Order of the Red Band

Runt Cormorant 2
Lissi's Perspective

Notes 19 Aug 15, 2130

Lissi dropped off 500 yards off north shore of Runt Cormorant. Swam to shore and was immediately taken captive by a hoard of angry goblins. Their pikes and nets poked and netted her until resistance was futile. Nonetheless, Lissi resisted until the last. Using her dagger she attempted to cut herself free. She stabs at a few of the goblins and is eventually subdued by a blow to the back of the head.

Lissi comes to staked to the ground in a sitting position on the edge of some sort of patrol base of the Kijimuna. The Kijimuna did not want to talk to her after the slight tousle. After nearly a day the goblins bring another group of four to the camp in bonds. This sparks a relatively lively discourse in common and is much more intelligible than the previous discussions amongst themselves.

The newcomers asked about Lissi’s conditions and she fires off with a firery retort against their attack. She lists her brutal attack and being knocked out. The newcomers do not seem to believe her when she tells of her reasons for being on the island in search of the harpies.

Lissi keeps her ears open and her mouth shut, more out of habit than desire. The chieftain of the tribe lists many enemies to their tribe. He asks the newcomers to go after the Sahaugin clan of aquatic creatures. He seems to want to force the newcomers to go to war with the Sahaugin to save the tribe’s life.

Some Shoanti woman says he is the hero of the Red Band and his party is here to investigate disappearances of sailors and fisherman.

Lissi decides to ally with the party in order to make it safely off the island. The threat of Sahaugin in the water and their warrior mentality seemed like more than she was willing to take on at one time. The chieftan’s quest to beat the Sahaugin back seemed like the best bet at this time. After nearly an hour of negotiations the party agreed to take Lissi on and let her scout from the front. They don’t seem to trust her at all.

Lissi suggested that the party hide on top of the cliffs and watch the beach in hopes of discovering the Sahaugin when they emerge from the water after sunset. The party follows her advice and she takes momentary pleasure in their following her directions. Dorin Jal identifies four Sahaugin have been in the area and we hide to keep watch. The party takes time to scout the area and finds a disputed harpy/other feather on the ground. It is clear that the area was the site of a recent fight between at least one humanoid type and something else. After a few moments of debate it is agreed that this is a harpy feather from the lower belly region.

After waiting all afternoon and three hours after dark three Sahaugin emerged from the sea. Lissi is the first to retaliate after Dorin takes two attacks.

We got into contact with 6 Sahaugin and then Yorastor waved some hands and did something to five of them. Meanwile I concentrated fire on the one who was trying to out flank us. Kohra runs in all willy nilly and then blasted four of the sahaugin. She also did damage to Milo, her companion, but he didn’t seem to notice. After that, I dropped the one trying to flank us and immediately turned and scored a hit on one on the beach below my spot on the cliffs. Dorin followed up with a few shots and one retreated into the surf. Yorastor dropped the third one and two remained. Kohra attacked next. She ran into the fray and killed the fourth of five remaining Sahaugin. The sole remaining Sahaugin was mortally wounded and stunned. Dorin’s beast, Varg visciously attacked him and tore out his throat in a spout of blood and gore. The body count was five on the beach at the end of the evening.

Each of the five Sahaugin carried a heavy crossbow with 10 bolts and one trident. No other items of value or wealth. One escaped into the water but five died valiantly in battle. We withdrew back to the Kijimuna camp and rested for the night.

Lissi was not sure what to make of the hero group. Kohra, the shoanti half-blood seemed to be half the face of the company. The other face was the thurge, Yorastor. Lissi had looked to Kohra during the previous day to see how the party interacted with the sole female in the group. They seemed to accept her for her competence and not based on her sexual role or her prettiness. That boded well for Lissi. The group had accepted some of Lissi’s points when she mentioned them. That was a bonus and hopefully meant they would accept her if she traveled with them for a time.

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Foxglove Mannor 3

On the main floor you find a strange spiral stain in the middle of the entry hall. The sound of the house straining and creaking gives this long, high-ceilinged room an additional sense of age and decay. The place smells damp, the unpleasant tinge of mold lacing the air ,as surely as it stains the wooden floor, walls, and furniture in pallid patches. Moldering trophies hang on the wall to the northeast: a boar, a bear, a firepelt cougar, and a stag, yet they pale in comparison to the monster on display in the center of the room. Here crouches a twelve-foot-long creature with the body of a lion, a scorpion’s tail fitted with dozens of razor barbs, huge batlike wings, and a deformed humanoid face.

A little way into the main hall you see a rather gruesome antique-what appears to be a mummified monkey head-hangs on the northern wall here, its tiny mouth gaping. A bellpull extends from the monkey’s gaping mouth. A ratty throw rug partially obscures a foul stain of dark-colored mold on the floor.You approximate it is directly above the excavated stairway to the caves that predated construction of the house. [[The monkey head is actually a minor wondrous item called a “hunnry decapitant”. When the attached rope is pulled, the head gives out a shrill simian shriek akin to an alarm spell. The strange curio might have been used to signal the start of dinner. It can be removed from the wall easily, and continues to function thereafter. It’s worth 500gp.]]

