RoundTable Adventuring

Crown of the Kobold King -Epilogue Part 5-

Baleson led them up a lowly-lit hallway almost immediately, passing by several empty cells. One cell in particular housed a face Chartreux recognized, and Kadran leered at her as she passed, appearing to have just woken up seconds before. She made a face back at him, but then he spat and sneered, “You think you’re just going to waltz out of town, do ya? This filthy half-lank piece of shit may think he owns this town, but he won’t be able to save you from that mob… augh, I swear to the gods, I’m not sure what stinks worse: the half-elf or the half-human!” at this, he broke out in a coughing laugh, his missing nose-hole whistling and spraying blood and mucus drops around a small area in front of him. Mikhail spoke up at this, querying, “I do not understand joke. He has no nose, how he make smell insult?” Kadran’s laughter quickly died, and he continued, growling, “As I said, more people want you dead than want you alive, you filthy dogs. All they need to know now is where you are… speaking of which, allow me to assist!” At this he began screaming and yelling, shouting that the party was in the jail with him and banging on the bars of his cell with his tin plate and anything else he could grab, raising a huge ruckus, which the building’s thin walls did little to resist.

Immediately, Baleson leaped to the cage and began to attempt to unlock the door, all the while shouting, “Keep it down, damn you! I will bring a world of hurt down on you if you-” Mikhail looked at the half-orc, laughing and yelling loudly, and simply said, “No, you sleep.” At this, the brute’s eyes glazed over, and even as the sheriff opened the cell, Kadran fell backward onto his thin jail cell mattress, out like a light. The gender-swapped changeling witch turned and offered a little biscuit to his bird as the sheriff regarded him in wonder. At a groan from the next cell down, though, he was snapped back to the situation at hand.

Varro looked like absolute hell. The transformation had progressed quite far, the tentacles on his chin constantly whipping about of their own accord, his ears huge, his maw razor-sharp. Still unconscious, he looked quite ill. The sheriff looked at him a second, saying, “He’s nothing like any werewolf I’ve ever seen, but…” at which, Amarro filled him in on the particulars of the Lodestone Trap. “Where’s the temple? He needs a priest now, we can’t stall for anything at this point!” Varro’s ears flapped absently at this. Baleson looked unhappy, and shared: “There’s only one temple in town… they’re up Worship Way, almost at the northwest gate. You’ll never get there without getting seen…!” Considering for a moment, Chartreux spoke up, “Could you arrange a barge or something for us? We want to get out of here… I figure we could split our efforts; you and your people get that together and put up some kind of distraction, and we’ll take care of old bighead, here.” At this, Baleson nodded, “Sounds good, but I’ll have to send some deputies. I’m the only one the Gavel fears, and he’d release this animal-” he threw a thumb over his shoulder at the slumbering form in its cell, “-to come find you if I left, going straight through my guys if I wasn’t here. I kind of have to… keep him in check. The power struggle here is… constant, and he’s making a big move tonight. I need to remain here, and in predictable locations, to keep him powerless to move his beast.”

As Amarro and Mikhail took one each of Varro’s arms and draped them over their shoulders, Carrock held the door open and loosened his weapons once more, while Chartreux readied her crossbow, and the group continued out into the night, the sheriff watching them go. His men snuck from the building toward the dock, and he seemed to know, from his expression, that this entire situation hinged on chance at this point. Their deaths at the hands of the mob would likely even mean his own, so prone was Kreed to twisting the townsfolk (and every situation he could, for that matter). He could claim anything, plant any evidence… all he needed was others to do the dirty work for him. Deldrin closed the door as Kadran began howling and banging again, and the growing night swallowed the party of heroes.

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Crown of the Kobold King -Epilogue Part 4-

Upon reaching the far edge of the circular palisade, a new problem presented itself: entering the town to get to the jail was now much more difficult, as the town was well-lit in the panic, and the lynch mobs were using the roads, including the one needed to reach the jail. At this, Tomoe spoke up, “I think I can prevent the mobs from getting to you if I can hold the roads that enter the Low Market,” and at this she pointed southwest, toward a large open space which was, this evening, cleared; all shop carts and stalls rolled to one side. The area was well known to the party, as they’d spent most of their first night in town in the buildings around the Low Market. “I’ll need to call my brothers and sisters to me. We’ll attempt to divert attention from you, as the docks, too, are over on this end of town. Best of luck, my friends!” At this, she urged Roukan into a run, and rode onto the road and back into the town, where she drew her animal whistle and Monk’s Spade. Putting the instrument to her lips, she blew hard. The distraction was underway!

