The Aia Chronicles

The Bone Pits
The return of an old friend...

Start Pelor's Moon, 11
Duration 0 Days
End Pelor's Moon, 11

Pelor's Moon, 11

Nydry makes her way down the spiral stair case exiting the Butcher's Sanctum and finds a room filled with bones and a mysterious fiery rune at the wall. She takes a quick note of the rune and goes back up the stairs to report back. Petal pipes in to tell the group that that is a defensive rune of Fireball, but that's all she can decipher from the sketch. She'll need to get a closer look to make out the conditions in which it will be triggered. She sneaks down the stairs as quietly as she can. She looks into the room to get a look at the rune, but she slips and her foot falls into the bones! Two skeletons burst from the pit and strike her as she flees. 

As she bursts from the stairwell, she tell the party what happened. The party decides they will turtle in the room and attack the skeletons as they walk through. They demolish the skeletons, but there are more coming. Before long, they realize that the skeletons will keep coming, and they work on making their way down the stairs behind Xanders who deftly defends himself from the undead horde as the the party fires from behind him. With some effort, they make it to the bottom of the stairs and enter the Bone Zone! 

As they step in and destroy the skeletons rising from the piles of pale skeletal remains, a voice echoes from the walls, "I have an old friend I'd like you to meet!" Lilian Voss plummets from the darkness above the pit, "Please… kill me…" Nydry and Xanders dash to the door and see that the porticullis is locked using an arcane Soul Lock … they'll need to destroy a soul to open this door, and they look towards the tortured soul of Lillian. The party rips into the soul with everything they have and liberate the soul from the body, but Gandling's control is still strong. She continues to attack in her ethereal form, but the party does not relent. Finally, they bring her down. "Please… take these…" she points to her glowing blades, "End this… I'm so… angry…. I just want to rest." Grog takes the blades, nods his head, and decapitates the ghost. Her head does not come off, but there is a gentle gust of force that emanates from the soul, and she sighs a freeing breath. The door opens, and Lillian's soul drifts away.

Nydry sneaks ahead up the stairs and hears… a lecture? She peers into a room to see a frazzled professor scribbling at a chalkboard lecturing about alchemy. Strange…

The Butcher's Sanctum
I think they know we're here...

Start Pelor's Moon, 11
Duration 0 days
End Pelor's Moon, 11

Pelor's Moon, 11

The party's rest proceeds undisturbed with their rest although the sounds of screaming and magic occasionally giving them pause. As they finish their short rest, a magical aberration appears by the doorway, "So you're the meddlesome group that's been attacking my university." Grog casts Sacred Flame at the image to no avail. "Well, I believe I know why you're here. I'll make you a deal. I'll trade you the two whelps in exchange for the girl and her amulet. You can stop your war and leave Arakroka to me. We all win. Think it over. Dr. Krastinov is in the Butcher's Sanctum waiting for you…" The illusion vanishes, and the party reviews this new deal. After a short discussion, they conclude that it is not worth it to risk Gandling getting control of Arakroka and Petal, so they must press on … violently.

They go through the now opened portcullis and find a set of winding stairs. At the top, they see an open door. Nydry sneaks ahead and enters the room – she sees a gray elf (Drow by the looks of him) carving away at a corpse hanging from one of many meat hooks from the ceiling. The room is dimly illuminated by a floating red candles amidst the bodies, and the stench of the place is revolting. Nydry composes herself – this could be her chance to deal a lethal blow and make combat easier! She sneaks up to the Dr who seems busy with his work and unleashes a deadly blow. As her blade slices through the Dr, he whirls around, and the illusion vanishes! From the slabs of meat and corpses hanging on the chains drop two undead wielding bloody carvers! They surprise Nydry and nearly kill her!

The party rushes in to Nydry's defense but not before she is taken down by a carver's blade. Grog and Mizuki rush to her aid – defending her and giving her a healing potion. She's back in the fight but only barely! The party dispatches these cleaver wielding maniacs who seem to grow more and more powerful and reckless with the party's attacks. The last one falls. The party takes stock of themselves, and Nydry sneaks into the next area.

At the edge of this area is a stairwell and balcony overlooking another larger room filled with hooks and corpses like the previous one. She activates her Cloak of Invisibility and sneaks through the this desiccated maze.  She hears crying coming from the walls and goes to investigate. She finds sixteen prisoners hanging from the walls – all missing limbs or body parts of some sort. Not the people they are looking for though. She then finds Doc – this time she looks closely and makes sure that this is the REAL Doc. She heads back to the group to report back what she's found.

The party decides to set up an ambush by lobbing Fireballs and arrow into the room. With a thunderous explosion, the room erupts in flame and Nydry rains arrows into the room. Doc's compatriots fall quickly, and he is not looking good after the ambush. His eyes burn with bloodlust as he starts to tear into Mizuki, but she dodges deftly and kills him with a swift strike to the chest knocking him back into the wall … dead. The party talks to the prisoners and learns they have been abducted from various planes and times and used as sources for body parts. They release the prisoners and tell them to go back through the university and exit through the portrait of the Demilich. They leave, but an old man pulls off his necklace and hands it to Grog, "Here… Take this. You'll need it more than I. It's kept me alive through a lot."  

The party prepares to move forward.

The Halls of Illusion & the Summoning Chambers
Unveiling the horrors of the necromatic university

Start Pelor's Moon, 11
Duration 0 days
End Pelor's Moon, 11

Pelor's Moon, 11

From the stone wall on the far side of the room appears the ghostly form of a woman clad in robes of changing colors.  Nydry and Mizuki get hits into the ghostly figure, but as they attack, they find themselves lulled into a quiet stupor…

Mizuki awakens in her old monastery being shaken by a young acolyte – "Mizuki! Wake up! Today is the ceremony in your honor!" Mizuki blinks confusedly, "You have attained the highest honors and rank within the Four-Fold Path of Peace, and we are having a celebration in your honor! Come on!"  Mizuki rises to join the ceremony, but there's …. something …. something she was doing…. What could it have been? OH NO! The kids! She snaps awake!

Nydry is shaken awake by her younger brother! "Nydry! It's your birthday! We're going to have a huge party!" As she rises from her soft, feather bed, she sees her whole family, alive and healthy, standing before her smiling. She feels a surge of happiness, and she embraces her family leaving behind all memory of what she could have been doing.

