Champions of Erelia

Session 12: Elf Country
  • Stopped in Logging Hamlet 3472 from session 11
  • Minor social encounters with Flaffem’s family, etc.
  • Unsettling dreams from Eidris/Rudra (Ari’s character)
  • Went into the Southern Forest
  • Flaffem almost killed by bear after wandering off alone, saved by Charon Marduk
  • Established camp at the Human/Elf Boundary Line in an attempt to make contact with the elves; vote 3-2 to stay vs. advancing further in
  • While camped, encountered 2 trolls, dealt with handily
  • Advanced further into Elf Territory
  • Encountered a scouting party of elves, who did not believe 100% that there were trolls, even with evidence presented of troll heads. Headed by Randirlas.
  • Attempted to rendezvous with main vanguard platoon of elves to investigate the matter further – they were all dead, apparently by an Ogre Magi (cone of cold, whip/lacerations, impaling damage, etc.)
  • Ogre Mage apparently flew away
  • Arrived at Elf City (unknown name at the moment), session break at ~11:30.
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Session 11: Comings and Goings

Feora,

It has been some time since our last correspondence; things have been busy, however with your brother away preparing for the coming war, I feel it necessary to let you and the rest of the family know what has come to pass. Things are in motion now that we have no method of recourse from; we can consider ourselves fully committed to the cause that would save the defenseless from the oncoming tides of battle.

To the southeast the orcs muster in greater numbers than history can recount, and still the City-States quabble. Moren, for all his competence, is a warrior first, and political maneuvering in Idras has all but silenced his plea for help, though our Fatherland has more than enough resources to combat the oncoming threat.

To the south is Nethkas, where our first envoys have been sent. Ideally located, the city could be considered the gateway to the remainder of the south. It is one of the only bastions standing in the way of the orc threat and the agricultural centers of our people. Were the supplies from there to be disrupted, it would only be a matter of time before even Idras falls.

I have since found the people who Moren sent – a colorful lot, if such things could be said freely. He shows affections for the song elf; though, the companions appear more interested in esoteric matters or show no interest at all. It is worrying, but their ambivalence is similar to the overall attitudes towards this conflict. If things could go on the way they are without having to rally the farmer to wield a spear, and the scholar a sword; then that would be best.

Some may say that it is impossible to save all those that will fall in the line of battle. It is true – a harsh reality of war that not everybody can be saved from suffering.

Many men and women will die, soon.

In some ways, though, I can report some good news. Though corruption runs deep in Nethkas, I was able to successfully convict the Captain of the Guard, “Birch”, on accounts of embezzlement, extortion, racketeering, banditry, and more besides. An opportunist through and through, he nevertheless knows the warrens of the city more than anything. Rather than put him to a just execution, I have conscripted him to organize the defense of the city and to aid the militia and Moren both.

This is only the starting point, though. Moren’s agents did not possess true enough character – some of them had left as soon as I arrived, though whether they fear someone like myself or they have different priorities, I shall never know. What is most important is the oncoming war.

Feora, I know things may seem dire, however you and I are cousins, and like Moren, we are tied together by bonds deeper than blood. My father has gone to the north to secure aide from them and to tell them of the threat – though, whether or not they will be able to send aid in time remains to be seen. Messengers have been sent to the other cities bearing flags, carrying the message that the orcs are coming. Whether or not they believe us is up to them.

We are heading south, to the Elves, and then to speak with the Dwarves. There is a sorcerer of sorts who may help our cause, as well – whether or not he is reliable remains to be seen, but he could prove to assist in logistical support. We must tell every family, every town, that they are to go to the nearest city.

Soon enough, we will enter the southern woods, but I think the orcs have spotted us…

- Charon

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Turtle, Badger, & Wolf

Last time in “Champions of Erelia,” Ulysses was introduced to the party as an orphaned young lad with a heart full of vengeance. As this chapter of the story opens, we find the party heatedly debating what to do with the boy. Technically, Kiki had first claim to the boy. It was Haradriel, however, who renamed him Taro and began calling him her “squire.” For reasons yet unclear, Flaffem heartily opposed this, even going so far as to fight the boy – rather unsuccessfully, as it turned out Taro was quite capable and even succeeded in breaking Flaffem’s knee-caps. Eventually it was decided that Sir Moren would train the boy as his squire, and that Taro would follow the party only so long as they traveled with Sir Moren. Flaffem was amenable to this.

