Unfinished Wars

Mayhem
Rescues, Kidnapping, Assassinations, Loaded Dice can do it all.

Olarune 19-20, YK 1000 – The Day of Mourning

A few weeks ago, the Loaded Dice learned that Kate Shari – sister of Ky – is to be executed on the first anniversary of the death of King Boranel. The Brelish government of Rukin ir’Clarn is touting their capture of Ky and one of her henchmen, obviously assuming a blue tiefling will be sufficient to fool most people.

At the same time, Merrix d’Cannith has requested that the Dice investigate the reappearance of Three, Boranel’s warforged bodyguard who was killed defending him.

On the 19th, Jak Conroy separates from the Dice, intending to create a distraction. He breaks into Rukin ir’Clarn’s residence and drugs and replaces the Prime Minister, using his expertise to disguise himself as Rukin. The next morning, he arrives at the place of execution alongside Lucan Stellos. Only Annie recognizes the deception. With a provocative statement, Jak draws an attack from Lucan, making it appear that the new head of the citadel is attempting to assassinate the Prime Minister. Immediately the guards turn on Lucan, who is killed in the fighting, while Jak is hurried back to the PM’s residence by Three.

Meanwhile, the rest of the Dice spring into action, driving back the guards on the gallows and freeing Kate and her companion – Alia, Annie’s sister who had been reported dead. In the process, it is discovered that Kate has been turned into a vampire sometime during her captivity. With no time to wonder, the Dice grab their targets and run.

Back at Rukin’s office, Jak faces a crisis of conscience. His intent had been to kill Rukin and have an end to it, but now, Jak finds himself unable to kill a drugged and helpless man. Unwilling to leave Rukin to the ruling of Jak’s homeland, and with no time to think of a better option, Jak calls in the help of the dragonborn general Dythanm who had accompanied them, ordering him to bring Rukin along. So it is that Jak, dressed as Rukin finds himself speeding through the streets of Sharn accompanied by Three, Dythan, Kalibar, and Halas Martain, along with the actual Rukin.

While the party has been away, House Lyrandar has yet again caught up with Alastair, and has attacked the Golden Dragon in force. Unwilling to sacrifice his crew in a vain defense, Alastair abandons the ship. The Dice escape sharn and meet up with Alastair, then flee to a nearby farmhouse where Rauthur opens a portal back to Stormreach and the party flee back to the relative safety of that city.

Finally, unbeknownst to all and sundry, House Orien has discovered the network of teleportation circles built up by Rauthur over the past couple of years. While they cannot identify the caster, they are plenty unhappy that someone has been making free use of a service they considered uniquely theirs. Using the power of their marks, some of the strongest casters in the House send a pulse of energy through the entire network, reorienting the very nature of the teleportation spells. The pulse reaches Rauthur’s circle in Stormreach just as the last of the party, but not Rauthur himself, have stepped through, and the hapless wizard finds himself forced to pay House Orien for teleportation service back to Stormreach.

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The Gates of Night
Old Foes, New 'Friends'

Dar Edhelen Lharvion 11-12, YK 999

Far below Stormreach, the main body of the Loaded Dice have battled their way into the very heart of the ancient city of the Qabalrin, masters of shadow magic and pioneers of necromancy. The cost has been great, but at last the descend into the second ziggurat to rescue Haydith. After solving a mind-numbing puzzle-trap, they come face to face with Zarra, daughter of Calderus. A quick assessment leads the Dice to decide that the best option is diplomacy. Careful speech convinces Zarra to allow them to observe the ritual Haydith is being made to perform, and she leads them below.

Descending into the primordial cavern, the party are struck with a dramatic scene. Haydith stands affixed to a pair of dragonshards, her power flowing through them into the massive black portal leading to Mabar, the plane of Endless Night. Before the portal, stands Calderus, the drow warrior supposedly in the service of Lady Vol. Wordlessly, the party make an alliance, strange and brief though it is, with Calderus, and join the fight against the monsters that pour from the other side of the portal. Together, they battle shades and even a shadow dragon.

