Elemental Dawn

Chapter 25 - Things to do in Bargewright when you're dead tired
Issmaal Unchained

Chapter 25: Things to do in Bargewright when you’re dead tired
or Issmaal Unchained
(Start of Book 5: The Edge of Apocalypse (working title)

“I’ll say this about Bargewright, it’s not much to look at.”
– Average wagon merchant

Desperate for some time away from cultists and combat, the Companions of the Bear stop a while at the industrious way station of Bargewright. Not only had many repairs been finished from the recent fires that swept the town during the earlier slave uprisings, but chained labor could be seen heaping stone and dirt to expand the raised earthenwork motte that formed the heart of Bargewright.

Settling down at Tabra’s Nook (owned and operated by the matronly Tabra Tattershawl , a converted monastary), the party members spends the next three days on personal matters.
- Jonas sought out the House of Good Cheer (the combination feast hall rental and shrine, not quite what he was looking for but the closest thing to a church Bargewright had to offer)
- Pepper continued to contemplate the awesome powers of her recently acquired war pick.
- Tariq battered and bargained with many a shrewd merchant to sell off acquired loot before being directed to the Blackpool Brotherhood headquarters, where he found himself in the middle of a fierce inquiry as to where he acquired his shield, a shield that was the twin to those that encircled him. Making a dramatic exit, he returns to the Nook to inform the party that he will be making an exit.
- Guille makes a blood oath with Issmaal, enslaved lizard folk leader, that he will help the lizard folk escape.
- Bale, having found new faith and new companions returns, accompanying the long Lost Brother Raymundo. Raymondo relates his tale his search for ancient books leading to his capture by slavers and his eventual crossing of paths with Bale. He also relates an extended reconstruction of the Book of Tyar Besil that the party had previously loaned him. Amid his rantings is a tale of the lost Forges of Besil Meer (which, according to his map is in the vicinity of Lake Khuna and the Fire Druids).
- Meredith interviews with Chief Sword Muruin (northern widow turned sell sword retiring into the position of a local reeve) and decides that maybe this is all too political for her and signs up with the local guard.
- The return of Aldren Foxglove (who apparently off scene knows people who knows people who know a mysterious stranger that has business with the Heroes of Alesport)
- Kara (the aforementioned mysterious stranger) joins the party to free to enslaved lizard folk brethren.
Three more days are spent in preparation, only to have a minor crisis / mystery interrupt their planning. A set of valued keys vital to the security of Bargewright have gone missing as well as lock box of funds and the second in command of the local guard. Aldren Foxglove is nowhere to be found, but he left a note detailing a river barge with twelve seats for ‘cast members’.
Under stormy skies of night, the Companions managed to sneak up on the slave houses, but stealth gave way to strength as spells and arrows filled the night. As the freed slaves (including half elves, humans, and yes, even the half orcs) scattered into the night, the town watch reported to the ruckus – led by their rookie sargeant – Meredith Buck, formerly of Merrovin. Spells quickly clouded the matters and felled the town guards, Meredith opted to tend the fallen rather than pursue, granting the Companions and slaves ample opportunity to flee into the night …

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Chapter 24 - Breaking Camp

Chapter 24: Breaking Camp
Pausing only briefly to loot the bodies, the Party pressed on into the night to complete what they had started and drive the cultists and thugs from Red Larch. With little stealth, they crossed the broken ground that once was the town crossroads and attempted to storm the military barracks. They arrived to find it in a state of alert, but too recently set into motion for it to be more than a rough defense at best. Charging forth, they faced wave after wave of mercenary, hobgoblin thug, and experienced veteran. They few surviving invaders were sent fleeing into the darkness and the Party all but collapsed from exhaustion as there appeared a relief force from Golden Fields, led by none other than Sir Ernst of the Stoutblade (but you probably never heard of his fratnernal order of knights, the Knights of Samael).
Scant days ago a merchant had passed through Golden Fields with tales of what Red Larch encounters and the monastery that was being investigated by the Company of the Bear. Suspecting the worst, Sir Ernst rounded up volunteers for a more thorough investigation and arrived to see those concerns confirmed.
After a well earned rest and the updating of factions as well as looting the remaining bodies, the Party set forth to Bargewright as a place to sell some of the loot and perhaps gain some facts. The smell of commerce and market was overwhelming but inescapable. The party settled in to do some selling and seek out potential upgrades to their adventuring arsenal.
Then, passing in the street, Jonas spotted the familiar face, one that they had met in the role of a druid and more recently in the role of a servant at a party that had turned extremely violent. Iniri was in Bargewright, and where Iniri was, people died.

