Shaintar J&L The Shattered Warband

Session 1
The Shattered Warband

Year: 3122
Date: Unkown, either Forest Dance or Raining Leaves

Anton, Gandogar, Rakepick, Hodor, Reener, and Eska awake in the Kal-a-Nar war camp. They do not know the date, but do know that it has been two days since they’ve eaten anything. They are shackled at the hands, each linked by a chain to a tall pillar and then to another captive.

The Kal Camp is positioned around a ruins. The slaves are located at the back of the camp, against a cliff face. The cook tent is too the North, with the warriors settled mostly to the North East and East.

4 other slaves are present: A pair of orcs, an elderly female goblin, and a human.

The group is roused by the Slave Driver, a cruel human of the Kal-a-Nar empire, wielding a Kal Barbed Whip. He sets the group to work about the camp.

Anton and Rakepick are set to work repairing armor and weapons throughout the camp. At the Brinchie’s request, Anton sheers off a thin strip of metal, which Rakepick uses, somewhat surprisingly, to unclasp his shackles. Confident that he could do it again, he closes his bonds and secrets the metal under his fur.

Reener and Eska are sent out with Kalinesh hunters. When a deer is killed, they carry it back to the cook tent. There, the Brinchie cook, “Cookie”, says that he’s already “found some meat”. The deer is placed on a table as the Cook returns to his stew.

Gandogar and the giant Ogre Hodor are set to work digging a grave in the stony ground. Armed with shovels and brash overconfidence, the pair discuss trying to fight their way out from the center of the camp. However, before they make such a move, an exhausted voice seems to speak into their minds, saying, “Just wait for tonight, won’t you. Sigh”. They complete their task, dropping the body of the previous Kal commander into the grave and covering it up.

When the six slaves are returned to their camp, once again chained to the pillars, they find that one of the orcs is missing. The other is weeping, complaining that Brinchie are demons and will “kill us all!”

Soon, Cookie and the Slave Driver return, taking Eska and Reener to carry the stew to the remaining commanders and their guest. They carry the stew through the ruins, and serve it to the Slave Driver, a tall Kal Warrior Commander, and a War Priestess, as well as their guests, 4 strange creatures. They have the appearance of dwarves, but have red skin. Eska and Reener have heard of Builders, but never seen them before.

Cookie leads the slave away, but pauses behind the door, curious to hear the discussion. In very broken Galean, the Builders explain that they are searching for their ancient home. They ask the Kal-a-Nar to give them free passage, and offer to help them in return. They have contacts in Camon who could give them passage back to the Kal-a-Nar empire.

This sets off debate, in Kalinesh, among the three commanders. The Kal Warrior eagerly wishes to return. The Slave Driver is for making for the Malakar Dominion, where they could find places in the Maelstrom. The War Priest wishes to make sacrifices to Ceyanara to determine her will.

At this, Cookie pulls the slaves away and returns them to their pillar.

Once again, Rakepick frees himself from his manacles and begins freeing the others. Hodor is left dragging a long chain, but the others are all freed. The group heads to the wagons near the Cook tent, hoping to find equipment, but the dragging chain alerts Cookie, who comes to investigate.

Eska reacts quickly. A splash of blue energy greets the Brinchie cook as he exits the tent, dropping him.

The party equips themselves as best they can from the wagons and cook tent and plan their escape. However, as they leave, they again draw attention. Before the startled guard can sound a warning, an arrow pierces him from above. Zaro, an Aevakar Grey Ranger Scout, has come to help them escape. He frees Hodor from the trailing chain, and distributes potions and some additional weapons to the group.

As the group, including the other slaves and a mule, follow Zaro’s escape route, an object falls from the cliff face and lands just in front of the escapees.

With a roar, what had appeared to be a boulder unfurls broad wings and reveals itself as a fearsome gargoyle.

The beast wades through the escapees, shrugging off their attacks. Its red eyes focus on the Aevakar.

Zaro flees to the skies, but the Gargoyle pursues, catching the ranger with a fearsome blow that drops him back to earth.

Moved by the plight of their new ally, Anton displays unusual courage, leaping to action with a hatchet. The escapees follow his example. Some secure the escape route, others attack the gargoyle and the Kal Warriors who’ve been alerted.

The sounds of battle come from elsewhere in the camp.

The group is successful in dealing with the few ratzin and Kal who stumble upon this area of the camp. Hodor manages to grab hold of the gargoyle, preventing it from escaping to make a snack of the Aevakar held in its grasp, but no lasting damage is done to the stony creature until Rakepick scrambles up the Ogre, onto the Gargoyle, and begins clawing at its eyes. At last, the Gargoyle gives up its prize and flies away.

After being given a healing potion, Zaro recovers enough to lead the frail slaves away, while the emboldened group follows the sounds of battle to the other Grey Rangers. They find Leandron Everwalk, Karrol Gessler, and Netia Ott in battle against the Slave Driver, Kal Warrior commander, the War Priestess, and several others.

When the fighting is finished, the Kal Warrior is dead, and the Slave Driver and War Priestess have fled. Leandron allows the others a moment to gather additional equipment, and then leads them from the remains of the shattered warband.

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Session 2
Escape

Following the lead of Leandron and the other Grey Rangers, the group travels 4 miles from the Kalinesh camp and reaches the camp the rangers used as a staging area for their attack against the Kal.

During the night, it begins to snow. It is unusually early for such weather. The cold adversely affects Rakepick and Eska. The Brinchie and Dregorian are not used to such cold climates.

In the morning, the 7th day of the month Raining Leaves, Leandron asks the freed slaves to submit to a reading. Each must tell a story of their selves as Karrol, himself an Adept like Eska, searches their mind for ill will against the Rangers.

Anton tells of his childhood with the Caskmaster brewers, and his interest in Alchemy.

Hodor tells of how he was raised in Anton’s family.

Reener tells of his life of slavery among the Kal-a-Nar.

Gandogar tells of how he fell into disgrace by losing a prized armor, commissioned of his father, to a raiding band of goblinesh.

Eska tells of how she was captured by the Kal-a-Nar and taken from her home of Dregordia, all the while concealing her abilities as an Adept.

Rakepick tells of his mother and how she was lost, or a least separated from him, in a fire that burned through their makeshift home.

Karrol finds no ill will, though he seems to think little of the goblinesh. Netia warns him against speaking ill of her “Little brother or big brother”.

Another alchemist, Alfie, was awaiting the rangers in their camp. While not a Grey Ranger, he has been assisting them through the War of Flame.

With confidence that they harbor no threats, Leandron shares that he had planned to lead the freed slaves south, out of the mountains, through Camon territory, and into friendly Olaran territory. Getting out of the mountains should require no more than 2 days, but is made much more difficult by the snow.

As there is no confidence that Rakepick or Eska could handle a full day in the cold… or that the Gargoyle and the pursuing Kal could be avoided in the snow… the party decides to seek shelter.

Leandron and Zaro set out to hunt and scout.

Rakepick, Eska, Alfie, Hodor, and Netia set our in search of shelter.

Karrol, Anton, Gandogar and Reener set out to find Fireroot, an herb that may aid against the symptoms of the cold.

The group searching for shelter spots a roving band of Kal-a-Nar, including 2 minotaurs, but chooses not to engage. They are successful in avoiding detection and are able to find a natural cave before returning to the ranger camp.

