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Sixteen years have passed since Kori'el, Moxie, Zandu and the rest of the Storm Wardens defeated Karzoug the Claimer in the Eye of Avarice, and most of their deeds remain unknown to the world at large. The group swore a solemn oath that the location of Xin-Shalast, and the events that had transpired there, were best kept hidden; and that promise has been kept, despite the efforts of the Pathfinder Society and others to bribe the knowledge from them. They were all rich enough that the offered bribes were meaningless.
Rikert Krupt, known to his friends as the Paladin of Comfort, answered the call to the crusades at the World Wound; Sheldor (the Conqueror) returned north to his people; Friederich moved to Absolom to continue his concoctions; Davok the Ranger headed south to wander the Mwangi Expanse.
Mother Not, Moxie, Zandu, and crazy Kori'el returned to Sandpoint. Moxie and Zandu married and settled down to raise a family, and took over management of the Red Dragon Inn when their friend Ameiko was summoned off to Tien. Mother Not returned to her cabin on the cliffs overlooking the sea north of town, and Kori'el took up residence in a small cottage on the grounds of Habe's Sanatorium. She eventually came back, more or less, but an important part of her was left on the slopes of the Mhar Massif.
Still, the Storm Wardens were famous for saving Turtlback Ferry, fending off the giant's raid on Sandpoint, and stopping an army of giants from invading Varisia. Stories do get around, and eventually even the story of how they began by fending off a goblin raid on Sandpoint became known. As a result, young people of a certain 'incautious' mindset have taken to attending the Swallowtail Festival, hoping to meet others with whom to seek fame and fortune.
This year though, promises to be a little different. This year the town of Sandpoint is unveiling a "Monument to the Fallen" to honor those Heroes of Sandpoint, those Storm Wardens, who gave thier lives in their quest and saved the town as part of the bargain...
|Egshen Owl-wren Poe|
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Aaaah! Good greetings and noble tidings I carry from the distant shores of Kwanlai. I am of the Tengu, from Kenku house- Clan Karasu. Resembling your common crow though considerably larger and without the gift of flight I sincerely hope you find me more tolerable. At four and a half feet and 83 pounds my stature is not impressive, though I do possess agility in abundance, sport a finer quality than most of my people, and while a fair wit in debate I will not bring home the grand prize in a spelling contest. As to that finer quality, you will find the plumage I was blessed with to be of the bluish black hue, a gift amongst tengu I assure you. Most often however it is covered by a dark dyed-light leather and mail eastern armor worn over a deep blue shirt. I recently purchased a liripipe mantle with eye holes that secures around and beneath the chin of my beak. I sport gauntlets of a sort and the knees of my trousers are padded. My legs and arms are wrapped similar in nature to what a monk might wear. I travel quite light. A small back pack and eastern sword is the bulk of my gear.
By that look on your face I see the question that is always foremost on the tongue: If I am small of stature you’re wondering what I do for a living? Well…. You see I have an affinity for all things shiny, that and an addiction to..…no actually, a love for the art of linguistics. I excel at entering, acquiring, eluding, and escape; all in the soft, quiet, shadowy blanket of night. As I said…small of stature. I use skills and tools, shadows and chicanery, chemicals and illusions to gain advantage and make my escape. Only if cornered will I stand in combat otherwise I am obliged to forfeit that honor to those of greater stature than myself. Mind you, if cornered, there will be stinging! Those of my clan refer to my ways as…Nokizaru.
The actual conversation….
Why you ask so many question?
You go…you go now, or I pruck out and eat you eyes one at time boy!
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The guys are making their characters now. One new comer is about to finish seventh grade, so 12 or 13yrs old. My son started playing with the gang at a young age too. He's still enjoying the game at 24. It's only right that we continue passing the torch to our kids. Our group has been together for over 28 years. Hard to believe. A better group of friends I could never hope for. I'm taking five weeks off for radiation and chemo therapy. I look forward to reading and hearing about their adventure. Feel free to post any of your thoughts. I like reading them too. Game on!
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His arms and feet were flailing for purchase, anything that would get his head above water. Suddenly his head broke the surface and as he gasped for air he looked around to make sure where the shore was. The screams of people and horses on the sinking river ship were quickly replaced by the sound of his own heart in his ears as he once again slipped under the water’s surface. Swimming was not something he knew how to do and the thought of dying in such a way angered him to no end. Suddenly his hand found purchase on something sticking out of the mud at the bottom of the river and he used it to push himself closer to the shore. Luckily the object ripped free of the mud and he was able to use this to assist him as he scrambled to the shore. As he pulled himself from the waters edge he looked down at his savior, a wooden pole with the tattered and muddy rags of what was once brightly colored cloth affixed to one end in the manner of the tools that pink-skins use to keep the rain off their head. How it ended up at the bottom of this river was irrelevant but the object was ruined now and so he tossed it back into the river as he pulled himself through the mud and onto the northern shore.
Whatever the creature was that had attacked the vessel was huge, obviously some sort of giant. It had grey green skin with a lighter colored belly; the eyes were solid black and looked of death. The mouth was disturbing and looked like a giant pink-rimmed sucker with sharp teeth inside and if that weren’t enough, it wielded a giant hooked club. Turning to look across the river he saw the giant staring back it him, a horse under one arm held fast as it tried to escape the giants grasp. Using the hook on the club the giant disemboweled the horse, the entrails dropping all around its feet and along the shore. As the screams of the dying horse faded the giant began feasting on its meal. All that went through Muh-Ogg’s mind was, “how did I get here?”
The answer to that question started twenty years ago. Being a half-breed orc in Belkzen to one of the innumerable tribes meant slavery. A slave given to one of the smaller tribes that swore blood oaths of fealty to the Empty Hand tribe. He was given to the shaman of the tribe for training and given the name Muh-Ogg that meant Promised One in orcish. His name held no real benefit as he was treated with scorn and ridicule for more than fifteen years. The tutelage given by his master was as brutal and harsh as his treatment by the rest of the full bloods. Still though, being a half-breed meant that he was generally smarter than the average orc and he used that to his advantage as much as possible.
There were twelve apprentices to the shaman; a few were even full bloods. Muh-Ogg had learned that the apprentice that showed the most promise was beaten as harshly as the one that showed the least. So Muh-Ogg did what he could to continually ensure he was in the middle of the pack. The problem was that for more than fifteen years, a lot of the apprentices died. Most died from ‘natural’ causes, anything that was at the hands of another orc. Eventually Muh-Ogg was the only apprentice remaining and he had to endure the hardships alone.
Throughout his life, warriors of the Empty Hand tribe would come to collect tribute from their tribe. It was always after these visits that Muh-Ogg would suffer the most from the full bloods. Members of the tribe hated giving away their plunder for the protection the Empty Hand offered. Since the tribe couldn’t take out their frustration against the warriors of the Empty Hand they took it out on the half-breeds instead.
It was during one of these attacks that Muh-Ogg fought back, something that was not allowed by any slave. The penalty was death for any half-breed to strike a full blood. Muh-Ogg had given up; his death was preferential to the continual treatment he suffered. The orc was surprised at Muh-Ogg and quickly devolved into brutal hand-to-hand combat. The orc had a weapon and all Muh-Ogg had was his fists and his rage. Using a small rock to wrap his hand around, Muh-Ogg repeatedly punched the orc in the head to great effect. When the orc fell over Muh-Ogg picked up a much larger rock, something easily the size of an orcs head and sat on his chest repeatedly bashing the rock down into the thick skull of the orc. He only stopped when there was nothing left to destroy and stood back up looking down at the now headless orc. When Muh-Ogg turned around he saw the shaman looking at carnage with a wicked grin. No one came for Muh-Ogg’s head because the shaman wouldn’t allow it.
It had only been a week since the ‘incident,’ and Muh-Ogg could hear the whispers of those in the tribe. They wanted his head but no one was willing to go against the shaman out of fear. Muh-Ogg had lived long enough to know it was only a matter of time before he was killed and decided to leave before that happened. One evening on the night of a new moon Muh-Ogg crept towards the sleeping shaman with only a half burned log clutched in his grasp. Just as Muh-Ogg placed his off hand on his shaman’s chest to keep him pinned down he stabbed at the open mouthed shaman with his burning log. The log fit nicely and prevented the shaman from screaming and alerting the tribe. Muh-Ogg took his first breath as a free man. The smell of burnt flesh and blood filled the yurt but the odor was lost on the wind, as it always smelled of burnt flesh and blood. With the deed complete Muh-Ogg quietly stepped out into the cool night air.
It took three days before he made it from Urgir to the mountains in the west, a combination of walking and running for the entire time. Muh-Ogg had chosen west because to the east, he was told, were undead. The walking abominations were dangerous and best left alone. Something he had learned from his shaman master. The south contained the people that would attack him on sight, the people his kind had been at war with for all their lives. The north wasn’t much better off, as beyond the orcish borders were wild men that would do the same as those in the south, but he would have to survive getting through the orc lands which he doubt he would be able to do. That left only the west, an area known to be a wild frontier.
He eventually came to a great walled city known as Kaer Maga and lived there for a year. The city was unlike Urgir as everything walked within its walls. So many races that Muh-Ogg never knew existed. He had seen pink-skins before in Urgir, but never so many and they were all different sizes also. He earned coin in fighting pits, jobs as enforcers or as bodyguards for its many visitors. The coin was good and Muh-Ogg had decided to live the rest of his life in this paradise until one day he saw two full bloods of the Empty Hand tribe walking about in an area Muh-Ogg was known to frequent. Unsure if they were in fact looking for him, he decided that fate had dealt him a good hand it was time to move on.
