A Brotherhood Reborn

Against all odds

neandrix.jpg

Against all odds. The gang made their way to a volcano. they found the things they were tracking were kobolds. after several hours making their way through the volcano the discovered many things such as weird fire creatures that had tablets with vague writing on them. they later found out it was part of a logic puzzle. they also fought a fire elemental in the center of the temple. However none of that compared to the final trial they were to endure. They found all of the prisoners tied to stalagmites, all of the kobolds were gathered in this room chanting the same thing over and over again NEANDRIX. The party fought Neandrix which turned out to be a red dragon. the battle was long and grueling, hope seemed lost as party members started dropping, but at the last moment Illivan with the blessing of Andromalek struck the killing blow bringing the beast down. They also found out the Dragon was guarding the arc fire stone. What will they do next?

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One Red Thread...
Olivia's Journal

1st Day of Aestra – 1282

The one month anniversary of my family’s passing came and went without notice. It was most likely for the best…I spent the evening by myself, lost in introspection and overwhelmed by grief. My claims of sea-sickness weren’t entirely false. The alone time was simply a benefit.

The nightmares have increased in frequency and intensity. Before I would have them once or twice a week. They would bring with them a distant, ethereal pain, more akin to yearning than grief; now, however, they come every night. They are much more vivid, as though I am reliving the moment of my brother’s murder over and over. But they don’t all concern the past. Many of them read like visions a future I pray never comes to pass.

When I awake from these dreams, I do so covered in a cold sweat. I wake unable to breath, gasping and sobbing until I become physically ill. Even the clothes I bought in Azmin fit too loosely on my frame. By my estimations, I have already lost nearly twenty pounds. I fear I am wasting away, driven by my sickness and nonexistent appetite.

If things continue to get worse, I will be forced to disclose my condition. When that happens, I will most likely go to Kaine. My trust in him is absolute. I cannot imagine telling anyone else aboard this ship. What would they think of me? Olivia Martel—Duchess of Ravinia—brought to her knees by a few bad dreams. I can only imagine the scorn. They see me as weak; I cannot let anything—affliction of the body or otherwise—worsen my already abysmal image. I cannot lose the minuscule amount of respect I am afforded.

I wish Faínor were here. He would know what to say…he was always an inspiring leader. Just being in the same room as him made your heart swell with courage and pride. Everything from his stature to his manner of speaking commanded respect. He should be the one here today…not me.

Nonetheless, it is me. I am the sole inheritor of House Martel and the lands of Ravinia. It seems so much like a cruel joke. I was never meant to rule. Faínor was the Heir, Corrin was the General. Sylvana was the Ambassador. Me? I was the embarrassment. The trouble-maker. I would do anything to take it all back, to study harder or train more. I would give anything to hug my brothers one last time…

As I write this, I feel a resolve unlike any other, pushing back against my overflowing self-doubt. It tells me to make my family proud. It whispers that I must train harder and watch my words with great care, knowing the dangerous game I am soon to embark on. If I have any hope of reclaiming my titles, I must garner respect like Faínor once did. I must command armies with the enthusiasm and confidence of Corrin. And I must learn to speak with all the easy elegance of Sylvana. Without their lessons, there is no hope for me.

How can I inspire thousands to our cause when I cannot even gain the respect of my friends?

They do not understand the weight I bear. They do not understand the depths of my pain. They cannot. I am a noble of Arcadia—that does not just mean I live in a manor and plan balls all day. I have responsibilities to the common people far beyond what any ordinary citizen could understand.

I remember my grand-father’s execution, though I was just a child when it happened. In public, Father called him a foolhardy idealist; behind closed doors, he told me that he died to spare the people of Ravinia from the King’s wrath. Archades had an army amassed at the border. Had my grand-father not relented and given himself up, Ravinia would have gone to war and countless innocents would have died.

That is what it means to be a noble. It means making sacrifices so others do not have to. It means putting the needs of your people beyond your own. It means taking the fall to spare others punishment. It is a weight every noble must bear and it is one they must do alone. Like my father and his father before him, I, too, will bear that weight. It is why I took the Arch Stone. It is my sworn duty to the people of Ravinia to keep them safe and if anything should go wrong—if the Stone should be lost—it should be my price to pay. That is not their responsibility.

In Azmin, I was overwhelmed by grief. I let it consume me. I did not consider the impact of my words and actions and—shamefully—I did not act the part of a Noblewoman. Now, that part of me is gone, drowned forever in sorrow and despair. The second we landed in Mara, I realized I had to change. My melancholy was replaced with a white-hot rage, threatening to boil over. How frustrating—to be home and not be strong enough to right any of the wrongs here. I failed the people of Mara. I cannot fail again. I will do whatever it takes to become more powerful.

As I write this, the crew is celebrating our victory over the magnificent dragon of the volcano. I see no cause for celebration. Dragons are child’s play compared to what we are to face in the coming months. If we have any hope of accomplishing our goals, we must become stronger. I must become stronger.

No one else will die due to my weakness.

