Sometimes characters die, other times campaigns end, other times characters are retired. I don't remember all of them and I'm sorry to those that I do and have forgotten, however when able to I do bring back past PC's for cameo appearances now and again.
This time I've turned a former PC, friend, and party leader into the enemy. The party knows he was a bad ass and what some of his strengths were, but they also know that it's been a year and a half in game time and the bad former friend has gone over to the dark side and joined with the other adventuring group that almost 2 years ago kicked the party's ass - and apparently took over as leader.
They don't seem as anxious to face their former companion as they once did and are even more unsure of the firepower he now has at his beck and call.
Write up follows:
At the border of Rakewood with the autumn sun slowly making its way towards the horizon, Aleron had his falcon fly off to the east to scout the area for any trouble that might be there, finding none. With care we walked across the badlands towards the dotted shape of the northwestern homesteads until the sun had set and just around 10 we arrived exhausted at Frink’s old home.
Where to put the 59 pilgrims we had as well as our own sizeable group? We cleared out the two homes as best as possible and situated all the children and some of the women there. Then we set up smaller camps around in groups of 5 and 10, hoping the sky would remain clear throughout the night. No fires. It was to be a cold meal at best and the group now about 70 in number slumped off to sleep.
Havic took first watch and he realized very swiftly that this was a BIG group of people, over a large area. And we were out in the open. The time passed and when it was through he awoke Mebali. Throughout the night, whoever was on watch had their eyes opened and ears alert. The badlands were quiet for the most part, only a strange noise closer to dawn from the north.
We awoke a bit after 7 and after prayers and breaking our fast we decided not to head back to Flatrock via Kreladale to avoid any entanglements with Vanir, orcs, or the Lycos Suns. So instead we would walk south for two hours and then use the far sight of High Mesa as a landmark and make our way towards the city.
We did have to pass by the Dunbury homestead where we were told to leave and go away by whatever hermitage lived there. Around 10:30 we shifted our path east southeast and after noon came through Northgate with our charges in tow. The Hetman of the pilgrims and his 3 adjuncts were taken into custody by the local militia, escorted to Black Court for failing to adhere to the quarantine the town was under. Meanwhile word of our return and supposed “cure” was being spread. The guards did say that Iohannes and the Lycos Suns had come in this morning with a new passel of dirt, bugs, and other possible points of contagion and were at the Alchemist’s tower with Morei now. And there were new adventurers in town also; their leader was a giant of some sort.
The group did not want to meet Iohannes or this other group at this time so they went to the 3 Dog Hotel where they eventually grouped in one of the rooms to discuss plans and possibilities. We wanted to find out what was going on at Morei’s so Norris opted to go. Meanwhile Thurin was going to copy a set of Thane Kysoth Beldenstone’s notes and Havic was out to get his hammer from Coogan Smithery.
Norris returned with some poor news. Morei was there as well as Iohannes and a handful of his men, but also a large figure, almost 8’ tall, half-ogrish, clad in heavy steel armor and a greenish cast his brown skin and mismatched sized eyes. Who was he? Someone from another adventuring group, Red Clouds, and he was angry at Iohannes and did not want to leave until the Lycos Sun’s representative would speak with him.
We talked about this figure until it was postulated that this might be our long removed and erstwhile leader/companion, Karis. The description matched, the attitude matched, and he did have some dealings with the Red Clouds – specifically the former leader a brutish fighter-type named Feldon. Was this Karis? The Red Clouds already had a problem with us from over a year ago – we needed to verify this.
Aleron volunteered to go to the Far Travel Hotel and seek out any information on the Red Clouds and what was going on. Were they with the Lycos Suns? We needed answers. The king’s man ventured off eventually getting to Sword Gate where he spoke with some of the guards there and counted 11 of the mercenary types hanging outside. He had some conversation with a member of the Red Clouds, a fairly astute figured named Maulin, and Aleron was verbally rebuffed, the ranger leaving with what graces he could and then went to the Far Travel to get information that way.
