Vandis Isle

Captors Repaid
Wherein the Heroes return to the Sacred Stone Monastery to retrieve their gear and exact their vengeance.

Monish Knight and Rinn declared their intent to return to the Sacred Stone Monastery and defeat Abbess Hellenrae. With many of their allies afar in Mulmaster, the heroes where a little short handed. They requested help, and the Emerald Enclave sent Risah Red.

Returning to the monastery, the heroes discovered that some of the Abbess’s minions had been replaced however, for the most part, the cult had not been able to recover from the initial blow struck by the heroes. With the help of their new-old, friend, the heroes destroyed the cruel duergar and orogs that served as their tormentors while they were held captive by the cult.

Having purged the monastery, and releasing the new captives the Black Earth Cult had taken, the heroes stood against abbess in the rock garden, fighting against the blind cultist and her evil elemental minions. At the conclusion of the battle the heroes stood victorious. They left the monastery, said to be inhabited by a lich who wanted nothing to do with current events, and returned to Red Larch.

Rewards:
All characters advance to level 6. (1/1/2017)

Treasure: You get your crap back! In addition you get 22 pp, 70 gp, 51 ep, 235 sp each. You also find twelve turquoise stones (10 gp each), 2 different second level paladin spell scrolls (Monish’s choice), one third level paladin spell scroll (Monish’s choice)

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Far From Home
Wherein the heroes have hand-picked agents to investigate elemental cult activity in far away Mulmaster

A powerful diviner from the Emerald Enclave had a dream where she saw the elemental cults that are terrorizing the Dessarin Valley also rampaging across the Moonsea region, starting in Mulmaster. Based on the destruction caused in Dessarin Valley, in an almost unprecedented event, the various factions have combined forces to send agents to Mulmaster and stop the cult activities before they start.

None have more expierence with the elemental cults than the heroes. Thus, the various factions have appealed to the heroes to hand select, and coordinate, their agents for this undertaking.

Panapapi Ticcotarp Copperspackle selected his protege, Savra Belabranta, to represent the interests of the Lord’s Alliance on this operation.
Rinn has enlisted the help of the Harper Nitasys for his contribution to the efforts.

The selected agents were teleported to Mulmaster, accompanied by the dwarven ex-soldier, Quetson. Upon arrival, the agents took a job as temporary staff for a ten day party being thrown by an aspiring noble family in Mulmaster.

Day 1 of the celebration saw much ceremony and pomp, however very little activity for the agents.

Day 2 saw the agents being enlisted by a Cloak in order to discover the whereabouts of his younger brother. The agents found out that a seamstress and her brothers wanted to take revenge on the Cloak, and enlisted the help of a priest of Talos. The agents thwarted the attempt by the Talosian priest, and the vengeful brothers who were in the Mulmaster watch, to sacrifice the Cloak’s younger brother, however the priest got away. Savra recognized the actions and incantations of the priest as very similar to those of the Cult of Howling Hatred, the elemental air cult that she was duped into becoming a member of. The whole incident was covered up by someone, and reported as hippogriff attack on the guardsmen atop the tower where the incident occurred.

Day 3 concluded with Agents being asked by a Blade of Mulmaster, Count Blazen Stoe. His son had ran off with a woman he deemed an unacceptable match. He tasked the Agents with returning his son to his estate by 6 Bells the next morning.

The Agents eventually tracked the son down to a strange shack, wherein a weird meeting or ritual was being held. While the Agents brawled with dwarves with flaming beards outside, the shack suddenly burst into flame. The son of Count Stoe, Sebastian, was trapped under fallen timbers. The Agents were able to free Sebastian from the inferno, return him to the estate, and consul the heart broken barmaid, Ilva, as she and Sebastian would likely never meet again.

During the interaction, the majordomo of Count Stoe assured Savra Belabranta that her service to the Lord’s Alliance would be remembered.

Day 5 of Lady Saj’s party saw the Agents assisting a man named Choomeg, whose tavern, the Oxpit, had been targeted for sometime by vandals. The Agents convinced Choomeg to let them help.

The Agents discovered an underground network of tunnels beneath the Oxpit. After meeting a gnomish druid who served the Emerald Enclave. While in tunnels the Agents fought giant badgers with obsidian teeth and claws, and rescued the gnomish druid for acidic pincers of an ankheg. They also discovered a strange missive to a now dead miner that instructed the continued harrying of the Oxpit. The taverns location was deemed instrumental for some unknown purpose, and the instances of vandalism were orchestrated attempts to get the owner to leave.

Cumulative Rewards Final:

Panapapi: 659 exp, 260 gp, +1 Lord’s Alliance Renown.
Rinn: 996 exp, 505 gp.