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To Rescue Red Larch
As the Worm Turns

Chapter 23 To Rescue Rednlarch
or As The Worm Turns
20th Sweetgrass in the Year of Petros Falling

Licking their wounds after a harrowing escape from the Hidden Temple of the Black Earth, the Party decides that they ought to return to Red Larch and kill hobgoblins. Orna, the reformed cultist, parts ways for she wasn’t offered enough to make it worth her while and she’d like to get back to amassing personal wealth. Meredith is pleased with this because “Orna would have been doing it for the wrong reasons”. Wuldgreda the dwarf scout sticks around because this is the right thing to do, or at least find out what is going on. As for Burke, the former Reeve of Red Larch and a humble butcher – “Sounds like a suicide mission, but y’all are the best chance Red Larch has”.

Opting for a subtle infiltration, the party dresses in the acquired robes of the Black Earth and bluff their way through the crater, past barracks and signs of a massive excavation, until finally coming to the quarry that they had explored so long ago. There they find multiple guard towers with odd modified ballistas pointed at a giant rhythmically beating the ground in a shallow pit. The party tosses stealth to the side for a straight up fight across the broken ground of cratered quarry and charge!

Arrows and spells filled the air as they carved their way across the battlefield, at last making face to face with the dreaded Marcos Urnrayle, revealed in his full petrifying glory – for indeed he is a medusa! His taunts of outrage at the party and the fools of Vivo Terra soon turn to panicked cries of “You know not what you do! Only I can master what is about to happen!”

What happened was the sound of the giant pounding the earth suddenly ceased, interrupted by a gargantuan purple beast erupting from ground, nearly tearing the giant in half in its gaping maw. Even as Marcos, self proclaimed prophet of the Black Earth, is felled and his flesh turns to mud, the mighty purple worm writhes, spewing a torrent of digestive acids on those closest. giant still in maw, it trampled across those tormenting it, finally spitting up the giant. Between flying bears, magic missiles, and crossbow support, the worm had picked a mighty battle, but this paled in comparison to a cleric with the size and strength of a giant attempting to wrestle it to the ground. Maddened, it twisted and turned, flailing ineffectively as the slowly but surely the worm was taken down …

A single captive was taken, as the party pauses for a short rest

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Chapter 22 - Black Earth Fighting Blues

Chapter 22 – Black Earth Fighting Blues
Pressing further and deeper into the ancient dwarven halls, the Party finds themselves overcome by a foe that had crossed their paths previously. Awakening in the dungeon at the hands of a lunatic interrogator, they somehow manage to escape despite a lack of outer clothes and an ogre barracks. Managing to rescue a handful (and losing at least two), the Party flees through the dungeon and reach the clean light of the surface once more.
Having survived, the Party finds the nearest safe secluded area and collapses from the sheer physical stress inflicted upon them and take a long rest while contemplating their next move – returning to the subterranean temple, rescuing the town of Red Larch, or pursuing one of the other elemental cults.

To be continued in
Chapter 23 – Black Earth Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

Notable NPCs

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Chapter 21: Stone Temple Violence

Chapter 21 – Stone Temple Violence
Wherein the Companions of the Bear continue to dig deeper into the bowels of the Sacred Stone Monastery. Joined by Melora, a noble knight of the holy order of Moradin, they outwit violent fungi, a gelatinous cube, and the oversized foes of Drool, Moog, and Garri. Having bested the few remaining guards and applying liberal brute force and lock picks, they manage to free seventeen captives and equip them with arms and armor to make the journey back to Red Larch or maybe Goldenfields to plot the retaking of Red Larch.
Descending the ancient dwarven stair carved from the very living stone, the party crossed a bridge of perils and ignored attempts to drive them back with gargoyles and a hobgoblin war mage.
Beyond lies the door to even more dangers. Will they persist or yield, advance or flee? Find out next chapter!

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Chapter 20: Monk-ee Business

Chapter 20: Black Earth Below (or More Monk-EE Business)
The party withstands the counterattack from the Monks of the Sacred Stone, and then interrupts a lich lost in study. Yet, somehow the party did not die due to undead or a fire happy cleric.

