Embyr: World of Two Moons Ever Sundered and Remade

The War in the West: Invaders in the Mists Part 1
16th of Stormwell, 1128cr

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First session of the 3rd campaign! Details soon to come!

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The Legacy of Tyrants: In the Shadow of Castow Tower Part 1
3rd day of Farrowell, 1128cr

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First session of the 2nd campaign! Details soon to come!

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The Voice at Eon's Edge: The Mines of Telmyr Part 1
27th Day of Stormwell, 1126cr

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Falco kicks open a wooden door to find young Garamon Hulaar bound to a pumpwheel and forced to walk in never-ending circles. The thief then turns a watchful eye back the way he came as his companion Melamber slips past him.

“I am Melamber Harkenstone, and we are here to rescue you!” she tells the startled Rjoen slave.

“You are who?” Garamon replies, blinking.

“I am Melamber Harkenstone, I am here with heroes true, and we knew your father, Baragon Hulaar!” the mage tells him.

“Baragon Hulaar? Where is he?!?” The young Northman strains against the ropes that hold him fast, but they check his stance as they have so many times before. Melamber produces a thin, silvery blade and cuts him free.

“Come on!” she beckons, and the two of them flee the pumping room with Falco close behind.

They make their way back into the cavern, keeping low and silent and staying clear of the scattered beams of sunlight that randomly pierce the stony canopy above.

“Wait,” Garamon tries to tell them, “this way is no good! It will lead into the heart of them!”

“Yes,” Falco says with a smile, “but we have something sly to surprise you with!”

They round a bend and find Brother Amaar standing in a pool of water clutching a rope that leads upward into a beam of pale blue light. He waves and smiles, but then something above catches his eye. Suddenly a dwarf crashes down on top of him and they both vanish beneath the brackish water… and not a moment too soon for an instant later there is an orange ball of hellish fire exploding downward from above! The rope is instantly a tatter of burning ruin and there are fiery bits of timber and cinders raining everywhere!

The dwarf and the cleric splash into view and struggle to rejoin the rest of the group.

“Well, it turns out that goblins walk patrols in the daylight after all,” the dwarf called Essoq reports as he tries his best to wring out his silvered beard, “and that lot had a fistful of bombard flasks to boot!”

Further down the cavern can be heard a hue and cry as the goblins below ground react to the explosions.

“Well then,” Garamon says only slightly irritated, “it would seem that I am the one who will rescue you!” He reaches down and takes Melamber by her slender hand. “This way!” he cries and leads her back the way they came.

Falco, Amaar, and Essoq just stare after them for a moment Then Essoq gives chase.

“I like the lad already!” the dwarf says as he vanishes into the gloom.

“There was no danger and an actual payday waiting for us in Noyo!” Falco barks at Brother Amaar.

“Mine is the Lord’s work, my son!” the cleric replies with a smile as he follows the retreating dwarf.

Falco stands alone for a time, listening to the ever-strengthening din of the approaching goblin hordes. “Yeah, well, your Lord pays shite for hard work! And don’t call me ‘son,’ you’re not my father!”

An instant later he is sprinting after his companions.

Game session begins En Media Res with a shameless, pandering Dungeon Crawl!

As a newly freed slave, Garamon is woefully lacking in the weapons and equipment department, so the first order of business is retrieving his gear. As he has spent a lot of time laboring in the gloomy caverns of Telmyr, Garamon has a fairly good mental map (in the form of a prop map that only Jason is allowed to look at!) of the common work areas.

Under Garamon’s direction the party sets up an ambush for a hobgoblin slaver named Tug that will turn up shortly to determine why the water Garamon is supposed to be pumping has suddenly stopped. Sure enough, the enraged brute stomps around the bend cursing and bent on murder. The party kills him outright and takes his keys, and before long they are into the storerooms and Garamon is good to go. They also find a goodly amount of minor treasure in the form of potions, gear, and few low-level spell scrolls.

Garamon leads the party deeper into the mines through the tunnels he is familiar with (by way of Jason’s map that somehow keeps winding up in Nora’s hands!) but as he rounds a bend he sees something new; a large, double-cage crudely made of timber and chains. Half of the cage lies open and empty, but the other cell is closed and holds some nameless, amorphous thing that reeks of brine and rot. Beyond this a pair of goblin sentries armed with spears sit on the stony floor playing at dice.

Inattentive as they are, the goblins hear the party and jump to their feet! But instead of rushing into battle or fleeing, they dash into the empty cell and pull a chain that swings the single shared gate in a wide arc, thus sealing the goblins inside and freeing the beast! The goblins jab and stab at the monster with their spears, and out it lumbers, a writhing mass of gray tentacles and ruddy flesh with a wicked, gnashing beak!

Fortunately, the opening to the double cage is aiming deeper into the mines and not at the party, and thus acts as a barrier of sorts giving the party time to ready themselves. There is a fantastic, bloody fight and Essoq takes a good many wounds but in the end the beast is thrown down!

The goblins; jeering and spitting cat-calls at first, are now trembling in their cage, pleading for their lives. Garamon means to kill them both but Brother Amaar stops him, pointing out their value as guides. The goblins are trussed up and questioned, then each rigged to a pole and forced to march in front of the group. They do not even take 10 steps before Garamon murders one.

