Shaaran Hordes

Forgetting Halruaa
12-13 Tarsakh 1373 DR

The members of J&J’s Adventuring Company (Shaaran Division) rode back away from the North Wall, trying their best to forget their failures in Halruaa with the prospect of treasures ahead. They’d gotten wind of a rumored treasure buried beneath a forgotten outpost in the Shaareach Forest known as Vraath Keep.

On their way back to the Dawn Way, the party stopped to rest for the evening at the home of Jorassil Indo, a successful rancher in the small community of Hillwatch. Their sleep was interrupted when reports of a goblin raid came from outlying homes. The JJAC accepted Mr. Indo’s invitation to investigate, and found the goblins had stolen livestock and provisions and headed off to the hills.

Their trail led to a protected valley guarded with a tower and barricades. They made quick work of the hobgoblin defenders (and their pet ogre) and investigated the small valley as dawn approached. After fending off a owlbear ambush, they found an ornate doorway leading into the hill. Solistar unlocked the door with his magicks, much to the suprise of the hobgoblins in the hall beyond.

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Emptying Looking Glass Deep
13 Tarsakh 1373 DR

The party engaged the hobgoblin soldiers within, a furious whirlwind of colorful magics and clashing steel. Loneblade and Father Arquinn forced and stumbled their way through the hall, clearing the path for their comrades. Solistar made note of a concealed passage as he went forward to curse the commander Loneblade had engaged. Mitzi picked the leader off with her bow before his now cursed blade attacked its wielder.

As Solistar picked up the cursed longsword, two berserkers and a plate-wearing warrior burst through the secret door. Quinn found himself skewered by a trident, and another bounced off his armor. Quinn and Loneblade set to melee, and Solistar was able to avoid the berserker who rushed to tackle him. The elven wizard cleverly offered the barbarian the cursed sword, and the hobgoblin foolishly accepted, wounding himself in his attempt to wield it. Though the plate clad cleric tried to heal his warriors, they were cut down; he vanished in a cloud of fog conjured to cover his escape.

After catching their breath, the JJAC (Shaaran Division) made their was through the concealed passage and searched for the vanished cleric. They uncovered some of the hobgoblins ill-gotten gains, and the clerics shrine to the evil god Tiamat. Among the goblin scrawlings on the altar they discovered these words in Draconic:

We are the Kulkor Zhul! We are the People of rhe Dragon! None can stand before us!

However, this search didn’t turn up the cleric, so the party returned to the entrance chamber, to search down another hidden passageway. As Mitzi scouted it out, she heard the sound of troops trying to circle back on them. She and Loneblade busted through and caught them from the rear, she with her sleep magics and he with his blade.

The goblin’s pet boar gored Loneblade, wounding him so deeply he erupted in rage, and felled the giant beast in one blow. He then ran back around to try to flank the enemies, but was struck with a magical fear that caused him to flee. Despite his lack of will, the rest of J&J’s dodged magical flames and finished off the leader of this squad, and their cleric too.

Solistar determined that the source of these magics was coming from behind another concealed doorway, which Mitzi deftly opened. Loneblade, having returned from his fright, seized the initiative and charged through the portal. A milky eyed hobgoblin was levitating on a mystical throne, in a chamber that seemed encircled by stars. Loneblade charged the floating throne and hauled himself up upon it to engage the sorceror. The rest of the party followed, and after a brief exchange the master of Looking Glass Deep was slain. Triumphant, the JJAC rested and took their time plundering the rest of the complex.

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Travelling the Dawn Way
14th - 25th Tarsakh 1373 DR

With the thanks of rancher Indo, the party continued north to the Dawn Way. Their travels were undisturbed (save by wildlife) and they traveled briskly past the village of Prosser, stopping just for a meal at the Six Blades taproom, through to the gates of Rethmar.

J&J’s (Shaaran Division) spent the better part of the week in Rethmar, spending their hard won gains, and preparing for their delve into Vraath Keep. While in town, Solistar was faced with the unfortunate task of confirming the death of Kenneth Goldenbrow, whose holy symbol they recovered from Looking Glass Deep. The Cathedral’s Morninglord, Tredora, didn’t spare the messenger her wrath at the death of her cousin. But Solistar stood his ground, and impressed the other clerics of the temple. The aged Father Geralt agreed to to the party the service of enhancing their weapons, at a reasonable cost.

