Keep on the borderlands
The party build a town

Sailing away from Sally Sharkguts and deals made the party arrived at a small costal village, from here the party would travel on by land as Zanthon’s ship returned to Sanuus (With news of storm raiders). The area the party moved through was known bandit/raider territory and soon enough they did encounter a potentially hostile group. Setting up an ambush of their own Thia cast a fireball that (somewhat horrifically) dealt with eight out of ten bandits. Of the remaining two, one armoured individual was swiftly dealt with. The other man (Who the party initially took for a mage seeing that he was unarmored) survived a new spell and a double impalement before asking for them to stop “call it a draw”. The man Edward did little to explain his survival and tried to make out that he was nothing more that an “Unemployed bandit” of little interest to the group. As Mara and Thia thought about violently testing Edward’s survivability under extreme circumstances, Moosa tried to recruit him but he seemed mostly uninterested. As the group traveled on Ed seemed to follow distantly behind without actually joining, Moosa left food supplies behind for him and Mara provided him with the groups blanket, Edward left as soon as Valadris came into sight.

In the semi-abandoned town the party found the allies they had sent north trying to settle in. Zanthon visited the castle where he encountered Anthony a seneschal and closest thing to remaining authority. The castle was worn and crumbling in places, the guard where the unwanted of Kervallion’s military people useless or inconvenient, most of the town population was gone, many of the buildings where dilapidated, some of them occupied by animals and there remained only one farmer Jenks who had lived in the area for (he claims) twenty years. Mara found the armoury to be limited containing barely enough for the understaffed guard, what passed for an infirmary was a dark laboratory full of bottles and jars of unknown provenance and the lords hall housed a once gaudy throne clearly striped of value.

The party where quick to begin work, Thia organised the mages to begin clearing and cleaning out buildings, Thia and Zanthon spoke to Jenks about teaching others to farm, Rolan investigated the well (turned out to be a little corpsy) and Moosa begun team building exercises with the guards. The guards where asked if any of them would take over the mill and they refused, Griffolk was asked to take up a leadership position amongst the guard and he said he would consider it. Thia quickly found a tavern and before long she had assembled equipment for a still and dubbed the place “Ear to the ground”. In the town square there was found a headless statue of some human long forgotten, Rolan tore it down with intention of planting apple seeds he had gathered while at sea.

Those who could cook and those who though they could gathered in the castle and tavern to prepare a meal for the strange new community. As night fell what tables remained intact where brought out to the town square along with any stool or chair that could be found (or brought from home) as everyone sat down to eat and drink what could be brought, found or made, a large gathering in a new home (albeit something of a fixer upper) . Zanthon witnessed Rolan’s interest in one of the elvish colonists and his inability to do anything about it, unwilling to lat that situation stand Zan made Rolan drink two ales then took him over to make introductions. As the night went on forces conspired to give Rolan every chance to look good as improvised and more or less functional music emanated from the mages, by the time people packed up and retired to what sleeping arrangements they could fashion Rolan had almost entirely avoided making things awkward (Rolaning) . Soon enough only the five remained Rolan, Thia, Mara, Moosa and Zanthon they drank a strange drink Thia had discovered that seemed to give visions of serenity on a mountaintop as Zan toasted “good results form shit destinies”

The party had finally arrived and as soon they did they begun (perhaps accidentally) setting themselves up as leaders of a new community they had created, built from Avissium allies and forgotten lands. The still nameless town still had for to come before it was fully functional or safe but only time would tell how long the party would stay…

Sally Sharkguts
Moosa is able to wash his hands of the Spider-bear

The party where traveling to Sanuus with Zanthon, Thia had narrowly avoided destroying part of the village at iron pass with A Winter Ball and it was time to travel on. In the dead of winter the mountain passes quickly become dangerous and confusing, fortunately for the party if the re was one thing Rolan was good at it was navigating natural environments, leading the party almost supernatural well as they made it back down the mountain. Past the mountain the path was not as direct as it had been as they avoided what had been the longing camp outside of the city but the trip was relatively safe and soon enough they arrived. Moving openly through Sannus the party did not seem to encounter any assassins yet, what they did encounter was some strange damage to nearby buildings leading back to the guard barracks and prison, hearing reports from locals about strange rampaging monsters the group soon had a clear suspect. Further investigation and a visit to the warden confirmed their suspicions and told of four such creature one dead the others gone along with the other prisoners, this was bad but not actually pressing enough to stop their journey to deal with.

