Rise of the Forgotten Kings

Session 53
Kill It With Kindness: A Very Special Holiday Adventure

Having escaped the siege of the Elven Kingdom at the hands of Dracarys’ army, Team Trust was beaten, broken, and defeated: they had lost the three dragon eggs they had acquired, and Wolf and Lutervoc were both kidnapped by different forces. They had been decimated by Dracarys despite their best efforts, and had failed to save the Elves. Then, upon arriving at Archie’s camp, they discovered a battle that had left the camp in ruin, the Everymen and Archie missing. Itto was on the verge of leaving the team for good, and Rayne was adamant about going off on her own to find Wolf. Even Quinn was distraught, and left on his own to find Archie. Team Trust, it seemed, had been broken.

As the attempted to salvage what was left of their mission, a terrible blizzard began to take over the area. Squirm, who had defected from Dracarys and then been rescued by Team Trust, vanished before he could give them any information. Escaping into a magical dimension to hide from the storm, the team centered around the one lead they had remaining: the mysterious new Finger of Dracarys who they had captured.

Pulling off the stranger’s cloak revealed a blue-colored half-Orc hybrid of sorts. His cold yellow eyes sparkled with electricity and glared at Itto, claiming that the Paladin had murdered his mother. Jil noticed the tattoo of Cas on his neck, and attempted to reason with him. Eventually, the boy broke down and confessed that he was Malavar: the love-spawn of Itto and the Blue Dragon (who had disguised herself as Itto’s long-dead love Ellay and convinced him to do the “Blue Waffle Shuffle”). Before more could be learned, the boy escaped into the blaring winds of winter.

Meanwhile, Yu’in transported Rayne back to the Elven jungles to find Wolf (on the contingency that she would signal them when she was close to the were-croc hideout), and noticed that the snow was falling there as well. It seemed that the storm was a powerful spell, meant to bring about a new Ice Age and freeze the world. However, it was unclear what the origin of the spell was.

Hearing a strange sound and seeing a red light in the distance, Team Trust knew that they had to keep moving forward, as losing any more time would surely prove disastrous. They trudged through the snow, barely able to see, until they came upon a magical winter village which Jil identified as being on the Water Plane.

Entering into a strange workshop run by magical gnome-elves with pointy hats, they were directed to the shop-master Bernard, who informed them that the blizzard was caused by Old Snowbeard, an avatar of Pelor who lived in an ice mountain and, in the past, had created a yearly snowfall which would heal all Good children. The gnome-elves, on their end, would read the minds of all Good children and create gifts for them all, which would be delivered to every Good child in the land. This year, however, it seemed the snow was proving harmful, and the gnome-elves suspected that Snowbeard was no longer trying to heal, but to hurt.

Team Trust agreed to help, and the gnome-elves stated that they could provide directions to Snowbeard’s mountain, in return for their help in fixing the magical “Present Producer”, which was not working, The team united at last, working together to fix the machine, and were soon on their way to the mountain. They defeated a pack of Sabre-toothed Tigers, and soon found themselves at the base of the mountain, witnessing a battle between an Evil Dire Polar Bear, and a Good Woolly Mammoth. Even though the mammoth would have yielded quite a bit of money on the black market, Slink decided to do the right thing and kill the bear. Itto then healed the mammoth, who broke through the mountain for them and pointed them up the stairs to Snowbeard’s throne room.

Upon arriving in the room, Snowbeard arrived and announced that all the love and goodness had been stolen from the world, and he was now on a mission to freeze the planet and wipe out all life, so that it could begin anew. Some tearful pleading on Itto’s end about hope and goodness and all that Christmas-y garbage actually managed to convince the withered old man to give Team Trust a shot: should they complete his three trials, he would consider ending the eternal winter.

The first trial saw Jil trapped in a wall of snow. Thinking quickly, Slink threw an orb with fire inside it at the wall, freeing her. The second room was shrouded in blackness, and only by “identifying their friends” through a series of riddles could the team progress. In the final trial, the team had to match themselves up on a metaphorical chessboard against Dracarys’ Fingers. It was through this (and process of elimination) that it was discovered that Rayne was meant to be match with Blackheart…leading the team to wonder if, perhaps, he was actually Rayne’s long-lost brother (and Itto’s adoptive Paladin brother) Crestus Sunwhisper.

