Tueor Pectoris

Start

Bos Sauveli opens the door to The Drake waves to the bartender Regas bows and blows a kiss to the waitress Lilly and sits down in one of the comfy chairs near the blazing fireplace content for the moment to wait for his friends to arrive.

The relative quiet of the moment is shattered a short time later as the door is flung wide open, crashing into the wall with a dull thud. Most looking throught the doorway would miss the cause of the tumult, as a short kobold stands there with arms flung wide open!

“I have returned! Miss me?”, shouts Krifo.

Krifo!” The room shouts in reply, not as a warm welcome, but more as if a warning. The room then rustles uncomfortably as most of the regular patrons go into what seems to be an almost forgotten routine. They move their coin purses away from their belts up to higher ground, around their necks or inside their shirts.

Krifo hops up onto an empty stool next to Darren Halford, the town drunk, who is sleeping peacefully upon the bar. With a flick of his wrist, Krifo pockets 5 gp sitting in front of the man’s half finished ale. The kobold then call out to Lilly:

“Good evening, Lilly, a bit of ale, and perhaps some of The Drake’s world famous spiced potatoes for a hungry dragon?”

“Kobold, you’re no more a dragon than I am, Krifo, and don’t you forget it. And I’ll need coin now, no credit for the likes of you.”

“You wound me dearessst Lilly, but for you, anything.” With that, Krifo grandiously pulls 5 gp from his pouch and lays it into Lilly’s outstretched hand. “Buy the rest of my friends coming in a round on me, then keep the change!”

Lilly nods warmly, then says, “Of course. Bos Sauveli’s already here, though.”, pointing in the direction of the fireplace.

“You’re the bessssst, Lilly” Then, with a wink and a smile, the diminutive lizard hops off the stool, mug in hand, and approaches the minotaur from behind. Lilly is fond of the the little guy, reminding her of a stuffed animal she had when she was small. Kobold toys were used to teach racial harmony to the children of the area, and are still in use to this day.

Quietly placing his drink on a nearby table, Krifo leaps onto another stool and goes flying through the air, finally landing around Bos Sauveli ’s neck in either a hug or a headlock, one cannot be sure which. Pulling away in a start, the minotaur easily shrugs Krifo off, who goes flying upside down into the chair opposite the table. Realization sets in, and Krifo and Bos Sauveli share a hearty laugh together.

“Krifo you little briccone` sit sit tell me how you’ve been”

They while away the time recounting stories of their time away from Stony Cross, and place a small wager on which of their friends would be next through The Drake’s doors.
“Bye kitties, be good. Fluffy, no eating anyone please!”

With her usual farewell to her cats, Illyana Zo’Arden locked up her little apartment above Hot Buns bakery and headed out to meet up with her friends at The Drake. It had been a long, eventful year for them all and she couldn’t wait to see them again. She walked down the familiar streets of Stony Cross greeting those she knew as she traveled. It was good to be home, back where people looked past the fact that she was Drow and instead judged her on her heart. Her time at the Library was enlightening in more ways than one; it was a cold reminder that too many people out there still despised the Drow, no matter what their intentions.

She heard the familiar sounds of laughter and tankards clattering as she entered The Drake. Though she had hoped to sneak up on her friends Bos Sauveli and Krifonews spread fast that she was here. Lilly smiled and waved as she went by, passing Illyana Zo’Arden her usual ale. She had just enough time to put it down before Bos Sauveli swept her into a huge minotaur hug as Krifo bounced around.

“Illyana my little amica we were just talking of you.”

As she settled in to a chair, with a sigh she thought how good it was to be home.

View
Sauveli
The morning after

Bos Sauveli wakes the morning after the adventure at Rainbow Falls and with the gold he found heads to Old Gammick’s to put some money towards Primigenus. As he draws closer to the corner where the pawn shop is he starts to feel that nagging worry in his gut. When he does not see the treasure chest shaped sign that has always hung above Gammick’s door he rushes into the shop and calls out,

“Gammick? Gammick? What’s going on who are you?”

He asks of the person standing behind the counter.

Yuri, a large brute, turns around from behind the counter with a big smile for the new customer. His bulging belly hangs over the counter with buttons popping revealing a green-tinted belly. Earrings hang from his large ears, and bountiful pockets adorn his clothing.

“Ah, welcome to SKEETka taVAAR, discount goods. I am Yuri, best second-hand dealer in stony Cross, I give you good price, you like.”

“Vat’s this you say? Gammick? Ah yes, the pooor bastard who sold me thees shop. He left in a hurry a few months ago. Deedn’t say much about where he was going, just looked like he needed to be going there fast. I am guuud seller. Maybe I can geet you better deels than Old Gammick. Vat are you interested een? Maybe I have it somewhere in heere...”

Yuri squeezes out from behind the counter eyeing the minotaur’s clothing and pouches with a hopeful gleam. His eyes stop on the face of the minotaur.

“Where is Primigenus, the sword that hung on the wall right over the counter.”

Sauveli tried to keep the murderous tone out of his voice. There could be a perfectly reasonable explanation as to why his fathers sword was not hanging were it should be. He calmed his breathing so that he could hear the fat man speak over the pounding of his raging blood.

Yuri turned around and looked up on the wall. A space the size of a sword, empty but for a dark outline where smoke had darkened the wall around it.

“Ah yes, the beast there. Eet’s gone. I was willing to pay much gold but hee wouldn’t leave it. He took that and a few other items and left me the rest for the business. He said something about ‘made a promise’. Well, anyway, he left about two months ago.”

Yuri makes his way over to a chest in the corner, and metal clinks. He pulls out a shiny sword with a green ribbon wrapped around the hilt.

“Yes, yes, yes. Thees is good. I offer you thees one. Brilliant blade. I offer thees one to you at big discount. Was old man turned this in. Said it was from his younger years, wheech must have been long ago. I geev to you for cheap price, say maybe 150gp. You like?”

Questions swirled around in Sauveli’s mind. Where did his friend Gammick go? Why had he been in such a hurry? Why did he take the sword? Most importantly, is he safe? He knew of one place where he may find an answer to at least one question. He turned and walked out the door calling over his shoulder

“I will return don’t be missing when I do”

Hot Buns, thats where Herman will be this time of day. The fire will still be too cold to melt the glass. A croissant, two eggs, a sausage, a cup of coffee (cream no sugar) and a book (no interruptions). Every morning of his apprenticeship same routine. That was when he met Illyana Zo’Arden they were good times none of this worry about missing swords, missing friends, strangers in the woods.

The smell of fresh muffins broke him from his revery. He entered the swinging double doors and went to the back of the room and saw his old mentor sitting where he always did reading a book and sipping his coffee. It was very good to see a familiar face but old ways die hard and as he stood there with the admonition “no interruptions” running through his mind.

