Category: Conjunction of Planes

Egremont to Blackbridge

Previously, the adventurers made their way from Bournemouth to Egremont on The Old Queen, a caravel carrying several passengers. Halfway through the trip a strange fog blanketed the entire river, slowing the caravel down to a crawl. The ship was attacked by several muck dwellers. Finally, another creature, stealthily moving through the fog appeared and tried to take Muirgheal away. The adventurers managed to defeat the creatures and discover that upstream, a woman in a bright blue cloak was observing the attack from a small boat. With the attack a failure, the woman departed.

Second Day, First Ride, Summer Flame, 1262

(Silvermoon is waning. Bloodmoon is waxing. Darkmoon is waxing.)

The Old Queen slowly sails up the river, slowly winding around the low sloping hills of the Bourne valley while the wind soothes your scrapes and bruises. The afternoon sun glitters off the surface of the water as the first towers of a proud castle looms into view over the crest of an upcoming hill. As the caravel inches forward the rest of the castle, settled on a hill on the southern bank of the river, comes into view. It has high walls which obscure much of the castle. Two round towers, part of the castle’s wall, are standing guard on the river. Part of an impressive bridge juts out between them high above the river. It looks like it was destroyed long ago and now serves as a vantage point to survey the river.

Across the river a broken structure made of similar stones, commemorating where the castle once connected to the northern bank. Ferries now go up and down between the embankments, shipping people, cattle and goods across. An old, cobbled road still departs from the broken bridge, heading north for several hours to meet up with the Silesian road.

Over the last couple of centuries several thousand homes have nestled themselves in the shadows of the castle walls, expanding outward from the castle’s epicentre. Rows of water mills line the south bank of the river, directly west of the castle hill. White sails of tall windmills can be seen dotting the hinterland to the south. To the east of the castle hill a modest harbour allows for the Old Queen to dock.

For those of you who have travelled the countryside, the city of Egremont is a fair sized city, for those of you who only really know Kingsport and perhaps Bournemouth, Egremont looks like a quaint village.

Late in the afternoon, Egremont came into view. A castle sat proudly on the southern river bank, with several thousand homes spreading out into the hinterland from the castle’s epicentre. The caravel was docked at a modest harbour and captain Lorne began to arrange for the empty barrels he had been carrying for the Egremont coopers to be unloaded by dock workers. In the meantime, Lady Kathleen, her children, and her sworn sword Dame Idonia disembarked.

There was some confusion about how long the caravel would stay in port, but once it became clear that it would depart for Blackbridge within two hours, several of the adventurers decided to go into Egremont and find a place to eat. Ridley asked permission for her to join the adventurers, which captain Lorne granted.

Emrys remembered a tavern by the name of The Broken Bridge, where people were sitting outside in the late afternoon sun. Food was ordered and Luca used his magic to chill the cups of their ale. Ridley, who also had gotten a mug of ale, marvelled at the trick and enjoyed the cool drink. Meanwhile, Emrys was observing the conversations of the people around them and concluded that there had been a string of seemingly random killings in Egremont which had the otherwise cheerful people worried.

Eventually the adventurers came back to the harbour and found that a halfling merchant by the name of Travik had come aboard, together with loads of produce (e.g. potatoes, onions, leeks) which he was planning on selling in Blackbridge. Besides Travik, a trio of barbers had come aboard in order to travel upriver, as well as an exotic woman of striking beauty.

The Old Queen quickly went underway once everyone was back on board and it began to travel up the river Teign. The landscape changed from the fair fields of Fairfields, into the wooded area of the Riverlands. Both banks of the river became heavily forested.

During the trip, the adventurers had an opportunity to talk to some of the other passengers. Travik turned out to know about Pinefall because he had met Lord Destan when he travelled upriver several rides previous. When asked whether he had been to Pinefall, he denied, mostly due to the brewing trouble with a brigand group by the name of the Procyon.

Luca and Emrys took the opportunity to talk to the exotic woman, who was known as mistress Esmeralda d’Ortega, a Arroyan abjurer and representative of the Circle of Mages in Kingsport. Emrys explained that the adventurers had met another abjurer from the circle when the Lyrian queen had invited Emma to court in order to bless a well. She claimed that it was likely Dr. Arkenward, the royal abjurer. The conversation meandered a bit, but the adventurers managed to learn that Esmeralda was on her way to Blackbridge in order to take the Silesian road to Kingsport from there. She was to summon her mount there, which greatly interested Luca and mildly interested Emrys. She promised to show them how to do so once they arrived.

As the Old Queen sails further north up the Teign tributary the landscapes changes considerably from the fair fields of Fairfields. The golden fields of wheat make way for the more forested hills of the Riverlands. Both banks of the river become densely wooded and the occasional deer and fawn can be seen drinking at the water’s edge from time to time. Birds can be heard to chirp, coo and warble, echoing across the river valley.

