Note: The first part of this post is a short recap of our session before last. The second part is a more detailed recap of our last foray in Malavon that was graciously written up for us by Dan (AKA Svarnos, Gjord). Thanks Dan this really helps a lot.
With the manticore trapped in the High Tower of castle Riveon the party fought their way out of the citadel. Hacking their way through troops of orcs and wargs the party made it to the Arcas River and stole some orcish boats which they used to make a quick getaway. The Arcas flows swiftly and they were quickly drawn away from any pursuing orcs. Even though they were fatigued they continued traveling through the night and the next day they arrived at small dock near the city of Arrain they abandoned the orc boats and went to the city.
Arrain is a large stone walled city with a deep moat surrounding it. The land around it is swampy with twisted copses of trees dotting the landscape. Most of the stone structures within are covered with green moss due to the humidity that builds up in the area during the summer.
The adventurers immediately found a place to recuperate and rest at a fine inn called the Silver Tankard. Here they rested and after throwing copious amounts of some of their hard earned gold at the owner and staff of the inn they enjoyed a fine celebratory meal. Here they learned that the ranger Eldan would be leaving the party to join up with his fellow rangers of the Broken Lands. Now that the main power of Riveon was overthrown the rangers would see if they could find a way to drive the remaining orcs out of the citadel forever. The next day with many thanks and good wishes Eldan left the party.
The party made its way to Grisoan then to Berengel to retrieve their horses that were being kept in a horse traders paddock that they had paid for before leaving on their adventure to Riveon. The horses were well kept and the adventurers would need them for they wished to travel as swiftly as they could to Miragar. In Miragar they hoped they could hire a ship that would take them to the Wizard's Isle where they knew the sorceress Aness awaited them. They also knew that she would be pleased with their success in retrieving the Shadow Cylinder that was hidden away in Riveon all these years.
On their way to Wychton however terror and tragedy struck. In the night as they prepared for sleep they were assaulted by shades and shadows — minions of the Shadow Dragon! The creatures first tried to persuade the party to give them the Cylinder for these beings claimed that they could feel its presence on them.
The parley was short lived and battle soon commenced. The shades used darkness and magic to their advantage and the shadows drained the strength of those the touched. The fight was harrowing but the party managed to be victorious although one of the shades escaped into the dark of night. Also, they found to their horror that their loyal companion Tursan lay dead — drained by the cold touch of a shadow!
Note: The shades appear as men except with all color drained from them. Their skin and hair is gray and even their eyes are a milky gray making them appear blind. They were once men that in their greed for power gave their allegiance to the Shadow Dragon. In exchange the Dragon gave them access to the mysterious forces of the demi-plane of Shadow but he also drained all their humanity from them and made them his slaves forever.
The shadows appear as vaguely man shaped clouds of swirling darkness and it is said they were once living beings. They have no solidity but they can still attack for their icy touch drains the strength of their victims.
Our adventurers had just finished up with a gruesome battle against the shades. They were able to despatch all but one of their attackers. "There always seems to be one that escapes" said Gjord, speaking thoughts that as of late, have consistently crossed the others' minds. Unfortunately, at this time, their thoughts were with Martijn's apprentice, Tursan; he was slain by one of the shades just moments ago.
The rest of the party decided to bury Tursan in a cairn. They took his gold but left him with his armor and weapons: 'He would need those in the green, battle-torn fields of a warrior's afterlife,' thought Galifynakus. As they were going to and fro, collecting various rocks and stones from the broken lands, something unnerving happened. Tursan's body had disappeared and his chain shirt had fallen to the ground. The party was quite stunned and confused about what had just occurred. Svarnos stated that maybe the diety he worshipped not only took his soul, but his body as well. That thought brought back awful memories to Fionula's mind. "When someone gets killed by a shade," she explained, "they take the body for their own, only to make another one of those shadowy creatures." The party's hearts grew heavier with this information and they knew that when they told Tursan's family of his death, they would have to leave out that part. They would be greiving enought without that horrible news.