“How many guides do we need, anyway?” he asks as he kicks the body into a ditch.

He and Brother Amaar then have words (the cleric DID promise to spare their lives if they co-operated after all) but quickly quiet themselves when Falco alerts the party of approaching guards.

There is another fight, and Essoq is still injured! Despite that, the skirmish goes very well for the party and the last goblin is slain by Melamber with a firebolt in the back as it tries to escape.

The party is quieter now as they make their way deeper into the mines. Garamon knows of at least three ore shafts that might lead to freedom.

Before long they come upon a group of slaves toiling under the steel gaze of goblin and hobgoblin taskmasters. Unable to rest due to threat of discovery from the main force of goblins hunting them from level 1, the party chooses to try and sneak past this area. Though he is largely healed and near full strength, Essoq is still down hit points and for the moment Brother Amaar can no longer help him.

But their goblin captive has other ideas! Essoq fails to notice a pair of iron manacles half-buried in the silt, and the goblin kicks them into a stone where they let out a metallic cackle that echoes throughout the chamber!

The party is now in the fight of their lives! Everyone is bloodied and Garamon is rendered unconscious! Melamber lets loose with her full arsenal of destructive spells and Essoq throws himself into full-throttle-berserker-rage before all is done!

Some of the now-masterless slaves come to the party’s aid. They beg for freedom. Falco offers them instead the freedom of a quick death but Brother Amaar gets in his face.

Falco: “They will slow us down at best and get us killed at worst!”
Amaar:”We cannot leave them to this goblin filth!”
Melamber: “Maybe we can hide them and come back for them later?”
Essoq: “Better for them to die fighting! Let’s give them weapons!”
Garamon: “Hmmmmmnnnnuh…zzzZZZzzzZZZ…”

One of the slaves is a man named Laurence who claims to be the servant of a now dead nobleman. While Laurence himself is not worth a ransom, the news of his late master’s death might be worth some gold to his fretted family.

In the end the nine slaves become part of the group and are charged with carrying Garamon around while the party flees deeper into the mine.

When asked, not Laurence nor any of the other slaves know anything about the ore shafts mentioned by Garamon. One slave named Belarus, however knows about a hollow that has a trace of sunlight spilling from it that the goblins avoid and have marked as forbidden. The party chooses to make for that chamber but first they try to find a place to rest.

More double cages with Goblin ‘zookeepers’ are encountered, but the party knows what they are doing now and handle them easily, murdering the poor monsters in their cages as they sleep!

Finally a rest can be had, and Garamon is roused with hard-earned healing magics! The party continues to explore the depths of the mines, noticing that the signs of recent digging becomes harder and harder to find. Ancient makeshift alters of piled stone and bones are discovered, and carved words in unknown tongues can be found scrawled on the cavern walls.

Belarus points at a blueish glow spilling from a chamber ahead. “Look there! The sunlit room!”
“Impossible,” Essoq replies, “The sun set hours ago!”

As the party approaches, they indeed see goblin markers and warning totems erected throughout the tunnel that leads to the chamber, and Falco points out a series of cords and tripwires along the floor that will set off a rattle of chimes and gongs if triggered… a crude, goblin alarm system!

When the party finally enters the chamber, they see that part of the floor has dropped away, and up from that pit shines a strange glow from below. It is not sunlight at all!

Game Session Ends, and sadly so too the campaign is put on hold as players split for parts beyond. Sad face emoji. :(

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The Voice at Eon's Edge: Enter The Azure Guard Part 2
18th Day of Stormwell, 1126cr (cont'd)

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The party sits at their now famous table at The Horse and Toad discussing weather or not they should accompany The Azure Guard on a mission to re-seal Tal Ziel. The invitation from Garr Harada made it clear that there would be NO payment or compensation of any kind; this is strictly a matter of duty.

Brother Amaar: “Of course we should go. The vault is dangerous!”
Falco: “Not only do we not get paid, we can’t even loot the place! What’s in it for us?”
Melamber: “Any chance to fall into the good graces of The Azure Guard should be taken! I say we go!”
Essoq: “There will be more beasties to bash, I’m sure. I too say we go!”
Falco: “Guys, I got a very favorable lead on an actual payday! I say we go to Noyo with Baragon.”
Baragon: “No. Tomorrow I go to help re-seal the vaults. You can join me or don’t, I care not which.”
Everyone else: “???”

The party asks the Northman why the change of heart, why the search for his son that was so important mere moments ago should suddenly be put on hold, but he only offers a very Baragon answer.

“My reasons are my own!” and he gets up with his drink and sets upstairs.

“I guess tomorrow we ride we ride on Tal Ziel,” says Falco.

The following morning the party sets out on the road to Dyfeld, the settlement with the closest proximity to the Tel Ziel vaults. Melamber drives a pony-drawn cart with Essoq riding (sleeping) in the back with the gear. Everyone else is mounted well enough, but Falco is riding a piebald stallion of exceptional speed and breeding; clearly the finest mount available in all of Oakmaul.

“Favors offered, favors earned,” is all Falco says when Amaar presses him on his acquisition of the animal.

During the journey Magistrate Haldorian questions the party on details of the vault’s interior, its basic layout and known dangers. As they travel through the leagues of grasslands, orchards and farmlands she shares with the party the history and purpose of the vaults.

