The Bovine knight and his band of adventurers follow a lead they got from a ghost and mad librarian from the Illustrious void. They go their separate ways for a few weeks but convene in the end on the Cradle of Legrun to face a triumvirate of Warlocks.
It had been a week since the ridiculous incident in the cave. Vorn’s head was still fuzzy from the massive dose if Fairie juju that he had taken. His darker heritage made it so that mostly he was immune to mind meddeling but apparently faries had their own rules. His charge sat proudly in a makeshift tent. Nik Nak had spent little to no time making the cave an approximation of the house Vorn had take him from. Obviously no nice furniture but wine, fine foods, blankets, pillows. Vorn couldn’t tell if they were giving him everything he wanted because they wanted to keep him happy or because they meant to use him but it made him uneasy. The illustrious Void people were in and out all the time but Vorn refused to say more than was necessary to them. There was a thought in the back of his mind all the time that he may need to extricate the gnome and the egg at any given moment and you didn’t want to have to kill anyone whose name he knew if he could help it. Kristoff the large armored priest and his buddy Jehosapheet had made camp outside the cave. Vorn had no fear of having to kill them, if anything the way Kristoff and Nik Nak acted Vorn was sure that they would help him if it came down to it. Nightly when the others went to sleep Vorn would make a circle around the outlying area insuring it was only the people he had deemed safe within range of the cave. After his circuit he would sit with the two followers of Fluflons. As holy men went Vorn liked these two, they didn’t proselytize. In fact they mostly discussed the next step of their plan. Kristoff sought someone who went by the Moniker “The last Devorian”. Apparently a ghost had said that this individual could be found in the Mountains north of Atelier. Vorn had laughed at this because it was like saying that one very specific grain of sand was somewhere on that beach. They spent their nights with maps and piles of army dispatches. Jehosephett had made inquiries with every officer he knew and they were compiling their intel. You had enjoyed putting together the puzzle of where they should search but it was still a massive area and they didn’t even know what they were looking for. On the sixth night Kristoff poured an especially good vintage into a small glass and proffered it to Vorn. In his back homsy accent that Vorn assumed humans found comforting Kristoff declared. " We can’t wait any longer. Let the librarian do what I’m paying him to do. We are going North. Me Jehusephett and the Gage. If you’re willing we would have you Vorn. I’ve seen you fight. Your blades would be most welcome in my quest to save my homeland from destruction. What do you think?
Insist that someone hired you and is paying you to keep the dragon Egg(and the silly gnome) safe you despite your camaraderie that’s what you intend to do.
I was paid by a man who whose business I value. I was told that my rate would be paid either by the gnome or by my contractor until I received further instructions. What would it look like if I just up and left because you asked me to go north.
Jehosapheet smiled, my friend you were paid to keep him and the egg safe. The egg is now buried in the safest possible place for it. This cavern was designed specifically for the purpose of keeping the egg safe. So don’t you see you have completed your task.
Vorn replied, But I have not received further instructions?
Kristoff jumped in "But the universe has put you exactly where you need to be, you may choose to confirm or deny our suspicions but if your employer happens to be a tax agent named Archibald Tannen then you should also know that the best way to get in contact with him is to stick with us. Many of us have done favors for him in the past and his niece is bound to help on my quest as well. You would not be betraying him but further ingratiating yourself with his services.
Do it for Free hoping to get close to Archie
A week later Vorn was beginning regret his decision to leave the egg chamber. Nik Nak had possessed a talent for acquiring fine food and drink from a variety of sources which was truly impressive since he never left the cave. For the last two weeks Vorn had trekked northward through the most drab country filled with boring people and even blander food. This seemed less like a manhunt for a dangerous terrorist and more like a tour of every small hamlet between Agreila and Hell. At least now that they had begun the ascent into the Mountains it had to get at least a little more exciting.