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Celestial Favors
Wherein the heroes help The Order of the Guantlet

While still in Yartar, Panapapi Ticcotarp Copperspackle and Rinn were approached by what appeared to be a a young monk serving The Order of the Gauntlet. The monk entreated the heroes to help her escort a hero of the order, Jamari, to a sacred shrine where he would serve out the rest of his days as a guard.

The heroes traveled to a roadside inn in order to meet with the venerable hero, and were attacked by Oreioth’s undead minions at the inn. The abominations claimed that they had come to retrieve, “She who the master had claimed”, referring to Mattahar, who accompanied the heroes in order to try her hand at adventuring once more. The heroes destroyed the undead, though the creatures charged their skeletal horses into the common room of the inn to fight!

The monk proved to be a powerful celestial known as couatl, a creature renown for its honesty and guardianship, and revered by the Order. She teleported the heroes and Jamari to the shrine, far to the south, and gave them a one of her scales that would return them home, so long as they used the magic within two hours of their departure.

Upon arriving, the heroes were immediately beset upon by ibix-like saytrs, and were forced to flee the standing stone circle they teleported into. With the saytrs on their heels, the heroes arrived at the shrine to find the Order’s cabin destroyed, and the shrine itself the recent lair of a pair of displacer beasts.

The heroes, trapped with the shrine by the horde of saytrs outside that had followed them, destroyed the the displacer beasts. In the battle, the venerable Jamari called upon the last vestiges of his strength, wielding a blade, magnificent and holy, in a last act of sacrifice. With the battle concluded, Rinn and Mattahar helped Jamari to the shrine, where he could finally rest eternally. Papapani figured out a way to seal up the sacred shrine (Gnome with giant strength!). With his dying breath, the Jamari asked Rinn to find a champion of the faith, whose adherence to law and good were unshakeable. Rinn needs to to tell this champion of Jamari’s blade, that they may come retrieve it, and with it, continue Jamari’s work.

With Jamari laid to rest, and the shrine secured, the heroes returned to the celestial, going by the name Etta, at the roadside inn. They relayed what had happened, as well as the fate of Jamari and his relic blade. Etta, pleased with the heroes service, awarded them another of her scales as a charm for each of them.

Rewards:
1,833 exp each.
Renown: Rinn +3 Order of the Gauntlet, Papani +2 Order of the Gauntlet.
Etta’s Charm- This couatl scale can be snapped in half giving the possessor the benefits of a potion of vitality. The scale is consumed when the charm is used.

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A Favor for Matty
Wherein Papapani and Rinn travled to Yartar and assisted in the arrest of kidnapping necromancer.

While Ioboplu Iigrestri, Itiwiw Ghurkiog, and Monish Knight travled to Bargewright Inn in order for Knight to meet with Nalaskur Thaelond, Panapapi Ticcotarp Copperspackle and Rinn remained in Red Larch. While there, Papapani and Rinn receiver a message from Mattahar asking for their help. Eager to see their old friend, they grabbed their giant vultures and took wing with all haste to Yartar.

In Yartar they discovered someone had taken twelve people from the riverside-dock area of Yartar, including two people connected to the Prudent Lily, the whorehouse where Mattahar was currently lying low. In addition, a guildswoman of the Hands of Yartar had been taken, and the guild had hired a deadly assassin known as Holloweyes to find who was responsible for the kidnappings, and kill them. Mattahar did not want justice to be determined by the guild, as she felt that so long as one criminal organization or another was responsible for justice, the common people remained victims. She wanted to make an example out of this recent kidnapper, having him apprehended by the proper authorities, to send a message to the nere-do-wells and citizens of Yartar alike, that there was law, and those who broke it would be punished. Her personal interest was in the return of her friend from the Prudent Lily, as well as her friend’s daughter, who were among those kidnapped. Matthar would not stand by while the low-people were victimized saying, “If not me, then who will mourn the death of whores?”

Mattahar, Rinn, and Papapani devised a plan. After locating the warehouse where the people were taken, Mattahar could lead Holloweyes on a chase around the riverside-docks while Rinn and Pappapni entered the warehouse and vanquished the threat within. After a set amount of time, Mattahar would alert Watch Captain Rizz to come to the warehouse, where he would arrest the party responsible for the abductions. In the interim, after securing the warehouse, Rinn and Papapani would get Cayleen and Niska out, so they were not involved in any part of the questioning or investigation.

The plan almost came apart, as Holloweyes proved to be far more skilled than Matthar had anticipated. She nearly lost her life, and was only able to lead him on a merry chase for half the time she had anticipated. Fortunately for all, Rinn and Papapani proved adept at the killing of Oreioth‘s, the necromancer responsible for the abduction, minions. They were able to secure the warehouse, and just as vile death-mage was returning, so too did Mattahar and Rizz. Oreioth was arrested, but not before swearing vengeance on Mattahar. The heroes were able to get Mattahar’s friends out, and Rinn and Papapani gave them money to be able to move out of the Prudent Lily. As to what became of Holloweyes, none know.