Without lifting his eyes from the page Herman said in a flat tone

“So the great fighter finally decided to come and visit his decrepit old mentor huh?”

His eyes rose from the page and a smile creased his face. Vaulting from the chair he gave Sauveli a bear hug and laughed in that familiar old way.

“Sit down my boy, It’s been too long tell me how you’ve handled yourself?... What’s wrong boy? Don’t try to deny it I’ve been reading you since you were ten. Spit it out already.”

Sauveli sat down on the comfy armchair. Asked his old mentor.

“Have you heard from Old Gammick? He is gone and I need to find him.”

Herman took a deep breath and sighed.

“Here’s the thing. Old Gammick, he was acting a little strange over the past few months. He had taken to staying in, not going out much. He would walk down the street at night, leaving the shop later and later. I didn’t think much of it, until one day he just started acting frantic and distracted. The next thing I know, he was gone. It’s like he just vanished. I talked to Yuri, and he told me that Gammick didn’t take much when he left. He took a few saddle bags, a heavy chest in a cart, and some supplies. He sold the entire shop to Yuri, can you believe it? That shop was his life. I figured you would be upset when you came back. I know you two were friends. He didn’t even say goodbye.”

Sauveli told Herman of the pawn he and Gammick had set up and of the missing sword. He also relayed what had transpired at SKEETka taVAAR.

“Do you have any idea of who might know where Gammick is or what was affecting his behavior? No you would have told me if you did”

A thought formed itself in sauveli’s mind.

“Herman I am sorry to cut our conversation short but I want to head back to the shop and hopefully find some kind of clue. I am staying here with Illyana for the time being so if you think of anything you can get ahold of me through her. I will speak with you later my friend.”

Sauveli heads out the door and goes to the stairs next to the building. Knocking quickly as he enters Illyana’s apartment he calls out.

“Amica`... sorry to wake you but I need your help. Please come with me to Gammicks. I could use a second pair of eyes”

From the bedroom comes a growl…”Sauveli, if you are vaking me in such a manner there had better be breakfast and coffee in your hands!” Sauveli looks down at his empty hands and at Fluffy, who looks at him almost with sympathy. “I am sorry, Amica, I did not think to bring up breakfast. Please, I will get something for you if you will accompany me to Gammick’s.” There’s a short pause, then a sigh “Very well, I vill go vith you to old Gammick’s…AFTER breakfast”. As Sauveli heads downstairs Illyana wonders what has him all worked up this time.

As they walk to Gammick’s shop (after breakfast, of course), Sauveli tells Illyana of the information he received this morning about Gammick’s hasty departure and strange behavior.

“So, it sounds like he still has your sword then and therefore it iz still safe if nothing else.”

“Yes, though I am worried about why he left in such a manner. That is not like Gammick!”

“Vell, I’m sure ve vill find him. So, you vant me to look at this other sword that Yuri iz offering to sell you?”

“What? Oh the other sword I haddn’t even thought of that. If it looks like it’s worth the money then by all means say something. I mostly want someone there to help umm… “Convince” Yuri to be cooperative.”

“Very well, ve vill see what Yuri has to offer” she tells him as they enter the shop together.

— As they enter, they see Yuri talking to a red-headed halfling they think they recognize. Yuri turns with a large greasy smile.

“Ah, my friend you have returned for the sword, yees?”

He turns to the halfling. “We can finish this business later.” He leans down and whispers something to the halfling, who then leaves the shop. Yuri pulls the sword with the green ribbon wrapped around its hilt from the trunk.

Yuri places the sword in Sauveli’s hands, “Yees, you like? 150gp, good bargain.”

Yuri’s eyes open wide as he notices Illyana.

“Hello there, nice lady. I might have something speecial for you too. wait a moment, please.”

Yuri squeezes behind the counter and reaches up to a rack just beyond. He pulls down a black belt made of leather and silk woven into an intricate design.

“Very fine quality, theese one. Sold to me a few days ago by a woman of your dark skin. She was passing through and needed to ‘liquidate her assets’ for further travel. Veery good quality, yees? I give to you for 350gp.”

Illyana lifts an eyebrow.

“OK, OK, I give you for 325gp, no less. If it is too much just say so and we can work out a deeal, maybe some coin now, some coin later, you know.”

Yuri looks between Sauveli and Illyana expectantly.

Illyana’s eyebrow stays lifted as she cooly stares at Yuri. “You are telling me that a voman of my ‘dark skin’ came through and sold you that belt for 325gp?” She laughs; “I vould have expected you to be smarter than that, Yuri. Obviously she had other…assets…that you vere interested in zo much zo that you missed the fact that while this is a finely crafted belt, it is merely zat – a nice belt. Tell you vat, my friend – I vill take it off your hands for 175gp. Think about it vile I look around ze store.” Still chuckling, she turns and proceeds to wander around the store, leaving a slack-jawed Yuri staring at her departing figure and Sauveli still standing at the counter.

Yuri caresses the belt lovingly.

“No, it can’t be. Azinda promised me the belt was worth at least 520gp. She said it makes you nice and strong and healthy, and that she would never let it go but it was very important that she had monies for travel. Azinda, you wouldn’t lie to Yuri, would you?”

As Yuri stares at the belt deep in thought, Sauveli and Illyana search the room for clues to Old Gammick’s departure.

Sauveli carefully creeps up the back stairs, each step creaking on his way to Gammick’s old apartment. He pokes around the shelves and chests and looks under the bed. He finds nothing. He is about to leave, when he notices under Yuri’s half-unpacked crates a pile of broken glass. Sauveli pushes the crates aside, and dusts away some of the smaller bits. He picks up a large piece and examines it. The glass is green, and very old looking. He recognizes the intense color green swirls in the design as made from the volcanic ashes of Kina Peak in The Onen Kingdom. Ancient glass items can be found here and there on other continents, but most of those are rare old artifacts.

Sauveli takes a shard and wraps it in a nearby piece of cloth to take with him. He looks again at the room, this time looking for more specific clues. On the desk are a set of ledgers. He opens the most recent ledger and skims the list of items. Two pages back he finds what he was looking for, a line dated three months earlier with notes below.

”... a unique example of a Kina Glass orb, at least 1000 years old. Approximate value- 2000gp. Has something suspended in the center, can’t make out what it is. May hold on to this until I have a chance to research the item in more depth.”

Sauveli looks back at the glass. That was definitely the item in the ledger, which must have been broken. But why would Gammick leave without cleaning up, and why would he sell his entire shop if he was just doing a little research?

Sauveli creeps back down the stairs and finds Illyana in conversation with Yuri, who looks saddened.

“I sell to you for 300gp, no less. I can’t believe Azinda lied to me, and I have to at least make the money I paid for it. Perhaps If you like I can throw in a nice dress or some such for free.”

