Reign of Tonir

Gold Igloo

Balin woke in the middle of the night to find Sitarmi nudging his face. In the morning, Sitarmi and Fungo demonstrated how Sitarmi was able to get in – and more importantly, how he could get them out. Sitarmi rescued Yer, Taven, Cyrus, Uncas, and Balin before falling asleep in Balin’s backpack. The group decides to wait and see what the Legion will do to the prisoners because Balin used magic. The Legion arrive, on schedule, and begin screening all the prisoners and taking them out through the tunnel. Seeing that there is nothing more they can do, the group and Yer head north to the next concentration camp.

Shortly after starting out, the group sees Wernia fleeing a pair of pursuers. Balin managed to shoot one, but the three elves quickly outpace the group.

Continuing northward, the group soon comes across a golden igloo. By the door are the two elves who had been chasing Wernia, now riddled with arrows and dying. Balin and Taven stabilized them before heading inside the igloo.

The chamber was empty, except for an open trap door. They each climb down the ladder in turn, to find themselves completely alone in a room with two doors. On the wall opposite the ladder was a message: “Choose that which represents you.” Each went through the sequence of rooms in search of their companions, choosing one of two animal statues in each room: rhino/gorilla, owl/falcon, badger/tortoise, wolf/tiger, bear/moose, bat/penguin, frog/dolphin, and alligator/elephant. When they completed their choices, they each found their way into a new room, where they found an item waiting for them.

After taking the item, each hears a loud grinding. When they try to go back to the exit, they find themselves in a large arena, fighting the animals that they had just chosen. Their companions appear and disappear to fight each of the creatures. After all eight sets of animals were defeated, the group individually made their way out of the igloo.

The group reunited outside of the igloo and found Yer and Wernia worse for wear. Balin healed as many people as he could with his remaining spells before they all decided to make camp for the rest of the day and rest.

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Desert CC

The next morning, Balin awoke and was able to travel unassisted. The group trekked onward, avoiding encounters with cinder wolves and the like. Until, that is, Taven, Balin, and Cyrus crashed into each other in an attempt to slip away from an oncoming group of cinder wolves. The group managed to fight them off, but during the battle Uncas fell and was dragged away by a wolf. Balin tracked the wolf, and led the others to the site where the wolf had been killed by Elven arrows. The three remaining members of the group searched the area, but were unable to find any tracks leading away from the site, and were eventually forced to continue on their journey without Uncas. Unknown to the three, Uncas had been rescued by a Desert Elf, Wernia.

The three traveled on for a few hours, before a sandstorm forced them to take shelter against a dune. During the storm, a fire elemental approached and would have been blown directly into the group, but they managed to shift along the dune and get out of the way.
When the storm passed, the three decided to spend the rest of the day recovering from their earlier battle. Much to their surprise, after a few hours Uncas and Wernia walked into the camp. Before they were done welcoming Uncas back, Wernia had disappeared.

In the morning, Balin used the majority of his days’ worth of spells to heal his companions, although he was very cranky about it. The group continued toward the camp and in the afternoon came across two dwarf-like creatures, with hair of flame. The group immediately attacked the pair, and critically wounded one before the other tried to talk to them. Balin cautiously healed the fallen azer as a peace offering, burning his hand in the process. They discovered that the azers came from a different place, and had been going about their daily lives when suddenly they found themselves in the desert. The two groups parted and continued on their way.

After ten days, the group finally spotted the concentration camp. It was a large, smoky-glass dome in the middle of a flattened area. Taven and Balin waited until nightfall to approach, but spotted no guards of any kind. Taven quickly wrote a note to the prisoners, asking for them to rise up on the winter solstice. When he pressed the note to the dome, his hand sunk in and he was held steadfast. Balin brought Uncas and Cyrus to help Taven, but eventually they decided the only way to get him out was for Taven to continue through the dome and to try to find some way out from within.

Inside, Taven met Yer, an old dwarf, who told him more about the prison and when the Legion was next expected to come through the tunnel in the center of the camp. When Taven relayed the information to the rest of the party outside the dome, they decided to enter the dome as well and ambush the Legion the next day and escape through the tunnel. When Balin touched the dome, it turned blue. Sitarmi had to be left outside the dome because he couldn’t pass through it. Inside, Balin tried to contact Ssearth and the magic turned the dome bright red.

