Worlds Apart

Session 43 - Summary
Previously on Worlds Apart...

Tequila’s illusionary curtains faded from view. This allowed the groups at either side of the room to see each other again and trade angry glances just as shouting could be heard from down the hall.

A man approached, in a rush, announcing to all that the Red Raven had taken down men at the Drowning Cat Tavern, and that only two people on his list showed up to be taken to the meeting. He stopped quite suddenly upon entering the room, surprised at the sight of combat and the tiny angel flying and singing above his head. The second man, running behind him didn’t take such quick notice of this and ended up running into the first. This bullrush sent the man flying forward onto the rug which then collapsed under his weight and caused him to drop 10 feet into a pit. Sounds of snarling and heavy, dragging footfalls could be heard from below, and shortly later screams as a killer crocodile ate him alive.

“Shouldn’t there be three down there, Bobby?” “We had to sell two of them.” “Son of a bitch.” “Fuggedaboutit.” Big and Bobby quipped.

The green-skinned assassin, refusing to die quickly or quietly made motions to push Christian into the pit behind him. Christian shifted himself and made an attempt to strike before he could be struck, but it was Lance’s longsword that slashed itself through the beastly man’s flesh and fell him.

Mr. Big rummaged through his desk. His tiny halfling hands were looking for something to perhaps turn the fight in his favour. Meanwhile his dwarven bodyguard interposed himself between Big and Lance, striking at him with a long reaching hammer with what Christian could recognize as phalanx fighting proficiency.

The group continued to fight bravely on as heavy feet could be heard approaching along with the sound of dragging metal across stone. From the hall emerged another thug announcing the arrival of The Immolator. A woman, nay, a mass of glistening, oily muscle and rage burst in from behind, grabbing the man and throwing him almost clear of the pit. He grabbed at the ledge and hung on for dear life above the killer croc below. From behind her partial mask, she snarled and howled out of a disfigured face as she raised her menacing-looking greatsword with ease. Big upped his price to encourage his men to take down the Raven and his Unkindness.

Not to be dissuaded, or perhaps a little insulted by the comparatively low of price they had on their heads, the party took bold moves in the fight. While the Raven took down the thug that was climbing up by Garret, Christian traded blows with the Immolator who promptly burst into flames as she attacked and hit Christian. She hit him hard. He hit back; hard. It was a critical strike that could have taken down an average person, but this flaming lady was anything but average. She howled on, ready to swing again when Redden took shots from across the room, with the second shot finding perfect precision and flying right through the Immolator’s mouth and through the back of her head dealing deadly damage that caused her to drop into a twitching, burning pile on the floor.

The collective jaws around the room dropped at the sight of such amazing violence. Mr. Big, cursing his luck, hopped on his desk and drank a potion. His small halfling body grew to the size of a slightly bigger than average man with silly looking halfling proportions to his head, hands and feet. He looked proud of himself and asked his friend “Do I look bigger, Bobby?” to which his friend smirked and replied, “Little bit, Biggy. Little bit.” Big grinned and cracked his neck and then his fingers, which were adorned with solid gold brass knuckles. He was ready to take care of this bird problem himself.

There was no end in sight as neither side was willing to give up. Another contender to Big’s prize moved silently into the room with great speed and grace. He unleashed a volley of arrows into the room, to which Christian put to use his god-given ability to attract arrows, protect his allies, and frustrate his opponents.

There were matchup all around the room. It was Biggie and his bodyguard against Lance, Bobby Dinero faced off with the Red Raven, and Christian held back the shots of this silent archer. Tequila provided much appreciated moral support and timely healing while Redden provided covering fire to help Christian take down his target before the man could perforate everyone in the room. Redden had a tendency to show a bit of competitive spirit when it came to facing off with other archers.

Campbell, the Red Raven, got a stroke of luck as Bobby took a wild swing with his heavy mace that swung a little too wild and his foot found exactly the wrong place. This caused another collapse of the rug and though he tried the best he could to maintain balance, he fell into the pit with the crocodile. With this, Campbell was free to help out Lance who was being tenderized by the pummeling of Mr. Big’s fists. At least part of Big’s reputation was true, he was quite a fierce brawler. He punched in a flurry of blows and cussed out Lance and his friends for coming into his home, dirtying up the place, and that he already gave “you guys” money.

Once the archer was taken down by Christian and Redden, and the Red Raven knocked out Mr. Big with a crushing blow to the cranium, his bodyguard “Frank” was quick to lay down arms and admit defeat. He knew he had failed his contract and was not willing to lay down his life. He slung his hammer on his back and put himself at the mercy of the group, making himself as helpful as possible.

WHERE IS SHE?!” the Red Raven barked out at him, to which he pointed to the wall behind. “If it’s the old lady you’re looking for, they took her through a hidden door there. I suppose they’ve got her imprisoned somewhere back there?”

The group found the door and the Raven rushed through after telling the group to make sure the dwarf didn’t try anything funny. The group tended to the wounded, tied up the bad guys and untied Garret. Frank helped out in whatever manner the party would allow him (mostly moving unconscious bad guys to be tied.)

Christian followed the Raven and was late to find him knocking out a guard within a room containing holding cells. There, sitting on a cot, her hands crossed at her lap was Agnes.

“It’s about time you got here. Is that you Campbell or is it Michael? I can never tell with that silly beard and gravelly voice.”

Campbell tried to stifle that line of conversation, assuring her quietly that it was him and that she would be okay. He and Christian took her into the large meeting room where she found a comfortable place to sit alongside Garret who was shaken but okay.

When questioned about the whole thing, the Raven took control of the conversation and hinted strongly that people are much safer when they stay inside their homes or places of work at night. Garret claimed that Agnes didn’t want to stay at the inn and insisted he walk her home and they were attacked by unseen assailants and thrown into a carriage. However, they stopped the line of questioning there. The group felt it would be best to conduct further conversation away from the ears of a dwarf whom was fighting them just minutes prior.

They searched the hideout and found many valuables and notable items. There were chests with coins, but no gold, in Bobby’s room along with legers going back years. Christian found that a month ago there was a large sum of gold given to someone listed as “The Elf.”

Redden found a booby-trapped door that sprayed red paint all over his hands before making his way into Big’s room. There, among the lavish and opulent furniture and décor, he found a covered painted portrait of Mr. Big. The subject of the painting was a different Mr. Big. This Mr. Big better fit the description of the hulking mountain of a man enjoying a life of wealth. Why did he keep this obvious symbol of pride hidden? And why did a halfling need a king sized bed and an armoire full of plus sized fine clothes? Also, why did the chest in his room contain sacks of only gold coins?

Of course they found a number of other valuables, silverware, masterwork kitchen knives, and a bottle of fine vintage wine, and the villains they fought had some masterwork weaponry. The Immolator’s greatsword was made of an interesting metal that seemed to retain heat. Big’s solid gold brass knuckles would fetch a good price, too, though the two potions tucked away in his desk were a much more intriguing prize. Tequila examined them and concluded that they were transmutation magic, and likely the same that Big used to make himself, well, big.

Most importantly, the group found crates of drugs that they identified as the “tears of Razmir” which they had previously encountered while infiltrating the cult in Tamran.

With many new questions left unanswered we ended the session there, to be continued in 6 weeks.

END OF SESSION

NOTABLE NPCS

Mr. Big – What’s up with this guy?

Bobby Was eaten by a crocodile. A little bit. A little bit.

The Immolator In life, she burned with rage; literally.

The Silent Archer Not so great at parties.

Frank the Tank Potentially a useful ally, or simply an asshole looking out for his best interests. Maybe both?

Agnes: Venerable, sassy, and safe from harm.

HOMEWORK:

With such a long break between this session and the next, and particularly because we’re entering a phase of investigation, you should be taking notes on what your character is most concerned with. What questions does he have? With whom does he wish to speak?
Keep in mind that questions aren’t only reserved for the bad guys.

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Session 42 - Summary
Previously on Worlds Apart...

Tensions were running high as the last of the thugs were put down. There was an exchange between the Red Raven and Cheech “Badrock” Bedrock and Christian took note that the bar staff in their silken clothes were nervously shuffling by the tables and exchanged looks with their boss.

T he Red Raven ordered a round of drinks for his Unkindness, ordering a “Holy Bartender” for himself as he approached Cheech with a rapier drawn. Cheech lowered his crossbow and made eyes for his girls to drop their guard. He wasn’t happy about what had transpired, but he wasn’t looking for any more trouble or negative attention drawn to his place of business. At very least, the thugs were very quickly bound and piled up outside of the tavern for the guards to discover. Only Lance actually took his drink, feeling as though he had earned it.

As the group worked, tending to the deadly wounds of some thugs and tying them up, the infamous “Stick-Man” revealed himself to be a young man, barely more than a boy. His face was painted with some kind of stage makeup in an attempt to look older. Campbell remarked that that he was more of a twig than a stick and nicknamed the boy “Twiggy.” The boy took no offence, and seemed to be genuinely interested in helping. He was a big fan and claimed he’s been working with the Raven all along, citing the morning at the Jarl’s longhouse as an example. Campbell seemed to recognize something about the boy, but it was neither the time nor the place to hash that out.

Twiggy informed the Red Raven and his party that he had taken the liberty of staking out the place under the guise of a practical joke for the regulars who had become bored with the same old, unmoving stickman. The joke was on Cheech as the position allowed him to sit and listen and observe the place in relative peace. He said that the beautiful girls, in particular, were trouble, taking advantage of young and innocent adventuring types. Getting them drunk, loving them up, stealing their goods, and dumping them somewhere else. Cheech took offence to the kid talking so openly about his operations and without outright admitting to his crimes, said he should fire the kid for his allegations. The boy quite simply told him he could take the job and re-staff it.

Twiggy also took notice of the actions of Herman, who had been offering work and paying people out of the bar these past few nights. Strangely, Herman would occasionally come up from the basement without having previously entered through the front door. This information gave the Red Raven and the party exactly the line of questioning they required of the man.

They struck a deal with Cheech to use his kitchen downstairs as an interrogation room. The Raven trusted Christian and Lance with interrogating Herman. He didn’t trust Cheech, so he Redden and Twiggy remained upstairs to avoid any funny business.

