Legacy of Tears

Assault on the Outpost of the Crimson Talon - Part 2

Overcoming ancient traps, the party descends into the sewers of the Lost Dwarven Stronghold. Another secret door leads down cavernous and seemingly organic corridors, dripping with slime. In a huge chamber filled with tunnelled holes, the party is set upon by giant spider-like creatures with spiked armoured shells. As the creatures are slain, their dark masters appear – foul, four armed, chitinous plated monstrosities carve through the party and slay the merchant Glanir. Their bite causes paralysis, and they attempt to implant embryos in those who fall (Xill). Barely able to overcome these foes, the party drags Glanir’s body back to their secret cave and tend to their wounds.
In their second excursion into the sewers, they discover the nightmarish breeding pit of these creatures. Piles of strange outlander bodies, like the freed slave Charles (human), lay eaten from the inside out. Tentacled horrors protect the young, and the party kills them all.
Beyond this, the damaged Stronghold sewers are more intact and still in some form of use. Through their caved in maze, the group encounters a hobgoblin band, led by a skilled warrior, a shaman, and a pair of ogres. After a heated battle, the party finds a crude barracks able to hold many goblinoids, the silver these mercenaries were paid with, and stairs that lead up into the fabled Stronghold proper.

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Assault on the Outpost of the Crimson Talon

“There are forces at work far darker than goblins or slavers, that threaten to destroy the Realm itself.
I seek to stop them.
I would have you by my side, but I leave in the morning, with or without you.”

-Milo

Ill tidings gather when news arrives that members of the Gorra militia were lost while investigating the secret passage Rennick’s slavers used through the Pass of Mooncast Shadow. Their investigations triggered magical traps that collapsed the tunnels, crushing all within. That very day, Duke Lornodel discovers that his own Captain Garig disobeyed his commands, and joined Lord Falel and the dwarven merchants to hunt down Rennick Zammere.
Enraged, the Duke commands the Rangers to gather support, track the dwarves, and bring them back to face his wrath.
Baelas and Torrack take they party with them on their search. At the end of their first day in the foothills, the party finds the camp the dwarves had made, but in the night are attacked by a band of hobgoblins and dire wolves. After defeating them, Ronan finds bloody shreds of dwarven leather armour that the goblinoids were using to give their wolves a scent to follow. Determining that some of the dwarves must still be alive for this band to be hunting them, Baelas decides to follow the fresh tracks of the hobgoblins. The trail leads them through a maze of winding crevices into the Norungarr Mountains, where they discover the partially buried outpost of a Lost Dwarven Stronghold. From a distance, they can see the hobgoblins that control it, and the grizzly dwarven bodies that hang from its battlements.
From there, Baelas finds where a battle took place which resulted in a landslide. From the rubble he finds the trail of the surviving dwarves, and tracks them some distance away, to a small concealed cave.
Inside the cave, the merchant Glanir guards Falel and Garig as they rest. They are the only survivors of the team that set out, and Garig is poisoned by many of the goblinoids’ arrows. The dwarves have found a secret entrance to the Stronghold in this cave, but the party decides that their mission is to return to Brinnigarr with the survivors.
The Duke’s fury has abated by the time they return, though he still places the dwarves under armed guard in the infirmary. He tells them in no uncertain terms, that they are forbidden to attempt to return to the overrun Stronghold. Though Garig is shamed, Falel and Glanir immediately ignore the command, and begin their planning.
Brinnigarr is abuzz with whispered concerns. Why would the Duke possibly defend these slavers, or allow a Stonghold of goblins to exist so close to Tellarainne’s border? Is he not the Defender of the North?
Iarien seeks out Chancellor Tinithael for answers, and the steward admits his own ignorance and strong desires to know the truth. They carry out a wager, to see who can uncover the most information in a day. Should Tinithael win, his prize would be a kiss from the priestess. Should Iarien win, she would receive a favour from the Chancellor.
Iarien and Ronan cautiously approach their uncle the Duke. They ask for any explanation he might give.
The Duke claims he can tell them most of the truth, but binds them to a Fae Pact to ensure their secrecy.
He informs them of another Pact, far more ancient than recorded history. The nature of which is only known by those who rule the Kingdoms of the Realm. This Pact allows the slavers known as The Crimson Talon to operate free from prosecution throughout the Realm. The Duke warns that this Pact is so ancient, that it possibly extends to every living soul, regardless of their knowledge.
Discouraged, Ronan and Iarien meet with Milo and Baelas to discuss their plans. They know Falel will return to the mountains, but are uncertain how to proceed.
Milo sets them straight. He points out that these slavers and a Stronghold full of goblins are insignificant next to the dangers presented by whoever is supplying them with these unearthly horrific vials. He convinces the party of the importance of getting to the bottom of this, and they plan to leave the next morning.
Preparations are made. Iarien informs the dwarves in the infirmary, magically heals their wounds, and tells them to be ready.
Iarien meets with Tinithael, who has acquired and studied both the original and forgery of the Fal Tannor heraldry tome that caused Iarien so much grief upon her arrival in the north. Tinithael claims to have found the changes the High Priestess has made, and through a musical Mending spell reveals an erased and unheard of branch of the Fal Tannor family tree – a brother of the Duke named Tallonell. Bound by her pact, Iarien is forced to admit defeat and surrenders a kiss to the Chancellor.

