Jade Regent

The Funeral Ship
Session 12

Cusp’s Log

We are to meet Uksahkka at Spearshaker’s Point at midday and paddle out to the funeral ship as the mists roll in. In the morning, as we’re preparing for the day we learn that people have been asking about us and we also notice a great number of ravens flocking and following us around the city.
As the sun reaches its midday zenith, a mist has rolled in from the ocean and Cusp spies a longship at Spearshaker’s Point with an honour guard of Ulfen Huscarls. We meet Uksahkka who has with her kayaks, a horse and a cart. She hands us small clay tokens carved with a songbird sigil and she bids us present these to the priest Yin-Po of the shrine of Shelyn in the fire quarter of the city when we return there, and that for now, she will give us some brief study in the ways of using these kayaks.
That evening, as we are ready to embark, we are attacked by a giant shark-eating crab which almost drags Kiku into the brine and a watery death. After its defeat and under the cover of darkness and this sweeping fog, we quickly paddle out to the funeral ship as it comes into view, tethering our boats to its quietly drifting hull and boarding it as quickly as our land legs will let us.
On the vessel, we hear noises from the ship’s hold and investigate only to come upon a wealth of treasure and the shackled Snorri Stone-Eye born again as a terrible undead. As we do battle in the pressing confines of the hold, black-suited eastern assassins, known as ninja board the ship which Dreki finds out the hard way when he goes above to find where Ulf and possibly the sword, might be, but instead finds the deck and main mast racing with fire and ninja unhitching our boats. They quickly turn their attention to us, and a violent battle erupts though they all but manage to escape except for one who we take prisoner. We are dismayed to find that neither Ulf nor the sword are here and that we’ve been either led astray, or the ninja have at least gained the sword, or that perhaps they too left empty-handed.
We managed to recover our boats and return to the beach with our captive where we question him though he utters not a word when asked under a tone of forgiveness, or under pain of death. The others are content to leave him tied here, but Cusp frees him as the others are out of sight. We return to Kalsgard and our inn for the night, before making our way to the fire district the next day. On our walk through the city, a beggar tells us that “they are coming for us,” though his words may be a cliche laced with coincidence given our reputation in the city.
As we approach the shine to Shelyn, it is beset suddenly by a massive stone elemental, heralded by the accursed red-pinioned raven. Yin-Po is here, though battered and we manage to defeat the elemental. Upon showing the token to Yin-Po, he takes us through a secret door off an alleyway which leads to a busted safehouse and he shrieks, exclaiming that Uksahkka has been taken. A large black feather is the only evidence of what might have done this, as we believe it to be a Tengu feather. Suddenly a helmet that Dreki had found in the hold of the funeral ship reveals its sentience to us, and claims to be a Cassisian angel named Helgarval. It tells us that the Rimerunner’s guild is actually a front for the frozen shadow assassins and thieves who are themselves agents of the Five Strorms Oni (the one’s who attacked Minkai in the past war which swept across that land.) The raven is a familar of Goti Runecaster, who is an associate of Thorborg Silverskorr, the head of the alliance between the Rimerunners and the Frozen Shadows. The angel itself was a familiar to a deceased mage, and has spent much time in the city investigating these corruptions.

