The Compass Rose

Session 40 - June 10/13
Last Junior Rok out of Princeton

The large ship sighted ahead has moved to intercept their tiny boat. The group allows it to close, making certain that the second ship that they spotted does not follow. The approaching ship is Leonian, identified by her silver star-and-crown flag. Murad (in giant squid form), Quintin, and Rod submerge, moving to intercept her.

The Leonian sailors capture Cam Rewyn and the others left in the folding boat and bring them aboard their ship. Cam explains that they are heading back to Princeton, and that they should be allowed to proceed – if they prevent the group from doing that, they will live to regret it. The ship’s captain and crew have a short-lived chuckle at this. Then, suddenly, Rod, as “The Great Lord DeloSiren” with his flaming sword, and Murad, as his pet Giant Squid, rise up behind the ship and scare the hell out of them. The captain is intimidated into handing over his ship.

Rod secures the captain, the crew is disarmed, and Quintin and Manuel search the ship. Cam instructs the captain to steer the ship to Princeton. Murad swims ahead to a pair of Ealduran ships. After some initial shock at seeing a large squid climb aboard their ship, the crew is assured by Murad, now in his true form, that he is a friend. He warns them of the approaching captured ship and asks that they be allowed to pass.

After several hours, their captured vessel approaches Princeton. They sail past a line of ships anchored just outside the harbour – they appear to be unmanned. The ship pulls up to the military docks, which are mostly devoid of ships. Many of the ships from the main docks are gone as well. At the base of the Duke’s Keep, on the hill above them, men are building earthen ramparts to fortify her walls.

After securing the crew below decks, the party makes its way to the keep. They pass through Princeton on the way. They notice a crowded town with a tinge of fear and desperation in the air. The gallows on the edge of the Duke’s hill has three occupants – two male, one female, all dead. As they approach the gate to the Duke’s compound, they no longer see the throng of petitioners. Instead, patches of dried blood dot the ground. In addition to the governor’s men, two Knights of the Just guard the gate. Cam leads them to Governor Darrow in the keep’s stateroom. In a chair, poring over his maps, the governor looks even more tired and worn then before.

Murad tells of their journey and of the pending cataclysm. Darrow replies that the information should be taken to Llantry. He also explains the military situation.

On the islands
  • Tulmaria quickly fell to the Leonians 2 days past – only a token garrison was present to defend it
  • The Leonian fleet is in position to attack the strong points in the Ealduran line – to the south, to the north (at Plith), and to the east (at the reef passage)
  • Lettanni and Gul troops stand ready to attack Plith and destroy the battery there
  • Gul warriors are reportedly seen east of the King’s Range (as close as 4 miles from Princeton)
  • Segrove is evacuated save for a token force
On the mainland
  • The siege of Prue has been abandoned
  • The Ealduran fleet in Green Bay is on its way back to the Bay of the Protector to defend Llantry
  • The League has officially declared war against Ealdur
  • It has been confirmed that a Coorish fleet, mostly Leonian, with some Caldian and Esciarvan ships, is amassing in Leona’s harbor
  • Soon after the declaration of war, both Marakfell and Wendgate, having large populations of Ealdurans, seceded from the League
  • Marakfell is reportedly under siege by a Brindish army
  • Wendgate has opened her gates to the Queen’s army – an army of Sassimi is marching overland toward the city

Lord Governor Darrow requests that the party accompany Cam back to Llantry, to deliver a letter to the Duke of Cahorn. Darrow assures them that they will receive full payment for their mission to the Ulgar after they arrive. The party agrees and they are dismissed.

Rod suggests that they use the captured Leonian vessel and crew to sail to the mainland. Murad and Manuel return to the dock to convince the captain that he should help.

Rod goes to his house, to find Alurha and her cousins. She has been unable to make it to the Murad’s jungle sanctuary as Aeric has been very busy with the militia. Rod assures her that he will make sure that she gets there.

Quintin goes to the chapter house of the Stars’ Children to make a report. Just before meeting with Master Jylium, he requests that Arthund, the researcher, join the discussion. Quintin speaks of the falling star and suggests that the Children of Zepha may be controlling it somehow. He shows Jylium and Arthund the stone with the strange fungus. Jylium commands Quintin to personally deliver a report to Archmage Gralius Kurn, at the Tower of Stars at the Academy in Llantry. Quintin agrees. He is granted potions and/or alchemical formulae of his choice. Quintin thanks the Master and then joins Arthund to further research the stone. Arthund reveals that the wardrobe that the party found on Vosssian’s ship is actually an extra-dimensional alchemical laboratory. Excited, Quintin asks if he can take it with him. Arthund agrees to speak with Master Jylium about it.

Rod pays a visit to Mayor Finchey and arranges to have Aeric taken under the party’s command. Rod makes a deal with Finchey to transport him to the mainland, for a “fee“ and supplies for the trip.

Back at Rod’s house, Murad, Manuel and Rod write up a list of supplies needed for the voyage. Rod then fetches Aeric from the tower construction site at the north gate. Murad transforms into a juvenile roc and flies Aeric, Alurha, and her cousins to the new, hidden Labreyan village. While there, Murad meets with Ita and Sota. He tells of the impending cataclysm and warns them to be watchful of the signs – like a rapidly brightening star. They agree to move the people inland if it comes to that. They explain that Yulando wishes to join Murad on his journey to the mainland. Sota also mentions their friend Saladin and that he seems to be eager to leave.

At dawn the next morning, Quintin visits the Church of the Just. After learning that Bertom of Cuford has been confined to his quarters, Quintin pays a visit to Patriarch Castance. He explains the story of how Elrew decided, on his own, to stay confined with the Ulgar. Castance is unmoved. He informs Quintin that, because the Governor’s forces did not keep their end of the agreement by returning Elrew to him, he must withdraw his knights from their posts at the Keep. Quintin does not believe that to be fair. He asks that Bertom be allowed to serve him as penance for his misdeeds. The patriarch, intrigued, says he must ponder this.

Early that morning, Rod and Manuel are busy prepping the ship for launch. Quintin finishes up at the Chapter House. He takes the magical wardrobe and Desmond, the apprentice, with him to the ship. Murad says his farewell to the Labreyans and flies, with Yulando and Saladin, to the ship. Cam Rewyn and Tomes Finchey arrive separately and take up residence on the ship. Finally, a man in ragged clothing and a simple sword arrives. After some initial confusion, Quintin recognizes him – it is Bertom. He explains that this is part of his penance and that he must go to the High Patriarch once they arrive in Llantry. The Leonian captain, Morso, recommends that they take a southern route to run the blockade. The party agrees and they set sail. Murad changes into the form of a bird and circles ahead.

As they put out to sea, the party looks back on Princeton.

The sea ahead, your pathway back to the capital city of Llantry, is clear, yet you sense that you have escaped just in time. The roar of the naval battle nearby fades to a din. You take this opportunity to look back on the place that has come to be a sort of home to you. Princeton is rather pretty for a colonial town – her wooden harbor and palisade wall frame the collections of tiny houses that make up her neighbourhoods. On the small hill, stands the sturdily built Church of the Just. Above it all, to the south and west, looms the Keep – the Duke of Cahorn’s monument to the power that the lords of Ealdur wield over this part of the world. It stands defiant against the gathering storm. And, for a moment, there is silence.

As you ponder this, you hear the faint crackle of thunder in the distance. Clouds, the colour of smoke, are moving fast across the island and above you, toward the seemingly unsuspecting town. A flash of lightning is spotted, followed soon after by a thunderous boom. A sky that was clear just moments ago, is now near black. You feel the first drops of water and hold your breath. A fearful thought crosses your mind – this is not like to be the last storm…

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Session 39 - May 29/13
That knife aint much good to a dead man...

