Unconquered Kingdoms

Ch 3. The Dangers of the Fire Swamp Part 1

When Nitram (and Blend if he went also) returned to the Jovial Peryton, he let the others know that Johan had been working with or for Cromag, then asked, What’s the plan now? Trade seems to be open and safer. We can go after the Red Circle Coven in the Fire Swamp or finish up the administration for the new outpost tower between Falconaire and Aelvinwode. I wouldn’t mind following up with the witches before heading to the outpost and then the elven wood. Does anyone have a better suggestion…Blend? Aeron?

Aeron agrees about the witches and says to let him know when you depart for the Fire Swamp, as he will be busy at the temple of Ereshkigal with several projects that could benefit both him and the group.

Nitram needs a few days to rest up from the poison and resupply before departing. When will you be at a good stopping point with your research?

Posted by: SkidAce
Monday, June 17, 2013 10:14:06 PM

Aeron replied “Two or three days at a minimum. And I have the temple of Ereshkigal researching some very intricate rituals that could potentially take longer. But there is no need for my presence during that time.”

Posted by: SkidAce
Monday, June 17, 2013 10:17:19 PM

Daelin and Jharron express a definite interest in Nitram’s plan to go after the Red Circle coven. They tell the group that if the witches are left alone to continue their blood magic research, that they would likely infect other creatures with lycanthropy…or worse.

Posted by: mmartin_10
Monday, June 17, 2013 10:31:04 PM

I should be ready to leave on Sunday. That should give everyone time to resupply and complete any personal tasks before setting out.

Nitram spent the time conversing with Gracier about the trade route and the council’s approval. He also let Wilkris know what his plans were…seek out the Red Circle Coven and then travel to the outpost. He also updated Wilkris on the progress and status of the outpost tower.

Posted by: mmartin_10
Wednesday, June 19, 2013 12:45:03 PM

Nitram spent the next few days trying to determine where exactly the Fire Swamp was and its size, characteristics and dangers as well as any information about where in the Fire Swamp the coven might be. knowledge (geography)/(nature) both +9

Posted by: SkidAce
Wednesday, June 19, 2013 6:48:01 PM

Gracier pulled out an additional map while Nitram and she were talking about trade routes.

She warned Nitram “This is the general location of the fire swamp and it’s borders. But its not exact, and there are no landmarks on the interior. You would have to explore your way through it.”

Fire swamp small copy

(three mile hexes)

Posted by: GhostTraveler
Wednesday, June 19, 2013 10:17:56 PM

Once the group was back together Jharron said to them, “What happened to you all? I thought you were meeting with the leaders of the militia and returning. It looks as if you’ve been through the ringer a couple times.” After getting some answers, Jharron states “Selyndrica from the temple of Danaan has contacted Wyndal, a ranger, to guide us to the Moon Coven witches. They may have additional information regarding the use of the blood magic.”

Posted by: mmartin_10
Wednesday, June 19, 2013 11:30:08 PM

Can you coordinate with Selyndrica and Wyndal to meet us to depart on Sunday? I assume everyone will be ready to depart by then…. Nitram looks around at the rest of the party.

Posted by: Stoi
Thursday, June 20, 2013 5:18:07 AM

Gravnar breaks out of his daydream of flame blowing bagpipes and wooden constructs.

“Oh yes! I’ll be ready by then. Did we not obtain any spoils from taking down the two criminal guilds in town? Any rewards? Any silvered weapons which would indicate they were prepared to face off against the werebeasts? Is the town not grateful for our service?”

Not being all that interested in the answers to the questions he just asked, he goes back into his daydream.

Posted by: mmartin_10
Thursday, June 20, 2013 4:33:43 PM

Nitram met the group on Sunday morning, ready to depart….

Posted by: SkidAce
Thursday, June 20, 2013 7:51:06 PM

There were several logistical questions the group needed to determine the answers to before departing for the Fire Swamp.

Were they going to accept the services of Wyndal?

Were they going to get any info from Wyndal?

Would they ride horses down the trade road and then leave them with someone when entering the swamp? (Horses are useless in this swamp)

How much food and water would they take?

The group discussed these plans on Starday the 22nd, and made preparations to depart at Nitram;s urging early the next morning.

Posted by: mmartin_10
Thursday, June 20, 2013 8:51:31 PM

Can’t Sansnomme watch our horses like last time? How long is the ride? Is it logically possible to send an animal messenger (bird, maybe) from the swamp to a pre-coordinated location in/near Capone that Wyndal checks daily to tell him to bring us our horses?

Posted by: mmartin_10
Friday, June 21, 2013 12:17:04 PM

I vote:
Yes
Yes
Yes (Wyndal)
a week?

Posted by: SkidAce
Friday, June 21, 2013 9:15:05 PM

Jharron went to the temple of Danaan and contacted Wyndal. He then brought the young man back to meet the rest of the group.

Wyndal was a dark haired young man with a thin beard. He dressed in mostly brown colors and had a happy cheerful demeanor.

Wyndal suggested that the party ride their horses down the trade route for about nine miles (three hexes) and then go cross country to the edge of the fire swamp. They could then head southeast directly across the swamp to nearly the other side, or go northeast along the top of the swamp and then south. The second option might take longer, but was easier to make sure they didn’t get lost. From there they would have to search for the Moon Coven, as their little “clearing” was hidden by magic.

Posted by: mmartin_10
Saturday, June 22, 2013 8:36:33 AM

you did get the 1075 gp, right? Skid claims cromags house was empty so no extra spoils from that short sidetrack.

Posted by: ProfessorHill
Saturday, June 22, 2013 11:18:10 AM

Aeron left the restored armored wood golem with Questeron to sell or purchase. Aeron sent a short letter to the wizard’s tower in Aelvinwode telling a complete armored wood golem was available for enchanting. The cost to create such a construct could exceed 10000 gold pieces, but could be delivered for 5000 gold pieces.

Aeron took lunch with the party at the Jovial Peryron. He produced a small stone statue of his horse Magus saying, “Do not concern yourself with abandoning your mounts, I can transform your mounts so you can carry them into the swamp.”

Posted by: mmartin_10
Saturday, June 22, 2013 2:21:00 PM

I don’t feel comfortable with you turning my horse into a statue, brother.

Posted by: ProfessorHill
Saturday, June 22, 2013 3:18:10 PM

Aeron idly played with the small statue of Magus on the Jovial Peryton tabletop while he answered Nitram’s concerns, “The magic is quite safe and stable. I would not recklessly endanger Magus’s life. Besides, it is infinitely safer than hobbling the horses on the edge of the fire swamp…or releasing them to find their way back to Capone. I would think of all of us you would most like to keep your steed close where you can protect it.”

Posted by: mmartin_10
Saturday, June 22, 2013 4:46:29 PM

Nitram was a little doubtful. And what exactly do you do? How long does it last and can you do it everyone’s horses?

Posted by: Stoi
Saturday, June 22, 2013 5:52:27 PM

1075 gold? Alright! Gravnar and I missed it. I’ve updated this on my character sheet. Thanks.

Gravnar spent time finding a suitable combat trained light horse and equiped it with a military saddle. 110 gp + 20gp unmodified cost.

He will also buy the month’s worth of trail rations. 15 gp unmodified.

Let me know final cost and I’ll update character sheet.

