The Barrowbrook Frontier

17 October 343

The group was let out on schedule, and after a paltry fine and a stern talking-to from the town watch (doubly stern for Rook), they were set free. One of los Sombreros Rojos was waiting for them outside the castle. He instructed the party to meet him outside the Rat’s Nest the following midnight, and they’d talk more about being initiated.

XP

Balmonte: 4000 (RP bonus)
Rook: 3525
Kor: 3700
Abel: 1750

Loot

Mendelbrot’s racking up quite a tab…

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16 October 343

For some reason, even though it was a Sunday, the party went back to Mendelbrot’s Curios. They found it closed, and then went on to the Rat’s Nest.

The Nest was rather more crowded than they expected, but they could immediately see that several of the filthy men inside were bearing the red hat tattoo. Rook decided that there was more resistance in there than he was prepared to handle, and so the party retreated, but not before a young boy attempted to lift Balmonte’s purse.

Balmonte dressed the boy down, and then extorted him for information, as Rook slipped off to wait for Mendelbrot. The boy told Balmonte and Kor that the Red Hat Boys were really throwing their weight around in the slums of Mistwick, trying to recruit and beating people up and taking their lunch money and so forth.

Meanwhile, Rook ran into a familiar face — the member of the West End Gang he had accosted a few days earlier! The other man was running with a bunch of large men, and barely had a chance to open his mouth before Rook tried to stick an arrow into it. In response, the large men tackled Rook, and brought him along to a place called the Iron Naga Taproom.

Within, they kept Rook in a small room until a man who identified himself as Carter could speak with him. Carter asked Rook what his deal is, and upon hearing that Rook was looking to make trouble with the Red Hat Boys, decided to let him go, since it would be doing both of them a favor. Rook went back to the Rat’s Nest and met up with Kor and Balmonte, and approached one of the men with the red hat tattoos to ask about recruitment.

The man he spoke to pointed him to a shadowy figure in the corner of the bar, named “Sonny.” Rook approached Sonny to ask about recruitment, and was rewarded with a tankard of dishwater ale to the face! A bar brawl ensued, and everyone within was arrested.

In the dungeon of Sydslot Castle, the man Rook originally spoke to admitted he was just having some fun with him, but expressed admiration for Rook’s quickness with a bow and his sneakiness. He told Rook that they’d be let out the following day with nothing more than a small fine for “disturbing the peace,” and that they’d talk more at that time. The others in the group received similar offers, though Balmonte received a warning away from the Red Hat Boys/los Sombreros Rojos from a non-affiliated bar patron swept up in the mess.

From that point on, their night in the pokey passed uneventfully.

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14 October 343

Abel took his leave this day to pursue “other matters.” He instructed his man, Balmonte, to assist Rook and Kor in their efforts to complete Mendelbrot’s task.

First, the party went to Mendelbrot’s Curios to talk to the goblin about their findings so far. They discovered him deep in conversation with a tall, beautiful woman, identified as the Lady Quedra Melisande Fiona Patience del Ararin. He introduced her to the group, and then yelled at them for wasting his time with mere rumors.

It was the consensus of the group that the smart thing to do would be to track down the murdered Zardoz-K in the Southern Reaches so as to commune with the spirit of the dead. But where to look? Questioning one of the town guards gave them a lead, and they set off down the Old Spice Road.

After several hours’ travel along the road and the River Zev, Balmonte, Rook and Kor came across the site of a horrible battle on the riverbank. Several Zardoz-K bodies lay riddled with arrows and savaged by scavengers. Kor was able to identify them as belonging to the Ten Horses tribe, neutral to his own Red River tribe. They made their camp there so that Balmonte could begin his meditations in preparation for communing with the spirits of the fallen warriors.

Unfortunately, these preparations were interrupted by the sudden attack of several ghouls and a ghast! Balmonte found himself paralyzed and his throat gnawed upon as Rook and Kor did their best to eliminate the rest. Fortunately, the group was able to overcome the threat without serious loss on their part.

