In the wake of betrayal, the party stumbles into disaster, but there may be a chance to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat (or vice versa).
Kharduum Steepmine (Hill Dwarf Cleric)
Roza Chance (Tiefling Sorcerer)
Con'nor (Half Elf Paladin)
Growbeck (Mountain Dwarf Fighter)
Violet (High Elf Wizard)
Claudiu the Beautiful (Tiefling Ranger)
The betrayal had hit us hard, how could one of our own do this, even under duress. Violet had joined us, she spent some time canvassing the other carriages to see if Koronus had been spotted, but she got a little carried away with her description, conjuring such ugliness it was no longer accurate.
I contemplate scrying, but we don’t have the resources for that, Instead, Con’nor suggests using sending to contact his most trusted colleagues in the Towns Guard, and getting them to raid Koronus’s Inn, they say they will, but warn us that the Feywild encroachment on the Outpost is getting out of hand. We also speak to Nimea from the Court of Rats, asking if they can find out anything about Koronus and his patron.
Upon our arrival at the Outpost, it is immediately apparent that things have changed, there’s now a vast wall of thorns surrounding the perimeter, with people having to hack and cut it back constantly, in order to maintain a passageway through the thicket.
We immediately go to find Ront Axbrekka, approaching, we use the code word, he gives us a signet ring, it’s unusual, but no one recognises it. We question Ront, he says he was hired by Koronus just to run the bar, and that handing over this ring was his last act of employment, he says he was kept in the dark about other goings on, that Koronus regularly had guests, but he was never privy to their conversations. He said that occasionally he heard moving machinery inside the inn, but never saw it. He also doesn’t know anything about the Jasper Tree.
Our next stop is to Crystal Blackthorne, it turns out that she and Violet know each other from their wizarding college days, it appears the relationship was antagonistic, and peculiarly, Violet may have been the aggressor, something I didn’t see coming, we share Balthazars list with her, she says she’ll see what she can do, but there isn’t a methodology there, so it’s not something she can just do.
Roza sends Felix off to the post office to send a stack of letters she furiously wrote while on the train, she promises not to put herself in any danger while he’s gone.
We head over to Con’nors contingent of Towns Guard to see what they found, on the way I stop by TOM’s (Temple of Moradin’s) Diner to sanctify it, now that we can’t be sure we trust other guild members, we’re going to need a secure place to meet.
Meeting up with the Towns Guard, they tell us they searched the Inn top to bottom, it was booby trapped and some of them were hurt, but not too seriously. We decide we need to see this for ourselves, especially after what Ront has told us, the ring may also match up to something inside and point us in the right direction.
Traversing the woods through the edge of town, it’s now incredibly overgrown, as dark as night, eventually reaching the Inn, we can see the woods already growing to claim the building, I use ‘Word of Radiance’ to blast the vines back from the doors and we enter, we see traps everywhere, already set off and discovered by the guards, I cast ‘Find Traps’ but can’t see anything that hasn’t already been set off.
Searching the room, we find a hidden trap door behind the bar, spying a small notch, we use the signet ring, it’s a key! Turning it we hear a click, the door, hidden in a bar barrel, opens. Clambering through and down the stairs on the other side, we find ourselves in a study. Stolen, mismatched furniture everywhere. There’s a tapestry on the wall, a large tree, names on the branches, it’s a family tree.
Looking over it, all of the paternal sides male names are Jasper… the Jasper tree! Pulling back the tapestry is a glowing, blue amulet, Violet recognises this as magical from the school of divination, we don’t think we should touch this, Koronus told us to find it, but he’s proven himself to be untrustworthy.
Roza grabs it with mage hand and I hold out the bag of holding for her to drop it in, Claudiu looks on with a strange glint in his eyes.
We find nothing else of value inside and head back out, Roza and Violet turn and use fireballs to bring down the building, just to be sure.
Heading back to Sanctuary and meeting back up with Felix, we need to investigate the amulet, turning the bag of holding, everything I stored in there tumbles forth, blankets, brewers supplies, artisans tools, pickaxes, hammers, cooking utensils, climbing kits, a couple of crowbars, flasks of holy water, a few shovels, a few other bits and pieces and a full size ladder. Amongst them, the amulet clatters to the ground, in an instant Claudiu and Growbeck reach for it, the moment they touch it, they disappear, what in Moradins name!?
Sensing some kind of magic, Roza shrugs and touches it too, what does she know that we don’t, a panic stricken Felix looks on, gulps, and touches it too, in a mere moment, four of our party have vanished. Taking care not to touch it, Violet gathers the amulet into a jar, as I stuff everything else back into the bag of holding.