Posted by: ProfessorHill
Saturday, June 22, 2013 6:02:52 PM

Aeron knew as a half elf, Nitram did not fully understand eldritch magic. He attempted to bring the metaphysics down to a level the party could understand, “The spell I have just mastered allows a willing touched animal or magical beast with a helpful attitude to instantly transform into a miniature figurine of stone, small enough to fit into the palm of your hand. Do not worry that a creature is transformed against there will because an intelligent animal or magical beast must be a willing subject in order for this spell to take effect. Gravnar will be happy to hear that any items that the creature wears (such as a harness or saddle) or carries (such as those stowed in saddlebags) are transformed along with the creature.While miniaturized, the creature is under an effect similar to that of a flesh to stonespell: It is mindless and inert, and does not seem alive. However, I may return the creature to its normal form at any time simply by placing the figurine on the ground, touching it, and uttering a word of command. Otherwise, the creature remains in miniature form unless the spell is broken, such as by dispel magic or stronger magic. Unlike a flesh to stone spell, a creature affected by carry companion is unaffected by stone to flesh. If the miniature figurine is broken or damaged, the creature (if returned to its original state) has similar damage or deformities.”

Posted by: SkidAce
Saturday, June 22, 2013 9:51:05 PM

OOC: There is a modifier for goods in Capone based on city size, but we have been here to long to implement it now. So just use the basic prices for basic gear unless you wish to RP haggling and bargaining. That is a player option, not required.

Posted by: SkidAce
Saturday, June 22, 2013 10:04:06 PM

22 Septimus, 508 PE (Year of Storms)
5 pm, Starday

After further conversation with Wyndal and Blend (who had traveled the Trade Road, albeit to the north of Capone) it was determined that once they left tomorrow morning, (or whatever morning they left) as long as good weather held, they would reach the cross country point after traveling two hours. It would take at least another hour across the trackless hills to reach the edge of the Fire Swamp, putting them there well before lunch.

Posted by: ProfessorHill
Saturday, June 22, 2013 11:20:59 PM

The morning of 23 Septimus came early for Aeron. When he joined the party outside the Jovial Peryton he looked pale and weak as he mounted his horse, Magus. He waited for the group to depart for the Fire Swamp. For those paying attention, he was not very talkative and seemed to be occassionally deep in internal debate. An unseen force periodically billowed his silver hair around his gray cloaked shoulders.

Posted by: Stoi
Sunday, June 23, 2013 2:59:45 AM

Gravnar feels strong and ready on the morning of 23 Septimus, and he buys a few apples for the ride to the swamp. He can be heard chomping on his apples for a good portion of the ride. He takes note of the party members, and is happy to have the entire group together once again.

Posted by: mmartin_10
Sunday, June 23, 2013 9:51:44 PM

Nitram noticed Aeron and, while enjoying the peace and quiet of the morning, asked, What is troubling you? Are you able to make this journey or do you need to rest more?

Posted by: ProfessorHill
Monday, June 24, 2013 1:28:41 AM

Aeron appreciated Nitram’s concern, but did not want to worry him with the costs of arcane research. “I thank you for monitoring the party’s health. Recent magical research has taxed me physically, but I am here to defend you against the witches hexes.” Aeron waved a hand in a simple spell to brighten his complexion, but only succeeded in highlighting his pale skin.

Posted by: SkidAce
Monday, June 24, 2013 10:16:19 AM

23 Septimus, 508 PE (Year of Storms)
8 am, Sunday

It was a cool and partly cloudy day as the group exited the south gate and headed down the Trade Road. Farmers and laborers were heading in both directions for the first mile or two. After that it was mostly wagons and groups in horseback heading south to the Varencian Empire .

As predicted it only took two hours of travel until Wyndal indicated they had reached the point for traveling across the hills to the east of the trade road. He led the group southeast between hills and small groves of trees for about an hour. As the party traveled around the bend between two low lying hills they began to smell the the moisture and hear the wildlife of the fire swamp. Coming out completely from between the hills the Fire Swamp lay before them in all its glory.

Fire swamp 02

The fire swamp consisted of pockets of shallow one foot deep water, and “solid” sandy areas. Both types of terrain were covered with low lying trees that obscure vision for any distance farther than 1,000 feet. “There are also clumps of swamp grass that can reach over seven to eight feet tall that grows in swaths across the area. Wyndal exclaimed.

Fire swamp 01

Posted by: mmartin_10
Monday, June 24, 2013 10:19:59 AM

I suggest we travel around the northern edge of the swamp and then south. We might want to minimize our time in the swamp.

Posted by: SkidAce
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 2:30:38 PM

23 Septimus, 508 PE (Year of Storms)
11 am, Sunday

A temporary camp was set up for lunch, and discussion of the next course of action. Wyndal pointed out some of the benefits and detriments of traveling versus exploring the area to the group and stood ready to assist either course of action.

“Shiny…the one thing we shall most certainly need to do is explore once we reach the area on the far side where the Moon coven is reputed to be” he said with a gleam in his eye.

Posted by: mmartin_10
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 2:52:18 PM

That is a good point. It might be a good idea to begin exploring from here so we are better prepared when we get close to the coven.

Posted by: ProfessorHill
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 4:14:15 PM

Aeron addresses the group, “I’m not surprised the ranger wants to go exploring after being cooped up in the city, but there are very real dangers to dallying in the mire and we should think hard before we tempt fate.” After Aeron said his peace, he waited for the others to provide there council. Aeron looked at the watery swamp and added, “If Nitram Tam and Jharron can build a raft or two I would be more likely to support a more thorough exploration.”

Posted by: SkidAce
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 4:34:01 PM

Wyndal nodded “A raft is certainly a wise idea. When we reach the solid portions we would merely have to drag it along behind us until we reached the next “waterway”

He grinned at Aeron in a flash of camaraderie and then rummaged in his pack for a pair of hip waders, which he then proceeded to put on.

Shylent merely rolled her eyes and watched the rest of the group, particularly Aeron.

Posted by: Stoi
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 4:36:48 PM

Gravnar replies, “Perhaps if we explore enough, we’ll find an abandoned raft or two that we can borrow. The idea of spending more time in the swamp than required does seem a bit inconvenient. I think a day or two of exploring would be fine.”

Posted by: SkidAce
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 5:01:55 PM

Nitram looked at Wyndal’s rough map and compared it to the one he had seen at Gracier’s. (Map)

He determined with his experience that using the horses to travel northward and around to the general location of the Moon coven would take about a day if they stayed on edge of the swamp.

Cutting straight across (southeast, then northeast) would take about three days on foot, if they explored.

Posted by: mmartin_10
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 8:49:34 PM

I’m up for whatever, but wouldn’t mind the xp or gp…. Maybe we could ride around the north and explore the 2 hexes south?

Posted by: AFCop
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 11:37:26 PM

“The sooner we get this over with, the better,” Blend offered.

Posted by: mmartin_10
Wednesday, June 26, 2013 10:05:02 AM

It looks like you might want to put those back in your saddlebag, Wyndal, Nitram gestured to his hip waders. I think we are going to ride for a bit longer.

Posted by: SkidAce
Wednesday, June 26, 2013 10:09:08 AM

The group consensus seemed to be that they should save exploring for later, as they got closer to their goal.

Still able to use their horses in the hills along the edge of the swamp, the party set off towards the north. Lush plants and wildlife was abundant at the edge of the swamp. Birds would burst out of a clump of brush and into the air with a faint “squee, squee, squee” as they flew off deeper into the swamp. The party followed the edge of the hills and gradually began to travel eastward.

The afternoon sun was bright but not oppressive at all. Blend was the first one to notice the occasional “put put phoom” sound off into the swamp. Jharron agreed with Blend that it was an odd noise, as he had started to hear it also.

