Illians Crossing

Rescue Mission / Royal Escort

After rescuing the captured militia members and citizens from the black feather and red paint orc raiding party, the players escort the group back south out of the Crimsontal and back to Hermanstadt. Word of their success travels back quickly, and the group arrives to a heroes welcome. During the celebration, the players talk with the default leader of the town, Efrain Lutekin, who request to the characters return a request to rebuild and staff the old guard post at the head of the valley.

The player depart the following day, and travel back to Red Bridge, where they leave the rescued militia, and then on to Three Rivers. As they approach three rivers, they see a large crowd surrounding the main gate and the guards barracks. A group of men come out to intercept the party as they approach. They are moderately threatening towards the players, demanding that they turn back tonight and stay away from the town.

After some tough diplomacy and finally a charm spell on the leader, the players convince the group to escort them in to talk to the leader of the mob. There they find that the crowd has blocked the entrance to the guards quarters and are demanding the release of the prisoners there (the same men the characters captured smuggling on the trip north five days before). The group is led by Baron Samuel Gullyford, leader of the town, exporter, and father to one of the men locked in the jail. He is also a friend and hunting partner to the good King Lothar. His claim is that the men are unfairly imprisoned, and that they had come across the real smugglers earlier and had chased them away and were just recovering the goods.

The player know this is a lie, but go in to talk to the militia men inside, led by the able Commander Whelton. He too understands that the Baron is smuggling his own good to avoid taxes, but has no ability to stop it without support from Illian’s Crossing. The players agree and let the prisoners go to the crowd, but vow to bring this up with the Prince.

The player depart the following day, arriving at Illian’s Crossing three days later without incident. They arrive to a rousing competition between the town major temples in town, At’ar and Desna. they are kicking an inflated sheep stomach covered in leather across the town square. The game escalates in physical violence until a rather vigorous tackle next to the uncompleted statue in the middle of the square brings down the tarp covering it, revealing the bronze statue of the king positioned in a compromising pose underneath his horse.

The players report to Prince Labraid the events of their trip north. He is very concerned about the Orcish raid and agree about placing a guard back at the entrance to the vale. He invites the players to tomorrows council meeting. He also tell Adelaide that their father is quite ill, and she should go visit him.

Adelaide visits her father to find him practically on his death bed. He is being tended to by “The Necromancer”, a wizard from the north west who has been given town, land, and title in return for being the personal physician to the king. Along with the Necromancer is his servant, a monstrous man apparently sewn together and animated by the wizard himself. The necromancer tells Adelaide that her father is very ill and may not survive, and that he may have arrived “to late this time”.

At the council meeting, the players enter as a member of the Church of Desna, Yolanda Danzey, is being questioned on the events in the town square. She denies setting up the statue and doing it on purpose, though divination by At’ar head priest Peter Keagan says otherwise. The head of the church of Desna, Paster Toewler, promises to punish Yolanda.

The players learn that the finances of the state is not good. In addition to the orc incursions to the north and the plague to the south, there are also growing tension with the elves of the Great Woods to the west. This year the Meeting of the Lords is being held at Ilfrey-combe, the characters are to escort the contingent from Illian’s Crossing to the meeting, and from there continue west over the Green Mountains to personally investigate what is going on with the elves and report back.

As the party is leaving, the high elf Edrahil confronts the party, telling them to be wary of strangers, as they may not be what they appear. He gives the party a rod he says can help remove magic (Lesser rod of negation, dispel magic CL10 once per day as a ranged attack) Command word is N’uma Templa.

The following day the royal procession departs to the meeting. Along with the characters, is Adelaide (now an NPC), her brother Prince Labraid, The Necromancer and his golem, and three lords, Lord Commander Gervasius, Baron Melvin Frizzle of Favorsham, and Lord Vincente Pitman of Swinton. Along with the group is also several servants.

The very first night out, as the group is talking around campfires, they become harassed by a couple of pixies. One of them makes people dance uncontrollably or do stupid things while the other shoots arrows making people sleep. The players are able to find and confront one of the pixies, bring him down. They find out it is the same one that caused the stampede weeks before and stole all their money.

