Revenge - Chronicle Part 2

Midwinter City, October 1021TA - Party Time at the Bath House, Strange Bedfellows.

On the night of October 17th the party arrive at the Midwinter Public Baths. The Baths are the haunt of the Norn Hill Set, the up and coming New Family merchants and the middle class Old Families. The hostess, Eleanor Genndannyn, welcomes the newcomers to Norn Hill and introduces them to people at the party. In the crowd they recognise Heslor Radizar, member of the Grey Wind. He stand talking to a small circle of people. Eleanor identifies the other people as Paola Odinos, Zayara Carroth and Kallia Radimir. All members of the Grey Wind identified by Amon Alardov.

Immediately, events take a strange turn. Ash is accosted by Kallia Radimir and whisked off onto the dance floor, much to Esla’s disgust, while Zayara Carroth attaches herself to Luther. Zayara bombards Luther with questions regarding his past and his profession. Luther becomes suspicious that she is after something. Kallia, meanwhile, invites Ash to visit her at her house, where she will give him information that he cannot do without. The party continues late into the night, with Ash trying to calm the irate Esla while the rest of the party mingles with the guests.

Finally the group head home. Bruce soon becomes aware that they are being followed and slinks off in the night to discover who. When they enter the Shambles, two men follow them while another heads back to Norn Hill. Bruce follows him back to Zayara Carroth’s house. Meanwhile the others attempt to ambush their tails. A fight follows, during which Ash is badly injured, but the two men are killed. Bruce returns, confirming they worked for Carroth.

The next day, Bruce investigates Carroth’s business. She owns several distilleries in the city, producing spirits for many of the public houses in the city. Meanwhile Ash visits the house of Kallia Radimir. Kallia tells Ash that she knows who the party are and the role they played in killing Arymar Runewind. She admits that the Grey Wind deliberately organised the deaths of their parents to further their own political and mercantile plans.

Kallia now finds that the Grey Wind’s plans are in opposition to her own and seeks to bring their downfall. She is prepared to help Ash and friends to destroy the cartel. Her first piece of information concerns Zayara Carroth. Kallia knows that Zayara is secretly a priestess of Balor, and is the head of a small cult of Balites in the city. She also tells them that she uses a secret sewer entrance in her house to travel the sewers to her hidden temple.

Midwinter City, October 1021TA - Another One Bites the Dust.

The group hunt down maps of the sewers and set off to investigate the Carroth household. After circumnavigating the sewers they find the secret entrance to the Carroth house. They also find a strange, well trod trail leading off into the sewers. They follow the trail to another secret entrance that leads deep into the earth. The party follows the steps downwards, and through another secret door in to the catacombs beneath the Necropolis of Orloth. Searching, they find another secret door, leading into a hidden temple, dedicated to the god Balor. As they search, they find a strange magical mirror. Leo finds himself strangely attracted to the mirror, looking deeply into it he sees a strange, twisted landscape rather than his reflection. As he watches, entranced, a winged creature begins to fly towards him.

The rest of the party begin to notice Leo’s state, but before they can drag him away the mirror clouds and a winged from begins to squeeze out. A battle ensues, Ash drags Leo away from the mirror, while the rest battle the demon. Things go badly, until a lucky bowshot from Bruce disembowels the beast. Following the death of the demon, the group destroy the mirror, hopefully stopping it’s future use. They then retire to the catacombs to rest and await the arrival of Zayara and her cohorts. Several hours pass and the party rest and prepare. When Zayara arrives, they spring into action, dispatching her and six others.

The party returns through the sewers to the Carroth house and enter through the secret door into the cellars. Inside they find a young girl, stripped and manacled to the wall, a series of rings in a blood encrusted bowl and an encrypted diary. In the bowl, they find a ladies ring bearing the Bluewater crest, Rowley’s family crest. Luther uses his powers to receive a vision from the ring. In the vision, Luther sees the ring being torn from a woman's finger, before she is raped by sailors.

