The Lost Continent

"I don't even know what I was running for - I guess I just felt like it"
Chapter 6

Upon returning to Wilhelm’s residence, Wilhelm shared some news with the party. Their companion Winterwolf had been found raving mad outside the village. When he was approached by Florentine he attacked him with a wild look in his eyes. Florentine defended himself and was forced to end Winterwolf’s life. Wilhelm offered Winterwolf’s belongings to the party as well as the item that had been taken by Florentine and Daygon as a small conciliation for their companion’s death.

Of the original’s from Grief only Jett now remains.

The party made the decision to leave for Wisner immediately. Frost left to gather supplies at the inn. It was a seven day walk from Tempest to Wisner and the party would need to be prepared for delays. Frost determined that trail rations for 10 days would be sufficient. Also, as the party intended on bringing the Halfling Girl they would need a way for her to travel. Frost purchased a pony that would serve as the girl’s mount and the pack mull for the party. The villagers even threw in the bridal and saddle as this was in the best interest of the village.

Saileach departed to have a few more words with the caravan master about the mercs he picked up in Wisner. For his efforts, Saileach was rewarded with the name of the “agent” that the caravan master used to vouch for these particular mercenaries. The caravan master felt that he had been treated fairly and seemed to bond with Saileach. Should they meet again, the caravan master assured Saileach that a favor waited for him.

Jett also headed to the inn to gather a few supplies. He was met with even more inquisitive looks, but eventually he was able to barter for some ritual components. Wolferd helped to gather up his belongings and the few items the girl had and adamantly told the group that he would serve as their scout.

Wilhelm met briefly with Victor and handed him a large pouch that jingled. Victor saluted and then prepared of the journey by adjusting his armor straps…again…

The party left with little fanfare. True to his work, Wolferd scouted ahead and would report back periodically. The group decided to set a moderate pace, nothing that would push the limits of the pony but also nothing that would hide their passage. As the village disappeared behind the party, Frost doubled back to collect his “package” outside the wall. He had no trouble locating the leather luggage and stuffed the contents into his travel pack. He then took his blade to the leather bag, mangling it.

The road north to Wisner was pleasantly quiet. For four days the party traveled, choosing to camp in wooded areas if possible. The further north they travelled, the flatter the land became and the trees became sparser. In the afternoon of the fifth day, Wolferd noticed a column of dust ahead and pushed forward to investigate. Ducking in the tall prairie grasses, he got sight of armed horsemen coming down the road. They were grouped together, so their numbers were difficult to ascertain. Rushing back to the party, he relayed what he had seen. Seeing no strategic place for cover, the party moved off the road and waited.

Moderately armored horsemen came over the horizon, metal armor reflecting the sun’s rays. In this climate, a person could only remain in such heavy metals for a short period of time. The front line of the horsemen carried long spears. Behind, the second and third lines were more lightly armored and carried weapons to be used for skirmishing. From the front line, a man raised his hand and the column slowed down. At approximately 20 paces, he raised his hand again and the column stopped.

The leader identified his patrol as having been hired by the city of Wisner to patrol the area and maintain the peace. He identified his company as “Griffon’s” and also identified himself as Griffon. When pushed on the need for patrols, he did mention that the northern units had come upon a caravan that had been attacked. Most of the dead appeared to be Halflings and there was no sign of the attackers. An investigation was being held, and more details could be gathered in Wisner.

He inquired as to the party’s destination and starting point. When hearing that the group set out from Tempest, Griffon proceeded to imply that the party were simple and country. Frost took to the role perfectly and began to tease the captain. To teach him a lesson, Frost summoned Smoke near the good captain. While it set the unit on edge, many of the Elves caught the joke and loosened up. Griffon’s company set out south, the glint of their armor and thundering horses more than enough of a warning to allow bandits to hide.

The party pushed forward and arrived at Wisner in the later afternoon a few days later. Wisner was a large settlement for the region, though still a frontier outpost. Stone walls surrounded the town and guards were posted outside to question those who entered. As the party approached, they noticed that the preferred method for looking for contraband was for the guards to use their swords to “probe” any cargo that was entering. From the worried looks on the merchants’ faces, they did not approve of this barbaric method when dealing with some of their delicate wares. The guards barely acknowledged the group as they entered.

Jett offered to lead the group to inn he had previously stayed at but the group decided that a more family friendly environment would be more appropriate. Getting directions from one of the guards, the party entered the city proper. Jett explained that he had some errands to run and left the rest of the party. The others continued on and found a cozy inn with only 4 rooms. This particular place did not allow people to sleep in the commons, thus making it a bit more family oriented. The party would need two rooms at each room had 4 beds. While not the best accommodations, many in the party had slept in far worse.

The party settled down and waited for nightfall. Best to explore the city during the day.

No watches were set, though many of the party were not accustomed to the sounds of city life and were barely able to get to sleep. As many of the inns kicked out their more intoxicated patrons, the party stirred from the sound. Laying on the floor, Saileach heard someone coming up the stairs. As it was the middle of the night, he knew that person could only be up to evil. Little did the would-be intruder know that Smoke lay in wait at the top of the stairs. Hearing the intruder move down the stairs, Saileach tried to wake the others before exploding out of the door to catch the intruder.

The battle was joined by Frost, Jett, and Wolferd, many without weapons or armor. Victor blocked the door to his room and guarded the young Halfling girl. The intruder fleeing down the stairs was engaged by Saileach, though their location created a bottleneck. Archers peppered the party from below forcing them to jump over the banister and fall to the ground level. As Jett tumbled to the ground level, he earned himself a new nickname based on his golden yellow appearance. As he landed, one of the small green humanoids dropped down from the rafters and attacked him. Wolferd also dropped to the ground and attempted to engage the enemies.

A hard battle was fought, leaving the party panting to catch their breath. As the final assailant ran for the exit, the party surrounded him and knocked him unconscious. Taking stock of the situation, some of the party moved to retrieve their belongings while others began to search the invaders.