Lance took on the roll of ‘bad guard’, donning Jack’s mask and a few kitchen knives to intimidate the criminal. Christian, took on a softer touch as the ‘good guard’ who could potentially protect the poor guy from Lance’s harsh methods, if only he could tell them everything he knew. It didn’t take long before Herman went from tough and ignorant, but sobbing and spilling out all the secrets he knew. He valued his toenails and really wanted the man in the iron mask away from him.

He revealed the he was indeed paying out the copper and silver out of the Drowning Cat Tavern for Mr. Big. Big was operating underground, in a literal sense. He had a hideout in the sewers, and those in the know could find the place through the many turns in the tunnels by following chalk markings on the wall shaped like circles with arrows pointing in the right direction. He assured the men that they would find no trouble or traps should they follow the markings. Most importantly, he told them Big and his right hand man Mr. Dinero were having a midnight meeting with people hired to kill the Red Raven and that a message would be delivered to the Raven tonight.

When Christian and Lance came back upstairs they walked in as the Red Raven was completing a speech about how crime doesn’t pay and how justice always catches up with criminals. They took Campbell aside and informed him of what they were told. He immediately went outside and mumbled under his cloak for a moment. A raven appeared out of nowhere and headed off in a north easterly direction, where the party were told Michael was also playing the role of the Red Raven. He informed the party that with the meeting fast approaching, this would be a good time to deal a decisive blow to Mr. Big before things could escalate further. He said the party should get whatever things they needed from Boram’s boat as quickly as possible, so that they could head underground before the city guards arrived at the Drowning Cat.

The party did exactly that, deciding to get underground before they lost time to answering questions from the guards. They left that responsibility to Twiggy who was disappointed to not join the Red Raven’s Unkindness, but happy to provide the help required of him. He promised to do his best to further the Red Raven’s agenda and to make sure the men they arrested were brought to justice. Tonight, the city jails would likely be filled with broken men telling the stories of the Red Raven and his Unkindness.

Blackfeather stayed safely above ground, circling nervously in the skies while Tequila took her place hiding in Lance’s backpack ready to provide support if need be. The party went down to the kitchen in the basement of the tavern and into the sewers.

It was dark and smelled bad, as they expected. Redden found his mythic eyes quickly adjusted to the environment. He promptly discovered bootprints and followed them to the first chalk marking on the wall. So far, Herman’s intel seemed legitimate. Campbell put on some goggles and said he’d keep watch for trouble from behind and that the party should take the lead in getting them all to Big’s hideout.

Round some bends, following the markings, and taking leaps across stagnant waters, Redden found a torch lit at a door and a large collection of dirty boots. He didn’t notice activity coming from within, and took it upon himself to throw the boots into the waters to prevent anyone inside from giving chase. He collected his friends and they had to decide on a plan. They could kick the door in, or try for a stealthy approach. They decided that a mix of the two would likely be the best method. They’d try to be sneaky, but would be at the ready for fighting should it come down to it.

It was somewhere around midnight when they opened the unlocked door to what they believed to be Mr. Big’s hideout. Within they found that the first room was surprisingly clean for a sewer. A cloakroom/supply closet full of cleaning supplies, clean boots, candles, and more alluded to this place being well kept. A heavy door lead to the south, and a door to the east was slightly ajar and from inside came the sound of two men talking and a mix of scents that the party identified as scented candles and marinara sauce. This combined with the smell of the sewers behind them made for an almost sickening mix. They listened to the men.

The men conversed about whom they thought would be the one to kill the Red Raven: the dwarf, the archer, or the guy with the knives. The party took their chances trying to disguise themselves as hired men here for the meeting. Lance used his hat to make himself a “dwarf” of a man. Redden was already good at passing for an archer. Christian decided to just look tough while the Red Raven and Tequila kept to the back, ready to assist at a moment’s notice.

The party knocked and went in. They introduced themselves, and one uneasy look later Christian found himself knocking out the first guy and his friends finished the rest without even the need for the Red Raven to intervene. They had a moment to gather themselves as more voices came from a door in the south east corner of the room. They tried to hold off attention with a bluff and some time to close some doors and to take a look at a list held by one of the men in the kitchen.

They noticed quite a few names and brief descriptions listed, crossed out were "Frank the Tank " “The Sterling Archer” and “Slash” The party took note that these people must all ready be here, while others may not have arrived. Lance took a look at the list and decided to disguise himself with his mask as “The Immolator” someone hiding their burned face from the world. Redden found himself drawn to someone listed as “Quiet Archer – Silent but deadly.” Christian, again decided to just look tough and see how it goes.

Someone was coming from behind the door and there wasn’t much time to worry about fabricated identities. They knocked out the first man to get in their way and headed into a long, narrow hallway with the Immolator at the front and The Red Raven climbing and moving along the ceiling along with Tequila, in an effort to move just out of sight above the doors to the west. They had almost reached the end of the hall when the door opened and someone stepped right in front of Lance. Lance did his best to impersonate the Immolator, but his lack of knowledge about the character and a particularly insightful thug prevented their success. Men started to stir in their barracks to the west, but the party was quick enough to not suffer a pincer attack in the hall and could instead fight their way into the barracks and take advantage of the wider space. The party noted that between the kitchen and barracks, the furniture and décor of this hideout looked like it was stolen from a nobleman’s mansion.

Together, they quickly dispatched of the men until only one remained. Campbell, as the Red Raven, tried to get more information out of the last one standing. Utterly intimidated, the man spilled that Big and everybody were around the corner in the meeting room and likely questioning the prisoners. When pressed on the subject, the goon said there were two prisoners… an old lady and some guy with a messed up face. Campbell gasped and knocked out the man. Recognizing this as likely the “message” for the Red Raven, he aid that the group best move fast. If Garret and Agnes were in trouble, they needed to act now. He stressed that while he did care for Garret, it was utmost importance that they rescue Agnes and ensure her safety. He told them to be ready to fight as he rushed around the corner and listened at the slightly open door.

In the surprisingly opulently decorated room, someone was indeed questioning Garret about the identity of the Red Raven. He was still healthy enough to play “dumb” and claim that the inn was named after THE Red Raven and that whoever was running around in the cowl must be a copycat, though he must be doing something right if they are that scared. This upset his captors who went on to threaten him with a crossbow and hurting the old lady.

With this Campbell A. Williams, the Red Raven, nodded to his allies and burst through the door and engaged the enemy. He rushed in and put on a dazzling display with his aklys, swinging it with such grace and precision to add weight to his growling words, warning them against hurting anyone. Many in the room were shaken by his sudden, and surprising appearance.

He warned his group to watch the corners he noted a bit of a crowd.
Across from him, he spotted a halfling sitting on a desk with a crossbow (Mr. Big) and a heavily armored dwarf at his side (Frank the Tank.) In the center of the room was a tall, imposing man with a heavy mace on his shoulder (Bobby Dinero, the money man) stood above Garret, who was tied to a chair. In the corners were some thugs, and people matching the descriptions of Slash and the Sterling Archer. Mr. Big and Mr. Dinero were wearing some sleak looking parade armor, while the other Lance would go on to recognize as clothes pertaining to guilds of bodyguards, bounty-hunters, and could assume the last with his dark clothes, knives, and vials was an assassin.

The halfling “Mr. Big” inspired the men in the room with a promise of 1000gp to the one who killed the Red Raven, and 100gp for any of his helpers. He himself stuck to his desk and kept his bodyguard by his side. This was his way of mitigating their fears and helping them get the drop on the Red Raven, but he didn’t count on the Raven having such capable help.

The party wasted no time, and put to use their gods-given abilities to coordinate their movement and attacks accompanied by a rousing soundtrack by their angelic companion. They stormed into the room and Redden and Lance dispatched the Sterling Archer. Lance fell the handsome bounty hunter as he attempted to make a last ditch point-black shot. Christian cornered the assassin Slash, keeping the agile killer at bay. Without a flanking partner or room to maneuver, and despite some attempted trickery, he was quickly brought to the brink of defeat. A closer look at his snarling pale green face revealed to Christian that this assassin was another of the mutated people of Aveh, much like the bandit leader King Kilmister he defeated in Kili’s Quarry.

Campbell, who had leaped to the side of his friend and smashed Mr. Dinero on the head, warned the party of strangely uneven ground beneath the rugs. The party took positions to put a choke on “Bobby.” Mr. Big took offense to their dirty boots treading through his home and on his nice rugs, but had trouble coordinating his men from behind an illusionary curtain drawn shut by the tiny lyrakien, Tequila. Christian nearly fell through the floor after charging over the rugs in the center of the room. It seemed to be that they did more than just tie the room together. Tequila provided even more support with the wand of grease to hinder the movements of Bobby and Slash.

The session ended mid combat, the party with the upperhand, and Bobby trying to get Big’s attention to look at Lance’s mask. How did he recognize it?

END OF SESSION

NOTABLE NPCS:

Stickman / Twiggy: Young sellsword working undercover and trying his best to impress the Red Raven

Cheech Bedrock: He and his girls are kind of small-time and usually prey on naïve adventurers. Agreed to be helpful if the Red Raven and his Unkindness put a stop to all the fighting in his establishment and stay out of trouble.

Herman: Thoroughly intimidated by Lance’s kitchen knives and cutting words spilled the beans about Big’s underground hideout, secret meeting, and plans to send a message to the Red Raven.

Campbell A. Williams / The Red Raven: Conjures birds and has some cool goggles. Let you take point a number of times this night.

Mr. Big Described as a hulking man, but looks like a halfling to you. A bit of a neat-freak and kinda hates you right now.

Mr “Bobby” Dinero: Big’s money man and consigliere.

Hired Muscle:

Sterling Archer: Bountyhunter proficient in hunting for men in urban environments. Was armed with a well-made composite shortbow.
Slash: Green skinned, mutate assassin with a penchant for knives.
Frank The Tank Bodyguard. You assume it’s a dwarf under all that metal. Has a long lucerne hammer.

Garrett Anravis and Agnes: Taken prisoner and paying the price for working at a place called the Red Raven Inn. Campbell seems particularly protective of Agnes.

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Session 41 - Summary
Previously on Worlds Apart...

The party had Campbell’s full attention now, after their return from Clover Keep, the attack of the Cryohydra, and now the stories of the djinni, and demiplanes, and the ancient cultures who toyed with them. There was no more room to discount their tales as exaggerations; it wasn’t bullshit.

