Skies Over Cormyr

Zazoo Dooby Doo, where are you?

The barn had 10 large horse stalls.

We contacted Gerant and brought him into the loop.

Avaerth and Kane pulled out 10,000gp from the bank and went to buy a Gnomish Hook Hammer. We went to the blacksmith shop owned by the half-orc Orrstug. He gave the password and we worked out the hammer, as well as a masterwork rapier, scimitar, and spiked shield. Kane ordered 100 caltrops while we were at it. He also agreed to spy in the tavern for us and keep an eye on Zent activity. He informed us about the most likely places to get magic in town: Lahr the wizard and Elminster. He warned us about Thomas Durav – the sundry shop owner.

Meanwhile, back at the farm, Dell stopped by but didn’t know the password and Akull and Zazoo refused to open the door.

Walking back from the blacksmith, Kane and Avaerth noted that the Zent caravan was still in town, unloading goods into the Inn, general store, and sundry shop. The pair decide to go get lunch at the Yellow Bearded Giant while waiting for the Zents to leave. We talked to some local laborers and found out there is a giant 20 foot tall bear named Old Grim that’s been around for 60 years and occasionally murders people – like old Farmer Wilson. The mine to the north of town was closed on account of being haunted; some miners who died there came back as undead and Lord Wesley had the mine closed. Otherwise there are productive mines 2 days to the east. Next we went back to the general store and bought 4 shovels, 2 picks and a wheelbarrow for 20gp.

Aaramil and Valen wandered around prospecting, and found some familiar rocks and a closed mine that Aramil didn’t recognize.

Akull and Zazoo heard an odd whistling noise from the root cellar and went to investigate. The noise stops as soon as they opened the door, and when the went down they didn’t see anything out of the ordinary – except Akull noticed a wraithlike being disappearing into the wall out of the corner of his eye. When everyone returned and the boys told everyone about it, there was a moment of deathly chill and silence. We headed down into the root cellar to investigate!

Upon exploring the large root cellar, Avaerth discovers a secret door and the group (minus Valen and Kane) follow the corridor that was revealed until it turns into a large chamber under the barn. The chamber is filled with elven skeletons and dust – although the bones are remarkably well perceived. They seemed to be in a posture of repose, and there were no items that would indicate their provenance, though the layer of untouched dust looked to be that of centuries. We backed up and found a pressure plate which opened a door that led into another hidden corridor. Meanwhile, Dell had come back and importuned Kane. Kane made a dinner date with him. Meanwhile, Aramil, Avaerth, Zazoo and Akull proceeded down the new corridor. Off of the tunnel we found another 20×20 chamber with four skeletons with an elvish motif on the walls. Again they were well preserved. We continued back down the tunnel (which seemed to lead around the house itself), with an additional two side rooms, until it stopped just before the first room we found. A hidden release opened another secret door which led back into that first room. Aramil informed us that the ‘ghost’ Akull saw may be a chaotic good elven banshee guardian spirit that could be used to help us protect the house because the banshee would attack anyone who disturbed the remains.

We headed back up to trade information with Kane and get ready for dinner. Dell shows up and Zazoo is out in the yard wearing nothing but an apron and a smile… (http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-HOVA4oqtAXI/T1hWwvPQ8zI/AAAAAAAACzA/Zlfui81TLvc/s1600/DSC07477.JPG)

The game broke for a while.

Dell came to deliver a warning about letting the dead lie. We thanked him for the warning and then Kane went to dinner with him in the tavern. He was warned not to dig too deep. It was otherwise a very awkward evening. The next morning we decided to go find Lahr. Zazoo went with Aramil into town. They went to the wizard’s tower and ordered the ’Duke’s Package’ (5,000gp) for the farmhouse. Then they stopped at the blacksmith’s shop and picked up the caltrops before heading home. The Zent caravan also looked like it was leaving. Day 4 passed otherwise uneventfully.

The next morning Lahr arrives and casts Bulwark, divination dead zone, magical threshold, and locking the doors and windows makes them impenetrable and negates portals from entering the building. They were set to last 20 years, and did not protect the barn, only the house.

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Murder Hobos, Advance on Shadowdale!

