Monday, August 4, 2008

Runelords Recap: Part Two

Brodert Quink shifted ever so uncomfortably in the chair - despite how comfortable it was. He was a man of simple needs with no great desire for attention or recognition (except of course for in his academic fields). Though here the man was, seated in a wide-backed plush chair on the small raised stage hugging the norther wall of the Rusty Dragon. Brodert smiled and nodded to Ameiko Kaijitsu.

Though the woman had grown later in years, she was still rich in exotic beauty. Broderts attention however was quickly brought back to the throng of Sandpoint citizens who crowded the tavern.

It would seem that the children he had relayed the story to the previous day had spread the word. Now everyone wanted to hear it - the tale Sandpoint's heroes. Parents, children, and merchants alike, crowded into the large tavern, eager to hear Brodert's story.

Ameiko had gone to visit the scholar that morning, passing along the news that his story had become the town's buzz, and extending an invitation to use her tavern's stage if he wished. Brodert had no choice but to accept. He could never say no to the wife of one of the heroes themselves.

"Well," Brodert began, "Last we left our heroes..."

"The battle against Erylium the Quasit and her minions raged for nearly half an hour. The summoned beast and the Sinspawn gave our heroes little trouble, but Erylium was a dangerous foe - taunting them with her magical dagger, and flying ever out-of-reach.

Cresting the top of her balcony however, Slavla the Barbarian leapt with deft skill, grabbing the Quasit midflight, as they both crashed down into the pool below. The pool was shallow, but Quasits are very small creatures you see. Despite her struggles and squirming, Slavla's strength was too strong, and finally - the Quasit drowned.

Well, the catacombs they found were certainly strange - containing an ancient statue and a shrine to Lamashtu - the goddess of monsters. This place was certainly one of ancient power and importance. I wish I could guide you all down to it today, but as you all know, the shortly following earthquake buried those catacombs once and for all.

Following their adventures through the Catacombs of Wrath, our heroes had finally learned the location of Nualia - daughter of the late Father Tobyn. She was living on Thistletop Island, and leading the goblin assaults from there. From Tsuto's journals, they learned that she was trying to expunge her angelic features, to take on those of a succubus! She called her heritage a "celestial taint". The woman could never see how blessed she was.

Nualia would not be happy until Sandpoint was burned to the ground, so our heroes had no other choice but to march on Thistletop and take her down. The journey was short, and thanks to Deanda's navigational skills, they were at Thistletop by dusk. Making their way through the briar-filled forests which stood guard for the keep, the heroes battled toe to toe against a great goblin druid.

Deanda the Druid was the hero of this battle, given her abilities to walk through the walls of this dense forest as if nothing blocked her path. Thanks to her help, the heroes quickly made their way into Thistletop. Battling back goblin scouts and watchmen, along with goblin dogs, they freed Shadowmist, a heavy horse that would become fast friends with the druid Deanda.

Finally our heroes squared off against Ripnugget - one of the goblin heroes. Led into battle by Jaime the Cleric, they easily toppled the great warchief, and earned access into Thistletop's lower chambers.

Moving through the dungeon, our heroes fought off goblins, mercenaries, and even the goblin hero Bruthazmus - a bugbear ranger. Though the warriors lent their strongarms to these fights, the dungeon became nothing more then a playful laugh with the magical forces of Kiikii the Conjurer and Nakor the Transmuter. Kiikii laid the floor thick with grease as he blinded almost every foe they faced. Nakor's muscles bulged beneath his own magical fortitude, as he laid waste to even the stoutest goblins with his quarterstaff.

Their biggest foe was yet to come however, as our heroes battled furiously against Nualia herself. The woman had already begun her transformation into one of Lamashtu's chosen. Her hand was that of a demon, and the scratches across her chest were frightful. She charged the heroes, hacking mecilessly at those who opposed her with the serrated bastard sword she wielded.

Her pet, a yeth hound, caused Nakor to run in terror, while the others did their best to stay strong even in the face of overwhelming fear. Even against the might Slavla, her power was great and terrifying. Though finally - the woman fell. Nakor, ripping himself from the fear that the hound evoked within him and physically fortified by the spells he'd cast upon himself, sunk his silver dagger deep into the already-wounded woman's chest. Nualia was dead.

All was not done here though. For you see, our heroes had heard tale of a being known as Malfeshnekor. A beast of some unnatural origin whose alliance Nualia was trying to win. Opening a heavily runed door in search of the beast, the heroes got more then they bargained for. Malfeshnekor was not only there, but Jaime recognized him.

A being cloked in the garb of a demon, Malfeshnekor's features were hidden and the smell of brimstone clung to him. Nualia had locked the being within this ancient chamber until his alliance was assured, but unwittingly our heroes let him free. In exchange for his freedom, Malfeshnekor let his pet - a howling and hungry barghest - engage the group, while he fled.

After the barghest was slain, Jaime explained that this being who escaped - Malfeshnekor the demon - killed his father when he was but a child. Nakor recognized the rooftops as he had gazed through the gate Malfeshnekor had formed. The beast was heading for Magnimar.

With Nualia dead and the goblin tribes scattered, the threat to Sandpoint had been neutralized. Slavla, Blayne, Deanda, Nakor, Jaime, and Kiikii were hailed as heroes and heroines of the realm. In exchange for their great service, Mayor Deverin granted the party of adventurers a house of their own within Sandpoint. The house was small and lacked furniture, but it was a place of their own. A gift which they graciously accepted.

Autumn lingered onward...

It wasn't long before the heroes of Saltmarsh were called on once again for their aid. One rainy autumn night, as the group was gathered in the warmth of their home sharing the stories of their past, a heavy knock rung out upon their door. It was Sheriff Hemlock, the town's guard captain, and a good friend of theirs.

However, the Sheriff had not come with pleasant tidings. Apparently, the past evening there had been an incident - a murder most foul with two victims at the Sandpoint sawmill."

With this, Brodert paused, to gauge the reactions of the citizens to this part of the story. The murders of Katrine Vinder and the Harker boy were certainly no light matter. His audience seemed to take it in stride however, looking back on the incident those many years ago as being lost to memory. With the passage of time, it had simply become the stuff of stories. And so, Brodert continued - telling all who listened of the gruesome deaths at both the Sawmill and the Scarnetti house, and the investigation that followed.

"The most curious thing of all," Brodert continued, "was that this mysterious murderer seemed to know one of our heroes very well - Deanda the Druid. After following a half dozen leads, our heroes were at a dead end. And even worse - Blayne had gone missing. Everything seemed to be going wrong.

That was of course, until the morning when they received another knock at their door. Letting the door swing wide before them, there stood the young dwarven monk Kraca. And he brought news..."

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