Haunt them from a good distance to see who or what might be following the two former soldiers through the Mts
As Vorn pulled the knife from the ribs of the man he noticed that his body is covered in decay. Not a zombie but almost as if whatever he had been exposed to was slowly eating away at him. Clearly Vorn’s habit of hanging out in the dark had some advantages. He carried a stone sigil that matched the drawings you’d seen of the faceless God’s totem. He had been following Kristoff for half a day before Vorn decided that his presence was now more dangerous than informative. Vorn could see now that Kristoff was moving in the right direction. As the dark elf slunk into camp he wondered to himself, “What would Kristoff and Jehoshaphat make of their uninvited guest.”
Orcs, Mad cultists, and was that the smell of freshly smoked Venison perhaps over Yew logs? Yes this was more like it.
Kristoff was finding it very hard to stay calm. He spent his time outside the Dragons cave with Jehusephett but mostly he just prayed and brooded. He missed his farm. Atelier had seemed like a bust. They had encountered hostility and indifference. Didn’t these people realize that he was trying to save them too. It’s hard to explain that your deity is sending you dreams that predict certain death and destruction. At least when the locust was active it was easy to convince people something was wrong. Thinking about the locust brought his meditative mind back to another problem, what to do with that thing. He had acquired it to exchange for Wrens help. He knew Wren would turn it over the these Void people. They owed him answers to his questions his help with this cave he now camped outside anyway, but that was still slow.
On the other hand what else was he going to do with it. Keep it in his bag?
Kristoff decided to give the Locust to Wren and let him sort it out.
The Cow Priest felt he couldn’t wait any longer. He and Jehusephett had convinced Vorn to join them and they were pleased that he hadn’t twisted their arm to pay his rates. Irena also had little to do in Agriela and preferred hunting ghosts in the wilderness instead of in books. Jehusephett had been trying to get you to leave for the Mts for a week so it was decided, no more waiting. They left Wren with a stipend and a gold finch. The Blessing of Oedel allowed Kristoff to whisper his name into the bird’s ear. When he released it no matter where Kristoff was on this plane it would find him. With this one way communication the priest left him a list of their potential targets, places that the quartet thought most likely to hide a secret cult trying to destroy Atelier.
The group left early in the morning. Irena riding out in front on Vassily, the two Atelier Men walking at a brisk hiking pace they could keep all day. Vorn came up the rear silent as the shadow that he resembled. As the days passed Kristoff remembered what he was protecting. As every village came by he saw more faces of people who were counting on him and for the first time in months he could feel the warmth of Fluflons filling in his breast, radiating out of the vile corruption that sat on top of it in his spirit.
As Kristoff approached the Mountains and his peers began the debate he turned inward. Jehusephett was a dear friend and true but he had walked away from Ateleir before, Kristoff hoped the man he thought of as a friend wouldn’t do it again, but his pain, even though it was a decade old, was still clear and at the surface. Vorn was skilled and an asset but still a mercenary. Irena’s loyalty was to a foreign city. He wished Wren had come up with something substantial but he was impatient and his gut had told him to move. He considered heavily his options.
Fluflons has believers even up in these hills. You know a few families who moved up here. You could ask the faithful for help
Fluflons got Kristoff into this and hopefully Fluflons would get him out. The priest knew some families that had moved to the Mts. One was actually quite successful raising goats up here. They had many children and Kristoff had been up more than once to baptise their children. Old man Clackamis always knew all the news. If anyone could help them he could point the party in the right direction.
The Pelinor men made a decision and decided that the next time they made camp to share with the others but as the two outriders approach it is they who had news. Irena had gotten word of a gnomish settlement to the North that she wanted to go check out. It had ties to Mazul and may know something. Vorn explained that Kristoff was being hunted by cultists. He said that if we wanted to see the body it is back a few miles but whatever we decided to do we should do it soon. Kristoff iwaseven more sure now that his path of action was correct and directed them towards their new allies in the Mts.
