As the adventurers Dearnthorne, his brother Jacob, Ogwa, Rowena, and Dire Circumstance (DC) Returned to Kelmarane heavy with the burden of Soul Rays Demise they could feel a change in the seasons and temperament of the group. Dearnthorne on the last evening before finally reaching Kelmarane used detect magic on the scroll although he could not identify the strange magic as any he had seen before he did have a flashing vision of a map. Quickly trying to copy it though came to no avail. There was something about the scroll they had found it seemed to be dividing them. Rowena had insisted on carrying it to the point the group had thought it may have been cursed at first, And Jacob insisted that none in the group except himself could decipher its strange magic. The foul mood seemed to follow them all the way from the house of the beast. As they began their final walk into the city they each new there inter twined destinies had come to a cross road.
The Sun was bright and the cities buildings seemed of gold as they neared a roar of joy could be heard from the village as they entered welcoming back the heroes. Ahlma and Gerek standing upon the wall where leading the crowds in the chant. Ahlma thought she had done well putting her trust in these young adventurers, and it had turned out profitable for all of them. She the invited the hero’s to a dinner that evening at her villa and let them go about getting their things in order. As the crowd began to disperse it was decided to let Jacob study the scroll, even Rowena had reluctantly decided this was the best option after discovering he had already been studying several pieces of similar strange magic. Dearnthorne was worried about him though and decided to accompany him Jacob was suspicious of him at first but Dearnthorne finally convinced him he would do well with the help, and after all he was his brother. To Dearnthornes surprise Jacob took him to a hideout he had made in the town, not much more than a flop house Dearnthorne realized how much the pesh drugs had affected his brother. He took the opportunity to lift the scroll from Jacob. After setting up the alchemy equipment they had found in the beasts lair and several hits of Pesh Jacob finally realized he had “misplaced” the scroll. As he became more desperate and violent in his search Dearnthorne explained they needed to go to the dinner Jacob screamed at his brother he would not leave until he found it. Dearnthorne left leaving his brother to stew.
Rowena went to the temple following Gewalt, the cleric of Seran Ray that had been sent to take charge of the temple. Something about this fellow had bothered her and she decided it was best to keep an eye on him her day at the temple had her catching up with what had been going on since she turned over the reigns a few months back. Her young acolyte Aquina whom she had saved was a fountain of knowledge confirming the strange actions of Gewalt. She would have to check int0 this matter more in the following days.
Ogwa and DC had decided to spend the day at the battlement and where treated to round upon round of Ale and mead the bards where eager to hear every word of their tale trying to draw every bit of tantalizing information that could be drawn out of them about their adventure. Ogwa seemed draw the eye of the barmaids and DC those of the adventurer that would count themselves lucky to travel with one so skilled with blades. Even the normal braggarts found themselves out classed by this duo. DC managed to drink a few of them under the table before she decided to stop (after all there was going to be ale at the dinner.) Ogwa’s arm wrestling skill where tested and a few gold told of his streangth.
The heroes’ (minus Jacob) ran into each other out just outside of the villa, Dearnthorn was surprised that Rowena noticed he had the scroll on him even though it was in his pack. After the pleasantries they continued their journey to the villa where the entrance guard insisted they leave their weapons Rowena agreed and her Axe was sent back to the church. After a lengthy insistence Gerek arrived and told the heroes he would personally take responsibility for the weapons they finally agreed and went in to join the dinner. A grand display of food ale music and laughter was all about them. Seated at a table to the left of Ahlma (with Rowena seated at the head table with Ahlma) the heroes learned there where also other guests of honor Merchants from Kadapesh seated across from them.
Ahlma used the opportunity to recognize the heroes for all they had done for the village and to introduce there distinguished guest (the merchants) from Kadepesh. As Dearnthorne worked the merchants, DC began a conversation with the dwarven merchant who was very pleasant with her until he learned she had no Pesh fields nor other trade goods grew tired of her quickly. Ogwa had noticed Rowena in a worried discussion with Ahlma and Gewalt with Gewalt getting angry. Ogwa asked Rowena about it and found out that Ahlma had asked Rowena to stay on in the church, meaning she may have to leave her traveling companions. It seems fate would have a hand in making the decision.
As Dearnthorn was discussing business trying to stay one step ahead of his rival business advisory he noticed a slight shimmer as if magic had been used by the cleric and telltale signs of deception quickly he moved to the closest source of trouble. As the would be assassin thief pulled his weapon Dearnthorns blade pierced the his side keeping his weapon from plunging into his would be victim one of the guest merchants. As Ogwa too had noticed the trouble he swept the feet of the cleric Gewalt who seems to have initiated the attacked suddenly the room was filled with combat quickly the heroes daggers, the only weapons allowed became their only hope. DC seeing that Ahlma (the provider of the Ale and fine foods) was beset by several brigands sprung to her assistance after all, the merchant should have been more polite, and did I mention Ahlma had provided the ale. The quick action of our heroes and their skills with the blades proved to much for the would be thieves. It was over in a matter of minutes. Again they had rescued the town and its leader. Few of the brigands had survived those that did where taken to the jail and interrogated.
