Though part of a larger caravan, two figures rode alone in a cart. A small Gnome, and her Dragonborn warden. As the moon rose high above them, the two travellers prepared for bed, knowing that their destination awaited them in the morning, the Wayfarer’s Inn. The Gnome had only one thought on her mind as she settled comfortably in the rocking cart. Why was it that she, someone so little, was tasked with investigating reports of portals opening in the sky, and returning the adventurers involved to the university? Why was it that these occurrences were happening in the first place? Why was it that skitchboards were so expensive? As the answers eluded her, she drifted off to sleep, followed shortly by the Dragonborn watching her.
The arguing continued for a bit, and then Cynthia aptly turned into a rat.
Elam and Lander (suddenly having a change of heart), tried to dissuade Cynthia from stealing the magical, silky, underpants from Jim Morrison, the merchant who had befriended them earlier that night, however her greed had overcome her sensibilities. Deciding to take things into her own hands (quite literally), Cynthia made use of her druidic powers, and scurried out into the hallway of the Wayfarer’s Inn, quickly locating Jim Morrison’s room.
Moving stealthily, even for a rat, she slid under the doorway into Morrison’s bedroom. She surveyed her surroundings, and managed to locate a magical amulet after chewing through the latches that held his pack closed. Realizing that she’d be unable to handle the rest of the magical objects owned by the merchant, Cynthia decided that one amulet was good enough. As she placed the amulet around her neck (and it shrunk to fit the size of her rat head), Cynthia slipped back under the doorway, returning to the room she shared with Elam and Lander. After one last feeble and half-hearted attempt to convince Lander to steal from Jim Morrison, the party instead went to sleep.
They had suddenly found themselves in a strange land of shadows. The Gnome named Sprig, and her Dragonborn warden, Magmar. Sprig deduced that they were on some sort of Plane of existence, and the two agreed to explore their surroundings a bit more, heading off to an altar they could make out in the distance.
Cynthia, Elam, and Lander, having had just gone to sleep at the Wayfarer’s Inn, were shocked when they awoke in a strange shadowy land. The altar in the distance peaked their interest, however the party was more immediately invested in the fog that they could make out beyond the pillars surrounding them. Elam went to check out the fog, however was shocked to find that something shadowy struck out at him from it’s depths. Deciding not to tempt fate, the three made their way to the altar.
Both groups began to ascend opposite sides of the altar at the same time, shocked to see each other at either ends, a barrier separating both groups from one another. The two parties were greeted with floating script in the centre of the altar, and a series of pressure plates with strange symbols on each one. Sprig and Magmar discussed briefly attacking the unarmed adventurers on the other side of the barrier, however they decided to go with a more diplomatic approach when the adventurers ended up appearing quite harmless. The two groups decided to read the floating script before them:
Opposite sides of the same coin. For the truth to be revealed, you must all work as one.
Followed by a series of symbols that differed depending on the side they were able to view the floating script from, the two groups realized that they were trapped within some type of puzzle, and that they each had the answer for the other side. With Cynthia leading the discussions, and everyone agreeing to work together, the two parties set up a tentative partnership as they worked to solve the pressure plate puzzle before them.
Elam, Magmar, Sprig and Lander went to work quickly, successfully determining the order in which the pressure plates on each side were to be pressed. After solving the puzzle, a pedestal in the centre of an altar revealed itself, and the words floating above them changed:
Time runs short. They are coming. Gather the Prisms of Asru and return here. The Ursa Orb must be made whole. They will never stop hunting you. You each have been chosen. You bear the mark. The mark of Blood. The mark of Death.
Five shadowy beams erupted from the centre of the altar and began swirling about in the air. This strange sight lasted briefly, before each beam separated and began homing in on the adventurers, each of whom reacted in a different manner.
Lander charged towards the barrier, forgetting that it was impassable, and was met with a powerful rebound, knocking him onto the floor. He was branded.
Sprig raised her shield in defence, however the beam passed through the wood effortlessly. She was branded.
Magmar raced towards his charge without abandon, paying no heed to the beam that was coming straight for him. He was branded.
Elam raised his palm in the air, and shot an eldritch bolt towards the beam, however it had no effect. He was branded.
Cynthia leapt into the air, her mouth open, and tried to eat the beam. She was most definitely branded.
The adventurers found that they now had brands located on various parts of their bodies, where the beam had hit them (with the exception of Cynthia, who had swallowed her beam whole). They each approached the pedestal in the centre of the altar, and noticed a series of indentations, which Cynthia was quick to point out fit the size of the Honey Orb and prisms the party had found. Before the two groups could discuss this further, the shadowy realm suddenly vanished from sight.
Sprig and Magmar awoke suddenly, and were shocked to find themselves back on the cart they had been riding, the Sun now just barely rising in the distance. A distraught caravan leader had shaken them awake. She pointed out that there was an earthquake, and that the two needed to take control of the horses pulling their cart while she ran about the caravan, checking on other riders and pack mules. Magmar, deeming that it was too dangerous for Sprig to make her way over to the driver’s seat from the back of the caravan on foot, decided to throw the lightweight Gnome to the front, forgetting momentarily that Sprig was at least one inch lighter than she claimed. Sprig overshot her landing, and tumbled to the ground before the cart. Realizing that the rumbling of horse hooves and giant wagon wheels meant she was about to become ground-Gnome, Sprig dove out of the way, only to be snatched up by Magmar as the cart passed by. Deciding that his second attempt would be better, Magmar twirled Sprig in the air like a lasso via her cape, this time successfully landing the Gnome onto the driver’s seat. Sprig took control of the horses, and began to pull ahead of the caravan, racing off towards the Wayfarer’s Inn.
