Nirmathas Secrets

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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"Security Detail Acquired"
Session 3 - Postview

8 Rova, 4665

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

The world outside of the Academy moves at a much faster pace than I remembered and observed it. Within the last forty-eight hours, I have managed to make acquaintance with a small band of companions on an intriguing quest. Their number is but less than a half-dozen, but well experienced and highly mobile: a perfect retinue of security for my field operations. Several of their members are engaged in some sort of vendetta against Arazni, the queen of Geb. Our meeting was on account of their conflict with her undead forces; one of her minions, Ghuzmaar, a graveknight, managed to slay the watchmen of Three Pines Ford and walk openly into the inn of my residence. This band prepared to fight, and one among them gave the call to clear the inn. I quickly assessed through the window the undead abomination, the location of the front door, and the absence of bystanders. When the graveknight entered the room, I executed the standard procedure for undead combat with a fireball which finished off the creature. Following the precedent for destruction of a graveknight as recalled from my father’s research, the band and I destroyed the armor that served as a phylactery for Ghuzmaar.

After the ceremonial experience, we departed for Lastwall’s northern hold of Vigil, where a handful of the party’s members hope to obtain more information about the nature of Arazni’s canobic jars, known as bloodstones, and how to use them… wisely, I hope. I feel inspired to accompany them long enough to discern their anthropological governance, and then propose a contract of security detail to them for my research. Alas, I have no capital to barter with (which may or may not be crucial for two members), and no items of interest to negotiate with the others. I suppose my tethering to their ‘quest’ will provide the necessary resources better than I could obtain on my own.

Time will tell if there is anything I can learn about my father and his research in the kingdom of Lastwall… perhaps there will be better leads in Vigil than in Three Pines Ford. If not, I shall have to abandon this party there, and set out for Gorcha Pass – security detail, or no detail.

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Orc Incursion
10 Roma, 4665

The group woke from their dreams upon destroying Ghuzmaar. Each with a lot to think about. The fragment of Ghuzmaar’s cleansed soul gave them hints on how to fight one more of the graveknights, and Arazni herself. Faydra, Tavius, and Faeron explained more of their encounters with undead, and other creatures in the last few weeks. Tesh, Grem, and Martuph all agreed that they would join the party hunting down these bloodstones.

They rested, restocked, and prepared to head for Vigil. They turned north fairly quickly and re-entered the Fangwood. However, it wasn’t long at all before they ran across group of orcs. A hunting party this deep into civilized territory was cause for alarm, but before they could really determine what was going on, the orcs attacked.

One orc was still alive after the short skirmish. Tavius began a very… intense… questioning, only for the orc to drag him down into a wrestling match. Faydra used her scythe to remove the orc from Tavius, the orc proceeded to explain.

“Kromaz, that old orc is no stronger than you pink skins, we no longer follow him! Barabus leads us now, and his right hand Murshofan will bring a darkness to this land. Then we’ll strike you all down.”

Tavius who mentioned Kromaz asked, “Why do you call him weak?”

The orc pointed at Faydra “Look in front of you! He’s dumb enough to breed with pink skins!” before the orc could continue, Faydra beheaded him.

At this point, Tavius admits that Kromaz and his clan was the raiding clan who destroyed his home. Faydra admits that Kromaz is her birth father. After some tension, Faydra insists that if something odd is going on such that Barabus is in charge, then they need to see whats going on in Belkzen right away.

Later that day, the party thwarted a goblin ambush, Faydra barely slowed down to scorch, shock and slice the annoyance.

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The Breaking of Ghuzmaar
8 Rova, 4665

After discussing, and preparing for The Sundering Ritural. The new party gathered Ghuzmaar’s armor in the local Temple of Iomade. With the approval of the local clergy, they re-blessed the area for Torag. Then Martuph concencrated the area, and began channeling and hammering.

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"Lower Expectations"
Session 0 - Postview

6 Rova, 4665

Field Operations Report: First Entry.
Classification: Personal / Non-Research Contingent

Forty-two years ago to the day, I began the first day of a new seminar on Introductory Universalist Techniques with a full dozen students at the Academy. Though it was not my first course by any means, it was the first introductory course I taught in several decades. I recall the students fared well on their examinations: a note not worth mentioning, were it not for it’s relationship to the first day of the course.

It was the still within the first decade of the Academy’s policy to accept students from families of non-arcane vocations. Several faculty dinners were not immune to the concerns that the Academy had lowered its standards. The headmaster would always conclude such conversations with the same phrase: “None of us should lower our standards, but some of you might need to lower your expectations.” Needless to say, I had my doubts about the intellectual capabilities of the labor class neophytes. As the course endured, I discovered that what the students lacked in intellectual prestige, they made up for with innovative prowess when I did not accommodate their deficiency by lowering the standards for completion. One student defeated the imp in combat by signing up to be it’s caregiver at the beginning of the course, and feeding it Nuarda Seeds the night before his turn at the exam; the student’s success in subduing the imp was largely on account of the seed oil rendering the iimp mute, and therefor it’s throat unusable for the verbal component of it’s most potent spells. Innovation triumphed.

I met a dwarf on the boat to Three Pines Ford who reminded me of that student. On his first impression, he did not strike me as the brightest wand in the emporium. He lacked the basic philosophical ability to entertain the possibility that orcs were a superior race to dwarves without having to agree that the statement was true. Our dinner talk was less than appetizing; I wished that I had a few of the Nuarda Seeds tucked in my component pouch to put into his ale – the seed oil’s taste is almost indistinguishable from the human grog.The conversation must have upset him, for he resorted to gender insults when exiting the seacraft.However, he proved to have some measure of cunning – mixed with vindictiveness – when I presented him with an intellectual challenge of an invisible opponent. He focused on the ecolocation of my voice to lunge at me, missing his mark by not more than a pixie’s armlength, and thereby carry me overboard into the dockwater with him. His innovation did not triumph.

However, he did manage to impress me enough to make not of his name: Martuph Skyhelm.

Fin.

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