Nirmathas Secrets

Waking Up, and The Second Bloodstone
Session 16

21 Rova 4665 through 30 Rova 4665

Martuph followed Grem’s floating form for a bit of time before realizing his windwalking spell was slower than the current. Eventually he dove into river and allowed that to catch him up. He came upon most of the party washed up along a rock cropping. Here the water was hot and led into a crevice in stone. Grem was pulling unconscious members out of the water before they burned.

Martuph helped get people out and awake. Faydra and Faeron were out of the water, but Tavius hadn’t shown up yet. Martuph saw blood trickling up from below the water’s surface, and went down to check.

Instead of finding Tavius, he found another bleeding canopic jar. Not knowing exactly what it was, but sensing its mixed magics he and Grem pulled it out of the stones it was lodged in. Once Faeron was awake, they knew they had another of the Bloodstones.

Tavius’s form had yet to come downriver, the party was awake and discussing the stone they found. A struggling bird was heard, and looking about Faydra saw a bag in the river. It was Tavius’s bag, and Setius, his falcon, was stuffed in it. Fearing for Tavius now, the party got themselves out of the subterranean ravine and Martuph and Faydra used flight spells to search for Tavius. They found him, he’d hit the side of the cliff several times on the way down. His broken body never made it to the water.

The remaining party returned to Kromaz’s city in mixed morale. They’d defeated Barabus, but at the loss of a friend. When they arrived, they were greeted with cheers and boasts as Kromaz’s clan praised their Chieftan’s shaman-daughter. They also prepared for the coming horde. Darkness had lasted long enough that the order for other orcs to march was given. The horde was marching for human lands, but the Bloodfists would face them. The party wanted to protect the human lands. The Bloodfists just wanted to slaughter the orcs who followed the orders of a dead, weak, coward.

Tesh returned to acquire Tavius’s body for burial, and to help with facing the horde. He stayed until down to his last teleport, which he used to take Tavius to a grove in the fangwood.

The rest of the party, Kromak, Kromaz, Zharog and the strongest of Kromaz’s warriors faced the remaining part of the horde within reach. By this time even Faydra and Martuph were out of massive area spells. The fighting was arrows, and melee. The party and Faydra’s family caught a group of orcs and Trolls at one of the partially built walls. Exhausted, they fought anyway, and still dispatched the orcs and trolls in a few minutes, finally ending the fight within reach of Bloodspring.

A night’s revelry and day’s rest followed, but only that. The party needed to return to Lastwall with the second Bloodstone, and Grask Uldeth had arrived. He wanted the Bloodfists to help him storm Urgir and take hold of the land.

The trip back to Vigil was slow and rather un-eventful. Once there, Faeron told of their journey. They then began what they hoped was a few weeks rest and preparation to find the rest of the stones.

Three days later, Martuph was finally working on his shield in a forge he was requesting time in. He worked on it all day. The last stroke of his hammer, and prayer to Torag rang true. The shield glowed brightly with holy power of Torag. He held it and smiled, but then the light dimmed, and a voice spoke from behind him.

“Sorry about this Ghuz.”

Martuph turned around in time for an arrow already in flight to hit him in the neck. Stunned, unable to breath he began to collapse as a hooded elven woman approached him, bow in hand.

“I know that hurt, but I’ve got to bring you back. The mistress sent me, and said you were lost. Here I find you alive! You must tell me how when we get somewhere safe.”

The last thing Martuph saw was the woman catch him, he felt a dark power heal his wound enough to survive before loosing consciousness.

The party wok on the first of Lamashan late, many slept in, there was no banging of an anvil to wake them.

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The depths Barabus went
Sessions 12-15

21 Rova 4665
The party followed Kromaz’s men to a back entrance to the ruins Barabus was exploring. The first level contained orcs, ogres and gnolls that were trading with Barabus. Dispatching a few of them allowed the party to move through the first section. As they moved through Faydra and Martuph examined carvings and paintings. Many are damaged, but enough was there for Martuph to recognize ruins as the location described in the texts he translated under duress for the orcs who captured him at a younger age.