The sprite within the amulet around Nitram’s neck seemed to enjoy the area, as she came out into the open and flitted about through the air in circles around the party as they travelled.

Mid afternoon the group could smell a faint whiff of smoke, and there seemed to be a light haze across portions of the swamp to their south.

Just as the course of travel began to veer every so slightly southward, the sun began to set and it would soon be time to set up camp. As the party looked around for a suitable location, Nitram and Blend discovered an odd thing. A freshly collapsed hillside had thrown large amounts of soil and rocks into the edge of the swamp to their right. To their left was an exposed dirt and rock face, about 75 feet tall. Poking out of the side of the hill was a wooden building that looked suspiciously like the stern of a ship.

Looking more carefully at the area, Aeron noticed that one of the “trees” at the top of the hill looked suspiciously like the mast of a ship, cross bar and all.

Posted by: SkidAce
Wednesday, June 26, 2013 10:12:08 AM

Fire swamp 01a

Posted by: mmartin_10
Wednesday, June 26, 2013 10:14:39 AM

That’s going to be hard to drag over the solid areas in the swamp. Anyone else want to take a look before we lose the light? Nitram began moving toward the hillside, looking for a way to get up to the ship.

Posted by: GhostTraveler
Wednesday, June 26, 2013 11:26:33 AM

“Now how does a ship wind up in a place like this?” Jharron says to nobody in particular. “I don’t think it is really what we are looking at for movement through the swamp but maybe a small life raft is available on it.” Jharron and Fero then follow Nitram to get a better look at the ship.

Posted by: SkidAce
Wednesday, June 26, 2013 12:03:54 PM

As Jharron and Nitram inspected the area closer, it became apparent that it was the stern of a medium sized boat or ship. Only about five feet of the stern stuck out of the side of the hill, which was quite easy to walk up to and touch if they desired to.

The stern of the ship rose 15 feet into the air, and it looked like there might be some type of stern castle on the rear of the deck. The “stern castle” if thats what it was, also disappeared into the hillside. There might be windows into it, but it would take climbing up there (average) to discover that, as none were apparent from where Nitram and Jharron stood.

Posted by: mmartin_10
Wednesday, June 26, 2013 12:09:01 PM

Nitram attempted to determine if he could throw one end of his rope over the ship in order to pull Jharron up the other side…or at least assist a climber.

If that doesn’t seem practical – I’m not sure how wide the boat is and I only have 50’ of rope – he will climb up the easiest path he can find (+4) and then tie off the rope for others to climb up

Posted by: Stoi
Wednesday, June 26, 2013 5:29:02 PM

Gravnar is reminded of his time climbing the wall to save the guard, and he wonders how the guard is doing.

“Couldn’t Aeron the Grey fly himself up there?” He eyes Aeron and smiles. He also produces his grappling hook and 50 foot of rope and looks for a good spot to secure it to the ship.

Posted by: AFCop
Wednesday, June 26, 2013 7:39:59 PM

Blend was curious about the strange ship and decided to help Nitram look around.

Posted by: SkidAce
Wednesday, June 26, 2013 10:44:18 PM

Gravnar noticed that the deck of the ship had a small ledge where it met the stern castle. That would be an easy spot to secure his grappling hook. (Target AC 10)

Gravnar swung his grapple on the end of the rope and tossed it towards the slender ledge. (Att 12) The grapple snagged the edge of the ledge and settled in securely as Gravnar pulled it back tight.

Nitram had been looking to toss his rope over the ship, but once he saw Gravnar’s success he decided to use the dwarf’s rope to climb up. Nitram decided to use the intersection where the ship and the dirt cliff face meet to make the climb easier. (Target DC 10) Without too much trouble, Nitram shimmied up the rope an onto a 2 foot wide ledge next to a cabin or shelter built onto the stern of a ship. The roof of the cabin was slightly higher than Nitram’s head, and it was covered in dirt, rocky soil, and plants, i.e. the rest of the hillside. About waist high on Nitram there appeared to be a window into the cabin. The window was shuttered closed and mostly buried by debris. Behind Nitram there was enough room for another individual to come up and stand on the two foot wide ledge running around the cabin.

Several others of the party noticed a few curious things. Aeron (engineering) determined that the ship had no rudder, or at least none that he could see at the stern. Perhaps it was buried. Gravnar (stone cunning, greed) mentioned that the wooden planking was remarkably preserved, and then gasped in astonishment as he looked closer. It appeared the “wooden” planks were either made of or covered in adamantium. Of course that’s impossible he explained to the group.

Posted by: Stoi
Wednesday, June 26, 2013 11:40:45 PM

Suddenly Gravnar is in favor of the exploration of the swamp…

Gravnar summons forth an apple (from his backpack) and chomps down as he watches Nitram moving around above.

Posted by: AFCop
Thursday, June 27, 2013 1:35:01 AM

Blend walked up to the rope and briefly took the end of it in end before letting go and disregarding it entirely. He then took a couple steps back and sprang up to the walkway using the sides of the ship and the rock wall to join the dwarf and half-elf.

Posted by: ProfessorHill
Thursday, June 27, 2013 11:42:12 AM

Aeron cast the familiar message spell on the companions then commented, “I do not have the power to fly…but I have been studying the techniques and theories and I am close to perfecting the spell.” Aeron then drew his bow and stood watch as the party examined the ship. He added, “If we can excavate the ship, I can repair it magically…then we would only need 100 men and 40 logrollers to drag it out.”

Posted by: SkidAce
Thursday, June 27, 2013 8:41:16 PM

Nitram and Blend remained balanced on the small ledge running around the edge of the ship. After a few moments of looking around, they determined the only way of getting into the ship (other than theoretically digging the entire thing out) would be to clear the debris from around the partially buried window and see if that could be forced open.

The light from the sun was growing slightly dimmer as it sank beyond the edge of the hills to the west.

Posted by: mmartin_10
Thursday, June 27, 2013 11:30:04 PM

Nitram considered just bashing through the wall, but thought that might not be as productive or safe. So, he began slowly removing the debris, taking care not to damage anything and looking for anything of value or pieces that could be used for a raft in case they didn’t find a small rowboat.

Posted by: SkidAce
Friday, June 28, 2013 11:42:54 AM

After a few minutes of scraping dirt and rocky soil away from the edge of the stern castle where it disappeared into the side of the dirt hill, Nitram uncovered the window. The window seemed to be shuttered shut from the inside, but after shaking the panels for a moment or two he managed to get them to swim open.

In the dim evening light a few rays lanced over Nitram’s shoulder to faintly illuminate what appeared to be the interior of a deck cabin. Nitram managed to crawl through the window and stood up in the room. He saw another window on the opposite side from the one he entered, a double door on his left leading farther into the ship or onto the presumably buried deck, and a spiral staircase leading down to the right of the double door.

Posted by: SkidAce
Friday, June 28, 2013 1:04:56 PM

Fire swamp 02a

Posted by: SkidAce
Friday, June 28, 2013 1:14:11 PM

Lioszephyr textAs Aeron covered the party with his bow, he noticed that there was an unfamiliar script across the stern of the ship, more than likely the name of the vessel, as sailing species were wont to do…

Posted by: ProfessorHill
Friday, June 28, 2013 3:39:35 PM

Aeron made a few small gestures and spoke strange words in the direction of the ships stern. “Cast Comprehend Languages…and if necessary Read Magic to decipher the ships name. If the ship’s name doesn’t set off any warnings Knowledge History + 12, Aeron will climb up the rope and cover those entering the ship.