After the watch had cleared, Rinn and Papapani returned to claim the stash of the gang that Oreioth had killed and forced into undead servitude, forcing them to perform the kidnappings for him.

Rewards:
Experience: 610 exp each.
Renown: People of Yartar +1 for Rinn, and Papapani
Treasure:
1,000 cp, 1,000 sp, 2,400 gp, 150 pp
12 quartz gems worth 50 gp each (one of these gems would put up Nin, Cayleen, and Niska for about 8 years. Matthar is just saying…)
3 Potions of healing, potion of greater healing, potion of climbing, bag of holding, scroll of spare the dying (Mattahar)

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"It never ends"
Wherein the heroes return to Faerun, and feel a little downtrodden.

Emerging from the portal into a crypt outside of Red Larch, they heroes returned to the Dessarin Valley a full 6 weeks from when they had first set out for the Sacred Stone Monastery. The heroes encountered Minnie and Bess within the ruins, eventually being attacked by a half-ogre and a couple of goblins who had red wraps that wove between their fingers and around their palms.

Finally, the heroes and their fifteen refugees arrived in sight of Red Larch however they were not warmly greeted. A very weary, and cautious, Harburk Turthmarillar denied the heroes and their charges entrance, instead offering to provide them with provisions. There was a tense moment wherein Monish Knight and the constable almost fought, but Rinn’s cooler head prevailed, and the monk was able to talk everyone down. Harburk invited Rinn to come back to town with him and gather supplies for the refugees. While in town, Rinn reconnected with Imdarr Revlaunder, who was more than a little displeased at the reception of the refugees by Harburk, and let it be known throughout town. Eventually the refugees were allowed entrance but the heroes were not.

While camping in the field, the heroes were reacquainted with Savra Belabranta and Nitasys. They filled the heroes in on the events The Feathergale Spire and Nitasys took off with Brundelthar in order to get him back to her Harper troupe. They heroes were also reunited with their giant vultures, now well trained by Beeboo Steadhand.

In addition, the heroes came across the acquaintance of Mangobarl Lorren, a baker by trade who is also serving part time in the militia during these dangerous times. Lorren said he knew some things, and some people, and could help the heroes provision in exchange for a favor at a later date. He also suggested to the heroes that by accomplishing the task of finding a missing wagon, Harburk would have to allow them entry.

The heroes located the wagon, defeated the bandits who had stolen it, and Panapapi Ticcotarp Copperspackle now has a pet bear.

Upon returning the wagon, the heroes were admitted to Red Larch, and Harburk offered his apologies. He offered to cover their lodging for the evening at the Swinging Sword Inn, where, despite Itiwiw Ghurkiog and Ioboplu Iigrestri trying to encourage him to check in with Nalaskur Thaelond in Bargewright Inn, Monish finally surrendered to a deep slumber.

Rewards:
290 exp each.
+2 renown with the People of Dessarin Valley for all characters.
Treasure: 2,300 cp, 8,000 sp, 2,360 gp, 120 pp. 5 art objects worth 25 gp each (silver ewer, carved bone statue, small golden bracelet, engraved bone dice, silver figurine (currently with Harburk). Spell scroll (4th level, Monish’s choosing), potion of invulnerability, potion of frost giant strength, hand crossbow bolts +2 (20)

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Swamp of Oblivion
Wherein the heroes traverse a dangerous swamp to flee captivity.

After a particularly grueling day of forced servitude, the heroes rest was interrupted when the strange dwarf Oor emerged from a portal within their cell. He encouraged the heroes to flee through he portal. The heroes made sure to take the rest of the captives into the portal with them getting free of the Sacred Stone Monastery’s cells. The enigmatic ally also instructed the heroes that “she” held the key to their returning home.

The heroes led an exodus through a vast and inhospitable swamp filled with copses of weeds, still black-green lakes and ponds, twisted rooted trees that seemed to grasp at them, Hordes of savage mosquitos savaged the former captives, and food was scarce. They did not known they were in the Swamp of Oblivion, a place formed where the elemental planes of water and earth bordered one another.

Eventually the heroes led the the captives to an old, dried up aqueduct. Built long ago, now over-grown with thorny vines, and draped in wispy moss, the structure stood above the swamp on stone pillars that once depicted some humanoid form, now worn smooth with weathering and age. Between grime encrusted stone and slime-covered walls, the heroes led the people across the swamp, using the abandoned channel like a road.

