Stones of Morality

Stones of Morality Adventure Log
A blog for your campaign

Fellow Adventurers,

The adventure log is going to be more of a summary of events. I am posting the chapters I’ve written into the log, but after that, it will be designated for shorter summaries that you guys can view after a session or right before you play, without having to sift through a huge chapter of reading. That way you can refresh yourselves on what was going on last campaign. Got it? Sweet. Let me know if I ever forget something in the log.

Forever and Always,

Your Beloved DM

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Chapter 1 A Gnome's Calling and a Vampire
Danig and a Riot

Danig the Gnome, the trusted Steward to the Duke of Kalindrill scouted the lands day in and day out, until he happened across three of the most reliable warriors Maldok has to offer. The first a Shaman possessed of the power to summon a fierce panther that tears out the throat of every enemy that crosses it. Second, a Razorclaw shapeshifter whose way with the bow comes hardly matched. Finally, from the furthest reaches he had met a Goliath. A monster that stood over 8ft tall and never touched in melee combat. His powers went past that of simple weapon use. It was known he could stomp his foot and shards of ice would erupt from the ground around him. Danig explained to the adventurers that a great reward was in store if they could make their way back to the great city of Kalindrill. He said to meet him in a fortnight at the Dogfish Tavern.

Danig waited nervously, thinking his last few days hard work had been wasted. That is until the door of the tavern slowly opened. In walked the Deva Shaman, gliding through the room and landing directly in front of Danig. Then came the ranger, Eeeagle went straight into action, doing a perimeter check of the tavern. On his watch he had an encounter with a Dwarven couple who were none too happy with his intrusion into their own argument. Finally, the Goliath made his way into the room, the music abruptly stopped, patrons stopped dancing, and everyone was looking towards the entrance of the tavern. The large Warden slowly walked in, every gaze in the room pierced his thick grey skin. All three made there way to the hooded gnome, all wondering what this meeting was about.

“I am on order of the Duke of Kalindrill,” the gnome spoke in a soft, confident voice. “He is desperate for the aid of a band of strong warriors. I searched the region, and you three are the hope Duke Kratious seeks. He will give you more details in the morning, for now I requested three rooms for you at the Traveler’s Inn. Stay low and keep quiet. At sunrise, Duke Kratious requests your attendance.” Still unsure, the three warriors except the words of Danig, and the gnome made his way out of the tavern and to the Palace of Kalindrill.

The first round of frothy ale had barely made its way into the men’s hands when the tavern door burst open. In came a man adorn in worn leather armor and bearing a lantern. He looked around the bar and yelled out, “The time is here, were takin’ down Barringer once and for all! Were ta be provin’ that stinkin vamp is nothin’ more than the bloodsucker that he is! If your with killin’ a vamp, follow us to Lord Barringer’s Mansion!” Loud cheers could be hear from outside. The three men looked at each other and approached the lantern bearer. Rohan spoke out first, “What is this all about?”
“The name is Jarrek, I’m leadin’ this mob down to Barringers manor, and were for proving he’s the vampire that’s killed ma daughter!”

Rohan looked on with quizzical eyes, but the goliath spoke first. “How do you know this? Do you have proof?”

“sure do!” said the leader of the mob. “Me boy Percy lost three lamb to that sucker. He said he saw that white dolt Barringer one night suckin’ blood right outta the thing. He said there was no mistakin’ it to be the Lord himself.”

Eeegle looked on with doubtful eyes. “I don’t like the sounds of this. Danig spoke of staying low and going to the inn.”

Both the Deva and Goliath thought differently. Rohan quickly added, “I’m up for a midnight rendezvous. Don’t worry Eeegle, we’ll be back by morning.”

The three followed Jarrek out of the tavern and into the night, two ready for the adventure, the third not so sure.

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Chapter 2 Bloodstained Home
Lord Barringer's Mansion

The mob charged through the night, shouts echoing through the brisk air. Jarrek looked over at the three warriors and gave a quick nod. Rushing off to the front, he gave orders to get the battering ram ready as they approached the main entrance to the mansion. Ten men charged on smashing in the door on the first swing. In came Eeeagle, the mission at hand made him hesitate, but the sight of a large ornate chest quickened his pace considerably. The goliath quickly shouted out to the ranger. “We save the loot for later, we have a mission to complete first!” With a bit of disdain and some embarrassment, the shapeshifter closed the chest (which didn’t carry anything of interest anyway) and carried on. Jarrek and his boy decided to head up the dual staircase and on to the second floor. However, the three men went right, and headed into the first room. A staircase swung down into the basement. Rohan decided the basement should be secured before moving forward. So they went, Deva, Goliath, and Shapeshifter, plunging into the depths of Lord Barringer’s mansion.

The boots of the shaman touched down lightly on the stone floor. In front of him was a long, quiet corridor. Down he went, carefully watching his steps. A soft, “click” was heard, and the shaman felt the searing pain of an arrow pierce his rib cage. He took off in a sprint, barely dodging the next two clicks. Down he went into the corner of the first bend in the corridor. The goliath seeing the traps, dropped his shield and ran through. The arrows deflected harmlessly off his shield and he quickly made his way to the other side. Eeegle made his attempt to jump down the hallway. However, he misjudged the last trap and was also struck down with an arrow. The large goliath went to work healing the wounds as best he could. On the men went, down another hallway. However, the men noticed the triggers to the traps down this stretch of hall. The only problem was the number of the small buttons on the floor. There was no getting over them without stepping on one. The goliath decided to go first. Holding his shield up, he ran through expecting to feel collision of arrow to shield. Instead the goliath could smell sulfur, then an extreme heat rolled over his body as he was engulfed in red flame. On he ran until he made it to the other side. The other two followed staying as far from the flames as possible. All three felt the sting on their skin as they made it through. The goliath was not so lucky. He suffered grave burns to his arms and face. He quickly decided he needed to seek aid, and made his way back, further from the flame this time. Out he went, leaving the shaman and ranger behind. Rohan and Eeeagle looked at each other with weary determination, though they wondered how they would get through without the big warden.