Posted by: Stoi
Friday, June 28, 2013 7:02:04 PM

“Should we prepare to move the entire party into the ship?”

If someone says yes, Gravnar will recommend that he be the last to climb up. Also, he will help fashion a harness for those who cannot climb.

Posted by: mmartin_10
Friday, June 28, 2013 10:58:09 PM

I’m taking off for south Carolina to get my house ready to sell and will have very sporadic internet (smartphone mostly) so I’m good with exploring but will defer to someone else’s lead through the ship.

Posted by: SkidAce
Friday, June 28, 2013 11:24:03 PM

Aeron felt very unfamiliar with the script used on the stern of the ship and also vaguely intrigued. After casting his spell, he was able to determine that the name of the ship was “light wind”, a name he could not recall having ever heard of in conjunction with a ship, or any legends of ships. (History 18)

After discerning this fact he then utilized Gravnar’s rope and the side of the ship to safely climb up behind Blend. (Climb 19)

Posted by: SkidAce
Friday, June 28, 2013 11:26:41 PM

Reluctant to commit all the group in to the ship, Jharron suggested that he, Daelin, and Shylent remain on the ground, covering the party’s back unless they were called for. Shylent would stay on the small ledge, just outside the window.

Posted by: SkidAce
Tuesday, July 02, 2013 12:13:27 PM

With darkness fast approaching, the party had a decision to make; should they all enter the sterncastle of the ship, and camp there for the night, or set up a camp outside in a secluded area?

The night noises of the swamp had begun, the strange insect sounds being most prevalent. In the dim light of evening, the occasional flicker of what could be seen as heat lightning, or perhaps the fabled “will o wisp” could be seen deeper within the swamp.

Posted by: Stoi
Tuesday, July 02, 2013 5:21:42 PM

Gravnar votes for camping on the ship, as long as it looks peaceful at the moment. If not, then he’d like to move away from the swamp by about a half mile to set up camp.

Posted by: mmartin_10
Tuesday, July 02, 2013 5:22:52 PM

Nitram moved to the stairs, Maybe we should see what’s in the hold first.

Posted by: SkidAce
Tuesday, July 02, 2013 5:59:50 PM

Having decided to help Nitram look around the strange ship, Blend entered the stern castle.

With a sigh that could be heard on the ground and inside the sterncastle, Shylent pulled out the ever burning torch that Aeron always tasked her with and moved into the cabin with Blend.

Nitram had gone down the stairs, and as he did a soft glow illuminated the hold. Shylent and Blend were puzzled by the strange comments and observations he was making. His descriptions made no sense to them.

From the top of the stairs Blend could see Nitram standing on the deck of the hold, illuminated by a soft bluish glow.

Fire swamp 02b

Nitram was yelling something about “upright coffins”, “crystals”, and “metallic vines”. Surely madness.

Posted by: ProfessorHill
Tuesday, July 02, 2013 9:16:39 PM

Aeron moved into the sterncastle and looked down the stair at the strange casks in the hold. Aeron examines the casks for function, engineering + 12, arcane knowledge + 12, spellcraft + 14 to ID.

Posted by: GhostTraveler
Tuesday, July 02, 2013 10:13:07 PM

As night starts to move in, Jharron yells up to the members in the ship, “I would prefer camping on the ground preferably away from a ship that shouldn’t be here. Night is falling quickly and darkness will soon envelope us.” Jharron then looks around to see if any particular location looks good enough to be a camp for the night. Fero also looks around for a suitable site and keeps his eyes and ears on any strange sounds coming from the swamp.

Posted by: AFCop
Wednesday, July 03, 2013 9:40:48 AM

Blend cautiously followed Nitram down the stairs, curious as to what in Hood’s name he was muttering about. “Shylent, wait for a moment before following to make sure everything is fine. "

Posted by: SkidAce
Wednesday, July 03, 2013 11:31:21 AM

Having no qualms about camping in the ship, at least for now, Gravnar moved into the interior of the sterncastle, where he could see Shylent peering down a stairway.

Fire swamp 02c

Jharron came to the realization that the “impetuous” members of the party had either not heard his cautionary warning, or in their curiosity, had ignored it. The terrain around the ship was not suitable for camping, and he suspected that, as Gravnar had mentioned, they would need to move inland.

Those in the ship continued their inspection of the odd items within the hold. Nitram’s initial warning of coffins may have been accurate, as each of the bronze and crystal urns seemed to contain a humanoid figure suspended in the interior. Each “urn” was about six feet tall and four to five feet wide.

Blend noticed the five columns of crystal standing in the aft of the hold. They were mostly translucent and shed a faint glow. Four of them were white, and one was a pale blue. The crystals stood as tall as Blend, and were encased in strips and panels of silver and bronze. From the tops of the columns of crystal, strange metallic vines ran into the ceiling of the hold, into the sides of the ship, and across the ceiling to a central point above the “coffin urns” where smaller vines branched off into blocks of bronze and metal that held the tops of the coffins upright.

It was apparent to Aeron that the construction of the ship’s hold was odd in some manner (passive engineering) and he gave it a further look before giving his complete attention to the urns. After a few moments he realized that the floor of the hold was hinged and in some fashion it could split, opening panels to the port and starboard and leaving the urns presumably suspended in the hold with nothing but water underneath them.

The urns themselves (Eng 23, Arcana 29) seemed to still be “active”. Vague points of light flickered green, yellow, and blue deep within the crystal windows embedded within the casks. Inspecting the urn closely, Aeron discovered that each urn’s blurry humanoid figure somewhat resembled the golem they had fought, but were much more refined in construction.

Fire swamp 02d

Posted by: GhostTraveler
Thursday, July 04, 2013 10:39:01 AM

As darkness continues to fall, Jharron looks around for a better defensible position. I don’t know what’s in that hold but this is not a great place to camp for the night. I am not much for staying in the hold but maybe I can find a nice place to be able to cover my friends escape from the hold and anything attempting to come this way from the swamp. “Fero and Daelin, lets make the best of our situation and at least get in a good position to cover both the ships exit and any approaches. We need to try to ensure we have some cover as well considering there are only three of us.”

Posted by: SkidAce
Thursday, July 04, 2013 11:06:09 AM

Along with Fero and Daelin, Jharron moved logs, rocks, and debris to provide cover for the trio as they waited for the “intrepid explorers” to finish in the ship.

They established a position slightly southeast of the ship, where they could cover all avenues of approach and maintain a lookout on the window that the explorers had gone through. Jharron was quite pleased with their efforts, and felt that it was highly unlikely that anything could approach the boat without one of them seeing it. “Except maybe a bugbear…those things are stealthy” he thought. Having seen no signs of bugbears or other goblinoids for miles, he put such thoughts out of his mind and settled for the watch.

Posted by: mmartin_10
Thursday, July 04, 2013 2:42:30 PM

Aeron, do you have any idea what these are? They don’t look like they can get out, but we should make sure we don’t touch anything…especially those glowing crystals in the back. I’m going to see what’s behind those doors before setting up camp. Nitram left the strange contents of the ship’s hold and climbed the stairs to search the double doors. Hopefully, the wizard has some idea what those things are. I would hate for them all to wake up and think we were their enemies.

Posted by: SkidAce
Thursday, July 04, 2013 10:23:30 PM

Nitram checked the double doors. It appeared that they opened outwards, away from the room he was in. As he shook and tried to get them to open, small trickles of dirt and sand fell from the crack at the top of the door and around the edges.

