Greystone

The Lost Island Pt. 3
The party finish exploring the ancient temple and leave the island

8-12th days of Pelor, 816

      Having spent a fitful night’s rest in the strange pyramid on the mysterious island, the group awoke ready to finish exploring this place and then go home. Juba, Krolok and Ampersand decided to guard the rear, while Monitus, Nirinjan, Melancthon and Calvin climbed the stairs leading up. They found themselves in a large room, possibly the last chamber in the temple. The decaying tapestries showed that this was once richly decorated and a pedestal at the far end held a crystal ball on a golden stand. Unfortunately, there was also a large stone statue, who stood up and began to move towards the intruders.
      Monitus, knowledgeable in many fields, identified the construct as a Stone Golem, unfortunately immune to magic. This was not good news for the group consisting of Wizard, Sorcerer, Druid and Cleric. They decided to play defensively, using summoned creatures of Nirnjan and Monitus to keep the brute at bay, while Calvin and Melancthon used magic to weaken the floor underneath him, dropping down into a combination of mud, webbing and grease. While this bought them some time, they examined the orb, and found that it cast some sort of anti-magic field. This would have been rather unfortunate for the spellcasters, had it not then have been found to temporarily nullify the golem’s power as well.
      This only left the natural cavern found at the bottom of the pit trap from the first section of the pyramid. The party followed a slightly unstable passage to an underground beach, littered with the corpses of whales and other large sea creatures. However, the shoreline was littered with gold and other precious items. Unbeknown to our heroes, this was the lair of the Kraken who caused their shipwreck in the first place, and who had survived Melancthon’s followers’ attack. Luckily, they cautiously used magic to scoop up the treasure and then absconded with it.
      After returning up the stairs to retrieve the orb, the entire group left the temple (with the Golem following angrily behind them). They quickly boarded the boat, said farewell to the strange island and headed north towards civilization.

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A Visit to Chasselbury
Monitus reveals a possible plot to take over Greystone

13-25th days of Pelor, 816

      Much of these two weeks were spent sailing, but a few notable events occurred. After leaving the Island of Leor, the group ended up in the city of Chasselbury, where they stopped for a couple days to finish the repairs to the ship. While exploring the city, Monitus revealed that he had been warned about a secret evil organization called the Red Hand who have been trying to overthrow the government of Greystone. Their alleged leader is the Grand Wizard Voryn Askello, a charismatic and powerful leader with a less than stellar reputation. Since Monitus’s information indicated that the Red Hand were somehow working with Chasselbury, this seemed like a good opportunity to do some investigation and try and find evidence of Askello’s involvement.
      Firstly, Master Juba put his dubious flirting/information gathering skills to the test talking to some women in a tavern. He learned that the Red Hand were a legendary group of Chasselbury knights from fairy tales and that more information could possibly be found in the Royal Library. Unfortunately, this library was located within the walled-off noble quarter of the city, but the party decided they would go and get into the library one way or another.
      Luckily, there were only two guards standing at the gate, and a couple Suggestions from Melancthon quickly gained the group access to the inner grounds and the library. Surprisingly, the library’s architecture was very reminiscent of the ancient temple they had explored a week ago. Juba decided to magically detect secret doors, while Monitus and the others scanned the shelves for any information on the Red Hand. Juba’s spell paid off, there was indeed a magically sealed door in the floor and Monitus found the command words in a book of fairy tales that were embossed with the image of a red hand.
      Inside the secret passage was an alchemist’s lab, guarded by a powerful demon called a Herzou. This type of demon is resistant to non-blessed physical attacks, as well as most forms of elemental magic. Monitus ended up doing a good portion of the damage with non-elemental magic missiles and by summoning a Celestial Lion, but the attacks of Master Juba, Aravis and Nirinjan in the form of a tiger helped as well. Melancthon and Calvin went to get assistance from the guards, but they provided little help.
      Eventually the fell beast was defeated, and searching the room revealed a few clues. First of all, the shelves of the workshop contained books from The Library of Greystone, specifically from the forbidden section that only a Grand Wizard could have accessed. Secondly, there was a mysterious teleportation circle set into one of the walls which could not be activated. With the trail at a dead end for the time being, the adventurers returned to their ship.
      Back on board, they checked with Krolok, who had been holding onto the mysterious orb, only to find that it had been stolen! In its place was left a stone of similar size and shape along with a playing card. Krolok could offer no explanation as to how it had been stolen from him, and with a lack of evidence to pursue, the group left to return to their journey back to Greystone.