This enraged Martuph, he charged into the next section almost blindly, but the true blindness of the new environment slowed him. The area was dark beyond his extraordinary ability to see, with only blackness and strange constellations hovering in view. The party examined the first room they entered. They found that spells to bring light were instantly suppressed. The walls, floor and ceiling were made to make the blackness seem infinitely expansive to those close enough to see it. Contact with the walls allowed spell-casters to hear that ritual magic was used to keep the rooms dark and mist filled. One room had a few orc mystics expanding the ritual.

Combat with the mystics lead to Martuph using a silence spell, which broke down the magic coming from the walls long enough to see and fight the mystics. Grem and Faeron moved to another room during combat. The range of the silence spell allowed them to see a statue to some ancient cult. They destroyed it, this broke the ritual for a large section of the second level. The party was able to navigate the second level after this and find the way to the third.

The third level was a single space. A room leading to a cave opening deep in a large cavern. Further down the cavern was a fast flowing river, up the cavern wall lead to the surface. A large model of the star system was there, and so were more mystics, Barabus, his darkness infused shaman Murshofan, and two shadows of ancient human sorcerers. Barabus and his guard engaged the party, and the sorcerers and Murshofan kept the ritual going until it was at its climax. They then joined the fray as the remaining mystics began to sacrifice themselves. Once the orcs and shadows were defeated Faeron and Faydra attempted to stop the sacrifices, and martuph smashed the magic infused model. This stopped the ritual, but released huge amounts of raw magical energy, and brought the cave down around them. The only way to survive was to jump, and hope the river was deep enough to break their fall. Many lost consciousness, only Grem and Martuph made it down awake.

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Being an orc is no excuse

so after watching the orc chief and my half-orc friend slay dinner. i took a bite of my bird leg flame kissed as it was. i walked up to the old orc who i suspect is the real leader of the orcs. i keep this thought to myself of course. I ask for three members of the tribe to teach how to make bricks. he offered 3 humans i said no i need an orc they need to learn to make bricks too. morning came around and i started my hammering in Torag’s name and this started a gathering of religions. i may have converted some orcs today. well after teaching the orc about making bricks we left and ran into some ogres but they seemed like they were headed out talking about a meeting.

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Dinner
Sessions 10 & 11

19 and 20 Rova 4665

The party followed the Bloodfists back to the settlement of Bloodspring.

Martuph was astonished by the absolutely terrible architecture and construction of the infantile orc city. The obvious inexperience, and ignorance of stonework shocked and dismayed him. It troubled him so much that he felt he must do something worried was against his judgement. He would teach orcs how to make things.

Tavius was also disturbed at the quality of the work, but amused at the concept. Had it not been Kromaz who started this city, he might be more accepting. Unfortunately his hatred of the orc and drive for personal vengeance was still nagging at him. He asked Faydra and Faeron if they’d hold his weapons so he wouldn’t be tempted to attack when they met him. Faydra was offended by this. Faeron collected his weapons.

Tesh scryed on Martuph to see what was going on. He also used spells to explain to Faeron the reasons for his departure. He promised to return if the party needed him, but for now he was going to do two things. Research Arazni more thoroughly, and draw her attention towards him, and away from the party for the time being.

Grem followed the party in amusement, and took mental notes of the things he heard from conversations.

The bloodfists brought the party to Kromaz’s building. Once inside, they found Kromaz talking to a few other orcs from another clan. Kromaz stopped his conversation upon seeing Faydra. His first response to her presence was the laughter of one who saw a scheme fulfilled. Then he stood, placed his hands on Faydra’s shoulders, and promptly headbutted her.

Once her head quit spinning, she demanded an explanation of her abandonment in the woods. As she expected, she was abandoned because Kromak, her brother, was born. Males were preferred, and Kromaz was challenged by Barabus for not sacrificing her to the gods, and feeding her to Kromak so that he’d become strong. Zharog reminded Kromaz of times when whelps who showed promise as shamans were left alone to develop their talents. Kromaz agreed, because it seemed less wasteful, and it would piss off Barabus.