While traversing the aqueduct the heroes over came many challenges, including the loss of two children when the kids were tragically swallowed whole by a sudden attack from monstrous frogs. Finally the aqueduct ended on an island with a broken tower. There the heroes interrupted two Yaun-ti purebloods who had captured a Nighthag and were forcing her to perform a ritual that opened a portal to Faerun. The Nighthag, knowns as The Asp, being the same one that had spared the lives of the heroes so long ago when they traveled the Feywild, was grateful. She kept the portal open for the heroes and their rescued townsfolk to travel through, as well as gave them a back pack with some treasures from her personal collection, as a show of her gratitude.

The heroes stepped through the portal and found themselves in dark, stony room. A doorway was ahead of the weary band, framed by slits of golden sunlight.

Rewards:
425 exp each.
Renown: +1 for all characters People of Dessarin Valley.
Items: Scimitar x2, Shortbow x2, Repurposed axe-blade to shield (Monish), The Asp’s Reward (Back pack containing the following: 800 cp, 6,000 sp, 2,500 gp, 190 pp, scroll of cure wounds, scroll of bless, potion of healing.

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Captured
Wherein the heroes continue their way through the monastery, only to be captured by the abbess.

Having taken a moment to regroup, the heroes were about to press further into the Sacred Stone Monastery when they were surprised by a sudden change of plans. Panapapi Ticcotarp Copperspackle was clearly out of sorts, acting more strange then normal, and at one point leaving with Skault, only to return shortly without the huge Uthgardt. In his brief absence, the heroes were joined by two Zhentarim agents sent by Nalaskur Thaelond sent, Ioboplu Iigrestri and Itiwiw Ghurkiog.

As the heroes continued their discovery, eventually they ran aground of the Abbess, a powerful woman they would come to know as Hellenrae. The Abbess called upon the servants of her god, Ogremoch, creatures of stone and malice known as gargoyles. With the help of the gargoyles Hellenrae beat Iobo and Monish Knight into unconsciousness, forcing Rinn and Ghurk to surrender.

After their surrender, the heroes were moved to cell in a subterranean level of the monestary. Knight and Iobo, eventually regained consciousness within the dank earthen, iron-barred, cell. As soon as they could conceivably lift a pick, they were forced to join the others on the subterranean level, mining stone to use for reinforcing the monastery above. It was nearly impossible to tell when a day passed amidst the tunnels they were forced to work in shackled servitude. There was only the reprieve of too-short rest periods to mark the passage of time, and the heroes existed in a near constant state of exhaustion. More than one captive had fallen dead in their labors, and the only mention of the event was the complaints of the oorog overseers who complained about the slim amount of meat of their bones, as it was their intent to sup upon the corpses of the recently deceased in the evening.

What is more, at random intervals prisoners were removed for the cruel amusement of the Duergar that patrolled the monastery as mercenary guards. Of late, the gray dwarves most recent amusement had been one of taking obviously weekend and emaciated captives and showing them a bounty of food prepared from the kitchen above. They used their natural ability to enlarge them selves to stick the food in a crevice atop a particularly slick stone wall, and mock the captives as they tried and clambor up to the food in desperation, all the while throwing rocks at the poor unwitting participants.

The heroes have gotten to know Ghurk and Iobo a little better. Haling from Womford, these two have grown up in the service of the Black Network. Although slightly more common than bugbears, Ghurk as a dragon born always felt removed from the others, and formed a friendship with Iobo based off a metal sense of feeling different. Ghurk and Iobo have been working together for years now, mainly in the protection, mercenary, and assassination side of the Zhentarium’s interests.

In addition to the heroes, there are quite a few captured townsfolk and merchants who are now forced to labor beneath the earth, seventeen in total. The woman and children were mainly made to haul the stone up to the surface level, perhaps because there was less fear of them running off. They were all malnourished, and heart breaking to behold. The normal quiet Iobo voiced a general disgust and lament at the circumstances wherein this is how they slaves would spend their childhood.

Among those forced to work below, was a group of Reghed barbarians that Knight assumed were mentioned in the report provided to him by Inglor Brathren. They were tall of frame, though they are now sickly thin, and always seemed to be cramped within the subterranean confines. Among them was the orc that was mentioned in the report, though he said little. Apparently he was en route south to issue a warning to Triboar, though of what, the heroes cannot say. When the Reghedmen were asked if they were of the Storm-Gorgon tribe, as Inglor’s report mentioned, they looked a little indignant

“We are not Uthgardt!” Their female leader had proclaimed, somehow summoning what little vestiges of pride her captivity had not robbed her of. “Besides, there are no Storm Gorgons, not for a decade to more.”