After surviving the trials and learning the true meaning of friendship and trust or something lame like that, the group was confronted by Old Snowbeard, who said that he still thought that the world was irredeemable. He sent a giant snow-yeti monster against the group, and despite their best attacks, they were unable to hurt it. In fact, anger and violence seemed only to make the monster stronger. It was then realized that the only way to defeat the beast was with the Power of Love. So they sang some “Huey Lewis and the News” at it and hugged it a bunch, and the monster became gentle and loving.

Seeing these acts of kindness, Old Snowbeard too transformed back into his jolly old self and proclaimed that if this shifty team could learn to love, perhaps the world could too. He then ended the winter and returned Team Trust back to the Material Plane, but not before they had a good old holiday party to celebrate the holidays!

…But while this distraction may have temporarily rekindled some of the feelings of trust amongst the team, their greatest obstacles still loomed threateningly overhead. Would Rayne be able to find and save Wolf? Would the group locate Archie? And what of Lute and the dragon eggs, who were in the clutches of Roken somewhere unknown? With their list of allies growing ever thinner, it seemed the only ones the heroes could rely on…was each other.

Session 52
Ninjas and Robots and Demi-Gods...Oh My!


Our adventurers flashback to the fall of Arashne. As before, they manage to free one of the ostensibly good metallic dragons; in this case the Bronze dragon, who grants all present electrical powers.

Snap back to reality. Ope, here comes tragedy.

Having freed Itto, our heroes flee the elven tree house. Before things get interesting, Hannah-Bar-Bear-A flees into the forest, disturbed at the sight of the Half-Orc Paladin.

And… now we’re caught up…

Victus and his ninjas surround the group and inform them that he’s the real lobes of the elven kingdom and that any deal they made to free Itto was invalid. Itto claims that their half-century long feud should come to an end, but his words only inspire Nick-tus to make an example of him in single combat. The battle is a stalemate: Victus lays blow after blow on Itto, with each draining him of vitality, but Itto gives as good as he takes despite being unprotected and exposed. The two are left battered and weak when Team Trust steps in, resulting in a brawl with the ninja horde. Which is when the humans attack.

Team Trust manages pretty well to put up a resistance and it looks like things might go their way until Roken and a not dead Moodey show up. Also, Dracarys. Can’t forget about him. Roken steals away the bag of holding that housed the dragon eggs. Lute attempts to stop him, but Roken teleports away, taking Lute with him. The others do even worse, barely managing to escape with their lives from Dracarys, leaving the elven kingdom to suffer the demigod’s wrath.

Session 51
The One Where We All Fight


Sadly, this is where Bal’Quinn parts way with the lame-a-zoid hot losers of Team Trust.

Emerging from the waters of wondrous power, Bal’Quinn suddenly was looking just as tight as Keiran. After making yet one more plea for Team Trust to wake up and join the winning side with Arashne, they continued to ignore reason and decided to mercilessly attack their former ally and the sovereign ruler of the land that they were in.

Terrorism? Yeah, we’ll call it terrorism.

Anyway, Team Trust, despite not having been attacked or provoked, attempts to murder these people. Slink uses some sort of meta-power to alter time and prepare different actions once his original plan failed, allowing him to deliver grievous blows against his former ally who had yet to do anything hostile. The rest of the team joins in on the violence until Bal’Quinn mercifully knocks out Quinn and teleports Rayne out of the fray, sparing her from further harm. However, eventually the bloodthirsty nature of Team Trust led to Bal’Quinn being stabbed repeatedly, burned until he passed out, and then irradiated with negative energy until his heart gave out.

With her acolytes slain, Arashne awoke and engaged the foreign terrorists. It would have gone pretty bad for them, you know since they were fighting a huge green dragon, but a strange girl rushed into the middle of the fray, apparently on the run. When the green dragon clearly became a threat to her, this girl transformed into some kind of War Beast, a giant bear that slashed deeply into the dragon. With the dragon occupied, Team Trust was able to turn the tide and slay the green dragon.