Soft clapping started from the front doors. Inside the doorway was a large human man, larger in size than Saileach. He was dressed in fine metal armor, polished to a fine reflective surface. His hair was slicked back and he was clean shaven. On his back he carried a hand-and-a-half blade of intricate detail. He moved into the room and began to pull on his gauntlets. As he did so, he stated “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself” and drew his blade.

As the party moved to engage him, Saileach transformed himself into his hybrid Willow-Human Form. Seeing this, the new enemy smiled and began to transform as well. His new form was of stone, metal and shadows. Chains lashed out at the party, similar to the way thorns would lash out from Saileach towards his enemies. The shadowy creature danced between the party members attempting to grab and restrain them with his chains. As he would grab members, he would pull them along side. As Saileach dug deeper into himself to find more energy, the life force he would have gained trickled down the chains and seemed to feed the shadow creature.

The party cornered the creature and began to beat it down. Sensing his own failure, the shadowy creature pushed forward to look outside. Once he was able to see through the doors, he disappeared into the night, dropping a small pouch behind.

Saileach reached down and opened the pouch. In it were small figurines carved from various materials. Wood, stone, jade, metal; each was in the shape of a different animal. Frost went to the backroom and discovered the inn-keeper tied up and gagged.

Answers to the Wrong Question
Chapter 5

As morning dawned, the members of the party found themselves apart for the first time.

Frost, having spent the evening in the tree line rose before the sun. The evening before he had hunted and gathered enough food for the night and morning. Pushing dirt onto his campfire, Frost took one more moment to mark his territory before heading into the village. First stop, the local inn. He needed to see a dwarf about a particular Aberration staying in one of her rooms…

Saileach woke upon his bed of moss in the woods he had lived in the majority of his life. The area has been generous to him over the years, and last night’s peaceful sleep was not lacking for comfort. It was good to sleep under the stars again. Washing himself off with the dew of the forest, Saileach marched forward to join his companions. Few bird calls this morning, a sure sign of trouble on the horizon.

Victor tightened his gauntlets and drilled the local militia again. These were farmers turned warriors, and too many had fallen. Having seen the horrors that await the fallen members of Tempest, Victor pushed them harder than before. Knowing that Hobgoblin settlement was within marching distance put him at ill ease. Seeing the other members enter the village, Victor toweled himself off and moved to aid Wilhelm.

Jett was one of the few outsiders to the village and thus stated at the inn, a place called “The Steel Wheel”. Run by a most unpleasant dwarf named Retch, Jett had spent the evening trying to talk to the locals. For the most part, they shunned Jett but left him alone. As the potential for violence rose an older gentleman had defended Jett. Sleeping poorly, though in a bed for the first time, Jett had just entered into a deep slumber when his door burst open. Something small, humanoid, and greasy jumped on top of him. Before he could react, the creature crawled next to him and kicked him out of his bed. Landing on the hard floor, Jett’s eyes adjusted to the outside light and saw Retch in his bed. She was mumbling, and as she exited the room all Jett could hear was “That’s all he paid me for”

Florentine and Winterwolf had spend the evening in solitude and did not join the party the next morning.

The others arrived at Wilhelm’s residence and were immediately invited in. As seats were being taken, Frost requested breakfast and some tools for drilling out the wolves teeth he had collected. Confused, Wilhelm asked Victor to get a tray from Retch. No one could be sure, but it almost seemed like Victor shuttered as he ran out the door. Wilhelm presented the party with three options of the city elders to speak with: Vren Albright, the town’s advisor and healer; J’nae Colridge, perhaps the most traveled of the city elders; and Elandriel Diastar, the youngest member of the council. At mention of Elandriel, a few members of the party noticed that Wilhelm was trying to conceal his disdain. Frost interrupted Wilhelm and asked about the Halfling child he had yet to meet. Wilhelm believed she was with Vren so the party elected to meet with him first.

As Vren entered Wilhelm’s residence, he was followed by two others. The first was a young girl, a toddler to most. Further inspection would reveal that she was in fact a young Halfling teenager. Behind her walked a young human teen. His most notable feature was his hair which had a near silver luster to it. It was eventually revealed that his name is Wolfred.

As the newcomers took places at the table, Frost stood and tried to sit himself next to the young Halfling. Vren refused to move and the new human teen scooted closer to the girl. Instead, Frost sat himself down behind the girl on the floor. The girl appeared to be frightened and intimidated by this action so Frost called forth his spirit companion Smoke. Smoke slowly approached the girl, his eyes back in a submissive pose. The girl smiled at the spirit companion and slowly settled down.

The party began to question Vren about his knowledge of the surrounding area. Frustrated by the constant interruptions, Vren had very little to say. The highlights included: - Vren knew of no disappearances of Tempest children. However, he did state that the natural flow of life had been interrupted near Tempest and that no elven children had been born for some time. When pressed by Frost as to why the elves were affected first, Vren tried to describe the connection of the elven soul to the natural world. Frost disagreed on his assessment on theological differences, and Vren had little more to say on the subject - Vren suggested that more clerics of his Order might know about the Serpent Temple and that the party should check with a larger Temple. - Vren mentioned that the Halfling girl had not spoken since she arrived and that she spent most of her time staring into the city fountain. He recommended someone return her to people, and that a meeting of the Halfling chieftains was scheduled soon.

Deciding that Vren had little else to give to the party, the decision was made to meet with J’nae. As the party waited, Frost not so gently reminded Wilhelm about the refreshments. As J’nae arrived, so did Retch with a platter of food. The young grey haired boy quickly filled his plate with all meats, the rest of the party slowly filled their plates with cheeses, bread and breakfast meats. Frost turned to Jett and asked him how his night was, probing about his morning company. Jett’s eyes squinted and he barely responded.

