The party spent three days in Syrraco, recuperating from their injuries. On the 4th day of this recovery period, King Arturos’ court Librarian, Alazlam, appeared before them. He came bearing rewards for the party’s service in taking down Silas Dreadbane. For Ari, Boots of Striding and Springing, increasing her speed and jumping ability. For Donovan, a Bolt Tunic, which allowed him to instantly teleport up to 60 feet, leaving a trail of lightning to his new destination. For Portia, one of the highest honors of the Valendian Military – a Medal of Valor, which gives her a +1 bonus to the DC of her Knight’s Challenge abilities. It came with a letter of thanks from Arturos. Alazlam also alerted the party to the political difficulties now faced by the aging Paladin – no King had so blatantly disregarded a ruling of Parliament since its formation. The nobles are now in an uproar.
Alazlam was unable to stay, however, as he was required back in Valens to manage the political fallout. In addition, he told the party that he had been called in as a special investigator in a rash of enchantment crimes. He turned down the party’s offers to help on this count, as the group’s presence in Valens may be detrimental to his attempts to remedy the political situation. With that, he took his leave.
Over their days of downtime, Tamera was unusually quiet – she didn’t play any music, and she told no jokes. After Portia’s (failed) attempt to make her feel better, Tamera asked Donovan if he would go for a walk with her. She commented that she couldn’t get death out of her mind lately, and shared with Donovan her forays into dark comedy.
Tamera’s Joke of the Day: Knock Knock. <who’s> The town-guard. <the> Your wife is dead.
While walking, they were confronted by three armed men in leather armor. They addressed Tamera by name, and invited her to step into an alley. Donovan accompanied her into the alley, where a man dressed in white noble’s clothing was waiting. He immediately asked Tamera where she had hidden “it”. She stared him down and said, “Hidden what?”, to which the man responded by punching her with considerable force, staggering Tamera. Donovan responded to this attack with a nonlethal attack spell, effectively magically punching the man in white. Tamera told Donovan not to hurt him, but the man in white was not so kind – he commanded his men to kill the Wizard.
Augustus, a wandering Paladin recently released from military duty, observed the men escorting Donovan and Tamera into the alley, and leaned against a building outside of the alley to keep watch. Once he heard the command to kill, he sprung into action to save the damsel in distress. The men in leather armor took out daggers and began to attack Donovan. Donovan responded by teleporting up to the roof using his new tunic. He used his high ground to rain down spells on the foes. Tamera caused one of the men to fall over laughing with a hideous laughter spell. Augustus, meanwhile, clubbed the crap out of them. The man in white returned to nonlethally attacking Tamera, with a pair of skillful kicks. Donovan ended the battle with another nonlethal spell, knocking them out.
Augustus introduced himself, and Tamera and Donovan offered him a membership in their group. Augustus, having nothing better to do and seeing this as a way to spread the word of Lucia, agreed. He would just have to be cleared with the boss.
Portia, now in possession of Silas Dreadbane’s Scythe and spiky armor, decided that it was time to recruit. She headed to the Emerald Gauntlet to see if she could pick up a new Garek. She went through many different potential recruits, including an elven wizard (“Nope, don’t need more magic.” Also, baggage) and a dwarf (“No scottish accent? Are you sure you’re a dwarf?”). After some time doing this, Donovan and Tamera, with their new potential recruit in tow, arrived at the guildhouse. After much convincing, Portia allowed Augustus to join.
Tamera then stated that they should probably get out of town for awhile, and explained at least a small part of her situation. “That guy we knocked out has connection to noble families.” At this point, Augustus remembered the symbol the man in white wore, and identified him as having some connection to the Barerra family, and said as much. To this, Tamera nodded. “The Barerra family’s youngest son, Alton.” When questioned about why they were after her, Tamera said, “I took something from them, something very valuable. And they want it back. But it’s hidden, you see, and I’m the only one who knows where it is.” Augustus, taken aback, asked her why she didn’t return it. “Believe me,” she said, “If you knew what it was, you wouldn’t want me to return it.”
Still, the group needed income, so they decided to take some jobs for the Emerald Gauntlet. They were given a choice between two jobs. The first job involved investigating a branch of the Emerald Gauntlet in Syrraco that they had lost contact with. The second job was to find Elbert Payne, an ex-soldier and murderer, who was last spotted in Northcourt, a city in Northern Valendia. Portia, seeking to prove her herself, accepted both jobs, eliciting a sigh from Fran, the receptionist.
