Saga

The Quest begins -

In a small province known as Armengard, the southernmost Imperial holding in the Old World, a brawl took place.
At the Crow and Sixpence, a roadway Inn, a young questing knight leapt to his feet in defense of a young maiden's honor.
Dispensing justice with his gauntleted fists, Albrecht lays into a gang of villains assailing an attractive young barmaid.
Though filled with wonder and admiration at the accomplishments of his Imperial cousins, he saw that men in these parts had no sense of proper chivalry. He resolved that as he learned from his travels, so too would those he encountered learn from him. Today's lesson was in good manners.

An impetuous and impressionable traveller - fresh from the farm - is inspired by this show of heroism. He joins the fray with great enthusiasm. In the midst of the swirling melee, he realizes that this noble knight is the key to unlocking the life of adventure he craves. Having sold his worldly belongings to purchase a pistol and traveling coat, he imagines himself as a famous vagabond adventurer. This, he is sure, is the first chapter in an epic tale of swashbuckling excitement.

Another patron, an incisive doctor, a fugitive from the law, spies a likely protector. He slips outside and waits, concocting an arrangement of mutual benefit to offer the knight. Adventuring, like surgery, is a risk after all - but the rewards of success are great. He had found his ticket to riches, safety - and hopefully - a well-stocked but secluded laboratory.

As the brawl escalates, the Inn is partially burned down. As they burst outside, the companions witness the xenophobic hostility of a few drinkers spill over into violence. Blaming the destruction of their drinking hole on the easiest target, several drunkards attack the only elven patron. He dispatches them with graceful efficiency. Albrech recognizes his old war-mate, Slyf.

The elfish outcast has fled his clan responsibilities, frustrated by the tasks he was alloted at birth. Shamed by his actions, he seeks a heroic act that may redeem him in his family's eyes. He travelled for many years in the Lands of Brettonia, often fighting alongside mercenary companies, or in the employ of knightly families. He is heading south, to land in which - it is rumored - any man can find redemption in riches and glory. Perhaps, so too might an elf. He is pleased to meet a familiar figure on the road, and decides that - if he is indeed destined to reach atonement - surely it will be at the side of these strange and interesting humans.

Making a hasty egress, the companions head south.

The adventurers enter the principality of Sudentor, a thriving port community surrounded by forests and foothills. They leave behind the Grey Mountains and wind their way down a coastal road. Slyf encounters Alain of the Leafstriders. He bears a warning for his distant kin, of an evil settled on the human town below. The party choose to press on and investigate.

The city is a cosmopolitan settlement, filled with wonders. A dwarven steamship is at drydock, filling the bars with raucous sailors on shore-leave. Sea-elf captains are negotiating a large contract for a journey far to the eastern seas. Gnomish conjurers perform acts of illusion to the joy of halfling children, and human merchants of all stripes bustle about on their daily business.

The party find a suitable Inn, the Arrow in Flight. It's common room and tea-houses are used as a trading venue for many merchants. Albrecht and Kazmir attempt to practice sparring outside - an enterprising young street urchin turns the event into a betting spectacle and reaps a considerable profit. Slyf and Aldous gossip with a pipe-smoking sea-elf about events in the town. Their questions lead them to the doors of Murdoch House, and the mysterious business of drownings in the docks.

Mr Murdoch is a wealthy businessman whose daughter has disappeared. She is staying at a nunnery near to Whitecliff Academy, a military school she attends. She is the only female student. The burly matron wields a mace, but little sense; she knows nothing of the girls' affairs. Close inspection of the girl's rooms reveal burned fragments of academic statements. The marks are poor. The party resolves to investigate the Academy the next morning.

Riots, Duels and Darker Developments

As the sun rose that morning, so too did the ire of the city’s people; our heroes are swept up in a riot upon stepping out of their Inn. The great fountain-figure of Manann had been vandalized overnight, painted with a great red maw and pointed dagger-like teeth. A trio of paint merchants were facing keelhaul for the crime, though their guilt was far from sure. Aldous and Kazmir combined diplomacy with a timely pistol shot to dispel the injustice.

Proceeding to the Whitecliff academy, the party met with Headmistress Anne. The lady instructed, with some sadness, that the missing girl had been a star pupil - until harassment by the locals fops had begun. She had taken what action she could, but had tied hands due to the great influence of the perpetrator’s families. The strange professor Vulpa seemed to be withholding facts, and the bullies, a trio named Avery, Memnon and Grimbold, were so incensed by the party’s questions that they issued a challenge of ritualized combat. Frustrated, the party agreed. The battle - held in the Swordmaster’s Court - surprised the companions; though young, these students were the Academy champions in this form of dueling. A narrow victory was secured by Albrecht, who choose a magic glove, a hand and ½ sword, and a dueling dagger as trophies.

