Agents of Prophecy

Chapter 1
The Story So Far

Strangers gathered in the Dancing Wyvern Inn in Semarius, looking for adventure. An ancient wizard entered and offered a quest and treasure for any brave enough to enter the Wynt. Several adventurers banded together to accept the quest and traveled into the wild lands south of Semarius.

Arriving at the dungeon, an ancient structure that appeared to have been buried since at least the 2nd age, they quickly and tragically discovered that the entrance was trapped. Wiser, and short a hireling and their only thief, they proceeded inside. Therein, the party fought many goblins and other creatures as they made their way into the depths. On the second level, they found a prison containing an assortment of creatures, one of which was an ancient werewolf known as the Alpha, possibly the first of it’s kind. Giving the creature a wide berth, they proceeded on and encountered an insane dwarf named Grabthar, who tried to kill the other dwarf in the party. It was later discovered that Grabthar, in his insanity, had lain with female goblins, one of which bore him a half-goblin child, Gorignak.

In the final room of the dungeon, the party encountered the goblin chieftain and his finest guards. The chieftain wore a strange gauntlet that appeared to be made of molten stone. The heroes made quick work of the goblins and took the treasure, including the gauntlet which now appeared to be a normal piece of plate armor.

As they left the room, they heard a metallic snap that echoed through the whole dungeon. The Alpha appeared to have been freed by one of the Deathless Servants for unknown reasons.

Leaving Grabthar and Gorignak behind, they returned to Fort Maudec to meet with Llewellyn and discuss the items they found. Llewellyn revealed the prophecy to them by translating scrolls recovered from the dungeon. The party decided that this was an important quest that they should pursue and proceeded to prepare for the trip to the swamps of ezerth to seek further information.

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Chapter 2, Episode 1
The journey begins

Fully trained and equipped for the long journey across the Wynt to the swamps of ezerth, the party takes one some new hands as henchmen and hirelings. Two magic users, a cleric of Zeus, a grizzled old ranger, and a stand-offish black-garbed light fighter that many think may be an assassin, along with 4 crossbowmen and 6 hobilars join the group.

The first day out from Semarius passes without incident, but early in the second day the party spots a single wagon accompanied by a large number of humanoids. Ibn Keine‘s eagle-eyes picked out the heraldry on one of the figures’ shields; a bleached-white skull with a spiked gauntlet bursting out the top. It was a Skullcrusher raiding band, heading back into the Wynt with prisoners and loot!

A cleverly executed plan, hiding their numbers through spells and concealment, drew the orcs and their bugbear leader in for an ambush, and the party quickly destroyed them, but not before the rear-guard killed most of the prisoners.

The two surviving women, Neera and Lachais, told a harrowing tale of their capture during the raid on their now-destroyed village, and of the fact that the raiding party walked back into the Wynt right under the shadow of one of the guard watchtowers. After offering the women a paid position in the band as cooks or grooms (which they gratefully accepted), the party ventured north to the watchtower to investigate.

The tower was dark and quiet. Despite their calls and knocking on the door, no one answered. Entering through the ground floor, they found the common area empty, but heard a rustling noise upstairs. The party ventured up into the second floor, finding the barracks also empty…except for a rustling swarm of stirges that attacked them immediately.

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Into the Wynt
.. thieves journal 1

Finally leaving Semarius. What a place. Good for training but not much else. We were able to find some henchmen and hirelings (meat shields). I hired two myself. One of them is a magic user named Haure, nice kid but still wet behind the ears. The other is a “light fighter” named Richard. He is guarded, keeps to himself but as long as I continue to pay him everything is fine. As for the others, I do not have much details on them but we will see how this progresses. I am sure I will find out more about them in due time.

Early the first day or our month plus long trek we left the gates of Semarius and passed the last watchtowers. My companions and I had horses, wagons and plenty of provisions. Even so, I am sure that we will have to stop for more ale soon.

Day two was more eventful. In fact, it was a good day for me. I got to test out my new knife and throwing technique (needs some work) but I am getting ahead of myself….