The heroes had also come to meet Brundelthar, a Harper scholar who was with the delegation that brought the heroes to the Dessarin Valley in the first place. He confirmed that the earth cult ambushed the Mirabar delegation south of Belliard. Earth cultists and their captives were ferried across the Dessarin River by pirates who received his stolen beloved books as payment. Bandits who rode giant vultures ambushed the earth cultists somewhere in the Sumber Hills. The bandits captured the delegate Deseyna Norvael. Brudelthar and the rest were brought to Sacred Stone Monastery. The sage was put to work, but delegates Rhundorth and Teresiel were taken below to an unknown fate. Brundelthar tries to keep up a positive demeanor, but his health is declining rapidly.

Recent, hulking beasts, half man and half bull have been seen and heard in the monastery. They were sent from “Below” to watch the monastery until more monks can be recruited.

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Into Sacred Stone
Wherein the heroes begin to clear the menace that has taken up residence in the Sacred Stone monastery.

As told by Skault Thunder-hand, Skald of the Storm Gorgon tribe:

“Lo, the heroes did take to the river to make their way to deliver ruin upon the madmen, and worshipers of false totems, that dwelt in the haunted keep known as Sacred Stone Monastery. They were accompanied by a northman so comely of visage that the river mermaids and nerids sped the heroes journey, blessing them smooth water and fey-kissed currents, hoping to gain the favor the a fair and virile wanderer.

After a day and half of safe passage along the river, as who would dare to stand against a band so mighty, the heroes arrived at Rivergard Keep. They found naught but corpses among the keep. Battles had been fought between members of The Order of the Guantlet and the worshippers of the black water. The same black water that whisks many a brave northmen to a gloomy doom when they fall from their long ships. Rinn buried the dead of his order, while myself, ever faithful to will of the Storm Gorgon, and the Rage Knight of the Black Network, made offerings to the mighty totem with the bodies of the fallen, ensuring victory in battles to come.

Guided by the wisdom of the ancestors, the heroes waited until darkest midnight to creep into the monastery. They first did battle in the kitchens and were victorious, then stalked through the halls bringing retribution to them that had plagued the common folk of Dessarin Valley.

At once, the heroes came upon some of the vile cultists asleep in their beads. Even in slumber they chanted vile prayers and smiled as they dreamt of killing the men of local villages, taking their women, and enslaving their children to the will of their god. Panapapi Ticcotarp Copperspackle, even though he knew their endless evil, knew there was no glory in slaying them in their sleep. But the Rage Knight, Monish Knight, had no such qualms. His blade cleared his scabbard with a metallic click, and set upon the sleeping cultists. His rage manifested in the smiting of his first victim, the force of his wrath made manifest as it pulsed through through the cultist that awoke to a sword through his chest, causing his form to jerk and thrash. After that, Monish went about his bloody business, placing the pillow of the last one killed over the face of his next victim and stabbing repeatedly, until such time as they went still in death.

“Was it murder,” ye may ask? That is not for this humble story teller to say. We all stand before our gods, our actions weighed on scales of their magnificent device, and only they can take the measure of good in our souls.

Onward, through earthen halls most foul, did our heroes stalk. The sounds of victims being tortured and twisted in praise to their black earth god rang through the halls. Guided by the Storm Gorgon’s wisdom, the heroes found a priest of the malicious rock god, attended by two of his most lethal body guards. The priest called Quarbo, issued forth vile magics. As the blood of innocents wept from the stones around him, The priest walked upon the stone walls, like a spider, and caused the pull of the earth to increase around your humble story teller and the Rage Knight. He called the sound of cleft stone to strike at the heroes tearing them into them as might the lightning should they be struck. His guards, encased in the barren and salt-sewn earth, struck with stone clubs cruelly spiked. Yet the Storm Gorgon was pleased with the bodies offered to him, them that hung from the keep walls. He granted the heroes victory against the agent of black earth.

Victorious, the heroes returned to the kitchen to eat the meat and cheese of the cultists as hear a tale of Storm Gorgon hero who was mighty, crafty, and handsome. The tales of such a hero healed the spirits and wounds of the heroes, his deeds being so great that mortal man was made better just in the hearing of them. And slightly more than an hour past the Hour of Witches, the heroes steeled themselves against the continued horrors of the black earth god and his cultists. Set to stalk the monastery halls again

Rewards:
620 exp each.
120 gp.
90 ep.
Cloth of gold priestly vestments (Clearly looted)- 40 gp.
2 golden bracelets worth 30 gp. each.
Two keys, one of which opened the chest that holds this loot, the other’s use has yet to determined.
Scrolls of earthbind, Maximillian’s earthen grasp, transmute rock to mud

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Simple Dilemma
Wherein Rinn finds Mattahar

Rinn was not clever, and he was alright with that.