The Labreyan priest, Aitu, arrives at Rolston’s. He tells the party that he has heard that they had found an ancient Labreyan temple. He asks if this is true and, if so, what did they find there. Murad goes into detail about the temple and the battle with the vampires. he mentions that they recovered a certain sword that is dangerous to Labreyans. Aitu asks what else they found and requests that the items be given to his people. Rod hands over almost everything they found, (excluding the Token of Zaur, the slippers, and the ring of minor fire resistance). Aitu casts Detect Magic to discern their properties. He takes the ceremonial armour, the gold necklace, Unholy staff, and the Bane Sword. He seems to believe that they are holding something, but agrees to give them curative potions in exchange for the artifacts that they handed over to him.

After Aitu leaves, Rolston inquires about why Murad did not hand over the Token of Zaur. Murad explains that they are unsure of its powers and di not wish to separate it from the other token, Token of Valeria, as the former seems to be granting the latter increased power. Murad then speaks with Kuhita. Murad learns that Kuhita wishes to stay amongst his people here.

A little later, a messenger arrives and they are led back to the city centre. The Ulgar chieftains, elders, and a rather large crowd await them. The chieftain Fembe informs them that both Manambu and Koro have been stripped of the rank of chieftain and will no longer lead. He also says that it has been decided that the party will be allowed to leave on condition that they give their word that they will not speak of the underground city. All in the party agree. They take a blood oath to that by clasping Fembe’s forearm, which is sheathed in a sharktooth gauntlet. Fembe tells them that they have agreed to send 50 volunteer warriors to the surface to help defeat the Gul.

Fembe says that the council has decided to free the priest, Elrew, and his knight, Bertom, to stand before their own laws, provided no one challenges the decision. After a brief silence, one Ulgar, Imbongu, comes forth to challenge. Manuel volunteers to fight to the death on the behalf of the Elrew and Bertom.

They are led to a circular courtyard. They are each allowed a single weapon. Soemone in the crowd hands Imbongu a strange dark green-coloured glass dagger. A priest scans the combatants and tells Manuel has to removes his magical items, including his Monk’s Robes. Quinton hands Manuel a flask as his one “weapon” – it is an anti-toxin alchemy.

The battle commences. Manuel waits for Imbongu to approach then jumps up and does a flying tackle, knocking Inbongu to the ground. Manuel pins his opponent and begins to land blows to his head. Imbongu manages to escape Manuel’s grasp twice, briefly, but is immediately grappled by him again. Manuel’s final blow caves in Imbongu’s face, to the astonishment of the crowd. Fembe pronounces Manuel the victor and he is awarded Inbongu’s dagger.

Back at Rolston’s home, Elrew and Bertom are returned to the group in somewhat rough shape. Murad aks Cam to obtain oaths from them to not divulge the whereabouts of the Ulgar or the cavern. Elrew commands Bertom to take the oath and return without him and asks to be taken back to his cell. Quintin berates Elrew for taking the “coward’s way out”, as he puts it. Murad does not agree, and gains some small respect for the man. Rolston takes Elrew back to the Ulgar.

Rolston returns with Zia, who gives Murad a magical dolphin-shaped ring and thanks the party for the gift that they gave her when they met and for all that they have done here.

Before the party leaves, Rolston reminds them of his request that they take their findings to the Stars’ Children in Llantry. He then makes a final request. He asks that they watch out for his apprentice, a woman by the name of Fatima Lysini. She may be looking for him in the West Hanum islands. If they happen to find her, he asks that they tell her about the impending disaster from the sky, that she should find a safe place for herself, and that he is safe. He hands Murad a silver necklace with a faded Coorish Star hanging from it. He asks that they give it to her – she will understand its meeting.

The party, including Cam, his guards, and Bertom return to the island’s surface. Ungu, who will be leading the 50-odd Ulgar warriors, says they will be sailing to Calmuth Island to attack the flanks of the Gul. The party thanks them and bids them farewell.

The party unfurls their folding boat and starts back to Princeton. On the journey, Cam is sullen. He tells the tale of his friendship with Governor Darrow and the silver hammer that was given to Koro as a gift. It was awarded to the Governor many years ago for exceptional valour during a border skirmish with the Lettanni. Cam smiles at this, but is clearly saddened. Bertom remains mostly silent on the trip.

Murad, in kraken form, has been pushing the ship to speed her up. After two days sailing, they approach the southern edge of Calmuth island. Manuel and Rod spot two ships ahead, about three to four miles away. The party shifts the boat to the smaller form, and drops the sail to lowers it’s profile. Manuel steers the boat to the port side to avoid the unidentified ships, but it is soon apparent that they have been spotted…

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Session 38 - May 6/13
A witch, disguised as a ghost, goes into a bar...

Leaving the unholy staff with Rolston, the party sets back out again. On the way back to the surface, through the volcanic lake, Quintin questions Ungu, the ranger, about the “Guardian” and the amulet they use to keep it at bay. He tells him only that it is an artifact of the Ulgar people.

The party reaches the coast of Urko. They unfurl the folding boat and set sail for Tamba. They travel through the night – the next day, they see the settlement of Tamba and its fortification in the distance. Murad changes into the form of a bald eagle and flies ahead to see if he can spot the witch.

As he gets closer, he spots her, standing on the fort’s outcropping and waving at the ship. He lands and turns into human form. Murad greets her and notices that she seems almost ghostlike. He explains why they came. Murad determines that she is in fact a spirit and not the witch. Murad explains what has been asked of them. She agrees to give a message to the witch. He notices that she used a spell of Invisibility to leave. This strikes Murad as somewhat odd. He heads in the direction of the village centre. The rest of the party awaits him there.

Murad tells of their conversation. Quintin is skeptical and wonders if she is just playing them for information. As they debate, Rod hears something in a nearby hut. He is unable to find anything but some odd tracks just outside of the hut. Quintin scans the area for magic and finds nothing.

Murad returns to the fort alone. After more than an hour the “spirit” appears and says that Muria, the witch, does not wish to meet as she is fearful of Koro. The “spirit” offers to accompany them back to the underground city to explain Muria’s story to the chieftains. She says that she will meet them at the sanctuary’s entrance.

The party heads back to the mountain. Back on Urko, they inform Ungu about the spirit and he is less then impressed. He summons the priest, Abu. They return to the underground. Just before entering the complex, Abu stops the party. He points to a spot in the air and demands someone to “show yourself”. The spirit appears. Abu then demands that she show herself as she truly is. The illusion fades away and another women is before them – it is Muria, the witch. Abu takes hold of her and leads her through the door to the underground. He says that they will be taking her to Koro. Fearing for her safety, should Koro see her alone, Quintin summons a bat and sends with it a message to Rolston. The message warns of what is happening and asks for aid from him. At the entrance to the city proper, Abu asks for the witch’s “creature” before they let her enter. She takes a fire bat from her pouch and hands it to him. The party gets about half way to the city centre as Rolston and his servant approaches.

Rolston sends his servant ahead to tell the other chieftains of their approach. He also informs them that the priest, Elrew and the knight, Bertom of Cuford have been thrown into the dark cells. Elrew tried to preach his word to Rolston’s servants, despite being warned not to. When Koro learned of this, he sent his warriors to take Elrew away. When they tried to take him, Bertom intervened with his sword. During the ensuing mélée, Bertom was grievously wounded. They were both taken tot he dark cells.

They arrive at Koro’s compound. Koro is there to greet them. Very soon after, the other chieftains – Fembe, Vula’a, and Manambu – arrive. Murad detects a hint of worry on Koro’s face. Murad tries to tell their story but is told by Koro to keep silent. Abu tells his tale first, then Murad is allowed to speak. Murad recounts his story. Fembe asks Koro why the other chieftains were not told of this errand that he tasked the party with. Koro claims that he simply did not want Manambu to try to thwart it for his own political benefit. Fembe is unsure and asks Muria to tell her side of it.

