The Descendants of Tarakona

A Tale of Two Towns

After barely surviving the encounters with the Sahuagin and the giant Fey Crocodile, the Intruders and the partially digested Kakihara finally get a moment to speak and learn that the young monk was captured while trying to save citizens of a village just to the east. Upon hearing this Ardjuna and Tehbest decide it would be a perfect location for trade. Once the caravan arrived the heroes were greeted with a view of a settlement on its last leg. The buildings were run down and the people weren’t much better. The streets were cluttered with garbage and debris. It seemed that the Sahuagin were making regular raids on the settlement and the people there had lost heart. Tehbest decided it was better that only the heroes, along with Kakihara, go in and tell the settlement that they were just outside the town and not to be afraid. At first the citizens were hesitant. They had been beaten and murdered for so long anyone new was looked upon with suspicion. The town’s people finally agreed after consulting their leader, which they did in privacy. No one was allowed to see the leader of Econlocahatchee. Ember and Ardjuna pressed the town’s people with questions about the town’s leader and even requested to meet him. This only got dirty looks and a less than polite response. To seal the deal a feast, or the closest thing the town of Econlocahatchee could make, was created. Soon the heroes were full of fish, turtle, and the local vegetables. Some drank the home brewed drink from the distilleries. It seemed that Ardjuna and Tehbest were big fans of it. Thus making sure they would not be able to take watch that night. Later that night, Ember and Kakihara watch on section of the town. As the night slowly passed, Ember and Kaki saw some of the town’s people walking off into the swamp. Ember suggested that Kakihara follow them since she would be noticed. Kakihara did follow the town’s people and saw them perform some kind of ritual. The he heard a whisper. Or was it the wind? Whatever it was the town’s people seemed to be listening to the ‘whisper’ to give them instruction. Once it looked like the council was over, Kakihara snuck away and returned to the town. Once he arrived, he told the others what he saw. Despite the excessive amount oif alcohol, Tehbest and Ardjuna wanted to investigate. So, using the excuse thath the heroes needed to patrol for Sahuagin, they ventured into the swamp. Once they arrived at the ritual site, they couldn’t find any clues. They then returned to the town of Econlocahatchee. The following weeks were full of building and training. Ardjuna supervised the workers. Ember taught how to use a sword. Kakihara taught them how to defend themselves using only hand to hand combat. And Tehbest flirted with the attractive women. Then one day the town’s council asked for a meeting with the heores. They had decided that it would be better to just wipe out the Sahuagin’s settlement because they feared that they sea devils would come back and harm their town. Ardjuna swiftly agreed and the Intruders were committed to driving the Sahuagin from that area of swamp or destroying the settlement. The next day the heroes set out to find the Sahuagin settlement and toe drive them out. Kakihara used hi stealth and scouted ahead and found the settlement an reported back what he saw. Ardjuna got the idea of setting up a narrow corridor that led to an opening in the foliage so that the Sahuagin would not be able to spread out and attack them. The first time they met the Sahuagin, The party was separated by the evil creatures and, supported by the Sahuagin mages, nearly defeated. There was also a spiked pit set up in the middle of the corridor so that any that stepped out it would fall in to their death. Now that the killing area was set up, Tehbest called forth lightening to lure some of het Sahuagin out and eventually to the slaughter. Sure enough the Sahuagin sent out a party of warriors to investigate the explosions and noise. Once the Sahuagin saw the heroes at the end of the corridor they sounded the alarm and charged in. Tehbest beamed with pride as one of the reptiles fell into the pit and landed upon the spikes in the bottle. His celebration was cut short as the Sahuagin climbed out. He was bloody but still alive. Tehbest declared that he would be the first to taste his lightning attacks. Soon after the smell of burned flesh permeated the air as the survivor of the pit was struck by a blue bolt lightening blast. As the sorcerer was hurling lightning bolts down upon his chosen targets, Ardjuna and Ember stepped forward with swords drawn and shields raised. Two of the Sahuagin crashed into them during their charge, but Ardjuna and Ember held their ground and began to beat back the two attackers. While the two fought four more Sahuagin joined the fight. Kakihara leapt into the fray but was beaten back by the Sahuagin. Ember breathed heavily as two Sahuagin fell before her. Her rest was short lived as three more moved in to fill the hole. The warlord Ardjuna commanded Kakihara to move back into battle. They were beginning to lose the advantage. If the sea devils managed to push the two warriors back into the opening, they could surround them and all would be lost. Tehbest yelled for the two to hold on while he readied a spell. As he began chatting Kakihara suddenly became a blur of punches and kicks as he engaged the foes. The Sahuagin dropped like sacks of wet meat as Kakihara came to rest next to Ember. All of the Intruders stood looking slack jawed at the destruction their newest companion dealt. This only lasted a few seconds as the second wave of sea devil warriors charged in.