He didn’t consider himself stupid, despite the jibes he was made to endure in his youth. Rinn had little use for complexity. Not only because he didn’t understand most things people called “complex”, but in his own life, simplicity had always been the surest path. The life of a monk had suited Rinn. He did not have an issue getting lost in the movement of a kata, or emptying his thoughts for a state of what his sensai had called “still being”. It was why Rinn had enjoyed his time among The Order of the Gauntlet. Their’s was a life highly regimented. Once Rinn was able to learn the cadence of living among The Order he could keep time with their way of life, as he did on his drum with music.

Perhaps because of his limited use for being clever, or the ease with which the monk had located Mattahar, he was not overcome with any sense of triumph as he watched his adventuring companion. She battled with wire brush in hand, fighting a losing battle with innumerable layers of filth caked upon the floor of the Prudent Lily.

Rinn thought that a strange name for this brothel, as he saw nothing prudent about the behavior of the clientele. Most of the Yartaran patronage drunkenly pawed at girls as they passed by, or offered some lewd propositions to the beatific olive-skinned young men that sat primly upon their laps.

Rinn’s location of Mattahar had been a simple matter. If there was anyone who knew anything about young women in a city, it was performers. They were a lascivious lot, who took it as point of pride to have young women targeted for conquest in each city they visited. It occurred to Rinn that he must have known that because he, himself, at one point was a performer. He had no memory of it really, just vague visions of traveling a land that didn’t look like this one. Perhaps he was remembering it wrong? That happened from time to time. Rinn was not clever.

Rinn sought out a traveling band in Yartar, and it didn’t take long for him to find out about the, “New girl at The Prude.”

“Be warned,” A young singer cautioned the monk. “This one is not for rolling. She has the sickness on her.”

Now seeing Mattahar, Rinn could see what the young singer meant. Mattahar did not look well. She was always slightly emaciated and thin from the ravages of her disease. Yet now her skin looked especially ashen, and her eyes hollow and red-rimmed. Her thin lips were cracked, and a fever blister rose in the corner of her mouth. Rinn was startled that her health could have digressed so drastically in just a few days.

Mattahar kept her head down, her hair held back by a soiled scarf, and her ill-fitting clothing was stained with grease and grime. Mattahar seemed absorbed by her work, and she had to be the only woman in the brothel who was being ignored or avoided.

Rinn was not clever, but to the monk it seemed as if the lack of attention was intentional.

Wishing to allow Mattahar to her anonymity, Rinn deduced that she was there to clean up messes, so it would not be strange to speak with her if he created a mess. The seat Rinn had taken was at a table no one had bothered to clear from the guests before him. Half empty pewter goblets, and the thrasher that contained mainly congealed mutton fat and filmy lamb juice littered the scarred surface of the warped wooden table.

In one graceful motion, Rinn swept his leg across the table top, sending the contents crashing to the floor. The clatter caught the attention of a few patrons, but upended tables and spilt drinks were common in this place. A few drunken laughs sounded, and some particularly snarky patron said something to the effect of, “Just put those anywhere.” Rinn ignored them, his eyes locked with Mattahar’s. She saw him, and she knew he had found her.

For moment Mattahar looked as if she was going to bolt as fox might when caught among the chickens. But instead, she slowly rose to her feet. Mattahar grabbed the leaky wooden bucket that contained water almost the same color as the grime on the floor, and lugged it towards the mess Rinn had made.

As Mattahar knelt once again to start cleaning up, Rinn tried to kneel as well. It made sense he should help clean up the mess. Mattahar was his friend, and after all, he had made the mess in the first place.

“Don’t!” Mattahar’s voice sounded strong, giving no indication that she was a s sick as she appeared. “It is good to see you Rinn but it won’t do to have you draw attention. Please sit. Don’t look at me. Try to nod, and only speak if you must. No one would talk to someone like me in a place like this.”

Rinn was not clever, he enjoyed that Mattahar had offered him such specific instructions.

Rinn returned to his seat and looked at nothing, as he did before entering a meditative state.

“You surprise me,” Mattahar said as she scrubbed near Rinn’s seat. “I thought for sure I wouldn’t be found here. I know the girl that opened this place. She used to work out of a similar establishment in ”/wikis/bargewright-inn" class=“wiki-page-link”> Bargewright Inn. She caught the eye of some traveling merchant. He bought her, and brought her north. Apparently he died last winter, and with the money that remained, my friend opened this place. She said backs were the only way she knew to make money, only this time it wouldn’t be her back."

Rinn didn’t get it.

“Rinn,” Matthar said seriously. “I need you to promise you won’t tell anyone where I am. Even ”/characters/monish-knight" class=“wiki-content-link”>Monish Knight. I can’t explain it right now. Even if we had the time, I don’t think even I fully understand what is happening. But there is something happening to me. In my mind, in my being. There is a change, although sometimes it feels like a correction. I don’t know but, for now, I need to be anonymous. I need to not be a part of anything. Until I met you and our friends, my fate was simple. I was slave girl. I would serve as cleaning staff because I was too fragile to serve in the brothels until I was of no further use. Then I would be sold or put out. This was to be my lot, and for some reason, I was fine with it. But now, since I have met you all, I fight monsters, and my life is threatened. Important things happen all around me and I barely understand them. Sometimes I feel as if I am saving the world, but how can that be?"

