Anduris Prime

Carradin At Last
True civilisation at last...

With the rain pelting down on the canvas cover of the cart, the party set out again towards Carradin the next day. Curious as to the hostile reactions Seebo had been greeted with on the road, they asked Thorid about this phenomenon, and why Gnomes in general should be treated with such disdain.

Thorid explained that long ago, when his father was just a young dwarf like him, many Gnomes lived peacefully amongst the then-mixed races of the region. They were known for their craftsmanship and their curiosity, but also for their secrecy. When the change came over them it took some time for the other peoples to notice, and even then they only noticed that there were decidedly less Gnomes in common sight than there had been before. To this day, the nature of the change and its extent remains unknown to outsiders, but the reclusiveness soon grew into a resentment of other races, and many Gnomes were prosecuted as criminals when they turned to dark and deviant practises resulting in many innocent people going missing, only to turn up again soon after grossly mutilated or insane beyond all help.

Those Gnomes imprisoned in this time became mad themselves, if they hadn’t been previously, and none spoke of what had befallen their race. Rumours of ancient secrets or dark magics or evils unknown circulated the population, and the common Gnome, tinkerer, prankster and recluse soon became known as a blackguard, villain and dabbler. Those that remained in public view soon retreated to places unknown when the peoples’ resentment grew to open persecution, and today Gnomes are outlawed from common settlements, and considered enemies of the people.

What actually happened to change an entire race remains unknown, and speculation is rife as to what could cause such a thing. Only time would tell, Thorid said, what had become of the Gnomes, though even that wasn’t certain.

On the sixth day, rain still drowning the landscape in a grey flood, the party were overtaken by a lone rider, aparrently a messenger, though he bore no symbols of office or allegience. Gone as rapidly into the haze as he had appeared from it, he left the party well alone.

On the seventh day of their journeys in this new land, the adventurers finally came across the city of Carradin. The rain had passed and the sky was clearing, and in the new spring light they saw a great port city ahead of them, walled around all the way to the imposing castle built to its north, where a tall keep stood silhouetted against the horizon.

The gate guard seemed less than friendly, demanding that the “merchants” that the party posed as show their liscences (though whether such a thing really exists or not remains to be seen), and only allowed them entry after a “donation” had been made to the city watch. Morbo, obstinate in the face of bullying, paid only half of what the guards demanded though, and their snide remarks betrayed the veiled threat of future trouble, should the adventurers attitude towards the guard, and by extension their bribes, not improve.

Once through the gate, though, the city was open to the party’s every need. Hastily locating the large cathedral of Pelor near the docks, they enquired as to the price of raising their lost friend once more, and set out soon after to sell their spoils to raise the money and gems required for the ceremony, and took the time to shop for some supplies and other items to aid their future adventures while Thorid found them accomodation for the night.

Meeting up back at the cathedral, diamonds and gold in hand, the party paid the church for the ceremony and, aided by Morbo, the priests restored the paladin Talin to life. The process left him weakened and marked, but clear of purpose, despite Morbo’s “account” of events in Goldreach since his demise, and when he met his companions again for the first time it seemed even the great Pelor himself approved of his renewed vigour.

To be continued…

Day Four, The Road to Carradin
The journey to Carradin begins, and the road proves treacherous...

Setting out in the early morning, the skies overhead clouded and dark, the group continued their march to Carradin, following the road that led straight as an arrow to the coast.

At just after midday, with the weather becoming windy and the skies darker still, the group came across a traveller, a man wearing brown, simple robes riding in the opposite direction. Though wary of the group, and Seebo in particular, he bade them a safe journey and warned that a group of bandits had been following him, cautioning them against potential ambush, before setting off again to the east.