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I Need to Get These Thoughts on Paper So They Stop Buzzing Around in My Brain
Flint

Lucina left in the middle of the night when we were back in Mara. She left without a word… I can’t say I blame her, those twins have had me wrapped around their finger ever since they’ve exploded into my life. I’m in over my head with their powers over me, and I hurt her because of it… She is better off not getting mixed up in our lives, we seem to always be either on the precipice of chaos or we’re drowning in it. Not that I’m shocked by that fact, and it makes life so much more vivid so I’m thankful. For the longest time I was just seeing life in such muted and bleak tones, and it used to be so easy to feel numb. Now I feel like everything is so vibrant, that the light makes my eyes ache. I just take that as proof that I can feel again.

More has happened in my life here in Arcadia than it ever has in Frostfall, even though Frostfall is where my life has pivoted until things came crashing down around my ears. Now my life seems to have oriented itself around the moment I met Olivia, Illivan and Kaine in that cell, and then hours later Zakathera… One could also argue it was when we all met Andromalek. One moment my greatest concern was of settling down and starting a family, and then a year and two months later I’m a wanted man in two countries, and I’m off sailing on a ship with pirates and slaying dragons in volcanoes! Andromalek is a God full of surprises. Pledging my life to him was an impulsive decision, but quite honestly I think He has done so much more good and bad for me than I probably even realize. He stole away my excuses to just let myself rot away from the inside, and now He is thrusting me into situations I couldn’t have even dreamed I was capable of surviving through until after I have done so.

One month I have nothing to live for, and then the next my life is busting at the seams with possibilities, with danger, with hope, with riches, with intrigue… And with power. As these events blast their way through my life I seem to keep learning more and more about my magical abilities, too. My skill was low and I wasn’t as sensitive to it, but now I feel this dormant power inside myself that I’m just now starting to be able to tap into. Feeling my abilities surge through my veins as I unleash a powerful spell is more addictive than adrenaline! I keep playing with new arcane concepts when I can, and I keep running into so many possibilities I didn’t even bother dwelling on before. I can’t help but feel mad at myself for not exploring these skills. At the time I was more focused on getting along with the people of the towns I visited, but now I just look at all those years and see all that time I wasted. I can’t help but feel excited and motivated by my life, despite everything. The pain of losing Her can never go away, but it seems like I’ve become strong enough to start living, just in time for my life to start coming alive.

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On the run

On the run again. The gang managed to re-enter the factory only to encounter no one. after some searching around they find Dr. Shinra working in his office. He puts everyone in a trance and a battle ensues. Ollie challenged the Dr. to a duel. She lost. after forcing the Dr. to retreat Leo flooded the factory. Long story short the group gained renown in Mara. Which didn’t last long Damian informed the group an old friend had fixed his airship and would be here any moment. so the group departed. the stumbles onto an island with a volcano short on supplies and currently on the run they set up camp on the beach. Nami sent out a scouting party which never returned. being the heroes our party is they set off after the scouting party and tracked something to the entrance of the volcano. What will happen next.

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Zakathra's Journal

Post 1
I can hardly believe how far we have come; yet, we still have so far to go. Our group has been inundated with new faces recently—it has been overwhelming. First, Lorien. She is the same fiery young woman I remember so long ago. Difficult as ever, but reliable. Her sharp tongue is a blessing and a curse. If she were less capable, I might be worried about her.

Sam and Grog spend their time discussing their bed and breakfast, arguing over every miniscule detail—décor, food, ale. They are always thinking and planning. Their ale sounds interesting. I’m sure they will find success in Algassi; If there is any city in the world where a human and a half-orc can open a tap house and find commercial success, it is this one. The Smashing Pumpkin is destined for greatness.

Nami and her crew remain hard at work, as usual. She plays the part of Captain well. She keeps her guard up—a wise precaution when you keep pirates as company. Tobias and Lamar have been running a small shop on the ship. Occasionally they will drink a little too much of Havok’s brew and begin to recite poetry! They are quite talented, even if their poems can be a little…crass, at times. Speaking of Havok, he spends most of his free time doting on his cannon. I hear his small explosive device found relative success at the factory in Mara—Olivia came back more than a little singed after being caught in the blast. Poor girl.

Rex didn’t seem to be phased by his mishap with the bounty hunter. He’s still the same lecherous little halfling we’ve all come to know and grudgingly accommodate. He still follows Olivia around like a sick puppy, but he’s had quite a bit of fun bothering Tit and Tat as of late. He doesn’t seem to mind his things being stolen, so long as he gets a little attention. Will he ever learn?

Icarus has been crucial in navigating the ship thus far. If he were more confident, he would be a very talented storm cleric. Instead, he lets his self-doubt cloud his mind. He’s still so young. I feel horrible to drag him into the middle of such a bloody conflict. I can only hope he grows more confident with age and with practice.

Sovalis is—well, he is Sovalis. He questions everything. I am interested to see how long he decides to stay with the rebellion. It is rare for a Firbolg to travel so far away from his grove…

Lucina left late in the night before we set sail for Algassi. She didn’t speak with anyone before she left, but I know she has been unsatisfied for a while. I do hope she finds what she is looking for.