After passing the stain you enter the dining room. A mahogany table surrounded by chairs sits in this room. Twin fireplaces loom to the west, while to the east, [b]stained-glass windows[/b] obscure what could have been a breathtaking view of the Lost Coast. Each window depicts a monster rising out of smoke pouring from a seven-sided box. From north to south are depicted a gnarled tree with an enraged face, an immense hook-beaked bird with sky-blue and gold plumage, a winged centaurlike creature with a lion’s lower body and a snarling woman’s upper torso, and a deep blue squidlike creature with evil red eyes.

Yorastor (I presume he passes a knowledge architecture or engineering 15) recognizes this was an unusual design choice to fit the rooms with the best view of the Lost Coast with windows one cannot see through. This must speak to their importance. As Yorastor studies the seven sided box he reads the runes as related to necromancy and the windows depict the monsters being drawn into the box, not emerging from it. Closer studies of the expressions on the monsters’ faces show fear, not rage.

Diseased_Rat.JPGDorin Jal ducked into the adjacent washroom with an ancient metal washtub stands to the north, a ring of mildew crusting its inner surface. A strange, furtive scratching come from inside the tub. Cautiously he poked his head over the rim of the tub and let lose an arrow that skewered the diseased rat neatly. No one wanted to risk cooking and eating it.

From there the banders ascend the stairs to the second level. Looking through Aldern’s bedroom reveals nothing of note. The musicians’ gallery, however has more of the stained glass windows. This large room features two padded chairs and a long couch facing a wide alcove lined with stained-glass windows. These windows depict a diverse array of animals and plants—from north to south are a large pale and ghostly scorpion, a gaunt man holding out his arms as a dozen bats hang from him, a moth with a strange skull-like pattern on its wings, a tangle of dull green plants with bellshaped flowers, and a young maiden sitting astride a well in a forest while a spindly spider the size of a dog descends along a string of webbing above her.

Yorastor admits necromancy is not his forte but that scorpion venom, vampire’s breath, the tongues of deathwing moths, belladonna, and the heart of a maiden slain by poison are classic necromancy spell components. He muses to himself and studies the windows for a few moments before stating that he believed these particular components are used in several known lich apotheosis formulae.

Off the gallery the heroes find a bedchamber caked with a thick, spongy layer of dark green, blue, and black mold. Two bodies have decomposed and provided a fertile breeding ground. It is impossible to identify the bodies. However from the sizes you deduce one most likely was a child.

index.jpgFrom there the banders find the master bedroom. This once fine chamber has been destroyed. The bed is smashed, mattress torn apart, walls gouged as if by knives, chairs hacked apart, and paintings on the walls torn to pieces-with one exception. A portrait hanging on the northwest wall seems to be untouched, although it hangs backward, its unseen subject facing the wall. When turned around you see a portrait of a beautiful dark-haried Varisian woman in a thoughtful pose.

Leaving the bedroom you see one more locked door. Kohra pulls out her tools and goes to work. With a click the lock turns and a stairwell opens behind the door. The third floor gallery rests at the top of the stairs. A stone fireplace sits in the northwestern portion of this chamber. Paintings hang on the walls to the north and south, each covered over with a thick sheet of dusty cobwebs that obscures its subject from view.

Wiping away the dusty cobwebs over the paintings reveals portraits of the previous tenants of Foxglove Manor. The three to the north depict Vorel and Kasanda Foxglove and their daughter Lorey. Vorel is a tall, middleaged man with long dark hair, a clean-shaven face, and dark blue noble’s clothes , while Kasanda is a s,tern-faced brunette woman with wisps of gray in her short hair and a flowing blue dress. The five to the south show Traver and Cyralie Foxglove, their son Aldern, and their two daughters Sendeli and Zeeva. Traver, like Vorel, is tall and thin, but with an even narrower face and a thin mustache. Cyralie is a young woman with long red hair and an impish smile. Each painting bears a plaque that identifies those pictured within.

