Turakian Age- The shadow you cannot see

Time to close the 'barn door'
Portal under Aarn must be closed

Prologue

After the Night of the Orcs we split up into two groups. Arya, Grace, Ithra, and myself headed across town to make sure that The Hellreavers’ guild hall and our item of power was still well protected. Arya and Grace went to the mages guild. Ithra and I headed to The Hellreavers’ guild hall.

Arya explained to her mentor what we knew and he was able to provide her with a scroll that should be able to close the portal – if she can get close enough to the portal to use it. Arya and Grace decided that Grace would be the best person to carry it.

Ithra and I found out there had been a major assault on the The Hellreavers’ guild hall. The Hellreavers’ were able to repeal the orcs with minimal causalities to the Hellreavers.

We then returned back to The Vault to discuss our plans. We would have to travel to the under-city.

Aarn Under-City

Almost 300 years ago the city of Aarn was virtually destroyed by Stormlord’s curse.

Where is that ‘barn door’?

It was decided that we would provision ourselves with two days of food, three days worth of oil, a couple of lanterns and two 50m sections of rope and leave the next day.

Orc Armies leave a mess

The memories that Arya’s gained from the orc provided very useful directions and we quickly found our way to the under-city of Aarn. Laurelinda again proved to be an excellent scout, no surprise really since she is an elven ranger. Grace was also quite nimble at helping to scout ahead. At one point I swore I had my eye on Ithra when he literally seemed to disappear.

We found the camp where the orcs had gathered prior to their assault on the city. They had found and made use of some of the buildings and ruins from The smell might have been able to guide us. Large armies are messy. Large orc armies are even more so. And then when you confine them in a under-city, the stench was almost overwhelming. We did find a number of dead orcs. Some looked to have been murdered by their fellow orcs and some looked like they died from disease or old injuries.

Into the depths we go

Laurelinda found a large pit that had ladders which lead further below the under-city. The orcs had used the ladders to climb up to the area where they eventually camped. We carefully climbed down and found a large cavern. Laurelinda crept down one of the passages with Grace and Ithra following close behind.

When Laurelinda turned one of the corners she spotted ten lesser demons in the next chamber. After she signaled to the rest of us what she spotted we backed up and came up with a plan. Basically Maeven, Ithra and I would form a choke point in the passage way and taunt the demons to attack us. This would allow Laurelinda to pepper any oncoming demons with arrows, Grace to hit them with her sling and Arya to continue to demonstrate her awe inspiring magical abilities.

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Flashing blades, arrow shots, sling bullets, and lightning

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The first shots by Laurelinda and Grace almost killed the first demon outright. I immediately issued a challenge to the remaining demons to attack us because they were facing a Hellreaver.

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Even though we have not trained together as a unit and we haven’t known each other for very long, we have become a very effective fighting unit. Between the constant barrage of arrow and bullet fire from Laurelinda and Grace, Arya’s effective use of her magic (especially her blast of wind and crystal arrows), Ithra and Maeven made quick work of the demons.

Both Ithra and I were wounded during the battle. I prayed to the Skyfather for his blessing upon us. The Skyfather graced us with his healing.

Oops we found it

After a short rest we continued on our journey. Eventually we came to a very large structure that seemed to be intact and well lit. The portal was at the opposite side of the structure. Between us and the structure there were four mages standing around some kind of altar. It was obvious they were engaged in some kind of summoning ritual.

They had a dome of power surrounding them, probably to keep anyone from disturbing them while they cast their spell. There was also a second dome of power in the center of the circle – probably where the creature being summoned was to appear.

The hastily laid plan was to have Laurelinda, Arya and Grace sneak along one side of the structure so they could approach the portal to close it with the scroll Arya had received at the mages guild. When they were about 1/2 way there Maeven and I would make a ruckus to draw off any attackers our way. Ithra would position himself so he could attack from the side or behind.

Stupid mages

It is bad enough that mages want to summon things from other planes but why oh why do they insist on summoning demons. And these four mages couldn’t just summon any demon, no they needed to summon the Demon Prince of Power. So not only did they summon him but when they told him they were his master because their contract, they believed him when he submitted to them, and they lowered the inner dome of power.

