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DM Barcas - Kingmaker: Rivers Run Red

Game Master Isaac Duplechain

As Newhaven rises, threats besiege it from all directions. To the north, the news of the last heir of House Rogarvia threatens the start of a new war. To the south, an empire of trolls and monsters grows.

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Round 7, initiative 11
AC 19 (21 vs. evil), touch 12(14 vs. evil), flat-footed 18(20 vs evil), CMD 18, FF-CMD 17
hp; 44/44
Fort +4, Ref +0, Will -2 (+0)
Conditions; Fatigued, Shaken, Protection from Evil
MA: Move 30' toward the tower.
SA: Attack Harpy--> 1d20 + 6 - 3 ⇒ (19) + 6 - 3 = 22 HIT! for 1d8 ⇒ 7 ⇒ dmg.

Moving forward with his bow in hand Berrin keeps his eyes on the retreating harpy. Drawing to a halt near the bleeding Nikoli he flinches at the sight as he spares a glace at him. He may not like him all too much but Berrin realizes at that moment that the former Stag Lord is warming up to him. The man had gone through so much, was it any wonder he turned out as he did? Jemini say's he was redeemed, or that he could be, Berrin found himself hoping she was right.

Calmly pulling another arrow Berrin repeats the process from a moment ago, steadying his shacking fingers and trying hard to calm his hard breathing, he nods in satisfaction when the harpy screeches as his arrow buries itself deep in her thigh.

Harpy 24/58 hp

Waiting on Nikolai, Jemini, Verik, and Taisper.

Jhod leaves the city after a few hours, spreading the word of his plan to head to Oleg's for purpose of obtaining medical supplies for Akiros. Prior to leaving, he calls a convocation of Sanctuary's people to pray for their General in the courtyard of the castle. The cleric explains that both Akiros and Tandlara have fallen ill to a curse from the hag's Cohen, but reassured them that they will not succumb to its effects until he can return with the means of breaking both the illness and the enchantment. The citizens, still reeling from Corwin's death and longing for the return of the other founders, pray fervently to their gods. Erastil, Abadar, Sarenrae, Milani, even Irori and Cayden are invoked by the diverse populace in their intercessions. Jhod is accompanied by a number of guards to protect him on the road north, while the citizens turn out to see him off.

Secretly, he leaves Akiros with enough supplies to keep Tandlara nourished, spices to simulate his illness, and herbs that will prevent blood from drying for a full day. Akiros patiently waits, his focus and discipline serving him well as he waits. He runs through dozens of scenarios in his mind, preparing himself to end this threat. He considers the implications of Nikolai's return and questions if his former master, with all his terrible furies and delusions of power, lurks inside the man. He remembers his life in Mivon and the duel that destroyed everything for him. He watches the still elf in his care and wonders if it would be better for Newhaven for her to never awaken. He practices his swordplay quietly in the small space, making sure he knows the exact placement of every item even without looking.

He sleeps in short spurts, ensuring that he is not defenseless for long. In one of these short rests, he dreams of her. Not Malgorzata or Tandlara, but rather the first and only woman he ever loved. Sarah. He dreams of her beauty, of her long dark hair and lively eyes. Her wit and humor were contagious, even for his overly serious personality. They had grown close on the trip from Mivon to New Stetven. The purpose of the trip was to foster more trade between Brevoy and Mivon, regardless of the enmity between the two nations after the Mivonese families fled Choral's conquest. The six of them had gone, all members of the Aldori Swordpact and graduates of the same dueling school. Akiros was the best duelist amongst them, and was constantly teased by the others for his piety. Sarah was the wife of his best friend, Matthias, and Akiros had loved her from the first day they met. He hated himself for feeling the way he did, but always kept her at arm's length. Sarah went with them on their trip, and when she confessed to Akiros that she had come because she couldn't be apart from him, not Matthias, his resolve deserted him. Their affair lasted months, while they benefited from Mathias being busy negotiating and making contacts. When they were discovered, though, it all crumbled around him. He dreams of that fateful duel, his best friend spitting curses at him between sword swings while the woman they both loved wept helplessly.

Just a brief interlude. Feel free to expand on the dream (but not his first meeting with the Stag Lord - I have plans for that flashback) and his reaction.

Male Human Heretic 5 Master of Many Styles 1

Taisper looks up at the retreating harpy, and the damage she's done, and then uses his augmented speed to rushe to the base of the tower, as close to her as he can get. Once there, his eyes flash gold and he curses her with the anger of the God of Cities and Civilization, as one who abhors filth and festering ruins and creatures of her ilk; "You rank, hedge-born flap-dragon! Vilest and lowest of creatures! Plummet down from the sky, now, and grovel at the feet of those who serve a Higher Master! The only Master! Come be Judged by one empowered so to do! I command you in the name of God!" Flecks of spittle are jettisoned from the angered youth's dry lips as he puts into the insults every ounce of emotional frustration and confusion and angst he's been dealing with over the last few days.

Round 7 - Initiative 7
Buffs: Shield of Faith (+2 AC, etc.), Expeditious Retreat(+30ft. Move), Judgment/Purity(+1 all saves, so; F/R/W - 7/4/11)
Swift: switch Judgment
MA: Close as possible to the Harpy
SA: cast Castigate (last 2nd-level spell for today)
Harpy DC15 Will 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (3) + 8 = 11

Amazingly, it seems to work. The elder harpy looks abashed, lowers her head and weapon alike, and begins to sort of cower at the tower top. She flexes her wings a little, but it's unclear whether she's going to fight, flee, or drop down to Taisper's feet as he has commanded. The pure golden glow of Abadar surrounds him as he stares defiantly back up at her, his eyes blazing.

Male Human Samurai-Ronin 4/ Oracle-Battle 3 | AC 24/ T12/ F23, HP73, F+8/ R +4/ W +7, Init +1(Roll twice), Percep +6, Sense Motive +10

That was perfect! I loved it! It fits in fantastically with the version of Akiros' past I'd already expanded on. Other than cleaning up a few details of it on my end based on what you've written, I don't feel the need to add anything to the dream at the moment. Can't wait to read the next instalment!

Round 7 - Initiative 16
AC 26 (32vsSmittenHarpy); HP 35/35
Standard action: cure light wounds

Fervently Jemini calls upon the power of her gods. She stands protectively over the fallen hulk of Nikolai, even now blood gushes out of his wounds in thick spurts as the heart still pumps in vain. A soothing soft light forms in her hands, and quickly ebbs into Nikolai - not enough to wake him, but his beat steadies and the blood merely trickles now.

