The Journals of Sparrowhawk

Chapter 8 - The Shadow Portal

Within the house the group discovered a beveled mirror with tendrils of shadow projecting from it. A globe of darkness was within and it projected darkness into the room.

After resting for the night the family passed through the portal into what seemed to be another realm. In this place light is adsorbed and light sources only projected half as far as normal.

There were several volcanoes off in the distance and larva gave off one of the few sources of natural light. On this side of the portal the mirror gave off light rather than darkness.

The mirror was situated in a ruined building with no roof. The portal seemed to allow people through it based on time.

Looking out from the building we could see a river and a forest beyond – all very sorry looking. There were beads of light in the distance.

An ape like creature with four arms appeared and attacked us. It appeared to have been hanging people on hooks in another room. Some of them had limbs torn away and some torso had been eviscerated.

One of the bodies was someone who had taken part in the ceremony with Brother Wookie. [Payment for passage past this guardian perhaps?]

Inside a chest several items were discovered:

Potion – barkskin Potion – Owls Wisdom Potion – Levitate Scroll – Diminish Plants Jewelry – Broach of Shielding

Upstairs is another room with a magical throne and shuttered windows. Having cast an identify on the throne we discovered how to activate it.

It held guardians (shadow elementals) within it and they would attack if it was not activated correctly. We had to wear the carved symbol of some unknown god which gave pause to some members of the party.

Those who did and sat in the throne gaining the following:

All abilities last for 1 month +5 to Hide Resist Cold 5 Superior low light vision (240 Feet) [Outside this place they also appeared shrouded in shadow]

Exploring we discovered that the river made an island around us – Swamp and trees stretched off into the distance. Armored footprints headed off in 1 direction and lizard prints in another.

Discovered another building on the island we rescued a Sharptooth lizard man. He explained that the other Sharptooth prisoners had been taken to the Shadowscale Clan base in the other direction – they later returned as undead. Humans were always taken the other way.

A sturdy wharf was discovered and shortly after finding it a boat approached. A plan was quickly hatched to fool the boat keeper into taking us across the water while the remainder of the party followed in our own boat. Tegan took the lead and Sparrowhawk accompanied her in Tiger form.

On the boat (rowed by skeletons) we were told that Lady Arthas had recently used it to travel to the Monastery. The ship was called the Necrene and its master Sethirial. He was a member of the Order of Cyrician and Shar. He described the Black Rift and the arena beyond as having many defenses. Further questioning revealed that they were gathering Priests of Pellor to experiment on. Testing their own anti light effects on the undead.

After 20 miles of following occasional lights which roughly followed a coastline the boat keeper played a harp. He explained that it was to quiet a guardian that we were passing over.

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Chapter 7 - The Vast Swamp

We headed into the vast swamp and towards the Tomb of Chonis. We entered and were immediately shot at by shadowy creatures.

They turned out to be Gnome sized humanoids who claimed to have been warned against us by an armored human female on horseback. When they realised we posed no threat they relaxed a little and told us of an overheard conversation.

“Lady Arthas has plans for our friend” – Which apparently referred to Brother Wookie.

The next day we headed into the marsh, passing by the stump of a dead tree that was surrounded by hundreds of skulls.

We were quickly surrounded by a large number of aquatic creatures. They appeared to be unfriendly but not hostile and we agree to be taken to their leader Kesseckic.

We travelled South East for an hour with these people and met the leader of the Sharptooth. He cast a zone of Truth on us and questioned us. Once satisfied of our intentions he relaxed and spoke of events in the swamp.

Some of his people had been captured and taken to a place called the Lost Refuge. Those who went were never seen again.

He had combined forces with two other tribes in order to try and fight off the darkness:- The Blackscales and the Poison Dusk. However the Shadowscales continued to attack them led by Kitsara Shadowscale.

These shadowscale warriors did not appear to be alive – their skin was stretched over their bodies.

Sharla the mate of Kesseckic had been lost recently and he offered us magic if we would free her. He gave us a necklace that would identify us as friends to her and also told us to mention “The Fallen Woods”.

The Shadowscale were led by two people, Thea Raven who had horns that had appeared from his skull and Kitsara whose feet had turned to giant claws.

At this point the camp was attacked by a giant crocodile headed humanoid and a large number of shadowscale. A tentacled creature floats over and hits with ten tentacles that paralysed on touch.

Following this attack Tegan and Tor went out to scout with one of the lizard scouts and encountered a headless horseman who attacked them with pumpkins.

The next day the party travelled past where the alleged attack from the headless horseman had been and could find no evidence of the landmark tree the scouts had described.

Following a brief attack by Trolls we scouted out the Lost Refuge and then climbed in over a broken wall. The building appeared to have partly sunk into the swamp.

We met the Crocodile headed creature “Cromat” who very nearly cut us in two. We also encountered creatures that we suspected were being magically controlled with magical bands that had needles that pierced into the flesh.