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The River is Bridged with Great Difficulty.

The river which had lain between the Expedition and the Sea Devils now seemed open and free to cross. Therefore, the carpenters were set to building a bridge and the entire caravan began filing slowly across it.

Suddenly up sprang an enormous crocodile! It crashed through the bridge, wrecking its middle and the horrified Adventurers watched helplessly as the gargantuan monster swallowed three porters in one gulp. At the same moment three fell wraiths swooped noiselessly down upon the porters on that side of the river now separated from the Company by a broken and useless bridge.

With incredible swiftness, the Monk Kakihara sprang into action and leaped onto the tremendous reptile’s back, ready to deliver punishing blows with his fists of iron. But that abominable lizard thrashed mightily in the waters and threw the Monk off its back with ease. Kakihara lightly leaped out of the river to its bank, and yet the huge crocodile followed, snapping its enormous jaws shut upon the suddenly helpless Monk. One more bite, and down went the hapless Mystic into the leviathan’s gullet.

The Prince Ardjuna quickly swam to the other side of the river, and the Paladin Ember, ignoring the weight and encumbrance of her plate armour, plunged after him. The wraiths darted about them, defying any attempts at manoeuvre, and sword thrusts passed almost harmlessly through their unearthly material.

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The Sea Devils and their Booty.

After a few more days, the Expedition ran into another caravan, which consisted of several Sea Devils escorting a wagon containing a recently captured slave.

The Sea Devils proved hostile and not in the mood for commerce.

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The Expedition into the Vast Swamp, and What was Found There

The Priest Karak retired after his long life of adventures. Now he seeks to serve his God Kord in more pastoral ministry.

The Expedition was outfitted by the Goliath merchants with the advice of the Prince Ardjuna, who also persuades them to purchase some useful magical rituals for the environmental rigors and dangers of the Swamp.

After some days and good traveling, the Expedition found an elfin maiden unconscious and bruised by a tree beside a stream. The Sorcerer Tebest took a special interest in her welfare (although the woods-wise Savage Herc was more instrumental in the actual dressage of her wounds). The Party forthwith began tracking the elf’s assailants, and it was ambushed by monstrous trees and vines. A short but sharp fight ensued in which the monsters proved frustratingly resistant, indeed too welcoming, to the Sorcerer’s and the Barbarian’s lightning.

Afterwards the lithesome elf led the entire Expedition to her village in the swamp. The Goliaths and Ardjuna were hopeful of a good location for a new trading outpost and way station. As the Expedition passed through a bone and trash littered tunnel, the Paladin’s suspicions were arroused. Nonetheless, no one could imagine or discern the truth.

Alas! For suddenly four huge Trolls attacked from four quarters. When the Company manoeuvred for a better tactical position, the Trolls ignored them and slaughetred six of the unfortunate porters of the Goliaths. To rescue the porters, the Adventurers had to divide their efforts and strike separately at the four Trolls.

Things got worse, for the beautiful elf turned into a loathsome and treacherous Bog Hag, who almost immediately attacked. Soon the true hopelessness of the situation emerged: the Trolls regenerated all damage dealt to them, even rising from the earth once felled, and every Hero within the sickening aura of the Bog Hag found his healing much hampered. In the end the Company made an ignominious retreat, save for the truly heroic attempts of the Paladin Ember to assist the fallen Herc. Great was the woe of all in that Expedition when the mighty Herc ultimately fell forever beneath the heavy clubs and hungry fangs of the Trolls.