Mara had received from Gaius a bottle of wine to be delivered to a friend of his in town. The wine carried a message and so after Gaius’s friend revealed it Mara snuck back to read it “ZANTHON arriving with strange party. ESTARIAN FONDUE”. This not making any immediate sense to Mara or Moosa they decided to ask around other Estarians in town. About the fondue Mara found only a decent deal on cheeses and an encounter with Tilo Viera an Arconan merchant acquaintance she did however hear that many ships had been caught in large, sudden and violent storms, Moosa had a conversation which he decided to interpret as a warning that the fondue reference could refer to a poisoning. To deal with the perceived threat Moosa enlisted the aid of the priest they had rescued previously to see if the food at “The Captain’s Respite” was poisoned (it wasn’t). Spending a little time with the priest did lead Moosa to discard his earring (until Thia recovered it), Rolan while back in town purchased another fortune telling which (if you take it as accurate) was a little more revealing than previous visits.

In the morning the party set off with Zanthon’s ship deciding to travel along the coastline rather than risking the rocky region they had ventured through previously the weather apparently disagreed. The wind blew towards the rocky region and when they tried to adjust the wind and currents seemed to counter, eventually they gave up and headed in that direction. As before there where many sharks, this time the sharks seemed to be (trying) to block certain paths and guide the ship somewhere. Among the more or less impossible structures that made up the region they found a lone apple tree. Rolan saw nothing to worrying about a tree that produced almost perfect apples that regrew on the tree within seconds, Rolan and Thia tried the fruit and found them not dissimilar to goodberries.

The ship arrived at what was eventually a small island with a rocky cave system. At the top there was a large statue likely old-imperial but the face had apparently been changed to a twisted and disfigured form. At first the party wanted Zanton to stay with the ship but he wanted to come along and so he did. moving through the caves the group found traps (which where disarmed), a man with a wide fishlike mouth (who was killed) and at least fifty of the fish men they had fought previously (which where avoided). They did eventually make it to a room packed full of all kinds of things ( many of them rotting fish ) and a filthy ugly old woman presumably the “sea hag”. The creature ( Who was apparently known as “Sally Sharkguts” not that the party knew at the time ) asked what they had done to start the storms, the party asked the same of the hag who responded that that information came at a price, thus the negotiation begun. In the end the deal was relevant, needed information about what was happening at an island apparently involved, safe passage away, and a “Magic sword” in exchange for Thia’s “Staff of Staves” (and its box), and Moosa’s “Claim on the Spider-Bear”. The information gained was that after the party destroyed the raider camp on the island and left the surviving crew there without a ship, another vessel had arrived and settled themselves and that was around the time the storms begun.

While the wording of the deal could be interpreted to only give the group passage out of the cave itself the voyage out of the area was more or less uneventful. Word about the island and the storms would be sent back to Sannus and Avissium when they could, Rolan had a “Magic” sword for better or worse and Moosa had finally disassociated himself with the Spider-bear incident. Whatever the consequences of this would be ( and there would be consequences ) what lay ahead of the party was Zanthons keep there would be time for looking back after but new threats lay ahead…

A Winter Ball
The party eye suspicious locals

The party where taking a different route to most of their allies but they where all heading towards A new life in the north. Thia, Rolan, Howling Under The Two Moons, Moosa, Mara and Zanthon begun purchased a dozen horses and headed in the direction of Sanuus.

The first stop of note was a familiar roadside inn they where able to stop for a decent meal, a quiet, drink and a local performance, this particular night that happened to include the Tale of Roland (who found at least four fans that night). As Zanthon left the common room he was met with a “goodnight prince” from much of the room though there seemed to be little to do about it then. While Zanthon was otherwise engaged Rolan paid a visit to “Roland”. After inviting/luring the performer up to his room he threatened him and told him to never again preform that story or “impersonate” him, “Roland” of corse at the time agreed.

Travel continued unimpeded as the party reached the mountains and though the winter conditions and uphill travel begun to wear on them, soon enough they reached the village on Iron pass. As the party enjoyed the respite of a fireplace and some whisky (and water) Moosa learned that the Lord Vontaren had indeed visited but he had learned nothing of the gold mine and dismissed dragon stories as ridiculous superstition. He had left and taken the still paralyzed “Dragon” with him. Moosa gave his local contact a letter and instructIons that would hopefully allow them to start delivering the gold to the Zahn family. After a minor disagreement with a local, the party settled in for a day of rest. Moosa found local companionship as easily as he had previously. Mara engaged Zanthon in a snow based conflict that soon attracted Thia’s attention. Thia produced a large sphere of water which as she rolled it along the snow it begun to gain a layer of ice seeing the danger in this Mara and Zan hid. The activity jostled some roof snow which as it fell on Thia broke her concentration, as her concentration broke the sphere dropped, cracked, bounced slightly and begun to roll. As Zan dove from his hiding place to avoid being crushed Thia transported herself into the sphere’s path and hit it with her usual burning approach, saving the town (from herself).