::More to come::

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Foxglove Manor 2

Knowledge gathered from Sandpoint gossip:

Foxglove Manor is over 8 o years old, and has been the seat of the Foxglove family the whole time. Some sort of tragedy struck the family a few decades ago, and no one’s lived there since. Common rumor holds that the place is haunted.
Foxglove Manor is known as the “Misgivings” by some locals, particularly by Varisians. It certainly has a bad reputation-sightings of strange lights in the attic windows, muffled sounds of screaming from above and below, and even rumors of a huge bat-winged devil living in the caves below the manor are but a few of the tales told about the place. The Foxglove family lived there as recently as 2 decades ago, but then a fire burned down the servants’ building, Cyralie Foxglove was found dead-burnt and dashed on the rocks below the cliffs behind the house-and Traver Foxglove was found in his bedroom, dead by his own hand. The children, including young Aid ern Foxglove, were sent away to be raised in Korvosa by distant relations.
Aldern Foxglove recently returned to live in the manor, but he had a hell of a time hiring locals to aid him in the reconstruction and repair of the old building. Until Aldern moved back in, the place was cared for by a man named Rogors Craesby (a retired innkeeper who lost an ear in a bar fight many years ago) who came in 3 days a week from Sandpoint to air the place out, check for squatters, and make minor repairs.
Foxglove Manor was built decades ago by Yore! Foxglove, a merchant prince from Magnimar. He and his family lived there for 20 years before the entire family perished from disease. The surviving Foxgloves of Magnimar shunned the place for 40 years, until Traver Foxglove moved back in.

After crossing the difficult terrain of the subterranian cave you reach the only solid door down in the caves. Busting through you find some sort of laboratory.
The air in this damp cavern reeks of a horrific stench-a foul combination of decay, brine, and mold. The cave contains a rickety table, its damp surface cluttered with all manner of what appears to be garbage: empty bottles, bits of clothing, crumpled bits of paper, and more, lying in neatly organized rows. A painting leans against the far side of the table, facing a large leather chair that sits nearby. This chair’s high back and cushion are horribly stained by smears of rotten meat and its arms are sticky with blood. A smaller table sits against the southern wall, its surface heaped with plates and platters of rotten, maggot-infested meat. The horrific stench of the room seems strongest to the west, where the cave’s wall has been overtaken by a horrific growth of dark green mold and dripping fungi. At the center, a patch of black tumescent fungus grows, its horny ridges and tumorlike bulbs forming what could almost be taken to be a humanoid outline. What appears to have once been an exquisite puzzle box the size of a man’s fist lies smashed on the ground at the fungoid shape’s feet.

The objects disturb Kohra who notices a few missing personal items, a discarded bloody part of her clothing from after the glassworks, and a clipping of her hair. In addition, there are various charcoal drawings dipicting Kohra in various dancing moves. Very well done sketches, some of which are quite flattering. However they are mixed with erotic and depraved drawings that make the collection horrifying and very creepy. This is all taken in in a quick glance around the room until your eyes find the man in the room.

A man no more, but an undead creature with ghastly apparance sits in a chair when you enter the room. He is missing pieces of flesh and has open wounds that will never bleed nor heal. The once handsome and cultured Aldern Foxglove sits now at the point of insanity with mixed thoughts and constantly fighting his need to feed. He has a nervous twitch in his left arm that causes his head to twitch in response and he speaks in a quick, excited voice when he sees Kohra enter the room.

Staggering to his feet he says, "You! You’ve come to me! I knew my letters would sway your heart, my love! Let us consummate our . . . our . . . hunger! "

At that he leaps toward Kohra and begins attacking….initiative. (see you tonight)

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Milo's Deer Diery
ADVENTURE!

The other day we went to a crazy house. It smelled REAL bad. They kept a rat man in a cage who bit Kohra and gave her disease. The best part was in the basement there was a bunch of zombies! I ran at them and they got so scared that everything froze. Then they caught on fire. Then they distapeered. The evil wizard was like “please save me” but we knew he did the nasty with corpses. I was like “GUILTY!” and then we chopped his head off. Sweet.

Then we went to the worst farm ever. Those scarecrows were not helpful. The house had more zombie things in it and it somehow smelled worse than the crazy house. One zombie bit Kohra and gave her a disease, again.

The county folk said a giant zombie thing flew around at night, so we went to check out yet another really smelly house. But we’re really smart. No more smelly house for us so we went down the well! Turns out wells smell bad too. I heard Kohra scream so I went down quicklike. She did a triple summer salt, tripped, and dove straight into a giant bat’s mouth. You guessed it: diseased again. I’m telling you man, you better know a good cleric if you get friendly with her if you know what I mean. Anyway, I yelled at the giant bat and killed it in like 2 hits. No problem, village saved.

Now we gotta somehow get the dog down a well. This is way better than Riddleport.

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Foxglove Manor 1

Yorastor heard the distant shouts of pain from Kohra and combat drifting up the well and over to where he was reading his book and determining the best way to destroy the house. It was plain to Yorastor that something evil affected this house. The very walls were crumbling yet not collapsing. Something stronger than mortar was holding it together.

The carrion birds, black raven looking things with molted feathers and rotting flesh showing through brought back strong memories of his last encounter with such beasts. Their roosting was yet another confirmation of the evil within.

Milo’s cry for aid and clamber of metal brought Yorastor back to the present and the fight at hand.

