Terra Incognita

Autumn, the year 525 After the Fall
Return to Eladaria

Our friends return to the Abbess and present to her the sword of her fallen brother. Unable to accept his betrayal, she believes that the warrior slain in the temple must be some other doppelganger and her brother must have been killed elsewhere in his quest. The adventurers are unable to convince her of the truth, and leave her to remember him as she chooses. She does send them off with a letter that confirms the party did find proof of his fate. Our party leaves to return to the eladrin city several weeks after setting out.

On the way, the party is hunted down by a troop of cultists eager to exact revenge for the death of their leader. Instead, the cultists meet their own end and our party continues on. They are paid handsomely for their efforts, and they use their gain to find room and board for the night. On the morrow, they will venture off to meet with the queen.

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Summer, part 3
Betrayals A-Plenty

Quickly, our party dashes inside the temple and close the doors behind them. To their surprise, the doors seal themselves shut magically. Their relief is short-lived however, as the temple guards attack and then it’s a fight to the death. As they battle the guards, they notice a paladin kneeling at a brazier at the far end of the temple. The paladin is not restrained, but he rises neither to assist the guards nor his would be rescuers.

The last of the guards slain, our party approach the paladin, and only then does he face them and identify himself as Jaryn, Champion of Naraash. Stunned, our heroes listen as he describes his betrayal of the Order of Light and conversion to the Hand of Naraash. He then challenges any of the party to combat to replace him as Champion.

None of the party seem to be interested in holding the title, so they attack in force. They finish him off quickly, but just as his body slumps to the ground a great demon appears before them. “I am Naraash!”, he proclaims. “Which of you is worthy to be my champion?” Rather than accept, our heroes choose to fight.

Before long though, the demon’s influence is too much for Hragnar. “I will be your Champion” he tells the demon. “Good,” Naraash says, “then kill all of these unworthy.” Together, Naraash and Hragnar begin to attack together. Horrified by their leader’s betrayal, our party fight on, eventually slaying both Naraash and Hragnar. Few tears are shed though as the team rifle through his belongings for the best of his equipment.

Soon after Naraash is slain, the fire in the brazier begins to flicker and die. The magical seal on the temple doors begins to break, and our party panics remembering the mob of cultists outside. Thankfully, a secret door is discovered and they run in just as the mob bursts through the doors. The group runs along narrow passageway, but amazingly they are not followed. The passage empties into a natural cavern which they follow through to the other side of the mountain. From one of the other tunnels emerges a halfling who was lost in the caves. Once outside, he promises to lead them back to civilization.

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Summer, continued
Knights Errant

After an uneventful journey (if you don’t count a failed ambush by some hapless bandits), our party reaches the small village of Okanda and find it swollen with refugees. Before they can find out what is going on, a band of cultists descends on the village and begin attacking the refugees. Our heroes finish the cultists off just before some armed monks arrive to assist. Their leader introduces herself as Quenti, Abbess of the Order of Light. These devotees to Pelor have been fighting off death squads from some cult of Bane called, “The Hand of Naraash.” Her brother, the paladin Jaryn, has taken a small band of monks to seek out and kill the leader of the cult in the hope that this will end the attacks. Her brother has been gone several months, and she fears the worst.

Already suspecting that this job will require more than a week, our adventurers start out looking for the lost paladin’s trail. In each village they come to, the party question the locals who seem mistrustful and unwilling to help. After some enhanced interrogation techniques, our party finally gets the information they need to find the Black March, the path that will take them to the Temple of Naraash.

One night as they rest in a ruined manor house, an injured paladin stumbles into their camp. Our heroes attempt to aid the paladin, but the paladin attacks them and and then leads them into an ambush. Several attackers fall on them, each wearing the appearance of the missing paladin. The group kills most of the doppelgangers, but one manages to slip away.