The party enjoyed the sites and sounds of the town, even running into the comrades from J&J’s (Lurien Division) traveling toward the east. They made mention of the evidence of goblin attacks they encountered along the Dawn Way. That didn’t deter the group, who soon headed west along the ancient caravan route, armed with their newly upgraded arms and the scrawled map of Vraath Keep they recovered from the records of Lord Jaarmath’s clerk.

The journey along the Dawn Way was uneventful until they reached the outskirts of Drellin’s Ferry, where the party was ambushed in a dust fruit orchard by a well armed troupe of hobgoblins. The battle was a close thing; members of the JJAC fell as the goblins brought reinforcements, but the skill of the JJAC won the day. The heroes, battered and bloodied, recovered their mounts and continues to the village on the banks of the River Channath.

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Death in the Witchwood
25-27 Tarsakh 1373 DR

The company arrived in Drellin’s Ferry and engaged in some good spirited (if stomach churning) hi-jinks at the tavern before heading to sleep. As they settled into their room the town speaker, Noro Wiston, accompanied by the guard captain, Sorannah Anitah, called upon the party.

They explained the increasingly dire situation with the hobgoblin raids in the area, and asked the JJAC for their assistance tacking down where these goblinoid bandits were coming from. After sleeping on it, they agreed to sally forth to the north and try to trck the goblins through the Shaarreach forest… conveniently enough also the location of the ruins of Vraath Keep.

After putting some gear into storage and re-provisioning, the Shaaran Division of J&J’s struck out to the north seeking the aid of Jorr Natherson, a local woodsman who Captain Anitah said could serve as a guide to the forest. He agreed to take on the task for a minor fee, and put the party up in his cabin for the night.

In the morning they traced back to the main trail and headed north in search of the goblin threat. While crossing through marshland the party was ambushed by a vile beast, a six-headed hydra. The heroes engaged the creature, Loneblade landing a mighty blow, while Jorr and Mitzi peppered it from the rear. But the beast seemed to shrug off its wounds, and its vicious attacked had soon felled Solistar and Loneblade. By the time the hydra was subdued, both injured heroes had expired, crossing the threshold to the afterlife.

And as the survivors took stock, Mitzi saw more movement in the marsh behind them.

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The Vengeance of the Fireaxe
27 Tarsakh 1373 DR

Drombor ran back to the sinking remains of his wagon, hoping to find some trace of his younger brother, but the hydra had left none. His sorrow was joined by that of Mitzi and Father Arquinn, caring for the bodies of their fallen.

The grief stricken dwarf conferred with Jorr and the remaining J&Jers, giving them the gift of a divine scroll. Calling on the powers of his goddess Selune, Arquinn called the spirit of Solistar Sunbeam back to the Material Plane. While the party tended to their wounds, the also saw to the burial of Vimak, the Loneblade. His spirit had found peace in the beyond and had not returned, but remained playing Goatball with his ancestors.

Drombor (known as Fireaxe) described the hobgoblin troupe that had chased him into the swamps, and swore an oath of vengeance against them. He agreed to join the party and scout out the crumbling castle that was once Vraath Keep.

The group moved north, and scouted out the fallen keep. Though they tried to take the hobgoblins unawares, J&J’s were soon embroiled in a fierce battle. The party encountered goblin worg riders and a manticore in the courtyard, while the dwarven warblade faced down hobgoblins and a bugbear sorcerer in the main keep.

Mitzi was greviously wounded by the manticore’s spikes, but her wounds were stabilized, and the heroes defeated their foes. Once their injuries had been tended to, they set to examining the keep and its contents.

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Meeting at Skull Gorge Bridge
27-29 Tarsakh 1373 DR

Though the rumored treasures of Vraath Keep were real, what the band learned from the goblins papers ended any celebration. Attack plans showing coordinated assaults on the towns across the Vale, starting with Drellin’s Ferry. The main force of this goblinoid army was to come from the north, entering this forest across the bridge at Skull Gorge.