Long ago when Byrnaer was still the Oligarchy of Thorold, there was a network of intersecting lay lines in the surrounding countryside that had been resourced as arcane coteries and conservatories. Among them was Tel Ziel, then a tower of white stone built within the ring of ancient monoliths that have marked the site since time unmemorable.

When Thorold fell 200 years ago, the tower was pulled down and the underground workshops of the various schools of magic were repurposed into the vaults that stand there today, now known as The Forbidden Archives of Tel Ziel.

It is dusk when the party arrives near the edge of the bluff that is home to that now familiar ancient crown of stones which guard the vaults.

Haldorian is greeted by Tian, one of her agents. He is the mystery man that politely arrested Melamber and Brother Amaar at the Horse and Toad the day of the trial as detailed in The Voice at Eon’s Edge: Enter the Azure Guard Part 1.

Apparently the detachment of Pyrwell regulars left to guard the vaults was attacked in the night. Only it wasn’t some nameless horror from the vaults, it was from the outer grounds; three assassins and another individual who was well versed in the black arts! Three men were killed outright. The remaining six were captured. One of these survivors was then singled out and tortured to death right in front of the rest of the men. Once his mutilated body was cast into the mound hollow an interrogation of the five remaining men began. They wanted details on who raided the mound earlier and who was involved in arresting the man known as Thom Dranik. After the questioning was done, the assassins and the dark magician disappeared into the night. They never even went down the spiral stairs of the mound!

But it gets worse! Once they managed to free themselves the five survivors collected their gear and set up defensive positions as best they could, only to be attacked later by the animated corpses of their fallen comrades, including the hellishly mutilated torture victim! Now only three remain.

Haldorian praises the survivors and sends them away to Pyrwell to get reinforcements. As the hour is late efforts are made to set up camp. Baragon insists on taking the first watch over the barrow entrance. But almost the instant everyone settles in he disappears!

After some metagaming about how tired everyone REALY is (ahem), the rest of the party convinces Haldorian that it would be a mistake to wait for the sun to rise before they attempt a rescue.

Falco points out the sign of Baragon’s booted feet in the dust entering the vault of necromancy. The party enters with Haldorian and Tian reinforcing their ranks. Almost at once they are attacked by ghoulish figures, armed and armored and bent on death!

After defeating the outer defenses of undead (and wondering how Baragon could have gotten past them) the party begins to explore the inner chambers. There is some treasure found here and there, but Haldorian forbids its removal (Tian always seems to be watching Falco with a knowing smile on his face).

Eventually a side chamber is discovered. Falco and Tian confirm that the stone door that seals it 1) needs a special key to open and 2) Has been opened very recently.

Haldorian casts Dimension Door (“Ooo! She is at least 7th level!” Melamber metagames) to slip past the seal, taking Tian with her to open it from the inside. After a few anxious moments the stone door falls slowly into the floor and the rest of the party enters.
Melamber advises the group to pile stone slabs on top of the door to prevent it from rising again, and chooses to remain outside but within sight of the rest of the party.

Inside is an antechamber lined with sarcophagi that adjoins a vast and vaulted hall. Suspended from the unseen ceiling, bound in wicked, spiked chains is a mummified figure whose head is bound in iron bands that cover its eyes, ears and crown, but not its mouth… and that mouth speaks!

“Yes! This one will serve! I will take her!”

Everyone attacks immediately! Magic Missiles, arrows, bolts and throwing axes fly at the thing. It shrieks in pain, but then it begins to laugh. Then out of nowhere Baragon appears. Everyone seems happy to see him until he stabs Haldorian between the shoulders… with the Dark Blade !

Haldorian collapses to the stone floor as her soul begins to spill out of her eyes and mouth and up into the still cackling maw of the mummified thing hanging above!

The party tries to intervene but Baragon fights them! Worse yet, his eyes and skin have changed hue to mark him as undead!

There is a terrible fight after that as the sarcophagi behind the party at the exit begin to pop open and undead begin to fill the hall. Of course the door begins to rise but Melamber’s precautions pay off and she is able to attack this grim force from behind while keeping the room from being sealed. In the end the party is forced to kill Baragon along with this gray-skinned hoard. Haldorian lies dead on the floor, and Essoq and Falco are only saved by a combination of healing potions from Tiam and spells from Brother Amaar.

“Yes! Malhun is pleased! A boon I will offer you!” says the mummy in chains.

As it turns out, this monster known as Malhun has the power to see the location of any named creature anywhere, living or dead. Furthermore, it can mentally communicate with whoever holds the Dark Blade. Baragon had it long enough to strike a deal with the mummy. Malhun would tell Baragon the location of his son, Garamon if in exchange he were fed a powerful soul.

“The bargain is kept! Seek him in the Mines of Telmyr, where he toils as a beast of burden. And take up my Dark Blade! So that I might guide you in your journeys!”

In the end the party leaves the Dark Blade on the stone floor, takes the bodies of Haldorian and Baragon with them, and remain at Tel Ziel long enough to help Tian reseal the vaults without further exploration.

Baragon’s body is taken to the shores of the east where he is committed to the seas in the tradition of his northern kin.

Everyone is sad.

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Game Session Ends

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The Voice at Eon's Edge: Enter the Azure Guard Part 1
18th Day of Stormwell, 1126cr

Azure

After returning to Oakmaul, the party spends the following day resting and enjoying their heroic accolades. But before sunset Brother Amaar discovers that he has been robbed!

