Eberron: Thirteenth Moon

Prelude: The Lost Mine of Phandelver

The party began working together over their initial adventure as they investigated the fate of the Rockseeker brothers, who had uncovered the ancient lost mine of Phandelver. Their discovery was fatally undercut by a drow villain known as the “Black Spider”, who used a tribe of goblinoids called the Cragmaw tribe to terrorize the area around Phandalin. By the end of that adventure, the party has made a name for themselves in the region- stories of their deeds have travelled around the towns and villages in nearby Breland, and their reputation has even made it somewhat into the monstrous “nation” of Droaam. Although they were unable to preserve the legendary Forge of Spells in Wave Echo Cave, they still did a service to the region by defeating the sinister Black Spider and driving out many of his allies.
Angaera d’Phiarlan had joined the party to help with their quest, on the condition that they help her afterwards to track down a tapestry that House Phiarlan considered to be quite valuable. Quite a complication occurred, though: as if it weren’t bad enough when the caravan originally carrying the tapestry was raided, the hobgoblins responsible apparently had sold it to agents of the green dragon which made its lair in the ruins of Thundertree. Angaera’s original directive was unclear on the exact import of this tapestry, but Angaera may be hesitant to return to her familial house empty-handed.

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The Mirror of Pelethor
28th-30th Dravago, 998 YK

The adventurers in need of a guild name spent a few days in Phandalin recuperating from their delve into the Lost Mine of Phandelver. The time was spent finding buyers for many of the treasures they had accumulated over the course of the adventure, the distribution of the spoils, and some shopping for weapons and tools.
They met with Halia Thornton, the guildmaster at the Phandalin Miner’s Exchange, who thanked them for the tip regarding the shipment abandoned at the Cragmaw Hideout- after a certain amount of reminding, and gave the party a deal on potions of greater healing for their help.
They visited Daran Edermath, a retired adventurer and templar of the Silver Flame, to ask for his advice on facing off with a green dragon. He didn’t have much to offer, but asked whether they had an opportunity to investigate the undead at Old Owl Well.
The party was hesitant to face off with the green dragon in possession of the Phiarlan tapestry that Angaera seeks. Grateful for an opportunity to forestall that challenge, they decided to visit Agatha the banshee in Conyberry on the way to Old Owl Well at Six Kings. Sister Garaele, a priestess of Olladra associated with Morgrave University, was seeking answers to questions about an ancient spellbook. She believed that Agatha, in life, once had possession of the spellbook of the legendary mage Bowgentle.
In Agatha’s dreadful lair, Billy Goldskin negotiated with the vain, domineering undead spirit. On Garaele’s behalf, he exchanged a bejeweled comb for information on the fate of the lost spellbook. Xander spotted a runed elven longbow hanging from the back wall of her lair. He asked about the longbow, certainly of no more use to the incorporeal spirit. The banshee offered, with some hesitation, to exchange it for a favor. She seeks a relic called the Mirror of Pelethor, a hand mirror with a glass of polished mithril. The silver-filigreed mirror was given by Valenar elves as a peace offering to a Dhakaani warlord at Six Kings.
At Old Owl Well, the adventurers came across a brightly colored tent near the ruins of the old tower. What threatened to be a slogging fight with a large gang of zombies was cut short as their owner, a grouchy Karrnathi necromancer, called them off. Although the necromancer Hamun Kost was fairly unfriendly, he gave the party some information before encouraging them to mind their own business. They moved on to Six Kings, an old fortress that was once occupied by Dhakaani hobgoblins. Like the rest of the monuments of that ancient continent-spanning civilization, all of the structures within had nearly collapsed under the weight of time. Within the most intact fortress structure, a scouting Xander came upon two sleeping ogres. He returned to the party, where they promptly planned an ambush for fun and profit. The plan was nearly ruined by the sudden appearance of the ogres’ pet worgs, but the team quickly gained the upper hand and were able to kill the dumb giants and take their stuff. Within their treasure hoard, the party found a hefty pile of treasure, a Driftglobe, and the relic of import: the Mirror of Pelethor.