We rescued Sharla and also the previous chieftain “Gethan” who asked to come with us and fight.

An impassable doorway led to us heading into the building via more conventional means. A wolf acted as an alarm and the defenders poured out.

We managed to kill a sorcerer and the horned leader Thea Raven along with the remaining defenders.

The guards in the guard house locked themselves in and shot an occasional arrow at us. One used some magic to summon a Will-o-wisp from the swamp to attack us.

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Chapter 6 - Rescuing the Wookie

The group entered the temple in order to rescue the Wookie. We still believed he was charmed from the ceremony but we had to remind certain family members with wickedly pointy daggers that we should really be subduing the guards in case we had got it wrong….

A couple of evil clerics were killed but we managed to just knock out all of the (presumably innocent) guards.

Within the temple we discovered the black glove that had been used on brother Wookie along with instructions of how it could be used to influence minds.

Downstairs we met a demonic woman in plate mail accompanied by another Arab. This appeared to be a person from the desert country of Thalimbar.

We discovered an inky black portal that turned out to be an illusion. On the other side was an alter surrounded by skulls. At the centre was another black portal that appeared to be damaged.

Further down in a dock area the group were over matched and outnumbered by a variety of creatures (sea monsters) and humans including the demonic woman. We barely escaped with our lives by floating away down the river.

There was a prisoner in the cell area of the boat dock but no sign of Brother Wookie.

Outside we tried talking to the purple dragons but despite admitting to breaking into the largest temple in the area and assaulting the guards we couldn’t even get ourselves arrested never mind them taking notice of our rumours of evil forces at work.

We healed up at the Temple of Cord who were more than happy to take our gold and then crept back into the Temple of Pelor via the water entrance. We questioned the prisoner there who turned out to be called Viera. He said that Brother Wookie had been taken away on a boat that returned within an hour.

We discovered a map of the waterways around Wheloon and also a path labelled “The Way of the Mantacore” that headed into the vast swamp.

We discovered diaries of the Arabs who complained that they were never allowed outside.

We gathered all of the evidence together and went back to the Purple Dragons who managed to arrest Sagramor and promised to investigate the temple.

The next day we got a note from Tenaster which said that he had more information on the temple. With Sagramor still incarcerated we went to the meeting point but walked into an ambush. The attack came from the rooftops and had been carefully prepared. We avoided much of it by accident rather than good planning or tactics and managed to kill the mage leading the attack and his henchmen. Unfortunately Tenaster suffered a sad boating accident and was horribly murdered while under our protection.

It turned out that this group had just been hired mercenaries told to kill us for the disruption we had caused.

We spoke to Lord Sarp and Bishop Orvill who by now were both involved. We discovered that the portal inside the temple was not active and so the survivors must have fled on foot. We therefore set out quickly on the Way of the Mantacore to try and catch them up.

At a location known as the ‘Unknown Shrine’ we met two merchants, Noray Wayrocket and Cubert Draftworth and somehow managed to hire them as guides. They took us to a nearby camp where we rested for the night.

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Chapter 5 - Escape

As we returned to the black hand camp we were chased by a HUGE dinosaur. The people on the gates did not appear to want to let us in and delayed opening the drawbridge which allowed the dinosaur into the camp.

It appeared that the people in the black hand camp were unhappy about us because of the dreams they were having. They had been targeted for extra nightmares because we had been investigating parts of the island that the Fey were unhappy about.

We agreed to assist Aruf on one final journey using the boat and we agreed to meet him at midnight.

That night the party were visited by a vision of a disembodied head that demanded we go no further towards the volcano. A cloud of insects then headed towards the black hand village and as we awoke people who dreamed this awoke with fevers.

Aruf revealed that he was working for the Vam Biert family. Two years ago he had committed a crime and had a choice of either this job or death.

The elven Champion (Lark the ranger) had also been working with him (until we killed him). Aruf had learned of the map through Lark.

We investigated some of the scrolls that we had gathered from the library……

“Sealed by a mirror Kari – Not to be opened by any Mortabi”

“Protected by rested monks in a chamber”

“Used Gamaptria – Assigned numbers to letters. This was used to examine part of the scriptures of truth”.

“Gamaptria used to derive the great constant”

“Creation of the “Sun and Moon”

111 – Sun Kavah
106 – Moon Kufvah

“Multiply by 3 to give the great constants”

We were attacked by giant crabs on the way back. During the night a body had been taken from a hut and flayed and dismembered. The black hand camp blamed us for this and attacked us.
After killing 31 member of the village including one of the shamen, a mage and 6 of the armed warriors they got the message that perhaps we were too tough to kill…..

We traded the wand we had pilfered from Arufs treasure trove for an unknown item… A small ivory stave.

Aruf added some powder to a fire and clouds of coloured smoke wafted up as a signal for a boat to come and pick him up.

We negotiated with Captain Bromanti of the Silver Rose for passage to Halgaard. In fact he let us off before we reached there and sailed away.

