10 items

In the Duke's study, an unharmed but badly shaken Duke Joran is helped off of Murray. Murray, having been stabbed, seems to be processing the events out loud as he circles the room.

Princess Norba, spattered with blood, sloppily sheaths her dripping saber and collapses into a nearby armchair - one of the few in-tact pieces of furniture remaining in the study. Kratos' hulking frame moves over to the destroyed windows, where he notches one of his massive arrows and takes watch.

Just as Lady Ana moves to barricade the doors to the study, Lady Leera and Marigold hurredly walk into the doorway. They seem deeply confused by the destruction in the hallway and the study, but before they get a chance to question, Joran tearfully rushes to embrace them. Lady Ana, fatigued but determined, hurredly closes the large double doors behind them, and begins to freeze the seams of the doorway.

Attention shifts to the bloodied and beaten Major Braxis, who lays flat on his back in the center of the room. The group attempts to question him, but are only met with more sneers and derision. Severen tells Allium to bring Braxis to the window's ledge.

Allium drags Braxis to the window, and holds Braxis by his long gray hair out over the ledge. Just as the questioning is about to continue, Braxis' hair rips, the major plummets to his death, screaming the whole way down. Allium shrugs an apology.

Severen sets out to craft a grim warning atop the Shadowfax Estate. The dragonborn breaks a leg off of the Duke's desk, requests the greatsword from Allium, and drops down into the courtyard below. With a single blow, he removes the head from the corpse of Braxis, and spikes it to the roof of the Shadowfax household. A sign of what awaits those who stand against the good people of Moss End.

Severen flies back inside the study. Yenvalor and Sylceran learn more about the attack on the Falling Star. Princess Norba laughs off the fight, implying they handled the attackers with ease. Kratos steps in, carrying a much more somber tone. The ship was attacked stealthily in the night. Imperial guards boarded from small rowboats, and caught most of the crew off-guard. The were able to defend themselves well enough, until a masked, robed creature landed from above. Many of the crew were killed by the onslaught of dark magic from the Faceless. They managed to finally defeat the creature by pushing it overboard into the ocean below.

As Kratos finishes describing the Faceless attacker, Collazo stands up straight from where she was resting against a wall. She moves swiftly to Sylceren, grabs them by the top of their armor, and violently pushes them up against the wall. She accuses Sylceren of wielding dark magic - not unlike the Faceless - and vehemently demands an explanation. In Ana's free hand, crackling magic promises to deliver on this threat.

Sylceran explains the bargain they struck in a dream - the dream that brought them to the edge of the haunted forest. The best way to hunt the damned is to become one, they say.

Lady Ana looks unconvinced, but Duke Joran persuades her to release Sylceran.

The room begins to discuss next steps. Collazo offers the protection of the Crystal Frostlands, where her people could shelter those seeking refuge. Princes Norba offers passage aboard the Falling Star. Norba stands up from the chair and looks at Severen, declaring she owes his father, Sextan, a debt.

All at once, the heroes notice a change in the room. Murray's incessant muttering has suddenly ceased, and he's nowhere to be found. Behind Severen, a chilling presence is felt.

A Faceless now stands where there was a fallen robe moments before. Norba sees the creature behind Severen and calls out to Kratos. The giant rushes the creature and fires a massive arrow at point-blank range. Norba turns to sprint into the bookshelf portal, calling out for Kratos to flee.

Allium throws the small statue of Murray to Duke Joran, who rushes his family through the portal.

Yenvalor strikes the creature with a blast of magic, badly injuring it. The Faceless turns to throw a necrotic spell at the druid, but Lady Ana catches the spell out of the air, dissolving its magic.

The heroes make a choice - they wait for Kratos to reach the portal, then push in alongside him. Behind Kratos, Lady Ana Collazo holds her ground against her opponent.

The Faceless unleashes a devastating attack on Ana - a nightmarish blast of cold burns and cracks the elf's skin. As she begins to fall to the ground, the doors to the study bursts open, as another Faceless enters and turns to the fleeing party.

