Shadows of Esteren: The Gaes of Tulg

Omens
Loch Varn

The characters became aware in a strange setting, and only over the course of experiencing things through a long, dreamlike state did they realize that they were in an abandoned Magientist’s lair near Loch Varn, hoping to contain a danger that threatened not only the nearby town, but the character’s homes in Melwan.

Important events:

1) Airgead the Demorthen killed his own brother, Deorn while under the compounded effects of the Feondas, the ghost Verzal, and the chemicals at the Magientist’s lair

2) Crone Mab was informed of the existence of the Mirror of Time by Ciany Lorn

3) The Mirror of Time was shattered by an explosion

4) Ælfric Farrier, Magientist did not attempt to examine the Mirror of Time itself, but he has notes from the logbooks kept by Verzal

5) Adso of Llewellen did not attempt to travel to the chapel while in their dreamlike state. I wouldn’t worry about it, there was probably nothing important there. Everything turned out okay in the end, right?

6) The Crawler in the Darkness, a giant and powerful Feondas with aspects of a centipede and a flying insect escaped from the Magientist’s lair

7) The characters appeased the ghost Verzal, and saw to it that Leog was made to answer for the crime Verzal’s murder many years before. After Loeg’s execution, Verzal’s ghost seems to be settled.

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Omens, Part II
Poison, Chapter I

When the characters returned to Melwan after their time in Loch Varn, they find that the village has been struck by a plague while they were gone. After some investigation, they determine that it is not a disease, but a poison in the water supply. When we left the characters, they were travelling upstream, to see what the source of the corruption might be.

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Omens, Part III
Poison, chapter 2

The characters travelled to the shack of Ergor the Hermit, where he was found sickened by the flux poisoning. They also found signs of a Nimh Cuir growing by the polluted river. The characters both saved Ergor, bringing him back to Melwan, and cut out and killed the plant before it fully became Feondas. More than that, they made note of the scribblings of Ergor, thinking that they could possibly be prophetic.

Upstream, the characters encountered Herven, a magientist’s apprentice who was attempting to purify the stream. From him, the characters learned of the madness of Talacien, and the source of the flux poisoning – the old Goater Mine.

The characters went to Talacien’s manor/laboratory to get protective gear, and there they saw more signs of his madness, including an additional apprentice who had been executed. Then, to the mine, where Ælfric tricked Talacien into returning to his lab, along with his Mekones enhanced bodyguards.

The characters were able to ignite the fossil flux, ending the threat of the polluted river, but starting a mine fire that will last for at least a month, and maybe much longer. And while Talacien in his madness wrecked the large water purifier Herven was using, Herven and Ælfric were able to put a smaller scale one in place in Melwan, guaranteeing purified water for the village for decades to come.

Unfortunately, while the PCs were able to save the life of one of Talacien’s bodyguards, Talacien himself escaped into the mountains.

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Omens, Part IV
Shadows over Dearg, chapter 1

After the traumatic events at Melwan and Loch Varn, the citizens of both villages were eager to attend the yearly Spring Festival of Dearg – a celebration meant to signify the end of the harsh winter and the start of a bright new year. In addition to the citizens of Dearg, Melwan, and Loch Varn, many also travel from Faeril to attend the festival as well. It is a time of celebration and romance – many young couples meet, and the plans for many a marriage are made at the festival. And, the festival is a time for families to come together – if a husband or wife moved to a new village after one of these festival marriages, it’s at the Spring festival where they can most easily see their friends and family from the village of their birth.

So it was that the characters came to Dearg as well, but misfortune struck on the second day of the festival. A Cnaigh got into the village, and bit nine people, including Crone Mab. Knowing that they often carry disease, hunters went out in search of their nest, including the characters. Instead of the gnawer’s nest, its trail lead them to a mine, and when the characters began exploring it, they saw a Twrch trwyth.

The characters fled the mine, and upon returning to Dearg rose a troop of men at arms of the Hilderen Knights, lead by Sir Argan Mac Darag, and accompanied by Dame Gwyn of Donn and Sir Mael Maedoc. The Twrch Trwyth had left the mine, and Minodora “Mina” Donnikova was able to track it. Sir Argan and Dame Gwyn went into the mine, accompanied by soldiers, and the rest followed Mina into the forest.

The forest group was beset upon by a madman archer, who was killed by Mina, but in the fight the trail had been lost. They returned to the mine, where they were told by Argan that a Soustraine temple had been set up. The characters returned to Dearg to gather up Adso of Llewellen, so he might be able to examine the temple and learn its connection to the Twrch Trwyth.

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Omens, Part V
Shadows over Dearg, chapter 2

The characters gather Adso from the temple in Dearg, and return to the mine. On the trip out, everybody shares what they know about a Twrch trwyth, and now all are aware of its rapid healing, that can be countered by using a blade forged of meteoric iron. In the mine, a five foot diameter iron ring (later determined to be meteoric iron) is found inlaid in the floor, with a Soustraine sigil carved in the stone floor within it, as well as an altar that looks like it was designed and used for blood sacrifices. And all of it suggests that there was no Twrch trwyth, but instead something else going on.

When the characters return to town, they find that Jearon had found the nest of Cnaigh, caged them, and brought them back to town. Airgead, Adeliane, and Kavan Mac Dougal made the cure for the poisonous bites, and saw to it that it was distributed.

That night, as the characters sleep, they have prophetic (?) dreams. Crone Mab is awoken by a visit from Sir Maedoc, who explains that the Hilderen Knights have been drinking blood from a Chalice, a relic that gives them strength and luck in battle. And now, he reveals that Sir Argan Mac Darag intends to kill somebody rather than just sacrifice animals. They intend to kill a boy from Faeril for even greater powers, and Sir Maedoc could not stand by to let that happen.