Session 11

Cusp’s Log

We return to Fynn Snaevald, who tells us that Suishen was stolen. A band of men wearing black clothes and masked, led by a tall leader staged a vicious assault in which some of Fynn’s men where killed, and the precious sword stolen. He takes us to the room where the sword was kept and we investigate the area but the perpetrators left no evidence that would lead us to them behind. We speak of Asvig Longthews but we have no evidence directly connecting the local lord and this robbery, though our instincts tell us it was him. Fynn wishes to ínvoke the right of ‘weregild,’ at the loss of his men and the sword. He confirms the sword was purchased from Rokuro Kaijitsu here in Kalsgard.
We decide to investigate Asvig further as there is also the fact that robbery happened at about the same time as we recovered the Amatatsu artifacts in Brinewall. We purchase a wand of healing from the temple of Torag and meet with Nauma Irongleam there, who also offers other magical assistance to us.
Later in the day, we travel south from the city and come upon a gate bearing a lions head stylized motif at the mouth of a track leading to a farmhouse surrounded by a guarded fence. We settle into a nearby copse of trees to spy upon the compound into the evening. Later that evening, a group of merrily singing and drinking warriors bearing the lions head motif are spotted making there way along the road towards the compound from the city, eventually meandering their way inside its fence. Some time later, another pair of men make their way back from the city to the farm and we hear them speaking to each other of Snorri’s funeral, which brings us great surprise. There seems to be a raucous funeral party building up at the farm in honour of the late Snorri Stone-Eye, a most surprising and possibly fortuitous turn of events for us, for an enemy beneath the soil is one less over the way as my Pa used to say.
We take the opportunity to sneak closer to the farm and snoop around. The main building is a single story affair with a main door, a back door and an adjoining outbuilding which seems to be a wool room or shearing shed. Investigation of the wool room and the adjoining room of the main building reveals some people rutting in the storeroom. We quickly surprise and disable them, before Cusp sneaks in under the magical cloak of his vanish spells to look around whilst the others remain hidden outside the building. Many drunken Ulfen raiders are sat, stood or laid about in various states of sobriety yet Cusp is drawn to the main bedroom, where he finds Asvig, his wife, and another having sex. The gnome takes the opportunity to look for the sword but to no avail, only a pair of magical boots which he steals. He also spies the red-pinioned raven, which suggests that it is indeed a familiar to one of these vile humans. But in somewhat short order, and in a moment of distraction from the men’s lust, Asvig’s wife gets wind of something strange, and pulls herself free to find the source. Cusp’s presence is revealed as the sorceress shouts a call to arms, and Cusp’s friends take the opportunity to blast into the building where a tremendous battle breaks out. We are vastly outnumbered, but Cusp calls forth the elemental from the magical stone he carries, which quickly levels the odds, by indeed, leveling many Ulfen men. We manage to take Asvig and his wife hostage as we get wind of another group of Ulfen warriors even now making their way to the farm.
We parlay with them, though Dreki turns himself over as a hostage to them, to the ire of Cusp though it actually plays into our hands somewhat, as they reveal some secrets to him. They reveal to him that Asvig was acting on behalf of another entity and that they’ve kidnapped a guide. It may have been something to do with gifts for the funeral ship. This guide, Ulf, would soon be joining Snorri and that perhaps the sword is going to be sacrificed as well but of this they are not sure. Meanwhile, inside and under questioning, Asvig chokes on his own tongue as he tries to speak though he welcomes the curse and his journey to Asgard. Asvig’s wife, Helva doesn’t seem to think she is cursed and she tells us that Snorri was as fit as a bull, but a sickness came quickly over him his final weeks. She tells us that the funeral is at dawn at Spearshaker’s Point. It will be well-attended by Ulfen warriors. We come to an agreement with Helva, whereby we can go with as much treasure as we can carry, and will forever remain unmolested by her or the remnants of Asvig’s people and in return, we will release her and be on our way.
We quickly load up a wagon with gear and treasure and depart the farm. On our way back we encounter a woman who is badly beaten. Her name is Uksahkka and she claims she is friends with Ulf, a ranger and expert on the mountains around Kalsgard. His last job came from Asvig who commissioned him to blaze a route through the Grungir forest but when Ulf came to the farm to learn the details, he disappeared, which further confirms the story that the Ulfen men spoke of to Dreki. We tell her about the funeral of Snorri Stone-Eye, and that we fear that Ulf may be taken there to be sacrificed with the fallen Ulfen warrior and a precious heirloom that we seek.

The Skalsbridge and Kalsgard
Session 10

Cusp’s Log

We’ve left Eldentre and headed north towards the Skalsbridge. We eventually reach the bridge, a confluence of the Thundering River and another great waterway, and decide to make camp here near the ancient and massive structure. The night is cold as we expect from these northern climes and there is a mist that clings to the ground and oppresses our fires.

That evening, an attack comes from the river by a huge group of Ulfen barbarians who’ve come by a long boat. Somehow, we beat them back to the boat though Kelda and Kiku heroically leap onto the vessel and slay the fleeing barbarians, risking their own lives. A more heroic display, one would be hard pressed to find. If they were defeated, they would have been lost to us forever. We search the raiders and find that they each wear a lion armband which represents their service to a liege lord. We question some prisoners; one of them somehow chokes on his own words, literally, and dies. He must have been under the effect of some nefarious magic or curse, or was otherwise one unlucky sod.