She admits to being Muria, the “witch”, who was cast out of Tamban society. She also reminds them that she is the sister of Manambu. She tells how she returned to Tamba to protect it until her brother could lead the people back to the surface. She tells them this because she feels that Manambu betrayed her by leaving her stranded on the surface. She also reveals the history of herself and Koro:

Many years ago, when Koro was chieftain of Tamba, he and Muria were lovers. It was kept secret, because, even then, Muria was suspected of practising witchcraft. Another one of her order, Tiha, had a deep fondness for Koro and was envious of Muria’s relationship with him. So, using her magic, Tiha attacked Muria. While defending herself, Muria killed Tiha. Tiha’s family was powerful and demanded that Koro have Muria killed. He could not bring himself to do this, so he had her banished from Ulgaran society for evermore.

Muria believes that Koro wants her killed now for he fears that she will aid her brother in overthrowing him. She also thinks that he does not want their story to come out.

Fembe then asks Koro if this tale is true. Koro admits that it is. Fembe then demands the truth from Manambu – if he meant to overthrow Koro. Manambu concedes that he did. Fembe, with agreement from Vula’a, orders that they both Koro and Manambu be placed under guard in their respective homes until the chieftains and the council of elders make a decision on what is to be done with them. The two fallen chieftains are taken away. Femeb then orders Muria be taken to one of the dark cells. She offers no resistance.

Fembe then calls Rolston and the party to meet with himself and Vula’a privately. He asks for the full story again from Murad. He also asks Rolston to tell all he knows of the situation. Fembe thanks them for bringing the matter before all of the chieftains and for telling the truth. He says that they must confer with the council of elders on what is to be done with the chieftains and whether or not their party will be allowed to leave the city. They should return to Rolston’s home and wait their decision. They will have it by that evening. He dismisses the group.

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Session 37 - Apr. 22/13
Do you know what water does? It shrinks things...

Quickly, Manuel knocks Quintin’s hands away before the strange pair can react. The stone slab falls back over them. However, the male is able to lift the slab and allow the female to escape. She dominates Rod’s mind momentarily, but he is able to shake off the effects. The male, then emerges from the stone coffin. He notices Murad and makes for him. He strikes Murad with a gruesome hand. This seems to drain some of Murad’s life force from him. He changes into the form of an Earth Elemental and escapes into the floor.

At first, the party is unable to inflect much damage. They soon learn that the creatures are harmed by adamantine weapons. The “couple” is able to drain the life force from Quintin and Manuel as they land blows on them. Luckily for Rod, he avoids being hit. As the female gets close to being destroyed, she tries to escape by assuming a gaseous form. But before she can get away, Rod finishes her off. The others train their attacks on the male and he is vanquished.

After the battle, Manuel recalls that these creatures are Vampires and that they must have been buried under water to prevent them from escaping. Murad wonders why, then, were they not simply killed. Rod is busy searching the bodies and finds several items. Murad discovers that some of the items are magical. He studies them to learn their properties. Believing that it may be particularly dangerous, Murad decides to keep one of the swords for himself.

Murad and Quintin engage in a debate about what to do with the dragon lizard pendant found on the woman. Murad has identified it as a Token of Zaur . He believes that he should keep it for now. Quintin disagrees, saying that it is the item of an evil god and should be destroyed. They also notice that Rod’s Token of Valeria has become more powerful in the presence of this new item. Ultimately, the group decides to send Rod to fetch Elrew to get his opinion on it.

As Rod heads back to get the cleric, he is met by Loku. He relays the urgent message that Rolston is in need of them back at his home. Rod gets the others and they return to the city.

As the Party approaches Rolston’s home, they see that there are even more warriors outside than before they left. None of them were here before. Neverthless, the party is allowed to enter. Inside a meeting is taking place between Rolston, Cam Rewyn, and another man – an Ulgar man. Rolston introduces him to the group as Suarmin, a negotiator for Manambu, another of the Ulgar chieftains.

Suarmin calls for one of Rolston’s servants to leave. Rolston complies and dismisses her. Suarmin wants to know what the party was asked to do by Koro. Murad is purposely vague, but tells Suarmin that it is for the security of the Ulgar people. Suarmin offers his opinion that Koro has no intention of keeping his word and allowing the party to leave the city, whether or not they complete his request. He says that many among the Ulgar do not wish to be here. They want to return to the surface and prevent their homes from being taken by the Gul. Suarmin believes that if presented with that option most, if not all, of the people would follow Manambu back above.

Suarmin then presents Manambu’s counter-offer to Cam Rewyn and the group. Manambu is prepared to aid the Eldurans in their war. He offers 1000 of his warriors and 100 warships to the fight. He demands the entirety of Calmuth Island for the Ulgar people, but the remaining islands previously under Ealduran control shall be returned to them. He also offers to help them capture Toomiran from the Lettanni. All that he requires from them is that they leave the underground city quietly. Manambu’s men will escort them to the surface. Once Manambu has taken power, he will lead his men into the fight.

Cam asks Suarmin to give them 2 hours to consider the offer. Suarmin agrees and leaves. Some of his men remain behind. The party discusses the pros and cons of both Koro’s and Manambu’s offer. Somewhat reluctantly, the party, with Cam’s agreement, decides that they will honour the original agreement with Koro.

Rolston uses magic to call for Zia. She arrives several minutes later with some of Koro’s warriors. They intimidate Manambu’s men into leaving and Zia enters. Using healing magic, Zia restores the life force that was lost to Manuel, Murad, and Quintin. Quintin gives Rolston 4 potions of Invisibility and the party slips out, making for the surface…

Male:

  • Armour, ceremonial (6000-7000gp)
  • Adamantium short sword +1 Bane (Labrayens)
  • Silver ring, minor fire resistance
  • gold necklace (5000 gp)
  • gold ring (1000 gp)
  • silver bracelet (300 gp)

Female:

  • Unholy Staff
  • Short sword +1
  • Slippers, feather step
  • gold necklace (2000 gp), with Token of Zaur pendant(command undead once a day)
  • gold ring (1000 gp)
  • silver ring (200 gp)
  • 4 silver earrings (200 gp each)

Token of Valeria ver 2.0 CL7

  • Displacement
  • Gaseous Form
  • Rage
  • Wind Wall
  • Bear’s Endurance
  • Darkvision
  • Eagle’s Splendour
  • Invisibility
  • Levitate
  • Owl’s Wisdom
  • Silence
  • Web
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Session 36 - Apr. 1/13
Will We Never Learn?
Rolston’s Home

The party rests for the evening. The next morning, during breakfast, Rod learns that Rolston is also from Marakfell, Rods home town. Rolston then leaves to go to plead their case to Koro.

A little while later, a Labreyan woman bribes the guards outside to let her into Rolston’s home. She introduces herself as Reva, an elder of the Labreyan community in the underground city. She is with two other Labreyans – a middle-aged man, Aitu, and a much older woman, Peaura. Kuhita seems to know Peaura – they greet other affectionately. Kuhita asks if he and Murad may come to visit them later. She warns that some of her people are suspicious of other Labreyans, but she promises to bring his request before the other elders. The visitors then leave.

After some confusion about what was going on, Zia gives her understanding of the history of the Labreyans:

When the Ulgar captured the western side of Calmuth island, over 100 years ago. most of the Labreyans there fled to the other side of the island. However, some 300 Labreyans on the island of Tokano (Kia to the Labreyans) remained. The Ulgar never removed them and they kept to themselves. After the Ealdurans arrived, these Labreyans made an agreement with the Ulgar. The Ulgar would provide the Labreyans living with them with protection. In exchange, the Labreyans agreed to never try to make contact with the rest of their people, living among the Ealdurans. When the Ulgar left for the underground city, these Labreyans came with them. The agreement stands to this day.