Karrol, Anton and Gandogar are able to find Fireroot easily and return to the camp, but Reener continues his own hunt for food. Karrol scolds him not to lead anyone back, but lets him go on his own.

Hearing strange noises from the woods, the little goblins discovers the 4 Builders as they work at some project in the woods.

Being Cautious, Reener returns to the camp and gathers the others.

When all have returned, Leandron says that the Rangers will lead the frail to the cave, but asks the others to investigate the Builders. He is keenly interested to know what brings the builders to this area.

All travel to the Builders, where they find the 4 dwarf-like creatures working to clean and restore a golem. The device, made of stone or metal, is covered in knobs, tubes and crystalite protrusions.

While the group is prepared for a fight, Anton takes the lead, approach with a friendly “hello” and wave. Despite the very wary response of the Builders and their poor understanding of Galean, the tense situation remains peaceful.

Anton’s cheery nature and persistence allows him to reach the golem, where he begins to fiddle with the mechanisms under the eyes of the builders. He even manages to spark some locomotion from the device.

The others converse with the translating builder, who identifies himself as “Samael”. The conversation tends to circle around several topics:

  • This is their machine
  • The Builders are looking for their home
  • Arcfire is better than smithing and other technology

Alfie also joins the conversation, convincing Samael to share a map of the area. This map clearly identifies the location of the Kal-a-Nar warcamp, as well as several lines running throughout the mountains. When Alfie asks about the lines, Samael quickly pulls the map away.

Finally, the builders insist it is time to leave, and the party departs peacefully.

The group follows the rangers to the cave. Looking back in the direction of the Builders, one can see the Gargoyle circling.

Once they reach the cave, Leandron gives his own opinion of the Builders. While they appear neutral to the lands of the South (Olara, Galea, the Free Lands, the Fae Nation, etc.), they actively avoid supporting the Grey Rangers. Their ultimate goals are unknown.

Karrol talks of the nature of their Arcamancy or Arcfire technology. It is a new source of magic, powered by crysarium, that presents itself as a strange blending of The Way, Pattern, and Flame.

Anton sets himself to work at Alchemy, crafting a healing potion.

Gandogar, Rakepick, Reener and Hodor set about exploring the cave. They find a passage deeper into the mountain, a very large open cavern, an a natural pool. In the shallows of the pool, Gandogar finds an old dwarven hammer.

They proceed deeper, finding another passage, flanked by a pair of stalagmites and stalactites that give the impression of fangs. As they search deeper, they find that each time this natural passage splits, a dwarven rune has been left to mark the way. Ultimately, this leads to a passage of worked stone that crosses against the natural passage. One path leads down, deeper, the other up.

They return to the others.

Suspecting that the passage is related to the Builders, the group decides to investigate the next day.

Anton crafts a potion of Arcane Resistance. This potion glows with its own light, acting as a torch for the group’s explorations.

The weeping orc passes in the night, of natural causes. Netia attempts to bury her, but settles for a cairn at Gandogar’s mocking suggestion.

As they explore the crafted passage, heading deeper into the depths of the mountain, another crack and passage is discovered. Anton and Gandogar squeeze into the passage and follow it until it reaches a vertical airshaft. They leave the passage alone and return to the others.

They follow more turns in the tunnel before it opens into a domed room. Crossing the dome stands a large gate of intricate design. Crystalline and depressed patterns run over the entirety of the door. Two statues, similar to those the Builders were working, stand on either side of the door.

The group explores. Anton and Gandogar work the door. There are no handles, bars, or other mechanical means of opening the passage.

Rakepick looks for traps. While he doesn’t find any, he does notice that the right hinge of the door is damaged, showing the effects of a blast. There is a circular orb of crysarium embedded in the hinge, larger than a closed fist.

Anton remove the crysarium from the socket and finds a place where it fits into the left side of the door.

Once the crysarium is in place, 3 runes appear surrounding the crysarium. A trial shows that they are safe to touch. When moved, they slide over the surface of the stone door.

The runes interact with each other, pushing each other aside when moved together and sliding apart slightly when released. There seems to be a border as to how far they can be removed from the crysarium before they simply stop.

Anton attempts to rearrange the runes, but receives a blast of orange energy when he does. He is unharmed, but nervous.

The party turns their attention to the golems. 1 has runes matching the door. The other shares 2 runes, but has a different third.

Rakepick returns to the door. He arranges the runes in a different matter and is rewarded when the door hums to life. It slowly rolls forward, revealing a small city hidden behind the gate.

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Session 3
Exploration

Date: The 8th day of Raining Leaves, 3122, about 2pm.

_The fur on the back of Rakepick’s paw stands on end in the ambient energy of the Arcfire runes. He slides the last symbol, showing three triangles topped with circles, below the crysarium. When it slides into line below the other runes, the glow turns from blue to a flickering orange. Like blood in water, the orange spreads across the door, tracing paths of the crysarium on the surface and buried benath the door’s metal, until the left side of the door is bathed in the glow from floor to ceiling.

With a hum and a click, an unseen mechanism unlatches, allowing the left door to swing slowly open. The right remains in place.

The stale air of the chamber beyond reaches your nostrils. Using only the glow on Anton’s potion and the door, you can see little of the room beyond. The newly opened archway gives access to a large, open chamber.

Your light doesn’t reach the ceiling, though it does reach the roofs of two small buildings on opposite sides of the door. Each is no taller than fifteen feet. The width and depth of each extends 10 feet before being lost in darkness._

Lighting a torch to aid in light, the group begins exploring the underground city. The first two buildings, located on either side of the gate’s interior, are mostly empty. They hold only a stone bench and bits and pieces of broken wood.

Deeper, they find two much large buildings. Hodor’s strength allows him to open a wide door, that rises vertically.

Inside is what appears to be a laboratory. Tubes, wires, metal sheets, and refined crysarium litter two long work tables. Large mechanisms of unknown purpose sit on either side of the tables. Despite the crysarium, a common alchemical ingredient, it does not appear to be a alchemists workstation (though it could serve as one). For one matter, it is missing the bottles and flasks commonly used to store potions.

There is some debate among the party as to the origins of the city. Gandogar points to the dwarven runes that they found in the natural passage as evidence of dwarven make. Others suspect the city is the home the Builders seek.

Karrol contacts the group telepathically, requesting a status report. When Leandron is told of the discovery, he requests that they send a guide back. Rakepick volunteers, racing into the darkness. He gets a dozen paces before remembering he can’t see in the dark. Newly equipped with a torch, he sets out again.

Exploration continues. A warehouse occupies the space opposite the laboratory. Inside are:

  • A pile of Crysarium of various degrees and quality. All gain a d4 resource die. Hodor finds a fist sized chunk, roughly the shape of that used on the door.
  • A pair of metal carts. They lack wheels, but are carved with runes, embedded with crysarium, and covered with wires, knobs and dials.
  • Barrels, mostly empty, but some with remnants of mining supplies
  • A single Barrel of Caskmaster beer, “Intestinal Fortitude,” from Anton’s family brewery. It is stamped with the date 3019

The group continues to explore, finding two dormitories, a kitchen, a smaller storeroom, and what was likely once another dormitory, but is now in disarray. The stone door has been smashed to pieces. Wood and rocks are strewn about the floor. In the ceiling, the remnants of a stone structure still cling to their fastenings on the wall. A hole is opened in the ceiling, extending to darkness.