Then, Kromaz stood, and said that it was time to feast. Since Faydra had returned with guests, she was responsible for them in the kitchen. He removed his armor, grabbed a bloody butchers apron, and a small cleaver, and ushered her to the back of the building. Faeron with with her, as the others were escorted to where food would be “served”.

The kitchen turned out to be a gladiator pit, Kromaz, Faydra, and Faeron were the entertainment for those in the stands. Several large animals the orcs now captured for food were released into the pit. The trio fought, killed, and quartered the animals, throwing parts to the people in the stands. Martuph and Grem were there to watch and eat the strange ritual of bloodsport and feasting.

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Bloodfists found
Session 9

18 Rova 4665

Tesh’s teleportation meant no one had time to think. Faydra looked about her and found an orc wearing Barabus’s colors to attack. Tavius took aim at the wardrummer’s drums, and tesh saw that the sensor for Arazni’s scrying was still there.

Faydra’s cry of “Long Live Kromaz!” sorted the orcs for herself and Faeron to attack and support. Tavius took out the drum, then began focusing on the drummer. Tesh made himself invisible, and conjured tentacles to waylay orcs indiscriminately. The fighting was quick and furious, but the even the elderly shaman among kromaz’s orcs was powerful. Barabus’s orcs were defeated.

Knowing that Arazni was still scrying, Tesh teleported back to Vigil to draw her attention there. Faydra was frustrated by his disappearance. However, once Martuph and Gremalkin showed, they discussed the situation with the shaman. The rumors of Kromaz’s bloodfists creating a settlement were true. He would lead them there.

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Oops
Session 8

17 and 18 Rova 4665

The party continued into Belkzen. Faydra lead them in the direction of the settlement the paladins mentioned. Now very frustrated, and confused about what her father’s tribe was doing. She was also concerned about her uncle’s apparent power within the horde.

After some traveling, a campsite was found, and a trail leading from it. It looked to Tavius and Faeron as a small patrol. The patrol was headed further north than the party’s destination, but they were also close. Faydra suggested catching the patrol if possible.

After a few hours, the sound of drums was in the distance, they were close to catching the patrol, but the drums were too loud to be the drum of a small patrol. Something was amiss. Tavius took on the sight of his bird and had Setius fly ahead. Setius found orcs fighting orcs, nearly a mile in the direction of the patrol. Some had the banner of Kromaz, Faydra’s father and Tavius’ personal villain.

Tesh, wanted this particular family distraction dealt with, and saw an opportunity to speed up the process. He asked Tavius for a description.

“Orcs, blood, tall grass, and a mile north of us.”

Tesh then began the teleport spell, he was distracted for a split second though. For since the day he scryed on Arazni, he’d cast spells on himself to detect any attempt to scry on him. The divination detected scyring as he was teleporting. He saw arazni herself, and knew she was not pleased with his prodding into her buisness.

Tesh, however was an accomplished spellcaster, if inexperienced with combat. So, his teleportation was not broken, in fact it was far more on target than he intended. He had teleported himself, Faydra, Faeron, and Tavius, directly into the middle of the combat.

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10,000 HP
Sessions 6 and 7

The night of 15 Rova 4665

The horde came into view as dusk settled, but its size meant it was nearly midnight before they actually came within reach of the river. They were not here to siege either, there great beasts yoked to huge wooden structures designed to re-create the long destroyed bridges. The orcs meant to cross here.

Iomedae sent no angles this time. The paladin and small guard were the only support the party had. The party showed the paladin, and all the gods, that there was no need for angles tonight.

In an intense, devastating show of spells, arrows, and swordsmanship the party reaped the first wave of orcs, all young and inexperienced. Only the beasts carrying individual riders made any real progress. The tower on the orc side of the river Tavius set up in was already old and weak. It held through the first attempts to bring it down by ramming, but was now ready to crumble.