We heard news that the Barbarian King had been kidnapped. The barbarians occasionally sacked Halgaard (the last time was 80 years ago and they were now overdue).

Ashore we met with Bishop (of Pelor) Orvill Van Biert. A member of a merchant family who had fallen on hard times but were now coming into prominence by changing having changed their goals to the seeking of Art and Knowledge.
Also part of the party were a few guards, a member of the local constabulary and a tall figure in a red robe wielding a long gnarled black staff.

His new temple (Cathedral) was being built in Wheloon South West of Halgaard.
He offered us 17,000 Gold for the scrolls we had recovered from the library.

After concluding our business and walking away we were attacked by an armed group claiming that we had stolen the Idol of the Van Biert family. A prisoner of this group turned out to be a priest of Pelor. The group summoned a strange wolverine that breathed flame and had metal plates and tubes in its body.

The Priest of Tenaster, Draney – He had been to the Cathedral which was a huge building complete on the outside but unfinished within. He told us of a ceremony called “Pellor’s Trust” being conducted there. He was suspicious of Father Shanathar so had decided to leave. As he ran off the temple guards had attacked him. Back at Wheloon he had asked around and had met Mervin who told him of another priest that had gone missing. People had attacked Mervin and killed him and so he ran away and headed west. Mervin had already spoken to the authorities and nothing had been done.

We were attacked again in the night. We questioned a survivor who revealed that this group had been given a description of us and had been told to ensure that we were not carrying any maps.

When we investigated the corpse of the wolverine we discovered it had been killed and then augmented using enchantment and transmutation magic.

The idol carried by the first group proved to be of an ancient demonic or diabolic figure
During the evening a man approached the camp. He was middle aged and walked with a stick. This was Tobias Faucault – He invited us to spend the night in the lodge in Rose Wood. This proved to be an outpost of monks – Members of the Order of Dawn.

Umberto, Teamore, Duran and Strall were all monks staying there.

Verdelith Silveroot (an elf) and his companions carrying a heavy (magical) wooden chest were also staying at the lodge. They had come from the far West. As thanks they offered the monks a small bushel of Silver Twigs which burn very brightly when lit.

During the night the Wookie received a vision of a man sat at a desk in the empty hold of a ship. It appeared to be beached. The person looked up and looked directly into his heart (he felt a connection there). The ship appeared to be beached and was somehow familiar.

In Wheloon Lord Sarp Redbeard governs the place as mayor. There are 150 Lore keepers under his control called the Purple Dragons. Consul Maximanus Thol leads the Dragons.

Within the town is a Temple of Kord, Mystra and the Cathedral of Pelor. There is also a small shrine to Silvanus.

Within the Temple of Pelor we were greeted by Shanthar a priest and introduced to Lady Ardenia Arthas who was in charge. Several of us agreed to take part in the ceremony that had been described to us in order to find out more of what was going on.

We spent 3 days in the ceremony which consisted of starvation and religious garbage. At the end they used a magical item on us and Brother Wookie succumbed to its effects.

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Chapter 4 - Exploring the Island

The party investigated a passage at the back of Aruf’s cave. It actually exited onto a hidden path that went to a small island via a bridge. Within was a wyvern cave with various items of loot at the back.

We made a plan to scout out the elves camp with the idea of attacking them. The entrance to the camp turned out to be trapped. As our scouts watched it became obvious that the camp were preparing a ceremony involving a wicker man.

The scout then fell off a cliff which should have been impossible as he had the party slippers of spider climb (but wasn’t wearing them)…..

We decided to watch the ceremony via a rope trick spell

While we watched a chimney like structure was removed and the hole it was covering glowed from below. It appeared that there was lava running freely. The elves gave thanks to Mathaka and referred to a wicker man symbol as they did. It appeared that the chief elf (the one with the tattoo) was to be sacrificed in the wicker man.

The elves mentioned working to “ensure that no one knows the secrets of the past”

Their holy man blessed some food and other items and then sacrificed them to the volcano. He then did the same with a baby and threw it in. As they did this the elves began some sort of re-enactment. A drummer in a brown robe and a mask, standing over 8 feet tall represented the Matheka figure. He played out a part that involved him controlling the fire figure.

The Wicker Man represents all the people of the world. The person inside represents the eternal flame within each of us. The sacrifice into the flames represents the sacrifice performed by the gods when creating the world, that they gave of themselves so that the people of the world could live in safety. The sacrifice itself is necessary to show the gods that their sacrifice has not been forgotten and that, if necessary, there are people who would give up the same.

Bessen-Tir indicated the ceremony was also to appease the gods before their attempt to bring back another of the altars – an apparent attempt to stop others from trying to obtain certain secrets.

The next day the party became paranoid (parotnoid?) and started killing birds.