The setting sun of the late hour of the day causes the wind to pick up, which provides some much needed relief from the heat. Ridley climbs down from the mast and goes to the rear deck to stand by captain Lorne and draw one of his thick arms around her, nestling into the crook of his arm. Roddy starts rubbing the ache in one of his shoulders, while Neiman keeps an eye out over the river from the front deck.

Occasional signs of logging can be seen along the river. In wide coves the long stems of oak and ash trees float, patiently waiting for barges to take them down stream to be worked in the saw mills at Egremont.

Finally, a large stone bridge comes into view, arching over the river where the Silesian road cuts through the forest. While impressive, the bridge is too low for the caravel to pass underneath. This is as far as the Old Queen will be able to take you.

On the eastern bank of the river, directly south of the bridge, the forest opens up to reveal the town of Blackbridge. Unwalled, consisting of perhaps a thousand wooden homes, all nestled close together on the soggy flats of the east bank, the town seems well camouflaged.

Half a dozen small, wooden piers jut out onto the river. They are barely large enough to dock a boat the size of the Old Queen, but captain Lorne expertly manoeuvres the caravel towards the dock, ordering the sails to be lowered. The boat is quickly tied to the dock and the dock hands start unloading the cargo unto the pier. Several ox-driven carts stand in the soggy, black mulch near the pier, ready to carry the goods onward.

The town seems to have taken its name from the bridge and the dark soil it connects on either side.

Once The Old Queen was docked on the small pier of Blackbridge the goods were unloaded onto carts under Travik’s watchful eye. Rickard and Willow of Allenham disembarked and walked into town to find lodgings. Emma and Astrid did the same while carrying the chest of valuables. James decided to join them while Emrys and Luca left to go to the bridge together with Esmeralda to watch her perform her summoning ritual. But not before Luca conjured up a little crystal flower for Ridley as a parting gift, something she was delighted by.

Esmeralda, Emrys and Luca found a secluded spot in the woods just off the Silesian road for her to perform her ritual. Surprisingly, it didn’t take her much effort to draw a swirling fog from all directions, which formed into the shape of a large stallion. Over the course of several minutes the shape started to gain more and more detail, until it spontaneously coalesced into a real, live chestnut stallion. Esmeralda explained that the stallion was a paragon she summoned from the Feywilde.

When Esmeralda bid her farewell and departed west down the Silesian road, Emrys and Luca went back to the dock and into town to find The Grove, the only inn to be found in Blackbridge. Once there, they had found that the others had already arranged for lodgings in a common room and some delicious food. The lodgings were simple and spartan, but the food was luxurious.

During dinner the adventurers learned that a contingent of crownsguard and knights had set off from the capital to escort an emissary to parlay with Lord Mirek Radowan, whose house had stood in open rebellion to the throne ever since the crown’s refusal to meet house Radowan’s demands for more forces to protect the eastern border.

There was little entertainment in the small, forest town, and so people decided to head to the common room in order to get some rest. Luca and Astrid remained behind in the main room, where Luca read and Astrid drank. They noticed a crownsguard come into The Grove and speak to Keogh and his wife Roswyn, the proprietors of the inn. After speaking to one another in hushed tones he walked over to the common room to find James.

The conversation was short, but spiralled out of control quickly. The crownsguard was captain Randall of the Blackbridge guard and wanted to know more about the dagger that James was carrying, claiming that similar weapons had been used in the assassinations of random people in Blackbridge. James explained that he had received the dagger as payment for services rendered by a man named Barnaby, operating an alchemy shop in Bournemouth.

James began to get annoyed when captain Randall insisted that James reveal his right shoulder, seemingly looking for a mark, or a tattoo which he found significant. When James revealed no such tattoo he insisted that James disarm and accompany him to The Black House. James refused. Captain Randall repeated his command and James refused again, insulting the captain’s intelligence on top of it. Clearly not a man used to having his orders refused he decided to take a more drastic approach in order to try and bring James to heel.

Luca and Astrid, who could hear the raised voices from the main room, came to investigate what the ruckus was about, while Emma tried to stay out of the conflict. Emrys on the other hand was trying to calm the situation by trying to get the captain to engage in conversation. The captain refused to do so and kept ordering James to disarm, which James refused to do. Eventually, James tried to flee the scene, afraid that the captain would attack him. Both Luca and Emrys started slinging spells at the captain, so when the captain pursued James who had run out of the inn, they decided they had probably overstayed their welcome too. Emma and Astrid stayed behind.

James lead the captain, who was wearing heavy armour and had no way of catching up with the fleet-footed rogue, on a wild goose chase through the town, eventually losing him and doubling back. He met up with Emrys and Luca who had tried to head towards the river through the forest. They decided to rest and come up with a plan.

Emrys, who was still afflicted by the strange, radiant glow coming from his eyes, decided that now that it was getting darker outside, he shouldn’t be trying to sneak around town, and so wanted to stay behind. James and Luca snuck back into town. They decided to head to The Black House to see if any search efforts were being organised and to figure out what had happened to Emma and Astrid, after James had discovered that they were no longer at The Grove.