As the conversation was about to progress to the topic of our heroes moving on to report to Banon, the Oracle, and the other Returners up in the mountains to the north, Campbell was rather quick to interject and make a personal request.

He told them that soon, he and Michael would be heading out for their now nightly patrols which had rendered them rather tired and weary. He lamented that despite an increase in guards around the city, there had somehow been more and more crimes with each passing night. Michael went on to explain that a number of robberies, assaults, arsons, and more had kept them far too busy and they needed more help to nip this situation in the bud before it got even worse.

Campbell said that, all things considered, they should consider themselves lucky. His grandfather Aric, the original Red Raven had quite a gallery of rogues challenging him on the regular; even a clown with a really sick sense of humor. He hoped that with a strong enough reputation most criminals wouldn’t dare to call upon the wrath and ire of the Red Raven.

Campbell and Michael’s proposal involved the party taking on the role of the Red Raven’s ‘Unkindness’, his black-cowled army of the night, as seen outside of the Jarl’s longhouse days ago. He recognized their many talents and gifts, but stressed that there could not be any personal glory for anyone but the Red Raven. With their added muscle and fantastic feats, along with their increasingly abundant trove of wondrous items, he hoped that they could build up the legend of the Red Raven to untold levels, and figure out just why the crime-spree was escalating.

Anatole spoke up with his own theory: someone was trying to wear down the Red Raven with hopes of putting a stop to his brand of vigilante justice. If the Red Raven was a man, he could be beaten, and the more tired and spread thin a man was, the easier it would be to dispose of him. What these criminals didn’t know or count on was that there were actually two Red Ravens, and with the help of the Returners; a formidable Unkindness.

A previously captured informant, Tight-Lip Tony, would take days in jail to break before offering up anything, but with a little luck and a lot of legwork, Campbell believed they could crack the case that night by stopping crimes as they happened and questioning the criminals themselves.

The group agreed to help. Lance, Redden and Christian would accompany Campbell in the more crime ridden Lower Midgard district while Anatole and Loquar would accompany Michael and ensure that the crimes weren’t spreading to Upper Midgard. The Returners would not, under any circumstances, be showing any badges nor would they flaunt their identities or personal reputations as heroes for fear of retaliation and to better build up the legend of the Red Raven. Instead, they would wear disguises of sorts. Christian would cover his ornate breastplate and dress as a mercenary patrolling the streets. Redden, in his stealthiest of blacks, would stick to the shadows and be as a helpful ghost if things got out of hand. Lance used his hat of human guise to magically appear as a non-descript, non-threatening halfling with an angel hidden in his backpack. Anatole and Loquar opted for typical civilian garb to blend in where needed. They’d all carry the black cowls of the unkindness with them and would wear them when things got hairy.

They also agreed to avoid killing the criminals if at all possible, as was the Returner way. Campbell suggested using a sap or blunt arrows. Their strength and skill would surely be enough to drop street thugs rather easily without the need for excessive violence. Campbell and Michael had trained for years to use a light hammer known as an aklys for dealing non-lethal damage, to trip, and to intimidate their foes. There would hopefully be no need for dismemberment tonight. Besides, a lot of attention could be drawn by walking around with many large weapons hanging off their backs and belts.

So, after dropping off some equipment on the River Rat and changing into their disguises, Campbell’s group made their way into Lower Midgard sometime before 11pm. Within 20 minutes they came across and subsequently put a stop to a thug shaking down a merchant for protection money. The merchant was on his way home after a long day of selling cabbage and produce and likely a night of drinking, judging by the time. The loud shouting of the thug gave way trouble early on and allowed the group time to take positions. The Red Raven quickly and stealthily circled around a block to flank the criminal, while the others took positions. Redden took note of how the Red Raven took advantage of the shadows and features of the urban terrain to hide his presence, and he too found a great vantage point; bow at the ready. Lance and Christian approached the arguing men. Christian faked his best drunken stagger, what they called a “Clortho Shuffle” back in Grimby.

Not impressed with interlopers, the thug was ready to attack these nosy strangers when the Red Raven sprung from the shadows, his cape outstretched and menacing. The criminal, ready to run, were taken by surprise as the two strangers punched him in the face and softened him up with saps, blunt arrows. Moving up and grabbing at the thug’s hide shirt, the Raven did some very convincing intimidation. Through all this, they found out that he was working for someone named “Mr. Big” because his brother-in-law promised him it would be good, easy money. The Red Raven recognized the name, but had a hard time believing it. Mr. Big hadn’t been heard of for years. The thug didn’t seem to know much more, so they left him tied up and had the merchant find the town guard to arrest him. The Raven then grabbed some silver out of the thug’s pocket and tossed it to the merchant, telling him to take care of his family. Blackfeather flew in and grabbed Redden’s arrow and carried it back to the shadows, the merchant was momentarily startled by the flutter of wings in the night as the group disappeared into the darkness.

They moved on, through dark alleyways and stayed off the bigger roads to avoid detection. Campbell let them know that Mr. Big was a crime boss that supposedly disappeared years ago. He was reputed to be a huge, mountain of a man who could crush the life out of anyone who got in the way of his greed and ambition. He was never caught, and nobody knew what became of him. Most presumed that he had collected as much as he wanted and simply moved on. Most people, Campbell included, had never even laid eyes on the man.

They heard shouting in the distance and found a circle of three men beating down on prone victim, howling in pain. “Nobody holds out on Biggie!” one shouted. “Pay up, chef!” they went on. The group moved in quick to put an end to the violence. The thugs were so focused on their beatdown that they didn’t see a group of courageous cowled avengers moving in on them. Redden took point on a rooftop to provide covering fire, while the others moved in swiftly. “Boo!” quoth the Raven as he dropped one of the thugs in one well placed blow; his startling appearance seemed to play a big part in getting the drop on enemies. “Time to serve up some savoury justice,” he announced. Campbell seemed to be having a bit of fun at the expense of the downed chef’s situation, but the criminals were scared enough to buy into it. Lance struck hard with his sap, Christian with the blunt side of his scimitar, and Redden fired ‘warning shots’ to keep the thugs from running. The Red Raven worked with what was given, and informed the criminals that they best look up before they even consider any wrong-doing, because if they didn’t see him, they’d at least see his army of the night raining justice and arrows from above.

By the end of it, only one thug remained conscious and was intimidated thoroughly by the group. Lines such as “Meat is best after it’s been tenderized” and such were thrown around as he was tied up along with the rest. He, too, gave up what he knew. He said that they indeed worked for Big, but didn’t know from where he operated… only where they got paid. A man named Herman was their contact and he could be found at the Drowning Cat Tavern. Chef Dingle thanked the Red Raven and his group for their assistance, and bid them good luck in their pursuits before agreeing to fetch the city guard so that these criminals would get their just desserts.

The group made their way through the city at night and arrived at the Drowning Cat promptly. They worked on a quick plan when they got there. The group would move in one at a time and try to figure out who was Herman, while taking up strategic points. Five minutes later, the Red Raven would make his entrance using the party’s horn of fog, and some dancing lights from their lyrakien friend to up his supernatural presence and put some fear into the bad guys.

As they made their way in, one at a time, the place was much the same as they remembered it: same dankness, same grumpy looking dwarf behind the bar, same stick-man in the corner, only this time with two groups of “unsavoury” types were guffawing and speaking rudely to each other. Christian got some ale at the bar. Redden took to a table and through low profile, didn’t even attract the waitresses’ attention. Lance approached the bartender Cheech as “Mr. Underhill” in search of whisky and work in that order. The whisky wasn’t great, but provided Lance with the little pick-me-up he’d come to rely on more and more. Cheech laughed off the prospect of a halfling providing any kind of muscle, but suggested he could perhaps be involved with something that rhymed with “huggling” before sending him off to speak with Herman and his group at the far table. The mention of Herman got Lance excited and he headed over to the table to introduce himself.

Herman and his group of malfeasants also got a good laugh at Mr. Underhill’s expense as they, in their expert opinions, felt Halflings were short and looked funny. They wanted to see if a little man could hold his liquor, and just as his first drink was being poured the door was kicked in with a blaring of a horn and the sudden appearance of fog and light. Everyone’s focus was on the door for a second that felt like an hour, glasses dropped to the floor and the whisky meant for Lance’s glass was instead poured all over the table and floor in front of him, barely missing his pants. This, by the way, would be considered alcohol abuse by our hard drinking hero.

“Criminal scum of Nikeah. Your reckoning has arrived!” The Red Raven blasted. The more thug-like patrons rose from their seats wielding hitherto unseen weapons. Short swords, short bows, and some with hand crossbows. Using his aklys, the Red Raven pulled out a chair from under one such patron. Undeterred, and feeling power in their numbers, they focused their swings and shots at the masked vigilante in the center of the tavern. He deftly dodged their attacks until his Unkindness kindly joined the fight. Redden masked up and fired an arrow at one of the armed men, Lance threw whisky in the eyes of another, while Christian made his way to the center of the room to join the Red Raven in a target rich environment. He cowled up and, for the night, fancied himself “Nightwing.” He took great delight in knocking crossbow bolts and arrows out of the air before they could hurt anyone.

Chaos ensued as other patrons and barstaff cowered against the far wall towards the door, and Cheech himself dug out a heavy crossbow from under the bar. He shouted out at everyone “Not in my bar! Knock it off!” and swung his crossbow around without taking a single shot, seemingly unsure who to side with.

From the back corner, the assumed ‘stick-man’ got up, calling to the Red Raven. “Yeah! Red Raven! I worked with you days ago! You’re awesome! Let me help you!” he grabbed a bottle from the bar and made his way to the center of the room, ready to break it on a thug. He smashed it on the back of a man tugging at a barmaid under a table, putting a stop to his efforts and freeing the lady from the man’s lecherous grasp. As the saying goes, “No good deed goes unpunished,” so he was rewarded with some swings from the thugs near him . The Red Raven then had to focus on keeping this man safe. The cowering patrons sounded their support as well. The reputation of the Red Raven was indeed increasing in Nikeah!