“It is a shame I had to win that from you.”
-Tinithael

“Well, I still need that favour.”
-Iarien

Iarien asks Tinithael to distract the guards watching the dwarves in the morning, so that the party may do exactly as the Duke forbids, and the Chancellor agrees.
The party gathers in the morning. Tinithael is true to his word, and collecting the dwarves, they carefully make their way to the mountain cave, and the secret passage into the Stronghold sewers…

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Peril on the Pass of Mooncast Shadow

“I don’t suppose… there’s any way we can avoid this.”
-Rennick

“Nay. I think we be fightin’.”
-Falel

The entire party travels north to Gorra, accompanied by Jerren who plans to visit his wife and family. They spend two days learning the ways of the mountain pass outpost community and the crisp weather of the high foothills in spring.
On the third day, a woodsman named Nell approaches the party in the barracks common room, reporting a possible smuggling caravan either lost or hiding amidst remote rocky crags. Nell leads the group to where they can see the caravan from a distance, and Iarien sneaks closer to confirm their suspicious activity, including
the presence of a true blood ranger and a magician.
With Iaren, Baelas, and Nell sneaking ahead, Falel takes Ronan and Milo to speak with the travellers.  They are led by a man named Rennick Zammere, and his conversation with Falel results in the understanding of inevitable violence. In a grizzly mountainside battle, the party faces illusionary earth elementals, a fully armoured half-orc, and twin brother mountain dwarves. The elven archer nearly kills Baelas, and Ronan is somehow able to survive repeated deadly blows from the half-orc. In the end, Rennick charms the enraged surviving mountain dwarf and the two of them surrender for judgement.
The party is shocked to find one of the caravan wagons filled with slaves (including the missing dwarven merchant Glanir, his men, and a strange outlander named Charles). Slavery is abhorred in Tellarainne and punishable by death. Also alarming are the amount of rare magical items the party retrieves from their enemies, and the discovery of a cave tunnel the slavers had travelled through.
While searching the slaver’s belongings for magic, Ronan notices a simple iron ring somehow on a finger of his right hand. He has never seen it before and it radiates abjuration. Days later, he will remember Nell shaking his hand and assumes that’s how the ring got there.
Baelas recovers an ancient Elven Oathbow from the fallen elf, and immediately wraps it in a cloak, concerned for the dangers of such a dark item.
Noticing Nell is missing, they return to Gorra only to find that there is no such woodsman serving at the outpost.
They drag Rennick and the mountain dwarf back to Brinnigarr to face the Duke’s justice. However, Rennick seems unconcerned. After facing charges, he asks for his travel documents. They are retrieved from Iarien and the High Priestess (who were quickly trying to decipher them) and Rennick produces a heraldry seal that causes Duke Lornodel to immediately order everyone out of the chamber.
From outside, Ronan and Iarien can hear part of the Duke’s argument with Rennick. Apparently Rennick is part of an organization called The Crimson Talon which gives him free reign within the Kingdom. What’s worse is that he demands the return of his “product” (that quick witted Seneschal Tinithael has already set free). To everyone’s dismay (and the Duke’s barely contained rage) Rennick and the mountain dwarf are given horses, and ride off to the east.
The castle and town are confused and angry. In fact, Falel is asked to speak to Glanir and his furious men (that Tinithael had hidden). During the conversation, Iarien reveals that Rennick’s documents made mention of a dwarven outpost he was travelling to. The thought of an uncovered Lost Stronghold being used by these slavers further enrages the dwarves, and Falel leaves in the night with them to hunt Rennick down. Baelas decides he must return the oathbow to the elves of his home in Yarneya Nadath, whose wisdom will know how to better deal with the
artefact.