In the morning more travel awaited it would still be some time before they reached Sannus and then they would have to work out a route to Zanthon’s keep and few could say what they would find when they got there…

A new life in the north
The party invites all their friends to live with them in a new town

Now that the Prodigal prince had returned he had to decide what to do with himself, his decision turned out to be accepting an offer from Renwick to take command of the border castle at Valadris. Zanthon’s plan was to travel to Sanuus and pick up some more trusted men from his old crew before traveling on the the castle, he told the party that if they where still with him they could join him (The party for their part gave little consideration to any idea of not joining him). Moosa was on board but had other more complicated ideas of how to proceed. He proposed bringing others along, they would gather volunteers form the deep woods and from Ennith’s academy and invite anyone who was likeable and/or useful enough. Zan for his part was willing to go along with this plan that Moosa seemed so enthusiastic about. Thia wishing to continue their burgeoning relationship invited Vancill to come along. As it was presented as a relatively short trip before returning, Vancill elected to stay in the “Deep Woods” promising to see her when they came back. Vancill was later asked if there was anyone from the deep woods who might consider moving to the border with the idea that Zanthon’s leadership would be better for them that what they could expect in Avissium (The truth was that in that relatively stable period they where essentially living under Vancill’s rule and relatively well off. Vancill’s relationship with the party being what it was however he did convince a reasonable number)

Ennith was asked if there where any in her care who might be interested in joining, she seemed unresponsive to the idea but was convinced eventually. Moosa recruited Giles (and apprentices) with promises of great success as the only blacksmith in town. He also tried to recruit Zorias who was unwilling or unable to move or set up any additional magical connections, he was able to provide a scroll Moosa had ordered that allowed him to communicate with the winter sprites. Speaking to a sprite Moosa asked if they had followed him to far from home and now required him to provide food to which the answer seemed to be no, he did stop short of fully inviting them north.

Thia visited the Grand Academy and apparently on a whim decided to show the strange ring she had acquired to Geoffry Alaton who was in charge of investigating the area the party had uncovered. Geoffry when confronted with a student (elf) who had apparently alongside a some sages league person opened up a long forgotten vault, investigated themselves and in the process kill at least one unidentified creature, destroyed a impossible dimensional portal, donned a strange magical ring that was now exerting some control over he actions and failed to mention this in all the time since it had happened for some reason he reacted poorly. Thia was detained and questioned and her ring was removed. The rest of the group where aware of this through the communication earrings and so gathered outside the academy with Zanthon and VIgo. The staff of the academy soon heard about how much of an outrage it was for these actions to be taken against a personal friend of the prince of Kervallion leading quickly to Geoffry’s embarrassment and Thia’s release. Geoffry was of corse also blamed for loosing the ring in question which had mysteriously gone missing.

Back at their house Rolan took the ring out of his pocket and decided to destroy it and was actually successful leaving him with dust and ring fragments (that would somehow make their way back to Geoffry’s lab). Thia would risk one move visit to The Grand Academy to invite Margret Vint and See’Krett tp their expedition north to Zanthon’s castle. The offer (and explanation of the party’s actions) left Margret uncharacteristically quiet but the two where seen come time to leave.

A caravan had been gathered including Deep Woods elves, Ennith’s students, Margret, See’Krett, Giles, Giles’s apprentices and led by Griffolk. This group would travel to the keep independently while Zanthon and the party went to Sannus to gather some of Zan’s crew and perhaps take a partially aquatic route. Either way the party had committed not just themselves but many of their allies to the promise of what lands Renwick was wiling to give Zanthon. many things lay ahead of them in the new year much of it dangerous some of it impossible and all of it seemingly leading to some inevitable conflict. The party could only hope to ensure as many of their allies survive as possible.

