Gray Mists

Spiders and Revelations

As Flinn regained his conciousness from the Mists, the others filled him on what he had missed. Flinn agreed the heroes should continue South towards their potential assasination target, if only to warn him. As they were travelling, Davin noted spider webs in the trees above. After pointing the webs out, Korlash decided to scout a way around. Unfortanately gazing upwards caused Korlash to miss some along the ground and he became stuck. Noting a disturbance, several dog-sized spiders began descending from the nearest tree. As the heroes began to attack the spiders, an ettercap joined the fray, clearly controlling the spider's attack. A fierce battle began, as the poison of the spiders and the ettercap was greater than most could handle. Narrowly the heroes snatched victory from the ettercap and spiders, and exhausted they looked for a place to rest.

Travelling far enough away from any potential additional spiders, they made camp. But in their exhausted state it turned out their campground was also a safe place for other sentinent creatures. The watch noted kobolds moving closer, and the heroes fled ahead of them. They escaped into a small hidden cave and managed to pass the rest of the night.

The next morning the heroes heard the sound of mounted riders, and upon investigating learned that the riders were Colonel Kravos, the tiefling leader of the Non-Standard Operations of the Yamdek Army, and his squad. Colonel Kravos explained he had been tasked to find Lloralyth by her father after he had learned of her capture in Osgrove. A sharing of information occured, and Colonel Kravos informed the heroes of the incoming Renfall reinforcements to help the Yamdek Army, that their assasination target was a powerful ally of Lord Thadreus' dead brother, and that the Colonel was seriously undermanned and had need of help with several non-lethal tasks. One such task was to collect fey-lillies needed for the armies many rituals, another was to locate a young green dragon in the area that had been strafing the troops, and a third was to locate a wizard known to be located near the Feymouth who it is believed may be sympathetic to helping the civilized armies repel the Goblin Army. The Colonel also explained that if the task of fey lillies was taken care of, he would be free to carry out regime change on the critical travel town of Osgrove. The heroes readily agreed to take over the task. The Colonel revealed that he was aware that the heroes were being tailed by a supernatural spy, an imp dispatched by Lord Thadreus. The Major Gadreus dispatched of the imp, who was carrying bones infused with zombie dust. The Major explained the imp most likely would have used the desecrated bones in a foul ritual to raise skeleton fighters to ambush the heroes had they tried to abandon their task. At Lloralyth's request the Major disenchanted the bones so as to remove their tainted undead magic.

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A Comedy of Errors

The night of their victory over the kobold king, Davin retired early to study the journal of Vodros the warlock. The other heroes prepared for travel the next day and saw to the preparations for the refugees. Davin learned much about Vodros from the journal, which Vodros had kept from a young age: that he was born in a town of Dopplegangers and Shifters South of Yamdek; that he met an infernal warlock that impressed him, and learned of the star-pact, which impressed him more; that he travelled to a town outside Ioudun to learn about the star-pact from another such warlock; that he learned to be a warlock, a cipher for hiding secret knowledge in his journal, and may have been discovered as a shape-changer in this town; that Vodros traveled to the Yamdek area and joined the Adventurer's Guild; that Davin had met one of his alternate personas; that Vodros had learned of something about the Goblin Army attack before it happened (much of this was ciphered); that he tried to warn Soveliss, leader of Yamdek Keep, but was held back by red-tape; that he tried to travel to Renfall to tell what he had learned, but was repelled by satyrs to the West of a town named Osgrove; that he agreed to look into the kobold issue in order to get safe entry to Renfall. He also mentioned he ran into bandits west of Falcon's Hollow on the Old Empire Road.

The next day Davin relayed what he had learned, and per a note on his door took the party to meet with Grog before leaving town. Grog warned of bandits along Old Empire Road and the poor reception Vodros had recieved in the town of Osgrove. He also presented Davin with a medal in honor of the acomplishment of defeating the kobold king. On the way out of town Flinn became afflicted with the Gray Mists, and he fell to the back in a stupor.

The heroes followed Old Empire Road and were trapped between roadblocks by human and halfling bandits. Although they had an early advantage of suprise, the heroes held their ground and knocked out one of the humans. Most of the bandits fled, and the halfling leader surrendered so that he could administer a healing potion to his downed companion. Fearful of reinforcements, the heroes moved along quickly. 

