Entourage

Therren’s Lament / The end of the entouRAGE?
Therren

Melora

We took the supplies and escorted the Dwarves from Overlook to Stonefang in high spirits. If we only knew what awaited us in the depths of the mountain, surely we would not have entered. But alas, we cannot glimpse the future, and now “we” is simply “I”.

Our voyage was uneventful until Stonefang. We found the front and inner gates unattended, but could find no evidence to a struggle. We proceeded onwards sensing that something was wrong, but were unable to put our fingers on it. As we progressed, a foul spell came over everyone; The dwarves quarrelled and we were at each other’s throats. When we arrived at the keep, Thane would not let us in, and taunted us. Tor was the one who found the burned out Smithy, with the tunnel leading into the depths of the mountain. We followed him in and quickly overcame two battles that toyed with our minds, perplexing us with foes who did not die and with invisible abominations. Finally our descent was complete, and the source of the unease revealed. A brilliant shard of crystal seemed to be the cause. Tor, always hasty, was quick to charge in and attack the Umbra Hulk and Squid-Spider monster. By the time Salopard got to his side, Tor was horribly wounded and dazed, and in the end, Salopard’s effort was not enough. My two companions fought bravely as I peppered the Umbra Hulk with arrows, but all for not. They fell and only I remained. And still I could not fell the foul beasts.

Grievously injured, with no means to heal, and with the abominable monsters both in my path, I had a horrific decision to make: To fight to the end and to accept sure death or to flee and to return for my dying companions. My shame is my flight, but I am alive to tell the tale. This will be a burden I bear for as long as I live.

My own escape was very much in doubt, as I was harried all the way up to the keep, and only just managed to evade the pursuing Umber Hulk, finishing him with a lucky shot that left me totally spent. I found my way back to the Dwarves, who offered no assistance as I tried to rally and plead with them for aid. I was able to catch my breath between my glances at the Smithy, expecting the horrible monster to emerge at any moment to finish us all. Finally, with my cuts bandaged, I steadied myself for what had to be done next. Alone, I returned to the cave and snuck back into the depth of the mountain where I surprised the foul Spider, unleashing everything I had into its godforsaken hide…yet still it did not fall. I had hurt it though, and it scrabbled away through a small tunnel to its freedom. With no appetite to continue the fight, I destroyed the crystal in the center of the room and instantly felt the oppression that had plagued us all recede. I gathered my companions and hauled them to Caligula who let out a woefull moan at the smell of the fallen halfling. Reluctantly she let me sling them over her back and we set off to the keep. I could not give up. If Tor was able to be resurrected once, perhaps they could both be brought back to the living if I found a healer with haste.

I rue the day Joral stayed in Overlook to work with Bolious, and I’m angered by Tor’s recklessness, which led us into this mess. But most of all, I am shamed by being alive while my companions lie dead, their fate in the hands of a Dwarven high-priest. He offers no promises that I will see them alive again, so I wait and I pray to Melora to look over my friends and return them swiftly to my side.

Joral, Etoella and Bolios are due to arrive in a few weeks, and I am not sure what we shall do. This might be the end of the entouRAGE. All our plans, and the first companions…friends…that I have had since my chidhood are potentially gone. Etoella has lost her appetite for battle and it might be that only Joral and I remain, the black cloaks forevermore a symbol of what we have lost. Perhaps Bolios can return us to Yaun, if the head can fly with my heart so heavy.

