”

“Kagu was already evil,” said Rynn. “Perhaps it just egged him on, so to speak.”

“Yeah,” said Orensland, rubbing his head where a large cut was still healing where Kagu had struck him, “but did it have to egg him on so hard?” Everybody was apparently up now.

Khaska took a deep breath, and reached down to touch the sword. He gingerly touched it, but could feel nothing as he ran his fingers across the inscription of its name.

“Kvanir,” he said, not sure if drawing strength from actually having the blade, or addressing the scimitar itself. Then he reached his fingers around the hilt and hefted it into his hand.

Two things happened simultaneously. First, he felt himself grow weaker, as if his mind and his body were tired. He felt a little off, a little slower, a little less connected to his God, even!

Second, a voice came into his head with a great force, speaking in a slightly archaic form of the Maha'i language.

Treewind thought he could tame me! You think you can do the same! I will …

Khaska dropped the sword on the ground, in shock.

“It spoke to me!” he gasped. “It’s …” he did not know the words.

“Ah,” said Sanjin, “an intelligent item. Fascinating.”

Eryx (DM)
Everybody is at full health after Khaska’s healing and a good night’s rest.

For being very clever and getting the goblins to run away (250 XP), killing Kagu, two of his lieutenants, and several worgs (3050 XP), as well as retrieving Kvanir (1000 XP), Khaska, Jenika (as an NPC), and Rynn all earn a total of 4300 XP. I believe you should all level to 7 now. Congratulations!

Sanjin, since he’s already level 7, earns less XP for the fight, and therefore has earned a total of 3700 XP.

Orensland earns none. (That’s the price you pay for already being a level 8 shadowdancer of sneaky awesomeness. You’ll start earning XP from here on out, though at a lower rate since you’re still one level higher than everybody else.)

Sanjin was able to cast Detect Magic at the campsite. Each of the goblins you slew was wielding a magic weapon as well as had magic armor. You also found that Kagu had a necklace with a huge emerald on it.

Regarding Kvanir, Sanjin was able to determine that the scimitar has a moderate evocation on it. Looking at the SRD, any weapon enhancement with that listed is a possibility. Certain kinds of magic weapons also cause you to lose a level when wielding them, which is what happened when Khaska picked it up.

I assume you’ll want to get back to town as soon as possible. BlackWolf, I’ll need three Survival checks from you to represent Rynn’s leading the group back and trying to avoid goblin contact.

Thev, Kvanir is intelligent. You can talk to it. You’ll quickly discover that only the person carrying the scimitar can converse with it.

What kinds of questions, if any, would you ask of it?

BlackWolf
Hurray for leveling! Watch out, goblins! Now I’ve got 9 HP and I do +4 bonus damage to you. Now all we need is to buy some diamond dust to restore our ability damage. :)

Don’t we have a wand of identify? I believe that back in the last codex our generous DM said we still had it after Amara left, but I don’t know who has been carrying it around (if that even matters). Now that we have a wizard, he should probably carry it. (Hey Sanjin, let’s be friends. Travel with us and you can have this wand. Haha) Anyway… before Khaska starts asking the sword any questions, we should probably identify it first. Maybe also use the wand to check out the magic items we got from the goblins too.

Rynn doesn’t know much about intelligent magic items and all that, but he’s wary of the sword. Clearly it had affected Kagu. If Khaska thinks it’s wise to converse with it, the ranger won’t object. But the half-elf hopes we’ll keep it mostly wrapped up and unused. He’s perfectly happy to head back to the mines in order to try to cover it with more powder — either before or after returning to Twilight.

Here are my survival checks:

  • 17 (rolled 4 + 13 bonus)
  • 29 (rolled 16 + 13 bonus)
  • 18 (rolled 5 + 13 bonus)

Add +4 more to each of the above if they relate to goblins (e.g. finding their tracks so we can avoid them).

And finally, if they have a bit of downtime here and there while they travel, Rynn will craft up some arrows to replenish his quiver. (I won’t even bother rolling unless the DM requests it; even if he rolled a 1 he could still manage 40 arrows a day by the crafting rules. But on the other hand, maybe a roll to find some good fletching or whatever may be needed since he doesn’t carry around arrow-making materials — yet.)

Eryx (DM)
You do have that wand of Identify… I forgot about it. DeltaWolf, would you like to use it on your acquired loot, including Kvanir?

DeltaWolf
One of the disavantages of making a wizard that starts at a high level is that I don’t stop to think about all the little spells that I would find helpful. Sigh oh well.

Yeah lets identify it all. Sanjin can carry the wand of identify, how many charges will it have after identifying all the items we found (including the sword)?

Crosis
I'm not sure what I'd add aside from encouraging everyone to make good use of the acquired goods. :)

Thevarou
Khaska's just eager to get back to Twilight at the moment, and if Rynn needs it, he can help with survival checks and the like (let me know!). Regarding Kvanir… I'm really not sure what he'd ask at the moment. Khaska is curious, first, about the nature of Kvanir's intelligence so that he can find out what questions he could even answer: how does it sense things, and how much does it sense? what sense of memory does it have? how (style-wise) does it speak? What does it mean that Treewind tried to "tame" it? what pronouns does it prefer, haha?

Crosis
Just for the sake of understanding the nature of the weapon… you say that Khaska lost a level when he picked up the weapon. From what I looked up, it appears that the level loss effect lasts only so long as the scimitar is wielded. I'm guessing that the sword is either Anarchic or Unholy- biased against those who are either Lawful or Good, as Khaska is both. It sure seems Unholy given the fact that it had a supernatural effect on Orensland when he was hit with it, and he is of a Chaotic Good alignment.

If we wanted to be sure, Orensland could pick up the weapon just to see if it drains him at all. Sadly, none in the group are of Neutral alignment, and so all would be similarly affected.

If those with more experience in cursed weaponry would not advise such a course of action, Orensland wouldn't press the matter. Also, how would one remove or reverse the curse? Having an ancient Holy weapon in the crew would prove handy, as most of our enemies are of an evil alignment.

“An intelligent item?” asked Rynn.

“The sword is sentient,” Sanjin said. “It has a mind and will of its own. I could find out more, but only after we get to town so I can cast Identify.”

“Oh, about that,” the ranger replied, reaching into his haversack. He pulled out a wand. “We have this wand of Identify. Can you use this?”

Sanjin started. “Why, yes I can.” He glanced around. “Of course, I assume that we’re splitting up the loot from the fight evenly?”

“Yes of course,” said Jenika. She almost took Sanjin’s insinuation as a personal affront.

Sanjin smiled at this and took the wand from Rynn. He had been able to determine which items were magical the night before. A few moments of casting allowed him to determine the various properties of the armor and weapons that Kagu and his lieutenants had been wearing and using.

Upon using the wand one final time on Kvanir, Sanjin let out a low whistle as it began to lightly rain.

“This is a powerful sword. Powerful indeed. Maximally enhanced and with an unholy enchantment on it. No wonder it had such a deleterious effect on those it struck. Anybody who is good who picks it up will be weakened merely by wielding such a weapon.”

“Then why did I not feel the effects until this morning?” asked the cleric.

“Ah, I said ‘wielding,’ not ‘carrying.’ There’s a difference. Anybody can carry such an item. But if you decide to actually use it, that’s when it affects you.”

“So …” said Orensland, “how would we remove the curse?”

“Hrm,” replied Sanjin, “I do not know. Such enhancements are usually permanent.”

“Neither Tawru nor Treewind would have enchanted the sword thusly,” Khaska almost growled at the elf.

“I’m just the messenger,” replied Sanjin. “Those are the facts about this sword now. I don’t know how it got the way it is.”

“We can discuss it more later,” said Rynn, who was looking at the sky. “This looks like it could be a decent storm, and I’d like to get moving. On the plus side, it will be harder for anybody to track us with the rain.”

“I think it would be wise to continue moving away from the site of last night’s battle,” said Khaska. “We can discuss these matters further on the way.”


They traveled all that day. Between Rynn’s expertise and, surprisingly, Demandred’s scouting ability, they were able to avoid any goblin patrols or encounters. The rain picked up as they traveled, though, and they spent a very wet night with no fire to warm or dry them.

Slogging through the mud was becoming difficult. It was mid-day when Rynn began to realize that the amount of rain they had received was causing problems. Small trickles of water here or there began to form into actual streams. Puddles became large enough that going around them became difficult. Creeks were so swollen that they had difficulty crossing them. Movement became hampered and they had to go slower than they wanted.

Rynn kept them out of serious trouble, though. Khaska’s minimal training in survival was of little help, the cleric having grown up in the harsh, nearly waterless Niktean Wastes. Keeping to the high ground was a little difficult and out of the way, but better than being stuck in the lower areas, which were much more dangerous.

Cresting one of the hills, Rynn took a look around at the forest. There was a bit of a clearing in front of them, giving him a great view of the surrounding area. It was then that he noticed something in the canyon adjacent to them. There was a group of people, and it appeared that they had been trapped on a small island by rising floodwaters. What was normally a small stream was now a raging river. Rynn pointed it out to Sanjin, who immediately dispatched Demandred to investigate. The bat returned a moment later with a report.

“There’s about fifteen men and women down there,” said Sanjin.

Eryx (DM)
No, you don’t have to roll for the arrows, BlackWolf. Your survival checks are also good enough to come up with basic fletching materials, too.

Even though Sanjin was able to determine the properties of Kvanir, Crosis, your idea of picking it up to experiment with it would have indeed made you all realize (metagaming) that it had an unholy enchantment on it, not an anarchic one.

Your loot from the fight was as follows:
1. A Set of +2 Studded Leather Armor
2. A Set of +1 Plate Armor
3. A Set of +1 Leather Armor
4. One +1 Sickle
5. One +1 Dagger
6. One large green emerald in a gold necklace. BlackWolf’s Knowledge (Local) roll (requested over IM) of 10 didn’t help further identify this item.
7. And of course, Kvanir.

The rain has caused a bit of a situation. There is a group of people, probably miners, Rynn imagines, and they have been trapped by the rising waters of one of the rivers. From Demandred’s report, and from your own observations, it looks like they are stuck in the middle of a river, about 20 or 25 yards from the shore.

What will you do?

Depending on what you decide, I might have you roll some Skill Checks, but feel free to make any you feel are appropriate given the situation.