In the rubble, the remnants of a book are found. The cover identifies it as the “”/wikis/log-and-claimbook-of-dourin-limestone" class=“wiki-page-link”> Log and Claimbook of Dourin Limestone, Scribe and Accountant of Farrin Bearstrong."

Two passages lead from the city into mines, but these are left alone for now. Instead, focus turns to what appears to be a temple.

The walls of the temple are covered in runes, similar to those on the door and on several of the devices in the underground city. There are dioramas showing scenes of motherhood or possibly fertility.

An altar or idol stands at the far end of the temple. A mother figure is carved into the idol, her torso extending out of the altar. Her arms are extended above her head with each hand cupped as if holding something. Refined amber crysarium is set into the base of the altar. There are two gaps at the back which could hold more.

The party rearranges crysarium, and ultimately adds two new gems to the empty socket (from those they found earlier), however, nothing changes.

Only when Anton asks Hodor for his fist sized chunk of Crysarium, does something magical occur. When it is placed in the Mother’s hand, the altar glows with orange energy… but then fades.

The group runs to the Gate, removing the crysarium used there, and returns to the temple. Without power, the gate closes slowly behind them.

When the second stone is placed in the altar, the energy returns with more power. Lights throughout the city (set into globes in the walls) turn on. Additionally, the altar moves forward to reveal stairs beneath.

The stairs lead to an underground lake. A light from above illuminates a small island with a stone slab about 300’ into the lake. A repeating string of runes line the edge of the lake. No magic is detected. The water is still.

The 12’ tall Hodor attempts to wade to the lake, but reaches neck deep. Eska swims about a bit, but the party decides they need a raft in order to reach the island. They depart, not noticing the ripples on the water as they climb the stairs.

Meanwhile, as Rakepick made his way back up the passages to the cave where the rangers were staying, he smells the too familiar smell of the Kal-a-Nar. Stowing the light, he proceeds forward and finds a human and a Minotaur exploring the large cavern. He waits until they have moved away, then dashes for the passage leading to the Grey Rangers.

Leandron orders Zaro, Netia and Rakepick to kill the intruders. They do so, but Netia is slane by the Minotaur’s axe.

The Grey Rangers and escaped slaves move all their supplies, including Betsy the Mule, to the underground city. Once everyone is secure, Leandron departs to find how the Kal-a-Nar were able to enter the cavern.

Rakepick and Zaro help the others complete the raft and carry it to the lake.

Everyone is loaded and Hodor has just pushed them off when a Troll erupts from the water, splitting the raft apart and spilling its occupants into the water. The Troll is aided by a Dregordian, who attempt to knock or pull others beneath the wave. A troglodyte and several humanoid creatures emerge from the water to aid in this goal.

Hodor, wielding a stalactite, dispatches the Troll. Once downed, the creature’s body turns to water and flows back into the lake. The other monsters each do the same as they are summarily dispatched. Eska can detect the power of Darkness in the creatures.

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Session 4
The Island

Date: The 8th day of Raining Leaves, about 8pm.

After the quick battle on the lake shore, the group repairs their raft, carefully watching for more threats from the water. When none materialize, they make a slow crossing, as they have only 1 paddle.

Eska swims, watching carefully. She sees an object in the water, but cannot make out any details. Anton refuses to allow his glowing potion to be carried into the water, so the object is left undisturbed.

On the island, the party discovers a stone slab, roughly 8 feet across, 4 feet wide, and 3 feet tall. The top section of the slab seems to be a lid, set into the stone. Gandogar uses the back of his hammer to pry this section up, ultimately sliding it off.

Inside are four objects:

  • A set of armor
  • A set of bracers
  • A long staff, with a crossbow like head
  • A heavy tome

The Armor, Bracers and Staff are all covered with wires, tubes, knobs, dials and inset with refined, amber crysarium. The armor and bracers are of interest to Gandogar, himself an armorer, but do not meet his satisfaction. While an appropriate size for a dwarf, they are stiff and unwieldy in some places, and loose and bending in others. They do not move or fit as they ought.

The armor is half plate, but has sections at the front and back that appear that they could slide to provide coverage under the arms. However, the panels refuse to budge.

Anton takes up the long staff and attempts to operate it. He is not successful, but neither does he activate anything that might harm himself or his companions.

The book is appears to be a set of schematics for the devices. Eska takes this up, but turns it over to Anton when she realizes she cannot carry it back while swimming.

The party returns to the underground city. Leandron has returned.

The party shares what they have discovered. Leandron and Karrol identify the items as being of Builder make. The staff is an Arclance, a deadly device that can be used as a spear, but can also fire crystalite projectiles with deadly accuracy and distance. It can also be used to stun targets or disrupt magic.

Leandron mentions that Grey Rangers have been killed by the devices in skirmishes with the Red Store.

Anton asks what is required to join the Grey Rangers. Leandron answers that the applicant must been taken on by a more experienced Grey Ranger, must be read, as the party was by Karrol, must prove himself capable of survival, fighting, or some other skill of use to the Grey Rangers, and must swear an oath.

Anton affirms his desire to join the Rangers and Leandron takes him on as a trainee.

The armor is of builder make, and requires activation before it can be useful. Leandron again warns against the builders and is glad that the party, on the Builders, have found this place. He is most interested in the tome and schematics. While he cannot read the builder language, he tells Eska of “Belissa of the Jade Flame, a Korindian who would be interested in the book.”

Leandron also shares his news. The Kal-a-Nar are within the greater underground structure. He followed the tracks of the slain Minotaur and human back to the carved tunnel. While the party had descended deeper into the mountain, the upward path led to another cave. While a portion of the tunnel had been caved in, more Kal-a-Nar were camped beyond the cave-in and had cleared enough to allow the Minotaur and human to explore.

The party makes plans to destroy the Kal-a-Nar scouts before they can alert a larger force.

On the morning on the 9th day of Raining Leaves, the group attacks and defeats the Kal scouts in the entrance to the worked tunnel.

As a speedy Ratzin flees out into the snow, Leandron orders Rakepick to catch him. The catlike brinchie pursues, pouncing on the ratzin and killing it. He spins to return to the fray, only to have a second Ratzin run past him. He turns again and slaughters the small creature, staining the snow red.

Inside, the remainder of the Kal force is destroyed. The last to fall is the enraged Minotaur.

Leandron leads the effort to obscure and hide all traces of the Kal in the chamber. The dead are pulled deeper into the tunnels. White snow is pulled over the red. Tracks are brushed away and snow is used to clean blood from the floor.

The group returns to the underground city, where they begin exploration of the mines, starting with the North Shaft. Gandogar is eager to find a forge and better the party’s equipment.

Despite the notes in the Claimbook describing the mines as exhausted, the group finds that they are flush with crysarium. The valuable minerals is readily available. It can even be extracted by hand.

The North Shaft ends in an open chamber. Here, two digging machines lie idle. Between them a 4 armed Golem stands motionless. 1 limb ends in a claw, but the others end in mining equipment, including a pick, a shovel, and a piston.

In the corner of the room, tucked between two walls and a digging machine, a cluttered structure has been built. Picks, hammers, fragments of beams and other remnants of mining equipment have been collected into what the group describes as a “Nest”. Several backpacks and bits of rotten bedding are also incorporated.

