The March of Ages

Putting the Romance in Necromancy
Field Trip!

The morning after the New Moon celebration, Belladonna alerted Belaric that their daughter, Aleetha was missing. Serafina and Elrathia went with them to the Moon Village to help find her.

A dead body was discovered in Ithaca’s home and Ithaca was also missing. The team tracked through a system of caves in the mountains and then into the forest. Belladonna went to get help.

Elrathia, Serafina, and Belaric discovered a camp with a mysterious necromancer and undead guarding several captives. When it looked like a ritual was taking place, they acted and attacked.

Among the rescued were Ithaca, Aleetha, and Rondal.

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Soulless and Undead
Teamwork!

It was the morning after Elrathia and Serafina returned from rescuing people, including Rondall and Aleetha. Alverin and Serafina had been staying at Belaric and Belladonna’s house while in the city. Elraithia and Anissa came to the house to check on them.

The young man that was murdered in Ithaca’s home was one of Anissa’s sister’s sons. She was out for vengeance. Elrathia and Serafina told the others what happened, including that it was Risis behind the kidnappings. They agreed to go to Idara, Risis’s (crazy and also super powerful reincarnated dragon god) mother, to see what she knew of this, knowing that she was way overprotective about her son.

Elrathia, Serafina, Stangil, Anissa, Alverin, and Belaric set out for Idara’s tree house. Idara offered the visitors tea and listened to their narrative about her son. She noticed and did not take kindly to the fact that Stangil and Serafina, were sworn to Somnambuliss. Serafina became uncomfortable after speaking some words to Idara and promptly left the house.

The others continued to argue with Idara about Risis. She refused to go with them to find him, but wanted them to bring him back to her. It was well known that the mother and son did not have a good relationship and the group was concerned about getting him to come willingly. A timid voice volunteered from another room, it was Idara’s unknown son, Zerus. Idara would not let him go.

The party agreed to look for Risis together. No one would try to kill him for vengeance or raising the dead . The plan was to detain him and bring him back to Idara.

That night, when they had settled camp, Zerus appeared. He had followed them because he wanted to help bring Risis back.

The next day, they had tracked Risis to some salt flats and found him in a village full of undead. Stangil concocted a plan that began with diplomacy and incorporated backup. Stangil, Zerus, and Elrathia went into the town to talk to Risis. Their secondary plan was for Elrathia to poison Risis into an unconscious and/or paralytic state. The rest set traps and prepared for a fight with the undead.

When Stangil and Elrathia had Risis where they wanted him, Zerus used blood magic to separate Risis’s soul from his body. He would not tell to where the soul was bound. The bright blue light from his spell inside the hut was taken as a sign by the others to attack. Anissa broke the ground and made a mote around the village that filled with sea water from the adjacent bay. Serafina created a wall of fire. Most of the undead was in a confined area. The rest of the undead were forced south, where Alverin and Belaric were waiting with arrows.

All of the undead were killed and the village was set ablaze in the process. Stangil and Elrathia retrieved Risis’s limp body to safety. The group returned Risis and Zerus to Idara the next day. Stangil bravely entered the house to explain what happened. Needless to say, Idara did not like one of her sons missing his soul.

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On the Road Again

The FimmDrekar, Elrathia, Stangil, Serafina, Arianna, Belaric, three scribes, and five teamsters set off with two wagons to Fey’oth.

They decided to stop at The Moot to meet with Laudengaul, with whom Stangil had unfinished business. Stangil and Laudengaul could not see eye to eye regarding the release of Givik so Stangil proposed a fight for honor, to which Laudengaul accepted.

Before the fight, Elrathia poisoned Stangil. Laudengaul was badly wounded, but Stangil conceded.

**The author can’t remember much else of this game. Apologies.

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Bad, Grim, Worse
Only Serafina is Happy

When we last left off, Stangil and Elrathia remained at The Moot, tending to Laudengaul’s wound from the duel while the rest of the attach├ęs continued to head east.

After a few days the duo rejoined the group. Traveling was easy going and the fellowship used some of their time to teach the untrained travelers some skills with various weaponry. The band continued on in this manner until a large group of unfamiliar Feoral was spotted heading toward them. Quickly, the Fimm Drekar were sent away to avoid being discovered. Elrathia, Serafina, and Arianna moved ahead to meet the Feoral while Stangil snuck behind to prepare for a surprise attack, if needed. The Feoral flew the banner of the Burning Dogs, who Arianna recognized as an aggressive tribe from farther south. Elrathia acted as spokesperson for the group and the Feoral leader, Avar, introduced himself as the chieftain.

Avar explained that this was now Burning Dog territory and if the travelers paid proper tribute, they would be granted safe passage east. Once Stangil thought it was safe, he sneaked back and reappeared within the group. Elrathia deftly negotiated with Stangil’s help and came to terms with Avar. Stangil would craft a weapon for Avar and food for ten of his men would be provided.

Once the tribute was accepted, Avar invited the party to dine with his tribe. Arianna spent the evening fending off Feoral advances. Belaric and Serafina partook in typical Feoral festivities. Stangil kept watch over his compatriots, ensuring their safety throughout the night as best he could, as these Feoral were particularly “douchey,” according to Elrathia. Elrathia spent the evening coaxing information out of Avar about his Burning Dogs and this surprising change in territorial leadership.

She discovered that a chieftain in the far south named Azuldur was uniting strong tribes with the intent of creating a Feoral empire. The slightly worrisome phrase, “the freedom to do whatever we like,” came up a couple of times. This information struck Elrathia as important enough to attempt to contact Aristos and warn him. She also persuaded Stangil to craft a blade with a weakness to prevent Avar from becoming too powerful.

The next morning, Stangil began work on creating the sword. Elrathia tended to some serious lacerations Belaric had acquired on his hands during a fight the previous night that he chalked up to “Feoral party” and a shrug. As usual, Serafina was acting oddly.

Three days later, the beautiful sword was finished. Stangil was weary from his hard work and the heavy heart he now carried from creating a flaw. He promised the sword that he would return for it one day to make it whole and deliver it to someone worthy.

As the party representatives made their way into the Feoral camp to present the sword to Avar they noticed a funeral pyre. Elrathia inquired as to who was being honored; it was a man who had been in a fight three nights past. Elrathia shot a glance to Serafina and asked if this was going to be a problem. Serafina responded, “probably not?” Belaric only said that the man deserved what came to him. (What happens at Feoral Party stays at Feoral Party.)

Avar accepted the fine tribute and granted the party safe passage east. The group was on their way, each a little worn from the experience. They met up with the Drekar, who had traveled ahead safely.

While crossing the mountain range, Stangil discovered a lion cub in the snow. Laradyth was dispatched to search for the cub’s mother, to no avail. Serafina excitedly adopted the baby and named her Naiora.

Once the mountains were crossed, they were only a day away from the nearest known outpost. Laradyth had scouted ahead and had returned with some tragic news. Elrathia, Stangil, Serafina, Belaric, Shykelith, Garceroth, and Akelecth went ahead and left the rest at a safe distance.

The outpost had been decimated. Dead lay all around, some buildings had been burnt, and several ships lay sunk in the bay. However, one small hut remained with signs of life. The seven snuck up on the hut and Shykelith revealed that the three Drekar inside were not of Kalloruth. Stangil kicked in the wooden door with enough force to shatter it to splinters. The three Drekar inside were too shocked to move and were easily surrounded.

All in the room deferred to Shykelith’s course of action. She grabbed one of the unfamiliar Drekar and questioned him. When he did not immediately cooperate, she shoved him into a wall and pushed her hand into his chest until his ribs cracked. The other two showed more sense and answered all of her questions willingly. They were part of a unit sent by Voranyth to destroy the outpost but had been left stranded after the fight.

Shykelith asked Stangil, Serafina and Elrathia what they thought she should do with the other two Drekar. Both Stangil and Serafina deferred to Shykelith. Elrathia asked if the other two could prove useful to keep around and Shykelith responded by telling her that she may choose one to keep. Elrathia questioned both Drekar and chose to save Zeuth. The other was dragged to another building by Garceroth and Akelecth, followed closely by Stangil.

Screams of torture ensued. Shykelith, Elrathia, and Zeuth returned to the wagons to bring the rest back to the outpost while Serafina and Belaric began to pile the dead to burn before the others arrived.

