Lesser of Two Evils

It Begins
And it all begins with the Carnival of Flowers

Circumstances have brought our ‘Heroes’ together in the small village of Trela just as the Carnival of Flowers gets underway.

What better way to start a story than a happy day at the Carnival?

Here is how the characters know each other:

Relationships.jpg

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The Vigil of Vesh
Song

Vigil of Vesh

He was a stalwart Vigil of Vesh
His heart cut in altar stone
His faith was armored in steel
And his word always true

Travel beyond the rainbow my son
Find the secret for the world to protect
Search the treasures of the dead FeyGod
To defend us against Titan’s blood

He was a stalwart Vigil of Vesh
His heart cut in altar stone
His faith was armored in steel
And his word always true

He first came across an elven sword mage
Bearing a blade of lighting and ice
But what’s good a single weapon
For an army to defeat

He was a stalwart Vigil of Vesh
His heart cut in altar stone
His faith was armored in steel
And his word always true

He searched the hoard of a dragon
And fought the ancient Wyrm
What you’re looking for isn’t here
It’s a t the Fountain of Everyouth

He was a stalwart Vigil of Vesh
His heart cut in altar stone
His faith was armored in steel
And his word always true

The Knight traveled to the Fountain
And beheld the Nymph of Everyouth
She gave herself and her secret
Only love is worth fighting for

He was a stalwart Vigil of Vesh
But she turned his heart to gold
Her beauty bended his will
And brought a child into the world

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Carnival Day

Fate has brought all of our Heroes to the small village of Trela on their Carnival of Flowers day.

The results for those that competed in the events of the day were:

Elder Rod Duel:

Book was eliminated in the first round. He proved hard to hit but, alas, could not land a strike himself.

Kay ended up coming in second in the competition… again this year… although there was a fair bit of controversy as ‘someone’ in the crowd kept hitting hit his competition with stones at inopportune (or opportune depending how you looked at it) times.

Bardic Competition:

Kay won in an impressive manner… It left no doubt in anyone’s minds, even last years winner The Bard of Trela. For his win he was presented a travel Harp touched in gold and crafted of fine woods.

Besides the events there was some criminal investigation and arrests… some trumped up charges that didn’t stick… which (sadly for Tungdil aka “Fireheart”) did not result in a brawl either.

As the evenings events were coming to a close and the feasting moved out of doors, Kay had a bloodied Ranger stumble into him. This Ranger turned out to be Content Not Found: Eochad-the-ranger, an old acquaintance of Kay from his days in Lave.

Eochad had a story, he was with a patrol of Vigils of Vesh when they heard of some artifact that the titanspawn had gotten ahold of. They were the closest patrol and were tasked with retrieving it. After ambushing the titanspawn and making off with the Artifact, they were pursued across the Blood Steppes, being picked off one or two at a time until only Eochad was left alive.

Eochad was attacked just outside Trela and, despite being shot with a poison bolt, managed to kill off his attacker.

Eochad asked our Heroes to ensure that the artifact (the Serpent Amphora) was returned to the Vigil of Vesh so that the titanspawn would not get it. Kay promised that he would make the trip to Lave and return the item.

After a ‘discussion’ with Radrann, the local priest of Belsameth, the group retreated to the secret underground lair of Falorin. The party was discussing hiding for the night then possibly getting hire with one of the caravans heading up river in the morning (both adding more protection as well as making a little bit of coin on the way).

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Night of the Rude Lizards
Asaathi come a calling

When we last left our adventurers they were just settling in for the night, taking stock of what they gained (or lost) during the day.
Having decided on a watch order (being a fairly new group, they decided on pairing up the watch as trust has not fully been earned by all) they settled in. However,in the middle of the night the Amphor started rattling and glowing a bright blue… it rolled onto the floor and a image appeared out of it… a terrible visage to behold that Book confirmed was an image of Chardun.
This image gives them a warning ‘Flee Fools! For they are upon you’. Well, our party gathered their wits and grabbed their gear at hand and discussed what they should do… when the door to the hideout was crashed in my a huge Assathi!