Not long after the goliath’s departure, footsteps could be heard from the entrance of the stairway that the two men had entered from. “Who goes there?” shouted Eeeagle.

“Who goes there?” Shouted a voice from down the hallway.

“I asked first!” Eeeagle quickly countered.

“It is I, Warlord Kentorr.” said the mysterious voice.

Rohan cracked a slight smile and added, “Quickly, make your way down the hallway and give us aid!”

Footsteps could be heard along with the click of arrows and finally groans from the mysterious intruder. Around the corner came the draconic man as he hit the far wall, his body leaning on the stone from two hits of the arrows. Three more clicks could be heard but no groan followed. A smaller gnome rounded the corner unscathed for the arrows simply brushed the hair on his head. “Hmm did you feel that slight breeze?” the gnome sarcastically replied. The little creature went to work dressing the dragonborne’s wounds.

The shaman spoke out down the hallway to the two men, “Sorry we forgot to tell you about the traps. Beware though, this hallway is even more dangerous. It breathes fire hotter than the breath of a dragon.”

“My name’s Kentorr, and this is my companion Ku. We heard the ruckus of your mob and decided to see if anyone needed aid. We ran into your big friend the goliath. He said you may need assistance down here.

“Were always accepting the aid of friends.” Eeeagle spoke out approvingly.

Ku dropped down on his belly and crawled up to the first triggers to the fire. He peered over them, then decided it may be best if he could jump over them. Kentorr, quickly picked him up and threw him as far as he could. However, he didn’t get enough leverage and ended up throwing him three quarters of the way. The little gnome landed hard on the triggers, and flame spat forth with no remorse. Ku quickly went into a head roll, and landed on the other side of the hallway and out of the flame. On came Kentorr charging furiously through the flame, his thick scales barely scathed by the hot breath of the fire traps.

The four men shook hands and looked on at an iron door. Rohan slowly opened it and peered in. At the end of a hallway, lay a corpse. Eeeagle seeing danger ahead, entered with caution. He slowly crept up to the smelling body and inspected the wounds. A bloody hand quickly shot out and grabbed the ranger’s leg. Down the shapeshifter went, struggling with the corpse on the ground. Rohan quickly reacted to the distress of his comrade. The shaman lifted his hands and summoned his panther next to the zombie corpse. The sleek cat quickly went to work tearing and slashing at the dead flesh. However, two more zombies rounded the corner of the hall, and bore down on the beast.

Before the other two adventurers could enter the room, the iron door slammed shut locking itself from both inside and out. Kentorr tried to open it ,but it wouldn’t budge. He begun slamming into it without concern for his own safety. On the inside, Rohan tried to open the door and it would not budge. Soon the flow of liquid could be heard. Dark red streaks poured down the walls, filling the room with what couldn’t be mistaken for blood. “We need to get out of here fast!” screamed Rohan. Eeeagle finally untangled himself from the zombie, making sure to keep the jaws of the creature away from biting range. He quickly rolled back and leveled his bow. An arrow erupted from the string and buried itself in the closest zombie. The panther went into a frenzy, chewing dead flesh at every opportunity. Another spell let loose from the deva shaman, and one Zombie was put down. Blood was flowing in strong, easily filing up to the men’s ankles.

On the outside, the warlord and gnome were hard at work trying to break the door down. Kentorr swung furiously, his large bastard sword sparking off of the iron. Ku said with a sly wink, “move aside.” A few quiet words were whispered and a huge black blast erupted from the fingers of the gnome. A powerful eldritch blast struck the door. However, the iron threshold stood solid.

The blood was up to the knees of the two men desperately fighting for their lives in the room. One zombie grabbed the ferocious feline and ripped its throat out, dismissing the beast from this realm. Eeeagle fired shot after shot into the flesh of the dead. Rohan lifted his hand and re-summoned the panther. At the same time he lifted his other hand blasting one zombie in the chest with another spell. The ranger finished one zombie off with a perfectly aimed arrow to the skull. One zombie stood but the blood was filling fast. Rohan’s panther was now swimming rather than walking. The men attacked furiously dropping the zombie after moments of fighting. Loud bangs could be heard as the men outside of the room worked furiously to knock down the door. The gnome shot blast after blast and the warlord swung with great power. The door began to dent and their progress revealed only boosted their efforts. On the inside, blood was well over their waists as the men searched for any clue as to shutting the blood off or unlocking the door. Eeeagle searched with great attention to detail but it seemed the room was nothing but stone. The gnome hit the door with another blast, followed by the shoulder of the dragonborne. One final swing of the sword, and the door dented in, spilling blood over the men’s feet. They worked with great speed and soon the door was knocked off the hinges, blood flowed out so fast, it knocked the little gnome from its feet. The men inside understood the room to be a dead end and decided they had to head back up. Instead of taking the fire tunnel, the men all went to work breaking through the easier stone that lead to the entrance of the basement. A hole was soon made and the men went through and exited the basement.