Christian, Lance, and Redden managed to take down Herman’s entourage, and subsequently Herman himself. Some were knocked out, while others were left bleeding and in need of serious medical attention. Eyes shifted back to the Red Raven who flipped over the shoulders of the last goon standing and wrapping the rope from his aklys around his neck and bringing the poor bastard down hard on his head; knocking him out.

END OF SESSION

NOTABLE NPCS

  • Mr. Big Big man making a big comeback in Nikeah. This crime boss was previously MIA, but now as the city seemed on the verge of repair has strangely doubled down on his effforts.
  • Herman One of Mr. Big’s goons, reportedly handing out work and payment at the Drowning Cat Tavern.
View
Session 40 - Summary
Previously on Worlds Apart...

Separated by time and/or space, the party had to decide what to do.

Outside, on the deck of the Caitlin’s Breeze, the angels explained that there is a second part to the rite. The binding had to be completed, and that if Lance and Redden wanted to save their friend they better be quick, they’d have less than a minute. They worried that the djinni would trick Christian into making a wish that could be twisted to horrible effect and negate their efforts, or worse.

Redden thought jumping in would be suicide, but Lance didn’t think they had a choice. They couldn’t just leave Christian in there alone with the angry djinni. Tequila and the other voice stressed to have faith that even should the worst thing happen and they get trapped, to remember that when Desna closes a door, she opens a window.

Lance instructed Boram to toss in a rope after them, the proceeded to take a drink for courage and chased it with a potion of curing before jumping in to the rift. Redden reluctantly followed, cursing “Fucking Lance!”

Inside, the djinni indeed tried to bargain and manipulate Christian; though Christian would have none of it. Christian was prepared to die in there before releasing the djinni to hurt and kill people both directly and indirectly through robbing the people of Nikeah of their source of warmth and protection. He grabbed a golden chalice sitting at a ledge in front of the djinni. Not caring so much about the cup, but rather frustrated by Christian’s unwillingness to wish the two of them out somehow, the Djinni attacked the Paladin. Christian deflected the blow by grace of Seranrae and returned the attack in kind (mythic point) just as the first chain of binding connected to the djinni’s leg and Redden and Lance dropped in from above. Fucking Lance!

Christian was both happy and upset to see his friends. He was worried that they’d just doomed themselves along with him. He lamented to himself that he couldn’t save them from themselves. Lance said that help was on the way, and to trust him. Redden with his any-tool grappling hook, expertly tossed a rope up and out of the opening above them. The djinni looked up from his bound ankle and around the tall chamber. He was seemingly unable to see the opening as a second rope made its way down by Redden’s feet.

Lance made his way around to Christian’s side, and created an opening for Christian to take another swing at the Jarl of the North Winds. His scimitar this time cut off the very end of the djinni’s beard, angering him further. The furious djinni brought his large warhammer down, crunching against Christian’s armor and shaking him to the core, then took a second swing at Lance which he dodged artfully.

The group then felt it best they pull a hasty retreat as the magical bindings once again took hold of the djinni’s limbs… now both legs were clasped and the creature was pulled back to the center of the altar.

Redden was first up a rope, expertly climbing out of a combination of skill and fear. Lance and Christian were behind him. The djinni made efforts to tempt them again with wishes, and swung out his arms at Redden, missing him in the process.

What followed was a struggle; the djinni against his magical bindings and Lance and Christian against time. The ropes swung a bit wildly from the narrowing portal opening above. Once Redden could get his head through, he shouted at Boram to assist in pulling the ropes up and to get help. Boram complied and had Steve and Sam come to his aid. They tried as best they could, but it was all for naught.

As the binding ritual came to a close, so too did the opening and the ropes above Christian and Lance’s heads were cut, sending them falling to the floor. Redden and the others above were speechless and heartbroken. Inside, the djinni was locked in place and no longer struggling. The runes on the walls glowed with intensity and the air grew instantly warmer. Waters started to pour into the well nearby.

Christian and Lance had a brief exchange. Christian not so much approving of Lance’s decision to simply take a drink and dedicate it to Desna, in foolish hope that she would “open a window.” But, sure enough, as he finished, they could hear the waters in the well rushing. Upon inspection the waters were now draining down in a whirlpoo. It seemed to the two trapped heroes that this would indeed be their only chance at escape. Lance helped Christian out of his breastplate to make the swimming easier. Then Christian jumped in and was taken around and down by the rushing currents. He gave a quick thumbs up as he went down. Lance dove in after him. Christian soon felt his feet hit bottom and could feel a narrow opening just big enough for his person. Lance’s feet kicked at his head before Christian could navigate through it with Lance following suit. They felt a pang of nausea and heard a whoom! -like sound as they popped out, soaking wet below the floating orb and a very relieved Tequila. As they got up, their eyes met those of their friends who were equally amazed and surprised to seem them again.

“You are welcome!” Lance happily exclaimed upon catching his breath. Maybe it was the drink talking, but Fucking Lance’s risky decision did indeed save Christian from a needless sacrifice.

All could see Tequila slump down as though her angelic possession was now complete and the orbs slowly floated down to the deck, taking a resting position. The fog was very quickly pushing back further and further, revealing a beautiful clear day across the lake.

The party very carefully stowed away the orbs before helping out the nobles, and the two imbecilic swabbies to keep the secret as best they could before amassing everyone and attaching a tow-line from the River Rat to the naval vessel for transportation. The dwarven engines work hard to pull the large ship.

On the way, nobles asked about their heroes. Lance bragged of their triumphs, particularly his own as a hometown hero of Grimby, how he put a stop to political and theological corruption in Tamran, and recent turns in Nikeah as a liberator of slaves, and slayer of the hydra as he “captained” the Caitlin’s Breeze while it was being towed. Redden trained Blackfeather and Christian prayed to Seranrae under the bright light of day.

Tequila took some time to “read” a story off the cup Christian found in the prison, revealing a dark history. The ship swabbie, Jay, hit on her only to have her gently shut him down and preach to him the ways of Desna, god of travel and how he might live a happier, more productive life in service of this cosmic butterfly. Lance expressed interest in having her ask the other angels more questions next week and took note of what they might ask.

They arrived back in Nikeah late on the fourth day, barely keeping their promise. Communal fires burned but the air didn’t feel cold. The welcoming girl they saw when they first arrived made brief eye-contact before recognizing and going out of her way to avoid them. The group escorted the nobles to their home district before bringing the Vernal Orbs back to the Jarl’s longhouse to hopefully meet with him.

Guards greeted them at the door, and as one went inside to announce their return, the other filled them in on happenings in the city. City guard, military, reachmen, and Returners worked together to secure the safety of the city as temperatures dropped a few days before. The Red Raven was reportedly spotted in many places around the city, aiding in making the arrests of looters, arsons, and more. He recognized the group as those who slew the hydra and shook their hands as they entered.

The Jarl looked tired, as though he had hardly rested in days but was quiet overjoyed to see them back with the orbs. They explained all that happened and stressed a serious need to better document just what these orbs are and how they function, and perhaps look for a better way to deal with the wrongly imprisoned djinni within. The creature was angry because of his current situation and could be set loose again someday. They suggested the jarl work with the Returners, and perhaps Ragnar to keep the secret with a few trust-worthy people to ensure the safety of future generations. They enjoyed some drinks and food and were rewarded with local titles (Thane), treasure (Box totalling 4500gp) , and a magical horn of fog.

The group then made their way to the Red Raven Inn. Agnes was working late and was impressed with their heroics, smiling flirtatiously at Lance as he gave her the quick version. They made their way upstairs, where they found the others having a talk. Campbell and Michael both looked exhausted after the last few days and nights, dreading the need to go out again shortly. Anatole was buried in tomes and parchment rolls. He informed the group that he was still working on file on Razmir and elves, specifically. He was not surprised to have the group tell him that the elves were also somehow tied to the djinni. Loquar, whose presence came as a surprised, told them that he stayed in town a bit longer to help out while they were gone and that any day now he should be expected to lead another expedition to Droskar’s Crag in the western territories. The party requested that he summon an air elemental to see what state the plane of air was in and if any information could be told of the Mad Caliph through some translation through Tequila.

The session ended mid-conversation.

END OF SESSION

View
Session 39 - Summary
Previously on Worlds Apart...

The prisoners shielded their eyes from the bright lights of Christian’s badge. He announced his group as Returners here to help. They pleaded with him to please hurry. Redden took to work opening the door. Within there were 4 nobles who claimed to have arrived 2 nights ago after being pulled through the skies at high speed. They didn’t know why they were taken. When asked of their family heritage, they informed that they were indeed part of the founding families of the city of Nikeah generations ago. They said the blue man who captured them claimed they would pay for the sins of their forefathers, but were just as confused as our heroes as to why it happened.

In the next room over, Redden heard more voices pleading for help before the creature returned. Within they found four more nobles, including the venerable Tharsten Trut, who had all been taken the night before. They, too, offered little in the way of help. They relayed only their fears and pleaded to the party save them from the blue monster that stole them away and flew them to this isolated prison. The group fed the prisoners pickles from a nearby storeroom and tried to alleviate their concerns while wondering what they were supposed to do. Many feared that the djinni could return any moment. As they conversed, Tharsten asked repeatedly if they had the key, and Tequila felt panic take hold. She cast a spell on Lance, allowing them to communicate with long range whispers, and took wing back to the River Rat. She told him she would let him know of any trouble coming.

The group was at a loss with the prisoners as they surely couldn’t sail the ship and trailing it slowly behind the River Rat would only keep them a target of the djinni should it return. They heard movement upstairs; something was afoot! As they made to rush towards the upper decks, they were confronted by some mephits. In the crowded lower deck, they fought bravely and fell the monsters that impeded their progress, though one managed to fly upstairs.

They told the prisoners to stay where they were as they would likely be safer in their cells. Tequila whispered to Lance that she could feel something was coming, and with that Christian felt a shift; as if the walls of the ship were vibrating or warbling with some unheard oscillation or pitch. They pushed forward and the wood of the walls themselves warped and blocked their path.

Christian, leading the charge, smashed through the barricade with his mace and they quickly ran up the stairs to the middle deck. He was greeted with the slashing guisarmes of two mephits whom the party also took to dispatching. Lance, in particular, found his longsword making short work of the creatures.