Soon enough they encountered the town of Osgrove, but no one in the town was interested in talking to the heroes, and many gave them suspicious glares. So the group quickly moved through town and set up camp several miles down the road. During the night watch Korlash and Lloralyth heard riders, and when they investigated it was the halflings sent from Falcon's Hollow. The halflings (brothers) explained that they had informed the General of the Yamdek army about the attack, and that after confering with his advisors, the General believed the halflings and was personally returning (along with his top officers) to Falcon's Hollow. The halflings were told to quickly return ahead of the General and tell Gavel to begin preparations to make war machines. After taking a quick nap at the heroes camp, the halflings excused themselves and continued home. A little later, a horrible animal sound was heard.

The next day the heroes decided they would return East to investigate the strange sound. They made it to the town square in Osgrove, but saw no evidence of anything unusual (except the suspicious townsfolk) and they decided to go West again to meet the General as he returned. As they were leaving town a middle-aged man bumped into Korlash and accused him of assult, and the other heroes as accomplises. The town guard was called in, and then the Chief Justice. Arguments were heard from the man, and from the heroes, as to what happened. The Chief Justice determined a proper trial was needed in light of the number and serious nature of the charges, and the heroes posted bail and had their likenesses drawn and distributed. A "room" in an Inn's barn housed them for three days as Davin learned more about the town of Osgrove, it's complicated legal history, it's new leader Lord Thadreus, and the cultivated suspicion harbored in the townsfolk. Eventually they were able to meet directly with the Lord, and in return for a promise to kill an unnamed person, they were granted their freedom and a map to the target's lair.

Following the map the heroes noted the influence of the Feywild in the area. Near some grab-grass and gigantic trees the heroes encountered an emaciated pack of agressive wolves. The heroes attacked the wolves, which mostly targeted Korlash. After one of the wolves was killed, the others retreated behind the trees. Believing they had fled entirely, Korlash began to butcher the dead wolf. Having regrouped, the wolves attacked again, but Lloralyth finally realized the reason the wolves were so aggressive was their extreme hunger, and she threw rations to distract them. In the grab-grass the heroes found the remains of a traveller, who had a power jewel and a death shroud amongst his belongings. The heroes travelled to a clearing to examine these magical items, and realized that a nearby patch of lillies were filled with fey magic that could be distilled into residium. They picked half the fey lillies and marked the area on the map so that they could return to the area at a future date.

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The Kobold King

The heroes returned to sleep (except Korlash, who buried the dead), and awoke the next morning to the realization that they had insufficient food and water for their refugees. After their foraging proved insufficient, they rationed their reserves and marched the survivors towards the next town on Old Empire Road. Upon reaching the edge of the Great Forest, they tried foraging again, and while they found little sustenance, they found evidence of logging activity. Following the activity North, they found Falcon's Hollow, a logging town if nearly a 1000 people, that is chartered by Yamdek Keep.

Their the heroes met the Sheriff Deldrin Baleson, a half-elf that tells them the town that overnight had been attacked by kobolds. He was on his way to report the success of the combat to manager Gavel Kreed and was willing to present the heroes to Gavel so that the story of the attack of Yamdek Fields and the exodus of the survivors could be relayed. Gavel hears the story and explains that the town has experienced significant kobold problems recently, probably related to the appearance of a "giant" kobold leader. Luckily a solo adventuring human warlock had informed the town of the attack, and other good information about the kobolds and their new leader. This warlock had said he had found a secret entrance that would allow him to assassinate this kobold leader without fighting hordes of kobolds but he never returned and was assumed dead. It was unknown by what means he gathered this information. Gavel excused himself to hear an assessment of the dead and missing from the Magistrate, and while the heroes talked to the Sheriff, hoping to broker a deal for the refugees in exchange for dispatching kobolds, Gavel returned to his office distraught. The heroes learned that Jurin Kreed, Gavel's son, and four other children had been kidnapped while the rest of the town was distracted by the kobold attack. Gavel agreed to house the refugees and to send mounted halflings after the Yamdek Army in exchange for help returning the children.

Suspecting potential collusion between the warlock and the kobolds, the heroes tried to retrace his steps. Korlash (unsuccessfully) attempted to find his tracks, while the others find a ripped portion of his journal in the inn room he had stayed in and a general direction he was seen to travel towards while investigating the kobolds. Using this new information tracks were found, but strangely they appeared to transform to kobold tracks near the hilly territory to the East. The heroes eventually find a kobold cave entrance, but they have good reason to suspect that it is not the secret entrance they seek. Rather than waste time, they push forward into the cave. Lighting issues abound, and most of the group is attacked by pressurized steam traps. Hearing sounds of humanoid activity Korlash charges forward and reveals a lone kobold spiker. Using a key and a control panel, the kobold rolls a boulder down the hallway the heroes are in and then flees, leaving caltrops behind him. Davin attempts to learn the nature of the trap panel and discovers that is serves many purposes, most controlled by unique keys like the kobold spiker used to activate the boulder trap. Davin and Max jam dirt into the remaining locks.