We spotted 4 figures on a magic carpet, one of them tied up. They were flying high but generally towards the volcano. The forgotten familiar reported that the tied up figure was a corpse and was dropped off near the volcano. We were attacked by the wildlife along the way but did eventually find the corpse. It had been killed by fire and from above. It carried a scroll tube.

“And now you are dead but salvation and reward awaits if you are successful you will live again. Find out what you can about the artefact of the gods. You have a year if time means anything to you now before we return”

We speculated that the blackness could take him and reanimate him….

More creature attacks during the night.

The following day we entered a cave in the side of the volcano. It appeared to be a complex. We were attacked by a dire bear that was dealing massive wounds.

At a choke point in the complex we discovered a doorway once guarded by two trees, now both dead. There were runes on the door that we could not understand.

On the other side of the door were two more trees and a small person trapped inside an egg. When broken he was released and he told us a tale of what happened. His name was Faybron Foxcoat. He had been trapped by Madrager who was one of the Sith – Similar to elves but dress in black and have wings. He claimed there were lots of the fairy folk (fey) on this island.

He had come here with Derran of House Silyiath and had been shipwrecked on a different island but had built a raft and drifted here.

Brego of the Helm was in charge here at the time.

The Fey are somewhat inhuman but not evil, they tend to treat people like pets.

Beyond this point in the cave was the great seal of light “May it never be dimmed”.

We decided to lay an ambush for the elves but they seems to have more than our (collective) 1 rank in tracking and actually ambushed us as we lay in wait…..

We managed to kill their leader and their champion (a ranger) and many others. On the leaders back was a map that had three more temples than we had found.

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Chapter 3 - Lost

A hastily remembered familiar was sent off after the bird carrying Teghan. The party followed the winged creature onto the larger volcanic island and along a costal path.

Along the way we were attacked by raptors who took a fancy to Sparrowhawk – The party noticed that there was an unusual amount of animal life on this island!

A message from Father told us that the Baron had attacked the fort back home but had been repelled.

Using our tracking skills we discovered that booted people frequently used this track and following these we made our way to a village surrounded by a water filled moat with a single bridge over it.

We were introduced to Aruf – leader of the Black hand gang and also Marta a healer. He explained that the ones who attacked us were elves, all members of the green hand gang. Many in this camp were from prison ships but some had other tales of shipwreck to tell.

The family agreed to have the hand shaped black print put onto our faces to mark us part of this tribe. We were told of Besentir – Chief of the Green hand tribe to the south and we gave Aruf a complementary set of chain mail.

The camp introduced us to their members…..

Merta – Shaman The witches – Half Orc women with innate magic Blood Leach – Another person with innate magic Spit – A Half ogre

Aruf explained that he did not arrive on the prison ship. He came here two years earlier with Mashir who was champion of the tribe. Unfortunately Mashir was slain on the temple steps during some sort of ritual conflict. Every year the tribes fight and the looser dies which results in nightmares for the loosing village.

Father sent another message….. There is a fight at Drakenfort.. The Baron’s men are in retreat.

We were able to extract an overview map of the island which showed the Black hand tribe at the north on the edge of a large bay and the Green Hand tribe at the south. Separating the two was a lake and a volcano at the centre with a temple on the side of the volcano.

The next day we set out to explore the temple and were attacked by giant wildlife (snakes). We came across the temple and it appeared that a wooden platform had been added to reach a circular arena with spikes at the bottom. Within the pit were humanoid footprints leading into a natural cave in the side of the pit. Inside this cave were the skeletons of many years of loosing warriors from the annual fight. A magical ring was discovered on the body of one of the creatures.

Some of the party received a waking dream of having the flesh burnt off their bodies as a result of going too close to the volcano and they fell to the floor. The remaining member of the party were attacked but these creatures proved to be illusionary….fading from view once destroyed.

Following the path South East we came across a once mighty temple in the jungle. A voice from the canopy tells us we should not be this far East and cast a spell on us that appeared to have no effect.

Tor summoned his runes but the usual drivel was all that came out of the process. Someone snidely remarked that his familiar would soon be better able to interpret them than he was (it would be more intelligent). Tor resolved to take the next ten levels as a giant to keep the bird dumb.

The family found another altar in this temple and suffered another mental attack. This time the vision was of a bearded man who was punished for his arrogance. “You thought you could decipher our will. The few who remain must earn our forgiveness”

As we rested overnight a voice spoke to us and warned us that even if we move away from the volcano he will pursue us. He said that only death will enable us to escape. We challenged that view and said that we will forge our own path.

We headed along an ancient river valley with crumbling buildings. Another temple with a pentagram was discovered. It also contained two statues of elves in a room further back. Below were steps going a long way down into a large room with a paved floor. Vines and creepers were growing in the dark. The room itself was magical with a source beyond the door. The vines began to move in time with an audible heartbeat and the statues along the corridor started attacking with bows. Huge snakes appeared out of the creepers and mounds of insects approached from the same source.