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Into the Cassell Nadath

“By branch and bow and the first turning leaf,
I, Shallesta, of the Lurking Depths, swear to relinquish my claim on this Princeling’s soul
should this foul corruption be removed from the Wood.”

-Shallesta

After a week of gruelling military service, Ronan and Milo have the strange new concept of a couple days off. With Falel left to the northern pass to search for the now missing dwarven caravan, the young nobles convince Baelas to take them on a wilderness expedition to the Will-O-Wisp Inn to the south.
During their stay at the Inn, they hear rumours of banshees at the old Dairn Cemetery, and while investigating the next morning they encounter a mad, corrupted ogre whose very presence has disturbed the spirits of the dead. Following the creature’s tracks into the dangerous Cassell Nadath, they are assaulted by a water kelpie (Shallesta) and an invisible pixie (Merryweather). The group discovers that another team of goblinoids entered Cassell Nadath, but were protected from its denizens by foul magics. Milo makes a pact to remove this taint from the wood. In exchange, Shallesta will give up her claim to the soul of the Prince.
Merryweather leads them to the goblinoid camp, where they are shocked to find a corruption that removes their very connection to the Fae essence of the Realm. Fighting off the infected vegetation and the undead skeletons of the goblinoids, they retrieve a dark vial that is the source of this evil. While leaving the wood, Ronan feels an ethereal presence – a personification of the music he hears in the winds of the Cassell Nadath.
Returning to the castle, Milo determines that the vial contains the blood of some unspeakably evil and powerful creature, before it actually animates and tries to kill him. Milo destroys the remains, but is left with a scar across his cheek.
The Duke and his advisors are planning on how to proceed, and decide it would be best if Ronan and his companions spend some time away from Brinnigarr at the northern outpost of Gorra.

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The Journey North

“Now THIS, Ronan, is a true adventure!”
-Milo

The party learns Prince Ronan is being sent to his legendary uncle Duke Lornodel Fal Tannor in Brinnigarr to serve with the Northern Guard for a season. After four days of travel across Tellarainne, they encounter a frenzied team of hobgoblins and dire wolves on the road, and are assisted by members of the Duke’s Rangers (led by the true blood elf, Baelas). They get comfortable meeting folk at the castle, which includes a banquet held by the Duke. Iarien is sent by the High Priestess Ithara to “borrow” a book from the castle library, but is caught by Seneschal Tinithael while returning it. Falel meets the dwarven merchant, Glanir Dalral under House Durig, taking goods north through the pass. Glanir tells Falel the rumours that Duke Durig’s daughter, Lady Ovthal Durig, has possibly found a lost dwarven stronghold of magical power.

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