Stealing his way into a group heading down the Halflight Path, Muh-Ogg signed on as a bodyguard for a merchant that was heading to a city on the western coast called Magnimar. He had planned on hiring a river ship captain to take him and his wares to this city and for the promise of protection Muh-Ogg would be paid well. Sadly, the giant ended that contract prematurely. Perhaps fate had helped him again as with the death of the merchant no one would know of his name or his destination. Should the orcs from Kaer Maga actually be hunting him this detour might help him elude his pursuers.
Looking about, Muh-Ogg decided that continuing down river to this city was probably not a good idea. Going back looked about as good as trying to cross the river to where the giant was feasting on the horse so that left north. After a few days of hiking north through the swamp and then farmlands he came to a road that led to a small town. Just outside of town a small sign said, “Welcome to Sandpoint. Please stop to see yourself as we see you.” Attached to the sign was a small mirror hanging by a bent nail. His only thought as he crossed the bridge into the town that appeared to be gearing up for some sort of festival was to go by the name of Ogg.
|Egshen Owl-wren Poe|
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When I was young, not long after the gift of language was bestowed upon me, my people were displaced by force in the constant struggle of feudal society. Held in disdain my people were commonly shooed, scattered and slain without a second thought. Lowly and poor, mistrusted and undesirable we finally settled among a clan of our own in the interior of a swamp in a tree village above and away from the treacherous watery surface. That isn’t to say that our village wasn’t beset by savage creatures, venomous reptiles and insects, or brigands, no. However the powers that ruled and roamed the land had no interest in swamp folk or pursuing them into it so there was a relative peace as I grew into my formative years allowing for instruction in the arts taught by the elders of the clan.
When my mother released me from her care I was placed in the house of Kenku. Their elder was a crafty wise old bird who resembled a mix of Owl and song bird. He was one of the few who was gifted with the use of his plumage to glide safely from great heights and even more impressive was the fact that he could do so in complete silence. He quickly found I had a gift for learning languages and imitating the voices of those around me. This would be the foundation around which he structured my training. First came the lessons in misdirection, visual glamers and sound disciplines. This field of study was difficult until I realized it wasn’t so much of a learning by the numbers lesson as it was a coercion and manipulation of the mysterious through the force of personality. The more I practiced the easier it came to me. As I began to excel in my newly learned craft I was sent into the swamp with other younglings and told to retrieve a bloom of a fire lotus beyond the bamboo expanse. Each had their own item to retrieve. We could work as a team or not but in order to proceed in the training each was responsible for his own item. I stayed with the group through the bamboo forest then quickly broke out on my own in search of my bloom. It took a few days, hungry days! Finally I found the bloom beside a clear pool fed by a serene spring fed gradual water fall surrounded by low hanging trees and tall grass. The bloom leaning from the stones lay just on the surface of the water. I crept to the edge of the grass searched the area for danger and gently stretched down to pluck the blossom and found myself eye to eye with a silvery blue scaled river spirit.
It was going to have its way with me that was evident. Then I heard its voice whisper to me “You would take my joy without offering?” Frozen in mid-stretch I whispered in response “Only to please my elder.”
Your master sends you to your death and you go willingly?
It is my path to higher knowledge.
Knowledge? You seek knowledge? You may have my joy if you return with a companion before nightfall.
I agreed swiftly running into the bamboo expanse to find one of my class mates. It took most of the afternoon until I finally tracked one of them down. She had collected her item and she shared the story of her experience. I explained my situation and though reticent she agreed to help me. Hurrying back to the pool we found the spirit still swimming about. I again reached for the blossom, and the spirit resumed his position stating that my companion was to remove the blossom not I. I told her this and as the moments ticked away I could see her ambition get the best of her. I could see her intent to betray me before she accepted. She quickly knelt to snatch up the lotus blossom and was just as quickly pulled under water. The water boiled with action. As the water calmed and a cloud of crimson began to fill the pool the spirit spoke one last time. “You may take my joy and apply what you have learned this day.”
I ran, blossom tucked away safely. On my return journey I found ample evidence that a good number of classmates had not fared well in their attempts to proceed in the elders training. When I returned I found I was the only one to make it back. I presented the blossom, and when doing so realized one of the petals was stained pink. The elder was pleased and explained the exercise was designed to produce a single student. From this day forth I was instructed in more physical aspects of the elder’s path. The way of stealth, elixirs, the manipulation of puzzles and the application of tools to assist in their solution, weapons training and the method of centering myself to call on greater power, though this is a work in progress.
After a few weeks we began to combine the physical and the mystical I began to understand the way of the clan and how they operated. I would not be fully trusted though. As an adopted son I would not climb in the hierarchy of the clan as the true bloods would but the elder was not of the mind to let me languish and become complacent, bored or envious. He sought a path for me. And in time he called me to his presence explaining his decision for me. He told me I was to travel far away to the lands of the round eyes and pink skins, there I would find my way to the village of Sandpoint where the Kaijitsu family had relocated decades ago. He said this is likely to be a lifelong assignment in which I should report on the holdings and interests of the family and provide them with whatever assistance they may require but at all times and in all things use every discretion to mask the involvement of the clan.
The elder and I were escorted by two of the clansmen to the port city of Hisuikarasu. There he sent me with his blessing and a fine blade at the home of a wealthy Tian. I was instructed to walk through a great mirror and find my way to the ship that would deliver me to my destination. Walking through the mirror vexed me, but I had witnessed strange things before so I stepped through. I found myself in what I would later learn was the City of Riddleport. It was early evening and the air was ripe with a different kind of foulness, still an Old City stench but of a different variety. I could see the masts of sailing ships and began my journey. Much was different here, more open, less structured, at least to a foreigners eye though enough was the same to lend a hand. It took quite a while as I found myself fascinated by the enormous runed stone archway straddling the bay but eventually I found the slipway for the Bunyip. I should say I found its launch. No sooner than we were boarded and cast off we were sailing briskly seaward only to have an unorthodox vessel rise from the depths before us. We boarded and found our way to bunks and again were bound for my destination. The vessel was manned by smaller folk than myself and we only breeched the surface at dusk. On one such evening I spoke with the first mate who stood watch in the centercastle and he explained how the crew was in good spirits because my people were considered good luck aboard ships and referred to as jinx eaters. That was one of very few times I had ever heard my people referred to in a positive light, and I was proud. Nearly a week passed and I had enjoyed the endearment of the ships company. Upon the night of our arrival the surface of the water was still. My delivery to the beach was filled with warm wishes and appreciation for a safe journey though I had no active role in providing safe passage. We said our quick goodbyes and they slipped off into the night. Not exactly sure of the time proper I walked up the road from the beach and through the streets of the small town. Finding no dark alleys or perches offering a restful place to slumber I decided to spend the night beneath the dock way so as not to alarm the residents with my presence by dark of night. In the morning I would take a better look around.
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Name's Nar'ion, I'm a collector. Meat, pelts, stray ner-do-wells; puts coin in the pouch and keeps the belly full. As a product of "mixed parentage", it's also nice to move around and find opportunities that present themselves.
Nothing exciting; was born and raised in the area, have been running these woods since I can remember. Don't have a bunch of people crowding me, and I can seek out the darker places where it's easier to find my way. While town has lots of useful things, you won't find Rhylla's only son playing shopkeeper.
Speaking of useful things, the Swallowtail Festival is coming and so are the yokels. Too much noise and smell when you pack that many folk into town, but you just can't beat it for entertainment. Always fun to watch the nutters competing in the events, might even be able to pick up some coin.
Truthfully, I'm thinking it's about time to get off my kiester and start a real life. Need to keep an eye out for some talent, find a few competent individuals and see what we can stir up.
Whoever would have guessed that the new "Monument to the Fallen" in Sandpoint might not be exactly what it seems?
The dwarf constructed monument is a nine-sided figure thirty five feet in diameter, hollow and open on the western side with an arch whose keystone is engraved with a figure 8. The outer perimeter depicts seven of the fallen heroes, engaged in the events that saw their demise, surrounding a plaza inlaid with a great bronze seven pointed star. In the center is a six foot tall, ten foot diameter pedestal, upon which an armored human figure faces a dragon poised to strike; its mighty wings reaching nearly twenty five feet above the street.
Some have noticed that there seems to be some unusual numerology associated with the monument, while others have noticed a faint magical and psychic aura about the dragon's breast. There also seem to be Thassilonian runes inlaid in very fine silver filigree at the seven points of the inlaid bronze star.
Amid the celebration of the Swallowtail Festival, there were also noted two instances of apparent bi-location of members of the local populace, and someone involved in the financing of the monument may know more than she is letting on.
When someone showed the transcribed runes inlaid in the monument to old Brodert Quink, the poor fellow had a fatal heart attack. His final words were, "the Scribbler." The mystery only deepens when the Occultist in the group read the central statue, and heard "pass the test. Find the key where the Devil sleeps."
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Not knowing how the town would react to his presence, Ogg had learned that any orc was barely tolerated outside of Kaer Maga, he chose the first inn he came to for lodging called the Rusty Dragon. The owners, a short pink skin with brightly colored lips and a human with equally brightly colored socks, didn’t seem to balk at his presence. So he got a room and spent the rest of the evening in a corner of the inn listening to the people and enjoying the food. The meats were flavored beyond anything Ogg had ever had. Apparently the animals in this area tasted better than back in Belkzen. In time, Ogg learned that the festival was called the swallowtail festival and was based around one of the pink skin religions. Whatever the reason, everyone was agreeable and the food and drink were amazing.
The next day Ogg followed the crowd to the northern part of town in the morning. Ogg was given a few looks for his attire. Having lived his life where combat was a daily occurance, or at least almost a daily occurance, Ogg always wore his armor and weapons. None of the town guard seemed to care and the extent of his gear was sideways glances at best, so he ignored the stares.