We returned to the capital, Suzail, and were debriefed by Gerant, Valen revealing the presence of the portals that allowed us to travel across the waste. Gerant then revealed that various individuals who were assets to the Empire have been dying under suspicious circumstances, at the edges of the Empire. The most likely cause has been Zent interference – aka assassination. Gerant wanted us to go to Shadowdale and set up a safe house. We have 2 months. He then gave us a magic mirror. It was a plain, metal-edged framed mirror to be used to contact him once the safehouse was established so that he could send operatives there and then we could be pulled out. Our resources included a line of credit issued to us by Arkenstar Ltd. to buy property to create the safehouse (i.e. “set up a branch office for trading furniture for Arkenstar Ltd.”). We also had wagons to transport our wares. When Akull brought up the problem of knowing zilch about furniture, we decided that our cover story was that we were prospecting the mountains near Shadowdale to see if Arkenstar could get into the jewel-mining business (maybe for ornamenting fancy furniture).

The passphrase our contact in Shadowdale will use to contact us is “It’s cold enough outside to freeze the scales off of a goblin’s ass.” The countersign to that is “a goblin’s scales only fall off in the spring.”

Valen is given a letter of credit from Arkenstar Ltd. for 100,000gp. We trade the pillows in for 8 sets of good-quality merchant’s clothing, leaving us with 1,000gp in gems and 345gp in gold. We booked passage on a commercial airship to take us directly to Shadowdale, paying 150gp to get us, our horses, and our supplies there. We took it out of the letter of credit. We also picked up 2 chests for a price of 5gp each. Valen disdained locks, deciding that they were too expensive and also made the chests look more important than they are.

The airship journey was uneventful and we landed in Shadowvale in early evening, a retirement community for adventurers. It is a steep valley with lots of mists and shadows and dinosaur paladins. The Forest of Cormynthor is nearby where the elves live and humans log. The ship landed in the industrial sector (not very industrial; mostly milling); there is less pollution and clearer air. The Sleeping Dragon Inn was the best place to go (better than The Dozing Dragon, The Snoring Dragon, The Comatose Dragon, and The Napping Dragon) in downtown Shadowdale. We were told our weapons had to be peacebonded, but Akull protested that he refused to peacebond his nuts. Valen hoped that they were already peacebonded, but Akull informed us that he wore boxers and let them swing loose. We arranged 3 rooms for the night – one for Valen, one for Avaerth, and one for the ‘guards.’ The cook – who was tending the bar – managed to swindle Valen out of an extra half gp, much to the GM’s glee for a total of 6.5gp. An elven singer entertained on the stage. Thomas’ Sundries was a shop across the street and up a building from the inn, which caught our eye as we wandered into town.

A quick huddle in our rooms sets the plan for the next day: Valen and Aramil will go to the Lord’s citadel while the rest nose about town looking for a warehouse for sale, or a struggling business that would be willing to sell, or some promising real estate. After we set that up, we headed back down to the common room to get dinner. (Aramil succeeded at his first perception check. We were very proud.) We noticed that the performer was wearing a cloak clasp bearing the image of a golden harp. Aramil informed us that it is the symbol of the Harpers – a group that patrols the Dales to keep out evil, and they are very much against the Zentarum. Next we noticed a half-orc with a big hammer come in and people make room for him with respect. Another fellow came in a few minutes later, bespectacled and treated much the same way as the half-orc. We heard him called “Thomas” and think he might be the owner of Thomas’s Sundries. Listening to the rumors we heard that there have been murders in other towns but not here yet. Complaints about Zent Lords doing bad things, but nothing out of the ordinary. A name is mentioned: Dell the Trapper, an odder member of the community (apparently quite hairy?). We heard a story about Lord Christian De Leon, a retired Simbian Lord seen gallivanting around in the middle of the night in all of his finery on his fine horse.

Avaerth went to speak to Thomas and learned that Alwyn who worked in the town hall would be the person to speak with about available property for purchase in town. He seemed nice but a tad odd. The elf entertainer got up and began to mingle, relieving the louder drunks of the night of some of their money. The next day we had breakfast and arranged for 5 more nights at a cost of 30gp (although Valen tried to pay 50. Avaerth was having none of it). We found Alwyn in City Hall fairly easily, where she is in charge of real estate transactions. She knew of a 3 story house near the center of town worth 50k and a 2 story house near the outskirts with an attached barn that was near the corporate warehouse. It was owned by the Lord and Lady, and we would need to go through their steward to make the purchase. 20k-30k for the land + 10k for the property itself.