Elrew explains that he is unable to receive guidance from his god with regard to the falling star. He suggests that one of his superiors, such as Patriarch Castance, would be more able to divine Galus’ will on the matter. Elrew expresses doubts about the falling star. Quintin tries to explain the science behind it, much to the horror of the party.

Rolston returns. He provides some alcohol and explains how things went with his meeting with Koro. Rolston’s impression is that Koro would be willing to let the party leave, as a favour to him. However, he is politically unable to do so. The other chieftains would see it as betraying their people and one or more of them may use it as an excuse to depose him. Rolston fears this as that would most certainly end his stay among the Ulgar and prevent him from learning anything further about the Children of Zepha.

Rolston explains that there is a way that Koro will be able to let them leave and keep his position. He wants the party to partake in a mission for them. Koro wants them to find a “witch” who is believed to be in the area of Tamba, the abandoned settlement that the party visited on Gilkish. She is believed to be a threat to the Ulgar – she might reveal the hidden loaction of their city to their enemies. Koro wants her eliminated. p. Quintin has misgivings and wants to know “why, and why us?”. The explanation from Rolston is that Koro does not wish to associate himself with the operation should it fail and that he may consider the party to be “expendable”. The party discusses it with Cam Rewyn. They decide to undertake the mission, but plan to capture the witch instead of killing her. Rolston warns that it might anger Koro if they don’t carry out the mission as per his instructions.

A young Labreyan messenger arrives to inform Kuhita and Murad that they may come with him to the Labreyan quarter. The three of them leave.

Murad visits the Labreyan quarter

The young Labreyan guide leads Murad and Kuhita to the south-western section of the underground city. They are accompanied by two of Koro’s warriors that had been stationed at Rolston’s. This part of the city has more densely packed stone buildings and has less vegetation than in the city centre. They arrive at a slightly larger building with a relatively lush courtyard. Reva emerges from the building. She asks them to wait there until she returns with the other elders. Murad notices that the Labreyans here speak a slightly different dialect than he does, although he is still able to understand them. As they wait, a small crowd of onlookers gathers at the margins of the courtyard. They display a mixture of curiosity and suspicion.

Reva returns with Aitu and two other elders, Heia, whom Murad previously saw at the initial meeting with Koro, and Tearri. Tearri questions Kuhita about his earlier stay with the Ulgar. Murad notices some exchanged looks between Kuhita, and Peaura, who is now amongst the crowd. Kuhita confirms that he stayed with the Ulgar in Timargo, on Calmuth island for many months, in his youth. He met some of the Labreyans among them, including Peaura. When he left, he swore never to reveal to anyone else the existence of these Labreyans. He kept his word – Murad verifies that even he was not told of them until he arrived here. Heia then asks why they have come here and why they continue to support the Ealdurans after all they have done to their people.

Murad explains the war situation and that he wishes to use it to negotiate a better agreement for his people. He also expresses his desire to one day reunite the two Labreyan peoples. Aitu interjects, suggesting that perhaps one day the Labreyans remaining on the surface be allowed to join them here in the underground. Heia voices her doubts and Tearri reminds him that the Ulgar must decide on that. Decades ago, these Labreyans promised the Ulgar that they would never try to reunite with the others that were separated from them. Tearri does not wish to anger the Ulgar. He also warns Murad that there are some among his people that would frown on such a return as they view the Labreyans that live with the Ealdurans suspiciously. Murad has difficulty understanding this.

Reva thanks Murad and Kuhita and asks that the elders be allowed some time to ponder the matter. She says that perhaps the two of them may be able to return to discuss it before the rest of their party leaves. The Ulgar warriors escort Murad and Kuhita back to Rolston’s home. Murad gets the sense that the warriors understood at least some of what was being discussed in the courtyard. Murad asks Kuhita why some of these Labreyans would view their people with suspicion. Kuhita believes that it may be that they feel some generational sense of abandonment after they were left to fend for themselves when the Ulgar attacked a century ago. Murad considers this as they make their way back.

Back at Rolston’s

Rolston questions Loku, one of his servants, to tell what he knows about the obscured ancient writing found in the underground. He says that he knows of an “evil” place on the way back to the surface but has been told to stay away from it. After some convincing from Rolston, he reluctantly agrees to show the party where it is. The group will take a detour to investigate it on their way back to the surface.

After Rolston arranges to have their the weapons and gear returned, Loku leads the party out of the city and up towards the surface. About half way up, he leads them off the path to another set of caves that ends abruptly at a 10’ circular room. Rod searches the room and finds what seems like a narrow passageway that has been sealed with rock. He finds and disarms two magical traps. Murad then removes the stone from the passage using Stoneshape. After about 50’, he finds a metallic stone door. It has a fire bat symbol etched into its surface. Manuel strikes the door enough times that it breaks.

Beyond the door, they find a large room. There is a stream running through it. The other end of the room seems to have been sealed off by a cave-in. The course of the stream has been altered by some rubble, which is diverting it around a large ornate basin. The basin itself is dry. A faded fire bat symbol can be seen at the bottom. Lying broken inside the basin is a large metal brazier, that seems to have fallen from the ceiling.

Quintin uses Ant Haul to move the rubble dam and redirect the stream back to its original course through the basin. He proceeds to examine the stream bed that no longer has water running through it. He sees a small patch of cut stone, that looks different from the surrounding gravel bed. He clears more of the gravel to reveal a 5′ × 10′ patch of cut stone. He begins to remove the stone. About 3’ down, Quintin finds a stone slab, about 5’ wide by 6’ long. He lifst up the slab.

Using Darkvision he can see beneath the slab. Lying there are two Labreyans – a man and a woman. He finds this strange. As he calls to Murad to tell him this, the woman opens her eyes. Surprised, Quintin drops the stone slab…

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Session 35 - Mar. 25/13
Aren't you going to make a crack about the falling star, Manuel?

The party is led to Rolston’s home. They are accompanied by six Ulgar warriors. Once inside, they have many questions for Rolston. Quintin wonders about the light producing fungus. Rolston commands one of his servants to fetch something. She returns with a small rock with a yellow-green fungus on it. Murad determines that it radiates a very faint magical aura, on the fungus more so than on the rock. Rolston gives it to Quintin as a gift. He then goes on to explain how he came to stay among the Ulgar.

About six months ago, Rolston was tasked by the Master in Marakfell to investigate the activities of a group by the name of the Children of Zepha. He was sent to the West Hanum islands to begin his mission. He arrived first in Baste and spoke with the Chapter House Master there – Sohrab. Sohrab claimed to not be aware of any unusual goings on within his own chapter house. He did say that Arthund, the Master of the Princeton Chapter House, was behaving strangely lately. He was non-communicative and refused to share the results of his magical research with them. Sohrab suggested that Rolston resume his investigation in Princeton.

Rolston took his advice and proceeded on to Princeton. He did not reveal his mission to Arthund and began to track the activities of several of his members. Strangely, he found nothing untoward. In fact, none of the members there, including Arthund, were even aware of the Children of Zepha. As Rolston was pondering this, he received word that an arcanist of some sort was amongst the Ular, seemingly spying on them. Rolston immediately left Princeton and set off for Ulgar territory.

He monitored the Ulgar on Calmuth island. He noticed that they were engaged in some sort of mass migration and were leaving Calmuth. After several days, he found the spy – a Central Ashtarean man – that kept himself mostly hidden. He seemed to be particularly interested in the Labreyans that were living among the Ulgar. Before Rolston could learn more, he was captured by an Ulgar patrol. He was taken before Manambu, the chieftain of Timargo, Calmuth Island. He was unsympathetic and probably would have killed him. One of Manambu’s advisors noted that the “grand-chieftain”, Koro, would want to see him before he was executed. Manambu, reluctantly, agreed and he was taken to Tamba on Gilkish with the rest of the migrants.