Almost immediately, Carrock motioned for them to move forward from the copse of trees they’d been hiding in, and they continued up the road, slipping between the two buildings the sheriff and his deputies occupied. Coming around the townside-end of the structure, Chartreux immediately recognized the person leaning against the wall, looking around worriedly: Ralla Hebbradan, the whore she’d spent the first night in town with, and who she suddenly realized was the sister of the last kid they’d found, Hollin. Carrock also noticed her and reached to his belt, flicking his dueling sword a short way out of his sheath and rasping, “I knew we couldn’t stay hidden forever”, at which Chartreux turned to tell him to stand down, and Ralla turned in surprise, seeing the group hiding there. Sparing a quick glance at the road, she quickly snuck over to where the party huddled and whispered to Chartreux.

“By the goddess, Chartreux, am I glad to see you!” Immediately, Chartreux demanded to know why she was waiting there, to which the whore replied, “Waiting for you. I need your help, and can… possibly help you, as well, in exchange… though the trade is a little one-sided.” She continued on to explain that she’d been informed secretly by Kimi, as Hollin wouldn’t say anything to her about anything, that they had gone to the jail to collect Varro. At this she began to weep, and continued, “Please, take my brother with you away from this place! I beg you! He seems unwell, he just stares off into space and hasn’t said two words to me since returning. Something’s different, and the other children said he was almost sacrificed!” She wrung her hands a moment, then continued, attempting to prevent more tears from coming by wiping her eyes, her caked-on makeup running, “He needs… he needs to grow up being cared for, not by someone who can’t… can’t even take care of herself. I’m sorry to put this on you, but I’m absolutely desperate!”

Chartreux immediately looked horrified at the idea that her one-night stand with a member of the same sex yielded… a ward, but Carrock spoke up to spare her the task of rejecting the desperate woman herself. “I will take the boy, though his life will not be one of comforts. This woman seems… unfit to raise a child at the moment, but the church of Pharasma will not have the same problem. They are always looking for more people to help with their work; they will give him a purpose, training, and good food. Anyways, by the sound of it, the horrors he’s endured have now entered his mind, and he will require help with the battle now raging there, lest it consume him even after his salvation. I will do this thing for you; I will save your kin.” for a moment, he considered, then continued, “Anyways, another of the boys from this whole situation will be joining me; it would be best for them both to have a friend that they know nearby. Healing is a shared experience.”

Ralla seemed kind of put off by the unknown and incredibly shifty crow-man’s interruption, but Chartreux spoke up at that moment, purring, “He is right… I am unfit to care for children at the moment… I have my own life to deal with, first. Leave your little brother with this guy, he’ll be well taken care of. I promise.” at this, Carrock joined in, croaking, “As do I. I swear it upon my honor, your brother will be safe and cared for.” Chartreux continued at this, asking, “… What was it you said you could do for us in exchange, though? We’re in a bit of a jam.” Ralla smiled and simply replied, “What I do best. I’ll distract that Sheriff long enough for you to get your friend out of the jail.” At that moment, Deldrin Baleson stepped around the corner behind her, and said, “That’s okay, Ralla, I am already involved. Inquisitor; adventurers; we meet again. Join me inside the jail for a moment, if you please. Ralla, you run along and get Hollin ready for leaving home. Send him here when he’s prepared; but be quick, the situation is unraveling quickly.” The girl ran off at that, though taking a moment to spare a backward glance at Chartreux, and the party continued around the corner quickly, following the sheriff in. Amarro put hand to weapon, and Mikhail created hexsigns with his fingers, though, not knowing which way the situation would go, not even knowing which side the inscrutable inquisitor was on, confidently following the sheriff with hands tucked into his belt. The door opened, yet little light spilled from the portal.