Prodigal prince
Zanthon officially returns to Avissium

The solstice over the party had to decide what to do about Zanthon but not before getting paid by the Hastings and spending their earnings at Zorias’s. Rolan’s obvious appearance at the Vontaren left the group with the lesser possible payout but it was enough the get Howling Under The Two Moons’s bracers enchanted and additional communication earrings (though for these Zorias would ask not for coin but for an owed favor). The group would again split up with Thia privately conversing with Mara, Rolan preparing freshly hunted game and Moosa making a more official introduction between Zanthon and Joanna Zahn. Eventually the group would regather at the Zahn estate with Joanna and Zanthon to discuss their next move should they make a bold statement or sneak around talking to nobles? Gaius was brought up but Zanthon could attest that Gaius did what was good for Gaius so it was decided that he would not be seriously approached until they were in a clearly advantageous position. Thia couldn’t trust Vigo but wanted to, they considered him something of a wild card and he was someone whose true intentions were not yet clear, in any case the next stop was Vigo’s with Zanthon in tow. Vigo met with the group, met Zanthon and helped lay out their options. The option that seemed to speak most to Vigo was for Zanthon to simply walk back into the palace and announce himself (the prodigal grieving son). Vigo went on ahead so as to not be clearly involved but so he could see the reactions.

With his companions and bodyguards (an Estaarian mercanary, an armed elf with a wolf and a elvish mage wearing Xargosian robes of all things) Zan walked up to the palace and announced himself prince Zanthon of Kervallion seeking an audience with Prince Regent Renwick. The audience with Renwick was somewhat tense and everyone seemed on guard but it was not openly hostile and the assassination attempt the party where waiting for did not yet arrive. Renwick took Zanthon to see Richard and the party where left standing outside the room with some stiff guards. Mara distracted some of the guards (removing some for the moment) and Thia wandered off taking a guard with her. Varlan was around briefly but had little to add but an implied “i’ll be watching you”. Falling back on old tactics Thia begun antagonising her escort calling him racist yelling at anyone around (much of it in elvish) and generally making a scene. This ended only when Gaius arrived and offered to take her away for a quieter conversation. Eventually Zanton finished and the group moved to Zan’s old room to talk, they did also elect to have Thia create the same magical dome from the forest inside the room so they could talk without anyone listening.

The group retuned to the townhouse, Thia begun preparing the results of Rolan’s morning hunt, Rolan himself visited Zorias asking for more earrings only to receive a warning not to use all the ones they had at once and visited Giles to commission a better whip while Mara dealt with all the intrigue and lies and difficulties of meeting up with her parents. There where of corse more important things to deal with as Rolan gave Vancill an invitation to dinner (on behalf of Thia) and it was that dinner that regathered the party again.

Over homemade food and a dizzying variance of alcohol the group where able to stop and take a second, they talked about the wild rumors about where the prince had been, Zan was able to meet Vancill, Mara and Zanthon where given a chance to decompress after parental encounters and the party made one more evening without being assassinated…

The solstice
The party attends parties

The winter solstice had arrived and the party were Back in town. Most of them woke before dawn and readied themselves to visit Zorias for now Zanthon and Griffolk were left behind but Mark was able to rejoin the group having been able to reactivate the item he had received to cure his blindness (albeit temporarily) . Gathering outside his door as the sun rose Moosa dismissed the elvish guards and the party knocked, it took a few minute of knocking and shouting before a newly awoken mage emerged and invited them in.

Excerpt from
“Standing for something: a wizard/merchant’s tale”
by Zoriastad Samara al-Naslai Kertiriox

…The first solstice i spent in Kervallion I invited that same party to join me in the ritual of corse at that time I never bothered to explain any of it to them not fully anyway, I told myself that I thought everyone knew but I did know enough to protect them somewhat so perhaps thats just an excuse. I suppose then I deserved to be awoken that day by knocking and shouting at my door, so arrived Im sure the strangest group invited to Saenoier Sira’ttirnaea’t La’rlnaeri, an Estarian, elves, Mark (who at least at the time seemed normal enough), and Mara, Mara I didn’t know, someone they had met after leaving the city but I thought “well if they trust her it must be fine” besides she actually seemed relatively normal how much trouble could she cause…
In any case I brought them in, made some vedlyr and tried to ready myself. I brought out the nomdr and they donned them while I finished the ledyos velvsi, I had them remove their magical accoutrements (most of it mine), Thia had a ring that would not be removed and seemed magical and like a fool I simply nullified it same as i had Thia and hoped that would be enough, still I disenchanted the nomdr and brought them in to begin, The velvsi was mostly set up to focus on my position my thinking being that Rolan and Thia would likely wish to retain their magic and that as they where more or less home as far as I knew how much could they need it anyway (this of corse discounted Moosa’s needs).
It was good to see Corinthia a strange reminder of what I had left behind it was less welcome (albeit necessary) to see my parents as a reminder of why I left, and then there was Hera…
…I don’t know what the rest saw exactly although I have a few good guesses. After it was done I was told what the Kervallion tradition was and Thia attempted to give me a gift pulling out the fucking “Staff of staves”, I had no idea what it was at the time but that thing…