The heroes emerge on the other side of the portal in a dark, cavernous room, lit only by monlight streaming down through an overhead grate. The creaking of wood beams and the heavy smell of salt air tells the heroes they have made it aboard the Falling Star. There are long tables, and hallways leading away, and behind them is a large, ornate cabinet containing the portal from which they came.

Kratos demands help from the group to destroy the cabinet. Allium brings down his axe, Severen throws missiles, and Kratos rips at the wood with his bare hands. The portal quakes and bolts of chaotic magic strobe across the room. Two gloved hands start to emerge and claw out of the portal, but an arrow from Sylceren's crossbow sends the Faceless back into the collapsing portal. With a final pulse of imploding magic, the party is thrown backwards and the cabinet collapses into a pile of smoking wood.

Norba makes her way up the stairs above deck, shouting commands to set sail. The crew, still tending to the wounded and dead, springs into action to get the Falling Star to open water. As the heroes watch as the vessel pulls away from the port, they are struck by the quiet of Moss End. The Siren is still. The docks are empty. No windows are lit. Moss End is silent.

Sylceran watches their home shrink in the distance. Realizing they may not see thier parents for some time, they begin to write a message on a small piece of parchment:

"I'm leaving Moss End, I don't know if I can express why just yet. But, I know that in order to protect myself - and by extension, you two - I need to find out more about what happened tonight. You're in good company, and I've found others to help my pursuit. Please take care of yourselves, as I don't know if Moss End will be safe for you anymore. I will check in when I can, or I will find you when this is done."

Sylceren asks Yenvalor for a favor, and he nods in agreement. The druid transforms into a seagull, and Sylceren attaches the messages to his leg. A lone seagull takes flight into the darkness.

Yenvalor circles high above Moss End. The only sign of life is at the edge of the city, where a trail of torches - likely the Macintosh clan - is seen fleeing into the forests. Everything else in the city has gone completely still.

Circling downward, Yenvalor comes to rest on the window sill of Sylceren's childhood home. All is dark inside - no sign of Dara and Asha. Yenvalor carefully drops the note at the door, and flies out of Moss End, back to the ship.

Allium tries to make smalltalk with a man on the helm. He's a broad-shouldered, studious-looking man, dressed in light clothing, smoking a pipe while he studies a series of charts by candlelight. The orc asks about the casualties from the battle, and the man responds simply - thirty nine souls lost. He solemnly gestures to the rows of covered bodies along the deck. Allium attempts to thank the man for accomodating his friends aboard their ship, but the man curtly informs him that he had no say in the invitation.

Kratos warmly invites the heroes of Moss End below deck, where rooms have been prepared for them.

Alex Givens


Ludwin gestures for Allium to take the weapon and use it against the invaders. Within the large table lays a pale white greatsword that glows with purplish light. The Holy Avenger is easily lifted by Allium's strong arms.

Allium returns through the portal back in the Duke's study, just in time to see Lady Ana Collazo dive behind an armchair, narrowly avoiding a spell of inky black smoke thrown by the Faceless. Ana responds with even greater magic - a ball of fire pushes from her palms and explodes against the Faceless. The creature screams in pain, but still stands.

Back in the hallway, Severen has rejoined the Duke, Murray, Sylceran, Yenvalor, and Kreleanor as they stand up to a Faceless of their own.

The Duke, panicked by the illusory images of his wife and daughter dead only moments ago, looks to the group for instruction. The heroes order him to get astride Murray and flee the battle. Murray turns to reach the Duke, but the Faceless produces a phantom whisp of a blade from its hand, and rams it into Murray's side. Murray cries out in pain, but pushes through to lift the Duke onto his back. They take off at full gallop down the hallway.

Yenvalor calls for Kreleanor to attack the Faceless, and the wolf vaults into the robed figure. Her jaws clamp into the neck of the robes, and the creature is thrown to the ground by the impact.