We were finally at the outskirts of the Wynt. Trees everywhere and tall grass. About to go into the great unknown, or at least for me it was unknown, I have never been there so my senses were heightened. About 100 yards away we spotted a large force of humanoids. Unfortunately, I left my spyglass in my other pants but Ibn Keine had no such problems. The party was 25-30 strong and their shields were decorated with a white skull with a spiked gauntlet busting out of the top. An orc clan knows as the Skullcrushers… damn! Not only that but they had prisoners and were headed back into the Wynt. So much for another restful day.

We stopped up short and used the wagons a cover. We would draw them to us and take them out! Of course, they would not have a true count of our party. The wizards (Haure and Coine) hid in one of the wagons, Sinach cast invisibility on Ibn (while he was on horseback), our crossbow men crouched behind the wagons and the rest of us kept behind the wagons.

To get their attention Brica yells “Protect the Gold!” but unfortunately, that has no real effect. Maybe they did not hear her. Sinach notices this and screams out taunts and I believe crude hand gestures. Needless to say, they came a running, but not all of them. 5 of them stayed back with the prisoners. That was our queue. Richard and I blended into the tall grass and made our way towards the prisoners. Five on two, the gods are NOT smiling on them this day.

Ibn’s trusty steed (with the invisible Ibn in the saddle) bolts.

The Skullcrushers run towards the party yelling war cries and trying to scare us. They have one big guy in the front flanked by 15 warriors and 5 archers in the back. With 80 or so feet between us that gives the party time to prep and Brica takes advantage of it. She has a hold person spell that she wants to test out on the big guy. This could be fun.

When they get closer the big guy is recognized as a Bugbear. He motions the Skullcrushers to slow and when they are within 40 ft, they completely stop. Within seconds arrows come hurling at the rest of the party and all Richard or I can do is watch. Fortunately, they all missed. ALL of them. Apparently they will just give anyone a bow these days.

Ibn’s steed runs towards some of the smaller targets and attacks. One of them drops and two others stagger around, heavily wounded. Sinach casts sleep at the front row of warriors and two of them are out cold.

Brica sees that as her opportunity to attack the Bugbear with hold and ensnares him. The rest of the vanguard fall asleep and I miss it! The perfect opportunity to slit some throats and loot the bodies and I am in the tall grass making my way to rescue people.

The 10 orcs behind the vanguard rush forward to try and help. The archers fire again at the visible party. Once again myself, Richard, the wizards and illusionist are all safe. Unfortunately, Brica was not and took an arrow to the arm (I believe, could be wrong, I was running in the grass).

Unfortunately, the five left guarding the prisoners start killing them. I am our of range as I have my blades, a short sword and a sling, not going to get there but Richard knocks an arrow and fires, then does it again; two orcs drop.

While the Bugbear is still held Ibn rides up and kills him. Quickly and efficiently then moves on and kills another with his heavy lance.

Finally getting his chance Haure casts Burning Hands and two of the orcs drop dead. Coine lets loose two two magic missles and kills two more orcs. The opposition is getting smaller and smaller.

Unfortunately, the three orcs left with the prisoners continue their task, killing them. Richard unleashes two more arrows and one streaks to the right and ends up in the top of the cage while the other buries into the other targets chest and they drop. By this time, I had made my way up there and was able to sneak up on one of them so I slit his throat. This left only one.

With the rest of his clan dropping like flies he flees. I toss my dagger at him as he runs past but only enough to wing him. Richard on the other hand had a bead on him and he drops. With the others dead I open the door to the cage as the rest of the party joins me.

We loot the bodies.We find 2000 eletrum pieces, two potions; one silvery red and ther other clear gray (looks like oil).

The two surviving women (all the prisoners were women) introduced themselves as Neera (cute) and Lachais (cute after last call). told us their story of how the Skullcrusher raiding band attacked their village and burned it to the ground. Killing every man and child and took the women as captives. How they passed a watchtower on the way back and no one came out to check it out. There were no lights on and no noise coming from the tower. it looked to be deserted or worse. We could not send them off on their own, they would not survive and had no home so they were offered jobs as cooks or grooms.

