The Chronicles

14.5 - The Fade Forest

Summary

  • Hawk has cloistered himself away within the inn at Greenleaf, planning the Outrider’s next move, but the old maps of the Empire do not show the terrain around Greenleaf in sufficient detail. In an attempt to gain more information Hawk Dispatched his two lieutenants, Toothpick and Hunter, to the southern path through the Fade Forest.
  • The party encountered the symbiotic parasites known as Red Worms and despite being poisoned by the creature’s psychoactive venom and spending a night speaking with the trees, escaped with relatively minor wounds.
  • After avoiding the territory of the indigenous warp giants known as Shamblers the party stumbled across a dungeon surrounded by corpses from numerous different eras. Within they were attacked by the undead remains of a paladin who had been possessed and reanimated by a cruel red sword. Only Toothpick’s “null field” and a mysterious force emananting from within Hunter kept them from becoming host to the blade’s dark energies. The intervention of a Heartwood exile named Loric allowed them to remove the crystal which powered the weapon from its hilt and encase it within living wood. Hunter, having determined that the stone may have been a part of a weapon once wielded by Kaldair, decided to leave it within the Fade with the ayrgari.
  • Loric’s area knowledge allowed the pair to leave the Fade Forest and make for the village of Leafstride. After dealing with some local bandit trouble they gained the favour of Darien, a local Shield Commander. Having retirved some goods they enlisted a strong-willed merchant woman named Ophelia into their organisation.
  • Whilst returning to Greenleaf the party came to the Ulsine border town of Barkan and witnessed the results of an Imperial recruitment drive as thousands of newly enlisted men from the area amassed in the central courtyard. With blood-lust high amongst the new men the appearance of a Shael, one of the Ulsine’s ancestral enemies, was met with racial violence. The party escaped into the sewer system of the city.
  • In the caverns beneath the city the party was attacked by warped humanoid rats living in the area and triumphed, only to succumb to the disease and infection laced within their wounds in the days that followed. Thanks to Toothpick’s medical skill and Hunter’s survival abilities they were able to create herbal remedies which alleviated their symptoms, however as they stood on the edge of the Fade Forest and looked out across the plateau they descended into a preternatual darkness and time passed without memory.
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14 - The Emberpeak Grotto

Summary

  • Surfacing from the water the commanders of the Outriders found that their wounds had been miraculously healed, and that they now stood in a lush and verdant grotto hidden away from the world.
  • Within the grotto they discovered a community of Leaf Goblins, tiny creatures which had apparently evolved in isolation from any natural predators. The creatures were entirely benign, and the group spent a few days investigating and (somewhat haphazardly) influencing their proto-society.
  • Infuriated by the relative inactivity of the group Redshank lashed out at one of the creatures in a moment of fury. Toothpick, who had developed an affection for the small creatures, grabbed his fellow Shael and attempted to beat some sense into him whilst Hawk took the dying goblin to the waters.
  • The same water spirits that had apparently saved the team’s lives were seemingly displeased with the death of one of their people, and lashed out at Redshank in a torrential blast of water which shattered his body on the rocks.
  • After bidding a slightly unwilling farewell to the tiny creatures the team managed to climb out onto the mountainside once more. In the bitter cold and howling winds they found their way to an abandoned farmhouse where they set up camp. They were all surprised to see their missing team member Miri making her way towards them, naked in the snow.
  • With Hunter and Toothpick attempting to warm the almost frozen form of Miri Hawk channelled some of the tass he had collected into a bolt of fire to dry and ignite the damp, frozen firewood. Miri’s form immediately split open, revealing the horrendous monstrosity that had imitated their companion.
  • Having destroyed the Miri-beast the team made their way to Greenleaf, a small farming village, and found lodgings at the inn. Toothpick spent an instructive night in the intimate company of a Northlander couple. Hunter and Hawk, meanwhile, received word via longrunner that the city of Baerlon was no longer safe, after they failed to complete the task set for them by the god-king Mardero.
  • Whilst refitting at a local trader Hunter encountered one of the Black Suns mercenaries who had stolen 700 gold pieces from him back in Baerlon. He killed the treacherous individual in (reasonably) fair combat and the team managed to repair and refit. However Weir, their long-suffering companion, took this opportunity to leave their service and join the employ of the trader in place of the deceased Black Sun.

*The team learned that there was war in the North between a great red dragon and the god king. They also learned that the nobles of Tacansi’s Hold, an Ulsine border town were pushing for fresh recruits in the face of rising antagonism from Mardero’s forces.

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13 - Into the Dark

Summary

  • Fleeing the arcane energies of the web the commanders of the Outriders fled into the arteries of the Emberpeak, an inactive volcano nestled in the mountains near Maergis.
  • Despite their best efforts to save his life Clem succumbed to his wounds and expired. Weir’s life was saved with the amputation of two of his fingers, but Miri, still grieving for the loss of Akara disappeared into the mountain whilst attention was diverted.
  • Within the mountain they came across the ruins of an Ulari city, with its occupants burned to cinders.
  • The party encountered a party of three adventurers seeking the dragon Corolailath, but only one, the Shael Redshank, survived their meeting with the fire elementals that infested the belly of the mountain.
  • Badly burned, the party fled the elementals and plunged headlong into the mysterious waters beneath.
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12 - By the Dragon's Command

Summary

  • Before reaching the town the group encountered a group of slavers taking some Northlanders captive. The Outriders wisely chose to strike first and executed an attack that ended in the death or capture of the slavers, but only one of the three Northlanders survived. The survivor, a northlander named Yoth, was grateful and offered them the hospitality of his people.