The next day, we come to Ullerskad, a trade hub with numerous hunting lodges and home to old wealthy Ulfen retirees. Here, we learn that the boat the Ulfen raiders came upon us on, is registered to the Rimerunners Guild, a trading organisation that specialises in Linnorm King and Tian trade, and is a very influential trading house. We are advised to take the ship to Kalsgard and speak to the guild chiefs there about recompense for our discovery of the vessel.

Ameiko suggests that in Kalsgard, we need to locate the home of Fynn Snaevald, or his heirs and Sandru says that we need to find a capable, trustworthy guide if we are to cross the Crown of the World. The caravan master also suggests that we need to find out who the lionshead armbands are affiliated with, and possibly enquire into the bloodfeather raven, as it may be a mage’s familiar. He says we should stay at the Hunting Serpent Inn.
Still in Ullerskad though, we attempt to return the ship to a Rimerunner merchant who instead gives us a letter to take to the Rimerunners in Kalsgard and where we can collect our reward. We decide not to stay too long in this settlement, as we do not wish to draw suspicion about the ship we ‘found’, and furthermore, it is almost Archerfest, a holy day of Erastil.

We continue travelling north, and after a time, eventually reach Kalsgard, a massive city. We come into the Oak Quarter but make our way through the streets to the Bone Quarter where we leave the caravan. Some of us stay with it, whilst the rest of us head to the Inn known as the Hunting Serpent. The barkeep is named Tosti, a jovial and welcoming fellow and we revel a bit in the warm taproom before retiring to our rooms to sleep.

The next morning, we head to the Jade District where the Rimerunner headquarters are located. Upon handing over the letter, we’re told that the vessel was stolen a few nights ago. We’re thanked for its return, and given a writ of payment enabling us to collect our reward from the temple of Abadar, which we do.

We find that the gold armbands have a jewellers mark, and we track down the maker who we bribe to reveal who his client is. He tells us that his client is Asvig Longthews, an Ulfen landowner who has a red-haired wife, and is known as a ring giver, or a local lord. His settlement is probably well-guarded, as he has had about 100 of these rings made (we slew about 40 ring wearers on the river).

We decide that we will deal with this Asvig before our imminent departure from the city lest we are forced to leave in haste, and turn our attention to Snaevald. It turns out he is alive and well, and trades in amber and oil and Tian antiques and his home becomes known to us. He must be 80 years old by now. We pay the venerable old fellow a visit and come to him as traders carrying rare Tian antiques. He seems not very impressed, and bids us to return when we have proof that we carry rare and ancient Tian antiques that would interest him. We return to our caravan, but make plans to return to Snaevald this evening…

The Southlands and the Grungir
Session 9

Cusp’s Log

We decide to find a defensible position to camp and are attacked by an Ulfen band. We defend the camp, and later, Sandru tells us about Opir Eightfingers, a Linnorm King who presides over the town of Jol. An unfriendly settlement somewhat out of our way. The plan for us though, is to travel through Tomgruv and Solskinn instead, which are trading settlements on our route to Kalsgard. Ameiko is cursed with dreams of the antlered man again, and so we use the seal to cure her.

The next morning, some of us notice that one of the ravens that shadow the group is much larger than the others and has a red pinion feather. A most ridiculous flourish. Koya and some of the others see it as an omen, a bad omen.

Whilst scouting ahead, Shalelu spots two hill giants on the road some way down, and they are marked with black antler tattoos so more of Snorri Stone-Eye’s denizens we guess. We ambush them, and defeat them and continue. That evening, Shalelu is plagued by dreams but as she is not a scion, the seal can be no help to her.

Throughout the next day, Sandru seems a bit troubled in his thoughts though not very forthcoming when pressed. We eventually come to a more established road and continue along it towards the town of Tomgruv.

