Jung packs her few belongings and leaves her mules and cart in the safe-keeping of the party and sets out with the Black Cloaks for whatever may await her in the wilds around NorthWood. Meanwhile the rest of the gang pick up some new work.
Between Jung leaving and new contracts being drawn up Gax heads to Glordron’s Dire Wolf stables to try and repair the situation of the Alpha Wolf refusing to eat. The rest of the gang tags along, curious about what sort of promise Gax has made to the wolves. Gax enters the pit (a risky move to be sure) and using Speak With Animals has a conversation with the Alpha. The abbreviated version of what happens is this: Gax is super charming in his simple way, he shares that he too knows what it’s like to be a slave to someone else and promises to release the Dire Wolf, in the meantime he’ll make sure the Wolf gets better fare to eat. The Alpha agrees if it’s done within “a moon”- aka a Month. Gax leaves with his friends still wondering what exactly is going on with the Dire Wolves…
The next day their now repeat customer Thelray brings a friend of his to them; Turi Yvette. Turi is a scholar who specializes in marine environments. She’s a human, mid 30s in age, with dark black hair that has a streak of gray in it. She has contracted The Cetus, a large private vessel, with no small amount of renown in the mercenary community of the Northern Reach, to take them into the northern seas so she can attempt to sort out what is wreaking havoc to the sea-life. Several Killer Whales have been spotted dead and mutilated since the first one washed ashore in NorthWood. Turi also believes the invasion of the Plate Crabs into the fishing grounds is somehow related. She’s hired our band of misfits to be her “hired muscle” should she need some protection or assistance during these explorations.
Preparations are made, gear is prepared and packed, Gax prepares yet another delicious meal for the Curios Company and as they sit to dine they hear cheerful music coming through the wall that connects their base of operations to Marast and Varon’s section of the building. As the evening wears on the music fades and the gang settle in for a night of rest in their own beds.
Deep into the night, the door to their warehouse bursts open and Marast rushes in, “Quickly, gather your gear and make all the haste you can!” She yells, throwing open doors to sleeping chambers as she does so. In moments the gang are all up and outfitted and follow in Marast’s tracks to The Curios. They rush inside and see that the shop is in it’s normal state of disorder. They can hear low voices from behind the curtain that separates the front of the shop from Marast & Varon’s space in the back. They push the curtain aside and see what is clearly a work-room for the Arcane. Along one wall is a long work-bench covered with potions, component ingredients and tomes and scrolls. Another wall has a set of shelves with a mismash of clearly magical items stacked upon it. Along the wall they are entering by is a precise rack. The rack holds sheets of paper, to the side of each is a well of ink and a quill; each placed at exactly the same distance from the sheet of paper in the frame. One of the quills is moving on its own scratching out a message on one of the sheets. At the far end of the room is a sort of sitting area. A large rug is laid out in front of a warm fire, mis-matched chairs and benches are pushed around the rug. In one of the chairs is an Elven man the party has never seen before, Varon kneels before him with pots of salves, and a spray of herbs and plants, cursing in Elvish. Behind him stands Marast, looking concerned and clearly not knowing what to do to assist. Beside Marast is a 1/2 Elf, Older than Marast by 20 years or so, he has a comforting arm thrown over Marast’s shoulder. Worry clearly etches his face as well. Looking at this new 1/2 Elf it’s clear that he is a relation to Marast… her father perhaps? The similarities too striking to ignore. Another revelation is had in this moment as well: As much as Marast looks like this gentleman- Magnus also looks shockingly like him as well…
The Elf draped across the chair exhales in pain. It’s now that the gang really take a moment to take in his presence. His right arm looks as if it has been melted away, nothing left but a blackened skeletal arm. Varon tears away the Elf’s shirt revealing that the damage extends even further up, his ribcage exposed and blackened as well. A faint green light seems to illuminate his chest cavity from within. It’s at that time that the Elf in the chair turns his eyes towards the stunned group of adventurers, they see a flash of mischief in those eyes and a deep power even though the Elf looks like he is on death’s door in this moment. The Elf gives a nearly imperceptible nod towards the party which Varon sees. Varon stands, “Good! You’re here… Quickly into the Wilderness, there’s a band of Orcs. Two are magic users. They each have a device on them, recover those devices or all this is for nothing!” With that he extends his hand making an Arcane gesture and a flash of power arcs across the room and tears a rend into the air in front of the party.
Through the rend they see the icy wastes of the Northern Reach. Over a hill in the distance they see a band of Orcs fleeing. They leap through the rend and into action. “Come back and wait where the portal opens up and we’ll get you out of there,” Marast tells Torrik as he brings up the rear of the group.
Gax uses the lump of clay he was given to summon a Giant Elk which the party mounts and quickly overtakes the Orc band a fierce and deadly combat ensues in which:
– Both Sidron and Torrik go down, but both are quickly revived by their companions
– Wolrf and Zattera both strike some impressive finishing blows on foes, Zattera unleashing the power of The Wyvern’s Sting on the leader of the band.
– Magnus unveils some new Artificer gadgets he’s worked up, making good use of Melf’s Acid Arrow
– Sidron puts Counterspell and Shield to great use, saving Zattera and himself from moral injury.
Bloodied and bruised the gang search the bodies and do indeed find on the two Clerics of Grumsh that were in the Orc band odd devices. Small boxes made of oddly shaped panels, expertly worked together, and covered with strange runes. Magnus casts Identify on one of the boxes but all the information he can extract from the box is that it is tied to Conjuration magic…
And that’s where we leave our heroes, bleeding in the snow of the Northern Reach. These two mysterious items in hand… but still a mystery!
- This mysterious 1/2 Elf was instantly recognized by our players as Ian. One of the characters from our last campaign! The player who plays Magnus played Ian as well. They made Magnus one of Ian’s multitude of children scattered across the Eastern Kingdom. This was AFTER the DM had already written Marast in as Ian’s illegitimate daughter who showed up at the end of our last campaign. All in all it was a great and fun moment for the table (all of which played in the last campaign)