Posted by: AFCop
Friday, July 05, 2013 9:56:50 AM

Blend was honestly intrigued by a ship in the middle of the swamp, filled with strange glowing urns filled with golem-like creatures. However, he had no idea where it came from or what it meant, if anything. He gave the hold a good once over and then inspected the urns in the back of the room just to make sure he didn’t see anything that drew his attention before returning above deck.

Posted by: SkidAce
Friday, July 05, 2013 1:58:16 PM

When Blend conducted his “once over” of the hold, he noticed (Per 18) that the two cargo hold doors on the roof of the hold had roots and rubble leaking around the edges, a hint that the main deck was covered completely by the dirt and debris from the hillside the ship was “stuck” in.

This was somewhat confirmed in Blend’s mind when he returned to the level of the stern castle, and saw the sand and dirt that had trickled to the floor from Nitram’s efforts to open the large double doors.

Posted by: AFCop
Friday, July 05, 2013 4:15:19 PM

“Nitram, don’t bother with the doors. That part of the ship is completely buried. I’m going to help Jharron strike camp.”

Posted by: SkidAce
Saturday, July 06, 2013 11:46:01 AM

Jharron saw Blend come back out of the stern castle window and proceed to the ground. Blend noticed the well prepared position the trio of Jharron, Daelin, and Fero had created.

Night had fallen completely and the sound of crickets, frogs, and the shimmers of heat lightning washed across the camp as a gentle backdrop to the slowly emerging stars.

Wyndal returned from quietly scouting the surrounding area and reported to Jharron that everything seemed okay.

23 Septimus, 508 PE (Year of Storms)
8 pm, Sunday

Posted by: GhostTraveler
Saturday, July 06, 2013 1:24:33 PM

As Blend descends from the ship, Jharron says, “So what’s in the hold of the ship? Anything interesting? The camp is ready for the night although not where I would have liked it”

When Wyndal rolls into camp, Jharron says “How far out were you able to go? Do you have a pretty good idea of paths of movement? I would hate to wonder around in the swamp at night and wind up in a bog or quicksand because we didn’t see it coming.

OOC Jharron will ensure a small fire is going for folks to cook something to eat and he will also look to someplace dry for bed rolls to be put. Expectation is all members are not sleeping at the same time so we can do with limited bed rolls. Do the trees offer some perches that are better than sleeping on the ground?

Posted by: ProfessorHill
Saturday, July 06, 2013 9:30:28 PM

Aeron made his way down from the ship to the camp. As they cooked their dinner around the small fire Aeron recounted the description of the strange cargo. “I have completed my initial analysis of the ship and have unsettling news to report. The ship is called the Light Wind. That name’s significance is lost to time, but the name itself is an evil irony for the ship is not powered by wind. The ship is powered by the blood and souls of those inturned in crystal and copper casks. From the emaciated and gaunt condition of the poor victims in the casks, it appears the ship ran out of fuel and crashed into that embankment.”
As the fire burned down to embers, Aeron continued, “The vampiric nature of the ship is similar to the vile blood magic we encountered in Capone. It may be possible to salvage the rare materials or retrofit the ship with a more conventional power source, but we must proceed with caution. I do not know the details of the design and we could unleash the residual power stored in crystals killing us all.” Aeron surveyed the faces of the companions and then settled back to watch the area while the others rotated through the watch details. As morning approached, he took out an old tome from his backpack and perused the arcane writing.

Posted by: mmartin_10
Saturday, July 06, 2013 9:35:50 PM

So, how did it get here? Was this land underwater or was the “ship” able to fly? Nitram waited, seeming conflicted within himself. Is there a way to “release” the victims or are we sure they have no life or consiousness left?

Posted by: SkidAce
Saturday, July 06, 2013 10:17:49 PM

Wyndal was shocked. His normally cheery face went pale as thought about the implications of what Aeron had said. “Blood….magic? Sounds…disturbing…”

Shylent leaned over to Wyndal and nodded, giving him a serious look. “Yes” she said.

Posted by: Stoi
Saturday, July 06, 2013 10:48:50 PM

“My soul can not be free unless I know that I have done what I can to free the souls trapped on that ship. Wake me when it is my watch.” After a few more drinks and a few more bellicose comments, Gravnar falls asleep.

Posted by: GhostTraveler
Sunday, July 07, 2013 2:27:53 PM

Just before calling it a night and getting some rest, Jharron will repeat knowledge of blood magic to any willing to listen to him. He is basically talking to Fero but others can listen in. The parts Jharron is ensuring he gets Fero to understand is the ability of blood magic wielders to change shape. Fero needs to ensure he fully knows the scents of all the party members to protect against possible infiltrators. This close to an entire ship potentially powered by the use of blood magic does not bode well.

Posted by: SkidAce
Sunday, July 07, 2013 9:31:45 PM

24 Septimus, 508 PE (Year of Storms)
6 am, Moonday

The night, albeit noisy from the sounds of the creatures in the swamp, passed uneventfully. The sun rose in the east and the morning marsh mist soon burned off.

It became apparent in the morning light that over 90% of the ship was buried under the hillside of dirt, brush, and trees. But having said that, with enough time and the proper tools, it could be dug out.

Wyndal seemed confused. He had listened to the description of the ship from those that entered, and he did not understand why a ship would have cargo doors opening to the bottom of the ship. “It would sink” he mumbled bafflingly.

Posted by: mmartin_10
Monday, July 08, 2013 10:46:34 PM

I think it flies, Wyndal. How familiar are you with this swamp? Can you help me identify the sources of some of these sounds? attempting some ranger learnin
Nitram marked the location of the ship on the map so they could come back after they dealt with the coven.

Posted by: SkidAce
Tuesday, July 09, 2013 10:46:42 AM

Wyndal enthusiastically began to elaborate on some of the sounds from the marsh. “The crying sound was a marsh cat, a small panther like creature, with big ears. The chirping and burping sounds, along with the croaking, was various forms of frogs and lizards. Then there was the buzzing and cicada sounds from the insects. Specifically the harping like chirp, that was the moss cicada. The ‘put put phoom’ I’m not sure about. The chittering was some form of rat like rodent.”

Nitram appeared to be packing up to continue on the journey towards the coven. As he got his gear together, Wyndal followed his lead and began packing his stuff.

The rest of the party discussed their plans for the day.

Posted by: mmartin_10
Tuesday, July 09, 2013 10:49:31 AM

‘put put phoom’ is benny the bull jumping up and down on some bouncy hills (for all you Dora fans out there)

Posted by: ProfessorHill
Tuesday, July 09, 2013 9:14:35 PM

Before Aeron memorized his new spells that morning, Aeron offered to shrink any mounts that the companions did not want to subject to the dangers of the fire swamp. He cast spells upon the companion mounts. The mounts shrunk to tiny stone statues, so they could be carried deeper into the swamp.

Posted by: ProfessorHill
Tuesday, July 09, 2013 9:16:28 PM

He pocket his mount, Magis and prepared to head south into the swamp.

Posted by: mmartin_10
Tuesday, July 09, 2013 9:35:26 PM

Nitram cautiously led his horse to the mage for statue-making.

Posted by: SkidAce
Tuesday, July 09, 2013 9:48:09 PM

There was some confusion amongst the party members as to whether they intended to strike out southward across the swamp, exploring and searching for the Moon coven, or whether they would continue around the edge of the swamp until they reached the likely vicinity of the coven’s location.

