The Chronicles of Caledain

8th-28th of Winterdeep

Having demonstrated their unwillingness to let any steal their food or their fire, the companions continued the march unmolested. As experienced travelers, and thanks to supplies given to them by Di Maggio, they were able to keep themselves fed and comparatively warm. Nonetheless, the freezing weather, snow and mud combined to make the journey miserable, the army rarely managing more than twelve or fifteen miles a day. Traveling a week or so behind Kurdesh’s horde, they passed numerous burnt and pillaged settlements, and more than a few frozen orcs and goblins that had fallen prey to the elements.

Two and a half weeks of marching eventually brought the army of the Godswar to the borders of Freymont, where the army made camp.

That night, while Mirann was on watch, the wizard Arldis Carribannus made a reappearance. He told the adventurers that Kurdesh’s army had turned southwest towards the Hollow Hills, but as soon as it had crossed the border, had been hit by a powerful and sustained snowstorm. It seems obvious that this is no natural storm, and that powerful magic was being used to prevent Kurdesh reaching the hills. However, Carribannus pointed out that the level of power required to sustain it was immense. The only thing that could be used to sustain magic of that scale and duration would be death, and an awful lot of it.

Carribannus reminded the adventurers of the whole villages going missing in the Hollow Hills, and suggested that someone needed to go and stop it so that Kurdesh’s army could continue their advance.

With a certain amount of cynical resignation, the companions agreed to leave the Godswar and head return once more to the Hollow Hills. They traveled for several days, through deserted countryside, planning to skirt the town of Weirmarch and pass through the Weirwood to avoid Kurdesh’s force.

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3rd-8th Winterdeep

While preparations were underway for the church of Auric’s godwar, the adventurers rested. On the 3rd, the festival of Vassalmass, Vanator went to observe the festivities, and watched as the late king’s young son was crowned as Leodan VII of Arborland.

Luthien bid farewell to her relatives, while Rib spent the time in the temple of Ulna, in quiet contemplation. Konrad mostly kept to himself, and spent time making sure his weapons and equipment were in good condition.

On the 8th day of Winterdeep, the army of the godwar was preparing to leave. The adventurers went to join them, but passing through the western gate of the city, they saw the decapitated head of Walter Ordont, executed for his attempted treachery. Rib’s amulet warned of a demonic presence, which animated the head, and used it to taunt the companions, before finally falling silent.

Joining the army of the godwar, they saw that apart from a few bodies of disciplined troops, under the command of the High Templars, Lord Eisenbrand, and a few lesser nobles, most of the ‘soldiers’ were little more than a disorganised rabble, with little equipment and few supplies.

As the army began to move off, the companions, marching near the entourage of Lord Eisenbrand, were approached by a priest of Hesketh, a member of the Order of the Book, who was interested in their reasons for joining the army, but receiving few answers, rejoined Eisenbrand’s troops.

The army marched onwards. That night, still within the sight of the two towers of Highwatch, the army camped down, with many soldiers lacking food, shelter or the ability to light fires. Experienced travellers, the adventurers quickly had a fire lit, and had been supplied with food by Di Maggio. A gang of soldiers tried to intimidate them into giving up both, but they fought them off, Konrad killing one of them in the process.

Kirann and Konrad dragged the body to the edge of the camp, where they were confronted by a Marnossian friar, but Mirann was able to talk her way out of trouble.

The next morning, the army marched on, leaving more than a few frozen bodies behind.

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2nd- 3rd of Winterdeep

Having brought Sir Osric’s body back inside the city, the adventurers were summoned to an emergency meeting of the High Council. Here they were questioned on everything Kurdesh had said.

Displeased that Kurdesh was effectively abandoning the siege because ‘they were no longer a challenge’, they decided on an official version of events, in which Kurdesh was so grievously injured by the battle that his army lost heart and were retreating. It was suggested that Sir Osric be named the saviour of the city.

They then discussed whether or not they would now fulfill their treaty obligations and attack Freymont. Konrad and the others spoke, and tried to persuade the Council that this was the right thing to do. They were then asked to leave while the Council voted.

Vanator took this opportunity to return to his rooms at the High College, where he began writing a true account of what had occured. Mirann went at the same time to visit her relatives in the city. Konrad and Rib stayed to discover the outcome of the vote, and eventually Di Maggio emerged to tell them that the Council had voted six against five not to attack Freymont. he has also beencommanded to return to the College and remain there under house arrest until he can be tried for treason, and conspiracy to kill the previous king.

With little else to do, everyone returned to the High College and went to bed, leaving Vanator working on his history into the small hours.

First thing the next morning, he went and delivered his manuscript to the temple of Hesketh, to be archived in their library. Leaving the library, Vanator saw a crowd gathering, and discovered that it was the temple of Auric recruiting for a godwar, a holy war against Freymont, in the name of Auric and to uphold Arborland’s promises to Casterland.

