Adventures in Avenaria

The Road to Linande
Through the Brambles

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After meeting with Arcanus Keeane, the group realized their best bet for finding any information about the dark holy symbol they found was to visit Calsey Castle, and Abbess Martheray, renown expert on ancient religions. Keeane couldn’t place the religious significance of the symbol, if there was one, and figured it must predate anything that he was aware of.


After a good night’s rest, and resupplying at Creston, the heroes set off for Linande, via the main road. Days went by uneventfully, and there was only a short meeting with a group of army setting for Creston to help with the siege to break the monotony.


This did change however when the party met with several homesteaders that had abandoned their settlement after a goblin attack. The distraught group relayed a tale of many goblins and Red-Skinned orcs that had raided the homes and taken several of the settler’s children. While at odds about many things, the group was of one mind when it came to children being stolen. With little prompting, the heroes set off towards Thistleop, a bluff not too far away to the north to exact a measure of retribution, and also to rescue the children if at all possible.


They made their way quickly to towards the bluff in the north, and early on the next day spotted smoke. Riding quickly they approached the aftermath of the goblin attack on the homestead. Houses lay in burnt ruin, and the livestock and dogs were left where they’d been slaughtered. A quick investigation indicated that fires were definitely not caused by anything natural, and also found many tracks, indicating a large group of goblins, with a few other larger types, and one odd set of tracks that belonged to a heavy, bipedal cloven hoofed creature. All of the tracks led directly to the mountain plateau, Thistletop.


The group approached the bluff and climbed up the winding trail, picking their way through the thistles and brambles that gave the landmark its name. After making their way through a maze of trails, Olvan heard something and stopped the group with a quick gesture. He motioned for Vera to scout ahead, and the 1/2 elf quickly and quietly made her way forward. She turned a corner and spotted two goblins apparently waiting in ambush. Vera smiled and turned the ambushers into ambushees, and fired a shot from her arrow. To her chagrin, the arrow flew wide of its mark, and the goblins were alerted to her presence in the area. After firing a few arrows, one of the goblins moved towards Vera. It was surprised when a charging Olvan turned the corner and buried his axe in the creature’s chest. Teleryn, Trianna and the new recruit Fintin followed and moved in on the remaining goblin, only to hear the warcries of three other goblins, who fired shortbows at the backs of the group, but missed wildly. A short skirmish later, and the groups had finished off the sentries, and had an open path to the rest of Thistletop…

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To a Temple and Back Again

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With some guidance from Arcanus Keanne, the group was heading towards the Roan Elk Orc Camp, to see if their Shaman, Mauhauk Splittrunk could shed some light on the appearance of the Red Orcs. The party was outfitted by the Duke Ummor and they left the next day.

The first hint that something was wrong came when they saw smoke in the distance. Hurrying along their way, the party rounded a bend and saw the camp of the Roan Elk still smoldering from recent fires. Several tents lay in ruins, and the camp as a whole was in a state of high alert, challenging the group as they made their way to the gates of the hastily built barricades. After the group verified their intent, they were led before a large tent, from which a wizened orc emerged. Mauhauk Splittrunk was old, even by human standards, but age, while slowing the orc, didn’t seem to diminish him in any way. A powerful figure, he gripped a stout walking staff, but some debate as to the necessity of the staff could surely be made, for he didn’t seem to rely on it to steady himself at all. He turned his still alert gaze upon the group and a tusky smile crossed his mouth.

“The Arcanus chose well, but as you can see, Creston is not alone in the perils that befall the land. Roan Elk also has come under attack. The demon Orcs come and take from us our children, kill our warriors, and burn our homes. They are not so many in number that they could wipe out the Roan Elk, so we fought back, chasing them from our home. Lurtzog Snakebite follow them to the banks of the Misty River, but they have crossed into the mists and vanished like smoke into the night air.”

The party took in this grave news and asked questions about the Red Orcs and who came to take the young orcs.

“The Demon Orcs are an abomination! They take our children and change them, they take our injured warriors and change them. In places of great power, they use their unholy rituals to change our people. The places that were once holy that are corrupted offer more power. If you wish to find the source of the Red Orcs, you should look to these places.”

The group conferred with each other for a time, before Olvan remembered that there were some old temples dedicated to the Dwarven Gods in the hills above where the Roan Elk were camped, beyond the Misty River. With Lurtzog showing them the way to the river, the party struck forth again.

The first indication that they were on the right track came shortly after passing the river. Vaeriel was scouting for the group, using her woodcraft to stay hidden, while looking for signs of the Red Orcs passing. She was almost past a rocky outcropping before she spotted a horrifying sight. Waiting behind the rocks in ambush were two hounds both with two heads, with slavering jaws that drooled a noxious bile. Leading the hounds was the most hideous creature Vaeriel could imagine. Only the size of a teen child, the figure was bloated. A writhing mass of corpulence, that shuddered and writhed with each movement, yet did so with alarming swiftness.

One of the hound’s heads jerked in Vaeriel’s direction and let out a low growl, and Vaeriel wasted little time wondering if the hound had sensed her. She made her way swiftly back to the group, alerting the rest of them what was coming, just about the time that the two hounds came bounding around the rock, followed by the demon. Vaeriel turned and fired an arrow back at one of the hounds hitting it, but not really slowing it down, while Teleryn and Trianna readied for it to reach them. Olvan on the other hand, charged the demon with a battlecry that rattled the hills, and cleaved through the thing in one mighty overhand stroke of his axe. The creatures dissolved into a noxious black ooze. Shortly thereafter the two hounds fell quickly to the combined magic and martial prowess of Trianna, Teleryn and Vaeriel.

