The Trail of Greater Andruil

ACT II: Chapter 2
Travelling to Crystad

6th Mirtul 1746

The party gather themselves after an emotional and grueling battle. Kain wakes up to the sight of Queen Anora over him, exhausted but alive. A most disheartening sight lies before the throne, King Farsky, motionless on the floor.
The majority of the party had agreed to go to Crystad after a convincing plea from Anora, in pursuit of Ashtor the champion. All left to do now is prepare.

Anora talks of a link to a location not far from Crystad, in the desert. She says that it may be possible to teleport here, but not without risk. The war made this connection unstable and unpredictable. The party decide to return to Faramoor to rest and depart from Uzorah in the morning.

While in Faramoor for the evening, our heroes notice it is unkept and messy. Even with Wissen yelling, not a single guard to respond. With more important things being on the minds of our champions, they hastily move to their bedrooms to rest.

7th Mirtul 1746

Our heroes wake and without delay depart for Uzorah using the teleportation circle. They gather in the throne room ready to travel, and after a flash they vanish.
They find themselves in a desert town, among a community of darker skinned humans. Around them are worn down and crumbling stone huts the party notice that the sun here lies low in the sky. As everyone else tries to figure out where they have landed Wissen manages to break into one of these huts. On the floor are some pots, pans and an abomination of a being. This humanoid is enveloped in parasitic-looking worms, it begins to move towards the tiefling. The monstrosity shoots one of these worms into Wissen’s chest and it buries itself underneath his skin. Kain swiftly follows to aid him. While striking, a worm manages to crawl behind Kain’s heavy armor and also drills into his chest.

As the sun sets, screeches are heard from the two other huts, more of these things burst forward from each hut. They slowly surround the rest of our heroes. One of these parasites are shot into Aelar deep into his chest. Brassingr and Maximilian manage to avoid contact with the parasites, being nimble they evade any attempt from the abominations they encounter.
Aelar finds himself confronted by the two creatures, in a pinch he shapes himself into a fire elemental to hold them off while Brassingr creates a ball of fire that engulfs them. After slaying these monstrosities Kain tends to Wissen and himself managing to clear their bodies of whatever they were infected with. Just as they regroup, the largest building in sight produces a chorus of a familiar screeching. Wissen glances and sees a horde of these monsters and in a panic creates a giant wall of fire blocking their escape from the building.

After being chased away by a giant horde, the party find themselves travelling in darkness, walking aimlessly, making sure they are moving away from the town.
Hours pass, Aelar senses a body of water nearby but nothing else. They travel towards it to find a lake, with a single palm tree. Brassingr produces a protective tent for the party to rest in, filled with items of luxury and comfort. Deciding their watches, the party spend the night. During the designated watches, our heroes don’t see, hear or sense anything. A quiet and cool night as far as the party is concerned.

8th Mirtul 1746

In the morning, as everyone wakes, Aelar senses two presences beside the body of water, as if they just appeared there. Across the lake the party all see two fishermen, one with a fishing pole dressed in blue and another in red with his arms crossed. The paladin notices something peculiar, these men are fishing in a lake with no fish, not a single sign of life. Approaching with caution, Kain is first to confront these two oddities. As he introduces himself the rest of the party come forward. The man in blue is holds a large fish, by now it is clear that these men are not human but magical beings. The being in blue introduces himself as Ini with the man in red remaining silent. The party barrage Ini with many questions with only cryptic and useless answers. With the party now frustrated, Ini offers our heroes help, only if they make a deal with him and sign a contract. In the midst of deliberation between the members of the party. Ini’s patience runs out and begins counting down, waiting for an answer, just as they decide, the man in blue and his friend vanish as well as any hope of escaping the desert.

Continuing their trek in the same direction they eventually see in the distance another landmark, a lake, with a single palm tree. Similar to last time, two people sit next to the body of water. One donned in blue and the other in red. To the heroes’ dismay, it is Ini and his nameless friend. Again offering the deal again, this time accepting it immediately, Ini pulls out a contract for everyone to sign. In return he grants everyone a wish. Maximilian asks for a belt of returning, a magical item that returns thrown daggers to him, into his gut. Brassingr wishes to know where his father is and whether he is safe. Ini responds with telling him he’s across the Austrianic sea, and that he is “holding on”. Finally, Kain asks for the party to be teleported out of the desert and closer to Crystad, escaping the illusion in which they are trapped.