A horrendous fight ensued, the Asaathi Warrior and his wizard companion were eventually forced out into the alley, but the alert had been raised when they first broke down the door and reinforcements arrived. The halfling had scurried out his ‘emergency exit’ and scaled a building to fire down on them from the roof… The two dwarves held a front line with the Bard while the sorcerer lobbed magic into the battle.

Sadly, being very distracted with the frontal assault, the party did not notice the flanking motion from the enemy as another warrior and a wizard came in through the back exit (recently used by the Halfling) and accosted the poor Sorcerer. After valiant wrestling match with the Asaathi Warrior who, at over 6’ tall, simply overpowered the sorcerer and wrenched away the Amphor. The Amphor was magically snatched back down the back exit tunnel by the wizard who them called a retreat.

Our Heroes decided not to finish off the badly injured Asaathi but let him escape, leaving a very east trail to follow.

After a quick discussion with the party and the Elders of the Village, the Bard was released from the remainder of his time in the Militia so that the Titanspawn could be tracked and the Amhpora retrieved.

The party travelled though the Blood Steppes tracking the Asaathi party, managing to avoid any major conflicts (some Totems of Mormo did attack but were dispatched rather handily… no thanks to the ‘Sharp-Eyed’ Dwarven Warrior on watch at the time).

The party was able to determine that the Asaathi were met by a small party of Slithern and the merged group traveled on together. This group was eventually tracked to a small camp setup at the base of a waterfall.

Keeping an eye out for the Guards (some patrolling the cave behind the waterfall, some at the top of the waterfalls for vantage), the Heroes scouted then snuck up to the small camp all the while a fierce storm (that the Sorcerer informed the party is NOT a natural storm) quickly bears down on the camp.

Looking for a distraction and to draw some of the Asaathi out of the huts, the party has the Sorcerer magically set one of the hut roofs on fire! As the Asaathi poured from the huts…. we pause our story here :)

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The Raging Storm
Storm

When we last left our hearty adventurers, they had just lit the roof of the Asaathi hut on fire..

The results were as expected… the Asaathi came pouring out of their huts as the rain came pouring from the skies. The fire also had the added effect of working as a signal fire for the Slithern Ratmen guarding the cave as the adventurers found out when they joined the fight.

The raging storm and the spells cast by the Asaathi casters made for very poor visibility (well.. the Bard was blinded so he didn’t notice…) and the fight did not go as well for the party as they had at first hoped.

Suddenly a large (9’) figure appeared in the storm and swooped at the party… the Sorcerer was able to identify it as a Storm Hag, one of the minions of Mormo. She had a friendly message for our party (now besieged from the air as well as being outnumbered more than 2 to 1 on the ground). She told them “Fool servants of the gods! Your end is at hand!”…

Sadly for the Storm Hag… at that moment the clouds burst with a deep purple brilliance and two large scaled creatures with wickedly barbed tails and bearing barbed whips appeared.. their chests seared with the symbol of Chardun. These two late comers gave chase and a fantastic running battle began above.

The results on the ground were just as astounding as the combatants decided they that wanted to be elsewhere.. quickly.

Surveying the area as their foes fled, the Dwarven Battlrager noticed that there was one Slithern at the entrance to the cave with a red robe and another starting to climb the cliff… He thought nothing of this and went back to join the party.

The party decided to check the huts, find the Amphora and leave. As sharper eyed party members came around the hut, they noticed the the red robed Slithern was still standing by the cave and the one that was climbing had a large sack over its back with an Amphora shaped bulge in it…

The party rushed to engage both the robed creature (that identified itself as the Storm of Blood!) whilst those few with missiles tried to knock down the one climbing the cliff… alas, with the rain, the head start it had and the fight they had just been through.. their aim was not what it could be. While the battle raged with the Storm of Blood (who lobbed a nasty, large glob of Acid in the Bards face…. it wasn’t not a good day for the Bard and his eyes it seemed) while the Sorcerer had to run right to the bottom of the cliff, stretch up as far as he could to fire off his magical ball of Chaos… and just managed to hit the climbing Slithern at his utmost range… the hit was good enough to cause the Slithern to lose his grip and Gravity did the rest.