All of the documents he had saved from the room of Reoch Sinarette are gone from his pack, replaced by blank sheets of parchment and velum.

As the missing documentation was illicitly gained in the first place, no mention of it is made to the authorities, but Melamber and Brother Amaar do ask Under Sheriff Fulcrum Stonewarden to finally unseal Sinarette’s apartment in the hopes of regaining as much information as possible. Now that Thom Dranik is in custody and given adequate testimony, Stonewarden agrees.

Meanwhile, Essoq and Baragon spend the day enjoying the lavish gratitude of the people of Oakmaul at the Black Candle Inn. Baragon enjoys his wine as much as the next guy, but he sees that Essoq quite suddenly starts drinking in silence with a mirthless, reckless determination. When Baragon suggests to the tundra dwarf that he might be overdoing it he is met with a hostile, “Step off! Can’t you see I am busy?”

Baragon turns to leave, but just as he gets to the door there is a bizarre explosion of vines and strangling plants up through the floor boards! He cannot move!

“Essoq, help me!” he cries.

“Be right there… Just lemme finish sumthin’ firss.” The dwarf replies, and inexplicably continues to drink his wine!

It is then that a cloaked man steps out of the booth nearest the door. He is a fighting man with a round face, braided auburn hair and large gray eyes. He wears chain mail and wields a mace and shield. He walks over to Baragon and claps the trapped Northman into irons!

“Relax,” he says, “you are a hero after all.”

Essoq drops down from his bar stool to challenge the auburn haired man, dragging his axe behind him, but then he stops and goes back to the bar!

“Almos’ got it,” he says, and then continues to drink even more!

Back at the Horse and Toad, Melamber and Brother Amaar finish up with their fact-finding. With the under sheriff standing right there watching them the whole time they are forced to leave empty-handed. They do however leave with a greatly reinforced knowledge of the environments of the darker regions of the Byrnwood Forest and possible details of The Three Wardens.

As soon as they open the door they are greeted by a wiry-looking man leaning against the wall and artfully spinning a set of manacles around on his finger.

“Good morrow, friends. I am afraid I must insist on your company. Now, if you promise to behave, I can put these rude things away.”

At the far end of the hall at the top of the stairs stands Sheriff Grahm Aerlim, arms crossed and a sour look on his face.

“It would be best if you do as he asks,” he says.

They are taken to the grange hall and made to sit in judgment along with the captured Baragon and the stupefied, snoring Essoq. Thom Dranik is also there, still in chains, and it is then that they learn that they are indeed in the custody of the Order of The Cerulean Centipede, a detachment of The Azure Guard. Only Falco is absent.

Baragon remains in irons and has sat in silent rage ever since he was arrested at the Black Candle Inn, not even giving his name.

Essoq as it turns out, was suffering from a suggestion spell, the suggestion being “See how many flagons of this human wine you can drink before you pass out.” The answer was 11.

The Azure Guard has come! And these are the charges:

• Creation of a restricted arcane device or automaton.
• Trespassing against a Gloomhallow Marker.
• Breaking an Official Seal of The Azure Guard (three counts).
• Trespassing against an Official Seal of The Azure Guard (three counts).
• Murder by way of Arcane means (16 counts).

And so the trial begins!

Residing over these proceedings is the Magistrate Ava Haldorian, a Talian woman long in years and with silver hair though clearly still energetic and filled with purpose.

While Thom is the obvious focus of these grave accusations, the party finds that they too are being charged with the Trespassing transgressions. Potentially they could all be mandated into hard labor for up to five years!

It is then that Alderman Gylan Vaughey appears along with Falco who holds a leather satchel.

Vaughey gives testimony that the party should be exonerated due to the fact that they were agents working under the direction of the newly appointed Under-Sheriff Falco Darkshroud! Vaughey further details that the appointment was kept secret to better facilitate Darkshroud’s investigations into the attack of the Bronze Man as detailed in The Voice at Eon’s Edge: The Forbidden Archives of Tal Ziel Part 1.

“Is this true?” Haldorian asks of Sheriff Aerlim.

After a moment of thought, Sheriff Aerlim confirms himself as a witness to Falco’s official appointment and further elaborates that he was sworn to keep the matter confidential.

Fulcrum Stonewarden spits something angry in Dethic and storms out of the grange.

After order is restored, Falco presents the leather satchel to the court. It is filled with all of the remaining documentation that was gathered from the apartment of Reoch Sinarette; evidence of the mysterious man’s long obsession with statues of bronze and the ethereal treasures of Byrnwood Forest.

The trial continues and further testimony is given. At the end of the day, as it is determined by the court that the party was engaged in a Lawful Pursuit within the jurisdictions of the Oakmaul Charter, all charges against the party members are dismissed. Thom Dranik is remanded into custody until his involvement in these crimes is fully understood, and the focus clearly shifts to the matter of bringing Reoch Sinarette to justice.

Latter that evening at The Horse and Toad, the party gathers for perhaps the last time at the request of “Under-Sheriff” Falco Darkshroud.

Falco maintains that the alderman had secretly approached him the night of the attack despite arguments from Brother Amaar about the timeline of events. To the cleric everything seems “… shadowed with untruths.”

