Ah, well it seems you have returned for more of the story about the group in Geneda. Well, let me tell you- they split up! That’s right, they go their separate ways! Oh, hush now, I’m only part messing with you- they each got divided and had separate assignments to do. Let me start with the one filled with the most danger…
Corrupt Cavern – Part 1
Well, the first pair to go off were Rolf and Rin, the Valorous Paladin and the Hawk-eyed Archer. These two were approached by some unnamed representative of Count Jerald, you see, and they were asked to go on a separate mission from the rest of the group. Of course, little did they know the rest of the group was getting split up, too.
So there they were, in the Pig N’ Sailor, when this representative came in saying that Count Jerald needed them to investigate some cave regarding the Scarlet Shadow or such. He offered them 50gp each as well as 50gp to anyone else they could garner t go with them, saying it would help in uncovering mysteries about what they had witnessed at Blueoak Keep.
Of course they agreed, and with that Rin stood up on the table asking for others to go along. The first and only volunteer, and half-elf rogue by the name of Amber, agreed to go with them for a mere 20gp offered by Rin. After seeing no one else want to help Rin approached who she saw to be the toughest man in the tavern and asked why he would not go. Ensued was an argument about the man’s duties to his family, providing his well being and income over a possible risky windfall. Shortly then, Rin, Rolf and Amber left Seredia headed for the cave.
Little did Rin or Rolf know that Amber had very little actual experience out in the world- barely knowing how to shoot her bow or evade enemy flanks. This became painfully apparent to them when they got ambushed by a small goblin gang en route to the cave.
The goblins had been waiting, you see, on top of tall rocks and behind others- their archers in position to assist their melee counterparts. Now once these buggers revealed themselves Rin identified one of the archers on top of the rock and got to climbing- she’d be damned if this goblin would have the better vantage point. Down below Rolf charged on his new warpony with valiant ease, lancing all his foes. Amber however, found herself, back against a boulder with no way to run.
Well, the battle went on- Rolf trampling the goblins beneath his steed and he lanced at others, Rin getting knocked down by the goblin on the rock before getting up and shooting it off, and Amber taking some reckless wounds from the goblin’s axes before finally downing her first foe. In the end they were fine and continued onward to the cave.
By the time they reached the cave it had been a few hours. The banners of the Scarlet Shadow flew proudly, and probably foolishly, outside the entrance with the party entered. They were greeted immediately with more zombies, much like those they had already seen and fought. Rolf charged in and dispatched one immediately, while Rin and Amber took on the other two. A few well placed shots later and another zombie lay dead, while even more dagger slices left the third in pieces. Feeling confident the group moved onward to the northern door, leaving the southern one behind for now.
They saw a dim hallway with a door at the end and a turn going right next to it. Looking down this bend revealed another door and another bend, so they decided to check out the room that lay before them immediately. Once Rolf opened it perhaps his heart skipped a beat, as he was not expected to see spiders the size of himself, nor was he expected to see entire swarms of tiny spiders rushing towards him. Courageously though he charged in, squishing spiders in his wake. Rin shot arrows from behind, popping the first spiders venom sac and forcing its unholy soul from its body. Amber stayed in the hall with Rin fighting off a swarm of spiders while Rolf, and more importantly his steed, took the hits for the group.
One messy spider-fight later and the spiders were all dead, leaving behind no trace of their purpose in the cave. Once again taking the lead Rolf went to the next door, only to realize too late of the perils- a 30 foot plunge downward in the form of a covered trap. His horse lay wounded in this small pit, barely alive, so he did what he had to do- put it out of its misery. He collected the riding gear from his steed and made the somber climb back up, knowing that he must press on. Opening the door though, dealt them a more horrific sight than they had planned to see- demons!
A large demonic symbol lay on the ground along with many dead scarlet-robed figures. Imps stood in the circle fighting off the remaining Scarlet Shadow members who were there. During the course of this three-way fight Amber met her demise, the imp shoving his claws deep into her abdomen before being sledged to death by Rolf. She continued to bleed out while Rolf and Rin quickly dispatched all those in the room. Once safe, they tried to treat her wounds, but a fatal mistake led to her premature death. Deciding to leave the body until ready to leave, they left the room to finish clearing out the caves.