Abbess Petra had told the party that a strange man lived to the north that may be able to help them on their quest to retrieve the holy relic. This was confirmed by the cows of Redstone Abbey, who told Lindel that they had smelled “weird things” on the wind from the north. Abbess Petra gave the party a letter to give to the old man when they arrived. The elven wizard formerly known as Rudra and Flaffem elected to stay behind and “rest up” while the rest of the party took the hour’s journey to the north to visit this man.

The short journey northward took them to a shambling hut on a hill near a crossroads. The hut bore a menacing-looking “Closed” sign, which was universally ignored. At this time, Lindel used his “Speak With Animals” spell to converse with Beleg, who had begun sniffing the hill oddly. Beleg revealed that the hill smelled weird. Lindel, Flick, and Kiki stayed outside to investigate while Haradriel and Rohn ventured up to the hut.

Haradriel knocked on the door, and after hearing some loud cursing and general shuffling about, was greeted at the door by Atropos, a wizard – the “old man” Abbess Petra had told them about. The wizard was wearing dark robes and his night-cap, and indicated that he didn’t like to be woken up. Haradriel recounted to him the events of the recent battle at Redstone Abbey and delivered Abbess Petra’s letter. The wizard read the letter with some annoyance, and then proceeded to produce a business card, which he gave to Haradriel, and which magically always told the “current location” of the shop.

Meanwhile, outside, Flick had noticed, with her gnomish intuition, that the hill was under an illusion spell. In fact, the “hill” was actually a giant turtle onto which the wizard had somehow mounted his hut, probably with magic. After making alarming eye contact with the turtle, Flick ran into the hut.

Inside, Atropos had finished reading the letter. He explained to the party that he ran a magical shop, and proceeded to produce for the party 500 Atropos Fun Bucks. These he tossed all about, such that the party had to scurry about gathering them up. Atropos went on to explain that the Abbess had wished them to be well provisioned for the coming journey, and so they were free to spend these “bucks” in whatever manner they saw fit. After considerable deliberation, many scrolls and potions of healing were bought, as could be afforded.

Outside, Lindel too had noticed that the hill was in fact a giant turtle. Kiki attempted to speak with the turtle, and together, the two realized that the turtle was in fact, not just an enormous turtle disguised as a hill, but in fact a necromanced giant turtle disguised as a hill. Lindel and Kiki proceeded to scream about this, trying to warn those party members still inside Atropos’s shop.

Before leaving, Rohn inquired if Atropos was in the market for any specific magical items, and Atropos told him that yes, in fact he was searching for a flaming lawful heavy mace, and if the party was ever to come across one, they should bring it back to him.

Eventually, the party returned to Redstone Abbey to pick up their remaining party members before following the orcs. Flaffem revealed he’d had a meaningful, soul-searching discussion with Abbess Petra in which he learned that “there is always a right choice.” Somehow this didn’t exactly sink in.

The party set off for the south, trailing the orcs that had stolen the holy relic of Redstone Abbey. After two days’ traveling, they came across a halfling city that had clearly been ravaged by these orcs. The buildings had been razed, and many dead halflings were lying in the streets. Flick, Lindel, and Rohn set about trying to prepare a proper burial pyre for the deceased halflings, while Flaffem, Kiki, and the elven wizard formerly known as Rudra searched the burnt-out buildings for valuables. Kiki found an old set of manacles, and the elven wizard formerly known as Rudra found a high-quality lock. Haradriel and Beleg searched the city for survivors, aided by Sir Moren. In the remains of a cellar, they uncovered a small family of halflings – a mother and two children, all clearly frightened but unharmed.

The halfling family instantly became a matter of concern for Haradriel and Sir Moren- they could not be brought with the party for fear of the danger ahead, but they may not have been strong enough to make even the short trip to Redstone Abbey without help. Sir Moren solved this dilemma by lifting the halflings on his own horse and, by whispering some instructions to his faithful steed, setting them off in the direction of the Abbey. Sir Moren claimed the horse should catch up with them within three days’ time, and wrote out a note for Abbess Petra.

Once back on the road, Lindel discovered a badger’s burrow and managed to coax the creature out in order to have a word with it, using “Speak With Animals” again. The badger told Lindel that a “whole bunch” of two-legged things had been through about a day before – the orcs! Encouraged that they were still on the right trail, the party resumed their pursuit.

That evening, Sir Moren showed Haradriel some of the constellations that he had learned about from his father as a boy. He told her other some stories about his youth as well. Then, during the night, while Flaffem and Rohn were on watch, massive wolves stalked through the moonlight undetected. . .

