Chronicles of the Misfits

Prelude: Tales of an Outsider Volume 1
Yet another Gathering - Angel's Diary.

INTRO

Day 1, Calimport

Arrived to Calimport – and was robbed of most of my valuables upon my first step on this unholy land. My, my – what a lovely town… Such a warm welcome… Speaking of warmness – now I know where I definitely don’t want to live. Anyhow, met the halfling I was instructed to seek. Seems like a typical halfling, just named Nocks. Well, at least he managed to get me sufficient (ahm… yes…) accommodations in a tavern of a friend of his. I am definitely too young… I did actually think that this place was kind of safe… During the night two kid-thieves broke into our room and the map of Tharsult was stolen in the process. About 10 seconds after I have discovered this unfortunate fact, I managed to nail the thought that was eluding me for the last weeks – I think I should have memorized the blasted thing. Too late now. I wonder how good my photographic though-never-noticed-this-far memory is. The answer to that, unfortunately, is predictable. The next day Nocks has retrieved it, albeit in a pretty much devastated state (well, when you get an arrow through an eye, be grateful you’re still alive… or something… seems somewhat morbid proverb… Must be dwarven.). Hopefully, I will manage to find the place even without it. Helped some sick waif-girl, whom Nocks has brought and later returned to her brother. Nocks decided to join me on the journey to Urbeth and later to the north. Now nothing can stop me…

Day 2, Calimport

Along with Nocks, went to find a ship to take us to the island. A curious incident has happened on our way there: it seems that some important wizard arrived to the city in a caravan we met along the way, but right in front of our eyes, after some commotion on the wizard’s side, the caravan turned back and hurried away… These wizards… Anyhow, at the docks, spoke with Kalim, the Dockmaster. He was an old and retired sailor, and seemed to be bored with his current occupation. One would think that he had had enough excitement in his life, but he seemed as if he was on the brink of actually suggesting to join us (yes, boredom does that to me, too). Asked me about my travels, and after I have satisfied his curiosity a bit, he advised us to go to the “Red Dragon” tavern, once we are in Urbeth, and mention him there (possible relatives there… I hope they are close…), and asked us to come back to him and tell about our adventures on the island, once we are back. Well, boredom or no boredom – he knows his stuff. There are two ships bound to Tharsult in the near future: a trading-ship, called “Essie”, which captain’s name is Fred, and a passage-ship, called “Sea Sprite”, led by captain Anonymous. Nocks spoke with the captain of “Sea Sprite” (still anonymous) and told me that there are no free places for us on it (and we cannot afford to kick out any of the already booked passengers). Lacking options, decided to check the “Essie”, which was to set sail on the morrow. After a couple of hours spent in searching for the ship (and getting surprised responses about US looking for IT), we came upon a small and filthy vessel, which was actually named “Tessie” – the first letter of the name just has faded off. We talked to Fred, who has a northern look, and he agreed to take us for a small fee, which I paid both for me and for Nocks, and help in maintaining the ship. The crew consists of: (1) Fred, the captain – a redhead, stocky and lively fellow (2) Ali – a huge negro, about some 8’ and matching mass, who seems dumb-witted, but is probably smarter than he looks or he would have stumbled overboard long ago (3) Abdul, Ali’s brother – little man, nervous and somewhat shady (somehow I doubt they had the same set of parents…) (4) Nafar – reclusive, little-talking and quite unnerving man, of admirable skill with his knives (5) Jusuf, ship’s cook – rarely seen sober, but manages to function properly, nevertheless (though only the First Ones know how) (6) Dev, the currently sick deckboy – an orphan from Calimport, taken in by Fred after the kid tried to pick his pockets. While being shown around the ship, noticed a door in the hind part of the upper deck and some loose floor boards in the hall of the lower deck, under the carpet. Were accommodated in the kitchens, as the crew quarters are full. Nocks checked what was behind the pile of sacks (why aren’t I surprised that this was his first urge?..) in the back part of the kitchen, but it seems that there was nothing but salt and spices. Caught a few hours of sleep before sailing off, which is always good.

Day 3, aboard the “Tessie”, 1st day of sail

Most of the day I have spent on the deck helping Ali and Abdul maintain the ship (well, actually trying to stay out of Ali’s way, who seems to be quite sufficient for doing this task by himself, and ignoring Abdul, who seems to be quite unable to shut his mouth) and following Fred’s orders. During my breaks I have checked upon Dev, who seems to have some kind of fever. I wonder why sailors never have some medicine for that purpose… Some masochistic tendencies inherent to this profession?... I was able to make him feel a little better by means of a certain tea I have managed to brew using the spices in the kitchen, though I am grateful that I have no need to drink it myself. Got friendly with the kid, who seems to be about 13 years of age, though uncharacteristically naïve and trusting (for a Calishite waif, that is). A sad story his is… As a story of each orphan, I guess… I don’t think there is something I can do in his matter, except paying him a little attention while we are on this journey, something no one else seems to be interested in doing. During the talks I had with Fred and the rest of the crew during the meals I have managed to actually learn something – it turns out that Fred used to be a sailor in the North, but had to leave. It seems that it had some connection with the death of his daughter (whose name, by the way, bears this ship) – any tries to inquire into the nature of that occurrence were rebuked, obviously.