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Crown of the Kobold King -Epilogue Part 3-

Upon the north road were even more surprises… a half-orc was face-down in a small splash of blood, and was covered in blood pretty much from head to toe, but Amarro had a feeling… the mohawk and buckler looked familiar. Just as he snuck up to the downed brute he heard crunching gravel up the road; Tomoe continuing up it quickly, looking extremely concerned. She spotted him approaching the recumbent oaf, and hastened, her expression bending into a frown from its previous worry, hissing almost immediately after passing The Sitting Duck, “What do you think you’re doing?!”. To this, Amarro was at a loss for words, shrugging and whispering, “… Checking for identification?” She swatted at him in severe annoyance, jumped down from her mount, and grabbed the gunman’s sleeve, Roukan snorting in the halfman’s face derisively as his master dragged Amarro back to the rest of the party.

There, she began to explain desperately the situation they were in, as she’d deduced their identities from the descriptions from the monk who reported the scenario to the monastery, and had returned to town with a small troop to attempt to contain the situation peacefully, but Chartreux cut her off when she began to cover old ground, growling, “We’ve been informed of that all already, get to the point.” At this, Tomoe was stopped short, but continued, “My point, ma’am, is that you’re, what? Sneaking into a town full of people looking for you? What on earth… oh no, is it that so-called ‘halfling werewolf’ I’ve been told they caught? Is he one of yours??” which prompted more explanations. At this, the figure on the road suddenly groaned, cracked its neck methodically, and staggered slowly to it’s feet.

All conversation ceased as everyone turned to look… at Giggles.

In worse condition than one could have ever imagined, Giggles still chuckled to himself upon seeing the party. Covered in claw marks (and more than a few teeth marks, to the worry of those who knew what he’d run off chasing), the half-orc thug slowly began to stagger toward them, coming to a stop leaning on Mikhael, who to him appeared to be the most beautiful woman he’d seen that day (he’d been out in the woods all day). His breath stank of gore and he was covered in blood (and pawing at the "wizard"’s bird, which quickly flew a short distance away), but he nonetheless chuckled again at seeing everyone so suddenly… and then swatted Amarro right upside the head, knocking the halfling down. He then pointed at him, grinned, and stumbled back toward town, trailing a small amount of what was likely his own blood behind him. At the entrance, he stopped and leaned on the edge of the wall, and remained barely standing, facing inward toward the bar and torches.

Tomoe turned back to the group, her face writ with her complete confusion and concern as Amarro snorted a bit of blood out of his nose and laughed. Suddenly remembering her point, Tomoe continued, intoning that she would be able to guide them to the jail and may be able to drive off a group of the lynchers if was required. At this, the inquisitor spoke up, graciously saying “We won’t turn away capable help; this situation is desperate. Your assistance would be greatly appreciated, my Lady Wolfkin,” then raised his voice a bit, “… and yours too, Master Tusks.” At this, Giggles chuckled some more and continued leaning on the wall, more out of a desire to remain upright and standing than anything else. And then some thugs came out of the bar.

Seeing Giggles, they ambled over, but as soon as one reached him to chat, Giggles thumped him on the chest with his open hand, HARD, and sent him reeling, pointing past the patron’s fellows toward the bar again and likely glaring menacingly, and began a kind of low, delirious chuckle that those who know him would run from. The men simply moved up the road a bit and called for some of their fellows who were likely in the bar. Giggles began to chuckle louder, drawing his heavy flail from his belt, and un-perched from the wall. At this, Carrock croaked, “I think he’s given us our opportunity to continue on to the jail to collect your ‘werewolf’…” and continued across the road swiftly, the rest of the train following quietly on the path around The Perch. The sounds of fighting soon picked up from where the half-orc had gone.

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Crown of the Kobold King -Epilogue Part 2-

As the party exited the ruins, several things happened. Varro immediately ran off toward the same path they took in from the forest without a word, and Leon began nursing a pretty killer headache all of a sudden, while the bard began loudly rejoicing and singing about the sun and sky and bullshit like that. Meanwhile, Amarro inquired toward Leon’s health, but he stated that he just needed a few moments to clear his head in the fresh air, and that the group should continue ahead to the town; that he would catch up. The children/bard commanding a good portion of his attention, Amarro agreed distractedly, and Chartreux of course “could care less either way”, while Mikhael, in his broken Taldan, uttered something about “a demon’s kiss”. So, the group, halfling bard and 5 kids included, angled down the road toward Falcon’s Hollow.