Up they went onto the first floor and then the second. As they reached the summit of the second level, the men looked at a sight of horror. At least five mob members lay dead, their blood spilt from many wounds. The only thing the lofted room had in it was an altar with four statues. The men walked in, weapons ready. Rohan heard a voice and saw an injured Jarrek on a far sided staircase. The man lay flat on the steps pointing to the statues. The deva could make out the words, “look out.” At that moment the statues all turned their heads towards the injured man. They stepped off their platforms and slowly walked on. The four men jumped into action. Rohan and Kentorr went straight for the statue closest to Jarrek. Ku and Eeeagle took on two others from the opposite side. The men fought on dodging the slow swings of the animated statues. Kentorr decided to make his way to the third floor to see if there were anymore statues to worry about. One stood lifeless in the middle of the room. The warlord charged in not taking any chances. He swung using his most powerful attack to take out the stone knight. The thing was hit hard, slowly tumbling to the ground. Kentorr raised his hand in great victory, “Heeeyaaaaa.”

Below, the men fought hard, finally crushing the other three statues to the floor. Rohan healed Jarrek and they proceeded to the top level. Kentorr looted a chest outside of the double doors entering the main chamber. He found a copper ring. The men entered into the room, the quickly noted two statues on the far side of the room. In the middle perched a coffin on an ornate stone stand. Behind it stood a pale faced man in a black cape.

“Welcome to my mansion. I hope the statues weren’t too much trouble. Ah and I see you have had a good blood bath. They really are my favorite. You see I get so few visitors, and my blood room keeps me satisfied. Did you meet my wife, she is such a nice lady. No matter, I will see to it you don’t make your way out of here, alive anyway.”

The vampire raised his hands and two streaks of light shot forth, striking the two statues. They instantly came to life, stepping off there platforms. A third streak shot towards the men. A burning skeleton begun to animate. It charged forward towards Rohan, but the shaman sidestepped it and the thing tumbled into the wall behind it. Eeeagle turned and put an arrow through the skull for good measure. Kentorr charged the right statue, its bastard sword hitting the shoulder of the stone knight. Ku shot forth an eldritch blast as the panther animated behind Lord Barringer. The vampire walked forward and pointed at the dragonborne. Kentorr quickly turned and charged Rohan. The sword come down on the shaman, gashing his right arm. Kentorr quickly came to, and bore down on the vampire. All four men ignored the statues and focused there energy on the undead creature. Lord Barringer found himself on the defense, and was soon backed into a corner. The panther racked at Barringer’s legs as an eldritch blast missed its’ mark. The vampire raised his hands and all the lights went out in the room. This made it almost impossible for Eeeagle to his with his arrows. However, Kentorr came on with fury and rage. The vampire could defend the draconic swings and the lightning that shot forth from the dragonborne’s mouth. The vampire went down in a scream. The statues quickly stopped and the torches lit again.

The men searched Lord Barringer finding some gold and an ornate black cape. Kentorr took the cape and tried it on for size. The concealment cape was a perfect fit. In walked Jarrek happy to see his men win the fight. “Good work men, I know the Duke will be happy to see what we’ve done here.” Kentorr quickly tackled the man.

“What do you mean “we?’” the dragonborne spat.

“Come on now,” said Eeeagle. "We don’t need anymore problems, lets just get back to the inn and go to the Duke in the morning.

“What so this little rat can gather up the reward?” said Kentorr.

“The dragon has a point.” Rohan put in.

Ku nodded his head in agreement.

“Look guys I don’t mean a thing by it. I gots a family at home. We all did our parts in this here fight though some were a little more fierce than others. I mean I fought them there statues too. I think you hairy friend there has a point. We’ll go to the Duke tomorrow morning and collect our reward.”

“Our reward?” Kentorr hissed.

In one swift motion, the dragonborne lifted his bastard sword high and stabbed him through the heart. Eeeagle turned his head in disgust, as a small smile made his way to Ku’s face. Rohan drug over the body of Barringer, making it look like Jarrek was killed by the vampire. The four men walked out of the chamber, ready to collect their reward.

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Chapter 3 First Impressions
Meeting Duke Kratious

“Dawn will be greeting us in no more than two hours,” Eeeagle said, disdain dripping with every word. He understood the quest Danig, and more importantly the Duke, had in mind. It wouldn’t be easy, and the urgency in the little gnome’s voice gave proof towards his thinking.

“Don’t worry,” Rohan spoke with great reassurance.” “We will get back to the inn, rest for a few hours, and be walking through the palace entrance refreshed and ready for battle.”

The four men came down the stairway and through the battered doors of the mansion. As they peered out they noticed a score of steel clad warriors, great tower shields at arms and spears pointing their way. The line of guards formed at the mouth of the threshold, one officer stood out among them. He carried a longsword in one hand, a torch in the other.

“Halt, on behalf of Duke Kratious and the Royal Guard of Kalindrill!” the commander yelled. “Stand down and drop your weapons, or face death.”

“Says who!” cried Kentorr, anger spewing from his lips.

“Says I, the commander of the night watch, Johan Brox. Now drop your weapons or taste the end of my men’s spears!”

The men were cornered and quickly conceded to the man’s words. In shackles they marched down the hill, not to the palace like Rohan promised, but to the barrack’s dungeon, where they would wait, most likely without proper rest.