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War Against the Gnomes and the Orcs.

After some conversations with the inhabitants of the Goliaths’ town, our stout heroes cast about for a worthy quest and mission. In the morning, the goliaths informed the Company that, “There shall probably be no fighting this day or soon.” To which both Prince Ardjuna and the Paladin Ember replied incredulously, “The gods forbid that there be not!”

The Hindaean warlord bethought himself straight way that there should be no opponents more deserving of his wrath than the treacherous Gnomish barbarians who treated the highway as their own. Furthermore, having already learned that some of the Goliath merchants were eager to pacify the fierce and cruel Orcs that peaceful and civilized trade and communications might flourish, Ardjuna endeavoured to persuade the his fellow Adventurers to provoke the orcs to wrath.

Forthwith the Company of Adventurers marched out of the Goliaths’ town and took the mountain road back northwest toward the Orcish village. As they journeyed, the Prince blasted upon his horn that the Gnomes should know that their reign of banditry was ended. The Gnomes did not disappoint in their rashness and ferocity, and soon four Gnomish shamans and their swarms of badger minions ambushed the Company. A bloody fray ensued, and the power of the defeated Gnomes surely indicated that they had thrown their utmost reserves of strength into this battle. In the aftermath, Ardjuna presumed that the Gnomes would no more dare to molest travelers on this road. (The others were much more dubious.)

Although the Company had been sore wounded and no little exhausted, the Adventurers pressed onward to the Orcish village, since Ardjuna mistakenly assumed that a small village could field only a few fighters. Beside which, he had a cunning plan.

The Orcs failed to cooperate with said plan, instead luring the Company to the edge of the village onto a more or less open field. Nonetheless, the Prince and the Paladin boldly told the Orcs of the Goliaths’ warlike intentions, and they advised the Orcs to pack their belongings and migrate entirely to the north. The Company impressed upon the Orcish chieftain that resistance was futile, since the illustrious and warlike Duke of New Hope would also join the war.

The Orcs became belligerent, but worse they almost immediately embarked on treachery, for they had no qualms about attacking four non-threatening messengers and heralds. Suddenly, the Company was attacked. At this point, rather than flee immediately, the Warlord Ardjuna advised a concentrated attack on the Orcish chieftain to discourage his followers and perhaps start an internal quarrel over which Orc should succeed as leader.

Mighty blows rained down upon the orc, but he stood unbent and revealed his strength. Meanwhile his followers proved quicker and abler than was thought, and they surrounded all four Adventurers in a wreath of steel spears and axes. The Adventurers bethought themselves then to withdraw, but even this proved difficult since they were surrounded and there were so many foes to cut through and fight past.

Forunately, their newfound comrade the sorcerer appeared on the cliffs above the battle, and he proceeded to rain death down upon the orcs. Cowed by the divine fury of the paladin, the chieftain fled back. Alas! At that very moment a great dire wolf bearing a warg rider came in view, and the Company knew that it was time to flee. In the end, the Paladin Ember had to bear away the almost lifeless from of the Priest Karak, but everyone escaped.

Forthwith they met the army of the Goliaths on the march. The Goliaths were informed of the orcish treachery, and Ardjuna and the Genasi Sorcerer accompanied the army against the orcs. Victory was at last achieved, and the new trading post could be established at the crossroads. Now commerce and the exchange of ideas could flourish between the Goliaths and the people of New Hope.

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The Goliath's Town

There is a Goliath town to the southwest of the Scar in the mountains. Fierce Gnomish barbarians lurk in its foothills, and savage Orcs raid from the north against the Goliaths. To the west lies a vast swamp criss-crossed with a myriad of rivers and streams.

The Goliaths are civilized and open to the world, eager for trade, knowledge and peaceful prosperity, but able to defend themselves: indeed they have no fear of the Orcs or the Gnomes. Therefore the Goliaths easily welcomed the strangers from beyond the Scar and were curious about all things to the east. The Company of Adventurers lodged in an inn and conversed with many inhabitants.