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Investigating Voryn Askello
Breaking and entering the home of a Grand Wizard

26-30th days of Pelor, 816

      The heroes were glad to be home in Greystone after over a month and a half of traveling. They wasted no time, however, in continuing on with the clues gleaned from Chasselbury. Krolok, Melancthon and Calvin went to see old comrades Sherlock Gnomes and Watson, while Monitus went to report with what he had found to Reyd Eichenteld.
      Sherlock Gnomes and Watson had never heard of anything related to the Red Hand, nor could he find any connection to the mysterious playing card left by whoever stole the mysterious orb. Voryn Askello however, the sorcerer believed to be leader of the Red Hand, he did have information on. Mr. Askello was supposed to be investigated by the judges, to find any general wrong-doing. Strangely, the request for this investigation came directly from Aten Delrod, leader of the Circle of Magi and Voryn Askello’s superior. The group then left Gnomes to meet back up with Monitus.
      Reyd Eichenteld was happy that Monitus had ended up in Chasselbury and had been able to gather some information on the Red Hand. He confirmed that the books Monitus had taken from the laboratory underneath the library were indeed accessible only to the seven Grand Wizards of the Circle, of which the suspected leader Voryn was of course a member. It was decided that Eichenteld would ask for an audience with Askello and that Monitus and his companions would use this opportunity to sneak into his house to look for damning evidence. Monitus, Krolok, Melancthon and Calvin staked out Voryn’s home and waited for nightfall.
      When Askello left, Krolok of course took the direct approach and smashed in one of his windows. This unfortunately drew the attention of two guards, but they were easily dealt with by a couple of Suggestions from Melancthon. There was nothing of note to be found in Voryn’s private library, but a secret passage was found in his room, leading underneath his garden. While Krolok and Monitus examined this, Melancthon decided for some inscrutable reason to sink Askello’s fountain down into the secret room. A the only door down there radiated magic, so the cautious crew dispelled whatever spell was in place and proceeded.
      Inside what was undoubtedly the secret lair of Voryn Askello, the group was attacked by its guardian, a large dragon skeleton! However, Krolok had already worked himself into a massive rage to break down the door, and the undead beast did not last long against his fury. The usual post-battle searching and looting was cut short when Grand Wizard Askello himself teleported in. There was a bit of confusion when he accused the party of being members of the Red Hand, and this was compounded when a trio of Herzou demons (the same type the group had fought in Chasselbury) teleported in as well. A retreat back up the stairs was made, with Voryn in tow, who used powerful magic to force the demons back to their home plane.
      With that business out of the way, it was time to discuss what was going on and who was on whose side. It turned out that Voryn was not a member of the Red Hand and had in fact, been working against them all along. He had just returned from a covert mission similar to the party’s, except that he had sneaked into the secret sanctuary of the Archwizard, Aten Delrod. There he had found the other half of the teleportation circle from Chasselbury and other incriminating evidence before he was chased off by the group of demons that Delrod had summoned. He welcomed our heroes as new allies in the fight, but warned against an open confrontation at this time. He advised them to lay low for a while, possibly even out of the city, while he would gather strength for the coming conflict against Aten Delrod and the Red Hand.
      It was at this point that Lord Melancthon brought up the quest he had asked for assistance with when he first joined the group and produced a map and directions in the form of a strange rhyme. This seemed like a good time to help out their new friend, so the adventurers set off for the closest landmark, the village of Lonsalindel, hometown of Ampersand.

