Mists of the Past

The Party Frees the Villagers
Rogues: part of this balanced breakfast.

Satyrday, 27th of Midsummer

After their combat with the gibbering mouther, the party proceeds to the quicksilver graveyard. They investigate the area, but are almost immediately set upon by an ooze from the silvery pool in the center. Similar to oozes they have fought in the past, slashing weapons do little damage, but this ooze is far nastier than the gray ooze of the Bronslaw Flats sewers, and it causes a fair amount of damage before they are able to dispatch it.

After fighting the ooze, the party continues to search the area. They find a control panel of sorts, inscribed with runes, and manage to work out that a great collection of lectures by various and professors have been preserved for posterity within the pool. They decide to listen to some of the lectures in the hopes of hearing about the location of new lenses for the Orrery.
The spell needed fuel in the form of fresh souls, so they used some nearby skum bodies and activated the device. Out of the mercury rose a silver figure, who began his lecture on celestial patterns and their correlations to the Orrery’s inner machinations. The adventurers are disappointed when there is no word as to the location of the lenses, but there are currently no more bodies to fuel the spell, so they decide to move on.

In an attempt to learn more about what is happening on the island, the group heads for the dig site. They sneak down to a narrow ridge overlooking the work area, and watch as the skum keep the villagers working. After much debate about possible plans, the group decides to attempt to talk to the skum before attacking. They walked down slowly, attempting to look peaceful, but the skum are having none of it. A battle ensues, with Cedric dealing out impressive amounts of damage with his whirlwind attack.

The party defeat the skum for the time being, but the villagers, still under the influence of the rune’s spell, refuse to leave. The party determines that they must shut down the rune, and so take a few skum bodies back to the quicksilver graveyard to activate the spell.

The second lecturer proves to be more useful, and towards the end of his speech he mentions the location of the lenses: at the top of a tower on the island. The only problem is that the top portion of this tower is one of the objects circling in enchanted flight above the island.
A good portion of the tower- 70 feet or so- remained affixed to the ground, and the group quickly made for the top. From there, the problem became getting into the orbiting tower chamber. Keela decided to try first, using her flight hex. She took off, heading for the floating chamber, and eventually made it, though her progress was hindered somewhat by the gravitational field that made flying difficult.

From there, Keela threw down a rope, allowing Cedric to climb in, as his strength was needed to move the lens. Alyndra and Senkara both attempted to follow, however, Senkara failed to make the jump and fell to the base of the tower.

The other three members of the party regrouped at the top of the tower, and were about to begin their trek down when they saw an old man, standing by a large bush a few hundred feet from the base of the tower. Curious, Senkara approached stealthily. The group was able to determine that the man was an illusion, though for who or what they were not sure.

Feeling threatened, the party decided to initiate a cautious attack. Though they attempted to warn Senkara to wait until they arrive to help, she failed to understand their message in its entirety, and made the very poor choice of attacking the disguised being. The action almost cost her her life.

The illusion, it turned out, was disguising a chuul, a large, nasty, tentacle-mouthed creature with paralyzing venom. Senkara’s attack missed, and before she could get away the chuul had her in its poisonous mouth, the paralytic seeping through her.

By this point Alyndra, Cedric, and Keela were close enough to begin attacking the beast, but they were swiftly running out of time. As a last-ditch effort, Alyndra cast suggestion on the beast, telling it that Senkara was crucial to the Master’s plan, and that the party should be left alone. By some miracle, it worked, and the beast dropped the half-dead Senkara and wandered off.

After Senkara had been healed and properly chastised, the party headed back towards the Orrery to install the lens and disable the rune. It didn’t take the party long at all, and after they’d finished Cedric destroyed the lenses so that it could not be turned back on.

The party then returned to the dig site and speaks with the villagers. Now that they are no longer under the effects of the controlling rune, the villagers were much more open to returning to their home on shore, and soon organized into groups for their return. Satisfied, the party left them to their own devices, and turned to their final task. It was time to confront Gerlach.

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Tentacles and Spiders and Mouthers, oh my!
The adventurers begin to explore the ancient island of Nal-Kashel

Twosday – Satyrday, 23rd – 27th of Midsummer

As Twoday comes to a close, Nikolias leads the Infidels up to the gathering in the Blackcove lighthouse. They were given two options to get there – make the treacherous climb up the path, or wait for a boat to arrive to row them across. Keela decides to fly up the path, while the rest decide to climb. Senkara slips on the damp path, cutting her arm and falling into the water – luckily, Gervus, the keeper of the lighthouse, comes along to row her and Nikolias across. He warns that there are a lot of beasts in the water lately.

All of the inhabitants of Blackcove (numbering, by now, less than forty) are living in the cramped space of the lighthouse. They all look similar to Gervus and Nikolias – pale skin and vaguely fish-like features. The group notices that most villagers are orphaned children and the elderly, and most of them were sick with a rasping, wet cough. Keela determined that the illness was not natural, and was most likely the result of years of seclusion and inbreeding causing a genetic problem.

The villagers hesitantly told the group that Gerlach, the alchemist that they were seeking, had begun visiting the old island of Nal-Kashel off the coast of Blackcove in an attempt to find a cure for the sickness. No one has seen him in weeks, and thick clouds began to form in the bay. Things, some vaguely human shaped, others giant tentacles, began to attack the shore. When asked what was special about Nal-Kashel, the party was told that it is an ancient city with a lot of old magic. It was damaged by the Cataclysm and left mostly alone until Gerlach began visiting it. The villagers then gathered numerous gilded trinkets and jewelry together, saying that if a solution could be found, then they would be willing to give these items in return.

The lighthouse then begins to shake violently, and the stormy weather outside increases. Giant tentacles begin shooting into the windows, snatching villagers to drag back out to the water. The villagers begin to panic, making the adventurers’ attempts to fight the creature that much more difficult. Between attempts to calm the crowd and convince them to move up to the next level and out of the fighter’s way, a few tentacles are severed, quickly being replaced by new ones. In an attempt to slice off another tentacle, Keela gets tangled in one of them, only to be saved by Senkara’s added strength. Enough tentacles are damaged that the monster leaves, prompting the villagers to gather twice the amount of golden trinkets as payment should a solution be found.

Mendsday dawns with the adventurers being brought to Nal-Kashel by Estian, the only villager with any experience near the island. He rows the group out towards “the wedding rock,” where tradition dictates that all newly married Blackcove couples go to consummate the marriage. When nearing the island, Estian violently transforms into a skum, rocking the boat to the point where Keela falls overboard into the giant jellyfish-infested water below. Estian dives in and swims away, leaving the group to pull Keela back to safety before continuing to shore on their own. Upon landing, Keela discovers that the island is tainted with a strange enchantment that will cause the adventurers to change as long as they are on the island. She also discovers a strong enchantment on the wedding rock itself – it essentially drugs the new couple, leaving them free to be mated with to produce new skum, who cannot produce their own offspring. This most likely accounts for the fishiness of the Blackcove inhabitants.

The Infidels climb to the next cliff-face of the island, where they are all tainted by the island’s enchantment – Cedric grows webbed fingers and his limbs grow sore, Keela begins to vomit, Senkara turns pale and fishy like the Blackcove folk, and Alyndra develops the wet, raspy cough that was seen on shore. In an attempt to save time, Keela sends Perin to explore the seemingly desolate island as they group surveys their surroundings. The buildings are in the architectural style of elvish seafaring towns, despite the fact that Nal-Kashel was an inhabited island since before the elves arrived on Aetheron, and the island was obviously once a center for magical learning. Perin returns to tell the group that the missing villagers, the ones pulled into the sea by the kraken-like monster, are on the other side of the island, digging furiously.