Cure light wounds 1d8 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 1 = 5

Male Human Cleric (Abadar) 7th / Fighter 1st / AC 24/10T/24F / HP 61 / F +10 R +3 W +11 / Init. +0 / Perc. +5 / Sense Motive +14

Round 7, Initiative 10
HP 28/28; AC20/10T/20F
Current Conditions: Shaken
Spell Durations: Shield of Faith 37 rds (Jemini), Pro. From Evil 36 rds (Berrin), Spiritual Weapon 2 rds

Free: Speak, Attack w/ Spiritual Weapon
SA: Use Cure Moderate Wounds on Nikolai (sub Summon Monster II)

Spiritual Weapon vs. Harpy w/ Shaken 1d20 + 7 - 2 ⇒ (3) + 7 - 2 = 8 Miss

For a third time the golden crossbow loads and fires, trailing along behind the harpy even as she tries to make her escape. This time however, the shot falls short and strikes the tower in a descending arc.

Verik barely notes the failure in his spiritual weapon and the harpy, though he finds himself emboldened by Taisper's righteous denunciation of the beast. Looking down at the fresh blood of Nikolai streaming down his armor, mixed with ice and grime, he watches impassively as she uses her divine power to prevent his last expiration, muttering, "He is not worthy of this, or you! This one...he will only lead us to utter ruin the way he is about...I do not know why you insist."

The cleric takes a step forward then, hearing his cousin's words and wanting to be done with the savage barbarian. But he does not take his second step forward, as Jemini does not answer him one way or another. Another moment of indecision, and then he lets out an angry sigh and clicks his tongue, bending down to place a hand on the man. "Blast you both! The harpy flees from your light - go and I will tend to the scion of Rogvaria."

Cure Moderate Wounds on Nikolai 2d8 + 4 ⇒ (7, 8) + 4 = 19

With a furious infusion of golden healing energy and knowledge of wounds, Verik wills Nikolai back to consciousness, fully mending muscle, sinew and skin back together as he restores the wound near his heart, stopping the flow of blood from the other wounds. "By the Grace of the Gods Rogvaria, I will not be responsible for you spoiling their plans for you this day!"

Nikolai's HP's after Jemini and Verik - 12/39 hp

Round 8, Initiative 21

The harpy, already turning to flee from the Founders of Newhaven, breaks along with her spirit with Taisper's words. She drops her bow, which falls atop the ruined tower and clatters to a rest. Her song ends with a final shriek of terror, rage, and hate as Abadar's judgment consumes her. She flies towards the horizon with all the speed her wings can muster. The Founders watch as she flies off to the horizon, unable to match her speed or ability to fly over the water. They notice for the first time that a storm front is moving towards them from the same direction the harpy flies towards. Its dark clouds promise rain and thunder in excess.

Zander and Taisper are closest to the enthralled men. Three of them simply stare into space, their minds simply broken, but Gregary blinks a few times as a look of recognition crosses his face. He moves his cracked, dry lips a few times before a quiet croak emerges from his throat. [smaller]"Zannnnd..."

You're out of Initiative.

Male Human Fighter (Archer) 6

Zander looks about himself, seeing his helm many feet behind him. He places one hand on his creek, partially covering his face. "Well, it may not look like me, but yes, it's me, Gregary. Are you all right.? "

Male Human Cleric (Abadar) 7th / Fighter 1st / AC 24/10T/24F / HP 61 / F +10 R +3 W +11 / Init. +0 / Perc. +5 / Sense Motive +14

Watching the foul harpy flee the island, he sighs a brief sigh of relief, though his tone is slightly bitter. "Well that did not end as I had hoped or expected..."

Verik is still kneeling down next to Nikolai, examining his wounds with a practiced air. His next words however are louder and aimed towards his comrades.

"Zander! Berrin! Are you yourselves once more? If you can, see to those men and I shall be able to heal them of any physical wounds presently...though that may be the least of their ailments. We also need to finish the job of searching that foul tower and securing it, preferably before the storm strikes us."

Jemini lays hand on the grounded man one more time before she's satisfied that his life is well and surely saved. Then she moves quickly to the previously enthralled - dispensing her remaining 5 uses of lay on hands. Her eyes hold a slight moist shimmer on the edges as she sees up close how bereft of dignity these poor men have become under the hands of the harpy.

Lay on hands for Nikolai 1d6 ⇒ 4

The use of lay on hands is too ease the suffering of the enthralled, specifically to apply the de-fatigue mercy on them.

Male Human Heretic 5 Master of Many Styles 1

Taisper unlatches his morningstar and walks up to the tower door. "I'll go in and see what's up in the tower, here. Probably nothing but molt and harpy guano, though. Yuck." He picks up a small pebble and casts a simple Light spell on it, then steps cautiously into the tower, shield and morningstar both ready. He also takes a moment to cast a Message orison on himself and Verik, so he can remain in contact with his cousin more easily while he explores the structure.

Cast Light
Cast Message (Verik and Taisper only)
Perception: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (10) + 8 = 18

Taisper steps into a nightmare, one that would surely rattle a normal person, nut he simply looks around impassively. His eyes scan over half a dozen (or more) bodies in various states of decay. Bite marks, human and harpy alike, cover the bodies, none of which are wholly intact. Taisper pushes aside the bodies, looking for any items of use or value amidst them. The stench of death and waste overwhelms the senses, but the young inquisitor simply ignores it. A pile of armor and equipment lays discarded in a corner, apparently of little use to the enthralled captives or their cruel captors. Amidst this pile, Taisper finds a sharp curved dagger, looking as wicked as it does dangerous.

Runes of unknown origin are etched around the walls of the tower's interior. Taisper looks at them, though they have no significance to him. Perhaps Verik can figure them out. They stretch all the way to the ceiling, which is at least twenty feet high. As a matter of fact, he notices, the entire tower's interior looks much larger than any normal place designed for humans or any other race. He climbs up the stairs with some difficulty, as they are far taller than normal.

On the roof, Taisper finds the harpy's nest. He roots through the filth, finding several gems and gold pieces. It seems that the harpies liked glittery and shiny items above all else. He picks up the bow dropped by the harpy as he looks over the edge. Forty feet below, the others bring Nikolai, Gregary, and the others the aid they need. He looks to the horizon, spotting the rapidly-approaching stormfront that flashes with rain and lightning.

Male Human Samurai-Ronin 4/ Oracle-Battle 3 | AC 24/ T12/ F23, HP73, F+8/ R +4/ W +7, Init +1(Roll twice), Percep +6, Sense Motive +10

Just checking, you're not waiting for anything from Akiros, right?

Just deciding where to go with Akiros. Feel free to make a post about him waiting.

Male Human Fighter (Archer) 6

Perception -> 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (12) + 4 = 16

These men looked a wreck, but he knows he looks worse...the kind of worse that a few good meals and a week of sleep wont fix. He moves purposefully back to where the helm lay on the ground.

What did that witch do to me? Why did I remove this? He puts his hand in the helm, but does not find the headband. Getting down on his hands and knees he begins to look for it. It is easy to tell some sort of scuffle occurred....Did I fight them? friends?...Did I lose the helm in a scuffle? He looks over at Verik tending the sick and Taisper on top of the tower. He could call either over with their magical senses and find the headband quickly, but how could he after he turned on them? Luckily the island's vegetation is sparse and does not make the search as hard as it could have been. His hand closes on the small leather cord and a small measure of peace settles over him. At least now he feels like he could face his friends.

