20 Sypheros – Aryth 2, YK 1003
In Flamekeep, the Loaded Dice debate their next move. Annie and Ky have been haunted by strange dreams. Ky in particular is troubled with visions of a far of island in the Lhazzar Principalities known as Farlnen. Word is brought by Alia that the Emerald Claw have been building up forces in the Principalities. The Dice decide to head east and find out what they can.
On their way, they stop in Thaliost as a favor to the Keeper to investigate the strange new weapons being used by the Aundairian resistance. Ameron is horrified to discover that Thaliost is a dry town by order of its puritanical ruling Cardinal. While no examples of the weapons are recovered, the Dice learn that they come through Fairhaven. Now a debate arises as to which task should take precedence. At an impasse, the Dice divide. Alastair, Aurora, and Ameron head West to Fairhaven, while Ky, Annie and Rauthur head east to Karrnath.
In Fairhaven, investigation by Alastair and company leads to the Changeling black-marketeer who provides the weapons to the resistance. While he refuses to name names, he agrees to shut off the flow of arms to Thaliost if Alastair will find him a new supplier and new markets. In addition, he gives the location and time of the next shipment, and the party is off to Windshire.
In Windshire, it all almost goes wrong. The smugglers are lead by a cyclops who nearly kills Alastair and Aurora before Ameron is able to subdue it in a mighty feat of daring-do. When the dust settles, the party finds a stash not only of weapons, but of a strange, yet unidentified red liquid. Ameron takes a healthy supply of both.
Alastair deciphers the ship’s log and they follow the river down across Lake Galifar and Silver Lake to the borderlands of Breland and Droaam. There on the shore they find the arms factory and its tiefling overseer, Natasha Chevkos. But as surprising as the discovery of Chevkos’ twin sister is, more startling still is the presence of Alihanna, Aurora’s long-time tormentor and nemesis. Yet, even with her foe in reach, Aurora thinks first of the mission and passes up the opportunity to attack. Once Alihanna and her guards depart for a meeting with the Daughters of Sora Kel and the Great Crag, the party leaps into action and assaults the compound. While Alastair and Aurora assault the front gate, Ameron encourages rebellion among the goblin and kobold workers, arming them with the weapons of their own design. When the battle is done, Alastair and Aurora interrogate Natasha and discover that she has been supplying the weapons at the behest of Queen Aurela of Aundair as well as the Daughters, confirming the rumors of an alliance. With Natasha in tow, the trio set off for Stormreach to meet with Merrix and finally retrieve the Golden Dragon. However, in route they hear of their companions’ exploits and detour to meet them.
Meanwhile, Ky, Annie, and Rauthur sail to Korth hoping to learn more about Farlnen, the Emerald Claw, and Vol from the library. Once in the library, though, they discover that Rauthur’s undead counterpart there has been overthrown and has bound himself in a book to survive. In turn, he has been replaced by the corrupted version of Rauthur created after his death years ago. The three retreat from the library to debate. Realizing a frontal confrontation would be foolish and having no way to draw him out, they settle on a bureaucratic sabotage. Rauthur lodges a formal complaint with the Royal Library’s administrator, accusing his evil counterpart of the heinous infraction of dog-earing pages. Confident that the rakshasa will be watched, they return to Captain Malinko and Alia’s ship and head north. On the journey, they consult the ancient, undead version of Rauthur and learn much about Vol, including that she is a lich. It is decided that a frontal assault is not the way to go, and that more information is needed. Unfortunately, the trio realize that they are not the best suited for intelligence gathering, so a stop at Stormhome charters them an airship to head for Droaam and Jak.
They find Jak in Prince Hailx’s siege camp around Turakbar’s Fist, the mountain fortress of Rhesh Turakbar, the demon-worshiping Minotaur responsible for many of the raids into Breland since the Last War. Jak personaly believes him to be responsible for his family’s death, so the siege has a personal side for him. In need of Jak’s services, and wanting to assist their friend in any case, the trio set about devising a death for Rhest Turakbar. Using Jak’s extensive (perhaps obsessive) knowledge of Turakbar, they determine to tempt him into a single-combat with Ky for leadership of his clan and for the honor of his god, Baphomet.
Rauthur arranges for appropriate omens to occur through summoning magic while Annie brews potions to help Ky in the fight and Jak sells the gambit to Prince Halix. When all is ready, Halix presents Ky with an heirloom dagger as a token of support. Without consulting the group, Jak sets not far from the sight of the duel with his crossbow to ensure that Turakbar dies regardless of the duel’s result.
After an appropriate exchange of pleasantries and threats, Ky and Turakbar begin the duel. Both trade mighty blows and heavy wounds are taken. Ky is driven to her knees almost and forced to use one of Annie’s potions. In the end, though, Ky prevails and finishes Turakbar off with Halix’s dagger. With their leader dead, most of Turakbar’s forces scatter, but six gnolls of the Znir Pact and four orcs remain and submit to Ky, who takes possession of Turakbar’s Fist. While Ky the others seek to cleanse the filth from the keep, Jak keeps silent vigil over the body of Turakbar. At last, when all is ready, Ky and Halix agree that the Fist is now Ky’s and confirm the assumed peace between them.
In the following days, Halix and the Brelish army prepare to depart for the North, where Aundair has crossed the border and seized portions of Breland. Ky seeks to organize her new stronghold. Alastair, Aurora, and Ameron arrive with their prisoner and news, and Jak withdraws to a small ranch some miles from the Fist to hear reports from his own agents and to consider what role he is to play going forward.
While much was accomplished, many questions remain..
- If Vol is a lich, where and what is her phylactery?
- What are the Emerald Claw planning in the Lhazzar Principalities?
- How can Rauthur settle accounts with his corrupted self?
- Are there too many Rauthurs at this point?
- What is Alihanna doing in Droaam?
- What does the alliance between Droaam and Aundair mean for Thrane and Breland?
- What will Merrix demand in return for the Golden Dragon and reactivating the party’s Sending Stones?
- How long can Parker and Annie remain in close proximity but not speak?
- What’s next for Jak?
- For the answers to (some of) these and other questions, tune in Easter Weekend!
XP Reward: 5,200 xp each. Level 13!