Cynthia, Elam and Lander were all awakened by a heavy shuddering in their room. It took Elam and Cynthia almost no time to recognize the trembling sensation. The last time they had encountered such an unnatural effect in the landscape, was when demons descended from the skies at the Zayan Monastery. Indeed, glancing out of their bedroom windows, the party could see many holes opening up in the sky, far more than what they saw previously at the monastery. The party immediately gathered their belongings, and made their way to the first floor of the inn, with Cynthia searching for Deekin the Kobold on their way.
As the three made their way downstairs, they met with Deekin, Jim Morrison, and Martigan the innkeeper, who happened to be suiting up for battle, and they were warned of demons falling through the sky. The group had a brief discussion with Deekin before deciding to take him with them as they would rush away from the inn. As they all tried to leave however, Jim Morrison burst back through the doors in fear, diving behind a table. The party quickly dove out of the way of a large flaming boulder which crashed through the front of the inn, knocking both Lander and Deekin to the ground. While Martigan charged out of the inn in a rage over the structural damage, the party regrouped outside, making their way towards the stables. Lander took a moment to casually pick up an overlarge lockbox from behind the bar countertop on his way out the door.
Sprig and Magmar grew close to the Wayfarer’s Inn and realization dawned upon their faces as they saw the three adventurers they had met in the shadowy plane. Realizing that the group was in trouble and surrounded by demons, they raced towards them.
Lander darted towards the stables, hoping to have time to saddle up a set of horses while his companions held off the demons around them. Cynthia tossed Deekin a weapon, which he showed great finesse with, before nearly impaling a running Lander accidentally. Lander in annoyance gave Deekin a powerful kick, knocking aside a group of the demons, and even severing one of them in two with the sheer force in which he kicked the poor Kobold. Elam began picking the creatures off from a distance, using his eldritch bolt, while moving strategically towards the stables. Cynthia transformed into a dire wolf, and acted as a mount for Deekin, the two tearing into any of the creatures that neared them. Lander struggled to make his way to the horses in the stable while fending off the demons, however was graced when a throwing dagger punctured through one of the beasts accosting him from a distance, and two others were frozen in place as an explosion of ice struck them. As the party looked up, they could see Sprig driving a cart with a grin and icicles forming in her palm, while Magmar was skitch-boarding on the back of the cart, a fresh throwing dagger held in his open hand.
The two groups met once more, and while Elam and Lander both hopped on horses stolen from the stable, Deekin and Cynthia joined Sprig in the cart. Magmar continued skitch-boarding from behind the cart. Realizing that there were at least a hundred demons racing towards them, the groups took off as one.
The party left behind the Wayfarer’s Inn, however they were not out of the fire yet. A few of the demons we’re on mounts, and began a chase. Elam had smartly given Magmar his lantern which summoned a wall of rock, slowing down some of the chasing demons when used. The party also used various ranged weaponry and spells to damage the creatures chasing them, and successfully took out most of the beasts. Lander used his bow, Sprig her ice spells, and Magmar sprayed electricity from his very breath over the creatures surrounding him. Elam, racing ahead of the cart shot off two eldritch blasts, which connected with demons successfully, however he lost his balance, and similar to Sprig, fell before the cart and horses. Reacting quickly to avoid being trampled, he used a magical teleportation ability granted to him from Lurue, to send himself into the back of the cart. Sprig shouted out in near tears, afraid that she had just trampled the poor Elf, not realizing he had appeared magically behind her. Elam, unlike what his other companions would have done, immediately reassured the upset Gnome, letting her know that he was okay.
With only one mounted demon remaining, Cynthia leapt off of the back of the cart, with Deekin riding on her back. After stumbling briefly, she made a majestic leap over the demon mount, grabbing it’s rider in her jaws and crushing it’s head as she performed a perfect barrel roll, landing gracefully on all 4 legs without losing stride. She felt a moment of concern as she realized Deekin was missing, but the fleet-footed Kobold had willingly hopped off her back during the barrel roll, and landed onto the now riderless demon mount. Unfortunately, Deekin very shortly tumbled off of the creature. Cynthia doubled back to save the Kobold, and returned to the cart, when she found her transformation wearing off.
Cynthia started to feel a vibration in her backpack, and knew what was coming. She withdrew the Honey Orb, and the group watched in amazement as a bright golden light shot from the orb, and into the portals in the sky, sealing them up. Sprig finally knew that these must be the adventurers she was tasked with returning to the Arcanum, and the party unanimously agreed that they should put more space between the Wayfarer’s Inn, and their current location before continuing discussions.
Hey, do you guys think the orb might be for the wshuh wshuh wshuh thing in the shadow place?
Cynthia couldn’t help but ask the obvious as the party rode off into the distance.
Brand of Blood & Death
Deekin the Kobold
Brand of Blood & Death
Brand of Blood & Death
Brand of Blood & Death
Brand of Blood & Death
Large cart (x1)
Food & Hay (1 week’s worth)