In the study, Allium and Lady Ana trade blows with the Faceless. A swing from Allium's sword catches the head of the figure, blasting half of the mask clear out of its hood. Beneath the mask is only the hollow shape of the robe, no flesh or form. Another other-wordly shriek escapes the Faceless, before Lady Ana finishes the creature. With open arms, Ana floods the torso of the Faceless with icy missiles. The robe collapses to the ground, empty and motionless.

In the hallway, Severen tells the group he'll bring Lady Ana to their fight. Once again, Severen careens down the hallway, bending torchlight as he flies, surpassing even the dashing Duke and Murray. In the blink of an eye, he is in front of a battle-worn Lady Ana and Allium. Ana hops on Severen's back, and the two return to the hallway battle.

Back in the hallway, the Faceless throws Kreleanor back, and rises back to its feet.

A chill sweeps through the room as the cloaked figure lowers its gloved hands to its sides. Yenvalor and Sylceren, poised to strike, lose focus on their surroundings. Both see themselves back in the forest of Moss End, returned to its overly-echanted state. A stunningly beautiful forest consumes all of their scenes. And yet... Sylceren's eyes narrow, and the calm of a hunter overtakes them. Fixated on a spot just past Yenvalor, Sylceren slowly raises their crossbow - the arrow seemingly aimed squarely at Yenvalor. The bolt sails just past Yenvalor's ear, and finds purchase in the chest of the Faceless. The illusion dissolves as the creature reels backwards.

Severen lands in the hallway and Lady Ana sprints towards the Faceless. The figure spins backwards in a twirl of black robes, and raises its hands with blackish blue magic growing between its palms. Just as it begins to push its cursed energy toward the entire party, Lady Ana reachs out and clamps its hands shut, dispelling a horrifying level of dark magic.

Severen throws a final fistful of missiles at the creature. The fiery bolts perforate and burn the robes of the creature. As it gives one final cry, it collapses into a blackened robe on the floor.

All of the fighters return to the Duke's study. Just as they catch their breath, Princess Norba and Kratos emerge from the portal in the bookself. Norba is still clearly drunk, and Kratos informs the room that half of the crew of the Falling Star is dead. He looks to the heroes of Moss End for what to do next.

Alex Givens


Lady Ana leads the group out of the banquet hall, towards the entrance of the estate. She seems panicked, and begins to cast another piece of ritual magic as she hurries towards the door. She implores the Duke and the party to leave with her immediately, but the Duke refuses to leave until he finds his wife and daughter.

No servers, no cooks, no guards - the Shadowfax estate is silent, and only the light of the moon in the windows breaks up the eerie midnight hour.

Severen recommends they make use of the portal in the Duke's study. Back upstairs on the landing, party decides to split to help Lady Ana and Duke Joran.

Severen and Allium help ready the portal in the study, as Lady Ana hurredly closes the curtains, still unable to fully explain the negative energy she is feeling. She continues to shield herself with the icy magic of her people.

Murray and the Duke sprint towards the bedroom chambers, as Sylceran and Yenvalor try their best to keep up. As we follow Sylceran and Yenvalor around a corner, a new enemy stands in their way.

Murray stands in emotional shock, next to a gasping, levitating Duke Joran. Further away, at the end of the long corridor, a figure wearing dark robes and a golden mask stands over the outstretched bodies of Lady Leera and Marigold.

Such a creature was never supposed to exist, not outside of old books and grim bedtime stories. That kind of magic was immoral: an obimination to the material realm. And yet here one stands. A soul so dark and tormented, all identity was stripped in their service of Solaris, the god of fear and pennance. The Faceless.

Sylceran and Yenvalor move in to attack. A crossbolt from Sylceran impacts the form, but seems to affect it little. Yenvalor restrains The Faceless for a moment, but it quickly breaks the magical binds. Murray charges and spins a wall transluscent purple glass, but the wall is broken by the gloved hands of the figure. However all of these actions leave the spell on the Duke broken too, and so he drops to the floor, catching his breath.

The Faceless takes an interest in Yenvalor's casting, and reciprocates. A coil of cold, black smoke erupts from its hand, and plantds directly in Yenvalor's chest. The sensation of death and nothingness fills Yenvalor, but his resolve keeps the better of him.