With that completed Rolan Nailò made his first visit to the “Deep woods” of the day and Mark went to Ennith bringing with him a invitation to the Vontaren winter ball (something he had received from Elend Vontaren). While he did that Thia took Mara and Zanthon to the grand academy where they met Margret Vint and the creature from the hidden vault See’Krett. After some introductions (that were about as smooth as introductions with Margret and See’krett ever are) it was time for Margret to try the much talked about spell she had been working on, casting from a adjacent room Margret magically appeared back amongst the group completely naked, a condition she seemed unaware of until it was commented upon (leading to her rushing out of the room to regain her clothes), this aside Thia seemed impressed with what was more or less a new spell and could apparently “think of some uses for it” Thia received a wrapped gift from Margret and left.

Moosa who had been infiltrating Vontaren supplies and applying additional ingredients, finished and helped mark rent a carriage to take Ennith to the Vontaren ball. Mark and Ennith had a more or less pleasant evening despite one or two other guests overindulging and becoming ill, that is until the amount of sick guests became fairly suspicious Mark went to question Elend about the situation and it was while he did that that the swarm of rats arrived. It was as Mark was standing at the top of a set of stairs using his sword to try and keep the rats at bay that Rolan unexpectedly arrived following a message from Moosa (more or less), he came with enough antidote for Mark and Ennith (a shame for poor Elend) and with that the Vontaren ball was over.

If one wanted further entertainment that winters day there remained the Zahn ball, the Hastings ball and the royal gathering. Moosa attended to the Zahn gathering, Zanthon was given a meeting with Joanna Zahn and Rolan took Howling Under The Two Moons to enjoy all the sights of the Zahn estate courtyard. Mark meanwhile was bringing Ennith along to the palace having been invited by Gaius and Thia came along having been given an impromptu invitation by Vigo. Thia immediately made a strong impression by drawing much attention to her elvish nature this allowed Mark and Ennith to fade into the background more than they might have, Thia was even introduced to Varlan by Mara (who was also there apparently…?) the conversation was somewhat unpleasant but was possible only a cover for something to be put in Varlan’s drink.

Towards the end of the night all but Moosa gathered in the deep woods Zanthon, Margret and Zorias included. Among the food and drink available was tea brewed by Rolan and much fine wine that had somehow made its way out of the palace. Ennith was pulled aside by Mark for he had commissioned an item from Zorias constructed with part of the communication stone Ennith had given mark, now Mark gave Ennith a ring and a proposal to which the answer was… yes.

Mark announced that he would leave the group for now to refocus his efforts on Ennith (and The Ordo Noctum). Rolan asked for his sword and with some hesitation Mark gave it over.

The First solstice the party spent together in Avissium they ate and drank, they spent time with the rich and powerful, they earned money and they were surrounded by allies, many had met Zanthon that day but none of them knew exactly who he was (yet). Mark had moved on (for now) but Mara had proved useful ally (for now). With Zanthon in the city it was however only a matter of time before things became more complicated…

Back in town
the party reconnects with Avissium

Packing up concluded the party had finally made it home to Avissium. Practical as ever Moosa left behind his food supplies in case the winter sprites were still following and gave his half-plate to Zanthon to provide some limited disguise. Before even returning to their home the party’s first stop was Zorias’s, allowing Mara, Zanthon (and I suppose “Howling Under The Two Moons”) to encounter the purple door and strange store within. Running the store was a young elf who greeted the party with great unenthusiasm, this elf was made to collect Zorias who arrived with all the speed and offers of standing staves as was apparently expected. After introductions of the party’s new wolf, hopefully wealthy ally and “dave” the shopping could begin. There was a lengthy period of price checking and discussing what was possible but at the end the party had purchased on this one trip more magic than they ever would be expected to have. This included

  • shoes designed to assist in moving silently
  • cloaks designed to help the wearer blend in to a location
  • a large jug said to produce different liquids
  • a bottle of air
  • a large fan
  • a single white feather
  • two goggles meant to help non elves see in the dark
  • of corse healing potions

Not everything they wanted was practical or affordable, some things were simply not available yet so the party planned to returned tomorrow to see if more communication earrings could be made, Moosa could buy a amulet to ward against attempts to magically locate and spy on him and RolanRolan Nailò arranged to have magical sigils tattooed onto his arms. After most of the shopping was concluded the party were able to take a second and notice that Zorias was wearing uncharacteristically plain clothing, it seemed that this was part of some Xargosian ritual that was to soon take place, once it was brought up Zorias explained that the there was something that he was to do tomorrow that traditionally involved the participants closest ally and for Zorias there was only the party, he asked for their assistance they accepted.