Without warning, the huge wolves were upon our heroes. The first pulled Flaffem to the ground with its mighty jowls and bit him ferociously. The second boldly charged into camp and ravaged the sleeping Flick with a vicious bite, incapacitating her. Lindel, waking to this scene, immediately cast an Entangle spell (colloquially as “Rape Grass”), catching the hindquarters of the beast that was savaging Flick, and giving time to Kiki and Taro to distract the wolf from its prey. Rohn took this opportunity to heal the bleeding Flick.

The wolf that had attacked Flaffem on the outskirts of camp was tearing into him, and Flaffem lost consciousness. Before the beast could finish its ghastly work, however, Haradriel fired an arrow at it, which widely missed but which caught its attention. The dire wolf looked up to see Sir Moren rushing at it with his shield, pushing the beast and keeping its interest away from the wounded Flaffem. Soon, Haradriel began singing a song of valor and heroism that inspired Kiki and Taro, the later of whom was now under an Enlarge spell cast by the elven wizard formerly known as Rudra. They beat up the giant, immobile wolf together with renewed vigor.

The unwounded wolf caught Moren in its jaws, dragging him to the ground, but was interrupted by Lindel casting a “Charm Animals” spell upon it. The wolf was unsure of how to react, because her mate was presently in grave danger. Lindel cast his “Speak with Animals” spell and was able to convince the She-Wolf that the party would spare her mate if the wolves would promise to leave without further aggression. The She-Wolf agreed to these terms. Once her mate was subdued, the She-Wolf gave Lindel her heartfelt thanks for so peaceably arranging this. Meanwhile, Moren managed to stop Flaffem’s bleeding with some minor healing magic, and then delivered him to Rohn for further care.

The party fell into an uneasy rest, waiting for their wounds to heal. . .

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The Burning of Redstone Abbey
Session 3

Previously in “Champions of Erelia,” the party had arrived safely at Redstone Abbey, thus completing their first quest of wine delivery (remember?). Captain Jacobson rode out to greet them and escorted them through the gates of the abbey.

Once inside, our heroes were invited to the initiation ceremony of the new priests, which would take place at noon that day. At this point, the party split up for a few hours – some went to explore the town, while others approached the chapel to meet with Abbess Petra.

Abbess Petra explained about the history of the abbey. After this, Haradriel had time before the ceremony for the now-traditional banter with a shop clerk. This time, however, the shop-clerk was a young woman and priestess; the only thing Haradriel managed to get for free was a Peloran Holy Symbol, which she immediately believed to hold special powers.

After this, everyone joined together to attend the ceremony at noon (with the exception of Flick, who attempted to rob the townsfolk with the aid of a rat – which ultimately proved to be unsuccessful). The ceremony was a beautiful affair, and the party was witness to a young cleric named Rohn getting his priesthood. “Hooray! Well done!” There was much rejoicing and revelry after the event. Haradriel played her lute at the inn well into the evening and earned two gold pieces for doing so. Many members of the party stayed up to celebrate while others turned in for the night. Flaffem became very drunk, and after Haradriel went upstairs to her room, Flaffem made an unsuccessful attempt to woo her again through her door. This resulted in several crushed fingers after Haradriel closed the door on him; to be fair to Flaffem, however, Haradriel was duly impressed that he had not called her “Harry,” as had become his habit.

Later that night, after everyone had gone to bed, a sudden scream carried on the wind roused Kiki from her sleep. She began to shout, and jumped out of the inn window into the street. Her shouts awoke Flaffem and Lindel, who in turn made a commotion as they raced downstairs to see what was happening.

Gradually the rest of the party awoke (though Flick was in a very deep sleep indeed) and stumbled downstairs to discover that the abbey was under attack! Several hovels were on fire, and orcs were plainly in view by the light of the burning village. Screams of peasants pierced the night air.

Kiki had made it up onto the wall of the abbey and began fighting off the orcish attackers with great verve, trying to reclaim the gatehouse. Flaffem, carrying Lindel on his back, quickly joined the fray, battling with the orcs in the streets. The wizard again made Flaffem into a giant, greatly increasing his effectiveness at fighting. Soon Haradriel made it down to the street, having met Rohn on the inn staircase, and the two immediately began doing what they could to help. Rohn cured the wounds that Flaffem had already suffered. Haradriel began singing a rousing song, a song encouraging bravery and teamwork, meant to inspire the abbey-folk to work together to save their homes. Haradriel began gathering water to douse the flames, equipping Beleg with buckets full of water too.