Team Trust looted the area and found the Copper Dragon Egg, then returned Keiran to the Elf Kingdom along with the desecrated corpse of their fallen ally. They were able to revive Bal’Quinn, who went off with Keiran to work out. They also were able to free Itto, who was initially reluctant to end his prison sentence without an official pardon.

Before being able to leave to find the missing Wolf and continue with their quest, they were stopped by the front gates by Victus, who announced them as freeing the fugitive Itto and sent his ninja-elves against the heroes. He also said that Madame Zow “had not survived the night”.

Oh, and Jil was totally making “fuck me” eyes with Keiran. Hot.

SESSION 50!!!!!
Extradimensional Napping

After scouring the secret room to find the bones of a high priest of Arashe and some tree-scarecrows, Team Trust decided to summon the mysterious dungeon-salesman Murk, who sold them some awesome scrolls in exchange for some gold and….nothing else.

Using one of Murk’s newfound scroll spells, Yu’in created a magic rope which, when climbed, transported our heroes into another dimension where they very excitingly…went to sleep. Healed and rested, they set back out to the next main room, to discover 8 masks in a circle, which Slink ascertained would shoot off arrows if not activated in the proper order.

After a lot of knowledge checks and arguing and failed attempts, the group once again climbed into another dimension and let Jil’s were-croc-zombies take the heat and figure out the order. Their sacrifice was not in vain, however, as they were able to uncover the secret. The group continued on to the final door…

…which led into an outdoor forest glade, complete with a bubbling acidic pool with a dragon-ish-shaped tree jutting out (HMMMM). Suddenly, from the pool, a figure emerged, which Bal’Quinn quickly recognized as his long-lost pal, the missing elf prince Kieran Cortellos. Except that the prince had undergone a change…he was looking dope as hell, much like the other followers of Arashe: The “Awakened”.

Despite Team Trust’s flawed arguments, Kieran persuaded Bal’quinn to pull a “Team Trust” on his new “allies” and undergo his own Awakening, submerging into the bubbling pit and coming out looking even more amazing than before, if that’s even possible. The rest of the group foolishly refused, coming to the boneheaded conclusion that this was a trick.

Suddenly, as if in the wind all around them, a female voice announced that they were soon to meet their doom, and the dragon-shaped tree began to move and come to life…

Tales of Itto 5 The Bond

The light burned. With that, an instant froze and was permanently etched into Itto’s mind.

Itto’s feet dug into the sand. He braced himself, unsure of what was transpiring. Surrounded by allies, Itto felt fear for their safety. He worried about this mixed lot of outcasts. While in one sense, he hardly knew them but by another reckoning he had fought beside them for a quarter of a century.

“What now?” he wondered.

The light gave way to darkness that clung to his eyes. Reflexively, Itto’s hands clawed at the ethereal veil that obscured his vision. Slowly, the darkness dripped away, revealing the moon-lit sands. Itto expected to see the same monster that had drilled them with riddles and questions. The creature was there, but different, smaller. The creature was there, but no longer a colossus towering over them. It was more real now. The head of a hawk and the body of a great cat, the creature was still large, but not the gleaming spectre that dominated the horizon that it seemed to be before. It looked older, too. The fur of the feline body was graying. The feathers on its head soft and mottled. The creature was there, but weathered.

“Itto.” A voice rippled through his being.

“You have passed our challenge, Paladin,” came words out of the heavens, “so we grant you an ally to share in your burden.”

Itto’s eyes locked with the creature’s.

“Moonstalker.” The word sprung across his lips. He just knew its name.

“Yes.” The answer reverberated across his soul.

Memories swarmed Itto’s thoughts. Memories of stalking creatures across the sands. Memories of wrestling monsters to the ground. Memories of flying…

“Your back…” he mumbled.

“Yes, upon her back you shall ride in your quest.” The heavenly voice boomed.

Itto’s shoulders burned. He pushed one foot forward and extended his hand.

A half-orc, barely a child, reached for the scraps of rabbit flesh beside the camp fire. As his hand wrapped around the strips of fat and skin, each finger was cracked by a heavy hammer. “Whoresblood eats when we’re done,” a voice yelled. A boot struck the boy’s jaw. Blood splattered on the ground.

“She will serve you faithfully.” The voice said.

“Master…” whispered the creature. Water pooled in her eyes.