Day 4, aboard the “Tessie”, 2nd day of sail

This day was pretty much as the first, except one amusing event closer to the evening. It seems that while I was on the deck working Nocks (the halfling) challenged Jusuf (the drunkard) to a drinking contest… and won, after a several rounds of drinking substances with increasingly foul odor and cheering and encouragements from the rest of the crew. Funny… I wouldn’t have thought the halfling has the same amount of blood in his whole body as the amount of drink he has consumed and stayed sufficiently functional… Anyhow, from absent-minded comments and partial conversations, I have patched some bits of the ship’s history. It seemed that in the times when Fred was a sailor in the North he had some… ahm… differences of opinions with Baldur’s Gate organized crime – differences that turned very ugly and dangerous not only to himself, but also to his close ones (I understand it involved having his daughter be delivered to him in pieces). After that he had to leave to warmer regions quite hastily – and that’s pretty much the time the rest of the crew came into the picture. Regarding their present business the crew members are somewhat vague and elusive – saying that they deal with spices, but something seems not quite right. And the matter of Jusuf’s “disappearances” during the day… Something definitely amiss on this ship.

Day 5, aboard the “Tessie”, 3rd day of sail

Well, my suspicions were correct – if not about the actual truth, at least about the general issue. This ship is a slave-ship and it carries 5 slaves upon it in a room I have not noticed before. After one of my shifts, when I was going down the stairs on my way to the kitchens, I have noticed that Nocks came out from some space under the stairs, which I have not known to be there. Curious, I peeked inside, and seeing no one was there went in. Inside there were two cells in which were held a female elf, a woman, a man and two halflings. While I tried to find out who are they, Jusuf came into the room – but luckily he was drunk (surprise, surprise…), so I have escaped notice. Spoke to Nocks – and it seemed that he has talked to the elf, and she asked him to come later. I have agreed to wait till he has spoken to her and to decide what to do with this all later. In the evening he has gone to talk to the slaves, when there was no one guarding, while I went upstairs to “be seen” – to distract the other crew-members a little from looking after Nocks. Later I have discussed with him what to do – I was not going to let the matters lay as they were, but we were hardly in favorable conditions for a rescue mission. Nevertheless, we have devised a plan for the rescue – to free the slaves the following night, when we will already be in sight of land, to hide them in the safe-boats and later to release them and leave the ship with them. The following day, Nocks were to sneak into the cells and relay the plan to the slaves, while I would be distracting the crew-members again and in the evening we will act.

Day 6, aboard the “Tessie”, 4th day of sail

Well, I was doing what I was supposed to, but I fear I have roused suspicions against me. Nothing definite – at least nothing definite that I have noticed, but something in the air… I think I was being watched. What I did notice is that there is some hidden… enmity would be too harsh a word… but a surprising (at least to me) dislike of Nafar on Fred’s part. They have even started arguing at a time – well, Fred started accusing Nafar of something, until Ali has told him to get a grip – and sent me under deck. I could not refuse, but it seemed that this was a continuation of an old argument. After that the captain stayed closed in his quarters – or so I was told. Anyhow, while downstairs, Nocks had informed me that he has spoken with the slaves and that we will act in the night, on Nock’s shift so that we will have less possible witnesses… Not that it mattered, considering how the events played out. In the evening we have arranged for the rescue attempt, just as we have planned. We had 5 people to get out – the elf cleric Rendue, a pair of former-philanthropists Etto and Heini and two twin halflings – Rosko and Naldon. We had to confine Jusuf to the cells were the slaves were kept – there was no other choice. Well, there was one, but I was reluctant resorting to it – maybe a mistake. Anyhow, as I was going out of the room to make sure the way was clear, Ali and Abdul came out of the kitchens and “invited” me to join them – I had no other choice other than obliging. Doing otherwise would be suspicious – or so I thought at the time. While I was inside, we heard a distinct sound of steps (it appears that Nocks had led the whole bunch of the people all at once instead of one at a time) – disregarding my feeble attempts to pretend as though I have heard nothing, Abdul and Ali leapt out of the room and, before I had the chance to react, locked me inside. The following couple of minutes, accompanied by the sound of ensuing fighting on the other side of the door, I have spent by trying to force the door itself to open. I guess I had to work out more – body mass and all that, but that was just so boring and there were so many more enjoyable things to do instead… I guess the instructor knew what he was talking about… Ah, screw him for a bugger… After some time the lock has creaked and being unable to stop my own momentum, I had fallen into the hallway (and stabbed by Abdul immediately, but never mention that…) – into a quite… ahm… odd situation. There was indeed fighting and it seems that Nocks was just finishing the much mutilated Ali with the help by a Rendue-summoned wolf (glowing in a way reminiscent of the moon (o_O)). Well, I was not going to be left out – and I sprang into battle (well, I had little choice – I had to protect myself). sighs After that came a somewhat prolonged battle, which results were the death of Naldon (by a deft knife from Nafar, who ambushed us at the place were Nocks was supposed to be guarding), Dev being taken with us (I couldn’t leave the kid there… Not that he much wanted to stay…), the rest of the former slaves being able to escape using the boats (well, the plan had worked in that aspect) and me learning that the source of the enmity between Nafar and Fred was Nafar being the one to kill Tessie (now that was indeed a surprise…). As we were outnumbered and outpowered (note to self: never underestimate the power of a good crossbow in the hands of en even better and experienced fighter…), and had the former slaves-to-be to think about, we had to ungracefully leap out of the window and escape – to be scooped by the escapees in the boats. Well, that whole endeavor hasn’t gone as planned… And now I will never find out the details of Fred’s story (it’s not as if I can come to him and apologize – even supposing he managed to stay alive in the somewhat crew-diminished ship)…