At which point the Demon Prince of Power caused demons to rise up from inside the bodies of the mages, which resulted in mage blood and entrails being splatter all over the outer dome.

At this point I am thinking, we need to get someone back up to the mage’s guild and The Hellreavers guild house because we are all going to die in about 10 minutes.
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About this point in time another mage appeared and challenged the Demon Prince of Power. I only heard a bit of the conversation but it went something like this:

Mage: Who dares to call me from my realm?

Demon Prince of Power: I dare you know who I serve mortal.

Mage: I will not kneel before Kal-Turak and you may tell your master that.

At this point the mage banishes the Demon Prince of Power, creates a dome of power around himself and unfortunately for us, the dome of power which contains the other demons comes down.

And then it gets worse

Part II to follow….

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Night of the Orcs
There goes the neighborhood....

Clean up the neighborhood

We had all retired for the night at The Vault when we were awoken by the sounds of battle around the city. After everyone was up and equipped I commanded Ithra to climb on the roof and find out what was going on. He reported that there were orcs in our neighborhood fighting the city guard. When we all took a look it was clear the entire city was fighting various pitched battles. Most parts of the city of Aarn has additional fighting men and women, except for the area we live because we are in the craftsmen and leather workers part of town.

We needed to act quickly to rescue families in the nearby area because their homes would likely be ‘invaded’ by orcs if the city guard was overwhelmed. The Vault was the most secure building in the area. I quickly came up with a plan to have Ithra, Arya, and Laurelinda get on the roof and keep the orcs on that side of the building busy.

Maeven and I would go outside and help city guards and rescue families by directing them back to The Vault

Arya used her water wall to keep the orcs from overwhelming Maeven and myself. After a pitched battle with the orcs, our companions on the roof were able to help eliminate the orcs on their side of the building. Maeven demonstrated both her fighting prowess and creative ways for dealing with foes. After we gathered people from the immediate area in The Vault, I instructed the city guard to stay in the building to defend it and the people inside it. Also they should use 1/2 their number to patrol the immediate vicinity – areas easily seen from The Vault.

Arya was able to probe the mind of an orc, before he died, and found out the orcs had come from under the city. The orcs had been brought under the city via a portal. There was a shadowy figure who brought them to Aarn. Arya was also able to discern who the leader of the orcs was.

Battle in the Marketplace

I had Grace and Ithra scout ahead of us as we made our way to where more fighting was at. We came to the central market where Grace reported that two squads of city guard had been killed and there were at least 40 orcs – along with their leader.

We knew we had to take out the leader as quickly as possible.

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Legend:
* L – Laurelinda
* I – Ithra
* G – Grace
* A – Arya
* M – Maeven
* E – Eltrois
* Blue Line – Arya’s Water wall

The plan involved waiting for Arya to enter the mind of the leader and convince him to send half of his archers and swordsmen into the courthouse building to bed down. This worked very well. Arya then brought forth her water wall. The goal of the water wall was to protect Laurelinda and Ithra while they try and pepper the Leader of the orcs. Grace would start a fire on the tent in front of her. And Maeven and I would advance from around a building making as much noise as possible.

At that point the battle was on. Laurelinda and Ithra dispatched the leader fairly quickly with their arrow fire. Arya brought forth at least three fireballs on the orc formations. Grace landed a number of good hits with her sling (I heard a clanging sound every once in a while).

Meanwhile Maeven and I were quickly surrounded on two sides. After many blows had been dealt to the orcs Maeven was able to impress on the orcs that they should surrender. Her killing one of their companions with the two handed great sword made a big difference. Also the smell of burning orc flesh and screams of the dying orcs probably helped convince them to give up.

We tied up the surviving orcs. Killed any of the seriously wounded. Collected up arms and armor from the dead. The city guard showed up to take charge of the prisoners.

By this point in time the fighting around town seems to have stopped. We headed back to The Vault.

Aftermath

I wonder why the orcs attacked? There doesn’t seem to be a purpose to their attack. This thought is nagging at me as we head back to The Vault. In the morning we need to make sure the artifact we took to The Hellreavers is still safe. And also the scrying device is still safe at the mages guild.