Nim shakes awake – she must've dozed off while baking a batch of cookies for her grandchildren. They run around her robe tails, playing and laughing. She smiles, but her contentedness is quickly broken. There was something…. something she has to do! THE SCHOLOMANCIUM! – she snaps awake!

Grog feels gentle hands on his chest as a beautiful woman, a woman whose face he remembers from a long time ago… He's lying in a simple, makeshift hut on the beach – a coconut filled with rum on his side table. From outside the hut runs in a small orc, "Papa! Come on, let's play!" Grog looks sadly at the child… He knows this is not his reality, but what could have been. "Papa?" Grog looks at the child, "I'm sorry, young one," he grabs the coconut from the side table, takes a swig – ugh, it even tastes real – and snaps himself out of this illusion.

Xanders awakens to a young woman's lips on his own. "My love, wake up! We are married! It is the first day of the rest of our lives together!" She smiles a beautiful, rich smile, and Xanders closes his eyes in happiness, any worry or fear or anxiety leaving his mind.

Those who awake from their illusion continue to attack the Mistress of Illusions, and as she takes repeated blows from Grog, Mizuki, Nim, and Petal, she bursts into a cloud coalescing into nine phantasmal images all blasting Magic Missiles at the party. The party hits the illusions, one by one they fall, and they find the real Jandice! She breaks from the group of images and unleashes an illusory barrage at the party! The party takes the opportunity to rip the illusionist to pieces, but she creates another group of images. The party tears through these images, and finally, Mizuki with a battering of fists and feet, fells the illusionist.

The party wakes for the Fire Elemental, whom Grog has named Magmortar, to shake off his blindedness from the sorcerers and then rush into the next chamber.

From the hallway, they can see a ghost wielding magical swords to great effect and holding off a flood of Boneguards! In the air floats a man surrounded by a swirling array of bones and shields and darkness, "Yes! Fight Lillian! Fight until you drop! Then you will be my weapon!" As the party enters, the ghost whirls around and yells, "You! From the monastery! Kill the Boneweavers before we are overrun!"  The party springs into action killing all the Boneweavers in rapid succession. As the last of the weavers falls, the ghost of Lillian sprints from the group towards the gate and running through it, "I'll kill you, Gandling, you bastard!"

The party searches the room for one of the necromantic book – they find nothing among the piles of bone the weavers were channeling from. As they finish their quick search, the green pool in the middle of the room bubbles, and a large golem of bones, steel, and flesh – Rattlegore has come! The construct rips into Nydry, rendering her unconscious, and fixes its blank, skullish gaze on Mizuki who has sprung to attack.

Petal steps out from behind a bone pile and unleashes a barrage of Eldritch Blasts that knocks the beast back 10 feet. The creature gets up and whirls towards Petal – it charges! As the blows land into Petal's ethereal flesh, she bleeds out a strange, ectoplasmic substance as she falls unconscious. The amulet around her neck begins to flail, and as the some of the party focus on the large monstrosity before them, others notice that the Amulet begins to crack and the air begins to swirl around Petal's unconscious form. Slowly all can hear amongst the battle, "YES! YES! I CAN TASTE THE FREEDOM!" Mizuki unleashes a flurry of blows, and as she knocks off pieces of bone and armor, doing no damage, she finally reveals the creatures core. With a mighty punch, she hits the core and the beast explodes knocking her back as the creature falls… dead.

Grog sprints to Petal and shoves a healing potion down her throat, looking anxiously at the amulet. As Petal's eyes burst open, the Amulet glows less and the voice grows distant. As she gasps, "SHIT! OW! Fuck! That… hurt. Let's not… do that… again." And she lays down, panting exhaustedly.

The party, drained of spells and HP, decides to try and take a short rest and to check out the loot. Hopefully, they don't get ambushed, but they need to take a break…

Into the Scholomancium
Out of the frying pan...

Start Pelor's Moon, 11
Duration 0 days
End Pelor's Moon, 11

Pelor's Moon, 11

The students rush Mizuki and Xanders on the stairs, and, in doing so, they see Nydry as well. They summon Boneguards to their sides. They rush up the stair well and surround the players. Grog, Nim, and Petal rush to assist, but Xanders is hit with an icy spell causing him to slow down. As he navigates the battlefield in which Nydry and Mizuki are dominating the Boneguards with ease, he feels the chilly touch of this icy curse flow through his veins and lash out at his allies. They are both slowed down by 10 ft per round! From the platform, the party eliminate the students while being barraged by spells from the Instructor, and as the battle rages on, a raging blizzard begins to fill the back of the room. The students that get caught in the blizzard are instantly frozen and shattered as Chillheart absorbs their souls to her green gem.

After dealing with Chillheart's students, the party focuses their efforts on the Instructor, and Mizuki delivers the killing blow to the necromancer! Her spirit floats above her corpse and flies into the green gem, and it begins to fling spells at the party!

Grog goes and knocks the gem to the ground allowing Nydry and Mizuki to unleash their blows freely and the phylactery of Chillheart is also defeated! Grog's blessing will only last a short time longer, so the party rushes into the hallway in the back. Nydry sneaks ahead and finds the Hall of Illusions filled with casters focusing on large green candles. She sneaks up behind one of the casters and deals a killing blow from behind, and the Candlemage falls dead. She flees back to her party, and the party rushes in!

Nydry gets another surprise shot off at another Candlemage dealing a significant amount of damage but not a killing blow. The Candlemages summon Boneguards to their sides, and the party quickly realizes that these candles are focuses of the casters! They destroy one candle, but the other candle is nestled between two stone bookshelves and protected by a caster and multiple Boneguards. The party manages to kill all the Boneguards and destroy the candle before executing the Candlemage.

The room grows dark as the braziers go from green to purple, and a disembodied voice echoes from the walls, "It takes stonessss to challenge the Mistress of Illusions… Let's see what you've got!"

The First Steps in Another Plane
A Ghost Town in the Shadow Lands

Start Pelor's Moon, 11
Duration 0
End Pelor's Moon, 11

Pelor's Moon, 11

The party finishes their Short Rest in the lair of the corrupted copper dragon. They harvest some meat from the dragon's body and loot his belongings to find a magical staff entwined by a snake at its end. The party cannot identify the magic item but keep it in their party inventory.  The party dine on fresh dragon tongue and walk over to the dark portal.