Day 7, aboard the safe-boats

Having the land in sight and trying to keep the two boats close by (you know, it seems MUCH easier in theory), we have been taking turns on the oars in taking ourselves toward the island. In the process Rendue tended to our wounds and healed us (albeit she was far from a professional Healer, I am not complaining). Unsurprisingly, Rosko was profoundly upset with the death of his twin – to put it mildly… But I see no other way it could have been played out under the circumstances – we had no way knowing Nafar was waiting for us… sigh He will have to get over it, I guess. Chewing the dry supplies we found in the boats and feeling the lack of drinkable water, I have spent the day wondering about what was waiting for us on the island… And whether it was hungry… Or at the very least edible, as I definitely was starting to feel some nagging in my stomach (or was that that unworthy semblance of fish from yesterday…?).

Day 8, Tharsult

We have arrived to a somewhat cliffy side of the island, made of large boulders, and decided, with Rendue’s guidance that this is the place we should come ashore, despite having to abandon the boats. Beyond the cliff laid a desert – somewhat surprising, considering the size of the island – and the fact that this was indeed an island. After a short debate we decided to move toward the city through and across the desert and not by going along the shore surrounding it. Rosko, who seemed to be in a quite fatalistic and suicidal state of mind, ventured a bit forth, and, as somewhat expectedly, was attacked by a giant poisonous snake. After killing the snake we have discovered that Rosko is in no state to be walking – and might in fact still die, even despite Rendue’s help. She said that if we hurry, she may be able to keep him alive until we reach the city, but it will take all of her attention. As little choice did we have, we continued on our walk. After the moon has gone down, we decided that we could not continue without a little rest, so I and the others went to sleep, with Nocks and Rendue guarding us.

Day 9, Tharsult desert

In the state we were, I doubted we will get to the city at all – never speaking about on time to save Rosko. Rendue was almost delirious herself, never stopping her prayers, Heini was nearly dehydrated, and was pretty much being dragged by her husband, and the rest of us were in no much better state. After several hours, we have came upon a strange-looking halfling, named Laseer, who told us that he would lead us to a nearby caravan, whose people will help us. Thinking about it, I should have known that there was something strange in this (how come there was a caravan in the middle of the desert, when there is only one city on Tharsult?), but at that time my head was not working properly – and besides, could we pass over the possibility that we would actually be given help? Anyhow, we followed Laseer, who did lead us to a caravan. As we came into their midst, they seemed friendly enough and offered water and shelter, but as soon as they had us surrounded, they attacked – though trying not to kill us it seemed. Obvious now – slavers. It’s truly amazing how much more perspective you have after you have seen the events unfold… Nocks and I were the only ones capable for some kind of resistance, even though we were greatly outnumbered, but before we managed to do much, we were hauled skyward by the slavers’ wizard and became a nice shooting practice for their archers. The last I remember I had an arrow hit me in the chest and in the back of the head – after which world had faded.

Day 10-12, Tharsult desert, Urbeth, Shaundakul temple

I woke… I don’t know how much… later, barely remembering who I were, but with a tremendous headache and the arrow still in my chest. I have passed a few wonderful moments pretending it was not an arrow stuck in a worrisome proximity to my heart, but was simply a metronome – the kind that was used to teach me timing… It seemed that it was another day – because it was morning now, and we arrived to the caravan in the afternoon, but I had no idea at that time of how many days have passed and what happened to the rest. At first I thought we was still in the slavers’ hands (Nocks at least was with me in the cart, but I didn’t know about the rest), but then the guard walking beside me told that we were in the custody of Urbeth City Guard, who were called by Laseer, and we are being taken to the city – to be helped. At this point I have lost consciousness again and woke next only in the temple. The rest of these days I have spent mainly in rest and remember little of them – just that the clerics and the priests took us to rooms (me and Nocks were accommodated in the same room) and tended to us. It seems some special effort was invested into Nocks, but then again – maybe I was imagining it. I hope everyone is well, now. At least in the physical aspect…

Day 13, Urbeth, Shaundakul temple

Day 14, Urbeth

Day 15, Urbeth, open sea on the way to the island, island

Day 16, island near Tharsult

Day 17, island near Tharsult

Day 18, island near Tharsult, open sea on the way from the island, Urbeth.

