Birthright - 4th Edition

A swift farewell

Well that was fun… Evzen’s long lost partner in crime Gabriella told the watch that the stone was stolen.
Granted I use the term “watch” loosely, they were a collection of thugs led by a bigger thug.
Fortunately she didn’t mean to screw us over, so she helped once she recognized him.

To put it simply, fight fight fight, run run run.

It seems like as soon as one of our party got away, someone else turned around to dive back into the fray.
We need to work on this whole “strategic retreat” thing.

Evzen was the star of the show… At least if it was a comedy. Sending the horse drawn carriage down the street was pretty impressive. Diving in front of a sword blow to save his friend who causes us all this trouble on the other hand was not.

Eventually we got enough distance we could make a break for the docks. By this point I know these streets well, and what makes the people tick. I caused a panic as a smoke screen for us. Evzen found us some short cuts that we could slip through… Jumping over carts and the like. Drew, well he played with &*%. Literally. A cart of dung is an effective deterrant.

Finally the docks were in sight, and a ship was leaving port… Drew and Gabriella cleared the distance with ease (possibly because he tossed her). Kahles and I made a splash… I’m not a jumped and he weights a ton. Fortunately, after causing so much trouble in escaping, Evzen earned his keep by shadowstepping us out of the water and onto the deck of our favorite trader’s ship…

I liked that inn…

Now Evzen, hurry up and tell us what the blasted stone is!
(And write next sessions summery!)

A kicked down door is a fine way to start a morning

After an unproductive fall, largely due to our bard researching his Varsk rather than the rock, we decided to spend another season in Khinasi. Realizing there was little we could contribute towards the research, Drew and I worked to improve our finances. Our trade investments went reasonably well this season, and the odd jobs we took paid quite satisfactory.

Evzen and Kahles remained at the temple to research the heralds and the identify ritual to attempt to get more information on the rock (which I bet is egg of some sort) magically. Unfortunately rumors spread so they no longer felt safe researching at the temple. We decided to perform the ritual at my lodgings instead, with everyone except me participating while I stood watch. (I’m not going to let magic touch me again!)

Things seemed to be going well, or at least it was fairly boring so I assume it was going well when all of a sudden Evzen screamed out “Visions through time!” and fainted. Shortly after we roused him and he excitedly said “Hey guys, I know what this is!” the door was kicked in and now we have to deal with some petty thugs before we find out what he learned…

Sighing Tholecht draws his crossbow and aims at the door

OOC: I probably misremebered what he said. Feel free to update as appropriate. Otherwise I’ll try to remember to check my notes and update it tonight

Farewell to the frozen North

At last! We are leaving this frozen waste. Our reputation has earned us the undying loyalty of a local trader and he will be proving us passage South. We also pooled our funds to invest in the silver trade, we don’t expect much payout from this (10%), but its safer than carrying our gold with us. Evzen did have to borrow from myself and Drew to pay his share, but that’s because he couldn’t resist purchasing a baby Varsk. In fact he is hiding by a pile of meat tending to his lizard right now.

Our initial destination is a shipyard in an island off the Southern coast. We plan on arranging passage to the mainland from there to do a bit of research on the magical rock we obtained as well as to seek out profit through adventure.

The debate continues on as to whether we are focusing on saving the world or profiting, though it seems like we are currently leaning towards the former. Regardless I am sure the Cold Steel Initiative will further spread its fame!

Majid's Fine Curiosities
A letter to Southern Anuire Shipping and Imports

To Fairfield Regional Head,
Southern Anuire Shipping and Imports

I am sorry to have taken so long to send out this missive of introduction and greeting, must my fellows and I have been very busy getting our affairs in order and setting up shop as it were (you may have noticed the new church of Cuiraécen founded by Father Kenrik, the additional guard force trained by my friend Javiero, or my own small shop Majid’s Fine Curiosities). We decided on Fairfield due to our pleasant past dealings, and our ongoing friendship with Baronet Bloodwater. Overall, the city has been quite welcoming to my new venture… save for the Spider River Trading Company. They have fought me at every turn, even going so far as to send thugs to burn down my fledgling shop! I can only hope that they soon turn to minding their own business, as I have it on good authority that they have over-extended a bit in their efforts to keep me from gaining a foothold. If only I were in a position to capitalize on this oversight…

Anyways, I just wanted to introduce myself to the other honest merchant in the area in hopes that we may have happy and lucritive dealings in the future.

of Majid’s Fine Curiosities

Parting is such sweet sorrow...
...especially when its at knife point

This will be short for I am too overwhelmed by my thoughts. The fates are conspiring against my future happiness! Things went from bad to worse fairly quickly (once the hallway ended). First we explained why we slaughtered the goblins. That wasn’t too bad, it meant the wererat and Althion had to cook instead.