The portal is a horizontal structure with a skull-capped pedestal at the front. As they approach the opening, they see that it is currently just a large 30-ft bowl in the ground. Lily informs the party that that they need to jump into the bowl and someone needs to offer a drop of blood to the skull. From there, the portal should send them to Shadowfell.  Grog volunteers to offer the blood sacrifice rather than letting Lily or Nim expose themselves to the corrupting influence of the Dark Necromancer. A few drops of blood drop into the skull and within seconds the skull is overflowing with blood, and Grog jumps down into the bowl. The blood fills the bowl and the party submerges beneath the surface. Before the blood covers them, Lily shouts, "Petal says there's a tree outside the cave – a large tree – if we get separated, head to that tree and we will meet you there in an hour if we can. If we do not make it, follow the path from the cave until it hits the road. The road should quickly reach a lake where the Monastery lies."

Their visions go black and they feel themselves twisted, pulled, and squished into a thousand shapes until they are unceremoniously thrown to the ground a few seconds later.  Everyone lands on their feet and prepare for combat as they enter a new plane – the Land of the Dead, Pergatory, the In-between, Shadowfell.  The magic of this realm fills their bodies, and Xanders has a horrific realization that he is far from home and that he doesn't want to die out here. He grows convinced that this will be his grave and feels an overwhelming sense of Dread.  The party looks around the cave and see a ghostly feminine figure lying prone on the ground – Grog raises his weapon and asks who they are. "Grog, it's Lily! Did we make … " she looks down at her hands and realizes that she is now occupying Petal's body! "Oh! This is – " her face contorts and turns into a scowl, " – yeah… this is my body, Lily." She flexes her hands and levitates above the ground slightly. "It's been long time since I've been to this place. Let's go."

The party leaves the cave to find a still darkness awaiting them. The Dark Portal cave exits just above a forest – from the cave entrance, the party sees the vast expanse of Shadowfell illuminated by a white moon – much larger than in Aia and brighter but still darker than the sun. The party goes into the forest and quickly finds an overgrown path with the assistance of Petal. She leads them with a forgotten familiarity down the paths to a dirt road. From the dirt road, the party finds themselves at a large lake. Nydry scouts ahead unseen while Grog pushes the party forward as fast as possible – his home is under threat of war and it's up to them to stop it! The bridges lead to an island in the center where a town stands and a large building at the top of a hill.  "That's the monastery, but there was not a town here when I last saw this place… Be on your guard."

Nydry scouts ahead unseen by any residents, but she cannot see any once she steps foot on the island. A few buildings are in tact, but this town is crumbling for the most part. In the distance she sees what appears to be a blacksmith shop with items neatly organized, smoke coming from the smokestack, and the faint echo of hammers striking anvils… but no one is to be seen. Nydry is sufficiently freaked out and goes back to the party.

While Nydry scouts ahead, the party takes their first steps onto the island. They see the two standing structures near a shambling dock and a road leading up to the city when in the darkness they see a humanoid ghost materialize in front of them, "Who are you who come to this place? What is your business here?"  The party tells the ghost they are here to rescue two captives from the Scholomancium and destroy all those inside if they can.  The ghost breathes a sigh of relief and offers them a bag of Spectral Dust – the necromancers attacked and destroyed this town around 150 years ago, and although many of the souls and bodies of the residents have been enslaved in the Scholomancium, there are a few here in town who might be able to help the party.  "Talk to the residents and learn what you can. They will not speak to me as they do not believe they are dead. They go about their daily routines as they did in life. Do not tell them they are dead, for they will turn on you in a confused madness as their world crumbles around them. Good luck, adventurers."  He fades away to the wind.

The party go to a crumbling house nearby where Xanders, who now holds the Spectral Dust, can see a woman inside. He knocks on the door, and a ghostly voice calls out, "Who is it?" Xanders, putting on his most polite voice, says, "Excuse me, ma'am – we would like to talk to you. We have some questions about the, er, monastery." There's no response. Xanders knocks again, but no response comes from within the house.  He steps through a hole in the side of the house and sees a beautifully decorated but disorganized home with a pale fire in the crumbled fireplace. He enters another room and finds the young woman curled into a corner gasping for breath and forcing her eyes shut.

"Ma'am, are you oka – "

"Go away! I don't want to talk to YOU people!"

"What do you mean 'you peo – '"


"OK, I'm sorry. I'm going now."  Xanders hands the Spectral Essence to Mizuki who sees the same beautifully decorated home and a girl curled into the fetal position. "Hey, are you OK?" 

"Where did that terrible man go?" 

Mizuki assures the girl that he's not here and that she just wants to ask some questions. The girl introduces herself as Renfray – a local artist. Mizuki asks if she has any information that could help them in the Monastery. She frantically begins looking around tossing paintings towards Mizuki - "Sometimes I have these … visions. I don't know what they are, but I can tell I'm near the Monastery somehow. There's something dark in that building. It's not natural. I draw what I see, but I have never been able to discern any patterns. I'm sorry." Mizuki looks at the hodge podge of paintings and cannot discern any pattern either. Mizuki tells the girl that she will ask a friend to come in and look at the paintings to see if she can glean any information. Mizuki walks out the door, hands the dust to Nim, who then walks through the front door. "Are you that nice lady's friend to look at the paintings?" Nim kindly informs her that she is indeed here to look at the paintings.  Nim looks through all the paintings and is able to connect important points together. From the information, she is able to construct a map of the Scholomancium as well as the general locations of dangerous enemies! She thanks Renfray and makes her exit.

The party heads to the docks where it looks like there is some garbage that has been meticulously organized. The party gives Xanders the Spectral Essence, and he can see a grubby male ghost rummaging through the garbage piles. "Excuse me, sir?"

"Yes, yes, Magnus! I'll have your items by the day's end! Now quit harassing me!" He continues to work. 

"Uh, I'm not Magnus. My name is Xanders." The man whirls around.