Suddenly, the portal seems to lock into position. Acrana checks determine that Haydith is actually maintaining the portal, but before anything can be done, Calderus turns and steps through the portal. With no time to waste, Rauthur severs the connection between Haydith and the portal, and Annie rushes to her side to administer healing. Ky and Arkos face down Zarra, but in the end, decide to let her go. In gratitude, she offers them a treasure to help deal with undead within the Ziggurat, and suggests and easier way out. Haydith is sent back to the surface via teleportation, and the remaining members make the long trek home, gathering Ender and Meepo from the city as they go.

Meanwhile, in Stormreach….

The weather has turned dark, and Alastair and Amaron make their way into their favorite local watering hole to take the edge off the day. Before they can get through the second round, though, they are joined by a familiar, if not welcome, face – Merrix d’Cannith. Offering to buy, Merrix invites them to his table and lays out an offer. He proposes that he might be of great service to Amaron and Alastair if they will help him deal with a problem. To Alastair, he offers freedom from any fear of reprisal from House Lyrandar, and the clearing of his old records. To Amaron, he offers assistance in the search for the halfling’s family. In exchange for this, he asks for the death of one man – Merrin Lensherr, leader of the Storm Hammers, one of Stormreach’s many gangs. Why he wants this death remains a mystery, and the pair depart to consider the offer.

Exiting the bar, the find themselves int he midst of a crowd fleeing from the docks pursued by skeletons. In addition, the storm has worsened, sending black bolts of lightning down. Wherever the bolts strike, the undead rise. Battling skeletons, and even a skeletal cyclops, the intrepid duo make their way toward the center of the storm.

They find it at the Consulate of Aerenal, and upon entering, they too, find a dramatic scene. The Consulate’s deathless guardian lies on the floor with an elf maid standing over him, apparently draining the life from him. As the heroes stand horrified, the deathless warrior dies, and the girl turns her unnerving smile on them, saying only ‘the first.’ She then turns and makes her way toward a yawning black portal. Amaron and Alastair do their best to stop her, cutting through her guards, but she escapes their grasp and disappears into the portal, which blinks out of existence.

As the storm clears, many questions are left unanswered, but for these two, perhaps the most pressing is what to do about Merrix’s offer…

Reward: 3,200 XP

((Note to Amaron and Alastair: I know the two of you wanted to consult Jak about the offer. We can either work that out next time I’m in town, or else one of you can start up a roleplay and we can do it in a thread here. I’m happy to do either.))

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Into The Ziggurat
Death of a Hero

Dar Edhelen Lharvion 11, YK 999

The party approaches the Ziggurat of Dar Edhelan and were confronted by Zarra, the daughter of Calderus. She claimed that Haydith’s abduction had been necessary to get her aid in repairing a seal between Eberron and Mabar, the plane of eternal night, and the source of the most powerful shadow magics. Whether this is true or not, the party decided to try to rescue Haydith rather than trust the word of Calderus that she would be returned unharmed.

Once inside, the party was faced with Drow warriors and poison gas, which they escaped. In a storage room, they made the odd acquaintance of Meepo, a lost Kobold who had sneaked into the ziggurat to retrieve a dragon’s egg stolen from his clan. Sadly for Meepo, after getting in, he was unable to get back out, and his clan seems to have moved on. The party promised to safely return him to the surface and left him with Ender outside in the city before moving on.

Proceeding through the dungeon meant overcoming puzzles requiring blood sacrifice, as well as deadly traps. On the last room of the ground level, they were attacked by a giant animate plant that attempted to drain the souls from Ky and Tellelotar while its vine minions trapped the others against a wall. At the last desperate momment, Ky slew the creature.

Climbing a large, winding staircase, the party reached a long causeway stretching over the edge of an underground sea and leading out to a second ziggurat built on a small island. Standing between them was an unidentified woman and her undead warriors. Rauthur, hoping to defeat the enemy rather than fight on the perilous bridge, attempted an Arcane Gate spell to drop the enemy out the bottom of the bridge. Sadly, creating a dimensional rift this close to the border of Mabar had unintended consequences. Though the woman was dragged through the portal, a Shadow Hulk climbed out and began rampagin across the causeway. After two near-falls by members of the party, a retreat was agreed upon and Annie was able to use her Dismissal spell to lock the creature away in an interdimensional space. Sadly, it escaped after only a few seconds and began to pursue the party toward the other Ziggurat. Seeing no escape, Tellelohtar told the others to go, turned, and charged the Shadow Hulk. Leaping onto its back, the elf began cutting through its armor while the beast thrashed. Finally, he slashed off one of the beast’s antenae, causing it to vear to the side. However, as it reached the precipice, The beast was able to grab Tellelohtar, and both elf and monster slid over the edge of the causeway and plummeted into the sea far below.