The violent battle continued. Before Kiki could seal the gate, a large cloaked figure rode in on an enormous wolf-beast. This was clearly the Orcish Leader. His black cloak swirled about him menacingly as his wolf, large as a horse, fiercely stampeded through the village towards the chapel.

Meanwhile, Rohn was witness to a tragic scene: as their hovel burned around them, two peasants collapsed into the street, on fire, burning alive, only to be cut down by an attacking orc. A small boy-child fell to his knees beside them, sobbing, “Mother! Father!” Rohn did his best to comfort the lad.

To everyone’s surprise, the boy went into a frenzied rage, grabbed a morning-star off of Flaffem and charged forward towards the rampaging Orc Leader. He was able to land a solid blow but the Orc Leader merely glowered at the boy and continued riding, outpacing him easily. The boy was soon hampered by what was meant to be a helpful “Grease” spell, cast by the wizard.

At the front door of the church, Captain Jacobson was fighting with two of his guards, attempting to repel attackers. Despite their great efforts, the Orc Leader made his way to them, and leaping from his wolf-beast, drove Captain Jacobson to the ground with his axe.

Haradriel, who had been busy trying to extinguish a burning hovel, was immediately alerted to the perilous position of Captain Jacobson. She instructed Beleg to continue doing her best to put out the flames, and then ran to the aid of Captain Jacobson. Beleg tried to follow her instructions by peeing on the fire.

Haradriel reached Captain Jacobson’s side and was able to cut down an orc with a single well-timed stab of her rapier. By now the Captain was barely clinging to life. Haradriel immediately forgot the battle around her and began applying healing herbs to the Captain.

Flaffem continued to bash orcs, but Lindel finally left his back and headed to the stable to save his horse, Sterling. At the same time, Kiki continued to fight with incredible Monkish alacrity. Flick headed into the chapel to stop the Orc Leader, and managed to momentarily stun him by throwing acid onto him, but ultimately, the Orc Leader was able to break away and jump back through the window, landing on his mount, and fleeing the scene.

A chase ensued. With Flaffem’s help, Kiki was finally able to close the front gate of the abbey. However, enough damage had been done to the village and the wall that the orcs were able to escape. They rallied to the now terrifying sound of the Orc Leader’s horn.

The enemies had stolen the holy Relic from its place inside the chapel!

The village around them was burning, but the heroes had defended the majority of the peasants. The heroes set about putting out the fires and healing the wounded. Abbess Petra came out of the chapel and helped with healing and restoring a modicum of order.

Captain Jacobson soon regained consciousness. While he was touched that Haradriel had risked her life for his, he soon despaired at having lost the Relic he had sworn to protect. The Abbess attempted to calm him by assuring him that as he lived, there was hope.

As the flames died away, the heroes heard a familiar voice at the now-closed gates of the Abbey. Haradriel recognized the voice, and rashly threw caution to the wind to open the gate for Sir Moren and his company. Sir Moren, having arrived just exactly too late, was horrified by what he saw. “We were too late!” he cried in agony.

Haradriel eagerly recounted to him the events of the night. Sir Moren met with Abbess Petra and Captain Jacobson to gain further intelligence, and plan for the future.

In the streets, Kiki went up to the boy-child who had fought the Orc Leader so impetuously. Impressed by his hard-coredness, he was invited to join the party. Somberly, he agreed.

As the camera began to pan out on our heroes, the question could be heard, “So, what is your name, boy-child?”

An answer comes: “Ulysses.”

TO BE CONTINUED!

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Champions of Erelia: FIRST BLOOD
Session 2

Previously in “Champions of Erelia,” we were preparing to enter into our first combat. Flaffem had noticed the approaching of the bugbear’s jowls. This was the day Flaffem had been waiting for – in his own words, his “chance to prove himself to another rapist.” Drawing his weapon, he boldly proclaimed, “I have to rape that bugbear behind us!”

Alerted to the bugbear’s presence, the startled party leaped into action. Combat took place – in a blur, two more bugbears appeared, Flick threw acid onto one, and Haradriel (still surprised and completely harmless) was near-mortally wounded when a stray javelin stabbed her through the abdomen. The first bugbear was hit by the spell “Grease” (thrown by an elven wizard formerly known as Rudra). This served to heighten Flaffem’s excitement all the more. In short, all the party members acted quite bravely (with the exception of Haradriel who spent the combat gravely wounded and cowering behind Beleg the goat).