J’nae offered to help the party collect information in some of the larger cities. For the small price of a few thousand gold, she could get the information they requested. When the party balked at her price, she pulled out a small throwing knife and began cleaning her nails. She then started to rattle off the various people she’d need to bribe to get the information. Bored, the party turned the conversation to the local politics. J’nae laughed when the party mentioned Wilhelm’s barely concealed contempt for Elandriel and then explained that Elandriel had larger plans for Tempest than many of the “old timers”. Elandrial wanted to build a permanent establishment with city walls and road. Apparently he thought that there was enough worth mining in nearby mountains to put that sort of investment. As J’nae rose to leave, she tossed the throwing knife to Frost and made some offhand comment about “cleaning up your nails” and then dashed out the door.

The party requested the last of the city elders that could meet with them to be brought in. Elandrial arrived, the image of a preening peacock. His hair was slicked back and he wore fine tailored clothing of exotic clothes. Frost teased him about his suit, to which Elandriel offered up the name of a good tailor. When pressed about the same issues, Elandriel had little to add to the parties understanding. He did mention that a caravan had just arrived and that perhaps they had some additional information. Seeing no reason to probe Elandriel any more, the party gathered their belongings and walked out of Wilhelm’s residence.

Crossing the village center, the party began walking towards The Steel Wheel. A man that none of the party had seen suddenly yelled “He’s the one that attacked our caravan” and pointed a sword at Jett. The flash if swords being drawn sent the villagers into a panic and they crowd began running in all directions. Not being from the village, Jett, Frost, and even Saileach had difficulty knowing who was friend and foe. Victor on the other hand knew who was a stranger and began to stalk them. A female warrior rushed forward and placed herself between the party and Elandriel. The young Halfling girl cowered against the village fountain and the young silver haired boy shimmered and transformed into a wolf to protect her. The party was hard pressed to keep the villagers safe, but eventually they were able to dispatch of the assailants. One assailant escaped into the crowd, and another was taken prisoner. When everything settled down, the party was alone in the village center with their captive. Jett began to interrogate the man as Frost communed with the local spirits for advice on how to break the man. Time passed and Jett became increasing frustrated by the lack of cooperation. Jett pulled his flail out and struck the captive in the knee. A loud wet crack met his strike and the man howled in pain. Frost offered the man healing if he agreed to cooperate, but the man’s pain blinded him. The young boy stepped forward and began to set the shattered knee as best as possible.

Suddenly the heavens opened up and a great column of light stuck the ground. Inside the light were Angelic figures in armor. As a Chorus, they struck down Jett leaving nothing but a smoking husk behind. As the light retreated, one of the Angelic beings took mercy on the prisoner and ended his torture. The young boy turned his attention to Jett and was aided by Frost. Through their combined expertise, they were barely able to revive Jett before his spirit passed on.

The party looked around the village square. On-lookers were starting to form small pockets and the murmur of rumors started to swirl. Looking for answers the party turned to find Elandriel, but he had escaped during the post-fight confusion.

The party split into two groups. The majority of the party left for “The Steel Wheel” to confront the merchant caravan about the attack. Saileach departed to find Elandriel and draw him out of his home. As the majority of the party arrived at “The Steel Wheel” they found the entrance to the stable partially blocked by a wagon. Behind, the sounds of movement and the occasional shout could be heard. Frost and Wolferd scouted ahead to see if they could determine what was happening. For their efforts, they learned that there 4 additional guards behind the walls and the caravan master. They were armed, though not heavily. From the panicked tone in the caravan master’s voice, they had not anticipated being attacked in Tempest. Wilhelm arrived and began to negotiate with the caravan. In order to further intimidate the mercenaries, Frost had his spirit companion appear inside the compound. Bow strings sang as the mercenaries did their best to defeat the beast, but no arrows found their mark. The caravan buckled down and prepared to be siege.

The young silver haired boy stepped forward to aid in the negotiation. His young voice called out to the caravan and eventually the caravan master resigned to his fate. The mercenaries began to move the wagon out of the way.

Meanwhile, Saileach arrived at Elandriel’s home. It was a three story compound behind a low wall and at present there were two armed guards standing outside. As Saileach approached, their hands fell to their swords but they did not draw. Saileach began to argue with the pair, eventually turning to intimidation to scare one of the guards away. The shutters to the second level flew open and Elandriel peered out. He explained that he feared for his safety and that he would not exit the home. His words were like honey, and he convinced Saileach to leave and bring back news of the caravan. Saileach checked in on the caravan and brought news back to Elandriel. After some dialog, Saileach was able to convince Elandrial to bring his guards and join the rest of the village at “The Steel Wheel”.

Just as the wagons were moved out of the way of the stable, Saileach arrived with Elandriel in tow. Having waited for this moment, Frost slowly made his way through the crowd doing his best to blend in. When no one was looking, he disappeared and made his way to Elandriel’s home. The front door was locked, but it appeared a second story window was unlocked. Frost clamored up the side of the home and made his way inside. The house was lavishly decorated. Frost immediately moved to the bedroom and began to “toss” the place looking for any papers or clues as to Elandriel’s true motive. He found many documents detailing transactions and with no time to shuffle through them now he found a nice leather luggage bag and stuffed them inside. He found 3 notes hidden in books, all written in Elvish. These were placed inside his jacket. Frost made his way out and threw the leather bag over the village wall. His plan was to retrieve it later.

The rest of the party began to question the caravan master. He had just recently recruited the 4 attackers in Wisner, though they came in 2 pairs instead of one big group. He had no trouble with them on the way down and thought nothing of it. When pressed on his secrecy concerning some topics, it was revealed that the caravan master had smuggled some gems into Tempest for Elandriel. The party searched through the travel packs of the fallen guards. They were standard packs, but buried deep inside one was a note written in common. It described the village of Tempest and a time and location in Wisner. It was signed Krudel.

Frost returned and the party made their way to Wilhelm’s residence to discuss the day’s events. Some decisions needed to be made, and they needed to be made soon.