“Vell, I did see a lovely green dress in the corner there…all right, Yuri, how about zis – the belt and the dress for the 300gp. It vill have to be in payments, though – you know I’ve just gotten back.”

“Yuri accepts! You weel geeve me a payment now though, yeess?”

“Of course, it iz not fair otherwise – 12gp down, the rest as I have it. Here, let us write it up.”

Yuri gets parchment and proceeds to write up the agreement, with Illyana watching closely. As they seal the deal, she asks “Zo tell me, vhat brought Azinda through town?”

Yuri looks to the ceiling thoughtfully. “She was in such a rush, she didn’t reeeally say very much. She was not happy to be heere. Azinda was on an errand from her home Ixworth Thorpe. She doesn’t talk much. But I heard from Walker afterwards that she was looking for a map for Wyreth. She left as quick has she had arrived, staying only one night.

Illyana turns from Yuri and finds Sauveli coming down the stairs. “Sauveli, I am off to vork – I shall see you later.” With that, Illyana leaves and heads off to Cavern Star Finery to show Ril her latest design.

“So Yuri this sword you have here let me give it a try”

Sauveli takes up the green hilted sword and launches into one of the his more elaborate practice routines. Swinging the sword around in wide arcs and striking with precise jabs. It is a routine he feels comfortable with after hundreds of hours of drill at the academy.

At first the drill was only to asses the balance and feel of the weapon but as Sauveli watches the look of dread grow on yuri’s face every time the sword tip comes near some knick-knack or another he starts to lengthen his reach and pull his plows so that he comes closer and closer to yuri’s livelihood.

“Well it has a decent balance to it.” with this he aims an overhead chop down at a candelabra turning and stopping his blade at the last millisecond so that the flame is extinguished but the candle is left unharmed. “The grip is a bit loose tho you wouldn’t want the blade to fly off and hit something now would you”

Spinning around with a great arcing swing Sauveli lets out a low roar and stops the sword just under Yuri’s quivering chin. He has to cough twice before Yuri took his beady crossed eyes off of the sword. Once he has Yuri’s attention he pulls the sword back and says in a casual way.

“I’ll take it for 100 gold. Cash on the table so to speak” He pulls the pouch with the coins from Rainbow Falls out and dumps it on the counter.

Yuri blinks and says, “Yes. Thank you. You must have somewhere to go now, right? Maybe practice your magnificent skills in a more spacious, eh, space?”

His eyes don’t leave the sword as he pushes the coins into the pouch on his belt.

View
Raven Queen's Blessing
Help us, please.

Hagan Grimmbrow is seated at his desk studying the black tome from Rainbow Falls. He looks carefully at the cover, then looks back at the language samples he borrowed from Azbot. Frustrated, he sits back in his chair and stares out the window into the cemetary behind the Raven Queen Temple.

A knock on the door wakes him from his reverie.

“Come in.”

A woman and her young son walk in and look around. The woman looks back through the door and then carefully shuts the door and walks further into Hagan’s sanctuary.

“Please, sit down. Can I help you?”

The woman looks down at her son, and then back at Hagan. The son is staring up at Hagan with wide eyes and jaw slightly dropped.

“I am sorry, he doesn’t mean to stare, its just- well, we haven’t seen anyone with your, um, gray skin before. And your tattoos are…. interesting.”

Her smile wavers and she clears her throat.

“I have a favor to ask you. My husband, rest his soul, lost his life last week. We have been sitting for the required week, but I have a special request before we bury him in the Raven Queen’s traditional manner.”

Hagan lifts a brow, and nods his head to encourage her to go on.

“We traveled here from Bury St. Edmunds in order to speak with you and have you perform the rituals for his burial. Before we do that, I would like you to take a look at his body.”

Hagan inhaled deeply and glanced down briefly at the child who was still staring at either his piercing, tattoos, or his jet black eyes, but Hagan didn’t care.

“Of course. Let me gather my things. You may wait here if you like.”

Hagan turned and opened the heavy door that lead to the back of the shop. He closed it and went to his room. He grabbed his ceremonial bag from the footlocker near his bed. He checked it for all the components he may need: candles, silver nails, his ceremonial hammer, prayer book, holy water, and silver blanks. He adjusted the contents and donned his jacket. He scanned the room once more before closing the door to his room. He climbed the ladder in the back of the store that lead to the crawl-space. Hagan had to hunch over to move to small round door at the end of the platform. He pounded three times on the small round door.

“Lotho! Are you in there? We have work to do!”

Hagan listened to the scurrying sounds coming from the room before the small round door creaked open and Lotho Grubb peeked his pointed face out and sniffled as he adjusted his spectacles. Hagan swore that he could have hired a large rat to do Lotho’s job. And the rat would have worked for less.

“Ready to earn your keep, Halfling?”

Lotho jittered a little and pushed his glasses higher up his pointed nose.

“Yes sir, Mister Hagan. Right away.”

Hagan turned around and shuffled back to the ladder. He slid down the ladder and leaned against a chest and waited for Lotho. the little Halfling actually climbed down the ladder head first; just like a rat. Hagan handed Lotho the bag and the walked out into the front room. Hagan was somewhat amused to see the child look down at Lotho and giggle slightly. Hagan allowed himself a brief smile before he cleared his throat to speak.

“Very well, Miss. Now, i believe you wanted to show us something?”

“We brought him with us in the cart. He has been properly wrapped with Eucalyptus. Look here, ths is what I wanted to ask you about before we bury him.”

She pulls back the wrapping from the head of the dead man. She points to two puncture wounds in his neck, then looks at Hagan.

“When we found him he was so pale, it looked like he had been dead for days, but I know it was only a matter of hours. I saw him while we breaked fast together. Is it a snake bite? I know we have snakes in the region, but I can’t imagine how they got him up there. I guess he fell and they got him. Maybe the poison made him so pale? I didn’t know who else to ask. No one in the region would touch him. They said he was cursed! I knew you would help, people said to take him to you for burial, that you would know what to do so that he may cross over with the Raven Queen’s blessing.”

Lotho hopped up on the wagon weel to inspect the body. He leaned in close to the neck to inspect the wound.

“Awfully big snakebite Miss…”

Hagan latched his hand on the back of Lotho’s neck and hauled him off the wagon bed, dropping him on his feet on the cobble street.

“Do not touch him!”

Lotho looked up at Hagan with a look of confusion and slight panic. He peered over the edge of the wagon to look again.

“What’s the fuss, Mister Hagan? it’s just a snakebite…i think.”

Hagan knelt in front of Lotho, still taller than the halfling. He pulled Lotho a bit closer and wispered to him.

“Halfling, what do you know of snakebites?”

Lotho pondered the question for a moment before responding.

“Not much, Mister Hagan. Why do you ask?”

Hagan leaned in a bit closer and whispered a bit softer, as not to panic the woman and her child.