Reward: 5,460 XP each

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The World Beneath
A Return to Khyber

Under Stormreach, Lharvion 10, YK 999
Rumors of Haydith ir’Wynarn’s location have reached Halas Martain, a Wayfinder ally of the Loaded Dice. But first you must find his contact, Lohn Ender, an Zil scholar specializing in the native species of Xen’drik.

Traveling into the maze of tunnels beneath Stormreach, the Dice are confronted by a group of apparently mad Drow working in league with a few dolgaunts. Notably, the Drow wield shadowblades like that wielded by Jak Conroy. With the Drow dispatched, the party discovers that they were not alone in being attacked. A village of Thri-kreen had faced similar attacks, and worse, an attack by surface Drow led by a red-eyed Drow carrying a black sword.

The party ventures on into the depths, facing the dangers of Khyber once again as the follow Ender’s trail, and getting lost a few times. However, despite the danger, the Dice eventually emerge into a giant carvern, where they rescue a group of Umbragen Drow from Sulataar Drow mounted on flamesleds. While the cultural particulars of this conflict seem rather arcane to the party, what is learned is that the Umbragen have returned from the depths of Khyber, driven by the all-consuming force that has taken over their culture, a force of shadow called the Umbra. The Umbra has been the source of their power for millennia, allowing them to craft the shadows into powerful weapons. However, some Drow – including those the Dice rescued, feared that the Umbra was gaining too much control of them, and that it was more than just a source of power, but a living thing, perhaps even a Daelkyr.

The appearance of Ender and a conversation with him confirms that Haydith was brought here by the same group of Drow seen by the Thri-kreen hive. Ender was also able to shed light on the underground city contained in this cavern. Ender claims it to be Dar Edhelan, the capital of the Qalbarin, an ancient race of elves, rumored to have been masters of necromancy, and the creators of the first vampires.

Despite this ominous news, the Dice determine that they are willing to face the risks to rescue their friend, and set out toward an ancient ziggurat on the other side of the city. For it is there Ender says Haydith’s captors were headed. According to the drow, that ziggurat is also the home of the Umbra.

DM Note: You guys earned level 15 in our last session, so go ahead and level up even though you weren’t planning an extended rest. You’ll need all the advantage you can get, because there will be no rest once you get inside.

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The Caldyn Fragments
Combat, Cannith, and Courtisans

Two weeks since the Battle of Silverwall, and no information has yet been gained on the crew of the Tranquility. When a band of Thuranni assassins make an apparent attempt on the life of Maleen, Chevkos, and Arkos, the Loaded Dice begin searching for the secret Thuranni enclave located beneath the upscale brothel known as Shadows. While searching, Merrix d’Cannith arrives with an offer. He knows the whereabouts of the Tranquility crew and will give them the information, for a price. For the safe return of their friends, the Loaded Dice must obtain document known as the Caldyn Fragments from the Thuranni enclave. Seeing no way around it, the Dice agree.

Disguised as patrons, the Dice infiltrate Shadows and begin searching for a way beneath. When armed men burst into the brothel, demanding the Caldyn Fragments, the Dice leap to the defense. While most of the Dice disarm, disable, or frighten off the assailants, Jak uses the distraction to slip into the back offices and finds a secret door, as well as a ledger of patrons, which he steals.

Making their way down into the tunnels, the Dice are forced to overcome traps and guards before eventually finding a safe containing a sheaf of papers containing what appears to be a strange, poetic, and very vague prophecy, possibly referencing them. Before they can escape, they are confronted by itinerant bard and informant Matthew Murdoch, who wishes to obtain the fragments for his organization, the Crimson Codex. From Murdoch, the dice learn that Caldyn was a scholar who studied the Draconic Prophecy, and then made his own predictions based on it. These seem to have come true, though it is hard to see that until after the fact. While Murdoch is explaining all this, Annie uses a ritual to commit this fragment to memory. The Dice then exchange the fragment for a convincing fake that Murdoch offers.