After clearing the path the heroes see no sign of the kobold spiker and grow suspicious of their surroundings. They search for secret doors near the cave entrance to no avail but discover a secret door further along the cave. Unfortunately the kobold spiker was not running for reinforcements but hiding behind it, and Korlash (the most injured so far) was stabbed after opening the door. He attempted to give chase down the secret hallway, but the small size of the path was too difficult for him to squeeze through while fighting. Luckily the kobold was heard attempting to clean the debris from his trap panel shortly thereafter and was killed before he could make his third escape.

Not much further along the caves the heroes find the body of a dead Doppelganger, which they soon realize was the "human" warlock adventurer. Flinn takes the warlock's rod of corruption and Davin grabs the warlock's journal. A quick examination of the journal reveals much: that the warlock Vodros had infiltrated the kobolds with his shape-changing, that the kobold spiker was named Bob the Tinkerer and that he was a kobold mastermind of traps, that his keys (16 in all, each in a separate pocket of his leather armor) controlled nearly all the traps as well as terrain altering machines, the location of the secret entrance and the reason the kobold "king", Merlokrep, had been nabbing children (a prophecy by his priest Jeek-Jaw that the leader would die if he did not sacrifice human children), that Vodros was seeking Bob to get the key that would give him an even better advantage than just using the secret entrance, and more that they did not have time to learn of.

Armed with this knowledge, the heroes traveled to the secret entrance, a hollowed out tree leading down to the kobold caves behind a panel in the King's Lair. They found a keyhole and using trial and error they activated the panel they found. After a loud thrumming and scraping sound they opened the panel and burst out, learning the panel had moved the cave terrain so that the King's Lair was sealed off from the rest of the kobold caves.

A fierce battle ensued, but both Merlokrep and Jeek-Jaw were slain. One kobold piker surrendered and was interrogated as to the children's location. Korlash retrieved Merlokrep's battle-axe "Manfeller" and soon the children were freed. However Gavel's son Jurin demanding special treatment and caused much delay. Much more accommodating was young tomboy Kimi Eaveswalker, who seemed eager to take out her frustrations at capture on the kobold piker.

The heroes decapitated Merlokrep and returned to town, where the sight of the head without explanation caused some panic. The heroes presented the head to Gavel, who suggested perhaps the Adventures Guild would be happy to display it. The heroes tried to turn the kobold piker over to the sheriff, but he explained that it would create more work than it was worth, so the heroes turned over both the head and the piker to the Adventurer's guildmaster, named Grog. The heroes learned that young Kimi frequented the Guild, and they gave her some kobold armor and shield, and entrusted Grog with some confistated kobold weapons to let Kimi use when she was ready.

 

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The Refugee's Exodus

Having repelled the goblin band that was threatening the part of Yamdek Fields near the blessed fountain, the heroes take a moment to catch their breath. Lorallyth heals townsfolk who had been injured by the goblin band, and learns that two others had foght the goblins before the heroes came into the fray. An elven archer who had injured the hobgoblin officer and a human of shifty motivations and some fighting skill. Jarzmera the tiefling merchant cancels her contract to move the mithril ore that she had with Davin and begins to bury the ore so she can flee unencumbered. Those townfolk not injured are in a state of shock and unresponsive. Smoke from fires becomes obvious from other parts of Yamdek fields, indicating other roving goblin bands burning developed parts of the town. Little smoke is seen from the farming areas of the fields and Korlash suggests hiding the 40+ humanoids at his parent's farm to the South. Davin is able to recall that when attacked in the past that the armies tended to raid the farmlands of the Fields for food while besieging the Keep and a new plan to travel West, away from the incoming direction of the Goblin Army is formed.