Once all the foes were dispatched, the part checked out the cave and looted the nest of the Storm of Blood and decided to immediately head back to Trela. That first night, while the party camped on the Blood Steepes on their way back they were attacked by some of the remnants of the Titan War… the camp was overrun with zombies and their zombified war dogs…. another brutal fight ensued with the Bard going down first and making a Heroic recovery… only to go down again. The party was eventually victorious and the Bard was not terminally injured… A couple of hours after they had set off in the morning the Halfling was heard muttering “I wonder if Zombies would carry treasure?? Nah… couldn’t have…”

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The Road to Vesh
On the road again

Our adventurers continued on their way back to Trela to catch a barge. The day after the Zombie attack seemed quiet… too quiet. That evening on watch, the Sorcerer was certain that he saw something moving… after alerting the camp, and everyone getting ready and watching, the Halfling also thought he saw something… but.. after about an hour everyone went back to guard/sleep as it seemed a false alarm.

As the group was breaking camp and packing up in the morning, a pack of large Hyenas swarmed out of the bush and attacked the party. These Hyenas were followed by rather large arrows coming from the trees. The Camp had been attacked by a group of Gnoll Beastmasters with their Hyena hunting pack. After a pitched battle in which only one of the gnolls managed to escape, the party gathered what was left of their camp and continued on to Trela.

Just a few hours outside of Trela, the party was met by an escort… Radraan, the Belsamethan cleric of Trela met them with an escort of 6 guards and again tried to convince the party that the Amphora would be much safer if they let him take it off their hands and guard it with the resources that his temple could provide…. and the party, again, refused that idea. Radraan escorted the party back to Trela to help ensure that the Titanspawn did not attack again. On the way back, something was happening… the guards with Radraan were disappearing off their horses! This caused concern to everyone, including Radraan. Nobody was certain what happened… but the party made it back to Trela with Radraan and 6 empty horses…

The party caught the next barge to Vesh and had an uneventful time on the River. Once they disembarked from the barge they travelled cross country with one of the merchant wagons and decided to part ways with them about half-way across Vesh when the merchants had to stop for a couple of days to stock up.

A couple of nights later, the party was assaulted at night! Some humanoids, dressed all in black and seemingly fading in and out of sight attacked the group. This battle drug on for some time as the party put their backs together for defense and slowly whittled down the attackers. There was some speculation amongst the group that these attackers looked rather similar to those guards that disappeared when they were with Radraan before Trela.

Either way, the party has almost crossed Vesh and Lave is only a couple of days away.

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We made it to Lave!
We made it...

Well, the group continued their journey to Lave.

They met a peddler named Misner, Book bought a iron pot from him (haggling the poor trader down…) and they shared a mid-afternoon meal and tales of the road. Once they were finished they parted ways and each continued their journey.

The evening was quiet and the final day to Lave they saw a large dust cloud in the distance… which scared the Halfling into jumping off the moving horse that he shared with Kay . Unfortunately…. Falorin is very stealthy.. and.. Kay never noticed that his horse was riding a bit lighter until about… 20 minutes later. The party stopped, as they could discern that the dust cloud was caused by a number of creatures on road coming towards them. The decided to head back and try and find what happened to Falorin… the party split up with the dwarves heading north and Kay and the Sorcerer heading back the road.

The unfortunate part is… the cloud was a group of riders and from their perspective the party saw them and immediately split up and fled… this led to a pursuit. Once the parties were run down, they found that it was a couple of dozen members of a Vigil patrol. Things were sorted out, stories were told and the Vigil were pressed into duty as an escort back to Lave.