Sneaking to the back of The Black House, they found a room with a closed window in which Astrid and Emma were in conversation with captain Randall and an known elderly woman. From where they were sitting they could only hear the woman’s side of the story, and it seemed that the woman was eager to talk to the fugitives about the weapon. James and Luca decided to knock on the front door of The Black House. The door was opened by a young guard who immediately recognised the fugitives and yelled for the captain. Before the captain could appear, James issued a demand to parlay at the bridge in one hour, before dashing off. Luca had to trouble keeping up with James but managed to get away.

Returning to Emrys they had explained what had happened and the three of them decided to rendez-vous at the bridge an hour later. There they found Emma, Astrid, the elderly woman, the captain and several guards. Emma and the elderly woman stepped forward and approached James.

When the elderly woman, who clearly spoke with authority, suggested that it was unwise to disobey the captain’s commands, James immediately objected, telling her not to start laying down the law. She kindly reminded him that she was, in fact, the law in Blackbridge, at which point he once again refused to accept the situation and decided to walk off. Luca, who had stayed back said that this wasn’t going to resolve anything. James gave Luca the dagger and let him deal with matters instead, believing that the authorities were looking to frame him for the murders which had plagued the small town.

Luca parlayed with the elderly woman, agreeing to hand over the dagger for divination by the town sage. If that would exonerate James, she agreed that he would be free to go, but James’ refusal to recognise the authority of the town guard meant that he was no longer welcome in Blackbridge. Luca wanted to be present when the sage performed his divination ritual, to make sure that the sage would speak the truth. And so a deal was struck.

The Old Queen

Previously, the adventurers wrapped up all the loose ends in Bournemouth. They engaged Lady Ulrikke von Rosenberg in conversation about her research into strange humanoid creatures stalking the countryside of the Daerlan empire. They could push the research of the frustrated margravine into a useful direction and potentially making a new ally.

The adventurers also spent some time preparing for their upcoming trip by purchasing supplies for their trek towards Pinefall in the foothills of the Silverpines. This included a visit to Alfred Barnaby’s shop to see about some healing elixirs. They found the scatterbrained man unable to reach his supplies due to a ghostly apparition having invaded his basement laboratory. The adventurers went down and confronted the apparition, which turned out to be a pesta, a harbinger of plagues and blights, which they managed to defeat, but not without a stiff fight. One in which Emrys was strangely transformed into a radiant, almost celestial version of himself!

Second Day, First Ride, Summer Flame, 1262

(Silvermoon is waning. Bloodmoon is waxing. Darkmoon is waxing.)

The adventurers readied themselves to depart from the River Stone, heading out to the harbour in order to board a boat taking them upstream towards Egremont with the final stop being Blackbridge. Falka met them outside the inn and walked them to the harbour, bidding them a safe journey.

The ship Astrid had arranged passage on was an eighty foot, two-masted caravel, with triangle, cream-coloured sails. Astrid and Emma, who had carried the company’s chest of riches from the inn to the harbour carried it up the gangplank, at the top of which they were met by two of the crew; Neiman, a blonde-haired man with an even tan and an easy smile, and Ridley a young girl who was easily mistaken for a boy, with a cleft lip and a speech impediment. After Astrid asked permission to embark they were invited aboard with a very warm welcome.

The adventurers settled themselves on the forward deck, where Emrys, who was still wearing a heavy hood and a thick blindfold to hide the strange malady which was afflicting him, sat down with all of their belongings and started strumming his lute, playing a melancholic melody.

Everyone got a quick primer of the rules aboard the ship; the rear deck was off-limits, but the passengers were invited to walk around the main and forward decks. The passengers were also allowed to take comfort in the forward hull if they wanted to, but Astrid warned that it might cause some sea sickness if the weather turned, which prompted Luca to take his place in the middle of the main deck, determined not to fall ill.

James asked whether he would be allowed to climb the main mast and Neiman differed authority to Ridley, who looked James up and down and nodded her approval. James took an interest in the young girl and asked her to show him how to climb the mast, which she happily did. She showed herself to a dexterous and excellent climber.

When Neiman found out that Emma was a priestess of Sedna he insisted on introducing her to the captain on the rear deck. He turned out to be an old, broad shouldered, one eyed man, whose old facial scars read like a map of the world. Neiman invited Emma to bless the ship, the crew and their voyage, which she reluctantly did.

The last crew member was Roddy, a plain-faced, dark haired man who didn’t possess the same charisma or willingness to converse as his crew-mate Neiman.

Several other passengers were aboard the ship; a young lady of noble birth, travelling with her infant daughter and a young, troublesome lordling by the name of Simon. They were accompanied by a middle-aged knight by the name of Dame Idonia, whose half-plate armour and shield were gilded in vermilion, showing her to be of the Order of the Shield.

The last two passengers were a young couple; Rickard of Allenham and his young wife Willow, both commoners on their way from Bournemouth where Rickard studied botany at the academy, to Allenham where they made their home.