The next day, our adventurers find the Black March and then march they do, along the way playing hide and seek with a patrol of hobgoblins and a game of fetch with their hounds. Finally they arrive at the temple only to find an army of cultists camped outside. Ingeniously, our party disguise themselves as new recruits, and walk through the camp and up the stairs to the temple. As they reach the temple doors, the escaped assassin arrives in camp to warn the cultists that his mission failed. Seeing our heroes on the temple steps, he identifies them as the mercenaries hired by the Order of Light.

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Summer, the year 525 After the Fall
A Long Strange Journey

In an eventful summer, our party met a travelling halfling peddler, Toliver (and his faithful employee Merp), fought off and then killed a ship of pirates, returned a repentant pirate to his family, danced with Satyrs, and at long last reached the eladrin city, Eladaria. After a night of debauchery, our freshly scrubbed adventurers (their ranks bolstered with some new recruits) met with the Captain of the Queen’s Guard, Stannis. Though doubting that the Queen would grant them assistance, he told the party to return in a week and in the meantime he would try to convince her to grant them an audience.

Finding themselves with a week to kill, our heroes decided to hire themselves out as mercenaries. The olive-skinned mercenary captain, Pucara, had the perfect job for them. He promised them it should only take a week. A religious order in a nearby village needed some help finding a missing paladin. Our band of misfits agreed to take the job.

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Spring, continued.
Hic Sunt Dracones

Our party sails on and find a dwarven mining camp. The miners have disturbed a dragon’s lair, and need our adventurer’s help. A price is set, and the party courageously confront the dragon.

The dragon slain, a dispute arises between the party and the dwarves over the dragon’s hoard. Naturally, our party believes that the spoils belong to the victors, but the dwarves see things differently. Though confident in their ability to prevail in battle, our party is wary of angering the dwarves’ master, the eladrin queen. A compromise is struck, and each adventurer is allowed to take away 2 items from the stash to keep, in addition to the payment already agreed upon.

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Spring, continued.
A New Boat!

Our party sails north, to round the tip of the island and head west toward the cities that Golenits has told them about. Along the way, they spot a beached longboat and decide to investigate. With reckless abandon, they steer their ship toward the beach and land with a terrible crash. They disembark and find the bodies of slain Norsemen among many bodies of a strange race of rat men. Finding a viking still clinging to life, they learn from him that news of this new land has spread through Europe, even far to the north. They had sailed for the new lands seeking fortune and glory but had been overwhelmed by the rat men in their great numbers.

Suddenly, the rat men return to investigate the commotion on the beach. They descend on our party who scramble to defend themselves. Snorri, healed as if by magic, rises to aid in the fight along with another viking, Leif, who they discover is not quite dead yet.

After killing the rat men, our party strips the carrack of its valuables, and then heave it back into the ocean. Once adrift, they set it afire, only to see it sink before it can burn. It settles into the sand, a mast still visible to mark its final resting place.

Our party of exterminators head into the woods seeking out the rats’ burrow. There they find the rats’ chieftess and what remains of the burrow defenses. They finish the burrow off easily enough and pause to rest.

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Spring, continued.

After slaying a harpy and her fairy dragon allies, our party return to harass the Venetians and deliver a message. The message received, the Venetians march to the Winter Camp to parlay. They tell the party that the only option is complete surrender and that they have 24 hours to comply.

That night, the adventurers leave camp and sneak toward shore. On the way, they are attacked by carnivorous plants and blood-sucking moths. An evil being in the form of a raven takes advantage of the situation and joins the fight against our party. In the end, the adventures are victorious and even kill the raven as he attempts to escape.

Continuing on, the party splits into two groups and one group swims out to a lightly guarded ship. They take the small crew by surprise and capture the ship, sailing on to meet the other group at the rendezvous point.

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Spring, the year 525 After the Fall
Spring, the year 525 After the Fall

As the Captain falls to the sand, his men rush at our party. Hragnar shouts to the others to make for home and the palisade, as he holds some of the Venetians on the beach. He slays two attackers before being captured. The rest of the party beat the Venetians back to the camp and fight them off, freeing Hragnar in the process.