Tomgruv, as it turns out, is a good-sized settlement though appears strangely quiet and abandoned. In fact, the townsfolk were being harrassed by trolls which where raiding the Inn and we defeated them, though not without a bit of trouble. The townsfolk where hiding in the mine, the entrance to which is a great door in the side of a hill in the centre of town, and when they emerge, they seem very appreciative of our efforts and much merriment ensued, on this night, being the Ritual of Stardust.

Relationship update: Sandru (3) Koya (1) Ameiko (2) Shalelu (1).

Through the evening, ore wagons with dwarven handlers rumble into town. We ask a few people about the antlered symbology we’ve been seeing but no-one much knows anything about it or what it might mean. There is a nice chain shirt in town being sold for 8000 gp, and we also learn that Solskinn has some strange happenings of late. They’ve been plagued by phantoms and shadows at night. Some patrols were sent out to investigate, but have vanished.

The next day, we roll out with the dwarven miners who are going our way. They speak of Kopparberget, the mine accounts for much of the Linnorm Kings wealth. Sveinn Bloodeagle controls the mine, and he is also the King of Kalsgard. Kopparberget though, is a bustling mining settlement and fortress. It’s well defended and has a vast series of mines and tunnels and some are home to monsters, hence the need for many guards and protections.

By mid afternoon, we reach Solskinn, nestled in a pretty area, quiet and quite welcoming. We draw our wagons up to the main central green and visit the local Inn. There, we learn that people out after dark simply vanish or are taken by ghostly shadows and phantoms that fly through the night air. We visit Hakel, priest of Gorum who speaks of the influence of the fey realm which may be cause for these phantoms and disappearances. Hakel though seems to suggest this situation is a blessing though, for people are free to indulge in a long and trouble-free sleep of a night time, and are happier for it the next day. This has been going on it seems, for about six months. Is this an affront to Desna? Koya doesn’t think it’s our place to solve this mystery. Everyone seems against us investigating or interfering but Gelden and I stakeout the witching hours regardless, of course, from the safety of our rooms.

That night, strange shapes and shadows pass through town, flying in and out of areas and haunting the streets. We decide against going out. The next day, we set out with the dwarves and eventually reach the Grungir Forest that evening. We rest and set out the following day, the ravens high in the canopy. The forest is thick and shadowy. Dreki and Shalelu spy a female giant, stood in the crook of a massive tree. She is clutching a reel and golden thread, and she carries silver shears and watches the scouts just as they watch her. She ignores us though, even as I try to talk to her and appeal to her.

We break through the forest though and meet up eventually with the dwarves we set out with, who claim not to have seen the giantess. Shalelu suggests that the giantess was a ‘norn’, a creature which represents the physical manifestation of fate and perhaps lends credence to our mission. I think the vision was a good omen. This norn may just a be a force of nature but perhaps she has been weaving our road all this time, till we reached our source, her. Perhaps we are on our own now though; the shears she was carrying may represent that. That night is peaceful.

The next day is uneventful and we reach the shores of the Thundering River where we cross a bridge and get to a logging town and watchpost, known as Losthome. Trassen lays to the east we come to learn. Losthome though, is known for its carpenters and traders of wooden wares. We learn that it’s possible to reach Kalsgard by river, but with the caravan, it is not a journey for us.

That night, we decide to invoke Ameiko’s new found ability to transport us to the Library of the Amatatsu family. We appear in her tranquil gardens, a large wooden pagoda-like structure at its centre and presided over by a strange armored ghost, a ribrarian of sorts. This ribrarian, Shoshi is quite welcoming and we are each bid to find a book. I find a book called ‘The Song of the Falling Blossom’, and Shoshi welcomes us to keep the book and return it within a week. A most strange interlude indeed.