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Dealing with a Dragon
1st-5th Nymm, 998 YK

After recovering the Mirror of Pelethor, the party began their return trip to Phandalin. They paid another visit to the campsite of the necromancer Hamun Kost. Billy Goldskin strong-armed him into packing up his campsite and taking his undead servitors elsewhere. Hamun wisely went away without resistance, which gave the party an opportunity to spend the night at the Old Owl Well tower. They took advantage of the work Hamon had already done to dig the place up, and found a few old pieces of Dhakaani jewelry. They took shelter that night inside the ruined tower. The stress that the digging and exploration had placed on the unstable ruin caused trouble when part of the old stairway collapsed on top of Billy in the night.
The next day’s travel took them back to the lair of Agatha the banshee. The eerie woods led them once again to her wretched hut. Xander gave the ancient hand mirror to Agatha there. Something bizarre occured as the banshee began to look into the hand mirror and preen herself. With a deadly wail that nearly killed Xander, she vanished. The hand mirror dropped to the ground, glowing white with some power. The glow sublimated away while Angaera and Billy went to Xander’s aid. After the party regrouped, they were able to leave Agatha’s lair with the Mirror of Pelethor, the longbow Agatha’s Fury, and a valuable bracelet that had been partially transmuted into incorporeality.
Back in Phandalin, the party met with a few of their contacts. Sister Garaele thanked them for the information they retrieved from Agatha, and provided them with a few potions of healing and assurances that Morgrave University would hear of their good deeds. Daran Edermath, too, was grateful for the party’s efforts to drive the necromancer away. Although he did not provide a material reward, he promised to put in a good word with his own faction, the Church of the Silver Flame. Quelline Alderleaf approached the party and asked them to check up on her friend Reidoth, who had not contacted her in several weeks. She worried after him, as he normally would correspond with her weekly. Fearing that something might have happened to him at the ruins of Thundertree, the party decided that must be their next stop.
The party witnessed a meteor shower in the night on the way to Thundertree, and talked about their families. At Thundertree, they first visited Reidoth’s quarters on the edge of town. The creeping vines and thorny bushes of the ruined town had grown considerably since the party last visited. Reidoth, fortunately, was alive and well, if still somewhat grouchy. He opened up when Billy reminded him of the gin they gifted him last time. The druid was somewhat evasive when asked about the dragon, but indicated that he no longer considered Venomfang a problem. In fact, he suggested that the party go to see if they could talk the dragon into giving back the tapestry, perhaps in exchange for something.
On the overgrown path to Venomfang’s tower, the adventurers battled with humanoid vine blights and monstrous ettercaps, but were only delayed slightly. At the tower, they carefully made their presence known. The green dragon there was more genial than expected, but not generous. He allowed the party to view the tapestry that Angaera hoped to retrieve, but held it out of their reach, offering to give it back in exchange for a favor. Venomfang explained that the tapestry revealed to him a thread of the Draconic Prophecy. He showed them a hidden message, woven into the tapestry in a draconic script, which read: “Watch the skies at the festival of Nymm”. The tapestry depicted three moons over the town of Phandalin, and an ominous black shape in the sky there. Venomfang offered to trade the tapestry in exchange for the party’s report on the festival of Nymm, a summer festival which would be held in Phandalin in ten days.
Venomfang bade the adventurers farewell, but not before demanding a tribute. In exchange, he sent them with his sigil, that they might present to other affiliates of the Draconic Court to show that they are under his “protection”. They touched base with Reidoth on the way out, who confirmed he had a similar arrangement with Venomfang, and then began their return trip to Phandalin. That night was marked by another meteor shower, as multi-colored fireballs streaked across the distant night sky.

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Get Grol
6th-9th Nymm, 998 YK

The party began their return trip to Phandalin after the informative meeting with Venomfang. On the road back, they were confronted by Hamun Kost, who demanded that the party turn over any magical artifacts they had plundered from his dig site. Billy drew first, blasting the necromancer and his skeletal bodyguards with a fireball. The fight was over fast, and the adventurers left a looted caravan and a smoking hole in the ground in their wake. Darak got an old Dhakaani Ring of Protection as plunder.

Back in Phandalin, the gang touched base with their contacts. Burrich d’Kundarak, a representative from the Dwarven dragonmarked house, had been seen in town. Quelline Alderleaf told them that he was meeting with Nundro Rockseeker, presumably with interest in the Phandelver mine. The party also learned that the bugbear “King” Grol had been seen around Cragmaw Cave. The adventurers set out in that direction, intending to tie up some loose ends.