We retreated from that place and tried to find out more about the city. The whole place did not appear to be lived in – being more ceremonial. A domed building that appeared to have sunk into the ground caught our eye and we investigated it further. It proved to have been a library but all the contents turned to dust as they were touched, such was the age of the place.

Down below in the library we discovered Mortabe. He said he was held here by the darkness. It appeared that he had defaced many scrolls.

He described the darkness as a manifestation of the anger of the gods for the peoples failure to observe their warnings.

He had once served Marakin. There were sacred fires that burned in the volcano. A sacrifice had to be given to the gods but one in particular was not quite as virginal as everyone had thought and her death led to the volcano erupting.

People tried to flee but he had been left behind….. At that moment dark smoke came from his eyes and attacked us. He appeared to have been a free willed undead animated by the smoke. Brother Wooky’s light spells quickly dispatched the smoke which turned to dust in the light of Pellor.

The next day we read a scroll left intact which said in Mortabe’s handwriting not to enter the Cave of Tears as there within was the great shadow itself.

On other scrolls we discovered that Arduval the reborn had forged a great seal, giving his life to make it and had sealed away the darkness. The seal appeared to have been cracked when the volcano erupted and the insanity had been released.

We were attacked with further smoke but this was destroyed with a greater turning. Unfortunately we discovered that Sagramore (Cleric) only had 1 rank in knowledge religion and could only tell us that Elven Gods didn’t heave beards… Not exactly what we wanted to know about the smoke and current situation.

Within the library were numerous texts by numerologists. Their culture had been obsessed by measuring things. There were measurements of flowers, insects, architecture, animals, dolphins and fish amongst many others.

They were seeking the ‘Devine Proportion’ – which appeared to be their ultimate definition of beauty. They applied this principal to the architecture of their city which appeared to be laid out in a pentagram.

We concluded that the positioning of the temples had some significance that was wrapped up in a mathematical formula that we didn’t understand.

As it was almost time for the annual fight at the temple we headed there. Our sides champion was laid low by cheating magic’s an the half ogre fell dead to poison. His body was carried off by an invisible creature. Teghan who was watching invisibly was attacked by spells.

Aruf offered us a folding boat in return for a map that he said was written on the back of the elven leader.

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Chapter 2 - Pirates!

Chapter 2

The family set out for Port Haven escorting the lovely Jennie and traveled all day.

7th Early the next morning several folk were roused by Jennie (she had that effect on people) and hurried onwards. As we travelled South we met both refugees fleeing the area and also people heading North looking to collect on green skin bounties.

8th The family were attacked on the road by bandits. They demanded a box from us that no-one was aware of having. They died by our hands but we took a severe beating.

A total of 780 gold was recovered from their bodies along with a wand and other miscellaneous items.

We arrived in Port Haven and the beautiful Jennie booked passage on a ship – the Mary Anne. She was asking to go to Haalgard.

We inquired about Badger Island – the home of her father but none of the deck hands questioned had ever heard of it. They were aware of Freeport – it was in the King’s realm 1000 miles to the South.

On the dock a mad preacher (Seneeshu) was accosting people. He was preaching harmony with the forests.

The delicious Jennie asked if the family could travel with her part of the way home and as we had no plans we agreed. A few provisions were purchased and we loaded our gear onto Captain Harwood’s ship.

We exchanged our warhorses for a docket good at any civilised port – what a bargain!

Before boarding we watched as a heavy chest and a half-Orc prisoner (plus sheriff) were taken below decks.

As the tide turned and we departed the madman rushed up to the ship and pointed towards us shouting obscenities.

There was little of note on the first few days of the journey. We passed the Isles of Wrath where once a lighthouse stood but had now fallen into disrepair.

On the third day a small black cloud was noticed moving in our direction. It was moving faster than the ship and quickly caught us up. It proved to be a flock of birds which attacked all on deck.

This proved to be a distraction and cover for below deck more attacks were taking place. In hindsight what had happened was that 3 of the birds had been shape shifted druids who used the flock as cover to get below deck – the leader being the madman from the docks. Once there they summoned several large apes and cast a circle of flame that began to set both ship and cargo alight.

One of the druids was dispatched and several of the apes who immediately disappeared. At this point the Druid stole the box – a non magical item that was actually in the possession of the party and had been recovered from the ship wreck where sweet Jenny had been rescued. Tor demonstrated that a 60 foot ship was no hindrance to his ability to run 90 feet away from any combat just as we had the evil druid flanked. Eventually the captain turned the ship around and fished him out of the sea.

After the Druids made their escape the delightful Jennie revealed that she had actually been aware of the box (a small wooden affair with the image of a woodland creature on it) but had failed the mention the significance of it. It had been the property of a merchant now presumed lost.

Teghan had to be restrained as she spoke of eating poor innocent Jennie.

The next day we saw a ship on the horizon. Using his trained navel eye Captain Harwood identified it as a pirate ship! (Possibly by the flag it was flying or possibly by the corpses hanging from the rigging….)