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Yorastor, Internal Dialogue IX
The Flames of Hope

Yorastor kneeled in the soft sand of this tidal island, water soaking his clothes and salt crusting on his skin. The irony of the expression “watching your hopes die” was not lost on him in these moments. Beneath his blood stained hands, Nualia’s demonic blood leaked away. Yet these wounds were nothing compared to the one she just suffered at Kohra’s hand.

Sometimes hope died slowly – with a tight clinging to every glimmer and twinkle that might promise its bloom. The wasting of his foster parents into old age was such an occasion. Despite every treatment, despite all efforts slowly time took its toil and they passed. Somedays their bodies and minds surged with renewed vigor; allowing hope to flame back to life. In general the trend was clear and unstoppable. But there were glimmers.

Sometimes, like now, it died quickly. This was almost worse. It was as if by a stroke of lightening. When hope died slowly you could see the end. Even though it was irrational to hope you could not stop it. When it died quickly you had no time to prepare. The jarring sensation was similar to walking into the door jam accidentally. You felt foolish for doing it and stunned it happened at the same time. Did he really think he’d convert her back to the aasimar girl of his memories? One look at the demonic arm and terrible scarring should how unlikely that was to succeed. Did he really think she’d give up her secrets, tell him her plans? Even with his new spells it was unlikely. She’d just be silent or, even more frightening, perhaps she’d resist and feed them misinformation. Nualia talking seemed as irrational as Nualia converting. Did he really think she’d survive the encounter? It did seem unlikely. Yet of all the hopes, that one seemed strongest. With her survival the others seemed possible, however faint. With her survival came the possibility of understanding what happened that night in the Cathedral. Yorastor’s gut told him it was part of the beginning of all this. If he could find that root he could unravel this entire problem.

Yet that hoped died, glittering from the wondrous sword held in Kohra’s hand, crafted by the hands of Sandpoint’s finest blacksmith. In the end it seemed to Yorastor the towns persecution of the girl final climaxed. At least she was safe from further persecution. As the hope faded, he felt another part of him break, another hope.

Looking up to Kohra’s face he knew he’d never go back to being just a shopkeeper. He’d never return to his small world of before. He hoped to much to be something more and when hopes warred the strongest prevailed.

At the moment though, he really hoped Kohra had a good reason and explanation. He was burning out on hope fast.

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Telling the Story Right
It's good to be a hero...

Yorastor enjoyed the solitude of the flight back to Sandpoint. He was tired, worn out from casting and the emotional let down around Nualia’s death. A bit of alone time, away from the party, to think, cool-down and plan was necessary. He was beyond enraged at Kohra’s action. While he certainly had no issues with meting out some field justice in killing Nualia it was, to his mind, the height of foolishness to do so before you learned what you could from a prisoner. Her lack of confirmation on it, her follow on explanation, the entire thing set Yorastor deeply at unease. He’d discuss it some with Zenovia to see what she knew about the mysterious order but a second conversation was clearly needed with Kohra.

He set those thoughts aside – more time was needed too cool down and be objective. Instead, he focused on his arrival in Sandpoint. Given their mission, and the time lapse, the entire town likely thought them dead. He should use that to his advantage. Arriving as the sole member of the party was worth some awe too. He should work that in. Perhaps it was time to accept he was no longer Yorastor Farden, simple shopkeeper of Sandpoint. It was time to embrace his recent heroics. He was Yorastor Farden, the First Theurge of the Sodality of the Key, the Ward of the Red Summit, a Founding Member of the Order of the Red Band, the Guardian of Thistletop Keep…and a shopkeeper. Never hurt to keep some humility about you while you charged into the clouds.

He flew carefully; hugging the close as much as he could to avoid packs of harpies or anything else deadly. He flow over a hundred feet off the water and far enough from the shoreline to present a hard target for bows and any other ambushers. Never hurt to be too careful. The afternoon grew hot and the hours drug on. Yorastor seldom flew for this long and it always amazed him and felt good to do so. He relaxed his leg and back muscles and simply kept an upright posture. As the three hours drew to a close the plan was fully formed in his mind.

First, he donned one of the red sashes he’d been working on as a symbol of the band. He wanted to be clearly marked. Next, he planned to stop by Red Summit, or more precisely, the storage under it and claim one of the ranseurs the party had taken from the catacombs. He’d need the banner Zenovia had lain in there as well – to be flown from the site as construction went along. He’d make quite the entrance. He would begin shouting as soon as he was in earshot of the town. He’d visit the Summit, gather supplies etc, then fly over the construction towards the docks, shouting as he went. He’d fly from the docks up and over the town to the square in front of the Cathedral and then land, planting the banner and declaring the news. It would be glorious. At last, he turned a bend and the faint outline of Chopper’s Isle, now the Red Summit, came into view. He could just see faint dots of the walls and towers being raised. Then he could see the first buildings of Sandpoint from the cliffs. Ah, it was good to be back. It was good to be headed to Sandpoint, home of the Order of the Red Band.