We headed to the Manor/Citadel and met the steward, Gibson the elf. It was built on a graveyard and Farmer Wilson was eaten by a bear in it. Gibson liked human names and was constitutionally incapable of shutting up. We arranged to meet him at 2 at the property to examine it before we paid 30k for it, and were warned that if we were unable to provide the money within 24 hours the price would go up. Next we checked with a nearby accounting house to make sure we could complete the transaction. We went by the other property since we had time that morning to check it out. The property had a gate and iron fence and windows with a commanding view that would make the building hard to sneak up on. It was built like a castle, with round corner rooms, only built of wood, not stone. We met Gibson at the other property, which was sprawling ranch-style, but 2 stories. It was not designed with defensibility in mind, and had a door leading out to the barn in the back, and windows in every room. There were claw marks above the door. On the outskirts of town there was around 100 yards of space between the building and its neighbors, and the Arkenstar warehouse was in line of sight from the farmhouse. The house had 12 rooms and a root cellar, but the barn looked to be the stronger structure. We bought the property for 30k on the spot. We then had a shopping montage and furnished the entire house for 1,000gp.

On our way back from the carpentry shop, we noticed that a Zent caravan has rolled into town and will be staying at the same Inn as us. When we first spotted them they were talking to Thomas but getting a chilly reception from town. We headed into the Inn (Akull with his hood up) and had dinner. Avaerth saw that there were 8 guards and 4 merchants with the caravan. As the storm picks up and we start to head upstairs to avoid the Zents recognizing us a man with flowing white hair steps in and says the passphrase. Avaerth yells the countersign down the stairs as we head up and we hear muttering indicating that the man is Christian (the prancer). After a quick bath to freshen up, Avaerth headed downstairs to meet with Christian and make contact. He indicated he knew of some areas for prospecting and Avaerth arranged for him to meet with Valen and the rest tomorrow at 10am, introducing herself as Avaerth Goldscale. The Zents appeared to have missed most of the conversation but did notice the two talking. Meanwhile, Thomas refused to look at the Zents that night while he was in the bar.

The Zent wagons were there in the morning, but the Zents weren’t having breakfast. We took an amble over to Christian’s house, which looked to be in good condition and were invited in by the butler. The fop act dropped and Christian turned into a shrewd agent. He wanted us to contact Gerant and bring in the other Cormyrian agents before the Zents get them. There are 20 agents we need to rescue and time is of the essence. Still, he thought we would need at least a week and a half, during which we would need to stay low, keep to our cover story, and avoid Zent detection – even though they were already suspicious of us. The Half-orc smith was one of us and could be trusted, but not anyone else, including the Harper. We asked for areas we could theoretically start prospecting at for the purpose of the cover story and he pulled out a map with mineral deposits. He warned us to have a get out of town plan. We left his house and headed back out into the town, intending to go check out the prospecting areas.

GM 3/Players 9/Brian 1/Moira 1

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And we rode through the desert on a horse with no name...

Two days pass in a scene fade and we rode into Orofin, a city of ~5,000 people, at around 4pm. (We re-determined that the party held in common 345gp, 1000gp worth of gems, and 40gp worth of velvet pillows, in addition we have 4 M long swords [915credit] and 4 tower shields [756credit] = 1670 towards equipment, which was then spent on 2 Elven Chain shirts for Akull and Kane, plus an extra 500gp of Kane’s personal money to make up the difference.) The owner of the Silver Dollar, Evan, sent us to the Rusty Scabbard to get equipment, but the boys forgot to drop his name to try for a further discount. Kane also gave his blunderbuss to ZZ for some reason known only to the gods.
That night around 2:30, Aramil resisted a Sleep spell and woke up the rest of the party. Avaerth heard a cricket on her windowsill which Akull identified as a component of spellcraft. Avaerth then saw a shadowy, cloaked figure disappearing in the shadows of the street below. The party decided to get out of Orofin rather than stick around and let someone take potshots at us, so we saddled up and headed out. When we reached the gates, Zent guards stopped us and refused to let us pass. ZZ had chugged a feral mutagen and looked horrific, so he used his animal charisma to bluff the guard into thinking he had some strange disease. One guard went to grab his superior while the other stayed and threatened ZZ with his halberd. After intimidating him into letting us leave failed, Avaerth picked up ZZ and tossed the little bugger at him. He dropped, and we were able to get out the gate and ride for it while the guards failed to chase us. We made it to the meeting zone – a Devil’s Tower-like formation – and set up camp to wait for our airship, which was scheduled to meet us the next day. Aramil went up the formation to scout while the rest of the party stayed at the base. Around 6pm Aramil saw a column of dust from the direction of the city – southeast – while around the same time Avaerth and Kane saw a speck in the sky that appeared to be an airship coming from the south. Aramil dropped a thunderstone to warn the rest of the party at the base about the column of dust, but the party misunderstood and thought Aramil was warning us about the airship, so we decided to head up to meet it. The ship stood off the approaching train of Zent guards with its cannons while we boarded and flew off into victory.