Returning to our world though, we set off the next morning and we anticipate no more settlements between us and our destination, except perhaps for Eldentre a town nestled they say in the cradle of an ancient fortified tree…

Into the Nolands
Session 8

Cusp’s Log

Once back at the caravan, Sandru fails to open the chests we recovered but when they are brought into the presence of Ameiko, they open. One chest contains a bamboo rod or sceptre, shaped into the style of a serpent or dragon and surrounded by a complex aura of magic. The other chest contains a tome, also magical, its cover emblazoned with eastern symbols in Minkaian; its title being ‘Ki of the Amatatsu’. We learn that Amatatsu is a notable name and the book contains teachings of natural and supernatural connections between the body, the physical and the metaphysical. The other chest holds the strange shelved puzzle box which contains imagery of an imperial dragon. Opening the puzzle box’s lid reveals a small dragon statuette and we are all, all of a sudden, overcome with dizziness and black out…

We see visions of an army sweeping over the nation of Tien Xia…
We see a friend strike down another…
We see a Tien man, bearing a katana exchange it for a bag of gems to an Ulfen man…
We see Ameiko rise from a resting place near a jade throne…
And then we come around…

We believe the murdered man in our visions to be Emperor Shigure of Minkai. We know that the name of the Kaijitsu’s is truly Amatatsu, and that Ameiko must be the last scion of the last imperial family, the Amatatsus. The Tien man we saw was Rokuro Amatatsu selling much or all of the family wealth to the Ulfen merchant Fynn Snaevald, to fund their exile and escape from the oncoming onslaught.

The katana is ‘Suishen’, intelligent and can impart more knowledge. Further, Ameiko is the current heir of the Amatatsu line, the last of five imperial families. We believe the statuette is the ‘Amatatsu Seal’, and represents the family’s right to rule over Minkai. It is an artifact in its own right, which gifts scions of Amatatsu, or those very close to them, with healing and other magics. The wooden puzzle box is an artifact in its own right, designed to hide objects from magical divination or attempts to find them. The book, if read by a scion, gives the knowledge to take advantage of the Ki Meditation feat, and teaches a lot about mysterious ki forces and energies. The rod is called the Nyoi Amatatsu, which by spending ki, allows scions to enter some kind of metaphysical library of the mind.

This was all knowledge that came to our minds as Ameiko opened the puzzle box and we also recall a wispy shape sucked into the Amatatsu Seal. Ameiko tells of a desperate spirit, yearning for the Seal to be found by an heir. A nature spirit, possibly a kami and not known for possessing people; its home may be the Amatatsu Seal.

Ameiko speaks of the Jade Regent, usurper and murderer of the Emperor. She speaks of her family’s exile, and the sale of Suishen. We decide we must go to Kalsgard and seek Fynn Snaevald. The travel to Kalsgard will be two weeks and a dangerous journey, up through the Nolands, we must follow the trail through Southmoor and to Kopparberget, a mine. We could also go to Tomgruv or Solskinn, then on to the Neck to Losthome, and then follow the banks of the Thundering River and on to Kalsgard.

The next day, we start our journey north. Growing flocks of ravens sweep across the barren rocky lands and seem always to dog our travels as we come to experience. In a couple of days, we spy a a tree-shaped structure. We investigate it and come to the gruesome realisation that it is a collection of dismembered bodies that have been nailed to a timber frame. Dreki tells us it is an effigy known as a tree of souls. It’s made up of a dozen or so human bodies, each body missing at least a limb, and their stumps are sewn shut or cauterised. Some may have been nailed whilst alive, and died as a result of the process, and Dreki suspects the ‘tree’ is made up of the remains of the leaders of opposing tribes, possibly to those opposing the Red Fang tribe, on account of some of the observed tattoos. We notice that we’re observed by a couple of wild folk, so we decide to briskly move on. During the rest of the day, we feel that we’re being watched.

That evening, we are attacked by a band of Ulfen barbarians but vanquish them after a pitched battle. We question a captive who tells us we should flee north as there are many other Ulfen tribesman around. Gelden is cursed with nightmares during the rest of the night but we use the statuette to remove the curse.

The next day, the caravan comes upon a nithing pole, an effigy proclaiming a curse to those going into these lands. The horses are nervous and the area around the pole is wreathed in necromantic magic. Through some experimentation, we relocate the pole and continue onwards.

The Warding Box
Session 7

Cusp’s Log

We’ve managed to defeat the oni tengu, at which point, Ziobe has turned on us and we’ve been forced to slay her. Then more waves of creatures came at us including dire corbies, a giant spider and an ettercap (both of which fled when wounded), a mobat, and finally a female spell-slinging dire corby. The battle is epic and we unfortunately lose Kenna but defeat our enemies.