*

As town came into earshot Yorastor began to yell, “Hail Sandpoint! Hail Sandpoint! The Red Band comes in triumph!” as loud as he could. At first it seemed hopeless; too few people near the coast and too much bustle in their own business. Then one person noticed the man flying the coastline towards the Red Summit. The pointed and shouted. Soon, it was groups of people pointing and shouting. Yorastor glided at his sedate pace towards the construction, spotting Zenovia standing out near the freshly worked walls. Her cloudy eyes were pointed directly at him and a grin lit her face. She held one of the ranseurs, point down, with the banner of the Band affixed to the top. Clearly, she had anticipated his arrival. Yorastor couldn’t help but grin himself. As he approached he stopped his shouting and glided to Zenovia. Her grin widened and she stuck forward the banner on it’s makeshift pole.

“I had a feeling you’d want to make an entrance Yorastor Farden. I had a feeling you’d return too.”

Yorastor emitted a rare chuckle, “As ever, your foresight serves you well, milady. Your efforts here bring fruit. It is time I help tend the trees with the folk of Sandpoint. Today shall live in their memories for sometime. It’s a glorious day for Band and the town.” He paused and held a hand, “I know you’ll ask. All are well. We’ll need provisions and a ship to haul everything back. And help from the guard for transport of prisoners. Sadly, Nualia has fallen. I’ll explain more soon.”

“I understand. Go forth Yorastor.”

With that, he took to the skies again, following his planned route, shouting to the town over and over.


By the time Yorastor reached the square in front of the Cathedral most of the town was in attendance, hands over brows to shield the sun’s glare from the figure of a man flying towards them. One last time he shouted to the assembly, “Hail Sandpoint! The Band returns in Triumph!” he glided down and slammed the point of the ranseur into the dirt of the square. A slight breeze tugged the banner open and waving for the entire town to see. Yorastor took a step forward, threw back his hood, raised his arms and yelled to the assembly, “We return in victory! Thistletop Keep is cleared of it’s goblin inhabitants! The traitoress, Nualia, is slain! The Band stands ready to bring back its prisoners for the town’s justice!” He paused and took another stride forward, pivoting as he spoke to take in the entire crowd, he smiled, “And we bring a portion of the extensive wealth secreted in the fortress for the benefit of the town! We will devote some of these efforts to the building of the Red Summit, whose walls already begin to rise! We will reform and restore Thistletop into a bastion of security for the town, securing the hinterlands to the North and seas! Sandpoint, the Band returns, bringing you justice, bringing you prosperity and bringing you security! For Sandpoint! For the Red Band!” He raised his arms at the end to the explosion of cheers and the rush of townsfolk to reach him. Yorastor smiled openly for the first time anyone in town could recall. It was good to be heroic.

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Triumph
A return to Sandpoint

The last 18 days had been long ones. It started with a simple goblin attack on Sandpoint that led down a rabbit hole of ancient enemies, Thassalonian ruins, myths of the Runelords, demon worship, and a not-so-dead Sandpointian with a serious vendetta. The fates had drawn five rookie adventurers together and elevated their status to Heroic in Sandpoint.

With the disbursement of loot complete and the proper tithes and donations paid to those in Sandpoint who deserved it and those who believed they were entitled to it, the building of The Red Summit had begun under Zenovia’s careful attention.

Zenovia welcomed the party back to a quiet dinner at her house after the festivities of the grand and triumphant return. The glorious cries of townsfolk meeting the ship at the dock and hailing them all as heroes. A smaller ship had arrived the previous day with prisoners and rumors had renewed since Yorastor’s impressive entrance two days earlier. This quiet affair was full of drinking but with a less boisterous overtone. Zenovia had spent the afternoon going over the shipping manafest and making deliveries on the promises previously negotiated. It had been a prosperous day. More prosperous than she had even visioned (though she wouldn’t admit that to anyone here).

“Thank you for gathering in my small home,” she began. “soon you will have a much more glamorous meeting hall. Construction has already begun on the foundations. As you hopefully saw on your return we have begun on the draw bridge, a more secure solution to the temporary bridge built already, the great hall and the dormitories. After those are complete you can take up residence there although construction will continue for another three months at my current calculations.” She looked around the table at the heroes wordlessly devouring dinner and sloshing back “the good stuff” she had purchased from Gaven Deverin at Two Knight Brewery. This was a moment for celebration and she was losing the group.