At the end of this hallway now stood one last door, a double door of large proportions, which opened up into a room grand in size. Here lay even more dead corpses, yet a smaller, concentrated demonic circle- with a single larger demon in it. Rolf was alone as Rin had taken the other way without realization, and Rolf suffered at the hands of this foe. Once she heard the commotion Rin ran back and shot the demon full of arrows. A short battle raged on between them, Paladin and Archer versus Demon, and when he almost knocked out the Paladin and faithful arrow put him near death. Panting, sweating, bleeding and cursing in his demon language, he made an attempt back to the circle, when he barely escaped back to which he came.
Now in pain, Rolf considered leaving their job undone, but Rin convinced him otherwise, taking the lead for the duration of the caves. What they now found in the southern door of the first room may have been an omen of what they had already seen- four Scarlet Shadow necromancers huddles around a demonic symbol chanting. Without hesitation Rin and Rolf killed these men with swift arrows and warhammer swings, moving on.
Down one last hallway they made their way to the final room of the caves. They entered, and what they saw offered little threat- two more of these weak zombies and a single Scarlet Shadow man. The man even hid under his desk until the zombies had been dealt with, but little did Rin and Rolf know of his trap. Rin went to attack the man but fell victim to the pit trap in the room activated by a lever under the desk.
With the archer preoccupied and the paladin visibly weak, he gloated for a moment and threw knives down upon Rin. In retaliation she shot arrows back until one finally hit the man, and then until Rolf kicked him down the pit himself, dying on impact. Rin then climbed out of the pit and the two scoured the desk and bookshelves for clues. Not much showed up besides another book in a magical language similar to that in Blueoak Keep. Taking that with them, they collected Amber’s body, sorted through her belongings for the group, and returned to town for their reward and rest.
Unholy Errands – Part 2
Now, at the same time, our angry cleric friend Palice, was sent back to Blueoak Keep to solve a few, should I say, fleeting issues. Much like the others, Palice was approached to do his job. Sir Reginald Crow appeared and asked him to return to the Keep to wipe out the remaining zombies in the area.
See, the Count’s men had already done a good job purging the area of zombies, and without casualty either. However, they did stumble across some form of superior zombie who seemed to be controlling the others. They tried to fight it, but wound up retreating from it’s strength. So, what were they to do? Why, have the holy cleric come in, of course!
And he did. Palice arrived without incident at Blueoak Keep that day, watching the workers do their work on renovating it. They told him that since he was the first, that he’d get first pick at rooms, too. Besides the house, Palice saw the stables and kennel rebuilt- the stables with enough room for steed for the parts, and the kennel rebuilt to house more canines or creatures in an enclosed environment. Lastly, and to Palice’s liking, they erected a miniature shrine to Pelor in a small building within the Keep’s walls for him to pray at.
But it wasn’t all watch and play. Soon night fell, and as promised the Count’s troops had led the zombies to the keep. Palice and two guards on duty took on the zombies with ease, Palice toting his new mace, the Star of Erythnul. He discovered the powers of the star first hand when he accidentally damage one of the guards, the excess pain of his foe injecting itself into his ally. After felling a good number of the zombies, the more wounded of the guards fell back, seeing the Cleric and fellow guard take on the rest.
Unfortunately for that guard, the superior zombie rounded the blockade and shocked him from afar. Palice came around to attack the other zombies just in time to see the superior zombie running up and slamming the guard unconscious.
Without hesitation, Palice called upon his turning powers to repel the abomination and it’s remaining zombies, forcing them to cower from his divine might. The remaining guard quickly fell the other two zombies before returning to help Palice, who chased at a distance after the superior zombie. After healing and fallen guard, Palice summoned a Celestial giant fire beetle and used it to surround the zombie with the guards. After hacking at the helpless zombie, the beetle vanished and gave way for the zombie to run once more. Coming in for the kill, Palice ran in and attempted to bludgeon its head off before him and a guard finally killed it.
An inner peace filled Palice, a way of Pelor telling him that the land was more pure now and the zombies were no more. The guards and carpenters thanked Palice by allowing him to select his room first and by showing him all the improvements to the keep they were making. When he finally set back off to Seredia, Sir Reginald Crow thanked him and payed him the agreed amount for his services.