“And what of more…unnatural things that would leave a mark like that?”

Lotho knew enough to remain silent when Hagan spoke in this manner. He peered at the ground and held his tongue. Hagan rose and dusted his clothes off as he spoke.

“Play not the Doctor, Halfling. Stick to what you know; digging and…questionable maritime commerce.”

Lotho kicked the ground as his teacher spoke, acting like a dejected child as Hagan spoke to the woman.

“Miss, I have seen this before, though not in almost a decade, and not in this world.”

Hagan leaned in close to the woman, ignoring her fright as he whispered a single word: Vampire. He watched the woman’s expression change from shock to confusion and panic. He decided to speak before she began to create a scene.

“Fortunatley Miss, I know how to deal with the situation. I will discuss the process with you in a moment. Now I must gather some special items. I’m afraid I must ask you to remain with the cart. Your son may come inside if you wish, but make no mistake about it, the corpse cannot leave your sight for a moment. I’ll be back as soon as I can.”

He turned on his heel and walked briskly back to the shop with Lotho on tow. he spoke to the Halfling, though he did not look at him, so focused he was on the task at hand.

“Halfling, this may be the most important thing you do in your life. You must follow my instructions exactly if this is to work.”

Hagan lead Lotho into his room and began opening chests and drawers, searching for something that Lotho could not fathom. Finally he seemed to find what he was looking for and tucked it into his pocket.

“This is what you must do: go into the cemetery, the far end of the cemetery. Take this holy water and consecrate a new grave. Take this ladder too, we may need it. Then start digging and don’t stop until I get there with the body, and you mustn’t dig into the water table. I’ll bring the casket with me. There’s a handsome bonus for you if you do this well. But if you fail me, I’ll see to it that you’re the first meal this creature has. Do you understand what must be done?”

Lotho was gathering supplies while Hagan was talking. he nodded to Hagan and exited to the cemetery, dragging the ladder behind him. Hagan reached into his pocket and drew out the stake and turned it over in his hand. The solid oak steak was almost a foot long and had silver inlayed script spiraling around it. Hagan recognized the binding words imediatley and quickley read them over to see that they were correct. He fitted the stake back into his coat and walked outside to meet with the woman. He only hoped that his plan would work. He saw that her son had come inside to wait. He looked down at the child with a look of urgency in his black eyes.

“Come, child. There’s work to be done.”

It is so very difficult to tell what stage the human was in, but Hagan was sure that the human was dead not undead. If the human had been tainted with the viper’s blood, he would have awoken on the way to Stony Cross. The woman and her child were safe, but there were no guarantees, and the only way to be sure was to complete the ritual.

Hagan moved the shrouded meal to its gravesite, and placed it in the casket. After completing the traditional prayers and dousing the body with more holy water, he looked to the woman and child and explained what he would have to do next.

“So the rumors were true? No, it just can’t be, my poor husband.”

“Please, you may want to turn away now.”

The mother and son turned away holding hands. Hagan placed the wooden stake on the chest of the dead man, aiming for his heart. He rose his arms, and slammed the stake into the chest of the body. The woman cringed but did not turn back. Hagan completed the ritual, speaking the words of the Raven Queen’s Blessing, Lotho watching his every move, memorizing his every word. Hagan removed the stake, and closed the casket. He then bound the casket with chains and locks. He covered the casket with some dirt, then passed the shovel to Lotho who continued to shovel dirt onto the casket until the chains could no longer be seen.

“Please, mam, you may turn around again.”

The woman and son turned and looked from Hagan down to the partially covered casket. Tears were in the eyes of the woman.

“Rest easy, mam, your husband is safe in death. And perhaps more importantly, he will remain that way.”

Hagan brought the mother and son back to his office to discuss the circumstances and determine what to do next. One thing was for sure, at least one vampire was in the nearby region, and that was too close for comfort.

Hagan led Lotho into the back room where he started to unpack his sachel. Lotho started to climb up the ladder to his room wheh Hagan started to speak to him.

“Lotho, i need a fovor of you. Go down to the docks and speak with your family. Find out if they’ve heard anything of this vampire from their contacts. speak of this only with those you believe you can trust. When this is done, take the rest of the day off. I’ll handle things around here”

Lotho beamed his ratty little slime as he scampered down the ladder.

“thank you, Mister Hagan. I’ll tell you what i know tomorrow….er, Mister Hagan? what about that reward you spoke of earlier?”

Normall, Hagan would not have tollerated such insolent behavior from his apprentice, but today he had his mind in too many places

“you’ll get your bonus when i collect the fee, now run allong and come back with some usefull information”

Lotho walked brislky out of the room and out into the street. Hagan stopped and sat down on a trunk to think for moment. A Vampire. of all the things to happen, a vampire got sloppy and left a victim to be found. this one was either young, weak and stupid, or strong enough not to care if he got caught. In Hagan’s experiance, both were dangerous. he decided to put the matter out of mind until he had more information on the subject.

Hagan stode into the room again, sweating a bit from the undue panic he had from thinking of the creaure that had just provided him with his newest corpse.

“Forgive me, miss. Vampires have a tendancy to make me…uncomfortable. Now, i’m afraid that graves aren’t free. Normaly i’d charge extra for the rush and for the aditional binding rite, but under the circumstances, i’ll stick to the normal cost for a burrial; 15 gold pieces.”

View
One Step Closer

Krifo looks around nervously. Assured that no one is around to see his secret entrance, he lifts the manhole cover and quickly drops onto the ladder below him and seals the cover above him once more. He goes downward, sliding more than climbing down, and reaches the sewer floor. He turns to the left and proceeds while whistling “There’s no place like home.”

After a short minute, he rounds a corner in the tunnel and reaches the alcove that Krifo calls home. The decorations are modest, but certainly impressive in the fact that one would not even be able to tell that this was nothing more than a long forgotten storage area in the sewers below Stony Cross. He reaches into his pocket and pulls out the skeleton key that unlocks the gate that bars his living quarters from the rest of the tunnel.

Pausing a moment to listen for signs of…”activity”, Krifo scurries to the back wall, where a small bed converted from a baby’s crib lies. Pulling it out from the wall, Krifo pushes against the side of the cornerstone, and it easily comes free from the rest of the wall. Krifo pulls out a chest from the hollowed out wall and opens it onto his bed.

“Yes! It’s still all here!” krifo thinks to himself as he pours out the contents. Several pieces of jewelry and some small art objects clink together as they hit the bed. Krifo reaches for his pouch and retrieves his new found gains.

“Shame old whatshisface was so careless with it, but a dragon needs a hoard, you know? Hmm, 19gp all together, plus this stuff to pawn off soon. Not bad.”

