Surveying the Situation
Our area is about the size of the U district from Portage Bay to the resevoir, and from I-5 to the stadium.
Alek trying scrying the kid we sent to the port to get grain for us and can’t find him, he may be dead. The landing where Thaymarsh brought supplies in isn’t overrun with undead but the area is lousy with them. Grigri had to remind Alek that the pirate cove has been explored and we know that the passage comes out in the cove next to where we sank our boat.
We are trying to decide what areas of our town are going to be set up as. We are also going out to get some seed and maybe some more herd animals.
The Locals are Restless
The people from Thaymarsh are getting a little restless. A few are talking about leaving. (Ahmraven was the city that burned down when we freed the demon. Thaymarsh was overrun by undead.)
The Chaunteans are going crazy with the seeds we brought back. They are getting started on their farming. The blacksmith, Peryn, from Thaymarsh is doing well and is working on making a new forge. Luthien is surveying the Thaymarshians, seeing what resources we have amonst them. There were 10 younger men who were acting as militia when the Banites left.
The militia guys went out hunting and brought back three pheasant and six coneys. Luthien is asking them capture some game for breeding purposes.
Thaymarsh shall be known as Deadmarsh. The game that lived in the area is leaving post haste. It is good hunting time for Lilli and the militia. The doggies are getting comfortable around the villagers and are stopping being invisible, the people aren’t liking it much. There is a ruckus, we need to deal with this, role-playing style. Luthien is trying to work her bardic wiles.
We tried to talk Korbin down over the dogs, nearly successfully. He, exasperated, says “I’m going to tell the Mayor.” Willym was done with Korbin. “Those Banites have been in our town for 15 years, and you can’t tell the difference, really?” Willym just wants to drink. He dresses down Korbin, “These people gave us hospitality and this is how you repay them‽” Addressing us, he said “Keep him busy. But, we’ll talk later, I lost my wife in Thaymarsh. I need a few days. Talk to Peryn, he’s my deputy.”
Peryn recommended making a couple of longhouses. We all can live in them for now until we make houses and then they become common places. Bynara, the leatherworker, is a slattern and is pregnant; allegedly the father is Peryn. And Peryn has been doing things for the village without asking permission, like contracting the stonemason to make things like guard “towers.”
There is a retired dwarven stonemason in Thesk that Varis heard about. He likes working with elementals and we might be able to talk him into moving in.
We need to buy supplies and the Chaunteans gave us a list. Peryn gives us a list including iron ingots, tools, and a bellows. Luthien would like to go to Ormpur. We could head back to Almraven. Ormpur is over land, but we have to skirt the undead area, but we can head back via ship.
We gave the keys to the castle to the head of the Chaunteans, the blacksmith, and the librarian. We turn the armory from the dragonskin bag to the militia.
Before we leave, we scry the area where we want to hike through. The five miles south of Deadmarsh along the coast we spy black whispy somethings that don’t look good. In the 10 mile radius around the center of Deadmarsh is totally off-limits. So we are going to head north around Deadmarsh and avoid the woods.
We wake to a light dusting of snow. We make it out early. Everybody gets up and starts working. The guard report nothing interesting. The traffic along our route is pretty low. We don’t really run into anything.
Busy Rest Area
First day of travel passes without incident. Second night, during the second watch, Alek and Keira hear a sort of vacuum cleaner noise and some popping sounds, like something is porting in. Roll initiative.
We were accosted by some githyanki, in tier 9 raiding gear, and the leader had a liquid silver sword. Luthien and the leader had a conversation in draconic. They are looking for an item, but wouldn’t tell us what. He said to contact them if we ever run into an “interesting looking gnome.” He tosses Luthien an item that is probably what we use to contact them. (This is the Search for the Interesting Gnome quest.) Oh, the rest of the night passes uneventfully. In the morning we search the area and there were six spots on the ground with pressed down grass.
Ormpur Shopping Spree
Day two passes uneventfully as does day three. Halfway through day four we start to see the city. We have seen several patrols. They had hands on swords and when they saw we weren’t undead they relaxed a little. At the gate, we pay the nominal tax to enter the city. We try to bribe the collector a little. While he thinks the tax is also unreasonable, this is his job and he needs to collect the money. He recommends the Emerald Swan inn, good tavern.
We try to settle in at the inn. The guard shows up later in the evening and we buy him a drink. Alek was looking for hints of a guild and found it, but didn’t find any people in the guild. He asked the guard about the lack of pickpockets and he said crime suddenly went down three days previous. While just sitting around drinking our ales and whiskeys, eating some food, Varis detects some evil, just faint evil, up in the corner of the ceiling. He casts “sift” and he finds a black-faceted jewel on a pin, like a brooch, stuck into the ceiling. “Alek, dude, there is an evil pin stuck to the wall.” “What? An evil pin? Another one?” Alek tries to detect magic, and detects us and the pin; the brightest ones are the legacy artifacts and then the dragonskin backpack. The pin is lightly evil and has divination magic on it. He uses an unseen servant to pick it out and drops it in the backpack. The rest of the evening is uneventful.