Itto felt the freedom of the winds and instantly knew the pain of his wings being plucked. First his left. Then his right. He felt the adrenaline welling up, pushing his arms to drag him away from the thing that had ripped his wings off.

“I am no master. I am only a servant.” He wanted to say.

Thoughts echoed, “Only someone who knows serving can lead.”

Itto recalled crawling along the fields. Blood poured from his back. Hunger gnawed at him.
Then finding a dead horse, riddled with decay, and closing his beak around the rot and swallowing the bitter flesh.

A young half-orc, in the prime of his life, returned to his home in defeat only to find his family and his friends lying dead on the ground.

“You doing alright there, big boy?” The gnome chimed in.

“Fine. I think.” Itto muttered,

“Whoa, don’t let that become a habit. I’m supposed to be the one doing the thinking.” The gnome responded.

Ellay… Crestus… Pratantus… Rayne… every victory and every failure was felt tenfold. His feet carried him to the creature. His hands grasped the soft feathers. Good. Purpose. Itto felt for once that things were right.

“Climb on,” she seemed to say Itto.

He swung his leg over her back. It felt right. He couldn’t tell where he ended and Moonstalker began. For the first time that he could remember, the one called Itto felt at peace. A life of violence and sorrow was forgotten for an instant.

Itto felt the pain in his back subside. He felt a small weight right his posture and knew that Moonstalker was also at peace.

“Shall we proceed, master?” Moonstalker asked, aloud.

“Um…did that thing just talk?” the more obnoxious Half-Elf asked.

It didn’t matter. All was right. Moonstalker’s paws sunk deeper into the sand from the increased weight. Her muscles flexed and the two were off to confront the future. Together.

Session 49
Make like a Bug and BEET-le it!

A vicious battle with Squirm ensues, with the vermin mage summoning many various swarms and bug creatures to devastate the team. With some well-placed hits and solid teamwork, Team Trust is able to vanquish the Finger, who flees as a locust swarm and vowing to meet back up with Arashne.

Meanwhile, Bal’Quinn Twinroars, using his tree-stride to quickly travel in the forest, occupied his time waiting for the slower members of Team Trust by eliminating the numerous vicious real threats to the team that wandered the forest. Many Bothans of appropriate challenge ratings died.

With their way cleared by the dashing duskblade, Team Trust was able to proceed. Using Rayne and Wolf’s tracking abilities, the group finally manages to find their way through the Darkwild. On the way, however, the group discovers Slink’s newfound addiction to a pain-numbing drug called Sannish. After a brief intervention, Slink “agrees” to give up his stash, but secretly keeps some for himself…He also steals Rayne’s evil doll and starts to examine it, as it whispers dark secrets in his ear…

Happening upon an Arashne Temple entrance surrounded by a moat, Team Trust canoes across the river, using some spells to block off the cursed waterfall pouring from overhead at the mouth of the temple. Floating along the river into the dungeon, they encounter a group of were-crocodiles, protecting 6 croc eggs. Not wasting any time, Slink burns 4 of the crocs to death, leaving the other 2 licking their wounds and open to some “diplomacy” from Rayne, who says they would leave them alone if they helped them out of the room. The were-crocs direct Team Trust to the correct egg, under which lies a lever to the next room. The group absconds with the 4 corpses (one of which is eaten by the now undead Lute, while the other 3 are turned into zombie slaves by Jil).

There, Yu’in is tempted by a mysterious magic pull from a priceless Arashne idol. Before he can grab his new precioussss, Jil holds him back and Slink discovers a boulder trap which would spring if the idol were moved. Quickly disarming the trap, Slink sees a door on the opposite end, which is locked. A “secret door” check by Rayne and Yu’in reveal a side door, but this is also locked. Finally realizing they need to use the boulder trap to smash their way through, Slink rearms the trap and sets it off, causing the boulder to go pinball’ing off the walls, hitting a few of the team members before Quinn is able to use his magic to angle the boulder into the two doors, smashing both open.

But what lies beyond these two doors..? Stay tuned and find out! Same Bal’Quinn time, same Bal’Quinn channel.