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Letters to father

Writing letter to father:
Dear Father, I have arrived in Aarn. Thank you for the recommendation of riding with the caravans, however, even with my prowess at arms, they are not terribly safe. However, if you were waiting to hear of my caravan’s safe arrival in Aarn, it shall not come. Evidently, it was set upon, and all but me were killed. I did look at the the bodies, and it did not appear that I had a hand in any of their deaths. That is a large relief. I awoke in a dungeon, manacled to the wall. A while later, I roused to find my wrists scored greatly by the manacles, with a filthy Ulroni across from me, smiling coyly and speaking with honeyed words. Obviously, he is the reason I was raging, so why was he so insistent on telling me to calm myself? I was trying to free myself, however, brute strength was not enough and I kept passing out. Eventually, a group of travelers entered the prison. One freed me, and I’m afraid I was not terribly self contained. I will not say that I had fear, however, I did wish to be as far from the pestilent Ulroni as possible. The one who freed me was not terribly pleased at the Ulroni either, so he and I got along well, I would say. There was a warrior priest as well. Yes, father, yet another priestly person. He declared the Ulroni to be one of the “good” sort, but I am withholding judgement for now. There were also two elves, one an archer, and the other a mystic type. Arrangements have been made for me to help guard a storage facillity, with the pay being free lodging. I hope this meets with your approval, with an Ulroni in the party (an of course, the priest has adopted him) it is hard to find an inn that will take us in. If it doesn’t, I shall see about arranging lodging at one of the better taverns.
I am in need of a new horse, and while a riding horse is easily acquired, a battle trained beast is going to take me more time. If I am going to continue my lonely sojourning, I need to be as well equipped as possible. The “spells” are still happening, however, I didn’t hurt any of this party either, although I do not recall my actions anymore than I did a week ago. It is my intent, since this seems to be a home base for the rest of the group, to begin having a suit of plate mail fitted for me. This will necessitate regular withdrawals to pay the armor smith. Also, have you ever heard of an ELVEN blade?? I used one, and the thing was incredible to swing. It would not be amiss as a holiday gift, if you were so inclined….
How is mother? I am worried that she will miss me and further deteriot her health. Please tell her that I am well, and I seem to finish battles without a scratch. I will feel out this priest and if he is to be trusted, I will let him know more about my “condition”. But as the others said, the best cure is to be away from home for a while. I love you and miss you dreadfully. I understand that outwardly, you must be circumspect, but please carry my love for you and mother in your heart. You live there, and you are my reason for hope to return.
Your obedient and loving daughter
Maeven

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Riddle of Verlichten Mountains
Riddle me this...

If you are reading then I am dead it time for my treasure to be revealed.
From the land of my Home I have stolen the rod of power
And I have hidden it in the place of greatest tragedy
The first piece of the key is here although it is no key
The next piece shall be found in the place the stone shall show you.

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On the Road Again
Unburned, Demons, Ulronai, and a Noble ... Oh my

We had just returned from our trip to the east, where we had successfully recovered a number of treasures, when we were approached by Lavren. Lavren is a broker of information and arranger of actions. It is rumored that he has lived in Aarn since before there was an Aarn.

Lavren approached us to do a job for a friend of a friend of his. We were to work with Drak again. The job involved going to a ruined city in the Verfichten Mountains. We were to look for either a riddle or map that would lead to other treasures. Our payment included anything we would find and a map to the underworld of Aarn itself.

So off we went. A couple of weeks later we arrived at the Verfichten Mountains. Loriel Linda found a useful passage through the mountains and to the ruined city.

As we approached the city, Loriel LInda discovered a destroyed encampment. The camp had been attacked by the Unburned. The Unburned are Drakine who died but were not given a proper cremation. The Unburned are some of the most dangerous undead that anyone can encounter. Apparently the Unburned had their claws and teeth full because they attacked some number of Ulronai warriors. We found the remains of two dead Ulronai . The Unburned also had dragged off one of the Ulronai bodies.