The next morning the screams ceased. When Garceroth, Akelecth, and Stangil emerged from the building, Serafina asked Garceroth if it was done, if he was dead. Garceroth responded with a simple, “no.” After further prodding, it was clear to Serafina that the torture would continue despite the prisoner’s lack of ability to provide new information. Upset, she turned to Elrathia for consult and then went flower picking.

As the debate set in about how to proceed without a working ship or crew, Garceroth came out from the torture shed. She announced that the prisoner had been murdered and sought the culprit. When she received only inquiries about why this was a bad thing, she furiously stated that if it were no one’s doing, then they needed to go out searching for some mysterious foe. Serafina confessed that she had done what she deemed to be the merciful thing. She apologized for any offense this had caused Garceroth but stood by her conviction. Garceroth, who had been enjoying the torture, was contemptuous and only stopped her verbal attack on Serafina when Shykelith pulled her aside. This incident was not spoken of again.

Weeks later, and under the cooperative direction of Shykelith, Julian and Stangil, the large ship in the bay was repaired and seaworthy. The 20 weary travelers and Naiora set sail. Before they reached the first large island, a terrible storm ensued, damaging the vessel. The hull was taking on water.

Above deck, Laradyth brought news. He had spotted a ship on the horizon.

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A Pirate's Life for Me
Trying so Hard to Behave

When we last left our intrepid adventurers, the ship was taking on water and Laradyth had spotted another ship on the horizon. Content Not Found: elrathia-king and Serafina were on deck while Stangil was below, attempting to hold the damaged hull.

It was not long before Laradyth could identify the oncoming vessel as the Serpent’s Grace, belonging to Kalloruth’s navy. A white flag was run up, as ordered, and they waited with baited breath for the Serpent’s Grace to approach. As the two ships moored, the captain of the Serpent’s Grace boarded with some of her crew and introduced herself as Captain Mytha. Shykelith greeted her with some concern, as Mytha was not known to be in command of the Serpent’s Grace. Captain Mytha explained that they had encountered trouble on the sea and the previous captain had fallen. After a brief introduction, Mytha sent men below deck to assist in repairing the ship and welcomed the weary travelers aboard the Serpent’s Grace to rest, eat, and share stories.

Stangil entertained Mytha with stories about not only human culture and history, but of the other races that were foreign to the Drekar as well. Everyone was in a generally relaxed attitude and becoming quite drunk very quickly. Serafina noticed, in her drunken stupor, that the crew were all wearing ill-fitted uniforms and the bloodstains on them were… excessive. She located Elrathia to relay her observation. The two then informed Garceroth and Belaric. Elrathia tested the drinks and determined that they were poisoned, but with a substance that was unfamiliar to her.

The caution to cease drinking was too late for most of their companions were already uncommonly drunk, even for this lot. They were able to get everyone on board their own vessel for the night and most had passed out immediately. Stangil managed to stay awake, on guard outside of Julian’s door. Elrathia, for whom the poison had a lesser effect, decided to sneak aboard the Serpent’s Grace and learn what she could of the suspicious Mytha. Before she reached the deck, Elrathia encountered two dozen men led by Mytha, on their way down.

She had just enough time to rouse Stangil and wake Zeuth, Serafina, Content Not Found: arianna-2, and Belaric. The six stopped on the steps just below the door to the top deck. Stangil called out to Mytha and she replied, “my name is Captain Serapathia of the Dark Lady and we are here to take you as hostages.”

Zeuth confirmed Serapathia as an infamous pirate captain. Stangil ripped off a door and wielded it as a shield and then swung his sword, Cybil, at the other door to shatter it into splinters. Elrathia spoke to Serapathia, to convince her of the power that humans had. When Serapathia’s intent did not waver, Serafina shot a warning fireball above the door. Serapathia was still unnerved. While Elrathia and Stangil continued to converse with Serapathia, hoping to stymie the implosive situation; Serafina ran back down to a lower deck and looked out a porthole, intending to lob a fireball at the Serpent’s Grace as a distraction. Serafina spotted a young girl leaning out of a porthole of the adjacent ship and returned to the standoff apologetically.

Serapathia was adamant that she would deliver them unharmed to Fey’oth, collect their ransom, and release them. This was “strictly business,” in her words and culturally acceptable. Elrathia and Stangil’s objections did nothing to further their plight. Believing that they could somehow best the pirates and commandeer the ship, they agreed to be held as hostages for ransom. Thus, every passenger, with the exception of the FimmDrekar and Naiora, were taken aboard the Serpent’s Grace.

The captives were first sworn not to attack or bring Captain Serapathia or her crew to harm. Their weapons and packs were collected and they were separated into individual rooms. However, recognized as the leaders and spokespeople for the group, Elrathia, Stangil, and Serafina were put in what seemed to be an officer’s quarters together. They were informed that the were not being taken to Fey’oth, but instead to an island called Kuskarosa. They spent their days aboard mostly confined to their quarters, but occasionally let out or allowed one visitor at a time. Stangil endeavored to find as much metal as possible to fashion a weapon and gather as much intelligence regarding the whereabouts of the others, in the event that they were able to stage a revolt. Unfortunately, this never came to pass.

The three, however, did discover their neighbor was a young woman named Sosyth Koth, a runaway from Vorenyth’s land. She was the daughter of a Drekar arkon who wanted to escape an impending arranged marriage to be with a man from Fey’oth, whom she loved. Sosyth was interminable to Stangil, inconsequential in Serafina’s eyes, but sadly unfortunate in Elrathia’s opinion.

The ship docked in Kuskarosa after ten days. Serapathia informed Elrathia, Stangil, and Serafina that they would be taken to Reikasha for judgment and if they were deemed worthy, their weapons and items would be returned to them. Stangil was asked to remove the metal of Cybil from around the mast and as he did so, he discovered that one of the crew had been attempting to remove her from the mast every day. He charged Serapathia with this information, claiming that one of her crew broke her word. The crew member was identified and immediately dispatched, without an argument from Serapathia. Then, they were led off the ship, through the mists, into the city. They were brought to a large and very old shipwreck that had been converted into a makeshift citadel where they met Reikasha.

Unlike every other Drekar, Reikasha seemed mostly disinterested in the humans. After they answered a few surface questions about where they were from and what they were, Reikasha changed the subject to their status within Kuskarosa. He regarded the conversation with boredom and a touch of irritability. The rules were simple:

1. Do not kill anyone unless they have attempted to kill you.
2. Do not get caught thieving or cheating.
3. When your ransom is paid, you must follow Serapathia’s instructions and go willingly to your purchaser without interference.

Until that time, it was promised that they would be under the protection of both Serapathia and the law of Kuskarosa. All three pledged their acceptance to these terms.

Serapathia procured two rooms for the group at an inn and all but the teamsters were happy to be off the ship. The humans and Arianna were the local gossip and the Drekar were not shy about their mutterings and glares. However, weary of sea travel and glad to be ashore, they ventured out of the inn. Serafina noticed a man wandering around, looking for a young girl, presumably Sosyth, and made a conscious effort to avoid proximity to him.

Stangil discovered a pay-to-play fighting tournament and subsequently found himself a backer willing to pay his entry fee. Julian and Elrathia took this opportunity to place bets. Serafina and Belaric found a spot to watch the fights and drink. Several rounds later, men were bloodied, cheers were shouted, money was made, and a reputation for the humans had emerged.

During the evening, the mysterious man on a man-hunt was spotted in the crowd and a man that Serafina recognized as a crew member aboard the Serpent’s Grace had pointed at her. The man approached her and did not believe, as others had, that she did not speak Drekar. They retreated to a private room wherein the man introduced himself as Gauladek Koth, sent to retrieve Sosyth by their father, Desrond Koth. Serafina explained that despite Drekar being widely unknown to the humans, she had already discovered how important the Koth family was. More specifically, she understood the implications of involving herself with the matter of Sosyth’s deliverance. Gauladek proceeded to offer protection but Serafina continued to insist that neither she, nor her companions had any inclination to get involved in this affair. She suggested that Desrond Koth pay the ransom, if she were so important. Gauladek left and she returned to Stangil’s celebration.