Koro did not appear more forgiving than Manambu. He did agree to allow his priests to interrogate Rolston before killing him. Rolston told the priests of the Children of Zepha and the spy among them. They were sceptical, but agreed to lay a trap for him. They were successful in capturing the spy, but not before he could use his poison ring. Rolston was allowed to search him, but he could not find anything useful to indicate the nature of his mission. The only unusual item that he found was a small token, made of volcanic stone, carved in the shape of a Fire Bat.

As a gesture of gratitude, Koro released Rolston and allowed him to stay amongst them to help prevent more spies from infiltrating the community. A few months later, the Ulgar people completed their migration to the underground city. Rolston went with them.

Cam Rewyn is frustrated that he can do nothing to save their mission. Murad and Quintin suggest that, if they were to perform a task or grant some boon to the Ulgar, that, perhaps, Koro would agree to release them. Rolston offers to speak to Koro on the party’s behalf.

The party wonders why the the Ulgar have come here to this underground city. They do not believe it is to escape the war on the islands. Rolston nods at this and asks them if they have seen the new star in the sky and if they know it’s significance. Murad says that his elders believe that it is a sign of great change, perhaps not all of it good. Rolston seems to agree with that and says that there is something that he must show them that evening. He then excuses himself and goes out into the city.

Murad transforms into an earth elemental and merges with the stone floor. He feels the energy of the rock and feels that this place holds the some of the power from deep within Ardia herself. He discusses his findings with Zia. She agrees with Murad’s feelings. She also says that this city was built for them over 1000 years ago by her ancestors. Even still, not all of her people wish to remain there. Murad also has a short discussion with Elrew on the subject.

Rolston returns and informs that the group that he has been granted an audience with Koro to speak on their behalf on the morrow. He tells them to wait until nightfall, when he will take them to see something. As they wait, they notice that it is starting to get darker outside. They look through a window to see that the yellow/white light from the cave ceiling is dining and giving way to more subdued blue and green light. They can see that the light is being emitted by luminescent fungi growing on the rock ceiling.

After nightfall, Rolston bribes the guards with green turtle eggs and leads Murad, Quintin, Manuel, and Cam Rewyn out of the city and down the passageway that they entered the city from. After some 20 minutes of walking along dark corridors, the party stops at an archway that is guarded by two Ulgar warriors. Rolston bribes these guards as well and the party walks through into a 50’ diameter cave.

The cave is illuminated by dim yellow light producing fungi and a few candles on the floor. The cave’s smooth walls are covered in runes. In the centre of the room is a 40’ tall obelisk, also covered in runes. At the pinnacle of the obelisk is a white crystal. Just above the crystal is a 5’ wide hole in the ceiling that is lined with a dark glass. Both the crystal and the glass radiate strong Transformation and Divination magic. On the far side of the obelisk a white light emerges from its surface, about 10’ up from the floor. The light strikes the floor and casts a 1’ circle of light. Two robed, young Ulgar men are crouched next to it and seem to be recording something onto a parchment-like substance. On the nearest side of the obelisk stands another young Ulgar man. Beside him, looking into a small hole in the side of the obelisk, is an older man. He hears the party approach and looks over. Rolston greets him and introduces him to the party as Qaqet, the Ulgar’s astronomer.

Qaqet seems surprised to see them. Rolston requests that his companions be allowed to look inside the apparatus. Qaqet eagerly agrees. Quntin is clearly excited and starts to walk off toward the light on the floor. Rolston stops him. Qaqet suggests that Quintin be shown the device first. Quintin is instructed to look into the small hole. What he sees is amazing.

Before him is a great span of stars. To the left of the centre of view, Quintin identifies the constellation of Zepha. Immediately to the right of it, and in the centre of view is a very bright star. Qaqet asks Quintin what he sees and he confirms that he has seen the star. Qaqet then leads Quintin over to the light on the floor. Quintin can see now that the floor is etched with many graduations, that the two assistants seem to be recording. Qaqet explains that the spot of light, that is now about 1’ in diameter, was only about 1" in diameter just 3 months ago – this indicates that the star that Quintin saw in the viewer is getting closer. It is headed for Ardia!

The party is shocked. Rolston says that it could mean that a second 100-year winter is imminent. The star is believed to be over 5 miles in diameter and is accelerating, but in a variable manner. Based on the brightness and progression of the light, Quintin estimates it to hit within 3 to 4 months. Qaqet seems to agree, although Rolston is uncertain due to its variable rate of acceleration. At this point, Rolston informs them that they should leave before it is noticed that they are missing. Quintin asks if he may return. Qaqet enthusiastically agrees. They thank Qaqet and return to Rolston’s home.

The party discusses the implications of this finding. Rolston believes that both the leadership of the Stars’ Children and the Children of Zepha are aware of the falling star. They consider the magical power that the star might contain and how certain groups, like the Children of Zepha, could benefit from it, especially if they were somehow able to protect themselves from the impact.

Back at home, the party explains what they saw to Rod and Elrew. Elrew agrees to commune with his god for guidance on the matter. Rolston then asks the party if they will travel to Llantry to consult with the Guild of Astronomers and the leadership of the Stars’ Children. He wants them to tell the Stars’ Children what they saw and to offer assistance to prevent the disaster. The party agrees to do it after they return Cam Rewyn to Princeton. Rolston understands that they have many responsibilities, but he encourages haste. He asks Quintin to show the Stars’ Children the rock fungus that he was given – they may find a use for it.

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Session 34 - Mar. 4/13
"What did I tell you about wondering off without back-up...?"

After searching the village, Murad returns to the boat to inform the party what he found. They pack up the boat, and start inland, following the jungle path. Murad casts Endure Elements some members of the party as several are suffering from the heat. As they approach the central mountain, Murad spots a dove that is behaving erratically. Upon closer inspection, he finds that the dove is magical. Murad notices that the animal is also checking him for magic – then, it flies off to the west. Murad decides to let it go.

The paved path ends at the base of the mountain, but continues up the green slope as a dirt track. Near the summit of the mountain, the track ends abruptly at a rock face. Murad detects magic on the rock, but they are unable to find an opening. Their attempts to get someone’s attention go unanswered.

Quintin, Rod, and Cam’s guard, Wert return down the trail to the mountain’s base. They search the area and find some recent signs of passage into the jungle. They send Wert back to inform the rest of the party, while Quintin and Rod follow the trial into the jungle. As they proceed, Rod notices some movement off to their left. He looks closer to see a brown-skinned man, squatting, with a blowgun aimed at them. Before Rod can warn Quintin, they are attacked.

There are several of the warriors, who fire darts at them. One misses Rod by a few feet and another one grazes Quintin’s neck. It does no harm, owing to his foresight in casting Protection from Arrows on himself. The warriors then attack with shark-tooth axes. Rod tries to sneak around and flank them, as Quintin takes the brunt of the attack. He takes some minor damage from an axe. The, one of the warriors grapples Quintin. While grappled, Quintin stil manages to drop a Stinking Cloud bomb. This nauseates some of them, although the one grappling him, proceeds to pin him. He also feels the sensation of a restraining spell (he identifies it as Hold Person) being cast on him, but he resists it.

As this is happening, Rod is spotted by an archer further in the jungle. He is wounded by three arrows, one of which comes awfully close to the blood vessels in his neck. Desperate, Rod uses the Token of Valeria to turn invisible and escape. By this point, Quintin has freed himself. The warriors are either keeled over sick or have stumbled away. Quintin backs up slowly, calling for the assailants to stop their attack. Using a Tongues alchemy, Quintin explains that they are here on a mission of peace and just want to talk with them. A voice from the jungle tells him to leave the island, but Quintin insists that he be allowed to get his companions to talk with them. Somehow, with this, the attack ceases.