Rinn could empathize. He too did not always understand what was happening around him. Yet he could feel the gravity of a thing as it happened.

“And now,” Mattahar continued, frustration showing in her vigorous scrubbing of the floor. “Now it is like there is someone else. Someone who knows how to save the world, and someone who wants to. I feel like I know her, but I don’t think I trust her. She is angry with my decision to hide, for the time being. But I can’t figure out my own puzzles if I am traipsing about the valley following you all into the middle of everyone else’s. I just need-”

“Simplicity,” Rinn interrupted softly. “Familiarity. A place where you feel tethered, As you go adrift in your mind, you want a recognizable have a shore in sight.”

For the first time Mattahar looked up at Rinn. Her feverish-appearing eyes now brimming as she fought to keep back her tears.

“You will let me have that won’t you Rinn?” Mattahar asked the monk, her voice thick. “I am not asking you to lie. You can tell the others I am safe, but please, give me your oath you will not tell them where I am? Especially Knight. He has done so much for me, so much for my freedom. And I will pay him back. But right now, I need reprieve. Reprieve from the feeling that I owe him, even though I know I do. Reprieve from his constant vigilance over me. Reprieve from-”

“His anger,” the monk finished her sentence yet again.

Rinn thought about all she told him. Rinn had no problem blocking out the noise of the world. Half of it he didn’t understand anyway. And yet he knew that familiarity was often a preliminary step to solving inner conflict. Rinn also thought about how worried they all were about Mattahar. He knew Knight would tear this city down to the supports to find her, if he found out she was here.

“Your oath Rinn!” Matthar said again. “I’ll have it. Swear to me on our friendship, on your commitment to your Order, and on your own soul. Swear to me that you will not tell the others where I am. I will come find you all again, and soon. Tell them I am safe if you must. And tell Knight…”

Mattahar paused and looked away. He face twisted briefly, as if steeling herself against the turmoil of emotion and uncertainty that flooded through her.

“Tell him I am sorry,” she settled upon. “And that I will see him again, if he’ll let me.”

Rinn sat, looking passively as instructed. He could feel her hurt. He knew if he told Knight he had found her, and that she didn’t want to be found by him specifically, it would hurt him. It was all so complex. And Rinn did not like complexity. This was a decision for someone clever. Someone who understood the intricacies of the human spirit, and could determine which recourse would do the least amount of harm in this dilemma. Considerations, scale of choice, machinations, and unforeseen consequences, these were the realm of superior intellects like that of Panapapi Ticcotarp Copperspackle, not Rinn.

Rinn got up from his chair. Subtly letting his hand reassuringly brush against Mattahar’s sweaty face. He made is way out into the street, all the wile looking at nothing. It was nearing sunset, the time with which he was to meet with Knight and Papapani. Already this area of Yartar was picking up with activity of people beginning their night time revelry. The stink of too many people clung low between the buildings, lingering with the scent of stale alcohol, and far too ample of doses of imported perfumes. Rinn made his way to the west gate in silence, still trying to puzzle out what, if anything he would report.

Rinn was not clever and his heart hurt as he realized, for once, he was not alright with that.

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Spirefall
Wherein Savra discovers that the air cult has retaliated.

Savra Belabranta knew something was wrong as soon as The Feathergale Spire came into view. She applied pressure to the sides of hippogriff, Winddancer, with her knees urging the beast to quicken its flight. Savra felt the “thrum-thrum” in her chest as the hippogriff beat its great wings. Savra sped ahead of the foppish Waterdahvian youth of The Feathergale Society she had been escorting, but they didn’t notice, all regaling one another with tales of their recent outing.

Winddancer took a long pass over the top of the tower. Savra didn’t wait for the creature to land. Swinging a leg over the hippogriff’s muscular back, Savra plummeted three hundred feet through the air, racing towards the top of the spire. Holding her free-fall longer then most probably would, the young woman uttered her arcane words and produced a feather she had plucked from Winddancer’s plume before she dismounted. Suddenly Savra’s descent decreased to a lackadaisical wafting, like a feather on the wind. The elegant great sword once belonging to Thurl Merosska, now Savra’s, was out and at the ready by the time her armored boots hit the stones of the spire’s top.