Ogwa and DC learned through their interrogation that the attack had been a diversion, none of the prisoners new what for but where told they could keep anything they took from the dinner. It took two days of interigation and the combined effort of Ogwa, DC and Gerek to prevail but they got a brief description of the fellow who had hired them and they came to the conclusion it was Zifyod that had arranged for this. Dearnthorn had decided to leave the scroll at his brothel for safe keeping but upon learning of the diversion they decided to have DC guard it. Dearnthorn and Ogwa went to check on Jacob to see if he knew anything when they got to his place they found it a mess the Alchemy lab that Jacob had been so careful with getting it here was broken signs of battle where magic did not seem to prevail Neither Jacob nor his body was anywhere to be found.
After going back to get DC and the scroll they decided to get assistance and find out more about this scroll. They brought the scroll to Ahlma who recognized the symbol on the scroll as an ancient symbol attributed to Nex the once great and ruthless King Wizard. It was thought to be more of a deceptive symbol. Many wizards and scholars had attempted to figure out the meaning. She suggested going to the temple of Saren Ray or to see her cleric/scholar at the battle market. She thought it wise not to mention the scroll around town as a precaution.
After again seeing Rowena at the temple she had come up with some more information. She was sure Ahlma was correct about the symbol being connected to Nex, she also found out some disturbing news about Gewalt, she was not sure if he was an imposter, or had been corrupted in his following but he was indeed part of the brigands and had been carrying on secretly while the heroes had been gone in some great plot.
The help from Ahlma’s cleric turned out to be most useful. There was a bit of confusion when they arrived and could not find the scroll to show him. It turned out the scroll could not be kept in a bag of holding. Once it was found and they returned Ahlma’s scholar seemed excited to see the scroll he panicked the group as they handed it over to him and he cut in half……………………………only to see it mend itself Yes he cried this was the fabled scroll of Kandishar a scroll or rather extra dimensional retreat created by Nex himself! He recommended the group talk again to Ahlma and that they take the scroll to her friend and Scholar in Kadepesh. Ahlma, quit interested in what they had found out, agreed to give them the letter and had told them she had been holding on to a reward she planned on offering them giving them each 2500 gp in gems. The group planed to leave in three days, Ahlma decided to send a small group of soldiers and Gerek with them since she had some business needing done in Kadepesh.
Dearnthorn closed up his business loose ends while Ogwa and DC each profited from fights in the battle arena Ogwa defeating the Great Ogre Shilack in hand to hand combat killing him in the end and DC running the local SwordSteel from the battlement spanking him into submission.
The small group looked forward to the short trip to Kadepesh, but it was not to be as restful as they had hoped. On the second day of their journey they came across the merchant Rabid who had been set upon by gnolls. Since he was heading in the same direction and Dearnthorn believing he had found someone who could help him trade his considerable pesh crops befriended him quickly, alas this would not last. The next evening the Oasis they came upon looked as if it had seen recent battle with gnolls and some great creature. Not bothering to search about they walked in and started clearing out the area. Suddenly crashing about them the earth heaved a great beast had taken one of the guards in its great maw pieces falling to either side. The creature stood taller then the palms that surrounded the watering hole another soldier fell before the group could react. Acid fell from the great worm mouth lightning fired from its eyes and DC suddenly found herself facing the wrath of the great beast once, twice three times it struck could they survive the assault? The Axe pierced the great beast and the fists of Ogwa pounded the body arrows seemed to be of no affect as Dearnthorn climbed the tree to hide. As the dust settled they had lost three good soldiers, Ogwa was wounded severely and DC drank the last of her Ale cursing the beast for breaking the keg.