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The Great Lonsalindel Plague
Hindsight is 20/20

1st day of Heironeous, 816

      After several days of journey, the party reached Ampersand’s hometown of Lonsalindel and met with her parents, Janak and Janini Hollysword. They were very happy to see their daughter, but advised her and her friends to leave, as the town was in the middle of a magical plague. Being the helpful adventurers they are, the group offered to try and solve the mystery of this disease.
      Their first stop was the home of the alchemist Polach Beldshy, one of the top suspects. He had moved to the town just a week before the disease started and did work involved with strange and magical compounds, so he was an obvious scapegoat. He didn’t want to talk to the heroes, but they got inside through bluff and magic. They searched his laboratory and questioned him, but could find no evidence that he had caused the plague, so they left to talk to the mayor.
      The Half-Elven mayor Jakob Netrii didn’t prove to be too helpful, although he did suggest they talk to Jotham Delwar, town constable and former lover of Ampersand. Off the record, he blamed Yogini the witch.
      After a tense reunion with his former girlfriend, Jotham divulged some useful information. He confirmed that the two main suspects were Polach and Yogini. Polach had cooperated with the authorities and was no longer official suspicion, at least for the time being. Yogini however, refused to talk to the town guard and had a history of wanting to violently expel the Human element of the town. However, would she go so far as to inflict a disease on the town that killed as many if not more Elves than Humans? The party decided to check in with the local priest and then investigate this supposed witch.
      Father Samtai did not add much they didn’t already know, but the trip to Yogini’s hut proved to be eventful. They knocked on the door and called to her with no answer, so a cunning plan was hatched. They would cover the chimney so that her house would fill with smoke and she’d be forced to exit. Surely nothing bad could come of this! Unbeknownst to the group, Yogini had been awake all night working on a cure for the disease and was currently in a deep sleep. By the time smoke started pouring out of cracks in the hut and the adventurers entered to see what had happened, the old woman had died to smoke inhalation.
      The party panicked. They had killed countless Kobolds, Troglodytes and monsters, but they had just accidentally murdered and old woman in her sleep. To make matters worse, they could hear someone approaching the hut. The body was stuffed under the cot and Monitus used a spell to make himself look like the witch. The lady who came to the door was an Elf named Vidhava. She wanted to talk to Yogini about the supposed human conspiracy to get rid of all the Elves in the town. Luckily, she believed that Monitus was Yogini and that “she” was too sick to discuss it at the moment.
      With Vidhava gone, the “heroes” set about covering their tracks. First, for some reason they decided to let Krolok perform a crude autopsy of the body, to see whether or not she had died of smoke inhalation. After chopping her into pieces with his axe, they concluded that she probably had. Nirinjan took her herbalism texts and research material in case they might come in handy later while the rest of the group unsuccessfully searched the hut for anything else they might use. They then left messages outside making it seem like a group of Humans out for Elven blood had done the deed and torched the hut.
      A group of Elves soon gathered and muttered to themselves about how the Humans had “gone too far this time.” Ampersand was able to gain their confidence and found out that the Elves were going to organize a midnight meeting in Vidhava’s wheat field in order to put a stop to the humans once and for all. The party split up and began to wait for the meeting. On his own, Melancthon revisited the Cleric Samtai and put a spell on him to make him confess to spreading the disease, thinking that might calm the townsfolk down.
      Evidently, news of the Elves’ plan had leaked to the Humans, for as they gathered in the field, a crowd of Humans bearing torches marched up as well. A fight was about to break out when Father Samtai and showed up and announced that he was the cause of the disease. Just when things couldn’t get any more confusing, a horde of demonic Dretches crawled up through holes in the ground and began attacking all who had gathered. These were dispatched easily by the party, but not before two of the villagers had been killed. Calvin used an earth shifting spell to discover an open area directly beneath the field. There they found a huge wounded Nalfeshnee, a Demon much more powerful than the weak Dretches. The beast had been in battle with a powerful Paladin when it had attempted to teleport away. However, it had just received a mighty wound from a holy longsword which disrupted its teleport and made it end up under the field of Vidhava. Unable to move or heal itself, it had laid there for weeks, poisoning the fields and infecting the town. Using Gate to call upon a mob of Dretches had been its last ditch effort and now it lay closer to death than before. Krolok was all to willing to put it out of its misery and the town was saved from any more disease.