“What does it matter, my pious friend?” Falco answers. “You spoke only the truth- your conscious is clear. And the good alderman now knows the worth of our skills and determination. He understands the value of good men.”

“Why do you say this? What have you promised him?” Baragon asks.

“For now, nothing more than friendship. Relax! Enjoy your drink!”

The party then discusses what they will do next.
Brother Amaar: “Sinarette is still at large. We should find him!”
Melamber: “That is not realistic. By now he has gone to ground.”
Baragon: “I am no man’s henchman! Tomorrow I leave for Noyo Harbor to find my son!”
Essoq: “Can you guys keep it down? I’m still hung wicked aweful…”

It is then that Garr Harada, the scribe from the trial enters the Horse and Toad. He spies the party out and joins them.

“Good evening, brave servants of Oakmaul. Tomorrow Magistrate Haldorian rides for the Archive of Tal Ziel to reseal the Forbidden Archives. She would have you join her to offer counsel, as you are familiar with its layout and workings. What say you?”

Game Session Ends

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The Voice at Eon's Edge: The Forbidden Archives of Tal Ziel Part 4
16th Day of Stormwell, 1126cr (cont'd)

Mechum

Falco returns and reports what he sees. The group quickly assumes and agrees that the yellow-eyed, ashen-faced man must be Thom’s companion, Meechum. The party chooses to retreat as quietly as they can deeper into the vault and away from the tense scene, but something gives away their position.

“Who is there, my love?” Meechum asks Thom loudly in the darkness. “What new friends have you made?”

The party regrets not taking a long rest as they have expended Hit Points, Features, Spells and Actions that would surely come in handy right about now! They take up defensive positions at the entrance to the vaults primary workshops and wait for trouble.

The wait is not a long one! Freshly murdered men, now undead, shamble around the corner and through the archway. Though they wear weapons at their belts they do not use them and instead shuffle forward into battle intent on dispatching the party with clawed hands and gnashing teeth!

COMBAT INSUES!

The first wave of attackers is handled well. Brother Amaar stands in full view just inside the antechamber to lure attackers in while Baragon and Essoq conceal themselves at either end of the arch to cut down invaders as they pass. The dead begin to pile up!

But then a new enemy springs through the arch! It is Meechum, and he moves with a vicious quickness and continence that chills the soul. This is no mere man that threatens them!

Brother Amaar seems to recognize this new threat. “A Ghoul!” he shouts. “Do not let it touch you!”

From there the fight goes very poorly for the adventurers. Both Melamber and Falco are brought down by brutal attacks from Meechum and his dark blade. Baragon is forced to leave Essoq alone at the arch in order to assist Brother Amaar in combat with the cackling fiend!

In the end Meechum is finally laid low. Brother Amaar rushes to aid the fallen while Essoq finishes the last of the attacking dead men at the arch.

As it turns out, Melamber was only paralyzed and she quickly recovers, but Falco was in very real danger of perishing from his wounds. He is revived however, and weak though he is he has wits enough to try to account for Meechum’s dark blade in the aftermath… but it is nowhere to be seen! A search of the body and room is conducted but nothing is found save the once needed key to the fallen portcullis that might still bar the exit.

“We must away,” warns Melamber. “If The Azure Guard is indeed coming for us we dare not be found inside the forbidden archive!”

The wounded and battered party cautiously returns to the bound Thom, still alive and cowering within the magic circle. They free him and make for the exit, now in possession of TWO keys, and so finally pass the fallen portcullis.

They are at last outside! But before they can take the stairs contention shatters the group!

Shadows have grown long and the day is nearly done. Melamber breaks down the passage of time since the magic seals were broken and the danger of The Azure Guard capturing them. This sparks a turmoil of debate within the group.

Melamber: “We should flee!”
Falco: “That solves nothing. They will track us.”
Baragon: “I am a wanted man; I cannot be captured!”
Falco: “What he said.”
Essoq: “We can take them!”
Brother Amaar: “We have done nothing wrong!”
Melamber: “But Thom has! The Azure Guard is famous for ‘Guilt by Association’ verdicts!”
Falco: “Then we kill him. (To Thom) No offense.”
Brother Amaar: “No! He must stand trial in The Township of Oakmaul for his role in the deaths of six good men!” (+xp Lawful Good roleplay!)
Essoq: “Dudes! We can take them!”

In the end it is decided that the party should make with all due speed for Oakmaul in the hopes of one of the city officials vouching for their conduct and the decisions that lead them into the Forbidden Archives of Tal Ziel. If they can make it there they may have a chance at appeasing the magistrate. If they are caught on the road they might be turned to ash!

And so they set out as the sun sets below the mountains. Deep into the night they push on under the light of the near-full moon, starting at every sound in the dark!

At long last they see the orange glow of Oakmaul in the valley below. Dirty, wounded and exhausted the party returns with Thom in chains to face the people’s justice. It is nearly dawn and once Thom is handed over to Sheriff Grahm Aerlim, everyone retires to a much needed long rest at The Horse and Toad.

Game Session Ends

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The Voice at Eon's Edge: The Forbidden Archives of Tal Ziel Part 3
16th Day of Stormwell, 1126cr

Gohero skeleton 1

The party cautiously approaches from the rear while the undead remain fixated on the terrified man. Brother Amaar has already spent his Channel Divinity option for the day so his turn undead is not currently an option. Essoq, itching for another stand-up fight simply charges in before other options can be considered.