Over night, the orcish horde had abandoned their camp, and had already marched away, heading west towards Freymont.

Di Maggio encouraged the companions to join the godswar as it heads west, after the marching horde, and into Freymont. He also advised them to try and find Carribannus, who had left the city before the siege started.

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2nd of Winterdeep

Having given Ordont over to the guardsmen, the adventurers returned to the High College to sleep.

The next morning, Vanator and Rib visited the Great Library in the temple of Hesketh, and here under the watchful eye of one of the priests, perused some of the works. In particular, Rib came across a copy of Di Maggio and Carribanus’s work On the Origin of the Races.

Meanwhile, Konrad explored Highwatch a little more, familiarising himself with the route to the secret passage, while Mirann visted some of her friends.

The party were then sent for by the High Council. They answered the summons, and were told that Kurdesh had challenged the city’s greatest champion to a single combat, although he attached no terms to the result of this fight. Having being assured by the adventurers that Kurdesh was, in his own way, honourable, they agreed to the combat, selecting the paladin Osric Tensteeds as their champion. They also decided to send the adventurers out with Sir Osric to negotiate with Kurdesh if it became necessary.

Osric and Kurdesh fought, and after a heroic battle, Sir Osric finally fell. Kurdesh, wounded, turned and returned to his camp. However Rib ran after him, asking what was going to happen now that Kurdesh had won.

Kurdesh replied that he had proven that he was stronger than the city’s greatest champion, and that he had nothing more to prove. Now, he and his army would turn west, towards Freymont and the home of the High Elves.

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1st of Winterdeep

The companions returned to their quarters at the High College, accompanied by Mirann who was hoping that DiMaggio would give her a job.

They rested, and breakfasted on the usual spare rations. No allowances were being made for the festival of Allgods, and the start of the new Caledainian year.

After breakfast they were summoned to DiMaggio’s chambers. Here he told them that Kurdesh had requested a parley, specifically with them. With a degree of trepidation, they agreed, and were duly lowered from the top of the wall in a wooden cradle.

A party of orcs escorted them through the camp to Kurdesh’s tent. Here they discovered that Walter Ordont had managed to escape the city, and had offered to betray it to Kurdesh.

Unfortunately for him, Kurdesh took this as an affront to his honour, and a slight on his strength, so instead he turned him over to the adventurers. He then dismissed his orcish guards so that he could speak with the companions alone.

He had been experiencing something of a crisis of faith following his defeat in a test of strength by Jurgen, and was now uncertain of his purpose. Vanator and Rib tried to persuade him to give up his siege of Highwatch, and to turn his attention to the high elves and their subterranean kingdom beneath the Hollow Hills, or failing that to the Freyish armies devastating Casterland, a sentiment that Konrad strongly agreed with.

It was unclear whether they had succeeded, and they left him, taking Ordont back into the city with them, where he was turned over to the palace guard and taken away.

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36th of Nightlong-1st Winterdeep (Allgods)

The companions followed the gang of men, who were carrying their stolen wares in a handcart, to a house built next to the city wall. They observed them go inside, and saw that the house went quiet and dark.

They sneaked down a side alley that brought them to the back of the house, and Mirann picked the lock of the back door. However, in entering, Mirann stumbled, alerting two of the men, who came to see what the noise was.

Konrad killed one of them almost instantly, while Mirann wounded the other, who managed to flee. He headed through a trapdoor and down some stairs which led to the cellar. Here, the rest of the men were waiting, along with their employer, Walter Ordont, son of the head of the merchant’s guild, who had fallen foul of the adventurers before, while they were trying to locate Lady Helmlea’s stolen jewelry box.

A savage fight followed, and the companions soon won the upper hand. Walter fled through a door while his minions were being finished off. Following, they found themselves in an empty room, without apparent exits.

Vanator managed to find a secret door, but they were unable to work out how to open it. Giving up the attempt, they returned to the Blue Cockerel, where Torly congratulated them, told them that he owed them a favour, and wished them all a happy Allgods.

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35th-36th of Nightlong

Konrad and Rib managed to re-enter Highwatch after the raid on the enemy camp. They rested briefly but were summoned to the Blue Cockerel, where the landlord, Hamble Torly, told them that someone had broken into one of the warehouses near the East Gate and stolen some flour that had been requisitioned for the defence.

Since it wasn’t his lot that had done it, and he has a vested interested in the continued survival of the city, he wants it stopped. To help the pair of them, he asked Mirann, a local girl, to accompany them, which she duly did.

Unfortunately, it transpired that they didn’t have a common language, so Mirann went to the near-deserted market place to hire a translator.