The adventurers climb up to the next level of the island, and begin to explore buildings. They find what was once an archive, with floating copper plates inscribed with knowledge of the island and its history. Unfortunately, the building is inhabited by three rust monsters, which almost immediately rust Senkara and Cedric’s weapons to the point of breaking, as well as disintegrating Alyndra’s armor into useless, rusted flakes. They quickly block the doors shut, and reorganize to find a better plan of attack. They reopen the door, manage to kill one of the monsters, but the other two are nowhere to be found – they have circled through a hole in the far end of the dome-like building in an attempt to sneak up on the group. They manage to take down the creatures rather quickly, and continue exploring the room as Alyndra fixes the damaged weapons with successive mending spells. Cedric looks among the floating texts that haven’t been ruined by rust, and finds an early chronicle of Nal-Kashel’s history. The group also finds a book about the Seventh Column, a secret group that was ceremonially drowned for organizing a coup against the island’s masters, as well as an incomplete chronicle of experiments changing humans into fish. A plate of glyphs turned out to be a minor crown of blasting, which went to Keela. They also found a map of the island, which they edited to show its current, half-sunken state. The amount of time currently spent on the island causes Senkara to lose a good portion of her hair as her eyes slide towards the sides of her head, while the rest of the group manages to stave off the worsening effects of the island’s ambient taint.

They exit the building, and notice a group of floating lights circling around the bodies of the rust monsters, as well as starting to circle around Keela and Alyndra. The prolonged exposure to the Night Terror in their systems was causing them to exude a slight panic, which drew the lights to them – they were will o’ wisps, once trapped in glass spheres to serve as light sources on the island but now free. The adventurers offer a trade to the creatures – if they gave information and guidance around the island, then the party would lead them to the many terrified people back in the Bronslaw Flats under the effects of the Night Terror to feed on their fear. The wisps say that Gerlach, who is now a skum, reworked the magical device inside the observatory, called the Orrery, to attack Blackcove. The nearby tower, known as the Growing Ruin, used to be inhabited by a skum astrologer who was the master of the Orrery. He had an ancient amulet he would wear that would help control the Orrery but when Gerlach went to find it, he could not. Gerlach also went often to the Quicksilver Graveyard in the center of the island, to access the power of the old masters, whoever that might be.

The group heads to the Growing Ruin to see what they can find. The tower seems to be growing out of the island itself, constantly shedding shale-like shards that rain down around the base of the tower. The group prepares to run through to the entrance of the tower when they are rushed by a large lizard. They quickly dispatch the lizard, Senkara takes a tooth for her collection, and they bolt to the tower entrance. The find a horn of fog inside, but no amulet – no surprise there, as Gerlach had searched already. Keela decides to cast detect magic, just to make sure it isn’t hidden anywhere unusual, and senses power coming from…inside the lizard. They cut it open and find the amulet inside his stomach. Keela, being the main magic-user, is given possession of the so-called armillary amulet, which provides protection against the Orrery’s affects as well as helps her to understand its workings.

The group climbs up another level of the island and goes to the observatory entrance. The building is empty, and the group decides to wait at the entrance as Keela enters the room so as not to trigger any adverse affects from the Orrery. Once Keela reaches the center of the room, looking at the whirling apparatus above her, two phase spiders appear. She doesn’t have time to react much before she is bitten and poisoned into unconsciousness. Alyndra makes it to her and restores her to consciousness, but Alyndra is affected by the Orrery – she now blinks between the Material and Ethereal Planes, which gives her the advantage of knowing where the spiders are when they phase out of existence. Senkara and Cedric enter the fray, with the Orrery giving Senkara a useful blur effect and leaving Cedric unaffected. Keela uses her ring of second chances to kick the poison out of her system, and then flies up out of reach of the spiders. Alyndra’s blink affect wears off as well, and she also resists the poison in her system. Senkara then triggers the Orrery, causing Cedric to get hit with a bolt of lightning as it misses her. The group sprints towards the entrance.

Now outside of the Orrery chamber, the group thinks they are safe until the phase spiders phase into being at the entrance. They are hit by the circling planetary spheres of the Orrery, and then phase outside of the chamber to bite Keela and Alyndra again. The adventurers kill the spiders, and flush the poison out of their systems yet again.

Keela re-enters the chamber, this time with her companions waiting at the entrance with bows at the ready. She spends the next five hours studying the Orrery with their cover, and discovers that to fix it, they must find a new crystal lens to replace the one that was shattered after Gerlach activated the Orrery. Without it, they could do nothing, as there are no extra lenses to be found in the chamber. The instructions they discover offer no replacement alternatives, merely the council to “ask your instructor for help in acquiring new equipment.” During that time, the group becomes even more tainted by the magical effects of the island: Keela’s organs start to shift and giving her the ability to heal more on every healing affect done to her; Alyndra begins to cough uncontrollably but can hold her breath for twice as long as normal, develops vestigial gills and labored breathing, and gains the ability to temporarily breath water; Cedric’s limbs grow longer as his bones warp, giving him more natural armor; and Senkara (already having transformed earlier) has her newly-positioned eyes to give her better peripheral vision.

The adventurers travel back to shore to rest and recover for the entirety of Foursday and Friday, and then head back to Nal-Keshel on Satyrday to find the equipment they need to stop the Orrery from affecting Blackcove. They land on the shore of the ancient island to have their way blocked by a gibbering mouther. As normal slicing weapons would not do it significant harm, the group had to forgo its usual tactics – everyone, that is, except Cedric, who hit it with his lucerne hammer. Senkara used Dulreep’s wand of acid arrow, Keela used her wand of ray of sickening, and they all hit it a few times. This all went well, until Keela tried to hit it with her staff and got bitten by it. This worried and enraged her comrades to the point where they quickly dispatched it into a puddle of goo.

Today, the 27th of Midsummer, marks six days since the Adventurers left the Bronslaw Flats, and the imperiled people they hope to save.

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Terrorists Attack the Olympics
After winning the Bronslaw Olympics, the Lighthouse Infidels desperately search for an antidote for the neurotoxin unleashed upon the city by the Cult of the Weeping Father.

Friday – Twosday, 19th – 23rd of Midsummer:

Friday arrived, and with it came a whole new pack of trouble for Alyndra and Keela in the form of a caravan of no less than a hundred gnomes. The band of “gnome-ads” turned out to be the Laurame clan, led by none other than Keela’s wandering uncle Tomos and his daughter Hollira. The overall-clad, cone-capped patriarch explained that the clan came to Nova Dominium in the hopes of watching the Olympics, but were first held up in Iladia (thanks to a manhunt for a ginger gnome resulted in the entire caravan being searched) and were now being denied entrance by Crixus, who remained hesitant to allow gypsies into a city already facing a witching crisis. Alyndra was able to convince the leader of the Contego to allow the Laurame clan entrance, but Crixus insisted that they were in her and Keela’s custody, and that the adventurers would be held responsible for any tomfoolery caused by the gnomes. Tomos thanked his distant niece, and hinted that he knew the true nature of her spellcasting, but intended to keep mum (implying that many of the clan members were in fact witches themselves). Alyndra and Keela brought the clan to stay in Southwatch Lighthouse, but as they got the gnomes settled in they noticed a seemingly faceless figure watching them before quickly disappearing.

The second event of the Adventurer’s Gambit – the Maze of Blood – commenced that evening. Cedric and Senkara were released within a labyrinth riddled with traps and obstacles, tasked to reach a checkpoint while collecting as many “item tokens” as possible (these would be available during the final trial). The pair first had to contend with a corridor of whirling axes that ended with a wall they had to break down. The acrobatic adventurers easily evaded the trap, and as Senkara slid beneath the spinning blades she spotted and recovered an item token featuring a pair of bracers. The next obstacle was a steep-walled pyramid, with several handholds booby-trapped with spring-loaded spikes. Cedric led the way on this obstacle, finding the safest route for Senkara to follow and plucking an item token depicting a vial from within one handhold. The third corridor was filled with water, and periodically erupted with scalding steam, but since both contenders were experienced swimmers they easily crossed the canal with two item tokens in tow – a necklace and a spear. At this point they spotted the checkpoint across a field of interwoven barbed wires. Both adventurers made it to the finish line, but exhaustion and the threat of the razor wires prevented them from finding any more item tokens, leaving them with a total of four tokens and passage into the third trial.

