The Chronicles of Allandria

The Costs of Victory

Having slain one of the Doom Sisters, Pieter turned to the greatsword the woman dropped. Laying it out on the dais where she and Lord Tyrol had stood in the audience chamber, he struck it with his holy maul, and the sword shattered into tiny fragments. Strangely, though, the hammer seemed to take up the dispersed enchantment, and so Grief’s Sorrow Blade became the Hammer of Sorrow.

Emerging from Tyrol Keep, the adventurers saw the results of the bitter struggle that had taken place during their infiltration: the undead driven away, but many lives lost on the Allandrian side. Walking among the dead saying rites of mourning was Eeirbhiseach (“Ebie”), a cleric of Erathis and the lone survivor of a defeated adventuring party that had participated in the battle. After introductions that made clear Damien and the others had been instrumental in the victory over the Deathwind at the Manor, Ebie joined the group on their march to Ceremoor.

With just a brief stop to gear up with additional magical protections, the group reached the battle lines as quickly as could be managed. There they found the mercenary Dark Legion pushed far back from striking distance of the great guard towers, dug in to a campsite in the northern reaches of the blight territory, beset by skeletal soldiers, archers, and their bony steeds. With scarcely a moment for “reconnoitering” as Ebie tried to suggest, the party rushed to the attack. Though Pieter was briefly struck down, the battle overall went in the heroes’ favor, thanks in part to powers newly evidenced by the Nightshade Staff. One of the skeletal steeds knelt down in obeisance to the bearer of the artifact, and Damien nearly claimed it as his own mount before his zealously anti-undead companions destroyed the voluntarily helpless beast.

Next, the party turns to see just how bad the Dark Legion’s situation might be, and how they feel to have been tasked with such a brutal campaign…

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The Plan Unfolds
from Dorwich to Tyrol

The shortcut through the Deathwind Labyrinth proved nearly enough to devastate the party. The heroes managed to dispatch a number of cave bats and spectral undead, finding thereafter that the only route deeper into the shadowy cave network was to plunge down into a funnel of murky water. It deposited them in a deeper cavern where it seemed that Damien’s lost mentor Athenais had once passed, leaving a case of emergency supplies and her Arcane Mark. The party’s path on their urgent mission led elsewhere, however, so Damien reluctantly turned away from these clues.

That path proved to be a brutal one: scuttling centipedes nearly tore the party limb from limb before they were able to escape into daylight. After resting up from this near-fatal encounter, the group approached the town of Dorwich, where a stockade had been erected from pieces of the ruined village, patrolled by wererats and their dire rat pets. Acting swiftly, the heroes battled their way atop the walls of this crude corral and led frightened villagers out to freedom. The Doom Sister known as “Fear”, accompanied by two spectral guards, came to investigate the commotion—but too late. The captives went safely into the care of the Clerics of Pelor, to become more refugees at Hallowdwell.

Then came the march west to Tyrol Manor, near the border between Arktfar and Greenwood. As an Allandrian contingent began a frontal assault on the Deathwind forces there, the party made their way into the keep via a side entrance guarded by devoted Warforged, a rarity indicative of some great wealth or artifice on the part of Lord Tyrol. Battle was joined, but during the melee, the party was able to wrest some information from the taciturn constructs. It appeared that Tyrol Manor was not so much in willing collusion with the Deathwind as under a terrible coercion: the Doom Sister “Grief” had a blade to the throats of the Lord’s wife and children. By convincing these Warforged that the party was adept enough to mount a rescue even under this hostage situation, and devising a ruse by which they could spring an attack from within the Lord’s audience chamber, the heroes made their way to the center of the manor house, to Tyrol… and to Grief.

With the help of the warforged, the Doom Sister was defeated, and dissolved into a black mist that seeped away to the south. Lord Tyrol and his family escaped during the fight, safe, but out of the reach of the party or the Allandrian forces, so their secrets fled with them.

Using the Nightshade Staff, the party cleansed Tyrol Manor of the Deathwind plague. This loss of territory, and the defeat of one of the Deathwind’s generals, will surely provoke bitter reprisal from whatever intelligence guides these undead. Even now, the battered Dark Legion, forced to ground in the counterattack against their feint, stands on the verge of rout… leaving a clear path for the angry undead to march on Hallowdwell.