Posted by: ProfessorHill
Tuesday, July 09, 2013 9:54:24 PM

Aeron gently petted Nitram’s horse until it was calm and, then holding it’s reigns, muttered the arcane words of transformation. The stallion shrunk to the size of a little child’s toy and Aeron picked it up off the spongy bogg and handed it to Nitram with a warning, “Take good care of him. Any damage acquired in this form will be present when I undo the spell”

Posted by: Stoi
Wednesday, July 10, 2013 5:29:15 AM

Gravnar is very much in favor of avoiding the swamp to the greatest extent possible.

Posted by: AFCop
Wednesday, July 10, 2013 9:29:05 AM

Blend looked at Wyndall and Nitram expectantly. “I’ll trust your judgement as to the path we should take. I, for one, would like to avoid trudging through the swamp if possible.”

Posted by: SkidAce
Wednesday, July 10, 2013 11:09:02 AM

After a few moments of discussion, and referring back to the original plan, it was determined that they would get farther, faster, if they went around the edge of the swamp until nearing the vicinity of the Moon Coven camp.

The party travelled relatively easy around the edge of the swamp, on a few occasions the combination of deeper marsh and hilly terrain caused a few steps of backtracking, but nothing significant. It wa during one of those turnarounds that Blend and Jharron, with their keen senses, finally determined what the “put, put, phoom” sound was. They pointed out little geysers of flame out in the swamp, away from the shoreline. Just before each geyser erupted, there was a “put, put” a pause, and then the “phoom” as the fire leaped about three feet into the air. It appeared mildly dangerous, but knowing the warning sound, if one was dextrous enough, it seemed as if one could leap aside in time.

The journey continued, with Wyndal explaining about the rare and valuable herbs “In…indi…indigenous!” to the area. Supposedly there were ruins from some kingdom out there too. Shylent got an avaricious gleam in her eye and appeared to be contemplating what they were missing as they journeyed around.

As the sun reached high noon, Nitram and Wyndal declared that they had gone as far around the edge as they could, and they would have to explore from this point southwest “ish” if they wished to discover the location of the Moon Coven.

Fire swamp 02e

Posted by: AFCop
Wednesday, July 10, 2013 10:01:01 PM

Beware the lightning sand and the ROUS’s!!!!

Posted by: SkidAce
Thursday, July 11, 2013 9:44:24 PM

No need to worry, doesn’t look like anyone’s going in….hehe

Posted by: mmartin_10
Friday, July 12, 2013 3:42:20 PM

Nitram experiencing deja vu cautiously walked his horse to the wizard to be turned into a statue.
Wyndal, time for the waders. Any suggestions on where to start this search? Nitram began moving toward the trees and swamp, trying to scan everywhere.

Posted by: SkidAce
Friday, July 12, 2013 11:11:17 PM

Wyndall turned to his horse and pulled out the hip waders from his pack, with an enthusiastic grin on his face. “Well I’m a hoping we can stick mostly to drier terrain” he said while pointing at his boots. “But just in case”

Wyndal stated that he was uncertain of the “exact” location of the witch’s coven, but that there were several markers they should look for. He waved out into the marsh, and explained they were looking for a small hill with a large tree shaped like a trident on the top. “And with this terrain, we need to start right here” he pointed at the edge of the swamp “and search methodically.”

Posted by: SkidAce
Friday, July 12, 2013 11:19:11 PM

Nitram scanned the area of the swamp adjacent to the party. There didn’t seem to be any major ponds or streams, just puddles and damp spots, interposed with higher clumps with trees and brush.

Not a terrain for horses, and searching a sizable area seemed like it would take most of a day. Nitram glanced at the sun and reminded himself that it was already just after noon and lunchtime.

Posted by: SkidAce
Friday, July 12, 2013 11:21:55 PM

24 Septimus, 508 PE (Year of Storms)
1 pm, Moonday

Posted by: mmartin_10
Friday, July 12, 2013 11:59:02 PM

We should get started. We’ll most likely be spending at least one night in there. Nitram waited for the wizard to do his thing and then followed Wyndal into the swamp.

Posted by: GhostTraveler
Saturday, July 13, 2013 7:15:36 PM

Jharron looked around and said “Well if this is the best place to enter, we probably should get started looking for the proper landmarks. We need to keep an eye out for a descent place to camp as well. We probably have a good 4 hours of searching before we need to start preparing for the night.” Jharron and Fero then move into the swamp area ensuring they are on steady ground with each step.

Posted by: SkidAce
Sunday, July 14, 2013 12:16:46 AM

This section of the swamp was easily traversed by staying to the “dry” areas. Some brush need to be cut back on occasion, and every once in awhile people had to get their feet wet crossing to another area.

By staying mostly together, but branching out on occasion to check a clump of brush, or to find a shallow spot to cross a section of water, the group made slow, but steady progress.

One of the first things to draw a member of the group’s attention was the prodigious amount and varied types of plants and herbs in the area. Patches of camphor and gentian were spread lushly along the ground of the area, with clumps of wolfsbane and varied types of lotus growing in the lower lying more moist shady areas.

The second thing most noticeable was the varied small game trails made by rats (about cat size and possibly larger) and the things that hunted the rats.

Every so often the group would pass by small boulders and rocks clumped together. As evening began to fall, Wyndal pointed out that finding a clump of boulders in a raised area might be the best bet for a camp.

Posted by: GhostTraveler
Sunday, July 14, 2013 4:31:06 PM

“Agree that the higher up we can get, the better. However, we need to ensure all members can get to the camp and see if we can possibly limit the access points.”

Posted by: ProfessorHill
Sunday, July 14, 2013 8:17:30 PM

Aeron collected the Wolfsbane that Wyndall pointed out along their slog through the swamp. After Capone it might be a good idea to have a standing supply of this stuff. Aeron kept to the center of the group as they traveled. Once the rangers scouted out a suitable camp in the boulders, Aeron summoned his air elemental servant to set up the tents and start cooking dinner.

Posted by: SkidAce
Sunday, July 14, 2013 9:29:24 PM

24 Septimus, 508 PE (Year of Storms)
6 pm, Moonday

After conferring with Nitram and Jharron, Wyndal helped the group find a semi open area where the rocks and heavy brush made unobserved approaches difficult. There was enough room for everyone and the rocks made the area defensible.

Aeron looked at the pouch of wolfsbane he had collected and determined he probably had about 50 drams (1/2 pound) of the substance, once he ground it down.

As Shylent was preparing for first watch (per the party SOP), it occurred to her that there was no watch designated for Gravnar. She shrugged her shoulders and set her pack and gear in between the two rocks she would come back to when her watch was done.

AS the night fell, it became clear that they were closer to the areas of spouting fire than they had been before, but still safe. After Nitram’s watch he mentioned to Blend that he had noticed a growing number of eyes watching the camp, low to the ground like squirrels or rats. Maybe half a dozen at most most, staying well away from the camp.

Posted by: mmartin_10
Monday, July 15, 2013 11:24:20 AM

I knew I should have chosen rat as my favored enemy. I think I’ve fought more of those than ogres so far, and this little jaunt into the swamp doesn’t seem to change that.

Posted by: SkidAce
Monday, July 15, 2013 11:15:57 PM

Blend kept a watch, but nothing happened other than the eyes moving around in the darkness. Aeron’s watch also passed uneventfully, and soon the sun began to rise.

Nitram noticed numerous rat tracks surrounding their camp, but nothing of any size to be concerned about in his opinion.

25 Septimus, 508 PE (Year of Storms)
6 am, Earthday

From Nitram and Wyndal’s estimation, it would take at least another half day to search the surrounding area where the Moon coven was reputed to be.