At their return to Cragmaw Cave, the gang made short work of a force of hobgoblins guarding the entrance. Their raid into the cave went somewhat awry when Xander stumbled into a roper, which had claimed one of the caverns as its lair. After the protracted battle was won, the party was confronted by Grol himself and a horde of goblins. The bugbear chieftain wielded a vicious magic greatsword named Bloodtaker. Now Jinara wields it.

The party returned to Phandalin to rest for the remaining week before the Festival of Nymm. With enough experience to reach level 6, the characters plan to research, train, and socialize while they wait for whatever event that the tapestry might foreshadow.

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Ballad for a Bugbear
A Few Stanzas on the Days Events

In the crepusculence of Cragmaw Cave,
They came to face that ghastly knave
Who had escaped their valiant attempts
To rid the continent of his fearsome feculence.

Our heroes were made to slice many a pip-
Squeak, on this most irksome and laborious trip.
However, that gallant assemblage, at quest’s end,
Proved worthy to the task for which I commend.

Keenly did kingly Grohl go to the ground,
astonished were the vanquishers to be found.

Love,
Angaera

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Festivals, Fiends, and Freaky Space Elves
14th Nymm, 998 YYK

6-astralship.jpgWith the Festival of Nymm impending, the adventurers stayed close to Phandalin during the week. Angaera met with Townmaster Wester to arrange a show. Darak laid low, trying to avoid the attention of the visiting Burrich d’Kundarak, who remained in town during his talks with Nundro Rockseeker.
The day of the festival was marked with summer blooms, and the entertainments of the first day peaked with a performance by Angaera. She even had enough time to invite her apprentice, Eddard Pine, to come perform with her. Not long into her show, though, a drunken heckler began to draw attention from the crowd at her expense. He introduced him as the bard Keene. He had performed in Angaera’s place during festivals past there in Phandalin, and so reasoned that she ought to turn over the stage to him. Although Keene challenged her for the support of the gathered crowd, she out-performed him handily.
Darak and Jinara spent time after the show in the tavern. Burrich appeared there, hoping to strike up a conversation with the only other dwarf in Phandalin. Darak keep his distance, even more dour than usual in Burrich’s presence. Sensing the situation, the dragonmarked heir left them alone after just one mug of ale.
As the night turned late, the party retired to watch the skies from the edge of town. A strangeness had begun to fill the air, like the aura before a thunderstorm. With their eyes on the moon Nymm, the party watched a hole be torn open in the sky. A strange floating object emerged from the rift, and began to descend on the town. The size of a Lyrandar airship, it appeared to be some sort of flying vessel. It came to a stop a hundred feet above the town square.
Back in the square, the adventurers dispersed most of the gathered crowd and tried to keep the peace. As the area cleared, a trio of humanoids appeared from a cloud of roiling mist at the center of the town’s stage. The gaunt, yellow-skinned people demanded to be brought Burrich d’Kundarak, and threatened against resistance. The adventurers refused to be intimidated, and engaged their foes.
Monster_Manual_5e_-_Githyanki_-_p160.jpg
As they fought, more raiding parties teleported into other parts of town, and began to raid the homes and businesses. Although the adventurers were able to kill or drive off the maurauders where they found them, many citizens of Phandalin were overwhelmed and abducted. The creatures call themselves the Githyanki, acting in the name of ‘Master Zaaratu.’ They fought alongside fiends normally encountered in the depths of Khyber during their raid.

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What are they Doing Down There?
14th-15th Nymm, 998 YYK

With Phandalin still in shock after the sudden appearance of the Githyanki, the gang followed after the planecraft as it advanced toward Wave Echo Cave. Outpacing the party, the ship was already hovering above the entrance to the cave when they arrived.

umber_hulk.jpgInside the cavern path to the Phandelver mine, the party found many signs of foot traffic, both from the Rockseeker activity in the mine, and the apparent presence of the Gith (and presumably the humans they had captured). The party, already exhausted from their battles in town, was ambushed by a mandibled monstrosity that smashed through the cavern walls. The creature’s mind-scrambling gaze forced the party to resort to unorthodox tactics, and it was driven away before it could cause too much havoc.

