For the Glory of the Empire!

September 5

While the rest of the group waited in Bellond; Damien, Zarik, and Muriel left for Athela to deliver the captured Illithid.

Subtle never being a word for Damien he played it with a flair. They delivered the Illithid and were received by the Emperor Aleric III. During this conversation Damien mentioned that as this was done at our…instigation Duke Kanhilas was moving to secure the rest of Bellond as they were speaking. A fact which…the Emperor was not pleased by.

Back in Bellond the rest of the party was using the Arunadan constructs to demolish the statues to lessen the depressing influence within the city. During the investigation of the city many disturbing things were found. The city guards that only recently lined the walls were now all dead of dehydration, with water supplies so near at hand only magic could have accomplished this task, most likely dominate spells.

Next, as we were moving through the city we investigated several houses. Inside we found all of the inhabitants dead, meals for Illithids. There was the same kinds of odd flowers and herbs that we saw out on the island near Llorkh’Yar. There was also an odd black sand. We figured that this was something that was used to preserve the minds or something of the kind. “Brain Jerky” became the macabre term of the day.

Duke Kanhilas arrived to take hold of the city with his advanced guard. After briefing him in and upon the return of Damien and Zarik the party left for Karad for some shopping with their new gains.

The next day was spent shopping and processing things, when we heard from Jerem up in Oganis Ford. There were some new people up there that needed to be seen. The party quickly went up to Oganis Ford where we found a contingent of Arunadan refugees, lead by our ally Arzalenos.

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August 22

The long awaited Illithid confrontation.

During our preparing for the coming fight we decided to give Duke Kanhilas one additional day to get closer to Belond with his forces to be able to secure the city.

That night, all of the casters felt something become…off. The stars in the sky turned green, the moon was also a green. The guild collected at Berem’s tower to discuss the issue. Berem observed the moon through a telescope and was able to see black flecks also on the moon.

We then saw a the sky…ripple and a purple star appeared in the sky. A vision and a pair of Communes later we had some answers and more questions regarding what was happening. We were able to ask several pointed questions regarding the origins of Mil’Averon, and the Divine Prison.

We then prepared for the next day and setup for the encounter.

Part of the group wind walked in with the other portion teleporting into the city. The guild with the Arunadan and Naratani assistance prepared for the fight and started in on the pillars. During our preparation we saw that the Temple of Ollatuan that had been a sanctuary had been breached.

After the ensuing fight one of the illithids was able to escape, however the second was captured alive. The one we captured was also the illithid that had been previously encountered and had almost decimated us.

Damien, Zarik and Muriel teleported to Athela with the captured illithid and turned it over to Aelric III directly.

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August 15

Still riding the high of having taken down Duke Devis Belerim the Broken Talons planned a Norin’s run. To acknowledge the worlds loss of Decklin and the worlds gain through the loss of Belerim.

In the time leading up to the run the guild was thinking of the best way to tackle the task Belond. During this Mirimmaebrought up an idea to use Arunadan Shield guardians instead of just normal undead, or to use constructs like Durkaren.

At this point a pair of sendings went out, one to Durkaren and one to Nigel Morieu. Durkaren was to the surprise of all, still alive though at this point with Cagarnrhakin.

General Morieu came through for the guild in epic style. While the guild rented the two shield guardians there were a pair of Narutani Manticores as well as a Arunadan evoker that will be joining the guild for the attack on Bellond.

Duke Duren Kanhilas also came through in epic fashion and is rallying a force to march on Belond to take the city after we get rid of the Travelers from within it.

There was also a Commune used and noted.

The day after the Norin’s run the guild talked directly with Cagarnrhakin at the Yellow Diamond. He proposed a pair of trades. One money for information on the red dragon down in Walleda. The second being a straight trade for Durkaren, in kind and gave the guild a lead on where to find more of the dwarven constructs. The rest of the day passed in tense anticipation of the coming day and the attack on the Illithids.

That night something truly odd happened. The sky turned green. More specifically all of the stars in the sky turned green. The moon gained some black specs and later in the night a singular purple star joined the sky.

The party, scattered though it initially was all started moving towards Berem’s tower as it was the most logical place to be on an occasion like this. During this it was found out that Zarik is a Wu Jen. Though to be honest Telios didn’t notice…too many things to research at the time. With some information in hand a pair of commune spells were used and we found that there are things that tie a dieties hands when communicating to their followers.

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July 25 & Aug 1

The Broken Talons were debating the best method of assaulting Bellond in Damien’s apartment when Amsar of Nowhere heard steps on the stair. There was the sand pouring in through the cracks in the door (a herald that Olladawan is unhappy about something, or that our heroes are about to have another group -hallucination- vision). A group of extra-planar creatures, mezzoloths, attacked. As the enemy used cloud kill in such close quarters, most of the guild ended up jumping out the window to escape it. There were more of the creatures below. More cloud kills were released. In the end, the creatures were defeated. The Talons worked to save the citizens of the Tradesmen’s Ward from the poisonous clouds.