Back at the Curious Gnome, Luther, Ash and Aaron decrypt Zayara’s diary. Inside they discover that Otto Heartstar of the Grey wind used Zayara to curse various rival families in Midwinter, including the Bluewaters. She also used orphans from Burden’s mill as sacrifices in the temple. The death of Zayara Carroth pleases all of the party. For Ash, Aaron and Rowley another enemy has been dealt with, while for Luther and Bruce her evil acts have been ended.

Midwinter Area, November 1021TA - Expedition to the Border.

The group regroup for a few weeks. They move into their new house in Norn Hill. Ash, Esla and Rowley gain promotion at the Academical Society. Then, on November 3rd, word reaches the city that goblins have attacked several border villages in the east. A plethora of jobs turn up at the Freeblades guild for troops and caravan guards heading east. Never on to miss an opportunity, the group decide to make some money helping the war effort.

While Bruce finalises deals to guard a caravan and deliver some messages, Ash and Rowley go to the Academical Society to look for work. There they take a job to deliver a mage’s belongings to Fort Greenvale in the east. As they are leaving, they are invited to a meeting by Belbyr Blademoon. He tells them that there were reports that goblin mages were used in the recent raids. He gives them the task of capturing a goblin mage for the Guild.

The party set off east, escorting a caravan. They travel for three weeks until they reach Fort Merryvale. There, the route to the war-zone is restricted by soldiers following the the ambush and defeat of the Midwinter Army traveling before them. The party convince the guards to let them pass, but the caravanners they are escorting refuse to travel further. The party load their own wagon with the goods and head off to Fort Greenvale.

As they travel further, they pass abandoned and burned-out farms. As they reach the hilly regions south of Fort Greenvale, they reach the site of the ill-fated relieving army. A large battle has been fought between the humans and goblins. The dead humans and horses have been left to rot, as have the dead goblins. The party search the battle site looking for survivors. Amidst a tangle of horses and men, they find a badly injured mage.

Luther performs emergency healing on the mage and they continue on their way. They stop that evening at a burned-out farmhouse. Everything seems fine until early in the winter morning. Luther and Rowley, while on watch, spot horsemen on the road. As they watch, they stop near the farm and begin to sneak towards them. Luther and Rowley wake the rest of the party and prepare their defence. The bandits stop near the farm and hail the camp. They ask that the party hand over the documents they are carrying or there will be trouble. The party refuse and a battle begins. The party defeat the bandits and capture two of them.

On each of the bodies, they find a pendant in the shape a rose and enamelled black. Rowley remembers hearing talk of a rival thieves group working in Midwinter called the Black Rose. They interrogate the prisoners, who remain tight-lipped, fearing their superiors more than the party. They dispense justice, killing the remaining bandits and head for Fort Greenvale.

Midwinter Area, November 1021TA - Fort Greenvale and the Borders.

That evening the party reach Fort Greenvale. They deliver the package to the fort Commander and the chest to the fort’s mage. In return for a cash payment, the mage offers them some magical items from his chest. The party agree and collect some new gear, a magical staff, a magical cape and a scroll containing a powerful spell. After re-equipping at the fort the party set off, first to Twin Peaks. After an uneventful trip they arrive in Twin Peaks a few days later. Bruce informs the party that he had Shadow Guild business here at the village. The inn-keeper was unable to pay all of the money promised, but has offered them a map to pay off the rest of the debt.

The map shows an area to the east of Midwinter's borders, uninhabited except for goblins and other dangerous creatures. The map, a copy, was given to the inn-keeper by a woman, Katerina, who was heading east to explore some barrows marked on the map. She left three weeks ago and remained in contact by carrier pigeon. He received messages for a two weeks before they mysteriously stopped. The party agree to take the map and head off eastwards. They hope to capture a goblin mage, explore the barrows and discover the fate of Katerina.

They set off for Ashvale Falls the next day. After a few days they arrive at the burned out village. Only a few buildings remain intact. Locals say they have not seen sign of goblins for many weeks. After getting more food the party head off for Hickory Creek. On the way they find the tracks of some people heading eastwards just a day or two ahead. The party follows the tracks to Hickory Creek. The village has been completely leveled. They continue on into the wilderness.

Eastern Marches, December 1021TA - Into the Wilds.

