From the Journal of Alexi and Quinn Goldenscale..
After discussing what to do next Quinn and I both agree that we need to find and make contact with Lazarus to get more information about what is happening within the city. I also suggest that I should try and talk to Marcus (Magic shop owner). Quinn wants to head down Faire Street and look down the street that leads to the east gate (The one that had been attacked). We have a discussion about what to do with the gold dragon and she doesn’t want to stay here by herself. In the end we decide to take her with us (damn the consequences). As we head out and get closer to Faire Street, the presence of dragon has an interesting effect on the populous. Closer to Faire Street where the streets are more packed with people getting ready for combat, the dragon causes quite a stir. The people looking shocked and afraid, ‘parting like the red sea’. The dragon is enjoying the attention she even roars and people run away (I might have used my magic to make us look more impressive) (GM: So he says!!). Eventually Quinn has to tell the soldiers that are just staring to get back to work!
We left the house and travelled south along Faire Street towards the east gate, all the time attracting attention. The people of Hargoth could not believe their eyes; a Knight, a White Robe Wizard and a Gold Dragon (albeit small)! If we wanted to get Lazarus’ attention I think we had succeeded. No one tries to stop us as we ride through the city. Eventually we make our way towards the Lords Keep and head in. I know Alexi was thinking of going to the shop of Marcus but protocol must be followed. The defence seems to be well in hand and we could see that a battle had been fought inside the city against spies of the Dark Queen. Our warning seems to have made it in time!
After Quinn examines the fortifications we decide to head towards the keep. As we approach, an officer comes forward and asks us our business. Quinn instructs him to whom we are and that we have important information for Lazarus the spy master and Lord Hargoth. The officer gets one of his underlings to escort us to the keep. On the way to the keep, in the garden we see Edwin. He is shocked to see us. He calls for Quinn to halt
I announce the party and we enter and head towards the inner bailey. It is at this point that I see Sir Edwin for the first time. The letter with the lies he wrote comes instantly to mind and I choose to ignore him as he attempts to get my attention. Edwin eventually gets close enough and I turn to him and say that he should take better care with his mail. He does not miss the meaning behind my statement. I also tell him that we have important business with the Lord and that he had best accompany us or stay out here.
He follows us to the keep. We are lead to a War room. Inside there are The Lord, several advisors, head of the city watch and some generals. I also notice an extremely tall (6’6) solider at the back of the room holding a giant bastard sword in the standing position. He is looking around (a body guard for the Lord perhaps). Edwin follows us.
We go up to the lord and greet him in proper fashion. He is quite diplomatic and seems to know about us (Lazarus must have filled him in). Edwin intercedes when the Lord incorrectly addressed Quinn as a knight (Douche Bag). The Lord ‘Bazingas’ Edwin on a matter of honour. (GM Nice!)
We tell him of the fall of Vingaard Keep, as well as the massacre of the Purple Lotus monastery and what movements we had of the Black Dragon army. The lord fills us in on the situation with the city. It seems there was an attempted breach of the gates from within. Information we gave to the twilight raiders in the glade allowed them to save the gate. We provide details of the dragon army (including Captain Karnak and the lack of officers).
When we ask to speak to the Lord in private Edwin is wary to leave. After the lord orders him out I make a cutting remark about ‘perhaps you should go and practice your jousting (reference to Quinn beating him in a tournament). We almost come to blows and remembering how Master Elben’s confrontation with LaDonna I cause a similar scene. While Edwin is too infuriated to appreciate my performance, I notice that the others in the room take notice :D. (GM: Yes the impression given to all was Alexi was quite willing and able to defend himself)
The meeting with the Lord goes well and we give a very quick retelling of events. All in the room are shocked, especially Edwin when we say that Vingaard Keep has fallen (or is about to fall). The Lord on the other hand did not seem very surprised – his spymaster is very good! Soon after this the room is cleared and we tell him about our ace in the hole (Lon) (GM only mentioned in private to Lord, Spymaster and bodyguard) and he will do what is needed to destroy the trebuchets that are hidden. I also give an account of Farra’s brave sacrifice and that I carry his items with me for his family. Lazarus says to hold them and return them ourselves. (GM as comrades of Farra’s – code of the warrior)
After the room is cleared (minus Braun – Bodyguard) we explain the situation in more details. The lord eventually summons Lazarus who arrives and is not surprised by our arrival (He has a piece of meat ready for the dragon – Certainly lives up to his reputation as a spymaster).