Session 48
Mermaid Orgy

Aghast to see their friend Itto on the literal chopping block, Team Trust pleads for their comrade’s life. Victus tells them the half-orc must suffer for his crimes against elf-kind, and he is backed up by a dashing half-elf named Balquinn, as well as Madame Zow, the elven member of the Racial Council (who apparently survived the Crimson Wedding).

Before they have the chance to swing the ax, a strangely mutated four-armed Wood Elf swings into the tree, along with several large gorilla creatures. He announces himself as a follower of Arashne named Oakheart Strongfist, and demands that the Wood Elf leader get off the fence and join Arashne’s army (forsaking the Wood Elves’ shaky alliance with the Union of the Forest). After a bloody battle involving much vine-swinging and platform-leaping, Team Trust is able to prevail, but not before the Wood Elf king is dispatched in a vicious manner by Oakheart (who is also killed). It seems the alliance is broken, and the Wood Elves are now joined with the Arashnites.

In the aftermath, it is learned that the High Elf Prince (Kieran Cortellos) has been taken hostage by Arashne’s forces, though his whereabouts are unknown. After some skillful negotiation, Team Trust agrees to find the prince, in exchange for Itto’s life and possibly his freedom. Bal’Quinn agrees to join the team in lieu of Itto, to find his friend Kieran.

That night, as Jilqwyn prays to Cas, her moose speaks to her and demands a blood sacrifice. Obliging, Jil is shocked to see a portal open and a much older, more battle-hardened Quinn emerge from what he calls the Shadowlands, where Cas had called him in order to fight the god Vecna and his forces. It is further revealed that the 5-and-1 are actually agents of the evil Vecna! Quinn was meant to serve for 65 years (time moves much faster in the Shadowlands), but was called back to the Material Plane by his father, in order to help his teammates once more.

The next morning, Jil reintroduces Quinn to the group, who welcome him back gratefully. They quickly set out for the Aquatic Elf region, in the Low Belt River. Upon entering the river (breathing thanks to water-masks courtesy of Slink), Team Trust is attacked by strange elf-toad mutants who use powerful magic to nearly decimate the team. Eking out a close victory thanks in no small part to their new “ally” Bal’Quinn, Team Trust discovers a note indicating that the Aquatic Elves may have Prince Cortellos, though the Wild Elves planned to retrieve him for his “awakening”. It also says, “We have demanded the surrender of the Union of the Forest. They foolishly believe that if they attempt to rescue their prince, we will kill him.” The note is signed Thorne Teraclaw, Leader of the The Awakened (and presumably of the Wild Elves as well). The group ascertains that the lead toad-elf they just killed was, in fact, Penrille the king of the Aquatic Elves, and they devise a clever plan.

Venturing underwater with the reanimated corpse of Penrille, Team Trust encounters the home of the Aquatic Elves, who, surprisingly, claim no love for their extremist leader. These elves do not seem to be mutated, and after some bartering, they agree to assist in any way they can since our heroes had just murdered their corrupt king. They state that Prince Cortellos had already been taken by the Wild Elves, deep into the magical and terrifying forest of the Darkwild, a maze that “protects itself”. Only those born in the forest can safely navigate it.

Not fearing this warning, Team Trust heads out of the water (finding a bunch of mermaids who Balquinn provides sexual services and is paid justly for it, but not before everyone engages in a merry orgy) into the Darkwild and immediately get horribly lost. Rayne attempts to scout ahead, only to somehow become separated from her teammates, and finds herself face-to-jaw with a giant T-Rex. Meanwhile, the rest of Team Trust is attacked by a triceratops. Both separate groups emerge victorious, and Jil uses a Status spell to locate Rayne. Reuniting, the group trudges on, unsure of how they can find their way out.

They start following the tracks of the T-Rex, but after a short while, encounter a couple of lost human guards. Slink slits one’s throat and threatens the other, but before the frightened guard can react, a swarm of vermin erupts from his mouth and Squirm the Vermin Mage appears, taunting Slink with a red fire-beetle, which Slink then realizes is the same thing that killed his love Myst.

The rest of Team Trust catches up just in time to see their hated foe polymorph into a huge, terrifying monstrosity. Will Bal’Quinn be able to save the members of Team Trust?