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We Have a Plan

Though the doppelganger used all his speed, stealth, and craft, the heroes caught, cornered, and interrogated him. He claimed his motives in colluding with the Deathwind were to “cleanse” Allandria of its current population, after which the plague would recede and leave people like him (doppelgangers specifically, or monstrous humanoids in general, it was not clear) to settle the land which he believed to be theirs by right. He also revealed that he acted under orders of a group of captains or generals known as the Doom Sisters, called in turn “Grief,” “Agony,” and “Fear.” Each of them leads and maintains a force in northern Arktfar, one in Tyrol Manor, one at the Towers of Ceremoor, and one at Dorwich.

With this information in hand, the party left the doppelganger to the tender mercies of the castle guard, and set to gathering a war council to decide Allandria’s next move in the battle against the undead hordes. Bohm the Acolyte, Julius “Crusher” Bonchev, Ambassadora Mariana Ellebran, Sir Mattheus Ironstone, and Prince Donovan Xavier were all in attendance. Animated discussion followed; each member of the war council saw different priorities in the three Arktfarian territories.

In the end, Damien attempted to cut the knot of discussion with a clever plan. First, send Julius with his Dark Legion to lay siege at Ceremoor, drawing the Deathwind’s attention to the northernmost front. Then, Damien and the others would use the Deathwind Labyrinth as a shortcut to Dorwich and liberate the captives there, with the priests of Pelor waiting to rush them to safety at Hallowdwell. They would avoid open battle with the Deathwind forces, however, and instead regroup to lead a surprise assault on Tyrol Manor, the true target of the operation. This would, hopefully, open up the border of Greenwood, allowing (or persuading) the elves to send a contingent to join the fight.

It remains to be seen how much of this can be carried off, but the heroes now begin their first phase of the operation, taking the thief Deftblade with them. The Labyrinth has begun to evince its necromantic nature, however, with the very walls birthing shades to drag them into the darkness…

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Complications of a Quest Fulfilled
September 10-14

On their way back from Varancyn, the heroes were accosted by Saraiha, barring their way with a pair of Green Dragon Wyrmlings. She ranted, accused Damien of being a thief, said she had been meant to be the protege of Athenais, and demanded the Nightshade Staff. The heroes stood firm, however, and between Damien’s displays of magical power and Maghnus’s unveiled threats, she, “Kitten,” and “Balor” retreated into the woods.

Not long after that, the group came across Pieter, an Avenger from a monastery of Erathis. His single-minded devotion to the task of “pushing back the darkness” endeared him to Maghnus and Darsin, though his insistence that there was no right side in the war between Allandria and Arktfar soured Prince Donovan Xavier to him. The party folded him into their ranks as they made the trip back to Hallowdwell.

There, Donovan and The Ambassadora Mariana Ellebran were welcomed into the city amid great fanfare, and the prince promised a great celebration in her and the heroes’ honor. It seemed, however, that while the party was away, the castle walls had come under direct attack by undead forces—a stealthy, hit-and-fade strike that seemed too swift and coordinated for a truly mindless horde. The group went their separate ways for a short time, reporting in to Sir Mattheus Ironstone, spending time with Julius “Crusher” Bonchev, etc.

The next morning, Donovan’s promise came true, as each of them had an invitation to attend a banquet in the castle’s great hall that evening. In the meantime, Damien finally managed to achieve a breakthrough with the Nightshade Flute, unlocking a far deeper potential for combating the Deathwind plague.

The banquet was a rousing affair, with almost all of the party’s Hallowdwell friends in attendance. The prince toasted the Elven ambassadora and the party, and called for a dance! The ball was disrupted by the antics of Deftblade, and the prince and the ambassadora stepped outside… only to meet with disaster. Thankfully, Damien was there to raise the alarm when a doppelganger assassin or kidnapper attempted to drag the Prince away by posing as Mariana and drugging him with a sleep draught! The heroes arrived on the scene in a brutal night melee with the doppelganger, several bandit accomplices, and a wizard shouting necromantic curses and praise of the Deathwind.

What vile subterfuge is this? The kidnapper escaped into the night, but when we meet our heroes again, they will give chase!