Day 19, Urbeth

Day 20, Urbeth

CONCLUSION

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Adventure continues
Everything that has happened so far in one juicy bundle.

After the events in Tharsult, the three decided to continue adventuring together (for some obscure reason. Must have been lonely… I suppose one could say “it’s complicated”). Rendue chose to remain in Urbeth with Sellion as her significant other. She started a temple of Selune and was quite successful.

Two years later the party was contacted by Sellion, who had an urgent message from Rendue. After drying his cloak he proceeded to tell the party of Rendue’s unnerving discovery: all divination magic has stopped working everywhere in Faerun, as far as she knows. Sellion then told them of an artifact that could help reveal the problem’s source, if not solve it. The party’s mission was to escort Sellion to get this artifact (an ornate box with no way to open it) and take it to everska.

After getting the box the party was attacked by strage creatures led by a man whom they could not clearly see. Sellion died in the fight.

The party woke up in a forest near Hill’s Edge, after what soon bacame clear was quite some time. The box was nowhere to be found. In the search for the box, the party met Riddan – the local elven ranger (who hates elves, by the way), as well as Enilee – a little girl who seemed to have connected with Nocks. They found the box and retrieved it from the local museum. During their stay in the city they also managed to defeat a local gang of bandits, led by Enilee’s father, who managed to kill his own wife before being killed himself. Seeing as the girl remained an orphan, the party took her with them.

Before leaving for Baldur’s Gate, where the party rented him an apartment, Riddan gave the party a letter and directed them to the hill of lost souls, saying he knows someone who can help them get into Evereska.

The party traveled to the hill of lost souls with Enilee. The hill was occupied by smugglers living in tunnels inside the hill and a temple to Kossuth on top of it. On arrival the party was taken to see Nera, leader of the smugglers. They showed her Riddan’s letter and she agreed to be of assistance… For a price.

As the smugglers were mostly smuggling illegal alcoholic beverages into Evereska, and the next journey was only a month from the party’s date of arrival, Nera asked for either enough gold to pay for an extra voyage (which the party did not posess), or Kossuth’s Firewine, which was to be stolen from the temple above.

The smuggler’s camp was actually a part of ancient tunnels running under the hill which had been used as escape tunnels during the battle of the bones. The ghosts were still not at rest, especially now that the Kossuth priests were digging deeper into the hill. A nameless Spirit asked the PCs to kill the one who wipes the ashes, so that Karo would stop tormenting the spirits.

The party soon met Ashio , Karo’s son, and decided (though Angel disagreed) to free him from his father’s dictatorship.

After a thorouly planned infiltration into the Kossuth temple and the death and quite possible torture of at least one priest, the party was captured and brought before Karo, the head of the temple. They had to undergo trials by fire, after which each was scarred in a different way (Angel in his hands, Gulthar in his face, and Nocks – in ways unseen under his halfling disguise). They met old Soot, the temple’s oracle, and confronted him about the divination crisis, to which he, of course, would not admit. The party then asked Karo to free his son, and reluctantly he agreed.

When the party returned to the smuggler’s camp, they were informed that a phaerimm strike force had been closing in on the camp, probably attracted to the magic of the box. The party was forced to help in the battle, being the ones responsible for bringing the phaerimm. During the battle the smugglers suffered heavy losses, despite the help from the spirits under the hill and the kossuthian priests (in the heat of battle Ashio got closure as he fought side by side with his father, in a way). The battle had been won, but at a heavy cost. Fearing that the phaerimm would call reinforcements, the smugglers left their camp and set off for a long journey underground to evereska. The party joined them.

After a long journey, the refugees arrived at a cavern in with a secret entrance into The Vale of Evereska.

Evereska itself was recovering from a Phaerimm attack, which took place six months previously. The Watcher Over The Hills, Erlan Duirsar was slain in that attack, while leading an army, and for the first time, the title of Watcher did not pass on to the oldest elf in the vale, but to his young but gifted son Ulan Duirsar. Such an extreme measure was a means of emergency during times of war, since Ulan was a strategist and a millitary commander, while the elder Zarien, greatly dismayed by this decision, a mage and a politician. In the aftermath of the attack, the weakened Evereska became very suspicious of outsiders (specifically non-elves). In addition, the Phaerimm had damaged the Mythal, which was now causing spells to falter and a thin mist to stretch over the vale.

to be continued

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Session #17
Crossing the Cloud Peaks

After finally finding a guide to take them through the mountains, the party was set to begin the long journey. They soon found their guide Grippa to be a man of actions and few words (although Ashio may have preffered him to be entirely silent). As they journeyed towards the looming peaks to the south, Grippa approached each party member and asked about their abilities and experience. When they camped that evening, he put their claims to the test and proceeded to explain proper stances for better balance and other tips for staying alive. It seemed though, that Ashio was little impressed by Grippa’s foreboding mood and constant warnings of danger, and it soon became evident that the two were not getting along. After a quarrel in which Grippa ended up insulting Akadi, the boy walked away and perched himself on top of the nearest tree.