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Zazoo's Sweet Virgin Ass

Activating the usual runes of the Enclave we found the secret basement, but the basement was empty, including the secret room – no skeletons, but also no loot. We headed back up and went to the building that looked like the library. Valen and Akull detected magic on the building while ZZ looked for anything interesting and Avaerth looked for a vault or safebox. ZZ grabbed three random books. The magic detectors found Scrolls of Unshakeable Chill, Barkskin and Hold Person on the first floor. On the second floor we found Scrolls of Knock, Break, and Invisibility, and an atlas that showed the old geography and spots of old outpost locations. There was an orrery floating via magic from the ceiling on the third floor, but no sign of how to make it move and no other magical objects up there. We headed back to the farm and set up for the night. We left quietly around 4am and traveled for a few hours by moonlight while the air was cool. We made camp during the heat of the day without a problem and then headed out again around 5pm. Around 10pm we heard hyenas in the distance but they didn’t sound close enough to bother about. Around 2am a shadow passed between us and the moon but we didn’t see what caused it – Aramil suspected a roc. But nothing else untoward occurred and we reached Rasilith by 7am – a 2 street town with 2 stables and 1 inn. ZZ paid 10 silver to stable our horses with an inbred yokel. Then we hit the inn and ZZ paid 7 gold to get each of us a room. The rooms were questionable and most of us slept on the floors with our own blankets. After 6 hours of rest we packed up and got the hell out of Gnawbone and headed towards the ruins that resembled the ones we’ve been exploring up until now. We hit the runes and Valen hid us from the undead, bringing Avaerth and Akull down with him to help loot the hidden room. As usual we found the 10 skeletons, 2 champions, and 2 armored ogres but we snuck past and opened the ‘secret’ room where we found 8 magic rings on dusty pillows (they had “a faint abjuration aura about them”). Valen took 3 rings, Akull took 3 rings, and Avaerth took 2 – and we also included the pillows (which were worth 5 gold a piece). ZZ talked us into defeating the skeletons and threw a bomb at them, killing 7 of the 10 normals. The rest of us formed a kill pocket at the top of the stairs so the skeletons could only attack us one at a time. We destroyed them.

Party 7, GM 0

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A friendly game of cornholing

The half-orc realized that Akull and ZZ had gotten into the ruins rent-free and demanded payment upon our return. Akull paid up, but ZZ convinced him that his mange was a result of sleeping in the barn and got off paying. We decided to go ankheg hunting in order to gain a few more nights in the barn and in the ruins, so bright and early we saddled up and headed out. We saw tracks of gnolls, but no actual creatures, and eventually came across some half-eaten cow carcasses and large mole-like tunnels. We found a spur of rock to leave our gear and horses at, and then started walking around the ankheg nest in a spiral pattern. We attracted one and Kane promptly killed it. Then we saw four more approaching. ZZ’s bomb brought one to the surface for Kane to one-shot, and three more popped up from beneath us, attacking Avaerth, Kane, and Aramil respectively. A sixth came up from behind Avaerth to try an acid spray, but the nimble rogue dodged, leaving Aramil to take the pain alone. While most of us descended on that one, the final Big Motherfucker breached beneath Kane and shot acid at the gunman and the dwarf, grievously insulting the poor Cleric in the face. But Kane cornholed the bitch and ZZ finished it off with a feral bite, continuing the long-standing tradition of eating our enemies. We then went to explore the largest tunnel area near the center and Valen, Akull and Avaerth found 1000gp worth of gems, 25 pieces of gold and 2 pearls of power, as well as saving an egg for Kane before Valen smashed the rest. When we returned to the ranch the half-orc gave us 100gp for the Big Motherfucker and 40gp for each of the smaller heads (340gp total). We also negotiated for as many free nights in the barn as we wanted and continued free run of the ruins. We were also told that the egg we saved could be sold for ~couple hundred gp in town. We spent the rest of the day cleaning the acid off our gear and resting up. The next day (day 5) we headed back to the ruins, into the floating city, and back into door 3, where the fallen rocks were blocking the exit to the rest of the compound. Valen turned most of the rocks to clay, but we couldn’t quite get them all and decided we’d have to come back tomorrow when his spell reset. Next we moved on to the fifth door, and came out upon an area with 10 buildings…and a number of other older, more magnificent buildings which Aramil identified as Netheries design. He recognizes it as a place called ‘the Enclave’ and was able to roughly pinpoint our position according to the map.
We approached the three-story building – the tallest we could see. On the wall was a black mosaic with 5 snaky sinuous arms with identical swords. We found nothing else of interest in the building and moved on to a building to the northeast that was mostly in rubble. Most buildings had nothing and no magic, but we found runes in buildings E, A, B, C and D.