Royal Escort / Rescue the Princess

After the party finishes the night without any more tricks from the nasty thieving pixies, they continue their escort of the royal procession the following day, arriving mid afternoon at the town of Maiden’s Ring.

Maiden’s Ring is a prosperous town of over a thousand residents, led by the intelligent and wealthy Duchess Jillian le Fay. Her family has made it’s fortune over the generations by exporting beer brewed locally by the local church of Desna.

Story of the founding of Maiden’s Ring told by the duchess;
“The village of Maiden’s Ring gets its name from the widowed countess, Mathilda of Got, who legend has it that while crossing a stream, she dropped her ring in the water as she was crossing. Distraught at her loss, she sat on a rock by the river’s edge and cried. She closed her eyes and prayed to Desna that if she had her ring returned she promised to dedicate the rest of her life to her. When she opened her eyes, a trout quickly swam with her ring in its mouth. She exclaimed that this place was truly blessed by the goddess, and had a church built at the location. Soon a town formed around the church, and Maiden’s Ring was born.”

The next day, the PCs and the rest of the Royal Party, now including the duchess and her son, Zanister, depart and continue on their trip to Ilfrey-Combe and the Meeting of the Lords. After a long day of travel, the party sets camp for the evening. no sooner has camp been set up, a group of rangers led by the King’s Head of the Hunt, Edward Fields, arrives. They mention that they have been pursuing some kind of unnatural beast through the woods the past few days that has been chasing the animals away.

After the rangers rest a bit and warm up, they decide to go out again that night to continue their pursuit. During the night, the PCs on guard duty hear a supernatural siren come from deep in the woods to the north, the direction the rangers departed in. A few minutes later, four of the rangers run into the camp, claiming they were attacked by some fearsome, shadowed demon.

After a few round, the camp is attacked on all sides by some creature the Necromancer called Dretches. The whole camp goes on defense, and the players find they have a hard time damaging these creatures with their weapons. A few more rounds into combat and the camp is attacked by the shadowy demon itself. Through persistence, the camp is able to slay the dretches and chase of the demon, without any casualties.

After two more days of travel, the group arrives at Ilfrey-Combe. After an evening of celebration and political maneuvering the party retires for the night at the town guard barracks. The following morning, the party searches for Prince Labraid to get their orders for the day. They find him in conversation with some of the other lords, talking about problems with the elves to the west. The group is asked to go find Adelaide and bring her. When the players arrive at her room, they find it in shambles. After some rough questioning of the staff, the players learn that she had been abducted in the early morning by Baron Orion Pickerton, a lord from the west that had been pursuing the princess the evening before.

The players are quickly dispatched to pursue the baron and his men and retrieve Adelaide. It takes a full day, but the party finally catches up to half of the Baron’s men along the Great Road through the Green Mountains. The party quickly confronts the men, an after dropping their leader they quickly surrender. The group learns that the baron, princess, and the rest of his men had left the main road and were taking a trail north and west through the mountains.

Who's Ambushing Who?

After defeating the Baron’s men and capturing the groups leader, the party learns from questioning them that the Baron has decided to leave the main road over the Green Mountains and follow trails back to his home town. The group decides to pick up some of the men’s mounts, and begins to track the Baron down the trail.

Lia has no problems following the trail across the soft dirt and the party begins to gain on him. Unfortunately, it is getting dark and the party must stop for the night. After the light is gone from the sky, the group scouts a bit ahead from a taller vantage point and sees a camp fire not more than three miles away. Instead of waiting till the morning, the group decides that they will ambush them that evening when they have the advantage of surprise.

The party is successful in sneaking up to the camp, and quickly dispatches the guard watching the approach from their end of the trail. The group storms the camp, and pretty quickly drops the majority of the defenders. They find the princess in the middle of the camp, apparently drugged and unconscious. The Baron is a rather formidable opponent, but a well timed command spell on the Baron himself gets him to move out of position and allows multiple PCs to attack him, bringing him down.