COMBAT ENSUES!

Magic flashes! Brittle-dry bones are shattered! Black ichors splash the walls and stony floor! In the end both Falco and Essoq are battered and bloodied but none-the-worse for wear.

The terrified man thanks the party for saving him, and when asked he says that his name is Bartal. But Falco gets a read on the guy and corners him with questions. As it turns out, this is none other than Thom Dranik, henchman to the mysterious Reoch Sinerette of Pyrwell!

Thom and a handful of men were hired to wait here at the magical Archives of Tal Ziel for the return of the bronze man, but too much time had passed and the allure of what riches might be waiting for them behind the other vaults got the better of them, and so they broke the seals and plundered the archives.

In the vault of Abjuration they found gold and simple magics enough that when they encountered the wall of dancing lights, they decided to count their blessings and to turn back and try their luck with the next vault. Had they known what terrors lay within… but they were driven by greed and ignorant of the dangers that loomed in the dark.

Within the new vault they found more scrolls and potions and small treasures and baubles enough to live fat, happy lives in Pyrwell. They returned to camp and crated up their plunder with every mind to leave with the dawn. But dawn would never come!

Thom awoke to a strange muttering and found his companion, Meechum hunkered over one of the plundered objects from the vault of necromancy; a wicked blade of bone and dark steel. When Thom approached him, he whirled and attacked as would a madman!

Suddenly undead began to pour out of the vault, cutting off the stairs! The men all retreated into the only exits available to them; the vaults of Abjuration and Conjuration. It was only blind luck that Thom retreated into a chamber that had a protective circle etched into the stone floor that magically kept the undead at bay. And there he remained trapped until the party found and freed him.

Further interrogation by way of Intimidation that included both empty and actual threats reveales:

  • Thom has worked for Reoch Sinerette for the better part of 4 years. He was there when the Bronze Man was first installed in The Township of Oakmaul market center.
  • Thom’s primary duty until a few days ago was to keep an eye on the Bronze Man and to note any unusual behavior from folks who drew too near or touched it.
  • Reoch Sinerette wants the The Star Dial above all else and has devoted years of his life and piles of gold to obtain it. Thom knows not why.
  • The portcullis that traps the party within the vault requires a key. Thom’s now crazed companion Meechum has one, but there may be another in the vault workshops.
  • Sinerette tried several times to create the Bronze Man himself but failed time and again, ultimately needing to bring in a hired mage at no small expense to make the final monster that adorned the Oakmaul market square. Somewhere within the vault of Conjuration wander Sinerette’s aborted attempts and experiments, and they are dangerious things to encounter!
  • The Archives of Tal Ziel are forbidden by law of Byrnaer! While watchmen from Pyrwell may be a problem as early as dawn and bring the threat of incarceration, The Azure Guard will almost certainly be there before sunset! Necromancy is a capitol offense, and it is highly possible that the party will face execution if they are apprehended here!

The party leaves Thom tied up within the protective circle and begins to search through the rest of the vault of Abjuration. After encountering a few more undead and a mirrored room that mesmerized Falco, Essoq and Baragon, a key is found in a room marked “Chamber of The Master.”

With their hard-won treasure and a few additional spoils the party makes their way back to where they left Thom. Long before they round the final corner however, Falco stops everyone in their tracks; he hears weeping and and eery, gravely voice singing taunts and laughing.

CLIFFHANGER!
Thom is more or less where they left him, only he has inched and squirmed his way back as far away from the edge of the circle as he can. Circling him like a tiger is an ashen-faced man with yellow eyes brandishing a wicked Dark Blade. And with him stand a shambling collection of dead men all wearing the livery of Guardsmen of Pyrwell!

“Thom… Thom, my dear! It is wondrous and glorious, I promise you! Let her sing to you and lift you up! You only have to die! That’s not so bad, is it?”

Game Session Ends

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The Voice at Eon's Edge: The Forbidden Archives of Tal Ziel Part 2
THUNDER'S EVE: 14th day of Stormwell, 1126cr

Archives tz

With Falco’s return the party makes ready for their next step.

By now, both Sheriff Grahm Aerlim and His Honor, the Alderman Gylan Vaughey have taken statements from everyone. Aerlim seems satisfied and thanks the adventurers for their heroic efforts but Vaughey is up in arms. He storms away and announces that all able-bodied free men of Oakmaul should gather at the grange at sunset.

The Great Moon is full and it is a night of festival within The Embyrian Calendar; Thunder’s Eve where everyone stays up all night and banishes evil spirits with drums, bells, chimes and songs. This is normally a happy occasion but the sad loss of six good men has turned it into a grim event. Only the men are out tonight, and they mean business.

The party joins the townsfolk and makes a big show while Falco (who Under-Sheriff Fulcrum Stonewarden has yet to meet) breaks into the corner apartment at The Horse and Toad. In the wardrobe he finds a mad array of documents, scrolls, drawings and maps pinned to the walls and spilling to the floor. He grabs what he can and slips out the window.

It is now morning on the 15th day of Stormwell, and the party has gathered again at their table in the common room of The Horse and Toad. While Falco gets some much needed rest, Melamber and Amaar pour over the stolen scrolls and papers and find repeated references to something called ‘The Three Wardens’ as well as many ancient language translation examples, some on old and crumbling, yellowed velum and others freshly penned on new sheets of parchment.