Back in the study, Severen makes out the sounds of distant combat. As he tells the group, Lady Ana casts a flying spell on the dragonborn, who immediately cannonballs down the hallway towards the fray. Lady Ana begins to exit the study. Allium turns over the Bag of Holding, and a bloody Braxis tumbles out, alongside 300 pieces of gold. Allium attempts to rationalize with Braxis, but the General merely sneers and returns with insult.

In the hallway, Severen fires off magical missiles at the Faceless. The figure jolts at the impact of the projectiles, and the bodies of Lady Leera and Marigold dissolve, revelaing themselves to be only an illusion.

Back in the study, a thundering crash sends the large glass windows exploding inward. Pulling itself up into the study is another Faceless creature.

Lady Ana weighs the combat and sprints back into the study, just in time to catch the Faceless off its gaurd and impale it with a handful of icy knives. But the Faceless is not slowed, and continues to push forward.

Allium powerfully lifts Braxis over his shoulder, grabs the bag, and sprints into portal. He stands back in the secret war room, untouched from earlier in the night. However a torchlit staircase now winds down from the library, as Ludwin the librarian pointedly comes bounding down. Allium begins to explain the night's encounters, but Ludwin informs him he is already quite aware of what sort of events are transpiring. He strides over to the large moonlight table and spins the tabletop counter-clockwise. Telescoping open, the table reveals a weapon not of this realm.

Alex Givens


Yenvalor opens fire across the table with a powerful spell centered directly on Major Braxis. An ethereal beam of moonlight burns into Braxis and one of his guards, and the rest of the guards move in to kill.

Out in the gardens, Murray doubts his abilities to help Duke Joran and his family. Allium receives a message spell from Severen summoning him back to the into the banquet hall. Murray reacts swiftly. He pulls Allium onto his back, and rushes into the large stained glass windows, dramatically crashing onto the head table.

Severen, also using a new magical ability, cuts down guards and scenery with blasts of fire. Lady Ana's skin freezes, as she begins to throw shards of ice into the General. Kreleanor continues to lend a helping paw, keeping the eyes and ears on the attackers.

Amidst the cries of dying henchment, Braxis barrels towards Duke Joran. Murray intervenes, with a peculiar spell (supposedly from some form of vague training he's undergone), and knocks into the Duke to turn him invisible. Braxis, however, seems to be able to percieve the Duke, even despite the invisibilty, and swings wildly at the air with his longsword.

The guards begin to break into the party's ranks, and Kreleanor shows her lethal ability as she takes the life of the nearest attacker. Suddenly surrounded, Kreleanor takes multiple attacks from spears, and she falls unconscious. The attackers are fought off by Yenvalor and Sylceren, but something unusual occurs. One of the dead guards stands up in a grisly show of necromancy, and attacks the other guard. No one seems to understand the scene, except for one.

Lady Ana reacts quickly and lays a healing hand on Kreleanor, bringing her back to her feet, shaken and still wounded. In the center of the table, Allium and Braxis begin a battle of sheer brawn and strength, as the two grapple for control of Braxis' sword. Realizing a turning tide in this combat, Braxis pulls a small whistle from his armor, and blows a small tune. Allium pins Braxis to the table, and, once again, an undead solider rises and pierces Braxis in the stomach. This time, all eyes fall on the focused face of Sylceran, as the group realizes the extent of the their abilities.

The remaining guards, seeing their General prone on the table bloody and beaten, drop their weapons and beg for mercy. After a moment of deliberation, the party decides to spare the remaining two guards, instructing them to live thier lives to a better standard. They dutifully agree and give thanks, and sprint out of the hall.

Braxis, surrounded only by the dead and dying, continues to lash out with a soldier's spirit - but to no avail. Brandishing a new Bag of Holding, the four party members get to work stuffing Braxis into the bag. Amidst the struggles and screams, as the bag finally consumes the head of the defeated General, the marbled eye of Braxis clinks on a dinner plate.