While the rest of the group returned to their well cleaned and maintained townhouse Rolan tracked down Ashleigh an elf he knew from the deep woods, he gave he a strange axe he had acquired and invited her over for dinner that night. Back at the house Gaius had arrived to check in having heard the group was back, while Thia spoke with him Moosa, Rolan and Zanthin (in the portable hole) went to visit Giles, they purchased some bracers that Howling Under The Two Moons could wear so that Zorias could enchant them later, Giles himself seemed relatively fine and did not have any pressing task for them tomorrow, unlike Joanna Zahn and Erin Hastings who ended up being Rolan and Moosa’s next stop respectively. The next day would be the winter solstice and brought with it associated festivals most of the major noble houses would be holding a celebration as a display of power moving between parties as a roving mass of wealth and privilege, Joanna worried about her houses power and asked the party to help make sure it went well, Erin worried about the Vontarens’s power and hired the party to bake sure the Vontaren celebration went poorly. Thia also Visited Vigo to check in and ask about Mara and with Margret Vint and See’Krett who also wanted to see her again tomorrow. In preparing for the Vontaren gathering Rolan ran into Vancill who asked if the party could help ensure Deep woods celebrations went well.

That night Rolan hosted Ashleigh on the ground floor of the townhouse, Mara spoke with Zanthon upstairs, Moosa left to find the winter sprites and Thia left for the deep woods. Rolan drank and ate with Ashleigh until he came to the realisation that he was not/was no longer attracted to her and so he announced this quite plainly and asked her to leave which went about as well as expected. Mara asked Zanthon about their relationship and where it was going to which he responded that he was unsure and Mara decided that she was fine for putting it off some more, Zanthon went to say something but stopped himself when questioned he said “never mind” when questioned further he left but soon found out how small a two(/three) storey townhouse could become. Thia’s evening with Vancill begun with somewhat awkward conversation about her left hand but soon enough progressed to the desired result.

The next day brought with it the winter festival and with it many obligations and tasks from those the party knew even putting aside if they had any plans of their own. Avissium was full of spies and those who used them, anyone important enough knew that the party had traveled to Sanuus, made contact with Zanthon, saved him from assassins and then disappeared into the woods. Well now the party was back and it was only a matter of time until Zanthins presence set off grand and unpredictable events but if they where very lucky they could have one last Holliday first…

Packing up
The party finds a little more strangeness on the way home

There apparently being Something in the water the party had been relaxing at the Druid grove getting to know each other better. somewhere along the line Mark made the decision that he should take Griffolk and the two sailors on ahead to Avissium leaving Rolan, Moosa, Thia, Mara and Zanthon behind. It was after Mark left that Rolan was reunited with Armir the elf who taught him most of what he knew about hunting, tracking and fighting. As soon as Armir found out about Rolan’s rib injury he set about running him through drills which over the next week became running Rolan back through Druidic style ranger training and as Rolan run back through his original training he found that he was able to take it further now with more world experience. Having (more or less) found success with speak with animals and animal messenger spells Rolan spent time with the beasts that stayed passively at the grove and hunting with the other rangers and their animal companions. Eventually when he was ready Rolan brewed a druidic potion made from particular herbs and preformed a ritual at the edge of the glade, the rest of the party watched as he sat in silence waiting until a single wolf walked out to the forest up to him looked him over and sat down next to him. Upon completing the ritual Rolan had bound himself to this wolf who he named Howling Under The Two Moons, this beast would protect him and fight alongside, another strange member of a strange party.

