Bard Fuel

Taking Care of Business

Meeting at the Altar at nightfall, the party was greeted by the Runevakt and escorted to a meeting with Sazmo. He petitioned them to send him the hag and the Crown, and gave them each an item of their choice to help them.
After fighting and sneaking their way to the end of the cavern, the party engaged Old May Bonechewer! Ever the deceiver, Old May filled the chamber with smoke and attempted to escape, only to wind up in a chamber with Miri. She expressed to Miri that the crown had been asking for her, and tossed it to her. Miri put it on and was instantly filled with unbelievable power. She Feebleminded the hag and sent her to Sazmo, but the crown was already taking hold of her mind. She bought the cavern down around her while the rest of the party escaped.
After an intense internal moment, Miri found the strength to remove the crown, but she was irrevocably changed by it.
The party sent the crown to Sazmo and returned to Nalgenjak. They each then set out on different paths…….

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Opening the Gate

The party arrived at the great gates of Nalgenjak, to find them closed and barred. Jhaross contacted his patron, Sazmo, and he led Jhaross and Hulge in a ritual to “remember” the door open. Inside they found the city mostly abandoned, save for a handful of Dwarves, living in separate clans and in constant conflict. After some high speech from Hulge, the clans stopped fighting long enough for the party to come up with a plan. Ilior, Seebo, Jhaross, and Horace went with the Lång Vy (Farwatchers) and Hulge, Aja, and Miri went to meet with the Bergsjälen (Mountain Souls). They each met and learned from the clan leaders and plan to meet back at the Altar at nightfall.

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First Day Out
The Reunion of Ruben, Bavid, and Tooth

It had been many years since Bavid had worked at the Grand Hospital Under the Mountain. He had returned to his home, the village surrounding the Temple of Verram.
Tooth had been following his meandering path, arriving in the village just before the commotion. He greeted Bavid in his usual way and asked where the half-handed one was. Bavid hadn’t seen Ruben in almost as long as Tooth, but their conversation was cut short by a sudden and urgent announcement from the Temple. The Door was active!!
Scholars, guards, temple officials, and other townsfolk gathered around the ancient door. The heroes were among the crowd watching when the door opened and Ruben stepped through from the great mageocratic city of Gredonia.
It was a quick reunion. Bavid was preparing to set out for his Pathfinding, and needed to find his assigned partner, Jasper. While he tracked Jasper down, Tooth and Ruben gathered a couple more hands: a fighter named Richard, who was going as long as they promised a detour to the Shattered Keep to kill the hag who dwelt there, and a well-weathered field guide named Kahlan. Altogether, the six left down through the south stairs and headed out into the Forest of Pell. Kahlan showed them the path and went to scout ahead, leaving the rest to follow. Most of the morning passed uneventfully, before the party heard a strange noise to the east. They left their path and explored the sound, and came upon a dying earth elemental, who they healed. It seemed to be trying to protect them from a spectral presence, creeping in on them from deeper in the forest.
After leaving the scene with the elemental, they wondered why their scout had missed it, and the elemental communicated to them that it had seen a humanoid being abducted and pulled into a nearby tower just before the spectre of Ying Ka Shin had blasted it away. They followed the elemental back to the tower as dusk fell, and they noticed that the elemental was crumbling. It did not have long, and it waited outside with Jasper, who attempted further healing.
The party went inside and had to avoid a few pieces of animated furniture on their way to the great tower behind. As they reached the top of the tower, they discovered the spectre performing some sort of ritual on Kahlan. They fought the spectre, and Tooth was pulled into the Shadowfell. Bavid and Richard rescued Kahlan and brought her outside, but the spectre escaped Tooth and Ruben had to help him cross back over in to the material plane. The whole clearing and house and tree line seemed against them, even the sky was black and starless, the darkness was closing in on them from all sides.
Tooth set to work on an exorcism, and Bavid was able to put his clerical training and holy water to excellent use while Ruben kept Jasper safe. Eventually the spectre was exorcised, and the house was cleared. They decided it was a good enough spot to spend the night, and with a fire and good food and stories, they brought some life back into it.