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The Kobolds and the Giants
A custody battle over a red dragon egg

2-11th days of Heironeous, 816

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The Secret Glen
The truth behind Melancthon's quest is revealed and a new headache is found

12th day of Heirouneous-3rd day of Hextor

      It took three weeks for our heroes to get out of the mountains and wander about aimlessly looking for an owl, but they persevered through it. Finally the owl appeared, as foretold in Melancthon’s map, and directed them thusly:

The forest yonder which you seek. Hoot. O’er the plains where Cypress grow. Hoot. There within crawl up the creek. Hoot. Of it speak to Brother Crow.
      They did as the strange talking bird suggested and found themselves in an ominous forest. A tree fell onto Krolok without warning and a swarm of bats surrounded the party, making it seem like the forest itself was out to get them. Then, when Krolok idly attacked a tree, it came to life and literally tried to get them. It was during this battle that Master Juba noticed that his prized Immovable Rod was missing.
      After searching their belongings, almost everyone discovered that they had missing items as well. Judging by the amount stolen, it seemed unlikely the thief had struck on just one night, so the adventurers decided to lay a trap in case he or she returned that night.
      Just as planned, that night a shadowy figure approached the camp while everyone feigned sleep. The man, who turned out to be a Tiefling, was easily subdued and spoke the Infernal language with Monitus. He had heard of the group from none other than Zultan Kanatir, who was currently still in Hell. Impressed by the stories of the heroes’ triumph over Zultan, the stranger had decided to come here to be their friend. Evidently, his plan was to steal the items so that they could be given as presents and win their favor. During the conversation with the new ally/enemy, Melancthon disappeared, so the group ventured into the night to find him.
      They found an area of trees even blacker and thicker-grown than the rest, with an arch like entrance. Outside was a large crow, who almost predictably spoke to the party.
The secret glen is within paces. KAKAAAW. In it’s heart a bleeding tree. KAKAAAW. It’s bark is black, and etched with faces. KAKAAAAW. Is said to grant immortality.
      Melancthon was waiting inside the glen, standing in front of a huge black tree bearing many faces crying out in torment, as the crow had said. Calvin stepped forward, having finally found a living avatar of his god, but was casually crushed into the dirt by the claw-like branches of the demonic tree. Most of the group engaged Melancthon and the tree, but the tiefling (who we will refer to as Nya) took this opportunity to slip his bonds and cause havoc on the party, especially Monitus.
      The tree was of course defeated, but the team had lost two of its members and Nya had absconded with Monitus’s Spellbook. Also, they’ve been gone from Greystone for over a month. Will Voryn Askello still be alright? or will Aten Delrod and the Red Hand have launched some terrible plot in the mean time?

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The War of the Magi
The party is caught up in a battle for control of the Circle of Magi

4th-7th days of Hextor, 816

      In the early morning hours of the day following the battle at the glen, who should walk into the party’s camp but the thought to be recently deceased Calvin! Through a series of drawings, he explained that the death of the evil tree demon had set his soul free and resurrected him, although strangely stripping him of his voice. He also returned Monitus’s Spellbook and wands, which he had found in the woods. Reunited, the group spent the next three days being ferried back to Greystone by Monitus’s newly researched Teleport spell.
      After a bit of shopping and resupplying, Monitus returned to the Acropolis Arcanum only to find a crowd of people surrounding the gate. A war had erupted inside the wizards’ district, between the forces of Aten Delrod and Voryn Askello’s supporters. Monitus gathered his companions and they bravely entered in order to find Voryn and stop Delrod.
      Their way was hampered by several setbacks. They successfully saved a group of apprentice wizards, they defeated an Efreeti and were mysteriously attacked by a fireball. After crossing Wood Hollow to get to the Temple of Boccob, they ran into Voryn.
      Voryn explained that he was on his way to duel Aten Delrod and put an end to this conflict. The group offered their help, but he rebuked it. However, outside the temple was a rampaging Clay Golem, a creature immune to direct magical effect which would weaken Voryn greatly before his more important fight. The adventurers agreed to take out the Golem while Voryn went into a magical portal to face Delrod.
      The battle went well; Krolok did a majority of the damage while the rest of the group supported him and enfeebled the monster. After their battle, they went inside the temple to wait for the outcome of Voryn’s fight. After some time waiting, Voryn appeared from extra-dimensional space with a bang, carrying the body of Aten Delrod. With this, everything in the Circle of Magi should soon return to normal.