Unfortantely the townsfolk were still too shocked to understand the value of fleeing quickly, and balked. A moment's reflection revealed that getting a few of the more active members to follow might get the others to follow, and the human and elvish combantants encouraged their friends/family to move out. Shortly the entire group was moving westward on a path parallel to the Old Empire Road of the fallen Amorath Empire. It connects Hedatta in the far West, Renfall, Yamdek (which was a trading parter of Amorath), and mysterious Iodun to the East. Their tracks well covered the group is startled when they run into a group of kobolds not far from the village of Mudcreek. Two of the kobolds have a human baby in their arms and the heroes are quick to attack, targeting first the kobold who holds a baby above his open maw. That kobold dies from a well-placed couple of arrows from Korlash, but as no one was near to catch the baby it was injured. A lengthy battle between the heroes and the kobolds engages and Korlash is covered in disgusting tree sap glue, Max is nearly knocked unconcious numerious times, Davin is frustated in best using his attack for fear of hitting his companions, and Flinn barely remains standing while defending the two babies flanked by two melee kobolds; eventually only one surviving kobold escapes, empty-handed, down a hole. The heroes choose not to follow, though Korlash notes the location on his map.  The two babies are handed to a matronly human refugee by Flinn. Although Thadrik was very helpful in the battle the human claimed to be preoccupied with making sure the group was not flanked and the elvish archer's bowstring broke.

As the sun begins to set the heroes and refugees came to Mudcreek, population 103. The streets seem empty until sound is heard outside the tavern. Inside is nearly the entire population of the village, huddled around a raised stage with two shirtless men dagger fighting. The villagers a betting on the fight with odds changing from round to round. Lorallyth, Max, and Flinn go inside while Davin, Korlash and the refugees stay outside the tavern. Although badly injured one combatant kills the other and walks over to the bookie. Requesting temporary housing from whomever is in charge of the village, the heroes learn that the injured victor of the dagger fight is in fact the Mayor of Mudcreek. He says their are limited resources in Mudcreek, and there would need to be compensation for the trouble; his preferred repayment would be bloodsport, which enriches him and the bookie. Flinn proposes the shell game, but the bookie balks at this. Max steps forward to fight and the stakes are set: victory brings a place for the refugees, defeat is worth 10 gold. Bruno the human gladiator is summoned to fight Max and Lorallyth and Flinn begin betting on her. Bruno's mastery of the halberd quickly bests Max in single combat and she's knocked unconcious. Flinn attempts to use his fey magics on Bruno towards the end of the fight, and although Bruno initally calls for Flinn to be punished, he is quickly bought off for a few gold. The heroes and the refugees make a hasty retreat westward from Mudcreek, following the Old Empire Road. 

Camp is struck a couple hours west of Mudcreek and guard watches are established for the night. On the third shift Korlash spots kobolds sneaking up on the camp. He doesn't raise the alarm, but tries to flank the kobolds. The enemy rushes the camp, attempting to ambush those still sleeping. A quick and bloody battle breaks out, and when the kobolds begin loosing they flee, but just before escaping are finished off by a searing blast from Davin. A nearby glint of metal is spotted near in a tree near where the kobolds were fleeing, and a trap discovered. Once the trap is disarmed, some gold and two healing potions are found stashed in a tree.

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The Heroes Meet

Five Yamdek natives, all at the Fountain View Inn at the base of Mt. Yamdek for seperate reasons, find the building has been set ablaze. They are:

Korlash the Minotaur Ranger – A dual battleaxe weilding defender of the environment.

Max the Half-Elf Fighter – Aprentice smith to her father Wayland, in her journeyman phase.

Lorallyth the Eladrin Cleric, devoted to the Raven Queen – Recently returned from devout Renfall and tasked to return by non-magical means.

Davin the Human Wizard – An adaptable and humble Adventurer's Guild Wizard looking to expand from his small village roots.

Flinn Sparkleton the Human Warlock, of the Fey-Pact – A mysterious childhood left him in the care of the Mage's Guild of Yamdek, he has a destiny with the city of Iodun.

 As the inhabitants of the Inn come outside they see a vast army of Goblinods treking up Mt. Yamdek to attack the Keep. A small band of goblins has broken away from the main force and attacked the Fields. A hudled mass of locals has been rounded up near the Fountain, although some have already been downed. Also recently downed they see a hobgoblin commander, who must have been leading the goblins. Barely hesitating, the heroes snap into action, albeit in an uncoordianted fashion. The goblins have magical means of hexing the heroes and the battle is not easily won. Luckily Lorallyth recoginzed fellow cleric Thadrik Boarshelm, devoted to Moradin. She heals him and his assistance wins the fight, although not before the goblin hexer escapes back to the Goblin Army. The heroes learn that the fountain is so well regarded for it's minor ability to heal.Speculating on Yamdek Keep's chances against the Goblin Army they learn that the Keep's Army had just left en route to Renfall to defend it, as high ranking Yamdek Keep individuals had receieved sending rituals warning them of an incoming attack by a vast Goblin Army!

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