Then there is Tit and Tat. They are…interesting, to say the least. I can’t say I approve of their lifestyle choices, but it is not my place to judge. They will be leaving once we reach the city, I’m sure. I can’t imagine they would find much satisfaction in being a rebel. Insurgency doesn’t pay the bills.

The Outlanders are gone, too, on another quest. It is good that they are spreading our reach, but Kaine was sad to see them go, regardless.

Kaine. Where do I even begin? He has lost so much. He sacrificed so much of his life to this cause. Usually, he is so cheerful and optimistic. Since Azmin, he has been quiet, reserved. He drowns himself in alcohol every night to the point he can barely stand… Returning to his home must have brought back so many painful memories. I wish I could help him.

Then there is Flint, Olivia, and Illivan. These three are, without a doubt, the future leaders of this rebellion. They have so much potential, so much resolve. To an outsider, they may look like criminals or mercenaries, but they are so much more than that—they are heroes. They fought back the goblin army at Azmin. They destroyed the factory poisoning the people of Mara and their food supply. I believe in them…it has been a long time since I’ve believed in much of anything…I’ve been looking for our former general, but I haven’t a clue where he might be hiding. I’m all but useless without my focus, and I find myself struggling to understand my place in this rebellion.

Flint, too, struggled to find his place. He is always second guessing himself. I believe he still carries the guilt of this past. I have only heard bits and pieces of the story, but he thinks himself weak for falling under Tit and Tat’s spell and so easily handing over the Arch Stone to them. I wish there was some way to reassure him—let him know he is not weak. I wish I had a way to show him every misstep I took when I was first beginning my journey and show him that it is okay to make mistakes. He is brave, acutely intelligent in a way no one else in this rebellion is. We will be much worse without him in our ranks, that is for sure. I very much so hope he and Olivia can learn to communicate more effectively…

Speaking of Olivia…she is argumentative, distrustful, and stubborn—much like I was at her age. She has lost so much in the past few months; I’m sure the memories sting like salt in the wound. She is hardly more than a child, trying so desperately to cling to whatever parts of her past she can. She is so young and so inexperienced, it can be easy to forget that she is one of the most politically powerful people in Arcadia and deserving of respect. I must remember to reach out and give her some guidance…I was once just as awkward and clumsy. Still…she is driven in a way that is frightening at times; she is covered in scars she refuses to acknowledge and trains every day until her knuckles bleed. She is not just the child of a Duke. I cannot help but fear she is not committed to the cause. I fear her desire for power—for revenge—will lead her down dark roads better not taken…

Lastly there is Illivan. Illivan has absolutely no filter. It can be charming—at the right moment. He has grown cold towards me in the recent weeks. He used to be so flirtatious…it made me feel normal. It was a splendid feeling. It had been a long time since I felt so happy…I wonder why he stopped. It is hard for me to admit, but it does hurt. He keeps his secrets well, never letting more than a few sentences slip at a time. I can’t blame him. It must be so hard, knowing your child is out there, kidnapped, but not knowing where he is or what you must do to find him. I cannot say I envy him.

My time has come and gone. It is time for new leaders to step up and take their place in the rebellion. I have no doubt that these three can bring an end to this terrible war and liberate the people of Arcadia.

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The Chronicles of Azmin

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[ REDACTED BY THE ARCADIAN INTELLIGENCE DIVISION ]

ARCADIAN INTELLIGENCE DIVISION
JUDGE-MAGISTER DAMIEN
PERSONAL LOG

[ ENTRY No. 38 ]

The past few weeks have been…eventful, to say the least. Rylof has been trampling about in a futile attempt to locate his lost prisoners. I’ve yet to discover why, exactly, they mean so much to him—or is it a case of broken pride? Is the only reason he’s chasing these rat-catchers across the desert because they escaped his “inescapable” prison? Regardless of his reasons, I am the one following in his wake and cleaning up his messes. I will not miss this post when all is said and done.

[ ENTRY No. 42 ]

I think I speak for everyone when I say the goblin attack came as a surprise. No one expected them to be building an army of that magnitude. How long had they been building up their numbers? I am sure the town would have perished if not for the kindness of Rylof’s rat-catchers; they fought valiantly, for criminals and mercenaries. I’m in shock they would so readily hand over the Arch Stone. Perhaps they are starting to trust me…? As strange as it sounds, they are growing on me.

[ ENTRY No. 49 ]

The prisoner’s managed to run the blockade and destroy the entire outpost. I would be more impressed if I weren’t the one working overtime to cover up their fireworks display. The people of Azmin are already uncomfortable with the increased Archadian presence in their city. I can’t imagine they are going to enjoy what is to come.

On the positive side, I am being relocated to Mara—to forests and greenery. I am not being briefed until I arrive in the city (not usually a good sign) but it can’t possibly be worse than cleaning up after Rylof.