With their spells exhausted, the party decided to withdraw to rest on the surface. They decided not to stay in the cave and risk the umber hulk returning while they slept, or being happened upon by a Gith patrol. During the night, the party watch saw Gith and devil forces go in and out of the cave entrance, teleporting to and from the ship. The next morning, they decided to travel to Old Owl Well to consult with Venomfang.

ogre_mage.pngOn their way back through Phandalin, the party was surprised to see some orcish presence in town. The already nervous townspeople gave the gang a wide berth. The orcs were keeping to themselves near the townmaster‘s manor, but their deterrent glares didn’t keep the party out of their business. Inside the manor, they learned that the ogre mage Tzaryan Rrac was there to lay claim to the Phandelver mine. The party decided to ally with the Droaamish warlord for now, and deal with his claim to the mine after the Gith invaders were defeated.

250px-Kyton.jpgThey returned to the mine with their erstwhile allies, who didn’t volunteer anything particularly helpful. They were at least willing to watch the cave entrance while the party returned into the cave. Keeping watch in the entry chamber, a squadron of devils confronted the party there. Four bearded, glaive-wielding devils fought alongside a deadly feminine creature who fought with barbed chains. We left off as the party fought back the creatures through the cave’s bottleneck.

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The Index of Acererak
15th Nymm, 998 YYK

250px-Kyton.jpgWe picked up as the battle with the devils wound to its conclusion. After the last of the bearded barbazu fell, the chain devil offered its surrender. “This job is not worth my rank,” she told them, and offered information on the motives of the githyanki invaders. The kyton, which called itself The Laceratrix, spoke of the gith leader Master Zaaratu.

Master Zaraatu is here searching for an artifact called the Index of Acererak. It is the phylactery of the lich Acererak. Zaaratu believes wielding it will grant him power over the lich. When it was unearthed by recent excavations in the mine, it began sending a signal across the stars that will draw Acererak here to Eberron. Zaaratu somehow picked up the signal and tracked it here. He is using your people to dig the soft dirt deep in the cave in search of the Index.

Although my devils have an arrangement with Zaaratu to help him find the phylactery, we have no intent to let him keep it. If we work together, I will guarantee that your people that Zaaratu has taken will come to no harm by the hands of me or my fiends. I will take the phylactery away from here, back to Baator.

cambion.jpgThe party decided to form a temporary alliance with the chain devil, intending to take the phylactery in the end to try to find a way to destroy it. The Laceratrix led them through the mine’s passages that were guarded by other devils, allowing them to bypass other confrontations. In the collapsed cavern deep in the Phandelver mine, Master Zaaratu and a few of his men watched over their digging slaves. The party burst in alongside The Laceratrix to assault the gith. The gith fell to the party’s onslaught, although a cambion there advising the gith master plane shifted away before he could be defeated.

The party was reunited with half of the Phandalin abductees, including Nundro Rockseeker and Eddard Pine. Eddard quietly gave Angaera an iron box that he believed was the prize the gith taskmasters searched for. Trusting Angaera and her friends to come to their rescue, he had somehow hidden it from the gith, deciding it was better kept secret from the sinister invaders.

The Laceratrix caught up with the party after the chaos of the fight, and questioned them about the Index. When Angaera made a deal earlier with the kyton, she had sealed it with a handshake. Now, some stigma burned her as she went through the motions of betrayal. Despite this, Angaera kept her poker face and told a convincing lie to the devil. She indicated that the item seemed to have already been exhumed from the mine and found its was back to the gith ship. The Laceratrix took the bait, leaving the mine and giving the party some room to breathe.

wand_in_hand-1.jpgIn the aftermath, the party was able to lead the people of Phandalin back out of the mine. However, about four dozen abductees remain aboard the githyanki ship, which had left its spot hovering in the sky above the mine. Back in Phandalin, the party consulted with Eilen Garaele. They opened the box in her home, revealing an osseous wand that was surely the Index of Acererak. Their initial attempts to destroy the artifact by hand were unsuccessful. The wand, though, is a potent tool- Billy Goldskin has decided to use it until the party can find a way to destroy it. Sister Garaele suggested that someone at the University of Morgrave may know how it might be destroyed.

