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Summary of Justin “Time” Collens and Al’taer Sikil’s adventures…
Aided by a Star pact warlock by the name of … Janus, Justin and Al’taer began their quest in the city of Greyvale, capital of Bariaus. Commanded by Scythe, cheiftain of Bariaus, they infiltrated a nearby Kobold camp within a massive ‘Warren’. This is while a large number of kobolds had been routed by Scythe’s forces, and were away from the underground camp. Justin and Al’taer slew kobolds until they made their way deep enough to find Melech, a traitor to Bariaus who had exchanged his survival for information about Bariaus. They disarmed him and freed him into the mountains, then proceeded to destroy the kobolds’ supplies in a seemingly bottomless pit found in the Warrens.
After being paid for this quest, they were sent out again to attempt the rescue of a Barinten scouting party whose goal was to retrieve the “Rod of Flame”. Al’taer, Justin, and Janus followed them through the difficult mountain path of the Red Mountains, slaying ogres, passing through a spider-infested ravine, (accidentally trapping themselves in a cave along the way) and ascending the Sheer Paths. Along the way, Jolquin Yaridovich, Holy Swordsman of Ragnarok, joined them, and Janus decided to part from the group. During their rest, they witnessed from afar the destruction of Greyvale City at the hand of the aforementioned Rod of Flame. Proceeding onward through a frozen tunnel and overcoming the wrath of the tunnel’s Cold Drakes, the party happened upon a weakened Veklaus, half-orc ranger in service of Bariaus, as all that remained of the scouting party. After recieving rations, he revealed that a paladin in Argen’s service, aided by several mercenaries whom he had earlier rescued, had taken the Rod from him. It was then determined to pry the Rod from Argen’s grasp at any means.
Veklaus, Justin, Al’taer, and Jolquin descended the Ancient Cave and happened upon an exit near Castle Alavos, capital of Argen. Using teleportation gems given them by the late Scythe, the group infiltrated Alavos and slew the Argen leader, General Kaor Silverleaf, and reclaimed the Rod. This was possible because the General was ambushed whilst torturing the Argen paladin, Eldyn, with the Rod in hand. Eldyn was revealed to be the paladin who acquired and used the Rod, but only did so under threat of his family’s death. They were killed anyway. Veklaus seemed to grudgingly forgive the paladin by granting him only a swift kick in the face, and the party quickly escaped from Alavos to retreat to the Ancient Cave.
Veklaus and Eldyn departed from the group carrying the Rod, aiming to distance it from its key, the Infernal Tome (currently in Argen’s possession, earlier stolen from Bariaus), as much as possible.
Justin, Al’taer, and Jolquin proceeded to make their way to a friendly country, and escaped to the neighboring Formidia without incident. From there they accepted hire as caravan guards for a merchant on his way to Spott. The party, alongside rugged mercenary Zap Rowsdower, slayer of house-goblins, fended off a group of assaulting bandits, and the merchant Ivan arrived safely in Spott (albeit with monetary losses). Justin, Al’taer, and Jolquin then proceeded to Pylon to heed a call for adventurers.
They arrived to be met by Mayor Andre, who beseeched them to investigate the lack of communication with South Formidia for the last month. Prepared for bandits and monsters, the party headed south, keeping a respectable distance from the beaten path. Before reaching Anderbrook, however, they were drenched in an impenetrable fog. Though they attempted to leave the fog, its magical nature seemed to prevent it, and the party was forced to go deeper into it. The fog became darkness, which eventually opened into a dreary, abandoned Anderbrook, lit only by ghostly blue lights. Justin soon discovered that the town was inhabited by undead. Searching nearby houses, the group made their way into a complex series of underground tunnels. Various spider paraphernalia marked the caves as created by a Lolth-worshipper.