Thev
Oy, this is a situation in which Khaska won't have too much to contribute; he's terrible at swimming. However, if the party has a rope that they wanted to throw (or carry) to the stranded miners, Khaska would be much more capable of anchoring it on the shore (or ascertaining that it stays anchored, e.g., to a tree). There would be reason, however, for Khaska to have prepared spells specifically for the weather circumstances. Now that he's Level 7, can he prepare Water Walk and Water Breathing? He would certainly prepare those for the case of emergencies within the party, and they would come in handy here; however, they would also require Khaska to touch the subjects, which would mean that he would have to cross the river himself somehow. (Is the -6 on the Skills page for Swim and others of Khaska's skills due to his armor? If so, could he simply remove his armor before jumping in?)

Eryx (DM)
I know we're a little fuzzy on spell preparations every day, but my rules of thumb, based on the honor code system, is this: would you have prepared the spells ahead of time not knowing about the situation. i.e., does a lot of rain mean Khaska would have prepared those two spells, or would he have prepared something else as they journey back to Twilight? You're on your honor to answer the question whether Khaska would have those spells prepared ahead of discovering this situation or not, and all the information you have about what would have been on Khaska's mind in the morning is in the post already.

Thev
If he suspected it would be enough to start flooding, probably. I guess the way you wrote the post he probably wouldn't have suspected that until later that day. Well… there goes that :P

Crosis
Well, first of all. Is the water going to subside on it's own soon (is the rain slowing down), or will it keep rising? Given the scary circumstances, I would assume it is going to keep rising. But if it turns out that the "raging river" will soon become a "small stream," why panic? But if they are in danger, Orensland would definitely do all he can to help them out.

Anywho. Presuming that there is an actual danger, I should think that swimming is out of the question. Raging rivers don't sound terribly friendly. Are there any (noticeable) large boulders or anything that the miners might hit if they were to be pulled across by rope? That would be important.

So 15 people. Orensland would probably suggest that they throw a rope down to the people. Does anyone else have rope? Orensland's is 50 feet long, which would not reach far enough (based on the 20-25 yard estimate). But if we were to (solidly) tie two or three ropes together…?

As for how to get a rope to them. There are three options that I can see. One, we tie one end of the rope to something that floats and throw it in as far as we can upstream. Perhaps the current will carry it to the people. Two, Rynn can shoot an arrow with the rope tied to it. Again, we could shoot it upstream and hope it drifts in their direction. Third, Demandred could fly the rope to them. I don't know if options two or three are feasible- it would depend on the weight of the rope. The third would be best if we can.

As for what to do with the rope when it gets to them. I see two options. One, we pull them across one by one, with the rope being returned to the other side after every save. This is probably the safest option if they tie themselves on, although it will induce fatigue on those of us pulling them. Then again, we'll have more helping hands the more we get across, unless they themselves are fatigued. Two, we could somehow tie the rope to the island (using a pickaxe or something) and form a makeshift bridge where they move hand-over-hand in the water until they reach our side. This would be riskier, as if they slip they die. Frankly, this would be up to the people on the island, as it is unlikely that we can communicate with any of them. If we see them tie it to something on the island, option 2 it is. If they tie somebody on, option 1. Or we could make some effort to communicate. If they understand Demandred, great! If not… any ideas for communication? Do we have spells for that? Either way, we should try to anchor our side of the rope on the shore, just in case.

What say ye, fellow travelers?

DeltaWolf

Sanjin's Bat familiar only has a Str of 1, so it would come down to the weight of the rope and flying conditions. He cannot talk -or even communicate really- to anyone but Sanjin. As for spells, Sanjin doesn't have anything prepared that would be helpful. -He has Web prepared but that seems more likely to make things worse. It seems Crosis' plan is the best we've got.

BlackWolf
Rynn wants to help these people and agrees with Orensland that using their ropes is the way to do it. 25 yards = 75 feet, and Rynn has rope to contribute. I say we tie the two 50 ft. lengths together and use Rynn’s bow as suggested to get it over to them (a compound longbow ought to be able to do the trick). He can try to just shoot it way over their heads so he doesn’t hit anyone. We should try to tie it to a tree or boulder on our side so it’s stable (if possible). Then pull them to safety.

So we just need to find our way down into the canyon? It wasn’t clear to me from the description how hard it will be to get close enough to them.

Orensland should be the one to tie the rope because of his skill, but Rynn will attempt to “Aid Another”:

  • 24 (rolled 20 + 4 bonus)

Way to help, eh? :)

Eryx (DM)
Can I get STR Checks from all of you and a Use Rope Check from Crosis.

BlackWolf
Here are the results of 3 STR checks (in case more than one is needed): 5, 16, 14.

Thev
2, 19, 15 (Those include Khaska's +1 bonus.)

Eryx (DM)
Crosis' rolls (as authorized).

Use Rope: 17 (roll) + 14 (bonuses) = 31 total. (33 with Rynn's "Aid Another" check.)

STR Checks: 15, 17, 11.

DeltaWolf
STR Checks: 5, 4, 4

Khaska looked down at his full plate armor.

“I am afraid that if we must swim to aid them, then I will be of little use,” the Maha’i said.

“If it’s up to someone swimming,” said Rynn, “it will be them, and we will just help them once they reach the shore. But I have an idea. Does anybody else have a length of rope?”

“I do,” said Orensland. “Tie two ropes together and shoot it to them on the island, haul them out?”

Rynn nodded. “Let’s go,” he said, and began jogging down the hill towards the stranded people.

From the apparent carts and wagons half submerged in the rising river, it was apparent that it was a mining convoy. Bad luck had caught them in a flash flood as they were coming down this canyon, and they were stuck in the middle of the river, wet, panicked, and without any way of helping themselves. The water was raging around them, carrying sticks, branches, and the occasional tree. Swimming would be very dangerous.

When Rynn leapt out of the woods onto the shore of the river, he was immediately spotted. It took a bit of pantomiming as Orensland tied the two ropes together and also anchored one end around a tree, but eventually the stranded people seemed to get the idea, especially once Rynn fired an arrow tied to the other end of the rope over their head. One by one, the party pulled the stranded people across the raging river. Occasionally one would be hit by a large branch, or be pulled under for too long, but those incidents resulted in bumps, bruises, and fits of coughing, but nothing fatal or too debilitating. The work of pulling the miners through the rushing waters was tiring, but with each successful rescue the work became that much easier as rescued victims became rescuers themselves, and were able to help pull their comrades across the river.

The last one to come across was a dwarf, who came out of the water looking like a drowned rat, his long beard full of sticks and small twigs from the debris, a string of dwarven curses on his face (he had been pulled under for too long for his liking and lost his hat-the indignity of it all). “Tarnations!” He spat out after a coughing fit. “I’ve never seen weather like this, and I’ve lived in Twilight for decades.” Orensland held a hand out and the dwarf took it, coming to his feet from where he had been kneeling, hurling up river water.

Rynn was undoing Orensland’s knot. “Occasionally on the death side you’ll get a flash flooding like this, but yes, it does seem unusual. Now that you’re all safe, let’s get to higher ground.”

The miners knew the area relatively well, since they were only a day and a half’s travel away from Twilight proper at this point, and between their local knowledge and Rynn’s ranger expertise, there were no other problems. The group spent another wet night, but were able to arrive in Twilight the next day. The rain, by then, had finally begun to slacken off, but even getting into the town required them to go around. Luckily, the bad weather seemed to be keeping a damper on goblin aggressions. Nobody was doing much traveling, and that seemed to also be the case with the various other goblin tribes in the area, tribes that the party suspected would still be aggressive. “Kvanir’s influence would not need to be direct to guide the goblins into such actions,” Khaska intoned as he and Rynn led the way the last mile or so into town.

Just then the dwarf came up to them, Belgan Graveldigger. “Well, we’re almost there. I want to thank you again for getting us out of that mess.”

“We were lucky that we stumbled upon you,” said Khaska.

“And now we’re back home, and once we’re inside, the goblins won’t attack us. I don’t know why they’ve been attacking so much of late, or why they won’t attack the town anymore, but, well, it will be good to be home. And safe!”

Rynn thought about that. He remembered something that the goblins had said, back at the camp when they were captured. That the city was protected by a “golden lady.” A lady who flew, and who had cut a deal with Kagu to protect Twilight, but not anything outside of Twilight. He glanced at Khaska, and found the cleric looking back at him. They knew more about the situation, apparently, than even this dwarf who had lived here for years.

Eventually they came to the break in the woods that signaled the edge of town, and, despite having to wade through inches of muddy water in the no-man’s land between the forest and the barricades around Twilight, were able to enter the city in the early afternoon.

Eryx (DM)
For rescuing the mining group successfully (a random encounter selected for you by the dice), you all receive 500 XP. Now that you are back in Twilight, what do you want to do?

I should say that I just moved ahead to get you back into the town, but if you had any conversation or questions you wanted to ask the miners, you can just post them here and I’ll answer them in the gray box. You did spend a day and a half traveling with them.

BlackWolf
I don't think that Rynn would have had any particular questions for the miners. He would have been friendly with them and whatnot, but it seems that they don't know much that we haven't already learned. Mostly the ranger is just happy to have been able to help.

The ranger's first concern will be to work with Khaska to get their CON values restored. He wants to shake this feeling of frailty. Thus (with some proper guidance from the cleric) he will look to purchase some diamond dust for the spell.

Once that's taken care of, Rynn will want to sell our loot (Dag's weapon and armor plus the loot from the goblin fight; not including Kvanir, of course). I'm guessing that the items we took from the goblins were all small sized, so they probably won't be of any use to us for keeping. Rynn probably wouldn't want goblin-marked armor anyway, even if it fit. But maybe he'd be interested in keeping the +1 dagger, if no one else wants it. Small perhaps, but a potent pocketknife. :)

As for the emerald necklace, we may want to inquire about it before we try to sell it, in case it belongs to someone. Rynn isn't interested in turning a profit on stolen goods, even if we did recover it "fair and square" ("finders keepers"?). So here's a skill check to ask around:

  • Gather Info: 23 (rolled 13 + 10 bonus)

Once I know how much money Rynn ends up with, I'll know if he'll attempt any purchases (or maybe wait until they leave Twilight). Otherwise he's not in a rush to leave the town, so I suppose we'll see what happens. Maybe get in some crafting work.

Eryx (DM)
Remember that, to reflect the effects of the goblin siege, everything you buy in Twilight is priced at 110% percent. You can sell all your loot for the normal SRD price, however.

Rynn's Gather Info is good enough to discover that the necklace belongs to Agamm Rockbiter, the town councilman that Kagu killed during initial "negotiations." Also, don't forget that you have Kagu's head. Orensland does like to carry his heads.