[ ENTRY No. 54 ]

Mara has been a disaster since Day Zero. My briefing—if it could be called that—was so hopelessly vague and uninformative, they may as well not have told me anything at all. The only knowledge I was afforded was that there was a factory upriver and that it was approved by Decro himself. I am under the almost constant watch of the Shadow Guard, which is just as bad as Rylof, honestly. They are disrespectful and prone to violence—not unlike their obnoxious excuse of a leader. I almost miss the desert. Almost.

[ ENTRY No. 58 ]

Something feels very…wrong, here. I’m not sure how to describe it. Decro is intentionally withholding information from me…is this a test? Am I unworthy of trust? Either way, I must be careful. I fear I am treading on thin ice.

[ ENTRY No. 60 ]

The prisoners arrived in Mara just in time to witness the Shadow Guard in action. One of the prisoners had a surprising reaction to their presence (note: I must look into that more. Very interesting). I asked them to investigate the factory on my behalf. I have acted recklessly thus far and endangered myself unnecessarily. I must try harder to keep my association with the prisoners more secret in the future. I refuse to end up like the two Judges before me—one labeled “traitor” and the other personally executed by Decro himself. This job has proven more dangerous from the inside than out…

[ ENTRY No. 62 ]

The factory was destroyed and the people rejoiced. The prisoners were received as heroes to the citizens of the town. They have started calling themselves the Keepers of Truth. How ironic.

They didn’t hesitate to hand over the information they retrieved from the factory. I read over the information quickly, scarcely believing what I saw. Even worse, the documents contained Decro’s signature. He knew what would happen to the people of Mara and he knows the implications. I do not want to believe he is capable of such terrible schemes, but maybe I have misjudged him. I am bringing the information to Vossler’s attention at my first chance. If there is anyone in this order I can trust, it is him.

I wanted to stay and talk with the prisoners some more; unfortunately Rylof was already en route to the city and they had to leave post haste. They are starting to grow on me.

I am to leave Mara first thing in the morning; Decro has called a meeting of the Judges in Algassi.

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Azmin post 2
front page 2

Illie gets sick. The party was very worried about Rex not coming home last night. Where is he? After doing some digging, Flint and Olivia manage to find him doing chores for some woman, and he’s acting a little weird. Flint and Ollie come to the conclusion that he must be under some spell. Or he got laid. But probably the spell. Flint and Ollie pose as flower salesmen to gain admittance to the woman’s house. The woman gives Flint money to go into town and buy more. Flint has different plans for that 8 gold and instead goes to the Cat House, a brothel of exclusively Miqote women. He meets some lovely twins with black fur. Needless to say, we don’t hear from him for a few hours. Meanwhile Olivia is still trying to get Rex out, wondering where the hell Flint is. After skillfully stalling for a couple of hours, it dawns of Ollie that this woman is stalling, too. She notices some wanted posters of the party in her kitchen. She quickly excuses herself to the bathroom. When she returns, she finds Rylof waiting in the woman’s living room. She’s a bounty hunter, surprise of the century. Rylof attempts to get information out of Olivia with no success. He restrains Ollie and Rex and brings them to the Cat House, where Flint is still under the spell of Tit and Tat. Those two are working for Rylof, too. Who would’ve guessed? After some threats from Rylof, Flint and Ollie use their amulets to teleport to Andromalek’s Inn. The two failures get cursed and when they are teleported back to Azmin, they end up right next to Judge Damien, sipping a mai thai, just in time to see smoke rising from the Cat House. Damien is very upset with them and say’s he will be checking in soon. The party heads back to Kaine’s house with Rex and informs the rest of the Brotherhood what, exactly, happened.

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The Gang has Girl Problems

The Gang has Girl Problems

Once the gang notices their Halfling buddy has disappeared, they set out on a late-night search. Despite looking for an hour and talking to the guards, they are unable to find any sign of Rex. Olivia gives Kaine a gift she picked up for him in the market and he, surprisingly, has a present for her, too. A journal, so she can take out her anger on the book and not the local barkeeps. Illivan is out of commission, which leaves Olivia and Flint to save the day. Flint goes to the tavern Rex had been frequenting to speak to the bartender while Olivia went to the market to search for any signs.

Flint finds out that Rex left around 7pm last night, with a lady he had never seen before. Flint is excited by the prospect that Rex was finally able to get some.

Meanwhile, Olivia spots a Halfling carting around a large stack of fancy boxes; he’s trailing a well-dressed busty woman. Olivia is initially convinced it can’t be Rex, but a quick investigation reveals it to be their Halfling compatriot. Rather than do the rational thing and go get Flint, Olivia decides to follow them and find out where they are staying. She discovers a nice house in the merchant district, not far from the town square. Ollie tries to climb into a 2nd story window, but fails terribly. She’s spotted by a noisy old man, who won’t stop threatening to call the guard until she gives him a gold piece to be quiet.

At this point, Olivia decides to try another approach. She buys some cheap flowers from a local florist and knocks on the front door.

To her surprise, Rex answers.

“Rex!” Olivia exclaims, “what happened to you, why didn’t you come home last night?”

Rex looks around, clearly dazed. “I…I don’t know…”

Olivia bites her lip. “Rex, come on. We have to go.”

“I…can’t.”