Male Human Cleric (Abadar) 7th / Fighter 1st / AC 24/10T/24F / HP 61 / F +10 R +3 W +11 / Init. +0 / Perc. +5 / Sense Motive +14

"Yes yes, let us all flail about in silent randomness while my cousin explores this dreadful tower by...ahh nevermind," Verik finishes sourly. He watches Jemini's endeavors to heal the captives and Zander's attempt to first communicate with Gregary, then search for the headband he had discarded in his ensnared struggle with Nikolai. Shaking his head and muttering somewhat unintelligibly to himself, he turns his helmet over and creates water into it, cleaning it out twice before filling it to the brim.

He walks to Zander and Gregary, noting his friend has recovered the headband and had donned his conjured appearance once again. Nodding to Zander, he holds the helmet of water to young scout Gregary. "Here Master Gregary, drink as much of this as you can without making yourself sick, but do not eat anything more than a bite or two, as too much food after starvation could harm you. Drink your fill - I can make more for the others."

Verik then walks forward towards the tower a few paces close to the entrance, peering up at the top with a frown.

Message to Taisper:
"Glory of the Master to impart this most useful trick unto you! I had forgotten this game since our time up the Sellen long ago. Not that I trivialize your power in forcing that foul beast to flee this island, for that was a glorious testament to your dedication. A pity she lives to harass others, but no matter. Are you alright? I should have gone with you now that I see that the others have not come to their senses and done what they should have."

Male Human Heretic 5 Master of Many Styles 1

DC15 Survival check to see if I can gauge roughly how long until the storm is on us: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (18) + 10 = 28

Taisper sits at the top of the tower for a few minutes, enjoying the little bit of view it affords him. Nothing he's encountered since he came here to the Unclaimed Lands has come close to the big smoke towers and multi-story factory buildings of his hometown, but this is a nice stand-in. Quieter, too. He thinks on the ruination he witnessed in the tower ain't that just a pickle what you leave behind them bones had tooth-marks don't you put them but only for a second or two. He observes the nothing that it makes him feel and marks it carefully.

Something is happening to me... He has never felt more closely connected to god, and yet also more utterly alone, in all his life.

He listens to the wind, watches the clouds and the treetops, counts seconds between lightning flashes and thunder, then answers his cousin.

Message to Verik:
Aye, Glory to the Master, cousin. Tell the others the tower is filled with corpses and filth and offal. It's a disgusting testament to the base animalism that can overcome otherwise civilized beings in the wild, if their lot sinks low enough. Having said that, I've no doubt what happened here is mostly because of the harpies, to be fair.

There's something else going on, though; this tower...this is not a human construct, is my guess, or at least not originally. I'm no engineer so I can't say with any certainty who did build it, but the scale is off; the steps are too big. The interior is sized too large. Things like that. There are runes on the walls inside that mean nothing to me, but maybe you or Jemini could read them. You, uh, you probably want to maybe wait until Nikolai and I get some of this cleaned out, though. Maybe Berrin, too. Need folks with particularly strong stomachs. To be honest I'd just burn it all if I wasn't afraid we'd lose control of the fire.

Speaking of fire, that rain is gonna be on top of us in just a scant few hours. Gonna be some more wet, miserable weather for a fair bit, probably. I suggest we find shelter right quick. We could possibly clean out the tower, though it'll still stink, otherwise between us I'm sure we could find a suitable spot in the woods to camp.

Oh and one more thing, I did find a couple nice little trinkets here, things to add to the coffers when we get home. Nothing big; couple gems, some gold, a weapon I'm not sure any of us can use, but it's good to get a little treasure for our troubles, anyway.

Male Human Samurai-Ronin 4/ Oracle-Battle 3 | AC 24/ T12/ F23, HP73, F+8/ R +4/ W +7, Init +1(Roll twice), Percep +6, Sense Motive +10




His sword silently cleaving the air, his teeth clenched to force himself to stay silent, less of an easy task with the pain of his still unhealed wounds, Akiros quietly moves through his routines. His swordpact brethren had always been playfully envious of his skill with the blade, and many theories had been bandied about as to the reason behind his astounding skill. Everything from his mother mating with a Dijini to his selling his soul to some devil to his skill with one sword making up for his lack of skill with his other sword. Akiros had always let all such remarks roll easily off his back, never taking offence (and unintentionally annoying his brethren even more by doing so). He had always kept a a secret laugh to himself though over how simple was the reason behind his skill-he practised. Always. Since the day his hand had first held a sword, he had not missed one single day of practising with some form of blade or weapon. He was as skilled as he was because he had made himself so. How he had looked forward to one day seeing the looks on their faces as he finally shared his secret.


Of course that would never happen now. They were all dead. All of them. Every last one. The Aldor Swordpact was no more. And it was all his fault. How big their dreams had all been! How great their confidence! Knowing, knowing, that they would change the world. And how quickly those dreams had turned to ashes. Almost as quickly as the lifeblood had drained out of all of their bodies. First Mathias, on Akiros' own blade. Never would Akiros be free of that image, the look of shock, pain and, most of all betrayal on his friends face, his best friends' face, as he lay dying, spit on the end of Akiros' sword. Oh, and even worse, so much worse, that also she...but no! NO! He was not quite ready for that particular memory just yet. The brethren, yes, his Aldori brothers. Next were their dreams sucked dry by the earth, along with their blood, hacked to bloody pieces by Stag Lord. To defend him, Akiros.


The Stag Lord. No, Nikolai now, and 'Master' no more. His oath to the former ruler of these lands was finished. A thing of the past. Now, now Nikolai was simply the man who had murdered five of Akiros' closest friends. They had all been so confident of their skill, and so enraged at Akiros, the 'murderer'. And rightly so, rightly so. But they had stood no chance against the Stag Lord. Five of the best swordsmen Mivon had ever produced and the Stag, Nikolai, had cut them down like children, like babes. Like murdering babes.

"Just like the babe you murdered."

"NO!" Akiros screams in his mind, dropping to his knees in agony
"NO! I didn't was an accident! She...oh why did she...oh, Sarah! How is it I yet live while you are gone! How can my heart even continue beating when it's better half by far lies rotting in the earth! And our child...our child. Surely this is my punishment! My torment is that I live! That I live knowing that their blood, all their blood, so much blood! It is All on My hands. Am I truly cursed? Have a been bewitched? Bewitched?? Yes! That is it! It is She! The Witch!"

And just as suddenly as he had fallen to his knees Akiros in on his feet again. One small step taking him over to Tandlara's side. His crazed eyes focused on the object of his tormented fury, Akiros' great blade slowly rises over his head, his two handed grip so tight his knuckles instantly turn white. "Yesssss!" his voice rages in his mind "Yes! It is Her! It is all her fault! This infernal witch had cast her deviltry upon me and made me destroy everything I loved! I must kill her! The curse shall be broken with her spilled blood!"