“To the inn we go huh? Oh come on Eeeagle, we could use a midnight rendezvous.” Eeeagle sarcastically called out as they made there way into the dungeon chamber. Kentorr looked over at the shapeshifter and gave him a stern glare.
They barely slept a wink, except for Ku. By nature, he was used to getting in trouble. He could recall many days back roaming the tunnels of Lei’lin’ra when he was captured and shackled to the stone walls of those desolate dungeons. He always seemed to find an advantage in those situations, and this would hopefully prove no different. After all, they did kill a vampire. A surly good deed if ever one existed.
Morning rays sliced through the dusty chamber of the dungeon’s barred windows. The men were restless. Sleeping in separate chambers on nothing but the stone floor gave cause for little sleep and many aches. A loud creak was heard from the far side of the room, and in came two royal guards escorting Duke Kratious of Kalindrill and his gnome steward, Danig. The Duke was outfitted in fine chain mail, draped in a long purple velvet cloak, and a scimitar strapped to his belt.
Danig was first to speak. “I gave you two simple instructions. Keep quiet and go to the inn! That’s all I asked, yet it seemed those directions were too much to…
“That is quite enough Danig,” Kratious said with a soft spoken voice. The Duke turned back to the imprisoned men. “My son, Laertes, is missing. He was taken not but a tenday ago by a group of thieves. I have sent for you, so that I could ask for your aid, however, your actions last night have shown me that my steward was wrong in choosing you as my last hope.”
The idea that Danig failed his leader put a scowl across the little gnome’s face.
The leader of Kalindrill began again. “Unfortunately I do not have the luxury of time. I cannot scout out another group of warriors that can take up this most important task. I must put my trust in you a second time, will you men agree to aid in my predicament?
Kentorr shot from his resting position and came forward. “We did the city of Kalindrill a favor last night!”
“Compose yourself Kentorr.” Rohan said with a calming voice. “Duke, we believe to have slain a vampire, not the Lord Barringer as all of you know.”
“This is true,” Eeeagle added.
The Duke looked at them with a content façade, “The incident is being investigated. For now I would like to focus on the task at hand.”
Kentorr was the first to step forward, “I will fight for you my lord, and for your son.”
Danig looked over to the dragonborne with a quizzical look. “Who are you? I did not scout you nor the gnome for this quest.
“They are with us,” Rohan added with a slight smile. “Two of the finest warriors in Kalindrill they are.”
“I see,” Danig said doubtfully.
“I am ready and willing to do what it takes to find your son,” Eeeagle said with pride in his voice.
The Duke gave a slight nod and turned for the door. “Guards release these men and get them fitted for their journey. My four trusted warriors, meet with Captain Roac down at the barracks. He will brief you then debrief you for your journey. Be sure he gives sufficient supplies for the road.”
The Duke and the steward exited the dungeon. The barred doors were unlocked and the four men walked out, united again as one.

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Chapter 4 Babby and Buster
The Trollmarshes

The constant ring of steel could be heard outside of the barracks entrance. Though the sun had barely risen, the Kalindrill guard was already hard at work training. The warriors passed through the threshold. A man nearly seven feet tall noticed their sudden entrance immediately. With three great strides, the warrior was directly in front of them.

“You must be the work mules for Kratious.” the man said almost sarcastically.

“We’ve been sent here by the Duke, yes” Rohan spoke with a slight tone of annoyance.

“Good good, my name is Captain Roac, commander of the Kalindrill Guard. I suspect ol’ Krayshee is looking for me to get you some supplies and send you off on you mission.”

“That seemed to be his intent in sending us here.” the dragonborn quickly added.

Captain Roac looked at the men with an eye of interest. His long black hair covering the left side of his face, a scar protruded out of those locks and came up under his eye. He was surely a man of battle, a warrior and leader. He gave a slight chuckle and bade the men follow him into a quieter room.

“I suspect you have been told that the Duke’s son Laertes has been taken by a band of thieves. That a death threat has been found, locating the band on the eastern side of Falcon’s Spire…it is true the son has been taken, and it is also true that you boys will be headed to Falcon’s Spire. However, there are many things you do not know yet. You see, I have a much better proposition for you men. Laertes has been kidnapped, but not by a band of thieves…he’s been taken…by me.”

Kentorr’s eyes lowered, Eeeagle felt his shooting arm tense up from those stinging words.

“What makes you think we won’t turn you in for who you are right now?” the dragonborn spoke with laden confidence.

“Because you can’t, dragonblood. The Duke would never believe a bunch of troublemakers like yourselves, a group of boys who’ve already joined lynch mobs and murdered townsfolk, over myself, the leader of the Duke’s great army. So in that way this newly obtained information has become more of a command than a request. However, I am generous, you will be payed heavily for your work in a separate quest. I need you four to make your way to Falcon’s Spire. Find your way in, and make it to the top. There you will find the Falcon’s Ruby. It is a powerful stone that is of great worth to me. I cannot leave my post here to obtain it myself. You are the men I need for such a quest. I will pay each of you as well as put Laertes in your possession. You can then turn the boy over to the Duke, proclaiming you destroyed a thieve’s camp, burned it down, or sicked a dragon on it. I don’t really care. Either way, your getting paid twice for doing one mission. This is a rather lucrative offer for you men.”

“I’m up for it,” Ku said with a quick shrug.

“Wait just one bearded gnome’s second,” said Kentorr.

Ku gave him a side long glance but let the comment roll off his back.

“Your saying we are to be going to this Falcon’s Spire. Risk our lives for this ruby then bring it back. We are going to need a lot of supplies for a quest like this. Each of us need 1000g just to depart.”

Eeeagle gave a quick nod.

“I can give each of you 600g to begin this mission, not much more than what Kratious informed me to give, that is all I can offer.