“What? Why not?” Olivia starts tugging on his sleeve.

“I don’t know, I just…can’t.”

A voice calls from the other room. “Rex, sweety. The dishes need done.”

Rex snaps to attention and turns around, leaving the door wide open. “Coming dear.” He says, as he walks into the kitchen. Olivia takes a peak around, but can’t find anything suspicious. Realizing he must be under a spell, Olivia decides she needs to find Flint and let him know what has befallen their friend.

It doesn’t take long to find Flint at the docks. Olivia, flowers still in hand, starts trying to explain what happened.

“I found Rex!” she said between breaths, her hands on her knees. “He’s with a lady, but I don’t think he wants to be.”

They discussed the possibilities for a few moments. Flint asked if maybe Rex was just attracted to a beautiful woman. Olivia relayed how dazed and confused Rex had been when he spoke to her, and how he dropped everything the second he heard her voice. Flint agreed it sounded like a spell of some sort, but the two were unsure how to break Rex out of it.

Olivia suggested that they act like salesmen of some sort to try to gain access to the house. Flint felt like they should wait until evening but Ollie wanted Rex to get them into the poker tournament that night. After a few moments of debate, they decided to act like flower salesmen.

On the way back to the busty lady’s house, the crossed paths with a Miqote-only brothel, called the Cat House. Flint was starstruck, but Ollie pulled him onwards, saying they’d have time for girls later.

They approached the house and knocked on the door. This time, a pretty woman opened the door. She was indeed busty, but probably on the wrong side of 30. Regardless, Flint and Olivia gave her their spheal and were able to subtly push themselves into her house. They kept talk fast-talking trying to stall for time. Flint asked to use the restroom and Olivia ran to the kitchen trying to get Rex. She tried pulling him out of the front-door but he struggled to the point where Ollie couldn’t carry him. She begged and pleaded, and Rex really did want to leave, he just couldn’t. As the woman started walking down the hallway, Olivia had to let Rex rush back in the kitchen just to avoid being caught. Eventually she asked Flint to go get her some flowers from the flower stall, and gave him 8gp to fetch them for her. Flint didn’t think anything of it, and took off with the money.

In order to get to the market again, Flint had to pass by the Cat House. This time, he didn’t have any outside support. He had this gold that he had pretty much gotten for free, right? An hour or so wouldn’t kill anyone. Right? So Flint slid into the Cat House and was tickled and tantalized by two beautiful black-fur Miqote beauties.

Meanwhile, Olivia sits at the woman’s house, hands neatly folded in her lap, making small talk as best she can. Flint has been gone for several hours and things are very clearly not going according to plan. She still hasn’t been able to figure out what has Rex so twisted. Ollie looks into the kitchen and notices three “WANTED” posters hanging on the wall. This is when she realizes that they are so fucked. She excuses herself to the restroom to try to figure things out. There’s no window in the bathroom, so she checks the next room. She’s almost entirely out of the window when she stops. Ollie can’t just leave Rex behind. He’s an annoying little pervert, but he’s their annoying little pervert. She resolves not to leave without Rex.

She comes out of the room and starts making a little scene trying to play off her hour-long bathroom contemplation. As she steps into the living room, she sees the woman, along with a familiar black-armored figure.

“Oh, I think it just hit me again, haha. Round two.” She grasps her stomach and runs back into the bathroom, locking it behind her. Judge Rylof cannot be here. No, no, no. And where in the world is Flint? It’s been four hours!

At the Cat House…

Flint is almost out of money, so he starts to leave the Brothel. He is almost out the door when he stops to consider what he’s doing. Twins, he thinks. Black fur. With those thoughts, he turns around and goes back into the Cat House.

Back to Olivia…

There is a knock on the bathroom door. She opens it to Rex. She pulls him in the bathroom and starts trying to talk him out of his trance. Without his jacket, Ollie can see a glowing ruby necklace around his neck. She pulls it off and smashes it hard on the ground. Rex snaps out of the charm and Olivia starts unloading everything that happened on him. “Rylof is here, Flint disappeared four hours ago…”

“Shit. Rylof is here? What are we gonna do?” Rex asked.

“Ok, ok, I have a plan. Hear me out, ok?” Rex nodded, “Ok. So the plan is…are you ready for this? The plan is…we get captured. On purpose.”

Rex looks confused. “How does that help?”

“Ok, so you and me, we can get out of any locks they put on us. They are either going to take us to the Azmin jail, which we can break out of easy. Or they will take us to the airship and we get shipped straight to Arcadia. That one is less fun,” Olivia continued, “but we have a lot of chances to escape.”

“We still got that amulet, right Olivia?” the realization dawned on him as he said it.

“Yes! That’s it Rex! You are a genius!” she gives him a gentle kiss on the cheek. “Alright, let’s go get captured.”

They come out of the bathroom and walk down the hall, back to the living area. Rylof is sitting on the couch, his large frame combined with the full plate armor making the delicate tea cup pinched between his gauntlets look comically undersized. Olivia decides to stall for time by being as obnoxious as she possibly can be.