The blade risen to it's apex, his muscles taught cords of steel, the blade as executioner's axe begins to fall until

"NOOOO!" the last remaining shred of sanity screams just before the point of no return is reached. Although it almost pulls his arms out of their sockets, the sick, heartbroken and temporarily insane general manages to stop his blade before the unthinkable and unforgivable happens. His blade quivering less than an inch from her unprotected neck, as Tandlara's sleeps on, completely unaware of her near brush with death, Akiros takes a long, deep, shuddering sigh. "What is wrong with me! Am I truly mad after all? Is it Malgazorta's influence? Is it this herbs Jhod has given me? Is it this waiting? Or is it my guilt? Likely all the above." he finally concludes. Carefully sheathing and storing his blade, the near broken general staggers the few steps over to his bed and collapses into it.

"No! I cannot sleep!" he wails to his own mind "The dreams...the dreams...I cannot stand the dreams. So beautiful, so horrible. I must. not. sleep." Yet, mere moments after declaring this to himself, sleep he does. The first true sleep in some time. And, despite his protestations to the contrary, or, perhaps because of them, the dreams do come. And oh what horrible dreams. First Sarah, beautiful Sarah, and then the blood. So Much Blood....

Unless you decide otherwise DM B, until further notice, Akiros is both Fatigued and Shaken.

Male Human Cleric (Abadar) 7th / Fighter 1st / AC 24/10T/24F / HP 61 / F +10 R +3 W +11 / Init. +0 / Perc. +5 / Sense Motive +14

Verik continues to stare up at the top of the tower, nodding slightly but seemingly lost in thought. His gaze eventually turns to the approaching storm.

Message to Taisper:
Debates about my fortitude in a tower of harpy filth notwithstanding, I caution against burning this place out, as we may one day find this tower as the centerpiece of our water route to Mivon. Strange though with these runes and their origins...before we leave I will be sure to take several charcoal rubbings to parchment for later research. And treasure you say? Vault and Key, I could use a good counting of coin and bauble to take my mind off of today!

Hmmm...cousin I do not think we're going to get off of this island before that storm strikes, unless you have a better sense of it. Two trips of the Gozran's fickle log-boat with men of unknown quality and almost complete helplessness if the winds and waves rise? Unless you see it otherwise, I am forced to admit that we will need to subject everyone to the tower out of necessity until this storm passes, detestable as that may be. I will inform the others what you have found and call for next steps if you concur.

Akiros awakens slowly to the sound of his door opening quietly and shutting behind whoever made entry. If he were not exhausted and sickened, his eyes would normally shoot open at the sound. Instead, it takes him a few moments to see the figure slowly making her way across the room. When his eyes focus, his heart stops for a moment in shock.


It was her, in all her beauty and grace. Is she a hallucination? A gift from the gods? Jemini came back, after all. Why not Sarah?

He reaches out for her, too overcome by emotion to think rationally. The memories of their time together play out before his eyes once more, as they do so frequently. He ignores the last memory. It isn't necessary, as she is standing before him.

Her mouth opens to speak as she walks towards him slowly. "Akiros, my love. I have returned to you."

Perception DC 19:

Sleight of Hand 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (18) + 1 = 19

Sarah is holding a dagger in her palm, hidden behind her wrist.

With Jemini and Verik caring for the still semi-conscious Nikolai and Gregary, who seems to be dazed but not nearly as blank as the other men, Berrin and Taisper make to clean the tower as best they can before the storm arrives. Zander slowly makes his way over to the tower to assist them, seemingly ashamed of the way his mind was overtaken by the harpy. Taisper can tell how quickly the storm will be upon them, apparently as accurately if Abadar whispered it into his ear. Cleaning the tower is foul work and wholly without relief from the stench. They use whatever tools they can find inside the scrape the waste from the floor and walls, leaving it outside for the storm to wash away. They move the bodies and body parts (of which there are more than can be made into even semi-intact corpses) as best they can outside, arranged as neatly as possible for some burial or dignity later. Taisper summons small balls of acid to scour the stone surfaces, getting the last of it to melt away in horrific-smelling clouds. After a few hours of work, with the rain nearly fully upon them, the tower is at least tolerable.

The storm is truly phenomenal, a testament to Gozreh's power. Across the lake, the druid exile is likely content to be part of nature. Jabber and the horses are likely in a panic. Here on the island, though, they have some small shelter in the tower from the rain. Thick, heavy rains begin to belt those still outside, while thunder and lightning begin to roll overhead.

male human barbarian 5, ranger 3

Nikolai screams on the wrack as demonic torturers do the Conqueror's bidding. The immense red dragon looks on and laughs savagely as red-skinned fiends drip a stinging jelly from their own flesh onto his. Smoke rises from the deepening wounds.

In the distant part of the torture chamber, a barely feminine voice pronounces judgment against him. Revive him, it says. The demons part ways, revealing more twisted servitors. Three-eyed gremlins tighten his bonds, another bizarre creature hacks at his beloved greatsword with a crude iron tool until the blade breaks. Nikolai struggles against his bonds as flesh burns and limbs bleed, but he finds that he is surrounded by short men with toothy grins and iron boots. They rub cotton hats into his blood while pinning him to his deathbed with pitted scythes.

The "woman's" voice raises again. You are guilty of shedding blood, Stag. You will be murdered thrice for every life you have taken. You will bleed your all for every child you have orphaned. You deserve pain.

Heavy footfalls announce her gait - even as she speaks, she walks toward Nikolai's crippled body. When the demons and fey make room for her, the shadow that falls over his broken form is horrifying. A fat, porcine face, covered in scars and piercings, leans over. Wiry hair snakes out from an obese body the size of ten horses, vestigial wings fluttering ridiculously from the thing's hunched back. The wrinkled snout exhales hot, smelly breath and yellow mucus flings outward to land on Nikolai's cheek.

With wicked talons, it musses its hair before speaking again. This time its voice is softer, more feminine. Poor, dear friend. Your sins afford you no forgiveness. You will die by the sword you wield. You will never find the bottom of that endless rage.

The snout narrows, still piglike but protruding less from the giant demon's face. With the change in tone and feature's, Nikolai sees his judge and executioner more clearly. The demons hiss and the redcaps twist their scythes in appreciation. It is Jemini.

She speaks again, cooing with terrible calm. And when the time is most crucial, Nikolai Rogarvia, when you have finally learned to trust me,

only then will I let you die.

Nikolai screams when he awakes. He casts about wild-eyed, his arm awkwardly seeking to finish the motion of drawing and releasing that last arrow. He sits up, but his wounds remain great. He looks for the harpy and realizes the battle is over. As blood congeals on his skin and clothes, the White Stag doubles over, rolling to face the ground as he pounds leaves and earth. In a moment, he sobs heavily, flinching from any efforts to reach out to him.