“It will work,” said Rohan, not wanting to anger the Captain too much.

“Good, make your way through the Trollmarshes and over the sun dried plains of Erlin. Through there you will find a trail that will lead you to the home of Bain Aris. He will give you more information on the ruby and point you in the right direction. Good luck my friends.”

With a quick turn, Captain Roac exited the room leaving the men with a surprising turn of events. A turn none are quite sure should be capitalized on.

After a quick stop at Gillie’s Supply Chest, the four warriors: Ranger, Warlock, Shaman, and Warlord, made there way out of the safety of Kalindrill and into the unknown lands of Maldok. They traveled for a day straight, over hillocks and overgrown fields. They cut through the land like a serpent over grass. By the second day they reached the edge of the Trollmarshes. The mangled trees loomed over the adventurers like a certain oath of death. It would be a dangerous trek, but one with a worthy cause. The men knew that either way, their mission would free an innocent man from the shackles of injustice. And in that thought, they pushed their way into the darkness of the marsh.

Deep into the thick of the wood, over twisted roots and murky swamps, the men found there first encounter. A band of wolves bolted out of the darkness. Rohan was quick to throw his hand into the air, his deathly panther formed from a simple mist. In one quick motion, feline was clawing at wolf, a ferocious battle playing out.

Eeeagle notched his first arrow before the battle had begun. One arrow then two twanged as the wolves pushed on. The sword of Kentorr rose high as a war call came out into the misty air. The dragonborn charged into the wolf defense, a black mass of Ku’s blast struck the wolf in front of the scaled warrior. The battle was on in full. The four men pushed, slaying one wolf after another. Around one bend, the men found another trio of wolves hovering over a dead carcass of a fallen adventurer. They charged on taking up the battle at every turn. They happened across another dead warrior, reminding them of how dangerous a road they were running.

The marsh suddenly became silent. There was no more howls from the vicious wolves. The men walked on, blood soaking into their armor. Their weapons dripping with their freshest kill.

Then the still air cracked, not by the howl of a wolf, but by a simple whistle. The men followed the muffled tune thru dense brush. Over one fallen log they found the source. A small Halfling was resting against that overturned tree, skinning the carcass of a freshly slain wolf.

Kentorr sprung onto the log, hands on his hip.

“Who goes there, good Halfling?”

Without turning the Halfling spoke in a broken dialect.

“Me names Babby, Babby Bush!”

“Pleasant meeting you Bobby, my name is Kentorr and…”

“It’s Babby, not Bobby,” professed the little Halfling, finally turning from his current task. "Ima hunter o’ da woods, spend me days tracking and stalking ma next meal. Its mighty good ta see fresh faces, that hadn’t been ripped apart by the stinkin’ wolves o’ the region that is.

The small Halfling jumped up onto the log and held a firm hand out. Kentorr returned it with a strong shake.

“Tell me Babby, is there anything that me and my friends should know about the area were traveling in?”

“Plenty o’ things ta know. Most importantly, its good ta know the likes a Buster. He be the meanest, smelliest, good for nothing troll in the area. If I were you, i’d stay clear o’ that one if at all possible. See me and Buster gots a past, we know to stay away from each other. He doesn’t much like the taste o’ me flamin arrows and I ain’t liken those nasty claws. He stays to the north end o’ the marsh and I keep south. Things run smooth that way. Thats all I can really be tellin ya me dragon friend.”

“Valuable information, we thank you Sir Babby,” Rohan spoke with respect in his voice.

“We better get a move on, if we plan to make it through the marsh before night fall. I’d much rather be camped under the stars of the night than the gloom of the marsh’s canopy,” the ranger added.

So the men traveled on, saluting good Babby as they departed. Around one turn they found themselves at a clear fork in the road. North, they knew was the way out. Of course their adventurous blood told them they should travel East a bit just to see if there was anything of interest.

The ground sloped upward, drying the mud into hard clay. Brush lay thick on the trail. Kentorr lead the way, cracking twigs and leaves as he went.

“I see a small cave up ahead!” the Warlord said with excitement.

Another two steps, and the dragonborn felt a tightness around his ankle. Soon he was hanging upside down from a tall oak. Kentorr looked around frantically. His longsword lay beneath him some 10 feet. He was helpless, dangling from the rope trap. The other men walked up with amused looks splayed across their face.

“I’ll climb up and cut the rope,” Ku said with a smile.

The gnome started over for the tree, but heard a small growl up above. Rohan’s panther had already materialized high in the limbs of the tree. WIth one great claw, the cat severed the rope, dropping Kentorr to the dirt. The men all shared a laugh at that.

They traveled almost up to the cave. The perceptible Ranger noticed a small chest. His eyes shined with loot-lust. He sprung forward racing for the chest. Not five feet from his prize, he felt his feet touch air. Down he went, into a fifteen foot pit, camouflaged by leaves and branches. The men watched the shapeshifter, not sure if he was ok at the bottom. The men started to get a little wary of the area they were in.

Kentorr walked around the hole and to the chest. In lay a single not with the scrawling, “haha suckers!” signed by the one and only, Babby.

Rohan saw fire rage in the dragonborn’s eyes. He understood Kentorr wasn’t taking kindly to Babby’s traps. He decided he better investigate the tunnels before his scaly friend tore in there destroying whatever was in site. Babby’s cave was low for a Deva or any other normal race. Barely reaching 3 feet, the Shaman had to crawl on all fours. Ten feet into the cave entrance, the Deva’s hands clawed forward, straight into a deadly pit of spikes. Rohan went down, spikes skewered his hands, ripped at the side of his torso, and stuck directly in one knee cap. The adventurers heard a loud scream and came running in. Ku was there first, unlike the rest of his group, he easily walked in hardly having to duck his head. The gnome peered down at his friend, agony roiling across his face.