There were many Goliath merchants interested in far-reaching commerce: these merchants accepted the War against the Orcs in hopes of opening the trade route through the Scar. They also enlisted the services of our heroes in an expedition of exploration through the vast swamp, hoping to contact and trade with the rich merchants of Hindaea.

The Goliath Army, well organized and well trained, saw the opportunity presented by the advent of the Company, and thus the War against the Orcs commenced.

In the Goliath city also lives a Knight of the Sage, a member of the Order of the Knights of Paladune who worship and serve Bahamut through doing combat with the strife and chaos of the surrounding lands. He, too, expressed great interest in the campaign against the Orcs. He seemed especially pleased to ally himself with, not one, but two followers of Bahamut, even a Paladin herself! He did not show the same enthusiasm with the Hindaean prince, whose polytheistic views of religion bordered on blasphemous in the eyes of the Knight.

In the centre of the town rose a lofty tower, its architecture quite unlike the rest of the city, whose inhabitants were the famous Magi, an academic society for the understanding of all things arcane. Though their pretensions and cloistered behavior lead many to have a dim view of the society, the Magi have only ever strived to further knowledge, and have worked adamantly against taking any side in any battle. Such a neutral position has caused many people, such as the Hindaeans, to wonder whether such a group has the right to adjudicate on all matters Arcana, or if instead they should keep their opinions, and their laws, to themselves.

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Goliath Stronghold

Setting off from their temporary encampment with the Orcs, the Intruders headed through parts unknown towards the Goliath Stronghold. Once out of the Orc valley the landscape rolled through progressive changes, each more arid and barren. The lush ferns and evergreens were replaced by dry, fallen timber and rocks. At last, the gravel path they were following led them into a depressed trail that wound into a canyon wall.

“Might save us time,” said Hirk, as the group stared at the canyon opening.

“It also might prove eventful,” said Ardjuna with a smile, and he continued into the canyon.

“I don’t like the lowground,” said Ember. “We’ll be vulnerable”

Hirk hoisted his broadsword over his shoulder, and grinned. “We’re never vulnerable with the might of Kord on our side,” he said, before continuing after Ardjuna.

Ember rolled her eyes. “I’ll watch the rear.” She stood with her usual resolved manner as each of the team walked passed.

To the left and right of the party, steep rocky grades shot up, uneven and filled with blind spots. The dusty gravel crunched underfoot, kicking up puffs of ashy dirt. Possibly an old riverbed, the trail was the easiest terrain for them to cross in the canyon, but also the loudest and most obvious. Karak had shuffled to the front of the group, and held up his hand, a motion for silence. “We are being watched”

Tehbest scanned the cliff faces. “I agree.”

Hirk stared rather boredly at some boulders in front of him. “I only see roc-” Suddenly the rock in front of him sprang to life, uncurling into a mean looking, axe wielding dirtball. Too late the group realizes that the large boulders before them were, in fact, Gnomish Barbarians intent on making a stew of them. Bits of rock and earth clung to their skins, and their movements left behind swirls of dirt in the air. Together, both Gnomes let loose a nightmarish scream and took hefty swings at Ardjuna and Karak, carrying through to clobber Tehbest and Hirk as well. Still reeling from the suddent onslaught, the group was blasted by a series of dark bolts from the rocks above. Only Tehbest was able to dodge the chaos magic, and the others were left blind and wounded by the attack.

As the men struggled to regroup against the surprise attack, Ember came bounding up the trail. She cursed herself for letting her group move into such an obviously disadvantaged position. She also cursed Karak, the battle-seasoned warrior, for not avoiding such an obvious trap. “Might of Kord my…” An explosion from the cliffs to her left cut her speech short. Thunder clapped in the air as lightning slammed into a gnome standing on the cliff. “Good to see we’re not just taking it,” muttered Ember, as she tightened a leather strap on her shoulder, hefted her massive longsword up in both hands and slammed into the fray.

As the Warlord, Paladin, Cleric, Sorcerer, and Barbarian all battled with their surprisingly powerful enemies, another Gnome appeared on a ledge to the northeast, riding a wyvern. With a scream he swept over the battlefield, clawing at the Hindean Prince and then retreating. Again and again he performed the maneuver, raking through the adventurers and leaving no opportunity for rebuttal. Another bolt of magic struck the group. “He’s killing us,” yelled Hirk angrily. Ardjuna surveyed the battlefield positions.