The second wave showed no fear, or sanity, depending on your view. They charged over their dead companions, better shots and tougher sorts. They scored a few hits on Tavius in his tower, and eventually brought Faydra into the melee with Faeron. The protective spells and hard-earned experience on the party’s part made them near invincible in the fight. Tesh and Martuph’s devastating spellcasting changed it from a battle, to a massacre. Within a minute nearly 1,000 orcs were slain, some of them veterans. All of the bridges for crossing the river were destroyed. The orcs were defeated in the first seconds of the 428th anniversary of the Battle of Last Hope. The bell would have been tolling midnight when the last orc died, had any of the paladins been thinking about it.

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To Belkzen
Session 06

14 and 15, Rova 4665
The party, after a few days research and respite in Vigil, continued along the Esk river to Belkzen. They ran across another party of orcs near the joint between Esk and the Flood Road. Fighting them was short and swift, but they discovered that many orc tribes were banded together, and someone was making human styled, high quality weapons and armor for them.

They reached Fort Morrine on the afternoon of the 15th. They spoke with the current guard of the broken bridge, Yetta Calkins, who mentioned that she’d had one discussion of peace with Kromaz’s tribe through the trade of food for a small amount of axes, but these new orcs, some off-shoot seemed to be gathering the other tribes under his banner.

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Expensive Mischief
Session 05 Postview

12 Rova, 4665

Field Operations Report: Third Entry.
Classification: Research Contingent.

In a fort night of field research, it would appear that the necromantic sins of my father have come upon me.
My companions and I managed through the Northern Fangwood of Lastwall, and currently reprieve in the city of Vigil. I am not flippant with my diction on this matter – it is a means of grace that we are within the safety of Vigil.
To digress. I wasted no time with creature comforts from the forest road as we entered the city – indeed, I cannot recall even speaking with the innkeeper for the room in which I now rest. I went directly to the city guard for all the reports on “Gorcha Pass” since the date of my father’s disappearance. It appears that Vigil had to increase their patrol size, as the population and boldness of the undead has augmented dramatically as of late. There was no mention of any foreigners, found bodies, or any information that neither confirmed nor eliminated the possibility of my father’s attendance to the Pass.
I pondered for a moment about the increase in undead activity, and logically concluded that one explanation might be the company that I keep. Though I was not certain of this at the time, I suspected that the affair of destroying Ghuzmaar’s armor got the attention of Arazni – the paladin liche of Geb (and formerly of Vigil). One of my companions – Faeron Seabreese – currently possesses one of Arazni’s Bloodstones; I determined that the Bloodstone might suffice for an attempt to scry her location, and see if she was involved in the swelling of undead to the North. It was that moment wherein the excitement and curiosity of my endeavor overcame my reason and caution. In haste, I approached Faeron with my idea, and sought the secrecy and safety of Iomedae’s cathedral. Therein, I used the Bloodstone and the mirror of Maybelline to scry her location. I sensed my magical prowess was enough to bypass some of Arazni’s arcane defenses, but the attempt rendered no information at all – not so much as even a voice, let alone an image.
Foolishness! Pure stupidity! In my haste, I was careless! Those defenses could have been a multitude of spells! It had not occurred to me that she might anticipate such attempts by her personal adversaries – far more powerful than myself. Who knows what sort of preparations she actually made, but I will not make that mistake again. Rather, in the morning, my first efforts will be to craft my emeritus amulet into something more protective and commemorative of the Fangwood. In addition to procuring the necessary components, I intend to purchase scrolls of scry detection and object location to add into my own spellbook. If anything more is to come from my imprudent action, I shall deny the element of surprise to Arazni as best as this old professor can manage.

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A Bad Dream
Downtime Post

HELP!”

The limping figure of a blond haired, bloodied man drenched in sweat from fear appeared over the hill to the left of the road, just before collapsing. Naturally, my companions and I rushed to his side.

“The town, it’s —” his sentence interrupted by uncontrollable coughing of blood, “it’s been… turned!”

I think all of us knew instantly what he meant, but the dwarven cleric had to ask: “Turned?”