Then Morga left the room to tend to some business, I went along since it meant we would get time alone together. Unfortunately that business was to talk with her brother. You wouldn’t expect this to be a problem, except her brother was the ice monster we slaughtered earlier… Needless to say she didn’t take this well, and unfortunately she had the magics to find out who did it. We had a bit of a spat, and I had no choice but to defend myself… Though self defense is something I’m good at, I couldn’t bring myself to deliver the killing blow…

All in all, I allowed Morga to escape and the rest of the team couldn’t stop the rat. (Maybe I should hire goblins as well?) We did get Yuri the eldar though and are now bringing him back to town. It also seems that Morga still believes we are working as agents of the Kracken, no clue what the wererat thinks.

The party consensus seems to be getting a ship and finally going someplace where there actually is civilization! I look forward to leaving the icy north behind… It will let me escape some of this sadness…

Liriel's diary - Seventh entry

It has perhaps been the longest few days in my two centuries of life.

Galloway ordered us to lead the left flank of the attack into Rhuobhe. Govannon was to command the forces assembled there and the men were jokingly calling us “Govannon’s Six”. Each of us paired off with a force battalion of men numbering in the hundreds. Miri and I were to lead one of the faster moving battalions while the others worked from the back to better plan for the chaos of the coming battle. When all our forces were prepared, we met the army of Ghealles on a rolling plain by the edge of the forest. The armies sized each other up and the generals stared at each other from across the plain. It was then that we got a good look at the elven general. The others wondered who might lead the army of the Manslayer…but the golden hair and the familiar way he held himself could only belong to Ceallach. My father led the army against us.

A pitched battle was fought. Men and horses died around us and at times the rain of Sidhelein arrows seemed to be unending. Battalions on both sides broke ranks, but our middle held. Five Sidhelein heroes were captured. Their forces were routed and their final remaining battalion threw down their weapons in resignation that they either surrender or be butchered by a superior force. Though some of the battalions were badly wounded, we didn’t loose a single squad.

Govannon gathered our forces to celebrate, but we were quickly joined by Galloway. The other fronts succeeded in their own assaults and he wished for us to accompany him in his vanguard.

We were to ride into the very heart of Rhuobhe and take the fight to the Ghealles themselves.

The way was long and we were ambushed by Sidhelein bladesingers in what the humans describes as an unnaturally heavy mist. We became separated in the mist and the bladesingers used our confusion to their advantage. It has been a long time since I fought any from the school of the Striking Serpent. We eventually beat them back taking a single prisoner. He proved to be uncooperative and when he found out who I was…I will only say that Ceallach told them about his “dead daughter” and that prisoner was dispatched of quickly and brutally.

We moved on to an ancient elven city in the heart of the forest. The army began to sack the city while Kenrik directed them not to burn down the forest and city around us. I tried to get the remaining Sidhelein to run, but alas some were lost. Our looting of the city was thorough. We were about to move on when we heard a voice from above us in the walk ways between the tree houses. Tall, menacing, and with a mane of black hair; Rhuobhe Manslayer stood above us and mockingly called to parlay with Galloway.

We looked at apprehensively at each other for a moment as Galloway climbed the ladder to the walkways above. We followed behind him quickly.

The Manslayer and Galloway talked as if they were the only two there; referencing something that happened far in Galloway’s past. Galloway, caught of guard, demanded to know how the Manslayer knew so much about him. Something about him slaying a dragon.

We watched the coterie around the Manslayer tensely and waiting for them to act on some unseen signal. Eoindeln stood among those gathered against us. Galloway drew his sword and told us that the elven wizard held a book and we should get it and get out as fast as possible. Rhuobhe drew his twin longswords made from a matte silver metal. Chaos erupted around us.