We tell the lord about Lon’s position and ask about the traitors. Lazarus is extremely frustrated when he mentioned Castor and how he has had no luck finding him. We report the unfortunately death of Farra and Lazarus commends us for the task of returning his personal affects. Lazarus explains that a ritual circle has appeared in the city. They were able to stop the person that was summoning it but it’s still there. He tells me that Marcus (Red Robe) is currently investigating and has asked for my assistance. Suddenly the Gong Rings and the Lord states that the City is under attack. The lord requests Quinn’s presence with him at the wall. I ask Caleb to come with Lazarus and myself because if it’s the same as the rift from the mountain summit (created with both divine and arcane) I might need his assistant. He agrees. As we are proceeding out the Lord informs Quinn that he does not have many officers with experience (Were most of them traitors….(GM: actually yes – that was the inference), he is warned that he might be asked to organize troops on the wall. Braun the bodyguard comes too.
A number of us accompany the Lord to the Walls and survey the enemy. I am first up the stairs and look out, with the Lord next to me and Braun next to him. Braun keeps Edwin from getting any closer. I pull out my Father’s spyglass and give an account of the enemy’s position. Captain Karnak has positioned his elite troops too far back and has his archers a distance away from his foot soldiers which an opposing army could use to its advantage. Unfortunately we do not have a 100 Knights in full armour to ride out there are smash them with. There is also no supply lines here as the Black Dragon Army was expecting to take the city and use it stores before moving on to its next objective. It is also at this point that we see for the first time the Goblin shaman with 5 ogres, some captive monks and a mutated Minotaur! I will tell Alexi once I catch up with him. Lord Hargoth orders Sir Edwin to the lancer group and he commands and I am to go with him since I am a competent horseman.
Lazarus, Caleb and I arrive at the army’s training ground within the city where the rift is located. We find Marcus already there and he greets me with respect. He explains that the grass under the portal – has died (leeching death), and it is some kind of portal hole. Caleb and I examine it. It is both Arcane & Divine, luckily it is not completed, unfortunately it is still growing and will eventually complete (Just not as fast because Lazarus managed to stop the caster). We have about 24 hours. Caleb and I manage to pierce through the portal and observe the other side (Breach a ward). We are in a cave and as I look around I see some of the Dark Warriors… unfortunately this isn’t just any Dark Warrior it’s the ‘Captain’ – the leader of these force. He seems to be in consultation with a black dark figure. I can’t work out who it is (dammit) (GM Had your chance!). One thing I did manage to see was the captain holding a large gem. He shakes it and looks into it before putting it into his pocket. I deduce that this is how he communicates with his Queen. (GM: That’s his queen, not THE queen!!) A communication device… We try to get a better look at the cloaked figure but we sense that our presence might be detected. I decide to withdraw with Caleb before we are discovered.
I relay what I have seen to Marcus and Lazarus. Marcus says he has a scroll that might be able to help to dispute the portal. He heads off to his shop while Caleb and I discuss the situation. Marcus returns and gives me the scroll. It is an extremely complex spell that will require a great deal of power and study. I decide to wait for tonight’s High Sanction of Solinari (16 hours) to use the additional boost of the moon’s power to help me activate the scroll.
As I begin studying the scroll I sense something disrupting (drawing power from everywhere – Not High Sorcery) the very fabric around the city. I warn the others around and they seem confused. Just as we hear a large explosion, four (4) of Lazarus’ men turn and attack us!!! Caleb stops two of them from attacking me, while Lazarus dodges one on him. Marcus unfortunately is stabbed and falls.
We manage to kill the four changelings (Lazarus has a wand of petrification!!). I manage to stabilize Marcus. As we destroy the last changeling a new summoning portal appears on the ground near us. (I would later learn this was the goblin shaman’s doing with the Minotaur being sent through). I cast dispel magic and luckily the portal is disrupted and the Minotaur is destroyed within the teleportation circle. (From what Quinn tells me later, the creature was infused with power of 5x sacrificed ogres and 2x sacrificed monks… what a horrible ritual).
With the circle dispelled we take a moment to recover. Lazarus is most upset that 4 of his best trained agents were compromised. I hypothesis that the draining ability that they attempted to perform on Marcus, Lazarus and Caleb would have allowed them to take the form of them. Disrupting indeed.
The Battle of the East Gate was a quick and bloody affair. The gate itself was magically destroyed by what I was later told was divine/arcane means. Many defenders were killed or maimed in the blast. The Lord and his body guard were in that area and I could not tell if one or both were alive or dead. It was at this point I turned to Sir Edwin to say we should charge forward to stop the incoming attack; Warg riders were fast approaching the breach! And all I saw was his back and he cowardly galloped away. A few of the Lancers followed him but I rallied those that remained and charged into the open gate. The Leader of the Warg Riders was impaled on my Dragonlance and I quickly drew my sword and cut down a mage that was behind him. The rest of the Lancers followed my through and as we swung out of the gate and looked back not one of the riders lived! I ordered my riders to form a V formation and we turned towards the enemy footmen who had stopped dead after witnessing how easily we had dispatched the wargs.