Before they left, the party were somewhat stunned by the actions of their magnanimous medic – his offer to treat the boys, free of charge, was a cover to secure a quiet place to torture and threaten. This cruelty - to a foe vanquished in honorable combat - apparently inspired no outrage in the valiant knight. The normally lighthearted Pistoleer was sickened, and chose to wait outside. Slyf was imperturbable. Having already fully cooperated, the boys had no new information to give. They were left unconscious, strapped to a school desk.

Investigation at the Full Sail, a place of disrepute at which Augustine worked, revealed more. Professor Vulpa was making his rounds, searching for the girl himself. Slyf shadowed him into the sewers, overhearing a telling conversation. The Professor, taking Augustine as a lover, had partaken of wierdroot with her. She had become addicted, and, ignoring his warnings, had pursued his supplier. Suspecting the involvement of rat-men, the elf ran quickly to retrieve the party. By the time they returned, they were too late; the professor lay dead, but the murderers remained - Shark-featured humanoids in black robes, and - most bizarrely - a mythical Faun! Snarling, this figure waved an arm and summoned an adolescent Troll from the sewer's waters. As the beast attacked, the coil-horned creature fled. A daring and vicious combat ensued, in which the scent of weirdroot mushrooms filled the chamber. The troll’s magical hide was being used to cultivate nacrotics, set ablaze by the fire of Aldous’ stormlantern. Bloodied in victory, the party discovered another vital clue – Kyle the Miller, Augustine’s second lover, had also been supplied weirdroot by this sinister syndicate. Making all haste, the party left for the outskirts of town.

The mill was enclosed by the edge of the Elven Forests. It cut an ominous figure against the moonlit clouds. Indeed, more troubling would be the occupants – of Halfling stature, grotesquely pig-faced features, black orbs of eyes and taloned, three fingered hands. Several of these beasts ran about the business of refining the weirdroot to powder. Determined to put an end to their vile industry, the companions burst in, scattering the creatures. Slyf manages to wrangle one with his net - but the party were quickly attacked by more sharkmen. This time the sinister Faun remains to aid the creatures, hurling hexes at the battling heroes. Kazmir puts an end to the monster with his pistol. As the melee dispels, Slyf catches sight of a human figure fleeing into the Wood Elves domain. His pursuit is halted by Leafstrider; he declares that none may enter the wood, save those protected by magical contract. He disinterestedly refers to the pig-creatures as Leprechauns, and warns that they are vicious and hated magical pests in the woods. Puzzled by the night's events, the party returns to Sudentor with one of the creatures in tow. A perplexed Watch Commander hears their tale, takes possession of the hog-tied creature and permits the adventurers return to their Inn. Exhausted, they collapse into sleep. The next morning would hold new challenges, and indeed, no small number of surprises.

Of Hangings and a Leprechaun spree

After a night in which the companions slept like the dead, an early breakfast was taken. This agreeable meal was interrupted however, by a contingent of halberd-bearing guards. The party is forcibly led to a makeshift gallows where they first made the acquaintance of the disagreeable General Avery. He accuses the companions of several crimes, of which most they are guilty – chiefly false imprisonment of a member of the royal family and threatening torture to a member of the royal family. The trial however, is a sham. As the sentence – death – is announced, Alain Leafstrider steps forward and demands the custody of Slyf - by order of the Woodland King.

A wandering initiate of Verena also speaks out against the lack of due process afforded in the trial. Aldous passionately defends his actions when a local Grey Wizard steps in to adjudicate the trial of behalf of the Prince. In the end, the Verenan is convinced of the party’s guilt, but advises that the sentence be greatly reduced. Before any such action can be taken, smoke begins to reach the makeshift court. Without warning, an arrow slams into the throat of Albrecht the Knight as he stands fitted with a noose. He slumps forward, dead. The court explodes in panic as flames become visible over the rooftops; the Wizard and Priest suspend sentencing and enlist the aid of the accused in battling the fire. The Verenan plunges bravely into a fire at the Library, hauling out books and a reluctant librarian to safety. He takes burns as he does so. Flames frustrate the Wizard as he hurriedly searches for a magical tome, forcing him back out to the streets. The Doctor manages to talk his way to safety through a security checkpoint, inadvertently saving several lives as wounded peasants pour after him. He chooses to ignore their wounded screams however. The Highwayman commandeers a riding horse and masterfully gallops through the streets to the dockmaster’s tower. In port, the harbour chain remains closed, threatening to trap the ships at dock. He quickly searches the rubble and recovers the signal flag to open the harbor.