Merrix takes the fake upon the Dice’s return, and the next day, the crew of the Tranquility return, unable to offer information about their whereabouts other than that they were taken by Blackwheel soldiers to a base in the jungle, but were blindfolded the entire time. Alarmingly, Haydith ir’Wynarn has not been returned. According to Malcolm, the captain of Tranquility, she was captured by drow in the employ of the Emerald Claw during the fighting around their crash site during the battle.

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The Liberation of Stormreach
No plan survives contact with the enemy.

After seizing the tower of Kol Korran and uncovering some of Storm Lord Ammanatu’s plots, as well as slaying the dwarf and preventing him from becoming and Immortal, the Loaded Dice were forced to deal with a new threat, a massive airship owned by the mercenary Blackwheel Company.

Using Rauthur’s arcane gate ability, the Dice teleport to the ship’s deck and find themselves surrounded, but before a fight can break out, the enemy are called off by none other than Merrix d’Cannith, the leader of Cannith South and a member of the Council of Twelve. He dropped some tantalizing clues about Ky’s mark, and then revealed his possession of another Dragon’s Eye, a strange arcane device designed to contain and control a dragon. Merrix threw the device overboard, unleashing a dragon on Stormreach and forcing the Dice to retreat rather than leave the city to be destroyed.

In a mad rush across the city the party faced blazing skeletons, fleeing Emerald Claw, and even some Umbragen Drow before finally facing off with the dragon – Calastryx – in the Temple of the Sovereign Host. There, in a mighty battle, the dragon was finally slain.

On their return, the party discover that the Emerald Claw have abandoned the city, and deduction leads to the conclusion that the Emerald Claw were after whatever it was Merrix and the Blackwheel Company were seeking, and Merrix found it first. So the Emerald Claw have cut their losses and fled, leaving the party to put Stormreach back together.

The victory was dampened by the discovery that in their retreat, the Claw and their drow allies had managed to overwhelm and capture the crew of the Tranquility. In the days that follow, the city begins to come back to life. Of the Storm Lords, Yorrik Ammanatu is dead. Paulo Omaren and Varen Lassite are your friends or allies. Kirris Sel Shadra, the gnome who handles the behind-the-scenes security of Stormreach, has come out of hiding now that things are safe again. And Jolan Wylkes, the half-elf Harbor Lord, remains missing, and is sadly presumed dead.

Now, many questions remain. Merrix implied that there were other Dragon’s Eyes to be found, where are they? What are the mysterious Caldyn Fragments that both the Emerald Claw and the Blackwheel Company are seeking? Where are Malcolm the Fox and his crew? And who will rise to fill the empty spaces on the council of the Storm Lords?

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Silverwall: The Assault
The Attack on the Tower of Kol Korran

With their plans laid, the Loaded Dice attempt to put them into action. As it fell out, Ky was unable to convince the rival militias of the western city to put aside their feud and help, but the diversion assault on Master’s Key was successful.

Much worse, Rauthur’s spell to make the Tranquility invisible failed mid-flight, leading to the ship being shot from the sky. The Dice managed to take the ships skiff in and land at the tower, but the Tranquility and her crew crash-landed near the harbor.

After seizing the landing pad, the Loaded Dice noticed that their foes were not armed in the usual fashion of the Emerald Claw. Closer examination showed that they were in fact, members of a notorious mercenary group called the Blackwheel Company. Undeterred, the party pushed farther into the tower.

While Rauthur and Gwen held off Blackwheel reinforcements, the rest of the party ventured upstairs where they were confronted by none other than the supposedly dead Storm Lord Yorrik Ammantu in the midst of performing a ritual to turn himself into an Immortal ((i.e. a demigod of sorts)). After a vicious battle, Ammantu was slain and the ritual stopped. A search of the room discovered letters between members of a mysterious ‘Club’ of which Ammantu seems to have been a member, along with many other powerful figures from Khorvaire. In addition, a treatise On Dragonmarks and the Prophecy by Vyssilthar, the dragon who carved the Mark of Command into Ky beneath the Dreadhold so long ago.