Quintin and Rod wait at the bottom of the mountain until the rest of the party arrives. After explaining what happened, the group decides to wait until the Ulgar priest to finished casting a Sending spell. After some time, a the Ulgar party emerges at the top of the road. There are four warriors, a ranger, and a priest. Murad sees the dove, up in a nearby tree. Several minutes later, two others emerge alongside them. One is a priestess and the other a man, of Central Ashtarean descent. The white man asks them, in Lettanni, where they come from. Cam answers him in Ealduran, at which the man seems to relax slightly. He approaches the party and introduces himself as Rolston Galfant.

Cam explains their mission. Rolston replies that, if taken to the Ulgar chieftain to present their offer, they may not be allowed to leave. Understanding this, the party agrees to go. Before they depart, Murad presents the pearl dolphin token to the priestess, Zia. She seems pleased by it. Rolston sends some of the Ulgar warriors off to retrieve something. The rest of the group returns up the mountain path. At the rock face, Abu casts a spell and a passageway opens up, leading into the side of the mountain. The tunnel continues for about 200 feet, then opens up to the interior edge of a dormant volcano. Inside the volcano’s crater is a small lake.

Overlooking the lake, they wait until the Ulgar warriors return with a very large shell – Quintin identifies it as a Dragon Turtle shell. The first group uses the shell to dive down and across the sulphury lake. As they cross, below them, near the lake bottom, Murad can see some stirring. He cannot make out what it is. Abu holds out an amulet of some sort toward the lake bottom – the stirring stops. At the far side of the lake, farther below the surface, they find a passageway leading into the rock face. Still underwater, the group climbs a long set of stairs. Near the top of the stairs, they break the surface of the water. They discard the shell and see a large metallic-stone door in front of them. Strange runes are carved into its surface. The warriors return for the others.

On the other side, at the strange door, Quintin and Murad try to figure out what they saw moving at the bottom of the lake. Abu unlocks the stone door. Rod takes note of the way in which he does this. They travel down a long stone corridor that is sloped slightly downward. After several hundred feet, they encounter an archway. There is a script carved into its surface, similar to that on the entrance door. Kuhita tells them it is an old dialect of Ulgaran, but he believes it says something like “The Place of Protection”. Murad notices that a different script underlies this one, but it is too obscured by the newer script to be readable.

As they pass a pit trap, walk down various tunnels and down holes, Murad has a frank conversation with Rolston and updates him on the war. The group comes to a pool that is giving off a greenish light. In the pool and amongst some woody vegetation, a sort of luminescent fungus is growing. Rolston then leads the group into a huge cavern that is as bright as if it was daylight. Looking up reveals barely discernible patches of fungus growing on the cavern ceiling that seem to be emitting a bright white light. As their gaze lowers, the party can see now that they are entering an underground city. The buildings are made of stone and are arranged in concentric circles. Under the bright light, lush vegetation and food gardens abound. Upon entering the chamber, the party is asked to disarm.

The group proceeds toward the centre of the cavern, which is supported by a very large natural pillar. They reach the central circle near the pillar. Rolston sends a warrior off to find the chieftain. As they await him, a small crowd of Ulgar people gathers around. After waiting for some time, an important looking Ulgar man, accompanied by several warriors, emerges from a larger building attached to the pillar. He approaches the party and Rolston introduces him as Koro, chieftain of the Ulgar.

Koro asks Abu “What are they doing here?”. Abu informs him of what happened above and says that they wish to present him an offer. Kuhita requests permission to translate for Cam Rewyn. Koro agrees to this. As Cam makes the offer in Ealduran, Kuhita translates it into Ulgaran, with some minor editing. Cam tells the chieftain about the war. The people of Ealdur are being assailed by the combined forces of the Lettanni, Gul, and Coorish. He also tells of the Gul occupation of the western side of Calmuth island. Cam explains that the Ulgar islands of Kosh and Gilkish are also in danger of being taken. He says that it would be in the mutual interest of the Ulgar and the Ealdurans to come to an agreement to fight as allies. Cam says that he is authorized to offer Tulmaria and her surrounding islands in exchange for the aid of the Ulgar in the war. As a token of friendship, Cam Rewyn presents Koro with a small silver hammer with the Queen’s seal engraved on it. Kuhita explains its purpose to the chieftain. After this, Kuhita thanks the chieftain for seeing them and hearing them.

Koro seems unimpressed with the gift. He then asks Kuhita if he speaks for the Labreyan people. Kuhita responds that he doesn’t but explains that his people have deferred their judgement to the Ealdurans on the matter of this war. Koro expresses his surprise at this, considering how the Ealdurans have killed and oppressed the Labreyans over the years, he explains. Murad is perturbed by this and gives Koro a short, sharp look. Koro ignores him. At that moment, Murad notices that Kuhita and an Ulgar man are exchanging a look. He appears to be a man of some importance, judging by his dress and his guards.

Koro declares that he cannot grant their request. He instructs his guards to take the party to the “dark cells” until himself and the other chieftains decide what to do with them.

Cam is distraught, almost begging the chieftain to reconsider. As the warriors approach to take the party away, Rolston intercedes. He asks Koro to instead leave the party in his care. Rolston gives his personal assurance that they will not be allowed to leave his residence without Koro’s leave. Koro begrudgingly agrees, but insists that six of his warriors accompany them. As he turns to walk away, Koro is approached by a woman. He politely shrugs her off and continues on his way. She turns toward the party, staring first at Kuhita, then Murad. She is a middle-aged woman, perhaps an elder. She is Labreyan. Murad notices her and gives her a polite smile. With a concerned look, she turns and leaves.

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Session 33 - Feb.18/13
Stop talking to me while I'm trying to steer! or Would you like a ride on flipper?

At the military docks, the party finishes getting the boat in order. The group from the Church of Galus arrives and requests to come aboard. it consists of Elrew (the priest), Willem (an acolyte), and Bertom of Cuford (a Knight of the Just). Upon seeing Manuel, Elrew blanches and hurries below deck.

After the ship sets sail, Cam Rewyn meets with Quintin, Rod, and Manuel, to discuss the mission. They are to take the ship to the settlement of Tamba, a sort of capitol to the Ulgar. There, Cam will treat with the Ulgaran leadership to negotiate an agreement. After the meeting, Rod goes below deck to check on Elrew and speak with Kuhita, the Labreyan elder.

As the ship approaches the lower tip of Calmuth Island, another ship is spotted to the southeast. It is unclear which side of the war the ship is on. There is heavy rain and the ship does not appear to have noticed them. On the second day, the sky is clearer. They spot a vessel – a large double-hulled canoe – to the south, that is heading toward them. It gets within about three miles, then turns around and heads back in the direction it came from. Kuhita says that it is most likely an Ulgaran scout vessel.

Later in the day, Rod returns to the ship. He finds that the party is involved in a conversation with Cam and Elrew. They are concerned about what to do should they encounter more Ulgar. Murad proceeds to instruct Cam on what to expect from the Ulgar. Cam take issue with this and calls for Kuhita to offer his advice. Kuhita suggests that only himself and Cam be present at the initial meeting and that the others should remain silent and not make eye contact with the Ulgaran women and warriors. They are to follow his lead and will be informed when they may act more at ease.

Late the next morning, they can see the island of Gilkish to the southwest. Soon after, they can see the settlement of Tamba and its hundreds of huts. It is guarded by a fortification built onto an outcrop of rock. As they approach, they notice a figure waving to them from the top of the fort. It appears female and dark-skinned, but further details cannot be discerned.