Captain Lorne ordered the two bosuns, Roddy and Neiman, to raise the sails while Ridley untied the ropes from the pier. Pretty soon the sails caught wind and the boat started to inch forward. Expertly the captain steered the boat onto open water before turning back towards the city and angling to go up-river along the southern fork of the river, getting a great view of the southern end of Ioun’s Isle and eventually sailing past the Landsdown auction house, where the adventurers saw the two regular guards stand at attention, boiling in the early morning sunlight. Eventually the ship left Bournemouth behind as it slowly zig-zagged upriver.

Rickard and Willow came up to Luca, attracted by the tome he was reading and tried to make small talk with him. Rickard introduced himself and his wife and explained that he was a student at the faculty of natural philosophy. He was delighted to hear Luca’s lie about being a mage studying at the Circle of Mages in Kingsport. The conversation quickly died out and Rickard excused himself and his wife and they went to introduce themselves to the noble lady and her guard.

In the meantime, lord Simon had taken to running around the deck, kicking over buckets, uncoiling ropes and – his favourite – hanging off the side of the railing so far that he could fall overboard at any moment.

Emma, who had decided to use the several hours to Egremont to meditate and further attune herself to Muirgheal, found herself increasingly frustrated by the young lordling and used a sliver of Sedna’s power to project her voice in an impressive way and catch the lordling’s attention. As soon as she did, she saw that she had frightened him significantly, and saw that Dame Idonia was advancing on her quickly. She took a knee in front of the young lord and kindly implored him to obey his lady-mother, who had been commanding him to behave ever since embarking onto the Old Queen.

That seemed to calm the young lord down for a little while, giving Emma some time to focus on Muirgheal. Unfortunately, she felt like the intelligence inside the weapon was at a constant distance from her and she wasn’t able to reach it.

The beautiful Fairfields countryside rolled by, showing off the incredible wheat fields and grazing pastures of the Bourne valley. The different lands and pastures partitioned off from one another by ancient, moss-covered, dry brick walls, like a fertile mosaic.

Luca had grown dissatisfied with being in the hot sun and had decided to take refuge inside the forward hull, confident that he would be able to stomach the motion of the ship without having an eye on the horizon. Inside, he started experimenting with some of the simple cantrips and the effect that lyrium crystals would have on them. He quickly concluded that lyrium was able to act as an arcane focus as well as a universal spell component, which was valuable knowledge to have gained from such short experimentation.

James was the first to notice a strange bank of fog coming up along the river. The crew members picked up on it swiftly and the captain ordered the sails to be lowered so that the ship would slow down. While the bosuns were taking down the sails, Ridley climbed out onto the prow to keep an eye on any possible rocks, banks or debris.

When the ship was completely enveloped in mist, a cry could be heard out followed rapidly by a splash. Little lord Simon had fallen overboard and was in need of rescue. At the same time, malicious humanoid creatures climbed aboard the ship and attacked the crew and passengers.

Luca knew them to be drowners, sometimes called muck-dwellers, a hold-over from the last Conjunction of Planes. They were a nuisance in small numbers, only troubling lone fishermen, but they were climbing up the side of the ship in numbers larger than to just be a nuisance.

Emma didn’t hesitate, took Muirgheal in hand and jumped overboard to rescue lord Simon from the drowners who were pulling him further into the depths with every second. In the meantime, the rest engaged the drowners swarming the ship.

Emma valiantly fought off the drowners and almost managed to free lord Simon from their clutches, but the underwater surroundings were new terrain for her to do battle in, despite being greatly aided by Muirgheal. Eventually she succumbed to her wounds just as the last of the drowners on the ship were defeated. Astrid came to the rescue and carried lord Simon to the ship and went back for Emma and Muirgheal.

In the meantime, a new creature had appeared, this one a master of evasion using illusions and invisibility to move through the fog. Its patterns across the ship suggested that it was trying to find something, eventually settling on Muirgheal as it was being assaulted on all sides by the passengers and crew. During this fight, Luca took a chance and cast one of his eldritch spells using a lyrium crystal as an arcane focus and saw the effects of the spell enhanced significantly!

As it tried to escape overboard, James, who had had doggedly been pursuing the strange creature, launched an arrow into it and saw the creature’s body bob to the surface of the water. He dove into the clear waters and caught up with Muirgheal before it reached the bottom.

When he resurfaced he noticed that with the death of the second creature, the fog was retreating, revealing a small rowing boat a little further upstream. Standing on the boat was what appeared to be a young woman wearing a bright blue, hooded cloak. Once she saw James had retrieved Muirgheal she turned around in the boat and it started to move away, further upstream and out of sight.

When Emma was resuscitated and everyone had recovered somewhat from their wounds, the young noble woman came to thank the company for the efforts of saving young lord Simon. She pledged that they would always be welcome at house Tolliver, the family to which she belonged.

With the situation back under control and the fog retreated, the ship went back underway and soon, Egremont came into view.