Reener takes point, climbing onto the lip of the structure to look in.

As he places his hand against the wall, a hand and a thick forearm reach through and clasp the goblin’s arm. A white bearded dwarf faces follows through the wall.

“Leave our mine.”

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Session 5
The Nest

Date: The 10th Day of Raining Leaves, about 2pm

“Leave our mine.”

With the command issued, the ancient dwarf passes back through the solid stone. Reener quickly backs away.

Eska addresses the Dwarf, stating that they did not know it was owned and that they have no wish to intrude.

From the darkness, the dwarf again orders them to leave.

Eska warns the dwarf that there are Slavers outside.

“They are no concern of mine. You are here. Leave my mine.”

Gandogar addresses him bluntly, asking if he’s able to translate any of the runes. He mentions that they found a book on the island.

“You have crossed her waters? Get out.”

Eska makes mention of Shanais, but the dwarf is done talking. A crossbow bolt is fired at Gandogar, but strikes Eska.

Skeletons, the remnants of dwarves long past, emerge from the walls and the pillar in the room’s center. They attack the party, but are dispatched. Reener stabs at the still living dwarf, but his spear is turned away by the dwarf’s shield.

The bones, and the living dwarf, melt into the stone, disappearing.

Gandogar, Alfie, Hodor, Eska and Reener remain beside the nest, but are not given much piece.

Again, the 5 skeletons and the dwarf emerge from the walls. The skeletons refuse to remain down until Gandogar, shouting that he wasn’t done talking to the dwarf, strikes the ancient mine-dweller down.

Immediately, the skeletons collapse into their natural state.

Gandogar removes the dwarf’s armor as the others explore the nest. They remove 3 servicable backpacks, 2 crossbows, another dwarven hammer, and additional pages of the claimbook. They also find a detailed drawing of the gate to the underground city. The exterior includes a diagram of how to open the gate. The interior, however, includes a description of how the gate could be collapsed, sealing the city and the mines.

Eska and Alfie take backpacks, filling them with crysarium (increasing their resource die to a d6). The third backpack is filled and reserved for Anton.

As it is quite late, they return to the city to sleep.

That night, Alfie overhears an argument between Leandron and Karrol. The Adept, recognizing the value of the mines, suggests that the Grey Rangers put the full mine into service. Leandron is opposed. The next morning, out of earshot of the Rangers, Alfie warns the others of the argument. He fears that Karrol may have contracted “Gold Fever.”

It is now the morning of the 10th day of Raining Leaves. The party has 7 days worth of food remaining.

The party explores the East Shaft of the mine. Here they find, much to Gandogar’s delight, a reasonably stocked forge. It is low on fuel, but this can be supplemented by wood from the Warehouse.

Alfie brews a potion of light and bottles it. This is fortunate, as Anton’s glowing potion has begun to dim.

Attention is turned, again, to the box Eska saw at the lake. With Alfie capable of recreating a glowing potion, he lends his to Eska for her use.

Gandogar suggests a means by which he could be lowered into the 25 foot deep water to aid in the retrieval. He pieces together multiple sections of tubing from the laboratory to create a 30’ rope.

Alfie and Gandogar take the raft onto the water. Eska swims. Reener fishes the shore by spear while Hodor sleeps.

By the light of the potion, Eska is able to see that his object appears to be a metal box, resting on its lid. Two loops of loose chain rest under the box. Eska pulls the chains above the box and has Gandogar lower his rope. This is tied through the chains, to allow the box to be hoisted without spilling. This also allows the dwarf, who cannot swim and weighs over 200 pounds, to avoid the deep water. With Eska aiding in the water, the three are able to get the box to shore.

With Zaro’s aid, they open the box in the forge. Inside, they find a solitary, small book. This is the writings of Dourin Limestone during his attempt to translate the runes.

Reener has speared a blind cave fish, and makes a happy meal of it.

Gandogar lights the forges and begins soliciting a list of requests from the others.

Reener, meanwhile, returns to the broken room. He climbs up to the shaft in the ceiling. There, he finds a scrap of paper, a pouch holding two coins, and that multiple hand and footholds have been carved into the vertical shaft. A 40’ rope hangs in the opening as well.

The spry goblin uses this to ascend. He finds a side passage, extending just a few feet to connect the vertical shaft to a ventilation shaft. This too has a few footholds. He can smell the smoke from Gandogar’s fire, but climbs anyway.

Another 40’ up, a natural crack extends into the ventilation shaft. Reener enters this and is surprised to find the tracks of two dwarves, only days old. He sniffs, and is able to pick up the scent of his comrades, Anton and Gandogar.

Climbing back into the city, he turns over the scraps of paper, another few pages from the Log and Claimbook of Dourin Limestone. He tells the others of the passage, informing them that there is a second way into and out of the city. This passage, however, would be impossible for one of Hodor’s size.

After eating a soup made by the elderly female goblin, the party prepares for the night. Leandron, who along with Zaro and Karrol have been sharing turns watching the approaches to the city, reports that the weather has improved. The snow is melting and should be gone in a day or two.

Gandogar and Alfie sleep in the forges, taking shifts to work the bellows and get the forges up to the desirable temperature.

Eska stays awake, curious to hear whether the rangers will again turn to the topic they discussed the previous night. Sure enough, Karrol does not leave the topic alone. He discusses the value of the mines, commenting on the recruitment efforts, weaponry, and other resources that could benefit the group.

Leandron insists that the risks make such a scheme impossible. He reminds that Adept that they pursued the Kal-a-Nar outside of Olara. The group and the mine and firmly located in Camon. General Gisela Breck, commaner of the Olaran forces they fought beside, would not lead her troops into Camon to pursue the Kal-a-Nar.

If the rangers were to move any significant amount of crysarium out of the mine and into Olara, it would draw attention of both the Olara and Camon. At best, the Prelancy of Camon would seize the mine from the Rangers. At worse, it would spark a broader war in territory that has been contested between Olara and Camon in the past.

Leandron reminds Karrol that the purpose of the Grey Rangers is to guard Shaintar against bigger threats and that allowing the Kingdown of Olara and the Prelancy of Camon to fight over wealth would distract Olara when it needs to be preparing for the bigger threats posed by the Kal-a-Nar, the Red Store, and the forces of Flame and Darkness that threaten Shaintar.

Through the conversation, Zaro attempts to alleviate the situation with jokes and wry observations.

Karrol insists that it could be done carefully and that the benefits outweigh the risks, but Leandron orders that the topic is closed for the evening.

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The Down Day

The Down Day

You awake on the morning of the 11th, at least, you assume it is morning. Morning, noon and night look the same by the orange glow of the Arclights. Yet you have not been underground so long as to lose your body’s natural rhythms.

Those of you awakening in the dormitories hear the snores of the other human. Since being freed alongside you, Owen Argort has kept to himself. Unlike the goblin, he has done little to aid the company. He has stayed in the camp, near to Karrol or Leandron whenever possible.

Gandogar and Alfie did not sleep in the dormitory. They spent the night in the forge, building the fires, working the billows, and sleeping on the bare floor.

Yet the dwarf is not long absent. Even before you have stirred out of the room, Gandogar enters with slate in hand. “Alright, the furnace in the forge is stoked and I’m ready to start working on things. What do you need?”