The party enter an area of ancient forest. There are signs of logging activity - the primary export of Hickory Creek. After a day, still following the human tracks, they arrive at a substantial logging camp. All the loggers have been dead for weeks, massacred by the goblins. They head off further into the forest and as they reach the far side a couple of days later they come to an isolated, stone tower, It is marked on Katerina's map as belonging to 'Amonath'. The tracks of the humans they have been following head into the tower but there is no sign of them coming out. Deciding discretion is the better part of valour, they decline to investigate further and head out of the forest and onto open plains.

They change their course and head east to another forest where they will find the first of the barrows they wish to investigate. After two days crossing the frozen plains they enter another area of forest and make camp. They are woken during the night by strange howling. Shortly after they are attacked by two large wolf-like creatures that emit clouds of icy breath. They take a beating from the attack but head on regardless. As they make camp the next night they hear the howls of the wolves again. Prepared this time they beat off an attack by five of them. Bruce practices his skinning skills on the dead wolves, netting some fine pelts.

The next day the party reach another location marked on the map - a huge monolith towering 100m above the forest. Unable to decipher the strange markings on the stone, the party head southwards to the Barrows. Ash uses his magic to grow a pair of bat-wings and is able to guide the party to the large, unforested area around the barrows.

Eastern Marches, 14th–17th December, 1021TA - The Barrows.

The party briefly reconnoitres the valley and finds signs of a campsite. Luther calls upon Phaedra for an image of past events at the campsite. In his vision he sees two young women, fleeing the campsite in terror, leaving many of their belongings behind. They decide to rest at the campsite overnight and explore the barrows in the morning. The party lay down to rest but those on guard are disturbed during the night by noises from out in the valley. As they prepare to investigate, they are attacked by a Barrow Wight and a group of skeletons. In the first attack, Luther is knocked unconscious and unable to turn the undead. The party soldier on and are able to defeat the Wight and drive off the skeletons.

The following day, the party heads off to explore the valley in detail. In the centre are three ancient barrows, one long barrow and two circular barrows. They decide to investigate the long barrow first. They find an entrance on the southern face that has shown recent signs of disturbance. They crawl down the long shaft into the centre. Inside they discover the recently dead body of a man. The rest of the tomb has been plundered and only the bones of the buried warrior remain. Luther scans the tomb for signs of undead; he discovers that the skull of the buried warrior contains some sort of unholy presence. He calls upon his goddess’s power and destroys the skull.

They leave the long barrow and enter the first of the round barrows. Inside they discover the bodies of three ancient warriors, plundered long ago. They leave the barrow and enter the last of the three. Inside the barrow’s single chamber they find another ancient body. In the centre of the chamber is a covered well. After a brief discussion they remove the stone shaft-cover and discover a shaft leading down in to the earth. They drop a lit torch down the shaft and see that it leads to a chamber. Luther scans the area below for creatures of darkness and discovers many contacts. Leaving Esla and Rowley behind, they have poor offensive spells against undead, they rest descend into the shaft.

Beneath the barrow, they discover a complex of tunnels and tombs filled with undead. In the tunnels they often find the carved image of a horned skull. Luther identifies the symbol as that of Hesburr, the Goddess of the Night, often associated with Undead. The party continue to explore the tunnels, destroying the undead as they come across them. During the last battle in the tunnels, Leo is badly injured and the party decide to leave the barrow. They return to the shaft and discover that the ropes needed to climb out have been removed. Bruce levitates to the top of the shaft and discovers that Esla and Rowley are gone and the entrance to the barrow has been collapsed.

Slowly the party climb up out of the shaft and dig their way out of the barrow. Outside, they discover signs of a struggle. Luther calls up another vision and sees Esla and Rowley being overpowered by goblins and then carried of out of the valley. Leaving the injured Leo with food and water, Luther, Aaron, Bruce and Ash set off after the two captives.

Eastern Marches, 18th – 28th December 1021TA - Rescuing Esla and Rowley.