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Blockade!
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A Fallen Sunbeam

J&J’s Adventuring Company (Shaaran Division) took their leave of Teyani and headed north from the blockade on the road toward the fallen city of Lhesper. They followed the old road to the city; leading and disappearing into the marshes. Progress slowed as the party was forced to dismount and lead their horses through the muck.

A sudden attack from the bush took the heroes unawares, and they were set upon by a creature the likes of which they had never seen. Two foul breathed creatures with razor sharp winged arms struck with violence, their initial attacks knocking down Sir Solistar as the party was scattered. Soon they were able to slay the beasts, but not soon enough to save Solistar. The noble norther elf expired in the marshes of the Lhesperbog, his life of adventure at an end.

No sooner than their mourning had begun than Mitzi spotted creatures in the sky flying toward them, giant owls swooping from above. They landed nearby, and their riders approached, weapons drawn. “Hold fast!” their leader exclaimed. “Who is it who enters the realm of the Tiri-Kitor?” He motions two of his companions forward, who brushed our heroes aside and began disemboweling the recently slain creatures.

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Assault on the Ruins of Lhesper

The remaining members of J&J’s Adventuring Company (Shaaran Division), along with their new halfling acquaintance, boarded their elven canoe and headed northeast toward the flooded ruins of Lhesper, known in these later days as the city of Rhest. The weather continued its miserable turn; the rains fell on and off through the morning.

As midday approached the party neared the lagoon surrounding the ruins, and scouted their surroundings. Upon seeing the lizardfolk posts in their path, and the lack of cover on the approach, the party concealed themselves in the marsh, and observed their surroundings for several hours. Mitzi’s keen eyes saw the comings and goings of the lizardfolk and goblinoids, and finally as evening approached saw the black dragon, who they know named as Regiarix, alight from his perch and fly off to the west.

Seizing their opportunity, the heroes hid themselves in the boat as Mitzi paddled out into the rain, her beguiling magics making her appear as though lizardkind. She approached the tower they’d espied earlier, and hypnotized its guards into going inside to fetch her a rope. Father Gilbridge cloaked them with a concealing mist and they entered the tower. The battle was quick and furious, but the hobgoblin defenders were able to sound the alarm, ringing the bell at the top of the tower until Ziggy’s explosive magics brought it crashing through the tower’s floors (drowning some of his foes in the process. The JJAC gathered what it could from the tower and quickly set their boat toward the large central structure they had seen the dragon depart from earlier.

When the reached the old town hall they were immediately set upon by ogres, clearly on guard since the alarm was raised. As the party swept them aside Drombor was struck from behind by another of the infernal “Harrowblade” ceratures. Drombor tried to engage the beast, but it dove away into the dark swamp waters.

The party climbed onto the roof as the rains pounded down, discovering the stairs that led inside. Drombor descended first… the other followed behind to discover the dwarf charmed by his opponent, unwilling to fight the hobgoblin bard. His ettin defender swung into melee against the party. Ziggy dispelled the bard’s enchantment of the dwarf, but the hobgoblin re-ensorcelled him with more powerful spells. The bard and wizard continues to fight for control of Drombor, until the Dwarf was struck with Fear, and ran from the battle.

The band did great damage to the ettin, bloodying him near death when he was reinforced by the arrival of the harrowblade through one doorway, and by their quarry, the Wyrmload Saarvith (with his eagle companion) through another. Attacked from both sides, Mitzi and Arquinn were wounded, and Ziggy’s magics were in effective against the dragonspawn. The JJAC retreated back up to the roof under attack of arrows, slashing wings, and eagle’s talons.

The razor-winged beast lept out at his enemies through a hole in the roof, and readied himself to spew its destructive acid attack, but he did not survive the quick attacks of Mitzi, Arquinn, Drombor (recovered from his fear), and finally the eldritch power of the Wizard Tramptree, who ended the beasts short life. With the evil spawn of Tiamat destroyed, the goblins below were unable to escape despite their many skills, and were slain by the triumphant heroes.

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