As she settled down to rest for the night, Angaera found something strange amidst her writings from the previous night. Draconic lettering in her handwriting was inlined with her regular work. With no recollection of writing the words, nor any knowledge of the draconic language, she consulted with Billy. He translated the couplet:

If the demilich charm be dug from the ground
The moon of death’s mark shall return from beyond

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Ardev
16th-20th Nymm, 998 YYK

venomfang.jpgOur heroes traveled to Thundertree to consult with their ally, Venomfang. The green dragon, cordially menacing as always, was interested to hear what the adventurers had witnessed at the Festival of Nymm, and seemed pleased with the party’s loyalty. As promised, he turned the Phiarlan tapestry over to Angaera.

He shared his advice for the challenges the party faces. For dealing with the Githyanki threat and rescuing the Phandalin abductees, he recommended asking the Brelish government for armed assistance. Even if stories of the Githyanki invaders arouse skepticism, highlighting the Droaamish threat may spur the military into action to protect the border there. They might make this request in Ardev, or more directly in the capitol city Wroat.

To destroy the Index of Acererak, a more scholarly approach may be required. Morgrave University has campuses in the Wroat, as well as the metropolis of Sharn. He suggested that researchers at the university may know of the history of the lich and his phylactery.

canaith_mandolin.PNGVenomfang also bestowed a few “gifts” upon the party: a sending stone paired with his own to keep contact over long distances, and the magical Canaith Mandolin for Angaera. He did not give them freely, though- in return, he wanted the party to recover another piece of Phiarlan media. A “mad wizard” by the name of Sorrn Lazarus lives on the outskirts on Ardev, and is in possession of an oil portrait that was created by another heir of Phiarlan. He believes it, too, may have some manifestation of the prophecy, and would like the party to collect it.

A few days travel brought the party to Ardev, where they got to investigating a lead that Venomfang had provided them: a huge creature had been menacing the residents of a harder part of town, and people were turning up strangled to death in dark alleys. These freakish occurences might easily be pinned on Sorrn, whether or not he was truly responsible. Keeping watch on their first night in the city, Xander followed his ears to the sound of something large prowling the streets. A ten-foot tall uncanny humanoid abomination wandered through the darkened city streets. When Xander tracked the creature with the rest of the party in tow, they found only a strangled corpse left behind, and tracks leaving town.

golemFlesh.jpgOutside of Ardev, the party found the sanctuary of Sorrn Lazarus. The stone building had once been a small garrison, but had been reclaimed and beautified by the wizard in residence. In the back of the building, they found a hidden trapdoor leading to a cellar beneath the building. During their investigation, they raised enough of a ruckus to wake the gnome wizard, who came out to confront the party. At his front door, Billy and Jinara kept Sorrn distracted while Xander, Angaera and Darak crept down into the cellar. Billy explained frankly why they had come- they believed that a creature responsible for murders in Ardev was hiding out there. Sorrn admitted that he did have a “son” there he had created, named Ajax, but assured the party that he had been home all night.

Sorrn led the party through his home, where they noted many valuable pieces of art upon the walls, including the prized portrait depicting a half-clothed elven maiden. Down in the cellar, the gnome hesitantly showed them his son. Ajax was indeed the creature that Xander had witnessed roaming Ardev, but it sat quietly in the darkened cellar. Without evidence of wrongdoing, Billy decided to back off and explain more fully the situation. The real reason they were there, he explained, was because they were interested in acquiring a piece of art from Sorrn, and were willing to pay.

sorrn_lazarus.jpgAs Sorrn had led Billy and Jinara down to the cellar, Xander crept back out through the back way. He seized the opportunity that Billy had provided, leading the other half of the party out around to the front of the house. He and Angaera snuck inside, quickly cased the house, and swiped the aforementioned portrait. Just as they were sneaking out the front door, Billy and Sorrn walked upstairs while discussing the price of the work of art. Angaera had to think fast- to avoid implicating the whole party in the robbery that was about to go south, she created an illusion to disguise the three of them as they fled the furious gnome!

Even Billy’s silver tongue was unable to fully extricate him and Jinara from the bizarre incident. Fortunately, Sorrn seemed to be aware that he was on thin ice. Short of outright accusing Billy (or attempting to murder anyone for a simple theft), he suggested that he would overlook the incident if they provided some payment for the stolen article, and left him and Ajax alone. Billy and Jinara returned to town after the mishap to reconvene with the party any plan their next steps.