The lovely Jennie waved to the ship from the crows nest using a flag constructed from sweet wrappers and bailing twine. When questioned she revealed that she was actually signaling to her father “Murdering Red Avanti”. Ah well; you can’t choose your family…….

She said that our ship would not be sunk and the crew not murdered. As she was just so lovely we all trusted her and the ship was lowered to allow her off in the ships boat. Unfortunately murdering Red (daddy) was not as trustworthy and followed the Mary Anne gaining ground quickly.

At this point a clue zombie with a note attached to its head father contacted us using the eagle winged bracelet and informed us a merchant from the same ship (that Jennie was rescued from) had been found with his throat cut. The local sheriff was investigating this heinous crime as the merchant had not drowned.

The Crimson Maiden came alongside our ship and a great many pirates swung aboard. As they did not immediately begin murdering people we agreed to board the pirate ship and tell our tale of the box in return for the release of the merchant ship and its crew.

The half orc prisoner was freed from below decks and joined the pirates.

On board we were introduced to the crew…

A large muscled black man with magical tattoos was 1st mate “Wonky” – a man with a peg-leg and only one eye was the navigator “Rodger” – the cabin boy in charge of ships entertainment

As we sailed off the pirates starting singing a salty sea shanty that we didn’t quite catch but involved doing something in the rigging as there was little else to do. Rodger quickly organised a game of charades and ping pong to relieve the boredom of the long sea voyage. What an enterprising young man!

A conversation with the slightly disturbing Jennie revealed that she had murdered the merchant to get the box and sunk the ship. As she had suffered a bad upbringing we immediately forgave her and entered a discussion about joining the pirate life ourselves. Brother Wookie pointed out that it may involve a certain amount of smiting from his lawful good god and also reminded Sparrowhawk about a certain requirement to remain lawful or suddenly loose the ability to run fast….Bugger!

We asked why we could not meet with Murdering Red tonight with the moderately darker Jennie explained that daddy had 14 ranks in being mysterious and liked to use them occasionally.

Several days travel later four pirates were sentenced to keel hauling for heinous crimes. At some point (and in no particular order) they were also accused and found guilty…. Apparently it’s the pirate way.

Having been dragged around the keel, half drowned and torn to shreds they surfaced but were still alive! There was a low murmur from the crew. “Watch this” said the moderately disturbing Jennie…… daddy has 15 ranks in sense disappointment”.

“I’ve changed me mind…”said Murdering Red…. “They will now mostly be keel hauled to death”. “Bugger” said the four survivors….. To the cheers of the crowd the four were then raked over the barnacles until they were little more than fish food.

A ship called the Iron Duke was sighted and immediately gave chase to the pirate ship. “Fortunately” said the darkly dangerous Jennie, “Daddy had someone pimp his ride recently”. In fact he had done more than that and a blinding headache was suffered by all who cast detect magic and looked at the ship. The ship began to give off fog and quickly the other ship slid from view. A hawk flew off with a message to a nearby island and Murdering Red turned the ship towards the island, swerving and just the last moment. The island shimmered for a moment and then un-noticed by the Iron Duke….vanished. The Duke took the straight path and quickly ran aground and started sinking on the now reappeared island. Some humanoids headed towards the failing ship and started killing the survivors. Ah what a jolly life these pirates lead…

Murdering Red rowed out to the island and had a conversation with the people there before returning.

Many days later we were finally invited to a feast with the captain. He told us the tale of the box……

A bard had the box made. It represented the Fey Goddess Seleecea. The merchant had tried to move the bow in secrecy but had not been able to overcome the pirates ranks in sense loot. Murdering Red explained that the value of the box probably was not worth the cost in its recovery now and so was happy to let it pass from his grasp. He offered us a place on the pirate vessel but swayed by Brother Wookie’s persuaded arguments about being smited by the very God that usually healed us the family declined his offer.

Suddenly the pirates were not so friendly and after a night locked in our room we were abandoned on a lonely island hundreds of miles from civilisation

Murdering pirate bitch Jennie waved goodbye and the family cheered her off with a rousing cry of “ something or other and the boat you rode in on…..”

On the island we were attacked by natives and Tor learned what it meant to fight without the ability to run away after every blow.

Crossing a rope bridge we chose not to pay the toll and a huge monster took Teghan as part payment. Several lumps of flesh from the rest of us forming the balance.

Defined as a place where we could cash our docket for a replacement warhorse

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Chapter 1 - Homecoming
Chapter 1

Chapter 1 – Homecoming

2nd of Sarasbember I had left the family home over two years ago, a hard decision but one that felt right. I needed to gain further understanding of the teachings of the Monks of the Veiled Fist. The time away had been productive and I had gained much understanding of my heritage and I was now a monk! However the message I had been expecting had finally arrived – father was retiring and the family were gathering to help him move – it was time to return……

Returning to Walsingham, a small fishing & farming village near the western sea brought back memories of Madaline, our mother who had died 12 years ago. The family had already gathered in the Fisherman’s Tale, our local pub when I arrived on the 2nd of Sarasbember. Kerwin, our father and the others were already deep in their pints when a trundle outside caused Teghan to raise her head from the inn (she still can’t handle her carrot juice).