Everyone is transported in front of a large and heavy wooden city gate. Stone walls travel far from either side, with many battlements atop and wooden spikes protruding from the ground. Other than the shouting for help, there is no sign of life, not a single sound. Then from behind them, seven figures draw closer, and closer. First thing to notice is that these beings are not human, nor elven and not any other common race. These are a sort of snake people, Yuan-ti, to those who fought in the war. Six of these people stand at either side the leader of the group with bows drawn and trained at our heroes. Then from the two battements above the gate, three more from each rise with their bows ready. Kain knows exactly who these people are, he knows exactly who their leader is. Their leader is the Moktar, a title given to the leader of the Yuan-ti, a powerful and proven warrior. None of our heroes know where they are and they ask the leader for help. Aelar tries to convince him they are in search for artifact in Crystad and need guidance getting there. Wissen attempt to intimidate them but it seems that the Moktar knows exactly who our heroes are! Failing these attempts to evade capture, Kain steps in to negotiate. The Yuan-ti agree to the party challenging the arena, with no idea what to expect they are escorted to the dungeon beside the arena.

Ready to fight the party stand at one of the gates of the arena. Peering through the grate of the gate the stands look to be packed full of these snake people, standing in silence. Next to them there is a man, shaking with a terrified look on his face. Noticing he has no weapon Wissen hands him one of his daggers. As the gate is raises he sees the man’s hand shake as he stares out into the arena. The Moktar introduces the challengers to the arena and talks of testing them before the real challenge, as he is talking two Yuan-ti warriors emerge from the opposite gate, both wielding scimitars.

Kain and Maximilian immediately charge forward and take the front line each engaging one of the snake warriors. Meanwhile the spellcasters hold back and start barraging the creatures with their spells. Danny calls out to the terrified man to instill some much needed courage. He then starts moving, running, screaming, and then jumps behind a pillar and stays there, curled up in a ball. Just as the party begin gaining an advantage the Moktar stops the fight. The Yuan-ti warriors, disengage and retreat. The test is over. The challenge is about to begin.

Expecting humanoids to walk through the opposite gate, the whole gate instead starts to lift. From the darkness emerges a giant lizard-like head. Then another. And then another. The whole behemoth then steps into the arena, taking up half of it. This reptilian horror is known in legend as a Hydra.

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ACT I: Chapter 2
The Madness of Matterholm

The party exit the town hall and start inspecting a map of the area. They see that Matterholm is a small town of mostly lodges surrounded by forest. However, towards the east side, they see a lone dwelling beside the crypt Mathias mentioned. From what the party knew this is where the hermit lived. They decide that questioning this hermit would be very valuable since they live so close to the crypt.

The town seems old, shabby, with nary a sound. The air begins to nip as the skies darken. People begin to pop out of their homes with burning poles to light the lamps that stand next to them. The lodges are constructed from lumber and connected by footprints of trodden mud filled with rainwater. The church stands out as the centrepiece of Matterholm, clearly the most important building by construction material alone. Other than the town hall the rest of the town is wooden! Not to mention the important-looking symbols decorating the stone arch above the doors, the citizens are without a doubt of the spiritual variety.

The party follows the map and approaches the hut. Compared to the cabins at the center of town this hut is made from finer materials; build with a base of moss-covered stone and beams of wood above it. Even the roof is superior, roughly cut slate tiles arranged evenly.

Danny tries knocking on the heavy wooden door – it opens. With Danny looking straight foward, he is greeted by a big, scruffy looking bush. The hermit is an old naked woman and she is standing, looking down at Danny. She stays there for a few moments. Danny also stands there for a few moments looking straight forward. The old hermit then groans, shrugs her shoulders and slams the door. Not fulfilled with the encounter the Bard knocks again – no answer. He knocks a few more times, each with no response.

Aelar notices runes written on the doorframe, of an arcane nature. This is confirmed when Brassignr senses the hut is protected by strong magic. Aelar then tries to blast down the door using druid magic, instead of breaking through his attempt is recoiled and sends him sprawling. Brassigr then tries with one of his wizard spells, in a similar way his magic is repelled and sent back at him. His spell hits his torso bruising him a little. After seeing two weak attempts Morgash charges at the door, knowing he can easily smash through a measly wooden door. In full stride, he launches himself shoulder first, just as he makes contact his body stops, then sent back twice as quickly as his back slides across the dirt.

Seeing the failed attempts Danny decides to explore the garden. While picking roses and eyeing the vegetable patch he also sees a window. While thinking it’s very unlikely, he still takes a chance and reaches up. Pushing the frame expecting resistance his arm instead falls through as the window swings wide open. Glancing around and smiling to himself, he climbs into the hut and silently lands inside. Releasing the latch he opens the door for everyone else.