We head back to the caravan for the night and return the next day. Ameiko speaks during the night, her mind awash in a fever sea. “One treasure beyond two seals in the third vault.” she whispers. We head back to the fortress and find that the ettercap has dragged the mobat into the woods, a number of doors we cannot open, and that the oni was preparing or writing some kind of play about a murder of crows that turns into some crazed humans. On the upper level, we come upon a sobbing childlike spirit that seems to seek company due to an unlife of crushing loneliness. The child had drawn images of Eastern men and giants attacking the village, hinting at the troubled past of this fortress town.

We find a way down behind the iron door, and release a wight wearing the helm of the fort’s standing army commander. A letter in the room speaks of a night attack by men dressed in dark robes. We finally find another set of steps down to an iron portcullis, beyond which we encounter what seems to be the spirit of Rokuro Kaijitsu, who reacts only when his name is spoken aloud. He bids us to take the Seal away from here, pointing to a wall. We seem very close to uncovering Ameiko’s birthright. We find a secret cavity, and open it to reveal three darkwood chests, bound in bronze. The middle chest pops open at the touch and reveals an Eastern puzzle box. We take all the chests and return to the caravan.

The Yamabushi Tengu
Session 6

Cusp’s Log

We’ve managed to kill the decapus but we lose poor dear Spivey in an uncharacteristic flourish of foolishness. A terrible day indeed. In the creatures lair, we find some magical objects and strange burst egg-like sacs. There are quite a few magical items, including a wayfinder and a ring of the ram. There is also a bizarre disk that releases a strange magic when brought close to something. We acquire a cursed winged statuette, as Kiku’s movements are affected when she picked it up. The only way from here it seems, is back up another staircase.

After more sniffing around, we encounter a young female harpy calling herself Ziobe. She beseeches us to ally with her against the leader of the dire corbies, who is an oni tengu by the name of Kikonu—we suspect her lover, possibly jilted or betrayed. She tells of Nindenzigo the decapus, and Buttersnips the quickling. We show her the disk, and the statuette and her eyes went wide as she seems to yearn for it. We offered her the statuette if she would help us safely into the vaults, though warned her of its curse. It seems both sides have a mutual desire to do Kikonu harm, and will benefit from this alliance.

We eventually find the oni up in a tower abutting a battlement and join with him in battle, along with a bunch of his dire corby retinue…