At this point I spot Braun, or what is left of him as pieces of him are scattered all over the area. He died protecting the Lord, for I spotted the Lord’s unconscious body being dragged by two goblins slowly towards the enemies lines. We wheel in that directions and the goblins run. Meanwhile Captain Karnak and the Goblin Shaman and trying to get the Elite forces that are too far back to more forward and stop me from saving the Lord. They are unsuccessful as I get two Lancers to grab the Lord and take him back to the Keep for medical attention. The draconians and other elite forces are moving but they are caught before hobgoblin troops that resist and fight back against them. In the end it is a slaughter as two companies of hobgoblins are killed. A dozen horse archers tried to intercept us but a group of archers on the walls stop the charge and kill over half of them.
My Lieutenant returns saying that the Lord is in the Keep with the medic we found on the wall and that he is resting as best as possible. Lazarus is not currently there but they have heard that there is something happening at the training yards! Is Alexi safe?!?!? I assign the Lieutenant to act as my second and continue building the defences as I ride with some men to find out what is happening.
The Shaman confers briefly with Captain Karnak before returning to the ogres. He commands the ogres to kneel down in front of him and then he kills them and then walks over to the two monks and does the same to them. As he kills each in turn a beam of magical energy goes from the staff he carries into the Chaos Minotaur. It looks like he is feeding the beast with power. Inside the gate we build up the barricades and assign archers to the rooves and walls with a second and third line of defence behind me. I will stay at the front location having taken command of the cities defence, keeping a close eye on the Shaman. The Shaman continues to cast and another portal appears in front of the Minotaur and then it steps through. This cannot be good…
Marcus is taken to the keep where he will be cared for. As we are again examining the portal, Quinn suddenly arrives with some heavy cavalary. After discussing what has happened between each of us we proceed to the wall to examine the defences that have been put up on Quinn’s orders. As we look out Quinn notices that the hobgoblin army has retreated and while other forces have moved forward the Trebuchets that we were worried about are burning and destroyed (Nice work Lon).
Quinn and I go just outside the wall to examine the army. Quinn rally’s the men at the wall and invokes the blessing of Paladine on the City (The Dragon is running around him like a puppy). The men cheer. We can see Captain Karnak and the Shaman having a heated discussion. I would assume that the Minotaur that was meant to come through that portal was meant to divert the army away from the wall which would have allowed the Black Dragon Army to breach the gate and get within. By stopping that they are lost for a plan of action. The shaman attempts to get a mercenary captain (human) to go and attack Quinn, when he refused the shaman blasts him to pieces, sending his company fleeing. He then attempts to scry us and I dispel his magic easily. As we proceed back into the city (I put a Hold Portal Ritual DC 30) on the East Gate, we encounter Edwin. From what I gathered Edwin is taking command and will ‘allow Quinn to continue as the Wall Commander’. An olive branch for his silence’.
With the battle over and the defences shaping up well, Sir Edwin reappears with his toadies behind him. I would truly love to call him out and question his honour but the man can use a sword and I have a feeling I will need it. He offers me an olive branch of sorts to keep his cowardice secret. For the good of the city I will even though I would truly love to kill the little worm. He returns to the Keep and I have full authority to defend the walls as I see fit. (GM: Seems Quinn is starting to understand that playing politics may be necessary, even if distasteful, because strictly speaking according to the measure he should call Edwin out, what would Quinn’s father have done?)
I signal Lon with my prestidigitation before we go. Quinn sets up the defences on the Wall
We receive a summons from the keep that the Lord wants to speak with Quinn. We proceed there and find Caleb attempting to heal him (Lazarus is nearby). While Quinn discussing the situation with the Lord I talk to Caleb about the Lord’s health. From what I understand The Lord wants Quinn to take over command of the Hargoth’s defences and Lazarus has the plan to make Edwin the Lord’s new bodyguard to remove him from the chain of command without causing an incident.
The ploy which has Lazarus fingerprints all over it is a good idea. Again for the good of the city and its survival, I agree to what must be done. Thousands of innocent lives are at stake and again I will take the higher road. (GM: Quinn is not so black and white as he was only 3 months previous)
Caleb tells me that for some reason his healing powers are being blocked and he is still worried about the Lord. I examine the Lord and discover that there is an arcane presence that is not his own. I dispel the magic and an possession spirit comes out of the Lord. While Caleb healing the Lord and Quinn prays to Paladin the creature attempts to enter both Lazarus and myself. Luckily we resist it and it dissipates without a host. Caleb is now able to heal the Lord but he is extremely weak. Quinn agrees to take command of Hargoth’s defences and after asking Edwin to become the Lord’s bodyguard he agrees.