From the audience, Alyndra’s joy at seeing her companions triumph turned to horror as the faceless figure stalking her near the lighthouse sneaks up on her before mysteriously disappearing. Confused about it’s reappearance in different places, Alyndra suspects the enigmatic apparition is some form of illusion, and begins to wonder if it is a product of the shady modifications the fraternity elves made to Grayson’s Seasong Mead.

Her suspicious were further aroused the next day, when Alyndra and Keela witnessed one of the brothers of Gamma Psi Beta giving something to a guard outside the arena. Both conspirators managed to escape before the adventurers could apprehend them, forcing the two to split up. Keela ran off to find Grayson and expose the clandestine dealings of the brothers, but was halted in her search by a blow to the head, knocking her unconscious. Alyndra was able to catch the guard, and soon realized that he had been enchanted, tasked with bringing a vial of poison to one of the sequestered competitors in the Olympics. While she investigated this turn of events, however, the Masked Monk materialized behind her, and the bard was barely able to recognize that the horrifying figure was naught but a hallucination. The unknown cause of this hallucination, however, was an even more alarming mystery.

After finding a staggered and bewildered Keela, Alyndra hunted down Slade and told him about the recent turn of events they witnessed. Convinced that the fraternity brothers were up to no good, Slade vowed to have them expelled from the games and set out to find Grayson and remove the taint in the Seasong Mead. Keela consulted Wayne and discovered that the vial being smuggled by the bewitched guard was a dose of scorpion venom, though he could not say from where the elf procured it. Alyndra was intercepted by Gervais Tripdirt and informed that the body of Senkara’s sister had been stolen. Alyndra rushed to the graveyard with the old undertaker, and upon investigation concluded that the Crowns stole Alserynth’s corpse.

Meanwhile, Cedric and Senkara were brought into the semifinals of the Adventurer’s Gambit: the Aisle of Liches. Their task was to behead the “lich” at the end of the track before them while weathering the lich’s magical onslaught (provided by the brothers of Gamma Psi Beta). The Lighthouse Infidels started off strong, shaking off an enchantment and evading a magically conjured web, but a subsequent haunting mists effect compromised Cedric’s willpower enough so that a scare spell sent him running in the opposite direction. Senkara continued on her own, only to be blinded by one of the wizards, crippling her progress. To add insult to injury, one of the other teams (presumably the intended recipient of the scorpion venom) began throwing daggers at another team, without any referees noticing the underhanded tactic, and was subsequently the first to decapitate the dummy. Cedric rushed to recover lost ground, just as Senkara triggered the summoning of two fiendish spiders. Senkara was quickly entangled in webbing and poisoned, so Cedric tumbled past the summoned monsters and endured an ear-piercing scream long enough to behead the lich, earning the two adventurers a place in the finals.

By Sunday morning, the Lighthouse Infidels realized that Cedric and Senkara would likely lose their gambit with the underhanded competition if they didn’t resort to a little cheating of their own. Alyndra smuggled several potions to her teammates, restoring them to full health and removing Senkara’s blindness, and warned them about her suspicions concerning the Seasong Mead. Unfortunately, this left Keela to investigate the mead on her own. As she approached the vat of mead, she found Grayson trembling with fear, a trail of blood leading behind the vat, and a dark figure looming over her. Alone and scared, Keela became paralyzed with indecision until Alyndra was able to catch up. Alyndra dispelled the imposing figure as another hallucination, and followed the trail of blood to a critically wounded Slade. After healing the dying Watch commander, they realized that the witches had attempted to cut his throat (just like the Lysts) in order to stop him from interrupting the delivery of the poisoned mead to the Olympics. The three then rushed to the arena, praying that Cedric and Senkara could stall the crowd before the last ceremony…

The final contest in the Adventurer’s Gambit was a duel between the two finalist teams. Cedric and Senkara were outfitted with the gear provided by their item tokens, and waited to see how their opponents (clad in armor from their own tokens) would act. One of the challengers threw a dagger at Cedric (which he easily dodged) and drew a battle-axe, but the reach of Cedric’s spear gave him the chance to run around his opponent, outflanking the elf and allowing Senkara to bring him low. From there it was only a matter of time before the last opponent was flanked and sneak-attacked into submission, resulting in the Lighthouse Infidels being declared champions of the Bronslaw Olympics. The final ceremony – drinking the Seasong Mead – was about to commence, but the two adventurers tried their best to delay the crowd, revealing their patronage by House Drachmaa and padding out their victory speech. Unfortunately, just as Keela and Alyndra arrived, the crowd grew restless and consumed the tainted mead.

At this point, the Masked Monk appeared in the arena, his voice magically amplified, and told the entire stadium that they had been poisoned – in the same poetic fashion as their Saint Olympia – with a diluted, slow-acting dose of Night Terror (the neurotoxin lost by the Thieves’ Guild during the witches’ storm). He informed the crowd that in order to be cured, they must shun the false Faith of the True Light and return to the rocky shoals by the Silex Heights to be cleansed by the Weeping Father.

The Lighthouse Infidels used the time of his speech to close the distance, attempting to talk to the Monk and discover his true motives. When his answers were elusive and vague, the party attacked. Most of their attacks proved futile, but one lucky strike by Senkara allowed her to slash the masked terrorist with her silversheen dagger, revealing that the Masked Monk was at least vulnerable to silver slashing weapons. The Monk did not let this slight go, however, and snatched Josephine’s dagger from out of Senkara’s hand before knocking her out. Alyndra’s consistent use of mage hand also revealed something about the Monk, though not what she expected – when she pulled the mask away from it’s face, some force pulled it back and reattached it, without the enigmatic herald moving a single limb. After a few more rounds of fruitless combat, the Masked Monk made his escape, and the group limped off to lick their wounds.

The group met with Slade, Wayne, and the Contego, but no one was able to come up with a plan to treat an entire stadium of spectators who were all poisoned (excluding Cedric and Senkara, who knew better than to drink the mead). Wayne gave Keela and Alyndra slow-acting antitoxins and said he might be able to brew up some more, but that he couldn’t make much and it was ultimately a short-term solution. The Contego agreed to consult the Church of the True Light, Slade stormed off to investigate the elf fraternity’s involvement (most of the Gamma Psi Beta brothers also went through Ingeni Pontifex’s class, further complicating matters), and the party sent messages to the Thieves’ Guild to no avail. Later, however, Wayne confided in the party that, although Poculum was gone, there may be another alchemist skilled enough to cure Night Terror: a reclusive sorcerer named Gerlach, who lived in the isolated, xenophobic coastal village of Blackcove. Wayne had corresponded with Gerlach in the past, but recently Gerlach seemed to have fallen off the face of the earth.

Without any other leads, the party started to make preparations to leave for Blackcove, which was just short of two days’ walk West of Nova Dominium. They purchased trail rations from Marisa and discovered that Senia had disappeared without a trace (which the group suspected was due to her involvement with the witches). Tomos agreed to hold down the lighthouse so long as his clan could stay there until they were given permission to leave – with the city on lockdown and his whole family poisoned, he saw no reason not to help his niece if she could find a treatment. The group gave the fine-cut diamond from the Wreathe of Olympia to Beacon Patricio, and received several powerful healing potions for remembering his request. The group was ready to leave, but hit one last obstacle: Slade informed them that no one was allowed in or out of the city for fear of the recent turn of events, and he didn’t have the clout to get them through the roadblocks. This snag was quickly resolved, however, when Axe cornered the party and informed them that he could get them to Blackcove, but only if they agreed to return Gerlach’s cure to the Guild instead of to Wayne, since it was a potential source of enormous revenue. If the party gave the treatment to the Guild, they would earn full membership; if they went to Wayne, Axe strongly implied that the Guild would kill him (and likely the party) and take the cure anyway. The group was caught in a rough spot, not only because of the outrageous offer but also because the Thieves’ Guild knew about Gerlach despite the fact that Wayne told them about him in confidence. Ultimately they decided to put this problem on the back burner: they couldn’t make a decision about what to do with the cure until they actually found it.