“Get me out of here!” the Shaman pleaded.

Eeeagle was quickly behind Ku, he laid down on his stomach reaching into the pit. With a great tug on Rohan’s shoulder, the ranger was pulling him out slowly. Over the lip, the warlord was already preparing a healing surge for his blue friend.

Rohan properly mended, the men inched their way forward into the cave. A warm flicker of light could be seen ahead, and soon the men found themselves in a large room in the cave. Embers of a fire were directly in the middle of the room. A small ornate desk sat in one corner accompanied with a similarly miniature chair. A tiny chest lay by a little oak bed. Eeeagle found a love letter addressed to Babby’s lover, Ophelia. Kentorr quickly stoked the embers to the fire. Taking, a torch, the dragonborn lit the bed and desk on fire. They looted the chest and dumped out the last of the stew. Eeeagle, began to get that nervous feeling in his stomach, that nervousness he got whenever his group conducted themselves in a morally questionable way.

Eeeagle crawled his way back to the entrance of the cave, posing as a lookout for the men inside. He immediately heard the familiar whistle of the Halfling Hunter. The ranger’s stomach dropped. Out of instinct, the shapeshifter took up his bow and notched an arrow. Babby’s whistling grew louder and soon the little man rounded the trail directly in front of the waiting ranger.

Before Babby could shout out, an arrow twanged, flying from Eeeagle’s bow string. Babby felt a piecing sting in his leg. The little hunter went down on one knee. However, he didn’t miss a beat. With on quick motion he swung his magical short bow around, notching an explosive burning arrow in the blink of an eye. The flaming arrow shot forth bursting into fire. It struck the shapeshifter in the arm, almost blowing if from his shoulder. Rohan came forth from the cave, summoning his panther before he was fully out of the hole. The cat was on Babby before the little hunter could notch his second arrow. The rest of the men came out of cave with awe on there face. Eeeagle sat there with his next arrow ready.

“Give us one good reason why we shouldn’t kill you!” Kentorr shouted.

“What’d ya mean give a reason?” The halfling said under the weight of the panther. “I done nothin’ to ya and ur knowin it true.”

“You sprung traps on us,” Kentorr spat. “You almost killed Rohan here.”

“Look this me home, I gots ta protect whats mine. If that means I’ma be layin traps to keep her safe, then ima ta doin that.”

Rohan’s panther yelped then disappeared. Babby was back on one knee, bow in hand. A arrow spat forth, but Eeeagle was quicker. The flaming arrow missed its mark, but the Shapeshifter’s struck directly between the eyes of the Halfling, knocking the hunter back, stealing his last breath.

The men stood in wonder, not sure what just happened. The ranger strode up to the Halfling, taking his bow and arrows, thinking they would come in handy if they came across the one they called Buster.

On the men went, most glancing over at the Shapeshifting Ranger. Eeeagle seemed to always be the logical one, making sure the actions of each men were for the good of the group. More than a few times he had spoke out against some of the other’s actions. Yet he put a bead on the little hunter and shot him dead. It was a little mind boggling to the others, but none were complaining too badly.

The men walked on, heading north towards the mountain they called Falcon’s Spire. The tip could easily be made out now and then when there was an opening in the canopy of the dense marsh. Light shown through in stripes as they deflected off of various areas of the forest ceiling. Up ahead a croaky voice could be heard.

Three trolls with giant clubs stood together conversing over something. Kentorr could decipher some of the goblinoid tongue that was similar to the Orcishey he was fluent in.

“Me throw wolf head, you hit with giant club,” the bigger of the three warty green creatures gargled.

“Ok Bruggit, me hit head hard,” another spoke.

The men looked on in amusement.

Rohan peered over at the ranger, "Hey Eeeagle think you could stop their ball game short?

“Already on it,” Eeeagle said with a grin.

The shapeshifter swung his bow into position, notching an arrow to the string. The trolls got into their positions, one throwing, the other hitting.

“One, two, three swing!” Bruggit shouted.

The wolf head went flying in the air. The troll with the giant club went to swing as the head came near, but in a flash it vanished. The three ugly beasts looked at each other in confusion. A second arrow struck Bruggit in the shoulder, as a black blast of energy hit him squarely in the chest. Kentorr and Rohan sprung into action. The dragonborn was on the second troll, slashing and thrusting, forcing the troll to back up, desperately parrying his swings with that giant club. The troll thought he saw an opening in the warlord’s defense, but Kentorr left that opening knowing the dumb beast would bite. A powerful swing left the troll with only one arm, the other wiggling on the ground, club still in hand.

A ghostly panther barreled into the final troll, raking its already ugly face. Ku lifted his hand sending forth a biting spear of black mist, blowing the troll into pieces.

Before the men could celebrate their small victory, the ground began to shake. Black crows shot forth from the surrounding trees, a pair of squirrels darted into a nearby brush. A low growl struck the psyche of each man on the trail. A giant troll, twice the height of even Kentorr, charged out of the thick marsh. His warty face was caked in slime and puss. His upper teeth looked more like fangs protruding over his lower lip.

Buster was indeed a hideous sight.