During the morning search, the party came across the remains of a stone bridge, spanning a slightly deeper causeway of water. Gravnar noticed the blocks were very precisely cut and laid out, excellent workmanship. Age however had softened the blocks, and most of them were coated in moss and fungus. The bridge was about ten feet wide, and spanned across nearly fifty feet of causeway, raising to a height about ten feet above the water at its center.

Pedestals mounted with obelisks flanked the foot of the bridge, with faded elaborate carvings etched into their surface. Mostly decorative, with a single large logo in the center facing approaching travelers.
Crest 02

Posted by: SkidAce
Friday, July 19, 2013 10:57:16 AM

A slight breeze rippled through the air and across the water. The marsh had grown oddly quiet, yet peaceful in the early morning sun. Pheasant took wing farther down the stream to the left, and settled quickly back down into another patch of grass.

Posted by: mmartin_10
Monday, July 22, 2013 11:21:05 AM

Knowledge check for the symbol
It looks like a bird, Nitram commented as they walked across the bridge.*

and later
Anyone want pheasant for lunch? Jharron, have you hunted with Fero yet? If he can flush out the birds, we can shoot them. Or the dwarf could go. He would probably make enough noise to scare the birds and his height shouldn’t preclude anyone from shooting….

Posted by: SkidAce
Monday, July 22, 2013 11:53:31 AM

Nitram thought the symbol looked oddly familiar, and was sure he had seen it somewhere before, but was unable to recall anything of significance. It wasn’t any of the local kingdoms, maybe it was something of historical importance.

Posted by: AFCop
Monday, July 22, 2013 8:06:05 PM

“Nice bridge. Intriguing symbol. Does it point to where the coven is?” Blend asked.

Posted by: SkidAce
Tuesday, July 23, 2013 6:50:40 PM

When the symbol was pointed out to Wyndal, he commented “I think that is the symbol for the ancient Wensharian Empire”.

“It’s said that the outskirts of their empire reached this far north before it fell.”

Wyndal also clarified that they had finished searching this are and had seen no sign of the tree they were looking for. He recommended continuing sw into the marsh and searching more in that area.

Having plenty of time left in the day, the group agreed. They crossed the bridge and continued to the sw. Much of the remaining time up to lunch was similar to the explorations of yesterday.

Until Daelin heard the “put put” sound and was too slow to react Reflex 12 and got slightly scorched (3 hp dam) by the “phoom” as a billow of flame leapt up next to him. The flames on his clothing were easily put out.

After that minor incident, the exploration continued, and immediately after lunch break, Nitram spied the trident shaped tree upon its little water surrounded island hill. Waist high marsh grass surrounded the edges of the little island (maybe 100 feet across) but other than that, and a few rocks and small bushes, the tree stood alone.

Fire swamp 02f

Posted by: mmartin_10
Wednesday, July 24, 2013 12:05:00 PM

Okay, Wyndall. Now that we found the tree, what is the next landmark we should be looking for?

Posted by: SkidAce
Wednesday, July 24, 2013 9:23:06 PM

Wyndal replied confidently, “Once we reach the trident shaped tree there should be a trail leading southward from the base of the tree through a misty grove”

Wyndal looked at the water surrounding the island and frowned.

Posted by: mmartin_10
Thursday, July 25, 2013 11:47:45 AM

Nitram also considered how to traverse the water. How far to the tree? He considered ways to attach a rope to the tree and create a very simple rope bridge, but in the end he began to look for fallen logs to build a small raft. knowledge:nature? or craft/survival?

Posted by: mmartin_10
Thursday, July 25, 2013 11:48:28 AM

Wyndall, how deep is the water around the tree? Will your waders keep you dry?

Posted by: SkidAce
Thursday, July 25, 2013 5:07:23 PM

Hearing Nitram’s question, Wyndal waded into the water and determined that for the most part it was about knee high. He waded the thirty feet to the island and stepped up onto the bank, pushing through the marsh grass as he did so, and then turned, waving cheerily to Nitram.

Posted by: ProfessorHill
Saturday, July 27, 2013 12:33:04 AM

Aeron followed Nitram through the swamp to join Wyndall, using a minor spell on them to remove the water and muck as they climbed out of the stagnant water onto the grassy island dominated by the trident shaped tree. Witches must love this swamp because theyare so buoyant.

Posted by: SkidAce
Saturday, July 27, 2013 11:37:51 AM

Wyndall stood and stared at the base of the looming dead trident shaped tree. The grass and foliage around the tree was undisturbed. There was no sign of a trail, and even if there had been, it would have disappeared at the water’s edge.

Blend, with his characteristic perception (Per 23) had turned his gaze southward across the pond to the marsh’s edge. With his keen eye, he soon determined there was a path that started about 50 feet back from the marsh edge meandering southward, a path that would not have been apparent from any other angle.

Posted by: mmartin_10
Saturday, July 27, 2013 10:24:22 PM

Back into the water… Nitram mumbled under his breath before heading towards the path, using a long walking stick to make sure he didn’t unexpectantly step into a deep section.

Posted by: SkidAce
Sunday, July 28, 2013 10:57:09 AM

The group formed up on the south side of the little island and headed southward into the brush. After several lng paces they came upon the beginning of a trail.

The trail somewhat resembled a game trail, but was slightly wider than usual. Wyndal commented “From what I understand, we are not supposed to leave the trail until we get there. Easy…” he grinned.

The group followed the trail through lunch and the rest of the afternoon. It meandered continuously southward with sometimes thick brush on either side, sometimes pools of water, full of fish and little lizards. There was no sign of any of the jets of flame, or any rats.

Aeron found it peculiar that although they traveled continuously southward in an almost straight line, it seemed as if he could see the sun on the wrong side of the trail, shining through the low marsh trees and weeping willows as they walked by. The shadows seemed off every once and a while also.

Near the end of the day, the trail stopped abruptly at a small clearing, surrounded by waist high rocks and brush, as if someone had created a ringed wall. Standing in the center of the celaring was a plain looking woman of average height with honey colored hair. She was dressed in gray robes with her hood thrown back on her shoulders. In her left hand was an extremely tall staff, made of a bluish gray polished wood.

Posted by: mmartin_10
Monday, July 29, 2013 9:54:57 AM

knowledge checks to determine what “title” she should have…priestess? Also, trying to determine where we are based on Aeron’s observation about the sun and the odd shadows. Did we shift planes or enter into some magically protected area on our plane?

Posted by: mmartin_10
Monday, July 29, 2013 9:55:49 AM

I think we’re here. Nitram said to no one in particular.

Posted by: SkidAce
Monday, July 29, 2013 1:59:53 PM

(Rel 16, untrained)

Nitram feels that Madame, Mistress, or Priestess could be appropriate.

Posted by: SkidAce
Monday, July 29, 2013 2:02:56 PM

The “witch” looked at Nitram closely and said “Indeed. I am Karalilith, and we have been waiting your arrival.”

She looked closely at each member of the party as she spoke.

Posted by: mmartin_10
Monday, July 29, 2013 2:05:56 PM

Mistress Karalilith, I an Nitram Tam and we seek your counsel. Can help us? Nitram asked, bowing his head slightly.

Posted by: Stoi
Monday, July 29, 2013 6:14:46 PM

Gravnar looks around for a dry spot of land to stand on, and if he can do so without getting close to the Priestess, he will move to it. He’ll also look up, look down, look behind, and look around to make sure she’s not setting them up.