Axe smuggled the party beyond city limits, and they spent all of Oneday and much of Twosday en route to Blackcove. While traveling along the shore the party encountered a lone fisherman being attacked by a group of monstrous crabs. After fending off the bottom-feeders, the grateful fisherman rewarded the group with a silver comb and a plea for help. The man, Alder, told the Lighthouse Infidels that he was from Blackcove, but fled the isolated village when “something from the deep” began kidnapping the citizens, including his wife. The party agreed to investigate, but the terrified fisherman continued to flee to the east.

By the end of the day the party reached Blackcove, a dilapidated fishing village, and found every building was abandoned. Most of the boats had been sunk out in the harbor, and tracks of massive tentacles could be found winding through the dirt roads. They found nothing in Gerlach’s cottage (save a few scrolls), but ran into a lone soul while returning to the village: Nikolias, a strangely calm and hideous constable who constantly muttered about things stirring in the deep. He informed the party that most of the remaining villagers were holed up in the lighthouse, so the party set out for the rocky coast as a storm brewed out to sea…

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Slaying Spiders and Gearing Up for the Games
The Infidels do some Bestiary commission work before entering in the Bronslaw Olypmics

Mendsday & Foursday, 17th & 18th of Midsummer

As devastating as the (semi) unintentional murder of Senkara’s sister is, the party wastes no time in preparing a new course of action. Hopeful that they may have access to a diamond via the Bronslaw Olympics, their first plan is to secure Alserynth’s body. Senkara makes the trip implores Gervais to put off burying her sister as long as possible. The grave keeper gives Senkara a window of nine days before he buries her. With a heavy heart, Senkara exits the graveyard after leaving her family’s locket with her sister’s body.

In the meantime, the other three hit the town on various errands. Keela is able to solve the ring puzzle given to them by the Thieves’ Guild with remarkable speed, so she visits Thevane Crispwillow to enlist her expertise in appraising magical items. The gnome excitedly reports that the puzzle is a ring of second chances, an extremely rare item that can benefit its user in several different ways, including thwarting death itself. After binding the ring to herself, Keela visits Ingeni and his wife Yvette for breakfast. She engages the professor in a discussion about the morality of the witches by pointing out that they have aligned themselves with hags, which are wholly evil creatures. To counter this point, Ingeni cites an incidence of an ogre in the North being converted by a dwarf of the True Light during the times of the giant plague. While he does not outright say it, it is evident that he believes that the same may be possible of the hags. Keela leaves their estate after breakfast still largely unconvinced that the witches operate under a noble cause.

At the same time, Cedric and Alyndra pay a visit to Myr Capo, head of House Drachmaa, to gather information regarding the upcoming games. They find out that the competition is set up in four parts, including archery tag, the Maze of the Blood, the Aisle of Liches, and the final battle between the two remaining teams. They are also told that items they find in the first three events will determine what items they get to use in the final battle. When the battle is finished, there is a ceremonious drinking of Seasong Mead before the champions are named and rewarded with a Wreath of Olympia, which contains a diamond at its center. The Cedric and Alyndra are flooded with hope that they may have access to the material needed to revive Senkara’s sister. They meet afterward at the Bestiary to share the good news. There is little time to celebrate, however, as Irwin quickly sends the adventurers on a hunt for seven young spiders that escaped from the premises. Armed with antitoxins, they return to the sewers in search of venomous spider hatchlings.

On their way, they hear mutterings of a language they do not understand coming from around the corner where Blooroath once lived. Alyndra casts comprehend languages and figures out that it is a group of skum searching for something in the piles of garbage. The casters set up an ambush by using mage hand to carry their sunrod across the bridge while producing ghost sounds. Thinking the spectacle is a sign from “the Father”, the skum fall into their trap and are attacked by the party. One is unfortunately able to escape, so the group presses on in their search for the spiders. After a few battles, and a couple trips around the sewers, they successfully exterminate the spider spawn and are paid for their efforts by Irwin.

The day is still young at this point, so the Lighthouse Infidels take advantage of their time by splitting up to track down more information. Keela and Senkara search for the home of Canabant, the politician who put in the request to silence Alserynth, but they are unsuccessful. Alyndra checks in on Marisa who reports that Senia has still been acting strangely, but not much else can be determined. Cedric and Keela return to the graveyard again and change the location of the would-be-mohrg’s body in the official records in the event that witches attempt to reanimate him. The group reconvenes and visit Ingeni once more to ask about what “croning” is and what it has to do with witches. The professor claims he does not have that information, but the group discerns that he knows something that he’s not letting on. Still, he urges the party to ask Antigone, which the party never does mostly because Antigone sucks and no one likes her.

The day comes to an end and the team returns to the lighthouse to rest up before the games. In the morning, Slade sends for Keela and Alyndra and asks them to assist Gamma Psi Beta, a fraternity from the Collegium Magicum, in running the events and maintaining general order. It’s worth noting that the frat has swelled in numbers in the wake of recent events, and many of the students have taken Ingeni’s civil liberties class. The casters’ first order of business is to oversee the making of the final ceremony’s mead, which is brewed by Grayson. The girls are hyperaware that there’s Night Terror floating around the city and try exceedingly hard to be vigilant about knowing what goes into the mead. It isn’t until one of the frat boys, Tillius, drinks the mead in front of them that they both take tiny sips of the sample. No one present can detect any poison, and the mead tastes, by all accounts, delicious. Grayson drinks it heartily. The casters are still suspicious of the frat boys, but feel they have no way to back up their suspicions productively.

The games begin. Senkara and Cedric are wildly successful in the first round by using their stealth and archery skills to their full advantage. They pass as one of the eight teams that are permitted to move on to the next days’ events for round two of the Bronslaw Olympics.

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Of Recitals, Rivals, Rebellion, and Relative Rending.
The members of the group find their separate ways to the Cotillion, but soon find themselves in a fight against the Faith of the Weeping Father

Oneday & Twosday, 15th & 16th of Midsummer

The morning after the storm, each member of the party received a summoning.
Alyndra received a letter from Tenorus, inviting her to meet with him at Victarion’s Restaurant and Winery. She went to meet him, and he invited her to perform with him at the prestigious Midsummer Cotillion. He also borrowed a ball gown for her for the occasion.

Cedric’s letter formally invited him to the Harp and Thistle, where he met with members of House Drachmaa. He was told that Myr Capo might be interested in a partnership, and was invited to be his guest at the Cotillion. He was given a mithril shirt to wear.

Senkara’s letter invited her to meet with Polonius at Victarion’s Restaurant. When she arrived, however, she was not on the guest list. Turning to leave she encountered the group’s Thieves Guild contact; she learned from him that a shipment of a rare and dangerous poison called Night Terror had failed to arrive when the Guild needed it, leaving an important contact hanging. Senkara was told to go meet with the contact, a Senator named Canebant, to find out what he wanted done and do it. He was also (surprise) at the Cotillion.

Keela was invited to meet with Wayne, who excitedly told her that he had a backer, but that he needed more information from a Collegium-level alchemist, Professor Poculum, before he could get his air conditioner working. Wayne’s backer, Professor Pontifex, a professor of civil rights and justice, returned at that moment to ask about the sewers and started discussing the witch attacks with Keela. They talked about reasoning and politics, and Pontifex said he believed that the witches were at war with the city. Intrigued by their conversation, Pontifex invited Keela to the Cotillion.

The following evening at the Cotillion, after everyone had been properly fitted for their clothes, Alyndra performed decently, and gained some favor with those in the audience. She started walking through the crowd with Cedric, and they came across Atalanta Lyrio, the elven woman who had stood up for the group during the margarine wine fiasco, and the daughter of House Lyrio’s patriarch, Senator Pylos Lyrio. Atalanta questioned Cedric about his fighting experience (there were also many awkwardly adorable bits of flirting), before leading him over to speak to Senator Pylos. Pylos interrogated Cedric as a contestant to represent House Lyrio in the Brawnslaw Olympics Adventurer’s Gambit. Pylos seemed less than impressed with Cedric.