Truth from the tongues of Snakes
Chapter 4

Tracking the Hobgoblin and his canine companions was relatively easy given the fact they were not taking measure to conceal their route. For most of the morning the party tracked the Hobgoblin until a clear could be seen ahead. Frost stepped forward and motioned for Florentine to take the right while he took the left. Moving forward slowly, Frost and Florentine investigated the clearing.

It was some sort of ancient temple grounds, the winds and land had claimed most of the beauty but polished stone and writings could be seen. Drinking from a small pool was a wolf. Its ears flicked, though it did not appear to hear the party. As the scouts returned to describe the scenario ahead, two sets of growls could be heard.

True to his nature, Saileach stepped forward to lead the party into battle. No time for diversions or complicated plans. As the party entered the clearing and spread out, 2 pairs of wolves were seen. The wolves darted forward, moving at nearly inhuman speeds. The wolves’ tactic was simple: overwhelm one person at a time by dragging that person to the ground and attacking. Winterwolf was their first target, but Victor quickly stepped forward to engage the wolves.

As the wolves darted in and out of the party, Jett was struck solidly in the chest by an arrow. The Hobgoblin stepped out of the shadows of the temple and drew another arrow. As the tide of battle swung in favor of the heroes, the Hobgoblin slowly retreated covering himself with deadly arrows. Seeing his attempted escape, Saileach and Frost sprinted forward to engage him. Eventually they were able to overwhelm him and knock him unconscious. Once the last of the wolves fell, the party turned their attention to the ruins and their captive. Frost collected the bodies of the wolves and began to dismantle them. When asked what he was doing, he simply replied “Creating a new totem”.

The ruins were old and had not see use in some time. In the middle of a slightly raised center was a stone alter. Whether blood had been spilt there was a secret lost to the elements as the stone had been eroded away. Multiple obelisks once stood around the temple but some had collapsed over time. One two of them was a writing unlike anything the heroes had ever seen. It was a flowing language in a character set they had not seen. Jett closed his eyes and could almost hear the language being spoken. He shared this with the party, that somewhere in his past he had heard this language spoken to him.

Suddenly the Hobgoblin captive made a run for it. Though he was not restrained, he was injured and Frost quickly stepped forward to strike him. The Hobgoblin fell back unconscious, and this time the party restrained him.

After a short period of time, the hobgoblin was again conscience. Frost knelt down next to him and asked something in the guttural tongue of the Goblins. The hobgoblin sneered and responded in Common.

The party questioned the hobgoblin and learned that he was from a village not too far way. The hobgoblins had set up a permanent encampment there and did not wish to be disturbed. When questioned about the relationship with the Goblins, it became apparent that the Hobgoblin thought little of them and did not agree with how the Goblins were expanding in the mountains. Vermin.

As the conversation evolved, the Hobgoblin also showed his disdain for humans referring to them as not being from this world. The hobgoblin new little of the ruins in which he was captured, though he did hint that they were old. Satisfied with his responses, Frost unbound the Hobgoblin and sent him on his way home without his weapons. No need for additional bloodshed this day.

The party decided to head back to the caverns for one last sweep before giving a report to Wilhelm in Tempest. In particular, the party wanted to explore the large cavern beneath the crypt. Winding down the snake-like tunnels, Florentine was sent ahead to scout. The torches in the room were burning down so lighting was limited. Impatient as always, the party moved forward before Florentine had a chance to canvas the area.

Three figures emerged from the cavern below through the secret passage below one of the crypts. Other unnatural creatures shambled forward from other graves and the battle was joined. One of the hooded figures raised a hand and dark green bolts of energy lashed out at the party. Frost called upon the surrounding spirits to aid the party, and the focus was turned toward the magician. As the tide started to swing in the direction of the party, a small figure rushed out of the darkness. It was reptilian in nature and perhaps the size of a child. It hissed and dug its knife deep into Winterwolf’s back.

Banding together, the party was victorious. Battered and bruised they searched the ambushers. The cloaked mage was human, though her skin was textured like that of a snake. Frost turned his attention to the small serpent creature and began to dissect it. Cutting it open, black ooze poured out. Looking for any sign of recognition, the party was horrified as they realized that the little creature appeared to be human on the inside. More so, it seemed to be the body of a child that had been accelerated to grow so quickly. Disgusted, the party marked on to the cavern below.

A Crossroads, an Impasse, or a Chance Encounter
Chapter 3

The party spent the evening in the crypt before descending the stairway below. Daygon offered to keep watch above as the rest of the party explored the cavern below.

Descending the stairs, the party came across an unusual collection of allies and strangers. The party first noticed Loretta, who had gone missing the morning before. Her neck was severely damaged by some sort of large animalistic bite leaving blood to trickle down. She was panting and appeared to be a little paler than normal. On the ground next to her was the body of Nightsire, former companion to the party. His head had been cleanly severed from its body and the party immediately noticed the horrific expression upon its face. Nightsire, a Tiefling, always had a demonic visage but it had now shifted into something even more vile. Large fangs were protruding from his lips and his eyes held an otherworldly light behind them.

Standing a short distance from the duo was a young human adult. This stranger held an ornate long spear with decorations of wolves and moons upon it. Dangling by his side were various native charms and totems. Mysteriously, his hand rest to his side as if it was upon a loyal companion. He spoke in a subdued voice, “Smoke, keep an eye on them”. When the party questioned who Smoke was, a shimmering figure of a wolf appeared next to one of the party. The wolf was predominately insubstantial, though no one wished to test this theory.

Loretta stepped forward to explain the situation. She claimed that her mistress had summoned her to this place and that once she arrived she was attacked by Nightsire. Even now, she explained, she could feel the infection getting stronger and knew that her time was short. The stranger had come to her aid, though from where she did not know. The stranger stepped forward graciously and introductions were about to be made when Loretta asked that the body of Nightsire be destroyed. From her tone it was apparent that she feared the body might rise again. The party took stock of their surroundings. They were upon an island in a sea of darkness. No walls could be seen from their meager torches and any attempt to locate the walls were met with silence. It was suggested that Nightsire’s body be thrown off the side, a suggestion to which Loretta vehemently opposed. “The body must be burned” she said.