Thevarou
Like Rynn, Khaska is most concerned about restoring their diminished CON levels and will help in whatever way possible to procure the necessary diamond dust. Regarding the loot, Khaska thinks Rynn's plan is a good one, though he is curious whether there might be any in Twilight to whom they could return Dag's armor and accoutrements before they sell them on the market. Just as Rynn doesn't want to sell stolen goods, Khaska does not want to dishonor Dag's house by essentially grave robbing for profit (if it is avoidable). Finally, Khaska would like to find the identity of the "golden lady," if possible; he has a suspicion that it's Mirwen, though at present this suspicion is little more than a hunch.

Crosis
Orensland doesn't have a terribly huge amount to do. He'd most certainly look to receive whatever profit he can from Kagu's head. He'd also likely visit the shadow dancer troupe to establish that he has decided to stay with the other traveling party instead. The only thing he would look to buy would be Gloves of Dexterity- although, frankly, if I'd have known I couldn't have the shadow and silent moves enchantment I probably would have bought those while with the shadow dancing troupe. Should we say that I had a pair in my pack/with the shadow dancing troupe, or should I buy some in Twilight?

Eryx (DM)
Anybody wishing to help Khaska look for the "golden lady," please roll a Gather Info check. I'll count yours above, BlackWolf, if Rynn would like to assist. Would he?

DeltaWolf
Sanjin will mail his letter and then rest at an inn.

Thev
Gather Info: 10 = 8 + 2

“Well, gentlemen,” said Sanjin, “I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to a nice nap! Where’s the inn?”

Mr. Graveldigger was able to point him towards the The Night Owl, and the elf practically disappeared on the spot. Orensland and Rynn looked at each other. Both were not ready to take a break yet; there were things to be done. The shadowdancer patted his backpack. Rynn smiled knowingly. Kagu’s head was in there … there would probably be a substantial reward, and Orensland, of course, wanted to collect it. Jenika rolled her eyes at him.

“We must acquire some diamond dust,” said Khaska. “I have been communing with Teresh, and I can restore the strength sapped by us by the wraith, Rynn.”

“Let’s do that first,” Rynn said. The miners they had rescued were quick to point them to the jeweler who would be able to help them. Orensland and Jenika followed.

The streets were waterlogged, huge puddles sometimes engulfing entire intersections. The town looked even more dilapidated and run-down than it had before in the week since they had left it. The excessive rain had not been so kind to the city, and the fact that so many people remained indoors gave Twilight more of a ghost town feel than before.

Their dust acquired, Khaska and Rynn found an out-of-the-way place in an alleyway where the cleric could cast his Restoration spell. First on Rynn, he liberally sprinkled diamond dust, while intoning a prayer to Teresh. The dust began to glitter with divine power, and then vanished in a sudden, if subtle, flash of light. Rynn felt his strength return and increase. Khaska repeated the spell on himself, and was overjoyed to feel his body returning to its former strength. He flexed his fingers and raised his arms, amazed at how much better it felt to move, how much lighter he felt, and even how much easier it was to move with his plate armor on. The wraith had drained life force, not strength per se, but Khaska just felt … healthier. He straightened.

“Now that we are back to full strength, we should tell the town council that we have slain Kagu.”

“I agree,” said Rynn. The ranger led the way to the town hall in the main square. There were hardly any people around, probably still inside because of the wetness and the rain. However, there was a group of goblins in ramshackle huts in one side of the town. Khaska frowned. Apparently none of the good people of Twilight had thought it a good idea to invite Nir and his goblins inside out of the torrential rain. Nir himself came out to see them once they began to cross the square.

“Kagu’s goblins didn’t kill you,” he said. “I thought you wouldn’t make it, so, well done! Thought you were crazy to go out there!”

“Well,” said Orensland, “you don’t have to worry about Kagu anymore.”

Nir’s eyes narrowed.

“What do you mean?”

With that huge, goofy smile on his face, Orensland shrugged off his backpack and reached inside. Out came a large bundle of clothes, pillaged from Kagu’s campsite. He unraveled them and, grasping firmly, held Kagu’s head up by it’s hair.

“We killed him.”

Nir’s jaw dropped, and the goblin stared at the severed head for a long moment before he found his voice again. “You Killed Kagu!” He practically shouted, after his shock wore off. “Kagu is dead!” He began to laugh and cheer, rousing the other goblins in their little shantytown. “Kagu is dead!” He walked closer, still smiling, his crooked yellow teeth sticking every which way as he practically beamed. His cry was taken up by the other goblins, and the began cheering. Nir, however, became more serious as he came closer and as he could see Kagu’s head more readily. “By Kord’s hand,” he intoned. “What happened to him?” From close up, the distortions and black veins on Kagu’s face, the mutations inflicted on the goblin warlord as Kvanir worked on him were more obvious. Nir glanced at Khaska. “What happened out there?”

Before Khaska could answer, however, Sheriff Vyrdyn appeared on the steps of the town hall.

“What in tarnation is going on here?” he said, walking forward, his sword drawn. The gnome’s face was hard and he looked to be in no good mood. “Nir, you keep your goblins in line or I’ll …” The gnome stopped as he saw what Orensland was holding up. “Is that …” he paused, a look of wonder flitting across his stern features, “Did you …” He took a step forward. “Did you really?”

“It’s true,” said Nir. “This is Kagu’s head. The warlord has been slain!”

Vyrdyn’s attitude completely changed in an instant. He was running up to Rynn and the others, vigorously shaking their hands, slapping his forehead and pushing his hat back repeatedly. The commotion slowly gathered others until finally the town council had the sheriff drag them into the town hall and away from the crowd, despite the cheers.

Two dwarves, an elf, two humans, and a halfling all stared at the group as the cheers resonated from outside. The town council were an eclectic bunch, largely chosen for their perceived strength or wealth or prowess at some trade or another.

“You have done us all a great service,” the elf said. He was an older elf, perhaps not as old as Mirwen, but with slight graying of his hair around his ears. “Tell us, how this task was accomplished.”

Orensland was more than happy to jump in and speak, and Khaska was content to let him do so. The shadowdancer had not been present in the monastery, and so his part in the tale did not include things of which the Maha’i wished not to speak. When Orensland got to the part where Sanjin had suggested that they return to Twilight, one of the humans spoke up. “And where is this Sanjin?”

“I think that he’s at The Night Owl, sir,” said Rynn. “He wanted to mail a letter to his brother and rest a bit.”

“Sheriff Vyrdyn, bring this Sanjin at once!” barked another of the councilmembers. The gnome left hastily, and then Orensland continued.

Five minutes later the elf wizard appeared, with a half-eaten drumstick in hand. “Seriously? Can’t a person just eat lunch in peace?”

“Apparently not when you helped us defeat the goblin warlord,” said Khaska, with a hint of amusement.

“Sanjin was the member of our party who struck the killing blow,” Rynn said. “A spell that put Kagu down for good.”

“We thank you for your assistance in this matter,” said another councilmember, a dwarf. Rynn vaguely had a notion that he was one of the headmaster of the mining guild. “You will all be most welcome to stay at my place and rest. I assure you, I have better accommodations than you will find in our crowded inns. And there is the subject of payment.”

“Payment!” Sanjin’s eyes brightened.

Jenika muttered under her breath. “Can we please not always go right for the money?”

“You are most kind,” said Khaska, “but perhaps we could sleep there this evening. We have acquired several items that we wish to sell.” Khaska then detailed the various things that they had acquired, including the armor and weapons from Kagu (minus Kvanir, of course), his lieutenants, as well as Dag. “We took the armor from the goblins in honorable combat,” he said, “but in exploring some ruins we found the body of a dwarf long-dead. If he has relatives, his armor should be returned to them. I do not wish to be known as a grave-robber. And then there is this,” Khaska pulled out the gemmed gold necklace that Kagu had been wearing. There were sharp intakes of breath from several of the councilmembers. The elf spoke first.

“That belonged to Agamm Rockbiter, a former member of our council. Kagu must have taken it when he slew Agamm.” He glanced at the other members of the council, then back at the party, and then briefly got up to look out the window. “If you wish to sell these items, I suspect you will discover that your killing of Kagu will make it difficult to move about the city. You have attracted quite a crowd.”

Sanjin sighed. “And I just wanted some peace and quiet.”

“Perhaps this is what we should do,” the elf continued. “Go to Master Hirgar’s house, and I will personally go and see what I can do about the spoils of your adventures. If this is acceptable, I will bring you back what coin I can this evening. I assume, Master Hirgar, that I could join you for dinner.”

Hirgar gave a harrumph, but agreed.

“And I will need the assistance of one of your servants to transport the gear.”

Hirgar gave another harrumph, but agreed.

With that, the party found themselves ushered, down a back alleyway, to Master Hirgar’s house. His house was actually a large mansion just off of the town square, kiddie-corner from the townhall, and they were immediately taken to private rooms and given fresh temporary clothes and water poured for individual baths. Dinner was to be in three hours.

Khaska was grateful for the bath, and took advantage of it, scrubbing the dirt and sweat and twigs from his fur. Servants took his armor to be polished, and the cleric fell asleep on the silk sheets.

Rynn did wash his head and hair, but ignored the rest of his body. He was actually washing his shirt in the tub when the butler came to retrieve his clothes. The ranger merely changed into another set of his clothes and then fell asleep on the floor, Ranna serving as a pillow.

Sanjin stayed in the tub until the water grew cold, smiled broadly at the serving girl who came to retrieve his clothes, and read a book from the bookshelf in his room while he waited.

Jenika brushed her hair, but after changing clothes to the new ones, merely meditated on the bed instead of sleeping.

Orensland changed into the new clothes, made sure that the servants knew he was not to be disturbed until dinnertime, then opened his window, and dropped down to the ground, using his skills to sneak across town. He had a visit to make.

It didn’t take him long to reach where the others from Silderman’s Shadowdancers had made their camp, just by the edge of town, in a small square that used to be occupied by a few thatch huts. (They had been burned to the ground in goblin attacks prior to the siege.) It was a ramshackle camp, but it was serving as home. The troupe was easily able to accommodate different circumstances due to their nomadic lifestyle. Orensland appeared just on the edge of camp and walked right in in.

“Orensland,” said Reven, standing up. “You’re back!”

“I found my friends, and all is well. They returned safely, and Kagu won’t be a problem.”

“You slew him?”

“Well, not me personally, but yes, we killed him. You’ve heard?”

“It’s hard to have not heard. It’s been all over town the past hour or so.”

They spoke about the town and its defenses, and Orensland indicated that he would be leaving with the others from the party. This saddened the shadowdancer troupe, but they understood. The rogue had made much progress with them, but it had been obvious from the start that he was probably not going to remain with them permanently. With Amy and her children safe, Orensland was being called a different way. They agreed to have drinks that evening at The Night Owl, and then Orensland snuck away to get back.