“Ah-hem!” She said clearing her throat. “What you all have been waiting to hear, I believe, is how much you made off your foray into Thistletop Keep.” The five pairs of eyes in the room turned to look at her with spoons and turkey legs freezing midway to the mouth. Zenovia picked up a pad of paper and adjusted her glasses while squinting at it for effect. “By my calculations, the sales profits from today, which includes the sums of coins you brought back, divides out so that each one of you receives 1,709 gold, 6 silvers, and 9 coppers.” There were some frowns and grimaces as those around the table tried to do some mental arithmetic based on their estimates of the wealth recovered from Thistletop. Zenovia continued before anyone could protest. “I expect a further 932 gold and 4 silvers to each of you by the end of the week. I had to make some arrangements as several of my most trusted vendors quite literally ran out of money. The bulk of the sales will happen in another two days and then a further two to get the profits from a few items that had to go to a collector in Magnimar. That is a grand total of 2,642 gold and 9 coppers for each of you.” She smiled around the table at the gleaming faces staring back at her. Everyone nodded their heads and exchanged slaps on the back while congratulating each other on being rich.

“However,” Zenovia continued. “It seems to me that some of the retained items do not share equal wealth.” She could see a frown of confusion fall across a couple of faces. Her eyes went white as she looked beyond that which was visible. “By that I mean not all of you have the same power nor number of magical auras surrounding you. Yorastor, for instance seems to posses the most followed by Kohra. I do not say this to anger any of you but to merely keep the profits of such a joint venture the most equitable.” She had drawn closer to Yorastor during her talk and now stared at the wonderful ring on his hand. Its glowing brilliance was the brightest thing in the room. Glowing like a tiny sun she was as drawn to it as a moth to the torch. “May I examine your ring, Mr. Farden?”

Yorastor sighed wishing he had stashed the ring in his emporium before joining the banders for dinner sighed and removed his ring. Kohra chimed in saying, "Wren, what is it? We found it in a silver vase in the depths of the head. Yorastor said he could not identify it without more research.

Zenovia moved the ring back and forth in her delicate hand examining the ring through her cataract filled eyes, using her magical sense more than her vision. “This is a ring of force shield.” she said after a few moments. It is high level, more powerful than I or Yorastor, I suspect. But it does surprise me that you wouldn’t have been able to identify such an item…Either way, this is a prize worth accounting for on the books. The final say on dividing the wealth is ultimately up to you all but I would sugest that Yorastor forego his share of the profits today and we divide it only four ways. This would give you each 2,137 gold, 1 silver, and 2 coppers. Then Yorastor would enter back into the profit share in the future. This equates to each of you earning 2,000 more gold than he does from this endeavor. I am open to your suggestions and will do whatever you agree upon."

“This concludes our business meeting for the night. More to come in the upcoming days. Enjoy your return to Sandpoint and don’t spend all your money in one place. You will need it to equip for the coming war.”

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Thistletop Adventure 1

The party approached the island known as Thistletop from the North West. Hiding under the cover of darkness the boat approached the island without being noticed. Yorastor flew from the ship up the 80 feet to the top of the cliff and secured two ropes. The heroes of Sandpoint climbed the sides of the strange looking head of some ancient giant statue. The stockade is made of thick wood. Upon closer inspection it appears that most wood seems to have been scavenged from ships. A few nameplates remain affixed to some of the beams. Other timbers look like they once might have been masts. Approaching undetected the party was able to set fire to the north eastern corner of the keep. With a few twirls of a strangely knotted rope Yorastor caused a horrible growling sound like some night monster flying over the island.

Goblins started yelling in their foreign guttural language of squeaks, gurgles, and hard consonant sounds with a few common words thrown in for good measure. Three goblin warriors ran out of the main gate on the southern end and around to the outside of the wall that was burning. They carried buckets on long ropes and quickly threw their buckets over the side of the cliff.

Without letting the goblins even draw up one bucket the heroes attacked and chopped them into quick pieces. The goblins were surprised by the attack on the northern, safe, side of the keep. In response three goblin riders on top of viscous hairless goblin dogs emerged and looked ready for a fight. Yorastor looked them in the eyes reached into his pocket and said a few ancient words. All of them immediately, magically, fell asleep. The heroes rolled them off the edge of the cliff and called it good.

They circled back around the northern side of the keep hugging the wall to remain out of sight. Skirting along the western wall they entered over the rubble of a ruined tower. It looked to have recently burned down and the wood timbers were burned through with most of the tower having fallen off the island. Rubble covers what used to be some kind of storeroom. Crates and barrels lie mostly buried. A couple broke open revealing hundreds of pickles. The leg of one dead goblin protrudes from the rubble.

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Kohra's Journey 3
Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul, or A journey back to underbelly
Sunday, 30 Rova
Knotwork_K.jpg


ohra exited the catacombs through the glassworks with the rest of the Band and was surprised and astounded by the throng of onlookers gathered there. Apparently, news of the Band’s return to the catacombs beneath the city had spread quickly. Despite being daylight-born, the sudden glare of a cloudless blue sky forced Kohra to raise the hood of her tunic.

As the band began to wind its way through the gathered crowd, Kohra could hear snatches of whispered conversation;
“Look, there’s Lady Caran.” Whispered one young girl to a friend, seemingly in awe. “I heard she killed thirty goblins and rescued the pretty woodsman only using those scarves!”