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Head in the Clouds

We descended into the darkness and found a stone circle in the center of an open room. It appeared to be a portal, but we couldn’t find a key at first. Avaerth and ZZ found a sigil on top of the circle and activated it, opening the gate. ZZ went through and found an empty room on the other side. We all followed and turned the portal off, which caused another set of stairs to descend. We headed up to a large empty, dusty room with six other sigils on the walls, one of which was lit. At the end of the room was a door looking out into clouds. When we explored further, we discovered that it was a city – a floating city of the Netheries. The place looked as though it had fallen into decay and ruin over uncounted years, and the people had simply vanished. Aramil figured out that the city was probably hidden in the clouds above the mountains in the center of the desert. But our magic users warned us that wards might still be active in buildings, so we refrained from immediately breaking in and looting the place. We ended up going back to the first building and opened the second sigil. It led us to another group of buildings identical to the first batch, but we heard the voices of hyenas on the wind. We considered holding out and slaughtering them, but then we realized that there were at least 20 distinct voices and bravely ran away, to explore that area later. The third sigil in the floating city led us to a building that had a door blocked by fallen mountain stone, and we were forced to turn back. The fourth sigil brought us to a cooler, more humid area by a drying up freshwater lake. The day here was cloudy, and we detected the smell of cooking fish from the kitchen building. After some discussion, we saw a pack of aquatic goblins come over the hill. Upon seeing ZZ they yelled “Dinner!” and charged us. We retreated to the armory and began picking them off as they came. We realized that their non-combatants were following behind them, but as they were attacking us with extreme prejudice (as most people feel against Zazoo after meeting him) diplomacy was well and truly out of the question. After killing more than 20 of them, we were approached by three goblin champions and two of their rat-dogs. They put up a mighty fight – and gave ZZ mange – but were defeated in the end. Valin and Akull headed down into the secret basement under the armory with a spell that hid them from the undead so they were able to get into the smaller secret room without having to fight for it. They found a bag containing a mysterious magic rod with buttons, which Akull determined to be a control device for a larger contraption we hadn’t assembled yet. We headed back to the floating city (leaving the skeletons for any Zhents who might follow in our tracks), and from there back to the ranch to rest up and prepare spells before we moved on to the final two portals.