He returned to the mansion about an hour after he left, and came around the corner before releasing his magic. With the sun still hidden, there was plenty of shadow for him to use and ghosting across town had been relatively easy. He wasn’t even sure he would have needed to use his shadowdancer skills to do so. However, in the alley between the town hall and Master Hirgar’s mansion, he did finally get “caught.” It was Nir.

The shadowdancer hadn’t really checked that there was nobody in sight as he rounded the last corner. But there was the goblin leader, voiding his bladder onto a wall. The goblin glanced up at him.

“I have a proposition for you,” he said.

Orensland raised an eyebrow.

“I’m listening.”

“Give me Kagu’s head. I can claim that I killed him, and if I’m leading the goblins in this area, I guarantee you that they’ll leave the town alone. Time we got back to the ‘cold war,’ or maybe even better conditions, than before Kagu flipped his lid.”

“I’ll think about it,” said Orensland, “and talk to my friends and let you know.”

“Very well.” Nir stared at him for a moment. “You just going to climb in the window or something?”

“Yup.”

Nir smiled.

“I knew I liked you.” He turned and left, and Orensland climbed up to his still-open window and hopped back into his room.

He was sitting in the tub when a servant came to announce that dinner would be in ten minutes.


Dinner was an opulent affair. It frankly surprised them all to see such lavish food preparations. Master Hirgar spared no expense, apparently. “A little bit of civilization amidst this chaos,” the dwarf said, grinning broadly. He had changed into a nice set of eveningwear, quite formal. The party, with the exception of Rynn, were still wearing the clothes that they had been given while their others were washed. (Master Hirgar assured them that they would be returned later that evening after they had been dried.)

The elf councilmember entered just a few minutes late. He had not changed his clothes, and seemed amused.

“Councilman Elyon, welcome,” Master Hirgar said. “I trust that you have enjoyed your afternoon. And that you have secured the funds for these good people from their spoils.” Hirgar’s face clearly indicated that he had no desire to dine with Elyon, but Elyon seemed to ignore that as he sat down. The servants brought him a plate anyway.

“I have,” he said. “But no need to ruin such a fine feast with talk of money.” He raised a small bag he had at his side; the clink of coins inside was clear. “I managed to get you a fair price for everything you wanted to sell. Dag had no family that I could locate. One person remembered him from many many decades ago. He was an adventurer, passing through. Your ideals are commendable, Mister Khaska, but I sold his armor as well.

“Very well,” Khaska said. “And what of the necklace?”

“I imagine Agamm’s family would like it back. I am willing to pay a fair price to return it to them. He was a widower, and his children do not live in Twilight. But I could have it sent to them in Tir’Kon.”

The meal was spent mostly in awkward silence, with Master Hirgar going on about how great it was that Kagu was dead, and how that would allow mining and trade to continue as it normally had. He seemed unperturbed as to the possibility of the goblin attacks continuing. “I think we should just post Kagu’s head on a pike out in front of the city and they’ll get the message,” he said.

“I do believe that the council would agree with you,” Elyon said. “The others decided on an amount of financial remuneration. We would agree to the sum of 4,000 gold for Kagu’s head.”

Jenika wondered why Orensland didn’t immediately blurt out “sold!” or something like that. She glanced at him, and they met eyes for a moment. He shook his head, a subtle movement that only she caught.

“And now we can finally kick Nir and his filth out,” Hirgar said. “They can go scurrying back to their kind and get out of our fine city.”

Khaska was slightly disturbed by this.

“Have not Nir and his goblins shown that they were not with Kagu, and helped as they could in the city?” he asked.

“They’re goblins, and I don’t want them here!” Hirgar said.

Khaska decided not to pursue the matter any further. After the opulent meal, which included several courses, finally Master Hirgar retired to his room, biding them all goodnight, and requesting that Elyon show himself out.

Elyon did not, staying for a few minutes to speak with them further. Rynn had a thought, and walked out with him to the front door. They were alone in the front entryway as the others retired to bed.

“Elyon, I have a question that I’m not sure how to approach.”

“Ask away, Rynn.”

“The goblins spoke of a ‘golden lady’ who had protected the city. That was why they did not attack it further, though they would attack people outside the city limits. I was wondering if you knew anything about such a person in your city.”

Elyon pondered on that for a moment as Khaska came out to join them, having overheard Rynn’s question.

“They said she could fly, and that she was very powerful. She made a deal with Kagu that she would not kill him if he would not attack the city,” the cleric said. Elyon was lost in thought for a moment.

“The story you speak of would explain a great many things that have confused me about Kagu’s actions. I am just a simple merchant,” Elyon said. “The gods have been good to me in my business, though not as good as Hirgar, obviously.”

“Greed consumes his soul,” said Khaska. “Eating such food while others nearby are on the verge starve … I will not be accepting his hospitality anymore. I might even go stay in The Night Owl as it is.”

“I cannot disagree. I find his tastes too extravagant, and he is not well-liked by the people, though he does run the mining guild fairly and is a good employer who pays even more than a fair wage. But I’d rather have a good meal cooked by Mirwen any day than eat here.” He leaned in close. “To be honest, Mirwen’s food is the best cooking I’ve ever had. When she puts her mind to it, she can do amazing things.” His voice dropped to a whisper. “I harbor suspicions that she is more than she seems. I’ve lived here for over thirty years, and in all that time there are enough … coincidences, surrounding her, that I’d not be surprised if there was more going on with her than a lifetime of good cooking. I’ve seen her diffused fights with little more than a few harsh words, heard her wisdom that seem more than a simple innkeeper’s, and seen how good of a heart she has. But there is sadness there, too. What it’s source is I cannot say, as she is very private, even as she is very free with her interactions with the townsfolk, as you know. I do not know if she is connected with this ‘golden lady’ you speak of, but if she is not, then she would know more than I, and could point you in the right direction. If, of course, she chose to share it with you.”

He leaned back, and began to speak in an open voice. “But regardless, here is your money from the things that I sold for you. You can verify it with the various armor and weaponsmiths if you like, but it’s all there. I swear.”

Eryx (DM)
You can all decide what you want to do as a group now. There are a few decisions to make. First, what do you want to do with the head of Kagu, and with the necklage of Agamm Rockbiter? If you give the head to the town council, you’ll receive a 4k gold reward. If you give it to Nir, you get his thanks, and his assurance that when he runs the local goblins (and if he had the head, you know that he would become the new warlord), he’ll play nice, nicer than even Kagu before he was cursed by Kvanir. You can sell the necklace for 5k gold to Elyon and he’ll make sure that it gets back to Agamm’s family, if you want. Jenika would want you just to give it to Elyon to give to Agamm. Seems that's Khaska's vote as well.

Second, for all the loot that Elyon sold for you, you all have a total of 21,185 gold to divide up as you will. That includes Dag’s armor and weapon, as well as the jewels he was carrying. You can divide that up as you want. In town you can purchase anything that doesn’t cost more than 3k gold. Sorry, no Gloves of Dexterity until you get to a bigger city. Speaking of which, Khaska and Rynn should deduct 110 gold from their money, to account for the diamond dust. Anything you buy is priced at 110%, remember.

Third, your Gather Info checks have earned you the hardy suspicions from Elyon that something is up with Mirwen. This confirm’s Khaska’s suspicion that she is more than she seems. What, if anything, are you going to do about it?

And finally, what are you going to do with Kvanir? I assumed you’re keeping the cursed sword close to your chest, so to speak, so you have not told anybody about it. I’m not clear on what your long-term plans are for the sword at this point. Those would be nice to know, Thev.

DeltaWolf
Sanjin has no desire to give the stupid goblin's head to another goblin. No, let the Counsel have it. As for the necklace, whatever. He wouldn't mind more money (who doesn't want more money?) but whatever the others want to do is fine by him.

This Mirwen sounds like she could be interesting.

Thev
Khaska would rather ensure a relatively lasting peace in the area than a couple thousand gold, so he's tempted to take Nir's offer. He would, however, want to meet with Nir to question him and judge his motives and resolve before making any transaction. The last thing Khaska would want is a warlord who was mistreated by Twilight and, through deception, managed to gather all the warring tribes under his banner! In meeting with Nir, Khaska would be constantly trying to Sense Nir's motives and would ask whether his mistreatment at the hands of Twilight's population would lead to revenge. He would probably even cast a Zone of Truth in order to ascertain some level of truthfulness.

Khaska would likewise vote for turning over Agamm's necklace without compensation. It is only honorable to do so.

Regarding Mirwen, Khaska's actions might depend on how the entire situation with Nir falls out. If the party could broker some sort of peace agreement between Mirwen and Nir that could spare Twilight and lead to more amicable relationships with the surrounding goblins, it might be all for the better. To ascertain whether she is the Golden Lady, Khaska might ask her straight up (in a relatively isolated conversation, of course), promise to not break her secrecy, and explain the situation with Nir. I suppose we'll go from there.

Khaska is very wary about Kvanir; he did not expect to accomplish an element of his quest so quickly. While he is tempted to find a safe place to hide the sword for safe keeping until he is more able to use it, his first priority right now is to figure out what is wrong with Kvanir and how he might fix it; that is, how he can restore its goodness so that he might actually carry it without danger. He will still not use it for he personal weapon, though, as he believes that he would need to do so in order to try to unite the Maha'i tribes at some point—not merely as the personal weapon of a second-rate adventurer.

BlackWolf
I think we just divide up the reward 5 ways: Rynn, Khaska, Jenika, Sanjin, and Orensland. Sure Jenika is "just" an NPC now, but that’s more of a metagame issue (unless she wants to shun some of the money for some reason). So 21,185 / 5 = 4,237 gp each.

As for the necklace, Rynn doesn’t care whether we sell it or give it away. On the one hand, giving it away is a nice gesture. But on the other, we can make good use of money; we help a lot of people and improved gear would always make that easier.

The ranger frowns at the suggestion of giving the head to Nir. He seems like a well meaning (perhaps even good) goblin, but something about the idea rubs Rynn the wrong way. Partly because those in Twilight already know it was us. Partly because Nir would be deceiving the other goblins. Rynn’s not sure whether it’s better to have the goblins unified under a goodish leader or if the tribes should be scattered again. He’ll attend any meeting that gets set up so he can judge for himself.

Plus the ranger has no qualms about profiting from the head. :) He’s anxious to spend time on his masterwork bow, and he knows he’ll need a lot of money to get it enchanted into a magical item. So if we get some time here in town, he’ll be working on that bow.

Regarding Mirwen, Rynn shrugs his shoulders. Like our Maha’i cleric, Rynn harbors suspicions about the old elf, especially considering her relationship with Akle. Since it sounds like Khaska wants to go talk with her, Rynn will go along. He recalls her getting kind of uppity with us about disturbing Treewind’s grave, and depending on her attitude he might have a few words for her about that…

Crosis
Sorry about the delay.