After that conversation, Cedric broke away and went to talk to Myr Capo, who also made him an offer regarding the Brawnslaw Olympics, on the condition that Cedric would not reveal his affiliation with House Drachmaa unless he won. Cedric accepted his offer.

Meanwhile, Senkara spends her time trying to find her contact, and does so. After a little fumbling her purpose is made clear, and Canebant reveals that he’s spent a few nights with an elven woman, who he now believes to be pregnant. Senkara’s task is to stop her from remembering what happened two nights prior at any cost.

Senkara agreed and quickly found her mark, walking up and attempting to slip sap from the Brunsfelnia Renimatus into her drink. However, luck was not in Senkara’s favor, and she was spotted. Two guards called her bluff and forced her to drink the wine, which she promptly spilled rather than ingest the tainted drink. She was quickly escorted from the party.

Once outside, however, she noticed a group of figures sneaking through the hedges, and chose to follow them.

Keela had spent her time speaking with Professor Ingeni Pontifex and his wife Yvette. They both treated Keela with kindness and respect, and despite the fact that she is a non-elf, Keela was treated almost as an equal by most party-goers out of respect for the Pontifexes. Professor Poculum was even willing to answer Keela’s questions about the mechanics of Wayne’s AC unit. To Keela’s surprise, Professor Pontifex hinted that he might know Keela is a witch, and that he might also be one. They had a lengthy discussion involving the witches, as well as the Faith of the Weeping Father. Tigris stopped by and it seemed that she might know about Pontifex’s supposed witch affiliations.

It was then that word came of an attack at the borders by witches, and everyone with the ability quickly let to go help, leaving those at the party mostly unprotected. That, admittedly, was a mistake on their part, because not moments later, who should appear but the followers of the Faith of the Weeping Father. They were led by a man in a mask, who gave calm orders that each member of the faith find their ‘mark’ to kidnap.

The group began to try and fight off the attack as best they could, and Senkara used the confusion to find and kill the woman from before, completing the duty assigned to her by the Thieves’ Guild contact. Then she rejoined the skirmish. At this point the group launched as good an attack as they could manage on the masked leader, but he brushed them off casually, dealing out massive amounts of non-lethal damage to those attacking him before he and his followers disappeared much the way they had come, taking many with them (including Professor Poculum).

Disheartened, the group returned to their Lighthouse, only to find waiting for them their Thieves’ Guild contact, who congratulates Senkara on her callousness. When she confusedly asked him what he meant, he informed her that the assignment had been a test in more ways than one: A horrified Senkara learned that she had, in fact, murdered her own younger sister, Alserynth, who had snuck into the party disguised as a full-blooded elf. In payment, he gave the group a puzzle ring which, when assembled, would grant special powers to the one who assembled it.

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Hags and Hail
The group fights along side the Contego, and saves the town from a decimating storm

Satyrday & Sunday, 13th & 14th of Midsummer

The adventurers and Lumen Zaphkiel make their way to the warehouse. Senkara sneaks up to the wooden door, peering through the cracks in an attempt to see inside. She can see nothing, and Keela’s attempts at sneaking up to help her result in the door creaking loudly, alerting those within of their presence. An ominous gust of wind rushes through the door, leaving no clues as to what spell might have caused it.

They enter the building to find four elite elven guards, and a coven of three witches surrounding a green hag. Realizing that by the time they made it to the doors on the other sides of the warehouse their adversaries would have fled, they decided to enter through the main door. The fight began with Keela casting glitterdust, but the hag remained unaffected by its blinding affects. The charmed elven guards are the main barrier between the group of fighters and the coven of witches, until Cedric gets an idea – remembering the prize given to them by the crazy druids in Court Park, he throws an ascomoid seed into the warehouse. It tumbles around the room, dealing damage to a few of the guards and a witch or two before being slashed to pieces by the elves’ swords. However, this happened to be the last helpful addition Cedric made to the battle – shortly after, he was bewitched by a hideous laughter spell, leaving him lying hysterically helpless on the floor.

The fight is soon interrupted by the Contego PopulumGretl, Horatio, and Crixus enter through the other doors, and aid in defeating the majority of their foes. Unfortunately, the hag fled soon after the battle turned against her, leaving the fight far behind.

Crixus then informed the group that the gust of wind they felt earlier was in fact a powerful storm spell, leaving all of the Bronslaw Flats in danger. The Lighthouse Infidels quickly raced into town, warning everyone to get indoors. They spread the message to a good number of people before a monstrous hailstorm hit. They found a group of children huddled under a broken awning, with a few guards attempting to fix it for some hint of protection. They helped the guards with the awning then sped off towards the lighthouse to make sure that everything was safe there.

They arrived just in time to see a large ship crash onto the shore. The majority of the adventurers jumped nimbly out of the way, but Keela was not fast enough to avoid being crushed by a falling mast. A few terse words calmed the crew and they were able to get her to safety before the group retreated to the lighthouse to heal and rest. The party did, however, notice two members of the Crowns stealthily assassinate the ship’s elf captain and a pedestrian, looting some undiscerned object from their carcasses before fleeing into the storm. The Infidels were unable to pursue them, however, being driven inside by the harsh weather.

After the storm, the Infidels were rewarded for their benevolent exploits. The Contego used their pull with the Aedis to give each of them some helpful equipment: Alyndra received a + 1 chain shirt (prompting the sale of her old masterwork one for an additional 125 sp) and a masterwork alchemical silver rapier; Senkara received a + 1 short sword and a quiver of 20 + 1 arrows; Keela received a wand of dispel magic with 13 charges remaining; Cedric received a + 1 lucerne hammer and an efficient quiver. The guards from the bazaar also gave each adventurer a potion of cure moderate wounds for their help with getting the children to safety.

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Massacres & Mysteries
The party flees Praestan as it is overwhelmed, only to find new developments in the witching crisis back home.

Friday & Satyrday, 12th & 13th Midsummer

In their search for Senkara’s father, Elpidius, the party first visited the Long Draw, one of Praestan’s few serviceable inns. Their elven disguises deceived the barkeep, who told the group that Elpidius was held under “work arrest,” forced to continue managing the village’s accounts under Abnego’s ever-watchful eye. This new information pointed the party towards the Village Center, Abnego’s seat of power and Elpidius’ prison. Though the guards initially denied the party access to the accounting office, Alyndra fascinated them long enough for the other three to sneak in a back door. They quickly found an exhausted and bedraggled Elpidius, and after Senkara revealed her true identity to the wary elf, the group convinced him to join them and escape to Nova Dominium. Unfortunately, smuggling Elpidius out of the Village Center proved considerably more difficult, and the party was quickly apprehended and brought before the village despot.

Abnego, surrounded by his elite retinue of enforcers, quickly recognized Senkara and began mocking Elpidius, claiming his daughter’s attempt to rescue him was a crime only punishable by death. The party attempted to use their connection to the Thieves’ Guild, including the mysterious chest their contact provided, as leverage, but once they provided the chest Abnego decided a merciful response to their assistance was to merely hang them in the morning. His arrogance was cut short, however, when he finally opened his package. Once Abnego turned the key, he immediately died screaming as a seemingly endless fountain of golden scarabs erupted from the chest, consuming everything in sight. Chaos ensued, allowing the party to flee with Elpidius in tow, scarabs literally biting at their heels. With some clever thinking and more than a little luck, the party was able to escape the doomed village, turning their horses around to watch as Praestan was completely consumed by a mountain of swarming insects.