Later, as the storm rages and Nikolai sits wordlessly, huddled in a bloody blanket, he eyes Verik. He says no words. He shivers, but does not react when the thunder rolls. He looks at Verik.

And hates.

Male Human Heretic 5 Master of Many Styles 1

Taisper lies on his back up against the wall. His head is resting on his pack and he's under a thin camp blanket. He's asleep, and snoring like a congested hodag. In between deep, noisy breaths, he mutters things too low to be heard in a voice not entirely his own.

"Zander!" Jemini calls out to the ranger after he returns, "Come! Come quickly." Jemini half-intercepts him, then makes him stand in spot while she examines him for wear and tear. With a sigh of relief she lets go of his shoulder - once she's satisfied his body is fine - then turns his face into hers to lock their eyes together. "Are you okay? How do you feel? I was so worried about you and Berrin... it is terrible to have your mind violated like that."

Male Human Fighter (Archer) 6

Zander holds her stare for a moment. He can sees she is looking for some kind of recognition or assurance, but it is too much. He breaks the stare and looks off at the approaching storm.

He mumbles, "I was weak.....Like these poor men...I would have died here....weak!" He punches his thigh, his breath labored..

He looks back to her after a moment, the shame strong in his eyes. He looks around quickly to make sure the others were not near before continuing, [smaller]"How can I lead men? How can I be relied on, when a song from a foul beast can so twist my mind so easily. I wouldn't have saved Gregary..Nikolai nearly died, all while I listened to a song...."

"Zander! Snap out of it!" Jemini lightly smacks his cheek to break Zander's dismal revery. "No ordinary beast can command such dark powers - the demon goddess Lamashtu herself empowers and gives an unholy life to their dark ambitions, and it is this abyssal gift that nobody can resist indefinitely. Don't let their vile wishes succeed in planting doubt in your heart. You are a good man! You've just proven this through your concern for others; and that is what it takes to be a hero that inspires men and women to follow him."

Male Human Fighter (Archer) 6

Zander accepts the slap, and nods at Jemini's words, seeming to take them in. Such a strong woman...even death was no barrier...she is whom men will follow.

Seemingly out of his funk, Zander checks in with Gregary and then sets to help clean enough of the tower to make it habitable. Still, that night he takes an extra long watch. The flashes of lightening, reveal him standing in the tower opening. Not quite standing in the rain, but close enough to have the spray from the cold rain lash his face whenever the swirling wind so fit to punish him again.

Male Human Cleric (Abadar) 7th / Fighter 1st / AC 24/10T/24F / HP 61 / F +10 R +3 W +11 / Init. +0 / Perc. +5 / Sense Motive +14

Verik 'rests' sitting up with his back to the cold ancient stone, nestled in a corner near where the large stairs start their climb upwards. Wearing his lighter chain shirt and with his cloak wrapped about, he has his shield and breastplate arrayed before him within easy reach. Rain trickles down the stairs in places and occasionally he gets a splash on his cheek or hair, forcing him to choose between wetness or another spot of filthy wall to rest his head. Both choices are unpleasant, but he knows they are far preferable than being caught out in the open with this storm.

Hearing a rasping cough of one of the men across the floor from him, he reassures himself with a firm grip on one of his throwing clubs by his elbow and squints his eyes open slightly. He spies out Zander, standing on watch by the archway, staring out into the stormy dark as if to catch a breath of clean air. I should have taken more time with both he and Berrin after the fight but no time and an unordered mind in my skull to boot...what would have been my counsel to them? Well Jemini surely cheered him up better than I could ever have...Zander...Berrin...Gregary...all the men really...and Nikolai...

The thought made him shiver unpleasantly all the more, and he turns his head slightly to see where the hulking brute was situated, given the driest spot oh of course on the floor to rest and tend to his wounds as a tailor's pin cushion with no regard to tactics or defense...typical. Verik couldn't see Nikolai's face from his vantage point, but he almost felt like Nikolai was awake, was staring at him. Oh nonsense! You're just letting your emotions run amok again...his body is still and his breathing is paced and normal...stop it! Well he certainly must be asleep by now, not like earlier when he woke from some dreadful nightmare screaming and sobbing most un-Stag Lord like at that! and cowering away from Jemini's gentle reassurance of his reality.

Nightmares seemed to go hand-in-hand with this grim place, certainly since last night at the lake's edge when they all seemed to suffer the shades, but Verik surmised that Nikolai's nightmares came from a much darker and more recently understood reality. Hmm, perhaps his near-death account today will put some humility and desire to right himself into focus...or probably not...a fool's hope really. Verik stifles a yawn and shifts again irritably to get momentarily comfortable. What a waste...but the Judgment will come regardless and I will not hesitate if it comes to the matter of the Scales in my jurisdiction. But do I crave that conclusion? Is that not what Vinodragov would do...and if so how can I justify hypocrisy in myself when I denounce it in others?

Sleep comes fitfully, and with it the echoes of a now-familiar nightmare he had earlier, the one that shook him last night to a quivering blubbering wreck, the one of foul Vinodragov pronouncing Judgment upon him, with Taisper as his executioner. That vision seemed intent to wrap around his heart again tonight, but after the day's events it was unable to take hold upon him. Of course, he realized the truth of the matter after a period of quiet contemplation - not only was the nightmare ludicrous with Taisper working with the likes of Vinodragov, but the crux of the nightmare was a metaphor for Verik's self-doubt and fear of failure. Failure to build Newhaven with enlightened law and keeping it from harm by malcontents. Failure to live up to a proper Banker of Abadar and his Master's tenets. Failure of not being accepted, understood, respected and even liked in a place that was far from what he had considered was true civilization. Failure of so many things that Verik would have required a parchment the length of the castle to write them all down properly. Yes, no one writes of self-doubt and petty fears in the great histories, but is that also a lie of omission? A slight smile appears on his face as he realizes this is one of the many things Venerable Master Knesh was trying to teach him, that the 'truth' of history was subjective and contextual and filled with human frailty, but something that he could not possibly understand until now. The thought of his old Justicar mentor fortifies his mind against other dark thoughts, and he finally falls asleep with a dream of playing...and losing...a game of kingschess with him on a ship bound for Varisia, searching for hidden meanings in what seemed like idle conversation to pass the time.

Male Human Samurai-Ronin 4/ Oracle-Battle 3 | AC 24/ T12/ F23, HP73, F+8/ R +4/ W +7, Init +1(Roll twice), Percep +6, Sense Motive +10
DM Barcas wrote:

Akiros awakens slowly to the sound of his door opening quietly and shutting behind whoever made entry. If he were not exhausted and sickened, his eyes would normally shoot open at the sound. Instead, it takes him a few moments to see the figure slowly making her way across the room. When his eyes focus, his heart stops for a moment in shock.


It was her, in all her beauty and grace. Is she a hallucination? A gift from the gods? Jemini came back, after all. Why not Sarah?