Miri led the charge against the elven guards and we tried to focus our magics and attacks to the wizard and those guarding her. Eoindeln covertly tried to help us, or at least not harm us in our attempts to battle the Manslayer’s guards. We quickly outmatched and started to realize how bad things were going for us. Majid tried to heal Galloway’s wounds, but they smoked and burned rather than healing. The onslaught became to much and Charles Galloway fell before the Manslayer. Just as the Manslayer was about to deliver the killing blow, Galloway shifted slightly and chose rather to fall to his death. Enraged, the Manslayer turned on us. I stepped forward to try to give the others enough time to grab the book and get out of the city. Rhuobhe looked down at me and said that my father would be happy to know I died fighting against the cause. The wounds from the Manslayer’s swords were like nothing I had encountered. It was as if I could feel my life ebbing from my body. As everyone else disappeared into the surrounding forest, I made a break for the edge of the woods. I knew that I would not be able to make it in time, but a parting arrow in my back knocked me into the cover of the forest were I was able to meet up with the group.

Wounded in both body and pride, we limped back to the army’s encampment. The rest of the men burned and looting in their retreat headless of their safety or ours. We arrived back to the encampment dodging questions from the senior staff. We met in Galloway’s tent and started to pour over the book we risked out lives for as well as Captain Galloway’s personal log and diary.

We looked to each other with a sense of sadness and apprehension.

Charles Galloway, famed mercenary captain,our employer and friend was dead.

What now?

Liriel's diary - Sixth entry

We returned from our battle in the rat warren and were immediately ushered to a private audience with Galloway. None of wanted to talk about the disgusting rat king, which turned out to be a ugly tangle of dire rats of an Awnsheghlien or anything we faced. The battle was over and we were more than content to dream of the vast wealth we found in the warren and how we were going to spend it. Our dreams were cut short, however. The job I’d been dreading was now at our doorstep. With not one, but two employers, we were slated to engage the collected forces of the Manslayer and preemptively wipes of the threat of a legion Ghealles.

We do not have much time to prepare. The war machine is churning and the rest of the mercenaries have been making their last arrangements.

Fiara, I’m leaving this book with you in the hope that you will merely be safeguarding it for me while we are successful. Sometimes life doesn’t always work out the way we plan and sometimes life isn’t fair.

I’m leaving you my spare longsword and a map I stole from the rest of the group. The map and the coin that I found in the cabin where I met your father long ago might hold the answers you seek. You are a scion of Masela, you are Sidhelien, and most of all you are loved. Never for a moment doubt that you are not in control of your senses. You have always made me proud.

In the event I fall in battle, seek your grandmother and great-uncle in the Elvenmere and let them know what befell. They will help you and they love you as much as I do.

Sometimes I wonder if my father and I never got along because we were so alike and all my sins he saw himself commit. It was never you he hated. It was me. And I mean to bring Ceallach Aurethrin home. Whether I drag him home alive or dead is up to him.

Endless hallway...

Their footsteps echoed down the hallway…
Tholecht didn’t remember the path to the dining room being this long, it felt as if it would take at least three weeks to traverse the distance.
On the bright side it allowed plenty of time to devise an explanation for the room full of goblins they slaughtered…
Now if only he could stop staring at the sway of Morga’s hips as she walked and THINK

Liriel's diary - Fifth entry

Galloway had a job for us all right.

He’d been monitoring the elven migration to Rhuobhe and is hoping for work if the Manslayer is indeed making a move. The neighboring countries will surely want the army there to prevent a possible attack. The prospect of fighting a legion of gheallies does not sit well with me and I can tell the rest of the group is not thrilled by the idea either.

Galloway sent us north to where one of his insiders found to be the source of the wererats (conveniently on the northern route elves from Tuarhievel would use to get to Rhuobhe). This was supposedly the warren where all the rats were coming from.

Travel was swift and in no time we arrived at our destination no time. The warren was well guarded and tried to devise a clever plan to get in with little problem. Govannon tried some illusionary work, but either it wasn’t terribly convincing or they were ready for possible intruders. We resorted to our specialty: focused attacks on leaders and quick and brutal dispatching of lesser targets. Aside from some trouble with larger dire rats, we were able to disable the outside forces.