The guild argued almost all through the night. The use of mindless undead was brought up as a way to have reinforcements that could not be influenced by the Travellers. The use of the Juryani was also brought up, as a more battle-worthy yet still unlikely to be influenced group to take to Bellond. Upon discussion with Duke Kanhilas, this idea was ditched.

Still debating the best course of action, the Broken Talons returned to Damien’s apartment. While there, Amsar noticed a small eye watching them from the window—odd, because Damien lives on the second floor of his building. Amsar shot it. Between the casters, they figured out that the eye was a part of a spell used to spy on them, and that there were likely more out there.

The guild determined to try to find another of the eyes, and track it back to the person who had cast it. They were eventually successful, and tracked the eye to the Silver Ward before it was lost. The group determined that the eye had likely gone down to the sewers, and they followed.

They had found Belerim, mage and former duke of Bellond. The battle did not take very long, but it was costly to the Broken Talons. Deklin died in the first wave of spells that Belerim unleashed. The Talons did triumph, and they paraded Belerim’s body through the town to the palace of Duke Kanhilas. Amsar took his leave.

The guild was then accosted by their hired -publicity agent- bard, Lydia. Since the deaths of Adolphus and Norrin, the group had not been good about filling her in on their exploits. And without material, how could they expect her to promote the guild? To remedy this, she insisted that the guild bring with them Reynold. Reynold claims to be an unemployed scribe with no combat skills, although Mirimmae’s instincts say he is not telling the truth. The guild thus far has not been convinced to bring him along, as they don’t wish to be even partly responsible for another ally’s death.

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Act III, Thus Far
Further Missteps and War

The remaining Broken Talons found a few others who were willing to travel with them, first to gain some money for the journey, and then on the pilgrimage for their fallen companions. The group first went to the lines of the White Robes in the north. Duke Kanhilas was anxious to see that the White Robes either joined with Anathelas, or remained neutral during the coming war. Once the Broken Talons arrived, the White Robes were in the thick of battle, and their leader appeared to be arguing with a Targrathian envoy about monetary support. The leader of the White Robes said that if they were to remain neutral, the Broken Talons had to complete a task and take some of the pressure off of them. With the aid of a magic item, the Talons took down a Vashran general. In exchange, the White Robes promised neutrality.

During a stopover in Oganis Ford, it was attacked by Vashrans. Although the majority of the guild was elsewhere, the Ford held. Lord Trask travelled to the Ford to investigate the attack. While there, he was assassinated. That night, many others in power in Anathelas were killed. It was said that House Nalambar was behind the attacks.

With the money earned, the Broken Talons began their pilgrimage. While waiting for a boat to take them on the rest of their journey, elite clerics of Olladawan intervened. The pilgrimage was completed, and the original party restored to Dubril, without any time having passed at all. The price for the restoration of the Broken Talon was this: the head of a dragon must be presented to the Temple of Extus within two months.

Upon their return to Karad, the Broken Talons debated how best to obtain a dragon’s head. Celedon’s head had long since been dissected by the Mage’s Guild, so they would have to kill another dragon. There were rumors of two: Celedon’s father, a green dragon in the forests of Vashra, and a white near the southern seas of Gledland. Given the time constraints, the guild decided to hunt the green. They recruited the Golden Halbreds and set off.

This, too, ended disastrously. Most of the Broken Talons, both new and old, died. Most of the Golden Halbreds were scattered. Only Damien, Araceli and Deklin made it back. Damien and Araceli would not give up on their friends, and decided to hunt the white dragon in the south. Others (foolishly?) joined them. Although not an unmitigated calamity, the guild was forced to retreat and left the south without the dragon’s head. The guild did find something before they left the south. In the same town that they had saved from the trogdolytes, there was an unmarked grave of a man who had been speaking to a bald-headed man, before the dead man was found, missing his brain. Further investigation showed that this man had been Oreseus Nalambar.

While the guild had been desperately attempting to bring back their companions, things had fallen apart in the north. Active hostilities had commenced between Anathelas and Targrath, and Arunada had fallen into civil war. The Broken Talons stopped in Dubril on their way back north, and it was there that the magic users sensed the destruction of capitol of Arunada. Because of the civil war, the mages guilds and their transport network had shut down, leaving the Broken Talons to take the long way home. On their travel back, they discovered that Walleda was under attack from Panmornian mercenaries and other daristrii, apparently led by a red dragon. (The dragon with his darestrii minions seemed too much for the guild to take on at that moment.) Labrylla had allied with Targrath, and its fleets were blockading the coasts. At some point not too far in the future, Sirride marched its armies under the water, invading Arunada. Roughly half of the houses surrendered; the other half are in exile.