The crowd gathered around a structure that was hidden by white canvas and a small platform where a few people were seated. Among them was the human with the brightly colored socks, a senior guard looking man, some holy man and a couple of women. One of which seemed to be looking off in the distance at nothing in particular. The guard spoke about the festival being safe and whatnot and the woman that wasn’t so disinterested spoke about the fallen heroes of Sandpoint. With that done a team of dwarves tore down the canvas, its stucture, packed up and left in a matter of minutes. In the process they unveiled a massive statue of what Ogg assumed were pink skins since they were all white, the color of the stone. There were different races, each doing some sort of activity or fighting at the point of a star. The center showed some man fighting a giant winged serpent, probably a dragon. It was impressive looking but nothing beat the large dragon statue that Ogg saw on his westward journey out of Belkzen. With that done everyone broke off to attend the multitude of games that were all over the town.
Ogg did stop where he watched a very animated man screaming at the people to toss the goblins into the fire. The goblins were little bags of beans or rocks in the shapes of goblins. The fire was a board with holes cut out and red strips of cloth made to look like fire. The children were having a wonderful time much to the amusement of the man who hosted the event. Ogg chuckled at the event but he realized that the pink skins were just as brutal as orcs when it came to training their children. Burning goblins alive? That was cruel.
Ogg did participate in one event, a strong-arm event where you would try and pin a mans arm to the table with your arm while leaving your elbow on the table. Seemed simple enough but as it turns out the shorter armed folk were hard to pin as Ogg lost to a dwarf. What Ogg was really waiting for was the food event. Each of the inns were preparing meals that everyone could try and a winner would be chosen based on votes from the town. The Rusty Dragon was slow cooking a great boar on a spit covered in some brown sauce that smelled of smoke and sweetness. Kicking off that event the holy man Ogg saw earlier spoke of the god Desna and when he was finished, pulled back a tarp from a small hand cart releasing thousands of butterflies. They each took to the air in their haphazard way of flight flying through the townsfolk who had gathered to watch. It wasn’t but a minute after that that several of the insects landed on Ogg, each opening their wings to their fullest and almost hidding him from view behind their tiny wings. This apparently was a great omen and the crowd began cheering so Ogg thought it wise not to start batting the insects off his person. As it turned out, several people were “touched by Desna” in the same way and each person was offered a seat at the table with the holy man and the people from the platform.
From there Ogg was questioned by the holy man called Zantus as to how he had come to Sandpoint. Not wanting to release that information Ogg just replied with, “from a long way off.” It was during these questions and answers from those at the table that Ogg learned that Desna was a god of travel and that the butterflies were known to be agents of the god. Butterflies didn’t seem to be a very intimidating creature, but I suppose someone could choke to death on them if enough flew down a man’s throat. Again, Ogg thought it wise to keep that particular thought to himself, but he did mention that butterflies were not a very intimidating creature.
The others that were touched included the dwarf that Ogg had lost to in the strong-arm contest; an elf that wore robes and Ogg was unsure if it was a female or not; a pink-skin male whose ears had some point to them; a ratling, which was the first one of these Ogg had ever seen; a really damn big crow that could talk, he heard the word ‘tengoo’ but wasn’t sure what that was; and finally a pink skin male that had been the one to explain who Desna was.
During their discussions the woman who looked to be disinterested in everything only seemed to take notice when the crow, called Poe, began talking about the statue and the oddities that it contained. Poe had noticed small silvery writing in the stone as well as that it was oddly constructed; nine sides, a seven pointed star, the number 8 carved in the archway. This seemed to interest the ratling to no end as he wanted to go and look at the statue right then. After a few minutes of convincing the others at the table to go, those of us who were ‘touched’ decided look.
The ratling trying to scurry up the side to look closer at the statue of the warrior and the dragon but was having difficulty with the smooth stone so Ogg gave him a boost. This, as it turned out, made the guard upset with Ogg and the ratling. They didn’t want anyone climbing on the statue, especially on the first day. Poe showed the others that were interested in such things; Ogg looked but didn’t see the writing. Poe wrote down what he found and the pink skin called Nar’ion, the one with the slightly pointed ears, suggested talking with a man called Brodert Quink. He was sort of a legend in the town on being a historian and could possibly read the writing.
It took a while but by mid-afternoon the group found him and he indeed was able to read the writing. One of the passages said, “pass the test, find the key where the devil sleeps.” Unsure as to what that meant, the next thing the old man read was his last. Ogg was pretty sure he said ‘scribbler’ before grabbing his chest and falling over dead. For Ogg, dying while doing what you love doing is the way to go.
It was during this trek to find Quink that Ogg learned of a bare-knuckle fight event happening at a place called the Hagfish that evening. The fight was something that Ogg was eager to try and maybe even earn some coin doing so. Before the fight was set to take place the group returned to the statue as one of the passages pointed to some sort of event that would take place when the sun set. Ogg didn’t see or understand what happened but the ratling was rather animated when it happened.
When the event passed the group went down to the Hagfish where they learned that fight was against a rather large pink skin. None of the locals was willing to try but Ogg dropped his gear and armor and stepped into the ring. The pink skin was large but also very skilled as Ogg was punched as he moved in to swing. In orc lands, fights like this typically end as quickly as their fight did but were generally more fatal in nature. In less than a minute the large man hit the floor unconscious from just two blows from Ogg. A few seconds later, Ogg joined the man on the floor. This of course started a brawl from those that had bet and not being able to decide if it was a draw or not. During the brawl, the human that explained of Desna used his divine magics to revive Ogg and keep others conscious. In the end, Ogg went to bed five gold richer than when he entered the Hagfish. A festival indeed.
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A busy day, much more entertaining than I figured, even if it was the festival.
Started early checking the crowds and looking for good spots to watch the activities. Tried to get an preview of lunch, but the ladies are still very quick with those ladles. Moved north to watch Xantus uncover the monument; impressive stonework, but know the stories.
The events started and I moved around watching, but found myself back at the tables(didn't eat this morning, saving room for the big meal). Xantus uncovered a cart and released hundreds of butterflies to ask Her blessing on the meal; an amazing sight, but nothing compared to what happened next. A cloud of them swirled around me, covering me head to toe, and laid their wings flat. The gift of Her favor left me speechless, but noticed others had been picked. A truly odd group, She must have something unusual in mind.
A cheer went up from the gathering at this favorable omen, and found myself hustled to the main table. I was being talked to, not at, by important people of the town; not a regular day. Spoke with the other selected about what happened, but haven't a clue. Ate a LOT while the questions flew, eventually we decided to check out the monument again. Poked around noting angles and numbers, the ratling tried climbing up to look at something on the dragon. Barloss didn't care who we thought we were, nobody was going to get him in trouble. Have to come back later.
The birdling(?) found lots of runes inlaid in the surface, but no one could read them. Told them we should find Quink, because he's older than the Light and knows things nobody else bothers to remember. For a fossil, he gets around pretty well, taking some time to locate. He was very excited and started reading off the words; hope somebody wrote that down. He stopped, said "the Scibbler", and dropped to the ground DRT. Went for help, but nothing could be done as it was his time to join the queue.
Spent the rest of the day answering more questions and trying to make a plan. Some of the group went to the Hagfish for the annual fights, not my thing. Looks like we'll be heading out tomorrow (assuming everyone's sober and ambulatory) to find if there really IS a Sandpoint Devil, and how it connects with these other events.
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After a good nights rest Ogg joined the others in the common room the next day where he learned either he had been drinking to much or more than likely was punched in the head one to many times to realize that the pink-skin using divine magics to keep him standing was a woman and not a man. For Ogg, he just chalked it up to the fact she was kind of manly looking, for a pink-skin.
The group sat around and talked about what to do with their scribbles of paper and what information was on them. They learned who the “Scribbler” was and that he was, in fact, dead. They learned from an elven woman, even though she acted like a man, named Shay’Lee-Loo that the Sandpoint Devil was an unknown creature. In all her years of tracking in the areas around Sandpoint all she learned was that the creature was smart enough to try and cover its own tracks. Not enough to hide its passing, just enough so that no one knew what it really was. Local legend pointed the creature’s lair to be on a outcropping of rocky volcanic rock to the north east of Sandpoint in something called ‘The Pit.’ Once the group began expressing interest in the finding the lair she gave them a dire warning. Years ago a group of adventurers decided to go and kill the creature and were never heard from again. That same year, the number of livestock that were taken increased. There was rumor that even a child had been taken, but there was no proof the Sandpoint Devil was responsible.
So the next hour or so the various members of the group gathered supplies since they may have to camp in the hinterlands or the nearby forest depending on how long it took to find and kill the devil. Once that was completed they decided to go to a sanitarium afterwards to speak with the woman who always seemed disinterested in what was happening around her. Before they had left town the dwarf of the group had told everyone that he believed she knew more than she was letting on when it came to the statues construction. So for whatever reason she had for including the silvery writing the group hoped to learn from her why she had done so. Nar’ion was a little worried about that confrontation for some reason.
By early afternoon they found the opening in the rocky ground on the plateau that was called the Pit. The opening in the rock was directly above a large cave and that climbing down into the cave would be difficult since the cave floor was easily a hundred feet down and no one had that much rope or a desire to climb down it even if they had. So they set about looking for the entrance that the creature used and after another few hours of looking found a cave on the northern side of the cliffs hidden by overgrown brush.
Once inside the group moved in different teams. A majority of them could either see in the dark or see in dim light. So the silent ones that could see in the dark went first with Ogg and the dwarf going in the next team. Those that required light brought up the rear. Not far into the tunnel they disturbed a mess of bats that began pouring down the tunnel to the entrance. Ogg dropped to the ground quickly knowing that the frightened bats would probably bite anything they came across. After they passed overhead Ogg came across the ratling who was receiving divine aid from the wounds he took from the bats. Ogg had to laugh at the idea of vermin biting vermin.
