Rise of the Forgotten Kings

Session 55
Three! Three Terrible Attempts at Diplomacy! Ah! Ah! Ah!

After Itto vanishes into the Tree of Revelations or whatever, Team Trust discusses their next steps. Upon receiving some sagely advice from Old Neb Obi, they decide that none of the three factions of Barovia are truly virtuous, but all have their own selfish motives that will never allow them to work together.

Out of the mist appears Quinn, fresh from rescuing Archie and the Everyman from the clutches of Blackheart (rumored to be Rayne’s long-lost brother Crestus) at his stronghold which Quinn says is called The Fist, AKA the Church of Hextor. Also imprisoned were Lutervoc, a human woman calling for Itto (presumed to be his love Ellay), and finally: Prince Rhegan, brother to King Rhegar! However, this mission will have to wait…

Finally, Itto emerges from the Tree, his Paladin beliefs shaken to the core, and the group decides to pay a visit to each of the three Barovian groups and try to gather information and perhaps get in the inner circles of the three warring factions. Rayne and Yu’in (poorly disguised as a werewolf) travel to Valicia the werewolf’s cave; Slink and Gayher go to the Tser Camp where Madame Eva resides; Jil accepts her vampiric invitation to visit Count Varick von Strake (followed by an invisible Quinn and a super-inconspicuous Itto for backup).

Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Rayne make it to Valicia’s cave, and are greeted by the ferocious Pack, who quickly see through Yu’in’s disguise and, despite some magical suggestion on his part, refuse to let them see Valicia unless they help on a “Bat Hunt” to murder some vampires. It seems the wolves are interested mainly in roaming the lands free. Rayne refuses, recalling Jil’s warning not to hurt any of von Strake’s minions, and after a brief scuffle, the beaten Lycanthropes agree to bring Rayne to see their leader…

Meanwhile, Gayher gets Slink into the Tser Camp, a New Orleans-style orgy-fest which Slink decides is the best place ever. They make their way into the Madame Eva’s tent, where she reads Slink’s fortune and tells him that he must confront his corrupt father Scroopel in the Gnome Kingdom, who is somehow in league with the Black Dragon! Only by doing this will he be able to make peace with his lost love Myst and perhaps gain the love of Lady Loraaga. Madame Eva further says that she had been meeting with Mad Moodey to try and overthrow Varick, but that Moodeey is nothing more than a pawn in her schemes to rule Barovia for the magical power pervading the land.

Finally, Jil follows a vampiric agent of Varick’s (Kavin the Grim) to the Crow’s Keep. Quinn and Itto are discovered and are forced to slay several vampires before finding their way to the Keep. Jil enters the Keep and meets Vlad, who poses as the Count, and asks her if she would be able to put aside her own vengeance in order to serve the “greater good”. She says yes, and Vlad reveals that he is not the true Count, whereupon the true von Strake emerges. He is a handsome man, who explains to Jil that they knew each other in a former life.

5,000 years ago, the von Strake family ruled Barovia (long before the Halflings settled the land), and Varick’s older brother Roderick was set to marry Jileena (the past life of Jilqwyn). However, his younger brother (the current count) was in love with her, and strangled his brother on his wedding day, tossing him off a cliff. In her grief, Jileena jumped off the same cliff and died. Riddled with guilt, Varick sought the help of Madame Eva, who informed him that his love would return but he would be long dead. Not liking her answer, he had her killed (although she seems to be very much alive) and burned her home, the Nightmare Spire, to ashes.. He fled Barovia in grief (during which time the Halflings settled the land) and sold his soul to give him eternal life as a vampire. He then waited for 5,000 years, re-conquering his family’s former homeland and turning it into a land of undead, in preparation for the eventual return of his long-lost love.

Jil, seeing the opportunity to use Varick’s love to save the world and her friends, agrees to join with the Count if he will go along with what she wants. He appears to agree, but just as they are about to seal the pact with a super-sexy kiss, Quinn and Itto barge in like morons and start beating people up. Varick is about to Force-choke them out until Jil screams at him to stop. He obeys, and allows the two gate-crashers to enter his abode. Pretty nice guy.