And there are maps of areas within the Gloomhallows of Byrnwood Forest, dark places where even the elves will not tread!

Brother Amaar collects the documents for later study and once Falco rejoins the group they set out for the ring of stones which they have learned has a name; The Archives of Tal Ziel. It lays within a few hours march of the tiny gnome settlement of Dyfeld, and is surrounded by warning banners and marked ‘unsafe and forbidden.’

They find the bronze man where Falco left it. Brother Amaar remembers the golden star dial and suggests that the group try to turn the giant over and retrieve it. Baragon, Essoq DeMaqir and Falco lever the monster onto it’s back and the dial is collected. Melamber can get no reading of magic from the thing. Aside from being made of gold and it’s artistry, The Star Dial appears mundane.

The party makes their way to the stones in a vanguard formation with Falco at the point, Baragon and Essoq at his rear flanks, and Melamber and Amaar at the rear edges. The stones that make up the ring are huge, each standing well over twenty feet high. The closer the group gets to the edge they notice that natural sounds become lessened, replaced by a low, eerie howl like wind through a cave.

The great stones surround a mound of sorts. At the zenith there is an opening and a spiral stare that circles downward along the edge into a large, circular pit lined with stone vaults. There are eight vaults in total. Five of them are sealed while the other three stand open. On the floor can be seen an encampment as well as all manner of excavation gear, winches, wooden scaffolding and crates. The fire pit is now cold, but clearly only a handful of days ago someone had been using it.

Shadows grow long as the sun fast slips behind the peaks of the Thunderspines to the west. The party elects to make a fireless camp on top of the mound for the night and a watch is set.

Just into the fifth hour, Melamber hears the sound of a man screaming! It emanates from one of the open vaults below! Everyone springs into position and readies for an attack from below, but nothing comes. It is decided that despite protests from Essoq the party should wait until sunup before they investigate further.

The sun rises and the adventurers make for the bottom of the mound. Melamber recognizes the symbols on the vaults immediately; each bares the glyph of a respective school of the arcane. Five remain sealed, but the three open vaults are marked Abjuration, Conjuration and Necromancy respectively.

In the center of the sunken area is an ancient stone table as old as anything in or around the mound. It is covered in strange markings. There is also a crude forge and bellows, a huge mold and several bronze ingots- clearly the Bronze Man was created here!

The stone that sealed the Conjuration vault was removed by someone with care and planning and remains suspended by a rope and wooden scaffolding. The other two stones seemed to have been shattered inward with rough tools and haste.

After thoroughly searching the sunken area the group finds a lockbox hidden under a tarp and crates. Inside they find trinkets of gold, some wands and a number of scrolls and potions!

No one likes the idea of exploring the Vault of Necromancy just yet, and venturing into the Vault of Conjuration with a still intact stone that might trap everyone also sounds risky, so the party proceeds into the Vault of Abjuration.

After exploring a few labs and recovering a few more scrolls they find traces of blood and shattered bones. A few rooms and a swarm of harmless lights latter they become trapped by a falling portcullis! To make matters worse, animated skeletons descend upon them! But no matter, for Brother Amaar reduces the monsters to dust with a holy word before the fight can even start!

Despite their best efforts, the group cannot unlock the portcullis from the floor, so they proceed deeper into the vault in the hopes of finding a key, clue or trigger.

After a time there is a light seen ahead surrounded by dancing shadows. As the group gets closer we see…

CLIFFHANGER!
The light emanates from a brass brazier hanging from chains in the center of the chamber. Below it there can be seen a lone man sitting on the stone floor who is clearly terrified, and small wonder for he is surrounded by a score of animated skeleton warriors and more than a few, bloodied corpses who moan and shamble about. Behold the walking dead! Why they do not simply kill the man is not clear, but he spies the party and pleads for his life!

“Please! Save me! I’m sorry, I’ll do anything! Please!”

Game Session Ends

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The Voice at Eon's Edge: The Forbidden Archives of Tal Ziel Part 1
13th day of Stormwell, 1126cr

Horse and toad

Prologue:

Within Central Aurodei just north-west of the Shailian Penincula and a mere day’s march from the darkest shadows of the ancient and terrifying Byrnwood Forrest there lies the township of Oakmaul.

The man’s name was Staphan, and he approached each character sometime earlier in the week.

“I can see you are a kindred spirit, my friend,” he said. “Like myself, you are destined for great fame, and even greater rewards! Here,” he said, and dressed palm with a cloth purse that held 10 silver coins. “This is for you. Spend it as you like or keep it. But come to me for a meeting at the Horse and Toad this Freeday before sunset to hear a proposal and I will give you 10 more! Afterward you can do as you wish, and either way you may keep the coin.”

There were others there that Freeday afternoon waiting for Staphan, other ‘kindred spirits’ paid in silver. Introductions were made and explanations for attendance given; curiosity being the most common allure, the greed for more free silver a not-too-distant second draw.

The gathered included Falco Darkshroud, Baragon Hulaar, Brother Amaar, Melamber Harkenstone, and Essoq DeMaqir.