Finally, the party discovered a magical gemstone that was warding the building against magical communication such as sending stones. When this was turned off, an urgent call from Jak led the party to the rooftop where they beheld a massive, black airship bombarding the city, and Blackwheel Company troops moving in to unravel all of their careful planning. Forced to adapt their plans on the fly, what will the heroes do? Tune in next time to find out.

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Assault on Silverwall: The Plan

After a meeting of the Loaded Dice and the return of Tellelohtar and the crew of the Tranquility along with Hallis Martyn and Haydith ir’Wynarn, a plan has been made to assault the southernmost district of the city, Silverwall. Silverwall is important as one of the wealthiest areas, and the base for most of the Dragonmarked Houses in Stormreach. It contains what appears to have been one of the Emerald Claw’s primary objectives, the mysterious Tower of Kol Korran.

The planning session was disrupted by the arrival of a large force of armed dragonborn, led by Andreas Dythan, who is the father of the young dragonborn you rescued from Blackbriar. Dythan feels a debt is owed to you, and has agreed to assist you as best he can.

With new allies, a plan was laid out. The basic concept is as follows. While most of the group’s allies attack the Claw throughout the city, and create general chaos, Dythan’s Legion will assault the main gate of Silverwall. At the same time, the Loaded Dice, aided by shadow magic provided by Rauthur and Haydith, will slip in to Silverwall and seize control of the Tower of Kol Korran. Hopefully, the Emerald Claw will be caught between the Dice and the dragonborn, and Silverwall will be secured.

In preparation, the following actions need to be taken. Most of these can be done via forum roleplay, skill challenges, or a combination of the two. Some will happen at the table. Some of the jobs were assigned to particular characters based on general skill sets, but obviously there is plenty of work to go around.

- The plan must be discussed with the NPCs involved, including Drago, Hallis, and Haydith.

- In preparation of receiving wounded, Annie needs supplies for her clinic, and plans to talk to Hallis about making runs into the jungle to obtain herbs for her.

- Gwen will scout the jungles looking for Emerald Claw supply lines, which can then perhaps be disrupted.

- Jak will reach out to Lady Paulo Omaren in the hope of gaining support of the Iron Watch, an elite force of Warforged with whom she is allied.

- Rauthur will begin work on rituals to shield and cloak an airship for the covert trip into Silverwall, as well as creating arcane listening devices to gather information.

- A general effort will be made, headed up by Jak, to set up an information network throughout the city.

- Dythan’s Legion will seize the Lyrandar Shipyards in preparation for their attack.

- Contact is to be made with the following groups in the hope of winning their support.
– The 9th Wands, an Aundairian militia operating in Whitewash
– The Knights of Thrane, a Thranish militia operating in the Embers
– The Titans, a half-giant gang of hired muscle

- Ky also wishes to seize Greystone, a small section of the Cross dedicated to a House Tharashk dragonshard refinery. The hope is that the contents of the warehouses could yield much needed funding.

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When a Plan Goes South
It's about to get messy.

Normally I write these from a perspective, my character, the Sharn Inquisitve, or the Brelish historian persona Holly created, P.R. Songsteel. For our most recent session, none of those work exactly. Gwalcavad is not keeping a journal of the current adventure, and what he has to say is probably rather dark at the moment anyway. Songsteel works best after a complete adventure has been finished, and the Inquisitive of course would have no news of this. So, I will simply tell it as a player who just had a great D&D session.

Few things could have gone more wrong for the Loaded Dice in our last adventure. On the one hand, I suppose it must be said that we successfully defeated a strong Emerald Claw regiment in Stormreach. After that it starts to get bad.

None of our party doubted the presence of a trap when we first encountered the drunken wagon team and their broken wheel. However even the most paranoid of us can hardly have expected our prodigy healer Annie to be snatched up by a horseman galloping at 90 mph.

The presence of mind of Rauthur prevented Gwalcavad from murdering the surviving wagon team, and some quick thinking by the rest of the party prevented us all from being trampled to death by giant angry beasts of various kind. Some clever cat-herding work by Ky even resulted in Gwalcavad being able to tame a Shadowcat for Gwen to use as a mount.