"Oh! Well, welcome to Joseph Dirte's Wonderful Emporium of Junk! Let me tell you, junk really is valuable, you can learn a lot about someone from their junk. Just the other day…"  Dirte begins to ramble on about some junk he's found. It seems like Xanders might be able to glean some information about the Monastery from it, but between Joseph's frantic speech and the strange smell of the refuse, he cannot put together the information quickly enough and gets lost in Dirte's ramblings.  The party leaves the junkman who cheerfully goes back to his rummaging.

Nydry rejoins the party as they walk up the hill into the town. They walk through the gates into the main square of the town. Most of the structures in town have fallen apart, but there are a few standing structures left. Xanders sees a pair of twin girls playing by the crumbling fountain, and they run towards the party.  

"Hi! I'm Sammy!" 

"And I'm Melia!"

"Do you want to play?" they say in alarming unison. Xanders agrees.  "OK! We'll race to the other side of the blacksmith's shop! If you win, we'll give you a prize, and if we win, we'll make fun of you! Ready, set, GO!" The girls race off towards the dilapidated but standing building. Xanders keeps pace and attempts to jump over the a window sill but lands hard and has to climb over more carefully. The girls run straight through the wall and laugh at Xander's struggles. He sprints to close distance with them once more, but the other side of the shop also has a window to jump through. Xanders steels himself to jump over the sill, this time sure he will make it – but his toe hits the sill and he falls flat. The girls help him up and giggle at their fallen friend. "Haha! We beat you!"  Xanders storms off in frustration as the girls giggle and run off.

As they approach the monastery, everyone smells freshly baked bread and pastries. The party goes to the bakery where Xanders sees a portly male ghost working frantically on baked goods.  Upon opening the door, the baker whirls around and shouts, "WELCOME!" very jovially. Xanders purchases a pastry for 1gp and tries a bit. It's OK. The baker, however, is insulted and insists that Xanders tries another pastry.  Nim also wants to try some pastries, and she also purchases some ghostly honey. Perhaps it will play a part in the muffin of peace! As the party walks out the door, Xanders begins to toss the bag of Spectral Essence up and down causing him to disappear and reappear to the ghostly Baker.  "What the – what are you doing? What are you? What am I? OH GOD I'M DEEEAAD!" Behind the party, a thick, ectoplasmic shape appears. A disfigured humanoid shape that howl to the night and attacks the party. It attempts to possess Xanders who resists its will and then attempts to posses Grog who also resists its influence. The party slays the ghost, and the bakery fades from view of Xanders and the smell of freshly baked bread fades. 

The party enters the monastery. Nydry sneaks ahead and sees two skeletons standing guard at a doorway. Nydry nocks an arrow and fires from her hidden position and hits a critical weakness on one of the skeletons that then explodes causing enough damage to kill the other one. From the two piles of bones, two spirits rise. One, a blonde female elf, dashes through the wall screaming, "GANDLING! I'LL KILL YOU!" The other shouts, "Lilian! Stop!" He looks back to the party, "Hello. I assume I have one of you to thank for freeing me from my bony prison. Are you here to cleanse this evil place?" The party tells them of their mission to rescue Neerla and Kiriag from the clutches of the necromancers and destroy the Scholomancium. The ghost agrees to help navigate them through the university but will avoid combat. Necromancers have control over the undead, and he has no interest in being enslaved once more.

The party goes through the doorway the ghost unlocks and see a liquid well in the center of the room. "This was our secret attack plan. To infiltrate the Scholomancium from a portal… Many good people died for this access. Are you ready?"  The party jumps through the portal!

The land in a richly decorated hall in front of a picture of a demi-lich. Nydry sneaks ahead to scout their path with Xanders and Mizuki. As they approach the doorway, they can hear chanting within. Nydry leads and looks over the a banister. They are on a platform flanked by two stairwells in a library that is frigidly cold. A richly dressed sorceress leads a group of students in a channeling ceremony to a strange device.  The place hasn't been cleaned in years it appears, and the dust cause Xanders and Mizuki to both sneeze! The students and sorceress stop their ritual, and the halls echo with a wicked voice, "Who goes there? It matters not … Chillheart will have your soul!"

Backstory Series: Nydry, a Rebellious Princess
Infiltrating the Merchant's Guild

Start Melora's Moon, 6 
Duration 0 Days
End Melora's Moon, 6

Melora's Moon, 6

The party head to Saeriel's manor in the center of town but not before stopping to investigate the Elmdale Market Square where merchants from all around the continent have gathered to sell their wares. The local merchants have all been pushed out of the main area by these outsiders as they are given preferable licensure by the guild – they are clearly disgruntled and disheartened.  The party takes note of this and goes to the manor.

They are greeted at the gate by the captain of the manor guard, Farven, who greets them excitedly. He has some servants grab the cart and store it in the warehouse where it will be kept safe. They enter the manor and Saeriel is happily greeted by a rotund wood elf, Lord Rolar, her father. Saeriel introduces the legendary soldier Aelar and Nydry Arrehndale. He is honored to have royalty in his home and offers his own rooms for her use. The party settles their rooms and then go down to the market square. As they leave, Farven reminds them that Rolar is expecting them for dinner, so they should be back by 7PM. They ask Farven how the local merchants are feeling about the events, and he informs them that his friend, Mordan, is a local vitner and has been pushed to the outskirts of the square by the new merchants. He is very distressed, and Farven would be most grateful if they could help him. He has a cart with a vibrant purple canvas.

The party looks for the purple canvas in the square and quickly find the distinctive marker. They talk to Mordan who embellishes his situation with the guild event – the licenses for local merchants increase in price during this time while the foreign merchants receive theirs for free. The local merchants simply can't compete during the annual guild events! He also reveals that he has heard rumors that the Merchant's Guild does indeed have some nefarious activities - Taenya is the local chapter's accountant and secretary. She tracks all incoming and outgoing shipments and receipts, and on a few drunk nights at the bar, she has let slip some less-than-legal book manipulation she has been asked to do. She dare not refuse. She is a former druid who bears the marks of the Meloran temples on her face. He also informs them that the Merchant's Guild has a violent hold on this city's commerce – those merchants who refuse to get licenses are shunned by guild vendors, and if they are successful, they disappear. One of Mordan's acquaintences, an elf by the name of Duru, disappeared with his entire family in the night. He hasn't been heard from since then (around a week).  Saeriel and Nydry both offer the merchant enough coin to cover his losses for the week, so his family can eat. He is very grateful and offers a free bottle of local wine to the party in gratitude. The party insists on paying the 5sp for the bottle. 