They continued a little further when Ogg noticed a cat like creature with six legs attempting to sneak up and pounce on Poe. The creature wasn’t terribly big, but was easily the size of Poe. Ogg shouted a warning and charged forward cutting the beast down. Nar’ion had buried one arrow into its hide but the creature was obviously dead. For a devil the creature didn’t put up much of a fight. The larger version of the same creature that rushed forward, knocking Poe unconscious, caused Ogg to shake after it let loose a supernatural roar. The real Sandpoint Devil had arrived.
Ogg rushed forward bringing the great sword down into its hide biting deeply and was repaid in kind when the creature picked him up in its mouth and raked Ogg’s belly. If it weren’t for the woman’s divine healing Ogg would have died that day, but when he awoke a few moments later he learned that the combined might of the group felled the creature.
For the next hour the group either searched the sea of bones that littered the caverns floor or worked at the devils hide for proof of its demise or for trophies. Ogg assisted Nar’ion with the hide after having taken a large tooth as a trophy. The others found the remains of the three adventurers as well as some of their gear, which was passed around to those that could use it. They also managed to find a very odd looking silver key, which was given to Poe.
Using a rough map given to the group by the elf woman, they found the sanatorium an hour after the sunset. It was then that they also met a frantic looking demon that was rambling about creatures with wings and Corry’el still being inside. It was at that time that the sanatorium erupted in multiple balls of magical fire. By the time the group had made their way to the building proper it was an inferno. For the next few hours the group ran a bucket brigade to prevent the fire from taking the hinterlands along with the sanatorium. No trace of this woman was found but the creature, a tiefling as Ogg later learned, was sure she was dead. Something was hunting the remaining ‘Heroes of Sandpoint’ out of vengeance. Looks like a new statue was going to have to be made.
It was early in the morning hours before the group returned to Sandpoint and after a few celebratory drinks over the death of the devil they went to bed. The next day, the guard captain presented everyone responsible for the death of the devil a sizable amount of gold as compensation for their deeds. For Ogg, Sandpoint was beginning to look like a wonderful place to live.
The group decided that during the evening hours later that day, they would see what the key they had found would unlock. Later that evening, after the guard had left, the group positioned themselves in spots around the statue while Poe and the ratling climbed up to see if a lock could be found. Poe discovered a depression in the stone of the dragon’s chest and placed the key into it, which caused the ground directly below Ogg to open up, revealing a stairwell that Ogg slowly tumbled down.
When Ogg finished his tumble, with only his pride being hurt in the acrobatic display, he stood to find himself in an old tunnel. The group then began searching the complex but found it completely empty of anything of importance. That was until they passed into a great chamber that contained some sort of reflecting pool of brackish and smelly water. Sitting on a small dais was a wayfinder with the number seven etched onto its surface. When the group opened the wayfinder up, they discovered that it didn’t point in the direction of north, something the dwarf was adamant that it wasn’t doing, but instead was point to the northwest. One of the other writings Quink had translated spoke of a voyage and it was starting to look like the group would have to leave Sandpoint to follow these clues.
|Egshen Owl-wren Poe|
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The last two days have been quite exciting. I have fallen in with a band of misfits of no account but of great interest. I have no bearings here as yet; the people of this community are less formal and for the most part very affable, open and forgiving. As it would happen my landing in Sandpoint happened the night before a great harvest gathering of some significant import to the local populace above and beyond a normal harvest celebration.
I was aroused from slumber by the wheels of a handcart clattering along the boardwalk above. Having not engaged in any revelry for at least the last couple of days I found the rise from slumber a labor that would linger on my soul for a good portion of the morning. I made my way to the board walk carrying my armor and gear and sat in the early morning haze watching the tide go out with my legs hanging off the side of the dock way. Day dreaming and beginning to drift off to sleep again, I heard a voice in the fog softly singing and them humming. It was a girls voice and it approached. I could hear the boards of the dock creek and rattle as she came closer. As she approached I could make out that she was smaller than I and carrying a small pail. Suddenly it became apparent that it was no youngling but another of the small ones similar to the crew of the boat that had delivered me to Sandpoint. So as not to startle her I gave a bit of a grunt and made an effort of rising to stand. She slowed her pace a bit as I turned to face her. I was physically tired and quite sure it came through in my voice as I greeted her. “Young Miss, May I inconvenience you for directions to a warm fire and roof under which this traveler from afar may rest his weary bones?” I bowed with prayerful hands as she passed. She spoke welcoming me to accompany her to the fish monger after which she agreed to show me to a local Inn. At the fish monger I was overcome by hunger and purchased a small number of fish similar to the type she had filled her bucket with. My foreign coinage did not go unnoticed. As we walked back the way we had come, she was more open than our initial meeting and escorted me within sight of the doorway to the Rusty Dragon Inn. She instructed me to present myself to the patron by informing him that “Moxie” had approved my entry and that I be allowed to warm myself by the fire until the morning chill had been relieved. With that she left me to my own devices and headed towards a bridge down the street.
I was quite uncomfortable with this arrangement and decided to at least prepare myself for the presentation. With armor and equipment properly fitted I knocked on the door. A quick response came exclaiming the Inn was closed until mid-morning. I spoke back at the door with the instructions I had been given and a short while later a taller halfman opened the door. Wiping his hands he hurried me inside waiting to close the door until after he had glanced out into the street. I expressed my gratitude as he pointed to the hearth of the fireplace. No sooner than I had seated myself comfortably than a steamy mug of tea was placed in front of me.I gobbled down the fish and held the warm tea taking an occasional drink….Then suddenly I was being roused by the small woman who had escorted me from the docks. She politely asked me to exit the establishment explaining a local festival was just starting and that I should not miss it. By this time I was well rested and felt refreshed. I slipped a silver piece beneath my tea cup and expressed my appreciation for their graciousness. The sun had risen from the horizon enough to burn away the fog and begin warming the day. There was much more activity in this village than I had anticipated and dodging children and adults became the sport of the morning until all were settled for their respective duties. People seemed to pour into the town to shop and celebrate. There were many games of skill, chance and large number of vendors and performers. However my attention and curiosity were piqued by a canvas covered structure that was to be unveiled and dedicated during the festival. I perused the vendors booths and tables but my purse was to light to indulge myself of some of the wonders presented. I did sample some of their foods to acclimate my palate to my new home. Some were fine while others were less than impressive. I found it to be a matter of texture rather than flavor that made some of their fare mildly undesirable but I would be able to work around it. The games were oriented towards the children mostly, though a few tests of strength, and an archery competition provided an outlet for the adults to participate. I was content at this point to sit back and watch the community interact and learn about their ways. My interest and gaze always seemed to return to the canvas draped structure. Occasionally a child would stare at me, longer than I felt was polite and I would give them the bug eyes, snap my beak, or give them a hiss, enough to avert their gaze or send them off to their mommies. I am not fond of their younglings they are very plump, pink, and saucy!
As the bells struck the hour a herald drew the townspeople to the structure for the unveiling. It was explained that it was a monument honoring the fallen companions of a group who had come nearly two decades prior and saved the village from ruination and other deeds of renown. The stocky bearded craftsmen dropped the canvas curtain and whisked all the trappings of the work away as the locals stormed the monument. I waited for a while, walked around the exterior and found each of the heroes posed in an epic struggle against the foes that ultimately took their lives. All but one made sense. An elf was being led away to his doom into a veiled chamber by a menacing evil. I had thought them immune to such enchantment? Once the herd had thinned significantly I entered the structure through the archway whose keystone was marked with the number eight. Between the sculpted outer wall, centrally located statue and finished floor the stonework was quite impressive! Though something was….OFF? A seven pointed star centered on the statue was laid in the floor with each point of the star naming the hero who was depicted in sculpture on the exterior wall…though the point didn’t single out the hero, point to the center of the panel of the enneagon, corner or any discernable pattern….hmm? If anything made sense in this odd layout it was that the star had no ray pointing towards the arch. I walked around the interior to get the full effect and appreciation of the warrior fighting a great spirit when a silvery glint from the floor caught my eye. It came from the space between the point of the star and the exterior wall. There I found extremely small silvery bands with an inscription written in a language I could not read. I checked each star point and found them each to have similar miniscule inscriptions though only six of them had equal numbers, the seventh contained only three, or half the number of lines of inscriptions of the other six…..wait!?Just about the time I began to realize a play of numbers shapes in the form of a puzzle a herald called the townsfolk together again for a celebratory meal to be judged by the prominent persons of the village. A priest of Desna stepped forth to give a benediction asking for blessings upon the multitude attending the festival which culminated with the release of the greatest number of butterflies I have ever witnessed. Desna and the butterfly were one of the few common groundings I had experienced from my home in this new part of the world. To my utter surprise and complete embarrassment Desna’s messengers blessed me. They covered me head to toe and as if on command, outstretched their tiny wings to clothe me in a blue suit. This was mildly unsettling: thankfully I was not the only member of the crowd to be so “blessed!” All was oddly silent for a brief moment as the crowd took in the spectacle, then they let out with a great cheer as the butterflies took flight again. I was congratulated and people came up to pat my back as I was ushered to the judges table. There I met up with the woman who had lead me to warmth that morning and her colorful companion, and in turn we all spoke to the Priest. Some of us spoke of our beginnings, others of the monument at which I posed questions as to its design and the oddities it seemed to have. Big mistake! I was forced to explain and justify my reasoning. I took every opportunity to explain my observations were just that and meant no disrespect. This was received as I had hoped until I mentioned the minute silvery markings. This caused some inquisitiveness and mild discomfort until it was observed. I tried several times to divert the conversation but it always seemed to circle back to the monument. Finally activities distracted the table. Some younglings were running a race from one end of town to the other, some even wore buckets on their heads and waved swords about as they ran.
