Ill Met in Nara'Tel

Chapter Five
Warm Homecoming

Every action we take, everything we do, is either a victory or defeat in the struggle to become what we want to be.

The party returned from their expedition to find that the cultists had begun a full scale uprising, with a monstrous limb extending upwards from the massive blue hole in the Sunken Quarter. The Nara’Tel Guard had their hands full, but were assisted by the Imperial Army remnants from South Watch. Many of the populace of the Fine Quarter accepted the offer to be taken to safety in South Watch.

The party was successful in eliminating the cultist presence and disrupting their ritual. They assisted both the Nara’Tel Guard and the Imperial Army.

They have been hailed as heroes.

Six months have passed since the incident, and Nara’Tel has seen some changes.

The residents of Fine Quarter have not left South Watch, preferring to remain under the protection of the Imperial Army. The Nara’Tel Guard have been working with the Army albeit reluctantly, though the Army does little to interfere with the day to day running of the city. The Army has started recruitment and training.

The ruins of one of the inner city warehouses has been changed by some enterprising individuals into a combat arena, and many people have been trying their luck. Several champions have already been titled. Usually the combat is humanoids against each other, but occasionally a creature is captured.

The situation in the mines has not improved. The northern area has been completely taken over by the Gorbold Key, and while the boundaries have been established there are still brutal border skirmishes. A coastal trading post has been established on the northwest of the region, run by the Key. Meanwhile, the Trade Guild, having given much monetary assistance in making sure the Key has not taken over the south, is taking in a lot of profits from the mines, and there is discontent brewing.

The cult activity has seemed to all but halt. However, the marked ones are plagued with terrible nightmares of drowning and sinking in black waters, and a region of icy sea where no winds blow, and the wrecks of ships are clustered together.

Recently, three battered warships flying the colours of the Imperial Army has arrived at South Watch.

Aall characters select a Passage of Time bonus trait.

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Chapter Four
A Harrowing Expedition

At some point, the Armsmaster says this on the way back to Nara’Tel
“I’ve seen a lot of cultists in the ten years I’ve been on Nara’Tel, but never so well trained. The fellow we encountered on the way here, the one that used to be Imperial Army – if they’re starting to get more of them, then we can expect them to only get more dangerous. Cultists are one thing, but cultists with Imperial training?”

“I don’t like this one bit.”

He fell silent for the remainder of the day, brow furrowed in thought.

Recap
The party did some business in Nara’Tel as they prepared for their journey to the north-east. There was much cloak and dagger business, with private business going well for some and for others, not so well.

Ephraim’s contacts at the Chapterhouse gave the party a great advantage. The Grand Paladin divulged that they were starting to actively hunt down and eliminate nests of cultists. Being convinced that Ephraim’s party was doing the same, he gifted them with some blessed weapons from their armory that would come to aid them on their journey.

On the way to the area that the Armsmaster had marked upon the map, the party was attacked by a group of cultists. Attempts to question the survivor was fruitless, though they took note that he used to be one of the Imperial Army. They then arrived at a supposedly long abandoned logging outpost that one of the Chapterhouse’s kill teams had been sent to.

Inside they discovered the remains of the paladins, though Jivana’s was not present. They found a trapdoor to an underground temple of sorts where Jivana was about to be sacrificed. Though they fought valiantly and stopped the ritual from being completely effective, Jivana could not be saved and was slain upon the damnable altar.

In grim spirits, the party moved on and eventually arrived at an ancient ruined village around a temple cut into the cliffs that stood above it. The Armsmaster set up a perimeter outside and the party went inside.

They found evidence of the cult of Nothoa and Fulgurn as they fought their way through the dark temple. Worst of all, there was an emissary of Malroth’s cult present. This showed that the recent activity was not just a brief phase. This was something that had far reaching repercussions, something that might not even be centered at Nara’Tel – though it appears to be an important location for the cults.

With this grim realization, they began the journey back to Nara’Tel.

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Chapter Three
Tensions Ignite

Prejudice is the child of ignorance.

A missive to the Trade Guild
Dear sirs,

The holdings of the Brattleboro Mining Cartel have been subject to a hostile takeover. As I write, they work our mine, using some of our own people as slaves. The perpetrators are, according to one of the escapees, are none other than the Gorbold Key!

I know that the Guild does not intervene in racial matters, but this is hardly racial – even some of our half-dwarves are held prisoner! We hold the deeds still, so I beg of you to intervene in this matter.

I await your response at Far Hill.

Sincerely,

Albus Renford, Brattleboro Mining Cartel

A terse response from the Trade Guild
Dear sir,

Yours is not the only mine that has been assaulted. At this time we are unable to give any specific aid as the situation on the mining fields has deteriorated. Yours is but one of many human-owned holdings that has been attacked.

We are going to use mercenary groups to get the situation under control. However, this will require all mines to revert half-ownership to the Trade Guild to continue legally operating once they have been liberated.

Sincerely,

Ewen Tyst

Recap
Upon arriving back at the Brattleboro mine, the party found it under attack by forces of the Gorbold Key who had also convinced some of the Brattleboro miners to join their cause. They went to rescue Foreman Renford and there met Tristram who aided them in the battle. Barim made an appearance, and fled rather than fight Geofrey. In the end they managed to escape with Renford, and met up with a group of Brattleboro loyalists who had escaped the fighting.