Living in the sewers might not be an optimal choice, but it allows Krifo to come and go unseen. It keeps expenses low, too for now. “Sauveli and Ilyana can have their apartment.”, Krifo thinks. “But soon enough I’ll be able to open my locksmith shop, and I can safely abandon these sewers.”

Krifo puts the chest away, and secures the cornerstone back into the wall. He then picks up a lock mechanism and begins fiddling with it with a tool from his kit. It opens after a quick twist. He repeats the exercise several times until he grows bored and lies on the bed staring at the ceiling.

“Yes…a locksmith shop of my own. Selling all those locks, and me having all those pretty keys!”

Krifo lets loose a little whoop out of excitement.

“That’s when things will get REALLY fun! Won’t Bartlesby Sourtooth be proud of me then!”

Krifo drifts off to sleep, dreaming of locks, keys, and the treasures that they guard.

Just before he falls asleep, his brain kicks in. Just a little. What was that on the ceiling? He opens his eyes and looks up.

A piece of parchment is stuck on the ceiling. He can’t quite make out what is on the paper. He knows one thing for certain. He didn’t put it there.

He jumps up and down a few times cursing his small dragon stature. Then krifo gets and idea, and stacks some of the deorations onto a chair and climbs up the wobbling pile of objects. The paper, just within his reach, peels off the ceiling. He carefully climbs back down to the ground, just in time as the tower of objects falls and sactters accross the floor. Krifo cringes but turns back to the paper. The sticky substance that had kept it to the ceiling gets stuck between his fingers as he attempts to free the paper from his hand. His other hand gets stuck. He gets it off that hand but it is now stuck to the first again. he gives up and twists his hand around so that he can read the message.

Krifo takes a nap then wanders over to the alley at dusk. He waits a while, then a read-headed halfling steps up to greet him.

“Hello, Krifo. I am glad you came. Please, come with me…”

He opens a very nondescript door in the wall, Krifo could have sworn it wasn’t there a moment ago, and shuts the door behind them. They make their way down the stairs winding back and forth until they enter a small chamber. It has books and a desk and a few chairs, rather nondescript compared to some of the places Krifo has seen in the last year.

“I am Traynor, you may remember me from last year, we met once in the street. I took notice of you then, but you disappeared in the exchange program and so here we are a year later.”

Traynor sits at the desk and invites Krifo to a chair. Krifo tries to focus but scans the room looking for interesting objects or clues as to why he was brought here. Traynor continues, watching Krifo closely.

“I see you have wandering eyes of a thief.”

“NO, no, no, I was just admiring your,um, place. Many nice things here.”

“Don’t worry Krifo, it is not a shame to be aware of your surroundings. Too many people walk through their lives unaware of the smaller things around them; they miss so many opportunities and adventures.”

Krifo nods his head enthusiastically, “I like adventures.”

Traynor smiles and looks down at the desk in front of him.

“That is why you are here. Where are you from, Krifo?”

“Stony Cross.”

“Well, yes, but where did you live with your family before moving here?”

Krifo looks at Traynor from under his dragony brows.

“My family clan is in Fakenham Magna, but I call Stony Cross my home now.”

“Yes, why is that Krifo?”

Krifo shifts uncomfortably in his seat and looks at Traynor, trying to judge how much he should tell.

“I was caught in an, um, exchange of sorts and found myself exported to the, um, current location with some other goods. Yes, that’s it.”

“Were you or have you ever been a part of a thieve’s guild?” Traynor smiles encouragingly at Krifo, who looks rather pale for someone of his green coloring.

“Um, no. Definitely not.”

Traynor looks slightly confused. He leans back in his chair, places his elbows on the sides, and clasps his hand together under his chin.

“You have chosen an interesting profession for yourself. Locksmith? And those gloves you are wearing. Those look familiar. Have you ever been interested in joining such a group of like-minded individuals?”

Krifo notices an open drawer next to him, his eyes dart back and forth, back and forth, until finally them come to rest on what looks like a large pile of pouches. Different colors, different sizes, different materials, each holding some items peaking out from the purse strings or fromt the leather ties. Krifo wipes the drool form his chin and clamps his mouth shut. He turns to Traynor who is staring intently at him.

“I have never been in a guild before. What do they do?”

We apply our natural born skills to tasks that were made for us. We have some simple rules we follow, and a code of sorts. There is much power to be had on this side of the coin.”

Krifo begins to smile, “What are you saying?”

Traynor stands and makes his way to stand beside Krifo. As much as possible, the halfling towers intimidatingly over the seated kobold.

“What I am saying, Krifo, is that you are cordially invited to join the Stony Cross chapter of the Thieve’s Guild. You will have many connections in town, and many opportunities to work you skills and grow in the art. What say you?”

“Do I have to do anything to get in?”

“Yes, we will put you through a series of trials and ask you to accomplish tasks for us. Also, we watch to make sure you can follow our rules and code. One of our more simple rules is that you may not steal from another member. Another is that you only steal items that you can use immediatley, can be easily , or that won’t be recognized by the former owner.”

Traynor walks over to a door that Krifo, again, hadn’t noticed when he came in.

Krifo stares in awe at the piles of treasure in the small storage space.

“So much treasure! We get that treasure?”

Traynor frowns and points to a goblet. “These are the mistakes. That goblet there was stolen by a young member. It lies in this pile of useless junk because it has inscribed in the base the name of the husband and wife who commissioned it for their wedding. That makes it unsellable in this region. Eventually, these metals will have to be reclaimed and melted down by our members with such skills, but for now, they were wasted efforts and only serve to upset local citizens and draw their attention to the crime. Stealing coins, ‘lost’ pouches, items of food out of carts, shop items, and mundane objects are the safest. We are not limited, of course, for often we are asked to liberate important items that have been separated form their rightful owner, or that are causing grief to people. we ahve many special missions that balance out the nature of our art form. As a guild, we help each other learn the ways and become more skilled. We have watched you develop, and we have had reports form Hoxston Harbour that you were a promising student. All we require is that you keep the guild a secret, and that you uphold the rules and code. Can you do that?”

Krifo nods his head excitedly. “Yes, yes, I can do that!”

Traynor smiles and shows Krifo back up to the stairs and out the door. They walk down the alley behind SKEETka taVAAR.

“Yuri works with us, he hasn’t been here long but he understnads the benefits of such a relationship. He is extremely selective of his wares, and prefers to stay above line, but occasionally we can get him to transport something or other out of the area via the hands of a traveling stranger. I must go now.”

“What do I do now? Where are the meetings? When do I get to meet everyone else?”

“We will contact you regarding your first mission. As you gain our trust,you will learn more of the guild and its members. I will be in contact.”