Loriel Linda followed the tracks back towards the ruin\s. There she discovered the remains of a caravan which had also been attacked. A huge number of Unburned were found ‘dead’ near the caravan. All the human bodies were well picked over by scavengers, but again one body had been dragged into the ruined city.

Meanwhile Drak had found a secret entrance into the city. Drak came to the conclusion that the secret entrance was probably someone’s escape path. After some arguing we went in through the back door.

Drak did a good job getting us past a number of locked doors and traps. But he came across an interesting problem that only Arya could help with. She worked her magical abilities and got us safely across some dangerous chasms.

Along the way we found a chamber which contained three Ulronai swords, a bastard sword and two handed sword, shield, chainmail armor and some strange personal items. All of the equipment was recently placed in the chamber.

Further on we found another chamber with two people chained to the walls, an angry young woman and a man from the Ulronai. Skyfather revealed to me that the Ulronai had an honorable heart. The woman on the other hand was neither noble or ignoble.

The Ulronai was willing to travel with us. Ithra had vengeance on his mind for the slaying of his kinsmen by the Unburned. The woman wanted nothing to do with Ithra as did Drak. But I informed them that the heart was pure and he would be traveling with us both of them settled down. We returned Ithra his weapons and other equipment. We gave the woman her chainmail armor and I loaned her my new Elven Great Sword.

We proceeded onward. We came to another chamber where we discovered the vile creatures which had caused harm to our new companions. There were five Unburned but more importantly was Darsmakul. We had encountered Darsmakul before when we were still working with the mage’s guild.

Darsmakul and a number of lessor demons had attacked the mage’s guild and had forced the guild to stop using their teleportation devices.

After insuring that Loriel Linda and Arya were in advantageous positions to provide cover fire, At this point the young woman and I walked towards the vile creatures and drew their attention. At this point the battle was begun.

Arya used her water wall to insure that the young woman and myself were not cut off or surrounded by the Unburned. Ithra was very effective at attacking the Unburned who attacked him. Loriel LInda did a magnificent job of providing the Unburned with additional “eye holes” or “chest ventilation” .

This left the young woman and myself to deal with Darsmakul. Honestly I don’t think Darsmakul had a clue what hit him. The woman seemed to go off into a rage. She used the two handed sword I loaned her and severely wounded Darsmakul. He struck back at her when he had the chance and caused her to be momentarily dumb struck. But this gave me the opportunity to use my mace to strike Darsmakul. After a number of blows between myself and the young woman Darsmakul was laying on the ground. At which point I stood on his chest and bashed his head in with my mace.

Darsmakul being a demon did not leave a corpse but rather returned to the underworld.

In the meantime all of the Unburned had been killed by the rest of our companions. No one was injured but the young woman did not have any memory of her rage. This is worrisome.

As we continued our journey we found the the riddle we were looking for and three other important items. The first is part of the shaft of the Graven Spear; the second a gem for a magical device; and lastly a seeing eye stone. Ithra insisted on taking the Graven Spear. He believes it can be used to lift the curse on his people.

As for the young woman, she is Maeven Landa Deriné, a woman who was training to be a knight but was rejected by the order she was training with. I can only guess she failed in her training due to the rage she demonstrated during the fight. She also has the attitude of someone who comes from a long line of nobles and who never had to worry about her position of the position of others around her.

We did not have horses to carry these two new companions so we had to share riding on our mules. Slightly bothersome but better than walking.

Coming back to Aarn we found the local guards did not like our new companion. I was able to convince them that he was safe. Before even got back to our inn, Lavren meet us. We provided him with information. He provided us with the opportunity to stay at a empty building for a low rent. After haggling with him we arrived at an agreement that we would stay rent free in the location. We would help set up security for a ‘safety deposit’ vault. It would be staffed with guards and guard dogs. He could easily charge more for each box than it would cost in rent on the whole building, our upkeep and the guards, while still making a tidy profit.

Postlude

I am left with a number of questions. Why was Darsmakul at that location? Will putting the Graven Spear together help in lifting the curse from the Ulronai? Does Maeven Landa Deriné’s family know where she is at? Is it my responsibility to let them know? And what do we do with this map of Aarn now that we have it?

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