When it became later than late, the commotion died down and people returned to their rooms. Before Serafina could settle into sleep, she heard a timid knock at her door. She stumbled across the room to open it and see who it was. There stood Sosyth. Scared, nervous, pleading Sosyth. After it was clear that Serafina could not simply shoo her away, Sosyth was allowed in the room. The young girl begged and bargained to be taken with their lot to Fey’oth, going even as far as suggesting they steal a ship. Serafina had been pushed passed her threshold of annoyance and lectured the girl about consequences for her actions, how not everyone gets a happy life, and how her selfish disregard for others can cost lives. Sosyth was a determined girl and Serafina eventually let up. Belaric was woken and told to ensure Sosyth did not leave. Then Serafina awoke Elrathia to discuss the most diplomatic and least harmful course of action.

Together, they decided it would be prudent to talk to Reikasha and sought him out. Despite showing a lack of interest in the humans before, the girl’s location was important to Reikasha. Elrathia and Serafina agreed to bring two guards to Sosyth and return with the girl in exchange for a swap of their detainer. Two of Serapathia’s men had already broken her promise that they and their belongings would be protected, and thus far Reikasha had given them no reason not to trust him. As the respected authority of Kuskarosa, they felt that their fates were in better hands with him. The agreement was made and they left with two guards to retrieve Sosyth.

While en route back to Reikasha, they were ambushed. The guards immediately fell to a flurry of arrows and Serafina and Elrathia were on the defensive. Luckily, Stangil had heard the commotion and jumped out of a second-story window to the street below. Gauladek emerged from the shadows, demanding the girl. Stangil dragged Sosyth to safety while Serafina created a wall of fire. Believing strongly that Gauladek was here for a fight, Serafina lobbed a fireball at him. Gauladek jumped through the wall of fire, dodging the fireball, and engaged in a fight with Elrathia. While knives clashed, fireballs were dropping on rooftops and archers were falling. Stangil yelled in the street that Reikasha was being aggrieved, banking on the respect that the pirates had for him. He then formed Cybil into a spear and threw it at Gauladek. The remaining archers, who had not been burned or broken from their fall, retreated into the shadows. Gauladek jumped off the bridge, disengaging from Elrathia and fell into the water below. Serafina retrieved Cybil and returned her to Stangil, who then returned to sleep.

Sosyth was taken to Reikasha. Elrathia attempted to get closer to him and learn more about this ABsolutely mysterious character. By the time Serafina returned to her room, it was nearly dawn.

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Sex, Drugs, and Fortitude Rolls
Men Problems

’Tis a new morning. Our heroes are on the island of Kuskarosa until their ransom has been awarded to Reikasha, who has purchased their bonds from the pirate Seripathia.

Stangil was sought out by Torvin, the man who had paid his entry fee for the fights the night before. Torvin asked Stangil to carry out a job for him, merely acting as intimidation, or perhaps muscle in the event that an untrustworthy merchant did not pay his bill. Stangil agreed and they went into the market to find the merchant.

Serafina ventured into the market alone to hear the whispers of gossip, see what there was to see, and learn what there was to learn of the dice and card games.

Elrathia awoke in Reikasha’s bed alone. Half-dressed, she investigated his room. She fell disappointed when there was not much to learn about him. There were only two books; one, an epic poem about the Drekar and the other, an old history book containing the lineage of the Arkons of Voranyth’s people. Elrathia found Reikasha and over breakfast she discovered that the dragon tattoo on Reikasha’s chest was of Leopa, an old dragon, and that he was not of any of the known races. Reikasha was made by Leopa.

Elrathia learned that Leopa was known as the prettiest and the smartest of all of the dragons. She also learned that the story of the fall of the dragons began with The Trickster, Somnambuliss, tricking The Fool, Goraurik, into starting a conflict that began a war among the dragons. Before she left, Reikasha invited her to dinner.

Back in the market, Serafina, having bad luck learning much of the strategy of dice games, caught sight of Stangil and a man walking through the crowd. She followed them into a smoke house and found a seat when they went into a back room.

Stangil’s role as intimidator was short-lived as he quickly fell to the role of negotiator. Sorting through the two sides of the story, he found that Torvin had been requested a male and female (most likely Drekar slaves) and delivered three females to the merchant. Thus, no payment was received. It was agreed that they would meet the next morning and the merchant would pay Torvin half since he had been delivered half of his request. Stangil then left to find a blacksmith.

When Stangil left and there were no sounds or sight of conflict, Serafina decided that it was okay to leave. She had a nice buzz going from the smoke a stranger offered her and was content with leaving at this time. Wandering around the market once more, Serafina spotted Elrathia. The two found linen merchants and purchased some fine silks and cotton to be made into dresses more appropriate for the fashion of the Drekar.

Suddenly, Reikasha stood in the middle of the square and the market silenced. He announced that the men who disturbed the peace and broke the rules of Kuskarosa last night had been caught and punished. Guards marched out complacent men, some of whom Serafina recognized from the fight in the street, and placed them in hanging cages for all to see. There was something about the men, devoid of usual facial expressions or personality. Reikasha left but the silence hung for a few more moments before the market resumed its usual buzz.

Presently, a large plume of smoke off in the distance was noticed. Stangil, Serafina, and Elrathia all left what they were doing to seek the source. They came upon a burnt and sunken ship in a cove, tucked away from the town or docks. Stangil discovered Gauladek in hiding and flushed him out. Gauladek apologized to the three and begged them to assist him in finding safe passage off the island. Stangil promised to find a trustworthy captain willing to smuggle him out as soon as possible while Elrathia and Serafina agreed to disguise Gauladek.

Once back in town, Elrathia picked up her dresses and made ready for her date. Serafina made friends with the inn’s cook, Thyiss, and tried to learn more about the food that the Drekar eat (always take the far right soup). Stangil sought out Torvin and cut a deal; as payment for facilitating the payment for previously sold goods, Torvin would take Stangil’s shipment out of Kuskarosa.

The day had worn down and the adventurers felt somewhat accomplished. Stangil found Julian drinking and sharing stories with some Drekar. Serafina went upstairs to her room to change into her new dress. Elrathia arrived at Reikasha’s for her date.

Over dinner, Elrathia became frustrated that her attempts at flirting with Reikasha were in vain. Instead, she pressed more questions and learned that he was over ten-thousand years old and that Leopa was a dragon of wind and air. He asked her which of her children she favored most and why she was attracted to powerful men that were ass holes. These questions infuriated her more so. It was clear to her that she would receive few answers that she found informative and he would continue to ask her questions that she did not like.

Meanwhile, Belaric returned to the inn and excitedly told Stangil that he was going to be a pirate. There was a tattoo on his wrist, in the shape of a cross with a plain circle in the center. The cross was red with black outline. He told Stangil that he would explain in the morning and was off to bed. Early.

As Serafina finished putting on her lovely new dress and readied herself to go downstairs, Belaric walked in the room with a bottle of wine and two glasses. Belaric poured both glasses, handed one to Serafina, and asked how her day was. His tattoo did not take long to become a distraction and topic of conversation. He explained that he was doing rather well at the dice games in the street and some men took notice. Impressed by the humans thusfar, they introduced themselves as members of the Taalen’vost Brotherhood, and invited him to join. They had many connections and good relations with people in both the lands of Voranyth and Kalloruth and he thought it would be beneficial to their cause.

Serafina was shocked and angry. She asked Belaric how he could so easily sign himself away to this group he knew so little of and in response, he pointed to her tattoo asking if it was so different than her allegiance. With that, she grabbed the bottle of wine and left the room.

Once downstairs, Serafina found Arianna sitting in a corner, with a pool of blood at her feet, and empty space where a table had been earlier. Serafina sat across the empty space and Arianna signed, asking if she were okay. Serafina signed back, ‘m’ ‘e’ ‘n’ and with that, they clinked glasses and drank.

From across the room, Stangil noticed this unnerving display of The Sisterhood of Resting Bitch Face and the absence of Belaric. He stopped drinking and kept watch. Belaric emerged and promptly had three shots at the bar alone. Elrathia walked in, looking equally pissed off. She sat next to Belaric and began taking shots. Stangil was on high alert.