He shook. “Turned to the dead. All dead. The guards, my neighbors, my fa— everyone. Everyone but the children that Sasha barred in the tavern. Please, in the name of the gods, I beg you to help them!”

The cleric broke the eternal seconds of silence by responding, “Let me help you first, and then you can help us get back to your village.”

“No, it’s too late for me,” the exasperated man said, as he tilted his leg to show the multiple streams of blood now crusted like a dried river bed, flowing from the mouth-shaped gouges in his calf. “There is only one thing to do now. You must take the footpath over that hill for three miles to my village… and save my daughter. Save the children.”

“We’re not leaving you to die,” the beleaguered half-orc magus retorted.

“Then I will die before you leave. GO!” and faster than anyone could think, he shoved a hunting dagger into his own left ear.

I reached for words to express the sheer horror and shock of the last few moments, and though my lips mouthed a prayer to Pharisma, no voice bolstered from the windpipes of my throat. Finally, the Elven fighter spoke up. “They’re only children. We have to go – now.” No other words were spoken.

The fastest sparrows in Fangwood forest couldn’t keep up with us as we tore down the footpath. Within minutes, we caught sight of the little pillars of white smoke rising between the treeline. No one hesitated to the cause. No one knew… it was already too late.


The smell of burning hay was accompanied by the sound of crackling fire and unseen screaming victims. Mobs of the undead were everywhere, like sweat splattered upon the ground from the swept brow of a smithy. A small gang of skeletons clambered towards our party. I was sorely tempted to blast them into oblivion with unquenchable fire, but kept my nerve. Our group made short work of them as we worked our way towards the only two-story building that wasn’t a grain silo or lumber mill – the tavern.

Before we knew it, we were pinned in by the mobs on three sides. Feydra, the magus, called “Mind the skies!” as I was accosted by the flying rotten corpse of a bat. Ghouls were to our front. A small horde of zombies were at our flank, and another batch of skeletons were held off from our rear by the fighter and the alchemist. And there, to my side, was the door into the tavern. The bats grew incessantly in number, and I knew that if we didn’t take care of the task soon, we would all die in the street.

I cast a spell to open the door, and what little daylight was left broke into the black hall. I entered. Four small silhouettes stood not twenty feet in front of me. I whispered, “It’s alright – you’ll be safe now.” They approached, slowly at first, then hurredly and haphazardly. A single beam of light shone through the boarded up window and cast its condemning illumination upon a young face – first the open mouth of menacing teeth, and then the gnawed eye-socket of a teenage girl with only patches of her golden hair still attached to the chasm of her skull. The hair color was a perfect match for the bloodied man, now as dead as his daughter had been for some time.

I ran out the way I came, and magically shut the doors, informing my companions not to enter the tavern. There was a new sound in the air – the sound of deathly pipes. I took flight above our pinned position between the lumber mill and the tavern, to assess a way out of the village. All of it had been overrun, and there was no end to our foes. To our front, just on the other side of the mill, was a group of ghouls, reared by a pipe-playing maiden of similar filth. She had a horror of meadow-weather heads about her waist. One of them I recognized in an instant: the head of my own father.

All the rage inside me tore loose into the skies, calling down all forms of ice and fire, concentrated upon the she-villain – everything I had within the horizon and depth of my arcane skill was hurled upon her wicked visage.

And still, she came forward… playing her dirge. My dismay went without words – how could such a thing be? Nothing could survive that!

A sharp pain in my side was quickly doubled. Arrows found their mark in my abdomen, and I felt myself falling from the safety of the sky, towards the piper. Was this to be my end? To face the same fate as my father – a consequence for our insatiable thirst for knowledge of the immortal arcana? I couldn’t bare to look upon my fate any longer, and shut my eyes in surrender….

“Tesh,” a mumbled voice called. I opened my eyes to see the boot of Tavius, the half-bred ranger perpendicular to my abdomen. “Come now, old man – awake with you. We’ve a long journey still ahead of us to Vigil.”

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