A Dastardly Deed – Part 3
As you can guess, the last group was Norm, Giana and Thoril. While everyone was out of town taking care of business, the mayor of Seredia approached them and tasked them with a personal quest- find the stolen deed to their new home, Blueoak Keep. The mayor informed them that it was stolen during the market and that only a few people could not be accounted for, making the suspect list. The five suspicious ones were Sara Helgen, of Sara’s scrolls; Haggard Fulsten, of the Pig N’ Sailor; Geoffry Blackgard, head of the Labor Group; Salvador Greenwall, head of the Carpenters; and Sir Reginald Crow.
Their first two suspects visited, Sara and Haggard, proved to be useful. Giana explained to them the situation and both proved helpful while promising their innocence. Sara gave the alibi that she had been working constantly on deciphering the runed book they brought her. Haggard had no real alibi other than he had been working here in the tavern, as usual. They did however point the group towards certain clues about the keeps low, magical property as well as the history regarding the construction of the keep and the Blueoak Bandits.
Their next stop brought them to the house of Geoffry, where they were most unwelcome. Besides curt, standoffish remarks and answers, he rudely stopped answering questions and refused cooperation. After him they next went to the residence of Salvador, who was quite the opposite of Geoffry. Sal answered all of their questions and cooperated, giving them the names of guards who could verify that he was on the trail from the Keep itself when the deed was stolen.
After looking at the information, and not thinking it could have been Sir Reginald Crow, they decided to give him a visit just to verify that it wasn’t him who took the deed. A quick visit and a search of his room showed no sign of the deed, and he cited himself as being in his room at the Pig N’ Sailor the entire time. Neither him nor Haggard saw each other which added to the idea that Reginald was there the entire time.
Going around to Sara and Haggard, and eventually the mayor a few times provided more clues and more fingers were pointed. Sara flipped her entire room upside down, trying to prove her innocence in not having the deed. Although her performance seemed suspicious, Norm and Giana figured her innocent for the time being and found themselves stumped. Finally, they retrieved a warrant and entered Geoffry’s house with a town guard.
After a few minutes of searching a trap door was unveiled underneath his bed, but Geoffry denied access by saying that it went outside city limits and that their warrant did not allow them to search it. The guard agreed with him, and returned back to the mayor with Giana, Thoril and Norm to see what he could do. By now there was no doubt in the minds of the mayor and the party that Geoffry did it, but the mayor would not allow the invasion without proof that the other four were innocent. Crow and Sal were already innocent, and their suspicions of Sara were all but dropped. Lastly, the only suspect otherwise was Haggard.
Unmentioned was Haggard’s reluctance earlier to them searching. He allowed them to search his entire room save or a lockbox. Now came the time to search it, and with the greatest reluctance he agreed. After seeing its contents, Giana and Norm agreed that he was innocent and not to tell the contents of the lockbox to anyone. With this knowledge, they began the pursuit of Geoffry through the tunnel, the guards searching and standing by in his house.
After a long trek through the tunnel they eventually made way to a wooden door. Inside the door were two bandits, in the garb of the Blueoak Bandits, which they had figured out Geoffry had been a part of by an anonymous source. Though believed to be long gone, the Blueoak Bandits now stood here in front of them.
A bluff stating they wished to join the bandits sent one of them gone long enough for Norm to grapple the other and drag him off into the tunnel. Returning was the left bandit and the boss, who they quickly made work of, Norm being injured in the process. Once the commotion was down Norm dressed himself in the Blueoak Bandit cloak and brought in Giana and Thoril, bluffing the others that they were responsible for the Boss’ injuries and brought them to a jail cell by lucky guess.
Once in, they met another inmate who said he would fight if he could. One by one, distraction by distraction, Norm made quick works of the other bandits until him, Thoril, Giana and the inmate made a stand against them all. A battle ensued and the inmate fell to an unfortunate death. A single bandit escaped into the last room, and when they chased they saw the boss laying unconscious on the bed. A medicine man stood by her and two more bandits met them. Quickly, Thoril and Giana’s superior fighting abilities downed the three leaving them with just the boss. Thoril slew her and Giana was too late to stop him, as she wanted to ask her questions.
They soon collected the loot and found the deed on one of the bodies that they killed and then identified as Geoffry’s. Their suspicions right, and their quest successful, they headed back for their reward, with their new home safely in hand.
So, now with the separation done with, and the group coming together, they found themselves stronger individually. And as they say, son, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Well, reunited, they will now face much stronger foes than this, as their strengths combined are a match for most. Come back again later, and you might just hear more of their tale.