Cirenshire

Demons in Disguise
Night 1

Stumbling across the execution of a seemingly innocent man, the party intervened to investigate claims of an ancient tome. Through less-than legal means, they liberated the prisoner (Noster) and helped him on his quest. Noster was sent by the Royal Court Mage of Cirenshire to retrieve an ancient tome of immense value. The tome was located in a Faerie Dragon treasure hoard – that actually turned out to be a Green Dragon treasure hoard… After defeating the all of the various sizes of dragons, the party bedded down for the night. Everyone was startled awake at the same moment only to find Noster attempting to make off with the tome in secret. After asking semi-nicely for Noster to hand the tome over, the party discovered he planned on keeping it for himself the whole time. Noster was defeated and discovered to be a poorly disguised Cambion attempting to steal the tome. The party decided to take the tome back to Cirenshire as no one could make out the strange script it was written in and find out all they could from the Royal Court Mage herself. Along the way to the capital, the body of the human Noster was discovered and given a proper burial. The party arrived in Cirenshire around supper time and spent a few hours shopping and drinking ale before bedding down for the night at the Night Mare Inn. Here they met Gwayne a troubled priest of the Temple of the Divines and learned part of his intriguing incident with a young woman named Prissea. 

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Grim's Journal
Night 2

Third of Sun’s Glory, year 4507

My night of rest at the Night Mare Inn was interesting. It has been several years since I slept in a human bed, so as a result I was not used to the awkward texture of the textiles that enveloped me. To make matters stranger, I had a dream about being a miner in a cave and unearthing a vast quantity of platinum. I was so excited that I sold it all and tried to buy a castle with the coin. How disturbing. Maybe it has something to do with all of that gold we found in the woods? I will investigate this further if it happens again.

After conversing with Gwayne and hearing a pleasant song played by Xoxo, we decided to visit Harald Bluetooth, the blacksmith of Cirenshire and Ruperiel’s boss. What a massive dwarf that man was. I have read about a few dwarves reaching five feet before, but nowhere near 5’5”. He sold the party some weapons and mentioned that his latest shipment of raw materials is sitting in a harbor in Holmfirth. Not wanting to close up shop to get it himself, he asked us to get it for him and we agreed. Bluetooth provided us with coin for the carriage and we were off.

We found Svanir, the carriage driver, amongst the most MAGNIFICENT ponies! So strong and sturdy, yet elegant and gorgeous. I asked nicely if I could ride one of them instead of sitting in the silly carriage but Svanir refused. After seeing my frustration, he promised me that I could ride one on the trip back. Soon, my pony friends, soon…

Once we reached Holmfirth, we headed straight for the docks to inquire about Bluetooth’s cargo on a ship. To our dismay, the ship carrying the cargo sunk into the ocean not too far off the harbor. Instead of abandoning Bluetooth’s supplies to the great depths, we decided to rent a boat and attempt to retrieve everything we can. However, Ruperiel, who somehow thought that he rented a boat indefinitely, got so excited that he prematurely set sail, not realizing that he had no idea how to operate such a vessel! I am almost certain that he did not hit his head on anything during our voyage to Holmfirth (to be fair, I was paying more attention to the ponies), so his behavior was both baffling and amusing. I will continue to take note of his behavior and see if he improves over time.

Sai was able to shoot an arrow attached to some rope all the way back to the dock, where he and Seres shimmied their way off the boat and pulled it back to the port. After acquiring a worthy shipmate to operate the ship, we traverse the calm waters to the location of the wreck. I assumed the shape of a giant octopus and surveyed the underwater scene, where I squeezed through a tiny opening and found the eight crates. As I hauled them back to our rental ship, two merrows emerge from the dark waters and assault the party! We fought bravely and vanquished our foes with ease.

We secured our payload and made it back to our carriage for a night’s rest. I will fall asleep thinking about the beautiful ponies that I will ride tomorrow…

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Entering The Temple

Having made a successful journey to Holmfirth and back, the party bedded down at the Night Mare Inn for the night.

Not one to sit idly by, Seres decided to make a short trip to do some reconnaissance on the Temple of the Divines. She discovers a powerful ward preventing entry to the temple grounds. There are also demons patrolling the grounds ever watchful. Despite her invisibility cloak, she was spotted by two Mariliths that managed to somehow banish her back to her room at the inn.