Winterwolf stepped forward and the party moved out of the way. Raining down flame upon the body and head of his former companion, Winterwolf brought the body to ashes. As the last flames smoldered the body of a fallen companion, Loretta turned to Jett and Winterwolf. She mouthed to them “I’m sorry” and turned and ran to the edge of the island. Without hesitation she launched herself into the darkness, a porcelain swan fading into the darkness. Many of the party rushed to the edge to see her descent. Concentrating on the darkness enveloped the party in silence.

Suddenly Winterwolf roared a challenge of both regret and terror as he suddenly spun around, poisonous gas emanating from his mouth. Some in the party ducked for cover while others seemed oblivious to their surroundings. Florentine stepped forward and masterfully ended Winterwolf’s terror, though shortly after a look of confusion and surprise crossed his Fey features. Saileach stepped back to tend to Winterwolf’s injuries, though each step looked like he was carrying the weight of a mountain. The party turned to find themselves besieged by vermin. Some rats as large as dogs charged forward to confront the surprised party while swarms of vermin poured out of the ground.

Shock had set in leaving the party nearly defenseless. Within the span of but a few moments they had lost one companion over the edge of the cliff, another had been gutted by a comrade, and the third still lay smoldering on the ground.

Yet a new threat had emerged from the darkness. All forms of vermin now surrounded the heroes blocking all forms of retreat. Left with no other choice but to battle their way out, the party drew weapons and stepped forward.

Saileach immediately ran to the side of Winterwolf, who lay dying from a mortal blow inflicted by Florentine. He knelt to do his best, though he did not have the resources required to stop the bleeding. Suddenly, the translucent wolf appeared near them and Winterwolf suddenly gasped. Somehow this spirit had allowed Winterwolf to dig deep inside and find his inner strength. Seeing this, Saileach stood and moved forward, his visage shifting to resemble his nickname “Old Man Willow”.

Florentine danced between the enemies leaving small cuts and dead vermin in his path. One large creature lashed out, leaving a festering wound. Florentine stumbled, through he regained his step.

Winterwolf rose to find himself besieged by a swarm of rats. The rats clawed their way up his robes forcing him to retreat. But then an opportunity presented itself, the swarm got too close to the edge of the cliff. Seeing an opportunity Winterwolf called upon his most powerful magics and cast them upon the swarm. Blasted to the edge, the swarm nearly fell to its doom but held on at the last moment. Digging deeper, Winterwolf pulled enough energy to push them one more time. This time, the rats tumbled off of the cliff.

The stranger defended himself against a large rat, plague dripping from its mouth. The spiritual wolf ran through the crowds to defend its apparent master. The apparition must have been powerful for try as the rats might they could not damage it. Though the stranger carried a weapon, he did not use. Instead strange energies lashed out to strike the foes.

Jett stood to the side bringing forth holy lightning to strike down the beasts. His strikes were ineffective against the large swarms, though the larger vermin screamed in pain.

The heroes were victorious, though they paid a heavy price. Florentine nearly fainted as the party took stock, and the stranger rushed to his aid. The stranger moved swiftly and cleaned the infected wound. Finally, introductions were made. The stranger called himself “Frost” and referred to his companion as “Smoke”. When asked how he arrived in the cavern below, his response was short… “Eagle brought me”. An invitation was extended for him to join the group as he has proven himself an ally. Frost accepted, though his reasons remained his own.

The horrors of the cave outweighed the knowledge that could be gained and the party made the decision to return to the crypt. As they emerged they found the crypt empty, their packs had been neatly stacked off to the side. Florentine immediately went to the doorway to see if there was any sign of their sentry, Daygon. Florentine called for silence, someone was coming down the hallway…

Florentine cracked open the door and peaked out. He was relieved to see a familiar face, Victor, one of Tempest’s many militia members. Victor walked with the confidence of a man who had seen many battles and was taking no precautions to silence his coming.

Victor explained that the village elders were worried about how long the process was taking and sent him to check on things. Knowing there was a good chance to even a few score with the Goblins, Victor had not problem with checking in on the party.

The group packed up and descended further into the mountain. Knowing that time was of the essence, the party sent Florentine out ahead to scout while the rest trailed only a few dozen meters behind. Florentine raised a hand calling for silence and moved ahead. The path opened up to a large cavern and running water could be heard. Across a small rope bridge a group of goblins tended to a much larger chieftain. Though injured, he still appeared to command respect from those around him.

A plan was set up to sneak into the cavern and hide behind some natural walls. The group moved forward when suddenly Winterwolf bellowed “I’m going right there!” All chances of a surprise had been lost.

A hard battle was fought. Some of the parties swifter combatants charged across the small bridge and were trapped on the other side as the Goblins moved to take the bridge. Fearing for their companion’s safety, Frost, Jett and Victor all attempted to jump the small river but only Frost was successful. The battle raged on and many blows were dealt. As the Goblins fell, the party concentrated on the chieftain. Suddenly an arrow struck the chieftain from the darkness. Then another. Florentine turned to catch a glimpse of a Hobgoblin high up on an outcropping. The Hobgoblin spat down towards the cavern then turned and disappeared down a path.

Triumphant, the party took stock of their surroundings. Apparently the Goblins were using this large cavern as their main base of operations. Following a thorough search, the party determined that there were four entrances to this cavern: The entrance they came from, the beginning of the river, the end of the river, and the ledge the Hobgoblin used. Florentine stepped forward with rope and tossed up on the ledge. As he prepared to climb, he gave it a tug and the rope came tumbling down. Perhaps in his Eladrin homeland ropes could simply be thrown wherever but in this reality they need to have some sort of grappling hook to stick. Frost pulled out climbing gear and carefully ascended the wall. He lowered a rope for the rest of the party and the scouts headed up first. Tracks from the Hobgoblin were obvious, as were multiple prints from some sort of wolf. Deeming that the trail would be lost if they did not immediately follow, the party advanced.

