The Wandering Age

Until Now

In which we recount the meeting and rise of our heroes

At first…

they were a simple caravan rolling outside the walls of Un. Kaho was a masked member of the Bloodletters on a bounty board mission looking for Orc heads to complete his contract; Hayes was a leatherworker looking for unique skins to take back to the shop (and any business contracts would be a bonus); Francesca was a simple adherent of St. Cuthbert looking for artifacts and old religious sites beyond the walls; Mele’one was their guide, a dragonborn from the tribes acting as the caravan’s eyes in the strange territories beyond the city.

But then…

Kaho had the caravan take a detour. Orc tracks had been found, and his contract was with the city, a hard angle to ignore. A small bonfire with a few of the monsters was found and dispatched, leaving one for questions. The party learned, at large, of the rising warlord known as Red Eye, one of Frigidine’s blessed, and his plans to search for an old ghost town against the mountains. The warlord was further south, a direction the caravan was heading on its own, so the party decided to stay on and figure out what to do with the information they had. Then, they reached the crossroads town of Tusk.

An old town with new buildings…

that was Tusk. The price of being a settlement beyond the walls meant that Tusk had to just keep up with the cycle of destruction and restoration. There, the party was mistrusted by Warmaster Ahohako who lead the local militia, schmoozed with Akamai the Clanless who ran the only watering hole in town, and were called upon by Kei Lanakila, the town’s elder. It seems that Red Eye was close enough that he was a growing threat to the settlement, as well as a group of kobolds the Orcs had corralled and goaded into attacking anything nearby. The Elder offered a surprising variety of things for the party if they could take care of the problem, apparently Ahohako’s warriors were not up to the task of fighting a war of multiple fronts. The Caravan would be in Tusk for some time, so the party decided to partition their time wisely.

In the face of a kobold threat…

they were more than up to the task. They set out the same day to deal with the small vicious menace. They were disorganized, having been herded away from their homes in the caves near the mountain, and with the element of surprise on the party’s side, it was only a matter of time before the vermin were routed. The party made their way back to Tusk to relay the good news. Their compensation was modest, but Akamai the Clanless was more than willing to have them stay at his inn for the night for the paltry fee of a live fight featuring Kaho with one of the town’s militia. Of all of the techniques and showmanship he learned as a gladiator, one thing he had never learned was how to let an opponent lose graciously. The crowd that came to watch seemed happy however, and the party was able to sleep.

Mele’one slept under the stars…

which turned out to be an incredible mistake on her part. Separated from her traveling companions, she was very nearly dragged off half-dead by half-orc assassins under the orders of Red Eye. The fight was vicious, blood glistening in the light of the moon, but in the end the majority of it was spilled in the party’s favor. Red Eye apparently wanted the Dragonborn Druid, for what reason there was no way of knowing without asking him. The party resumed their rest as best they could, though some had revenge on their minds for the underhanded attempt on their lives.

That morning they had to head out on foot…

for the Caravan would not take them to Red Eye’s doorstep. For their trouble, the party fought through Orc scouting parties and stumbled upon the cave dwelling of a half-ogre that seemed to be a geode of some beauty. Among his personal effects was a stunning wooden box, long and thin, that Francesca could not pick with her best and considerable efforts. The good luck they had maintained up to that point could not last however. Red Eye’s men ambushed the adventurers and they were taken prisoner.

But that only brought them closer….

to the one they came to kill. It took little work for the team to escape and set their jail and jailers on fire. From that moment they were forced through a gauntlet of Red Eye’s strongest soldiers and profane sorcerers. And yet the tyrant was unfazed. He beckoned his captives in for a final bloody confrontation. The four of them against him. And his Peryton named Luke. The battle was arduous and very nearly lethal for a few of them, Hayes in particular, but the party succeeded. For their efforts, they were able to loot Red Eye’s coffers and were given a few odd pieces of information. Red Eye, despite having received Frigidine’s blessing, was able to make incursions inside the city walls. He did this with the necklace that once sat around his neck but had, without warning appeared around Mele’one’s neck. Francesca tried to get a sense of the magic on it, but it seemed simply to be a talisman enchanted with illusory magic. Whether the spell produced an illusion on the user or on the talisman, it could not be said.

A Hero’s Welcome…

was not what the party received when they returned to Tusk to relay news of their victory. Something strange had happened: fire rained down on the town from Dead Heat mountain; A place that had been dormant for ages since Frigidine the Ice Queen began to roost within. Stranger still, the ejection had not been predicated by the customary shuddering of the earth as one educated in the natural ways would expect from a volcano. The party did not have the time to dwell on the mystery however, as the falling flames had done great harm to the settlement, including Elder Lanakila’s hut. The party did what they could to help quell the fires, and Mele’one did what nature could afford her to save the Elder. His burns were severe, but her knowledge of medicine pulled the old dragonborn through. It was simply another debt that the people of Tusk owed the adventurers. One they would simply hold on to as they took their promised payment for Red Eye and rejoined with the Caravan they had come out with in the first place.

The Return to Un…

was uneventful as they crossed the empty plains. It allowed thoughts to wander to what exactly would happen when their dragonborn guide came into contact with the barrier surrounding the city while she wore Red Eye’s awfully sinister necklace. Getting into the city ended up being a bit of a chore due to a set of bumbling gatekeepers, but the caravan wagon passed through without a hitch, carrying the first true dragonborn into the city in five hundred years.