12 hours later, they arrived in the westernmost outskirts of the town, expecting something approaching a hero’s welcome, but instead encountered something much different. Amarro was the first to hear something on the wind, and then noted a taloned hand waving at them from under what appeared to be a pile of leaves, off on the left side of their approach into town, a little ways off the road. The hand then immediately beckoned him over, having apparently noted his attention being grabbed, and when he’d informed the party of his discovery, the hand had changed into the tengu who’d brought them to the town. From his place of concealment under a tree, his camouflage net still over his shoulders, he croaked:

“Sorry to break up your victory arrival, but there’ll be no fanfare on this one. I’m going to have to ask you to let this… halfling return those children instead of you. You’re being hunted, after all… better to make it a bit harder for them to find you, and put the townsfolk off your trail for a bit. We have only a short while here; we have to collect your halfling friend who was covered in the blood and get out of here, all without being seen… speaking of which, wait, where’s your human?”

What proceeded was a huge amount of questioning, though the tengu motioned for the party to step aside to chat discreetly. In summary, it appeared that he had made good on his stated plans to “deal with a problem in town” and had killed an alleged necromancer. Then, the Lumber Consortium’s Gavel, Thuldrin Kreed, furious at the death of what was obviously someone in his “employ”, capitalized on the event to turn the town against the party altogether; attempting to stir them into a frenzy against the heroes, perhaps to get out of paying them the money promised for the safe return of the town’s missing children, claiming that they were “there to root out any citizen who doesn’t follow their mysterious death cult’s rules”… though he may have just wanted to cause a good, old-fashioned lynching.

The tengu croaked on, “This plan has thus far gone off without a hitch, as the halfling Varro arrived in town about 4 hours ago now, caused a ruckus, and is now in jail. They have laid the death of several of the town’s residents at his feet, and fear him to be well en route to transforming into a werewolf. The sheriff (who seems a pretty standup guy, from what I’ve seen) is more or less guarding the halfling, though it seems more like he’s preventing the poor devil from being lynched. The rest of the town is in an uproar at the moment, having recieved even more prodding from the Gavel, who now has everyone believing that you lot are a group of monsters in disguise, the ‘werewolf’ being the first of such to show his true colours. They now walk the streets in lynch mobs, searching high and low for you.”

At this, the tengu apologized, saying “I am not innocent of causing this situation, though I will not apologize for my actions in killing the necromancer. I had incontrovertable proof, yet the corruption in this town ran so deep that they simply jailed me for leveling the accusation against the villain, proof or no. Of course, the sheriff helped me capture the man in the first place, and, as stated, is watching over your halfling in the jail on the town’s east side, so if what you say is true, and he IS turning into a vargouille, we have precious little time. Again, I’m sorry, I’d simply hired you to help me with catching the necromancer and investigating the undead, which… it sounds like you’ve done, but this quickly became bigger than any of us could have expected… I suppose The Lady has her own plans, and we are all but puppets in her hands… At any rate, we will return to the jail, inform the sheriff that we simply need to collect the halfling and recieve healing at the temple of Pharasma before we leave, and figure out some form of discreet passage back across the river. A quick, in-out operation, no problems. If your human is coming as stated he’d better come now, because he’ll be on his own very soon. I’m sorry, I cannot promise his safety, though this day The Lady promised dark deeds, and a lot of blood staining the earth, though I know not when it will come to pass. It’s better we not be here for when it happens.”

It was at this point that Savram Vade, the son of the necromancer, spoke up from up the road. “Excuse me, Mr. Bird?”. To this, the inquisitor slowly turned his head toward the boy (as did Mikhael, who then immediately realized he didn’t mean him), who continued, “… Is my father okay? I’m Savram Vade. I heard mention of something about necro… something? I’ve… uh, heard him use that word before”. Looking at Edgrin briefly, then at Chartreux, who seemed more favored by the kids, he crossed to the lad and looked down at him, then kneeled before him and put a talon-tipped hand on his shoulder. “… I’m sorry, boy, your father is… dead.” as the boy processed that, the inquistior continued, “I did everything I could… your father still died. I was powerless to help him… I’ll tell you about it sometime.” He considered that for a moment, seemed surprised at the wording he’d used, and continued: “Well, do you… without your father, who will you stay with? Do you have someone else in town?” The boy looked up with rather unreadable eyes and said, after a moment, “No… there’s nothing here for me, now”. “Well,” the tengu grated, “I may be able to help you with that. Quickly, run home, gather whatever you feel you will need, and come to the docks, hiding out of sight until we arrive. You will not be returning to this town for a very long time. … I can only offer take you to the church and train you, if you’d like.”