The ride back was quiet, but then a group of almost 30 will scare off most things :) When they reached Lave they road through the city to the Hall of Command of the Vigil and were met by the Majordomo, Trophion.

Storied were again told and the amphora was left with the Vigil. The group was told to come back in the morning after the Vigil had a chance to take a look into things.

The party found an Inn that would trade some basic rooms for entertainment (the combination of a bard and a magic act seemed to sway the Innkeeper).

The next morning, the group returned to the Hall of Command and were given a scroll, The Tale of the Serpent Amphora giving the party and idea of what they may have been carrying around with them.

With Kay’s promise kept to Eochad and the amphora delivered… the group was a lose ends. With no plans, they were told if they were interested there may be some help they could give the Vigil. So, they went across the Hall and met with a Vigil Lieutenant. She told them that they were rather swamped and there were a few things that they could possibly help with… the group being rather unknown in Lave.

With a list of 3 things that needed to all be completed today (of course) the group decided to set out to gather sea shells and clear a cave of a ‘Monster’ that scared off some kids.

Well, the party found the cave… started looking around it, finding some deeper spots of water (usually Tundil finding them) when they also found some large tentacles coming out of the water… with the battle well engaged with two mostly submerged tentacle monsters… another tentacled mostly struck from the ceiling (this last one being a carrion crawler).

Once the battle was over, the party checked the cave area finding a usable shell for the blacksmith as well as what seemed to have been a body dumped in the cave… the body having a magical weapon as well as a holy symbol of Chardun.

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Tasks for the Vigils
More Tasks

When we last left out adventuring party they had just finished trudging through the water, slime and sewage filled cavern…

So, the day started with a quick dip in the river to clear off the mess.

The party returned to the Blacksmith and gave him the shell for his forging, for which he paid a bonus, then headed off to the docks.

Investigating the Customs issue led the group all over the city: the docks, the temples, the palace district, city hall, a customs holding warehouse, the barracks and Art’s Potions and Powders.

The party determined that Art Evendale has a gripe with the Merchant’s League and that he somehow made an arrangement with a guard at the customs warehouse and that Art is the only person in the city with easy access to the necromatic fluid that was discovered on the crate. After having the Halfling open the crate (very carefully) and check inside they determined that the necromatic fluid is only on the outside of the crate.

They took this evidence back to Commerce Adviser Hector and persuaded him to release the contents of the shipment.

Having completed two of the three tasks, they headed to the warehouse that information indicted held the smuggled shipment of lumber.

Discovering that there seemed to be no other entrance into the warehouse (made of fire-resistant wood) other than the two large, metal doors… including checking the roof and the back… Book decided to knock on the door… with his hammer… for about 15 minutes. After nobody coming to answer the door, they discover it is barred from the inside and Book decided to use his hammer to knock the door in… well, it was a mighty swing! and cracked the bar holding the door.

Kicking the door open, they discovered a large, dark warehouse. They also discovered a couple of human guards, a Tiefling assassin? and, up on some catwalks around the perimeter of the warehouse a couple of more Tieflings that loved to throw balls of hellfire and physic snakes… then ducking back down into cover.

The long hard fight did end with one of the Tiefling Hellfire throwers getting away, and during the fight the Sorcerer being on fire and taking physic damage, and the Bard both being on fire and poisoned.

With all three of their assigned tasks completed, the group headed back to the Hall of Command to claim their reward. As they are waiting for the Lieutenant, a Nobleman storms in with a couple of servants in tow, spends 5 minutes in the office yelling at the Lieutenant and then storming back out of the Hall… totally ignoring the party.

The Lieutenant comes out of her office, looks around and sees the group there and beckons them in.

She explains that there seems to be another urgent issue that just arose and she has nobody else she can assign to it immediately. It was reported that an armed group entered the city with a prisoner. The problem was, this group was not the Vigil nor the city guards. A local Nobleman has heard of this and is demanding action, so she needs the group to investigate immediately and take care of things. She does mention that it would be very beneficial if the group could keep some of the suspected kidnappers alive.

