Chornalth Adventures - Liga

Arc 2, Episode 26, the Puzzle Box

I spy, with my wandering eye...

Our journey began: 11th of Coldeven, 599 C.Y.
It is the 4th of Wealsun, 600 C.Y.

Our companions:

Alexia Aerogenesis, Human Cleric of Murlynd
Elerra Vae, Drow Cleric (Ellistrae)/Sorcerer
Flotsam “Sam” Stormsurge, Animan (octopus aspect) Rogue/Alchemist
Meroln Sands, Half-elf Fighter
Squizzles, Kobold Bard
Wilfred Fizzlebang, Gnome Summoner & Mekkatorque, his eidolon.
and introducing Giselle Ratchetgear, Alexia’s gnome synthesist-summoner cohort.

The following morning, Alexia made inquiries concerning any former members of the Black Rook Company that might have settled in the region, and one of her retainers gave her the name and directions for Kaden Hral, a mercenary who had retired from the company perhaps 10 years previously. Seeing no reason to waste time, she and Meroln set out to speak with him after breakfast.

The ride out to his orchards took perhaps an hour, and it was clear from the environs that the former mercenary was doing quite well for himself. When the two arrived at his large home, they were greeted by his 10 year old daughter Lizet, who, after informing the pair that her daddy was down by the distillery, proceeded to ask Alexia endless questions about her clockwork steed. Upon learning that the contraption had never been named, Lizet promptly dubbed it “Sparkles”.

At the distillery, the pair soon found Kaden, a tall man whose fighting trim was beginning to vanish behind the paunch of his belly. The two spent several hours drawing him out about his former company, learning that he had served under Elias Tandovr in the Greyhawk Wars, seeing action mostly in Furyondy and the Shield Lands. While he had never served directly under Janos, he said that he had heard that he had his father’s knowledge of tactics and also praised Jaliseem for her growing skill at crafting battlefield illusions.

While he had no real knowledge of the commanders and the faiths they might follow, the only war-god he had never seen a priest of among the company was Heironeous, which he added, “was more the god of knights than of mercenaries”. While talking with the two, he also mentioned that another alumni of the company, Mikhail Draz, was now a mason in a village perhaps 10 miles further north, and that come Patchwall he expected to sell another 20+ barrels of cider to Dalen Mynar, a dwarf who served the company as a quartermaster.

Furthermore, he stated that the previous year’s shipment had been sent to Axeport in the Shield Lands, and that it was likely bound for Docamald. He said it was likely that that would be their base for the summer’s conflicts. When asked if they could arrange a meeting with Dalen, Kaden said that he didn’t expect him until after Brewfest, but that he would send word when he was again in the area.

Returning to the city, Alexia and Meroln encountered a lone clockwork mechanical approaching them. As it drew near, the clockwork contracted itself, sliding back into itself until it revealed the young gnomish female that had been inside. The young woman introduced herself as Giselle Ratchetgear, a “robomancer” who wished to pledge herself in service to Alexia. As they continued their journey home, the two of them worked out the details of their arrangement, and Giselle was introduced to the greater group upon their return.

Afterwards, based on the information Alexia and Meroln had gained, Elerra used her crystal ball to scry on Axeport, and followed the roads to Docamald, where she found the Black Rook’s encampment. She encountered resistance penetrating the command tent, as a layer of thick, black, oily smoke clung to the fabric. Inside the main tent, she found a large map of the Shield Lands, with the towns of Nairen, Weslan, and Shepkote marked as being occupied by the forces of Iuz. Also on the main table was a large bell jar containing a blinded quasit, and a strange black stone sculpture with a smooth concave depression sat at the rear of the tent. Also present were Jaliseem and Colman; she could tell that Jaliseem was a fellow mythic.

Examining other tents, she found that one of the large tents near the command tent contained a shrine to Hextor, where a priestess of Sotillion was kept magically bound, and obviously subdued, presumably for her services as a healer. None of the tents looked as though they might be Jaliseem’s, however. After conferring with her fellows, she returned to her labors, estimating that perhaps as many as two thousand troops were encamped there, and based on their spirits, fresh from a recent battle that they’d won. Also, from the urgency of their activities, they were anticipating battle again, and soon.

The town of Docamald, itself, seemed to have turned itself over to the service of the company, and the inns and pleasure houses along it’s red light district were quite busy. Turning her attention back to the camp itself, she witnessed Janos and an unknown companion, an elf, both obviously mythic, ride back into the encampment, but there was something odd about their approach – no one challenged him, or his companion. Her companions, who were also watching through the crystal ball, pointed this out almost immediately.

While the group began to doubt the “veracity” of what they were seeing, remembering that Jaliseem was a mistress of misdirection on the battlefield. As Elerra brought her scrying point nearer to the command tent, she spotted a mote of light slowly moving through the camp. As it grew nearer, she recognized it as one of the disembodied eyes of the quasit she’d seen earlier. It spotted her, and as it rushed at the focus of her crystal ball, she broke the connection and quickly stuffed the ball into her haversack.

The group began discussing plans, perhaps merely to rescue the priestess they’d seen earlier, or perhaps to wipe out the leadership of the Company on one fell swoop. However, while they debated their plans, others put theirs into action. From the bedroom attached to the sitting room they were planning in, Wilfred clearly heard the sound of a dimensional portal opening, and soon a number of soldiers wearing the colors of the Black Rook company swarmed into the room with them.

Swords and spells flew, and Squizzles was knocked unconscious, but as we broke for the evening, one survivor of the invading force knelt before the party, asking they accept his surrender…

It is the 5th of Wealsun, 600 CY.

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AaronSheffield

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