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Desert

The group rested during the day and traveled into the desert at night, as to avoid the scorching heat during the day. They traveled until the sun rose with no incidences. Balin had first watch. And within a half-hour, a Cinder Wolf topped the dune they were resting behind. As the group woke up to fight it, another appeared.

They learned quickly that touching the wolves’ flesh caused minor burns.

After they had put the wolves down, they skinned the beasts and Cyrus used the hides to line Uncas’ and Cyrus’ armors, as they had heard the hide was a good insulator from the heat.

They then went back to sleep. And shortly after, rattlesnakes started burrowing out from under the dune. Not wanting to wake his companions, Balin decided to deal with the snakes himself. But he was shortly riddled with the venomous snake bites and the fighting had woken up the others.

The group got rid of the snakes but Balin had fallen into a coma from all the venom.

Again, they tried to sleep. This time to be woken by Uncas, who was on watch, and there was a small flame, much like the one who had disappeared with the statue a few nights ago, approaching. In an attempt to ascertain the actual size of the creature Cyrus blew sand at it. When the sand didn’t reach it, he tossed a handful on the flame.

Which aggravated it. It started to roar and grow, coiling out to a serpentine creature composed of flame.

Taven grabbed the unconscious Balin’s short sword as to not have to touch the flame with his bare fist, and the group set about killing the flaming creature.

Deciding that they weren’t getting any sleep anyways, the group decided to travel on, dragging Balin behind them in the tent.

They were traveling slowly as Uncas directed them to rest in shade for a few moments whenever there was an opportunity. This gave some respite from the oppressing heat, but it was wearing Cyrus down.

After traveling for a few hours, they came across a large bush. Similar to the ones they’d seen before, but at least 20 feet across in all directions. And they noticed humanoid shadows moving about in it.

Taven decided to approach and converse, and was met with a “Halt!” He stopped.
“Go around,” the voice within the bush demanded. Taven told them he wished for help. And was met with an arrow in his shoulder.

Deciding there wasn’t anything to be gained by standing around being shot, Taven turn around and returned to the group, which then decided that AROUND the bush seemed like a good idea.

They spent the rest of the day avoiding creatures as they traveled.

Then, as the sun started to set, they saw Cinder Wolves and some of the serpentine flame creatures approaching them. About 20 creatures, from all directions.

Despite the despair in their hearts, they prepared for their last battle. The Cinder Wolves and flame creatures started to charge.

100 ft. 70 ft. 50 ft. The group gripped the weapons with their desert-parched hands. 40 ft. 30 ft. 20. As the sun finally set, it seemed to flash, and with it, all the creatures flashed, blinding the group.

After the flash dissipated, the group looked around. There wasn’t a single creature to be seen.

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Disappearances?

Balin woke up and tried to sneak downstairs. Uncas woke and followed. Then they decided to look around and see if there were any clues as to what was causing the mysterious disappearances. After finding canine prints scorched into the road, they woke the others.

Finding no further clues they went to the innkeeper. He told them of how Cinder Wolves, as they had been named, had started appearing in the desert recently during the day. They were known to enter the town, but only really at night and never attacked anyone indoors.

After obtaining water for their desert trek, the group decided to investigate these disappearances. They set a trap and rested ’til nightfall.

Then they waited… soon it was midnight… nothing. 1:00. Nothing. 2:00. 3:00. Finally, from his vantage point on the roof of the inn, Balin saw a small flame floating above the road. It wandered into the square, past their trap, and then hovered up and over the statue in front of the inn. The group stayed in hiding and watched. 3:30, 4:00, 4:30. It continued to hover. Then, at about 4:52, the flame, the statue, and the rope tied to the statue that was part of their trap winked out of existence.

They decided to try again tomorrow and shoot the thing. To no avail. By 4:00am Uncas was wandering the town looking for any sign of something to hit. They rested and decided to go into the desert, which is where the innkeeper said the Cinder Wolves were appearing.

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Eastward Ho!

So, given that they had to go to three different concentration camps, the group decided to start with the one to the east, in the desert. On the way there, they crossed a shallow stream. That happened to have a school of quipper (dark green, cold-water piranha) in it. The school, once it had a taste of Balin’s (the first to enter) blood, started frenzing, so the group decided to cross as swiftly as possible.

They made it to the other side only to be attacked by uncommonly aggressive, odd-colored hawks. (Unknown to the group, these were blood-hawks, not regular ones.)

But they finely made it to the little shanty town in the mountain pass between them and the desert. They traded their blood-hawks and the remaining coppers in their pockets for one room, which they shared.