As Cam and the group discuss how they will come ashore, the ship drifts into some rocks. Manuel is able to steer the ship to avoid the worst of it, but the hull is damaged. Murad discovers later that this prevents the ship from changing into its other forms.

Murad, in dolphin form, takes Kuhita and Cam to shore. They notice that no one is in the village. Manuel and Rod swim ashore soon after. Kuhita, Cam, and Manuel approach the village. They find a warning totem guarding the entrance. Seeing this, Kuhita refuses to enter the settlement. Cam decides that he must investigate and asks the party to accompany him.

They make their way to the center of the village and still find no signs of people. In the central lodge, they find a broken stool and what looks like a broken plate. When reassembled, it shows a painting of people hiding underground.

Inside the fort, at the top of the hill, they enter a large hut. In the large entrance room, the group finds a stone slab with an image of a turtle etched into it. The stone is a dark metallic colour and seems to be coated with some time of clear lacquer. Rod finds a magical trap attached to the stone and is able to disarm it. He removes the stone but finds only dirt underneath. The group decides to put things back as they were and locks the door. Outside the hut, Murad finds some tracks at the spot where they saw the female figure. The footsteps lead west for about 15 feet, then disappear as if their owner jumped and took flight.

The party returns to the ship. Elrew spends several hours praying to his god, after which he is able to repair the ship with divine magic. The group then sets sail to where the Ulgaran vessel was last seen. They head south toward the island of Urko.

By the next morning, it is already quite hot. Murad casts spells to help Kuhita and some of the others with the heat. Later, they approach Urko and see another, smaller village on its eastern coast. Murad flies ahead to scout. Like Tamba, this village has been abandoned, but signs of a recent canoe landing are evident on the shoreline. Further searching reveals a paved path at the edge of the village. It leads into the jungle – to the interior of the island…

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Session 32 - Feb. 4/13
A thief without tools, is like Rod in nature.

When the party leaves the Duke’s Compound, the crowd gathered outside is even more restless. Quintin engages some of them in conversation. They seem to want the Governor to waive the residential and docking fees that are being charged the refugees. Against Murad’s advice, Quintin agrees to bring the matter to Mayor Tomes Finchey. At that, Murad turns into a bird and flies away.

Quintin first goes to the local Chapter House of the Stars’ Children to speak with Master Jylium. In the meeting, Jylium reminds Quintin that his primary concern on the mission to the Ulgar is to find out all that he can of the Children of Zepha. The main reason, it seems, that Jylium called Quintin here, is to give him a potion that he requested. Upon later inspection, Quintin learns that it is a Potion of Greater Magic Fang +1. At the request of Quintin, Jylium also arranges for Quintin to be given a Ring of Sending to be used on the mission, if necessary. While at the Chapters House, Quintin pays a visit to Arthund, the leader of research and Desmond, the apprentice.

Rod, accompanied by Manuel, goes to the Beached Turtle restaurant to procure some tools. The cook, Harl, after some “coaxing”, agrees to look into it for him.

Quintin, Rod, and Manuel then meet with Mayor Finchey at his office. Quintin raises the issue of the refugees and the impossible fees they are bing levied. Finchey is reluctant, but is finally convinced to meet with the leaders amongst the refugees should they present themselves. Quintin agrees to try to arrange this with them. Rod inquires about acquiring some tools for himself and offers to pay to have Aeric re-assigned to work as Finchey’s clerk.

Finchey informs them that their friend, Saladin, has been imprisoned in the town jail for assaulting some men of the town militia. After the party pays him a “reduced fee” and agrees to keep Saladin out of trouble, Finchey hands them a writ for Saladin’s release. Manuel volunteers to go to the jail to bail him out.

At the jail, Manuel bails out Saladin. Manuel notices some disapproving eyes as he enters the jail, likely because of his Coorish heritage. He presents the writ and is shown Saladin’s cell. As they leave Manuel is reminded by the gaoler of his warning to keep Saladin out of site of his men. Manuel nods and takes Saladin to the Emerald Parrot. After ordering some food for him, Manuel listens to Saladin’s story. He tells of how, a few days after word hit Princeton about the battle and the treachery of the Leonians, he was taken in for questioning. The interrogators asked him questions about Manuel and Quintin – where they were from, who they were working for, and who they are loyal too. Saladin took exception to that line of questioning and started to argue. When one of the men got a little rough with him, Saladin struck him and broke his jaw. At that, he was tossed in jail. Manuel thanks Saladin for defending their honour and offers to accompany him back to the Labreyan village to offer them help, as before. Saladin is much heartened by this and thanks Manuel profusely for all that he has done.

Quintin pays a few kids to help him to track down some important people from among the refugees. He locates the Mayor of Gury, New Cahorn to help organize the refugees and to meet with Mayor Finchey.

Rod visits Ita in the Labreyan village to ask her to open up the stone chest in his basement. She agrees to come by his house the next morning. In the meantime, with an offer of food, he convinces some of the Labreyan men living in his house to dig down to the chest.

Murad flies to the island’s central valley. He finds the spot where he first encountered the reclusive Labreyan man. There is no sign of him. As he circles the area, looking for signs of where the man may have gone, Murad encounters his crow familiar. The bird leads Murad back to the area that he first arrived at. A hut appears there now, where, just a few moments before, there was nothing but brush. Murad changes back to his true form and greets the blue-eyed man, called Taipa, as he emerges from his home.

Murad speaks of the mission to the Ulgar. Taipa gives warning, speaking of how the Ulgar are an honourable people, but can be quite unforgiving if their trust is betrayed. The two lament the dire circumstance fro their people. Taipa admits that he has been preventing the Gul, who are occupying the western shore of Anya (Calmuth Island), from entering the valley and crossing to the eastern side of the mountain ranges. He fears that he will not be able to do this for much longer.

Murad explains how he plans to move the people of the village to his sanctuary south of Princeton, but that he will not be there to see to their safety for several days. At Murad’s request, Taipa agrees to help conceal their people in the jungle, should the town fall to the Lettanni.

They also speak of the strange man or creature that the party encountered underground some months ago. Taipa suspects that the creature’s spirit was released when it was killed and that it may not yet be at rest…

Taipa asks Murad if he has seen the new star in the sky and if he understands what it means. Murad is uncertain. Taipa explains that it symbolizes great change for their people and all people. He warns that the change may come sooner than they might expect and that they must be prepared for it.

Before Murad leaves, Taipa offers him a token – a flawed pearl, carved into the shape of a dolphin – for his journey to the Ulgar. Taipa says to show it to their priests and that it will put them more at ease as to the group’s intentions. Finally, Taipa tells Murad that he may not be able to stay in the valley much longer, but that he will seek out Murad when the time is right. He assures Murad that he is not the only one that is fighting for their people.

On his return to Princeton several hours later, Murad meets with Sota to discuss the moving the village to the jungle area that has been promised to him. They agree to meet again later when Sota is able to gather the other elders. Murad leaves to retrieve his buried money. He then finds the Governor in the Duke’s Keep and he gives him enough gold to pay his mercenaries for an entire month. Murad uses the opportunity to update Governor Darrow on the status of his people. After leaving the Duke’s Compound, Murad returns to the village and discusses, with the elders, the moving their people. They express concern about moving the old and infirm. Murad believes that he has an answer for that.

Afterwords, Murad swims out to The Walrus to meet with Maddy. He suggests that her privateers would be better suited to raiding the enemy’s shipping lanes. Maddy agrees with this and admits that they have already been doing that.

Maddy recounts her experience during the Battle of Baste. She believes that magic was used to hide the Gul fleet from her. Maddy also learned that Madeleine was destroyed during the battle. She regrets that she cannot pay the group for the The Walrus just yet. Murad consents to defer payment, but asks for a favour in return. She agrees to use her landing craft to move the aged and sick Labreyans to their new home.