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Chapter 19: To Red Larch with Love

Chapter 19:
Where our heroes did travel to Red Larch and see things of a suspicious nature, give ethical advice to merchants, and invade the monastery of the Sacred Stone.All evidence points to a surge in the goblin population …
Meanwhile, is the Sacred Stone but the tip of the troubles? Who gives them their orders? Where do the stone stairs lead to? Have animals begun to live in Gilles’ beard?

Notable NPCs
Wagon Train encountered, last seen on the road between Red Larch and Westbridge

Bruno Monetti (Male Human, purveyor of wares, seeking to ease the woes of those poor unfortunate souls at reasonable rates)
Bilbar Rasbenni (Male Gnome, dealer in ceramics)
Rossilita (Female Human, licensed companion, also seeking to ease woes at reasonable rates)

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Chapter 18: Picking up the Pieces

Chapter 18: Picking Up the Pieces
Where the Other Party is taken into the trust of the Panrovian League of Aligned Lords due to their actions
Under the direction of Bashir, the Other Party tended to the poisoned noble guests in the aftermath of an event that could only be called the Corrino Massacre. If not for the Other Party stopping the Storm Elemental, it would have surely ripped its way through the weakened guests. As a an act of faith and perhaps desperation, the Panrovian Lords seek to employ the Party as agents of their cause.
Though most of the Party rejects the offer, they still resolve to investigate the strange happenings in the Dessarin Valley. Even the ship voyage is met with cult activity in the form of a aquatic assault (including the lesser known Sea Troll, not to be mistaken for a Troll in the Sea). The storms have returned to Alesport once more, but their travels take them to the once merry town of Amphail. Instead of joy, they instead find paranoia and gloom. Staying in town to attempt to find the cause, they run afoul of the Council of Woe, bearers of the message that only the Black Earth has the strength to withstand the deadly forces that destroyed Red Larch. The battle ends quickly, with a heroic effort to spirit an Orb of Earthen Devastation from the town before it unleashed its earth shattering powers.
Next Week, Secrets of the Black Earth
or Those Who Dig That Old Time Religion

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Chapter 17: A Party to Die For

Chapter 17:

This dread hour come round at last
In which the Heroes of Alesport are invited as honored guests to a celebration of heroes, namely the ones returning from the field after Ravena had at last been retaken though the Holy Seat of Petros had been reduced to rubble through a storm of destruction.
As was expected, the evening was a hotbed of politics and indulgence. Then at the invitation of a familiar face (Iniri, last encountered at the Valley of Fire), the party found themselves outside the kitchen midway through the evening. What they found was blood and the dead. That and cultists disguised as servants. A pitched battle ensued, climaxing in the summoning of a storm elemental, the poisoning of multiple nobles, and the utter social failure of the noble born ranger. Though the heroes escaped relatively unscathed (except for their reputations), the actual body count of bystanders remains to be determined …
Meanwhile, elsewhere
“You wanted a show of force. Observe what has been done at Castle Corrino. Follow our masters and began your true path to power.”
The listener, shrouded in darkness, continues to finger a ring and a weapon, contemplating what is being offered, and a price to be paid. Considering what is to be gained, there really is no choice at all …

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Chapter 16: Off to see the Wizard

(and in proper player style, all the laid out plans are avoided in favor of going the other way)
Chapter 16: In Judgement
or Off to See The Wizard
In which the Heroes of Alesport lay the dead to rest but lose the farm.After receiving a non cuddly verbal warning from Strolo Magebreaker and Wort (Mage hunter and apprentice), the party begins an epic back the way they came, stopping by all the usual spots. Westbridge – now feeling the wrathful hunger of Gnawbone and the echoes of despair from the survivors of Red Larch; Crater Red Larch – finally answering questions from the constable, and even sticking around to try to help some of the recovery effort; Bargewright – we never stop in bargewright though the repairs seem to be coming along nicely since the fire during the uprising; Golden Fields – Raymundo has not yet returned and many are worried but Gillies has earned the respect of the Hunter Priestess and been given a recipe and a quest; Alesport – Reconnecting with old acquaintances including delivering the news of the Nettlebee collapse, becoming an apprentice by way of a little prick, and what’s new at the curiosity shoppe. Finally, passage is booked to see Vivo Terra to get some professional advice on the Elemental artifacts. Besides some sight seeing and busking, information is gained from the illustrious Griffon’s Staff on the history of Elemental Evil in the region.

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