By the time they were on their return trip a very pale blue skinned elf with intriguing marks asked me to point out the silvery runed markings. We, meaning most of those that had been blessed by Desna, accompanied the elf and I to the monument and it was decided that the runes should be transcribed for translation. Unfortunately once finished we realized none among us knew the language. Two of the blessed were resident villagers who found a local historian who could translate it for us and he identified it as a form of poetry written in an ancient language that was encoded phonetically in another language. Languages, numbers, poems, puzzles, codes, I like this place!!! Sadly our translator was only able to finish two of the stanzas and suddenly expired. His last words were “The Scribbler!” Being a foreigner and unique of kind to this part of the world while having a kindly helpful elder fall dead in my presence gave me a moment of great worry, though a good number of witnesses professed our innocence to my relief. I was near done with the questions concerning the monument when a number of words were found to repeat at the end of the verses though in different order. So back we went as a group the elf showed his prowess with magic in finding an aura on the center statue within the breast of the serpent. The creepy rat man then lost all composure and began to scramble up the edifice mumbling an incoherent babble. The guard was NOT having this and we convinced both parties to cease their actions…for the time being. From the poems telling we should come for our clue at sunset anyway. We lingered and loitered until just before sunset and managed to get the rat man in place who then made some odd noises and fell from the statue into the beastmans arms. While all of this commotion transpired I watched the last rays of the sun as the left the statue. That is when a faint glow emanated from the breast of the dragon and lit a number eight on the forehead of the warrior combating the serpent. There was much to inquire about now! But that would have to wait, for now….NOW it was time to see what the night life of this town had to offer. I learned that the beastman, whose name he said was Ogg, intended to fight a bearishly sized pink man at one of the rowdier establishments and that wagers could be laid. I hastened to ingratiate myself with Ogg. I felt a very large course looking ruffian could come in very handy in such a place. He waited his turn and we all decided to stay and encourage his effort. When his turn came he stepped up and listened to the rules. The referee started the fight and it became evident quickly that Ogg was not as crafty in a fist fight as we had hoped. I had wagered all my foreign coins on him and five of Oggs gold coins too. Then the beast came out of him and pounded pinky into a more ethereal state of mind. Pinky then fell to the floor, followed quickly by Ogg. There was some misunderstanding on who fell first and we made it clear that Ogg had won the fight. It took a few seconds of fist-o-cuffs to influence them but in the end we collected Ogg and our winnings and retired to drinks and entertainment at the Rusty Dragon Inn, The very place I had started my day.
On the dawning of the next day I woke rather late and went to get breakfast. I pecked a bit of the food and finally entered the conversation with the Inn proprietors on the poems mention of a “Devil.” Though superstitious in nature some credence was lent by a wilderness woman whose name I will not attempt to butcher in the pronunciation. Suffice it to say that the creature does in fact exist and is purported to be a ravenous…!?!....species of CAT!!! That is all I really recall of the conversation until everyone else decided it was time to go cat hunting. We walked through the morning to a great stone mound to the top where a large opening shed light down into the center of the hill too far for a rope to reach safely. We searched the base of the hill and found an over grown sink that leadinto an ancient lava tube. Nar’ ion, a hairy part elf, the rat and I led the way through the tunnel. I was spooked when a flight of bats rushed for the entrance, of which no small stopped to gnaw upon the rat. Falling to the floor I assumed we were rid of him and continued on down the hall. As we approached the opening, where we had found shining light from above earlier, a catlike thing approached me as if to pounce when arrows steaked into it from the opposite side of the hall. Ogg charged, warning of the beast as I moved to shield the bowman Nar’ion. Quick work was made of the beast but I surmised it was not large enough to be the “sandpoint Devil”, it taking away livestock and all. And I was right, though I could not swear to it, I am quite sure the parent or guardian of the recently slain creature pinned me forcefully to the wall taking my breath and consciousness with it as it passed. I woke from my state of discombobulation in time to return the favor landing a solid blow before it expired with efforts of the assembly. A search of the discarded bones and offal garnered some useful equipment and an electrum key….shaped like the number eight!
We exited the smelly death pit taking some souvenirs to prove the demise of the devil and went in search of Kori’el. She had been reluctant to speak to us in reference to the monument during the festival. We intended to visit her at her cottage at the sanitorium. We walked within earshot of shouts and spellfire. Then in haste, advanced to lend what help we could when three successive blasts tore the sanitorium to pieces leaving a fully engulfed flaming structure, or what was left of a structure. The explosions were so strong I felt each of the three shockwaves in my plumage. Some frightened wild speaking creature advanced on us explaining briefly what had happened, and ran to town for further help. Try as we might to put out the fire it soon became obvious our effort was futile. We waited for the help to arrive and after a brief investigation returned to town as great heroes, slayers of the Sandpoint Devil. Later in the day the constable showed up to reward us with a generous bounty of gold coins offered by the town in gratitude for our good deed. I am really beginning to like this place more and more every day! We toasted our success and talked to many of the local folks. I found that much of the Kaijitsu holdings were still intact and in good order. I retired somewhat early after having been beat up a bit and slept quite well.
Once again I woke in good spirits and health and joined my new friends for a morning meal. We deliberated on when to employ the key and decided to wait until the guards shift at the monument had ended to see what we could find. In the meantime The rat and I rowed out to the little island just offshore. There he walked in, around and about a little ramshackle hut, and once again fell into a rambling shake fit on the ground. He walked away completely satisfied with a few useless odds and ends that he fawned over as I rowed back to town. He is a decent fellow…ODD!!!! But decent as far as I can tell. When the guard finally left the monument later in the evening we skulked in and I climbed to the breast of the dragon where the light had shown before. I also attempted to ascertain if any magics still lay in the sculpture. There I found a faint depression in the shape of an eight and inserted the key. The stonework on the floor opened right where our dwarven companion had said it might the day prior. Unfortunately Ogg had been standing in that very spot and tumbled down as the floor gave way rather unceremoniously.
We searched through the rooms of pits and floating trash, past a beautiful humanlike red stone statue and found absolutely nothing of value or interest. I think we had reached our limit when we found one of the doors had recently been marked with a seven pointed star. We entered the room to find a murky stagnant pool with a raised dias behind and a shiny object placed atop it. The object turned out to be a “wayfinder”. A sort of compass, only this one points to the northwest…and the poem said the warrior wouol point the way, so Northwest it is!
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While they stood in the empty room looking at the broken wayfinder a pair of creatures moved into the room bringing Poe out of his puzzle solving phase to shout a warning. Ogg, seeing them move closer to the healer, entered into a rage and charged forward to hopefully prevent her from being attacked. The creatures seemed to recognize what Ogg had done and changed their focus to him instead. Other than having two arms, two legs and a head, the creatures were unknown to Ogg. Their faces made Ogg think back to the Devil they had killed the day before, but it was only because they had an oddly shaped mouth as well. Ogg learned later that they were called wrath spawn and it was probably why they became interested in him instead of the healer. Thankfully she was there to heal wounds because the spawn opened several gashes on Ogg’s flesh in a few seconds of combat. In the end, they fell under the combined might of everyone there.
With the deed done the group retreated back to the Rusty Dragon to talk of what they had found. The short pink-skin owner called Moxie became interested in their tale and offered to purchase the key to ensure that the catacomb remained sealed and as a way of thanking everyone. Ogg had only been in town a few days and had already earned more coin than a year in Kaer Maga. No matter what happened, Ogg had decided to remain with the group until the sweet embrace of death.
Moxie had suggested that the group head to Magnimar if they were going to try and get a ship. The city was a port city and there were several ships they could arrange passage on. So the next morning the group headed out for the two day trek to Magnimar. Just before leaving town a fisherman approached the group and knew all their names, he gave a warning that they should abandon their quest for the forces against them were powerful. Before Ogg could question him, the fisherman blinked his eyes and then looked at everyone as if for the first time. He professed to not knowing what had happened, or who had told him to threaten us, but apologized and returned back to the docks. Someone or something was on to the group but for Ogg, unless it was right in front him, there was nothing to do but continue forward.
Everything was going well until the morning of the second day when Ogg heard a deep, gravely voice shout out his full name. When Ogg turned he saw another full blood orc step out from behind a tree. Thankfully he only spoke orcish so only Ogg knew what was being said. With several smaller green-skins, called goblins, he told Ogg that he wasn’t there to take him back, just part of him. Speaking in the common tongue Ogg told the others that none of the green skins could live, or they were all in danger. In the end, the pure blood and his minions were dead faster than the conversation had lasted. Once again the healer was there to bind his wounds so Ogg decided he was going to have to do something for her to show his appreciation.
Later that day they arrived at Magnimar and for Ogg, he was once again rewarded with seeing something new. The city was huge, unlike Kaer Maga where everyone was packed in, one on top of the other. When they crested the upper city to see the lower section he was amazed to see so many brightly colored sails in the harbor. Even the monument that looked to have once been a might bridge was impressive. The healer had made arrangements to meet with someone in the city who might be able to help with the languages and possibly to give advice on where they might need to go. It was almost early evening when they made it down the ramp to the lower parts of the city and set up rooms in the Old Fang inn. While some stayed there the rest moved on to sell items retrieved from the earlier fight as well as to look for something new.
The person that the healer met with, a pink-skin named Gal-Agin was interested in our tale and agreed to have us meet with his organization in the upper part of the city called the Pathfinder Lodge. He said their skills should be able to aid us on our quest and would be highly interested in the tale as well. So an arrangement was set for dinner the next day.