Note: Hey, I hope you all know that the decision to retreat was not one made lightly. But given the situation where you were both down to 1 final death save strike each, Therren being down to one hit would kill him, the two guys remaining hitting every attack in the encounter consistently, with both monsters blocking my path to you, no means to heal you, and one the Spider monster only having been hit once in the battle, it was a call I had to make. It sucks and I feel bad about it, but I stayed until the last possible moment and Therren, by personaltiy would have retreated, even without the evil influence playing upon our minds. On a personal note, I also know if I stayed, it was the end of Therren, and I’m not ready to finish playing him yet. And there was no doubt about whether I’d have died. I came down fully charged w/ action point and unloaded 7d12 + 5d6 + 55HP damage on the last guy in 3 rounds aterwards and didn’t kill him. That meant for people to live in the original battle, staying alive for about 10 rounds while 1 shot would have killed me. If I wasn’t so invested in the character, I’d certainly be dead too, but I felt if I could get away I could come back, finish the fight, and bring you guys back in a manner that would let you continue to play these characters if you wanted to. Anyhow, just want you to know I didn’t want to retreat, but in the 2 years we’ve played, we’ve never had a situation where we came to be in a position of certain defeat. We’ve had close calls, but there was always a chance of victory before this encounter, which was a perfect storm of a very difficult encounter, minuses from defences from the previous encounter, bad luck, and our own ineptitude (missing two dailies in round 1, not focus firing, Tor getting so far ahead of Sally/destroyed so early).
- N

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Taking the bulls by the horns
a.k.a. "Getting A Head in Life"

Zardoz

Posted around Overlook, and read aloud by several heralds:

Once again, we citizens of Overlook owe a great debt to the band of heroes who came to us from over the Western mountains. Seeking nothing but the resumption of valuable trade, which benefits us all, they sought out and killed a band of filthy minotaurs that had been responsible for murdering many caravan members along the Upper trade road.

Please note that the scheduled demolition of the Temple of Radiant Morn has been canceled, following the crushing of it by the Head in the Clouds. Bolios Whittish, who oversees the flying headquarters of our blackcloaked heroes, asks that citizens stay clear of the Head while he is not inside. “The head gets hungry, and might eat you faster than I eat good Silver Lake trout, if I’m not there to control it”

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Temple Condemned

Posted around Overlook, and read aloud by several heralds:

Be aware that the so-called Temple of Radiant Morn has been condemned, and is not to be visited by anyone. Our visiting heroes, at the request of the Council, explored the godless Temple and found it to be overrun with vile beasts, which they have dispatched.

Billiam Grainbeard, of the Eastvalley Grainbeards, extended his great thanks to the heroes for rescuing him from the depths of the Temple, which he had entered completely by mistake. Billiam has declared that he will be personally funding the distribution of free bread on the first day of the next 10 moon cycles, in honour of the heroes, and in honour of Lead Councillor Misha’an who sent them.

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Finding the Taint

Posted around the city, and read aloud by several heralds:

Good citizens of Overlook,

The Foul water plaguing our great city is fading, thanks to the heroic efforts of men who only recently came to our valley. Seeking only to help the people of the Schoff, these warriors answered the call of Lead Councillor Misha’an, to seek out the source of the mountain water taint. In the mountains, they found that a hideous dark dragon had taken up residence, and was preparing to terrorize the whole valley.
“The dragon was as dangerous as a Silver Lake Trout is tasty”, said resplendent and noble Salopard de la Sanglier.
Fearing neither pain nor death, the noble few tracked the black beast to its lair. Fighting off waves of the dragon’s minions, and letting none escape alive, they found the dragon in its nest.
“Then I killed it……..with a sword”, said the intensely staring feline warrior, Tor.

Rejoice citizens, for this dangerous threat to our peaceful valley is at an end. In homage to those who died fighting the great blue dragon, these heroes are said to be making capes from the very hide of the slain dragon. In honour of this most honourable action, the Council has declared that the Council Guard will wear black capes from this day forward.

The dragon’s head can be seen on display at the Council headquarters.

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Quelleron's End
Tor

Quelleron
I killed Quelleron.
Bahamut be praised.
The elf and I snuck up on his tower, but not quietly enough.
Quelleron’s archers reminded me of that smug Therren so I gloriously charged into battle while the cowardly elf ran and hid in the bushes.
Dodging arrow left and right I took the fight to Quelleron as Salopard and Joral rallied behind my charge.
Quelleron is hurt, my blood is racing with righteous wrath, and there’s the elf coming from behind to “save me”.
Not this time Therren.
I ducked out the door and drew Querrelon with me leaving the elf to fight a gnome Bahamut cares nothing about.
Quelleron stabs at me, but I dodge and bring my sword down on him and he falls.
I feel Bahamut’s radiance beating upon me, quieting my wrath.
I have done well.