The Rise and Fall of Spivey
Session 5

The party entered the kitchen and swiftly attacked the surprised troglodytes, taking them all out before they could retreat to the arena with well-placed blows and a sleep spell by Cusp. They raided the armory, and then took out Orbhakhaj, the troglodyte leader, and his consorts in the arena. After opening a few more doors, the party investigated the cistern, disturbing the ogre jailer, Slugwort, who surprised them by opening the door to the adjacent dungeon. A vicious battle ensued, in which Dreki took a mighty blow and was rushed into the pool, but the party were victorious again through some useful grease spells from Cusp, defensive tactics, and a final killing blow from Gelden.
In the dungeon, they found a prisoner, Kelda Oxgutter, an Ulfen warrior who was the sole survivor of the longship sunk in the harbor. They freed her and returned her gear as she told them of a tentacled, bat-winged horror that had taken her captive after she found her way into the dungeons from a secret passage in the forest
After investigating the door to the crypt with its image of Pharasma, and deciding not to damage it, they investigated other unexplored passages, killing a phycomid before turning back to the only way left. The party was still nervous about damaging the image of Pharasma, but Kelda showed no such compunction, and kicked it open, while warning that glowing, floating lights at the end of the room looked similar to those she had seen where she had been captured. Kelda’s bravery was suddenly cowed, however, when an image of Pharasma herself appeared at the end of the crypt and bid them enter peacefully, without weapons or armor. While the others hung back, Kelda and Dreki laid down their weapons and armor and approached the goddess but, to their horror, the image proved to be trickery evoked by the tentacular horror, a fiendish decapus called Nindinzego, the creature that had captured Kelda. Rising from beneath the edge to a dark cavern on bat-liked wings, it grabbed Dreki with its tentacles. The barbarian struggled mightily and managed to escape, but it only grabbed him once again before he could escape its reach, constricting him into unconsciousness before dragging him off the edge of the cliff where his body dropped out of sight.
A long fight ensued in which Nindinzego used an unholy blight and a wand of scorching ray to great effect, and forcing the PCs into a fighting retreat. The party, and Dreki in particular, would almost definitely have been killed were it not for the timely intervention of a tiny lyrakien azata that had been secretly following them since they honored the shrine to Desna in the graveyard. The lyrakien’s healing spells and channels augmented Gelden’s tireless efforts to keep the party conscious during the retreat. The party, with Kenna and Kelda, retreated back through the castle while the lyrakien stayed behind to help Kikuko escape too (Kiku had been enlarged during the battle and couldn’t squeeze through a tight spot in the main passage so had to retreat around the cistern area instead. All eventually managed to give Nindinzego the slip and escape back over the walls and into the forest. All of them at one point had been knocked out and thus the lyrakien, whose name they now learned was Spivey, had proven critical to their survival.
They all returned to the caravan where everyone was introduced and the details of their mission to Brinewall was revealed to their new allies, each of whom pledged their aid. Spivey, who was a cleric of Desna, worked with Koya to use scrolls of remove curse to remove the strange afflictions from Gelden and Kiku.
Just as they were settling down for the night, they heard a horrific howling in the distance, which deeply unsettled them all and, after falling asleep, Dreki fell victim to the same nightmare that had been troubling Gelden but Koya used the last of Spivey’s scrolls to remove the curse from Dreki, enabling him to sleep peacefully.
The next day, the party and their new allies returned to Brinewall and entered the dungeons by way of the secret passage that Kelda guided them to. The passage led to a secret door in the wall of Nindinzego’s cavern and, as they emerged, they discovered the horror awaiting them with some dire corby guards. It ambushed them with unholy blight and darkness, but this time the party was prepared. Both Dreki and Kiku were enlarged, and Kenna had enchanted Dreki’s bardiche with a new spell she had discovered. As those who could not see in the darkness retreated from its area of effect to deal with the dire corbies, Dreki, Kenna, and Spivey focused on the decapus—Dreki meting out some huge blows. Badly injured, the fiendish creature retreated to a narrow passage while bringing its wand to bear. In a moment of madness or ill-advised bravery, Spivey flew close up to the creature to try to finish it off with a blast of starlight. Tragically, her reckless gamble failed: Nindinzego smote the lyrakien and ripped the poor creature limb from limb just moments before Dreki finally managed to strike the decapus down. And thus, Nindinzego had its revenge on the azata who had saved the lives of its victims the day before.