Until then the group decided to wait it out in the Old Fang where Ogg purchased a round of ale for everyone. The ale was Ogg’s way of thanking everyone for their aid in the fight earlier that day although he never told anyone why. While drinking, Ogg was given some advice from an old man about any trips to the north having to be done soon as the waters there would be frozen or just plain impossible to sail upon. The black sand beach that the poem talked about could be any of the beaches on the Lyn-Norm lands since a lot of the islands in the north were volcanic. He directed Ogg’s gaze to a man mountain of hair and muscle and told him that he was one of their kind, an Ulfen. Ogg spent the rest of the night just watching the man talk and drink from a distance. It’s hard to be intimidating when you are almost a foot shorter than the pink-skin, and to think they all looked like that man boggled Ogg’s mind.
The dinner the next day was nice, there as plenty of food and the Lodge was a large building ran by an older pink-skin woman named She-lah Hyde March. She had a lot of interesting things in their Lodge; the most confusing to Ogg was the map that was put on a ball. She agreed to look at their writings to see if they could be transcribed and offered to purchase any odd artifacts they found for safe keeping should they be dangerous, as well as pay to hear their tale. She looked at their wayfinder and agreed that it wasn’t broken, but was pointing somewhere specific. She knew of a ship captain that could take them north, his long ship the only one in Magnimar still remaining. His name was Be-yorn Iron Heart and Ogg was impressed with the name. As it would turn out, the captain was the man Ogg had spent the evening prior watching.
He agreed to take them north to a city called Holgrom or to sail them directly where their wayfinder pointed them. The price was very reasonable and the only requirement was for them to purchase their own food for the journey. Their only detour was a short stop in a city called Riddleport, which excited Poe to no end, before sailing north. The journey, Iron Heart claimed, would take a little less than a month. So Ogg went to the bazaar to purchase a month worth of food and some cold weather gear. As Ogg purchased his gear, it was hard not to be excited. Once again, Ogg was going to see something new.
(Player comment: got my times confused as well as several other minor things. Go figure. So I apologize if this doesn’t make total sense.)
The group received word from the Pathfinder woman that she had located someone that could possibly help with transcribing their poem/clues and had arranged for a dinner that evening to discuss them.
That evening the group returned to the lodge and once divested of weapons was seated for dinner. Ogg not comfortable with that arrangement kept his brass knuckles in his leg pouch. He even wore his armor. The woman, if she minded, didn’t react to his lack of manners. For Ogg, Sandpoint was the first “settlement” he’d ever been in that made you feel that you could leave your armor at home. Magnimar was a vast city and he’d seen the cutpurses lingering at the edges of alleys, so the armor was going to remain on.
The man they met was one very fat individual and to Ogg, was the smartest man he ever met. The man’s manners seemed to make the others a little tense but it didn’t bother Ogg. After having lived with purebloods for so long Ogg didn’t realize the man was being rude. He seemed to know everything because whenever someone would change the topic or relay a bit of information about something, the man would just tell you everything about it he knew. For Ogg, it was fascinating.
As dinner was winding down one of the lodge workers stuck his head into the dinning room and said there was a problem. It was at this same time that Ogg heard shouting from out on the street. Peering out the window he could see several people had surrounded the lodge and were wielding torches or clubs. Their skin was dyed or colored black and they all wore very primitive looking clothing. Even purebloods wore better clothing than these people.
So the group moved out onto the porch of lodge and could see that the gate guards had been knocked unconscious or killed. Ogg spied two individuals in the back of the mob, one wearing similar clothing to the mob but with a fancy headdress, and another pink-skin that was dressed like anyone else in Magnimar. It was then that She-la stepped up behind Ogg and told him to try and not kill anyone. Well, the two in the back looked important enough to keep alive so they could question them, but the rest of the mob … well, accidents happen.
Just as they began to pour through the gates Ogg dashed to the side and scrambled up and over the wall of the grounds to get to these leaders. It was then that Ogg froze, as he was suddenly paralyzed. The pink-skin in the headdress had done some sort of spell that had held him fast. All Ogg could do was watch what was happening in front of him. On the inside, Ogg was an inferno of rage welling up to be let loose. Na’rion had made it through the mob and ran forward with a long reedy looking blade and cut the man. Suddenly Ogg became free and let the wellspring of rage flow out. Yelling his thanks to the pink-skin in the headdress he punched him while wearing the brass knuckles. Ogg didn’t even try to put anything behind the punch like he normally would have done for fear of seriously hurting the man. As it turned out, Ogg had punched the man so hard he snapped his neck and caved in the side of his skull. It surprised even Ogg. How could a pink-skin be that soft? Once the leader fell, the rest of the mob lost their zeal for a fight and began running off into the city.
So while some of the group stayed to help She-la with the corpses, unconscious people and the city watch Ogg returned inside to speak with the fat man again. Someone had knocked him out and used the mob as a distraction to search the lodge for something. Other than having a minor headache he was fine and once Ogg brought up the subject of the large mountain scaled carving of a dragon he had seen in Belkzen the man forgot of the attack.
In time the group was able to show him their poem/clues and he was able to transcribe the type of poem that it was written in and explained a few nuances of the style that Ogg didn’t understand, or truthfully, didn’t want to understand. While Poe and the others took notes Ogg spent the rest of the time hoping for more of a fight. The ratling had commented that the man Ogg had killed was a cleric for a cult called the dark pharaoh or something. Killing a holy man was good luck for purebloods so he hoped that he was equally as blessed since he was only a half-orc.
With dinner complete, the group retired for the evening before meeting the ulfen and sailing north on the morning tide. The voyage was an experience that took some time to get used to. Ogg spent the first few hours hurling his prior evenings dinner and that days breakfast over the side of the longship, much to the amusement of the crew. Once his stomach was calmer Ogg helped out rowing as much as he could. For him, the idea of being at sea and not fighting, practicing or just moving would be terrible. The initial excitement of seeing something new wore off quickly when all you see is water for hours and hours. So to pass the time Ogg worked out, and literally, pulled his weight.
After three days the ship entered into the harbor of Riddleport which was a sizable enough settlement, but much smaller than Magnimar. The giant arch that spanned the harbor was impressive and Poe was noticeably excited to see it. He even pointed out that one of the glyphs on the side of the arch matched a glyph on one of the poem/clues. Before docking the captain made sure everyone knew that Riddleport was a noted “rough” city and to be watchful. The captain laughed as he warned the group. To Ogg, maybe that meant it would be a promising day.
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Well it didn’t take long before Riddleport showed its underbelly to Ogg and his companions. They had arrived mid-morning and were told they were going to stay there for two days before sailing north. For the captain, this was the last spot where his crew could get away with some “proper violence” and not have to worry about the city watch doing anything about it. He informed them that the ship was available for Ogg and his friends to stay on if they wanted, he was going to keep a few guards standing by to watch over things, but he didn’t expect any problems.
The group opted for an inn, they just didn’t know where. Staying as a group they crossed the town on their way over to one of the end points of the large glyph covered arch. The rat and Poe were very interested in seeing it, the rat being beyond excited. Along the way they came upon an inn that was on the better side of town, at least according to the locals as the only ones not allowed inside were sighfer mages. Since no one in their group fit that description, at least as far as every one knew, Ogg picked up rooms for them all and they continued their trek about town.
They hadn’t gotten to far around town, other than being in the “bad side of town,” when the attack happened. Up ahead of the group was a small street brawl that had spilled out from one of the taverns and as they slowed to watch several sneak thieves leaped out throwing bags over some of the group and using cudgels to knock them out. Ogg on the other had been hit multiple times by a magical arrow from a woman on top of the building they were next to. The arrow was designed to magically induce sleep but all it managed to do was stagger Ogg for a few moments.
When the staggering effect wore off Ogg he realized that once again the healer of their group was doing her best to keep people up and having trouble doing so. Nar’ion was attempting to work over the thieves with his wispy blade and the dwarf was trying his best to keep them back and off the elf. So Ogg drew his sword and began laying into anyone that wasn’t known to him. He managed to bisect one man almost in half and killing a few more before they lost heart and ran off. Ogg attempted to give chase to the woman on the roof but by the time he had scaled the buildings wall she was gone.
As Ogg returned to the street level to join the others a large ulfen, who was not part of the crew, stepped out of a nearby tavern and motioned for them to come inside. After they did so, warily, they met a woman from Irrisen named Greda, who explained what had happened. The group had a bounty put out on them by someone to be taken alive. The description matched the group, which isn’t hard to spot with a ratling and giant bird, and Greda also knew their names. The woman on the roof was named Day-the and Greda offered her services to track her down in exchange for a ride north. Riddleport was not a place that she was happy staying in and the Linnorm lands were much closer to home.
Once the group confirmed this with the captain at a gambling house called the Golden Goblin, they left to find the archer.
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As a note to our esteemed readers, tonight the group met the Norns on Battlewall, and received the following message:
They have the mark.
She has touched them.
They are the Chosen.
The Forge of the Titans is their goal.
The Weapon is their goal.
The future will tell - their fate is unclear.
They do not know the way.
She will tell them.
The Book will tell them.
In unison: Go where you must. Greed will curse you. Take only what she left for you.