As they work to reinforce their wall, a visitor approaches. Golentis, a young elf wizard comes seeking adventure and offering friendship. They gladly accept him, and make plans to cause mischief in the Venetian camp. That night, Hragnar sets off alone to swim to the ships. The rest of the party attempt to create a diversion by stealing supplies and setting fires to some of the tents.

When they arrive, they find the Venetians preoccupied with fighting the fish men. They make off with few supplies, but spend little time interfering with the battle already in progress. Hragnar makes full use of the chaos, and sets fire to two of the ships anchored in the bay.

As the party returns to their camp, they find that a small platoon of Venetian soldiers has set up an ambush for them. Ever perceptive, our heroes get the jump on the soldiers and attack first. They defeat the soldiers (with much help from their new elven friend) capture their horses.

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Winter, the year 524 After the Fall
Winter, the year 524 After the Fall

Having made it most of the way through winter, our party leaves the safety of their palisade to replenish their firewood. While at their task, they notice a column of smoke or steam rising periodically in the distance to the West. They decide to return home with their timber and investigate the strange cloud the following day. However, as they approach their camp they notice that smoke rises in that direction as well.

They find their gate smashed-in and their camp ransacked. Two of their comrades lie slain in the dirt, and a third is unconscious in the burning smoke house. They pull him to safety and he is able to tell them that the attackers rode great wolves and had blue skin before he passes out once again. Finding most of their rations stolen and their pet fox missing, they resolve to ride after the raiders in the morning.

They embark the next day, and following the raider’s trail encounter one of the blue goblins seemingly trapped under a fallen tree. Our adventurers suspect trickery however, and are able to foil an ambush gaining the upper hand in the process. After vanquishing three raiders and their dire wolf mounts, our party pauses to recuperate. Suddenly and as if conjured by some evil magic, a blizzard forms and presses the weary band forward.

The storm deposits the travelers at the feet of a Frost Goblin Hexer and her many minions. At first, the battle favors the goblins, but our troops rally and win the day. In addition to their stolen food, they find a cache of weapons and armor of elven craftsmanship. Exhilarated with their victory, they load their captive with the spoils and march her back to camp, forgetting all about the fate of their poor defenseless fox who for all they know is still shivering in his cage hidden among the corpses of the dead goblins.

A few days later, some of the party venture to the beach where they see ten huge ships anchored off shore. On the beach, a great throng of people are busy unloading boats with enough supplies to begin a colony. Our party watch stunned as Captain Fransisco disembarks from one of the boats and claims the island for Venice naming it Nuovo Veneto.

Spotting the on-lookers, the captain runs to them. “I’ve returned!” he says magnanimously “I’ve fulfilled my promise!”

“Yes,” says Hragnar, “welcome back to New Scandinavia.” The Captain gives a cavalier smile and says, “Maybe history will remember it once being named that.” Remembering his duty to supervise the unloading, the Captain turns to head back to the boats. Hagnar takes the opportunity to sink an ax into his skull.

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Autumn, the year 524 After the Fall
Autumn, the year 524 After the Fall

After gathering nearly all the provisions needed for the winter, the castaways visit the gnomes to see them off to their winter home. The gnome chief bestows gifts upon the party, and wishes them all the best. Though winter in the North will be harsh, the gnome warns the party not to travel too far or trespass on the elven lands to the South as they are fiercely guarded.

Despite the chief’s warning, the party decides to head south and extend a hand to the elves. On their way, they are distracted by a golden fox which leads them to a mysterious door in the woods. On the other side, they battle a mad naturalist but fail to steal any jewels from his insectivorous carbuncles. They do manage to capture the fox and continue on their way.

Their attempts at diplomacy are rebuffed by guards at the border of the elven forests. Refusing to permit the group to travel any further south, the elves demand that the humans return to their encampment in the north and leave as soon as their ship returns in the spring. They forbid the humans to build a permanent settlement and threaten hostilities if they do. Hragnar tries to to reason that given the coming flood of settlers, diplomacy is essential. The Elven guards are unmoved.

Our adventurers return to their stronghold in the north and that night the first heavy snow of the season falls.

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