Soon enough, the group were confronted by a collection of bandits, masquerading as a merchant caravan, complete with guards and “cargo”. Led by a cleric of some evil deity, the bandits seemed well organised and practised, but fell easily to the illusiary magics of Seebo and the martial might of the surviving warriors, bolstered as they were by the prowess of the dwarf, Thorid, who proved to be a stolid and immovable ally. Salvaging the remains of the bandits’ equipment, and claiming the horse-and-cart combo for their own, the group continued on, the bulk of the journey ahead of them still…

Day Three, The Captain of the Knights
Evil forces strike a blow against our heroes, and the true troubles begin for the inhabitants of Goldreach

With the return journey to Goldreach relatively quiet, the group soon found themselves arriving at the farmlands skirting the village centre. Once again, things seemed a little too quiet, though this quickly changed when they ventured further in. At the large building that served as the town hall, the party came across Elder Jonas in the middle of a heated argument with a group of knights on horseback. It seemed that the leader of the knights, an old battleworn man of imposing stature, had taken offense at rumours of the village arming itself and forming a milita. The actual milita were nowhere to be seen, as were the party’s allies, most likely hiding to prevent the suspicions from developing further, but at the sight of the party themselves, heavily armed and carrying the marks of recent battle, the Captain’s outrage forced the group to defend themselves, unwilling as they were to surrender to the knights.

A horrific battle ensued, with the group only just managing to overpower the two knights allied with the captain, whilst Talin bravely faced off against the brute himself. Outmatched by the sheer ferocity of the captain, Talin fought a brave, but futile duel. Arriving just too late to save their friend from falling beneath the knight’s blows, Morbo and the others finished off the weakened captin, who went down swinging. Alas, the paladin Talin’s efforts to protect his friends had proved his undoing; though more than likely saving another’s life by preventing the captain’s lethal lance charge, he had fallen victim to many ringing blows from the old knight’s warmace, and died immediately from the final, crushing blow to his head. A stout fighter and brave champion of justice had fallen, and the group were left to mourn his loss.

More unfortunately still, Elder Jonas appeared from where he had sheltered during the battle, anger in his eyes. He condemned the group’s violent actions, accusing them of damning the village should the other knights ever find out about the captain’s murder, and cast them from Goldreach, never to show their faces again. More than a little upset at this percieved betrayal, Morbo almost came to blows with the old cleric, demanding that if they were to be sent on their way, the group should at least be rewarded for eliminating the orc threat, as was promised, but when Morbo struck out at the old man after being called a “half-orc”, the cleric hardened his heart and bid them leave immediately or be forced out. Preferring to avoid the wholesale slaughter of otherwise innocent villagers, the group left the village after tending to their fallen and retrieving the spoils of their battle. No one tried to stop them on their way, but the stubborn dwarf, Thorid, defied the village elder and joined with the adventurers to aid their quest, seeing in them the potential to do more good than with a village of narrow-minded, cowering peasants. Their hearts heavy from their loss, the group set out.

From Thorid, the group discovered that their allies had left the day before, though they had intended on returning to the village to meet up with their friends once more; however, Thorid was uncertain as to the quality of their reception should they return now, and whether or not they would find the party once again was in serious doubt. Nevertheless, the group decided that it would be best to set out for the nearby port city of Carradin, where they might find a healer to restore their fallen companion to life, and a place in which to settle, rest and get their bearings in this unfamiliar land.

The journey would take the better part of a week, and the road was well travelled but dangerous still, so the group began their march sooner rather than later, and when darkness fell they pitched camp and rested for the night at the roadside.

Day Two

Setting out early in the morning, the party soon found the orcs’ trail again and followed it across the hilltops to the end of the small range. Approaching the downward slope on the other side, the group spotted a wood at the foot of the hill, nearly ten miles across. Approaching with caution, Seebo went on ahead, transforming himself into a gaseous cloud and trapping himself in a glass vial. The Baron then dropped him into the forest ahead of the group, to scout the terrain and mayhap take anyone lying in wait by surprise, but when the vial broke upon the wood’s floor, no orcs were to be seen around.

Following close behind, the rest of the party came upon a scene of bloodthirsty slaughter; a pack of wolves, roughly a dozen in all, had been killed, their bodies left to rot in the shade of the trees. Whoever had done this seemed to be gone, but there were no signs the perpetrators had used the bodies for anything other than practise with cruel axes and blades.

Meanwhile, Seebo had drifted on ahead, unaware of the carnage he had bypassed on his unorthodox entry to the woods. Shortly coming upon a clearing wherein lay a small silvery pool, he caught sight of what looked like a young woman, beautiful beyond belief. When she raised her head, the last thing Seebo saw was the tears in her wide eyes before the world went dark, and he found himself blinded.