There was something in the air, all right. And the party pushed forward, paying particular attention to the walls when the floor instead opened beneath them almost swallowing Christian if not for a quick catch by Redden who swung him to safety around the corner. They assisted each other and pressed forward up to the main deck. Tequila reached out to Lance and her voice suddenly dropped a few octaves as someone or something was taking hold of her. The voice informed Lance that the vessel they knew as Tequila would be indisposed, and that they should keep her safe as the angels worked their magic.

It was on the main deck that they encountered an enormous and imposing figured of an ancient blue man with legs like tornadoes and a voice that lingered in the wind. Blackfeather circled overhead and squawked in panic. The distant sound of barking and whimpering was telling that the dogs had returned to the shady hall leading to the captain’s quarters; likely trapping Jay and Swabby Bob within. There was no sign of Tequila. The djinni known to some as Niflheim and to others as Jarl of the North Wind demanded to know where the Vernal Orbs were, and just who dared to venture onto his ship.

Set aback, the group stepped onto the main deck and started to speak to the hulking creature that huffed and puffed in frustration. They introduced themselves and he recognized them as the brave adventurers who destroyed his pet Cryohydra. He knew they must be capable warriors, but wondered if they would be smart enough to make a deal with him. He knew they had the Vernal Orbs somewhere, so he asked if they would be so kind as to destroy the artifact somehow, he would grant them anything they wanted. Anything they wanted.

As tempting as the offer was, they knew they couldn’t trust or accept it. However, with encouragement in his ear from Tequila and her “passenger,” to keep the djinni busy, Lance instead showed interest in the creature ’s story and pressed him for some history as to why he wanted the orbs gone and why he was trapped inside.

“Niflheim” claimed that ages ago, as Jarl of the North Wind, he assisted the people from before… elves, mostly, who made deals with outsiders and other creatures to improve upon their magic and create objects of such great power to improve and benefit their society. Sometimes the deals weren’t mutual, and the creatures were trapped inside objects against their will. The Vernal Orbs were made to use the power of a powerful outsider to create warmth and magical protection. The orbs themselves were meant to imprison someone known as the Mad Caliph, a djinn of great power and notoriety… but the mortals were deceived by a trick and the Jarl was incarcerated instead.

This was the first any of them had heard of a Mad Caliph. None was seen or discussed around these parts that anyone could figure. It was a name lost to the ages.

He claimed that he spent years, centuries, perhaps millennia within the orb due to the greed and ignorance of mortal beings. He was released recently due to shaking and magical disruption of some unknown cause, and found himself in a world much unlike the one he left behind. As much as the people now comparatively suffer with primitive cultures and superstition, he still felt the need to exact his own revenge on the world for the wrong done unto him; starting with the descendants of those who founded the city of Nikeah. For generations, these people enjoyed the warmth of the orbs to protect itself from the cold of winter, and the monsters that came with it. How dare they find prosperity in his misery? How dare they use him!?

Christian asserted the elves and their culture seem that have been mostly wiped from existence and that people today were innocent of any wrong-doings from the people before.

The Jarl felt that the heroes were stalling and did not know how to destroy the orbs, nor trusting that they actually would do so if they could, he told them to simply get on their boat and leave him to his revenge…. lest they anger him further with their ignorance. They couldn’t do that. They had promised to return the people and the ship back to Nikeah and found themselves at an impasse with this creature.

The tension was relieved quite suddenly with a bolt from the crossbow of the impetuous Boram Slystone. A shot which travelled straight through the head of the giant djinni and into the mast of the Caitlin’s Breeze. This was accompanied by the rising figure of Tequila who radiated with holy magic unseen before. Her arms were outstretched and her posture adroit as she and a pulsating, nay, breathing orb rose from the port side of the ship. The party had to do more than talk to keep the angry Jarl of the North Wind busy.

Combat was swift and dangerous, the large djinni garbled on as a smaller one appeared from nowhere and attempted to swing his warhammer at Christian who barely deflected the blow with his shield. The attack was a fly-by and the djinni made it’s way above the port side, seemingly away from retaliation. Lance showing acrobatic prowess and great sea legs ran along the rail of the ship and swung at him with intimidating finesse. “The power of Desna compels you,” he shouted and sent the creature into a shaken state. Redden called Blackfeather to fly to the safety of the other side of the ship and then provided covering fire at mephits and the djinni alike.

Noticing the lyrakien and the orbs floating behind him, Niflheim put two and two together. He commanded the angel to stop her ritual at once and flew at her with full-force, fully intending to smash her into the clouds with his warhammer. His weapon rebounded off a forcefield around the Vernal Orbs, and Tequila’s tiny frame kept her safe within. The mephits also tried whatever tricks they could muster to keep the lyrakien away from the orb and put an end to her chanting, but failed in all manner of attempt. In frustration, the djinni commanded her again to stop or else he would kill her friends and took to focusing his attacks on the others. The tiny azata gasped at the thought, but put her faith in Desna and the strength of her friends to the test; she and her passenger would not stop.

Lance jumped aboard the wheelhouse of the River Rat and readied himself to strike his foe should he make another move towards his angelic friend. Tequila moved past him with the orbs back to the Caitlin’s Breeze to try to keep the djinni in range of the party’s attacks. The Jarl did a flyby towards Lance and the two traded blows. Lance stuck his longsword into Niflheim’s core with unerring precision, while the djinni struck hard at his shoulder with his warhammer causing the hard drinking hero great pain. Truly, the djinni was fierce and due to his speed was difficult to strike with even ranged attacks. His mephits proved to be more than an inconvenience as they interposed themselves to prevent attacks on the Jarl and chip away at the health and morale of the heroes with magical abilities and slashing guisarmes.

Redden and Boram fired arrows and bolts at the Jarl of the North wind and his menacing mephits, as the party remained steadfast. They met the Jarl and his band of outsiders with great courage and conviction. They would not fail or falter as the lyrakien azata’s chanting caused the orbs to spark out in large rays, much like the picture they saw on the pages of Jarl Albrook’s book, eventually resulting in the air itself cracking open and a strong suction pulling towards anyone and anything too close to the portal. Tequila and the spirits within her pleaded at Christian to get away, but he bravely pushed forward, gripped the rail of the ship and attempted the strike down the djinni with his scimitar. He hoped to weaken it enough to trap it within the orbs and didn’t want it to get away.

The Jarl of the North Wind had other plans, if he could not avoid his fate he would atleast take someone with him. Making himself invisible, he maneuvered away from Christian and behind him to catch him in a grapple. Christian could not break free and was pulled through the portal along with the djinni.

Christian found himself in a chamber that had a blue radiance about it. The room and the prominent altar at its center had five points, like a star. He had to wonder if it would be his fate to spend the remainder of his life trapped with an angry djinni within the Vernal Orbs. He looked up above him and saw the opening revealing the skies above. The sun, Seranrae’s light, was high in the noon hour and shining brightly down on him. Would he die to keep this creature trapped in this place with him and provide warmth and safety for his friends and the people of Nikeah? Or could he somehow make it out of this mess? He wasn’t sure. In stoic selfless confidence, he felt glad it was him and not any of his friends.

END OF SESSION

NOTABLE NPCS

Niflheim, Jarl of the North Wind – Wrongfully imprisoned by magical people aeons ago and really, really pissed off about it.

View
Session 38 - Summary
Previously on Worlds Apart...

A marvel of dwarven technology, the steam engines installed on the River Rat allowed it to press forward through the fog without need of wind and sail. The artifact on board melted through the fog around them gave them some visibility. Aboard, the party took to assisting Captain Boram in whatever way possible. Redden was assigned to tend to ropes and check on tow-line which was hastily installed the day before by Sam. Christian checked on the reinforced hull and found it to be suitable armor to protect the boat from damage caused by being rammed by ships or overly large gars. Meanwhile, Lance took some time to teach Tequila some sea shanties, and worked with Steve, getting a general feel for the activities and maintenance involved in running this sturdy old barge that was made by his grandfather. Their teamwork solidified them as a capable crew, despite most of them having little experience on boats.

Tequila spent a large portion of the morning below deck examining the Vernal Orbs with hopes of better understanding their use, function, and how they might assist the party if and when they would meet the djinni somewhere on the lake. She planned to commune with the azatas of Elysium for assistance in the matter, but needed to wait until the next day before she would be able to do so.

By the afternoon they had discovered the body of a man floating in the lake. Boram lowered and cut the engines and they pulled it in with gaff hooks. He was a Gilead Naval Office, but only the stripes on his jacket could identify him as such. His body was bludgeoned by something big, and some of the creatures in the lake had been nibbling on his arms and legs.

As the group examined and discussed the poor officer’s fate, they noticed a large fish with its head out of the water staring at them and seemingly taking interest in their conversation. It stared at Redden in particular. When hailed, it replied in what they recognized as sylvan. It asked the one with “fey eyes” like witch lights what he sought. Despite Tequila doing the translation, it kept its focus on him. The group had Tequila ask about the ship and the islands nearby with hopes of tracking down the djinni. It didn’t know of flying creatures, having little interaction with the skies above the mists, but it spoke of a man ship having some trouble in the days prior.

Their conversation was interrupted as the fish changed forms into something a little more humanoid. A shape that they recognized as a nixie, having encountered one before in the Phantom Forest. It shouted some words of warning and pointed behind them. From the other side of the boat, a stealthy devil fish was climbing aboard and took to striking and grabbing Lance with some of its seven tentacles. Tequila informed the party that devil fish were intelligent creatures, believed to have abyssal heritage. Their bites were known to be highly poisonous. Outnumbered, the creature barely got a chance to get a grip on Lance before his friends cut into it. Tequila used the wand of grease to assist Lance with escaping before the creature could pull him overboard. Realizing this would not be an easy meal, the devilfish sprayed dark ichor onto the party and boat before retreating to the safety of the water.

Christian and Tequila tended to Lance’s wounds and the group was left to clean up the ship and themselves after talking further with the nixie. The devil fish did not return.

She told them that should they seek the ship they would need to correct their course a little and she pointed in the direction where she saw it go. She also told them of a nearby island in another direction, but discouraged them from heading there as it was inhabited by merrows, the amphibious green skinned cousins of ogres. The lake nixies knew nothing of djinnis flying through the sky but wished them luck with their dealings as they discovered together that much was changing on land and in the water.