“What do you look like under that helm, Rylof?” she asks, “are you hot? Wait, Damien is the hot one, right? Is he the hot one? I can never remember my Arcadian history. I mean, your lips are pretty kissable, gotta admit so I don’t know, maybe you ARE the hot one…” She continued to babble. Rylof sips some tea and passes a large sack of money to the woman.

“Good work as always.” He says in his trademarked deep, manly growl. He turns to face Olivia. “Shut up. You will answer my questions. Understood?”

Ollie ignores him and continues to babble.

Rylof slams his hand and the tea cup down on the table. “ENOUGH.” He yells. “Bring me the Halfling.” A few soldiers begin to move towards the two rebels.

“No, wait.” Olivia stammers, “what do you want to know?” she places herself in front of the soldiers and Rex.

“First, what are you doing for Damien? Second, where are your friends?”

“We aren’t doing anything for Damien,” she says, “he just said, ‘oh good job pissing off Rylof, I love that’ and left. Second, we all went our separate ways. Me and Flint stayed together, but the other people said they had some business to do or whatever.”

Rylof seems to consider her answers for a moment before motioning for his soldiers. “Kill the Halfling.”

Olivia puts her arms out. “Leave him out of this, he’s not involved with us. He has no idea what we are involved in. Please.” Rex takes a few steps back.

“One more chance. What are you doing for Damien and where are your friends?”

“I already answered your questions! I told you! We aren’t working with Damien. It’s just me and Flint, and I don’t know where he is, he left hours ago!”

A cocky smile graces Rylof’s smooth, luscious lips. “Oh, I know exactly where your marble friend is. Maybe he will be more cooperative.” He signs for his men to manacle Rex and Olivia.

He leads them out of the house, the two friends walking side by side. They reach the Cat House, where two gorgeous black-fur Miqote escort a very satisfied Flint outside.

“Ladies. Tit. Tat.” He says. Vines sprout from the ground and entangle Flint, who doesn’t try to fight it at all.

“So worth it.” He says with a contented smile. “so, so worth it.”

Rylof tries to interrogate Flint, but Olivia keeps talking and talker. He signals for one of the soldiers to shut her up. The soldier takes a dagger and stabs her in the shoulder. It doesn’t faze her for a minute. She keeps talking, so the soldier drags the blade down.

“Meh. Not the worst stabbing I’ve lived through.” Olivia thinks aloud. Flint looks over at her.

“Hey Ollie. Are you ready to get out of here?” he asks. Olivia considers it.

“Yeah. Are we really going to talk about this right in front of Rylof?” she asks.

“Oh yeah. On the count of three. One. Two. Three. FOR ANDROMALEK!” Flint yells, disappearing into thin air.

Olivia grasps Rex’s hand in hers and yells the same, and the two disappear into the Realm of Chaos.

Andromalek is in the middle of a tea party when the three arrive. He seems surprised to see them. He recharges the party’s amulets and gives them magical items which are less magical and, well, more cursed. Flint becomes more in-tune with his lustful side and Olivia adds another traumatizing event to her night terrors. Andromalek in his infinitely sadistic sense of humor, teleports the three ratcatchers right next to Judge Damien, relaxing at a café with a margarita, just in time to see the smoke begin rising from the Cat House.

Arcadia’s best journalist is understandably upset with the group, declaring that they’ll be working Saturday just to cover up for his hot-headed compatriot. He reveals that he knows where the party is staying and that he’ll be in touch soon…

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The Gang Goes to Therapy

The Gang Goes to Therapy

The three-day journey from the ruined temple was marred with violent scorpion attacks. The party was able to kill the scorpions and harvest some of their meat and venom. Upon arrival in Azmin, the group promptly split, with Rex and Flint searching the area for any signs of the Crowes. Unfortunately, even with Rex, they were unsuccessful. Zakathra and Olivia tried to secure lodging at a few of the local inns, but learned every inn was completely booked. A Judge was in town and there was a blockade surrounding the city. No one was getting in or out by sea. Meanwhile, Kaine and Illivan sat at the bar, drinking alcohol, despite it being noontime.

Olivia gives the two drunkards the bad news. Kaine looks apprehensive for a moment, then timidly offers a suggestion. “I know a place we can go.” He says he used to live in Azmin and his house is still standing. Sort of.

In walks a suave armored man, hair slicked back and arrogant smirk plastered on his ridiculously good-looking face. Several well-armed men follow in behind him. Damien approaches the party and casually leans on the bar. His tone is faux-friendly as he goes through pleasantries with the party. “How were the ruins? Did you get any cool treasure? Oh, yeah, and about the stone we talked about…” The party tries to lie to him, which Judge Damien just finds so quaint. He claps and shakes his head. “Nice try. I love you guys; you all are so funny. But in all seriousness. We had a deal.”

He stops and cocks his head. “Be very quiet for—oh, I don’t know. 10 minutes?” he says as he quietly casts a spell of invisibility over the party. At that moment, Judge Rylof in full regalia storms into the bar, heavily armored footsteps clamoring against the sandstone floor. The two get into a verbal altercation, Rylof taking issue with Damien’s lackadaisical attitude towards the escaped prisoners. A few words are exchanged and Rylof reminds Damien who oversees this operation before leaving in a huff.