As the ships sail out to safety, the party race into the docks from all directions to find the source of the chaos; 8 Leprechauns are loose in the streets, hurling magic and feasting on the flesh of the dead. It seems that in daylight, they enjoy powerful magic abilities. A swashbuckling fight sprawls across the many floating platforms in the dock. The creatures are slaughtered, though at the expense of wounds to the new companions. The party hurries off to meet with Mr Murdoch, deftly avoiding the Town patrols.

The businessman is deeply troubled by the news brought by Aldous, but discharges the party from employment with his compliments. The group leave the city to search the old Mill, and encounter a band of rugged mercenaries already on the scene. Their leader, Chiba, is a muscular sea-elf captain who offers them food and a place to rest. They soon learn of his situation.

At Chiba’s dock-encampment, he tells them a story. Many years ago, the coast was ruled by pirate captains. One such fell to worship of Stromfels the Shark God, and gained control by slaughtering many others. His chief weapon was to turn the sea to storm against his enemies. The surviving captains pooled their treasures to create a magical sword to destroy him. After their great battle, the last of Stromfels worshippers stole the legendary treasure and sword, and buried them deep in a secret temple.
Since coming to power, the Prince’s navy has enjoyed the power of invoking storms. Chiba claims that the coast is now impassable to legitimate traders and pirates alike. He believes the Prince has fallen to worship of the forbidden God. As his business is impaired, he makes a proposal. The party will travel to the hidden temple and recover the ancient treasure of the Pirate Captains. In exchange for it’s return, Chiba offers his aid in removing the Prince, and the legendary sword his father forged. After a brief visit at the city, Vikter and Aequitas become convinced that the undertaking is just. The General and the newly elected Grand Mariner of the Temple of Manann raise their suspicions particularly. Aldous and Kazmir make preparations to leave, and a ship is availed for their use. Upon the return of the others, the party set sail for Shark Cove.

Death and Treasure at Shark Cove.

Vikter and Kazmir welcome the return of their comrade Slyf from his stay with the Wood Elves. Having been purged of his sins in a secret ritual, he is now covered in swirling tattoos which grant him the power of magic. The trio meets their new shipmate, Baltar the Mul (a former Estalian slave Fighter) and get their first look at a Thri-Keen warrior scuttling in the rigging. The preparations made, the companions set sail for the distant island.

The next day,the ship is ambushed as a patrol ship of the General's Navy emerges from it's hiding spot in a shallow bay. Vikter senses the work of an enemy caster, and goes into a trance to dispel the brewing magical storm. A tense chase and fierce gun battle ensues, in which the Captain and many crewmen loose their lives. The Party abandon their sinking ship, and board the enemy vessel. Seizing command, they sail to the nearby port of Rivenfort for repairs and an overnight stay. They quickly becomes suspicious of some black cloaked men asking questions at the local Inn. The soldiers are revealed as spies of the General, and the party is forced to quickly flee the town as the Royal Cavalry pursue them. They escape, sailing into the light of the breaking dawn.

Shark Cove is found to be infested with Goblin Savages, one tribe enjoying roasted human on the beach. The party turn their newly-captured cannons upon the beasts, their controlled bombardment scattering the creatures to the hills. The Temple of Stromfels is found to be terribly deep and full of strange and frightening carvings. The final door to the deep vault flies open to reveal the final surprise; General Avery and the Grand Mariner (now calling himself Carcharadon), emerge flanked by the risen corpses of foregoing treasureseekers. A vicious battle ensues in which the loyal Thri-Keen falls pierced by many spears. The surviving shipmates emerge laden with the legendary treasure and magical sword "Dealbreaker", returning to find the city in the hands of Chiba the Sea Elf. In keeping with their agreement, he offers the rulership back to the local nobility who select a perplexed and humbled Lord Murdoch at the party's urging. The seas are made free for the first time in years, and the party leave the city by fast-ship to the next port. Sharing a revelry in their hard-won spoils, the new comrades feast into the night. By morning, they each are refreshed, ready for their next great adventure.

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