Any notion of celebration is cut short by Lady Ana's stern warning - the Duke's guard is missing, and an unsettling sensation begins to wash over the party.

Alex Givens


The adventurers continue drinking well into the night with the noble heads-of-house. Even through the celebration, the party is vigilant - watchful eyes keep track of all who enter and exit the banquet hall. Besides the guests, servers, and guards, nothing appears to be amiss.

All of the guests of the banquet have left, save our party and the nobility. Duke Joran, thoroughly into his cups, leans over to the heroes to get the "real" story about what happened the night they cured the haunted forest. The group shares the events as they truly happened, but the nobility seem unconvinced of a celestial's intervention in the forest.

All of the sudden, a distant yell is heard. Rapidly approaching from above, a figure plummets down into the center of the banquet hall, cratering into the marble floor, sending tables and dinnerware crashing into the walls. The room is thick with dust and debris, and a large silhouette begins to rise.

The party holds their ground, and Severen and Joran call out for the figure to show themselves. Coughing and standing shakily, a large horse emerges from the cloud of dust and introduces himself as Murray, a celestial guardian of the Shadowfax household.

Still in complete shock, Duke Joran slowly realizes that this horse is a legacy figure of the Shadowfax household. The group connects the statue in the study as the summoning artifact for Murray. Murray tries to make himself comfortable at the table and asks for a drink.

While Allium heads off to secure the small statue from the Duke's study, Yenvalor fills a glass for Murray of the Hero's Whiskey. The whiskey still continues to have strange effects, but Murray unwittingly downs the entire glass. The room quickly learns Murray is of the "wild magic" class of sorcery.

Murray, on going blind and deaf, discovers he has also unloaded the Grease spell out of his bottom. Flailing and screaming, Murray and the adventurers manage to escape the slippery mess, just as his faculties come back online. Ashamed, Murray leaves the banquet hall to get some air, followed by Allium.

Alone outside, Allium offers calming words to Murray, who is still grappling with his identity as a guardian of the Shadowfax household, and his identity as a wild magic creature.

Back in the banquet hall, Princess Norba and Duke Braun drunkedly excuse themselves.

Sir Roundbottom rushedly enters the great hall, yelling for Duke Joran. Before he can relay any details, a parade of imperial guard, led by a heavily armored and decorated military official, burst into the hall.

The official introduces himself as Major Maynard Braxis, and he begs forgiveness for intruding the festivities. However, he seeks the murderer of an imperial guard, named Is贸lfur. Is贸lfur's body was found in the dungeons, apparently poisoned, and next to his corpse was Duke Joran's ring (bearing the emblem of the moon goddess). Braxis explains that the adventurers must join him back in the capitol as well to face trial, considering they were the last to see Is贸lfur. He then gestures to bring forth a badly beaten Captain Morgan.

Braxis makes one final request for the party to submit to arrest "peacefully," before Morgan calls out that the whole arrest is a setup. Severen used the message spell to contact Allium out back in the gardens. A guard executes Captain Morgan on the spot. Lady Ana readies an action.

Alex Givens


Duke Joran gestures for the party to join him back in his study, and the group follows him out of the war room through the portal. Back in the study, the Duke excuses himself to begin meeting with guests, and leaves the adventurers to themselves. Sylceran keeps watch as the group does a bit of investigating.

Yenvalor examines the paperwork on the Duke's desk, and notices a discrepency in the shipping ledgers. The logs show regular imports and exports with Royos, a nation located in the center of the empire. Amidst the flow of goods and passenger ships, a mysterious entry appears every 2 months - marked only with an "X". Severen points out that Royos is in political turmail, as the young Queen Xenaria seems heavily influenced by the Solaris faith.

Sylceran examines a couple of the statuettes, and finds a small tribute to Murray, a horse that formerly belonged to the Shadowfax household. The tail triggers a magical ninny.

Sylceran and Severan decide to head back into the war room to learn more from the 3 nobles. Yenvalor and Allium stay behind to enjoy the remainder of the wine.