The ride back was long and quiet, as the group contemplated the horrid fate they had unleashed upon Senkara’s childhood home at the behest of the Thieves’ Guild. As they moved through the countryside they noticed the murder of crows in the surrounding trees had grown considerably, further increasing their sense of unease. Nova Dominium appeared on the horizon, but as they approached, a lean, 9-foot tall hooded figure blocked their way. After speaking a few verses in a raspy tone, the mysterious humanoid disintegrated into hundreds of crows, and the entire murder descended on the heroes. Leaving the horses as a distraction, the party made a break for the walls of the city, with Senkara and Cedric helping Elpidius keep up in their mad dash. With only minor injuries, the party safely found their way inside the walls of Nova Dominium, the murder of crows dispersing behind them.

A great deal had happened in their absence. Upon returning to the stable to report the loss of their horses, the party found the surly stablemaster mauled. Inspection of the body revealed that an annis hag, most likely associated with the witch cult and the tall figure that confronted them on the road, had attacked him. The group then returned to Southwatch Lighthouse, only to find their javelin trap had been sprung and an elf lay dead on their doorstep. Drevitt confessed that a number of elves posing as customs officers had tried to force their way into the lighthouse using magic, but he fended them off with the help of Senkara’s trap and the timely arrival of the City Watch. The old wrestler was happy to help, but requested that the PCs not ask him to guard the lighthouse again – witches were simply too far above his pay grade.

The group rested, granting Elpidius sanctuary until they could bring him to Polonius in the morning. The next day the adventurers returned to the Temple of the Dawn to request further healing for Elpidius and themselves, but were shocked to find Lumen Nalia in a comatose state. Overseeing her treatment was a striking elf cleric, who introduced himself as none other than Lumen Zaphkiel, renowned member of the Contego Populum. He informed the party that Nalia was the target of a sea hag’s evil eye effect, a powerful curse that would claim her life if she did not receive magical aid. He was watching over her while the rest of the Contego investigated the crime scene. At this point the group split up in order to cover more ground and tie up loose ends.

Alyndra ran to Thevane Crispwillow and purchased a scroll of remove curse, the only item that could possibly help the afflicted lumen. Zaphkiel was able to successfully dispel the evil eye, and in a few moments Nalia returned to consciousness, shaken but otherwise unharmed. She informed Zaphkiel and Alyndra that she had noticed some unusual activity by the waterfront, and was attacked by witches and the sea hag that cursed her when she went to investigate. She provided the two adventurers with the address where she was ambushed, and requested that they follow up while she recovered.

Senkara returned to Polonius’ home, where father and grandfather were tearfully reunited. Elpidius presented the party with his magic items from Praestan (claiming he no longer had any need for them), and Polonius signed over the deed to his ancient warship, Scythe, to Senkara, fully acknowledging her as his grandsaughter. Scythe’s state of disrepair made it little more than a nominal gift, but the party decided to rebuild the great flagship once they acquired the necessary funds.

Meanwhile, Cedric and Keela visited Victarion’s Restaurant and Winery, where their code phrase reunited them with their Thieves’ Guild contact. The mysterious elf commended them on handling the task intelligently and obediently, and explained that the “Woodhaven Project” was originally a front used to establish a smuggler’s haven for goods being shipped north for sale. The intent was to found a “racially equal” trading village so as to establish positive relations with Northern buyers, but Abnego’s self-righteous coup made Woodhaven a liability. To cover their tracks, the Thieves’ Guild imported the scarab swarm in an extradimensional space with the intent of eliminating every inhabitant (innocent or otherwise) and wiping the village off the map, then letting the nighttime temperature drop kill off all the beetles; it would be as if Woodhaven had never existed.

After a quick rendezvous and exchange of information, the reunited group teamed up with Zaphkiel to visit the address Nalia had provided. They found little more than an unoccupied tenement, but upon further investigation discovered numerous, hastily scrawled notes stuffed into a mattress:

Gervais Tripdirt – son Ethan addict, gravekeeper, records of dead in file beside bed.”
Marisa Montea – tavern owner and barkeep, strong willed, popular and well connected – DO NOT HARM!”
“Baldwin Brayer – son Dilwin is lame, patrols wharf front and lighthouse mostly.”
“Donal Loye – lover Miley left him for church – pilgrim, naval customs officer, manifests kept on desk (present) or in cabinet (past) – MAY HAVE TARGET INFO!”
Lyst family, lighthouse – father Carver, strong but dull, wanted for murder, hiding out – mother Teya, covering for Carver, small and frail – daughter Isabel, healthy, POSSIBLE CRONING CANDIDATE!”
“Lighthouse Infidels – Cedric, human spearman, strong body, will unknown – Alyndra, halfblood bard, Flats native, close with Marisa – Senkara, halfblood thief, good senses, SISTER? – Keela, gnome SORCERER???, thrush familiar, strong will – all adventurers, DANGEROUS, do not confront directly or alone, kill only if exposed, watch out for traps in lighthouse!”

The party immediately realized they had stumbled upon a trove of reconnaissance information obtained by the witch cult. Without time to consider the deeper implications of some of these notes, they immediately sought out apparent targets the witches had deemed high profile.

Their first stop was at Gervais’s house, since the group already had a good rapport with the old gravedigger. They found him in hiding, terrified after he was visited by a group of elves demanding his records of the dead. Zaphkiel identified that their intention likely focused on using the corpses of mass murderers as potent undead; since Gervais had the records of where they were buried, they likely meant to steal the information from him. The party convinced Gervais to stash his records in a hidden cache and wait for their return.

The group next visited the Brayer home, but stumbled upon a far more ghastly scene: Baldwin, his wife, and his son were all killed in a similar fashion to the Lysts, with no readily apparent motive. The party realizes the targets in those notes are in dire peril, and immediately rush off to warn the last potential victim: Donal Noye.

They found him in the customs office, milling about with several other employees. When they announced their presence, the clerk at the desk insisted they leave right up until she learned they had a member of the Contego Populum in their midst, at which point she invited them in. Suspecting a trap, the group requested they meet outside, arguing with the clerk until she grew frustrated. Deciding she was caught, the woman dismissed the veil over the office, revealing that all the employees were now zombies and she herself was the sea hag responsible for Nalia’s prior condition. A fierce battle ensued, in which Keela blinded the hag with glitterdust while Senkara, Alyndra and Zaphkiel fended off the oncoming zombies. Cedric tumbled past the corpses and skewered the hag; with their leader dead, mopping up the remaining zombies proved simple. The group found the manifest mentioned in the note, but realized that one page was torn out. The only remaining entry of note was a reference to a single empty warehouse near the wharf. With no other leads and a pressing need to find the missing manifest page, the party set out for this warehouse. Alyndra, Cedric, Keela and Senkara now understood that these witches were to be some of their primary adversaries, and as a way to unify their cause and spite the cult, they agreed to name their adventuring party " the Lighthouse Infidels."

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Wine tasting, an unexpected reunion, a gnome auction, and some creepy-ass crows
The party earns more favor with House Drachmaa before setting out for Praestan

Mendsday – Friday, 10th – 12th Midsummer

After securing Blooroath in his new home, the party sets forth to “poison” the margarine wine set to be served in the High Life the same evening. The women of the group disguise themselves as elven sisters and are successful in duping the maitre d into believing that they needed Cedric around as their personal cook due to their very severe allergies to certain spices. Their luck doesn’t extend much beyond that point, as afterwards they are thwarted repeatedly in their attempts to slip the anti-plague in the wine. Just before getting caught, Senkara swiftly fakes an allergic reaction, which distracts the crowd long enough for Cedric to slip the draught into the wine. The group inconspicuously slips back into the party to mingle with other guests.

Among these guests is none other than Myra Antigone. The elf drunkenly complains about a number of things, mainly the misogynistic society with which she has to contend. She also whines to the group about an old has-been sailor named Polonius who lives near the library and refuses to budge from his home, halting the expansion she wants to make to her building. Intrigued upon hearing about anyone who makes life difficult for Antigone, the party agrees to pay the old man a visit the following day.