Right as the Baron falls, an arrow flies out of the darkness, nearly hitting Lia. It’s an orc arrow. A large raiding party hiking through the mountains had also seen the camp fires (orcs are not common in this area) and decided to attack. Fortunately the players are there or they would have been chasing a large party of orcs with Adelaide the next day.

The players initially do pretty well, but as wave after wave of orcs pour through the woods to the camp, they start to take their toll on the group. Oddly, many of the orcs that come into the camp refuse to battle Vil once they notice that he is an orc. Things really start to look bad as the raiding group leaders make their way towards the camp. One of them, an already large orc, is enlarged by their shaman and makes his way into the fray.

As the party is evaluating their avenues for escape, another couple of arrows fly into camp, this time hitting orcs. Lia recognizes them as elf arrows. Although a help, there are not enough elves to help even the odds. The tide turning event came from Langnus, who targeted the leader with a fear spell, causing him to bolt in terror from the camp. The rest of the orcs, seeing their leader flee, decide that it may be best if they followed.

With the battle won, the players heal their wounds and search the bodies. The elves come down and the leader introduces himself as Tarnillion. They had been pursuing a human who had poisoned one of their streams and had followed his trail to the Green Mountains, where they had lost him. While searching, they came across this orc war party, and had been following them the past day. They had been debating ambushing the orcs until they saw them attacking the camp. They were happy watching the orcs and humans slaughter each other until the leader noticed an elf in the group. That is when they decided to act.

A Little Piece of Home
Distrust on Both Sides

As the elves approached they looked over our little group with a bit of wonder. I greeted them and explained the situation and thanked them for their assistance in killing the orcs. They didn’t seem interested in talking with anyone else in the party so I was more than happy to speak with them. It was wonderful to be with elves again. I was born and raised among them and even though my mother was human she raised me in the customs of the elven society. I know all was not perfect living among people who can live forever but it’s what I knew.

Tarn said they had the body of the plague victim that was dropped in the stream back at their village, Tanhill. He asked us to come look at it and we all agreed this would be a good idea. I told them of the purple and green eyed elf that was seen doing the same thing to a well in a human village. The group discussed it and thought it was odd that an elf was seen in the human town and a human was poisoning the elven stream. It seems like someone is trying to start trouble.

We traveled for several days and I kept mostly with the elves. I took my regular guard shift with the group but I found being among the elves felt a little like being home. We did discuss what was happening with the humans and elves. Tarn said the humans were pushing further into the forest and they needed to stop. The agreement was they would not cut down any more trees. It seems they are trying to push their way into more of the forest to increase the farmlands. We told him we along with the Princess would pass this information along.

We did run into a little trouble on the way to Tanhill. We spotted an orc arrow sticking out of a tree as if it were marking something. Well it was…the distance the big nasty orc up on the top of the hill had to shoot. He hit Vil square in the back as he was trying to remove the arrow. Ouch that is one big arrow. We set off in pursuit up the hill but after hitting him a couple of times he seemed to stop firing. The whole time we were heading up the hill Vil was grunting something about red. Tarn yelled up at us to stop chasing him. That orc was known as the rooster because the big red mohawk he had. He was know to ambush humans and elves and lead them into traps.We ended our chase and Langnus healed the wounded before we continued on to Tanhill.

We arrived in Tanhill and I realized this was nothing like my home. We lived among the trees but these elves lived on the ground just like humans. We saw the foul and rotting plague body, or at least Langnus did. I chose to stay out as the stench was quite unbearable. He said it was much like the other body. Someone did notice the clothes on the body appeared to be from the same town where the well was poisoned. That was certainly a long way for away.

We head back out the next day. Tarn and company lead us to the Great Road and we part ways. Both sides agree to let the powers that be know there seems to be someone behind these plague poisonings and that hopefully both sides will agree to hold off on any type of retaliation until we can find out who is behind this.