Meanwhile, Vanator was able to conceal himself, and after many miserable hours of waiting, was able to move, heading with expert stealth back to the ruined farmhouse which contained the tunnel into Highwatch. Passing back into the city and resting for a while, he went to find Rib and Konrad, eventually finding them in the eastern warehouse district. Vanator, able to speak Pedlar’s Cant was able to translate for Mirann.

As night fell, they kept a watch on the warehouses, until approaching midnight, Konrad spotted a group of men breaking into one of them. Gathering the others and keeping to the shadows, they began to follow.

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The Story So Far: Part 2

The party, still without Vanator, headed south to find out what they could about Kurdesh and his army. They encountered a band of goblins ransacking a village, and found them under the command of Agglack, the goblin who had helped them in the Deepwood. Agglack joined them to help them find the army, leaving his band to continue their raiding. Mostly avoiding the other patrols of gnolls and goblins, they eventually found the main body of the horde in a massive encampment. Here they were spotted and captured.

Meanwhile, Vanator had received word that DiMaggio wished him to return to the College of Sorcery. Suspecting DiMaggio’s motives, he instead fled the capital by bribing a guard, and headed to the temple of Cernnuna a little way outside the city. Here he told the High Priestess about DiMaggio’s plotting. She promised to warn the king for him, and find out about his friends. Vanator stayed in the temple for a day, before receiving word that the rest of the party was heading southwards. He followed them, and was in time to see them being captured. He managed to infiltrate the camp and rescue his comrades, along with Agglack the goblin.

In attempting to complete their mission, they entered Kurdesh’s tent, to find the warlord, a powerful human warrior, awake and ready for them. They talked, and Kurdesh told them that he would spare them so that they could take a message to the king of Arborland, and spread word of the size and might of Kurdesh’s army. However, he decided to kill Agglack for his treachery and desertion. Jurgen challenged Kurdesh to a trial of strength for the goblin’s life, and miraculously won. Kurdesh begrudgingly allowed them to leave, and they returned to Highwatch.

Here, they found King Leodan wracked with paranoia and indecision, and the High College of Sorcery under siege by the king’s forces. Brother Jurgen gained a private audience with the king, and in front of the two Templars who were guarding him, including their former ally Sir Osric Tensteeds, Jurgen murdered Leodan. In a rage, the templars attacked. Unresisting, Jurgen was killed on the spot, taking his motives for the assasination with him.

The High Council assumed control of the kingdom until Leodan’s young son comes of age, and DiMaggio was granted a temporary reprieve until the current crisis was at an end. Shortly after, Kurdesh’s host arrived and laid siege to the city. An initial assault was repulsed, and Kurdesh fell to building powerful siege engines. Using the hidden tunnel built to allow the king and other dignitaries to flee the city in times of need, DiMaggio sent the comrades, along with the Casterish mercenary Konrad Fucius, who had arrived in the city with a request for aid from the beleagured Casterish armies, out to sneak into the camp and destroy the enemy engines. They succeeded in destroying two thirds of Kurdesh’s machines, but while they were fighting the guards, Luthien fell, slain by a single blow from an orcish axe. Konrad, Rib and Vanator managed to escape the encampment.

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The Story So Far

The elvish scholar-swordsman Vanator Mallyr, in travelling through the Hollow Hills in the kingdom of Freymont, encountered Keskiyo, an Elvish priestess. The two of them ran into a Freyish patrol who suspected them of being spies for the neighbouring kingdom of Casterland. This being so, they were sent into a mine to discover what had become of the miners.

They escaped through a series of underground passages that the mine had broken into, but whilst here they were attacked by ant-like dog creatures, and Keskiyo’s face was badly and permanently scarred. They exited by a waterfall where a subterranean river surfaced, and here met Rib, a Halfling cleric who was searching for the river’s source. Shortly afterwards, they ran into a human adventurer by the name of Saris Mayne.

Together, they travelled to the capital of Casterland, Castermont, and here met up with Luthien, Keskiyo’s sister. They helped Saris foil a plot to bring the two kingdoms to war by assassinating the visiting Duke of Ironstone’s son, and brought the perpetrator to justice. Having helped Saris gain an audience with the Duke, the party left him and went to investigate further disappearances in the Hollow Hills.

At another abandoned mining village, they met Frederick Alsename, a human who was searching for evidence of the ratmen that he was convinced were plotting the downfall of humanity. Searching the mines, they found another entrance to the vast system of underground tunnels and here discovered a race of albino elves, who claimed to be the descendants and rightful successors to the ancient Shining Empire.