Sylceran and Severan approach the portal, and see the runes are attuned to specific locations, and that the leader of the group must focus with intent on the desired destination. They head back to the war room, and find the 3 nobles finishing a discussion whilst packing up the various maps and ledgers from the table. Lady Ana Collazo notices the two party members approaching them, and welcomes them in. They ask about the portal - its construction and where it can travel to. Collazo describes a long process of building the teleportation system over many years, and describes the other 3 locations it can reach: the Crystal Flatlands, the Highlands, and Princess Norba's ship - the Fallen Star.

As Yenvalor and Allium polish off the wine bottle, Allium hears the group approaching through the other side of the secret bookcase, just as Laura knocks on the door of the study. She's looking for Duke Joran, and comes in to check for him. Allium offers the remainder of the wine, then immediately turns her towards the door in an attempt to distract from the secret bookcase portal. On the way out, Allium awkwardly flirts with Laura, which seems to have a mildly charming affect, and even brings Laura close for an affectionate touch. Laura leaves Allium 10 silver lighter, and Allium calls out with a tease of "yoohoo."

The heroes and nobles disperse downstairs to mingle as the party begins. Braun and Norba head to the wine casks, and Gillain walks through the entrance, excited to see her friends. She seems reserved (Arthur passed only the day before, after all), but the banquet is a welcome distraction.

Edward Roundbottom approaches Sylceran, and says there is business to complete regarding the tournament. He escorts them to Duke Joran in the banquet hall.

Severan spots Toro in the main galley, who is pushing his latest product, The Hero's Whiskey. Severan, Yenvalor, Allium, and Gillain are all met with gusto by Toro, who is ecstatic to have the heroes try his latest creation. Yenvalor spots something off about the whiskey, but Severen and Allium take their drinks to no effect.

Back in the banquet hall, Sylceran is met with her former competitors from the archery range - the goliath and the villager. Sylceran is awarded 300 gold for their win in the archery contest, and because of their win across the jousting contest as well, they are announce winner of the tournament.
Gold is generously offered to the goliath (who is addressed as Kratos), and the villager. The remaining gold is handed to Sylceran in a bag of holding. And for the win of the tournament, Sylceran receives the Hammer of Light.

Sylceran turns to the villager, and returns her lost arrow from the archery grounds. She thankfully returns her arrow to ther quiver, and puts our her hand to introduce herself - her name is Tess. Tess explains that the arrows are special, and hints that her mother's dying wish may have imbued the arrows with a gift.

Tess admires Sylceran's bow, the military-grade weapon they acquired from an illegal arms dealer back in the marketplace. She seems to understand what it is, but does not react.

Everyone takes their seats as dinner begins. Duke Joran gives a royal toast, thanking all of the families for a brilliant tournament during a time of difficulty in the empire. Sylceran is announced as the victor of the tournament.

A delightful meal unfolds, filled with the finest food and drink from Moss End and beyond. Musicians play lively jaunts, to a warm and celebratory environment in the great hall. One by one, the nobles approach the Duke and Lady Shadowfax at the head of the table, and present gifts. Princess Norba brings forth a simple wooden box containing two nautical-looking instruments. Lady Ana brings a crystal box containing a rune stone that swirls and shift with deep blue color. Duke Braun and his brother present a large crate containing an elaborate war hammer, seemingly far too large for any mortal to wield, but generous nonetheless.

As the evening continues, and the wine is poured, a jovial scene ensues. Other guests begin to clear from the great hall, and our party spends an enchanted night singing and drinking and dancing at the Shadowfax estate.

But something is amiss...

Alex Givens


The party picks up right where they left off last, back in Dara and Asha's house. With the Duke's banquet only a few hours away, they scramble to find a gift for the Duke in the liquor cabinet. The group settles on a bottle of mid-tier wine, which Yenvalor stashes.

On the way out the door, an old man drunkenly shouts a riddle at the adventurers. After brief confusion, Allium moves the man aside and the party continues to the Shadowfax Estate.