“I require bracers,” hisses Eska, drawing out the C and S. She says no more and departs.

Reener holds up his wrists for inspection. Each is enclosed in a wide band of bronze and iron. Each ends in a loop, previously used to secure the goblin, as is covered in the markings of Reener’s former owner. The bracers are crimped shut. They have adorned his wrists for a long time.

“Hmph. Yeah. I’ll knock those off in the forge.” He turns to Hodor and turns the discussion to replacing the Minotaur’s Axe with something more the the Ogre’s liking.

Outside the dormitory, the elderly goblin woman, known to you by the name “Grimey,” given to her by the Kal, is already up and fixing a breakfast of grilled onions and mushrooms.

After eating, Eska and Zaro depart to watch the two entrances to the cave system. Eska watches the Tunnel where the Kalinesh scouting party was destroyed; Zaro watches the natural caves.

Most avoid idleness and put their energies to valuable pursuits. Leandron observes their work appreciatively.

Alfie uses the stores of crysarium and what organic ingredients he can sneak from Grimey’s kitchen to craft new potions. His supply of high quality bottles exhausted, he stores his concoctions in bits of tubing salvaged from the workroom, tied off at both ends. From time to time, the “pop” of some unexpected reaction sounds from the workroom.

Anton gathers the Builder armor and the hammer, taken from the dwarf encountered in the mines. Draping the armor over a stone bench, he raises the hammer and swings down. A loud ping sounds through the hall, Unsatisfied with the mark, he sets his feat, raises the hammer, and strikes again. The diamond shaped indentation left on the breast brings a smile to his face. He sets the hammer aside and measures the width, height, and depth against his fingers.

“You don’t have to hammer it. I’ll melt it down.” Gandogar calls out.

Anton looks up, startled. “Although we may not be able to presently appreciate the quality and capabilities of this alien equipment, I think we would be remiss in destroying it before we learned how to engage its proper use. In other news, I believe I can identify which of the golems will be helpful to us. I intend to prepare a crysarium power source that we may activate it.”

“If you wish to not smelt the builder armor I shall not; we will need to carry it out of the mountains along with everything else. I’ll make room in one of the packs for it. For now, I need to get these shackles of this goblin.” he gestures to Reener. “The golems are beyond my scope of knowledge. If you wish to activate the friendly one I’ll be there as well as the others. I hope you know what you are doing.“

He leads Reener into the forges, where, after a harmless slip of the hammer, he’s able to free the goblin of the shackles. Reener’s newly exposed skin is calloused and scarred.

As Gandogar continues his work in the forge, reducing the metal from the Minotaur Axe and other items down to a workable form, Reener sets out to forage and graze Betsy. He collects a list of desired plants from Grimey, for use in cooking, and from Alfie and Anton, for use in alchemy.

As he passes through the gate, Reener stops at the golems. Anton is standing before the left golem, pressing his thumb into a dent in the guardian’s thick armor. This golem stands with its weight on its left foot. Its right arm, ending in a blade, is poised above its head. The right foot is slightly back, raised onto the toes.

Reener scrambles up onto the right golem, sniffing and looking along the length of the club held in its left hand. This golem has a wider stance. Its right hand is about waist height, with the palm flat and down-turned.

The goblin and the dwarf trade places, applying their search to the other golem.

“No blood,” Reener says, climbing down from the left golem, “but this one is more work.”

Anton nods. “I think that’s the friendly one. That hammer blow,” he points to the domed crown, housing the optical orbs of the golem, “seems to match the hammer we found.”

With that, Anton joins Alfie in the laboratory, calling out “Hodor?! Did you find another large piece of crysarium? I’d like to use it.” Anton does not emerge for many hours.

Reener moves up the tunnel, but diverges into the crack to exit into the sunlight via the natural caves. An uneventful morning and afternoon of foraging, hunting, and rock collecting passes before he returns to the cave. He adds to Alfie and Gandogar’s stores of components, and Grimey’s stores of food.

Rakepick spends the day re-exploring every room of the city, save the forge. When Leandron finds the Brinchie idle, he asks to inspect his swords. As the swords are dented from ill use by the Kal, he offers his whetstone to see to their sharpening. The two then spar, both fighting with two blades.

Eska and Zaro return shortly before dinner and everyone gathers for the meal. Gandogar emerges from the furnace, his face bright red. The work has proceeded well, but is not yet complete.

Anton emerges from the laboratory, holding a large object under a cloth. At the table, he shows it to Leandron. The crysarium has been refined and worked. It is now an amber color and evenly shaped into a ball. When Leandron nods, he covers it again and sets it aside.

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David Fredrickson
D'oh

barrel_mace_drafting.jpgadded the mace sketch and the bracers sketch to the pool. I think.

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In the Tunnels
-or- The Difference between Ambushing and Being Ambushed.

Gandogar rises from the table, leaving a clean bowl to rattle in his place. “More work to do.” He returns to the forges, where he will spend most of the night.

Anton is exhausted from his work and falls into a deep sleep. Hodor curls up on the ground near his bed, too large to fit any of the stone bunks. Alfie, Eska, Grimey, Karrol and most of the others sleep as well.

Rakepick, at Leandron’s request, goes to set watch for the remainder of the evening. However, the Brinchie does a poor job of it. After briefly checking the entrance to the natural cave, he retreats from the cold, leaving the mountainside unwatched.

When Eska relieves the Brinchie, she immediately notices that campfires have been lit a mile from the cave’s entrance. Leaving a much more alert Rakepick to extend his watch, she returns to the city.

Reener joins Rakepick. “I’ll be back in a few minutes,” the goblin says, before darting across the rocky slope and into the trees. Looping wide around the campfires, Reener finds the broad trail made by those who lit the fires. At least 40 Kal-a-Nar, including Ratzin and Minotaurs, passed through the woods with no efforts to hide their trail. They were dragging something with them.

Armed with knowledge of the makeup and size of the new arrivals, Reener returns and shares his knowledge with the others.

A watch is set at the entrance to the natural caves, and Zaro investigates the carved tunnels, which Reener suspects open near the campfire.

Sure enough, Zaro is able to see the light of the fires shining into the entrance of the tunnels. He overhears a chanted ritual, followed by a blood curdling scream.

Being alone, the Aevakar remains well back in the tunnels. Yet even this caution does not seem enough, for the large Gargoyle enters the tunnels and slowly makes his way towards the fae flyer.

Zaro retreats back to the underground city, where a debate is held on the course of action. Escape is prefered, but there is no guarantee that the party, including a mule and two non-combatants, would be able to make a clean escape.

Ultimately, it is decided to set a trap in the tunnels. With Zaro bolstering their ranks, Hodor, Gandogar, Eska, Rakepick, and Reener set a trap at the bend in a tunnel. Silently they wait, as the marching chants and bootfalls of the Kalinesh grow louder.

With perfect surprise, the party crushes the first wave of Kal to turn the corner. Ratzin and Kalinesh warriors fall to the vicious hammer blows of Gandogar, the mace of Hodor, Rakepick’s sharp blades, Reener’s spear and Eska’s magic.

Minotaurs charge forward, but even these Childer beasts cannot break the line held by Gandogar and Rakepick. Hodor swings his mace from behind his allies, striking down one, then another Minotaur.