Thankfully, the wind was calm, and Seebo’s misty form drifted no more than a few feet off the ground, and when he changed back to his natural form, the group soon found him stumbling over roots and branches. To alleviate his condition, Seebo employed his wizardly talents to transform himself into a form more used to dealing with life without sight, a bat. Now the party are ready to move on, perhaps prepared for what lies ahead, though perhaps not…

...continued: Tired, worn and wounded, the party pressed on into the forest and soon discovered the source of the threat, surprised by its initial malevolance; the woman Seebo had discovered was in fact the fey creature known as Felicia Day a Nymph. Her forest was under seige from groups of Orc raiders who had come from the nearby mountains, and her loyal pack of wolf defenders had been slaughtered by the last such group. In her grief and rage she hadn’t seen the true nature of the adventurers until Seebo had already been struck blind by her terrible beauty. She offered aid to the group should they help her rid the forest of its invaders, and once Morbo discovered that the culprits were orcs it was soon decided that they would be hunted and exterminated.

With Ragnar’s considerable tracking talents (and his particular expertise with Orcs and their ilk) it wasn’t long before the group came upon the Orcs returning to their camp. After a brief, bloody battle the party stood victorious. With Ragnar and a few others heading to find the camp, Morbo and Seebo returned to the Nymph with the Orc leader’s head as proof of their deeds.

The orc camp was found deserted, bereft of much more than bones and waste and, reassured that the immediate threat had been firmly stamped out, Ragnar and the others moved to catch up with Morbo and Seebo. When the heroes had regrouped, the nymph revealed much of the quest they had undertaken; in the mirror pool of her glade she showed them the path of the orcs they had been hunting the last two days. From the forest, they had gone east to the mountains, where, nestled high in the crags, a clan of the brutish creatures had taken shelter in caves. As thanks for their deeds avenging the fallen protectors of the forest, she healed the party’s wounds and bid them well on their journey, before retiring to the depths of the woods.

In anticipation of a tough fight, and certain of their prey’s location, the group began the march back to Goldreach to prepare for what seemed like a tough assault. Reaching the border of the forest at sundown, they made camp within its now-welcoming reach and settled in for the night.

Anduris Prime, Day one
Perspicuus Silicis

Having escaped the destruction of the Fourteen Kingdoms, the players, along with Gendii, Icarus and Jeaude, arrive back on the continent of Anduris Prime, in the small nation state of Perspicuus Silicis, or Bright Rock. Gildur pointed them in the direction of the closest village, and before leaving to return to the fight against the Aeons, asked that should they find anyone willing and able to aid in his struggle, to do what they could to make sure that aid reached him.

Setting out in the direction they were given, the players soon came upon the small farming settlement of Goldreach, so named for the golden fields that surround it on the plains. There they discovered that recently, numbers of Orcs had been seen in the surrounding countryside, and a small band of them had attacked the village, resulting in the death of a village woman, before a dwarf called Thorid slew two of their number and chased the others off the farms.

Morbo, upon hearing of these orcish attacks, volunteered the group’s services to eradicate this threat by hunting down the orcs responsible for the attack, and the players soon afterwards set out to track down the fleeing orcs. Meanwhile, Gendii, Icarus and Jeaude stayed behind to guard the village from further attacks, Gendii eager to find out more about the area they had arrived in.

After a few hours following the obvious tracks of the fleeing orcs, the group came upon a small copse of trees at the foot of a small hill. Proceeding in, a small band of orcs attempted, unsuccessfully, to ambush the party. After a short, bloody battle, the players emerged victorious, having sustained only light wounds…

...after stripping the orcs of valuables, the group were surprised to find that the two orcs who had survived the raid on Goldreach were not amongst the dead; their tracks circled the nearby camp and went on along the foot of a small range of hills to the south-east. Following this trail further, the group eventually came to a small stream, where the orcs had turned and headed up into the hills.

The stream soon led to a small gully, where the water had pooled into a peaceful, if muddy, mirror. The orcs’ pitiful attempts to cover their tracks in this pool were thwarted easily, but as the party prepared to head on up the hill to follow the tracks, they were ambushed! A pair of displacer beasts lived near to the pool, and had spied the orcs’ approach, moving silently to assault them at the pool, but when the orcs had failed to stop to drink, the beasts found themselves without any prey, until a short while later they heard the approach of the party. Lying in wait above the crest of the hill at the top of the gully, they pounced just as the party made to leave.