“Hmph.” An older matron snorted quietly as Kohra passed. “A pretty girl lie tha’ ought be married n’ makin’ babies at ‘er age. ‘Specially with those hip o’ hers, they was made for….gulp.”

A yellow eyed glare from Kohra quickly quieted the hag.

Once past the on looking crowd of towns’ folk, Kohra bid the Band farewell and headed to Wren’s home. As usual, her friend was waiting for her outside the door, delicious smells emanating from a pot over the hearth.

“You don’t seem to much worse for wear.” Wren lilted as she squinted at Kohra. “Come, let me see to those wounds.”

“I’m fine, Wren. These few scratches will heal well enough on their own. But thank you for your concern.” Replied Kohra. “I’m afraid I’ve not too much time, my dear. I wish to check in on Amieko and help her around the Dragon if she needs it.”

“You’re going back aren’t you.” It wasn’t a question.

Will I ever get used to Wren knowing my thoughts and plans before I do? Kohra asked herself.

“We need to finish exploring the branches of the catacombs.”

“That doesn’t mean you should go alone, Kohra. Each of you is important to the success of this endeavor.”

“So you’ve told me a few times.” Kohra said, smiling warmly at her friend, “I’ll be fine. Trust me.”

“The last time you told me to trust you, Kohra, we ended up dangling from the old church steeple in the middle of the night.”

The two friends then spoke of more serious matters regarding the most recent sojourn into the catacombs beneath the city. Once she finished her story, Kohra bid her friend farewell and returned to the Rusty Dragon to check on Amieko and refresh prior to her return to the tunnels.
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As Kohra opened the door to the Dragon, she was immediately greeted by raised cups and looks of admiration from the patrons. A few gave her glances ranging from appreciative to downright lustful, the later had learned the hard way that their eyes where the only bits of their anatomy that would enjoy her.
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Ameiko Kaijitsu was sitting at the bar with her serving girl Bethana, discussing preparations for the evening crowd. They looked up, smiles forming on their faces as Kohra approached.
“Beth, please get our Bander friend something to drink.” Ameiko asked, her voice somewhat raspy. She spent the evening crying I bet. Thought Kohra.

“Of course ma’am.” Bethana answered, her voice lilting musically through the noises of the common room. She returned shortly with watered wine then went to see to the few patrons still eating their breakfasts.

“Welcome back my friend,” Ameiko raised her cup to Kohra, “You’ve been back to the underbelly of Sandpoint. I can’t wait to hear all about it.” She leaned forward expectantly to hear Kohra’s story.

Kohra beamed at Ameiko, the moniker of friend warming her more than expected. “I’m more than happy to share my tale, but I must first ask; how are you holding up? I know you weren’t too close, but the loss of your father and brother within a day…” her voice trailed off as she looked worriedly at her friend.

Ameiko sighed and took a long drink from her cup. “I’ve mixed feelings actually,” she rasped. “My father was not a kind man, and Tsuto wasn’t much better. They were tough to deal with, but father was good for the town.” She paused briefly, exhaling a long deep sigh. “I’m going to have to go back to the house soon to settle things there. I can’t imagine ever living there again though, not after this and especially not after my mother…”

Kohra leaned forward and placed a comforting hand on Ameiko’s forearm, “He never struck me as an award winning father, but perhaps he was better than nothing at all. My father too was slain quite gruesomely, I can empathize with what you’re going through. If you need help with your getting things settled at your house, please don’t hesitate to ask.”

“Thank you.” Amieko replied, relief evident in her voice, “That means so much to me. I have many friends here in town, but none I would want to ask to do that with me.”

“I’m here when you need me. I’m not going anywhere anytime soon. This town gave me shelter when I needed it and I plan to repay it.” With that, Kohra began regale Ameiko with the latest adventure of the Red Band. As the story progressed, Kohra found the performer in her coming out as the story unfolded in an almost bardic fashion. Eventually, she realized the common room was quiet and still, all eyes on her as the story reached its conclusion. The patrons all nodded in appreciation and thanked her for the story.

Slightly flushed from the excitement of storytelling, Kohra took her leave to refresh herself and rest before returning to the catacombs that evening.Cave.jpg

Kohra finished her preparations for the evening’s spelunking just after sunset. As she descended the stairs, the smells emanating from the kitchen reminded her she hadn’t eaten since her morning visit with Wren. After enjoying a quick repast, Kohra departed, the Dragon amid disappointed cries from the patrons, her walk suggestive and captivating. “I’m sorry gentlemen, I will dance again tomorrow, but for now, my duties to the Band take precedence.”

“I’ll bet they do!” guffawed one over-weight and loathsome customer. Ameiko, standing nearby, struck him with blinding speed blood spewing from his, now, broken nose.