Once the chaos had stopped, the Loaded Dice mounted up and are now in transit to Black Briar, a House Vadalis compound known for secretive experimentation. Their ticket in, Gwalcavad, who has finally revealed his given name, Gavin d’Vadalis.

So to sum up, a whole lot of pissed off, super-powerful individuals are about to descend on a House Vadalis enclave, and I suspect we’re gonna burn that mother down.

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The Rolling Mist

(Copy of letter included with report filed by Summerhawk with his superiors in Sharn.)

Gwalcavad,

Normally I would wait until we meet again to relate our adventure in Kenrun, but I fear by then it might be too late.

As you know, Prince Oargev had heard reports that the Mist was expanding out from Cyre and closer to Kenrun. Normally he would have dismissed this as the general hysteria the Mist sometimes causes, but he had also received news of something or someone attacking the village. While he gathered men to respond to the threat, he asked that we scout ahead and assess the situation, and if necessary bring out any survivors.

A few miles outside of Kenrun we came upon a boarded-up farm. At first we thought it abandoned, but soon discovered a family of five holed up inside. They quickly let us in and explained that everyone else was dead. The head of the household was angry, as they believed the noise our group had made would draw the attention of “the others.”

Before we could inquire more closely, the farmhouse was attacked by a horde of ghouls. Hungry ghouls. While we were able to eventually repel the attack, we lost one of the children. These ghouls apparently like their food still breathing.

Thankfully, Rauthur had created a link with a circle in New Cyre and was able to perform the ritual to send the family back. Before they left, the survivors explained the ghouls were once people from Kenrun.

Deciding that if any other survivors remained in the town they would take refuge in the Temple of Arawai, we made haste to Kenrun. Luckily we did not have any further run-ins until we reached the town proper. Despite Tellelohtar’s best efforts to hide us, we were attacked half-way through the village. This led to a harrowing chase to the temple, where we discovered the grounds were overran with more of the ghouls. We managed to somehow fend off attack until we could enter and bar the doors of the temple.

There were no survivors.

A journal we found at the site indicated that the townsfolk were each driven mad by some external source that lead them to crave the taste of flesh. In the end all succumbed and in the process defiled the temple.

I still have it with me, and when I have the time I’ll study it more thoroughly to see if I can determine the cause.

While the others tended to the dead, I purified and re-sanctified Arawai’s Temple. As night had fallen during our endeavors, we elected to rest until dawn when we would return and make our report to Prince Oargev.

Just before the dawn there came a pounding at the door. As we had not returned nor sent word to the Prince, he’d sent scouts in after us to determine what had happened. Before us was the lone scout who’d survived to the temple. He also reported to us that he’d seen an army on the march for the bridge of Kenrun.

Rauthur, using one of his spells, sent word to Oargev of the army headed for the bridge and our intention to hold it until he could arrive with reinforcements. Perhaps it was foolish, but we could not allow an army of the dead to march out of the Mournland.

Whether through luck or through skill I do not know, but we managed to make it out of the town and to the bridge without meeting any ghouls. Upon our arrival at the bridge we established barricades. And just in time. Within the hour the undead army attacked.

Through the valiant efforts of our small crew, we managed to hold the bridge throughout the day. The prince was close but had not yet arrived when the army fell back and a drow rode forth. Using my goggles I determined him to be a very powerful vampire. Far more powerful than Stellos was.

He named himself Calderus d’Vol and at best seemed amused at our efforts to stop his march. After some interplay with Ky, Calderus said our efforts were of no matter. The army had served the purpose of delaying us, and they had no further use for the bridge or the town. And then they left.

I am unsure if he meant to delay our group specifically or to delay Prince Oargev. Either way, the only place we have intention of journeying to is Sharn. This leads me to surmise that he or an ally of his has designs for the Day of Mourning, and the presence of either ourselves, Prince Oargev, or all of the above at an earlier point would prove a hindrance to him.

Regardless, we’re on our way to Sharn now with Prince Oargev and his retinue. At this rate we should arrive the day of the ceremonies.

Be careful, my friend.
Annie

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