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Sorrn and Ajax
21st Nymm, 998 YYK

Our intrepid adventurers found themselves the following morning at breakfast in the Redwater Inn, discussing what to do next about Sorrn and his monstrosity. All of the evidence, circumstantial though it may be, pointed to Ajax as the culprit for the previous night’s murder. In turn, similarities between that incident and other killings over the last month seemed to implicate a single suspect.

thug.jpgA rough-looking man, introducing himself as Bethain, butted into the party’s conversation. He was interested in hearing news of the party’s exploits the night before. Apparently, the party’s reputation, and the questions they had been asking, had stirred up some conversation among the residents of Redwater district. Although the strange killings weren’t strongly connected to Sorrn Lazarus until that point, the party’s inquiries had led some folks to make connections.

Billy and Jinara went to go pay another visit to Sorrn’s home. There, Billy came up with a plan to clear the gnome’s name, and shed light on the Ajax’s true nature. An exhibition of the golem’s physical strength and general usefulness would be held in the Redwater market square, where the public could freely watch and see if Ajax was the peaceful being Sorrn described him as.

golemFlesh.jpgXander hit the streets. He asked his underworld contacts what they knew about the murders, and paid a visit to one of the other crime scenes. Over the last month, three other people had been found beaten or strangled to death in alleys on the outskirts of Redwater. In common at these scenes were a few things- evidence that the walls and streets in those locations had been damaged by some great force, and the victims all having been killed by blunt trauma or strangulation. All this seemed to indicate that they were killed by a creature of immense strength.

In the meantime, the rest of the party made inquiries into the other murders that Ajax was implicated in. Finding the nearest constabulary well outside of the poor Redwater district, Darak and Angaera spoke with one officer Garwe. This war-veteran turned town guard was disinterested in the murder, having already filed it away as “the kind of thing that happens in that part of town.” At Angaera’s scornful rebuking, he ceded that he probably had done an inadequate job, but still couldn’t help much- instead, he offered to get them in touch with the detective Pine who had investigated the other Redwater murders.

detective_pine.jpgPine, an elven detective, was accomodating to the party. He shared his observations at the crime scenes, as well as a few other leads that he had followed up on. Most of this information corroborated what the party had already suspected. He had spoken with the widow of one of the victims, but had learned no information of interest. More apologetic than Garwe, he regretfully explained that he was a resource that his superiors felt was better used to solve more important crimes in the nicer parts of town.

The party regrouped over an afternoon meal, where they learned of Billy’s ambitious plan. He had somehow persuaded Sorrn that this would be a good idea. The party split up once more in order to spread word of the event, prepare the market square, and meet up with Sorrn. At the old garrison, Billy found Sorrn draping a hastily-sewn makeshift shirt over his creation. Ajax’s misshapen body seemed even more gruesome underneath the white fabric. Sorrn loaded up a cart with heavy crates and barrels, and they were on their way.

medieval_town_by_hetman80-d37zunh.jpgIn the Redwater square, a crowd gathered around to gape at the spectacle that Sorrn brought into town. The torchlights of the onlookers disturbed the golem, which in turn made the crowd nervous. Sorrn directed his son to lift heavy barrels overhead, to demonstrate his practical uses. With the crowd so distracted a gang of thugs lurking in the shadows began to make their move. Xander and Darak were on watch, though, and their quick reaction averted a total disaster. As the thugs started to rile up the crowd and the monster alike, the situation quickly devolved into chaos. Sorrn narrowly managed to escape the scene with Ajax, after pleading with his creation to ignore the commotion and go home. The party disabled the troublemakers and handed them over to the town guard.

Later, at Sorrn’s home, the party made a few decisions. They advised the wizard to relocate to somewhere that might be more accepting of his son- somewhere like Graywall, the Droaamish border town, or a hamlet in the arcane-friendly Aundair. Indignant at the townsfolk’s treatment of him and his son, Sorrn said that he would consider the party’s advice. Angaera had at least bought him a few days to get out before an angry mob might appear on his doorstep. Without real evidence that Ajax was behind the murders, the party had decided on a compromise. With that, they resumed their journey to Wroat.

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