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A Ducal Request

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The group made their way to the Witch and Flagon, where the Duke awaited them in an enclosed back room. After Olvan and Chamille secured drinks, they made their way to the back, where Vaeriel curtly made her way past the guards outside the door. Trianna, Arianna and Teleryn followed suit.
In the room, the Duke sat near the fireplace, behind his guards. Keanne stood nearby, leaning heavily on his staff. When the party filtered in and found their resting spots, the Duke addressed them, speaking to the whole, but making sure he made eye contact with each of them individually.
“I owe you, and the City of Creston owes you a debt of gratitude. If not for your intervention, the breach of the North wall would have been overrun. Your actions this day allowed our forces to push back the siege as a whole.” The duke looked at them and sighed, “I have no right to ask what I am going to, and have no expectations from you, but Creston needs help. Help which I believe you can provide. There are a great many mysteries surrounding this attack. I would find answers to these. The siege engines used against our walls arrived without any warning from the Order of the Orb, who are normally vigilant against this very kind of threat, I would find out how they made their way past our border guards. Also, there is the mystery of these red skinned orcs. This type of orc has never been seen, and Halinde has never used orcs in any attack. Outside of their infernal guides, the Halindeans are extremely prejudiced against anyone not human.”
The group questioned why he didn’t use his own men to do this, and the Duke answered, “For one, we need the troops to defend against the forces arrayed against us to the south, so finding any self-reliant men from the militia would be difficult. Also, if I were to send out men from my militia into the border areas, and this is not an attack from Halinde, it could be seen as an act of aggression, which we cannot afford. For this reason, I ask that you look into this matter.”
The conversation that followed was brief, but informed the party that the Duke and Creston would provide equipment and provisions that they might need, as well as mounts. Teleryn was reluctant at first stating that Tieflings that gain notoriety tend to not live long. This reluctance lasted until Keanne pointed out that Tieflings that have connections tend to live longer. Keanne also told the party that he expected magic was used in the siege, and they should look on this.
The group gathered their equipment and started towards the siege weaponry, where they found a small group of goblins led by a figure dressed in a cowled robe. The figure told the goblins to attack, but try to keep them alive, because “The Blooded” still had their part to play. Throughout the combat, he mentioned the “Blooded” several more times, to the confusion of the party. What did Blooded mean? Unfortunately, the mage used an item to disappear, after stating “I have taken your measure, Blooded, time for me to leave.”

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Siege!!
An Attack on Creston

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The day began normally enough, markets opened, and people filtered into the Inn to eat breakfast before heading about their daily chores. Guards stood atop the battlements of the wall around Creston, bored expressions on their faces. Nothing happened here.

They were wrong.

Two of the people manning the walls caught sight of something through the fog that was just beginning to clear from the fields, creating white whorls of vapor as they lifted lazily off the ground. To their surprise, they saw several wooden objects in the near distance. On closer examination, they realized they were siege weapons! Trebuchet and catapults, but there was no warning, no alarm from the Order of the Orb, the group tasked with controlling the border. How could they have possibly gotten by? The Dwarf Olvan, and the Half-elf Vaeriel ran to raise the alarm, when there was a thunderous impact on the wall. The siege weapons started their deadly hail of stone.

The walls shook with the impact, and Olvan looking back saw what should have been impossible. The stones rent a hole in the wall on their first shot! Charging across the field for the breach was a small horde of goblins, and something nobody had seen; red-skinned orcs, who seemed to be directing the small swarm. Olvan raced for the breach, while Vaeriel jumped atop a building, turning to face the breach, and taking aim at any goblin or orc trying to enter the city.

At the marketplace and in the Witch and Flagon Inn, the hammering impact and cracking, rumbling sound of the collapsing wall, alarmed Teleryn away from the prejudiced merchant trying to gouge the Tiefling, simply because of his race. Teleryn looked up, “What the hell?”, and started for the breach in the wall.

Inside the Witch and Flagon, Chamille and Arianna went about their normal duties, until they heard the roar of the wall falling. Both raced to the door, Chamille grabbing a full flagon of ale in passing, and when they saw the breach, Arianna moved to see if she could lend aid to any injured people. Chamille, let out a sigh, and casually, but quickly, drank her ale, before joining the fray.

A pitched battle ensued, but with Olvan and Teleryn holding the center of the breach, aided by arrow fire from both Vaeriel and Arianna, were able to hold back most of the creatures. Chamille aided the battle, using her magic to baffle and confuse many of the goblins. Despite their best efforts, though, several goblins managed to run past, and start for the interior of the city!

Trianna had also been in the market, and ran towards the breach, casting spells at a few of the goblins in the breach, in time to see the goblins who slipped by. She, Arianna and Vaeriel gave chase, using spells and missile fire to stop the goblins before they could cause any real mischief.

Towards the end of the fight, Duke Tralain, along with Arcanus Keanne addressed Olvan, requesting that he, and the other ‘citizens’ that helped with the fight meet with him in the Witch and Flagon.

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