Kerekith, a prince of these ‘High Elves’ sent the party on a quest to retrieve the ancient Crown of Hesketh, which would bestow great wisdom on the wearer. They travelled to the Great Forest, and with the aid of the goblin Agglack, the party eventually succeeded in their mission, finding the Crown hidden in the labyrinthine, ghost-haunted tunnels beneath the ruins of an ancient Elvish tower where Agglack’s tribe had made their home. Along with the Crown, they also found several ancient elvish artefacts, including the enchanted Sword of Ashcaelil, and an amulet that glowed and gave off heat in the presence of demons. Luthien’s arm was badly broken.

Suspicious of the High Elves’ motives, the party decided to return to Freymont, but here were intercepted by soldiers who had been given their descriptions, and the crown was confiscated. They once more met Saris Mayne, whom it emerged had encountered the High Elves shortly before meeting Vanator, Keskiyo and Rib.

The Crown was given to Duke of Ironstone, who immediately left to present it to the king. The adventurers were then released. Uncertain of what to do next, they consulted the wizard Carribanus. Upon hearing their tale, Carribanus told them to consult Magellan DiMaggio, head of the High College of Sorcery in Arborland. He also identified the amulet Rib had found as being an amulet of Demon Sensing. Since it had reacted in the presence of the Crown, this caused the adventurers some consternation.

They travelled to Highwatch, but were attacked several times by followers of Ouroch, god of Strength and Ferocity, and Slesh, god of Torture and Murder. They arrived at the High College only to discover that DiMaggio had been replaced with a demon, disguised as DiMaggio. They forced it to retreat, and freed the real DiMaggio, who healed Luthien’s arm as thanks. They stayed for a while in the city, and investigated a cult of Slesh. Here, Fred was killed in a heroic but misjudged charge.

DiMaggio took the group with him to a High Council of the Kingdom, but despite his and their pleas, could not convince the king to any decisive action. Along with Jurgen Wolfsblood, a warrior-priest of Secnest, DiMaggio sent them to discover the whereabouts of the missing Carribanus.

Passing back into Freymont, the adventurers discovered that the High Templars of Auric, the traditional bodyguard of the king, have been declared demon-worshippers and traitors, and either killed or captured.

Following a clue referring to a place called Redpool, the intrepid heroes continued their search for the wizard Carribanus, passng through Freymont and into the Hollow Hills once more. They reached the village of Redpool, abandoned following a massacre, ostensibly by soldiers of Casterland. While here they were passed by a Freyish army marching west into Casterland.

Beneath the hill above Red Pool, they discovered a High Elf fortress, and having fought their way through to the dungeons below it, discovered the imprisoned Carribannus, whom they released. It was during the bitter fighting in the cramped confines of the elvish tunnels that Brother Jurgen was sorely wounded, his right hand hacked from his arm, but he survived to fight on. It was also here that they encountered a powerful demon, summoned inadvertently when blood was spilled on an altar. Having learnt who they were, the demon withdrew in the Void.
Once more at the surface, Carribannus used his magic to teleport himself back to Highwatch, bidding the party of adventurers to return and meet him there.

Travelling back through Freymont, it became obvious that the persecution of the cult of Auric was increasing in intensity. They encountered a messenger who gave them a letter before fleeing from pursuing soldiers. The letter bore the royal seal of Casterland.

The party eventually reached Arborland and Highwatch once more, and were reunited with Carribannus and DiMaggio. Examining the letter, it turned out to be a cry for military aid against Freymont, whose invasion of Casterland was already well under way.

DiMaggio, however, informed the adventurers that no aid would be forthcoming. Arborland itself was under attack, and would be unable to send help to Casterland until this new threat was dealt with. He also took Vanator aside, and suggested that it might be for the good of the kingdom if the indecisive king were to be killed, so that the High Council could take firm action, first against the horde invading the kingdom, and then against the plotting of the elves.

Whilst here, Keskiyo fell ill with a severe fever, and was left bed-ridden for some time. At something of a loose end for the moment, the rest of the party were engaged by a Lady Helmlea to recover a jewellery box. In the process, they connected with a band of organised criminals within Highwatch, referred to as The Right People, and were briefly involved in a gang-war between them and a group of Espadians, based in a fencing school in the city, the leader of whom had received the stolen box.

They fought the Espadians and recovered the jewellery box, only to discover that it had hidden within it a Sleshite text, the Book of a Thousand Torments. Interrogating Lady Helmlea, they discovered the whereabouts of the main Sleshite temple beneath the city, and with the aid of Osric Tensteeds, a templar of Auric, cleansed the temple, in the process slaying another of the albino elves, and retrieving the Sword of Ashcaelil, lost when Fred fell to the Sleshites in their earlier battle.

During the battle, Vanator was separated from the others, who returned to DiMaggio at the High College. He told them that it had been rumoured that they were involved in a plot against the king, and that they should leave the city for a while, asking them to head south, and find out what they could about the leader of the horde of orcs, goblins and gnolls that was invading the kingdom.

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