Irena had left, apparently to go check on a gnomish settlement. Gnomes were such interesting people. Once you got over the size difference you could really start exploring what made them different from humans Jehosaphett thought. He made a note to spend more time with gnomes in his future travels. Vorn’s news of encroaching assassins was a double sided coin. It meant that they were in danger but it could also mean they were on the right trail. As the sun was setting Kristoff pointed out that old man Clackamis lived just a few miles from where they party stood. He had moved out of Atelier for the free land. His family was like that of Jehosaphett’s beloved, frontier people not afraid of the Orc’s, hoping the incursions would one day settle down and they could enjoy the free and bountiful land that these Moutains offered. Jehosaphett knew all too well the price that this mentality could cost a family though.
As the threesome approached the Mt. style ranch the monk noted the signs of a frontier settlement. A bunk house with more young men then were necessary. Stray polearms and Heavy shields placed at odd intervals around the fences. Clackamis had really made a go of it out here though. It looked like 200 head of goat sleeping the valley below. Vorn decided that whatever business we need to conduct his presence would be better left to the perimeter. Jehospphett asked if he should inform the ranchers of Vorn’s presence along their fence line and he smirked and disappeared into the encroaching night. The monk knew the mercenary would return when they group decided to leave. He was like an eerie shadow that way. Kristoff was already almost jogging up the steps to great some of his old charges. The monk hung back worried about how he might be received. He had been gone for ten years but there aren’t many people out here in the Mountains. Surely some would remember Jehosaphett or at least his lady love. His actions after her demise had not been his finest moment and some considered what he had done as treasonous.
Introduce yourself firm in your belief that your new path can make up for past crimes
Clackamis and his many children 8 and grandchildren all play with Kristoff for awhile telling stories of the mooncalf and singing old Atelier songs. The monk joined in when the spirit takes him but mostly he was watching the adults. Jehosaphett asked questions about the passes, news about the army. As the late dinner dwindled and wine dried up Kristoff pushed what seemed like a friendly visit into business.
“All revelry aside we are seeking a very dangerous man, he calls himself the last Devorian and he is tied to alot of troubles back in Atelier. We have it on good authority that he is hiding up here. Is there anything you can tell us, anything strange or unusual going on.”
Clackamis replied. Its dangerous to use that name. They were bad enough when they lived but now everything that still possesses that name is surely cursed. Atelier was best be to be rid of them and Fluflons knows I would do anything to help you find whoever is pretending to be one now. Two days ago a caravan disappeared. Carrying dwarven Ingots just up and vanished. The Army is pretending it’s nothing but Orcs would have killed them men and taken the goods. These people are just gone. If you crest the Western Hill you can probably be in Duggan’s camp by mid afternoon, thats supposing that you sleep here. He will tell you it’s nothing but my gut tells me somethings off there.
Jehosaphett and Kristoff took a bunk in the barn. The priest rolled onto a hay bale and went to sleep, a little too much wine in his system. It was good to see him happy though thought his old friend. Since Jehosaphett had left Atelier he had sought through practice of mind and body to find balance, both in himself and in the world. He had walked the kingdoms looking to help society find that same balance. One of the ways that he had mastered was the focusing of his Chi. The masters had showed him how one’s spirit could be harnessed and controlled. Kristoff had always had a big bold spirit, but now it labored under a weight. Not the normal weight of duty or shame but an unnatural residue that smothered it. Jehosaphett had heard that he had been cursed and Kristoff admitted to having tried many times to cleanse it. Vorn said that the assassins were following him because of it. As he snored peacefully the monk meditated on what to tell him.
The Monk and Kristoff the next morning agreed to spend a few hours together suppressing the curse along with his chi
The next morning the three were off on their way to Duggan’s camp to see if they could find anything on the disappearance of the caravan’s.
The Pelinor men shadowed by Vorn arrived at Duggan’s camp in a little more than a day. Vorn knowing the effect his appeance had on military men serving the King decided that he could best serve them outside the camp. Kristoff and Phatty(yeah thats what im gonna call him now because his names to long) walked into the busy camp. Kristoff took his usual forthright attitude and asked the gate gaurd if he could see the commanding officer. The discussed that the two men were both Veterans of the Kings service actually both serving in these mountains at times. They were ushered into the tent of a red faced angry man commander named Duggan. “What do you want?” He barked without even looking up. The two went through the prisoners delimma but utlimately chose one they thought they could trust. Vorn used slightly more persuasive interigation techniques till he agree to take them to his master. The Pelinor men released him when they could see their querry but Vorn had other ideas.