Friends and Enemies are often the same
Chapter 2

Wilhelm, mayor of Tempest, sits in his office thinking back upon the past few days. They had been difficult, but times were difficult.

As predicted by Fate, the creature with prophetic abilities that resides in the village, an outside influence had come to Tempest. But could these “heroes” truly save his precious home? In all his years, Wilhelm had learned one thing. ..Nothing is sure. Ever. And sometimes, you need to take extra steps.

Had he made the right choice? Sending strangers to clear the Goblin Warrens was going to be a messy job, so perhaps it was better not to include any of his own troops. But there was always the possibility that these strangers would fail and that the Goblin’s would be ready for any future counter attacks. And that is why he had picked two of his own to follow them.

“Florentine” Chess was by far the stealthiest member of the community. His flair for the flamboyant could be overlooked so long as he would be able to follow the strangers. And should he encounter any Goblins along the way, his sword would find their vitals before they could even scream.

Daygon, a mighty Dragonborn, is a young warrior. But he also had reason to hate the Goblins and was vicious in close spaces. Wielding blades in each hand, he has defended the village time and time again. Though only recently coming to age, the youth of Tempest learn have learned an early lesson. It is better to die with a sword in your hand than with you back turned running.

And so the choice had been made and they had been sent. But that was over a day ago…what could be delaying them?

Florentine and Daygon creep along the trail towards the Goblin Warren. They are stalking the tracks of the strangers who accepted the challenge to clear this cave. Fools, a child could follow the trail they created. Surely the Goblins will know they are coming and have time to prepare traps.

Choosing to leave at twilight, Florentine and Daygon are navigating by moonlight. For Florentine’s Eladren eyes, it is more than enough. They stop a hundred yards from the cave and slowly approach. It seems clear, no sentries (just as expected). Florentine halts, something has startled him. Unfortunately for Daygon, his Dragonborn eyes cannot find the light needed at this hour to stop himself as he crashes into Florentine.

Near the entrance to the cave, a tree shudders and turns towards the duo. The tree creeps forward…MOVING! The tree stands erect and moves into the moonlight. Bark and steel have transformed a giant man into the appearance of something wild. Nearly 7 foot tall, the man stands as a legend before the duo. In fact they know him by reputation and legend alone…Old Man Willow. Supposable born during the last major storm some 80 years ago, he lives in the wood near Tempest. His unkempt appearance and gigantic red beard serve to augment the wild look in his eyes.

Calling the duo by name, Old Man Willow inquires about the strangers he saw go into the cave. Florentine explains that Wilhelm hired them to clear the cave but he does not trust them. Therefore he sent Daygon and Florentine to follow them and ensure they get the job done. Old Man Willow tells the duo that he has no love of the Goblins and will join them in their quest to eradicate them.

Deciding their first priority is to find the strangers, the group sets out. Again, the strangers took no precautions to hide their trail so it is easy to follow. Florentine scouts ahead and reports that a battle has taken place off on a side tunnel and that multiple goblins were killed. He also states that all of the goblins had been decapitated and their heads were nowhere to be found. The group decides that Wilhelm was right not to trust these…animals.

Pressing forward Florentine, Daygon, and Old Man Willow continue to track the path of the strangers. They are lead down a tunnel that ends in a room where the ceiling has collapsed. Blocking the entry way is a table, though no sentry or watch is seen. Taking the initiative, Old Man Willow steps to the table and announces in a booming voice “Strangers, show yourselves!” The trio notices two sleeping forms the right of the entrance and two empty bedrolls. One of the sleeping forms stirs and pulls out a crossbow. Daygon fires a warning shot and the tension in the room becomes palatable. A burst of frost emerges from the second sleeping figure, destroying the table. Florentine jumps to restrain Daygon and the first figure yells “Wilhelm sent us to destroy the Goblins”. Jett, known to the trio as a stranger, stands and holds his hands out in a gesture of truce. Winterwolf rises and an uneasy alliance is built.

As introductions are made, Jett and Winterwolf realize that both Loretta and Nightsire are missing. The party searches the area for signs of them and a single footprint is seen leaving the area. It is Loretta’s, though how she became so stealthy is not known to the party. They know her as brash woman who typically walks the world creating the biggest impression she can. The missing members’ packs are assembled and Florentine asks about the bag of heads that Nightsire was carrying around. Jett replies that “Wilhelm wanted proof of what we had done, and Nightsire took this to mean he should bring back the heads of all the Goblins”. Nevertheless, the party leaves the bag of heads as they head forward.

Investigating a small path near the camp, the group discovers two holding cells that the Goblins have used for prisoners. The bones and rags are a reminder to those from Tempest of the long war that has been fought against these creatures. With nothing but memories to find in these cells, the party trudges on.

Taking point, Old Man Willow halts the party. Ahead there is a large cavern with light emanating from it. He suggests the rogue scout ahead to get a layout of the place. Peaking his head around the corner, Florentine sees an ambush in the room. A large number of goblins are in the room with one central figure that appears to a shaman of sorts. Flowing robes and a staff identify this particular goblin, and Florentine reports back to the party. As they discuss the best plan of attack, Old Man Willow’s patience runs out and he charges into the room. The ensuing battle is brutal and quick. Old Man Willow charges forward, the ground swelling with spikes to overwhelm his enemies. Acid, flames, and ice emanate from Winterwolf to overwhelm foes. Florentine dodges in an out of the battle, rarely finding his mark. Then, in a moment of opportunity he teleports behind an enemy and cleaning strikes is spine. Daygon stalks foes with both swords drawn. As the foes fall, Daygon rummages through their remains. Standing in the back, Jett rains down bolts of lightning at key opponents. One goblin escapes, its squeals of terror echoing off the stones. As the battle comes to a conclusion the party catches their breath and surveys the area. Among the foes, a magical cloak is found.

