The Long Vigil

A Scent on the Wind
Swordbreaker Isle Expedition - Session 2

The sea heaved as the Outriders set out from Sarum to Swordbreaker Isle, but their skill guided them safely to its forlorn shores. The islands' great cliffs climb before them to the pinnacle where Swordbreaker Tower loomed over the island. Using a crude, hand drawn map and rumors coerced with drink, they planned their landing on the isle.

Landing at North Haven seemed risky, the crabs had grown immense feeding on zombies trapped in the sand and the dock front looked unstable. Instead, they made camp further down the coast and all seemed fine other than a smoky campfire made with damp wood. At night strange whistles were heard, but the true horror arrived with the early light.

As dawn broke a dull crunching sound was heard in the nearby woods, and Ar'nis snuck out to find a ghoul eating a zombie. After getting Chancery to assist, they attacked the ghoul only to discover that close behind were more than half a dozen zombies. In a desperate fight, they retreated to their boat and cast off into water leaving their provisions behind with two of their number nursing bite wounds.

Realizing they needed shelter, the set out to Redhawk Mill via the Old Bear Woods. While traveling through the woods they found a wood elf crucified and left to rot. Around they body, they found small trinkets made by wicked fey. Clearly the work of Dryads.

Giving the area wide berth, they continued on their path to the mill when they encountered a young, half-elf hunter, of no more than 15 years, having just downed a boar. Chancery tried to greet the young man but he fled north, and the party tracked him to their very destination: Redhawk Mill.

They approached the walls to be greeted by a gruff man in his 60’s who allowed the unbitten into the town. Chancery, Kale, Bran waited outside while Ar'nis was escorted inside to meet Lady Blackcomb, the leader of the Redhawk Mill.

Rewards: 400  XP (100 XP each)

A plan never survives...
When our heroes forgot what "scouting" means.

Our intrepid heroes decided to scout out the Ferry Gatehouse and Tinderfoot Ferry proper. Things did not go as planned.

Masenor tracked goblin wolf riders into the forest. He discovered the goblins were raiding local wood elf enclaves, and taking captives as slaves. They'd slain most of the inhabitants and set it to the torch. Masenor returned to the boat without incident. Meanwhile, Danadin and Joe sneaked into the city to see what our foes were up to.  Alister and Dustin decided to investigate the river chains barring their path up river.

Danadin and Joe swam across the river and made their way into the city via the sewers, they then took to the rooftops, leaping from building to building.  They found a small team of bandits and a bugbear herding zombies into buildings and sealing them inside while another bandit kept watch from the roof. Seeing the lookout's bulging wine skin, Danadin convinced Joe to try to capture the lookout for questioning with the prosepects of useful information, and wine to boot. At first, they appeared to succeed intimidating thelookout, Blue Jake, into surrendering. Our heroes demanded Jake help them, and he agreed in exchange if they'd kill Stefan, his boss. Agreeing, Danadin attempted to tie Jake up, but while our heroes argued with one another, Jake made a run for it… and promptly fell into the street below.

Fending off zombies, Jake's comrades were too late to help him, but they were alerted to our heroes' presence when Danadin called out to them. The villains, knowingthey were about to get boxed in, made a run for an elevated walkway to get onto the roof of a building. Danadin used his magic and precision javelin throwing skills to slow them down, while Joe leaped from rooftop to rooftop to intercept the bandits. Unfortunately, a loose roof tile caused Joe to lose his footing and he found himself hanging from the roof edge while a ravenous zombie groped at his dangling feet. Danadin ran to help Joe, but he lost footing taking both himself and Joe down into the streets below as zombies closed in from all sides.

Meanwhile, Alister and Dustin hid in the woods on the east shore of the Azure River watching the Ferry Gatehouse. After studying the patrol patterns of the guards, they made a move to study the chains. Hiding behind an illusionary bush created by Alister, the two crept out to study the chains. Our two heroes determined the ground around the pillars holding the chains in place was loose. They set their unseen servants, Carrington and Jeeves, to work on digging out the mud around the pillars. As Alister and Dustin made their way back into the treeline, Dustin was sighted by the tower guards and they retreated into the trees under a hail of crossbow bolts and javelins. Alerted to their presence, the guards in the towers alerted their allies, and the villains crossed the river to search for them. Discovering their diligent unseen servants, Stefan destroyed the servants and order his bandits to search for our heroes.

Alister and Dustin fled into the forest with the hungry wolves and bandits on their tail. Hiding from their pursuers, they see a hobgoblin in scale male approach a steadily agitated Stefan, “What did Gaptooth say he saw?”, asked Kordig.

Turning to face his superior, “Two people in human clothing. Definitely not elves. Those illusions… do you think it could be Albrecht?”

“It does his style. Maybe Hallweather and Rockseeker brothers.”, replied Kordig, “Klarg reports he’s lost goblin patrols to recently. Glasstaff needs to deal with them once and for all.”

“I wouldn’t expect those fools to come this far south. The Spider should have burned Phandalin to the ground when we took it. Glasstaff can’t control that little hamlet.”, grumbled Stefan.

More howls from the wolves as the goblins search for more signs of our heroes’ trail. Kordig glanced to an approaching scout, “It’s not for you to question the Spider’s wishes. If your Redbrands were part of the Crimson Legion, I would have crucified one of them as an example. The fact that you let Blue Jake get away with…”

Snarling, Stefan interrupts, “They aren’t part of the Legion, and they don’t take orders from…”

Stefan's retort is cut short by Kordig’s mailed fist in the stomach buckling Stefan to the ground. The following kick to the chin sends Stefan sprawling. Stefan moves to tackle the hobgoblin, and stops short realized how foolhardy it would be. “You serve the Black Spider, which means you take orders from me. Don’t forget that. Now find them… and try to bring some of them back alive. I’d like to know from where they hail. Understood?” 