Alfred Barnaby’s Pest Problem

Previously, the adventurers split their time rather evenly between the library of the Bournemouth academy and the Landsdowne auction house. The library allowed them to find out more information regarding the Age of Fear, certain legends and about the probably destination of Lord Destan’s trip. The auction house was the scene for an auction where a Lyrium crystal pendant was being competed over by two groups of elder races, both intent on buying the rare crystal. In the end the dwarves walked away with the crystal, appearing to have the deeper pockets.

First Day, First Ride, Summer Flame, 1262

(Silvermoon is waning. Bloodmoon is waxing. Darkmoon is waxing.)

While Emrys was sleeping off his hangover from his visit to the Golden Cockatrice from the night before, and Astrid took the horses and carts to be sold before their voyage the next day, and James spent the morning in training to the point of gaining some level of clarity on what happened to him inside the Sheridan mansion that night where he was separated from the group, Luca and Emma returned to the library of Bournemouth academy to finish up some loose ends to their research.

Emma researched the story of admiral Karadin, gaining some insight in the history behind the song that Muirgheal had sang to her right after she had bonded herself to it. While an interesting story, Emma had hoped for a better understanding of what the trident was trying to convey to her, or even if it was trying to convey anything to her at all.

During this time Luca was frustrated in his efforts to find out more information about lyrium crystals. After hours of research yielded nothing of value, Luca concluded that the library may have been sanitised of information regarding the rare crystals and that a different source would like be required to learn how to make use of the crystals. He decided to take a walk around the library to clear his head.

When Luca came upon the luxurious reading room in which Lady Ulrikke was performing her own studies. Luca had noticed that she, too, had been frustrated in her attempts and he found her staring blankly out of the window while her guards had made themselves scarce. After a brief conversation, she revealed that she had been researching the sightings of skaven, khazra and minotaurs in the south, west and north of the Daerlan empire, respectively.

Emma was asked to join the conversation with Lady Ulrikke and introductions were made. Lady Ulrikke shared sketches of the beastmen she was researching. The skaven were identical to the ones the adventurers had encountered at Lynnecombe. The khazra were half goat half man and similarly savage and tribal, like the skaven. The minotaurs, however, seemed disciplined, martial, well armed and armoured.

Lady Ulrikke shared that some within the empire thought the beastmen to be set loose upon the empire by their rivals, Lyria and Hellmark. She was also keen to hear details about our adventurers’ encounter with the skaven in Lynnecombe and she was surprised to hear that the beastmen had been found in the heartland of the Lyrian kingdom. She gladly accepted Emma’s advice to seek out the curious leather armour at the Landsdowne auction house which was made of the same strange leather that the skaven wore.

The last thing that Luca and Emma agreed upon with Lady Ulrikke was that they could use Falka as a go-between, should either one of them manage to uncover more valuable information regarding the beastmen, while Emma implored the young noble woman to use her influence and standing to find a way to get the empire to work together with the Lyrian kingdom in the defence of what she believed was imminent; a new Age of Fear.

Falka delivered her treatise on the Age of Fear to Luca and she was paid her fee. Two items of curiosity were described therein that went beyond what was commonly known; namely the name and description of Aureus the Golden One, a very long lived saint of Paladine who was one of the founding members of the Senhadrim, as well as the dichotomy between rural and urban populations in Lyria and their different views on the un- and supernatural. This was caused by the devastating decline in the human population in Lyria. Humanity only saved themselves from extinction by banding together and hiding behind the thick walls of ancient fortresses.

While Luca and Emma were at the academy and Emrys was recovering from his  hangover, James and Astrid had found a seedy, waterfront bar where they – well, mostly Astrid – found some entertainment by getting into a fist fight with five lewd men. The fight was eventually broken up by the Bournemouth city guard, who promptly arrested the men. Astrid lost a tooth and had gotten some scratches, but she seemed to have enjoyed herself tremendously. James was intent on finding a high quality house of delight, but was disappointed to hear that there were no such places around. They decided to head back to the River Stone.

The adventurers came together at the River Stone and discussed what to do with the remainder of their time. Astrid had booked passage to Blackbridge by way of Egremont for the following morning and everyone had felt that their time in Bournemouth had come to an end. A decision was made to shop for some supplies that would be useful on the road to Pinefall, and one last stop would be made at Alfred Barnaby’s Concoctions & Decoctions to see about the healing potions.

Arriving at the curious alchemy shop they found that the door was locked. Right as they were about to depart, Alfred appeared to peer at them through the window and opened the door. He seemed scatterbrained, even for him, but let them into the shop. He was sorry to inform him that he didn’t have access to his potions. He seemed troubled and with some prodding the adventurers managed to get him to explain what was bothering him.

It seemed that his basement laboratory, where he kept his stock of potions, was curiously haunted by a strange spirit of an older lady. A deal was made that he would part with five healing potions, one for each of the adventurers, if they could take care of the spirit, that would be one thousand gold crowns worth of materials. The adventurers agreed and descended through a trapdoor into the basement below.