*The group gained entry to Maergis, and despite Hunter’s almost catastrophic tactical miscalculation at the gates, were given the opportunity to prove their worthiness to join the slavers within in the service of the apparently supernatural lord Dactylos. To do this they were forced to fight a man that Toothpick knew they could not beat, but they were saved from their impossible fight by direct magical intervention, which may have come from Dactylos or from the enigmatic figure of Content Not Found: marius

*When the arcane smoke cleared the party had been transported from Maergis to the mountains once more, where they met and spoke with a being who called himself Content Not Found: marius. Marius made mention of himself as a Chronicler, the last of his race, and seemed most displeased with the fact that he was meeting the three commanders of the Outriders “too soon”. Apparently Marius had expected forces to have made contact with the three of them under different circumstances, and was extremely surprised to find them working as mercenaries.

  • Marius told the commanders that they should go to Torin’s Reach, nestled in the mountains to the north of Longstride to receive guidance, and that they should leave the lands around Empyrrean as quickly as possible.
  • Concerned for their comrades that they now knew to be held by the Maergis slavers, the commanders executed a daring ambush and managed to rescue Weir, Akara, Miri and Content Not Found: clem from being sent to Empyrrean as part of a tithe from Dactylos. Though wounded, their men were alive, and they sent them back towards Baerlon.
  • Despite the magical concealment that Content Not Found: marius had placed on the Outriders, something within Empyrrean found Toothpick and ripped the knowledge of their rescued associate’s location from his mind. When the commanders caught up with the caravan, all those within were listless and uncommunicative.
  • When medicine failed to bring them round Hunter turned to his newly acquired faith in the primal night god Ikanden, and attempted to use the old god’s will to drive the controlling force out of Akara. The war of wills tore the threads of Akara’s being asunder and killed her, cracking the Amulet of the Sightless Eye in the process.
  • It was then that Hawk perceived the threads of brilliant light coming from their comrade’s heads, and linking into a vast black web in the sky. It was a web he had seen before in his dreams.
  • Toothpick attempted to use his null ability to sever the link, but it became clear that this might kill them. In a strange moment of clarity he saw that the problem was above him, not within the minds of his associates. Tapping into knowledge he did not understand he projected his null into the sky, severing a thread of the web and freeing the minds of the comatose. Unfortunately the magical fallout began to level the terrain, toppling mountains like piles of leaves.
  • It seemed that despite everything they would all be killed by the fallout, but Hunter spotted a cavern and drove the crazed horses towards it in a frenzy. Hawk, desperate enough to try anything, reached out and, to his surprise, caught a fistful of the black energy. Using his will to sculpt it he energised the horses, causing their bodies to decay at an alarming rate, but granting them the speed to take them into the cavern as the valley collapsed.
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11 - The Northern Mountains

Summary

  • With most of their men bloodied, and some near death, the Outriders party was able to make it into a small ruin and hold whilst they dealt with their wounded. Hawk commanded Toothpick to scout ahead, and he was able to find the ruins of an Ulsine mage’s mountain hideaway concealed within a ruined mine.
  • After securing the area the party had chance to rest, but when Akara vanished after stepping onto a magical plate the able bodied men and women were forced to follow and rescue her, and her lover Miri from the dungeons beneath.
  • Though they encountered a demonic being who almost killed Myrick, Toothpick was able to somehow channel a massive amount of preternatural force, which caused the dungeon to become illuminated and all items within a large radius to become magically inert.
  • On re-emerging into the mine the group were ambushed and captured by a race of huge, bipedal felines calling themselves the Kyshiri. With many men wounded and unable to fight they were unable to affect an escape and were taken deep within a subterranean settlement hidden within one of the mountains.
  • The commanders were brought into a vast chamber deep within the settlement, and presented to the dragon Corolailath, the creature they had been sent by Mardero to kill. The creature commanded that they go to Empyrrean and report on what they found there, and said that it would keep the other surviving party members until they returned. Thankfully Akara, Miri, Weir and Clem were not taken prisoner, and as Hunter, Hawk and Toothpick made their way towards Empyrrean, led by their Kyshiri guide Borlach, they attempted to make their passage easy to follow.
  • En route the party encountered one of the ancient trolls, but Hawk was able to best the best in single combat, and the group made their way deeper into the mountains.
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10 - In Mardero's Service