A short time later the man called Staphan arrived, and on the table he piled a small stack of gold coins that drew both hushed words of alarm and eyes-wide exclamations from the surrounding patrons.

“Gold, my friends,” he said. “Easier to carry than the fist full of silver I promised each of you. And there is a trove of it waiting for us! You each have a skill or talent to lend in its discovery! What say you?”

Questions were asked, but no details given.

“All will be made clear once we are away from this cloud of ears, but only if you agree to accompany me. Otherwise, keep this gold as payment for your time and I will be on my way.”

GAME STARTS

After being stymied by Saphan about further details or useful information regarding his proposal, the party sends him to the bar so that they might discuss amongst themselves how and if they will proceed.

Falco Darkshroud gets a read on Staphan and shares his assessment with the rest; that despite his warm and eager demeanor the man has a cold and deadly air about him.

In the end it is decided that they will join Staphan but keep a very close eye on him and they call him back to the table.

“Splendid!” he says, “I will go and wake our guide straight away! He is right outside!”

The party follows Staphan outside to the town’s fountain where stands a crude, eight foot tall bronze statue of a bearded man. Staphan removes a leather case and from it produces an intricate golden dial.

“What is the hour?” he asks. Melamber Harkenstone tells him the time and he sets and consults the dial. With a smile on his face he steps into the water, places his bare palm on the statue’s chest and utters a strange word. Not even Brother Amaar recognizes the language.

The bronze man comes to life! Staphan turns his back to it and addresses the party. “For almost five years I have waited for this moment! Tonight we shall…”

Staphan never finishes his thought. The bronze giant kills him and takes the dial from his broken body.

COMBAT INSUES! The fight is very one-sided even though members of the watch answer the call to arms. Six good fighting men are killed, and Baragon Hulaar is gravely wounded before Falco recognizes that the giant is 1) fighting defensively and ignoring non-threatening people and 2) is making it’s way north-easterly.

The group agrees to stop fighting and sure enough, the bronze giant makes for the edge of town. Falco steals a horse to follow it while the rest of the group remains behind to aid the grievously injured Baragon and to try to find answers.

The remaining party members are heralded as heroes for driving the monster away. When the party asks around about the history of the bronze man, folks remember the former alderman talking it up a few weeks before it was delivered but otherwise by and large folks were unimpressed by it. A drunkard however recalls seeing Staphan bowing low to the statue with a strange flourish the day he first arrived into town.

“I’m thinkin’ he’s soft in the head, I am. ‘Good to finally make your acquaintance,’ he says.! When he sees me looking, he jus’ smiles and gives me a silver!”

Another man recalls a gray and weedy looking man by the name of Thom Dranik having a strange fixation with the bronze man; Thom would always be looking at it and would seem uneasy if anyone got too close to it or touched it. Also, Thom had a henchman named Meechum who was a bad sort who frequently brawled and drank to excess.

Neither Thom nor Meechum is anywhere to be found this evening, but it is discovered that their comings and goings were in fact the will of their employer, another man by the name of Reoch Sinarette who has for the last five or so years lived in the corner room of The Horse and Toad; a corner room that in fact overlooks the market square and the now broken fountain that so recently displayed the bronze man.

Sinarette is away in Pyrwell, and while he is gone the landlord of The Horse and Toad will not allow anyone into his room. Fulcrum Stonewarden, the dwarf Under-Sheriff of Oakmaul, agrees that there is no direct evidence that links this night’s terrible events to the absent man aside from spotty testimony about the behavior of one of his alleged henchmen. He warns everyone that, heroes or no, anyone who tries to break into the empty apartment will be clapped into irons.

After Stonewarden leaves, everyone agrees that Lawful Good sucks and that Falco should try to break into the apartment through the window when he returns.

Falco is back just before sunset the following day. He followed the bronze man as it bled molten lead all through the night until it collapsed just before sunrise, and just within sight of a strange ring of stones.

Game Session Ends

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The Township of Oakmaul

Oakmaul

Oakmaul lays about 8 leagues northeast of the River Cynderun at the fringes of some of the very eldest marches of the Byrnwood Forrest. Though it is a mere two days journey from the city of Pyrwell, Oakmaul enjoys a small measure of isolation and independence from that governing coastal city to the east.

While Oakmaul produces a modest apple yield and a small amount of fabricated goods, the township’s primary accession in worth stems from its placement on the trade roads to the dwarf kingdoms within The Thunderspines to the northwest. The ford in the town’s center that crosses the stream known as Elk’s Leap is the only one that can be negotiated by caravan within 60 miles.

Oakmaul has a steady population of just under 250 individuals residing within and around the the town center as well as another 25 odd folks in the surrounding farmlands (mostly to the southeast).

The head man of Oakmaul is hardly a common politician. He is a tanned and sinewed man of over six feet by the name of Alderman Gylan Vaughey. Once the township’s foremost carpenter, Vaughey took up the the position of chief man of Oakmaul during the Iron Host raids when the previouse alderman deserted the township at the first sight of enemy torchlight. Vaughey has since been officially sanction by both the people under his charge and the courts of Pyrwell. Most would say that Oakmaul has been enriched by his guidance and leadership.

The chief lawman of Oakmaul is a tall and trim Ard named Sheriff Grahm Aerlim. Vaughey appointed him protector of Oakmaul two summers ago after his predecessor was found dead under mysterious circumstances.

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