About the head, Orensland isn't feeling inclined to trusting Nir. He feels like sticking the head on a stick in view of goblins around the city would have the best effect, plus they'd get a reward. Giving the head to Nir is essentially risking a pointless continuation of the goblin attacks should Nir have ulterior motives. Orensland would probably sell the head and mention Nir's offer, should the townsfolk feel inclined to take him up on it.

Thief though he may be, Orensland would be inclined to returning the amulet.

As for Mirwen, Orensland doesn't know the elf personally and would refer to their judgement on the matter. If any sneaking or spying would be required, he would gladly offer his services. :)

Thev
Khaska would find Orensland's suggestion about Nir reasonable, and would suggest that the town council (or Mirwen in order to convince them, as we've seen that the council is no friend of any goblins) consult with him about Kagu's head and uniting the tribes under a new, friendlier leader. Khaska would be willing to help out in the negotiations.

Thev
Relative to the conversation with Mirwen, Khaska would remark upfront that they had heard from some goblins that a negotiation between Kagu and a "golden lady" had spared Twilight Kagu's depredations; furthermore, due to her manner and reputation, he suspects that if she is not the Golden Lady, she might know something about her. (Out of curiosity, if he is feeling bold he would ask what sort of power the Golden Lady possesses.) He would thank her or ask her to forward the party's (and Twilight's) thanks to the Golden Lady, and would explain the situation with Nir to her, asking for her guidances or, perhaps, intervention in the matter to better ensure peace in the region in the wake of Kagu's death.

After that - or perhaps at a later time - Khaska would mention that he has somewhat of a personal matter to inquire of her: he would mention that he had found Tawru's sword, but is uncertain what damage had been done to it and what steps could be taken to heal it.

“I have no doubt,” said Khaska. He then produced the Agamm’s necklace. “Would you return this to Mr. Rockbiter’s family. We would not want to profit from their misfortune.”

Elyon took it reverently, and inclined his head slightly. “You are good people. I swear it will be done.” He straightened and took a deep breath. “But, I’m going to go back to my home to rest,” Elyon said after handing over the sack of money. “I wish you well, and again, thank you for what you have done.”

With that, he left. Khaska and Rynn stood in the front hallway of the mansion for a few moments, both pondering.

“I believe that Mirwen is a gold dragon,” said Khaska, whispering.

“Really?” came another voice. The two of them turned to see Orensland. He had just entered the entryway himself. As per his usual demeanor, the rogue seemed unflappable, the thought that a gold dragon, long thought extinct, might be living in this very town unphasing him. “Perhaps she would have some idea of how to handle our situation then.”

Orensland told Rynn and Khaska about Nir’s offer. They were of several minds about it, Rynn and Orensland not wanting to trust a goblin, Khaska pondering which option—giving the head to the town council or giving it to Nir—would be more likely to create a lasting peace in the area. The cleric did have magic ways of ensuring that Nir was telling the truth, namely a Zone of Truth spell. In the end, it was Orensland who came up with a compromise.

“Perhaps we should have you cast this Zone of Truth spell in a town council meeting. Then the councilmembers themselves can decide whether or not to take Nir up on his offer.” Khaska perked up at that.

“A wise suggestion. One that perhaps, allows us to have our pie and also eat it?”

“Have our cake and eat it too,” Orensland corrected.

Khaska nodded. “Regardless, I would like to go speak to Mirwen about a few things.” Orensland began to step forward, but the Maha’i held up a hand. “I think it would be best if we did not have such a delicate conversation with one she has not yet met. Perhaps it would be best if Rynn and I went alone.”

The shadowdancer stepped back, a look of disappointment flitting across his face. “Okay, but if she’s a dragon, you’d better tell me.”

“My hunch remains to be proved,” said Khaska. He thought of the cursed scimitar and the secrets its story held. “There are many secrets on our world, I’ve discovered,” he said. “Some of them should be kept for good reason. I will not divulge secrets that are not mine to tell.” He turned to Rynn. “Let us go there now, before it gets too late.”

It took longer than expected to get to the Night Owl. Despite the fact that it was late, and still lightly raining, there were enough people out and about that they were stopped multiple times by well-wishers wanting to thank them for slaying the goblin warlord. Eventually, they were able to make his way to the inn.

The atmosphere was celebratory, and the moment they entered they were noticed.

“Hail the heroes!” someone shouted. A raucous cheer rose up and the entire front tavern area exploded in noise. Khaska found that he was assailed on every side by someone wanting to buy him a drink, or have him join them, or tell his tale. He did his best to try to avoid any social engagement by politely declining until eventually Mirwen emerged from the back to see what the commotion was. Khaska managed to lock eyes with her for a moment, and the elf smiled and motioned for him to come over. He and Rynn made their way through the crowd.

“I’m surprised you would come here,” she said, “since you don’t seem much in the mood for social niceties. Food is on the house tonight, however. Wine too.”

“I do not drink and we have already eaten at Councilmen Hirgar’s house, but thank you,” Khaska replied.

“Why did you come here if you don’t want to talk to anybody, and don’t need any food?”

“We actually wished to speak with you,” Rynn said. “But in private.”

“If we might,” Khaska said.

“Ah,” she said. “Come with me.” She took them back to her private quarters, where they had met with her previously, and posted one of her employees at the door to make sure they were left alone.

“Your service to this city was invaluable,” she said, indicating for Khaska to sit on the chair in the sparse room. “Kagu was a menace. I am glad that he is dead.”

“Killing him was more related to my original quest than I had thought,” Khaska replied.

“Did you find success then?” the elf looked at him as she sat down carefully, leaning on her walking stick as she slowly sank down onto the bed.

“More than I expected.” With that, he reached into the Bag of Holding he was carrying with him, and pulled out Kvanir, holding it in its sheath. “This is the sword of Tawru, known as Kvanir Addhineen Vazhdu Avd’Urziana. We searched the abandoned catacombs beneath the old monastery and found Treewind’s tomb, but the sword had been taken from him by Kagu.” He and Rynn together explained the events that happened upon leaving the monastery, their capture, the confrontation with Kagu, and the discovery that Kagu was wielding Kvanir. Rynn made sure that she knew that Treewind’s tomb had been left in good condition, the body and the sacred area treated well upon their leaving it. He remembered that she has been incensed at the idea they would disturb the grave. She seemed mollified by that portion of the tale.

With that, Khaska pulled the sword out of its sheath, feeling the effect of the dark magic take hold of him, his breath coming in short bursts. “Kvanir is now a cursed weapon, and it drove Kagu to violence and bloodlust.”

Slay her! Slay her now! She is weak and deserves to die! Khaska pushed the voice down in his head.

Mirwen stood up, looking the scimitar over. “May I see it?” Khaska held it out to her, watching her closely as she took it from him. It was heavy enough that he expected her to take it in both hands, as he was proffering it, but she took it by the hilt and hefted it easily. She did not react visibly in holding the cursed weapon, but cocked her head, almost as if listening to it.

Rynn’s brown furrowed. Every time Khaska wielded it, he looked like he was about to be sick. Mirwen hardly flinched.

“I do not understand the language it is speaking,” she said. “Is it the Maha’i language?”

“It is, though an older dialect.” She looked the sword over, and then handed it back.

The sword was silent. Then, almost a whisper. Don’t give me back to her.

“And why do you show me this cursed blade?” Khaska sheathed it, and placed it back in the Bag of Holding.

“Two reasons, though they are related.” He took a deep breath. “While we were captured by the goblins, they spoke of a ‘golden lady’ who had brokered a treaty with Kagu to protect Twilight. It is apparently why the goblins would no longer attack the town itself.” He paused, searching for the words to continue. “We have come to you alone, and promise to keep whatever secrets are shared between us. You are a good and kind person, and have lived in Twilight for many decades. We thought that you might know who this ‘golden lady’ is …”

“You are very diplomatic, Khaska of the Maha’i,” Mirwen said, a smile forming on her face as she sat down again. “But you wish to know if I am this ‘golden lady,’ do you not?”

“Well,” said Rynn. “Are you?”

Mirwen laughed, a light pealing laugh that seemed to brighten the room. “You are not so diplomatic, Rynn Fowler. Why would you think such a thing of me?”

Khaska glanced at the floor. “Your interactions with Akle, for one, and speaking with some of the locals has confirmed that you sometimes appear to be more than a simple innkeeper, wielding influence beyond your station in the town.”

She stared at him, her eyes boring into him. “And what are the two reasons you wished to show me this sword, if you think I am more than I seem?”

Rynn noted that she was not actually answering the question. But he was more or less content to watch this conversation play out without pushing really hard.

Khaska swallowed, and found himself looking at the ground. “We brought Kagu’s head back to the city, and both the Town Council and Nir, the leader of the rebel goblins, have requested that it be given them. If to Nir, he promises that he would become the new goblin warlord, and could create a lasting peace. If to the council, to put it on a spike in front of the town gates, to warn other goblins of Kagu’s fate.” He glanced up at her.

“Several of us are reluctant to trust another goblin,” Rynn said, “but Khaska and a friend of ours, recently rejoining us, had a compromise.”

“Go on,” Mirwen replied. “What is this compromise?”

“If you can indeed exercise some influence in the town,” said Khaska, “We would ask that you do so to help us determine the best course of action. I had thought to have Nir swear to his future actions in a Zone of Truth in front of the council, but even so, hatred of all goblins runs deep. Having a further ally to persuade them to accept Nir’s offer, if Nir is sincere, would be most beneficial.”

“And the other reason?”

He kept looking at the ground. If Mirwen was this “golden lady,” that might mean that she was a golden dragon, as he harbored suspicions that Akle was a silver dragon. A golden dragon might know lore about cursed weapons. And so he continued.

“Kvanir is a Maha’i blade, wielded by Tawru since he was a paladin. He would not have used a cursed blade while he was a paladin. From what I know of his history, it must have been corrupted after he began using it. The name itself indicates this, following the conventions of my people in adding a name each time a momentous event happens in the history of the sword, or its wielder. ‘Kvanir’ is a formal name. ‘Addhineen’ means ‘dragon’s bite,’ and Tawru was famed for slaying an evil dragon before his time with the Knights. ‘Vazhdu’ means ‘silver,’ probably associated with his time with the Knights. Then ‘Avd’Urziana,’ which means ‘slave of Urziana.’”

“And how do you know about Tawru’s life?”

“From the oral histories of my people, mostly.” He hesitated at this next point, but felt that, if he would ask secrets of Mirwen, he should reciprocate in kind. He reached into his backpack, and retrieved the scroll with Likran Treewind’s Final Confession. “And from this, which I have only shared with trusted associates.” He handed it over.