Heavy guard surrounds the estate, boulstered due to the attacks at the tournament grounds. The party crosses the royal lawns to the main entrance, surrounded by a decorating operation of immense scale. Inside, they call on the help of Laura, a legacy butler of the Shadowfax household. Laura summons Duke Joran from his study, and with open arms, the Duke descends to greet them. Although they are early, the Duke warmly invites them into his study. Out of earshot, at the top of the stairs, the Duke checks with the party to gauge their wellness. Severen hopes to continue the conversation in the full privacy of the study.

Once settled behind closed doors, amidst the study's vast bookshelves, Joran and the heroes share wine of a humble vintage (glasses of which were thoroughly inspected by Sylceran and Yenvalor for poisoning). The group gives a general recounting of the events that transpired on the tournament grounds. The Duke begins to probe for more information, but Severen cuts to the chase and asks about the meaning of the Duke's moon ring. Duke Joran, startled to notice the ring missing from his hand, looks up at the group, weighs something in his mind, then instructs them all to follow.

A trigger on a statue opens a bookshelf in the wall, which continues down the tunnel. Sylceran lights a torch, and the party follows the Duke down the passage. The passage is not what it seems. The adventurers find themselves teleported to a secret room under the Moss End Library. Around a large, luminescent table, Princess Norba, Duke Braun, and Lady Collazo lift their heads from their work.

Much is revealed in this hidden war room. The Duke explains the alterior motives behind the tournament: the event served as an innocuous guise for these Disciples of the Moon to meet. Duke Joran retells the War of the Sisters, adding new information, like the name of the chronomancer (Sibylla), and that the ancestors of those in this room where part of the summoning of the Moon Goddess. The party asks about the Eldritch marks on their arms, and Lady Collazo reveals that she herself carries the same mark. She was struck by the same necrotic energy during the War of the Sisters, inferring her age to be over 800 years.

The party shifts their attention to current events, and what evils they might be up against. All of them agree that Katerin and Sibylla must have returned. Duke Joran and Princess Norba seem concerned with the South, where the Solaris faith is gaining military traction with the southern governments. Lady Collazo expresses her concern that the Eldritch King might be a target of the sisters- a figure who lies dormant in the Crystal Frostlands, under constant supervision by the Utecan people. The ghostly image of the frozen Eldritch King is enough to crack the mettle of Duke Braun.

Duke Joran notices the time, and announces to the room that they should continue this business later, as the banquet will begin soon.

Alex Givens


The adventurer's awoke at Dara and Asha's house, to the sounds of breakfast. Gillain is in the depths of mourning the loss of her husband, Arthur, but the group takes great care to see she is eating and in good health.

Upon arriving back at the tournament grounds, we are surprised to find no remnants of the previous day's festivities. Rather the Macintosh clan has setup a large encampment, bustling with activity. At the center is Duke Braun's tent, a massive circular structure.

Inside, the heroes find Duke Braun and his council, overshadowed by the imposing figure of Brickhead. He's working on his origami in one side of the tent. On the other side, Braun and his trackers are examining the bits of skull left over from the Flameskull encounter on the tournament grounds.

Allium approaches and begins to inquire about any information the dwarves may have gathered, but is cut off by Braun who immediately demands to know how the heroes were involved.
The group tells Braun about the attack from the vampire, the flameskulls, and the time freeze, but Braun seems unconvinced. That is until they pull out the shattered hourglass. Rorik, a dwarven jeweler, confirms the hourglass' intended use.

The heroes shift their attention to Brickhead, who is working at the children's craft table, folding a small replica of the Shadowfax estate. Sylceran asks to see a piece, and Brickhead gives origami hearts to Sylceran and Severan, repeating "love." The group attempts to question the giant dwarf, but are met with indecipherable vocalizations. After meeting Kreleanor, Brickhead is reminded of an encounter he had in the forest, and produces the corpse of a large ancient cleric. Sylceran spots faint necrotic runes on the skull of the corpse, which seem to be rapidly decaying alongside the body. Sylceran quickly cuts a piece of the corpse's robe for further analysis.