Geofrey was determined to rescue his mother and so the party – along with Tristram – went back. Some of them managed to sneak into the camp, and after creating some mass confusion Geofrey and Gin sneaked inside the mine. They evaded(and murdered) some guards and then came back out. By this time the others had been caught, and Geofrey parlayed with Barim.

It turned out that Barim was not Geofrey’s father, and wanted Geofrey to sign over the mine his true father owned so that he could be legitimate with it. Geofrey agreed, fully intending to freeze his assets so that they could not be seized.

Barim gave them some insight on the cult activity, revealing that he is having problems with cultists in the ranks.

With Geofrey’s mother in tow, they returned to Far Hill and she stayed with the Cartel. The party chose to travel back to Nara’Tel with the Armsmaster in order to take care of some business and continue investigations into the cult activity. Reports of green lights in the northeast were getting quite prolific.

On the way back, a tentacled monster attacked Jade and Gin’s ship, but the party managed to beat it off. The ship was badly damaged by being squeezed and also some alchemist’s fire that Tristram threw. Theobald discovered an interesting property of the ghost-like being that haunted the ship still – firing an arrow through where it stood empowered it with green flames.

Upon arriving back in Nara’Tel, the party went their separate ways, looking for any information. Tristram dealed with Delray, Ephraim showed Gin his fine house, Jade found a strange person who seemed to know something – and was also keen to know what she knew, Geofrey froze his assets and was friendly with the ghost and Theobald found a cult artefact that had a strange affect on the branded party members.

They met with the Armsmaster at the Massive Polyp to discuss matters, coming to the decision of going on a trip to investigate the northeastern lights.

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Chapter Two
The Avatar Rises

The following is knowledge that can be related to the rest of the party by Jade during their return south

From the text ‘The Dark Axis: A Treatise’ by the author Holthar Durn, a scholar that disappeared under mysterious circumstances 200 years ago:

Fulgurn, or the so-called ‘dripping dragon’ is a being of pure corruption. It was his influence that created some of the worst monsters that walk Lyden today. It is said that the first overtures the Dark Axis made were with the results of Fulgurn’s corruption. The fearful trolls first came boiling from the depths of dwarven mines, and as they spread so to did the orcs appear.

The most feared of ‘The Corrupted’ as they were known as, however, were the demons. To the great shame of many elves today, several of their most powerful leaders willingly accepted the corruption of Fulgurn and in doing so doomed their race. More than half of the elves on Lyden were turned into slavering, crafty demons. Ever since then, they have receded. Elves today have a great hatred towards the Corrupted, especially demons.

Since the Dark Axis were first defeated, elves became more and more reclusive. Some say it is out of shame. To talk to them, that is only part of it. Though their people are slowing dying out, they have committed themselves to watching and waiting, to be ready to combat the Dark Axis – especially Fulgurn – should they rear their foul heads again.

Recap

The party traveled north and were stalked and subsequently attacked by strange, spindly creatures. Eventually they came across a small warband of the Rotpike Guard who had fought the same creatures and had lost one of their number, who had been then afflicted with some kind of growth.

That same growth was infecting the foot of Gin. They ended up working with the Rotpike Guard to cure the infection by finding the correct herbs inside a dwarven mine, but the owners of the mine, a pack of dwarves, then decided they would kill the Rotpike Guard.

As it turned out, the dwarves were under the unfluence of Omogg, a servant of Fulgurn. The dwarves ended up attacking the Guard and the party, but were overpowered and both the Guard and the party escaped to the south.

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Chapter One
A Rocky Start

Note: The flavor text that comes before the game recap is not in character knowledge, if it is then I will make a note of it.

In this world, is the destiny of mankind controlled by some transcendental entity or law? Is it like the hand of the gods hovering above? At least it is true that man has no control; even over his own will.

A carefully penned missive
My lord,

Their ineptitude proved most fortuitous. The five are marked and are now woven ever tighter into the threads of fate. However, they are more formidable and resourceful than anticipated and have allied themselves with one of our old enemies. The rituals are Far Hill have been identified by one of their number and it will take much longer to complete our task there.

However, this setback is of little concern. The five are Marked, and thusly makes finding them all the easier. We will crush them before they learn any more of our plans, and the Armsmaster will be without close allies. I do not know how much they trust him, or he them, however. If direct force proves ineffective, then there are alternatives that are just as effective…

Maldath

A crumpled note on a parchment written in a hurried hand
The situation here is getting worse. I don’t know how much longer we truly have. There’s more than Nara’Tel at stake, and it’s about time you swallow your pride, admit you were wrong and face the facts.

At the very least, keep the Syndicate off my back unless you want to lose more of your assassins.

Game Recap
The party all met in a tavern, and were chartered/hired to help a mining cartel trade caravan return to the mines. En route, the winds blew the ship off course into the abandoned docks where a presence made itself known on the ship.

Out from the docks, they were attacked by strange creatures from the deep, composed mostly of seaweed wrapped around bones and ocean refuse. There was a green gem, and when smashed it let loose several glowing green entities that sought out the party members and marked them with a cultist brand of sacrifice on their necks.

They eventually arrived at Far Hill and after some problems with grumpy gate guards met a man who seemed to know something about the emerging cultist activity. They agreed to aid him and went to investigate the activity taking place around Far Hill. They found what appeared to be some kind of ‘Awakening’ ritual.

They agreed to look into a dwarven mine that had similar activities before closing up, further in the north. They are on the way there now.

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