In the far eastern corner of the cave the party discovers a door. The most unusual feature of the door is that it is surrounding by polished stone. The brash Daygon opens the door to find a series of stairs. Those leading up have been caved in via a controlled demolition making the route impossible. However, another set of stairs leading down is clear. Pressing forward by descending the spiral stairs approximately 3 flights the party ends in a large storage room. Curiosity gets the better of them and the party opens all of the storage crates. Finding nothing but stale siege rations, cloth, and wine turned to mostly vinegar. Further inspection of the room reveals a corner that has collapse revealing more natural tunnels. Though the opening is small, the party is able to squeeze through.

Setting up a search pattern as they move, the party descends further it to mountain. A fortunate glace backwards by Florentine reveals a boulder hiding an opening. As the brutes of the party make ready to lift the boulder to the side, it moved easily to the side. Some sort of weight and pulley system has been set up making it easy to move the rock. Behind is a thin tunnel of carved stone. Dust has settled for ages with little disturbance. Two lone sets of footprints move down the hallway, one with confidence the other with caution. Opting to follow this hidden path, the party finds themselves winding through a serpentine hallway; left, then forward, then right, then forward, repeat. Ending at a door, the impatience of the group gets the better of them as the party rushes through.

Inside is a set of three crypts. Musk and rot permeate the air as the silence is broken by the crackling of bone upon bone. Undead horrors immerge from the crypts and assault the party. White searing light radiates from Jett, knocking the undead back. Ice engulfs one of the skeletons and if falls to ground shattering. With a roar of triumph, Old Man Willow steps forward while his skin turns to bark, his hair dangling down in green leafy glory. Daygon steps forward, severing the head from one of the zombies in one strike. In little time, the party stands triumphant and silence again punctuates the crypts. A thorough search is conducted and three things of note are found.

First, in one of the crypts a protective staff is found. As Winterwolf picks it up, a slight blue shimmer covers him.

Second, Daygon closely examines one of the zombies. In a moment of personal horror, he recognizes the clothing the creature wears as belonging to a fallen militia member of Tempest. An elven member of Tempest, his body was returned to the earth a few years ago. How it has risen again in this place is unknown.

Third, another mechanical device is found. When activated, it enables the party to move one of the crypts to reveal a ladder locked by a grate. The combination of acid and brute strength easily removes the grate…darkness is the only thing beyond. Deciding to set up camp, the party settled in the unsettling location for another tough night.

Tune in next time as the party descends into the darkness. What lies below the crypt? Is this how the undead were smuggled into the mountain? Where did Loretta and Nightsire disappear to? Now that the spirit of the Goblins has been destroyed, who is the heart?
The Long Road Home Cont.
Chapter 1

As the party approached the village, they took stock of their surroundings. The majority of the buildings were sequestered behind a wooden wall, though no gate barred the way. Immediately, the party knew that it would not take much of a force to ransack this encampment.

The group noticed the leader of the horsemen outside a home, beckoning them to enter. Seeing no immediate danger, the party complied. The leader introduced himself as Wilhelm though no other introductions were made. Strangely, he never asked the heroes names. Wilhelm started to blabber about the state of the village, known as Tempest, and how without reinforcements Tempest would fall. Local bands of monsters had been witling away at what few heroes the city had.

Worse, Wilhelm explained that the fall of Tempest was inevitable without intervention because Fate had shown him. Fate, the hideous creature of Nightsire’s dream, was a resident of Tempest and had been blessed (or cursed) with the power of prophecy. Wilhelm knew the prophecy to be beginning because during the latest clash with the local Goblin horde a young girl was found as was seen in his dream. Nightsire immediately asked to see the girl, and Wilhelm motioned for one of the other elders to bring her in.

Nightsire asked what could be done to aid Tempest. Wilhelm explained that enough resources have been gathered to hire some additional protectors however no one from the village could make the trip to recruit them. Wilhelm was willing to pay for the parties services now, and it would begin by clearing the Goblin Warren to the East. Jett realized this would take them to the mountain range of Winterwolf’s dream.

The party was interrupted by one of the village elders leading in a young girl. Looking to be about 8 years old, the girl entered the room and sat down. Nightsire recognized her from his dream, and immediately confronted her. Though his countenance was frightening, the girl just looked back at him. Wilhelm explained that she was found following a counter attack upon the Goblins. All at once, the party realized that this was not a human toddler but in fact she was a Halfling. Not an adult, most likely a teenager.

Nightsire asked what was known about destroying the Goblins. Wilhelm responded “Kill the body, kill the spirit. Then they will leave”. Seeing no reason to continue the discussion, the party set out for the Goblin Warren. A half-day march to the east, the cave was located in the foothills of the mountain. The party chose haste over stealth and pressed forward. Knowing that Goblins prefer to outnumber their opponents, the party deemed sentries unlikely. True to their suspicions, the entrance to the cave was unguarded.

Loretta took point and entered the cave. It reeked of unwashed bodies and rotten food, to which Winterwolf complained. The cave descended into the mountain, though it was natural. The only signs that anyone inhabited it were the unlit torches splattered on the walls. As the party came to a fork, they listened for sound and looked for any signs of light. Following what little light was available, the party came upon two Goblins and their pet beetle eating dinner. Striking from a distance, the party rained down fire, ice and holy vengeance upon the creatures. A third Goblin tried to attack the party from behind, but was quickly surrounded. As the Goblins saw their chance of victory washing away, they turned to run. Jett and Nightsire yelled out to spare one of them, but Loretta ran forward and dispatched the final Goblin with a swing of her mighty sword. She turned to Jett and said “It was his time”.

Searching the room and bodies revealed little other than dirty clothes and rotten meat. The meat was even too rotten for Winterwolf’s palette. Continuing on, the party decided to continue their assault by looking for any light. Seeing some ahead, the party slowed and listened. Two goblin voices were growling at each other, and the sounds of a scuffle could be heard. Inching forward, the party came upon two larger goblins fighting over what looked to be a chicken bone. But something didn’t feel right, and Nightsire noticed one of the Goblins look over his shoulder at the party then pretend not to see them. Expecting a trap, the party threw their sunrod into the middle of the room and quickly poured in.