The basement was made up of two adjacent rooms. The first was mostly used for storage while the second seemed like a well-stocked laboratory. Shelves lined with books, tables filled with beakers, cups and tubes, and many curious items and cauldrons. Along one of the bookshelves the glowing apparition of an elderly lady could be seen hovering. She seemed not to take notice of the adventurers.

Emma could hear the muffled sounds of water running somewhere in the distance, and noticed that one of the walls of the second room seemed to have been recently bricked up. The brickwork was rather shoddily done and it gave Emma an idea. She asked Emrys to take out Toruviel and use it to cast a blast of wind against the wall. Emrys reluctantly shuffled forward until he was within range of the wall, all the while keeping his eye on apparition who still seemed to ignore the adventurers.

Emrys used Toruviel and the shoddy brickwork caved in to reveal that the room originally was much larger and that behind the wall lay the corpse of the old woman, surrounded by flies and rats which scurried away. Also, there was a grate which lead to the Bournemouth sewers.

The moment the corpse of the lady came into view, she screamed “Nooooooooooo!” and flew at Emrys, passing right through him, taking his breath away and casting icy frost all over his body, causing him a great deal of pain. At that point everyone went into action. Emrys retreated as Astrid and James engaged the apparition while Luca went for the body, believing that he should burn the body in order for the apparition to disappear.

Casting flames onto the body while James and Astrid fought the apparition, Luca ignited the body and Emrys fanned the flames, but it didn’t seem to make a difference. In the meantime the apparition was proving very difficult to defeat and it vomited a noxious stream of vapour towards Luca in retaliation for setting fire to her corpse.

Emma took Muirgheal and used it to the stab the apparition with great success. The apparition then revealed itself to be more than just a normal ghost as it turned from the old woman into a hideous pesta, a foul undead creature who brought with it plagues, blights and diseases.

Noxious fumes, disease and an unnatural hardiness, it took every once that the adventurers had to offer to defeat the pesta. A bizarre turn of events turned Emrys’ hair silvery white and his eyes radiating with an almost celestial light. This seemed to startle him as much as everyone around him.

Near the end, Luca unleashed scorching jets of fire in an attempt to best the undead creature, but instead igniting the built up noxious fumes, which horribly burnt both himself as well as James and Emma. Luckily, Emrys and Astrid managed to defeat the creature and use the ample stores of healing potions to revive the others.

Once Emma was conscious again she used the healing powers of Sedna to heal most of the wounds suffered at the hands of the pesta. James searched the room and found a cache of healing potions of different kinds, a potion of fire breathing, and a set of curious boots with a beautiful boots, which Emrys, with a little help from Toruviel, instantly recognised as Boots of Elvenkind.

Emma still felt incredibly ill and so it was decided to leave the basement and confront Alfred. He seemed relieved that the adventurers managed to defeat the pesta but was tight lipped about the body behind the false wall or about how it got there. Fearful that the adventurers would turn him into the Bournemouth guard, he offered a magical dagger as payment for their services after the adventurers said that the cache of potions had been lost in the fight. He was encouraged to tread very carefully, knowing that the adventurers would be keeping an eye on him.

Emrys and Luca decided to return to the river stone. Emrys donned a hood and blindfold in order to conceal the strange change he had undergone while fighting the pesta. At the same time, Emma wanted to visit the river Bourne outside of the city in order to perform a cleansing ritual in order to heal herself from the disease that the pesta had inflicted upon her. She was accompanied by Astrid and James. The returned to the River Stone in the early evening.

The adventurers decided to eat their dinner in their room together. Mostly so that they could have some privacy and keep the strange appearance of Emrys a secret. Luca decided to run one last errand and purchase two pearls that would allow him to identify any magical items that they might find while on their path, while also looking into the properties behind the dagger that James had found in the laboratory.

The dagger turned out to be a Dagger of Venom, which spawned a conversation about the morality of using such an item. It was decided that nobody had any deep moral objections against the use of the dagger. At least none that they openly shared.

Lyrium and Lore

Previously, the adventurers arrived in the bustling city of Bournemouth and found lodgings at The River Stone, an inn in the harbour district where they found that during Lord Destan’s stay in the city, he garrisoned his guards at the inn, while himself staying as a guest at the Landsdowne auction house. Luca and Emma immediately went to the library while the others rested in order get an early rise. Luca met up with an acquaintance, Falka of Dunagore, who was a lecturer at the department of ancient history and a part time librarian. She had helped Lord Destan out with his research when he arrived and she agreed to do the same for the adventurers.

The following day, Luca and Emma spent their time at the library searching for information on the Crimson Tower. They managed to find some of Lord Destan’s research findings; the first half of a poem which mentioned the tower explicitly. They managed to find the second and final piece of the poem, which Lord Destan never managed to.

In the meantime, Astrid, Emrys and James went to explore the city and found a curious alchemist’s shop and the Landsdowne auction house, where they spoke to one of the auctioneers who recalled Lord Destan staying with them and how honoured they were. Unfortunately little else was discovered and the trio split up, with Astrid going to see if she could book passage to Blackbridge through Egremont on a barge going upriver, while the others went to the library just in time to find Luca and Emma being ordered out of the reading room that Falka had assigned them by a sharp eyed noble woman by the name of Margravine Ulrikke von Rossenberg and her four heavily armed guards.