He reaches out for her, too overcome by emotion to think rationally. The memories of their time together play out before his eyes once more, as they do so frequently. He ignores the last memory. It isn't necessary, as she is standing before him.

Her mouth opens to speak as she walks towards him slowly. "Akiros, my love. I have returned to you."

** spoiler omitted **

Have a feeling this is an important one, so going to use a Hero Point before hand. So +8 right?

Perception: 1d20 + 9 - 2 ⇒ (9) + 9 - 2 = 16

And...crap. $#^#@! dice roller strikes again. Seriously, couldn't just give me anything above an 11?

In his exhausted, fevered state, Akiros gladly accepts the vision before him. Perhaps he had been forgiven. Or, even better, perhaps he was dead and was finally able to join his love as he had been so cruelly prevented from doing in life.

Standing, barely, Akiros takes one step towards the vision before him, his arms reaching up and his dry throat barely able to whisper yearningly "Sarah..."

Akiros Stats:

[ooc]Round 0, Initiative 0
hp 42/47; AC 10/10T/10FF/18CMD; +4F/-1R/+2W (+2 vs Fear)
Buffs: none
Effects: Sickened, Fatigued (included in above)

Berrin finds himself standing atop the tower staring out into the darkness of the raging storm. Lightning flashes illuminate his grim face lined with worry and tiredness, a three day stubble of beard on his chin and his sunken eyes make him look a decade older than his 25 years of life. 'Drawing on 26.' He realizes, 'Almost two years I've spent in these lands. F!&$ I feel old.'

Soaked to the bone by the pouring rain the wind tears at his hair and clothes as he stares into the darkness. Unslinging his greatsword he places it along with his bow and arrows against the ramparts, picking off his weapons and armor one by one he discards his equipment in a pile on the roof. Unburdened he places his hands on the wet stone and leans out over it and sighs.

'Another fight, another victory.' he thinks as he ponders the fight with the harpies. In his fatigued and shaken state he's unable to find any joy in the fact, he knows he should feel elated that the monsters fled before their combined strength and in the fact that they'd achieved their objective; they'd found Gregary safe and sound, a little rattled by his stay with the harpies but alive. But Berrin just feels numb.

'Aftershock.' he thinks, 'From the battle and the effects of the harpies magics.' He reassures himself trying to shake off the feeling but images of strangled faces keep popping into his mind. Shaking his head he shudders at the fading image of his own face distorted with hateful rage, fingers like iron wrapped around his throat, squeezing away his life's breath.

'Crap!' His heart rate rises and the shaking of his fingers get worse as the images of last nights dream come rushing to the forefront of his mind. "F$!+!" Fighting back a rising sense of panic Berrin pushes himself back from the ramparts, putting his full weight back on his wobbly legs he nearly collapses from the vertigo before he manages to steady himself on the ramparts again.

Berrin sinks down with his back to the ramparts and sobs. The faces refuse to leave his mind, flashing before his eyes one by one with the booming of the thunder.

More to come, just need to find a little more time to finish up with the flashbacks.

The rain comes down in sheets and torrents, crashing with thunder and noise against the tower. The dreams of the assembled Founders and the men they rescued fill with images of terror. An evil seems to seep from the blackened stones of the tower, seeping into their minds as the storm rages on long into the night. Gregary whimpers incessantly as he huddles in a corner, far from the rain and the farther still from the stairs. The other three men simply sit or stand silently, their blank eyes staring into space. No one sleeps well as the storm crashes into the island over and over again.

20 Gozran 4709

Dawn appears over the horizon, but the storm continues to lash the tower and the island. The sun comes out, only to be stifled by the clouds of the storm. The rain and wind lessen during the morning, but do not let up enough for them to have an opportunity to leave the island. Gregary does not seem to be doing any better. While he responds to stimulus, unlike his bewitched brethren, he barely speaks and barely eats. If he is to heal, he needs to be under their care back in Sanctuary. Once the storm breaks for long enough for them to sail back to their horses, they will be able to leave the island and return to the city.

Verik, you casting Comprehend Languages to check those runes?

Male Human Cleric (Abadar) 7th / Fighter 1st / AC 24/10T/24F / HP 61 / F +10 R +3 W +11 / Init. +0 / Perc. +5 / Sense Motive +14

Yep I've updated my prayers for the 20th, including having a Comprehend Languages and a Read Magic available. Just making an assumption he may not have his 3rd level options quite yet.

Despite the rain, wind and thunder, Verik finds a suitable clean and dry spot in the tower to perform his morning dedications. With a slight movement of the metal keys at his belt and the intonations of Celestial at regular intervals, he completes his devotions to Abadar, looking more calm and collected this day than since he left Sanctuary. He says little however to any of the others besides his cousin, speaking to him in whispers or more formally in Celestial. After stating that there is little reason to channel water when so much is available from the storm, he does make a cursory check on the afflicted men and makes recommendations on their food intake, including Gregary. However, he leaves the curing magic to Jemini unless otherwise asked.

Heal Skill Take 10 = (10) + 8 = 18

Later in the morning, Verik draws out two scrolls of parchment, a quill, ink and a bit of chalk. He begins to inspect the runes in more detail, making drawings of some of the runes on one parchment, lost in thought as he wanders around the tower looking at the walls. Once he has a good review of what is around him, he rolls up one parchment and readies ink and quill on the other, casting a prayer to Abadar to aid his understanding of the runes and hopefully the mystery of their makers.

Comprehend Languages - 40 to 50 minutes duration

Gregary and the other men will need attention that can only be offered in Sanctify. Gregary will likely make a recovery, eventually, but the others likely will be witless invalids for the rest of their days. The harpy's attentions likely shattered their minds beyond repair, but Gregary's mind is at least salvageable. Their physical needs require less attention, once Verik treats their injuries. The wounds are hard for him to look at. The bite marks cover much of their flesh, while the scars of the stumps of their missing limbs show that their removal was savage and likely done with teeth. The harpy apparently used fire to cauterize the wounds afterwards.

Verik opens his eyes to the words of the runes, meticulously taking notes as to their content. They tell a story that he writes as quickly as he can. When the runes were carved, the tower's purpose was as an outpost known as Hask-Ukrakana for an empire of cyclopes called Koloran. According to the runes, the empire's lands and power stretched across Iobaria all the to Pitax's present location until the Earthfall. Koloran split into many tribes as a shadow of its former self until a cyclops wizard named Vordekai reunited the remaining clans. His armies were endless and rose after being killed, the runes write, but his rule was short-lived. Vordekai first enslaved the centaurs, then pushed into the mountains and warred with the dwarves of Tar Taargadth. The dwarven empire defeated Vordekai and drove his armies from their lands. Vordekai's demise was the last gasp of the cyclopean empire, as chronicled by whatever ancient cyclops historian carved the runes. The runes conclude with a warning: many of Vordekai's foul rituals occurred in towers such as this, which bound the limits of his empire, and their taint lingers in them.

male human barbarian 5, ranger 3

Frenetic nightmares plague the Stag's sleep again. During the night, he becomes aware of his occasional outbursts and moves farther away from the party. A part of him yearns for greater separation. Another part warns him that isolation might be precisely what the Conqueror wants.