Session 47
The Elves

Continuing on the last leg of their journey to the Elven Kingdom, Team Trust attempts to seek the aid of Goddark the Bold, leader of the Half-Orcs, calling in their “favor” in the form of aid for the Elves against the encroaching forces of Dracarys. Stating that his people are not ready (or willing) to enter the fray, especially to help elves, Goddark refuses, saying that he promises to keep his end of the bargain and help the group at a later time.

Running short on allies, the team contacts Archie, seeking his council. They learn a few key pieces of info:
- Dracarys has been using gnomish trains courtesy of Tick Tock Industries to carry supplies and men across the realm.
- The sub-races of the elves (wood, aquatic, gray, silven, etc) have been at odds with each other
- The Union of the Forest is the council of elves, with a representative from each sub-race
- The Everymen have contacts in the kingdom, named Tree, Branch, and Limb
- Moodeey is known to be en route to the Halfling kingdom to retrieve a powerful weapon from the King of the Dead
- Blackheart, meanwhile, is headed to the Paladin home, for reasons unknown
- In Draken’s Point, the non-humans of HiTown are being rounded up and jailed/killed

Jil then attempts to scry on the elves to learn of their current plight, including Archie’s Everyman contacts, but to no avail. With only one more option, she scrys on her aunt, who she learns is imprisoned by humans somewhere, along with with other elves and clerics. The group then heads in blind closer to the kingdom.

Just before they arrive, they are met with a cloaked gnome named Gem (a former employee of Tick Tock, turned bounty hunter) with three clockwork automatons. He announces he is after the “Kingslayer” bounty on Team Trust’s head, and proceeds to attack. The group fights back, defeating the automatons, and interrogating Gem to try and get him to spill intel and repair Jasper’s blink bracelet for Slink. He is willing, but only if they bring him back to the gnome kingdom. Without time or inclination to do so, Slink unceremoniously murders the man, much to the chagrin of the rest of the group.

Itto, in protest of this execution of an unarmed man, storms off. The rest of the group goes to sleep, while Jil and Rayne go hunt the Half-Orc. On the way, they stumble upon a town where the circus has just left, rendering all the inhabitants mindless drones. They attempt to corner and kill Jil and Rayne, who slaughter a bunch of people and escape back to the group.

Finally reaching the borders of the Elven Kingdom, the group is ambushed by a group of Wild Elves and a couple of dinosaurs, all seemingly controlled by a strange power. Team Trust bravely teleports away, and finally make it to the gates of the kingdom. They are greeted by several angry archers, who demand to know who they are and what they want. Rayne, stepping forward, demands to see her father Pratantus. Surprised, the guards let Team Trust in and lead them to the royal hall.

There they are greeted, not by Pratantus, but by the militant leader (and Rayne’s combat trainer), Victus, whom the group had last seen fighting his way through the Crimson Wedding. He explains that he is now king of the Silven Elves (and sporting a well-disguised tattoo of Cas). Victus then explains the situation:

- The Elven Goddess Arashne, the spited and jealous ex-lover of Corellon Larethian, has returned as the green dragon, leading her uncivilized “children”, the Wild Elves
- The green dragon is known to be aggressive and belligerent, using acid breath, aquatic breathing, and control over plants and forest creatures
- Eons ago, the bitter Arashne waged war against the other sub-races of elves, who she despised since they had strayed from their “natural” roots
- She was eventually killed by Corellon, but now is apparently reborn and being worshiped by her cult-like “Arashnites”
- The Aquatic Elves (living in the Great Lotus River), meanwhile, have seceded from the Union of the Forest and joined the Wild Elves, while the Gray and Wood Elves continue a tenuous alliance with the Silven Elves (the Half-Elves have declared themselves neutral)
- The Silven Prince (seen by Team Trust in the Temple of Koord in Draken’s Point), is apparently off on his own doing his own thing.

Thankful for the sanctuary and the information, Team Trust proceeds to warn Victus of the impending arrival of Dracarys’ army. Seemingly unconcerned, Victus waves it off. Another elf comes in, declaring that the prisoner is prepped for execution, and the heroes follow Victus to another hall, where they see a figure kneeling under an executioner’s ax.

