A budding darkness

A City of Lost Children

After braving a few skirmishes against a band of roving kobolds, and some malnourished bandits, our adventurers find themselves at the gates of the port city of Culph. The kind-hearted Wolvie offers a few spare coins to an old drunk outside of the Stumbling Ass in exchange for some local gossip. The old sot warns them away from the Shrine of the Seeker located across the way, but our heroes ignore his rantings, and proceed to investigate the square in front of the Shrine while enjoying some delicious memorial tacos (R.I.P. Strom). Wolvie approaches a trio of finely dressed ladies and discovers that the Shrine has become quite popular within the last year, while Titus has detected someone in the crowd possesses notable magical power. After an embarrassingly failed stealth mission into the Shrine, Titus and Wolvie enter, and are welcomed to partake in a cleansing ritual by the Voice of the Seeker. After doing battle with their own inner demons, they sense something is amiss. As Titus threatens the Voice with his vorpal blade, an acolyte runs terrified from the Shrine, and a battle ensues. Despite facing overwhelming odds, Wolvie and Titus manage to evade the Voice’s stone guardians and acolytes, and in a display of totally badass teamwork, hurl the Voice against the wall in a torrent of force and flame, incinerating his body, and any information he might have had along with it. Forced to interrogate the hysterical initiate instead, they discover that there is a dungeon located underneath the Shrine, a place which terrifies the poor girl, literally to death. As her lifeless body (thrown by our “heroes”) lands at the bottom of the dungeon staircase, the suddenly alerted jailer Drut Rockhead throws the failsafe switch. Our adventurers proceed cautiously down the hallway, and begin to see that almost every cell contains misshapen and grotesque humanoid monsters. Titus reaches out with his senses and determines that the switch thrown by Drut will slowly incinerate each cell, and the contents within. A pointless debate follows on whether or not our heroes should maybe release all the monsters into the narrow hallway with them, but thankfully they decide not to. Suddenly, children’s voices can be heard halfway down the hall, and our heroes rush to free the boy and girl locked away in this horrible place. As the children run to safety in the temple above, Drut releases his “pet” from the largest cell at the end of the hall. A hulking monstrosity appears, immediately squeezing the life from his caretaker, and proceeding to advance on Titus and Wolvie. Each blow landed upon the creature enrages it, causing it to thrash in the cramped quarters, eventually causing a cave-in, which Titus barely escapes. Once outside the Shrine, our heroes are briefly detained by the city guard, which must investigate the Shrine, and offered a place to stay at the Prancing Unicorn, provided they do not leave the city until speaking with the Captain of the guard. Accompanying them are the two children they rescued, Tix’al and Leeda. Tix’al tells them he is from the snake-worshipping wood-elf tribe that dwells in the Greatscale forest at the foot of the mountains, and that he is the son of the head shaman. Leeda is the daughter of a glassmaster of Stony Brook, and both relate that their homes have seen trouble as of late, and could use the help of such brave men. Our heroes reluctantly agree to accompany Tix’al to his home in the GreatScale woods, and decide to set off the following morning.

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A Grim Meeting

Titus and Wolvie were able to meet with the messenger Strom at the Two Rivers Crossroads. Strom relayed that Erisha needed assistance with a number of problems receiving shipments of resources from various parts of the province for the upcoming Red Harvest Festival. Before much more information could be related, Strom was tragically killed by a goblin sniper. He was survived by his grotesque wife and a grey rabbit named Billy that neither one really cared for and was really purchased to keep the marriage together. After a fierce battle in which a magical amulet containing the Genasi Avenger Mirdyn was found, summoning the wrathful time-traveler to aid Wolvie and Titus, our adventurers discovered a map on the newly deceased husband of a passable bullywug (look it up) of a woman, indicating possible areas of trouble in the region. Titus and Wolvie decided to head first for the river port city of Culph, hoping to find some clue as the to scope of their mission.

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A Fucked up Festival

The Province of Erisha lies to the East through the Coldridge Mountains. It’s capital, Kirisin City, would be for all intents and purposes a modest provincial capital if not for it’s position astride the two main river ways running out of the mountain passes and down to the main channel of the Great Rush. This has allowed the capital, and in turn the province, to maintain a high standard of living and a robust economy despite its mostly agricultural and mundane resources. Three other factors contribute to the uniquely prosperous nature of Erisha. The first, is the unique quality of glass produced in the western village of Stony Brook. Its common name is dragonglass, and its production is a trade secret jealously guarded by the glassmasters of that town. The second, is the Greatscale venom, which is traded to Kirisin City by a reclusive tribe of elven druids who live in the Greatscale Woods. The method of its harvest is unknown, and most people prefer not to ask. The third is a mysterious celestial event that occurs every 9 years, specific to the region between the Coldridge Mountains and the Kor’koan Sea. The locals call it the Red Harvest, and its original name has long since been forgotten. What is known, is that the 3rd day of the 2nd month of Reaping every nine years produces a red moon that lasts for 1 week. Everyone in the Province of Erisha experiences a substantial heightening of their natural abilities, allowing farmers to reap and sow better crops, healers to perform almost miraculous cures, singers to write heart-rending songs, and magic users to enhance their spells. The first day yields the strongest results, and therefore has been designated as a sacred day, on which all citizens are invited to the capital of Kirisin City to celebrate another 9 year blessing. All children no older than 9 must attend the festival to determine their natural skill enhancement and have it recorded by the provincial watchers. You have been summoned by an anonymous official of Kirisin for an unspecified task related to the upcoming festival. You are to meet a messenger at the Eastern Crossroads 5 days before the end of the first month of Reaping.

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