At length, Balmonte completed his preparations. Before he could begin the rite, however, they were interrupted again — this time by the arrival of riders from the Five Vultures Zardoz-K. Kor identified himself as Red River, friends to the Five Vultures, and the new arrivals stayed their weapons.

A problem arose: the Five Vultures wanted to immediately “give the bodies of their brothers to the sky,” i.e. burn them in keeping with Zardoz-K tradition. Thinking quickly, Rook, sliding through the shadows, stole one of the bodies away and hid it as the others were burned.

The Five Vultures were planning on making camp, but were spooked by sounds off on the plains. They resolved to ride on, leaving the party to their own devices.

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13 October 343

Each member of the party found his own way to Mistwick for his own purposes on this day. It was then that they heard the rumors of a demon attack in the town the night before. The day was unusual; the city watch had doubled its numbers and Rook met with some suspicion as he entered the town. It seemed that everyone they met was talking about the disaster in the bazaar and the goblin hero who had defeated it.

Correctly surmising that this must have been Mendelbrot, Abel and his new dwarven ally Balmonte went to the curio shop to ask what the story was. When they arrived, they found Mendelbrot in an unusual state of disarray, searching through the piles and stacks of his wares for…something.

The “demon,” Mendelbrot explained, had in fact been a shadow-thing, a figment, an illusion, designed to draw him away from his shop while parties unknown breached the perimeter and stole something of great value. How this was done, exactly, remained something of a mystery to him.

It was Abel’s thinking that uncovered the start of the trail: a belt, sold to Mendelbrot a short while before proved to have a lurking single-use spell contained within it. The spell, a powerful dispel magic, had caused Mendelbrot’s security to go dark just long enough for the thieves to enter and retrieve what they were after.

Mendelbrot suspected Ozymandias, a competing magic dealer living in the same town. However, he couldn’t prove it. Moreover, Ozymandias had powerful friends; moving against him directly would be imprudent. Finally, Mendelbrot suspected that Ozymandias had used hired help to perform the theft.

Mendelbrot’s pacifistic nature, as well as his general desire to keep a low profile, prevented him from tracking down the thieves himself. However, he had a ready ally in Abel, who needed to borrow Mendelbrot’s lyre of building to effect repairs on his keep in Reedshire. Find the names of those responsible for the theft, Mendelbrot offered, and he would permit the use of his lyre for a single day.

Mendelbrot, using one of his myriad powerful magical items, produced a sketch of the one from whom he had bought the belt, and the hunt was on. Abel took the sketch to the upscale bars in town, while Balmote, Kor and Rook each searched in their own way.

Balmonte found nothing. Abel was successful in tracking down the red-headed seller, but he provided little in the way of useful information: the belt had been retrieved from the Zardoz-K a few days before, far to the south in Kirkhill Downs. His adventuring allies corroborated his story, leaving Abel somewhat in the dark as to where to go next.

Rook’s investigations led him to a semi-doppleganger of the red-headed adventurer, a man named Milligan, who worked as a laborer on the city wall. Rook and Kor tracked him down and exchanged words, and discovered that he was affiliated with the West End Gang, one of the thieves’ outfits in the city.

The day drew to a close with the party facing more questions…

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In Dreams

A few days after returning to Mistwick, Abel fell into a mysterious illness. Consulting with healers brought no results. Not even Mendelbrot could shed light on Abel’s condition. The speed of his deterioration was such that there didn’t seem to be much hope for him…until Makhariel returned.

Makhariel advised them that Abel had been afflicted by the devil’s poison, and that there was only one cure. Unfortunately, that cure was a ritual contained within the legendary Carmendine Codex…which lay on another world entirely.

Makhariel sent Rook and Kor to a place called Castle Loenwald, where the Codex was rumored to be. After fighting their way through strange men and strange machines, finding wondrous devices far beyond any known to them, they managed to locate the Codex and perform the ritual to return.