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Leibowitz's Dragon
Mayor Moeshe Leibowitz comes to the party with problems of a draconic nature

14-15th days of Hextor, 816
     
      It has been a week of rest and rebuilding. Thanks in part to our heroes, Voryn Askello has consolidated his power and gained the Archwizard position of the Circle of Magi, putting him not only in control of nearly all the arcane spellcasters of Greystone, but also putting him on the Council of Greystone. For the party however, these days have been spent relaxing after their long quest to the secret glen.
      Midday on the 14th, a well dressed gentleman paid a visit to Juba’s manor. It turned out to be the group’s old friend, Moeshe Leibowitz, recently elected mayor of Haugsmeed. After briefly catching up, he delivered the news: for quite some time, a blue dragon named Noachvi had been dwelling near the village, agreeing not to attack as long as it remained undisturbed by slay-happy adventurers. The day before, the dragon came crashing into town and announced that someone had robbed him of his Orb of Storms. The only clue to go on was a ripped tunic bearing the emblem of a rearing Griffin.
      The team immediately pulled out their trusty library cards and paid a visit to Mrs. Professor Zweigstein. They spent the next several hours poring over back issues of Greystone Adventurer Quarterly until hitting pay dirt. An article about a band of adventurers calling themselves “The Griffin Claws” showed a drawing of their symbol, which matched the ripped tunic recovered by Noachvi. Apparently the group frequented a bar called The Black Beetle, so after doing a little more research into their personnel, the party set off.
      As expected, the Griffin Claws were there, flush with cash and buying drinks for everyone in the bar. Clearly they had already sold the orb, but were unwilling to say to whom. Aravis stepped up and began flirting with Johann, their leader, then offered to take him home. On the way, he let slip that the buyer of the orb was a gnome cleric of Olidammara named Brother Ohl. With this information, she rejected him and he stormed off. It was late, but Monitus and Juba decided to call on their contact in the city guard registry, Professor Zweigstein to find out where Ohl lived. Krolok, Calvin and Aravis went back to the bar.
      To absolutely nobody’s surprise, a brawl got started once Krolok returned. It started out innocently enough, but got more violent once Calvin stole an entire backpack off of Harrison the rogue. The inebriated Griffin Claws were no match for our heroes, and the fight ended when Krolok relieved Ognir of his head. Just as things were wrapping up, the others arrived with Ohl’s address.
      Since it was now very late, it was decided that MJ and Calvin would use stealth to break into Brother Ohl’s mansion and steal the orb back. Unfortunately, they broke into the master bedroom, and the woman who was in bed with Ohl immediately charmed both the would be burglars. He didn’t seem to mind too terribly, and led them downstairs to discuss things civilly with the rest of the party. He seemed uninterested in their plight until they mentioned their pal Voryn Askello, at which point he decided to wager for the orb, provided that the party put something up of equal value. They offered to let him have a night with Ampersand, despite the fact that she was not present to approve this plan, and the lecher agreed.
      First, Calvin and Master Juba played a game of Olidammara’s Dice to determine who would play the gnome. Calvin cheated relentlessly, but it took Juba a few rounds to notice. He gave up in disgust once he did. Ohl complimented Calvin’s cunning but warned him that he would not be so forgiving. The game went back and forth before finally coming down to a single die each, with Calvin having the advantage of first call. He motioned for one six, which left Ohl, who had a five, no choice but to call bluff. Calvin revealed his die to be… a six!
      Brother Ohl graciously gave the Orb of Storms to Calvin and retired to bed with his buxom companion. The next day, the entire group traveled to Haugsmeed and returned the orb to the fearsome dragon with no further trouble. Mayor Leibowitz apologized that he had no monetary reward for the group, but they settled for a party in their honor back in the village, with wild and sexy results.

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