After hearing about the watchtower we all agreed that we needed to check it out.

3 hours later we were at the front door of the watchtower. We yelled, screamed, Brica knocked on the door and still nothing. I checked for traps and it was clear. I opened the door and peered in. Nothing but darkness and then, some noise from above.

Following Ibn into the darkness me (looking for traps) Brica, Richard, Sinach and Llain made our way into the watchtower. We made our way into the common area and then up the closest set of stairs where another door was present. I checked for traps and then we opened the door.

As the door opens small winged creatures with 6 legs attached.

— end journal entry

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Ibn Keine - After Action Report
Post Watchtower

Following the day’s successful ambush it was our duty to investigate the claims of Neera and Lachais that the watchtower to the north may have been unguarded. While they have no motive for dishonesty we must do our due diligence, reconnoiter the situation, and act as the situation deems necessary. We traveled without incident to the location. Initial observation and a preliminary investigation seemed to validate the claims of the watchtower being abandoned. Certain members of the team engaged in noisemaking and/or merriment to provoke a reaction but this was unproductive. We deemed it necessary to investigate inside.

It was too risky to bring the depleted casters into the watchtower itself so we left them with the men-at-arms and entered the building. This proved to be a wise decision as we were beset upon by a swarm of large locust-type mosquitos. The queensman Fernan Long-knife named them to be stirges. They very well could be dangerous foes in numbers but one of the team tossed flaming oil into the room and that was that. The shifty dwarf Wandir and his companions set about acquiring and re-purposing the supplies and goods from the previous occupants. I made no objection to the activity as at this point it is abundantly clear they were either dead or worse had fled their post. I kept hope alive and soldiered on hoping for the best as we continued up.

Upon reaching the roof of the watchtower those hopes were dashed as we discovered a truly foul creature nesting over the dessicated remains of the many guards. This winged beast was oozing strange jelly upon whom more “stirges” seemed to be nursing. It immediately began crooning which had a beguiling effect upon my comrades for some reason, I know not why. But Wandir and I were able to press the assault upon the creature whereby we drove it off. I loathed that such a creature escaped as I fear it will only bring us more trouble and visit more ruin to others.

For now we rest and prepared for the days long journey to the swamps.

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Trapsing thru the swamp
.. thieves journal 2

I blame the ranger. There, I said it. It is all his fault the day turned as sour as it did. I just wanted to look for more loot and drink some ale but NO, we had a “mission”. Ah, but I am getting carried away.

Oh, and if anyone sees a mother Stirges with a silver dagger sticking out of her chest, I will pay good coin for its return. It was lost in the heat of battle and belongs to my “light fighter”, which he is very sore about. Something about his “favorite dagger” and that I “should not have laid my hands on it.” In my defense, it was a POISON dagger and I hit it squarely in the chest, the poison just had not effect. :(

Let me start from after the watchtower, you can read about it in Ibn Keine – After Action Report.

After Fernan signaled the Queensman and they arrived, and provided us with some gold for payment of clearing out the tower, we made camp and stayed for the remainder of the day.

The next day we gathered up our belonging and started making our way to the swamp. As we were going through the hills Ibn’s horse, Besar, steps on a patch that crumbles and 12 centipeds come out. Seven of them attach Besar but only one does any damage. Besar, and the rest of us, make short order of the centipedes.

The next few days are uneventful and it not until mid-day on the fifth day out do we leave the hills and enter a light forrest. Two days later things finally get interesting. Mid-day it starts to storm. We have rain and thunder. Fernan says that we have made it to the swamp but we cannot bring our horses or wagons or we will lose them. Reluctantly, we leave them along with the hirelings and some of the heavy gear (food, etc) while we head out into the swamp.

With Fernan in the lead we go deeper into the swamp. Besides getting mud in my boots, nothing happens. We found some hummocky terrain to sleep on until morning.

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