Armir came to Rolan and told him it was his task to travel to a cave just north and deal with the spiders there while Armir’s party dealt with a similar situation, as with all instructions form the druids Rolan accepted immediately and without question. The party (now including a forest wolf) traveled to a cave full of unusually well organised giant spiders fighting/sneaking their way in they found ostensibly leading the spiders was a Spider-Bear (just another impossible occurrence this trip). Soon enough there where fire bolts, synchronized elf/wolf attacks, unexpected lightning, brave charges and efforts to save brave chargers along with of course a dead Spider-bear. The Spider-bear was assumed to be a mindless beast thought this one had taken a trophy in the form of an elf head in any case Rolan took spider legs as trophies of his own and the party returned to the grove. Armir’s group had apparently found a similar scene Spider-Bear included, while Mara made sure Zanthon was healthy after the battle the issue was brought to Longwood. The old Druid(?) was as cryptic as ever but he did describe seeing creatures possible the spider-bears appearing “somewhere else”, he described places the party had apparently not heard of and scenes so strange and impossible as to be taken for metaphor, they seemed not to recognise the locations from folklore and legend “the land of the faerie kings” as it were, taking the locations as simply places they had never been (true to an extent) there was little more to to than more on.

Time had come to travel onward and leave the druids behind, Rolan elected to travel a little ahead owing to some awkward he had accidentally seen. he stopped and let the group catch up a few days in when he saw what he described as an “Evil pixie” investigating further the group did eventually track down a group of small winged blue skinned creatures that the rest of the party took a greater liking to than Rolan. Thia was the one who left stealth to greet them though she didn’t get much more of a conversation than “whed esa irrui arll?” she did however feed them berries and leave peacefully. Rolan alone wanted to slay the creatures but gave in to the party’s alternate plan of not. Seeking to teach Rolan some lesson about peaceful coexistence with winter sprites Moosa secretly left behind the group a trail of berries and didn’t warn them about the two sprites following. It was that night that Thia and Mara on their watch witnessed the sprites coming up and investigating the magical dome where they slept touching the side, stomping on the top, attempting to tunnel underneath and even laughing a ice knife at the structure. Thia and Mara did emerge from the dome and Thia casted a spell allowing her to understand what the creatures were saying, the creatures didn’t have much information to offer but did ask for (and receive) alcohol the rest of the group were awoken and were able to interact with the (increasingly) drunk creature though to little meaningful end just another strange distraction, an impossible creature and briefly learned lesson for Rolan.

Within another couple of days Rolan found the basic structure he had built himself back when he was avoiding staying at the groups manor. The party had made it back to Avissium for better or worse and would soon find out what had changed and be responsible for changes of their own…

Something in the water
The party relaxes in each others company

Raving rested to recover from A giant stop they had taken the party did eventually make it back to a familiar mining village, a village that had apparently not been making use of the newly discovered gold for fear of “The dragon’s curse”. In an establishment displaying all the wealth and decadence of a small iron mining village Moosa offered the owner a bag of fifty gold and so took care of their immediate needs. As the rest of the group variably integrated, Rolan noticed the “dragon” himself. the old man he had shot still paralyzed apparently being cared for by his grandson. Over the rest of the day rumor where gathered, supplies where bought, armour was repaired and the party was given a chance to rest somewhere more hospitable than a burnt out giants cave. Word reached Moosa that the owner of the mine was scheduled to arrive at some point given that the overseer had been unfortunately paralyzed, talking to the inn owner he also discovered that the owner was Lord Straff Vontaren, that Straff didn’t necessarily know about the gold and that fifty gold with a suggestion would be enough to keep it that way. That night Rolan found the comfort of a bath, Moosa fount the comfort of a local and the rest found the comfort of not sleeping on the ground under a dome.

In the morning with newly purchased horse, wagon and winter gear the party set out, back on the mountain paths… that is until a couple of days in when Rolan steered the group down back into a forest. The advantage of this was that food was again something that could be successfully hunted for, indeed Thia found some voles…… As they traveled Moosa noticed a bird watching them, The second day he saw this he told Rolan who tried to communicate, the bird responded by flying behind a tree and walking out from behind it an elf. Aldor for that was this druids name spoke only in elvish and already knew Rolan and Thia, he was of corse the one who had Rolan on the journey to save Zanthon in the first place for someone like Moosa or Mara (who Zan was translating for) the conversation seemed somewhat unfriendly if not antagonistic though Thia claimed it was more of a good natured ribbing. In any case Aldor told the group that the voles they had eaten had been heavily poisoned by spider attack before the party got to them and they were likely poisoned beyond his ability to help where they where, and so he took them to the grove.