The room contains mostly simple items and essentials for living. The only object that stands out is a large circular rug that lies close to the bed, it looks relatively new and clean compared to the rest of the room. Looking left of the door: a desk, a chair and a bookshelf stuffed with parchment, tomes and letters. In the left corner, a stove with a clutter of implements and skillets scattered across the floor. Towards the other corner, a simple bed with a wooden frame and a straw mattress with a bucket at the foot of it. Atop the bed sits a frail framed woman wrapped in a blanket and facing the wall – the hermit. As the party enter, she begins to mutter to herself in a monotonous drone. The spellcasters don’t recognise the incantation and in a foolish panic turn around and run for the door. Seeing everyone run alarms Morgash and he follows. During the escape, amidst the rush Danny turns away as if he forgot something important. He emerges seconds later from the garden with arms full of turnips and carrots with an even larger smile. In this chaos Danny and Morgash trip over the large root of a tree. With Morgash falling behind Danny (Danny also falling) he begins to tumble down the steep hill. With Danny falling forwards and upwards he narrowly misses Morgash as he tucks himself in, he is now somersaulting over him with an arm full of vegetables. The half-orc barrels past and rolls into the distance, a carrot manages to escape the grasp of the spinning halfling. Danny then lands onto his feet for a ten point finish, clutching is precious vegetables with the carrot returning to him and landing back exactly where is was.

The party eventually stop running and start walking towards the crypt. They approach and see the dark bricked doorway and a robed man standing outside. Walking closer he looks panicked and worried. He quickly introduces himself as Priest Callahan and says his friend is hurt and he needs help. Most of the party are happy to help but Aelar looks as if he is suppressing his fright. Insisting he waits outside the rest walk through in search of the priest’s friend. Just as they all enter, following Callahan, the building rumbles and a giant boulder falls over the entrance. With everyone already in shock Callahan turns around and pulls out a dagger. He apologises with sincerity and then thrusts the blade into himself and collapses to the ground. At that moment the party realise that they are trapped, and not by mere chance.

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ACT I: Chapter 1
Missing Persons

People…many things bring people together. But the most powerful of them all, desperation.

Our heroes receive word that one of their beloved is missing, each with a letter directing them to the town of Matterholm. Here our champions first meet.

Each of our heroes eventually finds the town hall, where the mayor usually operates. Entering the building the druid notices three interesting symbols above the door. A five pointed star, a triangle with a circle at the centre and a strange arrangement of lines. Perhaps religious or related to the town’s history.

As each member of the future party arrives, they talk to secretary Rae who seems displeased at the sight of our heroes, looks agitated, as if she couldn’t wait to finish work. All waiting to see the leader of the town, they examine each other, questioning their presence. More time is given to the tall lizard-like creature carrying a large tome. Danvilok, the halfling Bard seemed impatient, becoming more irritable for each minute that passes. As his patience runs out he steps forward, demanding to see the major. He eventually manages to secure a meeting with the mayor.

A figure steps into the room, the expression on his face lifts as he sees the party before him. Turning to Rae, he gives a gentle smile, giving her a nod. Rae asks them to step forward as she calls out their name as they introduce themselves.

Standing in their own corner, unbeknownst to the adventure ahead, they are each called:

  • Aelar Moonwhisper, the Elven Druid – belonging to the circle of the moon in Aldergrass Forest, the chief of the circle, also his adoptive father, is reported missing.
  • Brassingr, the Dragonborne Wizard – with his parents missing, he has travelled great distances in search for them
  • Danvilok Red’Ash, the Halfling Bard & Actor extraordinaire – while touring Greater Andruil as a solo performer, he received a letter from his estranged father, alerting Danny that his beloved sister has run away to Matterholm, pleading him to save the only family he has left
  • Kain the Galian Paladin – once a sergeant in the army of Farsky
  • Morgash, the Half-Orc Barbarian – a simple creature, with a simple motivation, he wants his fucking boat

He speaks with charisma and confidence as he introduces himself, Mathias the major of Matterholm. He gestures his hands with large sweeping motions as he welcomes the champions to the small town. There’s a giddy-like tone to his voice, he’s very excited to meet these people, perhaps too much so. Maybe he loves his job as mayor that much?

In the moment after they are done with introductions, there is a moment where they all should have burst into a clamour. Instead, in that very moment, Mathias interrupts them with his presence announcing that he knows the reason for their visit. He informs the heroes of people disappearing, with only one lead. He talks of an eerie crypt that may provide some answers, naturally, our adventures are drawn to this news and set off immediately.

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