He tries to rest again, but the storm reaches into his dreams. Arcs of lightning scorch his flesh. The thunder becomes the roaring laughter of dragons. He thrashes about, rubbing clotted sores against dirty stone and raking the floor and wall in protest.

When the storm settles into a hard rain, Nikolai sleeps for a few hours. When he wakes, he looks about himself, bewildered. He remembers no attack in the night, but vicious clawmarks have scraped and torn at the stone around him.

What in the hells is happening to me?

Jemini looks after the previously enthralled. Gregary at least responds well to the freedom - but the others are in a sad state of disrepair. She cannot help but have tears flowing down her cheeks - but those tears flow almost of their own accord, something in the back of Jemini's presence bids them flow - Jemini herself is an expression of heightened concentration. She examines each of the tortured men; determining silently their ability to still be part of society in general. Oh dear merciful Sarenrae! This... this monstrous inhumanity! So casual! So arrogant and self-serving! These beasts left these men with nothing! Nothing! Not even shame at their loss and the indignity. Oh healing Sarenrae! Please shine your light lovingly over these poor, poor men. Their lives have been shattered and I cannot say if they will ever regain even a fraction of what they lost. A shelter. We'll need to find a shelter and kind souls to look after these men. Sarenrae, please give it to these men to find a future of care, if not a cure.

Male Human Cleric (Abadar) 7th / Fighter 1st / AC 24/10T/24F / HP 61 / F +10 R +3 W +11 / Init. +0 / Perc. +5 / Sense Motive +14

"I...this cannot...this cannot be possible." Verik finally sputters out the last sentence to no one in particular, reviewing what he has just written with clear skepticism upon his face, reviewing the runes directly to see if he has committed some error or misinterpretation in the writings. "Dwarves and elves certainly, but to suggest that giant one-eyed beasts this cannot be...and centaurs? Nonsense!"

Muttering to himself about this apparent construct of an ancient civilization that could not possibly have been sanctioned by Abadar, he examines the tower once more, casting Detect Magic to see if any runes are false or if other writings upon the walls could have somehow been hidden. Even Verik, however, cannot deny the apparent makers preference for overly large stairs as he tries to scramble up higher in the tower, looking for clues to deconstruct what he has apparently recorded.

Seeing Verik obviously distraught over something, she goes over to him when she feels comfortable that what could be done has been done for the previously enthralled. "Is something the matter? You look like you've seen a party of ogres trample through your favorite flower bed."

Male Human Heretic 5 Master of Many Styles 1

Taisper has once again been uncharacteristically quiet for long stretches of time, his nose buried in his battered Order of Numbers, but at Verik's surprised stammering and Jemini's query, he looks over to see what's doing.

Male Human Fighter (Archer) 6

Come morning Zander helps cook for and feed the former prisoners. He makes a weak onion broth with a few small pieces of dried meat and potato. He sits with Gragary and tries to engage him, asking questions of his travels before the lake and the tower.

After a bit he gets up to stretch a bit, chaffing at the storm keeping them so confined. He spies the Harpy's bow laying against the wall. It looked to be a fine bow, standing out, especially amongst the debris that has been shoved against the walls. The bow nearly killed Nicolai. Maybe with such a bow, a creature like the Harpy would never get close enough to threaten him or his friends. Zander takes a practice draw to feel the pull, the bowstring crackles like breaking ice as he draws it back. He can feel that the bow has power beyond just the strength of the yew wood used to construct it.

His thoughts of the bow are broken by an outburst from Verik. He raises an eyebrow and scans for any obvious threats or reasons for distress.

Verik looks around, utilizing his magic to detect the magical auras that surround him. At first, he sees only the familiar auras of the magical items they carry. He focuses, staring at the walls of the tower and examining the runes closely, until he sees the faintest glimmer of ancient dormant magic. He watches the shimmering tendrils of the aura until he recognizes their origin: necromancy. Between the message engraved in the runes on the walls and the dark magic that clings ever-so-faintly to them, Verik concludes that the runes tell the truth. This tower was once a locus of necromantic power, acting as a giant horrific desecrated altar with the strength to project its foul magic many miles away. Such a place would explain the dark legends surrounding the island and tower, as well as their nightmares on the lakeshore and even the harpy nest being drawn to it. Judging by the runes, it was not the only such locus in Vordekai's empire.

Knowledge: Religion DC 17:
While the magic used to power the locus was extremely strong, it has long since faded to the barest echo of its former strength. The necromancy that clings to the wall could be removed, though it would take dedicated and repeated castings of consecrate throughout the tower until the taint is completely gone.

Assuming that Verik explains the first paragraph, anyone trained can make the Knowledge roll.

Gregary mostly stares quietly, barely registering Zander or anyone else. He responds best to the Warden, but that is relative. He says almost nothing at all until Zander stands up to join Verik. He grabs the archer tightly by the arm and whispers, "Trolls... South..." He looks up pleadingly, apparently incapable of giving his full report but clearly wanting to.

Sorry for the delay, Akiros. I was hoping that a certain Elven witch might want to wake up at an opportune time.

Sarah glides towards Akiros with her typical grace. A memory flashes before his eyes of her walking to join Matthias in a small shrine to Erastil. He was happy for her that day, as much as it hurt to see her marry another. For a moment, their eyes met before she joined his friend's side. His heart ached and leapt at the same time, but he said nothing. Here, today, Sarah looks at him with the same look, evoking the same feeling. "Shhhhhh. I should have followed my heart, my love. I should have married you that day."

She reaches out to touch his outstretched hand. The feel of her skin is at once familiar and foreign. It was a touch he remembers longingly, one that haunts him at night. She wraps her fingers in his, gazing at him lovingly. She holds her other hand behind her back. "I've brought you something. A token of love from our son to his father."

Perception DC 15:
There is a small trail of blood droplets that follows her from the door into the room. It isn't clear what their source is. They are solidly circular drops without splatter or smears.

If you notice this, you may (but do not have to) roll Initiative.

Male Human Heretic 5 Master of Many Styles 1

DC17 K(Religion):1d20 + 5 ⇒ (15) + 5 = 20

Taisper listens carefully as Verik explains what he's able to see and See, and what he's learned from the runes. After looking things over himself, the Inquisitor nods slowly. "Yes, but that was all long ago, and the taint of necromancy has faded. I'll betcha a few clerics focused on the task could completely purify this place, if they just took the time to do it. We've nothing to fear here." Taisper breaks into his customary grin. "Well. 'Cept the stink."

When Gregary speaks, Taisper looks over at him sadly. "You're really roughed up, huh? The gods work in strange ways. We'll get you back to town, they'll be able to help you there."

