The Chronicles of Caledain

31st-34th of Winterdeep

Having escaped from the Freyish patrol, the party headed southwest, staying off the roads and avoiding any pursuit.

They travelled for another three days, skirting the town of Weirmarch and circling to the south. They reached the edge of the Weirwood, and after a little discussion, pushed onwards in its depths.

After several hours of walking, they found their way barred by a single halfling, who ordered them to stop. However, this proved to be merely a distraction for the band of outlaws behind them, who ambushed them and took the adventurers prisoner. Their leader, Hobb Dryden decided to take them back to his camp to decide whether they were spies of the king of Freymont. On the way, he told them that almost everyone in the region had either been drafted into the army, taken as slaves for the mines, or fallen into the hands of mysterious priests acting on behalf of the king. Hobb and his band had become the nucleus of a growing number of people fleeing into the forests to avoid the recruiters and slavers, and had helped to disrupt the activities of the king’s men.

Having reached the camp, in reality a small but growing village, Rib told Hobb the entire story. Hobb was sceptical, but inclined to let them go. At this point, Rib’s amulet began to glow. One of Hobb’s men was returning with a group of refugees, and as they approached the amulet grew brighter and warmer.

Hobb and the party met them as they entered the camp, and Hobb sceptically challenged them. His henchmen swore that none of the refugees were demons, before revealing that is was himself. The demon, a 7-foot tall, winged monstrosity then burst out of the man’s skin and prepared to attack.

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28th-31st of Winterdeep

Pushing on into Freymont, the adventurers encountered a Freyish patrol, led by a young knight. Most of the party managed to take cover, but Rib was caught in the open, and captured.

The patrol were planning to take him back to Weirmarch with them, but when they camped in a fortified manor, Rib escaped.

Unfortunately, the others, outside the manor were unaware of this, and hatched a plan to rescue Rib. Konrad managed to scale the walls, and cut the throat of the sentry, while Rib was climbing down the walls to freedom. He met Mirann, and they were able to attract the attention of Konrad and Vanator, and were all able to escape to continue their journey.

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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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