Moving whats left of the town (Harlow)

After we saved the town from the Plague Zombies and super Zombies, we gather the survivors. There are only 80 some people left out of over 500, with only 6 warriors among them.
But there are BODIES ALL OVER THE PLACE!!! and it is starting to smell. Roderick and Langnus say we need to burn the bodies, and they start organizing groups from the able bodied folk.
Lia volunteers to go get our horses from the village up north where we left them stabled. So I take this opportunity to “volunteer” search the houses for “stuff” we will need to make the journey with 80 townsmen to Ilfreycomb and the Prince.
Vil gets volunteered to drag bodies, boy am I glad I am not big and strong, he gets all the bad jobs.
I mark the houses that have good food, blanket free of blood and pas, and any with usable wagons or carts. Someone can come carry it all back top the group of houses were are staying in. I am definitely not carrying all the by myself. The money I was keeping, but soon discovered that there was so much coin I would HAVE to share it. All total there was over 10,000 copper, 5,000 silver and 700 gold, there was even one old man with a pouch of gems and 4 platinum. I was Rich!
But I could not carry it all, and I really don’t have anything I want to spend it on…so I split is amongst everyone. Ok so I kept the gems and platinum for the party, but we were doing all the heavy lifting.
The Towns folk thought I was the best, as I gave everyone 9 gold, 62 silver and 128 copper, this way they could start over when they reached the city.
I even found the Apothecary for Langnus and he loaded a whole wagon full of stuff from that shop.
It took us about a week, but finally we had the 21 wagons loaded and ready to go. Boy I though I walked slow, but the wagon train did not move fast at all, It will take forever to get to get to the city.
The first couple of days were uneventful, but the next night I was awoken by one of the warriors. The night was eerily silent, until Vil shouted little demon, and ran into the darkness. I stay put, hiding next to the last wagon in line. Sure enough there walked a “little” demon into the light. “Little”, the thing was taller than I am and looked to have bigger teeth and claws than the last one I killed. I line up a shot from the sling-staff, and snag it on the wagon. Damn, I missed. Luckily the warriors charged it getting its attention, and Lia shoots it with some arrows. At least she hit the thing. Roderick Takes up a guard position half way down the line of wagons peering into the darkness. Langnus calls down A’Tar’s blessing on us, and I hear Vil shouting about the big black demon is here too, and for Langnus to get over here and heal him. Vil stumbles into the firelight and is looking very torn up. I get a hit on the demon finally, as do the warriors and Lia, before the demon claws one of the men dropping him.
The are at the other end of the wagon goes black as we kill our demon, the only people I can see are Roderick, Lia and the surviving warrior. Roderick is shouting to dispel the darkness with the rod. I say the words “Numa Templa” and the darkness vanishes!! yea! Oops the Shadowy Demon is looking right at me, time to hide. Vil and Roderick wade in and I can see Langnus’s Glowing weapon kill another small demon. Weird It is a hammer, I thought it was a sword last time. I get a good shot in and the demon takes notice of me again, as he KILLS Vil, and steps my way. I tumble under a wagon to get away, he chips a claw on the wagon bed, narrowly missing me. Whew!
Roderick, 2 of the warriors, and Lia, now using her falchion, surround the demon and hit it from all sides. I hide again and get in another good shot with a bullet. damn here he comes, I seem to have made him mad. Again I narrowly evade getting disemboweled, like one of our warriors. Vil rejoins the fight, he was not DEAD!, after being partially healed by Langnus. the Demon is again surrounded and he flys away in the air and is lost in darkness. We wait nervously for a couple of minutes, but he never comes back.
We lost 15 villagers and 2 of the warriors but we won…
The rest of the journey was boring and we finally make to the city and the prince. He is overjoyed to see his sister alive an well.
The princess, Roderick and Langnus talk and talk to the prince about plague and elves and the demon… boring, I wander off and get out one of the big gems and look at it, they really are very nice… :-)
We leave the next day, The Baroness and her son Xanister are traveling with the Prince, Princess and us, so we have 4 wagons and are making better time. the prince does not want to stop at the same camp where the demon attacked the first time. So we press on to the next site, only to find it already occupied buy a covered wagon. Next to a cheerful fire are and Old man and his young beautiful daughter. The old man is Masheer and he says he is a fortune teller, and his daughter, Nina is learning his trade. the Prince, Roderick, Langnus and Xanister are falling over themselves to be the first one to greet her. She is very pretty, maybe she will let me sit on her lap.
Masheer says he would like to tell our fortune, and I shout me first and rush over. Masheer chants, covers my palm with dust smacks my hand and begins to read my palm, he says there is great wealth in my future, (duh I have a bag full of gems). then looks startled and says I might be the one? Of course I am the one, wait the one what?
before he can answer, a ball if light floats into the camp. everyone stands and draws weapons, A Large wolf enters the firelight, I mean as big as a horse big. and the light turns and angry red and fires two bolts of light at Masheer and Nina. Don’t kill Masheer he has not told me the one what yet! Nina is dropped by the beam, but appears to be still breathing. as the wolf is joined by two others and they attack. Arrows bullets and spells fly at the light doing a little damage. The fighters move to intercept the wolves and Langnus calms one so it stops attacking. Lia exclaims she can not damage them as her arrows keep bouncing off it. Masheer say pick up the bag at her feet and wish for a weapon that can damage the wolves. Or were wolves as one of them shifts into a partially human form. Lia’s new bow is very effective, Vil is doing damage but I can’t even get a hit using my staff like a club. This close up fighting sucks! Roderick and the Prince are holding one off but doing very little damage to it and it shifts into a hybrid human also. Lia finishes off the werewolf and Langnus says his calming is going to end. so we move to help and and Langnus get big again. (he has a big butt when he is small, it gets huge when he makes himself 9’ tall.) But his hammer hurts as he kills the one attacking Roderick in one hit. the other, still in wolf form, runs off into the night.
A’Tar, (no not the pony) travelling with the Prince and Princess sucks, I mean they are monster magnets… Hopefully I can sleep the rest of the night.
Then Masheer says you are indeed the ones! He goes to his wagon and brings back a small rod. He hands it to ME!! and says the best thing I have ever heard, "This is a Rod of ULTIMATE TREASURE, use it blah blah blah…….
I concentrate on the rod trying to make it work and it tugs me around until I am point it North. The ULIMATE TREASURE is North, can we leave now??