Kentorr didn’t hesitate, charging with abandon, Rohan’s panther close behind. Eeeagle notched one of Babby’s flaming arrows. Ku ran up the closest tree, looking to get a better angle at the giant troll. The men struck with perfect precision. Buster was ready though. He caught the panther in the air, squeezing the life out of it. The quick death hurt Rohan half as bad. Kentorr came in striking hard at Buster’s knee cap. The flash of a bursting arrow struck the troll’s hip directly in front of Kentorr. The brightness blinded the Warlord for just a moment. Buster screamed in agony, swinging down at the dragonborn knocking him ten feet back. Ku let fly a furry of blasts that struck the troll multiple times. Rohan blasted him simultaneously with his own wintery magic. Eeeagle notched his final blazing arrow, the missile struck Buster straight in the chest, blowing a large cavity where his sternum once was. His lungs and heart fell to the ground. The beast lurched forward gargling curses to the vicious party of warriors.

It was a quick death, and the men felt they had done the marsh justice that day eradicating the plague that was Buster. They traveled on for another few hours onto the plains of Erlin. Finally they made it to the base of Falcon’s Spire. In a patch of trees sat a cottage made of stone, the home of Bain Aris. The next stop on their quest. Each man in the group had one thing in mind.

Who lay behind that door, and would he have the answers they were looking for.

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Chapter 5 A Quake in the Group
Ku and Eeeagle

KU

Poor Ku, Poor Poor Ku. It was a sick prank, but a prank nonetheless. Rohan had an idea. The little gnome didn’t talk much and they all knew it. They thought that the best way to get him over his apparent apprehensive nature was to pull a “harmless prank.” Kentorr was all for it. Together there would be no stopping any idea they had. Of course Eeeagle tried, but it was a moot point, for in the end, Rohan and Kentorr got their way. They decided to set up camp one night north of the Trollmarshes. They had just defeated Buster the Troll and they were celebrating in the adventurers way. Kentorr pulled one of his many flasks he had found on his journey and started passing it around. Ku, being small in size was the first to pass out. Rohan and Kentorr picked up the little gnome and carried him west towards the MInotaur Straight. They found a nice sandy area and laid Ku down. They pulled out a shovel and took turns digging a hole that would be the perfect fit for a gnome. They slid Ku into the crevice, feet first. Threw the sand back in up to the Warlock’s shoulders. They took off into the woods, laughing the whole way. The next morning, the men looked for the gnome, but couldn’t find him. They forgot where they buried the little Warlock! Kentorr and Rohan looked at each other, shrugged, and went on in search of the cottage of Bain Aris.

EEEAGLE

The moonless night made her glow all the brighter. Eeeagle couldn’t remove his gaze from that beautifully bright creature. The ranger was on a night watch. His companions, Rohan and Kentorr finally passed out after a fun night of pulling pranks on Ku and drinking from one of Kenorr’s many flasks. The angelic woman made her way closer to the shapeshifter. He couldn’t stand, raise his bow, or even remove his gaze. She just kept coming closer and he didn’t want her to stop. Kentorr gave a great snort in his slumber, if Eeeagle heard it, then it didn’t affect him. The woman finally stood over the helpless ranger.

“My name is Torrina Goddess of Love.” She sang with such a melodic voice, it almost lulled Eeeagle to sleep. “Come with me, leave your friends behind. You can lay by my side and never have to fight a deadly battle again.”

Eeeagle couldn’t deny her reasoning or her beauty. He began to rise, his eyes never leaving that gaze. He followed her for what seemed a lifetime. He trailed and she led.

Into the darkness he went, leaving his companions behind.

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Chapter 6 The Monk
The Falcon's Ruby

You finally made it to the cottage of Bain Aris. He is an older elven man, tattooed head to toe.

After a short conversation, he gets into the deeper meaning of the Ruby you men are searching for. He says that its history dates almost 2000 years ago to the city of Farenthrall and the lands of Ninindar. At that time there was an elf of great power. His name was Eli Falcon. He was born with the innate powers of a sorcerer and took up the teachings and ways of the elven ranger. He soon became the sole protector of Farenthrall and Ninindar. One night he was lured out of his home by a beautiful woman. In the neighboring woods the woman turned into a huge red dragon. His name was Zatafear and he sought out Eli to find a rare chaos ruby. Eli was in a trance and just couldn’t say no. Soon he had recovered one, and Zatafear used its power to amass a massive army of crazed creatures. Before the dragon sent out his first attack, he killed Eli Falcon. In doing so, the elf’s soul was captured by the chaos ruby. Eventually the gooodly nations destroyed Zatafear. In doing so, his soul was trapped in another gem. This was an Emerald of Evil. With those two stones, Zatafear was able to control that frenzied army. The goodly kings tried to destroy the stones, but couldn’t without the attempter being killed. So they encased the stones at opposite sides of the realm.

Bain Aris says that the ruby is located at the top of Falcon’s Spire and that the only way to get it is through Eli Falcon’s famed bow. He says the only way to get it is to steal it from Farenthrall’s Chamber of History. With the bow they can defeat the form of Eli Falcon that will certainly appear when they steal the Ruby from its resting place.

The men travel to Farenthrall and steal the bow.

They head back to the base of Falcon’s Spire, and towards one very rude Rock Gnome settlement.