Mab and Sorcha went to gather the other characters, without being discovered being out in the village. Before the whole of the party gets together – the alarm horn is sounded. Sir Maedoc had been killed, and the blame fell on Mina. Though she did not commit the crime, Sir Drustan claims that he had seen her shoot the arrows that killed Sir Maedoc. While some of the characters rush to Sir Maedoc, as Adso claims to have the miracle of resurrection, Mina takes refuge in the village temple. Adso is unable to return Sir Maedoc to life, but while there, Ælfric discovers evidence of Mina’s innocence – the arrows used are not hers, and the archer’s footprint is too large. When this evidence is brought to the Hilderen command tent, Sir Argan does not react well, but he does call off the hunt for Mina.

The characters decide to return to the mine, to destroy the temple there before the ritual can be performed. En route, they see a raptor overhead, flying in the direction they are heading, seeming with a purpose. Mina hits it with an arrow, and it falls. But, before it strikes the ground, it transforms into Dame Gwyn. She challenges the characters, and tempts Sir Alsandair with the benefits of the upcoming sacrifice. Resolute, Alsandair engages her in battle, followed by the rest of the party, save for Ælfric and Mab, who make for the mine – hoping to still succeed there, even if their companions can’t stop Gwyn. In the fight, Alsandair falls, but he is raised from the dead by Brother Adso! This undeniable miracle draws Gwyn’s full attention, but before she can strike down Adso, the returned Alsandair finishes her – she cries out for her master as she dissolves into ribbons of flesh, that in short order turn to dust.

At the mine, Ælfric and Mab pry the meteoric iron ring from the floor, and it is broken into three unequal parts. The rest of the characters arrive, and the Soustraine sigil and altar are destroyed as well. A massive thunderstorm has suddenly rolled in, that rages for the entire trip back to Daerg. Sir Drustan is manning the gates, and lets the characters back in. Alsandair is filled with righteousness, perhaps even fury, but Mab convinces him to give her an hour before he goes to challenge Sir Argan.

It is worth noting that the characters believe that there must be a third party involved in this Hilderen knights conspiracy, a sorcerer capable of summoning the demon that became Gwyn, as they do not think that it was Sir Argan.

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Omens VI / Cathbad's Bane I
Shadows over Dearg, chapter 2 / Caravan, chapter 1

Mab convinced Alsandair to give her an hour, and everybody else to keep it quiet. The accusation actually happened in private. Before Alsandair began with his rant, Sir Argan announces that he had been mind controlled, and that the cloud has lifted. Everyone went to his room to get the chalice and it wasn’t there. A search of likely locations was done, and in Gwynn’s room we found the chalice box, with a heart in it — with a theory that maybe the demon’s heart was transformed to a chalice and transformed back. Sir Argan’s affliction wasn’t made public. The local demorthen is going to check on him. The Chalice was decreed as ‘cleansed’ and Mina’s name was cleared as well. Dame Gwendolyn officially died fighting the Feonds.

The party completely destroyed the summoning circle, and was able to keep with Sir Argan’s permission the cold iron circle — but Brother Adso says that it must be purified before it can be used. However, he both knows of a place where it can be purified along the way to Faeril, and can also do the purification ritual himself now.

The PCs set out from Dearg to Faeril as part of a caravan. Before we left Dearg, Mab had Ælfric add a hidden panel into the carriage that only they two know about. On leaving Dearg, the group ran into Kavan Mac Dougal, who was just setting up a caravan already heading to Tulg Naomh. Mab basically swept in and took over the caravan, Kavan being a bit of a pushover. Also important is Sid, the Varigal (a professional caravan guide), gets along well with Alsandair. He’s knowledgable about the ways of caravans and how things should be run, but Mab still looks to us for advice as well. Also Mirna and Masha, long-time friends of Mina, are acting as bards for the caravan. Also Liam, an old friend of Æfric’s, who had gone to university with me… but didn’t graduate. He just didn’t have what it took to cut it as a magientist. He’s a pretty good scholar (high Erudition), just not focused on mergence (low Magience). He’s paid to be a rider on the caravan and is willing to drive my cart during the day if I allow him to use it (supervised) at night. Ean is well-known, standoffish and an outsider, a hunter for the caravan. Ciany Lorn was previously known to some of us (an old friend of Mab). The group traveled from Dearg to Faeril without much incident. In Faeril, the PCs had to do a little work to be let into the city at all — our reputation had preceded us (bad things happening everywhere we go). The Hilderen knight, Dame Eubha, in charge was of the opinion that we had a dark cloud following us. Squire Tasgall, her squire, has been helpful but we haven’t done a great job of using him.

We heard that a horse had gone missing, and fearing Feondas activity, went to check on the horse. There was also a demorthen that had taken up residence in the noble’s manor, and hadn’t been seen for a while, so the groups split. The manor PCs looked at it from outside and found a giant slime trail that had gone over the wall and trailed off into the forest — went back for backup (and salt). The farmer, Laomann, believes himself (falsely) to be a magientist. He had a slime trail on his own land, which got bigger as it went through the stables. Airgead has a stone that allows him to sense Feondas, and confirmed that it was Feondas activity. Although we know Faeril as a logging town because that’s locally true, nationally it’s a known for salt production.

The PCs went to Squire Tasgall, who said we have to take it to Dame Eubha. We gather a group to go after the slime Feond and hit the road.

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