Characters made 3rd level tonight, for those keeping track.
|Egshen Owl-wren Poe|
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Too much is known of our movements. We are preceded in our travels by the word of our arrival and detailed description of our party. I suspect this may be, in part or in whole, due to a contact I made in the grand city of Magnimar. A “trading house” that conducts the same sort of business as the Pathfinder Lodge only as side ventures funded on the sly all hidden behind the façade of a “legitimate business.” You see it was immediately following said contact that during a dinner meeting with the Lady of the local Lodge that someone feigned an assault on the lodge as a diversion to give burglars the opportunity to make a quick entry to search the residence for the item or items our party had stumbled upon, thankfully that plan was thwarted. To be honest the fracas was welcomed as it had been some time since I had drawn my blade. Unfortunately some of the assailants were dispatched. The misfortune is not the number killed but that we were unable to best their attempt at entering the house of the Lady Pathfinder and that we did not dispatch the right people. I still hold a weary grudge against the old fat pink skin that wouldn’t shut his gob. He would drone on about any subject lending to the question how someone that talked SO MUCH could find the time to put enough food in his mouth to become SO FAT!!! At any rate we booked passage with jovial boat warriors from the north. Since they were heading the same direction and the weather would only get worse as the seasons changed we decided to ride with them. To seal the deal we brought a large quantity of ale to lighten their spirits.
We sailed to the city of Riddleport. As we entered the harbor beneath the great arch I noticed the keystone at the apex of the arch was marked with a zero of the old tongue. Jinx our ratman desired greatly to investigate the arch so we ventured into town on a three day shore leave with the crew. It was Captain Bjorn’s hope the men would relieve themselves of any mischief during this call to port. Eventually we parted company with the crew making our way to the west side of town to visit the site where the arch came to ground. There the rat investigated it to his heart’s content and though try as he might the surface proved unassailable to climbers, at least for those that came unprepared for such a task. To the unexpectant Riddleport is a hive of scum and villainy (:)) filth and stench. After securing lodging for our stay we were strolling through the streets when a tavern brawl emptied into the street before us. It quickly became apparent this too was meant as a distraction as a number of our parties heads were bagged and thumped while Ogg was issued feathers from a roof top assassin. Before I knew it Ogg lay in the street and our only hope was to free the sister of Desna from her bag so that she might help those in dire need so I engaged her attacker. My first cut served sinew in one of the hands securing the bag over her head, the second entered just below the line of the jaw turning the cold iron bright red along its length. Once our healer was freed, and cautiously avoiding the assassins eye, I positioned myself with an attacker between me and the archer. Once the healer was functional the tide of the battle turned in our favor routing the surviving foes. No sooner than we had rifled through the remains and questioned a prisoner we were approached by a swarthy Ulfen Northman, not of our crew! He invited us in from the street for our safety. Within we met a pale, even for a pink skin, Irrsen woman who plead desperately for passage north with our hired Captain. Her reasoning was somewhat dubious; that or I am just not feeling obliged to trust or with our ability to judge the character of those who offer us help unsolicited. However she seems to have limited answers as to how and why we are being watched, followed or preceded in our journey. The arraignments for her passage were made and she helped us track down the assassin. Once we entered the gambling house I stayed for the duration of the our time in Riddleport. The odds seemed to be ever in my favor (:)) and there was no way I was leaving this good luck in mid stride! The party confronted the assassin again but her odds were good as well. Amends were made as she claimed to have limited recall of the ambush or much of anything else for a short while not unlike what others we have encountered have experienced since embarking on this plot.
The boat ride was dreary and wet and lacking the excitement that was experienced in Riddleport. I found myself in a melancholy malaise rocking with the motion of the open sea when ship to ship combat ensued. By the time I had come out of my mood the battle was all but won. From then on I endeavored to learn the Skald tongue and in the process also managed to pick up a game of chance here and there, mostly at my expense, but at least it was a more entertaining boat ride the rest of the way. As we approached the Island of Battlewall the Pathfinder compass began to give signs that this was our destination. The Captain got our party to shore and we followed the path set before us. Two days into our walk three giant women appeared before us, each spoke in turn some prophetic riddle then vanished.
There before us was a grand stone stair sized in all likelihood for the women who had just addressed us in Skald. Through the ascent of the stair the rat and I assisted one another as the need required. They kept going up, and up, and up. It took a number of days before we could see the top and even after the door was in sight it seemed to take forever to arrive. Then I understood why, the doors were enormous….
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Ogg’s luck at gambling was nowhere near as good as Poe’s. In the end he lost roughly two hundred gold in the golden goblin while staying in Riddleport. Since Ogg didn’t have the money when he entered Riddleport he wasn’t to worried about having lost it while he was there. Money comes and goes, which is something he had learned in his time in Kaer Maga. Having seen the mistakes people made when money was concerned had taught Ogg that money, as a driving force was detrimental to your health.
The next morning they set out to track down the bowman. Their directions from Greda led them to a tenement that in turn led them to a bar across the street. Instead of bloody violence, which Ogg had intended to instigate, they left learning only that she had been ensorcelled much like the fisherman back in Sandpoint. Someone had beat them to Riddleport by a day and set up the ambush but no one they questioned knew who that person was.
On the following day the group and their large hairy friends left for the two and a half week voyage north. Ogg had decided to spend his time rowing and learning what he could from the sailors. For Ogg they were an interesting people since there were no preconceived notions or apprehension at his orcish heritage. He learned that one of the rulers of their lands, a woman, even set up an island for those of his kind and it wasn’t a prison. Perhaps living there and working for such a woman would be a job he could enjoy once this business with the group was over. Only time would tell.
Less than a week before they were to reach land Ogg was rowing during the evening with some of the crew during a great storm. The longship spent more time rowing upwards and then downwards because of the deep swells caused from the storm. During some of the lightning strikes off in the distance there appeared to be a great monster with many tentacles battling some sort of other equally as large sea creature. The crew would only grunt in acknowledgment to Ogg’s query and replied with, kraken.
The following day another longship could be seen on the horizon and it was on an intercept. Their captain told them it was raiders and to prepare for a fight. Ogg was ready, the days of exercise had helped his stamina and he was ready for a scrap. The only rule was to not kill them if they surrendered. Families paid for their kin that failed in a raid, which made coming to live here, even more of a prospect for Ogg.
When the other ship got close, rope and grapnels brought the ships close enough to move across. There were Ulfen everywhere, stabbing and chopping. Ogg leaped across from their longship to the raiders and cut one of their crew in half with a mighty swing from his sword. While dodging attacks and maintaining his feet Ogg made his way to the raider captain where they fought for a few seconds before the captain dropped his weapon and surrendered. With their captain admitting defeat his raiders soon followed.
A few days later they arrived at a large island called Battlewall and the captain gave them a small skiff to use to search out their clue while the longship continued on to Halgrim. They found an old lava tube behind a waterfall near the shoreline. The reduced flow of water because of the cold the only reason they spotted the landmark. Rowing into the tube they continued a good distance before pulling the skiff ashore and making sure it was pulled far enough so that high tide would not wash the boat away.
They journeyed up the tube for a few hours before finally reaching the island proper. With the constant updates to direction from Poe and the wayfinder they eventually came across three very large women of varying ages. They spoke of a forge, a weapon and a curse. With that they disappeared leaving a stairwell that led up into the mountains. Each step roughly eight feet in height. The journey was taxing and difficult but Ogg’s newfound stamina paid off. They eventually reached a set of giant doors where Poe pointed out the number 6 carved above the doors.
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Another note to those following along at home: in Sandpoint, the characters discovered a poem inlaid in the Monument to the Fallen, a sestina. So far, they have been able to decode the first two of the seven stanzas.
The first stanza reads in Thassilonian:
Eight heroes fallen at the hands of mighty foes,
The one who fought upon this ground knows where the treasure lies,
And shows the way when sunset's light illuminates his face.
Seven is nearer than you think, within an evil dream,
A temple in dark catacombs, it's power gone like sand,
If power and wealth are your desire, the Arches lead the way.
The second stanza is in Varisian, phonetically transcribed in the Thassilonian alphabet:
Six a lost and mighty forge, an arrow points the way;
A voyage long awaits the brave, with rough and bearded foes,
Upon a far and frozen isle, beneath the blackened sand.
Five is where the Starstone fell, in a palace built on lies,
A long forgotten book that holds a dream
Of a weapon and a shield to stand between the mind and madness' face.
Soon, the key to the third stanza should be in the characters hands.
The exhausting climb had befuddled Ogg’s mind as there were in fact no doors but instead a doorway which led into a massive room that contained only rubble and a few dead Ulfen bodies that had been there for hundreds of years, if not more. The ceiling was hidden in darkness that Ogg couldn’t see past and it took Nar’ion to let them know that the ceiling was about one hundred feet off the floor. At the opposite end was an immense door; open just wide enough for everyone to slip in but the strong odor and general exhaustion led everyone to set up camp for the evening. Exploration would come on the next day.
In the morning the group moved into the first chamber. Each room they would come across was vast in scale. All of them covered in rubble, which made movement difficult at best. All of the rooms contained massive pillars that had fallen or crumbled in ages past leaving only their massive bases. The first room beyond the entryway was just given a cursory look into by Nar’ion before the group decided to rest for the evening.
The first room contained an odor that wasn’t hard to notice. Deep within the room they came under attack by creatures that Ogg never saw until they had moved close to the group. Their natural camouflage hid them in the room easily when not moving and the darkness took care of the rest. The battle though was quick, as even though they looked like the rock in the room they were in fact flesh, a troglodyte according to some of the others. The far end of the room contained a shift in the floor as some great earthquake in the past lifted the far end of the room upwards almost twenty feet.
Once past the climb the next room contained what Ogg later learned was a troll, more specifically, a rock troll. Much like the troglodyte’s from the earlier room, its skin resembled the rocks it moved around. It’s size though negated any camouflage since when it moved the ground shook somewhat. The group though was triumphant but only because of the healing powers of the pink-skin woman. Ogg took a beating from the troll but the woman kept him on his feet.
The further into the rooms they moved the warmer it got and eventually they came to a small rent in the floor which opened to lava deep below. The red glow and heat had kept the area relatively comfortable for temperature. Once past the obstacle they came into another room where the very pillars that remained came alive and attacked.