Posted by: AFCop
Monday, July 29, 2013 7:48:45 PM

She’s not out here by herself, Blend thought, as he began to scan the surroundings for other people, and even animals, given this crowd. He wasn’t expecting any trouble…who was he kidding. He always expected trouble. Otherwise, he slightly apart from Nitram, watching his back, and let him and Jharron handle business. He paid attention to the conversation, however, and would contribute if he heard anything interesting.

Posted by: SkidAce
Monday, July 29, 2013 8:29:14 PM

“Given that the church of Danaan went out on a limb to vouch for you, helping you is the least I can do” she replied to Nitram. “The issue is what type of help do you require? We certainly will not assist any government representatives of Capone or Toreador. The priesthood of Danaan is discreet, are you?”

Gravnar didn’t really see any threats during his intense scan of his surroundings, though he did seem to hear…breathing. (Per 16)

Blend didn’t really have any luck from his scanning of the surroundings either. At least at first. (Per 29) But then, in his peripheral vision he thought he saw eyes, watching him from the brushline. Feline in nature, but the marsh cats that Wyndal had described would have been to small to see over the scattered rocks. Blend refrained from looking directly at the form, and decided it had to be his imagination, because if it was a marsh cat, it was nearly the size of a horse.

Posted by: SkidAce
Monday, July 29, 2013 8:32:00 PM

Jharron commented discretely to Aeron “Her staff matches the description in one of Blend’s ledgers he showed us”.

Posted by: ProfessorHill
Monday, July 29, 2013 9:57:27 PM

Aeron didn’t recall this particular staff’s description, but regardless, anything listed in the black market inventories was likely blood magic. Aeron addressed the swamp witch, “We have seen some strange sites in the fire swamp and will have to confirm you are who you claim to be…” Aeron focused his arcane concentration through his bow and recalled the words and signs to detect blood magic corruption in this stranger. Aeron casts focus item spell Detect Corruption

Posted by: mmartin_10
Monday, July 29, 2013 10:47:45 PM

We are discreet. Are you the leader of the Moon coven?

Posted by: SkidAce
Tuesday, July 30, 2013 10:09:27 AM

Karalilith replied to Nitram, “Indeed I am, in so much as anyone can lead. If you are discreet then we can work together to purge this swamp of the influence of the Red Circle and their obnoxious ogre allies.”

She tilted her head in the direction of the center of the glade and a campfire sprung up. “Let us sojourn for a time, and discuss the details” she said as she moved over to a rock and sat down, laying the staff across her knees.

“Here is the conundrum, we of the Moon Coven guard and nurture the wildlife of this swamp. It’s plants, herbs, and animals. And we also guard the spring of the New Moon, a natural fountain that holds great power. The Red Circle wants to capture the spring and drive us off, although their efforts have seemed weakened of late, as if their attention was elsewhere. We do not care what happens outside the swamp, that is your concern. But destroying the camp of the Red Circle would put us back on even footing with them.”

She paused and glanced at Aeron, then returned her gaze to Nitram and Jharron saying “They would use blood magic to corrupt the swamp and raise an army of were rat creatures, and to create abominations. Blood magic, of itself is not evil, but if misused can be very corrupting.”

Posted by: mmartin_10
Tuesday, July 30, 2013 10:20:54 AM

Nitram noticeably stiffened at the mention of ogres. Once he was seated in the grass across from the witch he said, Yes, we have experienced blood magic’s corrupting influence firsthand and also wish to purge its misuse. Any information you can give us about the Red Circle coven’s location and how to get there would be greatly appreciated as well as shorten your lack of “even footing”. Do they also have a protected area that is nearly impossible to find? What else can you tell us about their ogre allies?

Posted by: SkidAce
Wednesday, July 31, 2013 9:45:32 PM

Karalilith looked at Nitram intently. “I have a talisman that you can use to pierce the veil surrounding their swamp cave, and lead you very nearly straight to it, if you have the will to use it” she said.

“Many creatures are in league with the ogres, or should I say, the ogres have subverted many creatures to their side, and their cause. It’s a bird in either hand I suppose.”

Karalilith indicated that she was willing to discuss further questions, or to leave you to a night’s rest, whichever you preferred.

Posted by: mmartin_10
Thursday, August 01, 2013 10:11:28 PM

Nitram continued to question Karalilith about the ogres: how many, where do they travel, where are they based, who else have they subverted? He also attempted to get more information on the Red Circle: routines; location (assuming she can point their cave out on a map); allies; any other information about their cave, the swamp around it, and the journey from here to there?

As he finished getting information regarding the immediate task, Nitram’s questions turned to a more selfish nature. Is there anything else she can provide to the group that might help us against the Red Circle? Does she know anything about specific Wensharian ruins or outposts or any other ruins within the swamp?

Any chance she has a keen elven curved blade or griffon I can have? :)

Posted by: SkidAce
Friday, August 02, 2013 7:06:34 PM

Karalilith relayed what she know about ogre society and recent events.

She sketched a small map in the dirt for Nitram, pointing out that the witches cave “should” be near the edge of the swamp fairly directly south of their current location. But she reminded him that without the amulet, they would surely get lost.

Her fellow witches have seen at least two different ogres accompanying the Red Circle witches through the swamp. One of them was a shaman or some type of spellcaster.

She thought for a moment and said “As a gesture of faith I will provide each of you with a healing potion, and a herbal draught versus poison if you so desire.”

After several moments of further conversation, it was determined that she knew of several crumbled buildings that may be Wensharian ruins, but such was not her specialty.

25 Septimus, 508 PE (Year of Storms)
7 pm, Earthday

Posted by: mmartin_10
Friday, August 02, 2013 7:54:27 PM

why would anyone think nitram needs a potion against poison? He’s only almost died twice
That is most generous of you Karalilith. Thank You. Nitram listened to the witch describe the ogres and their resurgence, focusing on their next target.
They are targeting the Gloaming Hills! I must get word to duBlade. How will they get past Highkeep? Maybe they will bypass to the south. It’s even more important to get that tower constructed on the border with Aelvinwode.
When everyone was done with their questions, Nitram looked for a place to lie down and think. He knew he would have trouble sleeping tonight.
I don’t remember knowing that the Gloaming Hills was their next target.

Posted by: Stoi
Friday, August 02, 2013 11:28:27 PM

Gravnar asks, “Thank you for your wisdom and knowledge, Karalilith. I have a few questions. How many witches are in this cave and who is the most powerful? Are there any times of day during which fewer witches are in the cave? How many witches does it take to control an ogre shaman? Can we turn the ogres against the witches?”

Posted by: SkidAce
Saturday, August 03, 2013 4:44:32 PM

Karalilith pondered Gravnar’s question and then replied as best she could. “The Red Circle is not confined to this area, you could say the cave is their outpost, to use martial terms you are familiar with. There appears to be two head witches, Chantile and an unnamed accomplice that travels swiftly and unseen. At the most, there have been 4-6 witches at any one time, along with their apprentices. They seem to prefer to work at night.”

She considered the issue of the ogres and stated “I don’t believe they are controlling the ogres, more like the ogres are providing ancient lore and muscle. They seem to be pretty thick with each other, although I suppose one could turn them against each other, evil is that way after all.”

Posted by: SkidAce
Monday, August 05, 2013 10:23:54 PM

The figure that was too big to be a marsh cat had disappeared from Blend’s view. Blend did notice the two apprentice witches bringing water and warm food for the party to eat before resting. Another apprentice carried the promised potions and draughts.

After dinner the party rested, Karalilith took her leave and said she would return in the morning with the charm they needed to get past the Red Circle’s defenses.

The night was quiet.

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