They track the goblins south out of the valley and through the forest. After a half days march, the tracks split up. Bruce examines the tracks and they decide to follow the goblins with Esla, feeling that Rowley is better able to look after himself. They continue to follow the tracks southward. They reach the forest’s edge and bear eastwards. A few miles later, the tracks lead to a tumbledown village of goblins. Under cover of night, Aaron sneaks into the village for a look around. He finds that most of the huts are empty due to the recent conflicts with Midwinter to the west. In a large, central tent he finds the chief and his witch-doctor - He finally finds one hut that is being guarded by goblins. From inside he hears Esla’s voice and the voice of others. Aaron sneaks out of the village and the lads plan to rescue the prisoners the following evening.

They hole up in the nearby forest during the next day, keeping up surveillance on the village throughout. They notice that most of the village is made up of women and children and only a few warriors. After sunset they steal their way into the village. They kill the guards on the gate and those guarding the prisoners before the rest of the villagers wake up. Aaron enters the prisoners hut while the rest battle the goblin warriors outside. In there is Esla, Rowley (who has been beaten near to death by goblins) and two other women. Aaron frees the four prisoners from their bonds. Esla and the two unknown women leave the hut and enter the fray. Soon, the goblin warriors are dead along with their chief. They are able to render the witch-doctor unconscious. The rest of the goblin women and children flee the village. They search the witch-doctor’s quarters and find his spell books. They seem to have been written in Pendarish, not goblin. They take the books as evidence that the mages have been trained in the west.

Luther checks over Rowley. He has several broken ribs and both his legs have broken bones. He tried to escape from his captors and was soundly beaten into unconsciousness. Luther calls upon the powers of Phaedra to heal his wounds. The two unknown women are Katerina and Alice, members of the party they were asked to look out for. They were fleeing the barrows to the north when they were captured by goblins several days before Esla and Rowley. They spend the next day resting and healing in the village. The following day they set off back home. Luther, Alice and Aaron head back to the barrow glen to find Leo while the rest head off directly westwards. When they reach the glen, they find no signs of Leo. Luther calls forth a vision and he sees Leo visited by a robed man who teleports them both away.

The party meet up again the next day and continue their trek west. After another three days they see an old, ruined watchtower in the distance. Smoke coming from the tower indicates that there are people there. They sneak closer and spot some more goblins camped inside. The party attack the tower and kill the goblins. After resting a couple of hours, they head off west again. Later that day they see riders in the distance. The riders turn out to be scouts from Romsley. They discuss the goblins and the return of Midwinter forces to the border. They set off for another two days travel and finally arrive at the village of Romsley.

Eastern Marches, 29th December 1021 – 6th February 1022TA - The Heartstar Vampires.

They settle in at the local Inn, preparing to spend a few days resting over the New Year festival. In the Inn, they meet some mercenaries who have been traveling north to see some action on their borders. Luther visits the local church.

That night, they are disturbed by noises outside the Inn. The party investigate and find three vampires in the village square, specifically looking for them. It seems that the mercenaries have been looking for the party and informed the vampires that they have arrived. The vampire is named Gunther Heartstar – a member of the Grey Wind. He tells the PCs to leave the region or they will be killed. He gives them a day to make their decision.

During the next day, Luther visits the local church again, asking for help. Father Benson calls in his assistants and blesses the holy water. The party decide to make a stand. That night the vampires return. A battle ensues and Gunther is killed. Rowley is able to control one of the vampires and they question him. They discover that the Heartstars have many vampires within their ranks and they effectively control the family businesses. In the city there are several other clans of vampires, most notably the Damadors – another of the Grey Wind cartel. They let the vampire burn in the sun’s light.

They remain in the village for the day, joining in with the New Year celebrations. They then set off for Midwinter, arriving three weeks later. Luther heads straight to the Cathedral to report that vampires are existing in the ranks of the Heartstars. Luther discovers that the Heartstars are all dead! Their estate was attacked nearly three weeks ago by Phaedran and Orlothian Paladins. Luther is unable to discover how the Church knew about the Hearstars before their return. They also discover that the Damadors, another Grey Wind member, have fled from Midwinter to Zale – ‘To escape the current anti-Zalian unrest in the city’.

They return to their house and spend some time training at the various establishments in the city and renewing contacts.

On to Part 3 of the Chronicle.

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