The pillars looked to have been a statue of a giant person standing with their feet at shoulder width. Standing inside of those was a smaller person in the same pose and gradually getting smaller. The smallest sized person is what moved out and attacked the group. Their hardened rock construction though proved to be a detriment to the group as everyone that struck one of the statues risked damaging their weapons. The dwarf lost his axe and Ogg managed to dent and crack his greatsword. Thankfully though Ogg managed to fell two of the statues, one in one swing, and managed to keep his weapon. The healer claimed to be able to repair them with divine magics, but it would have to wait until the next day.
Once past the statues they came to a great workshop. The scale of the workshop would be for one person, one very massive person. The anvil in the room was more than twenty feet above Ogg, the workbench along one wall double that height. The poem spoke of a weapon and all Ogg could think was how big was this weapon going to be?
Four a red and baleful eye within a spinning face,
Pirates fierce and jungles dark stand strong along your way.
Bring the stones and place them true, hold fast within your dream,
Forge the shield and weapon to protect you from the foes
A blade of mind and spinning light to shield you from the lies
That fall away between their teeth like spilling sand.
In case anyone is interested, the Wayfinder was pointing to the medalian.
As it would turn out, the only weapon in the room was huge. Thankfully though, for Ogg, it was not what they were after. The wayfinder pointed towards the anvil and the idea of climbing to the top was the only choice the group could come up with. Using rope, Ogg pulled both Poe and Nar’ion upwards to reach the top of the anvil using the horn as the makeshift pulley. The pull caused the two to sway a little to much and both reached out to brace against the anvil. When their hands touched the metal a very high pitched ping emanated from the anvil and everyone heard someone in a very monotone voice begin speaking. The interesting part was that the voice was in their head.
The voice spoke of its last activation having been quite a long time ago. It then began speaking to everyone directly at the same time. It asked who they were and why they were there. Everyone answered the voice in their own way, also at the same time. Sensing the confusion everyone was experiencing while trying to speak all at once, the anvil, or more accurately, the sentient anvil constructed a mind meeting. At least that is what Ogg called it. Everyone then had a vision of each person and a metal man sitting at a table talking.
The anvil was curious as to where the titans were. Ogg had never heard of the titans so for him, the assumption was they were all dead. They spoke of a great many things, most of which Ogg forgot the moment he left the mountain later that day. The metal man gave to each of them a weapon of their choosing made from something that looked like glass but was stronger than steel. The weapons were not complete as they were only the blades sans pommels, but were magical in nature and very sharp. The man even repaired the weapons that had been damaged in the fight with the statues. There was also a magical backpack that contained a great number of things, all later to be learned belonged to the crazy woman, Koriel, from Sandpoint. There was a journal, puzzle box that contained a medallion, and pouch full of stones with a note to keep with them until the right moment comes. There was even a pouch full of gems.
With this done, the group departed the mountain and made their way back to the rowboat they had left in the lava tube. Retrieving the boat wasn’t made easy by the hydra that had made the lava tube its home in the time the group had climbed the mountain. The group dispatched the creature quickly enough and began the long row to Halgrim where they hoped to find a ship returning south before winters icy grip took hold.
With luck they found a captain that was heading back to Magnimar a few days after having arrived in Halgrim, the journey lasting four weeks. Before they left Ogg had a grand pommel made from platinum and supple leathers. It contrasted well with the dark green of the glass his greatsword was made from.
Ogg spent his days working with the ships crew learning what he could and doing as much heavy lifting as possible. The rest found things to do on their own. The healer constructed items of magic while the elf poured over the journal. A few days from Magnimar the group was brought to the deck of the ship in the middle of the night. Another ship had pulled alongside and the man that had taken them to meet the Pathfinders was on the deck speaking with the captain. When they all arrived on deck, he told them that a bounty was out for the group. The city guard was to arrest them and to throw them into the hells, Magnimar’s prison. The description of everyone was perfect, even mentioning the new weapons. Either a crewman on the ship they now sailed was a spy or magic was being used without the knowledge of the group. So they transferred to the new ship and slipped into Magnimar ahead of schedule and not near the docks.
The Pathfinders had made arrangements for the group to stay in an abandoned house in Underbridge and were told not to travel without disguises while they made arrangements for a ships captain to take them to Absalom. Only Poe and Jinx were told that they shouldn’t ever leave, and a strong suggestion was given to the blue skinned elf to do the same.
A few did leave, to see what could be learned about their spy. Watching their original ship arrive that next morning discovered nothing so it had to be magic. Before returning to the house Ogg stopped off at the temple of Desna. Speaking with their priest, he asked if there were any legends or prophecies that mirrored the events of the Sandpoint festival and the groups subsequent marking by Desna. The head priest wasn’t sure but was sufficiently interested enough to do some research and asked for Ogg to return in a few days.
A few days later Ogg returned to learn that there was a prophecy that spoke of the ‘end times’ and that a group would rise up to combat a great evil, but nothing specific. As far as prophecies went, as far as the priest knew, the vagueness was pretty standard.
During the evenings meal the group discovered that someone was scrying on them and after some experimentation over the next few days learned it was randomly following moving between members. So they did what they could to minimize the risk of their plans being learned and hoped to be well on their way to Absalom before anyone was the wiser. Unfortunately, the day before leaving Magnimar, a group of mercenaries had tracked the group to the house and attempted to capture everyone. The fight was brutal and several of the group was injured but they managed to end the threat in short order. Since some of the mercenaries had escaped the group’s wrath, they decided to move into another building to wait out the night.
The next day the group boarded a vessel that would take them to Korvosa. The ship itself was large and much like the one they had left Halgrim in. Unlike that ship though the crew all looked odd to Ogg, almost like they were related. Even the captain resembled his crew and he was gruff and not very talkative. Not that any of that really mattered to Ogg, he spent his days working on the ship, doing what he could to stay active. While most of the group took berths with semi-hard beds, Ogg ending up rooming with the elf and had a hammock. After the last voyage Ogg had learned to appreciate the rope bed. The only problem for Ogg was that the elf didn’t sleep, so the candle that he used to read the journal made it difficult to fall asleep. At least it wasn’t the rat.
One evening Ogg awoke to a darkened room. The darkness didn’t disturb him, his orc blood allowed him to see in the dark easily enough, it was the quiet, and the smell. There weren’t the normal sounds, no creaking of wood, no snapping of sails or shouts from the crew to carry out orders, and the smell was of rotted wood. His roommate was also missing. Moving out into the hall and after a cursory examination of a few rooms he could tell that the ship looked to have aged dramatically and that he was the only one left on board.
When Ogg reached the deck of the ship he could see nothing but a misty fog surrounding the ship. The sails looked to have rotted into tatters, the wood was pitted and warped, and even the metal was rusted. Just after he moved to the rear of the ship where the captain would normally be he came under attack from odd-looking fish men. At first Ogg wasn’t worried but they didn’t fall from his blade as easily as he hoped and he could see more approaching from the front of the ship.
As Ogg backed himself into a corner to fend off their attacks he heard the rat casting spells. So he wasn’t alone at least. But before Ogg could finish off those that had surrounded him a giant fish man latched onto the ship and pulled himself out of the water. The lesser ones leaped off as the ship tilted dangerously over almost depositing Ogg into the water. Just as its giant hand reached for Ogg he woke up covered in a cold sweat, with the elf looking at him with a raised eyebrow. Ogg later learned that everyone on the ship had a similar dream except almost all of them had fallen to the lesser fish men. Thankfully for Ogg there were no more dreams before they reached Korvosa.
Once in Korvosa the group found a decent place to hold up for a few days while they worked at finding a ship that could take them to Absalom. The blockade by the Chelaxian navy along their way was possibly going to be a problem as they learned from those sailors they had talked with at the inn they were staying at. Eventually they found a ship and before departing, they sold a few items they had collected from the mercenaries that had attacked them in Magnimar the night before they left the city.
On the second day an individual gave them a note directing them to an inn located in Old Korvosa, on the opposite side of the small island from where their inn was. It spoke of employment or some sort of deal that the group might be interested in. Most of the group had been doing their best at attempting to disguise their appearances. For Ogg, he had wrapped the pommel of his sword in cloth and purchased one of the heavy leather coats the local fishermen wore that was treated to prevent the water from soaking in. The high collar was pulled up to hide his face from casual view. Warily the group decided to investigate. The prospect of more money was always welcome if the bribes needed to pass the blockade were true.
The man they met at the inn was a red haired gnome that offered to pay 7,000 platinum, each for the journal the elf had been reading. Somehow, they had been found again. Even though the man agreed to double that reward, and as tempting as it was, the group declined and left. Once again the group was going to have to start keeping eyes out for threats.
That threat arrived on the trip back to their inn when a group of mercenaries, well-equipped mercenaries, attacked them. Before Ogg could even draw his weapon, he had been slashed several times by large armored men. For a few minutes the group fought them in a deserted street, which in itself was odd since the city was known for being rather lawful and having a heavy guard presence. At one point during the fight, a cutpurse had slipped in and cut the straps of Nar’ion’s magical backpack where the book was being stored. In the end the group managed to kill several of the men, the dwarf having cleaved one man in half. The rest they captured, including the cutpurse.
During questioning they learned that the cutpurse was not part of the group of mercenaries. Their attack was the diversion he needed to take the pack. When Ogg questioned the cutpurse all he received in turn was spit in the eye. Ogg’s patience was up so he borrowed the dwarves axe and took the mans head from his shoulders. Ogg explained to the shocked group that shamans where he was from used to talk with the dead. All they needed was a jaw. Now they could dispose of the body, keep the head to question later, which the rat favored keeping in his possession and strip the mercenaries of their wealth before leaving for Korvosa.
Unsure if they were followed, but assuming they were, they group arrived in Absalom almost two months later with no interruptions.