Still under the effects of the invisibility spell, the party watches as Damien exposes a spy among his men. “These prisoners are very useful to us, don’t you agree Randal?” he asks, his hand finding the hilt of his blade. Randal nods, and mutters an affirmative. Judge Damien sighs. “It’s a shame, Randal. I really did like you. But you should know better than to try to lie to me.” In a single elegant stroke, so quick it is almost invisible to the naked eye, Damien decapitates the spy and returns his blade to its scabbard. He turns to address the horrified onlookers.

“We had a run in with bandits here, isn’t that right?” he smiles as his pale blue eyes survey the crowd, “and no one saw any prisoners here.” a few people in the crowd nod, terrified. Damien throws a heavy coin purse on the bar and turns his attention back to the party.

“You’ve managed to work Rylof into quite a tizzy. I’m very impressed, I have to say. So, you know what? Keep the stone. You’ve earned it. Good luck with the blockade, and I’ll be in touch.”

Illivan and Kaine take full advantage of the free drinks while Zakathra and Olivia decide to peruse the market.

Not long afterwards, Rex and Flint discuss their prospects with the Crowes and make note of some suspicious spots. Flint has his eye out on some nice wrapping paper so they can wrap a cigar box and give it to Kaine. Flint feels a tap on his shoulder and turns around face-to-face with the fully armored Judge Damien. They exchange pleasantries, then Damien asks him if he has talked to Zakathra lately. “The Windfury’s are famous for their ice magic. But have you actually seen Zakathra do any magic? Since your daring prison break, that is?”

“Once. She chucked an ice spear at Rex.”

Damien nods his head. “Have you ever wondered why? I mean, she’s by far the most powerful person travelling with you. So why doesn’t she help more?”

Flint gets a little flustered under Damien’s intense gaze. “I try not to judge her too much, you never know what’s going on with a person and—“

“I’ll let you know why. A Windfury’s magic comes from their blood, right? So where do you think Zakathra draws her power from? And why do you think her attempts at magic have left her so weak?”

Flint starts connecting the pieces in his head. “Her magic…is killing her…”

“That’s right. Of course, there is a way to circumvent it. A special magic focus—a Windfury exclusive. There is only one in the world. It’s supposed to go to the heir, but her brother certainly doesn’t have it. And she doesn’t have it. I wonder where in the world it could be…now, history was never my strongest subject…but something tells me that whoever finds that focus is going to be in for a fantastic 2-for-1 special.”

“Anything else you want to say?” Flint asks, puffing himself up. Damien purses his lips and shrugs.

“Just thought you should know when that your ‘allies’ are keeping secrets from you, is all.” He turns to walk away, but Flint calls out. As he turns, he tosses Judge Damien a cigar from the box. Damien puts it between his finger and starts to leave. “I don’t smoke—but thanks!”

In a different part of the city…

Olivia buys a new dress and talks to Zakathra about the weight on her shoulders. She looks to the Princess for advice on her newly found responsibilities as the sole heir to the Duchy. They discuss Olivia’s plans for reclaiming her title, then run into Rex and Flint. As they are talking about going back to the bar to meet up with the others, Zakathra reveals that she knows where Kaine’s house is, and that she’s been there before. This stirs up a little jealousy in Ollie but she lets it go. Flint falls in line with Zakathra, and whispers that he needs to talk to her about something.

The four of them arrive at the same time as Kaine and Illivan. Kaine’s house is a small, one-story sandstone building, 2-bed, 1-bath, a kitchen and a small living area. On the front door is a notice, saying that the building has been condemned. Kaine enters first and the heroes follow single file behind him. The house has been absolutely ransacked. Furniture is overturned, papers and books thrown haphazardly about, picture frames lay shattered on the ground. Flint very quietly begins picking things up and righting the furniture. Kaine picks up a picture and looks at it in silence for a very long moment. Saying nothing, he sets the picture down and walks into his bedroom. Everyone starts cleaning. The party use the Ring of Mending to fix some of the curtains.

Olivia starts picking up the pictures and looking at them. Kaine, in his thirties, with a young, pretty woman, smiling and laughing.

A few moments later, Kaine returns with his old armor and weapons and a handmade blue scarf. He gives the party a weak smile. Olivia thanks him for letting them stay at his house. Flint presents Kaine with the cigar box and pipe and he is very touched at the gift. He thanks everyone and him and Illivan go outside to smoke and talk.

“You know, I don’t trust a lot of those people, but you trust me so I trust you.” Illivan says. The two talk a little bit about their pasts, with Illivan revealing more details about his missing son.

Zakathra and Olivia stay in the main bedroom while Flint and Lucina share the guest room. Flint says he’s going to sleep on the floor because he doesn’t want to break the bed. Lucina snuggles up on the floor next to him.

Rex sleeps in the living room with Kaine and Illivan, though they spend most of their time drinking and talking.