It was plain to see from the look on Edwin’s face once he realised he would not have to go to the Wall to defend that city that it was a brilliant idea. I am sure he will try to say it was all his idea one day. With the magical poison removed from the Lord, Caleb healing helps to make sure the Lord will survive.
Later that night after many hours of study and preparation I activate the scroll and manage to dispel the magical circle (Rolled Natural #20 – Fuck yeah). I go and inform Quinn of my success and as I am explaining about the cave when Lon returns. We congratulate him on his success on destroying the Trebuchets. He unfortunately has some bad news. The shaman (ignoring orders from Captain Karnak) has sent a message to get Lucian (The Black Dragon Army Leader) to send some dragons to help take the city. (We’re fucked). We discuss several options and Lon and Quinn thing that some Ballistic net trap might be of some use. I am sceptical. I am considering going to talk to Whoopus or the mages and use the situation with the shaman as an excuse for their intervention. The Dragonarmy captain is worried that he might lose his head over his failure so far.
The next morning while I am having breakfast with Quinn in his headquarters near the East Gate, we receive word that the Prince of Hargoth requested a meeting. When Quinn agrees an 8 year old boy dressed in armour comes in with his bodyguard (who is incredibly scared to be here). He introduces himself as Baelore and wants to help with the defence on the city. Quinn wisely manages to convince the Prince that he would be best at making sure that the Keep’s defences are ready. Baelore agrees and thanks Quinn for treating him with respect, he then leaves. I cannot deny that I was extremely impressed with his nobility and bravery. We need many more men like him if we are going to win this war.
Young Prince Baelore is so much like his Father and his heart is in the right place. I was a lot like him and wanted to go with Father all those years ago before he disappeared and he convinced me that Mother and Alexi needed my protection and I remember accepting his logic and remaining behind. He will make a great ruler one day.
From the Journal of Caleb
Quinn was right; this is where I need to be. I can sense so much evil, I just pray to Mishakal that my powers will be sufficient to overcome it.
The fight with the changelings was intense. Praise be Mishakal that we survived. I couldn’t explain how I knew to defend the initial attacks. Once I had a chance to meditate on the outcome it came to me, and I felt peace. A voice said to me, “Strike Caleb! Defend those chosen!”
The death of two of my brothers fills me with a rage I can’t describe. I know Quinn councils patience, but I feel while we are doing nothing to save them, they are being slaughtered. Every time I think about it, bring back the fact I have failed my brothers. I pray to Mishakal for guidance but even her soothing presence doesn’t help now. I here now make a vow.. I will strike down the shaman with furious anger. The time has come for a reckoning!
I can write no more….
From the Journal of Lon
This army has some competent trackers, but for my people being a hunter is a way of life. I find a position close to the command tent and manage to stay hidden through the initial combat. Captain Karnak may be a proficient officer, but like most brave men is arrogant in his safety. The good Captain gave me a number of opportunities to end his life, and if I knew I could do it and still complete my mission, he would be dead now. From the discussion with his officers, Karnak is way over his head, and he knows it. It seems his superiors do not accept failure with good grace, and Karnak fears for his head.
The shaman actually gives me pause. He is certainly powerful, but what makes me wary is his reek of the dead. I can smell around him, and Karnak certainly fears him.
By the gods!! The destruction of the gates was an awesome display of power. I fear for the city now, and especially the boys…
Seeing Quinn charge out of the burning gates, his cavalry rolling back the wargs fills my heart with pride. That one act of bravery may have just blunted this attack. From the frantic yelling in the command tent I can tell Karnak now realises now who he faces.
Karnak has also just found out the shaman has sent fast courier to Lucian to tell him of the situation and request a Dragon wing to support! Karnak is not pleased. I think he was trying to keep things quiet until he had the situation under control.
But ultimately this confusion is just what I need, good lad Quinn!!… now time to go to work…
From the Journal of Marcus
I have seen some powerful practitioners of magic over the years, and while he is still young, the power shown by Alexi to close the rift to the cave was truly a spectacle to behold! I would have bet all I owned that the power needed was way beyond him at this stage of his development. <name> was right, Alexi is one to be watched.
From the Journal of <someone>
Koos is right, we will need to deal with this. These fools are becoming a problem. But no matter, our master has a plan, and the time is almost ready to strike. Prepare yourselves…