The man clutched his hands to his ruined face as his compatriots laughed uproariously at him. Kohra smiled thankfully at Ameiko, receiving a wink and a nod in return. As Kohra turned once again to leave, Ameiko grabbed the offender and began escorting him in the direction of the privy.
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A short time later, Kohra, moving with unconscious quiet, reached the entrance to the underbelly of Sandpoint. She drew up short as she noticed a figure squatting near the entrance. She paused to observe the apparent guard. She almost immediately recognized the handsome young man as Mikel, a new recruit to the town guard and sometime visitor to the Dragon. He appeared to be oblivious to her presence, staring intently at a wickedly curved glaive lain across his thighs. The blade glinted black with swirling silver scroll-work.Glaive.jpg

Strong thighs…… she thought to herself. She quickly pulled herself away from thoughts about his thighs. Odd weapon for a town guard though. After a few more moments admiring the handsome young recruit, Kohra stepped lightly out of the shadows.

Mikel flowed swiftly to his feet, twirling the glaive effortlessly and leveling it at her bosom, as her foot purposely scraped the ground. He recognized her at once as a Bander, his eyes widening. “Lady Kohra!” He exclaimed, lowering his weapon smartly. “Forgive me, I didn’t know it was you!”

“It’s okay….Mikel, isn’t it? I think I’ve seen you at the Dragon.”

The young man blushed a deep crimson. “Aye m’lady, I’ve been there and seen you dance. You’re incredibly gifted.”

“Thank you, that’s very kind of you.” Kohra’s voice taking on a deeper more sultry tone. “but you know, I’m no landed noble for you to call me Lady. Kohra is my name and I’m rather fond of hearing it.”

Impossibly, Mikel’s blush deepened even more. “Eheh….yes m’la…..Kohra.”

“Has everything been quiet, Mikel.”

“Oh yes ma’am. There’s been nary a bump or scrape until you arrived. If I may m’la…Kohra, why are you here? Is everything okay?”
“Everything is just fine. But I’m here to finish scouting the last corridor down there. It’s generally easier if I go it alone, my friends aren’t the most quiet sort.” Kohra peered up at Mikel, a warm smile on her face.

Mikel nodded, trying hard to keep his composure. “Ahem, er um, would you like me to accompany you?”

“I would love for you to accompany me. But you’re needed more here. If I miss anything down there it’s immensely important that you’re here to keep it from reaching the town.”

Mikel stood a little taller at her apparent acknowledgment off the importance of his post, “Yes ma’am. I’ll not let anything past!”

Kohra patted him affectionately on the chest._ Nice chest…._ “I know you won’t.”

Mikel finally allowed his eyes to wander, as Kohra turned and began to descend the stairs into the underbelly.
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The next few hours past slowly for Mikel. He found himself beginning to worry about the attractive adventurer and dancer. He could still feel her hand on his chest….

“Mikel? Would you mind helping me a moment?” The dancer’s voice lit the night in his mind as it called from the dark tunnel.

“Miss Kohra?” he asked. “You’ve returned safely.” He could see her curvy silhouette holding a hand out for him to grasp.

“Indeed I have.” She replied as he grasped her hand and drew her out of the tunnel. As she stepped into the light she stumbled and slightly fell into his chest. His arms came up instinctively to catch her and he found himself holding her close staring wide eyed down at her. The smile he saw shining up at him from her pale face lit the darkness off his mind even more.

“You can let me go now.” teased Kohra.

Mikel’s face once again blazed red when he realized how long he had been holding her to him and immediately let her go.
“Ahem” he coughed, “Did you have any success down there?”

“You could say that I guess. The tunnel eventually empties through a secret door about 400 feet outside the north wall, near the beach. I imagine this is where the smugglers used to dock to unload their goods and bring them into town. There was only a single goblin though.”
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Mikel found himself suddenly worried for the welfare of this dancer he hardly knew, “A goblin?! What happened to it?!”

“Umm…” she answered nonchalantly, “the last I saw of it, it was missing an arm and the water was smashing what was left of him against the rocks below the cave.”

“I wish I could’ve been there!”

The dancer smiled warmly up at him, “I wish you could’ve too. Turns out it was rather lonely down there. I seem to have become accustomed to traveling with a group rather quickly.”

Mikel grinned down at the dancer, “If you need a companion in the future, you can certainly send word and I will be there for you.”

The dancer placed a hand on hip and smiled coyly, “I absolutely will. But you’ll have to excuse me Mikel, I must pay my friend Zenovia a visit and get myself cleaned up. Please, come see me at the Dragon tomorrow night, I’ll make sure to give you special show.”

With that final statement the dancer swayed seductively into the night.

For several long moments, Mikel stared into the dark after her, the image of her silhouette and the musical tones of her voice burned into his thoughts. Her presence seems to sweep the darkness away or at least keep it at bay, he thought. The Dark Glaive seemed to vibrate in his hand at that thought.
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