The party then heads to the guild registration office where there is an incredibly long line of merchants looking to enter the convention in the guild grounds. Saeriel patrols the square getting an idea of the economic landscape in the area. Nydry talks with the merchant in front of her who sells cloths, but, as a fellow merchant, he informs her that he is actually in the business of selling Skym, an illegal and dangerous narcotic that causes hallucinations, magical fluctuations, and other psychadelic effects. His price is higher than Nydry can afford, and Aelar does not seem to think that this is a good idea. Saeriel doesn't like the sound of illegal drug trafficking in her city despite Nydry's protests, but Aelar calms them both down. "Now is not the time for this," he whispers. 

The party finally gets to the front of the line and presents their papers to the guild undersecretary who accepts them without question. The forged documents worked beautifully! They enter the compound and see hundreds of merchants in the area with most of the activity being at the local tavern. Aelar goes there to have a drink while the two stealthier party members break away to find a way into the house. They unlock a ground floor window and sneak in before a patrol rounds the corner and sees them. They can hear patrols in the hallways of the guild hall, but they manage to time their movements between patrols. They find themselves in a maintenance room with easy access to the ventilation systems! What luck! They climb the ventilation shafts to the second floor and look through the only ventilation exit with light coming from it. As Nydry leans in to get a better look, her hand slips and crashes loudly on the shaft cover. A face bearing druidic markings looks up in alarm, and she calls the guards. She believes that something, maybe another damn raccoon, is in the ventilation system, and she would appreciate it if the guards cleared them out. The guards leave the room.

Nydry and Saeriel prepare to ambush the bureaucrat – Saeriel will kick the ventilation cover and allow Nydry to jump down right on top of Taeyna. The plan goes perfectly as Nydry lands silently on top of the elf, covering her mouth to muffle her surprise. She tells the woman that she is not there to harm her, and she wants to talk. If she screams, Nydry will knock her out. Saeriel closes and locks the door. The woman nods her head in understanding. They tell her that they need copies of all receipts and orders, and upon hearing their mission, Taeyna becomes much more compliant. She offers to help copy the receipts down to help speed the process.

Fifteen minutes later, there's a loud banging on the door as a gruff voice calls, "Taeyna! Looks like we may have a break-in, so we'll clear out the vents as soon as we clear the house and grounds. Now open the damn door! You know the Guildmaster doesn't want this door closed especially with a security concern. Open up!" Taeyna holds off the guards for a moment while they finish copying the papers. Saeriel jumps back into the shaft, but Nydry does not make it. She and Taeyna exchange worried glances before Nydry jumps under the desk to hide. Taeyna opens the door and three gruff looking elves and humans walk in. They ask her why she had the door closed, and she fumbles on her words. They grab her roughly by the arms and take her away and leave a guard here to investigate the room. The guard casually looks around – completely missing Nydry and Saeriel and decides to take a seat, "Yup… investigating…" as his eyes drift closed. 

His nap is broken as two daggers and an arrow end his life abruptly. There is now blood all over the floor. Nydry attempts to clean up a little before she hears more guards coming down the hall. She climbs a rope lowered by Saeriel to the ventilation shafts. As they crawl through the shafts, they can hear surprised commotion in the room as the guards discover the corpse of the guardsmen. As they descend the shaft to the second floor, they hear an alarm being raised and commotion in the house. They exit through the window of the maintenance room, and Nydry jumps into the nearby bushes, but Saeriel is too slow! She is spotted by a patrol! They give chase while Nydry stays hidden. Saeriel attempts to flee past the bar but as she breaks from the house, 4 more guards rush out the doors and begin chasing her. She calls for her bear who also begins to give chase to the guards. Finally, one of the guards catches her, but his grip is quickly broken by a shadow in the night that launches him onto his back and teleports Saeriel away. Saeriel is thrown into the dirt, and Rose glowers under a dark cloak, "STUPID GIRLS!" and she vanishes once more.  Nydry is spotted by one of the guards, and now all the guards are giving chase with some firing their crossbows at her. She is peppered with 3 shots, but she continues to run towards the wall – she has to climb the wall and make it out of this compound. She climbs with incredible speed over the wall and flees into the night before the guards can stumble over the 20 ft obstacle. 

Nydry hides in the dark alleys feeling the pain from her wounds. Out of the night, a dark cowled figure appears and pushes her into the wall, "What happened to stealth? Silence? Subtlety?! What happened to every lesson I ever taught you? Does it just go out the window as soon as it looks like you MIGHT have to kill someone?! Don't you dare ask how I know that – the guards were yelling it as they chased you. Did you at least get the papers?" Nydry sheepishly hands over the papers, and Rose shoves them into her bag and grabs Nydry by the shoulder. Her world is blackened until she emerges in the manor grounds. "Hide here. I'll have one of my agents smuggle you someplace safe and treat your wounds. We'll talk when you return to Ironwood, Nydry." She vanishes into the night, and Nydry stays in the bushes where Rose left her. Farven approaches the bush, "Your Highness! Rose sent me – come with me!" He leads her to the barracks where he treats her wounds. She leaves the barracks looking non-chalant as possible as Aelar and Saeriel enter the manor grounds from the square.  Farven informs the party that Saeriel's father is waiting for them in the grand hall – they are late! 

Backstory Series: Nydry, a Rebellious Princess
Journey to Elmdale

Start Mortal's Moon, 1
Duration 6 Days
End Mortal's Moon, 6

Mortal's Moon, 1 – 2

With Rose's departure, the trio decide to sober up in frustration. Uncle Aelar keeps watch over the two young ones while they rest. Saeriel wakes up early and ventures into the forest to commune with the forest. Nydry wakes up, very hungover, and makes her way to the local Meloran temple to obtain a Lesser Restoration scroll in order to remove her hangover and get some work done. She finishes her alternate identity – a local wine merchant who is going to Elmdale to participate in the Merchant's Guild festivities.