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Holy Avenger!
Tor

Bahamut must be displeased.
As his assasin, in my most holy of mission to destroy his most hated enemies, it should be up to me to kill them.
But Pete has stolen my glory again!
And finally, when asking for divine guidance on how to bring Bahamut’s divine wrath upon our captive, Therren kills him.
That was MY kill.
MINE!
Most-hated-ally-of-Bahamut

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End Of The Weres
Therren

We reached the fishing village, finding the local population terrified and resigned to what they believe is their grisly fate. Tor has been worse for wear on the travel here…he was seemingly bit by one of the weres and has contracted something. After asking questions around town and trying to lift people’s spirits, we set them to work preparing the town for an attack while we set out to invistigate a nearby barrow which reportedly had some herbs that would help Tor.

We were attacked at the barrow but defeated our foes and then encountered a ghostly apparation who warned us that her husband, Quelleron, had gone quite mad and was likely trying to incite a war between the weres and Eladrin. She asked us to give him peace, and to help us defend the village supplied Salopard with a magical silver sword and myself with some silver arrows. After finding the Herbs we were looking for, we returned to town to supervise the final defensive setup.

Werewolf
The weres attacked from the lake again, but our preparations served us well and we routed them with a combination of ranged proficiency and a solid defence inside the town hall. I’d give more details on the battle, but my mind keeps straying to my opening strike in the combat where I let loose two perfectly targeted arrows at once, hitting both of my targets for grievious wounds and knocking their companions down around them. I can still hear the sound of my bowstring humming after that shot!

With the town defended we rested for the evening, each taking a shift of watch in case the weres had more fight in them, but the rest of the night passed quietly. The next morning we set out for the Island in the lake, guided by a miserable were rat we’d captured in the battle. When we reached the island we uncovered a grisly sight as the villagers who had originally pursued the were to the island were no more than rotting heads on pikes. We pushed forward and suddenly flt a strange sensation of the world slipping out from under our feet…and suddently we were in the Fey. We’d manage to stumble upon a passage between the two worlds, which explained where the were-beasts were coming from.

After some wandering, we came upon a were town that was recovering after an attack. We parlayed with the leader of the remaining townfolk and found out that the Jagged Fang clan were behind the attack and looks as though they were trying to blame it on the Eladrins. Their leader agreed to take us to the Jagged Fang lair, so we set off with haste.

Sneaking into the lair proved fruitful, as Salopard mimicked the traditional mating sounds of a fey-skunk to draw a guard into a trap. With our ruse a success, we had a leg up on the rest of the battle and the leader of the Jagged Fangs fell to Pete. The battle won, we extracted information from a gnome who gave up after the rest of his companions fell and the two cowardly knomes who didn’t take up arms against us in battle, and found that our next step would be taking down Querrelon himself. We left the cowardly gnomes with the werewolf to explain to the weres how they were being used. With our path set ahead of us, Tor prayed for guidance on how to deal with the gnome who fought us. And then prayed some more. And then some more…Time was of the essence, so I decided to quicken Tor’s decision making by felling the foul creature myself so we could depart. Once again Tor was ungrateful for my swift action…even after I reminded him how my decisiveness had “saved” him from the leader of the jagged fangs a few minutes prior. He mumbled some jibberish about being God’s Assasin and some holy mission, then wandered off to lick his wounds. I’ve found when he gets pouty, there’s no reasoning with him.

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Etoella Lost
Therren

Terrible news…On the way back towards Overlook Etoila revealed to us she’s had her fill of adventuring, and would like to return back to her father’s castle. We’ve followed her for months now, and losing her is a blow to the party. I worry for the cat…he seems especially distraught and directionless due to this turn of events. Hopefully on the way back to Overlook we can convince her to change her mind.