The heroes decide to interrogate the sinister guard who was captured after the tournament. They meet Captain Morgan, a newly appointed head of the Moss End guard. At the guard's keep, Morgan leads the group upstairs for an informal interrogation about the events of the tournament. The group withholds most of the information, only conveying that a magical event transpired, and it was handled appropriately.

After some brief persuasion, Captain Morgan agrees to let the heroes see the guard, Is贸lfur, down in the dungeons. Is贸lfur is in chains, and continues to taunt and insult the party, threatening them with the idea they are in over their heads. Severen casts a charm spell, and Is贸lfur divulges the major components of the secret plan. Bishop Alejandro is somehow involved at a high level, and Is贸lfur dealt directly with Silas. The agreement was to keep the heroes in the tournament, so Silas could kidnap Sylceran and dispatch the rest. The group leaves before the charm spell ends, and opts not to divulge any information to the Captain.

Allium is worried their war-warn clothing will not make a good first impression at the banquet, so the group makes their way back to the Green Fern. Isbeil gives a flamboyant greeting, and agrees to fix their clothing free of charge (Allium still gives 100 gold pieces). The magic measuring tapes heal up the tattered clothing, but Isbeil recognizes the dark magics and bite patterns on Allium's clothing. Allium attempts to persuade her otherwise, but Isbeil hurries them out and closes her shop.

The aroma of a cooked meats fill the air at the entrance to the festival, and Severan decides on a skewer of chicken hearts. The food is divine, and the group brings a bit back to Gillain at Dara and Asha's. She is taken aback by how delicious they are, and finishes the whole skewer. Sylceran offers a tender consolation - one of the origami hearts from Brickhead.

Alex Givens


The crowds of people at the tournament grounds are beginning to disperse, as healers begin to tend to the heroes' wounds. A few Macintosh rangers seem to be inspecting the ground where the flameskulls where dispatched into piles of shattered bone and ash.

The adventurers move to Gillain's mage tower to check on her wellness. Sound of struggle emanate from upstairs, and in the top floor bedroom a horrifying scene unfolds. Arthur Sagepetal screams and claws at the lashings holding him to the bed, and Gillain helplessly wields a small dagger. Arthur has fully succumbed to the necrotic magic, and he is now an undead creature.

Allium braces against the back of the bed and restrains the creature as the rest of the party tries to figure out what to do. Syceran and Gillain run downstairs to get potions, and Severen helps Allium keep Arthur's form restrained. Gillain quickly grabs some potions, and Sylceran spends a moment investigating Gillain's bookshelf. Sylceren finds some surprisingly dark materials, annotated by Gillain, to attempt to bring someone back from the dead using malicious magic. Back up top, Gillain tries to give Arthur the potion, but is almost bitten as she attempts to administer it. Severan attacks the creature, and Gillain attacks Severan in an attempt to defend Arthur from harm. Severen quickly binds her, and successfully persaudes her of the necessity to kill the creature - that Arthur is no more.

Gillain winces as Sylceran's blade drives through the bed and thuds into the wood of the floor. The undead creature is slain, and the corpse rots into a skeletal horror as three years of decay takes its toll.

The party solemnly escorts Gillain from her tower, out into the bustling street. Severen gets Pip's attention, and has him run to the mortician of Moss End to handle Arthur's remains. The group leads Gillain back to Dara and Asha's house.

Asha begins assembling a meal and some drinks for all of the new guests in her home, and Dara intently listens to the stories of the tournament (minus the encouter with the vampire). Dara proudly claps Sylceran on the back upon hearing their victories, and produces a rare alcohol that gives the heroes a strong and euphoric effect (in the form of 5 temp HP). Gillain is despondent at one end of the table, but, with some thoughtful spellcasting, Severen is able to emphasize the wonderful smell of the food and goad Gillain's appetite.

We leave a warm and loving scene of heroes sharing stories and hosts happy for company, in a beautiful little home in Moss End.

Alex Givens