Their conversation is cut short by the ceremonious passing out of wine. The group opts to stay and suffer the consequences of their handiwork as to not appear conspicuous when the tavern realizes the wine has been tampered with. The crowd goes into a disgusted uproar upon tasting the wine. Suspicious from when he saw the heroes tampering the wine, the maitre d yells accusations that they were the perpetrators. Just when it seems that the heroes’ protests fall on deaf ears, an extremely attractive and blonde elf noblewoman rushes to their defense by pointing out that the group was just as disgusted and shocked when drinking the wine as anyone else was. The maitre d is furious and still suspicious, but since he cannot procure any evidence incriminating the disguised heroes, he storms away. The noblewoman exchanges a glance with Cedric before disappearing into the crowd as well.

Gleeful to have gotten away with their prank, the party briskly walks to pay McClean a visit. She is immensely satisfied at the humiliation suffered by her opposing house and pays the group a respectable sum. After a successful night, they return back to the lighthouse and take turns on watch-duty for the rest of the night. They see dark shadows surrounding the building throughout the night, but the shadows disappear by morning.

Foursday arrives and the group sets out to talk to Polonius. They are stopped on the way, however, by one of the apprentices of McClean’s brother, Niall “Swordarm,” one of the Height’s respected blacksmiths. He asks the heroes to accompany him to the forge to speak with his master. They agree to stop by. Upon their arrival, Swordarm asks the party for a favor. He mentions that there is going to be an auction the following day for rare gnome weapons and requests that the party represents him, as he is unable to attend the auction himself. Swordarm gives them a hefty sack of gold needed to make bids at the auction. Eager to make more friends among the members of House Drachmaa, the heroes agree to represent him the following day.

They leave the forge and make it to their original destination. They approach the shabby home of the “once-myr” and knock on the door several times. When the curmudgeonly elf emerges he is insistent that he does not want to talk. However, the group persists on asking the old elf about his past. They ask if he still has a ship, as they would love to have passage-by-sea to find the West Wind for Imhistis. He mentions that he still does have a ship, but he can do nothing with it but let it sit at the docks because of the damage it has suffered. During the conversation, Polonius casually mentions that his myrname is Theodoard, leading the party to discover that he is in fact Senkara’s grandfather. Polonius is reluctant to believe this fact until Senkara mentions that she is soon to be traveling to their hometown and hopes to find trace of her father. Polonius laments that he has not seen his son in a very long time, and tells Senkara that he will accept her as his granddaughter if she can find her father and bring back word of him. After this unexpected reunion, the heroes return home to prepare for the next day’s auction.

Friday dawns, and the party arrives to the gnome auction. Keela and Alyndra pool their knowledge of gnome culture to find the most valuable items including an axe, a hook, a long-sword, and crossbow with a squid motif. Together, the party is able to acquire the first three items through outbidding, heckling, and in Keela’s case, claiming to be part of the family that made the item in question. However, just as the crossbow is being auctioned, a hooded half-elf and a gnome burst onto the stage and snatch up the weapon in front of everyone. Both figures had a band of runes tattooed across their forehead, a symbol Alyndra took to recognize as a symbol of a group called “ the Crowns.” The heroes attempt to tail the thieves but the duo is too swift and is quickly lost in the crowd. Still pleased to have bought three of the four valuable items, the group returns to the forge to impart them to Swordarm. At first the blacksmith is annoyed because sword they bought is actually a cursed weapon, but he is pleased when he sees the other weapons now in his possession. As a reward he gives each member of the party a cold iron weapon.

Finally, the day arrives for the group to go on their day-long journey to Praestan. They leave the lighthouse guarded by Drevitt, who agrees to watch after it as a favor to Marisa. Minds easy that the lighthouse is safe from the witches, the group sets out on horseback through the forested roads leading to Praestan. The trees are oddly covered with an unusually massive murder of crows. Curious and uneasy about this unusual behavior, Keela attempts to talk to one of the birds, asking it why it’s there. The crow screeches “Dead! Dead!” and flies away. Collectively, the group has a feeling that the witches have been attacking civilians living on the outskirts of the city which has now attracted the crows. They hurry through the area, eager to be out of the woods.

When they arrive to Praestan, they are met with guards who demand to know what their business in the city is. The group announces that they are there to deliver a secret message to Abnego. After this, the guards essentially frisk the group to ensure that they are elves. Thanks to the disguises made by Senkara and Alyndra, they are able to enter the city passing as the appropriate race.

Before delivering the package, Senkara requests that they visit her childhood home. The rest of the party agrees, and they visit what is left of the abandoned house. As Senkara traces her fingers along the walls of her first home, she finds a secret compartment containing gold and a locket containing a picture of her family. With this emotional scene, the party solidifies their resolve to find Senkara’s father. They set out into the streets of Praestan to find out what information they can gather about his whereabouts.

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Witches, Zombies, and "X"
The group learns the consequences of some of their actions

Sunday – Twosday, 7th – 9th of Midsummer

The party awakes and goes to work on the enclosure for Blooroath. Once they have completed their work they immediately set out to start asking about Isabel Lyst, but no one has seen or heard from her in over a week. The party decides it will try again in the afternoon the following day.

After a similar morning the next day, the group finally gives up for the time being and goes to the Crafty Damsel to talk to Marisa about Senia, the witch Sola’s sister, who works for Marisa. Marisa is saddened at the news of Sola’s death, and concerned by her involvement with the witches. She agrees to let the party speak to Senia.

The conversation with Senia goes as, perhaps, could be expected. The party gleans as much information as they can about their relationship, finding out that the sisters lived together but saw little of each other, and that Sola had been speaking to some people of the middle class. Senia, however, soon becomes suspicious of their inquiry and they are forced to reveal the truth, that Sola is dead. Senia appears heartbroken and refuses to speak with them further, though when Marisa suggests she go home for the night she insists that she will work.

The party, however, is suspicious of Senia, as some parts of her story seemed to make little sense. They keep a careful eye on her, and Keela and Senkara notice and follow her as she slips outside into the back alley. Senia begins sobbing, and at first they think she is merely trying to cope with her sister’s death, but then they realize she has noticed Keela. Keela says she was simply ensuring Senia was alright, and slips back inside. It is only after she has left that Senia stops crying, and starts to move. Senkara follows her and watches as she finds a broken monitor crystal and performs some small magic. Senkara returns and tells the rest of the party, who investigate but cannot determine the spell.
The party then goes and talks to Slade about the matter. He agrees to send someone to follow Senia.

The party then returns to the lighthouse for the night. Senkara sets up a simple trap that will make noise if anyone approaches, and the party goes to sleep.

The next day is Twosday. The party awakes and again heads out to work on the exhibit. They go to ask Irwin for some supplies, and on their way pass two rich elves near the spider pit. One elf becomes affronted when Cedric addresses him, and the party moves on their way. Keela sends Perin back to investigate, and the bird sees the woman cast a spell before she leaves, though it is not known what the spell was.

After completing their work for the day, Alyndra, Keela, and Senkara go to the Aedis to speak to Beacon Patricio, disguised as elves as they had been before. The beacon is talking to a green-haired elf, who from their conversation is head of the Heights Druids. He is making a complaint about the stolen Brunsfelnia Renimatus. After they are done speaking and the druid leaves, the three approach the beacon. They tell him about the witch attack at the lighthouse, and he agrees to pass the information onto his brother, though when they suggest asking him about employing adventurers from the Flats to assist, he says they must talk directly to him.

As they leave, they come across the druid, and can’t resist the urge to stop and talk to him about the theft, secretly to coax their egos a little. Their pride turns to horror however, as the elf reveals the terrible life cycle of the plant – if left to its own devices, it will attract humanoid prey with its pollen, kill them and turn them into plant zombies, using their animated corpses as vehicles to spread its seeds and causing the process to repeat!