Stefan wipes the blood from his chin, “Yes…”

Consumed with fury, Kordig glowers at Stefan, “Yes, what?”

“Yes, sir!”, Stefan reluctantly replies.

“Good. Dismissed!”, Kordig says as he turns to face the human scout, a human female with two long swords on her hip, “Report!”

"Captain, Yari says they were attacked by two more in Tinderfoot… Blue Jake is…"

Experience Points: (975 XP, 195 XP each)

Into the Wykefort Caverns
Wykefort Expedition - Session Two

After skilfully deceiving the hill giant living in Wykefort with Leon's magical cloud of fog and Shora's series of minor illusions, the outriders lead by Osric made their way down under the fort. Proceeding down the stairs into the caverns below our heroes used their teamwork to cross the gap in the collapsed staircase, but Osric lost his footing and tumbled to the ground below.

While descending the stairs, the heroes discovered a barred door. Lyra, calling on the power of Hearthsbane (her magical sword), basheed down a barred door and were attacked by savage skeletons. After defeating the skeletons and discovering the fort's armory, they were drawn into the caverns under the fort by the groans of some massive creature. 

Below they found the disgusting living space of the hill giant and the source of the groans. There they found an emaciated hill giant chained to the wall of the cavern. As they approached the creature went into a rage straining against its chains. Why would a giant chain one of its own to starve in a dank cavern?

Experience Earned: 1100 XP (275 XP each)

Up the Azure River

After resting and training at Stoorside, Danadin lead his crew up the Azure River continuing towards St. Huge's Abbey.  His intrepid heroes faced zombies careening off the cliff tops into their ship, but Danadin held the zombies at bay while his team of outriders quickly dispatched them. They faced even greater danger when passing through a rough area of jagged rocks and rapids their trustworthy ship was attacked by a water elemental (named Monsoo) possessed by Mephits slamming it against the rocks. Yet, they survived and made their way within sight of Tinderfoot Ferry. Having heard rumors of orcs and goblins occupying the ferry tower, they wisely beached their ship down river and traveled through the Wychwood to scout the tower. There they found a team of hobgoblins, goblin wolf riders, bugbears and human bandits barring the river with heavy chains. They sighted the bugbears and humans entering the city and bringing out loot.

Experience Earned: 1,200 XP (300 XP per character)

An Outrider's Betrayal

Meg sits on the floor in her room in the Outrider’s guild hall. A ghostly reflection that isn’t hers stares back at her from the mirror, “Yes master, I almost have it. I should get it tonight.”

A knock at the door calls Meg’s attention. A young man in fine clothing stands at her door. He’s not supposed to be here. It’s Prince Davin, heir to the throne of Agenland. “Who were you talking to, Meg?”

“I was just praying.”, she replies. “Have you got it?”

Prince Davin smiles as he pulls a key from his pocket. Meg moves to take the key, but the prince retreats, “It’s protected by ancient magic; only someone of my house can touch it.”, he says, “We should hurry. We don’t have much time.”

The slink from the guild hall into the city streets. The prince pulls up his hood to avoid notice as the two use the cover of darkness to avoid a guard patrol. They arrive at the side door to the cathedral and the royal key grants them access, it’s magic unlocking any lock the King owns. With candles in hand, they sneak down into the library where they find the gate that denied them entry the morning before.

“We’ll finally know the truth about what you saw. We’ll know what they’re hiding from us.”, Davin says with determination.

In the vault they search the stacks and find the book that monster has been seeking, a tome bound in flesh and bone. On the cover is an outstretched hand with an eye in the center of the palm. This is Naqir’s spellbook… a book of most vile darkness. The creature controlling Meg smiles.

Davin kisses Meg in that shared moment of accomplishment. The creature controling Meg’s body lets the girl have that moment of joy, not only out of the respect for Meg’s strength, but also out of the sheer cruelty of what is to come.

Davin pulls away and confesses to Meg that he loves her. Meg blushes and smiles. Suddenly, Davin convulses as he looks down to see blood flowing from his heart, a bloody, silver dagger held in Meg’s hand. The creature gives control back to Meg. She cries out cradling Davin in her arms preparing to give Davin the mercy of a true death, but the creature denies her that at the last moment. Leaving Davin’s animating body behind she picks up her master’s book and locks the gate to the vault behind her.

With the book in hand Meg dashes for the Northwood, as the dead gate guard who tried to bar her way already beginning to rise In the woods outside the city, dog-like humanoids growl at the approach of a Meg. The gnoll, covered in burns, holds out it’s hand revealing an eye branded into the palm, “You’re late.”, growls the pack leader.

“I don’t answer to you, Immor. Take me to Naqir before I lose my patience.”, Meg replies. The pack leader reluctantly submits, and leads her into the forest. Meg turns to look at the city, and a single tear rolls down her face as she thinks of Davin. The creature wipes Meg’s tear aside, “Don’t do that again, Meg, if you know what’s good for your friends.”, the creature mumbles.

Back in the market square, Danadin stumbles through the front door of the Jolly Abbott, the beer and mead heavy in his mind. A guard stumbles down the street, his hauberk covered in blood, a gaping wound in his throat. A woman screams at his presence, and the creature lets out a gurgling howl as it leaps upon her and tears a chunk of flesh free. Danadin lets out a shout of alarm as the unhollowed turns its attention to him. After a few moments, the creature’s first victim’s body convulses as the curse flows through her. She begins to rise.


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