The innkeep was willing to talk and a few coins passed to pay for the information, learning that there were 7 or so main members and 5 or 6 hirelings/henchmen. The leader was indeed Karis and most of the Clouds did not stay in town, hiding outside the town near the stables. They had been here for a day or so and seemed to be paying day to day – wanting to leave whenever the Karis figure wanted their party to go. Aleron left and once outside – felt a bit odd and lightheaded – but kept going back to the party, telling them what he had learned.
We needed to know when Karis was going to leave the alchemists as we did NOT want to run into him at all, keeping our presence a secret. Thurin sent his familiar, Pop, to hide outside the alchemist’s tower and would let the mage know when the ogre left.
At this point Havic and Aleron went to the Black Court where they presented Corvalis Trueborn with the pages from Thane Kysoth Beldenstone and told of Glittercap. The dwarven magistrate grew wroth, wanting to know WHY the party did not bring the supposed disease origin to the lab yet? We had a wrap around explanation where we spoke of Karis and him being there was going to cause a problem. Corvalis dispatched a 4 count of the court officers to Morei’s lab with orders to tell Karis to leave the alchemist at this time as he was impeding the search and processing of a cure for the people of Flatrock.
We did learn that someone from the Red Clouds had come to the court earlier this morning for any information about a Kysoth, it was memorable because to Corvalis this was the 2nd time in the same day that anyone brought him anything about Kysoth. We thanked the magistrate and rejoined the party, happy to learn through Pop that Karis was indeed escorted away.
At 3:30 we went to the Alchemist’s Lab where we showed Morei our tick head, the egg, and assorted water and dirt. We did talk with Iohannes who was surprised at what we had brought. He told Morei that she should stop going over the items the Lycos Suns had brought and devote her attention to the Sundered Chains and their findings.
Morei was going to work on the distillate tonight, and Mebali and Thurin were going to stay and help her. She figured it would take about 6 hours to work up a successful test and then would know if it could be a cure. Iohannes volunteered to take the party out for dinner, the Lycos Suns and the Sundered Chains. He suggested the Dog and Fox and we agreed.
Dinner was at 6 and our combined group (missing the wheelwright and the wizard of course) numbered around 20. Unsure at first what to expect we were surprised to have a pleasant evening. Iohannes showed no sign of remembering Detheron or Gwyn, made no comment that the Lycos Suns had any negative dealing in the past with the Sundered Chains, and was forthcoming with history of the group.
He was looking to charter a teamstering organization but didn’t want to start from scratch, so purchased the defunct charter of the Lycos Suns and gave what past dues and fees were necessary. They then took small jobs as well as those sponsored by the Slaver’s Guild and used the former contacts the Lycos Suns had established as a spring board for the new organization. He did comment that about 3 months after they had been reestablished there was a box released to them that had been held.
It contained some contracts, a few letters, some credit marks, and 12 bronze headed amulets that looked like wolf heads. He then showed us one from his neck. He also volunteered that they were useful to get past some wards. We shared information with then and when we next noticed, it was after 8:30 and we had had a rather great meal with Iohannes and his people.
We wished them well and when they left, talked about what we had learned. Detheron was convinced that Iohannes and his people were telling the truth BUT they were also convinced that they were the same group and people from over a year ago. Was it a spell? Forgetfulness? Domination? We fretted over the possibilities for a while until the beer had run dry and there was nothing more to do except call it a night.
It was about 9:30 when we picked ourselves up and left the Dog and Fox, intending to head towards the Alchemist’s Tower and see if the items they had brought back did indeed form the basis of a cure for the plague. When they left the tavern though they couldn’t help but notice across the main thoroughfare on Cheapside Ave was a gargantuan figure riding the largest Clydesdale horse they could ever fathom finding. He was clad in a heavy set of black platemail, sported a heavy war lance complete with pennant, and was watching the group.
Guyus looked at the figure intently and was hit with a heavy sensation that it was evil, definitely and decidedly so. However, we did note that the figure was staring right back at Guyus with the same level of intensity that our paladin was showing! Karis? We sure thought so.
He turned his horse about and rode at a cantor down Cheapside Avenue away from the party. Guyus gave a whistle and his paladinial steed appeared at his will, the knight growling that that figure was evil and we should follow him now.