Filling in the party the next morning, the group pays a visit to the Royal Court Mage, Ursula Deaththorn. Ursula is a mysterious figure who resides in a tower at the royal palace. The mage provides limited information to the party regarding their current situation and the tome they returned from their run-in with Noster. Ursula is able to lift the protective ward, but unable to dispel the time altering magic surrounding the grounds. She informs you that you have the Periapt of Time Sheltering that you lifted from imposter Noster and that as long as you're standing within the 20 foot radius sphere, you will be shielded from all time-altering effects.

The party successfully enters the Temple grounds and fights their way through the convoluted chambers. Many puzzles and tests await the adventurers.

We leave them at the face of an ominous looking door. A large stone demon head is carved into the face. An imposing sight indeed…

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How it all began

For the last three nights, we've gone back in time to learn how our players first became adventuring partners.

Called to action by Headmaster Ignatius, Grim, Seres, Sai and the newest arrival Ruperiel start off on a mission to restore order to Ruinswick. Through nefarious means, Lord Dampnut deposed Lord Grylor the Wise and began constructing a wall around the town by dismantling "unnecessary buildings" and taking away funding from much needed public works.

The party was able to infiltrate the Lord's Manor and find incriminating evidence to use against Dampnut. After a salacious visit to the Nagging Wife (local brothel) our adventurers made their way down to the caverns beneath Ruinswick looking for the thieves hired to carry out Dampnut's plan. Making contact with the Thieves' Guild of Ruinswick and their somewhat terrifying leader Vlog the Impaler, the party was able to convince them to turn against Dampnut in exchange for several ponies (and as it would turn out everything of value in the manor…).

With some help from Ignatius and the unwitting Awkius, the party threw a festival in Dampnut's honor to lure him out into public. Dampnut, unable to resist any type of accolade showed up right on cue. The party exposed his treachery, and piggy tail, working the townsfolk up into a frenzied mob. Lord Grylor made a triumphant return and had Dampnut arrested so that he could stand trial for his crimes. Lord Grylor rewarded the party with a small parcel of land near the Misty Ruins near the forest for their services.

Epilogue

Dampnut's trial was short and sweet as Seres' great-uncle Gantar Alvionne was not pleased by the evidence presented before him. Due to nature of his crimes, Dampnut was sentenced to life as servant in the Seid where he would spend the rest of his days serving Samantha Ripper, the Headmaster of Magical Medicine and Curiosities. The last inmate to serve Samantha was allegedly killed in a horrific accident… That is if you believe her story about the pixies affixing the man to her autopsy table with a holding charm she was unable to dispel.

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Story Time with Gwayne

After your harrowing battle at the Temple the party helps Gwayne back to the Night Mare Inn, arriving late into the night. Xoxo sleepily greets you at the front desk, but springs awake as soon as she lays her eyes on Gwayne. With surprising strength Xoxo scoops up Gwayne and rushes him to a back room and places her hands on his head. As she stabilizes Gwayne a bright white light begins emanating from his chest.

Xoxo: "He'll make it through the night, but his wounds are far beyond my capabilities. I will fetch Vadania."

Xoxo leaves in a hurry and runs off to wake Vadania, the local Healer. You make yourselves useful by comforting Gwayne, bringing him food and water as you wait for the healer.

Vadania arrives and pushes everyone else out of the room.

Vadania: "Out! Out! Are you healers?" She cuts you all off before you can answer "No! Out!"

She slams the door and spends all night with Gwayne. Xoxo and the rest of the party fall asleep in the common room waiting to see what becomes of the priest…

Early in the morning, you awake to warm mugs of Cirenshire Tea and homemade biscuits. Xoxo is in a good spirits and Vadania sits exhausted on a bench outside of Gwayne's room.

Vadania: "He will live. It will be a long recovery, but he will live."

Xoxo: "Perhaps this will be the straw that breaks the horny camel's back?"

Both women smirk and laugh quietly. Vadania leaves and Xoxo returns to serving breakfast the party.

Xoxo: "I am glad you made it out of there alive. Apparently these heretics were a little more powerful than the previous bunch. It looks like your good deed has not gone unnoticed. A messenger from the royal court mage came early this morning to request your presence at your earliest convenience to 'discuss compensation'."

Xoxo also hands Seres a tightly wound scroll with a strange wax seal. "You received this while you were away. It's been ages since I've seen such an elegant and terrifying seal."

Xoxo: "You're all welcome to stay here as long as you'd like while you're in town. We don't often have such capable individuals to keep us company. I'm sure Gwayne would like thank you for saving his life as well."