Mirwen slowly reached out and took it from him. She unfurled the scroll and read it, her eyes moving quickly over the words on the page.

“And what does all this have to do with me?” she asked as she delicately furled the scroll back up.

“I know not about how a sword could be cursed, how it could be damaged such, and then how it could be repaired.” He glanced up at her, his eyes conveying the question he did not want to ask. Did she know of such things?

She looked at him for a long moment. A long moment. Khaska wondered if he had overstepped his bounds, somehow offending this woman.

“‘Urziana’ is a demon’s name, mostly likely that of a succubus. If this Tawru was indeed a fallen paladin blackguard, he would have needed to contact an evil being from another plane, an ‘outsider,’ to do so. A demon would serve this function. If he continued to follow the naming conventions of adding a name at a new event in the life of the sword, or of his life, it seems to me that he has left a clue for someone to follow. When he became a blackguard, he added the name ‘Avd’Urziana’ to the sword, for he felt that he was enslaved to this being.”

She continued, handing the scroll back.

“It is entirely possible that, if the wielder were to turn to darkness, an intelligent weapon, such as this scimitar, could be compelled to do so as well.”

“Could the weapon then be redeemed?”

“Yes. If I am correct, then Kvanir’s true personality could be restored, whereas now it is a twisted and broken shadow of itself.”

“How could this be accomplished?” Khaska’s eyes lit up.

“That would depend on how exactly Tawru became a blackguard, and the nature of the spells employed in doing so. The scroll from his friend, Treewind, gave no such details. You would have to find this Urziana to determine how that corruption occurred. For Tawru, the corruption was voluntary. For Kvanir, I suspect that it was not.”

“That was hundreds of years ago,” said Rynn. “Would Urziana still be alive?”

“Demons are long-lived. It is entirely possible that it still lives.”

Khaska perked up. “I have indeed sought out this information from the right person.” His ears then slumped back down to his head. “And we will keep the source of this information in confidence.” He glanced at Rynn, and the ranger nodded.

“Thank you, Khaska. You may tell your close associates about this information, but I would appreciate you keeping its source secret from any beyond that circle.”

“I will do so.”

“Regarding your first point, the situation with Nir, I will come to the town hall tomorrow and help you make your request. If Nir is indeed trustworthy, I too would be interested in a lasting peace in this area.”

“Thank you. I know not what time the council will convene, but will try to make sure that you are informed.”


Khaska was able to convince Councilman Elyon to call the council back together in the morning, and Mirwen joined them. Nir was also present in the chambers, at the Maha’i’s request.

“Why is that … thing, in here?” asked Councilman Hirgar upon entering. He was obviously referring to Nir, whom he was staring at, his face wrinkled as if he were smelling a foul odor. (There was none. Rynn suspected he himself might even smell worse than Nir did, having been in the wild for so long and not having washed his clothes recently.)

“Nir’s presence was at my request,” said Khaska. “I wanted to have the council deliberate between the two options I wish to present.”

“Two options?” said another councilmember. “Who are you to present us options?”

“The ones who slew Kagu the Cunning,” Mirwen said, simply. That shut them all up, and they took their seats.

Khaska stepped forward. “We have the head of Kagu the Cunning. The question is what should be done with the head. The council wishes to display it as a show of force to the remaining goblins, but Nir has another option. Nir?”

“If I am given the head,” the goblin said, “I could use it to take control of the local goblin tribes. I would use my influence to prevent further hostilities. If I am successful, I wish to be allowed on the town council!”

Pandemonium. There were several shouts of dismay and hostility, but not from all of the councilmembers. Eventually they all calmed down that Khaska was able to propose his compromise—the Zone of Truth spell.

“I have not informed Nir of this, and if he does not want to participate, then we will give the head to the council, and be done with it.”

Nir stared at him. “You’re cleverer than you look, my furry friend. I will agree to your terms, even sprung on me as they are.”

Khaska turned back to the council. “Would this be an acceptable way of determining Nir’s sincerity?”

Eventually, they agreed that it was.

Khaska cast the spell in the center of the room, and then put a chair right in the middle. He indicated for Nir to sit in the chair, and the goblin did so.

“You may now question him,” the cleric said.

“Could he not still resist the spell?” asked Councilman Hirgar.

“He could,” Khaska said. “It is for us to determine if he is lying, or if the spell has taken hold on him. I have prepared it twice, in case that was needed. He would have to resist a second casting anew.”

“I’m not even resisting it,” said Nir. “Of course, I could be lying.” He glared at the councilmembers. “But I am not. Everything I just said was true. If I am given the head, I will make the goblins in this area leave you and yours alone. That’s a state of affairs that you didn’t even have before Kagu flipped his lid and started rampaging through the countryside.”

The town council was, by and large, skeptical. But as they asked questions and interrogated Nir, it became clear to all that he was either a very good liar, or that he was telling the truth, compelled to do so by the magic of Khaska’s spell. When the spell ended, they did not request that Khaska cast it again.

Khaska pled the goblin’s case, arguing forcefully that it would be in the best interest of the community to have a goblin leader who was an ally, moreso than any in memory. Councilmember Elyon turned to Mirwen, and asked her opinion. Mirwen stood.

“I am just an innkeeper, asked to come by Khaska and his friends to see if I might lend my voice to these proceedings, as I am a long-time citizen of this city, and have interest in seeing the safety of our town restored.”

Rynn watched Elyon’s reactions, and he was staring at Mirwen intently, watching her, as the ranger was watching him.

“I think it would be in all our best interest to have Nir be given the head. He is sincere, as has been proven, and clearly would be a good member of the town council,” she looked at the goblin, “if his rule of the goblin tribes proved to be as helpful as he promises.”

Khaska looked at the council. “My friends and I thought it be best to let you decide what to do with the head, as you are the leaders of the town. You now have all the information that we can give you, and trust in your collective wisdom.” With that, he bowed, and left the center of the room.

“So the question is whether we should have the head given to Nir, or not,” said Councilman Elyon. “If you don’t care one way or the other, I ask that you abstain from voting. All in favor of giving the head to Nir?”

Four of them voted to give it to Nir.

“Opposed?”

Surprisingly, there were none opposed.

“Four to zero, then, with two abstentions, we will give Nir the head!” He turned to Nir. “We will revisit the issue of you joining the council if,” Elyon emphasized the “if” very strongly, “you are able to create a lasting peace with the goblin tribes.”

“I accept!” Nir said, springing to his feet. “Give me the head, and my goblins and I will be gone from your city within the hour!”

Orensland pulled the head out of his sack (Jenika shuddered) and handed to Nir, who immediately left. The council then disbanded, the matter settled.

Mirwen walked up to Khaska. “Your training in diplomacy has served you well,” she said, “you needed very little help from me.”

“Your help was nonetheless appreciated,” the cleric said. “You have my regards.” He leaned in close. “And you may give our regards to the golden lady, if she exists.”

Mirwen smiled. “If she exists, then I would certainly convey those sentiments to her.” She leaned in closer. A whisper. “And if she existed, I’m sure that she would want to convey her thanks to you and your associates for your assistance to the town that she so obviously wants to protect.” She then leaned back, and began speaking in a normal voice. “But you are all invited for dinner tonight. I will cook.” Rynn was walking up as she said this, having noticed the conversation going on.

“That is a meal that I look forward to tonight, then,” he said. She inclined her head, and then turned and left.

The party collected towards the front of the room.

“So, she’s the one you think is a golden dragon?” asked Orensland, watching Mirwen leave out the front door.

“What?” Sanjin blurted out. “You know those are extinct, don’t you?”

“There are many things that are not as they appear on the surface,” said Khaska.

“Well,” the wizard said. “You sweep into town and a week later everything is peaceful, the goblin warlord is dead, and you have made allies of all the city people. Tombs and goblins and cursed swords and now hidden gold dragons! It appears to me that you all could use some extra help.” He smiled. “And I’m offering!”

Khaska smiled. Rynn looked at the wizard bemusedly. Orensland shrugged. Jenika rolled her eyes.

“What?” Sanjin continued. “You have someone else in mind to help you with your magic needs?”

“Sanjin,” Khaska said, “I think we would be honored to have a skilled wizard, such as yourself, join us. Come. Let us explain what our next adventure will be, and then you can decide for sure if you would like to join your fate with ours.”

Eryx (DM)
Khaska and Rynn had a good conversation with Mirwen, and the town council decided to give the head to Nir (largely because of Khaska’s diplomacy roll, which I asked Thev to give me in IMs; he rolled a 23 total, and with Mirwen’s +2 for “aiding another” you were able to convince the Town Council to be “friendly” to Nir instead of “unfriendly.”). Instead of the gold reward for the head, you all receive 500 XP instead. You will all be able to have dinner tonight with Mirwen, in case any of the other characters wanted to ask her questions or assess these rumors about her for themselves. So if you have any particular reactions or questions you would want to ask of Mirwen, please post them. She is inclined to dispense advice, as she did to Khaska regarding Kvanir.

Sanjin is more or less a part of the group now, but I thought that he needed to be officially invited in. His non-social skills helped set the tone for the last few moments in this post. What reaction will each of your characters have to the wizard’s official request to join you? (And, DeltaWolf, what would Jenika’s reaction be?)

And your time in Twilight is, I assume, coming to an end. It is September 8th. If you are going to Uptide to meet with Lady Maramos/get to Kaylee, you have until December 5th. What are the overall next plans of the group?

Crosis
I like the way Saanjin put the group's adventures. They certainly experience a lot together, don't they?

Orensland is not feeling particular towards any new adventure. If anything, he would be most inclined to fixing the cursed sword, as it sounds handy to have an ancient being/heavy-duty weapon on hand. Well, that and helping Khaska's people become more inclined to aiding the Knights when the Dark Times come. Who better to testify of the truth than the intelligent sword of the ancient hero? If anything, Orensland would suggest the keep a ready ear open for the demon mentioned earlier.

As for anything else, Orensland is good with whatever. Just make sure it's exciting!

Thev
It might be good for Orensland to bring up Kvanir as a potential witness of the past to Khaska; that could be an invaluable asset later on. However much Khaska would like to restore Kvanir to its natural state (and thus be able to wield it without losing power or even losing it!), he is also conscious that his personal quests have been occupying all his friends, who often have quests of their own. Thus, while he would be interested - though apprehensive - about seeking out Urziana, he would defer to the party's preference, especially with anything time-sensitive.

DeltaWolf
Jenika's reaction to Sanjin joining the group would be to remain aloof about him -what with Amara betraying them and Fan dieing. Jenika would be more focused on having Orensland back.