Flaffem drew First Blood, and collected a lock of hair as a trophy from his kill. Much was looted from corpses. Elder Tom removed the javelin from Haradriel’s body. As it happened, a watchtower was quite close to the combat site. This was determined to be worth exploring, and an eager Flaffem took his quarry inside and bolted the door behind him. Flick scaled the tower and on the second floor, found a chest filled with silver, as well as an interesting hour-glass. So enthralled was she with this treasure that she failed to notice the three human guards’ corpses littering the room – two of which were horribly maimed. The wizard’s raven, Jacques, alerted Flick to this grim sight. It was determined that the bugbears must have taken over the watchtower for their own nefarious purposes.

Meanwhile, downstairs, Flaffem heard the scream of Flick finding the corpses. He immediately lost his. . . nerve, and gave up on raping the bugbear, brutally killing it instead. Flaffem dismembered the body, and claimed more grisly trophies.

Outside, Haradriel (having regained her faculties) and Kiki explored the area surrounding the tower, and in the wreckage of an old wagon found four flasks of “alchemist fire.”

Once everything was looted, the party continued on its way. The next day, they arrived safely at the winery town, Winery Hamlet #28. The party is greeted as old friends and given rooms for the evening. With her friendly charm, Haradriel succeeded in getting free wine casks for the party. She also received healing and some special herbs from the local alchemist.

In the morning, Flaffem confronts Haradriel with something that may have been intended as a proposition. Haradriel misinterpreted this and some awkwardness was avoided. Meanwhile, Kiki met a young dwarf at the tavern while “gathering information.” The dwarf was called Lindel, and he turned out to be a most interesting fellow. After some witty repartee, they became friends – and indeed, soon everyone was good friends with Lindel. Lindel was interested in arts and crafts, which were determined to be useful skills and endeared him to everyone. When Haradriel learned that Lindel was a druid, she became very interested in his ability to speak with animals, hoping he could communicate with Beleg. Lindel was somewhat confused about Haradriel’s gender, but was an easygoing enough fellow and was happy to be befriended. So, he joined the party.

The next evening, after setting off on the last leg of their journey, our heroes were camping when the thundering of hooves was suddenly heard in the distance. This was enough to wake everyone. A band of four knights rode into camp – two men who could be twins, a burly barrel-chested chap, and a handsome young knight dressed all in white. This last knight turned out to be Sir Moren, whom Haradriel recognized with her “Bardic Knowledge.” Sir Moren was revealed to be a minor noble, hailing from Idras – and in Haradriel’s words, “one handsome babe.”

Sir Moren explained to the party that he and his men were on a very particular quest, investigating the reports of unprecedented attacks in the area. According to Sir Moren, these attacks were particularly unusual because the area was known to be generally calm. He hinted that he had a theory about what was behind these attacks, but remained mysterious about it. During their conversation, Sir Moren and Haradriel were continually and rudely interrupted by Flaffem’s shouts of protest. Haradriel did manage to tell him about their previous encounter with bugbears. Sir Moren seemed interested in this. Before he and his men rode off to investigate this incident, Haradriel gifted her extra bottle of wine to him, and asked him not to forget her. Gazing deep into her eyes, Sir Moren nodded intently.

While this was going on, Lindel used his “Speak With Animals” spell to talk with Sir Moren’s horse. The horse told him some interesting things, such as his liking for specific kinds of food, how he missed female horses, and how they had been ridden in one direction for some days but then turned and went in a different direction. Lindel was deeply interested in this, and seemed to feel quite content with this conversation.

The next night, quite late, the party was asleep but for Flaffem and Lindel who were on watch. With their superior night-vision, the half-orc and the dwarf easily spotted the dark figures encroaching in on the campground. Flaffem alerted the others to the danger by screaming, “They’re coming to rape us!” – and advanced with his shield raised.

Combat ensued. During this, Lindel summoned a wolf to help fight against the bad guys. The wizard made Flaffem giant, and he proceeded to crush all those enemies who crossed his path. Lindel enchanted even the grass around them to entangle the foul beasts into submission. Haradriel began to sing, a song of courageous deeds and inspiring bravery, but alas – she was struck through by yet another stray javelin. Her heart broke a little inside.