“Tehbest, focus on their wild magician. We’ll reposition and handle the rest.” Tehbest nodded, and began whispering elemental words under his breath. A single gray cloud bloomed in the sky almost instantaneously, crackling with energy. A column broke off from the cloud, hurtling towards the cliff. There was no lightning, but a concussive blast suddenly shook the valley, kicking up chunks of dirt and rock. Even the two Barbarians in the riverbed gave a moment’s pause to look after the fate of their friend. All that remained was a stain on the rocks, and a splintered cane. Before the barbarians could adjust for the sudden loss of artillery, Ardjuna slammed a fist into the ground, causing the earth to rumble. Both Gnomes lost their footing and were knocked prone. The last thing they ever saw was a crazed-looking Paladin of Bahamut, a Barbarian more than twice their size and two large swords coming at their necks.

Without warning the wyvern returned for an assault, gashing a deep wound into Ember’s arm and leg. Karak rushed to her side, easing her down as one would a child and beginning his divine prayers for healing. Ardjuna, who had been watching the pattern of the aerial Gnome, motioned at an open spot in the riverbed. Hirk nodded, and ran into the open.

The Gnome saw the large Half-Orc standing in the open, and recognized the obviousness of such a poorly laid trap. Still, he was interested to see what this burly enemy had in store. With a shriek and woop, he dove back towards the riverbed, ready at any moment to pull out of the ravine and over the cliff ledge, thus avoiding any possible ground attack. The Half-Orc was still waving his arms madly and flinging insults into the air when the gnome closed on him. Perhaps this was not a trap, he thought smugly, as his wyvern clasped the Barbarian around the wrist and ankle, picking him off the riverbed floor. He tried to bank quickly to the right, but found his new cargo much heavier than he thought. Unable to turn effectively or rise into the air fast enough, he was unable to dodge the spear that came shooting from behind a boulder, right into his throat. He rolled off the wyvern without so much as a gurgle, and was dead before he hit the riverbed floor. This was probably for the best, as the wyvern decided to let go of all its burdens, and shortly after a 300 lb Half-Orc crashed onto the gnome, smashing him into the dirt and rock.

Two more spears sailed into the air and struck the wyvern, which was now barely staying aloft. A bolt cracked into its back, causing the animal to cry out into the air. Its master dead, the creature fled.

The group took a brief respite, as Karak tended to their wounds. Hirk rolled off of the pulpy body, which now lay half buried, and stomped towards Ardjuna. “What in the Hells was that?”

“What do you mean?” asked Ardjuna, unconcerned with Hirk’s angry, hulking form. “It was a trap.”

“I thought you were going to kill it before it grabbed me,” the Half-Orc yelled.

“If I could do that, then we wouldn’t have needed the trap, now would we?” replied the Hindean. “I figured that much was obvious.” He yawned before walking off to stretch his legs.

Hirk’s jaw was hanging open, and his rather large brow was furrowed in annoyance. “I’m gonna kill him.”

“Calm yourself, brother,” said Karak. “This was a good day for us and for Kord. Let your curses be prayers,” he said, adding “Besides, it worked didn’t it?” Karak let loose a loud, bellowing laughter. The rest of the group, except for Hirk, joined in raucously.

And so the Intruders continued on their path, and not shortly after came to a fortified entrance blocking their way. Behind it stretched a vast city with a large unusual tower standing in the middle.

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Across the Scar and Over the Mountains.

After defeating the Silver Dragon of the Tower in the Scar, the Company made preparations for a journey across the mountains which reared up along the western side of the Scar.

Soon a pass was found and a trail. Very soon along the trail, there was found a small cave and a shrine therein to the Bloodthirsty Orcish God Gruumsh. (It was later discovered that the Orcs were wont to pray there before they made trials of strength against the undead in the Scar.)