Mapping the tunnels as they went, Justin, Al’taer, and Jolquin stumbled upon a deep pit filled with a seemingly endless supply of zombies. They attempted to rid the earth of these undead, but were interrupted by a mysterious pale figure. Their best efforts to destroy the man came to naught, but fortunately, the figure encouraged them to flee, seemingly out of sport. The party immediately retreated to the surface, and searched out a place to take refuge. They eventually locked themselves in a small supply room, and so their first night in Anderbrook passed. During the night, however, Jolquin claimed to have a vision. In the vision, a slug claiming to be the voice of Ragnarok commanded him to escape. To do this, he must defeat a creature of the earth, and disable a crystal.
Awakening to the eternal night of Anderbrook, in response to Jolquin’s dream, the party left the supply closet and proceeded down the tunnel complex again. They explored the labyrinth of caves thoroughly, finding an alternate path up to a small dust-covered mansion, in which was resting a mysteriously unharmed, but undeniably dead, man. Marking the house as an escape route, they resumed their search for the crystal. Narrowly avoiding conflict with a beastly undead horror, the group eventually met their “creature of the earth”. Passing through a large room, tentacles sprouted from the earth, attempting to crush the party. They escaped the tentacles’ grasp however, and pressed onwards. Beyond the fiend was a stone room containing a small magical bag, and a room containing a foggy-looking crystal upheld by sculpted iron. Removing the crystal from the iron, it ceased generating fog and instead began generated cold. Inspecting the bag’s room, they discovered the entire room was a complex trap preventing the retrieval of the bag contained within. It would crush anything in the room if the bag were moved from its position. Cleverly, they placed the freezing crystal in the room, hooked a grappling hook around the bag, and gave it a tug from afar. The crystal was shattered.
Seeking now an escape, the party was forced to pass through the tentacles’ room again. This time, the beast emerged in full to destroy them; it was a large shelled being with tentacles sprouting from underneath it. The party was caught unawares as it burst forth beneath them, but quickly turned this to their advantage as they struck the fiend’s eye repeatedly, blinding it and crumbling its tough hide. They then struck down the struggling pile of slime that was left.
Justin, Al’taer, and Jolquin left the gory scene behind them as they ran to their designated escape route through the mansion. As they were leaving that very place however, they were stopped by the pale figure and the dead man found in the mansion—now animated and blocking their path. The figure revealed his true name, Neclord, and stated the dead man behind them was naught but his puppet. Justin, taking advantage of the puppet’s lack of intelligence, led it away from the group and from Neclord, up the stairs. Jolquin Yaridovich, overcome by curiousity about what was contained within the blue bag they had earlier found, offered his life in exchange for knowledge of its contents. Neclord obliged, stating it contained “my personal things”, and following this statement with a hellish blast of energy. Jolquin and Al’taer then made to escape by running up the stairs, but were quickly pursued by Neclord. Pushing Al’taer aside, Neclord grabbed hold of Jolquin and in spite of Jolquin’s protests, began to tear his face off with his fangs. Al’taer threw his whole body against Neclord’s grip, but still he did not relinquish his hold over Jolquin. Meanwhile, Justin escaped out the nearest window, and with a twist of spatial magic, pulled the puppet through the same window to its death. Jolquin began spouting a religious speech about Ragnarok’s relative might and goodness to Lolth’s. Neclord’s response was to sprout spidery mandibles and spines and shred Jolquin’s flesh. Seeing Jolquin’s near-dead body fall to the ground, Al’taer begged to take his comrade away. Neclord granted him this wish, and Al’taer bolted out the window carrying his ally’s body. However, an enormous spider burst from the ground to pursue them. Al’taer fed his dying comrade a potion of healing as they fled into the bright town.
Escaping to the river, Justin, Al’taer, and Jolquin found themselves cornered on the bridge between a towering spider and a horde of smaller spiders. To avoid a gruesome death, the group leapt into the slow-flowing river and swam. The spiders followed along each bank until the party found themselves too tired to swim along longer. With the last of their strength, they flopped onto the enormous spider’s shore and struggled against it. Finally slaying it, they fell unconscious as the adrenaline of battle wore off…
Finding themselves alive the next day, the party headed north back to Pylon to report their deeds. Andre rewarded them for their investigation, ordered a messenger to send word of the situation to Tyrus, capital of Formidia, and requested the party inform the town Query of the incoming threat. They obliged.