You decide to stay at the inn for a time. Keeping Gwayne company and gathering your thoughts regarding recent events. Several days into his recovery, Gwayne joins the party in the inn's common room. You all share a nightcap, and Gwayne believes that he has recalled a legend that you might be interested in. Everyone pulls up a cozy chair and a large flagon of ale, gathering around Gwayne to listen to his tale…

Four travelers – their names seemingly lost to history, though there are many theories and whispers of who these heroes may be -  appeared in Cirenshire one day, stepping out of a gleaming blue portal. They traveled from a distant land located in a different time. While the people of Cirenshire were surprised at their sudden appearance, the travelers were not phased. They seemed accustomed to traveling through the planes and across time itself. They could not have arrived at a more opportune time for Eslen.

The continent was embroiled in the Great War of the Underdark. Dark Elves had called forth a stream of endless demons and devils that spilled through dark portals from the Abyss. Many sources now believe that this was a mistake, a conjuring gone wrong if you will. However, convincing the historians of this has not been successful. I doubt the record will be changed until they all finally make their way to the Garden of Silence.

The hordes ravaged the Drow and Druegar settlements littering the Underdark. Eventually the demons made their way to the surface through a long forgotten mine. They slowly began ransacking the countryside of Eslen, until they were within 50 miles of the nascent capital of Cirenshire.

Luckily, the Royal Court Mage, a much younger Ursula Deaththorn, managed to summon the largest protective ward anyone had ever seen and held back the massive hordes long enough for the time travelers to help King Fenrick devise a dangerous and ingenious plan. The travelers were to be sent deep into the Underdark, to one of the deepest regions only known to a handful of the bravest Drow warriors. Calling in a favor from his cousin Zedalia, King Fenrick sent the warriors to T'lindhet Ust Natha where they were to be led to the mythical Hel's Fountain.

Now this next bit of the story is hotly contested by many researchers. Not to mention by the Royal Family themselves who maintain that though Prince Beauregard was harsh and had a bit of a temper, he would never have stooped to such levels to conceal information from the public. The fact that several pages of a manuscript slightly matching the description of a children's story were found in a ruined Royal tower does not prove that these scholars existed or that they discovered anything of import regarding the fountain or the Abyssal Plane… Anyway, Hel's Fountain was discovered to be real by a pair of researchers nearly one hundred years prior to the Great War. They were allegedly silenced by Fenrick's son (Beauregard – King Sonder's brother) who feared that the knowledge of the fountain and magical energy it contained could have dire consequences if it fell into the wrong hands. He confiscated all of their manuscripts and locked them away in his private quarters. Surely, knowledge of such power could corrupt even the most well-meaning of individuals.

King Fenrick was desperate, but sending he knew that the best way to close the demonic portals was to send these willing travelers to Hel's Fountain and destroy it. Informing them that they were most likely going on a suicide mission, the party still insisted on carrying out the mission with little regard for their own lives (very heroic). No one knew what the party would find when they reached the fountain or what destroying it would entail. Based on the myth, it is known that Daudremaine grounded Hel's soul to the well to allow her to travel beyond the Abyss.

The travelers successfully destroyed the fountain. However, doing so caused an immense surge of portal magic before it ceased functioning at all. Knowing that the fate of Eslen was in their hands, the travelers painstakingly removed the magic stones that made up the fountain dissipating the portal magic. Each individual stone still possessed some magical properties and it became apparent to the travelers that the stones had to be separated to protect the realm. They summoned an ethereal messenger to relay to King Fenrick that they had completed their quest and that they would not be returning to claim their reward…

It is said that the newly forged heroes traveled all across Eslen searching for hiding places for these magical stones. Each hero hid several stones making sure that they alone knew their locations. If no single person knew the location of all 12 stones, then no one could reassemble the fountain without great effort and coercing.

Once the magic stones had been hidden, the heroes faced a grim truth. By dismantling the fountain and saving Eslen, they had also cut off any return to the world they had called home. Many old wives tales and gypsy stories center around the lives of these heroes after their great victory. However, as they never returned to claim their reward, it is believed that they fell in the process of saving us from ourselves.

I know this story because it was handed down to me by the High Priest before me. He learned it from the High Priest before him. He learned this story from a strange traveler he met in this very inn (long before Xoxo became the proprietor) who gifted him a medium sized stone. The stranger's only request was that the stone be kept in a secret location within the Main Temple where it would never again see the light of day… This is the stone Prissea attempted to use in her ritual and the stone you currently have stored in your bag…

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