The carts passing by belonged to an Old Sage who had purchased the farm from father for a tidy sum. The dour looking men on the carts refused our offer of help unpacking and passed on by but not before Teghan had spotted a rather expensive ornate mirror partly uncovered on one wagon. Her tail started swishing in that “I’m thinking something naughty” sort of way…..

Against my better judgment the others persuaded me to accompany them to the farm that night. “Just to check out the new owner” they said. So in near darkness myself and Teghan climbed onto various windowsills and parts of the roof in order to get a peep at the old sage. We didn’t quite manage to spot him but did spot the mirror in a room and also another room that had been set up as an Alchemy lab. There was nothing else suspicious about the setup much to the disappointment of my brothers.

Tegham and Sagramor checked out the old barn and did overhear the craggy faced man talking of dealing with some creatures that made him feel nervous. He referred to some sort of payment that had been made.

3rd of Sarasbember Early the next morning we were woken from our rooms in the inn by an alarm call. Jaran and Sarah’s farm, just the NE had been attacked and killed. Their young son had been beaten and left for dead and there was no trace of their daughter Ellie. Apparently Goblins had attacked in the night and burned down the house, killing the family as they fought to defend their home.

We volunteered to try and track down the evildoers and accompanied by the Sheriff (who actually had some tracking skills!) set out for the farm. At the place we discovered the body of a Hobgoblin but no sign of Ellie. Following the trail we came upon a group of hobgoblins and an ogre. The family quickly swung into action and showed that our year or two away from Walsingham had taught us a wide variety of skills. Fortunately for Sagramor this included healing skills from Brother Wookie as he did seem to spend a lot of the fight absorbing the sword blows with his body rather than his armour. [Note to Self – Pack more bandages!]

Having bested the fowl beasts we discovered poor Ellie – in the orge’s sack but still alive and we delivered her back to the village.

Back at Walsingham the mayor eventually signed the proclamation to offer a bounty for all green skins and after a little persuading offered to pay us for the work we had done that morning. [Note to self – Must thank Brother Wellformer for his lessons in “The arts of gentle persuasions” Seems he was right and ripping someone’s throat out with ones claws is not the only way to get your point across]

While at the Sheriffs office, Garren – the dour man from the farm joined the posse. This may not bode well but we having no strong evidence against him we could say nothing.

Back at the Inn father drew us together and told us that he wanted us to have his adventuring gear. A few magical items had served him well during all of his travels and he now wanted them to be of use to us. We thanks him profusely and promised that as we were family we would distribute them fairly between us. No one seemed to notice that all but one member of the family got something of fathers precious few gifts.

Following a quick trip to the temple of Pelor we agreed to accompany the regular supply run from the village to the fort to discover how the green skins had managed to bypass our northern protectors.

The fort was just 4 hours away and so at early afternoon we arrived to find the place in a shocking state. The boarder fort had been mostly forgotten by time due partly to the 20 years of peace in the region but mostly due to a corrupt Captain – Keel, who only turned up once a month to draw his pay and appeared to be claiming for a compliment of 30 when he only had 16 men on the staff.

The place itself was run down and in a poor state of repair with the moat overgrown and trees grown up so close to the fort that sighting lines were poor.

Worse news quickly followed in that a large force of 6 Goblins, 40 Hobgoblins, 6 Bugbears and most worryingly, 8 Ogres approached with scaling ladders and even a catapult! We also saw signs of magic use as the ammo pile for the catapult was being generated by throwing small objects to the floor that instantly became large boulders.

The soldiers started to take flight but were strengthened by some stout words from myself and my brothers. The fort was made ready with defences as best we could in the short time and we watched as the enemy surrounded us on 4 sides.

Toronid suggested we could use this split to our advantage and suggested we sally forth and try and overwhelm one of the groups. Following our adventures the day before we were feeling reckless and probably overconfident. In just a few moments 2 ogres and 10 hobgoblins had fallen to our attacks, the ogres felled by lucky blows to soft parts.

Bolstered by this second success we once again went forth only to find that the expected force was much smaller than we had anticipated. Even so, Sagramor proved that my bandage purchases were justified as we took a real pounding from the Ogre, as this time our blades and claws found no purchase in its soft parts and instead had to whittle away at its bulk.

Someone chastened we fled back to the fort only to discoverer that the enemy had broken in via a knotted rope down the south wall and took control of the gate before we were able to return. While Tegham used her skills to bypass the walls, the rest rode around to our own rope entry point. As most quickly climbed in Sagramor discovered the joys of heavy armour and tried in vein to climb the rope.