In order to enhance this disguise, Nydry decides she needs to … "borrow" some wine from the royal cellars, so her and Aelar make their way to the keep to try and steal a wagon's worth of wine as well as a disguise kit.  The duo goes to the keep to ask King Caspian if she can have a disguise kit – he informs them that Rose has given specific instructions to him and others in the castle to not assist Nydry so that she may learn the profession without her royalty helping her. "But… if I were to look for a disguise kit, I might look in the performers' lockers in the basement. I'm extremely busy at the moment, but I will have to tell Rose of your … progress when I'm done at say…. 1 'o' clock?" He winks and walks away non-chalantly, and the pair know what they need to do. They go to the lockers in the basement, and Nydry immediately identities the costume supply locker. She picks the lock with some difficulty, and her and Aelar both hear a guard making his way down the hall towards them.  Nydry hides in the rafers while Aelar acts cool as though he belongs here. The guard passes and sees him. "Captain," he says as he salutes his superior officer. Nydry drops from the rafters, and they make their way to the kitchens.

Aelar provides a distraction with his war stories for Nydry as she sneaks past the kitchen staff. Nydry sneaks into the wine cellar and pulls some choice wines from the racks – enough to fill both hands. As she exits from the cellar, Aelar accelerates his story to draw attention away from Nydry, but one of the bottles bumps into the counter and alerts the baker's boy. The staff inquire what Nydry is doing – she pulls a fast one and convinces them that she's getting wine for her father's dinner tonight. The kitchen staff fall for it hook, line, and sinker and offer to help Nydry with the wine. The pair the baker's boy leave the kitchens with armfuls of wine – now they must figure out how to get the wine to a wagon. The main supply entrance is overseen by a grumpy elf named Barov. The baker's boy is afraid of the man, but Aelar simply walks past him using his station as a renowned soldier to shake off inquiry. They get a wagon and make off with their loot.

They go to the stables and inquire about purchasing a steed – the stablemaster sells them a donkey at retail price (he clearly was also told by Rose to not help Nydry, and he seems very nervous about the interaction). Saeriel rejoins them at the stables with a large black bear – nothing unusual in Ironwood, but something new for Saeriel.  Nydry informs her friend of their activities as well as the slight issue that they need to leave like NOW if they want to be gone before Caspian informs Rose of their actions.

The party hits the road…

Melora's Moon, 4

On the road to Elmdale, the party works on their disguises and learning various wine terminology from the wagon of bottles. A voice from the woods calls out, "Oi, there! Stop where ye are, or we'll load your bodies with arrows! We got you outnumbered, so why don't you just surrender, and we'll let you go with your lives, eh?" The party jumps to action, firing at two bandits in the trees above them. Nydry knocks one of them from their perch to his death. The skirmish continues with Aelar taking the majority of the arrows as he stays in the open while the two lighter characters make for the cover of the trees where a burly bandit captain lies in wait. The party takes out a few archers in the trees while Nydry, Aelar, and the bear focus on the captain – hoping that his death would scare his comrades. 

One of the bandits jumps down from the tree and begins slapping the donkey getting it to run away hysterically and guiding it into the woods. They're trying to steal the cart! Saeriel pursues through the woods – a region that she knows well and quickly reaches the fleeing donkey and bandit. The others quickly dispatch the captain and other bandits – leaving one alive – and rejoin Saeriel who is now comforting the frightened animal. The party interrogates the remaining bandit who informs them they're just a group from a nearby village – they're poor and desperate. The party lets him go with his wounds as a lesson against banditry in the future.

Melora's Moon, 6

The party arrives at Elmdale with their disguises prepared. Aelar shaves his head to at least be a little less recognizable. However, this is Saeriel's home, and the guards immediately recognize her and send word to her father at the manor.  Her cover is blown, but Nydry remains discrete and unrecognized. They are escorted to the manor…

The Twisted Guardian
A major milestone for our adventurers!

Start Pelor's Moon 10
Duration 1 Day
End  Pelor's Moon 11

The party awakes from their rest and find the room hasn't attacked them. Nim has learned the spell "Chains of Dishonesty" from Petal. They pack and prepare to continue their way down the dungeon. The go down a long stairwell once more, and suddenly a CLICK sounds! The party jumps to action preparing for the impending trap until they hear a maniacal cackling from the amulet. Arakroka says, "Oh gods! You should've seen your faces! That was great!" Xanders spins the amulet, and Arakroka laughs as he clearly get nauseous.

The party reaches another ledge this time in front of a 20 ft chasm. They attempt to find invisible platforms but to no avail. They see on the other side of the gorge a circular door inscribed with strange markings that Xanders recognizes as Draconic inscriptions – Blood, Fire, Death, and Darkness. There are also four pedestals in a square formation in front of the door. Nim's familiar goes to investigate, but she cannot read the inscriptions. She scrawls what she sees through Squibbles' eyes on a piece of paper. Xanders sees the same words that are on the door each inscribed on the pedestals. Grog takes out his ropes from his pack and, after around 10 minutes, manages to get two lassos around two of the pedestals. They seems sturdy, and the party crawls carefully across the gorge with the ropes anchored between the pedestals and Grog. After the party makes their way across safely, Grog makes a leap across the gorge and barely makes it across with an ungraceful landing.

The party casts a FIrebolt at the fire pedestal, and it glows with a red glow. They do the same procedure for the rest of the pedestals except for blood. Nim offers to sacrifice some of her blood – just a few drops – and she is swiftly attacked in her mind by a psychic energy. She deftly dodges it only taking a point of damage. With that, the large door clicks and unlocks. Grog kicks in the door, and CLICK a trap is triggered! Grog and Mizuki brace for an impact, Nydry ducks, Xanders and Nim attempt to look around to see the source, but it's too late! The explosion bursts from the door knocking them across the gorge while the other party members stand against the trap. Arakroka laughs maniacally, and Nim can see that a stairwell has formed leading to the bottom of the gorge. The party follows it and find themselves in a marshy quagmire at the bottom. The gorge leads to a doorway that has collapsed. Arakroka gets very angry saying that he designed this not to happen and that something is wrong. Grog and Xanders taunt him, and he recedes into his amulet. There is a roughly dug tunnel to the left that Nim scouts with Squibbles - she sees no life but many deep scratches in the walls of the cave.  The party makes their way down the tunnel and see some of the grooves in the stone are actually grinning dragon faces. Xanders recognizes the work of a mischievous Copper Dragon – a friendly metallic variety and the party feels a little more at ease. They reach the end of the tunnel and see that it opens to a large chamber. They enter and announce themselves. "You have entered my lair…. You cannot go through! I will kill you!" growls a deep voice above them, and the party looks up. Those with darkvision can see, not a Copper dragon, but a dragon wreathed in darkness and shadows with glowing purple eyes. Those without darkvision can simply see some glowing purple points in the darkness that then rushes towards the party.  Xanders quickly thinks to cast Faerie Fire at the beast outlining it in a purple glow allowing all the party members to attack it more easily – even those without darkvision. 