Time to spend some money. We blew about 3260GP on the supplies. It’ll be about two days before everything is delivered to the ship we’re renting. At least Grigri is staying on the ship. (Most of the gang is staying on the ship.) We cleared out the merchants, and they were buying us drinks and coming buy to offer us stuff we didn’t think about. This isn’t going to go well tonight. The night passes uneventfully.
Fancy Meeting You Here
But, the morning arrives and somebody from the Emerald Swan comes down to the dock asking for us. Somebody had come to the inn last night and asked about us. He’s somebody who has been in town before but makes quite an impression. (He looks like Badger from Firefly, but acts like Crowley from Supernatural. He is the guy who was pissed with us when Alek didn’t check in with the guild in Ahmraven and nearly turned Grigri into a were-boar.) Around 4PM our penultimate delivery shows up. The last one is supposed to be noon the next day. The captain asks when it arrives because he wants to catch the tides.
At 8PM, Alek notices someone leaning up against a wall nearby watching the ship. He’s wearing a hat and smoking a pipe looking “non-chalant.” Alek can’t make out his features. His poise looks familiar to Lilli and Alek. Lilli waves to him, and he waves back. “Yup, he’s watching us.”
Alek goes out to talk to him. “Yeah, can I have my you know what back?” We offer him the black brooch back and have a chat. We ask about the missing guild and he said he closed them up, new jobs to do. “Oh, and something unpleasant happened to a small village to the north and west. I’d stay out of there.” Oh come on, we aren’t responsible for every undead invasion and demon explosion. He sauntered off smirking and chuckling.
The Realization and Reveal
The next day, we chat with the guard again. He commented about the merchant on the big black horse, Crowley. He left town to the west. Alek asks about Crowley and how he was traveling. Apparently, six days ago he left to the west with three wagons towed by six horses each. The thieves guild is gone. To the west is our village, the Deadmarsh, and the Zhents. So, he’s either looting Deadmarsh, going to attack the Zhents, or attack us. The guard said he never saw anybody in the wagons, the wagons just left. Alek talked to the rats asking if there was suddenly any food recently. The rats he found said there was blood spilled but no food. The harbormaster said there haven’t been any bodies found in the water recently. When questioned, he said that three ships arrived and unloaded their cargo. Some other ships were waiting to head north and took on that cargo. Alek looks in the office and finds another black gem brooch in the ceiling. A lot of crates and boxes were loaded, and a man with a big black horse left.
We have nothing. He could be making an attempt to sack Deadmarsh. (Warmer.) He could be trying to make a deal with whoever is in control of Deadmarsh. (Warmer.) He could be offering the thieves guild as sacrifices. (Colder.) There was the vampire in Ahmraven that tried to enslave us, but we killed her and her comrades. (Warmer.) The black horses could all be nightmares. Varis detected one over-10th level outsider pass through the area. He didn’t feel it in the inn, so it wasn’t Crowley. There was no trace of it in town, but outside town it just started at a scorchmark. Alek tries to feel the magic, and feels conjuration and brimstone. Those who can detected that the nightmare was summoned, so the black horses were just beastly good black horses. (By the way, Grigri has the Great Hammer versus ousiders.) Given it was a nightmare, and it runs straight, and we can detect which direction it is headed, the straight line on the map goes from Ormpur to Deadmarsh (on to Suldolphor Ruins), not towards The Village.
Oh yeah. When we freed the demon, we were there to get the Skull from the magic shop and and gave it to him. That was the Skull the demon said we really didn’t want. We freed the demon and gave the Skull to Crowley. The freed demon caused the Zhents to leave Thaymarsh, and they left the curse on the temple of Bane that drew in the undead. They unlocked the mess is Thaymarsh making it Deadmarsh. The Skull allows the posessor to control undead. And the carts have the Guild, dead, stacked like cordwood. Oh damn. Achievement unlocked: You dun goof’d.
Alek and Varis search the boat for black brooches. The ship captain said there was a letter left for us. Keira casts neutralize poison. The note was full of purple powder. “It was so nice to see you kids again. We’ll have to do some business again sometime. You can keep the purple powder.” The boat is weighing anchor and off we go.
Back to the Village
The first day was uneventful. The whole trip is fairly uneventful. We sail close to shore. When we get near the landing for Deadmarsh, we sail out away from it. The crow’s nest sends down a message that there is some kind of electromagnetic anomaly on the shore.
When we get near the Village, oh yeah, we don’t have a dock. With some Tenser’s Floating Disks, and the Chaunteans, we figure this mess out. It takes a while, but we wrangle it. The captain takes off for Ahmraven. And we have the supplies back to the Village.
The villagers have built a few small buildings and lean-tos and have the base of the longhouses dug out.