So, the group heads off to the Inn called The Three Old Kegs where it is rumored that this group yet. When the group arrives at the Inn they notice someone that looks familiar across the street from the Inn. This turns out to be one of the servants that was with the Nobleman that reported the kidnapping. When approached by one of the party and questioned, this servant says that he was sent here to watch and ensure that The Vigil took care of this problem and did not just ignore it or leave it until it is too late.

Entering the Inn, they do not see anything suspicious in the taproom. Asking around , they find that the Barkeep (a fellow dwarf) would share some information with Book once Book proved that they were there on official business (showing him the writ from The Vigil).

The Barkeep informs the party that there IS a group of mercenaries that have rented room 7 at the end of the corridor on the second level. He identified that the group included Dragonborn, a couple of Humans and what seems to be a Bugbear!

The party noticed a small boy selling flowers around the bar about to head upstairs, they called him over and paid him to go deliver some flowers to Room 7 and then come back and tell him what they said. He accepted their coins and went upstairs… returning after 5 minutes to tell them that a Dragonborn answered the door, and he could see a couple humans and a ‘large guy in a cloak’ in the room behind him. After delivering this information, the boy immediately left the Inn…. something a little strange about that interaction…

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Jobs Done!
Tasks Completed

Well, the party had to get a move on to investigate/rescue this potential kidnap victim… so, not much else to do but have the diplomatic dwarf, Tungdil, knock on the rooms door. Oddly, even knowing that the room was occupied minutes ago, there is no answer (what is it with this city and people not answering when the party knocks politely…).

So, they had the Halfling pick the lock (which he did in an astounding manner) and kicked open the door.

The room did contain a Dragonborn fighter, a Human Mage, a Bugbear (that liked using his hands to strangle the Dwarf) and a Shadar-Kai with a spiked chain.

After a good hearty fight, the party managed to subdue everyone (except that one that the Dwarf finished off in cold-blood) and found the ‘kidnap victim’ in a large chest.

The party also discovered a note to the mercenary group from a Lord Pendrake, instructing them to capture this person and return him as he had information that the Lord wanted.

The party returned them all to the Vigil and claimed their accolades and rewards… AND had a good nights rest as they were fairly run down and running low on resources.

The next day, Tungdil didn’t feel so good. Seems that he had contract Filth Fever from fighting in the sewage strewn cave. So, he sold off the Plate Armor he had been dragging around, gave half of the proceeds to the Halfling (figuring he would just steal it from him later if he didn’t) and found a temple that would cast the Ritual required to rid him of this Disease (for a generous donation of almost 200g). The Ritual was successful but it would take until the next day for all of the effects to clear out.

So with Tungdil laid up in the Temple, the Sorcerer spent the day playing with his puppets and working on his entertainment act while Kay and Falorin went to visit the Temple of Chardun. Upon arriving there, they realize that ‘these are not nice guys’… so to fit in, Kay introduces the Priest to his Halfling Slave.

After doing the Temple the service of telling them of their murdered followed they had found in the cave, and leading them there… the Priest of Chardun agreed that Kay could keep the Holy Symbol for his service.

Returning back to the Inn the group had a rather uneventful rest of the week… Until… a message arrived:

- – - – - – -

My Friends:

Please forgive the suddenness of this message. It is imperative that I speak with you; I have heard of your exploits from a variety of sources, including some of my own vigilants.

A situation has arisen that demands action, but I fear that my vigilants are hampered – quite frankly, they are too well known. We need someone of strength and dedication who is willing to undertake a task of no little danger. Rest assured, I would not seek to use outsiders unless it were absolutely necessary and the task of the utmost importance.

I would ask that you come as quickly as you might to the Hall of Command in the Veshian capitol of Lave. Present yourselves to the Majordomo there, a man named Trophion. Time is of the essence.

I thank you.
With kind regards,
Kelemis Durn,
Home Commander of Vesh

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