The ceremony contained within the Codex successfully cured Abel. As he recovered, Makhariel took the Codex and returned it from whence it came, leaving Rook and Kor only with their misty memories of the strange castle. Those, and the strange artifacts they returned with: the Sanguine Chalice and the Focused Skull.

XP:
Rook and Kor: both 500

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The End of Chapter One

So it turns out that all of the specific details have been lost to history. A brief summary:

  • Adram had been cloned by a coin he had picked up, and the clone was being used by a devil to wreak havoc around the world.
  • This devil had been responsible for the destruction of Caranton.
  • Meanwhile, Reeds is a mess and Sir Abel has a lot of work to do to clean it up and make it profitable.
  • The two of these came together in a graveyard labeled “Dead End,” surrounded by horrid effigies that were keeping in a great evil.
  • The party fought the Adram clone in the graveyard, assisted by the angel Makhariel.

5000 XP for everyone! Yeah.

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Rewards for "The Massacre at Caranton"

Rook: 3250 XP
Kor: 3250 XP

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20 August 343

Rook and Kor tracked Adram to Mendelbrot’s Curios, and discovered from Mendelbrot that Adram had headed for Pelunion to meet with the Duke. Rook bought a horse and the two headed north along the Old Spice Road, the strange vulture flying behind them all along the way…

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19 August 343

The group headed north on the Old Spice Road following the lead they had gleaned the day before. After crossing the River Zev, they made good time to Hell’s Way Inn, shadowed the entire time by the strange vulture.

Hell’s Way was busy, as per usual. After speaking to a group of dwarves, Rook made his way to the bar where he learned from one of the three brothers that the man they were looking for was named Adram Thorsson, recently named a lord of the Shire of Reeds.

Rook moved with purpose, gathering his allies and making for Mistwick, intent on going to Reeds and burning it down as was done to his home.

The trip to Mistwick took a little over an hour, and the party passed through the gates at Sydslot Castle without incident. Immediately Rook began asking around, looking for leads on this “Adram Thorsson.” Unfortunately, the people he chose to ask had no insight; the best he could manage was a tip from the proprietress of the Whispering Plate that the information he sought might be found in the slums on the west side of town.

Rook and company wandered into the slums, and took a wrong turn into a blind, dead-end alley. At the end of the alley they found their quarry: a man matching Adram’s description, wielding a wicked, barbed glaive.

“Nobody was to survive Caranton,” growled Adram, and he proceeded to cast a summoning spell. Rifts of flame opened up, and eight strange creatures appeared in a burst of brimstone. Kor identified these new creatures as lemures, a type of mindless devil.

Rava acted quickly, casting glitterdust on Adram and some of the lemures. Adram staggered back, blinded, and growled out a threat before disappearing in a burst of flame. Spells were flung and arrows were shot, and the lemures were all banished back to Hell.

Suddenly, as the fight ended, Adram appeared again, plunging his glaive deep into Rava’s back. Rava fell to the ground as Adram growled, “I’ll be coming for you.” Before the others could react, Adram disappeared again in a burst of fire and brimstone.

Shaken, Kor and Rook called the guard to take Rava to the healers to see if anything could be done. Shaken, they retired to a room at the Drunken Champion to rest.

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18 August 343

Rava, Kor and Rook made their way along the Old Spice Road to Rivercrest, followed by the lone vulture the whole way. Rook was exhausted, having been kept awake by horrible nightmares the night before.

Their time in Rivercrest proved productive. Rook was able to learn from Innkeeper Simmons at the Mighty Goblet that the man in the picture had been through town just the day before. Also, interestingly, he had also been seen in town over a month before, attempting to locate a missing caravan in the company of a decent bard.

The group opted to stay in town for the rest of the day so that Rook could avail himself of a dry bed. Warily, they watched the skies, as the vulture kept circling…

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