Balin was going to camp outdoors, but the innkeeper mentioned there had been disappearances lately, and that might not be such a good idea. So he knocked on the room door, which was answered by Taven, as the others were already sleeping.

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A Plan Hatches

The morning after rescuing Cyrus, the group sees Cain.

Cain tells them of a magical fountain. So they follow his cart-tracks.

On their way to the fountain, the get attacked by donkey rats.

They find the narrow mountain pass and climb it up to the small forested valley. They walked through the trees to the fountain. Which was more of a pond.

Across the pond was Moris conversing with an obviously agitated man. This man looked to be 40-ish, with sandy-brown hair, olive complexion, and medium build. Wore a lot of gold jewelry.

Man turned out to be Tirthe. Tirthe was upset because A) Moris wouldn’t tell him where Ssearth was or if he knew the location of the third and B) because Moris wouldn’t go ahead and just kill Tonir.

Moris wouldn’t tell where the other two were because that’s their choice, and he won’t kill Tonir because he doesn’t want to fall back into old, power-hungry habits.

After Moris and Tirthe notice the group, Tirthe is interested in Balin and invites him to the Enclave, along with the others. The only catch is that they’d be severed from all outside contact. They decline, and when Tirthe starts pressing the case, Moris steps in, making it clear that he supported the decision.

Then Tirthe poofed away and they inquired Moris about the pond. He said that the pond did used to be a fountain and that it was one of two centers of magical activity and the water did have the ability to bond items to their owner. He further explained that this is what he had done at the leyline convergence with Balin’s armor and Uncas’ mace.

So they tried their luck:

Cyrus unceremoniously jumped in the pond, causing his armor to spontaneously heat and burn him before shrinking. Once the metal pressed against Cyrus’ body it stopped shrinking until the entire suit was tight against him. Then, as if relieved, the suit relaxed, restoring Cyrus’ mobility.

Uncas dipped in his mace, but Moris told him that his mace had already been awakened. So Uncas tried his falcata, which then started to glow brighter and brighter until the blinding light collapsed in on itself and imploded.

Taven went to put his shuriken in, but as soon as his knuckles entered the water, the metallic substance on his right hand started writhing and turned black. It grew out of his hand like a tumor. Then it shot back under his skin, with some of it traveling to the center of his back, and a small portion writhing under the thin skin of his knuckles. The portion that traveled to his back split up into three smaller segments. Two shot down to the tops of his feet and the other went over to Taven’s left knuckle.

Balin, seeing the other’s items reacting, dipped in his bow. Nothing happened. Tried with his dagger. And got it wet. Short sword? Nope. Ready to give up, he put in his quiver of arrows. And the quiver started glowing with a green light. The inside started to get criss-crossed with intense beams of green that the arrows posed no obstruction to. After quickly filling up the quiver with green light, it shot up out of the quiver like a green beacon.

All feel as if their specific items are more an extension of themselves.

Moris gets everybody to hold hands and teleports them 50 ft. Enters Tirthe’s secret office.

Tirthe complains that if he is to get anything done by this winter solstice than he needs to communicate with Ssearth. Moris looks thoughtful and then poofs away. And shows up a short while later with an angry Ssearth in tow. Apparently against his will.

Tirthe gets excited and starts badgering Ssearth with his plans. All of which hinge upon getting to the other center of magical activity. Which Tonir won’t let happen. And even if they got to it, the Legion would interfere. The Enclave could help with that, but they would be far outnumbered.

Moris suggests that the present party could activate the other center for them. Now it’s Tirthe’s turn to look thoughtful. He decides to test the group.

They poof to a small meadow surrounded by cliffs, with Ssearth, Tirthe, and Moris on a ledge overlooking the meadow.

Each character is in a corner of the meadow. Suddenly, donkey rats appear in the center. The group proceeds to dispatch them.

After, a giant Beothuk wearing plate armor appears. Taven sets about sundering his armor while Uncas beats at it and Cyrus tangles it in his razer-chain, with Balin firing from afar.

Then Jagang.

Deciding that the group had proven it worth, Tirthe turns to Ssearth and starts talking about incorporating the group into his plans. Saying that if Ssearth knew where the third one of their kind was, then they’d be assured victory. Ssearth isn’t convinced, saying that’s there’s been no evidence that Tonir is weakened far enough to confront.

Then a Cyclops pops in.

Tirthe points out that this is proof enough; the barrier is weakening.

That’s when Taven asks if Charir is the third.