Belaric told his new drinking buddy his thoughts behind joining the brotherhood and that Taalen’vost meant “The Noblemen”. He further revealed that his duties laid primarily in providing a brother with shelter, no questions asked, and the same would be done for him. Valuable information would be accessible to them and Elrathia thought that it was a clever idea and would be very helpful in their efforts to work with both Kalloruth and Voranyth. During the conversation Elrathia noticed that it was extremely warm in the tavern and becoming hotter by the minute. Belaric explained to her that she was drunk. She did not enjoy this new experience. Elrathia then asked if Serafina knew what it meant and reminded Belaric that Serafina might be upset because she thought he would be leaving. Realizing that this would have been a vital detail, Belaric walked over to Serafina and the conversation went like this:

Belaric (on his umpteenth drink): I’m not a pirate.
Serafina (on her third bottle of wine): Okay?
B: I’m not leaving you.
S: O-kayyy.
B: Are we okay?
S: Okay.
Several minutes of what they perceived to be a hug
B: Wanna go upstairs?
S: Okay!

With that, they left. Arianna shook her head and Elrathia sat down at the table with Stangil and Julian. Stangil resumed drinking. Elrathia and Stangil discussed her discouraging evening with Reikasha and began an unintentionally loud conversation about Somnambuliss and Elynsinias. Arianna walked up to them and signaled for them to cease the drunken dragon discussion and Julian walked with Stangil upstairs. Elrathia was helped to her room by Arianna but decided that she needed to ask the two experts about being drunk. Staggering into Belaric and Serafina’s room, Elrathia got an eye-full and unnoticed, left the room and slammed the door. That too, went unnoticed.

That night, Stangil and Serafina dreamed of following Somnambuliss through town and swamp to a cliff where they jumped sixty feet into water below. Somnambuliss came to Elrathia in a dream as well. He called upon her to cash in his favor and asked that she poison Reikasha the following night to distract him, but not kill him. No questions were answered.

With merely an hour of sleep and awaking with heavy hangovers, the three knew what they must do. Julian brought Stangil breakfast, which they ate downstairs. Serafina requested a hangover breakfast from Styiss, to which he happily acquiesced and she sat with Stangil and Julian. Elrathia joined them shortly, absolutely miserable. The three discussed their dreams and tasks for the day.

First, Stangil had to ensure the deal with Torvin was carried out safely. Next, Serafina and Elrathia were to disguise Gauladek, from this point referred to as “Caustic” and bring him to Stangil at Torvin’s ship. Then, Elrathia would go to Reikasha’s to distract him. Finally, it was agreed that as the sun has cast its last shadow upon the earth and the crescent moon has risen above the eastern ridge (so like, 9 o’clock), Stangil and Serafina would be safe to move toward the cliff.

They then each readied for their day. Elrathia, unsettled by the vagueness of Stangil and Serafina’s task, inquired about Arianna’s former loyalty to Elynsinias to gauge Somnambuliss’s intentions. Worried that their orders may bring harm to Reikasha or the island, she implored Arianna to follow them that night and do everything within her power to prevent them from harming whatever they may find.

Stangil did a preliminary exploration of the path they were to take that night and went as far as the swamp that they were to trudge through.

Serafina brought breakfast up to Belaric and they had a sober heart to heart. Belaric clarified what his membership in the brotherhood would entail and that he would not be parting from her. Serafina found reason in his decision. She took this opportunity to disclose how she received her tattoo, how she felt no real loyalty to Somnambuliss, and that she was waiting for the right opportunity to see it lifted. Belaric then told her how his relationship with Belladonna had grown apart over the years and how he blamed Krolovik. Serafina was going to inquire how Krolovik played into it but then he said, “I love you.” Her response was to spaz out and go downstairs to find Elrathia.

Elrathia enlisted Serafina’s help in cooking a meal for Reikasha and decided to poison the wine but not the food. Then, the two set off to disguise Gauladek. He professed his gratitude as they delivered him to Stangil. During the interval, Stangil had ensured Torvin was paid and escorted him to his ship, knowing they had been followed by the merchant’s two goons, where they awaited Caustic. Torvin set sail with Caustic after both had thanked Stangil for his aid. Already some good will had been made with Voranyth’s people. Elrathia departed to her second date with Reikasha, Serafina returned to the inn, and Stangil shook his tail before returning to the inn.

When the barking of the hounds awoke the fairies in the evening so that they may begin their nocturnal dance (or like 9 o’clock), Stangil and Serafina, trailed by Arianna, set off for the cliff in the hopes that Elrathia was successful in incapacitating Reikasha. While the three made their way through swamp and to the cliff, Elrathia was finding that the potion she put in the wine was having little effect on Reikasha. She decided to slip some shroom powder (that Serafina once used in a pie) into the wine.

Reikasha asked what she had put in the wine. “I am both tired and aroused,” he described. Elrathia admitted to adding some human herbs for fun and acted innocent to ill intent. He suddenly became alarmed and said he had to go. She made every attempt to slow him down, including repeatedly asking him what she did wrong, running slightly slower than him, and persuading him to stop and let her stitch his hand when he cut it to open a mausoleum.

At that time, Stangil, Serafina, and Arianna had jumped off the cliff and were sucked through a current into a subaqueous cave. The dimly lit cave was filled mostly with books, but also armor, statues, coins, and weapons. Stangil’s mage-sight revealed that the cave was lit with magic all around, but most of all from a pillar in the back of the cave. The pillar of light that Stangil saw was a rush of wind, emanating from a hollowed shaft in the ground. When the three stood beside the well Somnambuliss materialized.

He knelt at the well and spoke in a strange language. Moments later he stood and told Stangil and Serafina that he had spoken to the spirit of Leopa. Questions were traded for secrets and he had traded enough secrets to have his questions answered and for each of them to ask one themselves.

At this moment a light flashed and Reikasha, followed quickly by Elrathia, appeared. Reikasha demanded to know what they were doing as he ran toward them. Stangil quickly kneeled at the well and asked Leopa, “to whom do the dragon eggs belong?” Serafina attempted to inform Reikasha that they meant no harm and were only asking questions but he had already thrown one of his weapons at Somnambuliss. The blade sunk into his shoulder and with a nonchalant, “well, that was rude,” Somnambuliss pulled it from his flesh. Reikasha lunged toward him and was immediately swept to the side, hard.

Reikasha was injured badly. Ribs were sticking out of his chest and he could not stand, nor would he allow Elrathia to come near enough to tend to him. Somnambuliss gestured to Serafina to ask her question when Stangil was finished. She bent to her knees and asked, “what really happened the night my family was killed?” While she received her answer, Somnambuliss offered Elrathia a question for her friendship. She declined. Then, Somnambuliss attempted to make up for injuring Reikasha and said, “how about a room with a view?” With that, all saw a change through the cave entrance. There was no more water and there were hills and valleys as far as they could see. Unfamiliar stars shone brightly against a dark field dotted with two moons. Somnambuliss flickered and disappeared. Reikasha began to weep.

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There Are No Secrets That Time Does Not Reveal

After the events that took place in the cavern, the humans and their traveling companions were instructed not to leave their domicile. When one week had passed, a summon was sent from Reikasha, to which Elrathia and Serafina complied.

Elrathia and Serafina were led into the ship where Reikasha resided but before they broke words he commanded, “follow me,” stood up, and walked away. He led them outside and to the mausoleum that Elrathia recognized from their previous race. This time he pricked his finger (instead of slashing his hand open) and drew sigils until the door opened. The three took the portal into the cavern.

Once inside, Elrathia noticed a change. They were walking through a series of wards about thirty feet in diameter. When Reikasha reached the edge, he advised them to stop. Serafina and Elrathia stopped while Reikasha pulled a chair to the outer edge of the ward and sat. He then said, “explain.”

Elrathia told Reikasha about the two dragons known to the humans; Somnambuliss and Elynsinias. Serafina explained how she was sworn to Somnambuliss and why she and Stangil had entered the cavern.

Reikasha then asked, “can I trust you?” Both women plead their cases and convinced him that they could be trusted and meant him no harm. Reikasha used a staff to smear the concentric circles of wards and release them. Walking toward the cavern entrance where they could see the “view” that Somnambuliss installed a week prior. Through this window they could see many flying animals, birds, cats, even dragons. One in particular flew by the window and tears streamed down Elrathia’s face, it was so beautiful.

They were gestured toward a low table where Reikasha brought food and began to ask the many questions that they had been achingly curious about. They learned that the window was a one-way portal to the past, a time in the world when there were two moons and dragons ruled the chaotic lands. Reikasha had no desire to return to that time, as he was a different person now and would not belong. He did not know why Somnambuliss created this or what his intentions were with the world today. Somnambuliss had once offered Leopa a part in his plans, but she had declined. Goraurik had changed the world when he was tricked into convincing one moon to eat another. The world became more docile, other races appeared, the dragon war began and ended. Leopa fell to her two children, Kalloruth and Voranyth, and that is how Reikasha got his deep scars.