BlackWolf
Rynn will gladly attend the dinner with everyone else. He shares Khaska’s speculations, but doesn’t feel any need to try to confirm them. To him it’s just something interesting to speculate about (it’s not as important to him as it would be to the Maha’i). However, he will have one question for the elf: what does she know about the Cult of Skyrnyn?

The ranger is happy that Sanjin will be joining the group. The wizard seems to be able to take care of himself, and we’re not thrusting him right into danger. In fact, the converse: the wizard worked with us to get out of danger, so he should be well aware of the kinds of problems we’re wont to encounter.

Rynn’s primary focus at this point will be to work on his bow. He doesn’t care much whether they stay in Twilight or leave; he doesn’t have any of his own quests to undertake. If there is something that can be done about Kvanir before we need to intercept Kaylee for Jenika, he’ll be happy to go along with that.

It would probably be good if we were in Uptide prior to Kaylee showing up there. Learn what we can about the place and make preparations. There will be a dangerous intersection of villains there: Kaylee, Lady Maramos, and the Cult of Skyrnyn. If we are there beforehand, we might not have to deal with them all at once. Plus Rynn has… unfinished business with the cult. He’s got half a mind to exact some vigilante vengeance upon them, but will restrain himself inasmuch as eliminating their cell might disrupt our longer-term plans. If our forged letters are any good, we might even be able to infiltrate their meetings. Maybe even convince them that Jenika is really Kaylee and that there is another monk that is a fake.

If we remain in Twilight very long, Rynn will start investigating whether there are any Skyrnyn cultists there. Otherwise he’ll work on his bow for a while and wait for future opportunities.

“You already have a next adventure lined up?!”

The group left the town hall just as Nir’s goblins were leaving, their lean-to shanty-town. It was early enough that the town was just coming alive. (Most of the townspeople had celebrated late into the night, and there appeared to be a collective hangover sort of situation.) Khaska pulled away from the group and approached Nir as the goblin chieftain was talking to another goblin, a bigger goblin, with mismatched armor and a wicked-looking sword.

“Nir, I wish you luck,” the Maha’i said, in goblin. “I hope you are able to bring a lasting peace to the area.”

“I hope so too. We’ll know in a week or so if it worked. If I can get a few of the chieftains to begin to follow me, others will follow suit. I have a plan for who to approach first.”

Khaska lifted his head. “May your feet never know injury from the road, Nir of Twilight.”

The goblin paused, unsure how to respond. Then, finally, “Same to you, Khaska.”

The group spent the rest of the day mingling with townsfolk, telling their story, and, in Rynn’s case, helping out with some of the physical work that needed doing. With the goblins gone, the remnants of their stay had to be cleaned up. Those from neighboring towns who had been forced to stay in Twilight for safety’s sake were by and large getting ready to leave. Sheriff Vyrdyn tried to convince them to stay for a few more days, but some could not be deterred. Among them were the shadowdancer troupe, heading out to Tarrin, a hamlet three days travel away. Several of the troupe members were originally from there, and they would be heading back with a group of farmers returning to the hamlet. Orensland was sad to see them depart; even though he knew that the departure was coming soon, it did end a chapter in his life.

However, the shadowdancer was content. Back with his friends, despite Amara being no longer with the group (Jenika had filled him in on the sorceress’ betrayal), with Amy and her family set up with the troupe, and with some wicked-awesome shadowdancing skills, he felt like he could take on the world. With his friends help, of course.

In his darker moments, he even felt that he could take on his father.

Sanjin queried them all about what their next adventure would be. They discussed their options while eating lunch at the edge of town, on some old logs, away from the crowds and business of the city.

“As far as the sword goes,” Rynn said, “tracking down this ‘Urziana’ seemed like a next logical step for Khaska’s quest, but the trail is literally centuries old. I wouldn’t even know where to begin.”

“And if you can cure the sword, then you have a witness to your people about Tawru’s fate! Who better to testify than the ancient sword of Tawru himself!” said Orensland.

Khaska paused. The shadowdancer had a point. “You have all been such a great boon to me in my quests,” Khaska said. “But I know that we are pressed for time with regard to meeting up with Lady Maramos and intercepting Kaylee.”

“That does seem like the logical next step,” Sanjin said. “Cultists and dragon worshippers and rogue monks. You guys do seem to find excitement!”

“I would suggest that we be there early,” said Rynn. “We would want to arrive well before Kaylee, to make preparations and get the lay of the land there, so to speak. It will be a dangerous situation, with Kaylee, the local cell of the Cult of Skyrnyn, and Lady Maramos. If we are there early, we might be able to deal with them one at a time, instead of all at once.”

“In the meantime, we should keep our ears to the ground concerning this Urziana,” said Orensland.

Khaska looked at Jenika, who was not participating as much in the discussion. “Portions of this quest are the purview of Jenika, however. As you have all aided me in my quests, now we must all aid her in confronting her monk-sister. But Rynn is right. In Uptide, there will be a confluence of our enemies. We should leave as soon as we can.”

“After our dinner tonight!” Sanjin said. “I haven’t yet met this Mirwen!” The glint in his eye indicated very much that he wanted to investigate if she really was a golden dragon in disguise.

“Sanjin.” Khaska’s voice was harsh. “We will not reveal or try overly hard to discover secrets that are not ours to tell.”

The wizard frowned and folded his arms. “Is he always this serious?”

“Yes,” Jenika and Orensland replied simultaneously. They looked at each other and smiled.


Khaska spent the afternoon cleaning and polishing his armor. Dinner was promptly after sundown, in a private dining room. Mirwen had spent the afternoon cooking, and the food was absolutely delicious. Again, Rynn had more than he normally would. He knew that he would feel sluggish, and normally just let his body dictate what he ate and how much, but the food was so good he decided it worth the side effects of overeating.

Mirwen was a gracious host, fun to talk to, and had many interesting stories from her years of living in Twilight. Sanjin occasionally asked a question that Khaska thought was aimed at determining her draconic status, but the elf managed to deflect such questions and change the subject so easily that Khaska barely noticed what she was doing. Sanjin didn’t seem frustrated by the deflection, so the cleric let it go.

Rynn, however, did have one question for Mirwen. “Mirwen, during our travels, we’ve encountered a group called the Cult of Skyrnyn. They are dragon worshippers, and from what we’ve been able to observe, they are attempting to free the evil dragons from the control of the Knights of the Silver Dragons.”

“The Cult still exists?” she asked. She seemed surprised.

“Yes,” said Khaska. He explained what of the basics they knew about this cult, and its operations. Mirwen pursed her lips.

“I am old, and remember the news of Skyrnyn’s death. He was the last free dragon on our moon, so it was said, so his death was a momentous occasion.” She smiled, a bit ruefully. “Not that such things were celebrated here in Twilight then, as removed from the world as most of its people wanted to be, but still, we heard enough rumor and news and gossip to know of major goings-on.

“Back then, the Cult was just the worshippers of Skyrnyn the green. After his death, I don’t know what they would have done. It does not surprise me that they have been repurposed, though,” and at this Mirwen raised an eyebrow, “if they think that the evil dragons are in need of rescue, then they are truly deluded.”

“One of them was worried that the dragons would all be slain during the Dark Times, in the forthcoming war against Arkenos,” said Jenika. “After all,” and here the monk paused, knowing that, if Khaska’s suspicions were correct about Mirwen, this next part might be awkward, “all of the good dragons were killed during the last Dark Times.”

Mirwen snorted.

“I’m sure the Knights and their dragons have things well in hand, and will survive the Dark Times. Fifty-four dragons, with such powerful paladins, and with the world’s military at their back. I think we stand a better job of surviving this time than we did last time.” She looked up at the party. “When I was born, the world was still recovering from the last war. The very weather you have experienced here, with that massive rain storm, is just a precursor to the natural calamities that will come, not to mention the invasion of the Arkenosian forces.” She took a long drink of wine. “I suppose many things are possible, but I am not worried about the Knights and their dragons.” There was long pause. “I just wonder what will happen to the rest of us.”

The rest of the dinner passed smoothly, and eventually Mirwen thanked them for their help with the city, again, and for the company, and bid them farewell. They were allowed to sleep in the inn that night, the city emptying out quickly enough that there were beds to spare. Even Rynn slept in a bed, the other options being the dirty streets or out in the probably still goblin-infested woods. He was the only one that didn’t sleep soundly that night.

In the morning, over breakfast, they decided that they would need to determine the best way to get back to Gallidus so they could get to Uptide. After inquiring around that morning, it seemed there were a few options available.

Eryx (DM)
Your traveling options are as follows:
1. Walk. You would have to walk around the Chasm of Endless Night, which Rynn and Sanjin would know is a dangerous area. Going through the Chasm itself is … not recommended. (Drow.) The best option here would be to head to Hretzifer, over the northern part of the Chasm, close to Rynn’s hometown of Camden. You would be looking at a month and a half of travel time on foot, or about 3 weeks if you decided to buy and ride horses.
2. Because there has been so little mining and such recently, there will not be any ships sailing from the city for at least two weeks. The ship captains and the local leaders of the Bjorik and Sons Trading Co. would be happy to have passengers, and would give you a discounted rate due to your heroics. (After all, they wouldn’t even be traveling with trade unless you had solved the Kagu problem.) You can get a sailing ship ride to [[[Kalavan]] for 10 gold each. From there you might be able to get a ride to Gallidus, or you could head for the coast and try to get a ride from a regular ship. There are ports on the coast, even if there aren’t any cities on our maps as currently constituted.
3. You could simply rent out a sailing ship and take it wherever you want. However, the further you take it, the more expensive it will be. There is not a discount on this kind of flight. If you take this option, we can talk prices. Normally this isn’t an option, but being the locals heroes has greased the wheels, so to speak.
4. If you helped out the local mining guild, probably by escorting a group of miners to and from a site, the guild would pay for passage to Kalavan or Hretzifer, and give you 50 gold each beyond (which would get you back to Gallidus, and maybe even as far as Hammerdine). You would probably leave in about three weeks, after the first successful mining trip had come and gone.

What do you all want to do? It is September 8th, and you have until December 5th to be in Uptide.

DeltaWolf

Of the options provided Sanjin is in favor of option 2. He is very much opposed to walking, very.

Thev

Khaska would probably be most inclined to 2 or 3. Either would allow them the opportunity to get to know Twilight better, make further friends (or, I suppose, enemies), and to monitor the situation with Nir and, perhaps, smooth out whatever wrinkles might arise in the party's best-laid plans. 3 would spare us some money, with only one week of time spent for it; of course, the party isn't exactly poverty-stricken, either.