The journey continued with dawn, and the terrain was soon getting more ragged. Ashio was still elated and full of excitement about the high winds on the peaks. Grippa explained that the horses would have to be set free because the passage on horseback would be impossible, but there was no need for such action – the mountain troll they soon encountered frightened the horses enough to get the message. Several discoveries were made that battle: The party discovered that Grippa has some tricks up his sleeve, or rather, in his Axe, Angel discovered that psionically switching places with a gravely inhured Gulthar while floating 2 meters above ground might cause Gulthar to fall, and Nocks discovered tha Ang can move to protect him even without his touch. The troll was finally defeated as Angel burned it’s face with acid, and the party moved on before it regenerates.

Now journeying on foot, they soon understood why the horses had to be set free. The mountains were getting steeper, and before long, Grippa fastened ropes around them and the vertical climb began. They climbed for hours, up and up, seeing the avalanche below them getting smaller until the wagon wheels sticking out of the snow seemed insignificant at best. Ashio’s excitement finally proved dangerous, when he decided to swing on his rope while resting and nearly sent Angel and Nocks toppling down. The experience, and Gulthar’s lack of reaction (and maybe the lack of oxygen) made something snap in Angel, and he threatened to untie himself if Ashio was’t careful and if the party doesn’t work together.

Having finally reached a ledge, the party camped in a small nook semi-sheltered from the winds. Gulthar and Ashio finally talked, with Angel’s prodding. Grippa mentioned that he had noticed Nocks’ unusual behavior, and he doesn’t care. The nights rest was interrupted by another mountain troll attack, this time the beast was injured by men’s weapons and had a torn harness. The party managed to push it over the ledge only then realising that Nocks was still tied to it with his whip. Nocks managed a shadow jump at the last moment, and retrieved Gulthar’s sword from the trolls head too.

That morning, as they continued the journey, Grippa informed the party that they will be passing closer to the Twin Towers of The Eclipse than he had planned, but that he knows of a secluded passage that should lead them away from the ongoing feud between banites and cyricists. The passage was narrow and shielded from the winds on both sides. It soon became evident that the battle spread wider than they had thought. A small horde of undead was advancing toward the party, a sickening green glowing mist surrounding them. With little time to plan a strategy, the party prepared for battle. As Nocks went ahead and began slashing ankles and Grippa took out his axes, Gulthar attempted to turn undead but failed. That was when they saw that the zombies weren’t the real problem. An undead stone giant was slowly getting closer into the passage. Gulthar tried to turn undead again, as the zombies were all around him now. The battle stopped abruptly, and the remaining zombies all tuned to face Gulthar with milky white eyes, unmoving. A few moments passed, the zombies, some of them in tattered robes, kept staring at a very confused Gulthar. “I think they’re waiting for something… Maybe try giving them a command”. Someone said. Gulthar raised his hand uncertainly and quietly spoke: “Attack the Giant”. The undead obeyed immediately, shuffling towards the huge mass ahead, which was by now being shot at by Angel and climbed on by Nocks, neither doing a lot of damage.

The now obedient zombies, with the help of the party and Grippa, were able to defeat the giant by shear numbers, slowly tearing him to pieces. Gulthar, looking surprisingly calm, kept giving them directions even when the giant was clearly dead, and the party was asking him to stop.

to be continued

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Session #18
Crossing the Cloud Peaks - part 2

will fill this in when I can…

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Session #19
Entering Amn: Losing a friend, gaining an ally...

The party looked down into the chasm as the remains of the falling tower echoed down below. Wounded, shocked and tired, they had to make haste and leave the scene. Up above they could hear the giants chanting of their victory and the freed souls of their brothers. As they fled, they could hear the remaining clerics behind them, probably just beginning to realize what had happened.

They traveled for the rest of the day until the snow began to get thinner, and the earth began to show underneath it. After a brief rest under a lone tree, they made their way to a cave nearby and made camp there. Gulthar and Angel stayed up talking about what had happened, while Ashio seemed distant and quickly lay down to sleep, although his breathing wasn’t calm and even until much much later.

After another full day of travel they arrived at the bridge crossing a large river, and the gates of Crimmor beyond it. These were the borders of Amn. The outpost probably hadn’t seen any traffic in a while, and the sleepy guards were rather surprised at the party’s arrival from the mountains. However, after a brief questioning and some hushed conversation, the party was permitted to enter.

They arrived at Crimmor that evening, perhaps relieved to see civilization and feel warm air after the silent cold mountaintops, and chose to stay at a rather expensive inn.