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Fletcher

Gilwen stood very quietly at the edge of the forest. She felt the breeze in her hair, the sun on her face, and smelled the sweet scent of autumn leaves on the ground. As happy as she was to see her friends, she was happier to be in her beloved woods, her true home. She studied the subtle changes of the last year. The large oak had fallen at the edge of the forest near her path. She was sad to see that one fall to time. A family of jays had taken over the highly prized territory on the edge of the wheat fields and were currently loudly defending their claim. She sensed the presence of a new family of small mammals just beneath the surface of the soil. The animals quickly adjusted to her presence, and soon after she arrived they were scurrying about their business ignoring or carefully avoiding her. This was happiness.

Gilwen heard the approaching footsteps and looked down from her perch in the tree to see who was coming. It was an older man. He stopped at the woodline and looked up with a smile, searching the trees for something. She recognized him at once and gracefully fell to the ground in front of him.

Harris grinned and opened his arms. Gilwen Stepped into the embrace of her old friend. Human as he was, she had known him his entire life, though she had barely changed in that time.

“Gilwen, my friend, it has been a year. Veryn looks good! So do you.”

“Thank you Harris. You are most welcome here.”

“I would like to sit down and hear about your adventures soon, but at the moment I come to you as an emissary from Lord Blackbourne. He, as we all do, regard you as quite the best fletcher in the region. Many have waited for your return to place their requests. He requests a very special set of arrows from you, ones that have an extra ‘oomph’ as he says. I believe he has it in mind that you are friends with a few magic users. He wishes that you would embue these arrows with certain properties of a, say, otherworldly nature. Would you be interested in a joint commission to craft such arrows?”

Gilwen looks thoughtfully into the distance.

“Lord Blackbourne is willing to pay handsomly for these items. He mentioned a sum of 300gp. As I said, it is a very special request. What say you?”

Gilwen chews her thumb in thought before turning back to Harris.

“I believe I have a friend who would be willing to help in this joint commission of which you speak. It will of course take some time to create pieces of said ‘oomph’ and quality.” Gilwen answers softly, keeping her eyes and ears aware of the surroundings.

“Good good. I will let our Lord Blackbourne know. It is truly good to see you again. There have been weird rumors. Whispers on the winds. I would tell you but I must return to Blackbourne. Listen and I’m sure you will here what I have heard.” Harris said seeming distracted. Gilwen nodded and watched her ‘old’ friend walk back the way he came.

“Take care my friend… Take care” Gilwen whispered before heading back toward the wood. Looking for the supplies to start on her new project. (Arrows should be formed from the straightest sticks you can find. The wood should be dry and dead, however green wood does work if you can give it some extra time to dry out naturally, as the sap may ignite if placed over a fire to dry; each arrow should be about half as long as the bow, or as long at the bow can draw back. It does not do to have arrows that can’t be pulled back to the bow’s potential.)

_Gilwen, chewing her thumb gathered her young boy followers, asking them for their aid in delivering a shipment of arrows to the castle. Thom and his father Borris were able to help her and even were willing to loan a horse and wagon to the trip, which made the delivery go much smother. Upon arrival Gilwen spotted Harris standing by the door expecting her. She nodded to the guardsmen behind Harris to help Thom and his father carry in the crates. A small smile fleeted across Gilwen’s face as she overheard Thom’s exclamations about every new thing he saw, admiring the guards uniforms and the Tueor Pectoris banners streaming in the wind against a clear blue sky.

“Tonight will be a pleasant day for star gazing” Harris commented as Gilwen approached him, obviously noticing that the elf’s mind was in the skies. Gilwen smiled slightly and looked at him with a lopsided grin.

“You never did care for leaving your stone walls at night Harris” Gilwen said and Harris chuckled softly as he handed her a pouch of coins.

“I’ve been waiting for you to deliver these for three days now. You do realize it’s been three days since the festival?” Harris scolded slightly. Gilwen blushes slightly and nods. She had been sleeping… and wandering… and thinking… She had so much to think about… 282 years of life to relive and consider…

“Is Lord or Lady Blackbourne in? I would like to have a word with them abou- about the shipment… and possibly a follow up shipment maybe something more powerful…” Gilwen mumbles before Harris nods and leads Gilwen into the castle._

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Lady Blackbourne's Commission

The following missive has been delivered to Cavern Star Finery:

Proprietor Rilonock,

The Lady Blackbourne recently saw one of your new designs worn by a member of the court. She commissions a silver necklace of drow design by noneother than your Illyana, whom she favors with her patronage. Lady Blackbourne requests that Illyana alter the original design by placing a small ruby in the center of the silver knot. She will pay 500gp. Lady Blackbourne will send someone to retrieve the necklace in two weeks time.

Sealed,

Zorathstra, Agent of the Lady Blackbourne

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Sauveli 2
The hunt for Gammick

After making his way back to Hot Buns and eating a quick lunch Sauveli Grabs his things makes a journal entry and heads towards Bratherford Crystalware.

The shop is on the other side of town so he has to pass by Hazeem’s to get there. Thinking it can’t hurt to try he heads in and almost topples Hazeem on the way through the door. Hazeem launches into one of his usual monologues.

“Ohh very sorry Sauveli very sorry, I hope your quite alright? Are you buying something or did you just want to talk I’m famished I haven’t eaten a thing since breakfast and you know a growing boy like myself needs to keep his strength up, He, he, he, oh thats a good one, You get it? I called myself a growing boy Someone my age still growing up, Growing out is more like it but anyway I’m heading to lunch if you want to join me I’d love the company, That is unless your going to buy something??”

It takes Sauveli a few seconds to realize Hazeem has finished and blurts out an answer to fill the silence.

“No,Yes, um… I mean No I am not planning to buy anything right now but I do have a question. Would you like me to accompany you to lunch?”

“Great I’m heading down to The Seal, I hear he has a shipment of pickled Tanzo Root and I would love to try some, Did you know Tanzo…”

As much as Sauveli did not want to spend any time in that particular part of town you could not sway Hazeem from one of his “adventures in cuisine ” as he called them. Hazeem kept up the steady flow of talking all the way to the dockside tavern.

”... and that’s why you should pay anything for a chance to be with an Onen, what do they call them again? Oh right, Geisha, So what was your question?

This time Sauveli was ready for it and smoothly asked his question while they took a seat at the bar.

“Actualy it has to do with the Onen Empire, specificaly the green glass from Kina Peak. A few weeks back, did Old Gammick do any research into an orb made of the stuff. One with something suspended in its center?”

Hazeem’s eyebrows shot up.

“Yes, he did borrow a book on the Onen Kingdom from me. I know he and Solomon were working together on something. They were collecting maps from Walker and supplies a few months back. Yes, Solomon came to get the book for Gammick. So unfortunate. So unfortunate.”

“What is so unfortunate Hazeem?”

Sauveli looks worriedly at Hazeem who seems to be staring down at his pickeled Tanzo root, poking it around the trencher, deep in thought.

“Hazeem?”