~ Hastily scrawled ~

Etoella has left us to return to Overlook. On the road home we encountered a female villager under attack by were-beasts. We helped her in the fight and she told us she was seeking aid for her quiet fishing village which was being ravaged by the beasts. It was something we decided we must investigate, but Etoella is exhausted and sticking to her pledge of not wanting to get herself killed. We said our goodbyes and told her we’d find her in Overlook upon our return, and once the trouble in the Schof valley had subsided, we would see to getting her home. With that, we went our seperate ways. Hopefully the road will find her safely back to town.

I hate to see her go, but I love watching her leave…

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The Fall of Stonefang
Therren

Not much time to write these days. One adventure ends as two more appear it seems…Here is what has passed in the past little while.

After working our way into the mountain, battling Orc’s the entire way we had a battle of wits vs. some inferior archers outside the tower. Needless to say we prevailed, and Salopard managed to acquire a giant boar for a mount/future supper. After a quick rest we headed into the ransacked keep. Injured from battle, Torr & Etoila tended to their wounds while keeping a watchful eye over our new Boar.

While sneaking in, Salopard stumbled and kicked a metal gauntlet making his way up the stairs then tripped a warning alarm by opening the doors of the first room. Not the stealthiest that man. Suddenly another battle ensued and Salopard and Pete held the line vs. some Orcs, an Orc Reaver & an archer, while Joral and I fired away. Sally fell, but was buffered by the healing skills of our Shaman. After the battle, we discovered some caged Dwarves in the room, then found more Dwarf prisoners locked in a trap door in the floor, along with Stonefang’s Heart and a magical item that shall likely be called “Torr’s Bane”. The dwarves told of a Dragon Mask wearing shaman upstairs, so after catching our breath, and despite Salopard being very worse for wear – less than full HP’s, 0 healing surges – we headed upstairs for battle.

As we crested the top landing, an Orc Shaman taunted us. We focussed fire on him, which proved to be a bit of a mistake as he was a sturdy enemy, while his squishy “friend” did a boatload of damage and summoned spirits to attack us. Sally fell, and hope was fading, but Joral had just enough healing to get Sally so that as he pulled himself off the ground he finished off the Head Shaman, then immediately fell again to his death throes. Joral and I kept up the assault but began to be overwhelmed by the summoned spirits. Joral fell, which meant Pete…the last line of defence for our ranged attacks, was gone. I was bloodied (bloodied!) but managed to break free from the spirits long enough to sprint across the room and behind a table, and finished the 2nd Shaman with an arrow, and then just narrowly missed getting hit by a lightning bolt he launched as he died, which would have surely killed me had it not hit the ornate leg of the table I was standing behind. After tending to our wounded, we discovered the last piece of Stonefang (his eye) in the room, along with a magical +1 fork that Salopard claimed as his own, and decided to heal up as we were all pretty banged up. After our rest we double-timed it back to the caves to put the pieces in the sacred circles and banish stonefang.

As we arrived Stonefang broke free and climbed out of the pit in the middle of the cavern. Using Stonefang’s own heart, Joral critted his domination roll and dominated Stonefang and made him climb back into his pit. Using this created space, Joral and I were able to quickly maneuver to the proper ritual circles and chant the proper blessings, taking away much of Stonefang’s might from the get go, while Salopard and Pete impeded Stonefang’s ascent from his pit. When Stonefang emerged, Sally locked him down, I slowed him with a barrage of arrows and Joral struck at him from afar. Locked down and being hit from all sides, Stonefang quickly crumbled before us and got sucked back into his pit as he vowed revenge. The strangely tattooed dwarves then returned and finished the binding ritual, sealing Stonefang more permanently again.

The heroes rejoiced, as the day was theirs!
Returning outside they found Torr equally elated, as he’d just scored twosies while playing jacks with Etoila.

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Intermission

The end of “Esprit de Corpses”

Etoila led her followers to victory over the evil Deva, Zacraar, and his undead hordes. In doing so, the Zelen Wall and Keep were destroyed, along with a large portion of the army of Schof Valley. This has caused Etoila to be viewed as a hero by some, and a reckless fool by others. Comatose since the encounter with Zacraar, Etoila and her Entourage awoke a month later in the city of Overlook. Where will her search for adventure bring her next?

stay tuned…

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