The sound of conversation filled the common room, even at this time, deals were struck left and right, some in mild tones, some excited, the presence of people accented by the absence of a bard and an empty stage. The party discussed their “cover” story over dinner with Grippa, now trusted enough to know that the purpose of their visit is less than ordinary. As the evening turned into night, Grippa announced that he was leaving for Athkatla in the morning.

One of the young waiters then approached Angel and offered his services as a guide around town. He seemed excited to talk to Angel for some reason, and he was getting excited glances from his friends at the bar. Angel accepted the offer and told him to come back the following morning.

Before going upstairs to the rooms, Ashio asked to have a word with Grippa, which seemed to have had some effect on him, as he gave him nothing but cold glances after that, in addition to being distant and preoccupied.

In the morning Grippa set off on his way, followed by hearty goodbyes. Following Grippa’s advice from the previous evening, Gulthar went to visit the local temple of Kelemvor. Angel met Ashram the waiter/guide outside his room and together they went to explore the local markets. Nocks joined them at first, but they soon got separated as Nocks decided to do some exploration of his own.

Angel’s trip to the markets with Ashram led to a discovery and an unexpected purchase. It seemed he was receiving special treatment from pretty much everyone he met in Amn. People in the streets would stop and whisper, merchants would take out their finest wares and offer them at good prices. Out of curiosity, he began to haggle with a trader about the price of a statuette, and in the process discovered that his, and in fact the entire party’s coming had been forseen by the local diviners, who seemed to be well respected in these parts. Having found this interesting piece of information, Angel requested that the statuette be delivered to the inn in which the party had been staying, and after a brief rest, made his way back to the inn, where Gulthar was having his lunch after coming back from the temple.

As he sat down to eat next to his companion, slightly distracted and without even a word of greeting, something happened within Angel’s mind. His gaze turned blank and unfocused for longer than the usual few seconds. Gulthar, sitting across from him, stopped eating, with a large chicken leg still in his hand. As Angel’s eyes began to change color rapidly, his face contorted as if in spasm into an expression of horror and pain, and he almost collapsed on the counter breathing heavily, catching himself just in time, but still spilling his drink and shattering the glass on the floor. Gulthar rushed to his aid, finally dropping the chicken leg, but Angel was faster – he jumped to his feet and edged backwards, knocking over his chair, extending his arms in front of him to push Gulthar away. Turning around, looking almost frightened he said, loud enough to turn the heads of the few patrons sitting in the room: “I do not want to talk to you right now”. With that he left the room in a hurry, bumping into a few tables on his way out.

Gulthar understood that Angel’s denied memories must have finally snapped into place. He ran out of the tavern and after Angel, who was walking misty-eyed, as if asleep, bumping into passers-by with no apology. Gulthar shouted his friends name as he tried to catch up with him on the busy streets of Crimmor. But Angel did not answer, nor did he turn around. When Gulthar finally came close, avoiding an encounter with a very angered fat lady whose basket’s contents had just spilt all over the road, Angel turned around briskly and started walking backwards again. “I can’t be around you now. You’re an abomination! Leave me be”. But Gulthar persisted and reached out to get hold of Angel’s cloak. “Stay away!” the words were accompanied with Angel’s sword pointed towards Gulthar’s throat.

Knowing nothing of the commotion now beginning to take place several blocks away, Nocks was determined to understand the mysterious taboos of the local populace. Namely, their discomfort at the mention of magic (of which Grippa tried to explain to him as he told them the ‘lay of the land’ before they entered Crimmor). Seeing as, in his eyes, everything was somehow connecetd to magic, and the mention of magic was somehow unwelcome, it puzzled him how these people could talk to each other at all without being discomforted out of their wits. However, he soon discovered that in Amn, asking direct questions more oftrn than not, leads to direct actions. The owner of the third store he entered seemed to have less patience than the others (and more customers waiting) and after a short circular argument he promptly called the guards. Several minutes later, An innocent looking Nocks was taken outside by 5 burly guards, who accused him of “Disruption of Business”.

Now, another thing Nocks did not know about Amn (though he learned quickly), was just how seriously it takes its’ ‘business’, and naturally, its’ disruption. He continued innocently asking the annoyed guards question after question. At first, the guards were resigned to take the ‘halfling’ to the guard station and throw him in prison (for to them he was either drunk or bespelled or just a half-wit or ill – all of which demanded that he be put away), but then one of them whispered something to another with an alarmed expression. After a brief hushed discussion among themselves, the course of action was changed, and Nocks was (so they told him) to be taken back to the inn in which he was staying with his companions, to be held there until they arrive. upon (more) questioning, one of the guards finally gave in and slowly (as if speaking to a slow child) explained to Nocks that his arrival was forseen by the diviners of Amn, who gave the directive to honor the visitors, but also be wary of them. Him not being thrown in a cell or worse was a result of the “honor” part.