Male Human Fighter (Archer) 6

"The Trolls, Gregary? You found them?" Zander draws in the dust between them, "Here is Sanctuary...and here is the River and then this Lake. Where are the trolls in relation? You say to the south. How far?" He places the stick in his hand to encourage Gregary to draw the location.

Male Human Cleric (Abadar) 7th / Fighter 1st / AC 24/10T/24F / HP 61 / F +10 R +3 W +11 / Init. +0 / Perc. +5 / Sense Motive +14

Verik's Kn: Religion 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (13) + 5 = 18

At first Verik doesn't respond in great detail to Jemini, though not out of dismissal of her inquiry, but seemingly too intent on his re-examination of the runes to divert his attention to a proper explanation. He moves to varying places in the tower, checking his parchment, casting orisons of magical detection and saying only a few phrases such as "It's just not possible that this tower was made by...them..." and "Who has ever heard of a Koloran Empire..." and "No section regarding this in the Atheneum of the Golden corroboration..." Finally after several half-starts at telling them what he has discovered, he turns to Jemini and says in an exasperated tone a bit too loudly, "What is it with you people and this Iobaria anyway?"

Perhaps realizing his erratic behavior and incoherence at that point, he flushes slightly and takes a moment to adjust his cloak, clearing his throat. "Apologies for my rudeness, Jemini. Of course you would know nothing of this, and I dare say not many living upon Golarion would either. Well, perhaps the dwarves would, though I am unfamiliar with any known holds in this region. No matter. There is much I do not know here, and much I find hard to believe, but I shall relate the accursed history that has been recorded here. First, this tower has a name...that name being Hask-Ukrakana..."

Later, after Verik tells all that he has learned to them and Taisper weighs in

"True true, it was a long time ago to be certain! I am no sage archivist, but I do seem to recall the speculated time of Earthfall to be over ten-thousand years ago, and the Age of Darkness some horrendous span of centuries afterwards. To date this tower around that time? Older than great Absalom by near double its span? To suggest an "empire" of one-eyed giants that can barely fashion tools beyond wooden clubs and animal skins were once masters of a dominion that formed this to last for all these past Ages? Impossible!"

Verik takes a deep breath and shakes his head. "Yes well clearly not impossible. I have much to research once we return home and more urgent matters are attended to. One thing is for certain though - this place reeks of foul necromancy, and that is the cause for many dark thoughts since we came by this place. Faded and faint, even so the fact that I can still discern it after all of these centuries means it was very powerful or is sustained somehow beyond my meager perceptions. I can cleanse it I believe, but I do not have the reagents of silver to do so now."

Male Human Heretic 5 Master of Many Styles 1

Taisper shrugs. "Well it's not like we need to cleanse it now, right? We know where it is, we have it marked on our maps, we can always come back. Or! Even better, you can send some acolytes back to do the work. With guards for protection, of course. You'll have other stuff to do than clean out this old bastion of foul magic." He stops for a beat. "...and; 'dark thoughts'? Whatever do you mean, cousin? I've not slept this well in a long time. It's peaceful here, I don't mind it. Nice and sturdy. Mostly I'd just like to fully get rid of the smell."

At Zander's urgings to Gregary, Taisper speaks perhaps a bit too quickly; "I think Gregary's gun is short the firing pin, Zander. I don't know that he'll be doing any mapmaking for us anytime soon, though that would be helpful." Though his words are rude, Taisper's expression is neutral.

Male Human Cleric (Abadar) 7th / Fighter 1st / AC 24/10T/24F / HP 61 / F +10 R +3 W +11 / Init. +0 / Perc. +5 / Sense Motive +14

Verik shakes his head, an incredulous look upon his face. "Peaceful? Malthus' ghost cousin! How you can find peace and solitude in a foul place like this is beyond my comprehension." After he says this however, Verik seems to regard Taisper for a moment and then adopts a smile that is somewhat forced, adding in a softer tone, "Ahh of course the Master has seen you through these past two days unscathed and that is a blessed testament to your resolve I think - I value your steadfastness and impartiality. And we have agreement on the smell..."

Not wishing to override the budding conversation between poor Gregary, Zander and Taisper, Verik places his scrolls and writing implements away in his pack, and then moves to pick up the longbow that Zander was just examining, taking it back to his bedroll where he sits and inspects it more fully with a critical eye. Eventually he takes out a cloth and begins to clean the grime from it, uttering small incantations to mend cracks in the wood and discern the strength of its magical aura.

Knowledge (history) 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (17) + 4 = 21

"Could it be a fraction of Ghol-Gan? Koloran could be a bastardization of that word." Jemini wonders, "One of my teachers was a historian of some note - who mentioned of a great cyclops empire. But much further to the south, around the Abendego and the western part of the Mwangi expanse. Not much certainties exist - other than it was a cyclops empire that predates the age of man."

Male Human Samurai-Ronin 4/ Oracle-Battle 3 | AC 24/ T12/ F23, HP73, F+8/ R +4/ W +7, Init +1(Roll twice), Percep +6, Sense Motive +10

Perception: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (10) - 1 = 9

Akiros smiles tenderly and wonderingly at the woman before him, the dream of his heart once again made flesh. As she declares her wish that she had wed him instead, his smile brightens as the sun first peeking over the horizon in the morn.

When she speaks of their son and a gift, his eyes immediately moisten and, swallowing twice to wet his parched throat he manages to say "Our..our son? You have seen him? How does he...does he forgive me?" and now the tears begin to flow in earnest and the big warrior, the tough veteran of countless battles and general of the entire army is moments from weeping openly.
Will Save vs 'glamour': 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (7) + 4 = 11

Still caught in the dream of believing his one true love has come back to him, and not wanting to appear the weakling he at present feels himself to be, the Ronin calls upon his training and great reserves of will to command his body to regain some of it's lost strength. Energy flowing back into him as a result of his indomitable will and taking a deep breath, standing straighter yet with love still in his eyes, Akiros, still holding Sarah's hand, gives it a gentle squeeze as he asks "My love, how is it you are now here with me? And are you here to stay? Or must I now come with you? Wherever it is, if you are to come with me, I shall follow"

Use Resolve-Determined, removes fatigued condition

Round 0, Initiative 0
hp 42/47; AC 11/11T/10FF/18CMD; +4F/+0R/+2W (+2 vs Fear)
Buffs: none
Special: Resolve 1/2 Day
Effects: Sickened, (included in above)

Male Human Cleric (Abadar) 7th / Fighter 1st / AC 24/10T/24F / HP 61 / F +10 R +3 W +11 / Init. +0 / Perc. +5 / Sense Motive +14

Gozran 20th

"Hmmm...that "empire" is unknown to me and my teachings would normally dismiss any historian speaking of it as merely fanciful tales to impress the ignorant, along with flying dwarves and dancing fishmen." He waves a hand at the walls and the stairs. "Clearly though there is something to the notion here. Gah! I am going to need more books to cite and substantiate this...I suppose your historian did not cover dwarven holds of Tar Taargadth in the region?"

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