Reikasha said that he believes that humans will change the world and swore his support to their race. His intentions have always been to keep Kalloruth and Voranyth at odds, allowing neither to make peace with the other because that would be the end of all other races. By maintaining balance, he kept their potentially catastrophic cumulative power at bay. Reikasha wishes for dragons never to return to power and for the world to be in the hands of the other races. He also warned that Goraurik’s body remained somewhere in the world, but he knew not where.

Elrathia and Serafina learned about the two opposing factions. The Shaeth Empire was ruled by Voranyth, who preferred to guide more than govern. Shaeth was divided amongst five arkon families. Fey’Oth was ruled more actively by Kalloruth and protected by the Fimm Drekar. Reikasha then informed them that he would be sending Sosyth Toth to her lover in Fey’Oth and the humans to Arkon Desrond Toth.

Serafina asked about the Taalen’Vost. It was explained that they were originally founded to foster knowledge and learning. The brotherhood became a bastardized cabal full of individuals seeking only to advance themselves and member interests. They were controlled by a small group called the Tribunal. Membership is typically a lengthy process during which pledges prove their worth and loyalty. It was found to be unusual that Belaric was approached and inducted so quickly.

Elrathia showed Reikasha a sketch of Cernunnos’s tattoo, which he identified as Goraurik. When she began asking about dragon eggs, of which little information could be discerned, Serafina looked distracted and somewhat disturbed.

After leaving the cavern, Serafina explained to Elrathia that she had spoken with Somnambuliss, or what she thought to be a Somnambuliss from another time. He had mentioned that he was glad to see that she was alive again and when asked what that meant, he matter-of-factly said, “the fire that killed you years ago.” From then on, he skirted the conversation.

Serafina had confided in Elrathia the week prior that twenty years ago her home had caught on fire, trapping and killing her husband and young son. Serafina’s question to Leopa had been, “what happened the night my family was killed in the fire?” The answer had stated that a man named Roash, known previously to work for Cyth and currently in the employ of Aristos, had set the hut on fire. He ensured that Serafina’s husband, Eliah, and son, Bael, perished, but he had dragged Serafina to safety. This new information that she, too, had met her demise and was yet alive was disorienting. Twenty years of guilt now turned to anger and confusion.

Back at the inn, Serafina explained all of it to Belaric. He expressed frustration at always being left out of the loop and all of the secrets (almost as if he were an NPC). Serafina promised that from now on, he would be kept informed.

Meanwhile, Elrathia, accompanied by Zeuth, ventured into the marsh to use the magic mirror to contact Aristos. Not only was it to no avail, she awoke to a scuffle and a bleeding beast upon her. Seripathia and a handful of her men were there. It was unclear what had transpired, but that Seripathia believed she had done Elrathia a favor, slaughtering this animal on her. She and her small band left Elrathia bewildered. Returning to the inn, Elrathia threw a chair across her room in a rage. Seconds later her door was kicked in. Arianna stood in the doorway with a look of concern. Elrathia waved her off and went to bed.

Subsequently and elsewhere, Serafina expressed to Belaric an interest in meeting his contacts in the Taalen’Vost, to gauge their helpfulness. She also warned him of what she had learned from Reikasha about the curious swiftness of his initiation. Both of them at this point were a few drinks in and it sounded like a good idea to go right then. Belaric led her to a nicer establishment where they were let into the back room and sat down to speak with Braeden Brightburn.

Braeden treated them to drinks. They were presented with small shot glasses, carefully balanced, full to the brim with a dark liquid and something swimming inside. The trio took their shots and began to talk. Braeden did not seem to appreciate Serafina’s curiosity and was standoffish when responding to her questions. When he asked Serafina where they were to travel he caught her in a lie and promptly left. Dejected and angry, Serafina returned to the inn with Belaric.

Thoughts turned from annoyance to curiosity when they began discussing how grotesque the drink was and wondered how Elrathia would respond to it. The liquid was a poison, which the serpent would neutralize, if it did not first die. Curious about her immunity to substances, they went to her room and knocked on the door. Broken, it swung slowly open. Serafina and Belaric entered the room with concern and a grumpy Elrathia awoke. They also noticed a pile of bloody clothes on the floor and demanded to know if she was okay and what had ensued. Elrathia, in turn, noticed that the tattoo on Belaric’s wrist disappeared. Belaric was confused. He could see the tattoo, but the others could not. Elrathia explained what had happened to her that night and the three broke plans to find and speak to Seripathia and Braeden the next day.

An hour before dawn, or an hour after they all went to sleep, depending on how one looks at it, Elrathia woke Serafina and Belaric. Groggy, and perhaps still a little drunk, they went to the pier to find Seripathia at the Serpent’s Grace. Crew member Baldingdickface was less than gracious while they waited and again when they were turned away.

At the inn again, Serafina and Belaric spotted Braeden at the bar. He was looking for them and brought a gift to apologize to Serafina for his reaction the previous evening. It was Serafina who thought she owed the apology but Braeden presented her with a beautiful necklace with rolling green waves dotted with sapphires and pearls.

Presently, Serafina and Elrathia made their way to Reikasha’s. He had agreed to teach Elrathia some magic of the Drekar and to see what he could determine of Serafina’s tattoo. For over six hours, Reikasha toiled over Serafina. He traced the tattoo with a razor and rubbed ash in runic patterns around her body, spiraling out from her heart. When he was finished, she asked what he had picked up. Reikasha explained that it protected her from dragon magic. It was put there by Somnambuliss, but he did not know how long ago. She was protected from the tapestry of fate and may be able to glimpse the future or past. Serafina explained that she had once received a vision but was unable to decipher it. Reikasha said that with the study of symbology and addressing personal fears and regrets, she could train herself to understand the visions. Serafina returned to the inn while Elrathia practiced magic with Reikasha.

Later, Elrathia found Seripathia at a bar, enjoying drink and entertainment. The establishment was large with bands playing music on three consecutive floors, all open to the entrance below. Seripathia and Elrathia had a productive conversation. Seripathia told her story to Elrathia including how she grew up in the streets and was early on sold to pirates for entertainment. Lasting an astonishing ten years, she eventually tired of being in the control of others and found herself a captain. Elrathia learned that she knew Eisseth and agreed to an exchange for more information. They broke a deal that allowed Seripathia to be the captain that escorted the humans off of Kuskarosa. In return, she revealed that Eisseth had been sent on a mission for Voranyth. She alluded to “fate” a couple of times when she referred to their serendipitous meeting on the sea.

On her way out of the bar, Elrathia spotted Baldingdickface haggling with a young girl over price. She handed the girl some coins, pulled her back, and yanked the stool out from under the man. Despite the advantage of sobriety, Elrathia was struggling to land a hit on the drunken man. A large bystander stepped in to aid. He slammed the man’s head into his raised knee, knocking several teeth out. Elrathia bought the large man a drink and left.

Upon finding Belaric and Serafina, Elrathia explained their new arrangement with Seripathia and that she suspected Seripathia of being sworn to a dragon. The amalgamation of Serafina’s curiosity and inebriation led to the idea of bar hopping until they found Elrathia one of those dark shots. First, they went to speak with Seripathia.

Serafina brought Seripathia a drink as an olive branch to open communication. Seripathia was gracious and showed an interest in becoming friends. However, she segued away from all of Serafina’s attempts to discuss dragons and made several attempts to catch Belaric’s attention. Nearby, the large man introduced himself to Elrathia and offered to buy her a drink. His name was Suerreg and he was a pirate aboard the Iron Lady. Elrathia introduced him to the others; apparently, this equated to hanging out with rock stars. Five shots of the serpent drink were ordered and Seripathia toasted, “to old friends and new friends.” Serafina added, “and mutual friends.” Seripathia brazenly asked Serafina if she had a family or any loved ones. When it was clear that she had struck a nerve, she ordered five more shots. As the shots arrived, Seripathia insisted Serafina make the toast. “To our loved ones.” They all drank.