Irena hadn’t wanted to go into the cave with Nik Nak. She definitely hadn’t wanted to exterminate a colony of fairies and she hated that they were now camped outside that crazy cave waiting to get some information from these Void People. Irena kept traveling between the capital and the camp at the cave. Vassili was restless. Irena was restless, every day that went by where they weren’t hunting the “The Last Devorian” or at least the followers of the faceless god was another day that evil grew closer to Mazul. The Ghost had told them to go North. Search the Mts. Kristoff was starting to feel a need to go that way as well. The gnomish gage proposed spiltting the party. Eventually after many nights of drinking and discussing with his new friend, Kristoff agreed to the gnomes proposal. The night before they left Kristoff somehow convinced that Elven Mercenary to join them. She had spent some time showing him her crossbow rig. He seemed most intrested in the hand crossbows and how she could feed arrows into them one handed. By the end of their camping session Irena had helped rig a similar set up on his own belt so that he could also use his smaller cross as a quick melee weapon.
Irena was thankful to not be pacing around the camp any longer but she also recognized that every step she took increased her distance to Mazul. On the third day through flat and simply farm country that Jehosaphat and Kristoff enjoyed so much, an owl flew at them from the south. This was odd as it was during the day and an owl not native to this part of the kingdoms. It flew right down on to Vassili’s back haunches and began to speak in fluent gnomish.“Irena if you are going North please check on the Titonelle colony.”
This wasn’t from the badger but the directness of if said that it was from one of his agents. Gage’s were given a certain amount of autonomy to do their jobs as they see fit. That is the only reason that Irena’s extended absence of six months had been tolerated up to this point but they were going to eventually want something from one of their few highly trained agents. This was apparantly the price she had to pay for spending so much time with the humans.
Irena had a vague idea where the Titonelle colony was but she was going to have to get a map of the Gorgumonz Spires if she was going find it in any amount of time.
A few days later her posse of Kristoff, Jehosaphat, Vorn(who kept disappearing into the wilderness for half a day and returning without a word.) and herself crossed the pass from Atelier into the Gorgumonz spires. These were the Mts. that the ghost said the Last Devorian was. But according to the terrible map Irena had picked up at the hamlet two days back. This was also the region that Titonelle Colony was located in.
Kristoff is headed for a farm where an old worshipper of Fluflons is. Irean thought it was sweet how devoted to his people Kristoff was but it really blinds him to the best path. Of course what did he know of tracking men. Irena considered that it might be better if she and Vassili were of on their own.
Go strait for Titonelle, the map isn’t accurate but cant take that long to find
It took Irena awhile to find the colony. It was tucked into a little valley. The place these gnomes had chosen was really quite beatiful. When she was a warden Irena spent most of her days in the smaller villages outside Mazul but those were like Metropolis compared to this colony. It was essentially 43 gnomes(she know because she counted every face that she saw). Only three children in the whole camp. Irena introduced herself right out to the camp elders. They were Simone and Oksa Bazelle a lovely couple who had raised the founding capital to move this group of gnomes out here. They had found a silver vein and were trying to make the mining camp into a colony of the Kingdom. As Irena went around and talked to the people they reminded her very much of the kind of people she grew up with. Hard working, honest sometimes simple but not stupid.
The Mine seemed to be doing well when she glanced at their ledgers which reminded her much of her youth, they seemed to be producing a decent amount of ore, especailly for such a small crew. Oksa said that five gnomes had joined them and that they were talking to another two families who were thinking about moving here as well. It became clear that these gnomes liked it here. Many of them, much like the people Irena grew up around, were fed up with the power structures in Mazul. So few families intermarrying and keeping the power and wealth to themselves while other gnomes spent their lives working hard to perfect a craft but not flourishing in the ways that the upper families did. The Elders at the colony and their peers all offhandedly made jokes about the “UpperClass” gnomes of Mazul and how much better it was here.