The ceiling started to cave in upon most of the party, rocks bouncing off of heads and shoulders. Who knew that Goblins could be so sneaky? The rockslide continued and made the terrain difficult to traverse. The two Goblins pulled axes and raged into battle. The party rained down attacks from a distance, and one of the Goblins used his “companion” to good advantage as a shield. Jumping up on a table, the meatshield Goblin brought his axe down in a bloodied rage upon Winterwolf’s head. As Winterwolf feel, the light in his eyes began to fade. Loretta ran to his side and called upon her connection to Death to keep Winterwolf from joining the great hall just yet. As she knelt, a crossbow bolt took her in the back nearly bringing her to her knees. The final Goblin had revealed himself.

Dispatching of the frenzied Goblins, the party turned towards the hidden foe. The combined might of the party was more than it could handle, and it dropped down its head cleanly severed by Loretta. Gathering up the bodies, the party accumulated some gold and a potion of healing.

Badly battered by the encounter, the party set up barricades and prepared for a cold night in the Goblin Warren.

The long road home
Chapter 1

The party found themselves in civilization at last. Following weeks of travel out of the City-State of Grief they had finally reached a large settlement outside the grasp of Grief. Spending what little gold they had accumulated on their journey on a warm bed and a few meals, the party washed away the grim of a hard trip.

On the morning of the last day their gold could afford at The Well Oiled Wheel, each member woke to startling revelations. Nightsire broached the subject, spinning a tail of personal horror and imprisonment. Nightsire explained that he dreamt of a monstrous being above him. It beckoned for him to follow, but shackles held Nightsire down. The creature, so misshapen that neither race nor gender could be determined, pointed towards a child. The little girl, a mere toddler, turned to face Nightsire. As she turned, he noticed a key dangling around her neck. Nightsire woke as she screamed, but the most disturbing thing was that his wrists hurt and shown slight welts from the dream shackles.

Winterwolf confessed that he too had a vision. In his, he had seen an ancient dragon upon which sat a mighty woman. Ordained in the most exquisite armor, the mighty woman pulled her dragon into the heavens. There they clashed with another great dragon, smiting the contender to the ground below. Standing above her fallen adversary, she turned to face a great mountain range. Her mouth opened and giant serpents poured out. These disgusting creatures swarmed around the mountain.

Jett was perplexed by the ill omens of his companions’ visions. He too had a vision, though his was far more pleasant. In his, he woke to a grassy plain. The wind was warm upon his face, and the horizon was breathtaking. A man walked up beside him and told him the world was once as this, perfect and still. It could be this way again, the man said. He then motioned towards a group of children playing in the field and told Jett to protect them.

When turning to their final companion, Loretta responded with truth in her eyes “I never dream”.

Nightsire took the initiative to seek out some meaning to the multitude of portents. He headed downstairs and asked the proprietor of The Well Oiled Wheel, Joston, where he might find a dream interpreter. Joston suggested either one of the temples of the gods or the marketplace.

Nightsire, Jett and Winterwolf decided their best mode of action was to go to the marketplace. As they passed the many stalls of vendors, nothing in particular jumped out at the group. Many of the “arcane” dealers were frauds, selling worthless charms to the populace. Eventually, the party found one stall with true magical components run by an old woman with a white left eye. The woman spoke with a disconnect to reality, though she agreed to read the fortunes of the three men. As she spoke, a newfound confidence and a slightly different speech cadence appeared. She told Nightsire that the monstrous being in his dream could be found south, in a farming village. To Winterwolf, she explained that at times the truth is not always what is written and that new histories would be discovered. She gave a broken amulet to Jett, who immediately felt that the arcane symbols were somehow personally important.

Upon returning to the inn, they found Loretta waiting for them. Immediately, she asked when they were leaving for the south. Perplexed, Nightsire asked how she knew that was where they needed to go. She explained that she had visited the temple and that was their interpretation as well.

Following a failed attempt to bargain for some mounts by Nightsire, the party set out on an uneventful journey south. After nearly a week on foot, the party saw an outpost on the horizon. Riders galloped down on the party, halting but a stone’s throw away. The leader, a gentleman of middle age and thick weathered skin took one look at the party and said “She’s here” and turn to ride back into the village.

Tune in later this week for the conclusion of Session 1 of “The Lost Continent”. Who was the rider referring to? What will “she” tell the party? Will the party find the answers to all the questions they have?

Prelude – The Lost Continent

Exiles all, they have trudged on for months as their hatred built. Through common experiences, a bond has been formed. Some day they will return, some day they shall shake the very foundation of the City-State of Grief. Some day they might even return home.

Nightsire, whose past still haunts him, cowers beneath his cloak when he meets strangers. He speaks little of his past, always in a remorseful hushed tone. His infernal horns are a badge of pride and horror for a youth spent longing for the impossible. Forced from his hometown of Grief, punishable by death upon his return, Nightsire seeks penitence and a future less bound.

Jett, whose past is unknown to him, walks the land in search of meaning. The elemental fury behind his eyes is tempered by his sense of purpose. An outsider in every place since his awakening, a force beyond his comprehension guides his every movement. Will his memories bring sorrow or the answers he truly seeks.

Winterwolf roars out in remembrance of his brood. As the blood of his wife and child still cooled, he vowed vengeance and pain upon the City-State of Grief. Run out his village for being a Dragonborn, he found kindred spirits among the party. A wielder of the raw energy known as Magic, his blood boils to avenge his fallen kin.

Lorette Cruz, crusader of the Caster of Nets, blade of the Raven Queen, paladin of Death joined the party as they escaped from Grief. A contradiction in thought, she left the City-State of Grief because there was too much Death. In her eyes, only her god may predict a man’s time and someone or something was encroaching on that right.


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