They decided to follow the course towards the missing ship, and would hopefully get more help from Tequila after her commune to confirm if they were heading in the right direction to save the most amount of people. It wasn’t a decision any of them took lightly, but the city of Nikeah took precedent.

By evening, the engines were cut and the anchor was weighed. The group worried about what was happening and if they could somehow put a stop to it all. They wondered if and how the portal under the temple of Razmir which swallowed their foil, Jack, had something to do with it. After all, it was accompanied by a powerful earthquake and the appearance of the fog. They discussed what they knew, and came up with some questions to ask of the angels, finding it challenging to word them for yes or no answers.

They organized a watch for the night, and all was quiet and safe… though during Boram’s watch, his girlfriend Sam came out of hiding , having stowed-away below deck. He thought he had left her sleeping in Nikeah, but it would seem she had other plans. The two of them argued even after Christian was woken for his turn at watch. They headed to the wheelhouse and while both Christian and Boram were both concerned with her well-being she was adamant about being aboard “her boat” and not being left out of adventures anymore. She brandished a heavy wrench and claimed she could take care of herself. Christian felt it would be best to let Boram deal with it on his own and focused on patrolling the ship and watching the waters of Lake Yggdrasil as the boat bobbed. No further disturbances occurred in the night and all aboard tried to ignore any sounds coming from the wheelhouse.

In the morning, Christian sat, facing east, and greeted the rising sun in worship as best he could through the fog. Redden and Blackfeather meditated on the roof of the ship. Lance wiped the sleep from his eyes after whatever alcohol-fueled lucid dreams he had made for himself. Nobody felt much need to address to the elephant in the room, especially seeing as she had prepared a warm cereal breakfast along with some dried meats and fruit. Tequila took to her ritual and communed with Elysium for answers to the questions they came up with the night before.
The questions and answers were as follows:

1 Can the power of the orbs be recharged? Yes.
2 If we kill the djinni, will it get rid of the power of the orbs? Yes. 3 Is the djinni evil? No.
4 Does it reside on an island? No.
5 Are the orbs dangerous for sentient creatures to possess? “Nature of people to covet” 6 Can you help us? Yes.

Deciding to focus on the ship, the engines were fired up, once again, and moved forward. The crew of the River Rat caught first sight of the Caitlin’s Breeze by late morning through the spy glass. They slowed down and approached with caution. There was no sign of sailors on deck and as they got closer the sound of dogs barking could be heard. So strange that dogs would be on the deck of a naval vessel; this was not standard protocol.

Boram pulled up on the port side, and it was discussed that Boram, Sam, and Steve would stay aboard the River Rat with the Vernal Orbs while the rest explored the ship. Redden used his Traveler’s Anytool in the shape of a grappling hook to allow the party easy access to the ship. They gathered some of the dried meat and Redden headed up the rope first.

Peering on the deck, he noted a handful of well-bred dogs sprawled out in the morning sun; some slept while others licked at themselves or drank rain water caught in the unused lifeboats. Some looked at him and growled with suspicion. He took to using wild empathy and dog whispered the pooches into a friendlier state before inviting his friends to join him. Christian, Lance, and Tequila joined him on deck and they took to scanning the ship for signs of human life. The door on the forecastle bore little beyond empty hammocks and untouched personal affects. The aftcastle passage was clogged with dogs pawing at a door and barking. The party used their meat to distract the dogs and took them out to the deck.

As Redden approached the door he smelled what could only be some of the cannabis herb that many a country boy enjoyed. On the door itself, a sign with the words “Captain Dante Hicks” were written, though “Dante Hicks” had been hastily, and messily painted over with a big “J.”

Testing the door for traps and locks, he found that the door handle was suddenly held shut. Christian took point and knocked. After a moment of seeming hesitation, a small voice called out “Who’s there?” to which Christian replied “Returners.” and was rewarded with a swarmy “Returners who?” as if been played with. He managed to make his way into the room where he found himself flanked by two men. One halfling in ill-fitting captain’s garb and tricorne, and one barrel chested human with oddly expressive eyes. “Whappow! Get him, Lunch Box!” shouted the halfling, while the big man looked at Christian’s armor and steely gaze and threw his friend an angry dismissive look. Christian turned his attention to the hatted halfling and demanded he take off his tricorne to check to see if this was not another goblin in disguise. The halfling bowed sarcastically with his large hat in hand and didn’t change into a goblin; good enough, Christian supposed.

The room reeked of smoke as the two of them, who the little one introduced as Captain Jay and Swabby / First Mate Bob were held up inside for almost two days, hiding from the dogs outside. They claimed they didn’t want to hurt the animals, but the dogs kept jumping on them and humping them. Jay did all the talking and swore a lot, even by sailors’ standards.

When asked about how they ship came to be under such dire circumstances, and how he came to be captain Jay told his story of the “big blue fuck” who surprised him on deck one day as he was mopping.

He used be a swabby deckhand which was really boring for him and Bob. But a few days ago, a blue guy flew up to him. He called himself “Jarl of the North Wind” and asked Jay what his wish was. Being hungry, Jay told him to make a sandwich and the blue man conjured up a sandwich so big it couldn’t be finished. It had a nice rye bread, spicy mustard, but to Jay’s disappointment, the turkey was a little dry.

When pressed to get to more important things, Jay continued.

The blue man promised Jay two more wishes and encouraged him to be more ambitious. Jay claimed he had wished that he could be captain of the ship as he always wanted to sail around the world, find a mermaid and fuck her. What he didn’t count on was the blue man’s follow through… he killed everyone on board that didn’t agree with Jay’s promotion (everyone except for Bob) He smashed them with a big hammer, and spun them up into the air in a big wooshing whirlwind and sent them flying into the lake. Jay felt bad that so many people died as it wasn’t really his intention. With his last wish, he asked that the blue man bring him some fine ass bitches who wanted nothing more but to fuck him and Swabby Bob all the time (Snoogins!) but once again, the blue man twisted his words and brought aboard the many female dogs seen on deck.

When Christian showed disapproval for his actions and wishes, Jay lamented that Swabby Bob couldn’t get past his silent bit to try to wish things better. This stirred an anger in his friend who suddenly shouted “CAN’T YOU SEE!? HE WAS FUCKING WITH US! GODS!” before focusing back on his smoke to relieve the tension.

The only particularly helpful thing Jay could say was that he and Bob were told not to go to the lower deck. They asked the party to help them open the chest in the room to see if there was anything helpful inside. Redden obliged and found some valuables belonging to the former captain, but chose to leave the items inside and lock it again; Jay never seemed to get what he wished for.

The party left them in the room and Jay asked if they could bring back some pieces of the sandwich if they could as he and Sw-First Mate Bob were starving. The party gave it the briefest of consideration, but little else as they explored what they found to be a ghost ship. Their Returner badges illuminated all the rooms and revealed them to be devoid of people. The crew’s things were left as they were on the day that they died. The only sounds were that of the creaking wood of the ship and their own steps on the planks.

Indeed, they found the biggest sandwich they had ever seen on the table in the mess hall on the middle deck. One of the dogs was pawing and whimpering at the door.

Eventually, the group found their way to the lower deck. Many boxes, and some empty cages cluttered the hold. As they reached the rear of the ship, the party could hear some sounds of movement and muffled speaking. As they rounded the corner, their lights shone through some bars of a cell door. Inside, some finely dressed noble people shielded their eyes from the sudden glare. “Oh no! He’s back!” a few shouted with notable fear in their voices.

END OF SESSION

NOTABLE NPCS:

Samantha “Sam” Frye – Stowed away for shiny adventures with her boyfriend, Boram.

Nixie – Paid close attention to Redden, helped the party find their way.

Azatas of Elysium – Supposedly going to help Tequila with the Vernal Orbs.

Niflheim – djinni, self-proclaimed Jarl of the North Wind

Captain Dante Hicks and crew – deceased, supposed to be here today.

Jay and Swabby Bob – Hetero lifemates, former deckhands and now defacto captain and first mate of the Caitlin’s Breeze.

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Session 37 - Summary
Previously on Worlds Apart...

During the day, the party was met by some of the city guard who rewarded party with a sac of coins valuing 800gp for the capture of dastardly bandits Old Tom, Bob, and Needles.

At Waldorf’s Worldly Wonders, the party bought a wand of Protection from Evil (Christian carries for party) and Redden bought what Waldorf referred to as a Traveler’s Any Tool. This rod, of unknown origin, has the ability to change into just about any mundane tool one could imagine.

Christian put some thought into the mithral costs to make a new breastplate. The group also decided to have Tequila carry their wand of Cure Moderate Wounds to better assist them in combat.

Afterwards, they headed back to the harbour to meet up with Boram and his crew. At the Rear Admiral, they were given a heroes’ welcome (free drinks!) and enjoyable meal of fish. With very little need of convincing, they talked him into being their captain. Sam informed the group that the hull and light ballista re-enforced in case of any further encounters with overly large aquatic beasts. While the dwarven technology aboard would allow the River Rat to travel, regardless of fickle winds, the issue of the mists remained. Short of installing a large brazier at the front of the ship, the group would need a strong heat source to deal with the fog on the lake. The group decided they must approach the Jarl and inquire about borrowing the city’s magical heat source. They told Boram that they would get back to him soon with more details. Sam would get to work affixing a “toe-line” in case they would need to tug the ship back to the city.

They went back to Red Raven Inn to coordinate with Campbell Williams. They spoke about strategies to hold the city together once panic struck with further cooling of the city. The considered having Ragnar’s men and top city guards/military lead sellswords and guards to protect all areas from threats such as looters, riots, or monsters. Campbell agreed to set up a meeting with the Jarl again for that night. He left the party at the inn with a chance to rest a bit, Lance played music along with Tequila and helped ease their collective weariness from a busy, busy day. Anatole and Loquar were hard at research. Anatole looking into the city’s history in between researching Razmir and Loquar poring over the Monster Manual for more information about the undead, as he was looking into setting up another expedition to a place called Droskar’s Crag. He mentioned this was the site of his previous failings.

Campbell and Michael returned and informed that Jarl Albrook would meet them tonight out of urgency. They headed there and found the Jarl with his three confidants: his childhood best friend Aslaug Belethor, a friend of his father Esberg Mjoll, and Tharsten Trut, the oldest man in town. The three men added another barrier between the party and their goal of convincing the Jarl of lending them the city’s most precious treasure.