But being as yet inexperienced in the various shapes and sizes of honor, he refused their offer of ‘escorting’ him to the inn, calmly stating he didn’t want to go there at the moment. After a brief argument, in which Nocks, yet again, tried to understand the taboos of Amn, the guards decided they had no choice but to revert to their original plan and take him to the prison, answering his questions with annoyed silence and rolling their eyes the entire way.

Just a few blocks away, a small crowd was gathering to watch as a very frustrated Gulthar was trying to defend himself from Angel’s sword, if possible without hurting him. Having insised on following him and trying to explain himself despite Angel’s threats – he had finally provoked an open attack. Once again, however, our heroes were not familiarized enough with Amn’s strict approach to such business disrupting activities. or perhaps they were, but Angel’s mind seemed as far away as it could be from the patrolling guards running towards him when the rope tightened around his ankles.

The pair was carelesly thrown into the back of a carriage, where they experienced a very bumpy ride, full of heavy silence. Gulthar’s desperate attempts for communication with Angel were met with complete obliviousness to his existence.

Meanwhile, Nocks and his ‘escort’ arrived at their destination. Before throwing him into his cell, and especially after his questionable (by Amnian standards) interest in magic, a routine magic detection spell was cast by one of the officers, to reveal any ‘unlisenced’ magic he might be carrying. The room filled with a brilliant violet light so bright some of the guards let out screams. In light of the special circumstances (literally), a command was given to strip Nocks of his belongings. When he realized what they were about to do, using their momentary blindness, he freed himself and shadow jumped to the nearest hiding place, not before slicing open the bag held by the guards containing his gloves. Unfortunately for him, As soon as he teleported, another guard pulled a wand, cuffing both his hands and legs. Finally, with three guards holding the now bound (and writhing in ways only he could) Nocks, they took off his ring, revealing his true form. Shocked, they dropped him to the floor, and began kicking the thing.

At this point, Angel and Gulthar, who were held in a cell nearby, finally put their problems aside and saw the scene of the helpless flesh golem, lying crippled on the floor, with three guards kicking him. Finding no other alternative, Angel quickly used his own teleportation abilities, and switched his body with Nocks’. No sooner than the transfer was complete, A boot cracked Angel’s ribs, and another one hit his head, throwing him into unconsciousness.

A few seconds later, three mages wearing grey robes with cowles covering their entire bodies entered the room, while already in the process of casting an antimagic field. This, of course, completely and utterly immobilized Nocks. With no more then a second glance at the mass of tiny corpses lying, now no longer cuffed, on the floor. One of the mages threw a torch at him, saying “Sweep the remains after it burns down. I wish to study it”.

The sickening smell of burning flesh filled the room. Gulthar, still lying bound in the same cell with Nocks, helplessly watched his companion scream in what probably was his first, and last, true understanding of pain and agony. In the last moments before he passed out, Gulthar saw the guards sweep Nocks’ charred remains, and carry them from the room.

To Be Continued

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Sessions 20-27
Summery of events from Escape from Spellhold up to The Temple of In Between

Spellhold

  • After witnessing Nocks’ horrible death, Angel and Gulthar are incapacitated and taken by ship to Spellhold.
  • During the first month of their imprisonment the two hardly speak, with Angel meditating and Gulthar not knowing how to regain his trust.
  • New developments are set in motion with the arrival of a new inmate -Dima. A rather flambouyant and confident young wizard, who seems determined to break out of Spellhold.
  • After an incident in the courtyard in which Gulthar turned into his undead side and tore apart a half Orc prisoner, Gulthar was taken away for several days, then brought back. This continued every few days.
  • Dima makes contact with both Angel and Gulthar, and made them realized that in order to escape they needed to work together.
  • One night in the courtyard Angel and Gulthar finally try to talk things out. Angel would not listen to Gulthar’s desperate attempts to apologise, and finally Gulthar, unable to control his rage and frustration, severely beat Angel up. After a night long argument, Angel finally agreed to trust Gulthar again, on the condition that at the first sign of Gulthar turning to his old ways, he is to submit himself to Angel for execution.
  • Having resolved their differences (of sorts) Gulthar, Angel and Dima begin to work on a plan of escape.
  • During this time Angel’s conversations with Thomas get more and more frequent.
  • Thomas helps Angel plant a contingency in Gulthar’s mind to help him remember what happens when he is taken.
  • Dima prepares explosives from some herbs in the courtyard.
  • Angel and Dima manage to infiltrate the second circle – where the most dangerous inmates are held.
  • After attempting escape, Dima and Angel find themselves in isolation, where Angel discovers that Thomas is in a cell nearby.
  • Angel convinces Thomas to join them.
  • After breaking out of the third circle, the three, dressed like guards, find Gulthar.
  • The three manage to leave the anti-magic zone, and a final battle against the cowled wizard’s ensues, during which they witness Dima’s power.
  • In the last minute Gulthar stays behind to fight a devil minion of the wizards, and the party is forced to continue without him.