Uncomfortable with Seripathia’s increasingly aggressive glances toward Belaric, Serafina made effort to leave. Seripathia asked Belaric to stay a little longer so they could talk. Serafina interjected, insisting that she needed Belaric’s help to walk Elrathia home. Oblivious, Suerreg swooped Elrathia up, leaving Serafina and Belaric empty handed. Silently enraged, Serafina made her way toward the door. Glancing back, she saw Belaric whisper something to Seripathia, Seripathia respond, Belaric turn to leave, and Seripathia wink at her.

Once they were outside, Serafina vented, “I want to smack the smirk off her face and rip her purple hair out of her scalp!”

Belaric shouted, “I knew it was a trap!”

Elrathia let Suerreg know that she did not require assistance back to her room and he was ever the polite gentleman.

Sometime before dawn they all returned to their lodging feeling a mixture of irritation and exhaustion.

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It's About Time
Leaving Kuskarosa

The next morning, Elrathia and Serafina met Stangil at breakfast. They informed him of the deal with Seripathia, to which he was (unsurprisingly) not thrilled with. Serafina asked Stangil to inspect the necklace that Braeden had given her and content with his response, chose to wear it.

After breakfast, Elrathia told Serafina that she wanted to introduce her to someone who could potentially help focus her power. They met with Ptleamur, who offered to help Serafina. In a private room, they “opened their minds” and Serafina took her first step toward accepting herself and her powers.

While the women were busy experimenting with hallucinogens, Stangil met with Reikasha to apologize for the events in the cavern and to ask if Reikasha would examine his tattoo. They sparred for a while after their conversation.

Ptleamur informed Serafina that he would continue to work with her, but that she would need to return every day. She thanked him and then she and Elrathia left for Reikasha’s home. En route, they had a discussion wherein Elrathia asked a number of questions regarding Roash and then about Serafina’s relationship with Belaric.

Once at Reikasha’s, Serafina took a moment to ask if there were books or someone to speak to in town regarding learning symbology or how to interpret dreams. Reikasha loaned her a book and said that he would send her information about a woman in town. Serafina took her leave and Elrathia began her magic lesson.

Following Elrathia’s lesson, Stangil arrived to have his tattoo read. Reikasha once again toiled and drew symbols for several hours. Stangil learned that he too was protected from dragon magic (even from Somnambuliss), had been removed from the tapestry of fate and was immune to many outside influences.

Meanwhile, Serafina had a heart to heart with Belaric. She apologized for acting rashly the night before when Seripathia got under her skin and admitted that it was because she loved him. She also disclosed her conversation with Elrathia and expressed Elrathia’s concerns with him.

Stangil and Elrathia left Reikasha’s and began discussing, for the first time since it had been asked, his question to Leopa. Stangil learned that five of the eggs belonged to one set of dragon parents while the sixth came from a different set of parents. All six, if hatched in the presence of the wrong person, will be uncontrolled and kill. One must hatch in the presence of someone from a long lineage of power, who has chosen to give up that mantle in the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom. The other five must hatch in the presence of someone killing another of their own kind for the first time. Stangil had spent the week digesting this information and attempting to formulate a list of people who should hatch the eggs.

Stangil and Elrathia found Seripathia at her usual tavern with Serafina, Belaric, and Julian. Within moments, Seripathia had unnerved Serafina. Serafina whispered something to Seripathia and walked, irately, out of the building. It was not long before Seripathia exasperated Stangil and he, too, left the establishment with Julian trailing. Elrathia and Belaric remained with Seripathia and her crew. At one point, Elrathia suggested to Belaric that it might be easy for him to get a glimpse of the dragon tattoo that they suspected Seripathia had, since she had consistently dodged all forward questions regarding the issue.

Back at their home base, Serafina sat at the bar and ordered some drinks. She was surprised to find herself joined by Ptleamur. She asked him about his experiences as they drank. A messenger arrived with a note for Serafina. It was from Reikasha and told her to seek out Miriam. She handed the boy messenger one of her drinks and proceeded to talk with Ptleamur. He offered her another chance to open her mind and explore more but she declined.

Outside, Stangil had been making his way back but a drunken Drekar bumped into him. This resulted in some harsh words toward an already annoyed Stangil. A third, and rather large, man stepped in and suggested that an apology and a drink would suffice. Stangil offered drinks but more snide comments stemmed a physical altercation. A small crowd watched as Stangil and the large man fought until the man was on the ground. Stangil helped him up and offered him a drink. They introduced themselves and that’s how Stangil met Suerreg.

One by one, everyone returned to the inn. As Elrathia returned, she petitioned for Serafina to try to get along with Seripathia. Serafina promised that she would, again, begrudgingly. As the last of them made their way upstairs, Arianna was coming down for her morning practice.

The next afternoon, Serafina did seek out Miriam of the Midnight Lady. Miriam posed a deal with Serafina. If Serafina murdered the current captain of the Midnight Lady, Miriam would teach her how to interpret visions. Serafina passed.

She also remembered her promise to Elrathia and that night found Seripathia once more. This time it went somewhat better. Elrathia stopped by briefly to put in a good word for Suerreg and left again to find Belaric. Serafina and Seripathia agreed to trade stories. Seripathia entertained Serafina’s curiosity about how she knew to find their sinking ship. In return, Serafina told Seripathia how she came to be stabbed, leaving out the name of Cernnunos.

Our heroes sank into a routine. Until their departure, each of them did their best to stay out of trouble. Stangil spent his time peacefully with Julian and sparred with Reikasha. Elrathia attended her lessons with Reikasha. Serafina attended her sessions with Ptleamur.

The night before they were to take their leave, Stangil and Serafina had dreams. Stangil was transported in his dream to Rondall. They spoke and Rondall assured his father of his safety. Serafina was brought back to a memory that she had forgotten, with her son, Bael. Bael had awoken from a nightmare and she comforted and sang him back to sleep.

The next morning they discussed bringing a token of appreciation to Desrond Toth. Belaric pulled a large sack of jewels onto the table, offering to help. He had spent all of his free time winning card games. Elrathia renewed her concerns about Belaric and Serafina on a ship with Seripathia.

Reikasha, Braeden, and Ptleamur all showed up at the dock to say their farewells and wish the group luck.

The adventurers noticed that the ship had been completely transformed in the time they were on Kuskarosa. It was now, truly, Seripathia’s Dark Lady. There was also a new member of the crew, a familiar face, Suerreg.

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Friend is a Four Letter Word
Let's Be Friends

As the Dark Lady left the island of Kuskarosa and navigated to open water, our heroes emerged from the fog. Not only did they feel like their powers had returned to normal, they also felt more like themselves. The fog had disoriented and detached their thoughts as well as their magic.


A week into the journey, the ship stopped abruptly in the night. Elrathia awoke and could feel no swelling of waves or rocking of ship. Above deck, Seripathia, crew, Elrathia, Stangil, and Serafina saw that time itself had paused. The ship was frozen at an upward angle, the distended waves were stretched but not crashing. The surface of the water was hard.

Something bumped the ship, tilting it further and throwing some of the crew onto the the water. A dragon flying above the clouds dipped below them and lurched toward the ship. A sea serpent came out of the water and battled the dragon.

When asked what was going on, Seripathia answered, “it’s a memory.” Stangil and several crew members hacked at the sea serpant’s tentacles on the ship. After several moments, both creatures faded and time resumed. The ship swayed and Elrathia was thrown overboard into the again rolling ocean. She and others were retrieved, but a few were lost.

Seripathia explained that scenes like this played out before sailors, but never before with this intensity. They believed that it had something to do with the humans being aboard.


For most of the voyage, Stangil remained in his room with Julian, preferring to stay out of Seripathia’s path.

Elrathia, when not violently seasick, enjoyed the company of Seripathia and the two had a long conversation.

Belaric pulled Serafina aside and revealed a plan he hatched to uncover Seripathia’s suspected tattoo. Unsure about the plan’s effectiveness, Serafina asked him to wait and promised to try to speak with Seripathia one more time.

Again, a conversation with Seripathia proved frustrating and useless to Serafina. She gave Belaric the signal to go ahead if he was still determined.

Sometime later, Belaric knocked on Serafina’s door. He had a cut below his eye and a bloody nose. He had seduced Seripathia and taken ipecac to induce sickness as an excuse to leave. The dose was far too powerful and an unexpected suddenness overcame him. He was, however, successful in his mission and relayed that Seripathia bore the tattoo for Somnambuliss. Serafina seemed to take the most enjoyment hearing that he had thrown up on Seripathia.