Yet the Kal are not timid warriors. The war priestess, her red robes flowing about her as she channels the powers of Ceynara, rushes forth and unleashes billows of flame down the tight corridor. Friend and foe alike a burned.

Rakepick dives forward, ducking safely beneath the flames, but leaving himself exposed to the archers around the bend. He falls, appearing to the pinioned, but arises a round later unhurt.

Eska and Gandogar concentrate their energies against the caster, hoping to end her threat early in the fight. They wound her time and time again, but the wrath of Ceynara burns brightly in her and she is able to retreat behind the archers and the Gargoyle who lumbers through the tunnel.

The Dregorian overhears her order her troops to retreat and “go around behind them.”

With the Kal much worse for the encounter, the two parties retreat.

The escaped slaves plan another ambush where the natural caverns and the tunnels join. However, hours pass in the dark tunnels. The torches flicker.

Reener and Zaro slowly make their way up the crack toward the natural caves.

Gandogar, alone, travels up the tunnels. Here, the tables are turned, as he stumbles into a pack of Ratzin backed by archers and the Gargoyle. He has just enough time to call for Hodor before the Gargoyle’s claws drive him to the ground.

At a run, Hodor meets the Gargoyle; stepping over the body of his comrade to offer what protection he can. Yet the stalwart Ogre is only an even match for the Gargoyle. The archers behind the monster decorate the simple giant’s skin with dangerous feathers.

Eska rushes forth. She lays a soothing hand on the Dwarf, saving him from death, but doing nothing to heal the cracked bones in his shield arm.

Meanwhile, Reener hears enemies ahead and warns Zaro to retreat. Wisely, the pair retreat before a screaming pack of Ratzin, who charge after them through the cave.

With Rakepick, Gandogar, Eska and Hodor engaged up the tunnel, there is serious risk of retreat being cutoff. Reener sets his spear against the rocky floor and, with only Zaro at his back, prepares for the charging horde.

Realizing their precarious situation, the wounded warriors begin a slow retreat.

Leandron and Karrol arrive in relief, providing a fresh set of arms and some healing to bolster the spirits and defenses of the fighters. With Leandron at the rear, the wounded begin the walk back to the underground city.

The Kal-a-Nar, themselves much diminished by the fighting, are content to follow well back from fighting range. The Gargoyle leads the pursuit, plodding forward with all the grace of a boulder; save for the occasional bound forward when the eyes of the rear guard glance away.

There are only a few more bends before the tunnel will open upon the gates of the lost crysarium mines. How will the one-time-slaves escape the Kal-a-Nar again?

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The Fire Before the Gate

Retreating before the Gargoyle and Kal-a-Nar troops, the heroes send Zaro flying ahead to warn the others and have them prepare. Alfie meets Zaro at the gate.

The Alchemist decides it will be best to activate one of the golems; to allow it to slow the Kal-a-Nar troops while they retreat behind the safety of the gate. He debates which golem to activate, standing ready at the golem with a sword.

Reener and Rakepick, moving faster than the others, run ahead and secure themselves in the crack leading to the ventilation shaft used in the escape of Dourin Limestone from the tunnels nearly a hundred years ago. From there, they watch the other move past: First the the escapees, then the rangers Karrol and Leandron, and then the Gargoyle and a large number of Kal-a-Nar. When all others have passed, they follow at a safe distance, intending to spy, flank, or cut down any messengers sent back to the surface.

At the Gate, Leandron confirms that Anton identified the sword-wielding golem as the hostile guardian. This seems to suit Alfie’s purpose.

As the Gargoyle rounds the last corner, Gandogar moves to the side of the passage. However, as Gandogar suspects he was seen and Leandron ordered everyone into the city to recover, the dwarf reconsiders his action.

As the Gargoyle lumbers forward, Alfie slides the crysarium into place and darts into the city, letting the gate latch shut behind him.

The sound of battle between the Gargoyle and the Golem are loud enough to reach through the door’s thick metal. A vicious blow rattles the door, shaking dust from the archway, and then a commanding female voice cuts over the din. Silence resumes.

More orders are given. In the mine, their meaning cannot be understood, but Rakepick and Reener overhear the Kal-a-Nar War Priestess ordering some of her troops to the surface. They prepare an ambush, dispatching a few, but are outnumbered by multiple Ratzin, a trio of Kal-a-Nar warriors, and an archer.

They begin to fall back, but their progress is hampered. First Rakepick, then Reener are surrounded. They break free, but are either unable to maintain their lead or unwilling to leave the other behind.

In the midst of this, Karrol, who has pushed past the limits of his normal magical endurance at great peril to himself, reaches out and contacts Rakepick telepathically.

Knowing that they’re allies are in danger, the party throws open the gate and sets out.

Both the Gargoyle and the Golem are still standing. The gargoyle, bleeding, has retreated to the tunnels. The Golem, turns to face those in the mine.

Leandron runs wide of the Golem, seeking to engage the Gargoyle. It, however, has its eyes set on the Aevakar, and immediately takes to the air to engage the archer. There, he quickly deals a blow that sends the Grey Ranger Scout tumbling to the ground, out of the fight.

Alfie, having consumed a potion allowing him to comprehend and speak the Builder tongue, attempts to convince the Golem to attack the Kal. For a time, the golem seems confused. It strikes at both the Gargoyle and Gandogar. However, when Alfie, holding aloft the Arcdevices found on the island, claims to be the successors to the Builders, the Golem turns its full attention against the human alchemist. “Intruder!” Purposefully it strides into the mine, striking again and again.

Seeing the dangers posed by the Gargoyle and the Golem, Hodor strides forward. “Don’t hurt my friends.”

However, before the Ogre can reach either adversary, Alfie miraculously manages to duck under the golems blow, grasp the crysarium, and, by placing a foot against its rump, pull the crysarium free. Mid turn, the golem freezes in pace, just inside the gate.

Eska and Leandron, meanwhile, have reached the tunnels, cutting down Ratzin and an archer in their path. As Leandron dispatches the last warrior, the Dregordian sees a minotaur round the corner. This bull of a beast wields a long pole arm, instantly recognized as a sacred Kayakor, used by the Dregordian people.

“Blasphemer!” Eska embraces her inner beast, rushing the minotaur in a mad fury. She embeds her claws into his neck, forcing the larger creature down under the weight of her fury.

Only the Gargoyle remains in the immediate vicinity. All other Kal-a-Nar had already moved up the tunnels and are beyond reach. Leandron and Eska spin back to where the combined strength of Hodor, Gandogar, Alfie, and Karrol is matched against the lone Gargoyle.

With overwhelming numbers and no ready means of escape, the time has come to end the threat. Again and again they attack before Gandogar finally cracks the stony hide, allowing the thick red ichor to spill out.

The Gargoyle collapses before the dwarf.

Leandron decapitates it to be certain it is dead.

However, Karrol is no longer able to reach either Rakepick or Karrol via his telephathy. Both are alive, but unconscious. Continually hampered by the close pursuit, the War Priestess and additional archers reached and overwhelmed them.

Eska and the others ask Leandron if a rescue is possible. He sees three possibilities. “If the Kal-a-Nar wish to kill them, then they are already dead. If they wish to barter them, they will come to us. If they wish to sacrifice them to Ceynara, they will most likely wait until the 13th Hour, when their power is greatest.”