Tenth Day, Third Ride, Summer Light, 1262

(Silvermoon is waning. Bloodmoon in waxing. Darkmoon is low sanction.)

Lady Ulrikke casually told the adventurers to vacate the luxurious reading room. James, who had already checked to see whether the large glass windows could make for an easy escape route, tried to act casual while snacking on some food he had carried along with him from the breakfast table. Luca wasn’t paying attention to the distracting, choosing rather to focus on the book in front of him, and Emrys was looking for someone to take charge. After a few seconds it was Emma who placated the young noble woman and calmly told everyone to pack up and vacate the reading room, thus avoiding any conflict.

Luca took his time to gather his things and meanwhile Lady Ulrikke brought a stack of books to the lectern that he was clearing out. She looked over the reading materials that Luca had displayed and took note of the poem they had unearthed, and similarly Luca took note of the old tomes and folios that Lady Ulrikke brought in, but unfortunately couldn’t make out what subjects they were on.

The adventurers decided to find another reading room. The library was almost empty of people so they were confident that the could find an empty reading room, and decided to try to find one on the far end of the library hall, putting as much space between themselves and the entitled lady. Just as they arrived in the far hallway, a small door opened and Falka came walking through. The adventurers quickly informed her of Lady Ulrikke’s intervention and she let out a resigned sigh.

Falka brought good and bad news. The good news was that the department of Transport and Maratime had a large section of different maps and miraculously she had found a map of Pinefall, which she handed to the adventurers. They noted that the village of Bristlecone was on the southern shore of a large lake called Lake Llygad, but none of them recognised what the name meant or from whence it heralded. The bad news was that Falka was called away because a raven had arrived carrying a letter from Lord John Sheridan, urging Falka that the adventurers were not in the employ of House Sheridan, no matter what they claimed, and that any attempt on her part to prevent them from pursuing Lord Destan would be handsomely rewarded.

It was decided that Falka would no longer assist the research that the adventurers would perform. Instead, she would write an essay on all the important information regarding the Age of Fear, commissioned for two gold crowns a day by James. At the mention of gold crowns, Emma asked Falka whether she recognised the coins that Luca was carrying with them, which they had retrieved from the catacombs underneath Lynnecombe. Falka did not but was certain that these coins did not hail from any time in Lyria’s history.

A discussion was held on whether or not the group was going to purchase the healing potions that Alfred Barnaby had for sale. They were considered very expensive, but James said that they could be the difference between life or death and that it might be worth having one or two of them while they were crossing the wilderness to get to Pinefall.

Emma, Emrys and James decided to pay another visit to the Landsdowne auction house where they talk to Villem Landsdowne and find out that his passion lies with the Equestrian arts, but that he is specialised in paintings and jewellery. The adventurers convince him to show them the leather armour that Lord Destan showed interest in which is being stored in the Landsdowne vaults.

The full set of armour is of exquisite quality, complete with breastplate, gorget, skirt, greaves, arm guards and gloves. The designs are intricate, but unusually. Neither having the flowing elven patterns, symmetrical dwarven or the usual human designs. The origins of the leather is again unclear, but the adventurers do recognise that it’s likely to be of the same source as the leather scraps that the skaven were wearing. The adventurers also learn that the armour was put up on auction by House Blackbriar, hailing from the Worthwilde.

That evening an auction would be held to auction off a lot of several paintings by an artist from northern Silesia. Included among them will be some jewellery, and it’s on that jewellery that the adventurers focus once they learn that a silver necklace with an orange crystal pendant would be auctioned off, with the starting bid begining at 150 gold crowns. The pendant was retrieved from the vault and the adventurers were offered to take a look at it, confirming their suspicions that it was indeed a Lyrium crystal as far as they could tell. They asked whether they could be welcome at the auction and Villem Landsdowne was happy to extend them an invitation.

Emrys decided to visit the Golden Cockatrice that evening to see if he could secure a spot to perform and departed. Emma and James met up with Astrid to have some food after which Emma and James went back to the auction house and Astrid went to meet up with Luca.

At the action house, Emma and James (who introduced himself as Radeck Payton) mingled with some of the visitors and potential bidders. They found that most people were interested in the paintings, most of which had been on display. They found that the Silesian artist’s name was Annora Coehoorn. Emma was sure she had heard that surname before.

Two curious companies of people were present; a group of dwarves and a group of elves. James decided to have a chat with both. The dwarven delegation was lead by Dunatrim Hardstone of clan Thoradun. He was quite forthcoming with his reasons for being at the auction; he was neither interested in the paintings or any of the jewellery save the pendant, and tried to make sure that James knew that if he was planning on trying to outbid the dwarves that his pockets must be very deep. James managed to uncover that the dwarves were planning to use the crystal to seal their gates in time for the next Age of Fear to arrive. James uncovered that if he had access to more of the lyrium crystals he could approach Dagran Forgewright in Kingsport, the unofficial ambassador to Ard Thoradun.