While Serafina cleaned Belaric up, Seripathia paid Elrathia a visit. Enraged at the disrespect and betrayal that Belaric had displayed, she demanded that disciplinary action be taken and that Belaric remain in his cabin for the remainder of the trip.


After three weeks at sea, sailing around the coast, they came upon the port town of Breakwater. Seripathia said goodbye to the humans. Stangil and Serafina were eager to leave. Kalamos, the portmaster, greeted them happily. He was very hospitable as he showed them to his villa where they were given rooms, fresh fruit, refreshing drinks, running water, and personal servants.

Presently, they were revived and ready to explore the market. Elrathia, Serafina, Stangil, Belaric, and Arianna went out. Serafina brought her servant, Piala. They bought silk, linen, candy, fruit, and all manner of foreign and interesting goods. Just as in Kuskarosa, the Drekar eyed them with wonder and suspicion. The mysterious humans stood out.

They split up to pursue different objectives. Belaric, Serafina, and Arianna explored various bars. Stangil went to the smithy to talk shop with the blacksmith, Borund. Elrathia ran an errand and returned to the villa to have dinner with Kalamos and his family. She asked about Archon Toth and learned a little about the Toth family.

Arianna was asked to leave an establishment after having sliced the ear off a patron who had invaded her space. Shortly after that, Stangil met upw ith Serafina and Belaric. Shots were lined up on the bar and Serafina lit them on fire, with more steadiness and accuracy than she had in Voltierra. The bar went silent when Elrathia appeared in the doorway, dressed to the nines. That silence was broken when Stangil and Serafina cheered and invited her over to drink with them.


Unbeknownst to our heroes, from the moment they had stepped off the Dark Lady, they had been followed. Their stalker, Kraikos, and twelve of his aides had observed them all day.

Stangil overheard two off-duty guards discussing a Fey’oth fleet approaching and the port being locked down. Quickly, he, Elrathia, and Serafina devised a plan to uncover more information at the lighthouse. The drunken guard was obstinate about taking them to the lighthouse when Kraikos stepped in.

Kraikos offered to help the humans get to the lighthouse. Blinded by the emergency, no one paused to inquire about Kraikos’s potential motives. On the way, Elrathia stopped to warn Seripathia about the Fey’oth ships.

The lighthouse guards were tough to convince and in the interest of time, the humans accepted that only Elrathia and Serafina would be allowed to the top while a message was sent to Kalamos asking for permission. The two women could not discern a dot in the sky for Laredyth, but instinct told them that the Fimm Drekar were probably in the fleet.

Back on the ground, they discussed which of them should meet the fleet in open water and negotiate to spare bloodshed. It was decided that Serafina had the best rapport with Shykelith and Belaric had likeability so they would go alone.

Kalamos agreed to loan a small skiff and skeleton crew for Serafina and Belaric. He had the port opened for them and after they exited, Seripathia and the Dark Lady sailed south.

As the skiff drew closer to the Fey’oth fleet, the crew became visibly nervous. The Fey’othean war ships towered over their small vessel. One ship was adorned with a black five-pointed star on a white field, indicating the Fimm Drekar. Serafina directed the captain to approach that ship carefully as the other Fey’othean ships positioned themselves in an arc around the small craft.

Serafina and Belaric paddled a small rowboat to the large ship and boarded. Serafina was pleasantly relieved to be face to face with Shykelith once again. Skykelith grabbed her up in a giant hug and Serafina knew they were safe for the moment.

Shykelith informed her that there was open conflict between the two nations over the human city Aesteryl. Serafina explained that they had been taken to Kuskarosa and made a promise to go to Archon Toth. They intended to keep their word and then make their way to Fey’oth to meet with Kalloruth. This news disappointed Shykelith because she wanted to take the humans with her to keep safe again but she seemed to understand duty. She let Serafina know that no matter what, the town’s fate had been decided. Serafina entreated Shykelith to leave the innocent people of the town unharmed, but it did not move her. Shykelith gave Serafina one day to discuss with Elrathia and Stangil.

Before Serafina and Belaric departed, a familiar furry face bounded out to greet them. Naoira had grown into a gangly, awkward cat but remembered Serafina. Shykelith also offered to return the human’s belongings that had been left behind when Seripathia captured them. Serafina only took the half that was intended for Voranyth and explained that the tribute for Kalloruth would not be diminished.

A quick discussion with Elrathia and Stangil revealed their collective resolve to fulfill their word to Reikasha and travel to Archon Toth, quickly. Kalamos was warned but stubbornly refused to evacuate the town. There was no easy path to safety and many would die en route. He was going to remain and instruct the town’s defenses. Before leaving, Stangil stopped by the smithy to warn Borund. Borund’s only request was to speak with Belaric before they departed.

Serafina and Stangil decided to attempt contacting Somnambuliss and went to bed. Both awoke in a heavy fog and neither were surprised to see Somnambuliss sitting in the corner of the room. They asked for his guidance, whether he preferred they travel to Toth, then Voranyth, or join the Fimm Drekar. Somnambuliss said that he wanted them to choose. He removed them from the tapestry of fate so that he would not know what happened to them. Serafina took this to mean that they were merely his entertainment and asked, “why did you choose us?” Somnambuliss answered that he had chosen thousands throughout time. Feeling even less special, Serafina deferred to Stangil for the remainder of the dream. Somnambuliss changed the topic and asked how Julian was. He followed up by asking Serafina about Belaric. At her curt reply, he said, “does it matter that he dies for you?” Stangil was tenacious in his attempts to obtain guidance but to no avail.

As soon as Stangil and Serafina awoke, there were knocks on their doors and Kraikos’s men informed them that the group was ready to depart. Kraikos led his men and the human party east toward the mountains. There were four strangers with them; a woman and three teenagers. They were Borund’s family.


On the road, Stangil found Serafina distanced from the rest of the pack and pledged to do whatever he could to protect Belaric. Elrathia and Belaric also sought to understand why Serafina was brooding (again) but were both brushed off. In the meantime, attempting to right some impropriety and hastiness, Kraikos handed Elrathia, Stangil, Serafina, Arianna and Belaric offerings he had bought the day before. Not only had he been gathering information about them, he had tried to choose appropriate gifts.

The first night after leaving Breakwater, Kraikos had a dream. Somnambuliss came to him and warned of danger foreseen on their journey to Archon Toth. He offered Kraikos assistance in return for friendship. Kraikos seemed tempted by the offer, but declined when asked to kneel. He resisted the friendship and refused Somnambuliss.

The next day, Serafina told Elrathia about her part of the conversation with Somnambuliss. Elrathia tried to assuage her by offering alternative interpretations and suggesting that perhaps Serafina had the power to change it, given her removal from the tapestry of fate.

At this time, it occured to our heroes that they had blindly trusted Kraikos without learning anything about him. They discovered that he was the second son of Desrond Toth, Gauladek was his elder brother, and Sosyth was his younger sister. They told Kraikos of their encounters with his siblings and the last they knew of Gauladek and Sosyth’s whereabouts.

Arrows flew at them. Caught off guard, several members of the party, including Julian, were hit. Six archers were on the hill above them to the left and six more on the right. A monster, fourteen feet high was barrelling down on them. Stangil protected Julian, providing cover, while calling Elrathia to aid. An arrow entered Julian’s neck and angled down into his chest. Serafina quickly put up a wall of fire between the travelers and the archers and beast on the right. Belaric shot at the archers on the left. Arianna ran through the wall of fire and began slicing at the other archers. Kraikos and his men ran up the hill on the left and took out a few more.

The beast ran through the wall of fire. Serafina channelled combustion and he changed course toward her. Elrathia continued treating Julian while Stangil charged the monster. It was mid-stride when Stangil used it’s knee to boost himself higher up, jumping and swinging his axe down on it’s shoulder. In a single hit, the blade struck and dug down through ribs.

The others quickly dispatched the rest of the archers and Arianna dragged one back alive. Kraikos was somewhat taken aback by the sheer power the humans possessed.

Stangil returned to Julian’s side and Elrathia asked if he could remove the arrowhead. Speaking to the metal, Stangil was able to extract the arrow piercing Julian’s spine. Julian lived. Three others died.

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The Ones We Love

Three of the humans were dead, Julian was badly injured, and Stangil was overcome with fury. After slaughtering the horned beast with one swing, Stangil returned to Julian’s side and asked Elrathia, who was still treating him, if he would survive. She said he would.