The displacer beasts proved to be hardier opponents than those previously faced by the players; indeed, even Morbo had some difficulty landing a solid blow through their illusiary defence, and the beasts inflicted much pain upon the surprised players. Were it not for the illusiary prowess of Seebo himself, distracting one of the beasts long enough for Morbo, Talin and Hannu to finish the beast off. Meanwhile, Ragnar and his faithful companion put the hurt on the second beast, and even as it regained its senses on the death of its partner, it found itself having its legs dragged from under it by a snarling wolf, while the twin blades of the ranger waited, poised for the killing blow. With the first beast dead, and the second surrounded and disabled, the fight was over quickly, though the beast fought fiercely to its last breath, proving hard to kill.

The beasts dispatched, the party found their den nearby, in a rocky alcove, and within discovered a triad of the beasts’ young. Ragnar, experienced with creatures of the wild, managed to calm one of the kittens and bundled it safely at the top of his backpack, though the slight aura of evil surrounding the kittens disquieted Talin a little. Nontheless, he trusted in his fellow’s skill and morals, believing Ragnar would bring the cub up to be a creature for good, or at least to be aware of the balance of nature, and refrained from comment on this aura.

The party, now wounded and tired from their chase, decided to settle in for the night, using the den as shelter. Displacer Beast turned out to be barely palatable, but decent enough to replace their rations for the day, and the early stop meant that the party all got a full night’s rest between watches.

Catch-up background
Where were we?

In the first campaign, Echoes of the Aeons, the players were introduced to one region of the Arthurian Isles, a vast magical archipelago in the north of the world of Andur. The players were all visitors to the isles, originally hailing from either the sprawling continent of Anduris Prime, or the wilds of Anduris Secundus. In a bid to find adventure in the great magical city of Akshar, far to the north of the Arthurians, in a region of magically frozen wastes dotted with the massive magocracies known as the Fourteen Kingdoms, the players became entangled in the uprising of an ancient civilisation known, only to very few, as the Aeons. These beings were twisted brethren of the Mercane, a race of mainly peaceful planar travellers, whose downfall and disappearance into the mists of time is remembered by only the Mercane themselves. Naturally magical creatures, the lands of the fourteen kingdoms had become empowered by their legacies, the great works left behind that had been lost to the ice and snow. Their own remains infused the land with its powerful, wild magics to the point where otherwise rare magical creatures had become commonplace, and only peoples who mastered the shapings of wild magic could survive the harsh north. Then, suddenly, something changed. Something about the lands’ magical fields was altered dramatically, and the long-dead Aeons began to rise once more as an evil undead threat. The darkest and wildest of the Fourteen Kingdoms’ inhabitants rallied to them in great droves, the Aeons’ purpose immediately clear; to retake their homelands from the creatures that had claimed them and eradicate anything that stood in their way. Their armies, massively swollen overnight by some freak of the magic inherent to the land itself, marched on the peoples of the Fourteen Kingdoms, and it was not long until some of the great city-state magocracies fell prey, unprepared for so great a threat to their way of life. Amidst this tragedy, the players were recruited by a wizard named Gildur, first to try and prevent the uprising, then when it became clear that the time to do so had already passed, to help forestall the falling of the Fourteen Kingdoms. Present at the siege and razing of the first city to fall, the group found themselves on the run with the survivors of the attack, a great throng of refugees. Many of these people, vassals of the mages who claimed to protect them with no skill in the art themselves, died on the journey to find shelter, falling to the deadly conditions, to wild monsters and frost worms, or to evil creatures in the service of the Aeons. Gildur knew he was now fighting a losing battle, and that the force to stop the encroaching Aeon armies did not exist within the Fourteen Kingdoms. Gating the small group of adventurers he had formed together to a far off land, he returned with the surviving refugees to Akshar, to hold off the greatest of the kingdoms’ fates for as long as he could. He made one last request of the group; to find what allies they could to return to the Kingdoms and free them from the grasp of the Aeons, or, failing that, never to return to Akshar and the frozen north, and to let the world know of the threat that grew there now. Now the adventurers find themselves on what may be familiar ground, the continent of Anduris Prime. They, along with the other few individuals that Gildur recruited for his purpose, have a chance to start anew, though the shadow of what they left behind hangs over them like a storm cloud over the morning sky…


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