Even then the troubles for the group would not prove to be over for this journey. As they entered the last Oasis a mere day before entering Kadepesh they were set upon by the remnants of the carrion kings band determined to bring this crud group to their Knees and revenging the great king. Silindra had taken charge of the group after killing the leader when his plan with the great death worm had failed. The Heroes had little time react as they saw the group of soldiers descending upon them. The soldiers took their stand handily beating back the soldiers that had been sent against them Ogwa and Dearnthorn pursued them into the rocks only to find themselves swarmed by gnolls. Looking to the side they saw Gerek and DC holding the left a great two headed beast crashed upon them it looked like it could get no worse, but then a cloud of flames burst around them droping the soldiers Ahlma had sent with them to the ground writhing in the last gasps of searing pain. Then the gnolls came pouring from rocks. Dc screamed obscenities in a frenzied language Dearnthorn and Ogwa had never heard. But the great ettin know what she was saying it slowed him in his tracks buying some much needed time. DC’s great Axe swung and a gnoll found himself split from the great blow clutching his innards trying in futility to hold them in. The ettins long reach struck Gerek wildly with the chained ball crushing his ribs, and sending him sprawling. Still he held his sword hoping to hold him long enough to Let DC get to him after if he ran the giant would hit him again surely killing him.
Dearnthorn heard the sound of battle all around him, his small size making it difficult to see over the hyena’s that had circled him deftly they would slip in and he would counter until the magic hit him he felt his muscles tighten No he tried to yell this was surely his end the shaman had cast hold on him. Ogwa fighting Beside him had not noticed, he had enough problems of his own he not completely recovered from the battle with the death worm and though lowly the shear numbers of their foe could defeat them! Ah help had arrived, it was Rabin the merchant they had helped he gotten the cleric to safety and was now joining in the fight, Ogwa relaxed a bit see he was running to help his halfling friend even this slimmest of hope spurred Ogwa on the swift and deadly blows of his fist brought another of the gnolls down. Ye he thought With these two by his side he was sure they would survive to win the day!
DC had made short work of the four Gnolls now all that remained was the Ettin she looked with surprise to see that he moved and engaged Gerek. A quick look at Gereks wounds told her he was no match for this giant. With the Gnolls gone she was sure she could take him easily. Her scream startled the Ettin and Gerek knew this would be his only chance to run as the ettin swung at DC her training and natural hatred of Giant kind served her well as
she deflected the blow with her great a deft axe turn of the wrist the blade bit into his foot his scream of rage echoed thru the battle. Another twist of the blade and the ettins screams where cut short. With Blood lust in her eyes she turned to see her companions surrounded and fighting for their lives.
Dearnthorns struggle with the magic seemed to be to no avail then without warning he felt a cold blade slip between the pieces of his armor he had been stabbed in the back. Rabid pulled the blade from Dearnthorn Surprised he had not fallen, deciding he didn’t need him dead to get the scroll he reached to try and pull the back pack from his back but was nearly knocked down himself as the last of the Hyenas took the Halfling to the ground. He himself felt a blade pierce his side as Gerek had arrived to see him stab the Halfling. No emotion showed on Gereks face as he twisted the blade and the merchant slid lifeless from his trusted falchion. This treachery had been delt with swiftly. Dearnthorns struggle finally succeeded: as he broke the spell Ogwa finished the great Hyena above him the battle raged on out numbered and wounded it would take all of their skills to finish this as the rest of the Gnolls rushed forward to finish them off.
DC arrived Just as Ogwa took a spear to the side struggling to keep his feet DC’s blade flashed once again and the Gnoll that had delivered the blow to Ogwa lost a leg and tumbled to the ground. Dearnthorn Relieved that he was not dead tumbled past another and drove his blade into the back of Silindra “You wont kill me that easy she growled her blade flashed and Dearnthorn felt it bite deep into his chest was this it? Ogwa staggered back and with the diminishing Ki he had left he managed to cure some of his injury only to feel another blade strike him struggling with consciousness he managed one more flurry of blows before he dropped taking the great gnoll that had been protecting Silindra with him, he slipped into unconsciousness. In his rush to hep the adventurers Gerek passed to close to Silandras companion and paid with a blow without emotion he slipped into Darkness. With just two gnolls, Silindra and her companion DC and Dearnthorn it would come down to the final blows.
Dearnthorn could barely see pushing back the pain and wiping the blood from his face he couldn’t imagine why DC had ran past the Gnoll to his left that had dropped Gerek drawing the attack away from Dearnthorn she positioned herself Behind SIlndra with a quick thrust of the pointed shaft end of her axe into SIlandra. A grunt could be heard from her as she staggered a bit forward Dearnthorn Realized it was now or never his blade darted forward he saw the opening and drove the blade up into her jaw piercing the thin portion of the skull there blood poured from the lethal wound The remaining Gnoll Swung visiously at DC again and again. Deflecting each blow with the axe she waited until she found the opening she was looking for and buried the axe in his skull.
Only after the battle was over did they realize the depth of treachery Rabid the merchant had gone Aquina the acolyte Rowena had entrusted to them had been brutally murdered not protected by Rabid without her healing skills all they could do was use the few potions they had to revive Ogwa and Gerek. It would be a long worry some night for the group