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Elven Diplomacy
September 7-9

The battle raged furiously back and forth across the stream and through the trees. The elves and many of the party were wounded (Damien even collapsed from his injuries!) but between the staunch defense provided by the dwarves and the bolstering powers of Darsin and Prince Donovan, the heroes claimed victory over the beasts. (Reward: 400 XP.)

The sentinels, curt but grateful for the heroes’ saving their lives, led the party into the wondrous elven city of Varancyn. The group took a bit of time to gather information around the town before presenting themselves to the Council of Greenwood under the Eladrin King Ellemyr.

To the Allandrians’ great fortune, the audience went over strikingly well. The ranger Ambassadora Mariana Ellebran volunteered herself to go to Allandria, and despite the protestations of her fiancĂ© Jhakul Elletai, King Ellemyr granted her the honor, fulfilling the party’s mission. As a gesture of Greenwood’s benevolence and good faith, he also bestowed upon the party a number of treasures and supplies for their use. (Reward: 1000 XP, art objects worth a total of 450 GP, two potions of healing, Battleforged Plate +1, a Cincture of the Dragon Spirit, and a Duelist’s Short Sword +1.)

Now the party, grown to six members, journeys back to Hallowdwell. Prince Donovan seems quite taken with Mariana… will any other complications mark their return trip?

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Into the Woods
September 7

The party reached the “inner border” of Greenwood—while the elves claim the whole breadth of the forest, the river that bisects it divides their most settled dominions from the wilderness.

Just shy of the river, a number of wilderness beasts set upon them, thinking them easy prey. They thought wrong. In the end, only a Spiretop Drake and a Spitting Drake escaped with their lives; the other Drakes and a pair of Stormclaw Scorpions lay dead on the path. Prince Donovan was pleased to have proven his fighting powers by landing finishing blows on two of them himself! (Reward: 560 XP and 170 GP worth of drake skin.)

They reached the river, only to find the bridge across it disassembled. They made their way across the canyon by spell and mettle, though not before a storm broke above them, soaking them to the bone. (Reward: 500 XP.)

A pair of elven archers, suspicious of the party’s intentions, greeted them. But before the party could assuage the elves’ concerns, more beasts of the woods sprung an attack! Deathjump Spiders pounced the elves to the ground, and Fire Beetles belched forth their fiery spittle, lighting nearby trees aflame.

Surely the heroes will prevail… but will they be able to save the elves, or will their first diplomatic act in Greenwood be to deliver two bodies slain of poison and flame?

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The Story So Far
August 15 to September 6

Our four heroes arrived at the castle Hallowdwell to find it a bustle of activity, mercenaries and adventurers and frightened refugees mingling in a teeming mass. Their one thing in common: lives set in a new direction by the Deathwind.

They met “Deftblade,” formerly Eric, a representative of the local thieves’ guild, and Sir Mattheus Ironstone, dwarven Paladin of Erathis and captain of the Royal Guard. The latter wasted no time in setting them upon some quests in service to Allandria.

Their first mission took them to the town of Black Hearth, on the border of Arktfar, which had until recently been under the miasma of the deadly plague. There they discovered a gnome magician named Pharod and his accomplice, the halfling rogue Adahna. These miscreants had gotten ahold of an artifact known variously as the Nightshade Staff, and were using it to make the town habitable for a garrison of goblins. The heroes drove them off and claimed the Staff for their own.

Investigating the Staff and rumors of undead activity led the group to Knollcrest, a town on the manor of the lordly family House Athein. The Lord and Lady of that estate told of a necromantic labyrinth their ill-fated adventuring family had encountered in decades past, a thing of the Shadowfell whose tunnels sometimes break through like foul roots into the lands of the living. Investigating the Athein family crypt revealed a black portal into this labyrinth, which the party then explored down to the first rooms of its third floor, encountering a variety of monsters nesting in its passages.

Returning to Hallowdwell, the party continued making preparations for the next of Sir Ironstone’s quests: a diplomatic mission to enlist the aid of the elves of Greenwood in the battle against Deathwind. The crown prince himself, Donovan Xavier, would accompany them as Allandria’s ambassador. Meanwhile, various members of the party interacted with potential future allies Bohm the halfling Acolyte, Julius Bonchev the shifter mercenary, and Elhazra the ill-tempered tiefling.

When things left off, the party had entered the forested kingdom of Greenwood, soon to encounter the native denizens of that land…

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