Belaric and the others built funeral pyres for the fallen; Chantor, Diorn, and Echorn.

As everyone set up camp for the evening, Stangil and Serafina relieved Arianna of the prisoner she had taken. Elrathia asked that they spare his life so she could use him to activate the mirror later that night.

One broken ankle and one shattered wrist later, the prisoner was left for Elrathia. Stangil and Serafina learned that there would be more ambushes ahead on route to Haimir. They also discovered that the Twisted Men were now organized and followed a leader by the name of Goruug. Stangil and Serafina decided to seek out Goruug before more bands found them. Their plan was to find him, kill him, and hopefully the followers would be too intimidated to retaliate. Neither Elrathia nor Kraikos wished to accompany them on what was considered a suicide mission. Arianna wanted to remain by Julian’s side.

They found Belaric around the campfire with Abrahm, Bremen, and Farn, telling stories to remember the fallen. Abrahm was shaken by the events and asked if they would be better off turning around and going with the Fimm Drekar. Serafina told him that there was no turning back and Stangil pointed out that not all adventures are happy tales. After sundown, Belaric set off with Stangil and Serafina, in search of Goruug.


Belaric tracked through the night and by noon the next day, the trio caught up with a patrol of half a dozen Twisted Men. They laid a trap. Belaric lay in waiting atop a ledge while Serafina and Stangil walked up behind the patrol eating lunch. Once they were noticed, Stangil asked to be taken to Goruug. The patrol looked to the one with the sword, who spoke for the rest. He seemed disinclined to acquiesce. Serafina said, “either you can all take us, or one of you can take us.” After a second round of asking politely, the leader gestured to the archer in the group but before he could do more than raise his bow, Stangil said, “Belaric.”

All they could see was fletching sticking out of the archer’s neck. The leader grabbed his sword and immediately stopped. He staggered in place, his skin sweat and almost boiled, and his eyes popped. “Too much?” Serafina turned and asked Stangil.

The four remaining Twisted were terrified. One of them offered to take them, but not with the others. Stangil easily dispatched of the three others, leaving only the one. The trio followed the Twisted blood-traitor the rest of the day. Upon evening, Serafina noticed that they were being watched and the trackers had gone from three to two. They approached a figure in the path, who addressed the Twisted man, asking why he had brought strangers. Their guide began to explain but was shot with an arrow mid-sentence. The new guide instructed them to follow him.

As they crested the hill, they saw a large encampment with nearly a thousand men. The Twisted men at each camp appeared to be from different factions and each more primitive than any other race the humans had ever encountered. Each time the humans walked past a campfire, Serafina made the flames rise. Murmurs followed them. Fear. “Outsiders.”

They arrived at a tent in the center of the bivouac and were told to wait outside for a moment. Their guide reappeared and told them to enter. Once inside, they saw a large figure kneeling over a bowl, swishing the contents over a fire. Above him, nailed to two beams, was a Twisted man with his guts trailing into the bowl. Stangil and Serafina saw a dark purple aura about the kneeling figure. A few moments passed before he stood and greeted them.

Goruug was 6’6", with the head of an unfamiliar yet horrifying creature. He asked if they had eaten, and gestured for them to sit around a small table. He sliced meat off of a hanging animal and lightly cooked the outside. They began to talk.

Stangil and Serafina briefed Goruug on the attack that befell their group and how they had learned that he had organized the Twisted men. Goruug asked what their intentions were, coming to him. They said that they were impressed by his ability to unite such people and that they saw the advantage in befriending a man like him. Goruug said that he united the tribes with, “murder, blood, and a promise for a better tomorrow,” adding, “we all hate them.” Them being, the more familiar Drekar. Serafina noticed that Goruug did not seem taken aback by humans at all. She and Stangil made several attempts to ask about “mutual friends,” foresight, and dragons, to no avail.

The humans asked for safe passage to Archon Toth in Haimir. Goruug asked for a weapon in exchange, to which Stangil agreed. Goruug said that if the humans kept their word about wanting to destroy the dragons Voranyth and Kalloruth, they would have his partnership. Goruug then asked the humans their names and sent them on their way with a guide to intercept their traveling companions.


Meanwhile, the first evening that Stangil, Serafina, and Belaric were away, Elrathia sacrificed the detained Twisted man to use the mirrors. She was relieved to be able to speak with Aristos. However, her sacrifice was so strong, that Aristos reached his hand through the mirror and pulled her to the other side. They spent some time together before she had to return.

On the second evening, the suicide squad returned. Kraikos said that neither Goruug, nor any of the Twisted “abominations” (as he called them) were to be trusted. Elrathia seemed upset at the alliance that had been forged and stormed away from the conversation.

Stangil visited Julian while Serafina and Belaric went off into the woods to smoke some of the herbs that Ptleamur had given Serafina when they departed from Kuskarosa. Julian asked Stangil if he had dispatched Goruug and looked almost hurt when Stangil filled him in. Stangil insisted that this ensured their safe travels and that no more harm would come to Julian.

The next morning, Belaric appeared upset and in a hurry to get the troupe moving again. Serafina asked him what was wrong and he in turn asked, “who is Ptleamur? You were moaning his name last night.” Stunned, she explained that he had been teaching her how to unlock her magic in Kuskarosa. She also chose that moment to tell Belaric about Somnambuliss’s prophecy before they departed from Breakwater. “That was five days ago,” he said before he turned to walk away.

Later in the day, when Serafina had an opportunity to speak with Elrathia alone on the path, she requested that Elrathia take the bag of herbs for safe keeping. Elrathia questioned why Serafina would give this up because it had only helped her and asked," wouldn’t you do anything to enhance your powers?" Serafina tried to make it clear that she was growing more drawn to them and that she wanted to find a way to explore her magic without the use of a strong substance. In the end, Elrathia convinced Serafina to keep the herbs.


That night, Elrathia awoke in a foggy dream. Somnambuliss came to her to make a deal. He informed her that he had tried to prevent their attack on the road by appealing to Kraikos. He then asked her, “would you really do anything to enhance your powers?” Elrathia asked Somnambuliss what deal he had in mind. He wanted her to murder someone in exchange for information that would save their lives. She amended the terms to exclude murdering her children, Adlei, or Aristos.

Somnambuliss told her to walk 3,700 steps forward, 2,200 steps west, and 400 steps south. Then, instructed her to set the tree she came upon on fire. She could not enlist the help of Serafina for this task. He told Elrathia to bring someone she trusted and that this would lead her to the information he promised.

Before sunrise, Elrathia woke Belaric, told Zeuth that they would be back in a few hours, and set off.

Elrathia found the tree. It was not a Heart Tree, but it was alive and magical. She used Belaric’s flask to douse the tree and lit it on fire. As she watched it burn, she felt prickling on her arms and face. Suddenly, she realized that it was from the falling leaves. Tens of thousands of leaves were swarming her and biting. She could barely see Belaric through them. They cut through her clothes and their ichor leeched her strength. Her insides burned with an unworldly toxin. Elrathia thought she was running away, but was only staggering from muscle spasms.


Twelve hours had passed since Serafina and Stangil set on the road. They noticed Elrathia and Belaric were missing in the morning, but Zeuth had assured them that Elrathia would return within a few hours. They trusted that she would be safe with Belaric and waited for the better part of the day. As dusk drew near, they worried.

Serafina, Arianna and Abrahm backtracked for several hours before they saw Belaric, stumbling along the path, carrying Elrathia over his shoulder. Despite being incapacitated and in much pain, it looked like Elrathia would recover. Arianna carried her back with Abrahm at her side.

Belaric was still struggling to walk. Serafina asked if he was okay and he said that he was but closer inspection of the swollen lump on his arm showed that he had been nicked and was poisoned from one of the leaves. She quickly made a remedy for him and they walked together, slowly. Neither said anything about their fight the previous day.

That night, suffering immensely, Elrathia had another dream. Somnambuliss offered to heal her in exchange for her friendship. She refused. Elrathia asked for the information that he promised her and once again, Somnambuliss skirted questioning. He said that she would receive it when she needed it.

In the morning Elrathia awoke with the same pain. Stangil noticed a difference in her aura, assuring her that whatever she thought of Somnambuliss, he had just made her stronger.

That day, the humans finally made it to Haimir.

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