They decided to first head for Syrraco, using the teleportation circles between the Guildhalls. Thus, they arrived in Audentia. Once there, they bought two battle-trained horses and a wagon (after much debate). Then, the party got rooms at the Gemini Inn, save for Augustus, who received free room and board at the Temple of Lucia. Taking no time for sight-seeing, the group set out bright and early. After a day of travel along the forested country side of Southern Syrraco, they camped for the night. Before long, they heard a hideous wail, that sounded as if its source was in serious pain. Portia quickly woke up the group and they headed towards the sound.
Donovan sent his bat to scout the area, and he came back reporting that there were 12 of them. Donovan walked forward, Mage Handing his glowing dagger out in front of him. They stepped into a clearing, where a group of Orcs were gathered. Augustus shouted at them to surrender and drop their weapons, to which they replied with the only common words they knew, which were various curses. A battle ensued. Tamera hasted the party, Donovan blasted the Orcs to various Hells with his fire magic, Ari became a spinning, blurry incarnation of death, Portia split an orc in half with her newfound Scythe, and Augustus smote them with his holy mace. The Orcs were quickly dispatched and everyone got back to sleep.
The next day passed uneventfully. On the third day, however, they came upon some bodies on pikes on the side of the road. That’s when it began to rain. Tamera became sick at the sight, and became sick again at Portia’s speculation that they were still alive when they were put on the pikes. In the distance, they could see a group of buildings. Without delay, they headed there. Once in the middle of the small town, they found more bodies on pikes, arranged around a center fountain. Most of the buildings were smeared with what appeared to be dried blood. One building was easily identified as the Emerald Gauntlet guildhall. This building, they entered first.
Portia smashed open the door and entered. Inside, amongst a pile of bodies, was a woman who was chanting over a body. She stopped briefly, when questioned, but simply returned to her chanting. Through his knowledge of magic, Donovan recognized the words she was chanting as a big fire spell. Augustus cracked her with his mace, before attempting to restrain her. Attempts to question her failed, and all she said was, “You must not interfere here, or you will be reduced to a pile of ash.” With that, Augustus ended the woman’s life. A heated argument between Augustus and Portia ensued about this action. Portia thought it was dishonorable to strike her down that way, while Augustus pointed out that she was evil and would only try to kill them if they let her live. Both concluded that they didn’t like the other very much at all.
After this debate, they continued their mission and surveyed an adjacent room. They opened it up to a bunk area, where four more red-robes stood around a pile of burning bodies. Three were human, with shaved heads, but one was covered in red scales and had reptilian eyes. They were also chanting. A battle-ready Portia cried, “Who are you?”
The red-scaled being hissed and said, “We are the servants of the Dragon-God, and you will be incinerated!” Ari instantly recognized what they were – servants of the Red Dragon demigod, Falazuriax, a little-known Material Plane-dwelling deity. The cultists attacked by hurling balls of flame at the party. The red-scaled being, meanwhile, began to chant. Augustus charged forward and struck down one of the cultists in a single blow, while the others advanced to dispatch the cultists, who wore heavy armor under their red robes. Donovan, recognizing that the red-scaled monster was charging a channel pyroburst spell, countered it with his own prepared burst. The monster responded to this by spewing forth a burst of fire from his mouth, severely burning everyone in the area, including two of his cult members, who succumbed to the flames with a look of joy in their eyes.
The last of the cultists was dispatched, and the red-scaled thing was knocked out. Ari tied him up, and Augustus revived him with a cure spell for questioning. They spoke in draconic, and the being spoke of the destruction they were seeking to wreak upon the area. When asked for what purpose they do this, the being replied that destruction was its own purpose. Donovan, realizing that they were not going to get very far with this, put the creature down for good with a Shocking Grasp spell. He then told the group that they’d get more information about what happened from looking around than from questioning this creature.
The Adventurers have gained a new party member. Though he has philosophical differences with the self-proclaimed party leader, he has shown himself to be a valuable asset to the team. Tamera’s “turbulent youth” appears to be catching up with her, and Ari has uncovered an attack by the dragon cult she has sworn to fight off. What is the cult’s purpose in this small village? Will Augustus and Portia ever come to an understanding? What will become of King Arturos?
It is clear that many questions remain to be answered in the world of Valendia.