Upon their return, the Broken Talon found that the Targrathian armies had made alarming headway, breaking the line at Moyarit almost without opposition. The Talons fielded some of their growing mercenaries forces and took the small town of Kanitha. They participated in various war efforts. During the course of this, it was discovered that Targrath, in order to fund its vast mercenary forces, had permitted the sacking of all Silver Star temples, including the temples of Olladawan. The guild returned some valuable treasure, and promised the Olladawan temple that they would bring harm to the leaders of Targrath who had permitted such a thing. Before the guild could do much else, Deklin confessed that he had been passing along information to Duke Belerim, because Belerim had his brother captured. The guild promised to do what they could to free his brother, and the group left to investigate Beland.

In the city of Beland, the guild found statues, not unlike the stone pyramid Damien and Araceli found on the troll-infested island, that seemed to sap the will from the town’s inhabitants. The rescue attempt was not successful. Deklin and Adrian decided to remain behind, to see what they could do to help the people of Beland and to rescue Deklin’s brother. Neither attempt was successful. Adrian died, and Deklin returned to Karad.

After their return to Rishothir, the guild was asked to break the northern Targrathian army by taking their commander, affectionately referred to as the Resplendent Douchecanoe by the guild. With much fire and violence, this was accomplished. The Targrathian forces decided to reciprocate, and the Broken Talons fended off their attack.

The northern army began its retreat, and the Anathelian forces pushed them back. The Broken Talons were called upon to investigate Moyarit before the Targrathian forces left, to see why the Beland Second Legion had fallen so quickly to the initial Targrathian attack. Outside of Moyarit, the guild encountered a man who said that every living thing in his village had disappeared. In town, the guild found statues, like the ones in Beland. The temples had been sacked. The elite guards of the town wore crystals not unlike the stones in the trolls’ foreheads on the traveller’s island. Moreover, these guards had formerly been Anathelian mercenaries, and they were now working for the Targrathians. A note found on a dead guard made clear that Belerim had facilitated the collapse of Moyarit and the legion’s treachery.

The Broken Talons took this evidence to Duke Kanhilas, who immediately took them to Athela. He demanded a trial of Duke Belerim. During the night, there were several assassination attempts on the Duke’s group. The evidence of Belerim’s treachery was presented before the Emperor and the Senate. As reward for their aid, Duke Kanhilas paid to bring back the majority of the original Broken Talon guild. It is unknown who paid the Temple of Extus the dragon’s head it required within the time limits it needed, as the guild itself had failed.

Before the results of the trial could be known, the Broken Talons were summoned by a Nauratani general, Damien’s uncle, to assist in their evacuation of Thentiya. Thentiya was being overrun by orcs and Viakans, and the small nation could not hold out against two determined attacks. The guild left immediately. They performed various heroic deeds, including a duel with a powerful Viakan mystic and driving over a hundred orcs away from a keep, allowing the evacuation of all inside.

It needs to be said at this point that long, long, long ago, around the time of the War of Light and Darkness between the gods, three swords were forged to aid the side of evil. They are very powerful, and eventually replace the soul of those who wield them. They bring plague, and are collectively called “The Swords of the Death-Song.” Not much else is known, although Araceli believes that she is the reincarnation of one sworn to defeat the swords. It was confirmed that one sword is with the Vashrans. No one knew the location of either of the others, until now.

During the journey to the keep, the Broken Talons heard tales of plague, saw victims who could only scream and scream in agony as they lay dying. Telios had a dream that night, of a figure carrying a sword that touched the ground. Wherever the sword touched, it was black. As the guild helped evacuate the keep, the sound of screaming drew nearer. A figure with a sword was seen. As it drew nearer, it called forth a creature with wings, and flew above the small crowd. The last few soldiers had passed through the teleportation gate when it landed. Even through the gate, its presence was terrifying. Fortunately, the gate was closed before it could come through.

After the fight, the news came that Belerim had been found guilty of treason by the Senate and stripped of his lands and titles. There was a ruby favor on his head, as well as on the head of any Traveller. The guild decided to return to Karad immediately and begin preparations to take on Belerim and the Travellers.

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Act II
Cabryn, Death, and Mishaps

After our merry band of adventurers was given their license to form a mercenary group, they headed out to Risothir to make their fortunes. There, they were at the disposal of Trask Thorlen, who was ruling Duke Kanhilas’s territories in Cabryn. Their first order of business was to investigate odd magical happenings: people disappearing without signs of violence; random patches of wild magic and other reports of strange things. Their investigations turned up no cause for such things, only scrying foci that don’t seem to match with regular schools of magic and rumors of one or more bald tinkers roaming the countryside.