When everyone wakes up in the morning, Kaine has made them a full breakfast, complete with coffee. During their breakfast, Kaine announcing that he has signed everyone up for group therapy at the community center. Everyone kind of groans, except Rex, who is excited, and Illivan, who is very upset. Since the group therapy isn’t until later in the afternoon, the party decides to try and make some money but they can’t agree on what to do. Ollie and Flint don’t want to miss therapy, so they argue for something less time consuming—killing rats, for instance—whereas Illivan specifically does want to skip therapy, so he argues in favor of hunting down and exterminating the goblins that have been attacking the town. The party decides to split up, with Olivia and Flint taking up a job killing rats in a basement and Illivan investigating the goblins.

The job with the rats goes very well, with Olivia picking out a little albino one as a pet. They exterminate the pests and get a discount on all bread from that bakery. They hurry on their way—happy—to group therapy.

Meanwhile Illivan is getting himself into trouble. After speaking to some guards, he finds a group of seven or so goblins with a hobgoblin at their head. He tries to follow them, but fails his stealth check and they goblins notice him. Resigned to retreating, Illivan begins to run. The goblins give chase and several arrows later, Illivan is brought to unconsciousness. Just when everything seems hopeless, he is magically teleported to Andromalek’s realm. Andromalek gives Illie a cheeseburger and sends him back to the mortal realm.

Illie appears in a washed-out, grey building, easily recognizable as the community center of Azmin. He’s in group therapy. He has Kaine pull some of the arrows out of his back and a cleric from another party helps heal some of the damage on his body. Olivia and Flint come in and have a seat and get ready to talk about their feelings.

Therapy goes about as well as expected, with absolutely nothing being resolved. The party meets Sam and Grog, a human and a half-orc adventuring duo, who really just want to settle down and open their own bed and breakfast. The party helps them work through their issues and they both agree to leave the adventuring life. For Flint and Olivia, therapy only seems to open old wounds after a day of successful teamwork. Kaine is distraught, Rex finally tells Flint his name isn’t Dex, and Illivan finds the entire ordeal hilarious.

With group therapy completed, most of the party decides to head to the bar. Olivia plays the fiddle while Kaine, Illivan, and Rex got very, very intoxicated. Meanwhile, Zakathra and Flint went back to the house, where Flint finally brought up what Judge Damien had told him. Zakathra solemnly confirms that what Damien said was the truth and tells Flint that without her focus, she is basically useless. She tells Flint that their former general has her focus, so once they find him, she won’t need as much protection.

Everyone retires for the evening. In the morning, Zakathra goes over some plans and Olivia asks Rex to do some pick-pocketing for her. The group decides to investigate a missing person they saw on the bounty board. The head over to the woman’s house.

She introduces herself as Henrietta and says her husband, Henry, hasn’t been home in three days. She gives the party the name of the bar where he was last seen.

The party go to the tavern and talk to the bartender, who gives him the name of three of Henry’s good friends, and relays a sad story of Henry trying to have a good time while his shrill wife shrieks for him to come home outside.

At this part, the party thinks Henry probably ran away from his wife, but decide to keep looking into the matter. They go talk to the first friend, who tells the party about some of Henry’s gambling debt. They say he was in deep, going to the local “Herbalist” every weekend to gamble. The second friend is completely useless.

They go to the “Herbalist” and it is the cousin of the pot dealer—I mean alchemist—from Zaren. He says they are expanding and offers the party a wide variety of medicinal green. Illivan buys some. For bargaining purposes, of course. The “Herbalist” says he and Henry were cool, man, and that it was just a friendly game.

After a few more questions, the party is satisfied with his answers and go to meet with Henry’s last friend, a “noblewoman” named Brandy. They find her house easily in the merchant’s district. Olivia knocks on the door and is able to lie her way into the building. They go upstairs and find Henry and Brandy smoking herb and drinking. Shocker of the century. Brandy is extremely rude and ticks Olivia off. Henry attempts to bribe the party into not telling his wife. Olivia isn’t having it but Illivan and Flint are thinking about it. Olivia fails her deception roll and Flint has to do the rest of the talking. They agree not to tell and collect the 60gp from Henry. Later that evening, they send Lucina to Henrietta with the truth and collect the other 30gp.

As the party is getting ready to retire, they realize Rex is missing!

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Azmin post
trip to Azmin

The gang goes to therapy. After passing the trials in the ruins our group makes the 3 day trip to Azmin. They make it with little complication, other than some giant scorpions attacking them. Once there Damian makes short work of finding them, but decides they can hang onto the arcstone for now. Rylof is in the city and Damian has other problems to worry about. All of the inns are booked up since Rylof put a blockade on the city. Luckily Kaine Used to live here the party shows up to a condemned house in the slums, all that remains of Kaine’s house is broken furniture and painful memories left here long ago. The party makes it their base of operation for the time being. The party does some odd jobs around town, some more successful than others, then meet up for group therapy. Flint talks to Kat about a seceret she’s been keeping from the party, while everyone else takes some down time in a tavern. After spending three days in Azmin the party still hasn’t managed to get the crow’s attention. What will they do next?
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