Three corpses, one belonging to a tower guard, one to the bird men known as kenku, and one a feather cloaked priest Savra had once seen as spiritual leader, were scattered across the top of the tower, their bodies twisted and horribly broken. Progressive splatters of gore showed the tower guard had been lifted and slammed into the stones repeatedly. Savra’s hair flitted crazily, as persistent sorcerous currents of the air magic used in the fight still lingered slightly.

Savra could hear the Society members circling over head, curious of what was the matter. She had all but forgotten about the youths in her gruesome discovery.

“Fly home now! Be it Waterdeep, or where ever, but leave this place!” Savra called to them. “You are in danger.”

Despite all their feigned bravado, the young nobles were easily dissuaded. Within minutes they were black dots upon the horizon.

Savra made her descent into the spire, and was immediately assaulted by the charnel scent of slaughter. Strange and erratic winds howled through the lower levels, seemingly appearing from no where before vanishing. The gust carried with them the coppery tang of blood. The spire looked as if had been hit by a dozen hurricanes, and in some ways, Savra knew it had been. Doors were splintered on their hinges, the floor was heaped with wind blasted debris. Savra saw a window shuters blasted apart and bloody finger prints drug half way up the sill on either side. Savra knew some poor soul had tried to hang on before eventually being blasted out the window to plummet to the canyon below. Other bodies, mostly the inhabitants of the tower, however an occasional kenku or priest were found, the corpses crumpled and folded onto themselves leaving something horrific. Their bones broken repeatedly by gaels, their bodies eventually crashing into a stop in small nooks and corners of the stone walls. There were not enough bodies within the spire to match the blood spatters on the wall, floors, and ceiling, but Savra was certain the missing corpses would be found in the canyon at the base of the spire.

Making her way to the main gate, Savra found it twisted and wrapped around the huge bronze eagle that had served as a ram. The raw destructive power was almost too much for Savra to comprehend. Gusts had broken stout timber, hundreds of pounds of iron, and human bone in bludgeoning gouts of savagery. The drawbridge that spanned the great chasm was now twisted back on itself towards the middle, the twisting having snapped the bridge and sent the majority of it crashing to the canyon floor.

Finally, Savra arrived in the stables. They looked to have suffered the least damage, and there was no sign of bloodshed or Beeboo Steadhand. The stables were empty. As an after thought, Savra made her way to Winddancer’s stable. There she found a note hastily scrawled that read:

Spire is under siege. I have taken the remaining mounts and fled for Red Larch. They came from the sky, and there were too many. I fear many will not make it out.

Beebo

Savra read the note, tears welling up in her eyes. She knew the battered heaps of flesh, now crammed into impossible angles, had been the staff that she had come to know and befriend since Panapapi Ticcotarp Copperspackle had asked her to recreate the Society. A howling anger began to well up inside her. She held back her tears, letting her anger build to gust away the sadness.

Savra’s heard Winddancer’s cry of alarm as the hippogriff was warning her of something. Perhaps the cultists had returned? Savra’s grip became white-knuckled on the pommel of Thurl’s sword. She would have her vengeance now. She would shriek like the gales, she would quicken her blade as Thurl had taught her, she would rend, whip, batter, and crush those who had done this to her home. Her hair begun to swirl wildly around her, straw and debris flew out from her as a swirling wind formed around her. Savra shot through the halls of the spire, hovering a few feet of the ground and shoving her way off walls, ascending the stairways of the tower in quick leaps. She burst out on to the top of the spire, seeing the silhouette of kenku coming from the west.

“I will have my vengeance now!” Savra shrieked, and her voice echoed of the walls of the surrounding canyon like thunder claps. Her form blurred and she began to move with an uncanny quickness as she took a few test swipes of her great blade. Behind her Winddancer circled and dipped, launching into short intimidating dives, emitting his raptor shriek and showing his long fore-talons.

The kenku stopped some distance off. Through her rage Savra, barely noticed that these birdmen did not look the same as the dead among the tower ruins. These were light brown in coloration, with white under belly feathers and black facial feathers creating patterns like a sparrow.

“We come to warn you,” a voice sounded from their direction. It was obviously augmented by some kind of magic, as the creatures were little more than shapes, far enough out or range that could not have been reached by a bow. “We did attack the man-perch,” The voice continued, it struggled with the Common, and the voice squawked and whistled. “That was another tribe. Yet the men bring too much strife to our valley. None shall have the perch for a time, as it was before. We have spoken with the griffons, and the manitcores, and they agree. The perch shall stay empty. You and your tribe were respectful while here, and so you shall be granted safe passage. But you cannot stay. We mean no harm, but if you persist, we will destroy you as we will destroy any who come to reclaim the perch.”

Savra watched the beasts fly off after having had issued their warning, unsure what to do. She would need to get a message to Panapapi immediately. Beebo had fled to Red Larch, Savra that would be as good a place as any to regroup and figure out what to do next.

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