Aldor led the group and as he did winter trees gave way to ones still clinging To autumn leaves and soon enough trees still with fresh green leaves until the way opened to a impossibly green (at least for winter) grove with trees, grass, a lake, a waterfall, many animals and druids. This place was very familiar to Rolan, somewhat familiar to Thia and if anything almost unnerving to most of the rest given its impossibility. There was a trip to a woman living in a hut.. tree thing… who brewed together something meant to cure the poison and apparently it did. Given a situation without mortal danger Moosa visited the lake and at Rolan’s suggestion it soon became naked swimming/waterfall diving involving Rolan, Moosa, Thia, a druid and before long Mark and Griffolk. Mara however found a private spring and invited Zanthon to join her and so he did.

Some time later Thia was drying, Moosa was setting up camp and Rolan was partaking in a pain reducing herbal remedy, Aldor asked the invited the group to come and speak with Longwood inside a tree (where else?). Dropping to one knee the party spoke to Longwood, they asked him why they where sent to to save Zanthon and where told that the future looks better with him in it than without, when asked who plots against him they were told that some prefer the future without Zanthon. Longwood spoke vaguely and seemed to content to mostly help the party come to conclusions themselves like when he described them as a group of ten rather than nine, Rolan decided that he must be including the horse, Thia assumed it was her magical ghost hand. An idea was brought up to leave Zanthon in the druids grove but in something of a change of policy the group actually asked Zanthon what he though to that plan. Zanthon had little interest in being a guest of the druids and living in the forest for an extended period of time claiming that he was as uncomfortable there as Rolan claimed to be in the city so the Avissium plan remained. As the conversation and the group left Longwood Rolan remained to tell his teacher about his adventures and to seek more druidic education.

Thia stopped to talk with Aldor and spoke about their adventures with the “Spider-Bear”, “The waterfall that grants fishes” and the being living at the top of the large tree she seemed to have something else on her mind but was unable to articulate it. Thia left to talk with Mara in the lake and while they were bonding Zanthon took an opportunity to speak with Aldor. When that finished Moosa went to Aldor and told him that Thia was interested in him and that he should talk with her to which he responded that he knew and was working on it. Zanthon went to Mara and pulled her into a conversation away from Thia while Aldor took his opportunity and joined thia in the lake…

“I don’t know how this is done in the city or whatever but uh. want to fuck”

A giant stop
Rolan's giant fall

Having gone Bear and back again the party reached the end of the forest they were traveling through, it was decided that they would then head up through the mountains and try and make it back onto the path they had travelled through originally. Without the support of a full merchant caravan food supplies were becoming a problem, while water was plentiful with streams flowing off the mountain down to the forest game was harder to come by especially as the temperature dropped. Given the angle they had approached from the party found themselves in seldom used paths all of them rough many of them dangerous although none as dangerous as the one with the giants.

The two giants each at least twenty feet tall and covered with grey almost blue muscle hurled large boulders at the party from a stealthed position, they were not prepared for the parties rapid and overwhelming response. Hoping for supplies Rolan tracked down the cave where their attackers were operating from. Inside the cave remains of animals and humans were found including what seemed to be the remains of a caravan. The walls of the cave were covered in crude carving and there was a huge throne carved from stone and oversized bone, there were stone structure the party deduced were beds, five of them. A secret room was found containing some collected wealth and a strange artifact, a bundle of various staffs, staves and sticks bound together into a large… something. While Thia collected food supplies and Moosa collected gold and gems, Rolan kept watch and with good reason as he soon saw a group approaching similar to their foes earlier that fay though all were larger, with this the group elected to sneak off.

Moosa remained unsatisfied and argued for them to (after a rest) sneak back in and kill the giants Rolan and Thia were on board, Mara and Zanthon less so but still this is what they did. With magically induced stealth the group ambushed the first of the three and killed him almost before he knew what was happening, this attracted the attention of the others. Rolan took a bad hit early and surprised that he lived though it the giants focused on hum until he fell. Zanthon dragged Rolan away, Mara attacked from stealth, Moosa tumbled around the battlefield and Thia.. reacted badly to Rolan’s condition.

Outside the cave back with Mark and the others, black smoke behind them Rolan had received what healing was available he was alive if not exactly well, for the next few days a section of the cave was cleared out as the group rested for a few days during which time a somewhat different Thia was seen as she cared for Rolan.

Eventually Rolan was able to travel again although he was far from fully healed soon they would arrive back to a familiar village

“My name is Trekaros stone face and I am a certified G(iant) and a bonafide stud
and you can’t teach that
and this right here is Warlord Urvar rockballs and he’s 30 foot tall
and you can’t teach that”


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