This was a good place and Irena wondered why the Gages had sent her. The next day she made a survey of the outying area. She didn’t find any trace of the cultists but she did find Orc tracks. Irena had heard in the army camps here that the Orcs sometimes raided this far West in the summer. Irena made another pass and saw that there were over six different sets of tracks. The orcs weren’t coming here infrequently they were all over the damn place. This must be what you were here for but how did Mazul know about this. Irena was sure that she was the only official gnome all the way up here and the people who lived here didn’t seem like the type to send word back.
When the Gage returned to the colony the signs were all around. They started showing up so fast that she was surprised she hadn’t seen them the first few days. 43 gnomes but beds for 56. The Elders were hoping to get two new families to join them because they needed to replace the people they had lost. Irena was sure that this little operation was not secure. They needed soldiers to protect them but that meant the royal authority of the King. That meant bringing in someone to run the soldiers and that meant the aristocracy of Mazul. Protecting the people would not be easy but if they stayed here they would need protection. As a Gage and a fellow member of a mining family Irena was sure that she could help sway the camp one way or another. If it became a real issue pretty Irena was convinced she could order them to do what she decided but she was hoping that it wouldn’t become an issue. When the Gage started asking around with the miners instead of those running the place many of them showed nervousness and concern. Their jockularity was now bravado. It was clear that they were scared. When she started looking into the rosters from six months ago Irena saw a name that she found familiar. Grannemelle. So a member of a ranking family had died out here. Someone must have written their family and now the family wanted this place shut down. But these people and the Gage had a decision to make and so they did.
Tell them that for the camp to continue they would need the official protection of Mazul and that soldiers would be here before the end of the summer.
Irena wanted these people to succeed. She wanted them to have something that was theirs but she didn’t want it to cost them their lives. The camp would still be mostly the same but there would be a more official presence. Irena knew that ruined the spirit of this camp but it was this or the camp. Shespent most of the month convincing the miners that the attachement of Royal Gaurd that were on their way was really for their benefit and that it was better than all the residents dying. It was a hard month but she was sure what she had done what was for the best.
It was a warm surprise one day when a familiar voice sounded off in Irena’s head.
“Irena we are in Eagelton, Wren has a lead”
she didn’t really know how this worked so she just kind of yelled out into the air
“I’ll be there in two days”
Vassili was confused, who the gnome was talking to but when she wheeled him around he still followed. She was off to Eagelton a small trading community that she had been by a few times. It would be nice to see Wren and Calliope again and hopefully Wren had found something worth using.
(can we all agree that this one is too long and will not be edited for third person)
The head mail from Archibald had asked her to come to the Capital as quickly as possible. She had said her goodbyes to her friends and promised to be with them soon. Without a look back Calliope and Lamelai had made a vigorous pace to Karalious making it in just under 4 days. She had never received an urgent message like this. Usually they sent coded messages in the physical mail or jewelry with enchanted messages. Communicating with Archie had been her first primer in how to be a clandestine operator. The message she had received was very different though. There was an urgency. No warm greeting or jokes, just business and he was summoning you to the capital. As you approached the gate it occured to Calliopi that she didn’t know if people should know she was here. If she were needed would it be as an agent?
Use you cover ID to enter the city so there wont be a trail of you entering.
Agent is as Agent does she thought. About 3 miles out she changed into the nicest set of clothes she had. Calliope hid all the adventuring gear and weapons and added a few extra touches of make up. She approached the gate while practicing her accent. As the men checked her fake passport she held a conversation with a wealthy merchant about which curio merchants had new shipments coming in this week. Calliopi used alot of previous knowledge to prove she was in the know but hadn’t been in the city in the last year. There cover established! She then had to go rent a room at a known but not conspicous room near the trading district. Then change clothes, slip out the back of the Inn(wasn’t really the right word since this place was so nice, no drunk dwarves here) and make all haste to Archies offices which were in the basement off the Tax office.