Eyes wide, the group sees the face of their friend, Itto Lightbringer, about to meet his demise…

Session 46
Escape from Draken's Point

In the aftermath of battle, Team Trust scrambles to pick up the pieces. Jil’s new Skeletal Moose steed picks up the dead body of their bard friend Lute, while Slink paws through the ashen remains of Jasper’s body. Wolf and Rayne, now is hybrid-werewolf form, continues terrifying the Red Knives crowd and keeping them seated.

As Slink struggles with the wave of emotions at killing his former-lover-turned-rival and watching his other love, Myst, be stabbed, he notices a shiny trinket in the ash pile: it is Jasper’s blink bracelet, along with an etched engraving, a note, and a vile of anti-venom. The note, addressed to Mad Moodey, contains a map of the Halfling realm, and says “The item you seek is in the land of the King of the Dead”.

The engraving on the bracelet reads: “Jasper, thank you for your support of Tick Tock industries. Here is your prize. Signed, Scroopel , President of TTI”. Realizing finally that his own father has been behind all the corrupted clockwork tech that has been supplying Dracarys’ forces, Slink lets out a scream, and the room falls silent. All eyes are on the gnome.

Looking around, Slink Featherfoot gathers the last of his strength and composes himself enough to make a masterful speech to his former people, claiming the throne of the Red Knives guild now that he has murdered his predecessor (again) in a fair fight. He asks his comrades to follow his lead once again, and, much to the surprise of Team Trust, the thieves in the hall all begin to murmur in agreement. Slink concludes his speech by standing atop the throne and raising his own red knife, and the hall erupts into applause. The Red Knives belong to Slink once again.

Asking for Jasper’s second-in-command, a human named Badger steps forward, and awaits Slink’s instructions. As the gnome begins to speak, he hears a weak voice behind him, and discovers that Myst is still alive (but barely). Remembering the vile of anti-toxin, Slink forces the liquid down Myst’s throat, then watches in horror as her body begins to melt away: Jasper’s last cruel joke. As she dies, Myst tells Slink not to let his anger and hate get the best of him, but to retain his noble and free gnome spirit that she fell in love with, sticking with her new allies to save the world “as the hero I know you truly are…” And with that, her body melts away, and Slink crumbles to the ground.

Reaching into the Bag of Holding, he grabs several doses of Black Lotus Extract, the same poison which killed Myst, but is stopped by Itto, who smashes the vile and tells him that his people need him. Momentarily awakened from his grief, and seeing Loraaga standing by, Slink remembers their mission: to alchemize a cure to the Ghoul Fever Plague and escape Draken’s Point to warn the elves of Dracarys’ plot to destroy all non-humans.

Calling Badger forth, Slink learns that the Red Knives had been hired by Moodey and Blackheart to pose as The Pack to sully their name and turn public opinion against them, while also accomplishing the dual-goal of killing the elven royalty and Racial Council at the Crimson Wedding. Slink then orders Badger to continue to ruse that Jasper is in charge, and to continue to work with Dracarys’ Fingers, while feeding information to Slink. He glances at Loraaga and adds, “And you’d better keep an eye on the Lady. Keep her safe. Otherwise, it’s Business as Usual.”

Rushing to the Red Knives’ advanced laboratory, Slink quickly whips up a cure while Jil takes Lute’s body to a side room. Performing a strange revivification ritual on his, using her dark powers from Cas to raise his body. However, when he awakes, Lute is changed: his flesh is paler, his teeth and fingernails sharper, and his eyes hollow and dead. He is “alive”, but thanks to the Ghoul Fever Plague infecting his body, he is now risen as an Undead Ghoul. He no longer requires sleep or air, and only feeds on living flesh. But otherwise…same old Lute. Right?

Cure in hand, Team Trust heads back to Loraaga’s hospital tent, where they begin to administer the cure. As promised, she also agreed to find the heroes safe passage from the city. Before they leave, Itto’s ally Smeg announces he can’t leave his people, but will continue to murder and main in the name of his lord and savior. Itto does not approve of this.

Finally, the group is able to escape Draken’s Point under cover of night, and they begin the 2-week journey to the Elven Kingdom to warn them of Dracarys’ encroaching army. They stop along the way at the small town of Chesterfield, where the humans are all gearing up for the “holy war” between the dragon-born humans and the other races of Tarragonia.