The elves were less forth coming. They made note of James’ elven heritage but did so in a way that sounded condescending. The elf in charge introduced himself as Eibhear and he hailed from Duén Gwyndeith in the Worthwilde. James inquired whether they too were there for the pendant, and they were. James also managed to uncover that if he had access to more such crystals, he would be welcome at Duén Gwyndeith.

When the auction started the elves and dwarves remained relatively inactive until the paintings had all gone under the hammer. When it came time for the jewellery to be auctioned they started to pay attention. James and Emma had decided to participate in the auction of the pendant but not to exceed 800 gold crowns. The bidding started at 150 gold crowns and was immediately fierce. Emma prayed to Sedna for her inner peace to radiate to all in the room, and the rough edges were taken off the bidding. In the end it was a heads up bid between Eibhear and Dunatrim, and much to the elves dismay, Dunatrim won the auction with the final bid of 1650 gold crowns.

Some socialising was done in the aftermath of the auction, after which the adventurers retired to The River Stone.

In the meantime, Luca had been burning his candle at both ends and was feeling fatigued. When he departed the library he saw that Falka was still hard at work on the summary that she was preparing for James on the Age of Fear. He also briefly stopped by Lady Ulrikke who was surrounded by guards who were fatigued and snoring. She was still standing at her lectern, her brown furrowed, frustrated at her research. When Luca briefly spoke to her, her tone seemed to have softened towards him a bit. Luca noted that the books she had collected were old, and that she had been searching similar parts of the library as he had.

First Day, First Ride, Summer Flame, 1262

(Silvermoon is waning. Bloodmoon is waxing. Darkmoon is waxing.)

Back at The River Stone, the adventurers found the tavern nearly empty. They came together while Elmond was retiring to bed and spoke about the day’s events. It was decided that Astrid would sell the horses and cart before they departed to Blackbridge by way of Egremont.

Luca expressed his deep dismay about not being consulted before Emma and James decided to engage in the auction. He reasserted that he has valuable knowledge on arcane matters and matters of history, and that he was elected to be the master of coin, so he should be included in all matters that concern the finances of the group.

Research: Daughter of the Sea

Admiral Bertram Karadin and his daughter, Rhosyn Karadin, both sailed on the Daughter of the Sea, the mighty flagship in service to the Lyrian throne and Queen Síle d’Aragon-Valois.

In the month of Autumn Red of 952, the fleet was sent out from the Lyrian tooth to southern Mazuria to defeat a growing horde of savages who were banding together under the leadership of a seafaring warchief.

The Mazurians were engaged in a war with the Silesians at the time, so their attention was turned towards their northern rival, not their southern shores, leaving the savages to raid the Mazurian and Lyrian coasts, inflicting casualties on the populace, blocking ports and sinking vessels.

The Lyrian fleet engaged the savages at every turn but found their heavy warships outmanoeuvred by the lighter raiding vessels. Despite this, the Lyrian fleet inflicted serious casualties upon the savages.

After many rides of skirmishes at sea, the admiral grew impatient and took command of several reconnaissance vessels while leaving his daughter to take command of his warship. His plan was to pursue the last remaining savage ships and defeat them once and for all.

As the admiral sailed away from the flagship, safe in the knowledge he left his ship in the hands of the sailor he trusted most, his daughter, he looked back in shock to see the vessel being entered by two enemy galleons. Impotently he stood by and saw his sailors defeated and thrown overboard and watched as the Daughter of the Sea set her sails to head west.

Believing his daughter might still be aboard as a hostage he pursued the flagship. Despite his reconnaissance fleet being much faster ships he was frustrated by strange currents and constantly changing winds while the Daughter of the Sea raced on, remaining ever on the horizon.

Overcome with fear for his daughter, the admiral took over from his helmsman exhausting every trick he had learned during his long career to squeeze every once of speed out of his vessel, slowly leaving the rest of his fleet behind. When he finally caught up, he found the flagship abandoned off the coast of Jagged Shore, within a day sailing from Dunagore.

The last of the savage vessels came out of nowhere to attack the admiral’s reconnaissance ship and the Daughter of the Sea, who had not just been abandoned, but whose sails were torn and ropes had been cut.

To his utter horror, he had been tricked by the savages. He was prepared to fight to the death in the name of his queen until he saw that the largest of the savage vessels was being commanded by his daughter.

His heart broke and he stopped giving orders. He stood there, motionless, as his ship was attacked, as his sailors were killed around him, as the Daughter of the Sea was battered by a kraken and pulled beneath the waves.

The admiral’s daughter was cursed for her betrayal. Some say she still raids the southern coast of Mazuria and the Jagged Shore in a ghostly vessel. Others say she was turned into a siren and lures ships onto the rocks of the Jagged Shore. And other still claim she haunts the Lyrian gulf, commanding a kraken to pull ships to the bottom of the gulf.

This tragic tale has spawned numerous sea shanties.