Before he retires for the day, Varick tells Jil that he would like to have a ball this evening in honor of her return. When Jil asks if Moodey will be in attendance, Varick assures her that there will be no violence tolerated at the ball and that Moodey will have to be on his best behavior or will be removed immediately. Jil consents, and requests that invitations to the ball and the castle be sent to her friends, which the Count sends off with some of his minions.

Having now infiltrated and met with the leaders of the three camps, who will Team Trust decide to ally with? Will they even be able to agree amongst themselves?? And if so, how will they do away with the other two groups and restore “peace” to this war-ravaged land? And what the hell about Lute and the other prisoners of The Fist?? And most importantly, will Jil and the Count EVER get to bone in the night? Get it? Bone? Like Bone Knight?

Session 54
It Was A Graveyard Smash!

Awaking after their holiday revelry, Team Trust discovers a magical golden apple in a wrapped present box for each of them, courtesy of their new friends. Biting into each one, they are endowed with extra power!

Also present (pun intended) is Rayne, who had returned with Wolf after tracking him to the lair of the were-crocs. Somehow, they had all been massacred, making her job of rescuing him much easier.

After Slink contacts his Red Knives contact Badger, the group decides that the best course of action is to head East to the old Halfling region, now a veritable graveyard. Badger tells Slink that they had sent a Halfling to the realm years ago, but he had disappeared…On the way, they camp for the night and hash out some of their issues, attempting to reestablish a sense of trust and understanding in order to fight for the greater good. The next day, they stumble upon the old Goblin Cave from months back, which is now a metal mining facility of Dracarys. The group sabotages the operations by murdering a bunch of dragon shaman and Gelid City guards before moving on.

A week of traveling leads the party to Barovia, the newly-renamed kingdom of the undead, and eventually to Barrow Village, former main town of the Halflings. Upon entering, they are met with a strange fog, which clouds their senses. Only Jilqwyn seems able to stave off its effects.

Barrow Village is a sad, desolate village populated by ghouls, lycanthropes, vampires, witches, skeletons, and zombies. They seem intrigued by Team Trust entering their mists, but do not engage the group…save for a lone mindless skeleton who delivers an invitation to Jil before disintegrating. The letter, which Jil does not share right away, is from the leader of these lands: Count Varick von Strake.

Eventually, Team Trust find themselves at the only place with any “life” to it: an inn with an assortment of undead and monstrous creatures. Some fact-finding reveals that the Count lives in the nearby Crow’s Keep, while one of his underlings, the Woodwitch named Eva (and former ruler of these lands), is holed up at the Tser Camp in the swamps. Rayne goes off to talk to a group of lycanthropes, who invite her along on a “hunt” against some vampires, their hated enemies. It would appear that the Count’s vampire army is widely disliked by both the witches (who live in the Tser Camp) and the lycanthropes (led by Valicia), although neither group gets along with the other. This has created a subtle three-way “cold war” between the groups all vying for power, but not openly.

Alone in a corner of the tavern is a small figure, who eventually reveals himself to be the Red Knives Halfling spy, Gayher Thanyu. Having witnessed the demise of his people at the hands of the undead army, yet unable to escape the region or even send word to the Red Knives due to the inescapable fog, Gayher has been living a sad existence in Barrow Village, working under Eva the Woodwitch, who he confirms can see the future and locate people, and who herself has been secretly meeting with Mad Moodeey to overthrow the Count. It is then that Team Trust realizes that they must meet with her in order to garner the whereabouts of their missing party member Lutervoc. Gayher announces a plan to attempt to pit the witches and lycanthropes against one another, although the Team is reticent to get involved in the action since Jil was told “not to harm any of the creatures in the Count’s realm”.

Following Gayher to a swampy marsh that night, the team meets the last of the Paladins of Heironeous (besides Itto), named Old Neb Obi. This originally-named character has been living in isolation for years, having watched his order be betrayed by Dracarys’ Finger known as Blackheart, who he confirms was once a Paladin of Good and was seduced by the Dark Side of the F…aith. Itto and Rayne worry that this may in fact be Crestus, and Itto vows to (eventually) investigate the Church of Hextor and reveal the traitor.

Resting for the night while Itto takes a mysterious journey into a Cave (er, tree) of Insight, Team Trust must now decide who in this odd land of monsters they can trust, and how they can find Lutervoc and defeat Roken once and for all…

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…


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