And then the party split…

to go their separate ways, though not before being stopped on the road by members of the Vanguard, soldiers trained to protect the city in the lower district known as the Prudent Shield. Their audience was demanded by High Shield Phell Lorent, captain of the Vanguard and Councilman for the Prudent Shield District. As it was under punishment of imprisonment, the party decided they would get their business in order swiftly. Hayes returned home to his leatherworking shop, receiving and earful from his mother who had been running the store in his absence; Francesca returned to her shrine in the Verdance Given Temperance District to tell of the maps she received; Kaho meanwhile took up the task of setting up Mele’one for her time in the city. He set her up with his guild, the Bloodletters as a provisional contractor and gave her access to his apartment in the Entertainment District, less popularly known as Temperance Given Permanence. He also helped her slip between the fingers of Marcus Eredhes, owner of Oli’s Bar and Grill (and Shrine), and the district’s councilman. He was a half-elf and for it naturally charismatic, which when combined with his fast talking nature left young Mele’one utterly flustered before Kaho gave her a way out. Marcus did leave the aspirant druid a vital piece of information: The illusion that her necklace seemed to create that allowed her inside the city and go undetected among the common folk did not seem to work on those with power in the city, so he would not be the last to try and bend her ear.

The art of avoiding arrest…

was a simple one when you were given clear instructions on how not to go to jail. The party gathered again as they made their way for the High Shield’s office. They were accompanied by two Vanguard to ensure their arrival, though they were forced to stop when the halfling councilwoman of the Fields of Fruition District, who simply handed Mele’one a leaf and vanished into the tall fields.

Phell Lorent, Man of Action…

was quite interested in the actions of this small party of adventurers. The fighting man that survived the trip beyond the walls had already spread the tale of Red Eye’s defeat amidst the party’s other accomplishments, and now that he could see her, the Paladin Captain could already see the potential in a dragonborn capable of coming and going freely. He had a proposition. Phell Lorent wanted to free the city from itself: tear down the barrier, oust the councilman known as Strahd von Zarovich, kill Frigidine the Ice Queen, and usher in a new era for all mortal races. The catch was, he couldn’t simply do as he pleased. Majority vote would never let him expend the resources. But if there were an unaffiliated group outside the walls looking for the implements necessary for slaying a dragon and otherwise furthering his goals, he might be able to extend them some immunity within the city and give them carte blanche on any treasure they find outside of that which he charges them to bring to him. The group was in tentative agreement with this offer. It sounded rather good for them, but the ramifications seemed larger than a simple group of inquisitive types.

Can we sleep on it?

That was the general consesus at first. The party needed to process such a request. The party was no longer under the threat of arrest, and so let some days pass as they considered their next moves. Hayes ran things at his shop, catching up with local news and regulars; Kaho spent some time at the Arena, his main source of income between bounty board jobs; Francesca poured over the old maps now that she had the time and cross-referenced them with old Shrine texts, her pious mission to find important artifacts still her most important duty; Mele’one spent some time acclimating to the city, purchasing goods to take back to her clan, speaking with the halfling councilwoman and trying her hand at the bounty board jobs. For the time, it lead to some mysterious dead ends.

And yet…

Even when the party was ready to agree to Phell Lorent’s terms and receive their first job, they found only dire interruption. Minotaur ships had slipped into the abandoned harbor district known as the Wrecks, likely due to the intentional negligence of the district’s primarily criminal population. Their ship cannons rained iron down on the city. The party mobilized almost on instinct and in spite of High Shield Lorent’s brash demeanor. On their way to the upper district they saved a number of people including: several children, a blacksmith, and a mother and her newborn, all while dodging cannonballs and crumbling buildings. And yet it was only a prelude to the deadly battle that would be fought across three ships. The turning point was when Kaho’s magic sword the party had found via the help of a generous unicorn, seemed to transform under the water in the harbor. It gave him strange preternatural power and manipulated the water to sunder one of the Minotaur ships in one swing.

But as quickly as things come…

They go. The sword sealed back up, whispering a single word: “Whelm.” The rest of the party meanwhile sank the first ship the old fashioned way, which meant setting off the ship’s magazine of gun powder. One ship was left, and with his burgeoning magic Kaho froze it in place long enough to allow the party to converge on it before it could properly set its cannons on the city. Hayes nearly died in the fight as they battled with the formation’s captain to a final decisive victory. It was by then that Captain Brassa Seahammer and the fishermen were on the scene mopping up any minotaur survivors in the water. She was the councilwoman of the Ocean’s Bounty district, and she owed the party a debt she was eager to pay off as soon as possible. She seemed… forgivably disinterested in Mele’one’s existing.

And without further ado…

they were able to speak of missions with the High Shield. Apparently, they were to go to an island not far north from the city. Cityfolk knew it as the Forbidden Island, and there were certainly laws to keep people from going, but it was Lorent and his Vanguard who upheld those laws. A blind eye from them meant it would be smooth sailing, so long as the other council members caught no winds. And yet it would be that favor Brassa owed them that would give them the means to cross the strait that sat between the islands. Getting the boat, however, was the easy part. A ship needed a crew, and it was up to Francesca and Hayes to go door to door speaking to the fishermen of the district to man the positions. Miraculously, not a single sailor said no. The party decided that while Brassa prepared their ship to sail they would spend some time preparing for the trip in their own ways. Francesca, Kaho, and Mele’one all spent some time carousing, all for different reasons, while Hayes responsibly manned his store for the duration. All gained coin in their own fashions which would help with any last minute purchases.

Then, it was time to set sail and see what awaited on the Forbidden Island…

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