Athkatla

  • Dima, Angel and Thomas arrive at Dima’s apartment in Athkatla via teleport.
  • After some much needed R&R, Dima offers his help in finding and resurrecting Nocks. Angel agrees.
  • The three begin searching for Nocks’ body via various contacts.
  • After breaking into the archives of the Cowled Wizards, Dima finds that the entry containing the location of Nocks’ body has been magically hidden.
  • The party finds the master of the archives and Thomas charms him into revealing the hidden entries. They discover two possible places the Golem can be: Lord Whitestone’s house, or the tower of Famar Whitestone. The party decides to try the tower first.
  • The party does not find the body in the wizard’s tower, but instead helps the wizard fight a Devil, and discovers Famar’s interest in Golems.
  • The party continues to search in Iamar’s mansion. Thomas reveals his true identity as a rich lord from Waterdeep. This helps the party to pose as a delegation escorting Thomas to make a deal with Iamar.
  • While Thomas and Iamar haggle, the party finds Nocks’ body serving as a personal servant to Imar’s handicapped son.
  • The party takes two days to plan the next move, during which Dima finds a way to contact the Shadow Thieves and ask them for help in locating Nocks’ essence, stored in his bracelet. Angel then makes a deal with the shadow thieves and is branded as one who owes them a favour, to be collected at a future time. He is then told of the location of the Bracelet- a secret Cowled Wizards vault, to which it will be taken by ship. The only opportunity to get it would be to intercept the ship at the hidden dock.
  • The party plans and executes a masterful operation to steal Nocks’ body, during which the handicapped boy dies, and Famar is framed for the theft.
  • The party hurriedly leaves the city and heads towards the hidden dock. The ride takes several days, with aid from Dima’s magic horses.

Acquiring the Bracelet

  • The party successfully intercepts the ship, a battle takes place during which the ship is destroyed, the bracelet is recovered and Angel finds his ring on one of the Wizards.
  • During the battle, everyone is temporarily taken to the shadow plane due to a botched teleport spell cast by one of the wizards in an attempt to escape.
  • The party witnesses an entity which they later discover to be Nocks. The entity helps the party in the battle.
  • In the aftermath of the battle, Thomas sees Angel’s ring and is shocked by the fact that he had been able to find one of the stones. He tells Angel about the Outcasts of Erehwon.
  • Having acquired all the necessary parts, Dima proceeds to teleport the party to The Temple of In Between – a place that exists between the plane of shadow and the material plane.

The Temple of In Between

  • The party meets priests that explain the ritual of Nocks’ resurrection.
  • During the ritual, Angel ventures into the shadow plane to speak to Nocks and convinces him to return.
  • As Angel and Nocks return to the material plane, they arrive in the midst of a battle between Dima, the priests and unknown invaders. Dima seems to be taking the side of the attackers.
  • During the battle all the priests are killed, but one of them manages to give Angel a teleport scroll.
  • Nocks kills Dima, and the party teleports out.
  • The party arrives at the very spot where they woke up near Hill’s Edge, several months ago.
  • Nocks discovers that he is finally able to feel, and collapses in tears mixed with hysterical laughter.
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Session 28
Aftermath and discovery.

Wounded and exhausted from battle, Angel, Nocks and Thomas found themselves in the darkness and quiet of the night forest. Nocks identified the place as the Reaching Woods, just south of Hill’s edge. After a brief rest and some recap of the recent events, it was decided to stay on the move, and the party continued on towards Hill’s Edge.

On the way to town, the party found Riddan’s old cabin and spent the rest of the night in it.

The party arrived at Hill’s Edge near noon, and was greeted by the smell of blood and rotting corpses. Most of the bodies did not belong to the townsfolk (although the few remaining citizens were also dead). There were signs of a battle, but no sign of the attackers.

Having investigated the site, Nocks recognized one of the fallen as a harper agent under Yan’s command.

At this point Nocks stepped into the shadow of a nearby tree, and discovered that while remaining in the shadows, he has the ability to see into the shadow plane, and even reach into it freely. With his newfound double sight, Nocks saw more bodies – this time of the attackers. The second part of his discovery was the feeling of being watched.

Overcome by fear, Nocks panicked and ran. After much convincing, Angel restrained Nocks and Thomas entered his mind, in order to help and teach him to deal with his fears. With Thomas’ help, Nocks reached into the shadow plane and unmasked one of the attackers. he was of the race as the strange priests and the betrayers they had just fought the other night.

Realizing that the location was unsafe, the party returned to Riddan’s cabin, and discussed their next move. Their decision was to contact Yan Galaway and tell him of his lost men. At the mention of Yan’s name, Thomas’ face lit up with recognition, and he proceeded to tell that he had known Yan as a child in Waterdeep, as well as his father. Thomas then contacted Yan via telepathy.

The party decided that the only thing to do was to continue on their mission and find the fastest way back to Amn. They travelled on foot to Scornubel, resupplied and continued on a barge to Berdusk.

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