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What Lurks Beneath

After ZZ came down with a nasty cough, we realized we didn’t have the numbers to take the ankheg problem, and were forced to pay up the 50 gold/person price, leaving ZZ in the barn with Akull to take care of him. But at least we then got access to the timeworn ruins. Valin, our engineering dwarf, decided that the largest building sounded interesting. We entered a large room with some discarded odds and ends, old shields, dust and old footprints. While searching the room Avaerth found a sigil about head-height on the wall, opposite the door; it looked like it might have been in a separate room once, before ruination happened here. No footprints on the floor. The sigil looked like a diamond inside a square. Valin poked at it and the square outside the diamond lit up. He poked it again, and the inner diamond lit up orange while the outside turned red. A third time the dwarf touched the sigil, and the whole thing went dark. We checked a second wall but found nothing. Sigils were found in the other buildings and activated, causing downward stairs to appear in the first building. We descended and ran into 10 skeletons which Valin, mostly by himself, quickly slays. But almost immediately two large ogre skeletons appeared from the darkness! They were slain with some small difficulties, and were immediately followed by two humanoid skeletons in masterwork armor. The fighter was looking a little rough and the dwarf went down like a sack of rocks and the rogue failed to hit anything, but nothing succeeded in hitting the rogue either, and Kane pretty much shot the bastards to death (again) while the rest of us played distractions. Feeling a bit winded, we headed back up the stairs, closed the Hellmouth and spent the day recovering. The next morning the Gnome and Tiefling were still sick, so the Fab Four went back downstairs and explored the large room to its full extent. A sixth sigil was found on the back wall and Valin poked it until it opened. Inside a small room was found 8 Handy Haversacks and 40 Potions of Cure Light Wounds and nothing else. We decided to spend the day playing with permutations on the sigils and finally ran across having the basement sigil on and the 5 building sigils off, which caused the main building stairs to close…and another set of stairs to open in Building 5 – the Barracks. It was time to check on our wayward casters to see if they were feeling up to snuff before we headed below again.

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The Grassy Gnolls

Avaerth’s Log:
We arrived in New Lundeth, a town of ~2000 people. First stop, the General Store: we went shopping and found out we don’t know where we’re going and the locals don’t have better maps. Next stop, the always-popular local inn (this one named “the Angry Ankheg”) and ZZ got his own room. For science. We waited until morning and then headed out. A drunk told Kane that there were some creepy Zhent ruins on the outskirts and where to find them. We decided it was worth a shot. The barkeep warned us about gnolls before we left. Awfully nice of him, but any flea-bitten hyenas would be fools to attack us. We headed south and then circled around to throw the townspeople off our track. While we were heading towards the ruins we were attacked by 5 gnolls and 2 hyenas. Kane dropped two enemies with flaming death thanks to a Dragons Breath bullet. The rest were killed, except badly wounded 2 gnolls who escaped…only to bleed out as they ran, if the vultures circling a short while later were any true sign. We got back on the horses and continued on, battered but triumphant. As the ruins came in view, we saw two Dire Hyenas, who began charging us. We murdered them fairly efficiently thanks to Akull’s spell of Darkness and ZZ’s…enthusiasm. On the downside, they almost murdered Kane. Valin healed him and we continued on. We found the ruins on a hill and beyond them a farm with a crotchety, greedy half-orc. He tried to charge us a 50GP-a-head fee to explore the ruins. We reject the offer. He counter-offers that if we clear an Ankheg infestation (including “one big motherfucker”) from his northwest pasture, he’ll let us explore the ruins for a week (but only stay in his barn one night). We decided to check it out and make a decision after we’d scoped the Ankhegs. He wouldn’t let us sleep on his land that night, so we headed off a distance and set up our own cold camp, leaving the elf up to keep watch.

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He...didn't really need that lung anyway.

Last week saw our party deep inside a hostile city, having just slaughtered 5 thugs that had been brutalizing and looting the Cormyrian Embassy and nearby business office of Olanth and Co.

Rounding the corner, Gerant made his way inside the embassy office, unlocking the safe that had recently suffered so much abuse. He pulled a folder from the safe, and quite deliberately pushed a copper encircled button on the desk. Warning the party that they had 10 minutes before the building went up in smoke, he urged haste but to “act normal.”

During the melee earlier within the embassy, Kane had been making his way through the business building, slowly heading towards the office. At the smell of smoke from the building he was in he turned and ran to the embassy, arriving just in time to see the last thug un-manacled thug fall lifeless.

Together, the group made their way out of the building, Akull cutting the throat of the last thug as he lay stunned on the floor. With the feeling of getting watched still present, they quickly made their way back to the Airship Docks.

17 minutes into the walk, the cry goes up about a fire behind them, and they barely pause. Pausing briefly at customs to wait for the lift they see behind them a squad of troops moving up the road at a trot, intent on making sure our heroes don’t leave the city.

With seconds to spare the lift arrives and the party boards, the lift rising into the sky to rendezvous with the airship above. Zazoo moons the soldiers below as they take potshots at the rising lift, and is almost hit for his trouble.