The party was now trying to figure out their next move. There was some talk of using Rope Trick to hide for a few hours and possibly blank the magic cylinder from the shades' senses. Svarnos said they could strategically place the rope right at the edge of the cliff, so when it was time to escape, they could scale down the cliff wall to the river below, changing their direction towards Sulthe. After some discussion, they agreed that their best plan of action would be to pack up their camp, and ride straight through the night. They would make it to Wychton in about 4 hours, and they would be extremely tired, but it was worth the risk.
They arrived in Wychton a few hours before dawn. Both the guards at the bridge and the tower, recognized the party as the ones who rescued the Mayor's daughter, Monnene, from the dreaded Wyvern. Due to guards' memory, they didn't have to pay the bridge tax, and they were spared the questioning a typical rag-tag bunch would receive at this hour. They headed straight to the Wyvern's Watch. Upon entering, they encountered a younger man at the bar, and not the owner, Garam, whom they knew well. They all felt a bit better seeing that second Wyvern's head hanging on the wall. It brought back memories of that very successful adventure. The younger man didn't recognize them, but the party really didn't care; they just wanted their much needed sleep.
The next morning, as the entered the common area, they saw Garam working behind the bar. He greeted them happily and treated them to a fine breakfast. When they had finished, they began asking him if anyone had been looking for them or even asking about them. They didn't want to fully reveal that the shades were following them, but they wanted to find out anything they could. Garam didn't have much to offer, but he did inform them that Tharivol, the elf who had given them the Fey wine, was coming in that night to visit. He and Garam were going to have a few drinks and talk about the one party member they lost when they fought the original Wyvern, whose head was the first one to hang in the Wyvern's Watch. Garam asked the party to join them for dinner that night and they agreed.
Before continuing with the rest of their day, the party convened to one of the two rooms that they had gotten. Due to Svarnos' paranoia that they were being scried or perhaps had some sort of listening spell cast on one of their objects, they placed all of their belongings (besides their clothes that they wore) into the other room. Jarvis sat in the hall, keeping his eye open for any undesirables. The party talked about the options they had, and finally decided to leave early the next morning and make a quick break for Miragar. As they ended their conversation, Jarvis let Svarnos know that someone was coming. As Svarnos opened they door, he saw Moneen, trying to pet Jarvis; but the cat wanted nothing to do with it. Svarnos stepped out of character and greeted Monnene with a big smile and a hug. "Monnene, it's so great to see you." She returned the hug but was definitely more interested in seeing Martijn; the one, in her eyes, who saved her from the Wyvern. The entire party said hello, and Moneen invited them to the manor house for dinner. They politely declined and told her that Garam had already invited them to dinner. Monnene, extended the invitation to Garam as well, in hopes to sway the party to dine with her and her father. When they asked him, Garam accepted, but very reluctantly. "I would have rather had a nice dinner under the natural sky than in a stuffy manor house," he quipped, "but it is not a good choice to turn down an invitation from the mayor."
Magic items were the next topic of discussion, so the party headed out to visit Gilac. He greeted them in his usual aloof manner, but he did invite them in to peruse his current inventory. There were potions and scrolls, and even a few wands, but two certain items were worthy of the adventurers' gold: a Bag of Holding, and a scroll of Teleport Without Error. The latter, they felt, was the safest and quickest way to Vegrain. Their optimism was quickly shattered when they realized the level of experience needed to cast such a powerful spell. They all remembered the debacle with the last Teleport scroll that they tried using while in Ilnath's Tower in the Ruins of Riveon. They then focused their eyes on the Bag of Holding; not only as a means to travel unencumbered with a great deal of items, but also as a possible hiding place for the cylinder. During their last battle, the main shade had revealed to them that the shades could sense the cylinder. Was this true or was it just a ruse? Either way, the party felt that this bag could help them on multiple levels. They told Gilac that they would be back late this night and would be purchasing either the scroll, if they could find an experienced wizard to cast it, or the bag. Due to all of the window-shoppers that Gilac dealt with on a day to day basis, he didn't put much stock in their words.