The party attacks the dragon, but even as the party fights the shadowy beast, the lair itself comes to the aid of its owner forming a deep pool of mud that quickly sucks Grog and Nim into it. They maintain their position restrained by mud as the party deals numerous blows that seem to not effect the ethereal beast very much! The dragon fires a slowing breath as it descends then attacks Grog who, even restrained, is able to fight off the beast. The mud solidifies around Grog and Nim encasing them in solid rock as the dragon fires its necrotic breath weapon hitting Grog and Nim for a lot of damage! The dragon then mauls Nim to unconsciousness before charging Lily who shoots an eldritch blast at the dragon. The hit lands and deals a serious blow! Grog also summons a spirital weapon that also appears to be dealing some noticeable damage to the beast. The dragon summons spiked rocks around the party where the mud once was! Xanders deals a lashing magical attack that forces the dragon to flee its lair, but it decides to wait until after Faerie Fire wears off before re-entering its lair. The team has just 36 seconds to re-group for another attack!

Nim is completely stuck in the stonework. Grog makes his way out but will not move as Nydry shows the party that moving through the spiked terrain deals some nasty damage as the magical spikes try to impede your path. The party trains their sights on the entrance from the tunnel but many of the party are blinded by the darkness and will need to wait for a signal. Grog sees the rushing shadow from the cave and alerts the team! Lily blasts the beast with Eldritch energy, but the shadow flies into the air where it tackles Xanders bringing him crashing to the ground with the great beast on top of him before mauling the bard to unconsciousness. It then hides in the shadows, invisible to all but Grog who sees the shadow in the darkness and attacks with his spiritual weapon but misses. Nydry fires to the space where Xanders was just mauled but shoots wide. Nim and Petal prepare to cast spells should the beast reveal itself. In the darkness a great purple light appears as the dragon opens its maw to fire another necrotic blast at Mizuki and Grog. As the beam fires from its jaws knocking Grog and Mizuki unconscious, Nim and Petal fire their spells! The wailing form of the Banshee's eldritch blast and the purple magical missiles from Nim intertwine and slam into the dragon causing a great explosion of shadow and energy! The dragon falls! The party has just defeated their first dragon! 

In the darkness, those with darkvision can see the shadow peel away from the dragons form, in the torchlight, a shimmer of copper scales shines in the darkness revealing the dragon who used to guard this portal. The team, after reviving their fallen comrades, see this and feel some sadness. For metallic dragons are good beings who try to help others when they can. For one of these beasts to have such a fate is a tragic thing…

Behind the corpse of the Dragon, the party can see a summoning ring… and the portal to Shadowfell.

Who the Hell Makes Trap Filled Dungeons?
Oh yeah... Narcissistic necromancers. Right.

Start Pelor's Moon, 10
Duration 0 days
End Pelor's Moon, 10

Pelor's Moon, 10

The party rests at the inn waiting for 11PM to roll around. A new paladin drops by to deliver their supply of holy water. The party leaves the inn around 10:45PM to meet Lily at the graveyard. They exit the city via the northern gates and turn into the graveyard that has been turned into a quagmire by the recent hurricane. As the party sloshes through the marsh, they hear two voices in the distant – Lily and Arakroka are arguing about torturing somebody, but Lily says they need to wait for their friends. The party approaches, and Lily shouts into the night asking who's there. The party reveals themselves, and Lily proudly presents her catch – the leader of the local Black Flame cult leader, an orc named Bronx who bears the brand of Vecna on his chest. He is defiant and confident. Grog and Xanders interrogate the cultist and learn that Kiriag and Neerla were tricked into coming to Gulm, so they could be captured by the cult and sent to Shadowfell to instigate a war. Once the bodies begin falling, the cult will raise their army of the dead and conquer Aia! There is no way to Shadowfell, however, without conducting very dark necromatic rituals that involve 500 sacrifices to be made to power the portal. Lily chimes in informing the group that there is one person who managed to form a permanent connection to Shadowfell… and he's living in a necklace around her neck. Arakroka cackles as the amulet opens delighted that NOW the party needs him.  

He informs the party that he made a portal that eliminated the requirement for blood sacrifices in the archipelago of Essmus – on the other side of the world. Lily interjects saying that they have an acquaintance who might be able to assist in their travel problem, but it requires … some dark magic involving a humanoid hand. She looks over, hungrily, at the captured cultist, and the party, over the objections of Xanders, agrees to let her conduct her ritual. Without hesitation, Lily jumps to the cultist and cleanly swipes the hand of the cultist as he yowls in agony. Grog knocks the cultist out to reduce his suffering. She throws the hand on the ground and carves a summoning circle in the ground and chants a dark incantation. The hand twitches and moves and grips the moist soil pulling something up from the dirt. A large Fey lord then stands before the party, clad in Ironwood armor and eyes glowing a pale green. He greets the party with a haughty Fey greeting, and Lily quickly explains the party's plight. He agrees to teleport Lily at the standard cost… Lily looks back at the party with the same concerned but bloodthirsty look in her eyes. She needs a living human heart. Xanders objects still, but Grog says he will do it until Lily enthusiastically says SHE wants to do it as she pulls out her curved ritual dagger. Before the others can finish their sentence telling her she can do, she body-slams the cultist to the ground, slaps him across the face with a, "Wake up, asshole!", and jams her dagger into his chest – carving excitedly through flesh and bone. The cultist screams in agony as Lily rips his still-beating heart from his chest and throws it to the Fey lord, and the cultist dies. 