With that in mind, the wounded are tended to. Zaro, again, survived his encounter with the Gargoyle. Most others are healed of their wounds and the Adepts recover their Essence.

Knowing that there will be a desperate battle, Leandron makes the following offer:

“There is no greater honor than to live, and if needs be, die, in the service of others. I invite you all to join Grayson’s Grey Rangers.”

Anton and Hodor, who have already expressed an interest, swear to the Oath, Code and Cause of the Rangers. Gandogar and Alfie also join the Grey Rangers.

The oath sworn to is as follows:

Oath, Code, and Cause
Upon joining the Rangers and passing initial training, a Ranger is expected to take the Oath, live by the Code, and never forget the Cause of the Rangers.
Oath of the Ranger
“I do hereby solemnly swear, in the sight of the Ascended, that I will uphold the Code and the Cause of the Rangers. I will take no action that would dishonor the Rangers, or bring unjust harm to those they protect and serve. I will follow all lawful and rightfully-given orders to the best of my ability, and I will never shirk my duty to my fellow Rangers, to the lands we serve, or to Life itself.”
The Code of the Rangers
Our First Mission is the protection of Innocents against those that would cause them harm, deprive them of that which is lawfully theirs, or infringe upon their natural rights as Living Beings.
We abide by the Laws and Policies of all Charter Sovereignties. We will respect the laws of all lands, save where those laws directly and egregiously violate our First Mission.
Our Second Mission is to strike against the Powers and Agents of Darkness and Flame. We will oppose them wherever they strike, and we will defend Shaintar against them wherever they may reside.
We will abide by the borders and sovereignty of any nation, state, province, or other political entity, save where such abidance directly and egregiously violates our First and Second Missions.
We will respect and adhere to the Chain of Command, and we will follow all orders given to the best of our ability. Only when the First or Second Missions are egregiously obstructed can we issue a Question of Authority, and we must be prepared to defend such a Question with our Lives.
The Cause of the Rangers
To provide protection and aid to those in need; to defend the good people of the land against enemies who would deprive them of Life, Possessions, and personal Freedom; and to uphold the Laws of the sovereign lands to which we are Chartered to defend and protect.
Eska feels that her path may lie elsewhere, so politely declines.

A watch is set on the tunnels.

Above ground, Rakepick and Reener recover consciousness. The familiar, but heavily accented voice of Samael the Builder they met days before, greets them and cautions them to remain still. Kal voices and footsteps can be heard about them. In the quiet times, he explains that the Gargoyle and the Kal found them. The other Builders were killed or sacrificed. Their golem was destroyed. He attempts to tend to their wounds, but if unsuccessful.

The recaptured Rakepick and Reener feign unconsciousness as the Kal-a-Nar lift them and carry them into the underground tunnels. Each prepares to slip his bonds if need be.

6 hours after the last battle, the watch hears footsteps. They stay well back and observe as the Kal-a-Nar turn the corner and approach. Under strict orders not to engage, they fall back and take cover behind the gate, leaving it just open.

Through the sliver of open gate, they watch as Kal-a-Nar, bearing armfuls of wood, march into the chamber before the gate, depositing the wood into a sizable pile. Reener, Rakepick and Samael are brought forward, underguard.

The War Priestess, brandishing a Blood Steel dagger, steps forward. She calls for the Brinchie, and Rakepick, held up between two Kal, is dragged before her.

“Grey Rangers! I am Dorgan ki Espen, War Priestess of Ceynara. Throw down your weapons and submit to you fate as slaves in the Mighty Emperor’s realm, or you will burn in the fires of Ceynara’s wrath!”

Gandogar kicks the gate open and answers the challenge with a crossbow bolt. The Kal are prepared for such a response. The bolt goes wide and the Kal-a-Nar archers return fire.

As the newly sworn rangers stream forth, the War Priestess grabs Rakepick by the throat, locking eyes with him. “Whom the emperor has made a slave, let no man seek to free.” She screams and incantation and raises the dagger high.

Reener slips his bonds.

Alfie, takes out the crysarium crystal and rushes toward the second Golem. He locks the crystal in place and calls to Samael.

Leandron rushes toward Rakepick. The Brinchie bends his feet back to his bound hands and manages to shred the ropes with his sharp claws, but is unable to break free from those who hold him.

The War Priestess plunges the dagger down, embedding it within the Brinchies chest. Rakepick feels cold, as if his very being were being pulled into the dagger. He breaks away, but a second strike leaves him bleeding out as the War Priestess draws in his power. Waves of heat build around her, the dagger is wreathed in flame. As Leandron and Alfie close in, she floats into the air, sending bolts of flame at all who oppose her.

Reener pulls the dagger from the belt of a Ratzin, places his back against the wall, and, in a feat of agility and strength, loops his bound feet around the neck of an attacking Ratzin and somersaults the hapless creature into the fire.

The activated Golem immediately responds to Samael’s calls for help. It pushes a Kal Warrior into the flames as it strides to the Builder, smashing the guard who held him.

Eska takes several arrows and retreats behind the gate. Karrol’s bolts strike down the Ratzin rushing the gate, but is too exhausted to offer any healing to his fellow adept. Instead, he instructs Anton to pull a potion from his pack. This recovers Eska somewhat.

Leandron drops a sword and attempts to press a salve onto Rakepick’s bleeding wounds. Pressed by the War Priestess, he is unsuccessful.

Cut off from the bleeding Rakepick by too many Kal Warrior, Alfie courageously chooses to rush through the fire to administer a Potion of Healing. His bravery saves the Brinchie’s life.

Slowly, the Kal forces are whittled down, but the heroes are hard pressed, taking wounds.

The War Priestess grows more powerful. She flies higher. The fires follow her, dancing around her robes and armor, but burning nothing. A wave of flame explodes down from her, catching friend and foe alike. Diving down, she strikes at Leandron.

A well placed arrow from Zaro strikes her down, but too much power has been pulled into her being. She erupts in an explosion of flame and ash, leaving only the Blood Steel Dagger to fall. The blast extinguishes the remnants of the fire, and heavily damages the active golem.

The last Kal Warrior and Ratzin are dealt with, but not before a lucky strike downs Eska, damaging her arm.

Alfie, again, serves as the healer through his potions and skills.

Karrol collapses, exhausted, but is rallied by Leandron. “There is no rest. We must make sure there are no more.” He leads the Adept and Gandogar up the tunnel to ensure that the Kal camp is emptied.

Before he leaves, he cautions Zaro and Anton that the Builder must not be allowed to leave. He will stay with the Rangers.

Samael is extremely pleased to be within the Builder Mine. He gazes upon the gates and the city with awe. He admires the arclance held by Anton and discusses the builder language with Eska.

When Leandron returns, bearing word that the Kal Camp is empty and carrying Rakepick’s swords, he calls everyone together. There he distributes orders. He informs Samael and all the others that the Builder will not be permitted to return to Camon. Such a valuable mine will not be allowed to serve as a source of conflict. The Builder will be well treated, but will be under the guard of the Grey Rangers until they can bring him to Krythos.

Samael seems to have anticipated the turn. He expresses gratitude that the Grey Rangers do not act as the Kal-a-Nar.

Leandron states that the group will remain in the underground city to recover their health and energy. They will make the journey south out of the mountains before heading West for Bearheart.