We moved inside, wasting very little time, hoping to catch the rats unaware of what had happened on the battlements. We were assaulted with swarm after swarm of vermin and their wererat controllers. Wave after wave, they came at us. We finally were able to clear our backfield and move farther into the warren. Already our resources were running thin and a sense of urgency is running through to the group. Get to the heart of the warren, kill the rat king, and get out alive. Quick thinking and a long hallway aided us to meet the rats in what we’ve loving termed as the “meat grinder” to keep our backs clear and focus at the waves coming toward us.

Our brief rest is almost over. I just hope we can outlast them…

Liriel's diary - Fourth entry

There has been too much on my mind to properly put pen to paper.

We returned from the Mhor’s lands with little fanfare. We were tired and just happy to see familiar faces. Galloway allowed us some time to clean up from the road before we had our debriefing meeting. I admit, I was too tired to pay much attention and was distracted by my own want of a good bed and simple food..

Galloway allowed us to go about our business so long as we were reachable. He had plans for the army concerning the wererat problem, but we could take what little rest until then.

Govannon and Majid eagerly returned to Dumaire with their eye on claiming the source under the city. Kenrick was convinced to do more research on the possible cure to lycanthropy, but you could see in the way he held himself and the set of his jaw that he had other things on his mind that he would rather do.

Javiero was only too glad to leave again and do whatever posturing humans of noble birth are want to do.

Miri has some idea to take Jude along with her to the Southern coast, but for what I’m not sure. They traveled with Fiara and I briefly before we headed off to the Elvenmere.

Our return home was quiet. Fiara said little, but she could probably feel the tension radiating off of me. This trip home, I was going to find my father and give him a piece of my mind. Fiara would stay here in the safety of our people and he would except that or else.

My mother, the picture of grace and courtesy that she is, was crying when we got home. In my centuries of life, I have never seen her cry. Not when my father and I came to blows over Fiara. Not when I left home in anger. She would not tell me what was wrong an maintained that it was “only nothing”. I didn’t know what to do, but as upset as I was at my mother’s distress I asked where my father was so I could deal with him. She said that he had left for a bit and turned the conversation to more pleasant topics. She never did like to see us fight.

I left Fiara with my mother and checked in with my uncle Jaedenar at the training schools. The mood was subdued, which was unusual. When I asked about my mother, he looked very sad. I knew they were as close as two siblings could get, so I pressed him as to what was wrong. I was not prepared for the answer.

Rhuobhe Manslayer called the ghaellies home…and my father answered the call.

He was apparently not the only one to leave, but I could not get the picture of my father out of my mind. How could he do this? How could he do this to my mother?

Ceallach Aurethrin. Tall for an elf, with the same golden blond hair and intense green eyes that I had. The same set of jaw when we were angry. The same temper and unwillingness to back down. We were always so similar, I was just a younger version of my father. I was, until I had Fiara. I think that bothered him more than anything. I became an embarrassment and my daughter was an abomination in his eyes. We hated each other ever since.

I decided to clear my mind. I searched for the old cabin from when I first met him. I wish I knew his name, something I could attach to the gentle face from so many years ago. Years ago… he…he won’t look the same now. Fifteen years wasn’t so long for me, but what about him? The only thing I could find in the cabin was a small coin left forgotten under the bed. Otherwise the place had not been touched. Maybe he forgot about me.

With so much sadness and heartache, I think it was time to leave again. I asked Fiara to stay here with my mother, but she didn’t want to. It didn’t feel like home for her. I couldn’t really blame her, but I had hoped.

We met back up with the rest of the Six at the source and discussed our plans over dinner. We were attached by a squad of wererats while eating. I think people were more annoyed that the Shepard’s pie was ruined than us being attacked in our own sanctum. After a brief and blood battle, we had a handful of “volunteers” for Kenrick’s cure. Fiara, I was told, cut the wererat leader in half after performing some amazing feats of dexterity and brutality. I think she’s starting to manifest blood powers, but I can’t recall anyone in the family having the ability to do what Miri described as “Fiara be in battle rage, run though waters, rip rat in half and kill good.” Miri seemed proud but my poor daughter was terrified. I will have to try to find out how I can help her.

Unfortunately we’re expecting Galloway soon, and will probably be deployed on another mission.