The party returned to the Wyvern's Watch and arrived about the same time Tharivol did. They were all happy to see each other again, and as usual, they started the questioning. Tharivol told them of Orcs coming down from Goruthim and traversing into the lands just outside of Malavon. When Svarnos brought up the grey-skinned creatures that they had seen, a very concerned look fell onto the elf's brow. He attempted to find out why the party was seeing these shades, but they skirted around the fact that they battled together. Instead, they just told Tharivol that they had seen them several times from a distance and felt it was a bit strange. Tharivol had corroborated Anes' stories about the shades.
As they spoke, two carriages, provided by the mayor, pulled up to the Wyyvern's Watch. All of the guests were then brought over to the manor house. The dinner was regal, as was to be expected, and the party delighted mayor Evaloix Arandire and his daughter, with their tales of adventure. Even Garam and Tharivol took interest in some of the more intriguing stories. It was short lived for Garam due to his quickened pace with the strong drink that was readily available.
There was a small hedge-maze in the courtyard, and Monnene invited Martijn to view it with her. Martijn, not wanting to split up the party at this time, politely and galantly declined. Seeing the rejection in Monnene's face, and knowing damn well how to take advantage of a stituation, Svarnos quickly interjected. "I would love to see the hedge maze with you." Monnene's spite got the best of her, and with a quick look towards Martijn, she accepted Svarnos' offer. Svarnos glanced back, smiling at Martijn, only to see the knight throw up his hands and mouth "what the fuck?" During their short walk, Svarnos was able to hold Monnene's hand, but was unable to go any further. It wasn't for lack of trying. "Maybe next time," he thought to himself.
As the night wore on, Garam's intoxicated voice rose over the conversations. His words stumbled out, but everyone could decipher that he was making a toast to that female party member they lost while fighting that Wyvern. By his tone and words, they could tell that there was a stronger feeling that must have been present between Garam and this female, but the party would not find out that night, for the alcohol had finally taken Garam's consciousness. At this point, Galifynakus, also heavily clouded by beer, began asking; almost demanding, for someone to tend to his feet. The level of awkwardness grew quickly and the rest of the party knew it was their time to leave.
Note: The woman Garam was going on about was named Melil. She was an elven cleric that Garam used to adventure with and that he obviously had romantic feelings for. Unfortunately, she was paralyzed in the battle with the wyvern of The Wyvern's Watch fame and was trampled to death by the monster before the eyes of Garam.
I don't know why, but that description just made me laugh.
After they dropped off Garam and Tharivol at the Wyvern's watch, they party quickly made their way back to Gilac's. As he invited them in, they heard an older women's drunken cackle resonating from the main room. They saw a women with grey hair, holding a mug of some potent drink, enjoying herself throuroghly. Gilac introduced her as Marna, his mentor. Svarnos questioned her to see if she would be able to cast Teleport from the scroll they were eyeing earlier. With a great laugh she had revealed that it was too powerful for her to cast without great risk of failing. With that information, they opted for the Bag of Holding.
They decided to pool all of their platinum and gold in order to attain the 5000 gold-piece price tag. Unfortunately, they did not have enough, but they delved into the party treasure to get some gems for the balance. Luckily, Svarnos convinced Gilac to sell them the bag for a total of 4600 in platinum, gold, and gems. He graciously took the offer and let them know that this was a more powerful bag than a typical one. It could hold up to 500lbs and 70 cubic feet. After this purchase, Gilac realized that the party actually followed through on their word, and he thanked them for their business.
The party quickly returned to the Wyvern's Watch and began to bed down. The knew tomorrow was going to be an early and long day.