Note found in Nomead aka Balasar (Doppelganger)

“Balasar, the time is growing short. The infidel leader Keagan is suspicious of our activities, and we must move now. The artifact you gave us has been delivered, and the plan is ready to be executed. You must quickly finish you scheme and render the tower of Sophos in ineffective. – Sargon”

Note found on Gudea (Doppelganger)

“Gudea, the gift has been received by the infidel Keagan and the trap is ready. Supply the taggit and belladonna mixture to Melthazar so he may perform his roll. After the unveiling of the statue, the misguided fools of Desna will take the fall. With the tower of Sophos eliminated, and our agents in place, nothing will stand in our path to dominance over Illian’s Crossing and out operations with the gates of Earos can move to the next stage. – Sargon”

The King's Statue / Orc Raid

The player characters thwart an attempted assassination attempt against the head of the Church of At’ar (Father Keagan) and subsequent framing of that assassination on the Church of Desna. While doing so, they capture the remaining Doppelganger conspirator, whom the question to get details of the plot. They learn that the Doppelgangers were sent via visions to Illian’s Crossing to help secure the town, while other conspirators (followers of Myrkull) uncover and operate the gate to bring Myrkull’s underlings (demons) to Earos.

After the interrogation, the PCs are summoned to the King’s audience chamber to discuss what they have learned. Talk is ongoing with King Lothar, Lord Captain Commander Prince Labraid, Lord Captain Ulster of the Militia, Lord Captain Ludolf of the Guard, Lord Vicar Titus, Court Magician Kristoph, and Edrahil the Calaquendi. As the PC’s enter, Kristoph is just finishing his story.

“From my research, the creatures are called Quasits. They are a type of small flying demon that specializes in working against those who use magic. They are not visible to the unassisted eye.