Meanwhile, Cedric has gone to the Harp and Thistle bar. He talks to McClean Drachmaa, a human and member of House Drachmaa, the most economically powerful house of the Heights nobility. Over the course of their discussion, Cedric discovers that House Lyrio, House Drachmaa’s primary rival house, will be opening a casket of very rare and expensive margarine wine the following night at their own tavern, the High Life The High Life. McClean offers to pay Cedric four small aquamarine gemstones to slip antiplague into the wine; this actually make the wine very beneficial and healthy, but will also make it taste like “concentrated whale piss”, to quote McClean. Cedric agrees to do so.

The party reunites and Alyndra, Senkara and Keela quickly fill Cedric in on the potential zombie problem. They run to the druid park in the Flats, and approach with caution. They meet a woman outside and urge her to leave, when suddenly their fears are confirmed and zombies attack. They manage to protect the woman, who flees in terror, and begin fighting the zombies. After calling guards to protect the entrance, they begin working their way into the park, fighting more zombies and searching for the main plant. They find some of the plant’s offspring, already growing and tempting their own victims, but manage to resist their mind-controlling powers and destroy them.

Finally the party reaches the original plant. To their dismay, they also find Douglas Cleanleaf, now a zombie, on the verge of rooting and becoming a new plant. They manage to destroy him, but just as they do they hear a shriek from the side and look to see his wife Vetna, shouting in rage that they’ve killed her husband. Upon trying to explain that he was already dead, the party realizes that these were most definitely the insane let-the-plants-use-our-bodies-as-they-will, we-are-proud-to-give-our-lives-to-the-plants type of druids. (Brilliant.)

They start advancing towards Vetna, but she casts entangle, greatly slowing their progress. They struggle forward, and finally Cedric and Senkara get close enough to do battle. They are about to kill her when she turns into an eagle, heading for escape. In a last ditch attempt, Senkara leaps into the air and manages to drive her dagger through the bird, pinning it to the ground and watching as it turns back into a very dead Vetna.

Their battle not yet over, the party returns their attention to the Brunsfelnia. They fight and defeat it, although in the process Keela is ensnared by the plant’s pollen and almost killed. They kill the plant just in time, however, and return to the lighthouse to rest.

The next morning, they wake to find a note pinned to their door from “X”. Intrigued, they follow the note’s instructions and meet an old man at the Leaky Dingy. They sit down and order drinks, but upon their first sip they start to feel drowsy, and black out. When they awaken, they are in a warehouse, unarmed, facing a lone elf, who proceeds to reveal that he represents the Thieves’ Guild, and that the Guild has been following their progress and would like to offer them a chance at membership. He pulls out files that the Guild has stolen from the City Watch, revealing that they know everything about the four adventurers (except, luckily, the true source of Keela’s magic), and give them an assignment to transport an insane amount of gold to Senkara’s hometown and deliver it to an elf there. Should they attempt to take the gold for themselves, it is strongly implied that things will end badly for them. The party agrees and they are allowed to leave unharmed.

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The Beastmaster's Challenges & Witches at Southwatch
The party overcomes Irwin's tests, but later find the Lysts murdered by a witch imposter.

Friday & Satyrday, 5th & 6th of Midsummer

That afternoon, Keela, Senkara, Alyndra, and Cedric returned to the Silex Heights Bestiary, eager to accomplish Irwin’s trials and earn positions among his beastkeepers. The group was lead to an exhibit containing Alice – a terror bird who had just laid a clutch of eggs and as a result had become extremely hostile. Irwin locked the party inside the pen, and informed the group that the eggs would need to be recovered and hatched under controlled conditions. Therefore, their first test was to recover the eggs without harming Alice herself. Thinking fast, Alyndra drew her fiddle and captivated Alice with her music, soothing the savage beast long enough for Keela to locate the eggs and Senkara to smuggle them out without the bird noticing. Impressed, Irwin released them from the pen and led them off to their next task.

The party was led to the seaside pen of Sasha, the Bestiary’s resident sea cat, and immediately noticed a strange chariot-like skiff on the sand next to her. Irwin explained that Sasha had grown lazy and overweight, and in order to give her more energy the group was tasked with hooking her up to her exercise skiff and taking her for a ride around the bay. Despite her domestic upbringing, Sasha was wary of newcomers and lashed out at Keela while she attempted to attach her skiff. The group was finally able to fasten her into the contraption by once again taking advantage of Alyndra’s fascinating performance. With Sasha fastened to her skiff, the party took her out for a swim around the bay, only to be attacked by a rutting male sea cat intent on claiming their ward as his mate. The party was able to dispatch the interloper through judicious application of arrows and clever use of Perin to heal Sasha, and soon returned to the Bestiary for their third task.

For their final assignment, Irwin led the group to the pen of the Prince (the Bestiary’s resident giant scorpion), where they soon learned that the great vermin had recently passed away. The beastmaster promised the party positions on his staff if they could find a new monster that he found worthy of an exhibit, design a pen for the creature, and then bring it back alive. This led the adventurers to consider their options. Their initial thought was to capture Carscylla, the sea drake guarding Eastwatch Lighthouse, and thus accomplish both Irwin’s and Imhistis’ tasks at once, but the prospect of carrying a live but subdued dragon over hundreds of miles seemed far too dangerous. Venomtongue was no longer alive, but Ricardo informed them of primal sea beast called a nothosaur that he occasionally spotted on his outings. Then Cedric proposed a novel solution: the adventurers were already well acquainted with a large and impressive aberration that dwelled directly beneath the Bronslaw Flats

Convincing Irwin to accept an otyugh as an exhibit was no small feat, but after proposing that Blooroath would be exempt from his food budget, serve as the Bestiary’s communal garbage disposal, and provide a waste management option that he could charge other businesses to use, the party won his approval. Irwin gave the group 20 gp for building the pen (with emphasis on making it smell-proof), but after consulting Wayne about odor control and convincing Blooroath that this new “domain” was an upgrade, the party sealed the deal while remaining significantly under budget. Construction would require four days of dedicated work, but the task was as good as complete.

After their first day designing Blooroath’s new abode, the group decided to use their evening to revisit Carver Lyst’s case with Slade. Since the faceless stalker had been killed, the group was able to convince Slade that the lighthouse keeper’s initial story was true. Slade agreed to revisit the case and work with Carver to clear his name, but in order to make any meaningful progress Carver would have to turn himself in. Uplifted by this news, the group set out for Southwatch Lighthouse to convince their friend that his legal freedom was at hand so long as he cooperated. When they arrived, however, they noticed that Carver’s wife Teya was behaving rather odd. She seemed to have no recollection of their first encounter, and acted as if Carver were actually still on the run. Keen-eyed Senkara noticed that Teya’s ears had a strangely elven point to them, and Keela sent Perin up to the top of the lighthouse to investigate. The party continued to press the issue while the mysterious woman became less and less amiable, until finally the thrush returned screeching that the real Teya was upstairs – the woman in the foyer was an imposter.

Her cover blown, the false Teya used an enchantment to force Senkara to flee. Keela neutralized the threat by casting glitterdust, while Cedric tripped her. The imposter continued to fight blind, using a potion to strengthen her defenses and a hex to try to turn Keela against her companions. The charm failed, however, and soon the witch was surrounded and brought low. The party stripped her of any other magical gear, and proceeded to search for the real Teya. They found her, along with her husband, hanging from the ceiling in the lighthouse tower – both of their throats had been cut. Even more alarming, their 9-year old daughter Isabel was nowhere to be found.

Cedric and Alyndra quickly fetched Slade, and told him what had happened. Upon their return the witch’s magical disguise had faded, revealing that she was in fact Sola Cabaniss, the sister of one of Marisa’s favorite serving girls. The party quickly realized that the witch problem in the Silex Heights was spreading into the Flats, but Slade was in no position to combat such a force. He agreed to summon whatever manpower he could, but requested that the PCs take over as temporary overseers of Southwatch Lighthouse until a suitable replacement could be found. The party agreed, and with heavy hearts moved into the lighthouse, sleeping there so they could pick up the witches’ trail in the morning.

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