Enter Charir. Tirthe mentions that now procreation is possible and they can weaken Tonir faster. This pisses off Ssearth and scares Charir. Long story shorter, they put that on hold and send the group to stir up some concentration camps on the solstice.

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Hmm. Maybe _Not_ The Front Door

The group climbs the cliffs around the cave, looking for an alternate entrance. To no avail. So they get to the top of the cliff and see smoke rising from the ground. The Bugbears’ chimneys.

They lower Balin down one to scout out. It’s dark. They all go down. They’re in an empty Bugbear room.

They sneak out and start exploring. They shortly find the main Bugbear common room (although it’s more of a large cavern than a room). Inside is an iron cage containing a multitude of people, including Cyrus, and two bugbears on the opposite side of the cavern.

Balin decides to try and distract and bait the Bugbears, running towards what he hopes is the exit.

It works, the two Bugbears follow him. But the commotion awoke another, who saw Taven and Uncas in the common room, heading towards the cage.

Uncas fights the Bugbear while Taven starts destroying the cage with his metal-imbued fists. And then Uncas walks over and taps the door off it’s hinges.

Meanwhile, Balin found the exit, and the two Bugbears at the entrance joined the chase, but Balin kept his lead and the Bugbears gave up, turned around and saw all their prisoners pouring out of their cave.

Uncas, Taven, and Cyrus used the rope they’d left at the chimney and climbed back up out.

They met up with Balin and the rendezvous point.

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That Sucked. Let's Find Him

After camping for a night in the plains to heal their wounds, they re-pursue the Bugbears. They run into Donkey Rats on the way, which they pulverize.

They finally get to the Bugbears cave. At the front are two Bugbears and two Goblin Dogs.

They manage to take out the guards, but once again are severely injured. So they retreat and heal-up.

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Cyrus Is Missing

The group awakes to find Cyrus, the last on guard-duty for the night, to be gone. Balin and Uncas search for any signs of their armored friend and find tracks leading away from the camp to the south-south-east

Following the trail, Balin, Uncas, and Taven see three bug-bears carrying an unconscious Cyrus like so many potatoes. Balin notches an arrow and fires into the opposition. The arrow sinks home, directly into Cryus’ left shoulder, alerting the bug-bears to the presence of the heroes.

Dropping Cyrus on helmed head, the bug-bears turn and laugh at the paltry attack laid against them. Uncas and Taven reach the battle first and rush into the attack to defend their captive comrade.

The battle is over before it can begin as Uncas is cut down almost immediately, followed by Taven retreating in pain and shock. The bug-bears spit on the ground the massacre occurred on, as if marking their territory. With raucous laughter they heave their captive onto their shoulders and continue their march SSE.

When Balin come across the defeated Uncas and injured Taven, an agreement is reached to make camp and heal, so as to better prepare to retrieve Cyrus and rescue him from a certain dinner appointment.

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Through The Sewers

Awakening in Moris’ shop with the previous night’s exploits haunting them, Uncas and Cyrus decide to withhold the details of Emperor Jagang’s death and only tell Taven and Balin the last words and wishes of the fallen ruler. They head downstairs where Balin and Taven have just learned of Jagang’s death from Alissa. The pair of fighters hand Taven his father’s robes and tell him that it was his father’s wish that he have them. After a series of questions with unsatisfactory answers about his father’s death, Taven falls into a silent mourning.

The remaining three friends decide the best course of action is to attempt to place Taven on his throne. Their plan is to inform the citizen of Edenia that their true Emperor lives and to hold onto their hope. They then flee the city to regroup and plan a better strategy.

With the sewers as the best option for escape, the group makes their way through the underbelly of Edenia. In a tunnel, Taven hears the skritching of a small rodent behind them. Turning to asses the threat, a ferret greets him and climbs up his body to his shoulder, sniffing him. Satisfied, the ferret curls across Taven’s neck and falls asleep.

A pack of alligators (in the sewers? no way!) attack the group from the water. Totally unprepared for the battle, the adventurers are decimated by the reptiles until the sewer agitator scattered the cold-blooded creatures.

Reaching the end of the tunnel, a single legionnaire guard is more of an annoyance for the renewed party than a problem. He is quickly thrown off the wall of the city to his death.

The group continues down the wall-path and makes camp in the forest outside the palace mountain wall.
Group escapes through sewers. Fight alligators, which are scared off by some contraption.

Legionnaires are gaurding the exit.

They travel south.

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