Crosis

Orensland is… Orensland. He doesn't really care how things get done. He is looking to buy some gloves of dexterity, but as that is not an immediate option he has no preference on how their travel needs are met. To be honest, he'd be inclined to walking just for the sake of more adventure, but knows that will not likely be a popular option and will go with whatever the group wants to do.

BlackWolf
Rynn would prefer option 2. If we're going to head out, he'd rather just go for it. If we didn't have any specific destination, then option 4 might appeal to him… or maybe even option 1. Option 3 would be good if we were on more of a time crunch; Rynn doesn't feel so hurried at the moment.

Any way we slice it, Rynn is just interested in making progress toward Uptide. And working on his bow along the way.

The party deliberated about it, and decided that they would wait for a few weeks for a flying ship to become available, and book passage on it to Kalavan, where they would try to find a way back to Gallidus. They were given a discounted “hero” rate. During the next few weeks they helped around as they could. Khaska spent time with the city council, mostly with Councilmember Elyon, and helped a little with manual labor at a local shrine. He also spent some time praying over the makeshift graveyard that had sprung up at the edge of town, praying with other local clerics and adepts for the souls of those slain during Kagu’s madness. Orensland and Jenika also helped with manual labor, mostly sticking with each other after the shadowdancers officially left. Sanjin mostly hung around the Night Owl, hoping to glean more information about Mirwen. The elf eventually shooed him out during the day, and he grumblingly read some of Master Hirgar’s personal library instead of trying to figure out of the elven woman was secretly a golden dragon. Rynn helped out around town as he could, but was mostly content to work on his bow. He and Ranna did spend some time in the woods, but didn’t venture too far from town. If Nir was successful in consolidating the various goblin tribes that would have splintered in Kagu’s death, it would take weeks to do so. And there was no telling if Kvanir’s influence would remain embedded in the psyches of the goblins, so while the ranger enjoyed the outdoors, he was cautious in doing so.

Mirwen had rations prepared for each of them (“because ship food is not on par with what you might call actual food,” she said) before they left, and they ate well on their trip to Kalavan. The trip itself only took three days, and the port itself was bustling with activity. Paladins from the Knights of the Silver Dragons in groups of two were almost omnipresent in the skyship port itself, lending an air that seemed simultaneously safe and oppressive. As the group approached the entrance to the city proper, they could see that those coming in were all being searched by groups of the Knights.

“What’s going on up there?” Rynn asked a passing pair of paladins. The gnome paladin looked up at him and grunted.

“No weapons allowed inside the city walls. Period. If you want to keep them, you’ll have to send someone in as an emissary to do your business.” The gnome stalked off with his elven friend.

“Hrm,” said Khaska. “It might not be wise for me to part with Kvanir.”

Eryx (DM)
It is now September 26th, and you’ve arrived at Kalavan, 20 gold spent each. Please mark that off your character sheets. You also all still have 4 remaining days of rations from Mirwen to spend as you will.

BlackWolf, you’ve been able to have 18 days worth of work done on your bow. Roll whatever rolls you think appropriate.

What will you do with this situation as a group? Most business is traditionally done in the city itself. Will some of you go in? Will you try your luck outside? Is Khaska comfortable leaving Kvanir in the hands of someone else (whether a Knight or one of the party members)?

Thev
Khaska is very uncomfortable with the idea of leaving Kvanir with others. He would be willing to stay outside the city walls for as long as the party may need to do business; he would also be willing to hand Kvanir off to other party members if he needs to enter the city (perhaps not Sanjin quite yet - Khaska's still trying to get a fix on him). He will try to make the fact that he's staying outside as inconspicuous as possible, perhaps by offering to hold on to all the party's weapons as well.

BlackWolf
Not exactly the most friendly welcome. But since Rynn has been through here before (in his backstory), I guess he might have expected this? Or have things changed in the last year or so?

Either way, the oppressive authority is a bit off-putting to the ranger. It reminds him vaguely of Hammerdine; inasmuch as even good authority isn't perfect. So Rynn will opt to stay outside the city; his personal reluctance to enter the city will be obvious to the group. He would be happy to keep an eye on Kvanir — as much as we trust the Knights, we don't know these ones and having an evil blade on-hand is never an ideal way to start a chat with a paladin.

Is there anything specific we need inside the city? Probably just negotiating travel on an airship or maybe joining a caravan heading east; the goal is still to head to Uptide, right?

Oh, if weapons aren't allowed in the city… where/how are they bought and sold? Is Kalavan a good place to be able to spend some of our hard-earned money on gear or weapons? Rynn wouldn't mind buying some gloves of dexterity (or asking one of his friends to look for that in the city).

For Rynn's crafting, I went ahead and rolled 3 weeks worth. 18 days isn't quite 3 weeks (assuming 7 day weeks; the SRD isn't actually that specific), but I figure that the 3 extra days can be accounted for by the fact that Rynn always keeps his crafting tools on him. I imagine him taking it out at campsites and such, always slowly working on it. Maybe working on it while the others are in the city too…

Incidentally, the composite longbow that he's been working on is nearing basic completion and would really be taking form. But Rynn will be continuing his crafting to make it a masterwork weapon, so it will be a while yet before he finishes it. I'm hoping that our travel toward Uptide will give him some more time to dedicate to it.

Eryx (DM)
Kalavan is literally just a trading site. The "goods" available are what others bring, and basic foodstuffs. There's not much of a local economy. In short, it's not a good place to spend some of your hard-earned money on gear or weapons. You can look around if you want, but a better bet would be to wait until you get to Hammerdine/Uptide/wherever. You're still basically just looking to get across the sea to Gallidus, as I envisioned it.

Crosis
Yeah, I'm not seeing much reason to do business inside either. If the occasion called for it, Orensland would offer to shadow dance weapons into Kalavan. However, in the present circumstances it would appear that there is no need to go inside at all. Let's just get back to Gallidus. Unless, Eryx, you wanted to throw a zinger quest at us? :)

DeltaWolf
It sounds like there isn't anything Sanjin is interested in town either…

“This Knights in this place have always been a bit overbearing,” said Rynn. “I guess with so many people coming and going it’s the only way to maintain order. I’d like to stay outside the city if possible.”

“You know there are ways of sneaking stuff into the city if we need to?” Orensland said, grinning.

“An unnecessary risk,” said Sanjin. “We need merely to negotiate and find a way to get back to Gallidus. Let’s do so, shadowdancer.” The elf moved towards the gates.

Orensland sighed and then began to strip his weapons off and put them in his pack, which he then handed to Rynn.

“We’ll be back.”

And back they were, a few hours later.

“We want to get to the other side of Gallidus,” Sanjin said, dropping down by the fire that Rynn had kindled without so much as a “hello,” “so there are two ships leaving in the next week or so that could be of assistance. One would drop us off back at Hammerdine, and another at Laishtek. Passage to Hammerdine would be 40 gold. Passage to Laishtek 50.”

“I seem to remember that you wanted to track the pilgrimages of the Peaceful Children,” Orensland said to Rynn.

“They did leave from Hammerdine, and headed south off of the main road. That would be the general direction towards Uptide,” said Khaska. “Through the Martumal forest.”

“If we want to get to Uptide ahead of Kaylee, it might be prudent to head to Laishtek,” said Sanjin.

Eryx (DM)
And … we’re back! I still feel like I’m mentally and emotionally catching up from the very intense studying that was necessary for my PhD comprehensive exams, but I passed them, classes are over, and I should submit final grades on Monday or Tuesday. My apologies for the lateness of this, and even of the fact that this post is so short and also give you more or less the same options as last time: which option do you want to use to travel? (Your goal, per the letter from Lady Maramos, is to be in Uptide by December 5th.) Uptide is south of Laishtek on the east coast of Gallidus, just south of the Martumal forest, which itself is south of the crossroads.

Option A: 40 gold will take you to Hammerdine. From there you could walk and follow the pilgrimage trail. You would arrive in Hammerdine on October 8th. Walking following the pilgrimage trail (assuming no major sidetracks) would put you in Uptide around November 10th.

Option B: 50 gold will take you to Laishtek. From there you would walk south along the coastline to get to Uptide. You would arrive in Laishtek on October 16th. Walking would put you in Uptide around October 26th.

In short, both will get you to Uptide well in advance of the December 5th deadline. Option A would give you an opportunity to explore the route taken by the pilgrimages of the Peaceful Children. Option B will get you to your final destination faster.

Which do you want to do?

Thev
We'd have about two weeks' leeway if we followed the pilgrimage route. Something's telling Khaska, however, that the party needs to be ready to be held up along the way. (Having realized he might be in adventures about which they sing songs, he's getting a little genre-savvy as well as simply aware of the Planning Fallacy. :P) Unless there is a pressing need to track the pilgrimage now (will the tracks be lost? have the pilgrimages ceased? would something be happening after/while we take care of Kaylee that would disrupt our investigation), he'd advocate being cautious and heading to Uptide right away.

And though the thoughts are at present inchoate, he's begun wondering whether anything would happen (or whether he'd learn anything) by merely returning to Laishtek with Kvanir.

Crosis
Orensland wants to track the Pilgrimage as much as possible. There are potential lives to be saved via that route, including those of women and children. Especially given his time with the shadow dancing troupe protecting Zeke and his mother, his desire to make life miserable for those who induce suffering is enhanced by a stronger sense of protectiveness for the innocent. His desire to go to Hammerdine would not be strong enough to get in a fight with the others, but he would state his desires candidly.

…Plus it's cheaper. :)

BlackWolf
Due to his promise to Jenika, Rynn’s inclination would be to take Option B and ensure that we get there with time to spare. But the ranger is interested in tracking the pilgrimages, so he would be okay with Option A too. Yes, it could sidetrack us somewhat… but Rynn has a feeling that the pilgrimages and Lady Maramos’s doings may be related.

So he slightly favors Option B.

Thev
Khaska concedes Orensland's and Rynn's points toward following the pilgrimage route, and is now alright with that course, so long as they make sure to be in Uptide on time.

DeltaWolf
It's nice to be posting again :) Sanjin, having not been involved until recently, doesn't care either way. Although the idea of tracking is more appealing then waiting in Uptide.

They discussed their options, but in the end, it was Orensland that convinced them.

“Look,” the shadowdancer said, “we’ve got time to spare. I know we want to be to Uptide early, but it seems like this might be our best chance to track the pilgrimages. Innocent lives may be on the line!”

“I concede your points,” Khaska replied. “As long as we take precautions to be in Uptide before the appointed date, I see no reason to not track the pilgrimages.”

“It’s settled, then,” said Sanjin. “Hammerdine it is, with some walking afterwards!”

Eryx (DM)
That will end this chapter, as well as end the Codex.

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