Hurrying to Crystals again, we show her the amulet, she says that it will teleport you to a set destination, and it will have to be the same plane of existence based on the size, she says she’s surprised Violet couldn’t figure it out, and they start sniping at one another. I interject that we don’t have time for this “mean girls'' nonsense, and say that we need to help our friends, and that they could be in trouble, Con’nor isn’t convinced, but I say that we’ve lost enough and we need them back, that even if he’s thinking about this pragmatically, Roza will be integral for getting the backing of the other houses behind us, after House Canniths blatant assault on another noble house, that they can galvanise behind her. He relents, and says we should go too.
With that, Crystal pops the lid of the jar and tosses the amulet at violet with a sly smile, she disappears on the spot, we ask Crystal to look after the amulet and grasp it.
The others awoke on a beach sometime before we joined them, they saw the continent in the distance, they’re a long way from home. Making their way down the beach, they approach a large cliffside, Growbeck pulls out his climbing gear and sets about scaling the vertical face, the others following his lead.
They get to the top and start to gather their bearings, a fortress stands about a mile away, and Growbeck spots a pair of Cannith soldiers patrolling, just a couple of hundreds meters from where is standing, the others clamber up behind him, and have barely assessed the situation before them, as Growbeck lets out a battlecry/ threat and charges the soldiers, but they turn and start hightailing it towards the fortress, there is no chance Growbeck can catch them.
We’ve arrived on the beach and find our exasperated party members looking on horrified as Growbeck runs into the distance, at this point the soldiers are flagging down their compatriots on the walls, and an alarm rings out, it’s time to go. Felix takes his Dragon form and we climb aboard, he bolts forwards low across the sand to grab Growbeck on his way past, he tries to resist, but Felix persists. As we rise up, we see ballistas swivel from the fortress and fire at us, Violet tries to turn us invisible and I cast bless, but one of the bolts rings true and pierces deep into Felix’s side. The shock causes him to bank and we grab on for dear life, Growbeck loses his grip and falls, Roza quickly casts featherfall on him to slow his descent.
Felix swerves and heads towards a ballista unleashing his Dragon's breath in the form of a mighty rainbow, destroying one of them, but another bolt hits him, we crash onto the roof of a structure inside the fortress, it looks like a prison facility. We clamber off Felix, but something is wrong, we can’t feel any magic, it’s like it’s gone from the air, none of us can call it forth, Violet cries out as she sees a vast crystal atop a structure in the centre of the fortress, she believed it to be a magic negation device. Con’nor and I dash towards the ballista on this building, it’s manned by two soldiers, Con’nor reachs them first and dives into combat, expertly parrying their blows and striking back, but they seem to be incredibly skilled and hardy too, I turn and see a contingent of other soldiers charging up the stairs, grabbing a crate of ballista bolts, I hurl it down the stairs, smashing into the vanguard, he crashes backwards, the whole group of them falling back down the stairs. Felix grabs the ballista and wrenches it free pointing it towards the magic negation crystal. Claudiu gets to the sights and aims, releasing a bolt and striking it true, the crystal cracks, but is still functional. Roza and Violet load another bolt into the mechanism and I carry on hurling whatever I can down at the soldiers to keep them at bay as Con’nor battles the ballista team, and starts to overpower them.
In the distance, a slowly descending Growbeck is fired upon by crossbows as he tries to protect himself from them. One of the soldiers on the stairs reaches out his hand as I throw another barrel, he stops it in the air with his telekinetic powers, and they start ascending once again.
Claudiu fires another bolt, striking and shattering the crystal, as magic floods back into the area. Felix cries out for us to board him so we can leave, Con’nor uses lay on hands and I cast cure wounds to heal him before we jump aboard.
Violet and Roza, start hurling fireballs at the other ballistas as we take flight, turning back we see Growbeck, having reached the guards he is swarmed, furiously fighting back, he is eventually subdued and knocked unconscious.
We need to regroup and come back, landing on the beach where we arrived, I use sending to try and reach out to Lodrom again, this time I get a response, he says that he has been tortured for weeks, but hasn’t said anything, he must be here, I ask him to hold on, we will come for him, I get no response from Holly Chance, but maybe they’re all here in the prison, but we need a plan. I send a message to Laurel on Roza’s behalf to keep him up to date.
I ask Felix to turn back to his half elf form, telling everyone to stand close, I focus on my Sanctuary, using a newfound power, beyond what I’ve used before, divine light springs forth and we are teleported back to the outpost.
We need a plan to return, Violet says it will take awhile for them to replace the magic negation crystal,
We have the Cannith armour, and back up from Greywall, our plan for now, stage an attack and slip in under the guise of reinforcements, unless we can think of something better.
I can only wonder what horrifying forms of torture they’re subjecting Growbeck to, but knowing that lunatic, he’s probably loving it.