Captain Gloval casts off lines the second all are aboard, and the Tilverton makes its way to the east. No sign of pursuit, but the large Zhent cruiser seen at Hillsfar isn’t far from their minds.

Two days later the Tilverton arrives in Suzail, with Gerant and his retinue getting off. They order the PCs not to leave the ship, and to keep their mouths shut as to what happened in Hillsfar. 2 hours later Gerant returns alone, and its revealed he is the fourth cousin to the Queen, and their new CO to boot.

The document in the safe in Hillsfar was a map of old Netherese supply caches in the Anauroch desert, and the PCs are going to be working with Gerant to try to recover those caches before the Zhentarim can get to them. After departing Suzail and landing in Arabel they’re given a week leave on the condition that they keep their mouths shut.

The Thursday night before they leave some few of them, Avaerth, Kane, Zazoo, and Akull, make their way back from a bar just over a mile from their barracks, having spent the evening in drink as they watched Kane lose money. Sober by the time they left the bar, the foursome is set upon by wererats in the very streets of Arabel themselves.

Fighting fearsomely, the highlights of this struggle include Akull once more using color spray to great effect, Kane drop kicking a rat and almost hitting Akull in the back of the head, and Zazoo diving into a wererat to chew viciously upon its chest, playing in its entrails.

Of particular note was a bag of gold coins upon one of the wererats, along with a written description of our 6 troubleshooters and Gerant, promising a great deal more money should they wind up dead. Returning to their barracks they presented this to Lt. Rendath, only to see her shrug it off and tell them to get some sleep.

Meeting Gerant at the airship docks outside Arabel the next morning, he explained that there’d been a mixup, and that they’d need to go to Suzail to board the airship they’d been assigned to in the short term. Thus, the six of them set off to the South for a day and a half ride, stopping for the night at a glorified inn and avoiding trouble with Zhent caravaners.

Upon arrival in Suzail they went to the airship docks, find there the HMS Wyvern, a recently built cruiser of 24 guns, captained by Gloval and crewed by most of the same crew from the Tilverton.

Once airborne, Gerant explained the details of their assignment for the next 6 weeks, and the next day the 6 of them were dropped just outside of Lundeth, in the Southern Anauroch desert, with the money to buy horses and instructions on where to meet in two weeks for resupply.

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OMG, YOU KILLED KENNY!

Following the melee test, all involved were requested to test their ranged combat skills.

The night ended with dinner in the Captain’s cabin, after an afternoon of exploring the airship and working with the crew. The high point of this was Zazoo declaring that his corn was waging war on his mashed potatoes, and meeting Gerant Olanth, trade representative for Olanth and Co. Olanth was accompanied by his half-orc bodyguard Arnath, and he attempted to evade all of Avaerth’s polite dinner questions.

Day 2 began with a skills and teamwork test. Having failed the rigging test, Zazoo and Kane were sentenced to scrubbing the deck for the rest of the morning. The team passed the teamwork test, however, and noon saw all 6 troubleshooters scrubbing the decks in a show of solidarity.

Day 3 dawned wih the ship approaching Hillsfar, and the team was given the mission to escort Gerant to his office and come back without causing any trouble. Accompanied by Arnath, they descended the lift on the airship tower and made their way to the business district, unable to get over the feeling of being watched the whole way.

Arriving at the office, they found the gate ajar and no guards at the fence, a situation abnormal in a Zhent controlled city. Slowly they approached the building, finding the front door bolted shut and the side door forced. Inside, slaughtered, they found multiple human corpses brutalized and a couple of thugs missing large portions of head, victims of a blunderbuss.

Inside the office Gerant found his nephew, and shared that one of the brutalized corpses outside was his brother. Handing his nephew to Arnath, Gerant pulled documents from the desk and the group headed out to check the building next door, which just so happened to be the Cormyrian embassy.

Sneaking inside, they heard the thumping of sledges and harsh laughter, leading Avaerth to sneak around outside the building and peer inside the window. Just as the group came around the corner into the center room of the building Avaerth broke the window and jumped into the building, leading the 6 Zhent thugs inside the office area to come out swinging.

This placed Avaerth in an unfortunate position, and they showed little mercy as they brutally beat her down. Charging into combat, however, the rest of the party showed up and swung the tide of battle. In under a minute 5 of the thugs were down for the count, the last captured and manacled.

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