Summary

  • The Outriders were called upon to discipline the rebellious Red Sickle unit within the Gate forces, and did so. Their actions resulted in the deaths of many of the Red Sickles, and the capture and crucifixion of the rest. The Outriders obtained a grisly reputation as enforcers, and a newfound place in the Gate forces. See Red Sickle Massacre
  • Mardero also commanded that the group deal with the elimination of Prince Felix of Tarragon, Commander of the Eastern Dragar Legion, which Hawk delegated to their assassin Sato.
  • Mardero’s final command was that the Outriders deal with an infant dragon who was hampering his attempts to bring troops from Empyrrean to Baerlon. Hawk led his fellows in their preparations and they set off from the city into the harsh northern mountains.
  • In a snowy mountain pass the Outriders encountered a group of White Dyar who had colonised an underground pass. Though they lost a few men, and some received serious wounds, they survived, but were forced back out into the oncoming blizzard.
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9 - Baerlon's Fall and Rise

Summary

  • As promised, on their return to their barracks in Baerlon the newly renamed Outriders were furnished with excessive resources from the prophet king to rebuilt and resupply their barracks. Work began on the restoration of those properties destroyed in the battle.
  • The company made contact with a number of the units within the Army of the Gate, including Shango’s Irreulars, a Shaelic mercenary cell which boasted among other members the former longrunner Content Not Found: feather, and Toothpick’s clansman Dagor.

*Hunter made contact with a Daykari cell calling themselves the “King’s Men” and thanks to the fanatical devotion presented by its leader, a member of the Emancipators named Ragan, was able to enlist them into the Outriders. He also made contact with his uncle Beraine, who had escaped the hardships of Daykar and fled to the north.

  • With Hawk engaged in the efforts to coordinate the extension of the Outriders barracks, Toothpick and Hunter took a small contract for a man named Basano, an merchant who wished his wife to be rescued from the clutches of Raptor Company. This mission turned out to be a trap, with Basano revealed as an agent of Raptor Company hoping to collect on the bounties that had been placed on members of the Outriders.
  • During a brief stop in the village of Redfall, Toothpick was beset by an angry mob of locals, and almost died at their hands. By some means that neither he nor Hunter could comprehend they were taken to another place by magical means and spoken to by two figures, the goddess Ayaken and the god Ikanden, who gifted them with power enough to affect their escape.
  • During this time away from their base the two Outriders were able to enlist three new recruits; the Founderian pilgrim Content Not Found: eric, the Felkin Tharn and the madman/seer Curzon
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8 - The Siege of Baerlon

Summary

  • After returning to the outskirts of Baerlon the party was met by [[:commander tanith]], who informed them that Mardero wished them to help him secure access to an obelisk within the city’s fortress, formerly a seat of power for the Northlander government.
  • Mardero had requested that the company change their name so as to prevent future split loyalty, and so the Black Sun’s 9th Company became known as the Outriders
  • Taking some of the newly enlisted Creepers into the fortress, Toothpick, Hawk and Hunter entered the bowels of the fortress. Despite taking losses they were able to locate the obselisk, a massive deposit of the solidified magic known as “Tass”.
  • Both Hawk and Hunter found themselves profoundly affected by some form of magical defence around the obselisk, but when Toothpick stepped into the field it dissipated, clearing the path to the obelisk for Mardero himself. It seemed that the shaelic warrior had discovered his innate immunity to magic.
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7 - New Recruits

Summary

  • Whilst using the Ulari tunnels known as “Runnermines” to make their approach to the south of Baerlon the party encountered one of the Warpspawn known as Blood Wraiths, and were almost slaughtered by the creature. Thanks to Hawk’s ;leadership they were able to escape, but not before Hunter received a life-threatening wound.
  • As he lay dying Hunter called upon the “spirit” within him to heal their wounds and destroy the creature who had attacked them. He promised the spirit a day in exchange for this service.

*Hawk, acting on concerns for Hunter and the rest of the party had Toothpick search his pack, and found a small black book which had apparently been written in blood. Despite concerns they allowed Hunter to keep the item.

  • After making their way towards a dungeon to the south of Baerlon, which they had heard about through [[:commander tanith]]. The Creepers, a fugitive group of stealthy, subtle warriors were receptive to their suggestion of employment and promised to join the company.
  • On returning to Baerlon the party found the city surrounded by tens of thousands of Mardero’s troops.
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6 - Exile from Baerlon

Summary

  • After performing the task the marshall had set for them, the company were tasked with the removal of a number of refugees which had left their homes in the surroundin farmsteads and taken up residence in the city. It soon became clear that the refugees were not all driven out by the warp trolls, and that some had been fleeing the advance of the armies of Mardero.
  • Hawk managed to establish cordial relations with Commander Tanith, a diplomatic envoy of Mardero’s forces, who had been sent to negotiate with the marshall.
  • Two of the enlisted men were sent to deal with the refugees, but on hearing the sounds of conflict Hunter and Toothpick were dispatched to find the refugees embattled with the marshall’s elite warriors.
  • Though they managed to save one man alive and one who was wounded it seemed that the marshall had betrayed them, and the entire company were under attack by thousands of the northlander elites. When all hope seemed lost Toothpick reached out to both of his fellow mercenaries and the world shifted. The entire company found themselves travelling leagues in mere moments. When their vision cleared the entire 9th Company of the Black Suns had been moved deep into the Arrowleaf Wood
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