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Chapter 7 Eli Falcon
Journey to the Top

Up the narrow cliff side they went, like a snake sidewinding up a trail. A raging waterfall ran straight through the middle of the path. There ascent was soon met with the bullets from Gnomish slings. A barrage rained down as the small rock gnome embedment worked to protect their home. The men charged in with no remorse, tossing gnomes from the cliffside. Rohan and Kentorr made it clear they had a last chance, but everyone refused to let the group of warriors take there mountainside. So the men went, slaying and tossing anyone in there way. At one point Rohan was caught up traversing the waterfall’s stream and was swept all the way down. They battled on though, finally making it to a small cave where two female gnomish women hid, hiding their two babies. Drathrin was going to kill them, but the others argued against it, and they escorted the women to the top. The other gnome men had to sit by the wayside and watch as the adveturers walked upwards.

They soon were in front of a large door with the scrawling of the letters EF. They took the bow and used the inscription to open the portal. They entered the black, dank entrance. They soon stubled across very large serpants and then rock golems. They kept traveling though, until finally they were at the other side of the first level of the mountain. They traveled up a winding corridor onto the next chamber of the structure. It was a massive room, the celing was so high the men’s torches couldn’t cut through the darkness. Four giant pillared structures shot up through the middle of the room. A level sat on the floor. Instinctively the men tripped the lever, the mountain rumbled and then thousands of gallons of waters spewed into the room. The saw little footholds on the pillars and began to climb. The rumbling disturbed what were giant bats that swooped down at the adventurers. The men set in to action, using arrow, magic, and sword to defend their journey upwards and their lives. Soon the bats lay dead on the top of the water that was soon rising to higher levels. The men finally made it to the top where they climbed into the top chamber of the mountain.

In it was four catwalks in each corner, a circular level on each one. The three men, Rohan, Drathrin, and Kentorr made their way to the corners. In the middle was a giant carved pillar. On its’ top was a chain linking it to the ceiling. Rohan summoned his panther and the four men began turning the levers. The pillar rose, revealing a pedastal with a single ruby on it. Drathrin ran down and grabbed it. In an instand the air in the room became visible, it swirled and formed until the image of a man could be seen. It was Eli Falcon the men surely knew. The misty form solidified and spoke out. “How dare you disturb my sleep!” On that note the men sprung into action. An intense battle ensued. Eli Falcon layed down fireballs and arcs of lightning, but the men fought through it. Soon the man saw a rapier through his stomach and quickly disappeared.

On the way down, the men had a dilemma. They possessed the ruby, yet they had no idea what they should do. They pondered hard all the way back to Kalindrill.

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Chapter 8 What to Do
Roac or Kratious

The adventurers sat back at their small camp and discussed what would be the plan of action for this ruby. Roac obviously sent them on this quest, and it seemed simple enough. He would give them Laertes in exchange for the ruby. However, Roac seemed a little off. They knew something wasn’t right, and it would probably be safer going to Duke Kratious. Yet would everything just collapse if they went to the Duke? They most likely wouldn’t get the added reward from Roac, and Laertes may never be returned. Rohan decided to go and talk to Roac (without the ruby) and see what he had to say. Kentorr was to wait back at camp, and Drathrin was heading to Bain Aris to smoke his Pipe of Revelations.

Roac simply told Rohan that he needed the ruby, and soon. If not, they would not see Laertes. Rohan came back a little disappointed so Kentorr decided to take a stab at it, this time hiding the ruby on his body where few would find it. Rohan waited outside the back door of the barracks as Kentorr spoke with the captain of Kalindrill. However, Roac could sense the ruby and instead of talking, he commanded guards to capture Rohan outside the door and knock the two men out.

Back by Falcon’s Spire, Drathrin and Bain had an in depth conversation about the monk’s past and about the ruby’s origins. The monk then said that the two men are most likely in danger and he should make haste back to Kalindrill. He preseneted a small figurine of a great horse. He set it down on the trail outside and the little sculputure turned to mist and a great flaming horse came to life. Drathrin ran on with all speed to Kalindrill.

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Chapter 9 The Break Out
Danig's Rescue

Rohan and Kentorr awoke in the same barrack’s dungeon they had once been captive in. The only difference was the small gnome laying in the cell across from theirs. It was Danig, the Steward to Duke Kratious. The little man walked up to the cell and explained to him the events that had ensued.

Captain Roac had put the whole kidnapping on the blame of Kentorr and Rohan. He said they had taken Laertes and planned to double deal a fake rescue of the son to gain money from the Duke. The Duke believed Danig was in on the crime since he was the one who scouted out the men in the first place. That, tied in with the events at Lord Barringer’s mansion, has given the Duke proof enough to hang the men. Danig had other plans, he quickly produced a small lock pick out of his sleave and the men were quickly running down the halls of the dungeons.

The men had no weapons so when they burst into the lobby of the barracks, Danig sprinted straight for the evidence room. Rohan and Kentorr engaged the guards, luckily Rohan could still summon his panther. Kentorr, on the other hand, simply rolled over the first guard with his sheer weight. There was a surpising twist, the doors of the barracks opened and in ran a tall human Blackguard, clad in grey armor and weilding a greatsword. He charged past the Shaman and Warlord and attacked the next guard in line. The evidence room doors burst open and out came Danig mounted on a small clawfoot lizard. The battle in the lobby continued on. The large double doors in the front of the building crashed down as a giant flaming horse strode in carrying Drathrin and Eeeagle. The party was finally at full swing.

Danig led them into the back of the barracks, where Captain Roac and four other guards waited. The commander knew of the battle inside and waited to meet his captives. Danig spent little time talking and came on with two hand axes flying. The battle waged in full, Kalindrill guard versus rogue warriors. In the end, Captain Roac lay dead. The only thing left, a clue that would lead them deeper into their quest.

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