After much brave fighting, a horn sounded in the distance. The enemies dispersed immediately, except for the mighty leader who was viciously killed by the strong, huge Flaffem. Flaffem was able to loot a valuable-looking chain-shirt from this.

In the morning, after Elder Tom had once again successfully removed a javelin from Haradriel, the party arrived at their ultimate destination, Redstone Abbey. They were greeted by Captain Jacobson, Guardian of the Relic, who made everyone feel a comforting sense of peace and security. Further, he magically healed the party, deeply impressing Haradriel while arousing the ire of jealous Flaffem.

Captain Jacobson led the party through the gates of the Abbey. Everyone awaited eagerly to see what would be in store for them at this mystical place. . . .

TO BE CONTINUED!

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New Beginnings. . .
Session 1

In the first session, we learned of the backstory of Erelia.

The first scene in modern times opened upon Haradriel, trying to bargain with an old shopkeeper. She was trying to sell her old explorer’s outfit as the Enchanted Vestments of King Jarbok IV. This ultimately was unsuccessful, but with a little help from a passing stranger (Flick), the shopkeeper did eventually give Haradriel store credit. With this store credit, she purchased a goat and named it Beleg.

That night, as it happened, all the PCs happened to attend a town meeting in Logging Hamlet 3472. The council of elders needed to send a group of people to make a pilgrimage to an abbey in the northeast. This involves bringing the wood to be made into special wine-casks by the master barrel maker. This biannual pilgrimage was part of a ritual to ordain new Peloran priests at the abbey. Normally, this trip was undertaken by Elder Tom, but he was recently struck ill. Flick, as a high-status member of the community, was given money by Elder Tom’s daughter Tomina to recruit a traveling party for the expedition. Eventually, Flick set off with Haradriel, Flaffem, Kiki, and Rudra. Elder Tom came along because it was suggested the country air might be good for him.

The party was entrusted with an ox and cart, and set off on their important expedition. The first day out met with no significant incident. On the second night out, Haradriel was on watch when she heard an unidentifiable sound and a glowing light off in the distance. Easily distracted, she convinced herself that it would be best to leave her watch and investigate.

In a clearing on the edge of a wooded thicket, Haradriel discovered some goblins taking part in what looked like a goblin ritual, which consisted mostly of chanting and dancing around a fire. Her charisma and naivete made her an easy friend of the scheming goblin leader, Ur’Mok (also known as Ur’Mok, Great and Mighty). She took part in this interesting ritual by playing music with her lute.

Meanwhile, back at the camp, Flick, who had been awoken when Haradriel left the camp and who had been keeping watch, became concerned that four hours might be too long to be gone. She turned the watch over to Kiki, and followed the distant sound of music to find Haradriel. Upon finding the ritual taking place, Flick discretely snuck around the clearing to hide inside the goblins’ mud hut. There, she found a little money and a box of strange powder. With her keen gnomish-nose and knowledge of alchemy, she determined this to be flash powder, which would make a noise and impressive pyrotechnical display when thrown into fire. Immediately Flick understood that Haradriel had been captivated by goblin trickery. Using her spells Ghost Sound and Dancing Lights, from her hiding place in the hut she “summoned up a spirit” to tell Haradriel to return to camp.

Unfortunately, this was too effective, and succeeded in convincing Ur’Mok that he needed to return as well and help the party. Accompanied by Ar’Mok, Ur’Mok’s burly goblin lackey, everyone returned to camp. Ur’Mok, upon learning of Elder Tom’s illness, further became convinced that his purpose was to heal the elder.

The next day, the expedition continued, and the party arrived at the home of the Master Barrel Maker. With little fuss, Elder Tom found lodging for the party. Kiki asked for alms in the street to raise money for a monastery. This was somewhat successful.

Elder Tom was in fact somewhat cured by Ur’Mok’s ministrations. Soon it was time for Ur’Mok to leave. Haradriel bid her goblin friends a teary farewell and promised she would always remember their spiritual experience together. Ur’Mok gave Haradriel the advice that druids with powerful magic would be able to teach Beleg to speak, if she so wished. Armed with this knowledge, the party again departed for their next destination.

Another day passed on the road without any trouble. As the party approached a watch-post with a little stone bridge, Flaffem suddenly became aware of something moving in the tall grass to the east. With spittle dripping from its evil jowls, a bugbear lurched forward, glaring menacingly at the party. Ready for anything, Flaffem’s eyes narrowed, and his hand went to the hilt of his sword. . . .

TO BE CONTINUED!

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