The Adventurers were ambushed in the night by orcish skirmishers whom the heroes drove off. The next day the party confronted an orcish warlord and his retinue in the pass. The Paladin Ember defeated the warlord in single combat, and the orcs acknowledged the Adventurers as fighters worthy of respect. The party visted the orcish village and exchanged information. Learning of a goliath town nearby, the Company set out to investigate. It was then that something funny happened…

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The Conquest of the Tower

Our doughty heroes returned to King’s Hope from the Isle of Storms. Their tidings were confused, but they felt they had some vague assurance from Talishmar that they could approach the Tower in the Scar now without any fear from the undead.

When their expedition arrived at the forest which masked that great ravine from the western lands, they were suddenly accosted by the Silver Dragon which had claimed for his own the Tower and the lordship over the undead in the Scar. One blast of his breath and one mighty swipe from his claws convinced the Company to withdraw.

But the priest Karak, ever cunning in ways to avoid or circumvent open battle, contrived a clever plan: that the adventurers should parley with the iron dragon Titus on the Isle of Storms and convince him to help them defeat the silver dragon. They would then offer the tower to Titus as a reward. Return to the isle they did, and Titus did agree, although he insisted that the adventurers must also persuade several of the other young dragons and wyrmlings of the isle to join them.

In a month’s time, the flying host of dragonettes joined with the Company of Adventurers at the forest opposite the Tower in the Scar. All seemed ready for victory, but nevertheless the dragonettes could not pass through the mystical shielding blockign the Tower. The heroes therefore must needed venture out into the Scar, trusting that the flying host would distract the Silver Dragon.

Talishmar’s magical gift proved to be some sort of boon within each adventurer’s breast which allowed him to pass through the midst of the undead unharmed and unnoticed. The barbaric Hirc leapt mightily across the yawning chasm dividing the Tower from the land, and the rest of the party followed on ropes. Inside the Tower, a Bloodkiss Beholder almost overwhelmed the party, but drawign upon every resource the adventurers prevailed. A series of puzzles and traps were overcome until an upper room was reached. There the party performed a ritual which began to shut down the magical powers of the Tower.

At this point the priest Karak performed a ritual and made a great shout to the dragonlings. The host took tothe air and a mighty battle ensued with the Silver Dragon. Titus fell in the fray, and many wyrmlings perished, but the Silver Dragon was defeated and the Tower was taken. In the end it was decided that Thereistra the Eladrin Wizard would settle in the Tower and maintain watch upon the Scar.

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The Isle of Storms

The morning after the battle of King’s Hope, a silver dragon alighted on the walls and bespoke the gathered nobles and adventurers. He claimed the Tower in the Scar as his own and demonstrated his power over the undead with an orb by returning them to the Scar. The undead were magically dominated to guard the division between the Peninsula to the east and the Far Lands to the west beyond the Scar. The dragon havign no love for the Baron Wolsner, sent the adventurers to the Isle of Storms to speak with the Spirit of the Dragon Talishmar, who had created the Scar.

The Company of Adventurers hired a ship and a brave captain, but the storms surrouding the island were too much for even such a worthy ship and hardy crew. However, there was avillage on the mainland near the isle,a nd in that village there lived kobolds who worshipped the dragon Talishmar and had constructed a device made of ropes to pull small boats to the island through the storms.

The Company went over to the isle and met a kobold shaman who instructed them moroe in his religion of Talishmar. The Adventurers then marched around the island to gain access to Talshmar’s cave. On the way they fought several small but fierce dragonic wyrmlings and young dragons. A blue dragon named Varim guarded the entrance to Talishmar’s cave, and he bequested the Adventurers to close a magical portal in the northwest of the isle.

The portal was guarded by Baron Wolsner and his allies and minions. A deadly fight resulted in complete victory for our worthy heroes. The portal was closed by throwing the baron’s necromantic relic therein.

Upon being notified of the Company’s success, the blue dragon Varim allowed the adventurers to ascend to the summit of the mountain and commune with the Spirit of Talshmar. Satisfied that his island was freed from further invasion via the portal, Talishmar drew upon the energies of the mystical storms surrounding the isle (which energies had originated from himself) and bequeathed a subconscious knowledge to pass through the Undead of the Scar unmolested.

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