Ruins of Brinewall
Session 4

Koya was troubled by the Tayagama and the nature of the oni, but the PCs defended an embrace of the physical world. Koya had just completed a Harrowing for the PCs, revealing that they were favored of Desna, when just after nightfall, Ranulfr and his raiders attacked.
It was a difficult fight, in which a strange connection between Ameiko and the White Wolf was revealed: when Ranulfr was injured, his wounds were shared with her. When Kiku finally landed the killing blow on Ranulfr, Ameiko, whose wounds had been kept healed by Gelden, became very weak and fatigued. Ranulfr’s corpse spoke a strange voice that warned of a second son and an enemy awaiting.
The PCs questioned two raiders they had captured along with Kenna White-Eyes, a blind battle oracle, who told them about Ranulfr’s inexplicable connection to Ameiko, of Snorri’s imminent death, and of the Black Hart, a creature that Ranulfr had said was what he had communed with while he was “in the wilderness.”
After listening to Kenna’s story—of how she was drawn into Ranulfr’s presence through her innate connection to strife, and how she now felt drawn to them and the battles that lay in their future—the caravan decided to let her stay with them to face whatever dangers lay in Brinewall.
The night, Kiku dreamt of the killing blow she dealt to Ranulfr and realised that she had seen a creature watching her from the forest; a thin, black humanoid with antlers like a stag’s. She awoke from the nightmare, screaming and terrified, with gore wounds and her mind damaged. The PCs investigated the spot where she had seen the creature and discovered hoof-prints (the neither arrived nor left) and a raven with its neck broken open and its blood smeared nearby. Kiku could not return to sleep, the mere thought of it terrified her, and so she was fatigued and unable to prepare her spells in the morning. The rest slept and awoke refreshed.
They continued their journey north, camping a couple of hours south of the junction to Brinewall. That night, Gelden dreamt of the day he discovered the dead raven, but in its place was the antlered creature that Kenna suggested may be the Black Hart. Gelden awoke as Kiku had, screaming and terrified, marked with the punctures of gore wounds, and his mind damaged. He could not return to sleep but the next morning, Koya removed his fatigue with her prayers. Thankfully, Kiku had managed to sleep and so was able to prepare her spells for their initial venture into Brinewall.
Ameiko, however, who had become progressively weaker and feverish as the caravan had continued north, did not awaken the next morning but remained in an unrousable comatose state. When the party attempted to revive her, without success, Kiku heard a faint Tien voice from within Ameiko that warned of the birds that cannot fly.
The PCs, Kenna, and Shalelu, approached Brinewall along the overgrown trail; the rest staying behind to guard the caravan and Ameiko.
The party moved through the village of Brinewall and its cemetery, where they added their respectful graffiti to the shrine of Desna, before discovering the corpse of a sea drake along the shore after checking a ruined longboat called the Saltscar. When they tried to move the corpse, they were attacked by reefclaws. Dreki was almost dragged to his death beneath the waters of the cove but was able to free himself from the creature’s claws, kill it, and return to the surface, much to the astonishment of the others who had begun to suspect he was lost.
Moving to the ruined keep, they scouted and discovered dire corbies patrolling the walls. They moved through the forest to the right-hand flank of the structure, and out of sight of the birdmen, scaled the wall, descended into a guard tower and entered a neglected garden courtyard. A giant water insect burst from a pond to attack Cusp but, after a hard fight, all survived and, miraculously it seemed, without alerting any of the keep’s occupants. Moving further into the structure, the party discovered a disturbing room of preserved specimens and killed its quickling occupant before descending into the dungeons via a ruined ballroom.

Road to Destiny
Session 3

The PCs listened to Hortus’ story about a corrupt official preying on families associated with an old plague and agreed to take the trade goods off his hands at cost but weren’t interested in doing anything further to help out the old farmer. The PCs entered Wolf’s Ear, noting that the stone that hung above the gate was magical. They traded in the town, gathering information about a bandit called the White Wolf they had started to hear rumours about, and then set off the next morning.
While traveling through the Churlwood, the caravan was attacked by bandit raiders but defended itself well and captured one raider, Erik Karlak. Ameiko charmed Erik and she and Cusp subsequently persuaded him to become most helpful. Erik related everyting he knew about Ranulfr the White Wolf, and his brother the Mad Reaver, Snorri Stone-Eye, which wasn’t a great deal but enough to persuade the caravan to avoid Roderic’s Cove and head straight to Riddleport.
There, they dumped Erik, and while Kiku and Vaylenchek scribed spells from the folio of the faebinder, the rest went with Shalelu to the House of the Silken Veil, primarily to purchase a wand of cure light wounds, but also to enjoy the company of the prostitutes. Gelden lost his virginity, and Cusp and Dreki purchased around another 30 gp of services each. Another day was spent scribing, and everyone kept low until they set off again the next morning, leaving Vaylenchek in Riddleport.
After three and a half days travel north, they came across the wreck of another caravan, and after surveying the scene and finding Aeysha Villani, they tracked to a cave of ogres. Cusp lured them out with a ghost sound of howling wolves, and then fired a skyrocket, blinding one. As all three of the ogres attacked, the party and Shalelu used good tactics and ranged attacks to bring them all down; Dreki beheading their bodies and collecting their heads before they rescued their prisoners and found their treasure. With the Villani’s horses killed, they rearranged the caravan to take them and their wagons to Crying Leaf to recover. After Shalelu negotiated for the elven community’s help, the PCs spent the night. Cusp met Aelithrian and traded a skyrocket and a drum performance for a silver leaf brooch. Aeysha then joined the PCs’ caravan, her parents traveling south to settle in Sandpoint.
Two days back to the trail north, and two days travel north brought the caravan to within just over a day’s travel from Brinewall.