Episode Thirty-three - Chaos Courtesans
New to one another, an easy hush largely rested on the camp as the peace of the woods bombarded their hearts. The heroes set up camp for a few hours and had a late lunch as the leaves rustled and the birds chirped. As Duryodhana-Kali rested and meditated to regain his spent magical energies the wind rolled gently across forest floor as the vast, dense, flourishing, and primal wilderness engulfed them. The canopy around them was ruled by ash, asp, and yew as the middle distance was claimed to the brink of being hogged by crab apple. The crowns allowed for short beams of light to descend on sprouts and large rhododendron as the ground rested, littered, with nuts and seeds. Silent tree limbs waved throughout the teeming forest and a potpourri of flowers, which were common to this area only, protruded from the otherwise brown and green view below their feet. A variation of wild sounds, most of which were insects, added to the life of the forest, and an almost completely muffled sound of a woodpecker tattered away in the distance. Arvan began a discussion about the potential of danger on the road ahead, he and Declaen then informed the heroes of the barbarians of the woods. Most of the team worried about the safety of the village in their absence, aside from Kelaryn whom believed in her father and the Khuzdûl. The party noticed that there was a figure in the woods as a skeletal figure approached down the road. Arion, had taken the first watch and as he roved around the camp, he'd made it back up north before he saw and then heard the approach of the knight. The knight walked alone wearing a well fashioned breastplate and a set of bold pauldrons. His armor was interrupted with clean, soft, blue cloth that covered his groin, his ribs, and his head and on his back were four weapons of various make wrapped in the same cloth. In the man's hand, there was a great sword, held within his gauntlet at the blade. Under his hood none could see his face but as the group closed, curious, the man stopped and pressed his sword into the road. The armored figure's face was that of death. The man appeared to be nothing more then a skeleton in armor but as the heroes encountered him, Arion ran off the barbarian scout. Soon after, Arion forced a conversation that the creature and when put to paper, Duryo translated. The figure told them that he was called Master and he was cursed to walk the lands as a witness. He told them that he was here to witness their death and that he was heading to the location of their downfall. They came to realize that the creature was one of fate magic. Knowing his outcome, Arvan began packing his wagon as the rest began to discuss how to proceed, with his input involved. A jar then rolled off the back and he caught it, a single bead of sweat rolled down his brow. It was a nice jar. The heroes tried to figure out if the woods were more a danger then what they could handle never the less, they rested for the night and set out in the morning. As they all set out, Declaen remembered the area around the trail and was sure he could spot the trail itself. He knew the trail to be a bit of a tricky one given that the leavings of the great oak that it split around often covered its start. So, they all rode out, resting on their vehicles, and as they went the forest only got thicker around them. A few hundred yards forward, their caravan arrived at a river with a shallow ford that they all crossed easily, gathering water as they went. About a league into the journey, as the trail turned south, their caravan slowed and moved to the right (south) as they all saw a most interesting sight. In the path before them, there were two large stone animals with riders carved atop them. Both animals are fairly exotic and the rear most rider was adorned in a Keffiyeh with long baggy clothing. His face was relaxed and rested with dead eyes as they pulled around the massive beast he sat atop. Before the stone elephant stood a camel with none other then Ibrahim resting atop it. On the far side of the elephant, as they came to a stop along side the stonework, they saw a young girl stood in a walking pose that struck a familial resemblance to the elephant's rider. With the two in focus Duryo, recognized the rear rider and the girl to be two of the slaves that served directly under Ibrahim on the ship. Venturing ahead, Duryo spotted a tail heading into the woods but Grumwish was able to discern that the trail was the drags of the tail of a dress trailing north as the ground slopes slightly upward and into the woods. They decided that there were more pressing concerns and then rode onward. The wheels turned and the wagons lurched forward slowly. A full four leagues into the journey and the caravan turned fairly sharply north to drive to yet another fordable location in a river. After they crossed over and rode for a few more miles Declaen spotted the trail which wrapped around the large oak. The trail ran south and slimmed down by comparison to the road behind. Continuing down the trail south the eerie wood that surrounded them seemed to move out of the corner of their eyes. A flick between trees, the rebounding flap of a limb, and the hard patter of footsteps drew their eyes to the trees. Before long, they all crossed a distinctly Tulwyn axe buried in a tree, the handle of which looked rotten and the head of which looked well rusted. They studied it as they drove along, they made it another five leagues before the road just ahead had a small fork that joined the path off of the west side of the trail. Before they all even arrived, they saw a large blue pool similar to the one the man with the demons exited from. It shimmered across its plane and lit up the forest floor before it. Standing before it they all saw a man that Kelaryn recognized, Sir Yoreth, the dearest friend of Sir Maild. As they all arrived, Kelaryn and Grumwish first, he ordered, "none shall pass!" The situation devolved as Declaen tested the pool with his squires sword and Grumwish realized that Sir Yoreth was being mind controlled. A battle ensued as three Duergar Stone Guard joined the attack. Fighting valiantly, they won the battle and captured Sir Yoreth. The Githyanki adventuring party known as Rrakkma then exited the portal into Hârn by the request of Sir Maild in search of his army of help. Disappointed, they encountered the Heroes of Áthulus after a small discussion, gave Duryo a book. The heroes then rushed into the Astral Plane with the Gith and from there into the Plane of Pandemonium. On the far side of the portal the heroes found Sir Maild and they saved him. Arion carried Sir Maild back as the Gith were littered with arrows at the door of the dungeon beyond. They then all loaded up onto their carts and peeled out headed for home.
Subquest Search for Sir Maild Continued.
Character(s) interacted with
The Master and the Githyanki party known as Rrakkma.