Calliopi rapped on the door to Archie’s office and waited for an answer. This was weird she had never been to his office? She had met him for dinners and family gatherings, she felt very official standing in this poorly lit subterranean office. Come in came the familiar baritone of her uncle. She opened the door on to an office that looks like it had been decorated by Mad Alchemists. On one wall was an Elven water mirror with elegant silver framing shaped like thorns. This was contrasted by what could only have been a Dwarven Mosaic portraying what she was pretty sure was the destruction of Kilnholm. The mosaic made Calliopi wonder, had Archie been to the Dwarven cities? She was told that humans never went there and even the brief glimpses of it she had seen during her time with 367 had made the girl feel special. As the young spy continued her survey of the room resting on what looked like a pickled fishmonster baby she was embraced deeply and powerfully by the man she knew as Uncle Archie. He had tea summoned and they spent the next hour catching up. He gave her the details about their whole family including those foolish cousins who were always trying to make a quick fortune. She began telling him about her adventures in Atelier. By the time she got through the adventures of Raven’s Down and he had questions about what the ghost said. He wrote down some notes and traveled to one of the hundred folders in the room and slipped his notes in. Calliopi was just beginning to tell him about what the next part of the plan was but then he cut her off.
“Thats great kid but your work there is done now. Kristoff is an able man with lots of friends. I’ve sent him Nik Nak and another blade. I am sure that they can work out whatever is going on there. I have urgent work here I need you on. I have a “Dark Market” that’s been eluding me for months. I need someone who doesn’t look official to get into good terms with some of the people we believe to be involved. Find out where and when they are meeting. Verify that there are items of concern being traded and sold without authorization. Do you think you can handle it."
That was such a fast transition from catching up to job offer that she almost didn’t have time to catch up to what was going on. As always Calliope wanted to impress Archie but she was also flabergasted by the way in which he had produced the job.
“Wait what, you want me to…… and find dangerous magical objects……. for the tax beureau so this will like be an official job and I’ll have to write reports. How do I even get in with these guys?”
Archie winked at his favorite niece, “I don’t tell my agents how to do their jobs. Welcome to the big leagues kid” He dropped a folder into her lap " I expect a report on your progress within the week.
Part 2 The Village of “(insert village name here)”
When Wren Lia and Irena met up at a small hunting village that Wren assured them would hold answers. They agreed to help a young girl who the rest of town was shunning. She took them to a cave where they were set upon by Monstrous Chuuls paralyzed and captured.
Pic of Vllage
Irina and Lia bust themselves out of their prison cells and attempt to take on the world with found weapons and gear till they come upon Kristoff, Phatty and Vorn who had come to exterminate the cultists. Once more united and Wren dusted off they cleanse the ancient temple of the corruption and evil that permeates it. At the end the fight a monstrous Warlock who fights like a demon possessed with a long black spear that could not be from this earth. After his body lay on the ground the crew debated the horrors and abominations that they had found everywhere here Wren decides that his query is getting away and he jumps through an open Astral Gate. Lia throws down a stash of magical supplies and nods from Irina to the rest. " Take care of them"
“but” Irina protested
she shrugs and follows the mage through the fading portal
Pic of First Warlock
Kristoff leads his trusty companions through the dungeon exacting Fluflons revenge on the agents of Legrune(we had learned the name and origins of the power behind the devouring at this point). When they finished killing the final Chuul they find a series of daggers that while not extremely powerful possess the intresting talent to control vermin. The daggers are also oddly possessive of whoever is wielding them. Vorn and Irina first encounter them here.
Pic of Wyrmstone knife
At the same time Wren and Lia find themselves even deeper in the earth in what appears to be a rats nest. An old blind drow attempts to tempt them into serving Legrune. When negotiations fail Lia begins a duel with the witch that tests her magical abilities to the limit whil Wren destroys her pet Grick. As a gambit to stay alive she places the artifact The Tome of Legrune into a scorpian box that can destroy either the book or a theif who doesnt know the safe word. Wrens training comes in handy and he temporarily disables the box and grabs the book. He also cleavely grabs the scorpion box.
Pic of Warlock 2