The Fey lord takes the heart and prepares to teleport Lily when the party and Lily inform him that they need to ALL be teleported. He chuckles and says if the whole party wants to be teleported, they will need to play a little game – not lethal, just a bit … mischievous.  He pulls a Fey spellbook and tells the party that they just need to read the pages and will be afflicted with a mild Fey curse, and he will include himself in this game to assure the party that nothing evil will befall them. Each party member in turn plays the game and gain the following effects:

  • Grog now has an irresistible thirst for holy water and chugs his flask immediately, gaining the Blessed condition for 24 hours.
  • Nydry forgets what birds are. WHAT ARE THESE FLYING BEASTS?
  • Nim now makes bell noises whenever she burps, sneezes, or coughs.
  • Xanders now breathes obnoxiously loud. 
  • Mizuki now thinks that any explosion, no matter how small, is a nuclear detonation.

The Fey lord laughs as he tells the party to join hands and close their eyes. Grog and Mizuki attempt to peak but are met with the icy stare of the Fey lord. After a few minutes, they hear nothing and one of them opens their eyes to see they have been teleported into a marshy jungle. The sound of the Fey lord's laugh echoes through the woods.  The party cuts their way to the temple entrance, and Arakroka marvels at his old haunt. Laughing maniacally, he informs the party that they are in for a GREAT time in his temple. 

The party descends past the crumbling temple entrance down a decrepit staircase until they reach a ledge on the edge of a 30 ft trench with an open door on the other side. The walls are smooth and featureless here. The party, after some investigation, reveals invisible platforms between the two ledges. The party hops carefully across the chasm to reach the other side.

The party then descends a spiral ramp. When they get around 15 feet down the ramp, a large stone boulder drops from the ceiling at the entrance and begins rolling down the ramp after the party. Everyone runs except for Nim and Xanders (although Grog carries Nim technically), but thanks to Nim's quick thinking, she shrinks the boulder to a smaller size allowing the party to dodge the boulder with ease.

At the bottom of the ramp is another stone door and inside is a hallway filled with 5'x5' platforms. Grog steps onto the first one and the pressure plate sinks causing a swinging axe to transverse the hallway from the wall. The party maps which platform is which axe swing, and Grog makes it to the other side, but as he crosses the door's threshold, the door at the beginning begins to seal. The rest of the group jumps onto the first plate, and, slowly and carefully, make their way across the room safely. 

At the end of this hallway is another spiral corridor but this time lined with stairs. The party carefully makes their way down the stairs watching for traps when the stairs suddenly transform into a ramp – Grog, Nim, and Mizuki lose their footing and slide down the ramp. Grog grabs the two smaller party members, and they slide into a pit at the bottom of the ramp – RIGHT ON TOP OF A GELATINOUS CUBE. Immediately, Mizuki and Nim are sucked into the cube where the acid begins eating at their flesh! Grog saves them from the cube and tosses them out of the pit before he, too, is sucked into the cube! The party looks helplessly from the pit edge until Petal casts Spider Climb on Xanders, so he can pull Grog out of the before he falls unconscious. Grog and Xanders make it out of the pit, and the party, exhausted decides to rest in the next room – a 30 × 30 square room that appears to have no traps…

The party talks to Petal as Grog rests…

A Beast Stirs Beneath Gulm
Temples, beggars, and Otyughs

Start Pelor's Moon, 10
Duration 0 days
End Pelor's Moon, 10

Pelor's Moon, 10

The party sets off to the Temple of Pelor. They approach the temple and see a high volume of beggars at the temple. The party approach an older beggar to ask if anything is wrong, and he informs them that the City Watch has evacuated the sewers after a series of disappearances and the appearance of mangled corpses. They do not have the manpower to deal with the issue, so they are simply evacuating the area until they can deal with it.  Grog and the beggar engage in a long political discussion on the relationships between Kord, Pelor, and the other gods.

The party then goes into the temple to see the beautiful, tranquil scene of a Temple of Pelor – beggars and priests tending food plants, clerics treating the wounded and ill, and numerous indigents resting. The party approaches an elderly cleric, Brother Darrion, and asks if they can have some holy water – 10 flasks of it. Darrion tells them they normally just offer small servers to help cure ailments, but if it's to deal with the necromancers, the temple would be happy to provide some high-quality, weapons-grade holy water to the party. It will take them all day, however, and he would like some assistance in return with the city's problem in the sewers. Darrion also offers to provide them with a blessing of Pelor since they are helping the temple. The party agrees, and all but Grog accept the blessing.

The party goes into the sewers, going down and down, until they are up to their waists in water, feces, and filth. They grab some nearby roots and wood to make a raft for Nim since she is too short to wade through the quagmire. They approach the final descent, and Nydry sneaks ahead to scout the hallway at the bottom. She rounds the corner and sees in the hallway a sea of rats feeding on refuse and garbage. She races back up the ramp before the rats take notice and informs the group. They make their way down the ramp and are immediately attacked by swarms of rats – as they fight the rats off, more and more come out of the walls. The party clears the rats out for a moment and make their way hastily down the hallway to a larger room where they spot a large creature submerged in the filth. It roars angrily at them, but in noticing the one in front of them, they fail to notice the one to their right and are ambushed! 

The beasts attack with spiked tentacles and gaping maws of razor sharp teeth – Nydry is lifted from the ground and slammed repeatedly into the ceiling while Grog, Mizuki, and Xanders fight the ambushing creature. Nim stays in the back but becomes swarmed by rats! The group of three take down their target, and Grog rushes to aid Nim while Xanders and Mizuki engage the other tentacled horror. Nydry is nearly unconscious, barely clinging to life, as her friends attack the beast. It grabs Mizuki, but she manages to escape as the beast is brought down by final blow from Grog's sword. He takes the heads of both beasts as trophies. A sea of rats has formed in the hallway, and Xanders casts an enchanting illusion to keep them distracted and allowing them to pass through a sea of rats safely. 

The party makes their way back up to the surface where they present the heads to the head of local Paladinic order, who happened to be at the Temple of Pelor. He thanks them for their service and offers them 500gp for helping the city as well as more weapons grade holy water for their trouble. The party, beaten and battered, make their way to the inn where a note awaits them from the bartender…

Hey friends!

Meet us at 11PM in the graveyard! We think we have what you're looking for, but it'll take us a few hours to get it!




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