“Oh, yes, so unfortunate. Solomon’s death. Gammick left town a few months back, and I suppose he couldn’t wait for Solomon who was finishing up some business here in town. They were to meet. But two weeks ago, Solomon was found dead in his home. People thought maybe it wasn’t a completely natural death, either. Solomon was such a gentle man. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to hurt him.”

Hazeem takes a bite of the pickled Tanzo root anf perks up immediately.

“His house has been locked and is waiting for his nearest relatives to come claim his belongings. I really need that book back, and, well, you seem to be interested in it as much as he was. Would you mind sotpping by and grabbing that book before his family comes and clears it all out? It was such a valuable book in my collection of esoteric history. Azbot has been jealous since I found it in on a trip to Hadleigh. He thinks he has the sole right to any worthwhile books. Well, he can stick to his languages and history, the old coot. I’ll keep my arcane knowledge and my enchantments any day.”

Hazeem finishes the last bit of the Tanzo root.

“Uh, what were we discussing?”

“I believe you were asking me to retrieve your book on the Onen Empire before it is taken by Solomon’s family?”

“Yes, yes, that would be wonderful, thank you so much for offerring. I really didn’t know who else to ask, such a delicate matter, you understand.”

Hazeem insisted he did not need an escort back to his place so Sauveli left the dockside district and headed to uptown to gather his friends. He decided to try to contact that Truffatore`. What did he call himself … Wraith.

Upon arriving home form his adventure with his friends, Sauveli took a look at the book on the Onen Kingdom and took notes.

In the book, Sauveli found a map, descriptions of the region, the traditions, the people and culture, and some rough sketches of strange creatures from the island kingdom. The Onen Empire is obviously steeped in a rich culture and prides itself on its heritage. Of most significance was a single page torn out from the book in the chapter on Kina Peak, the great volcano of the island.

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Solomon's Chest

Sauveli convinced his compatriots to check out Solomon’s home in hopes of finding the missing book on the Onen Kingdom. Solomon was friend of Old Gammicks and had planned to travel together. One wonders if Gammick ever found out that his friend had died, or if he had just dontinued on his voyage without ever knowing.

Wraith ‘kept guard’ while the party entered Solomon’s home. Poor Solomon. Gilwen, Illyana, Sauveli, and Krifo searched the premises. They found many items but were respectful of Solomon and his family that would be inheriting what little he had. Krifo discovered a chest and when he opened the chest, the chest swivled to reveal a ladder down into a secret passage.

Against some of the party members’ better judgement, they decided to investigate. Locking the door behind them, they entered the passageway and climbed down, down, down until they reached a hole in the wall of a crypt. Coffins lined the walls, some of the coffins were chained and bolted shut. This caused osme concern among the party members.

Sauveli offerred Krifo a ride on his shoulders, and Krido jumped up to take advantage of the interesting perspective. From that vantage point, krifo noticed shiny things in one of the coffins lining the crypt. After some discussion in the group as to whether or not it was appropriate to take from the dead, Krifo reached in to take the coins. He felt the coins, but also a tight grip of cold bone holding his arm in the coffin. A skeleton burst through the coffin and attacked Krifo. Soon skeletons, awakened form their slumber, were puring out all around them. They fought their way through skeleton after skeleton, and homonculi guarding the entrance to a nearby central crypt. when the fighting was finished, the party discovered more gold, silver, jewels, and a few magical items in the coffins. Upon reflection, they realized that the crypts probably belonged to the Temple of Pelor which was nearby Solomon’s house.

Burial traditions of the Pelor followers (with the money to be buried in the crypts) involves placing money or jewels with the dead to ease their path to the next world. The chains are added when there is question as to exactly how restful their final rest might be.

The adventurers then moved through the next crypt, creeping quietly. wraith, being suspicious of the statue-like zombies standing perfectly still in the corners, threw sound to the gurgling belly of an unsuspecting zombie, clearly startling the zombies nad setting off the trap. Once the zombies and wraiths had been dispatched with, the tired friends found the door leading to the Temple of Pelor. All was quiet above, with the exception of one kneeling figure in the temple wearing a black cloak with gold trim.

They left the temple and made their way home, with a few more gold pieces, treasures, and the Onen Kingdom book. Sauveli returned with Illyana to study the book and make notes before returning it to Hazeem.

In the book, Sauveli found a map, descriptions of the region, the traditions, the people and culture, and some rough sketches of strange creatures from the island kingdom. The Onen Empire is obviously steeped in a rich culture and prides itself on its heritage. Of most significance was a single page torn out from the book in the chapter on Kina Peak, the great volcano of the island.

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Imps for Elderjuice

After reading the Black Horse Courrier, Wraith suggested to the group that they head over to check out Seamstress Morray’s Fine Clothing establishment to investigate what ‘special deals’ she was offerring for ‘special favors’. Wraith did not get what he was hoping for, but he did come out with something special.

The party arrived and ascertained that Seamstress Morray had an infestation of Imps. The Imps were attracted to the magical red dye Elderjuice, which she had used to dye large swaths of material red, the main color of the Blackbourne shield which is seen everywhere in Stony Cross. Red is a frequently worn color on festival days, when citizens can show their respect ot the Blackbournes and their loyalty to Stony Cross. The magical Elderjuice dye gave the wearer a special attraction, a charming effect, and was going to be used in some of the cotumes for the masquerade ball in the festival.

The shop was hung with wall to wall ropes upon which were draped the dyed cloth and costumes ready for purchase. Krifo moved quickly though the isles to ascertain where the noise was coming from. He didn’t see anything, but continued to move through the isles looking for the creatures. Sauveli cut to the quick and cut one of the ropes suspending the dyed cloth. The rope and the material fell onto krifo, who was trapped under there with on of the Imps, still invisible to the party.

Wraith attacked with a mess of cherubs, Gilwen shot, hagan lanced, and Illyana zapped until the imps were dead. Except one.

Krifo caught the Imp with the cloth, and smacked it with a hammer-like blow with the hilt of his sword. Wraith, with the final blow, decided to use nonlethal damage.

Wraith argued with Seamstress Morray who was not at all happy to find out that her expensive magical dye was the cause of the infestation. Imps are attracted to magical items and could not control themelves around the very potent Elderjuice dye.

Wraith offerred to dispose of the Elderjuice for 10gp, and offerred to remove the remaining dyed material so that she would not have the problem again. Reluctant, Seamstress Morray was nonetheless convinced that a repeat infestation would do more harm than the cost of the dye, so she gave Wraith the remaining material to ‘dispose of’. Wraith left with the unconscious imp stashed in the material under his arm, and agreed to come back to Seamstress Morray for a possible commission of some particular cloth armour pieces.