Finally, Leandron states that they will be collapsing the gates, as diagramed by Dourin Limestone, before they leave. This draws loud protests from Samael, and a bitter silence from Karrol. However, Leandron’s decision is final. The resource is too valuable to leave alone.

Eska consoles the Builder, telling him that this is not a permanent thing. The city will remain safe behind the collapse. Additionally, on Reener’s suggestion, they disguise the approach through the crack and ventilation shaft, knowing that it can be found again if needed.

The group remains in the city 10 days, hunting, foraging, replenishing their supplies of potions, attempting to learn the Builder tongue, working with the arc devices, preparing the demolition, forging new materials, studying the history of the unique kayakor carried by the Minotaur, and, generally, stuffing every available carrying pouch with crysarium.

Rakepick, who picked up the Blood Steel Dagger, consults with Leandron. Since being struck by the weapon, the Brinchie has felt colder. He worries that a part of him is lost within the weapon. Leandron referrs him to Karrol.

The Adept warns Rakepick that Blood Steel is a horrible material, crafted with the sacrifice of sentient beings. It is an evil thing. After some study, he confirms that the weapon has been bound to the Brinchie in a way, but assures him that he is in no danger. However, when the weapon is used, it will affect Rakepick. He demonstrates by cutting the palm of his hand with the blade. Immediately, Rakepick feels the same cut as if it were across his palm. Rakepick wants to hold onto the dagger, to ensure that it is never used, but Karrol recommends that he hold onto it, as, with much study, he expects to be able to safely break the connection. Rakepick agrees.

Finally, on the 23rd day of Raining Leaves, they are ready to depart. With a cacophony of falling boulders and billowing dust, the collapse is triggered and the Grey Rangers depart for Defiance.

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Smoke

After spending ten days to recover their wounds, the Grey Rangers left the Builder Mine and traveled south to Olara. The entrance to the tunnel is collapsed, and then secondary entrance is disguised.

But the Rangers do not leave empty handed. Betsy is laden with many bags of crysarium. Furthermore, Anton spent the bulk of the ten days repairing the damage done to the friendlier of the two golems. With the help of Samael, the Builder, he is able to give the golem new purpose. The stone monstrosity gladly trudges beside Anton.

The party travels West toward Bearheart, but Zaro’s scouting reports that there are too many Camon troops in the area for it to be possible to sneak by unnoticed. They turn their course south, crossing the road between Bearheart and Furalor.

After nineteen days of travel, in which the party is able to avoid any entanglements in Camon, the party is safely in Olaran territory and Leandron assures the others that there is only one day of travel remaining before they’ll reach a friendly, but small, town of Kiln.

On the morning of the 9th day of Harvest Moon, 3122, the party awakes and set about breaking camp. Just before the party is ready to depart, the sound of hoof-beats can be heard.

Three rides approach. One is dressed in blue and gold finery. The second in browns. The last is in black and silver, and has an odd pole mounted to his saddle.

The brown clad man introduces himself in Olaran, and then Galean, as Constable Koll. He is rather gruff, in his questioning of the strangers, which brings laughter from his companion.

The man in Blue and Gold introduces himself as Rossacue of Oakwood. He speaks in Galean, identifying the party as Grey Rangers who pose no threat.

Constable Koll apologizes, and mentions that there’s been some trouble lately: fires and raids of farms.

As Rossacue introduces his Falconer, Trevor Teller, the party notices that there is smoke on the horizon. When Koll and Rossacue see the smoke, they immediately depart. As he leaves, Rossacue invites the Rangers to call on him at his estate.

The Grey Rangers set out for the smoke, but, being on foot, they arrive well after the others. They find a wheat field and a barn burning. The family is unharmed, but suspects the Goblinesh Gathers of being involved. The elderly patriarch of the family divulges that an Orc and a Golbin had been around asking for money to protect the farm.

Reener is able to pick up tracks, and the party sets out in pursuit.

After several hours, they hear whistling ahead of them from a clearing. However, they do not approach stealthily, and the four rangers flee. The Rangers offer pursuit… with Anton and his golem trailing behind.

As they come to a clearing, they see a Orc wielding a two handed blade, a Goblin, a red headed archer, and a human wearing black and silver.

After the raiders disappear into a grove, arrows are fired, striking the charging Hodor.
Reener charges forward and is able to notice an ambush. He begins fighting a single human: the swordsman.

As the others catch up, the human is incapacitated, but several goblinesh crest a nearby hill. In the heat of battle, Eska feels threatened and slips into her battle rage. She charges the goblinensh, dropping an Orc archer. Gandogar and Reener join the attack, and two more orcs are incapacitated.

Hodor, however, recognizes that the actions of the Goblinesh are not aggressive. He bellows for them to drop their weapons.

The Goblinesh are frightened and comply, begging to be able to aid their allies.
Realizing they attacked a neutral party, the Rangers quickly give aid. Two of the three are healed, but the third was slain by Gandogar’s crossbow bolt.

Bringing the human prisoner with them, the Rangers help the remaining goblinesh carry their fallen to the Silver Spear Gathers. There, they meet Yulik, the Goblin Mak Torkash, or leader. As she tends to the wounds of the two surviving Orcs, and prepares the body of the fallen, she questions Hodor as to what happened.

Yulik claims that her gather is peaceful and has nothing to do with the attacks. She says that Rossacue and Constable Koll have told them of the attacks during their visits. Her gather has expected trouble, which is why Grinna, the female Ogre who helped Hodor carry in the wounded, led out the patrol that encountered the Rangers (against Yulik’s advice). As she talks, she works her craft over the wounded. Hodor sees that all trace of their wounds is removed under her administrations.

When the others come in, Yulik warns that there will be some anger over the death of Diak, the young Orc slain. There will be a ceremony that night, but they should remain in her tent. She discusses the Golem with Anton, and it is decided that it is best to leave it outside the Gather as they don’t know how it will react to the little Goblins who will inevitably investigate it.

Reener returns to the scene of the battle to attempt to rediscover the trail of the other raiders, but is not successful. It appears the one swordsman was left in order to allow the others to escape.

That night, the body of Diak is burned in accordance with the Goblinesh customs. The Rangers make a show of honoring Diak, before retreating to the safety of Yulik’s tent.
At night, their prisoner awakes and attempts to escape, but is stopped by a blow from Gandogar.

In the morning, he is questioned, but is not cooperative. It does appear that he was abandoned.

The Rangers decide that it would be best to keep the prisoner at the Gather, for a time, while they fetch Karrol in hopes of using his telepathic powers to aid in the investigation. A few Rangers head to town, find Leandron, and return with Karrol.

Grimey, the goblin freed from the Kal-a-Nar, also accompanies the party. She decides to join the gather.

Questioned again, Karrol is is able to glean some information from the prisoner.

  • The names of his companions are gathered: Johan Spelt, the red headed archer; Leer, the Orc, and “The Bloody”, the goblin.
  • He threatens that Johan will find them with his Elvish Longbow
  • Leer has been threatening the other farms
  • Karrol is also able to determine that the prisoner is trying hard to avoid thinking of Rossacue

The Rangers prepare to return to Kiln, where they will turn the prisoner over to Constable Koll. Yulik suggests that the humans will execute the prisoner through their justice system.

Grimey bids goodbye to the rangers, blessing them in the name of the name of Dranak, Illiana, Zavonis, and Landra. She tells them that she will pray for them daily.

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