Nodding yes immediately (what other option did he have?), the necromancer’s boy prepared to run, but suddenly, Amarro stood between him and his path, asking, “Hold on, what about the rest of us? It’d look pretty weird with just Savram going into town; he’d surely get seen and questioned.” At this, the tengu turned to him and cocked his head, “Ah, yes, Master Gunman. Indeed, it would be odd.” He pointed next to Amarro, at Edgrin, and continued, “… That is why you will be necessary for this to work, Master Bard; you and all the children, as stated before. … How silly of me to forget that important detail! As I said, you will be taking the children into town as the glorious hero, and we will sneak away!” At further explanation of his idea, Amarro and Chartreux made some noises of complaint, and Chartreux protested loudly, demanding “What, he gets our reward for all of that hard work?? I figured you were out of your head when you said that earlier… He didn’t do anything! He’s fat, and didn’t even prevent this one”, and here she pointed at Kimi, who stuck out her tongue at the cat-woman, “from sneaking off! You expect him to be the big hero now?? Or us to just sit by as he gets the big payout??”

The tengu spun on the cat-woman heatedly and croaked rapidly, “What reward do you expect to recieve from the townsfolk? They are commanded by what is, by all accounts, an absolutely brutal bully of a man, and he’s got them worked into a right froth. You want reward? You’ll be lucky to leave with your life! And if you keep that, you’ll burn it away in a prison cell for the rest of eternity! Is that what you want??” At this, the tengu was sort of flapping his arms and seemed genuinely upset, but continued his rant before he could be interrupted, “I’ve spent a large portion of my life already in a prison, and I’m not keen to spend more of it there! So if you want to get out of this in one piece, listen to my plan, I’ve had a lot of time to think on it; and if it works out just right, you just may be able to sell those shinies you’ve collected, and we can all go off into the happiest of sunsets.”

At this, he outlined his plan (learning, finally, that Savram didn’t even need to enter the town), and the party began to move. Edgrin entered town via the southernmost road, called Mud Street, with the children, to great surprise and fanfare, drawing much of the attention from their group, while Savram ran home, sneaking across the plains toward his house on the outskirts in the north, near the boneyard, to collect whatever he had. The party, meanwhile, skirted the outside of the town, heading north as well, then east, staying directly adjacent to the wall, but it was incredibly tough going. Despite not being with their Walking Stealth Penalty for the moment, it was still extremely difficult to remain unseen in the almost-set evening sun, as there were lanterns every 40 feet or so along the wall, so it’s no surprise they were caught as they moved along the northwest road, but by the most unlikely of people: Tomoe!

At this point, Chartreux in particular was pinching herself pretty hard, as she was ENTIRELY certain she’d seen the halfwoman die. She’d watched it happen! She’d MADE NOTE of it happening! And yet, here she was, among a few similarly dressed monks, arguing with what appeared to be a group of clerics from the town’s church of Iomedae, right there a short distance up Worship Way. She was, fortunately, facing the road out, and as Roukan began to sniff the air quizzically, she looked up. There the party stood, halfway across the road, gawping at her. Immediately, the halfling woman seemed to excuse herself from the conversation, quickly retreating on Roukan back down the road, heading toward the centre of town. Those who saw her at that moment were even MORE unsure they’d just seen her, because just as suddenly, she was gone… but the party pressed on. The boneyard needed crossing, and then the north road. The night was just getting started, and Varro’s clock was ticking.

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Crown of the Kobold King -Epilogue Part 1-
Since Mike never brings it up, but it was interesting to roll out the combat with him

This epilogue begins with Varro. As he raced through the Darkmoon Forest on the swiftest path he could (namely, an even more truncated version of that he took out there with the party, basically traveling as the bird flies), Varro’s transformation was somewhat halted, but the forest’s canopy is thick, and he wasn’t in direct sunlight for a lot of it. So, he arrived in Falcon’s Hollow with his hair all fallen out, exhausted to the point of being staggered. He had also begun part two of his transformation.