In return for their ‘special favors’, Seamstress Morray has agreed to make costumes for the masquerade ball for each of the friends. She was unsure of the matador costume for the minotaur, but her sense of humor could only appreciate the irony. Krifo’s chance at greatness will be when he finally gets his wings and looks the part of a red dragon wrymling. We all know he is a dragon at heart, but now he will look the part as well. Wraith requested the uniform of the Captain of the Guards. “Whatever will he do with that?” she wondered. Illyana was willing to wear anything without spiderwebs, and told Seamstress Morray that all laces were right out. Hagan was toying with idea of wearing color. Gilwen asked to be dressed as a tree, but due to techical difficulties she will be going as something less…big.

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Kruthik Hunt at Rosehaven Stables

Sometimes the Wilderness gets too close for comfort. Rosehaven Stables, at the edge of the city, was attacked by something from the wilderness, which killed two of Stephanie Rose’s prize horses. Stephanie was very upset, and was thankful to have the help of the somewhat motley crew. The horse carcasses showed signs of mauling and the majority of the horse flesh had been dragged off.

Gilwen knew this was going to be a welcome challenge, she could sense the thrill of the hunt and was already following the tracks while the group investigated around the stables. According to Wraith, the last he remembered hearing about such an attack of gruesome violence was four years ealier, and then it had been humans at a farm in the outskirts of town. Sauveli questiond George, the stablehand, as to whether he had noticed anything unusual. George told them that he had discovered a hole in the ground out near where he dumps the refuse from mucking out the stables. It is at the edge of the woods where he also throws the food garbage and clippings from Rosehaven’s numerous gardens. He assumed at that time that Stephanie had dug out soil for a garden project, but noted that the hole looked like it went down and into the soil further than he could see.

Krifo, Illyana, and Hagan aided Gilwen as she tracked strange pin point-like prints with what looked like dragged swords in the forest floor. Thinking back to her training, questions from her friends prompted recollections of the type of beast they were dealing with- Kruthiks. These kruthiks attack as a group, mauling their prey and dragging it back in pieces to consume. The friends checked for tunnels just below the surface. They live in burrowed dens, where they lay their eggs and the hatchlings grow larger and metamorphosize into adults later on. They realized that the forest floor around them was riddled with mole-like tunnels whose upset mounds just barely shown above the forest floor covering.

Taking to the trees for safety, Illyana and Wraith perched in the branches while they plotted their next move. Would they try to kick in a tunnel? Try to enter the tunnel and fight the kruthiks in their dens? No, the tight tunnels and small dens were not suitable for such a fight and would only lead to disaster. Wraith smiled slowly and glanced around at his companions, who all recognized that look. Wraith pointed to a spot on the ground in the middle of where the tunnels would be, and suddenly a large “mooooooooooo” of a cow sounded. Suddenly eight kruthik hatchlings burst forth from the ground attacking with chitinous claws the cow they had heard. Much to their surprise, their claws reached for empty air as Wraith’s illusion became apparent. Gilwen chuckled as one hatchling was mauled as its fellow hatchling lept through the empty space and landed upon it. Surprising the kruthiks with the illusion, Wraith gained the advantage and burst forth fury upon the bodies of the hatchlings. Gilwen, so impressed by the display of magic, encouraged Wraith to work his magic just a little longer, almost taking out the entire group. Gilwen smiled as the remaining two were within her sights, letting loose a twin strike as accurate as death, she struck arrows through the eyes of the remaining kruthiks.

Wordlessly readying themselves for more to arrive, Krifo jumped to the shoulders of Sauveli. The kruthiks, upon hearing the tremors of Krifo moving, burst from the groud directly where Krifo had been standing. Claws and biting pincers slashed at Krifo and Sauveli. Sauveli stepped back only to charge forward again, goring the kruthik and launching Krifo, who flipped acrobatically and landed on the other side of the young kruthik, giving himself and Sauveli combat advantage. Illyana cursed her foe and went to work blasting it to the ground.

The adult kruthik emerged next to Hagan, who was prepared for battle after having blessed the party. He attacked the kruthik mauling at his feet. Before the mature kruthik could do any harm, he was brought down by the party in a flurry of blows and beatings.

The party was utilizing its strengths and covering its weaknesses, and acting as an efficient cadre of warriors. Hagan never had the experience of growing to manhood within a cadre of his own Shadar-Kai, but he was sure that his motley crew of friends was better than any Shadar-Kai war crew. His loyalty to his friends ran deeper than his ancestral blood lines.

Making sure the kruthik threat was completely removed, Krifo could not resist the lure of checking the tunnels for treasure. Tied to a rope which Sauveli held on the topside, Krifo started down the tunnels in search of shiny things. Despite his air of disinterested withdrawl, Wraith was worried about his diminuitive companion. He followed Krifo into the tunnels to make sure he didn’t get into any trouble. Krifo believes he is a dragon, therefore he often places himself in situations which are not exactly safe. The two searched the tunnels and found little other than more horse flesh, manure, chewed bridles of the dead horses, 50gp, and a key with an intricate rose design.

They returned to Stephanie at the stables, and Krifo willingly gave her the key. Stephanie was thrilled to have her store room key returned to her. The key was last seen with George, and it was assumed that the older horse (who tended to rifle through pockets and pouches in hunt of treats) must have nibbled it out and eaten it. She was so pleased with the removal of the threat and the return of her key, that she rewarded the group with magical items of a very special nature.

Stephanie offerred each companion a Bridle of Conjuration, with spirit horses that were carefully attuned to the personality of their masters.

For Krifo, Kalumann, -KA lu mann

Pinto, into good times and long walks on the beach. Likes dragons and midnight snacks. Great sense of humor. Usually apparates by stumbling onto the scene smelling vaguely of ale and carrots.


For Illyana, Thularka -Tu LAR ka

Dark almost black with red highlights in her mane. When first seen, she seems to be as any normal mount, but when she lifts her head, the red glow from her eyes becomes apparent.


For Hagan, Nightmare

Shimmering black, Nightmare materializes out of a deep purple haze as if he came straight from the Shadowfell to meet his Shadar-Kai master.


For Sauveli, Hasufel -HAS u fel (gray skin)

This proud destrier bursts into presence through a grey mist. His large size and powerful limbs support riders of, ahem, great stature.


For Gilwen, Roheryn -Ro he RYN (horse of the lady)

Roheryn apparates behind hedgerows, trees, boulders, and fences in an attempt to hide or stay low. She barely makes a sound as she picks her way through the woods.


For Wraith, Shadowein -Sha do WEIN

A blue roan appaloosa with a tenuous hold on this reality. Shifts into the realm by shadow, camoflauged texture morphs to the habitat until he is completely in form. When taking form, he either takes on the traits of the nearest horse, or at the will of his master, he will resemble another known horse. Shadowein prefers to walk subtly to the rear of the party, but when the time comes to run, only dust clouds remain.


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