Rod returns to the Beached Turtle to meet Harl. After some bad negotiating, Rod gets some regular thieves tools for 75 Gold Swans. He then meets Ita at his estate. With her help, Rod retrieves the items from his basement. He leaves Alurha 100 gold to help buy food and supplies for the lodgers. Rod then proceeds to threaten Finchey’s guard into getting an early meeting with Finchey. He agrees to pay Finchey 200 gp for a set of masterwork thieves’ tools.

The next morning, the party, except Murad (who is helping his people move), arrives at the military dock. Rod, with much flourish, unfolds the magical boat. They notice that the Kingfisher is docked nearby. Soon after, Cam Rewyn arrives, accompanied by his two guards and the Labreyan translator, Kuhita. Cam, with the help of Rod and Manuel, tries to find a comfortable spot on the ship for Kuhita during the voyage.

Rod visits Bart Tullymore on the Kingfisher, to ask for some bedding for Kuhita, to ease the voyage for him. While on board, Tullymore tells Rod of Kingfisher’s voyage to and from the Kayemban city of Mebawa. He describes a cosmopolitan city with exotic food, goods, and women… There, they took on cargo and the group of mercenaries from the south of the continent. On her return to Princeton, Kingfisher’s crew spotted a fast-moving, elegant-looking ship, with no forecastle and silvery sails, heading to the northeast. Within half a day, she was out of site. One of the mercenaries traveling with them claimed that it was an Elven ship.

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Session 31 - Jan. 21/13
"Who's that you want us to take with us..."?
The Old Party

When last we saw our heroes, they appear on a beach a mile or two from Baste. Rod unfolds their boat and the party begins their return journey to Princeton. Murad, in bird form, scouts ahead.

The first day out, Murad spots a Gul ship, but it does not see the party. The further south they party goes, the more Gul ships are seen. A few Coorish vessels are seen to the east. The party rows during the day, and uses the sail at night, when the chance of being seen is lower. As they pass the island of Athlell, they notice a faint plume of smoke rising from the centre of the island.

The party passes the eastern shore of New Cahorn, approaching Calmuth Island from the northeast. They see the northeastern stretch of Calmuth has been blockaded by Lettani and Coorish ships. The party decides to run the blockade. Although one or more of the enemy sailors seems to have spotted them, no action is taken. As they pass inside the blockade, the group notices that the Coorish and Lettani ships are being held at bay by the reef and a fleet of Ealduran ships, just north of Plith.

Murad flies to Plith to inform the garrison of the state of the Lettani fleet. They take Murad under temporary custody until he satisfies their commander, Captain Dent, with his story. Murad tells him about the Battle of Baste and the danger of a Gul attack overland. The captain decides to let Murad return to Princeton, but asks that he make a request of the Governor that he send more men north to bolster their garrison. Murad agrees. Murad then takes to the battlements, and flies off with a flourish. The men are amazed.

Murad catches up with the rest of the party as they near Princeton. The harbour is brimming over with ships of all types – small merchant vessels, fishing boats, skiffs, and rowboats. They catch a glimpse of the Walrus, anchored in the harbour. The party makes landfall north of the town and walks up to the eastern gate. They are stopped at the gate by city militia. Although their special officer badges were confiscated in Baste, Murad easily convinces the two militiamen that it is in their interest not to delay them.

They enter the town – Quintin splits off and heads for the Stars’ Children Chapter House and the rest of the party heads first to the Mayor’s office. They convince a guard to pass on their request to see Mayor Finchey, then they stop at Rod’s estate. Upon reaching Rod’s house, they find a large group of Labreyans living there. Alurha explains that they are mostly family and asks Rod if they may stay there a little longer, as they have nowhere else to go. Rod agrees, but is clearly uncomfortable with the situation. Murad proffers a solution – he will speak with Governor Darrow on the matter of some land that was promised him…

Quintin knocks on the door of the Chapter House and asks to see Master Jylium on an urgent matter. He requests the master’s presence at the meeting with the Lord Governor. Jylium agrees. En route, Quintin recounts the tale of what happened in Baste, during and after the battle. Jylium is intrigued. He asks Quintin pointedly how Arthund came to know the story of Sybil Athen before, he, himself did. Quintin admits that he advised Orland, Master of the Chapter House in Baste, that Jylium is something of an unknown and that he is not sure yet if he can be trusted. He told Orland to contact Arthund, as a trusted member. Jylium is, at first, angry at this, but soon calms and concedes that Quintin was wise to be cautious.

At the gate to the Duke’s compound, a throng of people is blocking the way. Manuel, impatient, in a loud voice, says “Move outta the way or I will beat you in the head until you are unconscious, then I will piss on you”. His words, and the guards’ pole arms, seem to do the job – the crowd parts for them to pass. Quintin and Jylium have caught up by this point. Jylium convinces the guards to let them pass undelayed.

Inside the Duke’s Keep, in the state room, Governor Darrow appears tired and worn. Murad casts Restoration on him, which helps him feel better. Murad then recounts the group’s experience at the Battle of Baste and what they learned about the Children of Zepha. Murad also asks for leave to move his people across the bridge to the west, to the land that had been promised him. Darrow agrees but warns that he will be unable to defend or assist them.

Governor Darrow explains the military situation. It is dire – a naval blockade is in effect, as the group has already seen. Their fleet has been reduced to some 30 ships and it is uncertain how long Maddy’s privateers will continue to aid them. The Kingfisher returned from Kayemba some days ago with 50-odd mercenaries. Darrow concedes that he may not be able to pay them for much longer. Murad offers to cover their pay for the next month. The Governor eagerly accepts.

When asked about the situation on the mainland, Governor Darrow admits that details are scarce due to the blockade, but says that there is word of a fleet amassing in Leona that is rumoured to be preparing for an attack on Llantry itself.

Somehow, the Gul have been kept out of the valley and eastern shore of Calmuth island, but the Governor fears that that won’t last for long. He expects a major attack on Princeton within the next 10 days or so. There is no hope of reinforcements from the mainland.

With a heavy heart, the Governor asks the group to accompany a diplomatic mission to the Ulgar. He admits that it is an act of desperation, but feels that their only hope is to convince the Ulgar to join them in their fight against the combined forces of the Lettanni, Gul, and Coorish. The diplomatic mission will be led by Cam Rewyn. If they accept, they must leave no later than the morrow. Without hesitation, the entire group, except Quintin, agrees to do it.

Quintin, instead, requests a private meeting with Jylium. They leave the meeting to speak alone in another room. Quintin asks Jylium for his advice on whether to go on the mission. Jylium strongly suggests that he go on the mission. There are reports that the Children of Zepha have tried to make contact with the Ulgar. This mission may be an opportunity to learn more about their activities. Quintin agrees. Jylium also strongly suggests that Quintin accept the Governor’s rank of “special officer”. That way, his loyalty to not only the Governor, but the population of Princeton, will not be questioned. Quintin reluctantly accepts. As they leave, Jylium tells Quintin to meet him that evening at the Chapter House – there is one last thing that he wishes to discuss with him before he goes on the mission.

Back in the state room, Governor Darrow tells the party that Patriarch Castance, of the Church of Galus, has agreed to make his nearly three-dozen Knights of Just available for the defence of Princeton. In exchange, the Governor has agreed to accept one of Castance’s priests, Elrew, to join the mission to the Ulgar. Murad bursts out in laughter at this. The patriarch has assured Governor Darrow that no proselytizing will take place and that Elrew will merely be on a “cultural fact-finding” mission. The group accepts this condition with some amusement.

Slightly relieved, Governor Darrow dismisses the group. As they depart the Duke’s compound, Murad tells the group that he needs to make some arrangements for the relocation of his people and that he will catch up with them a little later…

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