Yu’in meets three elves, each a different sub-race, who say that they are headed back to Draken’s Point to meet the elven councilwoman Zow. They also inform the dwarf that each sub-race of elves has its own king.

Meanwhile, Slink and Itto go shopping. There, they hear of a strange merchant named Jeff. As they leave the store, a large hulking man they learn to be named Dirge the Bounty Hunter also inquires about this man Jeff, and the group follows him as he goes to murder the salesman. Itto confronts the bounty hunter outside Jeff’s hut, demanding he allow the “defenseless” man to live. Dirge, humored but not willing to negotiate, nearly blows Itto’s head off with his strange mini-hand-cannon device, and Itto, after much convincing, backs down and allows Dirge to do his job, murdering Jeff, who seemed to be able to split into multiple versions of himself. The cowboy then goes on his way, saying that while Team Trust, the outlawed “Kingslayers” do indeed have a large bounty themselves, he’s going to give them a pass…this time.

The team continues south, stopping for a night at Old Man Miller’s farm. They quickly learn that this kindly old man isn’t what he appears, as he shape-shifts into a…chicken. Yep, a chicken. A chicken named Cluck-Cluck. The team slices his head off, but the chicken keeps reappearing. Annoyed, confused, and exhausted, they leave the farm, but not before setting it alight and watching it burn.

A few nights later, the team discovers a woman in a carriage being escorted off into the woods by three handsome men. Following them, our heroes are suddenly attacked by three vampires, who they make fairly quick work of. Before escaping, the last two vampires are heard saying, “That is the Dark Mistress our Master wants! We must tell him the news!” The team surmises that they must be referring to the King of the Dead in the old Halfling region.

But there is no time for that now…the elves are in danger, and Team Trust is all that stands between them and certain annihilation!

Session 45
Tick Tock Goes the Clock...

As Slink cradles Myst in his arms, the room around them changes. The floor drops out, save for 13 tall pedestals, on which Team Trust stands. Above them, Jasper sits atop his throne, and the rest of the Red Knives cheer and holler from bleachers far above.

As Jasper grins and explains that Slink and his friends must survive this rogue-invented trap room to prove their worth, one of the empty pedestals next to them crackles with electricity. Recognizing the proto-version of this room as one of his designs from years ago, Slink announces that each pedestal contains a deadly trap that will activate randomly. He could disable them all, rendering the room safe, but it would take too long.

Instead, the members take to the sky via Wolf, winged boots, polymorphing into a wyvern, or Jil’s floating Darkway path. As they do, however, lighting and fire descend from the ceiling as punishment for trying to “cheat” the game. At the same time, Jasper turns invisible and begins sneak attacking the team from various spots around the room. Every time he reappears, the group tries to hit him, but he seems to blink through most of their attacks, touching a strange bracelet on his arm to increase this blink effect.

Realizing that leaving the pedestals is a more deadly choice than staying on, some members move back down. Lute, thinking himself safe for the moment on a random pedestal, looks up in horror as a large metal pulverizer juts down from above and crushes his body.

An enraged Slink, meanwhile, hauls Myst up to Jasper’s throne, ignoring the painful electric damage he is receiving for cheating the game. He slowly approaches the now invisible Jasper, using every roguish trick in his book to keep the Halfling on his toes. The battle, evenly matched, begins to frustrate Jasper, who turns up the power on his blink-bracelet, which also seems to be taking a toll on his body. Now almost impossible to hit, a wounded Jasper starts to lose his cocky composure and starts stabbing wildly at Slink, who deftly tumbles around the attacks and continues to advance.

From behind, Slink suddenly hears his new friend Yu’in call out: “Slink! Duck!” A terrifying disintegration ray shoots from the wizard’s staff, and Slink somersaults over Jasper’s head and onto the throne to avoid. However, Jasper is able to blink through the ray, which continues on, straight at Slink. Reacting quicker than even he thought possible, Slink whips out a reflective mirror, diverting the way back at Jasper. Without time to react, Jasper is struck, and his body begins to crumble to ash. His last words are, “Thlink, I…loved….y—”

Slink pulls the lever to deactivate the trap room, and the team is safe as the Red Knives stand there in awe, seeing their former leader once again atop the throne. They sit there, agape, waiting for the gnome to say something…


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