Dispatching a ogre and 6 hobgoblins within the fort we discovered that the ogres now had a commanding position within the gatehouse and could not be budged without heavy losses. To our dismay the forces of the small army were also using this opportunity to stream into the fort and so we decided to make a measured retreat, following 2 soldiers who appeared to know a back way out of the place.

As I guarded the exit, allowingt the last of the soldiers to escape down the tunnel I spotted Sagramor (finally) successfully breaking into the fort via the knotted rope.

Watched as Sagramor left the fort again in a hurry, aided by the sword points of a pack of Hobgoblins.

Back at Walsingham the Mayor sent messages to Baron Warsborough but said that they would take 4 days to get there. Brother Hayshom was again called upon to heal our wounds and having miraculously remembered that he was able to spontaneously convert other spells to cures was able to offer much more healing than the day before. All praise the power of Pellor (and the memory of his priests).

Back at the sherrifs office we discovered that the mercenaries from the farm had brought in a group of 8 hobgoblins alive and they were locked in the single cell of the village. Toronid expressed his concerned at this ‘Trojan duck’ or something like that.

Mayor Adwick agreed to have a second chain put on the cells and he would keep the only key.

Wanting to investigate the situation further we visited the Old sage. Turm introduced himself and answered our questions politely. He had apparently been asked by Baron Warsborough to investiage the green skinned races. The farm was a place for him to work in peace and he has been scrying the fort. He had discovered that the Hobgoblin in charge was referred to as “Gru Macara”. He showed us around his new home and demonstrated the use of his crystal ball. [Note to self…. When Teghan’s tail swishes at more than 2 per second keep a closer eye on her]

He had noted that a group of green skin women and children were approaching the fort from the north and the mayor asked us to drive them away or kill them.

Huge storms lashed the coast that night – a dark portent of things to come?

4th of Sarasbember Although an unpleasant task we agreed for the sake of the village and while all surrounding farms and the village itself were being evacuated we headed north to fend them off.

Having killed all of the menfolk (scouts) with the family group and one or two of the female green skins who attacked us, the rest fled into the forest and I warned them away with a few words in goblin. [Note to self – must thank Brother Quentin for those language classes. It was worth missing a few lessons in “Raking with your hindpaws” in order to pick up a few language skills]

On the way back from this successful mission (didn’t even need to bandage Sagramor!) we spotted something far worse than anything we had encountered so far…. A small army of plate clad ogres and hobgoblins bearing the sign of the blazing fist led by an Ogre in a feathered plume headdress.

Before leaving the area we snuck into the underground escape passage beneth the fort and used a magic potion of eyes to investigate a small crack that led away into a glowing portal. As not even a well greased Gabriella could make it through the gap we decided to try and disguise the crack with a few rocks and sand.

While still travelling back we spotted wreckage on the beach and rushed down to see if we could find salvage (the laws of ‘finders keepers’ prevailed in these parts). A came across a body and a comely young woman who had been travelling from Freeport. A place so far away we had barely even heard of it.

We were able to salvage the following items:-

Climbing kit Spyglass Magnifying glass 5 smokesticks A Magical staff A gem inlaid box 50g Jewelry – 180g

The young woman, Jennie Liddle, said she had been heading for Badger Island to meet her father. It must be some way away as none of us had ever heard of it. Back at Walsingham the village was mostly deserted. There had been an attempt overnight by the captives to escape but the extra chain had foiled them – Hurrah! For Torjan Ducks…. Humm… or something like that.

As we waited for news of the Barons forces the Plate armoured leader of the new forces approached bearing a banner of peace.

We went to parly on behalf og the town and were amazed when he turned out to be both well educated and quite eloquent.

He said he was Gru Charak and apologised for the taking of the fort and the loss of life. He told us the actions of Macara (note no “Gru now”) were not in keeping with the will of the green skinned people and that Macara had been a rogue who had acted alone. He offered up the heads of 20 of the Hobgoblins and Macara among them. He also handed over a pouch of gems (5000g) as compensation for the families of the deceased. However he said that their people had once owned the land the fort stood on and that it was sacred to them (a temple of Hextor). As such they would be keeping it but would act as far better guards of the Northern boarder than the humans had ever done.

We told him of our suspicions that Macara had been paid to do this and asked as a sign of goodwill that he investigate this. We offered to return the Hobgoblin prisoners as a sign of goodwill on our part but said that we could not speak for the Baron or predict his reaction.

We took the prisoners to the fort only to see one third of them immediately executed. Brother Harquin tought us that we should not judge the laws of other lands and so I bit back my protestations at this barbaric treatment.

At the fort itself 50 armed and disciplined ‘Orc kin’ now stood guard and had already improved the defenses to a state that the fort had not seen in 15 years.

As the situation seemed to have been resolved for the time we agreed to escort the lovely Jennie Liddle to the nearest city to the South.

[So ends Chapter One of the Journals of Sparrowhawk An honest and accurate record of the events of the the family]

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