As he entered the town from the northern road by The Sitting Duck (where he had fought Giggles in the street), he saw that there were a group of villagers walking up the lane, armed with pitchforks, torches, shovels, and other implements for rioting. They spotted him immediately, and upon hastening up to him, explained that he was going straight to the Gavel, and then to jail, accusing him of being a murderer over his exhausted demands to be allowed to pass to the temple. At this point, he had begun to transform further into a Vargouille; his ears had elongated somewhat, and his teeth began to sharpen even as he spoke, while the tentacles common to the creatures began to extend from his chin. Spotting this, someone asked what was wrong with his face, but before he could respond, another from the back of the crowd screamed, “He’s turning into a werewolf! By the gods, he’s a werewolf!!”

At this point, Varro had had enough, and moved toward the crowd blocking his road with a purpose. They rushed him in their terror, and he was barely able to hold them off, he was so exhausted from running for the last 8 hours. Suddenly, people in the back were being grabbed and thrown aside, some even being struck down and killed by the new arrival, so little was his concern for the people. Varro, meanwhile, continued to strike his attackers without intent to kill, but he was being approached by Kadran Bloodeye, who he instantly recognized on sight as the brute emerged from the gaggle of frightened idiots. Kadran also saw someone before him who he had received orders toward… of course, he had no problems with his orders anyways, he was just as eager to kill the out-of-towners as he always was, and shouted “Leave him to me; you rabble just surround him! … I’ll make this quick.”

Varro was in a bad way. He was in no shape at that moment to fight the noseless half-orc thug, and simply wanted to get to the temple district so he could get healed. Nonetheless, upon attempting to explain it to Kadran, he saw nothing in the half-orc’s eyes change upon receiving this explanation, and the bastard drew his daggers and leveled them at the martial artist. “That’s great, werewolf, but save your words for your god. I’m not here to help you, I’m here to do my job. And I like my job.”

Taking a quick second to look at the knives, Varro saw that they were coated with something, likely a poison, so he knew that Kadran meant to kill him. With that in mind, Varro opened, taking advantage of the thug’s swagger, but he was so tired that his stunning fist attempt only brushed the cretin’s chainmail. Realizing that the martial artist had some fight left in him and intended to do so to the death (as, indeed, he’d used The Grasp in his attempt), Kadran attempted to stab him in the neck, but missed, because despite his weariness, the halfling could move very quickly indeed, and perhaps was playing up his level of exhaustion to be unpredictable to the half-orc. They’d never faced each other before, so the first round was spent understanding each others’ combat abilities.

Varro’s next was a series of quick blows that did not find their target, but he made sure to leave a false opening, which the thug dove straight for, thinking that the halfling was getting sloppy in his weariness. Varro had his chance, and attempted to make use of the brute’s rather obvious weak spot: the bronze nosepiece covering what remained of his nose, from which blood was leaking even now. As Kadran missed the halfling, misjudging his movements, Varro grabbed his extended arm before he could retract it, and performed what could only be described in this universe as Guile from Street Fighter’s “Flashkick”; backflipping using Kadran’s arm and aiming a kick at his noseplate, intending to stun the brute by utilizing an old injury. The impact made a metal thunk, and the cover was clearly dented, but his kick knocked it loose and sent it flipping over the half-orc’s head to fall into the dirt behind him, revealing his sickening wound to the world.

The halfling landed unsteadily, stumbling… the world was spinning, why wouldn’t it stop spinning? As he pondered this suddenly huge question, the half-orc angrily covered the hole where his nose had been, and with a howl, stabbed the halfling in the chest. Varro almost immediately collapsed, seeming almost relieved, and the crowd was completely silent. Kadran was furious, and shouted at them, “DON’T LOOK AT ME!! GET OUT OF HERE, SHOW’S OVER!!”. As the people ran from the furious half-orc, they parted around someone who approached from behind him. Kadran raised his daggers, furiously uttering “I’ll put you in the ground for that, you damned tuskless pig,” but before he could deliver his killing blow, his raised arm was grabbed from behind, over his shoulder, and he spun with his offhand dagger coming in low to skewer his new attacker, but that arm, too, was grabbed, and Sheriff Baleson uttered quietly in his ear, “Drop the stickers or I’ll put you down, Bloodeye… again.”

Well, their following fight isn’t really known to anyone in the party and so will not be described (as Varro was out of sorts and nobody reported the outcome), but Baleson was in the jail when the party arrived looking for their monk, sitting in his chair and looking none the worse for wear, and Kadran had a black eye and swollen jaw in his cell adjacent to Varro’s. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves, what happened with the party?