Through hard negotiation and diplomacy, the party convinced the Jarl that it could be the only way. Campbell and a confident Christian layed it on thick. They eventually agreed to let them take the orb out for 2 day’s travel out and 2 day’s back (4 days total) and hoped that the party would also find the “Caitlin’s Breeze” (the missing naval ship) as well as deal with the genie.

Along with this. through conversation in private the council discovered that their families held secrets over the generations to how the orbs were a source of power and appear to have been used to seal away the creature. Old man Trut was convinced it would be the key to all of this. From some missing pages from the Jarl’s book, held by Esberg, a picture of a star accompanied the genie’s disappearance… could there be a link to Desna? It was considered that Tequila may need to commune to gain more insight into the magic to seal away the genie.

Before their departure, the council also asked that Christian meet with the church of Seranrae to get their assistance in the difficult days to come. There will be a strong need of faith and community to keep things safe. They also hoped that the Red Raven would be continue to help the city keep crime in check. The last part of their meeting was interrupted by guards in a panic about noble people disappearing from their homes. Could the creature be targeting descendants of people who sealed it away?

Christian donned his muleback cords and carried the covered box with the orbs disguising it as normal, mundane cargo to the River Rat. The party woke Steve and had him show them a place to stow it below deck. Lance, Redden and Tequila stayed on the boat to ensure its safety in the night.

At dawn, Christian visited the humble temple of Serenrae north of the Drowning Cat, and was greeted with confusion as the clergy didn’t know of a Paladin in the city. Christian rallied them to the support of the city, and makes a donation of 100gp worth of gems to help with the cause. They promised to set up shelters, soup kitchens, and communal fires to bring the warmth of Serenrae to the people should trying times present themselves.

They met with Boram in the morning.and after regrouping, shipped out, Boram fired up the engines and as the boat pushed out towards the fog, they found that the mists in front of and around the boat evaporated and their path was much clearer. This worked much better than the little burning boats that faithful people were sending out to push back the fog. Thoughts and prayers, while good for the people’s spirit, weren’t as good as action and magic.

{Fast Forward}

In the late afternoon of their first day on the lake, they spotted something small floating in the waters ahead. The engines were lowered and then cut to retrieve it.. It was a man’s body and after flipping it over with a gaff hook, his naval officer’s uniform was revealed.

End Session

NOTABLE NPCS:

* Aslaug Belethor – the Jarl’s childhood friend, calm headed and deeply concerned for his friend and city.

  • Esberg Mjoll – a friend of the Jarl’s father, grumpy and holder of missing pages from the Albrook family tome.
  • Tharsten Trut – The oldest man in town, a bit touched but convinced the Vernal Orbs were the key to solving their problems.
View
Session 36 - Summary
Previously on Worlds Apart...

From Session Notes (Rough Summary)

- Hydra defeated, woosh overhead going towards the lake, they tend to wounded people and deal with Waldorf’s heart.
- Campbell and Red Raven dodge questions for now. Williams wants to take the heat source to confront the Jarl. Sverri and Odd report back to Earl Ragnar, Boram and company help people on other side of harbour, Loquar accompanies Waldorf home
- Less guards about, Campbell pays them off for entry, using his status as a prominent noble to get an audience with the Jarl. Has clout, no doubt.
- Find the Jarl in his livingroom by the fire. Lance tries a threatning approach while Christian tries to be diplomatic. He likens them to Earl Ragnar and his wife respectively, and opens up.
- He spills the beans on “Nifelheim” a blueskinned flying man who has visited him a few times in the past few weeks. Relates it to a story he was told by his grandfather as a boy about a creature that was seemingly worshipped in the past that helped make the city prosperous, but somehow things didn’t go well and they had to imprison it below ground. It has been released and threatened to punish the city for the sins of their fore-fathers.
- Tequila speaks of the planes, and extra-planar creatures… believes “Nifelheim” to be a Djinn, or Genie.
- The party agrees that they must figure this out if the city will be safe and the Jarl promises to assist them in taking care of it discretely. Earl Ragnar arrives and is intercepted by Campbell Williams. He takes him outside to talk him down.
- The party leaves the “Vernal Orbs” with the Jarl.
- Redden questions Ragnar about the camps. Ragnar informs them that they too were attacked and had to fend off mistborn creatures. Was impressed by Sverri and Odd’s account, and thanks them for their continued efforts.
- Back to Red Raven Inn, Lance regales Agnes and they clean up before Campbell returns.
- Trusting you, Campbell admits that he is the Red Raven and the show at the Jarl’s house was part of his plan to try to get the Jarl to open up about the problems in town, and at the same time make sure that the public saw him and the Raven as separate people. Michael Freeman shows up, and admits to having worn the cowl more than a few times these days to help his friend. Campbell says he worries about backlash from crime bosses for their crime fighting.
- Group splits up to cover more ground. Christian at Rear Admiral to talk to sailors, hears that one of the ships hasn’t returned. Lance goes to Drowning Cat, hears a lot of negative talk about the city, but is proud to hear of adventurers fighting at the harbour. Redden goes to Lusty Goblin and gets the VIP treatment after showing the token given by O’Detta.
- Regroup and discuss hiring Boram to take them into the mist, perhaps with the vernal orbs to find the genie.
Find Loquar at Waldorf’s Worldly Wonders. The mogwai is singing in the corner and the two are chewing the fat. They shoot a look to the group to remind them not to discuss Waldorf’s health struggles. He’s looking tired but okay. The party wants to discuss their reward for returning the mogwai.

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Session 35 - Summary
Previously on Worlds Apart...

At the docks of Nikeah, multiple angry snake-like heads rose from the sleek, serpentine body of a terrifying gargantuan cryohydra. It’s body was at once solid and seemingly part of the mists which had rolled in quite suddenly. It breathed out icy cold breath that instantly froze a sailor desperately grabbing at the tools and equipment that were his livelihood.
The monster screeched and roared as it tore up the harbour.

The mists had no doubt caught the navy ships off guard and left the navy unable to assist with the attack on the city. The town guard was occupied in battles with misborn, bird-like, creatures and air mephits that were attacking citizens in the areas of the city closest to the water of Lake Yggdrasil.

The party did their best to lower the number of casualties, but witnessed great damage to the docks and moored boats and ships as they fought off the monsters and slowed the advance of the hydra and mists that were closing in on Nikeah. As they fought they sent their lyrakien friend, Tequila, in search of aid. She returned shortly after with their friend Loquar who supported the party with magic and summoned fire elementals to burn away the mists which provided the party with easier targets. Tequila strummed at her lyre and played in inspirational tune which roused bravery in her allies. As the monsters were struck out of the air, they disappeared like dry ice sublimating into clouds of nothingness.

Reddens put his new bow and magic to the test as he fired arrows at the hydra heads, damaging and incapacitating them where possible. The mists proved difficult causing him to miss more than he would have liked and the difficult terrain caused him to fall and snap at his wrist as oars and rope underfoot seemingly conspired against his efforts.

They were later joined by Sverri and Odd, the young reachmen whom the group had saved from Old Tom at Cloverkeep. They insisted on helping the party fight back the monsters at the dock and informed them that Earl Ragnar and his other men rushed to the eastern camp to protect the refuges nearest to the water. They fought alongside Christian and Lance to protect people trapped in their homes and shops and those escaping from the docks.

The great Waldorf himself arrived soon after, having fought his way through countless creatures with a flaming double axe that created small bursts of fire as he struck whatever monster was foolish enough to stand in his way. He reiterated to the group that the creatures were weak to fire and layed out a supply of alchemist’s fire to assist in the fight.

Campbell Williams joined them soon after telling them that the Jarl would be of no help but assistance was on the way. He bellowed the group should hang in there and keep it up. He himself was kept busy fighting off two air mephits with his rapier. A raven flew in and delivered a message to him, which he relayed as help getting even closer.

As the party managed to hold back the monster’s advances and decapitate a few of the hydra’s heads, they seared the creature with fire to prevent regrowth. Christian braved the cold, knowing full well he was especially susceptible to its chilling damage. Tequila rode to the front lines on Waldorf’s back as he charged into battle with surprising swiftness for someone with a peg-leg and a weak heart. Tequila was without fear of the cold due to her angelic nature. She did double duty in inspiring the group through song and curing damage to Christian, Lance and Waldorf to keep them in the fight as they took wild swipes at the heads.

This help promised by Campbell Williams was felt soon after as warm air was approaching and pushing back the rolling mist. As Anatole and the Red Raven arrived with a box held by poles, the body of the cryohydra was exposed to all attacks by the heroes and their friends. The group could only surmise that whatever was contained in the box was the magical source of heat they had encountered while battling gremlins in the sewers the night before.

With the mists rapidly dissipating, they even found assistance from their friend Boram who shouted “Hey, you guys!” as he fired a ballista bolt from his boat, the River Rat. Sam and Steve assisted in reloading the ballista as Boram produced Adrien from behind his back ready to unleash bolts at the creature.

He didn’t have a chance to let fly a single bolt, however, as alchemist’s fire was tossed at the hydra. This combined with the efforts of the heroes (particularly some extremely well placed swings of Lance’s new magical longsword) managed to strike down and “deflate” the cryohydra before anyone else could get hurt or killed.

A brief hush went over the group when the fighting was finally over. They could see Boram and company giving them the thumbs up from their boat. The heroes, though exasperated, had come out on top.

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Session 34 - Summary
Previously on Worlds Apart...

Our heroes fought bravely against hordes of gremlins, but not before the tall gremlin started lowering the mogwai down to the boiling water. More and more monsters crawled out of a trashpile and throwing themselves at Christian. Redden continued to lay waste with cold iron arrows. Lance lopped off their heads. Christian held his ground and batted them away with his mace, pulverizing the creatures.

All the while, geisers of hot steam shot up through the grates surrounding the pool in an unpredictable pattern. Strangely enough, the gremlins seemed to show fear of the water and the spouts. Redden’s keen ears picked up a grinding sound from many directions getting closer.

Taking out the tall gremlin at the crank revealed it to a gremlin standing on another’s shoulders hidden by the pirate’s garb they wore. It’s death slump pushed the crank it was operating a quarter turn more, sending the mogwai even closer to the bubbling, steamy water below.