From what I can gather, at least one was in the Tower of Sophos for at least a year, when he began to haunt Henry Foliar. By the time Nomead came to the tower three months ago from Bistrietz, there were at least four.

Nomead, or Balasar I assume is his real name, is of an ancient race that we spellcasters call Doppelgangers. They are shapeshifters that can assume the form of anyone they’ve been in close contact with. We think that Nomead was killed and his form taken by Balasar either before he left Bistrietz or during his journey here.

If it wasn’t for the rescue by Adelaide and the Militia (or are you guys guards?) we would have all surely perished, or worse.”

When he is done, then the PC’s are asked to report on what they have found. Near the end of their story, the assembled group is interrupted by a messenger bringing reports that the Outpost at the north end of the Crimsontals (the valley with the town of HermanStadt within it) was attacked by a large contingent or orcs. The outpost held, but losses were high.

The conversation quickly switches over to what to do about the growing orc situation. It is clear that not enough is know about the threat and a discussion of sending a well equipped scouting party ensues. Lord Vicar Titus, who is representing the Church of At’ar while Father Keagan recovers, offers to lead the party.

Edrahil, who was silent the whole time, steps forward and begins to talk.

“There is a natural balance to the world. A balance between goodness and evil, a balance between order and chaos. In much the same way as the balance between night and day is equal in the fall, the darkness grows longer as the days get colder. Much is the same between the chaotic orc and the lawful man. Humanities summer is at an end, growth has led to an equal response for the opposing forces around it. The orcs numbers have swelled, and their land is unable to support them. They will unify now, and as they have done countless times in the past, they will come south into your lands.

They will slaughter humanity, and you will fight back in turn. Humanity will have its winter while the orc has it’s summer. But eventually man will hold its ground and push back. Winter will end and the days will become longer. Ancient lines will be redrawn, and stability will be restored. Life will be lost so life can flourish again. This is the natural cycle of things, and this is what will pass.

But there is an evil penetrating our world, an evil from beyond, that threatens to destroy this balance. We of the Calaquendi call him Melkor the Unliving, Destroyer of Life, and the Lord of Bones. Melkor cares not for the spheres of the prime material, but only for his unending conflicts of power with the other gods, a conflict for which he is quite successful. To fuel his armies, he needs the souls of sentient beings, the more he gains the more powerful he becomes. To this end he seeks to send his avatars into our realm, to harvest souls, and fuel his ambition. Behind his avatars is left nothing but desolate lifeless worlds.

Melkor’s avatars and minions are not free to travel into this sphere. But it appears they have discovered ancient portal’s, gates older than man that once connected to a long gone world, that they are now using to travel to Earos. How these gates have become reconnected is not yet known, but that there are now connections to his plane, known as the Abyss, is not in doubt.

The locations of many of these gates are known to us, but some have been lost, such as the one discovered in Illian’s Crossing. These gates must be found and secured. There are agents of Melkor already in this world who are seeking to find and open these gates. We do not know how many demons have already come through, and they will seek to bring over more, but there are other agents. Man worships a typically benign aspect of Melkor, named Myrkul, whom you use to ease the transition from life to death. It appears that some of the followers of Myrkul have made direct connection with Melkor and are now doing his bidding. Be wary of them.”

When he is done, the room erupts in conversation. There is general agreement that ignoring the orc threat is unacceptable. Edrahil once again speaks, but this time his conversation is very clearly directed towards the PCs.

“The battle against Melkor is a greater threat than that of the orc, for it is a battle for the very survival of all life. Balance will be restored. The orcs will come and Illian’s Crossing may be no more. That is the natural cycle. Spend your time left by fighting a greater threat, by finding these gates.”

With that, Edrahil steps back and speaks no more. Conversation continues and plans are firmed up to send two squads of heavily armored militia north, led by Lord Vicar Titus, along with lighter units pick up along the way. Prince Labraid asks Adelaide and the rest of the “special” royal militia unit to join in the expedition to ensure its success and to watch/assist/evaluate Lord Vicar Titus.


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