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More Than Meets the Eye

As the crew fought off the onslaught of orcs, one among them showed great power, bringing Aja and Miri to the brink of death! The hag lowered her disguise and took Miri‘s backpack with the Crown in it, only for Seebo to snatch it and run into the troll den, away from the exit!! The rest of the party escaped, with mixed feelings about Seebo’s sacrifice. Old May pounced on him and quickly dispatched him, carrying off him and the crown.
(I picture this one ending with a montage: A shot of the group, helping each other through the mountains, wounded and downtrodden; a shot of Hülgë talking to a tavern full of loggers and miners (mostly Dwarves) who all somberly raise a glass; a shot of Ilior meditating at the edge of town, facing down into the valley; a shot of Aja on the town rooftops, eyeing the woods and the mountains beyond with grim determination; Miri in the woods, the town visible behind her, surrounded by open books but looking off into the trees; a shot of Jhaross in the library at dusk, books piled about, and a small mirror on the table; and finally, in true not-the-end-of-the-trilogy fashion, a shot of a dank cavern, cauldron bubbling, jars of various awful things on shelves, random pieces of animals scattered across a bloody table in a strange pattern, with a cage swinging gently off to one side. Inside the cage is a battered and unconscious Seebo, who first twitches his nose, then slowly opens his eyes……..)

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Into the Bear's Den

Aja, Hülgë, Seebo, Jhaross, Miri, and Ilior pursued Old May Bonechewer into the Azhak mountains, stopping briefly at Jordskogsgruva, Hülgë’s home.
They trekked through the mountains, moving into the Dwarven territory of Nalgenjak, and discovered that Old May had taken shelter in an outpost originally built by a Dwarven hero known as The Bear.
Inside they found natural caves, Dwarven architecture, and more Orcs than they anticipated…..

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Ambush the Ambushers!

The Durang Mar realized that their course through the mountains was running parallel to a goblin raiding party, returning from the Eastern lowlands. They had no hobgoblin leaders, and plenty of loot and wriggling bags. The mercenaries decided to ambush them as they crossed the river by an old Elven citadel, and their plan worked, although the Troll that the goblins were keeping as a pet proved to be a pain. Among the loot bags, they released a gnome from Pebble’s past, Hoffman Nog. He said he had been sent looking for her once house Windsorbottom had heard that they were heading back to Athencral.
They camped in the citadel and Hoffman set right to his butlery duties, putting together tea and a meal, of which everyone except the Boulder partook.

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A Missing Captain

It began with a boast, which led to a bet, and turned into a brawl.
Barabra, Brimbram, Pebble and Boulder of the Durang Mar were drinking at the Stone Table in South Falnore. They were lamenting the loss of their captain, Gillian Nura, presuming that she had succumbed to the Dwarven curse and returned to the birthplace of her bloodline, the fallen kingdom of Athencral. They boasted that they could go in and save her. Aside from the bartender, who was interested, the remainder of the bar condemned their talk, remarking on the sacrilege of reawakening whatever had taken up residence there. The bartender was willing to bet a year’s profits that they’d never return from a trip like that, and just as they loudly accepted, Captain Glorin of the Falnore militia declared that no one would be going anywhere, they had had too much to drink and needed to sleep it off in the stockade. He ordered his guards to arrest the mercenaries, and headed out the door. By the time he had reached the street and turned the corner, the citizens and guards had been taken care of, the Glorin received a headbutt to the jaw, courtesy of the Boulder.

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After the Tsunami

Dram, Tal Varrar, Narishma, and Fahrazin awoke on a beach, the remainder of the passengers around dead. They met a cleric who set about with rites, and a small tribe of mouse-folk. They headed into the forest to find their captain and had a fight with some displacer beasts among hallucinogenic fungus.

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The Confrontation

Accompanied by their elven entourage, Aja, Hülgë, Jhaross, Miri, Seebo, and The Argonaut reached the home of the Three, at the center of the blighted Aelynwood. They confronted the three Hags and proved very quickly to be more than the Three had bargained for. Desperate to escape with what sounded like a baby, the Three began pouring magic into the roots of a tree with the Black Crown of King Daetheryth in its upper reaches. A stray fire bolt from Jhaross knocked over the Hags’ cauldron, dumping who-knows-what into the tree’s roots. The tree burst to life, and the heroes had to fight it while trying to remove the Crown from it. One hag managed to get away with the baby, but the tree was felled, and the Black Crown retrieved.
The Crown cannot be destroyed on this plane, according to the Syldulim. It must be taken to the Feywild, a dangerous journey indeed.

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The Arrival

The party arrived at Mil’Renothro, and were met by Caelki and a group of elven snipers. Aja tried to convince them to take them to the elders, but to no avail. Caelki did go to the village and return with a Syldulim named Lamro, who wanted to meet Jhaross. It was in this conversation that Uthavain’s name was first uttered, revealing Aja to be the sister of Miri and The Argonaut!! After meeting Jhaross and believing him to be the dragonborn spoken of in the whispers of the Fey portals, he returned to the village and gathered a group willing to follow the party back. In a bit of back and forth and a slip of Seebo’s tongue, a hag eye was found hidden in the frog statue they had been carrying with them. Although this upset the elves, they still agreed to follow, and to bring Caelki and her archers with them. Back north to the Aelynwood they headed…..

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