Lance procured a ten foot pole and started to pull the mogwai closer to rescue him while a troop of gremlins poured into the room and steadily moved forward. With some deft footwork, Lance easily hopped over the hot waters and pulled the mogwai closer to safety… but the chain was not long enough to reach the side. They had Tequila loosen the chain with the crank by pulling on it with rope. The slack allowed “Gizmo” to make it over the grate so that Redden could free him. Upon doing so, the creature recovered from its stunned status and began to sing for Redden who instantly felt as though he should protect this wonderful creature with his life. It didn’t change anything as Redden was already set on saving him. He then hit a stunned gremlin before it could wake up.

Between arrows impaling several gremlins and the bashing and slashing by Christian and Lance, the troop of Goblins surrounding them was defeated. The heroes debated and decided on activating a large switch on the floor which closed a large gate in the waters at the very center of the room and sent heat towards the edges.

Tequila confirmed that the waters radiated with a strong magic below the gate, and the group wondered if this magical spring could be the cause of heat in the city. The sewers were well crafted, and this chamber had magical traps on the doors to keep people out. However, it would seem that no one save for the gremlins had been here in some time. The many tracks laid around by the gremlins made it difficult to discern the activity of people.

They found some coin and a red and black dress belonging to the girls back at the Lusty Goblin. The “tall gremlin” dropped a masterwork rapier. They made plans to research this place and headed back that way they came. Once out, they were met by a guard whom they instructed to spread word with his associates about the gremlins’ defeat but to stay on guard in case of any survivors. They moved in through the back entrance, past some servants who gawkingly watched the dirty group of heroes walk past them towards Mistress Odetta’s chamber.

They found her drinking on a throne-like chair. She looked shocked by their appearance but happy to get good news about the infestation. She asked again that they continue to be discrete about this incident. They pried about the “Sunny” character who supposedly gifted the Mogwai to Greta. They used honeyed words and charm to reveal that Sunny was a tall and fair elf who comes and goes at his leisure. He had an affair with Odetta and plenty others much to her disapproval. Indeed, discussing the man made her so upset as to hop out of her seat and grab the magical sword on her mantle. She clumsily knocked over the Crystelle Ice Wine on the top shelf, breaking and spilling its contents all over the shimmering long sword. She swung it around with surprising grace and good form, despite the occasional slip from the drunken state she was in. As she swung, Lance approached smoothly and stopped her from swinging the sword using the Clortho eyes in the way the typically work on ladies. He talked her down and made her lower her weapon. She asked him if they were interested in looking further into it. She said she’d like it if Lance would be her champion and if he’d use her sword to kill Sunny when they met. He used his best bluff to make her happy without outright promising to kill anyone. He wondered if he’d eventually have to? The man was most definitely the father to their good friend Gwyn and to the nimble-bodied Gloria.

With this in mind, they had Odetta take them to speak to her daughter Greta. Greta was not forward like the other girls at the house. She conveyed a certain air of innocence and goodness as she prepared tea for the party. They asked her about her father and though she knew of his promiscuity she did not know of the existence of siblings in other cities. She had always wanted a sister and was now informed that she had two. Greta hoped the party would be kind to her father as she swore she was a good guy. It was indeed he who brought her the Mogwai to cheer her weeks ago. He also previously provided for her the exquisite tea set she was using to prepare the tea, and the magical sword from downstairs. Though excited by all this news, she spoke in calm tones and moved gingerly and with grace preparing tea as part of a ceremony. She explained that it was her gift and she was providing to them a unique boost that was both expensive and a much adored house speciality. It didn’t disappoint as they felt a sensation of dauntless courage stay with them for minutes.

Through sad goodbye Greta bid farewell to the adventurers and the precious mogwai. Elsewhere in the house, the party was promised a reward for helping return some clothes to the girls. They could collect it on their next visit, when they were clean. Odetta promised them a complimentary night at her establishment as further reward.

The party went on to Waldorf’s Worldly Wonders and banged on his door a few times. It seemed like he was asleep and opened the door only as they were about to give up on him. In his night gown and cap he looked frustrated and then ecstatic when presented with the mogwai. The mogwai traded a thankful glance with Redden who had taken him home. Waldorf asked that they please return again tomorrow after getting cleaned up and resting before coming into his shop for special merchandise.

Satisfied, the group headed back to the Red Raven Inn to get cleaned up and rest before the busy morning ahead. They found Garrett waiting for them and looking at them with newfound respect after hearing about their exploits up north from Loquar and Anatole. Garrett presented them with a letter from Campbell Williams, the senior ranking member of the Returners in Nikeah. He requested that the party accompany him to the Jarl’s Longhouse in the morning.

They changed their clothes and had baths before getting some much needed rest. They found new clothes and clean armour outside of their doors in the morning. Heading downstairs they were presented with a complimentary continental breakfast and the company of Master Campbell Williams, he told the party they’d leave in 15 minutes so they best eat up and get some questions out of the way between bites. Loquar was nowhere to be found, having stepped out very early into the morning. Anatole would be looking into the sewer situation that the party had mentioned, seeing about getting a map from city officials or whatever else he could muster up in their assistance. He was more than happy to oblige as he said he hated politics.

He told them their mission was to accompany and protect him as visible members of the Returners. They would be armed, but should not draw any weapons unless there serious threats of violence. He claimed that Earl Ragnar would crush Jarl Albrook one on one, but wouldn’t put it past the Jarl to cheat. Williams hopes the conflict won’t come to killing in his city. He saw problems with the Jarl, but accepts that Earl Ragnar would not be suitable to run an economy. He hopes to make more time for peaceful resolution that will benefit all.

He walked the group down the main roads through the rich Uppsalla district and into the noble district of Walhalla where the Jarl’s Longhouse overlooked the lake. Through some gates and into a immaculately kept garden a crowd was forming. Nobles concerned with the well-being of the city or merely keeping up with the latest gossip were watching close. Guards were stationed everywhere around the house in an obvious attempt at dissuading Earl Rangnar from attacking the Jarl.

Earl Ragnar and some friends (including Sverri and Odd, whom the party rescued days before) were holding up steins of beer. They were armed with axes and had shields on their backs. The Earl taunted the Jarl about his various failures and inability to uphold the values of his people, and being the first of his family to have snow within the walls of the city since its inception.

The air was thick as the Jarl pleaded to Ragnar and the crowd to believe that it was always he and his family that kept the city safe and that any day the mists of Nifelheim would release monsters on the city. He wished that they could all understand his plight. The Earl gave his challenge to the Jarl on this momentous third meeting, as was the way of his people and the Jarl stuttered, unable to respond when from above a gravely voice exclaimed, “Jarl Albrook, you have failed this city!”

At the same time, many a guard cowled up with black hoods and raised their crossbows, pointing them at various targets on both sides of the conflict. “Holy Abadar, god of walls and ditches!” shouted Campbell Williams who was all too quick to point out how the Red Raven once saved his grandfather Aric and that the crowd should hear him out. He was quickly dismissed by the Red Raven who told him to “Can it.” because the rich man hadn’t taken refugees into his home.

The Red Raven pressed on the Jarl to reveal the truth about the city and what was going on. Albrook repeated his fears of the mists and pleading for them to see it his way before retreating into his house. As the Jarl and some guards moved, a few weapons were raised by Ragnar’s men and the cowled “unkindness” bandits started shooting bolts at some people who dropped in sleep rather than in injury. One of them missed and reached behind his back for another crossbow. Campbell sprung to action with a mad dash and swung down with his hand causing the crossbow to fire its bolt into the ground. “No,” he said. Seeing the attention this brought, he lowered his voice to speak to the man. Christian managed to overhear the final words of " – - fucking bolts!"

Christian asked about the sewers to which Campbell shouted to the Red Raven to ask the Jarl about the sewers. He didn’t budge and the party had to inform the Red Raven about the source of heat in the sewers and the southbound trail of gremlin tracks (and their own) from the manhole by the Lusty Goblin. He nodded in gratitude and did an impossible jump from the roof over the wall of the area. The unkindness disbanded, taking advantage of the distracted crowd, disappearing from the garden.

Earl Ragnar laughed at the absurdity of the situation, and upon recognizing the party asked about his son. He took to heart the party’s requests to not fight right now or maybe he had simply heard the screams and shrieks coming from the docks. Tequila was trying to tell the group that she felt it approach… but now, at the gate of the Jarl’s garden, some bird-like mistborn monsters flew out of the fog and start dive bombing and attacking people one even carrying a small child away.

Jarl Albrook could faintly be heard saying, “I told you they were coming!” Taking charge of the situation, Campbell Williams ordered the party to help people at the docks, as he would handle the Jarl and the crowd here, while the Raven followed up on the sewers. Campbell used some of his local sway to get some guards to help people by the water.

The party rushed to the docks and saw that the Fish Market was in an uproar with people running for their lives, trying to get into their homes or away from their homes in a panic. As the party rounded a corner they could see that the fog had moved in considerably, and from the mist’s edge a half-dozen or so serpentine heads from a gargantuan mistborn creature shrieked. A few heads spewed cold mists from their mouths, covering roofs and anywhere else they sprayed with frost. Other heads reached out and chomped down on brave guards and anyone too slow to get away. The monster’s gargantuan body was mostly obscured by the mists and only barely showed its imposing size. It’s chilling screams reverberated through the market streets. The party stood in awe, knowing they would somehow have to do something about this threat before more people could get hurt.

* Notably NPCs *

O’detta Walker - hates “Sunny” for his promiscuity and the bruising of her pride. Has gifted Lance her magical longsword so long as he “promised” to kill Sunny with it.

Greta - most definitely another sister to Gwyn. Has a magical way of making tea that imbues people with courage.

Anatole - looking into the sewers and magical spring situation below town at your request.

Loquar- MIA

Campbell Williams - doing his best to avoid political and economical problems in the city and hired you to help prevent any killing of city officials.

Jarl Johan Albrook - Cowardly, but pleading for people to understand his plight in protecting the city.

Earl Ragnar Lothbrok - Functionally drunk in the morning, ready to kill the Jarl and try his best to remedy the problems of the big city.

Red Raven - gravel voiced, bearded spectacle. He and his “unkindness” held up the meeting between the Earl and Jarl. Able to leap tall walls in a single bound.

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