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Leon's fall from grace 2.0

As Leon walked with the party up through the Crucible a though struck him – We saved the kids, but aren’t we supposed to stop evil? Why are we helping Kibbo?
“Hey guys, you go ahead, I’ll catch up”
“Whatever,” Chartreax sneered.
“Varro? Varro! Where are you going? What…”
Amarro’s voice faded behind him as he descended back into the Crucible. He was going to make things right, but first a little ‘me’ time.

~~~~~~~~~~

Steam bath, manicure, 100 brushes through each side of his hair, and a polishing of his armour. Now he was the image of everything a paladin should be. A shining beacon of virtue with his hair flowing in the wind CLEAVING HIS SWORD THROUGH THE SKULL OF A MIGHTY DRAGON! Yeah!

~~~~~~~~~~~

The place was empty. They HAD killed everything, but there was nothing. No eggs in the hatchery, no slaves scurrying around, Kibbo wasn’t rearranging his new throne room.
How am i supposed to be the big hero with no foes to smite? The only place left they could have gone is … That tunnel couldn’t REALLY be full of screaming penis’. Could it? That would be a horror the god wouldn’t allow.
Inching around the corner Leon moved as gracefully as a cat, like a shadow in the dark. He was going to be aweso-
SHRIEK!!!!
Stars swam in his vision as he tried to piece together what happened. Loud noises then… he’d smashed his gantlet into his ears trying to protect them.
Leon frowned at himself for a moment before slashing the pair of shriekers apart. This is it, the last place they could have escaped from.
Last chance to catch them
“This has to be it, it has to,” he muttered to himself as he franticqlly searched, checking under even the smallest rocks until he found a small tunnel, “In the stories the hero never has to crawl in the dirt.”
In the stories the hero never lets evil escape

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It was several minutes of crawling through he tunnel, scraping his hands and armour before he saw a kobold tail turn he next corner of the tunnel. With renewed hope Leon scrambled around the corner to find himself in a small chamber with Kibbo and a few of his brethren.
“Kibbo! Buddy! How have you been doing?” he asked with a smile as he drew his sword.
The kobold hissed orders at this companions before turning to face his opponent.
“Well, I was going to kill you all anyway. Might as well start with he new ‘king’.”
Leon closed to distance quickly, flailing wildly at him diminutive foe, trying to overwhelm him with size and strength. Kibbo ducked, dodge, rolled, and scrambled away from every swing, not even trying to strike back, until he and Leon had switched places.
“Stand still damn it and let me kill you, you scaled rat!”
With a smile on his face and a ‘fuck you’ in his eyes Kibbo pulled the lever to the rock tarp meant to seal the tunnel from invaders. “Stupid pink skin,” Kibbo chuckled as Leon cries battle with the falling rocks.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Cough… that… Cough…That’s twice a lizard has dropped a ceiling on me. Aaa, no. No!! How am i going to be the hero? I HAVE to be the hero. I have to prove myself.”
I know now you can prove yourself. A fight you ran from. A fight to prov yourself
“So you’re a pussy!” as Chartreaux’s hand cracked across Leon’s face.
“The shadows. The shadows!”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Leon giggled manically, “Yes. All the answers will be below. Just dig out this tunnel and then I’ll have it all.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Leon stared into a darkness deeper than black. A swirling malevolence that wanted to take everything from him. The void that could never be filled. The Negative Energy plane.
This is the END
“DEATH?”
Deeper than death. This is where death comes to die
“I don’t understand. Um, I never payed that much attention in Planar Mechanics class. When you die you go to Heaven or whatever afterlife you deserve after passing through the ethereal plane. Then you live forever in that place."
Ever in those places their denizens can be destroyed. Angels, demons, in the END they all pass through here and into OBLIVION. There is no ‘forever’, no ‘eternal reward’, no ‘pie in the sky’
“But, if nothing is forever, if it doesn’t last, what’s the point?”
There isn’t one

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Letters to Irori #4

I’ve never wanted to leave a place a smouldering crater so much in my life. I can’t even remember how I was talked into coming back here without a siege weapon or some kind of magical pestilence. Zombies, werewolves, necromancers, kobolds, suicidal dwarves we should just let the Vale swallow this place and every crooked bastard and spineless serf within its walls. If we go twice without pay people here, might end up everywhere. At the very least I will bath in the blood of the wealthy inhabitants of the Palisade, eat the flesh of their children and make a tent from the skin of all who stand in my way…

Deep Breath

“Irori, guide my idle hands to honourable pursuits. May I hone my strikes to the standard of Cheu Chem. May my mind, body and spirit accept the discipline of your teachings.”