As the odd magic seemed to be emanating from Moyarit, a city held by Duke Belerim’s troops, the Broken Talons (for so they had decided to call themselves) investigate the town itself. Their questions did not please whoever was in charge, as shades attacked them in the night. Araceli fell.

The next morning, they were joined by Milestia Stormhand, mercenary whose guild had disappeared from Moyarit. Their investigations were more fruitful, and they discovered an underground lair guarded by undead and containing odd magical experiments, including an orc with a tattoo that looked much like a tattoo on Telios’s arm. The party took the orc, burned the building above to the ground, and returned to Risothir.

They then began the pilgrimage for Araceli. It was successful, but not without some difficulties. First, Norrin and Mila drunkenly decided to steal a “mummy” from a circus in Dubril. The following day, the group was ambushed by a Traveller, and Adolphus was taken. It was later confirmed that he died.

Upon their arrival in Risothir, they were given a new task by Lord Trask. A small town near the borders of the Darklands had been taken over by bandits, lead by a cunning woodsman. If the Broken Talons could take the town, they could keep it and develop it. Some of the guild went to Karad to recruit troops. While there, they recruited Cedric.

Once their troops were ready, the Broken Talons cautiously advanced on Oganis Ford. It, and the farmlands around it, was abandoned. They began to set up defenses, and the guild leadership tried to figure out what had happened to the bandits and how best to draw them out of hiding. Eventually, most of the guild leadership was called away to Risothir. While they were gone, the bandits struck. Fortunately, Telios was granted a vision, and the absent Broken Talons were able to teleport back to Oganis Ford in time. The bandits were defeated, as was their leader, Celedon—who also happened to be a young green dragon. Shortly thereafter, they killed a beholder and its young that had been plaguing Risothir.

The development of the town began, and the Broken Talons decided that they needed more funds to promote the growth of their venture. As Cabryn was relatively quiet, they decided to try their hand at delving into Dwarven ruins in Gledland. The ruins were dark, smelly, and overrun with trogdolytes that were terrorizing nearby settlements. They discovered a great orrery, a sentient mechanical warrior (Durkaren), and a cleric, Mirimmae. Before their return to Ryllyn, they also met up with the Golden Halbreds, another mercenary group.

Somewhere in their travels, the Broken Talon had heard of an island where bald men were holding men prisoner, where strange flowers caused the minds of men to go mad. Because of the orc discovered in Moyarit, the location of the island, and its possible connection with Telios’s family, the guild decided to investigate.

This ended disastrously. They were attacked by trolls with strange crystals in their foreheads and Travellers (who out of game were revealed to be ilithids). Only Damien and Araceli escaped. After a respite and assurances that the Travellers would be gone when they returned, the pair went back to the island to see what had become of their companions. They found a few remains, but everything else was gone. Further exploration of the island revealed strange pyramidal rocks. Damien collected one, along with a crystal pried from the forehead of a dead troll. The duo returned to Karad.

Once in Karad, the city was in uproar. Targrath had issued and posted letters, declaring that Cabryn and Anathelas were basically to surrender, or fight.

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Act I

Act I

The setting: Karad, a large trading city in Anathelas. Ruled by Duke Duren Kanhilas.

The party, brought together by the Duke’s bailiff, Yonsohn Verimar, begins looking into some problems stemming from bandits and possibly rebels in the forests north of Karad. Meanwhile, problems were stirring up in the city itself, led mostly by the Thieves’ Guild, the Broken Scepters, and their patron, Duke Devis Belerim, a long-time opponent of Duke Duren. The other source of major problems in the city was from the city’s Imperial Governor, Taris Parethian, a staunch Millonan. While the problems to the north were slowly dealt with (including a mysterious plague, caused by creatures referred to at the time as the Travelers), the problems in the city got worse, including whispers of mysterious magic, abuse of power at the hands of the Governor and the legion under him, and religious troubles caused by agents of House Angelstrand, supporters of the Millonan faith. As events led to a crescendo in the city, the governor led a small force to arrest the Duke on trumped up charges. Thankfully, the party joined with the Duke and one of the Duke’s old companions, a Darastrii named Drakahn, to fight off the Governor’s troops, arrest the Governor, and have him deposed.

Other items of note during this time period are the beginnings of Norin’s run, a pub crawl through two districts of Karad.

Figures of note met during this time include Two Copper, The Burning Dogs and the ever present Hakim of Hakim’s horses.

The first ties to the Travelers were pulled together during this period, identifying them as individuals with no hair on their bodies and had a tendency to cause headaches to any withing proximity. The cure, that they provided to the plague was nicknamed as Cleric in a bottle after the encounter with them up in Red Mill. They are recognized as one of the major powers.

Also of note during this time was the burning of a bookstore known as Berem’s books, a location that held some significance to both Norin and Telios in particular.

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