Erastil, watch over the weak families of the Vale. Punish those who make a mockery of Trade.
Iomedae, grant my counterparts the vision I currently lack in their pursuit of Justice. Grant me strength to clear my mind and remain honourable in my actions.
Torag, guide us to make strategically sound decisions as we attempt to protect and shepherd the… people of the Vale.
Abadar, please send true heroes to succeed where we have failed this community.

Watch closely, Gorum, you will be whom I will be honouring for the remainder of my time in this doom-troden, toothless dog infested, blight on all that is decent and fair…

Deep Breath

Watch closely, my actions should please thee in the coming hours.
Shelyn, be prepared… If my hoop is coming to a close I will be looking for all of the pleasures in the afterlife I could never appreciated with my short meaningless life.
All of you watch over Leon. Poor kid, finally got some personality, I fear for his safety. And welcome “Foreign Guy”. He needs to be accepted somewhere… Effeminate weirdo like him…

Pondering thoughts

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Amarro #14

I’ve had just about enough of this Taint of the World around Falcons Hollow, first it’s Kobolds and missing children then it’s undead Kobolds and a crooked Logging Consortium and now it’s More Undead of Every type and still the crooked logging consortium. Why can’t people jsut leave people in peace to run their own lives without needing to lord their power over anyone else in any way they can. God i need to get paid and put boots to the trail out of here….. hmmm that’s a thought…. we’re going to get paid for this, and if they have enough money to pay our fee there Must be Plenty more money up in those houses in the Palisades…. all the money up there guarded by all the guards that get that money…. but if there is no money… there are no guards, no guards, no enforcers… no enforcers no way to keep control and all the profits from logging this very valuable wood…. hmmmmm methinks i’m going to have fun provide a little forced re-distribution of wealth around this place… gonna need a nice big distraction so they don’t notice me in their hom…….. hey Varro! Can i talk to you for a minute about something?

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Ali #1

So I’m fairly certain that she wasn’t behind this undead outbreak. Which is a relief, but at the same time puts me back to square one. I think worse now, I have a group of suspicious necromancer hunters to watch out for now. The more I hide from them, the harder it gets for them to impede me, but I become more suspicious and making them more likely to try.

I should probably just leave on my own, but they are kind of useful, except for that frog. He’s annoying and can’t even do something as simple as firing a gun without botching it up. You load the alchemical round, aim in the general direction of an enemy and gently squeeze the trigger. Gently, I almost ripped it off today. Would have ruined my gun.

Also I thought guns were uncommon. I mean I built mine out of scrap. Seems like any idiot with a sense of adventure can go out and get one nowadays. JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN GET ONE DOESN’T MEAN YOU KNOW HOW TO USE IT PROPERLY!

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Dušek to professor Alastor, Department of History and Archaeology, Grand University in Sothis

Dear Professor Alastor,
I hope this letter finds you hastily. As do I hope that you and your family are in the best of health. Much has happened to me since I last wrote you, I was on a river boat making my way from Almas to Druma, then I was floating aboard a makeshift raft being awoken by a young halfling and her wolf. And so I have found myself in the town of Falcon’s Hollow in the Darkmoon Vale under siege by undead forces. I have unhappily resolved to aid this town as freeing the town from the undead scourge may be the most expedient way for me to continue my way to Druma. There is one cause for concern in this is that one of the intelligent undead invoked the name of Tar Baphon. While I have had time to consider what this might mean, it is my hope that these are just followers of the whispering way. However if Tar Baphon has indeed risen we need to know. Their are many powerful mages in the university’s employ I ask you dispatch one to Gallospire to ascertain whether or not there is cause for alarm. Also it may be wise to have his royal highness The Ruby Prince to mobilize some of Osirion’s agents in the pathfinder society. I am now embarking on a recon mission of my own here I will notify you of my findings as soon as I can.
Dušek

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